Temple to a Lost God

[House of the Lotus | Higashikaze Academy | Hana Medical Institute]
The glistening seat of freedom, a blooming city in the dust, and the foundation of all their hope. Hanabira is the capitol city of the Republic of Suna, home to the Parliament, Higashikaze Academy, and the Hana Medical Institute.

Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:38 pm

The spin cleaver whooshed once in Moxie's palm, her stance lowering at the sight of the elephant and its rider.

Fall back, to the other room!

It was an unnecessary order. Romeo had broken free and moving into the next room, with his floating guardian behind him, Toya and Ryou on his heels. Moxie backpedaled for the door, keeping herself square with the two creatures.

Shikigami. So that was the name for them.

The elephant charged, loping toward her slightly to one side to give the axeman an arc for his weapon. Moxie rose hers and heaved it downward in direct opposition to the axe, which had swung down from his side and was moving in an upward circle to catch the girl in the chest. The blow was jarring, rattling through to her shoulders, enough force to make her spin backward. The elephant slowed its pace and lumbered around for another pass.

The rider had more momentum, superior height, and longer reach. Moxie wasn't going to be able to defeat him on foot like this.

The beast and rider rushed again, this time the axe raised high above his head. He would try for an rear attack, wait until he was just past her, then crash the axe downward, lodging the head into her back. Moxie coiled her weapon to her left hip and bent low.

When the elephant closed, both warriors moved at once. The axeman's weapon parted through the air, striking nothing as Moxie rolled to the side, beneath the elephant's charging mass, her blade scraping across its underside as she did.

The beast did not seem to notice the wound, but the line of shimmering mist that sprayed from it was clear to Moxie. Whatever these Shikigami were, they were not flesh and blood. But they could be injured.

That's all she needed to know.

Finishing her roll, Moxie hurled herself for the doorway, in close pursuit of the others. The elephant and rider both roared behind her, turning once more to pursue.

Moxie skid into the next room, chaos abound. A swarm of bats were churning in the upper edges of the chapel dome, like a bubbling shadow ready to overflow. The shrine girl and her fox, along with Kyuuen and Toya, were focused on that swarm, watching it. The floating girl and Romeo were by one pillar, with Romeo down for the count.

These creatures were not part of their opponent's arsenal, considering the fox had now just battered a half dozen bats away with its tail. Suddenly it became very clear.

These creatures killed the other team.

She jammed her sword back onto her back and darted to Toya, ramming hand a little too hard into his shoulder.

Hide the fact that he was chakra-blocked would he...well, she'd have words for him about that later. For now, the improtant thing was that he wasn't using the majority of his chakra.

Her glove started to hum a gentle blue. The energy shot out of Toya's body, spiking down her arm and into the sea of energy within her, flooding her with renewed energy. She focused the flow into the seal on her chest, shunting it through to Ryou. The blonde's eyes lit up, a sudden, imperceptible vigor flooding into his face.

Nothing fancy this time Ryou, I don't think I can steal chakra from these creatures.

She shoved Toya away, albeit gently, and spun around. An explosion of stone and dust signaled the return of the elephant and the axeman, both slowed and stunned by their eruption through the narrow entryway, but it would only last a few seconds regardless. The floating girl swept down and struck a few times at the rider, keeping him distracted. Moxie spun to the shrine girl.

I believe you. I'm calling a truce until these things are taken care of. Then we'll sort out the rest.

The expectant look from the shapely brunette prompted Moxie to add, “Freely, without chakra seals or chains.

This seemed to placate the girl, and she nodded. Moxie caught Kyuuen's attention with a swift hand gesture.

Ryou, focus on these bats with Toya, Kyuuen's with me.

The two girls split off, running a half dozen meters toward the entrance, where the rider and beast were preparing another charge. Moxie sensed her chakra levels; recovering, but she had given most of Toya's energy to Ryou, which meant any heavy ninjutsu attack was going to be out of the question. She released the spin cleaver once more, black blade as sinister and cold as the churning bats behind her. She put a bounce into her stance, keeping herself light and mobile.

All right Kyu. Just like we practiced, but put the fire a little lower.

Kyuuen growled. “Damn boss, you're demanding today...” The girl was smiling, though, licking her lips and forming the first handseals. Moxie gave her a grin that was clearly inspired by Dai's, and narrowed her golden gaze onto their enemies.

The elephant took the first gallops of his charge, but halted immediately when the thick, twisting vines from Kyuuen rose up, tangling the legs and piercing the flesh with the thorns. Moxie broke into a dead run, cleaver hanging loosely at her side. She saw the tiny shadow beneath her, sprinting as fast as she was. Kyuuen's elephant exploded beneath Moxie, hurling the Saihoushi girl high into the air, transferring momentum into her body. She soared in a high arc, raising the cleaver above her head.

The vines between the two elephants melted away, and Kyuuen's elephant hammered into the front of the enemy elephant, trunks and tusks intertwining. The tattoo elephant's momentum was too strong, lifting the shikigami elephant onto its rear legs, keeping it locked in place.

A bubble appeared in perfect line with Moxie, a churning orb of fire glowing from inside. Her cleaver struck through the bubble, freeing the fire chakra set into it and absorbing it all into the blade.

The tattoo elephant started to shrink while the shikigami one set itself back on all four legs.

The axeman hurled his weapon aside, then jumped from the back of his mount, rolling across the ground.

Moxie's attack hit true.

The cleaver split the beast straight down the center of its back, flames rushing out in a sinister cone of conflagration. Momentum kept her and the weapon driving deep into the creature's 'body', and an ethereal cloud of misty light billlowed amongst the rivers of retreating tattoo ink.

Soon the light was gone, as was the fire, leaving only Moxie standing on the end of the chapel, weapon in hand. The elephant was dead.

The Sublime Swordstress raised her weapon and the axeman hefted his axe, the two of them squaring off.

She could only hope now that the others were taking care of those bats.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:45 am

These damn bats were too fast.

Ryou darted backwards, his hands slammed together and flying through handsigns, spitting out fireballs, none of which met with their target. Most were extinguished by the ensuing wind before they'd gotten anywhere near.

