Date: May 24, 2011
A serial murder case points to the involvement of Confrontation Beast-Fist users. Jon and Amaya pursue the prime suspects and are aggressively received. Note: some OOC dialogue retained for clarification and humor.
Mountains near Kumogakure
A series of grisly murders has taken place recently within Kumogakure. They seemed almost random; mostly ordinary villagers, a few genin, here and there around the village in places with no particular connection. The motive for the killings is unclear; none of the victims were robbed, and while the wounds were brutal, they did not show any signs of sexual assault or purposeful infliction of suffering. Just efficient, death-dealing strikes, such as one might find on the corpses in a battle-field.
These wounds, along with the timing of the murders — all taking place in the same night — are the most solid links between them. Somebody or something went around Kumogakure at night, attacked victims one by one in isolated spots, and left their bodies where they lay, hidden moderately well in the darkness of night, but certain to be noticed in daylight. Forensic analysis allowed the Kumogakure police to determine the time of death for each victim, and they traced the trail of the killer over a map of Kumogakure. Connecting the dots brought up a surprising clue: they formed a rough approximation of a Confrontation Beast-Fist insignia. Somebody was sending a message.
A search through the village records soon turned up some prime suspects. A group of five Confrontation Beast-Fist users had come to Kumogakure recently on a training pilgrimage. Their presence was, to put it lightly, not very friendly, but they hadn't caused any overt trouble…but they left the same night as the killing spree. Obviously, this group has to be apprehended and questioned.
Saito Jon, the detective in charge of the case, immediately made preparations to pursue the Confrontation Beast Fist group. To make certain that travel is swift, he chose to bring only one other ninja with him. That one is Nagayama Amaya, who besides being a highly-skilled jounin and having an excellent rapport with Jon, is herself a Fierce Beast-Fist user and has knowledge of the rival school. "These Confrontation users," Jon remarks as they move along the mountainous terrain, tracking their quarry. "They're going to be expecting a pursuit. They want it. Would you say that's a safe assumption?"
Amaya does not hurry more than is necessary, but she is not slacking off on the pace she is setting either. Confrontation Beast-fist… That school is one that she has thankfully had few direct conflicts with. There was the time when her father's old girlfriend attacked, along with her disciples, but since then there has been nothing. No fights, at least. She has >met< others. Now, though, that they would pop up in Kumogakure and start killing people for no apparent reason except for forming a pattern that can only be seen from above… This is too bizarre.
"I agree that these sorts of people are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals… But not all of them are 'evil', and there are even some I'd be willing to be friends with — or at least friendly rivals. Killing random people just to send a message and then leaving… I guess they may just be unbalanced or that foul. But there might also be another explanation. Like someone who has a grudge against this particular group, or the Confrontation school as a whole trying to frame them. Or someone who wants to send Kumogakure ninja to get into trouble or attack an innocent party, and then it'd be >us< who get the short end of the stick, nyah!"
Amaya shakes her head. "Or maybe it really is their fault. We can guess all we like, and we should be prepared for a trap or ambush… But there's enough pain in the world already without causing more by assuming instead of asking."
Jon nods. "Yeah, could be a setup. Either way, whoever did the killings was probably trying to orchestrate this encounter. So, if these guys were arranging an ambush, what sort of place would they be likely to ch — "
"RIGHT HERE!!!" A dark form shoots out from a cleft in the mountainside and slams into Jon. Four others materialize in the surrounding area. "Only two?" remarks one of them in a disappointed tone. "This'll be no challenge at all!" "Stay focused!" another one barks. "Form up and take them down!"
Seems like they're not leaving a lot of space for talking! Three of them, a waspish female accompanied by two burly males, converge on Amaya. The girl flashes from side to side, zig-zagging inward before jabbing at Amaya's side with ki-infused nails, while the boys wrap their arms around each other's shoulders and attempt a two-person bear hug from the other side of Amaya.
