Sniffing Wildfires


Arika, Jiro, Rikuto

Date: February 10, 2015


A Genin leader takes a younger Genin and a Student out into the field with him during a some what simple mission. The group only later discovers they would be contending with more than natural brush fires.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Sniffing Wildfires"

Land of Wind

Winter was coming to am end yet there was no real sign of the wet season drawing near. From the brief warmer and muggy days of a false spring, wild grass grew rapidly, taking root in preparation of the minor floods common with the beginning of the wet season. When the cold returned much of these now tall grass covered fields died out and withered, turning to fields of tinder. As people struggle to stay warm, some are more than a little careless and their embers spark wild fires. The settlement of Kibowai has sent a request of aid to fight back the flames which threaten to consume not only the fields they commonly used for farming, but also their settlement.
Rather than a Chuunin being assigned to the task, a senior Genin, Miira Rikuto was to lead a team of two juniors Genin, Amaro Jiro and Ikitara Arika. The team was sent out on foot for the journey a day in advance, their lodging within the settlement was prearranged as well. The team would need to travel light to make it to their destination on time without outside aid, though luckily they would depart a few hours before dawn so they wouldn't walk through the burning sands near the hottest hours.

Arika yawns widely as she travels to the village, the girl tired from having to wake up so early for this mission. "Are we there yet?" she would ask for possibly the millionth time, the girl still not very awake at all. It's a miracle that she's even managed to make it this far on her own power. Ping had left the girl to be protected by the Miira, giving Jiro a special seal in case Arika lost control.

So early!! Jiro would wake up early to train sometimes but not /this/ early. The boy had some help packing for the trip thanks to Ping and now he stood with a small backpack resting against his back with some basic necessities. As they traveled he yawned a few times himself but at least he didn't ask the silly questions like the girl does. Of course that might be because he's just not fully awake yet either. He seems to be moving on autopilot.

Hours had past as they traveled, during the first hour of travel Rikuto would always answer Arika, but as time went on.. he began to pretend he didn't hear her most of the time. Jiro would catch the young Miira's attention more, his silence was worrisome, especially when most of the trip he could see the boy's eyes closed. This would continue until until he dully says 'Yes' for the first time during the trip but in the same monotone he was saying 'No'. Moving a hand to each of their shoulders, Rikuto would give them a light shake before drawing them a step back, trying to make sure they were awake.
"Now.. I told both of you the task we have before we left.. I even told you to ask question while we walked.." Pausing, the young Miira turns to Arika, partly glaring towards her as she wouldn't stop asking random question until just asking how much longer and if they were there yet. "It's a mostly simple job and we shouldn't have much trouble here unless you start things, okay?"

Arika wriggles a bit at the shake, trying to get herself to wake up as well. Her eyes close for a moment, the girl focusing chakra so that a clone appears in a puff of smoke beside her. It grins and offers a small salute. "We'll get it done, Rikkun!" it says with almost too much energy. "How are we supposed to stop the fires, though?" The real Arika rubs at her eyes. ~Hush, it's too early…~ grumbles that voice, and Arika can't help but agree whole-heartedly.

When Rikuto shakes his shoulder Jiro blinks a few times then looks at him. "Huh?" He asks, looking around curiously for a moment before looking back at the older boy. "What're we suppose' ta be doin' anyways?" The boy mutters as he stretches his arms up high above his head a few moments, getting the last sleepiness out before he lets them plop on his head and his focus turns to Rikuto, eyes curious and finally sharp.

A blank stare is offered to the clone, then back to the half dozing girl. "Maybe you could cause the sleepy one to poof and become the real one?" was soon teased lightly before turning to Jiro to answer him. "You can't stop a fire from ever happening, but you can control how badly it burns.. We'll be clearing a meter of grassland around the village. Even if the flames spark, it won't get all the way to them.. if it does then we'd end up without getting paid and.. sleeping in the desert tonight.." Rikuto's face twists as he thought about what his said, quickly shaking his head, leading the pair, little more than a hundred meters from the edge of the small village.
Using his steps, Rikuto begins to stomp down one section of grass before counting, dragging one foot and stomping again. "This is about a meter.. you can see how much work we have ahead of our selves, don't you?" Moving a hand to the back of his head to Jiro and then to his scarf before again to the ground. "None of us can really shape the earth so this will be a bit harder. How well can you use your cloth to clear cut something low to the ground?"

