Date: September 8, 2010
Rika has been fighting against the bandits ever since returning from a mission, but she "up"s the scale of her attacks when it comes time to aid a Seishukuni relief team that is attempting to break through enemy lines to reach Sunagakure proper.
"Broken Memories Pt. 2 - Charge of the Crystal Brigade"
Outside Sunagakure - Land of Wind
Rika may have been in the desert when news of the attacks came. But once she got it, well, she was pissed. As a true patriot of the village, and honestly in quite a bad mood from other events, this has the young Nagahara Jounin… at an edge, and over it for that matter. She's seventeen, pissed off, and capable of being a veritable force of nature if she wants to. And that's just what she's about to be.
The bandits are about to experience the very methods that earned the small Nagahara their name, the Ghosts. Brutal, explosive and highly obvious techniques coming from seemingly nowhere. All meant to destroy their morale, and kill as many as possible. Rika is currently hidden in the Ghostwind as she scouts out the largest group of bandits she can, preferably one that's closely packed together. And in the meantime she's taking note of any smaller outliers as well. She may be pissed and half insane with rage now, but she's still a ninja too, and she's not about to pass up a chance to use tactics to do as much damage as possible to show these bandits the folly of attacking Sunagakure!
Sunagakure has been attacked, not that it bothered Tsubasa. He was out of the village at the time anyways, but that's no excuse to leave allies in the heat of what could still be a battle alone. At the same time, when he received the news, he knew that it would be pointless to rush into a battle and that Sunagakure would most likely need the help of talented craftspeople and so he returned, along with Imota, to his village hidden deep in the desert. The journey is long, but when taken by someone who knows the path, it can be done faster than the week it usually takes to travel it.
Missetsu was a cave, a very well hidden cave. Attacks were nearly non-existant and the fact that only two people, now three, outside of their clan knew the location of Missetsu made things easier. Imota, since he had been dragged along, had unknowingly become the third person in existance to know the location of Missetsu, though if he'd remember is another story. Necessity dictated that he be allowed to see the entrance.
Now they are back, Tsubasa and Mitsuki travelling at the front and if anything can be said for their travel, it is that they appear to have been walking nonstop. At the front are two gaggles of soldiers, armed with crystal weapons and some not armed with any, but featuring body art that clearly dictates their ability in crystal manipulation. All soldiers must learn crystal manipulation, but not all soldiers must master it. Those that do are granted seals to recognize their efforts, seals much like the ones Tsubasa wears.
Behind him and his protectorate, a few hundred craftspeople were walking. All of them carrying tools, none of them seemingly worried about where they'll get supplies. After all, the Seishukuni had always lived in this desert, they knew how to find supplies when needed. They are unaware of the bandits along the path, but if they come into view and attempt an attack, they'll find a formidable army to stand against. While Seishukuni soldiers were rare due to requirements, they were as well trained as a general shinobi, if not more in some cases.
On top of everything else, some of the leaders of the Seishukuni had come. While The One, the defacto ruler, was not present, several people from each sub board were present. Merchants, Common craftsmen, Shinobi. It was clear that the Seishukuni took their friends in need seriously.
To doubt any involvement of Imota within this entire scheme of things, was dumb. Point blank. This little guy's memory was a steel trap. He made sure to remeber what he could, to, as he put it, "function properly". The way had been long, but not rough. As Tsubasa had mentioned, knowing the correct paths to take shortened the way tremendously, allowing such a large group to travel within a shorter amount of time. Missetsu was hidden, but her importance, to Imota, had been virtually unknown, causing his childish sense curiousity to be rather heightened. But with other concerns to keep him busy, Imota's focus would not be detered to anything but the matter at hand.
