Date: October 21, 2013
A group of kids stop a team of shinobi returning from a mission and request they pay a toll to use the road. Violence suprisingly is not used to solve the issue.
"Resource Reclamation - Tolls"
Land of Lightning
The contract has been signed, the team who signed it is making progress back towards Kumogakure. They've got the bandits strapped to their horses and the progress is slow and steady and really just quite leisurely. Hiro, Hiei, and Kasuya long since caught up with Jon and Nariko…and now Kasuya and Jon have taken over the handling of the contract with the mill and gone ahead, leaving Hiro, Hiei, and Nariko to just stroll along. Kasuya and Jon may have already sent for back-up to help with the trio of Kumonin and their bandit captives (so perhaps that is where Yin and any of the others show up).
It is getting to be late afternoon and the sun is starting to dip below the mountain tops (darn mountains making dusk come quicker in the lowlands). With the leader of the bandits in this area riding strapped to horseback, who else could be out here to hurt everyone right?
Riding in her saddle, her hair bouncing off her back with each gallop, her hands gripping the reigns with both hands was the Yotsuki known as Nariko. She was still very wary of this animal, it having four hooves and all, but she was getting used to it. She would look on each side of her and smile at Hiro and Hiei. "It's about time you caught up. I was worried I'd fall off this thing." She chuckles a moment, letting out a sigh. "But I'm glad you guys made it out."
- Idly leaning in his saddle after catching up to Nariko, Hiroyasu and his valiant mount, "You really have a thing for hooves, don't you? Beariko" he asks before glancing over at hiei "I think it was a good sortie, a little more doom and gloom with things going boom.. but eh it is what it is?" he says with a shrug as he contemplates making a platform out of earth to nap on. -
Hiei slows his horse down once he and Hiro catch up to her. He smirks. "You're doing fine, cousin. Just remember that you treat the horse nice, and he'll always bring you home." He reaches out to pet the neck of his horse as he speaks. A few years ago, Hiei would have never guessed that he was slowly becoming an animal person. First, he adopts a baby goat and raised him, and now he's riding horses and loving it. He nods to Hiroyasu. "I am..pleasantly surprised, actually. The Jounin with us were content to take instruction from me. I would have never thought that would happen in a million years, and Kasuya-sama and I work well together. I look forward to fighting with her again." He grins. "And I'm really proud of Nariko here, too. She handled herself well. It won't be long before she's ready for the exams next year."
In the road ahead, there is a figure squatting there with a white cloak with a hood pulled up over the head. A mask over the face that is reminescent of a yinyang, but the tails of each half dont intrude on the other. Top to bottom and bottom to top. The top of the mask being a grey color, and the bottom being a blood red color. The figure wears black gloves and stick out of the sleeves enough for fingers to be seen.
Yin stands up in the middle of the road, holding up his arms up and out to the sides a little, showing he's peaceful.
"Kumogakure Shinobi. Greetings." He reaches hands into his pockets casually. "I'm your backup." And he now waits for a response.
It is just about when Yin stands and speaks that things start to go south. Well, the trail is going North, but issues arise. The trail between Yin and the others has a snake coiled up just off to the side. It is fairly still right up until the horses nearly trample over it, at which point it twitches, makes noise, and startles the first horse. As horses are pack animals that follow their lead, the other horses follow suit and get startled. Hopefully our Kumonin are quite talented at wrangling startled horses back under their control, otherwise…well, they might be taken for a little bit of a ride or get thrown right into Yin.
Yin has 'Kumogakure' written in Kanji on the chest of his hooded robe.
Nariko's horse gets startled, raising it's legs up into the air, unfortunately for our young maiden, she does not know how to control her horse. Her hands try to stay with the reigns, but then they start to flail as she falls off the horse and into the dirt right on her bum. She sighs, just her luck, right as another shows up. "Hello." She gives a slight salute from the ground and looks to Hiro. "Can you grab my horse please?" She looks up to Hiei and smiles, hearing him say he was proud of her felt good. She pushed herself off the ground and brushes herself off, grumbling something about getting dirt all over her new outfit or some sort.
