Nobunaga, Zankuro, Ashura
Date: April 8, 2014
A trio of leaf shinobi are hired to look into the disappearance of a farmer's livestock.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"A Hunting We Will Go"
Land of Fire. Countryside.
It was early morning when Zankuro and Ashura would be informed that they were to partake in a mission lead by Amaro Nobunaga. Their mission came to them from a simple farmer out a ways from Konoha. Nobunaga had the mission details and parameters explained to them in the summons sent for them. But it was just a brief summary. So far all the two genin would know is that they would have to make a half a day trip and they would be hunting something.
Once the trio was complete Nobunaga would lead them off filling them in on the specifics of the assignment. "You were told we'd be hunting something. As for what, well even I don't know. Whatever it is it's eating the farmer's livestock and it's doing so quite voraciously." Nobunaga explains. He looks back to the two genin as they travel "Our mission is to investigate and kill whatever it is. It'll be dangerous so I must ask you two to be very careful and listen to commands." Nobunaga returns his attention forward. "But most importantly I want you to look out for each other."
When they arrived at the farm they'd be greeted by a small scruffy boy. A bit younger than Ashura. The boy looked to the shinobi in awe. "We're shinobi of the leaf, we're here to address your predicament." Nobunaga explained. The boy nods "I'm Shyla. You are the people my dad hired yeah? He's in the shed. We've move what's left of our heard there. Follow me." Nobunaga and the group would follow the boy. Once they reached the shed a series of pungent odors would overcome them but one was more potent than the rest. It was a smell they all should know, the smell of death. The boy tells the shinobi to wait out front while he fetches his father. After a short wait a bearded man in a straw hat appeared, his hands were stained with dry blood. "You're here. They only sent three of you? You all look like kids." Nobunaga smiled and assured the man that they were more capable than kids. "We would like to get this taken care of quickly. I'm sure you feel the same. Let's not waste any time." the man nods and motions the shinobi trio to follow him inside. There he leads them to an eviscerated sheep corpse. There were others too. Horses, cows, etc but the sheep was the freshest kill.
Ashura wouldn't say a word as they traveled. once they got there the man questioned their abilities which was much to Ashura's distaste. As he walked about the shed he notices the bite marks and then the marks on the sheep's leg that stood out. "This is odd, it appears that whatever did this had thumbs so that rules out all things that walk on four legs at least…however the bite marks leaves much to be desired…the pressure and details? Whatever we're dealing with has power and size to match the power." Shaking his head he would reach and pull out a water bottle and take a sip before placing it back into its pouch, "I have a feeling that this is going to be a drag." Sighing he would cross his arms over his chest as he walked around checking other places.
If there's one thing in the world Zankuro hated more than someone screwing up a perfectly simple dish, it is waking up early in the morning. Morning was for the birds, not a Sarutobi who spent the night before canvasing potential 'hunting' grounds for the next day. Unfortunately, there was no denying a mission summon, so off he went, half-asleep up until the trio are on the move in earnest.
"You can count on us, Nobunaga-senpai," Zankuro said with more enthusiasm than what he actually felt. The boy was still dog tired after all, and the darn mesh beneath his shirt was chaffing something fierce for some reason. All thoughts regarding a nice warm bed and seeing about a return for the sorry excuse for protection leaves the boy's mind upon catching the scent of decay.
Zankuro plays the mute card from there on, attentive to both the others and the scene of the crime despite the urge to hurl eating away at him. "Couldn't agree with ya more, Ashura-sa…" Zankuro trails off. Something just moved outside. He'd try to convey it to the others without talking or appearing suspicious.
"Very good Ashura-san." Nobunaga compliments. He kneels down and nods "Yes…and all the wounds and what not seem to match up. So this is the same creature. Hopefully this means whatever we're dealing with…there's only one of it." Nobunaga states before rising. He then looks to Zankuro and nods softly. He signals the farmer to be quiet and for Ashura and Zankuro to follow him. Before they can so much as get their head out the door a body comes crashing through the wall of the shed. It was Shyla's. The animals began to panic and something leaped in during this panic. It had four limbs, elongated and protracted. Its head looked to be just a mesh of unruly hair. It was tall. Taller than anybody there and it was going for a kill. "Ashura secure the boy, Zankuro with me." Nobunaga commanded quickly as he tried to work his way over towards the creature. It didn't seem to pay any attention to the shinobi. It was more interested in Shyla who was heavily wounded. A large gash ran along his back and a chunk of his leg had been bitten out. Nobunaga gave the attack command. "Focus on getting it away from the child." Nobunaga commanded before slinging a kunai towards the creature.
