Date: April 12, 2014
Sarasa and Hae led by the unusual Koseitama must protect an emptied village from ransackers, arsonists, and thugs.
"Burning for Battle"
Land of Water village
There's an annual festival going on for a group of neighboring villages. And the village the team now travels to is cleared out. They've left to enjoy the festivities, and left behind shinobi-hired security to guard it. The team doesn't expect much in the way of trouble. This may very well be a mission where they sit around and get paid to do it. The village isn't poor, but it isn't a treasure chest either. The area for the ten square miles is silent and empty.
The village is one built on hills, clusters of small houses at the top, and rivers running in between. So it's decently irrigated and has a nice, grassy smell rather than the distinct odor of flat, dirt-filled villages. All the buildings are built of logs, which is a fire hazard waiting to happen. The team goes to the tallest hill where a measly, five yard tall watchtower is built. Wooden, of course. Sarasa climbs into a sheltered tree near it, and takes out a wrapped rice ball. Yum. Personally she wouldn't mind the no-trouble-sit-around option. But she keeps an eye out anyway.
In all likelihood, the mission board is expecting this will be a paid-to-sit-around mission…otherwise, they probably wouldn't have risked making Koseitama the highest-ranking shinobi sent on it. c.c It's well-known that she's not right in the head, though her psychosis oddly enough usually doesn't interfere with her mission performance…usually. There was that one time where she blew the Mizukage's stealthy plan (though he wasn't Mizukage at the time) with a mad charge and shouts about some Liiroi Jyenkinsu. c.c So maybe they assigned her command on this mission to see how she'd handle it.
Right now Koseitama is standing up in the watchtower, studiously scanning the horizon with one hand over her brow. Well, guess she's perfectly capable of putting her mind to the mission when she — "Oh, alas!" Koseitama slumps woefully against the corner of the tower and sobs theatrically. "When shall he return to me? All through the weary hours I keep watch, and the fields give me no glimpse of his shining face!" ;.; O…kay, maybe she's not so focused on the task at hand after all. c.c
Being of dubious background - a shinobi transfer (rumored for a few bushels of carp) - Hae was the lowest ranked shinobi on duty, assigned to sit and watch a litter of houses whilst the populace descended upon another town to enjoy a festival. The glorious life of a shinobi. Hae leaned back against the rounds of the tower, legs extended out, slouched enough that he couldn't even see past the edge. Koseitama collapsed against the interior of the watchtower, her lips fumbling with missed tears of some guy. This was his company. The squirrel, stuffing her face with riceballs; and the nut, cracking up already. Hae should've brought some dice. Instead, he flicks a shuriken against the inside of the watchtower; leans forward, retrieves it. Flicks a shuriken against the inside of the watchtower; leans forward, retrieves it. He stares as he flicks the shuriken again.
Sarasa looks towards Koseitama with unease. That Chuunin doesn't seem quite right in the head. Hopefully she has Chuunin level strength, if not Chuunin level focus. Hae seems keen and suited to his rank. But perhaps this is unrequired strength, and the mission will be uneventful. And for awhile it does. The morning goes by quietly. Sarasa finishes her last onigiri and sucks the sticky rice off her fingers. "Yum."
"Maybe I'll buy a rice ball with a pickled plum on the way back," she says.
Koseitama and Hae would be the first to notice in early afternoon. A group of people make their way towards the village from the south. It had been specified /no one/ would be back before nightfall. They're dressed in greens and browns to blend in, moving skillfully to use the hills as concealment.
Their faces are masked. From the east a single man in black moves by himself towards the village, but he gets much closer before the team would detect him. Despite the light, the five in a group carry torches. Unlit, for now. Sarasa doesn't notice, now she's murmuring about dumplings.
Koseitama continues alternating between moping, looking, and sobbing as the day drags on. She must've gotten lucky, though, because she happens to be looking at the right moment to spot intruders approaching. "Why, do mine eyes deceive me? There are sprites of the woodland flitting about the hills! So swift and united with the earth as to scarce be detected by mortal vision, yet they appear before me! Surely this is a sign to me!" Koseitama doesn't wait for the group to get closer, she jumps off the watchtower and races toward the approaching band from the south. "Kind spirits, tarry a moment! Tell me, what has become of my wandering beau?"
No one answers, so Hae remains quiet the remainder of the day. The shuriken thunks consistently into the wood of the watchtower, the stroke of minutes in steel and timber. Koseitama's excitement rises the sitting shinobi, and it is then he notices the others flitting amongst the hills and trees.
"Well. I suppose that's who's there."
The youth tucks the shuriken into the pouch at his hip, flicking through a few handseals, a clone of himself erupting in a muffled puff beside him. The pair watch as Koseitama leaps from the tower and races towards the intruding peoples.
