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-   -   [Barnacle] Best Left Buried (http://www.narutorp.net/showthread.php?t=45501)

Jami 08-13-2017 05:33 PM

[Barnacle] Best Left Buried
The business with the assassin on the boat aside, Shipori and Moko made good time to Kokoyashitou, perhaps the only city of any importance in Barnacle Country. Even then, the city was more like a very large village, with just enough native population to service the various ships that came in and out of port frequently. Away from the dockside merchants and traders, the rest of the city remained sleepy in the morning. Shipori secured lodgings as a token gesture to Moko, to allow him a place to eat another meal and for them to discuss their plans.

All morning, Shipori had been more reticent and standoffish than typical. He did not fidget by writing in his book or pour over his scrolls, and instead he sat quietly in thought with his hands folded in his lap. The ramifications of the supposed Moon Village weighed heavily on his mind, no doubt, but after some goading, Shipori turned his attention to the matter at hand. Before he could veer off to that mystery, he had particular promises to fulfill to Moko.

The museum itself is nothing special. There are guards, but they're mostly to deter children from touching the exhibits and teenage vandals. Until recently, nothing in the museum was worth anything to the sorts of people who might want to rob them. How many criminals are really interested in replica ships and old sails?” Few, if any. Shipori and Moko had managed to become the exception, and now counted the Chuku among their fellows.

That said, I expect we could stroll into the building in broad daylight without struggle. I'd even suggest we do so, immediately, to keep our advantage over these Moon Village operatives before they return to nip at our heels.” Shipori gestured at the scroll that started this whole escapade with the carved symbol at the end of the dowel. “Now, I doubt the scroll itself will be on display. We will need to get into the museum's basement storage and liberate it from the curator, and then escape.

If it contains the information I suspect, you'll have enough of the technique deciphered that you can puzzle out the rest. From there, I'll leave the matter of your revenge to your capable hands.

merdle 08-14-2017 02:05 AM

Something was bothering Shipori. Not in the usual 'some grand mystery to write about' sort of way. It seemed, despite his protests, their previous adventure was weighing on the man's mind. It was either that, or he was growing tired of Moko's adventures. Maybe the lure of the Chuku wasn't doing it for Shipori anymore.

"So," Moko said with a frown, "Should be able ta' walk in and shake the place down. Only folks that'll be lookin' already know we're headin' here. So no point in going slow, that's what I'm getting?"

That suited Moko just fine. After that last fight, he got as much rest as he could, tried to stomach whatever food the ship allowed, and now he was feeling a little more like himself. There was still something wrong, but at least he would be capable of a technique or two, unlike before. They could make short work of this museum, and get back out.

"Then, I guess A've got a lot of studying to do."

That seemed simple enough. So far Barnacle's only attraction was the quiet living, and the women prowling the docks. He didn't have the time to appreciate either, so it was better they got to work. If those Moon-nin, if they were really such a thing, were going to be hunting him too, he needed all the time he could get to figure out the mysteries in front of him.

Moko slapped his knees and stood, a smile back on his face, "Well then, no need to wait. We'll run it less like a heist, more like a robbery. Once we're inside, together we drop the guards, then we find the way downstairs. Party time, Shipori."

If Shipori's mind was elsewhere, then Moko needed to strike before the little Oto-nin's head was 100% cloud-born. He grabbed his robes, changed his face to that of a middle-aged gentleman with short brown hair, then headed for the door to wait outside.

Jami 08-14-2017 07:40 PM

Shipori sat awhile longer at the low table in their room.

The truth, the one that he had not spoken to Moko, was that this third scroll was largely unnecessary. Shipori had deciphered enough of the technique Moko had brought him to determine its function. If pressed, he might be able to predict 80% or more of the third scroll's contents just through sheer logic in filling the gaps. The mission, as it were, was more to control Moko than to help him.

In only a few days, the man had recovered from nearly dying to the intense chakra poisoning effect of the Mother's blood in his system. Shipori had every right to treat him as both a partner and patient – and Moko's condition remained so unpredictable that he wanted to keep a hold of him as long as possible. The moment he sent Moko away, the man might seclude himself for a short while to master his new techniques, and then Shipori fully expected him to rush into Kusagakure and get himself killed. That fate seemed unavoidable, so the best he could manage was to make sure he survived long enough to reach that insane suicidal desire.

He gathered himself and shuffled on out to walk with Moko to the museum. The Kokoyashitou Naval Museum was not a grand thing, but for Barnacle, Shipori supposed it may as well have been a royal estate. The steps leading up to the pavilion were lined with hedges sculpted into the shapes of long galleons and skiffs. A single security guard sat on a stool near the donation box at the front entrance, and Shipori made sure to slip a few ryou down the slot. Their admittance hardly made up for the damage they were likely to inflict on the museum, but he considered himself a patron.

You feel that, too, yes? That we are still being watched.

merdle 08-15-2017 12:44 AM

The museum wasn't nearly as impressive as the one in Iron. Not that he was counting, but if he was going to build up a reputation for robbing museums, he needed to uphold standards. There was one guard outside, lazily keeping an eye over the door.

