Date: April 1, 2016
Ninja from each of the five Great Villages are presented a choice: left or right. How tough could that be?
"Tough Choices - Left or Right"
Wilderness of a small neutral country
It started with kidnappings. Not with a recognizable pattern, mind you; indeed, most people wouldn't even realize there was more than one related kidnapping, because they were all done in different countries. A merchant's daughter snatched in the Land of Fire, a village elder's son disappeared in the Land of Wind, a secretary carrying minor state secrets missing from the Land of Water, a popular starlet gone from the stage in the Land of Lightning, and a monk whose words of wisdom are popular in the Land of Earth vanished. All important enough to merit ninja investigation from their respective lands, but not enough to cause widespread consternation or send excited rumors rippling out to other countries. So the fact that there are several ninja from different lands following carefully laid trails that converge on a shack in the middle of a small neutral country's wilderness should be a surprise to all of them.
On the roof of the shack, in plain view and with a good view himself of the surrounding area, a young man sits, waiting. He has glossy black hair with a midnight-blue sheen, and he appears to be amusing himself with something on a clipboard, maybe a crossword puzzle or the like.
Hige had been assigned to investigate the missing person from the Land of Fire. As the Elder of the Delta Pack, who's specialty is tracking and spying, it only makes sense that he would take on this task. And in the end he wasn't alone. Two ninken were with him, one in the form of a large over five foot tall dark coated wolf. The other just the opposite, a stark white pup only about a foot and half tall. Three noses are better than one, and before long they find the shack.
As the group nears the shack Hige has them stop just inside the tree line so they can watch the shack from their hiding spots. The view of the person on the roof is interesting, but what's more interesting is what scents are around. Is it just the one? Is the merchants daughter really here? The scent should tell him…
The Toujitakumi had come a long way from home and it showed in just how good at tossing and catching that apple in his hand the teen had become. The sack he carried that once was filled with supplies, was now filled with the many creations of earth and clay that he had been selling periodically along the trail to give himself the light guise of being little more than a traveling peddler of clay sculptures and pottery. The ones that he now carried with him however were a little different from those given to villagers and children. Each little figure was charged with chakra, and every small vase ready to blow at the slightest charge of chakra in its direction.
As Nendo neared the shack however, perhaps roughly a kilometer out, the teen slipped off of the beaten track and into the woods where he took to the earth in the most literal way. Sinking into the ground with little more than a subtle rumble, the teen began swimming below the surface where the looser layers of earth resided to inspect the area not only for subterranean traps, but also for the feeling of vibrations in the general area which might betray movements of those attempting to remain hidden locally. A little bit of focus would let him try for a feeling of what might be within that shack as well, perhaps sparing him the task of having to enter it at all if it was merely a hollow decoy.
Wandering from the sandy dune of the Land of Wind, a traveling minstrel shifts through the lesser lands without renown shinobi villages. Each place he would visit, he would ask a few questions before moving on, searching for 'an old friend' though the truth was it was simply another contract. Draped in garbs of a less than successful man, he would find himself at a shack though when he comes to a pause, his fingers interlink and raise up close to his chin in prayer. Not a word is said while his eyes close, though he does let out a slow breath.. before his chakra suddenly spikes.
At first it simply swells within his form but then for a moment radiates out from him if a sensor saw him. Using his chakra, he quickly began to try and sense for if he could feel the missing villager chief's son or if yet another rumor lead him astray. While he was still trying to mentally sort through the feelings, Rikuto lowers his hands and looks up towards the man on the low roof and offers a wide smile. "Hope you fair well up there!" is called out to the man before pausing for a moment, seeing if he reacts. "I'm looking for one of my companions that ran off before me, have you seen anyone passing though the area? Someone about.. this tall?" Motioning with his left hand, he gestures roughly the missing person's height while sounding somewhat hopeful for positive news.
Sanda wasn't originally chosen for this mission on Kumo's side. She was very bad at tracking and was really next to useless when it came to combat. So why is she here? Apparently the administration ran out of trackers to use… Or something similar to that. No fancy tricks showed that she was doing anything close to attempting to hide. She was walking out in the open, looking about as cross as ever. "If I ever learn who was supposed to be on this mission, I'm gonna kill him…" she mutters. That may not be true, but boy was she mad…
The Hizumu sighed just a bit, then, bringing out a map. Her hitai-ate was not present, so she looked like a pretty lost traveler (which she was). "I think around here? Or something… Maybe not. Why the flip am I this useless, though…" she grumbles, tracing a finger along the lines. "I guess this works…" She looks up and over the edge of the parchment, noticing Rikuto off in the distance. "Maybe he knows a thing or two…" she says to herself, starting that way with the map still out.
