Shikoge, Tsurure, Itami
Date: Unknown (log received January 12, 2014)
Descendant families are in danger of being killed by ghosts of their ancestor's pasts. Shikoge, Tsurure, and Itami must save them with the aid of a peculiar ghost fox who requires their help to solve this ghastly mystery.
"What Does the Fox Say?"
Sunagakure, Residential areas
A fox apparition is the last thing people should be seeing out here. Certainly, smoking may be the norm for some people around here, but even those that aren't habitual or come into contact with them say they've seen this fox as well as heard it and its strange songs. It's caused enough of a stir to warrant looking for it, but the problem is there's no telling when it will show. Somtimes it's appeared in the morning, others in the afternoon hours towards sunset and at night.
With a request sent in to figure out what's going on, Itami has set herself up on the job and has asked for help from whoever would like to assist her on this task. As of now, it's sunset and she hopes to find this fox is all about.
"Watanabe Itami!" Shikoge would shout from off in the distance the moment the woman came in to view and his casual stroll would change to a hurried jog until only a few yards away. "What's on the agenda for today? Something about a fox…" Leaning back slightly, the boy would place his hands on his hips and look off toward the darkening sky, "A little late for hunting things. What if we get ambushed by giant sandworms, ants or worse…dragons with a cold!" The thought of becoming one with the creatures again was always tempting, but ever so dangerous, especially at night. "Anyways, when do we start?"
Shikoge wouldn't be the only one to come running up.
Tsurure could be seen a distance behind but approaching at a steady pace. The boy had seen the other darting off for one reason or another, and curiosity won out over going home and settling in for the night like a good boy, pulling him along after his friend. He wasn't as fast as Shikoge but he could move at a steady, regimented pace, and so he'd soon come to a stop not too much longer after him, breathing a little hard. "Hey Koge. Councilwoman. What's going on?"
"You don't need to call me by my whole name. Itami will do just fine, Shikoge," she offered to him. "Anyway…" Her voice trailed off as Tsurure arrived. She frowned and studied him for a few moments. What was it about him…? She looked back at Shikoge and her mind connected the dots and then those dots created a bunch of scribbles. "You have a double," she stated with some reservation. "I…" She shook her head. Nevermind, stay focused. "Well, we have a fox that's been spotted and heard by a number of people. Our job is to determine whether this fox is a threat and what we can do to try and contain it if such a need arises. This fox appears at either morning, afternoon hours or at night. Since I only decided to start the investigation now, I'm hoping it'll make its appearance around this time."
Shikoge looked at the woman with a blank expression upon his face, "But I can still call you Watanabe Itami though, right?" Regardless of her answer, the boys mind was already made up and completely distracted now that Tsurure had arrived. "Tsurure!" Offering a toothy filled, beaming smiling at the other, noticing the heavy breathing, but ignoring it as he offered a welcoming pat on Tsurure's shoulder, "You're just in time for the most epic of adventures!" What those adventures were, he didn't exactly know until Itami had given away the details. "Wait…" Lowering and tilting his head with a look of disbelief, "Determine whether a fox is a threat? This is sure a step backwards…Give the fox a chicken and call it Nermal. You now have a pet, not a threat."
Tsurure narrows his eyes at Itami.
But whatever was in his heart to say was staved off as Shikoge offered him a clap on the shoulder, bringing a grin to his face and he looked to his friend. "Epic adventure, huh? I've got some time free." But he looked just as impressed as Shikoge at the adventure specs. He gave Itami a flat look.
"… It's a fox." He sighs, crossing his arms. "This is going to be stupid, isn't it?" He looked to the other genin. "This is the one that took ou sandworm riding, right? Did she run out of fun?" He looked back to the councilwoman. "If you stopped being fun, you shoulda said. There're better things to be doing right now." He turned away, starting off and saying, "C'mon Koge. We can find our own adventures. Let's go dune sledding or something."
Sigh. She wanted to tell him no, but she wasn't ready for what might come after that. What would his mind generate for a substitute for her name? "Stupid? Hardly. It's an aparition, could be anything, really. And no, I didn't run out of fun…" She frowned. Was she just about to be abandoned on this mission? Over the fact that it was a fox? "You're not about to abandon me on this mission simply because it doesn't sound fun. You don't even know what to expect? Isn't part of adventure the unknown?" She questioned the both of them.
While she said this, some dust began stirring atop the nearby ledge. Well…maybe this is a little dumb. Even she didn't want to look into it, but she had to because a bunch of people spoke up about it. "Maybe this thing is in league with the sandworms! Perhaps it scopes out the village and then gives them ideas of where to strike next!" She chimed to the both of them.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Shikoge waved his hands back and forth in front of Tsurure, "I took her to the sandworms…actually, she followed me and decided I needed to be graded." Rolling his eyes at the idea, but at least the adventure was still fun, like most adventures…because it's an adventure. "Wait, Tsu." Beckoning him to return, "Though dune sledding would be fun and actually gives me an idea for later, we can't just turn away an adventure, regardless of how little fun it might be." Turning to Itami and nodding, "Watanabe Itami is right. The fox might not be a threat, getting to the fox and hunting it down is a challenge all on its own." Though as the woman kept speeking, Shikoge was a little speechless at her crazy conspiracy theories, "No, the fox and the sandworms can't be in league. They're natural enemies. I could believe the fox was hired by the dragon though or maybe other, larger foxes."
