Date: March 30, 2015
Bandits had been testing the defenses around Konohagakure to try and find weaknesses. The Hokage sent out a group to put them down once and for all before they caused any real damage.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Sneaky Bandits Beaten!"
Word had been sent out earlier in the day that a mission would be taking place this afternoon. It was a local mission at least, cleaning up bandits who were plaguing Konoha's borders and trying to find ways into the Village under the walls or by various other means. The report added that some of those involved were possibly Missing Nin and so to be prepared for anything. When the fated hour came, it was time for them to meet up at the gates.
Konsho and Hige are already waiting at the gates, the boy without that acursed vest despite the fact that it's shiny and new. Luckily it was also optional. Totally cramps his style. The boy yawns widely, fangs gleaming in the summer sunlight, as he stretches up, then lets his hands fall and clasp behind his head lazily. Konsho is busy chasing a bug, though it's more of 'give the bug a heart attack' then try and catch it.
Takeo has a light schedule today, with some of his students off attending other lessons. Someone with an annoyingly long stic did a bit of prodding and got him out of his napping tree to assist. After all, the Tokubetsu has some experience with local bandits, having cleared out some iron thieves a while back (with the hunt for their base persisting, no less). Who better to have along for a bit of clashing with rogues in the homeland?
"Yo, Hige-niisan," says Takeo as he casually meanders toward the gates, slipping his stylized longcoat on whilst approaching. "I hear we've got some troublemakers to take care of. For once, it isn't me, which is nice." He examines the claws upon his right hand casually, as if something were on his mind for a moment. "Figured I'd lend a hand, if you like."
Word had been sent out earlier in the day that a mission would be taking place this afternoon. It was a local mission at least, cleaning up bandits who were plaguing Konoha's borders and trying to find ways into the Village under the walls or by various other means. The report added that some of those involved were possibly Missing Nin and so to be prepared for anything. When the fated hour came, it was time for them to meet up at the gates.
Konsho and Hige are already waiting at the gates, the boy without that acursed vest despite the fact that it's shiny and new. Luckily it was also optional. Totally cramps his style. The boy yawns widely, fangs gleaming in the summer sunlight, as he stretches up, then lets his hands fall and clasp behind his head lazily. Konsho is busy chasing a bug, though it's more of 'give the bug a heart attack' then try and catch it. *re*
Zankuro didn't favor the chuunin vest anymore than Hige did. Nevertheless, he /did/ need to break in his new replacement, so the choice was kind of out of his hand. "Man am I still sore." The Sarutobi grumbled as he made his way closer to the group, tapping his shoulder idly. "Hm… Oh, Ohayo, Hige-san! And uhm… Hmm… Don't think I know you, but yer an Inuzuka too, right?" He asks curiously, then motions to his cheeks. "Those uhm, those markings kind of give it a way, just f.y.i." Zankuro chuckles good naturedly, and if given the chance, paths Takeo's shoulder solidly.
Kenji was still relatively new to the whole mission system, so he tried getting in when there was room to offer whatever help he could. Today, word had been sent out that there was a potential mission involving local issues, which suited Kenji just fine. So the young Uchiha teen had arrived promptly at the gates, ready to get going. "Uchiha Kenji, reporting for duty." he says, introducing himself to the others.
When Takeo arrives Hige gives him a grin with his fangs peeking out over his lip. "Hey there Takeo, I'm surprised they managed to get you to move. Won't your sleeping spot get cold?" He teases the elder Inuzuka. "Hey does this mean I don't have to be in charge now?" He asks, the fresh Chuunin seeming truly curious about that. Zankuro's arrival earns the Sarutobi a grin as well, followed by a nod of greeting, "Hey there Zan. How you feeling after the other day?" Pause. "What did you do with your two new friends anyways?" Kenji gets a wave of greeting and a quirked brow at the formality. Silly people being proper. "Inuzuka Hige."
Takeo gives Zankuro a faintly amused glance. "Somebody who doesn't recognize me. I could've used that a couple years back," he comments, more to himself than to those around him. Shaking off the moment's thought, the man casually introduces himself to Zankuro, "Takeo, Inuzuka elder, Tokubetsu Jounin. I'm … Well, I'm sort of Inuzuka, yeah. Just enough of that left in me." He leaves the meaning behind the 'just enough' part vague as he continues toward Hige.
Once he reaches Hige, Takeo places his hands upon the younger man's shoulders and smiles, enlarged fangs bared a bit. "You've been doing well for yourself, niisan. I hear good things about you," he relates. "I'm proud." The Jinchuuriki releases Hige rather than hauling him into a hug, lest his family be embarrassed before the other shinobi. Ah, some habits are so hard to restrain.