Ashura, using natural speed, would dash and cover the child. As he moved past the creature he notices how human it looks and in a low tone voice he spoke "Werewolf?" Shaking his head he would grab the child and roll to create some distance between the two before placing the child back onto the ground. Ashura stood over the child and started to mold his chakra. "Don't worry I'll protect you," smiling softly to the boy he would make sure to keep his eyes on the creature at all times.
Grudgingly, Zankuro follows Nobunaga's lead. As much as it pained him to admit it, the boy just didn't have the innate speed his comrade had. Chakra is built up as they make their way towards the creature. Zankuro stays primed along the way to lay down some covering fire for Nobunaga, only to belatedly realize a snag. "Think you can force it outside?" He whispers to Nobu.
A vicious growl was all this creature had to offer Ashura. It raised a long arm and revealed a hand of razor sharp claws. But Nobunaga's kunai caught its attention. It caught the kunai. Nobunaga raised an eyebrow in surprise. If Ashura was looking close he would see the creature smiled after doing so. It tossed the kunai back at Nobunaga, more tauntingly than intending to harm him. Nobunaga dodged it easily enough and now the creature would make its retreat. It crashed through another wall and under the fleeting sunlight its true form could be seen. Stitching, scars, discolored skin, and other physical altercations could be seen. One thing became clear at this moment and an uneasiness would wash over all who knew it. Nobunaga holds his hand out "Stand down."
"Shyla!" the farmer rushes towards his son. He was losing blood and fast. Before the trio of shinobi did anything else they would see that the boy received medical attention. Thankfully such was provided by the maiden of the farm, aka the farmer's wife. While Shyla recovered the farmer and the three shinobi met outside the farmer's home to discuss what they just saw.
"Things just became a bit more dire. It's intelligent, has a personality, and to make matters worse it's skilled." Nobunaga looks to the farmer. "Describe your earliest encounter with this thing." The farmer complies and says that his livestock started turning up dead about a week and a half ago. The killings became more frequent and occurred mostly at night. The farmer went on the say that smaller animals were targeted at the beginning. "Now it feels comfortable enough to hunt anything…even humans." Nobunaga nods. "You can go back inside now…you'd do well to remain inside until daybreak. Hopefully by then we'll have this thing settled by then."
Now that that was done a plan needed to be formulated. Nobunaga sat with his team. Night was quickly approaching. "It's more than likely it'll be back tonight. Ashura, you saw how it smiled didn't you? It's confident." Nobunaga sighs "We won't be able to go at it recklessly we'll need to trap it. Then we can take it out. Any ideas?"
"Negative. Tactical movements aren't my specialties," Ashura would cross his arms as he sat there before looking towards Zankuro. "However what I do know is that it has claws and fangs…and if I didn't know any better I'd say it's a man wolf and the only clan that can pull that off is the Inuzuka but I can't think of any reason one would do this." Stretching out the young Uchiha displayed a level head as well as being rather unfazed about what he saw "And we might want to go over everyone strengths and weaknesses as well. Just as thought though." Ashura would look at Zankuro and then at Nobunaga.
Zankuro takes a breath in preparation to pelt the creature with fire, but Nobunaga's command catches him off guard. He belches a puff of flame instead and would level a worried look upon the team's leader if not for the former reminding them all of the more pressing issues…
"I'm pretty much in the same boat as Ashura-san is boss man." Zankuro chuckles weakly. "But… If it really is like a wolf then messing up its sense of smell would be our best bet. Then again, it had no problem with being inside a barn full of corpses, so we're gonna have to go outside the box with this one… Not to mention the fact that we're gonna need to force it away from this farm all somehow. I mean, we were gonna have to do that regardless, but still…"
Nobunaga nods "You both make rather excellent points. So what we know, or suspect, is that it's wolf-like. It possess a keen sense of smell yet the intelligence to focus it the event that there are other aromas." Nobunaga taps his finger on his bicep with his arms folded. "I have both your files. I've looked over them." Nobunaga stated. "You both have an affinity for fire manipulation. Obvious given your heritage. And you both seem rather well rounded." Nobunaga nods with smile "Where there is fire there is smoke. I believe I have a solution." Nobunaga looks between Ahsura and Zankuro. "I warn you though you'll have to trust your team completely. Especially since one of you will have to be the bait."
