Date: August 6, 2012
This is a C-rank mission that is the beginning of Soujiro and Ataru's campaign to stopping evil and helping the innocent stand up against it.
"Heroes Are Born - Episode One"
Route between Konoha and Fuuma
It was mid morning in the village of Konoha. So far the area was quiet and quiet pleasant. The birds filled the air with their songs and even though it was a cooler than usual type of day, at least the sun was shining bright. Little did anyone know that the lives of two individuals were about to have their worlds turned upside down as today is the day they begin making their impact on the world.
Sliding around the corner, Soujiro makes his way up the stairwell in a hurry that would lead to his and Ataru's apartment. "Ataru!" He calls out as he bursts in the door and races to his belongings under his bed. "It's time but we have to head out like /right/ now. I'll explain everything, just get suited up!"
Digging through a gym bag Soujiro pulls out a white mask with black kanji symbols decorated on it. He then tosses on a white cloak and throws the hood up over his head. "You remember the shady guy i took a couple of odd jobs from until i figured out he was…well not a good person? Well i figured i would try my luck and see if i could get some information out of him about this caravan." The boy then pauses to fit the mask on his face. Once its on he continues with a muffled voice. "Well turns out his gang is actually rivals with your thugs. He told me that they were taking the main road but because the other trails are too muddy to travel on. Bad news is, because its the main trail they will have more security escorting it. I asked when they planned on leaving and he said they were already on the road. Just left the village gates like ten minutes ago." Soujiro then turns towards Ataru's direction and takes a deep breath to calm himself down. "There's no going back after today. Ready to do this?"
Ataru was busy meditating when it got shattered by Soujiro rushing in. Listening for a moment, he'd nod and promptly get suited up as well. His own outfit was pure black, a different top coat to replace his normal red outfit and that mask was a black outlay with white writing on it. Getting the black gloves on as his last piece, he'd nod towards Soujiro. "Hai. Let's do this then. Time to make them start paying for what they do." Hands flexed, Ataru would grab up his travel bag that was specifically packed for this situation and would head out. As he'd leave with Soujiro, he'd call back. "Did you get a description of the wagon at all? They wearin the mark of the family?"
Soujiro doesn't even bother using the stairs. He charges forward after exiting the door and leaps over the railing and onto a roof then down into the street. He'd look back to see Ataru was still on his tail. "You guessed it. I was counting on you to be the one to point it out but i figure it might be the only wagon traveling along the main road with an obvious marking on the side." He would call back in his muffled voice thanks to the mask. Of course as they would travel through the village in a rush they would get weird looks. "If they only knew" Soujiro thought to himself.
Exiting the village in the same fashion as they left the apartment, Soujiro took to the trees and began leaping from one large branch to another in order to catch up to the wagon that already had a head start on them.
"It won't be, they'll have 4 legit cargo groups goin. One of em has the slaves. That one has the mark. Mark's gonna be top, front, center of the roof.. right behind the driver. From a distance, it'll look like a knot in the wood. They'll all have em, but this one the knot up close looks like a stylized X." Shaking his head slightly, Ataru was keeping himself back slightly, keeping his speed in check while he conversed with Soujiro. That same speed was used on the branches, this was going to be an endurance match, he just knew it. If they worked the same as he use to know, it was going to be a very tough fight. "The important part, Soujiro, is ta establish that it's the right one.. otherwise they will sick the guards on us. Konoha guards, hai?"
"Leave that to me." Soujiro says continueing along the route. "I'll seperate the slaves from the rest of the pack with my ninjutsu. Let's just hope you're right about which one it is. I wish we had a chance to give Atsuro a heads up about this. If he couldn't directly help he could've at least delay the Konoha guards from getting to our location." The teenager scans the area through his mask. "Bingo. They're up ahead."
Ataru gave a small nod. "Stay high. Ifn I fight insteada run, it's the group, hai?" Chuckling slightly, Ataru sped up, launching himself from above to land on the first wagon with a whisper of sound. Leaning in, he'd check the spot he mentioned, shaking his head slightly. As the driver finally realized someone was there, he launched himself upward into the trees. That driver looked quite confused as Ataru motioned for Soujiro to keep going as he'd race on for the next wagon in line.
