Date: October 13, 2014
Three Genin are tasked with guarding some excavators. They discover that guarding isn't the only thing they have to do…
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Treasure in the Desert"
Underground Cave System
North Shiren Caverns [Land of Wind]
Welcome to the Shiren Caverns. This place is a maze of tubular tunnels, carved out over the ages by natural forces, some of them of the living variety. As desert locales go, the caverns are a hotbed of life, providing shelter from the merciless sun and collecting moisture. All manner of creepy-crawlies, reptiles, rodents, and even large predators like sand cats can be encountered here.
This area of the caverns features mostly small tunnels in great abundance, enough that exam participants can be sent into the network at different entrances and quite possibly not bump into each other for quite some time. Running and jumping about are limited, but opportunities for stealth and ambush abound.
Recently one of the smaller tunnels leading to the entrance area has been drastically expanded, almost perfectly circular in shape and twice as wide. Burn marks on the rocks themselves indicate this was caused by a great battle.
Roving bands of Silence soldiers still threaten important covert areas and operations, but the village still needs to earn money, and sometimes that means menial, simple tasks, to which less-experienced Genin are better-suited. In this case, an team of archaeologists have, in their dig, located an important artifact… and a whole next of snakes, venomous and ill-tempered. A team of Akiko, Mao, and Rikuto has been sent to accompany these archaeologists, and after a few boring, uneventful days of guarding the dig, they've been asked to clear out these snakes.
The uncovered area is a mostly-buried tomb, holding the remains of a once-famous craftsman and presumably several wood-and-ivory statues of his hand. The only way in that's been dug out so far, however, is a ragged hole in the ceiling of one of the chambers, which means the only means of escape will be difficult. And the snakes can be seen moving around on the floor right beneath the hole…
Akiko finds herself on a mission involving snakes. She idly considers the fact that Kumogakure's snake clan would be better suited to this task than a bunch of Suna-nin. Specifically, a Suna-nin that partners with a falcon. Though maybe Kotone's diet would help? Regardless, she's as chipper as ever during the mission, though a bit bored as the most she can do during the dig is … not much. Kotone is perched on Akiko's shoulder after taking a flying break.
"Finally, something to do! Is it possible to fit into that hole, though?" she peers a bit at it. "I suppose we have to… Hmm… Would it be possible to just burn the snakes, or would that put the artifacts that we're digging for at risk?" she wonders aloud, loudly enough for any nearby expert to hopefully answer. Or even just someone that's a part of her team. "I can use up so many arrows on them… And this is a bad angle to shoot at." Plus, who wants to go diving into a pit of snakes?
"Snakes.. Should of lured Sora with us. He'd be in heaven" mumbles the young Miira. Slowly shaking his head as he listened to the report before looking around for a while, studying the area around them. Rikuto had been resting in the village before he was given this assignment, for once few had seen him in a few days, not once practicing his elemental twisting within the village. When Kotone delivered him a letter, he didn't seem surprised or too excited 'Play Guard for people playing in the dunes'.
Turning his attention towards Akiko and points towards the tunnel way. "If they just bring a bit of extra candle oils, I can just cook them without much work. it's just a few snakes right? Might shake a few things about if I get a little too wide with the blasts." Rikuto shrugs his shoulders, though from his tone it wasn't clear if he was serious or fishing for ideas.
Mao didn't mind the guard work so much, it was easy and so long as she remained alert she could rest her eyes every so often. It was easier work than this snake killing though, but beggars couldn't be choosers. It could have been worse afterall, they could've been dealing with some giant flying scarab beetles or something. She looks down into the hole and scrunches her nose when she sees the snakes writhing around down there. She stays quiet with a tired look on her features, trying to think of the best course of action. She listens to Akiko's musings, but doesn't say anything just yet. After a moment, she does pipe up, "I think fire wouldn't be the best course of action…not unless it's a controlled flame. I'm not sure if manipulating the stone-work in the floor would be either…depends on the integrity of the ruin's structure. Don't want to cause a cave in…" In the meantime, she closes her eyes and brings her hands up to start gathering her chakra, "I can try to get an idea of how many are down there before we delve in, and if these walls aren't too frail, I could try to bring up a pillar to lower us down easier…"
Mao's senses extend into the sand. It's hard to make out what's further into the tomb: beyond the snakes, which have been drawn to the warmth and the light of the breach, there seems to be little moving to cause tremors that would inform her. The snakes, themselves, are lying in wait, but the vague image Mao makes out gives her an idea of several dozen snakes, of varying size, but none of them large enough to be constricting. Mao also senses that from this room, the tomb extends three ways, and that the stonework has deteriorated with age. It will probably survive one column, but not sustained shifts in its structure.
