Date: September 20, 2010
While on their own missions to attempt to round up Rainos's accomplices, Raion and Fuyu confront the mercenary named "Serin". Taji is a witness to how things go terribly, terribly wrong directly at the beginning, and Mushi shows up in time to become a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is not a "good day" for ANYONE involved.
Vine Street Bridge - Konohagakure
Uchiha Rainos was captured. Then he escaped. He is obviously no longer in Konohagakure. Nuraku, the ally of Rainos, betrayed or otherwise changed his mind regarding his duties, and attempted to take over all of the Leaf Village somehow. Nuraku is no longer able to take over anything. What does that leave? Tessen is already gone, so is Mune, and so is Kureno… There's really no one of the Takokujin left except for Sami.
And he has no further reason to stay here. Sami, still calling himself 'Serin' to everyone, is walking down Vine Street Bridge, headed towards the Village Entrance. He was going to just walk out while everyone is busy and go find something to occupy his time elsewhere. After all, why would anyone try to stop him? He hasn't killed anyone, and aside from being seen in Rainos's presence there is nothing to implicate him as an enemy of Konoha.
Serin, thus, fully expects to be left alone. His brown robe and hood conceal his warrior's clothing, and a bundle on his back is wrapped in white bandages. It could be anything. A weapon. Wilderness survival equipment. Merchandise. It is certainly not SHAPED like any weapon that anyone has ever seen, but it's hard to be certain with all those wrappings. Either way, Serin is leaving. He has spent too much time here already.
Taji is sitting on the wall of the bridge, his back to the water as he watches people pass by. He doesn't seem to be looking for anything in particular, just people watching on this rather nice winter day all things considered that is. He has a leather ball in his hands, tossing the ball back and forth while he watches people, just passing the time it seems. Two other balls are to his side but he hasn't tried to juggle them or anything, at least not yet.
The ANBU forces had dispeared to try and investigate and search throughout Konoha for any more hostiles or affiliates. Raion seemed to be assisting in this endeavor after he slipped away to change and recover sicne the ordeal with Nuraku. He was weakened, but a breather did him good. Raion was the stalwart type, he would likely some day die on his feet. His kikaichu would be spread out, trying to locate individuals primarily from sight based on descriptinos as well as any other survailence he'd picked up this entire time. Luckily, the Takokujin aside from Nuraku were rather open and moving around the village freely. Sincer Serin has not attempted to conceal themselves, Raion's Kikaichu had little trouble finding him, and Raion would casually pursue, not quite at Serin's location yet.
The 'Acting Hokage' has been a busy woman lately. Organizing the take-down of that Nuraku character was barely on her mind. She did enough to make it look like she cared about that situation, but she'd been more concerned with what her next step would be when that Genjutsuist was out of the way. She had to keep showing she had the knowledge, the leadership, and the talent that would truly make the people of the Leaf prosper. She had to show she made a better Hokage than the actual Hokage. And then she had to give it all up willingly when Hashiramako appears to take it back.
At the moment, the next step in that agenda is to root out any remaining insurgents or spies. If Rainos actually left behind any such agents, it would inconvenience him to have information sources removed. On the other hand, Fuyu does not believe Rainos really needs such 'agents'. She also doubts they even exist. But patrolling the Village in search of these rogue elements is definitely going to make it clear she isn't content to sit around and claim to be stand-in Hokage and not actually DO anything.
Thus the shadows of three people, one of whom is Fuyu herself, flit across the rooftops alongside Vine Street Bridge. They are definitely headed in the direction of the stranger called 'Serin', but their current route seems to be taking them PAST him, towards the gates, rather than on an intercept course.
Serin might or might not be aware of people following him. He might or might not have detected the flitting shadows and quiet rush of disturbed air above and to his right. His grey eyes, looking like a blind man's eyes or those of a corpse, certainly do flick to the right… But it seems to be to take in the sight of Taji playing with the leather ball. He pauses in front of the Genin of Konohagakure, and just stares for several seconds. Long enough to potentially incite comment or catch the attention of Taji. But even if the youth DOES say something, Serin just shakes his head and holds up a hand in apology, before moving on.
Whatever THAT was about, he seems to be content to avoid actually speaking to anyone on his way out of the Village. Raion following behind, the Kikaichu all over the place, and the Uchiha and her two ninja allies, are not apparently noticed. Huh. Guess even Serin can be snuck up on.
Taji blinks as the person stops in front of him. He studies Serin quietly for a second, tilting his head to the side, "Can I help…." The 'you' part of it trails off as the man shakes his head and holds up a hand in apology. Taji is taken aback and watches the robed man more closely, as the back is turned to him. He scoops up the two spare leather balls and tucks them in a pouch, leaving the one last ball in his right hand as he hops up off the railing of the bridge, "Sir?" He calls out as he seems to decide to find out what that was all about, trying to walk a bit more quickly to catch up with Serin.
