Date: May 11-August 21, 2012
Raili comes up with a brilliant plan for infiltrating the Shinrin Nature Cult's forest sanctuary.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"The Golden Stripe - Infiltration"
Yuurin Forest [Land of Trees]
Okay, a new day has dawned. Actually it dawned quite a while ago, and most of the people involved in last night's excitement didn't quite get up with it due to having lost some sleep. Either that, or they couldn't get back to sleep. c.c Aburei is fortunately not a member of the latter, although he still didn't get as much rest as would've been ideal. He's been making preparations for a bit now, packing supplies and getting advice from the local hunters about where to look and what to watch out for.
A certain corner of Aburei's mind points out as he works that his actions aren't much in line with his profession. If he were a medical shinobi on a ninja team, it would make sense to accompany his unit into danger, even if not becoming a direct combatant if at all possible. Even as a neutral medic, he's trained in some self-defense, and he's been in situations before where he's supported combatants in defending something, but this is a case where he's going on an offensive mission to take something by force. What's gotten him into this, and why is the rest of him ignoring this perfectly rational discussion in favor of continuing what he's doing? >.<;
Short answer: Raili-san. Just feels like the right thing to do to go with her on this mission, kinda like that time helping out Mushi-neesan. The rational arguing part of Aburei's brain tries to define how that case was different, but the other parts pat him on the back and say, good answer. :) Speaking of Raili-san, Aburei goes to see how close she is to being ready to go…
While Aburei may have possible questioning thoughts on embarking in this mission…
Raili did not only was she not torn between randomly invading some people she never heard of, not a single thought on the matter occurred between the time Aburei mentioned sleep and now. Now to answer Aburei's question on how ready Raili was, she comes strolling out of her room just as he comes by, still in her sleeping attire, yawning up a storm and scratching behind her ear. "Maaaaaan they have some sweet beds. It like, ate my soul or something and I was all… naaah never gonna leave this bed." Raili slowly shakes her head and points her thumb to her chest.
She gives Aburei a somewhat sly, mostly tired, wink. "I made i-" She finally noticed how prepared the medic is, "Oh… wait what, we're going already?" Her eyes squint at the boy as if staring at him would fix the situation.
It doesn't. And so, without a another word being said, Raili casually backpedals back into her room and shuts the door.
Aburei blinks. "Um…well, whenever you're ready…" *CLACK* Ooookay. c.c The parts of Aburei's mind engage in internal debate again. What should we do now, just wait until she comes out on her own? Yeah, that'd probably be the nicest thing to do, says the caring part. But the local hunters said the trip into the forest could take a while, and it would be wise to spend as little time there as possible once it gets dark, points out the rational arguer. I thought you didn't want to go in the first place, remarks the confusion filter. I always strive for the best answer for the question at hand, retorts the arguer. :P Well who knows, maybe letting her rest longer will be more valuable, interjects the broad thinker. No, additional sleep after the body has completed a REM cycle is unlikely to reach deep sleep and is of poor value, reports the factual physician. Finally Aburei has the good sense to stop arguing with himself and ask Kami-sama what he should do. :P
"Raili-san? We should really get a move on." Aburei opens the door and walks in to drag Raili out of bed if necessary. :P
Aburei opens the door and finds a MASSIVE RAPIDLY SPINNING BALL OF…nothing. Nope nothing to see here and before he has time to be fully confused, Raili shouts out behind him and slaps him on the back, "HAH! Gotcha! Earth Clone." Raili wanders off laughing… much too loud and stiff for it to be real. Obviously just trying to annoy the boy as she gestures for him to follow. "So I got a map earlier today, not the greatest but, it's a start. Course… the map just leads us to them… doesn't really show us much. But you know, that's all good. I was thinking I'd sneak around and all that stuff but… then I got a BETTER idea."
Raili wasn't actually sure if he was following and/or even listening. So she turns around to make sure he's ready to hear her great idea. "So we're not going to just lurk in the bushes, too boring. Not enough threats to our lives because… well to be blunt, I'm pretty awesome at that thing." Raili gives an affirmative nod, obvious packing way too much energy for some reason. "Oh right, great idea! We stroll up to the dudes and go…"
A few hours later…
"We want to join." Raili's tact, was… not sound. No, she didn't care. A bunch of loons like these guys probably don't get much friends, and granted how awesome Raili and Aburei were, they couldn't say no… could they?
Oh, Kami-sama protect them. @.@ Aburei isn't sure going along with Raili's eccentric way of doing things is going to be such a good idea this time. c.c; Against rookie bandits, sure, even marauding bears wasn't too hairy, but a whole tribe of forest-dwelling nutjobs known for usage of poisons? Aburei isn't confident that even Raili-san's impressive skills can defend them both if they go in carelessly on this one. But Kami-sama tells Aburei to play along, so he does…though it doesn't decrease his anxiety that he can detect amusement in Kami-sama's voice. u.u;
When the pair arrives in the vicinity where the Shinrin Nature Cult is currently staying, they make a big show of jumping out from hiding in the bushes to surround them, whooping and shaking primitive weapons. They actually are pretty good at the whole woodcraft thing, though doubtless Raili was able to pick them out beforehand. It takes a moment for one of the sharper-eared ones to get the others to quiet down so he can lift his mask and talk to Raili. "What's that? You want to join us?"
The cultists glance at one another, non-plussed. Usually their numbers are swelled by outcasts who chanced upon them while fleeing through the woods, and join up because they haven't got any better options. This may be the first time since the founding of the cult that anybody specifically came out with the intent of becoming a member. c.c Also, they, um…don't see a lot of girls. 8| That alone is causing most of them to look on Raili as a prime candidate without noticing all the 'unnatural' gadgetry she carries.
