Date: July 1, 2010
The tournament continues, and a sinister plan is revealed to tip the odds in favor of one of the teams…
"Tournament of the Sun Goddess - The Cheater's Game"
Tournament Grounds - Land of Fire
Fuyu quietly discusses her plan with Aburame Kuroji in the background as the first match of the tournament continues. The 7'2" tall woodcutter begins to grow frustrated as all of his attacks are somehow known in advance, and avoided seemingly without any difficulty on the part of his miko opponent. A somewhat shorter, but still plenty strong-looking, man who is apparently the 'Juro-san' mentioned by the announcer, yells to his student from Team Log's preparation area. Whether he is yelling encouragement or instructions is unclear, but whatever he is yelling seems to get through, because the lumberjack warrior in the ring eases off on his attacks, perhaps to conserve what energy he has left, or maybe to try a different tactic.
Much to his surprise, the Team Mirror fighter responds to this cessation of offense on Team Log's part by launching into a furious series of attacks herself! The miko lunges forward, and lands three punches in the Team Log fighter's abdomen before he can bring his arms down to defend his torso. The priestess fighter has already shifted gears and has used those arms as a platform, as she leaps high into the air, steps on the folded forearms and begins kicking the woodcutter fighter in the face and sides of the head in mid-air! When he tries to shield his face, she drops down to the ground from her airborne assault, and plants two more fists in the near-giant's stomach. Unwilling to leave his face undefended, he instead turns to the side and raises one leg, trying to simultaneously block further punches and set himself up to kick the annoying little woman as hard as he can.
He never gets the chance to go on the counter-offensive. The Kikanmachi warrior woman jabs him several times in the knee of the leg that is still on the ground. Though her strength is obviously much less than her opponent, she apparently hits the right muscles or nerves to make that leg collapse like a wet noodle under its owner. The Rogumachi fighter falls to the floor of the ring, and before he can even start to collect himself or try to get up, the Mirror fighter is already standing next to him. She delivers a rain of blows designed to weaken and pain her target by striking various nerve centers, reflex points, and joints, among other things. The Log fighter scrambles to get up, but every time he starts to make progress he is knocked back to the ground. Soon enough he is literally crawling across the ring, trying simply to escape the tormenting and ceaseless attacks of the miko. The crowd has been roaring out cheers for whichever side they want to win most the entire time, but when the Log fighter finally rolls onto his back and calls out, "ENOUGH! I SURRENDER!" the spectators go wild. What an upset! A huge and physically powerful warrior against a tiny and frail woman… And the woman won!
While all this is going on, the various other teams have been watching and talking amongst themselves or cheering or 'boo'ing, depending on who they liked more. Team Secret, however, has been standing nearly silent, except for occasional exchanged comments out of the corners of their mouths. They also seem to smirking… Confidently? It would seem from appearances that they aren't worried at all about facing Team Mirror.
The announcer is in the ring by this point, and though the miko-like fighter had ceased her attacks the moment her opponent surrendered, the rather bland-looking man still stands between the two fighters as though there was the possibility of combat resuming. He looks to the judges. The judging panel have been speaking amongst themselves throughout the fight, but with the fight over they seem to have come to a decision. Every one of the elderly judges raises his hand in the air, above his head. One judge towards the middle stands up and calls out, "Victory… Kikanmachi!" Even though this was the obvious result, given that the Team Log fighter had given up, it still seems to excite the crowd back into resuming their chattering and noise-making.
Zain, the teacher of Team Secret… Appears to have left the scene at some point during the match. If Hinotori and/or Abel were keeping an eye on him, they would have likely spotted him walking away from the fighting ring, walking along a fenced path through the crowd. Where he is going is not immediately obvious.