This clan, in no way shape or form, had been trained in the ways of ninja. At least but a few of them could probably defend themselves in a large scale fight, but as for their, survival… Let's just say that Imota's analysis had given unfavorable results. Therefoer he counted his own services well needed and thus as the Seishukuni clan would travel, so would he, maintain his flanking, in full camoflague, only keeping eye contact with Tsubasa, Mitsuki, and others along the perimeter, who were told that he would stay hidden, and watch out for anyone watching them. His skill hadn't been the best, but for a genin, he hadn't been the worst stealth user on route.
The bandits are, infact, not >in< any groups. There are a few very basic camps scattered around, especially towards the rear, but those are mostly for recuperating bandits and mercenaries who may be suffering from injuries or fatigue, as well as a few 'command posts' that are more like 'sticks with a tarp over them' and are not actually issuing many commands. The bandit leaders nominally in charge of each of the bandit forces are functioning less as 'lieutenants' and more as 'guys who repeat commands from the actual leader'. The initial frantic barking of orders relayed from Shinji during the first 24 hours of actual combat was not fully appreciated by these 'lieutenants', as they were too excited and terrified and so forth to do anything other than try to keep the desert-wanderers fighting instead of retreating.
But three days after the fighting started, the lieutenants are starting to realize how they've been sidelined in this battle. Greed is one motivation for men. Pride is another. They are not receiving the glory or recognition that they feel they deserve. Their men, carefully selected (okay, not really) and organized (again, not really) into a fearsome fighting force are obeying the orders of an unknown mercenary, supposedly because the mysterious 'Koro' has promised rewards to all who follow his commands. But they have never met Koro, or seen any evidence he actually exists, other than the 'example' that was made of a particular Bandit Lord after he betrayed this outsider…
That example alone has kept the lieutenants from voicing their greivances in the presence of Shinji or anyone else who might be loyal to Koro. But still, these are men with hungry eyes, watching covetously all around them for an opening to take what belongs to someone else and make it theirs instead. And if Shinji or Koro shows weakness… They will strike. For now, however, the four or five lieutenants are gathered in one of the 'command posts', muttering darkly and looking at a map on a table.
The rest of the bandits on the front lines are engaged in combat with Sunagakure soldiers. There are some ninja mixed in, of course, but the majority are simply trained and combat-capable men and women, armed with mundane weapons and light-weight armor. Except in the case of the ninja, the bandits seem to have the advantage, both in numbers and fighting strength. The soldiers have endured being blasted by a hurricane of sand, and a continuous 10-point earthquake for hours prior to the assault, >and< the news of the Kazekage being taken down from within the Village. However, the handful of ninja that have joined in make the two forces more or less equal.
But how long will this stale-mate last? The two waves of fighters grinding against each other, destroying the lives of the combatants that make them up, cannot go on forever…
Rika's managed her plan, and so now it begins. She makes her way back out to some of the more isolated ones, and begins to ambush them. Minor jutsu for now. But making absolutely sure she's killing most of them and quite purposefully making sure they are fleeing inwards, towards the rest of the bandits. She makes a slow circle of it, sometimes jumping back, sometimes even going to the other side. It's methodical, coldly so even. Meant to terrorize them and lure them into thinking they'll have safety in numbers… At times she even rests to make sure she'll be ready for the big show. She's been doing thisfor hours now, the the night beforehand… and so it goes on. A blood soaked horror… this is what Ninja could do back during the wars. Even with a knife she's not much worse than an average chuunin (Just lacking any specialized techniques for it), so once in a while, even that gets pulled out.
With luck, she'll help relieve some pressure from the front, and thus they'll end up aiding her by default… though she's yet to contact the front, preferring to work behind the lines as she has been. And always, during each fight, her goggles are down, and a dark, haunting smile is on the short young jounin's face, bloodlust, hate, and an eery silence that she never breaks even if she takes a minor wound in the process. And she'll pay attention for the leadership as well, though makes no moves on them yet.
The seishukuni on the other hand? They're apparently walking right into the recuperation camps. However, that in and of itself presents a very interesting opprotunity. After all, what would happen if someone managed to screw those camps up? Oh that wouldn't make them very happy. On the other hand, the craftspeople aren't made for fighting and bringing a fight down upon a gaggle of craftsmen was just stupid.
