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.

Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:22 am

The Hanabira training facility was new, clean, and littered with Jounin.

Three, to be exact. Two were still standing.

You know, you can surrender if you want. Won't bruise so badly.

Akio Tamana brushed back a lock of black hair.

You're not going to beat me. The others are sloppy, barely saw any action in the war. Not me. Front lines.

Then should we up the ante a bit? I feel like the old bet is a little weak.

I agree. Money can be earned again. Dignity, however...

Name your price.

If I win, you come over to my house and be my maid when I next have a few Senators over for dinner. Complete with uniform. Yours?

Moxie grinned.

You have to call me senpai.

Akio laughed.

Deal.

Both combatants touched their foreheads, making sure the adhesive on the chakra tags was still set. If either cheated and drew on extra chakra, it would dissolve into ash, forfeiting the match.

Akio Tamana was something of a legend, enough so that even Moxie knew his name. He was quick, fast, and deadly efficient.

So far Moxie hadn't seen any of that Akio. Just the lumbering, easily flustered one.

He attacked first, leaning forward into a run, gaining speed and positioning, hoping to burst up from below and drive the entire momentum of his body into Moxie's.

She stepped back, as he anticipated. He used his attack to jump high into the air, twisting his momentum into his leg, gyrating it in a sweeping roundhouse kick toward her head. She ducked under that one, letting him drop to the ground, where his legs sprung like steam-pistons, shifting weight and driving the other leg out in a direct kick aimed at her torso.

Slipping to the slide, just enough to avoid the kick. Now inside Akio's guard, Moxie hammered her fist at his collarbone.

He blocked, as she had assumed, but she released her fist when he did, touching his forearm with her palm.

One.

Moxie spun away from him, breaking up the skirmish and forcing both competitors to re-engage. Akio's long limbs served his fighting style well, long whipping motions that generated wide circles. He stepped into range, circling one of his fists around, aiming it so that any raised block wouldn't prevent the fist from connecting with Moxie's skull. She spread herself low, fanning out her arms above her head, just grazing the bottom of his arm.

Two.

The first strike carried a lot of momentum, and Akio used it to spin around, wheeling the other fist in downward arc, aimed for the back of Moxie's head. She continued to drop down, this time sliding all the way to her side, weight resting on her hip. She used her hands to shove herself closer to Akio, parting her legs as she did, and scissored them together hard on his forward knee.

His stance buckling, Akio decided to let his weight tumble forward, hands leading the fall to grab or punch at Moxie, using gravity and his own weight to power the blows. Moxie turned, letting out a cry to power her turn, the muscles in her legs and abdominals torquing energy through his leg and into his hip, turning his momentum to the side. He fell on his side instead of forward, his limbs slapping across the ground to dissipate the force. Moxie rose to her feet, slapping him twice on the legs during her retreat.

Three and four.

With those four, that brought her palm-strike count up to twenty-one. More than enough practice, and more than enough proof that her idea would work.

Akio was back on his feet now, rushing again. He was quick and strong, and she could see how this tactic would be effective in combat, alongside his ninjutsu techniques.

Moxie bent low and leapt, only a six strides away from Akio. She spun around once, and aimed herself carefully, landing hard on Akio's shoulders, her legs tightening around his neck. He stumbled from the impact, but kept his balance long enough for Moxie to swing her arms and torso forward.

They both flipped forward from the strength of Moxie's swing. Akio's back was the first point of impact with the ground.

The room was dead silent. Moxie rolled to her feet. The other three Jounin stared, wide-eyed but too battered to get up and do something.

A knot twisted in her stomach. Too far? Had she seriously injured him.

Akio barked a chuckle.

Nice move...

Moxie inclined her head and folded her arms.

Nice move...Moxie-senpai.

She smiled, tossed a hand through her hair, and walked out of the arena.

The locker room was empty, save for her small pile of clothes. She peeled off the sparring clothes, watching sweat spray from every flap of her shirt. She crumpled the chakra detection paper and ran her fingers through her hair.

She caught a glance of herself in the mirror, and found herself turning to examine it, clad only in her pants and black sports bra.

Damn she was strong. Her body had changed a lot since the end of the war, every inch of her gaining a fine layer of muscular definition. In the past, this might have worried her, the slow drain of her femininity. But Toya seemed to appreciate it.

Even like it, she thought.

The training had worked wonders, though. She hadn't realized just how grueling the “light” Nanaya training was until they had returned from the beach – when Toya had decided to do “real” training and it was painfully impossible. Moxie had always thought of herself as in good combat condition...

Apparently not enough for a Nanaya.

She finished admiring herself, stripped down and blasted herself with too-hot water in the shower, toweling off as quickly as she could. She jammed all the sparring clothes into a bag and set to work dressing herself.

In a rare display of Saihoushi-ness, she had designed the outfit.

Well, designed would be inaccurate. More like...built.

It was based off of the Sublime Swordstress. She couldn't help it, it was too cool and she was pretty sure the combat effectiveness of it would hold up.

Pretty sure.

First she put on a black, sleeveless garment that zipped up the front, all the way to a high collar. The new Hitsuji protective material, made thinner and more effective, especially for someone who could control nunojutsu. It only came in black, which was not ideal for the fashion side, but she couldn't argue against the armor of it.

Next came a sleeveless jacket, belted in the center with brass and leather, the rest of it a subtle peach color with a faint print of curling flames, just a slight texture that was only truly visible in the light, or if you stared closely at it. It held pockets, snapped closed, able to contain whatever equipment she needed. Then a utility belt above a pair of brown shorts, and knee-high leather boots. She then slipped on two brown, fingerless gloves with fuuinjutsu stitched along the insides.

Her new secret weapon.

A purple, slim cape completed the ensemble, drapping off the shining pauldron on her right shoulder.

So her upper legs and arms were exposed, so what. Couldn't walk around in a giant pile of armor all of the time...

Tying her hair into a ponytail and making final adjustments to her clothes, she set to striding for the House of the Lotus.

Military Headquarters were set in their own building, just off site of the parliament. It was a graceful but simple white building, with imposing pillars, each with a symbol of the four factions that made up the military. She bowed slightly to the hourglass, unable to tear her allegiance from something that had defined her life for so long.

She was ushered quickly through the hallways, along the polished marble floors and up to a room on the top floor. Several administrators worked quickly in desks parked beside two heavy double doors. Moxie didn't knock, just pushed through.

The windows looked across at the House of the Lotus. Shining, bright, and glorious. Dakara Gou, head of Military Affairs, the 8th Kazekage, stood staring out at it with his hands clasped behind his back.

Hi dad.

Ah, Moxie.” He turned and smiled, then gestured to a round table at the side of the room, beside the rows of bookshelves. A long flat wooden case was laid atop it.

What is it?

Your birthday present. It's uh, a bit late, I know, but we were busy with this pesky Republic nonsense...besides, it took a while to get here from Kasai.

Kasai?

He only smiled and gestured for it again. Moxie tried to walk calmly, tried to vent all the eagerness out of her, and flipped up the latches for the case.

It's beautiful...

It was wide-bladed and curved, four feet long from hilt to tip, the back end curling like fire. It was completely black; the same heat-conductive metal that Kagu Tsuchi Kugi had. She hefted it in her hands; it was a spin-cleaver, meant for spinning, heavy strikes that built on each other.

Thought the Sublime Swordstress ought to add to her collection. Besides, we never replaced the other one.

Moxie set the blade back in the case, wishing she could give it a few whirls but knowing that it might end up with her cleaving his desk in half. She shut the case and darted around his desk, hurling her arms around his neck.

He smelled good. Like sand. He always smelled like sand.

Thanks daddy. It's great.

Dakara laughed, returning the hug. “What's with the sudden affection? And 'daddy'?

I...well...” Moxie cleared her throat and slipped back away from him. “Guess I've just done a lot of thinking lately. And...well, I know mom's death had to be hard for you too. I shouldn't have blamed you for how you reacted to it. I was just angry, and hurt, and confused, and you were an easy target. You're my last parent, and I don't want to keep squandering our relationship over a few petty things...so I'm sorry. And I love you.

Dakara smiled and scruffed her head.

It's okay Moxie. It was hard for all of us. I'm glad we can start working on this relationship again. Have a seat, we have some work to do.

She nodded and obeyed, sitting on the other side of the desk. Dad hefted a thick file and dropped it on the desk between them.

Tasuh uv Talaed

Moxie blinked. “What?

Tasuh uv Talaed. Does that mean anything to you?

No. Should it?

Mm. I don't know yet. That's the inscription I found.

Where?

Under Hanabira.

A slow smile crept across his face and his fingers steepled.

What do you mean, under?

There's some ruins beneath the city. Been there a while. Recently, some of the Gou found something new. Something intact.

He spread open the file, shuffling paper after paper, a sea of words that Moxie wasn't sure how to make sense of.

It was a hobby of mine back in retirement. I wondered where we came from. Where did this civilization rise from? Before the era of clans, there isn't much recorded history. But there are a few sites no one can explain. Tombs, statues, monuments with a few scattered insriptions in a dead language.

There was something here before us. But there's no picture of what it looked like. What happened to that civilization, how did it form what we became? So many mysteries locked away in these ruins. All scholars have been able to do is crudely translate some of the text, and understand that they were a vast, powerful empire that stretched across all of the Five Nations.


Dad pointed at a paper with the same mysterious words written on it.

Tasuh uv Talaed. 'Demon of Deceit.' It's a temple, buried beneath Hanabira. A temple to a lost god.

Moxie had to force herself to close her mouth.

Impressive dad...but what makes it so important?

No one has ever found anything so large before. It's massive, Mox, and it's mostly intact. There could be writings in there, inscriptions, other archaelogical clues. This might be the first real look into our origins.

They met eyes, father and daughter. Gold on brown. She searched them, wondering if she could somehow decipher his thoughts, but he still felt as mysterious as ever.

Where do I fit in?

I don't know what we'll find down there. There could be dangerous secrets. Jutsu, weapons, diseases...it could be anything. I can't send someone to investigate that I don't trust, and I don't have the time or the...invisbility, needed to go down myself. I trust you, and your team. If anyone can be entrusted to find lost knowledge and make sure it isn't used against the Republic, it's the four Heroes.

Moxie nodded slowly, still rolling around the situation in her mind.

But I don't know anything about the language, the history...how will I be of any use?

Because one of the few scholars who studies this subject lives and works in Yuki. And was Ryou's private tutor. I've been in contact with him over the last few weeks, and he says that Ryou has a working knowledge of what he knows. It'll be enough for you to read and get a sense of the purpose of the temple. After that, I can go down myself when I have time. For now, we have to make sure it's safe.

Something twinged at Moxie. Not her Kyoumougan, not some warning of the future...something off. Hidden. Her underdeveloped hunter sense, perhaps?

Then why send me and Toya and Kyuuen?

Dakara smiled. “Good, still sharp as ever. The team of Gou I sent down there to investigate didn't come back alive.

Right. Now it's coming together.

You don't have to do this mission if you don't want. Perhaps the past isn't what we should be focusing on, perhaps it's our future that's more important.

Moxie shook her head. “No, we'll go. At least, I will. I can't speak for the others.

You could speak for Toya...

Moxie felt herself blush. “Dad...

