Date: January 8, 2015
Tsiro takes the Genin out for a mission which seems to be more of a test of their abilities than it does an actual mission.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"This is for the Birds.. Part 1"
Land of Birds
Tsiro stood at the edge of a clearing. He was still surrounded by snow covered trees and some extremely cold air. This was evident in that his breath could easily be seen. He however was also dressed for the part. He had a warm fur attire on. The target his eyes pointed towards was not the clearing.. Not so much across the clearing but more up above the trees on the other side of it. There was a stack of smoke rising far above the trees. Someone was in the area. They likely were in a cabin. A warm cabin. This was not unusual. However on this day, it was also likely that cabin held the target of the mission. Tsiro simply stood there and waited for the others to catch up. This was as much a test for them as it was a mission for the over all group.
Kiji wore a cloak over her typical attire. Silk shirt and skirt, black, with the Shimizu crest in white and in consession for the cold weather, she wore black leggings under the skirt and boots rather than sandals. Around her neck was a scarf. The Shimizu's eyes were simple, a light blue, more bored than anything. But the smoke caught her attention and so diid Tsiro stopping. She came up beside the Jounin and peered up at him from inside her hood.
He had been there the day of the fight in the pits, she'd seen him, looked him directly in the eye. So the fact that he was now leading her in a mission made her a touch uncertain. but he did not seem angry or anything so she had not mentioned it. Still, she looked back at the others as they came closer. Then back up to Tsiro's face. "Is that what we're hunting, Tsiro-sama?"
Wrapped in a almost normally unhealthy thin layer of cloth, the young Okumo wore a faint paling gray cloak along with light colored clothing. Underneath was a thick layer of intricately woven silk snug against his skin keeping himself warm despite the thin layers of clothing. Lingering back a short ways behind Tsiro, Naoya pauses along the trunk of one of the snow covered trees, his feet resting apart with one hand close to head height.
Closing his eyes briefly, the mesh along his neck becomes animate as a quartet of small spiders crawl loose but stay in place. Opening his eyes again, the tone of his eyes dim notably as his gaze becomes unfocused and only looked ahead. One of the spiders repositioned, focusing onto the Jounin and Kiji in front and below them, a pair of others look towards the smoke and the land before them one spider focuses looking behind him.
Neither cloak or winter coat adorned the Kirryu's frame; only the usual overcoat. It was all he truthfully needed, though in a pinch, he had other methods of securing warmth. As was per the norm, Kiyoshi kept close to Kiji throughout the trip whenever an opportunity afforded itself. The incident at the Boneyard Gardens still plagued the moss-haired titan, distracting the man to the point he almost doesn't slow down in time. Almost.
As soon as he reaches Kiji's side Kiyoshi allows himself to truly catch his breath for the first time. Then, he wordlessly took to sampling the air. Human. Animal. Insect. Plants. Nothing is below the Kirryu's scrutiny.
The petite Kaguya kunoichi grumbles softly under her breath under the fur-lined edge of her winter kimono, steam gently pluming from behind the white fur while she trudges into the clearing. Clearly the winter weather wasn't all that agreeable to Yuriko, though when she nears her older cousin and the closest thing she has to a brother, she knows better. Quickly she quiets, vividly aqua blue eyes glancing up at him first, then at the team that had gathered. All familiar faces, not in the least surprising. After a long pause, Yuriko exhales a steamy breath as her arms reach up to cross behind her hooded head.
"Good, you all made it." Tsiro states without turning around. He is not ignoring Kiji's question though it may seem like it. "When I tell you to start, you will each strip down to your usual shinobi attire. Then you will proceed north across the clearing. About two hundred and fifty yards from here is a cabin where that smoke comes from. You will arrive there and kill the inhabitants of the cabin. Leave no evidence that this was done by shinobi. You are each being graded here. The one who brings me the head of Gotokatsu will be rewarded. Simple as that." Tsiro states without missing a beat. He then turns and asks, "Are there any questions?".
