Date: November 24, 2015
A recon team is dispatched to collect information on the contents of a transport, while the primary mission succeeds the team meets heavy resistance hindering every chance for an advancement beyond the bare minimum.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Ice Age - Snow turns to Ice"
Land of Water, Land of Marshes, Land of Demons
It's late enough at night that the time has actually entered morning, and a team from Kirigakure has once again entered the barren lands west of the Land of Marshes to track down a shipment of some sort being handled by the group that has named itself an enemy of Kirigakure. While there's been no name obtained for the group or the woman that is believed to be at least one of its leaders if not the main head of the group, the prisoners from the last mission did at least produce some useful information. A shinobi of too many scruples may not want to know the details on exactly how the information was extracted, but it was extracted nonetheless. While the men didn't know as much as the Swordsman would have liked, they were at least able to point him to the location of another shipment being made, this one much more major… and likely to be heavily guarded. Still, if they can get ahold of this shipment, they can slow down their enemies' plans and maybe figure out exactly what they are planning for Kirigakure.
On a mountain trail behind a large boulders, Yoichi and company are currently moving toward what should likely be a point that they will intersect with the path of the wagon that they are to capture this evening. Again, they would be instructed that capturing at least some prisoners would be preferred along with keeping the cargo in tact. It might be a more difficult mission that way, but it is necessary if they hope to obtain any sort of advantage for Kirigakure in the coming war with these people. If that weren't the case, he'd probably just annihilate the thing himself with a giant lightning jutsu.
Kiji wore her new blue-grey flak jacket over her usual blacks, sleeves more like a series of bands with exposed skin between. Her skirt was short and her stockings thigh high. Her eyes slid across those gathered before she stepped up to stand beside Yoichi. She opened her senses, having gathered her chakra about her as she moved after Yoichi. She reached out, her chakra soaking into her body, showing in her eyes as they turned golden, ringed in orange… She use her longer range abilities in order to get the most notice.
Staying low to the ground, Naoya slips his left hand to his side, untethering and drawing out his sheath, holding it firmly in his hand. With his right hand the young man would flip open a pouch on his hip and withdraws a vial that didn't appear as crude as many others before it. "Yet another collection though these ones were easier to track.. " Shifting his bright amber eyes first to the swordsman and then to young woman, he studies them for a brief moment before closing his eyes and bringing the vial to his lips. Taking the vial's contents in a single gulp, a snarl twists onto his face while a growl like grumble bubbles in his throat. Shifting the end cap of the sheath to the stone below, helping him rise to his feet as he softly asks, "How many of them feel a significant threat from this distance?"
Yoichi casts a glance over to Kiji as she prepares, which he does as well, bringing his hands into a seal and creating a raincloud overhead that begins to pour down a heavy rain upon the air and moves forward to try and intercept the wagon to judge the strength of those they're fighting before they can get to them. After a few moments, he looks over to Naoya and says, "There are dozens of low level shinobi with them, but there are also at least a dozen formidable with them as well." Looking over to Kiji, he asks, "Does it feel like something bigger is waiting further ahead?" Given her wide range, she would be able to detect that there is some larger chakra source, though it's high to detect if there's more than one due to the distance, further up ahead. There may be more waiting for them here than they anticipated.
Kiji listened to Yoichi and Naoya as they spoke between them. She could sense Yoichi's rain cloud eve as she reached forward past the kilometer range. She furrowed her brow. "I feel something .. bigger.. Ahead." She looked to Yoichi. "It's hard to tell from here, there is definitely a strong chakra ahead." She turned to aoya then and tilted her head a little as he drank.. whatever it was this time. She shook her head a little bemusedly but didn't dwell on it. "I should be able to tell more if we're closer."
Flexing his limbs one at a time before tensing his stomach then his chest, the young Okumo appears to almost spasm for a moment before calming down. "Good.. good.. it's working" is softly said. Closing his eyes, the young man would bow his head and angle the hilt of his blade towards Kiji to say "I can move in more discreetly than you can, even if they have a sensor, I won't be as noticed as either of you if this trial proved fruitful." A subtle smirk pulls at the corner of his lip while he begins to carefully scale downwards, taking his time not to disrupt the brush too loudly. With his target being the lesser group, his gaze would flick into the beyond every so often, questioning what the 'strong' force his prey was heading towards.