It's pretty obvious he loves you, Moxie. He'll go with you. The others will too. You're like mom in that way. You inspire people. Besides, this mission is interesting. It's why you want to go, isn't it? Tired of the training, the patrols, the studying.

A little adventure and discovery never hurt anyone. I get that from you.

Dakara leaned back in his chair, folding his arms.

That you do.

- - -

Ow, damnit! Hot, hot, hooooot!

Her finger dove into her mouth.

Stupid hot plate thing.

Okay, so maybe a piece of equipment designed to heat up medical experiments wasn't exactly fit for cooking. But it should work better! It's a complicated piece of machinery while a stove is just a big, gushy flame that does whatever it wants.

Removing the finger from her mouth, Kyuuen sighed down at her bubbling noodles, waiting hungrily for them to finish.

Taishou was wrestling with a pair of her socks.

Aww, Tai-tai! Stop it! I need those, they don't have holes in them and-...well, now they have holes in them. Fine, go ahead, keep terrorizing it.

Taishou did the dog equivalent of a grin and continued to shake the sock like it were a stubborn squirrel refusing to die. Kyuuen sighed with a smile and dropped herself into her office chair.

At least one of us is having fun...I hope you don't grow too fast, you know, this little office isn't enough for the two of us.

Taishou dropped the sock and looked up at her curiously.

Hey, I explained this to you before. I only had money to either rent a lab and buy equipment or buy new furniture and get a place and well...you can't do medicine in an apartment, okay? Not even a Hanabira one. This is just temporary, until I get this license sorted.

Taishou tipped his head.

What, I sleep fine on the couch! And you sleep fine too, so long as you're...yeah, why do you have to use my bras anyway, it's ridiculous, you goofy dog. And besides! I have no commute to work! I've gotten a lot of studying done like this, you can't argue with that.

Kyuuen spun the chair and flipped a book closed, shoving it with the others on the table.

It's not my fault they won't count my medic's license as a doctor's one anymore. Geez, it's stupid, the horrible wounds I've treated on the battlefield would make any of those jerks puke until they were dehydrated, but noooooo, 'you're too young Kyuuuen,' 'you need a license Kyuuen', 'medicine's more than just healing blown up limbs Kyuuen.

She grunted and picked up her chopsticks, removing the noodles from the specimen heater and flipping the switch off. Taishou shuffled over and sat politely beside her, staring up with starry eyes at her noodles. Kyuuen started stirring.

Look, once I past that test it's easy living! More than enough money for a little apartment. I'll get one near the park so we can go playing all the time, and you'll have steak every Friday night, I promise! Just endure a little longer.

Rarooo~

Yes, I know...I know Ryou offered for us to live with him.

Ruff!

I know, I know, own floor, seperate study, a private chef to make anything we wanted...plus cuddling and kisses anytime I wanted...but that's not how it works! I have to earn this on my own, with my own blood sweat and tears and- damniiiit!

In all her waving around, Kyuuen knocked her noodles over. They slopped onto the floor, the broth soaking into the carpet. Taishou the traitor dove onto the noodles and started slurping them up immediately.

Her palm found it's usual place on her forehead and she sighed.

Don't eat now, have enough food for the other meals, or eat now and skip a meal later.

She hadn't had to make a decision like this in a long time. Not since before the war. Even on the road, even in the midst of battle, there was always enough food. Now...now...

Back to square one.

Tears were dripping out of her eyes.

I'm not crying! I can handle this, it's not too hard! It's way easier than before...I think...no it's not, who am I kidding, they're paying me less than before! Heartless politicians, I'm the goddamned Bubble Fairy! Yes I know I spent the reward money on the lab!

Taishou was just eating, not really listening.

I just...can't I catch a break around here. Really.

She sniffed and wiped her eyes.

Maybe I should just go back to Ryou and beg. I'm sure if I'm cute enough he'll let me stay there. And you too, don't worry....maybe have to get a pushup bra for that one though.

A knock on the door made Kyuuen jump to her feet. She swallowed and regained her composure, taking several deep breaths before opening it. A courier dropped a scroll in her hand and rushed off before she could even say “thank you.”

She unrolled it.

Misson. Moxie. Now.

A glimmering grin formed on her.

All right! This is more like it. Finish up your lunch Tai-tai, we're going on a mission!

She rushed to get her new mission clothes.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:11 am

The mansion was amazing. Even Ryou hadn't been able to resist commending it, and he'd been in several mansions. His family owned several grand mansions. How Dad had managed to top them and find this one, he didn't have a clue.

It wasn't as large as some of the others. Only two storeyss and not to deep from front to back, but wide. The house stretched half the block, both floors comprising of ornate hallways extending the entire length, and rows of rooms which faced the street. It was an opulent street, lined with other, similar huge dwellings, most of which had existed here for at least a half century. His history teacher would say it was a time when architecture was the richest. After seeing this, Ryou couldn't disagree.

The designs even competed with that of the new House of the Lotus, only roads away.

Yet with his mansion, the building wasn't even the most precious detail.

Behind the structure was the garden. The best part. Twice the depth of the house, with its grass and trees the greenest in all of Suna. Palm trees, in fact. The garden extended into his own patch of the ocean.

Grand as the property was however, Ryou Yutaka spent most of his time at home these days in one room out of the thirty. His study.

Again he was at his desk. Standing though, not sitting. Hands gripping the blackwood desk's edges, leaning himself over and arranging the several newspapers which lay covering the surface. His eyes shot about, studying numbers and figures and quotes. His hands shuffled through the piles of money stacked at the desk's end, picking up notes and coins and shoving them methodically into envelopes. Or his fingers ran through his hair as he paused, struggling at a new investment decision.

Like this one.

It was work which consumed so much more time than he'd thought it would, but maybe he could credit that to his enthusiasm. The moment he'd arrived in Hanabira City he'd seen for himself the breadth of opportunities and prosperity and profit the capitol provided. He'd wanted a piece of its greatness for himself from the start. He'd known of several ways to grasp it.

He'd gotten pretty good at this one.

But certain choices continued to stump him. Such as this one. Funding a whole new steam factory from scratch. West? South?

Location was probably the most critical element here, and as much as he'd spent the last two days putting it off until now, he still couldn't come up with a decision. He had to though, had to move on. Wasn't just his money he was investing here either, Moxie was trusting him to spend a portion of hers.

And he would. Once he finally made a damn decision.

Alright, screw it.

He picked up the nearest coin, and tossed it. Heads west, tails south.

Ryou clapped one hand over the other, catching the silver. He raised his palm, looking over.

Tails.

Yeah...uhm, that was good, wasn't it? South. He'd been debating this with even arguments for both sides. So what if the Westland industry did hold a bit of promise now that they'd announced the discovery of that mine-

Bah, you know what?! Another toss. It couldn't hurt.

Ryou threw the coin again. Heads this time.

Yesss, that was what he'd wanted all along, right? West...it made so much more sense.

...but if that was the case, why had this taken him two days? He was forgetting something, right? Right?

Okay. Okay. No more hesitation.

One more toss. And this was it. No second guessing. Just buy the property and on with it.

Silver flew and spun through the air and-

"Master."

The voice startled Ryou, and he failed to catch his coin. It went rolling under the great desk and disappeared.beyond the realm of him ever retrieving it. He cut his aggravated reaction down to a kick against the table, trying to maintain some composure in front of his servant.

"Oh, hey there Tsuruna. What is it?" '
"Ah, right well um-"

Tsuruna spluttered.

The boy was timid. Just a few years older than Ryou was, with dark hair and a softspoken voice and a bumbling way of things. Yet he was good, kept up a smile and did what he was told without questions. And he listened.

...which brought about a good use for him now.

Ryou hadn't turned to look at him yet, still pouring over his papers.

"Quick - west or south? Pick one!"

Tsuruna spluttered.

"Huh - sorry, master, for wha-"

Ryou sighed. He'd help if he told him, but did he even know what his own reasons were anymore? He sighed, turning on the spot.

"Blah, nevermind, what do you want?"

His servant was visibly crestfallen when he changed the subject, but he got his tact back up fast enough.

"Yes, right, two things. First, your lunch, Sir."
"Eh..." Ryou blinked, realizing just then how much he wasn't hungry, "...what is it?"
"Salted applesauce steaks with..."
"Ugh, steak? Did I ask for that?"
"Uhm, forgive me if this is our mistake, but I believe when you placed your order yesterday, you did...Sir."

He sighed again. Maybe he could eat all that steak if he wanted to, but he'd spent a considerable amount of time with the others these past two months, training. Nothing too strenuous, basic work on his phsyical forme. Steak when he didn't need it, in vain of all that?

Nah, he had a better plan.

"I just think I overdid my breakfast, I can't eat all of that. Hey, just leave me two and package the rest off and send it to Kyu's place or something, girl could use something edible if she insists on living along with her cooking, wouldn't even let me take her out last night...just study, study, study! I even offered to help, medical theory is the easiest bit but no, what does she think, I'll ask her for a reward or somethin-"

Ryou trailed off suddenly, flushing pink. Tsuruna was usually a servant he could say whatever to and trust that it wouldn't be repeated, but...ah, he didn't even know what he'd been thinking there. No need to pursue the line. He had work to do after all, while the kitchen staff divided and sent off the meal.

Though, that did remind him-

"Just send it off, and hey, speaking of which, has my mail come in yet? Investment statement oughta help me decide this, and that's due today I reckon..."

Tsuruna's eyes widened with a sudden recollection, but his smile widened.

"That's the second thing, Sir. I have it here for you. Please, do let me know if you have any other replies which need delivery soon. I'll go split your lunch."

He earnestly straightened and handed up the envelopes he'd apparently forgotten that he'd been holding. Ryou barely looked up after him, excitement sparking through him as he shuffled through his mail.

He was quickly disappointed.

Not only was there nothing in terms of investment, he'd also received a parcel from the very last person he'd ever want to receive mail from. Incidentally, the man who had taught him how to write.

"Huh..."

To Master Ryou
In light of my recent notification, I believe you might require this. Or that is, if you are able to read a word through all your defacing of it. Still, I trust it's a must if you ever need to recall something I take it you never paid the attention to learn in the first place, so I have sent this. Enjoy.
- Konashi-sensei.


"What the..."

Ryou promptly tore the wrapping from the package with the violence he'd always reserved for his former tutor.

He just gaped at the small book.

Dictionary to the known phrases and words of Esbaneym Cbaalr

It was a small, but thick book, pocket-sized in fact. And old and tattered with most of the pages covered in a child's colorful scribbles.

He slammed it shut before he had too much of a chance to get lost piecing together the vaguely familiar ancient sentence, a shadow of terrible old lesson routine.

"Where the heck did he think I moved? Ancient Yuki!? Why would I need this rubbish..."

He tossed the book behind him on the desk, the force knocking money notes and newspapers off the table. Ryou cursed, dearly hoping that something else amidst his this letter pile would actually be worth his time to read.

Flipping through, he found that maybe there was.

Mission call for the Four Heroes.

Two words told him there definitely was.
"Four" "Heroes"

That title always made him smile, no matter what.

Maybe this was what he needed.

Ryou glanced back at his investment business. He really hadn't gotten anywhere with that dumb decision, had he? Well, he didn't need to decide here.

He could put it off.

If this mission was the type he'd been waiting for, the ticket to more greatness with that name, then this was what he needed. His smile was suddenly so much broader, and he wasn't entirely sure why.