The plan was explained to Zankuro and Ashura and after a quick almost nonexistent discussion it was decided that Ashura would be the bait. The plan went as thus. Ashura would venture out alone, away from the farm in the dead of night with a torch. The creature was confident and intelligent. It wouldn't know better than to attack the farm again with three hostiles on the premises. Though this is all just speculation which is why Nobunaga will be back at the farm just in case it doesn't take the bait. If that is the case Nobunaga will let off a signal via fire manipulation. In the more likely event the creature decides to dispose of threats one by one it will go after Ashura. Zankuro's job at this point was to wait until the creature engaged Ashura then surround the area in a sea of flame to prevent escape. Now this means Ashura and Zankuro will have to face the creature alone until Nobunaga arrives. The sea of flame will be the signal notifying Nobunaga that they've made contact. To keep Zankuro's scent from being picked up the Sarutobi would fill his clothes with the stench of smoke. Easy enough. This is reliant on Zankuro remaining undetected though as any sign of him could dissuade the creature and alert it to the vulnerability of the farm. With the plan in motion all that was left was to see what the creature would do.
Shrugging his shoulders to the plan he sighed "Seems about right, Zankuro is a lot slower than me and his clan is great with Ash techniques after all." Once the cover of night is upon them the young man removed his white vest and replaced it with a dirty farm jacket. He also removed his headband and ninja tools. Using his flame manipulation he would lite the torch that lit his path and smirked and waved to the family and then to his teammates. "Well here I go hopefully this works." Yawning he would set out from the farm with the torch with a lite as planned. It was dark and the coolness of the night started to set in, a breeze whipped past causing the young genin to shiver. "Tsk, I dislike traveling at night…" Ashura would try and make the role a little more believable.
Zankuro nods curtly and clenches a fist at chest level before him. "You can count on us, Nobu-sensei." Only later would Zankuro realize that the plan involved Ashura playing the role of bait and feel the sting of guilt as a result. Still, It wasn't as if he could argue with how sound the plan was, only mentally to himself in regards to his own brand of skills.
From the shadows of the tree tops, Zankuro follows Ashuro's progress along the ground, ever mindful for any possible snags to the plan; such as the beast targeting him instead for instance! He hoped not of course, but still, the loud overshirt he was wearing made him a keen target.
All seemed to be going well until Zankuro was detected. It wasn't long after Ashura departed that the creature spotted him. Now it was on the creature to act. Rather than go for the farm seeing that Ashura and Zankuro were still relatively nearby the creature decided to wait until the duo traveled a bit further out away from the farm. It then started stalking them. It was behind Zankuro ready to pounce. Indeed this thing was intelligent. If all went well it could take out Zankuro and Ashura leaving Nobunaga in the dark. It circled out to get in front of Ashura instead though. It would strike quick but not at Ashura instead at his torch. Knocking the torch out of Ashura's hand and thereafter extinguishing the flame it would then disappear under the cloak of night. It would then sneak up behind Zankuro believing that Zankuro wasn't aware that it was aware of him.
The sounds of rustling in the tree catches his attention and from it came the beast, it was swift as it knocked the touch from his hand putting it out. Keeping calm he notices its true target and when he looks over he notices the creature would be behind Zankuro. "Behind you Zankuro!?" Not thinking he closs the distance and would be above him waving through hand seals before inhaling a huge breath. "Katon; Gokakyu no Jutsu!" A orb of fire extends from his mouth as he tries to set the beast ablaze as well as spin kick it away from the duo. "Tsk, and you're suppose to save me," is said mockingly before he flips from the tree and lands onto the ground. "Track he caught on quick. At least this won't be boring you know."
"What the—!?" Is all Zankuro manages to say before Ashura's outcry from the dark prompts him to refocus his attention towards the indicated spot. The ambusher spotted amongst the gloom of night, Zankuro dives towards the ground, only to be pursued. He hits the ground rolling painfully thanks to the oversized scroll on his back, but he still recovers fast enough to capitalize on the 'distraction' provided by Ashura's fire ball. Zankuro flies through a series of hand seals and lays out a barrage of covering fire, intending on narrowing the beasts aveneu of escape from Ashura's spin kick as much as possible. Not to mention burn it badly too… AND light up the force for miles on end. "Ah shaddup 'nd focus on taking this thing down first." Zankuro belatedly follows up with.
Nobunaga continues his patrol of the farm awaiting any sign. There was no indication that the creature had made contact with Zankuro and Ashura yet. He hoped they were both alright. Then he catches sight of a bright flash of fiery light. "That's not the jutsu I told Zankuro to use." he says in confusion. It only took a moment for him to put two and two together. "Something must've gone wrong." Thereafter he spots the jutsu he was expecting to see but by then he was already on his way to the location. It seems that whatever the hiccup Zankuro and Ashura were able to recover.
