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LOCATION: Reates' Lab / Victorious Secret / Darius' Mansion | INTERACTION: @FallenReaper

Nabriales had spent the better part of the day in the lab with Reates, both fairly rapt in their work and their findings. Nabriales had done what he could regarding the preservation of the vis at the scene in crystalline form for Reates to analyse further (as his Sight was far more up to the task than Nabri's) and beyond that had assisted whenever Reates had asked. He'd spent the best part of their time together ensuring that the research progressed smoothly--contrary to Reates' and his own chaotic nature--and probing his vast web of contacts to see if any of them could offer any insights immediately that the pair might have missed. Naturally, there were no leads there, and as the day crawled towards its end Nabriales received a call from Darius. That, in and of itself, was fairly odd--Nabri usually contacted Darius first and ensured that their business meetings were scheduled well in advance to free up Darius' far more constrictive schedule, and they weren't due to meet again regarding any of his earlier propositions for another month or two.

He answered promptly, but it seemed that the call had not fully connected. Perhaps it was simply the interference of the wards surrounding the lab, or perhaps the fox had butt-dialed him, but neither of those options particularly convinced Nabriales, and with a quick shout over to Reates that he'd be back in a jiffy (even though Reates didn't hear him and Nabri knew he'd not be getting back into the Lab without Reates' direct interference) and attempted to teleport out before remembering where he was and exiting through the door.obviously

Then, with a second of conscious effort, poofed himself through the proverbial aether into Darius' mansion to see what the mysterious call was about. He'd moved himself into one of Darius' many studies, expecting a call from there, but to his surprise found their usual meeting spot quite empty. Given that a modicum of effort had been spent getting here, and that Reates really didn't need him for the research at this point of the process, Nabri decided to give the mansion a quick look-over, his Sight allowing him to largely see through the physical structure and look for the familiar sign of Darius' vis. He furrowed his brow in confusion as he found what he was looking for, and immediately relocated himself to where Darius was--something terrible had transpired here, but Nabri was very confused as to what exactly had happened. Darius was clearly injured, and clinging to the edge of consciousness as he had attempted to ameliorate his wounds as best as he could. He figured it couldn't have been more than a few minutes before whatever had happened had happened, and his nose picked up the distinct scent of gunpowder but he couldn't sense anyone else within the mansion. He looked up to see the recently-fired weapon in a cabinet, presumably where Darius had opened it, and leaned a little further down to inspect it.

From what he could see, the weapon was entirely mundane. There was no spike of vis in or around it to suggest that any magic had been used whatsoever, but it looked like Darius had been hit with some kind of acid attack--though even that was unusual, as Nabriales would recognise any non-magical acid available within the entire country immediately and there was no vis to suggest that it was magical in any capacity. Focusing more intently, he did not even recognise its chemical structure and it looked more similar to blood than anything else. At this point, he realised that he had spent too much time considering the how of the situation and not actually having bothered ensuring Darius was alright. He subconsciously teleported the two with an extra-quiet poof (having seen the sleeping form of Masha earlier) to Victorious Secret. He placed Darius on the counter, and took a deeply crimson vial from the shelf below him. He elected to avoid the hassle of getting Darius to actually drink it by teleporting its contents directly into his stomach, and teleported a number of bandages to the counter, along with a vial of clear, viscous liquid. He applied the liquid to the bandages, and then began wrapping them tightly along Darius' broken arm. The liquid was an antacid, of sorts, that would ensure that the skin and fur would grow back properly as the healing potion did its work and prevent any further degradation of his tissues by the acid.

It would be a few moments before he awoke, so after he'd tended to the ministrations Nabri teleported them both back to the study in which they normally met and waited for Darius to wake up.

It only took a few more moments, and as Darius awoke Nabri smiled at him from across the desk and reached out a hand to offer support.

"Are you feeling alright?" he asked simply, waiting for Darius to become coherent enough to tell him what had actually happened before he said anything further.

LOCATION: Amegakure - Shinobi Academy | INTERACTION: @MesuOkami @Anders @Terminal

Today was the day.

As Takashi left the world of dreams behind, that was her most immediate and frantic thought. Today is the day.

Her heart raced and her pulse quickened and her breathing intensified and then she couldn't contain her excitement any longer and she was wide awake and some unholy cross between a giggle and a scream had left her throat and her lips before she had even realised that she'd spoken. Today was the day that she graduated, and became something more than she was now. She walked further along the path that she'd set for herself, following gradually behind Kinuko and catching up to her and being one day closer to seeing her again.

Then, she took a deep breath in. She gathered up all of that excitement that was roiling around inside of her and balled it up and with a slow, purposeful motion exhaled and let it all out of her body. Each breath in to gather that energy, and each breath out to remove that which could not be focused and disciplined. It took her a good five minutes of breathing exercises before she was ready to even consider what she actually had to do in order to prepare for the day ahead of her. She went through her usual morning routine with a vim and vigour so rare among the Yuganori clan's household that many of her female relatives made a point of asking if she was really that excited to become a Genin--to which she responded with an exuberant "Yes!" each time--and continued about her business of getting ready. For most of her classmates, she imagined that presentability was at the forefront of their minds. It was a special occasion, so they had to look special--full formal ninja garb for the first time in any meaningful capacity without so much as an errant hair on their head. They dressed this way not so much to convince the academy or their sensei or their parents or even the Amekage that they were fit to take this step on their journey, but to convince themselves. To will their perceptions of their shinobihood into reality by finding the right garb, the right actions, the right words--and taking that rightness for themselves. The graduation ceremony was as much an assignment as any other day in the academy, but it was one that took place entirely in the mind.

