Date: January 13, 2016
A team of shinobi loyal to Kirigakure move in to intercept a caravan to an unknown destination and experience much more resistance than ever expected.
"Ice Age - Pursuit of the Snow"
Land of Marshes
Late at night in Kirigakure, and Yoichi has sent a message to gather available forces for a strike. He's gained a new lead in the case of finding the transportation of forging items being used to build the weapon that the group of Shirayuki planning to destroy Kirigakure. Standing near the gate outside the village, he rests against a tree with his arms folded over his chest as he awaits the arrival of the team. His eyes are currently closed, his mind going over thoughts of the information gathered while he waits.
With a small vial rolling between his fingers, Naoya walks through the village not trying to hide his presence while making his way to the village's gateway. 'This process is taking too long.. it should have completed weeks ago, would of been a chance to give it a live testing now. Pity.' Lowering his hand along with the vial, he slips it into a hip pouch before he was a dozen meters from the swordsman. Dipping his head, twisting his lips into a mild smile for a fleeting moment he greets Yoichi. "Okumo Naoya received, and is answering your summons. Is this task as the last or have things developed from what was found?" Arching a brow, he waits for the answer though the small chitin limbs that slip from the sides of his neck suggest he was still looking out for others to arrive.
Kiji stepped up behind Yoichi quietly, her eyes already showing their deep crimson battle marks. She was right behind Naoya as he walked up. She nodded to Yoichi and took a breath, gathering her chakra as she stood there, preparing to open her senses to get a lay of the enemy.
"An old face, hm?"
Naoya would recognize the voice, maybe, but the deepness of it shows time has passed by far. A familiar set of armor becomes audible not too far away. Soon, Naoya would have Oda himself standing just about ten feet away, a slight grin on his face and waving to the Okumo.
He had been on leave, for way too long, back home. A needed rest. He now looks from Naoya towards Yoichi and immediately stops grinning. He didn't recognize Kiji though at first, and actually crosses his arms slow. He knows why he was recruited to this one, and frankly he's not too eager.
As Naoya and Kiji arrive, Yoichi opens his eyes and looks between each of them to offer a nod in greeting. "It's similar to the last mission, but at least we know what it is we're looking for this time… At least we think." He looks over to the other guy as he arrives, lifting an eyebrow, perhaps wondering just why an unproven Chuunin has been sent along for this mission, but no matter. Maybe Meruin just wants to test this Chuunin's mettle. He offers him a nod in greeting before looking between all of them as he speaks and starts to move toward the docks. "The information received by our operative states that a rather important shipment for the portability of the weapon is arriving on the opposite side of the continent from where it did last time."
Glancing to the side, the young man would offer Oda a slight nod though he wouldn't speak, his attention shifting to Yoichi in short order. One thing would be clear the young Okumo had changed, what was done would've left him aged almost into his twenties rather than mid teens. "Good.. good.. This time, we will be able to know how their forces will react, and their actual strength." Turning around for a moment, he turns to glance at Kiji and dips his head lightly before lifting his hand up, exposing his palm. "I will act as your support, the brood will be having their toxins ready for you. You don't need to worry about growing tired as quickly as normal, trust me on that." Shifting his attention to Oda, his lips press thin for a moment until he points towards the other man's chest lightly, "You should take care, they control the cold.. minimize how deeply it will effect you."
Kiji glanced at Oda, though her crimson eyes spoke nothing of her thoughts. Then back to Yoichi before Naoya offered his hand. She blinked a bit, tilting her head curiously. This was odd.. normally she was the one supporting right? But she nodded and touched his hand with hers as she waited for orders.'
"Shirayuki. Master Meruin knows I studied all the clans prior to him making me stay. I'm here to do my job, which is odd having one of my formers now above me."
Oda smiles though, hearing Naoya offering to support. This was a bit nostalgic to him, but he also was curious too how he grew. Naoya knows how the samurai works. He would look over towards Kiji, detecting when she had glanced at him.