Seeing the woman about to be kicked pissed Abel off but knew it was part of being a fighter so he wasn't that pissed any more. As she turned his own move on him he smiled and jumpped into the air. "Man she knows how to kick so ass!" He slames his fist bumps the air around him. After the match a guy started to move and it didn't look like it was for a good reason he was up to something an Abel wanted to know what. Abel looked up at Hintori and shook his head. "Damnit and it was going to be a good match!" He clitched his fist and smiled. "So what should we do sir?" Is asked as his stomach growled.(repose)
Arms crossed over his chest, he made sure to keep himself and Abel back aways a bit. No need of them being seen, especially if they were to only be observing. The Uchiha chuunin had been keeping an eye on Zain and team secrect. The fight is good, he was really enjoying watching the miko fighter, she was pretty hot. But as soon as Zaine moved and started to head towards the fence and away from the fighting. Eyes narrowing Hinotori hears Abel, "You stay here and keep an eye on his team, I will follow him." he says. "Keep out of sight, don't give his team reason to suspect your watching them." he says. With that and no sound Hinotori moves gracefully and unseen to where Zaine dissappeared. Keeping a look out so that he isn't watched, Hinotori tries to make no sound or give away his position.
Hinotori's trip around the ring to the open path between two sections of teeming crowds goes unnoticed by most thanks to the excitement of the first match being concluded. Thus, he is not exactly 'unseen' since there are hundreds of eyes looking upon him at any given moment. However, just about all of those eyes belong to people who don't really pay anything more than passing attention to the Chuunin as he wanders out of the fighting area and beyond the spectators, following after the man in the black gi.
Zain might be spotted somewhere in the area where food stands and souvenir shops and similar have been erected, or maybe that's someone else wearing black. Despite the fact that the tournament has started, there are still a fair number of people running around at the last minute trying to get snacks and such before they find a seat or place to stand and watch the next fight.
If that IS Zain, though, he just turned and went inbetween two temporary buildings, and out of sight.
Meanwhile, Abel is left behind to watch Team Secret — and maybe watch the next fight as well. The three fighters in black gi of their own are casually chatting and laughing and occasionally sneering at the other teams. They don't seem at all worried about their chances. But other than that, they aren't really doing anything suspicious. With all the sights and sounds to take in, Abel might not notice, but the three representatives from Konohagakure whom were sent to watch over the tournament have vanished from the judges' platform, where they had previously been standing. Likewise, Kuroji and Fuyu are also gone. There is probably a reason why they aren't here anymore, but no one has told either Hinotori or Abel what that reason is. So they are only left to guess.
What should Abel do next? Stay and watch like Hinotori said? Go looking for the team leader? Find Hinotori and tell him waht's going on? Tough decision for a Genin to make.
Seeing all the konoha nin leave from their spot Abel started to think it over. "Damn hino is gone and I don't see Fuyu or the other nin anywhere. He smiled as he got a plan. As abel walked around to get a better view but that didn't help becuase they where really gone. "Alright hero time!" Abel went ninja as he watched from the high ground.
The raven colored hair Uchiha keeps his distance as he followed. Seeing as they were nearing the food stands Hinotori would use the food stand as a reason fro him to be there if seen. Taking in the scene and watching as the other spectators crowd in lines before the next fight starts. Frowning a little, Hinotori moves to where a smaller line was forming near the ramen stand. He watching the man in the black gi move between two temporary buildings, Hinotori pauses for a moment. He was getting further from the team. They were supposed to be there observing the fight.
Moving from the line, Hinotori heads back to the fight. He couldn't leave Abel by himself, but then again, none of the other masters left their teams. He would try to find out more information then go back to Abel. Hinotori moves non-chalantly towards where the man in the black gi went between the two temporary buildings. Trying to keep as quiet as he could and be alert, watching for anything suspicous as well as not getting jumped.
Hinotori arrives at the narrow alleyway between two makeshift shops. Standing in the alleyway with his back to the way he came in, is definitely the sensei of Team Secret. Whether Hinotori stands there and watches, or peeks from around the corner, or listens in without revealing himself at all, the result is the same (though the latter two may be better than the first one). The Chuunin would be witness to a man coming around the corner from the other end of the alley, and then walking towards Zain. The man is impressively fit and looks like he probably has the Kekkei Genkai of "Ridiculously Handsome". Since he is facing Hinotori's direction, unless the Uchiha takes cover quickly, he will be spotted easily.
