Date: April 20, 2013
Three shinobi are sent to rescue a boy kidnapped by a strange sect of Samurai
"The Samurai who seek Nii Part 1"
The coastal forests of the Land of Water
Deep in the woods, near the borders of the Land of Rain and the Land of Stone, there is a small group of Samurai. They do not follow the Shinobi way, but instead are trained disciples of peculiar sect of the Samurai Code. They have come seeking the Chosen One, a man who will become a Samurai the likes of which has never been seen before! It is said the chosen one will have the patience to tend vast gardens of bonsai trees, and other shrubbery. He will be so powerful in Kenjutsu that he will be able to cut down the largest tree in the forest, with a herring! But first, the Samurai must find this boy; this boy who will answer to the name of…
A small boy walks through the woods on the outskirts of the land of Rain. Calling out for his brother once more. "Nii-san!"
The young boy's shouts are drawing the attention of a group of armored men. Their leader, a giant man by the name of Honda stands upon a rock and looks down the hill towards the sound of the voice. He raises his hand, drawing the attention of his men, and they rise from their seats upon stumps and stones. Honda closes his fist, and the samurai charge through forest and brush.
"Nii-san!" The boy cries out once more, but only to be cut off as a shadow falls across him. He looks up in fear as a Samurai comes to a clattering halt beside him. The boy whimpers.
"Where is this Nii of which you speak?" The samurai's voice is rough, the tones of a man who is tired from a long journey and eager to see its end. When the boy whimpers, the samurai strikes him across the face. "Answer me peasant!"
Honda grabs the man by the wrist. The Samurai has only a moment to look up in surprise before his leader throws him against a tree. The man cries out briefly, before the sound of breaking bones and crushed metal signal the end of his life. "It is dishonorable to strike children," he says. "Even if they are peasants."
The giant Honda reaches down and takes up the boy around the waste, and throws him over his shoulder like a sack of rice. "Leave a note by that dishonored body, saying that we are heading to the Land of Water. This Nii will surely come find the boy, and when he does, we will be ready." He turns away, expecting his orders to be followed.
It was early in the morning on a sunny day in the Land of Rain when word came to the Mizukage's office. A messenger from the Land of Stone had arrived and been escorted directly to the Kage's office. After a short time, word was sent out to three of the village's outstanding shinobi. Paper birds would descend upon them, and then poof into small messages with self-destructing countdown seals. Here's what the message read:
"Assemble at the gates of Kirigakure for a C-rank mission. You will need to rescue a small boy from armed, non-shinobi militants. Witnesses at the Water Ferry Docks state that the group was seen disembarking from a ship at the water ferry docks and then proceeding to the east into the Woods. The mission objective is a young boy of light skin and light brown hair; answers to the name of 'Orogi'."
The letter includes some descriptions of the enemy, and warms against a rather large, armored man that seems to be leading them. Now, as the sun begins to move towards its apex, the team arrives at the kirigakure gates…
Okumo Meruin had received the note, swiftly reading and rereading it as a commitment to memory, before burying it in a shalow grave, guarded by a pair of small spiders. He then proceeded to the village gates with haste, divvying out some of his brood and giving a mental nod to himself as the spiders report that the message had been undisturbed before it detonated. He arrived from the outside of the village to wait for those who'd accompany him in the search and rescue. Still and pale, he scans the people nearby for his arriving team, but kept part of his focus on the spiders he'd sent out on his way here. Perhaps they'd get lucky, and this could be dealt with swiftly.
Hibiki arrives more casually than what's used to, a bright apple losing the occassional bite to the boy. The youth's cheeks seem full of life, his eyes fresh and rejuvenated, his face lacking the usual sallow draw. A smile creeps up Hibiki's face at he approaches the gate and espies Meruin. The Genin takes another bite of apple.
His face alights in a wet grin, the boy wiping some of the juice from his lips with the back of his hand. He takes a few chews and swallows.
"Is it just us?"
