Date: March 24, 2013
After finding the information they need to track Jirou, Atsuro and his team have to escape a village full of hostile forces.
"Finding Sachi - Part 4: Evasion and Investigation"
Land of Fire, near the east coast
Though they found the information they needed, the team now finds themselves in a mansion with a hostile, armed populace surrounding them and ready to storm the building. Luckily, they're only trying to get in through the front door right now, at least judging by the indistinct yelling and pounding coming from the front of the house. They may not be an immediate threat yet, but they stand between the team and freedom.
Atsuro and Taizen are blocking the door, pushing back against the people trying to get in. "You three search the building," he orders, "Look for another way out, or anything else that might be useful. If you run into any more ninja, you're authorized to use lethal force. Hostile civilians… same, but it's better if you don't. If you find something, come and tell us."
"If I may make a recommendation," Hideaki pipes up. "If Taiki-sempai can track where our host has run off to, we may find another exit that we can sneak out of, or else a useful hostage. It is a long shot that I can find any useful information in time, but I would like to take a look at that store of records again. There is the open question of why we were attacked, unless it is mentioned in the record you have already found. Judging by the response when we mentioned Jirou, there may be a relationship. Regardless, if we know why they are willing to throw their lives away trying to attack us, perhaps we can discourage them from doing so."
With that little monologue out of the way, Hideaki heads back to the records room, keeping an eye out for any evidence of another exit along the way. Assuming he gets to the records without hassle, he begins to scour them, reading at a fast pace as he scans for any records of the added defenses being built or the large supply of weapons being acquired.
Ataru looks between them, nodding towards Atsuro at the order. He'd search for a door first, trying to figure out where another potential exit might be at. To either stop people coming in, or give them an egress other than the front and the horde outside. Failing that, he'd look for a good location on the roof to basically tear out. If nothing else he could put Kyouki through it and rip that free so they have a hole to go out of. The whole tracking thing would be left to Taiki, afterall, Ataru knew he wouldn't be able to match an Inuzuka for hunting.
Taiki nods after listening to Hideaki's recommendation. "I can do that, I remember our hosts scent enough to track him, along with Shinobu and Nozomi. Question is, how long can you hold that door Atsuro?" Nozomi is already beginning her search for the man's scent, but is staying in line of sight with Taiki for the moment. "We also need to see if they're trying to get in from another direction, and if the building is truly surrounded. If not, we can always escape through a window or something. Civilians are ill-prepared for climbing walls and such." Turning to Ataru he asks before starting hishunt, "Can you check for signs of intruders as well Ataru-san?"
"That sounds like a good idea," Atsuro tells Hideaki, though his voice is a little strained by pushing against the door. "Taiki, see if you can track him down. He escaped some way or another." Hideaki's search also turns up some things. There are a number of exits from the records room, though they all just lead into other parts of the house. If there's a secret escape route, it's not apparent yet. There are indeed some records of payment to various craftsmen and blacksmiths for the watch towers and naginata the village is now using against them. Everything seems in order, but this doesn't seem to have been a gradual build up. All payments were made within a week of each other.
Ataru's searches turn up some results as well. There is a side door leading out into a back garden. From the sounds of things, some of the mob is there too, but there aren't as many of them waiting outside, and it's locked from the inside. There is a large area of ceiling in the main hall, where they were first greeted. Were one to break through, it would probably lead right to the roof. There is a second floor, but it's in other areas of the building.
"Long enough," Atsuro answers Taiki, "Assuming nothing changes. In other words you have time, but don't dawdle." Taiki's tracking bears some nice fruit. The mayor left the records room through a non-secret exit, but the scent leads Taiki on a route through the house which eventually comes to a large china cabinet in a hallway. As if someone had walked right into it…
Working at a sprint, not a jog, Hideaki returns to Atsuro. "My search only revealed what I had suspected, the defenses were put up recently and quickly. I cannot find what event prompted to do such a thing, but I still suspect a relationship between our pursued and this village. I do not believe Jirou happened upon this particular village by accident. I find it far more likely we were lead into a deliberate trap." He then awaits word from the others about what they have found, standing next to Atsuro and leaning back against the door as well. "I imagine holding this by yourself is not comfortable."
Ataru does indeed search about. The back door is locked from the inside, a small shake of his head given as he'd search around a bit more. Finally nodding, he'd check that roof, verifying that location that he could rip out. Before he did actual damage to it however, he'd report back to the others. Going to where they were at, at the door, he'd give a nod. "A'right.. so the back is covered, locked, but they are surroundin us.. I know a spot in the roof we could bust out ta get outta here ifn we need ta.. figured I'd find out ifn we need ta fer sure, 'fore I just wrecked the place though.. We got anythin else?"
