Date: November 25, 2011
A data-gathering expedition turns into a battle with a living environmental disaster.
"Whale of a Snail"
Wilderness of the Land of Wind
Shemri is rather irate at the moment. After the incomplete success of her last mission, she was sure she'd be sent to hunt down the bandit leader, Maneshi Tategami, and finish the job. But nooooo, the Kazekage said he's not enough of a threat anymore. Could need the manpower for more vital missions, he said. More lives could be saved by having Shemri do other things, he said. And what's the next mission which came down the pipe for Shemri? Surveying wildlife population levels in some canyons in the middle of nowhere. >.< Sure, it's a task well-suited to Shemri's skills as a huntress, but come on!
That being the circumstances, Shemri trudges at the head of the small team she's been assigned for this mission. Shemri is trying not to take her sour mood out on the two comrades-yet-strangers accompanying her, but she's probably still making a rather poor first impression. "We shall reach the canyons soon," Shemri states. "I hope you are familiar with rock-climbing practices. We cannot afford to spend chakra each time we must move along the walls, we shall be doing it all day." Shiikaa, Shemri's small black cat, glances back at the others. Don't worry, she's just a bit irked right now. Usually she's much…well, okay, just a bit friendlier. ^e.e^;
One of the figures that is walking along is the woman in a robe. Itami had passed word along that Mika was an offical citizen, and well, that her skills were highly regarded. The woman nods her head a little bit. "That will be fine.", she says calmly. Underneath the hood of that robe, Mika's eyes look around. Bright orange, and feline, they make an impression the first time people see them. Mika looks behind her, and starts to speak a bit of a foreign language. A more native tongue.
(Native tongue)"It will be fine. I vouch for these people, and been here for several weeks. Sorry about leaving you behind, but ummm, you said you wanted to practice quietly.", she says to the man that is travelling with them. Mika gives a small nod. Its her vouching for Riki that got him on the mission. And it seems Mika is in good standing with the Village, and their jounin. Rather unusual, given her sometimes odd nature.
The other figure walking along is a young man, rolling his amber colored eyes at Mika and Shemri's words. (Native tongue)"You can't afford to use chakra all day…" He mutters to himself before turning his attention to Mika. He's speaking in the same tongue as her, but his expressions and tone are far more…theatrical, downright dramatic. It would be easy to tell he is displeased. "That is not the only affront you have committed, Mika. Becoming the citizen of another village? Bringing me out on one of their missions to get dirty for these people? Ugh…Couldn't have picked a nicer place? This is downright demeaning."
Shemri can't help overhearing Mika and Rikimaru's conversation; her clan has very sharp hearing. Of course, that doesn't mean she can understand it…which might just be worse than if she did know what they were saying. >.<; Certainly she can pick up on Rikimaru's attitude. "Hoi, stop talking between yourselves that way! If you wish to be taken in by a country, you should use their own language!" Shemri says this with all the hypocritical confidence of one who migrated here and still speaks in her own inexplicable dialect. e.e
Soon enough, they reach the canyons, and Shemri reads out the mission directives, which includes detailed instructions on where to put traps, how to mark the animals they catch, the results to record, etc. Shemri doesn't entirely get how all this is supposed to tell anybody how many critters of what types are living down there, but she knows how to set a trap, and she makes sure the others learn. "We shall work in pairs, tied together for safety," Shemri announces. "I am certain you two would prefer to work together, and I am comfortable working with Shiikaa. We shall set traps on the far wall of the canyon, you shall cover this one. Is it clear?" Shemri puts a harness on Shiikaa and ties a rope between them, then slings a pack of traps onto her back and starts down the canyon. "Let us begin."
Mika takes a long moment to giggle a bit, and looks back at Shemri. "My apologies. My partner here, he left his manners in his other pants with his last girlfriend. I shall try to heed your words.", she says. The woman takes a deep breath, and looks down the canyon wall. She turns around to Rikimaru, and tries a rope around her waist. "Please don't drop me.", she says. The woman shakes her head a little bit at Rikimaru.
(Native Tongue)"Behave. This village is the forefront of all information, and I have dual citizenship. Frankly, this is best for all sides involved. You know politics. Plus, they promised not to make an action against our clans, so…No griping up there!", she says. The woman stretches out, and removes her robes to reveal that she's perfectly…normal under them?
Rikimaru snorts then, shaking his head as he ties the other side of the rope around his waist as well. "Don't take her comment the way it sounded, whoever-you-are-san. It makes it sound as if Mika-nyan here is worthy of my affections." He shakes his head, "But only a woman who carries the beauty and art of form of a painting would catch my attention." He does not change at all, staying in his strangely bulky outfit. "The only politics I care about are those of the stage, Mika-nyan."
For a while, everything proceeds uneventfully, as rock-climbing in a desert canyon to set traps goes. There's always a danger not only from falling, but from some of the same critters they're here to study. Spiders and snakes and scorpions, oh my. But on the whole, it's nothing a careful and experienced shinobi can't handle without too much trouble. Until…
The first sign that something is amiss comes from a distinct lack of the fauna they've been seeing up until now. Not too long after, a smell becomes apparent…not a particularly strong smell, or even something that can really be identified as a smell, just a quality to the air which gives a nauseous feeling. Then, around a bend in the canyon, they find the reason. A gigantic snail oozes along the canyon floor, leaving a trail of sickly purple slime in its wake. A foolish bird tries to fly too low over the trail; it is overpowered by the toxic fumes and falls into the goop. For its size, the monster moves at, well, a snail's pace, but that translates to a decent clip by human standards.
Shemri grimaces and climbs higher along her side of the canyon. "Hoi! We must do something about this," she shouts across. "This canyon is made by seasonal floods. If the water which comes through here is tainted by that thing, many could die!"