Ryou called at the top of his lungs.

"Hey, Tsuruna! Do me a favor and pack all that steak, alright? I'll share it with Moxie and the others, I gotta get going!"
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:42 am

Despite his past apprehension over adjusting back to a normal, peaceful life after the war and his little vacation ended, the past weeks in the city had turned out to be quite enjoyable for Toya.

Finally free from the constraints on his training that he had reluctantly agreed to, the Nanaya woke bright and early every morning and immediately set off outside the city for a couple hours of his intense training, a custom regimen he had perfected for himself over the years.

Truth be told, he had needed to lighten it just a notch for the first day or two in order to get back into his previous shape. Unfortunately, Moxie had decided to bow out of joining him after those first sessions. Maybe this method of workout wasn’t really fitting of her combat style…ah well, always accomplished much more work in isolation anyway.

Moxie, of all people, was especially distracting to have around during the time he was supposed to be absolutely focused…

Regardless, it felt good to push his body to its limits once again. A hunter by nature, there were few satisfactions greater than a hard day’s work. Unfortunately, one that ranked far higher, was being able to practically display that work in action. Slowly but surely, his fear crept back up on him. Fear of stagnancy and uselessness.

The search for an outlet led him in a highly unexpected direction, but a direction that pushed his massively increased pool of strength and stamina to its very limits on a daily basis nonetheless.

You’re gonna lose if you don’t hurry up, sensei!

Faster, Toya-sensei~!

Yes…the pinnacle of physical exertion. Just what he needed to show off his mastery over the human body…to a bunch of little school kids.

An energetic pair of identical blonde males sped off ahead while Toya struggled to keep pace. Under most circumstances, the little brats wouldn’t stand a chance racing him, but in this case he was carrying around a slight handicap. Well, five of them, actually.

Some of his tiniest students had decided to hijack themselves a ride. He had a boy clinging to each leg, two girls with arms wrapped around his neck and hanging over his back, and tightly snug in his arms sat a final dark-haired girl.

Sensei is trying, Yume. Maybe I need to start experimenting with using more weights when I train…

He continued his awkward hobbling through the hallway, but the twins had already zipped around the corner and into their classroom. Toya stumbled in a few seconds later, hunching over and breathing heavily.

Alright, everyone off! Get away from my desk, Haru and Saru! Class was scheduled to start three minutes ago!

His little leeches each slowly peeled themselves from his body. He gently set Yume on the ground when the other four were finished, giving her an affectionate pat on the head before they all ran to their seats. He cleared his throat when the class had settled in, pushing his glasses further up on his nose with a single index finger.

They were just generic frames with plain glass lenses. They served no practical purpose, other than that they just felt…teachery, or something. He was already hiding the few hours he spent here every other day from Moxie and the rest of his friends under the guise of even more training, so he may as well play the part to its fullest while he could do it shamelessly. Not that he thought they would mock him for it, but it was just…difficult to bring up or explain right now.

Alright, today we’ll be talking a little bit more about the Kazekage line, starting from the Godaime. Does anyone remember his name?

He glanced up from the open book on his desk and skimmed the kids’ faces.

Haru, chin off the desk! Answer the question, please.

The sleepy blonde took an elbow to the side from his brother and glanced around in a daze before meeting Toya’s harsh eyes.

Ummm…Dakara-sama…?

No, he was the Hachidaime. Was anyone paying attention to…yes, Yume?

Kankuro-sama!

Very good. I see you’re not forming your study habits from the examples your elders over here are setting…

He tried to focus his glare once more, but found himself smiling instead. He didn’t think he would ever see any of his old gang of brats from Suna after the war. Finding these three and eventually volunteering to teach part-time at this small, budding academy was an oddly perfect way for him to spend his extra time.

Yume and the twins had each found their own pair of adoptive parents to take them in after the chaos had settled down and Hanabira became the thriving capitol of the Republic. They finally had what he had tried to give them a taste of all those months ago. People who really cared for and loved them.

Now, as this was a very volatile time for the Wind Country, these early Kazekages were tasked with a…hm, Aikawa-sensei, do you need something?

U-Umm, sorry to interrupt. A military courier dropped off a letter for you…

Toya frowned and dropped his notes, walking over to the timid older woman and taking the scroll.

Thank you. Could you wait here a moment while I check this? I may end up needing someone to take over here…

Of course, I’ll be happy to.

He unrolled the paper and scanned its contents with sharp eyes, immediately grabbing the essential details with trained efficiency. Report to the military HQ. Briefing regarding a very urgent matter. Be prepared to leave as soon as possible. Hurry over, sexy.

W-What? Oh…Moriko, what the hell…

He stuffed the message in his pocket and coughed into his hand, trying to hide the blush spreading heat through his face.

Yes, it seems I’m needed on a mission. Sorry sensei, but could you let the rest of the staff know I will be away? I’ll try to send a message regarding the length of my absence, but I can’t be certain.

Yes, don’t worry about a thing. We know how important your primary job is!

What, you’re leaving us, sensei?!

Toya-sensei…

Toya faced the class and flashed one more smile.

Sorry, guys. I’ll be back to teach and play with you guys again, I promise. Be good for the other teachers, alright? Goodbye.

A chorus of ‘Yes, sensei’ and a dozen different goodbyes filled the room, and he turned to step through the door before any more pesky emotion could get to him. This was finally what he wanted, no, what he needed! All his refined skills and new, untested Nanaya blades would finally get their chance to be utilized. What kind of important task would the heroes of the land be given this time? He couldn’t wait!

…he’d probably miss those damn kids a bit though. Just the slightest.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:00 pm

Moxie chose the roof.

In part, because she had wanted to give the spin-cleaver a try, arcing the heavy black blade in brutal whipping motions, leaving a trail of heat and smoke behind it as she conducted fire chakra intot he hilt. It was beautiful. Even better than Kagu Tsuchi Kugi.

Hm, maybe she ought to start naming her swords too...

The other reason the roof was perfect was because of the view of Hanabira.

It had changed a lot from being a simple luxurious resort town. The edges of the town were sloppy with construction, the streets a bit overcrowded and tempers occassionally flaring up as everyone got used to living next to each other. But it would settle and flourish and become incredible.

It was nice to reap the benefits of hard work now and again.

There was a small rose garden on the roof, though one bush of roses had “mysteriously turned to ash” in the last twenty minutes. There were a few chairs set out, and Moxie had arranged them a circle.

She heard the access door swing open. Moxie turned, still standing on the edge of the roof, and smiled.

Ryou.

She hopped down and the two met for a side-hug, his hands otherwise occupied with a bulging paper bag.

Heya Mox, picked a good day to call! Urgh, tough time in the market- I don't know which way anything's going, it was driving me crazy since I can't pick what to buy."

He smiled and sighed and followed Moxie to the chairs, setting his bag on the small round table between them.

"But don't worry, all our stuff should be back on track by the time we wrap this mission up, so yeah, perfect timing.

Ah, well, I trust you. I tried to read some of those things a week ago, I don't know how you do it. I meant to come by and ask you for some advice but um...well, being the figurehead hero takes more time than I thought.

Moxie found herself frowning. When was the last time she talked to Ryou? Two weeks ago, wasn't it? She'd been nearby and had stopped at his house, just to say hello. Had she really let two weeks go by without seeing him?

Or Kyuuen for that matter. It'd been even longer from her, though they sent notes to each other every other day or so.

At least she always knew where Toya was. Hard to escape when you share a bed.

Ruf, raroo!

She glanced up at the door. Toya was just stepping through, coat flagging behind him, with Taishou right on his heels. The puppy bounced up and down around him, tail wagging so quickly Moxie thought he might take flight.

Kyuuen appeared right behind him, wearing something new. Knee-high boots with crossing laces up the front, meeting slightly billowing olive green pants tucked into them. She had a bright red sash cloth that covered over the pants like a skirt, tied more for accent than for function. Her equipment belt hung just above that, with baremidriff past that, a new tattoo peeking over the top of her belt, though Moxie couldn't make out what it was. Her top was a tank, with a surprisingly low, square-cut neckline, where an emerald on a silver chain bounced across the shockingly clear patch of skin below her collarbone. She had on long, fingerless gloves that extended up to her elbows, leaving the rest of her arms free to display her tattoos.

Very un-bubble fairy like, but it looked functional and impressive. Moxie nodded in approval.

Although that faded when Kyuuen raised her finger and flicked Toya in the ear.

Nice specs, four-eyes. What happen, you start staring at the sun too long or something?

Specs?

Moxie completely missed it before, but now she noticed that Toya was wearing glasses of all things. Why? Was his vision starting to go again? Thousand questions burst out at once.

Should a doctor really be mocking someone for a medical condition?” He stuffed the glasses away in one of his pockets and returned the flick with a gentle jab to her arm. “Good to see you too.

Moxie didn't rise to hug either one, Kyuuen wasn't fond of them and Toya had his fiar share. Instead she only waved while Ryou said his greetings. The two took their seats, Kyuuen's eyes fixated on the bag.

Hey uh...Sunny...is that um...food? Like uh, spare food? Can I...have it?

Ryou shook his head.

Yeah, sure...don't know why you didn't just come when I invited you if you were that hungry, it's probably cold by now, but have it. It's for you.

The bag tore right down the side with Kyuuen's swipe. There were four metal plates with covers stacked inside, and Kyuuen yanked the top one off and flung the lid to the ground in a clatter. A gut-rumbling aroma of perfectly grilled steak plowed through the rooftop and Moxie could see Kyuuen's eyes dialate.

She struck out one of her knives and started cutting into it, picking up a slice with her fingers and about to hurl it into her mouth.

Then she stopped herself. She set the plate down on the table, rose and kissed Ryou on the cheek.

Thanks Sunshine. I owe you.

Then she returned to attacking the steak like it had offended her honor. Half of it was gone in a few seconds, and Moxie couldn't help but laugh.

You know Kyu, they have these places called markets where you can get food...

Hey, my budget is very precisely controlled and perfectly callibrated so I can eat three times a day!” She swallowed her chunk of steak and ate through another one before continuing. “It's just...the budget doesn't account for my clumsiness. Or puppies with endless appetites.

Taishou barked and sat politely beside Kyuuen. She glared.

Oh no you don't, this is my steak, you already ate my noodles! Go sit over there.

Taishou apparently mistook her general wave as a command to hop onto Toya's lap, because that's what he did, resting his chin on Toya's knee. Moxie couldn't help but smile.

Too cute.

Right, well. Thanks for all coming on such short notice. We have to deploy in a few minutes, so let me give you the quick version.

Moxie retrieved two small scrolls from her pockets, tossing them to Ryou and Toya, keeping Kyuuen's for the time being.

This is a map of the excavation site below Hanabira. Apparently my dad's been doing some sort of history project. He sent a team down there to check it out and they didn't come back alive. Apparently the contents of this 'temple' is a secret, as it might contain information regarding past techniques or somesuch, so that's why we're being sent. Effective and quiet.

Moxie shrugged.

Dad wants a general sense of what's down there. Ryou, apparently that's your job since you can read some of the language. But...to be honest, I'm not really concerned about that. Dad has a lot of effort going on this project, which means he would've picked and excavation team that would be smart, strong, and silent. If there's something down there that can kill them, we need to get rid of it. The writing on the wall won't go anywhere. So, mission priority is to find what killed them and neutralize it, secondary objective is to read what we can, if there's time and we're secure.

