Date: October 17, 2014
Michiko gets Hiei and Ryouji, and the team goes to take down one of the Silence forts within the Land of Lightning.
"The Silence - Taking Out the Small-Fries"
The dirt path leading from the southwest slowly tapers off into a rocky trail. The trail rises up the foot of a large mountain, then crosses over its base to a cleft between two of the massive peaks. It is not an easy trail to walk on, at times it requires moderate climbing. However, it can be completed by anyone in good condition, without the use of gear. Hauling large quantities of materials however, would be a difficult thing to do. Farther up the trail, many miles into the mountains, something is marking the center of the trail.
The other day, Michiko had heard about Kasuya going off to face The Silence on Crawler island. She didn't intend to hear the missive, but being around the woman was second nature to her, and she just gets lucky like that… Of course, she didn't join the Kiri-nin for several reasons, so she decided to do something of her own accord. A quick trip to the administration, and everything was all set. Hawks were sent out to Hiei and Ryouji, asking them to arrive at the gate in the early morning. It was so early, the sun wasn't even out… The moon, though setting, was not easily visible behind the clouds. Michiko could be found standing at the meeting place, reading a book as per usual.
Ryouji appears from around a corner. He's carrying a light travel pack, not knowing exactly what the mission is about he's not about to take chances. He pulls behind him one of the horses from the public stables. A white mare with a fondness for apples but looks really fast. He lifts an arm in greeting as he gets close enough, "Morning, Michiko-chan. I'm ready to go if you are. Is there anyone else coming?"
When the hawk arrives, Hiei was already awake, thanks to his crying son. However, anything that allows him to get out of the house he is appreciative of, so several minutes behind Ryouji, he arrives clad in his usual gear. His hair is tied back except for the bangs that frame his face and as he arrives, Snake Eyes is saddled and delivered to his rider. He greets each of them in turn. "Ryouji-san. Michiko-san." He lips curl into a slight smile. "I assume you're in charge of this one, Michiko. Glad to be a part of the group."
Michiko returns the wave with one of her own to the Reizei. "Yes, I asked for Hiei-san to be on this mission as well. I suppose the only difference this time around is I'm officially in charge instead of being tasked with command by a Jounin…" Hiei arrives, and she gives him a smile and nod. "Hiei-san, I'm glad you could make it. As I was saying, I am the one in charge this time around."
The girl has a horse with her, yes. It's relatively small, like her, but it is likely fine for the journey ahead. Michiko climbs atop it, gesturing for the other two to follow her. As they ride, she explains the mission. "I've received information about a Silence camp near the border of the Land of Lightning and requested you two to come with me to get rid of them. They shouldn't be too difficult to take out, since it's just one of the camps the brothers would visit for reinforcements." She doesn't quite mention where she got the information, interestingly enough, but that may be because she finds it irrelevant. "Any questions?"
Ryouji nods to Michiko and says, "I'll just have to be ready for anything. Sounds like it'll be interesting at least." He smiles at Hiei, "You bet it is, Hiei-sensei. Just like old times. But you know, it wasn't that long ago Michiko-chan and I graduated from the academy. Just a year or so ago." He chuckles, "Right? A student to chuunin in record time for all of us."
Hiei replies. "That's because both of you have the spark. That something that makes you become a great shinobi. Your journey's aren't over yet, but I am proud of you both for what you've accomplished. With each passing day you are both becoming stronger. It won't be long before your skills rival mine or Nariko's." He takes the time to transfer his chakra swords from Snake Eyes' saddle to the harness on his back. Just in case. "You two given any thought to leading your own teams yet?"
Michiko notices the group is starting to get close to the hideout of the Silence. She gestures for the horses to slow their pace while they continue to talk. It's along the mountain path, if she remembers the map correctly, so she's keeping an eye out for where the X marked the spot (technically speaking). "Hmm… I'm not sure if there's anyone around to lead at the moment, Hiei-san. I have given it some thought, though," she replies, gesturing for the trio to step off their horses. "We have to go by foot now. Horses might let them know we're here, and I'd rather have the element of surprise."
