Date: March 9, 2013
Itami encounters a grievous situation and responds like the hero she is.
"Moved by Pity"
Land of Wind
Somewhere out there in the Land of Wind, there's a little town by the name of Gouben. It's a popular stopping point for travelers, being set on an oasis at the edge of where the territory really turns into desert. People will go there to restock on food and water and wait out the heat of the day before plunging into the sandy wastes. It's not a booming city, but it does some brisk business.
So when the streets of Gouben are empty and quiet, anybody familiar with the surrounding country ought to realize something's up. How could this thriving community have turned so hollow? There haven't been any reports of a disaster or migration. Why would the population of a town just up and disappear?
…Maybe that ragged little girl sitting on the steps of that house and sniffling can shed some light on these questions?
Itami wandered around the Land of Wind often. It was a big place, after all and there was plenty to see around here. The delta area was popular as it was fertile with a river feeding the area with water. With Gouben being in this area, it's no wonder it was a popular spot for rest.
Well, 'was' is a key word. Now, there's no onen here. She looks around at how desolate it is and naturally grows concerned. What happened here? That's the only question on her mind so far, but it fades once she spots the young girl sitting at a house sobbing to herself. She approaches her carefully asking, "Are you hurt? Do you need help?"
The little girl looks up suddenly, seeming shocked and frightened by the appearance of another person. But after a moment of blinking away tears and peering at Itami's face, she leans forward and cries out earnestly. "N-nee-san! Help me, p-please! They've g-got 'em! Everybody! My M-mommy an' Daddy, an' nice ol' Mogo-jiisan, an' Yosa-kun, an' an' an'…*HIC!*" ;.; It takes some time for the distraught little girl, who calls herself Kyogi, to explain the situation through her sobbing. Apparently a group of nasty men had come to town and grabbed several of the local children, holding them hostage against the villagers. Being a small, close-knit community, the people of Gouben had decided to give in to the outlaws' demands, which eventually led to the entire population being rounded up and marched out of town. They'd been taken to a cave not too far away to be held prisoner. Kyogi had managed to escape by sheer chance, tripping and falling in the dark and being passed over by the outlaws without them noticing. She'd run back to town to try and find help, but there was nobody there anymore and she didn't know what to DOOOOO~! DX
Nee-san? Itami wasn't used to being called that by anyone but her own sisters. Heck, it even took her time to grow used to being a -sama, but that passed eventually. As the girl leans forward, she extends her arms to catch her, thinking she might go flying off the stairs or something. "I'll help you and get your family back and everyone," she offers to her with assurance heavy in her words. "I just need to know what happened," she started and so the girl began to explain the situation as best as she could. Once she was done, she placed her hands on the girl's shoulders and said, "Do you think you'll be okay here? Are there any villages nearby that would take you in? I can take you there for your safety and head off to the cave to get them back. Kyogi," she smiled, "Don't cry much longer. I'm going to need you to be strong for those that were taken away. Your compassion will be my weapon against those that have driven the villagers out of here."
Kyogi wraps her arms around Itami's waist and squeezes tightly. "Oh, th-thank you, Nee-san! You're so good and brave!" Kyogi lets go and wipes her eyes, then screws up her face determinedly. "I'll…*swallow*…I'll be strong, like you! I'll take you to where they are! Don't worry about me!" >.<
A little while later, Kyogi has led Itami out to the cave where the outlaws are hiding. Sounds of roistering echo faintly from within; the bandits are probably whooping it up over the success of the their plan, whatever it is. Kyogi hides behind Itami while peering into the darkness. "Th-that's where they are…b-be careful, Nee-san." c.c;
<Weather> Clouds gather and darken, bringing the threat of rain, although the temperature remains warm and pleasant.
Itami returns the squeeze offered to her from Kyogi until the girl decided to let go herself. "Alright! I'll follow you to the cave. From there, I'll take care of the rest," she nodded affirmatively. So, off they went to the cave and she has to say, it was not as deep as she had thought it'd be. This might make her job a bit more difficult or perhaps more easier depending, she thinks. "I'll be okay. Thank you for leading me here. I think you should find a place to hide yourself just in case. It wouldn't do well to have you exposed out here…" From there, she headed off into the cave to face off with the bandits.
Within the cave, the sounds of bawdy singing lead toward the bandit's location. The glow of firelight can soon be seen on the cave walls, beckoning further into the tunnel. And then, sure enough, there are the outlaws. They're seated around a campfire, roaring out their ballad with little concern for key or harmony. Drinking mugs are much in evidence. One thing not in evidence, though, are the townspeople who are supposed to be captive here. Is there some hidden crevice in here they were forced through, or —
Kyogi appears in the tunnel behind Itami, her hands held up in a seal. There is a sudden powerful JOLT of lightning on Itami's back, around where Kyogi was squeezing her earlier. The bandits suddenly abandon their revelry and surge out to tackle and pin Itami.
"Welcome to the hideout of the Bleeding Heart Gang." >)
Itami made it just far enough to see the bandits down the way. She began to consider how to attack them, especially since there weren't any villagers here. Wait… No villagers here?
As she was addressed by Kyogi, she began to turn around, but was struck in the back with lightning. It surged through her body and she shoute in pain before being silenced with a tackle and pin to the ground by the Bleeding Heart Gang. She was struggling to see, but didn't have much luck. Besides, that lightning did a number on her. She could only groan and pass out afterward.