The shinobi that had come along stopped just up front, far enough away to hopefully remain unseen to the bandits, but still allow them to see the lay of the camps in front of them. There was a pause before they looked to Tsubasa. Tsubasa just kind of shrugs in response, "We should go around. I'm sure we'll have our chance to fight."
And off they go again, trying to stick close to outside of the camps in the hope that no one would see them, but really, 300 people in a gaggle walking through the desert? Who /won't/ see that, and secretly, that's exactly what Tsubasa wanted.
The fight, from Imota's point of view, seemed to being stretched, at least, from what he could see. He couldn't wade to far away from what his charge had been however, for the potential aid of Sunagakure lied with this clan. However, answers were needed by him, if not anyone else. Imota wanted to know just what was causing all the event to unfoil. He would probably be the first to have scouted the shinobi just ahead, and even the bandits who lied even farther, and with that being a case, he'd retreat, to flicker back to Tsubasa..
"Those who move against Sunagakure have made camp just ahead. Though obvious news, Tsubasa-sempai, the current camps seem to be for the recovery of the injured, and battle weary.." He would look to those who had been waiting for Tsubasa's order, and sympathize. Currently Tsubasa, had been the higher ranked of present ninja here. His decision had to be the one that would determine the safety and success of this escort. As he would say his words, Imota would ask, "Permission to scout ahead? Or would this nin's services be needed in guarding civilian travel.", would be asked as he would look to Tsubasa, and then the 300, the many whom had been with them not even his age. He would move with the crowd as the decision was being made.
This is all too easy, with Rika managing all she wanted with so very little resistance. Little groups? Recuperation camps? Oh, they're all targets now. Rika's getting more and more savage in that. They attacked her village. They WILL die for it. Inside, there really is a part of her that's somewhat horrified at what she's become capable of. At one point she even pauses to cry. But then.. then she sees the damage to her village in the distance and the look of murder returns, and she renews her assault. The groups getting bigger, and so her jutsu does too, Air Scythes to cut through many at once, giant fireballs to burn them, and always a few let get away. So they can give word there's a ghost in their midsts, a demon slaying them…
Yes, the back camps. Not exactly something he had any intention of dealing with right now. Of course, the large gaggle of people directly in front of Suna's gate currently cause the biggest problem. But then, something was scaring them. It's not like Rika's use of chakra was discrete and it wasn't that hard to spot a couple on the outlying running towards the center. No, that would be imota's job.
Tsubasa turns to him, "Actually, you notice how they keep getting routed towards the center? Odds are someone is doing that and they're on our side. I'd wager a bet it's Rika-senpai, since she came back far before we did. You think you can contact her? Perhaps a staged assault will prove the best way to get in my non-combatants. If we can distract enough of them from the gate we should be good and once we have a spot, we can find a place in Sunagakure to start up our Headquarters."
Hopefully they would be able to reach this without any bloodshed, but all the people there that day had accepted they may not survive this.
Hearing Tsubasa's inquiry and hypothesis, Imota would handseal and intune into his sensitivity to chakra. The Nagahara had been hard to track all the time, even in situations like his, but for some reason, with her intermittent uses, Imota would be able to confirm just enough to know that someone had been around.. He would nod to the Chuunin crystal user, and say, "Affirmative.. though the risk of Rika-sama's jutsu use affecting this nin is rather large, this nin will see to notifying her of our presence." Imota would nod, and then flicker out of sight, though at this point, he had been faced with two problems. At this point, Rika's movement, had been rather strategic.