The bats caught up with ease. The same wind hurled past him, slashing at his body, screeching at his ears just as their shrill cries were.

Not only couldn't he aim or balance or hear, he could barely see either.

The creatures flew past and around his eyes from every direction, such that the brief seconds of fire and the equally futile bolts of lightning and light flashes being unloaded by Miharu from the opposite end of the cluster were the only things leaving him with a vague sense of direction.

Fighting them was physically nauseating. A nuisance. They had to stop this as soon as they could.

Incinerate them to dust, even if he had to resort to using sun chakra.

He was still running, swatting at bats with both arms when he called out to Toya, wherever he was.

"Hey! We need them slowed down or I can't land a hit, Toya, use your wind to counter their movemen-"

He didn't get a chance to finish that sentence. The creatures had morphed into one.

Ryou was lifted off his feet, torso wrapped in one of the enormous bat's surprisingly strong wings. His arms were bound by his sides, preventing him from launching another fireball, or any attack at all. He flailed, winded by the sheer speed of flight, dizzied by the screeching.

He was almost flown into a stone wall.

But Toya leapt for his captor from behind, lunging with a knife poised to slice the wing off clean. Again, the bat was swift

Ryou was falling, landing hard against the stone floor when he was released, the shikigami splitting once again into a dozen smaller bats to avoid the hunter's strike. Not one was harmed.

They had resumed slashing past Ryou like a black snowstorm by the time he'd rolled over and climbed back onto his feet, only then reminded of Toya's newly acquired handicap. When the Nanaya landed beside him, he could hear his panting.

Toya didn't have the chakra left anyway. He couldn't ask that of him.

There was only one other alternative.

"Ngh. Alright then, you! I heard you, you can stun them right? I need them still if this is going to work. Do it, I've got this!"

Ryou could only hope that Miharu and her summon had heard him over the dark typhoon roaring around them, leaving him sick and scratched. Could he even...trust her?

In any case, the flashes stopped.

"Peht!"

The sound of a fox's bell glimmered through all the screeching too.

He knew now why they hadn't done it sooner.

The difference felt moot. They were slowed, but naturally fast as the speed of sound, these bats couldn't be stopped.

They still screeched. He couldn't concentrate.

But maybe it was just enough.

If he concentrated, it was his only hope.

Ryou stopped, his hands pressed together. His eyes were closed, drawing upon whatever chakra he had left, leaving himself vulnerable. Even with the stun it hurt. They still flew, the speed tattering at his clothes and beginning to incise deep into his skin.

A ring of solar orbs emerged around him, and soared to the air.

The heat led them on. The bats converged again, joining together to form creatures twice the size of the original, the wind again repelling the orbs.

Ryou put every inch of his focus into his chakra control.

He drew together the spheres of burning energy too. Faster than the bats could merge.

Sunshine glowed from inside the giant bat itself. Then it exploded.

The bat bulged and was incinerated on the spot and nothing remained when the magnificent ball of white light had faded back to black, many many seconds later.

Ryou fell to his knees, catching himself with one palm pressed to the cold floor for support. He could barely feel a scrap of remaining chakra in his body.

It was onto the others to finish off the final spirit.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:16 pm

As quick and skilled with her blade as Moxie was, the shikigami axeman’s raw strength proved to be decisively overwhelming. Metal clashed and screeched over and over as the two collided again and again, sparks flying amidst the battle of brute force. Each hit sent painful reverberations up the girl’s arms, slowly but surely weakening each of her strikes.

Inori hovered around the duel, clutching her fiery claymore and waiting for a chance to vanquish her target in one shot. Her last and only command from her master was to eliminate the remaining wild shikigami, and that was what she planned to. She simply needed the perfect time to carry it out.

There! The axeman raised his bulky instrument high above his head and lunged forward, bringing down the sharp head of the weapon down on Moxie’s comparatively tiny figure in a rapidly plunging attack. The pink-haired shikigami surged forward, pulling her sword back in preparation to unleash a lethal burst of flame and blade. The other female should have plenty of time to evade or black the giant’s assault and avoid any friendly fire as well.

Unfortunately, her prediction and timing turned out to be off by just enough to change everything. The giant’s movements were lumbering, but Moxie was still forced to face him head on rather than attempt and potentially fail to evade a sweeping blow of the massive axe. She raised her blade for the tenth time to repel it, but this time the force was too much for her trembling arms to beat back.

Her cleaver and only viable means of defending herself from the impending torrent of flames flew from her weakened grip and clattered away to an unlit portion of the chapel.

Inori’s blade bit into the now vulnerable shikigami’s back, splitting the giant in half and purging any remaining energy with her pure, amplified fire. Her victim’s body fizzled out of existence, the shimmering blue of lingering chakra immediately replaced by burning red embers. The flames spread in every direction, but were concentrated directly ahead of her strike, converging on Moxie’s helpless figure. Low on chakra and lacking her weapon, there was no time to simply evade the massive heat wave.

Toya tackled her to the ground and knelt over her body, shielding it with his own and pinning her down. He stiffened his Saihoushi combat suit instinctively, but the chakra rushing through it would only do so much against the flames, especially with how low his reserves were. His torn blue coat was already beginning to ignite as the pair became completely engulfed in the blaze.

The inferno bathed them for only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity before it finally subsided. As soon as it did, icy water splashed across his back, extinguishing the lingering flames that licked at the edges of his coat.

He rolled off of Moxie and rested on the rocky floor, breathing out a sigh of relief. Frustration continued to taint his voice.

Thanks a lot, Kyuuen. Not exactly been much of a hero at all today, have I?

Inori landed on her feet beside them a moment later, rushing over to Moxie’s side.

I’m sorry. I was only trying to help, but I miscalculated. Please forgive my grievous mistake!

Meanwhile, Miharu had rushed to her fallen partner’s side as quickly as she could manage after the defeat of her winged assailants.

R-Romeo! This wound is so deep, are you okay?

The boy laughed heartily before it quickly turned into a coughing fit. His face had paled considerable, and blood loss was definitely not the sole cause.

