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Oki Kuma

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Chuunin
The sun was bright, beating down on the ground like a weight that couldn’t be lifted. At the gates leading out of Iwagakure, a caravan of merchants waited, their wagons packed full of the merchandise and wares they were selling. And standing alongside them, was Oki and Debu of the Kuma clan, clad in a long white jacket, and his usual Iwagakure attire. Around both Oki and Debu’s necks hung the Iwagakure Forehead Protector, like one would imagine a collar, and around Oki’s neck like a scarf hung loosely a large chain. Upon his face was a large, toothy grin, and just below that, was a sharp, pointed goatee, black like the static and messy hair atop his head. Today, the duo had a mission, to escort the merchants out of Tsuchi no Kuni and to the border, so that they could go and do their business elsewhere.

After a brief conversation with one of the merchants, confirming his position as their bodyguard to the border, and also speaking with them about the time the travel would take, and the route they would take, the group set out to begin their travel. Down the gravelly road that led into and out of Iwagakure, the merchants chattering among themselves from atop their carriages, getting comfortable for the long ride ahead. Oki meanwhile, simply walked alongside Debu, the two plodding along next to the group, taking a breath of the fresh air and simply enjoying the walk. There was at least two days non-stop walking ahead of them, so they took it at a nice, gentle pace, and decided to be at ease – to Oki, a walk through nature was a blissful blessing. So, two days of long, but enjoyable walk there, followed by two days of long, but enjoyable, walk back.

The first day went by relatively uninterrupted, with brief stops every now and again to rest, eat, drink, or otherwise recover. During which, there was plenty of talk, chatter, and merriment to be had among the merchants, Oki meanwhile sitting separate to them and simply watching over the group, eating his rations with Debu and just watching. He took a swig from a flask of water, before holding it down and allowing the bear to lap at it as well. It was important to keep hydrated on long missions like this. The sound of laughter came from the merchants, enjoying their casual lunch while their mules enjoyed some hay. Oki smiled, rubbing Debu lovingly on the head. The duo was doing just fine, even with the merchants’ lack of interest in interacting with their guard. To the cargo bearing merchants, Oki and Debu were just hired muscle, nothing more. After several stops like this, the first day passed, and by talking and playing together while the merchants slept, the second night went by fairly briefly as well, allowing the second day of travel south to begin – to the border between Tsuchi no Kuni and Kaze no Kuni. Stone to Sand.

The second day was less safe, as the chuunin soon found. Walking into the plains between Iwa and Suna, the desert land still a full days walk away, there was a vast, open expanse between the caravan, and the destination, where no doubt Suna nin would be waiting to escort the caravan safely to their village – an exchange for the sake of trade. Yet something in the morning air felt… Askew. He sniffed at the air, looking around slowly. Behind them, in the distance, silhouettes flickered in and out of sight. If he had to take a guess, they weren’t there to do any sort of pleasant business, and he had no idea how long they were there – just that they were being followed. In a place so open, it was an advantage to Oki, allowing him to move around as much as possible. The bear chuunin walked next to the foremost wagon, leaning up to talk to the boss of the merchants and have a quick word with them, specifically to warn them of the potential of impending ambush. This wasn’t exactly pleasing news, but, the fact that Oki was aware of them and keeping an eye out was somewhat reassuring to the man at the very least, as it meant they weren’t to be ambushed off guard.

Casually, they continued the walk, Oki making sure to keep an eye out every now and again, looking ahead and to the sides while Debu looked back every now and again. The trio of bandits were approaching, slow but steadily. Still, it was apparent to Oki that they weren’t going to leave the attack until too late – the worst case for the bandits would be to strike at the border, where Suna ninja and the Iwa ninja would all be ready to attack and defend the cargo. So, Oki stretched out, getting himself ready. The want to sit down and have a break to eat and drink was tempting, but any minute, he knew they’d be under attack, and he did not want to be caught off guard no matter how small the threat – a threat was still a threat. So they kept walking, Oki determined to cover as much ground as possible before the enemy arrived.

Finally, after another half hour, it seemed one of the bandits had run ahead to cut off the caravan as before them now in the distance stood a lone woman, a couple of hand axes in hand, pointing the axe at the foremost wagon, the merchant pulling the mule to a stop. Oki sighed, just walking forward and flexing his muscles, stroking Debu on the head once as he walked past, Debu nodding and turning to face behind and guard the rear – where the other two bandits snuck up with axes of their own. Debu began growling, stalking closer in a somewhat threatening display, crouched low and ready to spring into a sprint in any instant. Oki meanwhile just kept walking towards the enemy, who stepped closer and began swinging her axes. Not a bad idea.

But Oki was faster.

His fist connected with the woman’s neck, stunning her for a moment as he continued to take the initiative, having received strict instructions from the village to kill any bandits – the merchants were used to the sight, so it was just to send a message. Raising the bandit over his head, he then in an instant slammed her down to the ground, putting every ounce of strength and muscle he had behind the move and slamming her down multiple times, allowing the weight of the earth to deal the death blow. Then, releasing the body, he turned, facing Debu who still approached the two in the rear. Then, he sighed, exhaling deeply, before inhaling just as much, focusing intently. Concentrating chakra into his fist, the bear man began running forward, gathering energy into his fist as Debu also ran forwards. Five metres, and Debu had reached the enemy, batting the battle axe out of the hands of the foremost one before barely avoiding the strike of the second bandit. Ten metres were travelled, and then in an instant, Oki and Debu swapped placed, Oki’s fist which now had the appearance of a bear head formed from chakra over his hand, before instantly connecting it to the chest of the unarmed bandit, launching the man flying and knocking him down.

The last bandit freaked out, dropping his axe and turning to run. Oki shook his head, sighing. His pride told him to let him leave, but, his pride also told him he had a mission to do. Oki picked up Debu, spinning him around once, before launching the bear at the fleeing thug, knocking him down. Debu began swiping furiously at the man, killing him, while Oki himself walked to the downed and unconscious enemy, deciding to do it the simple way, and snapping his neck. The trio of bandits dead, Oki took a moment to mourn their passing in silence, moving the bodies to be lined up – maybe someone would one day give them a true burial, for everyone had a side they were on, and it was unfortunate to Oki that they were on the opposite side to his. Yet he was in the world of Shinobi and warriors, and there would inevitably be deaths.

The rest of the day was uneventful, Oki’s clothes somewhat stained with blood but otherwise just as good a condition as he was in before they left. The merchants continued their ignoring of Oki and to gossip and chatter among themselves, and shortly after, into the night, they were at the border, Oki handing them off to the Suna escorts, then sighing, and along with Debu, making his way back exactly the same way. If nobody had done so by the time he got there, Oki would bury the bodies. And to this end, the two day journey took three days to complete, before the bear duo returned.

1500 WC Done

[EXIT]


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The wannabe best bear of Iwa

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