Naruto RPG
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Naruto, Naruto Shippuden
© Masashi Kishimoto

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Ishii Kamigawa
Ishii Kamigawa
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 5600
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:39 pm
Mission:
Mission Name: Ghost of a Rose
Rank: B
Type: Search and Obtain
Character Requirements: Genin+/Genin Team
Mission Location: Anywhere within Haven
Challenges: N/A
Word Count Requirements: 3,000
Repeatable? Not by the same person
NPC? -
Reward: 3, 000 Ryo, 7 AP

Task:

Recently, the Hoshigakure Botanical Society has discovered a white rose that contains a natural cure to most common poisons. Naturally this rose was harvested to make antidotes, until they ran out. A team was dispatched to find more of these pale white desert roses but they had no success. To this day, no one knows where these roses grow or how, nor the conditions that lead to their blossoming in the desert. All anyone can really say is that a few of these roses can be found after it has recently rained. Due to the lack of rain in Haven country, further research has been stunted.

Your task for this mission is to attempt to locate one or more of these roses and if possible, provide insight on how/where they grow for future use. These roses are to be handled with considerable care due to their value so if any harm were to come to the plant, your mission will be considered unsuccessful.

Number of roses brought back to the HBS do not contribute to mission success/reward. You get the same reward whether you bring a single flower or a whole bushel.



Ishii finished putting on the last of his rain gear before standing up and walking out of his apartment. Rain fell from the sky and splattered against Ishii's face and coat, sending a shiver up his spine. Hoshigakure had sent him and another shinobi on a mission to hunt down and retrieve a particular white rose. Apparently they only appear shortly after rainfall, making it crucial that the team meet up before the rain stopped.

"It's a tracking mission then? Not sure why they sent me. I'm not exactly a tracker ninja."

The voice seemed to give some form of silent agreement. "They likely didn't have anyone else to spare. It could be that your partner has some degree of tracking capabilities."

"I suppose that's true. It's a bit difficult to schedule a mission like this considering how little time exists between predicting the day that it will rain and assigning shinobi to take care of it."

Ishii thought a bit more on the mission itself. These roses were supposed to be particularly good at curing shinobi of various poisons, yet medical ninja hadn't yet been able to replicate it in laboratory settings. Supposedly the point of the mission would be to gather samples so that they could be mass produced, but that was purely speculation on Ishii's part.

"I suppose that medicine like that is necessary in my line of work. Poison is a serious threat that we as shinobi need to live with. Having something to combat it is... essential for job safety to say the least."

Ishii shuddered to think of what could happen without such an antidote. Most poisons kill quickly. Better to finish off your opponent quickly and efficiently rather than let them escape and kill you later on. Some have lesser effects, such as paralysis or the inhibition of bodily functions. Usually these were less dangerous, but even those that didn't kill you could result in a mission failure. The most dangerous however were poisons the killed over a long time. These insidious toxins could take days, or even weeks to kill a shinobi. Usually those days are filled with agony and pain. It was unpleasant to think of.

Closing his mind and thoughts to the idea, Ishii took off towards the Hoshigakure Water Gardens. The mission report dictated that he would wait there with his partner until the rain stopped falling, and then begin their search. It wasn't long before Ishii arrived, 30 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. All that was left now was to wait.

Word Count - 424
Arashi Tekiatsu
Arashi Tekiatsu
Jounin
Jounin
Fame : 18
Ryo : 25000
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:57 pm
The Ghost Roses. Something he fondly remembered. It was one of his first missions as a Hoshi ninja. To find and determine how the roses grew. Last time he was out, he had found a location in the deep southeast of the country, nearly at the Sand border. More than a day's journey. He had brought back soil samples as well as the flowers themselves, hoping the Botanical Society would be able to figure out the secret. It was also the first time he and Tsuji really started to hit it off.

But while there was some success growing them, their secrets were still hidden, and the village was running out of them again. The soil that they brought had been used up, and they were lucky after a rain to see growth. Today was hopefully one of those lucky rains. The Cloud shinobi smiled at the sky as the drops started to lighten. This was a natural rain... not one of his. And luckily for them, ran was starting to come more frequently. Checking the time, the older jounin sighed. It was time for him to find the Genin he was working with. Arashi had experience, and would assist, but the mission was clearly for the younger Kamigawa.