She was about to ask. Ask if they wanted to go, ask if they wanted to opt out of it, that they could. But it was time to stop asking that question. They'd been through too much now.

Of course they were going. Hell, they looked excited.

Sounds good to me.” Kyuuen set her now-empty plate on the ground. Taishou hopped off Toya's lap and started licking at the juices. Then Kyuuen reached for the second tray. “Could use a break from all the studying I've been doing anyway...day in, day out, all those books. Girl's gotta have some fun, you know? Besides, this'll be Tai-tai's first mission!...hm, maybe I should put a little mission handkerchief on him or something.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:03 am

Whilst Kyuuen seemed to be having no trouble scoffing down steak with unprecedented pace, Ryou was struggling to finish even half a piece of the rich meat. Actually, he knew he wasn’t going to finish it.

He held out his tray, intercepting the girl as she made for a second helping from the untouched pile. How the heck did she do it?

Hey hey hey, there’s one for everyone! Just take this one, I can’t get it down. I said you shoulda just let me know if you’ve been hungry, look at you. Why’re you starving yourself anyway?” “They can’t fail you on your practical skills, you’re top-rate. So is it your theory? There’s not even much difference between medic theory and the doctor stuff, it’s easy. I’ll help you get over it if you want, it’s easy – won’t take long.Or if you won't let me do that, then at least go to dinner with me. Or take any sort of break with me. But no. He rolled his eyes. “Hell, doesn’t even have to be me. Just save yourself some hours in the day. You could even try asking Specy over here, he looks mighty clever.

Ryou tipped his head at Toya as he said it, his smirk barely masking the confusion which continued to reign on his face from the sight of his friend's just then bespectacled head. Puppy bouncing around him and all! Since when did Toya need cheap glasses? Even if the guy had somehow managed to tarnish his eyes in less than four years of using them, he'd worn and grown accustomed to colored contacts in the past. Corrective lenses couldn't possibly be so much harder to come by. Ryou got the feeling that as with Kyuuen, the explanation behind the sudden changes would have been more apparent had he seen Toya in the face more than he had these past two months. Most of their time had been lost to Toya’s alleged training, so much so that it was beginning to feel excessive, even given the Nanaya’s usual routine.

It was just the same with Kyuuen. The spark from her last kiss still burned on her cheek. She wasn’t angry with him, or he didn’t think she was, but she was busy. So busy she was losing her mind, apparently. And losing their time together.

But it didn't matter. They'd have their time now.

Ryou brushed his fingers along his mouth, wiping down any residual sauce and pushed himself off from the ledge against which he'd been standing, stretching out his as-of-late underworked body.

On top of it he donned a new white coat, imported from Hitsuji's high-end department. Though shorter than a standard doctor's coat and sporting a higher collar, the inspiration continued to linger in the buttons down his front and deep pockets on his sides. There'd been attachable sleeves too, though he'd left those behind this time. A good call, if they were to stay in Suna. For extra stowage he carried his usual brown medical pack at his hip. His hands were now dressed in a pair of long brown gloves - chakra conductive, and something he'd picked up from Moxie herself the last time he'd been by to see her. His white military cap matched the coat. His boots matched the gloves.

Set for the mission at hand.

"So that's what the dictionary was for, I guess Dakara-sama's guys must have gotten into contact with them back home...I'm not great, but I'll see what I can do."

He'd never thought that the hundreds hours of his childhood he'd lost trying to learn ancient codes would ever come back to spread such a grin along his face, but it just so happened that those slivers of knowledge could well be the ticket to playing a shining part in this assignment. Even if the most worrisome aspect wasn't deciphering the encryptions but instead a potential violent, it wasn't like their team together wouldn't be able handle whatever a tomb threw at them.

Enthusiasm bubbled through him at the thought of what this mission, instigated by the Kazekage himself, could do for their name. Impatience too.

He found himself knocking Kyuuen's shoulder, beckoning the girl to quicken her wolfing of the meal.

"Come on, hurry up and eat and feed what you can't to the dog. Let's go already. The roof's hot."
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:29 am

How does a place like this stay untouched for so long? I suppose people don’t really just dig around unless they are looking for something specific. Hell, I was living on top of a dungeon my whole life and never knew about it until after the fact…

Toya stretched his arms high above his head, falling into pace a step behind Moxie as the group made their way down the declining slope of the tunnel. Their leader had insisted she take the lead in blazing whatever path they might find beneath the entrance cleverly hidden by the old statue of an unnamed man above. No one under normal circumstances would have ever searched such a random spot, the piece of art tucked away in the corner of one of Hanabira’s many public squares.

There was nothing noteworthy as of yet, just a typical rocky tube leading deeper into the depths of the earth. But something down here took the lives of a highly trained team of warriors. Letting their guards down for even a brief moment could spell disaster for them.

Taishou yipped from down at Toya’s ankles, the tiny canine still jumping up and down happily even as they descended. He sighed and reached down to snatch up the dog, who was sporting a dark green handkerchief tied around his neck. It’s not like he really thought of the mutt as a part of the group, but Kyuuen had seemed quite keen on the idea, and since he had the thing with him anyway there was no sense in not offering it.

Ugh, whatever…

He nearly crashed into Moxie’s back when the girl froze and raised a hand to signal them all to stop. Just meters ahead of them rested a large rectangular opening at the end of the tunnel, a staircase of yellowish stone leading the way into the mysterious structure. Above the entrance was a thick band of rock marked with a series of foreign symbols.

Unfortunately, the entirety of them looked to be heavily damaged, chunks of the writing completely missing and the remaining parts faded away into nothingness through natural erosion.

Now here we go. Let me check for traps, watch my back.

The hunter bent down to set the puppy on the floor before stalking across the remaining distance to the steps. Nothing appeared too out of the ordinary to his naked eyes, and his instincts weren’t sounding any alarms just yet. It took him a moment to realize exactly what was so off about the stairs.

They were…well, going pretty much straight, as if they were simply a part of a hallway, not meant to take someone up or down to another area of the structure. If this really was some sort of temple as Dakara’s briefing suggested, it had not been naturally built down here. As far as he could tell, the thing had been sucked into the surface and ended up buried down here. Someone had clearly dug their way through to this point, but the awkwardly angled sunken temple had definitely seen better days.

He turned to his teammates behind.

Looks like we’re good for now. Our predecessors obviously made it here in one piece, so we can at least rest easy knowing there shouldn’t be anything treacherous too close to the entrance. Just watch your step and speak up if you see anything suspicious.

That said, the Nanaya eagerly began his slow walk across the leveled staircase. After only a few feet, it dropped off back onto a smooth surface, the entire floor angled forward, creating nearly a forty-five degree slope dropping down into the bowels of the temple. Climbing back out of this place could turn into a tricky feat depending on how deep they ended up needing to go.

He half stepped, half slid down into a small room that probably served as a gathering area before individuals proceeded further into the structure. A short, rectangular doorway took him into a much larger, wide open space, a courtyard of some kind.

The area was vaguely circular, though much of it was piled with chunks of debris and stuffed with sand. It seemed the first discoverers of this place had only just paved enough of a path through it to be accessible without opening any unnecessary sections. Several sets of steps led down into a ring in the center, the staggered levels of flat rock around the circle indicating this place was used for some type of religious gathering or maybe used during the conducting of rituals.

He carefully reached the lowest, central position in the room where an unusually wrought stone altar sat surrounded by a square of matching material. The markings on the prism-shaped object fused to the altar’s topside were fascinating. Was this the language that Ryou was apparently able to read? He still didn’t sense any kind of danger emanating from anywhere in the temple. No human presence, no lingering chakra signatures, nothing.

Shoulda brought a camera down here. I would have loved to show my st…friends, this stuff. Hey, Ryou, come down here and check this out!

The other three had entered the room and fanned out around the first and highest ring, each observing their own objects of interest and looking for the safe route further into the place. His friend glanced up when his name was called.

The stuff on the door was so far gone, but this looks readable. I mean, if you can read it I guess-ow!

Toya had pressed a pair of fingers against the silvery prism to wipe away some dust and get a better look at the writing, only to be greeted with an unexpected jolting sensation. The markings on the object glowed a bright blue until they literally slid down their original surface, onto Toya’s skin, and straight across his right hand and arm. Before he could even blink or pull his hand away, the entire process had finished and died down as if nothing ever happened. The only physical evidence of the event was the vanished symbols, which were now imprinted on his body.

Ah what the hell is this?! Some kind of fuuinjutsu? I don’t even feel anything, but…damnit, I’m such an idiot, should have left this alone until you had a chance to look…

Ryou was already halfway down the stairs when it all transpired, and the girls both turned their heads to observe the commotion from their spots above. At that exact moment, on the direct opposite end of the room from where the heroes had entered, a pair of unidentified figures stepped through an identical entryway.

Ahh! More crusaders!

The first one was a young male with fiery orange hair tinged by pinkish hues. He was clad in a very westlander-appropriate attire, light colors and loose material fitting for the heat, but with the addition of multiple utility belts wrapped around his waist and diagonally across his chest. Dozens of little pockets hung from the leather strips, as well as metal tools visible hanging over the sides. A pair of large sunglasses completely concealed his eyes, but the lenses reflected a mixture of deep golds and reds rather than standard black.

He raised his gloved hands, the thick black material stitched with intricate blue letters across every exposed inch of material, but was quickly thwarted when the second figure moved ahead of him.

The female stood an inch or two above her companion, rich chocolate-brown hair tied by a gold ribbon into twin tails cascading behind her. Over her remarkably curvaceous body she wore an off-white shrine maiden’s outfit with brown accents that cut off at mid-thigh but still boasted long sleeves. A large pink ribbon was tied into a bow at her lower back, the two loose ends of material reaching down to nearly her feet. Light brown boots rose up to just below her knees, and unlike the male’s, her black gloves were fingerless and devoid of marks. Instead, she gripped a rectangular paper seal between two fingers that was beginning to glow.

Peht Nehk!

Brilliant golden light emanated from the girl’s hands and sliced through the air. One wave surged towards the girls, but Moxie immediately drew her new blade and cut through it with ease. The other made its way downward, splitting into two segments.

Toya reached for the blades at his sides. His hands moved with invisibly quick motions, gold and silver blurs cutting lines through the air and stopping the energy from reaching himself or Ryou.

I don’t know who you think we are, but I’ll make you regret that.

The female pulled a trio of new seals from her belt pouch and smiled devilishly while the male extended his palms forward, primed to launch an attack of his own.

Don’t keep me waiting then~.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:22 pm

It was like descending into a tomb.

Dark, deep, oppressing, filled with something that was once important and now forgotten. Moxie couldn't get the thought out of her head. She supposed that the deaths of her father's men had made the analogy all the more poignant.

People had died down here.

She hadn't considered that once the area was secure that they might want to transport the remains back to the surface. She wasn't really sure how to do that...Kyuuen would know. Or her father could arrange it. It wouldn't be right for them to stay here, in the un-hallowed halls of the past.

Lights perched from the walls, tiny little halos of pure white glowing from illumination tags, spaced evenly along the wall to prevent shadows. Meticulously set, she noted. The lights continued into the main chamber, gliding around the room in a ring, then down the center of the steps, providing ample illumination. The boys rushed headlong down the center of the stairs, leaving Kyuuen and Moxie to examine the outer ring.