Arika huffs, poking Rikuto a few times for the tease. "Meanie Rikkun…" the girl grumbles before eying and following him. Tge meter is drawn out and she kinda … sinks in her spot. "Too much…" she says, mentally picturing a giant 'FAIL' sign over her head. The clone baps Arika, making her squeaks. "Divide us /evenly/ this time," it scolds, disappearing with a poof. Arika grumbles a bit more, and a second girl appears, this one looking equally grumpy. "So we just gotta cut the grass? Easy enough." They each draw a kunai and focus wind chakra, aiming to slash away as much grass as they can.

Jiro nods slightly when Rikuto explains things and the boy watches the other do his distancing for a meter. When he was finished Hige looked from where they were to the village, then looked at how big the village was they were going to make this fire break around. His nose wrinkled at the tought but he finally nods again. Still better than school. At the question of his cloth Jiro pulls it off smoothly before considering it a moment. With a few flicks and twists he has it settled out so that it goes down to his ankles and the rest is straight out. He slashes with it, extending his arms down a little more and cuts cleanup almost to right against the ground. Seems like he can get it pretty low. He looks up at Rikuto with a questioning look to see if that meets the criteria.

Jiro nods slightly when Rikuto explains things and the boy watches the other do his distancing for a meter. When he was finished Jiro looked from where they were to the village, then looked at how big the village was they were going to make this fire break around. His nose wrinkled at the tought but he finally nods again. Still better than school. At the question of his cloth Jiro pulls it off smoothly before considering it a moment. With a few flicks and twists he has it settled out so that it goes down to his ankles and the rest is straight out. He slashes with it, extending his arms down a little more and cuts cleanup almost to right against the ground. Seems like he can get it pretty low. He looks up at Rikuto with a questioning look to see if that meets the criteria.

Pointing towards Arika, the young Miira teases "Some use effort over planning, others planning over effort. I did not say we had to cut everything by hand, did I? Also.. if we did, what would you do when we start to work on the second ring?" A light smirk appears on Rikuto's lips before he turns to Jiro to watch the display. A light whistle escapes him as he notices the quick difference and nods his head lightly.
"Jiro-san, I want you to not cut the grass, I want you to cut about two or three centimeters from the edge of the meter I showed you.. and cut it for a meter either way, just linning it." Turning his attention to Arika, the young Miira begins to beckon her closer to himself before tapping to the side of his head. "Arichan..Did you forget I didn't say you couldn't use ninjutsu. Now sit.. think. What would be a good way to clear a large area quickly of something weak?"

Arika hmms and thinks a bit, making a handseal so that the wind around her is imbued with chakra. They turn into tiny swords that slash at the grass near the meter that Rikuto cleared away. "Does that work?" she asks the Miira, a tilt of her head further showing her desire for an answer.

Jiro chews on his lip as Rikuto explains what he wants the boy to do and he just nods a little, uncertainly. He's not sure why he's doing it this way but, hey, not his to question either. He's only there to serve. The boy goes to the place Rikuto had made the marks with his foot and starts cutting a swath through with his sharpened cloth, pouring his chakra into it. If nothing else this is going to be good practice for that. At least the boy moves quickly while his eyes focus on his work and let the other two discuss…whatever they're discussing.