The noise level this far out in the tournament grounds is much more subdued, due to fewer people being around, thus any conversation outside of the quietest whisper should be audible… And yet… There is silence from within the alleyway. If Hinotori is hiding and listening he won't hear anything immediately. And if he peeks around the corner he would see that the two men are suddenly leaving through the other end, where the handsome man just entered from.
Why are they meeting in an alleyway just to leave as soon as they arrive?
Abel would see nothing odd going on in the tournament grounds from his perch atop one of the wooden stands that have been set up for the spectators to sit on. Though he is about fifteen feet off the ground, the aid to his range of vision does not reveal where the leader of this team has gone to, nor Kuroji, nor the Konoha reps. The announcer in the ring calls out to everyone, "The next match will begin in less than five minutes!"
The excitement level picks up again. Three of the elderly judges get up from their seats right then, as a messenger approaches and informs them of something. Looking confused and worried, the old men leave the platform and hurry towards the same path that Zain and Hinotori took to get out of the fighting area. However, the judges seem to be heading somewhere else once they are free of the crowds… A building with a tarp over it, apparently not in use at the moment.
After a walk around the building he spots nothing that would cause for him to go ninja. Beside three judges going in the same direction as Hino. Abel thought it best to follow them for the time being. As they started to speed up he thought that maybe just maybe Hino is in trouble or is casuing some so he moved faster.
Hinotori would listen in without revealing himself, it wouldn't do good for him to be caught now would it? Having peeked in before the….'Is that some type of genjutsu or bloodline, the man is…..well damn…..and I don't even like guys.' comes the thought. Moving out of sight but not out of hearing range, if happend upon, it would look as if Hinotori is just looking around watching the people as they move about still trying to get food. Hinotori focuses on tuning everyone else out and focusing on the two men straining his ears to listen to what they were sepaking about. It was hard to hear what was being said due to the noise level, but also the men wouldn't be speaking too loudly.
After a moment, Hinotori would look peek back in only to see the two men leaving. This was odd indeed, maybe he had been seen. Cursing silently to himself, something was going on. He hadn't notified Fuyu-sama of his activities, nor did he tell Abel but something is going down and he needed to find out what it is. Moving between the temporary buildings, Hinotori tries to use his stealth skills to keep him hidden from the view of the two men he's following.
The two men are followed successfully this time. Maybe Zain had noticed himself being followed previously, but now he seems to be completely unaware as Hinotori sneaks through the shadows silently, leaps from one building to another, etc. Eventually the two men stop in an abandoned part of the tournament grounds that looks like it was going to have something there, but no one ever got around to building it. The two men turn to face each other.
"Now for proper greetings: Good afternoon, Zain-san! How are you this fine day?" the super-handsome man says in a 'God's-gift-to-women' voice as he smiles broadly. His chiseled features, long and wavy brown hair, and dark eyes, combined with the rest of him, would probably make most girls blush and giggle themselves into a coma and make most women swoon. Zain does not appear to be either a girl or a woman, since he is neither swooning nor giggling. Instead the Team Secret sensei says, "Forget that. Do you have it?" Though the face of the shorter of the two men cannot be seen from Hinotori's present angle, his tone drips with loathing.
The handsome man raises one eyebrow quizzically and asks confusedly, "I am sorry, Zain-san, I do not understand. Is there something you would like from me? Perhaps some advice for your team when their turn comes up?" Zain snarls, "You know EXACTLY what I am talking about and you know EXACTLY what I want. Stop being a moron and hand it over." The handsome man's eyebrows both come down sharply, and though he remains good-looking, there is now a darker and more aggressive look to him now that his good-natured smile is gone. In a deep, harsh, and raspy voice so different from the one he was just using that it would be easy to mistake it for belonging to someone else, the taller man responds, "Fine, Zain. I just thought I'd wait until we're sure we're alone. Were we followed again?"
Abel races after the judges, who are actually not speeding up or moving very quickly at all. They are, as has been noted, old men. In robes and things. They move slow, even when in a hurry. Unless Abel backs off or slows down a lot, they are likely to not only notice him but keep an eye on him for the rest of the tournament, preventing him from doing much of anything. They are going the same direction Hinotori went at first because… There's only one path out of the fighting area. Once they are beyond the crowds, they head towards the previously mentioned cloth-covered and unused building, and the messenger that contacted them originally gathers up the canvas to permit the elderly men entrance. What could the judges be doing with only 2 or 3 minutes until the next match starts!?
