Date: September 27, 2014
While it begins as a needle in the haystack mission of finding a kidnapped daughter, the team of Genin end up finding the kidnappers. Through a mix of brute force and deception, the team manages to delay the daughter's murder and alert the search parties before they were overwhelmed by the bandits.
"The Fat Prize"
Land of Water, Blood Marshes
The mission is pressing to say the least. A powerful merchant who is a regular clientele of Kiri came in a panic, when his daughter was kidnapped. The group of pirates claimed that he had till sundown to pay an exorbitant ransom, or his little girl would be executed. And no one knew where they were.
The merchant was preparing the sum, but he was afraid that they may kill his daughter regardless of if he paid it. The problem was they seemed to have vanished, and the note only came by messenger falcon, untraceable. He'd failed to report it for quite some time, and the trail was cold. So multiple teams were dispatched in an ambitious search effort. Some powerful teams were sent to make a beeline for the coast, and cut off any escape. Others were dispatched in known criminal hideouts.
Many teams are being sent out, since the merchant is paying a sum worthy of it. A Jounin has given them their task. "We're sending you to some caves in the marshlands. It's unlikely that they're in a place so far from the coast, but every area must be checked. Look in it quickly. After you've explored it, rendezvous with the next team." He gives them coordinates for both the caves and the rendezvous point, and sends them off.
As they're traveling, Hayase sighs and shrugs. "Kind of boring, looking around some dusty caves," she says, "but I'm not complaining." At the swift pace they set, they should arrive in about ten minutes.
A urgent mission to rescue a merchant daughter made Taree cringe inwardly, so many ways that it could really go wrong. Thinking to herself if only the merchant came forward much sooner, things would have been far easier. Packing quickly Taree would grab what bags she needed and web them to her backpack. Stopping for a moment she would pack one more special bag. Since this was a kidnapping, thinking it might come in useful.
Making really good time as team traveled through the marshlands, Taree would pay close attention to the area since it was probally going to be part of the upcoming Chunnin exams. "Actually be thankful we don't have to trvel to the ends of the earth. There can be lots of stuff in the dusty caves. Its so close to the blood swamps. How many people used those caves as shelter in the past?" Quieting down as the caves loomed closer Taree would watch to see how the fog was in the area, debating on taking it over.
It didn't take much to convince Naoya to agree to the mission even before the destination was set. Looking between around, the young teen begins to search the area briefly as they moved through the marshes. "We could play around the marshes afterwards, there are some spiders that swarm out here that should be able to bind and eat an adult without much fuss.. I want a pair, maybe three depending how they breed." Even though his tone was laced with a tease as he ran, the young Okumo didn't sound like he was joking with the comments.
Looking closely at the young teen, small spiders, normally too tiny to be apart of his normal brood could be seen crawling along his body, drawing thin silken fibers from under his clothing to the parts exposed to the air. The process was disturbingly swift, soon covering everything from the neck down within a thin layer of silken mesh, though most of it was under his clothing. The silk was loose against his skin, but every so often, it would tense, resulting in a quicken pace but not significantly so.
Yuriko hums as she travels with the team, bright eyes glancing from one to another with thought for several quiet moments. Thus far it sounded as if everyone had an opinion about the mission, either the caves or the marshes nearby, though no one really seemed to know if there really would be pirates or not. If there will be any clues to finding the merchant's daughter. It starts to sound that it's probably unlikely.
"I hear all sorts of things live inside caves." Yuriko murmurs. "Not just big animals, but rodents and insects too. Different kinds of strange plants…"
They are caves but they are definitely in marshlands. Foot sucking grounds, weaving tentacles of mist, slime covered trees, and the smell of rotting plant life. Hopefully that's the smell of rotting plants. It's becoming very clear why they're sending the Genin into this filthy area, rather than the clean, windswept coasts. After awhile Hayase at least would climb a tree and start jumping from one to the next, although there's a lumpy trail that winds through the swamps.
"I'm so thankful," Hayase says in a flat tone, when Yuriko mentions the giant rodents and insects.
