Date: August 27, 2016
A caravan of food meant for the bats is attacked
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Responsibilities of a Summoner - Rats and Bats"
Raiun Lake area
It's shortly after dusk when a messages go out a few shinobi. It seems as if there was a caravan of some sort that was headed from the docks to that had to stop due to a couple of broken axles. This caused a delay in the arrival time, but not one that would be significant normally. No, what was significant is that when the caravan had fixed its problems, it found itself raided, with most of its cargo gone. This much was known to even the rumor mill. What was not, and the reason that higher ranks were sent to deal with this, is because they found a suspect, one that was very dangerous. The merchants called for help, and Kumo would answer. Each person who received a message was told to assemble at the gates, since Kumo did not want to waste time…
Sanda shows up at Kumo's gates mostly on time. She just looks pretty grumpy, which is typical for her. She's probably even more grumpy considering Arashi was gone. Thankfully, her injuries were all healed and everything by this point, so she could move freely. "I feel like the higher-ups don't understand that I'm a weak-@$$ ninja…" she grumbles softly to herself, waiting impatiently for the others to show up. Hey, she figured that she may be useless, but that didn't mean she had to be late! The Hizumu glances around, not really tired thanks to what time it was. Just grumpy and ill-tempered for the time being. Maybe she can take her anger out on these bandits :|
Kasuya has been more active in the village this past week. When she was assigned to lead this mission she'd ask for a team specifically by name. Maybe she had done a bit of research on the gathered shinobi, or maybe they were just the first available. She's at the gate ahead of time, but she may as well be miles away for all she talks. She waits silently, giving each person a brief glance, before they're all assembled. Then she'd speak to them without preamble. "Each of you state your name, rank, and primary form of combat. I'm Kasuya, a Jounin. I'll be leading this team and I specialize in genjutsu." She'd wait politely for each person to introduce themselves, and then she'd re-outline the mission. "Our objective is to investigate this incident, and possibly engage the enemy responsible for it. Please be on alert, and stay together." She'd wait then for any questions or concerns.
Nozomi had been working on one of her side ventures when the summons came. She had thought this was her night off, but… that's what being a kunoichi was about. She quickly called Ang down from the rafters and changed into her "work" clothes before heading out to the gate. As she approached, the group, she nods toward Sanda, then settles in and waits. Finally Kasuya speaks up, making her 'request,' causing Nozomi to nod slowly. "Yamayuki Nozomi, Chuunin. I specialize in sound ninjutsu, though I also have some basic genjutsu. This," she sings, "Is Ang, my summon partner. His specialty is genjutsu." For those not quite familiar with her, yes, she's actually singing her words in a normal-conversational level, not speaking them.
Hanami got the notice when she returned home, looking it over. Well, was something to do. She makes sure Honi was set with food the gathers her things, turning in the direction of the village gates. She gets there after the others, pausing to give a nod to Sanda and greets Nozomi, "Hey there. Oh, see you got your summons, good for you. Hmm, right. Shinatobe Hanami, Chuunin," bit of a pause, "Anyway, wind jutsu. Mainly ninjutsu with some tai." She otherwise just stands easily.
Seiji yawns as he moves through the city, he's had a long day the other day and well here he is as he was going to go get some training done. As he makes his way to the gate he notices a few people that he recognizes. Curious as to what they are up to, "Hey whats going on?" he ask as he sees Nozomi.
The gate guards have the orders for the group, and as the assembled team gets situated, Kasuya was handed a note. The guards looked over at Nozomi for a moment, then shrugged and went back to their duties, their jobs done for now.
Nozomi just tilted her head at their actions, then looked over toward Kasuya to see if she knew what that was all about. As Seiji approached and asked what was going on, she said, "We were summoned here. Kasuya-san, this is Seiji, chuunin." Since she wasn't in charge, she'd let the Jounin decide on how much to tell him.
You paged Kasuya with 'The note said that most of the goods on the caravan were supposed to be delivered to Nozomi as a waypoint for their final destination. It further says that she was expecting the caravan later tonight. It was a little early getting there. The mission office leaves it up to you as to her status because of this fact.'
"Hizumu Sanda, Chuunin. Equal specialty in Ninjutsu and Genjutsu with a bit higher chance in hitting things with ninjutsu." She would shrug lightly and give a nod in greeting to both Hanami and Nozomi. "Sounds good," she tells to Kasuya when some of the details are run over again, then she would glance at the other two and hmm softly. This team felt a bit off-balance in terms of abilities. And she never worked with any of them, really. Not often. This was going to be pleasant :| At least she knew them a bit from speaking with Arashi.
