Seventeen, arms thick with scars and muscles, 昭雄 Akio swiped the sweat from her brow with a tired sigh. She hadn't meant to, hmm, end up here, this way, with these kind of people, but here she was. Farming (her actual dream job, once) and taking care of the wild dogs. Wiping her brow again for good measure, she looked at the horizon. Today was the day her parents were supposed to come back. With a… potential husband. Again. That she was going to have to scare off. Again.

Her folks were good people. They wanted the best for her… she just didn't care to marry. Here. After missing her first chance in a stupid accident.

Hefting her hoe once again, she went back to working the soybeans and tea bushes, gently tilling the soil. Their fields were small but prosperous - mainly because the moment she saw the rough treatment her struggling parents had been giving their plants, she had more or less taken over. Nibbling on her lunch as she took a break beneath a shade tree, Akio frowned.

Her parents should have been back by now.

Chomping through the last bite, she gathered her things and started for the house, no smoke or dust clouds indicating someone there or coming in. Worry settled but she pushed it down. It was only the first day of their supposed arrival. It had happened once before when she was much younger and her parents had been delayed a full day due to bandits. As they were smart enough to hire a team until they hit the edge of their property, she shouldn't be worrying yet. As it was, it was time for afternoon chores.

The day wore on, her frown getting deeper and her eyes kept wandering back to the path. She made an obscene amount of dog meal that she fed the dogs that roamed the farm, all of them having been dropped off at some point. She pet the shaggy head of what looked like a Great Pyrenees and scratched the chin of a possible wolf as she dished out the food into personal clay bowls, her belly unsettled as she waited. Her parents were sensible people… most of the time. This shouldn't be any different.

Evening chores came and night settled in quickly, the sky turning into deep velvet with diamond stars littering across the expanse. Akio did her duty to run the farm, marking a tally and keeping up with how long it had been since the crop had been planted. She hadn't been the best at keeping up with the moon phases before and wasn't the best now, so she made notes on previous crop through the years and did her best in yet another journal. It had been mostly successful.

Full night brought a fire inside with the shoji opened to the early summer breeze and the dogs that liked her well enough on the engawa. The one she named Rosco was even leaned against her side, a smaller dog that looked sort of like a pug crossed with a cotton ball. Very fluffy. She was forever grooming his fur and cutting it down so the poor thing didn't suffocate in the heat. She didn't eat as nerves unsettled her too deeply, a terrible habit from before this whole mess.

"Mother and Father are late," she stated to the world at large. "I do not like this."

The dogs all noticed, looking at her as she looked out to the path. Sighing tiredly, she used a bowl of warm water to bathe before retiring to a night of tossing and turning. The sun rose and with it, so too, did she. It wasn't like she could sleep anyway. Dressed for more work that day, men's trousers and top belted firmly, she picked up her hoe once again and started out to the further fields along the path. Something churned in her belly, a type of warning she always heeded before. Something was not right.

Nearing lunch, she paused as the horizon gave way to a single man. He was handsome, almost pretty even, and came all but barehanded. Her hackles went up and the dogs around her growled lowly. He looked like a man her mother would approve of. He looked like a simple traveler - almost. He made no sound when he walked and raised no dust. It hadn't rained in almost a week and any civilian raised a little dust.

This was no civilian.

Well… if he was here, she could almost bet her parents were dead and ignored the deep pang in her chest at the thought. Lead on a wild chase for a husband for the young woman who would inherit acres of fertile land just beyond Konoha proper only to end up on the end of his knife. This was the problem most civilian people had to deal with - maladjusted socio- and psychopaths who needed a swift kick in the face and a sit down with a dog or a cat to deal with stress. What most civilians did was run screaming which would see them dead or trying to get to the Konoha Police Task Force in some context without actually knowing what they needed to say to help apprehend the asshole being the issue.

"Worker! Where is your mistress?"