The creature had to avoid the fire ball and thus give up on persuing Zankuro. It was able to block Ashura's kick but because of that it fell prey to Zankuro's next jutsu. Just as planned with Zankuro's jutsu the creature's escape was cut off and now it was even wounded. In the blazing light of fire they could now see the creature clearly. It wasn't a wolfman but just a horridly modified human apparently with one very strange feature…it was wearing a konoha chuunin flak jacket. The jacket was quite old. Enraged and injured the creature lashed out towards the one that harmed it, Zankuro. Its long whip-like arms came about with razor edged claws aimed at Zankuro's throat, the abomination was going for the kill.
Ashura wouldn't be fast enough to get between the strike towards Zankuro and thus a huge inhale is done trying to use the coving fire to enhance the flame that came screaming out of his mouth. "STAY AWAY FROM HIM MONSTER!" is shouted as he dash in for close range taijutsu, a twisting kick is attempted before he leaped into the air into a leaping jump kick to the face. "That jacket…it as I thought you're from the Inuzuka clan aren't you?" Is asked as he held his hand out towards Zankuro for a kunai, "Let me borrow a kunai please. I left my tools back at the house."
Zankuro would curse if not for the need to evade taking precedence! Without hesitation, Zankuro would try to rocket away on a pillar of flames. A bit of his shoes are shaved off from his escape as a result, but otherwise Zankuro escaped scott free. He… kind of over shot things by quite a bit, so his landing turns out rough. "Hoi boy, one of these days I'm gonna get that down." He says, shaking his head a little before refocusing on the fight. "Huh?.. You.. Did you… O-vay, one sec." Zankuro flashes through a series of seals, hoping to bind the beast using illusionary ninja wire to buy some time. A back-up pouch is summoned from one of the scrolls on Zankuro's person and tossed to Ashura.
"Think you can keep it grounded?"
Nobunaga arrives to see the exchange of attacks. Rather than intervene he waits for the right moment. The creature hisses as its attack is interrupted again by Ashura allowing Zankuro to escape yet again. This time Ashura grabbed the creatures attention. Blocking his kicks the creature decided to stay close and finish off Ashura, the annoyance, first. As it swipes once with's claws Zankuro's genjutsu takes a brief hold. However it was weak. The creature broke out and continued its attack on Ashura however the breif moment of pause in its attack provided by genjutsu was enough to provide an opening and that's when Nobunaga would strike. Diving down like a falcon with his scarf in hand Nobunaga slings it about hardening it with his chakra to give a blade-like edge to his scarf.
Ashura rolled back after catching the ninja pouch from Zankuro placing it onto his hip he would grab two kunai and spin them in hand. "What the pursuit is this thing?" Ashura would roll his shoulders as the team leader come crashing down like a spider monkey, "You made it in time the party just started," Ashura whipped two kunai st the beast making sure he kept his distance from it for as long as he could.
Zankuro eyes are as wide as saucers from the beast-man breaking out of his illusion sooner than expected, but with Nobunaga's sudden appearance, its at least kept at bay. For now. "We changing the plan boss?" Zankuro dares to ask while fishing out his own shuriken, peppering the beast soon after to help keep the beast at bay. He'd have an answer before pulling out the big gun.
The creature managed to evade Nobunaga's slash and realizes that it is vastly outnumbered. It becomes fully defensive now. All the attacks back it into a corner and pretty soon it's between a wall of fire and three shinobi. Nobunaga readies himself for another attack. "What do you mean? Once you guys secluded it I was suppose to come in and finish it off while it was distracted." Nobunaga chuckles "But I guess that didn't go too well either." Desperate and feral eyes scanned the leaf shinobi and all possible forms of escape. Nobunaga's eyes narrow. "It's thinking. What is this thing? Guys be ready. On my mark we move in." Nobunaga motions the others to spread out gradually. Nobunaga baits the creature with an opening though. Behind them the flames were dying. If the creature could break past this line it could potentially escape. Nobunaga purposely widens a gap in formation between himself and Ashura. He glances to Zankuro signalling him to be ready. "Keep your eyes on him…" and before Nobunaga could finish the creature sprung with incredible agility. It passed right by Ashura and Nobunaga, too fast for Nobunaga to attack it just yet. "It's making a break for it!" It was up to the two genin to seal off its escape or stop it dead in its tracks.
Ashura watches as the breast zipped passed him and Nobu and started to flash through seals. Noticing the path the youth frowns as he is unable to attack the beast with range attacks with Zankuro in the path and thus he started to give chase. "You have to stop him Zankuro!?"
