Date: September 4, 2016
A pair travel deep into the countryside on a task only to discover their to be employer had already been captured
"A Not So Simple Contract, Part I"
Land of Lightning
An hour after leaving out of the village, Suizei would make sure they didn't have a tail or two before starting to slow his pace to a steady marching rate. "Much better.. Started to wonder if one of your 'acquaintances' were going to try and invite themselves to you leaving the village." The trails chosen were rather clear for the time being, using a main road but it would be clear that they were moving away from the route towards the coast. "It'll be a good while before we manage to get to the village itself, if we notice anything odd though, we'll double back. I could tell from the rumors and the contacts that the 'Storm' group may be planning for more strikes in this region. While I'm not worried about a few lower mercenaries.. I want little to do with that group even if we have a chance to ambush a cell." Turning his head to the side, he peeks behind himself towards Yume, taking a moment before asking "How has your training been progressing?"
Patiently following behind Suizei, Yume would be listening attentively to both him and the path around them as they travel. The entire trip made her recall a similar attempted trip to the coast that did not bode well, so it was not the best beginnings that she could hope for. Still, it meant that she could at least be prepared for the worst that may come. She inclines her head in agreement with Suizei, "Yes, as much as I would like to bring one of them back to the village to question them for our shinobi, I doubt that you and are would be enough to apprehend them calmly." Her head tilts up while she thoughtfully considers the next answer to Suizei's question, "It has been progressing well. I am getting better at controlling the sound in my voice, and I feel like I could defend myself more properly if it came down to it. And your own training?"
"Calmly? I may have been training for several years, it's just been in passing. I hope I'll manage to have enough tricks to get away from them.." Bringing his hand to the side of his neck, Suizei begins to rub it steadily and somewhat nervously. The news of her advancements causes a soft smile to reach his lips, "Good good. I haven't managed to have the proper supplies ordered for the smiths. I thought I had enough coin to cover all expenses, I over estimated what I had.. hence the contract." Lowering his hand down to his side, he hooks his thumb into his waist sash. "I've managed to secure a footing, a method of protecting myself from more earthen assaults though its use beyond physical strikes is rather limited. I have a tick that I have been working on refining though, I hope I won't need to use it during this trip."
Yume nods her head and tells Suizei, "Repetition is key, no matter the intensity of the practice. They say to fear the man who has practiced one kick a hundred times more than the man who has practiced a hundred kicks one time." She smiles quietly and shakes her head before she admits, "A bit of an oversimplification, but the lesson to take from it is the same." She nods her head once and tells Suizei, "I see, it can be a difficult thing to plan for, the materials, the labor it requires, the trade it might require…a bit more hard work and I'm sure that it will be arranged in no time." She listens to Suizei quietly from then on and nods her head, "Earth is perhaps one of the more difficult elements for me to deal with." Yume decides with a brief frown, "It naturally dampens and blocks off my sound, so the tone needs to be strong and loud to get past that…whatever you know, just do not hold onto for it for too long if we are in trouble. You know I would not go imparting too many of your secrets onto others.
"Simplified, but still accurate. For that I am beginning to focus more on the basics and the make of the chakra." Bringing his left hand up as Suizei says 'Water' and the right when he says 'Lightning', "Harmony between Water chakra and Lightning chakra gives birth to Storm release but.. Along the way I lost touch what made things clear for me. That is also why this sword is so important to me, it isn't going to just be a tool, but a quest for understanding.. or enlightenment of things I shouldn't do," is tacked on at the last moment accompanied with a mild chuckle.
"Hai hai.. If we are in trouble and I tell you to run, run. It won't be because I am worried about you being hurt." Bringing his hands together, Suizei links his fingers together into a two handed fist. "When I create a storm, it's raw.. Unlike my uncle, I've yet to refine the technique. I have mastered giving it power and converting chakra into that power with good efficiency but, the control isn't dexterous. I can't adjust around targets so much as force my way through them.." Muttering to himself, his hands part and move to his hips, briefly thinking a few matters over. "Yume-san, Once we are a half a day from the village I'll let you see exactly what I mean."
Yume bows her head as she listens to Suizei, "I recall the basics, I have witnessed Arashi calling upon it on a few occasions." She frowns quietly to herself when Suizei mentions struggling, "I see, well, I wish you luck with that." She still doesn't look particularly happy when it is insisted that she runs when she is told, but she waves it off with only mild annoyance, "Yes, yes, I will run like the damsel you still think me to be. But if it came down to it, I could likely fend off your storm if I must. I will -not- run far though and leave you alone with whatever it is you are left with…" She shakes her head slowl to herself, letting her hand tighten around her cane as she walks along. "If you'd like, but if it will take a while, I do not mind if you keep it saved for emergencies. I would prefer to keep moving as efficiently as we can hope for…"
"I'm not asking you to run as if you're helpless," is forced out bitterly. "I almost killed several I tried to help trying to hastily from that technique.. I don't need any more guilt. Beh.." Shaking his head from side to side, Suizei's tone didn't bounce back to the lighter tone it had been. Lifting his left hand up close to his ear he flicks his hand backwards, trying to dismiss the idea of being left alone. Opening his mouth for a moment he prepared to say something more to Yume though only a grumble escapes him at first, "Hopefully you won't see my issues for it. Though it seems you know the negative sides of it from that team leader, would hope it wasn't a Genin using it lightly at least." With those words said, Suizei once again falls quiet causing his pace to subtly speed up.
