Rain nor Snow


Atsuro, Hitoshi

Date: July 30, 2012


Atsuro and Hitoshi must sneak into a heavily-guarded city, deliver a secret message, and escape, all without getting caught.

Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.

"Rain nor Snow"

Dangai, a city in the Land of Fire

Dangai. A city in the Land of Fire infamous for its strict security. Even the carefully-defended walls of Konoha do not quite match up to the complicated network of fortifications surrounding the city. And tonight, two ninja are going to get in, deliver an important message, and get out, all without revealing their mission.
Atsuro, Hitoshi, and Taizen are about a kilometer out from the city, though somewhat closer to the expertly engineered defenses. They're crouched in at the edge of a forest. They can see the lights of the city from here, but it's nearly midnight, and they're probably invisible themselves. The guards are known for their discipline and skill, but they are not ninja, something Atsuro and Hitoshi will likely be very thankful for by dawn.
Atsuro lays down a map on the ground, then strikes a match and carefully holds it over the sheet so it can be seen. "Okay," he says, beginning the mid-mission briefing. "Here's a map of the city." With his free hand, he points out a rectangular shape on the map. "The biggest problem is the wall," he explains, "Solid stone blocks. It's been standing for centuries, well-maintained. Plenty of guards on patrol. About eighteen meters tall. There are some gates, and they'll still let people in at this time of night, but they're heavily guarded and they'll ask a lot of questions." He gestures to an open area, representing the area just outside the wall. "We're in this forest here," he says, pointing out an area of forest nearby, "In this area, the main problem is being spotted. Lots of hidden observation posts and pillboxes, all connected by underground tunnels. And a number leading into the city as well; they didn't want the fortifications opening to the outside." He grins, "'course, they didn't necessarily succeed in that, eh?" Finally, he points to a blue section on the map. "We're next to the ocean," he explains, "There's a harbor. We might be able to get in by swimming, but I don't exactly know what to expect there. They have coastal fortresses, but those are if they come under attack by ships. I don't know how useful they'll be in stopping us. If we go in by the water, I've got wetsuits for us in my backpack, but we'll have to travel light. And our contact is fairly far from the harbor."
Then he points to the area representing the city itself, "The contact is on Toride Street. There're guards patrolling the streets in twos. One will be carrying a lantern, the other will have a crossbow. Plus, both will have knives. They're probably not a match for us, but they might have a way of alerting other guards, which would make things ugly. And… that's about it."
He looks up at Hitoshi, "Tai and I usually go for the water entry when we can, but it has its disadvantages this time. You have any thoughts on getting in? I mentioned a few ways." He attempts to tap Hitoshi on the forehead, "And since you're a super-genius, you can probably think of some brilliant ways yourself. So, what's the analysis?"

"Fortifications by the waterside will only be high enough to stop boats and landing craft - most likely significantly less higher than the wall, meant to stop people and animals." Hitoshi sits on the ground, regarding the map and examining it. "We could, in theory, go in directly under Henge." He then looks toward Taizen, though, and rubs his neck a little. "Is he able to transform into a different form other than mimicking your appearance, though? Twins would be an awkward thing to explain while traveling late at night." He looks back to the map again, sighing a little bit and shaking his head, reaching out to tap his finger against the wooded area. "This is a -no.- We could theoretically move fast enough, but there are simply too many fortifications going on there for us to try. Even if it's the path they'd least expect… it's too risky."
A pause, and Hitoshi considers the wall. "We could find a way over the wall… But do we know if there are any barrier techniques that would ping off to our detection? And have we considered going -underground?-"

"That's what I was thinking," Atsuro agrees, "But the guards'll know that too, of course. Still probably easier than any other route, aside from more time spent travelling through the city… but the city itself is probably still easier than anywhere else." He pauses to consider the second plan. "Taizen can't," he explains, "But if we don't think we can explain a dog travelling with us, it's safe enough to leave him here. We'll probably want to leave some equipment behind anyway, and having a guard wouldn't be too bad." He nods. "Okay, going through the forest is out then. Over the wall is always possible. Still a few other fortifications to deal with, but a lot easier to avoid than in the forest." He quirks his mouth a little when Hitoshi suggests going underground. "Haven't really thought about it before, but I suppose Taizen and I could tsuga the letter out of the ground" he suggests, "That's always possible, but we risk running into one of /their/ tunnels. Of course, that might be useful. Get us there partway, then take their tunnels the rest of the way."

