Date: October 30, 2014
Two genin, Shikoge and Yasuichi, are sent to guard a man's cart. They find trouble in the shape of a giant snake, but are able to give it a reason not to bother them.
"Snake in the Sand"
Trail to Local Wind Village
All jobs are important jobs. Whether it's taking on the big bad guy over there in the mask or chasing after a few lowly grunts, everyone has a particular job they have to do. In Yasuichi and Shikoge's case, they have to help escort a cartful of supplies to one of the towns within the Land of Wind's borders. The mission itself wasn't particularly difficult, though. There were tails of a strange beast wandering the desert trail he was about to traverse, though…
The driver, a young man named Katori, was getting ready at the gates of Sunagakure, waiting for his escorts to arrive. Once they did, he would tell the pair, "Heyya. I'm Katori. My job's to ship food and water from my village, which is located at an oasis, to Suna. And then some luxury goods from here to them. So! You two're supposed to guard me, I think. I 'spect there'll not be trouble, but we can't be too careful. You're free to ride in my cart." With that, he gets into the driver's seat and sets off.
When given the details, Shikoge wasted no time with pleasantries or formalities once arriving at Suna's gates. He knew what was expected of him and as he spotting the wagon, he even hopped aboard quite possibly moments before being offered to do so. "Oh, I'm Shikoge" He'd offer to the man as he peered at the goods Katori was delivering. "So what did you get in exchange? I wouldn't think food and water would offer much of an exchange, but then again I'm not too sure how exchanges work." Poking about at some of the crates or barrels or covered goods. "I'll give you some jerky for what you have under this one." Pulling out some meat from his pocket.
However simplistic the mission seems, Yasuichi is entirely content with it. He arrives at the gate a few minutes before the appointed time, standing by for things to begin. Once Katori greets them, he politely responds, "Pleased to meet you, Katori-san. Shikoge-san and I will do our best to ensure a safe journey." He glances at the cart, then down at his sandals. He considers walking along with the cart, but decides against it, figuring he needs to be able to devote as much focus to keeping watch as possible. "I'm not sure jerky counts as a luxury good, Shikoge-san," he says, climbing up into the cart.
In the crate Shikoge pointed out was fabrics, these meant namely for clothes. Katori eyes the jerky in Shikoge's hand and shakes his head. "That there fabric is hardly worth that jerky, Shikoge-san." He snaps the reins against the animals that are drawing the cart forward, causing the whole contraption to jerk forward as it picks up speed. The journey itself is fairly quiet. There's no signs of immediate life, though every now and then, there will be large tracks that look like the wheels of a cart had passed by recently. The wheels of said cart must have been quite shaky and large, as the path seemed to move in an S-shape, and the width of each 'wheel' was more than a couple inches… Shikoge might notice bits of shed snakeskin within those ruts, implying it wasn't exactly a cart that had travelled through.
"Pretty luxurious to me and Katori, Yasuichi." Shikoge commented before taking a bite of his jerky and then placing it back into his pocket. As the cart lurched forward, Shikoge remained standing as he'd need to remove the massive blade upon his back to be able to sit. "You make this trip a lot Satori? Why can't you make these fabrics yourself? Do you have kids and are they shinobi?" Shikoge had a lot of questions, but didn't appear to be waiting for any answers. His focus shifting to the path before them. "A lot of critters pass this way…or maybe Itami needs to shower better."
"Do a lot of carts travel this route?" Yasuichi asks Katori, "I think I see some tracks along here." Of course, since he doesn't notice the snakeskin, he figures that the trail really is just from other carts. Rather than worrying about that, he holds a hand up above his eyes to block the sun, and looks out over the desert, scanning for signs of suspicious activity. "That's good," Yasuichi tells Shikoge, "I also try to avoid letting myself become accustomed to an easy life. Perhaps someday you will have no access to jerky. But you'll endure, because you prepared yourself for just such an eventuality."
"I've made it enough times. My father was the runner between the villages before me, and he let me on many of the trips when I was a boy. Prolly around your age." Katori gives few nods as he thinks back. "As for makin' the fabrics ourselves… We could, but most of the people in the village are working on farming and the like. The oasis is plentiful, but we can't make all the fabrics with the animals." He eyes the ground when Shikoge notes the critters. "Aye… My father told me about a large snake that he'd often encounter, but I dunno if I b'lieve him. He was always spinnin' tales." Another nod as the cart continues on. "No kids or wife, yet. But I'm plannin' to propose to someone soon." Then to Yasuichi, he scratches the back of his neck. "Not that often, actually. I'm one of three carts that takes this route. My village is pretty small."
