Smoke and Feathers


Kenta, Shinobu, Kajiru, Tatsuo

Date: August 22, 2015


A bunch of magpies are causing trouble for a farming village not far from Konoha. Several Genin teams are hired to handle the problem, since the villagers are at risk of not being able to plant crops while the magpies are afoot. Kenta's chaperoning one of the teams, consisting of Kajiru, Tatsuo, Shinobu and Kame. Things go well, but one of the other teams accidentally set a newly fertilized field on fire and everyone have to rush to put the flames out before it sets off explosions.

"Smoke and Feathers"

Land of Fire

The air's slightly chilly, but without the bite of winter, and everything's refreshingly clean after a light spring rain earlier in the morning. The mildest scent of ozone tinge the air while soil retains a nice remnant of dampness underneath. That should go away fast now that the late morning sun is high in the brilliant sky .In other words, it's a pretty nice day for early spring.

Unfortunately, a few Genin have been assigned to a mission at a small agricultural village about fifteen miles outside of Konoha. It's just a simple mission, very easy and straight forward, but important because the villagers' livelihood might be at stake. The Genin are split up into small groups, with Kenta leading one of them as a Chuunin chaperon. The medic-nin didn't have to be one of the chaperons, but Tatsuo has joined the mission, so he wanted to be present in case any health complications occur.

Kenta and his little team of Genin currently stand at the edge of a bean field to the north of the village. The ground is freshly tilled, which lends a loamy smell to the air that speaks so much of growing things. Except nothing's growing yet. It's a little early in the season. More important, the tilled earth hasn't been seeded. Or it has, but something happened to the seed…

"They normally don't appear in such numbers," says the old woman that's giving this group of young shinobi a description of the problem. She waves a wrinkled hand at the air, where many dozens of black shapes wing over head. And at the field itself, where even more of those black shapes peck the ground. "It's like this at every field. Hundreds of the pests. We plant something and the magpies just eat all the seed we put down. This happened twice already. We don't have enough seed to grow this year's crops if it happens a third time. We tried banging pots and pans, but that didn't work. We set up all those scarecrows you see out there, but the magpies are too smart. They figured that the scarecrows won't hurt them after a few days. I hope you shinobi come up with a permanent plan."

Tatsuo had taken the mission, even if he wasn't really supposed to be at the moment, because he needed to get out! Plus it was a very simple D rank right? They weren't fighting bandits or anything, just going out to help some poor unfortunate farmers. A thinking problem! That's something that Tatsuo could do without overexerting himself! He hadn't been sad to see Kenta along either, though he felt a little bad when he realized the only reason Kenta probably offered was because of him…surely the medic could be doing many other more important things! Oh well.

As they arrive at the field and are told of the problem Tatsuo frowns a bit, chewing at his lip as he looks over all the creatures. That wasn't a good thing at all, especially if the farmers were running out of seeds. The young Nara rubs the back of his neck as he looks over the problem, trying to think…"Um, have you tried setting up…traps?"

Kame is excited about the mission because it means she can chase birds! What's greater and more fun than that? I mean, besides pets. The pup yips, ~Can I just chase them off?~ Shinobu glances over to Kame and sorta nods, but they obviously have to wait for Kenta to decide on the real plan Shinobu fidgets a bit in her spot and thinks. 'We… could put… Sharp sticks?' she suggests.

Standing in the area with the others, Kajiru peers about before she taps her chin. She then taps her chin again. THen she reaches over and taps Tatsuo's chin to see if it helps at all. She then looks over at Shinobu and considers her a moment before looking forward, "We could like, I don't know, buy cats?" She considers, "Cats eat birds, right?"

"We don't have much materials for good traps. The ones that we put out weren't enough to kill too many and they learned to avoid most of the traps after a while too. It did get rid of a few, but…" The old woman shakes his head unhappily. "Maybe you can set down some traps that work. Or just kill all of the pests. We don't care at this point. There'll always be more magpies, so a few thousand less this year won't hurt."

Kenta interjects at this point. "Ummm… we probably shouldn't try to kill all the magpies. That'd still be a big hit to the local population and it just doesn't seem like such a good thing… Ummm… I think we should just try scaring them away. Scare them enough that they leave without looking back. And we can add more traps for the ones that do return or don't leave in the first place."

