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Defeating the mercenaries takes some time, but the three surviving genin succeed. Both Houshi and Yousuke take some damage in the battle, but are otherwise okay. Their client is saved, and the giant spider creature retreated further into the caves after taking substantial damage. Most of the mercenaries surrendered when the spider thing withdrew. They claimed to have been hired by a woman--blond, svelte, large chest--when your team questions them. They don't provide a name, but whomever she is wanted them to kidnap Mitsuyo and hold him hostage. They were told not to harm him, but also not to let him run around without any problems. They claim to have not expected a ninja, but you suspect they were lying, which implies that their employer had prepared anti-ninja defenses.
Your teacher hadn't shown up throughout the entire fight, nor did she miraculously appear after the battle as you would expect. In fact, the dead girl at the cave entrance combined with the absence of your teacher makes for a sticky situation for your team. Then Mitsuyo opens his fat mouth.
"I expected proper ninja, not children, but I thank you for the work all the same." His neck jiggles as he frowns down his nose at the three of you. Eisen looks disgusted, and opens his mouth to say something but Mitsuyo cuts him off. "Do not bother me with excuses. You're late. Unprofessional, but acceptable in light of the circumstances. Now, be good boys and take me home. Quickly." He doesn't glare, but the way his fat little mouth is twisted into a disgustingly condescending frown tells you just how little he cares for your safety. Eisen glares daggers at the fat man, but says nothing. "Well? What are you waiting for?" The man jiggles like jello as he waits for your group to lead the way.
Both Houshi and Yousuke take [roll0] lethal damage from the fight. Both of them gain 150 XP for overcoming the "encounter".
Yousuke grit his teeth and bit down the disparaging remarks that threatened to bubble past his lips in response to the man's flippant attitude. Like it or not, the corpulent bastard was a paying client of Soragakure and Yousuke was obligated to pay his respects, however begrudging. He plastered a smile onto his face but was summarily unable to stop the glare from reaching his eyes. He forced his gaze downward and chewed on his lips, lest he anger the merchant any further. He would not be able to build up his reputation in Soragakure if his first mission ended with a demerit for unprofessional conduct.
"Of course Mitsuyo-san, we will double up our efforts to protect you for the remainder of of the journey," he ground out in what he supposed was a respectful tone.
Again, avoiding Mitsuyo's eyes, Yousuke took point and continued toward home, ignoring the injuries in favor of completing the mission as soon as feasibly possible. "I would be in a better condition if that girl hadn't done something to me..." he thought bitterly. However, try as he might, he could not think ill of the girl who had lost her life on their nigh-disastrous mission. They had not gotten along but Yousuke had been taught better than to spit on the memory of the recently deceased.
Eisen takes up his position beside Yousuke. The boy keeps his distance, but doesn't do anything to hide his anger toward Mitsuyo. He also keeps watch. After a few moments of walking Eisen seems a bit spooked, but does his best to hide that from Mitsuyo. He leans a bit close to Yousuke, not far enough for the other boy to breathe on him, but close enough that his whispers won't be audible. "Did you see that?" Eisen looks straight at Yousuke. His eyes are a bit wild-looking, and he seems to be legitimately worried.
"She was over there." Eisen stops at the cave entrance. "Tell me that was just the shadows."
Yousuke nods ever so slightly, hesitant to give away his knowledge of the situation to whoever was watching them. He holds back the temptation to grip at the hilt of his katana, and whispers back, "I saw something purple and I definitely heard a giggle. After you inform Houshi of the situation, take a position nearby Mitsuyo and try to watch his back."
Remembering protocol for this kind of situation, Yousuke added, "If something goes down, shove him down to the ground to keep him out of harm's way. Use force if need be." He didn't want to seem over eager to harm the fat merchant but sometimes you had to hurt people to save them.
