Date: May 27, 2013
Yuuto is out on a walk in the desert, where he expect to see no-one. When he does see a caravan, he goes to investigate and discovers it has been stolen by rebels!
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"A Walk in the Sand"
the middle of the desert
The sun is on its way down, but still quite high in the sky, covering the golden hills of the desert in its bright light and its harsh heat. Yuuto has left the main roads some time ago, and now has also distanced himself from the smaller ones: out here, he knows that he will be alone with the sand, the wind, and the sun, and nothing to bother him. Not even the wildlife is likely to come bother him, as he's the only thing out on the sands and that means all the animals are in their burrows or their nests, hiding until the air and the soil will grow cooler. The solitude gives him the perfect chance to be alone with his thoughts, though whether that's entirely healthy is a different matter.
As he ventures out into the desert, Yuuto lets out a yawn. The familiar white mask with black spirals covers his face, mainly there as a shield from the beating sun as he walks out into the rolling sands. With any lucky, he'll be able to make it to the oasis while actually taking time to enjoy his walk, rather than rush it, then make it back to the village before nightfall. He hums a light tune as he walks, though he is glancing around with a bit of a wary glance as he walks.
The desert is as quiet as one would expect it to be. The wind blows up a small vortex of sand off in the distance, and that's about the only motion, except for the three wagons moving over the crest of a dune a bit furthe- now hold on a second, Yuuto had selected this path precisely because nobody would come here: no routes or roads cross this part of the desert, and any caravan he could see would have to be entirely, completely lost. They didn't move like they were lost, though - they were moving with purpose. From the distance, Yuuto could see that the caravan was lightly guarded, very lightly considering the political atmosphere, but otherwise seemed quite irremarkable, which made its presence here all the more unexpected.
Spotting the caravan, Yuuto blinks a few times and tilts his head. There really shouldn't be anything like that out here. Maybe they're lost? They don't look so… From what he heard, San Sara was destroyed while he was captive in that dungeon, so what could these people be doing? His eyes narrow as he ponders over what to do then reaches into onto the sheath on his back to grab a scroll, quickly drawing three coyotes that leap off the page and begin running toward the caravans, taking on a henged form to look real. As they do that, he begins running along the dunes, staying behind them but keeping the wagons in sight as he tries to indirectly approach them with the coyotes serving as a distraction to draw their attention.
The coyotes approach the caravan, making a bit of an arch as they go so that they are some distance away from Yuuto, and then approach the caravan. As soon as they're spotted, the guards move to protect the caravan, although their tactic is a bit unusual: they wagons stop and the guards take up positions by the sides, so that the wagons and the goods inside can be used for cover. Usually, guards are expected to protect the goods, not be protected by them. Still, a series of spears appears from between the wagons, aimed towards the fake coyotes. Yuuto, in the meantime, is left unnoticed.
As the behavior on the wagon gets rather suspicious, Yuuto blinks a few times. What the heck are these guys doing? Those can't be their wares if they're willing to use them as shields. The coyotes dodge some of the spears but are eventually splatters. However, as they do this, a pair of very realistic clones of Yuuto would leap over the dunes out in front of the wagon. "Who are you guys? What are you doing out here?" one of the asks as they assume defensive stances.
The guards apparently feel pretty good about themselves after they've dispatched the coyotes, although the lack of corpse puzzles them. While they're looking around for an explanation, two explanations for the price of one pop out of nowhere and start being nosy. "What?" they exchange more than worried looks. "We, uh. We're just on our way t- Boss?" The guard that's been answering turns back to one of the carts, and a middle-aged woman looks out from under the shadow. "Yes? Oh. Look, is there some problem here? We're trying to deliver these goods…" her voice is full of impatience.
The clones stand there waiting for an explanation, canting their heads slightly at the mention of a boss. As the woman steps out, they look her over, taking in details. "Is that right? Your men here seemed pretty willing to discard your goods at the mere hint there might be a threat. Is there a reason for concern?" Meanwhile, the real Yuuto kneels behind a dune, quickly drawing pictures of all the guards and the boss who has just revealed herself. He jots down the information seen and gathered thus far, along with current coordinates and the direction that they were headed, before closing the scroll and then drawing a small bird on the ink scroll that pops up out of the scroll for him to tie the one containing information to it before it flies off, sticking close to the dunes until far enough away to haul tail back to Sunagakure to deliver the message. As the bird moves, he glances at something over his shoulder and quietly mutters, "Shut up. They'll take me seriously… I hope."