Imota could tell only from the deduction of Tsubasa and the movement of the bandits as they would flee, that the woman was seeming at do runs, attacking, and then watching. The timing of finding Rika, would lie in Imota heading for the next point of attack, and gettint their undetected, before he would be able to let Rika know of the circumstances.. He would move, still camoflagued through the area, trying to use what had been in this setting to cloud his approach, which had been slow, and then with the speed of a flicker depending on the situations.. Imota would only eye for what had been a large attack, those of which Rika's reputation had been comprised of. Tsubasa's plan had been okay, but it would still rely on whether or not Rika knew to do it.
And the Bandits continue to get more concentrated in fear. With so many of their relief camps eliminated and supplies destroyed, things should be getting pretty desperate. Especially with the confusion of an attack from the rear by a total unknown… and with the people Tsubasa brings now, there's more dust on the horizon, an actual relief force. Confusion should be reigning by now. Which is exactly what Rika wants. And thus the first relatively large concentration is found, not big enough… but big enough that it's time to get things started. Time for the calling card. And as the twilight gloom overtakes the desert, so to does a large tornado of fire and wind flare up to the heavens and incinerate her foes. The flash visible from the frontlines, to the others arriving, and likely even in the city. A true demonstration that they aren't alone. A Nagahara Ghost has arrived in truth… and with the next flight, she hopes more will start to congregate. So she begins moving behind the fleeing ones that haven't died in it, arms crossed, and a soft giggle coming forth. And then another group! And another Hellwind. And a third. She's no longer being stealthy. Her position being revealed QUITE obviously.
Tsubasa just jawdrops almost when all three are unleashed. He had a feeling he knew who had created them but really? Was that necessary? Well, on the brightside, Imota just go handed the easiest job in the world. He'll thank him later.
However, the blasts do offer a rather good chance for Tsubasa to push his people through to the gates. The chance would mean that they'd be essentially standing there waiting to be killed and if no one opened the gates, they'd be slaughtered, but hopefully with the resounding fear and disorder, they'd be able to protect the people. It's now that he turned to his group and began a speach.
"LISTEN UP! Now, we're about to go rushing headlong into this battle. This presents a very…"
A girl in the back jumps up on someone's shoulders, "HEY Tsu-Kun, you big idiot! What about those of us who can't fight? If I die i'm going to come back and haunt your ass!"
Tsubasa sighs at Saya, "Yes, Saya. You will all be taken care of to the best of our extent. Continuing, We're going to need you to run, quickly. While they're disorganized, we'll push ourselves against the gate while the two teams I have with me will spread out and keep them away from you. We will hold as long as we can. Your job is to get. that. gate. open. I don't care what you have to do. Blow it up, Dig through it, Beat on it, Saw through it. You. Open. That. Gate. We'll keep you alive, you keep us surviving."
He turned to raise his hand and a crystal sword appeared from the sand whipping around them, and then he slashes through the air and the Seishukuni, in an act of great organization, immediately form into a phalanx. Soldiers on the sides, People in the middle. An arrow tip seeking to push through the disorganized force to the gate. Arrows of crystal streaked from the back lines to disorganize the enemy further and hopefully, Rika and Imota would see the tactic and would assist. However, Shit just got real.
And looks like Imota's deductions were on point… All he had to do was just wait, as before long, Rika's reputation would be proven rather truthfully. Imota's eyes would widen, for while Tsubasa clan had been far away, the young Sasaki clansmen, had been rather close to one of the large concentrations of bandits… at least by a couple of yards.. So when the first Hellwind attack would come, the boy would sense the chakra behind it before he would even see the attack, and know well that if he hadn't taken cover.. He'd have as much hell to pay as the bandits who fleed in terror of Suna Youngest Tactical Nuke. He'd jump behind a nearby sand dune, just before the attacks touchdown, and cover his ears, and closes his eyes, as he would feel heat in the air first, and then the force of wind which would scorch the air. The temparatures would rise, even enough to burn his singe his own skin, as he would duck for cover desperately, fear of his own death being the only thing that would seem to keep him from raising his head..
