Date: March 27, 2012
The team from Sunagakure is headed to the rescue of Sabaku, also known as Hiroko — the last living successor to the title of Fire Daimyou! Along the way, they are joined by another ninja who is determined to ensure her former student survives.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"Get That Girl! - We're Rescuing Who?"
The Great River Bridge - Land of Fire
Rest was needed after coming from the Land of Rain. The small team consisting of Keiji, Konsatsu and Itami needed to take the chance to recover and make sure that no illnesses had crept up among them in the less than welcoming environment. Clothes needed drying, hunger needed satisfying and thirst quenched. Thankfully, much of this could be achieved in a small village that was situated a short distance across the border into the Land of Fire. Thankfully, sickness was avoided and health was unaffected aside from fatigue.
They'd only stay as much as they needed and continue the rest of the way into the Land of Fire, eventually to cross into the Land of Water. "We're here because we're trying to save Sabaku, also known as Hiroko, I'm sure you both are well aware, but I thought to go over this once more with you both anyway. Up to this point, enough information has been gathered to determine where she is and so, we'll be going to get her, plain and simple. We will be receiving help with this and should be joining up with that individual soon. I can't stress the importance of this mission we're taking on. Going into the Land of Water is already bad enough, but dealing with anyone associated with Kirigakure is much worse," Itami explains to Keiji and Konsatu. She doesn't say much else as she gives more thought to the situation while walking. The trek was lacking in danger and much more peaceful than that of the Land of Rain, so she has the chance to be able to think much more clearly.
By the time they get to The Great River Bridge, it's late afternoon and the sun is beginning its descent. The only sounds around here are a choice few animals like birds chirping and bushes rattling from the sound of smaller critters passing through. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of activity other than the Suna team around here. Itami looks up to the sky and checks the time. She doesn't believe they've arrived too late.
Keiji was glad to be dry. He welcomed the sight of the fire nation after the land of Rain. It was nothing personal against the land but the massive storm that they had encountered was less than welcoming. He pondered if he would ever return there again. He also pondered if he would ever meet another Sevenswordsman, current or former did not really matter to him. The fact the man could have killed him with ease and had a mental affliction did not sit well with him. He was glad to be away from the man.
He felt the team was keeping good pace. He knew the mission was about Sabaku. He just did not know who they were meeting up with to get her back. "So why was Sabaku in our land anyway? I assume she was being hidden, but would it not have been wiser to actually hide her somewhere, like the mountain fortress?" he asks. The boy then realizes they were heading to Kirigakure. One lizard and two scorpions. That was something he had never expected. "This will be my first time in Kirigakure. Is there anything you can tell us about it to make it an easier trip?" The boy knew it would not be easy. The land was hostile towards them. He was more making conversation and looking for pointers.
"The name really doesn't ring a bell." Konsatsu offered as he continued travelling with the others. "I'm here for other reasons, but if Sabiroko whomever ends up saved as well, then so be it." He shrugged it off as he was still a bit sour from the incident in the Land of Rain. One that could have easily been avoided if a man in a lightning storm wasn't unnecessarily provoked. To which Konsatsu is still unclear on the purpose for doing so. Since the only thing he managed to leave with, was ears full of mud and no matter how much he bathed on their few and short pitstops the group took, a small chunk was always to be found when his finger went digging around.
Slowly the boy shook his head, "Not like you to speak in such a way, sensei. Worried and such. Its sickening and even going so far as to ask for help. You're getting weak in your old age and soon, I'll have your head." His black eyes peering off into the distance as he idly thought of what the person looked like that would be such an asset. Though most of his thoughts were interrupted by the many questions his brother was asking. They were decent enough questions. Enough so to grab his own attention, but Konsatsu was more into just going with the flow and what happens, happens.
There are those who knew Hiroko as the niece of the Fire Daimyou. There are those who knew Hiroko as Sabaku, a Genin of Sunagakure. Then there are those who know her as Taji, a Genin of Konohagakure who died during the war between The Land of Water and the various other shinobi nations when the Pylon of Efficacy was still intact. Taji was publically viewed as male, was thought to possess little skill, and had an unclear history with an obscure group of monks on an island.
