Date: December 10, 2014
A pair of Genin act as guards for a glass merchant who is more than he seems, only to run into a gang of bandits who are also more than what they appear to be.
"The Shadow Man - Arrival"
Land of Wind
Things were dangerous in the Land of Wind sometimes. Some merchants who were more familiar with the forests of Konoha than the deserts of Sunagakure requested escorts on the last half of their journey. Rikuto and Arika are those escorts. This side of the path should only be stray desert animals and maybe a bandit. They're to meet up at the oasis with the cart, since shinobi at a further post had helped these merchants until this point.
"Rikkun, are they gonna be here soon? It feels like I've seen them at that distance for /forever/!" Arika complains, the girl sitting near the oasis to keep a bit cooler. She makes a few handseals every now and again, but there's no chakra running through her.
Glancing over to Arika, the young Miira extends a hand curled into a loose fist to thump his knuckles against her head lightly. "You've been asking me that.. every three minutes for almost an hour.. Didn't I say we'd give them an hour before starting to look?" Grumbling, Rikuto shift forward into a kneeling position before finally onto his feet again. "None of them were shinobi so I can't sense them out this far, all I'd pick up is you.. We're going to have to look with our eyes, so come on then." The hand that had lightly bopped the girl is held out, offering her a hand to stand up with.
Arika squeaks at the small thump to her head, rubbing the spot as if it was in pain. "Every five minutes, Rikkun! You need to keep better track of time!" she pokes her tongue out before getting up, taking Rikuto's offer to help. "Ooh! Maybe I can help?" She makes a handseal, focusing her chakra and sending it along with a gust of air down towards the path the cart is supposed to approach. Sadly, it's way too far away. "Darn… Not close at all…"
"It was every three, I started counting the seconds. You're just impatient." Watching the young girl, Rikuto chuckles again and pats her head lightly, he realizes what technique she was doing form how the winds around them shifted, or had an idea at least. "At your level, you can only detect what's in the same room with you. You can't sense what's over a mile or so away like that." Talking a step forward, he uses his head to point towards the way the caravan should of been arriving. "This way Ari-chan. I'm not ganna carry you so keep up. No dashing in front of me either."
Arika huffs, following after Rikuto as she moves along. It takes about a half-hour for cart and shinobi to meet up, but the two finally do. "You're early," comments the one merchant, obviously the leader. "I guess these Suna-nin can head back to their post, then?" he glances back to them. One is a Shippodoku and the other is a Hayato, whose falcon is circling overhead. They nod and head back, their pace much faster now that they don't have to wait for the merchants.
"Rather early than find out that bandits found you first, sir" was answered back soon with a dip of his head. Turning his attention to Arika, the boy nods towards the front cart. "Arichan, sit up front. Keep your eyes about for anything. I'll be in the back to see if something tries to follow us, okay?" With that Rikuto begins to circle around the caravan, assessing the carts to see if anything was tacted on out of place
"Too true, lad," the man replies. Arika nods, scrambling up to the front seat next to the man, who thankfully helped her up. "Ari-chan, eh? You look younger than my son, and you're already a shinobi? Good for you," the man says, climbing in and snapping the reins. The cart moved forward, and Rikuto would see nothing. He'd be greeted by a boy, of course, apparently the merchant's son. "I'm Jon," he says, offering his hand. "Yourself? Oh, and my dad is usually called 'Glass Master' even though his name is Hachiro." The boy settles down for the ride, comfortable.
"Oh yes, she's passed the trials and she's a fully trained Genin from the village. She's a lot stronger than her age might have you think." A chuckle escapes Rikuto as he nods, the inspection not showing anything amiss. Turning to the voice, he dips his head slightly and says, "Call me Rikuto." Taking the boy's hand, he is helped into the wagon and soon settle down, though looks over his shoulder at the mention of being a glass merchant. "Oh? We'll have to make sure to keep the cart nice and settled then, can't risk rocking it out."
The boy grins. "Well, as long as it doesn't tip over completely, we'll be fine. They're all packaged tightly in their boxes." The Glass Master looks back, shaking his head. "Son, don't you go bragging about me. It's not polite. Now listen, Ari-chan, and don't go getting yourself into too much trouble. Bein' a shinobi is tough work, and I always respected them. But sometimes you don't know when to quit, and that's something you need to learn when you become a leader." Arika hmms and nods solemnly. "Okie! I'll be sure to remember, that."
