Date: July 10, 2014
Sado, Michiko, and Ryouji have passed the written portion and now they are to go scroll-hunting. They decide to look around and set up a base of operations.
"Fourth Promotion Exams - Team Katonari Enters the Field"
Tenrai Plateau and Mountain
Tenrai Plateau [Land of Lightning]
On a shelf-like area of the mountain on which Kumogakure stands, several wooden structures sit clustered near a high fence. There is a guard house, an emergency medical center, a dormitory, and an observation tower looking out over the mountains. At most times, these structures are empty, standing as silent sentinels. A large sign by the locked gate of the fence explains the reason for both the buildings and the fence. The area beyond the fence is a testing ground for shinobi, and not to be tred into lightly. Only during special occasions, such as the chuunin selection exams, are certain people permitted to hazard the misty expanse.
The sign goes on to provide many friendly warnings and tips for those participating in such events. This includes never try to move around if you can't see clearly where you're going, stay on the beaten path if at all possible, and instructions for how to safely pass another person on a bridge or cliff path. There is also a stern warning against damaging the bridges in any way. Many brave souls risked their lives to create relatively safe passages amongst the mountains, and some of them lost their bets against the mountainsides. Kumogakure will not lightly overlook any deprecation of their sacrifice.
A large mass of students have gathered at the gates looking into the fast expanse of the plateau. Several chuunin and jounin proctors are standing by at the main gates, waiting for a sign to open the gates. The students are from Iwagakure, Konohagakure, and Kumogakure, with Sunagakure and Kirigakure oddly absent. Most genin attending these exams are NPCs but not Team Katonari! The three spunky genin are standing within the mass of genin, blending in nicely. One of the proctors grabs one of the genin to start handing out sheets to each exam taker. He calls out, "Ok, listen up, because I'm not going to say this again! This genin is passing out sheets you should all sign. It absolves us of any injury or death you may have in the exams from here on out. You might ask if it's ok if you don't sign this? Sure, BUT YOU'LL FAIL! But I'm sure you'll all sign it, right?" He gives a big smile. "Each team will be tasked with finding a scroll. You'll only need one. Some are in traps we've set up. Others are with proctors within the grounds itself. Still others are attached to the various beasts inside. Get them anyway you can. You have seven days to do so. Once you get one, head to the center of the grounds where we'll be waiting for you. Each team will be assigned to one door surrounding the testing grounds. Team 1, gate 4…team Shadow, gate 7, team…" and so on he reads the list of names until he reaches, "Team Katonari, gate 6!"
For his part, Ryouji is standing there quietly, his hair tied back and short. A three day supply of gear is strapped to his back on top of his many swords and other necessary gear. He grins when he hears his team name. Then gets the paper. He squints a bit, looking at it and signs, "Well, I guess it's offical. Seems a little odd, I bet it's a leaf thing they demanded us to sign."
Sado was pumped and nervous at the same time. It was a unique feeling for him, but then again this was a unique experience, and his first of potentially a handful of them. He was lucky to have both Ryouji and Michiko present, completing their recently formed Team Katonari. For now he carefully listens to the jounin and scans the crowd of Leaf, Stone, and Cloud, super curious as to all of the abilities and uniqueness standing all around him. He couldn't wait for the final round to see it all.
The rules were set, and nothing seemed unreasonable to Sado. "It's just like a multi-day Hiei mission." he says to the others as he is handed the form after Ryouji and looks it over. He signs it and hands it back, feeling like he had officially begun the Chuunin exams now.
Michiko has a pack with her filled with all the things she finds necessary. That is, a few books, food and water, and her cloak should the weather turn bad. Other than that pack, she has all her usual gear on her and doesn't seem inclined to change her appearance much more. Team Katonari is apparently an official thing, to which she is glad. Facing the Chuunin exams with the two genin she knows best is, to some degree, very comforting. She would glance around at the different genin from other villages, only recognizing a few of them from Kumo, and tries to see if she can't guess what their specialties are.
The Jounin proctor announces a few of the rules, and she signs the sheet when it gets to her, glancing over the contents with a slight frown. "Well, this is encouraging…" She hands it to the next person over. "I suppose we ought to go and seek out Gate 6, then?" she says.
