Date: October 18, 2016
Help was needed to collect squash from a farm in the Land of Fire. The task seemed simple enough, but didn't have enough information to go by. Itami decided to take up the mission anyhow and enlisted the help of Jiro and Malik to assist with the endeavor. Upon arrival, they realize that their efforts to collect squash turned into them getting squashed in a strange family feud.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Don't Squelch What You Can't Squash"
Kabocha Farms: Land of Fire
"I know this seems unusual, but it's also a mission and counts as such. Someone has tasked us with retrieving squash. Why they needed us to do this, I don't know. I attempted to gather more from them, but all they mentioned was that a shinobi team should do it. This gives me the impression that it's going to take an effort that they themselves are unable to do on a normal level. We have all that we need here. A wagon which I'll be pulling myself. I can use the exercise, anyway," Itami rolled her arms a bit as she said this.
The village isn't too far now, but just to be on the safe side, you all should take a look around the area and see if there's any activity that may be going on. We're in the Land of Fire, after all and it could be anything from Konoha shinobi to something else. Wild animals, wild people."
Farming? Realllllly? That's what they're doing? Sheesh. Well, as they traveled - what with their being a cart and all - Jiro would have climbed aboard it from the rear so as to not let Itami know. He could totes see better from here anyways. Laying down. With his eyes closed. Yep, he's keeping the ultimate watch over the dream world!
While Jiro was 'napping' in the back of the cart, a falcon flies down and lands on the edge of he cart. It looks at Jiro for a moment before leaning down to rapidly peck him between the eyes before honking a little slightly…basically laughing. A few moments later, a hooded figure appears out of the forest and moves to where Itami is. "I've scouted the area behind us…we're not being followed as near as I can tell." Malik comments as he lowers his hood and removes the mask that covers the lower part off his face.
"That's good news. No shinobi to deal with or scouters to report. Besides, it's a pretty empty part of the Land of Fire. Just a river delta…" Yes, this part was empty. Empty as in population, at least. Trees and wildlife? Sure, it was around, skittering and pecking about in the brush and trees around this area. But there is a clearing that opens up as the group follows the path down, following the river.
In this clearing, if it could even be called that, are a couple of houses and massive plots of farmland. From here, the squash they'll need to collect is within plain sight including the one flying straight towards them. "Is that also…?" Itami's voice trailed off as she pointed out the lone squash flying through the air and towards the group. It was soon followed by a few more, each coming from different locations. "Everyone, split up!" She separated herself from the cart and moved to take cover. There weren't many places here to be covered in, but maybe the bushes would absorb the majority of the vegetable flying around. Jiro better hope he wakes up in enough time to avoid getting caught in that firing range.
All Jiro wanted was a nice peaceful little nap while they traveled! He wasn't asking for much! Sure, Itami had to haul the cart but she's the one that volunteered to do it so that's her fault! But all it takes is one annoying bird to ruin such a pleasant trip. Jiro flails awake, arms waving in the air after the pecking as he jumps to his feet. "Wer' under attac'! Wer' und-…" and then he gets beaned in the forehead by a squash that sends him tripping backwards and over the edge of the cart to land flat on his back. "Owwwwwwww…"
Malik takes a moment to laugh at Jiro's antics before the incoming vegetables start to hit his area, too. He hops back as he removes the spring loaded bow from the small of his back. As it extends, he's drawing an arrow from the quiver on his back and firing, hitting a few pieces to keep them off of him and the prone Jiro. However, one of them hits him in the shoulder and he rolls to the right to get out of the way of the next one. He calls out. "Sinbad, go see where the gourd this stuff is coming from…" Then he goes to check on Jiro. "Hey little bro, are you okay?" The falcon lifts off from his perch on the wagon and takes to the sky. Hopefully, he'll be able to see who's throwing this stuff.
