Date: December 29, 2016
Yagyu is enlisted to help Goh cross the desert east of Sunagakure.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Watch out, it's a worm!!"
Since Goh didn't want to burden the Kazekage with his own problems (for once), the pickler has opted to utilise the services of a mercenary group. In particular, the services of one named 'Grim' and his company. After haggling of price had been completed, Grim had designated the task to his trusty employee in Yagyu. She was the only one readily available, since the leader himself was prioritised elsewhere.
The mission was simple, really. Get Goh and his cart from Sunagakure to the border. This meant crossing deserts and plains riddled with danger. Outside of the sun that shines brightly above, bandits were the main threat. They enjoyed to linger just outside of protected zones to rob merchants like Goh.
So here they are, Goh walking next to his wagon that is drawn by a camel. So far he seems pretty upbeat. Perhaps it is because they had largely passed by the dunes without issue. The plan to leave at dusk was a smart one, as it meant avoiding most of the exposure to that ball of gas in the sky. "So what sort of cut do you get from this?" He idly calls to Yagyu, rotating his shoulder about. "I hope you get a big percentage. Walking all this way just for my sake, I feel… well. A bit useless to be honest."
Since Arika kept getting stuck with boring administrative tasks (technically as punishment for sneaking out and onto missions so many times), she decided to sneak out and go on a mission! … ~Doesn't this just lengthen your punishment?~ 'But I'm bored.' ~But we're going to end up stuck in the village for even longer.~ 'But at least we'll have some fun fer a bit.' ~Shouldn't you be more responsible by now??~ 'That's what you're nagging me for.' And the argument on the inside continues like that as Arika peeks out from her hiding spot in Goh's wagon.
Of course, Arika doesn't look like a young teenage girl right now. That would be too obvious and boring. She is instead henge'd as a very very tiny lizard!
"I get the largest cut. It's my contract, so I take the money," Yagyu states to Goh while walking along with him. "That's how that goes. It's my money. You pay me, direct. Alright?" She shifted a pipe around in her lips, but as she 'smoked' it, it became clear it was nothing but a fancy bubble pipe. No tobacco here. "You ain't gotta feel useless. You just a merchant or whatever, so that's what you do. I'm a mercenary so that's what I do. I exist to assist in other people's problems. For money," she finalized. "It is what it is."
"That wriggles." Goh replies with a frown to Yagyu's answer. "Because I organised the contract to be worth credit at my merchant stand." He pauses. "There's no actual money changing hands. Just a piece of paper. But! I can give you the piece of paper, if you want?" A toothy grin is beamed over to Yagyu, hoping to make her feel a bit better for any unrest. "I hope you like pickled ginger." Because at the moment, that's allllll he's got.
It seems for the moment he is completely oblivious to Arika. And really, why would he notice her? Lizards aren't cause for concern. Especially those that are hidden away. "I'm happy that you exist to assist." Goh continues, feeling a cool breeze sweep across the sand. "I'd be a lot more worried if you weren't around to help me across the way. Do you know any super cool techniques?"
The camel that draws the cart stops in its trot, snorting and snarling at something it catches in the air. "Eh?" Goh queries, moving over to pat the animal. "What's wrong, Hajime? Smell something?" Goh's nostrils flare. There is something foul on the air. As if they were walking across a garbage tip or something. "Eurgh. What's that stench?"
What? Pickles?! Pickles are the exact opposite of sweets! Arika is sad :( But maybe pickled things are tasty? The tiny lizard idly starts poking about some of the containers in the wagon, some small ink tendrils creeping out like tree branches so that Arika can get a better sense of where things are. She eventually finds a lid that she works to loosen! Slowly… Slowly… Gotta be- nah, careful is overrated. *POP* goes the lid, and Arika decides to try the pickled vegetable that it happens to contain …
"Then I get full credit at your merchant stand," she shrugs. "If it has enough value, I'll take it, but if it's just some piece of paper, then I'mma need at least ten of 'em or somethin'. A voucher like that means I gotta have a choice of selection, y'know?" She explained to him. "So, you make more of those papers and we good. I'll take the one you got after the contract is done. Ain't no use in tryin' to organize for it now when the job ain't complete. Gotta do the work first," she blew a few bubbles out of her pipe to punctuate the statement.
"I know some techniques. Cool enough for me and a way to get the job done…" Her voice trailed off. "What kinda smell is that? I ain't never smelled that around here."
Goh's eyes narrow at the 'popping' noise, his attention turning straight to the wagon. He had a near sixth sense about his product! And when someone is messing with it… "What…—"
The man is interrupted by the sound of a loud groan that ripples through the ground. Goh feels the ground tremble beneath his feet. So much so that he nearly falls onto his knees! Sticking a hand out to hold onto the cart to help stabilise himself, he gasps. "What was that?!"
