Date: July 26, 2013
Jon and Iminari investigate reports of an extortioner attacking rural villages.
Mountain River Bed [Land of Lightning]
The trail down the mountain is very wide, very neat, and almost sandy. It is steep, but the waters that once rushed down the now barren river bed have left it swept clean of large rocks. The only hazardous part of the trip up the mountain would be the risk of slipping off one of the steeper slopes. Otherwise, it is a rather easy walk up the mountain.
The loud roar of rushing water can be heard to the west, and a trail leads in that direction, straight across the slope of the mountain. Further north lies the peak of the mountain, followed up the riverbed, while further south the beaches of the distant waters can be glimpsed at the foot of the mountains.
Terror in the Land of Lightning! Well, on a pretty small scale, relatively speaking, but terror nonetheless. A lone ninja has been going around threatening various small villages, destroying their houses and promising more deadly violence if he is not paid off. Initial reports reaching Kumogakure are fuzzy, mainly emphasizing the man had dark skin and light hair (so, probably a Yotsuki) and was wearing a Kumogakure forehead protector. Has one of Kumogakure's own gone rogue? Well, they did lose contact with a shinobi of that description shortly before the attacks started, although he didn't have any previous history of causing trouble. e.ea At any rate, Jon and Iminari were sent out to investigate the case. They're now approaching one of the first villages that was attacked. "Almost there," Jon remarks. "Keep an eye open, some criminals watch their victims to try and prevent them from getting help." Scruvo nods sagely. "Aye, an' be lookin' fer 'andsome young lads too, bein' th'new filly in town gives ya a leg up on — YOWP! Does it always 'ave t'be th'tailfeathahs?" >.<;
EVERYONE PANIC! Well… not really. Losing a house is pretty bad, though broken homes were simply backed with threats. Even a child could destroy a home if they /really/ wanted to, so one can hope this man wasn't strong enough to back up his threats.
One could hope… though, one knew this wasn't the case.
Iminari, being set on the case not simply because the now believed 'terrorist' was actually a cousin of hers, that she was quite familiar with. Normally, being close to a cousin would not do much in order of hunting them down… especially when they're a far superior ninja. Though Imi was a special case, familiarity meant that she could 'hear' his chakra signature if he was not in clear sight.
"Aye!" Was her response to the commands, regaining her focus despite being a little tired at this point. Her eyes would eventually squint, learning to focus /very/ hard whenever Scruvo spoke to truly capture what he said, smirking slightly at the follow up. "Ah, eheh." A light blush barely shows, "I'm not really good at… that part of being a woman, also…" Imi looks towards Jon, "Jon-sensei, are we going to get a little rest once we reach the town?" The young woman has been a ninja for a year and still wasn't accustomed to travel, feet already hurting, she could only hope for some sort of rest! "Um… you know, not entirely necessary!" A big grin follows, "Not necessary. Just curious, eh…heheheh."
"Well, that's why y'got me around t'help! If I kin get a stoic workaholic like Jonny-boy 'eah hitched with th'foxiest kunoichi in th'Land o' Lightnin', 'elpin' a pretty liddle package like you catch the eye of a local lad should be a breeze." :D "Scruvo, you got in the way of our courtship more than anything." e.e "That's wot you think." :P Jon rolls his eyes, then replies to Iminari. "We won't be moving anywhere much for a while, if that's what you mean. Might even get to sit down for a bit. We need to talk with the townsfolk, get their testimonies about what happened. I'll be relying on you for some good records-keeping." ;)
On arriving in the town, they're greeted by the elders, who give them a quick tour of the damage done by the rogue ninja. Examining the damage, it seems typical of mid-level lightning ninjutsu — focused, almost explosive blasts which knock in walls and occasionally start fires. The testimony of the townsfolk verifies this, as some of them did see lightning bolts being cast at the damaged houses. As for description of the attacker, they don't get much more specific than what's already been said, which isn't too surprising as the attacks took place at night and people tend not get a good impression of strangers' faces when there are dangerous things like LIGHTNING-CRACKLING HANDS keeping their attention. Jon turns to Iminari. "Iminari-san, can you think of any questions to ask which could tell us whether the perpetrator is…who we think it might be?" :/ Scruvo points a wing toward a group of local boys. "Psst, try askin' them, they think you're cute!" ;)
Iminari observes the interactions between Scruvo and Jon with a mild smile, the smile nearly looking nervous as if afraid to interrupt. For now, she simply nods to the bird, trying to dissuade him seemed a bit impossible with his personality, though she tries a bit. "I'm fine without boyfriend, honest!' especially given the fact that they were here on a mission, where you know… people were attacked. Though at least she had the hope of sitting as he spoke with people. "Well, I'm not entirely sure what to ask that you wouldn't really think of. As much as I knew Soma-kun… I did see very little of him training. All I know is that he was a strong believer of Taijutsu. If it wasn't taijutsu it was useless to him. So any hints of pure ninjutsu or even some genjutsu on the village would mean that we're looking for the wrong person." Imi tilts her head.