When Takashi had gotten herself ready, she held her scarf Omoiyari in her hands and pressed it close to her chest. She had debated before today whether or not she should wear it to the ceremony, flitting back and forth between yes and no, and in truth she still wasn't certain whether or not it would be appropriate to wear it. Not in an official sense, but for her to claim her own sense of purpose--for her to draw her perception into reality. Kinuko had been the one that had set her heart and mind on being a shinobi in the first place, and this scarf was the physical manifestation of that commitment. It was her path forward, in a metaphorical and literal sense, but the doubt that weighed most heavily on her mind was whether or not it was holding her back from achieving her potential. Kinuko had always told her to live in the present without regretting the past or anticipating the future if she wanted to be happy, and she felt like she was still too stupid to understand exactly what that meant. She had never really felt like she could apply it to herself at a moment's notice like her sister had always been able to.

If she was to become a shinobi today, she would simply have to make the choice and live with its consequences. She wrapped the silk around her neck, adjusted it so that the large overflow on either side draped itself around her body in a helix for convenience's sake, and waited patiently in her bedroom for two hours and forty-six minutes until it was time for breakfast. Breakfast was, as usual, a dull affair. Rice with furikake, a bowl of miso soup, and as a little bit of a luxury a grilled fillet of salmon--she enjoyed the meal with as much focus as she could manage between the fussing and grooming of her mother and the other various women of the clan, and the silent resentment of the clan's elders - each reminded of a person they would rather have forgotten, and each not bothering to even thinly veil their contempt of the eerily similar situation. Takashi paid them no mind as they all ate, but took some time to discuss the upcoming events with her mother. Kaori had only ever offered Takashi the utmost support and love, so it came as no surprise that she offered her most sincere well-wishes and beamed with joy as the prospect of attending the graduation. Her father, Yuuto, gave her a firm handshake and told her to represent the Yuganori well and return to them as a more fully realised asset.

The actual affair of graduating proceeded exactly as Takashi and her classmates had been taught that it would, and Takashi listened to Yogensha's speech intently. Their cohort was the first to have its individual groups selected by the Amekage rather than by the jōnin who traditionally chose their own teams. As she listened, it made Takashi think of how this was more of a beginning than an end, as Yogensha had stated, and she had to fight the urge to get lost in her thoughts in order to maintain focus. Takashi was surprised at the Amekage--even in their own village, little had actually gotten around about her, and being addressed by her personally felt like stealing a secret glimpse into an enigma that had been hidden from everyone. The more Takashi listened and observed, the more she thought it was a good thing that Yogensha had hidden her presence from the world. There was something so compelling about her--the quiet confidence with which she spoke, the grace and authority with which she moved. Even to one as uninitiated in the wider aspects of combat and the potential scale of ninjutsu, Takashi was utterly awed by what she imagined the Amekage capable of. She was reminded, in some ways, of her departed sister - and that mental connection served to plant the seeds for further admiration and respect in Takashi's mind.

When the rain began to fall, and the graduates instructed to don their headbands for the first time, Takashi wrapped hers around her scarf--causing the symbol to show just above her solarplexus--and looked back up at Yogensha.

“the Rain weeps for you and the suffering you are to receive and cause.”

Takashi heard the words echoing in the back of her mind as they were granted a momentary reprieve from the ceremony. Others around her chatted to one another, basking in the glory of their accomplishment, but Takashi's mind was sobered by the words. Suffering was integral to a shinobi--for every sacrifice required suffering by virtue of its nature--but there was no reason that the sacrifice could not be made sweet. Takashi resolved in that moment to use her burden as a way to focus herself, to focus not on the hardship ahead of her but on what that hardship preserved and protected. She lifted her head up to the rain and let the droplets of water run down her face, her smile broadening as she exulted in the feeling of her dedication. Was this how Kinuko had felt, when she had graduated? Was this how the others were feeling? Did they look past the fleeting moment of the now and into the uncertain future, as she was? Did they consider the gravity of what had just happened, of what they were now?


'and neither should I.'

As the male shinobi's voice abruptly ended her reverie, Yogensha assigned to them their teams. Takashi did not even try to hide her giddy excitement at the fact that her name was spoken first--despite knowing that it was simply coincidence--and listened intently for the names of her new teammates. Furaribi Akane and Shiru Metsumi were spoken just after hers, and she impressed those names into her memory. There would be time to become acquainted with them later, however, as Takashi's next focus was on the gleaming smile of her mother from beneath the shelter. Takashi bounded over to her and wrapped her arms tightly around her midsection in a quickly returned embrace. It was an intimate moment of bonding, free from the judgements of the other Yuganori, and it was rare. The pure, unconditional affection that she received from her mother gave her her first tangible reason to bear the Rain's hardships, her first real consideration as a shinobi of the Rain, and she only hoped that that resolve would be just as warm and strong within her in the years to come as it was now.