It didn't take long for Arashi to flash step near Ishii, still feeling the drops on his face falling. The younger ninja was already there, probably had been for a while, as Arashi was just early enough to be shy of on time. He was dressed in the standard Jounin flak jacket, with a pale blue scarf around his neck. He smiled, raising a hand in a greeting.

"Hello! You must Ishii Kamigawa. Good to meet you, I'm Arashi Tekiatsu, your... mentor I guess." he said, looking around at the large fields they had. "This brings back memories. So... have you heard of the ghost rose? What do you know about it?" he asked, turning towards the Genin.

(WC: 326)
Sebastian Loghain
Sebastian Loghain
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 500
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:23 pm
A simple knock at his door would be heard, followed by the distinct sound of mail being delivered. Usually the young wolf was outside, cutting trees for lumber or firewood, or hunting for food. Today was different though, as he simple sat in front of a hearth as the patter of rain rang a tune on the roof and windows of his cabin. Loghain really didn’t like being rained on…
 
The man would rise, moving quickly to the door to see what was delivered for him. It was becoming more and more frequent that he would get tasks from the village that were to be done with others. Just a short while ago he would reluctantly accept, knowing that his bestial rage could spring up at any time and endanger the others. Luckily, thanks to the efforts and training he had done with Doctor Terumi he had not only a bottle of pills to help, but also a much better control over his transformation. The likelihood of shifting against his will was practically nonexistent. The man would crack open the letter from the village, explaining that he was assigned a mission to retrieve some sort of flower that only bloomed right after rainfall. His assigned handler was a new name, one that he hadn’t met before. He would have to explain his unique condition if he wasn’t already given the details.
 
The wolf would put on his cloak, the dark material not being as waterproof as he had hoped. He would find himself soaked in a short window of time as he made his way to the meeting point. What a miserable assignment this was…
 
He would make his way towards the Hoshi gates, a sentry meeting him and escorting him to the Water Gardens to meet the others. Loghain would see the other two, the one that wearing the flak jacket that represented Jounin status just arriving as well. The guard escort would drop the young wolf off, “Best to keep a close eye on this one, sir.” He would add before awaiting his superior officer to permit him to leave.
 
The soaked man would look up to the others. “Ishii Kamigawa and Arashi Tekiatsu, I presume. I am Sebastian Loghain, and I too was assigned this mission.” Looking up at the rain clouds he would shake his head. “I wish that this meeting was in more pleasant weather.” He would listen to any replies that the pair might have and if asked his thoughts he would chime in with, “Is it true that we are to find these in the desert?” The thought of a flower in the desert was one that seemed odd to the young wolf. Sure, there were cacti and such, but a rose? “If so we have quiet the trek, do we not? I am unfamiliar with the outskirts of Haven Country so I must ask, how close to the land of Wind do we need to get before we find desert?”

WC: 498
TWC: 498/1000
Ishii Kamigawa
Ishii Kamigawa
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 5600
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:16 pm
Ishii had nothing to do but slowly count the minutes until the rest of his partners arrived. Silently, Ishii regretted coming thirty minutes earlier than he was supposed to show up. If he wasn't wearing his rain clothes, he would be soaked to the bone. Nevertheless, eventually the time came when they were assigned to meet up. There was no sign of anyone else. With a sigh, Ishii turned around to notice the Jounin who had just flash stepped behind him. His eyes widened in shock at the startling sight, but he quickly recovered from the surprise. The man gave his greetings and asked Ishii what he knew about the flowers that they were sent to retrieve.

"Yes, I'm Ishii. It's a pleasure to meet you Tekiatsu Sensei." Ishii scratched at his head. "Unfortunately I don't know much about these roses other than what they told me for the mission. I've been given a physical description and a rough explanation of their medicinal properties, but other than that I know little."