Clucking his tongue, Takeo shakes his head at Hige. "You're still in charge. I'm not one to get in the way of people getting some command experience. Still, I'll be there to pull your sly outta the fire if things go really bad."
Instead of an immediate answer, Zankuro looks away, mood sinking. "Better. But that other thing is… Its… kind of complicated." That is it. Anything more than that will probably require a serious bribe or the liberal application of a crow bar, because he was in /no/ mood to explain.
The corner of the rotund chuunin's lips twitch at Takeo's comment. "Well, you're not a chick." He states simply as if it were obvious, grinning broadly, then frowning a little. Something about what Takeo said sounded a bit off. Zankuro kind of leers at Takeo, studying the man more carefully while trying to pick apart his own brain for answers. With his thoughts occupied, Kenji doesn't recieve much of a response from the Sarutobi. In fact, he gets nothing at all unfortunately.
Kenji nods politely to Hige's introduction, looking next to Takeo only to catch his name upon introduction to Zankuro. Well at least he got a name. So far so good. Zankuro is the last person that Kenji does not know, though he was referred to as 'Zan'. Unfortunately he doesn't get a name, putting on a polite smile for now towards the impoliteness and a nod of greeting.
"I feel like I am outranked and outskilled by those around me, so I hope I can be of some use. Just know that I am still fairly new to the Genin rank, and my skills lie more in tactics to overcome my weakness." he says, mostly to Hige as he seems to be the one in charge, as he thumbs the strap of his backpack, eager to get going.
"Don't let him fool you Zan, he's all Inuzuka. He's just shy about it." Hige teases, then blinks when the hands go onto his shoulders and his eyes are drawn up to look into Takeo's. His smile actually becomes a bit sheepish at the praise and a hand goes up to rub the back of his neck nervously, "Ah, thanks Takeo. I try, ya know? Hopefully I don't screw up now that it means more. Glad you're coming though. Be easier now if I have to leave someone behind." He gives a wink to the older Inuzuka. Semi-feral eyes shift back to Zankuro when the teen speaks and Hige's smile fades slowly into a frown. He takes a step up to Zankuro and takes a sniff, trying to figure out the emotions the boy is putting out. "Hmm. You're going to explain later whether you like it or not." He says finally. "Even if that means I have to take you out for food." When his gaze shifts back to Kenji the normal grin returns and he offers a small nod to the Uchiha. "Well they must of thought you could help and learn to send you along, so all I can say is keep yourself safe, okay? If you have any ideas don't be afraid to speak up." A clawed finger comes up to scratch the side of his nose. "I'm always open to what others have to say. Usually." That last is a tease, but still. "Oh, and this grumpy selfish non-introducing one here is Sarutobi Zankuro. You'll have to forgive him, I think he just broke up with his hundredth girlfriend."
Now that everyone's gathered Hige motions for them to come together. "Alright, so, as you guys heard and probably read there are bandits of some kind that have been doing some hit and run tactics trying to find weaknesses in our walls and patrols. Daisuke wants them found and taken care of, so that's what we're gonna do. If we can try and talk them into surrendering we will but if not then, well, it's all fair game I guess. Dead or alive, they have to be stopped. Questions?" He looks around the group and waits to make sure there's nothing more.
Takeo half turns and shakes his head, what's not tied back of his mane swaying against his back. "You're more powerful than you can yet imagine. It's just a matter of chipping away the parts covering that up, and then, fwwtt." He sweeps his hands aside as he makes the noise, as if to mimic a quick gust of wind. "There you are, talents and all. Only thing to hold you back is not chiseling away what you don't need."
Any accusation of his being shy is met with a laugh, and this occasion is no exception. Just one, but a loud one. "And Sarutobi Zankuro, is it? Surprised we haven't crossed paths before. Can't say I relate to the breakup now that I'm settled down with someone, but there was a time …" Ah, wistful look.
Oh, yes. The mission! Takeo puts himself in the here and now to listen to Hige's details. "Daisuke's been communicating. Who knew?" After saying that in a low voice, he coughs and says, "No questions. Talk if they'll surrender, kick their bentleys if they won't."
"If you say so.." Is Zankuro murmured reply as he straightened out his stance once more. The Sarutobi still had his suspicions about the elder Inuzuka, but they were not the kind one dug into recklessly. That is unless one was an Uzumaki or something. Simply thinking of a young member of the clan made Zankuro shuddered. "Eh? Pfft! As if a man of my stature would crumble so easily to such a promise." Even as he spoke, the teenager did wonder just what the meal in question would be…
"Wait, what? No, dude, it…" Zankuro trails off with a sigh and simply mutters a "nevermind" as he looked away. Hige's words don't fall on death ears. He opens his mouth, meaning to retialate with his rapier wit, only to stop and frown instead. Who the heck was — 'Ohh…' He thought, but aloud he chuckled and offered Kenji an apologetic bow. Unfortunately, he cannot get a word out before Hige starts going over the mission details, drawing the ash breather's full attention. "Just two. We trying to catch them at their hideout or in the act? Annnd… what type of numbers are we looking at?" He asks.