"So you pass off the guilt to me in a different form as a solution? You cannot just tell everyone to run from you only to potentially spare your feelings." Yume tells Suizei, still sounding just as irritated. "There are times mistakes are made, even with the most well trained shinobi. And the only way you'll ever improve is to face your fears, and I hope that if not now, that you will see the truth in that eventually." She cracks her neck quietly to dismiss some of the tension, and just like that, she returns to her calm state as she lets her cane lead the way for her. "He is well above Genin so far as I can tell. On par or more experienced than Sakuya-san or Eiji-san." Yume notes to Suizei, "I have yet to meet any others in your clan trying to learn more of the technique since leaving the academy."
Silence, Suizei doesn't say a single word for almost a minute after Yume finished speaking. 'Seems I might of not been in that mentality in half a decade..' is admitted in a begrudged mumble. Tilting his head from side to side, Suizei nods lightly but not seeming surprised by her last fact offered up. "That is why the sword is important to me.. I have seen what precision is possible with refined Lightning chakra flow. It.. I'm likely to bore you with theory at this rate." Shaking his head slowly, he turns to the side to glance behind himself towards Yume, 'Thanks' is softly said, not leaving it clear if he intended for her to hear him at all. "Want to pick up the pace, it's going to be a while.. would like to break towards the thicker forests by nightfall so we can have a healthy fire."
"Fear can push us to places that are difficult to crawl out from, sometimes it takes a push to get out of the mindset…I'm sure that you will get your sword someday, the only thing you can do is patient for the time being." Yume shakes her head and admits, "It does not bore me too badly, if you'd like to tell me about it to pass the time, I would not be opposed." She bows her head once after Suizei mutters his thanks, but doesn't offer much else to it than that as they continue walking. "Yes, we can. I think that I can manage a run for a while if we really need to cover a lot of distance."
Picking up his pace, Suizei began to slip into a jogging trot while looking behind himself every so often, namely to see how or if Yume was still going to use her cane. Then it began, Suizei would begin talking about some of his issues with nimble uses of Lightning chakra before talking more of how 'Lightning Flow' shifts the control. It wouldn't be long before he begins to talk about the looser topic of 'Storm Flow', and about the steady failures of the tactics. During the several hours of sparse talking on the subject, he pauses and listens for Yume to weigh in on not only the idea, but also what seemed 'reasonable' to her, seeming to try and see if any of the planning was outlandish. Eventually the pair left the higher mountainous trails and worked their way lower into a thickly forested valley causing the pathways to be more troublesome from overgrowth along with more life hidden out of sight. "Won't be long before Dusk sets, how good are you at fire building or maintaining? Yume-san?"
When Yume starts to run, it would seem that she would definitely rely less on the sound of her cane and more on the sound of her own feet hitting the ground below. She would listen to him patiently as he starts to talk, but part of her focus would be set on maintaining her breathing and pacing so as to not wear herself out too much on their journey. "That… is… interesting." Yume says between her strides and she takes a deep breath to try to speak to him more evenly, "And is this just your efforts with channeling the storm in general or are we speaking strictly about finding a metal that will properly conduct and contain it to be controlled with more precision?" She'd listen to Suizei and offer more of her thoughts until hey arrive where they were going to camp first. She'd rest her hands on top of her legs and try to catch her breath. "I am…fairly okay at either. If I had to choose…I would prefer maintaining it."
"Channeling them into a blade.. Though honing Lightning flow.. has improved some aspects." Suizei would answer back but then fall silent again, almost choosing the wrong pathway out of habit but he remained focused enough to remember the route. When they slow from a hastened jog to a brisk walk he makes a point of guiding them a fair distance from the main road. "Maintaining then.. Hmm." Coming to a pause at a sparsely forested area, Suizei begins to draw out a knife and carve at the various trees. "Try to clear anything note worthy away that you can notice, going to scorch the ground before setting out a sleeping mat. Don't need anything poisonous being under the bedding." The process, while time consuming left him still within close earshot of Yume, allowing them to continue their talks. "How about yourself, are you content with using your voice as a weapon along or do you plan on finding and using alternate tools?"
Yume glances around when given her task, trying to pick out anything of note that will need to be moved. She then starts to move random branches, logs, and even shrubbery to try to make a clear space for them to rest. "Hm?" Yume calls over after yanking up a stubborn root jutting from the ground, "I am trying to learn how to defend myself in close quarters with my cane as well. And it would likely be better suited for when I had to remain quiet as I fight…" Yume answers him as she moves on to the next branch, "Right now it is difficult. The wood it is crafted from does not handle the vibrations well and if I try too hard to combine the two, I risk splintering it and breaking it. I am looking into a metal cane that can better handle and create sounds to work with…"
"Metal.. a solid shaft might be good." Looking down at the section of bark in his hands from one of the fallen trees, Suizei starts to scratch at the fibrous underside. Walking back to the area Yume was clearing, he turns it upside down and litters sections of the ground with that he could scrape off easily. "Ever think about having light chimes attached to it? It might make it somewhat ornate but I've heard tales of your clan using charm bells with your techniques." With the scraping done, he sets the bark towards the center where Yume was leaving most of the wood rather than the stone area. "Thinking about it, I'm not sure if it was actually your clan or just a echoing sound genjutsu user impersonating your clan." It wouldn't be long before most of the ground and grass was covered in the fine fibers. "I think this is enough, going to light it now" is said as he bring out the odd tool from before before surging lightning chakra through it to make a steady arch of energy to spark the tinder. The flame wouldn't last very long though it would spread rapidly managing to leave most of the cleared area smoking and littered with patches of still glowing embers.
