Date: July 6, 2015
Bandits are attacking the roads, using the name of the Recluse to garner fear. A band of shinobi is sent out to not only investigate these claims and clear out the bandits, but to help any trapped carts along the way.
Land of Fire
It's another lovely wet and rainy Konoha day. Dark clouds cover the sky and the rain falls down in sheets and torrents making it an altogether not very pleasant day. A little rain doesn't make the missions go away, however, and so it may or may not be a surprise when notices go out to meet up at the main gate and pack for the day being spent out of the Village. No specifics are given in the summons however, just the time and location.
Hige is there early, hood of his rain cloak back as he looks up towards the rainy sky and lets it beat it's coolness on him. Konsho is there too, soaked through and through is the large pup though he doesn't seem to mind it. He simply sits near Hige and waits.
Kurome had, restlessly, applied for a mission. Her request: any mission. Which is probably why both she /and/ Hige are on this small team despite the fact that only one was likely needed. "Hige-kun," the woman greets. "Konsho-kun," she says with a nod to the large ninken. She has on a cloak that is a bit waterproof for the rain, so she isn't soaked to the bone, at least.
A short boy, wearing the forehead protector of Konohagakure, a long black jacket and a wide-brimmed, conical hat slowly approaches the main gate. Raising the tip of the hat to look around reveals that his face is almost entirely covered by the combination of a cloth mask and a pair of sunglasses, which should be wholely unnecessary on a day like today. As he nears the other shinobi, the boy makes a curt bow and introduces himself. "Aburame Mokoto, reporting for duty," he says, readjusting the backpack on his shoulders.
Zori wanted a mission to go about and… wreck havoc. Since Hige wont let him do so otherwise. With that Zori heard about the mission through the grape vine and grabbed his back pack slinging it on to his back. Zori had already token out the time to put his supplies and stuff in it. He walked out the room down a pathway heading to the gate. When he arrived his eyes move directly on Hige. Zori doesnt even notice Kurome or Mokoto. Matter of fact hes never seen the young boy till now. Who is that? Once Zori heard the young boy speak out his name. Zori's eyes move away from Hige and over to Mokoto. "Another Aburame.. I remeber a female aburame my first day out of the academy. By the way.. if your bugs touch me. Your done." Zori had flashbacks of the creepy scary chakra draining bugs that almost ended Kyu's life.
Hige's eyes drift down at Kurome's scent reaches him, before even her words do. "Hey there Kurome. I was surprised to see you were coming along on this. Are things really that slow in the Uchiha village?" The words come with a faint teasing grin towards the older shinobi. "Perhaps we need to start a bit of an Inuzuka invasion to liven things up." The arrival of the Aburame earns his attention then and Hige offers a nod of greeting to the younger boy. "Inuzuka Hige. That's Konsho," he adds, thumbing down to the near four foot 'pup'. "File said this was your first mission, right?" Zori just gets a raised eyebrow from Hige when he arrives before the boy shakes his head slowly. So much work to do there. Well, that's everyone at least…
"Alright, let's get this started. This mission is two fold. There have been a number of reports of some unusual bandits attacking caravans along the main road and using the weather as a shield. Some accounts are even stating they claim to be from the Recluse, though it's difficult to say if that's certain or not." For now, at least…"We've also been getting reports of caravans getting stuck in the mud on the roads. We'll be helping anyone we find that's stuck and taking note of the locations so that the Daimyo can send out teams to care for it. Any questions?"
"The elders have me doing more paperwork than the Hokage, is what I'm thinking," Kurome replies with a light roll of her eyes. "It's gotten so bad that I would welcome an invasion to get some excitement." Then she nods slightly to Zori and Makoto when they arrive before commenting, "Sounds simple enough. Just don't expect too much out of me, Hige-Kun. I'm sadly still less than skilled.
Mokoto's expression is difficult to discern behind the mask as he looks at Zori. Without a saying a word, he shrugs and looks back to Hige. He nods as answers Hige's question, "Yes sir. I only graduated last week." After the explanation of the mission the short ninja asks, "The Recluse? Who are they? Should I be expecting our targets to have any particularly special abilities?" He glances over at Kurome, noting that the girl is an Uchiha, even if she claims to be unskilled.
