Date: September 16, 2012
Team 2 is sent in to find out what Kumogakure is doing on the boarder. While Keiji is able to find the information, Asao sacrifices himself to make sure the information is returned to Sunagakure
"Stillness of a clock"
Kumogakure encampment on boarder of Land of Water and Land of Lightning
The weary sun began to slowly begin its descent into the depths of the horizon, blanketing the sky with shimmering fire. Amongst this sky inferno a squad of brave Sunagakure Shinobi crosses the border into the Land of Lightning, their mission wasn't at all going to be simple, especially with war looming at the footsteps of each village.
Kumogakure had began to setup troops and equipment amongst their borders, thought it was boasted as a show of power and deterance, many of the other villages felt threatened, that perhaps this might be a prelude of an act of war. Sunagakure's forces were to sneak into the Land of Lightning, and uncover anything that might be of interest, troop movements, supply amounts, and supply routes… The Sunagakure shinobi had already made a signifcant amount of process, the most interesting aspect however was that the supplies seemed to come out of no where, almost instanenously the fronts became furnished with supplies without a line of traveling caravans.
The Suna shinobi at this point is posted along a distant hill side, overlooking the development of not just a camp, but terrain infrastructure, mostly involving a cave entrance…They seemed to be mining for something. The Kumogakure Shinobi were dispersed throughout the area, assuring the safety of the construction process while keeping on their toes for any suspicious activity. It was up for Sunagakure to make their first move, and figure just what exactly was going on here.
Asao had his puppets deployed tactfully to keep them out of sight from what would have to have shinobi defending it. This was something major. They were digging for something and Asao wouldn't be surprised if the caravan of supplies was from underground. Either way, he was on high alert, chakra surged through him, his senses heighten to give them any sort of warning about who would spot them when he can. For now, they had been out of sight due to Keiji's leadership. Hopefully they would gather the rest of the info they needed and get out without any issues. Silently, Asao would watch Keiji for the commands. The normal ticking that followed Asao was absent. His puppets being deployed left him without the normal clock work tick. Probably to Kaze's relief.
In the fade of the day do the granules of sand, so miserly in the heat, so blunt with the hang of sun overhead, capture now, in the delight of night's onset (her black lips wet and greedy just beyond day) the rapture by the end of the sun, glistening like an infinite gilded baubles, miniscule alone, but exalted amongst so many.
It is within such confines of beauty, such delights of nature, that Kazeodori - alongside Asao, and Keiji, and Akina - lies flat behind the crest of the dune, watching by furtive glance the scene unfolding before him. The boy's hair, normally so long and free, is tied carefully and tight behind his head, tucked into a ponytail. His robes, too, so billowing and wide, have been traded for slacks, a thin shirt, and a vest covered with pockets. For once, it would seem, the youth is taking his guise seriously: is grabbing his goals between fingers so fervently growing. He is silent, simply watching, waiting - as with Asao - for the command of Keiji. Success here means opportunity; means actual ninja work, and acknowledgement — means maturity. Defeat… perhaps death.
As most of his team knew, Keiji hated making moves during the day. Now that night fall was among them, he was starting to calm down. For him it meant his sight was getting better. The mission was going well so far. They knew there was some digging going on and that the supplies had no visible route to get to the front lines. The boy was almost ready to make a hefty bet that the supply routes were beneath ground.
Then the focus of the young Chuunin shifts to those on his team and their assignments. He was focusing on their abilities. Starting with Akina, he directs her to move back a few hills and cover the escape route. Her skills on the current mission were not up to Keiji's comfort.
Next came Kazeodori. The boy's natural ability to surprise everyone scared the Shippodoku on this mission. He knew full well it was a stealth mission and had done very well to that point. Keiji points to his two eyes and then draws a circle. The boy was to act as the look out. It seemed to keep him away from the main force of guards and away from situations where he could be noisy.
Finally there was Asao. The other Chuunin of the group. Between him and Keiji, the majority of the work would be accomplished on this mission. Keiji was certain of that. Making lines in the sand, Keiji draws the cave and then draws a circle around it. He then makes points around the area and draws lines leading back to the cave. He was signalling for Asao to recon the area. They were looking for a second entrance.
Now as the leader, Keiji stayed behind. He was there to not only cover the two Genin behind him, but to make sure if trouble should find Asao, he was able to back him up in combat.