The pair of genin might notice a slight shifting in the sand as they continue on. While this /could/ be attributed to the moving cart, it didn't quite line up with its movements. The sand ahead and to the side was shifting, and it was distinctly S-shaped… Much like a snake…
Shikoge would place his hands upon his hips and the sun would glisten off his now shirtless torso, "Oh, you must believe your father. For I have seen such large creatures. Not a snake, but others. Worms, ants, dragons.. The desert is host to nothing but massive beasts wanting to kill and eat you, but I've faced them and they can easily be taken down." THe boy smirked as he dropped to his knees and leaned in closer to Yasuichi and Katori, "The trick is to become one with them." He'd then stand back up and nod his head, arms crossing over his chest.
Yasuichi watches the desert expanding endlessly in all directions around them, even as he listens to what Katori has to tell them. "Congratulations," he says, "And it sounds like you know this route well either way." He looks over to Shikoge. "Become one with them?" he repeats. "Can I ask exactly what you mean by that, Shikoge-san?" He stops for a second and knits his brows. "Oh, and about the — " His voice dies in his throat as he notices the strange behaviour of the sand. "What's going on there?" he asks, pointing to the shifting sand, "It looks like something is moving under the sand…"
"Well, sometimes I do… But that's such a tall tale, it's hard to be-" Katori's words are cut off when a giant snake emerges from the sand, and quite suddenly too. The snake is about ten feet long and its head was about a foot's worth of its total length. There are large fangs that are easily visible as it opens its maw to hiss at the travelers disturbing its nap, a long, heavy tail getting brought down on the rude cart. It strikes at where the people are clustered, though fortunately Katori dives off the side before it's too late. The horses scatter without him holding the reins, so he's forced to chase after them while the genin handle the giant snake.
Distracted by needing to explain to his own flesh and blood how you become one with things, the reflexes of the shirtless Miira aren't fast enough to avoid the tail strike as it crashes into the cart. The resulting collision sending Shikoge sprawling behind the cart. When he returned into view, he's on the ground curling about much like a snake would. "Thissss issss how you become one with them…sssss" Slithering about the sand as he slowly approached the massive snake, his would form several seals as he inhaled breath and focused his chakra. Once compacted and condensed enough, Shikoge would exhale, sending several shots of air at the beast.
Yasuichi starts as the snake makes itself known. Somehow though, he has the presence of mind to quickly conceal himself and distract the snake with a clone. After an awkward somersault out of the cart, he's on his feet and ready to do battle with the snake. He glances over to Shikoge, his comrade, at his side. "Oh," he says, "I don't see how pretending to be a snake will help." Having no direct attack techniques that seem likely to be any more than a nuisance to the snake, he decides to try and attack the beast indirectly. Making a few seals, he blows hot air at the snake's face in an attempt to spook it. Then he grabs a handful of shuriken from the holster at his waist and whips them at the snake.
The snake hisses at both genin, relying on its scales to block the air bullets Shikoge sends its way. They hit the skin harmlessly, but the hot wind in its face distracts it. It… actually seems happy for the warmth, considering the thing is cold-blooded… Of course, this leaves it open to the shuriken, which strike the inside of its mouth. It hisses in pain and attempts to get the shuriken out of its mouth by chomping at the genin. Like this would help. Its bite contains a poison that will paralyze a person's body. Then it uses its large tail to attempt to sweep the genin off their feet. From afar, Katori can be heard chasing after the horses. "Get back here!!!"
"By becoming one with the sssnake, the sssnake findsss it difficult to attack its own brethren." Shikoge continued to slither along the sand, moving close toward the snake as he did and by doing so, each of the strikes of the desert beast would narrowly miss, but miss they did. "Try it cousin!" Shouting out as the Miira suddenly jumped up to his feet, withdrew his blade from behind his back and swung it around in a massive arc not once but twice. The second using the momentum of the previous attack.
