Date: September 28, 2014
Ryouji, Sachiko, and Shigeru are sent on patrol and encounter a village fire. The three help the villagers figure out what happened while putting the fire out!
"An Accidental Fire"
A Small Village in the Land of Lightning
With the village in lockdown, many people are comforted. However, this protection can't extend to the whole of the Land of Lightning. As such, Kumogakure's shinobi forces are occasionally sent out on patrol to make sure everything is good, especially for some of the smaller far villages. Today's task force included Ryouji, Sachiko, and Shigeru, all three called upon to meet up at the village entrance via messenger hawk. The scroll said that the route wouldn't take more than a day, and it should be a relatively easy trail as it was recently checked (so Sachiko could bring Shun along if she really wanted).
The red-headed woman did, indeed, wish to bring her son. It was simply easier that way. After all, she was Shun's food source. Sachiko wanted to avoid any artificial substances for him if she could help it. So she made her way to the village entrance, Shun in the sling that Ryouji had gotten for her — very useful — and her blindfold in place as usual.
Ryouji walks along with an upbeat bounce to his step. He's having a good day. And why not? Having a mission and getting out of the village for a while is a breath of fresh air no matter who is with him. He whistles a tune he's heard someplace, even mumbling a few lyrics. As he approaches the gates he spots Shun and more importantly Sachiko. "Salutations, Lady Sachiko-san." and as he reaches the pair he reaches out to pat Shun on the head, "Good morning, Shun-kun. How are you both today?"
Shigeru, the new addition to Kumogakure's force, has joined the others and greeted them with as much enthusiasm, but less familiarity thn Ryouji - he's barely even met either of his two -well, three, maybe- team members: Shigeru bows respectfully, introduces himself as "Shigeru" in case they'd forgotten the chance encounter and withdraws a bit, walking along and simply studying the others.
Standing at the gate is a Kumogakure Jounin, the man looking to be in his thirties. He's about 5.5 feet tall and looks to be rather muscular. An expert swordsman, likely, judging from the two swords at his side. "Who I am isn't important," he starts off. "I'm not going with you on the patrol, after all. You three are to go out about twenty miles and scope out the route, then return and report. Reizei Ryouji will be leading the team officially, so be sure to follow his orders." He pauses to give Ryouji a map of the route. "There should be a village soon after the route. Be sure to check on them as well." With that, he disappears.
The woman smiles as she hears Ryouji and nods her head to him. "Greetings, Ryouji-kun," she murmurs as Shun seems mildly started by the patting. The child only reaches up to touch his head as best he can. "We're doing well. Hopefully the same can be said for you. You seem to be in a good mood." She grins and turns her head toward Shigeru with a nod. "Sachiko," she reminds him in turn, just in case he didn't hear Ryouji. Listening to this Jounin, she nods her head and turns her head toward the boy in charge, waiting to head off.
Ryouji smiles, "I am. I just heard a new type of music. It's got a good beat and really helps with the mood. This self proclaimed 'Great Sage of Enka Rap' is singing it at Tenkyou restaurant from time to time." He gives a shrug and looks over at the Jounin nodding, "Right, shouldn't be too hard." He looks between Shigeru and Sachiko, "Are you two ready to go then?" He gives a bow to Shigeru, "Sorry, I'm Reizei Ryouji, I hope we'll work well together."
"Yes, of course!" the portly boy answers. "Let's get going, then?" After the Jounin's words, he, too, turns to Ryouji. "Any general orders? I'm kind of… new to this whole thing, so I'll probably need pretty detailed orders."
Sachiko nods her head to the Reizei, looking mildly interested in what he mentioned about the music. Focus on the mission, though. "Ready," she responds with a nod. She starts on her way out the gates, slowly starting to drop little globs of flesh that hurry out into the area around them. "No worries, Shigeru-san. Just relax. Worrying about it will just make it harder to focus. You're in good hands," she murmurs and smiles over at him.
Ryouji says, "Just keep your eyes open, Shigeru-san. It's only twenty miles out, so we shouldn't run into something. At least in a perfect world." He watches the droplets of Sachiko roll away and shakes his head, "That's just freaky. I haven't seen your jutsu before. I hope that's your jutsu at least." He walks along with the pair and turns to do a quick sweep of the area with his eyes, even if he won't see anything.