Another bite of apple is taken, the shiny red exterior slowly being eaten away to the fresh white teeth beneath. The boy's coat is open, tugging the warm breeze and sun into the folds of it, layering the boy with fresh, cool air.
Koseitama arrives at the meeting point walking with a mildly stooped posture, using an umbrella as though it were a walking cane. "Ah, you are ze colleagues I am to vork vith in zis enterprise, yez? I am Shirayuki Kozeitama — I am sure we may dizpense vith ze 'Herr Doktor' part and zuch titles in present company, ja?" Koseitama bows politely, then points her umbrella toward the open gate. "I recommend ve begin vith ze travelingz immediately, I am anxious to examine ze subject."
The avengers now assembled, the trio heads out into the woods. Meruin's quick thinking and advanced deployment of his web of perception have allowed him to pinpoint the trail that the Samurai had taken when they charged through the woods. Even as the group arrives, the Okumo's spiders are following the path, leading the way… when suddenly the trail vanishes! How could a group of armored, and seemingly clutzy warriors have disappeared so thoroughly? Team Okumo arrives at the location where the trail ends a few moments after Meruin's spiders relay their confusion at losing the trail. Perhaps there are some clues to be found?
Meruin inclined his head to Hibiki as the vigor-clad boy approached, "Blessings," his return greeting to the genin. The Jounin's gaze focuses on a point just over the boy's left shoulder… "Incorrect. We're to be accompanied by another. It is my hope that they arrive soon, as I have just located a trail that is likely to have come from our abductors." His pupiless gaze turns to Koseitama as she approaches, the warm breeze threading through his clothing, lifting it in languid ripples. "Tidings. We depart." His answer to her inquiry is a clear one as he begins to move off, departing to get to the path his spiders had found.
"I am Okumo Meruin," says the Jounin as travel ensues. "I am the leader of this mission. With any fortune, it should be easy and swift. Take care to keep an eye out for anything useful and to avoid makin’ any unnecessary noise." It wouldn't take very long to reach the path that'd been found. The samurai hadn't bothered to try and avoid leaving evidence behind, it seemed. But eventually the trail came to an abrupt stop. The Jounin stopped as well, examining the area. He could discern little but for the fact that, "It is likely that they rested here." He gestures to the markings on the trees as proof. As his hand falls back to his side, there's a sudden motion in the undergrowth all around the trio. A large group of spiders spread out from here to search for a continuation of the trail, examining the ground and above.
Hibiki throws his apple core into some surrounding vegetation as the trail continues, the road lingering on and on until… it does no more.
The youth stares into the undergrowth, looking for any clues. Some of the trees look rubbed, perhaps from an animal, but - by the sheer number - perhaps from large men resting. Hibiki squints into the shrubbery, and takes a step closer.
The boy squats at the dirt, noticing large tracts of land that show a striated drag.
The boy seems unusually calm and collected, much much more so than normally. The spread of morning sun lightens the day, bringing with it the chirp and chatter of various birds and insects. When Meruin gets close enough:
"Perhaps have your spiders follow that trail," says Hibiki, pointing to the strange markings running along the ground.
Koseitama nods in scholarly agreement with the others' findings. "Ja, ze signs of zeir behavior are qvite clear. Ze rituals zey follow, zey are very peculiar. Most of all zis one." Koseitama taps the end of her umbrella on a spot directly opposite where the drag marks are. "Zese lines in ze dirt, ven you look close, zey form a rectangle, ja? Zis is a subconscious expression of ze subject's psyche. Ve must dig deeper into zis matter, I believe."
After a few moments of silence and scanning, the Okumo nods. "We have no other leads, so we explore this area further." But for a thin ring to watch for any who'd come to approach the clearing, the spiders that'd been surveying the surrounding area return to within view, climbing up the trees. "Above or below," says Meruin as a new breed of spiders begin to bleed from the hem of his robes. A distinctive yellow striped brown with long, hair legs, bulbous backsides, and small heads.