"Good, both on both of you." Turning to Arika, the young Miira waggles a finger still before saying, "Forming blades completely limits how much you can do. What you want to do is sharpen the air itself.. Visualize not the sword, but the slash." Bringing his hands together, Rikuto tenses them before slowly forming a series of seals, this time in a longer pattern for air manipulation before twisting his wrist. In front of the Arika shimmers slightly as a arch of a wind gash slices a section of grass close to her feet before cutting into the soil. "I'm surprised you've managed to make swords though.. I think you're over thinking it a little."
Turning his attention to Jiro, he brings his fingers to his lips before breathing out, spewing a bolt of flames where the boy had sectioned off, letting it burn rapidly. "With it stepped down it doesn't burn high. From your light trenches it cannot burn outwards.. You caged this controlled burn. If the field catches on fire now? This section won't get caught in it, protecting the layer behind." While Rikuto spoke, his attention was stolen for a moment but he doesn't turn around. "I want you to work on lining the meter ring, then cutting sections every other meter. I'll light the flames, but protecting the village in this way would be just because of you."

Arika hrms and nods, focusing chakra and imagining wind slashing the grass instead of each blade getting sliced. She ends up cutting a sizable chunk where the next might be directed. "Like that?" she asks with a glance to Rikuto. "And I don't get what we're doing…" she says, trying to figure out how exactly this is completing the mission.

Jiro understands where Arika doesn't and his eyes widen. "I see!" He says, actually sounding kind of excited as he can literally /see/ the good that they're doing and how it would help. He'd lived outside the Village most of his life so he knew about fires and fire breaks, though he'd done little to make them himself in the past. Now that he's awake he's more alertful thanks to one of his growing habits and when something catches his eyes he pauses only slightly. He doesn't actually look that way though he tries out of the corner of his eyes to see what's going on as he also continues again with his cloth.

"Good, now keep working on the rings here, you'll likely get done a lot faster than trying to act as a grass cutter, best part? No clean up. I'm not going to look over your shoulder so tell me when you think you're done with a section." With that said and a smile, Rikuto nods lightly to the younger boy before look down at the smoldering ashes, stomping down onto some of the embers before turning away. Making his way to Arika, he nods his head lightly and pats her on the back gently.
"This technique is one I've been working on for a while, though on such an easy target it'll work well enough. As for what we're using it for is some what simple. Every fire needs food, with this fire cut down so low and then blown away? The fires comming in won't have any food to stay lit and grow." Rather than just speak, Rikuto kneels down into a section of tall grass and cuts the spare around himself bare with a kunai save for one spot which was allowed shortish grass. Breathing out a brief flame, the patch of dried grass catches on fire easily, but after a moment burns itself out without additional grass to feed on. "See?"

Arika takes a bit to digest the information and sort of look at the patches of grass she has to cut down, imagining more and more the slash of a sword. How it would whip through the air versus simply making little blades. She forms a handseal, eyes closing as she takes in a breath, then blows out, the gust cutting a nice patch through the grass as desired. "Better?" she asks. She wants to do this right before the clone does it as well.

Jiro is listening to what the others say but other than that not paying any real attention to them. They're talking and he's working, figures! He does finally give an idle glance back at where he'd seen the movement before on the off chance he might catch something but his eyes don't linger there as he returns to what he's doing.

Staying crouched, Rikuto watches as the younger girl begins to clear a section of the fields. Arika's actions were met with an approving nod, though a watching eye never leaves her for long. Jiro's work was done without Rikuto being nosey from watching the girl, though when the young boy looks away from his work, he'd notice something. It wasn't a person, but out across the grass field were heat waves ever expanding and, wispy gray smoke, of which neither Rikuto nor Arika seem to react to or notice.

Arika just continues to slash at the grasses, focused on the singular task. Her clone also attacks with gusto, quickening the entire process. She goes one way, the clone goes the other… The clone, though, travels out a bit further from the group so as to cover more range. She may or may not spy what Jiro also sees…

Jiro work work work, work work work. The boy finishes his next patch and raises a hand to wipe at his forehead. Between the chakra control and the heat it's starting to become a bit of a workout. He pauses to look back towards Arika and Rikuto again when he sees something beyond. A hand raises to shield the sun from his eyes as they narrow and look out. That…doesn't look good. "Riku…" he says, apparently shortening everybodies names now. He takes the hand over his eyes and points in the direction of the smoke and the superheated air.