Takashi had spent the better part of the week of free time she'd had weaving with her father, helping to fulfil commissions and practicing her technique for the upcoming meeting she'd be having with her sensei and her team. Yuuto had congratulated her sparingly upon her return, choosing to acknowledge her graduation as a sign that she was ready for more responsibility whenever she was at home and not on a mission. Takashi happily accepted all of the work that he gave her, both wanting to please him and wanting to improve her technique, and was taught new and interesting weaving techniques for her troubles. On the sixth day, in the evening just before she retired to bed, Takashi received the message from her sensei asking her to be present at the "Kazami Clan Entrance" in the morning. Takashi recognised the name--vaguely, at least--and spent the better part of an hour wracking her brains trying to work out where she'd heard the name before. Now that she was a shinobi proper she didn't want to just ask someone else, wanted to work out this enigma for herself, but as she paced the halls of the Yuganori clan compound muttering the name "Kazami, Kazami..." beneath her breath, one of the Elders shot her a disparaging glance and asked: "Kazami? Are you working on the order for the theatre?".

The moment of epiphany hit Takashi like a metaphorical truck--of course! She'd seen the name and the symbol when she'd gone over the clan's ledgers with Yuuto. She couldn't believe that she hadn't recognized the name earlier - though a modest clan by even Amagakure's standards, the Kazami had long been customers of the Yuganori for the various outfits they required for theatrical performances. Many of the articles they provided were only loaned, as the Kazami would not be able to afford the Yuganori's frankly extortionate prices for the entire outfits they produced, and as it was so easy for the Yuganori to repurpose any garment they created into any other garment, the outfits usually ended up being comprised of the various scraps and cutoffs of their more elegant and refined pieces. Of course, even with this practice in place the quality of their goods was so high compared to any other potential vendors (none of which had even remotely been competition in the past decade) and their ability to manipulate fabric was so proficient that fashioning the remnants of better materials into bolts of high quality cloth was something they did regularly. She immediately went to the clan's ledgers and looked up the relevant information for the Kazami clan's compound, taking a moment to recognise her sensei's name and her measurements.

Somewhat on a whim, Takashi decided that she would make a kimono for Miyako. She knew that the performers at the theatre typically performed elaborate dances, and that the weight of a kimono--especially the type that the Kazami could afford--was significant. It would be a labour in and of itself to get used to the weight of such a garment--Takashi knew from experience that it was a great strain over time--and that was the reason that she preferred to wear a men's kimono. She took the cloth she needed, infused it with the requisite Wind-natured chakra necessary to render it virtually weightless, and stayed up for a few extra hours putting the finishing touches to the garment. While she was by no means a master weaver by the Yuganori clan's standards, Takashi was more accomplished than any mundane weaver could ever hope to be and the creation of what was, by all means, an exquisite kimono was fairly standard fare for her. She slept knowing that she would have a gift that her new sensei would appreciate, and knowing precisely where to find her.

Over the course of the week, her family had bothered her less and less at breakfast time. Now that she was a shinobi proper she was afforded a degree of respect she simply hadn't as a student, and she ate her breakfast in relative peace for the first time she could remember. The usual breakfast of rice with furikake, miso soup, and a salmon fillet was on the menu - but her sensei had sent her an umeboshi (which she generally did not eat with her breakfast due to having miso soup) and requested that it be eaten, and so Takashi partook. It was a different kind of saltiness that tasted good, in small bites, with her rice and salmon. She ended up drinking very little of the miso soup, but found herself more satisfied with the change than she thought she would be. After the meal she made sure to box up the kimono she'd made, slip it into a backpack, and leave the clan compound bright and early for her meeting with Miyako.

Takashi wandered to the entrance, vaguely recognising one of the other two ninja as a distant relation (a second cousin, perhaps?) and not recognising the one he was walking with at all. They didn't get a chance to be properly (or even improperly) acquainted before they were ushered in to witness a performance. The theatre wasn't exactly somewhere Takashi had ever been, personally, but as the show started she felt a certain sense of homeliness from the outfits the performers wore alone. She recognised them individually, having assisted in some regard with all of them, and found herself focusing less on the symbolism of the play and more on it as an aesthetic device regarding the outfits. If nothing else, it was certainly a beautiful display--and Miyako herself was particularly resplendent. She was possessed of a fluidity and a grace that even a lot of shinobi could not boast, and she gave off an easy confidence that Takashi took a shine to. Even if the nuances of the performance were lost on her, she watched with rapt attention and fascination in her eyes.

Then it was over, and she was escorted alongside Akane and Metsumi to a small lounge where they proceeded to have a few moments to actually introduce themselves to one another. Metsumi gave her a formal and cheerful (if a little disingenuous, in Takashi's mind--she knew precisely her clan's reputation and relationship with the Shiru clan) greeting, to which she responded in earnest:

"I hope so too, Metsumi-chan!" Takashi started, opting for a less formal honorific than Metsumi. They didn't know each other at all at that point, but given the earnest desire they both seemed to have to get along, it seemed appropriate to remove any unnecessary formality.

"I'm so glad you enjoy the products we make! I know that we're certainly... urbane," she repeated in her closest approximation of Metsumi's tone, "but I'm confident in their quality! If I can help you with anything at all, please, let me know."

