Secret Shadow
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Favorite Genres
Anything with a good plot or twists to it.
Genre You DON'T Like
Stories that can't keep my attention focused or seem to bland in my opinion.
[fieldbox=Neji's Training, violet]
In Magnhild, the capital of the Hon Clan - Empire of Akino.
A relative small collab between Tim and Lesli.

Neji finished his training with Koike and afterwards has a training with Aiko. The jounin grants Neji the opportunity to learn two new techniques.

Today’s last training would be with Neji. Having organised a tile at the Field of Valdar, Aiko was already considering what she would do after the training. There were several affairs that required her attention. But she reckoned that in the evening that she could busy herself with matters that wouldn’t include politics or the military. Reminding herself what she would train and teach Neji, the teen first had to arrive at the designated place.

Though it was quite cold, there was no sign that it would snow again. The dark grey blanket of clouds was a bit ominous. Just when Aiko wanted to see if she could get something arranged, she noticed a small snowflake slowly descending down in front of her. Followed by more snowflakes. Releasing a mental sigh, Aiko would throw the hood of her jacket up and decided to remain at the tile.

After Neji had finished his training with Koike, he had a little bit of time before his training with Aiko sensei. He would use this time to get a quick bite to eat. He found a small shop where all he ordered was a bowl of white rice. He was hungry, but with one more training he didn't want to eat a big meal. He quickly ate his small bowl of rice and paid for it, leaving a nice tip for the young waitress who was about his age maybe a year or two older. When Neji would step outside the shop he felt the wind. A cold breeze would be felt as the wind picked up. Neji would shiver as he realized how much he missed the warm temperatures of Konohagakure. Unfortunately those kind of temperatures were no where in sight. Neji sighed as he made his way to the assigned training ground where he was supposed to meet Aiko sensei. He would soon arrive and as he did it would start to snow. Neji mentally sighed as he walked up to Aiko sensei, ” Good afternoon sensei.”

Neji would receive a nod as friendly response back from his sensei. ”Good afternoon Neji.” She gestured to the tile behind her. ”Seeing we are on some limited time today, how about we get started.” Opening the somewhat round tile where they would have their training. Closing it behind her, Aiko wouldn’t waste a second of time to continue talking.

”If I remember correctly, your techniques are largely resolved around Fire release. And you don’t have much defense techniques to block or weaken an enemy chakra attack. Am I right?” She asked, to be certain. Producing a small scroll out of a pouch, she would wait for his answer.

Neji would nod his head as Aiko wanted to get started right away, that suited Neji just fine. He was here to learn and work so the sooner they got started the better. Neji would step in to the tile as the snow started to fall a little faster now. ”Yes that is correct sensei, a lot of my jutsu are fire nature and no I don’t possess many defensive jutsu.” Neji would look at the scroll Aiko held in her hand wondering what jutsu she would be teaching him today.

”Okay. Cause I want to work on that. As you might imagine, you will be in a world of trouble if your fire techniques will be rendered useless.” Aiko began. ”Even somebody with wind release will become a big pain if they know how to use their techniques to nullify yours.” Pausing for a moment, Aiko would offer the scroll to Neji. ”For that reason I decided to pull some favours. This is a very basic technique that allows one to conjure a wall or well, more precisely a simple barrier of chakra-affinity nature. In your case, thus a wall of fire that briefly can blockade any advances made upon you. I believe that Hisoka Uchiha is the developer behind it.”

Neji would catch the scroll in his hand and open it. Reading it over as Aiko talked to him about what the techinque was and who came up with it. When she said Hisoka Uchiha, Neji’s head shot up. Hisoka the former hokage was well revered in the Uchiha clan and the empire itself. If he came up with this jutsu then it must be good, at least thats what Neji thought. ”So with this jutsu I can use my chakra to create a fire barrier around me?”

”No.” Aiko began. ”At base, it is to create a barrier in front of yourself. In order to create it around you, I believe you will need a different technique to supplement that effect.” The jounin explained. The scroll had the details laid out and there wasn’t much special work that was required. From what she had seen and remembered Neji was competent enough to understand C ranked fire techniques. It could be a bit tricky, due to being a barrier technique but she considered it nothing too troublesome. ”Try it out. Just start the steps small and easy. As you know, I have only knowledge of Fire release. I can’t perform this technique myself and thus can’t show you it.”

Neji nodded his head as he continued to read the scroll, it seemed like a pretty basic jutsu, just three hand signs and it shouldn't require that much chakra. After reading the scroll for a few minutes he set the scroll down. He tried getting a visual in his head of what the jutsu would look like. A wall of fire in front of him shielding him from attacks, it could be a very valuable jutsu while out in the field. Though he would have to be quick enough with it to be able to get it up in time to block attacks. ” alright I'll give it a shot.”

Neji would start to gather chakra, he would take a deep breath before starting to perform the hand signs. On this first attempt he was in no rush as he slowly and patiently made the hand signs, the final sign was the tiger sign and as he did that a small wall of fire appeared in front of him. It only made it up to about his chest. The snow that had now piled on the ground around him melted as it still came falling out of the sky. It wasn't perfect but it was certainly a start. ” It seems like it can be a very valuable jutsu as long as I can get it to cover my entire front, also as long as I can do the hand signs fast enough, though that could cause some problems while in battle.”

Taking a step back as she wasn’t interested in getting caught in any jutsu, Aiko would watch Neji tackle the technique. After the chuunin read the technique, he would try to apply the knowledge from the scroll to practice. The small wall wasn’t that impressive but she hadn’t expected anything amazing. ”Practice makes perfect, no?” Aiko would bring up, flashing a smile. ”As for the hands signs, it depends on what kind of battle. If you notice your opponent weaving signs, you got to only weave three successive signs. Most ninjutsu fights are from a distance so as long as you notice them trying to do something, you can try to use the technique. Only problems is that it depends on what kind of technique your opponent is using. If somebody throws steel at you, the fire might slow it down in some cases or in several cases stop it. But if it is something really heavy, like let us say a boulder for some reason, then I reckon it might slam through. Pressured air has the nasty ability to explode when it is ignited or near a spark. Not something you want to experience. So I think it is more the tactical use that will be a problem than the hand signs.” Aiko replied.

Neji nodded as Aiko talked about practice making perfect, She was right about that. She then went on to explain about what this jutsu could do in certain situations. ” Yeah, im sure ill have this jutsu down in no time.” Neji smirked as he continued to listen to Aiko sensei talk about the jutsu. Neji made the hand signs again, this time using more chakra than the last time, Neji completed the hand signals and this time a larger fire wall formed in front of him, this time covering his entire front side of his body. Now all of the snow on the ground within five meters in front of him melting away. Neji stood behind the wall watching it, the flames crackling from the snow in the air hitting the flame and melting instantly. ” Well this wall looks a lot better.”

Watching how Neji made a larger wall of fire, the jounin just nodded. ”It does. I do advice to keep practicing it and not rely too much on it right away.” Aiko replied back as she would produce yet another small scroll. ”This is a different technique. It isn’t that much difficult and neither it is a purely offensive technique that relies on attacking. It can be used as an utility technique, which I remember you don’t have much either.”
Holding the small scroll towards Neji, she would afterwards accept the previous scroll to pocket it away. Once more, however, there wasn’t much that she could do to help Neji to learn and use the technique. But seeing the rank and it not being that complex, she figured it wouldn’t be much of an issue for the Uchiha.

Neji nodded his head back towards Aiko as she said that he should continue to practice the jutsu to make sure he perfects it. Aiko sensei would then hold out another small scroll for Neji. Neji would take the scroll from her hand and give her back the scroll he just used. Neji would open the new scroll and take a look at it. The jutsu seemed pretty easy, it was a simple jutsu that would help to add some utility to his jutsu.

”So this jutsu isn’t much used for offense or defense, it’s more used as a supplementary jutsu.” Neji continued to look over the scroll, it was five hand signs, once Neji completed those hand signs he would have a ball of fire in his hand. Its not used much for attacking or defending, but basically gives him some light. ” Okay i’ll give it a shot.” Neji started to gather chakra into his hands as he started to make hand signs. Once the five hand signs were completed, a ball of fire would illuminate in Neji’s hand. The sky had gotten darker since they had begun their training session, the ball of fire created plenty of light that illuminated both his and Aiko’s faces.

”Some techniques seem really easy and not that useful. But imagine that you need to start a small fire. Better to just conjure a small ball of fire than to try to blow up a room with large flaming ball. Not to mention, you could try to see if you can expand its uses and derive some techniques from it.” Aiko replied in turn. Flashing a smile, she planted her hands on her hips as she nodded towards Neji.
”I figure that is all for today. Unless you got any questions left to ask.”

Aiko sensei would make valid points about being able to light up a room and possibly being able to make some different jutsu with this as a base. That was something Neji would have to think about and try to expand on, but that would come at a later time. ”My only question is, when do we move out again sensei?” Neji had a confident look in his eyes, he was ready for whatever the next mission would throw at him.

The question was met with a hint of a smile before Aiko answered the question. ”Not entirely certain. That will depend on what kind of missions we will be assigned to. For now, take it easy and memorise what you have learned today. You guys will learn of it when there will be a new mission.” That having said, Aiko gestured that he could take his leave as they would be done with training today.



God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, A Few Posts a Week
My Usual Online Time
Whenever you're asleep, thanks time zones.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Mainly passive, can be aggressive if the situation requires such.
Favorite Genres
Sci-Fi, Modern, and Horror.
[fieldbox="Crystal?, #007dba"]Miyazato Aoi and Meilin Cho| Chuunin of Team 4 | Magnhild
A collab between Oetje Oetje and FrostedCaramel FrostedCaramel

Meilin decides to approach a still frustrated Aoi for advice on her new found release. The interaction is tense, and both seem to come out of it with less understanding for the other than they had going in even if they reach a bit of an agreement on what to do moving forward.

The words of Suzu resonated through Meilin’s mind. Walking back towards the inn where she and the rest of the team resided, Meilin made sure to not be in the way of anybody. The usual relaxation she experienced when it was confirmed that she was among other Chonobi wasn’t present. Her pondering on what she had learned from Suzu demanded all of her thought-process. The idea that a bloodline ability had surfaced wasn’t something she was waiting for. Certainly not when she could remember what Aoi had told her. Perhaps she wouldn’t suffer through illness or anything bad but Meilin didn’t think much good would come from such a surprise. Rarely ever did sudden surprises go without any backlashes.

Nearing the inn, she considered who more she could approach. It was clear that this Crystal, wouldn’t be able to help either, with her being dead. If there was only a way to figure out ‘Crystal’s’ real name. Then she could search on who had trained her and with her. Trying to find her way slowly of how to deal with this new situation.

Entering the establishment, Meilin didn’t like the idea that crept into her mind. She could go to Aoi but after the last spar, Meilin didn’t feel like it. It was uncertain, to her, why Aoi had been like that. Was there something that had triggered the other to be so aggressive? And then the behaviour afterwards. Unable to comprehend what was going on with her team member, Meilin wondered if it was a good idea to approach Aoi about this Crystal release issue. But there was nobody else that she could turn to.

Climbing the stairs, Meilin would head towards the room that they had rented. Knocking three times, she waited a second before opening the door. ”I am back,” she announced before noticing who was present in the room.

Sleep had come easily for Aoi after the spar. A combination of her unfurled nerves and a deep tired feeling that she couldn't quite place had led her to the only logical next step after they had been dismissed by Meilin in the morning, to head straight back to sleep.

She roused in her bed as Meilin announced her entrance into the shared room, a small stretch without sitting up. She was confused at first, unsure of where she was as she stared at the unfamiliar wall in front of her before everything came streaming back. She could feel her mood slipping as the events of the night before at the party and those of this morning came crashing back in. As she remembered how Meilin hadn't done a thing to curb the Hon’s behavior. How she'd chosen a person she'd only just met over her because of their blood.

She didn't move from her spot laying on the bed, just continued to stare at the wall as she listened to the sounds of Meilin moving around the room. “Welcome back.” She said without turning over. She was unsure of what to say, unsure if she should apologize or if Meilin should. So she remained silently and let out a small huff as she waited to see if Meilin had anything to say.

Throwing a look at Aoi, Meilin’s lips parted slightly. There were words that she wanted to say. But the dynamic between them had changed. And Meilin wasn’t entirely sure why. It felt in a way as if they were back at Hanaguro. But this time unsure what was causing Aoi to behave like this.

Walking to the bed that she had claimed for her own the previous night, Meilin would sit down. She wanted, no needed Aoi’s advice. But at the same time she felt like it was a weakness. To admit that she didn’t know something about herself. That somebody else could provide some better help with it.

”Why did you go so wild earlier?” Meilin decided to ask, her tone as composure calm. Leaning forward on her knees, Meilin locked her hazelnut brown eyes on Aoi.

”Is it still about Hanaguro?” Despite Meilin trying to sound calm and confident, there was a twinge of doubt that slivered through. ”I am just trying to understand why you decided to try to beat me up at a friendly spar.”

Aoi listened as Meilin sat down and just continued to watch the unchanging wall in front of her. She moved a hand under her head and listened as Meilin began to speak. She felt a small shiver run down her spine as Meilin asked why she’d gone wild during the spar and wanted to spit back that she hadn’t gone wild even though she knew it would have been a bold faced lie. Rolling over to stare at the ceiling she’d slip her hands under her head and take a few breaths still refusing to look at Meilin. ”Does the idea of having more Chonobi on the team really make you so blinded?” she asked, emotion straining in her voice, ”You just let the Hon insult me without a word from you. You’re supposed to be in charge… Supposed to reign in someone like that Hon.” she felt a sense of clarity as she spoke, a feeling like a fog lifting from her mind now that she could finally come out and say what she had been so bothered by since the night before.

“I thought you were my friend Meilin.” she turned her head to look at the Cho, a sense of sadness evident in her blue eyes, “I think I was wrong.”

The words caused Meilin to frown at first. Sure, Dagrún and Aoi seemed to have some tension going on but Meilin didn’t see much in it. What stung more was that Aoi refered to having more Chonobi making her blinded. Remaining silent to let Aoi respond, Meilin didn’t look away. Locking her gaze on Aoi, Meilin took a second to weigh her response.

”First off, Aoi, she has a name. Besides, we barely know her. Perhaps she is just like that to everybody. If anything, I will have a chat with her.” Meilin replied. She didn’t like the idea to deal with this.

”And I think you are indeed wrong. We are friends. If I didn’t consider you as one, I would never have let you gotten close to Irene.” Leaning slightly back, Meilin frowned. ”So, friend, what would you have me do? Kick Dagrún’s teeth in? Order her to stand down all times when she wants to say something? Without knowing her true intentions? After all, Madoc seems to insult half of the people and you never started on about that.” The tone of Meilin gave away that she was quite frustrated about the current ordeal.

Slowly Meilin gained an idea what it could be. And it didn’t sit well with her. She wanted to ask the question and confront Aoi about it. But decided it would just sour things further between them.

”Listen, I will have a talk with her. But instead of trying to punch my teeth in, you could have come to me. I am not the best team leader but how can you expect me to be a good friend if you wait to tell me these things when I want to ask you for advice?”

Aoi laughed slightly as Meilin told her to use the Hon’s name, the idea that she really was simply choosing what she wanted to hear and see in favor of her own gained another hold in Aoi’s mind, ”Sure I’m wrong for not using her name.” she said as she threw her hands up in the air as if admitting it, ”But when the Hon doesn’t take the time of day to remember Madoc or my names it’s no issue.” she dropped her hands down to the bed and shook her head, ”Your sister has nothing to do with this.” she said, a bit of surprise evident as she did that Meilin had brought that up. When the girl went on to talk about the fact they didn’t know Dagrún she sighed lightly, ”It didn’t seem as though she was being playful with me. It seemed genuine, what she was saying.” Aoi said a bit quieter when Meilin brought up the fact that she had never taken issue with how Madoc treated her or others. It stung that Meilin was in a way right about it, but Madoc had never overtly insulted or belittled her like Dagrún had earlier.

Aoi sat up and brought her legs beneath her as she faced Meilin, ”I can fight her myself.” she said confidently before peering to the side of the room and back to Meilin. She wanted to continue, to point out the hypocrisy she had seen from Meilin, to continue with the issues she now had with three fifths of the team. But she was still tired. The bed beneath her was calling to her and she couldn’t get rid of the foggy feeling in her mind as it slowly crept back in. She swallowed and bowed herself down on her knees knowing it made Meilin uncomfortable, ”I apologize for taking out my anger and frustration on you. It was childish of me and I won’t let it happen again.” she said before sitting back up and crossing her hands over her chest, ”Let’s move on from this, to whatever it is you want to ask. I won’t be an asshole anymore I swear.” she said reluctantly, unsure of how well she could actually keep her mood in check for the rest of the day.

Restraining her own tongue, Meilin let Aoi continue. There was a slight itch and desire to repay the ‘favour’ that Aoi had done to her earlier. Taking in note what Aoi had said, Meilin considered that this was more out of jealousy than anything else. Perhaps talking to Dagrún could resolve some of the matter.

”You won’t fight her. I will talk to Dagrún,” a certain subtle emphasis was given on the name as Meilin would continue, ”And that is for now the end of this.”

Pausing for a moment, Meilin wasn’t so sure if she should bring up what she wanted to ask from Aoi. It seemed selfish and the dynamic between them at the moment didn’t seem that well to rally much support. But she had considered who else she could approach for this topic. And a dead unknown person wouldn’t help much.

”I am dealing with an issue. As in, well,” The frustration of the previous topic seemed to mix well with the frustration of not knowing what to do with this newfound release. Producing a piece of used chakra paper, embedded in crystal, Meilin held it up.

”This. I don’t feel different and I don’t know where this is coming from. But the chakra paper didn’t burn the first time. Or the fifteenth time that I tried it. I already spoke with a,” Meilin quickly searched for a word to describe Suzu, ”Acquaintance. Who spoke of Crystal Release. Problem is that the only capable person that was known to have it is, well, dead.”

Pausing for another second, Meilin only felt worse for formulating the next sentence.

”I was hoping you could give some, insight or something. This all is rather new to me.”

