Date: July 27, 2014
Akiko and Satoru get sent on patrol for bandits that have been attacking. They happen to stumble across the base of a pair of them.
Caves Outside of Sunagakure
It was a lovely day of spring in the early morning, and despite that it is still amazingly hot in Sunagakure. Not as hot as one would find it in the summer, but it's definitely warmer than one would expect so soon after wintertime. The Kazekage has been hearing of bandits attacking innocent merchants, typically out of desperation. According to most of the reports, the bandits were mostly inexperienced in any actual Shinobi arts, but they could still be formidable opponents. In short: perfect genin fodder.
Letters were sent out via messenger hawk to some of the genin around the village, ordering them to go on patrol. They might not encounter any bandits, but if they did, take care of them! Those were the orders on the message, and it is to the messenger hawk that Akiko awakens to (after a bit of pecking from her own bird companion). "Ow, Kotone, I'm up!" She reads over the letter and realizes that this is her first mission outside of Suna! Joy! Akiko quickly changes and makes her way to the assigned meeting place that is the front gate, waiting impatiently to see who her companions will be this time. Kotone lazily wings the sky as a warmup.
The sound of the hawk drew his attention immediately. He knew the screech of a messenger hawk well. Looking skyward, he lifted his arm as the bird came down to land. It settled in and he took the message from it, unfurling it so he could read. It seemed that a mission had been set out for him and a few others. Nothing too major from the sounds of it, but even these sorts of missions could be dangerous. He was an experienced Genin, but he still took every mission seriously. From the sounds of this one, they didn't even have a Chuunin leader along with them. That could make things interesting.
He let the bird go again, and turned to head towards the pre-arranged meeting place for the start of the mission. He wasn't sure if he would know any of the others that would be going, but he was sure he would after. It wasn't a bad thing to make friends, even if they would probably outrank him soon. When he walked in, he spotted the girl in the white cloak with the bow first, nodding his head to her as he moved closer. "Morning."
Akiko smiles cheerfully, bowing to the older-looking Shinobi as he approaches. "Good morning. Are you the only other one going on this mission?" she asks, glancing up at the falcon above. Kotone lets out a small screech to say no one else seems to be coming and perches easily on the girl's shoulder. "My name is Hayato Akiko, by the way. And this is my friend, Kotone. It's a pleasure to meet you." she says, getting introductions quickly out of the way. "When you're ready, I suppose we can get moving? I'm guessing you'll be taking the lead…"
Just the two of them. This was someone's idea of trying to get him to take a leadership role. He suspected Itami. "I am Ekiguchi Satoru. Nice to meet you, Akiko-san. You as well, Kotone-san." Being polite to the companion of another shinobi was customary for him. Well, if he was leading things, he was going to have to make sure he did it right. He wasn't about to get another person killed. That would not be good. "If it's just us then we should get going, I agree. As for taking lead, I think someone was intending that, but I'm not against suggestions so don't be afraid to speak up if you think I'm doing something wrong or have an idea." He nodded his head again in the direction they should go and then started walking.
Akiko bows her head. "I see. I will keep that in mind, then. It's nice to meet you as well, Satoru-san." She follows after him outside the village.
It's likely the group would head off into the desert sands. They wouldn't spot anything, not even a footprint. At least, nothing unusual. The main road was still there, but eventually the two would likely come across some tracks. Kotone's falcon eyes easily spotted the footprints that were leading off the road, and she wasn't afraid to tell the others that, either! The falcon screeches right in Akiko's ear, making her wince slightly. She points out the tracks. "Satoru-san. Kotone says there are footprints over there and heading towards the caverns. Should we investigate?" she asks.
Satoru found the screeching somewhat painful, but his hair and his mask dampened it some. Looking at the tracks, he crouched down and studied them for a moment before he looked at the sun and then looked back at Akiko. "We should investigate. Any sign like this could be what we're looking for. Still, I don't like going in blind. Can Kotone-san fly ahead and alert us if there's anyone lying in wait?" It seemed like a good idea to him, and he wanted to be ahead of the enemy, not walking right into a trap set for unsuspecting genin.
Akiko murmurs softly to Kotone, the bird bobbing her head and taking flight. She flies up high, hopefully out of reach from arrows and other projectiles, and out far to keep an eye out on everything. The footprints seem to lead to some of the caverns, to which Kotone alerts Akiko with another loud screech. The falcon returns after a few minutes to alert the girl of what's ahead. "There don't seem to be any obvious traps, she says, but the footprints lead to the caverns. We should probably be careful when exploring them."
Satoru nodded and straightened once again. "Yes. We move with care, and we don't leave each others sight for any reason." He started walking off into the sand, but keeping off to the side from the tracks, trying to tread with care so as not to leave tracks behind him, though he wasn't perfect at it. His size and weight didn't lead too much to walking softly, but his shinobi training should counter that. "If we do encounter them, I think we should both understand that violence is a last resort. Be careful."