Always headfirst into everything, that Toya...

Hey, relax buddy, it'll be okay...oh, fine, just come here.

Kyuuen hefted Taishou into her arms, giving the little beast a kiss on the head.

Guess he got spooked...funny, he was just fine a minute ago.” She shrugged. “What do you think this all is? I mean, temple of deceit or something, right? Probably traps.

If there are, the other team would've caught and disabled them. They were too meticulous for that.

Eh? How can you tell?

Just look at the lights. Perfectly spaced and everything and...oh I am stupid. I am so, so stupid.

Huh? What? Mox you're losing me.

I didn't ask...damnit, I should've asked.

Asked what?

How long ago the other team died. And how dad even knew they died, I just...why didn't I ask that. Too preoccupied.

Why does it matter?

Because the glow tags only last eighteen hours. And they're still all up. So either they haven't been dead that long, or someone else-

She saw the blast of light before she saw who created it. An arc of gold, slicing toward them. The spin-cleaver lunged from her back and gushed with fire chakra, enough to disrupt the structure of the technique, she hoped. The blade burst through the energy, ruining whatever effect it had intended, leaving her and Kyuuen unharmed. Kyuuen bent down and set Taishou on the ground, cursing at herself for being caught off guard.

I don't know who you think we are, but I'll make you regret that.

Don't keep me waiting then~

Moxie frowned a little. Toya hadn't been quite the same since his duel with Dai...too much show-off now.

Kyu to Toya, Ryou left, stun!

They moved without thought, responding to her commands as if they were reflexive. Moxie started to the right, rushing down the slight slant of the floor, along the outer ring to gain speed. Ryou had started reversing during the initial attack, but now darted to the left, following in a similar but slower arc to Moxie on the other side.

Kyuuen rushed straight down the center and snapped handseals, extending her right wrist. An arrangement of falling rose petals shrieked out into razor blades, zipping for the two strangely attired attackers.

One male, looked like a Westland tinker, the other a gorgeously dressed woman.

The rose petal blades were nothing more than distraction, preventing the two from moving forward on their own, driving them apart from each other.

Moxie and Ryou met eyes, she giving a slight incline as her hands came together.

Lightning. Just enough to stun the targets. The woman was closer to Moxie than the tinker, she'd leave him to Ryou. Both Moxie and Ryou's hands sparkled with blue-violet light. Moxie's arc around the outer ring cut in sharply now, closing the distance to a dozen feet or so.

The lightning spat out in an elegant spear, like a rapier sculpted from light. It was a perfect shot, aimed for middle torso where the electricity would send her limbs into spasms. The girl turned in, her lush mouth moving in practiced precision.

Linnahd Tavaht!

The tip of the lightning bolt splintered, turning into a shower of harmless sparks as it struck an invisible barrier of chakra. No, not barrier. She had pushed lightning chakra into Moxie's lightning, disrupting its cohesion much like the sword had ruined the odd gold light attack.

But how had she done that so quickly, and without-

The woman was swift, and pounced straight for Moxie instead of making a dodging maneuver. Moxie lost her focus on Ryou, closing her perception around her new, impending attacker.

These people were strong enough to kill her dad's team. She couldn't take them lightly. But she wasn't willing to just kill them either. She wanted answers.

Moxie's left hand spread out and chakra threads latched onto choice parts of the woman's outfit, most importantly the bow in her hair and the two long sleeves. The threads tightened around her, jerking her body and neck back suddenly to try and disrupt her momentum. The woman's eyes widened, but her mouth moved again.

Linnahd!

From her left hand, a sparkling ball of lightning appeared, lashing out at Moxie like a whip. The Saihoushi girl's hand was moving for the hilt, shrieking Raikenkire out to intercept. The lightning steel soaked up the bolt, and with Moxie's own lightning control, sent the electricity arcing out into the side of the temple wall. The motion had faltered her nunojutsu concentration, however, and the woman was now back in balance, lunging again for Moxie.

The Iron Knight crashed between both of them. Moxie lost her chakra thread connections, and the tattoo-giant careened hard into the ground. The ancient rock crumbled, sending up clouds of dust and debris, while Moxie struggled to backpedal – the incline that had given her momentum before was now working against her.

Whoops, sorry! Too hard!

Moxie spun Raikenkire once, kicking up her chakra flow, and taking a glance to the left. She had to keep coordinated with the rest of the team, otherwise-

It was almost beautiful watching the glow tags die out in a ring, each one blinking out in perfect synchronization as the eighteenth hour passed and the chakra stored inside fizzled out.

All at once, Moxie was completely surrounded in darkness.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:50 am

"Kyu to Toya, Ryou left, stun!

Ryou was a step ahead of her, already too deep into the chamber to have it any other way. He took left down into the chamber's corner as his adversary, the boy, fell for the ploy and leapt for him with intention to trap.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Lightning burst and systematically struck the ground between them, in front of the tinker, as he closed the distance, forcing him to divert his path, side-stepping to the right, towards one of the sides where Ryou snapped out spheres of flame from his hands.

The boy was quick, slipping through between electrical strikes and out of the first fire ball's fast range. Ryou stepped up and as did the sphere, looping around and poised to blast the boy's chest in as he stood blinded by the lightnin-

"Caadra!

A word he'd heard before, but couldn't recall the meaning of. Not until just then. Oh, so that was what it was.

Steam.

Flame and even current dispersed as a vehement geyser ripped through, Ryou barely ducking his head on time to avoid burns to his face. Emerald chakra wrapped a shoulder singed by what only looked to be air.

That hurt. Of course it did. These people had already taken down Dakara’s forces once. And if their use of the old language, their reaction to the trap and even the woman’s style of dress were anything to go by, their presence was more than a coincidence. They’d been at this guarding for a while. Even this clown, as out of place as he looked in his tinker's gear.

Good thing he hadn't left them underestimated. This had to end quick.

The remaining fireballs, two of them had finished a loop and rocketed into the boy's back. A wicked tail of flame unearthed from behind his feet, wrapping and snaring him by the knees into its burning clutch.

Ryou's hands shot together agai-

Another steam jet burst, this one riding from beneath him rose and his clothes flared and threatened to tear, forcing him forward and out. The tinker had turned on the spot, mumbled something and Ryou felt his control on the fire bind technique shatter and fade. He sliced forward while his opponent's guard was down, palm coated in fire.

Flame charred the leather on his back black until the hide phased it out, the final tail of fire taking with it what was their last speck of color anywhere in the temple.

Almost their last. The final glow tag flickered and dimmed.

The darkness brought with it another falter which cost him.

His opponent was simply quicker on the uptake. Ryou’s face and body flushed before he knew why, steam jets plummeting upwards from beneath his feet. He forced his burning skin out of its range and forward, aiming a chain of flame spheres in the direction of the one red and gold glint he could easily make out between the carnival of lightning and fire. The tinker’s eyeglasses.

Steam chased Ryou when he gave chase, making up for his sudden slowness with bolts of fire spraying at and illuminating his opponent from all directions. He had to trap him-

Vena Tavaht!

New words, but words which rang far more familiar. What was it…”Fire”. Something else...

Sure enough the flames were repelled as though the boy had burst from his a body an invisible spherical shield which through them back and had them disintegrate. Darkness dawned.

Vena!

Fire.
Ryou ducked and rolled, only narrowly escaping the wrath of a fire bolt which struck and blackened the stone beside him. Though weighted down by the steam engulfing his clothes, he found his feet. His glove burst with lightning as he pushed forward, leaning into the reflection of gold and red once again.

…and tumbling again onto nothing but limp sunglasses clattering to the floor. He’d caught on and discarded it, eh?

Sneaky bastard.

Ryou expelled his own chakra upwards as he stood, destroying another lick of fire as it fell. His hands pressed together, hoping to charge up a more definitive attack in the time he had before they re-engaged themselves.

The sun barely had a chance before it was suffocated, doused by a heavy jet of water from plummeted from above and boiled both it and him. Ryou's eyes were squeezed together to prevent the searing water from getting in but he knew now where he was hiding. Lightning erupted from his palms, a magnificent current which streamed through the jet's path and stunned through to the adversary's chest. Ryou pushed himself upwards and blinked his eyes open and charged in pursuit, following in his jutsu's light, towards the chamber’s entrance.

His wasn't the only lightning in the room. An astray bolt from the other battle zapped between their feet, halting him for a precious second. The boy regained his momentum in that same second and pounced at Ryou's scalded body, tackling them both to the ground.

The temple guardian’s lightning-slowed senses however, did give Ryou one chance to catch on to a sudden surge at his feet and shift their weigh.

Side by side, they landed in water.

Sudden water.

Both forced themselves up, unrelenting. Both had options now.

The water boiled. Lightning crackled at Ryou’s fingertips.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:29 pm

Toya scowled as Kyuuen’s thorny vines surged forward to separate their two attackers. Moxie and Ryou had each responded quickly and engaged the target closest to them, leaving the remaining two heroes stranded in the middle to assess their next move.

Now there was no obvious way for him to strike at either one. Both had backed themselves into favorable positions, only allowing a single opponent to engage them at a time. Maybe that would change if he could catch someone off guard with a stunning burst of wind. He formed a quick string of hand signs.

He blinked. His hands remained locked together, but no chakra flowed through his veins. The world suddenly flashed black and red, and he gripped the side of his head. What the hell was going on…? The faint glowing emanating from the blue seals on his arm suddenly told him their tale.

His normal vision returned to him a moment later with a bit of concentration. It seemed his flow of chakra was not completely severed, but any attempt to mold it into practical form eluded him. Good to know, but for now he was perfectly content waiting for an opportune moment to jump on a target with his blades in hand.

A second later, Kyuuen and her Iron Knight gave him one. The giant metal man smashed through eroded stone, cutting off the other two females from each other and sending them both reeling back. Toya’s eyes lit up as the blood thirst of a hunter surged through his body. His grip on the gold and silver blade in each of his hands tightened just as the temple was plunged into absolute darkness.

Beautiful arcs of red and gold alternated in illuminating parts of the large and now otherwise lightless space. Moxie and her female counterpart continued to exchange bolts of brilliant gold energy while Ryou and his opponent traded blasts of fire and something else the Nanaya couldn’t quite make out in the current visibility.

Damnit, he couldn’t attack from behind in this darkness, and warning his allies would negate the purpose of a sneak attack anyway. His frustration threatened to boil over when the sound of breathing at his side sparked a different plan in his head.

He turned and grasped the arm of the girl beside him, speaking quickly when she overreacted to the sudden contact.

Kyuuen, easy! There’s nothing we can do to help directly right now. Not under these conditions at least. Torch the place up a bit so I can help them, okay?

Shut up, I know!

Flames unwrapped from the Kizuatorui’s arm and shot upward, filling the majority of the area with a flickering, but powerful source of light. Toya only needed the briefest flash to get a full picture of his surroundings.
Ryou and the male were locked in a close-quarters struggle for the moment. There was plenty of space between Moxie and the girl for him to utilize, and now he could safely strike without leaving his leader in the dark about it. Kyuuen could cover for Ryou if the right time arose.