Akio had to blink for a moment because that voice was very nice and she was going to be upset about having to cut it off. Did she want to kill someone? No. However, being somewhat sensible in the land of kill or be killed , she wasn't going to leave this asshole to hurt someone else. That was just rude.

"Ah, traveler-san. Mistress is out at the moment." The dogs around her were stealthy bastards, creeping around the man as she readied her hoe. It wasn't ideal but it was useable. What she wouldn't give for a proper shovel. "How may I help you?"

The man sneered as he dismissed her and Akio did not roll her eyes, she did not, because that would be, hm, impolite. "Where is she? I need to see her today."

She grit her teeth a little before relaxing with a sardonic smile. "Oh. Around."

The pretty man sighed as if Akio was there just to inconvenience him. She was, honestly, but he didn't know that. "Fine. I guess I'll get rid of you and find the bitch after."

He turned back to her, knife at the ready only to get a face full of flung dirt. He cried out more from shock because he wasn't expecting sense from a civilian who damn well knew better than he did from pain. The dogs immediately set upon him, the man crying out. Oh. Well. He couldn't be more than a genin with such terrible skills.

Bringing her hoe up and around, she cracked him in the head. Maybe she killed him, maybe not, but he wasn't moving after that. Possibly not even before, did Rosco take out his Achilles' tendon? What a fool.

(Somewhere, a man sneezed as if he was being spoken of, book open to a pretty boy who was vaguely familiar in looks and personality to the one Akio just finished smashing. The bounty was quite high for a supposedly intelligent Chunin.)

Checking him over, seeing the rise and fall of his chest, she looked the foolish man over. Well. It was time to tie him up and hinder his hands. Can't make signs if your hands are damaged enough, can you? She reached down, grabbing his pretty kimono to drag him to the house. Rosco panted happily with bits of red splattered on his bouncy coat. The largest actual dog who she had been raising for nearly two years grabbed a big mouthful of his sleeve as if to help. Akio smiled and pet the Great Dane on the side before setting off. It took awhile and her back ached more from the awkward hunching than the dead weight of a full grown man, but she made it to her home. His head had stopped bleeding at some point and that was all that mattered.

Shooing away some flies and one of the dogs starting to get aggressive, she tied his hands together. Weaving some thick stiff cloth between his fingers, she made it nearly impossible to move them, wrapping it all in mittens of thick winter fabric. She generously did the same for his feet and tied his legs together with a few sailor knots she remembered from that one disastrous Girl Scout meeting. After finishing that, Akio looked at the horizon, noting how much of the afternoon had been used up. There were still chores and not anyone else to do them.

Weaving some fabric around the man's waist, she made sure he wouldn't be getting to his hands unless he knew autofellatio and was capable of it. That would have to do. Pushing a hand through her hair, the young woman bit her lip. She didn't want to go into the village - common sense was severely lacking to the point of stupidity and it made her want to smack someone with a fish. She couldn't send her dogs, either. There were no messengers here with her parents and their one retainer gone.

Ugh. She was going to have to go into town. Kicking the downed man in the hip, she huffed. It was his fault. Bastard. She rubbed her eyes and felt her chest catch. No, she was not going to cry. She didn't even know if he had killed her mother and father. She would not start crying now.

Taking a deep breath, she went and got the rickshaw ready, removing the seat insert and cushions. It was one she designed early on, bamboo and light but strong wood. The seat could be removed for market day produce or left in to cart her aging parents around. Picking the man up and chucking him into the bed was easy. Getting her escort of worried, cautious dogs to stay was not.

"I won't be long, I assure you," she finally muttered, picking up Rosco when he seemed to want up. He licked her jaw once and settled in her arms. "You can't stay there. I have to draw the cart."

Placing him carefully in the bed of the rickshaw with the man, she watched for any aggression. Rosco was a pretty cool customer but he had taken out the man's Achilles' tendon just a while before. The fluffy pug just panted happily, licking at his lips and lolling his tongue. Alright, then. Placing her sandals in the bed of the cart beside Rosco, she picked up the handles and started towards the village.