It’s not like you to worry, Ojou. I’m fine, just a little…lightheaded is all. Just need some rest is all…did I tell you how much I like the new colors you’ve been wearing lately? Both of you look so nice. Wha…is Kagura screwing with me again with that clone transformation…I swear that fox…damn crusaders ruin everything…mmph.

Miharu pressed a hand against his forehead. His skin was on fire.

Shut up and close your eyes a minute! Don’t move either! Your wound must be infected. We’ve encountered weird diseases and poisons in these places before, but I never thought…I shouldn’t have left you back here alone.

She turned on her knees and faced the general direction of the four heroes spread about the room.

Please, do any of you have medical supplies handy?! My friend needs help!

Romeo managed a soft chuckle.

Come on, Ojou, you don’t look that injured to me. Why are you so upset?
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:01 pm

You okay, boss?

Moxie grimaced, waving off both the floating girl and Kyuuen.

I'm fine, I'm fine.

Disappointed in herself, but fine. She couldn't believe her arrogance in bringing a new weapon to a mission. Sure, she had remembered the techniques for a spin cleaver, but her arms were only conditioned to lighter blades. Had it not been for Toya, then...

She glanced over to him, irritation seething beneath his normally calm exterior. There was no need for thanks between them anymore, it was almost implied that they'd save each other's lives so many times that there'd be no point...still, she was grateful.

Frustration and gratittude had to be set aside, however. She was the leader. She had to lead.

Ryou, make sure the rest of this area is secure.

Yeah, and bring a little light along, Sunshine.” Kyuuen tossed the remaining roll of glow tags to Ryou. He turned and took to his task, moving along the edge of the chapel, setting tags in his wake. The area grew more and more peaceful with the white light, despite the dark stone and the jagged edges carved into the ornamentation.

Please, do any of you have medical supplies handy? My friend needs help!

Kyuuen flicked a look over to Moxie.

Something's wrong with Toya, we'll need their help in explaining it. Wouldn't hurt if they owed us one.

Right. She's Miharu, by the way. Miharu Genri. And, chances are it was the elephant squad that killed the Kazekage's team, not these guys.” Kyuuen was already slinging her medical back to easier access as she broke into a quick trot. Toya in the meantime had picked up Moxie's lost sword, and returned it to her.

Thanks.” She let a small smile slip, knowing that she wasn't simply thanking him for the sword and breaking their unwritten rule in the process. She glanced over at the floating girl with the sword.

I'm going to talk to Miharu now. If you don't mind, please keep an eye out on the door. I don't want to get caught off guard again.

The girl didn't seem to know how to respond to that, but nodded and floated a bit higher. It didn't escape Moxie's notice that her position was just close enough that she could swoop down at either the door or Moxie. She also noted the fox, still positioned near Miharu, but very clearly aware of each of the Heroes' positions.

Moxie twitched her head once, and she and Toya started striding toward Miharu. Moxie kept one hand casually resting on Raikenkire, while Toya walked with hands in his pockets; not that he wouldn't be able ot get his knives free in half-heartbeat. His coat was tattered and frayed at the edges now, wisping behind him like a ragged ghost.

She had to admit it was kind of sexy.

Miharu Genri.

Moxie's voice was low, cold, business-like, but not hostile.

Thank you for aiding us in the fight against those...things. Shikigami, you call them? We would've been in a bind without your agreement to the truce.

Moxie followed Miharu's fervant glances back to where Romeo was laying, Kyuuen now had him stretched out on the ground, her short arms moving in rapid precision.

However, it is important that we discuss a few matters now. I think we can safely assume that you didn't kill the team that was sent down here, Kyuuen seems to have confirmed it. You did, though, harm my teammate, ruining his chakra flow. I need to know how it was done and how it can be reversed. After all, Kyuuen is doing a good job of repairing your friend there.


Kyuuen, however, was not doing a good job.

The guy was in a heavy sweat, consciousness fading in and out, and even if it was in his grasp of reality was tenuous at best. It was definitely a poison, the glancing wound wasn't enough to cause this sort of reaction. Kyuuen had him on his stomach, wound exposed to the air, with several glow tags beaming light onto the spot.

Damnit.

I'm gong to inject you with an all-purpose antidote, works on most common poisons, and if it's an uncommon poison it should at least slow things down a bit.” She uncapped the needle with her teeth and plunged it into him. With her other hand, she applied a blood purification technique.

But it wasn't working. Kyuuen knew that.

I'm gonna need a sample...” The Iron Knight rose up from her back, just as her sentence finished. It stood studiously, waiting.

There was a blade that hit this guy, over in that pillar. Bring it over here.

The Knight nodded and lumbered along to the pillar. With one massive swing, chunks of rock were torn free, and his fist held the wickedly curved blade in his ink-iron grip. He started back, setting it in a container Kyuuen set on the ground. Hopefully there was still some poison left so she could make a proper antidote.

There wasn't much reason to keep him bleeding, so Kyuuen quickly closed up his wound and set him on his back again. Fever was still high, but his convulsions and sweat seemed to have stopped from the antidote. Her palm glowed a faint blue, and she rest it on his forehead, focusing on her water-medical chakra to try and bring down his temperature, just a bit.

She glanced over her shoulder. Better let Moxie negotiate a bit before Kyuuen went around admitting that she wasn't going to be able to fix this guy. At least not right away.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:36 am

Ryou turned his head and walked away before Kyuuen could look and see that he'd stopped to eavesdrop on her struggles. There was no need to inform her of the fact that he didn’t have any better ideas as far as treating an unknown poison went. Not that he’d expected to, not when she didn’t have any for herself.

It…didn’t matter anyway. Why were they treating these lying clowns to begin with?

He frowned and sighed, glow tags in hand and continuing on his task of deciphering the writings they revealed. He’d taken out his dictionary and in the dim light, scribbled down the inscriptions and notes on whatever he could read or translate, and to very little avail.

Bnudaldeuh yht cumyla, ajah drnuikr sayhc uv zicd meac, fa pak oui knyhd ed ibuh ic…
Lie…and guard us, please?

