Struggle With No Reward - A Gift Horse


Meruin, Yuuka, Aoitsuki, Hibiki

Date: March 20, 2013


Kirigakure ninja are sent to eradicate a weak shinobi clan that they've received intel on showing them to be plotting against them with the unrest rousing dissidents. Upon finding their home, they're greeted with an unexpected surprise.

"Struggle With No Reward - A Gift Horse"

West Mist Forest [Land of Water]


West Mist Forest is, as the name indicates, the western half of 'Mist Forest'. Mist Forest is a
large area of trees and plants suitable to a cold, moist climate, capable of surviving reasonably
powerful tropical storms, etc. The West Mist Forest is frequently home to those ninja who do not
belong to a Clan and chose not to join the Hidden Mist, or those Clans who still wish to retain
their anonymity evn though the Clan Wars are over, and refuse to become part of the legalized
shinobi force for the the Land of Water.
Wild life of various kinds is also prevalent, and there are even some swamps located deep in the
forest. However, the sea wind tends to send the dense, constant mist of the Road of Fear to the east
sweeping across the West Mist Forest at times. The fog appears suddenly and without warning, and can
cause travellers or even expert woodsman disoriented. Familiar surroundings become strange and
frightening when the fog rolls in.
The Field of Great Conflict, an ancient battleground, lies to the north-east. To the east is the
Road of Fear itself. To the south-east is the maintained forest path from the shinobi territories
all the way to the Capitol's road.

Meruin (Lumberjack)

East - (E) [Road of Fear]
North-East - (NE) [Field of Great Conflict]
South-East - (SE) [Forest Path]

Thursday, the sixth of June. Approximately 2:35 am. Meruin noted the date and time in his mind as
he looks towards the assembled group in front of him. Kaguya Yuuka, the beautiful and powerful woman
of porcelain skin, lined with moonlight. One of the seven swords. Shirayuki Aoitsuki, younger than
the other but no less beautiful or powerful, wreathed in mist. Another of the seven swords. And
Onkyou Hibiki, the youthful boy of average height but strikingly colored features. Genin. The lowest
in rank and power among the group. He was the only that didn't belong.
"They are currently based in a mine approximately 2.2 miles to the north of us," begins Okumo
Meruin. They each were here on a task. That task being to eradicate a small ninja clan — one of
those who'd refused to join Kirigakure after the resolution of the clan wars. Not excessively talent.
Not excessively dangerous. But the deaths of all with the exception of one is important. The clan
had been confirmed to have made dealings with those who were inciting unrest among the populace.
This clan — The Kaminiwari Clan — is going to act against the village. What that act was has't
been determined, but they wanted it nipped before it could come to pass.
"They've made it their home. The one that we are to allow to live is a child. A baby. The only one
left, I have been informed. We are to retrieve it and bring it back to the village. Otherwise, we
simply enter and slaughter." He looks towards Onkyou Hibiki saing only, "Learn well to him," before
looking to the others. "We should depart and see this done swiftly. The night is wearing on."

Though Hibiki had thought himself through with the rigors of Okumo Meruin, duty - so it seemed -
was not to be forgotten, and against such a stoic face there was nothing to do but obey. Thus, deep
in the morn, worn weary yet by there being no end of day, the youth is standing - attentive; alert
as sleeplessness allows - near two renowned shinobi of Kirigakure, unsure of how to even conduct
himself amongst such distinction.
But yet again does purpose derive from duty, and so the boy is stalwart, giving Meruin a curt nod
upon being directly addressed. Wherein his words would be, they have vanished, and so the nod
suffices for acknowledgement. Wait the weary do, waiting for what is must to come.

Yuuka blinks her blue green eyes slowly as she listens, a pale brow quirking ever so slightly as
she turns her snowy head to glance in the direction of the forest where the mentioned mines would be.
"Alright…" she murmurs lightly. "Just which baby exactly are we supposed to spare? Is there one
specifically in mind?"