Ryouji looks surprised by that, "My own team? I haven't given it much thought. I could if I wanted to. I think the Raikage would expect that of me. But I don't think I'm ready for that burden yet." As the group nears the camp he pulls his horse over off the trail and dismounts. He pulls cutter and lotus from the saddle and slips them into his hip belt loops. "Good, I'm better at my own speed anyway." He pulls out a small bag of something and drops a few brown round balls onto the ground for the horse as a treat who gobbles them up quickly. He steps away from the horse and rests his hands on the hilts, "Ready."
Hiei dismounts Snake Eyes and taps him lightly on the side of the neck as he does so. The horse immediately walks away from his rider, getting a safe distance away from Hiei just like he was trained to do. Hiei rotates his neck first one way, then the other and nods at Michiko. "Ready, boss. Lead on." He smiles at Ryouji. "Yeah." Is all he says to him as lightning plays along his skin as he prepares his body for combat.
Michiko leads the two to a cave to the side of the road. There's no sign of any camp nearby, though Michiko knows there's got to be something around this place… She makes sure to focus her chakra and has her senses travel through the earth to detect … Well, anything. To the group, she whispers, "If I remember right, there should be an entrance nearby… Watch out for any traps…" She considers a bit, making sure she has a good sense of what's nearby. "I think there's more than five people, but there's something blocking me from telling the exact number. They might be standing on a material other than earth or ground, which suggests the hideout is more advanced and has been here longer."
Ryouji says, "Well then, we could always bury them in there?" He grins and pats his pouch, "I brought enough explosive tags to bring down a small mountain." He shrugs, "But we wouldn't know if we got them all. Maybe a small explosion could draw them out?"
Hiei pauses before he takes another step. He holds up his hand in a fist. "Hold." He crouches down and looks about for a few moments. He points. "There. There is a slight raise to the ground off to the side of the path and a barely perceptible line on the face of the mountain. It's a trap. Be careful not to trip it." He pauses and stands back up. "An explosion would bring them out, but it would also alert them all to our presence. I'd rather take them by surprise so they have no chance of preparing a solid defense for us. I've fought these types before in Kiri. We'll need every advantage."
Michiko gives a light nod to both Ryouji and Hiei. "I like that plan, Ryouji-kun. But I think I'll have to agree with Hiei-san. We need every advantage." She considers, looking between the mountain-side that Hiei pointed out, the slight raise to the path that she only-now sees, and her teammates. "Hmm… I could try and manipulate the earth a bit. Enough that we've a hole leading directly to the hideout. Then we could either sneak in and catch them off guard, or drive them out."
Ryouji nods at the evalutation of his own plan and Michiko's, "Alright, good plan. You're the boss so we'll do that. When you're ready." He takes in a steading breath and rests his hands on his main blades. While he waits he takes the time to gather his chakra and ready himself. "One of these days, Sensei, I need to figure out elemental jutsu. It's handy to have."
Hiei nods at Michiko. "I propose a combination of the two. Use your earth jutsu to create the hole. Ryouji throws down his explosive tags and I will have something ready for the first few to come out." He forms handseals as lightning flows down his arm and pools near the first two fingers on his hand. He holds it at the ready as he nods to Ryouji. "Some people will tell you different, but elemental jutsu is more powerful than just raw chakra."
Michiko nods, making a few quick seals with her hand. "Alright, then. Ryouji-kun, get your explosive tags ready, and I'll start the digging." She makes the final seal, and the earth over the faint line Hiei had pointed out earlier begins to turn into mud, flowing back down into the mountain on the natural incline. She has to focus quite a bit in order to make the hole good enough for their plan, but after a few minutes, she's done. All the dirt-turned-mud is placed so that it won't fall into the Silence hideout (towards a back chamber she was forced to make). "You're up, Ryouji-kun."
Ryouji reaches into his pouch and pulls out several explosive tags attached to kunai. He throws them, sticking them deep into the mud and dirt walls of the cave. He makes a hand sign, activating the tags and causing them to blow. They're not very strong, so all they do is create smoke and shake up the cave. He says, "I'm sure it is. At least it would give me a longer attack reach. My chakra shaping and kami sosa will only reach so far."