Mist ninja. Always so stoic. Oda's time back in the Land of Lightning definitely had calmed his nerves to where he can at least keep a constant grin.
"Yes, we have a much better gauge of their skill level," Yoichi says with a nod, casting another glance at Oda as he speaks about 'being here to do his job'. He looks at the guy as if he wonders if the guy actually thinks those here don't know enough about clans in their own village that they need him here.
As they arrive at the docks, he steps directly onto a ship built for stealth and speed and motions for the crewmen to begin their work to prepare for immediate takeoff. Whether the others are specifically ready or not, the anchor is raised, and the ship takes off toward the east.
It wouldn't be until stepping onto the deck of the ship, that Naoya would speak openly again. "Much has changed between the trial and this point, I hope to see that I wouldn't be the only one that had changed in that time." Tapping his foot slightly heavily, several spiders in pairs slips from Naoya, moving down his leg and into the ship, away from the upper layers of frost and into the cabin area, searching for something or rather preparing to over watch the very crewmen that were hired on. Turning to Yoichi, he asks "Which land are they going to this time, or is it only to another isle this time and not at another land?"
Kiji watched the exchange between the ….what did they call them.. Samoo-kai? Whatever. The Honor Guys. And Yoichi, but remained neutral and stoic. She glanced up as the ship of choice was indicated by their leader. She moved swiftly onto it and watched as Naoya's spiders spread out. She took a deep breath and peered out over the water. "I have misgivings about that clan."
"Most clans have someone with misgivings or is wary about them," Yoichi comments with a shrug of his shoulders as he looks toward Kiji while the ship moves. "It's the same continent, but a different country. It's on the other side of the Land of Demons rather than this side of the Land of Marshes. We're going to come from the border of the Land of Marshes and try to cut them off." Looking to Oda, he says, "I need you to board the ship with the other team and inform them of the information I've given you. Give them this map. It has the information of where I'd like them to go."
After handing that and giving the Chuunin time to move to the other ship, he nods to the captain to fully take off. It takes hours for the ship to arrive at their destination, but Yoichi immediately takes off toward the area where they hope to cut the shipment off.
With nothing outside of permitted limits, the brood would return to their host, scaling him partially before disappearing into different sections of his clothing to burrow back inside. "If you need someone disable their transport give me a few moments, I will try something but it won't be too quickly.. each shot is difficult to shape." When the ship made landfall, Naoya would follow in Yoichi's footsteps but two meter behind the man. Bringing a hand up to his mouth, he spreads his hand wide, coating his own face up to the mid ridge of his nose with padded webbing that lock behind his head, forming a lower face mask. "This cold weather.. hopefully this is natural and not one of their traps already being laid.."
Kiji looked up at Yoichi. He missed her point. But perhaps now wasn't the time to concern him with that. She remained quiet most of the trip. But when they disembarked she closed her eyes and opened her mind, reaching out as far as she could… Opening her eyes she lifted a hand. "I sense something that direction Yoichi-sensei."
As they move along, Kiji would indeed sense something… Something large enough that it might surprise her even after the last mission as they get closer to intersecting with the path. There's not just one cart here, but five caravans moving parallel to each other in a hurry. This is apparently a huge shipment, probably something quite important.
Heeding her words, Yoichi brings his hands into a seal to create a storm cloud overhead that mixes in with the night sky easily enough to look natural at least for as long as they need it to. Using his water-based sense to detect what's coming the same as she does, he frowns slightly. "Be prepared to retreat if we have to. There's a rather huge amount of shinobi in this group, but we can't afford to not try at all. Slowing them down or thinning their numbers at all is a small victory."
"Give me time.. just some time.." Kicking off, Naoya hops higher and into a perched position before growing still once again. Bringing his hand up and over his face, he takes in a deep breath before slowly exhaling it. Inch by inch his face darkens as the white silk takes on a bark brown appearance though some lines of blackened coloring streak across it. Latching onto the area around him were thick sections of webbing which in turn were molded into hands before becoming armored like his face though at the same time, his left side began to fuse into a singular crescent object. "I can tether one but with so many.. I'm going to try and take out two, destroying the rear axle points. Even if they try to flee, they will be slowed significantly."
