Date: March 23, 2016
A pair of Kamizuru head out to help a rural community with their crops, and find that a more serious problem has arisen.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
A farming town [Land of Earth]
THE KAMIZURU HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED FOR A MISSION! What exciting and perilous deed must they perform? :o Exploring a wild jungle? Defeating a monstrous beast? ASSASSINATING AN S-RANK CRIMINAL WHOSE SOLE WEAKNESS IS AN ALLERGY TO BEE STINGS?!?!
…Nope, this one's a simple D-rank helping out a farming village. Apparently their berry bushes aren't producing well due to a dip in the local pollinating insect population, and they want this supplemented with bugs that can be relied on to do exactly what's needed. Not a very challenging or glamorous task, but everyone has to do their share of D-ranks, especially genin. Even genin who are only at that rank on a trial basis due to switching villages. c.c
Cherii hikes along the road with Kioko, headed toward the farming community. "'Tis a braw day fer it at least," Cherii observes. "Wi' any luck, we'll be done by this time tomorrow, an' we can make it back tae Iwagakure before nightfall."
Leaving a hive is always an interesting task. Not many places would ASK for a Kamizuru to leave insects behind that they could use to spy on them with, so either this place is desperate or they don't know of that sort of ability. "It shouldn't take us too long to get some insects settled in here," Kioko replies with a nod to Cherii as they charge ahead toward the farming village. "Wonder if there's anything interesting to do here at night."
The kunoichi arrive at the farming town, spend the rest of the day and part of the next one directing their bees to gather nectar and distribute pollen amongst the berry bushes, then collect their fee and return home without incident.
…What? Don't believe me? 'Course you don't, we wouldn't bother writing a scene about it if it were that simple. ;) Here's what really happens.
The first sign that something is wrong is the fact that Cherii and Kioko don't run into anybody out in the fields surrounding the town. It's a farming town, somebody should be doing something out there whenever there's daylight, right? c.c Coming closer, they find that the buildings of the town look fine, but there's no activity around them. Arriving in the town itself, Cherii knocks on a few doors and peers into some windows, but nobody's home. The town is deserted with no sign of disaster or struggle. o.o;
As they arrive and find no one, Kioko blinks several times. Situations like those are almost never good. Aside from the possibility that the people of the village are hiding in some kind of shelter, the other options for what's happened here are almost universally very bad. Frowning slightly, the Kamizuru Chuunin glances Cherii's way as she goes to knock on doors and look in houses then points outward, sending a swarm of bees out from her to inspect and see if there's anyone left in the area, village or otherwise.
Not a single soul remains in the vicinity of the farming town. However, the swarm of bees does show something interesting indirectly: they have a strange compulsion to leave what they're doing and buzz off toward the nearby forest. Cherii tries the same thing and gets similar results. "Ach, dinnae get distracted sae easily!" Cherii barks after the drifting swarm, calling them back with her chakra. "I ken ye smell somethin' sweet off yonder, but th'folk o' this town could be in mortal peril!" >P
"…. There's no one here at all," Kioko says, frowning and furrowing her eyebrows a bit. "I'm going to have to forge a deeper connection with my bees so I can sense through them and try to figure out any clues that might have been left behind… Try not to freak out when you see this." Stepping into a wide stance, suddenly Kioko begins to literally grow right before Cherii's eyes and change form, her skin darkening while extra sets of eyes open on top of her and giant wings and even a stinger sprout from her back along with extra arms sprouting from her side. Once the transformation is complete, she tilts her head side to side to crack her neck a bit, peering at Cherii in hopes she's not too appalled by her becoming a giant befe before she closes her eyes and uses her hive mind with her bees to try and figure out what happened here.
Cherii's seen this once before, so it's not too startling. c.c She does see how the mutation came up during their talk about boys, it could be a little nerve-wracking for a guy to be close with something like that. At least Kioko only looks like that when she's doing serious ninja business, though. Cherii's portly 24/7. :P And they both already have to deal with 'I'm a living hive of stinging insects, but don't worry, they won't hurt you unless I tell them to, or maybe if you accidentally squash one.'
The increased connection with Kioko's bees doesn't reveal too much new. Even with a ninja commanding them, insects are still insects, and they have very simple intellects. Kioko gets a few signals of 'humans' here and there, latent from when the townsfolk were present, so it can't have been too long ago that they disappeared. Mostly though, Kioko just gets a lot of common bee signals, like 'sweet', 'shelter', 'sweet', 'tree', 'sweet', 'sun', 'sweet' — man, they're really hung up on that smell. In fact, now that Kioko's a bit more bee-like herself…there is something REALLY ENTICING coming from that forest over there. c.c Must…find…SWEET…
Smelling that scent now herself along with her insects, Kioko opens her eyes and sniffs a few times. "… What IS that?" she thinks aloud before motioning for Cherii to follow. She allows her insects to move on ahead so they can relay back to her what's going on, though staying close enough behind that they can act swiftly if necessary is imperative. "There's something sweet enough that the bees won't leave it alone in this direction. We should probably investigate."