Akane didn't greet her, so Takashi didn't greet him either. From what she remembered of him (or more accurately his clan) they tended to be firebrands in the most literal sense possible, so she was certain that he'd do something to initiate a conversation around sooner or later. Until then, she was happy to take a seat and reminisce about the earlier performance. When Miyako arrived, Takashi immediately stood and gave her a quick but respectful bow before resuming her seat. As Miyako surveyed her three students and spoke to them, Takashi listened to what she had to say with a look of intense focus. She nodded along gently with every word, eyes bright with understanding, until Miyako had finished. She blushed a little at the compliment paid to her clan (and indirectly to her, she supposed), though the same look of understanding darkened her otherwise bright features as her clan was mentioned. It was exactly the same look she had given Metsumi with her earlier compliment, and though it was largely hidden behind a bashful smile this time it would not take a great deal of acumen and insight to recognise Takashi's simultaneous pride and resentment towards her clan--particularly when complimenting them was concerned.

She took a breath in as if to begin speaking, but was interrupted by the door opening and a few of the other Kazami bringing in plates of food. As each dish was set down Takashi offered a gleaming smile, a nod, and a quiet murmur of thanks. Takashi waited until everyone else had taken a portion of the available food for themselves before taking a steaming pile of rice and a few ladlefuls of thick broth and mixing them together in a bowl. While everything looked and smelled wonderful, Takashi had eaten salmon earlier in the day and did not feel like doing so again, and decided that leaving the meat for Akane seemed to be the wisest option given his apparent voracity. As Metsumi began offering insights about herself, Takashi took a cup and the steaming pot of tea, and nodded to Miyako first to see if she wanted any, then did the same with Akane and Metsumi respectively. After pouring tea where appropriate, she picked up her own cup and took a tentative sip before lifting the bowl of food in front of her to her mouth and spooning the gloopy mixture of broth and rice into her mouth with her chopsticks, barely taking the time to chew the homogenous mixture before shovelling more in with her chopsticks.

When it came to her turn to divulge information about herself, Takashi put the bowl down and took a sip of tea to cleanse her palate and throat before speaking up.

"Well, Miyako-sensei, I'm Takashi of the Yuganori clan! I'm sure I don't need to touch on my clan and their reputation with you. I enjoy learning about anything and everything, really, and of course I'm interested in weaving... I'm not sure how much I can really tell you about myself, sensei, when it's going to be easier to just show you as we get to know each other! I don't think you can really simplify a person down to a collection of hobbies and desires and expect to know them, you know? I want to improve my mastery of my clan's kekkei genkai and learn the secrets of the silken scrolls that have been lost to us for hundreds of years, and just... Generally improve as a shinobi? I'm not sure I've experienced enough to really tell you what I want to focus on specifically right now! I guess I just want to follow in my sister's footsteps." Takashi beamed as her turn came around, her thoughts flowing out in a steady rise until she realised she'd talked too much and tapering down.

"Oh, and I made something for you, Miyako-sensei!" Takashi exclaimed as the memory of her gift camr crashing to the forefront of her mind. She took the package out of her backpack and handed it to Miyako, taking the lid off as she did so to reveal a sheer black kimono not unlike the one she was currently wearing. The tailoring was, compared to an ordinary garment, stunning--but it fell short of the majesty of traditional Yuganori clan garb. Still, it was perfectly proportioned and clearly made with a great deal of care - which, in this situation, counted for more than quality on its own.

"I know how heavy the full kimono are, so I infused this one with fūton for you! It weighs basically nothing, so you should find it easier to dance in it when you next get the opportunity!" Takashi smiled bashfully, hoping that she'd appreciate it for its practicality if not its craftsmanship.

Regarding the mission, Takashi read the scroll and shrugged. It didn't seem like there were really any questions that she needed to ask--it seemed simple enough.
get rekt raisin
@Odin Bio is ready to be reviewed in the original post!

TIME: Present Day - Late Morning/Early Afternoon | LOCATION: The New Continent - En Route to the God Tree | INTERACTION: @Savato @J8cob @Rabidporcupine @Odin

Yuhi listened to the doctor's explanation and nodded along, beginning to understand what had happened from his account of the events. He believed he was correct in that thinking a factor had been omitted from the explanation that they'd been given - not knowingly, as the doctor's recollection had seemed quite forthcoming (and there was little reason to lie to the individuals supposed to ensure your safety) - but there was something that was not quite right. Nagi's interrogation of him seemed to have earned her nothing but his scorn (and rightfully so, in his mind) and as she factored him into the equation, he gave her a look of equal parts desire to educate her and disdain for her lack of understanding. She was singularly focused, it seemed--she had been given her mission, and like her division's moniker she was determined to sniff it out to the exclusion of anything else. That was an immensely useful trait for a detective, and even knowing as little about her as he did he was quite certain that she was a stellar detective - but this mission did not require a detective. It required a cohesive unit of individuals who acted with proper information and planning, and apparently Nagi and Izuku preferred to act before those stages were complete. Yuhi got a very different vibe from Soryu, though - he was quite certain that the blue haired ninja was processing the available information in his own way and preparing to act in kind... Though the haste with which half of their team acted prevented him from really being able to do so.

"Thank you, Doctor. We will report back once we have made progress on the mission." He offered, a tinge of disdain and a tinge of apology in his voice, as he stepped away.

Though there had been no time for it earlier, Yuhi made sure to answer Nagi at least briefly before she brazenly stepped foot into the swamp.