Tsurure paused as he heard the word apparition, turning to look back at Itami. "A ghost fox?" He looked over to Shikoge, giving a grin. "I'm not about to go skipping off to pet animals because someone called it an adventure. But a ghost fox definitely sounds like fun." He looked over to Itami then. "The fox and the sandworm idea was pretty stupid. But I don't think we've ever caught ourselves a ghost. So you've got two experienced adventurers on your team, Itami." He stepped back up beside Shikoge, grinning.
"Let's get started."
Itami grumped. She knew there was a reason she feared the double. They're both troublesome. "How do…you know what? Nevermind. Maybe the fox and sandworm are natural enemies. I don't study these things," she folded her arms. "Wait…you'd believe that a dragon would hire a fox, but not a sandworm…" She just couldn't understand. The dust that was stirring on the ledge cleared up and drifted off into the air. "Sigh, well there went that anticipation," she states as she turned back around in enough time to see it clear away. "We have to be patient and wait for the ghost to show up. It may come at night, hopefully. Sunset is passing…" She paused. "Tsurure, why don't you tell me about yourself?"
Shikoge would nod in response to Tsurure, a beaming smile upon his face, "Let's do this!" Throwing a hand up in the air and a finger pointing ahead as he was prepared to go off in search of a fox. That is…until Itami says something about being patient. "Wait, we're going with hope on this one? Not hunting this creature down, but waiting on the chance that it might appear at night?" Looking doubtful, "This just sounds like ghost stories to me…but if we have to wait." Reaching behind his back to grab the handle of his blade, he'd then heave it above him, twirl it about and stab it into the ground. "I'm going to take a nap and Tsurure can tell you all about himself."
That was the sound Tsurure made as Itami said that he should tell her a bit about himself. He turned and looked towards Shikoge as he set himself up for a little sleep. There it was again. That sound.
"You can tell her about me. It's not my fault that she didn't do her homework." He was clearly, to Shikoge at least, not in the best of moods. But that wasn't exactly rare, anyway. He turned away from the group, closing his eyes and extending his senses. He was searching for the fox. Well… for chakra, really. But the fox had to have some too, right? His chakra sensing was largely vague and untrained, but sometimes…
Itami is probably lucky she doesn't gamble because it seems she gets the worst of the lot all the time. "I don't have any way to search for a fox aparition, do you have any ideas, Shikoge? Would you like to search for fox waste and roll around in it to attract its attention?" She questioned him. "And you, I asked you about yourself to hear it from you not from some report that get slapped on my desk. So speak," she commanded.
The fox hasn't shown up yet, but it does appear to have a presence. A faint one, but still. It appears to be moving about the ledge and soon, towards a building in the area.
Massive blade pressed deep in the ground, Shikoge would spin about and lean with his back against it for support to start his nap. Before doing so, eyes would look between Tsurure and Itami, watching the two 'interact'. "Why would I want to roll around in ghost poo?" Confused and disgusted that the woman would even suggest such a thing. "Do..ghosts…poo?" Such a question might keep him up for days were he to actually contemplate such a thing, but he had already forgot about it. "Tsurure is destined for great things. Possibly more so than I. Together we'll run Sunagakure, but that's a small dream. Our goals won't just stop there…" The two weren't even paying attention him really. Tsurure with eyes closed, possibly already napping while standing and Itami's attention on Tsurure….Shikoge having nothing to contribute at this moment would cross his arms over his now shirtless chest and close his own eyes…to nap.
Tsurure's concentration was broken by a smirk and some muffled laughter. Rolling around in ghost poop to attract its attention? Who says that. She's probably spent too much time with Shikoge already. He looked over to Itami. "I guess you're right. You haven't lost all of your fun. But there's no time." He looks to over off to the side, speaking over his shoulder. "Shikoge; I've found our adventure!" He points over to a ledge upon which he'd sensed the ghost fox spirit, if only very vaguely. "I sensed it. It's heading for that building over there. Come on!" No further ado, he starts running that-a-way.
"You've rolled around in poop twice before! How would this be any different? Even if something like that would be reasonably impossible, I have every reason to believe that you can break natural laws to accomplish it," Itami points out to Shikoge. "And where did your shirt go? This time?!" She doesn't even know where that thing could disappear too. His shirt might as well be the ghost! "Who told you I lost all of my fun? I am the best kind of fun there is," she seemed to be defending this point seriously. When attention is broken off to focus on the 'adventure', she turns her attention to the ledge and…sees nothing. "I suppose I'll just trust your judgement and follow along," she explains to Tsurure while running after him.
The faint chakra signal continues moving about until it leaps off the building and onto the street. It flickers, showing itself only briefly and making its chakra signature stronger momentarily. It made its way through the street. It was surprisingly silent, despite reports of it making strange noises.