Cherii glances over at Kioko while trying to corral her bees. "Ach, now ye too? Can ye nae hold focus fer a few minutes?" :P Cherii feels a couple bees pull loose from her influence and go zipping off. "Whisht, fine. I saeppose we'll nae get any cooperation until we take care o' whatever it is anyway." e.e
As they trek into the forest, the smell gradually grows stronger, and Cherii starts to pick up on it too. She supposes she can't blame the bees for being excited by it, it is awfully nice-smelling…mmmm, VERY nice. |3 What were they out here for again? Oh yeah, find whatever's making that delicious smell, of course…and maybe there was something else, but Cherii doesn't quite recall, must not have been very impor — NO WAIT! O.O; Cherii slaps herself and blinks owlishly, then pulls out her scroll and summons a dish-rag. She hurriedly ties it over her lower face, then gives an experimental sniff. The sweet smell is still pretty strong, but the filtering and stale odor of the rag helps a bit. Cherii's bees are by now streaming away on their own, chasing the alluring scent. "Brigadoon, maybe this does have somethin' t'do wi' the townsfolk disappearing," Cherii murmurs. o.o
In this insect state, the smell is quite strong to Kioko, especially with her shared mind with her hive. It almost distracts her really badly, but, when she hears Cherii slap herself, she peers that way and nods. While she doesn't have much, she does have a cloth about the size of a bandana in her pack for medical purposes, which she pulls out and ties around her face to let it cover her from nose to chin. "That's a possibility, though I wonder what could make a scent strong enough to lure humans in such a way."
Cherii sighs in relief that her insectoid companion hasn't been totally mesmerized already. u.u; "Seems we're bound to find oot. I hope our wee ones aren't in danger." c.c;
Before too much longer, the kunoichi find the source of the smell. A gigantic flower bush sits in a clearing of the forest, and around it are clustered practically every critter with a sweet tooth and a sense of smell. Bears, badgers, birds, quite a lot of bugs…and of course, the people of the farming community. All of them seem quite content to stand around the bush and breathe its perfumes without bothering each other — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, without bothering with each other.
As they reach sight of the bush, Kioko blinks a few times… more when she spots the gathering of creatures and people around it. The smell is insanely potent, and they seem to be enjoying it, but this could be fatal to the community and the animal inhabitants of the area. She glances around a moment then looks toward Cherii, asking in a low voice, "How do we destroying without all these things and people attacking each other and us?"
Cherii scratches her head. "I'm nae sure, but I'm sure as sassafrass not gonna let some bloated bramble hold my wee ones captive." >P Cherii summons her cleaver, then makes her way over to the bush. She waves a hand in front of a few people and animals' eyes; no reaction. She then holds up the cleaver and makes a few chopping motions toward the bush; again, nothing happens. Taking hold of a branch, Cherii cuts it off and drops it to the ground, stamping on it. After a moment, she calls over to Kioko. "'Tis all right I think, they're nae protective o' th'bush. They just cannae think o' anything but smellin' it. Th'main problem will be what some o' these beasties might do when they snap out o' it an' find themselves standin' amongst people. That an' how tae really destroy all these flowers quickly an' safely. Fire's the obvious thing for quickly, but…"
Watching Cherii begin her experimenting, Kioko winces slightly in anticipation of what might happen. When that's proven to be nothing, she lets out a sigh of relief. "… Well, perhaps we should do this slowly. If you've got any techniques or tools you can use to restrain the more dangerous animals, do so. Wait until they're restrained so the humans can run home before you chop the plant down." With that she turns and leans her head back, seeming to chew for a moment before she spews a thick layer of honey out onto one animal after another, starting with the ones like the bears.
Cherii scratches her head. "I cannae think o' anythin' I could do short o' slaughterin' them…maybe trap th'big un's between boulders, but they'd probably squeeze out before tae long. An' I don't think I can summon boulders wi'out squashin' somethin' in this throng." c.c Cherii gazes up at the humongous hedge. "Chop it doon, she says," Cherii mutters. "Me guid knives'd be reduced tae nubs dealin' wi' all that shrubbery. An' it wouldnae get rid o' th'smell just tae — "
Several thin creepers suddenly shoot out of the bush and snake around Cherii's limbs. o.O; A man wearing a gas mask pops out of the foliage a short ways up in the bush. "You seriously had to show up at this backwater town!? FLOWER SHURIKEN!" Several blooms detach from the bush and whir menacingly at Kioko.