Shortly after that, two more shinobi arrived. One of them seemed almost... wild? That wasn't quite it. Regardless, one of them mentioned being cautious around the other ninja, and Ishii felt his eyebrow raise. "Like Cole?" He spoke to nobody in particular.

He introduced himself as well, and commented on the foul nature of the weather that they happened to be standing in. Ishii couldn't help but agree. "It is quite irritating. It's not the worst I've seen, but it certainly doesn't make the situation pleasant."

He went on to mention finding the rose in the desert, and Ishii paused. He hadn't remembered that. "The desert, is it? I doubt we would be able to make the journey in the time it takes for the rain to stop. There has to be a desert somewhere closer around here." Ishii turned to the Jounin overseeing the mission. "Is there?"

Word Count - 319

Total Word Count - 743
Arashi Tekiatsu
Arashi Tekiatsu
Jounin
Jounin
Fame : 18
Ryo : 25000
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:55 am
Arashi smiled with his eyes closed. "Its alright.. these roses have been holding their secret for a long time. They have evaded the Botanical Society for generations, and they still evade even the shinobi. But, as long as we can't unlock the secret to their growth, this is a good trial for ninja." he said, drifting off as his other charge came in, escorted by another older shinobi. The man's comment about watching the other soured his mood a bit, and he crossed his arms.

"I'll take my chances. You can go." he said, waiting for the other to leave, so that it was only Sebastian and Ishii there. When the two commented on the weather, he raised his eyebrows. They obviously didn't know anything about their current sensei.

"This is downright pleasant compared to places like Amegakure. I guess rain can be miserable if you let it get to you... but think about it like this; you can't choose your environmental conditions. At least not all of the time." he said, as they brought up the desert part.

"I think you are overestimating how quickly these roses grow. They are quite fast, but not instant. The problem is the short window they bloom before they begin to wilt. But Sebastian is right; these unusual flowers only seem to grow out in the southern lands of Haven. When I was tasked with it, I was right up against the border." he said, looking at the two. He crossed his arms and looked up.

"We're going to miss this one, but there is a reason we are out here in the rain. Look up at the sky." he said, raising his head. "It may just look like a mass of clouds, but if you ignore the drops and just watch the clouds you'll see there is movement. Not just any random movement, but a direction." he stated, pointing up, and then after watching the clouds and seeing where they were, his arm drifted towards a direction.

"There... that is where the clouds are going. And that is where we are going. Not all the way to the Sand Border, but a good distance away. If you thought this is where we would going to find the flowers, then I hate to disappoint, but the fact that they aren't growing here any more is why we are going to pick them. This storm was never going to be the one. That said, there is still a time crunch. We have to get ahead of the clouds and get to the destination before they do. Not a impossible task, but its going to be a workout. So if you two are ready, let's get a move on." he said, strapping a day pack on his back, and when they were all ready to go, he kicked off the ground and ran.

(WC: 475)
Sebastian Loghain
Sebastian Loghain
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 500
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:24 pm
The other genin would agree upon the weather, noting that while this might not have been the worst, it certainly wasn’t the best, either. Their commanding officer would weigh in, speaking of Amegakure and that one can’t always choose the hand they are dealt. These were wise words, though Sebastian had been unsure of the details regarding this Amegakure place. If it made this rainstorm look pleasant, it wasn’t anywhere that he ever wanted to find himself.
 
Arashi would then explain in better detail how they would find the flowers in time. Now the wolf was a natural hunter, but never before has he tracked and followed a storm cloud. In fact, he usually did just the opposite to avoid poor weather as best he could. The senior officer would confirm the suspicions of Sebastian regarding the location of the plant. It would unfortunately mean that they would have quite the journey following the storm clouds before they would even be able to hope to find the rose and be done with the rain. “I’m as ready for this trek as I’ll ever be, though I do have a few questions. I’ve never been that far out. Will we need to bring any food, and more importantly water?” Such a question might have seemed odd considering they were following a rainstorm, but if they managed to find themselves deep into the desert after the rains stop, having some way to prevent dehydration would be paramount.
 
