Date: May 6, 2013
Atsuro and Daisuke are called in to trash an old mountain fortress that's been housing bandits.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
A mountain range in the Land of Fire
After a grueling climb up sheer cliff face and navigating a series of narrow mountain paths, Daisuke, Atsuro and Taizen have come to the ancient walls of a mountaintop fortress. In it's day, it was the center of government for this region, from which the local lord protected his people. Now, abandoned and left to ruin, it's the seat of power for no one but bandits and missing-nin. Since the start of the year, it's been home to more than a dozen criminal groups, and after clearing the place out last time, the local authorities have decided it needs to go. That's why Konoha is helping. Atsuro, with his skill as a scout, is mainly here as a guide to get Daisuke through the wilderness. And now that they're here, it's time for Daisuke to reduce this place to rubble.
Atsuro pulls himself up over the final ledge, then kneels down and lowers hands for Daisuke and Taizen to help them up. Now, standing before them is the fortress. Even after all these years, its redundant walls, towers, and gates could still be a formidable obstacle to an attacker. It's summer, but at this altitude a thin layer of snow covers everything.
"Well," says Atsuro, "It might have historical value, but I guess you'll have to do your thing. Should we wait here, or…?" He intended to trail off there, but he did it by accident. He's a little distracted by fresh footprints in the snow. Not theirs. He sniffs the air. "Someone's here," he says with a sigh, "What do you think?"
With a final push, Daisuke lifts himself over the edge of the cliff with help from Atsuro, picking himself up and stretching a bit. Taking a good look around the fairly impressive fortress ruins, he rests for the moment, no telling what else will require him to exert himself more physically than he was used to. "Thank god they picked the two most in shape ninja for this mission, that was quite some climb." Daisuke says as he peeks back the way they came, luckily not having vertigo.
The snow was a bit of a nice change, there to remind people that, while it was hot in the Land of Fire, they were a quite a high altitude. As Atsuro comments about the ruins Daisuke nods his head. "Almost sad, wish I could rule over it instead, but it just keeps getting infested with scum." he says, the last part when he notices the footprints. "I'll let you lead us forward with those keen senses. Best to investigate before we act. Could be innocent villagers or homeless, never know. Try to keep out of their sight though so we know for sure." he suggests.
"Tai and I are usually more coastal stuff," says Atsuro, "But we do this sort of thing often enough." He grins, "How do you think we got to be the two most in shape ninja?" He sets down his backpack and pulls out a pair of warm sheepskin cloaks. He wraps one around himself and offers the other to Daisuke. "Your coat enough for you, Tai?" he asks Taizen. "I'm okay," the dog answers in his usual contented manner.
"You yearning for the feudal days, Daisuke?" Atsuro teases, "Admittedly, the old rulers were way better than the recent ones." He crouches down and they start to follow the footprints, sniffing the air for the scent of whoever else might be here. "I /hope/ they're just innocents," he says, "But I don't know what they'd be doing here. Quite a climb just for sightseeing."
The trail of footsteps lead them through much of the fortress, taking them through gates, up stairways, and over ramparts. Finally, after passing through a few layers of defenses, they find themselves at the exterior of the innermost wall. Atsuro crouches down behind a convenient half-ruined tower, then carefully leans and peeks out. "Yep," he says, "Looks like we got people here. Armed. At least one patrolling on the ramparts, two more guarding a gate." He ducks behind the tower again, then looks back to Daisuke. "How do you wanna do this?" he asks, "Smash the groove out of the fortress and take them down with it, or take a more subtle approach and deal with them before we decommission the place?"
Daisuke declines the cloak, not because he was a man's man or anything, but because his unique nature had the odd habit of keeping his body warmer than usual, like a personal heat generator. He reaches down to scritch Taizen's ears as he looks up at the walls of the fortress, chuckling at Atsuro's comments. "The prideful nature of my internal companion has always made ruling over anything, including people from a fortress on high, appealing. It also has a reverse effect where I can't stand real leaders, like Daimyou and Kage, until they have earned my personal approval. Not the most diplomatic stance to have, huh?" he says with an amused look. "Though some find it helpful that my loyalties are few and far between when they send me on missions."
"Perhaps there is another way up, the fortress would've had to be restocked in the old days, perhaps someone knows something we don't." Daisuke suggests to Atsuro, even though he had fun on the climb and cheated a bit with his advanced chakra control and tree walking techniques. "Either way it is best we check it out first."
Moving on into the fortress, Daisuke follows the duo, ready for anything at a moment's notice. As they arrive at the inner most wall, Daisuke listens to the situation. "Hmm, both sound like a good idea, and since it is our mission to demolish this place, perhaps a little of both? I smash through this wall, startling the guards closest and bringing them in while you and Taizen sneak around to pick off the patrols and others confused by the noise?" he suggests. He was always usually the bait and/or the distraction because he could take a lot on at once.
