Date: December 10, 2015
The search begins for the second half of Hige's missing family members. With information gained from the traitor there are clues that their sister is not as sinister but could be in deep trouble…
"The Missing Inuzuka - The Search Begins"
Notes would've gone out to a few folks within Konoha for a mission. What with the Raikage being there he would've received the request, and it was just that, though it was signed by Hige. Of course it was offered he could bring another Kumo shinobi along as well if desired. Kenji would be there as the Konoha part since in the end it was a Konoha mission. The request was official even if it was signed by Hige himself. Why he wasn't going…well, there's reasons.
The notices to Hiei and Kenji would include a short background and a picture. The picture was one of a female Inuzuka, early twenties, along with a yellow labrador ninken.
'My brother finally gave some information that my sister resisted his attempts to have her join him in his crusade against shinobi. In return he claims to have kept her under strict guard. She had been moved from the place he'd claimed she was being held on a standing order. The only thing those remaining there knew was that they had gone somewhere on the edge of the Land of Lightning. This is her. I request that you see if anyone recognizes her or her ninken and might know where she's located. There's a few villages that are the most likely places and are marked on the map. This is only an information gathering mission to determine a possible location. Anything further will wait for review.'
With that the request was made and the meeting time at the gates set for the team to meet. Kenji who doesn't have a choice, and Hiei with a companion if he would honor the request.
Standing at the front gate of Konoha is Hiei. He's dressed in a casual outfit today, a black form-fitting long sleeved t-shirt, a pair of dark blue pants, and his hair is unbound. In fact, he doesn't even look like a shinobi since he's not wearing his Kumo headband. However, there is a sword belted to his waist and positioned where it hangs in the small of his back. He's leaned against the gateway while studying the picture provided by Hige. Having been the man who brought Hige's brother to the Inuzuka clan, and having been the one to kill the man's ninken, he felt as if he owed this to Hige. He made a decision that he would find his sister and her partner, even if it meant that he would be away from Kumo for awhile.
A joint mission with Kumogakure, and not full of doujutsu users Much different from his last mission, though this one seemed more alliance oriented, being so close to the Land of Lightning. Kenji had never been to the Land of Lightning, though he had heard it was mostly rocks, cliffs, and high elevations, which didn't exactly make it enticing for him to visit on his weeks off. But this mission was from a jounin, albeit a snotnosed one, and held the Raikage in its ranks. Whether interesting or not, Kenji knew that he would at least remember to watch his tongue and follow the lead of the Raikage, assuming he was the team leader. Kenji couldn't picture anyone else in the party being the lead, unless the Hokage was also joining then.
Receiving the letter, Kenji made his preparations, packing some food for overnight travels, his gear, etc. Making sure to arrive right on him, the Uchiha saunters towards the man standing at the gate in casual clothing, nodding his head lower than he does to most. For now, the teen was silent as he waits for others to show.
Arashi looks towards the gate as he stretches some. He was still slightly feeling the effects of those water needles, but not enough for him to worry about it. He bounds off to reach the gates and waves to the ones here already as he finishes his stretches right outside the gate. "Alright. Anything extra I should know about this mission before we head off? Any plans for formation and such or we just bounding off to get it done, and is there anything I should be weary of?" He asked a few basic questions looking mostly at Hiei who was the obvious superior to him. "If not then I guess I will just follow your lead and do what I would normally." Well shouldn't be too hard of a mission with Hiei here at least.
Suzu has been on three non-D-Rank missions now. And they've all been way out of her league. She isn't certain why she keeps being assigned to such high-stakes missions with her pitiful abilities, or why she keeps agreeing to them. Well, beyond 'orders are orders'. The teenaged kunoichi knows she's totally out of her element on anything other than D-Ranks, but she needs the experience badly. Even so… After that last mission, a few days ago… All those deaths…
The level of violence and carnage, how disjointed everything was… It all made a serious impact on her. She's quiet when she shows up outside the gates of Konohagakure. She looks around at the others here, bowing her head to Kenji when she recognizes him, and then focusing on the two ninja she doesn't recognize. Based on Arashi's words, whoever he is, he isn't the one in charge… And Kenji is just a Genin like her, even though he's clearly far stronger (big surprise there. Seems like everyone is way stronger than Suzu)…
So that just leaves…
"Um, I mean no disrespect, but who are you exactly?" she asks of the white-haired, dark-skinned man. Hey, he isn't wearing a hita-ite! How's she supposed to know? Maybe they're escorting him, and he's just some villager that needs to build a bridge or something!
Suzu is wearing her usual outfit. A somewhat overly-snug blue top with the Uchiha Clan symbol on the back, and with black leather straps holding it closed in front. A mesh undershirt, shorts, sandals, wrist and arm wrappings, etc. etc. etc. Nothing fancy. Her own forehead protector is on her belt for some reason.
Ninja: Making bad fashion decisions since 1 A.F.