"As I thought," Yoichi said with a nod then looks back ahead. He then looks back ahead to the trail as Naoya speaks, emitting a low 'hmm'. "… Rather than just moving in, since we know their trail, I want you to move ahead and setup a trap with your brood's webbing. That way, if they manage to get ahead somehow, they still shouldn't be able to get away." He looks back to Kiji then, saying, "Get ready. At this point it doesn't matter if we become a beacon to distract from Naoya's movement as we come for them."
Kiji listened to Naoya and nodded when he and Yoichi agreed e would be easier to slip in unannounced. Especially with Yoichi and Kiji taking the attention away from the spiders. Kiji nodded to Yoichi as he told her to get ready, sensing the jump n his chakra, she closed her eyes for a moment.
Blood seemed to bulge her veins at first and then in certain places, her wrists,her ankles, her shoulders, the blood burst free of flesh before forming into a concentrated set of whips and 'tails'. When she looked up again her eyes were black, the irises as crimson as her blood, a small smirk flitting across her lips. Rage was well seated in the new Okumo. She would wait for Yoichi to signal in what direction he was going in so she could come in from a third angle before bursting forward.
Moving a hand up to the side of his head, his fingers burrow into his hair, clawing at his scalp for a moment before waving briefly behind himself. Closing his eyes and taking in a deeper breath, the young Okumo kicks off murmuring, 'No, he doesn't understand.. Settle, I'm handling it..' Silencing himself when he land onto one of the larger stone outcrops, onto to continue along his way, though as he did large swaps of silk begin to break down from the gloves that lined his arms so that they would spark long connecting barriers of silk, not from his brood but produced by Naoya himself. Looking directly at what he was doing it would be difficult to see though from the air, narrow trails of fiber and thigh high barriers were starting to be formed that already would ensnare animal life that trespassed through it.
The rather large cakra show is obviously enough to tip off the people guarding the cart to the presence of Yoichi and Kiji, as their formation shifts to a more defensive one. Still, that was the plan. They'd have eventually been spotted anyway. So long as they keep to their trail, things should go swimmingly.
"It's been awhile since we did this, hmm, Kiji?" he asks as he glances over to the girl then back ahead. "Let's see what you've got now." With that he reaches back to grab his blades, drawing them and looking as they come out over a hill to see a rather huge wagon pulled by a dozen horses and surrounded by dozens of shinobi with a dozen on top of it all prepared to defend. Lightning begins to stretch forth from the blades, creating a huge amount of long whips that come down at the men on the side with intent to stun and bind them all.
Kiji nodded as Yoichi spoke and Naoya disappeared. She used her whips to propel her along faster and faster. As Yoichi drew his whips, Kiji seemed to grow tails. She landed between two of the shinobi and only gave them a few seconds before she smirked, blood hot in her veins. The tails burst out around her, slashing at the two t the same time before trying to impale them. Quicker was better here…
Even as he moves quickly, it would be difficult for Naoya not to notice the display slowing around himself. Chuckling softly as the thundering booms that follow the wake of the lightning help him gauge the distance between himself and the others. The young Okumo finishes with the crescent pattern before turning away from the chaos and moving deeper through the brush, heading towards where the caravan was hoping to notice exactly what Kiji has been able to notice was in the area. 'Yes yes.. Forward scouts.. Silence.'
If the massive amounts of chakra didn't let the people know that Yoichi and Kiji were there, the strands of lightning and blood sure do. A large number of the shinobi on the ground are caught in the tails of one or the other and thus disabled from defending the wagon. However, as their positions are now known, the ones on the top of the wagon start their own attack. As they start to go through hand-seals, a snow flurry begins and dozens of enormous golems of snow start to rise from the ground and charge Yoichi and Kiji with intent to clobber them and keep them from further attacking the wagon.