"Ahh… fudge monocles. I knew I was forgetting something." Zankuro jests best, even though his nerves were being fried with ever passing second the beast stayed alive and relatively well. The new plan heard, Zankuro girds himself to caught off any attempt by the best to bum rush past them to escape the flames. He didn't quite anticipate the darn thing leaping over all of them though!
By channeling that inner fire — Konohagakure's Will of Fire — Zankuro's jittery fingers grow steady. He calmly rushes after the beast along with Ashuro, maintaining an even gait despite the terrible situation. Fire builds in the stomach. Fingers are synched. And then, Zankuro unleashes a barrage of fire. Bullet after bullet after bullet is sent flying past Ashura and even the beast itself. Each one setting something or an unfortunate something aflame, creating a blaze meant to slow the darn beast down and lead back towards the group.
It wouldn't escape if Zankuro had anything to say about it!
The creature almost escaped having blown past the leaf shinobi but Zankuro's jutsu once again sealed off its exit. Now completely encased with nowhere to run once again the creature had to turn its attention to the shinobi. Nobunaga rushed it along with Ashuro and Zankuro. "Back me up. Take any opening you get." Nobunaga commands as he engages the creature. Taking his challenge the creature lets out a roar. Nobunaga tries to lead the creature back towards the flames with each slash of his cloth. His last strike is at one of the long yet powerful legs.
Ashura notice the cut off and with a smirk dashed forward "Nice job Zankuro on the stop," taking in a deep breath he would release two fireballs towards the beast before rolling his shoulders. "Let's end this with one final push eh?" Ashura winked towards Zankuro before picking up his defense once more.
"Yoshi!" Zankuro yells out in answer to Nobunaga, then plants his feet firmly in the ground. A look and a grin is given back to Ashuro. Then, Zankuro almost seems to expland around the mid-section as he forms seals, only to expel a great 'o ball of flaming oil… and another for good measure. If the beast is struck with any of those it'd be death sentence regardless of its survival. Even the most minute blazes hitting its body would get to it. Not to mention the burning trail of oil and roasted flesh that was bound to be left in its wake.
The creature found its leg wounded by Nobunaga causing it to wince in pain and falter resulting in taking a direct hit from one of Ashura's fire balls. After that it tries to retreat but Zankuro's final flame bullet roasts the creature. It howls in pain as it burns alive before the three shinobi. Though it looked as though it might be over Nobunaga didn't let his guard down and advised the genin to do the same. Slowly he approached the beast as it fell to the ground. Its voice grew hoarse and weak. It seems like it was finally over. Nobunaga hardens his scarf to deliver a quick and decisive finishing blow. But the last breath escapes the beast.
With that done Nobunaga turns to the genin and nods "It's over. Good work." They were still surrounded by a good bit of fire. A lot of trees suffered a similar fate to the creature. "It had a chuunin vest. Odd." Nobunaga states before falling silent. He pondered something for a little while before looking to the two genin "Everyone alright?" suddenly the creature sprung up. It's chest glowing purple. Its previously hollow and lifeless eyes glowed with the same light. A seal then appeared on the torso of the beast. One would recognize the seal…or a similarity between that seal and the seal of an explosive tag. Nobunaga did at least. "Move move move move!" He commands loudly.
Ashura didn't have to be told twice and within an instant he would flash from sight as the purple light threatens to go off. As he moved though he sighs as he thought of Zankuro who wasn't the fastest guy there however in this case he would be set or so he hoped at least. "This is a piece of cake, can't really say that was a hard mission though…just an annoying one eh Zankuro?" Ashura would have his hands around his head as he waited to see what happen next.
Zankuro is in the same boat as Ashura. When Nobunaga says stay on guard Zankuro is ON it. When he says run, the great big ball of fluff is one of the first to dash away as soon as the shock from seeing the beast spring up again. "Speak… for your… self…" Zankuro says when the moment comes for everyone to finally stop and rest for a sec. Needless to say, if not for his Sarutobi spirit he might've outright fell onto his backside then and there. "Nobunaga…sensei… Any *gulp* Any idea.. on that.. curse seal?" He asks in between breathes.
Nobunaga escapes nimbly as do the genin. After the explosion no trace of the creature is left. Nobunaga looks to the genin making sure they're alright. Aside from being a bit winded everyone seemed fine. Nobunaga shrugs "I don't know. But that curse seal had to have been put there…by a shinobi or someone with the knowledge. And clearly it was rigged." Nobunaga sighs "Though this is all just speculation. Without out a body all we have is a report."
Nobunaga pats the two genin on the head. "Well things turned out ok this time. Let's report back to the farmer. We'll rest for the remainder of the night and head out tomorrow. But before any of that…." Nobunaga peers about "Try to put out these fires before this entire forest burns down."