Date: October 25, 2014
Pirates attack the ship carrying Aburei and Reina to the Land of Fire. Bad move.
"A Heated Sea Battle"
The sea between the Land of Water and the Land of Fire
"o/~ Wey-hey, up she rises, wey-hey, up she rises, wey-hey, up she rises, earlay in the mornin'! o/~"
That's the sound of Aburei pitching in on the work of the ship. His scrawny back can't contribute much to the physical strength needed for the various tasks, but he can sing. Having the little bard on the tow line seems to give the other men some extra energy, as if they're trying extra hard just to make his enthusiasm worth something. X) And of course, it's nice having a medic around, if nothing else to sooth the inevitable blisters.
Reina is helping out with the men's work. Despite her slim arms and frame, she's strong enough. For some reason no matter how much the storms splash and drench everyone, Reina stays inexplicably dry. She doesn't even sweat. It's as if all moisture is burned up before ever reaching her. But she doesn't look to be slacking or overly conscious about getting wet. In fact, her image of a 'delicate lady' is soon lost. She's throwing raucuous jokes with the best of them, and has already mastered the raised shouts that can be heard all across the ship. But as it approaches afternoon, Reina disappears downstairs for an hour, and then the call for dinner comes. This is the real reason people get along with Reina: who would've known she was an excellent cook? The stew is savory and delicious. Most eat in the mess hall, but Reina brings two bowls up to the deck and hands one to Aburei. "Stew is my speciality," she says.
Aburei is sitting on a coil of rope when Reina finds him, resting his aching arms after a round of tugging on this and pushing on that and lifting the other. He accepts the bowl of stew with a grateful smile. "Ah, thanks, Reina-san. I feel like I could eat a whole pig." Aburei digs in and lets the warm brew spread nourishment to his limbs.
Meanwhile, trouble is brewing nearby. You wouldn't think the sort of ship that would take on a couple of passengers just for the promise of a labor contribution would be a prime target, but some mean are desperate enough to hunt any prize. A small vessel has been following stealthily in the wake of the other ship for some time now, camouflaged to blend in with the sea foam. As it closes in, a harpoon is pointed at the back hull of the first ship.
A few minutes have passed, and Reina is scraping the bottom of her bowl. "I'm going to grab another helping," she says, "if those guys haven't taken all of it." She laughs lightly and hops down from where she sits next to Aburei. That's when she notices something — a vessel? She squints. "Maybe it's some latecomers to lunch.." she says uncertainly. But then she sees that harpoon. They don't have those kinds of harpoons. "Hey!" she calls to the lookout above. "Unknown vessel approaching, maybe hostile!" She points towards them, and begins gathering her chakra. She had heard there were pirates in these parts. Was she really going to have to deal with this? She looks at Aburei. "If they're pirates, what will you do, Aburei-kun?"
Aburei blinks, and gets up to peer over the ship's railing. Ohhhhh fun. -.- Now if Mushi-neesan were here, there wouldn't be too much cause for alarm…Reina-san's a shinobi apparently, so maybe she can protect them all, but Aburei doesn't have much idea how proficient she is. Well, guess he's about to find out. c.c In response to Reina's question, Aburei shrugs. "Pray. Keep out of the way. If I get the chance, heal anybody I can. Oh, and I've got a friend I can summon if it would help…I'll have to see how things go, really. No point in putting him in danger if it wouldn't tip the scales in our favor." n.n;
Reina's shout rouses the men from beneath decks. They start passing out weapons, such as a minor freighting ship as theirs has, and preparing the ship for combat. The enemy ship, meanwhile, fires their harpoon, which punches through the back hull (fortunately well above the waterline) and links the two vessels together. A winch on the enemy ship starts drawing the ships together, and a group of wild-eyed hooligans cluster on the bow of the pirate ship, waving weapons and swinging grappling hooks on ropes. D<
"You can summon an animal with a contract?" Reina asks, looking at Aburei with renewed interest. Maybe this humble medic outpaces her after all. It seems she understands what he meant when he mentioned 'summon a friend.' She doesn't ask for him to bring it out. For all she knows it's a giant (giant, giant, giant) elephant that's going to tip over the boat.
When the grappling hooks start flying, Reina hesitates to use fire on a wooden vessel. She could always try to burn their vessel, but that still runs risk to them. Instead, she sends wind flying at them in sickle-like blades. To not only cut the men, but cut the ropes and slow their advance a little.
The pirates weren't expecting to have to deal with ninja. A few of them are injured by the whizzing air currents, and several more scream and duck under cover of their ship's railings. "KEEP PULLING!" yells the pirate captain. "We are ravenous wolves! We NEED this prize! I'LL deal with the ninja!" The pirates resume hauling on their grapple lines with renewed frenzy.
Soon the two vessels are drawn together close enough for the pirates to scramble across, and the battle begins in earnest. The fact that the freighter's crew were given warning and time to arm themselves definitely helps, but the average sailor is no match for the ruthless and reckless buccaneers. Aburei hides under the stairway toward the back of the ship. c.c As bodies start to hit the deck, Aburei occasionally darts out, grabs an injured soul, and drags them back to relative safety, performing emergency blood-stoppage treatment.