"A slaughter…Lord Mizukage-sama wants us to decimate an entire clan?" Of course it was up to
Aoitsuki to bring about the reality of the situation, not that it bothered her much. The clan
decided to ally themselvs with rebels and tratiors rather than helping out for the benefit of
Kirigakure, or at least staying out of the conflict and remaining neutral. To Aoitsuki this was a
nail in the coffin. "Interesting that there is only one baby left… In that case it won't be very
difficult to track them down," Aoi informed keeping close next to Meruin's side, "They are in a mine
you say? Perhaps we can flood them out," It was an easy suggestion though Aoi was curious about the
others approaches, for that she would wait paitently for their next objective. " This should come as
quick and painless as possible," With a light pause she arched an eyebrow and peered in Yuuka's
direction. "It would appear as though there are no other babies other than this one in the clan,"

Meruin simply nods, Aoitsuki taking care of clarification and answer both, posing their mission in
the light of clarity.There was only one baby left to the whole of the clan. And they were going to
kidnap it and kill the rest. No witnesses. The Okumo Jounin begins walking northwards, his gait long
and smooth. "Flooding them out could pose a significant issue in regards to ensuring the safety and
retrieval of the babe. If we flood the mine with enough water to drown them all, it drowns as well.
There's no way to know much water will flood the areas of the mine holding the child. My suggestion
is that we simply move ahead with the intent of traditional assassination. We slice throats until
everyone is dead."

Silent still the boy remains, trailing the trio of masters as they begin their approach to the mine.
Amongst such brevity of strength - concentrated to such small things as people are - there is no
room for words. At least not from one so untrained.
Being that his steps are following, Hibiki glimpses (or, rather, fails to not notice) the
tremendous blades carried by Yuuka and Aoitsuki: Samehada, and the Executioner's Blade. The boy has
only just learned of swordplay, but has fancied it for some while, enjoying the legends that twist
like mist, so blind and deceiving, around the wielders of the seven legendary blades. To be is such
company is humbling; trembling, perhaps. But that, Hibiki hopes, becomes but sand to the wave:
unnoticed, and fleeting.

Yuuka gently lifts a brow again with a curious glance. "It might be optimal to have one select
shinobi to find and retrieve the child while the rest of the team works at taking down the numbers.
Once the baby is out of the way and safe, it will be easier to take down greater numbers." Her
aquamarine eyes glance to the others. "How does that sound?" She might be a powerful swordsman like
Aoitsuki, but Yuuka still felt it was important to include everyone.

"I can sense some chakra, perhaps I might be able to guide towards the baby… Hibiki can come
along with me and help retrieve it so neither of our hands get full. I am not one for traditional
assassinations… And with it being within a cave I won't be able to just rain terror upon them… "
with a slight huff she allowed her eyes to settle on Hibiki, a light smile forming along her lips. "
he and i will take care of that, perhaps you two could do what you do best hmm?" She perked a brow
in Meruin and Yuuka's direction, she seemed to be pretty set on things carrying out this way.

"That seems to be our most effective course of action," agrees Meruin with Shirayuki Aoitsuki as he
steps around a large tree, the mists swirling behind his legs. "You two enter and kidnap the child.
Kaguya Yuuka and I shall simply begin clearing the way." The jounin spares a glance for noone,
simply continuing the journey northward. "Are there any legitimate reasons for choosing another
course of action?"

Hibiki shakes his head at Meruin; nods at Aoitsuki.
The devourer of Chakra.
A living, breathing weapon.
Hibiki can't help a small smile twist his lips as he takes a position next to Aoitsuki. His neck
twitches a moment, gripping his head and pulling it to the side — but rightly, and swiftly so, does
it return again to its usual mien. Quiet the boy does still remain, perhaps still too encumbered by
the presence of the Swordsmen; or perhaps quiet in face of Meruin, commanded as the youth was to
participate. Why, the boy wonders — why, amongst such acclaimed shinobi, was he - but a Genin -
chosen to accomplish such a delicate task? For the taste of blood (but such things have already
been)? For experience (but what complexities could simple minds absorb)? Or perhaps for friendship
(for how are fires built but by many logs)? Such questions bound, shouting and loud, through
Hibiki's skull, but so quiet his lips.

A small smile tugs at her lips with Aoi's addition. "Like a fish in water?" Yuuka murmurs,
chuckling lightly. "That sounds like a plan. Meruin and I will hold off the numbers as Aoi and
Hibiki find the child, and after they do he'll be taken to safety and we will take out everyone else.
Sounds simple enough." In all actuality Yuuka doubts that she'll even have to use the Kubikiribocho,
but one never knows.