The 'boss' looks at her soldiers, and then gives a dry smile. "Well, despite my attachment to what's on my wagon, I would say the loss of human life is worth less than mere money, wouldn't you agree?" The guards, in the meantime, shuffle to a position where they're out of sight from the clones, and from his place of hiding Yuuto can hear that they're fiercely whispering about something, though he can't quite make out what it is. "And out here, an attack by wild animals is more than a 'mere' threat… though I suppose someone like you," a harp ear would catch just the faintest hint of contempt in those last few words, "would have trouble seeing that."
"That is a point, but using it as a shield rather than the weapons they're paid to use? That's a bit unorthodox for professionals, isn't it?" the clone speaking asks, warily watching the guards scramble into the shadows. "Someone like me, huh?" he asks as he looks directly at the woman. "And what is it that you know about me?" he asks. Meanwhile, the real Yuuto waits patiently, wondering exactly what she's talking about.
"Well, someone-" her voice grows softer all of a sudden. "Well, you're both out in the middle of a desert with no visible travelling supplies, so you must be someone used to surviving in the wilderness." she explains. "We aren't, though, not at your level. So, to us a coyote attack is a real threat." While she's keeping the clones occupied, the guards finish their hushed scheming and implement whatever it is they've concocted, one by one splitting off from the whispering band and moving around the wagons.
"Attack? You were merely being followed," the clone points out. "It was you who attack, so I'd say it would be you that is up to no good if anyone." As one guy moves, the other clone tilts his head slightly before looking back to the woman. "There is no one in the direction you are headed to deliver anything to, so I'll ask again. What are you doing out here?"
The 'boss' exchanges a glance with the guards, who in the meantime have dispersed around the two clones, clearly looking for their backup. Two of the ten are likely to find Yuuto sooner or later, judging by their trajectories. "Sure there is! We're just taking a bit of a long way around where another caravan was attacked by those dangerous rebels" shockingly, no contempt there, "y- eh, the village ninja can't seem to get any control over. It's a safety precaution, you see."
"Long way around? Not too bright since the further away you get from Sunagakre, the more you're likely to be assaulted by rebels and have to wait some time for any shinobi help," the clone states as it glances around at the scattering guards. As one of the guards gets close to the real Yuuto, he would weave a hand seal to attempt to force him to see what appear to be scorched skeletons rising up from the sand around him to try to freak him out into taking off.
The guard does indeed take off, with a shriek, pointing in the general direction of the skeletons and mumbling something incoherently. The rest take this for the start of hostilities, and strike at the clones in the full belief that somehow, they're the ones who caused their ally to suddenly go mad. The woman they called 'boss' vanishes back into her wagon, out of sight.
The clones dodge around the strikes long enough to get the men focused on them. Once that bit is organized, they are struck and splatters into piles of ink. Just then two more coyotes would leap from over the hill, wasting no time to lunge at the men and start attacking. Meanwhile, the real Yuuto would finally appear at the top of a dune looking down at the caravan. He quickly forms a few hand seals and begins to spew bullets of flame out around the guards and the wagon in a circle that gets ever smaller, trying to force them all into one spot. "I'll ask one more time, and then I might just get serious. What are you doing out here?"
<Weather> Puddles of cold water are dotted all around, and every few minutes another light shower adds to the water soaking the world.
The guards are easily caught in the circle, as they were not at all prepared for this eventuality. While Yuuto's corralling he guards, the woman peeks out of the wagon, and then a thick smoke begins to smoke from inside it. She drops outside, holding some sort of stick, on one end lit with a small flame, somewhat like a candle, which she chucks at Yuuto. The guards just try to keep the coyotes at bay while not getting roasted. So far, no help is on the horizon.