Aoi was pretty sure she’d fight the Hon at some point, but didn’t say anything as she just nodded her head in agreement to Meilin’s statement. There was no point in arguing further if Meilin still couldn’t see the hypocrisy in her words and her treatment of Aoi over the Hon.

She watched as Meilin seemed to be frustrated just as much as she was with whatever it was she wanted to talk about as she was with her. When the Cho lifted up a piece of chakra paper that was encased in a purple crystal Aoi couldn’t help but to stare as Meilin went on. She remembered the brief glimpse of the paper that Meilin had used in the Fields of Valdar and the flash of purple she had seen before forgetting about it in her anger. The crystal in front of her appeared the same, and the fact that Meilin was saying that the papers she had so far used had all had the same result fascinated her. For a brief flash of time she wasn’t angry as curiosity began to fill her but it was quickly put down by her frustration that continued to fester.

”So an acquaintance said you possess Crystal Release? I don’t know what you want from me past that, I don’t possess Crystal Release. You need to be more specific if you want insight.” she replied, a little confused but more so just trying to give Meilin as hard a time as possible while continuing to seem that she was trying to help as best she could.

Breaking her gaze from Aoi, Meilin remained silent for a moment. It was visible that she didn’t like the situation but it was too late to break off now.

”I was hoping that you could help me. I don’t know how bloodline abilities work. I thought of you, seeing, well, yeah.” A light red tint appeared on Meilin’s cheeks, betraying her shame for bringing up that painful chapter in Aoi’s past.

”I am just not sure what to expect or how to deal with this. This new genin, another new team member. Now this. I was just, well, hoping,” Meilin’s voice became softer as she felt how she wanted to rise up and walk away.

Forcing herself to look back at Aoi, she tried to sound more confident as per usual.

”I wanted to ask your help. You are the only person with a bloodline ability that I know and well, trust. It is different than Magnet, I imagine but at this stage I only know that the person who could help is dead. And I haven’t figured out how to make the dead rise and tell me about how to deal with, this.” Raising the crystalised piece of paper, Meilin would let it fall on the bed next to her.

Watching as Meilin seemed to be as uncomfortable with the situation as she was Aoi couldn’t help but to smile a little as she wasn’t the only one in a tough spot at the moment. ”Thought of me seeing? What? I don’t really get what you mean by that.” she said as the girl went on only to realize what she’d meant as she continued. Meilin was afraid. She wasn’t sure if she should expect something like what Aoi had been through when her release had come to her. She doubted it. Her issues were specifically because of her magnetism, and as far as she knew she’d never heard of other Kekkei Genkai giving other people much trouble at all. ”I don’t know what you should expect. It’s possible it could get ugly. But I don’t know. My release is rare in that regard, most are harmless to those that possess them.” she replied with a shrug.

She sat for a bit after Meilin finished, wondering if she really had anything that would help Meilin and if she even really wanted to at the moment. Shrugging again she’d motion to the crystal at Meilin’s side. ”Maybe try and do something? If you can control it even a little right now… Then you have somewhere to start.” she offered.

Frowning, Meilin would do it again. She had been tempted to try it before. Just trying to mould chakra and release it. But nothing had happened before. Focusing on moulding chakra at her left hand, Meilin remained silent. After a good twenty seconds, nothing had happened.

”Nothing. And that is what is pissing me off.” Lowering her hand, Meilin flexed her fingers for a second.

”I wish that there was some base that I could go off by. But I got nothing but what I already shared with you.” Was what Meilin further stated as she tried to hide her growing embarrassment. Thinking for a moment, she turned her attention at Aoi.

”How did you start with it? Anything that worked for you at the basics?”

She watched again as Meilin went about whatever she was trying. She frowned as she gave up in frustration, as if she were expecting it to be so easy to control that she’d get it so quickly. Forming a bird seal slowly and deliberately for Meilin to see Aoi would reach to the edge of the bed and touch the metal ashtray with a hand before it’d float up into the air and hover around to the side of the bed. ”Well I started with focus. We make handseals for a reason no? To focus ourselves and our chakra specifically? You expect to be able to just manipulate your crystal without a handseal, that’s unrealistic.” she wasn’t even sure which handseal Meilin would need, but there were only so many to choose from, ”Start with figuring out the handseal that best focuses your crystal release.” she said again with a shrug as the ashtray would continue to float around the room, ”Then maybe you can do things like this eventually.” she motioned to the floating ashtray before moving to watch Meilin again.

Leaning back, Meilin watched Aoi. Listening to the other, Meilin slowly nodded to show that she understood it. Considering the matter again, she knew that particular handseals were affiliated with a certain nature. And that bloodline abilities were made up from one or two basic natures. Fire was affiliated with the Ram or Tiger handseal. But what was Crystal made from? What natures? And then came the problem which of the two natures was more dominant, in that its affiliated hand sign was corresponding with it?

Growing further frustrated, Meilin sighed.

”I know that it is unrealistic but how do I determine what Crystal Release is formed out from? Perhaps,” she frowned, getting up from the bed.

Starting to pace, Meilin started to think out loud.

”I figure that lightning isn’t going to be the case. Neither fire. So that means that water, earth and wind is remaining. I don’t know how Crystal techniques are formed or what the basics are. So if I focus on perhaps water, then wind and then earth, I could perhaps see if there is a reaction.”

Stopping with her pacing, Meilin cupped her chin with her left hand.

”Okay. Yeah. I am going to give it a try. Though,” turning to Aoi, Meilin flashed an uneasy smile. ”I will need to request you to be at the ready to restrain me. I don’t think or hope it is going to be necessary. But well, I don’t know really what I am going to do.”

Smiling at Meilin as she admitted Aoi was right she waved at the girl, ”Well there’s only so many to choose from by that logic. So start eliminating them yeah?” she agreed before sitting up slightly. As Meilin paced she’d slowly recline back into the bed, her hands behind her head as she waited for Meilin to come to a full decision. She still wanted to sleep, and the longer it took Meilin to decide on what she wanted to do the longer it’d be until the fog that had fallen over her mind was sent away for good.

With a decision made Aoi would perk up as Meilin asked for her to be ready to restrain her. She nodded lazily and watched from her position on the bed while thinking about whether or not she could sneak in a hit or two in the name of “restraint”.

”I say get to it then. I doubt you’ll have something terrible happen.” she said with another dismissive wave while she rested her head in a hand.

Meilin absentmindedly nodded. She started with the first two handsignals, Horse and Rat. Holding each sign for a good minute, Meilin tried to manipulate chakra and notice any change. Without anything occurring, she decided to not bother with it and proceed further. It seemed that Water wasn’t the answer. So perhaps Wind? Repeating the same process, Meilin would mould and try to do something with the chakra while holding first the Hare handsign. Nothing happened, causing Meilin to repeat the process with Bird. Once more, nothing happened. Only Meilin’s frustration grew.

Staying calm, Meilin would proceed with the Earth element handsigns. At this stage, she would sit down and hold the Serpent handsign. Locking her focus once more for a full minute, moulding chakra to her hands and hoping for some sign or progress, Meilin would frown. Slowly she pulled her hands out of each other. A tiny purple item resided in her right hand’s palm.

”Bergjlot’s blessing,” Meilin mumbled as she would hold up the purple pebble. Careful to not drop it and lose it between the planks, Meilin would inspect the tiny crystal.

”So Serpent. If it is indeed affiliated with earth, then boar should work as well.” She thought out loud. Deciding to throw the small crystal on the bed, Meilin would repeat the process. The result was the same.

”Earth. An element that I know nothing about.”

Growing more tired with the situation by the second Aoi watched from where she lay and quietly hoped that Meilin would figure it out quickly so she could be left alone for a while longer. When her first few tries came up without results Aoi rolled her eyes and grumbled to herself silently. “Maybe--” she began as Meilin had been stuck on the Serpent handsign for quite sometime only to stop as the Cho took her hands apart and revealed the small crystal piece in her hands, “You’re not screwing with me are you Meilin? You didn’t learn some neat trick from Madoc and stash that away in your sleeve or something right?” she said as she stared at the small piece of crystal not even hearing Meilin’s astonished comment when she found the crystal in her hands.

She ran through everything she knew about Earth Release, which although her own release was firmly based in it wasn’t actually very much to go off of. “I know basic stuff, Earth is mainly about changing the composition of things, harder or softer, like my dust, how I can make it hard as metal or as soft as sand.” she said with a nod, “Probably explains why you can make… well crystal. The stuff is harder than rock most of the time yeah?” she said as she reached forward and took the crystal from where Meilin had thrown it. It was rather pretty, even if misshapen and small. She could see her partial reflection in its surface and held it up to the light of the window to watch the light refract off of it in different directions.

“Other than that I don’t know much about Earth Release, although it’s something I’ve been wanting to begin to learn.” she finished as she placed the crystal back on the bed.

”Believe me, if it was a prank or trick from Madoc, I believe it would have been much less innocent.” Meilin replied back, at first.

Inspecting the second made crystal pebble, Meilin listened to what Aoi told her. Changing the composition of things? It sounded so odd to her, much different from how fire worked. Trying something, Meilin would try to squeeze the crystal pebble. But it was indeed quite solid, not willing to crack or crumble.

Hearing that Aoi didn’t know much about earth release, Meilin thought of something.

”Perhaps we can delve into it together. You know, compare notes and what not.” She suggested. Turning to Aoi, she continued. ”I am not certain how long we got but there is this place. Something like a library. Perhaps we can find some answers there?”

Nodding Aoi was sure that it wasn’t a trick as she produced a second small crystal and began to inspect it, “Sure sure, Madoc would do much worse.” she agreed reluctantly before the Cho suggested they help each other with Earth release. She wasn’t keen on the idea. She was far more keen on the idea of going back to sleep even if it was barely past midday, but it would be a good chance to learn something. Even if she had to do it with Meilin.

She sat up to look Meilin up and down a moment before crossing her arms, “I’m only going because I want to learn too.” she stated matter-of-factly, the frustration she had been putting up with still evident as she spoke. At least in a library there was a precedent to not talk. “Lead the way then.” she motioned with a hand in a wave as she got off the bed and pulled on her jacket and grabbed her gloves and scarf from the table.

Getting up, Meilin would knit a frown on her brow. The statement of Aoi only wanting to go to learn was clear enough.

”Well, first, I got to arrange that we can go. Second, I already told you that I am going to talk with Dagrún. What more do you want me to do? Go and find, to then verbally spank her?” Meilin asked in return, her own frustration growing as well.

”Or would it be more pleasing to let you just try to bash her face in. Much like you tried earlier with mine? Is that the fashion you desire to settle matters now with strangers?”

Arrange that they can go to a library? Aoi wasn’t sure what there was to arrange, normally you just walked in, but it wasn’t that that caught her attention it was the next part of what she said. The fact she was still defending the Hon. Still deciding to turn a blind eye to the girls mockery. “I want you to open you damn eyes.” she let out as she pulled the scarf around her face and motioned for the door, “Let’s go. Go organize whatever you need to do.” she finished, ignoring the final questions from Meilin knowing full well they’d only serve to delude her more with the whole situation. Plus it didn’t matter anyway, Meilin would see what she wanted to see in Dagrún’s words. A well-meaning Chonobi to make friends with and no sliver of ill intent toward anyone if it meant she could keep that friend.

Open her eyes? Meilin wanted to sneer something back. Throw the crystal pebble at Aoi. Restraining herself from lashing out and giving into her frustration, Meilin felt less eager to move out. Still she would go along. Letting a silence plague between them as they would leave the room, Meilin considered her options.

”I will go and arrange this passage to the place I mentioned. Could you do me a favour and seek out Madoc? Making sure that he doesn’t get into some sort of trouble.” There was a fitting remark that Meilin wanted to say but the atmosphere between her and Aoi was sour enough already.

”I will let you know once I get the passage for us both. And what I will get out of Dagrún.” Half turning around already, Meilin seemed to want to say something more. Her expression briefly changed but she decided against it.

She wanted her to find Madoc? What for? He could handle himself. They both knew he could. She shrugged and began to remove her scarf as she wouldn’t need it to find Madoc. At least she hoped. “I can find him.” she agreed before she simply held a plain smile at the mention of Meilin approaching Dagrún at some point. She still wasn’t sure what she’d rather have when it came to the Hon. A brawl or a talk. Both could probably get the same thing accomplished, but one was far more tempting than the other was. “Whatever you think works best then.” Aoi continued as she began to frown a little and watch Meilin leave.
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[fieldbox="Operation Dreadful Kiss, #FFF370"]
Ino Namikaze | Sworn Sword | Rice Country

A couple of hours had passed since she went through the border, and the sun was getting close to being at the highest it would be for the day. By then, however, the woman who went by Miss Dei would look somewhat different.

She had lost her bag, wore different clothes, and her hair was held as a ball through a pair of small sticks that were just barely visible. Ino had initially planned to do this without needing to resort to more desperate actions, but since she was detained in the border, she had to make sure Miss Dei’s remains would never be found.

The bag Miss Dei carried, along with the clothes, would all be gone, thanks to the help of her panther summon. By summoning him there and giving the panther all the things before dismissing him, Ino made sure all those items would never be found anywhere in the country. And the day later, it would become known Dei has died while being back in the Frami Province of Akino. Her documents would never be found, as Ino buried it in the dirt as deep as she could with her bare hands.

Reaching what appeared to be the edge of the forest, Ino understood she wouldn’t be able to just go across without patrols likely stopping her. The fact she was a single person, had no cargo with her would only make it more suspicious for her to be arriving from the direction of the border. Deciding to wait until it became darker, she climbed onto a tree, with the height offering her a more clear view of the nearby fields and to plan how she would advance once the night settled in.

Nine hours later, and the stars were shining in the sky above. There was a partial moon, but luckily that didn’t shine as much as a full moon, but it still offered a bit of light over the fields. The patrols were now walking with lanterns that managed to properly cover the full width of the paths they walked on, and seemed to have increased by an additional person, being three in each patrol rather than two.

The time she spent looking over the fields, however, did not go to waste. During those times, Ino had managed to see an unmarked path among the fields, where people carried loads of the produce to the storage in the farm. Those weren’t covered by the patrols, and it seemed the farm did not have enough to cover for a security better than scarecrows.

Getting off the tree, Ino begun to move towards the fields as soon as she saw a passing patrol go out of sight. There wasn’t any trouble getting to the fields, as the only thing surrounding them was a fence, and passing through to the unmarked paths also went smoothly. Upon getting on the unmarked path, she noticed the footprint of a dog. So there was a potential alarm to her location, if the dog was outside. And that was if it was a single dog too.

Moving quietly on the unmarked path, Ino had to bend down and take cover behind the fences twice while making her way, as the unmarked paths and some of the fields were still in the line of the sight of the main road, which went over a small hill. Patrols had went and while their light wouldn’t reach all the way to her, there was no reason they wouldn’t be able to come down and investigate if they had been properly trained and caught a wrong sound at this time. Thinking low of what the enemy can do would always be the wrong move.

Reaching the farmhouse, it was well lit inside and made the area surrounding it also rather bright. She managed to hear the dog from inside the house, with its owners, most likely the farm owners, sounding as though they were very much enjoying themselves. Thinking on how she could pass by without being noticed, she thought about using a simple rock toss to make their attention go to the opposite side of where she was needing to go, but figured the dog could potentially still pick up her scent afterwards if it tried locating whoever tossed the rock.

Looking around some more, Ino kept thinking of her options, eventually deciding to wait a bit longer. A couple of hours more would pass, and the lights within the farmhouse dimmed down. Sounds from the place made it clear not all the residents had gone to sleep, but some had. Ino decided to use this chance to make her move.

With a silent but hastened walk, she made her way through around the farmhouse. Continuing to the fields on the other side, Ino saw there were only a couple more farm fields before it would be nothing but a clear, grassy field ahead. While the patrols were previously a worry, they were slightly less so now, seeing how the deeper she went into the farm, the further away she moved from the main road. Being on the western side of the farm, she could just barely spot the light of a passing patrol on the main road.

Hearing the dog being let out, she understood she couldn’t remain in the farm any longer, and hastened her steps further, to a near-silent light jog. It wasn’t easy moving with such speed on farm fields, but by being careful, Ino managed to go out of the farm lands. Continuing to move through the night, she kept her sights on her destination, knowing she needed to get there without drawing any attention from the night patrols.

The sun was high in the sky, showing it the middle of a brand new day, and the workers of the farm were deep in work. The Emi Farm didn’t look like much, as it was not big or the best maintained it could be, but due to being not too far from the Capital of the Rice country, it managed to keep going and sustain itself.

The lunchtime bell would ring, and the workers would go around the farm, group up and begin talking to each other. One worker, Tobe, went inside the barn to eat at the comfort of indoors, something which every other worker who knew him could tell was a habit. He always preferred eating indoors, claiming the heat of the day can ruin the meal, even if its the middle of the winter.

Sitting on a hay bale, Tobe unfolded the brown bag he carried in there with him and took out a piece of bread and an apple. The simplest of meals, but that was always enough to keep him going. Not to mention, he could always get the bread and apples for a cheaper price, since he was a part of the farm staff. Allowed him to save up for a proper place to live at, as he always told the other workers, instead of staying at the hovel he currently resided at with several of his siblings.

Bringing the apple of his mouth, he breathed on it and cleaned it slightly with his shirt before taking a bite from it. As he chewed, Tobe looked around, and then back to the door before raising his eyes upon seeing it open.

”Don’t you know I don’t like visitors while I’m eating? I would’ve figured whoever it was that pointed you to me would’ve said so.” Tobe told the two people who stepped inside. One of them he knew well, it was one of the most veteran farmhands, Tay. The other was a woman who he didn’t know ”I know that Tobe, but the woman said she has a message from your family, and that she needed to deliver it directly to ya. She didn’t know if it was urgent or not, she was just told to deliver this as fast as possible, and to your hands only. Something regarding yer family.” Tay said.

Tobe put the apple away and nodded his thanks to him before turning to the woman ”Well then? What do you have?” He asked, approaching her. The woman took a step forward and looked towards the veteran farmhand, being unsure if she should speak up with him still present. With both Tobe and Tay understanding, Tay turned away and stepped out of the door, with Tobe nodding his thanks before the door closed ”Out with it then, if you don’t mind.” He said.