Taiki follows the route most carefully before ending up at the cabinet. "This is odd…" he says as he looks at it closely, but doesn't touch it. "But then again this entire situation is odd. How could the mayor expect his attack to work in the first place? It's almost as if it was a distraction…" With this Taiki takes out one of this storage scrolls and retrieves a set of very long, very heavy metal poles from it. He sets one up at the other side of the room and one up in the tunnel, then takes a third and starts to prod the china cabinet with it carefully, looking for traps or hidden triggers. The first sign of an activated trap and he will kawarmi to one of the other poles. Nozomi and Shinobu bracket him so that they will be caught up in the Kawarmi as well if needs be, but they will be ready to jump into Taiki's defense should that be necessary. He doesn't say anything to the others yet, as he's separated from them.
Atsuro thinks about what Hideaki has to say, though his current activity doesn't allow him to get into anything deep. "Makes sense," he agrees, "He choose to leave the path when he did for a reason. Not sure what to make of them getting those defenses like that… but it probably isn't a coincidence." Hideaki can feel the door move back slightly as he leans against it. Atsuro glances over and smiles, "Thanks, man."
They're still pushing against the door when Ataru returns. "Surrounded," Atsuro repeats, figuring that's the most urgent detail, "If we don't find a clever way out, we'll have to do at least some fighting. The side door could still be useful. So could the roof, but that would certainly get their attention." He glances behind him and sniffs the air, "Hopefully Taiki finds something." He nods to Ataru, "In the meantime, could you two pile some furniture up against this door? I have to leave with you guys, and I don't have any clever plans for keeping them off our backs once I let go of this."
Taiki's probing of the china cabinet doesn't reveal any traps — if the mayor did indeed leave through here, he did it too quickly to set up any traps, or there simply were none in the first place. As Taiki pokes it, however, it does shift its position a little. Too easily, in fact. A closer examination will reveal that it simply slides out of place to reveal a passage beyond.
Hideaki nods at Atsuro's confusion over why the weapons are here. He releases the door to drag a table over to the door, setting it upright so it can be pushed against the door. "My current working theory is they were coerced into doing it by someone who frightened them more than we did. If this was indeed planned beforehand as an escape route, before Jirou even revealed himself as a traitor, I am beginning to suspect he is not working alone. The most logical explaination is that he intends to deliver Sachi to whoever is funding Jirou's betrayal. What use they would have for Sachi is something I cannot even speculate on, however."
Ataru gives a nod in agreement and starts looking for stuff. He'd find the couch to drag it over, pushing it over to help with the table up against that door. Looking about, Ataru would quickly grab whatever else he could get, using some chakra to increase his strength so he could just pick stuff up and plant it against that door, especially once Atsuro got out of the way. Looking up at the roof, he'd give a small nod. "yer right.. it would draw attention.. but I ain't sure any of em could follow us.. we'd have ta deal with thrown stuff.. however I think we could get away relatively easy that way.. ifn' we dun find another way out, at least.."
Taiki nods and then turns toward Shinobu. "Go tell Atsuro what we found. It looks like we have our way out. I'm going to set things up here." As Shinobu departs, he quickly gathers up the bars and reseals them, then pulls out three tags. One gets placed on Nozomi's head, the other two are held in his hands. "When they get here, you and Shinobu will take front. Activate the tags should it be necessary," he instructs Nozomi, though it would likely not be necessary. She's used to working with Taiki's ninjutsu after all, and is fully aware of what the tag he's placed on her does.
Atsuro and Taizen lean into the door harder as Hideaki moves away. "It's possible," Atsuro agrees, "If Jirou was just working for himself, he'd have to be pretty slick to pull all this off." He does his best to move out of the way a little as Hideaki brings in the table. "Good," he says, "Anything else you can find would be nice too. Anyway, Gijou mentioned Jirou asking him about the clan. So it might be that he's trying to learn about us for some reason."
He moves out of the way as Ataru adds the couch as well. There's not much room for him and Taizen to keep pushing on the door, at least directly, but they'll continue as long as they can. "Depending on what Taiki comes up with," Atsuro tells Ataru, shifting his position slightly, "The roof is either our best or our second best. Can you get any more furniture?"
Once Shinobu arrives and fills them in on what's going on, Atsuro and Taizen begin to move away from the door, though they don't completely let go yet. "We've got a secret passage," he informs Ataru and Hideaki. "Once the door's all blocked up, we're going to haul ass and hopefully get out of here." He then instructs Shinobu, "Have Taiki scout ahead a little while we finish up here."
Hideaki picks up a chair, jamming it on top of the swiftly growing pile. He then looks over at Ataru and motions to the unconcious man he was fighting earlier. "Ataru-san, do you suppose you could keep up with the rest of us while carrying a body? Having someone to interrogate may illuminate many things, but I do not think I could move at full speed with such weight." A puts a second chair into the mix, then begins to rush to follow up after Taiki.