"Our top priority is finding the cargo and retrieving it," Kasuya says. "It's of vital importance." She looks at Nozomi when she says this, and listens to her introduction of Seiji. Then she nods at Seiji. "It's nice to meet you, Seiji-san," she says. "You can move along now." Thus dismissing him she turns to the other two, and then reaches behind to loosen the blade in her sheath. "We're not out to make a ruckus. Speed and efficiency is what will help in retrieving our stolen goods. Follow my orders but be sure to use your own good judgement. Let's go." With that she'd set a demanding pace. It seems she really is planning to get there quickly.
Hanami looks to Seiji as he's introduced, but with his dismissal she just turns her attention back to Kasuya. Giving a faint nod she just takes off after Kasuya when she sets off, keeping the pace fine enough.
Oh rodents, running. That's just the thing Sanda isn't good at! Well, physical exertion, really, just wasn't her strong point. She would just try to keep up as best she could, but she really couldn't help but wonder why the higher ups (more like Kasuya) picked her for this. Within her mind, there was a lot of grumbling about this pace, but her face itself just showed mild irritation, which wasn't that much of a change from her normal expression.
Nozomi tilts her head to the side as Kasuya clearly outlines their objective, then frowns slightly. She hopes that the Jounin didn't mean what Nozomi thought she meant. That would be… bad. Her expression turns serious as she follows as Ang actually takes to the air. She is still humming very softly as she travels, but it's a solemn tune that sounds rather grave to those precious few that can actually hear her.
In the meantime, the scenery passes by pretty quickly, given that the caravan was down near Raiun Lake when this happened. Thus it doesn't take them very long at all to arrive at the scene of the crime. There's a bunch of people milling about. The wagons look intact for the most part, though there's evidence of repair efforts abounding. The efforts seem to be led by someone in shinobi gear wearing a Konoha headband. It is obvious he's part of the caravan, not part of the attackers. Near him there is a large lump covered with a tarp.
Nozomi recognizes the man, apparently, and her reaction of dismay is quite telling, despite the fact it is quickly covered up by a rather serious, determined demeanor.
You paged Sakuya with 'Yes, I know. :)'
Kasuya occassionally looks at her teammates, but otherwise moves without a comment. They make it to the lake in short order, and Kasuya looks over the situation. This is where she'd usually go down to explain their intervention, but instead she says to Nozomi and Hanami. "Would you two go explain the situation to that man and ask around to find out more. Sanda-san search the area, find out whatever is under that tarp." Kasuya herself would walk to make a wider search of the perimeter, as if looking for something further out. Or keeping a lookout for something coming near.
Sanda would give a quick salute to Kasuya before making her way over to the tarp. A few people try to stop her, but she would quickly give them a glare that tells them they will be zapped if they interfere. The girl would then lift the tarp and blink at the sight. Kumo has an interesting issue with mutant animals, she feels. "Uhh…" She would drop it and slip over to Kasuya. "Yo, Kasuya. There is a friggin' huge rat under that tarp. Dead as a doornail, but still." She would grumble softly, recalling a few stories about giant animals from Arashi.
While Hanami goes to question some of people near the Konoha shinobi, Nozomi walks right up to him. She stops moving, and stops humming, only to clear her throat. The man turns around and looks at her, then drops his head. "I'm sorry Nozomi," the man says. They obviously know each other. "This entire shipment is gone. We were attacked in stealth, and they made off with everything. I got one in the end, which I'm assuming your teammate is checking out now…"
Nozomi nods, then sighs mournfully. "Damn…" She looks up at Ang, who is flying around rather agitatedly. "Is there any chance of getting a replacement shipment here within a week or so? Even if it isn't the exact same thing?" She then looks around for a moment herself, trying to find clues. "Actually, we'll deal with that after we find out if we can retrieve anything. Give me a moment to confer with the mission leader." She then walks over to the Kasuya and talks to her quietly while descretely motioning Sanda over.
Kasuya would not notice much as the ground has been fairly trampled, but there is one thing that is very, very obvious: a lack of blood. There's very little of it anywhere except right around one wagon, and that isn't sufficient enough to account for the dead thing Sanda is looking at.
Kasuya scratches her head and frowns thoughtfully. The scene feels almost put together, or something is off. Some of the usual signs of a raid are missing. When Sanda tells her there's a giant rat under the tarp, Kasuya actually gives a small chuckle. "Is there?" she says, as if Sanda had made a well timed joke. When she goes over to look under the tarp however any hint of amusement drops, and she sighs. It's…a giant rat. What is the procotocol to deal with thisquite literallygiant pest? She drops the tarp, and turns to her teammates.