Kenji nods his head firmly to acknowledge Hige's advice, planning on using it if something goes south or if a brilliant idea popped into his head. He chuckles lightly at Hige introducing Zankuro, thankful that at least someone was able to tell him his name. He listens to Hige's introduction of the mission and nods, ready to help.
Takeo's comment about the Hokage gets a raised eyebrow. One should know that all missions in the village came down from on high, so the Inuzuka must have some personal grievance to which he does not ask. Zankuro tries to apologize and the sudden formality catches Kenji offguard, quickly holding a hand out to let him know he doesn't have to do that, it was all good. For now, Kenji continues to silently observe and assess his team mates, quite like his father does in the Police Corps, building profiles.
Hige watches Takeo as he talks up Kenji, his grin widening even more when the Inuzuka makes his little sound and waves his hand. "Just like that, is it Takeo?" He teases the older Inuzuka with a snicker. "Is that what happened to you? It might explain a lot." Besides, you know, the other stuff that generally only the Clan knows. His eyes roll when Takeo speaks before reaching up a hand to point at his hair, "You know that awful Hokage made me cut my hair for a mission? It still hasn't grown back all the way." Grumble. He's not going to let that one go either. Ever. He'll find a way to pay him back some day. Hige shakes his head slowly at Zankuro and sighs softly, "You doubt my ability to get you to speak, huh? You just wait Zan. You don't talk to me and every woman in Konoha is going to think you have some kind of infectious disease." He stares at Zan with a straight face and lets that sink in. There's pretty much no doubt he'd do it. Ahem, but now that that's done. "Those are two good questions Zan. I don't know the answer to the second one. But the first one, well, they're estimating around ten but since no one has seen them all at once it's hard to say."
"Apparently they have tracked them down to hiding out somewhere within a few miles north of the Village however, so that's where we're going to start." Hige crouches to give Konsho a few pets, something that's good to do before a mission, then stands again as he motions for the others to follow. "Alright, let's go. Keep yours eye and ears open in case we find trouble before we get to the northern wall, yeah?" With that he takes the treetops since that is the best means of transportation in Narutoland. Konsho follows right behind and the duo lead the way.
Takeo chuckles dryly when Hige queries as to whether that's how it happened for him. "Well, more or less. It was a little more complicated in my case," he says. "Now, the first time around, absolutely that way. I was pretty good with the Four Legged Style back then. Life changes things in funny ways, niisan." It seems as though his cousin noticed the encouragement toward Kenji more than Kenji himself, but the Tokubetsu lets it off in casually moving to follow the mission's team leader.
"I could cover our approach, but we'd have to know where he is - or they are - first," comments the man. "I've always hated these missions, where we've got a rough idea but no needle in the map. At least you've still got the nose to sniff them out, Hige."
The gesture from Kenji throws the chuunin off at first, but he accepts the genin's humble rejection with little more than a grin to show for it. As for Hige, Zankuro just rolls his eyes at the threat. The man was no stranger to women not liking him. In fact, many already saw him as an infectious disease thorugh no fault of his own! (Lie)
"Eh, guess that was a bit too much to hope for." Zankuro admits, shaking his head lightly. The rest he listens to without comment, and when it is time to go he is up in the trees with the rest of them, silently digesting what little they did know.
All three of Kenji's team mates seemed fairly well acquainted, which was good for a mission. It made Kenji wonder if he was going to be any help here, but he will certainly do his best. The others have given him words of encouragement, so Kenji happily follows the rest as they begin to take off towards the mission site, keeping his normal senses attuned. As he hears Takeo voice his displeasure with these types of missions, he speaks up. "The last mission I was on was similar. Without any kind of heightened senses, it really is luck and focus that finds the ambush before it can trigger. Hige's nose will, indeed, be a welcomed addition this time." he says with a smile to Takeo.
"Yeah it neylas. Why don't the bandits leave us a map or something. It'd certainly make our lives a lot easier." Hige agrees with Takeo, perhaps a bit snidely as he grins over to the man. "But we'll find them. I'm Delta after all. They won't be able to hide for long." He listens to the others talk for a bit as he travels, glancing back at Kenji at one point and giving him another smile. "How many missions have you been on since you graduated?" He asks curiously as they go.
It doesn't take more than a few minutes to move around the outside edge of the Village and arrive at the northern side. From there they start moving north through the trees, the pace a little slower as they look for signs of people having passed through recently where there shouldn't be. "Keep your senses on alert and say something if you see the smallest thing out of place, alright?"