Akiko gives a bit of a nod at all the ideas. "Hmm… Yeah, that's a good idea. Okay! Mao-san, let us know what you figure out, and we'll keep brainstorming depending on what we might find." The Hayato peers down the hole a bit more, not enjoying the sight, but she can't help the fascination that drives her to look. "I don't think Kotone could eat that many snakes…" she sighs. "Hmm… What if… Mao-san, could you maybe have it so that the snakes are all enclosed in a single area? Then Rikuto-san can use his Fire jutsu to torch the place and we won't have to worry as much about destroying valuable things."
Akiko hmms. "Though it might be a bad idea if things crumble down there… Need a backup plan in case that won't work…" She gets to brainstorming more. "Rikuto-san? Any other ideas?"
The young Miira makes his way over towards the tunnel way, planning to try and look for himself at how large of a gap he as to work with. "I could try to slow roast them or maybe even dry them out but.. That will take quite a bit longer. Most of my flames weaken the thinner they spread out." Furling his brow, Rikuto turns around and glances back to Akiko and then towards Mao.
"Do you two know just how frail things are down there or even what's down there that I need to worry about other than snakes?" Lifting a hand up, he begins to scratch at the back of his head before looking back to the hole. Breathing in lightly, he spit downward, but rather than saliva, a thin needle of flames slips past his lips and down into the pit, trying to lighten it up for him.
"Hmm…I think most of them are laying still sunning themselves…but as far as I can tell…there's a lot down there. Several dozen maybe…all of them venemous, so we won't have to worry about any nasty hugs from them…" Mao trails off and closes her eyes as she stretches her chakra beyond the room in the tomb, "There are three paths we can take beyond this one…I can't make out much beyond that though…as I feared though, things aren't doing so well…I can make one column to lower us down, but it won't be able to survive much more than that." She looks up at Akiko and shakes her head, "I'm afraid not. I'd need quite a few pillars up to form a cage of sorts for them, and the heat from the flames would still be able to whip through the gaps…I could lower the column just enough to give you an arial advantage with your arrows. It'd make shooting a little easier than from this hole here…"
Mao looks over at Rikuto and answers him, "It's real frail…time hasn't been too kind. I'm not sure how strong of a flame would be equal to one of my pillars…but I wouldn't excede anything beyond that. As far as I can tell though, I can't sense anything beyond the artifacts in there with the snakes. It's hard saying what might be contained further down the three paths."
Akiko hmms… "Darn… Guess that means those two options are out of the picture. Guess we might have to fight the things… But going down into an unstable structure is a bit…" She considers. "So it's not possible for you to make a pillar that could support the tunnels, Mao-san? That'd be super useful. You should figure out how to do that in case we ever need something like it in the future," the Hayato suggests. "Having a place to stay while just firing arrows would be nice. Oh, and I think Kotone could nab a few as well… Hmm…" She frowns as she thinks. "I suppose we should just scope out the area a bit… Mao-san, I guess you're up for the time being!"
The boy turns his attention back and forth, watching the two girls talk but also listens to the report of how things were down below. "Give me a moment.." Lowering down until he sat on the edge, Rikuto closes his eyes and begins to focus. The young Miira's breathing shallows before he leans forward and breaths out a steady stream of air. "I'll try to cook them or at least over heat them.. If they disperse, should he easier to handle them in smaller groups than all at once." Those close could notice a shimmer, or a wavy nature around him and worse those near the hole could feel the ground beginning to warm as if it was under the direct sunlight. "Think they're clear enough for us to start to get a closer look?"
"The problem isn't whether or not I could do that or the ceiling above us coming down while I make the pillars, the problem is that I'd need to alter the stone within the structure itself to use it…even if a column was built high enough to act as a support, there would be structural issues in the floor itself. Which would lead to an unstable footing for the walls around us, and things would just topple in from around the sides…leading to the ceiling coming down around the pillar as a result, structural support or not." Mao explains to Akiko.
