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1 Minesweeping by Moonlight [Solo/Mission] on Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:57 pm

Ryota Suzuki

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Genin
Spoiler:
Mission name: Operation: Minesweeper
Mission rank: D
Objective: Secure the River
Location: Sunagakure Boardercamps
Reward: 150 ryo + 1EP
Mission Description: “After Inabayama, we can’t risk taking another attack without securing a path to evacuation, while we managed to weather it, there’s no telling if it was a final attempt or simply a test of our defences. Take to the riverpath downstream towards the sea. Scan for ambushes, and clear those you find… if we were to be flanked on our retreat, we would sustain catastrophic losses.”
Mission Details: Those who undertake this mission would find that the enemy had indeed thought to set traps and even small encampments along the river. Ninja who take this mission will be required to clear two (2) hazards from the riverbank, whether they be paperbomb traps, siege emplacements, camps of enemy bandits (10 D rank, D-2 stats.) or various other traps that could lie in wait..

As the sun gave it's last bite into tanning skin with dulled fangs of fire as it melted into the horizon, the unblinking ghost that lurked upon the precipice of enemy territory felt his breathing and posture change oh so naturally as he came to kneel upon the crest of some jutting precipice obfuscated by a tree as gnarled and weathered as the stone itself. Squinting against the shade of his hand freshly raised to his brow, he spied that carriage haphazardly trailing the snaking road that was little more than an oft' beaten path through the stones and sand that snaked off to some other side of this stretch, a divergence from the main roads through this part of the land. Leafing through mental notes, it was roughly here that was deigned the edge of the formal operations area for his mission in particular. It was a spot a bit further down the river from potential fighting but expected to be a vantage point to be flanked from. Taking one last glug of his water from the scrounged up canteen to wash down the taste of sweat and dust, the boy was left with little choice but to estimate that the hill this country road made towards must be where that bandwagon full of bandits was headed. For a moment, determination briefly creased his brow before the mindset of the mission set in to summon up conditioning and training into smooth glass focus. Contemplating his lack of a weapon as he shimmied back down the face of the rock, he mentally grumbled about on-site procurement of armaments before the jolt of his soles against the ground quietened the thought. With a tweak of his nose and a sniff of the air he set forth on his path to weave between the feeble shrubbery littered about the wasteland. Luckily without even a shadow to cast, the boy was hopefully spared the give away of the molten sun yawning shadows across the ground fading from existence as he slipped from bark to bush. The slow, jaunting trod of that transport laden with the belongings of plundered dead occupied every facet of his mind as he advanced, casting the occasional glance up to that hilltop overlooking the river that slowly drew into view like some ominous promise of his fateful task.