Taji was peaceful. Pacifistic even. Taji was also a girl. Taji was also more skilled than she let on. Taji was a student and team-mate of Uchiha Fuyu. Fuyu thought she'd lost Taji — aka 'Hiroko' — but now she has found out Taji is still alive. And she has a chance to correct one of her mistakes. Raven-black hair streaming out behind her, a woman leaps from the trees near the bridge, landing and continuing along without pause as she approaches the canyon side. There are three others ahead of her already. She can see them clearly from their Chakra. So she slows down to a walking pace as she gets closer to make sure Itami doesn't attack her out of reflex. Charging powerful ninja is a bad idea in general.
Specifically, Itam is not known to be trigger-happy or excessively violent. But that's no reason to take chances. Fuyu stops eventually, whether her footfalls are noticed or not, and calls out her greeting, carefully pitching her voice such that it doesn't echo too much. There's a canyon right on the other side of the group, after all, as they stand at the western side of the bridge. Canyons can trap a voice inside for days on end. "I'm here. Hope you haven't been waiting long," she offers out of perfunctory politeness. Then she looks over the two nearby Itami and asks, "Are the rest on the other side already?" Apparently she thinks Itami gathered a much more sizable force.
"You are right to assume that. Sabaku was being hidden, but hiding her at the mountain fortress wasn't convenient to her. She asked me to aid in hiding her because she was running a personal investigation to figure out who was behind the problems that were contributing to the slow collapse of the Land of Fire. Nothing has happened yet, but it's on the way there. Sadly, before she could figure anything out, she was kidnapped by a group from Kirigakure," she explained to Keiji. "So now we have to get her back before that collapse actually happens… As for what I know of Kirigakure, well…they are fighters through and through. They do not hesitate to strike and enjoy anything where they can test their mettle in battle. At least, those that is what I have experienced from them." She then looks to Konsatsu and smirked.
"I'm asking for help because this is something that couldn't be accomplished alone. Besides, this is a matter concerning two countries, ours since she was hiding in the village and the Land of Fire seeing as how she's the niece of the Fire Daimyo. It wouldn't be right of me not to reveal this information to them. She's an important figure. Still much learning for you to do, I see. Stalking me hasn't been enough, hm?" She chuckled. "It'll be a long time before you're able to catch me."
The group proceeded across the bridge without much in the way of stopping. Itami intended to keep going and try to correct her mistake of Sabaku being kidnapped. "Hm?" She looked over her shoulder at the one who called out to them. She inhaled deeply and sighed a breath in relief. She wasn't late after all. A hand wave was returned to Fuyu. "I haven't been waiting long, no…" she offered to Fuyu. "As for the rest, they should be on the way," she shrugged. "But I'm here with these two and I have every intent to get this mission done with or without the help. We're working on a short time frame and I don't really have the time to wait like I did before. The most I can gather is reinforcement at this time." She looked to both Keiji and Konsatsu. "What of Konoha? Are there any headed that way or are there?"
By now Keiji had become use to his brother's constant abuse of Itami. Again as he heard the verbal assault, the boy pondered why Itami just did not show him her true ability. Then again perhaps she had and Konsatsu was just unable to comprehend it. At least one or more shinobi back home reffered to him as the 'Village Idiot.' Not that Keiji thought of him as dense, but now he was starting to wonder. "Konsatsu, give her a break already." He was not asking as a Chuunin but as a brother.
The elder Shippodoku nods his head as Itami talks about the land. "I met one genin from Kiri in the exams. She was intense, even scared Sab… Hiroko. I believe her name was Tsun. I hope we do not run into her." the boy states openly. He was not sure how to even formulate a plan against a power like that. "I imagine we are here for our stealth ability?" It seemed the most likely choice. There was little point in three people fighting a land of fighters. Odds were better of passing by them or trying to infiltrate using jutsu.
The voice draws Keiji's attention after they cross the bridge. He turns to see the leaf shinobi. The obvious numbers or lack there of were starting to confirm his thoughts. This was not a brawling mission. Then Itami looks at him and Kon. They are called reinforcements… Yeah, hopefully Konoha was sending a force.