While Rikuto works on heating up the snakes to try and disperse them Mao straightens herself up and cycles through hand seals, pooling her chakra down into the ground below to create a pillar tall enough for them to jump safely down to from the ceiling while still leaving enough head room to stand safely. "That should be tall enough for you to stand from Akiko-chan…I can alter the size of it as we need to so we shouldn't have to worry about how we're getting out…I guess while Akiko rains arrows down from above and Kotone picks up some snakes to snack on, Rikuto and I will jump down and do what we can from ground level. We'll worry about the other rooms when we come to them. That jutsu you used to burn me in that spar should be controlled enough to use, but if you focus on just using those wind attacks you were talking about, things should be ok Rikuto-san. And well…I suppose I'll just try to use old fashion kunai to try and slice them up." Once things are ready, she jumps down on the pillar and tries to launch two kunai at the snakes before she leaps to the ground below.
The pillar rises from below, and the two kunai disappear into the darkness, glinting slightly. One snake hisses and wriggles as the kunai goes through it. The other kunai merely remains stuck in the ground. As the air around the snakes warms up, they crawl away, but only slowly, lazily: being cold-blooded, they enjoy the warmth and prefer to stay near its source, if away from the dangerously hot parts. The pillar rises from the small sunlit patch, a few snakes hissing in protest as they fall off and also slither away to somewhat cooler terrain. Around its base, the ancient tilework cracks, but there doesn't seem to be much significant damage.
"Fair enough… Hmm… I think I heard you could make mud and stuff for earth jutsu. You should look into that, maybe?" The Hayato shrugs a bit, just trying to come up with ideas. Then she waits for a bit while things get ready, taking her bow from her back and drawing a few arrows as well.
"Thanks, Mao-san! Looks good to me." Kotone hops off the girl's shoulder while she moves to stand on the pillar Mao just created. Then Akiko takes a breath, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness. "I'll start firing arrows in… Three… Two… One!" With that, she starts to fire arrows at the snakes below while Kotone swoops down to grab the snakes by their heads, keeping the snakes from biting at her talons. It's around the same time that Mao sends Kunai at the snakes, so she seemed to time it really well.
The boy stood up after the two girls pass close to him, being last of the trio to step onto the platform. Looking around, Rikuto nods lightly to Mao but when her hand flicks two blades out, he turns and quickly breaths out a pair of flaming bolts. Drastically unlike the attacks of the girls, the boy's attack lit up the room for a fleeting moment, but then disappeared into nothingness after contacting anything solid. "You did say you needed target practice, didn't you Mao-san?"
Even as the boy spoke, his eyes widen noticeably when his darts hit the ground, trying to use the brief light to get an idea of how large the room was around them. "This many snakes being down here means.. there's lots of prey too. Can you sense anything or.." The boy falls quiet and closes his eyes and extending a hand, as if he was trying to feel for a heat source, but he was trying to feel for something else.
"That's kind've advanced stuff, at least on a large scale, like the infamous swamp of the underworld technique…I'll keep it in mind though." Mao calls up to Akiko before smirking to herself in reponse to Rikuto's quip. "I don't recall mentioning it to you, but yeah, I could use the practice. If you want we can try to keep a count of who gets the most snakes. We can pick a wager -after- the work is done though." Even as Rikuto's flames continue to give and take light to her eyes, she doesn't have a problem with waiting for them to adjust. Truth be told, her chakra was pooling out through her feet and doing precisely what Rikuto was attempting to do, sense what was beyond them in the edges of this room and the paths to the other chambers. "Well, good news is, prey isn't usually stronger than the predator. If we can handle these snakes, we can handle whatever they're feasting on down her…" She flicks three more kunai at the snakes around her feet.
Even in the darkness, the arrows strike true, impaling a few of the snakes. A few more are caught by bolts of flame, seared where they lie. The rest of them hiss angrily and begin retreating further into the shadows, outside the ninjas' line of sight. Mao's kunai clatter after them ineffectually. There's not much chakra-active to be noticed for Rikuto's senses, but Mao's ability to sense motion does betray that the snakes are still lurking nearby, even if they've found themselves crevices and obstacles to hide in and behind.
With the flashes of fire from Rikuto, Akiko and Kotone are able to see some of the details surrounding them. "Huh… I dunno if this is relevant, but here's some pretty-looking pictures on the walls. They looked like a workshop." She realizes that it's quite impossible to actually get the snakes now that they've run for cover, so she hops off the pillar. "I guess we should keep moving forward, right?" The girl uses her bow to thwack whatever snakes happen to come close to her.
In the dim light, Rikuto lifts a hand and pats Mao on the shoulder lightly. "Can you send me back up? I'll look around the camp and try to look for better lighting. Be acting as a torch for long isn't going to end too well. Too dark.." Turning his attention away and towards Akiko, he tilts his head to one side before looking around, "Pretty pictures? You see that in this light? Once we get more light down here we'll check for more snakes, maybe then the crews can come down here."