Following the lead of Arashi, Sebastian would follow behind quickly, though he would make sure to follow along at the pace of the team. There would be no purpose to breaking off ahead, especially in unknown territory. At least the plan was to stay ahead of the storm from this point on though. Hopefully he would manage to get dry soon. He would of course continue to follow the advice of their leader, keeping an eye out for sudden changes with the clouds. The last thing they would want is to end up in the wrong place because of such a simple oversight.
 
Once the landscape would begin to change and shift more towards the expected desert environment, the wolf would pause and speak with the others, “I wish there was more to go on as to where we may find these plants. Though, I guess if it were easy it wouldn’t be us sent to get them.” The wolf would then scan the immediate area, hoping that they would get lucky enough to find one right off the bat. Alas, he didn’t see much that could have been what they were looking for. It was a good thing there were three of them, for there might be a lot of ground to cover. “Should we split up to cover more ground? Or would it be best to stay together for safety in numbers? I don’t know how active banditry is way out here.”

WC: 489
TWC:987
Ishii Kamigawa
Ishii Kamigawa
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 5600
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:45 pm
The Jounin of the mission weighed in on the situation, pointing out that the storm cloud was slowly progressing towards the border of Haven. He also pointed out that they were overestimating the growth of the flower, which did admittedly make Ishii feel foolish that he had so naively believed that it would spring up instantly after the storm. "That only happens in fairy tales, doesn't it?"

With that, they were off. The one called Sebastian brought up a good point, asking if they would be bringing along water or anything else. The Jounin that led them had brought along a day pack with him however, leading Ishii to believe that any emergency supplies they might need would be located inside. "If I'm correct, that day pack probably has some form of nutritional supplies inside it. Hopefully however, we shouldn't even need it. With the rain coming down the way it is, it will lower body temperature to the point where sweat becomes a non-issue." Or at least, Ishii hoped.

As the group ran further and further along, Ishii noticed another issue. He was far, far slower than the other two. He cursed his legs and his lack of speed training as they progressed further and further away from the village, slowly wearing down the Genin's body. He desperately wanted to take a breather, but he knew that if he did it could result in a mission failure, not to mention a reprimanding from his superior. So wordlessly he continued on, focusing all of his strength on keeping up with the inhuman pace of his fellow comrades.

Eventually, Sebastian stopped his frenzied stride once they reached the anticipated desert lands, and Ishii was finally able to pause and take a breath. Leaning over, he placed a hand on either knee and huffed. As his body frantically gulped in the oxygen, Sebastian commented on the nature of their goose hunt of a mission. Once again, Ishii agreed. There wouldn't likely be a great number of roses in the desert, but it was best to just grab everything that they saw and hope for the best. Ishii looked up at the cloud above, and squinted. Between desperate breaths he managed to choke out, "Judging by the sky, we managed to catch the tail end of the storm. I would say that we have about five minutes to think of a game plan, if even that."

Ishii turned his gaze to their sensei and stood up straight after finally getting some fresh air into his lungs. "What do you think sensei? You're the only one here who's actually seen these flowers in person, so you're the only one who knows what to look for. We only have the descriptions of the rose, so it's up in the air for whether or not either of us will grab the right one."

Of course, he left out the part about what could happen if they picked the WRONG rose. Ishii had heard tales of Sunagakure, and how in the past they crafted incredible poisons. After all, it made sense that such a powerful medicinal flower would be found in a land with equally powerful poisons. If they grabbed the wrong ingredient, and pricked their finger somehow, it could spell the end for the Genin. Of course, this was nothing more that conspiracy within Ishii's head, and there was no way to confirm nor deny the validity of these things. Still, it was better safe than sorry. He would wait as quietly as he could for their Jounin to give his order on the situation at hand.

Word Count - 601

Total Word Count - 1344
Arashi Tekiatsu
Arashi Tekiatsu
Jounin
Jounin
Fame : 18
Ryo : 25000
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:23 am
Arashi smiled.  "The days packs should be sufficient; but you never know what is going to happen.  Any mission outside the village could be a few minutes, to days or weeks.  Its best practice to have a traveling pack prepared.  I keep two; a day pack for these type of short missions, and a full traveling pack in the event I am sent somewhere that will take days to get.  For a mission like this one, a day pack is best; smaller, more carrying capacity, and in the event that something happens, we still have what we need to survive." he said, as the three took off.  