Blinking as she notices vines coming out at Cherii, Kioko almost calls out to her to move, but it seems she's got her own thing to deal with. Luckily she's already transformed, so she leaps into the air, her wings starting to move at a blinding pace to keep her in the air above where the flowers can hit her with their current trajectory. "You're the one doing this?.. We got a mission to come here, and it seems you're the one in the way of that mission. You can surrender and undo the damage, or we'll have to deal with you in an unpleasant manner."
Cherii grunts and struggles with the tendrils pulling her into the bush. Fortunately she still has her cleaver in hand, and with a bit of wrist action, she manages to sever one of the vines. With one arm free, it's just a matter of time before she finishes cutting herself loose…but of course time is critical in a battle. "You're the one getting in the way!" the masked man shouts. "A couple more weeks of research and I could have this technique perfected!" He runs through some handseals. "But then, perhaps this is the perfect chance to field test on capable shinobi. PLANT RELEASE: KAMI'S GARDEN!" The smell from the flowers suddenly grows more powerful as the blooms release their full perfume. The air is almost suffocating, and worse, in a way that makes you want to succumb to it. @.@
"A couple more weeks and all these people would've been dead," Kioko points out, quirking an eyebrow at the masked man. As the smell grows stronger, she seems to struggle for a moment before she glares hard at the man. While disabling the plant would be ideal, it's enormous so probably wouldn't work at this point and her current bee nature might cause her to succumb sooner than later. So the best plan she comes up with is to try and cut it off at the source. She leans her head back, seeming to chew for a moment before she spews forth a jet of honey to try and freeze the masked man up, immediately following this up as she lunges forward and aims a poisonous sting directly at his diaphragm with her enormous stinger to try and poison him as well as make it near impossible to breathe if he survives the attack.
"Yeah fine, I'm the evil merc-nin who only thinks of his own advancement! You always take an enemy's ranting so ser — GAHHH, what's this!?" >.<; Kioko's honey hits the mark on the man's legs, glueing them to the branches where he's perched. As for attacking him directly, though…not a great idea, as that involves swooping in where the smell is most powerful. Suffice it to say that the masked man's diaphragm does NOT get punctured at this point. "Heheh, stupid wasp, I'll be out of this long before you can even THINK of anything but — "
Just then a couple of wooden cooking skewers whistle past the merc-nin's face. "Need tae work on me aim," Cherii mutters, summoning a wok from her scroll as she dashes toward Kioko. The merc-nin retaliates with a few more sharp-edged flowers, but Cherii deflects them with her wok like a shield and reaches Kioko. In her other hand Cherii holds…a wad of crushed garlic, some of which has already been stuffed up her nostrils. She smears the garlic along Kioko's antennae, then pops the rest into Kioko's mouth. "Snap out o' it!"
Aroma… Kioko's zealousness gets her into a bit of a pickle. As the scent hits her, she hits the ground. Luckily Cherii is quickly along to shove garlic in her mouth. She coughs a bit and sits up, shaking her head a bit. "That guy's gonna be trouble," she grumbles a bit as she shoves herself back to her feet and cocks her head back, going to spew another jet of honey at the man, the first wave intended to freeze him up and the second turning poisonous to try and deliver the same poison she tried to sting into him before.
Cherii intercepts a few more flower shuriken while Kioko gets back on her feet. "What's that stuff you're using!?" the merc-nin demands. "You can't tell me you just HAPPENED to have an antidote for my new — AUUUGH, not more of this stuff!" DX With both legs and arms now hindered and a burning sensation spreading through him, the masked man struggles to free himself. Cherii pulls her cleaver from her belt and hops up to where the merc-nin is, putting the blade to his throat. "A'right bucko, you're goin' tae turn this perfume factory off right noo, or we'll carve ye like a pheasant an' take our chances aboot it stoppin' on its own!" >(
It takes some careful work to herd the townsfolk away from the bush while the animals are still dopey enough to be docile, but eventually the situation is defused. The town is saved, Kioko and Cherii regain control of their hives, and the merc-nin (a rogue Tenjin, unsurprisingly) is brought in as a prisoner. Oh, and they do also get the pollination work they were originally called in for done too, although the local insects 'pitch in' as normal now that they're no longer being charmed by one ridiculously sweet-smelling bush. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!