When Itami comes to, she is unsurprisingly bound, with chakra-unreactive ropes. She's also inside of a crate, with just a few holes in the sides to let air through. Each of her wrists is tied to a metal shaft on either side of the crate, presumably to keep her from using handseals. Peering out of the holes can reveal a few scant bits of information. She's outside the cave now, in a somewhat elevated position. The bandits are busy placing various boxes and things near Itami's crate. "All that work setting up a fake copy of that town, and we're leaving after drawing just one sucker into the trap," grumbles one bandit. Kyogi is amongst the bandits now, acting much more like an adult. "Look, I don't care that we just got here, this is too big a chance to sit on. Do you realize who we just caught? That's Council Member Watanabe Itami!" "I heard she quit," supplies another bandit. "Whatever! She's still gotta have some juicy bounties on her head." "So what? She's not going anywhere now," argues the first bandit. "If our genjutsu's good enough to put her a few miles off course, that means we should be able to steer anybody into the trap, right? Why can't we just grab a few more before we cash in?" "Because I don't like it, that's why! Now get a move on!" The first bandit sighs, and there is the sound of him clambering over wood. "Okay, whatever, you're the boss…<mutter>squirt</mutter>." :P
There is a whip-crack and a lurch, and the scenery starts to move by with the clopping of horse-hooves. Oh noes, Itami's going to be sold to the Hutts! D: Or something. c.c What can she do to escape this mess?
Itami looks around at where she's at. She's…in a box. Sigh. Another box. Well, at least this one is one that she can escape from. Let's see… She's bound up, has a few holes to look out of. Apparently, she's been duped by the Bleeding Heart Gang with one well placed genjutsu. She supposes they managed to latch hold of her caring heart and turn it against her. Admittedly, she thinks she should have known better about what she was getting into. Sigh.
"Hey!" She called out. "I came looking for villagers and all I got was this lousy box! I want my ryo back!" Not like she paid anything… "But uh, yeah, I'm absolutely sure I didn't come along to be sent somewhere. So, stop the wagon. I want to get off."
For a moment, the wagon actually does seem to be slowing down, but with a cross word from Kyogi, it resumes pace. Kyogi plants a foot on top of the box and talks down at Itami. "So you're awake in there, huh? Are you seriously going to try to talk your way out of this? Fat chance. Just shut up and enjoy the ride. It's probably gonna be your last." >)
"Yeah, I woke up. Had a nice nap, but these cramped quarters are terrible. I think I deserve better arrangements for the price that I would fetch, don't you think?" She speaks to Kyogi despite the cross word offered her way and subsequent foot on her box. "This ride is hardly enjoyable because like I mentioned, it's uncomfortable. Do you mind if I make myself a bit of room?" She didn't wait for much more questioning as she began to use a single hand to perform handseals and perform the wind cutter technique on her box and bindings.
Kyogi furrows her brow. "What? Wait, you're bluffing, you can't…" Despite her words, Kyogi backs off a bit from the box, and it's a good thing for her as Itami BLASTS OUT OF THERE! Kyogi nearly falls back out of the wagon, arms flailing. "NO! HOW!? YOU WERE — GYAH!" >.<; Kyogi desperately runs through some handseals. Her visage seems to become unbearably cute and endearing. "Nee-saaaaan~, you wouldn't hurt me, would you?" @.@ Meanwhile, the other members of the gang scramble to get into the wagon and help subdue Itami.
"Yes, in fact, I would," Itami began and approached Kyogi. She began to act as if she was about to deliver a powerful blow to her, but instead she attacked with a fluid strike that almost seemed to brush off of her form. The after image of mist left behind was a hint of what her ability did, at least, to those that were familiar. A chill would have run through Kyogi's body at that moment and paralyzed her for a bit. "That only works when I'm unaware, by the way," she stated to her. Now to take care of the rest of these guys. She figured she'd use the same techniques on them so she wouldn't have to bring that much harm to them. If they knew that much about her, they'd have really tried a lot harder to put her down. Hm. Wonder what's up with these guys?
Kyogi wasn't all that confident that her genjutsu would be able to manipulate Itami's emotions effectively, but it was the best card she had to play. x.x She stiffens in fear as Itami makes her strike, then is nonplussed for a fraction of a second, until the paralysis hits her. #.#; The other bandits surround Itami, but they hesitate, each waiting for one of the others to go first when their victim isn't already shocked into submission. c.c; One of them down on the ground, apparently also specializing in genjutsu, attempts to get into the part of Itami's brain which controls sense of balance and throw it off. "Now! Get 'er!" A couple of the more plucky bandits jump at Itami, followed by the rest.
"Ah, that's one down…" Itami states as she prepares herself to face off with the remainder of the fighters. After having genjutsu used on her twice, she was a bit more wary to it than before, so as she begins to move and sees that her balance isn't all that it was before, she grumps and mutters to herself. "Are they all just genjutsu?" Granted, she did receive a shock earlier, so that may not be all that they have up their sleeve. She placed her hands together and performed Kai to remove the influence of the genjutsu from her mind and proceeded to take out the other bandits in the same fashion she did Kyogi.
The Bleeding Heart Gang are shinobi that specialize in collecting bounties on other shinobi, but they don't do it by being extraordinarily formidable themselves. They fall before the expert strikes of one of Sunagakure's best, crumpling into heaps and awkward ragdolls over the side of the wagon. x.x Being outlaws, the Bleeding Heart Gang has a bit of a bounty on their own heads from more legitimate sources, including Sunagakure. Itami just fulfilled a B-rank mission without having set out to do so in the first place. n.n MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!