"I'm not sure if you heard me say it's for when I had to be more quiet at certain times." Yume tells Suizei, chuckling softly as she brushes her hands cleans and straightens from her work. "Perhaps at some points I could find things to attach to it, but a simple, metal pole that I could still rely on for walking would be easy enough for me to work with." After Suizei's confusions, she lifts a delicate shoulder to shrug before telling Suizei, "It's difficult to say, Genjutsu users would be able to recreate most of our techniques on an auditory level, but not physical…there are a few in my clan who prefer Genjutsu to be honest, but it has never been one of my strong points." She then takes a step back and allows Suizei to light the flames. She sniffs the air and scrunches her nose before telling Suizei, "I hope that was not the one that I needed to focus on maintaining…"
"Ah, absolute silence. I was thinking you just meant quieter than.. well, a shout." Talking as he carefully walks the burned ground, Suizei keeps his focus downward, stomping out embers and using his boot to lightly scrape at the ground to try and make sure no embers laid under some still dampened ground. "Hmm, as for the copy cats without studying them and you side by side I don't think I would be able to tell the difference in the end but no, that's so neither of us lay down some bedding only for a centipede to crawl inside and bite us when we settle in for the night." Making a mild face before going to where the wood that had been removed from the area was moved and brings it to the center of the scorched ground, using the larger stones to help him form a firepit. "The fire you'll be keeping up with is just about to be formed. The first burning will also make sure no sparks jump out and start a larger fire." It wouldn't be long before he sparks the tinder within again but this fire was much smaller, hardly a third of a meter across with larger pieces of wood just outside the stones to be dried out from the heat
"At least close enough to it." Yume confirms with a nod of her head, before she shrugs, "If the metal were to hit a solid enough surface, or if I were to focus strong vibrations into it, there would still be some sound, but enough that I could control it if absolutely necessary…at least in theory. I've yet to perfect it yet…I am shifting some of my attention away from it to make sure that my mind is properly prepared for Genjutsu." She looks down at the ground and nods her head slowly, "I see..but what is stopping the vermin from, say…over there…" She takes a moment to point her cane out in a random direction, "To come crawling over here and trying to bother us anyway?" She shrugs it off and kneels down to stay near the next fire so she can be ready to stoke it as necessary.
"Nothing but one thing.. fear. The smell of burning and smoke isn't liked so they avoid it, also the light at night while interesting is also a danger." Curling his fingers, Suizei thumps the ground lightly a few times before continuing "The ground is also unnatural now, so their hiding spots aren't as common. Some bold ones will come but.. to risk a lot for an unknown gain? Not too many." Picking out one of the branches that was mostly straight, he uses the knife to shave off the bark, leaving the greener wood exposed which was less likely to catch on fire or support embers. Once it was prepared, he hands it off to Yume to hold onto and stoke the flames. "Keep it gentle for now, going to make a trench for the ashes to be moved out so it keeps a fresh burn in the core." Using a kunai bound to a thicker stick, Suizei begins the next step to make sure the fire would stay extremely warm. "How often have you been away from the village or a settlement that needed to have camps like this one?"
"I see…to be honest, I never realized insects had much of a scent of smell." Yume confesses, taking the piece handed to her carefully. She sits stiffly and uncomfortably with a concentrated frown on her face. She looks to be handling this with a far more delicate touch than most things and the tension may even go as far as to suggest fear or at least some anxiety. "Alright…gentle. I believe that I can handle that." Yume quietly decides to herself, extending her hand to gently poke and prod at the fire when it's needed to keep it going. "Very few times by now…still enough to count it on one of my hands." Yume answers Suizei after thinking about it. "There was one time Sakuya and Eiji took me out to retrieve someone, but…they turned out o be a traitor. He was far beyond my skill level, at least, but Eiji managed to subdue him permanently…since then I helped supervise wagons, and even been aboard a ship and dealt with fish. I do not like being on ships, it is an uncomfortable experience…"
Watching Yume for a few seconds told volumes and lead Suizei to moving behind the girl and placing his hands onto her shoulders. "Shh.. Relax. Getting tense tends to cause people to make errors though most of all, makes it harder to wind down and rest.. You're doing fine." Pausing and lingering by her for a few moments, he tries to see if her tension fades before walking away and finally removing his large pack, putting it a meter from the fire but leaving it closed. Walking outside of the scorched area, a large amount of static could be heard as he began to use lightning spheres, the size of large marbles to flow forward and damage tree branches until they broke off. Picking them up, it would only take him a few minutes before he returns to the firepit to lay out the branches to dry thoroughly. "Ships I can imagine are horrid for you, your balance is more sensitive to subtle changes and.. boats tend to never be stable for long, or did something else happen?"
Yume jolts where she's kneeling, seeming surprised as the focus left her more unprepared for other things around her. After realizing that it is only Suizei, she starts to relax more but still frowns quietly. "I do not like heat." Yume admits quietly, shaking her head to herself before she instinctively reaches up to rub at her face. She does try to remain relaxed while Suizei goes to retrieve more sticks, though the noises do make her look off in his direction distractedly. By the time he returns and starts to set up the pit, she nods her head to answer his question, "Yes, and my sounds do not extend far beyond the ship yet…the water is a great insulator for them. That ship in particular was…fairly calm, but there were some strange fairly large fish that tried to make their way aboard…"
"Heat?" Looking back at Yume, Suizei furls his brow and sits down beside her for a time, choosing to stay close while working on the collections, cutting them into smaller sections to easily toss into the fire when it weakened. "I'd like to hear the tale of your own fear but.. not tonight. Trying to fight fears after nightfall often causes nightmares." Moving two fingers onto the stick used to prod the flames to to keep the branches not buried in ash, he tries to stop her tending to it. "I'll work the fire, get your bedding settled, you've done good for the last while." Looking from her face back to the fire, he speaks up, seeming to expect a question, "My own sleeping sack is at the top of my pack, I had it prepared since before we left. I just need to take it out and unroll it.. which I'll do after you settle in your's."