Kiji was sent for the secretary that had gone missing and the secrets she was carrying. But Kiji was cautious. She wasn't the best tracker but she kept her inner eyes just as aware as her other senses. She kept a close eye on anything with enough chakra to be human, let alone anything stronger.
The girl stood 5'2 and wore a black skirt and shirt combination made from an especially high end silk. In the back of said shirt were two slits and her arms were mostly bared. Knee high stockings and her hair in a simple braid down her back made her look almost like she was some kind of normal teenager. The hitai-ate on her forehead, though, spoke otherwise.
Kiji noted those gathering as she got closer to the cabin and true to her nature, she slipped into the trees instead of remaining on the ground. One signature she recognized fro a recent mission of her own.. That Inuzuka and his two dogs. Dogs that talked. (Yea, she still wasn't over that.) They would certainly pick up her scent but who were the others? There was a signature about a Kilometer away from the shack that suddenly faded in a odd way. She could tell chakra was being use which meant the person knew something of some kind of ninjutsu.
She turned her head slightly as she tried sensing where they went, holding still in her tree for a bit before looking ahead again, noting Rikuto as he spoke to the one on the shack. Her eyes slid into golden as she narrowed them. Moving several trees ahead, still hidden behind leafy growth but able to watch the gathering. She could sense Sanda coming up behind and to the east of her. But no one really seemed ready for a fight.
However the wind was not on her side, a soft breeze would bring her scent to Hige or Konsho, though lightly….. For the moment she watched the man on the roof, focusing her senses on him directly then shifting toward the shack.. Who was inside if anyone?
The figure on the roof grins widely and hops to his feet when people start calling out to him. "Ah, you've arrived! Splendid, the game can begin once all the players are gathered." n.n He looks around and calls out to the surrounding woods. "Come now, don't be shy. I'm going to explain the rules of the game, you don't want to mishear them because you're hiding." ;) The youth gives a bow. "My name is Mesahin Darei. Perhaps you've heard of me, perhaps not. Most of my games have been held in the Land of Wind thus far, but for this one I really needed…international participation." Darei waves a placating hand. "Before you become antsy, the 'valuable packages' each of you came for are safe, for now. They are secluded elsewhere. Where precisely, I don't know; I have entrusted them to competent agents with strict instructions not to inform me where they are. However, they have given me notes regarding their destinations. Those notes are to be the prize of this game."
Darei stomps lightly on the roof of the shack. "Inside this structure is a special contraption constructed specifically for this game. It's a sort of pentagonal safe, with recesses on each side. Within each recess is a lever. Once a hand grasps the lever, a restraint will immediately clamp down on the arm of the one who touched it. If the lever is pulled to the left, then seals in the restraint will strongly sap the chakra of the one caught — not lethal by any means, but quite debilitating. It will release after a full minute. If the lever is pulled to the right instead, nothing happens and the restraint will release immediately."
Darei's smile grows wicked. >) "Once all five levers are pulled, the safe will open and the notes will be yours to take…UNLESS all five levers are pulled to the right. Should that happen, or if any attempt is made to force the safe open, a mechanism within will immediately destroy the notes. So, at least one of you must pull a lever to the left, and thus be rendered largely helpless for one minute. You may discuss amongst each other what you will do, but since you cannot see each other's levers, you will be unable to verify what the others are doing." Darei bows again. "Have fun."
A familiar yet rather unexpected scent reaches Hige and Konsho. On top of that, scents of others have also reached him, and though he doesn't know any of them it tells him generally where they're from. All five Great Nations are represented. The short teen moves out of the treeline with Konsho and Kizoku following on either side of him. Feral eyes flick over Rikuto briefly before they turn to look up at the fool on the roof. "What's to stop me from killing you first before I even consider doing what you've said?" It's said in a nonchalant manner, but there is death in his feral eyes. Death that he's more than prepared to deal in this situation.