Hiei waits until Michiko finishes digging and then Ryouji tosses in the tags and activates them. When Hiei sees a figure come out of the smoke moving quickly, he wastes no time. "Lightning Release: Lightning Strike!" He points his fingers at the man as a large bolt of lightning zips from his fingertips effectively frying the guy where he stood. He then smirks. "There goes the surprise. Michiko, how about we go say hello?" He draws his katana from his back and spins it in his hand.
The plan is a wonderful success! The Silence members weren't expecting their hideout to be attacked so directly. And from the inside, too. They scramble to come out of their hideout, though design had it so only one at a time could escape… It was meant to hold up people trying to get in… So the first guy who comes out is unlucky enough to end up getting zapped to death by the Yotsuki Clan head, which puts the others on guard, though still a bit dazed from the smoke. "The heck is going on?!" One of them cries out. "Who cares, they got Koyomi! Start throwing things at 'em!" says another. That seems to rouse them into action, and they start throwing kunai at the shinobi. One of them even throws a spear that ends up moving towards Hiei!
Michiko is hit by some of those sharp things, but disappears in a poof of smoke. She makes a few seals with her hands, able to count the number of people. They don't seem to be very organized at the moment thanks to the scramble, so she just aims for the entire crowd, sending three quick firebolts in their direction. "Hiei-san, if there's a leader, go for him. We don't need to keep any of them alive, either," she instructs quickly.
The Reizei whistles at the explosions, "Looks like it worked, here they come!" He stands his ground, drawing both his blades and holding them out wide. "Let's do it…" he says, bringing his swords up and around in a figure eight parry. The blades intercept the thrown blades, knocking them aside. He kicks off with a burst of speed and leaps up, thrusting out a knee before bringing his blades down in a twin flash strike strike.
Hiei's body seems to vanish and the spear hits the space his body just previously was. Hiei appears to normal sight again on the run. He throws a lightning bolt at the spear thrower and then slides to a stop as he takes a two handed grip on his sword and performs a dazzling display of lightning fast strikes with his blade in triplicate. "I've got the leader, Michiko-san. Don't worry, I wasn't planning on letting him live."
Most manage to get away from the blazing fire, but two are not so lucky, ending up with very bad burns. They wince a bit, rubbing at the sore spots on their body. Unluckily for them, this break means that Hiei gets to finish off another two of the Silence. They were obviously weaker members, though, as they're finished off too quickly with the ruthless slashes from the Yotsuki.
The leader notices right away who seems to be the strongest of their attackers. "I got the big one. You guys focus on the kids!" he shouts, making seals to attack Hiei lightning-enhanced kunai. They crackle a bit with the electrical energy as they make their way to Hiei. Ryouji finds himself facing a different silence member, this one using swords as well. They seems to be enhanced by wind, though, the blade not even bothering to come near Ryouji as the man swings his sword.
Michiko faces off against a different member as well. The man, noticing her use of fire, sends his own fire right back at her! The hand seals might be familiar, as she has used the move before. A flurry of fire bullets come aimed at Michiko, but she raises a barrier of earth against it, letting out a slightly relieved sigh. Then she attempts to attack the man again, making seals to get both him and the one who seems to be trying to run away. Two firebolts at the one brave enough to face her, and one for the scaredy-cat.
Ryouji might have said he was prepared, but he rarely fights someone other than Michiko with elemental attacks and hers is fire. He's used to burns, but these attacks he can bearly see. Ryouji tries to dodge and get out of the way, but one slices along his leg, the other along the arm on the same side. He hisses at the new pain and slides his weapons home. "Alright, BLITZ!" he shouts out, gathering chakra and pouring it out of his hands in beams of chakra. All around him chakra shoots out and spikes shoot out of those, ready to impale any who might get close. He breathes deeply and gives a long shuddering sigh as his muscles twitch.