"Oh, I'm not wor… ried…" Shigeru forgets not to stare at the droplets of flesh for a few seconds. He quickly regains his composure, though. "I wouldn't say that much. It's unusual, sure, but then a lot of stuff out there can be considered unusual right? I think it's kinda cool! Anyway…" Shigeru turns to the surrounding area, studying it carefully.
Along the way, the shinobi would discover nothing of interest. At least, nothing immediately. In fact, they encountered nothing at all for a good part of their journey. It was around the three quarters into the journey that something suspicious would even show up. Smoke was rising in the distance, coming from the direction of the village they were heading towards.
"Aww. Now don't be that way, Ryouji-kun. If you think about chakra use, every shinobi expends part of their soul to use their abilities. I expend flesh. Not that strange." Sachiko smirks a bit, teasing him, before she starts to chew and spits out an eyeball. "Here," she offers Shigeru, extending her hand, palm up, with the eyeball in it. As they walk, getting closer to that smoke, she sniffs at the air and her brows furrow before that eye — whether or not Shigeru had taken it — looks toward the sky. "… Fantastic," she murmurs. She does wait for Ryouji's instruction, but she's ready to start hurrying as soon as necessary, her sentries in the area moving about and examining.
Ryouji just stares at the eyeball. "Oh wow. That's um…useful?" he says with a smile trying his best not to be sickened by that. But once he sees the smoke, he resists the urge to blur to the village before the others. Best to keep together and not go headlong into a situation. Maybe he is learning something afterall. He says, "That can't be a good thing. Let's get there and see what the situation is." He starts in with a jog, keeping his perceptions as high as they'll go. "Stay ready for anything."
Shigeru takes the eyeball in three fingers, and turns it around a few times, studying it. Although at first he also looks slightly disgusted, the more he looks at it, the more he becomes curious. As the eyeball tries to roll around, he flattens his hands, allowing it a free range of motion. Shigeru grins at Sachiko's comment. "Can you… only see through it? And… just like the rest of us?"
As the trio gets closer to the village, they would notice the smoke getting thicker and thicker. Somehow, though, Ryouji is able to spot a figure fleeing the village. The figure looks to be a male, though the clothing is baggy enough that he/she/it could be female. The person seems to be in a rush either way, which might alert the Reizei. Shouts can be heard as the trio moves further. "FIRE! HURRY AND PUT IT OUT!" "Get some buckets, men! You three, make sure everyone's accounted for!"
"I can see through it, just like you can see through your eyes. I was born blind. It's a clan thing. I can feel it too, though. Which… can kind of suck, but I can make them with different amounts of sensory input," Sachiko explains to the boy as the eye shifts around in his hand. It turns to look at him after a moment and… just kind of stares. The woman frowns slightly as thoughts tug at her attention. She'll blame the lack of noticing anything on thoughts distracting her.
Ryouji narrows his eyes looking at the situation. He starts deligating and says, "You two, help the village with those fires and any injured. There's someone fleeing the village and I'm checking him out. Lady Sachiko-san, you're in charge until I get back." He takes off running towards the figure fleeing the village, even going into blur mode to do it.
Shigeru give a warm smile as the eye stares at him, then… gets distracted by the flames being pointed out to them. At first, he starts towards the source of the flames, entirely forgetting about the eyeball now clenched in his hand, but then he hesitates and turns to Ryouji for orders… who, in turns, refers him back to Sachiko, so he keeps turning, now to face the Iga. "What do I do?"
The figure noticed Ryouji after him, apparently, and tried to keep his movements down to a minimum, eventually stopping in his tracks to look behind him. That was a mistake on his part, because Ryouji is able to catch up to him… Meanwhile, Sachiko and Shigeru would find that the fire has spread to about three houses. While they weren't large, they were close to the middle of the village. If the fire spread, it could mean the destruction of everyone's homes!
Sachiko nods her head to the Reizei and sighs slightly at the predicament. Turning to Shigeru, she murmurs, "I don't suppose you're a water user…? Or maybe wind?" Enough of a gust could probably put out bits of the fire at a time. "Just get in line and help out the villagers as quickly as possible." She moved too, taking up a bucket and starting to help with passing the buckets, trying to stay away from the fire for Shun's sake.