One of the Haes looks towards the other, and then flicks his head towards the clambering damsel. "Go fetch."
The response is a shove, knocking a Hae backwards into the watchtower wall.
"You go fetch. Besides, she's not my type."
"I meant the squirrel, idiot."
Both Haes grin - you can see it in their eyes - and the closest one turns to the trees.
"Hey. I feel like something bad might happen to your friend."
With a straight arm and finger, Hae extends towards the fleeing Koseitama and the approaching intruders, who are moments from arriving upon each other.
Sarasa's head jerks up sharply, as both her comrades notice anything before she does. At least they're acting rationally so she can just follow them. Wait…huh? Sarasa stares as Koseitama openly runs towards the men. Of course, they see her since she's calling out openly and waving. All stop for a moment. Then three draw their weapons. But instead of charging Koseitama all at once, three diverge to the nearest house and start…setting it on fire!? The wood goes up in a roar, and with all three of them attending to it, the house is ablaze in just a minute. The other three stand in a defensive knot. Maybe not up to military standards, but while one group burns, the other guards. Not a bad plan. To the east, there's a thunderous roar as the ground heaves, uprooting a shanty from its foundations with a good display of earth manipulation. Seems the solo act is quite the opponent.
Sarasa gapes. "Koseitama-san…" Their team leader seems to have gone off the deep end, as all three of the men attack. She starts preparing herself as quickly as possible to back her up… if such is Koseitama's non-existent orders.
As the men advance on Koseitama with weapons pointed at her, she takes a dramatic step back and raises a hand to her mouth in horror. "How now? These sprites are not bearers of glad tidings, but impish devils bent upon mischief! Heavens protect me!" XO Koseitama makes a wild warding gesture, and the water from a nearby horse trough suddenly leaps in to deflect the blades of her attackers. Koseitama gasps. "Could it be? The very elements hear my pleas and move to defend me!" Koseitama puts her hands together prayerfully, and the leftover water forms into an array of needles, which promptly fly at the enemy ninja. "Such wondrous occurance! But there remains much villainy to contend with! Dear Asara, would you be so bold as to confront those wicked fire-raisers?" 8O
Both of Hae stare as the first house is set alight. More, as another house is swallowed by the ground.
"My, my. That escalated quickly."
One of the Haes leaps from the watchtower, heading towards whomever could be upturning the earth. The other remains in the watchtower, watching the two groups - one of arsonists, one of guards - shuffle about the hilltops; and Koseitama dodging blades with bobbles of water, then vying against her foes with needles of the same. The fire-bearers continue their shift towards further arson as Koseitama assails the defending perpetrators. Himself, Hae pulls two shuriken from his pouch, cocking back his arm, and for a moment is motionless, like a blade of grass hung in a breeze.
But the arm descends, and the shuriken hurl towards the fire-starting men, landing in front of them, as if to tarry their progress. Hae grins, and flicks two fingers skyward.
With a ringing split of sound, the shurikens explode, spewing fire and burning chunks of metal.
The first thug is struck up and down his arm with sharp needles. He winces in pain, but unfortunately it's not his sword arm or enough to put him out of commission. The other is faster and leaps aside to avoid the needles. However the third one with the spear is hit solidly, and for a moment he sinks to a knee, clutching his stomach.
The unscathed thug says to Koseitama, "Pleas my butt! We know you're shinobi!" From the way he speaks, he's at least forty and his eyes are narrowed with concentration. The thugs spread out to surround Koseitama and attack from all sides. They move like men who've fought together before, although a Jounin could make short work of them. If only they'd brought one along.
The arsonists are having an easy time of it. Until two are knocked backwards by the force of an explosion. The third looks startled, and says, "Don't be distracted. Burn it all!" But he's the only one who continues onto the next house, setting it alight. The other two quickly recover and then Sarasa is there, aiming to whack one of the bandits with her arm which has turned into an elongated lash of water.
As for the earth ninjutsuist he's left with Hae's investigate clone, which is consumed by the small landslide that uproots the next home. Sarasa has chosen not to go after him apparently.
Koseitama wrings her hands as the thugs move in on her again, though of course she's really doing handseals. "Oh dear, oh dear, how I wish I were elsewhere!" ;.; And with a sudden blur, her wish comes true! Only not as well as she could've hoped, as she runs short of chakra to fuel her body flicker partway. Koseitama drops to normal speed and takes a slice from one of the crooks' daggers in passing. She stumbles and steadies herself against the nearest house, clutching her fresh wound. "Behavior…hostile," she murmurs to herself, head bowed. "Preparing for…observation of…combat rituals…"
Hae drops from the watchtower, landing on the soft earth. Two of the masked villains - rusty, but tenacious - approach, both lurching with kunai towards Hae. The boy's body drops into the earth, though a single of the kunai is too fast, catching his shoulder with the tip of its blade.
