Ryuko didn’t mind that Natsuru refused to take the Fusee orb that had been tossed at her, as it bounced off her arm and rolled to the ground before Akashi’s feet. She could understand where the other girl was coming from, even as she was trying to user her own light to draw attention to herself and away from the villagers.
But what really clinched things was the thank you, followed by Natsuru using her name without any suffix attached at all. If they had been back in Hidden cloud that would have been more the enough for her to be tripping over herself to fawn all over Natsuru, probably starting with a glomp. But she was too professional to start acting like that in the middle of a mission.
After the other girls where gone once again Akashi seemed to flat out ignore her attempts to talk to him. Ryuko tried to see what he was focusing so intently on but it couldn’t see anything other then a random stretch of ground so she simply shrugged and went back to keeping a look out for the bandits.
“Tis fine if you wish to keep your peace, but in exchange henceforward I will call you Slientshi” she said jokingly. She was about to follow up with another joke when she felt something was off, though she couldn’t quite put her finger on what that was. Then suddenly she detected movement out of the corner of her eye followed the sound of projectiles flying thought the air.
Before she could even react an arrow pierced straight thought the orb in her hands causing it to shatter into stardust. Thankfully the bandits weren’t quite discipline enough to synchronize their assault otherwise she’d already be dead since they seemed to have been concentrated fire on her due to the light she’d just been holding.
She didn’t know if it was the loss of the light or they where just lousy shots but the next couple rounds narrowly missed actually hitting her flesh as they tore gashes through the sleeves of her kimono and stockings even as she preformed a series of hand-seals. She knew this sequence of five well but she didn’t think she’d ever got them finished quite as fast as she had now.
Just in time as she completed the snake seal her body seemed to become riddled with arrows before vanishing in a poof of smoke revealing that she’d used the body replacement technique to substitute herself with her own cape which was designed to slip off quickly for moments exactly like this one. It was now reduced to tatters utterly and completely ruined.
She hadn’t been quite quick enough however as an arrow had landed in her right shoulder. It wasn’t a serious wound as the chain mail she had been wearing underneath her kimmono had prevented it from doing much damage, but it still hurt like a bitch.
“Das’t, flarking, SHIT!” exclaimed the girl who had been too pious to use proper swearwords until now. By Hakkin’s fang she vowed that she was going to take the arrow in her shoulder and shove it up the ass of whomever had hit her with it.
She’d been far enough away from the bandits that they wouldn’t notice the switch and think she was dead when in reality she was hiding a couple feet away inside the crops using her new vantage point to try and backtrack the trajectory of the barrage. She wasn’t smart enough to do the math to figure it out so instead she was relying on her experience as a weapon user to get a general idea of where the arrows had originated from.
It was further away then she’d first suspected, but then nothing about this mission had gone the way she thought it would. In the stories the bandits would always stop to make demands first before attacking. Usually in the form of “Give us the goods and nobody gets hurt.” Reality it seemed was far harsher then any of the books she had read had lead her to believe.
They where too far away for her shuriken to reach and if she tried to dash at them they might fire another barrage at her. She felt like she was good enough that she could block one, maybe even two arrows with her batons if she knew ahead of time they where coming instead of being taken by surprise, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough to save her from over a dozen like what had struck her mantle and neither would her chain-mail for the matter.
She had only one jutsu that could cover that kind of range, and coincidenlty it would also help her get closer to the bandits in the process. This is if she could actually use it correctly which was hard to say since it was another one she’d only read about before and not actually performed. She was the type that learned best by doing however so it would be worth a shot.
Not wanting to waste any chakra from her limited supply, she glanced over to where her original Fusee was lying on the ground she felt her blood freeze as her sensai stood there with an arrow sticking out of his knee. Or at least that’s how it looked to her anyway. Her entire squad put together hadn’t been enough to so much as scratch the man, the very idea he had taken a hit from some bandits seemed comically absurd.
Maybe it was just bad luck, but she had a sinking feeling it was because the light from the orb sitting at her sensai’s feat had given away his position and that it was her fault he was injured. It seemed even a Jounin could be taken by surprise given the right circumstances. In any case it didn’t seem like he’d be running over to counter attack the bandits any time soon.
Dashing out from her cover Ryuko scooped up the orb sending a surge of chakra into it causing it to overload as she trust it in towards the bandits. Then with a soundless cry the orb blacked out as it went flying from her hands like a missile as it flared across over one hundred meters at a speed good enough to be on display at the Olympics.
Then just as it was in the bandits faces it exploded with a loud bang releasing a brilliant flash of light that would be visible for miles around them. “Arg” screamed some of the bandits in pain as they drooped their weapons to use their hands to cover their eyes. Sadly her flash bang wasn’t nearly potent enough to effect all of them, and unlike a real flare it didn’t even burn the ones it had hit since it contained no heat.
But it was enough for what Ryuko needed as she formed a tiger seal to body flicker her way toward the bandits. One use only lasted one hundred meters so she wouldn’t quite reach them with it to start hand to hand combat which was her forte but that was fine since she’d still be in range to launch shrunken at them, Which is exactly what she plained to do the second he enhanced speed ran out even as she reached into her hip pouch to pull out a handful of the weapons so that she’d be ready.
Swish, swish, swish repeated the sound of throwing stars leaving her hands as she struck out before the bandits could recover from her Flare gun jutsu. Normally a single shuriken wouldn’t be that deadly but the brigands where too busy covering their eyes to defend making their throats an easy target as she took out three of them before the rest could even realize that she had arrived.
“You bitch, I’ll gut you like a fish for that.” groused one particularly rough looking man holding a bow with a flaming arrow notched in it. He was a little smarter then the rest and had been wearing some kind of viewfinder over one eye that had protected it from the flare’s light.
Ignoring him for a second she flicking out another shuriken, killing her forth bandit for the evening, she would have liked to have gone for a fifth but that was all that she had manged to effect. The rest where on their guard now and wouldn’t be such easy prey. Their where still dozens of bandits left but at least she wasn’t in danger of being surrounded for the moment since the bulk of them where further away.
She’d been expecting the man to attack her with his bow and had a hand on her baton ready to counter his arrow but to her surprise he shot past her causing a wall of flame to spring up cutting her off from some of bandits who had been making their way towards her. She was puzzled why the man would be helping her like this. Surely he hadn’t had a change of heart but everything became clear when she heard Shimiko’s voice calling out for her to protect the villagers.
It wasn’t so much that he’d been trying to cut off the other bandits but that he’d been trying to cut off her backup from arriving. Dropping his bow the man pulled out a long serrated knife then licked it suggestively before waving another group of bandits that where behind him away.
“It’s just you and me now pretty bird. I don’t know what a priestess is doing in a backwater hole like this one, but I think I’ll take my time with you. Be a shame if you never got to experience the pleasure of being a woman before I send you to meet with your god after all. ” He said leering at her disgustingly all the while.
Ryuko felt a shiver run down her spine from the words the man was saying. As a priestess and Vestal candidate she had been kept mostly ignorant of sex in order to remain pure. As such she didn’t quite fully understand what the man was saying, but enough to find it creepy just the same. Enough so that she now wanted to shove his arrow into an entirely different place then where she’d original been planning.
She didn’t want to let the other bandits get past her, but she could sense from the intent that the man was giving off that if she tired to stop them he would make her pay dearly for it. He didn’t seem so strong that he outclassed her, but strong enough that she’d have to focus on him if she wanted to win.
“Fowl beast.” She said drawing her right baton she gestured to the man to bring it. “Thou shalt pay for thy sins.”
(Learning Flare gun 1930/150)