As they near, the fog grows thicker and Taree is able to use it to conceal their movements. And it comes in handy, as they're able to near undetected…someone. A merchant leading a donkey drawn wagon, riding towards the caves.
Hayase frowns at the sight, as she moves around a low rise. "Why is a merchant out here?" she says. She pauses and glances at the others. "We should warn him about the pirates," she murmurs.
Taking to the trees Taree would use a little webbing to move around quickly and silently. Using the mist to keep track of the area and the team, she would spy the merchant, and a bunch of dead rotting animals. Listening to the mist, Taree would shake her head and disagree with Hayase thoroughly. The whisper shifting silently to the teams ears, "No the merchant might be something else than what he seems. If he is going to the caves there is a good chance he is in league with what is in the cave. To many unknowns we should just watch and see what he does. He is armed". Moving through the trees Taree would keep the mist going, moving at her bidding.
The soft, soggy ground doesn't seem to irritate the young teen even to the point that he didn't sink into the bogged earth. The scene doesn't go unnoticed, in response several thin legs extend from the teen's neck and idly wave, the brood was curious about the scent as well as it's direction. Raising a finger, Naoya signals for Hayase to wait for a moment when she mentions the merchant, "Something's off. Even if he was with them, carting what he is, is odd.. I'm moving a bit closer." The silken mesh around Naoya tense before he kicks off with hardly a slash, shifting his position several times, moving closer towards the wagon while also trying to stay out of direct line of sight.
Yuriko leaps through the treetops, coming to a smooth, sudden stop when she spots the merchant just as Hayase does as well. Gripping the limb beneath her, she narrows her gaze for a stretched out moment before murmuring softer, "I don't think he's a merchant…" The little Kaguya turns her snowy head to glance at the team. "I can still see blood on him and the wagon. It's not quite washed off yet. I think… he might be dangerous…" As Naoya begins to move to another branch, Yuriko appears next to him, gripping his arm to keep the boy from moving any further. Though her eyes remain on the merchant and his wagon. "Let's follow him from a distance. I want to see where he goes…"
Loosening her grip on his arm, the Kaguya girl gives him a small pat before pulling away. "Let's see if he leads us to a nest…" Crouching, Yuriko smoothly leaps to the next tree in such away to keep as silent as possible, always keeping the merchant in sight while using the foliage to her advantage.
They make good points. Hayase holds back and watches as the team maneuvers around. It comes to her with a sinking sensation this may not be a dead end mission. And they may be going into actual danger. She glances behind her. It's not too late to head back and alert some very competent Jounin, or even Chuunin. But somehow during these thoughts, everyone seems to be moving forward.
When Yuriko suggests following him, she nods. That's a good course. And so the Genin would go after him discreetly. If he'd known someone was looking for him, the "merchant" may have noticed he was being tailed. But he didn't expect any company, and even mutters openly, close enough for Yuriko and Naoya to hear snatches. "Little girl my…about as little as a…merchant must be feeding her…can't believe…"
They get to the cave entrance and that's when things get interesting. A man comes out, this time clearly dressed as a pirate. And the two talk companionably. Taree and Yuriko are close enough to hear every word clearly, though Hayase and Naoya will not. "There's Jounin patrolling everywhere," the "merchant" says. "We'll wait and tow her out in an hour."
"If we can't sneak out ourselves, no way we'll sneak out with an elephant," the pirate says. "Let's cut her throat and be done with it. Get the money at the designated time."
"No, we'll wait."
"How about we ask the boss? Cut her throat or tow her out now."
They seem to agree on that, and start to head in.
As they head in, Hayase moves in beside Taree. "What did they say? Should we sneak in? Attack?"
Breathing softly, tasting the mist in the area, Taree would consider her options. A breath later she would decide and relay the conversations of the pirates to the others via the whisper mist. Setting the mist to be quiet as possible she would explain, "It is them. They have the merchants daughter and there is allot of them. They are debating whether or not to cut her throat and kill her now. Or move her and kill her later." Letting the mist move around the cave entrance as close as she dared to have it appear natural Taree would continue. "We need someone in there quickly if they decide to kill her. Yuriko I know your the fastest here. Think you can sneak in and play protector fast enough if it goes south. If they decide to take her out of the cave. I can swing the mist down around us all and we can pop in and extract her quickly. Naoya your the second fastest head back to town and get the Jounin here now."