"That… doesn't really help though does it." Granted none of the villagers really knew how this man attacked, minus the whole lightning aspect. "Um… let's see. If you give me a moment, I can try to see if I recognize any of the chakra residue…." She turns and looks to a singed hole in the wall of the building. "Though my chakra sensing isn't all that great, so perhaps that won't do us much good." Her head tilts towards the building, she was inspecting, with a villager… male of course, handsome at that standing outside.
Scruvo's words come to mind and this time her blush is actually fully visible, romanticizing the possible conversation that could occur. "Um… we could also, trying to figure out how fast the assault was… maybe find out what sort of voice he had, if he did threaten them verbally?.
"Oh, he threatened us verbally all right," one of the elders assures them. "Ranted and raved about how he'd bury us all in rubble if we didn't give him all the ryo he could carry. Gravelly sort of voice, deep and throaty." There's no real indication of Soma's chakra present, from all Iminari would be able to tell. Jon nods slowly while pondering the facts. "Hmm. Not definitive proof by any means, but enough evidence to guide our investigation. Let's assume for the time being that Soma-san isn't the perpetrator. That leaves several questions. Who is the perpetrator? How did he get a Kumogakure forehead protector? Why did we lose contact with Soma-san?" Jon frowns. "There's an unpleasant possible answer to the second two questions. I think we'd better follow up on Soma-san."
While Jon looks through the dossier on Soma he brought along to find out what Soma's last assignment was and where it was supposed to send him, Scruvo flutters after Iminari. "Ask 'im to escort ya outside th'village in th'direction th'baddie chap left," he mutters in her ear. The handsome young man glances at Iminari and blinks. "Huh? Did you say something?" He cranes his head to look around her. "Oh hey, a pet crow…I didn't know you could tame them." o.o Scruvo pretends to look aimlessly around in typical bird fashion.
"Generally when a protector is lost, it is instantly reported, for these reasons specifically." Iminari taps her bottom lip a few times, "Nothing has been reported…. and as far as I know, no one has returned from a mission, severely injured, missing such an item which could also be the case." Iminari listens to all that is stated, seeming to be more into the mission now that they were actually getting into it and also now that Jon put up the fact that Soma could potentially not be the perp. "Soma-kun…"
Iminari thinks back on this all, mostly muttering to herself in all honesty, until the young man looks her way. She blinks a few times, bashfully. "Ah… n-no. Well yes.. I uh did say something, but not the uh." Iminari points to Scruvo as if any decent person would believe a pet bird would be chatting…especially now that Scruvo is acting all innocent. She pouts and then follows his advice, "can you… escort us in the direction if he went?" She asks, very low in volume.
"It will give us a bit of a lead to, whoever this is…"
Jon sighs. "Well, other possibilities remain, as always…the protector could've been lost a long time ago, or it could've been fake, nobody got a really close look at it after all. In detective work, it often takes quite a while to narrow down the possibilities, and you just have to follow the most likely path." The young man blinks and leans closer. "Huh? I can't hear what you're saying…" Scruvo gives Iminari a light peck on the side of her head, trying to make her stumble into him. :3
Jon puts his finger on a page of the dossier. "Here we go. He was sent on a wildlife survey, checking the population levels of animals…one of his stops was actually pretty close to here. Let's go see if we can pick up his trail." Jon heads off out of town.