Moments before drifting off into sleep, Shikoge's eyes would snap open instantly from the call of Tsurure announcing adventure having arrived! Pushing off the blade and straightening out only briefly before his hand would reach for the handle of the massive blade and pry it free from the ground and resting it upon his shoulder before following after Tsurure for this ghost fox. Unlike his friend, Shikoge couldn't sense the creature, but he believed him completely regardless of what he could or couldn't see. "Where? There?!" Looking at the building ahead Shikoge would twirl the blade around, then force it into the ground allowing him to use it to help launch him toward the side of the building. Once there, he'd use his tree walking and run along the walls hoping to catch up to this fox. "I don't see anything!" Turn his attention slightly to Tsurure and Itami to see what they were coming up with…then it hit him, he must become like one of these creatures. "AAAAAROOOOOOOOO!!!!"
The call to adventure always prevailed!
Tsurure's eyes were locked onto the general area he felt the spirit fox to be in, running towards that building. "Kurama's up there!" he pointed before making a hand seal. Instead of using his chakra to mold a weapon out of stone, he used it to create hand and footholds out of the wall of the building. He climbed quickly and without reservation, though it was definitely slower than leaping and running up. His lead was killed by Shikoge's pace, the both of them reaching the roof at about the same time.
Soon, he was on the other end, looking at where he had felt it drop to — "There it is!" A finger pointed towards where it had flickered into view for just the briefest of moments. A finger pointed the way to it but was withdrawn when Shikoge's sudden howl hurt his ear. "Stop that!" he snapped, before pointing to the ground and offering a hand. "Help me get down to the ground."
"Of course. He would do that…" Itami muttered to herself regarding Shikoge's howl. She did capture the flicker of the fox as it ran through the streets. The fox itself perks up its ears and flicks them back towards Shikoge as if curious about its howl, but keeps on pushing forward until it stops before a house. It looks at the trio as they run for it prior to phasing through the door and into the place.
"You need help down to the ground?" She asked as she held her arms out. "Come, jump into my arms," she smiled. "I'll catch you, I promise," she wriggled her fingers for added effect.
Mid howl, Shikoge was suddenly yelled at by Tsurure to stop, but he kept it up until finishing. Being snapped at by the other was something he was used to and ignored it most of the times. Shikoge wasn't going to stop being who he was anymore than Tsurure was going to. "As you wish." Grabbing the offered hand and preparing to scale down the walls until seeing Itami with open arms. Not going to miss the opportunity, he clutched Tsurure's hand tightly and jumped off the building toward the woman half expecting her to catch them both and half expecting her to move out of the way. "Well, looks like we're too late. It just went home. Guess it's done playing."
Tsurure grips Shikoge's hand as he did his, ready to get lugged down to the ground — he seriously needed to learn how to tree walk. But as soon as he saw Itami down below, wriggly fingers and ready to catch them, he knew what time it was.
He didn't bother pausing to think, leaping off of the building with Shikoge and streaking straight down to the councilwoman. "You better catch us, Itami, or you'll wake up one night with Shikoge in your bed, I promise you!" Forget bed bugs or horse heads. Right to Shikoge.
"Don't worry, I will!" Itami offered to the both of them as they took the leap. She caught the both of them and set them down on the ground to continue running for themselves. "See? I'm not so bad…most of the time. I know a dragon that might be, though," she joked. "Anyhow, it appears we'll have to get into that place somehow. I don't know what that fox is up to, but I don't want it to cause trouble," she states as she comes to the door.
Upon closer inspection, it appears the home is fairly old, run down by current standards. Might have to approach with caution. "I'll open the door and face whatever dangers that may come through first and then you two may enter afterward, is this understood?" She asked before lifting her hand to open the door and see what's inside.
Dropping down toward Itami, Shikoge did the best he could to angle his blade away from accidentally cleaving into the woman as she caught both himself and Tsurure before setting them down. Afterwards he was quick to place his blade upon his shoulder and continue running towrd the house the ghostly fox had entered. "We could look through the windows or surround the house until the fox return?" Suggestions clearly ignored though as the woman was already approaching the door and trying to leave the two genin behind while she tried to hog all the excitement. "That doesn't make any sense!" Taking a stance by spreading his legs and lifting the blade high over his head, handle grasped by both his hands. "Why have you face the dangers alone, when we can do it…together!" Shikoge quickly leaned forward in his stance, using the momentum to help fling the blade forward as he released it from his hands only to follow behind as the sword lead the way. Hopefully his previous shoutings were enough to grab the womans attention so she'd move or be suddenly surprised by a blade flying past her.
Tsurure let out a quiet oof as his fall was suddenly stopped by the councilwoman but is no worse for wear as he's set on the ground. Immediately, he starts running towards the building the spirit fox had vanished into. "No time for self praise, Itami; We've got to catch Kurama!" He stopped before the run down building, examining the place before he just dashed through the door.
But it looked like Itami had other plans, looking to get all the glory and adventure by herself and have them follow along like groupies. "We're not babies," said Tsurure before he started forward, Shikoge's blade swinging past him. He let Koge take the fore after his weapon.
"Shikoge corrected you twice today!" was called back out.
"Because I don't know if what's beyond this door will try and harm you, that's why. So, I have to take the damage as I'm responsible for your lives," she explained to him as a blade just narrowly blazed past her and into door. It's probably a good thing she stepped away in preparation for opening. "What the flying flying frack?!" She shouted while checking her arm to see if she was cut. Sure enough, she suffered a wound by the blade. Maybe this was payback for the time at the training field…
The door would be splintered and ultimately fall down of its own accord to reveal the fox inside the home looking as if it were waiting for something. It didn't even try to look back at the three that were tailing it.
