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Nanowrimo 2016 : Fire Chapter 17

Chapter 17


Previously at Uchiha Works


Naruko felt herself being pulled up and forward by the wrist, and she instinctively ran along with the pull. She glanced aside and it was still the man assisting her. She looked forward and it seemed like he was pulling her towards the hills a few hundreds metres away. The ground continued to shake as the air was filled with shouts and shrieks. More people were heading there too and then Naruko felt her wrist being pulled aside abruptly, but she managed to turn around and grab his hands and they stood with hands on each others wrist paused in running. They caught up with breathing and then she saw her fellow auditionee running past her. Her thoughts back on the event she was attending.


“What about the others? The program?” Naruko asked him.


Eyes wide with concern he frowned even more. “Security will take care of it. We have to save ourselves first,” the man said.


Naruko watched as security personals ran past them, true to his words the security personnel were ushering the participants towards the hills. She recognized some participants she saw earlier but couldn't see Yugito Nii amongst them.


And then a siren blared and she heard the dark haired man said, “Oh no, this is for real. Come on let's run to the shelter."


The man pulled Naruko towards the direction of the hills. They ran and ran until they reached the beginning of the hill. Naruko and the man dodged some bumps on the ground while helping each other out to safety. She briefly wondered why was she running along with a stranger, who earlier bullied her into getting clothes for him. The ground shook more violently and he grabbed her wrist tighter and they continued to run.


“Be careful, the ground is uneven,” he warned.


Naruko grimaced. She did not know his name but they were now running to safety. She decided that everything else did not matter now as they needed to save themselves first.


The man pulled Naruko towards the hill nearest to a forest. Naruko rarely came to this part of town so she was ignorant of the geography here. But she knew that there's a shelter somewhere here. She had watched a safety video months ago which reminded Konoha citizens to be aware of shelters location all across town.


They ran for a good five minutes before the ground stopped shaking and the shrieks died down, and suddenly the air was quiet. Only the wind blew hard and noisy against their ears. Naruko stopped running and pulled the man to a stop. They both panted but he did not let go of Naruto's wrist. They looked at the too sudden quietness around them and the man said “Something strange is happening, I don’t know why but we should be careful.”


“What’s your name?” she urged. She knew they would be separated sooner or later so maybe she should know his name. Maybe later when the situation was better she could apologize to him properly and start anew, maybe be friends.


“Sasuke,” the man said while his eyes was scanning the sky and the ground for anything peculiar.
She nodded.  Though she thought the name sounded familiar she could not at the moment recall it from her memories. Well, at least she got a name and if anyone asked about Sasuke later on she would be able to offer an answer.


Naruko then looked at their surroundings, she looked at the sky and saw that the birds were long gone. Maybe it was true that animals were instinctive when it came to trouble and would escape first at the earliest sign of trouble.  She turned around and people were looking wary and angry.  What was happening no one had a clue. Why the sudden silence? A few had now collapsed onto the ground and began crying. They did not know what to do and help was not around even by now.


The ground shook once more and everyone stood up. The ones sobbing stopped completely and everyone on the ground stood up their eyes wide with fear. Naruko flailed from surprise and grabbed onto Sasuke's sleeves and coat. The ground trembled more violently and this time everyone crouched onto the ground.


The trembling turned violent and then the ground exploded, grass was strewn around to reveal brown earth and a dark coloured creature. It shot upwards and landed on the ground before them. It looked like a black trunked tree with leafless branches. The branches extended as if they were hands and feets. It was almost black with speckles of brown, the skin wrinkled like the trunk of a tree, but moving like that it was sure not a tree.


“What the hell?” Sasuke shouted at it. A few other people cried in alarm and began running the other way. Sasuke grabbed Naruko towards him and followed the others.


The tree like creature stretched its branches towards the people, it grabbed for Naruko and Sasuke before they could react. It was quicker than the humans. Naruko fell onto the ground and her visions blurred as she saw the sky, and then the ground, and then the grass. Her cheeks scratched along the ground and she instinctively grabbed for the ground for stability but the creature wrapped itself around her arms and bound her hands to her body, effectively rendering her immobile.  Its hold on her was tight and she cried for her life. The next thing she saw was Sasuke taking a blade and trying to cut the branch to free her. But the tree grabbed him and flicked his blade away and wrapped him in its hold, Naruko screamed with all her might but there was no one coming to save her. Her minds reeled to survival mode and wriggled violently to escape the creature’s clutches.


The next thing she saw the branches covering her eyes and mouth and black engulfed her sight.
.................................................................
The creature had no eyes, no mouth and hence made no sound. It wrapped anything it sensed and pulled them down onto the ground. It wanted these living creatures for something its master wanted. There was no one here who could stop it, it laughed silently through its branches as it grabbed for the humans.


Army planes arrived and shot down the creature's branches and trunk. Some of its branches broke and it released the humans it captured, but more new branches grew and grabbed again for the fallen human.


From a military control room , Captain Yamanaka held tight onto his mic. They had been attacking other tree like creatures just minutes before this but they all vanished. They needed to move fast.
He ordered into his communicator, "Mark it and follow it into the ground."


“Yes sir,” the pilot answered on the other end. The pilot released it’s drone which quickly shot a tracking bullet and scanned the creature. There creature vanished before the bullet could reach it. The drone scanned the ground for any signal.