Soujiro gave a nod to Ataru as he left his side to jump down on the first wagon as they neared. Just as his feet would hit the branch of a tree, he was already in the air to land on the next. As much as the teenager was trying to stay calm and focused on the outside, his insides were churning. He could feel his palms sweating under his gloves. This was definitely far from doing chores on the farm which he was doing just a few months ago. Now he's beginning his campaign in making a better world for people which will also put a huge target on him and his friend's backs for doing so. His foot lands on a branch and slips. Soujiro loses his balance and falls to the next branch down below. He does manage to catch himself and continues the pace behind Ataru. "Focus, idiot." He scorns himself.
"Be brave my child for we are watching over you." A female's voice speaks in his thoughts. "Great Soujiro. This is not the time to be going insane." He mutters outloud.
Ataru was focused himself, indeed, that chakra of his would of given away to any sensory ninja that he was coming. Fortunately, the mafia didn't have those type of nin. Watching Soujiro recover, he'd just keep going. This was dangerous, he was going to need to be fast to take out those men if he did get in and mix it up, so Soujiro didn't have to fight. "Next one up ahead. Stay high, same signal."
Soujiro gave a nod once again to Ataru as he bounced from tree branch to branch. Even though he was paying attention on his friend, he would look back over his shoulder once and a while to try and find the owner of the voice he has been hearing every so often. Like usual, no one else would be around. At least no one he could spot. For now he kept his main focus on Ataru. It was just a matter of time before he would find the right wagon and Soujiro would have to spring into action.
"Once again to brave the depths.." Muttered into his mask, Ataru launched himself downward again, coming in for that smooth landing on the top of the wagon with just a whisper of sound. Leaning in, he almost spotted the symbol spot, when the driver swung back at him with the riding crop. It was a mad scramble of avoiding being hit, while checking that point. Another false, he suddenly launched himself forward and up, leaving the driver to cuss at them as Ataru waved Soujiro on. This was dangerous now, if they sent that message along the line, the rest would be ready for them. Most likely the next one would be it, as they prefer that buffer, but the stakes just got raised higher, on the attacker's side.
"Cutting it close there, huh?" Soujiro teases after catching up enough to Ataru who had just joined him back in the forest. "I don't think he likes hitch hikers much, don't you?" There was a smile in his voice. He looks down at the trail to see the driver of the second wagon signal to the drivers up ahead. "Looks like our element of surprise is gone. Let's hope the next one is it."
"Hai.. next one is it. That's why he sent the signal he did." Cursing again into the mask, so it came out a muffled 'umph' instead, he'd pick up the pace. "I'll make sure.. be prepared because I'm going down into a fight, but I won't swing until I know for sure, hai?" Glancing over at Soujiro, that thumbs up was given as they got closer. Now it's a race against time. They knew he was coming, so time to make the random dive from above count for something. Focusing himself, he prepared for the fight before he'd head down. This one might be painful.
Soujiro's blood pressure has went up to the next level. His gut feeling was even telling him that this was the wagon they were looking for. What made it even worse was that they were now expecting them. Suddenly he felt an overwhelming feeling course about him. He had felt this before in other tough situations ever since the mission in the cave with Rebeka. The feeling that he felt was warm and nurturing. It also made him more aware of his surroundings. He felt a little more at ease after feeling a bit more empowered, but right now he was a bit on edge knowing that all hell is about to break lose down below. With an eye on Ataru he watched his friend dive towards the wagons and waiting for any sign of combat.
Landing, he immediately ducked, the first shot missing him as the driver swung wide. Moving in close, he'd stop the second swing with a foot, checking that spot. A small nod given in confirmation, Ataru's entire demeanor changed. Winding back a fist, Ataru punched through the club the guy had. Leaving the driver shocked, he'd plant a hand and swing out, both legs coming in and across to kick the driver off the wagon and plant him in a tree. Spinning lightly on the top of the roof, he'd crouch low, waving Soujiro on. They had a limited amount of time before the guards would decend, it was time to move.
Seeing how Ataru began engaging in combat with the thugs, Soujiro knew it was his job to seperate it from the rest of the convey. That way they could at least decrease the odds against them. The teenager fell back enough to where he was now at the same pace as the second wagon once again. Looking at the driver he could make out that he was trying to hurry along to catch up to the wagon in front that Ataru was attacking. Pushing off of the tree branch, he dives down and lands on top of the wagon behind Ataru's with a loud thud. The driver swung back at him, but Soujiro was out of his reach. He then leaps off of roof and while mid he performs a combination of hand seals. Just he hits the ground the boy calls out, "Earth Release: Earth Barrier!" and slams his hand down on ground the below. Within in seconds a massive wall erupts from the earth directly in front of the wagon he was just on. Not able to stop in time, the wagon crashes full speed into it. For now the great wall has seperated the convoy along with the two boys from each other.