While Atsuro knows about Daisuke's unique nature, he figures the refusal actually /is/ because of manliness. "You trying to impress me?" he asks. He glances around, looking at the snow and ice. "It worked." He grins a little. "Well, I've only talked to him once, but Son Goku did seem a little imperious." He raises a hand. "Actually, hold on. That's not fair talking about him like that when he's stuck inside you. He was /really/ imperious."
"That's true," Atsuro says, nodding, "I chose that route so we wouldn't be spotted. Not for ease of travel. Hell on the joints, but I guess I've been vindicated, eh? Anyway, there could well be a path up here from the olden days. Or just one beaten by the other dozen bandit groups."
He nods a little as he listens to Daisuke's plan. "Fair enough," he says, "You draw them over here and Tai and I will ambush anyone rushing to see what's up. After that…" He points at a large central structure beyond the inner wall, "We'll have to figure out how to deal with the keep. I assume if there's a leader in there or whatever, they'll hole up instead of coming after you. Probably easier than fighting you in the open, eh?" He shares a glance with Taizen, then Atsuro nods to Daisuke. "Whenever you're ready, man," he says. Then he and Taizen disappear, dashing off in a blur to get into position.
Daisuke grins as Atsuro remembers his brief meeting with the King. "He seems to take a shine to you, even if you did just call him arrogant. I've been calling him that for years now, though I just come out and directly say it." He pats his stomach as if consoling it before it was time to move. "Right, if things go haywire and they do hole up in the Keep, you will get to see something pretty cool as I rip it right off the stones that support it, but lets take this one step at a time." Senju Daisuke, solving problems normal ninja have difficulty dealing with one mission at a time.
"Alright, just go when you hear the destruction." Daisuke says to Taizen and Atsuro before they flicker from sight, hopefully getting into positions they can better handle things from. For Daisuke's part, he would be using his cloak as his shield and, as the eerie chakra covers his body like some kind of gelatinous lifeform, he focuses some of his chakra into his right arm. Swinging back like he was winding up for a baseball throw or something, Daisuke lifts a leg, gets ready to throw the pitch, then leans forward, using both the small amount of momentum he has created with the motion and the force created when he expanded his arm into Son's own. The massive, red-haired arm comes smashing through the wall with enough force to send stone blocks in every direction, and, pulling back the fist and returning it to his own, Daisuke has certainly succeeded in creating a distraction. "Knock knock." he calls out as he steps forward over the rubble, his red-orange chakra cloak sizzling away as the snow makes contact and begins to evaporate. "Anybody home?"
"He likes me?" Atsuro asks, "Guess he's not a very good judge of character." He grins, "We can talk about it later… even if he did seem completely insufferable." As Ataru could attest, Atsuro really likes insulting spirits and the like. He smirks a little before he and Taizen head off. "Taking the subtle approach then," he says drily.
The wall is easily smashed and Daisuke's attack sends blocks of stone flying forward into the courtyard. When the dust clears, it's apparent that the initial attack has already taken down a number of enemies, but whoever this group is, they've got a fair number of people. Men come running to the breach in the wall from the keep, while others run along the wall or start coming in from the other areas of the fortress. Atsuro and Taizen can be spotted zipping around and quickly dispatching small groups of enemies, but Daisuke is going to have to help out if they're going to clear this place in a reasonable amount of time…
Daisuke lifts his hands and his cloak goes to work, shooting out appendages, fists, claws, whatever he needs to grab and smack the oncoming group of people. The first person to try to lunge at him gets grabbed mid-air by one of his chakra hands around the leg, the sizzle of flesh shows that this chakra is not the friendly kind as the man cries out in pain. His pain is only momentary though, as the man is literally flung into the air over the wall, easily clearing the outer wall they came from as well and most likely sent over the cliff. The others are more hesitant after this, trying to use their brains. As they are doing this, Daisuke doesn't let up, his cloak appendages grabbing another and slamming him against a nearby wall, instantly rendering him unconscious with the might of the blow, easily breaking at least a few ribs in the process. The other arms are doing what they do best, grappling and clawing their way through the group around him as the fists do the defensive work.
One man jumps down off the wall, attempting to pierce Daisuke's cloak. The cloak bends with the sword he uses, and contracts inward enough to draw blood from Daisuke's skin before an appendage of chakra shoots outward, spearing him through the chest. The wound sizzles as the regenerative power of the Bijuu begins to heal it and Daisuke is able to focus more on the battle. 'I'd say this was distraction enough.' he thinks to himself as his handful of appendages continue to fight off impending enemies, hoping Taizen and Atsuro use the time in the shadows to their advantage.