Inside, the home was barren and bore a little evidence that people used to live here a long time ago. For now, it was just a dirt floor and on the floor are a few stones indicating a burial ground. The fox, seeing these stones begins to howl. It appears to be a song of lament.
As the door fell from the impact of the blade and the decrepit state the building was in, Shikoge was already running in behind, moving past Itami and briefly catching a glimpse of the wound she had suffered. "Looks like you took a splinter from the door. Be more careful, this is where things get dangerous." Now inside, Shikoge would pick up his blade and place it upon his shoulder while looking about until spotting the fox. The creature wasn't doing anything, not threateningly anyways, simply howling and doing so in a tone that indicated it was sad. Shikoge would stare in silence only long enough before joining in. "Aaaaarooooo." Howling quietly.
By the end, Tsurure could only stand beside Shikoge, looking at the fox howling over… "A grave, I guess…" He rubs the back of his head as Shikoge joins in, just standing there and listening. There really wasn't anything to do but to wait and listening. And, of course, ask "Is there any way we can help, Kurama?" and hope for a response of some kind from the ghost fox.
Itami grumped. A splinter from the door? Sigh. Ignoring all that, she entered into the home and looked around. Exactly how old was this place? She then focused on the fox who was lamenting over something. She was familiar enough with that sound. She cut her eyes to Shikoge as he began to howl along with it. She wanted to place her hand to her head, but kept herself reserved. The fox's ears twitched at Tsurure's request and it stopped howling to turn to him. It looked as if it wanted his help or their help, rather.
The fox left out the home and out towards the street, looking back at the three of them in a gesture for them to follow before it ran off to its next destination. No one had helped it before. They assumed it was dangerous or were too confused or afraid to help, but these three might be different. Maybe they can finally help this fox out and maybe it can finally rest.
Shikoge only howled for as long as the fox did, stopping when the creature stopped. He expected something to come from doing all this. More ghosts to rise or the fox to attack, but instead it did nothing but stare at the group before taking off once again. Shikoge would turn to watch the direction in which it headed off, crossing his arms over his chest in a bit of disappointment, "Should we follow it? Is it taking us on a wild goose chase or into a trap?" Questions the boy didn't actually want answered as he was simply speaking outloud. Besides, he had already strapped his blade to his back and taken off after the creature. Like he'd pass on adventure.
"Yes and maybe," answered Tsurure from beside Shikoge, running after the ghostly fox and having done so without more than a moment of hesitation. He stopped outside of the old building, finding it looking back towards them, and then started running off after it again. "I wonder where it's bringing us," he wondered aloud. "Think it might be bringing us to other ghosts? Or maybe to some murderers? Or maybe it's trapped and in a coma and we have to save it."
"We should follow," Itami stated, following after Tsurure. No one ever just listens. Why must her job be so difficult? Ah, kids. How she loathes and loves them. "Wherever it's bringing us, be prepared for any problems that we may run into," she stated to the both of them. While they were running, the tip of the fox's tail began to glow with a blue fire. It clearly hasn't been a ghost long enough to have multiple tails, but it is drawing close.
The fire at the tip of the fox's tail would jump off and expand over the group. It'd do no harm to them, but it does reveal what the fox is after. It appears that they are being lead to the family itself? The family the fox was with was killed long ago and the case was never handled properly. It took it upon itself to try and give their spirits rest. Up until this point, the family has been torturing the descendants of the ones that killed them. To grant peace to everyone, they need to be stopped.
Chasing after the fox, Shikoge was smiling the entire way, at least up until the point a flame appeared at the tip of the creatures tail. "I think it's attacking!" Wanting to be prepared for what may come, he reached over his shoulder, grasp the handle of his blade and pull it out in front of him. It made running more difficult, slowing him down considerably, but considering his instincts of being attacked were right, it was worth it.
The fire from the tail would suddenly fly off from the tail and head toward the group. In response Shikoge came to a sudden stop, twisted the blade so the flat side could be used as a shield in hopes of blocking the attack or at least negating most of the damage. However as the fire came forth and touched the blade it didn't stop, but instead washed over him, filling him with visions he was not expecting. What Shikoge saw was disturbing indeed, but didn't feel it was right for the ghosts to be harassing innocent descendants that had no hand in the spirits deaths. Conflicted with what to do, he only pushed on, chasing after the fox once again.
Tsurure was definitely prepared for trouble, as Itami said that they should. You didn't hunt ghosts without a few snags getting in the way. That's just adventuring 101. So when flames cropped up on the fox's tail, his eyes narrowed slightly and he slowed to stay close to his friend. Which turned out to be a good idea, with Shikoge being right about the attack, causing him to duck behind the boy. If the sword could protect one, it could protect two.
But it also turned out to be a futile endeavor, the flames simply washing through the both of them as well as Itami, assaulting them with not burning flesh but visions. Visions of a family dying and haunting their killers. A family that had to be put to rest. Once it passed, he blinked his eyes and shook his head. "Ghosts…"
And then he took off after the fox again.