"Their tunnels are probably lightly guarded, if not guarded at all," Hitoshi remarks softly. As he studies the map, he places his finger down on it… and frowns a little bit, running his finger along what appears to be a series of pipeways leading out into the water. As he does, his frown deepens a bit, and he sighs some.
"There's virtually no fortification out in the water here," he remarks, gesturing to the terminal site of the pipeline - out past the bay - past the bay's defenses. "It's where their wastewater runs off from the village, it looks like." He rubs his nose a little bit, sighing again. "… That… may be the path of the -very least- resistance. Even if it means having to go through… well."
He pauses, considering that. "We'd need more than wetsuits. We'd need breathing equipment, and the terminals probably have grates over them we'd need to cut through. He looks toward Atsuro. "Even without Taizen, you could handle the cutting. And… I have a couple of re-breathers that can buy us about ten minutes in my bag, before we would succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning or simply drowning."

"Aaaahhhh," says Atsuro, "So that's why I have you along." He reaches over to mess up Hitoshi's hair. "So they just dump it right into the sea, huh? Hope they don't do much fishing. Anyway, wading through sewage ain't my idea of a fun time. But that could save us some trouble." He pauses to think about this. "Do the rebreathers… regenerate in fresh air? Ten minutes on the way in is probably enough, but if we have to split it between going in and going out, it might be trouble. Maybe just go out the first manhole we find and travel above ground to the contact." He glances over to Taizen, "Tai'll probably have to stay behind," he agrees, "But so will my swords. The sewage would destroy them. And I've only just started on my way to steel-cutting techniques." He makes muscles at Hitoshi, "But I'm pretty confident I have a solution anyway." He looks down at the map. "Match is burning low," he says, "So if you're having second thoughts, now's the last chance to look at the map again. Should I get the wetsuits?"

"We'll have to split it, yes." Frowning a little, Hitoshi shakes his head. "We'll have to move -fast,- both in and out. Unless we leave above ground. Which is a possibility."
He finally looks toward Atsuro as the match finally goes out, and before it does, he nods. In the darkness, he whispers, "Let's go, then."

Atsuro nods, "We'll see, then. If we have to, we might just run to the harbor and dive. "We'll be dressed for it anyway." He pauses, "You a good swimmer?"
He gets up and goes over to his backpack, then pulls out the wetsuits, one for himself and Hitoshi, both perfectly fitted for their user. Before changing, however, he pulls out what looks like a folded up blanket. "Put anything you're leaving behind next to mine," he says. Then he changes into his wetsuit, bundles his clothes up, and puts them in the backpack. Luckily, the wetsuits have reasonably spacious pockets, so they can take some kunai and such along with them.
Once their equipment is all together, Atsuro unfolds the blanket. On one side is a leaf-type camouflage, but on the other is a pretty convincing forest floor. He throws it over the equipment. It's not so perfect that it couldn't be spotted from close by, but from far away? At night? It may as well be invisible. Atsuro kneels down to say a few things to Taizen, then stands up and moves over to the edge of the trees, "Ready when you are," he whispers back to Hitoshi.

A page is taken out of Atsuro's book: the first thing Hitoshi removes to leave behind is his shin gunto. Regarding it for a moment, he places it in the pile of stuff to be left behind. He considers his other equipment for a moment… before deciding it too can stay. He removes his pouch and places it in as well. His backpack is otherwise left behind, except for the two re-breathers, which he takes out. Tossing one toward Atsuro, he thumbs up.
"You've got the message, right?" he asks lightly, moving to the side to begin changing into the wetsuit he's given. As he does, he is also careful to make sure his flak vest can stay in place under it… which it can. At least he has some extra weapons in the pouches on the sides. Once he's changed, he nods, and moves to follow after Atsuro, thumbing up.

"Yep," says Atsuro, patting a pocket. He presses against a pocket on his chest a little, and through the fabric of the wetsuit, a rectangular outline is just barely visible. He puts the rebreather in another pocket, then, once Hitoshi's ready to go, heads out. He leads Hitoshi along a path that skirts around the fortified area to the sea, darting between obstructions to sight such as small wooded areas or large boulders to minimize their chances of getting caught. Eventually, they've made it to a gravel beach by the sea. Their footsteps there will be louder than in grass, so Atsuro gets on all fours and walks ahead stealthily. Some kind of Inuzuka technique. Eventually, they come to the pipes, hanging out a few meters over the ocean. "You know about water walking yet?" Atsuro asks, "I don't think I taught you, but with you there's always the chance that you ran off and learned it the day after I taught you tree walking."