True locals of Sunagakure and the desert would likely know about the gigantic worm creatures that live in the desert. While they usually stick to themselves and don't harm citizens, they had been known to occasionally be seen on the horizons of sand dunes. And very rarely, had been known to interact with people. But they weren't dangerous, as they only ate plants. Thus the Kazekage let them be.
Out in front of the pair of wanderers, an explosion of sand from just in front of them reveals a HUGE worm. It's easily fifteen feet in diameter and fifty feet long. The thing writhes about as it ejects itself from the sand dunes, before CRASHING into the sand behind! Using the sand like a whale would water.
"WAAAUUUUGGGHHHH!" Goh screams at the top of his lungs, clinging to the cart to try and keep his feet. "It's after the pickled vegetables! It can smell them!" No doubt. The subtle smells of his wares were mostly protected as they were sealed. But the second Arika opened one to release the scents into the atmosphere, their existence was confirmed. Oh dear.
Yagyu feels the cart shake and latches onto her seat to keep from toppling over. Did the Land of Wind have earthquakes? She knew that Earth did, but here? It seemed unusual. Maybe in some areas it happened, but here? As it grew stronger, the source of it eventually revealed itself as sand rained down from above and what light remained of dusk gave a silhouette to the creature that slammed back down on the ground. "What was that thing?!" she inquired. She's seen giant scorpions, but giant worms? Nope.
She cast her attention on the creature while Goh spoke of his vegetables being the one that drew it in. "Wait a minute! That smell came from /your/ vegetables?" She shook her head. "Alright, alright, I can work with this. Might be tough, but I think I can do this. I just need to give it a reason to leave us alone. How do you feel about product loss?" She inquired of the Pickler.
The ground shifts and moves underfoot as the worm slithers underground. "That smell is the worm!" Goh barks loudly in protest to Yagyu, shaking a fist at her. "My pickled vegetables don't smell like the dump! What you're smelling is probably just all the garbage it has stuck in its mouth." At the question posed to him, he frowns. "W…What?! No! I need those vegetables to make money and live!"
A piercing squeal, both eery and natural resounds through the air. The worm surfaces again, turning about and attempting to DRIVE itself into the cart with all of its girth and weight. Fortunately for the humans, the worm just misses the cart, instead ploughing a huge hole into the sand which quickly fills in.
"FORGET THE VEGETABLES!" Goh wails in panic, feeling granules of sand and wind rushing against him as the animal completes its dive. "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! This thing will CRUSH us!"
Quickly Goh runs over to the camel and begins to unfasten the clasps, disconnecting it from the cart with pickled vegetables on it.
~It can't crush me. I'm bigger than it,~ grumbles an Ox-topus. ~Lemme at it!!~ 'Oh, /noooow/ you wanna do something! Well too bad!' Arika chooses about now to break her henge, hopping off the side of the cart to land on the ground. She peers around for a few moments before making a handseal, and a number of inky creatures would scatter outwards to figure out where the worm would appear next. "Ne! Pickle-san! Will you buy me mochi if I save yer cart?" she yells at him curiously. Yagyu is ignored, if only because that woman probably didn't have money to buy Arika mochi…
"Oh… M'bad," Yagyu apologized only half sincerely. Seriously, those vegetables do have a very strange smell. "Alright, so it's the worm! You still ain't answered my—" Just before she could go all in, the screech of the worm pierces the air. "LET'S BOUNCE!" She shouted, following Goh's lead, helping him with the camel to get it out of harm's way. He probably had a deposit on it or somethin'. "Aye, where you even come from?!" She questioned Arika. Then she paused. "Wait, you just… Did you get this piece of *@#4463 attracted to us?!" She accused.
The POOF of smoke that Arika creates when she de-henges causes Goh to glance in that direction, before his eyes nearly pop out of his head in surprise. "A…Arika?!" He blurts. "W…Where did you come from? Ugh." It didn't matter. "You can't save the cart, you punk kid! What are you planning to do?! Were you just HIDING in the cart? Did you eat some of my vegetables?!" The man grumbles, thinking along the same lines of Yagyu it seems.
As the worm screeches from underground again, Goh wobbles on his feet. "Fine! If you can save my goods, I'l give you some mochi!" He calls to Arika, now gripping onto the camel to try and keep himself stable.
'I'm not answering that >.>;;;' Arika thinks to herself, this time very pointedly ignoring Yagyu because of the somewhat loaded question. "Hai! The cart? Kill it. Yes. … I just tried one, but I didn't like it much," Arika says, replying to each of Goh's questions as innocently as possible. Arika feels the ground quake from the sand worm, and she grins a bit as she gathers chakra to herself. Dark purple tails gather behind her form, and she raises her hand to grip an invisible blade of wind to take aim. ~Wait for it..!~ 'Waiting is boring.' ~JUST WAIT YOU IMPATIENT BUG!!~ ''m not a bug >.<'
"You tried one, but you ain't liked it. How that ain't got this things attention?!" Yagyu was absolutely baffled by what was going on here, mostly at this worm who desired these vegetables. A very strong desire. "I'll help you out, just let me know what you tryin' to do so I can coordinate. I think I can use my skills to hold it off for just enough to let you do what you gotta do!" A thing this size has a fairly thick shadow and she believe she can work with that.