The structure of it wasn't even that impressive. It looked like some ramshackle building constructed just to take up the space. They needed a place to put their nice objects, so some other building ended up as a naval museum.

Or... it was barely a museum at all.

"A' know what you mean," Moko whispered. But he didn't feel like they were going to be attacked, not yet. At the least, that might give them time to get in and get what they want before their assailants were able to strike.

They walked inside, and Moko took a look around. Plaques detailing histories. Pieces of maps, sails, and wheels. If someone liked to sail, then this place would definitely do it for them.

Moko peered higher up, looking for security cameras, nothing. The building's electricity was probably its own circuit, a generator of some sort. The rest of the island was hit and miss with power from his observation.

"Something's up with this place," Moko said as he pointed to a random map to move Shipori in that direction, "Don't feel right. A' don't feel like this museum is, legit, you know?"

An old man was sitting in the corner, another guard, his head down and his eyes covered by his hat. It seemed like he was sleeping.

"Whoever's got their eyes on us, ain't using no camera either."

They would have to head further into the museum. It wasn't that large. If he had to guess, the door to the basement would be central. Chances are, this whole place was built around it.

Jami 08-16-2017 08:58 PM

Shipori nodded.

The pair made their way deeper into the museum, and eventually into the exhibit in question. A large merchant vessel from Lightning that had sunk under mysterious circumstances while carrying all manner of fine art had been largely excavated from its underwater grave and put on display. On one wall, plaques described the dredging process used to lift the ship back out of the water, albeit in pieces. Suits of armor and antique blades were arranged together. Reliefs of statue work and long-faded pottery sat under glass. Shipori paused as he passed a mock up of a wooden chest overflowing with fake riches – a hand mirror sat on a pile of ryou and, for a moment, he hardly recognized his own reflection.

No, I imagine not.

But, easily enough, he also found the door marked Employees Only, as if that were enough to stop either of them. Shipori lifted one arm and withdrew a simple lockpick from within his sleeve and, in a matter of seconds, had turned the lock over. The guard in the corner snored and shifted his foot; Shipori pushed the door open and slipped inside. Beyond the door was a cluttered workshop were some items were still being restored, or where stand-ins lay half finished. A stairway led further down into the basement storage, and Shipori hobbled down the steps with a speed that, before then, had seemed beyond him.

The air in the basement was cool and stale and the lights stayed on low. Big wooden crates with inventory sheets sat next to towers of metal shelves holding all manner of ship parts, old weapons, rolled maps, and models of sea life. Shipori turned a corner as he rooted around, then stumbled back into the aisle and off his feet. A row of wax statues, dressed in full naval uniform, stood in a row, staring down at him with lifeless eyes. Shipori scrambled back onto his feet.

Stupid. They surprised me.

merdle 08-18-2017 11:55 PM

Moko kept an eye on Shipori as the little man started to push further into the museum. He was moving with a sort of urgency that was rare for the slow-paced little oto-nin. To say the least, Moko was concerned that something else was on the man's mind that could get them in trouble. Would something down there relate to his Moon-village, or was he just pushing them along?

Moko followed down the stairs, closing the doors behind them to cover their path. He let Shipori lead the way down, looking around at the changing atmosphere.

It was like he thought. The lower areas of the museum seemed to be constructed differently. It wasn't a stark difference, but the walls had a sturdy construction that was older than the museum building above.

"Weird," Moko said.

Then he heard Shipori fall over in a panic. Moko rushed the last few steps, leaping past and preparing for a fight... before seeing the wax statues.

Moko had to stifle a laugh.

"Good they're neutral in all this, or you'd be in a bind old man." He fought to get hold of himself for a minute, clearing a tear from his eye before looking around.

Wax statues? What would lead to them having a whole wax navy down in the basement?

"Guess they're prepping a new exhibit?" Moko said, before turning to see if there was any sign of what they needed, "Right creepy down here."

Everything down there felt more authentic than the stuff up on the surface. Not that he didn't believe in the old maps and treasure chests, but this didn't have the playful presentation. No fake plastic treasure, no large drawings to explain how the devices worked. It was just the artifacts, laid out.

Moko walked between the rows of shelves, looking at some of the old broken down equipment, weapons, and armor. It was all still relatively... mundane.

Then he saw another door, down at the end of the low-lit hall. It looked too secure, a large combination lock on the side with a large turn-wheel seal to keep it closed.

"Shipori, ya' might want to look at thi-"

There was a large clunk in the room. The sound was coming from back over by the wax statues. Like someone was moving.

Jami 08-21-2017 07:08 PM

Shipori, after thoroughly embarrassing himself, shambled off through the more haphazardly organized eras of the basement storage. He found a set of books in varying sizes, some bound in leather and some just pages held together with twine. Shipori slid one off the shelf and flipped through a few pages – a captain's log, listing dates, coordinates, and daily happenings. They all belonged to different forgotten voyages from a dozen different countries, some of them bare and basic, and some written as indulgent, vivid journals. Shipori skimmed through one of the ornately assembled diaries and immediately identified it as a sailor from Wave Country, given his dialect. He shut the book and placed it back where he found it at the sound of Moko's voice.