One sign of his newness to being a sensei was him being in the lead; while good for hunting, it meant that he couldn't see the other two.  In this case, he was able to feel them both in the air as he let his bloodline trail a bit behind him.  They were making good time, but Ishii was not going to last much longer without a break.  Luckily, after a couple of hours journey, the scent of recent rain hit his nose, as well as another sent... soil.  

They finally stopped, and Arashi kneeled down to check the recently wet ground.  They had missed the end of this storm, but as the jounin looked up at the sky, there was still energy in the sky..  and the storm they had gotten ahead of would be drifting over and taking in this energy.  They were looking at another rainstorm coming through today.  Double the rain, double the chances.

"What really makes these flowers special is their unique growing conditions.  We'll know them when we see them; they are very hard to miss, which surprisingly leads to their rarity.  Not only do these flower tend to only grow in specific conditions, but when they do, they can be seen, and that attracts everything from animals to botanists.  Not to mention those who try to pick as many as possible to sell them." he stated, picking up a wet clump of dirt and breaking it in his hand, looking at the soil content.  It was good; but not enough.  Maybe a few flowers here, not a field.  They needed the maximum possible.

"No, we're going to stay together.  The most important part of a mission is your teammate.  You can't watch each other's back if you are points on the horizon." he said, dropping the dirt and wiping his hand on his jacket.  

"We're close... and we are making good time. Let's go a bit farther out; there is an area that acts like a bowl; that may be the best change to have all the conditions present.  Let's go." he said, kicking off the ground and running again.  It was about a half hour or so before they reached an area of gently sloped ground, and it did look like a bowl.  There was what looked like a dried pond in the center.  Arashi stopped at the edge of the pond's shore, and immediately held his hand up to get the other two to stop.  He started listening, sensing... something.  He had to tune out the two genin and waited... listening to the sound of quiet.  No, not quite quiet.  

THWACK!  CLANG!

The kunai came out of nowhere, but Arashi had deflected it in time with his own weapon.  He kicked off the ground and moved behind the genin to make sure their backs were protected.  Suddenly the ground around them exploded as the bandits hiding broke through and up.  About 4 or 5 of them... no headbands.  Not shinobi, just... skilled bandits.  

"I'd turn back... we have you outnumbered.  Leave the roses to us, and we can all go home happy." said one of them, probably the one who fired a kunai.

"Stay with me, you two." Arashi said quietly, before addressing the one who spoke.  "This is Haven land still, and under the jurisdiction of Hoshi.  We don't take kindly to thieves." he said, looking at the group.

"Its not theft if they are grown in the wild.  Besides, we have a contract.  We get the flowers, and the Botanical Society pays us."

That caught Arashi off guard.  "I am rather close to them; they wouldn't hire just anyone to grab flowers.  And certainly not to pay an exorbitant amount."

There were frowns and annoyances.  Something didn't seem right.  But there was no time for it.  Almost immediately the so called leader was on Arashi, and the two clashed blades.  The rest of the ground started running towards the other two.

(WC: 757; Total: 1558)
Sebastian Loghain
Sebastian Loghain
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 500
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:11 pm
The young wolf listened, taking in the advice to keep a pack readied in the event of a mission with little time to prepare for. Loghain usually didn’t find himself on long distance missions, instead being assigned things within the immediate vicinity of Hoshi or along the paths where brigands were likely to be found. It was something he would have to keep in the back of his mind.
 
As they found themselves rapidly making their way to the Wind borders, Sebastian would note that Ishii Kamigawa was having difficulty keeping pace, fatigue starting to show on the young man’s face and breathing. The wolf would attribute this to a lack of conditioning, as manual labor and constant physical exertion were things he was fairly accustomed to. The wolf wasn’t against the idea of carrying the other man if it came down to it to make sure they make good time, but not everyone would be okay with such an action. Luckily it would not come to such as they came to a stop and gave Ishii a chance to catch his breath.
 