The arrival of that fellow traveler set Nendo a bit off from his comfort zone. The person wasn't trying to hide and even was speaking openly in the direction of the person on the shack. Troubling, but not too bad. It placed a little doubt in the teen's heart as to if he was in the right location or not however. Then there was the other person who arrived, a female based on the pattern of vibrations and one not very experienced with whatever they were doing based on their assumed posture. The issue however, was that the girl, the person with the VERY big dog as well as the normal one, the garbed person speaking, and the person on the shack were all here. It was too much to be just a coincidence.
Nendo 'listened' in his own way at first, deciphering the vibrations of the man's words but it was going to delay his reaction if he did it for an entire conversation. Giving in as he heard it was a game of some sort, the earth flowed away from Nendo and let the teen rise up from within the earth until he stood on the surface with a fairly annoyed look on his face… which was his normal face. Hands tucked into the pockets of his long gray cargo shorts and the single sleeve of his high-collared maroon shirt marked the teen as a person from the Land of Earth's Iwagakure. With his hitai-ate wrapped about the top of his head like a bandana, his wild brown hair fanning out from beneath it and hanging along the edges of his features. The bloated sack on his back still hung heavily with the weight of his figures and other earthen wares while he sized up this game's organizer for a moment.
As Hige spoke up, the Toujitakumi looked over… and then down at the surprisingly small person. He was almost the same height as the monster of a dog with him! Still, he had enough of a wild look that the Toujitakumi took measures in case that feral side of his was something that lashed out at everyone around him. "The shorty has a point, while you might not know where they are, you have enough information to consider yourself involved. You must have some information that we could extract from you…" Nendo explained, a hand slipping from his pockets to motion in the air toward the person calling himself Darei.
"Mesahin-san, it sounds like you might be mixing me up with a few others though if Osamu got himself into this mess I'm going to save him.. then bruise him," is said with more than subtle annoyance. Looking Darei over for a few moments, he shakes his head gently before looking behind himself, seemingly searching for others that began to progressively move forward. Glancing only briefly towards Hige and the companion beasts, he hums softly, not commenting on his words. Shifting his gaze then to the young man with a headband who was in agreement rather than following the option.
Turning back his head, Rikuto looks towards the stomping foot before looking back up at the man briefly. Echoing what he said, he asks "So everyone holds a lever, turns it to the left and we can find our friends? Simple enough. If the seal drains 'chakra', will only be a worry for a mystic or a assassin.. Unless these assassins cause a mess first." Taking a few steps forward, the young man adjusts his garbs though unlike the rest, he didn't hold a throwing pouch on his thighs nor a bandana with a engraved metal plate attached to it. Moving a hand to his shoulder, he adjusts an instrument case strap until he was settled enough to try and glance into the shack. "If I do what you say, can I get a peak and see where my friend might be?"
Sanda would take her time getting over to where the group is, and so she was a bit late to the party as the man started speaking. What was going on? Lever pulling and … Other things. Apparently this dude was behind the kidnapping, though. "Great…" she mutters, crossing her arms over her chest. At least she could be used as like… the one to pull the bad lever. The others all seemed a bit stronger than her. She didn't have any inherent sense, but they just looked it.
Kiji narrowed her eyes as the guy on the roof soke to those in the forest. For a moment she kept still then slid of the tree limb, landing as if it was nothing and walking toward the group. Her eyes slid over toward Hige and Konsho, watching them closely for a long moment. They had met recently…. A glance to each of those gathered ad gathering made Kiji frown, her eyes darkening quickly until they reached a blue so dark it might as well have been black.
Then her attention went to the man, this Darei. He would definitely be dealt with in the future. She was making a note of his chakra signature even as he spoke to them of his game. Deranged psychopaths… Go figure. She was hard to read as the rules were laid out, the device explained. The only thing left for Kiji was the why. Why would he do something this…. pointless? What did he gain? Entertainment she assumed but with no proof….
Hige's threat got a glance from Kiji and then she turned to face Darei again, her eyes shifting closer and closer until they were as crimson as the sharingan. Sensors would feel the spike in chakra from her easily. Hige wanted to fight, Nendo wanted to interrogate Darei, Rikuto was trying to work with him without doing what the man asked directly, the only other female there.. She was grumbling.