Hiei smiles at the other shinobi as they arrive and when Arashi asks his questions, Hiei shrugs his shoulders slightly. "I'm not the one you should be asking. Those questions are best suited for our mission leader." He pushes off the edge of the gate and walks over to Kenji, offering him the picture and the small note that Hige included. "As the most experienced Konoha shinobi, it's only fair that you lead us on this mission. Arashi and I place ourselves under your command, Uchiha-san." Once Suzu arrives and asks who he is, he flashes her a smile and nods. "Fair question, forgive my manners for not introducing myself. I'm Yotsuki Hiei, a Kumogakure Jounin." He motions to Arashi. "And he's Hizumu Arashi, also from Kumogakure." He bows slightly to the other Uchiha. "We are pleased to meet you both and look forward to working with you."
Kenji looks over to the Lightning shinobi asking the Raikage some questions about the mission. They were all good questions, but usually ones he likes to ask on the road to a far destination. And yet, they would get the answers sooner and be able to develop a plan on the road, so this works as well. Spotting Suzu arriving on the scene, Kenji briefly cracks a half-smile before nodding to Suzu in a silent greeting. At least the ratio of Leaf and Cloud were equal on this one. About to turn to Hiei, the Raikage walks over and hands him a note. Kenji looks it over and scrunches it up after reading, not looking amused. If it it one thing he hates, it is leading.
"I don't recommend myself as a leader, I am more of a lone wolf. But it seems like I am in a little bit of a bind." he says, noticing the Raikage not letting Suzu in on his real station within Kumo. Kenji briefly looks to Suzu, wondering just how much research of the modern shinobi world the girl has done, before shaking his head lightly. "We should move and talk, we have a long way ahead." he says, making sure everyone is ready before moving forward. "If Yotsuki-sama wants to lead the way to the location, I have not yet visited your land, and we can further discuss a plan without having to worry about being lost." he adds in there, almost ready to take off as a leader before remembering he has no freaking clue where they are going.
As they get ready and head out, Kenji recalls Arashi's questions, speaking up after they are on their way. "As for the formation of the group, I would expect those swords at Yotsuki-sama's belt to indicate he is the vanguard while I would prefer the back. My eyes are my strongest weapon. I don't have any information on you, Arashi-san, but Suzu should go in the middle from what I know."
Arashi looks between Kenji and Hiei for a moment nodding slightly. "Alright then. Kenji as new leader. I will give us a moment to get ready and take off and then tell you where my skills lie." He makes sure one last time to take count of what he has on him. Then as Suzu arrives he greets her shortly with a wave, but is quickly cut off by Hiei introducing him to her as well. "Nice to meet you." He then waits until they are to take off and follows suit. "Kenji. So you know I am a taijutsuist and all my skills usually involve ranged techniques. I have both lightning and water manipulation." He keeps the part about his clan affinity secret for reasons. "And feel I should be near the back or at least in the middle some as well for that very reason. Surely you agree?"
Aah! A Jounin!? Suzu puts her arms down straight at her sides and bows stiffly in return. "Yes, you too! I mean, I am Uchiha Suzu! Nice to meet you both! Please forgive my rudeness in not offering my own name first!" Then she straightens up and turns to Kenji. So Kenji is in charge after all! How foolish for her to assume that just because there's a Jounin here, the Jounin is in charge! That's foolish right???
She crowds up against Kenji a bit to get a look at the photograph. "Say! Say! Is this another tracking mission? Because I've been on three of those now, a C-Rank and two B-Ranks, I think. I think I'm getting the hang of it!" What she has learned so far is that tracking missions involved staying back and not getting in the way of others because she can't do anything. But it does sound impressive for one's ninja portfolio!
She's starting to get a bit more of her enegetic self back. Though she still strongly hopes this will be something a bit easier. If the Jounin has abdicated responsibility to a Genin, it might be a simple task, or a training mission of some kind. Or maybe they're observing how Kenji handles things to see if he's suitable for promotion!? Does that mean Suzu will also be getting judged on her performance!?!
She steps back from Kenji and clenches her fists in determination. She'll do her best! >_<
When she opens her eyes again, Kenji has already begun moving forward and is advising they talk while they walk. "Aah! Don't leave me behind! I'm coming!" O_O
She trots quickly to catch up, and when she is informed her place should probably be in the middle, almost moves to the spot without thinking. She only hesitates for a moment, before taking her place. "I've been training a lot lately, but I'm still probably the weakest one here. My strongest attack is a Fire Release invented by the great Uchiha Fuyu, former Uchiha Clan Head, and disciple of Uchiha Madara-sama. But it's one of her weaker techniques. I doubt it's anything the rest of you can't do a thousand times better…"
Sigh. She's always comparing herself to others. She knows she shouldn't. But she can't help it, when everyone else is so obviously superior! If only there were some way to close the gap quickly… Some way to gain a lot of power in a short period of time…
"We're going to the Land of Lightning?" she asks as Arashi discusses his own placement in the group, and reveals his skills. Kumogakure and Konohagakure must have really good political relationships if they're willing to share secrets and capabilities the way they all are. "Glad I brought my camping gear." She pats the backpack she's wearing one-handed.
Carry on my wayward son…or something like that. Ahem. The shinobi travel and, well, the trip to the Land of Lightning border is not exactly a short one. In fact, with a freshly minted Genin along it might be even a little longer. One thing is for certain: it's going to take more than one day. Which means at some point the group will need to set up camp! Luckily most of that was planned out and the group would find an inn at a half way point that was pre-paid and everything. Food, rooms, strictly no sake for the Raikage…
After a good nights rest the first village would be only another few hours ahead, just on the Fire side of the border.