Using the building to keep him hidden, the Uchiha Chuunin watches them. He isn't able to see what it is they are talking about, but listening was another part of recon that most really under estimate. But Hinotori isn't one to only get part of the information, especially seeing as Zain is making more of a spectacle of himself by being mean to this strange man, who seems to be in leagues with him. Moving silently and adjusting his angle so that he is able to see a bit better of whats being passed and talked about. Depending on the nature of this item, would Hinotori act, for now, he was going to only watch.
Zain turns his head to look back over his shoulder, but though he carefully scans the area, he sees no sign of Hinotori. He is not a ninja, even if he is a skilled warrior. He probably just doesn't have the necessary training to detect a Chuunin. "No. We're clear, Roku." The handsome man, apparently named Roku, nods and retrieves a simple brown pouch from inside the right sleeve of his shirt. He holds it out to Zain, and says in that raspy voice that is likely his natural voice, rather than the suave and smooth voice used in front of strangers and/or women, "I hope you know how to use these herbs properly. They were not easy to get, and I won't be able to provide more to you if you mess up the first time." Zain just grunts and carefully accepts the small bag. Roku watches as the Team Secret sensei hides the pouch inside his belt. "You received the payment, right?" Zain asks quietly. Roku nods. "Yes. If I hadn't, you wouldn't have gotten anything from me." Zain nods briefly and then turns away to leave. Roku calls out after him, "And keep those away from my team!" Zain snorts and says, "Don't worry, I'm just going to—" Roku interrupts with a hissed, "Don't tell me! I don't want to know! If I don't know what you're doing, then I'm not responsible if you get caught." Zain pauses, then just shrugs and leaves the empty lot.
Roku stays behind for a little while longer, seemingly thinking about something, or maybe just staring at empty space. Then he moves to depart as well… Unless someone stops either Zain or Roku, that is.
Watching the exchange, Hinotori is able to see the bag that Roku gives to Zain. He was starting to wonder what was in the bag until the mention of herbs is commented on. 'Ah.' he thinks to himself. Whatever they were, it wasn't good, especially seeing as Roku doesn't want him using the herbs near his team? Maybe Zain and Roku share team secrect? What the hell is going on, and if those drugs are used, something possibly bad could happen. Knowing that he needed to find out what those herbs was. Hinotori waits until both men leaves, then slowly he eases away from where he is and tries to keep silent as he moves off after Zain.
Zain is shadowed back to the tournament grounds proper, where the next match has begun. Abel appears to have gotten lost, because he is nowhere to be seen. The three judges that had left are settling back into their seats, and looking rather flustered about something. They are barely even paying attention to the two fighters in the ring! Zain makes his way around the ring to where Team Secret's members stand by, observing. In the ring itself is the Team Rice main fighter, who seems to be the very pinnacle of human perfection. He is physically fit, has a keen look to his eyes, and seems to be completely calm despite the excitement that surrounds him. Facing him is the main fighter for Team Honor, a tallish young man who wears basic leather armor, but nothing that provides too much protection. It doesn't cover him completely. This is a tournament, not a REAL battle. He also wields a bamboo sword, and seems to be quite proficient with it from the way he's holding it. And yet… As the match begins, the Team Honor fighter looks thoughtfully at his unarmed opponent… And then seems to ask something of the Team Rice fighter. It can't be heard very well over the chattering of the spectators, but it seems that the Team Rice fighter agrees with whatever was said.
The Honor fighter turns and walks away! Is he leaving? Giving up!? No, he is just handing off his weapon to one of his team members outside of the ring. It seems he did not feel it fair to fight against an opponent who does not have a weapon of his own. Returning to the center of the ring, the Team Honor fight bows to the Team Rice fighter. The latter hesitantly returns the bow, and then when they both have straightened up, the fight begins for real!