Konsatsu turned his attention to Itami, raising an eyebrow at her remark, "If you're only now see this, about how much learning I need. We need to talk." His eyes momentarily shifting to Keiji before returning to the woman, "I'm not a genius like my brother, so advancing in skills and the likes doesn't come as easy to me. I thought have a teacher would be nice, but you're always busy." He waved a hand at her, "And it's not stalking, it's desperately seeking your tutelage." He didn't mean that part at all. Every waking moment was devoted to stalking that woman and figuring out a way to defeat her. He came close once, tasting her blood, but it was a mere scratch on the surface of the lizard. He had more to go on, but the calls of another catch his focus, forcing him to look in that direction.
Now, being in foreign soil, its only natural for one to be wary when others approach. Especially when it's a lone person approaching three shinobi without any visible concern for their own safety. It could mean the three have stumbled into another incident like in the Land of Rain or this is the person Itami was hoping for. Either way, Konsatsu makes no attempt to reach for his weapons tucked behind his back and hidden by his cloak, but instead simply studies the woman. Instantly it's obvious the way this woman carries herself, she's strong or at least perceives herself to be. A definite mental note is taken of such, to remember this person for future…accomplishments.
"The rest?" Konsatsu questioned to himself, somewhat in disbelief that there would be more to undertake this task. Not that it won't be hard, he had no clue if it would be, it was more in the fact that his own style wasn't one that worked well with others or by itself really. It was still developing. Itami knew this as well or at least she did at one point and simply forgot.
Fuyu shakes her head briefly as she scans the opposite side of the canyon. She bears the Sharingan in both, but the color is a muted red, unlike the nearly-glowing others might have heard of or seen. "Anyone coming from the Hidden Leaf to aid us won't be showing up anytime soon. I left a sealed letter for the Hokage with an explanation of what's going on and instructions regarding who to send where and when… But the instructions aren't supposed to be followed unless I fail to return in time or don't send notification of a change in plans. This isn't a mission for an army, and many people and nations are still hurting from the war with the Land of Water. Ninja missions must come first, over the possibility of more large-scale military conflicts."
She then turns her attention on Itami, Keiji, and Konsatsu, looking over each in turn. "This is at least an S-Rank ninja mission. It's been awhile since I've been on one…" Fuyu smirks very slightly. "But I wouldn't be the leader of the Uchiha Clan if I wasn't up to the challenge! The real question is are you all ready? We're not going to Kirigakure itself, so don't worry about that. But we're definitely going into enemy territory: an island that will likely be well-defended and is within the Land of Water's domain. Kirigakure's ninja don't really know who they kidnapped or why. They aren't aware that they are being set up to take full responsibility for civil war in the Land of Fire that could spill out into neighboring countries. Further, they don't know two very important things…"
Fuyu raises a hand and clenches it into a fist, a firey intensity appearing in her eyes as they gain their characteristic bright-red 'glow'. "They don't know that Hiroko, the only successor to the Daimyou of the Land of Fire, was once a very dear student of mine. And they don't know that the Hidden Sand is not a Village that abandons comrades! Survival in the desert is not achieved by remaining alone! That's why your communities formed. They have stolen from Sunagakure one of your friends, allies, fellow ninja… And so they have stolen from you personally as well!"
Fuyu lowers her hand and tilts her head forward a bit as she stares across the distance as though she can see those she intends to punish even from here. "Uchiha Fuyu also is not a ninja who forgives easily… And I will NOT abandon this girl to those who seek to return us all to the bloody chaos of the Clan Wars with her death!" Following this dramatic speech, Fuyu looks at each ninja once more. This time she starts with Konsatsu, looking at him as though gauging his determination to succeed on what is likely his first S-Rank mission. Then she looks to Keiji, and measures his determination to come back alive with his target. Then she looks at Itami and doesn't need the Sharingan to see the preparedness to risk life and limb to bring a young woman home after too long of being away.
"I hope you're all ready… Because we're not coming back until we've completed our mission and Sabaku… Taji… Hiroko… Is with us again."