"God Trees are the progenitors of chakra. I'm sure you know the history in some form, perhaps allegorically--Kaguya ate of the tree's fruit and became the first to wield the power of chakra. A tree similar to this one is the reason that history's course was altered from the normal to the extraordinary, and why we all exist in the fashion that we do." He spoke hurriedly, attempting to give his teammates at least a fragment of the knowledge required to appreciate the sheer importance of what was unfolding before them. He immediately got a sense of who was taking him seriously and listening to him--that was, Nagi and Soryu--and made a note to have a frank discussion with Izuku about the importance of cohesion once they had survived this ordeal. Indeed, most of the group seemed to follow Nagi's lead into the swamp without so much of a second thought (again, with the exception of Soryu who hesitated slightly), and Yuhi took the opportunity to observe precisely what was happening with them as they progressed into the swamp.

He noted first that they seemed to be walking in circles - peculiar enough, given that the God Tree was straight ahead of them, but it did make plenty of sense given the story they'd heard about the deceased scientist. There was clearly something perverting the sense of perception of those who attempted to approach the tree - and, thinking about it, that did not seem too out of place. Though his knowledge on the God Trees was quite limited, he had read that they possessed some form of sapience (not perhaps an intelligence, but a will that could be expressed by any means it had available to it). Given the pulsating tangle of chakra he could feel within the tree from even here it occurred to him that perhaps the God Tree was defending itself by using genjutsu, or something akin to it. How it was applied did not immediately come to mind, though he wagered that at this point he had almost spent as much time as he was going to be able to without actually stepping in to the swamp. Just before his foot crossed the threshold, Yuhi barked out a quick question to test whether or not his companions could hear him:

"Are you aware that you're walking in circles?"

There was no response. Indeed, it seemed that his working theory of genjutsu rendered them unable to hear him - though he was quite curious about whether or not it would be a shared illusion or an individual experience. It seemed likely to be shared, he figured, if it was some protective instinct of the God Tree. Given that the scenario was very likely about to involve the mysterious local fauna attacking him, Yuhi removed the Yata no Kesan from his backpack and allowed it to hover gently over his open right palm, and continued to walk towards his squad. As the illusion took control of his senses, he found his way to the group rather quickly and attempted to explain to them his perception of the situation amidst the sound of the apparent local fauna beginning to close its way in.

"I believe that the God Tree is somehow influencing this genjutsu--a protective measure, perhaps, to halt our approach? Given how suspect this seems, I'm inclined to believe that we should investigate the tree at the earliest possible opportunity. It will likely offer us a way to end all of this and establish the safe zone - though I am certain that of all of us, I am the only one with enough knowledge about the God Tree to end things in such a manner." Yuhi spoke quickly, having also heard the tell-tale sounds of the local fauna coming towards the group. He found it particularly odd that there was a whistling sound, and as they came into view he took in their measure as best as he could while preparing himself for combat. At their most basic level they had the forms of wolves, but there were subtle changes from most of the specimens he had ever encountered. Their gait was longer (though he wasn't sure if he could attribute that to the wolves or to the genjutsu), their snouts were oddly shaped for carnivorous predators, and there was a flower on the very tip of their tails which seemed to emit the whistling noise that he'd been hearing. The flower in particular struck a chord with Yuhi, who began thinking about it as he kneaded chakra internally in preparation to fight the wolves.

It looked remarkably similar to the bud atop the God Tree, which further lent itself to his theory that the tree was the ultimate cause behind the unique fauna and the genjutsu that they found themselves in. It would explain why the genjutsu was a shared experience, as they did not seem to each be having similar but completely distinct instances of the genjutsu due to their ability to communicate with one another (and Yuhi's lack of being able to communicate them when he was not within the genjutsu). He didn't have much time to ponder the implications further, however, as his perception was fighting against him. Where once the wolves had been plainly visible, they were now simply gone. His periphery told him that something was moving, and as he swivelled his head to take a look there was clearly the form of a wolf where before there had only been a tree. Genjutsu were not something he had a great deal of experience in, though he had picked up as many tips as possible from Kyoko whenever she elected to talk about her abilities. Much of the trouble with dealing with a malleable genjutsu that could adapt itself was the intelligence behind it--only particularly intelligent beings could alter one's perception on such a fundamental level that it becomes impossible to distinguish from reality. It was a relatively safe risk to assume that the God Tree did not have such a level of intelligence, or its defence would likely be far more intricate than ambushing those who came close to it with its minions and genjutsu.

As his mind raced with the possibilities, he didn't notice that a wolf had leaped right at him and attempted to sink its teeth into his midriff. As the bite happened, Yuhi curiously felt no sense of pressure. He wondered for a second what had happened, thinking the seals on his body should have activated, before realising that the attack itself was illusory and snapping his thoughts back to reality. With enough chakra prepared, he activated his Shikigami no Mai and dispersed a loose cloud of paper within a few feet of him. He could not rely on his senses to accurately track the beasts, so he would ensure that they would not reach him without navigating through his weapons of choice. Sure enough, between the illusory attacks that simply phased through the paper and were clearly not real, one of the wolves made its move and lunged at him with a vicious bite. A piece of paper stuck to the top of its elongated snout, and with a quick burst of his chakra the kanji for "Cut" would appear on the piece of paper, and in an instant the wolf's jaw and the beginning of its head were severed vertically, not quite splitting open due to the length of their snouts. The wolf crumpled to the floor immediately, blood oozing from the clean cut and slicking the paper so that it slid off into the marshy mess below. He wasn't expecting it to have done that much damage, truth be told, as the effects from his bloodline were quite weak without an enormous amount of chakra to back them up - but the wolves seemed to be similar enough to common animals that the effects were quite pronounced.

