Date: July 15, 2016
Team 13 begins a new mission. This time to secure scrolls containing forbidden jutsu sealed away by the First Hokage's sister.
"Bloom and Grow - Pt. 1"
Land of Fire
There are some scrolls containing forbidden jutsu that Team 13 has been asked to locate and retrieve from a location nearby the Hidden Leaf Village. They were sealed away in the past by Tobiramako, the sister of the First Hokage, but with the threats to the Village mounting, someone who knows about them wants them somewhere more secure. Whether that's to keep an eye on them, or to use them, is not for Team 13 to question. But given their combat experience so far with the Bombers, they can not rule out the possibility that the Moroi could have used his knowledge of the Hidden Leaf to inform the enemy about the scrolls if he knew about them, and these sensor kunoichi may be the best bet to counter the insurgents if they reappear, or to track them if they determine the scrolls aren't where they're supposed to be (the latter being the worst case scenario).
The cliffs they were training near the other day are the starting point for their search, though actually climbing all the way to the top isn't necessary, nor do they have to do so one-handed, nor does everyone need to climb. Having people standing watch would be best.
They're acting under cover of night, because the scrolls are still secret and highly valuable, and there's no guarantee they'll be spared an ambush just because the hiding location is nearby. Senju Tobiramako is a skilled kunoichi, and created multiple decoys in the area… So as they seek out the scrolls, they may have to deal with fake-outs, traps, and dead-ends. And given how the Uchiha have a history with the Senju, it's possible the traps may be designed specifically to counter the Sharingan as well, leaving the act of sensing to the others in the group.
Tsugumi is tightening her armor and checking her equipment before starting up the cliff, and giving everyone time to prepare themselves as well. Especially to make sure they weren't followed. The night is dark, the sky is cloudy, the air is chilly, and the moon is hidden.
Forbidden jutsu scrolls? Techniques created by the First Hokage's sister, who was strong enough and influential enough to have been the Second Hokage should she have chosen to be? The threat of those murderous bombers getting ahold of them? This is a pretty high-priority mission for just a fetch-quest. But Suzu is ready for action as she arrives at the site of the mission… Oddly, the same place they'd gathered for that training mission before. What a strange coincidence. However, based on the threat of interference they may have to face, and that this isn't a straight forward mission (they have to actually search over an entire area instead of just going to the place the scrolls are, and possibly even deal with traps), there's little time to discuss the coincidence.
It still has Suzu eyeing her mother suspiciously and wondering about it though.
"Where should we begun our search? Should we divide up the area of these cliffs into quardrants and do a grid-based search?" she asks aloud. From what Tsugumi said, her Sharingan might be useless in actually discerning the location of the scrolls. But she's not sure why it would have been useful in the first place unless the scrolls had Chakra bound into them. They should still be useful for seeing in the dark though, right?
These cliffs again. Definitely an odd coincidence they'd be returning under these conditions. But Nonon's lack of sensory abilities at least means she has a role to serve here in physically searching. She wishes Reime was here to help cover them, but it's looking like it will be up to Rinoko and Aru. The blonde kunoichi thinks about Suzu's suggestion briefly, before saying, "Maybe not quadrants, given there are three searchers, not four… Unless we search in a sweep formation through each quadrant as a trio. Then it won't matter there's only three of us. We may even save time in the long run by being more thorough in each quadrant rather than making each of us have to scan a larger space all alone."
She starts walking up the side of the cliff, Chakra sticking her to it easily, as she makes her way up. Then she looks back down at Rinoko and says, "Hey, do you have any jutsu for creating maps of the area or anything? Or maybe even pre-existing maps? That would help us identify the geography of the area and what kind of terrain elements we'll have to consider."
Bare legs make cold weather difficult to bear, but it's still the Land of Fire, so even 'cold' is relatively warm.
Rinoko really needs to get some different clothes for this kind of work, but her giant coat has a lot of room to keep things in… like a map of the area that a teammate might request. Plus she's not one to let herself get cold, and that jacket coupled with the length of her skirt and the layers on her torso help that a lot.
Looking over at Suzu as she asks her question then to Nonon when she asks hers, Rinoko smiles and says, "Yes, I do actually. I brought a few for reference since I figured we might need them for a journey like this." For Suzu's question, obviously she looks to Tsugumi and waits for her answer since she's the leader of the group as a whole.
Aru has a purpose here. Her Byakugan will be used to make sure no one is in the area spying on them, to watch for traps which might be signified by Chakra sources, and to possibly even see through cliff walls. She has trained hard, though she is still far behind everyone else, and her Byakugan is stronger. But she is still working on improving her technique with it. To let her see in more detail and with more reliable information.
So as the others work out how they're going to climb the cliffs, the little Hyuga, dressed completely warmly this time around, looks towards Rinoko briefly and then away as she puts her back to the others and lets them figure out maps and such. The sooner she spots the enemy the better, right? So she molds Chakra with her hands in a focusing seal. Her speed at doing so is not great, but by the time the others are ready to get moving, she should be ready to activate her Byakugan. For the time being, she contributes nothing to the conversation. She'll be called upon when she's needed.
Tsugumi gives a nod of approval to both Rinoko's preparedness, even if it's what she has come to expect of her co-leader, as well as Nonon's insight in thinking to ask about the availability of maps. A jutsu to create maps… That sounds pretty useful, but she isn't sure how she would go about it. Not her area of expertise. But if anyone here can do it, Rinoko would probably be the one.
