Kazuo Enomoto

mission
Supplying The Frontier Part 1: Kenji & Kazuo

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Mission Name | Supplying The Frontier Part 1
Mission Type | Water Village
Ranking | C-Rank
Repeatable? | Yes; Once Per Character
Mission NPCs | 3 Bandits, and their Leader, who is disguised as a traveler in need of supplies. 3 bandits are D-Rank, Leader is B-Rank and should be treated with extreme caution.
Mission Description | The frontier is a cold, frigid place where growing food is nearly impossible. To solve this problem we've carved out supply lines, lately however the supplies haven't been reaching the frontier due to bandit attacks. Our information suggests that the bandits are little more than an armed mob, that being said you should be on guard, every mission could be life or death. Travel with the supply cart and make sure it reaches it's destination.  
Word Count | 700 Words
Requirements | N/A, Recommended to have 2 People.

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Players:

Kazuo Enomoto

@Kenji Haruka

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Kazuo shivered as another gust of wind blew straight at him. The wind somehow always seemed to seep in between the threads of his heavy winter jacket, making him question how anyone could survive out in the frigid tundra. It had only been one day and he felt like he had endured enough of the cold. The people on the supply cart didn't look bothered by the cold. While Kazuo tucked his face away from the slightest breeze, they continued to look straight ahead, unbothered by the cold. Oh, how Kazuo hoped he would never get used to the cold like that.

 

As another gust came, Kazuo looked over his shoulder, checking the rear of the supply cart. It was mainly an excuse to avoid the cold from hitting his already-frozen face, but he also wanted to see how his teammate was faring. Kenji Haruka was trailing just a few feet behind the supply cart. Kazuo glanced forward to double check the road ahead and make sure there was nothing ahead. All he could see was the bumpy road stretching on into the horizon. Now was a good time to check in on Kenji and chat with him.

 

Kazuo slowed down, allowing the ox to walk on past him and soon the cart it was pulling. Soon Kazuo was shoulder-to-shoulder with Kenji. Without taking his eyes off the road ahead, Kazuo asked in a hushed tone, "We're almost at the end and there's still no sign of bandits. What will we do if don't find them? Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that this caravan will make it out alright, but it won't prevent future raids if we don't stop the bandits now."

 

Thoughts whirled around his head. What if the bandits recognized them as shinobi and ran off? Or what if they heard about the Water Village taking action and moved their raids elsewhere? Kazuo gritted his teeth in anger. He wasn't about to let this die out quietly. One way or another he was going to make sure they wouldn't attack another supply cart, even if that meant diverting away from the mission and tracking them down. He simply hoped that Kenji would be willing to help him do so. Kazuo had never worked with him before so it was up in the air how he would react to the idea of breaking the letter of the mission in order to fulfill the spirit of it. Kazuo hoped that he could figure it out from Kenji's response.

 

 

----

Word Count: 419

 

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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The freezing cold had stopped Kenji from wearing his usual attire, instead he donned a simple winter coat with fur on the inside, while the coat itself was gray and the fur on the interior was black, within the coat he wore his trusty Flak Jacket and was keeping a pack of senbon inside one of the many pockets, while the other pockets contained a single smoke bomb, a set of 5 kunai and as usual, he held his favorite item within the Flak Jacket, the ninja information cards, unlike previous missions, this one should involve direct combat and he wasn't going to miss the chance to see this guy in action. Meanwhile his katana had been given a makeshift strap, which was wrapped loosely around Kenji's waist, allowing the sword to dangle on Kenji's hip on the outside of the coat and still main ease of access, finishing his altered appearance was a modified senbon wrist launcher hidden under the coat and strapped onto Kenji's wrist, primed and ready to be shot at a moments notice and single wireless radio all ready in place, his forehead protector covering the collar where microphone resides.

 

Despite the alterations, he was still shivering under the intense conditions of the tundra, his resistance to the cold was lower than others and he got colder far easier than others and being out here for a day was all ready beginning to test his limits on how much he can actually endure, the only thing keeping him going at this point was the potential of seeing his partner, Kazuo Enomoto, actually fight, though at this point Kenji was having doubts on if the bandits were actually going to strike, he was itching for any sort of movement besides walking in the cold, sitting in the cold, sleeping in the cold, eating in the cold or drinking in the cold. At least fighting in the cold will give him exercise and the adrenaline would probably warm him up for a while.

 

As Kenji let his mind wander, it was stopped when a strong gust of wind crossed his face and he looked down and closed his left eye, the right eye was protected by the eye patch he almost always wore. Once the wind died out once again, he seen his partner slow down and begin to walk alongside Kenji, he then expressed his concerns about the lack of bandits "Yeah, I know how you feel, makes this whole trip feel a little pointless and those scum still are out there." Kenji told his fellow shinobi, though he hated that he seemed to be match with yet another teenager, for once he would like someone at least his own age, even a legal adult would do at this point, though he can't complain too much, so far the two teens he worked with, the Tataru and Shiori kid were... Quirky to say the least, but provided him with quite interesting people to keep an eye, perhaps this one will follow suit.

