Date: May 24, 2013
Meruin and Ishino attempt to catch the person manipulating the Kaguya. Meanwhile, Keichi shows up hearing rumors of a puppet show going on in Fuuma
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Blood and Bones - To Trap A Rumor"
Center of Fuuma Alley
The gathering was complete, the stage built, the set was in motion. Two puppets were in use, Time Keeper henged into that boy whom was a street rat, much like the others watching this puppet show, and the blade, that the henge never left, showing up to be the man saying that the street rat would get no where. It was an elaborate setup, really. With everything else about the stage controlled by that extra ability that Ishino had, curtains moved, stage pieces, so on. Overall, it was most likely going to be a smash hit. That of course, was not the focus of the play, but a side effect of the puppet show being put on. It was, in it's core, a trap.
Working with Meruin, Ishino was hidden out of sight. Able to see the stage via a set of mirrors that allowed him a straight view of it, while obscured from sight. for any immediate attacks that would be going after the shinobi. While Ishino had worked diligently on the stage, Meruin of course, was putting out that word, to draw attention to the play, to gather the innocent, or not so innocent into the center of their trap. All while trying to catch a rumor.
Indeed, Okumo Meruin was in charge of advertisement. The teenager, once martial and alien in appearance had looked something like a regular teenager. A brown mop of hair, muddy brown eyes, a common slump to his posture, regular traveler's clothing. The job he'd done yesterday? Talk about the play and get other people to talk abut it too. Talk about the wandering, mysterious puppeteer from the land of wind and his amazing performances. Talk about how any establishment would be lucky to get him on their stage. Talk about how it was going to happen the next day, for free, for any who could attend. And then pass a little fundage around to certain people to let them know that they should talk about it too.
That boy that Meruin had henged into now sifting through the crowd, offering snacks, looked towards the stage at the play. The stage being propped up helped spread the word, and he was pleased that all had went well. He sent a glance up to the top of the stage were Ishini hid within the curtains and then looked away. "Onigiri for sale," he said, voice not loud enough to disturb or keep him from overhearing nearby words. His eyes were on the people surrounding him, searching for those who arouse his suspicion. "Pocky, Amanatto, and Dango. Snacks to have right here, right now…"
Keichi was meandering around, not looking for anything. And thus after hearing of a puppetshow from the land of wind he could not possibly resist. Sitting in the middle of the crowd, watching eagerly for what is going to happend. He looks like any normal person there. His puppets hidden away in several scrolls on his person, hidden by leather pouches designed to hold the scrolls. Yep, he was trying to just blend in! Meruin even passed him, but he respectfully declines a snack.
And so the play continued. One mirror was indeed for the play itself, another mirror next to it, with it's own chain of flat surfaces, allowed him a view of the area around that stage as well as the people watching. As the play continued on, working the puppets through their paces while he entertained the people, Ishino would watch and wait. There was a sense there, a certain.. something.. that said there was going to be an attack. It wasn't even quite the hairs on the back of the neck. The crowd was changing it's makeup, those who just wanted a free show replaced with more serious men. Quite a few of them would give Meruin a rough shove to push him out and away from the group. Indeed, with an overhead view, the very center of the crowd had a circle of men guarding.. someone. The question was who. Keichi would also find himself slowing being pushed out of the crowd. It was starting to get ugly. A prelude to a storm, the clouds were gathering, the lightning strike.. emminant.
Meruin would send a sidelong glance at the man who roughly pushed him out of the way, stumbling and outwardly struggling to keep the black platters he's holding from dropping their wares to the ground. He didn't step up to them, now. But he did send out spiders to climb onto them. Small spiders, light and silent. Touch only clothing. Move not too swiftly, he commanded, do not let them know you are there. Hide in the usual places. Back of the knee, middle of the back, etcetera. He would keep track of them through his spiders, allowing himself to be jostled out of their midsts and simply serving others and sending glances their way, trying to get a look at the person who seemed to be their center.