The next wolf came for him from behind, opting not to leap towards him but to go for his legs in order to prevent his escape true to their harrier style of combat. It managed to avoid several of the loosely floating sheets of paper, and got within two feet of Yuhi before he channelled fūton chakra into a single sheet along its edge and brought it straight down, slicing through the wolf's spine and into its body before emerging cleanly from its belly underneath. The strike served to paralyse the creature's body immediately, but its momentum carried it forward enough to land a weak bite against his calf before it actually died. The teeth barely managed to touch his flesh, but it was a solemn reminder of the dangers of combat - Yuhi had been sloppy, and had this been a stronger enemy he could have suffered an actual injury instead of the mild tinge of pain he currently felt. When he'd finished, he noted that his teammates had similarly beaten their own attackers - and that Nagi had been beset by considerably more wolves than they had. He afforded himself a brief moment to wonder why before deactivating the Shikigami no Mai and gathering up the errant sheets of paper, about 20, and arranging them into a neat stack in his hands while his mysterious cube idly floated beside him.

"The flowers on these wolves are too similar to the bud atop the God Tree for it to be a coincidence. Keep that in mind." he stated, nodding towards Soryu. Nagi seemed too headstrong and cocksure to consider the implications of the statement, and Izuku was... well, Izuku. Not much of a strategist, to put it lightly. Soryu was certainly the man he trusted the most with any sort of strategic advice from his brief time observing his team. Then, all around them, the illusion changed. He noticed nothing but an entrance to the God Tree revealing itself, and his heart raced at the possibility of getting to discover what was within the tree and study it in further detail. The violent roar reached his ears, but he barely even considered what it meant as he started to walk towards the God-Tree, then stopped and looked at the monstrosity that encroached upon the group. He hesitated for a second, before impressing his chakra into the stack of paper, emblazoning each of the twenty pieces with a more grandiose version of the commonly recognised symbol for an explosive tag, and foisted them upon Soryu.

"I see an opening for the tree - I'm going to go and see if I can stop this before it really begins! Use those explosive tags in the fight, and good luck!" he called out, simply unable to both pass up the opportunity to research the God Tree and put his theory to the test. Everything was far too connected for it to be a coincidence. Nobody else would be able to do what he could within the tree, and though it meant abandoning his team to fight the monster without him he truly believed that the best outcome would result from him examining what he believed was the source of all of these troubles. If his team hated him for a hundred years for his decision, he was certain he could live with that. He'd have forgotten them by then, anyway.

He made a mad dash for the opening, and climbed inside.

TIME: Present Day - Approx. 9:00AM | LOCATION: Amegakure - The Great Hall | INTERACTION: @Savato @J8cob @Rabidporcupine @Odin

Yuhi paid as little actual attention to Nagi as she did to him, and did the same with Soryu. If pleasantries were to be exchanged, there would be plenty of time to exchange them later--for now, the most important thing to Yuhi was ensuring that he understood everything in the briefing. Unknown territory came with unknown risks. Unknown risks were exceptionally difficult to mitigate, relying primarily on guesswork and conjecture. Yuhi did not like relying on guesswork and conjecture for anything but writing and theorising, and when his life was on the line it was even more important to him that he take as few actual risks as possible. If he could improve his - and by extension, he supposed, his teammates' - odds in the upcoming mission he would absolutely do so. As the briefing began, he readied the pen in his left hand and the book laid squarely on his lap and begun the process of taking notes. Ordinarily, if simply writing quickly for himself, he would not bother to encode his work - but given the amount of documentation pertaining to secrecy that had crossed his metaphorical writing desk he elected to take no chances and write his notes in a simple cipher.

The characters aligned themselves neatly across the blank page of the book, evenly spaced and perfectly legible, spilling forth from his pen as he took down the information that was relayed. He paid especial attention to the mentions of the afflictions, his brow furrowing more and more as he listened. He had heard very little of the attacks and getting definite information like this was equal parts concerning and exciting - he could have spent hours cross referencing his extensive collection of research to match the infection to something that he had encountered before but every connection that he offhandedly made felt incorrect. After the slides passed on the screen showing the progression of the victims' symptoms, he was quite certain that he'd never encountered anything like it before and that it was likely to be synthetic or to have evolved in isolation over a significant period of time in order to display such abnormality. His knowledge on such things was not quite as profound as it perhaps should have been offhandedly, but he had devoted a considerable portion of his extended life to the research of such things at Kinjiro's command and could comfortably theorise on such a disease's origins if little else about it. He wrote every detail down in cipher, making sure to describe the pictures as quickly as he could given the time that he had, and when he was satisfied that he'd written everything he felt necessary he turned the page in time for the next slide to begin.

As the image of Nori Kinsei showed up, Yuhi regretted that his artistic capabilities were sorely lacking. He would have liked to have at least gotten a good sketch, but instead settled for writing down every detail provided about him. As many details as Yuhi could objectively glean from the photos provided, Nori's involvement in the spreading of the unknown contagion and sketches of the blueprints. He made these in as much detail as the time allowed, mentally noting that they would likely be of great importance in the future--if not to him, then to someone on the expedition. He did not write down much regarding the tracker bugs--a small paragraph of ciphered text simply to remember exactly what the assignment entailed. With that finished, he closed the book and placed the pen into the left pocket of his jacket.