Taking a note out of her sleeve, Ino would hand it over while speaking up ”I was told to come here quickly and let you know. Your family didn’t want you to hear it from anyone else, but there was a fight and he got injured. He is at the local temple, and hoping to see you soon.” She told him in a serious but somewhat tearful fashion, letting a sentence drop out so that Tobe will be able to fill in the blanks.

While reading the note handed to him in silence and listening to what Ino was saying, Tobe nodded lightly before tearing up a bit ”Natsu was in a fight? And he’s at a temple?” He said before sitting down back on the hay bale behind him. He leaned forward and appeared to think on what to do, placing himself with Ino being exactly between him and the door. Even if Tay had went out, that didn’t mean he wasn’t trying to peek in to see what was going on.

Looking down on him, Ino nodded lightly ”That’s right. Is there anything you’d like me to tell them? They paid me enough to bring the message to you and to bring them a message back from you. They said they had to make sure you knew.” She told him, as she watched him unravel a few strings in the sole of his shoe. She went down on one knee, further covering his actions from the door.

As he took a small bag out of a small pocket he had in his sole and silently placed it in Ino’s hands, Tobe let out some more sounds of uncertainty and tearing up ”I…” He started, before looking up at her and seeing the small bag go into her sleeve ”Tell them I can’t, not yet. Not un-until I’ve secured for us money for a better home.” He said, his voice shaking slightly.

Ino nodded her head once more and then took a step back as Tobe stood up ”Tay! Can you make sure the woman leaves the farm with haste? I don’t want anyone stopping her.” He called out, and barely a moment later the door opened, with Tay looking inside and nodding. It became evident he waited outside and listened to the entire conversation, but he seemed to understand Tobe’s sense of urgency ”Miss, if you’d please come with me, I’ll make sure you leave the farm with haste.” He said, and Ino nodded before going away, leaving Tobe behind with a brief apology.

A couple of minutes later, and Ino was already on the road leading away from the farm. Looking at the forged documents that were held within the small bag, she was impressed with how well they appeared to be made. Putting them away in her pocket, she also felt as though she wanted to give high remarks to whoever Tobe was. But then again,

Anonymity was a part of being a Zero Team member.


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[fieldbox="Long Knife - Part II, Orange"]Yamada Suzu "Rabbit"| Claw Country, Yakurao City Limits
Suzu has finally entered into the Claw Country and links up with the Zero Team that are to be her guides for her mission. In talking with them she gets a small idea of the hardships the Zero Team has faced and the unrest and cruel occupation being handed down on the population by the Fang Country thanks to the briefing she receives.

Part I

”So we’re just supposed to trust her?” the voice spoke from the other side of the door, Suzu wasn’t sure who they were, not yet at least, but she knew they were the other members of the Zero Team and that they seemed less than thrilled she was now with them.

”Orders are orders. I was told to pick her up and get her over, I did. Next we get her into Yakurao, she does her job and we get her out. Simple.” the older man, Atlas, he had called himself was speaking now, his tone lower and more serious, it was obvious he was the person in charge in this operation but it appeared as if he were having trouble controlling his team.

A softer feminine voice added to the conversation, barely audible through the door, ”She couldn’t even get herself across the border. Why are we risking everything we’ve done here for this? It took the Crown this long to get around to doing something about what’s happening here past us, it obviously isn’t as important as it seems.” Suzu felt a flash of curiosity over the girl on the other side of the door. At her insubordination in particular.

There was a sigh and a long pause, silence over took her senses and things began to ring to fill the void.

”We get her in, we get her out. If she compromises herself it doesn’t compromise everything we’ve worked so hard for,” Atlas sounded as though he’d had enough of his team bickering and had decided to set them in line, ”she fucks herself? Well we ain’t rescuing her. We’re just the guides, else we could do it and have to leave? Leave behind everything we’ve worked so hard for? I don’t want to do that, not after how long we’ve been here, and I doubt any of you want to. Now shut your mouths and get in line, I’m in charge not you brats.”

Suzu listened as no one seemed to dissent and turned to face the other direction as she heard someone’s chair move and steps approach the door she was seated outside of. There was a creak as the handle turned and she stood to face it, the older face of Atlas greeting her with a nod, ”Come on in then. Need to brief you up to speed and get you into Yakurao by morning.” he said with another nod as he motioned her inside the room.

It was hot inside the room, the furnace on one end was open and the heat from within had filled the room hours ago, a small haze of smoke floated at the ceiling and sifted out through a cracked window raised above them. She followed Atlas across the room and took a seat at the round table at the far side of the room with three other Zero Team members. She offered a nod and a

small smile, nothing more than simple courtesy, “I’m Rabbit, thank you all for getting me across.” she said simply as the younger man among them, some twenty year old runt with barely any hair on his face and close cut dark hair sneered in her direction.

”Were it my choice we wouldn’t have. We have a lot on our plate, a new operative bringing attention to us is not something we need right now.” the young man said before offering a hand out, ”I’m Aion, it’s a pleasure.” he said changing his tone to simply match the courtesy Suzu had offered. The only other woman in the room, a blonde haired twenty something year old with a heart shaped face that Suzu was sure was more than just easy on the eyes for men was screwing around with the messy bun at the back of her head sniggered at what she could only assume was Aion’s honesty.

”Name is Nyx. One of two women on the tea-” she began to say as she took her hands back from her hair before she was cut off.

”One of one.” the final member spoke interrupting Nyx from his leaned back position in his chair. He was in his late thirties, his head was shaved and he had a scar running across his neck where someone had obviously done a poor job of ending his life. His voice was raspy and low, probably a result of the ghastly scar, ”Apate is gone Nyx, get that into your skull.”

Suzu was taken aback by the candidness of the Zero Team in front of her, that they were simply coming out with all of this information so easily, and so willingly upon first meeting her. They’d lost a member, but she wasn’t sure how long ago, the one seemed to be having trouble coping, and they were apparently overwhelmed with work as it was. But there was something else here, something deeper. A tiredness that was pervasive through them all. She sat forward slightly and tilted her head, “How…” she noticed as they all turned to look at her, a hint of something on their faces but she couldn’t quite place it, “How long?” she asked simply as Atlas placed a cup of tea in front of her with a nod.

Atlas sighed to himself as he took his seat and sipped at his own cup of tea, ”God… What? Three years perhaps? Almost four?” he said, obviously a bit appalled at the number himself. Now she got it. Now she understood. They were envious of her, of the fact she’d come from their home and entered into the Claw and would soon be leaving, it had to hurt even more with a recent loss to their team. Especially if they’d all been together the whole time. No doubt they’d become close. Zero Team or not they were still human.

She took another sip from her tea and blew on it a little, “That long.” she said quietly before moving back to sip her tea, “Apate? How did you lose Apate? Were you compromised?” she continued, moving off the topic of their prolonged stay in the country and to something that mattered directly with her mission, whether or not she should be expecting anything more difficult than a quick job.

”We didn’t lose her.” Nyx stated quietly, ”She’s out there. I know it.” the woman continued seeming a bit more sure of herself, like a child getting their feet under them for the first time.

”She would have returned by now Nyx. Face it already by God. She got caught up in a food riot, a big one, biggest we’ve seen since arriving. At least a thousand rioters and three times as many soldiers. They slaughtered them, buried the bodies in a mass grave outside of Yakurao’s city limits. We couldn’t check, couldn’t go make sure. Couldn’t risk losing another.” Eros, the scarred one from earlier said as he seemed to grow sour at the thought.

Nyx rose in her seat and watched Eros with a cold intent as Suzu simply leaned back and readied herself to move out of the way of a fight, ”She made it.” Nyx said before moving from the table and out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

Atlas simply shook his head at Eros and turned back to Suzu, ”She’s taking it hard. The job is the job, we know nothing about each other as it should be, but we all agree we think they were related. Cousins at least, maybe even sisters, but we can’t reason why they’d send two sisters together on a mission like this.” he said as he pressed on his brow and seemed to think for a bit, ”It’s created issues, I’m thinking of sending her back with you when you go. She’s unfit to remain if she doesn’t clean herself up.”

”We don’t need a loose cannon blowing our cover.” Aion agreed from where he sat with a nod before turning to Suzu. ”I’ll get you into the city tomorrow, get you to the area of your informant. But getting out and back here is on you. We can’t risk getting caught out in another clash.” he said with another nod before reaching forward to his untouched cup of tea and beginning to drink.

Suzu had to think on what he said a moment, and the implications of the loss of their teammate. She’d known that things were bad in the Claw, but this was beyond her expectations. Food riots were one thing, in a strained place like this it would be common, but one of such massive scale was unprecedented. How the Empire hadn’t heard of such happenings she wasn’t sure, but she’d need to report it up when she returned. “Clashes? What sort of clashes? Your team fights?” she asked, unsure of what Aion had meant with his comment.

Eros stood up and walked over to the window, gently lifting the blind and peering into the night beyond, ”Not us. Them.” he said as he’d open the blinds further and motion Suzu to join him. She stood silently and walked to the window, peering through it and into the distance, into the direction that Eros was watching. She couldn’t tell what she was looking at, not at first at least. In the distance, out past the edge of the town and along the road that led to Yakurao things were burning, large things. Carts. She knew they were carts, and she could make out the tiny dots of humans going at each other around them.

“Brigands? Bandits?” she asked rhetorically, she already knew the answer.

”Resistance.” Aion said before Eros dropped the blind and moved back to his seat. Suzu followed suit and sat back down as Aion began to talk once more, ” The roads to the big cities, and the big cities themselves are the worst. They see the most fighting, these small towns are relatively untouched. But when they are they’re normally obliterated.” he said as he motioned at the room around them, ”The Fang likes to make sure no sympathizers remain. They can’t do it to the big cities, but I swear if they could pull it off they would.” he sighed and turned to Eros, ”How many groups we know of?”

”At least thirty, the Fang thinks it’s closer to fifty. Different groups, most poorly organized, some rather well organized. But they all do damage. Usually to supply convoys, small patrols, or outposts. But sometimes they get bold, make shit happen that shouldn’t, like the food riot.” he said bitterly.

Suzu was intrigued, she wanted more, needed it. “The food riot was a Resistance move? How did they manage that?” she asked as she continued to sip at her drink.

Eros shrugged as if she should have known the answer before looking her direction, the scar at his neck moving with every sound, ”They burned the food stores in Yakurao. The Fang forces couldn’t get enough food back into the city fast enough to feed everyone and the Resistance knew that for a fact. People got angry. Got mad. Rioted and died. It...” he shook his head and cursed quietly, ”It legitimizes the Resistance. The ‘needless slaughter of hungry civilians’ only helps to further build their support against the Fang. I mean who wouldn’t side with the Resistance when the other guys kill over a thousand of your people and simply toss them into a big hole and cover them up?” he said with a laugh.

”A despicable tactic but it worked. They’ve more support than they’ve ever had now. They’re getting bolder. But it won’t last, the Fang is already responding. Cracking down harder than they ever had.” Aion seemed to pick up where Eros had left off on his sentence as he snatched up his empty cup and walked it over to the sink on the other end of the room with Atlas finishing the rest of the thought.

”It’s why we can’t risk staying in the city once you’re there, sending Nyx away and with Apate gone, we can’t function if we lose a third, that’d be it. The gig would be up, all this work would be for nothing and we’d need to pull out.” Atlas seemed genuinely sorry as he pulled out some papers from his pocket and began to flatten them out, ”That’s why getting out of the city and back to us… You’ll be on your own.” Atlas laid out the paper and pushed it over to Suzu. A small hand drawn map of the roads leading into and out of Yakurao, and an arrow pointing back in the direction of the town they were currently in. ”Use this to get back. If you get caught or you’re going to die, burn it obviously.”

“Obviously.” Suzu repeated without a second thought.

Aion stood and gave a wave to the table before departing without saying a word and disappearing out the door that Nyx had left through.

Eros leaned forward and seemed as if he had a secret to tell Suzu as he began to talk, ”Aion isn’t showing it but he’s hurting too. Apate and him were close as well, nothing unseemly but they were closer than the rest of us were besides Nyx. You watch him in Yakurao tomorrow, far I know you have a good head on your shoulders, aren’t lamenting a long time comrade lost.” he said before leaning back and standing as well. He gave a smile to Suzu and nodded at Atlas before thanking him for the tea and making his way out the door.

Atlas sighed and leaned back in his chair, ”They’ve got it rough, Aion and Nyx. Aion is a good nin, keeps it to himself but we know, we’ve been in this hell for too long together to not notice it. He’s a good lad. But keep an eye on him, we’ve got Nyx cooped up here so you don’t need to worry about her.” Atlas said before drinking again,

”You should get some sleep, we’ve a free bed with Nyx if you’d like.” he offered Suzu with a smile.

A free bed. It had to have been Apates. Suzu shook her head and pointed to the couch, “That will do just fine.” she said as she would stand up at the same time as Atlas. Thanking the older man she’d shake his hand and watch as he left the room.

She lay on the couch in the dark, silence overtaking her only accentuated by the ever crackling furnace in the room. She was uneasy, the Zero Team seemed on the brink. They’d been in it too long, had seen too much to continue operation at the level they were. They needed to be rotated out but nothing seemed to be happening to do that. She wondered how much work they really did day in and day out. How much of the past three years of their lives had been completely dedicated to the cause, through the reformation and continued with the Empire? How much longer until their work brought results? Until the fruits of their labor were realized? Her thoughts were interrupted by shouting outside and the sound of armored soldiers running past.

'It’d be many more years...' she thought as she drifted off to sleep to the sounds of distant combat.[/fieldbox]
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[fieldbox="Long Knife - Part III, Orange"]Yamada Suzu "Rabbit"| Claw Country, City of Yakurao
Suzu is woken in the morning to enter the city of Yakurao with her Zero Team escort Nyx. She witnesses the conditions of the countryside and the deteriorating situation within the city itself.

Part I
Part II

Suzu bolted upright on the couch as soon as she heard the door to the common rooms handle moving, instinctively reaching for a weapon that wasn’t on her person she’d move her hand slowly to her lap as she found the woman, Nyx, smiling at her from the doorway. ”We’re ready to go when you are, you have ten minutes.” she said before turning around and disappearing out of the frame of the door. Suzu wasn’t sure what time it was, still early morning as the sun had yet to rise, but beyond that she wasn’t sure. Sitting and wondering why it was Nyx that had come and not the one she had been told would be taking her into Yakurao, not Aion, but she figured that question would be answered shortly.

A few minutes later, wearing a heavy coat and scarf and Suzu would exit the building with Nyx who was similarly dressed in drab colored winter clothing. Snow was coming down in a constant white sheet and adding to the blanket of snow already covering everything. They made good time out of the town, a few shortcuts to dodge common patrol routes and a quite jump over a wall to pass by a checkpoint had them on the road toward Yakurao without any issues and Suzu was a little more than impressed by Nyx’s knowledge of the routes of guards. But four years would do that to anyone, she was pretty sure most of the locals could have done what Nyx had just done, far less deftly but they could have pulled it off too.

“So why you then? Where’s Aion? He was supposed to be my guide.” Suzu said quietly as they walked side by side down the road to Yakurao which was no longer visible as it had been the night before with the constant snowfall.

Nyx turned to take in Suzu as if she was debating something but shrugged and pointed a thumb back at the town, “Aion got sick during the night, so they sent me. Eros has other obligations and Atlas too. I was all that was left.” she said curtly as if to leave no room for further questions.

Suzu shrugged and smiled at the girl, “As long as someone gets me into Yakurao.” she replied as they went.

Almost an hour into their trek they passed the burnt out skeletons of the carts that she had been shown the night before. The snow was black with soot and ash and she watched with a morbid curiosity as they passed by a pile of burnt bodies being fed upon by carrion. Whoever had won this skirmish had at least the common decency to stack and burn the bodies rather than let them be buried beneath the snow and allow to rot and fester when the melt came. She turned back to Nyx as the girl continued to walk and couldn’t help but notice her hands were balled into fists. “Common around here?” Suzu asked idly.

Nyx turned to her with a sneer, the sort of look that made it clear she thought Suzu was some brainless minion, some tools of the Empress sent to simply carry out a mission that had done little research on where she’d ended up, ”Not every night, usually once or twice a month. They raid and if they win? Then they take what they can, though...” she turned to look back at the pile of bodies some distance behind them, ”it doesn’t seem that they won this one. The Resistance that is.” she finished with a frown.

They hadn’t won? She could have sworn it was the Resistance that had won. Governments didn’t normally burn bodies, that was up to the rebels usually. So the Fang was as bad as they seemed and then even worse. “The Fang troops burned the bodies?” she asked Nyx, already knowing the answer.

Nyx nodded and turned to Suzu, the steam from her breath as she spoke punctuating every word, ”The Fang burns them because they don’t have the time or the manpower to bury them. If they burn them it stems disease, stops the chance for real rot to set in and bring sickness to this already troubled land. Plus it’s easier for the birds to get rid of them if they’re charred. At least that’s what Eros says, easier pickings or something.” the girl stated, a hint of disgust at what Eros had said was evident on her face as she shuddered and pointed forward, ”Not far now, less than an hour as long as the road holds up, we’re lucky they must have sent out working parties to shovel it just a few hours ago.” Nyx said as they trudged through the wet mud of the road.

Suzu hadn’t noticed it earlier but along the sides of the road the snow was piled far higher than just beyond it, which meant that what Nyx said was true, people had recently been sent through to keep the road open, not so long ago that much snow had even begun to accumulate beneath their feet but long enough that there was a solid white sheet for their entire walk.

Cresting a hill Suzu finally got her first look down onto Yakurao, a dismal city that stretched for as far as she was able to tell into the distance. It’s black roofs and dirty buildings lending credit to Suzu’s mental image of a land simply falling apart under a hostile rule. They made their way down the hill in silence, Nyx appearing to be on edge over the cities mere existence and Suzu simply taking it in. The city's walls were formidable, at least ten meters tall with guard towers spaced evenly along it, a large gate house with ports for oils and other liquid to be dropped on attackers willing to try the gate as a means of entry and guards visible atop it made for a rather formidable opponent for a siege. She pulled a hand out of its glove and began to reach into her pocket to fish out the doctored papers that gave her citizenship in the Claw but stopped as Nyx placed a hand out to tell her it wasn’t necessary.