Yume does what she can, but when Suizei takes over she allows him to do most of the work. She nods her head once or twice, sets her cane in her lap, and rubs her hands together before holding them near the fire. She nods her head at Suizei and tells him, "Alright, I'll try to leave you plenty of room then." After a few minutes of letting her hands get warm she starts to stand up and carefully starts to lay out her blankets and a pillow on a spot on the ground to set her space for the bed. To make sure one layer of the blankets doesn't rumple up too much, she holds the corners down with some rocks she finds lying around. When it's set up properly enough, she lays down on top of it and pulls the blanket over her close and closes her eyes. "We can start moving again by morning…rest well, Suizei." With that, she lets herself try to drift off to sleep.
With the light of dawn came the signal to move on, Suizei awoke and wouldn't take much time for him to start to pack his bedding, leaving only a few things out of his pack namely a mug filled with some water and a toothbrush already smeared with something thick on its bristles. The fire-pit is taken apart, the stones scattered into the thicker brush while the charred logs were hidden in other locations more out of habit than of actively trying to hide their tracks. If by the time the fire pit evidence was disposed of, Yume was still asleep she would gain a rude awakening from a gargling man in the midst of washing his mouth out. Upon inspection, beyond using a powder within his clothing to mask scents and minimize moisture, little was offered in place of bathing. "We might break a few hours out a pair of times but we should sleep under a roof this next night, not under trees."
Yume's tossing and turning would have disrupted the rocks she laid down on the ground to keep the blanket beneath her still and she's wound up curled up while wrapped in all of them. The gargling does cause her to jolt up and flail to escape the blankets to get on her feet. Her hands are held and ready as if to form a seal but she groggily looks over in Suizei's direction. "I thought…I don't even know what I thought that was. Please don't do that again." She chuckles and tries to rub at her face to wipe away her tired expression. "I think you have managed to make a sound that I've yet to hear and understand." She shakes her head and bends down to gather up her supplies to repack them and get ready for travel again. "Very well." Yume says through a yawn, nodding to show that she understands the plan.
When Yume springs to life suddenly with her poised to begin a strike, Suizei simply looks at her bizarrely. "Don't do.. Sound? What, you never wash you mouth out?" is asked with quite a bit of confusion. Looking down at his cup, he knocks back the water that was still within, into his mouth to briskly rinse it before spitting it away from their camp site. "Beh.. Looked light you were fighting all night, anyways, once you're ready tell me. We'll be moving while we eat, not a run but I want some distance since we got some daylight." Picking through a bag reveals a bundle of wrapped dried meat blended with some some plant material. Within a half of an hour, his main pack was already on his pack with a light smirk on his lips watching how easily she was adjusting to the situation.
"I don't make rinsing sound like an equivalent to some drowning cat." Yume says, laughing quietly before she shakes her head. "I suppose gargling is something I never did…and I don't think that I want to." As she finishes up, she hitches her bag on her back and nods her head after Suizei comments on how she slept, "I'm never very sure what happens, it's rare that I remember any dreams or nightmares, but I always wake up in the morning in the middle of a disaster zone. I've taken to sleeping on the floor in my house for the most part, or just on a bed like that. I end up rolling off of most any way." She shifts the bag to a more comfortable position on her shoulders and starts towards where she last remembered their path being, eating some cured jerky of her own mixed with some dried vegetables and berries along the way.
"Drowning cat.. I'll have to remember that one, that's unique." Nodding lightly to himself, Suizei speaks slightly louder than usual as he slips around the brush, though he tries to make sure he doesn't lose Yume before making it to the trail. "I'll also keep in mind to not have you without an area to sleep on the ground. I don't want to be jarred awake when you thump out of a bed in the middle of the night," is somewhat teased as rogue yawn almost causes him to choke on his breakfast. Putting the jerky away, he pulls out a covered orb from his satchel and freed it revealing a small sweet bread ball. "The village we're heading too, don't show off your gifts too much. Even though they are paying us, it's not so much protection for the sake of it, but sending one monster to make sure another doesn't eat them."
"That or an injured cat in heat, and out of the two…I suppose drowning felt more appropriate." Yume decides, nodding her head as she tries to balance walking and eating at the same time. She chuckles quietly, "You and I both, it always wakes me up and can't say that it doesn't hurt just a little." A pause is given when Suizei nearly coughs up some jerky and she takes some time to ask him, "Are you going to be alright there? Just so you know, I do know basic first aid if you require it." She smirks quietly, but lets her expression slip to something more serious as the contract is brought up again. She shrugs and tells Suizei, "Very well, but if I need to defend myself, then I will. But I do not go around town doing it for the sake of showing off, so it's not too much of a concern. If things are calm, then I may take to playing a song or two to pass the time."
Seemingly ignoring the alternate description of what Suizei's gargling sounded, he lifts his free hand and waves Yume off lightly. "Fine fine.. just rushing too much while trying to eat something." When she spoke about defending herself, he nods his head lightly a few times saying, "Just had to be sure. That other Genin, I think he was a genin at least, makes me question just what you were taught at the academy.. Still wondering how someone like that would be permitted to represent the village though." Taking a pause from eating his bun, he takes a deep breath in, testing how well he could breath though after finding it adequate, he takes another bite. "Playing music.. You'll likely be able to pass as a 'bard that knows a thing or three' rather well. Might even make a name for yourself if you start being a story teller of 'thrilling' adventures."