Kiji glanced around. Yoichi was preparing his battlefield… Naoya was preparing a strike… Kiji was what? A soldier? She looked at them and then after a moment her eyes shifted again, black and ice blue now she moved forward "I shall distract them. Yoichi-sensei some water please?" Once the water was supplied, Kiji mixed it with her blood, giving herself more to work with. And then she set her jaw, bloody wings sprouting from her back, longer along her spine now, she spread her wingspan like an angel… and leapt into the air. The water she had taken from Yoichi, mixed with her blood so they could share control of the element, was aimed at the axles of the wagons as she flew overhead, hoping the sight of a strange flying girl would distract the enemy long enough for yoichi and naoya to work their magic. She directed the watery blood onto the axles of two wagons Naoya was not targeting, giving Yoichi a head start on breaking a few axles.
Beginning the attack, of course, draws attention to Kiji. The Shirayuki look up to see the airborne Shizimu and bring their hands into a seal to create a huge wall of ice to block the incoming rain of blood needles… barely in time. From that barrier, shuriken of ice begin to fly upward at Kiji with intent to shred her and her aircraft of blood and water. Meanwhile, the drivers receive a signal to hurry it up even more, and the caravans begin to move even faster.
Quickly shifting some of the water to flow over to Kiji upon her request, Yoichi nods and then reaches back for his blades to begin prepping his own attack. As he draws and then swings the blades back, a set of nine tails of lightning form on each one, and he attempts to bring them down upon the caravans by going around the ice wall since it isn't exactly moving along with the wagons, at least not yet.
Drawing his right three hands across the mutation that his left arm had become causes twin tapered needle like lengths, just under a meter long each. Drawing tense a braiding of silk, Naoya took aim where Kiji had marked out before him. "Now.. Just focusing on these ones.." Letting go of his grip, six bolts are fired off simultaneously, taking aim at the wheels and axles of the rear most caravans, attempting to cripple their mobility, focusing on the caravans that were alerted yet not suddenly in ruin from Yoichi's sudden stormed assault.
Kiji did an aileron roll, easily avoiding the shuriken sent at her. The other attacks were swept aside by her whips. From above she looked down at the wagons before diving to land on top of one. Her wings dissolved into whips ad tails, cutting at the wagons within her radius, looking to slice open the covers and expose what they were carrying.
A covering of ice forms over each caravan at the command of the Shirayuki's jutsu, protecting them from the Shimizu opening them up, so their contents are unrevealed for now. However, trying to doubly defend doesn't turn out so well, and the outermost caravans wind up with axels dragging along the ground with many of the Shirayuki atop them caught and stunned by tails of lightning. Still, that doesn't stop the others from firing their own attacks as the shinobi that have now all made themselves visible. With a shifting of hand seals on the part of the Shirayuki still standing, the Kirigakure shinobi might feel a bit of deja vu as, from the ice and snow begin to rise gangs of enormous monsters of snow that strike down viciously at the shinobi as they team up on them and try to annihilate them.
SMACK! Yoichi is unable to avoid the first strike by the snow beasts and is sent flying back a bit, though the next one splatters his body, which reforms a bit away out of the splattered water. Freaking Ice users. This time, though he has his own monstrosity to fight back with. He brings his hands into a seal, and the rain he created and has been absorbing comes into play as the water spirals to create a giant form of himself that lunges directly at the caravans, intending to crash into them and break both body and wood of those he and Naoya have already stunned and slowed and whatever he can get of the others.
Clawing at the air in front of him, Naoya shifts his stance to brace for impact though in the wake of the slash in the air was a wide band of dark golden material which quickly dries out to a bark brown tone. The first blow while heavy splatters against the material only managing to crack the protection, showering the space behind the young Okumo and below him with the snows impact, unfortunately the shielding doesn't hold. The second heavy blow exploits the cracks before they could fully mend, shattering the chitin shield allowing the creature to knock him off his perch and back a fair distance.