They passed through the open gate of Yakurao without issue, the guards at the front simply sitting on crates, their spears and weapons leaning against the walls, watching as they went in. Not seeming to pay any mind to them as they passed before getting back to watching the rest of the people entering and exiting with no interest.

“Any reason they don’t check?” Suzu whispered to Nyx as they began to navigate the cramped and dirty streets of Yakurao. She’d seen people living in squalor before, but this was different. People sat huddle in alleys and on doorsteps, wrapped in tattered clothing and seeming to be spending as little energy as they possibly could while they seemed to sleep or wait for some sort of salvation. Others shambled along the narrow roads along them, walking like those she’d seen after large combat. Without purpose, without drive, simply walking with no goal, with nothing in mind other than walking. She passed around a man that seemed to be rambling to himself as he stood in the center of the road and watched the white sky as if something were there. She didn’t need to look to know there wasn’t anything there.

She gave Nyx a nudge and repeated her question, “Any reason the guards don’t check?”. She figured the girl had simply not heard her initially.

”They don’t want to risk their lives checking, they’re locals. City guards, they were simply roped into being on the wrong side, so they don’t play the game as much as they are expected to by the Fang.” she said a bit startled as if she had forgotten that Suzu were even there.

Suzu nodded as she realized it made sense. They had no reason to fight their fellow countrymen, even if they wore armor and technically served the Fang at this point, it was needless blood to waste when it came down to it. The guards probably wanted nothing more than for this occupation to be over and their country returned to them, but in the end they had families to feed and their own lives to worry about. So they stayed in their jobs and continued to serve. To survive. That’s what it was,the lack of emotion, of a want to do anything from the people she’d past, they had no time for anything of the sort, no energy for it. Here, everyone was simply surviving.

Before Suzu realized it they had entered into a massive square, the encroaching buildings at either side of them dropping off behind them completely and the wide open area surrounding them suddenly. She didn’t feel safe, didn’t feel that things were quite right in the square. There were a handful of others walking aimlessly about or sitting against the buildings at the edges of it but it was otherwise desolate. She could see the marks of fighting as they crossed it. Several of the buildings on the edge of the square were burnt out husks or boarded up dude to damage. There were still arrows present in the sides of some of some of the structures, higher than any man could reach they had been left for lack of any real reason to even remove them. The square itself was scorched in many places where fires had taken hold and a few of the intact buildings bore the scars of the riot that had taken place here.

She heard the soldiers before she saw them, their voices and the soft chinking of their armor echoing across the square long before they entered it. A group, twenty strong, consisting of mostly spear men and a small group of archers in the back it was easy enough to tell they were Fang troops. Their armor was far newer than the city guards at the gate, they walked with a purpose, and exuded an air of confidence that was dangerously close to invincibility. It was the sort of confidence that said they could do anything they pleased to anyone or anything they wanted here and no one would be able to stop them.

”Don’t stare, it will only give them more reason to come over here and take us somewhere less public.”

Like that her view on the entire situation had changed. Highly trained operatives or not, the Zero Team couldn’t risk blowing their cover, and it was obvious by what Nyx had said that she had endured for it in the past. Suzu felt sorry for the woman and followed suit as the girl pulled her scarf higher and picked up her pace to exit the square.

A few tense minutes late and Nyx had led Suzu to a second square, far smaller, more akin to what she was used to in cities of the Empire and this one actually busy with people. Merchants were selling sorry excuses for clothing, tiny amounts of fresh foods at exorbitant prices, and sour looking meat with questionable origins for twice as much as any other food in the market. Nyx stopped and pointed nonchalantly at a merchant a bit aways from them, his stall had only half a cabbage on it, rotted and moldy from the looks of it but people were still crowding around and offering what little they had for the food. ”That’s your man. As long as you use the right name he’ll trust you.” she said before turning to watch the road they had just walked back down, back in the direction of the square and the soldiers they knew were now there, ”I need to get going, it’s on you to get out of here.” she said as she made off.

Suzu hadn’t noticed it when it happened, but the voice of the girl seemed determined, and her walk was full of purpose. If she possessed the ability to regret her own decisions, she may have regretted not picking up on the girls odd burst of purpose in the future.

Meeting her informant had been easy, he’d recently sold his disgusting cabbage and was packing up his stall when she approached. With the simple utterance of the name Yuko he’d finished packing and told Suzu to follow him before leading her to the basement of a nearby building that he was using as his home. It was dark and cold, with a snow drift in the corner from a window that had been poorly boarded up and covered with some tattered sheets. In the opposite corner were a small cook stove and a ragged mattress he had obviously been using as his own. A short talk later and Suzu had a name, a Captain of the Yito Clan’s forces by the name of Hitaro. According to Yuko the man had led a feared band of mercenaries during the Great War on behalf of the Water Country, burning and pillaging the nomad settlements of the Vanguri and Cho people before disappearing shortly before the end of the war, and it was Yuko’s understanding that the Cho had never truly managed to catch them in a favorable engagement. Suzu placed the idea that the Empress was simply getting revenge on a mercenary for the approval of her own people out of her mind as preposterous and continued to listen as Yuko went on to tell that Hitaro had recently been rumored to be allowing outsiders into the Claw, bringing them under his own protection into the country and promptly heading separate ways, though why no one knew.

Suzu thanked the man and left his cold home for the streets above. She knew the mission, to bring the man back to the Empire alive, but now she knew why. He was helping foreigners enter the land, and she was pretty sure that the foreigners were most likely Zealot agents.

As she walked around the city of Yakurao she’d keep an eye out for as small a group of Fang soldiers as she could, preferably a pair as they’d be easier to subdue and question, but the smallest she had yet found was eight men. She silently cursed the Resistance fighters for giving the Fang such a good reason to travel in large groups and continued her hunt.

By the time she was about to give up and find a place to spend the night Suzu was well inside the city, alone and cold she’d wandered long enough to lose the feeling in her feet but she was quite done searching. She turned a corner to find the backs of a crowd of people blocking her path. Too short to see over them she simply began to pick her way to the front, the yelling of a man evident over the low murmur of the people around her.

“By order----!”

Suzu pushed a little faster to see what was happening, a grumble of protest from the man escaped his lips as she passed.

“-a resistance opera----!”

She wasn’t sure what was going on but she was sure it was nothing good. It had to be a Resistance member caught out, being corralled an captured by a group of soldiers

“--- in our own city!”

The front of the crowd was nearly silent as Suzu pushed forward but she still couldn’t see what was happening. She could hear the words more clearly now that she was closer, and thanked her luck as the man continued to yell his proclamation to all that watched ahead of her.

“I, Captain Hitaro sentence this waste of life to death on my authority!”

Suzu found herself stopped in her tracks as she finally pushed her way through the crowd far enough to be able to see. The press of bodies around her still keeping her covered as far as she could tell but she could now clearly see what was happening ahead of her.

There was a large raised platform, the likes of which she had seen many times. On the edge nearest the crowd stood a large upside down ‘L’ shaped beam that hung over the edge with a rope attached to its front. There was a woman standing at the edge of the platform, stripped to nothing in the cold and shivering uncontrollably, although Suzu wasn’t sure if it was the cold that was causing it or the fact of the rope around her neck. The girls face was as badly beaten and bruised as the rest of her, the structure and look of it completely eaten away by her injuries, but she found herself staring into the woman's eyes as the woman suddenly picked her out in the crowd and stared at her.

There was a hand at her shoulder and Suzu reached for the kunai tucked in the small of her back, ready to kill whoever it was that was there, ”We have to leave.” said the voice of Aion who was now firmly pulling her back through the crowd. Suzu didn’t get to watch, didn't see it happen, but she heard the short scream and the deafening crack as Nyx was pushed from the platform and her neck broken by the noose.[/fieldbox]
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Jason Targaryen

Lord One-Eye
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[fieldbox="More Training!, skyblue, dashed, 10, Tahoma"]
Ryu Uchiha | Team 19 Genin | Amegakure

It wasn't long after she had seen the body and fled the scene that Ryu arrived at the hospital for her training. Making her way inside, she found the doctor waiting for her in the lobby. Although his expression changed from a kind one to one of concern as he looked over Ryu. "Are you feeling alright, Ryu? You look a little green." He said, noticing how the girl seemed to be physically ill. Ryu responded by simply nodding her head and moving past him to head to his office where they usually met to train. The dark haired man gave the nurse at the front desk a concerned look for a moment before heading up to follow her. The moment he entered the office, the man crossed his arms as he looked at the girl sitting in her usual chair. "Alright. Whats wrong? You and me both know that something isn't right, and you're not gonna hide it from me." He said, causing the girl to look his direction for a moment before nodding. "On my way here this morning... I saw a murder victim. The police were all crowded around an ally and when I looked over, it was an innocent woman with marks clearly left from Kunai. I just... its repulsing to see an innocent person killed like that." She said softly, looking away in slight embarrassment.

The man gave a soft sigh as he moved to sit opposite of her, wearing a calm expression, despite being rather concerned about the news she had just delivered. "Ryu. Sometimes bad things like that happen, but there isn't much we can do for that poor woman now besides letting the appropriate authorities do their jobs. But what you're here to learn how to do, it can save lives like hers if we find them fast enough. Honestly, we have a chance to save a lot more innocent people this way. So why don't we focus on our task at hand, perhaps having your mind on something else will also do you some good, yeah?" The man said as he carefully studied the girl's reactions. He had gotten to know her well enough between her training and multiple extended stays thus far to have a pretty good guess what she was thinking based off her reactions. She wasn't exactly the best at hiding how she felt about some things.

From there on out, the training went rather smoothly. He decided to take it easy on the girl today but kept her for a while longer than usual. The reasoning simply being that he wanted to watch and make sure it hadn't bothered the girl more than he had thought so far. The topic for the day that he had chosen was how to identify certain injuries that may not be obvious from the start, or other various things like illness or poisoning. It would take quite a few lessons before he would be comfortable in saying that she had an understanding of the topic. Still, he felt it was the next step before teaching how to treat such ailments. Identify first, then treatment. It went rather smoothly overall, though it would be going into the evening by the time he finally let the girl go. "Go home, you've got more chapters to read and study. This topic will be one which we stay on for a while. Just keep your focus on it, alright? The authorities will take care of the other problem. Will you be alright to walk home on your own, or should I have somebody walk you home?" He asked, more concerned for her wellbeing than that she would get attacked.

"I'll be fine, besides I wanna go to the store and pick up something for Naomi or she might smack me for not coming home to spend time with her today. Same time next week?" Ryu asked as she waited patiently to be dismissed. The doctor simply laughed as he stood and made towards the door to open it for her. "Two things. One, I'm sending somebody anyways. Two, I actually want you here every other day now. We're gonna work on your training more, and I can make sure we get the job done right." He explained, keeping to himself that he was also looking to keep her from possibly getting in any sort of trouble. Either way, he soon sent his student on her way home with one of the nurses who lived in that area escorting her. "The chaos in this city is going to give me a heart attack." The man muttered as he went back inside after thinking about the murder, and deciding that it would be time soon for a 'monthly' safety meeting among his staff.[/fieldbox]


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[fieldbox="Emotions and Fears, #1589FF"]Ryu Uchiha and Yoshikuni Sadako
A Collab between Jason and Nim

Ryu comes back to Eiji's house after the medical training. She and Kuni talk about recent occurrences before things get heated up, and end with the resolve of one being expressed to the other.

Having gotten home not long ago, Kuni was laying on the couch in the living room. She decided to make a small and simple dinner for the day, figuring it would be enough and that perhaps Eiji and Sachi wouldn’t be too hungry, as she didn’t know what kind of things they did while being out. She also wasn’t sure if Ryu would be back in the evening or not, as she couldn’t know when the girl would be back from what was likely another medical training session. Worst case, she knew she could prepare another plate of what she had in mind without much trouble.

Ryu was still troubled by what she had seen that morning. Taking the quickest path home after training with Doctor Tsubaki, the girl was not overly eager to become another victim. As she came back it was already getting later, and she could hear a soft growling coming from Naomi’s tree. ”I'm sorry Naomi. I had to stay longer at training for today’s lesson.” The girl said softly as she moved over to the tree. ”But! I did stop by the store on my way home. Picked up a nice, big steak for you. Then tomorrow we’re gonna go train and spend time together, alright ya big baby?” She asked only to get a growl of agreement.

Not long after feeding her friend, the front door to the house creaked open as Ryu made her way inside. ”Hey! Anybody home? I came back from training and had to stop by the store for Naomi, so I also got some cake for dessert!” She called out as she walked further into the front room. Halfway expecting Sachi to come charging out of nowhere demanding the cake.

Hearing the door creak open and then Ryu call out, Kuni moved to sit on the couch ”Guess that means we have some good dessert for whenever Eiji and Sachi come back from spending a day out.” She said before getting up and approaching Ryu ”Hey Ryu, wasn’t sure when you would be coming back tonight. Had another training session with Doctor Tsubaki?” She asked before offering a hug.

Without any hesitation Ryu hugged Kuni, needing the comfort after that image from this morning still wouldn't leave her. Stepping back, Ryu attempted to put up a brave front and nodded. ”Yeah. A long one as well that ended with me getting another few chapters to read in the boring ol’ textbook over there.” Ryu grumped as she gestured towards the massive textbook she was constantly studying on the table. Moving further into the home she set down the bags and took out the box containing the cake. ”Where should I set the cake? Probably somewhere higher so that the little demon doesn't try to steal it when they get home.” The girl said with a light laugh.

”Reading is one of the more important methods of studying, doesn’t matter how boring some materials can be.” Kuni said after hearing Ryu grump about her homework. Upon seeing her take out the cake and hearing her question, Kuni lightly nodded ”Probably for the best to put it in one of the top cabinets in the kitchen for the time being. And don’t worry, I won’t forget it’s there.” She said with a smile before walking to the kitchen.

After entering it and leaning against the counter, Kuni decided to speak up ”I saw you earlier. I caught a glimpse of you watching something behind some police forces before running off. You seemed upset, so I’m sorry I didn’t approach you back then. I just had a lot going on in my mind. Still do.”

Her voice expressed just how much it had sat with her since seeing her earlier, not being there for a friend when she could’ve been, being filled with guilt and also sounding very apologetic. And although tears wouldn’t come, the look in her eyes made it more than clear just how heavy it was for her.

Ryu shook her head as she put the cake away. ”I am almost insulted you think I wouldn't remember where sweets are.” Ryu countered before turning around as Kuni started to speak. Ryu seemed surprised for a second before her features softened. ”Kuni. Its alright. I understand having a lot on your mind, I always do. But I think its better anyways you didn't come over. There was a murder, and I think a shinobi murderer at that.” Ryu said softly as she looked towards the ground, feeling physically repulsed by the scene once more.

Hearing what the event really was, Kuni’s eyes widened a bit. A murder, and possibly a shinobi murderer? As if things couldn’t get any better, another reason for the locals to want the shinobi to get lost ”Talk about an awful day to be a shinobi then. Or the Jounin Commander. I heard him talk down what seemed to be a beginning of a protest. But if this is discovered to a shinobi murderer, then I imagine it wouldn’t be good for any shinobi. Let alone whoever it was that hurt that kid the people were shouting about.” She said, sounding more serious now.

Realizing how grim both topics was, Kuni decided to shake her head once, slap her lightly cheeks with both hands twice before looking at Ryu with a smile ”Well, I suppose we better not think too much into those and just be careful doing our duty.” She said, speaking with a much lighter tone now, as if she slapped any negativity she had in her out.

Ryu’s face colored deeply at the mention of the kid being hurt. ”That was me. I thought that I could get the zealot bastard I was chasing with manipulated shuriken. Got overconfident in my abilities and my sharingan, then he stopped and they hit the kid I never saw in front of him. I wanted to go see if I could help, but Riojin-Sensei wouldn't let me. Instead I got demoted and now I have to live with the guilt I hurt an innocent boy.” She said softly, the genuine regret for her actions displaying clearly on her features.

Hearing Ryu’s explanation of what happened, the smile went away from Kuni’s face. A disappointed expression would take it’s place as the Jinchuuriki wondered if there was anything she could even say in response to that. Ryu have been through one accident after the other, and at least once it ended up with more than just her being hurt. Where did she even get the overconfidence to chase people down, instead of learning how to be more careful? The young girl wouldn’t know. ”Be glad he didn’t outright kick you from the force.” She said quietly before making her way back to the living room.

”He should have. I’m starting to think maybe I should just quit. I get angry and irrational too easily. All that bastard had to do was mention Sugu and all I could see was red.” Ryu said softly, keeping her distance from Kuni. Almost as if she was afraid of hurting her best friend as well. ”I just… they have no right to talk about Sugu! I wanted to just make him shut the hell up. Then all I proved I can do is fuck it up.” Ryu said in frustration as she turned away from Kuni. ”And I’m afraid. I’m scared they’re going to blame me for the murder. I didn’t do it but… what if they do? It’ll hurt Eiji, Sachi, and you.” She muttered after a brief silence, trusting Kuni as somebody she could confide her fears in.

Ryu’s further explanation of what happened didn’t help make Kuni want to go and comfort her. While Kuni herself wasn’t sure what she would do, she knew that in the field of getting emotionally assaulted by strangers, then she might have faced a bit more than Ryu had. Getting used to that type of thing isn’t easy, nor is it something Kuni thought people should be experiencing. But with the whole of the shinobi force being thrown into the public’s attention by actions like that, taken rashly by people who acted based on pure emotions, who could really blame them?

When Ryu mentioned her fears, the Jinchuuriki sighed and finally turned to look towards Ryu ”The Jounin Commander promised things will be dealt with when he spoke to the people. I don’t know if he meant any further treatment when it comes to you, but for now, it will probably be for the better if you do also let Eiji know. Hearing what happened alone isn’t easy, but letting you go through it completely on your own won’t be right either.” She said, still speaking in a quiet voice.

