Date: October 31, 2015
Reconnaissance. Nothing more.
"Whispering Shadows: When it Rains"
Land of Rivers: Suisei
At the beginning there was little consideration given to the group known as Hanpa. A small organization of mercenaries for hire claiming to be willing to do what a shinobi village could not. What that might be exactly is questionable as a shinobi village, especially those of the five great, are capable of doing anything. More so than what a small band of thugs for hire could achieve. Which is why at the time they were merely overlooked, thought of as insignificant.
But as time went on, the group known as Hanpa managed to plant a foothold within the Land of Rivers, build a base and even form a village known as Suisei with backing from a wealthy Feudal Lord. The little recognition they were being given changed instantaneously as blips started form on the radars of the five great villages and even some of the lessers. Suisei was advancing fast, faster than most villages had ever seen. The rate they were progressing could easily be seen as a threat were Suisei to try and force their way into being a sixth great village. A remarkable feat that could easily tip the scales one way or the other that could easily cause war to break out.
It is for this reason that Konoha had wasted all the time they could sitting idly by before reacting to this potential threat. Led by the ANBU Captain, Hayai, the man gathered up his recently formed team, Gozanze, and began the long journey from Konoha into the neutral territory of the Land of Rice Paddies until reaching the border of the Land of Rivers. From there the team would change their movements, travelling only under the cover of darkness while avoiding any major or minor paths. Stopping occassionaly only to make sure the three weren't being followed.
Before leaving Konoha, Hayai relayed the mission details to the others of the team; Kai and Tamafune. "We are going only for reconnaissance. If we discover something we report it back, we do not interfere or let our presence be known. On the chance we are discovered, the story is we are hunting a fugitive known as the Firefly. A high ranking target within the bingobook wanted for Arson." It was a story Hayai reiterated once arriving just outside the village entrance.
Tamafune understood the details and headed out at her appointed time to arrive in the Land of Rivers. She made quick work of her departure and arrival, having obscured herself when she felt it necessary. The dark of night helped to prevent any prying eyes and was further assisted by the rain. She didn't need to expend much effort which made whatever she needed to place towards her mission that much more available. Cloaked in a dark robe, she listened carefully to what Hayai spoke of in regards to their mission and she nodded in response. Only reconaissance, nothing more.
The newly inducted Anbu member did not slack off during the long wait for his first mission. Training had in fact intensified to the point of risking catastropic injury, but fortune continued to favor him. It is during the middle one of such session that news of the mission reached his ear. If given at least night of rest, Kai would find none of it before the next day. Even without the convience of preparation time a sense of restlessness would doggedly follow the shinobi. This was it. This wasn't his time to shine exactly, but to at least meet the expectations of his superiors.
His hands have hardly stayed unclench for more than a few moments since the news. The habit only worsened as things were explained further regarding the mission. How was he supposed to achieve his goal when he remained just as blind to change as the rest? With worries and general unease plaguing the young chuunin so much, it is no wonder that he has been largely quiet among the others, attentive yet distracted. If there's one good thing that came out of being in this odd state, it may be the fact that his chakra levels were kept at a higher level than the norm, and tension kept the muscles firm for battle. "What happens if we /do/ actually encounter the subject, Hayai-sam.. Hayai-san?" Kai asks from the tail end of the group.
Silhoutted against the darkness of the area, huddled together as they were, the three conversing would find little challenge in doing so as the rain that fell from the blackened sky muffed their voices as the water droplets pelted against their forms, drenching the surroundings in white noise.
"You are mistaken, Kai. The 'subject' is not an individual, but the village itself. What secrets it may hide and dangers it may store. We are to report our findings, if any, back to the Hokage. If the information is deemed worthy we may be back, otherwise we will write the village Suisei as nothing more than what it originally was…Insignificant."
Blackened slits from the mask would look between Kai and Tamafune, nodding in recognition to both and making sure their attention was gained before offering a signal to follow. Without hesitation, Hayai took off, running against the muddied ground avoinding puddles where he could until suddenly leaping into the air and landing on one of the six massive guard posts stationed at the entrance of the village.
The village itself was rather open and inviting with a select few areas still seeing minor activity despite the time and harsh weather. A central location that expands to the rest of the village being the main center of activity as passerby's move from one location to the next. Several buildings dot the landscape where only a handful stand out above the rest. Even from the entrance it was clear which held more importance over the others as guards could be seen stationed outside those that would be considered critical. "Spread out."
Tamafune determined that she'd head to the northwest. She didn't know what she'd find, but she figured a little scouting couldn't hurt. She settled her eyes upon a complex that looked as if it could host something valuable. 'Saihossoku Industries?', the thought to herself as she approached. She utilized her kikaichu to assist her in blending into her surroundings. What was this place? She secured herself on a high building and looked across the skyline as visible from her viewpoint. She could still identify Hayai and Kai from here to some extent. Her attention quickly shifts back to Saihossoku with the intent to scout it out. Is there a way in she could exploit for later? Hm.