As the presentation finished, he wasted no time standing up and immediately setting off towards the VTOLs on the roof. He would have plenty of time to get properly acquainted with his new teammates on the journey to the New Continent.

TIME: Present Day - Late Morning/Early Afternoon | LOCATION: The New Continent - God Tree Base Camp

Getting aboard the craft was quite simple. Another confirmation of identity, another set of directions to follow. Yuhi entered the vehicle and took the nearest seat without much fuss, settling in quickly and taking stock of his surroundings. He made sure to take the PDA intended for him and gave it a quick gloss over. It would be useful for its picture-taking capabilities, he thought to himself, but little else. He preferred to take notes down by hand by a significant margin--offering him a guarantee that he would be able to use the information and being able to cipher them to comply with the NDA. He idly wondered if he should send a copy of his notes to Kyoko, but thought better of it until he was firmly out of Amegakure. If he'd had time to wander around he could easily have made a dead drop that one of her various informants could have picked up and delivered to her, but the situation was far more pressing than that--and the thought of having his lungs endure even a second more of the vile smog within the borderline diluvial city was absolutely unbearable. He would ensure that she got her pound of flesh when it was less inconvenient for him to do so.

As his new squadmates would board the ship, he'd give them a nod of greeting and a smile - both fairly genuine, though any attempt at seeming genuine could just as easily seem disingenous.

"I apologise for my earlier terseness. I wanted to be sure that the brief got my full attention, as we'll have each other's attentions for the foreseeable future! I am Yuhi of the Jikangai clan, and I presume that I am here to serve in a strategic and informational capacity--I'm more of a librarian than a shinobi, to tell you the truth, but I shan't be found lacking in martial prowess should I be required to do so. If there's anything you'd like to know of me, please ask. Otherwise, I will be acquainting myself with the PDA and making preparations for the trip." Yuhi explained once everyone was assembled, and would reply to any questions asked of him. Otherwise, he busied himself with preparations for the expedition.

As the craft veered off from the others, Yuhi grew more curious than ever. Adding another squad to explore the three locations mentioned would have ultimately been pointless, but what could have required the level of secrecy that they had been subjected to? As the distinctive blossom came into view over the distant horizon, Yuhi very audibly gasped. It was quite unmistakeable, and exceedingly rare - he thought that he might not have seen a God Tree for an exceedingly long time. Very little was known about them, and what little was known was sequestered away by powerful and influential collections of people. Fortunately, when the shinobi world had been young, the Jikangai clan had been one such collection of people - and accordingly, there was still literature in their library regarding God Trees. He had a copy of every book in their collection with him, but it would likely provide little other than a solid foundation to base assumptions on - after all, very little was actually known about them even now--never mind when the material in question was written.

"Amazing... I wasn't sure I'd ever get to see a God Tree..." he mumbled, largely under his breath, taking a closer look out of the window to admire the scope of the thing from afar. Though a little overtaken by awe, he made sure to survey the land around the God Tree also--and he was unsurprised by what he saw. This would not have been handled with the delicate care and secrecy that it had been if it would have been easy to just stroll up to what was essentially one of the wonders of the world. As he began to process the fact that the VTOL would not have anywhere to land over this sort of terrain, the pilot's voice came through the headset advising them that they'd need to jump. Yuhi made sure to gather everything that he needed (though he had largely bundled everything together already) and prepared himself to exit the craft. The green light blinked, and he was the first to jump off of the craft. The drop was quite short, around 20 to 30 meters, so it only took a quick concentration of chakra in the legs to hit solid ground comfortably--or at least, hit the wooden planks as instructed. Solid ground, it appeared, was not a phrase that should be used lightly in the area they had landed in.

When the Doctor greeted them, Yuhi offered him the same greeting and confirmation of his identity that he had everyone else in Amegakure. He also took a deep lungful of the air in around them - and though it was not necessarily pleasant, it didn't feel like inhaling acid and smoke. That alone made it smell decidedly sweet. As the group were led them into the camp, Yuhi looked around and began surveying his surroundings as analytically as possible. The terrain was an inconvenient mixture of swampy and forested, so movement would need to be precise and careful. It would be useful to attempt some amateur cartography of the region, though that could be addressed after the immediate issue of the God-Tree and the quandary they were undoubtedly stuck in. The air was thick with humidity, but felt quite like how he had imagined it feeling after reading about this sort of climate - he decided then that gleaning little details such as these was less helpful now than it would be later, but mentally catalogued his observations regardless.

Upon hearing about the scientist's demise, Yuhi was immediately confused. To be restrained by the local fauna and swallowed by the swampy marsh in what was essentially plain sight of the camp seemed wildly implausible - no matter how one envisioned the situation, there was something not right. A detail omitted, or an external force at play.

"You said local fauna? I presume that your missing scientist was supervised from afar during his foray - can you describe the animal for me?" Yuhi asked the doctor, simultaneously pulling out his pen and book and getting ready to write down whatever the scientist said - this time, without a cipher. His companions might find it useful to have the information available to them, and this was not something that he would need to keep later. When the time came, he would be sure to write an encoded summary of the events that transpired.