“Sir, it’s gone, there’s no trace of any movements underground.” the pilot said.


“How can that be?” Yamanaka said.


“We couldn't get the tracker on time."


“Damn,” Yamanaka said and thought of another plan. He better be quick about this the next time.
“Tell the KHA to send in the sensors,” a man beside him suggested. “Take the broken branch, or whatever the hell to Inuzuka and Tsume can detect it. It can’t get far, Suna and Iwa said nothing happened over there. So it must be localized.”


“Do as Nara ordered, captain take the evidence to lab and send the KHA in,” Yamanaka told his pilot.


"Roger sir," said the pilot.


Nara patted his shoulder. “I’ll wait for the evidence at the lab and advice Akimichi on it, stay put Yamanaka."


Yamanaka nodded and Nara left him at the control room, along with less than twenty military officials sending orders and coordinating things. All the attacks were sudden, the military was unprepared. Yamanaka frowned as he heard an officer shouted a report about blue balls attacking central and south city. He forced himself to ignore it, Root were probably already there. He was in charge of aerial attack and he was damning at it.


The speaker crackled and the pilot from South City reported, “A bike is on its way with the evidence.”


“Roger,” Yamanaka said and pressed a button to notify the labs. He hoped his daughter who was with the KHA was doing better over in southern city. He prayed that she was in safe hands along with everyone else.

……………………………………………………

The creature slinked into the ground. Naruko was crying by now, muffled in tears and she realized that this might be an end to her short life. Being bound, without help, what was there left to hope about. She bit into the branch but it reacted by tightening its hold, that was all she could do. Darkness engulfed her view before it suddenly turned bright white and she felt herself entering a strange warmth before she was rendered unconscious.


When the army came the creature sensed that it better pop away to its secret lair to escape the army. It was defenseless against the army if they all attack it with all their might. So it had escaped to its secret place where it will absorb all these humans chakra. It knew that everyone here has chakra, the energy its master needed. It will bound everyone to its master, making them all unified for a greater cause.


The creature disappeared from the ground as the army came and reappeared under the ground of the water way, the wide straits separating Suna and Konoha. Its master could not be far since it was still too weak, which was why it needed the chakra.


The monster sensed its master and released the humans into its master’s care. It would need to collect more as time was running out. It could tell it’s master was happy but this was not enough.
The master sent a wave of messages to its underlings that this would do for now. The master told the tree creature that it would have siblings to help it. The creature could feel more creatures like it appearing beside it.


In the silence they all received the same message from their master, grab all humans and bound them. The chakra was all it needed, for the good of the future.


……………………………………………………
Naruko felt the presence of bright light returned to consciousness. She could feel the branch loosening around her and then she fell on soft ground. She felt the ground on her entire front assumed that she was lying flat on the ground. She squinted her eyes open and the first thing she saw was bright light coming from a much larger tree. She quickly turned around but the black tree creature was nowhere.


"Ughhhh, Agghhh," she heard around her. She supported herself on the ground and sat down properly, breathing hard. She shook her head and looked around, some people were still unconscious while some were looking at the tree dumbfounded. There was only the tree with the almost white trunk in the distance, basking in light. She looked around and realized that she was in a cave, but not really. The walls were compacted ground.


She got up to sit on her knees and turned around. Then she saw a head of black hair wearing a torn coat, his face facing away. She vaguely remembered that the head belonged to someone she knew. Then it occurred to her, “Sasuke!”


He groaned but did not move so she crept closer to him and then pulled his shoulder and face towards her. The sight which met her made her sad. His flawless skin bled from scratches and she knew it must be from him fighting against the branches. Naruko picked the splinters away from his bleeding skin and when they were all cleared up, she was glad to see that his injuries were superficial.


He groaned again and she swept his bangs away from his face. She did not have water so she could not clean his wound, so the only thing she could do was look at him.


“Sasuke,” she called. He opened his eyes and looked randomly at everything.


“Hi,” she said awkwardly.


He looked at her and blinked a few times.


“Hey,” she greeted again..


He was in a daze and closed his eyes once again.


“I don’t know where we are but it’s somewhere in a cave or underground. How do you feel?”

“Trashed,” he said with a croak.


She crept closer to him and tried lifting him into a sitting position. Sasuke tried getting up and accepted Naruko’s help without any qualms. He was too disoriented from the attack.


“Hey, my name’s Naruko.”


He opened his eyes as he sat with his legs stretched out, back supported by Naruko’s body. He looked at her and blinked again, “Hi.”


They sat in silence with the others. Naruko counted that there were about twenty five people there. She did not know what to do but she decided that they needed to rest before doing anything. Help was on the way maybe, but they can’t just sit and wait. The white tree did not move or anything and instincts told her that they better make a move though the situation seemed placid. Never underestimate a placid lake as there might be crocodiles underneath, her aunt used to say. She grabbed onto Sasuke and she realized that he had fallen unconscious.


“Hey, wake up.”

Sasuke then snored and Naruko sighed. He was just asleep and not dead or anything. Naruko guided his sleeping body to lay on her lap and after adjusting to the most comfortable position, she also lay down and looked at the others. Then sleep began seeping into her and she too soon drifted into dreamland.

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