Raion simply walked down the streets and paths perhaps in a strange coordination with Fuyu's movements. In fact, it was likley given his intelligence network being able to tell him other things beyond simply one persons movements. Still, he would move with enough of a pace to catch up instead of simply lag behind. After the interactino between Taji and Serin, Raion would place his very large hand upno Taji's shoulder for a moment, attempting to stop his forward progress. "I believe that you were called Serin." his increadibly deep bass tone would all but quake from his throat out towards the person ahead of them. "Regardless of your actions or inactions, it is time that we gain informatino regarding the group that you arrived here with." At the very least, Raion was hoping to cause Serin to stop their stride.
Fuyu continues to go past Serin, her speed and that of her companions easily outpacing the robed and hooded man. Especially when he stops to look at Taji for awhile. Ultimately, Fuyu, one other Uchiha operative, and a Yamanaka operative, all land on top of the Village gates. The two men crouch down on the archway, looking like gargoyles almost. Fuyu remains standing. She is garbed in full combat gear. Armor on her forearms, shin plates on her legs, leather boots with steel toes, a form-fitting leather breastplate with a flexible and light-weight chain mail vest underneath, shoulder plates, fire-resistant pants and shirt, and a war fan strapped to her back.
She looks down upon Serin, Raion, and Taji from above. One eyebrow raises momentarily when she recognizes the Aburame Jounin. Then they both come down sharply as she frowns. "Hmph. Interference." The Yamanaka crouched to Fuyu's right says, "We're all on the same side here." Fuyu hmphs again. "True enough. But I'd rather our allies not get caught in the cross-fire."
The part of the street and bridge that Serin, Raion, and Taji are presently at seems to have become quite empty and quiet suddenly. There are no people in sight on this side of the bridge, other than those three, and the guards near the gate. Seems someone has taken steps to ensure civilians don't get blown up. How thoughtful.
"Shall we move in?" the Uchiha male asks. Fuyu says, "Give it a moment. Regardless of the results, I need a few seconds to prepare myself anyway." Then she forms a few handseals and begins to focus her Chakra as she closes her eyes in concentration.
Serin pauses when Taji starts to chase after him. He was about to respond to the curiosity of the boy, but then he hears the voice of a man from behind as well. He stops for a moment, as Raion was hoping he would. Then he just says, "Good luck with that." And then he resumes walking. Telling the Genin that he used to practice at juggling to increase his manual dexterity would have to be yet another thing that Serin left unsaid. Why should the boy care anyway? He does not know Serin. He has no ties to him. It would be better to just leave it alone.
Apparently, in addition to being considerate of people's personal spaces, he is also ill-mannered in regard to sticking around to talk to people who address him. Odd mix there. If he notices the Uchiha and Yamanaka sitting on the archway high above, he gives no indication. Seems someone will have to stop him a bit more directly.
Stopped in his tracks, by the large hand, Taji gulps and looks up over his shoulder to see Raion. There is no doubt Taji's forward progress is stopped cold. He's left standing slightly in front of Rainos, between Rainos and 'Serin' and looking more than a tad confused. His grip on the one leather ball still in his hand tightens as he seems to realize this is a rather bad position to be in. A quick glance around and Taji notices that the other people he was watching seem to have suddenly become rather scarce. He gulps again then turns his full attention to the 'Serin' person, still feeling that heavy hand on his shoulder, not trying to get free yet. Serin's response and the tone of Raion's voice clearly does not make a tense situation any lighter. Still, for the moment, Taji stands there, unwilling to take any sudden action as he frowns slightly, tensing in a way that the man with his hand on his shoulder could definately feel but might not be quite so obvious from causual observation.
Raion would stare through his encompassing shades at Serin's back as he seemed to refuse comment. "I have no need of luck." Raion would comment, primarily to get all of his points across at once in that same tone that was almost felt more than heard. "Many died due to your actions, i would suggest that you not add your name to the list unwittingly. Where is Uchiha Rainos?" to the point and none too round about with it either. He maintained the position of his hand upno Taji, mostly to ensure that he could protect him if anything where to occur.
The Uchiha male to Fuyu's left says, "He's not stopping. He's almost to the gate now." The Yamanaka begins to put his hands together in the unique Seals of his Clan, when Fuyu's eyes open again. "Covering fire. Now." Then she flickers and vanishes. The Uchiha rapidly makes the hand seals for the Great Fireball Technique, and then sends it streaming out towards Serin. Or rather towards the ground to the man's right, but it should be hot enough that even without a direct hit it would be painful. The Yamanaka sends out his Chakra in an attempt to seize control of Serin's body without leaving his own body defenseless. Then Fuyu materializes to Serin's left, eyes already red with the Sharingan, and her War Fan in hand. She swings with it, trying to simply bludgeon Serin in the side and hurl him to the ground. She could use the razor-sharp metal edges. But that would be a lethal attack. She wants this one alive.
Regardless of the results of the attack, she stands up straight and then watches Serin wherever he winds up. "I recommend you stay put and tell us what we want to know. It'd be healthier."