She listens closely to Nozomi and looks faintly surprised. Then she paces a few steps away, and comes back with a reassuring pat on Nozomi's shoulder. "I have someone who can help you out with this, at least once." Then she'd go over to the Konoha leader, and start asking him any number of questions, the more technical ones. When did the attack happen? Numbers? Location? Where's the evidence? Any…and so on. All the while gaging the situation, and giving each of her teammates free rein to investigate.
Sanda would nod a bit to Kasuya, though the woman doesn't believe her. A small huff at seeing that Kasuya needs to confirm with her own eyes, and then a bit of a smirk when Kasuya is no longer as amused… She was telling the truth! >:| She would make her way over to Nozomi when beckoned, but she didn't really hear what the Yamayuki had to say. *Shrug* oh well. When Kasuya is basically ignoring her to find out more info, Sanda gets that she should go off on her own, so she starts investigating the surrounding area herself. A bit of a mist shows up around the area and starts 'skulking' around in search of anything that might be missed in cracks and crevices while her own eyes stare intently at her surroundings.
What the man could describe of the situation made the broken axles seem like a diversion for the thefts. By the time anyone noticed anything, most of the cargo was gone. The Konoha-nin confesses to killing the rat, and drops his voice low to describe the battle. After he is done, he also divulges that the rest of the crew are civilian employees of his parents, who are… leary of having this contract to begin with, due to the situation that caused these shipments to be necessary in the first place. Only the money is keeping them from cancelling the contract. In fact, he normally leads about every third shipment himself just to appease them.
None of this seems to surpise Nozomi when she listens, not even about the suppliers reticence. When he mentions it, she adds, "The Locusts, who were at war with the Bats at the time, had threatened merchents against accepting any commissions from the bats. We, meaning the bats and myself, had to promise aid and protection should it come necessary. The war ended, and I haven't seen any tell-tail signs of giant locusts. But why would rats do this? And how?" she wondered aloud, not quite making a connection yet.
"So you've done these shipments before," Kasuya says. That means he's not a new element to this, so she listens closely to his words. And studies him. She goes back over to the rat for a moment to take a closer look at it, and then returns. "It seems to me the rats don't seem to have some great material advantage to doing this," she says. "Such a giant creature was motivated by shinobi. I doubt it's any of these people here." She encompasses the civilians with a hand, and then focuses on the Konoha nin. "The blood is strange. It's different over there than it is with that rat. And there's so little of it. Why is that? We need to investigate—find the trail and follow it." She looks at the other shinobi and lifts an eyebrow as if to say 'Your thoughts?'
Sanda sort of focuses on things, but she doesn't really sense anything odd. The girl would notice some tracks, though, so she follows it out until around ten feet, which is where the marks… disappeared. She would tilt her head, blinking a bit. How the heck does something so massive disappear without a trace? With a small sigh, Sanda would turn and go back to report to Kasuya. "Oy. Found some tracks by that rat, but … They just disappear into thin air afterwards. Also, something was getting dragged. Not sure what, but it was definitely dragged. They disappeared around the same time, too."
Ang starts reverse-following the path that Sanda makes on the way back to the group so as to investigate these tracks himself. As he flies off, Nozomi is leaning down by the broken axles and inspecting them. "These were deliberately damaged… I would have to say by something large and flat. Can't say definitively teeth marks, but…" She looks back at the others and says, "I'm missing something… I don't know what, but I'm missing something…"
The Konoha Nin says, "I'm at a loss myself. I've seen swamp-rats that big, but there's no swampland anywhere near here. And I've never seen animals act like that. You can't just instill the kind of skill that rat showed in an animal overnight. That implies a long-term training."
Kasuya grimaces. "The rats live in swamplands," she says, "nowhere near here apparently." She starts to mumble to herself. Lack of blood. Disappearing trails. Strange marks. "It's as if things disappeared into thin air." And now she's certain the culprit isn't near, Kasuya goes to double check everything again, including the supposed fang marks when Nozomi points it out. She takes awhile to examine the damaged wheel before coming back.
Sanda would admittedly doesn't know what to do. She's at a loss… SIGH! The Hizumu would scowl a bit and stare around the area, as if there was something she didn't exactly pick up on. Then she would blink a bit, and point to the Konoha Nin. "Say that again? They might've had training? Like… Like how the Inuzuka train their dogs or some flight?" she would ask, narrowing her eyes a bit. Was there… Some kind of clan that trained giant rats?!?!