Shifting to his knees, the chitin that wrapped more closely around his body seemed to hold along his the additional limbs which slip to his side, drawing out a tapered blade while another fetches a vial from his pouch to drizzle along its flat length. "Now.. Let's lessen their number.." is grumbled out before he seems to disappear. Slowing down at his first target's flank, Naoya slashes shallowly at the man's thighs before moving on to his second mark, aiming to slash across the small of her back, continuing to the next, then then the following, almost dancing across the conflict zone.
Kiji scowled at the ice shields as they formed under her. Those black and blue eyes shining like holy icy fury at the Shirayuki who dared get between her and her target. She lifted her hand regally, moving differently than usual she was colder, more aloof, she was actually looking down on the Shirayuki like ants. Ants she intended to punish. Not wanting to use her wings again unless pressed, she leapt up, a single tail of blood slamming into the ice barriers to launch her high into the air. A thin layer of blood extended between her body and arms which were outstretched, a cheap version of Falling With Style which allowed her to move forward and out of Yoichi's aim. Then a sharp snap was heard and she somersaulted, bloody tails raining down on those below, barbed bits of blood trying to snare her targets….
With a loud crash, the giant Hozuki manages to slam into the outer rows of the caravans, though the Shirayuki manage to throw up a wall of ice to prevent further damage. This, in turn, crushes bodies and wagons against the wall and leaves them falling to the ground broken and battered. Out of the broken wagons fall a sea of metal, but not what one might expect. Rather than chakra metal, what's in these is a shell of kunai… covering wagons full of dirt and rocks. Meanwhile walls of ice rise to block Naoya's blade from paralyzing all but one of the Shirayuki he strikes at, though Kiji manages to ensnare a number of the others. Still, there are a LOT of these guys… and, as the wagons race along, Kiji and Yoichi would both be able to detect something massive on the edge of their sensor fields that only slowly becomes more clear as they approach. Whatever this mass of chakra is, it's sitting still at least for the moment. However, that may not last long as the continual raising of giant snow monsters and the sounds of battle ring out could serve as an alert.
Apparently a bit more prepared this time than the last to deal with these folk, Yoichi allows the Leviathan to take the brunt of the attacks by the snow monsters. As it shatters into a mist of water that might obscure the area a bit naturally for a moment, he reforms in the air as he goes upward with momentum and swings his blades back to create an enormous mass of lightning tails that he bring down upon the caravans and those aboard them. "… Most of the wagons are probably decoys," he states as he look down at the spilled rocks and kunai then frowns as he looks toward that enormous source of chakra as they grow closer. "Kiji, do you feel what I do here?" he asks, suddenly looking a bit wary… They could be moving directly toward a trap.
Without motion of his hands a plate rips free from along his back before swelling in width and length before trusting into the ground, acting as a sudden shield from one of the beasts attacking from behind him. While it did protect him from the first, the shield was side stepped largely by the second assault. "Prey.." is the only word that slips from Naoya's lips before snapping his head to the side. Not lingering with either creature behind him, he moves forward towards the Shirayuki that he managed to draw the blood off. While her body was still trying to fight off the toxins coursing through her, he wraps one arm around her throat from behind, while ones crawls suddenly at her collar line to expose the flesh beneath. Without pausing, his maw finds its mark, but he didn't simply wound his target, the process seemed almost to cause the battered chitin plates flowing along his body regenerate with renewed vitality before casting her off and towards an embankment.
Kiji turned, looking forward as she slid down her own blood tail, keeping up to the caravan's speed even as she opened her mind again. But that distraction was enough for the snow monsters to strike. She went flying and her small body bounced twice before she rolled and put her feet under her again, sliding a few more feet. She looked mildly annoyed and ignored the wounds she'd taken completely. But she answered Yoichi. "Yea. It's big. and not moving…." But she looked back at Naoya and Yoichi frowning slightly.