Hige can't help but chuckle at Kurome's remarks, "We'll come up with something to liven it up for you, alright?" He promises before looking back to Mokoto. "The Recluse are a very bad group of people who tried to take something very precious from Konoha and have killed many people. They also recently attacked our ally, Kumogakure, and caused extreme damage to their Village in general." Hige explains that then pauses, letting it sink in. "Now like I said I don't know if these people are truly with the Recluse or just using their name. But we're going to be careful as we go until we know for sure."
"Regardless of their affiliation, they need to be stopped," Kurome says. "Ah… I'm Uchiha Kurome, by the way. It's nice to meet you." The woman turns to Hige, saying, "I'll keep an eye out…" Chakra flows into her eyes for the time being, and her Sharingan activates. Two tomoe interrupt the piercing red, and she gets to look at the world from a whole new perspective. Something she's still adjusting to.
Mokoto nods an agreement as Kurome speaks. "Sadly, I may not be much help once the battle begins, but I will do my best," he says as he begins to march toward the gates, his every step splashing in the puddles on the dirt road. He stops directly beneath the gates, looking back at the other shinobi as he waits for the mission to begin.
Hige nods his agreement with the Uchiha's words of stopping them regardless. OF course if it's really a group of Recluse then that just opens up other problems entirely, but one step at a time. "Alright. I think we're ready then." He looks back to Mokoto and smirks at the kid, "Don't worry. We all have our strengths and purposes. You'll also get some good experience with Kurome here." With that he gives a nod, "Let's go quickly, but be alert and obervant."
As they travel through the rain Hige takes the lead, moving at a decent pace without moving so fast as to leave anyone behind. Konsho brings up the rear, effectively covering both front and back. For the journey there is nothing really of note besides some travelers on the road. IT's not until almost an hour out that they finally come across some trouble. Hige calls a stop and drops from treetops to the ground on what appears to be just an open, empty expanse of road.
The Clan Head keeps near Mokoto, traveling beside the boy for the time being. She points out various details that aren't too significant to try and help him out. Then they stop, and she looks around. Kurome can detect chakra with those eyes of hers, as well as notice minute details. She's able to see a bit of movement and a bit of chakra through the trees, and she gestures slightly. "People, there. Waiting. It might be an ambush," she reports.
As he walks the trail, Mokoto notices something odd about the mud up ahead. Even with all the rain it seems… different. "There might be a concealed trap on the path as well," he whispers, nodding his head towards its location. He glances into the bushes where Kurome had been looking, but he can't discern any hint of people hiding there. "Okay then, what's the plan?" he asks, trying not to look panicked despite his inner turmoil. He'd never seen live combat before, and he mentally prepared himself as he took stock of the weapons hidden on his body.
Hige nods slightly as he listens to what the other two have to say, semi-feral eyes scanning the area quietly. "Definitely seems like they're waiting for someone to come along this path," he agrees quietly before glancing back at Mokoto and giving the boy a grin. "I think we can handle this though. They don't seem to be too intelligent so far." Hige considers for a few moments before he gives a slightly shrug, "Well, let's draw them out shall we?" It may not be the 'smartest' of possible plans, but it'll work for now. Nothing about the setup seems to point to any real talent amongst the bandits, making them phonies using a big name. Hige pulls his cloak hood up over his face before walking forward, waiting until he's 'stuck' before starting to look panicked. It works as the bandits start coming out from both sides to surround the wet area.
Meanwhile, Konsho has Mokoto and Kurome stay back a bit to spring their own trap, waiting until the men have shown themselves before the pup tells the two they can attack. "Don't kill any of them if you can," the pup says. After all, it's just bandits.
Mokoto sinks low as he watches the bandits emerge from the bush, his heart racing at the thought of impending violence. His stance is badly formed, but functional. The boy jumps forward at the nearest bandit with a flying kick aimed at the man's head, then lands and attacks with punch to the torso, his coat swirling out behind him and sending a spray of rain outwards as spins away. His move leaves several small kikaichu on his target, which immediately start to attack the man painfully.
