Date: April 27, 2013
Imagine a world where people take sports way too seriously…no, I mean a fictional world.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Kashi, Land of Fire
Tradition can be a funny thing. It starts out as something new and amusing, then people say 'We should do that again!', then it becomes a regular habit, then people start to take it a bit too seriously. c.c Take, for example, the annual Dessert War in the small town of Kashi. It follows one of their festivals, for which an excess of food is always prepared. Some years back somebody suggested having a big food fight with the leftover pies and cakes that would've gone to waste anyway. It went over well, so they decided to make it a regular part of the festival, even going so far as to prepare some low-quality confections specifically as ammunition for the fight. Then one year came the idea that was arguably the tipping point for taking it too far: a rule was established that the fight would be organized into two teams, one using pies and the other using cakes, and all the bakeries in town had to produce only the type of dessert that won the Dessert War for the next month. o.o
Things got a little ugly the second year that this rule was applied. People started taking the fight rather seriously, determined not to lose out on their preferred dessert type for a month. They organized into teams and started practicing in advance, and the less well-mannered townsfolk were known to jeer at anyone supporting the other side. It didn't quite cross over the line where you definitely couldn't call it a healthy sports competition, but there were plenty of heated arguments on the field over whether a given player was splattered enough to be considered 'out'.
So this year, the town council decided to take affirmative action to prevent those sort of shenanigans! >:/ And the obvious course of action is to remove the rule about not baking the losing dessert type for a month, right? NO, THAT'S TOO EASY AND DOESN'T INVOLVE NINJA!!! >O So the solution they came up with was to hire a team of shinobi to act as referees. They are to observe the battle, discern any rule-breaking and assign penalties, judge when a player has been hit soundly enough to be considered 'out', and break up any skirmishes that turn nasty.
Somebody in the mission assignment department must have an oversimplified mental rule of 'food -> Akimichi', because Noab seems to keep getting assigned to these missions that involve food which you aren't supposed to eat. -.U; On the other hand, he is a fairly good choice for overseeing a battle, even a mock one. "Study the rulebook closely," he mutters to his fellow referees as the townsfolk go about setting up the field of competition. "Somebody's going to disagree with you no matter what ruling you make, so you need to be able to stand by your decision with absolute certainty."
Well, this is a rather lax mission, a type Kaito could get used to. He's currently leaned back against a post, flipping through the rulebook for this game with one eye open and one closed, seeming to be half-asleep even now, though he is taking in all the information. "If I rule them out, and they disagree, can I wash them off with water jutsu until they decide to agree?" he asks with a half-joking tone as he continues to read through the book. "Each side's got some interesting advantages and disadvantages. Pie is really good for straight shots, so can work well if you're sniping, but cake can spread out and hit more than one person a lot easier. I'm sure someone's made cakes in pans that are good for straight shots, but I wonder if anyone's made a gigantic pie to blast a crowd with." Another reason he likes this rather goofy assignment, he can go over points over strategy even if it's rather pointless except to whoever wins this competition.
Satomi is tagging along. Her ambition of becoming a master strategist can only be realized more quickly by watching actual battles. And well, this gets closer to a war than watching thousand sparring matches or staring at a shogi board. So why the pastry not? That and her shadow-jutsu should come in handy to restrain people taking thing too far. "Akimichi-sama, just give me a headsup if you need me. Otherwise I'll simply be a silent observer." She states, following along Noab. She always had immense respect for the Akimichi. Their clans were always on really good terms. And she's always enjoying the friendly hospitable demeanor of the clan. That, and occasionally they're just hilarious.
"Great day for a pie-off, though, I'm wondering if they realized putting an Akimichi right in the middle of it might not have been the smartest thing to do!" She chuckles and pats Noab on the shoulder. "I do hope you ate well before-hand?" She grins at Noab, before noticing Kaito… Grrr.. If he falls asleep she'll surely pie him in the face! Hah! That'll show him… though, frankly, she's afraid of falling asleep as well. She's not so concerned about ammunition. Troop movement, morale and cooperation together with use of terrain and other factors like weather and deployment of strong versus weak throwers are what interest her.
Noab lifts a bushy eyebrow. "'If'? There won't be any time for standing back on this mission, Satomi-san. Each of us will cover a different sector of the combat field. Satomi-san, you're in charge of the Pie Pounders' home zone on the left. Kaito-san, you watch the Cake Crusaders' home zone on the right. I'll handle the no-man's-land in between. Anybody takes a solid hit, you have to declare them out and make sure they stay out."