 

Word Count:  495

  Hide contents

Equipment on person:

  • Wireless Radio x1
  • Flak Jacket [C Rank] x1
  • Kunai [Set of 5] x1 
  • Smoke Bombs x1
  • Ninja Information Cards x1
  • Katana x1
  • Modified Senbon Wrist Launcher x1
  • Senbon Pack x1 [Contains 20 Senbon Each]

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Kazuo raised his hands up high in the air and looked up, almost looking like he was chanting a prayer. "Thank you," he said in a surprised -but appreciative- tone. He lowered his hands looked over at Kenji. It was difficult to see his face since Kenji stood nearly a foot taller. It made it difficult before to read his expression but now Kazuo felt more at ease, sensing that he shared the same goals as Kenji.

 

Kazuo started talking faster and louder, growing more passionate with each word he spoke. "We aren't actually protecting anyone if those bandits are still out there. Even if they aren't attacking here, they might be attacking someone else. We can't let - hold on..." Kazuo's voice immediately turned soft and calm. His eyes narrowed, focusing on the horizon.

 

He began to whisper, "There's someone running towards us, a few hundred feet ahead. I believe it is a woman, small frame, but it is hard to tell from their coat." The woman was frantically waving her arms around, trying to catch their attention. Her shouts were barely audible, but Kazuo could make out the word 'help' and 'stuck'.

 

"I'm sure this is a trap. The question is what kind. It's likely that she will lead us far away so the shipping cart is left defenseless for when the actual bandits strike. I'll go see what she wants. You stay here. Keep your eyes open in case things go south."

 

Without waiting for Kenji's reply, Kazuo leap forward, dashing towards the woman. Up close he could tell more about her. She was wearing all white, blending into the Tundra. She was wearing boots, baggy pants, a winter jacket with a gray fur lining, and a scarf covering her lower face. Her outfit was very utilitarian. Bland but practical. It could honestly go either way for her to either be very experienced living in this area or a very prepared bandit.

 

Kazuo stopped right in front of her. "I'm here to help. What do you need?" The woman grabbed Kazuo's right sleeve and started tugging away in desperation. She was stronger than she looked. She was actually getting Kazuo to follow her. "My cart is stranded. One of the wheels broke and I can't get it going. Please, you have to help me."

 

It was looking more and more like a trap, but they had to be certain. It could have been a traveler who got stuck and refusing to help would be leaving them to an icy death. Kazuo looked back at the supply cart, to where Kenji was. He narrowed his eye and gave a brief nod, signalling Kenji to be on his guard. They he turned back to the woman and smiled, "Okay, lead the way."

 

They ran ahead until they saw a fallen cart on the side of the road. Its right front wheel had fallen off. It laid flat on the ground just a few feet ahead. It looked like the axle it was on broke. It looked legit, but someone felt off about the scene. They slowed down to a walk. The woman let go of Kazuo's sleeve, allowing him to walk up to the cart alone. He squatted down in front of the cart, inspecting it. Why did it bother him? There was something off. Something... There was too much snow on top of it. This cart had been here for days. It was a trap!  

 

Just then, out of the corner of his eyes, Kazuo saw a lit match thrown on him. It bounced off his jacket, setting his whole right sleeve on fire. Instinctively, Kazuo unzipped his jacket as fast as he could to tossed it away. Fortunately, it was thick enough where he didn't get burned from the fires yet. But now he was defenseless against the bitter cold.

 

How could his jacket catch fire like that? There was no way it would have burned so quickly. Unless... she must have put something flammable on his sleeve when he tugged at his sleeve. This whole trap was more elaborate than Kazou thought. And he was going to pay the price. These bandits weren't ninjas and didn't stand a chance against either Kazou or Kenji in a fair fight. They knew that and planned accordingly. They weren't planning on defeating them, they simply planned on outlasting them.

 

Kazuo looked over his shoulder at the woman. Now wielding a broadsword, she had raised it over her head, just about to strike Kazuo down. The cold was already numbing his joint, and Kazuo sensed that he wouldn't be able dodge away fast enough. All he could do was watch in horror.

 

---

Word Count: 782

 

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It was brightening to see the smaller shinobi appear more happy as Kenji assured him that he felt the same way about not seeing any bandits so far in their journey, he was glad the teen appeared to be on the same page as Kenji, for once it looked like Kenji found someone who he could consider an equal, though definitely not literal, he was nearly a foot taller than the green eyed teen. The young looking teen then spoke more about the lack of bandits, bringing in a point Kenji had yet to consider, especially seeing as what had happened in his past, Kazuo appeared to be quite the smart one and seemed to be quite a good soul, wanting to take care of the bandits to prevent any future harm to anyone. But suddenly, his once passionate voice died out and replaced with a calm one, he appeared to be looking ahead, curious on what had gotten the kids' attention, especially while he was talking about something he seemed to genuinely care about. For a bit, he couldn't quite see, his eye patch limited his vision from seeing all correctly, but he did notice a distant figure approaching rather fast and a barely audible cry that Kenji couldn't figure out what she was saying.