The proctor calls out as teams begin to move out to their assigned gates, "You'll have ten minutes to get ready to go. Then each proctor at a gate will open them to let you through. After that, you're on your own." He says sounding a bit devilish at that idea. Several of the genin couldn't agree more as they grin back. Is that a scary black aura coming from a few of them?
Ryouji hasn't seen it, so isn't concerned, this is just like another mission for him. But the cheating portion was fun, no one saw him move to glance at other papers, he was really fast. So getting the answers was easy for him. Ryouji nods to Michiko points farther down the fence line and around a bend, "That way I think." He glances about at the other genin, more interested in seeing all the differences. He's rarely seen other ninja outside the village, let alone in a combat situation. This WILL be fun. He's more interested in what's ahead of him.
As team Katonari make their way to the gate, a chuunin proctor walks along with them. A young man no older than sixteen, maybe seventeen. He's got a few laugh lines running from his eyes down his cheeks already, despite his age, and a bit of a whisp of a brown soul patch on his chin that matches the brown spikey hair on his head. He smiles at the genin and says, "Hi, I'm chuunin proctor Hiruzen. I'll be letting you out of your gate it seems?" He lifts a paper in his hand, "Team Takonari, is it?" They reach the gate and checks to make sure it's locked still. "Well, five minutes left, if you have anything to prepare, you'd best do it now." he says in a gravely voice.
Sado nods to Michiko as the proctor tells them officially to move to the gates, sensing some hostile auras around the group of genin growing. "Let's get to gate 6." he says as he nudges Michiko forward, letting her walk inbetween them in case anyone got any ideas. Not that he would say that, just that he felt better that way. As they walk, Sado notices a chuunin from Konohagakure walking beside them. Seems he was on alert for no reason, with the chuunin there, but perhaps he wasn't entirely wrong because of the fact that they had one escorting them.
"Katonari, a mix of Fire and Lightning." Sado points out, being the one to suggest the name in the first place. He crouches down and goes through his bag, making sure everything was in order. His dad had bought him some supplies for the exam, basically a present in Sado's mind, to get a gift from his dad not on his birthday or Christmas, so he wanted everything to get good use and come back nice, if possible. "Anyone else nervous?" he says to Ryouji and Michiko. "I suppose we need some kind of game plan."
Michiko notices a bit of a … more sinister aura coming from some of the genin that immediately puts her on guard. She tries not to show it, displaying her amazing poker face in regards to the whole thing. She follows after Ryouji when he takes off, not really noticing Sado trying to keep her inbetween himself and the Reizei. She figured he was just being a bit slower or something because of thoughts or the want to look around.
Upon reaching the gates and hearing the Chuunin talk, she echoes Sado with a, "Katonari, Hiruzen-san. It's nice to meet you," she adds, shifting her pack slightly. Then she glances over to her teammates. "Well, we should try to find the scrolls as quickly as possible, I think… The proctor earlier said they were in a bunch of traps, attached to animals, and even with a couple proctors. I'm not sure what would be nicer to face, at this point. But we have a lot of experience with strange animals. Maybe we could use that to our advantage?"
Ryouji wrings his hands, "Oh yeah. About as nervous as when we did our first mission. But the written exam took some of that away." Not by much it seems. "As for the game plan, we shouldn't run around in there blindly." He reaches into his pack and pulls out a blank scroll and pen, "We should map our way through and stick to a small area. I'm not keen on bumbling our way around. If there's opportunity, we could even set traps of our own to slow down anyone scroll hunting. Then again, we might get lucky and get a scroll very soon. If we do, I think we should we stay and get more. More scrolls means less competition later on and more glory for us when we get done. What do you guys think?"
It'll be a few minutes before the gates open, so plenty of time to talk. Hiruzen nods and smiles at the pair explaining what the team name means. "An excellent choice of a name I think." he says, but is more or less silent and is only here to open the gate. Though he does listen to the planning with a little delight. He must enjoy seeing the genin work at this.