The Team Honor fighter charges forward and hurls a hook punch at his foe that looks like it could knock out a grown man instantly if it lands on the jaw. The Team Rice fighter steps backwards. The fist sails past his face, missing by a couple inches, and the Rice fighter doesn't even bat an eye. The Honor fighter starts to stumble slightly as his momentum carries him forward from his missed attack, but this turns out to be a ruse. The leather-clad youth leans much farther forward than his lunging attack should have carried him, until he is balanced on the front of a single foot, in a low-to-the-ground position… Then he does a back flip, pushing off the ground with that single foot, and trying to nail his foe in the face with a kick!
The sculpted muscles of the Rice fighter seem to flex fluidly, and in a simple movement, he turns to the side and backsteps again, allowing the flip-kick to go *swish* through the air without hitting anything. This is the second time in the tournament so far that a combatant seems to be able to predict an opponent's movements and attacks. In this case, however, the Honor fighter is much faster than the Log fighter. There isn't the same degree of time to observe as the Team Mirror fighter had when she fought. And yet, the Rice fighter is still avoiding his opponent's attacks with minimal difficulty with a minimum amount of actual movement.
Further, he's doing it very precisely. He always leaves himself just an inch or two beyond the other man's reach. That can't be accidental. As the Honor fighter completes his backflip, but before he lands back on the ground, the Rice fighter retaliates. He raises one leg, leans his torso away from the Honor fighter, and balances on one foot. His knee folds up to his chest, and then he unleashes a side-kick that shoots out with the same liquid grace and strength that a tiger might display. The raw, coiled power in the Rice fighter's muscles seems to be quite impressive indeed, because the kick nails the Honor fighter in his right ribs, causing the warrior to BEND around the foot that has slammed into him. Then, without ever landing from his flip, the leather-clad man is hurled through the air by the kick's force, flying all the way to the other side of the ring and hitting the ground about two feet from the edge.
If he touches the ground outside of the ring, this match is over. There's a sort of 'fence' barrier around the ring, but rolling or sliding underneath that barrier is all too easy. The Honor fighter manages to stop himself from passing under the barrier, however. Though he had only a split-second to react after hitting the ground on his back, he spreads his legs and stops himself by planting his feet on the fence. All of this happens rather quickly. Quickly enough that the crowd takes several seconds to actually understand what just happened, and then react. And the reaction is enormous. A deafening roar of cheers and whatever else people might want to yell washes over the area. It might even be audible all the way back in Konohagakure.
While the Honor fighter recovers from that kick and tries to get back onto his feet, Zain has his team members in a huddle around him — probably to conceal what he's saying and doing.
As he makes his way back not being detected, Hinotori does a quick cursory glance to where he left Abel, but not seeing the genin, he sighs. Looking over to where the judges were, he notes their discontent. 'Why aren't they watching the match?' he asks himself. Turning to look over to where Zain was, he manages to keep up with him, but slowly. Looking over to where the judges were one last time, Hinotori doesn't see Fuyu or Kuroji anywhere near the judges. Hinotori turns back to where the Secrect team was seated. He needed to find out what this herb is and what it would do. While Zain is busy with his team, and the crowd focusing on whats going on with the match. He moves around so that Zain or Team Secret can't see him. Once he heard what he needed he would then confront them on it.
Given that Hinotori is in plain-sight of everyone at the tournament grounds (more or less. Some might have their vision obstructed by someone else being in the way), staying out of sight would be difficult. However, with Team Secret all standing close together in a ring, the four individuals leaning forward so that they can speak privately, the way that some sports teams might when they are planning their next move, it seems that the Secret fighters have unintentionally obstructed their own vision of the environment. On the other hand, with all the noise, and how their faces are hidden, it would be very hard to simply eavesdrop, or lip-read the conversation. Something more than conventional spying will be necessary.
Hinotori is a ninja, and none of these fighters here are ninja. Infact, the only ninja at the tournament should have been the team that came here to guard the advisors and judges. That means that Hinotori is at an advantage if he cares to make use of any ninja skills he may have.