 

Kazuo informed Kenji of the figure, confirming Kenji wasn't just seeing stuff and the teen quickly acknowledged this was a trap, but rather than discuss a plan to counteract the bandit's plan, the young shinobi took off, ready to take the bait alone. Kenji was conflicted about going to help him as he saw the lady drag the blue eyed teen off to the trap or staying with the cart and ensuring that it is left unharmed while Kazuo went to deal with the trap. Kenji decided the best course of action was leave a clone at the cart to ward off any potential bandits and go see the effectiveness of the trap, hoping the teen wouldn't need his help, so he performed the hand seals for a clone and with a puff of smoke another Kenji appeared, "Watch the cart." Kenji ordered his clone to do, which simply nodded it's head, agreeing to wait at the cart.

 

Kenji observed Kazuo inspect the cart, "Perhaps it actually wasn't a trap?" Kenji thought to himself, only to see the lady throw a single match at the teen's sleeve, which surprisingly burst into flames and the young teen quickly tore off his jacket and turned to face the lady who used this time to ready a sword and begun to swing at the teen. Kenji however leapt into action, unsheathing his katana and catching the bandit off guard by deflecting the blade strike away from the teen, however he felt a sudden ease on his chakra and realized his clone must've been hit. Having no time, he used the temporary confusion to kick the lady away before throwing his jacket at the teen, almost instantly regretting his choice as the weather begun to freeze him but seeing as the teen was fighting a lady with a sword and couldn't return to the cart as fast as Kenji could, he had to give the teen a fighting chance. "Take care of her, I need to deal with the ones at the cart." Kenji told the teen as he threw the katana on the ground near the teen before performing the hand signs for the body flicker technique and seemed to disappear instantly as the lady picked herself back up and got into a sword fighting stance.

 

Kenji reappeared at the cart and was greeted to the sight of three bandits ready to kill the people on the cart as they were cowering in fear, but quickly seemed relieved to see Kenji once more. Not wasting time, Kenji quickly raised his arm and without his coat anymore he could freely access his senbon wrist launcher, so he pulled the trigger and managed to hit one of the bandits with all 5 of the senbon, dropping the bandit to the ground. He then pulled out a single kunai and readied himself. "Who's next?" He asked with a small grin on his face, attempting to intimidate the two bandits and trying to hide the fact he was freezing in this weather.

 

Word Count:  703

Chakra Left: 85/100

  Hide contents

Jutsu used:

  • Clone Technique
  • Body Flicker Technique

Equipment used:

  • 5 Senbon of the 20 in the packet
  • Modified Senbon Wrist Launcher

 

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'I really dropped the ball,' Kazuo thought. Not only did he completely fall for the trap but if it wasn't for Kenji he would have been done. Kenji stopped the bandit's attack but he also donated his kitana and jacket to Kazuo, exposing himself to the cold instead. The jacket was invaluable. Now Kazuo had protection from the cold and had a chance. The kitana was appreciated but not a good fit. Sure he could wield it, but it would only be slightly better than if it was done by a random civilian. He wasn't that great at swordplay. Still, Kenji wanted to ensure the safety of his fellow shinobi. This was what made Water shinobi strong. Individually they are tough but together they can achieve more than the sum of their part. Kenji had already proven that. Now it was Kazuo's time to do his part. And he had just the idea.

 

The bandit in front of him, who he assumed was the leader, had a good jacket. Sure it couldn't fit Kenji but with Kazuo's smaller frame it could fit him, making up for the jacket she burned originally. However, that meant that Kazuo couldn't use his fire ninjutsu. They needed a good jacket, not a second burnt one. Maybe that kitana would be useful after all.

 

The bandit leader sliced horizontally, intending on bisecting Kazuo. But now with the jacket on -but not yet zipped-, his joints were warm enough to freely move. With a barrel roll, Kazuo swooped under the broadsword and caught the kitana lying on the ground. He lifting the blade up to his face just in time to parry another swing of the bandit leader's sword.

 

The two began to sword fight. Blade clanged against each other constantly, neither getting the chance to hit an actual body. It seemed that the two were equal but Kazuo knew better. His opponent was better trained and had a heavier sword. She wasn't hitting him yet but she was forwarding as he was inching backwards. It would be a matter of time until she would over power him.

 

But she didn't seem to be patient enough for that. The bandit leader pulled back for another swing. She even held her sword with only her right hand, allowing her to twist even further back to add more power to the swing. Kazuo gripped the kitana tighter, bracing himself. She swung, sending vibrations through the kitana as well as Kazuo's body. But that's when the real attack happened. The bandit leader made a flicking motion with her free hand, covering Kazuo's upper body with a thick liquid. He even could feel it dripping off his face.

 

Kazuo leaped back as quickly as he could. If a few drops of this stuff set his whole sleeve on fire, then the amount on him would be devastating. At the very least, it would ruin this jacket too.

 

Kazuo reached into his back pouch and tossed two shuriken at the bandit leader. As soon as they were near, she deflected them easily with her sword. This was no good. He couldn't go up close without the risk of being set on fire. But his range was now useless. Even if he didn't need her jacket, the oil she flicked on him would only make any fire jutsu he used backfire.

 

 

Hopefully Kenji was having better luck on his end.