Mao nods at Rikuto in understanding and speaks up, "He was an artisan of some sort. It wouldn't be surprising if he was buried where he worked…or at least with a majority of what he worked with." She then waits for Rikuto to climb back onto the pillar before using some hand seals to gradually send it back up for him to reach the surface. She sighs quietly and hmms to herself, "It'll be tricky to reach into the crevices they're hiding…we'll have to find what draws them here and get rid of it. May mean killing off what they eat or any nests they've made. When Rikuto gets back we can all keep an eye out for snake eggs and the like…I kind've wished I knew more about poisons…it'd help with extermination jobs like these."
Rikuto makes it up safely. As the pillar reaches the top of the narrow hole, however, further cracking the tilework around them, it obstructs the light coming from above, and the snakes emerge again, seeking warmth… and to force these intruders from their home. Mao and Akiko quickly find themselves surrounded and assaulted by snakes from all sides!
Akiko nods a bit. "Good idea, Rikuto-san." She watches the Miira go off, saying, "Well, I think the snakes are drawn to warmth… Makes sense since they're cold blooded. We could try and lure them with heat, maybe?" A light shrug. "Hmm…" Of course it's at that moment snakes are trying to bite her. She jumps out of the way, easily avoiding the bites. "Mao-san, watch out!" she exclaims, using her bow as a crude melee weapon and just hitting snakes left and right so they go flying!
The boy climbs up and readies himself without much issue. Once the pillar managed to make it to the top, he hops off without much issue. While away from sight, Rikuto made rounds around the camp, trying to explain to others the minor discovery of the workshop but also the need for better lighting. He could search around for mostly oils and wicks, not just lanterns. After a while he would return to the hole and peek down, checking on the pair he had left behind.
At first it looks like the snakes have bitten their mark, but they would only be greeted by smoke and a urn Mao saw nearby. She looks up at the pillar and looks relieved when she sees Rikuto come back. "Can you jump down? I'm not comfortable with moving the pillar much more. I'd like to save it for when we've got to leave!" She reaches down for some stones that chipped away from the damaged tiles before and she uses chakra to widdle them into the vague shape of hammers. She tosses them down and attempts to guide them to bash in some of the snakes.
When Rikuto returns again, the light of the lanterns he retrieved shows that the ground around Mao has been littered with upturned chunks of rock and squashed snakes around it, and simply dead snakes again. But the snakes still swarm, snapping at the two of them again and again with venomous fangs. Apparently, they consider this area to be more their home than the final resting place of some two-legged warm-blooded thing.
Akiko winces as a snake manages to get past her swinging bow and bite her leg. She dodges off to the side, avoiding further injury, though has to take a second to inspect the wound. "Ouch…" she mutters, thinking she might need to see a medic about that if these snakes are poisonous. She straightens herself, then, and just attempts to squish more snakes with her bow while Kotone tears through nearby snakes with her sharp talons.
At the edge of the hole, he could only watch as Akiko missteps and ends up getting bit. The boy's face twists before he raises his voice, "Mao! Try to raise you and Akiko up higher, I don't want you two being singed." Breathing in, Rikuto begins to twist his fingers several times before bringing his fingers to his lips and exhaling, over a dozen tiny orbs of flames. Alone these orbs wouldn't likely so much damage but from how he exhaled them, the flaming expansion would bathe much of the floor in flames.
"What part of this place can't handle it don't you understand Rikuto?" Mao raises her voice, and grimaces when she notices Akiko get bit. "Tie something tight above the wound if you can. It should slow the spread of toxins." She brings her hand up to form a seal, letting the snakes bite into her before she disperses in another cloud of smoke and leaves the same urn in her place. Rather than displace herself so close to the others, she takes shelter within the passage to the north while she waits on the fires Rikuto sends spewing down to die down. "Hopefully that thins the numbers by a lot…can't say I like the smell of burning snake flesh though." She forms a few more hand seals and sends the hammers she crafted earlier down on the snakes closest to them.
Mao digs further into the ground of the room, while Rikuto bombards it with flames. One of the earlier cracks widens, spreading out through the holes created by Mao, and then rushes towards the wall. Something shifts, and with agonizing slowness, they see part of the roof shift, cracking, and slide into Mao's pillar. Although their way of escape is cut off, the pillar appears to be holding the roof's weight for now, save for a few pieces that break off and fall towards the ninja below. If not for Rikuto's decision to bring a source of light and flame, the room would be coated in a stygian darkness by now.