Ryouji spots the guy trying to hide and quickly catches up to him, "Hey, hold it right there!" He removes a hair tie letting his hair snake around him and slither in the air. "Running from a village that just started on fire. Seems mighty suspicious to me. Care to explain yourself?"
Shigeru shrugs apologetically. "Fire." He simply says, dashing for the flames, the eye still clenched in his fist. He neither has a healthy respect for the flames, nor a child to worry about, so he dashes straight towards the flames, trying to figure out a safe path past the flames. "Is anyone inside?" He asks those closest by loudly.
The person chased after by Ryouji flinches at being found out. Closer inspection of the figure would reveal nothing unless their mask was removed, and the person wasn't intending to do that anytime soon. Nor was the figure looking to fight, it seems, the person looking around frantically to try and find an escape route. However, nothing was found, and any attempts to escape would lead to a quick catchup.
The man who seems to be in charge of running things shakes his head to Shigeru. "None that we know of. We're getting the final tallies in a few minutes, though, boy." He seems a bit gruff, and his face is darkened by black soot from the fire. A young boy dashes up, then, saying, "Dad, there's someone missing! Akina-chan isn't around and no one saw her leave the village, either!" The boy looks close to tears as the man growls. "Alright… Shinobi, make yourself useful and help us fine Akina. She's about this tall with hair typically tied in pigtails."
Sachiko would have asked someone to hold Shun and volunteer to go in herself, but the boy is already closer to the building than she and looks to be attempting to figure out the best path, so she simply calls out, "Be careful, Shigeru-san!" While he's figuring out the best path, she sets her sentries to searching for the girl, just in case she's not actually in the fire.
Ryouji narrows his eyes at the masked figure. "Not saying anything makes me even more suspicious. Hold on a second!" He slips around using his speed and blocking their path again. His hands rest on the hilts of his swords and says, "If you won't talk, I'll drag you back and we'll figure it out there." He rushes towards the masked person, pulling both his swords out a little, but not fully. Instead using the hilts for a pair of stunning blows.
Shigeru nods, then looks at the burning buildings. He tries to figure out the safest path through the burning building as he hastily makes his way inside, shouting for Akina. Only after running in, he realises he's still clenching Sachiko's eyeball in his hands, so he opens the palm to allow Sachiko to look around: maybe she'll be able to tell the people outside something useful.
Sachiko's abilities would allow her to notice that there was a young girl in pigtails cowering in a nearby barn. While the place had yet to catch fire, it was extremely close to the burning buildings. Even as she might notice the girl, the fire starts to catch on the roof of the barn. "HEEEEEEELLP!!!!" the girl cries, though the sounds of the fire seem to drown out her voice, and her lungs have inhaled enough smoke that her shouting quickly turns into a series of coughs.
The figure Ryouji is dealing with scrambles a bit at the sight of the swords being drawn before eventually saying, the voice muffled, "I was just practicing! Honest. I didn't mean to make the buildings catch fire!" Then the person takes off his mask, revealing the face of a young boy who looks to be about 8. "I was just practicing so I could get into the academy…"
Sachiko's teeth grit and she shifts to find the most responsible-looking woman that she can reasonably think might be a mother herself and asks her to hold Shun. At the same time, the eyeball in Shigeru's hand just turns to face him and shakes back and forth, like a shaking head. Then it shifts to peer toward the entrance again. She can only hope he'll get the message.
If the woman is at all resistant, she insists: "I can't bring him into a burning building and unless you want that Akina-chan to die, just hold him for… twenty to thirty minutes. Please." If necessary, she'd figure out a way to protect her son /while/ getting that girl, but in either case, she is shifting to run toward that barn. In the barn, the girl would find another eyeball come close to her, the still-attached optic nerve rising to be used something like an arm, trying to gesture for her to come closer, so she'd be down and therefore farther away from the smoke. This, assuming, she doesn't freak out and just smoosh it…
Ryouji looks surprised and stops his attack before he hits the kid. He looks younger and beating up on kids isn't what he had planned to do today. He says, "Hey, it's ok kid." He slides his swords back into their sayas. "I'm not going to hurt you. I thought you might be someone from 'The Silence'. But you have to go back to your village and tell the other villagers what you did. Running from your mistakes is not going to solve them." He points to the village, "Now let's go."