 

---

 

Word Count: 568

 

---

Equipment Used

 

Shuriken x2

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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The bandits turned to face the man who had just struck down their ally and upon hearing him ask who was next, the pair looked at each other then back at Kenji, one jumped to Kenji's left and threw 3 shurikens at Kenji while the other charged at Kenji with his sword raised high and letting out a battle cry. Thinking quickly, Kenji knew what he was going to do, he performed yet another set of hand signs and then with a single swipe of his kunai a strong gust of wind sent the shurikens flying back at the one who threw them, he then turned his attention to the one charging and about to take a swing at Kenji, but the cold appeared to be affecting him more than he expected as his joints refused to move quickly, instead he was forced to attempt to deflect the sword with his kunai.

 

Kenji's attempt at a deflect partially failed, the bandit's sword managed to slice open Kenji's fingers and they were bleeding pretty badly, but he couldn't tell how much the blade had cut, the adrenaline keeping him distracted from the pain for now. Kenji returned the favor and slashed at the bandit, the bandit must've not expected Kenji to return the blow as he barely tried to dodge, instead receiving a big gash diagonally across his chest. Satisfied with that wound he inflicted, Kenji turned his attention back to the one who threw the shurikens, only to be greeted with more flying at him, a mixture of delayed reflex and slower movements prevented him from dodging all. He took 3 total, one on his left shoulder, one on the left side of his abdomen and the last one managed to hit his left forearm, the pain of the 3 shurikens were enough to stun Kenji as the sword wielding bandit saw his chance and attempted to swing at Kenji yet again.

 

Freezing, weakened and stunned, Kenji managed to barely dodged, if you can call it a dodge, the bandit was swinging his blade horizontally so he just fell to the ground on to a single knee and impaled the bandit's foot into the ground with his kunai. He pulled out another kunai and turned toward the one who struck him with the shurikens, but was greeted with another set of shurikens flying at him, however this time he managed to properly dodge, he rolled out of the way and the other bandit was unable to move out of the way, instead being killed by his own ally. With the shuriken throwing bandit being the last one standing, Kenji looked at him with a smile "Still feeling lucky?" He asked the final bandit, out of breath and freezing, but still refusing to back down and maintaining his calm behavior.

 

 

Word Count:  467

Chakra Left: 75/100

  Hide contents

Jutsu used:

  • Wind Release: Vacuum Sword

Equipment used:

  • 1 Kunai out of the set of 5
Edited by Kenji Haruka

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Time was not on their side. As tough as Kenji was, even he couldn't be out in the cold for too long. In a twisted way, it was rather poetic that while Kenji's biggest threat was freezing to death, Kazuo's was burning to death. And if one of them fell then the other didn't stand a chance.

 

It was time for action. Kazuo had an idea but it was risky. But if he wanted a profession that didn't involve risks then he wouldn't be a shinobi.

 

Kazuo threw another shuriken at the bandit leader, which she deflected by raising her sword up to her face. It covered the top half of her face, leaving her smug grin clearly visible. "What was that? Running out of-" That's when she began to lower her sword and notice Kazuo wasn't there anymore. She saw the outline of a shadow descend on her, hinting her to look upwards. There she could see Kazuo falling towards her, preparing to strike her down with the kitana in hand.

 

"Oh, no you don't," she hissed between her teeth. Bringing up her broadsword even further up, she used her left hand on a flat side of the sword to keep her own sword from hitting her in the face when Kazuo slammed the kitana down upon it with a tremendous amount of force.

 

It didn't do her any harm, but it gave Kazuo the opportunity to flip over her and land near the cart. "I'll need both hands for this," Kazuo whispered as he gently set the kitana down by the broken off cart wheel. He then made two handsigns before gripping onto the rim of the wooden wheel and heaved it around like a disc.

 

As soon as Kazuo turned around he saw the bandit leader with a lit match in her right hand. She had a sinister looking smile, looking like she was going to take a lot of delight in watching Kazuo burn. In one swift motion she ducked, avoiding the cart wheel soaring where her head used to be, and tossed the match over at Kazuo. The moment the match touched him, he burst into a white puff of smoke. Where he once had been was now a kitana. The match harmless bounced off the hilt and the kitana tumbled onto the icy ground.

 

A blur appeared behind the leader, grabbing the wheel that was still in the air. The bandit leader tried in desperation to bring her sword around but she was too late. Kazuo had already slammed the wheel down upon her head, causing a loud crunching noise and killing her out instantaneously.

 

---

 

Word Count: 441

 

---

 

Equipment Used:

Shuriken x1

 

Chakra

Substitution -5

95 remaining

 

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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Kenji was exhausted and freezing at this point but his own target was a single bandit that appeared weaker than himself, at least if he was at his prime and not freezing with shurikens stuck onto him. The bandit seeing this weakness he laughed at the weakened man in front of him, "What are you going to do? Glare at me to death?" The last bandit asked Kenji, clearly seeing the advantage he held over the defeat shinobi. However Kenji had a plan, though if it didn't work properly, he was guaranteed to die, but if it did work, it would be over quite easily and Kenji could go check in on his partner, though he may not be much use in his current state, he needed to ensure the teen's safety and his own jackets safety, wouldn't want the jacket to be burned as well, Kenji probably wouldn't make it much longer if he went without one for any longer.