Hiei replies to Kenji when asked to lead the way to the LoL. "As you command." Coming from a military village like Kumo, following orders is just as comfortable to him as giving them. He begins to walk in the direction of the Land of Lightning. He informs Kenji. "I am well versed in both taijutsu and kenjutsu as well as lightning and fire jutsu. I can function in any role you deem necessary, Kenji-Taichou." As he listens to Suzu talk about her jutsu, he flashes the kunoichi a smile. "You shouldn't have such a low opinon of yourself Suzu. Place your faith in your training and your abilities and they will never fail you. Not when it really counts." He sounds as if he speaks from experience. As they travel, Hiei wonders if he should have brought Snake Eyes along. He usually goes everywhere on the warhorse, but since he would have been the only one with a steed, and he knows how much the leaf shinobi like to run or walk everywhere they go, he does as the natives do this time. He keeps a brisk pace throughout the trip, apparently not even tiring once they reach the inn. After a hot meal and a good night's rest, they are back on the road again early in the morning. As they pass through this particular area, Hiei smiles to himself. This was the part of the Land of Fire that was visible from the plateau in the Land of Lightning. He'd recognize it anywhere, since he's painted it about a dozen times since he was a kid. As they walk, he takes a strip of cloth out of the backpack that he carries and uses it to tie his long hair back into a loose ponytail. Should anyone notice, the sigil of the Iga clan is on the cloth itself.
"Yes, that is fine, ninjutsu and ranged taijutsu fit within the middle of the formation. If I have to throw a few flames, I will be sure to try to avoid you." Kenji says to Arashi as they move, listening to Suzu compare herself to others, feeling like she was somewhat belittle her own abilities. Kenji was used to it by now, people downplaying themselves around others. It was rare to find someone as blunt as he was, remembering the look on a few Jounin's faces in the past when he would blatantly state that he was not to be counted on for various tasks due to lack of training in such areas but sufficient in various others. Getting the titles from the Raikage himself was a bit more awkward than he thought it would be, though he almost wondered, deep down, if it was some kind of sarcasm.
"A rough diamond shape formation with Yotsuki-sama up front, myself at the back, Suzu and Arashi-san in the middle on each side. As we are tracking down a location and person, I sure hope that the Inuzuka picked at least one tracker?" he asks as an open question for the group to answer before they arrived at their stop, settling down for the night and organizing tracking obstacles within the group before bed.
Kenji wakes up earlier than most in the morning, perhaps the unneeded stress of leadership of a group keeping his overactive mind up thinking up plans and strategies, or perhaps it was just difficulty sleeping. Either way, he was ready and packed as others prepped, the group leaving the room and area behind to head towards their first village. He passes out the picture of the woman and her dog one more time to the group as they approach the outskirts of the village, mostly expansive farmlands to walk through before they get to the village proper.
Arashi wouldn't say much as of now. He preferred to just follow what the leader for this mission had to say. So besides a nod and a wave of his hand every so often to the words from both Hiei or Kenji he would stay to himself. Upon falling asleep in this inn like most days he doesn't stay asleep for long via the nightmares he tends to have happen. They have happened less then normal recently, but being in a random inn didn't help with it. So once he had awoken he would just read a book while he waited for morning to come around. Which also meant most of his own stuff was already together and ready when others got up unless they had similar mid night wakings. Paying mind to Kenji's words from the other day he stood on one side for the diamon shape formation. "Alright. This shouldn't be too challenging. Though I have no perceptive skills besides my natural senses."
Words of encouragement! Well, how can she keep feeling down when a Jounin is supporting her!? Even if he's from a different country, that still counts! She beams a smile back and says, "As you say, Yotsuki-sama! I'll keep doing my best!" Her enthusiasm lasts the first bajillion miles, but eventually, her energy somewhat abates. Especially when she learns it's another tracking mission. Because she's just SO GOOD AT THOSE. "I, um… I know how to stay back and not rush in when following someone!"
That's… That's about it. She moves in formation with the others the rest of the way.
Long trip is long. A few days ago, Suzu was amazed at getting to visit Fuuma Alley, as that as the furthest she'd ever been from the Hidden Leaf. Now here she is, heading to another Great Shinobi Nation. So much for a low-key mission! Though if all it involves is walking, then that might indeed be much easier than the previous ones. She's glad to be off her feat and stay at an inn when the time comes, sleeping a bit too heavily for a ninja, since she may require prodding to wake up in the morning. She's still groggy, and forgets to properly close up her straps for the first fifteen minutes before the increasing chill gets to her. They may still be in the Land of Fire, but with the season as it is, and the proximity to the Land of Lightning…
Moving forward, wrapped in a warm white and red mantle of sorts, Suzu squints at the picture as it is passed to her. "We're tracking an Inuzuka? Weird how there's no Inuzuka tracking her." Not that she doesn't care about the well-being of a member of the Village, but she isn't QUITE as fond of other Clans as she is her own. But that's as organizations. There's not a single person in any Clan, even the Senju, she would actually wish harm upon.
"…Why would this Inuzuka be in the Land of Lightning, anyway? Who is she?"