Looking around the area, Naoya is distracted away from the ramblings of pirates and look around the area. Tilting his head to one side, he squints some looking at the marking and mumbles 'Jus what are they doing, hunting here too? Something that larger?' Shaking his head, he turns to Yuriko, watching her for a moment further.
When a voice begins to whisper to him, he blinks lightly a few times but turns to it and nods lightly as it continues until his head becomes stock still. The teen curls back his upper lip with a scowl when he was given his task. "No, I'm not fleeing", his voice was filled with annoyance at the suggestion. "Would take too long, and by the time we return everyone of them would be killed off and all's left would be playing clean up. All we need to do is get to her and get her out." Raising his right hand, Naoya waves at the mists close to him, as if the motion would dismiss them and the whispering.
Leaning forward on her branch, Yuriko narrows her eyes as she concentrates on the conversation in the distance, or tries to at least. The whispering mist was a bit distracting… Annoyance shows in her young face as she turns to glance over her shoulder at the team. "Right now, there's too many of them. At least ten. Two are about Genin level, another two are chuunin, and who knows how strong the others will be. And we can't just snap her up if they happen to decide to move her. From the way they were talking about her… the daughter is grossly overweight. It might be impossible just to take her and run."
Exhaling a small breath, Yuriko glances between Taree and Naoya. "Between the two of you, I need whoever has the fastest spiders. One of them needs to send a message to the Jounin to tell them to meet us here. We can't have someone else go back to the village, since we need the manpower here. So. Instead of just going in and try to kill off whoever, alerting them, the team will be going in quietly. When we come across one, we'll take them out quickly and quietly, one by one."
Hayase nods at her orders. Though when Naoya turns down that last order, she chuckles. "We should've brought a Chuunin," she murmurs. Not just for strength, but also so that they had a clear leader. No one really expected their search to pan out, and so it was safe to say no help was coming, unless someone got it. She hesitates. Should she be the one to go back? Yuriko takes care of that when she says that one of their spiders must go back. She nods, and glances over at the wagon, and to the cave entrance.
She squirms a bit. Then, she says, "Actually, we can sneak in. Or I can. I'm very good at henge, you see. If we can lure one or more pirates out without drawing all of them, I'll be able to replace one. Or we can wait for backup or sneak in." She looks around at them.
Taree knew this was not going well, in fact,it was about to escolate very quickly indeed. With Hayase going out and smacking the ass the team was committed no matter what. Knowing reinforcements is what is needed no matter what Taree has to take action. Shaking her head it would take spiders hours to get back. Closing her eyes in concentration she would use what she had to get help. Twisting the mist sharply it would stay dense close to the ground, but would clear out higher up as far as she could possible manage. Drawing deep with in her chakra reserves she would form up a spiral of mist going straight up into the air, forming a giant arrow pointing straight down at the cave. Hoping deep down that the jounin patrols would see the formation before the stress, or fighting to bad.
Even though the young teen was still, it was easy to see Naoya was tense. From his perch he watches until he heard the loud cry of the pack animal which even surprised him. His eyes would take a few moments to focus once again as the mist begins to thicken more so than before. Turning his attention towards Taree, a bit of worry could be seen in his expression but also confusion. Being within the large mist collection, he couldn't tell exactly what it was trying to shape.
Noticing that Hayase was beginning to gain attention, he uses the mist and his own speed to his advantage, repositioning to be standing high on the trunk of her tree. Naoya leans down to one knee, poised to kick off and lunge downwards if the pirates got too close to her.
Yuriko couldn't help but make a face as Hayase rushes ahead, smacking the donkey before darting back to into hiding. Looks like they'll be taking the place of the pirates regardless. The girl shakes her head quickly to herself as she falls from the branch, moving silently, quickly towards the entrance of the cave, just off to one side to keep from being directly in front of the opening.