While Akiko does her best to fight off the snakes, Mao crushes the snakes around her, while Rikuto bombards their bretheren, and their remains, with flames, on the way also striking the already-weakened floor. One of the earlier cracks widens, spreading out through the holes created by Mao, and then rushes towards the wall. Something shifts, and with agonizing slowness, they see part of the roof shift, cracking, and slide into Mao's pillar. Although their way of escape is cut off, the pillar appears to be holding the roof's weight for now, save for a few pieces that break off and fall towards the ninja below. If not for Rikuto's decision to bring a source of light and flame, the room would be coated in a stygian darkness by now. But on the bright side, the two surviving snakes also get crushed!
Akiko does as Mao suggested, typing a bit of cloth around her leg to cut off some of the circulation so the venom doesn't spread too much (if that's even something to worry about…) She finishes that right about when the rock starts to fall, and she has to ninja roll out of the way. "Phew…" She gets up a bit unsteadily. "Well, the snakes are gone, but we're a bit stuck…. Mao-san, do you think t would be possible to climb up that pillar and use it, or no?"
"Hoard.. Akiko?" After the stone collapsed closed to where the boy had just been standing, and land where he last noticed the girl. His eyes soon settle onto one shape, but then he takes one of the smaller hand wick to breath on, quickly lighting the small but stable light source. Raising it up, Rikuto lightly nods towards her but then looks around himself, namely at the floor for other snakes but then around the walls again noticing something was.. missing. "Mao-san? Where are you?"
"Right here. It seemed the best place to hide from the fire." Mao steps out from the hallway and looks up at the pillar in thought, watching as it holds beneath the ceiling's weight. "Afraid not. It's the only thing keeping the remnants of that ceiling up…There may be another way out in one've these passages." She looks between the three passage ways and hmms to herself. "May not be the best idea to split up…It's common for crypt builders to put in traps to ward off grave robbers, but the option is out there if we wanted to cover more ground quickly…Seems like Rikuto did bring multiple sources of light to use…I guess we could start with that one and if nothing's there, we'll move on to one of the others…I didn't run into any traps over there." She points out the northern most passage-way she was hiding out in before.
Rikuto's light catches images, cut into the walls but now work away by time itself, of the craftman's work as they leave the room. Here and there, something shines: a precious stone or a particularly polished piece of metal set into the reliefs. One of the shiny objects, Akiko notices, is slightly sharper-looking than the others. She realizes this is one of those traps she mentioned: an arrow trap, triggered by, closer inspection reveals, a pressure plate. The group manages to avoid it, and continues on into the next chamber, with two more exits. This one seems to be dedicated to the work of the great master, holding various wood-and-ivory statuettes, more than the archaeologists expected, several items of kitchenware, and one large chest. The mahogany wood inlayed in the bone of the chest must have been treated expertly if it has stood the test of time as well as it has, and the bone itself, well… it's a shocking thought what manner of beast may have given such a bone.
"I'm fine, Rikuto-san!" Akiko calls out after hearing the Miira's voice. She is a bit more worried for Kotone, but Rikuto's fire and light source allows her to see the falcon is just standing in the middle of the room unharmed. A relieved sigh escapes the Hayato as she gets Kotone to perch on her shoulder, likely more to comfort Akiko than the falcon at this point. "Hmm…" she says, pondering and looking about curiously before making her way down the northern-most passageway. "Let's go down this way…" She makes sure to note both traps and carvings on the way, thinking them to be great importance. Or at the very least, very interesting…
Upon reaching the next chamber, she can only stare at the sight before her eyes. There's quite a bit of statues, and it looks like a decent amount of 'valuables'. "Whoa…" she breathes, obviously impressed. But she can't dilly-dally! The girl swiftly looks around for an exit that might be around. "Looks like there's two exits… Which should we follow? Also, d'you guys think it's worth it trying to open that chest?"
A smile appears on his lips appears when once both of the girls appear. Rikuto doesn't question Akiko, quickly following along though taking his time to step in her foot steps mostly, keeping away from traps. Once they made it into the larger chamber, the boy walks away from her and kneels down near the walls of the room.
Each time when the boy kneels, he places a small dish and fuels it with oil and a wick before lighting it. This would continue for some time, keeping them spaced out, trying to light up the room so they could see just where they were. "I saw a lot of shinning bits and glints in passing. Think we could take some of these for ourselves? ..How about, thinking about it as a bonus?"