Even when he’d finished writing, he scanned the sentence again and then checked to see if he’d identified the original characters correctly, and hoped he hadn’t. These words meant very little in terms of what he was actually looking for.

But he knew he was on the right track. This wasn’t even the first sentence he’d read to be speaking of such a thing.

He glanced up at his previous note.

Fa bnyo dryd ev fa nacbald ouin paehk, ajah oui femm veht fyoc du ramb ic, bid ouin sycg ujan uin aoac du reta ic vnus uin vuac...
We pray so that you may find it in you to mask us from our enemies.

To be honest, Ryou wasn’t sure what he was expecting to find. Perhap he’d been looking for inscriptions relating to monsters they’d just fought, or the seals they’d triggered. Not this homage to some…fibbing deity.

Stupid of him. This was a temple, a shrine, after all. It would have been built in honor of something, and this masked god seemed to be it.

Indeed a mask played a part. Thrice already he’d identified the same identical pattern of lines which vaguely depicted one on the walls, alongside some of the writings. Four lines forming a diamond set in with two narrow vertical slits for eyes.

Yet even from the historic standpoint he had to look into in order to satisfy their mission, this confirmed very little. If he couldn’t locate anything on the threats of this temple and instead only managed to get this…the findings didn’t seem big enough.

They’d come here to discover something huge, hadn’t they?

He was going to find it.

Ryou skipped that section and moved to the opposite wall. However, his hopes that the content would differ were quickly dashed.

Cuidr uv ehtimkahla, fa bmatka du talaed.
We pay respect to deceit south of indulg-

He lifted his pen and bit down on it in frustration before he’d even finished writing that one, frowning at the fact that his translations were no longer even making sense. Deceit south of indulgence? What did that even mean. Those two things had absolutely nothing to do with each othe-

He froze, eyes having fallen upon one of the masks engraved into the stone.

In a strange resurfacing of habit, he turned to the back page of the dictionary. His favorite page – the one lined with the pretty symbols which he’d been taught as recurring elements in the language’s scriptures, theorized to be drawn from a religion, or other universally important concept. He looked at the last two symbols in the grid.

A mask. The symbol for deceit.
Grapes. Symbol related to gluttony.

“Indulgence”. Something to do with another god. There were more gods.

A few things clicked into place.

There were more temples. Somebody, that boy, Romeo, who spoke the language and said they were explorers who specialized in “these” ruins, he’d told them that there were more.

Maybe even fifteen more.

This could be big.

How could they be thinking of just treating these guys and letting them go?

He was starting to take a hint, and with somebody’s help, he was going to turn that hint into the knowledge they’d come here for.

Ryou hurried back to where they were gathered.

"Hold on, Mox. Kyu, you too."

He stepped up until he was shoulder to shoulder with the former.

Both girls halted their actions, hints of surprise dawning on their faces in the echo of his interjection. Romeo, still in the midst of his treatment, let out another pained whimper. Ryou’s eyes flicked between him and his ally.

"These guys say they're not here with the intention of interfering with our mission, but they certainly aren't helping us. And this mission was assigned by the Republic's orders, we stand in Republic territory. I think they ought to help us. Not withhold information I know they know."

He took a step forward, arms folded. Even the Iron Knight stopped mid-way between stomping back to his master, the retrieved sample in hand.

"We're here to study these temples too. Temples, in plural, I think there's more of them. Maybe one…north of here? What do you say?"

He caught a switch of expression on their faces and knowing he was onto something, pressed on.

"They're not just normal ruins. These...creatures running amok, the seal Toya triggered, this place is dangerous, haunted if I may. But you know that. You work with these "Shikigami” yourselves and you speak the language which helped me figure this out and..." he tipped his head directly at Miharu Genri and left it there, staring her down, "…as Moxie was saying, you know what that seal's nature is and how to get rid of it."

Ryou didn’t let up on his defiant stance there. As if they were getting away now, not when they knew much more than how to clear up a little seal.

"Whether or not you're responsible, people have died here. I've already told you that I think you know something about how these threats correlate to this place. On top of that this place might hold a big key to civilization's very history, or at least lead to places where we can find out more of it. I think the Republic has the right to learn more from those who can provide the knowledge."
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:56 am

Miharu stared down Ryou, rich brown eyes narrowing on the boy. Entitled little brat…

I don't take demands. I make deals. If you want something out of me, I need something out of you."

What is it you want? I can have your friend healed. That has to be worth something.

She crossed her arms over her chest, head tilting slightly to the right.

"And if that's really true, then I can unseal your guy and fix his chakra. Even fuuinjutsu experts among your shinobi allies will have trouble deciphering foreign glyphs like these. But that sounds like an even trade to me. If you want knowledge as well, then I need more from you to compensate."

The brat interjected before Moxie could reply.

"I think you misunderstand me, you're in Republic territory and we have a right to know, you don't need anything from us.

No, I think you misunderstand-

Moxie shot her a brief, apologetic smile and pulled Ryou away, turning their backs to her and lowering their voices. Trying to play professional diplomat, huh? If only they knew who they were dealing with…

"Listen, we won't be able to strong-arm these guys. If we capture them, and she's telling the truth, then Toya is permanently harmed. Keep pushing your agenda, it'll make me look more reasonable, but know that we're probably going to have to hit a compromise to get what we need."

"And what are we going to offer for that? Sure, we can treat her ally and but it's either Toya or the info, we don't have anything else to offer. She wants an equal trade, how can she see you as reasonable if we don't offer her one. Unless you like...ask her for something else she wants, but I still think it's better to get her under the law, there's got to be a way."

The heroes’ leader appeared conflicted, struggling between her concern for Toya and her duty to the Republic and the mission. Rather than continue the discussion, she waved Kyuuen over. Romeo breathed evenly lying on his back and didn’t seem to be in any sort of immediate danger for now.

It's not good, boss. I don't know what's wrong with him and it's going to take time. I can keep him alive, sure, but it'll be a bit before I can find a cure."

Hm. All right."

She turned from her teammates to face the growingly impatient Genri girl.