"Don't /kill/ it!" Goh seems horrified that Arika seems so willingly to bring this thing down. "It's just a hungry beastie looking for some vegetables. You can't just kill it for being hungry! Tch. If you hurt it at all, I'm going to make sure you never eat mochi ever again!" Seems like a shallow threat, and one that is near impossible to enforce. "If you can't stop that worm without hurting it, then we gotta bail!"
Just as he says that, the worm surfaces again! It rises up to its maximum height this time, towering above the trio like a tall building. It seems to not actually dive yet, perhaps using what limited sensory it has to get a more specific gauge as to where the cart and pickled vegetables therein lie.
Arika pouts a. it in Goh's direction, and the wind she gathered would fade away. "Fiiine!" she huffs grudgingly. She didn't want to lose her mochi! Of course, the dark tails behind her don't disappear. "Mebbe try 'n make sure it doesn't hit the cart?" she calls over to Yagyu, even as a few of the tails behind her lash out to try and grip the giant sand worm. As they try to contain it, she places a hand on the ground to send a line of ink racing towards the creature … Except it splits apart before it actually reaches the worm! The ink itself is moving erratically, though, sometimes traveling quickly and other times wavering hesitantly. Probably a new skill.
"…Why don't you want to kill this thing?! That don't make no sense!" Yagyu shouts, but she smacks her lips. "Alright, fine, fine, we won't kill it. Why this friggin' camel so calm?!" It was making her upset that it was more calm than she was. She looked up to the worm that had risen high above them and she felt her heart sink into her stomach. "Make sure it doesn't hit the cart… Yeah, that sounds like a great plan! Lemme just tell it 'Please don't hit the cart, worm!'" She grumbled. "You ain't had nothin' more to say? Frick!" She moved away from the camel and proceeded to summon up her shadow to connect with the worm's. It'd take a lot of energy to work with this guy, but she could do it. For a short time, at least.
Just now noticing the various tails that Arika has sprouted, Goh's eyes narrow a bit in studious thought. And then, the ink? It's certainly not a technique that he's seen before. As wobbly as it seems. Regardless, as Yagyu attempts to work with Arika, Goh re-fastens the cart to Hajime the camel. Yagyu is right in that it probably is the calmest animal here! Though it was spitting and grunting quite a bit.
"Hajime is a super beast." Goh replies. "And I don't want you to kill it because it's not trying to kill us!" That, and Itami will likely kill HIM if this worm dies.
Fastening the cart, he quickly jumps onto the camel and kicks at its sides - making the thing run forward! With cart now being dragged behind him. "We're gonna bail! If I get this cart out of range of its senses, then it will stop chasing us!"
At that very moment, the shadow strikes the giant worm, keeping it suspended in place until Arika can land her attack. Meanwhile, Goh and Hajime are out of here. They're kickin' it across the dunes.
The ink would continue to travel until it created a circle around the work. Of course, the tails would hold it up initially, hopefully. Then the ink would lash out to keep it bound to the ground for a bit longer and give Goh more time to get away. Arika, meanwhile, would just continue to grumble softly. "Killing it would've been a lot easier, though, *grumble grumble*. I want a lotta mochi when we get somewhere that sells it!"
"Clearly! He just sittin' here like there ain't a giant worm hovering over us!" Yagyu pointed out the strangeness of this camel even further, but it didn't quite match up with what Arika was doing. Everything is weird all the way around here and she hopes the compensation will make up for it. She was struggling, but enduring the worm as best as she could. When the ink Arika sent out gathered and bound up the worm, the Nara still continued to work with her, finding it only a bit easier to manage, but not by much. Hopefully, that cart will be out of range soon.
Goh and Hajime are SO out of there. They make serious tracks in the sand, with the cart bumbling along behind them on its wooden wheels. It takes no time for Goh to be gone and over the dunes, and then disappearing into the night. Wait… he WAS going to wait for Yagyu, right? And Arika? He wasn't just going to stiff them? >_>;
Meanwhile, the tendrils of ink successfully bind the worm, who screeches in panic and fear at the sudden attack. Since it cannot see anything it relies on its other dull senses to make things out. And with the scent of pickled vegetables slowly fading, it began to panic and writhe about. Its dinner was going! …going! Gone.
With a final screech the worm seems to calm down, resisting far less against the ink tendrils and shadow bind from the Nara. Finally settling, it digs back into the sandy ground from whence it came, leaving Arika and Yagyu to catch up to the pickler up ahead.