Who's to say how or why, but these bandits do not really seem the physical type. That becomes even more apparent when they just kind of shrug off the genjutsu effects of the Uchiha Head. They don't seem to be quite as good when it comes to ouchie hurtie type stuff, but they aren't slouches either. The first two attacks from Mokoto are dodged away from but then there's those bugs. One of the bandits isn't so lucky and he lets out a shout of surprise as he starts flailing around a bit, trying to swat them away. Two of the remaining turn their focus on the clan head then, making their own handseals and sending a wave of genjutsu that would make it seem like they were stabbing the woman. Mokoto gets the one remaining who apparently can defend genjutsu, but is not so good at using it as he pulls out a knife and starts slashing wildly at the boy.
As for Hige and Konsho, they've…vanished?
Kurome narrows her eyes a bit when it seems these bad guys can use genjutsu. Not many can do that! Especially not normal folk… Unless they're shinobi or had training. She makes a handseal, murmuring 'Kai', though it fails to stop some of the Genjutsu. In the end, she just shakes away the pain in her mind, seals forming to unleash a barrage of fire. She tries to keep the heat up, though it's difficult in the rain.
Mokoto ducks under the first slash, but can't quite avoid the second which bites into his shoulder. The young ninja hisses with pain and straightens up, then draws a kunai of his own. "Don't make me kill you," he mutters, stepping forward and slashing at the bandit then punching with his other hand. Finishing the move he jumps backwards out of the bandit's reach.
Poor poor bandits never knew what hit them. Genjutsu is one thing, but avoiding so much fire was pretty much near impossible. There's a lot of running around and screaming, not to mention the one bandit who gets slashed in the arm, then smashed in the face thanks to Mokoto. There's only one thing to do in a situation like this: stop, drop and roll! And hey, it kind of works! Thanks to the rain and the murky ground the fire does eventually go out, but then the bandits find themselves stuck in their own trap, barely able to stand knee deep in the muck once they've righted themselves.
And then Hige and Konsho reappear! Just kind of…out of nowhere. "Good job," he says to Kurome and Mokoto, looking over the bandits. "I can tell you after watching that these men share nothing with the Recluse besides their cowardice. I think they can stay stuck in their own trap until the local authorities can come and get them." Hige glances to Kurome and grins as he adds, "Seems they did have some surprises thought." The teen looks back to Mokoto and offers a nod, "Are you alright there?"
Kurome watches the bandits get stuck and facepalms just a bit. Who gets stuck in their own trap? Not that they had too much of a choice, considering the fire, but… Ahem! "Good job, Mokoto-kun," She compliments before nodding to Hige. "Well… It is a bit of a curiosity why they know Genjutsu. But we can extract that information later," she says before looking around. "So, now we need to find those carts, right?" she asks, searching for signs of the second part of the task.
Seeing that the bandits are trapped and unable to escape, Mokoto takes a moment to check himself. The cut on his shoulder isn't too deep, but painful nonetheless. The rain washes a gentle stream of blood down his coat, and Mokoto sniffs loudly. "It hurts, but not life threatening. I can finish the mission," he replies, surprised by the calmness in his own voice, "Right, yes, the carts. I almost forgot about them."
"Luckily, the carts aren't too much further up," Hige says, nodding in the direction they had been heading before this little incident here. "The bandits had already hit it, so I'm sure the people will be glad to know that we caught them and they're items will probably be returned." How did he know all of this? Magic, of course! Either that or he got bored and went to check their surroundings while the other two cleaned up. Probably magic. "Seems like they're getting pretty far along in getting it unstuck too. Just needs a little extra muscle…" he glances around at the other two and mentally sighs…right. "Well, let's go see what we can do."
Hige leads the small group off another quarter mile before they find the caravan including the one stuck cart. Hige greets them and quickly passes along who they are as well as the offer to help, which is accepted. "Any ideas?" That's the question that Hige would pose to the other two.
Kurome eyes the cart and frowns a bit. "Well… We could all just try pushing. It might help to use chakra so that we have a good grip on the ground, too. Though… I don't know if we're strong enough to do this… Maybe if we all work together." Something simple. Simple solution to a semi-simple problem… It's the best she can come up with for now, though, because all the other ideas she has involve something along the lines of explosions.
Mokoto looks over the site, taking note of the cart. "I doubt any of us can lift it. But if we break a couple of large branches to use as leverage, and pull it with a rope from the front we might stand a chance," the boy says as he walks around the cart. He continually glances of into the bushes, aware that there may be more bandits about. "What do you think, boss?" He glances up and around searching for any overhanging branches that might be helpful, especially anything that could be used as a lever or pulley for a rope.