Kenta considers his team's suggestions. "Umm… I bet that having animals around really would help. It'd be hard to supply a lot of cats though and they eat other things too. They might devastate other wildlife populations. Maybe Kame-chan can start off with the chasing anyway. I'm sure the magpies won't like anything barking at them…" He rubs at the back of his head. "Magpies are good with at manipulating stick-like objects. Nets could work if there's a way to set them up."

Tatsuo is considering what Shinobu and Kame said, pursing his lips in thought before he flails slightly when his chin is tapped. The boy jumps back a little, then blinks at Kajiru in surprise and confusion before reaching up to rub the back of his neck again, looking a bit embarassed by his reaction. Cough. "I can help scare them away with some water too…" Tatsuo says after Kenta speaks, making a hand seal and finding sources of extra unused water for the moment, as well as preparing to gather some from the air itself.

Kame perks up. Yes, chasing! The pup bounds off, barking at the magpies that are present and trying to even catch one or two with big pounces! Bark bark! ~I'm gonna get you birds!~ Shinobu watches her partner for a few moments to make sure that Kame doesn't get attacked by the magpies, then her attention is on Kenta. 'Nets… attached to sticks?' she offers.

"Well, I can scare 'em off!" She nods her head and then she considers what Tatsuo said and then hmms, "Well, perhaps I shouldn't scare them off that way. That might be…a bit too big." She nods her head and then considers, "And they might not like the idea of that either." SHe then considers and looks at Kame barking before she hmms and then looks down as she scratches her head this time, "What if we were to like, not put up nets as much as put up sort of, like covers." She nods her head, "Ya know, like the kind you put up to keep bugs out?"

"Oh, that sounds like a good idea! If you lay them over, but a few inches off the ground, the magpies will have trouble landing without getting tangled up. Umm… We'd need a lot of it, but the village probably have some spare…" Kenta looks at the group's chaperon, who nods. "…and we can bring some over from Konoha. It'd take days of work anyway, so we have time. One of the other Chuunin are skilled with storing things in scrolls. We should ask him to bring some back."

Kenta looks at the tilled field in front of them. It's covered in so many black shapes. Not so many now that Kame's running amok, but that just means there's more of them in the sky. There's so many angry chattering by the airborne magpies at the puppy that the sound's getting very irritating. "Ummm… Why don't you guys go ahead and try to help Kame while I contact him?" Kenta presses his palms together and concentrates. He's already connected to all the Chuunin leaders of the teams, but everyone's pretty far apart. Some are out of range. Hopefully, the one he needs is close enough to receive the transmission.

With Tatsuo's chakra flaring the water is gathered up and suddenly shoots out towards the remaining magpies in the field to make them take flight or get punched by water! Once that's done the water splits into a number of smaller trails and travels skywards towards the birds, spreading out even more to try and scare them away or give them a little push to scare them. Maybe it's a bit too much after other recent events, since Tatsuo is already sweating from the effort. But he's going to give it his all anyways!

Kame growls at the black birds that are flying around and she gathers herself to leap up at the birds, snapping at the lowest one. Shinobu takes Kenta's advice to heart and starts an illusion where the magpies would hear a bunch of howling noises, and they would see dogs chasing them… in the air!

A grin and Kajiru nods before she races off and starts flailing at birds, "Go away!" She declares as she flails around. S he doesn't have that many tricks other than to pounce on them and such so she just tries to help scare them off.

The magpies are in turmoil now! Assaulted on land, air and even within the minds, there's a lot of frenzied flying. This shadows the sky enough that it looks like there's a widely spaced cloud of birds overheads. But not all of them are flying that far up and even birds can't stay in the air all day. The amount of bird chatter is even worse at this point.

Kame manages to snack feathers off several bird's tails and even take down a few, but she ends up smacked by frantically flapped wings too. These magpies are pretty big and getting hit by those wings isn't very pleasant.

