Date: July 28, 2013
On behalf of a village in the Land of Fire, three ninja go on a cattle raid.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Ushi, a village in the Land of Fire
Two villages in the Land of Fire, Kachiku and Ushi, have a rather odd competition going. Or maybe it's more of a tradition. Or even a feud. At first blush, their relationship is much like any other two villages in the same region. They trade regularly, coordinate efforts to remove bandits in the area, and lend food when the harvest has gone bad for one of them. But every couple of weeks or so, one village, either Kachiku or Ushi, will gather up a small portion of its militia and raid the other village. It causes no real bad blood, and the villagers view it as almost a sport, even as valuable as cattle are to them.
But sports can be important too, and Kachiku has had a run of bad luck lately. The Ushi raids have been shockingly successful, while their own raids have been unlucky, bringing in only a couple heads of cattle on a good raid. Kachiku is loathe to ask for outside assistance in this matter, but their rapidly shrinking heards and wounded pride demand action. The elders of the village have secretly hired a team of ninja to conduct a raid on the village's behalf. After all, if ninja can't do it, who can?
It's nearly midnight, dark, with only the light of a crescent moon shining from up above. Atsuro, Keichi, and Usagi are hidden in the forest outside Uchi, waiting for an opportunity to strike. According to the elders, cattle raids can be performed a number of ways. Stealth, trickery, and even open combat are all considered acceptable ways to get at the village's supply of cattle. Then from there it's just a simple matter of slipping off into the night. There's only one special condition: nobody can find out that the team isn't actual villagers of Kachiku.
Atsuro, dressed in plainclothes, is looking out over the village, which isn't much more than a small collection of houses and other buildings, plus a large fenced-in area full of cattle. The village is quiet, with most people sleeping, though there are a few patrols wandering about, and probably more of the militia standing by in case of trouble. "Alright gang," Atsuro announces, "You guys know your abilities better than I could. How we gonna do this?"
Gang? Atsuro did always know how to add flair to his briefings. Keichi can't help but chuckle. Listening to the little briefing and then glaring around a bit. "Well stealth isn't my strength." Keichi admits. "I'm good in a fight, and a ruse.." He admits. "Plus, if you need something inanimate stored in a scroll, I can do that in a matter of seconds." Keichi looks at Atsuro and smiles. "Oh and I'm half-decent with seals but I can't imagine how that can really help us." He shrugs. "All in all, I want to avoid having to hurt someone, if we can…"
He places his fists together in a sort of monk-ish bow to finish his little speech on his strength. He's wearing a rather attractive looking black jacket, with dark red (velvet) linings, a silk white dress-shirt underneath that looks Middle Eastern (and probably is…) slightly longer than his already tall upper body, tucked half into his skin-tight pants made of some leather-ish material. It shines a little and feels… squeeky. Though he makes it look good as he always does. to top it all off, lots and lots of accesorries! Then he shifts his gaze at Usagi, maybe she can be more of assistance here.
Usagi sighs softly. Not only could she 'not' bring her scythe, as that could be identifying, she couldn't use most of the ninja implements she could. But one thing she excelled at here was stealth, so she at least had that going for her. She looks to Atsuro and raises a brow at him and nods. She looks to the other person aside from Atsuro and furrows her brow. "Atsuro, you're detection, I'm stealth. That honestly lends towards a good amount of being able to pick off the patrols one by one, hopefully before they can raise an alarm…" she looks at Keichi and furrows her brow slightly. "Seals, good in a fight…doesn't lend to what we have planned so far…." She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She looks over at the cattle, hmming. "Can you get something to attract the cows?" That one's looking directly at Keichi, though she does turn to ask Atsuro in the next breath. "Can you give a location for all of the active patrols in range as well?"
Keichi looks up at Usagi and then Atsuro. "Cows follow the bull. All we need to do is locate him and run him up to where we need him to be. Since the villages are close by, I can cattle him quite easily using Mandoreku and Suidoreku!" Sweet, something he's good at! Puppets are great as cattle dogs! "So we ehm, if we want the cows to move, need to make the bull go where we need the rest to follow. Issue is, all cow cattling makes noise… Especially since they're very likely to have bells around their necks."