They travel swiftly, forming a grid around the area, ignoring the presence of the ninja. "If they did not move from here, then they must either be above or below." They begin spurting acids, burrowing into the ground through the use of the corrosive substance. They would be his eyes under the ground as they tunneled below. "It suggests the use of ninjutsu, which our intel says they should not have. Either there should be more to find, or our intelligence is incorrect. What are our guestimates?"
As Koseitama nears, Hibiki suspiciously glances up at her from his squatted position.
"You speak oddly, you know?"
The Genin laughs at his own recollection of Koseitama's speech, and then, imitating as best he can:
"Ze subject's psyche. Ja."
The boy breaks into a quick laugh, standing, smiling at Koseitama once the chuckle winds itself out. Suddenly, the boy's neck quivers, and he lets out a small exclamation - of surprise, of alarm - before his whole frame shivers. He rolls his neck, which seems to bulge, larger than it should be. But his head straightens again, and he seems recovered, though a bit more worn now; a bit more of his usual self. He coughs, lightly, and rubs a hand along the back of his neck, pulling it back just slightly damp as the day warms from morning.
"But yes, Hibiki too wonders of this," says Hibiki, indicating the rectangle in the dirt. He stares closer at the disturbed dirt.
"Hibiki thinks - oh yes, yes! - Hibiki thinks that maybe they are under the dirt, hmm?"
Koseitama glances curiously at Hibiki. "Ah, you have ze repressed feelings, ja? Zis is not healthy, zey shall only be more messy when zey finally come out. Zough usually zey do not come from ze neck." Koseitama turns her attention to Meruin. "Ven exploring zientific frontiers, von must be villing to cast aside ze beliefs one has had if ze new data is incompatible vith zem. Ve might discover anyzing."
Meruin's spiders, burning their way through the soil, would suddenly drop from sight as they fell upon a hidden stair. The flickering of torchlight would come up from the holes in the soil where once fat little hairy yellow bodies had been. It seems that the team had found something.
Meruin's eyes had turned away from his teammates before he'd ever had to respond, though his gaze had lingered on Hibiki for some few full moments. Looking to the the loosened and hole riddled soil, he says, "It seems that we have our answer. And a disturbing one. I hope, truly, that someone in Kirigakure knew of this passageway. A stairway, my spiders say. I'll take point. Koseitama, take the rear." He'd raise an arm, black chitin launching from it to hit the ground with a muffled them. He'd increased the pressure until the dirt fell in and down. He'd give it a swift examination through the torchlight and, assuming it was clear, begin descending. He followed his usual pattern. The tunelling spiders return to his robes, replaced by regular ones that scout ahead as those in the trees descend. All but a small guard detail would descend after the group to cover their rear.
The Okumo noted that he was beginning to spread his forces thin.
The trick with light is that it needs nothingness to pass through: transulence of the world around in order for it to be. The dark, thus, is the realm where the sun does not reach, where it's golden fingers cannot strum the hours along. There is no time in the depths of the dark underground: there is only the heavy, hollow world beneath the world.
Hibiki's steps are cautious as the tunnel leads further and further into the earth. The boy is tense, charged, his sandals soft and worried in the soil. Meruin's spiders spit through the underground, relaying information to the Jounin, but Hibiki is unaware, caught between the two shinobi, breathing only trust.
Koseitama folds her hands behind her back and watches while the earth falls inward. "Ah, it zeems ve have made a major breakthrough. Ze barriers into ze subject's psyche are crumbling." Koseitama lines up at the rear of the party. "Now ve descend into ze deep dark of ze unconscious mind, ja? Ve must be very careful vot ve touch, or ve shall trigger ze subject's defense mechanisms." No worries, Hibiki, Dr. Screwball's got your back.