Amused at the idea the merchant was advising Arika, even if lightly, the young Miira begins to chuckle softly to himself but then shakes his head lightly. Rolling his shoulders slowly before stretching out his arms, Rikuto shifts somewhat into a meditative position. "Jon, just how much do you help your father? Just gathering the materials or is he teaching you how to blow and shape the hot glass as well?"
"Oh, I'm learning a bunch from him! Someday I'm taking over so I can do this all myself," he says with a nod. The boy grins. "I guess you're lucky enough to be a shinobi, Huh? What's it like, anyway? My dad was one, but he never tells me about it." Hachiro glares at his son. "Dont you be making up stories, now!" he warns, muttering to himself with a shake of his head. Arika looks interested, wondering, "You were? So you can use chakra and stuff?"
"You could say it's a lot like being a bodyguard some of the time. You have to train your body often, you have to study a lot too." Using his hands, Rikuto begins to toss a unseen ball back and forth slowly while talking. Looking over his should towards the merchant, he arches a brow before smirking and turning back around. "That's the kinder part of it. You could also see if as soldier for the wars others don't want to risk their own lives for. If you father was a shinobi but doesn't want you to be one, it sounds like he doesn't want you to be lost in fighting wars you don't support."
"I'm strong! I could fight!" Jon exclaims. Arika's voice comes, then, cutting through. "I hope you're right, Jon, cuz it looks like we have company." A large gang of bandits have a large number of carts stopped off to the side, threatening people with knives. Actually, it's only one man with a lot of clones…
Turning to the side, Rikuto places a hand onto Jon's shoulder. Taking a breath, the young Miira exhales slowly and brings his hands together, weaving several signs quickly. Tilting his head back, he moves his fingers to his lips and exhales and with a snap of his fingers his breath ignites, letting out a flash that covers much of the area.
Using the flare as a focus point and as a distraction, Rikuto focuses his chakra to wash over the area, trying to trap each one of the bandits in an illusion of a young man wearing a Oni mask, hardly older than a teenager using the flare as a distraction. Using a short blade, would slide the men's throat before toppling them over, driving the blade into the men's gaped mouth when the gasp for air, 'Contract completed'. What the others like Jon might notice is, nothing beyond a flare of light.
Most of the clones get caught by the flash, but a few of them either shield their eyes or realize that genjutsu is the only thing binding them. With that, they can break the technique, already noticing the cart. One clone sends a barrage of shuriken at the cart while another tosses lightning. Okay, so this person a skilled ninja, but doesn't know much jutsu, apparently… Good to know.
Arika squeaks. "Watch out!" and dashes off the cart. The Lightning doesn't hit her, but she does end up with a nice cut… So she sends an attack of her own, throwing wind-sharpened Kunai at the clones that charged her. The ones trapped in genjutsu disappear.
When several of the men weren't snared by the illusion, Rikuto was more surprised when they focused their attention onto them so quickly. Weaving his finger together he forms a pair of light barriers of wind though they don't hold strong enough and soon not only a kunai rips through the barrier and cuts the teen but the zap of lightning jutsu strikes him right in the chest. "Ugg.. Arika, these are rogue-nin, try to keep on your toes!" Standing up, he begins to begins to strokes at his chest and begins turn to Jon and then the merchant. "Both of you, stay low. We'll handle this." Weaving his fingers, he begins to breaths out a series of small orbs that spend as they fly.
Arika nods a bit, working on sending a lot of wind-sharpened Kunai at the enemy. A lot miss, but a few end up getting hit. Likely because there's so many around. When they get hit, they disappear in a poof of smoke, but even more appear. "Oy, lad. Those are shadow clones. You gotta find the main bad guy to get this to end, or exhaust his energy."
"Shadow clones? Just like Ayumu-san?" asks before realizing it was Hachiro who commented about what they were, looking at the man with some confusion before closing his eyes. 'If they are using that kind of advanced technique then.. Just where are you?' .."Ari-chan, stay still for a minute!" Holding his breath, Rikuto tilts his head slightly to one side before raising a hand, using his fingers to point out where he could feel the closest bundling of chakra, he couldn't feel exactly who it might of been but he could differentiate the direction easily at this point. "He's over there, keep on your toes!"