That somebody was eluding their watch was somewhat worrying but completely understandable, given that they were merely genin fresh out of the academy. This was not a typical mission, and some part of Yousuke was telling him that the entire ordeal was a test of some sort. It was of course suspicious that their jounin instructor had not retrieved them yet, and doubly so that a team of untested genin were being sent into the field to protect what seemed to be a paying customer of Soragakure.
Perhaps Sune was not as deceased as she wished for them to believe. Shinobi and swordsmen alike did not live long by ignoring their better instincts, a lesson that was especially prudent for someone like Yousuke.
He would play along for now, and act accordingly. If his suspicious turned out to be true, he could pat himself on the back for keeping a cool head. If the dangers on the trip were life-threatening then he could at least say that he had done all that he could given the circumstances.
Houshi was his usually stoic and withdrawn self. Though, he was half smiling with the self satisfaction of surviving their first real fight with minimal injury. It would figured that they a rescued bloated, pompous ass in exchange, You win, you lose some... or a lot in this case. He planned to revisit the rules on rude clients at the very least.
He did note the silent conversation between his teammates. From his vantage point, it was hard not to. He shrugged, knowing if it was important they would inform his momentarily.
Eisen just nods at Yousuke. He seems pretty shaken up, but goes off to tell Houshi exactly what Yousuke had told him.
The young boy slowed down until Houshi and the hostage client reached him. He quietly pointed out to Houshi that both Yousuke and himself had seen someone out of the corners of their eye, and heard some one giggling. He relies what Yousuke said, and seems to grow calmer as he talks.
Your group steps through the cave entrance and into the summer sun streaming through the forest's leaves. A girl stands there in the clearing. Her burnt flesh pokes through the tattered remains of her Soragakure uniform. She bears a half-destroyed metal headband with the symbol of Soragakure gracing its ruined plating. The long purple hair you remember is gone, leaving behind a scar-covered bald head. You can't quite see her feet, but if it's the girl you think it is then Yousuke still has her shoes. She turns empty eye sockets toward Yousuke, and then opens her mouth to say something.
But you blink, and she's gone. A hot summer wind cuts through the forest as if to dispel the illusion that she was ever there. Your client tromps through the forest with all the grace of a hungry gorilla, but he doesn't seem to be heading toward Soragakure. Instead, he's trundling through the forest toward the northeast. "Come on." He says without acknowledging or even noticing the presence of the girl.
"I have to get home, and I have to do it soon. I'm losing money by the minute with you kids, and the idiot in charge of my business is likely burning even more." If you head toward wherever Mitsuyo is headed, then you'll be going even further away from Soragakure. On the other hand, you might find your AWOL instructor out there.
Yousuke pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation and fought off the beginnings of a headache and sighed miserably. Just his luck, five minutes into the return trip and the petulant merchant had already managed to make a mess of their first mission. Of course, thinking back to Sune's original mission briefing, they had already completed their mission. They had orders to dispatch mercenaries and to rescue a man by the name Esune Mitsuyo, of this they had done so without fail. Was escorting the client back home part of mission protocol? It was in his best interests to ask the others.
Turning to Houshi and Eisen he quietly asked, "What do you think? Technically we've completed our mission objective and may be free to return home. On the other hand, if we leave him alone he may just die of a heart attack. Or a bandit ambush. Or meet several other horrific ends that I am in no way imagining as of this second."
On one hand, they had an obligation to protect the man after all the work they had put into rescuing him but on the other they did need to return home to submit a mission report of some kind.
Ninja Lore check to remember appropriate mission protocol. I'm not sure if Ninja Lore can be used in this way though... But anyway, here it is just in case. Ninja Lore -(1d20+8)
Last edited by Bad Situation : 08-02-2012 at 01:36 AM.
The young boy gives Yousuke the most deadpan look he can muster. "Seriously? Screw that guy. He can rot as far as I'm concerned." He shivered at the thought of saving that ungrateful creampuff. "Mission or not: Those mercenaries were looking to kill us, and this entitled bastard thinks less of us for not being older? We're adults in the village! We deserve to be treated better than this!"