Listen Miharu, we do really have a right to this information...the honest truth of the matter is that your friend is in bad shape. He'll need extended treatment. Since we're already going to be taking him in our care, it really couldn't hurt you to follow us along and provide us with some details. You'll be stuck waiting for him in any case.

Romeo tried to sit up, but winced and immediately collapsed again. He spoke after another brief coughing spell.

Ojou, don’t listen to her, I’m fine! You don’t need to give or tell them anything, just-ow!

Shut up, Romeo, we both know you’re not fine.

He grudgingly complied with her command and watched silently as she addressed Moxie again.

"Alright, I can fill you in on what you want, though I'm not sure why you care so much. Shikigami and the Genri and the foreign language scribbled across these ruins. But then you guys will still owe me. There's a greater reason than exploration and education for the two of us searching out these places, and you all can assist us with it while Romeo is recovering. Trust me, it's a trivial task that nearly anyone could perform. Well...anyone who can fight off any stray Shikigami and potentially teams of Genri looking for the same things."

Once again, the overconfident boy found it necessary to intercept the conversation.

"Tch, fighting them off was an easy task? You're here on some quest of sorts? Not only that but there's others who wish to shed blood over these places? I'm sorry, but that's not enough. I knew you liars were up to something from the start, and I refuse to even consider this ‘deal’ until you fill us in on exactly what your business here is, especially if you want us to have any involvement in it."

Moxie’s brow furrowed, but she nodded slowly.

"Yes, I have to agree, a few more details would be appreciated.

Miharu sighed. She knew it would probably come to this. There were plenty of ways to cloud the full truth and still provide convincing information for them. As long as she remembered exactly which lies and pieces of truth she was utilizing, everything would be just lovely.

"The Genri are a complicated people, and not completely...unified, to a degree. Our religion is centered around these temples and others like them. Well, the sacred texts and Shikigami spirits within them at least. Look, we're not here to hurt anyone, but we don't want to be the ones getting hurt either. All we need is a little help swapping some documents in each of the locations we haven't hit yet. Not a big deal, and no bloodshed necessary if we can avoid running into any of them. Shouldn't be a problem for strong Suna shinobi like you. The average skill and power level of the Genri is much lower than what you've seen from us, trust me.

"Fine. Then we have an agreement. Let's get back to the surface and-"

"Wait!"

Every eye in the room locked in on Kyuuen and her rapidly flushing cheeks. Perhaps that had been a tad too enthusiastic…

"...I want to pet the fox."

Kagura swished her tail at Miharu’s side.

You must be joking, I’m not some pet for you to-

"Go right ahead! I'll need something small in exchange then, of course. How about one of those beautiful tattoos of yours? Or maybe a couple small ones if I can't decide. You did ink yours yourself, right? I've always hoped to run into a talented artist someday!"

"Huh, yeah, sure, all the tattoos you want. Foxxxxxxx!"

Kagura sighed just as the gypsy girl pounced, begrudgingly remaining still as the girl ran her fingers through her shimmering, soft fur.

Aroo…

Toya blinked as the dog he had nearly forgotten about whimpered from his arms. Poor little guy had to watch Kyuuen shower her attention on another animal. He absently stroked the puppy’s fur to console him…which would in turn put an end to that irritating whine, of course. Useless animals…

Excellent, everything is set then! Back to the world above!

Miharu half-skipped up to the Nanaya, stopping closer to him than he felt completely comfortable with and leaning in close to flash an alluring smirk. He hadn’t had much chance to properly observe these two yet, but boy was she…shaped rather nicely.

I’m sorry about your inconvenience there, but a deal’s a deal, and I can’t help you quite yet. Toya, right? You’re quite skilled at fighting, aren’t you? Such beautiful movements, with or without chakra.

This girl was incredibly dangerous. All of his instincts screamed it in unison. But there was something magnetic about her too, in a way he couldn’t quite put a finger on.

Your words don’t change anything. Skilled or not, I’m still not as powerful as I normally would be. Kyuuen won’t let your friend die, whether you fix this now or not.

She raised her sleeve to cover her escaping giggle.

I’m afraid I’ve learned not to be quite so trusting of just anyone, Toya. But here, take this, as a token of my sincerity. If you keep playing nice, maybe I’ll show you how to use it later. A private lesson~.

Removing one of the endless strips of paper from a pouch at her side, her hand moved in a blur and slapped it across Toya’s shoulder, the seal lightly adhering to his coat. He glanced down, unable to make anything of the letters printed across the charm.

Without either of them uttering another word, Miharu turned and strutted away, hips swaying from side to side with Kagura in tow. They headed for the tilted exit back towards the temple’s initial chamber.

With Kyuuen’s permission and supervision, Inori carefully lifted Romeo and silently floated after their allies with her half-asleep master gripped tightly in her arms.

Toya shook his head and moved to Moxie’s side, Taishou still perched in his grasp. This had been quite the interesting, but likewise incredibly frustrating experience. Where the hell was all this Genri temple nonsense going to lead them? Did Dakara really think any of this would be relevant to the nation’s interests?

What now, captain?
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:33 pm

Moxie let a sigh of relief, something inside her mind clicking from “combat” to “rest.” Even the Kyoumougan wasn't pulsing behind her head anymore.

Pain started to throb, almost immediately. Nothing serious, just stress injuries. She'd probably be fine in an hour or two – one of the few benefits to the Nanaya-style brutal training. She watched quietly as the others began their ascent back to the surface. The Genri lead, the one pink girl carrying the male known as Romeo. Kyuuen would follow behind him shortly, but she bounded over to snatch up Taishou from Toya's arms first.

"Awww, were you jealous? I'm sorry Tai-tai! But you did so great on your first mission! Yes you did! Yes you did! Awww!!!"

Whatever dismay the little pup had felt as gone, his tail flailing, his tongue unleashing an endless barrage of licks on Kyuuen's cheek. She cuddled the little thing and bounded off after Romeo.

Petting foxes. Cuddling puppies. Moxie caught Ryou's attention as he started for the door.

Kyu's...sorta losing her edge.