Kiji glanced up at Naoya as he spread his spiders out around him, sensing each of the little flashes of chakra from his brood. Yuriko got a hesitant look, but brief, before she turned to offer Kiyoshi a small smile when the giant came up beside her. Even if there was still something to be worked out between the four of them, a mission was not the time to do it. She hoped Yuriko felt the same… She could also practically feel Kiyoshi's hesitance around her. The incident in the gardens had taken a toll on him…
Then Tsiro was talking and Kiji tilted her head curiously as he spoke, taking each order and committing it to memory. But when he said they would be tested, this was a competition… Kiji only barely suppressed a sigh. Her eyes clouded faintly and she looked at the snow around her feet for a long moment then back up at Tsiro, her eyes hinting at a single ring of orange color around the grey that had taken hold. She shook her head no and stepped to the side, standing as if simply hanging out. She knew feathered well her speed was nothing compared to those around her, but she would have to think of other ways to get ahead… As she waited for Tsiro's word, her hand on the clasp of her cloak, she gathered her chakra about her… She was waiting for his word to reach out with her senses….
Raising a hand to his throat, Naoya begins to fiddle with the toggles keeping his cloak mostly closed. Not yet leaving his perch, he turns his head to one side, seeming to weigh advice offered to him before nodding lightly once. Shifting his gaze downward, the young man looks towards Tsiro, raising his voice slightly, only enough to make sure it was heard. "One question sir.. Should we leave bodies or are we deposing of those too?" Even as he asked the question, the young Okumo's silk thickens further before tenses snugly against him. Kiji would be able to notice the spiders were becoming more active then before, but also a significant amount of chakra was wrapping around him, running through the silk, hardening it.
Kiyoshi grows still as his search momentarily concludes to better focus on Tsiro's instructions. The giant had to pull in his lips to keep from grinning over the having to strip part. Out of the three of them, only he arrived with his usual shinobi gear. Of course the urge to grin flees his mind upon realizing that Kiji and Yuriko would have to go without warmth as well.
After a bit of frowning and grumbling, Kiyoshi dismissed the line of thought in favor of analyzing the rest. Regrettably, he would have to leave his Zanbato for the mission, but aside from that, the Kirryu was all but ready. "So long as no one knows it was shinobi, why should it matter if they are disposed of? Anything, it might be even more suspicious to remove them." Kiyoshi replies in Tsiro's place despite his better judgement. Showing up the Okumo was just too tempting to pass up. Immediately after he asks, "You said inhabitants earlier… Who or what can we expect out of them? And what does our target look like?" He asks calmly.
"Yeah." Yuriko murmurs, tilting her head up as she locks eyes with Tsiro. "How many 'inhabitants' are calculated to be in the cabin? How will we know which one is Gotokatsu? And I don't mind if you grade us individually or whatever, but how are we supposed to be efficient if you expect us to compete against one another for this prize? We're a team." Exhaling another long breath of a sigh, Yuriko lowers her arms to her sides, looking almost bored. "If we're competing against one another, we've already lost." She shakes her covered head once and turns to glance at the others. Maybe none of this occurred to them, since this particular group didn't really get along well in the past, but it was on her mind. "I'm only going to bring in his head if we do it together. All four of us."
Three of four asked questions. Tsiro made note that Kiji was the only one not to ask a question. Naoya's simple question was noted along with the response it seemed to draw from Kiyoshi before he asked his own. Tsiro was familiar with this rivalry. Then finally came Yuriko's questions and statements. While most the questions were valid questions to ask, it really did not matter. They had been given all the information they were going to get out of Tsiro. The rest was for them to figure out on their own.
"Start." is all they would get from the Kaguya Jounin. The word was as cold and harsh as the winter air. This was the real world and the gravity of their situation was about to sink in. Little did they know what actually awaited them.
Kiji listened to Naoya and Kiyoshi's words, waiting for Tsiro's answer when Yuriko spoke up in a surprising way. Kiji actually turned with a bright purple gaze to peer at the little Kaguya. Even after the fight she would stand up and say something like that? Even when the group included Kiji? The Shimizu girl did not quite understand but she looked to Tsiro to see what his reaction to that would be. His reaction was silence. When he said Start, Kiji simply unclipped the clasp on her cloak, dropping the only thing that wasn't her typical gear and took off running as fast as she could across the clearing. But she wasn't just running. She reached out and opened her mind to the chakra signatures around them.