Serin only turns his head enough to call back to Raion, "I don't know where he is. I didn't even know he was gone until today. And I've killed a lot of people. I'm sure you have too. So what?" He shrugs and turns to face forward again, just as a huge mass of fire strikes the ground next to him. He tries to leap aside, but in mid-evasion he finds he has lost control of his body. It seems to be frozen in place, muscles locking up and moving of their own accord. Then Fuyu appears and slams that reinforced war fan into his chest. Even if he was able to dodge he would have failed. He is hurled to the ground on his back and skids for several feet.
Hopefully that fall broke whatever was controlling him, because lying here isn't a good position to be in. Frowning a bit, as though the light burns on his right side and the stinging in his chest were merely annoyances, he responds without moving, "Your words are contradicted by your actions. I do not believe you actually have any concern for my health." He then moves to sit up slowly, aware that he has two Jounin on each side of him, two unseen assailants beyond the one in front, and an unknown Genin with the Jounin behind. He knows better than to judge power based on Rank. He was a lethal little bugger before he even had ninja training. A Genin could potentially be Jounin-level, but just not have been promoted yet. And then there's tactics to consider.
Power or not, a sharp intellect can make mincemeat of even an overwhelmingly strong foe, under the right circumstances. "I cannot tell you what you wish to know if I do not know what you wish to know." He rises to a crouch, and then, unless stopped, he gets to his feet. "I haven't killed any of your people. I helped Rainos because he paid me to. I have no reason to stay here anymore. I'm leaving."
Then he looks behind him at Raion, before his grey eyes settle on Taji. "Don't try to stop me." Then he faces forward again, as he gathers some Chakra of his own, but not a lot. If he winds up being allowed to leave, then he'd rather not be low on energy.
Seeing all this unfold before him, Taji frowns and tries to move to the side, and backwards a bit if at all possible, the question of that being entirely up to Raion at this point as that is the man with his hand on Taji's shoulder. The hand that Taji has around the leather ball tightens as he readies this juggling tool for something or other, unclear what. While others gather chakra, Taji simply slips into a more defensive pose, no matter what Raion does or does not let him do, Taji seems determined not to be too much of a sitting duck as he tries to figure out what is going on. He peers at Fuyu, and the others attacking, his frown deepening. So far Taji is just watching, and being ready to do what might be needed, it seems, silent since he last called out towards Serin, just moments ago but yet seeming longer after the little barrage of attacks.
Serin's words were taken with silence as Raion heard but didn't act in any particular way towards them. In fact, perhaps in either flippant disregard, or simply the duty bound nature of the Aburame giant, he would ask, "Hokage-sama?" without reluctance in his voice. What ever Fuyu ordered him to do would be done as long as he served the leaf and as long as she was his superior. Whether he was raw about ir or not wasn't at all evident in anything he said or did, but being covered from head to toe certainly aided in the mystery of it all.
Fuyu spits on the road when she hears Serin's response. "You are not in a position to give orders. What we want to know is everything you know about the Takokujin and their operations out of Higuregakure. Nothing is to be left out. If you tell us that, I'll move to have you imprisoned instead of executed. It would be only fair. However, attacking this Village is most definitely a crime, whether you used lethal force or not. So you are not going anywhere."
She notices the odd attention being paid to Taji by Serin. It's hard NOT to notice details with Sharingan active. What is that about? Is he thinking of taking Taji hostage? Better end that plan before it begins. She flickers again, trying to appear behind Serin with her war fan's sharp edge ready to be sliced against the back of the man's neck. Enough to paralyze him from the neck down, but not enough to kill.
"No hostages for you," she tosses out confidently. "Raion. Make sure this man's Chakra is not available to him anymore. Taji. I'm not familiar with your skills, but I need you to spread the word as quickly as possible that we have located an agent of Uchiha Rainos, and require support."
Something is odd here, though… How could she have Body Flickered to BEHIND Serin? Is she really that fast?
Serin doesn't react in time to Fuyu seemingly appearing behind him. Incredible speed alright… But the fact that he didn't detect the vibrations means she properly Body Flickered to above him and then landed behind. Because he is pretty darn fast himself, and has reflexes to match. If she had just been running or something, he would have detected her footfalls. Or so he assumes. Oh, well.
"You misunderstand." he says. "I have no intention of taking a hostage. As I said, I am leaving. Taking a hostage would make people even more eager to stop me from doing so. It seems you have the advantage over me right now." Then Serin's form seems to waver and turn into a black and grey facsimile of a human being. Black mist streams from his form. His voice, when it is heard again, is a rasping, dry, and perhaps even 'creepy' thing. It echoes somehow, as though coming from a great distance and right nearby at the same time. He says simply, "Nothing is what it seems."
Then he attempts to flee, a streak of black that makes a bee-line for the gates of the Village. If Fuyu can slash his neck before he can get out of range, then she has an opening to do so. If not, then she better have a contingency plan ready, because Serin is stopping for nothing.
Taji stands there watching at first, hard not to watch all this stuff going on. He moved to the side and back so he stood a bit behind Raion, but now that things are clearly heating up, he listens to Fuyu's orders. He nods, giving a little salute and starts to turn to run to give warning, only to pause as Serin starts to do this strange creepy thing of fading, something about it makes Taji pause as he eyes the transformation, eyes wide, as the black mist seems to particularly get his notice. He seems stuck in place for a moment, not quite running off as ordered to yet.
