Date: March 17-April 22, 2012
Another stop on Aburei and Raili's journey, another threat upon innocents to contend with.
"The Golden Stripe - Perilous Welcome"
Yuukoku Village [Land of Trees]
After staying a couple more days at the beekeeper village so that Raili could recuperate properly, she and Aburei hit the road again. They never did find out exactly who the weird bear-shaman guy was or why he'd been causing the attacks on the village's hives; he wasn't all there upstairs, and nobody could get anything coherent out of him. Just random bits about honey and fur and a golden stripe. Fortunately, a team of Konoha nin happened to pass through and took custody of him, so he's their problem now. n.n
Now Aburei and Raili are heading through the Land of Trees (what do you mean is that really on the way to the Neutral Medical Center of course it is >.>). "We'll be reaching Yuukoku Village soon," Aburei remarks as they trudge along. "Probably be a good place to stop for the night. I've been able to help them out a couple of times, so they'll probably welcome us." :)
Raili, who has over used her brain a bit too much lately, does not question the path they are taking. Mostly because she has no idae where the medical center really was and well, regardless the misadventures were entertaining enough to distract her from her original goal. She just skates along slowly behind of Aburei, nibbling on a grape for some reason as if it were their last bit of food.
The whole nibbling business just something to do as she thinks over a creation she was working on back in Kumogakure, "Hmmm…huh, wha?" Blinking a few times she returns to the real world as Aburei speaks, popping the grape into her mouth and chewing rapidly, "Yeah? Seems like the list of random villages you helped out may be a lot longer in your resume than I originally thought. Do they have really good food their, I could really go for something that's too delicious. Obscenely delicious or… maybe just salty. Salty might cut it. Unlike that grape. *Mumblemumble*"
It would be at this time that Raili realizes she was just blindly following behind of Aburei and time sorta slipped by. "Wait woah, was it always night? What the…"
Aburei chuckles. "Well, I am a neutral medic. Helping people is what I do. Although usually it's just softening the effects of minor epidemics, nothing as dramatic as what we went through back at that beekeeper village. 'Course, as it happens, Yuukoku Village has had its share of drama…" Aburei shrugs. "Anyhow, salty they can probably do. They're a hunting village mainly, so they've got plenty of jerky and the like. They've also got a decent market, thanks to the logging company. I dunno about obscenely delicious, but we can probably find a good restaurant there."
Pretty soon they reach the village, and…something seems to be a little off. There's nobody around out on the streets. c.c Sure this is a simple community without a great deal of nightlife, but there should be at least some folk out and about. But all the shops are closed, and very few lights have been left burning outdoors. For that matter, there aren't many lights visible within the houses. Getting close enough in the darkness, there appears a hint of why this might be: several buildings have received random damage, as though struck with huge blunt blows. "Why do we always seem to arrive just when there are problems?" Aburei muses. o.o;
Because that's how we write it, bard. ;)
Oh yeah, medics help people don't they? Most of what she sees of medics are helping themselves, tch, no more free medical patch ups back in Kumogakure for her 'silly little cuts' from her 'silly little inventions'. Raili looks at a little knick on the back of her hand that looks like it was scarring. A hateful stare she gives that old wound, until she actually thinks on the whole food part.
"Yesssss, jerky! That's exactly what I want right now." Raili claps her hands together, much more excited to come up to this village! Only… for all that excitement to suddenly be crushed. "…" Facepalming as Aburei questions their luck with village drama she looks between her fingers and scans the area out. "My life is a tragedy it looks like, I'm just dragging doom where I go. Whelp! We seems to be good at fixing things so far, hopefully this time it doesn't end up with me spending too much time in bed."
With a smirk she flicks her goggles down to do a little scan, "Unless you know, I'm just relaxing and not barely avoiding a coma."
Aburei sighs through his nose. "Well, hopefully the inn will still let us in. It's this way…" Aburei starts down the street. Before long, though, something gives him pause. Something large, inhuman, and coming this way. o.o; It's hard to make out in the darkness, just a boulder-like shadow against the backdrop of the village, dragging with it something heavy. Whatever it is, it's picking up its pace. Growling snuffles come from it, and it lifts the heavy object high. Then its charge briefly takes it through the light from a window. It's a huge badger, over eight feet tall, wearing battered samurai armor, and wielding a thick wooden club. The brief glimpse of its expression does not afford much hope that it is here to welcome travelers. ._.; "Any ideas?" Aburei queries hopefully, readying himself to evade.
