Next morning, at about 7AM:
Both Kam-kun and Tajomaru are awakened or greeted by their teammate Li, who tells them that they have an emergency C-rank mission, and to meet at the fountain for a mission briefing ASAP. After deliving the message, Li poofs into a cloud of smoke.
When they arrive at the fountain a short time later, Itou-Sensei is already there, along with a genin they vaguely recognize as having been a year ahead of them at the Academy.
Sensei introduces Kam and Tajo to Makishima Fudini then says that Makishima’s team was coming back from a successful mission when they were ambushed about 3 hours from the village, to the east-northeast. Today’s mission is a C-rank mission to recover that team from where Makashima left them hidden. She also explains that Takeshi is being kept away by family duties, so they’ll have to leave without him, before she starts walking quickly to the village gates.
On the way to the gates, Kam asks what ambushed the other team. Fudini says that he couldn’t tell what the person really looked like; he seemed to be all black as if he were possibly just a shadow.
After leaving the village, Sensei tells Makashima to guide them back to his teammates. Tajo also sends Youshun to scout from the air.
It is soon obvious that Kam is the slowest member of the group, so Sensei tells him to transform into something. He turns into [a basket or briefcase or lantern or something suitably carryable], and Tajo picks it up and carts it around until further notice.
Youshun comes back about 60 minutes later and Tajo says that Youshun found the group; this is good because an hour later, Fudini realizes he is slightly lost. Between the two of them, however, Fudini is able to continue guiding the team to the hiding point.
After another half hour, Fudini spots a deer grazing a short way ahead in the forest. Unusually though, this deer is completely black… and almost seems to be melting into the shadows around it! Fudini stops the group and draws their attention to the strange creature, at which point Kam discontinues his transformation. Sensei asks if this is similar to the person he saw previously, and Fudini says that it is. Tajo approaches the deer carefully to see how it responds… and it looks up, snorts, and then charges at him, gashing him with it’s antlers! Sensei jumps up into a nearby tree to watch the fun.
Kam sits down and closes his eyes; Fudini responds with his Fireball Technique, breathing a fireball off to the side away from Tajo but still managing to catch the side of the deer on fire. Tajo tries to calm the deer down but it’s not listening at this point. Instead, the deer turns to Fudini and gores him as well.
Kam decides he should help his teammates, and hits the deer in the shoulder with a kunai. Fudini tries another fireball, but errs on the side of caution and it lands just a little too far away to be able to hurt anyone at all. The deer manages to hit Fudini a second time before Tajo shouts out “Primal Rage!!” and he, Youshun, and Tanuki swarm the deer. All that is left are the legs and the head. Tajo then takes the antlers as a trophy.
Sensei heals Fudini with her blue glowing hands and asks Kam what he saw. Kam says he saw what looked like a deer with a strange jutsu on it that he didn’t recognize. Tajo gives Sensei a puppy-dog look asking why she hasn’t healed him. Sensei coos over him and hugs him briefly; when she steps away, he realizes his injuries are healed.
The team rushes on to the location Fudini says he hid his teammates at, only to find the bodies uncovered and… chewed on by something. Tajo makes a closer inspection and determines that the teethmarks match those of deer. Tajo and Fudini have a ‘discussion’ with Sensei about how they should cremate the bodies here in the field instead of carting them back to the village. Sensei of course overrules them, and Kam makes a pile of clones to carry stretchers with the bodies on them. Kam then sits in front of his lantern and meditates for a minute or so (while Tajo taunts and bothers him).
The group forms a protective perimeter around the stretcher-bearers and proceed to carry their fallen comrades back to the village. After a short bit, Tajo falls back and jumps up in a tree to search for any other possible “issues”. After searching for a little while, he does spy a “demon” fox with a similar appearance to the deer from earlier. The fox sneaks into its den, and Tajo jumps down to try to coax it out. After several minutes of coaxing Tajo is miraculously able to get it to come out and accept some food without getting his throat ripped out or hand bitten.
Tajo then send Youshun off to get Kam, and then proceeds to tempt the fox into following him for more tidbits of food. Youshun gets Kam’s attention by divebombing him and then calling at him from the direction they had left Tajo. Kam also leaves the group and goes back to find what Youshun wants. When he spots Tajo leading a shadowy fox, he again sits down and closes his eyes for a few seconds. Once the fox notices Kam, though, it gets mad and then runs off. Tajo and Kam leave it alone and rejoin the rest of the group.
Sensei asks Kam if he was able to learn anything more about the fox. He says that he still doesn’t recognize the jutsu, but he thinks he would know it if he saw it on something else now. Sensei also says that they should have found a way to capture the fox since they killed the deer, so that the village would be better able to determine who was responsible for the ambush.
Also during the trip, Fudini places a small broken stick on each of the corpses.
Once they reach the village, Sensei sends Fudini to tell his teammates’ families the bad news. She also send the clones (including one of her own) off to take the bodies to the morgue. For homework, she assigns Kam a two page essay on exactly what he found about that jutsu, including diagrams if possible. Tajo’s assignment is also a 2-page essay, this time regarding village protocol for What To Do When Your Teammates Die.
[For the record, the basic protocol is to recover the bodies, as unaltered as possible, for forensic analysis and proper ceremony. If the deaths occur in the village, leave the bodies alone and report for a forensic team to examine the entire site.]
[Kam managed to succeed by 1 on this longer essay. Tajo rolls snakeeyes, indicating an innate talent for expressing himself through writing, regardless of whether he has any actual skill in it or not.]
[ 1 CP to Kam, Tajo, and Fudini for surviving. No bonus points, as you guys missed most of the opportunities to gather useful info. ]