Date: September 4, 2010
Tsukiko and the Sanyari students accompanying her are put through a series of traps set in a cave to retrieve newborn pups.
A cave on the path to Hokage's mountain
Midoru stands at the entrance of a cave, the tall man standing at ease as he looked off into the distance. He was waiting for Tsukiko to arrive with two of his students, the giant looking to the sun to see the time. Mid-day. He gave a glance to the trees, half expecting Tsukiko leap from the branches and fall as a feather in defiance of gravity. But then he turned back to the path. The girl was in charge of two of his middle ranked students and they could do no such thing. Her coming like that would do nothing for morale, and she had more sense than that. She would march them here herself.
The students and Tsukiko soon arrive via the path. She walks ahead, stalking proudly, with all the authority she can muster. The two students coming up behind her, staying at a constant distance and walking side by side, staying in formation. A small formation though it may be
Midoru's eyes stand steady on the group as they approach frmo the distance, watching them the whole way. Apparently, they all met his expectations as he said nothing to correct anything about them. "There is a litter of pups at the end of this cave with their mother. It would seem that a stray dog had managed to find a warm, safe place during the night to lay her pups. This would not be a problem if the dog was not too weak to carry her ups from the cave,and they will freeze to death in the night. You are here to acquire them. The problem is that I have set this up as a training course for you students, meaning that their was traps in there that could do great harm if you could not get through them. She dog must have found a small shaft in the back. You are to enter the cave, get through the course, and return with the animals in your possession. Proceed."
It was obvious from his last words that no more information would be forthcoming and that the others were expected to do their jobs. The Kuroyari nodded and stepped away, opening the way for the others to enter. "Be aware," was his final warning.
Tsukiko crosses her arms. "I could send in a mirror clone to safely travel ahead, but the glass would become a hazard. And with the dog inside, i could not safely remove the glass"
Midoru remains silent, simply awaiting the group to enter the caverns and begin. The two Kuroyari students, both standing nearly a good foot above the girl, awaited her instructions.
Tsukiko motions to the two students, "Stay in one line. five foot.. follow me.. you keep eyes right and you keep eyes left. If this were trapped with ninja in mind, theres no surface that might be safe, even the walls and ceiling."
As Tsukiko and her students would enter the cavern, it would seem fairly bare to them. The only thing of note in the whole of the place would be the torches lit on either side of the wall spanning frmo where they stood to as far as they could see — which was not very far. The roof of the cave was shrouded in shadows. The place echoed emptily.
Tsukiko wraps herself in wind chakrain preperation, should she need to move properly. She heads forward into the cavern slowly, keeping a careful eye both on the vloor and ceiling primarily, entrusting the flanks to her teammates.
Down on the floor was the traditional, thin-stringed trap; a wire stretching across the ground, barely noticable to any whose eyes were not trained. Tsukiko stepped through it, the wire moving with her foot before simply draping as though it had never been. slots opened up in the wall and darts shot out, flying towards the the girl and the armored soldiers.
Tsukiko feels the trap string too late to avoid tripping it. Thinking of the students behind her, she decides that blocking the darts would be a better idea than dodging them and leaving her students to have to defenr her error. She reaches to her scroll and holds a mirror in front of her. The incoming projectiles don't even scratch the chakra hardened mirror
Tsukiko sighs and curses at herself for missing it. She takes an idea, "Step only where I have. Wait long enough to see if it is safe." Shelooks further ahead and jumps to a rock outcrop that seems safe to her best estimation. The fewer steps, the less chance of hitting a trap when she steps.
Silence reigns throughout the area but for the gentle crackling of the torches along the walls of the cave, far enough spaced out to leave deep shadows between the light. The group is undisturbed as they walk. Until s cloud of bats drop down, screeching as they fly at the trio.
Tsukiko crouches and uses the already handy mirror to block the swarm. She calls behind her, "Down!" Giving a defensive command to ehr troops. Hopefully the added space between thm will make it easy for them to avoid harm.
The bats must have tripped another wire or triggered a trap in some way as there was a small sound of scraping rock. A large slab of rock well from the roof, snapped wire dangling uselessly as it fell towards the group below.