As he follows almost alongside Hige, Takeo is oddly silent for a while. There's the vaguely palpable sensation, if only for a moment, of a burst of chakra welling up within him. No outward signs of anything, though. "At least I'm better prepared than the last time I went bandit hunting. Iron mine, no water, and I couldn't just grab it from the air back then," he says. As to Hige's bloodline, the Inuzuka smirks. "I was Alpha, not that I ever acted it. Sometimes, I miss having the nose, but there are other times I don't. Particularly now that I'm around fat nobles doing this and that boring Jounin business."
Takeo falls silent once more, his attention fixed ahead and to his sides. He trusts in his companions, but he's still learned many times over to not let banter get in the way of attentiveness. One ear's kept on the discussion, about Zankuro's life and Kenji's experience to date.
Zankuro is in pretty much the same boat as Takeo. As much as he may have wanted to talk, he took being a chuunin while on a mission rather seriously. Facing terrors unleashed by the Silence…. it had an effect on him, to say the least. Even so, when an opportunity arose to respond to another, the rotund young man doesn't waste it.
"Easy for you to say pup." Zankuro jokes good naturedly, breaking eye contact on his surroundings only long enough to speak. Then, it is back to surveying and making sure there weren't any ambushes waiting fo rthem.
Kenji smirks at the comment Hige makes, it certainly would make it easier. Despite keeping his eyes and ears tuned, his inexperience shows as he moves on with the group. To Hige he replies, "Enough to count on my one hand and leave some fingers remaining," holding up three fingers. As they move, Kenji focusing on molding some chakra for quick use in case of an ambush or the group locating the bandits. Ready for anything was his motto, after all.
As they travel Hige remains aware: of their surroundings, of the other on the team, of everything. His senses were extended out but part of them remained close so he could still converse and take care of his team as he needed to. Hopefully this mission wouldn't be anything too serious and they'd be able to clean up these folks pretty quickly. After going for only about ten minutes Hige motions for the group to stop as he lands in a crouch on a large branch and sniffs the air, turning his head a few directions as he does so while Konsho pretty much mirrors his movements.
Zankuro would be keenly aware of a game path nearby that had been recently transversed by those on two legs thanks for the footprints and oddly broken plants. Kenji, while not as observant, would still spot that someone kind of randomly left a shovel half buried a little ways ahead.
Takeo's watchful of Hige, as well, of course. The Tokubetsu is the ranking shinobi present, and he's giving his cousin a deserved chance to lead, but safety for the lot of them ultimately falls upon his shoulders. There might've once been a day when he'd have shirked such a burden, but no longer. "That'll change fast," Takeo says to Kenji, his voice adopting a tone of assurance. "Oh, by the way. Hige knows this, but if I start glowing? Don't worry about it." Hello, cryptic.
When Hige motions for the lot of them to stop, Takeo lands quietly upon the side of a large tree's trunk and remains there, longcoat hanging down about his body. There, he waits until further directions are provided.
Every jump jolted a hidden injury, eliciting the occasional wince out of the Sarutobi. Zankuro continued on without complaint, mustering his inner fire to keep moving. It was a dangerous gamble on his part, but what could possibly go wrong. Hige and Kenji were fresh to their roles, sure, but…
'Alright brain, that's enough helping' The plump young man thought, scowling inwardly. He's a half a second slower to respond to the order, but is able to adjust accordingly. "Looks like I might just have a trail guys," Zankuro says more quietly than usual. As soon as he had their attention he'd gesture to the path before making a sweeping direction further north along it.
Kenji raises an eyebrow at Takeo's cryptic assurance of not to worry if he starts glowing, not knowing what to expect with that. Perhaps it was some Kekkei Genkai he had yet to see in action, and going by that rationale, he finally nods his head. As they move, Kenji stops abruptly as Hige motions, giving the area a quick scan and spotting the half-buried shovel. He motions to it in case anyone needs to know, though remains silent and waits for Hige's plan. He turns to Zankuro as he mentions spotting the trail, catching the gesture and looking down towards the brush below, spotting it as well and nodding.
Yes a very cryptic comment from Takeo for some, but Hige is far too used to it now, oddly enough. The boys eyes sink down to the path that Zankuro indicates, following it along until it disappears in the trees with a small nod. Kenji's indicating of the shovel draws his attention and the boy quirks a brow curiously as he looks down at it. He considers checking it out for a moment but decides against it, in case it's a trap. "Guess they really have been digging." He mutters.
After a moment he looks back at the other and motions them to move forward still, not along the path but a little ways away. "I smell a campfire ahead, maybe half a dozen people. Stay alert in case they have any traps set and we'll travel away from their normal path." That done he starts moving again towards the smell of the campfire, slowing and stopping once they come to the edge of a clearing.