The battle continues for a few minutes more, but the enemy forces soon stop their attack. It's not that they've been defeated yet, just that they don't want to waste anymore people trying to take down the human siege engine. The fact that a number of patrols have mysteriously disappeared doesn't help matters either. Once Daisuke dispatches the last few men, the attack just suddenly ends.
For a few seconds, there's silence, then Atsuro and Taizen reappear. "Looks like they gave up," says Atsuro. He rubs his chin and looks around. "Since you're the destruction expert, I'll leave the decision to you," he says, "We could just try and smash the keep and take them all down, but it might be easier to just take down everything else first. Not much point in having the keep when it has no defenses, eh? It'd either draw them out or leave them with nothing."
Daisuke notices the dispersing numbers of men as he finishes up with those around, even catching a few that were on the run. He looks around the area to try to locate where they were holed up, but he figured the central keep was probably the only place they could hide with any kind of success. As Atsuro and Taizen appear again, Daisuke was glad to see them both ok, and nods his head at Atsuro's assessment. "I'm not sure about giving up, more so regrouping or hiding behind their walls." he says as he looks up at the keep, his now golden glowing eyes sizing it up for destruction. "I can wipe the keep out if there are some there, we won't have to worry about debris, either, as this move doesn't leave anything behind, though it takes a moment to set up. I think you remember it well enough when I was pretending to complete it with you and Taizen caught in my cloak?" he says, teasing Atsuro a bit, still getting amusement out of the look on his face back then. "It's your call, though. As I said back home, I go where needed and leave the strategy to the others."
"I meant a temporary give-up," Atsuro clarifies, "Obviously we look completely terrifying to any enemy, but I don't think they're ready to surrender just yet. He smiles wryly, "We remember." He thinks about this. "Much as I'd like to see what that looks like when we do it to an entire building," he says, "They might have already started the whole bandit thing. You blow it away and it might get someone's stolen property too." He gestures to the outer walls. "Start smashing things out here," he says, "Tai and I will watch your back."
"Bah, do we really care about someone's lost luggage or weaponry? How will we even know who it belongs to?" Daisuke says, though his protest was merely a bit of whining that he couldn't blow up the tower. "Alright alright." he says to the plan, moving off to break through the rest of the walls before eyeing the gate and heading over towards it to crush as well. Random destruction was fun and all, but letting loose, there was nothing better. Daisuke was almost bored with attacking the walls, but he carried on anyway.
"Hey now," says Atsuro, "C'mon. They wouldn't be bandits if they didn't take anything of value. This stuff could make the difference between some guy feeding his family or starving." His tone is actually a little scolding here. "You'll get to destroy it. We just have to make sure first." He nods a little as Daisuke seems to accept it and goes to demolishing the rest of the citadel first.
They make their way through quite a bit of the fortress, leaving nothing but scattered stone and rubble. But as Atsuro suspected, it does indeed draw out the rest of the bandits. "Hold on," says Atsuro suddenly. He sniffs the air. He points to one of the still-intact walls, and standing at the top is an impressive-looking man dressed in extravagant robes with sharp eyebrows and a smart-looking goattee. "Halt," says the man, "I am the leader of the Best Friends Gang. Before I take your life, I wish to know what you are doing here." Atsuro is too busy snickering at the name of the gang to answer at the moment. Though the more responsible Taizen is already grabbing a sword for him.
"Fine fine, it's not like we will ever know where it came from even if we did find it." Daisuke grumbles, knowing that it was good to give back things that may have been taken, but thinking the odds were slim that they would ever find the original owners. After his escapades all over the outer fortress they finally make it into the inner areas. Daisuke's favorite part of a mission is then encountered as the man with very extravagant robes shows up and says his stuff. "Those are some pretty nice robes you got on there, pops. I think I would look quite good in them. Perhaps if you take them off and throw them down to me, I will reconsider letting your Best Friends live, after all, I know the importance of true best friends." Instead of just plowing through the wall below the man, Daisuke had chosen to speak, and attempt to rile up the man or at least let the others loose on them again. He was itching to level the inner keep and surrounding areas, but of course there was Atsuro's wish as well. "In fact, leave whatever you have stolen with us and perhaps you can keep the robes." Sigh. The robes would've looked so good on him.
The impressive man snaps his fingers. "Ah," he says, "Now this is interesting. You see, the Best Friends Gang is not just any bandit gang. We are best friends. And like best friends, we do interesting things together. Now, that just happens to be robbery at the moment, but destroying ancient fortresses… now, that is pretty interesting too. We get to be the last ones who ever see these historical structures. And if we help you, why, we get a share in ridding this area of dangerous criminals."
He gestures vaguely to the three team members. "But you are pretty interesting too. I must have an opportunity to defeat you. So we will handle this like best friends and settle this in an honourable arm wrestle. Including myself, there are thirty six men remaining, including myself. If you three can defeat us all, you will get my robes and everything we have stolen, then we will clear out. If /we/ win, we get /your/ clothes and you have to join the Best Friends Gang. Do we have a deal?"