Well, the guys on the ground aren't so great, but the ones on top of the wagon are no slouches. Despite having his defense prepared, Yoichi is unable to avoid the freezing touch of the giant golem swinging at him… Being made of water, this is definitely not a battle where he has the advantage. He's knocked to the side a bit, but that doesn't stop him from stabbing his swords into the ground and sending a charge into the sky as he brings his hands into a seal. A moment later, the clouds charge with an extreme amount of lightning that then comes down as a massive pillar of lightning that branches off into strands aimed at the men on the ground as well as those on top.
Kiji managed to nail one of the guys she'd aimed for, but her attention was automatically on the guys above as they began their attacks, chakra telling her that she would be facing them next. One part of her was focused on those around her while the other was paying attention to Yoichi and Naoya's status and locations.
She could sense the snowmen.. sort of. She managed to deflect a good amount of the snow-based monsters, but one did manage to land a solid hit past her defense of rings. An ice shard sank into her shoulder from behind and she frowned. R But there was no time to think. she could sense Yoichi's next attack, recognised it easily and.. timed herself just right so that she leapt into the air — height aided by her blood whips — a second before the thunder struck the enemy. Had it been normal lightning she would not have jumped higher, but since she just didn't want to be grounded along with the enemy she timed it precisely. And when she came down her eyes had changed. Black sclera with ice blue eyes. Even as Yoichi's lightning spent itself, blood needles exploded from Kiji, spraying little crystallized bits all over.
Her feet landed lightly, silently, (showing she had been practicing taijutsu as well) on the wagon. She lifted her hand delicately and all that blood she had seeded the ground with turned into a giant web converging on the men atop the wagon, trying to sink into their clothes and skin, to bind them with blood webbing stronger than steel….
Kiji and Yoichi's onslaught is quite successful in annihilating the majority of the foot soldiers. Even better, Kiji manages to catch some of the shinobi on the cart in her web of blood and bind them up. Despite the blood on the ground behind them and the number of them bound, the shinobi don't lose focus. Rather, those who aren't bound continue to move through hand-seals and create more and more giant beasts of snow to come after Yoichi and Kiji in a vicious assault intended to keep them back.
As more snow monsters come at them, Yoichi steps into the final level of the Hydrification Technique and is able to allow the strikes of the beasts to pass right now through him. Looks like there's no point in trying to hold back in this mission with the level of shinobi they're dealing with. At this point, with something bigger waiting for them, it wouldn't be unwise to call retreat, but not yet… They have an opportunity to gain important knowledge in this war. If they can't STOP these people, maybe they can at least learn something about what they're dealing with by seeing what's inside the cart.
With that in mind, the Swordsman whips back his blades, creating another huge mass of whips that he rains down on the cart. Most of them are going after the men atop it, but not all. The objective of some of them is to knock some of the side doors on the cart open so they can see what's inside.]
Kiji didn't seem to move as the attacks came for her this time, but her blood did. Forming bands around her and deflecting blows and ice shards as they came at her, blood forming concentric circles going in all directions. She turned her head to the side, black on ice blue eyes glancing at the monsters before tracking the cakra back t the wielders. She leapt up, blood springing her into the air a fraction of a second before Yoichi's lightning would hit again. And at that critical juncture she would not be touching the ground, but then the blood touched the ground, keeping her up.
One of Kiji's attributes in certain battles was she seemed to have a sense of drama. Her attacks were visually impressive and followed through with brutal strength, but the blood, the way it moved and her eyes all combined to make something that sailors had in the past considered some kind of sea witch or blood goddess. Now was no exception. She barely moved her hand before tails wit thorns along them flashed for those closest to her including some caught in her web, her intent to knock them out so they could be questioned later. She turned just enough to cast a glance toward Yoichi and the cart, her focus turned in that direction for a moment….
With the Kirigakure ninja stepping up their game, the snow monsters don't do much good. In fact, they manage to thoroughly stun and damage a good number of the them, binding them up in lightning and blood upon the top of the constantly moving wagon. Still, there's some of them standing and fighting. Rather than bringing more snow monsters, however, they send a massive wind of ice shards at them with intent to shred them to bits.
Meanwhile, further up the path, Naoya's spiders or he himself might detect the presence of something more powerful coming. Of course, there wouldn't be a whole lot of time to figure out who before a flurry of massive ice shards drops down from the sky and attempts to impale him.