With a nod, Akiko follows after Satoru, Kotone just along for the ride. She has experience traveling through the sand, and is able to leave almost no marks behind her as she moves. "No problem, Satoru-san."
The pair really don't encounter anything for quite some time. The bandits know they're coming for them, but they're underestimating their predators. After all, two genin sounds like cake after getting chased by Jounin and Chuunin level Shinobi! Walking through the depths of the cave system, Akiko and Satoru would come across an open area with pools of water and signs of plant life around them. Honestly? It's the perfect spot for some kind of ambush…
Immediately a hand went up to signal for her to stop. This stank. Something was wrong here, and he was well aware of the fact that this was likely to not go well. He'd seen this before. Despite knowing they were in trouble, Satoru didn't know what the trap was, which meant, of course, that they were either going to have to leave, or trip the trap and deal with it. Neither option really sat well with him. One was quitting and the other was extremely dangerous. He pondered this for a moment and then motioned for her to follow him back into the tunnel a bit, until he was certain they were safe for the moment. Rather than speaking out loud, he leaned down to her to whisper in her ear. "I'm going to trip the trap. When I do, make your moves count, and don't worry about me. I'll be fine." For emphasis, he pulled a kunai from his belt and gripped it in his right hand. "Ready?"
Akiko follows the older genin's lead, making a soft shushing sound to Kotone, whose senses are on high alert. Akiko pulls her bow from her back, though the chances of it actually working in this small a space is minimal. "Got it, Satoru-san…" she murmurs, waiting for him to take action.
Sadly, his plan is going to fail. The two already tripped the trap. Hearty laughter rings through the caverns, and then a loud voice booms out, "Welcome to our humble abode, little genin. I hope you'll enjoy your stay. It may or may not be the best experience of your life, but such is death!" A throwing knife makes its way toward Satoru while mini bomb explodes near the two. "Let's go, partner!" comes the voice.
It was a good plan, but they were already caught in the trap. Unfortunately for the bandits, these two Genin were good enough to avoid getting their guts spilled all over the tunnel walls. Satoru deftly dodged the thrown knife, and spotted the bomb just in time to avoid getting pasted across the walls. This did leave them relatively safe for the moment, what with the cloud of debris. "Akiko-san, if you're alright, keep moving. I'm going to try and draw them into a real fight. If I can draw them out, or draw their fire, you can hit them." Twirling his kunai in his hand, he darted into the chamber, scanning the room around him for hiding spots as he did so. He avoided the center of the room. "Run if you want, but only cowards do so and I don't quit. You'll be running the rest of your life. Come out and fight me. I'm just a Genin, after all."
That knife alerts Akiko to the initial danger, as well as that… voice… Why is that voice so booming and annoying? ._. Akiko moves out of the way, even as Kotone notices the bomb next to their heads. She is extremely relieved that her head didn't get blown off, turning to face off against the bandit who appears before the Shinobi. At the orders, she runs into cover, perching in a spot that is ideal for one of her attack-type.
The bandit with the loud voice shows himself easily enough, but his partner… Hmm… "Ohoh! So you want a real fight? I c'n give you a real fight, BOY!" This guy's arrogance just might get the better of him… He shuffles around his pockets, throwing more knives at Satoru. "Take this, you stupid genin!" Over in the corner is a shadow that seems to be coming from a female-figure. Akiko sees it and tracks the shadow to its source, which turns out to be… 10 paces away… The female bandit hasn't spotted her yet, so Akiko takes the shot!
Satoru was more than aware of the fact that this wasn't likely to go perfectly, but he didn't think he was going to get hit twice on the first round. One of the knives landed in his left hip, and one in his torso. They hurt. They hurt a lot. He couldn't stop, though. If he stopped then Akiko was in danger, and that was unacceptable. He wouldn't fail her the way he'd failed his brother. "You talk a lot, but your knives could hurt worse." He spun in a whirlwind of motion, darting towards the man in a hasteful fury. If the guys knives were as good as they seemed, he needed to end this quickly. Even when he wasn't close, his blade swiped through the air at the man.
By some stroke of luck(?), the female bandit is able to avoid the arrow to her head. Really? And the arrow alerted the bandit to Akiko's presence. Just great. She takes off after Akiko, intending to yank her out of hiding and into the spotlight of the whole thing. She seems to be a mute as well, not talking at all. The male bandit has less luck than his partner. He finds himself with a nice gash that is only bigger thanks to the wind chakra infused in the attack. He roars and just swings his fist in an attempt to get Satoru.
Akiko is quick to move once she lets loose her arrow, meaning that the female bandit can't grab her. She lets out a cheerful "Nice one!" when she sees Satoru hit his mark, turning to nock another two arrows into her bow, firing both in rapid succession. Kotone decides to leave her own mark on the male bandit, flying to scratch at the man's eyes.