Itami tensed as she brought up her arms to guard against the surprise flames that the fox tossed at her. She was preparing to summon up earth to her body to put it out, but as it turns out, the flames didn't do anything. Ghosts indeed. After witnessing the vision, she had a resolve to put this to an end. Unfortunately, this likely falls on her. She's been in this village for sometime. She found it odd that she didn't hear anything about this…
The fox continued to lead them through the village until they came upon the house of the first haunting. The fox phased through the door of the home and began sounding off with barks to draw the attention of the ghost. The ghost happened to be a young girl who appeared to have a connection with flame. She had every intent to use it against the family to try and burn them alive, but sure enough, she saw the fox and was kept from doing so. At least, for the moment.
All this running and chasing, it was starting to become a test of endurance that Shikoge wasn't sure he was going to pass. Luckily it seemed the groups destination was just up ahead as the fox shifted toward a house and phased through the door. Seeing this and feeling the end was near, it gave the boy an incentive to dig deeper, a second wind arose and he raced forward with no intention of stopping even with a closed door blocking his way. "Give me room!"
Shikoge brought the sword to his side, jumped in the air when the door was in range and spun about, slicing into the wood and using his weight to plow into the door. The force was enough to shatter the door, sending splinters in all directions and leaving Shikoge bruised and bloody from his own reckless actions. Quickly straightening out, leaving no time to rest he'd view his surroundings before looking between the fox and the ghost girl, "If you're looking for someone to haunt, I'll be your victim."
Ugh. Man. This ghost doesn't spend enough time with living things, seriously. They aren't robots. They can't just keep running as fast as they want for forever. That definitely wouldn't stop Tsurure from getting as close as he could, though, if it meant that he'd get to wherever the fox was leading them. So, breathing harshly or no, he simply kept it moving. One foot, then the other, keep the stride long and so on.
And soon enough, the fox actually finds their next stop — And Shikoge's bursting ahead. This time, he let some distance get between them, knowing how he could sometimes get. Definitely handy to have around when you forget your key. Especially if it's a key to a place you shouldn't be. So he just let Koge clear the way and then pick up speed to follow in after him, soon ending beside him.
"You alright?" he asks as he examines the ghosts.
This appears to be a lengthy issue, but what's to be expected from something that's as long standing as this fox and the people it's associated with? Itami wasn't as affected by all the running around, but she is happy to finally come upon the home where the fox led them to. Shikoge was already getting to work by breaking down the door, clearing access for the rest of them to get inside.
The family inside is rightfully frightened of the events taking place here. They don't know who the ghost girl is or why she appears to be angry at them. All they know is that they want her to leave, somehow. The ghost girl, now that the family has taken refuge elsewhere in the home, decides to attack the group with her flames. Unlike the fox, they're real and can cause harm. She places her hands together and parts them, generating flames that she casts at the small group, fox included, to attack. Already, the heat is strong and shows just how strong and perhaps, how angry this young girl had become over time.
With Tsurure attacking with words, Itami attacking with earth clones and even the fox jumping in with fangs, there was little Shikoge could do in such tight quarters and so many companions attacking the same person. If he remembered the visions correctly that the fox had shown the group earlier, there was more than just one ghost and this one was probably just the appetizer before the main course. "Tsurure, show her what you've strived for!" A glance would be given to Itami, but he remained silent up until turning about and running off in search of other ghosts within the house. If he was lucky, he'd find one and the two or even three would do battle!
Tsurure's jaw clenched as the ghost girl sent flame flying their way, just lashing out in her anger. And then Shikoge was in front of him, protecting him from the incoming flames. Which was good. He didn't really have a way to easily defend against a wave like that. And he could see that despite his huge blade, some of the flames singed.
He patted him on the back, murmuring, "Thanks Koge."
And then the swordsman cleared the way for him to counter. Which he did. But not by flying earth at the ghost. Just the shouted words, "You were the victims!" He steps forward, pointing an accusatory finger at her. "You were the GOOD people! What gives you the right to bring yourself down to the level of those guys who killed you and your family?!" He gestured to the fox, or where it had been, "Even going so far as to attack your own fox? The only one to want to help you? You're disgusting."
The fox wasn't in the immediate area of the flames. It managed to seek refuge behind Tsurure before popping back out to participate in trying to 'speak' with the girl once more. Itami, having also endured the flames, was alright. She covered herself in earth, like she intended to do with the fox earlier, to keep from burning under that intense flame. She supposes she had enough preparation for it, so it took less time for her to react.
The ghost girl seemed as if she understood the boy's words, but she didn't respond in a reasonable way. Instead, she prepared herself for another attack against them. The fox, however, had other plans and it leapt forward to bite down on her arm, causing the girl distress as she began to raise her hand to burn him off.
"Stop!" Itami called at the girl prior to launching an earth clone at her. It was done more so in reaction than out of much thought, but the good news is that the girl appeared to be tangible as the clone struck her, ultimately placing a mild hold on her attack as the fox unclenched its jaws from around her arm. "Well, at least we know she can be attacked. Let's get her!" The fox, knowing the girl, offered up some instruction. It was fairly simple. They attack and wear her down and it would continue the rest. It also added one more strange aspect to this instruction. Baking flour appeared to be something that the girl was afraid of…
After moving out of the way, Shikoge remained motionless. A single hand rested upon the handle of his blade while it stood vertically next to him and the other simply hung loosely at his side. The boys entire demeanor seemed a little…lackluster as the group faced the ghost of the killed girl. There was little he could do in such tight quarters with his fighting style. There was always the choice of using his ninjutsu, but tiring himself out on this ghost when based off the illusions the fox had shown there were more to deal with, would not be wise. So for now Shikoge is stuck to hanging out and waiting. Defending Tsurure when necessary, but other than that he would hang back and watch, allowing the others to deal with the threat. There was no need to make matters worse with him running in and swinging his giant sword around.