She had not asked any questions because she simply followed orders.
As she moved through the snow, slipping every now and then when there was grass under the layer of snow, she finally made it across the clearing, and slid straight off onto the frozen river. She squeaked with alarm and almost fell, but kicked in the chakra in her feet to pull her to a stop. She paused there taking a second to reevaluate her footing. She also took notice of shinobi style wires. She turned, competition or not she did not want Kiyoshi to get hurt and after Yuriko's comments she extended that feeling to the rest of the group. She flashed through several hand-signs, a silent code warning them of the wires.
Once she figured out that Ice took only a little bit less chakra than water walking she continued, slower….The hardest thing right then was trying to figure out how she was going to kill these people without looking like shinobi had done it.. her only weapons were her blood and two kunai she carried on her thigh….
The comment from Kiyoshi wouldn't gain a verbal response from the young Okumo though a snarl breaks through the mute expression he had been holding. Closing his eyes briefly, Naoya exhales before looking forward again, the annoyance still clear but tapered. When Tsiro leaves the questions unanswered and instead issues an order, he acts. Focusing onto his right leg first, the boy's form flickers from the sight of most in an instant, leaving his cloak attached to the tree by a thin layer of sticky webbing.
The spiders on his neck begin to shift position as he moves, looking in a spiral, two his sides, behind him but also above him. Shifting a hand behind himself, a silk coated hand grips onto the hilt of a curved short sword but doesn't draw it.
As the young Okumo begins to hurl himself across the river, his head twitches at one one of his brood notices, the Shimizu making several signs. A light shake of his head shakes a thought from his mind before stalling sharply, landing onto the first tree across the river before looking over and examining the area more closely. Lowering a hand along the trunk of the tree he lands on, he allows several scouting groups of spiders to crawl free and move ahead of him. Using the spider, he plans to scent mark the wires along the tree tops as well as try to find a route through the layer of traps.
Kiyoshi winced at Yuriko's word. Admittedly, the last thing on his mind was accomplishing the mission as a team. His only real concern beyond finding out what would be facing was whether or not innocents would be involved. Yes, the Kirryu still had qualms about killing folk, which made him more of a hindrance to the team than anything.
The snarl from the Okumo earns him a low growl in return, and almost a more threatening posture if not for Tsiro's inadvertent interference. With a snort, Kiyoshi lingered behind the others before taking off himself. His approach is straight-forward and pace almost casual. A necessity, or so he figured, to ensure his large frame would not drag anyone else into traps. It also provided an opportunity to keep an eye on the others, though his reasons… were his own. Hearing Kiji's squeak, and worst yet, seeing her sink prompts Kiyoshi to pick up the pace rapidly, as well as tap into his Bijuu.
Thankfully, the distance between gave Kiji plenty of time to recover on her own and even signal to the others. He follows in her wake by a good ten meters. As much as he would've preferred not tempting fate by taking to the trees or even leaping clear of the lake altogether, those were worse options.
Seeing as all the questions were ignored, Yuriko promptly gives her older cousin a flat glance, somehow not surprised. Exhaling a longer breath she reaches up to her sash, pulling at it and dropping the sash at her side in the clearing. Wordlessly she shrugs off her kimono, revealing the fitting and protective body suit she wore beneath.
Already Kiji and Naoya had taken off ahead, and it seems Kiji had found wires as well. Clearly whoever was in the cabin was prepared for intruders. Interesting.
Sighing a short breath, Yuriko briefly glances at Tsiro out of the corner of her aquamarine eyes, pausing only for a lingering moment before bending her knees and moving with smooth, swift and careful speed.
Once more Kiji picks up Tsiro's attention. She was the first and obviously the most attentive for the moment being as she found the wires. Further more she signaled the others. The question now was if she did it for the good of the team or for her own. After all, if a chakra bomb goes off, the target would be alerted. Then again if one of the others set the chakra bomb off, they would be looked at with less favor. It seemed for all she lacked, she had some skills.
Naoya on the other hand decided to take to the trees. It was a good idea in concept although the snow would easily be knocked off the branches he landed from. Any smart shinobi would be able to tell this if they looked up. After all bears and bandits didnt move through trees. Had he been at this mission by himself he likely would have already failed to meet the goal. Tsiro did give him kudos for the thought though.