Keichi indeed got pushed out of the way. He wasn't the type to get into a fight, so he let them drive him out of the crowd, just watching from the sidelines. He saw Meruin being pushed around and sighs, rushing up through the croud and pushing some people aside. "Excuse me, pardon me.." He notices someone push and goes: "HEY!" Yep, some good old Shinto charity right there. "Leave that man alone he's just doing his job!" Keichi says, no he yells it! "Hey come on!" He actually roughly pushes one of those bulles out of the way. "Are you okay?" He asks once he's directly in front of Meruin. "It's a show not a moshpit! Have some respect! This man is just doing his job!" Keichi yells at one of the people still pushing around. Keichi throws Meruin a brief smile. Obviously not recognizing a henge.
Both Meruin and Keichi were not able to get close enough to spot whom was in the center of that ring. Ishino knew, although only barely, due to the mirrors being above the crowd, in their orientation, rather than on level with them. As such, he'd see the older looking man who was whispering to one of those type goons that seemed more on the professional side, then novice like the rest of the crowd. With Keichi charging in, quite a few of said crowd were glaring after him. As he'd go to help Meruin with the one goon, the rest would crowd in. They just wanted an excuse and Keiji gave one. Indeed, the first thing was from the one that Keichi was facing off with, a hard shove to the man's chest. The rest of them would start crowding in, they were all about to lay a beat down on Meruin and Keichi it seems.
The selfless fool.
There was a reason Meruin had just let himself get pushed around. And this was it — the way this jeapordized things. He had to keep this gang from putting a beating on the two of them. Or… trying. Keichi would suddenly find his brief smile met by a thrown punch, the strike lacking the power to do any true damage but enough to sting and turn a cheek. "You idiot!" he shouts at Keichi, one of his platters hitting the floor. "Watch where the gossip you're going!" He throws another punch at Keichi.
Keichi looks at Meruin, who suddenly starts punching. "What?" He says while he lifts his arms and catches the blows. "I was just!" Another lock, though that doesn't stop him from suddenly being shoved from a different angle, he didn't see that one coming, it sends him tripping and falling over in the middle of a crowd, whatever you do, don't fall over in the middle of a crowd! He gasps, in a reflex he lashes out with his chakra threads, trying to trip Meruinhenge so he falls down on top of Keichi. It was a weak pull at best, and not intending to harm him. Just a reflex based on instincts to get his body shielded.
Ahh.. so the crowd would only attempt to smack Meruin around a few times, who it seems was also attempted to be tripped onto the one who fell from the shove. The rest of the crowd was kicking him. This spread the chaos, as it were, other innocent bystandards who hadn't left suddenly getting sucker punched by those of the crowd that were looking for trouble. Meanwhile, the one in the center was going itno that plan of action. Those people made it hard for anyone to know exaclty what was going on. Exactly what the intent was as the man in the middle went into active hiding, preparing to attack from some other angle it seems. The puppet show would grind to a halt, as the puppets would stare at the two in the crowd that were being attacked by the crowd and indeed, each other.
Well. This was definitely not going to end up as show performed on the big stages. The henged Meruin narrowly avoids the chakra string trip attempt, stepping away with a small grimace, bumping into someone else. A shove from somewhere, too hard to tell, sends him tumbling on top of Keichi. He ignored the battering he appeared to be taking but for making the necessary grunts, groans and flinches to make it believable as he took his own beating and the one meant for Keichi. As this occurred, a calm voice asked, "Who are you and what are you doing here?" And it was then that he noticed his planted spiders spreading.
Keichi grunts while he notices his strings missing. This guy is - not - a walking snackbar. He prepares for a beating, but then Meruin finds his way on top of him. Okay, dodged a bullet there. Keichi needs a moment to think clear. "Keichi, watching the show." He answers, short and precise. He guesses he would do best to trust the man who's likely saving him from a lot of pain right now. "Hold them off.." He says, while he reaches down. His arm passing Meruin, untill they find Keichi's pouch. Sure it was half a groping, but for their own good. "Okay.." Keichi says, showing that Meruin can let go safely now. Keichi just shuts up and waits for instructions, ready to summon his puppets the moment Meruin lets go just in case.