”With that being said, you need to learn how to keep your emotions in check. I can’t say I’m an expert in that in any sort of manner, but I would be willing to try and help you with that as much as I could.” Kuni told Ryu, her voice slowly going back to its normal volume ”And you can be goddamn certain that Eiji wouldn’t be willing to just let you sit there and cry over what happened. So get a grip on yourself, now.”

Ryu didn’t dare look towards Kuni, already fearing that she might not see Kuni being friendly anymore, instead looking at her like others did when they learned about her. ”But if I tell Eiji then he might not want to adopt me.” She muttered, mostly to herself as she finally decided that it might be better just to go isolate herself in her room. ”I… should probably leave you alone. Probably don’t want me around too much right now.” She said as she turned to start heading up the stairs towards her room. In all honesty, Ryu just wanted to be alone to avoid any potential backlash from Kuni on her actions. She wasn’t sure if she was ready to lose her best friend like that.

Kuni raised an eyebrow upon hearing her mutter and then decide Kuni didn’t want her around anymore ”Giving up on your friend just like that but being over confident in your combat abilities? Deciding to walk away from those who are still around but still think so highly of those who are buried? I think I just figured this whole thing out.” She called out to Ryu ”You aren’t really scared of losing me, Eiji, or Sachi. You just want to turn back the clock! Take back things that happened! And you don’t care on what happens now!”

Ryu froze whenever Kuni started to talk, and each word seemed to hit as if Kuni were just beating her directly. When Kuni finished talking, Ryu turned around and walked straight back towards Kuni. ”You. Shut up. I’m not giving up on you, I’m saving myself from the backlash. Those that are buried wouldn’t have turned their backs on me like you seem to have no problem doing. You’re right that I want to turn back the clock, to stop everything. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about now.” She said firmly, still keeping a distance between the two as she tried to avoid Kuni thinking she was threatening her.

”Saving yourself from the backlash. That’s a good one. You really are quite dumb sometimes. And thinking the dead won’t turn their backs on you is a bit late. I still remember what you told be when I first came to visit you at the hospital. What happened at the apartment. I always wondered why would Suguha and you throw fireballs at each other. Then there is also how you blew up yourself in a small mission and brought upon the anger of our teammates, got a boyfriend and lost him too, in the same time you were besides Eiji and did nothing, nothing, to stop the loss of his arm! Those who are dead and those who aren’t in contact anymore might not be able to backlash at you, but that does not mean they wouldn’t!”

Kuni was still speaking in a loud voice, a serious and almost angry expression on her face, but inside she knew that if Ryu kept dodging the real issue she had, then she will never be able to move forward. She had to make Ryu bring out her emotions so her friend could take the first step towards learning how to control her emotions.

Ryu’s expression filled with anger, both her hands forming into fists at her side as her arms seemed to shake slightly. Ryu jabbed a finger towards Kuni’s face as she responded, now yelling at the other. ”You don’t know what happened! You didn’t know her! You know nothing! Where the hell were you when I was fighting beside Eiji when that happened!? I thought I could trust you as my friend, but I was wrong. Everybody else is right about you, you’re just a monster controlled by that thing inside of you.” Ryu yelled, a glare of pure rage in her eye. Then Ryu lashed out suddenly, slapping Kuni across the face as hard as she could. ”Just go away! I hate you!” She shouted once more, looking almost as if she were ready to to hit Kuni again.

Ryu was almost at the tipping point. That was certain. Only thing she really worried about was that Eiji could potentially step in with Sachi and find them both like this, but considering how long it have taken them so far, Kuni hoped that they wouldn’t arrive back until the two were done.

With a red cheek from the slap, Kuni kept looking at Ryu ”Between the two of us, you should be the one going away. This was my home first. Eiji took me in first. He cared so much for me that he came all the way to Konohagakure just to make sure I’m fine. You? You’re nothing more than a mere failure. Lost my sister by my own hands because she lashed out on me, guess I’ll lash out on everyone who mentions it! Or, I can ignore all those who care about me and claim they’ve turned on me! Pathetic.” She said, staring Ryu directly in the eye and getting ready for whatever reaction may come next. Ryu’s iris was in a shape she had never seen before, but she didn’t care for that. Right now, she hoped this was enough.

Ryu stepped forward like she was about to lash out again towards Kuni, even starting to throw the punch before she suddenly stopped. Looking down at herself for a moment before sighing. ”When Eiji asks where I am, tell him-”

She wouldn’t get a chance to finish as Kuni would suddenly fling her arms around Ryu’s body and push them both to the ground, with Kuni being on top of Ryu ”Getting too much, so you are running away yet again. You need to face your feelings. You need to let them out. If you so desperately want to leave, then you can only do so by moving me out of the way.” The Jinchuuriki told her, something being very clear in her eyes. It was determination to help her friend and not let her run away from the things keeping her back for the rest of her life.

Ryu started to dodge to the side as Kuni moved in seemingly slow motion towards her, but found herself unable to do so in time. Slamming to the floor, Ryu looked up towards Kuni and wondered why the sudden change in behavior. ”I wasn’t running because of my feelings! I hit you and I was just going to keep doing that. I wanted to leave because I was acting like Tadashi. I can’t let myself do that.” She said before something seemed to slowly dawn on her. ”You don’t actually hate me like that… do you?” She said softly, as the determination in Kuni’s eyes and her promise from before slowly started to make sense with her actions.

Ryu stopped because she thought she was acting like her dad. That was what was holding her back? Sighing, Kuni shook her head lightly ”You’re my friend. It will take a lot more than a wrongful move in a mission to cause me to hate you. Otherwise I would’ve hated you a long time ago.” She remarked, thinking back for a moment before looking at Ryu again ”Hitting me wasn’t acting like Tadashi. It was letting out your emotions. You keep holding them back too much, and that is just dangerous. That’s the reason you jumped at the mention of your sister. The first step is to properly let them out, and you need to understand that getting riled up and beating something senseless is one way of doing it. There are other ways, but considering how far you got now, I want to say beating something senseless would probably be the best option of you. ”

Getting up from above Ryu, Kuni offered her a hand ”Of course, that being said, I don’t have to be the thing you will beat up. But like I offered before, I do want to help you with learning how to maintain better control over your emotions. Took me a while to get over my own mom’s death and how people treated once I became a Jinchuuriki, after all.” She said with a soft smile.

When pulled up by Kuni, Ryu immediately reached out to turn the girl’s head slightly to side. Wanting to inspect where she had hit her. ”I… I don’t know how. I’ve always thought keeping everything inside was how I get through life. Though if you’re willing to help me, thank you. Though can we try a way that doesn’t involve me beating something up? I am not proud of being so violent.” She said softly, smiling nervously as she looked away for a moment. ”How did you manage to reign them in? Your emotions?”

Letting Ryu turn her head and see the redness on her cheek, Kuni waited briefly before looking at Ryu again ”I meditate, I talk to Eiji, I punch training dummies. It’s kind of all around, but those kind of things let me control better when I let out my emotions. And right now, unfortunately for you, I believe you have a lot of aggression in you. Towards your dad too. So you will need to be a bit violent and let it out, but,” She said before turning to face the door that just begun to open ”Not today.”

As the door opened, Eiji came in with Sachi in his arm ”We’re home.” He said, and quickly enough Sachi wiggled out of his grasp and ran towards the two girls that already stood inside ”Sorry we arrived late, Sachi kept going back to hide.” He explained before taking a proper look at the two. Seeing Ryu’s eye and Kuni’s red cheek, he approached the two ”What happened?” Eiji asked, sounding both serious and concerned.

Before Ryu could respond, Kuni patted Ryu’s arm lightly as she looked at Eiji ”Nothing serious Eiji, and we’ll tell you after dinner.” The Jinchuuriki said before kneeling towards Sachi ”Did you have fun today?” She asked, only to get a tongue stuck out at her as an answer. Kuni decided to also stick her tongue at Sachi before picking the infant up in her arms.

Ryu went to respond to Kuni, but then Eiji and Sachi were suddenly home. As Eiji approached and asked them what happened, she was going to tell him that she had lost control, but Kuni answered for her. A little frustrated she didn’t get to explain herself, Ryu looked at Kuni who was kneeling towards Sachi. Instead Ryu turned her attention towards Eiji, reaching out pull slightly on his sleeve to get his attention before whispering. ”My eye. Is it…?” She asked, not needing to finish that sentence as the man understood and nodded. The girl seemed more confused as she ducked her way out to head towards the bathroom and look in the mirror. Yet… nothing. Her eye had returned to its usual color of blue. Letting out an annoyed sigh she returned to the trio to see Kuni holding Sachi. At which point Ryu came in and leaned over to whisper to the girl. ”Don’t tell your daddy, but I got a cake for dessert tonight.” She said, at the which point Sachi immediately shouted about cake as Ryu giggled to herself and shrugged at Eiji.

With Sachi beginning to shout and be excited about cake, Kuni couldn’t help but throw an annoyed look towards Ryu ”Alright, Ryu, you can go and play with Sachi for a bit. Eiji and I will prepare dinner. Won’t take long, as I have something simple planned.” She told them before bringing her mouth to Sachi’s ear and whispering ”Ryu knows where the cake is, but she won’t tell you unless you tickle the answer out of her.” Letting the infant down to the floor, Kuni would make her way to the kitchen to begin preparing dinner for all them, with Eiji’s help too.



Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
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One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
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Really sporadic. My schedule is somewhat of a mess at times.
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Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I can go with both. I am rather flexible.
Favorite Genres
I like a lot of genres such as magical, modern, fantasy. Anything with an interesting plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anything that is too focused on something that I don't feel too comfortable with. Such as furry.
[fieldbox=A meeting of Cho’s, burlywood]
Empire of Akino,
Magnhild, the Fortress-city of the Hon clan.
A collab between Lesli and Oetje.

Aiko decides to meet up with Meilin. The two Cho settle down for a talk and briefly go through some matters. Such as how Aiko intend to lead and oversee Meilin’s team as giving some support to the younger Cho’s leadership capabilities.

It was quite the deal, Meilin thought to herself. Moving through the light snowfall, she had pulled her hood up. The biting cold couldn’t subdue the nerves that were running rampant through her body and mind. Heading to the meeting point, she was considering what she should say. How she should introduce herself. Matters that perhaps didn’t seem to matter much but this wasn’t just a meeting with a superior. It was with the woman that led her clan. A prominent figure in the Empire, renowned for her various deeds and capabilities.
Somebody that Meilin felt a mixture of awe and fear for. Knowing that some of her thoughts were irrational, Meilin was also curious. She had heard stories of Aiko. How she had managed to coerce the jarls to unite the clan. Bringing back some of the old order into the clan and managing to turn it from its declining course.

Spotting the establishment up ahead, Meilin didn’t spot anything special about it. It was just another tavern in Magnhild. The sign with the name and the painting of what Meilin figured to be a laughing cow, which did bring the hint of a smile on her cold lips. Pushing the door, she would be welcomed by some warmth of the nearby hearth and soft music. There were several tables occupied by patrons but nothing that made her consider the place to be too crowded. Spotting the woman, sitting at one of the tables, Meilin would push the hood back as she tried to flash a polite smile. Approaching the table, Meilin wavered for a second. Placing her right fist against her left palm, she wanted to make a deep bow towards Aiko.
”Meilin Cho of the Nayami Lineage, Lady Cho. I am most honoured.”

Aiko had noticed Meilin approaching and observed the younger woman. She had heard some information. Zakito had informed her a bit and Aiko had been quite intrigued. This young woman had done both rather impressive as daring accomplishments. Causing Aiko to wonder if she could praise or should condemn the young woman’s guts and actions. Knowing what drove her, Aiko couldn’t say that it justified all of Meilin’s past actions. But it had something to it, Aiko thought to herself.
Gesturing that Meilin could just sit down, Aiko would reply back. ”Please, sit down. No need for too much formality. Not really the place for.” A wink followed as Aiko let a pause follow her words, waiting for Meilin to take a seat.
”Would you like to drink something? My treat.”

Meilin took a seat, being a bit relieved that this didn’t seem to be a super formal meeting. The sudden warmth of the interior made her feel a bit light and she hoped that the quick transition from the cold outside to the warmth wouldn’t cause her to become sick.
”Just some water. If you wouldn’t mind, ma’am.” Meilin replied back as she placed her hands on her lap.

”Water? I wouldn’t mind if we would indulge into something stronger.” Aiko half-joked as she would spot a barmaid walking past. Gesturing the young woman, Aiko ordered two mugs of water. Turning to Meilin, she spoke up again. ”So, I heard that the meeting with Orun Hyuzu was… rather short.” Aiko’s tone was calm and friendly, masking the amusement. Though she had expected that the specialised jounin could have hold a conversation with a chuunin, Aiko had decided to not seek much behind it. Perhaps Orun wasn’t that verbally smooth with young women?

”I am sorry,” Meilin immediately began as she lowered her head. ”I fear that with not having eaten much and just coming from outside with the cold, I don’t think I can handle much strong drink.”
When Aiko brought up her meeting with Orun, Meilin instantly felt that she was in trouble. Keeping her eyes lowered, she frantically started to look for an excuse or reason that wouldn’t upset the clan leader.
”I fear that there wasn’t much to talk. He brought up that it was an order for you. But I don’t prefer to just talk about my team to a complete stranger, ma’am.”

Leaning slightly forward, Aiko’s left eyebrow perked up. Orun had stated it was an order? Well, that was quite a charming move. If Meilin was indeed as headstrong as Zakito had informed Aiko, then the woman wasn’t surprised that Orun hadn’t managed to learn much. Having the luxury of knowing more of Meilin’s background and previous performances on missions, Aiko doubted that a stern straightforward approach would help much. Or being overly sweet.
”It is okay. I had hoped he would just meet somebody of the supporting team. I imagine it would be good for you both to be aware of each other. Though,” she paused as the barmaid of before came to bring the two mugs filled with cold water. ”He won’t have any formal authority over your team. That right belongs to you. I will be mentoring you and as the description goes, dragging you along on the missions that Team 8 will be deployed to. Do you have any questions regarding that?” Aiko asked, taking a sip of her drink.

Relieved to hear that it was okay, Meilin would listen. It felt good to have the confirmation that the team was under her own command. Not that she would have the guts to object to Aiko if she had stated that Orun would have some form of command over team 4. Not right away, at least. When Aiko inquired if there were any questions, Meilin nodded as she brought her gaze up, to meet that of Aiko’s.
”I was wondering how much you will be mentoring me, ma’am. I am not that experienced in leading this team. And while I wouldn’t say that they are destabilised, I figure that I could use all the help to become a better leader.”

”As much as you desire. I have, of course, my own students to look after. But I will try to make time for you and aid you with advice and directions when you request it.” Aiko replied as she thought about something. ”Correct me though if I am not mistaken. But you’ve served underneath Kensuke Nimatsu, no? Could you perhaps inform me of how you experienced that?”

Feeling slowly and gradually more at ease, Meilin didn’t seek much behind the question of Aiko. She actually hadn’t thought about Kensuke or anybody of Team 7 for some time.
”Nimatsu was a competent leader. I didn’t always agree with him. But I respect him well enough. He didn’t teach me much but we still fought on multiple occasions together.”
Pausing for a moment, Meilin took a sip of her water.
”I have nothing else really to say about Nimatsu.”

Nodding, Aiko considered what Meilin had said. Truth be told, she didn’t have extensive experience with how Kensuke mentored or led his team. She knew that he was a competent fighter, that was for sure. She wanted to delve deeper, seeking out what exactly Meilin and Kensuke hadn’t agreed to. But decided that could be done later.
”And what kind of leadership would you prefer having from me?”

That question was somewhat unexpected. Meilin wasn’t sure how to answer back. Considering what she wanted, Meilin weighed the words carefully before giving the answer back.
”I would appreciate it if you would be honest and straightforward with me, ma’am.” She began. ”Other than that, I don’t have any other wishes. I am honoured to serve underneath your command, ma’am.”

She was starting to like this young woman. There were only a few chuunin captains that Aiko had met that had such maturity and calm about them. Then again, she wouldn’t solidify her opinion just yet from a first meeting.
”I also am aware of that you are part of a particular group. Would you mind to tell me more about them?” Aiko asked, her eyes half closing.

Meilin remained silent for a moment. She was aware that if the Lady Cho asked her something, she was sworn to do so. But it felt like a test. Weighing her words, Meilin would start to formulate a reply back.
”I joined when I arrived in Konohagakure. The training was, quite something else from the Academy. I would visualise it with the words such as harsh but efficient. I have managed to pass the trial of the beast.” Pausing for a second, Meilin considered what more she could as should tell Aiko. ”I am quite eager to keep proving my worth and learn more on how to serve my people.”

”That is quite something. Passing that trial.” Aiko said, her tone becoming softer. She was aware of how cruel some of the trials could be. But without any sacrifices and discipline, there wouldn’t be such an effective force. Though unaware of how they worked or trained, Aiko was well aware that there were other forces of clans that could be compared to the Cho Guard. And she doubted that they applied a soft touch upon their training. ”But forgive me. I haven’t allowed you to ask me any questions. It would be quite an one-sided conversation if I were the only one to ask the questions. So, please, do feel free to return a question or two.”

”Thank you, ma’am.” Meilin felt how her cheeks started to gain a faint red tint. She wasn’t sure how else to respond to the respectable leader. When Aiko stated questions could be asked back, Meilin didn’t need to think long before she had a question at the ready.
”Could you perhaps tell me something about your team, ma’am?”

”Hmmm, well, you met Orun. Briefly, though.” Aiko said as she pondered for a second. ”There is Kazumo Sarutobi. Chuunin and orientated on archery. He is not somebody that trusts another fast but is mature enough to be a good team player. As one could expect from a Sarutobi, he is also quite loyal.” Pausing, she thought about Neji. ”Neji Uchiha is another member of the team. He is a chuunin as well. Specialised in the use of ninjutsu and is quite driven. I would say that he is quite eager to prove himself but not over the cost of others.” Then came the last member of her team. ”The last one is Satia Cho. She is a genin and not that experienced. I did one mission with her and she showed potential. But I will have to attend to her, helping her to develop that potential into more competence.”