Raili does not appear to pick up any normal life forms but, what she does get a big look at would be some guy with a terribly odd shape. Not necessarily obese but… -click click click- the settings on her goggles are changed a few more times until she eventually tilts her head, "What the…" So, you know, bears that managed to perfect like… one word, bothersome but, not mind blowing. Eight foot tall badger? Well, Raili's brain was momentarily shot.
"Right… giant." The blonde looks the badger up and down, "Bipedal… armor wearing," attention shifting to the club, "Club wielding…" The growls and terrifying look on the badger's face are also noted. "What do we do? They didn't teach you how to deal with this sorta situation back at home?" Raili looked honestly baffled with Aburei's lack of insight on the situation. Whether she was joking or not, she holds her ground slightly shifting forward to put herself between Aburei and the badger.
"Something you don't understand? Stare at it, listen to it, smell it…" Raili nods slowly, most of those already done, "Poke at it and taste it! Though this is one of those rare situations where we get the option to make use of the easiest method of understanding…" By now, with all of Raili's rambling the badger is probably too close for the two to be properly safe.
An excited grin crosses the girl, "Talk to it." Her right hand shoots up into the air, "Hail mighty badger… samurai warrior! I'm Raili and you are?" Her right hand extends as if actually expecting this thing to shake it, her smile unfaltering as it continues to close in for what may be 'the kill'.
Raili's theory that the badger is intelligent enough to speak is soon confirmed…although what he says doesn't seem to be in response per se. "YOOOOOOOLAAAAAYLIIIIIIAAAAA!!!" he roars, swinging the club high for an overhead smash as he draws near. Aburei catches another glimpse of the badger's face in the light, and notices a deep redness in his eyes. "It's berserk!" O.O; Against all his training and common sense, Aburei wraps his arms around Raili's midriff and tries to drag her away from the impending blow.
"Yoolaylii..-woah!" Raili is suddenly dragged away, the blow narrowly missing a few strands of the girl's straggling hair. "Quite a swing but, yes, berserk as you said! Probably not a good time to deal with this situation via talking, I'd think." Raili didn't want to attempt nuking the poor creature, "Are you a fan of dirt Rei?" Raili glances over her shoulder not really giving Aburei time to respond, grabbing onto his wrists and keeping his arms in place about her before they suddenly sink underground.
A bit of movement here and there and they eventually pop up a good distance behind the badger. "I would hope this thing didn't kill everyone, it may've also been trying to defend the area and is attacking every newcomer on sight, regardless. Medical man, you're up! Sedate it!"
Raili lets go of Aburei, not rubbing the back of her neck remembering him making mention of not being a ninja he might not have any magical sedation jutsu. "You… have something to calm it down, right?"
Phew, it worked! u.u And…probably just saved Raili-san's life. c.c; What kind of jounin needs a wandering medic to drag her away from danger!? >.<; "Don't scare me like that! And we're not out of — dirt? Whoa!" @.@ Aburei finds himself being whisked away underground. Okay, that's a lot more jounin-like. Aburei wishes there'd been time for some warning, though, or that he knew how far they were going. Do you have to hold your breath for this technique? c.c; Fortunately they resurface well before Aburei starts to panic.
The badger is busy pounding the ground with that club of his, as though trying to hammer straight through the earth to get at his targets. If they'd remained just beneath the surface, he might very well have been able to accomplish that. c.c; Aburei looks at the hulking form. "A beast that size, in a rage that powerful? I don't have anything nearly strong enough on hand. Wouldn't be easy administering it even if I did." Just then, the door to the nearest house slides open. "Psst! In here, quick!" hisses a voice from the dark doorway. Meanwhile, the badger finally stops pounding the earth, and straightens up a bit. He lifts his snout and snuffles at the air, then starts to turn his head…
"Terrifying to say the least, that could've been my face getting pounded in like that." Raili looks Aburei over to make sure he's all still together before nodding and running through new plans of attack and or escape but, not even before she could finish her first idiotic idea, someone calls out and grabs her attention. "Oh?" A new terrible idea is created, well terrible for a ninja:
To blindly follow some mysterious voice from the darkness without even a slight moment of scouting it out. "Sweet, people. Maybe you can bring things out into the clear." Raili slips right in, hand slipping about Aburei's wrist as she plans to drag him along at ninja speed into the doorway and quickly shutting the door behind her.