"I haven't heard of this sort of philosophy before," says Yasuichi. He just stands there and watches as Shikoge somehow avoids the attacks slithering around on the ground. He nods slightly to himself, then gets down in the sand and starts wriggling around. He puts his arms under his body, attempting to bait the snake, then throw it off balance with a replacement technique, forming the seals under his body. But the movement is awkward and he finds himself bitten, and freezes up just in time for the snake to smack him. "Ahh — " The cry dies in his mouth and he struggles to his feet. Considering that it seemed to work last time, he makes the same set of seals and blows hot air at the snake's face once again, then tosses another handful of shuriken at it.
The snake's head falls down as the first strike lands on some critical part of its build, and the second strike cuts through the scales. Nothing terribly damaging, but it's definitely painful for the thing… It does take a bit of joy in the fact that it managed to strike one of its attackers. Somehow it gets up (however snakes do that) and attempts to strike again, using the same move combination as before to try and get rid of these annoying enemies. "Hiiiiiisssssss." Yasuichi seems to know how to deal with the snake, though. That warmth that surrounds it is so pleasing to the cold-blooded animal, and it just stops in place, finding more shuriken striking, this time at its eyes. Again, not too damaging, but painful.
As the snake lunged for Shikoge, the boy would rear back his fist to punch the beast in the mouth. "No, bad sssnake!" before turning about and moving toward Yasuichi. "You ok." Planting the sword in the ground between the snake and the two genin to allow Shikoge some time to inspecting his cousin. "You did well trying to become one with the beast, but you have to let it flow naturally." The snake would strike at the two only to meet the flat end of Shikoge blade. "You have to believe you've became one of them and they will believe it too." The snake would lunge forward again, but this time push past the sword and strike through to Shikoge, but by doing so, the creature took collateral damage from the blade.
"It's nothing to worry about," says Yasuichi, obviously unconcerned by the wounds he just received. He closes his eyes for a second. "Become one with the snake," he says quietly to himself. But by the time he's opened his eyes, Shikoge has already got the snake totally chumped! "Oh," says Yasuichi. "Well, anyway, I did have an idea," he says, "The snake seems to like it when I use the Sear technique on him. Perhaps we can exploit this somehow." He takes a deep breath, then makes the same set of seals before blowing more hot air out at the snake's face.
The snake hisses in pain as the giant sword Shikoge wields ends up stabbing it in several tender places. This prey wasn't supposed to be sharp and pointy! It thought humans were squishy and tasty! It's extremely discouraged and seems to want to start heading off, but that nice warmth comes again, and it just stops where it is and basks in the warmth, tail flicking idly with pleasure.
Katori, in the meantime, has managed to rein in his horses and is starting the long trek back to the genin. Of course… He isn't very smart and goes by foot instead of mounting one of the horses to speed the process…
Shikoge didn't spend much time on the sand after getting knocked down by the snake. Grabbing his blade by the handle, he'd charge toward the snake while it was distracted by the heat that encompassed its form. Before reaching the creature, he'd swing the blade around, only to appear to miss. Like before though, he'd use the momentum to get closer and actually carve into the snakes hide. "Follow it up, Yasuichi!"
Since the heat only seems to be keeping the snake around and he doesn't have any particularly good follow-ups, Yasuichi just grabs another handful of shuriken and hurls it at the snake. "It seems to be trying to leave," he tells Shikoge, "Maybe if we keep hurting it, it will simply leave." His shuriken are unlikely to do a whole lot more than cause it pain besides. "Katori-san," he calls over, "Is everything all right?"
The giant snake is very unhappy with getting so many sharp things poked at it. While Shikoge's blows were extremely painful and resulted in a bit of blood drawn, Yasuichi's attacks were annoying. The snake decides that this prey isn't worth it, and hopefully they won't go disturbing its rest again. A snake can hope, right? It slithers off, diving into the sand, and disappears.
Katori finally gets back with the horses and lashes them to the wagon, muttering about how he couldn't believe he forgot to tie them. Of course, if he had, the cart would have disappeared too… So maybe it was a good thing he forgot. "Yeh, I'm fine… Nice job drivin' off that snake… The village is only a bit away, so we can relax there." He makes sure the cart is okay. Aside from a few bits of broken seat, it's in operating condition. So Yasuichi and Shikoge are forced to sit with the shipment if they want to ride in the cart, but it's still a successful mission. They reach Katori's home without any more incidents!