 

The bandit not receiving an answer grew frustrated and begun to charge at the kneeling shinobi taking out a single dagger with his left arm and raised it high as he ran, intending to stab Kenji through the head, Kenji realized it was now or never, he quickly raise both his hands and almost instantly some condensed chakra strings shot out at the charging bandit, despite having the element of surprise the bandit managed to dodge most of the strings by jumping to the right quickly, however Kenji managed to only connect two, one on the left arm and the other on the left leg. The bandit realized what Kenji had done and looked at Kenji with fear in his eyes, only to see Kenji with a smirk "Looks like you're not lucky." Kenji taunted the bandit, ready to end this battle and go see his partner he made the bandit raise his left arm and begin to drive the dagger into the bandit's body, all the while the bandit fought Kenji's control and trying to prevent the dagger from stabbing himself.

 

However, Kenji found himself getting light headed and dizzy, his focus becoming cloudy and unable to refocus causing his control on the bandit to fade slowly. The bandit seeing this laughed, "Not dressed for the weather huh?" The bandit asked with a sadistic grin on his face and the dagger that was once being used to stab himself slowly being pulled out and pointed back at Kenji. Kenji gritted his teeth, he was so close to killing him, but he was so tired and cold, but he felt himself becoming warm once again, though he couldn't tell how he was becoming warm, nothing in the environment changed. Too weakened to do anything about the bandit raise his dagger once more and now in front of Kenji, he could only watch the bandit prepare to kill him, Kenji himself had no qualms about this, he would die on the field saving his partner, a warrior's death that even his father would be proud to hear of, though it was sad to be struck down by a mere nameless bandit instead of an rival shinobi, crime lord or anything but a simple bandit.

 

 

Word Count:  532

Chakra Left: 55/100

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Jutsu used:

  • Chakra String Technique [10 strings]

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There was a blur that appeared right behind the bandit. The bandit screeched in pain as he fell backwards onto his back. His legs slumped on the ground, appearing to be unable to move anymore. Blood poured out of his hamstrings.

 

Besides the bandit stood Kazuo, tall and proud. In one hand, Kenji's bloodied kitana. In the other, Kenji's jacket, still covered in oil unfortunately. Kazuo looked over at his teammate and frowned. It seemed that Kenji had been through a lot. These bandits did a number on him and it was likely Kazuo's fault. Kenji might have taken them all out easily if the cold hadn't hindered him so. 

 

Kazuo tossed the jacket right back to its rightful owner. He didn't need it anymore. One of the perks of being a little shorter was that some clothes fit easier. So while the bandit leader was smaller than him, he was still able to wear her jacket. Though, it was a bit snug.

 

Kazuo turned his attention back to the lone bandit, who had flipped over on his stomach and began to crawl away. It was pathetic. After all the harm he did to all the travelers, all the harm he did to Kenji, all the taunts he said because of Kenji's disadvantage. This was a man who deserved death. He was someone who flexed his power on those weaker than him. The Water Village didn't need bandits, bullies, or cowards. And unfortunately for him, he was all three.

 

Walking over to the bandit so he was standing on top of him, Kazuo flipped the kitana around in his hand. He raised it up in the air with both hands, blade facing downwards, and plunged it into the bandit's back, piercing his heart. The bandit let out a soft whimper, probably unable to do anything else, and plopped into the icy ground.

 

A quick look around hinted that there were no more bandits. They had gotten them all. Kazuo yanked the sword out of the bandit's back. He turned around and bowed his head to Kenji, presented the hilt over to him. "I wouldn't have been able to do this without your help. Thank you."

 

---

Word Count: 365

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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To Kenji's surprise his partner appeared before him and quickly disarmed and incapacitated the bandit, he was relieved to see Kazuo fine and repaying the favor Kenji had done earlier, a mixture of relief, pride and the light headiness caused the weakened shinobi to smile despite the injuries and hypothermia he was suffering. The teen then threw his jacket back to Kenji, who caught it and put it on without a second thought about the oil, he was too cold and weak to complain about it or to question where the teen had gotten another jacket from. Kenji watched the teen finish off the final bandit as he attempted to crawl away from the pair, the teen's choice of killing him was simplistic and ended the bandit's life swiftly, he stabbed the katana into the bandit's back and managed to hit his heart, the only thing the bandit could do was whimper. He was relieved even more with the bandit dead, that should be the last of them, otherwise the rest surely would've at least backed up the leader as the teen fought her or even finish off Kenji quicker instead of watching their allies fall in battle.

 

The teen seemed to be cautious and looked around anyways, ensuring there were no more bandits to be seen anywhere, once he finished looking, he turned to Kenji and thanked him, "No problem man, it's what partners do, right?" Kenji asked the teen with a smile, attempting his best to hide the pain the shurikens and cut were causing him as he took the katana back from the teenager. "Let's get back to the cart and finish the mission." Kenji told Kazuo as he attempted to get back up, but the pain and dizziness prevented him from getting back up, instead he only managed to pick himself up to the point of being capable of resting with a single knee on the ground and  hunched over with his arms planted on the ground to give himself more support, he looked up at the blue eyed teen, "Heh, looks like I'm having trouble... Maybe we should rest... I'm... so... tir...ed.." Kenji attempted to say, passing out before he could hear the teen answer, his body fell down completely to the ground, his face meeting the cold snow covered ground, the cold, blood lost and exhaustion had taken it's toll and Kenji had pass out from the combined efforts.