And when one would be over, the calm before the attack now upon him, Imota would feel the another surge, and sigh, only to duck once more, this time, jabing his shuriken deep into the ground. It be something to hold on to, as this attack, and its follow up would feel the sky with lightning, fire, and wind the likes of which would have made any lesser kid wet his pants like a Super Soaker. But Imota would hold on, and after the destruction had passed, he would launch up a tag, which when it would get into the air via kunai, would explode and light up just above where he would been. Imota would wave his hand, signalling to Rika that he had been there, and hoping that at least he would be able to let her know what had been happening. Meanwhile, himself now armed, and ready, Imota's own chakra had been now being focused, as he would prepare for any remnants of survivors of this large scale bombardment. This would be the last ditch stand, and if Rika's attack had been a hint of anything to even the dumbest of bandits, it signaled that something big, had just happened, and it hadn't been just Nagahara Rika alone.
It's possible Rika may not even be aware of people behind her, Imota or the others. Just fortunately able to take advantage of the situation as it is taking place to lure the enemy out. She's really been playing on a pretty grand scale, like a game of Go with subtle feints and everything, all to surround the enemy. And those three seem to have been enough, as now an extremely large group has been arrayed to deal with this attack in the rear, the commander in charge even managing a decent amount of order to it!
And Rika… Well, this was what she wanted all along. And it shows by the all too dark smile she has on her face, stopping as she watches them get closer, and closer. And when they are she yells out, "Is this it?" She almost sounds disappointed. "This is all you bring to fight a Nagahara Ghost? All you have and you're threatening Sunagakure." She laughs mockingly then to match the mocking of the tone, and shakes her head. "So now you'll be punished for what you did." She sounds pissed as she adds that. And the wind is picking up around her and the heat rising, her chakra seeming more intense as it does. And then, then she forms the seals. "Ninpo: Hellwind wall." A wall of flame and wind bursts up behind the enemy. They have no retreat. "Come."
Yes, the group of 300 people, only of which 40 are trained fighters, but hey, the bandits don't know that. All they see is their line being obliterated and three hundred people charging in an orderly fashion towards them. As the hellwind picks up it leads many of the bandits to outright ignore the Seishukuni and they take advantage of it, the outlying troops start to fan out, extending the line and cutting down enemies in their path and then soon, the middle of this new line splits in the middle and the 300 craftsmen charge against the closed gate. During this charge however, at least twenty of their number are killed. Some caught by the hellwind, some caught by bandits and others by arrows but for now, they appear to be safe as the line of soldiers forms a band around them and summon their weapons.
Only now do the bandits realize that this was not an attacking force. And it is now they charge. The people from the village of Missetsu are beating against the gate and yelling while the line of soldiers fights to defend them. There are only forty this day, to stand against a unified bandit force. Even if the majority is running and disordered, they still have numbers. It would be up to rika.
And it was in that moment that a large crystal golem would burst from the ground and begin to bash the skulls of the bandits in. The bandits weapons managing to take chips out of it but the addition of this golem was enough to cause them to have to deal with both the line of soldiers and this behemoth assaulting them from behind. It lead to more confusion and an easier time for the defenders from Sunagakure. Who was controlling this golem? Why none other than Tsubasa, who among them had the most training. His wife was better skilled in pole arms and it showed. Few had seen his wife fight, but even fewer now will doubt her skill or the skill of the lone forty seishukuni soldiers as enemies begin to pile at their feet. Only two have died thus far to the bandits that amassed before their feet.
"Back up." Rika suddenly says, apparently to everyone on her side, it seems. "Now." No question about it, the look on her face was even more determined. "When I do what I'm going to, none should be there." OK, so she noticed someone, but there's no one close enough. And she isn't exactly holding back. And her hands form another series of seals. "Ninpo: Hellburst." And that's when something powerful happens, from the center of the tightest packed group of the bandits there is a sudden explosion, wind, fire, as always… and with it a horrible concussion and roar. The explosion is so powerful it even creates a crater centered there, sending that debris (At least the parts that weren't incinerated!) flying all over. This is what the Nagahara do. They destroy their foes, and this explosion can be seen and heard from the City without trouble.