As they approach the water front and Atsuro walks out, Hitoshi smiles a little bit when he's asked about his water-walking skills.
"I wouldn't be a respectable chuunin if I couldn't do that, now would I?"
And just like that, without even seeming to think about it… Hitoshi takes a solid step out over the water, and he begins to move along it, steadily, movign to follow after Atsuro. As he nods, he gestures, "we should keep moving. Just in case they send patrol boats out along the waterfront. As much fortification as this place seems to have, it wouldn't surprise me."
With that, Hitoshi begins to move off at a clip, making only the slightest ripples along the water's top as he moves along. It seems that Hitoshi's grown a lot more than Atsuro may give him credit for.

"Ah, Hitoshi," says Atsuro, "I never said anything about you being a respectable chuunin." Figuring that actually getting up into the pipe is his responsibility is tallest, he jumps up, overshooting the pipe somewhat to grab the top edge. He'd really rather avoid touching the bottom, but he's got to kneel down to offer Hitoshi a hand up. "There's just two things," he says, "First, how far can we go in without using the rebreathers? And we need some way to know where we're going. I could…" He makes a face, "Smell around well enough, but I'd have to take the rebreather off every so often to do that. I think anything involving fire would be bad too…"

After the hand up is given and Hitoshi is up there, he stops to consider the remarks Atsuro brings up. As he does, he frowns a little bit, looking into the darkness. "I would say we can probably go at least a hundred meters," he remarks softly, "before needing to actually put them on and go. -Any- kind of spark could be enough to set off the toxic gases in here, too, so most sources of light are going to be out." He looks toward Atsuro, biting his lip. "You may have to resort to that. Just be sensible about it, eh? You'll be okay if you don't breathe in too much."

Atsuro pulls Hitoshi up into the pipe with a grunt. "Wow," he teases, "Let's hope that's muscle, eh?" He follows Hitoshi's gaze into the darkness. "I guess I'm on point then," he decides. Blocking the way in are some thick iron bars. "But there's still a problem," he says, walking over to the bars, "I've got the map, but there's no way we're going to be able to read it without a light. I can smell my way through here, but I can't smell a map." He pauses. "Maybe there's some sort of landmark we can look out for? This is our last chance to look at the map again until we've made it to the streets." It seems like he's more concerned about finding their way than getting past the bars. The reason for that soon becomes apparent as he simply grabs a couple of bars and pulls on them. "Ungghhhh…!" As expected from a security measure in one of the most secure cities in the world, the bars are /tough/. But Atsuro's tougher, for after a few second then bend a little, then a little more, then finally they snap apart, leaving a hole big enough for the two of them to slip through.

"There's several S-Bends that we'll encounter about three-hundred meters in, and then a Y-intersection about nine hundred meters in," Hitoshi remarks softly. "If we take the right portion of the intersection, we should cut down our travel time. It's a -lot- of ground to cover, though."
Taking a breath, Hitoshi rubs his nose a little bit. The smell is already causing it to tingle… he can only imagine what Atsuro's going through.
As Atsuro pulls the bars apart to the point of snapping them, though, he stares and smirks a little bit. "Sugoi," he whispers softly, thumbing up. "And this is why I'm glad you're my senpai." He gestures, then, and motions for him to take the lead, then.

Atsuro has moved a little towards the entrance to get out the map again, which allows enough light for Hitoshi to see the shock on his face. "Envelope, seriously?" he asks, "Did you get your own copy of the map and study it on the way here or something? How did you remember all that?" He walks back over towards the busted bars. "Well, I guess we may as well get a move on. And go fairly fast. The less time we spend down here the better."
He rubs his nose. "For a number of reasons. Can't wait until those rebreathers come out." That said, he doesn't seem to be /too/ upset. Apparently he's not unused to this disadvantage of a sensitive nose. He smirks a little, "Least it's obvious what to do if I have to go to the bathroom, eh?"
He steps through the bars, "Stick with me and you'll be able to do it someday," he says, "Once you finally start on my training routine. Maybe this'll motivate you a little, huh?" In the little light remainin, a little smile can be seen on his face. He seemed to like that compliment.