"You shouldn't do that." Yume comments, smiling quietly to herself but seeming satisfied once he says that he's okay. She finishes off the last of her food and puts the satchel away. "He is not so bad once you get over his bark." Yume tells Suizei, before she shrugs her shoulder. "I've found that we did not grow up too differently in the little I've spoken to him, so it is hard to blame him for turning out the way he did…still, you can be thankful that it is not what they traditionally teach everyone at the academy. I imagine that Kumo would be exceedingly different if that were the case." She laughs softly and shakes her head, "A bard, hm? Not too terrible of a title or expectation to be set when I'm away from the village. Not too intimidating for locals, and it could leave enemies expecting something entirely different from me. Which is not terrible under the right circumstance…still, I'm not sure how well I could tell a story. People do tell me that I am long winded."
"Hard to blame him.. starting to wonder if I should be asking you just what your past was like but.. that's a touchy topic. One I don't travel lightly." Finishing the last of his bread ball with a contented sigh, Suizei moves his hand to his sides before looking over his shoulder, looking Yume over briefly. "Long winded is good for a singer and a story teller but.. tell me this, do you think your stomach's settled for now?" Moving his right hand to his stomach, patting it twice before feeling upwards lightly massaging the trek upwards, making sure nothing was trapped nor anything that would cause him trouble. "We'll jog for a half an hour to get the food settle then we'll start running for one or two hour bursts. If that fairs well, the second burst will be longer."
Yume glances aside at Suizei, before she looks forward again to focus on the path ahead. "It is not a happy story, perhaps saved for when the air of victory and sake can dull some of the sadness I can try to share, but I am not certain." There is silence from her until Suizei's next question and she thinks about it before she nods her head, "It feels rather settled, yes. And that seems an acceptable pace." Her casual walk picks up to the jog Suizei mentioned and she is very careful to make sure that she does not stray too far ahead or behind of Suizei while they run. "And there is another village between here and the contract? Or will we be resting there before we meet with our hirers?
"Air of victory, and sake? You've yet to have your first sip, still have that bottle stored away." Moving his hand behind himself, Suizei pats the bottom of the long pack he carried, a section that would now be buried under the bedding he had just used. "I don't think we'll be having any of that until we return to the village safe and sound." Hastening slightly more until he was running somewhat freely, he checks several times behind himself to see how easily Yume was following along, though the pace does make him pause more as he spoke. "No- ..Camps maybe- ..no villages- ..Resting at hirer's- ..Then with caravan." With the increased pace, the pair travel several kilometers before the sun rose to the middle of the sky though not many detours were possible.
"Yes, hopefully there is very little chance of failure with this contract." Yume confirms for Suizei, nodding her head once or twice as she continues to jog along with Suizei, though when the pace picks up she easily slips into a run so she does not have to trail behind him. "And that is what will take from the sadness more." She notes, smiling to herself before she concedes, "But yes, it would be best saved for when we return. The story and the sake." She tries to maintain a careful control over her breathing and nods her head, "I see, alright then. Hopefully we'll be able to sit down and discuss with them what we should expect…"
The talking would be limited while they ran, though they didn't run the whole way half-haggardly. They would slow to a slow jog for hour segments to relax and talk more normally, though the subjects would vary each time though it would only amount to idle talk. It wouldn't be until dusk began to settle in once again that Suizei would call out that it would be an end to the running. "There, I can see the settlement from here. We can relax and walk the last stretch. Don't need them seeing us exhausted from running.. I forgot to count how many kilometers we ran to get here just today." Moving a hand to the nape of his neck, he starts to apply pressure before stretching his head away, trying to test his mobility limits. "It reminds me.. know any lullabies to gently pluck? You might make a few friends quickly if you can."
It would be obvious that Yume is not the best when it comes to speaking idly, but she would do so nonetheless to keep from ignoring Suizei. She does breathe out a sigh of relief when they grow near, "Good, I am exhausted." She stops the run to go back into the jog, easily transitioning back to using her cane to lead the way ahead of her. "I'm not certain what the point of counting them would be, other than to give something to count back from on the way back to the village. It feels better to just take in the scenery while travelling." She starts to hum a melody out carefully as if creating it from scratch and testing it now to see how it sounds outside of her own thoughts. "I could come up with one or two if I had to, yes. They're actually very simple, and there can be a lot of beauty in the simplicity." The talk of music has her smiling fondly to herself before she chuckles, "Still, not so sure how they would like a lullaby out on the street, after all, they need to save worrying about falling asleep for when they're in their beds.
"Villages like the one you are from are very different from a normal village. A few houses, mostly a few families and hired hands.. Nothing more than that and land for kilometers." Motioning towards the village at first, Suizei sighs and shakes his head gently. "Music isn't something that is too common, well not your style. Melodies and lullabies are often the most common.. 'types' that are accepted from place to place." Even while explaining it, when saying the word 'types' he wasn't sure, and half asked with his tone if that was the correct word. "Though making them from scratch just from idle thoughts is unique." Unless there was an issue along the way, the trip was uneventful even to the point of making it into the village though there wouldn't be an sizable group to meet them upon arrival.