Aoitsuki was content to know that their mission was going to go more so according to her plan, it
prompted her to take a stand back behind the others allowing Meruin and Yuuka to lead the way. "So
it is settled then, I hope you are ready for this Hibiki-san… This will be a good opprotunity for
you to see how a mission like this takes off and what is expected… Determine your skillset and
find ways to amplify how you may be useful in such a situation. All teams are designed to fit a good
mesh of skills… Now you just need to find your niche," Aoi explained, more so in a mentorish
fashion, after all she was curious about his growth. " Shall we begin now…?"

COMBAT: Aoitsuki finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Meruin's turn.

RPCOMBAT: Meruin defends against with a PERCEPTION…21

"Then we're agreed."
Meruin looks over his shoulder and nods saying, simply, "Let's depart and begin." The Okumo Jounin
begins running through the forest, a loping gait adopted to eat distance without expending very much
energy. This also allowed him to travel and still keep adequate surveillance ahead of him, which he
made sure to do, watching with eyes as dark as the raven's dreams in the umbrage. The mile and a
half of distance left was soon eaten up and left behind. With a 5th of a mile of the way to go until
the mine would come into view, he raises a fist, slowing to a light jog of a pace, eyes searching.
"They are not the best shinobi, but they are still shinobi. We should start seeing their sentries,
if they've posted any."

COMBAT: Meruin finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hibiki's turn.

RPCOMBAT: Hibiki defends against with a PERCEPTION…19

Being the smallest does not necessarily connote that one will be the fastest, and thus Hibiki is
left to play catch up with his comrades, their feet moving like light through shallow water. But
arrive they all do, falling silent and behind as Meruin commands the direction of the squad. The
youth looks as directed, but - seeing nothing - instead begins to fill his body with Chakra, drawing
energy to his limbs and toes and eyes. Round and round it flows, as placid and apathetic as history,
as if Chakra could be anything but. The boy's right hand squeezes tight, holds for a moment —
unclenches. He looks again, but still discovers nothing. He waits then. Still.

COMBAT: Hibiki focuses 3000 stamina to turn it into usable chakra!
COMBAT: Hibiki finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Yuuka's turn.

RPCOMBAT: Yuuka defends against with a BONE-SENSORY-II…52

As he raises a fist, Yuuka responds in turn by coming to a sudden stop, gaze narrowing ahead of
them as she stretches her senses out in front of the group. Three sentries. That shouldn't be too
much of a problem. The corner of her lips tugs with a slight smirk as she murmurs. "I got this."
Straightening the curve of her back, Yuuka inhales a long breath before spitting several bone
needles from her mouth, aiming for those that think themselves hidden and out of sight.

COMBAT: Yuuka finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Aoitsuki's turn.

Aoitsuki carried herself well, only a bit of chakra focused throughout her body in order to
prepare her for what was to come. Upon approaching the mine, Yuuka managed to successful find the
sentries buried about, and watched as she swiftly began to attack without the need of drawing her
blade. Aoi was under the same impression, and wouldn't wear herself out if it wasn't necessary. She
huffed quietly and inclined a nod to Hibiki," If these shinobi fall we will have more leverage to
search for this baby… I believe it won't be long for us to find it…."
COMBAT: Aoitsuki finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Meruin's turn.

Meruin's eyes flicker from Yuuka's mouth to her targets, watching as the sentries each suddenly
find themselves riddled with bleeding holes in their heads necks and chests, the bone projectiles of
the Kaguya striking visciously true. All were dead without a further sound and the Okumo inclines
his head towards the swordswoman, trusting in her senses. He signals the all clear and continues the
approach, keeping an eye out for any more posted sentries.
No more target ninja were spied keeping watch for the duration of the travel to the edge of the
clearing wherein the mine's entrance lay. A few issues immediately show themselves to be immediately
prevalent upon arrival. The first is that in this clearing lay five entrances to the subterranean
complex. The second is that the corpse of a Kaminiwari man hangs in front of one of those entrances.
And the last is that there was a baby swaddled in blankets in the center of the clearing, sleeping.
Presumably the one that the were after.
A beat… "Onkyou Hibiki, you do not leave these trees unless ordered to or your life or the
success of this mission are in grave peril. Kaguya Yuuka, spread your bones over the area and see if
there are any enemies awaiting nearby in ambush, if you would. If not, you and I shall go
investigate the corpse on the door. Shirayuki Aoitsuki, you should go procure the child, in case
there are no enemies. Please be sure to be careful of traps. If you retrieve it, Onkyou Hibiki shall
be it's keeper. Please act accordingly."

