Date: April 11, 2012
In an effort to expand his territory beyond raiding supply lines flowing meant for Iwagakure and nearby lesser village; the bandit known as Gin of the "silver lining" set his sights upon those of Konohagakure as well. As a result a loose union between pursuing Konoha nin and Iwa nin is created inorder to put an end to the bandit leader. The original cost to this agreement is the lives' of both Michi Kamizuru and Ryuunosuke Senju being the sole shinobi placed at risk. At least, that is what was officially told before the dispatch…
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
Hotaru Caverns Path
The forests have given way to grass covered foothills, and this winding road snakes its way through them
Money. Bonds. Time. Together or apart, these were the three things that every living being was familiar with. Hyper-aware at that in some cases to the point of forgoing postive just to assuage them.
As if to act as a shining example of this, the bandit known as Gin of the 'silver lining' had for far too long turned to negative aspects to secure money, forge bonds, and extend his time on earth beyond what should've been allowed for a man of his character. As a result, Iwagakure had finally been willing to open its borders to put an end to the problems that kept arising due to his illicit activities along one of their trade routes. However, in order to save on manpower they accepted Konohagakure's request for this one time only in allowing one their own participate in the hunt. The reason being a recent assualt upon their own trading lines resulting from Gin and his cohorts attempt at securing more territory.
Ultimately, this bumped up the mission perimeters up to C-rank based upon reports on Gin's methods, but only one person per country was alloted according to the deal struck between Iwagakue and Konohagakure. An agent of the former in full battle gear being already present since sun up for the past few hours, awaiting her would be 'comerade' at the western gates of Fort Kyuusen. A living statue aware of the fact that she had been extremely early, and yet uncaring nevertheless.
This was Ryuunosuke's first C rank mission. He must've done well with the other missions for the Hokage to entrust him with something like this. Ryuunosuke was honored but only wished to serve Konoha's growth as best as he cold. He is sure to represent his village well and be the ideal Leaf Shinobi. So far he was off to a decent start. He had a long journey to make by himself. He was well prepared and supplied. The genin did research on the man Gin on his way to Fort Kyuusen. He needed to know everything about the crook. His methods mannerisms and patterns all needed to be reviewed until Ryuunosuke could basically think like him; like a criminal. When he arrived at Fort Kyuusen he looks for his Iwagakure comrade. Ryuu always reached out to members from different lands. Peace between the hidden villages and the ninja world was the main goal of the Hokage when she created the leaf village. Seeing the battle ready comrade Ryuunosuke dashes and appears before her quickly. He'd hope he hadn't kept her waiting long. A backpack worn on his back was filled with many supplies and mission information. Ryuunosuke was ready to move out at any time. "Senju Ryuunosuke from Konoha." he presents himself. "Osu."
After a cursory glance of the Senju before her Michi merely bowed her head in greeting, then turned as if to walk away; but something caught her attention from the corner of her eye. The sight of a giant dumpling with legs making its way over to the duo. It was however in fact just a dark haired teen barely taller than four feet bearing a gourd nearly double his size, stumbling his way closer until a headlong crash into Michi was inevtiable. However, when noone shouted nor did he feel any pain from the accident the teen eventually opened his eyes… and gaped at the sight of Michi having plucked the gourd up with his body practically glued to its surface.
"You may go, Noru-kohai."
Noru let go without another thought and dashed back down the way he came. He did not needed to be told twice. "Unless there is further intell you wish to discuss, we shall move out now Senju-san. Although, keep in mind that our target prefers remaining mobile." She stated flatly.
Ryuunosuke blinks as he gets no answer, not a word from the woman after his introduction. Watchiing her walk off he started to think he'd mistaken her for someone else. "Uh…" suddenly then she is in a collision with boy caring a massive gourd. Ryuunosuke sweatdrops and can't believe what just happened. He rubs his head steps forward a bit "Um are you…ok?" he asks. When the woman rises Ryuunosuke looks to Noru. Seeing the boy get picked up like that warranted yet another sweatdrop from Ryuunosuke. He tries to idly distract himself from this strange moment and looks elsewhere until they're done with whatever they were doing. Noru seemed to be little more than pack mule for Michi. Ryuunosuke blinks when the woman addressed him. "What? Oh oh yes. I'm ready to head out. Gin has a lot of enemies. He doesn't stay in the same place too long. I figured he'd be a mobile target. Got an idea where he's headed?"