*BOOM* The explosion was close by, knocking people down, making people scream and flail. The strike was at the stage, the massive wooden structure collapsing in on itself. Ishino, given just that little bit of extra time, had enough warning to get away, the rubble of the stage failing to hit him or the puppets as he'd retreat from that scene. Unfortunately, the mob that was the crowd, is just a part of the bigger whole. The rest of it was in a ring around the stage, where it use to be, and they were pressing in. The trap turned in on itself, Ishino would make his way into that crowd, looking more the part of a merchant from Suna, instead of his normal attire, he'd look for Meruin and the source of the explosion, Keichi studied a second, then dismissed. "We need to go. They sprung a trap on us."
Meruin's head whipped towards the stage as the explosion sounded, eyes narrowing slightly. "Escape at your earliest availability, Keichi." And then he was on his feet, crowd no longer bothering to attack him what with the eplosions going on and all. "Negative," says the henged Okumo, walking towards Ishino after hearing his words. "They came. This is what we wanted. We take them. Now. Find who set the explosion. Pay special attention to anyone running away before the rest begin."
That said, a deluge of darkness suddenly bursts from him. Spiders. In all directions, spiders streak from him dashing through and over the crowd, some getting crushed but the majority escaping the crowd to meet only those that were approaching from outside of the crowd. A larger amount were sent towards the stage remnants and it's surroundings, however, swarming over it in a search for the man who'd set the explosion.
Meruin prepared for combat.
Keichi nods while getting his instructions. He was planning a slight variation on that. When Meruin comes off of him he focusses his chakra, a huge yet thin dragon pops up, two heads at the front. Mandoreku and Suidoreku merged together into a single, larger beast! Curling around Keichi while he gets into a stance. Keichi needed to know who was controlling those puppets, looking around for other chakra threads. Trying to chase down their origin! "Now… where are you." He says, using his dragons to keep himself safe for now. He didn't care about those explosions for now. He just wanted to find the puppeteer!
Ironic, wouldn't it be, that the source was so close? At Meruin's command, Ishino would give a nod in response. Considering that Meruin just launched a spider swarm, he'd release the henge on the blade and puppet. Already they were pressing through what few innocents were around, both shoulders on Time Keeper cranking open to have twin cannons pop up and start spraying into the ring. The blade, wielding itself, became a guard for Ishino as he'd walk away from Keichi, not even giving the man another glance. His hunt? For the one who had been hidden in the crowd. A scan over of the stage said that it was actually an explosive tag cluster that had hit about mid-stage. That cluster, from the twisted kunai husk that was left behind, got thrown from within the crowd. If those calculations were right, it came from inside the ring. That same said ring was trying to make it's way out of that area as the trap came rolling in. Which would be dealing with the spiders as was normal. stomping, slapping, etc. "Inside there. The one in the middle. That's who we have to catch." His words followed his actions as he strode torwards the crowd. Let any who dare try to mess with him, he was about ready to see exactly how strong he could be with Time Keeper's back up on the genjutsu.
Nothing. Nothing there but the twisted remains of a kunai. From where, then, had — "Noted." Meruin's eyes tracked Ishino's directions, zoning in on the circle of goons escorting their man out. Abruptly, the Okumo vanished and a path cleared in the crowd in an instant, people flying away from it.
Accompanied by four of the outermost goons sent flying, Okumo Meruin appeared before the circle of men trying to make their way out, his henge dropped. Now he was a platinum-furred creature, webbing-crafted spider limbs lifting him off of the floor.
He roars in a way not entirely human, the spiders that he'd sent towards the stage rushing his way, their movements hiding a little trap he sets as insurance. Webbing bursts from him, coated in poisons potent enough to burn the flesh as they lash out at those in front and to the side, the Okumo simply bum rushing the group in an attempt to pierce to it's core.