Downwards the stairs go, until they enter a huge cavern. It rises up into a perfectly shaped dome, topped by a crystal cap. Water flows there, letting the sunlight shine down through what must appear a normal pond from the land above. Beneath that glass pool, a statue of a dragonfly rises up from the floor. At its base, leaning against the side of a stone throne, tied and gagged is a young boy with light brown hair and fair skin. This must be the child they had come after. However, it does not appear to be all that easy. Surrounding the boy is a dozen armored and katana armed men. Sitting upon the stone throne is the largest man that the Kiri-nin are bound to ever see, a living goliath.
"When they find us, as they surely will, we will kill this boy before the eyes of this Nii. For the legend says that he must witness the death of his closest blood to unlock his kekkei genkai." The giant man's voice rumbles through the cavern. "So say I, your sensei, Honda!"
In moments where actions fall into repetition and distance is hard to measure, time tends to grow bored, slipping away from the inattentive person. But Meruin held time in an unwavering grip, the seconds silently ticking by in his mind, each one accounted for as the group travels down the torch lit stairwell. It is deep but it has an end, and not long after it comes into sight, Meruin raises a hand to call a halt.
He tucks the time it took to get down here away and begins speaking in a low murmur. "Target is bound in the center of the next room. It's cavernous. There's water coming from the ceiling, but little. The boy is surrounded by twelve men wearing and wielding metal. There is also a gi—" The Okumo breaks off to listen to the quiet sound of the loud man inside…
"Honda," he continues. "On a throne. We're utilizing stealth. We have to assume that if they see us, the boy dies. We mustn't be noticed until we have him in our custody. I'll go in. Travel the walls. Secure the boy from the ceiling. As I return, utilize any long range techniques you have to slay as many as you can while they give chase. I will give the boy to Hibiki. We'll retreat up the stairs, with me at the rear, where they will be gathered together. Koseitama, you will be prepared to ensure that any air from behind you does not rise further up, including that which I breathe. I will conduct a gaseous assault. After this point, we should be clear to return home. Any questions or suggestions?"
Hibiki follows close, listening to Meruin instruct on the plan of the mission. The boy nods when his duty is devised, charging himself with Chakra, drawing his Stamina into usable energy. Stealth is not Hibiki's strength, but his ability to grasp and retain something is certainly a forte. The boy shakes his head as Meruin's inquiry for inquiries arises. For being so deep in the ground, the air doesn't seem as stale as it should be, small streams of water and sun trailing from the life above into the life below. Hibiki's skin suddenly rustles along his arm, rippling his skin as if a koi were swimming beneath it. The boy grabs the fluctuating appendage with his free hand, pressing it closed between his fist.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. Hibiki is excited."
The youth rolls his shoulder, touching it to his ear.
"Ready, ready, ready, ready."
Koseitama's been quiet during the trip down. That's only natural, right? They're walking down a featureless hallway, infiltrating an enemy hideout. But really, it's not a good sign in Koseitama's case. Just before they reach the opening into the cavern, Koseitama stops and looks behind them. Also not that unusual, right? She's supposed to be keeping an eye on their rear. She remains a short distance behind as Meruin goes over the plan, ostensibly still listening like a good member of the te — Koseitama suddenly turns and strides back up to the group. "Okay, let's do this!" Koseitama dashes out into the open cavern with a whooping shout of "LIIIROOOOOOOOIIII JYENKIIIIIIIIINSU!" She then proceeds to lay about the nearest samurai with energetic swings of her umbrella.
…Well, at least she's not likely to be mistaken for that Nii person they're expecting.
While they were discussing, Honda rose from his seat and began pacing back and forth, telling his men about how the Samurai would see a new age, and that they would lead the world into a new age of honor and chivalry with the power of Samurai Nii. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem they would get that chance. A young girl, with red in her eyes, suddenly appears among them. Even as the Samurai draw their swords, it is too late for some as they are clobbered over the head by her umbrella. The remaining samurai scatter, instantly going into their likely over-trained tactics. They draw their weapons, and attack! Most frightening of all, is Honda, who lifts the giant stone throne over his head, heedless of the young boy that topples over, and hurls it towards the passageway, likely to scare out whoever may still be in there.
