The Lowest Bidder


Akina, Keiji

Date: October 9, 2012


Keiji and Akina are dispatched to find a mission letter courier in the desert.

"The Lowest Bidder"

The Land of Wind

RP Room 05
This is a generic room for RP. A few ground rules:
If somebody was using this room before you entered, ask their permission to remain (or better yet, page before you even come in). Just to be 100% clear, if you aren't given such permission by all involved, LEAVE.
It's okay to do "sandbox" scenes here (what-if scenarios, changes of theme, etc.), but all rules of RP and player interaction still apply. Also, scenes not fitting the theme and history of the MUSH stay separate and have no effect on the main IC timeline.
Normal rules of combat apply here, with exceptions only as agreed to by all involved. Combat here CAN result in injury or death if the scene fits in the MUSH timeline (and if you don't specify before combat that the scene is outside the MUSH timeline, don't expect to be able to change it to such later!). Also, testing out the combat system or doing throw-away RP just for combat is prohibited here, same as everywhere else.

A courier failed to arrive at the Village Hidden in the Sand. He was not just an hour or two late, but two days late. The man was carrying a very sensitive letter from Forty Kyuusen involving something in terms of trade. There was a shinobi escort involved. They were local hires out of the neutral zone. It has been assigned to members of Sunagakure's Team Two to back track the foot steps of the route the courier would have taken and find out what happened to him. They are then to retrieve and escort the Courier if not his message back to the Village.
Despite the sun rising the mission had been assigned to himself and Akina. This was another emergency mobilization. Keiji knew that a lack of sleep would not be enough of a reason to have it reassigned elsewhere. That was fine by him. He would sleep well whenever he got there. Fortunately for the two of them, there had not been a sand storm in the past week. If they were able to use a little bit of speed, they would be able to solve this mission quickly and Keiji could get back to his little cave and to bed.
The young Chuunin follows the road while holding up a map. "I do not think they ever made it this far. If the courier had any form of decent shinobi security, there would at least be some signs of something diverting their path or signs of an attack. Then again given that we do not know how long ago they went missing, they may have never made it across the border. Your thoughts Akina?" he asks. He then hands Akina the map that had the route marked on it.
The sun seemed to glare down upon them as Keiji holds out the map towards her, handing it over for the girl to glance over. Lowering her head just a bit further under her hood, her dark eyes narrow subtly with thought as she looks over the map. "We need to find out what village or location he was last seen at. If he was a shinobi courier, then something drastic must have happened for him to have disappeared, but if not, then it could have been anything. Even the natural harsh environment of the desert." Akina gently shakes her head to herself. "But it would take a very skilled tracker to find anyone in the desert. With so much wind, any trail there could have been would have disappeared by now."
Listening to Akina, Keiji nods his head. "Very good. Since we were sent to track them, we are looking for small signs that something here may have happened. We will hit each village on the map until we find one that has spotted the courier. That will give us the range that we need to search." Something else was eating at Keiji though. When he had viewed the map there was a rather large gap between the last village and the hidden village. If for nothing else, it would be that range that they would have to search. Simply because that was the longest section of trail and would take the most time for a shinobi to search. Any patient shinobi that wanted to cover their tracks would have selected such an area. "The courier was not a shinobi. There was a shinobi guard though."
"If I had to plan an attack, I would have done so early after the last village. Chances are the courier would stop there for the night and rest. That would give an enemy team time to set up a diversion away from the road. Something to force them to take a secondary route. This would raise a flag with any other shinobi, but it cannot be helped if the diversion is good enough. Then as they are diverted to that secondary route, attack the courier and his team. While search parties are sent out, they would end up travelling that stretch of road immediately. Given the winds and everything else, it would be easy to hide the tracks. The desert is not exactly known for being an open historian." Keiji states as he continues to move. "We will find out how accurate I am soon. How would you do it?"
Akina is quick to pick up the pace to follow in Keiji's steps, silent and frown gently to herself under her mask with thought. "Wait, if the courier had a shinobi guard though, that would mean they were both ambushed. Because it is really doubtful they would both be lost, especially if it was with a Sunagakure shinobi who would know the land inside and out." Like Keiji pointed out, it was probably right after the village that the courier and his guard was taken out. "How would I ambush them? Probably separate the courier from its guard. If I was with a team, half would attack the shinobi to divide his attention while the other half abduct the courier."