He charged just as Moxie blasted her foe with another jolt of electricity, this time the bolt laced with scarlet heat. The girl spun away rather than try to deflect it this time and tossed one of her sealed papers towards the Saihoushi.

Lujan!

Light warped around the leader of the heroes, trapping her in a perfectly shaped, dark void. Her attempts to step out of it proved futile as the space of manipulated energy followed her, the rays of burning light from Kyuuen’s flames bending in every other direction.

Toya plunged his blades into the girl’s back, but metal screeched as both weapons were locked in place against another brilliant barrier of gold. Casting jutsu straight from written and verbal language was just unfair…

Not so fast, sweetie. I still need to get warmed up.

She snapped her fingers and smirked as the hunter was blown back by a sudden burst of electrical energy emitted from her shield. He plunged back-first into a foot of rising water. Ugh, who the hell?

The girl’s companion stepped back as water rushed up to his ankles. His trigger-happy attacker’s tattooed friend had unleashed a gush of water from her arm in order to pull him away from the fray, despite it having paused in a stalemate of sorts. Must not be too confident in her own ally.

Romeooo!~

Ojou! I’m coming!

He turned and plunged his hands into the deepening water, super-heating it in an instant and forming a thick wall of steam between him and the three in the room’s center. He sprinted around the top ring of the room and stopped beside his partner. Their four adversaries seemed to be recovering and regrouping, still a bit shocked by the constantly developing abilities being revealed.

Creha!

Her hands glowed with light until a glowing orb appeared in her hands. It burst and created a blinding flash that would severely impair the vision of anyone looking too closely. Then she pressed two fingers against a black symbol on the exposed skin just above her collarbone.

Wake up, Kagura.

Chakra glowed around her body, materializing the spectral image of a small fox floating around her head. Its eyes glowed gold as it observed everyone in the room.

Romeo touched a similar marking on the back of his neck

Inori.

A figure materialized from his body as well, this time one of a human girl standing just at his side. Her ghostly, cherry blossom hair matched her eyes, and her body was covered in shining white armor. Her hands both gripped the hilt of heavy claymore. Both of the summoned beings were surrounded by an ethereal blue aura.

Romeo covered a gloved fist with his hand and cracked his knuckles. Inori flourished her large blade from her position above their enemies.

Come on, kid, show me some more of your second-rate magic! I’ll try and be a little serious this time!

Toya shook to rid himself of as much water as possible and clenched his teeth. His eyes still stung from the burst of light as he glared up at the pair above, but he didn’t need the full use of his eyes to fight.

His new objective was to wipe those smug grins from the faces of the girl and her fox.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:48 pm

Steady.

The word was hard and insistent. Moxie's gold eyes had narrowed, her jaw clenched, just as frustrated and hot-headed as the rest of the team. Ryou had taken the most damage so far, though nothing that Kyuuen was going to try and rush to heal. Toya seemed more frustrated by not-doing things than the struggle.

Aw, look at the fox!

The leader spun around, breath hissing between her teeth.

Kyu, this is hardly the time...

The Kizuatorui girl gave a cheater's smile and cracked her knuckles.

Let's switch this up. Me and Ryou will take the flashy girl, you take four-eyes – Toya and him should be best buddies. Whatever those summons are, they'll need to coordinate the attacks, their reaction times are all stuffed now. Throw enough at them and they won't be able to keep up.

If we charge them, they can get their summons into position, slow us down before we can keep the pressure up.

I got the distractions covered. Trust me on this.” She turned to Ryou. “Get right in her face and throw a punch, okay? Left punch. Doesn't matter if you land it.

Ryou gave her one of his looks – that 'I really wish you would explain yourself more' look – but nodded, adjusting his cap. Moxie slid out Raikenkire and handed it to Toya.

Get him between us.

Toya nodded, slipping one knife away and gripping the sword in a reverse grip.

On your command then, Kyu.

Go!

The two teams darted along the next ring, following it through the shallow water toward their targets. Kyuuen's hands fluttered like a butterfly in a windstorm.

First, most of the water exploded. What had been cold, churning darkness glittered into a sea of bubbles, filling the room with shimmering shines that bent the firelight and auras of the summons. The targets started swiping at the bubbles in front of them to try and get better vision, losing the dark shapes of the Heroes.

Then four shapes rose from the remaining water, immediately taking on the shapes of the team. A Moxie and Toya water clone joined Ryou and Kyuuen, while clones of herself and Ryou joined up with Moxie and Toya.

Let them lead! Kyuuen called out to Ryou. He dropped his pace a bit, letting the clones inch ahead, while Moxie and Toya did the same on their side.

The fox dropped low to the ground, sweeping its cute tail through the bubbles. Kyuuen watched as the tail lengthened and widened, spreading out in a lush, soft wave, moving with the graceful skill of a painter's brush. The Toya and Moxie clones rushed forward, water-weapons in hand, aiming straihgt for the girl. The fox's tail twitched, turned into two, and swept up in a sharp, stabbing sweep. The two tails caught the clones and drove them upward, their cohesion falling away immediately, gushing down in droplets.

Kyuuen's hands never stopped moving.

The thorned vines twisted out of her arm, encircling the fox. It let out a surprsied sound, trying to leap out of the circle only to be met with vines growing over the top.

Ryou rushed past her, and did as ordered, throwing his punch at the girl. The girl was off-guard, confused, but saw the punch easily, ducking her head to avoid it cleanly.

The horse on his wrist bulged and leapt out.

It plowed its head into the girl first, sending her stumbling backward, and spinning around on its front legs. It reared up, kicking its powerful back legs with enough force to shatter her skull.

The girl cried out a word and a golden barrier formed between herself and the horse, dipersing the force enough to save her life, but not enough to be prevented from being flung backward yet again.

The tiny elephant erupted in size behind the girl. The girl hit the ground and skid, just as the elephant rose on its hind legs. The girl would come to a stop right where the elephant was going to land.

Okay so maybe that wasn't exactly capturing, but they only really needed one of them alive...

On the other side, the Ryou and Kyuuen clones were blasted with an intense jet of steam. It wasn't enough to initially break the clones – steam was meant to burn at the skin, cause pain and blindness, both of which the clones did not have. They landed punches into the man's chest before the floating girl swept down and severed the heads of both clones with one clean sweep of her blade.

Toya, moving like liquid, appeared behind the man, raising up Raikenkire.

Moxie fired.

The lightning rushed for the sword, screeching for the man's body, determined to pass through it and into Raikenkire.

The girl with the sword had other ideas.

The claymore pierced down into the river of electricity, gathering it up into its blade, it's hilt, even the girl's arms. Toya dropped Raikenkire and snapped out his knives, lunging for the man. The man caught one hand, the lead hand, in a block – the hand that Toya had wanted him to block, and then grunted as the other blade bit into his side.

Just before the elephant turned the girl's head into paste, she was surrounded in soft, fiery fur. The fox's tail swept her up in a shroud, and pulled her away, both girl and fox free from all of Kyuuen's snares.

Kyuuen swore.

The floating girl swung her claymore, and an arc of electricity waved over the battlefield.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:24 am

"Hmph, hey Moxie, you gotta switch it up a bit, alright? This is going to cost us."

Ryou put his hands together, scraping chakra from their joint networks into a single wave of lightning which rivalled the sword-bearing spirit's own.

He spun, releasing it wide.

Energy clashed in a blinding instant, but Ryou's was the one to prevail. The lightning channel cracked and sparked and drove through its mirroring force, dispersing the wave with its charge. The girl swooped in again, blade raised and poised to absorb the residual electricity before it swam back to strike the shrine maiden, but the technique had succeeded in negating all damage to the heroes’ side.

And much of the light.

The boy named Romeo raised his hands in the second the hunter released him, using the absence of electricity to launch another jet upwards where it circled the ceiling, extinguishing the flame and plummeted at the Nanaya. The wounded tinker doubled back as the moment allowed. Kyuuen burst after him, moving to restore the luminescence for both her own sake and Toya’s, The new water bulged into bubbles and she went next to rekindle the fire, but a gliding fox caught her first.

The floating spirit’s wing was like a blanket around her arm, slowing it to a freeze, trapping the fire from ever being released. Its tail extended, slinking around her ankle.

Elsewhere, the elephant was paralysed in its charge.

Ryou lunged forward, regaining his composure from his last outburst and utilizing the last dim glow given off by the floating spirits to evaluate the darkened state of the room. Lightning crackled. Kyuuen was out, but he could light this place up easy and get to he-

Argh!

Bone dug under his chin as the shrine girl used his moment of falter to pounce and pull him into a headlock from behind. Ryou’s sparks faded from bound hands, the final light they provided serving to show Moxie stop mid-charge, sword raised, darting around with her eyes prying for an alternative, though she helpless as long as the guardian held her ally hostage. Ryou struggled against her, kicking and flailing and failing to recall how to reverse this grip, even against a shorter female.

Toya Nanaya didn’t need the light. The hunter was quick in pursuit, catching his former adversary just before the entrance. His senses adapted, and his hearing allowed him to pinpoint his target with ease. The darkness only played at his advantage. The other boy’s only virtue was that he was quick. Quick enough to avoid vital shots thrice, knives slicing elsewhere into his chest. But in the dark, it wasn’t enough.

He let out a cry.

Flame burst from Ryou’s body whilst much of his remaining chakra glowed green, cushioning his own skin. The explosive temperatures were enough to force the girl off his body, and in the same instant, Moxie’s blade tore from the sky. She ducked this first strike, hurtling in Ryou’s direction, where he would have her.

But she’d heard the cry. White light flashed through the entire chamber, stunning the hunter who had come to rely on the darkness.

The boy, her ally, had one moment. He used it.

Steam erupted from the stone floor. Propelled bubbles rose and soared and crashed into the roof above and the droplets fell.

The girl with the sword plunged the blade into the ceiling, and lightning rained through the water.

Linear sparks shot down between each of their feet, the magnificent light show scattering individuals from where they stood.

Lightning cracked between Moxie and Ryou and the maiden, all three buckling backwards to avoid it. Lightning cracked between Toya and Romeo, both doing the same.

They only needed a moment the speed of light.

The pair were gone by the time the darkness reigned.
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:50 am

Romeo collapsed on the stone floor with his back pressed against the wall and pushed a hand against his chest with every ounce of his strength. His shirt was already soaked with blood despite his efforts.

Inori drove her blade through the ground and knelt down next to the wounded boy. She tilted her head and spoke in soft monotone.

Master, you’re injured.

Thanks, I hadn’t even noticed.

You’re welcome.

A painful laugh escaped him.

That guy with the knives is good. Somehow had enough of his senses to keep up with me in there. Damnit, you coulda taken them all down if we had a better position and a little more time…

Kagura glided across the floor to his side, her tail split into a half dozen branches, each emitting a brilliant light from small orbs at the tips.

Quiet down, kid. You were cocky and impatient and screwed up. That’s all there is to it. Miharu, would you get over here and plug him up? He’s leaking everywhere.

Miharu turned from the doorway as she finished sealing it off. The barrier of chakra wouldn’t take much beating once those four came knocking at it, but it would buy them a little time to think and recover. At the least, it would announce their entrance.

She brushed the bottom of her dress, the edges that covered part of her thighs slightly singed from one of her foe’s fiery outburst. Upstart shinobi daring to challenge her…

No, no, I’m fine! Just a couple scratches. Don’t waste your energy, Ojou!