"I'm surprised you never noticed, Senpai." As they set out through the tunnels, Hitoshi takes stock of the smile he saw before it grows too dark. "I have a very good memory," he explains softly. "I've got a thing about texts, maps, and other things I can -visualize.- Sometimes it's a good gift to behold. Other times, it can be a pain because it takes a bit of effort to empty out some of the useless information I process."
The water comes up to their ankles. Thank God for the wetsuits… Blech. As they wade steadily, he pauses after so far. "We're probably seventy or eighty meters in. Once we don the rebreathers, we need to move quick and get through the last nine hundred meters -quick,- if we don't wanna leave on foot above ground." With that, he begins to shuffle a little bit, pulling his re-breather out and fitting it around his face. This pretty much renders him silent… and he reaches out, tapping Atsuro's shoulder, indicating he's ready for the run.

"Oh," says Atsuro, "So that's it. I guess I did realize you were a bit of a nerd. Just didn't realize you had nerd superpowers." His grin is probably invisible in the darkness now, but Hitoshi probably knows him well enough by now to sense what's happening. "Pretty handy though," he admits, "I'll have to keep that in mind." He glances down at his ankles, "For the sake of future ninja, I hope procurment tosses these when we give them back."
Putting on the rebreather is something of a relief. No more smell for the moment. He pulls it from his face briefly to instruct Hitoshi, "Let's go. I'll keep a reasonable pace, but it shouldn't be anything you can't handle. Listen to my footsteps and yell if you think we're getting separated."
With that, he runs on ahead, keeping a decent pace for a ninja, as promised. Occasionally taking off his mask to smell the air, he leads Hitoshi through the bowels of the city, remembering the important areas Hitoshi mentioned. Eventually, he sees a couple of small, dim lights from up above. "This it?" he whispers, taking off his mask momentarily. "Air seems fresher," he adds.

As the run takes off, Hitoshi keeps a decent pace behind Atsuro, keeping a mental breakdown of their number of steps to measure off with. Once they seem to make it past the Y-Bend, it's almost a quick straight shot. And as Atsuro comes to a stop where -some- light shines through a manhole cover, Hitoshi slows as well, letting his mind catch up with their footsteps. As he seems to be calculating, he removes his re-breather, coughing softly… and he looks up at it, nodding a little.
"If I've measured right," he whispers quietly, frowning then. "However, we should consider using Henge to blend in as villagers before we go up. That way we can at least move with a little less urgency and catch our breath - literally."
With that, Hitoshi is already forming the handseals: Dog, Boar, Ram… and in a quick *POP* of smoke, Hitoshi takes on the appearance of an older gentleman, graying at the tempels… some random villager he's obviously seen around Konoha! And as he speaks, he forces his voice to pitch down a bit, until it's kind of gravel-y. "This should work," he rumbles, smiling a little bit admist the darkness. At which point, he moves toward the exitway to begin climbing…

"I sure hope any guards we meet don't notice the smell," Atsuro says, removing his rebreather entirely. "How long do we have left on these things?" he asks, "We getting out the same way we got in?" He follows Hitoshi's lead and uses henge to transform himself into… well, it's just Atsuro, only without the Inuzuka tattoos on his face and wearing simple brown trousers and a grey coat. Looks civilian-ish enough. "We're still going to seem pretty suspicious anyway," he notes, "So keep your distance from any guards. Just don't /look/ like you're keeping your distance."
That taken care of, he climbs the ladder up to the manhole cover, listens, then opens it a crack and looks out. Satisfied, he opens it up completely and climbs up. "We're good," he whispers down into the sewer. Indeed they are. They couldn't have picked a better spot, having come up in a small alley between a couple of buildings. "Well, super memory kid," he says, peeking out of the alley, "We're on Geikaku Road. You have a good way to get to Toride Street from here, or are we consulting the map again?"

"Walk casual," Old-Hitoshi remarks idly, glancing sidelong toward Atsuro in the dim light, snickering a little bit. "We'll see," he rumbles.
As they climb up, Hitoshi is careful about his own movements, stretching just slightly as he pops his back. He almost reaches up to brush his hair back… but he realizes it's not there. "Tch." He drops his old hand immediately, and sighs a little. "This is what I don't like about this particular character," he remarks softly, "but it makes the most sense for a young, spry whiper-snapper like you to be walking their poor grandpa home. Right, Senpai?" He smirks a little. "Just in case we're caught. You're walking me back to my apartment -on- Toride Street." He grins a little, and then gestures lightly, motioning for the Map. "I didn't study the at-ground level stuff much, except for the wall and entry points."