Hiei at first attempts use his sword to parry the first kunai, but it impacts his shoulder. He attempts to dodge the second one, but it impacts his abdomen. Hiei grunts as he presses his hand to the wound. "Sonofa.." A light blue aura surrounds his body that is infused with lightning as his muscles expand to twice his size. His body disappears from normal sight as he moves at hyper speed towards his opponent. He drives his fist into the Silence Leader's abdomen and leans in to whisper in his ear as he forcefully injects lightning chakra into his body, temporarily shutting down his nervous system. "Stay right there. Don't move. I have a present for you." He takes a step back and takes a two handed grip on his katana…
The one fleeing isn't very lucky. Not only does he get hit by Michiko's firebolt, he ends up with a spike through his middle thanks to Ryouji and falls down dead. The other Silence members are all able to dodge, though, obviously more skilled than their fallen companions who were likely just simple bandits. The leader blinks a bit as suddenly Hiei disappears, not expecting the Yotsuki to come behind him … ZAP! He's down for now, muscles locked into place and twitching a bit from the lightning.
The Silence Member Michiko is facing uses another set of hand seals, again likely familiar to the Iwata. The ground is covered in fire before her, spreading quickly as it moves closer and closer to her… The swordsman Ryouji is facing is relentless in his attacks, lengthening his blade slightly to hopefully provide a sharper and longer reach against the Reizei. "Irritating punks…" he mutters. "And they even destroyed our base." The fire user looks tempted to slap the guy. "Pay attention! They already got the boss!"
Michiko tries to use the earth to defend herself again, but the sea of fire is too much. She ends up on the receiving end of things, wincing at the pain from the fire. A few hand seals later, and she's got a bit more chakra at her disposal. In fact, it's flickering around her body a bit… With this slight power up, she flashes through her hand seals and sends three more firebolts at her opponent. "Yeah, you better pay attention to us." She's not a fan of being underestimated.
Ryouji's opponent tries to slice and dice him with another wind attack, but he flickers to once side, then to the other. He's moving faster and faster when suddenly the ground behind Ryouji explodes as the reizei goes into his blur mode. He flickers in and out of sight as chakra is pumping through his body. He seems to be everywhere at once. "Follow the moving Reizei, hit me and you win a prize!" It looks like he's in at least four different places at once between more speed and his chakra technique he'd be hard to spot let alone attack at all. "Here, I'll give you a hint." He slices, appearing for a split second after the flash strike, then disappearing. "I'm not there…"
What Hiei does next doesn't involve chakra. In fact, it's pure skill. He positions his feet and then lunges forwards, bringing his sword to bear with all of his strength. With the man paralyzed, Hiei aims for the base of his neck. After performing the attack, he turns to see how Ryouji and Michiko are faring with their respective opponents.
The Leader doesn't put up much of a fight. He tenses himself, knowing there's an attack coming. It's … Well, extremely painful is one way to put it, though it's still an understatement. The man is definitely in agony. And even then, he's still alive… Just dying unless he gets some medical aid… So with the last of his energy, he attempts to attack Hiei, forming a clone made of pure lightning that charges at Hiei. It's not that strong, but he figures that he should put up a good fight before he dies, which is right about… now.
The wind clone that he created doesn't help him avoid Ryouji's attack. In fact, it's not even hit. Just left off to the side like it was of no importance. The man winces as he finds a slice on his arm, sending his clone to attempt to attack the Reizei, which he is /somehow/ able to track with his eyes. Maybe two sets of eyes helped? Michiko's guy is able to avoid too much burning with a fire clone (These guys are big clone users… ), then uses it to attack the girl.
Of course, the bad guys aren't the only ones able to use clones. Michiko uses a clonee to take the first rush of the fiery one, then blocks it completely with a barrier of earth. "Quit stealing my moves…" she mutters, making a few hand seals to send a sea of fire at her opponent. It's stronger than the one she had faced, by far, and it's not even that easy to avoid… He might be in trouble.
Ryouji does an old fasioned zig and zag to avoid the clones. He side steps them, leaving them to his back before getting close to the wind guy. With one hand on cutter, he pulls it free, aiming the hilt at the guy's chin. The other grips lotus and he pulls it free quickly letting it sing as only a reizei can before it quickly sides back home to finish the attack.