"Understood." was all that Raion would state before moving roward quite a bit slower than Senrin is likely moving, though raising his left arm and hand in a broad, sweeping motion. As he dose so, countelss kikaichu flow from his coat as well as join from the surrounding area to attempt to leave Serin with no place to escape. The swarms would manuver around and after Serin, drawing closer and trying to surround him from all angles. Some of the kikaichu would strike first with a special blend of secretions to help slow Serin down while the rest move to take away Serin's over all power to continue on.
Fuyu doesn't know exactly what this Takokujin goon's abilities entail. Something about him somehow reminds her of someon she has met before. No, that's not it. Someone she has seen before? Heard of? It's not coming to mind. Either way, she had been working under the assumption that her opponent was a kenjutsu expert of some kind, since he had managed to defeat many Konohagakure ninja during the initial invasion without killing or permanently harming any of them. Accidents could have occurred, of course. A limb might have been removed, or someone might have fallen on something sharp.
But they didn't. They all survived and pulled through. At worst some of them will have scars. That speaks volumes for Serin's proficiency with a sword. A sword is not a tool. It is not a farming instrument. It is a weapon. Its purpose is dealing out DEATH. To do something other is to go against the sword's intended use and its nature. But to be able to use it in a manner pursuant to the distribution of death, and yet not actually KILL anyone… That takes an expert of enormous prowess.
That is why she was reluctant to risk herself in-close with the white-haired, brown-cloaked and hooded man, with the odd bandaged bundle on his back. The Fuyu crouched behind Serin right now is a Shadow Clone that was planted earlier on, and Body Flickered to behind Serin when the real Fuyu flickered into hiding.
The deception appears to have been a success. But when this Takokujin member — or mercenary, as he claims to be — turns into some kind of… Ghost? Well, that makes Fuyu toss all her assumptions about his focus out the window. If he has the Ninjutsu skill to transform his body without handseals… Or is it a Kekkei Genkai? She can't be sure. She just knows that the insubstantial look to him is no mere illusion. She can actually SEE his Chakra and how it has changed from that of a skilled but normal ninja to some kind of misty 'Chakra skin' that shrouds a SKELETON. She can literally see Serin's bones through that mist. Unexpected.
Her Shadow Clone doesn't wait for Serin to finish what he's saying. The moment the transformation is completed, she tries to slash the back of his neck with the sharp metal on the edge of her war fan. If he moves too fast for her, then she is left slashing air and looking foolish. The real Fuyu, however, leaps out of concealment either way, as Raion's Kikaichu swarm around the mercenary, trying to box him in and drain away his Chakra.
The Shadow Clone pursues Serin, while Fuyu herself looks in the direction of Taji, sees he's frozen in indecision after hearing that creepy voice and witnessing the transformation Serin underwent, and grits her teeth before yelling to Raion, "Do what I told the boy to do! Get help! We can handle this one." Then she dismisses both the Aburame Jounin and the frozen Genin from her thoughts. If Taji can't follow orders, then he's obviously of no use. A REAL ninja needs to be able to adapt to ANY situation INSTANTLY.
That's what her teacher told her. It's how she was taught. It's what she believes and how she lives. She draws two kunai from her waist pouch, and hurls one then the other at the black and grey streak that flies towards the gates, and the two Chuunin that stand on the archway, trying to track and put down the rogue warrior.
Mushi heard the sounds of commotion as she wandered through the village. Rather than run and report it to someone, Mushi let curiosity get the better of her, and went closer. There's a noisy spar going onno, a fight. The techniques and alterations are too lethal to be anything but a death match. The slightly altered aim that turns sparring moves to killing blows would be ones she'd have trouble healing. Mushi pauses there. She ought to just walk away from this and pretend she'd seen nothing. She's not an ally of the village, nor anyone else, in these cases. She can't be held responsible for not taking part on either side, and she's walked away from worse. But she still finds herself flickering forward quickly to the very edges of the fight, keeping her eyes especially on the unknown enemy and saying, "Stop! This isn't the place to fight!" with an unusual firmness. She'd look sharply at the Uchiha Clan Head. "What's going on, Fuyu-sama?" But even as she's speaking she's gathering for chakra. For healing or harming? Who can say.
Serin hadn't thought he'd need to use that much Chakra. He had only focused enough for what he calculated would get him out of the Village. This was an error on his part, but he had conservation of resources in mind at the time. The Shadow Clone of Fuyu slashes right through Sami's neck with her war fan… And hits nothing. It passes right through. Going intangible like that is very costly. When he turns around in response to all the Kikaichu swarming about him, he catches sight of Fuyu throwing two kunai at him. He is low enough on Chakra that the black mist condenses back into flesh, and he returns to his normal self. He dodges the ninja knives — but only barely.
The Chakra-eating insects gather around him, closing in, just as some new person arrives on the scene. She stops inbetween Serin and Fuyu — wait, there appears to be… TWO of the Uchiha woman? Serin surmises one is a clone… And since the Shadow Clone is the one that has been risking herself, he assumes the one standing off to the side is the real one. Clever. But not clever enough.