The squash hail ends for now, but that doesn't mean there isn't more where those came from. Itami raises up from the ground and dusts herself free of grass as she approaches the cart to see the damages. "Cart is fine," she says almost intentionally ignoring what happened to Jiro. She settles herself in opposite of Malik while kneeling down to check on Jiro. She raises a finger and sweeps it across his cheek to check the consistency of the squash and then tastes it. "Yep, this is what we're looking for. It would appear kabocha is grown here. We're in luck!" She claps her hands and rises up and looks across the farming area, taking note of Sinbad in the distance.
So far, the farmland looks pretty normal. There's just rows and rows of kabocha squash spread abroad and between all this land are two farms and one large path cut between the two of them. All appears to be normal, but it becomes apparent that there are a number of 'traps' set around the farm houses and their squash plots. Namely, the catapults that launched the squash against the team as they entered the area. The weaponry appears to become more creative proceeding closer to the homes. Pits filled with rotten squash, snares, and a host of others.
"I think we should be more mindful of what we're getting into in these parts. Let's see what Sinbad has to report."
"Frie'…bird…dinner…" Jiro mumbles through the haze before he shakes his head a little and sits up. Luckily the cart is partially blocking the flying veggies and after a moment to realize what's going on the youngster whips his sash out in front of them, letting it flare before it hardens to collect any strays. He puts a toe on the cloth to keep the chakra flowing before reaching back to rub his head before he answers Malik. "'m fine. Where's Sinba'." He…looks like he might just have a vendetta. Itami, for all her effort in testing the squash, gets a glare from the youth before he pulls out another piece of cloth to wipe off the rest of his face, cheeks flushed slightly in embarassment. That bird was going to get it.
Malik smirks. "He's doing his thing." He replies to Jiro before looking over at Itami. "One moment, and let me get a report from him." He turns to look off in the distance as his green eyes turn a yellow color and his irises take on the aspect of a falcon. As Sinbad circles around, Malik lifts two fingers in the air and then makes a slight swiping motion before he turns back to Itami and Jiro. "Sinbad says that there are large crops of the kabocha squash, but there are also automated traps much like the one we just encountered. In fact, the closer we get to the farm houses, the more elaborate the traps." He sighs as his eyes return to their normal emerald green color. "So even though I'd call this a milk run mission. It's going to get interesting from here on in." He grins before he places his mask on his lower face and draws his hood up.
"I see…" Itami states. "Perhaps we can propose a ceasefire? We were sent here for a reason for a mission. Perhaps this is why they wanted us to come and retrieve them. There's no way they can if they'll sit and take attacks from squash from every direction." She hoists up the wagon and begins to pull it behind her. "See if you two can make your way up the path. Avoid the traps and knock on the doors of the homes. I doubt we can prevent them from attacking, but we can weave our way in and see about this situation. I'll continue up the path with the wagon behind the both of you. If you two are successful, I can rest it closeby for potential loading later on. If not, then we may have to do a bit extra for this mission." She purposefully smirked at Jiro and snickered to herself. "Keep that cloth ready. Wouldn't help to add another squash to your plate."
Jiro flicks the cloth a little that he'd cleaned himself off with to spray some of the vegetable in Itami's direction, muttering angry thoughts under his breath. He takes hold of the frozen cloth and flicks it once more as the chakra leaves it loose once again. "Alrigh', bu' if they throw 'nother one a' me 'm gonna smack 'em. An' when I see Sinba'…"
Jiro has reconnected.
Malik smirks. "Sinbad was just having some fun with you, bro. You know he does that kind of stuff to people he likes. Including me." With mask firmly in place, he increases his pace to move faster than the cart. "Let's go, bro." He inclines his head. "We'll do our best, Kazekage." He ducks a little and increases his pace. Sinba continues to fly overhead, mostly to give Malik a little advanced warning when they're moving into a trap.
Itami watches Jiro and Malik take off for the farm houses, watching them carefully and hoping they don't run into too many problems. She ponders possibly taking down some of the traps she's heard about as she continues forward. It'd be safer for everyone that way, anyhow. Besides, once their ammunition is spent, they would need to be reloaded anyhow and so far, she hasn't heard that people are occupying them. She thinks she may have to cover the pits with earth, perhaps, but otherwise, the majority of the traps are missile based.