"Shadow clones? Just like Ayumu-san?" asks before realizing it was Hachiro who commented about what they were, looking at the man with some confusion before closing his eyes. 'If they are using that kind of advanced technique then.. Just where are you?' .."Ari-chan, stay still for a minute!" Holding his breath, Rikuto tilts his head slightly to one side before raising a hand, using his fingers to point out where he could feel the closest bundling of chakra, he couldn't feel exactly who it might of been but he could differentiate the direction easily at this point. "He's over there, focus over there!"
Arika stays still for as long as possible, then she starts throwing Kunai in the direction Rikuto pointed, also sending a blast of wind chakra to blow away some of the clones. "Rikkun, there's too many!" she pouts, noticing she's running out of Kunai, too… ~Well, you could always let me help…~ comes that voice. 'Stay where you are!' she grumbles back.
'Just clones.. then just need to pop them' was mumbled briefly, Rikuto's fingers rapidly begin to weave into the same seals as before but then the chain continued longer. Moving his mouth up to his lips he exhales strongly, rather than just a few orbs being exhales, several dozen space themselves out, threatening to carpent most of the area in a directed but blind attack. Each explosion wasn't that dangerous, but Rikuto wasn't trying to kill anyone with the showing but trying to wind most in that direction. "That might thin out the clones, can you see how many are still over there?"
Arika squints, trying to see through the flames that cover the area before her. Finally she sees a single figure, apparently the target lost his concentration and a lot of the clones, if not all, disappeared. "Ooh! There he is!" The girl grabs a Kunai from her pouch, sending it towards the man in the distance before dashing over to follow up with a gust of wind right at the man's feet to unbalance him. He topples over, eyes still watering from the smoke and flames. "Got him!"
Moving a hand to his side, Rikuto slowly begins to massage the point where the kunai has cut into him as he makes his way over to the girl. "Geeze, was it really just one man?" Looking over the man, he soon moves a hand into his pouch, pulling out a kunai but then bring it up to his lips. Breathing onto it gently, the blade's edge becomes wrapped in flames. "Who are you?"
The man gets up with a grumble. "No one important," he comments before disappearing with a sound *poof*. Apparently he was a shadow clone too!
"Dangit.. thought he was the original." Closing his eyes again, Rikuto drops the super heated kunai into the sand and tries to calm himself. Turning his head to the left and to the right again, he holds out his right hand, letting his fingers waver lightly, trying to sense a direction for a new lead. 'Just where is he..'
Rikuto won't sense anything. There's nothing to sense, even. The wagon was safe, though, which was enough for Arika. "Rikkun! Are you okay?" she shouts. The girl had a cut, but it's already healed completely. The only reason someone would know she was cut is because of the rip in her cloak. "Huh… Must have been some sort of scout…" Hachiro comments gruffly. "I don't sense anything nearby, so Rikuto-San, get back here. We'll go back to the village. Report this to your higher ups." He seems to have changed in demeanor, maybe because of the attack? The man was likely a high-ranking shinobi in the past,
Grumbling to himself as he felt nothing, and even Hachiro confirmed.. 'Wait a minute..' Turning his head towards the merchant, he focused onto the man for a moment. "A sensor-nin?" Rikuto didn't question much more though when Arika questioned about how he was, he picks up the kunai he had dropped and blew onto it again, coloring it a dark red before pressing it lightly against his side with a hissed wince. The wound left his skin inflamed and reddened though the bleeding had stopped completely. "I'm fine.. I'll ask them to look over this cut once we get back to the village. Trust me, okay?" It would take the Miira a moment but he did return to the cart, though he did look around the area to see how many others might of been in the area or if it was just abandoned wagons at this point.
No sign of people. It was likely a raid on some old turned over cart, or maybe an attempted recovery? Who knows. The wagons they surrounded are mostly covered in sand, which is easier to tell on close up. "Okay, Rikkun…" Arika says, hugging the Miira before climbing into the wagon again. It's peaceful on the way back, and Hachiro and Jon prove to be good company, telling stories and jokes.
After looking around and still not sensing anything, irritation fills the young Miira for a moment but after a while he relaxes. Turning to Jon he pats his own side where his clothes were cut still. "Jon-san, this is why your father doesn't want you being like us. He doesn't want to worry about you getting cut up.. with someone with that much chakra control, we should of been with a Chuunin, not just two Genin." Mumbling to himself, the boy pulls out a small note book and begins to write a few things.
During the remaining trip it was filled with lighter spirits, though still a few scolds from Hachiro when he was pokes at about his training. By the time the group manages to make it to sunagakure, the sun was already beginning to disappear past the dunes as the twilight hours gave way to the pitch black nights of the new moon.