Fighting against so many with the ability to freeze is definitely not the thing to do for a Hozuki. While Yoichi tries to use his natural defense, the bladed flurry manages to prevent him from doing so and slices through his skin in many places. Still, despite the blood flowing from him, he continues forward, slamming his blades into the ground again and sending a bolt into the sky, which in turn brings down another pillar of lightning that chases after the cart while it branches off to strike at those stunned by the whips of lightning and blood as well as those still moving.
Kiji had turned her attention away from her enemies for a single moment but that was long enough. The girl who never reacted to pain finally did. Her eyes grew wide as she felt time slow, ice sinking deeply into her body and throwing her backwards off her pillar to crash hard into the dirt. She coughed and looked down at herself. But where in her Rage she would have growled and leapt forward, now she seemed cold and calm. The ice was melted quickly while still in the wounds and Kiji stood, ribbons of blood floating around her as she got to her feet.
Looking towards the side, before the ground vibrating time and time again with the savage strikes behind him, some of the were followed by thunderous crackles but many of them were not. 'Forward.. They won't die that quickly.' It was only at the last moment when Naoya would quickly whip his arms forward, starting into a spiral dance though he is only rewarded with dozens of shards shedding his freshly spun silk and cutting deep within his side, chest and along his arms though with his luck the wounds weren't that deep. Moving a hand behind himself, the young man begins to rapidly look around, trying to find the source of the source of the frigid strike. "Weave.. Tend to those wounds now.." is growled out with a raising tone. While no other person was near him, someone began to staunch the flow of blood, cleaving him stained yet not a drop more would flow freely.
Though the shinobi throw up a massive wall of ice around the wagon, the strands of lightning still manage to break through and destroy those that were stunned by the previous attacks, and there's even an opening in the wagon now that one might get through to see what's inside, but not enough to see from outside it. And the others are still ready to attack and doing so still. It also so happens that they are now approaching the area where Naoya is being attacked by a woman matching the description and clone Yoichi created of the woman that froze him in ice on the borders of the Land of Water a few years ago. Through a combined jutsu on their part, a massive storm of ice shards begins to rain down on all three Kirigakure shinobi and intent on disabling Naoya's trap.
This is not Yoichi's day. With the giant wind of icy death coming his way, he is once again shredded head to toe. Letting out a growl, he is pushed back a bit and looks over to Kiji then back to the wagon…. This is getting to be a dire situation, one that could have some rather nasty results but they NEED the information of what's in that wagon at the very least. Even if Kirigakure might some day fall, there's no way it's going to be because he failed to do what was necessary. "… Flurry it." With that he swings his blades back, creating a huge mass of whips to latch onto both flesh and the wagon before he literally pulls himself toward the wagon with its momentum, particularly aimed at the hole so he can go inside the wagon and see what's inside should his efforts be unimpeded. He's rather likely to pay for this tactic in quick fashion after their targets get up or if his 'friend' in this crew gets close enough, but sometimes you have to take a high risk to get the high reward.
Kiji could sense both Naoya taking a hit as well as Yoichi. They weren't small either. And once again her focus cost her. Ice ripped into her flesh again, making her turn on the source of the attacks. She narrowed her eyes and once more sprig boarded herself forward on bands of blood, following after Yoichi even as she looked for that larger source of chakra…. As he went, seeing Yoichi's bid to enter the wagon she aimed for those in his path….
Time and time again, the shards rained down onto the young Okumo, shredding almost every ounce of silken protection that he would begin to amass around himself, and likewise the cage that he had been working on around the targeted forces. Kicking off the ground and away from where he was, Naoya wasn't simply repositioning but he was beginning to seemingly flee the battle front. Not once turning back, the young man's figure began to flicker from tree to brush to the canopy again, trying to using his erratic movements to lose those watching him though those that did continue to watch would notice his silk was beginning to overflow, wrapping around his body and ever thickening layers.