Keichi notes the puppet, and its master. He blinks while the cannons pop up, aiming at what he thinks is a crowd. "HEY!" He says, dropping his own puppets and instead trying to attach them to timekeeper, yanking as hard as he can to send the cannons shooting harmlessly away from the crowd. "Don't go shoot at random people!" He says, thinking Ishino is the terrorist who orchestrated the blast!
Meruin would of course make it through the people. They didn't stand much of a chance against Meruin when he went full tilt like that. Indeed, there were more than a few of the goons who would hesitate at that roar. The men in front didn't stand much of a chance, they however, did make a perfect ablative armor as the body guards backpedalled the one who attacked the stage away from Meruin, trying to go the other way towards where the two puppeteers faced off at. Time Keeper does manage to take down quite a bit of the crowd, when Ishino realizes there's another set of strings trying to mess with his puppet. HIS puppet! With a snap of chakra, those strings would be broken free as the blade would suddenly lash out towards Keichi, to stab at him twice. "This isn't your concern. Leave or die." Dismissed again, although this time Ishino was ready for any sort of puppet attempt to take over, he'd have Time Keeper prepare to head off the crew trying to leave, Ishino gathering himself up for the next step in the plan. If it worked on Kaguya..
Those immediately before him died or were wounded enough to be taken out of the immediate equation. But his focus was on the central group. They'd begin walking over the spiders and nearing the trap that he'd placed. Once he judged they were in place, he broke off of his forward assault, suddenly leaping skywards. He lashed out with his arms, thick ropes of silk streaking towards the center man, the one they were all protecting. As this happened, the ground would open up right behind him, spider silk streaking out to try and grab him even as the silk coming directly from Meruin reaches to grab him. The Okumo's hope was that the surprise and the speed of the assault would allow him to catch the leader off guard enough to either grab him up or send him into the hole in his ground filled with spiders.
While Ishino hit Keichi enough to make the man stumble away instead of continuing the fight, it was precious seconds that had him not focused on that fight. When the silk attemped to strike, one of those guys who were acting body guard would pull away, grabbing a sword on his back much akin to Iaido, he would slash outward, shredding the spider silk before it even began. Meanwhile the other body guards guide the man past that hole without much success. At least, until they got confronted by Ishino. Focusing himself, the blade coming to slam into the ground next to him as he'd focus all of his energy through the chakra amp in Time Keeper, he'd reach out with that genjutsu, ensnaring the crowd within that Time's thread. Mayhap a nod towards the Okumono with his own thread, this one would leave them dancing along in their lives, decades at a time, while physically left inert. Even with the amp from Time Keeper, Ishino wasn't able to get everyone, but that core group that Meruin had honed down greatly? They were going to be slogging through that genjutsu shortly.
Meruin landed on the shoulders of one of the newly inert goon, driving them into the ground. "Well done," speaks the Okumo as he rushed through the zombies, well aware how this went. He made the center, all of the spiders in the area rushing towards him. Black chitin forming a blade in his hand, he stabbed the leader — an older man it seemed — through the calves and thighs. It'd bleed. It'd hurt and hamper movement a lot. But it wouldn't kill. He did the same to one of the bodyguards — the one that'd managed to cut his assault down — before wrapping the pair up in draining cocoons to carry them.
"Ishino, let's go before the trap fully closes."
Yanking the blade out of the ground, he'd give a nod as Meruin took the two. Watching as the rest didn't respond, his attention turned to the ring pressing in on them. "There." He pointed at one of the men with his blade and immediately would rush ahead, clearing a path with Time Keeper and the blade to get Meruin out of there. Most of the goons didn't realize who they had in the cocoons, which helped them on the escape. That and with the twin blasts of those poison senbons from Time Keeper, he was able to clear a wide enough path for them to escape. It was close, as the goons knew it was shinobi and they were obviously shinobi. But the goons didn't know who it was they were dealing with, preluding to their escape.