As the woman charges out with the smoking stick, Yuuto tilts his head slightly then tries to jump out of the way as it comes toward him. He's not actually caught on fire, but the recoil off the explosion does send him tumbling as he leaps. "You… little," he growls out, and suddenly his mannerisms would take on a much more frightening appearance as he leaps and grabs on of the men's own spears and picks it up. As he turns back to them, his eyes grow wide beneath the mask as he stares at something invisible behind them. "Oh, they're YOURS, huh?!" he shouts at whatever it is he's looking at. "I'm really going to give it to them then!" He then suddenly takes off into a charge at the men at the woman, spinning the spear to creating a wind that begins to blow around its head and flow with his movements as he starts to slash and stab as them, aiming for non-vital spots on their abdomens and legs, whatever's easiest to reach on each person, his eyes glowing with intensity and an insane rage. For some reason, he's not trying to kill them… yet. Maybe he plans to torture them a bit due to whatever it is he's seeing.
In the meantime, the wagon the 'boss' was in catches flame. The guards try to defend themselves, to little avail, and about half of them just turn and flee for their lives. The boss is cut from another cloth, however, grabbing a peice of burning wood off the already-lit wagon and rushing for the ne- nope, there went a spear, right through her lower leg. She's not going anywhere. In complete panic, more and more of her co-conspirators flee.
A cry is heard overhead, and then another, as out of the white sky descend two, then three more hawks, coming down quickly and harshly on those who can still stand. Their companions are not far behind: Yuuto can already see the cavalry running toward him as quickly as possible, spearheaded by a gliding Kuoroke.
Once the boss lady goes down, Yuuto is just about to grab the scroll off his back to prepare for more ink jutsu when he hears the cry of a hawk overhead. Whew, finally… He looks over his shoulder to see the incoming cavalry, somewhat surprised to see Kuoroke among them as part of the cavalry. Then again, this is more about the state of the village than Yuuto himself. It was just a stroke of luck that he found this crew before they could carry out whatever they planned to do with the explosives. He forms a single hand seal to cause one of the ink clones to reform for it to run to meet Kuoroke and begin giving details like the numbers of men, the odd explosives the woman uses that are probably on board the wagon in surplus, etc. As that is done, meanwhile, the real Yuuto points the head of the spear he wields directly at the woman's throat, bringing it to a point of the tip being pressed against her throat. "Stay right there," he growls out intensely, that insane look still in his eyes, showing he's likely to push it through if she makes a move. As he waits for the arrival of the cavalry, he glances up to whatever he's been looking at that is apparently still talking to him. "Grain… you…."
Kuoroke cuts off the clones mid-sentence, catching just enough each time to direct another part of his force somewhere else. The first wagon is caught in flames entirely, beyond salvation and, with a burning piece of wood still within reach, the woman glances towards the nearest wagon with doubt. The way she sizes up the distance and the piece of wood suggests she's estimating whether or not she could throw it there before she would die at Yuuto's spear. After a few tense seconds, she lies still. "Fine." the woman says, slowly raising her hands so they're at both sides of her face, palms towards Yuuto, to show she's surrendering.
Kuoroke circles around the stopped caravan, ensuring that his orders are being followed to the letter, and then turns to move towards the caravan.
As the woman speaks, Yuuto's eyes turn down on her. "Good choice," he says, applying a slight bit more pressure, not enough to penetrate, but enough to get his point across. For now, he remains in place, deciding to just let Kuoroke take over from this point.
Just as he thinks his part is over, Yuuto notices the woman trying to pull something from her sleeve. Rather than give her time to do or sayn anything, he swings the spear to knock her hand aside and stop whatever it is she's trying to do.
A small, round object, which at first seems like a button, falls onto the sand and rolls away. The woman looks at Yuuto with now-impotent rage, but remains in place, because she knows she couldn't get away if she tried. The ninja catch most of the guards, and they're all escorted to the village. What they were doing there can't be found: as far as anyone can tell, nothing that didn't belong on a carvan was left on the surviving wagons, and all of the paperwork concerning it is gone as well, making it next to impossile to determine what exactly had been in the destroyed wagon. But the woman would talk, that much was certain.