Hiei sees the leader make a lightning clone and send it for him. He attempts to duck out of the way in a type of dance manuver where he twirls around, but it backfires and the clone impacts him hard, shocking him to his core. Hiei grunts from the pain and then walks over to the leader and kicks him in the face for good measure. "Idiot."
The Silence guy's eyes widen slightly as he sees the fire coming towards him. It's faster than he is, so he attempts to jump back with a burst of fire to propel him away. However, his flames only seem to add to Michiko's, and he still ends up getting burnt to a crisp. Burns all over his body, and it was enough to kill him, considering the amount of time it took for the fire to wash over his body.
Ryouji might appear to be having a difficult time with the wind-sword user. The Silence member blocks the Reizei's sword slashes with a wind-enforced parry, slashing at Ryouji again and again. The look in his eyes is a bit crazed as he attacks the boy.
Michiko sees that she's done with her opponent, taking a second to make sure he stays dead. She had seen Hiei's opponent attack with that final lightning clone and didn't want to take the chance. The Silence Leader's face is effectively smashed in with that kick, making him look even more ugly than he had to start with. The Iwata also notices that Ryouji seems to be having a bit of a difficult time with his opponent. She doesn't want to interfere completely, but maybe a bit of assistance would be a good idea? She makes a hand seal before reaching into her pouch to grab a kunai, throwing it at the man. If anyone actually notices, she only threw one, yet several make their way over to him.
Ryouji is indeed having a hard time. But if it's by choice or design, it's unknown. He shakes his head and dashes between each wind slash that comes at him, moving faster and faster. "I…." dodge, "…will…" dodge, "…not…" dodge, "…lose!" The vibrations move into electric arcs running through his body and then suddenly stop. His body is still, then it's just gone. A moment later he reappears in front of his target, both weapons in hand and the attack already done. He disappears again, reappearing behind the target, having already done his second attack and his blades already resting in their sayas at his side. Cool or not, Ryouji is breathing deeply and sweating. He's not quite at his limit, but this has been taxing.
Seeing his student having a spot of trouble, Hiei blurs out of sight from in front of the Silence Leader. Appearing on the opposite side of the guy Ryouji is fighting, he blurs at the same time that Ryouji does. They end up on the opposite side of the guy and as Hiei is sliding his blades onto his back, Ryouji is doing the same. Their stance, poise, and even the expression on their faces are similar. He exhales slowly. Not even tired despite using his most powerful nintaijutsu technique. He had prepared his body for all of his life to be able to do it. "Did that get them all?" He asks absently of Michiko.
The wind-user didn't stand a chance against the combination of Ryouji and Hiei. Michiko's kunai likely distracted him enough that he was just a bit too slow on the uptake when it came to trying to avoid getting hit by the double-slashes coming from two sides. He ends up sliced into itty-bitty pieces (let's call them quarters), and the cleanup would likely be quite bloody were it not for Michiko.
"Yes, I think we got them all, Hiei-san… I'll take a second to clean up the mess… We don't really want travelers to come by this, do we?" She makes a few hand seals, which Ryouji might recognize as she did them slowly when he saw her, causing the earth to… Well, it essentially swallows up the bodies of the Silence members, leaving no trace. It's a pretty decent burial process, if one thinks about it! "I think we're done. We should head back to Kumo."
Ryouji sighs and shuts down his blur III, nearly falling over as he does. No pain this time, besides a few minor injuries. But just feeling like he ran around the lightning nation a few dozen times right now. He shakes his head and leans over to rest his hands on his knees. "I'm ok…whew…always over whelming when I do that." he says before standing up. "Ok, I'm better…" he says, wiping the back of his hand across his forehead.
Hiei is there to place an arm around Ryouji's shoulders when he leans over. "Nice one. I see you've managed to increase your speed since I saw you in action last. Don't worry. We'll train up your stamina. You'll be able to hold it longer and not be so tired afterwards." He looks around as Michiko cleans up the area. He blinks at her actually. "I'd better start training hardcore again. You two are beginning to scare me with how powerful you've become." He shakes his head slowly and whistles. Once Snake Eyes arrives, he mounts up to head back to Kumo with the group.