Date: August 6, 2013
A merchant brings in more clues as to what's happening in the desert
"Desert Wars - Sides Revealed"
Outside Sunagakure administration building, merchant's area
It's rather early in the morning, just as the local vendors are opening up. The weather seems fairly calm, and there doesn't seem to be much more than normal ninja wise, save for preparations for the upcoming Chuunin exams. In fact, things look fairly quiet, until one merchant manages to attract the attention of certain Suna chuunin. Realizing the situation is beyond him, he calls out for someone on the council, and for Chitose to meet him at this merchant's stall. All that is said is that something… disturbing was found which related to a prior mission he led Chitose on. The Chuunin's name? Keitaro.
It was not so hard to find Chitose. SHe was easy to get a hold of as she can usually be found at the highest point in the village, meditating or in the training area training. She hasn't been doing much in the way of deliveries lately. She appears with Keitaro moments after being contacted, shaking her head as she moves, "What is going on?" She asks of him as they approach, "DOes this have something to do with the findings out in the desert?" She hmms and peers at the chuunin before looking in the direction they are moving.
Hmm. Something disturbing found out? It's worth looking into. Itami heads to the village center area, searching out the vendor that sent for a council member. She was available at the time, so now she's here. She took the notice with her so that she might be refreshed about what the subject was about. Upon arrival, she nodded to the merchant and then to Chitose. "The questions she has asked are the same on my mind, so please, reveal what you may know or wish to discuss."
Keitaro nods slowly to Chitose, then bows as Itami arrives. "I think it better if the the merchant explains," he says as he shows them to a rather non-descript man.
The man looks fairly old, but definitely used to the climate here. He has a reputation of being level-headed, but out to make a quick profit. "As I was telling Keitaro-san, we were coming here via Fort Zaru and had camped out for the night about half a day's travel away. We heard of the rumors about strange noises, so we posted extra gaurds. It turns out we heard those noises, and more. Several horrendous screams accompanied these noises, along with flashes of light to the north of us. After the noises died down, we heard a whimpering noise, so we went out to investigate, and this is what we found." He then pulls back a curtain to show a huge desert wolf. It is far larger than most wolves seen, easily the size of a man. Sticking out of its side, for it is obviously dead, is something that looks like a giant knot with something cylindrical and armored extending away from it. The knot is sharp, of that there is no doubt since it is stuck in the wolf's side like a weapon.
Looking at the object, she ponders the object, tapping her chin before walking over closer and she peers at the knot before stepping back. She rubs her chin before looking her gaze over toward the Council Member before looking back at the wolf, "While many of our shinobi could take something like this down…I doubt if they could do it so cleanly." She ponders and then idly shifts in her spot, "I could try to get the knot free without getting cut but I'm not thinking I've adapted well enough yet to be able to do that…" She shakes her head.
Itami folded her arms as she considered the explanation. She wasn't sure of what to think of all this, though she could give it a pass considering the clan she's from, but lights and noises aren't their style. Hmm. As they're shown to the wolf, she observes the object sticking out of the side of the wolf and sighs to herself. "I can't even say I've ever seen anything like this before. You have seen an object like this?" Maybe she's looking at it wrong… "I could perhaps help with removing it if given some instruction…"
"The knot itself isn't sharp around the edges, though we were concerned about touching it since we noticed this," the merchant says, pointing to a dark black blotch around the entry area. Keitaro looks at it for a moment, then moves to another angle. "Looks like its been poisoned Watanabe-sama," Keitaro says. Just then he remembers something and asks, "Chitose-san, can you come over here where I'm standing for a moment and tell me if you see what I see?" In the meantime the merchant adds, "We found this right on the edge of a giant crater, as if something had stabbed the wolf just before being blown up. There were greenish-black chunks of meat everywhere," he adds, pointing to some jars that contain lumps of said meat.
Staring at it, she hmms and then looks at the boy before nodding, "Is this simply the answer to our question?" She hmms before looking at him, "Large mutant wolves fighting large mutant scorpions?" She taps her chin as she looks at Keitaro before looking back at it, "Though, I wonder…if there's one there ar eothers. If there's two animals that are overgrown than there may be more." She takes a breath before looking to Itami, "You might not be the only think out there right now that is huge and deadly."