Once again Michi did not bother to respond to the Senju. Her gaze only became that much more inexplicable heavy upon Ryuunosuke until fully satisfied with what she gathered. With that out of the way the gourd garnered her attention, and would be strapped to her back as she began to finally answer the Senju.
Her tone was no less different however.
"There were hunters already dispatched early to seek him out. Swift and successfull in ensuring me of his whereabouts." She paused, focusing on securing the final strap. "But, as you've said. He has already begun to prepare to move. Thus, we too shall have to make haste for Hotaru Caverns." Without another word she pulled down her goggles and started to run down the road. Her pace slow by ninja standards but fast enough to the untrained eye to become a blur as she moved.
"Excellent. Let's end this swiftly then." he responds only seconds before Michi took off. Ryuunosuke inclines his head then sighs. "Well….we're off to a good start." he takes off after her. She was moving relatively slow but Ryuunosuke could pace himself at a faster speed. Michi wasn't big on talking or at least didn't seem to be so he just sped up. He figured Michi would get the hint and take point since she knew the whereabouts.
"Once we find him is he to be taken dead or alive?" Ryuunosuke was prepared for either. To be honest he preferred dead. That way they could kill him, confirm the corpse, and be on his merry way back. Ryuunosuke could operate in silence completely. "How far are we?"
"My superiors said it would be up to our own discretion", Michi replied with a frown in her voice. "Given the number of his followers, dead would be best for a two man ce — " Her head abruptly snapped up towards the north-west before she hit the ground in a slide in abruptly changing directions. "A few — fewer minutes. We shall cut ahead of them in the foot hills for an ambush, but pleased be advised. It seems there will be six in total with Gin — " She winced as her vision blurred for a moment. One of her scouts life brought to a quick end. " — Two Archers… Four Swordsman… all on horseback so will have to move a bit faster."
The young Senju then ducked and slid in the same fashion as Michi once he saw her do so. The change in direction was followed and he listened intently to what she had to say. Ryuunosuke nods softly "So we'd be wise to remain hidden and just take out Gin when the opportunity presents itself. I bet he's paying them to guard him. The man really can't be trusted." He looks to the direction ahead and sighs "If they're on horseback let's kick up the pace. We want plenty of time to set up the ambush. Less chance of things going awry."
Michi was slow to answer but curtly agreed with a nod in Ryuu's suggestion. Unfortunately, it would not take long for him to eventually overtake the Kamizuru nevertheless since her body wasn't quite built for speed. Nor did the gourd strapped to her back would help things.
All of this she noted; and despite the futility of it all, Michi did not give up.
"… Would you not go to the same lengths to preserve your own life?" The question came out unbidden by rational thought from Michi barely above a whisper. Subconsciously she even remained quiet soon after as if giving Ryuunosuke plenty of time to think over the question; but as soon as one of her drones 'spoke' behind the safety of her collar, the Kamizuru double blinked in suprise before turning far enough to peer at her companion from the corner of her eye. "Regardless, I shall remain on point and distract them given the futility in any attempt on my part to hide. You, Senju-san, will sneak around and cut them off… Any questions?"
Ryuunosuke peered back as Michi followed. It didn't matter who took point and this point as they both knew where the ambush was to be set up. The young Senju turns his head back forward and continues to speed along. Michi's question was answered with silence and a smirk. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That's what I was taught." he simply responds. The Senju didn't have too explain his response, he was sure Michi would understand. "Please be safe? After that I have no further questions." Ryuunosuke grins and nods to Michi.
The young genin would follow Michi's instructions now and let her distract the troupe. He armed himself with a kunai and calmed himself. He'd only get one shot, one chance, he wouldn't let himself falter or mess up.
Once more Michi's subconscious took the reigns in a careless thought becoming an action made in reality. This time in forcing out a hoarse giggle from the woman in response to Ryuu's question. She abruptly cut it off with a few coughs before choosing in that moment to make sure to stay as far away from Ryuu for the rest of the mission as humanly possibly. Thus, as soon as they were close enough to the even ground pathway that led through the foothills Michi signaled for him to hide while she took up position directly into the center of the pathway.