Turning his attention to Jiro, he nods lightly towards the boy and starts to make his way over towards him. Rikuto twists his fingers with two brief seals shortly before breathing in deeply, preparing to ignite a large section of brush Jiro likely prepared for him to burn. When the Miira notices the look in Jiro's eyes, he turns to look as well, before choking. "Smokey, a fire's already broke loose.."
While Rikuto focuses onto the fires, Jiro would notice something moving away rapidly but low down to the ground. Arika's shadow clone would also notice movement, but only that movement.. in multiple spots at once. "Both of you, with me! We need to keep this thing under control, just make sure not to get yourself burned. We don't have that much medical supplies." Moving a hand into his cloak, Rikuto draws out his sword as he begins to rush closer to the growing fire.

Arika's clone nods and starts to draw wind away using her chakra, trying to take the oxygen that fuels the fire. Arika-original also does this, dashing towards the flames so she can be a bit more accurate with this. It takes a lot of concentration, though, to pull off.

Jiro pulls the cloth around behind his neck and lets it rest there as he runs after Rikuto with a deep frown. Fire is bad, he knows that, he'd been evacuated from his home before. That was when he lived outside the Village, before this whole thing with the Academy and such.

Not wasting much time, Rikuto began to slash at the higher grass which has yet to be burned but close to it before stomping onto the weaker flames at the edges. When Jiro arrives, he directs the boy over to where another small flame patch was beginning to burn as he smothers the first. Arika's actions in the mean time were unnoticed until her clone's chakra flooded the field they were in and reducing it to almost a vacuum.
Caughing at first from a mix of the smoke and the lack of oxygenated air, Rikuto staggers backwards, thudding his chest a few times. "Who's been teaching you all these odd things Arichan? I've never seen a jutsu like that.." With his voice some what dry, he turns to Jiro and shouts, "Jiro-san, you make to make out what sparked that flame over there?"

"No one! I made that up myself!" Arika says with a grin. She was fully prepared for the vacuum that would have been created, so she wasn't affected too badly. She looks around the field for a bit, her clone also alert for more smoke. Anytime smoke comes up, she would make the vacuum again, but otherwise continues to cut the grass.

Jiro goes where he's directed and fills his cloth with chakra to protect it while not actually hardening it, smacking it into the flaming embers to put it out. At the question he shakes his head, luckily far enough away to avoid Arika's crazy killer jutsu. "I saw some movemen' bu' I didn' really think 'bout it. Could'a been a person." He calls over his shoulder before batting down another ember.

"Next time.. warn someone when you're trying some odd wind jutsu." Rikuto comments as he breaths in deeply, catching a full breath of air before looking around, cinders and ash. Burnt grass wall all around but none of it was still on fire. "/This/ is what we need the path cut for. Something like this could of lit the whole village on fire if we didn't catch on quickly enough."
Turning to Jiro, the young Miira arches a brow as he looks the boy over. "Movements, a person?" Turning his head to the side, he closes his eyes even though it looks like he's looking around. "One.. two people are near us in the field. Both might be vagrants, they are laying low in the fields, they might be asleep or hiding, can't telly tell.. one's pale toned, the other is about as vibrant are you are jiro-san, maybe a little more but not by much."

Arika nods lightly to Rikuto. "Hai, Rikkun." She frowns a bit at the news that there are people around. "Are they good or bad?" asks the real one while the clone just continues to move in a circle to make sure the grass doesn't connect to create a huge fire. It's all boring work for the clone, but it's useful. And Arika's able to gather information that's almost immediately passed onto her clone (assuming that's how it works).

Arika nods lightly to Rikuto. "Hai, Rikkun." She frowns a bit at the news that there are people around. "Are they good or bad?" asks the real one while the clone just continues to move in a circle to make sure the grass doesn't connect to create a huge fire. It's all boring work for the clone, but it's useful. And Arika's able to gather information that's almost immediately passed onto her clone (assuming that's how it works).