Naoya is allowed to flee, as Yoichi has made himself the focus of the attack with his tactic of getting inside the wagon, though he did manage to stun most of the remaining shinobi on his way inside. Still, that doesn't stop the leader from leaping onto the side of the wagon herself to come inside and send a flurry of ice shards at the Hozuki while one of the remaining shinobi on the roof does the same to Kiji. "So we meet again. It's been some time. I thought you might have forgotten about me," the woman says with a sly smile as she attempts to eviscerate Yoichi.
As he figured, Yoichi is going to pay for this tactic, but he's now gotten a look inside and knows what he was looking for. He's unable to use his signature defense to avoid damage, which winds up with him impaled by many shards of ice. While he bleeds and falls back, he glances around to get a last look at the interior of the wagon before he turns one of his arms into a giant version of itself and literally spins to punch out the back of the wagon and allow himself to fall out it and skid on the ground. "… Fall back!" he calls out to Kiji and Naoya, even though Naoya has already done so, the ground around him forming a bit of a pool of blood, though he's not totally disabled at this point.
Kiji frowned as she sensed that woman.. her chakra was. dark. unsavory. And Yoichi was hurt badly. She was gearing up for another attack wen Yoichi came crashing out of the wagon and called for a retreat. Kiji blinked, then frowned. She moved forward faster in order to catch up to the wagon and gain as much momentum as possible….
She bent as she moved, scooping Yoichi up bridal style and leaping into the air in one smooth motion. Just as she neared the apex of her height she set her jaw and exerted herself hard. Blood exploded from her back, shredding her jounin flak jacket before snapping into place. Crimson wings bore she and Yoichi aloft and i great speed. She wasn't just gliding either. The wings pumped like a giant eagle and she gained height even as she strained to find the wind currents she could glide on.
She was determined and graceful, but it was clear that this jutsu was extremely grating on the new Okumo. Sweat beaded on her forehead even as she clutched the wounded Yoichi tightly to her….
Coming to a pause over a hundred meters away, Naoya had yet to slow the formation of silk though three of his left arms were becoming linked, holding onto a single crescent object forged from chitin. Using his first and third right arm, several cords of silk were woven from one end to the next while the second hand was covering the Okumo's mouth, holding back a cough or something more vile that was still for the time within his mouth. Those that were close would see what would be more of a creature than a person, echoing the clothing he wore was shingled plates of orange though his hair, his face and most identifying marks were now covered in a dark golden armor that lacked any metal polish.
As he's scooped up, Yoichi blinks and looks up to see that Kiji has picked him up and is using a rather impressive jutsu to fly them away from the battle. His eyes lid as he heals himself from the inside out using his water jutsu and finally close before he can compliment her on it… Still, while the wagon speeds away, he managed to get the information they needed, even if they couldn't steal the items. At least some parts of the mission were accomplished, enough that he should be able to piece the information together with what the men they captured knew.
Kiji kept her mind open for naoya's signature n case she ad to go back for him, and at the same time she was focused on helping Yoichi as well. Her healing was cut short of course, but she did try. Finally, some distance away from the wagon Kiji glided down, misjudged the landing and wrapped her wings around Yoichi protectively as she took the heaviest impact herself while keeping Yoichi from further harm. But once they were down, Kiji didn't get up. She lay there, panting, her wings wrapped protectively around her sensei for a long moment before moving away and suddenly shattering, dusting the ground with chakra-dried blood.
The flight had been hard on her, visibly so. And blood seeped from the corner of her lips and a bit from the eyes while her entire back was soaked. She panted softly, shallowly. Yoichi would be able to tell she was very very low on chakra at that point.
« Debriefing »
Putting distance between the Kiri shinobi and the enemy was important. Kiji had snatched up Yoichi and flown — literally — away with him clutched tightly. She flew until she came to a crash landing. But then she took the impact, protecting Yoichi even from that little bit of further injury.
By the time Naoya would reach them he would find Yoichi and Kiji side by side, blood covering the ground beneath them and Kiji's entire back. There were two holes torn in her flak jacket as well.
Yoichi had passed out mid-flight. Kiji was on the edge of passing out, blood at her mouth and at the corners of her dull eyes. Her breathing was shallow, panting, and she had lost control of her chakra and thus the blood she controlled.