Tsurure shakes his head at the ghost as Itami's clone threw itself at her and delayed her attack, aided by the fox. "I don't know why I'd thought yelling at an angry ghost would make this any better," he said to Shikoge. He started into a series of seals, noticing the boy's… lack of activity and as he said, "I've been listening to too many stories lately." And then he finished with his seal.
Earth ninjutsu. Within the home, there was one single place to draw earth from that was swift and easy. And that was Itami's clone, of course. It'd soon find itself being torn to pieces as clumps of earth exploded from it, flying at the ghost in a shower shrapnel with piercing speed.
The earth clone being torn apart and utilized again was a move that Itami thought was rather clever. Unfortunately, she couldn't delight in it too much as this battle was still going on against this girl. The fox had run off and began to search for some flour within the home, leaving the fighters to continue to face off against the girl. She sees that unlike others who had no particular skill, these could potentially bring her harm. She counters this by going off in search of the fox as it was the source of her issues in the first place.
"You aren't getting away that easily!" Itami shouted and summoned up wind to fall upon the ghost and trap her under its continuous stream. "Alright, I think this ought to hold her. In the meantime, I'll produce more earth for you to work with," she spoke to Tsurure. She then began work by drawing up more earth clones for him to utilize against the girl once this technique ran out.
The fox, now that it found some flour, came back with a small sack of it in its mouth. As the wind ran out, he tossed it over the apprehended girl and towards the shinobi to utilize.
The toss was not enough to cause the flour to rise up in the air, but given a bit of help, it'd create a cloud that they'd need to get their job done.
It was always interesting to watch Tsurure fight and it was one of the main reasons Shikoge decided to stay in one spot as he watched the situation unfold before him. While joining in would make things go faster, it would also hinder Tsurure some in his growing potential, something that Shikoge only wanted to help nurture as much as possible. When the times right, Shikoge would actually step in and use the blade exactly what it was given to him for. Until that time, he would do little. "It's time for you to make some stories, Tsurure." Glancing at his friend briefly before catching the fox returning after a while only to throw some flour into the room. It was…odd, that the fox has chosen to do this.
"I guess you're right," says Tsurure with a glance back to Shikoge. He'd started forward when the ghost girl moved to pull a great escape, pausing when Itami seems to take care of that issue with the strong winds. And bringing up more clones for him to look like. It briefly made him think of her taking Itami shaped cookie cutters and baking a dozen of herself to be exploded into pieces. And two of her clones promptly were, their earth hanging in a slowly swirling cloud above where they once stood.
But he didn't launch them at the ghost girl yet. He stood there with his hands in a seal, looking back to Shikoge. He needed only a pulse of chakra to send the earth crashing towards her, maybe to hit and maybe not. He'd never fought a ghost. "So are we supposed to play the heroes or the villains in this one?" He looked back to the ghost, who would probably burn this place down with the family in it if left alone right now. "I'm pretty sure Kurama asked us to put the family to rest, not to death."
"We play the heroes, of course," Itami states as she sends one of her clones to kick up some flour from the bag. Acting quickly, Itami blows fire into the cloud and it carries the flames with it to make a decent fireball. It engulfs the ghost girl and in turn she wails and falls to the ground. She isn't dead, of course, but she is knocked out. The fire in combination with the flour managed to put her down. Now that leaves the mother and father in the other home.
The fox, after witnessing the girl take the fireball walks over to the ghost and noses her cheek before engulfing her body in the blue flame from its tail. A dark haze begins to burn off of her body and return her to normal. Seems it was purifying. "Now we have the other two ghosts and we'll be done…" As she mentions this, smoke is rising from another building in the distance as she speaks. The fox appears to respond to it, indicating that's the next target. The ghost girl seems intent on going too.
Shikoge shrugged as Tsurure looked to him for answers, "I've never fought a ghost before, so I don't know how you put one to rest…Can a ghost even die after having died before?" If he was standing in Tsurure's position, he'd probably attack without a second thought, but that didn't mean his way was the right way. "Just do what you think is right." Though all of what he said became a moot point as Itami had already attacked, acting quickly and putting the ghost down only to be engulfed by the blue flame and returned to 'normal'. It was an interesting sight to see, but something Shikoge didn't linger on. "Now where?" Lifting up his blade and strapping it to his back as he looked to the fox to take off running once again so he could follow behind.
Tsurure's mouth fell open some as Itami did one of the most contradictory things he'd seen to date, saying that you be a hero and then sending a giant fireball at a distressed girl. But, circumstances made it slightly more understandable. Well, ghosts, so only kind've. Still, it turns out that it wasn't all too bad, as she didn't explode or anything like that. She was knocked out for some reason, he ghostly ghost brains rattling around in that wispy skull. Or something. He wasn't very well versed in this.