"Animals is definitely a good route to go, though we don't exactly know what kind of animals are in the Plateau, this area is completely new to me. I'm thinking we should get a section carved out for us to rest, plan, eat, etc. Set up traps around it, alarms, etc. With that, we can come and go, as well as look after any unforeseen injuries and other things. What do you guys think of that idea. About carving out a safe location or base?" Sado asks as he finishes rummaging through his stuff, everything there and in working order. "Maybe close to a river, or with a good look out up on a cliff, or something." he adds to his suggestion.
Sado turns to Ryouji and nods his head, "More scrolls are good, but lets make sure we each have one first. I doubt there are enough scrolls for one for each genin to begin with." he points out.
Michiko hmms… "Having a base of operations is a good idea. We would want it somewhere that we could easily protect, and a number of traps are a good idea. If there's a water source, being close to it would be ideal. And we want to be able to see things from afar, but we've all got reasonably good senses, I hope?" She taps her chin a bit. "First is to get one scroll. We'll be in there seven days, so we should plan to have at least one scroll by the fourth day and start traveling toward the center come the fifth day. That way we know there's plenty of time to finish the task." Michiko eyes the gate as if she's trying to see what lies beyond it, but really, she can't see much. And she'd rather not waste energy trying to figure it out /now/. Not when the group is about to go into the gates.
Hiruzen is checking his watch as each minute goes by. Suddenly, there's a loud blaring of a whistle from the watch tower near the dormitory. Hiruzen says, "Team Katonari, you may enter." He unlocks the sealed and padlocked gates with a hand sign. The gate swings open on creaky hinges as the darkness beyond seems to grow a bit darker. "And good luck." he says finally before stepping side.
Ryouji says, "Alright, we'll make a camp after moving into the plateau. Let's move." He takes off running at an average clip running along the mist, not fast enough to get into trouble with all the fog and darkness about. Last thing he wants is to fall off a cliff but he isn't about to be left behind with all the other teams.
With the whistle Sado's nervousness is put on the backburner as it was time to begin the survival exam. The door opens to reveal a spooky, misty entranceway, which Ryouji charges right into. "Alright, lets go, watch your step." he says as he follows Ryouji into the entrance. "Don't want to get separated within the fog, so stay close." he also mentions before he goes quiet, trying to get some kind of bearings while they move, the land being completely new to Sado.
Michiko follows after Ryouji again, trying to extend her senses through the earth as she travels to make sure she doesn't end up falling down into something. Also she's keeping an eye out for anything that may be suspicious. "Try not to wander off too far, right. And we should figure out a way to alert when we're in danger but separated, I think… I'll probably launch a firebolt off if need be," Michiko says as she runs, adrenaline coursing through her.
The mist closes in around them as the team heads off. Several other teams are already fighting as screams can be heard farther off in the distance. Looks like some wanted blood already.
Ryouji suggests, "I could use my hair as rope so we won't get lost right now." He keeps his pace exactly with the others, not wanting to run off and face the fog just yet. He tries to see past the fog, but his senses are not as sharp as Michiko's or even Sado's. "Still, if we head for the mountain, we could get above the mist and set up a base camp someplace." he points to the large mountain peak off in the distance.
"The mist is really getting thick." Sado says as they move, trying to ignore the sounds of clanking and screaming from around the location of the other gates to keep his nervousness subdued. He looks up to where Ryouji was pointing and nods his head. "We have an advantage, at least over others, of living our days ontop of mountains and peaks, so lets use that and see what we can spot from a higher vantage point."
Michiko nods in agreement. "Yeah, it's best if we make our way to higher ground. It'll allow for us to see better, and hopefully stay away from…" her voice trails off as she does a quick glance in the direction of the fighting noises. "I think we'll be fine if we stick together like this. We don't want to risk getting your hair caught on a tree or something, Ryouji-kun," she replies easily enough, still wary of the things around her.
Hanging Bridge [Land of Lightning]
The hanging bridges of the Tenrai Mountains are a testament to primitive engineering. The long curves of twisted fiber woven with aged planks may look decrepit, but they were built to last, and lasted they have. Since the distances between the mountains are too great for single lengths of bridge to remain strong over, artificial supports of wood with platforms on top were constructed to divide the journeys into more manageable lengths. The platforms also act as crossroads, allowing bridges to branch or change directions.