Romeo, hush.

The girl followed the light of her familiar over to her companion and knelt over him. She slipped a hand beneath his shirt and ran her fingers across the bloody holes dotting his torso.

Ow…

Nakah.

The warm liquid stopped gushing out as the wounds slowly closed. Her basic healing techniques weren’t enough to completely mend injuries like this, but they were a start and certainly made them feel much better.

She pulled her crimson-stained hand away and smiled.

Not going to die on me?

He grinned.

As if!

His bravado faltered for a moment.

These guys aren’t Genri crusaders, are they? I don’t doubt our strength, but their numbers are turning out to be a real problem. I…I could distract them long enough for you to get out. Your life is far more important than mine, Ojou! I-!

Miharu’s gloved palm struck him across the left cheek, the slap stingingly audible.

I don’t remember walking into this place with a weak-willed little boy. Say anything like that to me again, and you won’t need to try throwing your life away. You hear me?

Romeo touched his throbbing face and nodded. The hesitation in his eyes was gone.

Besides…

She stood and crossed her arms over her chest, eyes narrowing in thought.

I think you’re right about them. We’re definitely not here for the same reasons. I bet it has something to do with those dead Suna-nin we stumbled over earlier. Maybe we can still talk this out. No one has been severely injured, so they should be willing to listen if they’re not stupid. Playing with them was kinda fun though. What do you guys think?

Inori took one of her owner’s hands and hoisted him back to his feet. Then she ripped her massive blade from the stone floor.

Master, what do you think?

You can’t be serious. You act like any thoughtless summoned being that all those shinobi love to wave around. Unlike them, we’re unique creations, just as important as our partners. Have some Shikigami pride and think for yourself!

The humanoid spirit tilted her head.

What should I think for myself, exactly?

The fox lowered her head and sighed.

Nervmind, girl…

Alright alright, that’s enough. Ojou is right. We’ll fight on if we have to, but we can try to contact them at least. But how can go back in there without starting exactly what we did before…

Miharu rubbed her chin and took a step toward the door.

Maybe something as simple as-

She stepped to the side as a sword soared through her electric barrier and clattered across the floor, sparks flying off the steel blade in every direction.

I just want to talk!

Huh, she beat me to it. Girl must not be completely dumb then! Try to smile and play nice, Romeo~.

Tell your grumpy fox that.

Don’t tempt me, boy.

Oh, Master, I’ve been attempting to practice what you call smiling. Shall I put it to use now?

Uh, just stand with me, Inori…

Okay.

Miharu took another step and cupped her hands over her mouth.

Okay, let’s talk! Just make sure to keep a leash on your knife boy. He seems a bit wild, and we can’t have him charging us like a beast again, can we~?
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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:23 am

It was only then that Kyuuen remembered she had her own glow tags. The first one bloomed to life, pale white, in the darkness. She set it on the floor beside her and managed to get herself to her feet, fumbling for another tag.

Is everyone okay?

Yeah, fine, thanks Kyu...but I'm running down on chakra. Let's sort this out and finish it up, alright?!

Yes.

I'm okay. You?

One by one glow tags settled on the floor and walls, gentle light washing over the team. They were wet and a little singed, but Kyuuen couldn't spot any obvious injuries.

Wounded pride and bruised ego. Nothing to complain about.

Moxie only nodded, her face set in deep concentration.
Something is odd here. They're not trying to kill us, they're trying to escape.

Yeah I noticed that too. Odd?

It's...” Raikenkire sung, steel against leather. “I'm going to talk to them.

Kyuuen opened her mouth to protest, but their leader was already making strides to the door. Toya shadowed her, following the edges of the light and standing off to one side, practically invisible.

Raikenkire hurled through the doorway, glimmering in a shroud of sparks as it cut through whatever chakra barrier their enemies had built.

I just want to talk!

Kyuuen and Ryou moved closer. She could hear voices, arguing voices maybe, but nothing clear.

Okay, let's talk! Just make sure to keep a leash on your knife boy. He seems a bit wild, and we can't have him charging us like a beast again, can we~?

The corner of Moxie's lips quirkd. Funny, they had no idea what Toya was capable of and they were already afraid. Perhaps landing the first and only real injury had something to do with that. Moxie rolled her shoulders, standing up straight, despite being unable to see the others.

My name is Moxie Saihoushi, I'm here on behalf of the Republic of Suna. We're here investigating the deaths of a team of archaelogists who were sent down here before. Do you knwo anything about that?

Oh dear, I figured those people were related to Suna. We found them deeper in the temple, but I swear to you that we had nothing to do with their deaths. We're just explorers of sorts ourselves, and we would be happy to show you where your unlucky friends ended up if you let us pass in peace.

Moxie nodded, slowly. She could feel the turbulence in the team behind her, the impatience to keep moving, but she didn't look, didn't acknowledge it.

Sorry but that's not a deal I can cut with you right now. You attacked us, unprovoked, and you probably have the skill to kill those men. I need you tu surrender your weapons and submit to a chakra seal. We'll need to question you, then you can go. I promsie no harm will come to you...as long as you haven't done anything wrong.

Mm, I'm afraid I can't agree to that either. I apologize for my partner's reckless action, but you see we've run into quite the number of thieves and scavengers on our many expeditions into ruins such as these. I can't be guaranteed that Romeo and myself will be unharmed if we allow you to do that. I know just how determined you shinobi can be when you need to pin the deaths of comrades on someone. Anyone. We will cooperate with you, but only on equal ground.

Kyuuen's snort echoed in the chamber.

Ha, equal footing, yeah right. We're not new at this, you know, what kind of amateurs do they think we are.

We can't rush into this Kyu. There's too much we don't know.

Yeah I don't buy the part about them just being explorers, they're speaking the language, I'll give you that. My guess was that they're some sort of...guardians of this place, look at the way that girl dresses, it's weird. So maybe they weren't entirely "unprovoked", but like hell they're telling us everything. I agree. Let's not rush it.

Finally, someone starting to find a little patience. Still, Moxie couldn't fault them for wanting to finish the fight. And they were still obeying her lead. If they had to grumble a little on the way, so be it.

What did you have in mind for equal footing?

Kyuuen groaned.

Exactly what I said before. We'll take you to your lost team, but you don't touch either of us with seals or constaints of any kind. I don't know how you think we can prove our innocence, but their wounds were nothing like anything we could inflict. And then you let us go, because we're just innocent civilians. I think think it's in you or your Republic's interest to kill or detain foreigners for no reason.

Moxie was shaking her head well before the girl was finished speaking. That wouldn't work, not at all. She wasn't sure that these people were the murderers, but she also didn't know for certain that they weren't. What she needed was information.

I send one of my people over to check out the bodies. You send your friend over to our side. One gets harmed, the other does too.

A tense, taut silence. A new voice broke it, apparently the man.

Hah, no way I'll-

Alright, deal.

There was shuffling on the other side of the door.

Inori will be here if they try anything. Besides, I don't think they will as long as their friend is alone with me. Kagura had so much fun playing with the tattoo girl before.

Fine...just try to make it quick.

Che, who's going to be the poor sucker going on to their side.

You.

What!?

I need someone to check out the bodies and tell me what happened to them, and you heard Ryou. We're low on chakra. If something goes wrong, you'll be able to hold off long enough for us to get to you.

The sound Kyuuen made was like she was crunching on her own voice. “I can't believe you're trusting them...this is stupid, I take back everything I said about you being a good leader.

The girl passed through the other side of the door, and the tinker came onto their side. Toya was behind him in an instant, knife in hand, giving the boy a shove forward into the ring of light. Moxie kept her focus on the door – the chakra barrier was gone now, and she could hear Kyuuen and the girl talking.

Ryou walked up to Moxie, leaning in to her ear.”She's right for once, you know. I don't buy these clowns either.

Then keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't do anything.

There was enough annoyance in Moxie's voice to send Ryou nodding and walking over to their temporary prisoner, whom Toya now had on his knees.

Your buddy put like three holes in my chest. If I manage to 'do anything', then you guys are even more incompetent than I thought.

Apparently the knees wasn't low enough, because Toya's hand buffeted the back of the tinker's head, sending him onto his hands. Moxie caught the sound of Taishou – still hiding behind a rock – whimper, but slowly make his way out, peering over at Toya hopefully.

Normally Moxie migh have chastized him for the excess force.

But not now.

Her eyes were hurting.

She rubbed at them, trying to push the pain away. She had discovered that, after too long without using the Kyoumougan, the pressure started to build. What she had thought had bee na complete release from the torture of ther bloodline was only a reprieve. Every few weeks the pain got so unbearable that she had to look into the future.

Like now.

Except, that the future didn't make a lot of sense or hold a lot of answers for her these days.

Her eyes lit up, almost imperceptibly, and she entered a world of gold. Instead of just letting the future wash over her, she tried to focus it this time, concentrating on the immediate events. What could go wrong, what could be done to win, and every variation in between.

Except she kept seeing dad.

Over and over again.

And that didn't make sense. None of this did.

How did he know the team was dead?

They didnt' come back. That's all. A team of elites doesn't return, they're dead. Makese sense. She was just thinking too hard about it.

Right?


Kyuuen squared up as tall as she could, hating that she had to look up to meet the shrine girl's eyes.

Listen. I don't trust you. So you stay good and well away from me. And you too, fox, I don't care how snuggly soft you look.

The two headed down through the hallway. More of the walls were crumbled. Kyuuen was growing tired of the light from the summons, and didn't trust they'd be there forever, so she started sticking the walls with more glow tags.

Then they were there.

Some part of her mind clicked off, the part that valued everything beautiful and alive. Now it was a pile of meat; muscles, bones, organs, nerves. Nothing but stuff for her to manipulate.

Or in this case, observe.

The bodies were mangled. Not murdered, not injured in combat. Mangled.

One looked partially flattened from something with a lot of force and weight.

One was gored through, by a twisting object.

One was cut in half, the ragged edges of flesh betraying some sort of battle axe.

One was scratched to shreds.

Kyuuen turned to look at the girl. Composed, dangerous, tricky. Powerful, even.

But there wasn't any blood on her. No traces of the kind of strength required to do this kind of damage. No signs of fatigue, either – the only fighting they'd done was with them.

That's what the facts told her. She didn't want to believe them but...there they were.

Unless the fox had done the killing. But it was soft!...

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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Klee » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:01 am

Ryou was meant to be watching the boy and his face was angled down, scrunched with disdain as though he was. However, his eyes remained on Kyuuen and the other girl all the way up until the pair had vanished into whatever the hell lay alongside the archaeologist’s bodies on the other side of that hall. A sigh of hesitance escaped between his teeth.

When he’d said not to rush, he’d meant avoid rushing into a fight. Not this.
What was Moxie thinking, leaving her to go out there with that bizarre female, without even bothering to get the details which continued to elude them? There were just too many questions. Why she and her companion even knew where the bodies were? What this place’s true nature was and what their connection was? He had his own theories, all of which ended in dark suspicions. And now he couldn’t shake off what those suspicions could well entail for Kyuuen’s fate at the present moment.

But when had Moxie ever made the wrong call when it came to negotiations? The girl could see the future. She had to know what she was doing. And it was too late now anyway, what else could he do but wait and trust his leader?