Since the eye seems to have the area behind him covered, as he can judge by its looking behind him on the right and left, Shigeru moves on with determination, getting deeper and deeper into the burning building.
The woman Sachiko grabs takes Shun with a nod, soothing the young boy with a gentle rocking and bouncing motion. Hopefully Shun isn't too fitful about leaving his mom! Sachiko's eye-hand-thing ends up freaking out poor Akina, the girl scrambling back further into the barn. However, this movement does mean she's lower to the ground, so it's technically a win for Sachiko…
The boy sniffles a bit and nods, getting up and rubbing at his eyes. "Alright…" he says, resignation in his voice. Diligently, he moves to follow after the Reizei. It's only a minute later that he pauses mentally and starts to barrage Ryouji with questions. "Say, can you use those swords super good? D'you know any jutsu? Why're you here, anyway? We didn't ask for help…"
Sachiko is terribly grateful for the woman cooperating and takes off her blindfold, adjusting the cloth to serve as a mouth cover to lessen how much smoke she inhales. This is as she runs, of course, making her way to the barn in decent time, but not as quickly as she would've liked. Once she got there, she quickly scanned the area with her actual eyes, settling chakra into her eyes to make them focus more, as well as the sentries. She looked for the quickest, safest way to get to the girl and headed in quickly, worst case following the same route her eye initially took to get to her. Whatever the case, she would just let her eyes smile at her, the crosshairs probably difficult to see in the flames (thankfully), and extend a hand to help her, but still tried to keep her head low with a gentle hand as she turned to try to head back out.
Ryouji chuckles, "We're from Kumogakure out on patrol. We were about to head back when we noticed the smoke. And yes, I can use all these swords at once and have been since I was four." He pats the boy on the back as he walks back, "I hope you haven't hurt anyone. You should practice someplace with nothing around you next time." He looks around for someone in charge, hoping to get this kid off his hands.
<Public> Isura has disconnected.
Shigeru, having examined most of the safest rooms of the house, now begins to gradually move into the more dangerous ones, trying to balance the need to be careful and the need to be fast, and in the end getting a horrid middle ground where he is neither careful nor quick in progressing through the building.
Sachiko would likely not find any easy route through to the girl, but she would eventually figure out a way. Indeed, the path that her eye had travelled was the easier way. Akina sees Sachiko through bleary vision, quickly taking the woman's hand and attaching herself to Sachiko's side. Shigeru would find himself less fortunate in his ventures, the reckless movements causing a piece of wood to fall right at the boy!
Ryouji would likely be entertained by more questions, the boy a never ending fountain of them. "Oooh! That's so cool! I wanna be able to do that! Someday!" He nods a bit, then looks down. "Oh… Umm… Well, I was practicing in the clearing behind my house, but I missed the target and ended up…" He gestures to the smoke.
Sachiko lead her back through, eyes darting every which way to make sure they were safe on their way back out. She considered giving her the cloth to cover her mouth, but it wouldn't be justifiable… The girl had already inhaled smoke and they should be out quickly enough. Should…
The eyeball in Shigeru's hand notices the unstable roofing and shakes again, the optic nerve lifting to point up toward the problem seconds before it starts to fall. Sachiko really needs to figure out if there's a way to put a mouth on these things…
Ryouji shakes his head, "You'll have to deal with that with your village elders and your parents." He looks around, "Whereever they are." He calls out, "HEY! Where's this kids parents!?" He spots Shun being carried by one of the villagers and looks over at his kid. "Hey, just a second.." then trots over to the woman carrying Shun, "Hi! I'm one of the cloud ninja who came in to help." He grins at Shun, "Hi Shun-kun, where's your momma?"
There's something wrong, Shigeru realises from the eye's twitching. He casts a quick look of his own around, and sees the piece of wood fall towards him. Shigeru rolls out of the way in the nick of time, bends over coughing as he tries to get up, but stubbornly continues his movement: as far as he knows, the girl may still be inside!