That was when she realized she was panting lightly. She took a moment to assess herself and then took a deep breath. As if breathing in power her chakra fluffed out again and she started running. Unles Yoichi stopped her, she would race along side the caravans, using her whips to propel her faster (and hopefully avoid any attacks) as she went to see what they were up against even as her body healed itself from the inside out……
While Kiji moves to try and see what they're up against and heals herself, Naoya obliterates one of the Shirayuki while Yoichi's tails of lightning rain down upon the caravans. Some of the Shirayuki are caught and write in pain from the lightning, though others manage to bring up walls of ice to deflect the tails. From those more monsters of snow sprout and charge after the Kirigakure shinobi with vicious intent, including Kiji. The continued use of this method makes one wonder if they are simply trying to fend the Kiri shinobi off and bide time for some reason. What Kiji finds and Yoichi senses through his rain as they get closer would affirm it, though… If they continue to follow this path, what they're going to run into is a huge temporary base with tents and such where pieces of the weapon are being assembled for transport. This would almost seem like the opportune moment to attack it, except there's a battalion many times the size what they are currently facing with shinobi of the same strength and more along with grunts and mercenaries. They are, indeed, running straight toward a massive icy shinigami.
The mass of snow monsters coming after Yoichi start to pummel him, sending him flying back away from the caravan. As he flies backward, his eyes widen a bit as he feels the mass that they're heading toward. With himself already suffering injuries and the other two likely to be running low on energy sooner or later, if they head into that, this is likely to be their last mission in this life. However, if the retreat and wait, an army of this size surely can't move without leaving at least some small trace of where they're head. Still, Naoya's on the caravan, and Kiji's still in combat with monsters. He'll have to give them the opening to retreat. Thus, he brings his hands into a seal, causing the mass of rain to swirl down by the caravans and create another massive form of himself that charges at them and tries to blast them and send them off course. "I believe we've worn out our welcome. Best we don't disturb that army with our current numbers."
Raising one of his empty arms, Naoya curls it back to brace the strike as if it were a normal blow, through quickly realized the the creatures were far more than just constructs and the aspects of the frost were still significant almost costing him the faux limb. When the second strike flows towards him, he starts to move as a blur, appearing beside the beast rather than in front at the impact site. Not lingering in position, the young Okumo flicker steps away from the collective conflict zone and towards the still retreating caravans, drawing his blade forward, he takes aim at several of the traps holding the carts to the horses in order to guide them. If his mark is made, he would hopefully free the horses and leave the caravans to run wild rather than in an orderly manner. While he was far ahead, it was clear he wasn't committing to a fight, more was trying to cause faint chaos before departing.
Kiji felt the attackers coming and those rings of her blood surrounded her again and again, batting aside the snow and ice. One got through though and she growled low n her throat… But she could sense the others starting to fall back and she scowled. This was not a good mission. There were not enough of them… She swore quietly and turned on her toes, pirouetting daintily before leaping ahead, literally going perpendicular to the caravan's direction now. She landed on top of one o the center wagons and lashe out, trying to snag the driver of one of the wagons Naoya just attacked, hoping to capitalize on his chaos while capturing a possible source of information…. At least it would not be a total loss…. Whether or not she got the target she would suddenly open her wings again and soar into the sky (hopefully carrying her prize wrapped in a web of blood…..)
Since the shinobi stuck around to attack more, they've in turn drawn more fire toward themselves as Shirayuki begin to come from the other way since the battle has been noticed. Walls of ice cover most of the straps from being strewn, though some of the horses ARE set free… and replaced by horses made of snow and ice that are bound to the caravan by binds of ice to gain control of the caravans back as some of the shinobi shift to take the place of the drivers that were taken. Not a group to allow leaks they don't want out, they send another wave of monsters after Yoichi and Naoya while another set make a stack and leap off of each other and various surfaces to come after Kiji through the air to slam fists spike with ice, not only at her, but aiming to kill the drivers rather than rescue them.