Meanwhile, the remaining fighter, a rather porky but still dangerous-looking girl, runs over to help the lithe youth who is grappling to keep Jon on the ground. He grins widely. "Taking out the leader right off the bat, that oughta swing things way in our favor!" Jon smirks despite the stress of the situation. "If that's your thinking, you picked the wrong target!"
Amaya is unhappy that it seems like Jon is always the one to get hit first by the ambushers whenever they team up. Seriously, does he have a 'please kill me' tag glued to his forehead? Her own ability to detect danger in advance is useful, but it is not something that can be relied upon. She is aware of the threat, but only in the form of sudden tension, and the no-doubt suspicious level of quiet in the area. She has no time to warn her husband before he is slammed into. And when she tries to aid him, she has to stop herself to evaluate the four new enemies that have appeared following the first.
The bantering between them, the need to order 'stay focused' instead of this being automatic, it all speaks of amateurs regardless of relative skill level. In her younger years, Amaya might have engaged in similar such mid-battle conversation. Now, as an experienced combatant, she simply notes who is giving the orders, evaluates the postures of the five individuals, and waits for an opening to be given.
She does not recognize all of their Beast-styles, but she has a fair idea of their specializations based on both behaviors and appearances. The double-team duo is probably a strength-type. Maybe some defensive abilities too, but they look like they are supposed to make the enemy hurt. The one dashing towards the white-haired woman is clearly a speed-type like herself. Probably lacking in the ability to inflict great damage in single blows, but capable of attacking repeatedly during brief time frames… Mostly, however, speed is most useful for defense.
Further analysis is put on hold, as Nagayama Amaya remains oddly lacking in outward displays of anger, aggression, or similar. Her face is not emotionless, as her eyebrows are angled down slightly, and her lips are set in a frown, but she seems less worried about her opponents than she probably should be. The fast girl is going to be more of a threat than the strong guys, likely, so Amaya decides to focus on her first.
The mix of momentum and the strength afforded by Kemonoken training means that when Amaya manages to shoot one hand outwards and try to seize her attacker by the forearm, just past the Ki-charged fingernails upon the protruding hand, it takes effort to stop the blowing from reaching any vulnerable locations. Even so, the nails manage to barely brush against her belly, cutting small holes in Amaya's bodysuit, and delivering some painful needle-pricks that likely also drew blood. But that's not exactly new to the Cat-fist user.
So she attempts to send out her other hand into a fist aimed at her first attacker while she is hopefully held somewhat immobile by Amaya's left hand. The fist is intended to simply strike the Confrontation Beast-fist user in the sternum and knock the air out of her briefly. Succeed or fail, she then uses >both< hands to try to grip the girl's arm and then pivots on her heels, using both strength and speed to try to >fling< the unfortunate combatant towards the two incoming muscle-heads.
Amaya doesn't know if she has the time to then get out of the way herself or not, but even if the goons don't stop, she should at least be able to lunge inwards and try to counter-ram them with their own ally inbetween! …But since when does anything ever work out that easily?
Speed is indeed the primary defining attribute of wasp-girl. Her usual strategy is to harry her opponent and then get away while the boys do their thing. That strategy fails to execute fully in this instance because Amaya has her outmatched at her own game enough to actually grab her arm. o.O; The girl manages to throw aside her surprise and turn quickly enough to make the punch to her sternum a glancing blow, but all the speed in the world can't prevent her from being hurled bodily into her team-mates! The bear brothers falter in their charge, and the tangle resulting from the girl being tossed between them, while clearly embarassing, is not quite as painful as what they'd intended for Amaya. "Oof! Get your sweaty hands off me, you idiots!" screeches the girl. "Hey, it wasn't our fault!" "Yeah, who'd want to — ow! What was that for!?"