"Wait!" One of them is actually looking closer at Aburei, stepping forward and lifting his mask. "This one looks familiar…" Oh shoot, maybe he saw Aburei during one of his earlier times in this area helping out the townsfolk. c.c; Is it that guy who summoned the giant bat while they were looking for medicinal herbs? Really hard to tell behind those masks, but he has about the same build, really hope Raili-san is ready to act if things go south here—"Now I remember! It was in…" Gulp. o.o; "…MY SPIRIT DREAM!!!" The cultists resume their whooping and weapon-shaking, though it seems to be in a more celebratory manner now. "Clearly the spirits have brought you to us! Come, we must mark you as part of the tribe!" The cultists start leading the way through the brush. Um, phase one successful? c.c
This was the complete package of Raili's plan most likely, she keeps quite quiet after her first set of words to the cult. Her eyes would simply swish back and forth, adding up and attempting to weigh those around her as best she could in case something /did/ go wrong. She is so quiet in fact that she doesn't respond when the first to lift his mask speaks up, she continues to look around until conveniently settling on the one staring Aburei down.
Raili mumbles, afraid that this man knowing Aburei would cause some issues… until, well he finishes. "Ah, ahah! You see I thought you /didn't/ know of him for a second. You see, the spirits told me to bring him here because… we're all linked together, through the trees and… anyway! We must hurry…" Raili's expression gets serious as she points off ahead, "The future can not wait! Our destiny is near!" Raili then starts to march ahead, expecting the cultists to either get out of the way or lead the way.
Hopefully the latter, she had no idea where she was going.
The cultists lead the trek through the deep forest. The surroundings become more and more oppressive as they walk, seemingly affected by some malevolent influence. It's a good thing the cultists know their way around, because there is an overabundance of spiky and poisonous flora and fauna about. Aburei is constantly matching up shapes of leaves with unpleasant symptoms in his mental catalog of medical knowledge, and scanning fervently for other plants which can serve as antidotes. c.c;
"Say, you're a ninja, aren't you?" remarks one of the cultists eventually. Uh-oh, suspicion mode active again. c.c "The spirits have been very good to us lately! Two ninja joining us in the same moon. At this rate, the Shinrin Tribe will be unbeatable!" Phew. u.u Say, what? "Um, so there was another ninja who joined recently?" Aburei queries. "Oh yes, Hoyuusha. You'll get to meet him soon probably, though he's not around just now. He's the one who brought us the Striped Lord! He says he'll teach us to summon him too when he has the time." n.n Hoo boy, that could be trouble. c.c But at least this shows they're on the right track. The cultist turns his attention back to Raili. "So, um, is it true they teach all lady ninja about seduction?" 83 "Hey, stop making moves on her, we should all get a fair shot!" >P "I'm just curious." :<
Raili was trying to keep her cool but, she could feel a few eyes on her the whole time. They weren't the suspicious eyes so she had no need to fear that, no, it was the creepy oogling eyes she could feel them piercing through the masks and it made her feel… amazing! She swears, every other step they make she's getting more and more attention. A slow gleeful smile would trickle onto her face as keeping it cool was starting to wear away.
Though a few set of words made it easy to cut back that smile a bit, would being a ninja be a problem. Raili looks over to the guy who points it out and then glances towards Aburei, wondering if they thought her companion was a ninja too. "Oh he can summon great beings? I'm embarrassed to say, I cannot do anything interesting like that." 'That's not good.' Raili starts to mumble something under her breath right as seduction was brought up.
"Oh, the art of seduction. Well yes but, ahah, I almost forgot about those lessons, I passed all of that with flying colors you know. Not that we had good teachers it's just, well look at me. You don't need skill to seduce with this package. Ahah…" Her head cranes back and her laughter gets infinitely more obnoxious, "AHAHAHAHAHA!" Not the most attractive laugh, did she really get seduction lessons.
"Maybe I can teach you boys a thing or two later. You know, so you don't get caught up in some harpy of a kunoichi's game later is all." Attention possibly getting to her head Raili would soon find herself gravitating to a few of the cultists that were a bit more fit than the rest, she had nothing else to go off of with those masks on anyway.
For a moment there, it passed through Aburei's mind to pretend he was already Raili-san's beau to protect her from too much harassment, but…yyyyeah, looks like she's not too worried about it herself. e.e; "I'll take that offer!" "Me too!" "Could I get some private lessons?" From the dirty looks some of the cultists are giving each other (somehow discernible even through the masks), maybe it's a good thing Aburei didn't put himself in that position; some of these guys might not think much of making an inconvenient new tribe member disappear. c.c;
Eventually the group comes to their destination, a big tree in the middle of the forest. Seriously, a BIG…TREE. About as big around as a city block. It looks unhealthy, but in a morbidly successful sort of way, like a man who has achieved all the carnal possessions he could possibly desire and has grown gruesomely obese indulging in them."The god of the forest welcomes the return of his children," the bat-shaman intones, and the other cultists wave their arms and bow to the tree.
Just then there is a savage roar from the direction of the tree, and a huge set of blunt claws shoots out from a small gap between the thick roots at the base of the tree. "Ah, the Striped Lord is eager today," chuckles the shaman as the claws gouge the bark. "Hoyuusha was right, being close with the god of the forest gives him boundless energy. He scarcely rests while in the sacred place, even after a night of punishing those who oppose nature's sway." >)
Well, that's another objective down: Mujina Hisenkou located. o.o And Aburei is pretty sure that whatever's causing his sustained berserk state is down there beneath the tree. Of course, that means they're probably going to have to go down there, into an enclosed space with an enraged giant badger, to collect samples for an antidote. Aburei hopes he'll find a minute alone with Raili-san to figure out their next move soon.