Iminari bows her head and gives a liht sigh, gathering herself before looking up. "What I was saying was…" She stands straight, bold and louder now, "Could you escort u-ow." Iminari flinches away from Scruvo, though does her best to not bump into the man. Her eyes shift and gives a helpless expression in the way of Scruvo silently saying 'why? :(' Though Jon begins to pick up on where to go next himself, so she turns the man who attempted to help them, and bows, "Thank you." She turns to Jon, avoiding all eye contact with Scruvo and making that action painfully obvious. "I'm not really great at tracking, this is going to make a great oppurtunity to track someone down in case I can't really make use of my sensing."
With Iminari resisting the nudge toward the young man, he is able, even with non-ninja reflexes, to bring his arms up and brace her shoulder against falling toward him. "Whoa. Guess that's why most folk don't have crows as pets." X) When Iminari bows and thanks him, he shrugs and waves. Scruvo glances back at the youth as they walk off. "Not a bad start, though it coulda been bettah," he mutters, either oblivious to or unphased by Iminari's pointed frostiness. "At least y'got some physical contact, but gettin' inside 'is arms was th'target. Y'gotta learn t'flow wi' the opportunities. Anyway, we'll 'ave t'look 'im up when we pass through again."
The trek out of town leads into a forested area, which isn't surprising considering Soma was supposed to be on a wildlife survey out here. Jon heads to the coordinates where the survey was supposed to take place and looks around. "Let's see…if I had to be out here for an extended period, with no particular expectation of needing to defend myself, I'd set up camp…in that clearing, probably." They head for the thinning area of trees, and as they approach, it becomes readily apparent that something has gone wrong in this vicinity. There are trees that have had chunks blasted out of them or been snapped in two entirely. What gruesome tale might be written in the remains of the clearing? :o
Iminari trails along behind the two with a bit of a shuffle, jotting notes down in a book. "Uh huh… that would make sense." She mumbles out seeming to be half there in the conversation. "Oh? That's…." Iminari looks up from the book, squinting ahead at the clearing and observing the bit of a mess that it has become. "Well, it's easy to say that something went down here…" Imi turns to Jon and motions him to give her a second. "There's something I've been working on, though not sure if it'll actually work… sometimes I can sense chakra residue, if this was a ninjutsu based attack or happened recent enough. Which…" Iminari looks over the damage, "I hope it was, something doing that sort of damage without the aid of chakra's not something I want to bump into." She places her hands on one of the trees and begins to focus, seeing if she could draw out anything, like perhaps what kind of jutsu were used or if this was done by the person they were in search of… which Jon put his detective skills to work.
Jon nods. "You do that, I'll check further in." The chakra traces remaining on the damaged trees are very faint, indicating that this happened a fair while ago. Even without that evidence, though, the scorch marks around the blasted sections are a sign that very few could miss. "Y'know wot I think?" Scruvo whispers conspiratorially. "I think this was done wi' lightnin'…th'same lightnin' wot blasted that village back there." Sage nod from the Dr. Watson of the avian world. -.-
"Iminari-san." Jon beckons from the clearing, staring downward. "Steel yourself…I've found him. I'm sorry, but can you give me an estimate on how long he's been here?" :/ Sure enough, it looks like the fight ended with Soma taking a bolt to the chest…and not surprisingly, his forehead protector's gone.
"Hrm… not getting much out of this." Iminari retracts her hand, only getting as much as Scruvo did. "Well that's a shame." She sighs and then Jon calls out to her, causing her to head over. Iminari does not necessarily steel herself, though the innocent looking girl was put through the shock imagery during her medical training and has seen her fair share of mortal wounds. This leaves her with only a slight look of sadness when she finds her cousin dead, lips shifting to a weak frown and brow drooping a bit.
She doesn't respond with anything other than flat out approaching the body. A quick look over and she crouches, with a simple seal she places her hands below the wound. Her expression shifts a bit as waves of visible green energy roll through the body.
"Odd." Iminari pulls her hands back, "He wasn't here long at all before this attack. I wonder if it was a random act of violence or if… he was wanted dead." Iminari turns around, "It seems as though he was aware of his attacker. There were wounds applied before the electric attack. His heart itself was destroyed in the attack."