Kai just barely manages to stop himself from visibly wincing from Hayai's rebuttal. In the end, the cover story was just that and nothing more. A necessity, but also potential proof of their inability to actually carry out the mission quietly if it becomes necessary to use it. Formerly meaty hands began to quiver for a moment or so before stilling as the man behind the mask resolved himself to achieve success.
"My apologies." Kai curtly inclines his head. He narrowly misses the signal from Hayai, but fortune continued to favor the new recruit. Wordlessly, he followed as best as he could, though some distance was kept from the other. Though no slouch when it came moving stealthily, Hayai has more than proved to be his superior in that regard. So, why not make it easier on the man by not running the risk of drawing attention to him? Still, he kept as close an eye on the others as possible while trailing behind the duo, absorbing and learning as much as possible on the fly.
From atop an opposing guard post, Kai takes it all in within a few breathes, then exhaled, considering options. There were a few obvious choices. Though determined to perform the mission flawless, Kai did not lose sight of his abilities. Inevitably, his gaze fell upon where most few unfortunate souls seemed intent on heading hurriedly and followed along after them. First by roof top, then quickly on foot through unfamiliar alleyways. It is in one the mask figure disappears forever. What stumbles out of the other end can best be described as scholar; young but drunk. More than likely the man had the unfortunate of over friendly friends misleading him into a night of debauchery, only to cut him loose to roam home on his own.
Hayai stood motionless atop the roof of one of the guard posts while watching the other two of team Gozanze taking their time in deciding their destinations prior to dispersing. A task that he took part in as well as he headed toward a large gathering of tightly knitted buildings.
From afar what they might be wasn't clear, but as he neared closer it was quite clear what he had discovered was merely a brewery of sorts and quite large at that. Most of the buildings made up of machinery of some sorts with varying sizes of silos. The vast amounts of product stored and ready for shipment was a clear indication of the wealth brought into the city from this brewery alone.
Normally Hayai wouldn't pass up a chance for a tour of such fine goods, this however would have to wait.
Tamafune, sufficiently obscured, opted to send out a small amount kikaichu to investigate the building and sweep through. Inside, they could disperse and communicate, identifying with issues that she may run into and find more routes for her to exploit for a later time. She wanted to keep this strictly reconaissance and felt she could trust her insects to relay all that she needed to know. Breaking in, she finally thought, would have to wait unless something was interesting enough to seek further investigation.
At the very least, from first glance, she can determine that this place is significant. She hops down from the building and into an alley where she keeps to the shadows in the midst of all this rain to see if she can observe things from a more civilian perspective once her insects return.
There were none to be found, and yet the "scholar" felt eyes everywhere. It could be paranoia of course, but why take the risk? In the end, Kai accomplished his goal of establishing an odd presence in one part of the village before moving on to his main objective. Within another dank and merciful empty alleyway, Suisei loses one drunken scholar to the darkness. What steps out next is your atypical laborer as far as clothing went, world weary, watter-logged, and clasping a bandaged arm bearing a deep red splotch.
The bit of pain beneath it all is quite real. While it did mean lingering in the alleyway for a second or two longer than the last time, figuring out what to do about his scroll and wounding himself for his disguise would make it all worthwhile. At least that is what Kai chose to hope. Either way, once he stepped out of the alleyway, the young man was committed to the course. He doesn't so much as rush to the General Hospital, but walked at a fast pace, glancing every now and then back to the wound.
After traversing a more circular route and even asking for directions of the first civilian spooted, Kai would inevitably stand before the building. As much as he wanted to just observe from the outside — perhaps even peek in a window or two (which he wound up doing anyways first… just once!) Kai made for the entrance, hoping the receptionist or whatever might be in a good mood despite the dreary weather. "P-pardon me mam! I — ow… could uhm.. use a bit of assistance." He states during the approach, still clutching his arm.
Leaving the brewery and heading further north, Hayai would come upon a building made of brick and stone. There were no guards that he could see stationed about, but the place itself looked more like a vault than a home. Slowly approaching from the side, he'd see a shuttered window that might possibly grant entrance. One step followed by another across the wet ground, his movement concealed by the pitter-patter of rain that continued to fall from the sky.
He was only a few yards now from the metallic gate that surrounded the house before several seals suddenly burst to life, etched along the nearest point from where Hayai was. There was no pause in his movements as one moment he was there and the next the ANBU Captain suddenly vanished into the thick shadows of the closest building where he hid in silence. Waiting to see what reaction would follow from his easy mistake. Though the seals managed to come to life, they did not react. Only showing themselves as a warning or perhaps a deterrent. A bluff…
Hayai let out a deep breath, steam escaping from the slits that form the nose upon his masks as he wonders what luck the other two are having.
Once her insects returned, Tamafune had felt she'd seen enough of Saihossoku Industries. Now was the time to become 'normal'. By lifting her hands into a seal, her entire appearance changed to fit the environment here. Now, she was just a local, a young woman of tanned complection with her hair pinned up and out of her face. She was trying to get out of the rain and back to her home of sorts. In her walk to her residence, she scanned the area to get a feel for this village and what it was like. From what she could gather, it was very industrious, perhaps more so than that of the Land of Grass.