A bit after the crash, Yoichi would finally stir and look up at Kiji. "…. Thank you, Kiji," he says before picking himself up off the ground and looking between her and Naoya. "The tactic was reckless, I know, but I was able to get a look inside the wagon to see what they had there." He tilts his head side to side, cracking his neck, and then reaches down to help Kiji up. "I'm going to need some time to go over what all I found there before I can put it all together, though."
It would be some time before the young Okumo would meet up with them, rather than leaving immediately after the call to withdraw was relayed he remained in position holding his shot. Only once the wagon and the woman was moved away from his sight he would turn around and starts to make his way closely towards the road to assess the damages and continuing on until he rendezvous with the pair. With a muffled voice, a seemingly mouthless Naoya would look from one to the other, looking at the pair over carefully taking in their condition. "Withdrawing and being left in those conditions.. Was the threat assessment wrong?" Shifting his gaze towards Yoichi, his head cants to one side with curiosity or confusion. "The target is.. was there. Wasn't the goal to silence her?"
Kiji looked up as Yoichi moved but did not move herself right away. She took a deeper breath and set her jaw as Yoichi offered her the hand up. Moving stiffly Kiji managed to get to her feet by the time Naoya arrived. She leaned against a tree and bent over, panting lightly, slowly forcing her breathing into a more even pace.
But Naoya was right. The target was there… But hadn't the goal been to gather information? "W..we did not intend to confront her.. did we? We.. It was.. just information wasn't it?" Had one of the prisoners managed to get a lie past the interrogators?
"The level of threat they posed was about right, but, with her added into the mix, the level of the mission was beyond what we were prepared for," Yoichi comments as he looks over to Naoya then shakes his head. "And Kiji is correct. The goal of the mission had nothing to do with her. It was to gather information and attempt to steal wagon to slow their progress down. The first part was vital, the second optional. Since we achieved what we came for, there was no sense in risking our deaths to kill what was left of that brigade since they would simply be replaced with more like them. One of the first things a Jounin should know is that pointless overzealousness will you get killed, and it will still be pointless when you're dead."
With his face little more than chitin, his facial expression would be lost, only offering Yoichi a slight bow before standing upright once again. "With the task completed, what shall the next objective be, or are we to return back to the village or continue to another site?" Turning from the swordsman, Naoya focuses onto the young woman still recovering, shifting his focus onto her eyes as if they held an answer before starting to look around the area, checking for supplies. "I will make sure to be more clear in questioning the true objectives."
Kiji understood Naoya's feelings on the matter. She would have liked to take out the woman as well, cut off the head so to speak. But she knew that considering the number of jounin class fighters present, Kiji, Naoya and Yoichi combined couldn't fight them /and/ someone of a swordsman or higher ranking.
Kiji took a deep deliberate breath and stood up fully, flushing a little under Naoya's scrutiny. Had he seen her wings? They weren't anything to be ashamed of but she wasn't an expert on using them yet either… "We all would like to take her down, Naoya-san.. We just weren't prepared for it today." She would wait for Yoichi's answer to Naoya's questions, though.
"We need to get back to the village to regroup, and I need lay out and discuss the information I've obtained with the Kage and other village leaders," Yoichi replies then looks over to Kiji and nods. "I have a score to settle with that woman myself. She's bested me twice, but I won't let a desire for kill her endanger the greater mission and thus endanger the village for the fact that I couldn't wait for revenge. A shinobi must always keep the bigger picture in mind." With that he turns and starts to walk in the direction of their ship that will take them back home to Kirigakure.
"Misunderstand Kiji-san.." is begun in a muffled voice though the second right arm lifts up and grasps within the mouth slit before ripping suddenly, fracturing his jaw plate but he doesn't toss it away, but kept it in his grip. "Complications annoy me.. blood is not what I desire.. Not this one, I doubt I will be permitted to examine and experiment on the subject while alive. What I desire is a clear goal." Silencing himself, Naoya opens his mouth suddenly and bites down onto the plate, soon forcing it to dissolve and allow him to bite a chunk free. The young man would continue to eat each plate slowly before following within Yoichi's wake.