Date: October 27, 2014
Team Sandstorm is sent to get back some valuable lizards from some apes.
"The Ferret Chased the Monkey"
Cave System near Sunagakure
Subterranean Caverns [Land of Wind]
A network of caves extends beneath the mountains, but they are not quite as difficult to traverse as one might expect. As long as travellers and would-be adventurers braving the caverns have a source of light, the winding tunnels and numerous caverns possess no inherent threat or trick to them. However, there is no promise that wild animals, creepy crawlies, or other human beings are not in residence to cause trouble.
The tunnels are marked with paint, reflective plates, and simple stone or wooden signs at many points to show the correct direction to reach one's destination — the result of work performed by Hidden Sand shinobi.
The west-most tunnels empty into a section of the desert that is encircled by mountains. Further west than that lies the Desert of Knives. To the east, the tunnels eventually exit into the Ayaash Battle Cove.
It looks like Team Sandstorm was at it again. This time around, Sora was no where to be found because Tsuchi hardly found it necessary to call him in for such a mission and besides, his skills were in line with her own. He wouldn't be of much use. One of the nobles of Sunagakure had his prized collection of special lizards stolen. These lizards are a rare breed of the Land of Wind that actually have a small chakra signature and can produce small blasts of wind from their gullet. Wind Dragons were what they were called and some believed that groups of them could be responsible for sandstorms.
Now, two such lizards were caged up by a particularly elusive group of thieves who, luckily, were as of yet still unsure of how to get into the cages that the noble kept his pets in. Rock apes, the only natural predator of the Wind Dragons, had caught a caravan of the nobles by surprising raiding it for food before turning to their cave homes and now Team Sandstorm was in those caves, having just knocked out a group of rock apes that are now laying around them and searching for the lizards. The rock apes, despite their name, had no chakra to their name other than what came naturally and were good at hiding. Only the lizards were giving off chakra and now Team Sandstorm had to find them.
Tsuchi sighed as she came to a stop and looked to Rikuto, "We really need to find you a better teacher than myself to get you going on sensor skills." She sighs and nods, "I have done well with you but I don't know the skills at all." She nods her head, "Can you sense the lizards? We can find apes all day but we need to find where the lizards are…and soon."
Akiko follows after Tsuchi, making sure her arrows are in full order and not depleted before sh moves on to the next thing. Kotone is with her, of course, the falcon perched on the Hayato's shoulder as always. Akiko wishes Sora was on the mission with them, but he probably wasn't needed for just rounding up the stray lizard or two. "Oh, you're working with the sensor skills, I forgot!" she exclaims at hearing Tsuchi's inquiry to the Miira.
Akiko has Kotone fly about for the lizards as well, but the small space is difficult to look around in for a falcon, and the pair don't see much of anything. Akiko sighs. "I guess it's all up to you, Rikuto-san. The only thing we can spot are those stupid rock apes…" And gods know she's wasted too many arrows on taking them down.
Moving a hand to the back of his neck, Rikuto scratches somewhat restlessly, the idea of the mission was odd and weighing somewhat stressfully on his mind. "I won't say that I can, not at a very far distance, but I'll try. Might just take a few hours, or a few minutes once we're in the area." Closing his eyes and comming to a stop, the young Miira extends out his right hand, letting his fingers waver in the air for a few moments but then shakes his head. "Nothing strong just yet."
It wouldn't be until he opens his eyes again that he turns to stare at Tsuchi. "A teacher? What are you talking about? I don't know anyone who specializes in detection.. maybe Ping-san but, I don't think he'd have the time.." Furling his brow he begins to go through names, mumbling them, trying to see who was to be selected.
It'd be easy for Rikuto to notice at least, perhaps for everyone to notice as a small figure slips around a corner behind them, listening in on the converation and peering past Tsuchi and past the others with squinting eyes. The lithe figure peers closely in the direction before ducking back a little and peering at the two genin before scratching at her chin. The little creature's tail flicks behind her as she peers around and then slips through the shadows to a spot nearer, ducking down and staying low. She's definitely got ninja training but isn't the greatest. She has perhaps a genin's skill at best.
A look at Rikuto and she frowns as she looks at him, "Come on, Rikuto. I know you can do it." She then looks around and sighs, "I can test you but I can't train you." She shakes her head, "We'll need someone who specializes in it." She nods her head before smiling at Akiko, "Indeed. We need to feel out the chakra of these creatures." She nods her head and then looks past the genin with a hmm before she shrugs and idly looks around, "Anything, Rikuto?"
Akiko tilts her head a bit. "Ping-san? Who's he? Or she? Or…" She frowns, wishing she knew this mysterious 'Ping' person. But wait, she has to focus on the mission. She shakes her head to try and concentrate. The Hayato glances to her falcon companion when Kotone points out a lithe figure sneaking on over. She frowns and nocks an arrow, ready to send one at the figure before its feet. "Who's there?" she calls out, not sure what or who is following after her team.