The wasp-girl extricates herself and faces Amaya. "Take this! One Thousand Stings!" She pulls out a packet wrapped in cloth and flicks her wrist, releasing a cloud of tiny metal shards in Amaya's direction. One thousand might be an exaggeration, but the shards are coated in a burning chemical. One of the bear brothers slams his fist into the mountain, causing a fissure to run towards Amaya in the hopes of throwing off her footing.
Meanwhile, Jon is finding the wrestling style of the young monkey to be surprisingly effective. If the fight had started off 'fair', he probably wouldn't have had any problem, but with his arms occupied, he can't make handseals and thus can't access most of his ninjutsu or genjutsu, and he can't use his rod either. The heavyset girl looms over him and lifts a foot. "Nighty-night." The boy presses down heavily to keep Jon's head still, and Jon sees an opportunity. Reversing his struggles, Jon yanks the boy down to himself. The resulting two-skull stomp still hurts plenty, but it hurts the Confrontation-user as much as it does Jon, and Jon is quicker to recover. Shoving the boy aside, Jon rolls aside before another stomp can be made and gains his feet. "Okay…you have one chance to explain yourselves before this gets really rough." >/ The girl scowls back. "Sensei told us to. That's all the explanation we need."
When the two meat-heads and their wasp-girl ally pause to argue, Amaya takes that moment to turn and start dashing towards Jon. Alone she might be able to take care of the three facing her eventually, and she trusts her husband to be able to handle the other two on his own too. But if they are both on their feet and working together, they can put an end to this nonsense that much sooner!
When the packet is thrown and then bursts, sending out a cloud of glimmering objects, Amaya reacts with a combination of training and instinct to stop running and instead leap up into the air, arch her back into a flip, and then land on her feet on the side of the cloud that her attackers are on. Now, even if a breeze carries the cloud forward, Amaya is no longer in its path. She assumes her opponent was clever enough to take the wind into account at least. If not, then she's facing a very impulsive opponent — which is so much the better!
Sadly, though she avoided the cloud, the fissure through the ground is sufficient to make her react by crouching swiftly and using one hand on the trembling earth to minimize how the shaking impacts her. Short objects tend not to suffer quite as much as tall ones during earthquakes. This means she is momentarily impaired to a degree, but she is better off than if she had been knocked down. "You kids are kind of annoying, nyah," she calls out over her shoulder. Then she keeps an eye out for their next move. Maybe defense is her specialty, but she can't remain on the defensive forever with Jon here. Out-lasting opponents only works if there are no allies to protect.
Jon gives the porker and her recovering friend an incredulous look. "Your sensei?! He told you to kill ten people and ambush a team of Kumogakure ninja? And for what, some kind of training exercise!?" The lanky youth rubs his head. "Hey, we take our training serious! And — wait, kill?"
"More of a test."
The five Confrontation-users suddenly stiffen and whirl about. Standing on a rocky outcropping nearby is a venerable but stocky-looking man wearing a faded martial arts outfit. "A test for which the time limit is officially expired. Now, students, I suggest you finish this quickly. If more of them arrive, they might capture you, and you know I can't allow that."
The Confrontation students resume their attack with wide-eyed singleness of purpose. Their various cocky and surly attitudes from before are replaced with a cold, do-or-die certainty. The monkey-boy leaps at Jon again, purposely enduring a solid whock on the head from Jon's rod in order to latch onto his arm. The pig-girl throws several haymakers at Jon, who manages to duck out of their way despite the dazed passenger clinging to him. A brief snap of electricity causes the boy to jump off with a surprised whoop, then Jon slides past the girl and deftly jabs his rod between her knees, tripping her.
Meanwhile, the bear brothers and wasp-girl are apparently putting aside their squabbles for a combination attack involving all of them! "Ultra triple assault: Bears Raiding Beehive!" This draws a grunt of embarassment from the Sensei. -.-; It proves to consist of a bizarrely effective tactic: while the bear brothers charge at Amaya, the wasp-girl runs close behind them, jabbing her nails lightly and rapidly into their backs. Apparently this strange shiatsu is giving their muscles some sort of ultra-stimulation, because their arms are whipping out fast, powerful punches at a rate far beyond what they're capable of on their own.