 

Word Count: 406

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"Kenji!? KENJI!?" Kazuo rushed over to the body and turned him over so he wasn't face down in the snow anymore. His skin was cold and clammy. A fire would be amazing in a situation like this but it wasn't possible. Kazuo still had the oil stuck on his face so he couldn't create any fires. And even if that wasn't the case, Kenji's jacket had been splashed with the oil so putting him anywhere near a fire would be disastrous. 

 

Kazuo glanced over at the fallen bandits and considered taking one of their jackets to use on Kenji but they were all damaged and covered in blood. There was nothing here that they could use. They would have to hurry somewhere else. Kazuo tried to pick Kenji up but the man was too heavy. Why did he have to be so tall? Kazuo looked over to the supply cart, "What are you just standing there for!? Help me load him onto the cart!" The driver jerked up in fear and rushed off to help. Within minutes they had Kenji wrapped up in blankets and nestled in the back of the cart. Kazuo was careful to avoid touching the shuriken sticking out of him. Pulling them out now would aggravate his wounds and make him bleed out faster.

 

"Where is the nearest place to get help?" The driver pointed down the road and meekly replied, "I-it's a town twenty minutes away. But they do-don't have any doctors." Kazuo shook his head. "Just get us there as fast as you can. We don't have time to find a doctor. We'll make due with what we have."

 

And with that they headed off to the town. They reached it in 15 minutes, thanks to Kazuo's constant pestering for the cart driver to keep pushing the ox to go faster and faster. As soon as the first house was visible in the distance, Kazuo dashed off ahead to bang on their door and demand their assistance. The family wasn't happy but they agreed to help nevertheless.

 

They hauled Kenji off the cart, removed his jacket, and set him down by the fire. Kazuo then scrubbed his face clean and went over to see what he could do. Fortunately the family had a few medical supplies. Some bandage wraps and disinfectants. This was enough for Kazuo to pulled out all the shurikens and patch up all of Kenji's wounds. It was shabby work, but it would do its job. All that was left was for Kenji to wake up.

---

Word Count: 425

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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As Kenji was unconscious, he had begun to dream, his dream placed Kenji back at home with his parents who were now old and needed Kenji to keep care of them, which he was happy to do and be back home living his peaceful life once more, but suddenly he remembered what had happened... Hours ago? Days ago? Wasn't he stuck by shurikens? When did he recover? More importantly, when did he return home? Wait who was keeping care of his parents? All these questions resurfaced his doubts regarding his choice on leaving home and becoming a shinobi, he missed the simple life he once had, nothing went wrong and it was peaceful. He remembered all his friends he had left when he moved to the village and wondered how they were doing, according to his parents most of them moved for various reasons, mostly lack of food or a reliable source of heat. Few of them unfortunately bit the dust by freezing to death, hunger or wild animals, he regretted not being able to attend the funerals due to being so far away and risking failure at the academy. He was constantly worried about his parents safety and health, all his old friends were probably keeping care of their family while he was out getting himself killed by nameless bandits for some teen he only knew for a day.

 

His once cheery dream quickly became a nightmare as the doubts and regrets infected the dream, his worst fear becoming true as he watched his parents fade to dust and his old family home that was once lit by the flames of the fireplace faded into a dark and damp house, spider webs covering most of the corners of the abandoned home. He backed away in fear, confusion and shock on what had happened before his very eyes, his confusion about the injuries he sustained an unknown amount of time ago disappeared along the dream, he was too overwhelmed to handle it right now, in a futile effort, he ran back out to the outside, seeing nothing but a huge snowstorm. He can't be out here, it was too cold... He was so cold... He turned to his home, only to see an oddly familiar house, but not his own, he felt... Scared and had a urge to run from this house. With no other choice than freezing, Kenji entered the house, he knew he had seen this place before, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it... Until a familiar bandit appeared before him, "Hey kiddo, long time no seek, huh?" The bandit asked with a sadistic grin and Kenji finally realized where he was once again.

 

Kenji was frozen in fear, how did he return? He got a kunai shot point blank into the face by his father's puppet! That was so long ago... When he was weak, he was far above him now, he was a shinobi for the water village! He'll take care of the bandit this time. He reached for a kunai, but found nothing, in fact not even his flak jacket was there anymore, it was replaced by his old clothing during his time here... He shouldn't even be able to fit them anymore... And did that guy get bigger? "Heh, don't be surprised kiddo, even if you were scared out of your mind... You can't defeat me." The bandit taunted the now young Kenji as he came closer to the kid. Scared Kenji turned to race out the door like before, only to find the door completely gone, almost as if it wasn't there in the first place, corned he turned back to face the bandit, who quickly slammed Kenji into the wall and pulled out a scalpel, raising it to Kenji's eye once more. Kenji attempted to fight back but suddenly the wall swallowed his arms and legs, seeming to secure Kenji tightly and preventing him from moving, the bandit with a quick movement jabbed the knife into his eye.

 

Kenji woke up with a scream as he grabbed at his eye still covered by his eye patch, realizing it was just a nightmare he looked around, panting and out of breath from the whole experience, he noticed the shurikens were gone and he was in a home, Kazuo must've bought him here when he passed out. Kenji sighed as he rubbed his eyes, he was alive and well, that's all the mattered, it was only a nightmare and meant nothing, his parents were fine, his best friend assured him that they would be safe and there was no physical way for the bandit to return in nearly any shape or form, someone would need to know genjutsu to bring him back.