The village was a small one, a community of only a few hundred people really. The chances of finding the Inuzuka there was rather slim, but the chance that she'd passed through was much more likely. The village, though small, did have a fairly touristy type feel since so many people did pass through it. This means that there's a whole square full of vendors and shops with just as many people to boot. The only tracking the team needed to do was via question asking, so as long as they could speak and had eyes it shouldn't be /too/ difficult, right?
Hiei replies to Suzu and also provides a little history to Kenji. "Because of Inuzuka Osamu. He led a team of shinobi rejects gathered from all of the great nations. Missing-nin, runaways, orphans. He drew them all to his cause, which was to destroy the shinobi in the Land of Lightning. I led a team to the fortress where he was holed up and captured him. Unfortunately, I was forced to kill his ninken partner during the battle. This was after his group decimated part of Kumogakure. There were a lot of casualties. However, instead of killing him, I brought him to Konohagakure to face judgement from the very clan that he hated. He is Hige's brother..or rather he was. Taiki has probably killed him by now for treason." He frowns slightly. "We are here for Inuzuka Kamiko. Who apparently did not share her brother's desire to burn all things shinobi. That's who we are tasked to find."
Once they enter the village, Hiei closes his eyes and breathes deeply, stretching out his senses in order to see if anyone was using chakra, which would point them in the direction of someone with shinobi level chakra. He then comments, "Kenji-Taichou, may I make a suggestion? Perhaps we should begin by asking some of these vendors if they've ever seen the girl. Show her picture around a little?"
Kenji tended to avoid backstories of people he may have to kill, less association, less bias or any chance of emotions. Once the target was brought up, he made sure to perk his ear up in case there was any pertinent information. Afterwards, it seemed to Kenji like they wouldn't have to kill this person, so he wasn't too worried about thinking about it. As they enter the village, Kenji flips the hood on his jacket up and activates the crimson eyes of his clan to be on alert. To Hiei's suggestion, Kenji nods, holding the picture out to Suzu, the warm and bubbly seeming one. People couldn't resist warm and bubbly and a girl that wasn't hard on the eyes, so the logical choice was to get her to ask them, and if that didn't work and the perceptive ones in the group felt like the vendors were holding things back, they would beat them up later in a back alley. "Lets go ask."
Arashi frowned slightly at the talk of all the past situations. He remembered that Kaguya he fought which surely would be easier to beat now, but that guy was a pain to deal with. "Alright sounds like a plan." He begins to look around some as they approach the area where they seem to plan to ask questions and such. He for the most part agreeed with Kenji's idea of giving the picture to Suzu to ask. He himself would surely feel more inclined to answer Suzu then to answer someone like Hiei if he hadn't known him as his Raikage. "Anything besides the girl herself we should be looking for?"
That's quite a heavy tale to tell. "Ah… I'm… Sorry that happened." What else can she say? Sounds like a lot of people suffered because of a member of a Clan from her Village. Though the fact that they're out to save someone who was opposed to those same actions shows that maybe Kumogakure doesn't hold Konohagakure responsible for the actions of a missing-nin. Even if they kind of are responsible for not tracking him down and bringing this Osamu in before he could act.
She had no idea. Sure she's probably heard THINGS. Big news, and the like. But overprotective parents have a way of keeping their child sheltered from the harshness of the world. Even if that means ignorance of how others live and die. Holding the photograph, she starts walking around, trying to avoid being distracted by all the food and merchandise, but her obvious and legitimate interest in the shop keepers' wares possibly helping to 'sell' her trustworthiness.
"Ohhh! Pork buns! I could go for one of those! Aah!? Half off just for me!?! Really??? Wow, thank you! Oh, also, I'm looking for a lady and her dog. Have you maybe seen them come through here? This is a picture of them!"
"Ahh… I don't know… I guess I could use a new sweater. E-eeh? You think this design would look good on me? Do you have any in my, you know, size? Really!? Great! I'll take one! Also, I'm looking for someone. A lady and her dog. Have you seen them around, or maybe passing through?"
And so on and so forth. By the end of it, Suzu is laden with food, a green turtle neck sweater, a canteen with a cute cat design on it, and all the information people were willing to offer to a cheery Uchiha girl who will buy their stuff.
There aren't any exceptionally strong chakra signatures within the village. There are a few which would be above a citizen, but no more than Genin level. Said Genin are actually in the square and…it's a group of young kunoichi chittering over some jewelry as they try different things on and giggle a lot.
The various vendors and shopkeeps would be only too happy to sell the bubbly Suzu their wares as well as give over any information they might have. In the end she would be able to piece together that the girl and dog had been seen under the watchful eyes of a group of men. It had been said she was a criminal and had been kept chain in the back of a covered wagon along with the dog. They had only gotten out to sleep the night guarded in the inn and left the next morning. That had been almost a week ago…
While the cheerful girl gathers information Hiei would notice that after a time there were a few people taking an interest in her, and likely not the good kind. They were decent at following her and not looking like it, but the Raikage would see through that well enough. When Suzu returns to the others the three that had gathered to watch her whisper amongst each other before moving off in different directions.