He shrugged and sighed, sliding his hands into his pockets and trudging out behind the others.

She and Toya were alone now. She took a deep breath, steeling herself, then looked him in the eye.

"What now? What now is you can tell me why you thought it was a good idea to hide a debilitating injury in the middle of a combat mission! That was stupid, Toya! How can you expect me to make leadership calls if I don't know all of the information? What if one of my maneuvers had depended on you using your Shiki abilities, or your wind ninjutsu? You're not hunting anymore, Toya, this is a team! And a team protects and trusts each other, it doesn't hide problems!"

Anger burned inside her, tiny put pure like the end of a match. But she couldn't hold onto it. It faltered, too many questions swimming up to the surface, the most important one taking the lead.

"It doesn't...hurt, does it? This seal?"

His face was unreadable, save for a small smile she wasn't entirely convinced was sincere.

"No. Feels a little weird sometimes, and my eyes acted up when I tried to use ninjutsu, but nothing else. It's really not that bad, I think I can still use my bloodline with a little extra focus. It was chaotic back there, and I was caught up in the moment and a little frustrated. You're right that I should have mentioned it immediately, so I'm sorry for that. Dependance in combat is still...tricky, for me."

She shook her head, strawberry blonde ponytail swishing with the motion.

It's not dependance. You need to get that out of your head, okay?

Her arms slipped up beneath his, desperate to feel his heat, his heartbeat, against hers.

That's an order, she whispered, her face slipping into his neck.

- - -

The next two hours were a blur.

Apparently dad had been summoned to a meeting at parliament, so they were communicating by messages sent from courier to courier. As they were, the couriers shuffled the Heroes and their consultants from place to place, until they finally arrived at the air platform.

The platform shot up like a spear, then spread like a flower, supporting the various loading and unloading platforms for the airships docking at Hanabira. Moxie wasn't entirely sure why they were up there, to begin with, but a young man strode up to her, his bright canary yellow uniform so crisp that the edges looked sharp as a sword blade. He saluted.

Lieutenant Okawa, reporting, sir!

Moxie sighed. She knew the integrating military of the Republic meant that her Jounin rank now held a corresponding military rank – one higher than most of the military, but she did hate all the formality. “At ease, lieutenant. I assume you have a message.

Message? No, sir. Just welcome aboard the Errant Shadow. You are officially in command, of course, but Captain Tanaka will run the day-to-day of the ship...it's a bit confusing around here, sir, since the Chief Engineer is also on some high priority mission from the Kazekage. But, point being, we are at your service!

Moxie blinked. “A whole airship? Under my command? To help with...?

Wouldn't know, sir. Our orders are to simply follow where you say to go. The library has been sealed off to everyone except for you and your party, as well. Apparently the important documents have been placed there. Though I should also mention that you're barred from engineering section two, that's where the Chief is doing her special project.

The Lieutenant had a wide-eyed panicked look about him; as if he was worried he was going to forget an important instruction.

Right, very well. We'll need access to the medical bay though, is that all right?

Ack! Yes, sir, I totally forgot! Commander Jibo is technically installed as Chief Medical Officer during this mission, so she has complete control over the medical staff...which, is admittedly small right now, sir, just one nurse. But he's a good nurse.

Kyuuen pumped her fist. “Sweet! Promoted! This is awesome.

The Lieutenant motioned for them to follow. The airship was gorgeous. A massive thing, with a heavily structured balloon with golden spines and a silvery-gray skin. The ship itself was made from finely tuned metal, seamless from one panel to the other, with great brass fixtures running along the side; mostly some sort of exhaust for the steam, but built with such care and craftsmanship that they were almost decorative. It was easily the largest vessel of this kind Moxie had ever seen.

Probably dad's personal airship.

This was a lot more important to him than she thought.

Ah, yes, the Chief Engineer is here! She'll take over the greeting duties from here.

Moxie turned to see a striking red-haired woman, her uniform laden with tools.

There was an odd glint in her eye that Moxie didn't quite understand.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:53 am

Eyes wide with surprise, Ryou spoke first - something which was a feat given he was up against a girl he remembered above all else for her inability to stop talking.

…Midori Kyota?!

The girl's mouth had already exploded into the widest grin the moment she'd seen them, and that mouth opened wide, fated not to close for a long time coming.

Aye, that’s right, so you remember me! Good, this’ll be mighty efficient now that I fewer the introductions to do, right? Pardon me, but you don’t know how excited I am to give you the tour of Dakara-sama’s private vessel, been waiting hours, tch!

Midori rubbed a spot of soot from her freckled nose and bounded forward, first offering an equally blackened right hand to Moxie. She tapped her left against her forehead in cheerful salute.

Pleased to meet you Captain, as Ryou said, I’m Midori Kyota, but who cares about me, Moxie-hime? I’ve always wanted to meet you, his daughter! Do you know how lucky you are, and how long I’ve been waiting for this day? We’ve just got to catch up, my Captain!” her cheeks were already tickled pink with breathlessness, “I’m so pleased to be of service and I do insist I know what I’m doing here better than any other engineer you’ll find in this nation. Actually, I knew how this ship would work before he’d even finished building it. So please, don’t you worry.” She bowed an inch and turned to Kyuuen next, flicking the girl a wink, “Not forgetting you of course, doc! I know my way around maintaining this place and I’m careful but sometimes I get so lost in his creations and I trip and break or bruise something or other, so it’s good to have you on board.

With that Midori pushed past her to where Ryou and Toya were at the rear, moving between them. Despite standing two or three heads shorter than both of them, she lifted herself onto her toes, draping her arms across their shoulders. She laughed.

And now here we go, my saviors! If I’m going to list out all the reasons why I took this job you’ll be right up there with this ship and Dakara and Moxie, still can’t thank you enough, boys. Glad to know you remember little old me, since I’m never going to forget you after that crazy day. Nice to see you again!

Ryou chortled back, expressing his first sliver of positive emotion in several hours. The appearance of somebody who both admired his contribution, or seemed to care for his existence her at all was one of few things which could relieve the frustration which had been bubbling within him for the last two hours in the wake of this deal. Sure, it could have been worse, but why didn't Moxie understand that there were better means of doing this?