This mission was bothersome. A week-long duty to the area in the path where Suna forces would be most likely to go through. Ogo, being the rank he was, was often sent on gopher missions. Go get us more water, grab rations from the food tent and bring it to us, blah blah blah. Ogo had made himself scarce just to get away from those few who were exuberant about giving orders to those of lower rank than they. He said he was going scouting, and he had only hoped they would put someone with him that he knew, and hopefully would share the load, and then a medic. He knew shuuren was here, too, and Akechi. As far as others he recognized, not many. Patrol work, he could deal with that, he was even antsy to get into a fight. Now, he waits on those others to join him for the patrol.
Akechi would be back on board patrol since Aoi was able to slip through, the security would be heavier now. Looking at all the faces only two of them stood out from the rest. He would notice Ogosokamaru and Shuuren, waving to them as he went through his scroll pouch to make sure he had all his battle scrolls an doubles of the good ones. The young Uzumaki would touch his holsters making sure that they were full stocked before moving out. So far on this mission it would be a good so far as he walked with his hands in his pockets. Waving his hands through his head he would be rather relaxed in nature as he was able to know the power houses were here.
While he didn't necessarily like being seen on a side during war, Shuuren /is/ a part of Kumogakure and has to help be certain of the village's security. With Sungakure and Kirigakure making an alliance and shinobi being attacked, the tension of impending war looms quite heavily. This especially sucks when one considers he JUST built some good business relationships in Sunagakure. He sits on a stool near the entrance of a cave, running diagnostics on workers who come to him and claim to be sick. The majority are faking or just have gas. Yeah, this duty is kind of lame, but village work is village work. After sending the latest bozo back to work, he spots Akechi waving and lifts a hand to wave in return. At least he's not the only one assigned here.
That nod was silent and final. Asao, as well as the puppets would disperse, circling the cavern entrance to try and spot any secondary entrances. Asao also reached out with that sensory ability, trying to find any potential shinobi among the workers. After getting an idea for what the workers looked like, Asao would set off to the side, henging Tokkan into a worker's outfit, it would silently attempt to blend in with the worker's camp outside of the cave. If he could get a puppet in the cave, he could get more information. With that plot in motion, the patient wait would begin. Toku, henged as Asao to give that connection came back to where Keiji had been posted at. The report brief and concise. They had the place on lock down, and there wasn't a secondary entrance that he saw from proliminary searching. The potential of sneaking a puppet in was also reported. Afterall Tokkan wouldn't actually try to get in, until the OK was given by Keiji.
Kazeodori stared into the indigo bleed of Keiji's eyes, watching as the Chuunin pointed to them with his fanged fingers. The circle drawn. Considering that Akina was sent backwards, and Asao forwards, it would only seem sensible for Kazeodori to remain exactly right where he was, a solution found fine by the Genin himself.
As the others moved away into their required places, Kazeodori didn't forward move an inch, pulling from a pouch on his back a slim pair of crude binoculars. The boy was quite fine with keeping watch, of not moving from his position. As it stood, he probably couldn't move even if he really wanted to. It was one thing to be on an important mission, whereby the future of the youth could very well be determined. It was something else entirely to be on such a critical mission with the high probability that Kazeodori might have to kill someone.
He had made it - so far - without having to take a single life, and was still unsure if, when the moment came, he could do it at all.
Thus, as he drags the binoculars to his face in the setting gloom, the boy looks forward into the camp, and sees, amongst all the scurry and work and walk, a most familiar face. White suit, blondish hair. Why was that face so familiar…
The dark pupils of Keiji darted around until he was sure all of his people were in place. Looking at Asao, he showed a level hand then used his other hand to show one finger travelling beneath the ground. With two people trying to enter the cavern, one of them was likely to succeed. He then gave the nod for Asao to proceed. "Kaze. Make sure if anything happens, try to protect yourself and Akina. Asao and I know the dangers. I will return soon."
Then Keiji sunk into the sand. He was attempting to make a new entrance into the tunnels. If he made it to the other side, the Chuunin would attempt to hide and get a view of what was going on down below. If not, the boy was preparing for a fight. For the moment Keiji had hoped for the former and not for the latter.
Ogo would look between Shuuren and Akechi, "So, why don't we take up on doing a patrol?" He suggests, pointing a finger upward and taking it in a circle next to his head to just say a long walk around the area. "Nothing really better to do, and I'm about to kill someone if I keep getting told to do menial stuff. Either way, I'm going." He walks over to the guard house, and signs his name on the list of people out on patrol, proximity and directional guess where he would be walking around the facility so in case he doesn't come back, they have an idea where to look for a body. "If you want to come along, then let's go." And he would start towards the craggy areas outlying the nearby cave entrance, leaping and bounding. Little did he know what might be out there right now.