"Where'r they?" Jiro asks over to Rikuto as he slices down some grass before it can start to burn. Seriously, after the work they'd already started someone is going to set a fire /now/? He's got some butt to kick. He looks back in the direction he'd seen the movement before and tries to spot some more, or at least some clue of where people might be.

Raising out a hand, Rikuto opens his eyes and narrows them briefly. "One's moving.. If they are good or not, that's unknown." Standing up, Rikuto begins to wade through the grass fields with Jiro towards the closer of the two signatures. "Who's out here? Answer now!" There was no response, but one spot of grass shuffles around rapidly. After being yelled at the grown man was beginning to make a break for it.
While Arika looked around, her clone would notice something first hand, the glass it cut down began to smoke. It wasn't long before a small fire was beginning to smoke under a light pile. Leading up to the pile was something very out of place, a dark liquid splattered about.. blood. It wasn't much, but it was visible and distinct

The clone narrows its eyes, focusing chakra on the small fire to remove its oxygen so that it is no longer smoking. Preventive fire measures, go! Then the clone disappears in a puff of smoke so that Arika gets the information, which makes her eyes widen. "Rikkun, there's blood near where smoke started!" she exclaims, attempting to drag the Miira to where her clone was. It's not too far… Just about a quarter around the way.

Jiro is follow Rikuto towards the people, cloth held in both hands and eyes narrowed. When he sees movement in the grass the boy doesn't wait as he darts towards it, fully intent on keeping whoever is there in place until he knows whether or not he started the fire. Of course, he's not very strong…or overly scary. Except maybe his eyes. He does look pretty angry.

It wasn't difficult for Jiro to catch up to the man, though their size difference kept them near even footing. The man the boy had chased wasn't angry or aggressive, but set into a panic. From how he was dressed, he wasn't from the village close by, not had he been caring well for himself.. likely sleeping out in the fields, or being tossed there after drinking too much. "I didn't do anything, j-just let me go! I don't have any ryo, trust me!"
Rikuto was wary at the time, watching Jiro, but in the end he turns away, focusing his attention onto Arika when she seems to of found a clue. "Why don't you look into it more before dragging me about? ..Where is it?" With her attention on the site of the burning, Arika would notice close to the source, a slaughtered mouse, and attached to it was a almost empty pack of tear off matches, well charred.

"Matches," she replies, making sure her clone continues to relay information back to her. The clone appears and poofs with its discoveries so she can know what's going on. "They're stuck to a dead mouse. I dunno why, though…" Arika says, frowning heavily. She stops before the mouse and the clone goes on its way, focusing once more on cutting down the grass. "Someone had matches and when we cut, they were probably sparked and lit up," she guesses.

The cloth is around behind his neck again when Jiro catches the man and he steps up to him to grab the front collar of his shirt. Real badass eight year old apparently. "Di' you star' tha' fire?" He says angrily at the men, apparently thinking he did despite the mans fairly innocent appearance. But then he's just a kid so…

When Jiro grasps at the man's shirt, his panic turned to anger and he drops his arms down onto the boy's shoulder, trying to knock him to the ground but.. nothing gave. Despite his small stature Jiro withstood the blow and some how raised the man off his heels while shouting up at him causing what little fire began to grow within the man become crushed, leaving him stammering. "I-.. I-I-Ididn'tdoit! I w-was asleep th-then y-you yelled so.. I r-ran.."
"Matches?" Crouching down beside where Arika guided him, Rikuto uses the blade of his sword to draw back the grass from near the mouse, soon noticing something himself. "A hole?" Turning his head to Arika he motions with his blade at what was found close by, likely where the mouse came from. "Arichan. The only way this thing could of started the fire if is it came through this hole.. after someone or something lit those matches.. This isn't just something that /happens/."

Arika frowns a bit more at the hole. "Who d'you think did it, then?" she asks. She considers a bit. "Rikkun, should I try and see where it goes? Or is that a bad idea..?" she then asks. "Oh! Maybe Jiro-kun found someone!"