Their team leader would remedy the wolf’s unease. He spoke of these flowers being incredibly easy to spot, something that might have made this easier if it were not for the next bit of what he had said. So these flowers attract a great deal of attention? He wondered what they might end up finding out here also looking for those plant. With this new information he was going to mention that they should definitely stick together, but Arashi beat him to it. The man would just nod in agreement. Before long they would find themselves on the move again and the wolf hoped that Ishii had enough time to catch his wind.
 
They ended up finding themselves in a rather large, bowl shaped area. It wasn’t longer than a few moments before their leader gave a hand signal for them to halt. Listening to the commanding officer, Loghain would stop, keeping his senses at the ready. It a flash of steel kunai were deflected by the senior officer. The wolf would find himself caught off-guard as bandits shot up from the ground around them. They might have just been bandits, but they somehow managed to avoid him detecting them with his keen sense of smell. Perhaps it was a culmination of environmental factors, but it managed to make the wolf ponder for a moment as the bandits spoke with the leader of their party.
 
As funny as it was, other than the attempted assault on them, Loghain agreed with these so called bandits. These lands were in the wilderness, caught right by the untamed borders between two major nations. While it might have technically fallen under Hoshi jurisdiction there were likely enough flowers for all parties to have enough to walk away happy. Of course greed was the driving force in this conversation, and the bandits only saw the flowers as a way to make a quick sum of money. The fact that they were both sent by the same group… it was either very unlikely or their employer left out key information.
 
It but a moment, the group decided to attack the trio. The leader clashed blades with Arashi. The others then moved in on the other two, blades drawn. The wolf was between a rock and a hard place. They were outnumbered, and they lacked the element of surprise. If he shifted now he should be better equipped to combat these brigands, but if the beast took control it could be dangerous… He didn’t have time to think or to doubt himself. The only way he would be able to know for sure if he was in control was to test out how far he had progressed. Plus, there was a Jounin here to stop him if things got out of hand. “Stay behind me! Call out if you see more of them!” He would say to Ishii.
 
The enemies would move into position to try and close the gap. The body of Loghain would begin to grow, bones cracking and muscles tearing as they expanded rapidly to accommodate his new form. Dagger-like claws would sprout from the fingers of the now massive hands of the creature that grew nearly a meter larger. Dark fur would now cover his whole body and he would let out a snarl as he moved his new claws to meet the first assailant. Flesh and cloth both would shred like paper as the razor claws tore into the torso of the first assailant in reach. The claws would puncture lungs and shred organs alike and the target would quickly die. If this sudden shift stopped the targets in their tracks the wolf would snarl, hoping to deter them from needlessly wasting their lives. Of course if they decided to continue the assault, the wolf would show them no more mercy and ready himself for a bloodbath.


WC: 828
Total:1815
Ishii Kamigawa
Ishii Kamigawa
Genin
Genin
Fame : 0
Ryo : 5600
100%

Digging Through The Rose Gardens Empty Re: Digging Through The Rose Gardens

Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:26 am
Mentally, Ishii was cursing and swearing to high heaven when they started moving again. Though he wasn't about to let himself slow the group down, not when time was so vital for them to complete this mission. He trudged through aching feet and muscles that had lost feeling in order to keep up with the incredible pace of his companions.

Partially to distract himself, yet mostly for mission clarity, Ishii thought on what their Jounin sensei had told them while they were resting. Apparently the flowers that they were looking for would be fairly obvious to spot. It brought Ishii a small measure of relief to hear. The fear that he would accidentally poison himself disappeared, leaving him focusing only on finding the flowers themselves. Of course, the idea that there would be multiple people looking for them was rather concerning. Ishii doubted that it would be any serious threat to the shinobi, especially with a Jounin on the team. However, it never hurt to be prepared for a threat.

With huffing breath, Ishii spoke to himself. "A threat, huh?"