When everything was shut, there was a soft humming whir as her goggles activate and she tries to get an idea of what is going on around her.
Aburei glances over into the darkness on hearing the voice. c.c Unlike Raili, it doesn't occur to him to doubt the intentions of the speaker — after all, he has good relations with the people of this town — but he does hesitate to just jump blindly headlong into a pitch-black room with who-knows-what furniture lying ar — *YANKED* o.O; See, that's why Aburei wouldn't make a terribly good ninja, he worries about little things like tripping over footstools when that shouldn't matter in the face of a hulking beast of doom. Plus, y'know, having the killing intent of a fluffy white hamster.
Inside the house, Raili sees their rescuer through her fancy goggles as he carefully slides the door shut: a decently-built man of around thirty, wearing the garb of a hunter. He turns and places his hands on Aburei and Raili's shoulders, gently pushing them toward the back of the house. c.c; On the stairway nearby, a shaft of moonlight shows a woman clinging tightly to a pair of children with her hands clamped over their mouths. ;.; Aburei's throat tightens as he realizes the terrible risk the man is taking to —
The silhouette of the enormous badger darkens the rice-paper door. Time seizes in place as he stands with his snout in the air, seeking that which eluded him. Aburei starts to feel as though his head will burst from the blood throbbing in it, if his heart doesn't go firs —
It's actually not that loud a noise when the club snaps the flimsy door inward, but it might as well be the sound of a cannon to the inhabitants of the house. The woman screams, the children wail, and the man gives a strangled sob of despair. The berserk badger ducks through the portal, cocks his wrist for a sweeping blow, and —
— suddenly, is gone in a cloud of quickly-disappearing smoke.
Raili's head tilts to the side as she takes in all who are in the room, thank goodness they were prepared to run. That most likely meant that there were others that were used as a 'warning' or distraction. Her expression goes full out thoughtful as she begins to scan the area outside and around for more signs of life. But… that scan is cut short as the giant beast closes in on them.
Possibly being the only one with a cool head at the moment, Raili's entire demeanor becomes much more serious now that villagers were involved in this 'battle'. She takes a step in front of the door way just as the beast crashes through, a few quick seals are formed and her palms slam together. "That's enough of this!" Multiple pockets of her backpack rips open as robotic arms launch out, ready to grapple the beast's arm and club. As soon as they're about to close in the beast is suddenly gone.
"What the heck… was that a… oh, that was among the first of ideas but, heh."
Raili looks over to Aburei, "It seems like we may have a much bigger problem here than we did at the last village… if that wasn't obvious enough as is." With a sigh of relief, the arms are gone and she looks everyone over once more. "You guy alright? Did that thing get to anyone else?"
Aburei just stares at the spot where the badger was before it disappeared. Somehow, he'd froze up when the situation hit its most dire point…and a part of his brain is now screaming at him, WHY!?!? Sure he was scared, but that hadn't stopped him from pulling Raili away from danger before. Why hadn't he done something to fend the badger off? Better yet, why hadn't he rushed the woman and her children up the stairs while Raili did the jounin thing? So much for being a cool, dependable guy. So much for even being a proper medic. u.u
The man of the house manages to crawl up the stairs to his wife and kids and hug them tightly. After a minute of them consoling each other, he finds his voice. "Th-that thing…it's been roaming the streets at night for weeks now. Nobody knows how it gets here or what it wants. It just…looks for something to attack, calling out strange warcries and smashing anything it comes across. Nobody's been seriously hurt yet, but…" The man shivers. "A friend of mine saw its face under a lantern once. It looked crazed, he said, with red eyes beyond all reason…and for some reason the stripe on the middle of its forehead has a yellow tinge."
"The Golden Stripe, he is sometimes called," says a wizened voice. In the soft glow of a lantern, another badger, this one nearly as small as a normal badger but wearing an old-fashioned kimono, appears in the doorway. "I am deeply sorry for all the trouble that has visited this village," says the gray-furred badger, bowing deeply. "If you will permit me, I will tell you all I know of what has led to this."