Feet begin to shuffle around inside the farm houses as the occupants attempt to keep track of the shinobi that are heading their way. Wait, shinobi? Oh… Well, this might not end well. What if they made them mad?! They scramble inside their homes trying to figure out what to do, but nothing comes to mind. Do they keep fighting or try to call them off? Will the shinobi hurt them?!
"I say we fight them off! We've already done the damage, might as well duke it out like proper soldiers…" Time to exit the homes and fire away.
Jiro doesn't really respond to Malik's words on the birds way of showing affection. Someone was likely to be missing a few feathers before all was said and done. Jiro could form them into a stylish new necklace maybe! The boy glares up at the sky one last time before he starts after Malik. As they get nearer he keeps an eye out for traps and, once the vegetables begin firing again, he simply raises the cloth in front of he and Malik to keep them from being pelted. "Stop tha'!"
Malik doesn't bother to draw his bow when the squash starts being thrown again. He dodges a couple, but lets Jiro cover him while he attempts to subdue the situation. He holds up both hands. "Hey! Look, we're not here to cause any trouble. We're just supposed to pick up some squash and that's it. Please cease fire…"
Pieces of squash go flying everywhere, bouncing off of cloth and split apart by arrows. They fall all over the path and the accompanying fields. It's darn near a massacre out here as innocent kabocha flesh is spilled all over the place. This was never their war, they were just chosen to fight in it.
"You all chose to join this fight! Now we're about to end it!" An older man steps out of his home along with the remainder of his family. He bears the family crest on his clothing, with the name 'Koma'. On the other side of the path, an older woman steps out bearing a similar outfit to the man with the name 'Mame'. "Normally, I wouldn't agree with you, but these enemies have stepped into a personal matter! Now they're going to pay the price!" She was followed by the rest of her family who all gathered around her. Both families were waiting for the call to charge forward and attack the newfound and shared enemy shinobi. Whatever feud they had here was now the feud of the Suna ninja.
"…Oh," is all Itami had to say to the matter. She had no real words to dedicate to it as her mind was currently tossed up by the events that are happening. Squash continue to fly from both sides and soon, the charge is given to the family. A war cry to rival a formal army went up into the air and everyone stomped up the path with makeshift squash weapons in their hands. Just…what /happened/ in this place?
Itami had the weight of the cart pushing behind her as she made her way down the path and one of the wheels was caught in some squash flesh and it slipped against the road. She lost her footing and was tossed up into the cart, riding the runaway equipment down the rest of the way. "Clear the path!!!" She called out ahead.
These people were mighty annoying! Jiro crouches a bit as he prepares to start smacking some sense into these peoples. But then he hears Itami calling out and he glances over his shoulder. "Stupi'," he mutters. "People'r gonna ge' run over. Get 'em outta the way!" And then Jiro is gone, using his speed to grab people as he passes and moving them out of the way of the incoming cart. If he gets a bit of squash on him…such is life. He'll leave Itami a special present in her office later.
Malik draws his bow and as he hits the releease to extend it, he withdraws his first arrow and fires it into the crowd. There is a loud bang and a bright flash. He rotates his body slightly and fires the second arrow. The arrow impacts a man in Itami's path and keeps going, forming a net around him while at the same time getting him out of the way. "Jiro, we have to stop the Kazekage's cart!"
Jiro assists with getting some family members out of the way, some from Mame, others from Koma. Some find themselves blinded and the rest scatter to protect themselves from the runaway wagon. The blinded family members are struck and flip up into the cart with Itami and all of them continue rushing down the path until they come to a stop upon reaching rougher patches that take them off course and into a fence. "We're okay!" A Koma man yells out. "Feeling fine!", a Mame woman speaks. They both look amongst the cart to find their own and start to file out of the cart, until Itami is the last one still inside. "Ugh…" She groaned.
Realizing that she is the enemy, they start to form around the cart and pull threats. "Fantastic," she muttered to herself.