Houshi nods, "I don't believe we should waste our time or the village's resources escorting him home." His gaze narrows as he peers over his shoulder at Mitsuyo. He returns to his teammates with a shake of his head, "It wasn't part of the mission. If he wants one, he'll have to return to the village and request one. Besides, we need to tell our sensei about you-know-who."
Yousuke nodded, thankful that his fellow genin were in agreement. The merchant would simply find his own way home and any additional time spent in the man's presence would only serve to foul Yousuke's mood further. "We will be returning then; I wish you a safe return," Yousuke said to no one in particular, not really caring if the man had heard him or not.
With the mission now complete he turned back toward Soragakure and glanced behind to see if the team would follow.
The fatman rolls and jiggles as he turns to face the trio. "What?" His voice is incredulous, and he's obviously upset. "You'd leave me here?" His fat jowls bunch up as he gives the group the most confused look he can. "What if those mercenaries came back? Or whoever hired them decided I was too much of a hassle to capture and easier to kill?"
The fatman straightens up a bit, his voice becomes deeper, less hysterical, and more authoritative as he seems to change from a scared merchant to an amused man. "If you leave, and something happens then would your conscience let you live with the fact that you allowed a man to die?"
Yousuke pointedly ignores the man, looking instead at the mysterious ANBU standing a ways behind them. She was quite literally everything that Yousuke feared in a woman and to say that Yousuke's heart was beating in nervous palpitations would be an understatement. If she was as dangerous as she seemed, he highly doubted that his battle-weary team would be able to fight her off. Realizing that his anxiousness was showing on his face, Yousuke forced himself into calm. Thinking about it rationally, the woman before them was in all likelihood, their jounin instructor.
Though he had never met Cybele, the rumors and descriptions certainly matched the woman currently leaning against the tree. Her ANBU mask alone gave away her designation and the telltale red and white of her fan symbol spoke of her rumored Uchiha sympathies. And though this was likely Yousuke's biases talking, she did look rather scary and violent.
Still, the woman before them could very well be a disguised enemy ninja wearing Cybele's appearance. Having never met the woman Yousuke could not honestly tell. Intent on finding out for sure, Yousuke asked,"Are you Team 4's Jounin instructor?"
Behind the fatman, hidden in the copse of trees, stands a tall woman. She bears a black skin-tight outfit that blends into the shadows between trees. A black-and-gray plate-lined battle vest protects her buxom chest from blades and fists. Her thin hands and arms are covered by bone-white wrist guards, and matching shin guards jut up from her boots. Her legs would make most supermodels envious. Hers is a body made for love, almost a living work of art, but the muscle tone under her uniform belies her true nature as a fighter. A pair of long chains dangle from her waist, and each one bears a single silver bell on it. You don't remember hearing a bell making any noise, so it's not a hard leap to assume the woman is a ninja.
Long purple hair cascades down her shoulders with the tips just narrowly brushing her thighs. She's looking at the cave entrance, but you can't see her eyes or face as they're obscured under a bone-white snake-like ANBU mask. A symbol, a fan half-red on top and half-white on the bottom with a break separating the two halves, dominates the forehead of the mask. She doesn't bear any clan headband or symbol, but you get the feeling that she's dangerous and probably unfriendly. You can't quite put your finger on why, but your nascent combat instincts tell you that she's on the edge of violence.
The woman leans against the trunk of an aging red maple. A somber aura permeates her appearance, but she doesn't seem to be paying any attention to your group. That is, until Yousuke speaks. She turns to face the group, and her aura of violence disappears. A gullible ninja would say she dropped her guard, but a smart ninja would hedge his bets that she simply hid her killing intent carefully. She unfolds both arms and begins moving toward the group at a slow stroll. The ninja is clearly in no hurry to reach you, and certainly doesn't respond to Yousuke's question.