Mao looks around, continuing to flood her chakra in the room around her in an attempt to find any hints of a secret passage-way, traps, or any other hidden surprises. When Akiko asks about the chest, Mao turns and looks at it. "Not sure. If anything it might be something in there that the archeologists would want to sell on the village's behalf. I guess if we are careful about it and keep an eye out for trip-wires, it'll save them one trip…but we might get chastized rather than congratulated if it is something fragile…" She looks back down the passage at Rikuto's question. "Keep in mind we have a mission…well…we've completed that mission, but we have a new one of finding a way out of here without damaging the place too much…Besides, one scratch from those might be lethal…we have no idea what they might've coated those things in…"
"I don't think that's a good idea, Rikuto-san. If these things are valuable, then it's up to the scientists or diggers or whatever they're called to hand them out like prizes. I just suggested opening the chest because… Well, I'm curious. I don't wanna take anything, though." She glances to the aforementioned chest briefly before looking around the room more carefully. "Okay, then. I think we should keep pressing forward. And we're going to go in…" She glances to Mao. "Which way seems safest to you? Do you feel anything along the ground? Or even the walls, I guess, since they're also made of earth?"
The boy, after finishing brightening up the room, grumbles towards Akiko. "Just a few missing things and they won't know the difference. Anyways, we aren't being paid too well on this. It's just minimal.. warm?" Rikuto's mind suddenly shifts, distracted by something that causes him to look around for a few moments. "I didn't feel anything else before.. What's changed?"
A light hum vibrates in the boy's throat as he begins to walk away from the others slowly, towards one of the walls on the left. Extending his left hand, he runs his fingers along it until stops in front of a ancient door, or just a really detailed carving. "Something's around here.. not just the snakes. I can feel that it's warm. It's either very far away or.. just very weak, but I can feel it." Curling his finger, he leans closer, pressing his ear to the door and knocking a few times, trying to see if he could hear an echo showing it as a proper door or a carving. "If I try to 'force' an opening, think the ceiling would crash again?"
Mao is just about to answer, when she watches as Rikuto walks down the tunnel to the left. "Well I don't sense anything that would be an immediate threat…So I guess it's this one to the left Rikuto wants to go down." She glances to the chest thoughtfully before walking behind Rikuto, making sure to stay a few paces behind him. It was just close enough that she could jump forward and get him out of harm's way, but not close enough that she'd be directly exposed to whatever might have harmed him in the first place. She looks up at the door, twisting her lips before she looks back over her shoulder thoughtfully. "It should be far enough away from most of the structural damage that it won't cave in…but let's just try to make sure there's not another way…if anything it can be a last resort…" She reaches out and places a hand on the rock directly, hoping the close contact would make it easier to get a feel of whether or not there's an ancient mechanism attached to it.
The stone slab in their way sits placid and calm. Moe's senses tell her that, trying to destroy this door may cause damage to the surrouding structure, and as usual while she cannot guarantee there will be a collapse, it would be a bad idea. There's not much to be tremor-sensed beyond the door, although her own breathing, and that of her companions, travelling past and through the rock tell her that beyond the door there's a relatively small chamber with some sort of pedestal or perhaps altar. Furthermore, the door seems to be held down by nothing but its own weight: it can probably be pulled aside by the handle carved in the side.
"Trying to force our way through is a bad idea, I think. Plus, our clients would be unhappy to see all the artifacts buries. If you sense something there, though, we should be wary of it," says Akiko, following after the Miira to inspect this door. "What if we just pull it open, though? Would that work? Maybe we could all just work together to pull it open, since I don't think any of us here are strong enough to move a stone door." The Hayato glances about curiously to see if there's anything like a crowbar nearby…
'Hmm..' Looking at the door and then down to his own arms, he shakes his head slowly. Turning to Mao, he points towards the door and says, "You're the only earth manipulator here, think you can make your pillars sideways and help push while me and Akiko-san try to drag the door? I doubt all three of us have enough room to try and grip it at once." Turning his attention towards Akiko, Rikuto watches her face, trying to evaluate his idea. Raising a thumb, he points over to the door lightly a few times. "At least let us try before they get in here and take the credit."
Mao hmms quietly to herself, "Yeah…it'll be a bad idea to try and force it…but there's nothing keeping it held down…should be able to tug it aside by this here…" She dips her head to the handle at the side. "There's plenty of room is we all huddle together, you aren't afraid of brushing against girls are you Rikuto-san? But…this will be…interesting. Feels kind of like…an altar. Wonder if this craftsman liked to perform forbidden sacrifices or something…maybe we'll be dealing with some long lost ancient demon he summoned and buried with him…or it could just be decorated with some old incense or something." She grabs part of the handle and waits for Akiko and Rikuto to grab ahold as well before she pulls with all of the might she can muster.