"Who else w's out 'ere?" Jiro asks the man, fire in his eyes as he stands steady. The kid may be small but he is a fireball. Blue eyes stare hard at the man as he waits for an answer, not turning his gaze away as he waits for the answer.

"Arichan.. you're tiny, not that tiny." Was said somewhat dryly, and soon Rikuto raises a hand to chop Arika's head mildly for joking at a time like that though the mention of Jiro causes him to turn around. Blinking a few times, he soon simply stares at the young student overpowering the grown man. "As if I didn't need to feel small enough as is.."
Raising his hands up defensively and waves them back and forth. "I-I don't know'em. H-h-he was just in the fields, tripped over him when it was darkout, that's all I know! W-will you let me go? I'll go far from this village, j-just let me go." Jiro could heard the man's voice faint in his lungs as if having to remind himself every so often to breath.

"I can use henge, though," Arika retorts, though she does glance in her friend's direction when Rikuto looks back. She grins lightly at seeing her friend be successful. "Go, Jiro-kun!" she cheers. Then her attention is back on the Miira. "Should we look into what the guy is talking about? Or keep cutting the grass…?" is her next question. Of course, the clone she made earlier is still slicing the grasses so that they're shorter, allowing for the fire break to be almost complete at this point.

"Less.. much dimmer" was called out by Rikuto as he gets up to his feet. Once he says such he turns to Arika and thumps her head lightly. "And what happens if you have a stone fall on your head? You'll be stuck under ground and risk not being able to breath! No. Forbidden.." As he chastises Arika's thought, it was clear he was as annoyed as worried at the suggestion. With the firebreak near completion, the clone would be able to see several small fires starting and even more worrying, several were beginning to pop up past the fire break's safety point.

Arika squeaks, rubbing her head at the thump. "Hai…" she mutters, pouting. It was an idea… And she could take care of herself, couldn't she? The clone frowns and calls out, "There are more fires, Rikkun! A lot of little ones, and some of them are reaching into the protection!" The real Arika frowns as well. "We need to do something… Where's the guy who did this, anyway?"

Jiro looks back to the man, still angry and now with a frown. "Where'd the other 'un go. Which way?" He asks, giving another little shake of his hand. He's not going to let the guy free until he's got another lead at least. He's still not happy in the slightest!

Raising a hand, Rikuto points away from himself and towards the field. "The stronger flame is that way. You two.. drop the old man and focus onto the other one. Arika, make sure he doesn't get in over his head, I'll take care of the flames, don't worry." Bringing his hand together, Rikuto begins to weave several seals before breathing out a sphere of Air. He began using it to not only smoother the flames of a spot one at a time but then to flatten the grass, trying to make it harder to light and spread.
As Jiro and Arika draw closer to where they were directed to the other man, a gentle song could be heard playing, a lute. While it was subtle, the two could feel something was different, they were beginning to feel.. tired. It wasn't strong but listening to the music made them think about napping and being lazy. The source was a man, or rather a older teen possibly from how he looked.

The genjutsu … is tiring, but Arika knows enough (well, actually, Gyuki) to realize it's genjutsu. She goes over to the man playing the lute, poking him a few times. "Ne, d'you know anything about fires and matches?" she asks him straight out, cutting to the chase almost immediately. She's slightly behind Jiro because she was tagging along, but she's still doing the talking.

Jiro finally lets the poor old man go and darts off in the direction given. As he nears the location the music reaches his ears and it's effects are instant. The boy can feel his feet dragging some as his body tells him it's time to go back to sleep. But he knows what this is now. A genjutsu. Not nice! He pulls out a kunai and hurls it at the one playing the music to try and make him stop what he's doing. Arika can ask questions when he's done.

With a single strong plink of the lute, the kunai tossed at him wobbles in the air before deflecting down into the ground, half a meter from the the young man. Continuing to play his song, the pair would be continuously assaulting, though the efforts were redoubled when the man spoke, his voice reverberating with the sound of the lute playing. ~Not nice.. That's not nice.. What did I.. do to you..? Either of you..? Be nice.. Oh so nice.. and play along with me.. Just us three.~ Once again, the tone of his voice some how echoes within the minds of the pair, playing continuously and each time sounding more and more convincing if the pair wasn't careful.