- Hiroyasu's horse startles for a second but is wrangled under control with ease, after-all he had been spending alot of time learning his horses nature and inclinations.. Preparation as always.. "Woah.. woah.." he looks at Nariko "Sure.." he says galloping off after the startled horse to try to grab it by the reins and have it follow his calm nature and his horse. "Despite his appearance, he is a legitimate shinobi.." assuring the others to sudden and strange appearance of a no-face, new guy. -
When Nariko's horse rears up from the snake, Hiei's horse does as well. But Hiei is an experienced rider and he holds on with his knees and pulls back on the reigns. He leans over while holding on to the neck with one arm and whispers into it's ear. After a moment, the horse calms down, but still looks a little wild in the eyes. "Relax, buddy. It's just a snake. Nothing to worry about." He looks at the shiniobi in the middle of the road. "I don't know you. You hide your face, and you expect me to just willingly allow you to watch my back?" He cuts his gaze over to Hiroyasu for a moment and then back to the masked guy. "If Hiro says you're okay, then you can stay. But the moment, I see you do something suspect, I'll take your head from your shoulders with no remorse." He grunts, "Nariko..would you be a dear and flash-fry the snake so we can continue? I'm hungry enough to eat a whole cow and being hungry is making me grouchy."
Yin turns his head to look to Hiroyasu, and as Hiro identifies him as a proper shinobi, he looks towards Hiei who gives him a threat. He bows exaggeratedly, his arms hanging at his side loosely, so they swing down when he bows. Returning to their place when he stands up straight again. He looks at the snake on the ground, and merely makes a noise, "Hm." Yin's voice is deeper and almost mechanical sounding behind the small hollow area between his face and the mask.
Yin says to Hiei, "You are too kind, shinobi-san."
The snake will be easy to catch if Nariko does indeed go for it. Once all of the horses are coralled by their cownin, and once Yin is accepted into the fold, things are fairly boring. Up ahead the sound of horses can be heard. More backup? Perhaps, or perhaps something wicked this way comes. The horses aren't moving very quickly though, so maybe everything is okay. Unfortunately, the road behind suddenly has the sound of horses coming up it too. From the sound of things, there is a whole rodeo show coming at the Kumonin from both directions.
Nariko looks at the snake and extends her hands to zap it. "Killing it first. Might give you a good meal." Here's to Nariko's cooking. Once its fried a bit she would pick it up and throw it at Hiei. "Crispy Snake a la Nariko. Just the way you like it." She smirks and then looks to Hiro. "Thanks for getting Stormshadow for me." She smirks at the name, her creative mind.
- Hiro returns with the stray horse, "He almost outran my horse! what do you feed him? Some kind of Yotsuki herbal supplement" he looks at the horse then to nariko, "I like it, nothing is more onimous then the shadow of a coming storm..!" he gives her a thumbs up before his ears twitch well they hear something.. "Speaking of storms, is it supposed to rain?" he hands off the reins to nariko as he watches the snake hurtle a hiei.. "Just.. uh.. like.. mother makes it beariko?" he clears his throat unsure if she was serious, he had never seen or heard of her cooking anything up; besides schemes. "Rider Approach, urgh.. uh.." he seems concentrating "6..7..8.. probably 9?" he says "Minor chakra, on only a few.." he opens his eyes with a deep exhale. -
Hiei catches the snake and shrugs faintly, taking a bite of it. After about half a minute, there is nothing left but a skeleton as he tosses it over his shoulder. "Thanks, Nariko. It does help a little." And then there is the sound of hooves ahead of them, and then behind them, too. He looks at Yin. "Call me Hiei." He turns in his saddle to look behind him. "Based on what I hear, I estimate about 10." He slides off his horse and leads it on foot towards the side of the road. "Could be a pincher manuver?" He looks between the group as he prepares for battle, just in case.
Yin turns to Hiei and lifts hands to hold his head and wobble back and forth at the waist, volume raising and voice as well raising pitch and tone, going to a higher octave. "Ohh man~! Whew, I thought you were going to keep that whole quiet thing up for-ev-er! Yeah. My name's Yin. You can call me Yinsoga for short if you want."
A turn to Nariko, and he staggers as he's the only one walking on his own feet (or at least doesn't have a horse), "Oh d- dehh… you do that often?" Reach up rub hand over back of head on outside of hood. "Heh."