With a loud grinding noise, the door is pulled aside, albeit with some difficulty. Once the three have opened it wide enough for one of them to pass through, they look inside. In this separate chamber, upon a pedestal cut with imagery of the sun in the middle, and two waterfalls streaming down the sides of the wall, then proceeding unto the pedestal and running down its side, and vines or perhaps fine trees winding through all of this, rests a composite bow composed of bone, ivory, and at least two kinds of wood, all folded together and cut into a motif with clouds and stars shining through them. It is around this pedestal that Rikuto senses a general chakra presence, and Akiko makes out in the trembling flame why this is: primitive protective seals have concealed in the artwork on the walls.
Akiko has to recover after pulling the door aside, but is glad she had friends to help with that. She'd not have been able to do that herself! "Nice one, everybody. Let's see what's inside, now…" She peeks into the entranceway, allowing enough space for her current teammates to also look. What she's able to see, she can't help but gasp admiringly. "That's one of the most amazing bows I've ever seen…" she says, voice barely above a whisper. She gives her head a shake to snap out of the reverie (and Kotone gives her a sharp peck on the head that's just enough force to hurt, though not break skin).
"Hmm… There are seals along the walls. Someone doesn't want us messing with things in here. I dunno if we should actually go inside…" She frowns a bit, wishing she could take the bow. But that's a horrible idea. So she takes a step back to remove herself from temptation.
Seemingly the scrawniest of the trio, Rikuto takes a few steps back and rubs at his wrists one at a time, but he does take the time he lightly knee at Mao's hip for the previous tease. "Yes, so icky you two are." Looking away from the pair, he begins to rub at his biceps but when Akiko starts to head inside, he follows along before pausing. "Seals?"
The young Miira looks at each of the walls shortly before walking away a few steps and kneeling. While he was low to the ground, he picks up a few cracked off pieces of stone that were scattered about and looks back into the door way. "Before we go inside.. we should test things first. We don't even know what the seals do." As soon as he finished speaking, he tosses one of the stones into the room, aiming for the base of the bow's platform.
Mao hip checks Rikuto's knee and chuckles, trying to mask how much that really took out of her. "Hmmm…well we can always come back to it if all the other paths turn out to be duds…man, if they believed in an afterlife, they should have made it easier for the dead to get out of here…" She gets caught off guard when Rikuto tosses a stone at the platform. She peers at him shortly before looking back into the room, standing at the ready for whatever is about to happen. "Akiko…if this place is going to come down anyway, and you can get it, I think it'd be ok for you to get that bow. Least those archeologists could give the team after all this."
The rock bounces from the ancient pedestal, and then clatters on the ground. In the tense silence of these dark halls, even the drop of a small pebble sounds deafeningly loud… however, it seems to have no consequences, yet.
Akiko seems very relieved when the stone has no ill effects on the cavern. "Rikuto-san… While I'm glad nothing happened, I don't think that was the best way to go about it…." She hesitates a bit more, eyeing the bow on the pedestal. Kotone gives her sharp squeeze to the shoulder, the falcon trying to remind Akiko of her duties. "I know, I know…" she mutters. She gives another shake of her head to dispel the idea, though her gaze is still on the bow. "We should find another way out. C'mon…" With great reluctance, she moves away from the cavern with the bow and towards the main room, looking around slowly. "Hmm… Anything that feels like an opening, you guys?" she asks, keeping her back to the bow in an attempt to put it out of her mind.
Turning and watching Akiko and Kotone argue, the young Miira simply snickers and shakes his head slowly. Looking away from the quarreling couple, he turns his eyes back onto the price. Looking at the walls, he tosses the stones once again, but afterwards, he spits a burst of flames aiming at the art work along the walls, continuing his tests.
"You two can go on a bit.. I want to keep testing a few ideas. I want to know just what these seals do.. They don't seem to react to stones but.." Dropping the stones, the boy puts his hands together and focuses briefly. Suddenly a doppleganger appears beside Rikuto and walks into the chamber, being mindful not to touch anything but moves towards the bow. "Could either of you actually get me a bit of burnt snake?"