The fatman wheels around, his entire body jiggling like so much jello packed together in a human form, to see who Yousuke was talking to. He becomes deathly pale at the woman's appearance, falls on his ass, then begins to crawl toward the group in a desperate scramble to flee. His confidence earlier is completely shattered in the presence of this new threat. "H-help me! I-it's her, their leader! She'll kill me, please help! I'll do anything, give you anything, please!" The fatman begs and pleads for his life in the tone of a truly desperate man. As the kunoichi gets closer and closer, the man's pleas become more desperate and less cohesive. After awhile, he simply covers his hands with his face and mutters about how he doesn't want to die.
The implacable glacier that is the strange kunoichi continues forward toward your team. She still hasn't spoken, but you can guess from your ex-client's reaction that she intends to kill the fatman unless you intervene.
Description reposted for anyone who happens to be reading it.
As satisfying as it was to see Mitsuyo cowering before the masked ninja Yousuke knew that he had to do something. Drawing his blade, Yousuke inserted himself between the woman and Mitsuyo, settling his feet in a guarded stance. It would seem that the woman was not their jounin instructor as he had initially believed, though he still found it strange that an enemy ninja could be found so close to Soragakure's borders.
She was dangerous regardless of her village affiliation. That still however, begged the question, "What business did she have with Mitsuyo?" As far as Yousuke could tell the man was a merchant with an inflated sense of self-worth and equally nasty disposition.
"If she is in fact the ninja hired to kill you then I doubt I would be able to beat her," he says, not looking at the man behind him, "I would not bother with running away either; something tells me I would not be able to stop her if she were to run past me."
He took in deep breaths as she approached, willing the fear in his heart away. A Konpaku swordsman struck a balance in both body and soul and if he could not face the masked kunoichi he could never hope to face his own mother. In the calmest voice that he could muster, Yousuke asked, "What business do you have with the merchant? I do not wish to fight but I ask that you give reason for your approach," quite aware that his voice was cracking.
"You don't want to fight me, but you draw your sword and make demands?" The woman smirks underneath her mask, but the snake's glare doesn't change. Her voice is light, and playful. As if she spoke to three young children playing ball rather than a trio of dangerous ninja.
"That's good. Keep that defiance. It's pretty attractive if you can back it up." You can almost feel the smirk boring its way through her mask. She stopped a mere twenty feet away from your group. Both her hands are in plain sight, and she hasn't adopted a fighting stance. Regardless, you get the feeling of her body being tense and ready for a fight. She points toward the cowering man as she begins to speak.
"So what do you intend to do if I tell you that my goal is to kill that man?" She shrugs, then turns both palms up toward the sky and continues to speak.
"Because there's nothing you could you possibly do to stop me, so why don't you put your sword down like a good boy?" Her hands go to her hips as she admonishes the child who dared bare his blade at her.
"Little boys shouldn't try to pick fights that they can't win. This is the world of adults you know. If you screw up now, then you'll die." Her voice takes on a more playful tone as she talks down to you. This woman clearly saw you as children, even if the village saw you as adults.
Houshi's eyes dart to and from the masked women to Mitsuyo, then he scratches the back his head. He lowers his head, rubbing his chin. His eyes widen in sudden realization before slapping his forehead over and over again with each word, "Stupid, stupid, stupid..."
He takes a deep breath and turns to the woman, "Now that we have graduated, we don't have luxury of being children anymore. Our lives are no longer ours to throw away... sensei." He motions for his teammate to at least relax his stance. As a fellow swordsman, he could understand his intentions but he felt it wasn't the time. There was something they were supposed to be learning that may save their life someday.
At least he hoped so and they weren't actually about die in a few minutes, "We saved the man, that was our mission. If you tell us that you are here to kill this man and we know we are starring death in the eye, I know we shouldn't blink."
"Bwahahaha!" The woman laughs. A deep and unrestrained laugh that is as much an insult as it is anything else. She clearly felt nothing for Houshi's self-assured declaration of her as their teacher. Her laughter continues on for some time, but she slowly calms down.