Mika blinks a few times, and as she works, she notices the snail. The woman wrinkles her nose a little bit. It is highly sensitive. She looks at Rikimaru. She takes a moment to roll her neck, and tries to think. "Hey, Rikimaru, you're the smart one. Any ideas? You know if I get too close, my sense of smell is much stronger then others.", she says. The woman bites her lip a little bit. "And you're the distance fighter, aren't you?", she asks. Mika looks at the snail, trying to think she could handle something like that.
Rikimaru shakes his head. "Not really, no…" He sighs, "Well, compared to you, I am." He stops where he is on the side of the cliffs and stands straight up from the wall, clinging to it with small, well-calculated bursts of chakra as he faces downwards, "Sometimes poisons can be flammable. So I could try something, I guess." With that, he reaches into his pouch and from inside, he pulls a pure white mask that is making what looks like a facial expression that shifts depending on it's angle. Once he slides it over his face, he starts quickly forming hand seals and then brings his right hand to his face, "Fire Release:Lesser Fireball Technique!" He cries out, his voice echoing in the canyon while the flame bursts from the masks mouth.
Rikimaru's fireball trails down into the canyon, impacting the gooey side of the snail. This has precisely one effect: it gets the thing's attention. Snails are not known to be noisy creatures, but if ever a snail made a growl, one seems to reverberate from this beast on a subsonic level. >( Changing direction, the snail starts oozing up the canyon wall in the direction from whence the annoyance came. "I do not believe we can kill it directly," Shemri shouts. "We shall need some way of exerting a great blow upon it." Shemri searches her pouch. "I have…some explosives…and wires. Do you see any way we can use these?"
Mika takes a moment to look at Rikimaru with the 'Really?' look. She makes a small face. "Snails are weak on their underbellies right? Well, if you got explosives…Hey, Rikimaru, can you keep up those fireballs, and give Shemri a distraction while she preps a bomb?", she asks. The woman takes a deep breath. "You set it up, I'll move it in front of the snail, use bait boy here to keep the snail occupied, and then lead the snail into the bomb?"
Rikimaru doesn't exactly make a facial expression (wearing a mask and all), but the tilt of his head forces the mask to make the same 'Really?' look right back at Mika. He speaks in their native tongue at her momentarily, "Oh? Like you kicking it would have done any better?"
He then doesn't acknowledge her question. Instead, he reaches into one of his bandoliers to pull a fan from inside. He expertly opens it with a twirl and it passes easily through the rope that binds them together before he starts to run down the canyon in the opposite direction of the snails travel, clearly about to follow her suggestion.
Shemri removes her pouch from her belt. One of the loops of her sash pulls loose, extending to three meters. Shemri wraps the end of the sash around the pouch, then the sash lifts it high. "CATCH!" The sash whips forward, flicking the pouch at Mika. "Just spread the tags along the wall. I shall detonate them from here." The snail continues scaling the canyon, not altering direction. Having rather limited senses, it hasn't yet realized that the source of its ire has moved. >.>
Mika catches the pouch. She closes her eyes, and then animal like claws seem to grow from her feet and legs. The woman moves with a definite grace, like that of a small cat as she races to move away from the snail. The woman focuses on putting the tags in the snails path, and leading them towards a Rikimaru. She bites her lip, hoping this works.
Rikimaru shifts his way back down to the floor with a final leap and turns around, signing once again. "Fire Release! Lesser Fireball Technique!" His voice echoes through the canyon again as another burst of flame shoots up to the snail. He takes a second then to fan the area just in front of his mask, thermal trails and smoke getting blown away from it's lips.
The snail halts briefly as another fireball stings its squishy flesh. Owwww. >.< Me get youuuuuu. The snail changes course to follow the line of fire. This leads him handily across the trail of explosive tags which Mika laid down. Shemri watches carefully, waiting for the snail to crawl over the maximum number of tags…then she makes a handseal and signals as strongly as she can with her chakra.
A muffled blast vibrates the canyon, and the snail pauses. For a moment, it only looks confused, waving its eyestalks about to try and understand what just caused its sudden tummyache. Then cracks appear in the canyon wall, spreading out from underneath the behemoth. With a crackling that gradually crescendos into a crashing, a section of the rock face crumbles and falls, taking the snail with it. It plummets back down to the canyon floor, landing on its shell and shattering it like an egg. The monster snail lies there with chunks of stone embedded deep in its body, slowly bleeding its ooze out. Bad…day… =.=
Shemri signals to the others, and she and Shiikaa dash back the way they came along the canyon wall. Getting away from that thing quickly is worth spending a little chakra on. :P "We shall have to report this so that a team may be sent to clean up the mess," Shemri calls across. "If they can get rid of most of it, the rest should decompose before the floods come. Good work." Well, looks like they saved a bunch of lives after all. How'd that cryptic ol' Kage know? e.e
He has magic Ninja on his side. Wait, he is a magic ninja…Anyways, Mika looks at Rikimaru, and giggles a bit before she grabs her robe, and throws it on. "Show up a month late, /and/ you've been slacking off. No sake for you!", she declares. Mika giggles, and stretches out. The woman takes a moment to adjust her robe on her frame. "So, do I get one tuna or two for this battle?", Mika asks. Of course…there had to be food involved some where. She looks at Riki. "Not one….word!"
Rikimaru takes a look down the canyon at the slain giant foe and shakes his head, "Doog ecnaddir…" He mutters in his and Mika's native language. Then he tilts his head back and to one side, somehow making it look like his mask has just raised one eyebrow at her. "Slacking off? The pursuit of perfection in art is not 'slacking off', Mika-nyan." He then pulls his mask off and slides it back into place. "I'm glad to see you haven't changed at all. Half-way betraying our homeland for the sake of fish."