Did they really have to go to all this trouble? Just looking at size the ship itself seemed to give an indication of how complicated this ensuing mission was going to be, did they need all this extra trouble?

Now then, shall we commence the tour?

Midori slid off them and jumped to the side of the main hallway's entrance, beckoning them through first. Ryou kept his smile and followed, glad that he did.

Perhaps the quality of the airship would be very the thing he needed to make the mission's course more tolerable. If he were to judge it by this first room, anyway.

The sky deck was ovular in shape, and gorgeous.

Three sides were crafted of a wood which had the lustre of bronze. The fourth wall, opposite them, was crystal glass which let them peer into the seemingly endless sky panorama ahead of them.

The same glass made up the rear half of the floor too, such that the porcelain tile of the other half melted into the afternoon sky's orange, dotted with the first city lights.

Otherwise, the chamber was empty save for a long brass dining table in the center, set with brass and red velvet chairs. A dark-wood piano sat against one wall, and several telescopes were propped against the wide window.

The remaining open space allowed them to roam and truly appreciate the view.

Alright, this is the main deck, it’s stunning, I know. He just has a way with his designs, manages to make everything look so much more gorgeous when you’re looking from up here. Really, even when you’ve got a thick layer of clouds in between up here and down there, the view’s magnificent. You’ll see what I mean when we encounter it.

She actually ran to the window, hands pressed against the glass like a child would do before the others had caught up. She gave them a moment there to do the same, Ryou actually giving into the urge to hold his own palms against the window, looking to touch the clouds.

He'd barely fallen into the inevitable trance when Midori suddenly stepped away, bursting again with the excited impatience which had filled her all this time. She motioned them to her, already setting off past the dining set and to the other side of the deck.

Mm, I don't want to drag you off, but come on, we should move, I’ve got a limited timeframe to show you all this, you see, the kitchen’s down there, …and they’re in the process of preparing your welcome dinner, nothing for me of course, you know I don’t like this over-indulgent hoo-hah - can’t do any work the next day - but they want you to be down in fifteen so you can enjoy it while it’s hot.

She indicated a steel door in the corner, draped with velvet curtains. It hung slightly ajar, with the indulgent scents of honey and pork, berries and warm steam wafting through.

Taking it in, Ryou was inundated with relief. He'd just been beginning to realize how hungry he was after the entire temple ordeal, and had been wishing that he'd asked for Tsuruna to pack him more of that stea-

Master!

...speak of the devil.
The boy, whose voice Ryou could hardly mistake after growing accustomed to hearing it a hundred times a day, came practically running out of the kitchen, dusting off his apron. He took a moment to pant and then bowed at Ryou's feet.

Oh – Tsuruna!

Ryou nodded, motioning him up. So the summons he'd sent with one of the couriers had gone through - he'd had his worries, so this was good.

Again, this was a necessity if he were to make this whole trip more comfortable.

Hello, Master, welcome aboard. This really is a great ship, I’d have never have imagined something like this would even exist. Thank you for calling on me, it’s an honor to be here. I hope to serve you well during the course of our journey.

Sweet, I’ll let you know when I need something. Speaking of which, check on my meal, will you? I’m hungry after all this, don’t want it spoiled, I’ll trust that you know what I want and don’t want.

Was already on it with your dinner, but don’t worry. I’ll make the arrangement with your dessert now.

Thanks.

Ryou waved after him when he bowed again and headed back to the kitchen, his manner more composed now that he knew he hadn't somehow messed something up. This boy never questioned him. Ryou honestly couldn't have asked for a better servant.

Beside him, Midori had been trying to act just as compliant, though she'd so far failed in trying to stop one or two impatient grunts from escaping her.

"Okay, sorry, let’s get this over with then.

Broad grin up, she skipped forward and threw open the next door which led them towards the front of the airship and into a side room taken up almost entirely by a great oak staircase with golden handrails, which twisted around as it rose. They stood at the bottom, and she gestured up it.

Right, tsk tsk, don’t know how much time I have but see these? Elevator’s here also. They’ll lead you up to the other decks, where most of the facilities are. Second floor you’ve got the bedrooms, you four have them on the far end, largest suites, you’ll find them and the crew was already working on depositing your things, so no worries. Third floor’s where the rest of the facilities are, I think you heard about the library, there’s a room for you guys to organize your tactics and there’s a shiny giant bathroom too, but he’s even got a private training room. It really is no surprise though, all those muscles...” her fingers laced her cheeks, which were again the same color as the velvet, “Oh, upper deck is above that. Again, just a marvellous view out in the open. You’ll love it, but I think I’ll leave that for you to discover in your own time. For now well, I have to show you the best part!

They crossed past the staircase and into the front-most chamber of the airship.

The heart of it all.

Ta-da! Here we have it, the engine. My little territory around here, yes, didn’t I mention I’m the whole engineering corp for this baby? It’s all mine, heehee!

Strangely, it was hard to fault her for her pride in it.

There was something inspired about the dark little room, which smelled and tasted even heavily felt of steam. There were no windows, instead walls upon walls lined with pipes and boxes and gears which interlocked and whizzed and puffed. Pipes darted across the ceiling, intertwining like cobwebs. Some did the same along the floor, though Midori, even with the flighty, dream like walk which had overtaken her the moment she'd stepped inside, knew the layout so well she didn't trip on even one. A small, narrow spiral staircase stood off to one side, and after giving them a second to admire her domain, she led the team towards it and up, one by one.

The second level of the ship's bow section had the same air as the engine, though there was nothing on the landing except a door straight ahead of them, with the words "engineering section 2" etched into its golden plaque.

...yeah yeah, so all of these rooms are where I do my work, all three floors of this front section. Now, this middle level, please don’t go through there. I know you wouldn’t break anything but well, Dakara-sama’s private order to me, like, he actually told me personally, is that I’m to keep this guarded for him since it’s an important project and I’d well…I can’t upset…I…I'm sorry, it’s not that exciting anyway, here, I’ll show you the bridge. That’s the real marvel of this ship.