Kiji turned again to face Darei directly and lifted her voice so all those gathered could hear her clearly. She spoke with authority, as though she was imbued with the right to address them all in this manner. Her voice was cold, firm, but not insulting. "This man is dangerous." She declared. Hige-san can attest to my skill as a sensor. He is strong, perhaps too strong for some of us here. And he would not leave himself vulnerable knowing he was drawing Kirigakure into this." She looked at each of then as if sizing them up.. measuring.. watching…. Her eyes closed for a long moment, silent, breathing, focusing… when her eyes opened they were ice blue, but no white could be seen therein, only black where white should be. She stared Darei down fearlessly before turning back to the others.
"Fighting him would be fruitless and we may all lose our targets." She turned her icy gaze on each of them then Darei and lifted her chin. "I Okumo Kiji of Kirigakure will play your game. I will pull the lever to the left. And then I will add your name, Mesahin Darei, to my list. Death will come for you. You simply will not know when." She turned to Hige then, the expression on her face hard but with a fleeting hint of trust i her gaze. He had been escorted from Kirigakure's territory unharmed with his target by her. Would he prove his honor now by making sure the others did not try to take her? She shrugged and began to move forward…..
Darei shrugs. "Oh, it wouldn't hurt your chances in the game to attack me, but it wouldn't help them either. Of course, if things become violent, something might happen to set off the safe's destruction mechanism. And it would be a rather risky move in the larger game people call 'life'." ;) Darei claps encouragingly as Kiji steps forward and makes her statement. "There you have it, the young lady is quick to understand the rules. The rest of you can simply pull your levers to the right…assuming, of course, that you trust her word."
Hige seems unimpressed despite Kiji's statement on the man's ability. But then he doesn't like when people threaten his own and then act tough to get away with it. However, he trusts Kiji enough despite her being from Kirigakure. It won't be today that this man dies, but it will be soon. As soon as the people are saved. His mind doesn't even move to the 'why' portion of the mans plan. In his mind it's simply because Darei is insane. Hige has seen insane people do stupid things before.
"You. Uh, Kumo girl. Your chakra is not as strong as Kiji's here, so I suggest letting her do it. We just need to watch over her to make sure someone doesn't try and pull something." He follows Kiji then, nodding to her. "If you want to be the one to turn it, you will be safe." Konsho even breaks away from Hige to follow Kiji instead. Of course, as per his normal, the always happy extra large fierce looking wolf let's out a happy and even excited "Hi Kiji! It's good to see you!"
Nendo cut a glance toward the woman who made herself known and began to claim that the person before them was dangerous. That was a bit interesting to hear, more so from yet another stranger in this gathering. If there was one flaw with this organized little game, that was it. The gathering of strangers. Then again, that was probably the entire game for this Darei person. That too was the flaw however as it seemed that at least two of the gathered people knew each other to some extent. The Toujitakumi's eyes narrowed but he'd listen for the moment and tuck his free hand back into his pocket while watching this Hige person and the woman called Kiji interacting. Turning his attention to the 'Kumo-girl', Nendo raised a brow not at her, but at Hige's apparent knowledge of where the girl might have come from.
Nendo would let out a sigh as his head began aching at the possibilities. The game's rules could have been told in reverse and everyone turning it left could be the fatal issue. The seemingly clueless and polite person was willing to turn right, Kiji-woman was claiming to turn right, Kumo being told to turn left, and Hige planning to turn left to keep his strength for guarding Kiji-woman. That meant only the clueless person was a real risk of faking and trying to sabotage something. Scratching at his head in annoyance until a slight flicker of static crackled at the Toujitakumi's hair, Nendo finally began to speak to someone other than the game's organizer. "It seems like we're playing along then… Sounds fair enough. The woman pulls it left, we pull either way, and then keep her safe for one minute as she recovers. I'm in."
While the plans were worked on and hashed out, beyond the declaration by the woman from the Land of Water, Rikuto simply shakes his head gently from side to side. Not stating a thing, he moves into the shack on his own, not sure of how long they would negotiate who would suffer while the others are allowed freed. Taking his time, he looks around the small building's interior before arriving to one of the center levers. Examining it carefully, the young man flicks at its shell before tapping at the wall it was attached to. Shaking his head gently, he lets out a slow soft sigh and slips his hand into position. 'Tiresome..' "Miyazaki, Miyazaki Makoto is turning the lever.. I don't want to leave my friend in their hold much longer. Just turn them and lets get going already." Closing his eyes, his hand suddenly shifts into position forcefully.
