Date: February 24, 2013
A group of ninja from Konoha arrive at a village inn to recover a tip from a bartender about dissenters. Trouble ensues when they run into a rowdy group of mercenaries.
"Struggle with No Reward - Soldiers of Fortune: Part 1"
Seaside village in the Land of Fire
It is evening in a peaceful enough seeming seaside village in the Land of Fire. The group is approaching the local inn, which seems bustling tonight, various sounds of merriment occasionally erupting from within. The rest of the village seems quiet. There are signs of damage throughout the village from a storm. It seems the village has yet to be well repaired, even though the storm could not have been that recent given the dry ground.
The group is here investigating a tip from the local bartender that dissenters are present in the village and plotting some kind of organized action against the shinobi. The intelligence was vague on specifics. Hideaki, as the ranking Chuunin in the group, made the decision to come the night before the appointed meeting time, although by and large he has otherwise refrained from giving orders to a group that is at worst his peers. The group itself is a hodgepodge mixture of Konoha nin and trusted foriegn shinobi due to the last minute nature which it had to be assembled to make the bartender's appointed meeting time.
Hideaki has removed both his chuunin vest and his forehead protector, but is otherwise dressed in his normal garb. On his shoulder he wears his oft-present satchel of scrolls, only he has removed many of the scrolls and replaced them with hidden ninja tools that would ordinarily be found in his vest.
Rin had been surprised to be invited along on the mission out of Konoha. Being a foreigner, she did not often anticipate anything of any significance being assigned to her, but she had apparently made enough friends that she managed to get some trust and leeway. So, she was now travelling with a Chuunin named Hayashi Hideaki, and one named Soren that she had met before, and gotten her butt-kicked by.
Like Hideaki, she did not display anything that made her appear a shinobi. In fact, she was dressed "normally". Normal for her, at least. She did not look anything like a shinobi, much more like a priestess or some such. Perhaps it would make her appear undercover or something. She, however, did not seem like she wanted anything to do with being in charge, and was acting passively, following in the footsteps of the others.
Ataru was there with Hideaki of course. The genin being one of those 'special' cases that really had him able to do more than most, but not quite the leadership type yet. Either way, he had put his own headband away in his pocket, following Hideaki's example to avoid giving away who he was. As an extension of that, he also had on a wide brim straw hat, faint slits in the top front rim allowing him to see, while his entire head was covered. He also had a long flowing brown cloak about his body, consealing his normal gear that was under it. Hands in pockets, he'd shuffle along with the others, staying alert for any potential orders that were given to deal with the situation.
Soren's been making his way along with this group, mostly because they needed just a bit more help than what they had, just incase, you know? And Soren was pretty trusted for a foreign shinobi. Besides that, his good friend Ataru had been assigned to the mission to boot! So when he was told about it, then he was all to happy to join in the mission.
His clothes were the same as he always wore. Noble in attire, and yet still obviously well traveled from the state of the wheathered cloth. He wore an extra sleeve over his right arm, and a pair of heavier gloves. He walked along closely behind the group, bringing up the rear.
Hideaki reaches the door to the inn. He takes a breath, then opens it, holding it for the rest of the group and waiting to be the last to enter. He glances about the dusk as he does, vigilant or paranoid depending on ones point of view.
Inside, it becomes obvious that most of the noise is coming from a group of four men and one woman, all large and muscular, who have occupied a circular table to one side of the establishment, and they practically seem to have that side to themselves. A half dozen or so other patrons have crowded themselves as far away as possible. The men appear to be playing some manner of drinking game. Whatever the rules are, it leads to them loudly slamming mugs down on the table at regular intervals and is the cause of much laughter.
The bar is on the same side of the room as the loud men, and as such, there is no one presently sitting there. The bartender, a wiry middle aged man with salt and pepper hair, looks up at the new entrants with narrowed, suspicious eyes.
Rin bowed slightly to Hideaki as he held the door open for her and the others, and then enters the building. She was not a huge fan of such establishments, or places with loud and boisterous people. She tried to avoid them and stay where it was more peaceful. Regardless, it was for the betterment of a mission and it needed to be done, so she clenched her fists and stuck it out. "So, what are we doing here again?"
Ataru wouldn't say anything as Hideaki holds the door open. Stepping inside, he'd move off to the side, closer to where everyone else is while looking about. His face would harden, although masked by the hat. He knew those people.. That's not good. He'd loiter by the door, waiting for the rest to come in, before pausing by Hideaki when he'd come in. His voice was low to the chuunin. "the four mate.. they're the boars and the pig.. dun.. call them that.. they hate that.. but.. mercs.. and bad news on a serious level.. so.. just be ready, eh?"
Soren glanced at Ataru, as he strode in, he followed shortly behind Rin, finding a table to sit at, close to the entrance, and took a seat. "I'm sure we'll find out soon enough." It seemed pretty obvious to him that these loud, boisterous folks, were atleast part of the reason they were here. The townsfolk seemed terrified of him. Soren's fists were clenched for a moment as he glanced at them, before turning back towards the other three in his group, grinning wide, trying to keep up appearances atleast.