On this particular platform, bridges stretch away to the north, west, and southeast. The bridge westward is the longest single length of bridge in the mountains. It bellies low over the chasm, often obscured in parts by the clouds, for a more taught bridge would be structurally unsound over such a great distance. As it is, it's safe enough, provided you're reasonably sure-footed. To the north, the bridge meets with a long, curving range of cliff. To the southeast, the plateau which holds the entrance and exit of the testing area can be reached.
Ryouji nods and didn't sound too sure about it either. "No problem…" he says, glancing towards the fighting too. "I could use it as a warning system at the camp though." He turns on the trail heading over the bridge hitting it with so much of a wobble of the bridge.
So the group heads across the bridge, since there's not much going on with so many teams fighting each other, they make excellent time with nothing stopping them for the moment.
As soon as the group hits the hanging bridges, Sado makes the mistake of looking down, a bit of vertigo washing over him. The roads and walkways in Kumogakure were always so large, so wide, that you rarely spent time near the edge of anything. He wasn't afraid of heights, per say, it was just a long way down on a flimsy bridge. "I'm glad we are still kids at this stage, don't want to know how much weight this bridge can hold." he says, making conversation as he lets the vertigo wash away and continue on his walk over the bridge. "Looks like we are heading west if we are headed for the mountains." he points out at one of the many diverging paths of bridges.
Michiko makes her way across the bridge, still keeping a lookout to make sure no surprises show up. But the fighting seems to have drawn most of the competition away from them, so she lets up a bit when she can't sense anyone within a good mile of the team. Michiko is relatively confident while crossing the bridge, likely thanking whoever that everyone was small for the exams. "Agreed, Sado-kun," she says. Then looks to the westward bridge. "Hopefully it won't be long before we find a good spot to camp out. We should probably take turns keeping watch, too, when we rest. Setting up traps can only keep away so many things, after all."
Tenrai Mountain [Land of Lightning]
In the parts of the Tenrai Mountains where the slopes are gradual enough to walk on, life flourishes vigorously. Hardy shrubs and grasses grow on any space that can accommodate them, and here and there you may find a wizened little tree grasping into the rocky soil. Birds make their refuge up here, and mountain goats range the rocky heights. Be careful not to aggravate any of the larger locals, particularly the billy goats or the rare mountain lion. A tussle up here with a more sure-footed animal could result in quite a tumble.
In this particular mountain area, something has caused the top of the mountain to curve downward into a huge bowl. Water has collected in the bottom of this bowl, creating an oasis of particularly lush life (relative to the rest of the mountain range, anyhow). As with all prime real estate, of course, competition for space is high, so keep an eye out for predators if you stop to fill your canteen. Bridges stretch off to both the west and southeast.
The team reaches the top of Tenrai Mountain finding the lake at the top. Still, nothing has shown up to harass them, but probably will sooner or later.
"Shifts for sleeping is good. Nothing should be changed from out on missions, it's the most efficent. But we can do a bit better, an extra layer of protection should be applied. I can send out a single hair and loop it around the camp. If anyone breaks it, I'll notice." He looks around, "Any suggestions on the camp?"
Sado is quite impressed with the mountain they find, the 'bowl' shape housing a natural lake oasis that probably is the watering hole of many mountain creatures. "This place is pretty awesome, I wonder what crazy jutsu created it." he says as they move into the area with vegetation. "If we get traps and alarms up, that would help the person on shift while we sleep. I don't recommend staying right next to the water, though. This is probably the best spot for a watering hole that we have come across, and we still don't know what kind of animals are in this gated area. I mean those gates were pretty darn tall…" he says, looking more towards the vegetated area than the lake area.
Michiko raises an eyebrow at the giant bowl-shape lake formed. Definitely not natural, but certainly welcome. "Something impressive, I'm sure," she replies to Sado. "That's a good idea, Ryouji-kun. You should set on doing that. I have some rope on me that might be useful for a few traps, too…" She eyes the area a bit more. "I suggest resting somewhere off the ground. People tend not to look up, so it's a good way to avoid detection, even in a remote area like this. Other genin could come this way, after all…"
Ryouji looks around, "I'm sure we could find someplace high up to rest. Outcropping of rock or something. Or I guess you could use your jutsu, Michiko-chan?" He hops off the ledge and starts sliding down the slope to the lake. "I wonder if there's fish in there? I could go for a roasted fish."