He let his seal go, ignoring the raucous sound of earth slamming into the ground. "Just how many ghosts have you fought, exactly?" is his question as he watches the dark haze rises from the girl. Evil forces being purged, he guessed. regardless. The fox seems to want them to move on to the next one, and the ghost gal is back up and wanting to go too. So Tsurure just throws up his hands and starts running towards the next house, soon catching up with Shikoge. Sometimes you just had to run with it. Still.
"I hope you know what you're doing, Itami!"
Itami gestures for the fox to take off and it does so. The girl follows after it and subsequently, the councilwoman herself. She didn't have much to say to Shikoge and Tsurure for the moment. In truth, she was trying to gather up her thoughts on what to say about the issue. To tell the truth, she didn't really know if ghosts could die after being dead or if she knew what she was doing. She was just trying to do whatever would solve this situation. "…I don't really know what I'm doing," she replied honestly. "We only have two more ghosts to fight and we're headed to the smoking house in the distance," she pointed out the place they were going.
It took a bit of time to get to the place running through the streets once more, but that was just a part of this whole process. Running into the thicket of the smoke was a bad idea, that much was certain. Itami began to cough and wave her hand about as if she could clear it, but she wasn't able to as it was too strong. She undid the sash about her clothes and proceeded to wrap it around her mouth and nose, but to no avail. There was something more to this smoke than what she was able to take into account.
The smoke was being created by the mother inside the home. The occupants were already passed out or so it appeared. If any visual were able to be obtained, it'd show that the occupants were actually appearing to be tormented. This smoke was more than just a physical manifestation. It was hiding something more. It was a genjutsu. Meanwhile, the dad was busy digging graves that were similar in fashion to the ones his family had. These people were about to be buried alive, but how to get to them?
So much running! It was to the point that Shikoge was sort of losing interest in the mission and it was becoming apparent with each step the boy took slowed down considerably. It was no longer a run as it was a jog. A glance would be given over to Tsurure to see how he was holding up and if he felt the same before Shikoge turned his attention back on those ahead of him and the smoke ahead.
Reaching the house, Shikoge stopped just outside, not really wanting to enter a smokescreen that held invisible dangers despite Itami already running inside and perhaps the ghost fox and girl as well. Knowing Tsurure was nearby, "I don't know….Maybe Itami can handle this one on her own? She wanted us to wait outside the last house anyways…" The boy sighed as he made some sloppy hand seals, took in a deep breath and swirled chakra within his mouth before spitting out several bursts of air through the open door and into the 'smoke'. Hoping it would allow him some kind of insight to what's up ahead.
Tsurure shook his head at what he heard, just running on to get to the next objective. He noticed Shikoge's flagging. The lack of enthusiasm seeping in. When his friend looked his way, the Sasaki only shook his head and kept running. It was tiring. And it was getting kind've annoying, running so much. But the mission was to put this stupid ghost family to rest, and after all this there was no doubt he was going to see it done.
So he reached the next home in good time, stopping and watching as Itami simply plunged into the smoke filled building. Tsurure rolled his eyes before moving through some hand seals. "We're doing this," is all he said before making a final seal and pulling chunks of stone and dirt from the ground. At the sight of Shikoge blowing a few gusts of air into the door, he arched a brow and looked back at the boy. But it was only a second. Soon, he sent the stream of gathered material into the building's side, carving a huge hole all along the wall and hopefully allowing the smoke to vent before they followed after the probably still alive councilwoman.
Itami wasn't going to be handling much in her current condition. Running headlong into smoke wasn't the greatest ideas and the feeling of being constantly choked and out of breath was painful, to say the least. The wind does manage to clear some of the smoke and reveal the mother and father within the home, but only momentarily. The venting of the home by Tsurure caused the majority of the smoke to billow up and clear the place to reveal things more clearly.
Itami was kneeling on the ground trying to catch her breath, even though the smoke was beginning to leave the home in larger quantities. At this rate, she just might pass out. The young girl and the fox were still outside, only now just making their way into the home now that the smoke had cleared significantly. There was still a haze that permeated the place and the mother was trying to concentrate it further to keep her genjutsu going. The occupants needed to remain weak enough not to fight her off.
The father, seeing that danger was imminent began to summon up the earth to his command to strike out at anyone seeking to block his progress, including attacking his own daughter and fox.
Catching sight of Tsurure looking at him would force Shikoge to raise his own brow, "Why you eyeballing me?" Not expecting an answer, especially not now with the giant hole on the side of the house, he'd let the matter drop as he pulls out his blade in front of him and runs into the house. His eyes first fell to the mother ghost before actually catching sight of Itami kneeling on the ground and out of breath. Seeing she wasn't in any harm, Shikoge raced toward the mother ghost first. With blade at his side, he led with a single foot before swinging the sword at her with intention of missing, but only by mere inches so the ghost would feel the need to take a step back or do what ever a ghost would do in this situation to set him up for another attack…As the blade continued around, Shikoge took a step forward, shifting his feet beneath him as he spun around with the blade and twisting it around in his hands so when he came around the flat edge of the sword would knock into the ghost and hopefully hit with enough force she'd be knocked out.