It's like he's almost incompetent, looking at Hiro, then around quickly. "Where? Where? ohhh lemme addum.." and he picks up a stick. "Stick Style: Eyepoke no jutsu!" And he waggles it up the road, then down the road, acting like a swordfighter with the stick as his mighty rapier!
A small band comes into view fairly slowly. The group is made up of what looks to be all kids, though the leader of the motley crew is at least 15 (so an adult by all of the feudal standards). The leader rears his horse up on its hind legs. It is a small horse, almost a pony by the looks of it, so definitely not impressive compared to the warhorses the Kumonin are all riding. When the horse lands again, the boy states, "You've entered our territory. You may pass, but only once you've paid a fee. We kindly ask that you give us 10,000 ryo as a toll to use our road." The kids who've come up from behind fan out a little to see the shinobi better.
Nariko looks to Yin and shrugs. "Only on my good days." She smiles and smiles warmly to Hiro. "Thanks. I chose it because of how a storm is unpredictable as well." She shakes her head at Hiei and then looks to the boy speaking. She smiles warmly at the boy and looks to her group. "Well, I understand we are all living under harsh conditions, but you see, we don't have the ability to pay you 10,000 ryo." She moves her hands behind her back, clasping them together. "But maybe we could pay a lower cost?"
- Hiroyasu glances at Yin with a puzzled look before looking to Nariko , as she attempts to see their intentions and if they can be negoitated with. He sits quietly still on his horse looking at them with a stern look of seriousness, only giving an idle glance behind and to his teammates, surrounded, one of those kind of days. His mind frolicing amongst the ether, from soul to soul as he attempts to detect their character and honestly, if such a thing is even readable from such small output souls. -
Hiei offers Yin a withering look. "Hiro, never assign me with this guy. Ever." He pets his horse while his diplomat cousin attempts to talk her way out of the situation. They were kids…or whatever. One of them was around his age. And they were stupid enough to attempt to exploit shinobi. But if the situation could be solved without bloodshed, Nariko would be the one to do it. In the meantime, Hiei places his hands behind his back and waits. In his mind, he's already going through his first series of movements in case they had to kill all of these guys.
Yin looks around. It wasn't the kids that got him worried. He looks from Hiro, to Nariko, to Hiei. The masked shinobi steps back a few laxadaisical steps and wobbles a bit before tensing like one of those string toys looking up at Hiei on the horse as Yin stands right next to it. "Forget the kids. Why don't you like me? It's the gloves.. isn't it?" His head turns down as his hands come up spread fingers looking at palmside then backside once each, with a sigh.
Inside, he was making the same precautionary measures Hiei was, but much more casual about it, glancing from side to side in mock confusion but behind the mask he took number, and order of the ones that had them flanked front and rear.
The boy in charge shakes his head, "You mean to tell me that between the five of you (remember the bandit leader), you can't scrounge up a mere 10,000 ryo? I had heard that Kumogakure was hurting, but I didn't think it was hurting that badly. Maybe we should let you pass? You might need the ryo more than we do." One of the other kids coughs and the lot of 'em chuckle. The leader nods, "Yeah, you're right…we need it more, so, eh, cough it up, yeah?" The leader eyes Hiei, "And no suddenly movements. There's no need for all of this to end in a blood-bath. You may be shinobi, but we're better than that. We're stupid, foolish, dumb kids…with little to lose. There might just happen to be several large powder kegs burried under this spot that might send us all sky-high should they explode."
To Yin, one of the younger kids goes, "It's not the gloves, its the mask. Men in masks don't get respect around these parts." Such wisdom from a tot.
Nariko smiles warmly at the boy and snerks when they say they need it more. "Yes, of course. We don't wish for any more bloodshed. There's been too much of it lately." She nods and then looks at him directly in the eye. "Now, use it wisely." Her hand reaches up to her top, pulling some ryo from her breast pocket. As she hands it over to him, she makes him think that 100 ryo is really 10,000 ryo. "You're a very shrewd negotiator. I compliment you."