They moved up one more landing.

This room was already occupied by the bustling navigation crew.

The airship's wheel was set into a bay window which was lined with ivory and extended the height of three decks and the width of the vessel, through which they could see themselves plunging towards the yellow light of the setting sun. Behind it, another large table, made of a wood which complimented all the brass and gold and ivory all at once. One whole wall was dedicated to the largest radio they'd ever seen, from which command from Hanabira itself boomed, along the opposite wall was an equally vast blackboard, routes and plans were crammed into one corner, making room for the large message which covered the rest, letters alternating between yellow and blue chalk.

WELCOME, FOUR HEROES

Heh, how can’t you be in love.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:59 am

With the promise of a hot and professionally prepared dinner waiting for them, the heroes and pair of Genri put off their sight-seeing for the moment and headed off for the lower dining level.

Toya lingered behind, slipping away from the others and approaching the chief engineer.

Mind stepping outside with me for a minute?

The redhead gave him a curious look before smiling softly and nodding. He led the way back out onto the open deck, the pair moving to stand against the ship’s metal railing surrounded by the starlit sky.

Look at you, huh? Not being sent out into the desert to check the plumbing anymore I see. And receiving special assignments from your idol himself. You really had it right about all that shaping your own identity stuff. It’s a bit frightening really.

The hunter joined his hands behind his head and leaned back against the rails.

Anyway, I really just wanted to…well, thank you. My head was in a pretty strange place when we first met, and you did a lot to help me figure things out. I know I don’t have to be the person my history wants to define me as. Or what my father and my old clan ways wanted. I think I’ve figured out who the real Toya Nanaya is, and it’s exactly what I want him to be. So yeah…thanks. I’m glad we could meet like this again without war hanging over our heads.

"Hey, don't sweat it. I learned a lot about myself that day too, so we can say we helped each other out, yeah? I wasn't lying when I said I took this job to see my hero again, and let me tell you how excited I am for it. Good to see you too."

He chuckled and scratched the side of his head, surprised by the sudden warmth spreading through his chest.

Hero, huh…it’s funny, being so famous and all with a title like that, and yet…it feels a lot more real when one person says it to my face. Anyway, Moriko is probably wondering where I ran off to, so I better head down to dinner. Good to be working with you again, Chief Engineer Kyota.

Toya raised his hand in mock salute with a grin tugging at his lips and then marched off to join the rest of his teammates. All of the day’s earlier craziness had made him hungrier than he’d realized.

This place is almost too luxurious…I bet they’ll have something with chocolate for dessert…

--

Romeo rolled onto his left side and winced as pain shot up his bandaged right arm. These sick bay beds could stand to be a little softer. They were designed to help patients recuperate quicker, but they felt more like torture devices!

That Kyuuen girl had stopped by a few minutes earlier to treat him again and change his wrappings. She assured the lone nurse aboard the ship that their patient would be just fine for at least another night, and they both left him to rest unattended.

Even tucked beneath a double layer of blankets, he still shivered. Damn poison felt like it was crawling around beneath his skin. Even when the symptoms were suppressed by the medic nin’s techniques, just the thought of it was enough to make him sick.

The door creaked as someone entered the room. He shifted onto his back and craned his neck to try and see who it was. It was far too dark for his unadjusted eyes to make out the figure.

Mm, sensei? You got some sleeping pills or something? I think I need something to knock me out for the night.

A good whack over the head should be fine for you then.

O-Ojou?! What are you…do you need something?

Miharu plopped down in the chair beside his bed and crossed one leg over the other. She folded her arms and glared at him from the shadows.

Would you shut up already? You could be dying from a poison with no antidote, but you’re still only thinking of me. If you had just gone and injured yourself normally then I might have been able to heal you myself and finally been rid of you.

D-Don’t say that. Besides, you are saving me. You’re trading your skill for my treatment, and-

It’s not the same! I’ll never feel satisfied with that kind of indirect repayment.

Silence fell between them, more stifling than the blanket of darkness.

…you really don’t owe me anything. I saved you, because I wanted to. I stay at your side and help you, because I want to. If you want me gone, then order it.

Her face was starting to become clearer as he blinked his eyes a few more times. She wasn’t looking at him anymore.

Of course I do. It’s hard to enjoy a life of complete freedom with extra baggage always weighing me down, no matter how useful it may be. But you’re not leaving until I absolve my debt. That is your order right now.

Yeah, alright…

More silence. It took longer for him to speak up this time.

Hey, Ojou…are we really doing this? What if they learn too much and let it leak? The Genri might put too much together, right?

It’s under control. Just let me worry about everything and do as I say. Just focus on getting better so that you’ll keep being useful to me. I’m going back to my room, so try and get some sleep. The nurse should stop by to check on you if there’s anything you need.

She stood and turned for the door, her flowing ribbon trailing behind as she quietly stepped.

Goodnight, Romeo.

One foot was already through the threshold.

Night, Miharu.

--

Nothing lulled Toya to sleep more effectively than the gentle swaying of Moxie’s body beside him as she breathed and her radiating heat when his arms were wrapped tightly around her.

But sleep continued to elude him tonight.

He stared at the light blue symbols lining his bare right arm and let his thoughts wander aimlessly. Chakra molding disruptor…but something else was happening to him. Something much too subtle for any of the others to pick up on just yet. In fact, he didn’t really understand it himself yet. He was just…off. Somehow.

This whole mission was just odd the more he thought about it. Exploring some local ruins to clear it of danger and uncovering some old history was nice and all, but now this had turned into a full-scale operation to scour the land in search of countless more of these temples. For what purpose? And why did Dakara care so much? Enough to send this fancy new airship and a team of his best warriors?
Too many questions that would cost him too many waking hours to sort out. But not hours he wanted to waste right now. Not when he was sharing a bed with the love of his life. There was always tomorrow.

He pressed his face into her loose, strawberry blonde locks and squeezed her tightly against his chest. A deep, peaceful sleep overtook him in what felt like seconds.

Returning to his role of the ever vigilant hunter could wait until morning.

[End Thread]
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