The rules of the Dessert War are fairly simple, thought not quite so simple as a war of attrition. Each side has a large dessert representing their side on a pedestal deep in their home zone. The goal is to knock the opposing team's dessert off onto the ground. The ammunition for each side is also kept in the home zone, which makes it difficult to stray far from your own territory without using up your offensive capability. Each team does have two wheelbarrows for loading ammunition into, though, creating some mobile strike capability. Surprising how strategic these rural sports thrown together over a few years of experimentation can get. c.c
The teams line up, the ready signal is called, and then the fight is on! >:O Almost immediately there are situations for the endzone referees to deal with. One nimble young Cake Crusader has decided to aim for glory and win the game straight off all by himself. Eschewing ammunition entirely, he dashes into the Pie Pounders' home zone, relying on his ability to dodge fire and knock the big pie straight off its pedestal. He doesn't get far before taking some blows, but apparently he's hoping to end the game before whether he's out can even be called into question because HE'S STILL RUNNING FULL-TILT AT THE TARGET!!! Meanwhile, one Pie Pounder who evidently has been practicing a lot for this goes up to the edge of the Cake Crusaders' territory and hurls his pie like a discus, making a beautiful arc straight at the target cake. A Cake Crusader nearby sees it coming and leaps up to catch it, successfully defending his team's vital goal point! Apparently he's not happy to simply take one for the team and call it quits, though, because he quickly crouches down and wipes his berry-spattered hands on the grass. c.c
Once the instructions are given from Noab, Kaito leisurely makes his way over to his goal end and takes a seat about ten feet away from the main target. He seems to get rather relaxed, closing one of his eyes again as he watches the action begin. As the overly brave guy takes off, he watches him carefully for a moment, curious as to how far he'll get and actually a bit impressed with how far he does before he gets blasted. When it becomes apparent that the guy's not actually going to stop, however, he quickly runs through a set of handseals then spews a jet of water out of his mouth that seems to be aimed directly at the main. Rather than impact him, however, it simply forms a pretty large, hardened wall of water in front of him with 'You're out. Go sit down.' inscribed on it in print large enough to see halfway across the field. No one said he had to actually physically get up to get these guys off the field, right?
Satomi sighs and watches it happen. "People…" She immediately makes two seals, before settling down, letting her shadows flow over the field. Grabbing the sprinting guy first. Before yelling at the other who's trying to cheat. "Oy! I saw that, get off or I'm pulling you off!" She states, her shadow branching off towards the other guy in case he tries to be funny about it.
Once the instructions are given from Noab, Kaito leisurely makes his way over to his goal end and takes a seat about ten feet away from the main target. He seems to get rather relaxed, closing one of his eyes again as he watches the action begin. As the guy tosses the pie and one guy intercepts, he smiles slightly at the bravery of the guy to take the hit to prevent the team from entirely losing. When it becomes apparent that the guy plans to keep going despite being taken out of the game by his bravery, however, he quickly runs through a set of handseals then spews a jet of water out of his mouth that seems to be aimed directly at the main. Rather than impact him, however, it simply forms a pretty large, hardened wall of water in front of him with 'You're out. Go sit down.' inscribed on it in print large enough to see halfway across the field. No one said he had to actually physically get up to get these guys off the field, right?