Atsuro turns and whispers to Daisuke, "This is stupid." Despite being a whisper, though, it's obviously intended to be audible to the Best Friends Gang.
Daisuke listens to the man, who seemed to be trying to challenge him to some kind of contest. He looks over at Atsuro, nodding his head with the assertion though he was really confused how anyone could just try to challenge them after the way they had taken out their friends. 'Let me handle this so that we can get out of here.' says a voice from within, Son waking up in a not so pleasant mood. Daisuke sighs and turns to Atsuro and Taizen, telling them to get back to the inner gate quickly.
Once he had given them enough time, he looks up at the man with an odd smile, a knowing, cocky sort of smile. "You could send all 36 of your men against me and they still couldn't move one of my fingers." he says in a deep, foreboding voice. "For I am the King and I have taken a liking to this place and all within!" he yells, announcing the revival of the King of the Jungle as Daisuke lets him drive. An explosion of chakra and dust that is kicked up by it creates a swirling vortex that expands upwards like a giant dust tornado. Debris and stone blocks get caught up in the vortex as well as it reaches at least 150 feet in the air. After the winds subsize the dust settles, and from within the dust, a massive golden light looks to be shining on the man in the robes. As the dust reveals what stands within, the full form of Son Goku, four-tailed Ape and King of the beasts stands there, crouched and examining the man, that golden light revealed as one of his eyes. Even crouched the beast stands easily 100 feet tall and it is a tight fit as he pushes his legs up against the wall behind him to stretch out, completely wrecking it in the process like it was a toy. Daisuke rides atop Son, resting on his diadem stretched over his brow, and looks down at the man. "I win?"
Apparently Daisuke has a plan of some kind. Atsuro calls up to the Best Friends Gang leader. "Actually," he says, "I think I'll just be going for now." He points to Taizen, "Him too. But we don't really seem to be the ones you're interested in, so no big deal, right?"
The leader frowns, "You /are/ less interesting," he agrees, "But to be friends with this man… there must be something interesting about you too. But I will let you go for now. After all, thirty-six to one is far better than eighteen to one." Once Atsuro and Taizen have left, the man points to Daisuke. "You," he says, "You will begin with the weakest of the Best Fri— "
The rest of the sentence is cut off by the cacaphony of sounds that you get when a giant ape appears in a field of rubble. The man dives for cover, then reappears when the coast is clear. "What is the meaning of this?" he asks, "How can we arm-wrestle somebody so large?"
Son stares at the man who stands in front of him, too dumb to even run for his life. Oh well, he had given him his chance. Son lifts his hand towards the man, his middle finger and thumb together. As his hand reaches the area where the man is…. FLICK. "Annoying.." is all Son says as he deals with both the wall and hopefully the man in the same flicking motion of his giant fingers. After shuffling around a bit more and destroying some more of the area in the process, Son is finally able to stand at full height of somewhere well over 150 feet tall. Feeling relief at being able to stand, Son lets out a powerful roar and pounds on his chest, announcing to the world that he has laid claim to this fortress. He is able to look down at the other members before he raises his giant foot menacingly as if he was going to bring it down upon them. "Scram, ants."
The leader's death is plenty of warning for the rest of the Best Friends Gang. After seeing that, the men scatter, fleeing for their lives as fast as they can, scrambling along the remaining ramparts or trying to get lost in the rubble. It's safe to say that what little remains of the fortress will go without any resistance.
"Young pup, come get your valuables before I reduce this castle to rocky earth." Son bellows as he looks around for Atsuro, "I won't be kept waiting." Daisuke, who rides atop his horned diadem, spots Atsuro and calls down, "Seems like they took off for some reason. Check out the inner keep for any stolen goods and lets finish this mission, huh?" Daisuke was just as eager to smash the castle and be done, though he was somewhat glad Atsuro finally got to see the real King.
With their head-start, Atsuro and Taizen were able to escape to a safe spot when Son Goku showed up. Atsuro peeks out from cover. "Gnaaaaarly," he says, "You're curling enormous." While Atsuro is known for his stiff upper life, he actually does seem legitimately fearful to some degree. Kinda hard not to, after that display. "Just gimme a few minutes, I'll see what they have… and get it clear of you."
There are indeed some valuable items in the keep, which Atsuro and Taizen quickly haul out of the fortress. Like Daisuke suggested, it's not yet clear whom they should go to, but that can be sorted out later. For now, there's nothing preventing Daisuke and Son Goku from trashing whatever's still standing. Soon, there's nothing left of the fortress but chunks of rock, and perhaps a few half-standing walls. There won't be anymore gangs occupying this mountain any time soon.