Kajiru's getting the same kind of response, mainly from the flocks of magpies that's flying around her in a storm. The chaos means that more than one end up flying straight into her. One even tangles up in her clothing, which is uncomfortable in the form of a hard beak and scrambling talons.

Tatsuo and Shinobu are more out of "harm's way", since they're using long ranged jutsu against the magpies. The only thing they have to worry about are the birds flying overheard. Some of them are letting drop anything that contributes to extra weight in their attempt to move out of reach, which includes anything that finished digesting -inside- of them.

After the first extra droplits hit the ground a thin sheen of water settles over the heads of the group, minus the two running around like crazy. At the same time water continues to chase after the birds, trying to give them the fright of their lives in an attempt to keep them from coming back, even before the nets are in place. But it sure is tiring! That's a lot of water to handle at once!

Shinobu just steps away from the yucky droppings coming down, continuing with the Genjutsu on whatever birds happen to come close. Go away, birds! Go be chased by dogs! Kame yelps when she's smacked by a bird wing, and she gives the magpie she caught a good shake before tossing it away. Then she ends up performing a Tsuga on the other birds, barking as she moves.

Flailing about some more, Kajiru grins and then blinks as she suddenly has a counter attack on her hands. Then one is trying to get in her shirt and she acks. She then grumbles and, well, this Magpie is going to be sad as Kajiru jumps up and intends to land on the part of her clothing that has a magpie beneath it.

Kenta's expression of concentration lasts a little longer, but he looks up after a moment. "Umm… he's heading back to Konoha to get the supplies now. He should be back in time with the mosquito netting by the time the villagers replant the fields," the Chuunin announces. A tiny amount of worry shows on his features when he realizes that the birds are flying around in chaos, but they're not really leaving the area.

In fact, some of the birds are becoming bolder. They're keeping away from Shinobu and Tatsuo in general, since the two Genin either aren't doing anything noticeably aggressive (Shinobu) or is displaying some freaky strangeness (Tatsuo). But Kame and Kajiru are in the thick of things. Soon, the two of them find themselves outright attacked by angry birds. Many of the magpies are trying to dive bomb them. Being so small, Kame's having a harder time with that. As soon as he's grounded by her Tsuga, there are magpies trying to peck her eyes out or at least brain her over the head repeatedly. But while Kajiru manages to squish one of the birds under her, she always exposes her back to the aggressive avians.

Tatsuo closes his eyes as the magpies become more agressive and he takes a breath before pulling on a little extra chakra. With his eyes closed the effect of Isobu's chakra is hidden, though the water increases in size as it becomes more aggressive itself. Some chases after those attempting to attack Kame and Kajiru while the rest forms up into a wall of water in the air which starts rushing towards the swarm of birds, attempting to push them all in one direction. Away from the farms. But at least with the water only coming from one way it should help with the confusion!

Kame yells in surprise when the magpies get all brave. Hey, they weren't supposed to do that! Kame growls, ducking her head, and she starts barking at the birds, sending them into an illusion of the pup killing them all one by one… Shinobu just stands there making hand seals, sending 'dogs' after the birds so they'll disappear. Go away! Nobody likes you >:(

Growling, Kajiru winces as she is getting pecked. She suddenly pops up and goes all feral as her claws and teeth sprout. She starts trying to claw at passing magpies, slashing and biting at the passing magpies and shaking her head, "Grrrr!" She jumps this way and that trying to bite and claw away magpies.

The team of Genin slowly begin to make a dent in the magpie population. More of the birds start winging away from the field, perhaps for good and perhaps not. Others drop comatose to the ground or mangled from a run in with Kajiru and Kame. It's over an hour of dirty work, but it the clear traction is heartening. Kenta mainly oversees the event and to make sure that Tatsuo isn't overextending.

Eventually, Kenta calls a halt to the whole thing. "Ummm… ok. I think that's enough," he says while scanning the location. There's still some birds around, but only a few flying in confused patterns or flopped brokenly on the ground. "This should give enough time for the villagers to plant this field before Toma-san returns with the mosquito netting." He pauses to sniff the air. "Is that smoke?"