The driver gets thrown off and goes flying into a tree, there's a loud SMASH from impact and he was not getting up any time soon. As Soujiro would fall back, he'd manage to stop the cart, the horses refusing to go forward or back up at the sudden earth wall, driving the man trying to drive the cart nuts. 3 men on Soujiro's side hopped out of the cart, two with swords, another with a club. "Big mistake boyo. We weres driving along this road and you stopping us.. that was a bad idea." The men would circle out, to try and trap Soujiro against the wall. He had to either lower it to get away, or fight them.. at least in their mind.
Ataru on the other hand, was starting to slow the cart down when two more men jumped onto the cart. Seems the guards have arrived. They were Fuuma ninja and both immediately went on the offensive, pressing Ataru back from the seat as he'd have to deal with both attacks coming at him while trying to get the slaves freed from the wagon.
Ataru avoided the inital attacks fist curling tight as he slid back to the end of the wagon. Growling low in that mask, his voice was harsher, lower. "You are not going to stop me. You are not going to slow me down. You are going to pay. You are going to pay now!" Rushing the two ninja, he was a blur of motion, easily 5, 10, 15 hits to the first man before he really even knew Ataru was there and then on, another 10 hits all in rapid succession done to the next one. Ataru was pouring it on to be sure.
Soujiro took a few steps back and towards the earth wall as he became surrounded by the thugs. "No. The bad idea was you guys thinking you could drive along this road without anyone stopping you." His muffled words spoken from behind his mask. Not waiting for him to get pushed back into a wall any further, Soujiro leaps at the guy with the club with a flying kick. Just as soon as his feet replanted on the ground, he swung his body around to send a sweep kick at the man with a sword nearest to him.
Ataru managed to knock the first man off the wagon, leaving him tumbling on the ground, while the second one got assaulted, he wasn't down yet, his own attacks coming back at Ataru with two rapid shots. The club managed to clip Ataru with the first shot, missing him as he got slid off the side of the wagon to hold on to it on the side. His hand would crunch wood as he latched on, keeping on the side of the wagon. He pulled himself back up on the roof, keeping low as that club missed on the third shot.
Soujiro's swings missed the guys he swung at, the thugs hopping back. They came back in swinging at him, two swords and a club coming in from different sides, they were looking to pummel him, potentially to death. The men were not impressed by Soujiro it seems and they were going to make him pay for it.
Soujiro curses himself as he notices both attacks failed to hit their marks. These guys werent just your average thugs. If he happened to make it out of this alive he would take the time to do his homework on his targets next time. Peering over his shoulder he catches a glimpse of a swordsman slashing down at him. It cuts into the side of his leg and opens a gash. The boy lets out a muffled cry when the blade met his flesh. Now off balance, the second swordsman swipes at him and catches his shoulder as he attempts to roll away at the last second. Staggering to his feet and trying to create some distance between him and his attackers, the man with the club swings up from the ground and catches Soujiro in the stomach which then sends him tumbling on the ground a good five to seven feet away from the band of attackers. This time the boy was slow to get up, but eventually he managed to get on all fours. He coughed up a mouth full of blood. Raising his mask away from the gang he spits it out onto the ground then lowers his mask back down.
With the men taunting him as they stalked their prey, Soujiro let out a small laugh. "Hey you bastards. Catch this." Still on his knees he leans back and weaves together a series of hand seals before calling out, "Earth Release: Earth Upheaval Wave!" Slamming both palms into the ground, a chain reaction of earth rips up from the ground and travels in a straight path that resembles a tidal wave right for the three men. The earth itself bends into a chaotic mix of blunted rock and sharpened spikes. If this connects with his targets they would be sent flying into the air. It almost as if Soujiro had set up this plan all along to get them in a linear path.
The men lept away from Soujiro, landing off to the side as they'd scatter away from the attack. He had a reprieve as they would regroup. "Earth user, huh? Fine. We'll dig you a hole to bury you in the ground." They'd slowly close in on him with evil grins as they did so. Ataru on the other hand, would manage to take out the other ninja guard, knocking him off to the side and left implanted in a tree. The wagon stopped, he'd open the door with a simple word to the slaves within. "Get out. Now." Leaving them for their own devices, Ataru took off, back along the trail, he was going to have to hurry to get back to Soujiro, hopefully they would get away without further issues.