Breathing in slowly, Rikuto begins to hold his breath, twisting his fingers, slowly into an awkward hand seal, heat begins to radiate from the young Miira as if he was catching on fire. "Let me focus.." Once again he tries to feel for the smaller creatures, once again he couldn't sense them but he could feel something else, some new distraction.
With a snarl he turns around and begins to weave several signs with his fingers but then pauses, "Three second. That's what I'll give you before I melt the sand around you to glass." Rikuto doesn't seem to be looking at Mika but in their general direction, "One.."
A blink and Mika comes out quickly, holding up paw like hands before her, shaking them back and forth, "Hold! Hold!" She states in a small voice befitting her size. She stands on her hind legs easily, seeming a bit unlike Sora in nature but to these three it is easy to recognize a ferret, or at least a weasel, under all that bodysuit. She flicks her tail left and right and then states, "Sorry…I was…well…" She rubs a paw against hte back of her head, "I was looking for Tsuchi-Sama." SHe points at Tsuchi and then steps up closer and gives a deep bow, "I have come to request to work with you much like Sora-san does!" She declares and then stands up straight before nodding, "You must let me! I am Maki! The fifth daughter of the Chief of Ferrets! I demand you let me enter into contract with you!" She nods her head.
She then blinks a little and looks to Rikuto before looking to the side, "And if I may mention…you are simply feeling out the chakra." She nods her head, "You need to try to see it…and your lizards are that way." She points down the tunnel to the right, "I can just barely sense the creatures among a number of apes." She then glances at Rikuto, "Sorry…"
A grin as Akiko spots it, too, and then so does Rikuto. She blinks at the sight of the creature, tilting her head with a few blinks and then blinking some more as she reaches up to scratch her head. Her eyes going over the young ferret before she blushes just slightly and sighs before looking to Rikuto and Akiko and nodding, "Stand down you two." She nods her head, "I doubt we…need to kill the new arrival." SHe then looks down the tunnel and looks to Rikuto before looking to Maki before looking ot Rikuto again. She hmms and rubs her chin before nodding to Maki and gesturing for Rikuto and Akiko to lead the way, "After you two…then you." HSe points at Maki, "I'll pull up the rear."
"Eh?" is all Akiko can say in reaction to the ferret. She wasn't expecting to see another one, afterall. And then for the ferret to actually be seeking out Tsuchi… Wanting to form a contract with her sensei… "Got it!" she says, snapping to attention and lowering her bow. The arrow is no longer a threat to Maki. "It's nice to meet you, Maki-san~!" Akiko says cheerfully before looking down the road to where the newcomer pointed at. "That way, then? Well, that's useful!" She nods a bit and starts to head that way, making her way confidently (or stupidly) towards their destination. She grips her bow a bit tighter, knowing those apes are nearby.
Smoke trickles from Rikuto's nostrils lightly, quenching a flame he was working on forming. Shaking his head lightly, he begins to walk towards the cavern but then pauses. "Was there just you or was there also other, cousins we should wait on?" With the new member accounted for, the young Miira extends a hand out and begins to focus, trying to sense just where the lizards were. "..She's right. They're deep inside but.. I feel a lot of others, weak though.. less than the lizards. They're either taijutsu-ists, thugs or.. most of them are sleeping." Turning his view back to Tsuchi, he dips his head lightly. "Mind if I make a little noise once we see them?" As he posed his question, the teen was already on the move again.
A wide grin comes to her lips as she is standing before the group. She then nods to Tsuchi and moves up to behind Akiko and Rikuto, moving with them and she looks at Rikuto before looking ahead and then stating, "Umm, could those be the apes?" She hmms and peers at Tsuchi before looking forward and the nodding, "I mean, yes. Those are very likely the apes." She nods again before she starts along, idly touching a hand to one of her blades.
"She might have a point." Tsuchi nods to Maki and then looks to Rikuto, "What do you think? That fit with your ideas?" And even as tehy walk along she then states, "And if they are sleeping…and we are ninja…don't you think maybe we should go for the stealthy approach." Even as she says that she hushes the group and starts to move up on to the walls, being quiet as she moves along and peering at what is indeed a group of apes sleeping with a cage with two rattled lizards in it in the center of their den.
Akiko moves carefully as she starts to approach, Kotone staying back so as not to alert anyone by the scraping of claws against rock. Akiko's barely breathing, she's trying to be quiet. The girl mouths, 'Should we try and grab the cages?' at her teammates, pointing to the wind dragons with her bow. From the darkness, she can make out Kotone's eyes, which seem to be saying, 'You look ridiculous right now… Speak normally.'
Rikuto, rather stan step forward carelessly, he begins to fall back a short distance. With a light shake of his head, he motions towards Akiko and Tsuchi alike with his fingers..
With his fingers, Rikuto points to him before before he animates walking, tip toeing before overly dramatically animates falling before bringing his arms over his chest, forming an 'X' while shaking his head.