"I'll pull the lever I want to pull," Sanda retorts. She would give Hige a sort of look that indicated she would go along, of course. She just… Wanted to keep an image. Or something. She would make her way over to where all the levers were, choosing one unoccupied.
Kiji blinked. She hadn't expected Hige to be so ready to back her up. The truth was she had been fully prepared to do this thing with no back up. She would survive. And then she would kill whoever crossed her. But Hige's words to her made her blink several times before nodding quietly, almost taken off balance. Then Konsho greeted her and she once again stared at the ninken. That would take getting used to…. "Uh.. Hello… Konsho-san." She almost asked it as if unsure of the name but patted the ninken lightly on the shoulder. She was awkward but okay with the two. The others.. She eyed Nendo specifically. Then glanced at Rikuto as he spoke and moved forward. "If you others do not trust me to do this then watch me do it. He never stated they had to be pulled at the same time." Kiji stepped inside the shack and watched Rikuto as he and others checked the device out. She did not flinch as she moved the lever….
After everyone has reached into the safe, grasped a lever, and pulled it to one side, there are a few clicking noises within, and the top springs open. A small pile of notes rests inside, detailing directions to where the various kidnapping victims are being kept. "Congratulations," Darei says, leaning in the door frame. "It appears you've won. Or at least one of you has, anyway." ;)
Hige reaches one hand into the harness while the other one goes almost lazily into his pocket. After it clamps down on his arm he turns the lever to the right only to find the shackle released. Even the door seems to have opened. He glances at Darei when he says one of them won. "We played your stupid little game. Get lost before I decide to paint the walls with your blood." His attention is on Kiji then, seeing what effect the thing had on her while Konsho continues to watch carefully over her.
The Toujitakumi would reach in and force the leaver in the direction of his choosing. Then came the waiting for that shackle to release him while he stood in place and used his free arm to draw free one of his figures from his pack. The time period was a minute so if he lingered, at best he could see who was willing to try launching an attack on an assumed to be trapped person. It would be a bit of an interesting game at the very least to see who was interested in taking the gamble of attacking someone who may or may not be faking their capture by the device. At the very least, that shackle latching onto them wasn't some horrible poison trap intent on killing the gathered group of strangers. Conspiracy theory number 1, debunked.
Drawing in a ragged breath, Rikuto uses his free arm to grasp onto his trapped elbow tightly. Bending his knees slightly, the young man almost buckles under the sudden weakness bearing down and only sagging more as the process continued. While his wrist was caged only for a moment, his hand remains clamped down onto the lever for some time longer until he forces a breath for his lunges. Biting down onto his jaw, it was clear he was about to say something or complain but then he hurried to silence himself for some composure. "This.. this isn't what I imagined.." is said slowly, but the tone was now dry and some what out of focus. Forcing himself the speak louder, the true mood began to peak out, agitation "What's on those inf-.. what do the notes say already?"
Sanda would tug the lever down and to the right, avoiding whatever draining effects these levers had. Well, hopefully Kiji was good on her promise. The Hizumu would step out into the open to stand near the one that seemed to know her: Hige. Sanda would eye him a moment. "Shouldn't we check the paper first?" she asks, brow raising. Well, she would wander nearer that vault that is supposed to be there unless prevented.
Kiji set her jaw as the contraption closed around her hand and wrist. She did as she promised, moving it to the left. And as promised by Darei, she felt the machine stealing her strength. She did not make a sound as she felt her energy fading. She locked her knees and bent forward to stay upright as the minute began. If it would even stop in a minute. She focused hard on her natural ability augmenting it with chakra as she felt it flowing strongly out of her body through her hand Konsho behind her, hand stuck before her.. she barely kept her feet. But the pride of a Kiri Jounin kept her up and silent as the seconds ticked by.
Darei sighs through his nose. "You lot weren't as exciting as I'd hoped. I should've made it so that winning wasn't possible for everyone at once…yes, pulling to the left sacrifices your specific note, or better yet, the one two spaces to the right of you, or something. Ah well, perhaps another time." *POOF*, and Darei is gone.
Well, that's that…assuming nobody takes advantage of anybody else.