Akechi would just be within the ranks as Ogo and Shuuren can up, as Ogo requested to go out on Patrol he would shrug his shoulders as he spoke "sure why not?" Wondering with Ogo he would be holding two scrolls in hand as he charged a little chakra just to be on guard for anything to come. "It would be nice if there were a sensory among the ranks here…damnit I knew I should've took that class." slipping his hands into his pocket the young man would fall behind Ogo since he was the biggest and the toughest guy he knew there.
Looking to Ogo as he speaks, Shuuren smirks slightly and gives a nod. "I'll monitor from here," he says, crossing his arms over his chest and settling a bit in his chair. As the other two start to walk away, he closes his eyes and starts to feel out the area for any abnormalities… And it looks like this mission isn't going to be so dull after all. "Interesting," he says, eyes popping open again as he looks down at the ground where he feels a presence traveling underneath and then up to where a few characters have no chakra signature or vital signs. Puppets. "Hey, Ogo, while you're headed that way, check on that guy with the hemorrhoid and be sure he's not doing any heavy lifting," he says, his voice as casual as ever as he reaches down into his bag and grabs a ricecake, but his team knows what to do. "Guess I better get ready to heal him just in case. Don't want his wife coming up here bitching at me for not taking care of him." As he eats the cake, he focusses some chakra, preparing.
Akina positions herself along the side of the hill only a few hundred feet away from where the rest of the team positioned themselves, moving seamlessly through the shadowed forest. Keen eyes alert over her surroundings, she pauses at the base of a tree for a fraction of a moment before using her newly acquired tree walking skill to scale the tree, landing on one of the higher branches. Being at this height allows her a visual vantage, the cover of the night, and obscured behind the treetops.
The go ahead given, Asao would give a nod in response. As Keiji went under, Toku returned to where Asao was at. Two of his puppets in reserve, guard as it were, Asao would focus on the task at hand. The first thing would be to get in. Tensing slightly as the two would come out of the cave, Asao's eyes would narrow as he stared at Akechi. Well, it figures. Watching them move away, the second puppet, this time the scorpion, would be henged as Akechi. That would give him the in. Once he was out of immediate sight of the cave on their patrol, Akechi-puppet with miner-puppet would head inside.
A-ha! Shuuren. His name was Shuuren! That fancy white suit, that perfect hair, the veneer of sneers and smiles. In fact, if Kazeodori remembered, Shuuren had only recently been using Sunagakure ninja to help transport goods, and now…
Kazeodori thrust his face back into the binoculars.
… and now he was here? Helping the Kumogakure ninja? Kazeodori scrambles to his feet, turning on his heel, and pelting down the sand dunes. He had to tell the Village; had to warn them about what was happening… and to bring reinforcements.
In his spurt of speed, the youth passes by Akina, tossing her the binoculars.
"Lookout!" he shouts, still racing along the sand. Hopefully, none of the patrolling ninja saw him. If so… well, best not to think of that now.
Before exiting the earth wall into the tunnel, Keiji focuses his chakra. The young Chuunin then moves into the tunnel attempting to sneak along and see what was happening in the tunnel. All he needed to do was see what was happening and then get out. No one needed to get hurt or died. He scans the area hoping everything was still going well above him. The mission seemed slightly above the unit, but Sunagakure needed a good team to perform.
Ogo would stop on top of a tree when Shuuren mentioned the guy with the hemmerrhoid and sidestep and fall to the ground without a worry, but a light chuckle escapes his lips. "Well, we can't leave him hanging, can we? I guess we'll just have to be careful not to anger his wife." Ogo started looking around nonchalant, "Now, do you remember where he was out here?" Speaking as if he and Shuuren were together when he treated the imaginary patient, eyes ears nose and gut all checking the lists of possible signs someone else is in the immediate area, he started walking through the rocky forest.
Akechi was getting an uneasy feeling but for the most part everything seemed to be going normal. The young man arms would drape by his shoulders as he walked with Ogo he would pause shortly for a moment to hear what Shuuren had to say. Taking note the young man eyes wouldn't change "please allow me Ogo I still owe his wife for treating me to a meal the other day." Just then Akechi would slip on his chakra enhancing gloves as he looked about as he closed his eyes to take in a deep breath.
"Yeah, he seemed to be over in that general vicinity," Shuuren says, pointing over toward where Keiji now is in the tunnel. He then looks toward the puppet that is attempting to enter the cave and smirks slightly. The Jounin walks over in front of the puppet attempting to enter the cave and tilts his head, extending his hand out to him. "Sorry, one sec, pal. Need to give you a quick physical before you go in." Yet another signal for his team. "Company policy."
