Date: June 17, 2010
Hiroshi leads the group to the Land of Rice on orders to protect it. From what they will discover.
"Samurai in the Land of Rice - Part 1"
Miati Forest - Land of Rice Paddies [Fuuma Alley]
Land of Rice Paddies [Fuuma Alley]
The Land of Rice is, not surprisingly, made up primarily of a rambling collection of rice paddies, each attended by multiple farmers. The farmers spend most of their days performing this work in shallow pools of water, collecting the grains of rice that are both food and livelihood. The various "tiers" of paddies canvass the sloping hills, but there also are narrow dirt roads that wind their way through, to allow travel both by farmers and by others, such as traders, without risking damage to the rice stalks.
One road in particular, broader than the others, cuts a path at an angle through the paddies, heading towards the dark outline of a city proper. Fuuma Alley is not too far off, perhaps a couple hours of walking, but it is distant enough that the thick black smoke and occasional flickers of fire do not seem to taint the air as much as they do in the city itself. At sunset the silhouette of the city makes it appear to be some sort of titanic, demon centipede, with spikes that spew hellfire and ash into the atmosphere protruding from its back.
It was mid afternoon as the shinobi from the Land of Fire made their way through the lands around the Land of Rice. They were returning from a stressful, yet successful mission into the dark black market underbelly known as Fuuma Alley. Some specialized weapons had been stolen from the military in the Land of Fire and the team had been sent to investigate and assassinate those responsible. Sometimes, being a shinobi was a very bloody job, but perhaps through their efforts, lives in the end would be saved by keeping these weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
The team moved at a leisurely pace, walking casually down a well worn path when a small dove suddenly flew down from high overhead. Yuzuna would most likely recognize it immediately as one of the personal longer distance messengers of the Hokage. Just how did the bird find them, may remain a mystery. However, the others may not realize the treasure that had gone with them on this mission. The bird would perch on Natsuki's wrist so one of the Chuunin could remove the message.
Most likely, as soon as the bird was released to fly back to Konoha, the team would vanish into the woods, a few hundred yards off the road to retain as much privacy as possible as they read the message. "Team, Please report immediately to the Tomonaka Village and assist in its defense." Read the message, it wasn't very long, the bird could only carry so much. There was a set of coordinates on the note that would be the village so the shinobi could use their own maps to get there. As the team would set back out, Natsuki would wonder aloud, "Wonder what's up?" she said as they began to make a v line towards the village.
Rest and relaxation would be all that was on Hiroshi's mind as they were supposed to be returning from a mission well done. The Hyuuga as usual was oblivious to his surroundings and paid little attention to the dove, at least up until it landed on Natsuki's wrist. "what's that?" he would ask, but the answer would soon be revealed, and emergency call towards the Tomonaka Village to assist in defending the area. "Defend the village, this doesn't sound good, oh well post haste squad." He would say as they head off in a V formation. The teen Hyuuga would sigh lightly as they move forward, closing his pale eyes only to force them open in an instant, "Byakugan!" he would shout as his bulging veins begin to erect and grow from eye to ear. The teen Hyuuga was well prepared for a fight, being garbed in his custom green and black battle suit, complete with a small black mid back length cape bearing the Hyuuga symbol in dark green. "Hopefully we will make it there in time considering the urgency of it." he would say.
Yuzuna steps lightly as they keep to the worn path, though her pale pearl eyes blink slowly as she glances around at their surroundings, passively curious as her gaze watches the forest move slowly pass them. The fluttering of the bird through the treetops earns a snap of her gaze, narrowing slightly. The dove is not indigenous to that area of the Land of Rice. After retrieving the delivered message, the group takes off a few yards from the path itself. Privacy is important, especially when it comes to sensitive material like this. Slowing to the stop, the Hyuugess waits silently as Natsuki reads the message out loud to them, pale eyes narrowing some. Another mission assigned after the conclusion of another wasn't that unusual, though she did wonder to herself. Defend the village from who? And for how long? Yuzuna pushes off to blur with speed as she follows after her teammates, to the left of Natsuki. And while Hiroshi activates their bloodline, she doesn't for the moment.
Well, unlike the Hyuugas, Natsuki can't talk about bloodlines, seeing, well, she doesn't have one. So, she just fell in along in the V formation, taking the lower back corner as she was the most under ranked shinobi on the team. As one could imagine, jumping from tree to tree through a wild forest was, relatively challenging because of the foliage. It seemed she was often being struck in the face by branches and leaves. Of course, when they reached a patty region, it meant running along the paths around the patties for her, cause unlike her comrades, waterwalking was a skill she did not yet possess. Luckily, she had decent speed and stamina to keep up regardless.