"Exactly," Atsuro says, nodding. "I'm not exactly sure that story is water-tight, but if it gets to the story-telling point, it's probably already at the knock-heads-together point." He reaches into a pocket and produces the map once more. Or that's what he's probably doing, though the illusion make it appear as if the paper is just coming straight out of the fabric of his coat. "Lessee here." He puts the map on the ground and kneels down. With no forest to block the moonlight, the map is readable as is.
"Simplest route is probably this way," he says, tracing a finger along several streets, "It might help us avoid the guards if we go by the roofs though. Or maybe there's some other way I haven't thought of. Thoughts?"

"Let's stick to ground-level. I mean, even though the village is fortified, you never mentioned a curfew for it's villagers," Hitoshi rattles out quietly, studying the map for a moment, "meaning we should be able to move about without attracting -too- much attention, even if it's this late." He grins, then, thumbing up. "Be the least expected element and throw them off," he remarks softly.
With that, he rolls his back again, and begins to move toward the exit of the alleyway in the direction they had decided to travel by. "We'll be okay. I'm not much for conversation much, anyway," he comments over his shoulder quietly, grinning still… before he turns forward, and stoops a bit, trying to give himself that old-man look to the best of his ability.

"I suppose," Atsuro says, "No curfew, yeah. But I'm sure the guards are just looking for any excuse to give us trouble at this time of night." He puts the map away and follows after Hitoshi. There are indeed a few civilians walking about, not paying much attention to Atsuro and Hitoshi. No guards nearby yet. "This way," Atsuro whispers, guiding Hitoshi along.
Using his heightened senses, it's easy enough for Atsuro to lead Hitoshi through the streets, keeping aware of any guards nearby and staying out of their way. Eventually, though, they run into trouble. Right down the middle of the city is a sort of security checkpoint. A low wall with guards patrolling nearby gates set up along it. Atsuro ducks into an alley. "How do we handle this one?" he asks, "See if we can bluff our way through?"

"Put on your best Poker face and bluff the stamp out of it," Hitoshi whispers back quietly as he stares on with cloudy, glaucoma-appearing eyes after staggering into the alleyway… . He then raises his voice a little bit, and groans a little. "Aaah… Hajime-chan, are you -ever- going to get me home?!" His voice takes on a bit of a wonky tone to it, and he even staggers a little in his walk now as he makes his way back out of the alleyway abruptly. His cheeks even appear rosy. Yep, drunk old man being guided home by his grandson who he refers to as 'boy' affectionately. Surely, Atsuro will figure out what direction Hitoshi is taking this act.
He stumbles still. He -hopes- Atsuro will figure out his ploy and he will move to 'stop' the staggering and 'support' his dear old grandpa.

Ugh, acting. Not that Atsuro's bad at it, but he hates these little ruses. "Grandad," he says in a scolding tone as he jogs to catch up with Hitoshi, "You can't go off by yourself like that." He fakes supporting Hitoshi as he guides the 'old man' over to the security checkpoint. "Sorry sir," he tells the guard, feigning embarrassment, "I usually keep better track of him, but he managed to get a few drinks while I wasn't looking."
The guard looks at them for a moment. "Papers?" he asks.
Atsuro looks as if he's just died inside, but he manages to come up with a decent story. "Uh, well," he says, "Grandad threw up a couple of times, and uh…" He gives the guard some some serious puppy eyes, no doubt only enhanced by his Inuzuka heritage.
"Right," says the guard rolling his eyes, "In that case, you'll need to answer a couple of questions." He pulls a sheet of paper out of his pocket. "Where are you coming from? Where are you going? What is your occupation? What are your names?"

Atsuro's got a given name. All he needs is a good surname. So, here comes Hitoshi to the rescue!
With a hiccup and a bit of a laugh, Hitoshi's glaucoma'd and hazy eyes direct on the guard doing all of the questioning, and he lets out a drunk, raucious laughter. "I! Am…" Hic. "… Narukami Shinrai! I am a blacksmith! Well," hic, "not samach anymore… mah grandson He's holding up the namesake of my store!"
Hic. "Taught 'em er'thing he knows," he falsely whispers, leaning forward slightly toward the guard to do so. Hitoshi does the drunk act too well. Perhaps he learned from watching Atsuro?
Ooh, yeah. We're going there. As for the where… He's gonna leave that for Atsuro to feign.

