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Teeth in the Dark [Sep. 18th, 2013|10:14 pm]
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[User Picture]From: [info]tousaki_ryouma
2013-09-18 11:01 pm (UTC)


It would be a long list. Raidou's back wasn't actually the sheet of blood Ryouma'd first imagined, but there were ribbons of red soaking into the bone-colored armor, and the stiff covering fabric of the armor itself hung in shreds over ceramic plate where the beast's claws and teeth had ripped it away. The backs of his arms were bloody, too, where he'd protected his neck, and there were long gouges down the backs of his thighs.

Raidou craned his neck, trying to see. "You can tell that better than me. Everything still attached that should be?"

Adrenaline, Ryouma decided. He wasn't feeling the pain yet. That, or Team Six's new captain was as crazy as he accused the rest of them of being.

"You're a mess," Genma said critically, "but I don't see bone. I need to deal with this bleeding." He tossed the second alcohol wipe aside and dug into his medkit with clean hands for pressure dressings, which he slapped on Raidou's legs before straightening to inspect his back and arms. "Need your vest off. I'll help. Ram, I still need an answer from you. Are you poisoned?"

"Just numb," Ryouma said. "The stinger didn't get me, just spattered." He rubbed his shoulder again, and self-consciously dropped his hand. His gloves were a lacy patchwork of reinforced fabric, organics rotted away up to the hook-and-loop fasteners marking the detachment point at the wrist; the steel backplates dangled by ooze-covered threads. He ripped them off, wincing at the noise, and tucked them in a waistpouch.

Katsuko cleared her throat. "Ram, Hound, thanks for getting that thing off me." She nodded at the beast that had savaged her shoulder. "Good thing it had squishy bits."

"Stop moving," Kakashi said, and swapped out blood-soaked gauze for clean. He gave the wound a sharp poke through the gauze. "Can you feel that?"

She yowled like an angry cat and thumped the hilt of her broken kodachi on the ground.

"No venom in the teeth," Kakashi concluded.

Kakashi was doing more for Katsuko than Ryouma could right now, with his reeking hands a sure guarantee of blood-poisoning. Ryouma took a few steps to inspect the nearest carcass instead. Kakashi's Raikiri had ripped a fist-sized hole straight through the beast's chest, shredding whatever inner organs lay in its path. Katsuko was right about the soft tissue beneath the almost impenetrable armor; Ryouma's Naizou Tokasu would have worked, if he'd dared to aim without fear of hitting one of his teammates.

There were two more sets of narrow, slit-pupiled eyes, behind and slightly above the bulbous large ones that Katsuko and Genma had stabbed. Nearly a 360 degree range of vision, though the first set would provide most of its depth perception. It had fangs like a snake, but an ant's graspers on either side of its jaws. Further back, its jaws were bladed with teeth like a saw. The legs were similar, barbed with spikes and capped with claws; this one still had shreds of tree bark wedged in the crevices of its armor. It looked like a wolfhound had mated with a scorpion, and the offspring had been kicked out of hell.

Behind him, Kakashi said quietly, "These aren't the creatures we were hunting."

"Too big to go through the window," Ryouma said. "No hands, or—or pincers, or whatever, to carry people." He bent the last leg on the left side backward, and stared at the liquid slough of rot that had eaten through the joint and into the abdomen.

On a man of equivalent mass, that much chakra should have dissolved the entire pelvis by now. On an animal, the rot would proceed far slower, without a greater boost of his own chakra to send it surging along. The Human Flesh Melt technique infected its victim's chakra, spreading through chakra channels like sepsis through blood; the more powerful the victim's chakra, the faster it spread.

The jutsu had taken a long time—too long—to eat through the beast's unnaturally thick carapace. But once it reached flesh, it had raged unfettered. Under the leg-joint, inside the abdomen, the carapace held nothing but a dark, reeking pool of rot.

Ryouma dropped the leg with a slosh.

"This isn't wildlife," he said. He drew a shallow breath. "What d'you know about demons?"