 

Word Count: 788

Edited by Kenji Haruka

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Kazuo jerked forward, awoken from his sleep. His head was pounding and Kenji's screams were making it worse. Kazuo could feel that his whole body was stiff. Falling asleep on the couch was not a great idea, especially since he was too tired to even lay down on it properly. The moment he sat down he felt the adrenaline drain form him completely. His eyelids got heavy and he promised himself he would only close his eyes for a moment. He leaned his head back and passed out. The battle really took a lot out of him.

 

But as bad as Kazuo had it, Kenji suffered even worse. He was clutching his hand over his eye patch, no longer screaming. He calmed down even more, regaining his composure.

 

"You were dreaming of how you lost your eye, huh?" Kazuo leaned forward, resting his forearms on his legs. His eyelids still felt heavy. He really wanted to go back to sleep. "I've heard of shinobi who get flashbacks back to when they got grave injuries. I've never seen it before. It must be horrible. Are you feeling better? Now that you're awake, I mean."

---

Word Count: 194

 

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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Kenji looked over at Kazuo who had seemed to have just woke up from Kenji's scream, he seemed to think Kenji lost his eye, which he didn't blame him, if Kenji had to guess why someone wore an eye patch, he would guess lost of eye as well. He still looked tired and to be fair Kenji felt tried as well, nonetheless Kazuo asked if he was feeling any better. "Yeah, feeling much better, sorry for waking you man, just... A nightmare." Kenji told the sleepy teen, he briefly considered if he should reveal the cataract and scar the eye patch covered, but eventually deciding against it, he rather not put all cards on the table just yet. "So where exactly are we?" Kenji asked Kazuo, confused on how he was warm and bandaged him up when last time he was awake he was freezing and hurt out in the snow.

 

He was confused where the cart went never mind, did they safety escort it? Was he asleep that long? No he couldn't have been sleeping that long, he would've froze or bleed out, it was at least an hour ride from the point the cart got attacked by Kenji's estimates "Where's the cart never mind?" Kenji asked the teen, deciding it was best to ask instead of wandering where it was.

 

Word Count: 221

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"We rushed you to the nearest town. I didn't ask for the name, but apparently it is near our destination. So the cart is stopping here for the night. We'll head out and complete our mission after we get a little rest." Although their mission was basically completed. No more bandits meant that the supply carts wouldn't be targeted anymore. But it was probably best to ensure it made its way completely. It would be a huge shame if they left only to find out that the cart was attacked by someone else along the way. It would only take another hour to get there so they should be back to the capital by the end of tomorrow.

 

Kazuo leaned in closer and began to whisper. "It would probably be best if you go back to sleep. The family here doesn't seem too keen on having us around longer than necessary. We will head up early tomorrow to not cause a ruckus." And now that he had some of his senses Kazuo could sleep on the couch properly and get some proper sleep. He doubted that he would feel 100% by tomorrow but he only needed to feel good enough to finish escorting the cart. Kenji could stay in the cart if his wounds were still causing problems, but something told Kazuo that Kenji would force himself to walk for the rest of the mission. He couldn't stop Kenji from doing that, but he could convince Kenji to get some rest now while he could.

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Kenji simply nodded as the teen told him they had stopped for the night in a town not too far off from the destination and that they'll leave early tomorrow since the family didn't enjoy their sudden company "Uh, sure, I could still use some sleep anyways... Have a good night Kazuo." Kenji told the teen as he laid back onto the floor, wrapping himself with the blanket and resting his head on the pillow the family must've provided him with while he was unconscious. This time as he slipped back into his dreams, they were rather peaceful, he didn't really have anything of note happen during his dream, just living his simple life in the tundra with his family, though even in his dreams he wished his family picked a warm place to live, like a nice forest near a lake, animals and fire fuel would be plentiful.

 

By the time Kenji woke up, the sun had begun to rise and Kazuo appeared to be sleeping still, Kenji lightly shook him "Hey, come on, we should get a move on." Kenji told him in a whispered tone, trying not to wake up the family inside the house. Kenji yawned and stretched, but quickly recoiled and hunched over with a groan, stretching wasn't not the best idea since he still had the wounds from yesterday's battle, "Damn, forgot about that..." Kenji said, sneezing shortly afterwards, "Oh boy...." Kenji said with a smile, his nose a slight red and he had a slight stuffy feeling, he must've gotten sick from the cold yesterday, but at least he's alive.

 

Word Count: 266

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And so they were back on the road. Kazuo insisted on guarding the rear of the supply cart. His body still felt stiff and he wanted to take things slow today. As long as he stayed in the back then no one would care if he happened to fall back a little. And it was significantly warmer than it was the day before. Granted, it was still frigid cold, but it was much more tolerable than before. There was less wind and the sun was shining brightly.