Hige considers the offered options, "I think a mixture of those and a little extra." IT's not like they're alone, after all. There are others who can help. "Kurome, do you think you can use fire to harden the mud some that's in front of the wheels? If not we'll need to find some planks to run them on. While you do that," Hige turns to Mokoto, "we're going to grab some heavier brances so we can get some leverage under the back wheels. Then we'll all have to help to actually get it moving. Mokoto, go with Konsho to find some branches. Kurome, see if you can dry some of the mud out. I'll find some flatter wood just in case."
Kurome gives a small nod and says, "Hopefully I don't burn the caravan." Then she makes her way over, explaining what she's going to do to the people there before eying the ground. She makes a few handseals and breathes out a smaller fireball that would harden the ground, dry up the earth, or evaporate water (any of those work!) from the area in front of and behind the cart. Then she washed the area with fire, keeping it light so that the cart wouldn't go up in flames.
Mokoto takes off with Konsho, scouring the area for the strongest branches they can find. Over the next ten minutes the pair bring back half a dozen rather thick branches, each of which is heavy enough that Mokoto can just barely drag them along the ground. As he sets down the final branch he grunts loudly, then starts maneuvering each branch under the wagon, positioning them so that the leverage will lift the cart both up and forward to get it rolling again, then looks over to Hige as he awaits the next phase of the operation.
Hige returns with a few flatter pieces of wood when he sees that the fire seems to have taken care of the issue anyways. Ah well. He drops them and dusts his hands off before going to inspect it all and nodding, then motioning everyone over. "Alright, it's going to take all of us to get this moving," he instructs not only the team, but also those who's cart it is. "Everyone get ready and on the count of three we're going to push down with all our weight. Get the horse moving at the same time and with any luck we'll get it free. Ready?" Hige picks a beam with a Konsho, the pup weighing more than the boy and likely of more use anyways. "One, two, three!"
Kurome shifts a bit in her spot so that she doesn't get smacked by the planks and branches. Then she nods and moves to stand near one of the beams, aiming to push all her weight on it (with the others) to try and get this cart rolling. On the count of there… one… two… THREE! She shoves down with as much strength as she has (which really isn't much), trying to force the cart upwards with the lever, glad that she isn't alone in the endeavor.
Mokoto moves over to one of his branch-levers, bend over and takes a deep breath. "I feel like this is going to hurt tomorrow," he mutters, but when the older girl counts to three he shoves down as hard as he can. Even behind the mask and sunglasses its clear that Mokoto's face is scrunched up with the effort of trying to move the branch. "Come on, comeoncomeoncomeon," he says quietly, his voice straining. He stops speaking as he makes one last downward shove, hoping to finally succeed.
There's some grunting, groaning, and not all of it is from the cart either. With a lot of people and the proper preperation, despite the actual weight of the people doing it, the cart groans out onto the dryer mud and the horse is able to pull it free, much to the relief of those nearby. Hige almost faceplants into the mud when the cart moves so suddenly but manages to keep his feet and his cool. Whew. *puts on OOC sunglasses* "Alright, I think we're done. We need to take those men back to the village and make our reports. Good job Mokoto, Kurome."
Kurome blinks a bit when the group actually manages to get the cart out of the mud. Okay, task complete! She straightens herself up and stretches, wincing a bit as her muscles complain about the exercise. "Hai. You too, Hige-kun." She glances back over to the men who own the cart to make sure they're fine before going back over to Hige and Mokoto. "So, I suppose we should head back to the village," she says.
Mokoto tumbles to the ground as the cart suddenly shifts free, ending up in an unceremonious heap on the ground. "Ahh, yep, I was right. That's definitely going to hurt tomorrow," he says, lying very still on the ground for a few moments. Several kikaichu, scattering during his fall, crawl back on to the boy and into his coat. After a good long moment, Mokoto finally sits back up and shakes his head. "Well, at least we got the cart free, right? That means we can go home, I can have a hot shower and the med-nin can patch up my shoulder," he says as he straightens up his hat and tries to pat the mud from his coat, "I'm not used to so much physical activity in one day. This ninja business is harder than I expected. Okay then, let's head home."