He takes the opportunity afforded him by the distraction Mushi presents to remove the bundle from his back and rapidly shred the bandages off of it one-handed. And within is… A guitar? A three-string guitar… A samisen. What does he plan to do with THAT? He holds it in one hand as though he intends to wield it as a weapon, but does not yet strike with it. A guitar for a weapon. Crazy. "I am a contract worker. I accepted a contract from Uchiha Rainos to distract Konohagakure forces temporarily, via the use of theatrical equipment, volunteer actors, and my own skills, and to NOT kill or permanently harm anyone from this Village, no matter what. I completed my task, and have no more affiliation or duty to Rainos. He is his own man, and I am mine. I do not keep track of his movements. These individuals are attempting to hold me against my will in order to extract information from me that I do not possess. If they had asked me to lead them to Higuregakure, I would agree to that. If they attempted to clarify my relationship with Rainos peacefully and politely, I would have done so. Instead, they have attacked and harmed me, and I have not struck back even once."
After explaining his situation to Mushi, Serin focuses on Taji in the background. "You are right about this not being the place for a fight. There are those present who might be caught in an attack not intended for such individuals. I would like to request that you try convincing these ninja to either treat peacefully with me, or leave me alone."
It is unclear why, but the wraith/ghost form shook Taji, and distracted him for a bit. Stupid, as he berrates himself, but now that Raion has left, there is little point in him running off /too/. He shakes off his inaction finally as he watches the assault against Serin. Trying to help and do /something/ he runs forward, trying to close distance on this wrath/ghost thing even as he forms quick hand seals and breaths out, forming his chakra into little bursts of fire, and sending them towards the wraith in darts of fire. A trio of darts thrusting forward through the air, trying to land against the ghost-like person who is no longer a ghost. Not massive fire bolts by any means, but something he can do as he tries to close the gap between himself and this… this 'thing'. It is probably clear this monster is well out of Taji's range of abilities but he's determined to try none the less it appears. Yet he seems to have taken Fuyu's attacks as a go ahead to begin his own assault.
Fuyu pauses, seeing that some stranger has joined in. Does she know this girl? Either way, she is standing inbetween Fuyu's Shadow Clone and Serin. That is not a healthy place to be. Serin's version of events is given. She just sneers unpleasantly. "You think because you were PAID to attack our ninja that somehow absolves you of responsibility for your actions? Whether you killed anyone or not beside the point! You are guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, if nothing else… And there IS 'else'." She turns her attention on Mushi fully, just as Taji opens fire with… Fire! Sami's offer to help if he is asked politely was actually something she was considering, but then she remembered she doesn't WANT to actually find and stop Rainos. That would be counter-productive. Still, she has to have a good excuse for capturing this man and holding him then.
"If you're ready to give up and help us…" she starts. Then the 'Acting Hokage' reaches into her tool pouch, and withdraws… A pair of handcuffs! She swirls the glittering metal bands around one finger as Taji's fire bolts streak towards Serin, waiting to see his reaction. If he attacks back, then he's going to go down. If he just defends himself, then her plan is still viable. "…Then put down your weapon and lie down with your hands on the back of your head!" she calls out, either way. Kind of tough to just lie down and surrender when someone has burned you repeatedly, but that would be exactly why it would show he is willing to surrender and cooperate.
The Shadow Clone of Fuyu, rather than attacking, turns to Mushi and says, "Please move out of the way. You're in danger there. This man is a criminal, and is trying to leave the Village. He may need medical treatment soon, though…"
Mushi almost laughs when Serin points out that he's a contract worker. She, too, was contracted by Rainos to help out, though it was after the fact when he'd taken over. So she hears him out with a certain calmness that's only skin deep. She supposes he has good logic, but she can also see where the other side is coming from. She rocks back and forth on her feet. Mushi is watching the attacks fly back and forth quite tensely. But she makes no move to engage in any of the combat. Even stunning someone might give an advantage to the other side. But she also listens to Fuyu's Shadow Clone as well. She takes a few quick steps back, suspiciously not out of range to be able to attack someone. Mushi is chewing on her lip, a rare habit used in only extremely tense situations. "Maybe…you should do as she says…?" she suggests meekly to Serin.
Serin listens with half an ear to Fuyu's retorts. He does not really care what she has to say. He is saying whatever he thinks will get him out of here. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant. Maybe he was paid. So what? He did it. End of story. If they want to stop him, they should try harder. Because at the moment, he is almost ready to make his escape. The timely introduction of Mushi is just the thing he needed. He looks between the Shadow Clone and the real article briefly with his corpse-like, pale-grey eyes. The handcuffs withdrawn from the tool pouch catch his attention briefly thanks to the sudden movement, but then he focuses back on those in front of him.
Just in time to see three streaks of flame coming at him. He moves aside for the first, ducks under the second, and gets the third right in the face. It hurts. Serin reaches a hand up to rub at the already blistering burn on his cheek, right below his left eye. Thank the lord for eyelids and reflexes, or he might have suffered optical damage. Where did those come from? The Shadow Clone? No. He sees now. The boy. The boy he was trying to spare. The boy who reminded Serin of himself as a child.