The sprinter sees the target cake looming large in his vision and puts on an EXTRA BURST OF SPEED — *skid* "Hey! What gives?!" O.O; The sprinter, stopped short by Satomi's shadow possession, takes an undeniable splotch of cake on his back. "That's cheating! If you guys win, it's cause you got a cheating referee on your side!" >P On the other side, the cake goalie looks up from wiping his hands and startles at the sight of a water wall proclaiming his out-ness. o.O; "Whoa! Okay, I'm out already. But hey, you should disqualify the guy who threw that too, there was something weird in that pie to make it heavier!" Sure enough, there's a lump of some hard, white material sticking up out of the broken pie. "It's just flour!" the discus-thrower shouts defensively while heading back to rearm. "There's nothing in the rules against using a special recipe!" c.c
Somebody on the Cake Crusaders' side decided to get creative too. He hurls a large frosted cake toward a group of Pie Pounders clustered around a wheelbarrow, a thin wisp of smoke trailing from it. The cake falls short, and the Pie Pounders laugh. "Ha, you couldn't hit the broad side of a — " *BANG* The cake explodes outward, pelting the group. "What the — did you put a FIRECRACKER in that thing!?" DX "It's a birthday cake, it's gotta have a candle!" >D
Noab is busy pulling a spattered combatant from each team off the field using his expandable arms. "No fair, he's the only one who deserves to be out! Don't even pretend to be impartial Ref, I saw you eating that pie earlier!!" "No way, I saw him eating cake!" "What?! What a double-crosser!" There's just no pleasing some people. -.U;
Satomi gazes through the rulebook… Smiling… She can appreciate the ingenuity, though rules are rules. "Next exploding pie means you lose as many as they lose. Random disqualification, so better make sure your team-mates behave!" She says firmly and loudly, before sitting down again, keeping her chakra ready in case something else happens. What was she doing here again… and what is Noab doing with that cake! >:D
At the statement by the guy who was just called out, Kaito peers at the pie, and the wall would turn into a clone of him that walks over to it and kneels down to inspect. After a moment's consideration, he says, "Flour has to be mixed into the pie itself to be considered part of the recipe, not in rock form underneath it. You're out too." The Water Clone would then stand guard, looking around and apparently going to do the leg work for the Chuunin in this situation.
The referees are kept busy for several more minutes of play, making sure players who got hit go out and sneaky tactics are penalized. Eventually numbers dwindle to the point where both teams are reluctant to charge the other side for fear of leaving their goal point undefended. The captain of the Cake Crusaders scowls. "Things are looking grim…it's time to use…THE CAKEAPULT!!!" Several Cake Crusaders run to the back end of their home zone and start yanking out what had ostensibly been decorative structures on the sidelines — poles with streamers, a big cooking pot, etc. With remarkable swiftness, they assemble these materials into a working catapult and start loading it up with cakes. o.O; Meanwhile the Pie Pounders captain points dramatically at the opposing side. "The cheaters have shown their true colors! We're forced to retaliate with…THE PIE LAUNCHER!!!" The Pie Pounders grab a table and some other odds and ends and form them into a sort of huge crossbow. O.o; Things just jumped from ridiculous to downright dangerous, especially considering the sort of special ammunition we've seen up until now.
Noab jumps out into the middle of the play field as the missiles start to fly. Expanding himself to giant size, he stands between the two teams and takes the pelting they meant for each other. "Oof! Shut those crazy contraptions down!" >.U;
While they're kept busy, Kaito shakes his head at the insanity of this event. Really, whoever thought desserts would be taken so seriously? When the crews start to bring out their bug guns, he blinks and ponders a moment, but it seems Noab already has a solution that winds him up covered in sweets. The Chuunin moves through a set of handseals then spews out a jet of water that turns into a giant cylinder around Noab, though still leaving his face and such in view. On the outside, the wall of water seems to engrave in itself 'Do what he says if you don't want this water on both your giant desserts'.
"Oy vee." Satomi jumps up and hovers in the way of the sun, expanding her shadow by doing so, while making a seal. "Bind!" She yells, her huge shadows crawling along the catapult, binding and holding it down… "Neck bind…" The shadows curl around the supporting structure of the catapult, before starting to squeeze and crush the wooden structure. No she's more practical than mister water-threat. She forces chakra into it until the wood cracks and snaps and the weapon is unusable.
The contestants pause momentarily as the ninja bring their awesome powers to bear. o.o But the heat of battle is still strong on them, and one of them cries out, "What are you doing!? Now nobody can win!" DX "Yeah, you're not the boss of us!" shouts out another. "Taste our golden-crusted fury, giant man!" yells the Pie Launcher operator, and shoots another load of pies at Noab. The Cake Crusaders captain whips an arm at his team's wheelbarrows. "Get our cakes over there! We can't let them fight this war on their ow — er, I mean, take all the glory!" The Cake Crusaders rush to join their Pie Pounder neighbors and restock their ammunition with staunch cakes.
Over at the table where the town elders are sitting, one of them stands up suddenly. "I've got it! We can get rid of all the tension and ill-will that comes with the Dessert Wars every year! All we have to do — " The elder points a fan at Noab, who is shielding his face from a flying fruitcake with his hand. " — is make the Dessert Wars a cooperative game against an outside opponent!" 8D The elders cheer and immediately start discussing plans to request the giant man back next year. n.n