Once more Keiji listens to Akina. "There is one problem. The shinobi were hired from the neutral zone, not Suna. I have no idea if they are even trained for Desert Survival. You never know what your hiring when you hire locals from Fort Kyuusen. In a village the prices of shinobi are set as a standard. In a free for all market like that, you really need to look for work history. Then again most shinobi do not keep that on a scroll in their bag. These guys probably tried to save a few ryo and hired the first group they could."
Keiji continued walking into the small village ahead of them. Everything seemed normal. People were out and about moving around for their daily tasks. Most seemed to be taking shelter under shop over hangs. Keiji selects a shop at the very end of the village. He approaches the story keeper and looks around at the goods. "Hello Mister. I am looking for someone. It would have been in the past three or four days. A man with some guards passing through the area. Have you seen anything?" The boy also reaches into his pocket and pulls out a few coins. Merchants were into making money. Now Keiji was making the information he possibly knew a valueable asset.
Akina blinks once at this new information. "Then it would not be difficult at all to separate them out in the desert, even by normal means." she murmurs softly. Pressing her lips together under her mask, the kunoichi turns her attention once more to the path they're on as they enter the edge of the tiny village, taking note of the people. Nothing seemed strange or out of the ordinary. Not even a twinge of fear. Could a group really have gone through here without stirring up any suspicion? Following Keiji into the farthest shop, Akina decides to hang back as she listens, watches.

The old man behind the shop looks to have seen some better days in his youth. The sandy environment made his skin like a thick leather. A thick leather with lots of wrinkles and a few scars. The old man seems to draw a blank until the coins are laid out. "Yeah, they came through here two nights ago. Stopped at the inn down the street. I didnt really see them leave the next morning, but they were not here when I opened up shop."
Keiji quickly thanked the man and nodded to Akina. "Ok Akina. On that map, find me any trails or caves near the road. These guys must have gotten diverted. It is likely that they would try to stay on some sort of a path or find a shelter that they could stage a defense from if attacked."
Akina frowns silently to herself beneath her mask, thinking over what they had just learned before Keiji turns back to her again. Oh right, the map. Pulling it out again she unrolls it between her fingers and holds it between them. "It looks like there is only a couple nearby, probably a maze of them connected northeast. Its very likely they might set up camp there."

There is a pause as Keiji thinks over the situation. "Aright, find me the road leading up to their. We are going to check that area for anything that could have been used as a diversion. A large stone or something." It was the or something part that troubled Keiji. They had walked the road and did not find much. Rocks came and went, but if it was something else they might not find it. If they could not find the next clue then he had to start pondering their next move. Would they go check random caves in the near vicinity or was it smarter to alert the village and send out another few teams in hopes of increasing their odds. Oh the burden of leadership.
Rolling up the scroll, Akina turns her head as if to nod in the direction of the front door. "We are on the other side of the village now, it should not be too far away from where we are now. But there would be plenty that is not marked actually on the map itself that we can use to our advantage if needed." Walking out the front door to emerge out onto the road once more, the kunoichi glances both sides of the worn path before turning eastwards again. Leaving the small village together, indeed they don't find much. Sand, rocks and lizards, and what animals there may have been wouldn't be out til dusk. "Hm… I wonder if they would have gone somewhere with water instead…"

"In order for that to work, they would have to have been diverted in the village and not on the trail." To Keiji it seemed like a long shot going to the other side of the village and hoping that they passed through that way. It was completely possible though. Maybe someone told them it was quicker. Misinformation to some rookie team looking to make a quick buck might work. "Well, we need to find some evidence before we go out searching random areas. If they had run out of water, they probably would have returned here to this village. Check around and see if someone can confirm which route they left the village on." Keiji states. He clicks the pincers on his hands together as he thinks over the subject. It was a tough one.

Akina turns her hooded head to glance at Keiji as she listens in silence for several moments. Look around. Yeah, that'll help. With a small nod the kunoichi turns away as she begins scanning the area, for anything. Any signs of life, disturbance in the sand, anything that may even have been moved by accident. Anything to pick up any sort of hint that what they were looking for may be in this direction, but such a search was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Keiji decides to look around as well. However he is looking for a person, not tracks. Unfortunately the alley seems to be pretty empty. "I think we should back track to the normal path and return to Sunagakure. We are going to need to launch a bigger search. Maybe even a Hayato or two. They can search through the sky. As long as it is day we will be able to cover more ground that way." Keiji then turns to leave. It seems there were no real obvious clues to go off of.
"Wait." Crouching near the ground, Akina narrows her dark eyes beneath her mask for a short moment before rising to her feet again, quick to move forward as she follows the slope of the dune. Carefully stepping downwards at an angle the kunoichi digs her feet into the sand to brace herself before kneeling again, pausing just long enough before calling over her shoulder, "Sensei, you should come look at this."

Though Keiji was ready to call it quits, he decides to indulge this last effort on Akina's part. He travels forward and looks down towards where she had braced herself. "A shoe…" It was a decent looking shoe. Now exactly the type some villager around here would have. "I am not sure how you spotted it, but I guess it is worth checking into. Worse case scenario we admit defeat anyhow." He then points down the road. "
Though Keiji was ready to call it quits, he decides to indulge this last effort on Akina's part. He travels forward and looks down towards where she had braced herself. "A shoe…" It was a decent looking shoe. Now exactly the type some villager around here would have. "I am not sure how you spotted it, but I guess it is worth checking into. Worse case scenario we admit defeat anyhow." He then points down the road. "Where does this road lead? Any caves or anything directly off of it?" he asks. There had to be something nearby. No way someone would go way out of their way to turn back south towards Sunagakure.
"Hm." Already Akina was pulling out the scroll again, unrolling the map of the area to hold it between them. She only glances over it a moment before her free hand points at a dot near where they stand. "Here. It is a deserted village. If I remember correctly this village sprung up during the war, wanderers that did not want to be caught in between feuding sides sold their wares here on the black market for huge profit before Sunagakure got wind of it. I think it only took a couple of arrests before people started steering clear of it and everyone else left because there was no money to be made after."