His head turned to watch Sebastian. He had arrived here with a guard in tow, insisting that they watch the young man. Why? Why had he insisted that they keep watch of the man? He seemed perfectly fine, friendly even. It wasn't exactly similar to Cole, who seemed to practically reek of violence. Yet there had to be some reason or another. Maybe it was just a mystery that would wait for another time.

Before too long, the group found themselves in an area that had gathered the water from the rain into a small natural basin. It was completely devoid of most life, the only exceptions being a small scorpion that Ishii nearly stepped on, and a nearby cactus that stood proud and tall against the beating sun. A nearby tumbleweed blew by the trio of shinobi, going off into the distance. A slight chuckle emerged from Ishii's breath. It was likely nothing special to the other two, but there was something comical to the man about a single lone tumbleweed blowing through this desert plain.

Arashi quickly held his hand up to tell the Genin to quiet down, to which Ishii complied as best he could. He was practically suffocating without the deep breaths he needed to gather the latent oxygen in the air, yet emergency situations came first. Another moment. Then another. Another tumbleweed blew by. Yet as soon as the tumbleweed passed, the desert sun reflected its light across a piece of polished metal that found itself screaming through the air towards their sensei. With incredible dexterity and skill, he deflected the weapon off to the side. It flew off to his side, landing in the sand by Ishii's feet, where he realized that it was a kunai. Looking up, Ishii gazed upon the bandits who possessed the gall to attack armored shinobi in broad daylight.

They conversed briefly with their sensei, arguing that they were sent by the same employer as they were, and doing their best to try to intimidate the shinobi group off. All the while, Ishii tried to analyze them. They clearly weren't inexperienced, as they had enough wits to hide in the sand as they waited to collect the flowers, just in case of any enemies that happened to stumble by. They were effective enough to hide from not just one, nor two, yet three shinobi, one of which was a Jounin. Yet they clearly weren't the brightest. Instead of launching a coordinated attack with multiple kunai and shuriken, they threw one measly ninja tool. That wouldn't be sufficient to kill so much as an Academy Student, much less fully fledged ninja. Even stranger, there was only one weapon, and three shinobi. Even if it did manage to take out their sensei, it would've left two others alive and well. Perhaps it was a warning shot? Testing their reflexes? No time to figure it out now Ishii supposed. The bandits drew their weapons and advanced, clearly approaching with intent to harm.

A pit tightened in Ishii's stomach. He hadn't been in a real fight as of yet. They weren't shinobi, but that didn't lessen his nerves any. Ishii quickly jammed his foot into the sand underneath the kunai, taking care to avoid cutting his foot on the blade and place it underneath the weapon's center of mass. He quickly brought his knee up to his chest, sending kinetic energy through the kunai and causing it to rise off of his foot when his leg stopped moving. Ishii quickly snatched it out of the air and brought his leg back to the ground. It was at that moment that Sebastian stepped in front of Ishii, taking the lead. Ishii was partially glad. He was tired, and wouldn't be much use in this fight.

Ishii formed the Ram hand sign, and four identical copies appeared to his right and left. They all held their kunai at the ready, and looked at the bandits with intent to kill. Ishii almost chuckled, but that would've ruined the illusion. They weren't solid, and their attacks would simply pass right through the bandits. Still, they might not know that. Yet what happened next shook the real Ishii's resolve, rattling him to his core. Sebastian transformed into something... horrifying. His close proximity to Ishii made it all the worse. He could hear the man's bones crack and snap as they reshaped and reformed. He could see the muscle fibers under his skin tear and grow back stronger. When the horrid transformation finished, he didn't even look human. With elongated claws the beast ripped open the man's chest, sending fragments of his ribcage scattered across the desert, and sending ribbons of blood across his friends.

Ishii's own blood ran cold. What the hell was that thing? That monster? Did it just kill that man? He didn't know. He took a step back, then another. His hand trembled, and the kunai nearly dropped. "It killed him..." He couldn't move anymore. All he could do was watch on in abject horror, soaking in the reality of having witnessed his first death. "I never knew it would be that intense..."

Word Count - 1038

Total Word Count - 2382
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