Arika is aware of the genjutsu, and she doesn't fall for it… At least for now. The girl frowns at the man, saying, "Just tell us if you're causing all these fires or not, mister. Play along with us for a bit, maybe." She glances back to Jiro to make sure he's okay, not wanting her friend to fall under the genjutsu as well.

Jiro mutters under his breath when the kunai is stopped short and when he feels that genjutsu pushing at him again he pulls out a kunai gives himself a slice across his arm. The boy focuses on the pain and ignores as much of the genjutsu as he can as he darts towards the boy and pulls his cloth from behind his neck, jumping to try and slash down on him this time. If the kunai didn't work, maybe this will?

~Hmm.. Hmmmmm, hmm, hmmmm.. Such.. little ones.. Yet you are.. more? So much more.. than you seem.. in my eyes.. No.. no no no.. Not one fire.. did I light.. not one.. was done, by my hands.~ A light smirk was on his lips as his fingers continue to gently pluck the cords of his lute. The man, now clear to the pair was well groomed, and well fed, though no markings or bands showed that he was a shinobi, let alone from which nation. When Jiro attacked, the man's body ripples in the light before disappearing, revealing Jiro only cut into the ground beside him, nothing more, though if the one they saw now was an illusion or not was yet to be known. Settling his hands against the cords, the genjutsu weaving halts, and he just looks at the pair. "Now.. what is this talk about mice and fires?"

Arika points a finger at the man. "I didn't say anything about mice!" she huffs. As she huffs, she taints the air with her chakra, taking a moment to breathe out steadily so a large amount of green smoke waves its way over to the man, making him feel tired. "We should just… get him back to Rikkun so we can all question him," she tells Jiro, hoping she was successful.

Jiro frowns when the man disappears from his attack, though at the voice he looks quickly up. When he sees everything that happens, including what Arika does, the boy wrinkles his nose. "Tha's gross Ari." He makes a very helpful observation for the moment as he flicks the cloth back up around his shoulders again as he waits to see if it worked.

A cluck of the man's tongue could be heard as his fingers began to gently play his lute even as the thick smog began to surround him. At first the sound waves alone managed to stave the assault against him, though the thicker smoke cloud causes him man to curl somewhat and choke on it. "You little demon.. Disappear!" The tone on the lute changed, becoming chaotic. Jiro would notice before Arika, a mouse appears behind her, driven with purpose to chase the girl. Worst of all.. the mouse has a paper seal attached to it which suddenly ignites.

Arika squeaks as the mouse appears, though Jiro blocks the attack for her. She hopes he didn't get too hurt! The girl glances over to the man and makes a seal to focus her chakra, though doesn't do anything quite yet. "So you /are/ the one who's causing the fires!" she accuses, blue-green eyes glaring at the man. "Quit doing it!" Of course, that probably won't do much except make him laugh, but maybe he'll listen!

Jiro whips his cloth forward immediately upon seeing the mouse sneaking up on Arika and uses the material to wrap around the body of the creature before yanking it back to fling over his shoulder. Now the boy is really mad. He runs forward towards the man again and gives a pair of drilling attacks towards his center.

With a pluck of the string, the first of the two strikes from Jiro are deflected by seemingly nothingness. The second strike seems to react much the same but then blood could be seen when the strip of cloth cuts into the man's arm causing a brief end to the sounds. "Geeze, stop!" Moving his hand over to his arm, grasping at it before turning to at first Jiro but then to Arika. "Look, this is just a job, it isn't worth getting cut up or killed over.. If I stop and leave, will you two just leave me alone?"

Arika eyes the man. A job? She frowns at this. "You have to stop. And you need to come back with us so we can ask you stuff later. Okay?" she asks. If he refuses, then the girl would breathe the smoke out to try and tire the man out again. If he decided not to put up a fight, then she would just try to lead him back to Rikuto without taking her eyes off him.