"Very well. That is our new destination." Keiji states. He leads Akina down the road towards the abandoned village. On their way to the village they find another shoe, partially buried in sand and few gold coins on the road. "Something tells me that these were not lost, but left behind. It makes no sense though. Why would they head this way?" he asks out loud. The boy then raises an arm to stop Akina as they approach the village. "There. You see that?" he asks pointing to a horse drawn cart. "That is what we are looking for."
Rolling up the scroll, Akina is quick to follow after Keiji as they trek towards the deserted village, easily finding another shoe and confirming they were on the right trail. And Keiji's musings, they were good points. Why would the courier head in this direction unless he was in some kind of distress. The arm snaps up and catches Akina in midstep, abruptly stopping her and forcing her attention up ahead of them, directly at the cart. "I see it." she murmurs lightly. No one should be here, so someone is obviously hiding out.

Keiji forms some seals and places a hand to the ground. His eyes close as he feels the vibrations through the earth. After a moment he opens his eyes. "There are four of them inside the building. They were not physically attacked by anyone either." Keiji then points at the cart. There was absolutely no damage to it. "We need to get inside there and figure out what happened. You ready for a possible fight?" he asks.
Four people, unwounded. That should be a good thing, right? Akina turns her head to give Keiji a sideways glance before nodding once. "'A shinobi must prepare before it is too late to.'" she quotes softly. A fight is always likely, but the kunoichi hopes that it doesn't end up that way. "Okay. What are your instructions, sensei."
"Considering that there are no attack marks we have to assume the shinobi guards have turned hostile for one reason or another. We knock them out. This will be a good chance for us to show how our training is better than that of common neutral zone rabble. We breach from below the floor. I will break through and you then throw your posion darts. Understood?"
Akina nods quickly. "Yes sensei." It doesn't sound too difficult. Kinda like a combo maneuver. And it would give them time to figure out what's going on. "Whenever you are ready." Breach through the floor, Keiji breaks through, then follow through with poison darts. Simple enough.
For a brief moment, Keiji considers how Akina has changed since she was assigned to his team. If he had made that same statement she would have corrected him and told him that they were senbon and not darts. Now she simply accepted that she knew what he was speaking of and went with it. It made him like her that much more. Though he did not want to tell her that he gave her that type of credit, he did make a mental note of it.
Keiji then sinks into the ground and travels to the under side of the hut. He can hear some light talking. The voices sound angry. He cannot determine what they are speaking of. That does not matter now. He looks towards Akina and counts to three on his fingers. Then he breaks through the floor boards lunging upwards into the room. While Akina dosed the shinobi, Keiji's main objective was to find and protect the courier.
Akina takes a small breath before places her hands flat against the soft ground, feeling herself sinking downwards to quickly follow after Keiji. Coming to a pause beneath the hut the dim light does nothing to hinder her keen eyesight as he counts off using his fingers. The moment he breaks through the floorboards, Akina jumps up just after, the poisoned senbon held between her fingers gripped just before she throws at the other targets.
The senbon strike each of the shinobi except for one. He seems pretty fast. He tries to make a bee line for the courier but Keiji appears infront of him. There is a quick succession of physical strikes that bring the man down to his knees. As the man's head comes up a pincered finger is shoved in his face. "Move again and death is all that you will wish for." Keiji then nods for Akina to poison him. It was easier to knock them out and then find out the truth.
Keiji then turns around and finds the courier tied to a chair. He unties the mouth gag first. "Bout time you all showed up. I could have been seriously hurt! They turned on me. They were going to ransom me off to my fa…" Keiji then decided the gag was better off in.
Akina snaps her eyes up at the shinobi she didn't catch off guard, his movements a hard dash straight at the courier just before Keiji cuts him off. Behind the mask her dusky eyes blink with some silent surprise as she watches. The threat in his voice… it was very real, and it stirred an unexpected flutter in her chest. The kunoichi shakes her head at herself for just a moment before stepping up, another poisoned senbon prepared in hand. It only takes one prick of the skin, one small slash at his neck and the shinobi is down for the count. Ah, the delicious affects of poison on the human neural network. Turning her head Akina watches as Keiji turns his attention to the courier, idly lifting a brow behind her mask when she hears the blurted words. Huh. So the shinobi he had hired had a change of heart. Go figure. The gag is promptly stuffed into his mouth and she couldn't help but smirk to herself with some amusement. "We better get him out of here before we decide to do the same thing."

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