Within the clearing is indeed six men, all sitting around a campfire eating and joking loudly. Apparently they aren't expecting anyone to come intrude on them. At least two of them are in their mid-teens while the others move with a grace that speaks of skill.
Does Takeo agree with Hige's strategy, or does he not? There's no telling, and that's on purpose! He merely nods like a loyal shinobi should and leaps away from the side of the tree he's clinging too, moving along apace with the group toward the campfire Hige's nose has picked up on. Now that, that's one of those things he misses about being truly Inuzuka.
Along the way, Takeo removes his longcoat and ties it around his waistline. This allows him to stand upon the branch of the highest of trees surrounding the campsite, upside down. He takes count of the men present and looks between them, eyes attempting to identify anything in the way of heraldry or insignia before all else. Who they are matters as much as anything else, after all. As well, either the scouts overestimated, or they're four people short.
Zankuro caught the motion from Kenji, though it is Hige that voices an answer first. The shovel made him briefly wonder if perhaps there were even ground based traps laying around on top of everything else. He quickly shakes his head, dismissing such thoughts so that he could focus on orders again. Wordlessly, he follows after the two Inuzuka, trying his best not to leap onto that one wrong tree branch that just couldn't handle his weight well. Considering how ridiculously large the trees of the Land of Fire can get, he needed not fear that kind of an outcome too much.
Six men. No. Four men and two teens. All of them unguarded for the most part. Still, he felt kind of uneasy. Zankuro would try to sign to Hige 'Sneak or single envoy?' Their leader did make mention of wanting to try and get them to surrender first.
Kenji follows the group, listening to Hige's assessment of the camp ahead. He was tempted to lob one of his compact fireballs into the fire to explode and surprise them, but for now he was content with letting the others do their, more experienced, thing. There was also the issue of only six men around the fire. For now Kenji observes them, noting the way they carry themselves, their expressions, actions, body language, again creating profiles. He had his targets pegged as the younger ones, though for now he voices his concern to Hige in a whisper as Takeo has gone to higher 'ground'. 'Were there not reports of 10 men?' he whispers next to Hige, turning to Zankuro to see if he noticed as well. He is hardly questioning the elite senses of an Inuzuka, when one tells you how many men, there are usually that many men, but what if they had some kind of way to disguise their scent? Kenji's mind is filled with all sorts of potential answers to the question at hand, and for now they stay within his overactive mind.
None of the clothing shows any type of insignia or symbols. Nothing to indicate where they might be from or from what village or nation they might hail. They continue to crack jokes and eat not paying attention to their surroundings in the slightest.
Something about the whole thing is off to Hige and he frowns slightly, nodding to Kenji's question before looking around the clearing again, wondering if there were others on the other side of the clearing. He raises his nose to the air and gives a few more sniffs before shaking his head slightly, "If they're around I can't smell them." He mutters, then looks over to Zankuro. "I'm going down. You stay with Kenji and keep an eye out. If they start causing trouble join in." With that said Hige looks up to Takeo and motions for him to circle around the other side of the clearing. Giving a few moments for that to happen, Hige and Konsho drop down to the forest floor and walk out into the clearing. "I'm Inuzuka Hige, a shinobi from Konoha. You are to give up and come with me to answer some questions."
The six fall silent when Hige appears and speaks and they each share a look, then laugh and stand, two men drawing swords while the other two take a few steps back. The teens each have daggers and step up next to the swordsman.
"So is that a no?"
Takeo leaps fluidly and silently from tree to tree, appearing as though he was born to the art. It's no wonder he has a reputation for surprising his oldest friends with tree climbing tricks. In short order, Hige's signal is honored, as Takeo has reached the other side of the clearing and descended into the brush below. The brandishing of weapons prompts him to curl his claws slightly inward, alert, more so as Hige elects to be sarcastic rather than leap to safety. It's a bit too much for him to just stay down in the forest's undergrowth.
"You bandits and your swords," says Takeo, the slightest disgust evident in his voice. He's really had a bad history with bandits, apparently. He's now evident on the other side of the clearing, and he's not alone; droplets of water inexplicably hover motionless in the air around him. "Don't be dumbmurrays. If you're innocent, you've got nothing to lose. If you're not, you'll have a lot less to lose if you don't start a fight." With his fangs bared and a low rumble rolling through his voice, Takeo says, "If you so much as cut a hair on his head, then you've got everything to lose. Three choices, boys. Who's feeling smart, who's feeling stupid?"