The boy walking with Ryouji looks around the area and spots his father. Of course, his father is busy doling out instructions, so the boy doesn't bother moving to join him. Instead, the boy shrinks behind Ryouji so as not to be noticed. The woman with Shun turns toward Ryouji with a confused expression on her face until she notices the Kumo headband on Ryouji and seems a bit more relaxed. Then she notices the little boy behind him… "Akira-kun, what're you doing? You should be helping put out the fire. Go on," she instructs him, shooing him away to help. Akira brightens a bit and nods, going to grab buckets of water.
Akina just clings closely to Sachiko, the girl trembling slightly from a combination of fear and too much heat, as well as a lot of smoke inhaled. The barn's roof seems to be breaking at this point, though, and it ends up crumbling enough that one of the pieces falls and blocks the passageway Sachiko had used earlier. The piece of barn that fell is smoking, but it isn't on fire.
Shigeru has been inside the burning house for much too long. While he managed to avoid the burning wood that almost fell on him, it was apparently too much and he ends up passing out. Luckily for him, the villagers have managed to put out any immediate fires and are just working to cool off the timbers of the now-ruined home.
Sachiko keeps the girl from walking into the falling wood and frowns at it. She kneels down, pushing gently on Akina's shoulders. "Lay down," she tries to tell her over the crackle and roar of the fire. She looks around to make sure no wood is going to fall on the prone girl before she moves to wrap her blindfold cloth around her hand so she can punch the wood without worrying so much about how hot it is. She does this just enough to make a path and then turns to gesture for the girl to follow her.
Meanwhile, an eyeball slips from Shun's sling and drops to the ground, where it looks up at Ryouji before, using the optic nerve, writes 'Shi' in the dirt and then an arrow pointing toward the burning building.
Ryouji nods to Akira and asks the woman who shooed him away, "Where are the other two ninjas?" He looks around and looks a little worried. Hiei would kill him if he ended up getting Sachiko and Shigeru killed. "Huh?" he says noticing the eyeball. Then the word, 'shi'. While he does not quite get the shi, he does know the eye and the arrow. He looks at the burning house and says, "Oh no….Lady Sachiko-san! Shigeru-san!" He scratches the back of his head, "Oh yeah, Shi-geru…anyway." Hair on his sideburns grows and wraps around his mouth to help filter the smoke. It won't work very well, but it might help. Ryouji turns on his blur as time around him slows down, even the flames slow down their dance upon the wooden house. He takes off like a shot for the house, getting inside fairly quickly. He coughs almost right away from the smoke but he still goes on deeper into the house.
Akina ducks down for as long as she needs to before given the signal to follow after Sachiko. Once the pair get to move forth again, she clings to Sachiko's side until they escape the building, which doesn't take much longer than a couple minutes, thankfully! The young girl seems a bit dazed after all that, likely exhausted and needing lots of fluids and rest for the next few days.
Akira, the boy Ryouji helped earlier, sees Akina as he's making another trip for water and dashes over to her. "Akina-san? Are you okay?" he asks, looking tempted to shake her. He likely would have if she didn't look so exhausted. The boy looks up at Sachiko with wide eyes. "Is she gonna be okay?" he asks.
Shigeru's body is easily found by the Reizei. Provided Ryouji is strong enough to carry the unconscious genin to safety, everything should go smoothly. Shigeru might need a day or two of rest after this whole fiasco, though…
Ryouji frowns and shakes his head. "Common, no sense in you dying in here too." He hoists Shigeru up, grunting to get the big guy over his shoulder. "When we get back to the village, you're going on a diet." he says though his hair. He makes a bee line for the entrance of the burning house.
It takes a little bit more time for the fire to go completely out, but the villagers, with the assistance of whichever shinobi can help, are able to stop the fires. A tired cheer arises from the crowd, and immediately the families whose houses were burnt down are offered shelter at the local inn. "You shinobi are welcome to stay with us, too, if you like," offers the head of the village. "I understand if you need to report back right away, though. We can arrange for some horses and maybe a carriage to make the trip back easier, though," he says, idly glancing to the passed out Shigeru.
Once all the arrangements are made, the village bids a goodbye to the shinobi that helped them. The way back is quiet, and the trio-turned-duo (not counting Shun, who was handed back to Sachiko after the mini celebration) arrive in Kumo at the end of the day. The guard at the gate tells Ryouji to file a report at his earliest convenience, and everyone is bid a good night.