That works. Thanks Hitoshi. My, he does a great drunk impression…
"Yeah, that's right," he says, still keeping up the embarrassed act. "And I'm Narukami Hajime. We were at a wedding, and now we're heading to our home on Toride Street." The guard writes all this down. Now for the moment of truth…
"You can pass, the guard says boredly, and opens the gate for them. Atsuro supports Hitoshi through, then down a side street. Once out of sight, he lets the kid go. "Quite an actor, aren't you?" he whispers, "We're pretty close to Toride Street now."

Once they're past the checkpoint and out of eyesight of the guards, Hitoshi straightens up and clears his throat immediately, shaking his head a little bit. "-That- was embarassing," he whispers in his low, gravel-y baritone of the transformation he's in. "Remind me to -not- do that again, eh? There's probably better and less embarassing methods," he whispers, shaking his head again. "We're… what, two blocks away from Toride Street, right?" As they walk on, he considers that.
"We may be able to drop our henge for now," he whispers, "and just continue on as normal. With the note of ditching the wetsuits… we'll just bluff our way out, too, if we have to, or go over the wall."

"Well, it was your idea," Atsuro points out. "Anyway, I say we keep it up until we've delivered the letter, at least." Which is going to be pretty soon, for they are indeed only two blocks away from Toride Street. Soon enough they've arrived. Atsuro gestures to a house and walks over.
He knocks on the door a couple times. "Tuna," comes a rough-sounding man's voice from the other side. "Swordfish," replies Atsuro. A tray slides out under the door, and Atsuro places the letter. It slides back under, and that's that.
Atsuro leads Hitoshi into a back alley where they find a dumpster. "I guess this is the place to get rid of the wetsuits," he decides, stripping his off and throwing it into the dumpster, making sure to get everything out of the pockets first. He gets rid of his henge as well. Now he's just the usual Atsuro, aside from a bunch of creases in his clothes. "Okay," he says, pulling out the map again. "Best way to get out of here?"

"So impersonal," Hitoshi remarks softly, "but such is the life we live." Watching as Atsuro drops the letter ontothe tray, he crosses his arms lightly and grumbles a little, shaking his head. As they begin to slip away at that point, Hitoshi takes a deep breath, rolling his neck slightly as they disappear into the alleyway again… and as they let their jutsu dispell and their wetsuits are discarded, he breathes in a bit of fresh air again.
As he examines the map, he furrows his eyebrows. "Running into anymore of those checkpoints will be troublesome," he remarks softly, "so it may be best to take to the rooftops. We'll make our way over the wall by climbing it," he remarks softly. "And then back to the start-point."
A pause, and he looks up. "This wasn't so bad, y'know, Atsuro-senpai. Getting out of here will probably be easier than anything else we've done thus far."

"Easier if we aren't caught," Atsuro corrects. "But since we've made our delivery, we can just bolt if they catch us. And there's not much chance for them to catch up." He looks upwards. "Rooftops it is," he says, "They probably won't be expecting anyone to try that, but we need to be on the lookout regardless. These guys are pretty uptight about their security, in case you haven't noticed." He smiles wryly, then tree-walks up the walls of the a nearby building to the rooftop.
As expected, the rooftops are more or less clear. There's just two problems: being spotted by a guard on the ground, and the bigger problem of being spotted by a guard on the wall. Most buildings are either roughly the height of the wall or shorter, so the second one is a big deal. "So," says Atsuro, crouching down on the roof when Hitoshi comes up, "I can see a couple ways of doing this. Either we just haul box and blow through any defenses they have before they know what's going on. Or we do it real quiet-like. Sneak up the the wall, jump over when nobody's looking, make our way back to the forest and meet up with Taizen all without making a peep."