Hideaki pauses at Rin's question. In a low voice, he replies, "The bartender claims to have information about the plans of dissenters against the Daimyo and the hidden village. We are here early to determine if he can be trusted."
Hideaki nods at Ataru. "That is good to know," he replies in his usual calm voice. He looks over to the other two and says to them as well, "Be vigilant about the five over there."
Hideaki approaches the bartender. "Are you Gorou-san?" The bartender's rapidly shift from narrow to wide. "You're not from… You weren't supposed to be here till tomorrow!"
The tallest of the drinking group looks over and catches the bartender's surprised expression. He murmurs something to the others and they all quiet down. The one woman of the group stands up and starts to walk over to the bar, asking aloud, "Anything wrong over here?"
Rin nods to Hideaki as he explains, figuring it best to not make an auditory response, and then watched and waited as he moved to the bar and talked to the bartender in question. She probably looked a little out of place and even strange among the company she was in. It didn't both her too much though. What did both her was the suspicious way that the supposed mercs were acting when Hideaki spoke to the bartender. They needed to be careful, unless Hideaki's plan was to make them suspicious and even generate a conflict.
Ataru would blink as Hideaki approached the tender and the mercs decided to step up, loudly. Kyouki yelled at him, causing him to pause. Well.. they were here to try and check out stuff.. but if there was a fight? With that simple step, he'd blur from where he was to in the middle of the mercs. Reaching out, he'd place a hand on the shoulder of the leader. "Come on friends. There is no need for such things. We are peaceful travellers and are just here to have a friendly chat. You don't have to react like that, hmm? No trouble needed here, so how about you return to your game? I'll even buy a round for all of you, yes?"
Soren stood, about to say something before Ataru blurs over. He grinned, sighing a bit. He walked over towards Ataru. "You know, for peacefull travelers, my friend, you moved awfull quick. But he speaks the truth!" He grins, walking over, his arms opened, and out to his side as a sign of openness and friendship. "So! What game were you guys playing? And are you against a couple extra players?" he motions towards Ataru. Hopefully he'd get the hint. IF things went bad, they'd be right next to them and there to start, and finish the fight if need be. Hopefully though, they could keep them calm, and well inebriated so Hideaki could do what he needed.
Hideaki freezes as the woman speaks. He starts to stand up. "I believe I have made a mistake. My apologies." The large woman stares at Hideaki and stands in front of him, apparently not planning to let him go.
The woman looks about to say something, but stops short when Ataru is suddenly in the middle of the men. The tallest Boar's face grows dark when the hand is put on his shoulder. The other three stand up, looking concerned by Ataru's speed, but the tallest one simply brushes the hand off his shoulder. "Funny, you don't seem like no peaceful traveller and I can't recall you bein' a friend of mine. And by funny, I mean not a bit funny. You buy us that round and then scram and maybe I can forget you were here."
The tallest man then turns his attention to Soren, glowering. "I'll say it again. I'm no friend of yours."
Meanwhile, the other patrons of the inn are swiftly gathering their things and heading for the door. Soon it is empty except for the mercenaries, the Konoha nin, and the bartender.
Rin watched, slightly worried about the others. Ataru had basically blown their cover by making it completely obvious that they weren't just normal travelers. Hopefully it wouldn't devolve into a conflict that wasn't on their terms. She moves over towards Soren, knowing that he was stronger than her by quite a bit, and that would mean he'd be the safest person to be around. That's where she wanted to be. "I hope this doesn't get bad." She whispers to him.
Ataru would bow his head, hiding his face further behind that hat as he'd speak up again. "Of course, of course. No friend, but a round! We can do just that!" He'd move past then, avoiding any potential attmepts at strikes nimbly, although not making it look like he was expecting the hit, instead just weaving away as if half-drunk. Going up to the tender, he'd slap his hand down loudly on the bar's surface. "FOR THE NON-FRIENDS! A round!!" Maybe.. just maybe it'd get pulled off and they'd think he was just foolish, as oppose to giving away he was something more. But hey.. it is what it is.
Soren shakes his head, sighing a bit. "Fine then! Make that a second round, for the non friends. Provided they don't run us out before we get a few drinks ourselves. This dude decided to hog all the drink earlier." he says with a grin, thumbing towards Ataru. He looked back at Rin. "Relax, Rin-chan." he whispers back. "Everything will be fine." he says, walking over, and leaning on the table. "So then! A round for everybody, on me! And a round for them on the block head!" he grins, motioning towards the bartender, whispering subtley. "Just make ours look like alcohol will ya?" He wanted to be able to keep on his toes afterall!
The Bartender starts pouring drinks quickly as Ataru and Soren make thier purchases. "Yeah, that's about right," the leader of the Boars nods. "But I thought I told you to scram after. So how about you get on that." Hideaki nods, finally slipping past the large woman and heading for the door. He motions for the others to follow. As the group gets there, he murmurs to the others, "We will try again tomorrow. Hopefully these hooligans will be gone. I am sorry. My plan has backfired rather spectacularly."
The group makes camp outside the village, as they can hardly sleep at the inn. When they return the next day, however, they make a grisly discovery: the bartender has been killed, beaten to death. The Boars and the Pig are gone, and if asked, no one is forthcoming with any information about them.