 

The travel passed by peacefully. The cart finally reached the frontier. Sure it was a little later than it was expected to arrive but it was in one piece, which was a nice change of pace since the last couple of weeks. Now supply carts could travel to and from without worry and the people of the tundra would receive their regular supplies once again. It was a good reminder to Kazuo that C and D ranked missions can be just as important as those ranked S. The ranking was based on the dangers, not the amount of people it helped.

 

With the matter all taken care of, the two shinobi could finally head home, where it was actually warm. It had been a troublesome mission, but they came out of it stronger. And they found that they had pretty good teamwork. "This might not be the best time to bring this up, considering how much pain we are in, but I'm glad we faced those bandits. We brought justice back to this land. And I mean real justice. There was no mercy for the criminals. They hurt the Water Village and its people, they deserved to pay for it with their lives. Don't you agree?" Kazuo looked over at Kenji to see his reaction.

---

Word Count: 302

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Kenji walked in the front of the cart, the pain and cold he had basically forcing him to limp in the front, but it was his mission to secure the cart and he could rest when it was over, right now there could be some bandits still around and it was best to be prepared. The silver lining of the walk was the relative warmth on the tundra environment, still cold but compared to what Kenji went through yesterday it was practically the perfect weather, almost like he was on a paradise, well the warmth and the fact he was about to finish this mission and be back at his warm house with some tea and wrapped up in a blanket. 

 

By the time the cart had arrived, Kenji sighed in relief, nothing out of the ordinary happened during the trip and all the people were more than happy to see the arrival of it's supplies without any damage done to it unlike the previous deliveries. Kenji took quite a beating during this mission, but the bandits were dealt with and the supplies could be safety delivered on time from now on, he could sympathize with the people, bandits used to raid the supply carts during his early childhood and he spent quite a few nights with his parents in a cold dark room all covered with every blanket they owned to fight off the cold.

 

With the mission completed, the pair begun to make their way back, it should only take a day at most, they might even make it back today, now that they didn't have to wait for the cart and the people on it, probably would've been faster if Kenji wasn't still recovering and dealing with a sickness. Suddenly, the young shinobi expressed his feelings and asked if Kenji felt the same, "Easy for you to say, you didn't get stabbed with three shurikens and froze nearly to death, seriously though, it's good we dealt with them before they moved onto more... extreme things." Kenji initially joked with the teen, a smile on his face as he did so, only for the smile to fade as he finished his sentence, he knew the teen was testing him, the reason was beyond him and only known to the teen but he knew the teen wanted to hear Kenji agreed with him, so Kenji told him what he wanted to hear. He didn't really care about justice and whatnot, the kid could be useful later on if Kenji played his cards right, it was part of the reason Kenji risked his life, that and his hatred of bandits, he couldn't kill them all and not fail the mission by himself, he gained a smirk as he thought of his plans.

 

Word Count: 461

Edited by Kenji Haruka

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"Extreme thing?" Kazuo frowned. "They were hurting people, innocent people. It doesn't really matter how they were doing it, it was our duty to stop them regardless."

 

"Although..." he paused, not exactly sure if he should reveal the next part. But after Kanji risked life and limb for Kazuo on this mission, it felt safe to trust him. "Something like this should have been dealt with swiftly and effectively after the first attack. It should have never taken more attacks, more innocent lives taken, to get the Water Village to act. And as much as I love the Village, it can be too soft on crimes. We could be the nation that protects everyone if we were stricter and dealt with criminal like we were supposed to!"

 

At this point, Kazuo realized that he was practically shouting at this point. He had gotten too passionate and forgot to reel himself in. He brought his voice down to a hush. "I'm sorry. I was ranting on."

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Kenji was surprised the teen appeared to take offense at Kenji's comment about the bandits only attacking the cart, the teen then reveled his true driving force to Kenji in a rather lengthy rant that raised in volume as the rant continued, only afterward did the teen realize he was ranting and apologized for doing so, seeming to notice he was shouting by the end of rant by speaking in a hushed town during his apology. "Hey man, it's fine, it's good to see you so passionate about dealing with criminals." Kenji assured the teen, despite having many problems with the teens way of thinking, he could use that to his advantage later on but for now it would do him no good to directly challenge him over his motive for being a shinobi and moral code, no point in destroying a partnership over a simple difference in opinion.

 

Kenji let out a cough and looked forward, he was unsure how much further of a walk it would be back, "How much longer till we're back?" Kenji asked, he just wanted to go home, have some tea, then sleep in his warm bed once again. The mission was a success but he didn't know how much further he could go on, sure he gained valuable information on Kazuo and some idea of skill as a shinobi, but the trade off at this moment of time didn't seem worth it, the pain, sickness and cold was making his life hell and Kenji was unsure how much more he could take.

 

 

Word Count: 259

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By now they were out of the tundra. There was no more ice on the ground and the winter jackets began feeling too warm. Kazuo unzipped his new jacket. It felt so much better considering how tight it felt. Plus, the small breeze actually felt good. They were close.

 

"At our current pace I believe that it would be another hour. When we get back then we can split up. I'll file the report and handle all that business." In total, this mission had taken less than 2 days, but it felt so much longer. Kazuo looked forward to going back to bed. With how heavy his body was feeling, he was certain that he would be sleeping for a full day.

 

"We did a great service. Good work, Kenji. I can sincerely say that I hope we work together again soon."

---

Total Word Count: 8,692

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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