The demand was still there a shadow master mind behind all this cowardly madness. Torture and threats yielding nothing, the middle men saying they just delivered the children to the location and were paid by a proctor. Each time the venue was different and each time Shizuka and her team raided known locations, the area was a ghost town. Far away from any town or road there was no chance of an eye witness. Various measures to keep children would be taken. Kinder gardens would be protected by shinobi teams at all times, the slums bolstered with additional patrols. That would nurture the wounds for a while, letting it close but the kidnappings were like an infected disease. It would only fester and when the security became lax, children would begin to disappear again.
This time however there was no gang behind it. No ascertainable proof from where and who the children were being taken from. Now they were targeting orphans and street rats. With no one waiting at home and no one to look after them, no one had any idea they were being taken. It was only by luck that the village found out. One of the taken orphans had been helping a local business. He’d catch crickets and breed them to be used as bait fishing for sand fish. A hard worker, the company had noted his absence and enquirer with the village. So, whoever was behind this, they needed lots and lots of children.
Shizuka had hit the books. Researching times mass of children had disappeared. There had been one maniac obsessed with finding immortality. In times of war he used prisoners and those near death to experiments but during times of peace... he had used children orphaned by war. Shizuka could only expect the worst. Somewhere some sadistic narcissist was experimenting on children. Yet that was the only lead Shizuka had. She even asked the villages most famous medical shinobi. He theorized a few things but nothing came to light. Someone experimenting with that many children needed facilities. To leave them caged, fed, to dispose of. Various machines and instruments that equally needed that much power.
With that in mind Shizuka had gone to the municipality. Getting a list of anywhere that used large amounts of electricity. They investigated every illegal and legal property and business. They turned over every box, stoke, secret warehouse but they found nothing at all. Children continued to go missing as the clues ran dry. There wasn’t enough Shinobi to keep them all under guard. As the streets began to empty of orphans, children from families began to taken. Yet now... their families were being killed in order to keep all loose ends cut and closed.
It was at such a scene Shizuka had come across something she had never seen before. A calling card macabre in its design. Blood of the victim ceremoniously drawn in a circle, the joy of the perpetrator visible in the flick of his wrist. A triangle poised in the center. She had never seen the symbol before. It belonged to no clan she knew of nor any seal that she recognized. She had consulted her elders, their clan being a vast knowledge of eye witness accounts. The books had nothing either nor did the village records.
However one thing was now sure. The children weren’t being taken for experiments. They were being used as ritual sacrifice. That explained the lack of medical equipment. The children weren’t being used to advance some twisted science. Not that it made it any better. They were being used for some crazy ritual from a pathetic blood mongering cult. Imino brought her findings to the village. The severity of the situation was clear. Whoever or whatever this cult was, they were becoming bolder with each killing. From having used grunts to get them what they wanted to now killing people themselves and leaving calling cards.
Imino would be assigned a team of her own clansmen. Shared intelligence with the Moon village had revealed they too had been experiencing similar cases. Though they didn’t want to admit how bad it was, the appearance of the unknown blood circle made it clear it was getting way out of hand. Shizuka would set out for the moon to find any clues behind the killings.