Greeting any who dared to look upon with her hands folded neatly behind her back, body ramrod straight, and a visage impassive to all; including the sound of horses charging down the path from further ahead.
Ryuunosuke smiles as Michi giggled. It was a nice change pace from her usually silent or delayed response. The plan of attack had been decided upon; all that remains now is to carry it all out. Ryuunosuke nods and clenches his kunai tight as he takes a hidden position in advance as Michi gave the signal. Ryuu took a deep breath and closed his eyes waiting for Michi to intercept the bandits. The description of Gin was fresh in mind. Once he spotted him he could slip in attack and deliver a kill shot. With Gin dead and no longer funding the hired guards they shouldn't pursue or attack, but this was all speculation. Ryuunosuke was prepared for the worst.
The thunder of hoof beats, the rising dustcloud drifting above the hills, and the unmistakable stench of desperation in the air. Together, it all elicited a small smile to begin to blossom into being from Michi's person. A short-lived one that was quickly 'silenced' by the necessity to remain detached to what was about to happen. Or better yet, completely indifferent to the fact that their target and his cohorts may very well try to trample her just to get through her without hesition.
If they succeeded, Michi made a point to make a note of laughing in the afterlife over this event.
"They are truly in a hurry." Michi calmly mused aloud just as the first horseman came barrelling around one last turn before spotting the blockade. Suprised, but undaunted, the horseman had every intention of forcing his way past the giant if not for the shrill sound of whistle grabbing his attention as well as signalling that he came to a halt. Likewise, the other three riders who were in doggedly following him somehow managed the same out of their horses with even greater relunctance than the first.
"Arigatou Tora-kun for spotting that one so swiftly. Why, if not for those eyes of yours the road would've certianly been painted red…. Though — " Casually and arrogantly, a fair haired man on his own brown beauty of a horse, cantered ahead of the quickly dispersing forward protection. But only by a meter with one an archer at his flank and an arrow set and ready to pierce Michi's skull should she try anything. " — The carrion feeders would've certianly fed wel today. Do you not agree O-giant-kun?", He asked smoothily as he scanned Michi from head to toe through narrowed eyes, then frowned upon letting his gaze fall upon her headband.
Ryuunosuke could hear the sound of the horse's hooves trampling the ground replicating a thunderclap. The young senju was hoping things went well and most of all hoping Michi was safe. She looks like she knows what she's doing. She has her 'comrades' there along with her though. One of the many advantages of belonging to a clan like the Kamizuru. Watching closely he can see that there is a man called Tora at point. His eyes go to find all the guards and their position relative to Gin. On the elaborate horse, fancy tastes as usual, is Gin. The archer at his back is spotted to. No clear opening yet. Ryuunosuke would have to wait a little longer. -Buy me some time Michi-san.-
"Ooooh, the silent treatment it is then. Such a pity. BUT, I understand that your probably one of those shy wandering types at a loss on where to go now, yes?" Gin asked sweetly, casually explaining his words as he spoke with a few whimsical air gestures.
"Oi! Say something yo — " Gin whipped up a hand, silencing Tora while barring his view of Michi temporarily. "Now now my friends, is that anyway to treat a fellow traveler?" He asked, shooting everyone of the other bandits a question look. A look they all hesitated to return with an answer in their own eyes. As a result Gin sighed mockingly in despair. "Well, your silence too is understandable and it will allot for us to speed things along now won't it… Tora, Ganryo if you would please."
Both of the two men snapped to attention with the latter pulling away from the back of the group along with the former to flank Gin on his other side. Inadvertantly, exposing Gin's backside as a weak point in their formation. And while Michi had noted this along with the fact that the sword fighters were still too close for comfort for a direct attack upon their leader without some risk of retalliation, her concern over logistics was thrown out of the window as two arrows were fired towards her heart…
Ryuu watches in silence waitiing for the positioning to shift on the enemy side. His eyes scrutinze so intensely that he forgets to apply the necessary amount of effort to his stealth. When he sees the opening the archer presented he moved a bit too hastily. He didn't notice that he'd been notice as he moved to flank Gin. With their attack on Michi the attention would be drawn away. Ryuunosuke wasn't convince he had enough of a leeway to mount an attack. He'd have to act soon though. He didn't know how long Michi would last underfire like this. He armed himsellf with a few shuriken to work up a diversion for the guards just incase Michi wasn't enough.
