They weren't shinobi, that much was clear. It was likely they were just bandits that saw them as an easy target, or they seen the intricately stitched silk robes that Hachiro wore and assumed they'd get a heafty ransom for the boy. It was common knowledge that genin weren't highly trained or deadly. They were still learning to be shinobi after all. Koharu could feel the blood pumping inher veins, hearing it loud in her ears, as she rushed at the men. This was her first encounter like this, and she knew that it wouldn't be the last. In the back if her mind she could hear Osamu scolding her for being scared. Those katana were almost as big as she was, of course she'd be scared.
The weight of her own sword on her hip didn't stand out to her until she remembered her iaido. It had helped her, even what little she knew of it, gain confidence in her movements and how to handle a katana. She didn't practice with a bamboo sword, no it was a real sword she used that had been dulled down. Remembering her training helped rein in her fear. She ducked out of the way of a katana blade and rolled a few feet away, taking a breath before doing a single hand sign and slapping her small hand onto the ground. "Ice Style: Frozen Capturing Field!" Ice bloomed from her palm, extending forward and out to cover the man's feet, trapping him. The girl wasn't as proficient in her ice release as she would have liked but she wasn't helpless. The man was trying to pull his feet from the ice, yelling in frustration when his feet wouldn't budge.
A good thing about using this sort of nature transformation was it was a little different than manipulating preexisting ice. First: it was stronger, second: she had better control of it, and third: she could use it whenever she wanted to and wasn't restricted if she didn't have any preexisting snow. Koharu smirked in triumph that she was getting better with it. When she first learned the jutsu she lacked the proper balance of wind and water so her attempts often turned to slush. Needless to say, Osamu hadn't been happy that she'd ruined three pairs of his shoes. The man still had his katana and she grew amused when he began hacking at the ice with it when he realized that the ice prevented him from slipping put of his shoes. With that man busy she focused on the others.
There were six in all, counting the man in the ice, and they seemed focused now on Kazuhiko and Koharu more than they were Natsuko and Hachiro. She knew the boy was in safe hands. Just because he'd annoyed Natsuko didn't mean she'd offer him up on a silver platter to those men. She could remember Minoru's lessons on sparing lives whenever possible. The man had said that knowing when to spare a life was a true measure of one's heart. Koharu had taken those lessons in and made them her own. She wouldn't kill these men - couldn't kill them - but she'd make sure they wouldn't hurt Natsuko and Hachiro.
Her small size was both a blessing and a curse. She was quicker than the men but they were bigger and could easily over power her so she focused on dodging their attacks and waiting for the opportunity to use her jutsu again. One by one she picked off two other men in a similar fashion, sealing their feet up in ice before delivering a harsh blow to their stomachs with the sheath of her sword.
At the end of the small scuffle, she was left exhausted. Three consecutive uses of her chakra was...well, draining for lack of a better word. Not only was she a genin using a jutsu she was still learning, but she also had to balance two different types of chakra to make a whole new one. Koharu doubled over with her hands on her knees and caught her breath. To her astonishment she noticed that she and Kazuhiko took down the same number of men.
"That's not fair." She grumbled between breaths. "But good job, Kazu-chan." Koharu didn't call him that often, usually preferring to call him by his name.
They'd been gone for far longer than he would have liked. Already the guards were preparing dinner, giving Minoru time to check on the kids. He expected them to be playing in the water (well Natsuko and their charge Hachiro at least). The sight that greeted him was anything but expected. Six men, all in various states of consciousness, were strewn about it what obviously was a small skirmish. Hachiro had latched onto both Kazuhiko and Koharu's hands and was crying. Minoru could see the large tears and globs of snot from where he'd broken through the trees.
Koharu was the first to speak, even if her voice was tired and unsteady. "We're fine, Minoru-sensei." She planted a hand on Hachiro's dark hair and smiled at the boy, trying to calm him down.
He was having a hard time wrapping his head around the scene. They were just genin, kids of twelve, and they'd managed to take down six men by themselves and their charge was unharmed. He was impressed. Not many their age, and even older, could accomplish that. "Good job you three. Now quickly return Hachiro to the guards." He'd deal with the men. They could just pack up and find a new spot but the kids looked tired. Hachiro took to leaning against Kazuhiko and Koharu looked about ready to flop onto the ground.