Tsubasa knows, that tensing in the air, gathering of chraka, the feeling as chakra becomes an element. That's a bad sing, especially now that we all know it's Rika. That can only mean one thing and sure enough, here it comes. The gates screech open, the golem falls and a crystal wall rises up to protect the seishukuni as the massive shockwave hits. The fire, wind and debris collide at once against the crystal shield and only with all the remaining soldiers does it hold. One may ask, why not just do this earlier and the simple answer is: It never occurred to them earlier.
Now they stalk into the city while the enemy is distracted and the gates are slowly closed once more leaving the bandits outside and the Seishukuni, what's left of them, 250 to be exact, to wait it out inside. Now they had to find a place to create lodgings and a temporary hospital to augment the current one - if it still exists.
Rika may not know how many are left. But she's going all out now. The others are at the gate? And Rika's just wiped out a large number of the enemy. So now? She starts a simple march towards the front lines, smaller Jutsu being unleashed the whole way. Lightning, Fire, Air… all three are represented, along with one more rather more impressive Jutsu, a Heatburst exploding in the midsts of another retreating force near the front lines, leaving them open to being overtaken. And then? Rika reaches the lines, panting, covered in blood and grit from her little time playing Death, Destroyer of Worlds as she marched through the enemy forces as though they were so much butter to her hot knife. The trail of devastation behind her most obviously represented by the smouldering crater. Though a trail of bodies and other damage to the terrain is there as well!
The troops at the frontlines were having some trouble. This much was certain, but with all that was going on behind them, the sensation of fear and yet confidence was overwhelming them. They weren't sure of who or how, but they had the feeling that the numbers were dwindling and if the amount of heat increasing and falling over the course of time was any indication, they think they have a good chance. So, they begin to fight harder and as Rika begins her march up to the front, warcries going up into the air for the success headed their way, a few of the frontline troops look back to gather what they can with only a glance. The majority of the numbers have been cleared and when a shout goes up into the air about this, a cheer runs through the crowd and boosts their morale, however the sight of corpses and a bloody ninja is a bit frightening. They're lucky they're not on the other side.
"There." Rika says, panting, looking as though she can barely stand at the moment. She reaches up to lift up her goggles and reveal her eyes, practically like a raccoon because of the clean nature of them compared to the rest of her face. "I think… I'm gonna need a nap." She says airilly, and suddenly smiles sweetly, then staggers a few more steps before literally kneeling down and collapsing. One can only imagine that she can't have that much chakra left.
The sounds of metal grinding and moving with metal is heard as a giant of a being in black Kuroyari armor literally carrying a spear which seems to be akin to an anchor only with bladed edges is seen. It then raises an arm and the arm plate opens, and pieces begin coming out and shifting to form a crossbow, the bolt wrapped with an explosive tag. It then fires the bolt, only to shift it's wrist which cocks the crossbow and loads another bolt wrapped in tags on it at the various stragglers should there be any left.
The fighters think they can take care of the rest of the bandits that were around, but with the freedom that they have, some go and gather up Rika to try and take her to a safer place than the middle of the battlefield. All of them still wield weapons and are perhaps a bit handicapped, but believe they can hold their own. Others who see this begin to surround the men that are carrying her and help to create a ring of protection to try and fight off those that would try to take advantage of her current state. It was now time to try and move closer to the gate. Advancement has picked up, but there's still a few places of scuffling here and there that can prove to be a danger.
Karakuri was within the large metal armor and when the enemies would get close, he swung that anchor of his. He begins to approach those who are carrying Rika, shooting crossbow bolts at the enemies that try to get close as he tries to help keep her and the people carrying her protected.
Rika is all peaceful, but hey, so are the dead. and she made a lot of them!