She nodded when Aiko mentioned the Hyuzu. Briefly, was indeed one way how one could describe their interaction. Kazumo Sarutobi, that was a familiar name. There was the curiosity to ask more to learn about this Kazumo Sarutobi as she doubted there was just another Kazumo Sarutobi walking around. But she decided against it. ”I see. I don’t think I have any other question ma’am.”

”That is okay. Then let us drink and speak further before we will attend to our own teams and affairs, no?” Aiko flashed a smile as she would slightly raise her mug. ”I am already looking forward to work with you in the near future, Meilin.”

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That One Grumpy Pants
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[fieldbox="Over, Teal, solid"]

A collab done by Conman and Obli
Summary: True to his word, he started interrogating shinobi to figure out who the criminal whos been murdering innocents was. The next on his list was Kona.

Kona sat in her home on the quiet street, reading to herself. The house was small, but it had been left to her by her parents and she took pride in it. After the riots there had been some damage done to her house, but Kona had worked hard to repair it, and even made a few discoveries about herself along the way. It had been difficult work, replacing the damaged door, fixing the furniture, repairing what she couldn’t afford to buy, but in the end, she had managed to do just that, and now she had the opportunity to enjoy herself, sitting on her couch, and paging through the book she had picked up while at the market.

The night had been rather calm not much commotion in the streets, most have returned home for a night rest or were getting out of work. Meanwhile on another street, activity was high but quiet. So far most that been questioned came off as innocent, yet now it was time for one of his own students. She had a record and the same way that woman was murdered was similar to how this one was as well. Yet he felt like progress was being made with her, that she was making stands to get that kind of image off her profile. He felt bad for what was about to happen, yet she was a suspect and had to be treated as such until proven otherwise.

Mitsunari as well as various other members of the police had surrounded the house Kona was in, three members each keeping out of sight of the windows to the kitchen and living room. One member signaled around the corner that she was currently in the living room. Nodding Mitsunari would stare at the front door as two other police members nodded at him, holding up three fingers Mitsunari would drop all three and then kick the door open with it swinging open at full speed as the two others rushed into the house, while the others broke through the windows.

The three guards that busted into the living room, had their batons at the ready. ”Hands in the air!! On your knees!!” the police shouted as the others ran into the room, Mitsunari being one of them. ”Kona…. Just do as they say. This will be over quickly, I promise.”

Kona was up and off her couch in a moment at the sounds of breaking glass and a shattering door, thinking perhaps that it was one of her disgruntled neighbors back and upset over something. Kona had begun keeping her weapons nearby after the incident, or at least that is, one weapon nearby. So when she came up off the couch a kunai came with her, held in a knife fighting stance as police piled into the room. One of them shouted for to put her hands in the air and get on her knees. In an instant, Kona knew what this was. Her eyes hardened though as she saw who came with them. Mitsunari Riojin, her sensei and team leader. A look of betrayal appeared on her face as he looked at her, asking her to surrender.

She looked around the room for a moment, tense, the number of officers that attacked outnumbered her, they wore padded vests and wielded batons. There was no way Kona could fight off all of them. In fact, it would be a futile attempt. No matter what happened here, she would be coming with them. However, she knew if they searched her house thoroughly, they would find what she was hiding. She had a split second to decide. However, even if she did fight back, she wouldn’t be able to do any damage. They were wearing helmets and padded vests. No damage that she did to them would be enough to escape. So Kona dropped the weapon and kicked it away, then went to her knees and put her hands in the air. The entire time, a look of accusation was spread across her features and directed at Mitsunari.

All were ready to subdue the young woman the moment she didn’t do anything that wasn’t what they said. So when she dropped the kunai and kicked it away, Mitsunari sighed and smiled softly, he knew she wouldn’t do something this foolish. This would be over and soon this would be behind them. The police still kept up their guard but moved in taking a hold of her as they moved her to a more open spot in the room. Patting her down before nodding that she was clean. Placing her hands behind her back they would tie them together, as two kept a hold on her. ”Search the premises, we will take her in for questioning.” One of the police said to the two guards holding her who nodded and lifted her up and started to move her out of the building. Mitsunari would follow beside them.

Several minutes later they would be in the police barracks in a room light by some candles. Mitsunari was in the room, as well as another man who looked to be in his thirties. He gave the seated Kona a smile even though this was a tense situation. Mitsunari however would clear his throat as he looked at her.

”I just need to ask a few questions Kona and then you will be free to go.” Mitsunari said to inform her before speaking again. ”Yesterday afternoon, where were you and what were you doing?”

Kona’s face was blank when they sat down with her, she said nothing, did nothing. She would not return the smile that the first man had provided her. Mitsunari started off by saying that he would just ask her a few question. Of course, that did not mean she understood why exactly they decided to shatter her windows, bust down her door and strong arm her into coming with them, for the most part that is, unless Mitsunari already suspected something from her. For some reason though, she found the situation rather funny. Her amusement did not leak into her response however. ”I spent time at the practice fields training and then I returned home.”

Mitsunari would nod at her answer before moving onto his next question. ”And what were you practicing at the training fields, how long would you say you were out of your home at the time?”

Kona contemplated the question for a moment. ”I left at about eight in the morning to go to the fields and stayed until about four in the evening.”

”You didn’t make any stops on your way home?” The middle aged man from earlier spoke up, staring directly at Kona as if he was reading her soul. ”Quite diligent to spend all day training without doing anything else. Almost betrays your record that you have. Your academy teachers would be proud to know you suddenly spent eight hours practicing today. Yet you are young, surely you did something else? Like meet up with a friend?”

”I don’t have friends, and those that I did have won’t talk to me after the more recent events.” She stared right back at the man. ”My diligence has nothing to do with dedication. I simply have nothing else to do. No friends, no real entertainment at home, by that, I believe that the time spent between morning and night is better used to increase my skills.”

Giving a smile he would nod ”Indeed, when one has nothing to do it gives you time to practice more and thus use said skills in an alleyway in the evening to butcher a young woman no? So was she someone you disliked?”

Kona raised an eyebrow. ”Oh?” The words came out in a disinterested tone. ”That is quite the accusation there sir. My feelings on the woman are irrelevant,” She leaned backwards in the chair she was resting in. ”Care to elaborate where your particular line of reasoning comes from? I train all day and have nothing else to do, therefore I murdered someone?”

Still smiling as she answered the man lightly chuckled as Mitsunari folded his arms at the man interrogated Kona. ”So you do know her then. Such a shame she died on her birthday. Yet it comes from the fact that you never showed the initiative before to train for so long, you have a violent record where you butchered a woman in a similar way with the same gear in fact. You have shown to not care about violence and thus you are quite a suspect. So want to be truthful this time?”

It was Kona’s turn to chuckle. ”Ah, the post office, figures as much, I suppose that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I killed someone who was advancing upon me in that particular situation. A struggle was going on inside the office, and she ignored my demands to halt, so I put her down. six kunai as I recall, placed center mass on the target. In that situation I did what I had to. The subject was larger then I, and did not respond to the knowledge I would use lethal force to restrain her.” Kona tilted her head to the side. ”As for the woman who died, yes, I knew her. Her name was Ki, one of the many former friends that turned on me following the riots. It’s unfortunate that she died, however,” Kona’s eyes focused like razors on the man. ”I bore no ill will towards her.”

The man would let her speak her mind still with that same smile on his face as he watched her reactions. It was the smile of a predator cornering his prey, the more she spoke the more she was getting closer to spilling the truth. ”As I recall she was also greatly weakened, couldn’t take her down without killing her? I know the academy teaches that. Yet she was a former friend? Quite the age gap there between you two, yet no vendetta against her hmm? I don’t believe you. I want the truth Kona, make it easier for yourself. Admit what you did and punishment will be less harsh.”

Kona shrugged. ”There was a lot of things going on at the time, crossbows for one, I saw someone catch a bolt in the stomach. Could I have taken her down without killing her? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t have been safe to do so with the potential to catch a bolt from some crossbowman I couldn’t see, and I most definitely did not know what skills she possessed. But it’s over and done with now, so no reason to continue this line of talking.” Then Kona yawned and leaned her head back, apparently ignoring the man for the moment. She knew her little charade was up. The police would thoroughly search her home, and when they did…. Well, the fun she had had would be apparent. Kona let out a short bark of laughter in her chair, and then her head snapped up at attention to the man in front of her. The whole situation continued to be so comical to her, she just could no longer contain her amusement, it was all futile, everything she had done. She had been criminalized by her neighbors, she had seen the looks from her teammates, branded as a murderer by her sensei, all for making a single decision in a high tension situation in which she was forced to make a decision between killing a woman who was possibly armed and going to resist, that may or may not have close combat training, and that may or may not have been skilled enough to kill a genin, or taking all of those risks. Even now, a decision made months ago haunted her. Truth be told, she resented all of them for criminalizing her, for a mistake she had made. Kona stopped and cocked her head to the side, looking to Mitsunari, completely ignoring the other man in the room. ”You know Riojin Sensei, ever since that training the day of the fight at the post office, I’ve hated you. Not just you, but everyone on the team, and everyone in this whole, damnable city. I hated you all, but I was quiet, and a bore the looks, and the hate that I got from my neighbors, and I carried on. Even now a decision I made months ago continues to follow me. My own teacher comes and ruins my door, shatters my windows, and drags me out tied up.” She was quiet for a moment, looking down at her hands studying her palms. She would play her own game for a little longer, there would be no getting an answer out of her until they found the definitive evidence.

Hoping slightly she would deny having murdered the woman, and that he would look to the interrogator and be given the confirmation from his mind reading that she was innocent. Yet when he heard the laughter come from Kona, the hopeful look he had had sank like a stone. The look replaced with one now slowly building with wrath, the silence in the room was clear enough. Looking at the man who shook his head, Mitsunari waved him off before a police man barged into the room and whispered something into the Jounin Commander’s ear. Something that made his eyes widen then glare with hatred at the young woman. Waving them all out of the room, it would just be her and himself as silence plagued the room as he paced slightly rubbing his forehead.

”....You hated everyone cause of your own fuck up. So instead of doing as I said and trying your best to fix it, you…..” he paused for a moment as he clenched and unclenched his fists. ”Know what it’s fine. Hate me all you want. I hate people like you, ones that blame the system for their error. Mistakes never stop following us, that’s why they are mistakes! You learn from them! Yet you! You decide because you were scolded, because you were treated poorly, because life is unfair! You decide to keep repeating that same mistake! Over and over and over! Guess what all shinobi are treated like you are! You aren’t a special case and it takes work and time to even begin making others like you!”

Mitsunari shouted at her before gritting his teeth as he stared daggers at the girl. ”So have a good fucking excuse for the dead bodies found in your home?! Or you going to play the victim card?! Go on I’d love to hear how it’s everyone else’s fault!”

Kona was overtly amused at the apparent anger building in the man’s face. Something in her snapped, whatever remorse she had was washed away when this floodgate opened. ”So you found them then huh? All of them?” She laughed again, overjoyed that the man was so angry. ”Does it make you angry Mitsunari? Does it make you furious what I have done? I won’t deny it. I might have hated you, might have hated them, might have hated the whole city, but I never played the victim card. Oh no. When people broke into my house and I came home to one of them still searching through my things, what did I do? Did I cry, did I whine about it? Oh no, I caught the man who was responsible. For a whole month I made him pay for what he had done. I took action.” A crazed look was in Kona’s eyes. ”I realized the only recourse for those who violated my property, my home, my sanctuary away from all the hate, was death. The destruction of those who were so willing to try and destroy me.” She held up six fingers. ” I killed him. He broke into my home and I killed him for it.” She laughed again, chuckling this time following it. She thought for a moment then continued. ”But when I was finished with the first two I couldn’t stop there. Even though I had my revenge. See when I killed that woman at the post office, it was something I was revolted at. I hated the thought of taking another’s life. But then I realized that I was revolted because I enjoyed it. That disgust I had for the deed…. Well I overcame that when I made my third kill.” She looked at Mitsunari, this time sure to keep eye contact with him. ”Oh Mitsunari, if only you knew the thrill it gave me, hunting down the rest! They were like animals, and I was the predator searching for them! Like good little bugs caught in my web, they were subdued, and then brought to a place where I could enjoy their deaths. It was sooooo perfect.” She sighed. ”Ah, but if only I hadn’t been quite so messy with that last kill. I let my savagery out on that one. I hated her. So no, I am not the victim, those five people I killed were.” She cocked her head to the side. ”It was like satisfying a primal need to kill, murdering them. After the first one I just couldn’t sit right. It was like a drug that had been in my system, the ability to decide whether those people lived or died, and them powerless to stop me. It was an incredibly powerful feeling, and when I caught one I hated, it was twice as powerful.” She straightened her head up. Curiosity flooded into her eyes. ”Well Mitsunari, do you feel angry? Upset that your student went down a path that goes against all morality? Are you upset that I killed those five people? Are you disappointed? Or do you feel nothing, like a good shinobi?” Kona knew what she was facing was the end.

The more she spoke the more the anger in his eyes left and it wasn’t filled with disgust nor acknowledgement for what she done. It wasn’t filled with pity either, it was filled with an understanding. Not for what Kona had been through, but for what the people shouted for what they feared. He understood it perfectly now, and this child before him was a perfect example. He remained silent as she spoke her deranged nonsense, he was honestly done talking at this point. She chose her path and while it was a mistake, it was one he couldn’t correct nor would he. If anything if more shinobi acted like this it would be easier to weed them out. One way to clear the weeds from the flowers. So he crossed his arms as she spoke and when she finished asking him some questions he just turned around and started walking towards the door. ”I’m elated. You will be the perfect example of what I said yesterday. Those that think like you will think again soon enough. Goodbye, next time I see you will be on your death day.” Mitsunari said as he opened the door and motioned for the guards outside to haul heer off to a cell. He had to get in contact with some people about something, then he would go on to fixing this place. Make it something to be proud of instead of a city swimming in its failures.[/fieldbox]
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God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, A Few Posts a Week
My Usual Online Time
Whenever you're asleep, thanks time zones.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Mainly passive, can be aggressive if the situation requires such.
Favorite Genres
Sci-Fi, Modern, and Horror.
[fieldbox="Long Knife - Part IV, Orange"]Yamada Suzu "Rabbit"| Claw Country, City of Yakurao
Suzu and Aion attempt to dodge Fang Soldiers and city guard as the actions of Nyx are quickly felt by the increasing grip of the soldiers on the city. They fail.

WARNING: There are mature themes held within, read at your own risk.

Part I
Part II
Part III

Suzu was sat on the side of the road, her hood pulled up over her face and Aion huddled close to her as they quietly spoke and watched people passing. The atmosphere was tense, there was so little for the inhabitants to do in the city to sustain and occupy themselves that word of the execution had spread like wildfire. Touching every person and every surface of the city itself. People were watching their backs with weary eyes, avoiding traveling alone and instead sticking to smaller groups of twos and fours. They steered clear of other groups, of strangers and especially of the guards who were now all on the prowl for any sort of retaliatory strikes from the resistance for the death of their member. Three times before they’d stopped they’d had to duck down alleys and around corners to avoid patrolling groups of soldiers checking documents and identification, and finally now they felt they had a moment to breathe.

“Tell me... What just happened.” Suzu said quietly as she continued to watch down the road for any sign of an approaching patrol.

Aion rolled his neck and sighed softly as he rubbed at his face, ”Well,” he turned only briefly to look to Suzu before turning his gaze down the opposite way she was watching, ”The plan never changed. I was supposed to take you, Nyx was to stay back. She got up earlier than me and snuck you out… To search for Apate I imagine.” he stated with a strain of emotion in his voice.

Suzu grabbed Aion’s arm and lifted him up as she could hear the steps and telltale noises of armored men coming in their direction, “We move, you keep talking.” she said as she looped an arm around his and began to lead him in the opposite direction.

”Word from some guards is that she was caught alone in the square without papers. She forgot her damn papers at the safe house.” Aion said as they walked, ”I checked with a contact that’s the story being circulated.” he finished as they walked. There was shouting behind them now as the guards rounded the corner and began to tell everyone in sight to stop where they were for a mandatory check of proper documentation.

Suzu felt herself nearing the edge as she realized her papers were shoddily made at best, and completely unbelievable at worst. Aion urged her on as she began to slow, picking up his own pace as they rounded a corner. “So papers are enough to convict someone of espionnage? Of being resistance?” Suzu asked quietly as the sounds of yelling behind them dinned.

Aion shook his head although the motion was lost beneath his hood, ”Around here? Of course it is. They probably questioned her, got a bad story or something they didn’t believe… Took ehr somewhere private and did what we both just saw… Then strung her up.” Aion seemed uncomfortable with the thought of what had happened to his teammate as he spoke, Suzu couldn’t fault him. For as long as they’d been here they’d been together, and now their entire team was falling apart with little reason beyond bad luck.

“There’s nothing we could have done to stop that Aion. She tricked me, and you. She put herself into that mess we couldn’t have known.” she tried to console the Zero Team member as they went and got a soft appreciative sound from him in return. “Now I need to get to Captain Hitaro, and I need to get him out of this city. Tell me there’s a way I can go about this.”

Another sigh from Aion and he lifted a hand to wave at their surroundings, ”During this? They’re on alert right now. Maybe when it dies down sure, but now? Next to impossible.”

She didn’t like his tone. He seemed to have silently relinquished himself to the misery around him in a matter of minutes. “When will it die down? The alert?” Suzu pressed, if they could simply wait then it would be doable.

”Maybe a month? Sometimes two?” Aion laughed and shrugged, ”It’s going to be a while until they relax, they’ve relaxed too quickly in the past and paid for it dearly.” Aion informed her as they rounded another corner directly into the back of a group of guards checking papers for a smaller group of cityfolk.

Aion took a step back in shock just in time to catch the hilt of a sword in the stomach and topple over with a yell of agony. Suzu began to reach up as a second guard struck her in the stomach with his hilt, sending her to the ground gasping for air. She struggled to breath as four more guards surrounded them both, willing herself to move as the sudden shock of the strike paralyzed her. She coughed and spit drooled from her mouth as she was hefted from the ground by two guards that her arms held firmly. Her eyes scanned the guards wildly as she tried to figure out what to do and she ignored the sight of Aion as he was savagely beaten by the guard he had walked into for the accidental act.