Jiro stops only for the moment as he waits to see what the man says to Arika's question. The cloth is held at the ready however as he prepares to strike to slow or stop the man should he try and flee again. There's a fire in his eyes that matches the flames eating the grass beyond. Un-needed destruction.

"As I said, I'll stop, but I'm not ganna be going anywhere, especially not with rival contractors." Standing up slowly, the instrument never leaves the man's hands as he does so. It was clear he wasn't making a movement towards either of the young shinobi but he didn't take steps away either. "Would you two simply go along with a rival village? I don't think so. We'll part ways and everything will be fine, right?"
A light smile stays on the man's lips. The air was beginning to lighten as Rikuto and the shadowclone had managed to stomp out the last of the growing flames. "Did you two track down the other one yet?" was called out by Rikuto, he was a distance away but from his tone, he was drawing closer.

"… No, but we also prolly be trying to kill the people who wanted to take us," she says. The girl hears Rikuto and yells, "We found someone!" Then Arika looks to Jiro, stepping to the side so she can see both Jiro and stranger. "Who are you, anyway?" she asks the man as she tries to tell Jiro (silently) to make sure the man can't escape from the two.

Oh Jiro knows that. He swings his cloth around a little in preparation as the man says he isn't going to cooperate. "Jus' tell us where yer from an' who hired ya." The boy says, letting Arika talk to Rikuto while his eyes remain on the man, not leaving him for an instant. His whole body is ready to explode into action at one wrong move.

"So you can go to my contractor and make sure he kills me while keeping your hands clean, peh. Why don't you two just nap, and think about telling your rivals /anything/." The talking ended, as the man runs his fingers his fingers against the lute cords once again, but gentle as before. The genjutsu woven within the the sounds of the reverberating cords attempts to induce sleep and relaxation. Laced within the lullaby was.. something else. Another illusion, but just what it was wasn't made clear at first.

Arika is ready when the man starts to play, and she immediately springs into action, sending three kunai at the man, all imbued with wind chakra. The first is meant to keep him where he is. The second to injure his leg so he can't move. And the third to try and get him to drop that lute.

When the man moves Jiro darts forward…but then he's playing again. Damn. The boy reaches for his kunai but he can't get to it in time and he falls to the ground. Instead of attacking he's just trying to force himself to stay awake. It just makes him even more pissed off really.

Even as Arika strikes out at the man, he only smiles lightly. When the blades are hurled, the smile never fades.. it wouldn't be until the blades stab into the ground behind him while he still plays is it made clear what is going on, the man himself was an illusion. With a wink, the Lute player's song fades from the children's ears as he disappears. Jiro would notice most of the exhaustion he has been feeling disappear though some of it lingered for a time.

Arika grumbles at the illusion and goes to pick up her kunai, wondering where the heck the man went. She goes over to Jiro to give him a light shake to make sure he's okay. "Jiro-kun, are you okay?" she asks, worried. She wonders what will happen now, making a handseal to dispel the shadow clone that's been around for probably too long.

Once the genjutsu starts to fade Jiro pushes himself partially up as he tries to force the groggy feeling away, something that only happens once the man is gone. "'m fine." He mutters as he slowly stands and looks around. The boy rubs his eyes to try and clear some of the sleepy feeling away before he looks again. "Where'd 'e go?"

With the pair re-cooperating, Rikuto makes haste when the clone disappears with little warning. Once they explain things form both sides, the team begins, once again, to search the fields. This would continue until dusk but once again, they found nothing even after clearing the second fire break closer to the edge of the village's territory there was no sight of sound of this 'lute player'. To ensure the task at hand was done, the team stayed the night within a hut that was set aside for them.
During the following dawn there was little else found, no mice, no seals and no fresh fires. With the contract completed, the team would begin the long track back to Suna. Unfortunately, when they return, they do so in time to hear news of three communities that were wracked with erratic brush fires which consumed much of the outer edges. The village the team as assigned to safeguard was one of the few that were unmarred even from a light fire.

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