Ang comes back rather quickly and lands on Nozomi's shoulder. He brings his head closer to his ear and whispers something, causing her to nod and walk over to the rat. Ang does a short glide-hop, landing beside the rat. He then sniffs at the rat and looks up at Nozomi before saying, "I was right. This is a member of the rat clans," he says in perfectly understandable human voice.
Nozomi blinks for a moment before saying, "Rat Clan? You mean to tell me this was an attack by summons? But if that's the case, where's the summoner? Did you sense anyone?"
Ang shakes his head and says, "No, but my sense of smell isn't as attuned as my hearing, so the other humans could have masked his or her scent. If there was a summoner, he or she must have been reverse-summoned to the Rat homeland. And no, that's not in any swamplands." The Konoha nin blinks and is seemingly shocked by a talking bat and is completely silent.
"I guess they did disappear into thin air," Kasuya says. "So they come in to steal the cargo (like a bunch of rats), grab the loot, and reverse summon to their home base. Of course you killed /this/ rat and it wasn't summoned." She goes to sniff at the rat like the other had done. "Well, seems like it's blood was reverse summoned." She looks to Ang, to Nozomi, and back again. "Where are they? Can you lead us there?"
"Summon?" Sanda dunno much on summons… The girl looked very confused, really, though she would wait to be explained. That being said, seems like she was fairly close to the truth. It just … wasn't /exactly/ partner-rats. More like summon-rats… Apparently. Just a bit off the mark! "This sounds like a pain in the butt…" she grumbles. Disappearing blood… What's next, disappearing bones? >.>;
Ang and Nozomi look at each other, then Nozomi sighs. "The Spirit Clans… that's what they call themselves to the best of my knowledge, are very secretive of their domains. I have been to the bat domain on three different occasions, including when I first signed the contract, and I could not begin to locate it on a map. Sometimes I don't even think it's in the same… realm? that we inhabit. Maybe world would be a better word?" Ang seems very unhelpful here as he lauches himself up to Nozomi's shoulder again. "The only way I know of to reach any spirit clan's domain is by being reverse-summoned to that domain. And the spirit-people refuse to take anyone there unless they either have signed a contract with them, or are provisional contract holders. I know of only one exception to this, and that person was with me and /always/ watched."
Ang bobs his head up and down in an imitation of a human head nod and adds, "It's forbidden for us to reverse-summon someone that isn't connected to us. The other clans would all turn on us in a moment if we did that. But that does not mean we can't pursue this. It just means I need to report back to the clans and get our Elders to start political maneuvers. One thing though, have you got everything you can off the rat's body? I'm afraid I can't leave it here when I go. That's also forbidden by ancient treaty."
Kasuya rubs her forehead as the explanation is literally out of this world. Eventually she nods. "This is out of my hands as team leader," she says. "If you can, I would greatly appreciate your help in assisting us, Ang-san." She'd give the bat a polite bow. She seems quite agreeable where this is going until he mentions removing the rat body. "That's important evidence," she says curtly. Then again, the bat does seem to want to help. So she adds, "But I respect your treaty. I'll just take a minute." She'd goes over to the rat and studies the body one last time, while muttering what she should say in a mission report. 'Fruit stolen from giant bats by an evil shinobi who went into another world inhabited by monster rats.' "That'll be the heading," she says.
Sanda rubs a bit at her head. "So… We're useless." Great. "Well, at least we managed to figure out who exactly did this…" she says with a small sigh. She doesn't even bother seeking out more evidence because she didn't really have much to look at. Kasuya was studying the body of the ROUS. Nozomi and Ang pretty much had the bat-communication thingy. She was just getting to stand there. Oh well. At least it wasn't all that much work. Though she's pretty sure she should figure out what person in the Admin Hall hates her enough to put her on so many investigative missions…
Ang seems to wait patiently for Kasuya to come to the realization that there's not really much they can do, at least from the Spirit Clans' point of view. He doesn't say that though. Instead, he waits until she's done then leaps from Nozomi's shoulder to land on the dead rat. "See what you can do to replace the food Nozomi. In the meantime, I'll take this back to Clan for… disposal." Then, with a poof, the rat and the bat are gone in smoke.
Nozomi shakes her head and says, "Luckily ther's an emergency fund, so I won't go completely broke trying to replace what we lost. But we need to get to Kumo and report this, per the contract signed between the bats and Kumo when this deal was struck." She then looks at the shinobi and says, "And I will have to reimburse you for your troubles as well, which we can do once we get done with the mission debriefing."