Meanwhile, the pirate captain, surprise surprise, turns out to be some sort of rogue-nin. He zeroes in on Reina, pulling up a large tendril of water and forming it into the likeness of a sea serpent. "DEVILS OF THE DEEP TAKE YOU, WENCH!" he yells as the sea serpent lunges at her.
When the water flies at Reina the air shimmers around her with heat. When the water gets close to this sphere of rippling air, it evaporates into steam. Before the white cloud can even disappear, Reina is sending another attack at the captain. It's a blast of heat that would blister and burn him and several others. Any ordinary pirates with no shinobi powers would be drained and dried husks upon contact. In fact, the fact that the sailors have been dragged to safety and few are in the fight makes it easier to target the pirates and avoid the sailors. It's a lethal attack with great effect. Where it touches the wood, it turns from wet planks to wood dry as an oak on a hot day. "Leave now or you'll leave with only half your men," she snaps. "This I only offer once." Her voice has gone from amiable to cold as ice.
Oh, we can't have it be over that quickly, now can we? ;) The pirate captain brings a big wave splashing onto the deck between Reina and her targets, absorbing most of the heat from her attack. A good number of pirates end up scalded, but only a few badly enough to take them out of the fight. "We're all as good as dead anyway if we don't turn our fortunes around! Keep fighting!" The pirate captain dashes in close to Reina, hoping to prevent her from using ninjutsu. He draws a cutlass and swings it wildly at her. "What'd a leaky tub like this pay you for guarding it anyway? Join us now and I'll give you half of what we get for selling this ship!"
As the pirate captain rushes in, Reina braces herself and spins once. A strong burst of wind swirls around her, buffeting back the attack. That's not all that happens. A blast of wind drops down from the sky like a hammer, to knock the captain down flat on the deck. The Macroburst technique would hold him in place without harming him. However he won't get the chance to avoid harm as Reina draws a kunai to drive it down into his back. She can't shoot any of her wind or fire attacks downwards, lest they damage the ship. And even the drying effect may make the wet wood warp and grow brittle with too much exposure. "When you try to convince someone to come over," she says with silky menace, "don't do it one second after you try to decapitate them."
Ooo, that had some effect. The pirates hesitate when their captain goes down, and the freighter captain takes advantage of it. "It's over! Drop your weapons if you want to live, scumbags!" The pirate captain coughs up blood. "You…fools," he rasps. "Why did you stop? They'll HANG *KAAAFF* you in port if you surrender!" DX A few of the pirates resume fighting in desperation, but with most of their comrades still indecisive, they're quickly dispatched by gangs of the sailors. Weapons start clattering onto the deck from pirate hands, and the sailors push them into a corner as a temporary jail.
Aburei crawls amongst the wounded in the aftermath, healing men just enough to stabilize their condition before moving on to the next. Soon enough he approaches the pirate captain. "Um, Reina-san, could you bind him or something? Considering all the stuff he was shouting about, I think he might give us trouble if we let him, once he's stable enough to move." n.n;
Reina smiles when the tide of battles turn against the pirates. It seems the sailors have some steel in their backbone after all. Soon the pirates are being driven back. She looks at Aburei in surprise when he asks if she can bind him. She nods to him. "I'll make sure he can't move," she says. That's all the foreshadowing she'd give before she grabs the captain's neck. As she starts to burn up his bodily fluids he screams, as she begins to mummify him on the spot, but then Reina hesitates a moment later. Some sailors are looking on in horror. So she lets go of his throat and the captain falls down before any serious damage can be done, unconscious. "There," Reina says innocently. "Out cold. And he will be for awhile."
…Um. o.O; Kinda working against the point there! Aburei hurries to close the pirate captain's wound. "I dunno if he'll make it," he mutters. "He'd already lost a lot of blood, and…" A wet, wracking cough from another of the waiting patients draws Aburei away from the probably-doomed pirate captain. u.u He summons Sobo the granny-badger to help him nurse the injured and continues with his triage.
Reina winces as she watches Aburei work. It's not due to the wounded. He's undoing all her work. What if the pirates are revived and can attack once more? But she whistles when Sobo appears. Despite its hugeness, the sailors sense Aburei's kindness and warm to both him and his summon naturally. Just like they sensed the seething darkness in Reina and watched her in horror. Reina sits on a barrel and lets Aburei do his work. Healing is not her area of expertise. But to her disgruntlement a few sailors slowly approach her and then more, expressing their gratitude for her defense. It had occurred to Reina to jump overboard and run away across the water. But then she'd lose a useful asset, her medic. She doesn't think he'd take kindly to leave the sailors at the mercy of a bunch of pirates. "I wonder what they were after," Reina says. "We should…question them." And she goes to do that…with decency.
What they were after? Simple enough. They're just a band of desperate men, some with less moral fibre than others, but all of them poor enough to want even the modest wealth of a simple freighter enough to risk their lives for it. Even now, their future looks pretty bleak; it's true that piracy is generally punished in a rather straightforward and stringent manner. But considering the ship is headed for the Land of Fire, Home of the Bleeding Hearts (TM), maybe they've got a chance of something a little less severe than a noose waiting for them.