Soujiro staggers to his feet with his hand covering up the cut on his shoulder. The red blood was seeping through the white cloth that was wrapped around his upper body. After seeing that his attacks whether physical or elemental were not working the way he hand anticipated. He was definitely out matched both in numbers and weaponry.
"Oh lookie boys. Seems our brave little hero looks a little scared. I betcha boss wouldn't mind an earth user at his disposal." Says one of the thugs.
"Yea, and I bet we'll get a nice reward out of it. Let's tie em and stick him in the wagon." The man with the club says as he approaches Soujiro who was now backing up against the earth wall now. Rearing his club back, the man gives a mighty swing towards the masked teenager in hopes of knocking him unconcious.
The thug stared dumbly at the wooden club that just got snapped in half from the rock armor that encased Soujiro. He'd step back a step with a growl. "Why you lil punk!" Whatever was going to follow that was lost as a war cry from above had all 3 men looking up.
Ataru roared out a wordless cry as he hit the top of that wall and launched himself upward. Chakra sparked about him, that focus of his tuning itself even further as he'd come crashing down between Soujiro and the 3 thugs. Indeed, the indent he left in the ground from impact was at least a good 2 inches down. Slowly, the man in black would straighten up, that glare unseen but solidly felt as his voice, deeper and darker than normal, echoed hollowly from within the mask. "Run." Ataru took a step forward, freaking out the three men as they'd step backwards a step.
One of the guys with a sword would get enough bluster going to step up. "You don't scare me kid!" He'd lift the blade to swing it level with Ataru's neck. There was a clang as Ataru shifted his stance slightly and punched the flat of the blade, snapping it off halfway down. That was the turning point for the men as they'd all turn and flee. After just a moment, the call for guards was raised as they hollared for the konoha patrols that would be in the land of fire forest.
As the man rears back his club, all Soujiro could do was instinctively close his eyes and brace for impact. A moment later he would hear the loud crack of the club followed with pieces falling to the ground. Opening his eyes he would notice his hands were forming a seal and his body was layered with rocks. Suddenly a cry from above echoes out which forces the boy's attention to snap up and into the sky. He watched as his friend would join his side with an entrance he was even little shaken up over. After Ataru had made the men flee, Soujiro sprang into action to run over to the wagon that was now in sever large pieces after crashing full speed into the earth wall from earlier. He frantically pushed and shoved wooden planks out of the way in search of something. "Come here and help me before the guards show up. Did they slaves get free?" He asked while looking over his shoulder at Ataru.
Breathing heavily, Ataru would watch the men run. Finally slowing down his heart, he'd glance over at Soujiro. A nod was given and he'd go over to the cart. While Soujiro was moving stuff around, Ataru was simply ripping the stuff apart. He'd clear it fairly quickly, however he didn't know what they were looking for. "What are we lookin for mate? We should get outta here, fast man.. the guards be here any second.."
"Bingo!" Soujiro says as he spots a bag next to Ataru. The teenage boy had his adrenaline pumping so much that the pain in his shoulder was non existant to him which caused blood to pour out from his that much more. "Grab that bag and let's get to the river to wash up and change. "That bag could have anything in it that will set the stage for the next operation." He calls over to Ataru as he hits the treeline that borders the trail.
Glancing between Soujiro and the bag, Ataru would grab the bag and run. Which was good as the guards with the 'merchants' to complain about being attacked. As an extra effect, Ataru knocks over the earth wall into the crater he made, so it looks more like a pot hole with rubble, instead of a wall. Off in the forest with Soujiro, he'd show Soujiro the bag, frowning as he'd eye Soujiro. "A'right, so why did I just lift this off that cart? That wasn't the slave cart.. so I dun get it.."
"Think about it." Soujiro says as he stops to rest against a tree. His entire arm was now covered in crimson red from the blood loss. "What would we have done next? The slaves disappeared to who knows where before we could talk to them. We didn't get a chance to question any of the goons." He stops talking long enough to catch his breath. "So we hope to get lucky hoping that one of them has some personal effects in the wagons that can tip us off on their next operation. After today im sure they're going to put a stop to carelessly having conversations out in the streets so eavesdropping is out of the question." Soujiro raises his mask up off his head for the first time since he left the apartment. He winces as the pain was growing even more intense in his shoulder. We'll go through the bag later. For now lets just get cleaned up and changed. Hopefully theres something in there after going through all that trouble or we just hit a dead end on our very first counter operation."