COMBAT: Meruin finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Yuuka's turn.
RPCOMBAT: Yuuka defends against with a BONE-SENSORY-II…33

A baby covered in blankets, in the center of a clearing. How likely is it that he's unprotected?
Very little. So when Yuuka sees that she merely narrows her blue green eyes in suspicion. She's
silent as she takes in another breath and exhales slowly this time, releasing miniscule fragments of
bone into the air to spread out ahead of them. It takes her a moment longer before her frown deepens,
her head turning to glance at Meruin. "I do not sense anyone, but I really doubt that they would
just leave him there. Then again, I'm not sure what to make of the corpse at the gate either."

COMBAT: Yuuka finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Aoitsuki's turn.

Aoitsuki didn't feel a thing, the blade at her back slightly itched at her flesh as she perked a
brow at the basket within the clearing. "I don't feel anything either, but that baby is quite real,"
Aoi stated as she moved forward silently reading herself with alertness while moving forward to move
close to the baby. The temperature in the area began to pick up as Aoitsuki began to focus her
chakra, and just like that flakes of snow began to lather and lap about the area, unusually altering
the terrain. " I don't know what to make of this… perhaps someone beat us to the punch… was
another team dispatched here?"
COMBAT: Aoitsuki finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Meruin's turn.

Meruin frowns slightly, entering the clearing once the all clear had been given and reaffirmed, the
Jounin stepping towards the door with the body hanging over it, examining each of the others. He
stops before he gets too close, eyes narrowing slightly at the sudden chill. A glance is given
towards Aoitsuki. As if realizing the same thing Meruin did, the baby wakes and begins to wail,
crying for whatever it is babies want. Warmth, likely. He leaves the child to the swordswoman's care,
thinking that she couldn't kill the child too quickly.
"No… Noone else should have even known that -we- were going to be here." He lashes out with a
hand, a shuriken whirring from him to cut through the rope holding the body. It drops to the floor.
No sign of a trap. Two arms raise and webbing enfolds the corpse from one and finds the door from
the other. A pair of jerks of the arms moves the body away from the door and swing the door open.
From it slide a few corpses down a stack of them. Cadavers had been piled high there, and the stench
of death begins to sift through the area.
Meruin looks to Yuuka… Then Aoitsuki… "I think it best that we verify our mission as successful
and leave. There can be further investigation after the child is secure."

Yuuka frowns at Meruin as he starts to enter on his own, seeing him pause as Aoi follows as well,
both approaching the babe. When the child begins to stir and cry she couldn't help it. It was
instinct for her to hurry forward and reach out for the baby, cradling him in her arms as she holds
him against her chest to shelter him against the new snowfall. When she does, Yuuka parts her soft
lips with as all breath of relief, as if he was really her baby. A hand pulls the blanket further
around his head as she lifts her eyes up at her team. "I agree. We can investigate later."

"Hmm.." Aoitsuki watched a little blankly at the baby as it began to cry and wail, and naturally
with Yuuka stepping into take care of it Aoi no longer had to be burdened with the little rascals
presence. Instead she pulled herself back into a stand and glanced in Meruin's direction. " I agree.
We will have to investigate this another time, we will see if intelligence has anything they forgot
to tell us," With those words she kept the snow fall, cautious if something might strike when they
least expected it but for now she nodded and began to push on. " We should leave quickly to report
our findings,"

Meruin inclines his head, looking back towards the mound of corpses filling the one of the five
underground entryways. "You two take Onkyou Hibiki, deliver the child, and make your report. I'll
stay behind to examine the premises to make sure that there are none who survived whomever was here,
and that there are no other children here. After it is determined whether or not our mission would
be technically declared successful, I'll move to catch up with you as I may." He looks over his
shoulder, inclining his head, before moving towards the corpse filled door to begin is exploration.

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