Date: November 24, 2012
A pilgrimage based on horses runs into a 'trial' in the mountains.
Mountainous territory [Land of Fire]
Why is it people feel the need to go somewhere special for their religious observances? :P Shouldn't whatever spirits or dieties or whatever might actually exist be able to hear you from wherever you are? Well, that depends on what you believe in the existence of, admittedly. For the group currently being escorted through the Land of Fire by a few Konoha shinobi, the place they have to go to commune with the spirits they happen to believe in is…wherever the horses take them. c.c Seriously, a major tenet of their faith is that the horses are able to perceive the 'paths of holiness' where humans can't, so they just hitch up their wagons and let the horses decide where to go.
This, as <strike>narrative convenience</strike> fate would have it, has led them to some particularly mountainous country, where not only is the going itself hazardous, but large predators and the occasional bandit band are know to lurk. The pilgrims, as adamant as they might be about keeping to their horse-guided code, are well aware of the potential dangers of wandering who-knows where, which is why they contracted for shinobi protection while in the Land of Fire. Looks like they're getting their money's worth this time.
Noab isn't fond of going on missions that involve a lot of travelling, thanks to the old war injury in his leg. But hey, how many missions don't require you to go somewhere other than your home village? :P At least this one allows him to ride in the wagons with the pilgrims the majority of the time. "Keep a sharp eye out for rockfalls," Noab calls to the rest of the group as they traverse a winding mountain road. "Don't rely on hearing, the rocks'll fall almost as fast as the sound travels."
Shizuo reason for being here was to act as the sensory ninja for the squad to prevent danger and things like that away. Shizuo would another one that didn't care to much about walking but oh well right? The Hyuga would have his hands in his pocket and a little chakra flow going into his eye every now and then to scope the area for rouge ninja or bandits. "SO do we get lunch breaks or do we have to eat on the go?" Shizuo question would be a poor attempt to break the silence in the ground before shutting back up again at least for the moment. Shizuo would be look around at the ones riding the horse and sighed "I would ride one of your but your guys tend to be unpredictable when scared." Shizuo joked while petting the horse to the side of him.
A week in which Mami doesn't have to work with her father has been filled instead with a mission. Maybe the other days will actually be free. In either case, she certainly isn't bothered in the least. She sits with Noab on one of the carts, her Kikaichu out and about to gather information and report back to her. Her attire is unlike most Aburame, leaving much of her uncovered as well as showing the holes in her skin at particular places for the beetles to enter or leave. Most noteably are the holes along her chest, just over her breasts.
Of course, the woman doesn't need to be sitting with Noab, but she seems to prefer it to walking at the moment. She does sit near the edge of the cart, though, ready to hop down when necessary. "I'll do my best to keep tabs on the rocks via my Kikaichu as well as keeping an eye on them," she promises him before chuckling at Shizuo's attempt to break the silence. "Guess that depends on the horses, doesn't it? If they want to stop for a lunch break, us humans will probably get the chance. If not, I guess we'll have to make due."
"Hnn… okay…." Berii responds, not sounding all too enthused about this situation. She wasn't fond of the horses droppings, what seems to be… every two seconds so she eventually picked up the pace and went ahead of them juuuust in time for Noab to remind her of the falling rock possibility. This could be a good thing though, if she upset any rocks they'd probably fall on someone else behind her. Wait… she has to protect those people. ._.
"Bweeeeh…" Berii frustrated sigh comes with a slouch of her shoulders, simply in a bad mood from the fact that they have to protect people who are, aimlessly following horses. It led to not thinking 'what could go wrong?' but, instead 'what couldn't?' At least this general fear of things going bad kept her a bit more focused than she normally would've been.
Ryo was easily found on the back of the wagon with his legs dangling over the edge. The boy is chewing on a piece of jerky. He heard Noab, though he does not openly respond. The mission was kind of lame. It seemed like these people had plenty of coin to spend and no real reason to spend it. Then again he did not like people making little out of his own beliefs, so he decides to keep it to himself.
It all has to fall apart at some point, or else it wouldn't be a mission worth writing about, right? ;) From somewhere up above, a mountain lion suddenly pounces on the horses of the rearmost wagon! The horses naturally scream and start bucking to try and kick off their assailant. Meanwhile, the next wagon's horses suddenly decide that the path of holiness leads STRAIGHT DOWN THE MOUNTAINSIDE! It's not too steep a slope, about forty-five degrees, but yeah, somebody's gonna have to go catch them before the wagon gets smashed to pieces on some rock. Finally, the lead wagon, where Noab and Mami are sitting, bolts off ahead along the path, putting Berii in danger of a trampling if she doesn't move quick. Noab grunts and pulls himself back into a sitting position, then quickly forms some handseals. A barrier of rock rises up a short distance ahead, preventing the wagon from falling off the path as it rounds a sharp turn.
So, deal with the mountain lion, calm down the horses that were attacked, catch the wagon that went down the mountain, or help Noab with the lead wagon. Pick your task!