Hayase watches with rapt attention as both of the pirates are lured out, and the mist arrow forms overhead. Hayase steps out of sight and then makes a few seals before-poof! She has henged a whole new outfit, namely the merchant outfit that the first pirate had been wearing. They're all loose on her of course, but then she shuts her eyes hard, as if in intense concentration. The next change comes more gradually, muscles piling on top of her skinny arms, legs rising up, hair shortening, and soon she's an exact replica of the first pirate they had seen. She steps out from behind the tree and the donkey, and says to the two, "The boss made a decision about the fat cow. We're towing her out. He told us to go out and take a look around, to make sure no intruders are nearby."
Both of the pirates look at her and one says, "In this mess?"
"If you don't want to, go take it up with the boss," Hayase says, in a passable imitation of the pirate's earlier growl. But miraculously they actually do go out, and Hayase would go out as well, glancing around shiftily and then swaggering a few yards in a horrible imitation of how a male walks, before heading out in the direction of the weaker of the two patrollers.
Taree would not want to keep this large of a area of mist under her control for to long. Hearing Hayase slip by and try to trick the pirates out into the soupy mess, she would wait for the right moment. Then she would take it moving quickly toward what looked like the least away pirate. Hand signing quickly as she moved Taree would bring the mist to her will yet again. Drawing moisture from across the marshy ground, she would slam it all forward bring a ball of water straight into the pirate. Hope to catch him in a watery grave she would hope one of the others of the team would end the other pirate.
A faint snickering was snuffed out before becoming too loud as he watches Hayase at first seem to fail at even a basic Henge though when she begins to fill out and twist into a more perfect figure, he cants his head to one side. Staying silent, the young teen smirks lightly when the plan begins to take shape and work, though he only then notices the other guards pacing back and forth and drawing closer. Shifting his position, he kicks off suddenly and pivots his hips in the air, attempting to lunge kick the uncaged.
Not trusting with a single blow, when Naoya lands, he rotates on the spot, thrusting with an elbow at the man's lower ribs. The young teen completes the brief barrage by throwing a final hooked punch at the same spot as the elbow strike, seemingly trying to rupture a lung if not only fracture several ribs.
Yuriko watches in silence as the plan begins to unfold, the pair of pirates drawn out and engaged with the henged Hayase. Hearing the conversation, she couldn't help but make a face midway. It was impossible to know where this boss is. And it it was almost likely that he was deep inside the cave with the daughter. The little Kaguya quickly shakes her snowy head to herself and pushes away those thoughts out of the way, for the moment. Taree begins tacking one, while Naoya takes on the other.
For now the ivory white blade appears from the dark sleeve of her yukata, waiting just beside the entrance of the cave, out of sight still. Just on the off chance more pirates emerge during the middle of this. Besides, she has faith in her team.
Hayase catches up to the second pirate just in time for Naoya to knock him out. She almost crows with triumph. "Nice job, Naoya-kun," she says, her tone and expression completely incongruous with the grizzled pirate. Taree has made short work of the other pirate.
Hayase starts stripping the unconscious pirate, and replacing her henged garments with the real, albeit somewhat dirty ones. The same thing happens again-the uncanny transformation. Musculature, coloring, texture, even smell which henge can't usually do, is exactly the same.
Hayase says, "I'll lure them out one by one, guys. Wait here."
And then she enters the cave. She's gone for several minutes. Has something gone wrong? Yes.
"The prisoner is escaping!"
There's a sudden roar, and then running out of the cave at high speed is the merchant's daughter. It's easy to tell it's her. If she were fit, she'd be half a foot taller and a bit bigger than Yuriko or Hayase. But she carries enough fat which, at about the age of twenty, can't be called baby fat, as four of them. The dress she wears looks like a frilly pink tent. And despite the fact she should be huffing, puffing, and sweating she seems in remarkable form, even running quite swiftly. Although looking rather panicked and shrieking.
About ten yards behind her are a number of pirates. Six of them actually, though only three are gaining on her. There's no sign of Hayase.