To say that the receptionist was less than cooperative would be an understatement. After taking a brief moment to give him a quick once over, the woman had to have determined his injury wasn't exactly life threatening. It may explain why instead of handing him some sort of clip board for him to fill out, or immediatly calling a nurse, she chose to give him what had to be a five minute explination regarding the purpose of the general hospital. She may have also gone a step further to explain to him how they are understaffed at the moment due to whatever reason, but by then Kai has all but completely tuned her out. Glazed over eyes began to wander across the rest of vicinity, idly noting what little of the layout the front entrance provided.
Yes, this was an error in judgement. And yes, he would probably get an ear full later for not being appropriately attentive to everything that is happening while on the mission. At the very least his slack expression help sold the whole being a simple layman, and not some overly friendly obvious spy. By the end, Kai just held up a hand, halting her mid-rant and just said he'd put some more bandages on it… or something. Either way, he is out the door with little more than a half-hearted apology thrown into the mix.
"Man… This place…" He shook his head before moving on to where he thought the bazaar to be in his mental map.
Sticking to the shadows of the building Hayai was using for cover, he'd circle around to discover he had found the Forge where even now a Blacksmith was currently working on a piece of metal near the flames of the open furnace. The interior of the building was rather lacking, simply 'decorated' with old and new weapons and armor. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for a village that claims 'peace' it was interesting to see they were stocking up on armaments.
Moving on, Hayai pushed off the building and continued along alleyways, passing a housing districts and even an inn. Gathering he had seen as much as he had seen he'd return back to the tops of one of the six massive guard posts and wait until seeing movement or word from the remaining team mates of Gozanze. Hopefully they had something to share that could be taken back to Daisuke for a report.
Tamafune walked through the rain while thinking of another layer to add to her mystery. She looked up and saw Hanpa in the distance and felt a distinct burning within her to figure out the place and what it was about. She's familiar with the organization, but not by enough to be satisfied. Time to clear that up tonight.
She wandered through town and upon reaching the building, she took notice of how nondescript it was. Just seemed like a normal place, but she's absolutely certain it's well protected. She takes a chance and pushes through with her plan to explore and moves inside the building to see more. It's…very plain. Hmph. What foolishness.
Entering the bazaar proved easy enough, but the same couldn't quite be said regarding knowing what to look for off the back. Even with the rain boring down on the area, many a street vendors, customers, and guards roamed the place. Kai admittedly couldn't help but stop and stare in amazement at all the signs, as well as shouts for attention. If he didn't know any better, this village was going through some sort of festevil given all the activity.
'No… that… that can't be right' He thought. Kai pressed on into the bazaar, though kept to the edges for his own sanity, memorizing shops and patterns. Between the excitement and irritating thoughts, the young laborer had trouble truly keeping track of it all. He presereved until he found a shop off to the side that seemed promising in terms of taking care of medical issues.
Three minutes later…
Kai stared up into the rain just outside the shop for a good minute or so, trying in vain not to think about what just happened a few minutes ago. Soon enough, he made his way back towards the entrance, still endeavouring and failing miserably at the effort…
The rain…there was a sudden pause that caused Hayai to look up into the sky. A few droplets falling against his ceramic mask, the last remnants of the downpour as the blackened clouds made their journey westward revealing a starry night sky and a glowing half moon that began to illuminate the village below.
Lowering his head, Hayai looked over the village through the slits in his mask as if hoping to pick up on the whereabouts of the others in his team. If not them, then at least some warning sign that he should go look for them. If they were in trouble, he would be there to help. This was the teams first mission and it was an easy one that let Hayai know what still need to be worked on, what still needed to improve not only as individuals within the group, but the team as a whole…
Once returning back to the village and dropping off the briefing, that is when the training begins…That's when the real missions begin.
Tamafune shook her umbrella free of water into the front lobby of Hanpa and when she realized her mistake, she gasped saying, "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to make a mess." She clutched her umbrella with timidity and blushed. "Do you have anything that I can use to clean this up?" She inquired and blushed further. "Actually, um…" She turned around and headed for the door. "I mean, I don't work here, I can't possibly clean this up, I'm sorry!" She had turned red as a radish by this point and headed out. Poor thing forgot to pop her umbrella back open when she left, so she was soaked. Time to report back!
It took much longer than originally anticipated to reach the village entrance once more. An unfortunately even more scenic route was necessary once it became clear his drunken scholarly routine had garned some minor attention from the local militia. Nothing a nondescript laborer couldn't circumvent, but troublesome nevertheless. The end of the rain doesn't even register to the shinobi until the ceramic mask is donned once more, and that he is well on his way back.
When it does, an extra precious few seconds are wasted staring up in wonder at the night sky. He would chide himself later for leaving himself so vulnerable. Or forget. He hoped at least for the former, because another mistake like that could very well cost him more than just his own life in the field.
But things wouldn't turn out that way. This much he silently promises to whatever good Kami was listening in.
"Tamafune. Kai." Hayai acknowledged the two as they approached. "We've wasted enough time here. Hopefully we weren't discovered, but even still, anyone can don these clothes and masks. It can't be traced. Let's go." A wave of the hand and Hayai would take off for the long journey back to Konoha.