Serin is not prone to becoming emotional. But a kindness offered and spat upon is at least mildly irritating. He decides to do something about it. "I probably should," he answers Mushi after a long silence. Then he channels his Chakra into the samisen in his right hand. The guitar casing cracks open and falls apart, revealing there is a sword inside. The casing was just a disguise. Inside is a sword that greatly resembles a huge 'tuning fork'… But both 'prongs' of the 'fork' are very, very sharp. "But I won't."
Then he turns into his Wraith form again, flesh becoming black mist, features become grey suggestions of form rather than a human being's face — more like a shade from the underworld, garbed in shadow. A moment later, he streaks forward. Unlike before, he is not simply running in a straight line. This is a practiced maneuver. He is thus able to move swifter and more accurately in a pre-determined pattern of attack. If it works… He winds up crouched right in front of Taji, staring into the Genin's face with glowing red slits in place of eyes. Behind him, slashes so fast they were essentially invisible have been made against Fuyu and Mushi. "Remember this, boy." he rasps out in a cold, echoing, inhuman voice. Then his odd blade whips up to vertical inbetween himself and Taji. "Do whatever is necessary to achieve your goals. Whether you like it or not, whether others like it or not, whether it is 'right' or 'wrong'… None of that matters. Only success will let others know you accomplished something in life."
Then the blade attempts to be placed flat against Taji's left shoulder, near his ear, but not stabbed or anything. Instead… A high-pitched noise radiates out from the tuning fork sword, as it vibrates intensely… And the vibrations may be transferred directly into Taji, and make even his skeleton resonate. And if THAT happens… Well, it would hurt. A lot.
Serin swoops towards Taji and he freezes. As the form crouches in front of him and gives the little lecture he seems to tense up. When the blade moves to rest flat against his shoulder, he… isn't there. There's a ghosting effect as Taji moves to the side, down and around, in a very graceful move. As he moves there's a trail left behind from speed, mist or something. It's a ghosting that seems odd, like reality is catching up with where Taji actually went, as the blade rests against something that isn't really there anymore. It may just be an optical illusion mind you, but it is strange to see. The net result is that the blade doesn't touch the Genin, as he eyes Serin and says, "Right now my goal is to stop you." Simply said as his hands lash out at the now point blank Serin, in an odd display that has that mist like effect. Even if it hits there won't be any real noticable effect other than a cold chill, and appear to miss even if it hits so light is the touch. Of course if it misses, then it just misses.
Mushi is not keeping as much attention on Fuyu as she is on Serin. She's pretty sure the Hokage isn't going to attack her. Unfortunately, when he attacks she has just enough time to gather some chakra for a defense before she's slashed. There's a moments delay before blood sprays from her side and she lets out a yell of surprise and pain. That hurt! She flickers away a good distance, though not too far. Even as she's bleeding rather profusely, Mushi is putting pressure on her wound with the palm of her hand, and pouring out chakra into her body to heal herself as quickly as possible. There were better techniques to use—if she had a few hours and some peace and quiet. Who is this guy? He isn't some mere mercenary. She's staring at Serin, but no longer with any semblance of understanding.
Fuyu is sliced in half by the invisible attack from Serin. Blood sprays everywhere. Then… *Poof* The Shadow Clone vanishes. The real Fuyu managed to Body Flicker out of the way… But only barely. Fuyu doesn't like that this guy attacked someone who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, nor that he just tried to do SOMETHING to a Genin. Whatever it was. So she glares with her two-tomoe'd Sharingan and tries to nail this marauder with a rather unpleasant Jutsu. If it works, then Serin would find a large chunk of his back, right between his shoulder blades, just practically EXPLODED in a burst of blood and gore. It would probably hurt a lot, too.
To Mushi and Taji, it would not even be evident anything had happened to Serin. Fuyu thinks she knows who this man is now, based on the information in the bingobook. But she isn't quite certain. The physical features match, as does the description of the weapon… But she isn't sure she has seen any sound-based attacks used yet. Isn't that what Otomegami does? Either way, this enemy is far too dangerous. She wanted to capture him. Now she'll settle for killing him.
She forms the necessary hand seals, very familiar to her, and then inhales deeply, until her chest seems to expand outwards. Then she exhales a huge wave of flammable gas that ignites into a fireball that streaks towards who she suspects is a former Seven Swordsman — and now an S-Rank criminal. Hopefully Taji will be wise enough to get out of melee range before it arrives.
Indeed, Serin may have been identified. He did not intend to allow his real self to be known to anyone in this Village. He preferred that everyone thought him dead. But it may be too late now. Unless… Well, Fuyu DID have all the civilians in the area directed elsewhere, so they wouldn't be caught in the cross-fire. If he kills all these witnesses, he should be fine. His sound-based attack against Taji fails, as he allowed too much time for the boy to defend himself. This isn't like him. He normally kills nice and quiet, with no hesitation. What is it about this Genin that makes him so reluctant? He may appear to be caught in introspection, but when Taji comes streaking in trailing after-images, Serin has already leapt away in an arcing serious of somersaults. The blade in his hand alerted him to Taji's movements easily enough. The vibrations in the air and the ground were ample warning.