"huh? yah sure, ain't no sweat.. guy's a light weight." Ataru would nod towards Hideaki with a grin, grabbing a bookcase, books and all, to jam into the top of the pile of furniture. He'd quickly gather some more, doing his best to gather up all he could to block off the door with as much weight as possible. That done, he'd scoop up the man and follow after the others. Heading for that secret entrance, he'd study it for a moment, before a small nod was given and he'd most likely be last in, going to try and shift the bookcase that did hide the exit back, so that onc epeople made it in, they wouldn't be able to tell where the shinobi went, if they didn't know about the secret exit.
When Shinobu returns, Taiki nods and pushes the china cabinet aside with his left hand while his right holds a tag out in front of them. Assuming nothing ambushes them, the then performs a very weak practice seal on the cabinet, attuned to Atsuro's chakra. A quickly scrawled note would indicate Atsuro should be the last to enter, as the seal would then deactivate and shut the cabinet-portal. That done, Taiki moves in with his ninken after placing another tag, just like Nozomi's, on Shinobu. "Seal wall tag," he says to the dog. Taiki and company then start moving forward. He probably as a good five feet head start on the rest of his team, but he's in scout mode at the moment.
Atsuro and Taizen back away from the door, then quickly push all the furniture in to fill the gaps they left. The door seems to be pretty secure. The furniture shifts a little with each shove and bang from the crowd outside, but it should buy them the time they need, assuming everything works out. "Sure hope Taiki's got something real," Atsuro says in a low voice. He glances over to Ataru as he picks up the unconscious man. "You think of everything, eh?" he asks Hideaki.
The group follows Taiki into the passage, Atsuro entering last as Taiki instructed. Assuming that nobody knows about this passage, they're relatively safe. There are no traps or ambushes as they continue, though the passage itself is pretty dim. While the house itself was well-decorated with nice carpets and wallpaper, the passage is fairly spartan, with nothing more than unpainted walls and rough wooden flooring. Eventually, even this disappears, revealing that the passage is simply dug out of the earth. Then it leads downwards, with shallow steps dug in.
Finally, they reach the outside. They're at the bottom of a short cliff with the village up above. There's no land past the opening to the passage, but it does lead out onto a small dock. If there was ever a boat here, it's gone now, and the mayor's scent seems to be gone too. It's safe to say he's escaped, unless someone on the team has a great idea. The cliff face is sheer enough that the team could walk right up if they wanted (or climb, if they don't know tree-walking), taking them to the exterior of the house they just left. Additionally, there's a narrow pathway leading up. It disappears around a corner, but with that direction and steepness, it probably wouldn't just take them back to the house. And of course, they could simply walk over the water, if everyone on the team is capable and feels they're up to a possibly long walk.
"Not everything," Hideaki replies dryly to Atsuro's compliment. "I haven't thought about a tasty bowl of ramen this entire time. Ah, wait, I just did." He keeps close to the rest of the group as they move through the passage, watching his steps carefully. After getting to the outside, he frowns, uncertain of where to go from here. He points over to the water. "I think I like that option better than climbing further, where we might hit a dead end. Surely only other shinobi could follow us we took to the water."
Ataru would look about once they reached outside. Frowning slightly, he'd glance over towards Hideaki. "How long can you walk on water? I realize this guy is light.. but it is added weight.. I ain't gonna be goin fer a three mile jog on water ifn I can help it, eh?" Looking at the side road, he'd nod towards it. "That ain't gonna lead back ta the town.. mebbe we can follow it, at least get a better look 'round fer what's goin on, on land, 'fore we come ta a final decision?"
Taiki can't help but feel time is running short here, but at the same time they need to figure out where they're going next. "A large part of me wants to take to the water and try to find Jirou. I can't help but to think with every day time runs out for the ninken," he confesses. When Ataru speaks up, he nods. "But without knowing where we're going, we could loose chakra in the middle of the water and drown. I agree with Ataru, let's find out what we can up that path, then regroup and look through the files to find out where Jirou-teme went."
Yikes, looks like they're a little divided on this. "The ocean is more predictable if we can last," says Atsuro, nodding to Hideaki, "If not, then the path is our best bet. Since we've ruled out climbing up, I think I've got an idea… two ideas." He waves them over to start following him up the path. "We'll see where this leads. I /am/ a little worried about it, since someone from the village probably knows about it. But if we don't like what we find, we can get down to the water." He nods to Ataru, "And if we /do/ have to, we can switch him off between whoever else can carry him. That's at least me and Taizen. Sound fair?"