The other family members are still recovering from temporary blindness and the shock of nearly being hit and or saved by the enemy. "You weren't supposed to save me! We're fighting!" A young Koma child calls to Jiro. "Give them no quarter!" The Koma elder shouts. "And make sure you rough them up good with the bad squash harvests!" The Mame elder followed up with her sentiments.
Itami huffed. "STOP!" She shouted out. The fighting paused. For just a few moments. "We are not here to fight!" The families looked at one another. "Then what are you here for?" A Mame kid asked.
"To gather squash…" She commented. "Were any of you aware of this request?"
"'m surprise' they even know how ta tal' at this poin'," Jiro mutters under his breath to Malik about the families who'd just attacked without any reason. This is of course after Itami has managed to bring them to stop fighting for at least a few moments. He'll definitely let her deal with it. He doesn't get paid well enough to deal with stupid people.
Malik looks at Jiro. "Says a lot about the shinobi that live here…when the mere sight of us inspires people to fight." He folds his bow and tucks it away behind his back. He lowers his hood and removes his mask so that they can see his face. "We're not even from this land. We agreed to do a favor to pick up some squash. That's all we are here for, like our leader says. So..come on bros…can we just get the crop we're supposed to have so we can leave?"
"Wait…you all were the one that was supposed to pick up those squash? Well, why didn't you just say so in the first place. I have the contract sitting at home on my table," The Mame elder spoke, beckoning the shinobi to come to her home. "Now wait, hold up. You didn't get that contract, you stole it from us! We had that contract!" The Koma elder chimed in. The families began to get riled up once more and were preparing to gather up their squash ammunition once more. "Wait, wait, wait! How about this…" Itami began. "A compromise. Sunagakure will compensate both families for the squash they can provide and our contract will be fulfilled either way," she states. "Our squash is superior!" The Mame elder stepped forward. "Not as superb as ours!" Says the Koma elder. The families begin to go at each others necks once more.
"Alright, that's it. Jiro, Malik. Put them on hold for a few moments! We're going to assume control of both of these farms and take what we need."
Jiro just rolls his eyes as the two families prepare to go at each other again. He jumps into the air and lands between the two families, a steel cloth cutting deep into the ground on either side of him as he gives them a bit of a sadistic looking grin. "No more fightin'. If you wanna try, then yer gonna 'ave ta go through me firs'." Of course, if they try squash he'll just put up his cloth. If they try attacking…well, as long as he doesn't maim anyone too badly right?
Malik replies to Itami. "As you command, Lady Kazekage." He flips out his bow again and begins firing. Rapidly. His arm is literally a blurr and his eyes have turned yellow. He is accurately firing and even fires some arrows without even looking in that particular direction. Each arrow has a net inside the blunt head and it deploys on impact. "Idiots. Just stand down already."
The combination of Jiro's threats and Malik's quick actions manage to bag up the families. Needless to say, they were frightened and concerned. "Wait, please, don't hurt us! We were just trying to protect our crop! We've been at this for generations! Then you all showed up and we thought you were sent by the other family!" The Mame and Koma elders plead. Itami sighs to herself. "We received a request to retrieve kabocha from here. Now that I'm here, I see why they didn't want to come themselves, given these issues. So, here's what we'll do. As I explained before. We'll collect the squash and load it into the cart, then we'll compensate you for the squash we're going to take. We can send some assistance to help with some cleanup given our involvement. Unwillingly," she emphasized.
"But we're going to be nice about this. So, once we free you from the nets, you all will help us. Gather squash from both of your farms and come together to bring them here," she taps the wagon still leaning against the fence. The families all look between one another and settle their differences just this once to gather their best squash and bring it together into the cart upon being freed from the nets. Mame and Koma, coming together after years and years of fighting.
"Alright, that's some of the best of what we have to offer! So, we hope to hear back from your village again!" The elders of the families speak on their homes' behalf. "I'm going to assume you all will start back fighting after we leave, yes?" Itami inquires. "No, we'll probably call it for today. Give ourselves some time to rest and ponder. Then we'll be back at it!" The elders chuckle. "Well, thank you both for your squash! These will be put to great use!" The Kazekage summons her team together and works to bring the wagon away from the farm and return it to the village.