Pointing to Tsuchi, he animates walking again, but then also jerking his hand, moving it rapidly while tip toeing and giving her a 'thumbs up'. Though he made the suggestions, he looks towards Tsuchi, awaiting her orders.
Standing near the entrance of the Den, Maki slips up as silently as Akiko, peering in and then blinking over as Rikuto just ever so barely steps on one single rock. It wasn't a huge issue but that one rock cracked apart under his foot as he is pulling all his motions with X's and tip toing.
Unfortunately, this crack caused one ape to crack an eye open and then a screech as the large monkey rushes up and then all the others start to pop up, too. THey are all screeching and growling and immediately they begin flinging rocks at the group.
Tsuchi acks at this and immediatley steps forward and starts to try to block all the rocks before saying, "Akiko! You and Kotone use the ceiling to go for the cage! Rikuto, try not to hurt them too bad! They're just animals! Maki! You help Akiko!" SHe then rushes forward and tries to blast a wind across the floor and knocks some off their feet.
Akiko winces at the noise Rikuto makes, staying perfectly still before it's clear the apes have woken up. With a nod aat the orders, she springs into action, jumping up and using a bit of her cliff-climbing abilities to walk along the walls. She makes her way toward the cage, intent on picking up the cage right out of their hands. Or at least drop onto it if the reach proves too much for the girl to handle. "Kotone!" she cries out, the falcon springing to life at her name. She weaves in and out of the thrown rocks to meet the Hayato and help her friend pick up one of the cages. "Maki-san, grab the other cage!" she exclaims. "And let's get outta here!"
"Just my luck.. The faster the run, the more I can hold back." was shouted as the boy begins to weave several signs, before breathing out steadily. Almost instantly the boy's breath ignites and brightens the caverns, the flame snakes around many of the apes but it hardly singes the beasts fur as it moves along. Under the young Miira's guidance, the flames were just a distraction, trying to keep the creatures too fearful to approach Kotone, Akiko or the smallish? ferret that had recently joined the group moments before. "Focus on running, if any of them charge at you, just dodge, I'll draw their attention!"
Giving a thumbs up, Maki rushes up along the wall and after Akiko, trying to be helpful. She reaches the other cage and nods before frowning as she looks inside, "Aww…but I guess I'm not allowed to eat you." SHe gets a small puff of air blown in her face for her trouble by the wind dragon and she pouts before picking it up and running off with hte cage back in the direction of the entrance, "Lets go, lets go!" She yells as she moves along.
Even as Rikuto works at trying ot keep the monkies at bay, the yell out angrily about the theft and try to give chase, only for a few to be knocked off their feet by a blast of wind before Tsuchi looks to Rikuto as Akiko and Maki rush past them with cages in hand, "Time to go, Rikuto! Time to go!" She yells as she turns and sure enough, Rikuto can sense it but it is easily heard and seen. From holes all around, a whole mess of these apes are coming out of the wood work, screeching and howling as they give chase after the group that have taken their prizes, "We gotta go!"
Akiko flees the cavern, Kotone a few feet ahead of her as she dashes out. "Go go go~" Akiko manages to say breathlessly, but she's obviously happy the mission thus far is successful. "Maki-san, no eating the lizards! I'll get you some later. Or Kotone will… She's better at it than I am…" The girl takes a second to catch her breath and look back once the screams of the apes die down. Akiko is a bit tired after such a long sprint, and it seems even Kotone is tired. "So… Where do we have to get these things delivered to, now?" she asks, wishing she could plop into the sand and just rest…
Taking in a deep breath, Rikuto breaths out strongly, soon producing a clone forged from little more than air to charge into the caverns, acting as a decoy for a moment as the boy follows the others outwards. While he ran, his fingers continue to weave, spitting out a series of small orbs which grow in size, aiming at the walls and ceiling, not the apes, attempting to cause a cave in or a minor rockslide to delay the creatures.
It wouldn't be too much longer before the Miira would pick up his panting pace to keep up with the rest of the group. "I told you sneaking isn't something I'm good at.." was said as he tries to catch his breath, thankful that the group wasn't planning to run all the way back to the village just yet. "Don't we take them back to the village.. they can pick them up from there?"
A blink at Akiko and then Maki pouts as she looks at the lizard. Looks so tasty. She then would get outside and looks at the cage before offering it over to Tsuchi, "Well, that was fun!" She declares and nods and then clears her throat before shifting some and scuffing her toe against the sand, "So, yeah, I guess we can go ahead and go to Sunagakure…yeah?"
Tsuchi smiles at Akiko and Rikuto before nodding her head, "Good job to all three of you…but…" She looks to Rikuto and points at him, "We are going to need to work on your stealth as well as your sensing." She chuckles and then looks to Maki and frowns at her, "As for you…we'll be going to see your father before very long. Maybe I can sign a contract but I'm sure he's gonna want to know…" She nods and Maki sighs and lowers her head all sullen before they all start back to the village with their prizes.