Tsukiko looks up in shock as the huge slab of ceiling breaks loose. She doesn't seem to have time to get out of the way.. but that Tsukiko turns into a mirror as it is crushed. The real Tsukiko seems to be on a similar rock slightly to the side of the ceiling collapse. She looks back, "is everyone ok? Sound off!"
The stone slab hit the floor and immediately crumbled into pieces, apparently having been hollow on the inside. "Tsurachi," called one of the sanyari. "Urien," snapped the other, the both of them perfessional in all aspects. They jogged forward and quickly stopped side by side, keeping the distance that they were told to. They raised their fists to their hearts in simultaneous salutes and, signifying their readiness.
<Adult> Atara has disconnected.
Tsukiko whews… then finally notices that the stone slab ws a fake. She smirks a little but nods. "ok. That's why I wanted is spread out a little bit more." She looks ahead and frowns, trying to gauge how much fruther they need to go. She takes a selection of her bangled senbon and throws them ahead, sticking them to the wall. She uses them to scout ahead from the relative safety of the current spot.
Ahead, Tsukiko would spot a hole in one of the walls in the shadows between the reach of the torches. In the hole, the red glare of a small hoard of larges rats could be seen, biting at eachother. Even past that is a large chasm — very large, stretching from one side to the other and fully square. It was far too large to jump across.
<Konohagakure> Moriko just ogt done making home made ramen, rawr!
Tsukiko squints in thought. "I can't see to the end, but theres.. how did you get a hoard of rats?" SHe thinks for a moment. She reaches to her pack and draws a mirror forth. She concentrates and forms her hand seals creating a mirror clone. "the second trap will solv ethe first." She announces and sends the clone racing ahead. past the rats heading towards the ravine. After the clone has a long head start she motions the students to follow and heads after, preparing her chakra for another jutsu
The sight of motion caught the eyes of a few of the reats and the immediately scurried after Tsukiko's clone. Those few beckoned a few more and soon enough there was a torrent of rodent follow the clone headlessly. The outpouring of rats soon trickled to a stop as they gave chase.
As the rats run out, the real tsukiko follows from behind. She finishes her jutsu, . When the rats corner the clone at the ravine, a storm of wind rushes forth, scouring the rats off the floor and dumping them over the edge. (hopefully)
The rats were caught neatly in Tsukiko's trap, their shieking squeals easily audible as the winds pushed them over the edge into the pit. Most of them survived the fall, however, though they couldn't get out. They simply crawled over eachother and shirked their rage as they tried to scramble up the sheer wall of the pit. A couple that had not left with the crowd came out behind Tsukiko, but they were stomped beneath Urien and Tsurachi's boots before being tossed into the pit themselves. Down in the put is a large block of stone, big enough to fit one of the Sanyari up onto it.
The two looked across the hole, wondering how they would cross.
"Orders, Leiutenant Colonel?"
Tsukiko takes her pack off and serches for her climbing wire. "This should be strong enough to hold you. Test it to make sure. I'll take one end over and tie it off, you tie the other off here. I'm not leaving my team behind."
The two Sanyari under Tsukiko's control saluted and were about to set out to perform her instructions when they realized something. "There's nothing to tie the wire to." One stomped on the ground and nodded, "Too firm here to use a blade. We can't tie them using those. What should we do?"
Tsukiko frowns and looks about. "where's an earth jutsu user when you need one." She searchs for a place to ancho the ropes with a frown.
Tsukiko stops when she peers over the edge again, spotting the large rock in the middle. "can you two jump to there and accross?" She looks back to the two students, "I'm sure you can jump that far, right?"
The two moved to the dge of the pit, looking down until they found the block of stone, frowning down at it. They exmained the distance from there to the other side and slowly shook their heads. "Not with this armor on. And possibly not without it, either."
Tsukiko shakes her head. "No. I won't have you two dishonoring your armor by leaving it off in here…" She pauses and shakes her head, "Of course.. Mahaldars trick. She draws a mirror and holds it over the edge until she catches the reflection properly enough to lock the image and move the rock with her Mirror Manipulation jutsu. She lifts the stone slowly into place, "accross.. quickly."