Before he opened his mouth to respond, another noise echoed around them. Shipori paused, then slipped back into sight, peering around the corner to find the source of the racket. He flinched when he locked eyes with one of the wax sculptures again, but they all seemed to still be accounted for.

Awful things, really. How anyone thinks they're appropriate for general museum goer consumption is beyond me.

Shipori ducked his head around and eventually found he source of the noise – a few spare hats had fallen off a shelf and into a heap near the statues themselves. When faced with the choice to wriggle past the body doubles or not, Shipori chose the latter, and instead joined Moko at the vault door.

Given that everything out here is, well, junk, I suppose our target is back here. Let me see what I can do.” Shipori shuffled close to the combination dial and set his ear against the metal. He closed his eyes as he started to turn the dial in a slow, smooth motion as he strained to listen for the falling pins inside.

merdle 08-24-2017 09:15 PM

Shipori came from the direction of the wax statues, was that him that caused the sound? There was no easy way for Moko to tell, but the lack of panic on the part of the little shinobi meant that they at least weren't in danger.

His accomplice went over to the locked door, and started to work on the dial. Combination locks weren't an expertise Moko, so he left it to Shipori and paced around the room. This whole situation was getting a little weirder than he expected. Plus, he had to think about those same Moon shinobi that they had fought before and hoped they had got out ahead of. What if they came from Barnacle? What if they were on a return trip home? There were too many possibilities they had to keep track of.

"This all stinks awful," Moko mumbled, "And A' ain't talkin' about the junk down here."

Moko thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eyes, and turned toward the greater room. Nothing, no movement. The hairs on the back of his neck were still standing on end, and it was making him nervous.

"Makes me wanna take this place down from top to bottom, just break it apart and find a' friend in the rubble. Better than getting in another strange brawl. You attract trouble, ya' know?"

Another sound, and Moko stopped and looked again. No, there was definitely something. Even if it was just some guard trying to sneak down from above. That's right, they were still on hostile territory, even if the guards didn't seem capable of much but extensive sleep schedules. It was good he was on his guard then.

"You almost done with that?" Moko said with a little too much accusation.

Jami 08-26-2017 08:16 PM

I attract trouble? Must I remind you that this entire journey is for your benefit, if we are really considering further enabling your suicide mission a benefit. Everything that has happened to us since the start is plainly on your head, not mine.

Shipori huffed and narrowed his eyes, though he kept them on the door of the vault. Moko's rambling made focusing on the inner workings of the lock difficult, but Shipori was nothing if not skilled in his craft. He changed direction on the dial as one pin slid into place. Something thumped in the basement and, this time, Shipori had to agree with his gut instinct. A dark flicker of movement disappeared behind a shelf.

Almost. You take care of our friends, Moko.

A growl cut low through the air and the lights in the basement flickered, buzzing. A pair of hounds skittered out from cover, their bodies long and black, and their faces full of teeth and missing eyes. The Chuku's beasts again, nothing Shipori had not seen before.

The latch of a trunk popped open and the wooden lid lifted off – a gaunt woman with sunken cheeks and dirty hair stood up out of the box. The dogs circled around in front of her to form a snapping wall between herself and the pair of shinobi. She carried a kama loose in one hand with a length of heavy chain dangling from the handle that led to a heavy iron ball that knocked the trunk over when it dragged behind her.

You have been busy little bees, haven't you? I'll have to ask you to stop.

Shipori clicked his tongue as his fingers worked the dial. The woman looked from Moko to Shipori and turned her scythe in her hand.

Don't move, old man.

And he didn't, his whole body rigged, full of pins and needles as he struggled to keep the dial moving.

merdle 09-09-2017 01:37 AM

Another Chuku, this one a woman. Moko couldn't hide his apprehension at the fight, just the sight of those alien hounds was enough to give him pause. But it wasn't like he had a choice. They couldn't leave now, not with their prize right in front of them.

"A' imagine you chuku fucks don't chat much, or you'd know how this ends, ma'am."

A sick smile spread across her face, "You think you've made some kind of progress?"

Moko's eyes narrowed. She was impossible to read. Her face gaunt, her limbs thin. She wasn't as ancient as the two old men he had dealt with so far, but at once he doubted she was any less powerful.

He made a few seals, "I'll ask ya' after A' take you down a few pegs." He pulled away at his mask, revealing a Tengu face, with long teeth and a bushy beard.

Moko took a gouken stance, then charged forward, one hand behind his back, the other held out ready to strike. With a leap, he came forward with a spinning kick.

The dogs let out strange barks, then in an instant they were on him. One leaped in front of his blow, blocking the kick mid-air and stopping all momentum. The second catching his leg as he came back down to earth, digging its fangs in deep.


The woman didn't seem amused. With a wipe of her hand the mask on Moko's face crumbled to dust, exposing his true face.

"What a sad little specimen," She said with a roll of her eyes. She flicked the iron ball forward, the chain wrapping around Moko's neck before the iron weight pulled his head down.

This wasn't going well, by any stretch.

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