Iminari reaches over to his hand, tightly holding a small blade held defensively. "He was skilled. He liked to be on the offensive, though it seems he couldn't do anything, but run. I don't know how skilled you are Taicho, though, do you think we should get back up?"
Jon furrows his brow. "It could've been random, theoretically…some crazed ninja attacked him for whatever reason, then thought it'd be a good idea to take his protector and impersonate a Kumo shinobi. Thing is, that's not a very good idea…even more so if it was premeditated." Jon glances around the clearing, trying to picture how the fight went from the marks left on the terrain. "There aren't too many people who'd believe that Kumo ninja would come to ransack their own nation's people with the backing of the village. If anything, that made it more certain that real Kumo nin would be sent to investigate. So either the perpetrator is pretty dumb, which would be odd for someone with this much ability, or his objective wasn't simply to shake down a bunch of helpless rurals." Jon shifts his jaw. "Something's strange about how this fight played out, too. The directions the lightning blasts came from…they're too scattered. He would've had to have been changing location and throwing out attacks incredibly quickly, or…"
The thought is interrupted by a loud crackling from the edge of the clearing! Jon instinctively throws up a shell of electrical charge around himself, just in time to absorb some of the force from a massive lightning bolt. It sends him flying regardless, into the nearby shrubbery. A man who looks very much like how the villagers described the mystery assailant jumps from hiding and dashes to close the distance. "Ha, knew they'd send you!" >D Scruvo takes off from Iminari's shoulder. "Look sharp lass, this is where th'ninja work starts!" O.O;
"I don't think it was to turn people against Kumo, maybe he was trying to get the attention of someone specific." Iminari mumbles and stands, as Jon continues explaining the situation. As he starts to draw conclusions, Iminari got too caught up in pondering how fast he was or how many there were. It was too the point that she lost her passive focus for seeking out chakra and it was too late when she actually did notice the new chakra source. "L-"
Jon was already flying backwards while Scruvo was taking off by the time she gave her attempted warning and she hops over the body, tumbling behind of a tree. "Oh no. Oh no." Oddly enough, in all her ninja career she had yet to be put in the line of a serious threat. For now, all she could do was gather chakra and observe. It appeared this man wanted Jon so maybe she was safe for now.
How many there were — good thought. Up until now there was only evidence of one perpetrator, but that doesn't mean he couldn't have accomplices. Which is why, though the charging man does seem to be ignoring Iminari for the moment, she's not really safe. There is another crackle from the other end of the clearing, and a lightning bolt is sent Iminari's way — a significantly less powerful one, but dangerous all the same. It seems to have been sent by a cocky-looking youth who pokes his head out of the bushes. "Did I get 'er? Is there anything left?" >)
Jon, meanwhile, rolls onto his knees from where he fell and reaches for his rod. The enemy leaps high with another charge of lightning building in his hands. "Hah, stupid move! Take this!" Jon draws the rod, but then quickly jams the end of it into the ground and lets go. The lightning bolt fired at him from above gets caught by the metal rod and channeled safely into the earth. "You seem pretty reliant on your lightning," Jon remarks, getting up. "What other tricks do you have?"
Luckily the surprise attack didn't target Iminari, giving her the chance to prepare herself for other strikes from the man. This of course led to her starting to focus on her sensory, allowing her to pick up on the next staticy chakra sound. "Huh…" Her attention shifts to it and soon another blast of lightning fires out, causing her to put her hands together in a seal and put up a wind buffer, letting the electricity arch around her.
"Not as troublesome." Iminari takes a few steps forward, seeming to attack the enemy head on. Handseals again, the younger boy might recognize this as preparation for a lightning jutsu as Iminari is surrounded by three harmless orbs of electricity.
"Kai" The orbs each explode into a blinding flash of light and when the light fades, Iminari was gone from the position, hoping to sneak up on the younger boy.