"You do recall where I was born and raised, don't you?" Yume ponders to Suizei after he tries to enlighten her with that bit of information. "Amongst a family so isolated, that we have our own language to greet one another with, and homes that don't come anywhere close to the size of Kumo's." She chuckles and takes a moment to pass on a few words of her native tongue to Suizei, not elaborating on them immediately. She frowns quietly to herself, seeming confused by what Suizei says next, "They only know lullabies? I find that very hard to believe…and well, melody can account for just about any song out there. Do you…think that I scream all of my songs or something?" She chuckles and shakes her head to herself, before she stays quiet until they reach the village. She smiles at whoever greets them at arrival and takes a moment to bow respectfully.
ooc Roll perception skills beyond basic perception if you want intel
The greeter would never arrive before Suizei or Yume. Looking around, he began to speak softly while looking around, "No, though melodies and lullabies often translate their comfort more easily but.. this doesn't feel right. It isn't the middle of the night." Exploring around, the settlement would reveal drag marks, a lot of disturbed ground along with significant missing supplies. Upon returning Suizei's tone was more on edge and Yume would be able to feel he was starting to radiate more chakra by the minute. "Everyone is gone.. I can't notice anyone around, starting to wonder if I took too long getting to this contract." While he couldn't see or hear anything, Yume would be able to feel the sounds of someone breathing, several persons actually though they were refusing to move, some how located under the floorboards in crawl spaces.
"I'm not certain if melody is the right word, but I understand your point, yes." Yume's head moves as Suizei begins to wander around, watching him from afar at first as she taps her cane to a slow and steady pace that might appear to be impatience to the casual observer. She'd then start to wander around herself to help in the inspection, passing by a certain building. She lifts a hand to call for Suizei's attention and silence as she reaches a door to a house. Her hand would then extend a finger pointing down towards the floor as she carefully tries to walk in. "Are you the ones who called for help?" Yume asks carefully, raising her voice to be heard through the floor. "If you are hiding, there is no need, we mean you no harm."
"Yume.. I checked the houses. There's noone.." is said softly as Suizei comes around though at the same time he comes behind her rather quietly, waiting. Several of the floorboards move slightly, lifting up, allowing a small set of eyes peek out and up towards Yume. It would take some time and encouragement but in the end two children, one almost eight, the other almost eleven emerge. One of the first things said was, 'You don't sound like them..' That was the beginning of the a series of short comments, seeming erratic as panic slowly becomes controlled for the time being. It is discovered that the pair weren't the only ones hiding but many were captured by the very people Suizei was to be contracted to keep at bay. "Great.. this contract is a bust as long as they are captured, if they are still 'here' that is."
Yume listens for the voices then looks over at her shoulder at Suizei, "See, I told you." Yume comments, before returning her focus to listen to the quiet voices as the story unfolds. "So there was a struggle, and some got taken… okay, so we have to take the steps to find them." She turns to face Suizei, "You are going to need to lead the way on your own for the most part unfortunately… it's… difficult to see the finer traces needed to determine a direction to go… when I get closer, I may be able to try to learn more about their chakra or find a source to follow… or just use my sense of hearing…" She does brush her thumb over the top of the owl on her cane, "We should not give up too soon though."
Yume would hear Suizei murmur faintly when she was proven right, though once she explains her issue with directions he sets down his pack. Opening it and digging around shortly would reveal a map of the region though it was a general map rather than one with detailed map markers and subtle trails marked. Handing the map to Yume along with a marker, "I'll be the guide. We can't have them coming with us very far if at all, anyways it's late.. With them hiding that well I doubt many of them even ate." Moving a hand to Yume's shoulder, he lightly pats her shoulder, "We won't be resting here long.. We have a long night."
"They can eat without us, we won't need to bring them. We'll already have hostages to protect, it will just be more people in the potential line of fire. We should act now though, the trail will only get more cold the longer we wait." Yume tries to protest quietly as she accepts the map and feels along it, frowning as it doesn't seem to prove entirely useful for her. She just lets out a quiet sigh and tries to pass the map back off to Suizei. "I won't be able to rest knowing that they've already struck." She does walk over to the floor board and kneels down to get out her bread and some of her meat, seeing as she still has pickled vegetables and dried fruits to eat if the hunger does reach a point where she cannot ignore it. "Here, it isn't much, but you can share it if everyone doesn't want to come out."
"Cold or warm trail, if we head out exhausted we'll end up like them. Pace, and keep a leveled head." When the map is passed back to him, Suizei moves a hand to the map and moves it away and in the direction of the children. "While we won't know what state they are in, looking for them aimlessly isn't going to work well. We just happen to know some eyes that know this area well. It would be a few more moments before anyone would take the map from him as he was watched more cautiously before one took the map to start marking on it. When Yume offered some supplies to the children they accepted it though one left the room and a door could be heard. It would be several minutes but small group after small group slip from the wood work, some hungry though it would be clear they weren't hiding too long. The elder ones in their mid teens while lanky were quick to try and work through the supplies left for everyone that managed to hide.
"I'm not exhausted. At least not enough to worry about it." Yume tries to repeat again, still frowning quietly to herself before she sighs in irritation. "Fine. We wait then. But I am not sleeping a whole night, if I even can at all. We'll have two hours at most then we're going out there to look. We came here to do something and we're going to do it. Especially since it's an emergency at this point." She tries to smile at the children to try to help them feel less worried about the situation, turns her head to note the group when they come up to join them. She breathes out another breath to expel the frustration to maintain appearances, before wandering away from Suizei to find a place to sit down in the house.
Nodding lightly, Suizei walks out of the house right after Yume did. "Rest for a while, anyways I need to plan the route. They marked us a spot but will need to familiarize myself with this land.. worse, they know it much better than we do." After she left with some frustration sounding, he starts walking up the side of a shorter one, taking roost near the peak of the roof while looking over the map. Marking lightly, he traces several rough routes to get to the first main spot they were seen at last. A while after the first hour passes, Suizei leaves the roof and look around for Yume, though the search was short after being guided by some of the children. "Are you ready? I have a trail for us to follow, will be tricky in the dark, but do-able."