Zankuro grimaces and made a note to suggest anything so dangerous. The grimaces transforms into a speculative look as he reconsider the note. Perhaps it would be better if he volunteered for the dangerous jobs? Nope! Not gonna happen. The only way it would be because of some momentary bout of insanity or a death sentence alreayd looming over his head. Either way, he really needed to stop getting so easily side-tracked because Hige and Takeo are well on the move by the time he comes out of the distracting haze. A curse is just barely suppressed as his attention focused keenly on the men on the ground. Although it may have been unnecessary, Zankuro signs the message 'Don't move until ordered'. One final warning in case there actually was a rebellious spark in the Uchiha.
Kenji had his orders, to leave Hige alone down there with the six men due to the potential threat of up to four more men hiding their presence. He wasn't going to protest the orders, though he didn't like just leaving Hige down there alone while he sat up in the trees. For now this is where he could be most useful, and for now that is where he will be. He scans the camp and surrounding trees again for any sign of movement once Hige showed himself, any sign of attackers, showing Zankuro he knows how to do what he is told.
The bandits are surprised when someone comes in from the other side of the clearing. Apparently they weren't expecting that, nor for him to have water hovering overhead. The six look amongst each other a moment before the weaponless two make a handseal - and the other four are revealed. They pop out of ground near Takeo, surrounding him. Apparently the arrival of the shinobi was more or less expected, as were their tactics.
"Dimitri." Hige mutters, dropping down onto all fours next to Konsho and letting chakra channel through him, elongating his fangs and claws. With the rest of the men revealed Hige reaches up a claw and motions for the others to join him.
The men don't wait for the others before they attack! The ones that popped up next to Takeo make quick hand seals and shoot out a variety of elemental attacks at the older Inuzuka while the others take a moment to surround Hige and Konsho.
Takeo suddenly flares with blue light, which settles into an aquaeous cloak about his body. Two long tails patterned in the likeness of a turtle's shell unfurl behind him, his hair grows longer, and his canines larger. When he speaks, that rumble in his voice is now present in a rather more supernatural fashion. "So, like I was asking. Dumbmurrays, or smartmurrays?"
When the jutsu are hurled at him, Takeo lifts a hand and taps at the empty air with a clawed finger. In an instant, a mirrorlike oval of water appears before him, repulsing the assailant flames and lightning. As for the earthen bullets, he just lets those hit him and moves right along. "One more attack and I start getting /really/ carmelitad. Now, listen to the man."
He picks up his right arm and points indicatively, sharply, at Hige.
Zankuro breathed a little easier after hearing Kenji's reply. So he /wasn't/ a second Isura. Good to know. But in any case, he really needed to… "Aww, clockwerk." He murmured before he could slap his hands over his face. After glancing quickly in Kenji's direction to make sure he didn't misinterpet his actions as a sign to attack, the Sarutobi quickly calms down and observes for a few moments longer. Takeo was surrounded, but he didn't worry. With as many titles as the Jinchuuriki had under his belt, a couple of wannabe sellswords or whatever would be no match. Pride turned to unease as chakra began to surround the man, shaping into… something else. It did not feel familiar so much in the sense of something directly related to the Sarutobi, but heard second hand.
A power similiar to what the Hokage demonstrated once before a long time ago by his recollection….
'Focus' Zankuro snapped back to attention, sized up those quickly surrounding Hige, and after only a brief hesitation on his part, acted. A brief signal to Kenji is made to attack before the Mr. Rotund acted himself.
"You know what I just realized… They couldn't have found us without being told where we were…. And I think its you!" The scenario was always the same. An illusion sent out to three out of the six that surrounded Hige, the elders turning on one of their own, and lunging without warning. Hopefully, the confusion would be enough for Hige to take advantage of it.
Kenji first spots the four men that were hiding as they lunge for Takeo, knowing that the conditions had been met for them to move from their hiding spot. All that remains was for Hige to give the word and Kenji would do his best to use his element of surprise. As Takeo coats himself in chakra and sprouts tails, an uneasy feeling creeps into Kenji's stomach, the sickly demonic chakra not familiar to the teen and he feels like he might be sick. Despite this, he remembers Takeo's words and he is able to control himself, his eyes moving to Hige, who gives the motion to go. Kenji is ready for it. leaping from the tree towards the two young bandits he had picked out of the crowd, landing before them and exhaling super heated air to attempt to catch them temporarily off-guard and momentarily blind them.
The bandits answer Takeo with actions instead of words. While the four are attacking the older Inuzuka, the others prepare to attack the younger one in turn. But then the others attack and, even though Zankuro's attempts to genjutsu them fail, it still draws their attention some. When the searing heat comes one of the men is able to move away but another isn't so lucky and lets out a cry of pain, a hand going up to his eyes automatically before he starts swinging his sword randomly.
The two teens turn immediately on the new arrivals, daggers coming up as they charge at Kenji from either side. They aren't the most highly skilled which becomes quickly apparent but that doesn't make them any less deadly. One comes in and swipes towards the midsection while the other jumps in to try and stab down!