The three judges who weren't paying attention eventually start watching the fight as the other seven judges were since the beginning. This is a good decision on their part, as the fight as really heated up. Unlike in the first fight, where the Log fighter seemed to be completely outmatched by the speed and skill of the Mirror fighter, the initial superiority of the Rice fighter has begun to degrade in the face of the Honor fighter's persistence. Whereas the Rice fighter seems to have an advantage in physical speed and strength, and mental capabilities — such as reaction time, etc. — he does not actually appear to have that much skill at martial arts.
So once the Honor fighter has acclimated to the enhanced speed of his foe, and come up with a strategy, the superior training of the samurai-like warrior allows him to put pressure on his foe. Even as the Rice fighter sends out lightning-fast punches and knee-strikes and similar, the Honor fighter uses practices blocking techniques to deflect the blows, and then send out some of his own. Unlike the Honor fighter, however, the Rice fighter appears to not know any blocking techniques, and is relying almost completely on trying to dodge everything, or making comparatively clumsy movements to attempt to push the incoming attacks aside.
This results in a furious back-and-forth of quick attacks on both sides that are repeatedly stopped or countered before they can land and do damage. The grappling goes on for a few minutes, each fighter putting absolutely everything they have into it. That may not seem like a lot of time, but normally a fight is a drawn-out affair, with pauses between attacks, where two foes will step back and plan their next moves, and so forth. These two are not stopping. They are not taking a moment to rest and breathe properly. They are throwing all that they have into a continuous barrage, and reacting with split-second timing to keep from being seriously hurt.
So when they finally do break apart, they are very tired indeed. This break only occurs, however, after the Rice fighter makes a mistake and tries to block high when he should have blocked low. He gets a knife hand in the collarbone. Staggering backwards, the Rice fighter clutches one hand to where he was struck, probably hurting, but quickly moves back into a fighting position. Though he is breathing heavily, he appears to be ready to resume. The Honor fighter, however, looks like he's been fighting all day. He is gasping and sweating and his fighting stance he takes up looks too loose, and too tired. He may have superior skill, but his endurance is less than his opponent's.
This is a very interesting match-up.
Taking into account that he wouldn't be able to hear whats going on, and he was with a team of ninja here. Hinotori knew he had to hear what was going on and with the fight going on, he forms a few seals to try to enhance his hearing. It's something that he hasn't done in a long time, but if chakra could be used for fuel ninjutsu and such, it should be able to enhance hearing as well. Hinotori didn't want to chance henging, but he didn't know how much longer he had, and so as he focuses his chakra to his ears, he then remembers Roku and smiles to himself as he henges into the man, as he walks into the group. He doesn't say anything but does move close enough to hear and see now.
As Hinotori in Roku's guise moves closer, he'd have to actually lean in close and risk being noticed if he wants to hear what they're saying. They aren't exactly shouting to each other since they are less than a foot away. However, it would be possible, thanks to the height advantage provided by Roku's body, to see that Zain is handing out two small spheres to each team member.
They resemble soldier pills, except that one pill in each pair is white, and the other pill in each pair is black. From what little can be overheard, it seems that Zain is giving instructions to his team concerning the use of the pills. Before anything else can be heard or said, however, everything around goes nearly silent, causing Team Secret to break from its meeting and look towards the ring.
Team Rice's fighter is standing, though barely, and seems to be rather beat up. But Team Honor's fighter is down on the ground and unconscious. He looks even worse than the Rice fighter. The judges all stand up, and hold up one hand each. Then the announcer calls out, "Victory: Team Rice!" A huge uproar goes out, most of it surprisingly negative-sounding. It seems that Team Rice was not the team favored by the people in that match.
Knowing this isn't apart to Team Secrects normal tactics, Hinotori looks to them for a moment, his eyes narrowing. Roku folds his arms against his chest, he needed to step in. All of this sneaking around and speaking with men and bringing herbs to use to his team, Hinotori was done. Walking away before the match is finished, and walking back behind a few bleachers, he drops the henge. He then walks over to where the judges were. Looking for Fuyu, if he finds her he lets her know of what he's found out. "We need to bring this to the attention of the judges. Team Secrect is cheating." he tells her in a low voice.