Landing again, he decides it's time to start ending lives instead of preserving them. Maybe if he kills the two women, the boy will realize he can't afford to waste his time with concepts like 'loyalty' and 'sacrifice'. He must look out for himself first. 'Others' are a luxury. Just as he is turning to finish off Mushi, he sees she is, infact, fully healed. Or close to it. Blood all over, but the wound is already closed. 'A medic. She has to die first or she'll heal the others.' he thinks.
Before he can lash out again, he feels agony erupt on his back. Mixed in with the pain is the new and unpleasant sensation of the open air on his spine. Too stunned by the sudden pain to do anything other than stand and shake slightly, trying to maintain control and his hold on Otomegami, he is an easy target for the Great Fireball Technique that smashes into him and explodes in a sphere of flames. He was right in front of Mushi. But she was still probably far enough way that she will only be SLIGHTLY singed by the heat, rather than covered in burns… Like Sami is.
No more. Winning this fight is untenable. Already he can feel the pain and loss of flesh from his back fading. That might be because he is also on fire, and thus distracted from the lesser pain. Or it might be Genjutsu. The wispy Wraith turns towards the gates again, even as flames try to cling to his form… The form that is now more Chakra than flesh. He glares at Fuyu, aware he is likely already under her influence. Then he begins to run. He only needs 15 feet. 15 feet between him and the Uchiha woman, and she will suffer. Maybe even die. But the point is that he needs to get OUT of here. Killing her would be nice, but it's not his goal anymore. Only escape. If the Medic has to stop to heal Fuyu, then so much the better. One less pursuer.
Sami raises Otomegami, making the blade vibrate so hard and so fast that when he then swings it down, the friction CUTS the AIR. A massive SHRIIIIIIEEEEEEEKKKKKKK like a banshee's wail, high-pitched, inhuman, unnatural, tears through the air. If people did not know something was going on before, they will now. The sound easily transmits for miles. But before the sound can even be heard, the attack would have already been launched. A slash of force that can cut through stone and moves at the speed of sound.
As the fireball scores a hit against Serin, Taji is left leaping backwards, avoiding the blast radius but at the same time now no longer in easy reach of his target. He frowns but seems to realize that this fight is a bit out of his… well, out of his league. He reaches into his pouch at the side of his belt, it contained the three leather balls from before. With range the boy thinks, then… with some effort throws the balls, one after another at Serin, perhaps just trying to distract the more powerful ninja, after all hard to concentrate when gnats are all fluttering around. He may be little more than a gnat in this case but he's going to do his best, putting his full strength behind each thrown ball, the hard leather likely to hit about as hard as a punch, if they hit as he throws. Sure it isn't really impressive looking but then again looking good isn't the only thing.
Mushi is impressed despite herself. This shinobi is doing a good job of coping with three foes at the same time. Whether he is merciful or neglectful of the Genin? she doesn't know, but he seems to be getting a lighter amount of attacks. She stands up carefully. Despite the seeming complete heal of the slash, she knows one good blow can finish her off. It takes a careless moment to be killed with a mere kunai or shuriken. As Sami lets loose the shriek she resists the urge to clap her hands over her ears. Even though it's not directed towards her, it still gives her shivers. But as he runs, Mushi gathers her chakra so it seems to materialize around her arm. "You won't get away!" she says, as a giant arm and hand of glowing chakra forms around her own. She swings it to smash Sami into the ground and then swat him aside with another swing.
Fuyu sees the attack coming. She can see the immense amount of Chakra being channeled into the sword. And then she knows for sure. This is him. The one from the bingobook. She brings up her war fan in a vain attempt to block the sword slash. She doesn't know what's about to happen, or how Serin plans to harm her from 15 feet away, but she doesn't think she can dodge this time. Then a slash forms from her collarbone all the way up at an angle to her right shoulder. It cuts right through her armor, her leather and mesh underneath, and her flesh beneath that. Blood sprays everywhere. This time it really IS hers. She hasn't been hurt this bad in a long time.
Staggering back, Uchiha Fuyu closes her eyes for a moment, losing her Genjutsu Link with Serin, and her awareness of his immediate location. The pain is awful, but she is not a normal woman. She is not even a normal kunoichi. She is the student of Uchiha Madara, and she will NOT give in to the frailties of her own flesh! Bringing her gaze back up to 'Serin' sharply, as her eyes begin to change, the tomoes rotate to show a third tomoe in each iris. But before she can truly make use of this new capability, she is struck again by the pain when she tries to raise her right arm to form hand seals for her most powerful Genjutsu in her arsenal. Her arm doesn't respond very well. Not very well at all. And it HURTS beside.