After his question was answered, he would progress up to the boundary with everyone else. There, he would wait for the others to speak and collect their thoughts. They could create a plan of action for themselves after everyone had had time to get to grips with the situation.

TIME: Yesterday - Morning | LOCATION: Amegakure - Hotel | INTERACTION: None

The journey on the VTOL craft had been quite smooth - not as luxurious as Yuhi had hoped, but smooth nonetheless. He'd largely turned his attention inward, reclining lazily and reading a thick book bound in rich and supple leather, as the sights below and the noise within escaped his attention entirely. Even entering the atmosphere of Amegakure he had only noticed a slight cough and a wheeze every now and again due to the quality of the air with how intense his focus had been. When they landed, his focus was unshaken. When the door was opened and the smog got in, he retched violently for a second and was brought back to the world, his lungs filling with shaky and hesitant inhalations of the noxious air and his eyes watering from the acrid sting that had assaulted his senses. He'd never really experienced this sort of thing before--and though a part of him delighted in any new experience, it was made quite small by how positively awful it was to breathe in the pollution in Amegakure.

Still, he took in stride as he gingerly walked his way off of the aircraft and into the city proper. Unlike many of the other individuals getting themselves together and departing the vehicle, he had not visibly brought any actual luggage with him--the only thing he had was a small backpack, stuffed to the brim with various scrolls and books. Everything he needed for a comfortable stay was secured within, and the lack of weight made his life far easier--a sentiment shared by the young man walking up to him with the name "Jikangai, Yuhi" spilling from his lips. He confirmed that the name did indeed belong to him with a simple nod.

"Mistress Kyoko sends her regards, Yuhi. Follow me, please."

Before he started to walk, Yuhi moulded and kneaded his chakra internally for a brief moment. Once he had finished, he was adorned with a simple (but relatively effective, considering its material) paper umbrella that kept him and his precious cargo from the downpour. As he followed his guide, he considered Amegakure. He'd read that it never stopped raining in Amegakure, but had never really given thought to what that would mean in the context of him specifically: he'd never planned to visit Amegakure. From everything he'd read about the place (which was, unsurprisingly, not an inconsiderable amount) he'd thought it positively dreadful. Necessary, and good for the health of the world, but utterly dreadful. Luxury had been all he had known for a very long time, and though he had not expected the trip to be anything short of harrowing he hadn't been quite prepared for how inhospitable it seemed in this rainy, smoggy city. Living in a palatial complex on a private island in the Isles of Mist had rather changed his opinion of what acceptable living conditions meant - though he supposed he'd thrown that out of the window as soon as he'd accepted Kyoko's offer to send him on this expedition.

Before he knew it, he had arrived at a hotel and his paper umbrella was quite a bit worse for wear (though the worst had been abated by his chakra). He discarded it in a nearby garbage can and entered the lobby of the hotel before being checked in and ascending to his room. He took the time he had to relax as much as he could in the room he'd been given. He didn't want to call it plain, but that was exactly what it was. Still, there were facilities to brew tea and facilities to give himself the last peaceful hot shower he'd likely experience in quite a while - he made liberal use of them, and in the evening he recorded his thoughts and observations about the city in a diary. All things considered, he was quite excited to find out precisely what he'd learn on this very hush-hush trip. He'd been given cryptic instructions about what to expect from Kyoko (even by her standards), and rather than waste his time attempting to decipher her words he would happily wait to simply be told what was going on in the morning.

TIME: Present Day - 8:55AM | LOCATION: Amegakure - The Great Hall | INTERACTION: Squad One

The trip to the Grand Hall was, as expected of Amegakure, unpleasant. Between the rancid air and the constant rain, it would be easy to believe that one was beginning their first steps into an eternal punishment--but Yuhi knew better than that, and figured that acclimatising to being uncomfortable was useful for whatever it was that was coming. He entered the room relatively leisurely (and surprisingly dry, all things considered) and confirmed his identity and such with the assistant at the door. He was given a number, presumably for a seat, and walked down the aisle until he found where he was supposed to be and sidled along until he found his seat.

He wasn't... surprised, exactly, to find Tsubaki had been placed next to him but his initial reaction was one of confusion. He could largely tell from the man's bearing that he was exceptionally nervous about something--he was positively filled with consternation. He wondered what there was to be so nervous about when the moment of revelation was close at hand, other than the knowledge that they were about to obtain. That would certainly be a nervous excitement, though, surely? It certainly wouldn't be whatever he was feeling. Yuhi made it a point to introduce himself as formally and briefly as possible, giving his name and a curt nod to the fellow he was now sitting next to, before he reached into his backpack and pulled out a book and a pen. He opened the cover carefully and meticulously, removed the cap of the pen, and prepared himself to write down any pertinent information that was about to be discussed. He was sure they'd receive some official notation from the briefing, but he always wanted to record information himself. He found no small amount of comfort in having his own notes to review, for one thing, and he had promised his benefactor that he would provide her with every piece of relevant information that he came across. He was quite convinced that she would, somehow, already know anything that he was about to write down - but he was always thorough when it came to information. He presumed that selfsame thoroughness was what had earned him his position on the squad he was one - but seeing Tsubaki fretting, he wasn't quite sure.

He elected to not give much more thought to it, instead waiting patiently for the head jonin to begin the presentation. There would be plenty of time for camaraderie and bonding with his fellows later. Now, there was information to be had and work to be done.

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