Sado looks over the vegetation, nothing useable for stringing up hammocks or anything. "Ryouji is right, we would have to use the rocks or Michiko-chan's Earth jutsu. I'm not sure if we should scale the side of this unnatural shaped bowl, though. We don't know if it is sturdy and secure, and there may be animals already taking residence up in them." he says, looking towards Michiko. "An earth barrier or dome might be a good place to start building something?" he asks before he turns to Ryouji who has gone off to the lake to look for fish. "Not sure how they would get up here."
Michiko grins slightly and nods. "Alright. One earth dome coming up, I suppose." She figured it's the more stable of the two, and the shape is a bit more suitable for their intentions. She makes the usual seals and makes the earth rise up into a dome-shape, making it adjust itself so it looks semi-natural to the land. "I doubt there's any fish, though… Especially if there's no stream leading in and this wasn't here naturally."
Ryouji calls back, "Whoever made this might have populated it with fish. We've got a moment to look so…" Besides, he's hungry and should only eat the food he brought if necessary. Ryouji reaches the water's edge and looks at the water for a moment before walking up and down the shore, looking for anything that would indicate fish. A dead fish on the shore, fish sunning themselves near the shore, even swooping birds trying to eat the bigger fish. Alas, no fish, no birds, zip. He comes back disappointed. But all is not lost, maybe he can catch a goat later on. And it's a nice source of clean water. "Nice shelter Michiko-chan." he says.
"Maybe, though I imagine this waws made more with some crazy jutsu in the last exam." Sado says, nodding at Ryouji. "Worth a look though." he says, following Ryouji while Michiko gets the shelter set up, at least the earthen part. As they return with no luck, Sado likes what she had done with her technique to make it more suitable for the surrounding area. "Nice." he adds to Ryouji's words. "So, should we get any temporary gear out, maybe round up some of those withery trees for wood… set the traps out?"
Michiko nods, making sure the structure she made is stable without her putting chakra into it. A good kick reveals it is very nicely built and she seems satisfied. "It's a good idea to get a fire going so we don't freeze to death. Also, we could cook what we catch. We should get like a stockpile of wood for later tonight, I think." She hmms… "That's a bit disappointing to hear no fish, even if the chances were very unlikely…" Michiko makes her way over to some of the trees nearby to see if she can't cut down some of the branches. "One of us could get a few traps set up as well," she calls out.
Ryouji says, "Lots of animals still about though. Ok, I'll try some hunting if you want to set up some traps, Sado-kun?" He figures he can set up some snares and go looking for some goats if that fails. He pulls his gear off his back and tosses it into the makeshift shelter so he can move easier. "That's better." he says, "It's only a matter of time before some animals show up to the lake to drink. I'll set up some snare traps down there and see what I catch."
"At least we can use it for drinking, cooking, and bathing if needed." Sado says to Michiko about the lake, pointing out that it wasn't without its uses. Turning to Ryouji, Sado nods his head, "Lend me any wire or rope or anything you guys can spare and I will see about setting up some perimeter traps to help with Ryouji's hairnet." he says, snickering lightly at his little joke about the hair. He waits for any offers before he would head out into the vegetation and, more specifically, the path to the bridges, to set up some basic and medium-talented traps that were meant to alert, not detain.
Michiko tosses some rope in Sado's direction, which was thankfully in her handy pack this time around. She continued to tug and cut off the tree branches for future firewood, setting what she collected near the shelter. "If we're using it to drink, Sado-kun, it might be best that we don't bathe in it…" she says after he mentions the water's uses. "Good luck to you both!" she calls out, mostly because she doesn't want them to be caught by someone. Even with her tremor sense almost always active…
Ryouji sticks a tongue out, "Good idea. Maybe we can make a bath tub, but maybe we shouldn't waste the chakra and stamina for something like that while we're out here. We won't be out here really that long. It's something we could just deal with for the time being." He nods to Michiko and says, "I'll set up the hair net…" he snickers at that, "…when I find something to eat."