Itami loved these two. They were just so much fun to work with. They were complete opposites and she didn't understand how they worked out their problems sometimes, but she guesses that's just something that's unique to them or other siblings. "I see…" she spoke to Fuyu when she mentioned how Konoha would be handling their forces. She grows silent while Fuyu explains the situation and more importantly, the way it will affect Kirgakure and Konoha should things fall apart, let alone other countries. This is exactly what she was hoping to avoid. There's still a great deal she blames herself for, especially since Sabaku was stolen from Sunagakure under her watch. She couldn't get over that enough to be happy about the rescue, but what she does know is that she'll more than return the favor when these people receive a smackdown from her for this issue. She smiled, feeling riled up at Fuyu's speech and is now more eager to work ahead and attack this island. Of course, she can't exactly go crazy. This is a task that requires some sense first and foremost, but her words rang true. A friend and ally as well as a fellow ninja was swept up from them and taken away.
"We're more than ready. We only have our best to give to aid her. For me? I have my life, I owe it to her considering hers is in danger after losing her in Sunagakure. I can't allow her to die. I told he I would see to her protection and so long as she's still in danger and under my oath, I can't give up on her. This is something I have to do…even if it was something I thought of doing alone at some point. I see now that it was a foolish thought and I expect success from us and whoever else will rise to the task and aid us as we go to retrieve her."
Fuyu's speach was nice and all, but Sabaku's life had been a lie. The name was even fake. **** even when they first met, Taji had lied to him. He remembers the first day he met her. How could he have not known that Sabaku was that girl with the head wrap he sat with in an alley to protect her from the sand storm. Was that shinobi really that helpless girl? 'What the ****?' Keiji thought to himself. He had questioned himself and his village during the exams but now there were some uber serious questions being tossed around the poor boy's head. His eyes turn towards Itami. He did not blame her for hiding the truth from him. His clan name probably worked against him in the long run. About the only benefit that the Shippodoku shared was an ability to take life without blinking or hesitating.
The elder Shippodoku turns his attention back towards Fuyu. "I am Keiji of the Shippodoku clan. I will gift those holding Hiroko with death." The statement was far from what he wished to say. That went something like… Though Hiroko was not born of my land and her time spent in my land was under a fake name and fake life, I will do as my village wishes and bring death to my enemies. No… as a Chuunin it was not about diplomatic relations and choosing words wisely.
There wasn't much said from the small group, as the black haired woman approached. Her red eyes, with black swirled within perhaps the most notable feature. Of course the giant warfan on the back was hard to miss too, but as far as he could tell, it was simply a banner of sorts. The eyes on the other hand, they were like nothing Konsatsu had seen or heard about before. Then again, he doesn't get out much, nor does he go seeking out information that doesn't concern him. Most likely it was a clan thing, like his and his brother's own eyes. Though what this woman, this Uchiha Fuyu's eyes could do, was unknown to him.
What she could do, that Konsatsu could tell, was inspire or at least twist words in a way to incite and excite others. It seemed to have an affect on the other two, but in response the youngest of the group simply crossed his arms. 'S rank mission.' The only part of it that stuck in his mind, the rest of it going through one ear and out the rest. The Uchiha had to be exaggerating. Konsatsu had only been on one D rank, one C rank and an A rank where he almost drowned and didn't really do anything. Now, not even a chuunin and he's going to 'help' on an S rank? It was laughable. This wasn't a challenge where he'd be tested and if he passed would come out the stronger. This is going to be something where he's going to only manage getting in the way and needing to be carried the rest.
Konsatsu might be a little gungho at times, reckless and careless. Going as far as attempted murder on an individual that could crush him in a heart beat only to end up as their student. He might be all of those, but he wasn't stupid. If he's going to follow those gathered and those to come in an attempt to save Sabaroko, he was going to need luck and lots of it. By now he was surely tapped dry they way he poked creatures with sticks.
Suddenly the boy shook his head, realizing the other two, Itami and his brother had said meaningful things in regards to helping out. "Ya, I'm Konsatsu." He shrugged
At the end of it all, Konsatsu simply scratches his head. Now we have to save a Taji, too?