Swing one, dodge down. Swing two, sidestep right. The bandit was trying hard to get at him, but without throwing his knives he was having a hard time doing anything to Satoru. On top of that, he hadn't moved away from the Genin, which left him open to a counter attack. With his weapon already in hand, Satoru was still intent on finishing the man off, apparently with the help of Kotone, who was easily distracting him. Satoru quickly drew another kunai, and slashed both at the man.
Akiko's aim is actually very true this time around. Also extremely lucky, considering her target was moving around. While the first arrow misses, the second ends up puncturing through the woman's eye, resulting in a lot of blood and pain. Ew, so gory! :( Akiko winces at the sight, but honestly can't help but be relieved. The girl nocks another arrow, sending it at the woman to hopefully end her misery. Kotone, who can't seem to get near the male bandit, changes to start attacking the woman now.
In the meantime, that male bandit is having one heck of a time against Satoru. Amidst a bunch of choice words as he gets sliced up comes another vicious attack. More BOMBS! They are small and hard to see, so Satoru is going to have to be really lucky to avoid the explosion this time around…
One bomb dodged. Second bomb dodged. Third bomb landed right where he dodged to. Satoru is blown away from where he'd been fighting the bandit, landing smack into one of the pools of water within the room, sending a splash of water skyrocketing. He groaned, but knew he couldn't lounge around. Even on his back he was drawing kunai. Before he moved to get up, he sent all three flying at the male bandit leader. The man needed to go down. He was starting to become more of a pain than the physical pain.
With those three Kunai, the male bandit does his best to dodge them. First one, YUP. Second one, YUP. Third one, NOPE. That third Kunai is especially lethal to the already tired and weak bandit. He collapses as the Kunai makes a deep cut on his leg, the pain way too much for a guy like him. What a sorry state the guy is in. Akiko can't garner up any sympathy for him, though. She's too busy rooting for Kotone to take the female bandit DOWN.
The female bandit is able to avoid that arrow again, expecting that kind of attack. She was not thinking some stupid bird would end up aiming for her "beautiful" face. She flails, making a silent scream as her face gets clawed at. It's enough that she ends up dead, falling unluckily onto a very sharp rock that just happens to be where her head hits… Owww.
"Kotone!" Akiko calls out, hopping out of her hiding spot to collect the arrows she fired. Well, minus the one still lodged in that woman's eye. She doesn't want that at all. Kotone comes when called, perching on the girl's shoulder and making happy noises when seeing she's alright. "Satoru-san, are you alright?" she asks, voice filled with concern.
Well that was a lucky shot. Satoru really need to train harder if this was the kind of result he got against bandits. The time spent painting and drawing was clearly changing the way his fighting went. Back when he'd tried to save his brother from certain death everything had been much different. He'd fought with tenacity, taking down many of the rebels. But here he was, years later, getting his butt kicked by low class bad guys. Not good. He pushed himself back to his feet, and slowly shambled over to the fallen bandit where he collected his kunai before going after the others. Those were his. He was going to take them with him.
"I will live, Akiko-san. Are you alright?" In his fight he hadn't paid enough attention to her, and now he found himself concerned for her, as he turned his attention her way to see if she was fine. A leader should take better care to watch out for their team. This was why he wasn't cut out for advancing in rank.
Akiko nods, letting out a relieved sigh when Satoru says he's alright. She's still concerned, but less so than before. "I'm unharmed, fortunately. So is Kotone. We were lucky in finding a hiding spot, I think…" she comments. Then she looks around a bit, curious. "Do you think we should explore the caverns a bit to see if we can find their loot? Or should we go back to the village and report this?"
"We've taken enough risks for one day. We don't know if there are more bandits, and I'm injured," Satoru said. Though he wanted to see the whole thing through, if he died there was too much danger in everything for Akiko. She was capable, he could tell, but leaving her in a pit of vipers was not acceptable. Sacrificing himself for her? Totally acceptable. But he couldn't because it would leave her alone. "We go back and report it. They'll send a second team to make sure everything is cleared out and to retrieve any loot that might be here. We can check in with things later on and see that everything's been taken care of." He had work to do. He had to get better than this. "Come on, let's head back."
Akiko nods and is all set to leave. She helps Satoru as best she can, if he ever needs assistance. The two make it back to the village a little after noon rolls around, just in time for a hearty lunch! After they finish reporting, at least. After all is said and done, it looks like the mission was a success! The second team was sent out soon after the pair's report, and they brought back a decent amount of loot from that hideout. The pair, it seems, were actually formidable opponents that probably should have been dealt with by more experienced genin… The good news: All's well that ends well. And this mission certainly ended on a high note.