Snarling she realizes that Serin is already nearly to the gates. That misty, smoke-like form of his makes him far faster and harder to spot than normal. Even with Sharingan, only his Chakra allows her to follow his movements. She doesn't have time. She has to stop him before he gets away. The two Chuunin on the archway over the gates hurl their own attacks at Serin — fire from the Uchiha and mental attacks from the Yamanaka. But will that be enough? She doubts it. She grabs her right hand with her left and forces the fingers into the right positions, even through the pain, even though her right hand is unresponsive. Then she grits her teeth, her face turning pale from bloodloss, and unleashes an attack that should hopefully stop Serin in his tracks. Unless he successfully broke the Genjutsu Link. In which case she will fail utterly. But if not? If not, he will probably feel like he is about to die, as holes open up all over his body, blood, bone fragments, internal organs, all of it, all pouring out onto the road in front of the gates. 'Work!' she urges herself.
Sami blocks the leather balls with Otomegami. The balls come at him from behind and he doesn't even look. He just holds the blade behind his head and twitches it so that the thin dual-blades of the weapon bounce the spheres off of their surfaces. He keeps on running. The limbs made of Chakra try to smash him into the ground and then knock him away from Fuyu and the gates. He spins around and runs BACKWARDS, trailing black mist with every movement as his sword resonates so hard that a sort of 'force field' of sound waves radiates from it, scattering the Chakra appendage at first, before it reforms. That one is simply blocked with a lesser version of the same technique.
This is impressive, but it is also costly. He is utterly exhausted, even if he doesn't show it. Maintaining his Wraith form, and using all these powerful techniques… He is about ready to fall over, even though he has a lot more running to do to get to safety. He returns to normal flesh and blood, the ghostly form receding into a pale but mortal human being. Then, as he is turning around to face the gates, avoiding fireballs and Mind Body Switch techniques, and so forth, RIGHT AT THE MOMENT when he passes under the archway, he feels more pain than he has ever felt in his entire life. And for someone who has been disemboweled and had his insides diced up and lived through it, that is saying something.
He can see the blood spraying out of him, the bone shards, the viscera and flesh… He can feel all the holes in his body. He can barely move anymore. Legs not responding to normal mental commands, muscles locking up everywhere else… He doesn't know what he was hit with. But Sami imagines it must be either a very lethal Ninjutsu or a very nasty Genjutsu. Either one is possible. But he can't stay to find out. Just like he did once before, when Saito Masahiro nearly killed him in the Land of Waves, Sami stops relying on the interaction between brain and body and simply SEIZES CONTROL of his body's functions through willpower alone. He takes over every aspect of his body and TELLS it how it will function. This takes supreme concentration, and cannot be maintained forever. But if he's really as injured as he feels, he'll be dead before he gets out of tracking range anyway. If he's not, then he'll be out of Genjutsu range. So he runs. He runs as though there weren't chunks missing out of his knees and ankles, as though he was bleeding to death… And though nothing would be visible to anyone else, Sami is fighting through agony and refusal to cooperate from his body, in order to simply get away.
'I'll do what's necessary.' he thinks, as he flees into the encroaching evening.
Taji is just left watching as the stranger flees. He seems a tad unsure what just happened to be honest. Frowning he slowly walks to pick up the blocked leather balls, eyeing each of them as he picks them up then looking towards the other ninja who were involved in the fight. So distracted he was that he didn't notice just how messed up Fuyu was at first. He drops the second ball, leaving the third unpicked up and rushes to her side, since she's pretty badly hurt from the looks of things, "Hey, um, can I help you to the hospital?" He asks, worriedly as he tries to size up how badly the Hokage-pro-tem is really hurt. His look is more critical than most non-med-nin, "Seriously, are you going to be okay if I help you to the hospital or…" He pauses, waiting for her response, trusting she'll know her own body enough to give a good answer of just how hurt she is. He offers a hand or shoulder or what not if she needs it to support herself.
Fuyu watches 'Serin' flee. She knows she hit him with her Genjutsu. She saw how his Chakra became extremely disturbed from it, she saw how he stumbled. But she's too tired and hurt to chase after him. As Taji comes over and Mushi apparently decides to depart rather than treat Fuyu, she shakes her head a bit, and then barely cuts off a noise of pain from the head movement. She releases her right arm from the forced hand seal position, and the arm hangs limply. Dead weight.
"The hospital would be best," she hisses out. Pain, yes. Disappointment, yes. But mostly she is just completely pissed off. She practically radiates a mix of Killing Intent and raw rage. This was supposed to be a simple catch. Take down the goon, and use him to improve how she looked in the eyes of the Village. But the fact that it was HIM instead of a random mercenary… "…He spared you. More than once." She looks towards Taji with her Sharingan deactivated. "That's very interesting." She says the word 'interesting' in a tone that sounds like an accusation of being a traitor. Then she shudders as she feels dizzy. The blood loss is getting to her. "Hospital first. Then you can go to the falconers' tower and have comms send out notifications to every ninja team presently in the field. Tell them that we just had an encounter with a dangerous criminal called 'Serin'… And in the possession of the sword of a former Seven Swordsman of Kirigakure." Then she accepts Taji's aid, albeit reluctantly, and hopes she will have the chance to repay Sami for this insult soon.