The two nodded and quickly ran. They examined the block with a few searching glances. Swiftly, Urien leaped, soaring through the air for a few seconds to land onto the stone cube with a thud, looking down at the sea of rats below before looking to Tsukiko, "The both of us can't fit at once. You'll have to tow us across one after the other. It's still too far of a jump."
Tsukiko nods quietly. She holds the mirror carefully. She takes a deep breath and takes a few steps back, then rushes to use her Wind Step up and over the ravine. The block travels with her until she lands, allowing the warrior to depart. She does so on the other side back accross to pick up the second warrior and return a second time. When both warriors are accross she collapses to her knees trying tocatch her breath.
"Are you alright," asked Tsurachi, bending to a knee in front of Tsukiko. He worked clinically and quickly, lifting her chin to look into her eyes before raising a palm,checking her pulse. 15 seconds pass… and he simply nods and stands, moving back; the two waited.
Tsukiko shoos the soldiers off. "I'm fine. just alot chakra.. just winded" She stands again. "ok… lets see if we can see what else is waiting on us" She throws a few mirror bangles ahead, as far as she can see from here.
Tsukiko looks over the spikes. "know your strengths, know your weaknesses.. know your allies strengths. "Tsurachi.. Urien. get the dogs.. be careful not to hurt them." She looks to the pups, watching them to make sure they are safe.
The two Sanyari students look at the spires of jagged stone and the dogs behind them. There wasn't enough space to use treewalking to get around them, breaking them would harm the animals behind it, and walking through would cut you to ribbons. Unless you were covered in armor, of course. Which they were.
So the two walked forward with littlte hesitation, covering their heads as they moved through, small pieces of the earthen spires falling to the ground as they made it through and past the barrier. The two gathered up the litter — three the both, and looked at the mother. They grimaced and put the three into the crook of an arm before they picked up the mother between them, ignoring her weak whine and shifting as they protected her and her pups as they went back through to Tsukiko. They then shifted, Urien taking the mother and his three pups in his two arms. "We should be heading back."
Tsukiko nods, "lets go" She leads the group back trhough the trail, making a point of coming back along the same path. The group moves quickly, but carefully. "
Tsukiko and her crew depart the cavers. After all their rushing, when they leave the cavern, they are walking calmly as if it were all too simple. She walks up to Midoru and salutes, "Midoru-san. Mission complete."
Midoru returns the salute, mailed fist clashing to his chest before he looked to Urien and Tsurachi. "Give me your cargo and you are dismissed. You, Tsukiko, I would like to stay and speak with." The mother dog was put down and she lay there, looking nitacbly tired so soon after what must have been a hard birth. There was a flexing of muscles and Midoru's chestplate and gauntlets shifted and he removed them, putting the puppes into the chestplate.
He inclined his head to them and they saluted to Midoru once more before doing the same to Tsukiko. As soon as they started off, they began talking with eachother, no longer on the job.
"Lieutenant Colonel… How did the excercise go?"
Tsukiko smiles, watching the mother dog. She crouches down as soon as the students leave to pet the tired pup. "it went well. they were attentive and followed orders well.. I missed the first trap though… where did you get all the rats from, or was that a natural hazard?"
"Preexisting hazard I made use of rumbled Midoru," looking down at the girl from his 6'10 height. "You have made a more grave mistake, this day, than the missing of that first trap. Do you have any idea what that would be?" He stood there, tall and nearly imposing, patient in his waiting of an answer.
Tsukiko looks up. She stands quickly, taking a more 'at attention' stance. "a.. A mistake?.. I.. n.no sir.. What did I miss?" She looks truly worried by the mistake.
"You forgot to be their leader," said Midoru. "You gave orders, from what I saw, and them being them, they followed them of course. However, there is more to being an effective leader than simply telling those under you what to do. You must work in morale, as well."
Midoru's eyes stared unflinchingly. "You did not utilize them. I saw no dust on their armor, no dents… you spent the whole of your time protecting them from harm rather than using them as part of your team. They are soldiers and they are capable. You wound their pride and their confidence by coddling them after they have learned to expect their utmost being required of them."
Tsukiko opens her mouth to deny it.. but she realizes that having them perform the last task was not enough. She looks down, accepting the admonihsmnet. "I.. I am sorry to disappoint you, midoru-san. The traps seemed to be those that required faster movement more so that stronger bodies until the end."