Well, Yoichi gave his order. Can't help if the other two didn't listen. As the monsters of snow strike him in tandem, he's sent flying back and literally splatters into water that settles on the ground amidst the falling ran to conceal where he actually is while the caravan races ahead so he can take a moment to heal up.
Humming low to himself as several of his cuts find their mark, cutting through the still weak glacial resistance, though when the tethers are remade once again with ice and not leather his hum turns into a grumble. Kicking off, Naoya begins to spiral, casting off chunks of chitin while a spiraling barrier of webbing begins to form between him and the assaults, ensnaring one creature but only slowing the second. Whipping his blade forward, he spins his grip until he held it backwards and sheaths the blade only to charge forward towards the head caravan. Within an instant, the young Okumo simply disappears into nothingness but this time, he never seemed to reappear to some eyes. The truth was he began to move in the completely different direction, doubling back trying to regroup with Kiji and Yoichi before slowing down.
Kiji flew hard, drug down a bit by the extra bodies. But she was wise on the attacks aiming for her. Aiming for the captives. She burst forth with a large multilayered set of concentric rings that spun around her and the captives, deflecting the ice aimed at them. At the last second she could sense the chakra coming at her, knew she could not block it in time, but dipped in her flight and did an aileron roll, taking the impact meant for the captive right in her back. It made her numb. If her wings had not mostly been attached to her above the strike she would have simply fallen from the air. But her control of her chakra tightened and Yoichi would feel that she was running extremely low on resources not to mention seriously injured and still carrying the captives.
Quickly half a dozen purple metallic spiders spread out over the wings, weaving and working webbing to cover the construct, coloring them black as webbing reinforced the chakra and blood. Webbing was then strung over the parts of the wings that had fallen away when her lower half went numb, keeping the balance of her wings even while she lacked the correct muscle control to steer them. The captives were both safe. She used the last of her strength and chakra control to climb into the sky higher on more unstable wings before spinning hard, using a tail of blood to literally throw the captive bundle at Yoichi.
But then the wings began to fail. She had used too much chakra, don't too much and taken too much damage. Calling to the spiders she spoke "Back to the nest." And then bit down hard as she tried to lower her altitude safely as well as get as far from the caravan as possible. She Might not make it to Yoichi's location.. she didn't know. She just aimed for his general sense now that she was unburdened…. But fading quickly, a falling angel of death.
After taking a moment to heal himself, Yoichi reforms just in time to catch the bundle and set it down. He then literally splits into two, the clone grabbing the bundle while he flickers to reappear just behind Kiji and scoop her up. Quickly moving back over to where the clone and the captives are, he motions for Naoya to move with them, figuring he'll see it, and then takes off back toward their destination. Luckily they've done enough damage that the Shirayuki are more concerned with getting their shipment to its destination safely than pursuing the Kirigakure shinobi.
Despite his unusually sluggish steps for the pattern, Naoya didn't seem to be noticed long enough to make his way away from the conflict zone without suffering additional wounds. With Yoichi's signal, the young man followed behind without a word of question or remark, somewhat surprised to see not one but two of the man suddenly. Slowing to a pause, he becomes rather easy to see once again, just in time to watch one collect the falling harpy while the other collects a few subjects to begin experimenting on should they not manage to kill themselves. Raising his hands, one hand begins to gesture towards each person still living while his remaining hands cross across his chest. Following the motion, the chitin armor wrapping around Naoya fractures, letting loose a mild swarm of arachnids, each one seeking out a person to begin 'treatment'.
Kiji landed hard but with her webbed wings around her so they took some of the impact. The spiders were back in her hair and she looked up as she was scooped into Yoichi's arms. All she could do was reform the wings, no longer needed, into a kind of sling so Yoichi could form seals if he had to. Her eyes began to drift closed, fading quickly into nothing but pale pearl white and grey… It took every bit of her will and remaining chakra to stay awake to maintain that sling.