Meruin's gaze settles on Hibiki as the boy covers his fluctuation and explains it away. "Be sure of this," murmurs the Jounin. "I am —" he is cut off by the sound of Koseitama's entirely unstealthy exclamation. "Advantage lost," is said as the cries of Liroi Jyenkinsu begin to ring out. "I'll get the boy. You run the walls. Catch him and escape through glass in the ceiling." Oders given, the teenager dashes through the cavern's entrance and vanishes, hoping to use Koseitama's sudden insanity as a distraction. Judging by the thrown throne, it didn't seem to be a bad choice. He'd make a beeline to try and reach the boy, vanishing and reappearing, hoping the fact that he'd only be visible for brief moments at a time would give him enough time to travel the cavern and grab the boy.
Hibiki watches - with abandon and glee - as Koseitama charges forward into the gathered samurai, waving her umbrella to and fro with deadly force. But that glee turns rotten as several samurai charge the other shinobi. Hibiki is not fast enough to dodge the first blade of one samurai, the sharpened steel sliding smoothly along the top of the boy's shoulder, cutting one of the straps of his flak jacket, drawing blood. The boy flares up, his hand dashing to the wound, but distracted he is not: he throws a punch to the samurai who struck him, but a distracting blow, that he may scurry to the walls to catch the boy. Duty is the greater demand than pride.
Koseitama weilds her umbrella recklessly, managing by sheer wildness to deflect one of the swords swung at her. "Haha, you're no match for the greatness of — OW! That hurt! Hey, where's my buff support? Noob healer!" Koseitama tries to put some distance between herself and the samurai, tucking her umbrella under her arm and running through some handseals. She turns around and blows a stream of fire at her opponents.
The battle rages, the shinobi given inhuman strength by their chakra, the samurai well trained to wield their blades. However, in a ninja world, there is a reason why the samurai way does not dominate the battlefields. Explosive fire, flickering bodies, the samurai are overwhelmed long before they have a chance to defend themselves. Fear reads in every eye… every eye but Honda's. "To me, my Samurai!" Honda shouts, and the men run to him. "We have lost this day, my men, but knowing what we are up against… we will be more prepared next time!" With inhuman strength, Honda lifts the Dragonfly statue into the air, and him and his men dive into a hidden passageway. Honda looks to the shinobi standing over the boy, and the young woman who had exploded fire over his men. "Someday we will return with Nii-sama at our lead, and we will end the shinobi nations!" He roars, and sinks into the hidden passageway, the Dragonfly dropping down over the entry way.
Meruin briefly ponders giving chase to the samurai, but their mission was to recover the boy that was at his feet. Capturing and killing those samurai was the content of another day's work, if indeed they were considered worth the time and effort spent. "Come Orogi," says the Okumo as he bends down, new talons cutting through gag and bindings, seeing the boy freed in a few seconds. "It is time that we get you home. Stay alongside Hibiki." The spiders that'd been group's vanguard find their way into his robes as he begins walking towards the staircase they'd come through. "Form up, Hibiki and Orogi in the center." He sends a look towards Koseitama, watching her.
"Let us report a successful mission."
Hibiki takes a firm stance next to the rescued boy, watching him from beneath his eyes. There would certainly be fear on the little boy's face, with such an ordeal as he just experienced. Hibiki watches the youth for some time, taking his head when they begin their ascent from the underground cavern. Follow, he would, until he would need to follow no longer, but are we all not following something? Forever and onward, undeniable is it so, and so thus Hibiki keeps the boy close.
Koseitama cackles maniacally as her fire takes effect on the hapless samurai. "Woohoo! Critical hit! Pwned!" Then all of a sudden the fight seems to be over. "Aww…they got away…didn't even get any epic drops." Koseitama sighs, and goes to follow the rest of the group out. She pulls some pale-looking jerky from her ninja pouch and takes a bit from it. "At least I have chicken," she mumbles.