While Suzu gets information from the vendors, Hiei can't help but smile. She's good at it. So good in fact, that she even puts him in a good mood…not that he was in a bad mood to begin with. However he feels a little bad that she's spending her own money to further their cause. So when she returns to the group finally he slips some extra ryo in her money bag, hopefully without her noticing. But before that happens, he notices the group of men taking an interest in the bubbly Uchiha and he lightly taps both Arashi and Kenji, indicating the group with a slight nod of his chin as he speaks in low tones. "I've noticed that group watching Suzu with too much attention for it to be a casual thing. Reading their body language, I can tell that it's not just them admiring her…assets. Something is amiss." He frowns again as he looks around. "I sense a few chakra signatures, but nothing above Genin level."
The plan seems to work, with the sheltered young Uchiha teen getting all the information and the looks, some less than desirable. The information doesn't bode well for the group tho, with the sightings of the woman being over a week ago. Kenji sighs, running his fingers through his hair. Hiei is the one to point out the men, who Kenji had just assumed liked the assets on Suzu, could possibly be leads to where the Inuzuka woman went. "I would suggest splitting up and following, but I don't think anyone has any kind of keen perception other than you, Yotsuki-sama. Our information points to our target leaving the village over a week ago. Hanging around here may not be worth our time. Regardless, if those men are connected, it is worth getting at least one of them in a dark alley and prying the information out. Shall we?"
Arashi looks at Suzu as she does her thing. She seemed to be a natural at this thing. It didn't take long for her to return, and as she did Hiei had tapped him on his shoulder. He looked over at the people who obviously watching her more like they were planning bad things rather then for their own entertainment. "Yeah. I have nothing but my eyes, so I could follow if they don't use any trickery. Otherwise sticking together and….getting information from them sounds like a useful thing for us to do." He glances at the other men indirectly. Luckily it seemed that they only were about the strength of genin.
Suzu returns to the group, oblivious to being watched, and equally oblivious to some ryo being put in her cat-shaped wallet by an ultra-generous and compassionate ninja. She raises a couple large bags and says, "I have food for everyone! Some hot soup, and some takoyaki, and some steamed pork buns! Wait, more importantly I also found out some information! A lady matching the description of Inuzuka Kamiko-san was being escorted by some grimy looking guys who were keeping her chained up in the back of a wagon, and guarding her and stuff. They said she was a criminal! And that her dog was ALSO A CRIMINAL! They moved on about a week ago, only staying here over night and leaving the next morning. No one messed with the guards, so I don't think they know where these guys were taking her."
When people start tapping each other and discussing her being watched, Suzu is still smiling brightly, but cluelessly. "Huh?" Naive though she may be, she isn't stupid by any means. The stupidest Uchiha is still on the level of an average person, and Suzu is significantly beyond that. So when she's informed people have been watching her, she doesn't turn to look at them. After all, if they're watching her, and thinking she doesn't know about them, looking right at them would be a tip-off that they'd been spotted.
She had blushed a bit at the discussion of 'assets', but she pushes that aside in favor of being a PROFESSIONAL NINJA. "So, um. You three are probably much more capable than me. Maybe I should find somewhere nice and public to sit down where you can easily find me when you're done… And so incase anyone else comes around spying you can spot them as well."
Also because she has all this hot food and she doesn't want it to go to waste.
If ordered otherwise, she'll have no choice but to obey, but she doubts she'll be of much use in an interrogation unless they expect her to wheedle information out of this dude the same way she did the shop keepers.
Eenie meenie miney mo…Of the three the shinobi choose to follow one. The middle aged man moves at a fast walk, glancing back nervously as if he suspects he might be being followed. But there's so many people in the square that he can't really tell. He ends up ducking down an alley way he seemed to be going for. A second later nearly twenty birds take flight from the alley, each of them seeming to tiny slips of paper wrapped around a leg as they all start flying in different directions…Whenever the shinobi make the last building to the alley they would see the man walking away quickly down the alley. A semi-hidden makeshift bird cage was open behind him.
Hiei accepts the food from Suzu with a gracious expression. And then promptly inhales it like he hasn't eaten in a week. However as they follow the group of men, Hiei suggests. "I'm thinking that we might not want to cause a commotion here and blow our cover. So as much as it pains me to say it..I think a genjutsu is probably the best way to go here. Since they took such an interest in Suzu, I was going to suggest that we use her for bait to draw them out of hiding, perhaps take more than one…but this is probably for the best." He looks at Kenji and Suzu. "That falls within the realm of the Uchiha. Though Arashi and I can hide nearby and support you should something go wrong."
Kenji listens to Hiei's plan carefully, weighing options and the like. "I was just going to catch him in a quiet alley but genjutsu can work, if it doesn't destroy his weak mind. I will only offer Suzu as bait if she wishes to volunteer, though." he says, turning to Suzu as they continue to go after the man, spotting him heading down an alley next to a make-shift bird cage. As they continue to follow, Kenji eyes the birdcage they go past. "I wonder if he has already sent out a signal."
Arashi looks at everyone here. "Well. I agree that she can be bait if she agrees to it, but also Suzu. I don't think you should be left alone at all. If they jumped you all together while we went after one you would be in a bad situation, so this way at least we can keep an eye on you and make sure you don't get caught off guard." He frowns as he looks at the birdcage. "So…. I will follow your leads."
Suzu is, of course, amazed at how quickly Hiei eats. Even SHE doesn't pack it away that quickly, and she eats loads of food! Even if it all seems to go to just one region, never towards building muscle. Maybe it's her diet. As people discuss a course of action while they walk, and birds go flying up out of the alley, Suzu frowns slightly in thought.