Akina blinks her dark eyes once as the binoculars are thrown up into the air towards her, arcing as it nears before she smoothly reaches out to catch it from falling. And just like that Kazeodori takes off like a light, with only a one worded warning. That in itself could mean anything. The hand on the strap of the binoculars tightens as she turns her hooded head, looking in the direction where Keiji and Asao are supposed to be. "Keiji…" She couldn't do that. As much as she wanted to join the rest of her team, without knowing just who it was that Kazeodori was running from… well, that doesn't matter either. She isn't strong enough to hold her own, and if she went to them she'll just be a liability. Akina scowls to herself under her breath as she slips out of the tree, hitting the ground in a hard run and taking off to follow after Kazeodori. Even if she wasn't that strong she could at least back him up. He shouldn't be alone.
Asao realized, they'd been caught. While the puppet miner stammered in response, Asao's eyes narrowed. Shuuren had spotted Keiji too. The gears were whirling. Keiji got inside the cave, so he saw what they were guarding. Now if Asao could keep their attention, Keiji could get away. The mission was important, the information critcal.
That miner, stammering still, fluidly shoved a hand towards Shuuren's chest, the blade hissing out with that poison on it to attempt to stab the med nin. Throw him off guard, try to get time for Keiji. Toku, which had been around Asao, would flicker out, spreading taunt, that cloth had a black over-wrap on it, hiding the normal symbol that was usually seen on the puppet as it'd spin something akin to a buzz saw towards Ogo, the blades having that green tint to them as they would try to strike. Akechi-puppet would leap down at Akechi himself, it's own blade held out and low, trying to catch him off guard to stab at Akechi's gut. With all three busy, maybe Keiji could get away.
The Shippodoku's dark pupils scan over the tunnel. It lead to a Cache of Weapons and Armor. This was an underground warehouse. While there was no evidence that all of the tunnels were connected, he now knew the supply houses were underground. Again he sneaks further into the tunnel attempting to find out if they were connected or not. This was one key piece of information that they needed. He knew full well that a war could be won or lost based on that one piece. He sees a few guards and is careful to try to stay out of their line of view.
As Ogo initially heard the puppets attacking, the buzzsaw blade flying toward him, he reaches back to draw his sword from the sheath on his back, catching the saw in the air against his own weapon, but it deflects and skims across his upper right arm, right through his jacket and flesh. Blood starts to wick through his sleeve as he inhales sharply, reaching his hand under the back of his jacket, pulling out his telltale mask with the single horizontal slit, and in a quick motion, setting it over his head and face. The hollow voice from behind it, "Alright, let's go."
The thing that went after him with the circular saw was his first target. And he sped towards it, focusing his energy into his kekkei genkai as he drew his blade fully with a single snapping slash at the puppet, followed by a second with another resounding clap through the air with the speed of the blade. A horizontal slash at the puppet for the first, then the second a vertical slash to attempt to first disable, not completely destroy. Would make a nice trophy in his barracks, in any case.
Akechi would try and dodge out of the range of the attacked and failed the sure speed didn't work out all that well. As he took the puppet blades he could feel the blood rush out his right shoulders. Doing the same thing Odo was doing the Uzumaki would attack one of the puppets with the binding scroll as for the other one though he would seek to steal the chakra going to the puppet with some seals. To allow Odo or Shuuren to destroy it in one go.
"Violent, huh?" Shuuren asks with a chuckle as the puppet attacks him. Just as it strikes, he seems to vanish into thin air. Despite Asao's hiding spot, the Jounin has picked up on all the clues to give away his position. Being a Sensor Ninja mixed with his other jutsu helps quite a bit. Reappearing directly in front of Asao, he comes out of a flicker in the middle of a roundhouse kick directly at the Puppeteer's face. "Nice to see you again, pal."
Toku got shredded by the dual slashes from Ogo. On it's own internal system's last legs, Toku would enter into that self destruct pattern. The machine's gears shifted, the puppet shuddering violently, before it'd literally rip itself apart. The puppet's remains, wood and bits of metal would shower the earth, in a halo of cloth.
Asao gasped slightly, the scorpion puppet caught within a holding seal, the chakra drain from it threw him off. Panting faintly as the drain hit, he was not able to pull Tokkan back to intercept the attack from Shuuren, knocked from the tree to slam to the earth. Grunting, Asao would slowly get to his feet, Tokkan and the scorpion puppet left, vs the three of them. Eyes narrowed in concentration, Asao would henge Tokkan to look like him and after the *BAMF* of it being transformed, it'd head into the cavern. Seeking Keiji with that sense to deliver a fairly simple message. Asao rushed forward himself, one blade drawn, while he controlled the puppets with the other hand, he would attack Akechi with a small shrug. "Nothing personal." While the scorpion started that jacob ladder of lightning, coursing between tail and body, to snap the bolt out at Ogo.