The two other men in the main group, the ones without weapons, turn to Zankuro then and form signs. The ground turns to mud around the Sarutobi, attempting to trap him in place before mud bullets fly from the other man towards Zankuro.
The four around Takeo take a few steps back each but keep the man surrounded, despite the uncertainty on their faces from the tails that sprouted. More signs are made as they call up different attacks to try and hit the scary man!
Hige has to deal with the swordsman, each slicing towards the boy and his pup in turn.
"I don't think they're giving up." Hige shouts over to Takeo, because obviously he needs to tell the other Inuzuka that. "Time to take them down! Everyone be on guard!" Lightning starts to flicker around Hige and Konsho and the pair lunge forward towards the two swordsmen, moving in tandem as they strike with lightning imbued claws. They move past their victims on the attack and turn quickly to prepare for what's next.
Once again, Takeo conjures forth another mirror of strangely formed water from thin air, warding off the continued attacks from the ambushing bandits. "Fine. Your choice," he says with a continued growl. As for what the others are thinking, well, it's a good thing he didn't take the transformation as far as he could have. His fault for not clarifying the master Jinchuuriki part in favor of being mysterious, but he'd hoped to avoid this altogether.
Leaping straight up, Takeo pivots and barely catches the tree branch he'd been previously clinging to with his foot. He thrusts his index and forefinger downward, sending a small splash of water to the surrounded point he'd previously occupied. An instant later, numerous spears of deadly sharp coral sprout in all directions with great force, impaling the bandits now standing around the coral bloom.
First, it's tails. Now, it's … coral manipulation? Evidently, he's a lot more likeable when he's his usual quirky self.
Though it angered him a little, Zankuro didn't let one failure get to him. He couldn't afford any mistakes. Not again! Fortunately, one of the earth user's wasn't too bright. Honestly, trying to trap a man standing on a tree branch using the earth? Ridiculous!? Still, the Sarutobi took no chance by leaping before the tendrils of earth could finally reach his perch. Mid-flight, he is vulnerable, and knew it all too well. Nevertheless, he knew too how to throw in a surprisingly nimble twist to avoid the mud bullet and land. Without missing a beat, Mr. Trap Master has to deal with his own earth betraying him, binding the man long enough for a seemingly innocent ball of flame exploding abruptly in the faces of both him and his partner. By the time the smoke clears, Zankuro would be long gone… hopefully.
Kenji manages to at least get one with a nice blast of hot air, though retaliation is swift. He had no time to focus on the others and how they were doing, but he trusted that they were holding their own. He moves out of range of one, but takes a hit from the other's weapon, causing him to leap back out of melee range to charge and spit small compact balls of fire that would explode on contact with the two Teens he was fighting.
The two swordsman end up with large electrical claw marks across their frames, crying out in unified pain. The two of them turn on the younger Inuzuka pair in pain and anger before charging again, rather stupidly trying something that already failed. But hey, they're bandits!
The four around Takeo aren't so lucky. Three of them get skewered by corral and collapse in piles of blood. One of them manages to escape however - the lightning user. He slides away on lightning like he's skating across the ground, then quickly makes another grouping of seals before launching two large, crackling bolts of lightning at Takeo.
One of the earth users finds himself bound up by the earth he'd used himself and curses, trying to struggle away. But to no avail. He and his buddy both eat the explosions and end up on their penelopes, though they're back up quick enough and sending more death towards Zankuro, anger on at least one of their faces. Nice try with the stealth but they're just too observant! That bush only hides them from you now!
The teens also have to deal with explosions and they cry out in pain as they try and cover their eyes. They exchange looks before they throw their daggers at Kenji - then turn to try and run!
Hige and Konsho manage to push away from the swordsman on all fours, avoiding the sword attacks neatly. The pair jump away from each other then before jumping up into the air and starting to spin. When they come down they're aimed right at the pair and try to smash into them in a mass of claws and fangs.
This time around, Takeo seems to have done a proper job of pandaing someone off. Still, he's in perfect control even after the bolt pushes through his mirror and into his body. He bares his teeth, now fangs one and all, and contemplates taking more severe measures. Fortunately, a simpler idea comes to mind. "That's bright," he says, sounding almost amused through his hoarse voice. "Throw electricity at a conductor."
While apparently leaving himself an open target for further attacks, Takeo makes a single hand seal. The coral bloom and all the blood upon it turn to water, which then slithers through the grasses, seeking to rest underneath and around the lightning ninjutsuist's feet.