Suzu's question taken together with Nonon's leads to Tsugumi saying, "That sounds about right. Using Rinoko's maps, we can organize the area into sections and then augment each other's searches by covering one section at a time. An arrow formation should suffice. Nonon, you're still working on developing sensory jutsu, but you have sharp normal senses. Combined with your speed, if you take the lead you can cover conventional searches at a rapid pace, and then Suzu and I can follow after with our Sharingan to double-check the ground you've covered with night vision."
She looks towards Aru and Rinoko, and says, "Aru and Rinoko can take up the rear. Rinoko has sensory jutsu, but Aru can scan the area behind her as well as on other sides with her Byakugan. So I recommend Rinoko be the forward part of the arrow's 'shaft' and Aru the rear 'tip'. If anyone sneaks up behind us you have a better chance of detecting them without them noticing, because you won't even have to look behind you to do so." Tsugumi then starts up the cliff after Nonon, her Sharingan already active at a dull-red reduced level that still produces a faint crimson glow-in-the-dark effect. "Once we've all had a look at Rinoko's maps, we'll get moving."
For a moment, Suzu frowns slightly at Nonon's nitpicking of her terminology, feeling like her attempt to he proactive about thinking about their strategy was usurped by the Namikaze kunoichi. But she puts it aside. She isn't out here for her ego. She's out here to keep more people of the Hidden Leaf from getting killed. Allowing forbidden jutsu into the hands of these people simply cannot happen. Besides, it sounds as though her strategy is workable after all, and Nonon admitted such. So it's all good.
"After living so close this area my entire life, it's still kind of surreal to find out I don't know all of this terrain already, or that there's entire sections of the Village I've just never been to." She sighs and then starts moving up the cliff. Her mom's strategy sounds fine. Nonon is faster. She'll make up for her lack of sensory abilities by searching a broad area quicker than anyone else here could, and then anything she missed will be detected by the Uchiha, with two more sensor-nin bringing up the rear.
So Suzu stands sideways on the cliff face and looks down towards Rinoko, hands on her hips, and eyes glowing in the dark with a greater intensity than her mother's. She wants to see these maps so she can estimate how expansive the territory they're covering is. Then she'll be off.
Nonon smiles ruefully at the reminder that she lacks sensory abilities. That's something she's been thinking about how to resolve. To be honest, when one thinks about it, it's unclear why she, the only non-sensor on the whole team, is even on the team in the first place. Presumably the Hokage had a reason for approving the appointment. But she can't keep being the weight that drags everyone down, where they have to plan around her inability. But she's glad that Rinoko has maps. That will make it easier.
She either stays where she is and waits for Rinoko to join her, or hops down to see the maps close-up due to how dark it is and how she lacks night vision, depending on what the othe Chuunin does. She also prepares her Chakra. This isn't just a race. It's an endurance test, to determine how long she can maintain her Kekkei Genkai. It's a strain to keep that level of speed up continuously after all.
"I'll do what I can. But knowing we have Aru-chan ensuring we aren't followed is a relief. I trust Rinoko-chan's fuinjutsu, but someone with eyes in the back of their head provides a lot more coverage than even the Sharingan can provide~!"
Rinoko smiles at the nod of approval from Tsugumi. The leader of the team's approval is one of the things she lives for, along with the same from the other members of the team. Of course, now all eyes are on her because she's supposed to provide the maps.
The Rankoro Chuunin nods to Tsugumi's plan in agreement then reaches into her jacket to start grabbing scrolls. Each of the women here is handed a scroll, which contains a map, and of course one for herself. "I double-checked with the village library. These are updated with the latest information they have."
Aru looks up at Nonon, the girl she used to have such feelings of rivalry and animosity towards, but who, over time, she has grown quite close with, just like she has with Rinoko. And with all the others… And she appreciates the effort that the blonde is making to assuage her feelings. No, it's more than that. It's a reassurance of the trust that Nonon places in her. It feels legitimate, rather than just trying to make her feel better. And she appreciates that a lot.
She also realizes that Nonon probably feels a bit left out of the sensor party due to her lack of demonstrated sensory abilities. So she feels compelled to say something as well. "Maybe when we get back from this mission, we can figure out a jutsu for you to use. I don't think there's anyone on this team trained as a conventional Sensor-nin. We all rely on jutsu and Kekkei Genkai. If you worked on heightening Chakra sensitivity, you could be the only person on Team 13 who doesn't require any tools or enhanced organs to detect Chakra." The ordinarily serious-faced Hyuga even offers a small quirk of a smile, before facing away from everyone again, closing her eyes, and finishing her Chakra molding.
'Byakugan!' she intones in her head. Waves of Chakra radiate from between her eyes, as veins stand out on the sides of her face and her now-open eyes gain a definition to the pupils at the centers of the pale circles. She scans around quickly to see if anyone's in the area. But unless something stands out, she just brings up the rear, following after Rinoko, who should be following after the 'arrow head' of Nonon, then Suzu+Tsugumi.
The search proceeds from there, once everyone has gotten a good look at all the maps. It's good to see everyone working together so well. Things are still a bit distant between Suzu and Tsugumi, but… They're working on it. Occasionaly, the moon comes out from behind the clouds, aiding in their search. They move boulders aside to investigate hollowed out alcoves.
They delve down into narrow crevasses with creepy scorpions and spiders and who knows what else to poke at strange bundles of leaves that might conceal something.
They open holes in the sides of cliffs when Aru spots hollow spaces under the surface, they investigate caves, or spelunk down into underground lakes.
They cover the entire area. Until, in the third quadrant, hours past midnight, they discover a false wall protected by a variety of seal techniques. Nonon would likely locate it first, as she is in the lead. But after that… Well, it's up to Rinoko to examine the wards and figure out what they need to do to get inside without getting killed.
To be continued…