While searching for a map of some sort or a tunnel leading out of the cave, Keiji managed to find numerous bunkers and an entrance that lead further down. Using the tree walking jutsu, he used the wall down to take a glance into the lower section. Though there were no obvious tunnels leading into the section, he wanted to search more. The sound of ticking drew his attention. It was a familiar sound.
Now drawn to the sound, Keiji made his way towards the puppet henged as Asao. It held his headband with the word 'Flee' etched into the back of it. Keiji tucked the headband into his uniform. "Damn it." the boy whispered. He knew what this meant. Asao was compromised and having taken off his headband he was not planning on returning.
The young Shippodoku shakes his head. Then his body begins to transform until he has changed into a complete Fattail Scorpion. He needed the extra legs to move through the ground quickly. It was time for him to leave.
When Ogo saw that his attacks caused the puppet to self destruct, or at least he damaged it to the point that the controller saw it fit to not worry about it anymore, he looked around, and watched as Asao was drawn from the tree by Shuuren's actions. The other puppet ran into the cave, now looking like a second Asao. Someone else is in the cave, that's where Shuuren said they were a few minutes ago. That guy that fell out of the tree must be controlling them.
Ogosokamaru brought his sword down at an angle as he crouched, and a glimmer of light reflecting off of the blade would probably be the only thing anyone would see of the attack he makes against Asao as he as well blurred out of the way of the attack from the other puppet. Rid themselves of the puppeteer, and the puppets become obsolete.
"Gomenesai," he whispered under his breath when the attack was finished, and he looked further into the cave where the henge'd puppet headed, and would attempt to follow, whether or not he had struck true against Asao.
Watching Asao bounce between trees, Shuuren lands on his feet and smirks as the Puppeteer picks himself back up. "This is not what I would call one of your village's brighter moves," he says, lifting an eyebrow slightly. "You were a worthy ally. It is regrettable that this must be your end." There is no emotion in his voice, and this is perhaps one of those moments when one might realize Shuuren is more of a mechanical businessman than actually a nice guy.
Feeling another spike in power nearby, he glances around and tries to figure out where the guy that can move underground might be. However, Ogo then appears in a blindingly fast strike to wreck Asao, and the Medical Ninja winces then watches Ogo begin to make his way down toward the next problem. His eyes follow Asao, and the Medical Ninja lets out a sigh. Despite the situation, he doesn't want the Puppeteer to suffer in his death. He runs through a series of hand seals, and his hands begin to glow with green chakra, seeming much more volatile than when he intends to heal. With a flash of his own speed, he moves over to Asao, going to swipe the glowing hand around his neck at the large veins and arteries inside with intent to sever them and put him down quickly. "Rest in peace. Your work is done."
Asao never stood a chance once in the open. The scorpion puppet attempted to replace Asao, to take the hit. In the end, it staggered as the tail was lopped off.. so was Asao's attacking arm.
As the seal and senbon rained down, the scorpion, what was left of it, got under Asao, skittering back while Tokkan finally showed up. Those senbon blossomed from it's back, the seal catching it in the middle of the chest, the power supply tagged so that it would literally fall apart. The ticking of that clock finished with the loss of it's own power.
The puppet tried to get Asao away. It didn't work as Shuuren was able to catch the crippled puppet, that final slash cutting the ribbon of life that was the jugglar. Asao's eyes grew dim as the last thing he heard was the final ticking of the puppet under him…
The scorpion puppet, staggering and losing it's power quickly as Asao struggled for that final bit of control, did the one last thing to try and help with the conflict ahead. It's body hit the dirt and those legs came up and over, the lightning, weak, was enough to still fry the body, Asao's body doing that last twitch as he'd start burning from the electrical hit. Everything going quiet as the meat cooked. The clock had finally run out.
The Giant Fattail Scorpion moved through the earth quickly. As he moved towards the area where he had left his squad, he attempted to sense them but the Genin were gone. Keiji was unable to feel them. He decided to keep moving. There would be quiet a while before he decided to surface.
Once out of the range of the cave the Kumo shinobi, Keiji rose from the earth. He stood up and screamed into the air. This was his first loss as a leader. He had more or less sent Asao to his death. Despite this he knew as a shinobi it was their duty to continue onwards. As a Chuunin, Asao knew the dangers and made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation. "Rest easy Asao. May your journey into the next world be peaceful unlike this world." The boy then walked forward. He had Genin to go find.