Ryou tried very hard to distract himself with the satisfying sound of a thump to their captive’s head. He scowled at the tinker.

Yeah, yeah shut up. Three holes but all outside vital zones, it’s a wonder you even managed to survive let alone escape, with this coming from Toya.

Jeering at him however, only brought to mind another reason for all of Ryou’s anxieties. Why had they let these people escape? The two strangers weren’t the only individuals in this temple whose behaviour seemed dangerously amiss.

His eyes darted to Toya, narrowing.

What’s up with that anyway? One strike missing the mark to cripple him is one thing, but three? You should have figured out that he was going to make a run for it by then. What’s going on? Can’t fight without the glasses?

Ryou’s stare pushed past the sarcastic comment, pressing his friend for an explanation. Of course the prideful hunter didn’t instantly divulge it, but three years of fighting behind Toya had him know that there definitely was one to be given.

Before he’d managed to verbally extort it however, he was side-tracked by the feeling of something fluffy brushing past his leg.

He bent over and scooped up Taishou.

Hey, geez! Don’t go wandering around little guy, Kyu won’t want you to touch somethi-

Ryou almost dropped the puppy that second, a certain memory colliding with him like lightning. He shoved Taishou into Toya’s left arm, and seized his right elbow, tearing back the sleeves.

The seal! Let me see that, what did they do to you?!

Of course! How the hell could he have been so stupid!? Toya had barged in like an idiot and triggered this thing when they’d first walked in here, and nobody had bothered to check what the effects would be. Well he knew what they were now.

Some of them. But what else?

He scanned Toya’s arm.

What the heck is this…

The markings were like nothing he’d ever seen before. Not in any seal he’d ever bumped into in a medical textbook, or any noteworthy symbols he’d come across in his life. He even shrugged his own shoulder, comparing the dark lines which criss-crossed Toya’s arm and hand to his own chakra seal. No semblance whatsoever. The miniscule inscriptions in between were more familiar, however. Terms he couldn’t remember the meaning of from a foreign language.

He could look them up if he wanted to, but in all this sudden panic, he didn’t quite feel like it anymore. There was another option.

Seals could be serious if not attended to, especially if their nature was unknown. He wasn’t going to wait around for that anymore, whatever the leader said.

Ryou released Toya, rounding on Romeo.

Hear that, huh? What’s it say? You can read it, I know you can, so tell me, what’s this seal doing! Actually, why don’t you tell me what any of this is about? Why can you read it, and why are you really here?

His voice rose. Taishou barked.

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Re: Temple to a Lost God

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:01 am

She giggled through her hand.

You’re a silly one, aren’t you? Won’t trust a single thing I say or do, yet you think a question like that will accomplish anything.

Her eyes glinted knowingly. She walked forward with her arms spread out, baggy sleeves flowing behind as she looped around the bodies and paused inches from Kyuuen.

Or maybe your minor change of heart is rational after all. Because you know that we really don’t have anything to do with these deaths, hm?

Her laugh was loud and full this time. There was no need for an answer, as she was simply stating the obvious. Most people in this world were simply too predictable for her taste.

Miharu Genri is my given name, but no one of my clan would ever attach their name to mine. Well, you’ve caught us, Romeo and I aren’t the usual type of explorers. This temple and others like it are tightly associated with the founding of the Genri clan. We visit and excavate them in search of related information. It’s all very boring historical and lingual stuff you wouldn’t want me to bore you with. But believe me when I say we don’t harm people without a very good reason.

Miharu reached down and rubbed a hand across her fox’s fluffy back.

Isn’t that right, Kagura~?

The spirit beast growled softly and stepped forward out of her master’s reach.

You’re too carefree, Miharu. That boy of yours is injured and alone with three of them. That ditzy young shikigami of his has amazing power, but she doesn’t have the head to protect him on her own.

I already told you, they won’t touch him as long as this one is here with us. Just trust me, I can tell.

She smiled sweetly at Kyuuen.

Sorry about her. Living for hundreds of years evidently breeds trust issues. We should return to our friends. Oh, and I just wanted to tell you your tattoos are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve considered getting some work done myself, but I never know who I can trust to give me quality work for my money, you know? If you do them yourself, I would love to hire you! It’s funny, I was telling Romeo earlier that-

Both girls clamped down on their ears as a horrific screeching rocked through the corridor and shook the stone foundation of the shattered temple. A shadow loomed further down the hallway from their position and rapidly barreled down on them.

Miharu gritted her teeth and spat out a single word.

Bina…

The crushing pressure in her ears and across her entire body subsided. The same effect radiated outward from her and cleansed the others of the auditory assault for the moment.

Kagura!

The fox turned, its tail growing large enough to nearly fill the constricted space and swept it back and forth. A powerful gust wind froze their mystery attacker in place and began pushing it back the way it came. Miharu grabbed Kyuuen’s hand and sprinted in the opposite direction, back towards the temple entrance.

The pair burst into the gigantic chapel they had passed through earlier, the space empty of the many rows of ancient seats that probably once lined it. Miharu spun around to see Kagura sprinting madly just a few yards behind.

Miharu! It’s an untamed shikigami, a bat! It flies too strongly for wind to slow it down much!

She raised a seal pressed between two fingers.

Linnahd!

A crackling yellow bolt surged from her hand and honed in on the creature soaring into the room. The bat was massive and barely fit through the arch of the door. As soon as it emerged it waved a wing forward and wind similar to Kagura’s rocketed forward to collide with the lightning.

Miharu stared in stunned silence as the chakra-based attack completely diffused her own, the wild shikigami continuing its flight path directly by her and Kagura on a collision course with Kyuuen, glisteningly sharp wings prepped to strike. She scrambled for the paper seals stored at her sides, hoping she would be quick enough.

--

Shut up, I’m fine. I was being extra careful to make sure I didn’t kill him, alright? There’s nothing wrong with me. At least I did land something.

Toya held Taishou tightly in one arm and absently stroked the puppy’s fur. Not because he wanted to or cared, but it seemed to be shutting him up for the moment. All that barking and whimpering was just annoying.

Ryou had turned his attention off of him for now, instead focusing on the boy and the origins behind the seal. Damnit, couldn’t everyone just leave it alone? This mission was becoming a mess of frustration and inaction right away, and he was ready to punch through a wall.

Romeo pushed himself back up to his knees and this time rose back to his feet. Toya didn’t seem to have the desire or will to shove him down this time.

Cause I study the language, that’s why. What the hell don’t you understand about the term explorer? Ojou and I have been studying ruins like these for a long time, so it’s only natural to pick up on the history and language of the ancient people who constructed and used them in the past. Sheesh, so distrusting, something traumatic happen in your childhood, man?

He brushed dust from his shirt and winced. Alright, even the closed and partially numbed wounds were still a bit tender.

It’s a chakra disruption seal, by the way. You can still use your power, in certain ways, but you won’t be able to mold any chakra to use in most ninjutsu. Sorry, I don’t have enough experience to mess with something that complicated yet. Ojou might be able to help you. If she’s feeling merciful after all this, that is.

Toya froze. Is that all it was? That explained his attempt at a wind technique fizzling immediately, but…why did he still feel a littler abnormal in other ways? His head felt…heavier than usual when he was fighting. And that flash of his Fatesplitter’s vision when he hadn’t intended to activate it. Something else was off here…

You guys are really wasting your time. Whatever or whoever killed your comrades are probably long gone, and it definitely has nothing to do with us. You’re lucky Ojou is being nice, cause if I had any say in this I’d-

Taishou tensed up in Toya’s arms and began barking up a storm out of nowhere. The hunter tightened his grip on the dog and swiveled his head in every direction in a futile attempt to figure out what the animal was so spooked over.

Master, shikigami detected.

What? Oh, they must be back!

Inori shook her head adamantly, while Taishou continued to whimper in Toya’s grip.

No, from behind us. And there are two of them.

The stone entryway on the other side of the room exploded into a shower of debris as a creature several times the size of the previous opening stomped its way through. A hulking elephant signaled its entrance with an ear-splitting trumpeting and charged straight for the group. A brawny man clad in strange outfit, fit more for a frozen climate than a desert, stood atop the creature’s thick backside, clutching a vicious battleaxe in both his hands.

H-Holy shit! Ojou might be in trouble too, Inori, we gotta go help her!

Romeo turned, scrambled up the last few steps and disappeared through the door to find Miharu. Ryou had moved to block his path and cursed after the vanishing boy upon failing.

Toya was already vaulting up the steps and into the hallway before Moxie could finish voicing her command for everyone to fall back to a better position to fight their attackers. The Nanaya quickly caught up to the injured male, and the two of them emerged from the corridor and entered into a giant, empty sanctuary just in time to see Miharu and a monstrous flying creature exchanging elemental blasts.

Taishou leapt from Toya’s grasp and ran to an empty corner of the room.

Ojou!” “Kyuuen!

They split, Toya moving to the left before sprinting straight for the girls, and Romeo veering to the right in an attempt to approach from the rear where his ranged ninjutsu would be more effective.

The large winged creature evaded or neutralized everything thrown its way and descended from above on Kyuuen, but Toya and his blades were a step quicker. He leapt, gold and silver flashing as the twin knives plunged into the bat’s flesh, but the satisfying feeling of a clean kill eluded him.

The bat glowed blue and disintegrated in his grasp. The Nanaya continued forward through the space his target previously occupied and landed hard on the ground. By the time he jumped up to his feet, the bad had materialized behind him. His reflexes were just slow enough to allow the razor-sharp edge of a wing to glance across his back before he stiffened his Saihoushi armor. A line of red crossed his back where his jacket and combat suit were cleanly ripped through.

He snarled and turned to strike at the beast again, but it scattered its essence a second time. Only now, rather than reappearing in its original form a second later, a dozen smaller bats took its place and soared in every direction, each one a pair of daggers ready to dive into the exposed flesh of anyone it could reach.

Tricky little bastard…

Ow, damnit!

Still several feet away from the other three, Romeo had tripped over a pile of rocky debris near one of the few intact pillars still standing in the room. He reached out to use the column as a support and incidentally triggered some sort of pressure plate built into the structure.

The boy’s reflexes were quick enough to send him lunging sideways, but the rotating blade that emerged from higher up on the stone post still caught his shoulder and dragged down across his collarbone and stopping at his upper chest before he finally landed on the ground out of its deadly reach. Ugh, everything was looking a bit hazy all of a sudden…

Romeo!

His second cry of pain was enough to make Miharu spin around with worry flashing in her eyes. He raised his left arm and waved her off.

I’m fine, it’s just another scratch, just take these guys down!

Ryou and Moxie rushed into the room, followed closely by the berserker and elephant pair who had to smash their way through yet another aging door. Inori stood atop the giant creature just opposite the axe-wielder and clashed weapons with him before floating backwards and hovering in the middle of the battlefield.

Master! You’re-

Injured! Yes! I know! Just help them, okay? Here, Inori, Vena!

The pink-haired shikigami extended her blade and absorbed the gentle wave of fire that Romeo sent her way and swiped the burning sword in a circle around her, deciding which of the three major threats in the room to target. The room was still in chaos with Miharu, Kyuuen, and Toya struggling in the midst of the bat swarm and Moxie and Ryou now facing off against their massive pursuers.

The big guy seemed like the best option to take for now.

Eliminating enemies!
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