There's smoking rising in the distance in a stream that's quickly becoming a dark cloud. While some of the others might be using fire to scare away the magpies in other seconds of the field, the amount of smoke is pretty alarming. The fact that something probably went wrong is enforced when one of the village boys come running down to the bean field. "Hey! Hey!" the boy yells while waving his arms as he runs towards the small group of Leaf shinobi. "The fields near the fertilizer storage shack is on fire! One of the shinobi launched a fireball and everything just lit up! If it reaches the shack, the fertilizer might blow! You have to help!" The boy tosses a stricken look over his shoulder. "I have to let everyone else know too. Please hurry!"

Tatsuo returns the water to where it came from before releasing it and the extra chakra, his eyes normal when they open again although he lets out a huge breath that it feels he's been holding for minutes! And he looks pretty tired to boot! And then word of fire comes and Tatsuo looks stricken. His dark eyes move back to Kenta and there's something in them that might hint at what he's thinking of doing…after all, if something like that blows it's going to cause destruction and possibly even harm!

Shinobu smells the kid coming over and the smoke before anyone, most likely. Her gaze shifts to see the fire, and she frowns, making her way over to Kenta. The girl points to the fire, but she isn't sure what she can do except carry buckets or something. Because she can't do much else… She wasn't made to fight fires!

Rushing off with the others, Kajiru frowns and shakes her head as she looks at the smoke, "Umm, not sure I can do anything. Only one here built for this is Tatsuo." She points at the boy, "He has water."

"Ummm… we'll still have to do what we can. That file looks very big," Kenta tells everyone as they speed along. Having a blaze run out of control can be a disaster to the area, so they -have- to help even if the team's already tired. "I'm not sure if we even have enough water users with Tatsuo included. Let's hope it's not as bad as it looks from here…".

Things actually do look pretty bad as the team gets closer. The field that's on fire's very large and it's only separated by a thin strip of land from the shack that must house the fertilizer. There's also stacks of fertilizer in front of the shack, but villagers are carrying that way to a safer location in a hurry. Other villagers and shinobi are trying to battle the out of control blaze. A quick check with one of the passing villagers indicated that the field was fertilized a few days back, so that must have reacted to the heat of the fireball.

So far, a water line has formed to combat the blaze, helped by Genin with water manipulation. Others are forming an earthen break between the fire and the shack by piling up a line of earth with either shovels or jutsu. Pretty much the entire village has shown up along with most of the Genin teams. It's hard dirty work all around that's made worse by the intensity of the heat and the difficulty of breathing in all the smoke.

As the team watches, a girl and a boy that's tossing water into the blaze at a far off spot starts screaming as a stray bit of fire catches in their clothing. "Kajiru! Grab the girl and pull her away from the fire. I'll get the boy!" Kenta exclaims. "Everyone else, find a way to help however you can!"

Tatsuo runs with the rest in the direction of the fire. When he sees it and all the people at risk his eyes widen and he looks to Kenta quickly, then runs straight towards the fire. There's no hesitation as he goes, calling on all the water he can muster…too bad he'd already worn himself down some in dealing with the magpies! Gritting his teeth, the boy stops once he's near the fire and closes his eyes again, calling on the sickening chakra once again to bring more water down on the fire and the area between the fire and the shack to keep it all wet. If this isn't enough though…

Shinobu and Kame move to help, Kame digging up dirt while Shinobu carries buckets of water with the genin to try and out out the fire. She soaks the ground nearby as well as the actual flames to try and make the fire disappear, but she isn't entirely sure what she's doing. Sigh! She wishes she knew water jutsu right now.. Or earth.

Racing over to help the kids that appear to be getting caught up int he fire, Kajiru shakes her head, "I can't really do much other than carry buckets." She states as she tries to help pull away the girl and put her clothing out by pushing her down and makking her roll on to the spots that have caught up, "Come on, we gotta get you put out."

Kenta yanks the burning boy away from the fire the same time that Kajiru helps the girl. He's not as strong as she is, so he has a little more trouble, but the boy's already trying to get away from the fire too. "Ok, join Shinobu. But help me remove her burned clothing first," Kenta says, referring to the sobbing girl that Kajiru just helped. "I don't want it sticking to her flesh." He places his hands around the injured boy to start healing him.