Taree would smile up into the eyes of the poor pirate in her sphere of water. Her spiders would start crawling out from all over as they would swarm down her arm, and hop into the sphere of water. The pirates eyes would open in horrow as he was unable to move as the little spiders just swam through the water going right for him. Webbing would spread quickly surrounding the pirate in a silky cocoon. As fast as the water formed around him it would fall to the side, the drowning pirate droping to the ground squirming in web.
The massive rokus at the cave mouth would get Taree's attention. The fat merchants daughter would come running out of the cave followed by the group of pirates. Looking closely Taree would crook her head watching the so called human elphant move faster than three pirates, and giving three others a good run for their money. Nodding softly as she realized it was Hayase she would take a step over the webbed pirate and procede to hand sign. The falling ball of water starting to form rack after rack of pointy water needles before her. Concentrating Taree would let wave after wave of the needles fly into the pirates.
As the minutes began to tick by, the young teen began to pace along a short line back and forth. "Taking too long.." was mumbled after two minutes of wait has passed. After a moment further, even Naoya could feel the march of what seemed over a dozen men, though what he found was significantly less. "/That/ is what we came here to pro.." The teen's attention quickly turns to the movement behind her. Preparing to move, he lingers a moment longer, not wanting to get stabbed in the crossfire. Once the second barrage of needles jet forward, the young teen follows as well, focusing his attention onto the two who were most injured but standing after the initial attack.
The scream from inside the cave makes Yuriko blink with honest surprise, completely lost as to what's going on at first. And somehow, she's surprised further as a large, overweight girl runs from inside. That… has to be the weirdest thing she's ever seen on a mission… Wait, that's Hayase. She blinks again. Yeah, that's Hayase. A big Hayase.
Yuriko lightly shakes her head to herself but doesn't hesitate to form a second sword in her other hand, the ivory blades morphing themselves into a arch. With six pirates in plain sight, both arms arch as the small girl smirks, throwing the blades into the air in a wide range jutsu. Slicing at everything. "Camellia Sword! Ha!"
It's a mess of a situation. The initial barrage of water needles peppers two of the pirates, but the others manage to dodge in time. Although Naoya's well timed water needles manage to down one of the men. Then Yuriko's blades are flying through the air, slicing up the pirates in the rear. But wounded as they are, one says, "Kill the shinobi! And get the girl!" He takes the first part of his advice, as the two wounded pirates charge at Naoya and Taree.
The other three manage to remain unscathed, even evading Yuriko's attacks. Hayase curses and turns before they can reach her, to stand her ground, and aims a few quick blows at the two nearest pirates.
One yelps, "The fat girl is a shinobi!" While it may be believable she can run fast, aiming well timed blows is less likely. One who is clearly the leader starts shouting orders, and two of the shinobi converge to attack Yuriko.
With the lesser pirates getting beat down pretty effectivly, Taree would prepare for a nother wave of attacks when the would actually get a clue and start fighting back. The pirate coming forward would step forward with blades wielding taking a good swipe at her. Her heart pounding with adrenalin, Taree would clap her hands together bring the mist and the puddles of water at her feet around in a solid globe of water around her. The blade bouncing off effectly off the barrier side. Looking out from the water Taree would bide her time, planning out her next assault.
As the man that he manages to hit not only gets back up but manages the stab at him when he tries to get away, Naoya was caught a little off guard. The blade cuts into the teen's side before he gets out of striking range. Turning back, he commits to his next strike stepping into a flurry of strikes, between each strike, a burst of speed carries him to a new position, striking at the man's jaw at first, following with his groin before finishing with a palm strike at his throat.
Yuriko couldn't help but make a face, seeing as only a third had been even injured from her blades. Annoyance flicking through her expression if only briefly. Ivory blades forming in both of her hands again, the small girl quickly smirks as it seems she's gained the attention of two of the pirates. The Camellia blades are lifted out in front of her as Yuriko starts to move, pushing for speed to avoid the coming attacks. Not very successful, but outwardly her expression doesn't change from the pain.