"Da-" but the words are swallowed as Hae's entire body slips underground.
The other of the two, so rabid in trying to discover more of the earth-bearing shinobi, gets swallowed in a landslide and a gasp of smoke, disappearing. And yet…
And yet from where the other had been, where the landslide had devastated him moments before, rises Hae again, though this one has blood seeping through the bandages about his shoulder, the viscous fluid already turning brown. The youth stares ahead, wiggling his fingers as he watches the earth user. With rapidity his hands come together, sealing their familiar way, until - within a muted poof - erupts another clone. Hae hands the clone a kunai, and the other dashes for the earth ninja, driving the point of the kunai forward, aimed to stab the intruder. Yet right as the blade is to close in for the strike, again do Hae's original digits flip skyward.
The kunai gleams, and blows apart.
Sarasa absorbs the bandit's blow simply by letting it pass through her water form. She leaps back to get out of range, and gets a full look at the situation. Koseitama faces two bandits, both of whom are being pushed back steadily, although keeping the Chuunin's full attention as they make a less coordinated attack.
Just as the earth bandit is halfway through his hand seals to destroy the next building, Hae's clone catches him off guard. He jumps out of reach, but the explosions knocks him back and the jutsu is cancelled. The black thug leaps to his feet with a snarl, and sends a line of jagged stones ripping towards Hae. Hae certainly has some heat down on him, but at least he's stopped the black clad man's destruction.
Sarasa takes advantage of the chaos to drub the second arsonist into unconsciousness. The third is unscathed and, oblivious to his comrade's plight, is burning the next house with maniacal laughter.
Koseitama turns around as the thugs come at her again, her dramatic expression exchanged for a look of clinical detachment. She forms handseals, and a statue of ice starts building itself between her and her assailants. The first thug is blocked by the ice clone, but the other manages to slip his dagger under the clone's arm and give Koseitama another little stab. Koseitama winces, but does not react emotionally. "Combat ritual…typical of common urban hired blade," she mutters. "No further observation necessary." The ice clone swings its fist up at the jaw of the more successful thug. Meanwhile, Koseitama snaps the tip off of the clone's ponytail and holds it up between two fingers. She flicks it at the first thug, giving it an extra burst of power.
Koseitama watches dispassionately as the thugs flee or are dispatched by Sarasa. "Situation analysis: no further worthwhile subjects for observation in immediate vicinity. Associate capable of remaining necessary clean-up." In other words, the rest is up to you here, Sarasa. :P The ice clone somersaults over Koseitama and takes the spear thrust in the chest. It shatters the clone, but Koseitama's gone, dashing toward that much more interesting-sounding skirmish.
But, it looks like that skirmish is coming to her. Koseitama looks up in time to bring up a swirling vortex around herself, but it only dampens the force of the incoming rock. >.<; "Nff…rarer subject detected, commencing observation." Koseitama forms some handseals, and a small crowd of clones form from the air and converge on the man in black.
Hae appears again from beneath the ground as the masked men flee the scene, leaving only one very foolish soldier, and his even more foolish commander, the latter of whom crashes rocks over the three Kiri shinobi, busting the Hae's shoulder and leg. Several of the homes burn and flicker in the daylight, still ablaze from the mayhem initially caused. Hae stares at Koseitama and Sarasa, who seem very well in control of the situation. He screams into the day:
"I'm gonna go get help for putting out the fires! And to alert the villagers!"
Thus, he limps off, cut and battered, and very outmatched, it seems, for the ninja world at large, the youth flinging himself through the trees and over the hills, to bring aid to the now-ravaged country-side village. And to himself.
Hae is right of course. Some of the buildings are burning but salvageable. As he goes off, the last thug is finished off in a spray of blood. Amidst the shifting rocks Sarasa manages to slash the leader with her water formed weapon. But it's Koseitama who delivers the final blow. The man is surrounded on all sides by wind clones and lacerated from every angle. After it passes he wobbles a little, as if he's going to stay standing—and doesn't. He falls down with a thud.
Sarasa lets out a deep breath. "Whew!" she says. It's a few minutes before their vigilance lowers a bit. Some of the thugs are dead, others simply unconscious, and it doesn't take long to learn where they're from. One of the other villages attending the festivities. The village in general denies they approved the thugs actions, although the suspicion in the rest of the villages will remain.
The three Kiri nin have to wait till nightfall for their return. All in all even though six of the buildings are either damaged or destroyed, that leaves a hundred neighbors to help them rebuild. Not a perfect mission. But given the caliber of the invaders, it's an acceptable outcome.