"Sensei", the woman giggles again, "you silly boy. I'm not a teacher." Her slender well-cared for fingers play across her mask. Her fleeting touch dances across the snake's surface swiftly as she speaks. "This mask means I'm part of a village's ANBU squad. Black-ops don't have names, histories, nor do they take on students." The glare of the snake's unmoving eyes settles on Houshi. The woman looks at him like a child underneath her mask, even if he was much larger than herself.
"If I take this mask off, then I can never return to the ANBU." Her voice gets listless, almost as if leaving the ANBU was something she dreaded or regretted. "Once I assume my identity within this village, then I'll never go back to who I am." With that said, her aura of violence returns.
"Or I could kill you all, destroy your bodies, tell my superiors you never showed up, and continue on with my life. So tell me boys. Why should I take off this mask? Are you worthy of me throwing away my livelihood to train you?"
Houshi's pupils dilated as he smiled even though that hair on the back of his neck stood on end. This was it, this was the moment his shisou talked about. That time between paradise and euphoria where he was going to prove his life was worth a damn and then some.
He was already on edge as the final push gave away. His full strength and speed bubbled to the surface. Then, he released the first lock as he drew his blade, knuckles whitening on the hilt, "Then come and let me show you!!!"
Yousuke blanched at his teammates admission and his not-sensei’s casual dismissal. He had a feeling that assumptions and half-guesses would get them nowhere with this woman. She asked them a question though and to that end he would answer it to the best of his abilities.
It was not an easy question but thankfully he knew exactly what to say, "I cannot give you a reason. I cannot tell you how you should spend your life, nor can I demand you drop everything in order to take in three students. It is your duty to do such but it is not your obligation. Just as I am not obligated to defend the man behind me.”
These were big words from a lowly genin, dangerous even, but they were all that Yousuke could think to say. He had been saving these words for a very particular woman all his life and if he would not live to meet her then he would get them off his chest now. Looking at the woman and her reasoning for not taking in students and it became very easy to imagine her as his mother. It helped that she was currently scaring him half to death.
He took a step to the side, no longer barring the woman’s path to the merchant, but continued speaking, “But it is my duty to defend the man. I do not need to prove my worth to you; for the master I have chosen to serve is Soragakure and if I have been called on to defend such a man then I will not stand down as such.”
“If you demand it, I will fight and I will die by your hand. It is as you say, we cannot best you nor can we outrun you,” he admitted lamely, “But know this, I will not give my life to you so easily.”
As he spoke his calm gave to passion and the longer he looked at the woman the more and more he could see his mother staring right back at him. Frustrated by this he added, “There are many things I must accomplish before I die and I will not let my dreams end here, even if I have to tear the mask off of your face myself!”
“The entirety of my dreams and ambitions could not hope to be contained by that mask of yours.”
The sky-nin's mask doesn't move. The harsh snake stares you down with all the fury and power it can muster. The jounin doesn't draw a weapon, nor does she move to defend herself or take a martial arts stance. She simply waits, watches, and wonders what you can do. You can tell from her relaxed stance and body language that she doesn't consider you any kind of threat. You weren't adults in her eyes. You were just childing have a little tantrum, and it was her job to set you right.
"Alright. Alright", she says with a lighthearted tone, "I'll play with you kids. How about tag?" She taps the front of her mask lightly.
"One touch, and I'll consider you worth my time." Her tone stays as light as a feather as she speaks. The whole thing was a game to her, and not some kind of fight or struggle.
"But, if you fail, then I'll kill you. All of you."
The young ninja boy breathes a gout of fire at the purple-haired woman. The swirl of fire surrounds her, but dissipates shortly afterward to reveal her standing exactly where she had once been. The ninja has no visible injuries or even burn marks on her equipment.
Dark Red: Houshi
Dark Gray: Yousuke
Dark Green: Trees, can be climbed with kinobori. 100+ft tall.