A second later, Kenta looks up briefly as water splatters down from the sky as a result of what Tatsuo's doing. It's further enhanced by other water using Genin. The makeshift rain damps the ground along the edges of the burning field and where the flames are weakest. Tongues of orange flame goes out to leave smoking ground behind that still carries an incredible amount of heat. Some of the villagers and earth users quickly uses that to their advantage by piling earth on top of the extinguished sections to starve them of oxygen. The center of the blaze weakens, but remains burning so far.

Tatsuo chews his lip as he keeps trying to bring more water around to help out, dragging it from wells and out of the air as best he can. But will it be enough? Dark red eyes open as Tatsuo looks around quickly, then runs away! Okay, no, he's actually running behind a tall fence, something that will keep people from seeing him. It's then that he turns into Superman! Wait, that's a phone booth. Have to settle for letting out that tail then as he draws on more chakra. The water around the fire suddenly surges to life and expands exponentially before coming down on the blaze in a mini wave.

Shinobu just keeps pouring water onto the flames, because she can't do much more than Kajiru at this point. Kame barks, ~I liked chasing birds, better,~ as she chases down earth users to catch a stray bit of fire that was off to the side.

And for Kajiru's part, she does as ordered with the girl who was very nearly burned to death before joining Shinobu with putting out flames with buckets of water.

There's some shouts of surprise and even alarm when water surges over the burning field. People back away rapidly. A few even trip over themselves in haste. Kenta looks up again at the commotion and his eyes widen slightly at the sight. Then, there's a loud hissing sound when the water of water crashes over the field. There isn't so much that it causes damage to the surroundings or completely flood the area, especially when spread over such a wide area, but the force of the water instantly puts out the rest of the fire. A loud cloud of hot steam joins the smoke in the air, so that the closest individuals have to cover their faces to avoid steam burns.

The water shifts again, once the fire is out, most of it whisking off the field so as not to completely drown it. Then it all settles down and stops moving. Tatsuo reappears, leaving heavily against the fence and looking about ready to fall on his face at the same time. That wasn't easy, and now he was using all his energy just to make sure Isobu didn't try and do something stupid which makes him even more tired.

Shinobu sniffs out Tatsuo and leans against him to steady him a bit, offering a bit of food that she had packed for the mission: yummy rice! That's about all she had, really, but it was better than nothing.

The work's not done yet. It's not going to be done for a while, but Kenta has other things to worry about at this point. He finishes healing the two burned individuals and hands them off to a group of villagers to hustle to a safe place. Then, the medic-nin jogs over to where Shinobu and Tatsuo are. He gives the Nara boy a worried look before he places a hand on Tatsuo's forehead to run a quick diagnostic.

"Ummmm… that was a good thing that happened, but we have to head back to Konoha. All this excitement hadn't been that good for you," Kenta tells Tatsuo. He shrugs off his pack, which he offers to Shinobu. "Shinobu-chan, please get Kame-chan. Tatsuo needs some bed rest as soon as possible. Please carry this for me on the way back. I'm going to carry Tatsuo." Piggy-backed.

Tatsuo takes the offered rice with a small smile of thanks for Shinobu, eating it quickly to help him regain some of his strength. It's not much, but it's better than nothing in the end. When Kenta comes over Tatsuo shakes his head slightly. "I can…find somewhere around here to rest…Kenta-sama…People still need help…" And he's not going to leave them behind if he can help it. "I'll be fine…"

Shinobu gives Tatsuo a tiny nudge, then goes off to find Kame, who she picks up quickly and snuggles into her arms. Okay, now to get back to Kenta! The girl swings Kame around and jogs back over to the Nara and Akiyama.

Kenta hesitates slightly, but he eventually shakes his head. "Ummm… I know that there's still work here to be done, but it's too important to get you to a safe location, Tatsuo. There's enough people here to handle the rest of the tasks. I'll also ask another team of Genin to replace us when we get back. Now, up on my back!" While the decision isn't completely satisfactory to Kenta, Tatsuo really is the biggest priority. He nods his head at Shinobu when she arrives with Kame. After collecting Kajiru too, the whole group makes their way back to Konoha.

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