It was just like Shizuo said they started to buck and he dashed back before using his Byakugan to tap a couple of pressure points to help calm the beast. As he smiled he would start to get the scope of things that were going on and sighed "why is it that things like this always happen when I'm around?" Shizuo would be petting the horse to keep it calm as he barked out what was around them. "I got the horses!" Shizuo would be dashing about tapping the same spot that he did on the other horse to keep them calm as he allowed the others to deal with the lions and wagon.
Mami quickly takes a grip at the edge of the wagon so as not to fall off when the horses freak out. So, since she's on the lead wagon, she shifts to move forward, trying to get at the harnesses. After some struggling, she is able to lean forward from the backs of the horses to grab onto their halters. "Woah!" Gripping them, she pulls back, having positioned herself in the middle so she can use the harness as a sort of seat. It's, of course, highly uncomfortable, both for her and the horses, but if she can get them to slow down and stop, it'll be worth it. If successful, she'd turn back with a sigh to look at Noab as she corrects her sunglasses. "Well then…"
"Neh?" Berii's reaction time was a bit slow when it came to the sudden lion attack, the cry from the horses causing her to twist arouund. "The heck." Well then! Berii's eyes go wide and she in turn dives off the side to avoid being trampled, unintentionally going the same direction of the descending wagon.
With a quick summoning, she pulls out two fuuma shuriken, a chain connected between the two, one getting jammed into the floor while the other gets tossed at the back of the wagon, slack for the moment but, intended to be an anchor.
Though really, Berii had little to nothing to stop a horse except…
Doing something, mildly dangerous, she flickers from her position and now in front of the horses, mid-air with now red eyes. Possibly freaking them out a bit but, now wasn't the time to worry about that. Her tomoe spiral issues a silent command to the horses one by one, adminstering the Kuppuku genjutsu on them, slowly, very weak at the start.
The intent was to slow the horses down until they came to a complete sitting stop, with the hopes that the anchor stops the horses from being ran over.
Ryo had actually been sitting on the back of the wagon attacked by the mountain lion. As the movement of the wagon became irregular, the boy nearly fell off. "Whooooa…" is stated as Ryo watches the ground travel underneath his feet. Luckily he was able to grab onto the back with one hand and use the other to pull himself up. The boy quickly dashed to the front of the wagon before drawing his ninjato. He does his best to maintain balance while slashing at the lion to get it away from the horses. "Go eat something not transporting me!" he yells.
The efforts of the ninja prove pretty effective at handling the situation. Ryo drives off the mountain lion quickly, it was only looking for a quick meal after all and didn't know it'd be dealing with something with a much bigger fang. XE The rear horses are brought to a standstill, if still quivering and nervous, by Shizuo's ministrations. The middle wagon, that was careening down the mountain, has the roughest ordeal; even if it was the best present solution to the situation, forcing the horses to kneel as they stopped the wagon going down the rocky slope gave them pretty painful leg injuries. Finally, Mami's tugging on the harnesses eventually compels the lead horses to slow up, along with a little mudpit Noab summoned to dampen their momentum.
The ordeal had varying consequences for the pilgrims after all was said and done. The more stoic among them just chalked it up as one of the trials of their faith and kept going. A few declared that mountain lions must be an incarnation of evil determined to frighten the faithful from the paths of holiness. Others (particularly a few amongst the stampede-down-the-mountain group) decided that maybe horses aren't the best guides through life after all. :P And the ninja? Well, you'd have to ask them, of course. About the only thing Noab decided was, he's not about to join any cults. X)
Mami shifted to get back onto the cart and take her seat with a grateful sigh. As she listened to the different interpretations from the pilgrims regarding what all this truly meant, she shook her head with a quiet, but amused chuckle. Crazy people. At least this served as a funny story she could share back at the village. Especially when out drinking with friends. That reminded her… she should make more shinobi friends that she could drink with instead of always relying on her father's building coworkers for such entertainments. Ah, well, she figured it wasn't too big of an issue and she could certainly fix it without too many difficulties.
"Neh? Unexpected but, not as bad as usuaw." At least Berii can say that, she wasn't suffering knee injuries now, it's a shame she didn't know any simple halting commands. The girl shakes her head, always an issue when animals come into play. Her Sharingan fades away and she starts heading back up the mountain.
"Akimechi-sensei?" She simply asks when she comes back up the hill, just tossing the team captain a look of 'Reeeeally?' Eyes darting to the people who were not detered in the slightest by what just happened instead it appeared to be inspiration. But, money was money and so Berii would continue to walk the path instead of sitting in a wagon, especially after what just happened.
Once the lion had retreated from the horses, Ryo would move to a different wagon. This thing had been a bad idea. It was just easier to sit on the back of the wagon with the other shinobi. The Uchiha boy was rather dumbfounded by how the people felt about their religion. His eyes glance over Berii once as he felt bad for his cousin. Hopefully the rest of the mission would be less eventful.