"It would seem so…" Itami replied to Chitose. "So, this creature has been poisoned and there's wildlife out there that's larger than…I am," she chuckles. "Tell me. If you found these things near a crater, do you also believe that there might be tunnels or holes beneath the ground that may play host to these…scorpions or…?" Whatever was the cause of this wolf's pain. "Further, we're still determining the source of these large animals, correct?"
"Hai Itami-sama," Keitaro says to the last question about the source of these animals.
The merchant, on the other hand, shakes his head. "No, it didn't appear to be a tunnel. More like something blasted a hole in the sand. Parts of it were seemingly melted into glass and covered in some kind of ooze. We took what we could back to the camp with us to get more supplies, but when we went back about an hour later, everything but the crater was gone, and the crater was filling in fast."
Sucking in a breath, Chitose frowns and looks to Itami, "The chuunin exam starts in but a few days time." She nods her head, "I'm not sure I'm going to have time to truly face down this threat." She nods her head, "But it is a threat, especially to our traders and with us just recovering from the last threat." She looks to Itami, "We can't afford more trading problems or delays so close on the previous rebel threat."
"Well, you can focus on your exams. I can probably get others on this job, though I can try and keep you updated of things as they occur," Itami explains to Chitose. "I don't want you to skip out on your training and potential promotion from these exams. You've worked hard enough to get here," she folded her arms once more. "I know someone that knows a thing or two about scorpions. It may not be much, but I think his knowledge will be enough for this point. You know of Keiji, yes?"
Keitaro nods in agreement with Chitose but adds, "So far there haven't been any human casualties, injuries or otherwise. This is the first case of documentable proof of what they actually are. Though it does solve the paw-print dilemma," he says thoughtfully. "Yes, I know of Keiji," he adds, just in case he was included on that question. "I think we have time before this proves to be a danger, though it would be very beneficial to get this solved before it becomes one."
"Lets solve this before it does become a real problem." She nods her head before Chitose looks at Itami, "Thank you. I wouldn't want to worry about t his while we are doing the Chuunin." She then looks over at the creature again, "I don't want this on my mind while I'm attempting to get a promotion."
"That's good. The more we keep those down, the better," Itami states. "It's good that you do. If you intend to continue working on this, I think it may be best to work with someone that can handle one end of the problem regarding scorpion behaviors and tendencies," she explains. "You're welcome, by the way. I'm not entirely heartless, after all," she smirked.
Keitaro looks between them both and then asks, "What should we do with the body and the tail in the meantime? I don't think it would be a good idea to have it seen very much, given the uneasiness several of the merchants feel already going through that area." After thinking for a few minutes he adds, "And this is the furthest occurance we've had from Fort Zaru yet."
"Get it to the Kage, he'll want to study it." She nods her head, "I'm sure." She then shudders before shaking her head and looking to Itami, "I would recommend increased patrols between here and Fort Zaru." She shrugs, "It's up to you though, you are the council member." She then turns and starts off, "And keep it covered." She points at the wolf, "When it is moved, that is."
"The body should be held within the village. We can do examinations on it and pass on knowledge from what we figure out." Itami nodded to Chitose in agreement. "I'll also have guides set up to aid in merchants and other travellers protection against these threats. Preferably, people should travel in closed quarters. While it may not seem like much compared to what they're up against, it's still something," she offered to Keitaro and the merchant. Chitose may be a decent.chuunin, yet. They're on one accord regarding what to do in this situation. "And yes, keep the wolf covered. Please. No need to have people upset around here. The situation will be explained in due time."
Keitaro nods and motions for others to come in to do exactly that. "In the meantime I'll make a classified report to the mission office, flagged for the Kazekage. I'll also work with the autopsy team to help try to figure out just what this thing is, and what is happening. By your leave Watanabe-sama?" Keitaro bows at the waist, waiting for permission to depart before going to do just that.