Finally, after a good hour and a half of running at a quick pace through the countryside, they arrived on the outskirts of the Tomonoka village. It was set on a hillside, full of rice paddies that now lay in ruin as Samurai and their foot soldiers have pretty much destroyed them. Off in the distance, about the length of two football fields away, you could see a small camp for the samurai. Based on the tents, there were only roughly only enough provisions for about what would be considered like a small squad. Perhaps a dozen soldiers total, then toss in one or two support personnel.
About halfway up the hill, was a wooden palisade wall that surrounded a small village and protected a small shrine further up the hill, the shrine was only really visible because of the Tori gates that sat nestled amongst the path up the hill.
Hiroshi would pace himself on the long journey his Byakugan would still be in full bloom as the squad, save for Natsuki, made their way across the waters. Hiroshi's short cape would flutter in the wind as his pale eyes remain focused up ahead. "That's strange." Hiroshi would say out loud still someway distance from the land of Rice, though he would not comment on much more until they reached the outskirts of the village. It took them a awhile, but they finally made it, though the site they would see would not be what anyone would have wanted. "What the—what happened?" Hiroshi would say in a rather grave voice, peering upon the site which lay before them The confused Hyuuga could only peer around the area as he wonders to himself, were they to late? "Yuzuna, Natsuki, Look ahead." He would say pointing towards the Samurai camp. "Did they do this, or are they allies?" He would ask obviously confused by their antics, were Samurai really the cause of all this destruction?
The words uttered by her cousin breaks through their silence as Yuzuna turns her head to glance at him, narrowing her pale eyes slightly at him. Shifting her weight, her right leg moves forward as she keeps her body low as she eventually slows to a skidding stop. Her usual stoic expression holds a subtle frown as after a brief moment, the usual pale skin along the corners of her eyes suddenly bulges with pulsing veins that extend to her temples. The frown deepens some as Yuzuna shifts her weight forward, careful as she crawls forward a foot. "We need someone to go in. Gather intel." Yuzuna murmurs lightly.
Natsuki looked at Hiroshi and Yuzuna, then back at the samurai camp. "You know, if they were allies, don't you think they'd be like, behind their walls? Perhaps camped up between the main village and the shrine at the top of the hill?" Natsuki suggested, looking from the camp to the village. "I think we should go towards the village, being that we were sent to defend it. Perhaps someone there can give us a better grasp of the situation."
Hiroshi would bring his right hand towards his face before quickly pulling it down to reveal his now Byakugan deactivated eyes. "Yes, that is true. Then again the thought of having Samurai as enemies is not something I am to proud of. Especially with the stories of what I have heard of single samurai destroyed armies, but then again. We are shinobi of the leaf." Hiroshi would say chuckling lightly. Now with a more serious look Hiroshi would turn to face both Natsuki and Yuzuna, "Well we have all seemed to agree on moving forward, but do we go in as Konoha nin, or simply travelers, either or this may end with a fight." he would say sighing now, "And I was so close to my hot bath." The teen Hyuuga would proceed to tie his long ebony hair back, as he slowly begins to move forward, though only picking up the pace when the squad followed.
Yuzuna breathes out slowly as she leans back and glances to the others. "It could not hurt to take precautions at least." she murmurs lightly, shaking her head subtly. As Hiroshi begins moving forward again, she watches her cousin a moment longer before releasing a sigh. Lifting her right hand, she extends her fingers as she closes her pale eyes. Concentrating her chakra briefly, the air around her poofs and expands from around her, revealing not a young Hyuuga woman, but instead an old bitty with bright white hair in a tight bun, squinted eyes and many winkles on suntanned skin. Small and short of stature, she holds the knotted of a branch as she uses it for a make-shift cane. Wordlessly she lifts the end of the cane and whaps it lightly on the back of Hiroshi's head, a grandmother 'correcting' a child. "No use rushing in on things!" Yuzuna says, only her voice is high pitched and strained with many years.
Following Yuzuna's lead, Natsuki nodded and held her hands together and focused her chakra. "Henge." She said, the technique rather still strange to her, though it be one of the simpler things learned at the academy. Suddenly, in a slight poof of warm air, Natsuki changed into the appearance of an overweight and old woman. Her face was very rotund with a large and somewhat bulbous nose. On her head was a large rimmed black hat and she wore a simple black gown over her body (like the Witch of the Waste in Howl's Moving Castle after she had lost her powers). "Obviously my younger sister needs to learn something about how to treat handsome young men." She croaked.