The attacking rogue nin hits the ground with a throbbing vein on his temple. "You smug snake, I'm gonna fry you to a crisp!" >.<# He rushes in with fists buzzing with electricity. Jon meets the assault with lightning chakra shielding his own hands. "You," he grunts, eyes narrowed at the maddened rogue while their hands push against each other and plasma wisps run down the space between their forearms. >.< Then Jon glances up at the foliage. "Scruvo, what'd I do to get a grudge against this guy again?" -.- Scruvo preens a wingfeather. "Beats me, I ain't got a good memory for 'uman faces, 'specially when they ain't pretty." :P The marauder's face gets even redder. "Wha — you put me away in the slammer for five years!!! I barely saw my son over all that time!!!" #>.<# Jon breaks the hold and sidesteps. "Figured it was something like that. I can't remember all the guys who're ticked at me for busting them, join the club." The rogue swings at Jon wildly, literally making sparks fly as Jon deflects the electrified blows. "I DID!!! WE HAD A FREAKIN' SUPPORT GROUP IN PRISON TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WE'D DO TO YOU WHEN WE GOT OUT!!!" DX
Meanwhile, the other rogue, presumably the son mentioned just now, does indeed recognize the signs for a lightning-based attack. If there's anything he's good at defending against, it's lightning, 'cause after all that's what Daddy was most able to train him against. :P Consequently, he quickly realizes what Iminari's up to and shields his eyes from the flash. "Hah, stupid girl! You can't trick me that easily!" >P Of course, Iminari does still have the advantage in elemental terms. The youth decides to pressure Iminari up close in an attempt to keep her from using that advantage. He draws a kunai and rushes in on the attack, slicing and stabbing at her in an undisciplined but effective street-flavored knife style.
"Iminari was not really quite the fighter and her speed was subpar, so she was really hoping on that distraction to close in on him. Though, he actually does the task for her and soon he was stabbing like a madman. Well, she sorta lucked out, he was in the range he wanted but there was the whole knife part… "Oh jeez, oh jeez." Iminari would narrowly evade multiple strikes, sweating from the tension until she spotted an opening…
Sort of an opening. The knife runs across her arm as she reaches out to place a hand on his chest. A small cry escapes Iminari, but it doesn't slow her as she aims for physical contact, releasing a wave of medical chakra to make his muscles go weak and leave him in a disabled heap.
The misguided youth grins wickedly on drawing a cry and a spurt of blood from Iminari. >D Then he suddenly feels his legs buckle underneath him and drops to the ground. o.O Scruvo flits over to a branch above Iminari and stares down at the collapsed boy. "Corks, you're even bettah than I thought — you kin melt a lad wi' a single touch! It's wasted on a rottah like 'im, though, you should try that on that buck back in town." :)
The elder rogue keeps up his furious assault on Jon, the constant lightning use wearing on him and slowing him without his notice. "They gave me half of what my time was worth to guard a vase priced at millions of ryo, what do you think I was gonna do?! And I woulda gotten away with it if you hadn't been involved! Five years of my life gone, over a stinkin' pot!" Jon finds enough of a break in the attacks to step back and form some handseals. "And now you've added murder to your list of charges, just to serve your anger toward me?" Suddenly the rogue nin feels as though he's been wrapped tightly in chains. o.O; "Not smart. You'll be lucky if you ever get out again." Looks like the enemy is pretty well disabled.
"Scruvo." Iminari does a quick handseal and blows into her wound causing it to seal itself up. "I'm sure if I used that on him with your intentions, that is illegal." Iminari pouts and reaches into her satchel and kneels down behind the boy. She rolls him over and pulls out some wire and strings his wrist up behind his back. "How's Jon doing?" She reapplies the muscle weakening technique with more energy now, to ensure he stays down for a while before getting up to observe the fight, Jon apparently holding his own easily enough, the enemy also out of control of his own body, though through Genjutsu. "Not the brightest of criminals, no wonder his plan wasn't all too elaborate." Iminari rubs the back of her neck, surprised he would go through this to try and jump a guy who he couldn't even beat!
Scruvo tilts his head. "Y'mean y'really can be criminally charming? Crikey, I always thought that was a turn o' phrase." :P Jon applies a pair of ninja cuffs to the defeated criminal. "For an emotionally-driven revenge plot, that was actually relatively well-planned," her remarks. "They probably weren't counting on me having backup, and modified their approach at the last second to deal with you being present. If they'd been able to ambush just me between the two of them, things might've turned out differently." Might've. e.e But anyway, the disappearance of a Kumo ninja and the attacks on the rural towns have both been resolved. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!