If they were going to die in the forest then he would at least make the most of it. Rougasai was a swordstroke that his grandfather had warned him not to use lightly but this was as good a situation as any.
Charging forward, Yousuke radiated killing intent into his blade and drew into the midst.
Hit Points: 13/30 Chakra Pool: 2/22 Chakra Reserve: 10/10 Armour Class: 21 Ongoing Effects: Str/Spd Rank 1 (1/5), Striking Tiger Stance, Charging
Yousuke charges 20 feet and uses Rougasai (auto-pass) on Cybele.
The snake-mask doesn't move as Houshi swung the giant hunk of metal he called a sword. Houshi is sure he's hit spot on, but feels no resistance of his blade cleaving flesh. Where it should have hit flesh Houshi's sword only finds air, and when it should have been dangerous the woman only finds it amusing. The snake-mask had been millimeters from Houshi's blade, but its wearer stepped back just far enough to not be hit.
"Ahaha. That would have been dangerous if I was a few years younger." Yousuke's own blade comes in after Houshi's. The Wolf's Fang goes low, toward her waist, but the woman leaps over it. Her body gracefully twists in the air, and the way she lands would make a professional gymnast jealous. "Maybe you would have been able to touch me if you had gotten a chance to live a little longer."
Then she's gone. One second she had been standing there, mocking you, and the next there's nothing but empty space and the echo of her words. Then you hear a loud pop followed by the merchant's scream behind you. You turn around just in time to see the woman dusting off her hands as Eisen crumples to the ground. His body hits the ground harshly, and his face makes no movements. He's not moving at all. Not even the rhythmic rise and fall of a sleeping person's chest is there to tell you he's alive. She just heartlessly murdered one of her genin.
"One down. Which of you is next?" She claps her hands together, as if she had a great idea. "Oh! I know. I'll be a good teacher and let you boys decide."
The masked woman points toward Houshi, then to Yousuke, then back again. "So which one of you kids thinks he has a better chance than the other, hm?"
Eisen is unable to act.
Dark Red: Houshi
Dark Gray: Yousuke
Dark Green: Trees, can be climbed with kinobori. 100+ft tall.
Cybele makes her unarmed death attack vs Eisen. She rolls 15+15=30 to hit and succeeds. She deals 5+11=16 non-lethal. Eisen's rendered unconscious by the non-lethal damage compounded with the damage he took from the cave. Eisen auto-fails his save vs paralysis as a result. Eisen's paralyzed for 2 rounds, and a DC 15 Spot check can tell he's not dead.
'My god, she actually did it!' Houshi proceeds to break out in a cold sweat before exclaiming, "I think both of our chances are pretty much nihil at this point. So, I say we pass together or die together. Besides, who ever heard of a solo squad?" Looks like Houshi's coping mechanism was comedy. Then, another sudden realization, "Also, who's to say you won't kill us both now anyway? I know I'm not gonna keep quite about a friend's death if I survive this."
He caught Yousuke out of his peripheral, while keeping Cybele front in center, waiting for his response. He realized at this moment that while they just met, he was really going to have to got to know him if they survived this ordeal.
Yousuke watched in agony as Eisen crumpled onto the ground, motionless. The masked ANBU was not playing around and he only wished that he had not so arrogantly challenged her to battle. Two of their number were already dead and if they did not act soon then another two would be following suit. Nodding grimly at Houshi he decided that this would not have to be the case.
"I said that I would tear off that mask of yours," he repeated firmly.
Fingers shaking, Yousuke dropped his sword, already twitching without the familiar weight of the sword tugging against his hands. This would likely be the death of him but if it protected Houshi from her wrath, it would have to be so.
Hit Points: 13/30 Chakra Pool: 2/22 Chakra Reserve: 10/10 Armour Class: 22 Ongoing Effects: Str/Spd Rank 1 (2/5), Striking Tiger Stance, Charging, Spd Rank 2 (1/5)
Burn an Action Point for (1d6) Temporary Chakra.
Activate Speed Rank 2.