Hiroshi would smirk as his cousin whacks him, turning to face her now, "Sure thing granny, would you also like me to grab your teeth for you as well?" he would ask teasingly digging into his side pouch pulling out some pitch black sunglasses. "I almost forgot I had these things, I have not used them since my last mission in the land of lightning." he would say placing the glasses over his pale white eyes. "Yes your sister needs to learn not to hit handsome, big, strong men on the head. Especially ones that look at good as me." Would be said as Hiroshi removes his Konoha headband along with his brown duffle pouch placing both inside of his brown duffle bag slinging it over his shoulders. "Alrighty lets try to keep this as calm and cool as possible, and then if all else fails, depending on the enemy amount we will stay back to back and tackle em as they come. Considering they are Samurai we may need to keep a huge distance from them, expect the unexpected." he would say.
"Handsome? Ha! Don't tell h'm that! Kids nowadays have big enough egos as it is! Flying around like spider monkeys and all…" Yuzuna gruffs, only looking to Hiroshi as she rolls her stone gray eyes at him. "And there h'e goes again. You'd be more handsome if ya had some more humility whacked into ya!" she whacks him upside the head with the cane again, scowling with feigned irritability at both of them as she turns around and begins to head off on her own. With or without them while grumbling under her breath.
Natsuki looked at Yuzuna, smirking slightly at the chuunin's remarks about Hiroshi. She then shook her head as the girl began to head off on her own. Natsuki would go after Hiroshi, leaning heavily on her staff that now because of the henge resembled a gnarly old walking staff. She appeared to walk with a limp and as they approached the village, she'd moan and groan. "Howl-kun, please slow down. These old legs don't quite move like they used to. Sophie-chan, do you have any water?" Yeah, she would be the cranky third wheel on the trip, perhaps hoping her condition would earn a little pity from the guards at the wall. When they finally arrived, the guard (a rice farmer doing what he can to help defend the village) would allow them in with little problem.
Hiroshi could only chuckle shaking his head at the two as they made there way to the village. Being the only non elderly being around Hiroshi would play the role of the helpful grandson it would seem. "Now now, we are here and I am sure the nice villagers would be willing to part with some refreshments." Hiroshi would almost lose sight of Yuzuna, the Hyuuga attempting to walk faster in order to keep up, though not really letting Natsuki fall behind. "Stay together you two." he would mutter his pale eyes ever so watchful behind his dark sunglasses. Ok we got in pretty easy, now to find out what happened back there. With over a dozen samurai in one area you would think war has shown its ugly face in the neutral area's. The area wouldn't seem to have been hit by the Samurai, but perhaps someone would know something, and with that Hiroshi would make his way over to a rice patty farmer, a big smile on his face the teen Hyuuga would speak. "Greetings friends, me and my great aunts would like to know if there was a watering hole near, and what destruction has ran its way through the rice patty crops this time of year, was it a wild animal?"
Yuzuna makes sure she isn't too far from the others, beady eyes peering almost accusingly at the samurai as the small group passes by the soldiers. Looking around them as they continue deeper into the fields of rice patties, she turns her white head to narrow her eyes at the boy, her face twisting, "There you go again, sticking your nose where it doesn't belong now." the old woman grumbles, slowing to a stop beside Hiroshi. Though this time she keeps the staff down. For now at least.
As the group arrived at the gate, Natsuki looked to Yuzuna (Sophie) and whimpered, "My feet hurt so much, I want nothing more than to fall face first into a nice futon and if the gods are merciful I shall die and not suffer the pain of soreness tomorrow." Some may wonder if Natsuki was seriously whining or if she was just playing the part.
The guard at the gate chuckled at the Natsuki, "You make me think of my grandmother." He said with a chuckle. "There is a guest house in the village, I'm sure that will meet your needs." He said. The guard then looked to Hiroshi, "Actually, we've been having some trouble with a small warlord's army." He said. "I'm sure, if you went to the meeting house, you could probably get some details about what has happened. Anyway, take care of your aunts. They look like they've been walking for eternity."
Natsuki chuckled, "We have. This lazy coot was too cheap to rent us a horse and wagon. We still have a long way to go till we get to Iron Town as well." Natsuki continued to whine slightly as she entered through the gates, leaning heavily on her staff as she made her way to the guesthouse.