They were yelling down at her, asking questions, but she couldn’t understand their words as the shock of the hit still overwhelmed her senses. She stared at them with wide eyes and lost vision for a moment as a gauntleted fist struck the side of her face. As if the hit had set something off her hearing came ringing back into perception and she was suddenly very aware of just how loud everything had gotten around her.

Aion was curled up in a ball, his hands protecting his head as the guard he had walked into kicked at him fiercely with a second guard that had joined in when she wasn’t watching, the guards holding her were yelling a cacophony of curses and commands at seemingly both of them and the man who had just struck her was now reaching down with a dismissive sneer on his face.

The cold steel of his gauntlets cupped her face from beneath her chin and forced her to look up at him as he looked down on her, the satisfaction of being in power obvious from the look on his face. “Papers, you shit!” he yelled out as he waited for her to produce them, the smile on his face growing more twisted as she realized there was no way for her to do so with her arms restrained.

“I ne--” she felt the grip of one of the men twist and her right arm began to spin in an unnatural direction sending a searing pain from her shoulder and into her chest. She screamed. The bastards were having fun, enjoying their moment of superiority. They were doing this on purpose.

“My hand! In my pocket!” she screamed out as her arm spun a small bit more, her shoulder twisting and grinding in its socket in a way not supposed to be possible. There was a loud wet pop and Suzu felt her mind escape her as the pain overwhelmed her mind. She lost focus and her head lolled as she passed out for a moment. Only for her to come to a second later. She could taste blood where she had bit her own tongue in agony, and pushed it against the side of her mouth to feel a deep gash in it. Her shoulder burned with a fury she had never experience in the past, and her still good arm was now being twisted in a similar fashion.

She gritted her teeth and clenched back another scream as the hands finally let up on her left arm. To her side Aion was no longer flinching under everyone kick and his arms were more laying over his face than actually being held there by him. Rage boiled in her blood and she wanted badly to be released but she didn’t have control over that now.

“So your papers then bitch?” the guard asked as he’d bring his gauntleted fist back down on her face. Her vision spun and her ears rang as she brought her face back to the guard who was now motioning to Aion and her as he turned away. He called out something and she was lifted to her feet by both arms with no heed to her dislocated shoulder. She screamed out as the weight of her body was placed on the shoulder and lost consciousness again.
She woke up as she was tossed haphazardly by the soldiers carrying her into a large room. For a while she lay where she was, fighting the intense pain in her shoulder and willing herself to remain awake as it continued to threaten to send her into black again. Sprawled across the floor and clutching her shoulder she lay in darkness, the cold and disgustingly wet stone flooring the only things she knew for sure existed in the pitch black room. There were some general cheers from outside of the room as someone proclaimed something, the gentle chinking of armor and the more dry sound of leather straps being undone followed by the harsher clanking of armor being placed down.

She struggled to push herself up off her belly with her good arm as it became clear the soldiers were losing unnecessary items for what was surely to come next. She pushed herself up and grit her teeth to keep from screaming as she did. The voices of the soldiers were nearing the door as she managed to get herself to her knees. Suzu swallowed and tried to steel herself not scream before standing completely. Clutching her shoulder she gave the floor one solid pat of her foot before throwing herself down at it with her shoulder in the lead.

There was an intense pain and a sickening pop as her shoulder slammed back into place that lasted for only a few seconds. Suzu felt the tears running down her face and registered the fact that she was screaming even though she couldn’t hear it. She spun over to lay flat on the ground and focused on her breathing as she lay still in the darkness. She heard the doors locks being thrown somewhere beneath her feet and placed her hands beneath herself and pushed herself away in the opposite direction before she came to a hard stop against the far wall of the room. Although she knew she was trapped to begin with this was truly the first time she came to weigh the gravity of the situation. Her hand reached for the small of her back and the kunai that had been hidden there only to come up with nothing.

Her eyes widened as she tried to adjust them to the dark for the coming soldiers. They either had her kunai and knew she was some sort of resistance member, or it had falled from her and they’d been none the wiser. She judged the last option due to the fact she’d heard them undoing their armor just earlier, which meant she had the advantage of surprise. She pushed herself back more firmly into the wall and watched the door as the cracks of light from its edges grew into a blindingly large expanse. Three men quickly filled the gap of light and cast the room back into darkness, they weren’t wearing armor and had no weapons. She couldn’t see their faces but she was sure they were searching for her in the room, and smiling as well.

She focused behind them at the guard that was standing duty over her makeshift cell. He was still armed, and wearing armor. She took a chance and wove three quick handsigns as she kept her focus on the man.

She felt the hands of two of the men pulling her up the wall as she kept her gaze locked on the guard outside the door which was now spilling light into the room. The men laughed and joked as they threw her to the ground. She gasped as a boot lodged in her side and wretched up nothing as her stomach convulsed from the hit. She felt a hand at her hair pulling her head up.

“Who was the girl we executed? Why are you two friends?” the man asked as she felt the hands of another at her shoulders keeping her pinned. “We know you’re resistance tell us what the fuck you’re doing?” the hands at her shoulders had become four, and the new set was moving down her body.

She spit at the man in front of her and smiled, “I’m not Resistance.”

The man brought a fist down hard on her face again and she lost her senses for what was now an uncountable time. She relished in the fact it was the officer from earlier on the streets and not some random guard in the room now. “We know you’re a fucking resistance operative! People saw you with that last one that’s hanging out in the marketplace you whore!” he spat at her and she winced as his spit landed on her face and slowly tracked down it.

“You’re just wrong about me being Resistance.” she said as she’d begin to laugh.

A hot spray began to patter against her face and the hands that had been pulling at her clothes came to a sudden stop as the officer in front of her fell to his knees clutching at his neck. Suzu laughed as the two unarmed men rose off of her and began to yell at their comrade, the guard from outside the door who was now just in front of them, the blood of their leader dripping off his blade. The guard screamed at his fellow soldier to move as he slashed out and gutted the man that had been at her shoulders, the look on his face was pure confusion as he watched himself disembowel a comrade. The third guard stepped away from Suzu’s lower body and brought his hands up in a futile plea for mercy as the guard struck out again, taking both of the third man's hands off past the wrists sending him doubling over to the ground and writhing in pain as his stumps sprayed his life all over the surrounding room.

The guard screamed in anguish and pleaded to his god as he turned the sword on himself and plunged it cleanly through his own neck, collapsing limply to the ground.

Suzu lay where she was as the men around her died or lay still as corpses before she would slowly reach her hands around and pull her clothing back onto herself. Methodically moving her injured arm as it gave out small shots of pain if she moved to fast, she’d lean down to grab the armed guards sword and dagger.

She made her way to the door and inched her head out into the hallway cautiously, peering down both ways of the lit hallway to ensure she was alone before she slowly made her way across to the wall and pressed herself into it. She was breathing heavier than she had since the fight in Konoha, and she ached and burned all over. Gingerly she pressed a few fingers into her side where the boot had struck her and pulled away quickly as pain bloomed in her side and up her chest. Cursing softly she’d make her way down the hallway, slouched against the wall as she did.

Rounding a corner she’d come face to face with a guard that seemed about as surprised to see her as she was to see him. He began to open his mouth to probably ask her what she was doing here as Suzu smiled and deftly slipped her blade into his abdomen between his armor. The guard coughed and gave her a questioning look, as if asking “why?” before he’d slump off her blade and crumple to the ground. She inched around him and made her way to the only door that she had seen other than her own the entire walk of the hallway, although whether that was true or not she wasn’t sure as she had a sneaking suspicion she had been losing her vision every few meters.

She winced and lifted her arm to push the door open and was immediately assaulted by heat and the sounds of the meal going on in front of her. She had opened the door to a messhall. Nearly twenty soldiers were seated in front of her in various levels of dress. The tables were filled with food and drink, and there was a large hearth at the end of the room that was keeping everything a comfortable temperature. She spit at the sight in front of her, not noticing the blood as she did, and dropped the sword in her hand. It clattered to the ground loudly and the entire room fell perfectly silent, the crack of the fire the only noise as all inside turned to look at her. A man rose and unsheathed his sword as he stepped toward her. Suzu stepped to the side and slouched against the wall before sliding down it and slamming into the floor. She smiled at the man as he approached and others began to follow suit from their tables. Forming a single handsign she’d watch as the man stopped dead in his tracks and began to look around the room in confusion. There was a yell from another man asking what had happened to the lights, and another answered that someone must have put out the fire and that it had to be the resistance.

“Repel assault!” someone screamed and Suzu watched giddily as every man in the room began to swing wildly around them like a blind bat. Several caught their own comrades and sent them sprawling, leaking blood and dying on the ground. She watched one soldier trip over a bench and land squarely on his own blade, and another step into the raging hearth setting his pant leg ablaze and screaming as the unseen fire quickly consumed him.

Suzu crawled along the edge of the wall as the closest soldier made his way to where he had last seen her only to walk directly into the wall and stumble back into another soldier. He spun quickly and cut his comrade down, confused as blood coated him in his own pitch black vision. Suzu clawed her way to the corner of the room and picked up a small fallen dagger as she watched the men simply slaughter each other in their confusion, yells of anguish and hatred filling her ears.

“Genj--!” the man was quickly silenced as his head snapped back and the dagger Suzu had picked up was easily visible lodged in his head.

After only a minute the room fell silent. Three men remained standing and spinning jumpily at any noise, their weapons stretched out in front of them as if to catch something they couldn’t see. Two were random men, simply lucky enough to survive the carnage they had wrought on themselves, and the third was none other than her score. Captain Hitaro stood atop a table, a ghastly cut down his arm leaked steadily and he was ashen in complexion. Suzu stood and shambled across the floor to a dead man, taking his sword from his still warm hands she’d walk up to one of the random soldiers and cut him down without stopping. The other two remaining men heard the man's body hit the floor and turned to face the direction of the sound.

Suzu stopped where she was and changed her approach to come up behind the second soldier. He let out a weak scream as the cold steel slipped across his neck and blood flowed down his front. Suzu pushed past the man's body and toward Captain Hitaro. She stumbled over a broken chair leg and ended up on her hands and knees, the sword spinning away before coming to a halt against another soldier's corpse. She managed to stop herself from yelling in pain as Captain Hitaro looked her way and jumped blindly off the table, landing squarely on his feet without no issue he’d begin to walk toward Suzu even though he couldn’t see her.

“So what then?” he screamed as he kept his sword in front of himself and moved slowly forward, “You attack my station?! Kill my men?! And just expect me to come over easily?! Come on then! Do it, end me!” he yelled as he waved the sword out in front of himself. He screamed in rage and swung at the sound of a cup rolling from a table and Suzu took her chance to hurry forward and grab another man's sword. She stood with a scream as the pain in her side bloomed and brought the sword cleanly through the Captain’s arm.

The arm and the sword held in its hand crashed to the floor and Captain Hitaro stumbled back and fell, blood rushing profusely from his severed limb as he lay on the floor and screamed. Suzu dropped her weapon and turned for the hearth and the pot that had been placed over it. Summoning a shadow clone it’d quickly cross the room to the pot and pluck it from it’s spot over the fire. It winced in pain but continued on as it bounded over the destroyed room and to the side of the quickly dying Captain Hitaro. Suzu dropped to her knees and took his arm, lifting the severed portion up into the air as her shadow clone placed the cauldron down on top of it.

The screams of Captain Hitaro as his wound was cauterized was nowhere near as terrible as the hissing and bubbling as his blood boiled, and the smell of his flesh searing against the metal just in front of her face.

The shadow clone continued to hold the pot in place until it was no longer hot, before it threw it off to the side and dissipated into a cloud of smoke. Suzu held Captain Hitaro’s arm for a while longer, staring at the burned flesh to ensure it wasn’t going to open once more before dropping his hand and placing a hand along the side of his neck. She could feel the beat of his heart and watch him breathe as she knelt at his side, so at least he were still alive as the mission called for. Standing from him she’d begin to search the room for non-bloodied armor and clothing to fit her and the Captain for their escape from the Yakurao.
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Secret Shadow
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Favorite Genres
Anything with a good plot or twists to it.
Genre You DON'T Like
Stories that can't keep my attention focused or seem to bland in my opinion.
[fieldbox=Trouble Sleeping, chocolate]
Saki Yamanaka

| Spc. Jounin | Konohagakure Team 6 member| Captain-Major of the Guardians | Second-in-command of the Tiger Claws |
[ Wolf Country - The Akinian Camp, Tiger Claws 'department'. ]

Walking through the camp, the light snowfall didn’t bother her that much. The cold breeze was much worse. A shiver ran down her spine as not a second later, a breeze passed over the camp. The bustling activities couldn’t hold the cold out. Throwing a look at her right, she saw how various soldiers were huddled around a campfire. The situation wasn’t that bad. They had supplies and they were able to forage for more supplies without their enemy able to prevent them. But with the cold winter still continuing and their situation not changing, Saki was worried for the near future.
They wouldn’t last forever in this situation. Not without a steady supply of food, medicines and other resources. They would eventually succumb to starvation, disease and if that would come then their enemy would swoop upon them and annihilate them.

It didn’t provoke anger but desperation. A colder sensation, fear, gripped itself on Saki as she came to a slow halt. For a moment, that horrible night flashed by her mind. She didn’t want to die in this camp, weakened by hunger and cold. Dying with barely enough strength to wield her weapons.
Blinking rapidly, Saki came back to earth. For a second, she wasn’t able to put a step forward. The horrible dread that had come over her slowly ebbed away, except for a small twinge. Faint but still present.

Trying to shake it off, Saki continued towards her tent. There were various members of the Tiger Claws that were present, in their own tent. Attending to their weapons or armour, discussing some matters together or just sitting at a campfire. Some noticed Saki and offered a nod, salute or flashed a smile. She just responded with a nod in return.
Entering her tent, Saki needed a moment to let her eyes adjust to the dimly lighted interior.
Slowly Saki would undo her weapon belt and armour. Placing it down, the thick canvas held out most of the cold. Allowing her to strip down to the padded jacket and pants, that did a good job of keeping a semblance of warmth to her.
Kneeling on her sleeping bag, Saki pondered on her decision of making a prayer. She had known and prayed to God, following the Way of Fire and never doubting it. Not when she had been stuck in the Earth Country during the Shoji Oppression. Not when she had been stationed in secret in the Water Country, seeing the horrors that had occurred during the reign of the Fourth Mizukage. She had remained faithful, hoping that it would pay off.
Did God watch over her when she had fought in the war with the Wind? Where was God when she had lost Kaname? Where was God when she needed him to guide her through the horrors of the Shoji Oppression? What was His plan when she had to bare steel against those who threatened her country, clan and friends? Why didn’t he aid her when Hideki was in danger?

No words passed over her lips as she held her eyes closed, her hands folded together as she just sat there. The questions just coursed through her mind as she tried to find a reason. A logical reasoning why God seemed to have forsaken her. What she could have done to cause Him to turn away from her. Ignoring the faint sensation that rolled over her cheeks, Saki bites her lower lip. Then she spoke. But she didn’t first turn to God.

”When you came home that night, I was scared. You had changed and I did for a moment consider to leave you. Yet I didn’t because I was sure that we would get through everything,” her voice was soft and a mixture of emotions moved through her tone, ”I know it is a bit silly but I expected us to manage. That your clan would not pursue you and that we could just live our own lives. But now you’re gone and I am alone. Afraid. Not of death, no. I had been ready to die since the first experience with war. But when I die, we won’t be together. You will be your god, that Tian. With your fellow Hyuuga.”

Saki’s hands clenched tighter together, her knuckles became white. ”Why?” She opened her eyes and looked up. As if the canvas above her would hold the answers. Perhaps revealing the divine deity that she had worshipped, prayed and tried to pay homage to. ”Just why?” This time her voice containing more anger than before.

No answer came and despite her anger, frustration and pain, she wanted one. For all, she cared God could smite her down. The silence was more discomforting than anything else. Unfolding her hands and placing them on her knees, Saki slowly nodded as she lowered her eyes and head.
”I won’t make a prayer to God anymore. By this day and moment, I will turn to deities that will allow me to gain my revenge. I, Saki Yamanaka, daughter of Iso Yamanaka, swear that I will pledge myself to avenge my losses. No longer will I follow the Way of Fire.”

Once more silence followed as Saki waited for an answer. Closing her eyes, she wasn’t sure what she should do now. Slowly, she would lay down and lose herself in the sudden fatigue and desire to sleep.

”To arms! To arms!”

Saki’s eyes opened as she heard sounds that didn’t register as normal. Quickly, she moved to her weapons. Picking up her sword, Saki moved out of her tent. For a moment, she froze as the scenery in front of her was terrifying.
Soldiers were fighting for their dear lives as a fire was running rampant through the camp. Banners floated in the wind but their enemies had no banners. Large hulking monstrosities were accompanied by wicked people, resembling a familiar air but at the same time appearing foreign.

Hearing something, Saki moved aside as she brought her sword up. In a reflex, she dodged a jab from a man with a spear. Letting her sword move down, the sharp steel sliced through cloth and flesh.
Not watching her opponent fall down, Saki quickly turned to spot any potential enemy. But she then spotted Hayate up ahead. But before she was able to make her way towards Hayate and the surrounding guard, she heard a gurgling sound that raised the hairs on her neck. Turning around, she wasn’t in time to evade the collision.
The air in her lungs was forcefully smashed as she fell on her back, with something heavy on top of her. The dreadful stench of blood, sweat and faeces would mix together with the air being pregnant of ash, fire and smoke.
The gurgling sound came from a disgusting canine, the one that they had combat before. The beast attempted to clench Saki’s heads between his jaws but the Yamanaka was able to punch it with her left hand. Giving her a moment of respite, which was all that she required to drive her blade into the side of the beast. It wasn’t, however, enough to kill the beast as it was about to snarl once more at her face.
Twisting her blade, Saki wanted to make the steel reach to the beast’s beating heart. A hot sensation moved down her arm as she drove the weapon further.