Then there was the giant Kiyoshi. For being the vessel of a demon, he sure did seem to have a heck of a lot of reserve for stuff. Tsiro takes the holding back as indecision on the big man's part. He also notices that the big man seems to hurry up at the first sight that one of the girls is in trouble. Almost like a male pack animal. He seems to worry about the girls getting hurt, but yet lets them tread into dangerous territory first.
Then there is Yuriko. The look on her face was no shock. Of course Tsiro would not show her any undeserved favor here. Weakness here could lead to death down the road. Of all the genin, she was the only one Tsiro noticed that seemed to be trying to move quietly through the clearing. It was good for practice. Kiji had moved off quickly followed by Naoya. Kiyoshi hesitated, but not for stealth reasons. Of course at the moment the girl's seemed to be gaining more points than the boys.
Kiji noted that everyone saw her signals and nodded approvingly. Kiyoshi got a reassuring but hesitant smile before the Shimizu girl turned and ice-walked her way across the river. She stepped out several times and then.. suddenly there was a CRACK, loud to Kiji's ears. And she found herself dropping like a stone. She yelped, though quietly as she was plunged into the icy waters. A moment later she came up under ice, no air to breathe. It only took her a moment but she focused her chakra on her body, increasing the flow and creation within her blood and cells. This had a side effect of also soaking up as much oxygen as possible. It only took her a moment to find the hole again and came up with a gasp. Holy Sage that water was cold! She shuddered and tried to scramble up on top of the water again, increasing her blood flow to increase her body heat. The ice did not like this, however and kept snapping under her.
Pausing for a moment longer, Naoya released a significant count of scouts to travel out towards the original destination within the forest but didn't follow them. Staying high along the tree line the young Okumo works to keep pace with the others while his focus began to rapidly spit between himself and the scouts. The sudden crash brings his focus to a point, looking downwards only to notice one of the three below were missing.. 'Yu-chan.., Koiyoshi-san..'
A low grumble fills his throat before looking forward again and continuing his pace along the river's tree-line. The young man's eyes begin to grow dim again as his brood works out a viable path for not only himself but possibly one or both of the girls to follow, though didn't look for a route large enough for the giant to clumber.
Kiyoshi ears twitch at the noise, but not a warning can so much as leave his mouth before everyone is dropped into the river. He disappears under the water for about a few seconds. After allowing a moment of panic to get at him, the giant straightens out and wipes away the water in his face. Cold did not even BEGIN to describe how it felt standing what was dang near chest high water for him. Fortunately, he did not have to think about it for very long before being reminded that he wasn't the only one taking the river path.
In blatant disregard to their pride as self-sufficient kunoichi, the Kirryu firmed up his muscles to increase his strength and create a more solid platform to set Yuriko and Kiji on after plucking them fully out of the river. From there, the titan waded through water and ice sluggishly but unerringly. His focus unfortunately had to remain dedicated to reaching the other-side, so any further traps or warning would have to be dictated by his riders as they went.
Feeling the ice begin to break beneath her, though it seems a moment too late as the icy water swallows Yuriko up, along with everyone else. She gasps for breath as she flails only briefly, before the small girl tries to climb herself out of the river. However, she's plucked out of the water and settled on top of Kiyoshi's broad shoulder. Blinking her bright eyes, it takes Yuriko a moment to realize just where she was sitting, and a cherry hue that may or may not have something to do with the cold blossoms on her cheeks. Scowling, mostly to herself, she shifts her weight and jumps to the other side of the river with relative ease. Once there she becomes completely still, lifting her head and quickly looking over her surroundings to get the lay of the land. Traps, or if anyone in the cabin possibly heard them.
The clear separation here was now between Naoya and the rest of the group. He managed to find a quick route towards the cabin at the top of the trees. He did not seem to mind that the others were in trouble or that the danger was still there for them. Tsiro made a mental note of this as being the lone wolf syndrome. It was something he understood on a personal level. Naoya was the lone hunter, in it to win the mission, not for the group.