By the time that boy came close to the foot of that hill, the last of the light had faded from the sky and dark had begun it's stranglehold. As if answering his ponderings about the encampment, a campfire had been lit upon the top of the hill somewhere, casting flickering lights across the growing pillar of smoke as some scant torchbearers made their way down to meet the glowing lantern affixed to the head of the carriage. Situated as he was with the flickering lights in the distance seemingly taking their time to talk, he was able to hasten his efforts to catch up in little time, skidding down in the sand to nestle 'gainst the fallen husk of a tree just shy of the road. As the voices came into earshot after his desperate few minutes sprint, they disclosed a plan to unload most of the food now and the valuables come the morrow with idle chatter of complaints and conquests filtering free. The boy peered over the parched bark, taking note of one already tossing down sacks into the sands from the opened rear of the wagon, the rest still out of earshot. Eyeing them, the nature of his mission finally seized his heart. By his hand by the end of this night, they would all be dead. Plying himself with another mouthful of his water ration the work weaved through his mind, how long had it been since last hew drew a life to it's end? The trials and tribulations of the labs were quite some time ago. Even now, with the clenching of a fist he could feel the sinews beneath his fingers and hear the soft sounds of a life reduced to ash in the shadows; the jut of a blade between a man's ribs and the last sounds and signs of desperation clawing their way through a torn windpipe as a whisper. Perhaps most disturbing of all, he felt the natural ease at which he accepted this as a consequence of ink upon paper and the coincidence of his signature beneath it. In the mists of his mind the memories of survival with his brothers and sisters by these acts committed drew him onwards to continue that legacy. Testing the strap of his mask, it was the sound of those two talking yelling to the man in the back that they'd retrieve wheelbarrows which finally broke his pondering. Breath settled as hot as the day's air in his breast with the sting of sweat on sodden skin, the boy's eyes spread wide in effort to drink deep every detail as his blood pounded anticipation. No sooner did the light of those carried torches part from the lantern's failing grace did the fledgling shadow leap upon the back of this man fool enough to shed his gear in favour of an easier time shifting goods. A hand firm about the man's mouth with nails bloody in the skin about his cheekbones, the other finding familiar hold about his windpipe with legs a vice about his shoulders. Shifting his weight back as this man groaned mutedly and flailed, the boy's silent break of their fall in the darkened back of that cart weighed fortuitously as he tightened that grip with all his strength. As the man would lurch to the right he'd twist and swing back to the left, body tense against the blows and clawing grasps against his sides in response. His heart thundered against the chance of being discovered as a voice rolled down the hill, some name half-heard and faltered upon the night breeze. As steps drew closer, a boisterous cacophony of oncoming death to his ears the fledgling ghost felt the dying efforts to called out against the back of his hand, gouging blood now with that other set too and finally collapsing the rings of cartilage suspending the man's throat. As the man gave a last violent, adrenaline infused lash before finally falling quiet as those steps traced about the side of their private event. Swiftly rolling the twitching thing more corpse than alive onto it's front, he peeled away blood and spittle sodden hand away from the now torn face with urgency-fuelled instinct leaving him no time to utter even a single thought. Snatching up the katana this man had left perched precariously against the frame of the doors Ryota held a foot upon the strap used to carry it, freeing the blade to shed red gold his kind clawed for upon the sand, the swift motion carried by a gut reaction of levering the thing free with a foot on the strap affixed to the hilt from and sheer luck to catch the inquirer across the throat. The man near crumpled in shock, a hand come to his neck and torch upon the sand as he fell forward, swiftly weakening hand clasping at his murderer's pant leg. The strain in his chest bespoke something familiar and dreadful returning to him after these five or so years, spurring on the choice to spike to tip of that blade down into the back of the man's neck to hasten his already swift demise.

After this brief eternity he finally felt his breathing once more, battle-clear and ready as more inquisition descended from the hill. Clearing his throat and turning his gaze upon the corpse for items to salvage for the oncoming tide, he was fortuitous enough to happen upon a wakizashi to stuff inside his clothes and a single unused explosive tag from a crate in the wagon marked 'RIVER'. Snatching the tag up, the boy turned attentions back to the pile of discarded gear. Once more voices neared and once more he made use of his victim's equipment, fastening his protective garb fast in place. A fleeting thought mused across his plans of ascertaining patrol routes and quietly eliminating them as he leaned down to grip that corpse betraying his misdeeds. He halted a moment, fastening the last of the flak vest in place to count the oncoming glory. Two, most definitely two sets of footfalls and voices in the air cajoling concern far more than alarm at the dropped torch and disappeared man. As the light of their torches proceeded them about the corner, casting dark shadow of the door against boy seizing his chance about the other side of the compartment. Trailing blood in the sand from his one naked blade amidst the already thick pile of sanguine currency, no sooner did the hinges of the door creak did that voiceless shadow vault the horses, plucking that second blade to hand and turning towards their backs. This unearthly soundless charge drew those preying points raised high through one neck and again another, one blade apiece. Forgoing twice the effort against faltering strength as fatigue marred his sight with discoloured reprieve from clarity and precision, only the smaller of the two was snatched back into his posession and their torches soon snuffed with a hurried kicking of the sand. As those gurgling men departed as babes unto the reaper, the ghost made swift motion on his intrepid march up that hill to careen into one of the burnt out holes that once resembled a home, pressed flat to a wall with the hurried rise and fall of his chest marking the marching tempo of an indifferently roaring heart. Adrenaline still coursed strong, stroking ego and instincts with the urge to finish this work as swift as he might be able, urging him to climb the hill and snuff out the lights he feverishly counted as the layer of sweat adorning him became despondently, distractingly apparent amidst the drying blood slipping and sticking between his fingers, mottled with flecks of sand and silt.