Alright, it sounds like the team has a good idea of what to do. "Keichi," he says, "I dunno why you know so much about cattle, but if you can have them ready to go once Usagi and I have taken care of the patrols, that'll do." Of course, he'd rather not send Keichi off alone. People aren't typically killed in these raids, but it's not as if there's no risk involved. "Tai'll go with you, to keep an eye out while you're getting the cattle ready. If you've got time, maybe you could take the bells off?" In any case, once Keichi's ready to go, Atsuro says goodbye for now and Taizen follows Keichi down into the main part of the village, careful to keep an eye out for patrols and alert him to anything he should know.
Atsuro turns to Usagi. "And yeah. If you can knock them out, I can find them for you." He sniffs the air, "I'm getting at least three different patrols, with a few members each." He gestures for Usagi to follow and leads her down into a small patch of bushes where they've got a good view of one of the patrols. "You can take them all down yourself?" he asks.
Keichi nods at Atsuro and begins running down the hill! While he's running he slips out a set of scrolls which fly out behind him. Followed by some smoke. Then, he crosses his arms in front of his body. Two dragons follow Keichi, one with fire decals, the other with water. Mandoreku and suidoreku! So the dragons fly behind Keichi, right behind his shoulders. So now he reaches the fences. Stopping there for now, letting Usagi and Atsuro start for now. "Come on Taizen." He says. Pointing over the fence and helping him over it (if he can't get through it) should Taizen need a boost.
Usagi nods and takes a slow breath. "I can sneak up on them, so we'll be good there" She shrugs and moves to follow him. "All three at once? We'll find out" She smirks at him softly. "Shall we?"
Fortunately, Keichi makes it to the cattle pen without any trouble, Taizen following right behind him. When they reach the pen, it's mostly silent, the cattle not doing a whole lot at this time of night. Of those that are awake, not many bother Keichi or Taizen. They're used to farm life, neither a man nor a dog will come as much of a shock to them. It should be pretty easy for Keichi to make his way through the crowd of animals and fine the bull, though it'll take a little searching. Taizen's nose won't be of much help with the animals all crowded together like this, though.
Atsuro gives Usagi a nod. "I'll be ready to deal with any that get away," he says simply. He's quick and can probably knock any member of a simple village militia out pretty easy, so he's not worried about that. "Go," he tells Usagi, crouching down and getting ready to jump out and deal with any trouble himself too.
Keichi looks around for the bull and finally finds him. "Got'm.." Keichi whispers while Mandoreku and Suidoreku fly around very slowly, using their sharp blades to cut off bells, making little to no noise as they fall onto the ground. This is all going okay, Keichi also does an occasional removal and he asks Taizen to do the same. They can't pass every single cow, but at least a lot of them to avoid making too much noise! Then, he slowly opens up the fence. The wooden thing makes some noise but again, it was very doable. Then he flinches. Looking down at the ground… Paper? In fact, the villagers were as king to put down explosive tags! Good thing he didn't gnaw the ignition with the wood (the seal was intricate, explosion, and wood-ignition were the two Kanji on it!) So the touch of wood would set it off!
Keichi hmphs to himself and sits down in a Lotus position! Putting his hands on his knees with an annoyed expression! Mooit, his caligraphy was a bit rusty. He reaches for a scroll and conjured up some ink and a feather. He needed to change one of the Kanji to make the bomb useless, moving it was risky, since most paperbomb traps have internal ignitions for just that purpose! "I'm sure they bought these off Konoha's ninja tool shop as well! Logistical nightmare, this odd-job system." He complains to the dog. While staring at the Kanji for wood. This was going to take a lot of his brainpower, on top of that, it might delay him! Which would be a potential threat to the team. "Milkit Keichi, think!"
Usagi nods slowly at Atsuro as they approach the first patrol. She's moving fluidly, one step to the next, making as little noise as possible as she could. She's eyeing their formation, position, and….there we go. First one is going off to take a leak while the other two wait for him. She makes a motion towards the tree for Atsuro before she moves out for the other two, being close to the ground…almost on all fours. As she approaches slowly, she starts breathing slowly as to not alert the targets.