"Annoying…" she mutters, smirk growing with blades shining in the sunlight. Using the gathered momentum she already had, Yuriko turns it against them, striking hard and fast.
If reinforcements are coming, they're not yet in sight. And while things are definitely not going well, the Genin are managing to hold on for a few moments…almost. Hayase winces as she takes a deep cut. But she doesn't revert to her usual form. Nor does she run away. "My poor pink dress," she says in a high, fluty voice. Which they'll learn later /is/ actually how the merchant girl sounds. She sends an elbow cracking at the man's face, aiming to shatter his nose, and the pirate retaliates with a razor sharp kunai.
The pirate facing Naoya trades blow for blow with him, with neither of them getting an edge. Then he draws his cutlass, and really attacks. Taree manages to fend off the pirate, who springs back and makes a few quick seals. Tendrils of slimy marsh water would whip up to lash Taree.
Yuriko has two opponents who were good enough to tell who the senior member was, regardless of size or gender. One falls back, but it's only to make a few seals and light the air on fire. The other times it so a moment later he's swooping in to slash at her with a sword.
Taree watches safely in her hard water sphere. The pirate before her starting to hand sign, as he tries to strike at her with tendrils of water. Inwardly laughing at the thought Taree would spin the sphere around her breaking it up tendrils of water, sending spinning ribbons every which way fending off the pirate's water attack. Looking around Taree knows the element of surprise has ended. The bigger pirates seem more than cable at dishing out the jutsu and attacks with those long wicked looking blades. Having to choose what to do Taree would gather up the water that was available and again tries to lock another pirate in a sphere of water. Knowing it was her only real chance at taking out the weaker pirate that was on her.
When his strikes hit nothing but air and loose clothing, Naoya growls. Stepping to the side, he could feel the breeze of the next stab rushing past his cheek. Opening his hands, he palm strikes in rapid fashion at the man's chest, stepping into each one of the blows. During the third thrust, the teen tries to leg lock his target and keep him still as he strikes. "We have the bouncing fat one, where's Hayase-san, I still haven't seen her!" With the pirate in front of him trading blows almost evenly, he was almost ignorant that many of the others were in the same condition or worse.
Yuriko narrows her bright aquamarine eyes, watching closely at the pair of pirates she's pitted up against. And as one tries to bring most of her attention on him, the other falls back to prepare seals. Already building bone up under the skin, it's just not fast enough, as the slash of the blade is quicker. The young girl winces with pain, but it swiftly becomes an annoying scowl. Sliding back several feet, she skids into a crouch, the growl in her throat building as Yuriko's small frame bulges. Sections of her yukata suddenly burst apart, deadly ivory spikes pointed straight out in a porcupine-like fashion. Another growl echoes deeply in her throat as what visible wounds there are begin to knit themselves together, healing on their own accord.
They're struggling against the pirates, and it's becoming clear why Jounin as well as Chuunin were sent out on this mission. For a few moments it seems like a losing battle, when one of the pirates assaulting Yuriko dies choking with a kunai in his throat. Abruptly, the Kaguya girl has a Jounin beside her, fighting her final opponent. The team has arrived, and one person is soon backing each of the Genin up.
Hayase quickly turns back into her original form with a poof, and adjusts her forehead protector to be visible. She winces. It's very, very, very good that she hadn't been impersonating a pirate when the newcomers decided to carve all the pirates up. She really has to think these things through.
"We saw the signal, give us an update," a Jounin says to Taree. He'd come up behind Taree's opponent and killed him with a stab.
One of the Kiri nin beside Yuriko says, "Well done, girl. It's hard to believe you held out."
Hayase is updating the Chuunin who saved her, who says, "Next time, make sure your henge isn't a hundred pounds overweight." Hayase winces, though not for the reason he thinks. Her henge was accurate down to the last ounce of flab.
Everyone quickly gets their orders. Taree is to held restrain any of the living pirates for transport, along with a Chuunin. Hayase and the team leader are going to enter the cave, so she can point out where the fat girl is. The others are to secure the perimeter, and make sure no other pirates are nearby. And with that, the mission is out of their hands.