"We will see. Hopefully the advantage does not play in their favor for very long." Yume quietly notes before she leaves to drift between meditation and sleep. She does perk up when Suizei eventually returns and carefully rises up to her feet as she picks her cane up to lean against it. "Yes, I'm ready. And perhaps for you, but the dark matters little to me. If you can describe the vague shape of landmarks we will be looking for along the path, I can try to keep track of them and make sure that we are still in the right direction." She looks down in the direction of the children and asks Suizei, "They will not be coming with us, will they?"
"They would slow us down a lot. Anyways, I can hardly look out for myself in the dark. If a fight begins, you will hold your own easily, the children? They will get in the crossfire if not get confused as one of the thugs.." Shaking his head, Suizei speaks softly tries to make it easy to hear within the small room. "We'll be leaving out with full supplies. This first encampment might be the wrong one but they can't move that many people quickly. If they try to they will be on the road and obvious with ox-carts." The talk would continue for a short while longer, largely going over what the encampment may be surrounded by before starting to head out of the house before making towards the trail northward.
Yume nods her head and smirks, "Good, because the way you were talking before it was almost as if you wanted to take someone from here along with us." She looks down at the children and tells them before she starts to follow Suizei out of the house, "We'll be back soon." She looks back at Suizei and nods her head, "Well, what supplies we already have, yes. That makes sense…hopefully they will not be terribly far." She'd follow Suizei down the trail, trying to keep her senses sharp and prepared for their targets.
The trails were clear for a while, low brush, large sections of land set aside and tended to for herbs and berry growth before a somewhat neat line of half grown trees only measuring a couple meters in height. Passing the tree divide, Suizei makes his way into the overgrowth carefully, slowing down quite a bit compared to he road. In a soft tone, he begins to talk to though he didn't often look back to check on Yume. "The spot appears to be a short cliff side shelter point. If they took a dozen grown people they would have to be almost as large of a group or bigger though.." The forest would eventually yield to an animal trail though along the trail it appeared to be widened recently as the cut brush bared the inner branches and tree branches had yet to bark over the damaged points. "If there are that many jutsu users in a group would be split into teams often. Only one or two scouts on patrol at a time, if you can listen for them we could sneak up on them."
It does not take much for Yume to learn the lay of the land as she follows Suizei along, quiet and focused on their paths ahead. Her focus only seems to splinter off when Suizei speaks up again to talk to her. She listens to him and nods thoughtfully as she follows him, "Grown people can be folded up in a way though. Forced to be smaller than if they were leading them by foot. If they wanted to squeeze them all in they could probably do it with one wagon.." She extends a hand to pick off a broken piece of brush wit a concentrated frown, "So someone's been this way, that's a good sign." Yume notes to herself, before she nods. "Very well then, I'll try." She reaches up to undo her bandages where they were bound and gathers a deep breath. Thankfully there was one advantage to working in the dark, and that was that her eyes didn't need to react to the unrestrained light. As her chakra starts to well up, she activates her budding Nejigan and starts to listen far more intently to see if she can make out any scouts nearing them.
"A wagon yes, a heavy one.. slow unless they amuse the ox or horse pulling it.. They aren't scared though." Humming lightly to himself, Suizei squints his eyes, trying to make out details in the dim moonlight. Turning around when he could hear Yume rustling her bandages only to see her usually hidden eyes though he couldn't make out what exactly she was doing.. so he watched and stayed as quiet as he could. While Yume focused she would be able to detect a woman little over a hundred meters away, patrolling though it was easy to sense that she didn't appear to have any equipment to make her patrol personally. Littering the area on the other hand were simple traps, wire bell, dead fall, foot spike traps and the like. Further out there was quite a bit of foot traffic, people shuffling around, restless and barefoot, rather than booted like the scouting guard.
Yume just nods distractedly, taking note of Suizei's mention of the wagon and perhaps agreeing with him. As she focuses and picks through the detailed bits of information, she quietly whispers to Suizei to list off the potential hazards. "A woman, about a hundred meters off…no equipment though, may be unarmed in the traditional sense…definite traps. Some wire bells, dead falls, and spike traps…we'll have to be careful. I'll tell you if you get too close to one. Large group beyond that. May be the villagers. Barefoot, uneasy…" She keeps her eyes straight ahead before she tells Suizei, "We could attempt to capture the woman for information and a potential hostage for our own use, or we could skirt around her and try to confront the group themselves. I will leave that up to you, since you are having more difficulty getting around than I will."
"We can try and capture her but.. I don't specialize in kidnapping. I'm practiced in assault and retreating, but much in the in between." Kneeling down, Suizei begins to feel through his satchel, slowly shifting around rations, padded blades and other supplies before frowning and shaking his head for the moment. "Not much rope, nothing to even form a choking formula." Withdrawing his hand, he extends it over to Yume to lightly pat her shoulder with his fingertips. "You're going to have to show me the way.. unless you have a way of keeping her quiet, let's go around her. We can make a display after we get them out of harm's way." Withdrawing his hand, he begins to rest his forearm across his knee waiting for her to agree or to show him a path to avoid detection.
"Unfortunately nothing stable yet. But a gag would be efficient enough…I would not be too opposed to cramming the gauze down her throat." Yume quietly muses to herself in a cold and calculating manner before she looks over in the woman's direction. Eventually she'd reluctantly nod her head, "Very well, after…this way then and be careful. I'm not used to being the shepherd. And keep in mind that they have guards at the prisoners as well. Not as unarmed as that woman so far as I can tell." She'd then tap Suizei's shoulder or arm in the direction she needed him to head. She tries to be quick about it, but should they need to quickly avoid a trap or change their course, she'd repeat the process by tapping another part of Suizei that gave him an idea of the new path they're taking. She'd be heading for the group with a small frown set onto her lips as she tried to prepare a plan in her mind while they still had the advantage.