"It's a gamble either way we go," Hitoshi remarks softly, "due simply to the fact we've got the guards to contend with." A pause, and Hitoshi sort of just examines the situation, remaining crouched down after topping the building beside Atsuro. "Move quickly, but create a small profile. Stay low and against the roof as best as possible," he whispers gently. "If we can keep from making a large profile, we should have no problem, right?"
It's at this point Hitoshi seems to just steel himself, and he nods. "Move quick, stay low, and keep your eyes open. Best choice of doing things. Once we hit the wall, we bolt like madmen and get over it. If we run into guards, we should be mindful to go for non-killing blows," he notes softly, "simply because we shouldn't harm these people. Even if they're a bit eccentric about their guarding," he remarks softly, "the Daimyo would probably -not- be happy with the village if we killed any of these people."

"Sounds fair to me," says Atsuro, "Let's do it." He points in one direction, "That way. You can even see a little of the forest over the wall." With that, he begins the sneakery, stepping lightly, hopping across the gaps, and staying crouched down to avoid being seen. "Hey," he whispers back to Hitoshi, "Who do you think you're talking to? I'm not the kind of person who just kills some poor guy doing his job."
Soon enough, they've reached the wall. "This is it," Atsuro whispers to Hitoshi, "Do or die— well, they probably wouldn't kill us, actually. But let's not get caught." He pauses for a moment to look at the wall. About every minute, a guard walks buy. "Pretty tight patrols," Atsuro notes, "But that's enough time for us to do it. You ready? Once we're over the wall, we should stop for a minute and listen for anything. If they haven't heard us, maybe we can just walk along the wall back to the beach and take the same route back to Tai."

"In the heat of combat, even the most skilled tactician can make a mistake," Hitoshi remarks softly, "and miscue a kunai or shuriken throw, or hit too hard without realizing, or use a ninjutsu that is far beyond what their opponent can handle." As they move across the building tops, Hitoshi keeps his eyes open. As they reach the point before the wall itself, Hitoshi nods a little bit, listening to Atsuro and watching the guards walking along…
"We should be able to do it," he remarks softly, "and actually make it with about fifteen seconds to spare if we time it just right. But that's the trick." With that, he nods to Atsuro, and grins. "Just give the word, and we'll move."

"I know," says Atsuro, "But I'm careful. Anyway, let's get back to the subject at hand." He continues to watch the guards pass by, then at last he gives the signal. "Go," he whispers urgently, then runs out from cover in a crouch and jumps up to the wall. He pauses and waits for Hitoshi to get there before hopping off the wall, out of the city. Eighteen meters is a lot to fall, but for a ninja it isn't a big deal.
No, the big deal would be the sudden clanging of a bell not far away, and shouts of 'intruders!' from inside the city. "Freight." Atsuro waits (rather impatiently) for Hitoshi to catch up again, then in the time they have remaining before they're spotted, "Run along the wall to the beach, or head straight for the forest? We might be able to lose them if we stick close to the wall for a bit."

"The question is are they going off the address we fed them at that checkpoint, or did someone -see- us?"
Hitoshi is quick to take a position up beside Atsuro, a kunai drawn from his pocket. "I've only brought two or three, so I won't be good for these for -too- long."
With that, though, he seems to get an idea. "Why not create a distraction?" he finally asks Atsuro, glancing toward him. With a steadily growing smirk, Hitoshi holds up his hand, and with that… he turns toward the treeline, steadily weaving seals. "Katon! Goukakyou no Jutsu!"
With that, he bows forward, a large stream of fire coming from his mouth and flashing up the trees out in the woods rather quickly with a flame. His aim was -good.- It was a good thirty or fourty meters away from their actual position… enough leeway to let them start along the wall.
"We'll stick close to the wall and let them focus on -that- distracting nuisance," he remarks, thumbing toward the fire he just started. With that, it's off to keep to the wall.

"No clue," Atsuro says quickly, "Let's try and figure that out /after/ the risk of a crossbow bolt in my butt has passed."
The distraction sounds like a good idea. Atsuro opens his mouth to say so, but Hitoshi has already done it. From within the city come cries of "Fire, FIRE!" Atsuro smiles admiringly at Hitoshi, "You always were my favourite student." He actually likes them all equally, but it's easy to forget that when you've just witnessed something like this. "Let's get the delivery out of here." Needless to say, their trip to the beach is fairly easy.
"Back where it all started," Atsuro mutters, looking over at the drainage pipe. "I have a feeling there'll be a lot more bars in there if we come here again." Now there's only the final stretch ahead of them. And since the fire is still raging, it looks like things are going to be okay.

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