«OOC» Jon says, "In case you want to incorporate it, the Sensei's ki approaches Chirico's level of power. And his part is played by Sean Connery. X)"
«OOC» Amaya says, "XD"
Amaya feels a potent Ki source approaching but is unable to react right now. Taking her eyes off her opponents would be a mistake. Maybe they are amateurs compared to her, but they are clearly not the level of Academy Students in terms of power at least… Skill is another matter. She hears the voice of what sounds like a somewhat older man coming from a rocky outcropping. When her opponents whirl around to face him, Amaya sees her opening.
She leaves behind an after-image of herself tined blue-green, as she trails additional after-images around in a half-circle that puts her hopefully in the blind spot of her three opponents. By the time they decide to get serious and face forward again, she has already lashed out at the backs of the Wasp-fist girl's legs with her Geki 'claws' in such a subtle and swift manner that she may not even realize she is injured until the damaged muscles in her legs may cause her to stumble… Though there is also a very strong possibility of her knees >reversing direction< and sending her falling flat on her face.
This would not only be >exactly as painful as it sounds<, but if it works then it would remove the aid she is offering to her two buddies with her pressure point jabbing. And without their muscle-boosts, it would basically be over for the Bear-fist practitioners. Even so, she suspects she will need help if she is to defeat not only these students of the old man, but also the man himself. So the Cat-fist user who has already returned to her starting position most likely before any except Jon or the sensei of these kids may realize… Simply stands her ground. And then her flesh, clothing, and even her white hair all begin to glow golden as though the sun had just decided to rise >inside of her<. "Ama no Iwato Ken! <Cave of the Sun God's Fist!>" she calls out harshly.
Then she is replaced by a beam of light akin to a ray from the sun, appearing behind and beyond the Bear-fist Kemonoken. Her speed is boosted well beyond normal by the conversion of her very life's energy to Ki. And she attempted to plant a fist in the face of one of the tall guys and a knee in the other in passing. She holds back very little.
Amaya's opponents never knew what hit them. The wasp-girl hits the ground and crumples almost like a real wasp would, and seconds later the bear brothers find their toughness of which they're so proud crushed by the power of the sun. Jon has a less painful method of subduing his marks, at least momentarily; he extends a hand toward each of them and streamers of lightning jump out, wrapping around them and bringing them to their knees. Suddenly, the Sensei blurs into place standing over them. "That's it for this batch, then. I'm almost relieved, they were starting to annoy me." The Sensei takes aim at the students' heads and drives his hands downward in two mighty palm-heel strikes!!!!
…Which smash twin holes into the rocky mountain! The Sensei looks up in puzzlement, finding that his students are not quite where he thought they were, that everything has taken on an odd grey hue, and that Jon is now wearing a trenchcoat. The Sensei smirks wryly. "Genjutsu. Of course. How careless of me to forget that they wouldn't necessarily send only those with Kemonoken honor." A wave of ki ripples out from the Sensei, and the illusion is disrupted. "But your misguided heroism buys them only a moment's…"
The Sensei trails off, furrowing his brow and gazing at Amaya. "…You…you're Chirico's student, aren't you? Yes…possibly even a relative, hm?" The Sensei blurs away again, stopping briefly on a stone ledge some distance away. "Taking care of you would be an interesting challenge, but it's too close to your ninja village. Perhaps another time." Then he's gone.
Jon reaches out to Amaya in a forestalling gesture. "Let him go for now, Whiskers. If we go chasing after him, he'd probably loop back and pick off these guys. We have to get them back to the village first." Jon kneels down and applies ninja cuffs to the still-twitching prisoners. "Looks like another one for the Bingo Book," he mutters grimly.