- Hiroyasu shifts in his saddle as they talk about blowing things up, and he doesn't seemed that concerned at all. Looking at the other with calm nod before leaning down to pet the mane of his horse reassuring it as Nariko makes her best effort to avoid spilling unneeded blood and gives them far more than they desire for being miscreants in his opinion but what it is, it is. "There, there.." he says to his horse for no real reason other then to seem like he is there giving support. -
Hiei raises a brow when they talk about blowing them up. The Yotsuki male doesn't even look worried. "Then I suppose I had better watch my step, then, huh?" Hiei smiles a little and then looks at Yin. "Has nothing to do with your gloves. The mask does bug me, but I can look past that, too. What it is..is the way you take nothing seriously. I don't even know what your rank is. You act like a Genin. And if you are, I would ask you pointedly, to re-evaluate yourself and ask yourself truthfully about your dedication to your ninja training." Hiei's tone takes on that of an instructor giving a lecture before he turns around. "I suggest you pay attention to what's going on. Nariko can teach you a thing or two about negotiations." He's off his horse and standing with his arms crossed over his chest. His body language indicates that he's annoyed. Whether that's from Yin, or the situation in general, remains to be seen.
Yin cranes his head to look at the kid slowly through the eyelets of the mask. But that moment is lost when Hiei speaks to him again. "Hey, now look here.." He raises a hand and points up at Hiei at the amazingly superior height while mounted on the large warhorse.
His attention is lost on Hiei for just a moment, but he catches himself and spies over at what else was going on. Yin crosses his arms and looks toward where Nariko and the leader of this little band of baby brothers were making their exchange. "..guess I should start calling you 'Hiei-sempai', eh?" He's calmed down a lot in a few moments time. Standing next to Hiei on the warhorse he looked diminuitive, to say the least.
The leader takes a look at the 100 ryo and sees what Nariko wants him to see. He nods and then swings his reigns over to one side, giving his horse a little bit of a kick to the side as he does so. The horse whinnies and moves over to the side of the path. "Let them go. They paid their toll. Thank you. You've been most kind. Seriously, please use our road any time you want, just make sure to carry your toll ryo with you at all times when you do." He bows his head in a mocking, respectful tone, before eyeing Hiei and Yin. The fact that Hiei's gotten off his horse has made a few of the younger kids reach for their weapons, which mainly consists of lumber-jack axes, pitchforks, and maybe one regular bow. The leader pulls his hand down, "Now now…no need for that. The gentlemen were just on there way." He waits to see what they will do.
Nariko bows her head politely and leads her horse on the road. "We shall always remember to." When past the group she hops back on her horse and looks back to everyone. "Alright, let's get going. No more interruptions I hope." She smiles and tries to encourage her horse to start moving again.
- Hiroyasu nods to Nariko, and lightly trots past them making no ill signs.. as if he didn't already look like a buddhist monk with the vestments, rakusu and shiny bald head. He put on his best smile and brings his hands into a prayer steeple and bows as he passes before waiting to a safe distance and letting his horse pick up speed to gentle gate back on the way to the village. -
Hiei shrugs at Yin. "I told you. Call me Hiei." He vaults back up onto his horse, easily settling into the saddle before he holds out an arm to Yin. "You can ride with me." If he does, Hiei spurs his horse forwards, following Nariko onto the path. Hiei makes eye contact with the leader and offers a disarmingly warm smile before he continues past. After he's away from the area. "I'm not saying that we should have killed them. But I would have liked to have wiped the smirk off of the bastard's face for having the damned audacity to pull some crap like that."
Yin accepts Hiei's offer, "Okay, Hiei-san." And he hops up onto the horse as well, but he's backwards, leaning back against Hiei, his smaller body than the Yotsuki's not doing much to dislodge Hiei, especially considering that wasn't the intent at all.
Passing the kids he would wave, "Bye bye~!" He'd bid them the friendly farewell, and then sigh behind the mask. "Ok, we agree on something." Wiping the smirk off that kid's face.
And that is that. The rest of the way back to Kumogakure would go off without a hitch. The kids meanwhile take their ryo back to their base camp, only to find out that they've been short-changed when it is too late to do anything about it now. They'll remember though not to trust thost tricky shinobi again. Ask questions later…shoot first.