Ryuu had failed, and would've garned the direct attention of at least two of the swordsman if not for Gin shaking his head negatively following his attention focusing upon their attempts to make a move.
Tora and Ganryo on the other hand grinned maliciously at hitting home and would've went on to bask in the praises of their fellow bandits while merrily trampling over Michi's corpse. Only… she didn't fall as they had expected. In fact, besides the small pool of blood soaking the spot where the arrows had hit, Michi seemed largely unaffected. She only gave the protruding shafts a dispassionate glance before raising her head to leer at Gin.
"Hnn, my my my, Iwa certianly does produces sturdy stock of shinobi these days. But just how sturdy, Mmmmm, not enough for another fifty of these I'm certian though, neh?" He asked confidently as he folded his hands over his chest and waited for the inevitable; only to be disappointed in the lack of action from his guards. "WELL! Don't just stand sit there, grab the cross — " Gin words died in his throat as a kunai went whizzing well past his face, but close enough nonetheless. He needed not to glance back at Michi to know that her hand was still postioned outwards from the throw. The bandit leader merely laughed before drawing his own crossbow, then aim at Michi's head this time. He fired.
And Michi did not hesitate to counter at the same by signalling the bees she had laying in wait within the grass up to attack the two archers at the same time. Both of which went down flailing…
Two down, five to go.
Ryuunosuke winces seeing that Michi had taken a hit. He gripped his kunai tight and had to move out quick. He leaps swiftly after seeing Michi toss the kunai at Gin. Hoping to counter GIn's reflexes he tossed his kunai from behind. He rushes Gin now dispite the guards being present. He flashes through some handsigns and prepares for battle the archers looked as if they would be the first he'd have to take out.
It was uncharatersitic of Michi to try peer down at where the arrow had pierced her chest since she was a creature of logic. And logically speaking, pain plus weapon plus vital area being struck equals death. So, why bother regarding it? Or for that matter, attempt to pull out the arrow as if the action would accomplish anything?
The answer… it was all a Genjutsu. Not literally, but figuratively at least since the illusion /did/ keep Gin and his allies distracted long enough for the Senju's shuriken to bury itself into the man's back. Unfortunately, it was not a death blow. Thus, they suffered the consequences of hearing Gin yell out explicitives and rile up his men into, two to be exact, into breaking away to try and charge Ryuu down. The other two stayed close with one trying and failing to console Gin as well as ponder why a Gourd had took the place of what should've been the Kamizuru's corpse…
A Gust of wind would breeze over the charging men but to no avail. The young Senju was trampled and knocked to the ground. The impact stunned and pained him. He recovers quickly but he can't deny the damage he's taken. The kunai missed but just barely. He'd have to find a way to get past the guards and finish off Gin. Seeing that Michi had taken them out Ryuunosuke figures he'd just have to disable the guards and Gin would be left defenseless. Ryuunosuke taunts the guards and flings two kunai at each of them before taking off into the brush. He didn't take the time to hide himself carefully just enough to draw the attention and give the idea that he's trying to flee the situation.
"Gaaah! What the buzz!?! That stinger just — *winces* — freaking, stinger. Gonna.." On and on the guard wailed over kunai lodged in his arm. Pointless crying that should've been mere profressional grunts of shrugging off what would've been a blade to the skull had he not reigned in his horse the moment he saw the blade come fying. His partner on the other hand at the very least stayed professional… to a degree since he kept yelling at Ryuu as he gave chase, fully determined now to cut the Senju to ribbons.Inevitably with his original partner manning up and giving pursuit as well…
Meanwhile, back to their intended target, jaw fracturing back fist to the face would send Gin reeling back on his horse following Michi's crash landing ontop of one of the remaining guards other horses. For such a gutsy action taken Michi by all accounts should've been run through or cut by the other guard; especially given her unstable position thanks to the horse flailing about. But no, she was given that brief reprieve to by her colony distracting the other.