Two minutes passed, a third and then finally a fourth with no attentions to his hiding hole. Indeed, it seemed in that moment those treading patrols higher up the hill from his hole in this self-made hell were paying no mind to anything but themselves. Running his tongue across the roof of his mouth in faint tension, the child soldier crept across the dilapidated wall he'd taken refuge against, creeping over the shattered stones to ply up and onwards along the slope, a huddled crouching run his friend to weave from protected cornerstone of one failed house to the next until at last, he had run out of gap closers betwixt he and the spear-wielding patrolman. The scent of burning tobacco hung in the air, caressing the back of his throat as he crept close to that cherry of burning red in the night. Matching the lazy pace of this man sauntering footsteps through the road gravelled for grip, the preying thing in the dark reached out slow as he stretched up to height to clasp another mouth tight, jerking the chin upward before offering a swift strike of that cold steel point into another cavern of fortune. Catching this dead weight slouched against him to soften the clatter of that body's trappings, he eased it to slide down into the dust with nothing more than the time before the remaining patrolman would turn back to face. This time the hurried heartbeat came softer, more controlled with gaze transfixed upon that ambling back. Marking him just too far to strike with any haste and too close not to see any bloody trail of a dragged corpse, the boy instead opted for a third. Tearing his eyes away and turning back to this last bone hiding the heart of this beast that preyed upon the weak the child ninja abused that all too ill-utilised tool in his arsenal. A hand sign swiftly made and a healthy observation of this quietened corpse gave him all he would need to complete the transformation jutsu. Crouched over the fading man with that bloodied point tucked under his knee, wearing the face of his victim no less with the quaint edit of his usual mask into a more plain cloth affair, the final guard beyond the bonfire hurtling down to his side seemed none the wiser. As the barrage of questions pelted the back of his head and his skin remembered the sweat of tension against no opportunity to model a voice, he hoped a fierce scowl and the point of a finger down towards the carriage would suffice. As the hapless doll wracked with wrath beside him cast a curse with his very expression, he raised hands to his mouth to shout enquiry after the unloading team swathed in the black of the cart's shadow. Before suspicion could take too firm a hold or this man so ready to walk with lantern in hand adjust his eyes to the moonlight and dark, this aspiring assailant took swift advantage of that blind spot to marry knife through that squinting eye, pushed betwixt loosely aligned fingers. Luck and keen craftmanship of the implement on hand favoured the man's ignorance to be prepared for an illusion of betrayal, his lantern snatched up and body caught as if some swooning bride in that now bladeless hand.

Evening out his breath as an internal hourglass burned sharp in the mind, the boy took up one of the packs worn by the brigands. The internal river of his chakra flowed, setting this weight that felt uneasy in the hand afloat in his awareness. Luckily it was no longer heavily laden, instead jangling faintly with some tinny sounds within. An idle saunter eased into existence somewhat as his breath came to him, caught against the sight of the bonfire's light he closed upon. Soaked now to the elbow and smeared about the waist in ichor, he mused it would be a harder effort to conceal his purpose. Cresting that hill with confidence still broad in heart, he marked the scant four remainders of his contractual obligations. The gathering turned to him, their expressions wielding confusion refining into conclusions with one even rising from their chair. As they reached for weapons he formed the Ox seal, a geyser of strength blinding these remnants with their own reflections from those illusory mirrors. Cursed blind and incapable, wailing and swinging weapons towards the sound of a lantern falling in the sand like helpless whelps. Blessed with the gift of silence, it was scarcely an effort to pace about the impaired. Neatly, like marks upon the board their lives were etched into the score with that fresh katana taken up from his latest body made still. Rather, that was his expectation. In a bid for survival or in an expression of raw instinct the eldest and presumably, the leader judging by his position at the fire, had waited for that blade slick with blood to begin it's march of dripping moisture through the air before bringing his own to bare with a lightning acuity. The boy's brow found an earnest crease against the unsettled feeling of someone finally registering the falter in his not-so-perfect design as the blades sat locked. Still, he was not one to neglect his lessons. Pressing the underside of his tsuba down against that of this surprisingly capable foe, no sooner did resistance come did the boy find an opportunity to pluck free and affix that explosive to the man's arm, tossing the pack he'd borne with him clear of the light and triggering his substitution jutsu to free himself of the impending blast in the nick of time. His marks at last at their end, that blade stolen now ruined from his harsh treatment of it and stained red by his wetwork, the boy fell back onto his rear at last as the illusion faltered. Leaning back upon his palms and gaze turned skyward he clawed for breath to ease the tension of the sheer fright he'd been afforded this night. Still, he remarked upon the ease of wielding that smaller blade and made mental note to not rely upon procurement on site if he could help it again once this accursed relief effort would expire. Satisfied with his work and composure, the boy set to the last of his day's water ration and marked this place neatly upon the vague map he carried before departing on his way to be rid of this place, torching the supply of paper bombs in his wake to refuse the opportunity they be abused to stall his allies' flight across the banks.

[2828]


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