She seems to be waiting for something first, but moments later she grabs the two men by their ankles and yanks hard enough to send them toppling facefirst into the ground. The first is knocked cold by a precise shot to the back of the skull, and the second is taken care of much the same a moment later. She looks back to where Atsuro is (or should be?) and gives a thumbs up, though she does check their pulses first.
As Keichi directs, Taizen goes through the cattle, slipping the bells off the cows. He has a very dextrous mouth, apparently. He doesn't know a whole lot about seals, though, so he can't help Keichi there. He can help him in other ways, though. As Keichi sits contemplating the problem, Taizen's ears perk up. To keep silent, he simply pokes Keichi with his nose, then points in the direction of the third patrol. They haven't noticed the two of them yet, but it looks like they'll pass by — and Keichi probably doesn't want to be there when they do.
Why does Atsuro get the peeing guy again? He usually prefers a light touch, but he really should have pulled rank this time. Anyway, he gives Usagi a nod, then slips into a patch of nearby brush. The very slightest rustle of leaves is all the poor man has to alert him that someone has slipped into the tree above. Naturally, he pays it no mind and is punished for it. As he's finishing up, Atsuro drops out of the tree headfirst, having wrapped his legs around a branch to keep himself up there, and cold-cocks the man before he can properly react. Out cold. Atsuro lets go of the tree and comes down, then heads over to Usagi once she's dealt with her guys. "Go on ahead to the next patrol," he says, pointing in the direction. "I'll move these guys somewhere they won't be spotted."
The next patrol is a little different. They're more in towards the village, so there are a few houses nearby… which could either be a liability or an opportunity for Usagi. The men walk in single file, with about three meters between each man.
Keichi peers at the seal and seems buried in thoughts. When the dog nudges him he looks down at Taizen and grrs. "Not now Taizen I'm trying to focus here!" He whispers before looking up to where Taizen wants his attention. "Oh blimey!" Keichi says. Closest thing to swearing he'll ever do without a certain person's influence. He quickly gets up. No he sucks at hiding, he wasn't lying! A ruse it is! "Taizen, you're my dog.." In a flash he throws up his jacket, which Mandoreku catches while his body dislodged and reassembles together with Suidoreku. Under the jacket, in this light…
They look convincingly human. Side from the dragon's head! But that's hidden in the jacket. Keichi bends through his legs and sighs. Going into pretend old man mode while henging, looking old actually. He slowly begins walking, holding up his hand while DIRECTLY walking towards the patrol. Hoping Taizen follows along the ruse (poor thing, always so nice and honest. Time to proof yourself buddy!) "Spare some coin for an old blind beggar, his wive and dog…
We lost our belongings to the civil war.." He lies, he made his eyes hazy with the henge. Plus, changed his clothes! He wanted to solve this without violence. No way he's going to attack these guys just doing their job! It's just not right! … Unless they would attack him ofcourse! But he got his puppets for that. For now, he tries to hold their attention until backup arrives. Which means he can't work on the seal! Blimey!
Usagi hmms softly to herself. This made things interesting. There could be some militia in the houses, so best not to make 'any' noise at all. Difficult, to say the least. But, their formation made it relatively easy to pick them off one at a time…She looks around briefly, getting in behind the houses and searching for some supplies. Rope was in easy supply, and that'd be actually useful…she could use her shadow abilities using the rope, and make it look like it was just a rope trick, not ninjutsu. She grabs a bit of that, as well as a few cloths from some of the houses, relying on them to be drying their laundry outside.
First things first…there's no way to really take them all at once, not without ninjutsu, but she does have a few ideas. The first is to take out the man in the back. Easy enough to sneak up behind him, clamp a hand over his mouth and knock a knee out before delivering a conk to the jaw. That allowed her to support the now dead weight of an unconscious man, taking him quickly to the side to deposit him beside a house where he wouldn't be found. Second man could be taken the same way, but she had something else planned for him. A snare was 'sneaked' up under his legs by a shadow tendril, looping around a foot when he stepped into it, and yanked hard. He hits the ground and Usagi's running, smacking him on the back of the head before she runs for the third, who had heard the other collapse. She slides low, between his legs, before jumping onto his back and wrapping the cloth she picked up earlier around his mouth. Prevented sound, and deprived him of air. Once he was sufficiently out cold, she used the snare to drag the second man, and carried the third to places to keep them hidden.