A lucky break for now…
As he was pursued Ryuunosuke looked back and saw that one guard was hot on his tail. He was able to get off a few handsigns before he is pierced. A log soon took his place however and he hid himself deeper into the forest. He tossed another shuriken at the guard from his hiding position then darted back for Gin. When he did so he made sure to guise his movements misleading his pursuers. If he could lose them in the forest he could make it back to Gin and finish him off. When he made it back to Gin he found that Michi had him all too herself "I think I lost the guards but not for long. Come on lets finish this guy." he says reaching for another Kunai. The horse thrashing about would definitely draw attention, it was now or never. "Let's go Michi-san."
Even as Michi struggled to keep both the guard and the horse pinned her mind never wavered in analyzing the situation; starting with the fact that both her partner as well as two guards had gone M.I.A during the confusion.
Disconcerting, but irrelevant for the most part.
Secondly, without seemingly taking her eyes away from Gin (thanks to the goggles) she scanned all that remained. Two momentarily…
Two guards momentarily taken out of commision with a third being more permnantly dropped out of the picture courtesy of a casual mistep and a bit too much weight being applied 'unintentionally'. Now all that remained was a more alert target and a single daikatana wielding guard. The latter of which took no chances after dismounting while warding off Michi's bees in letting the fight be prolonged further. Thus, he risked a glance back from the corner of his eye towards Gin, then recieving a weak nod in return, he charged Michi with eyes brimming with fire.
He failed utterly, and paid the same price as the archers following Michi's last minute instinctual evasion. This left only Gin of the 'silver lining', slowly recovering from the punch from earlier; and now faced with the choice.
Surrender, Flee (somehow), or Death. Ryuunosuke's timely return made it all the more difficult to choose. "They will return eventually Senju-baka, zu-zu…. Thus a choice remains now, zu-zu…. Kill, behead, and attempt to flee… or, subdue what's left, zu-zu.."
The fear creeping into full view in Gin's eyes heightened with this statement to the point he started to peer at Ryuu pleadingly.
"Zu-zu?" Ryuunosuke repeats a bit confused. "Sorry I couldn't do much but lose them. " he looks to Michi as she explains the situation. He can see that she's isolated Gin. The two guards in the forest would be heading back any moment now. There wasn't much time for idle thought or chatting. Ryuunosuke looks to Gin meeting his pleading look with a look of his own. In that look he would give no mercy no compassion. The man had chosen this path. "We've come too far now." The young Senju thought for a moment or two before retrieving a kunai from his tool pouch. "He's a mission. A criminal too. He'll die a pointless death. But death is always pointless, that is the point." He says with a soft sullen look in his eyes. "We carry out our mission Michi-san. " There Ryuunosuke had made his decision. A step into darkness or the dedication of a shinobi to their mission? The young Senju had made his choice though.
In the end, death did find Gin "of the silver lining"; but without Michi being given another moment to consider their options nor Ryuunosuke stepping up to end things once and more all.
A grisly death by way of impalement through the back of the spine, right lung, muscles, vessels, and ribs. All of which were seared as well to cater to the murasame, its craftsman/former wielder's, efficient yet sadistic adjustment before hand. A few of Michi's colonist, her sons, who had been laying in wait for the command to draw things to a quick close were also slain in the process. They were paid little attention much like the corpse sitting upon horseback by Michi. The small broken up group of shinobi standing upon the hilltop some thirty to fifty meters away on the otherhand held her full attention; especially once she noted that the group was divided equally between both Iwagakure and Konohagakure shinobi. Some of which were obviously wounded…
"Excellent Job Michi-neesan as always! Mission accomplished." The shortest and appearantly most outspoken of among the throng of Iwa shinobi yelled down towards the duo. But in return…
Michi completely ignored him following her extended examination of the awaiting shinobi in favor of mechanically drawing out the very same spear that killed Gin and use it to sever his head. Then, secret it away within a small sack pulled from her pocket as she left without another word. Her gourd in passing being retrieved as well.
"Always more… Always a sacrifice… zu-zu"