Tsiro then notes that Kiyoshi was the exact opposite and almost to a fault. He was not here for the mission. He was still the animal protecting his herd. It was not the worst thing in the world. Somehow Tsiro wondered if it had to do with the demon inside him or if it was the boy's nature that clashed with being a shinobi.
Next came the girls. While Yuriko was sound in moving across the ice, Kiji managed to take down two teammates with her. At this point she was breaking even. This mission was proving to be a challenge for the group.
As the Genin move across into the woods, Tsiro decides to follow. He's is no hurry yet. They still had a bit more to go through. This test was not nearly done yet.
Kiji gasped again as she felt something grab her by the back of her shirt and hoist her up wards, out of the water. "K-k-k-k-ki-y-yoshi… Th-thank-k-ss…." She shuddered, rubbing a her arms as he bore them across. A glance at Yuriko to be sure the Kaguya was alright then she turned back to the bank. She had been keeping track of her teammates even if they were technically competing. Partially because of an honest concern for their well-being and partially because she was the medic here. Competition or not she was ultimately the first defense against serious injuries. If she had to choose between winning Tsiro's reward or healing Yuriko (for example) while another person took Goat-o-whatsit's head so be it. Kirigakure would not lose assets while Kiji was around…
She did not jump like Yuriko but she did slip down off Kiyoshi's shoulder on the other side. Then she opened her senses again, trying to locate the cabin and those within it… What she noticed was a depression or flat area on the ground, covered in snow… But there was something odd about it… She reached out to take Kiyoshi's hand, to garner his attention before pointing out the possible trap. "Watch yourself there, Kiyoshi…" Kiji then turned and started picking her way through the woods, watching for signs of life….
Soon making his way through the upper reaches of the forest, Naoya positions himself above the cabin before closing his eyes briefly. Turning his head to one side, his brows furl before opening widely recognizing the scent in the air. Proceeding with cation, the young man returns to the tree-line but rather than wait, he begins to circle the cabin. Each time he lands he lays out more of a web, attempting to restrict escape choices if he manages to flush out the targets within the cabin.
With hardly a visual command from the Okumo, set of small forward scouting parties begins to move towards the cabin from several sides, including climbing above. The brood is quick to examine the chimney for signs if it was still in use while the rest of the brood was split between looking for entry points and windows to look within, making a head count and hopefully assessing them for the first time.
Forward. It is all Kiyoshi can truly focus on, though his other senses inevitably wandered regardless. Yuriko smelled funny to him for a moment, distracting the Kirryu by prompting him to glance briefly in her direction. Unfortunately, he garners no new insights in that moment, so quickly dismissed the scent from mind. It couldn't have meant anything more than embarrassment over being rescued by him.
"Mm.." Kiyoshi emits alongside a nod in response to Kiji's words. Although she hardly weighed anything to him, Kiyoshi feels the change in weight and regards the Kaguya with look of mild disappointment. In the end, it was for the best. Despite his general dislike of all Okumo, the Moto cared enough for his comrade to hope Yuriko could offer Naoya support until he and Kiji caught up. Freedom from the icy depths could not have come sooner. Kiyoshi carefully steps away from Kiji so that when he began shaking the water from his form the chance of splashing her wouldn't be too bad. By the time he's done with that it quickly becomes apparent the Kirryu underwent another shape-shift. Either that, or the thick coat of fur covering much of his skin was actually really silky snow and ice. Either way, it would help keep out the cold and mask him to a degree.
"Hm?… ah.." Upon closer inspection he saw what Kiji caught on to, and squeezed her hand lightly in thanks. After that faux pas, Kiyoshi erred again on the side of caution and followed roughly behind Kiji.
Yuriko turns her head just slightly to catch sight of Kiyoshi and Kiji emerging from the river, though her attention quickly turns back to the clearing between herself and the cabin. Just as Kiji points out the indent to Kiyoshi, the petite Kaguya girl spots the covered trap as well. It's a brief moment or so, but a slight smirk begins to form on her soft lips. Time for a shift in tactics.
Her bright eyes glance upwards and spotting the closest tree, Yuriko leaps up into it. Dripping wet, she tries to ignore the sharp chill of the winter wind cutting through her. Pausing, the young kunoichi carefully extends her surroundings again as she begins to move smoothly through the treetops.