Taizen, of course, doesn't have much concern for Keichi's focus at this point and will continue trying to get his attention until he succeeds. He simply sits there for a second once Keichi is aware of the situation, watching the bit of puppetry and disguise. Then, once he gets the idea of what Keichi's up to, rolls around in the dirt for a few seconds to get him… well, dirty, and to mess up his hair a little. Much more suitable for a beggar's dog. Then he just follows Keichi along, staying silent and giving the patrolmen puppydog eyes whenever they look his way.
One of the patrolmen seems less than sympathetic, "'ey now," he says, "What, you think the war wasn't bad for /alla/ us? Money don't grow on trees and it sure didn't durin' the war!" But the leader seems to take pity on Keichi. "It's dangerous handing around the cattle pen," he warns Keichi, "You should go to the town hall in the morning and ask for some help there." Apparently he can't spare any change, though. They continue to hang around the pen. Not exactly suspicious of Keichi, but certainly waiting to see how he reacts.
The men of the second patrol go down smoothly, thanks to Usagi. Atsuro shows up once more. "Seem deal, I guess," he decides, "You take 'em down, I move 'em somewhere safe." He sniffs the air and frowns a little. "The next patrol is right next to Keichi." That doesn't seem good. "Uh so, you know. Hurry."
Keichi nods at the men and keeps his head low. "Thank you sama, for showing kindness in these harsh times that affect us all." He slowly begins walking away, but takes pity on the guardsman. Who showed kindness in the face of adversity… sort of. Even more reason not to attack him. He almost forgot he was blind, so he turns back around towards them, moving his hands around a bit. "Sama, tell this blind-old-classman where the city hall is, if you would be so kind… especially if there's obstacles along the way. In fact, could you walk my wife there first?" Keichi wasn't happy with sending him with his puppets. Their range is limited, though as long as he can see them he can control his puppet decently to mimic the movements of an old woman. "She's shy, so she won't say much, but I, and the Kami thank you for your kindness." He directed it towards the kind man for a reason. If he follows Keichi's puppets into town to 'walk' it to the townhall Keichi would not at Taizen to give him the signal. Keichi isn't worth much without his puppets. So he needed Taizen to take out the guard who remains at the pen while his puppets keep the other man busy. It was a long-shot, but if they coordinated this right, it was doable!
A soft sigh is the only reaction from the Nara, and Usagi shakes her head slowly. Not turning down the order, but just in a moment of 'oh great'. With that being done, she's off to go take care of them. She was moving quickly, and as silently as allowed by the moving. She approaches the pen from a darker point if she can, assessing the situation from here. Since it's dark, this could actually work….at least until she hears Keichi talk. She pauses, kneeling slowly and putting her hands in the rat symbol. Her shadow, barely if at all discernible at night, creep out and heads for one of the cows. She's not going to lock one in yet, so as to not panic the animal, but she'd be ready to take control and simply headbutt one of the guards if they get too suspicious of Keichi. He's got a plan, and she's going to let him run with it. For now.
Wow. Well, that was a pretty good ruse on Keichi's part, because the patrolman buys it hook, like, and sinker! "Alright," says the guard, "Come along, missy." He gestures for Keichi's 'wife' to follow him. He turns to the other patrolmen. "I'll be right back, men." The two men nod, and wait there as he walks off, leaving them in an awkward silence with the beggar and his dog. It seems like a bit of an impasse for Keichi, but Taizen gets the signal.
Just in time for Usagi to show up, as it happens. Two guards, two ninja ready to take 'em down and free those cattle.