Mao sighs at Rikuto and chooses to follow Akiko out of the chamber. "You can do what you want, but we should save most of the 'experimenting' for when we've run out of any other option. I want to get out of here before you grow beard and I start to get gray hairs. Ugh…or before we have to huddle together for warmth…damn fickle desert. Hot one second, freezing the next…" While she starts to quietly mumble her complaints to herself, she carefully walks down the other path that branches off from the room with the chest in it, "I'll let you know when I feel anything…Better be some tapestries or blankets if it isn't a way to get out've here…"
Rikuto's absolutely ill-advised idea of spitting flame at the wall has the predictable result: Akiko and Mao have barely turned to be one their way when the seals activate, attempting to protect the bow from the intruder, and, finding nobody to focus their energies on, erupt violently. Apparently, time hasn't been too kind to the seals, either, and now the entire chamber starts collapsing in on itself, risking to crush the beautiful work of art, most likely the dead craftman's masterpiece!
Akiko hears the experimenting Rikuto is still attempting to do, and turns back to watch. "Baka…" she mutters under her breath. "You don't even know what'll happen if you keep messing with it, Rikuto-san!" she calls over, though her voice isn't any louder than it normally is. It likely sounds louder thanks to the fact that caves/chambers have that amplifying/echoing effect.
Upon seeing the flame leave Rikuto's mouth, Akiko notices the seals glow as they activate. "DANGIT!" Akiko curses, dashing into the chamber to grab the bow. She manages to get it and then get out before the whole chamber goes down in rocks, though the Hayato is definitely a bit tired after the mad dash. "B-baka…" she manages to say, though there's no real ill intent behind the words. Just relief that she managed to grab the bow. Whether or not it's useful or just artsy, it's something she would like to model her future bows on. Kotone had hopped off Akiko's shoulder before the mad dash, and now the falcon retakes her perch, head butting the girl a bit for being stupid just then herself.
When the boy watches as the while chamber begins to tremble shortly before starting to explode, he is all but stunned. He moves to dash forward, but already sees Akiko not only pass him but grasp the bow before he even gets past the mouth of the room. Rather than try to move further within, he moves off to the side, trying to make room for her when she slides back at high speeds to safety.
"I.. I didn't think it would blow up everything! How is it supposed to keep that thing safe if it's like that?!" Rikuto was confused but also agitated for being called a fool several times, even though he was acting like it. "Akiko-san, are you okay?" was soon asked, though the voice was more timid than angry as the boy moves towards her, checking on the girl.
Mao stays back and grimaces, before she looks over Rikuto and Akiko to make sure they're ok. When she sees they're fine she sighs and focuses on probing the stone-work around her with her chakra. "Huh…it might not have been an entirely bad thing, what Rikuto-san did…there's an opening this way…-but-. We'll need to be very, very careful…this place is barely standing as it is now…one wrong move amd everything could come down…follow me." She beckons the others and heads to the room that was at the very far end from where they entered originally. "Alright…we should be able to make a hole in the roof…just…have to figure out how we can do that without collapsing everything…what're your ideas?"
Akiko seems to calm down after a few seconds, getting her breath back and standing up. "I'm fine, thanks Rikuto-san. Sorry to call you a fool so many times… I was just irritated." She glances over to Mao at the news and nods. "That's good! We can get out soon, then." She follows after Mao, to the spot indicated and stares at the roof. "Mmmm… What if we… Hnnn…" She frowns, trying to come up with an idea. "Mao-san, if you focus /really/ hard, do you think you could do it?"
"The last several times I poked something.. let it on fire.. or blew it up? Things got.. worse. I don't think it's a good idea to let me have the ideas." Rikuto admits with a sigh, slowly shaking his head before scratching the back of it. Looking from Akiko to Mao, he looks around at the collapsed chamber before looking towards the other tunnels. "If you have an idea of how to use my skills, I'll try your ideas."
Mao purses her lips but nods at Akiko. "Alright…uh…you two try to stay in the archway if you can…I've heard from somewhere that they're probably the strongest points of a building…" She steps forward and falls into a stance that gives her a strong center of gravity. She closes her eyes and forms the hand seals she needs to, gathering the stones in the ground to bring up a pillar to the ground at an angle, pressing it very carefully against the center point at the wall. The moment it began to crumble, she'd pause and wait to see if an opening would break through. If it doesn't then she tries to inch it closer to put more pressure against the fragile wall.
With a rumble, the pillar is driven out through the ceiling, once more letting in sunlight. The roof cracks and a few pieces of rubble fall down, but nothing seems seriously damaged. The team make their way out carefully. After they inform the archaeologists, they take this new entrance and proceed by very carefully constructing a wooden scaffold to support the structure as they explore and study it.