"Live and learn.. to repay you, I'll even report to your Chuunin friend, Sakuya how good you are tonight. I don't think she'll be disappointed." A light smile stays on his lips for a few moments but it fades as Suizei tails Yume closely. Extending an arm out he taps her shoulder before cupping a hand around her ear, "You said you didn't want the order to run, so you won't get it. Once we manage to get these farmers away, we will work to level this base. We can't have them with supplies and safety for another attack." Moving his hand back and to his wrist, Yume would be able to hear the faintly wavered confidence in the man's voice when he spoke but as luck would have them, the initial sentry wouldn't notice them though it was clear he heard 'something' as their patrol began to take them deeper into the brush line. With the guard actually moving away from the duo, they would manage to get close to the tents where the barefoot people where, and where the hand cannon armed man was standing watch.
"It is not quite necessary, my actions will speak for themselves, eventually." Yume notes to Suizei as they continue to get closer to the encampment. She nods over her shoulder at him and mutters quietl, "Good, we will do our best then." She falls quiet to listen to the people around her carefully. She makes Suizei stay put at one point by extending an arm out shortly to signal for a stop. Her eyes drift along with the sentry to watch him move away from them as they try to investigate a noise. She'd tap Suizei again to signal for him to keep moving until another pause is called for near the tents. She points one finger somewhere where Suizei can hopefully squint to see, informing him of one sentry. She watches carefully and confesses quietly, "We've been silent for some time, and it is doubtful that we'll be able to take them all out in silence…I am going to strike while we still have the advantage. They'll likely come in after, so we'll need to deal with them…be ready." She'd give Suizei some time to give his opinion and thoughts before she runs out in an attempt to rush and flank the armed man as she screams and propels the sound to hit him center mass in an attempt to knock him back away from the tent and its inhabitants.
Following along with Yume's instructions, Suizei continues to eye the young woman, humming softly in through but waits until she asks him to be ready. Moving his water-skin to his lips, he takes a drink before sucking in a large mouthful of water and nodding. When the screech sounds out, he lifts his head skyward and forces the water out and as high into the air as he could before starting to make several seals. Hovering in the air, the water shapes itself into a series of needle like chopsticks. Motioning to the man that Yume knocked to the ground, each of the needles fly past her before curving suddenly downwards, littering the man's body with the semi solid weapons. One assault might of been normally avoided but not when it's sudden, much less when it is from nowhere and the second didn't give him time to stand before impaling him. The man was still alive, in extreme pain and likely bleeding out if not treated, but still alive. Suizei makes his way around to the front side of the tents but he was searching for others rather than attempting to retreat already. "We can't fight here, if we double back the way we came, think you could lead everyone to the main road?"
"Why can't we fight here? The space to work with is to our advantage." Yume wonders to Suizei, glancing over at him with a frown. "It seems far easier to contain them in tents while we take care of the enemies out here." She then sighs in quiet frustration before shrugging. "There are a lot of people." Yume notes to him, glancing out there where they had come from, "And a lot of traps. It was difficult enough guiding you around to avoid them. I won't be able to tap them all to show them which way…we could take a long birth, but it would leave our backs to them and us at a disadvantage." Still she goes from tent to tent, trying to usher the captured villagers along as best as she can to move in a gathered group. "Do not stray from this path." Yume tells them first and foremost as she ushers them along to take the wide path around the area of traps like she told Suizei, "If you do, you'll only be putting yourselves in harms way and your families in danger. Now keep moving and no falling back, press forward no matter what you hear."
While the site where the villagers was the most caged it was also open to assaults, though the pair would run into a new issue.. Not long after the first guard was dealt with, another pair of kidnappers walk out searching for the source of the noise when the fist guard didn't reply timely. Sticking together the pair would retreat, quickly trying to organize the groups leader as well. With Yume and Suizei trying to manage the villager, Suizie began to set off several of the traps but not all so that some of the more hidden traps were disarmed. "Wise words, even if you see the light start to glow, keep moving.." Lowering his head, he looks to the young woman to say "Can you feel anything? Any trackers, wolves, anything in between?" At the other end of the camp the war chief and six others s begin to march into the darkness
"Suizei, be careful. You should remember where I told you to avoid." Yume tells him, trying to keep her voice down as she keeps track of the people they're escorting. Sometimes she'd be quick enough to gently push one's back to urge them forward, or nudge them back towards the group when they were less than orderly. "This is inefficient…" Yume grumbles quietly, shaking her head as she wished they were back where they were before. At least back there they wouldn't have to guide the equivalent of lambs and she'd have more room to react and defend herself than amongst the brush. Suizei's water would likely work better back there too. Her thoughts are silenced when Suizei asks and she quietly huffs before focusing, "Seven others, heading towards us. You would likely know that back there. At least they kept their camp relatively illuminated…"
The thoughts and worries Yume began to fixate onto were coming to a head as she could feel the men starting to approach but then.. they stopped. Each one stood tall but once the denser forests stopped them they didn't attempt to follow the trail. Suizei for his part manages to remember several traps though only at the final few steps when he almost brushed around them or stepped into another one. The trek was longer than when it was just the pair, but in the end no one was badly injured from the trip. While most of the villagers were relaxing and some were even becoming cheerful, Suizei would whisper faintly to Yume asking, 'Why didn't they follow? Didn't you say there were seven of them?' By the time Yume would be able to answer the group was largely within sight of the farmhouses. During the night the villagers would be able to reunite with those that had managed to hide away with no signs of the kidnappers before sunrise.