Keichi looks at the patrolmen, and lets Taizen take the one nearby out. Meanwhile, his dragons come out of the jacket (though Suidoreku picks it up with its tail to avoid it hitting the ground… it's an expensive jacket OK! Regardless, the dragons wrap around the man, most importantly, around his throat to keep him from screaming! He hopes Taizen gets the cue to take out the guy in front of him! When choked out, he leaves Usagi to get rid of the bodies while Keichi rushes back to the Kanji. "What looks like the Kanji for wood?" He asks Taizen, before brightening up. "Wood, FOOD!" Yes, food… that's it! He quickly flicks his ink on the paperbomb which brightens up and then dies down again. Okay, change complete…. Keichi stands up and smirks… before turning pale. "Food?" He looks at the seal, then the cows… then the seal again. "Those are cows… not food!" He tells the seal… "I have no clue what chakra sees as food, do you recon it sees cows as food?" He asks Taizen a bit nervously, while he opens up the fence completely, and Mandoreku and Suidoreku rush back through the streets while he reels in his chakra strings.
Usagi nods as Keichi takes on the other two patrolmen, as the 'lead' man falls for the ruse. She takes a quiet breath as he knocks them out and works on the seal, moving in to take csre of the unconscious. She raises a brow at his question and shrugs, finding a good spot in the woods to depoait the sleepers. Once done, she looks at Keichi again. "Your lead on the cows" A half smirk is given now.
Taizen simply tackles the man he's left, knocking him to the ground and leaving him out cold. Hey, he's a really big dog. The man leading the 'wife' turns around to see what's happened, but of course, Keichi quickly dispatches him too. The whole patrol is out now, which probably leaves nobody to worry about out here, if Atsuro's nose was right. Of course, they've still got to watch out for any other members of the militia who might be hanging around.
In any case, nobody except Atsuro shows up while Keichi is dealing with the seal and Usagi is dealing with the bodies. "I don't know much about seals," says Taizen, "Sorry." Atsuro looks at the seal. But of course, he has no clue what's going on there either. Like human, like dog, eh? "We ready to get them outta here?" Atsuro asks, looking between Keichi and Usagi. "And are we gonna run out, or sneak out?" A roundabout way of asking what the situation's like.
"Well, if that thing goes boom we're going to blow out.." Keichi jokes. Though he shows Atsuro a bit of a grim face. "I think I'm pretty sure that I might be right and we'll be fine… Aka we won't blow out.." Keichi takes a deep breath and lifts up his puppets. "Taizen, when we're about about thirty meters, I want you to run behind the bull and bark. Scare it into running! I'll keep up no worries! If there's any straggling cows running away from the flock, you run after it to scare it back into the flock!" Keichi looks at Atsuro. "We're going slow the first thirty meters, then we run.." He nods and Raidoreku pops up, zapping the bull who moos and then begins walking out of the pen slowly. Mandoreku and Suidoreku on either of his side. Ticking and making noise while looking scary. Enough to keep the bull on a path Keichi set out for him. He walks behind the flock, as all of them drain from the pen! This is going well… now, they pass the paperbomb.
"Almost…" Keichi whispers…
"Almost passed it.." …
A hoof hits the paperbomb. Keichi holds his breath, eyes closed. Then one opens, the cows are fine. He looks at Atsuro and jokes. "I guess chakra's a vegetarian!" Keichi-esque puncline anyone?
Usagi lets off a slow breath as the bull passes the bomb. She smiles slightly and follows in behind for now. She opens her.mouth to speak, then pauses and closes her mouth again.
"That really isn't so assuring," Atsuro tells Keichi. But Keichi is the one who knows seals here, not Atsuro. "I guess we'll either blow up some cows and sprint the rest home, or just run them all home." Hopefully it's the second, but all they really need is a /good/ cattle raid, not an amazing one. Taizen isn't much of a herding dog, but nevertheless, he follows Keichi's instructions, getting behind the bull and barking, then moving around to ensure that all the cattle are moving the way they should.
Atsuro breathes a sigh of relief as the tag turns out to be neutralized. "I guess so," he says, giving Keichi a little grin and shaking his head. Sheesh. Anyway, all they have to do now is quietly get away from the village, then get the cows back to Kachiku.
They arrive early in the morning and hand the cattle over to the elders. The mission was supposed to be a secret, of course, so there's no cheering crowds or anything. But when people wake up, it will appear that Kachiku's bad-luck streak is broken with flying colours. That silent satisfaction will have to be enough for the team, but they'll be able to tell the story of the time they went cattle-raiding… just wiped clean of certain details.