On Suzu's very first non-D-Rank mission, she volunteered to be bait for a poacher by using Henge no Jutsu to disguise herself as a panther in a trap. It turned out to not be necessary, and Uchiha Kurome used Genjutsu to stop the poacher. BNow here they are on her fourth tracking mission, and the topic of her being bait is brought up, but it might not be necessary because of Genjutsu. And Kenji is even on the team, just like the other mission.
FULL CIRCLE! YEAH!! </AdventureTime>
The point made about not being alone is a good one. "Ah… Yeah." Because she's the weakest one here! She remembers now! "Hehe… I'll follow your lead then! But if you think your Genjutsu is too strong and might cause permanent injury or wreck our information source, I'll do whatever I can." Maybe that's the secret to being useful. Do only what you can, rather than pushing beyond your limits. "Also, is it just me, or did all those birds have something tied to their legs?" She's not the one with the Sharingan, but she's pretty sure even her mundane Uchiha eyes are powerful enough to spot the flashes of white in that many birds at THIS distance. When they come across a bird cage, it seems clear that… "I don't think that guy just disturbed the birds. I think he had them ready in advance. Whatever they were hoping to find out by watching me, I'd guess the information was just sent out to a lot of people. Or maybe just one, and the others are decoys." See? She has a perfectl good brain in there!
"It better not be my measurements or something creepy like that…" she mutters under her breath and chomps down on a stick of takoyaki while scanning for signs of their target.
The other two had gone in different directions as well meaning that the group was only following this one man. When he reaches the end of the alley he turns to another side alley, still walking at a brisk pace though he doesn't look over his shoulder. Apparently he doesn't want to see if anyone is following. He's scurred!
Hiei falls a few steps behind as they continue to give chase to the middle aged man. Like the others, he was suspicious of all of the birds leaving as well. And since Suzu happened to catch that they all had messages attached to them, his first thought was to zap every single one of them to prevent them from reaching their targets, but that would draw too much attention, so he just files the information away for now. He notices how the man moves at a brisk pace, but he comments, "Beware of traps."
Kenji picks up the pace as Hiei does. Without making eye contact by not looking back at them, Kenji would have to either catch up to the man and land in front of him or wait for the second the man actually checks behind him to make eye contact. "This won't work without bait, it is just becoming a brisk walking chase through the back alleys of the village." he mutters to himself and those around. "We need to use the fact that he isn't looking and pounce. Arashi, you said you had some fancy ranged moves, right?"
Arashi looks at the man they are following and glances between Hiei and Kenji. "Lets see. I do have some pretty fance ranged moves, but I do have something I can do. They can't go really far from me yet, but I can make water clones. Probably at least two of them. Then if I can use the clones to tackle him I could probably trap him against the ground. Maybe even use the clones to turn him around right into your genjutsu?" He looks at Kenji to see what his reaction to that idea is. If it was a favourable reaction then he would do just that. He gets some roon before spitting enough water from his mouth to form two clones. His aim was to have both clones grab him and then explode into pure water to hold him down against the ground and in place.
She feels like now is the point in time to keep her mouth shut and follow the others. But one tiny thing comes to mind. "Um, a friend of mine, Daichi, mentioned a technique for walking up trees. I assume it would also work on walls. If we're out of sight in these back alleys… Do any of you know how to do that? While we follow this one guy, the other two may be getting away. It might be more efficient if only one or two people follow him, and the others take to the rooftops to get a 'bird's eye view' of the place. So to speak."
She takes the time to mold some Chakra. She's right about to suggest that some Clones affected by the Transformation Technique could even make it seem like all four of them are still back here incase someone tries to follow them while following Mr. Birds.
But it appears Arashi can make Clones out of WATER. Suzu can't compete with that! But yes, that idea someone might be following them in turn had occurred to her. If they can follow someone who was following her, someone else might be following or spying on them. They'd probably have to be very skilled for a Jounin not to notice the sensation of being watched and the others to not sense or spot unusual Chakras in the area, but there were a bunch of Genin-level kunoichi, weren't there? If they weren't as innocent as they seemed to be, they could be spying from a distance! Did anyone even check to see if they were being tracked by giggly young women!?
Auuuugh, this is getting her all paranoid!
…Hey, the former Clan Head was paranoid too, wasn't she? One step closer to becoming like her heroes~!
But more importantly…!
"Let me know if there's anything I can do. Otherwise I'll just try to act convincingly unaware of what's going on!" She then slurps up some ramen from the bowl that has appeared in her hands. Quietly.
The poor alley walker had no chance and has zero idea of what hit him. All he knows is that someone water is pinning him and as much as he tries to flail nothing really happens. "Lemme go I didn't do nothin'!" the man cries out, sounding afraid beyond all belief.
And then it happened. The gigglers return. The man shouting had given them the location after they'd seen the birds take off and they quickly surround the shinobi, two in front and two in back. "Who are you?" One of the kunoichi asks, no longer giggling (for the record).