In any case, he starts to lead them up the path. It's narrow but navigable and it slowly leads them up and up, past the village. Eventually it meets the top and Atsuro kneels down, gesturing for the others to do the same. "A farm," he whispers, "So we /are/ risking running into somebody." He sniffs the air. "There's someone around too," he says, "But I can't tell if they're hostile or not."
"Excellent points," Hideaki agrees, abandoning his original thought. "Very well, up we go." As they get close to the farm, Hideaki kneels close to Atsuro. "Perhaps I should go up first? Or Ataru and I, if he leaves our passenger for the moment. There is a good chance we will only find harmless civilians up ahead, but should there be something more hostile, it might be best of the two of you arrived after the threat has revealed itself." If there are no objections, he goes ahead and heads up, with or without Ataru.
Ataru nods in agreement with Atsuro's assessment. That done, they'd go up the trail to that edge, crouching down like the others. At Hideaki's plan, he'd hand off the man to whomever would take him, before sneaking out behind Hideaki. While it was entirely secondary to the fact that he was just really good at punching people in the face, Ataru when he tried, could actually sneak pretty well. He'd try scouting out who was around with Hideaki, determining if it was safe or not, before having the others join them. Of course, if there was hostile intent there, Ataru was going to unleash on them full tilt, to try and either keep busy, or knock out people, so they could get away.
Taiki doesn't volunteer Shinobu, though the dog does in fact volunteer himself. Neither Nozomi nor Taiki would volunteer though, as muscular strength isn't their normal forte, even if Nozomi can normally pull snow sleds. He follows the group and hunches down when told, then listens to Atsuro speak. "Its too close to the village to risk. Let's head back and take the water to a better place."
"That could work," Atsuro agrees, "If there's an enemy, you two can draw them out and Taiki and I can support you. After that… hopefully we can just find the path we took to get here, and then it's back home." He takes the prisoner from Ataru and hands him off to Shinobu.
Despite Taiki's objection, it seems that they're committed to the plan, because four men run into the area, coming in from the direction of the village. "I think it's too late," Atsuro whispers to Taiki, "They'll spot us if we go down now. We divide them up from left to right: Ataru, Hideaki, Taiki, and me. We rush them, take them down, make sure no one else has seen us, then move on. Ready? One… two… three…"
Hideaki quirks a single eyebrow as he is charged by the man. "You need to come up with better plans for dealing with shinobi," he comments. He waits until the man has gotten close, then summons up a wind clone to barrel into him and push him straight off the narrow pathway, causing his enemy to fall helplessly to his doom.
Ataru would move. As the man charged in, so did he. Unarmed vs a sword! Then again, this is Ataru.. he's been able to give Atsuro a run for his money now and then.. and that was two blades. He'd duck, leaning to the side, then tuck into a roll. The man was already getting frustrated as the rather tall teen was so elusive to try and hit. A horizontal slash would miss again, Ataru going on the offense as that blade passed to hand stand into a flip kick. The man knocked up into the air with a yell as Ataru planted and when the man came down, he'd spin into a massive back kick, launching the guy out quite a distance past that cliff and towards the sea. He might live.. if he can deal with the potentially bone crushing kick to the chest, followed by the swim back to shore. Ataru didn't worry about it however, instead simply looking about to make sure no one else was targeted and they could get out.
Taiki nods and considers things for a moment. He was actually trying /not/ to cause needless deaths, but the circumstances, and Atsuro's instructions, didn't leave much of a choice. He nods to his ninken team and they move quickly. The man they chose only noticed something was happening too late and had time to make one throw of a kunai, only to have it knocked away by Taiki's sparking claws. Both Taiki and Shinobu fly up in the air, turning into twisting funnels of electrified death, while Nozomi lets go with a water bullet. Water conducts electricity, and all three hit the man at the same time, funneling him up in the air as the three simultaneous attacks hit at once. It is only a moment before the man disappears, and Taiki and Shinobu fall back to the ground, not even phased, with small splotches of blood all over them. Hey look Atsuro… no crater! Oh… and no body either…
Finally, Atsuro and Taizen charge their designated enemy. Taizen comes out from the path first, running towards the man at top speed. The ninja manages to spit out, "What the f— " Then he takes the full brunt of 150 kg of dog. Taizen tackles him to the ground, then Atsuro comes up from behind, jumping over Taizen and bringing down his fist as he lands, adding his full weight to his strength as he pounds the man in the chest. It's possible the guy survived, but he won't be bothering the team any time soon.
The enemy ninja have been dispatched, and there appears to be nobody else coming to bother them. Atsuro sniffs the air. "We're safe," he says, "Nice work, everyone. Let's get going." He waves the team onward, and once they've got their bearings, they start on their way back to Konoha. They may not have rescued Sachi or apprehended Jirou, but they've made a step forward with those records. And maybe another with that prisoner.