It was the simplest answer and all Tsurure felt he needed to say to answer Shikoge. So he spared no time in taking off with his friend, heading towards the huge gash in the wall of the home and being greeted by the sight of a downed Itami (smoke is dangerous), the mother looking focused and the father coming up from his grave digging ventures. And then Shikoge was running off towards the mum.
Which meant he'd hav to take the father. And so his eyes shifted towards him to see raised earth being sent his way. His brows came down, hands flashing through seals. "You don't test an earth walker's mastery over earth," he spat, feeling a little more like his father as he mirrored the words and made a final handseal. The mass of earth heading towards him and his compatriots would suddenly find itself being torn apart as Itami's clones had been. And the land was used against the father ghost, not moving to strike him directly but to shoot towards the roof, the earthen wall exploding up piece by piece to send pieces of the roof crashing down towards the restless spirit.
Itami raised up from the ground as the smoke was beginning to wear off as well as the effects from the genjutsu. She was still trapped under it, but she at least recognized she was under it. Tears were streaming from her eyes as she struggled to find a way to inflict some damage to herself that'd break her out of this 'spell', so to speak. She decided the best way to do that would give herself a cut on the arm with a kunai. It was deep enough that it would cause her the pain needed to break her out of it, but she was going to be operating to a lesser extent as far as skills were concerned.
Shikoge's blade did manage to cause the ghost to move as she was still subjected to tangibility. As she moved to blast him with the haze, she was thrown off guard and smacked with the blade, ultimately flying off and up against the wall. That large blade had a lot of momentum and it showed when she was hit. She was stunned, but perhaps that was all that was needed to deal with her effectively. The daughter found opportunity in getting to her mother, but she was faced with the threat of earth being cast toward her. She cringed and ducked only to find the earth was broken apart in front of her.
She raised up from her crouch to see that Tsurure had begun using the earth back against her dad. Though, instead of attacking him, he attacked the home. That would help to clear out more of that smoke around here. The father would end up buried beneath the rubble of the roof and no attacks appear to be coming from him for now.
The young girl advanced towards her mother to try and help her out of this darkness that once held her. Along with the fox, they both purified her. One more ghost left to deal with.
After hitting the woman with his blade and sending her flying, Shikoge straightened up and brought the blade before him, examining it for any type of ghostly remains that might be lingering to the weapon. Seeing nothing, he strapped it to his back as he watched the fox and girl purify the mother and removing her as a threat. It left only the father that was now buried under rubble, something that probably needed to be removed before the purification could start. "You might have went over board on that." Shikoge commented as he walked over toward Tsurure and crossed his arms over his shirt covered chest. "Not it."
Tsurure looked over to find the mother being purified, having heard the impact and the crash but being too concentrated on his jutsu to check earlier. Looks like Shikoge had done it, and handled it pretty easily. He nodded, looking back to the rubble piled over the father. "Yeah. Maybe just a bit."
He shook his head slightly, clearing himself up a bit. He'd used a large amount of chakra. Sweat was beading, and he was a getting lightheaded. But still, "I've got it," comes out of his mouth and he moves through the same handseals he'd just made. What part of the rubble was stone was raised up and what wasn't was lifted by earth beneath, leaving it floating on a cloud of dirt to reveal the father. But he was fully prepared to send it all crashing right back onto him if he was still dangerous.
The dad was still lying on the ground after the rubble was removed. He looked back over his shoulder with a great deal of upset and was beginning to raise himself to fight once more, but the mother and daughter advanced towards him as well as the fox to put an end to him before he had a chance to act. Much like those before him, the darkness within dissipated from his body and returned him to normal. The occupants of the home only just now began to wake and look at the aftermath of what they underwent. They saw the ghosts and were frightened of them, but Itami tried to reassure them that things were fine now. Not only that, but their home would be taken care of.
Two thieves attacked the family on that day. They were preparing for dinner and bread was in the oven. The thieves, wanting food broke in and assaulted the mother. She fell back against the table that held the flour, causing it to rise into the air and coat the area. The daughter was distraught and tried to run away, but her advance was halted by one of the thieves who caught her and pushed her against the wall. Her mother continued fighting and the added frustration of trying to stop her ended with her being thrown against the stove and the door opening to expose the flames within.
Neighbors who caught wind of the attack notified the father who was away from the home working. He dropped everything and went to try and save his family. People tried to work their way in, but couldn't as the fire licked at the flour dust and caused an explosion. It was by a stroke of luck that the thieves survived, but the mother and daughter didn't. The father ended up having to bury them both and vowed revenge against the thieves, but he passed away before he could do so. The heartache from loss of his family was too much to bear.
The thieves didn't intend to cause this much trouble as they were only hungry, but their desperation caused destruction that they didn't think would follow them in life. The fox didn't have a formal burial, not that it needed it. It endured a quick death in the explosion. Perhaps that was for the best. It harbored no ill will as it hadn't experienced the attack. Its only purpose after death was to see to it that its family returned to normal.
"I think we're finished here. We can consider this case closed, strange as it was. I'll see to it that the families receive medical assistance and compensation for what happened here," Itami explained to Shikoge and Tsurure. The fox looked between the shinobi before heading off and taking the family back to their resting place. It didn't have much of a goodbye except for what seemed like a happy song of a howl as it ran off.