Hiei watches as Arashi captures the man with his jutsu. He gives Arashi an impressed expression and nods once before moving to walk towards him..that is until they are surrounded by kunoichi. Now..this appears to be an image from one of Hiei's dreams..one of the really good ones. However, the intent coming off the girls make him smile nonetheless. He's also kind of happy that they don't recognize him as the Raikage. It kind of sucks to be famous sometimes, especially when you're a friggin ninja. "We're the ones looking for Inuzuka Kamiko." He steps closer to one to show her the pic. "Perhaps you can help us find out where she went to after she left this village?" He leaves the others to talk to the man they captured for now.
Kenji looks to Arashi and nods his head, "Do it." he says, turning to Hiei quickly. "Hop up on the rooftops just to make sure no company is coming, Yotsuki-sama. Those birds could've been a call for help, or to relay information, and if it is option A, we could be followed ourselves. I will need a few moments to 'prep' him for a good information gathering mindset." he says to the Raikage. With the set up ready, and as Arashi begins his attack, he moulds some of his own chakra.
About ready to move to the man, Kenji is stopped by the giggling girls from before. He removes his hood slowly as they ask who he was. As he lifts his head up to show them his face, his sharingan locks onto their eyes and, within moments (if the illusion takes hold), the girls in front would seemingly forget how to breathe. "Someone you don't want to get in the way of." he says, a tinge of annoyance in his voice.
Of course this was another one of Kenji's vivid dreams, of the way he wanted things to go. For now, as the Raikage starts talking to the kunoichi, Kenji remains hooded and annoyed that his plan was foiled one step early.
Arashi was successful and looked over at the man. He was about to move closer so he could put less chakra into the water for the same strength, but sadly they were surrounded by kunoichi. He let Hiei speak as he was a much more obvious person to look at standing nearly a foot and a half taller then Arashi. "Hiei. Are you sure that these people are not with him." Of course he whispered that to him before readying his chakra. If he needed to he would quickly react and launch his attacks to these few. Though they might be quick.
Holy dogs, Suzu's paranoia was actually justified!? Clearly following in Uchiha Fuyu's footsteps is paying off! MORE PARANOIA FOR EVERYONE. Except that Hiei has already explained who they are and what they're doing here. Honesty is good too!
The large bowl of ramen is now empty, its contents having vanished into Suzu's belly. She puts the bowl back in the bag, because she doesn't litter, and remains in the background, allowing the others to deal with this. Though it seems like the guy they were following was just some guy, and they could have taken him out a lot easier.
She is also guessing at this point that these girls did not receive her measurements, because they don't appear to be interested in making her a dress or anything. "Also, we are totally not bad and are good people incase that influences your judgment towards being cooperative and friendly!" Suzu supplies helpfully before stuffing her face with one of the three remaining pork buns and watching those surrounding them calmly but alertly for any sign of sudden movements.
The girls seem unimpressed with the group of Konoha and Kumo shinobi, the one that had spoken just frowning in a rather unflattering manner. "She isn't any of your concern shinobi. Leave now and don't ever come back to this village again. Don't even think of asking about that Inuzuka anymore. This is your only warning." The kunoichi all reach up their shirts and…pull out a seal. Really they pull it free of their stomachs and in so doing their suppressed chakra starts to show through. They are stronger than they appeared. Exceeeeept that one back there. She probably didn't really need the seal…
Hiei blinks as the girls remove the seals and they are much, much stronger than the group originally thought. Now this /really/ is like one of his dreams where he fights a bunch of kunoichi and then afterwards they all..ahem..well nevermind that. Lightning sparks along Hiei's skin as he prepares his body for combat, but his attention is on the girl in front of him. "Well, I guess that settles things then." He takes the pic and passes it off to Suzu. "I guess the fact that we're friendly doesn't matter. Time for hostile negotiations." And then suddenly he's not there any more. The only evidence of his movement is the gust of wind that he leaves in his wake as he moves to punch the girl in front of him dead in the face. "Kenji-Taichou…are we taking prisoners or may I do as I please?" He asks as his body returns to the exact spot it was only seconds before.
Kenji figures this was going to go south quickly, as the girls were clearly not there out of curiosity after arriving just after they had trapped the man. Kenji may get to live out that vivid dream of his after all, though this time only focusing his attack on one of the girls in the back. He lifts his hood back and reveals his Sharingan, locking eyes with the girl momentarily before she would be assaulted by a genjutsu, this one causing her to claw at her throat in an attempt to breathe, if the illusion takes hold. During this time that she would take to break the illusion or claw at her throat, Kenji's hands would be moving through a series of handseals before he lifts a tiger seal to his mouth and exhales a large fireball towards her.
Arashi knew this would not go over super well. He knew that it would probably be best to try and capture them. Quickly after all of the females on the roofs pulled of their seals they got much stronger it seemed. He watched Hiei and Kenji both react in their own ways and Arashi would spin around to one of the ones behind him. He spit more water up into the air and it slammed down where the girl was standing, and then hopefully held it down there as his next move would be a quick blast of lightning.
Aw, man! Negotiations failed! As action starts up, and people start fighting, Suzu is left is so startled she chokes on her pork bun. Super-speed punches! Fireballs! Water and lightning! Banging a fist on her chest to help her swallow, if she knew what Genjutsu Kenji had used, she might wonder if he had accidentally cast it on her instead, because her she is, clawing at her throat!