Yousuke charges 25 feet and makes an unarmed touch attack against Cybele.
Houshi immediately followed after, abandoning his sword as well with a loud thud, "Oh no, you don't get to be the hero today. What did I just say?" Coming in right besides Yousuke, he aimed for the mask too.
Hit Points: 25/29 Chakra Pool: 16/23 Chakra Reserve: 8/8 Armour Class: 14 Ongoing Effects: Str/Spd Rank 1 (2/5) Kai-Mon Kai (2/3)
Unarmed Touch Attack - (1d20+11) Action Point - (1d6)
Yousuke dashed forward with his hand out and conviction firm. As he got within the masked woman's range he felt an instant of murderous intent focused directly upon him. An eyebrow twitched, her body tensed, and she almost reacted unconsciously. But her conscious mind suppressed it with a great deal of effort. The murderous intent vanished, and she just quietly stepped to the side to get out of the way. Yousuke's hands only find air, and now he was within that murderous bitch's reach. Her hand raises up as she takes a calming breath. "And so we have our first volunteer. Goodbye, Yousuke."
Her arm shot down like a guillotine aimed straight for the young boy's neck. It would be all over for him in a few seconds. She'd effortlessly snap his neck like she had done to Eisen, then she'd finish off Houshi and be back to her life.
Just as she's reaching down to make ready on her promise to get rid of her "students" the big meaty cavalry arrives.
Houshi's fingers obscure her vision as the giant boy grabs her mask. She releases Yousuke, and vanishes again. No puff of smoke, no blur of movement, she is simply there one moment and gone the next with nothing to mark her passage. Houshi feels the mask break into pieces in his hands. The way it crumbles feels a lot less like ceramic and more like dirt. A light cough draws your attention toward Mitsuyo, and you notice the purple-haired woman behind him. The mask is gone, and without it you can tell her face matches her body. If she had a normal life this woman would definitely be a model of some type, or possibly an actress. Her hands are crossed across her chest, but one hand reaches up to push a pair of thin framed glasses further up the bridge of her nose. Those glasses ever so slightly obscure a pair of purple eyes, just like those Sune had.
She runs a light hand through her hair, closes her eyes, opens her mouth to speak... Then closes it again. A soft sigh escapes her lips as she shifts her weight to the other leg and points toward your group. She moves to speak once more, but nothing comes out. She grows more uncomfortable with the silence, and kicks Mitsuyo. The fat merchant seems unnaturally composed, then you notice he's gone limp and doesn't seem to be breathing either. His fat sags forward, almost as if the muscle and bone in his body had vanished, then the merchant explodes into smoke.
When the smoke clears the fat merchant is gone. In his place sits a lithe girl you remember. She's wearing the same kind of ANBU uniform as her pretty sister, and has the same half-lidded look she had when she picked you up at the academy. Sune's giggling, blushing, and hiding her face with her hands like she just heard a dirty joke. Even so you get the feeling she isn't laughing at your group. The older woman's eyes are closed, her face is red, and she's clearly growing angrier and angrier. It's been several seconds since the formerly masked woman had spoken, but she breaks the silence by yelling at her sister. "Sune! Explain what happened."
The giggling girl just smiles through familiar half-lidded eyes. "Ai, ai. Cybele-chan doesn't like to talk, ze? Hehe." The last bit earns her a punch from her sister. The younger one rubs her head roughly, then looks back toward your group. She continues speaking with a much more somber tone.
"To put it plainly: We lied. A lot."
She gets up, brushes herself off, and bows politely to you. "There never was a Mitsuyo, or any kind of danger. I was kind of worried you'd figure that out a lot earlier, and it made me so nervous!" The girl giggles, laughing at her own bad acting, which honestly should have been a tip off that something was wrong. A ninja isn't that bad at bluffing... right? Then a lightbulb goes off and she has a sudden realization. The mercenaries you killed were clearly dead, and actual people. What about them?