Zankuro had this very bad feeling in his gut. It told him "Follow you fools!" It made so little sense — Crumble. Crack. "Gecko?" He says absently, smiling weakly, sweating furiously, and after confirming the ground was indeed shifting, he flitted through seal after seal. While he's fast enough to flying on a pillar of flames, the earth spikes give chase. He can barely alter his course in time to wind up having the first one slice open his side, as he turned about in mid-air. Another instinctive twist saves him for a second one.
Zankuro uses that brief time in the air to look over everyone, allow for a moment of worry to sink in, then narrow his focus back on the earthers. If he could just take those two down…
The fat man hasn't even landed before slinging more jutsu about. The will of embers burned strongly in his eyes, guiding him from one seal to the next. The first would force his enemies to kneel, and the second would set them aflame. Shrugging off the fire if caught would be easier said then done. There's oil keeping them going!
The knives aimed for Kenji fly right through him as his after image vanishes, the teenage Uchiha already in the way of the boy's exit plan. "Sorry, you aren't going anywhere." he says in a firm voice as he opens his mouth and blows more super heated air towards them to temporarily incapacitate them long enough to tie them up. someone had to restrain themselves and take people alive, right?
Hige and Konsho come down on the two swordsman and their cries of pain are cut short. When the spinning ends the men are dead and half shredded and most certainly dead.
The lightning wielder sneers at Takeo, figuring that he's pretty much given up. "That's good, just hold still you freak of nature." The man says, channeling lightning into his hands. The points his hand at Takeo and starts releasing a large ball of pure lightning. Before he can release it however part touches the ground near him and the water that was snuck there. A cry of literal shock as the man electrocutes himself. The lightning continues to channel and shock him until he collapses, smoking.
Zankuro's men fall under the genjutsu and are forced down to the ground, leaving them ripe for the picking. When the fire hits they let out a few loud shrieks before they simply collapse over as burnt husks of the men they once were.
The teens are surprised by Kenji's speed and in the end are unable to react in time. They stumble around some after they're blinded by the searing heat and are easy fodder for the Uchiha. It doesn't take long for them to be subdued and tied up.
When the spinning stops Hige and Konsho are in the middle of the shredded pair, blood glistening as it drops from claws and fangs. Wild eyes search the clearing to check on the others as Hige ensures that everyone is still safe and doesn't need help. In fact it appears everyone has neatly taken care of their attackers. Hey, Kenji even got some captives! He moves back to two feet and wipes his mouth on his sleeve, then his claws on his pants. "Good job everyone."
Takeo drops down from the tree and steps over one of the previously impaled corpses as he steps forward, tails flicking about behind him. The lightning ninjutsuist did exactly as hoped. Water users, always clever about finding a way through. "Freak of nature. Haven't heard that one in a while," he says in a low voice, though the rumbling quality about it remains. A flick of his hand causes the pool of water under the poor fellow to disperse into mist, and so the cycle of conduction ends, along with the constant electrocution. "Sorry," says the Tokubetsu to Hige, surrounded as he is by corpses in various states. "They saved the best for the trap."
Speaking of, it looks like Takeo intentionally took wounds in order to lay his plans out, but he seems to gloss over that. Closing his eyes and exhaling slowly, he allows the chakra cloak to fade from his body, along with the tails. His canines shrink back to their usual enlarged size as his eyes revert from black and red, and his hair shortens (albeit not by much). Back to his usual self, though those watching might've briefly glimpsed an Uzumaki seal inked upon his stomach.
"Stick a fork in them, because their done." Yep, the idiot definitely went there. There's nothing quite as good as morbid humor. Once assured there were tricks involving the earthers, Zankuro quickly scans the area to see how the others faired. Takeo is only given a brief and unease look; far too short for him to notice more than the chakra cloak receding. Upon seeing that Kenji's foes are at least still alive, the Sarutobi wastes little time in aiding in securing one of the prisoners if given the chance before sighing in relief.
A job well done, all in all.
Kenji dusts his hands off as he finishes with the rope, looking down at the struggling teens. He crouches down, resting on his heels, looking at the duo. "Be glad you didn't end up swiss cheese like your compatriots." he says to them before standing up again. "I guess we should escort them back for questioning." he says to the rest, making a face as he looks at the remains of the rest. Mission complete, Kenji adds another to his slowly growing record.
Eight dead, two captured. All in all not that bad. At least the bandits have been taken care of and Konoha no longer has to worry about them testing their defenses! Hige looks over to Takeo and shakes his head, "It's all right. It's obvious they were expecting us. Not sure how, but at least we don't have to worry about them anymore." He looks Takeo over with a faint frown, "If you don't heal make sure you get to the hospital." He looks at the others, "All of you. I want you to get checked out when we get back." And no it's not a request. A mission completed and a job well done. Hige would lead the group back to Konoha itself, deposit the two captives in jail, and see the others to the hospital before finally taking his own leave.