Eventually, she manages to swallow! Gasping for breath, and feeling like something's still lodged in there, Suzu yells out to everyone surrounding her, ally and non, "We just want to rescue a comrade! Why can't we resolve this peacefully!?" She can't realy do much against these ladies probably. Though, lacking a Sharingan, she doesn't know how strong they are. She just assumes them removing seals had some impact on something, since her team went srs mode after that happened.
She's ready in a defensive Taijutsu stance, but her heart really isn't in it. If she has to fight now, it will be more out of sense of self-preservation than desire to defeat the attackers.
Well then! One thing the kunoichi didn't expect was the Raikage being there, or for that sexy Uchiha whose eyes drive the breath right out of you. There's even a bit of lightning in a bottle. And then Suzu. In the end there one fried kunoichi, one with a bleeding nose that was knocked unconscious, and two others that miraculously are also unconscious. Surely through the concerted effort of Suzu's begging for a peaceful solution. Even the man is still stuck under the water! That's four whole prisoners! Are you going to take them /all/ the way back to Konoha is the question…
Hiei pauses to make sure the girl he hit is truly unconcious before walking over to the man under the water. He motions for Arashi to undo the jutsu before he grips him by the face and pulls him up into the air with one arm, then slams him into the wall of the alley. It's effortless for him, which gives the Konoha shinobi an indication of just how physically strong he is. "I'm not a patient man. In fact, I'm a very violent man by nature. So I'm only going to ask you this one time. Where is Inuzuka Kamiko. And if I don't like your answer, you can pray to whatever god you serve before you die." His words are calm and spoken quietly at conversation tone. His muscles tense as he applies pressure around the man's face. "Speak."
There is a reason why Hiei and Hige are self-proclaimed brothers. Hige is one of the small handful of people on the planet that understands him on an emotional level. He understands the rage that rests just below the surface, and how difficult it is to control that rage and not give into the urge to cause wanton destruction. "Tell us what you know and I let you live out the rest of your days."
Kenji turns to Suzu after making sure the kunoichi he was fighting was truly unconscious. "Suzu, would you like to tie them up? You did such a good job last time with the poacher." he says to the Uchiha girl, looking over towards Hiei. He waits for her answer, assuming it would be positive as the girl radiated positivity, before moving over to Hiei. He looks up at the man briefly, those crimson eyes of the Sharingan observing him in silence, hoping to make it a bit creepy. Afterwards, he says, "If he doesn't talk, let me scramble his brain a bit first."
Arashi had to make sure his was trapped as well. At Hiei's request he dropped the water that was holding the man. Then he looks to Suzu as well. "Yeah. I will hold that one until you are ready to tie her up. Just tell me when to let her free. Then Arashi would find a spot on the side of a wall to sit. He wanted to keep an eye on everything just in case anyone moved. Most likely they wouldn't after that display, but might as well be careful about it.
That fight was over so quickly. Was this level of force really required? And when Hiei hauls up the clearly non-shinobi man and starts slamming him around and threatening him with death… Her world view crumbles a bit. She had thought Hiei was a kind man. A forgiving man. An amicable man, with restraint and respect for life. What she's seeing of him now…
Maybe rescuing Inuzuka Kamiko isn't about forgiveness or a positive political relationship after all. Maybe Hiei is just bluffing though! Yes! She'll have to believe that! After all, they haven't killed any of those kunoichi, right? With the power they wield, she thinks they probably could have. Or the OTHERS could have at least.
She tears her eyes off of the Jounin, anxiety in her face, when she is addressed. "Uh… Y-yes. I mean, I'll do that right away." Then she sets about tieing up the downed ninja to the best of her ability (which is pretty good, though a skilled ninja might be able to use the Rope Untying Jutsu or something). But while she is focused on her job, half of her awareness is also focused on what's going on with the man. Even though she is tensing in fearful expectation of… She doesn't know. Something she hopes doesn't happen.
She contributed almost nothing when the time for combat came, and the situation on this mission may not be what she thought it was. And not solely due to Yotsuki Hiei's actions. These ninja trying to dissuade pursuers… Why? Are they trying to protect Kamiko too? Or to stop people from rescuing her? She's inclined to believe that PEOPLE are good, but ORGANIZATIONS can be bad. She doesn't want to think that these girls are trying to prevent a rescue out of ill-will, but perhaps because they were ordered to.
What if they aren't? Does that make hurting them like this acceptable? What about the terrified man over there? Does he need to be killed as punishment if he doesn't answer right? She doesn't want to think someone she has travelled with would do that. She has seen nothing of Hiei so far to suggest he would carry out that threat.
So she trusts in him. Even if she has no real reason to.
And then she takes out some scrap cloth from her backpack and attempts to use it to stem the bleeding of the girl with the bloody nose briefly after tieing her up. She's not Yasuo. She can't heal people. But she can't do anything else either.
When she gets to the girl being restrained, she nods to Arashi and proceeds to tie her up, and do what she can for her burns as well. "I'm sorry. We didn't come here for this," she says quietly.
She isn't sure who she's trying to convince.
The man doesn't know much, but he tells Hiei what little he does know. "T-they just paid me to send the birds if people started asking about that Inuzuka!" he manages to spit out quickly, fear evident in his eyes. And with that last bit of information they could torture the others later!