"Ah! But don't worry, those guys you killed were really bad guys. A bunch of criminals we told could go free if they killed you." She lets out an uncomfortable laugh, and the older girl just closes her eyes and frowns. "So, it's not like you're murderers or anything. Trust me, they were really bad guys."
Her sister lashes out again, giving Sune a second knock to the noggin. "Get on with it!" The younger sister just smiles, laughs, and continues on.
"We set this up to know who you were. Ya, we got reports. We had dossier on all three of you, but that doesn't tell the whole story." She scratches her nose lightly, and looks like a child ashamed of what she's done. "Now we know who you are under pressure, when others die around you, how you act when lives are on the line, so on."
The boy starts breathing again a few seconds into Sune's speech. Cybele rolls him onto his back while her younger sister is explaining. Yousuke can see that she's in the process of performing some basic first aid. Without her mask, she's much more gentle with the young boy. After a few moments, she lightly taps Sune on the leg. The younger ninja kneels down, closes her eyes, then raises her hands above Eisen's chest. A blue glow envelops the genin, and his wounds begin knitting together. Yousuke can tell it's some kind of medical ninjutsu, but fails to identify which one. Cybele stands up and looks the two of you in the eye, but doesn't speak for several seconds.
Then she coughs, looks away, and finally says. "Any questions?"
Houshi's arm falls lip and what's left of the mask in his hand falls to the ground. He blinks a few times as the explanation ensues, starring in mixed awe at the antics of his now megane tsundere jounin-sensei and her little sister. He shakes his head a few times to regain his composure then goes for his fullblade, "Just one. When do we start?"
Yousuke opened his mouth as if ready to protest but instead, sighs and slumps his shoulders defeatedly. Of course it was a test. He had his suspicions at the cave entrance and then on the trip back but the second the ANBU appeared he lost his composure in the heat of the moment. It was a testament to how much he still needed to learn before he could really consider himself a true swordsman. Despite his claims of uniting body and soul he had truly let his emotions get the better of him.
In all honesty he did not mind the subterfuge. It was practically expected from ninja to lie and it did make sense that a mission, even fake, would let their soon-to-be sensei know more about their team dynamics. Still, it was rather headache inducing for a first day. "I'm going to need something sweet before the day is over," he uttered to himself. He could only imagine how the other jounins tested their prospective teams.
It did bother him that their own instructor was having her subordinate explain the situation. Or was it sister? It probably did not matter but it did raise a few questions. He bowed low to avoid their eyes, both out of respect for the two ANBU and fear. "Is Sune to be a permanent fixture in the team? If not, why is she addressing us when you are supposed to be our sensei?" he asked, placing special emphasis on 'supposed to be'. It could not be that she simply did not know how to deal with her students could it? That was about as hilarious as it was ridiculous so Yousuke discarded the thought.
The older woman closes her eyes. Cybele grimaces, opens her mouth, then tries to speak. Several seconds pass. Nothing comes out. She crosses her arms, grimaces, takes a deep breath, then breathes out slowly. "T. I." She grumbles, clearly growing angrier with herself, then tries one more time.
When Yousuke starts to talk, she gets visibly uncomfortable. Her face goes extremely red and she reaches up to touch her face. "My mask", she whispers quietly, "I don't do well without it. I need my mask." Sune finishes healing Eisen just in time to look up and she her very red-faced sister in a bit of a pinch.
Sune looks toward Yousuke, then Cybele, then back to Yousuke. "Oh, you're asking about who's the teacher? Ya, we're a package deal, ze!" She hops up and smiles. "Eurayle-chan, at your service. This is Cybele-chan. Please take good care of us." The girl bows politely. Then she bows deeper as Cybele whacks her across the back of the head. "Hehe... I'm kidding. I have my own team to deal with."
Cybele nods, and you get the feeling that Cybele's not the kind to talk a lot. "I. Yes. We're a t-team." Her hand goes to her face, rubbing her cheek likely, then continues on. "We'll start tomorrow."