Out of nowhere, the beast would slam off her, giving her the ability to breathe again. The oxygen streamed into her mouth towards her lungs, a painful experience but still welcome. Coughing, Saki tried to look up who had saved her or perhaps was more eager to put her to death.


Saki’s eyes widened as her lips parted. Staring at the sight in front of her, a wave of Sworn Swords was being led into the chaos. The person who had saved her being nobody else than Kiyomi. Many questions pulsed through Saki’s mind but her instinct took over. Turning, she was in time to parry an incoming slash from a sword. Delivering a quick riposte, she disposed of her attacker and attempted to stick close to the group of Sworn Swords.
True to their status, any enemy that even got close to the formation of Sworn Swords faced a harsh end. Steel flashed through the dark night sky, often accompanied by a fierce blue of chakra. Their armour being dirty by blood splattering from their fallen foes, not allowing any beast or foe near their leader.

Staying close to the formation of elite warriors, Saki tried to make some sense out of this mess. A hulking beast that was twice the size of an adult man came at the formation. Its small eyes were settled on the middle of the formation, Kiyomi.
Narrowing her eyes, Saki moved forward. Gripping the hilt of her blade tighter, she would approach the beast. It had taken barely notice from her, releasing a blood-curdling scream as it tried to move towards Kiyomi.
Swinging her blade, Saki’s eyes widened as the sharp dragon-steel sliced through but not deep enough. The beast just continued, his weight and speed slamming Saki aside.
Falling on her back, Saki tried to quickly roll and move on her feet. The hulking monster slapped a few Sworn Swords aside as it tried to get closer to the Empress. With quick speed and grace, Kiyomi managed to dodge the grasp as she lashed out. The sound of what seemed to be thunder mixed well together with the ongoing chaos that surrounded them.

”What is this,” Saki thought to herself as she lowered her blade. Everybody ignored her, locked into a struggle of fear, steel and death. Walking through the chaos, she dropped her sword, unable to comprehend why this was happening. The realisation started to dawn that this was a nightmare. Kiyomi wasn’t on the eastern continent.
The sound of horns ringing in the distance made Saki turn. A wave of new battle-cries from unknown sources would herald the impact of a new force crashing into the battlefield.
Phasing through everything and body, Saki tried to walk around and see who this new force was. Recognising the banner of the house of Magnhild, Saki saw how Zakito led the attack. The man fought like he was possessed. Various foes already charged him but were easily taken down by a mere swing.

The unknown onslaught was being pushed back as brave soldiers and warriors worked together to win the tide. But soon enough, more of those hulking monsters appeared. One of them managed to grab a Hon by the head. The poor man screamed his lungs out as he was being lifted into the air with ease.
Blood splattered as the beast continued to rip the man’s limbs off before starting to dig its hideous face into the dying man.

”Why?” She thought to herself, trying to find more familiar faces. Spotting a young man, wielding a longsword, parrying the strikes of foes while a moment later striking, Saki couldn’t help but try once more to rush forward.

Koike’s sword dug deep into a man’s neck. With relative ease, the Hon stepped back as he let his blade slide out of his opponent. A swift manoeuvre allowed him to evade an attack from the left flank and slam his blade into his attacker’s side. But he was open to the right.
Lunging forwards, Saki attempted to tackle this new threat but she didn’t contact anything. Landing in the mud, she slid a bit before coming to a halt. Turning around, her eyes widened as a scream left her.
Scrambling to get to Koike, who fell on his knees, his gaze misty and blood flowing over the right side of his head, Saki tried to embrace her friend.
”No, no, no.”

Somehow she seemed corporal, able to catch the young man as he leaned forward. Turning him around, she tried to lock eyes and try to apply pressure to his head wound.
”Please no. Koike, no, no.”
But much to her dismay she saw how the light started to leave his eyes as he managed to make contact with her. His lips parted but as he was about to say something, his final breath came out.
Unable to understand what was going on, Saki looked around, still holding her friend in her arms.

The tide of unknown enemies was starting to overwhelm them. One by one she saw how people she held dear being mowed down. Kiyomi, Zakito and Hayate. There was nothing that she could do.


Shooting up, Saki’s eyes were wide open as her hands searched for a weapon. Quickly able to grasp a hilt of a knife, the young woman looked around. The dark interior of her tent was the same but the sounds of battle were absent. Breathing irregular and heavily, she tried to remember herself that it had been a nightmare. Nothing more.
Raising a trembling hand to her face, Saki tried to massage her eyes before trying to spot anything that was off.

A few moments later, she exited her tent. Nothing had changed really. The camp was still the same and there weren’t monsters or unknown men running around. There was no sight of people like Kiyomi or Zakito around.
Moving back into her tent, Saki sat down. Her complexion now ashen coloured as she tried to comprehend the nightmare. And why hadn’t she been able to spot some other figures? She had seen Koike fight but where had Katsu been? Why were Kiyomi and Zakito in her dream?
Frustration started to mix with fear and anger. Managing to calm herself, however, Saki decided to once more try to get some sleep. She would later find either Hayate or Koike and talk about what she had experienced.



God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, A Few Posts a Week
My Usual Online Time
Whenever you're asleep, thanks time zones.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Mainly passive, can be aggressive if the situation requires such.
Favorite Genres
Sci-Fi, Modern, and Horror.
[fieldbox=Why am I Being the Dad?, #00cdcd] Madoc Yamanaka and Miyazato Aoi| Chuunin of Team 4 | Magnhild
A collab between Oblivion666 Oblivion666 and FrostedCaramel FrostedCaramel

Aoi finds Madoc as Meilin told her to and she seeks his advice in dealing with the situation with Meilin and Dagrún. They have a short talk before both become too weary of the situation to continue.

After the training had finished and they all went their separate ways. Madoc went back to the inn they were residing at for the moment, honestly today wasn’t even done yet and already he wanted it to end. First was the obvious tension between Aoi and Dagrun, which led to what looked like Aoi exerting her anger onto Meilin in a physical way. He felt another headache coming and this time he didn’t have an idea on how to try and fix it. Flopping onto his bed he would rub his temple as he stared up as the ceiling, just casually relaxing on his own time int comforting silence of his room. Perks of being the only male member.

Yet now that he had the time, he could feel the sweat on him from the little spar he had against Dagrun. Made the shower he had earlier rather pointless if they were just gonna get all sweaty again, it did get rid of the smell of booze though. Standing up he would walk into the bathroom where the shower would sound a few moments later.

Aoi left the room shortly after Meilin, giving herself enough time to seek as though she wasn't over eager to get out of the room and away from her. She slipped down the hallway and toward the room that Madoc had de the duration of their stay a few doors down and raised a hand to knock only to stop as she heard the shower going inside. She wondered if he had locked the door and shed need to wait outside for him to finish or if he had left it open for some odd reason. She reached a hand down and turned the knob to find it turning easily.

Opening the door she'd let herself in and shut it behind her, making a straight shot for the bed. The heat was becoming unbearable so she tore off the heavy winter jacket she had put on in the other room and tossed it onto a table as she passed. Aoi sprung up onto the bed and would lay face down into one of the pillows and just focus on breathing as she felt her frustration with Meilin and the Hon only rising while she went over the conversation she'd just had in her mind. She'd lay there and wait for Madoc to get out of the shower, ruminating in her own worries as she did.

The shower had felt refreshing as it cleaned him of today’s little event, he had planned on relaxing the rest of the day. Maybe partake in the local food of Magnhild, maybe get in trouble what he usually does. Although guards were probably way more strict here than other cities. As he turned off the water, he opened the door as he was towel drying his hair. He would turn too get his clothes when he saw a certain blue haired woman laying in his bed face down.

Blinking a bit he would sigh and wrap the towel around his waist as he walked over to his bag, grabbing his clothes from it before walking back to the bathroom. ”I have a feeling that my words of wisdom are about to strike again.”” he spoke as the door closed and a couple minutes later reopened with a fully clothed Madoc. Walking over he would sit down on the bed as he pat her back. ”So while I’m not opposed to randomly seeing you in my bed face down…. Why are you in my room?”

Continuing to run through the events of the day Aoi barely even noticed when the shower stopped and Madoc left the bathroom. She didn't stir from her position as she began to want to talk with him, to simply spill out her mind no matter how much he didn't want to be involved with her issues. Then the door closed again. She sat up and turned to look at the bathroom door, a moment of anxiety overtaking her as she wondered if Madoc had left the room only to hear him moving around doing what she could only imagine was changing.

Placing her face back into the pillow she'd wait and try to focus on her breathing once more. The bed shook slightly and she felt her body tilt in the direction of him as the mattress sunk in. The hand at her back was a slightly reassuring gesture but it wasn't going to be enough to reverse her thoughts. She ignored his comment and moved to his question “Meilin told me to find you. Keep you out of trouble.”

She propped herself up on her forearms and turned to look at Madoc, “So here I am, keeping you out of trouble.” she finished as she offered him a meek smile.

Staring he would keep his gaze locked on her as she explained why she was here, orders to keep him out of trouble. Nodding his head he would slightly frown. ”Okay and what else besides that? I’m not dumb enough to think thats the only reason you are here. If it was you’d be whisking me away to do something which would most likely be trouble. So out with it Aoi.” Madoc stated knowing that was a shit lie coming from her, he also had a feeling what she was all down in the dumps about.

”Yet if you don’t tell me then I’ll simply have to cause so much trouble that I get banned from Magnhild, be a hell of a report for the commander to look at. A signed document from him, detailing how I’m never allowed back or near this place.”

Fighting her mind for a moment on whether or not to come out with it all she'd sigh as she realized he'd probably just read her mind if it came down to her not saying it. She let out a long breath as she'd shift herself onto her side facing him. With her head in her hand she'd study him a second before frowning, “I don't like it. The treatment from this Hon. You had to have seen it right? Meilin didn't see it…. Refused to see it I think.” she started quietly, “It's… It's astounding she chooses not to see what was happening and then pinned me as the bad guy here…” she shifted again to lay on her back and stare at the ceiling.

Turning her head to the side to look up at Madoc she'd seem to question herself before speaking, “You believe me right? I'm not seeing this treatment in the wrong light am I?”

Sure enough he was correct, it was about Dagrun and about Meilin as well. Aoi wasn’t wrong in the fact that Dagrun made it rather obvious of her dislike towards Aoi, or superiority or whatever it was that provoked all this. She was also right that Meilin didn’t stop it either, even if it was obvious. Then she asked if he believed her on the unfair treatment, now most would take the side of the one consoling to them yet that wasn’t how he rolled. He gave the blunt truth when asked, or well whenever he felt like it honestly.

”I did see it that was for sure. One doesn’t need to read minds too see all that. So I wouldn’t say you are the bad guy nor should you have this random woman dislike you, when she shown to be fond of Meilin and that little one….. However.” Madoc paused not hiding his look from her. ”I get you were mad, yet you decided to beat the shit out of Meilin cause of it. So you were wrong in how you acted about it. I can’t say why Meilin didn’t do anything about it, inexperience in commanding others maybe? Yet instead of asking calmly first for her to do something about it. You tried breaking her face.” Madoc said folding his arms as he shifted his weight a bit.

”Don’t get me wrong though, Meilin fucked up just as much as you did. As a leader she needs to be more in control of things like this. So just letting Dagrun act as she did when it was obvious, thats on Dagrun for judging right away and Meilin for lack of control. Yet keeping me out of trouble, looks like I’m the one keeping you two out of trouble.”

Letting a sigh escape her lips her frown grew slightly as Madoc spoke. It was nice that he saw it too, that she wasn't simply perceiving animosity where there was none. She felt justified for a glimpse of a moment in her reaction, until Madoc made it clear that she wasn't.

Her mood went from improving to spur even though she knew he was right. She'd taken out her frustration with Dagrún on Meilin and as far as she could tell, as far as she knew, it's only made the situation worse. “She needs to get a grip of what's happening.” Aoi responded, “And I overreacted. I know but as far as I care it was worth it at the time. Just not anymore.” she shook her head and leaned forward towards Madoc, “I don't know what to do.”

Sighing slightly he rubbed his forehead, this felt too much like he was trying to explain to one sibling not to be mean to the other sibling. He let her finish speaking before he would voice himself. ”Yes that is true, she does need to take control. Which means you need to stop fueling the problem. You can’t fix a problem by bashing it then asking them to make it better, at that point they are more pissed at you than what your issue is. So thinking it was worth it at the time is a selfish thing to think.”

Running his hand through his hair he would think about how to even fix this situation. ”Well for starters talk about it beforehand if you think something is being overlooked. That’s like me possessing someone I know, then asking if it’s okay. Also talk about it in better detail. I have a feeling that you weren’t being very clear while angry. And lastly apologize, not for the treatment. Apologize for punching the shit out of your friend.”

The smile that had been about to grow on her face quickly disappeared as Madoc brought it back to the fact that she had been wrong in what she did, that she had only made the problem worse. She knew it full well, understood that her outburst only served to make her position more precarious by further separating her and Meilin, but at the time it had seemed so worth it. She was resolved that if she could do it again without all the after effects in the same situation she still would. “Alright I get it, I was wrong to get physical like that…” she admitted quietly as she leaned back from him and turned her gaze away, “But we already tried to talk…” she continued, biting her lip as she felt the need to begin yelling rise, “I tried to make her realize how she was neglecting my viewpoint but she won’t see it, I don’t know what to do to make her see it from my side.” she sighed again and slouched a bit, “She just kept telling me I need to use the Hon’s name. That she didn’t think it was an issue and that we needed to drop the topic.”

”Which I stated wouldn’t have gone very well due to the fact, beforehand you proceeded to beat her up. If someone kicked the crap out of you then tried speaking their viewpoint. Would you be upset to hear the reason I nearly received broken ribs for was cause someone else was a dick to them?” Madoc said with a small sigh as he rubbed his forehead, he could already see future missions going poorly.

”It was the timing if anything, atop of the fact you women are stubborn assholes when you want to be one. Yet I gave my advice on what to do. Apologize for what you did then try and have the conversation again. I’d say I would speak to her but probably wouldn’t have the same effect.”

She wanted to scream her frustration with everything was so great. Instead she buried her face in her hands and let out a whistling gust of air. “Fine.” she spoke from under her hands, “I’ll find a better time to talk with her. When we’re not as upset with each other. And I’ll apologize.” she agreed before lowering her hands. “We’re not all stubborn assholes. You’re one to talk you know?” Aoi shot back as she’d back off of the bed and stand up.

She wasn’t sure what else to do with Madoc. She was sure that no matter what she said with him at this point his advice would remain the same. To apologize and talk in earnest. And for good reason, it was what she needed to do, but she wanted someone to take her side now. To agree with her and tell her Meilin had deserved it and she hadn’t acted rashly for no reason at all during their spar, but it was obvious Madoc was not this someone. “So what then? I don’t know how long Meilin is going to be and I was told to wait for her.” she crossed her arms and watched the Yamanaka, “I’d suggest a drink but it’s probably not a good idea right now.”

Giving a shrug to her comment of him being one to call people stubborn assholes, ”Yeah but I’m an asshole to people that deserve it. I also don’t care what others think of me either. I don’t let small stuff like that bug me, otherwise I would be the problem.” Madoc would state as silence would pass among them as he knew she wasn’t happy with his words right now. He knew she wanted a yes man in this situation but he was far from that, he gave his opinion truthfully. It would have been the same if Meilin had approached as well.

When she asked what do they do now as Meilin would probably still be busy and she wasn’t sure for how long, he gave a shrug. ”Hell if I know, I don’t speak Chonobi nor would I be able to navigate this place. Also you're not drinking anything in this state, yet tell me something as I’ve noticed this. Why is it that when a problem happens, or something embarrassing. Your first instinct is to try and drink?”

Aoi felt a need to say something but just held her tongue. She’d lost enough face in front of her team already she imagined to warrant now getting angry with Madoc. “You don’t let little things get to you I know. But I’m not you, and to me this isn’t little.” she replied before simply shaking her head in agreement when he stated she shouldn’t drink before stopping and giving him a blank stare. Was he implying she had an alcohol problem? Because she would have wanted to go out and get a drink with him regardless of if there was an issue or not? “I don--” her words caught and she just watched in disbelief, “I don’t have an issue Madoc! I just wanted to get a drink with you!” she claimed, only half believing herself now that Madoc had brought it up.

”I realize this isnt little too you, yet not everyone is going to think the same about a certain situation. If you want my personal opinion then I honestly think both you Taika and Chonobi are fucking idiots.” Madoc said as he stood up and paced around his room, as he chuckled holding up his hands. ”Okay okay. You have no issue but do calm it down on the drinking. It’s good every now and then but in good moderation.”

Aoi was actually content with him as he agreed that it wasn’t a small issue to her and he knew it. She smiled as he spoke only to lose it completely when he told her that Taika and the Chonobi were just idiots. “For what? Why are we idiots? Because the Taika were invaded and driven off by the Chonobi? Because we gave up our culture and our dialect to a group so unwilling to do the same?” she could feel her frustration rising again but for an entirely different reason, “Or maybe because I find it hard to trust a group that’s so demeaning toward my own for no better reason than we’re different?” she clenched her fists and released them, “You know I have a clan. The whole marriage thing from my mother, wanting to raise us higher…” she got quieter as she’d sit back down on the edge of the bed and face away from him.

“But I don’t think you’d know that my clan wasn’t always so small. It was never quite the size of a regular clan sure... But it wasn’t always just a handful of families. The Cho slaughtered my people. So did the Hons. The Sarutobi.” she was nearly a whisper now as her hands clutched at her sides, “I’m sorry if I find it hard to trust them. But they’ve given me plenty of reason to doubt in the past.” she finished.

And now it has become a history lecture towards him which caused him to lean against the wall as she labeled off the reasons. Reasons he could debate but didn’t think it would go very well at this point, so he let her rant and rant about the Chonobi to him and when she finished he let out a sigh quite loudly.

”The Chonobi probably feel the same way you know? Events that happened in the past define us today but their is growing and learning from it and letting it eat away at you. Last I remembered, while they did slaughter your clan, your clan also tried to convert them if I’m not mistaken.” Madoc said as he shook his head as he looked at her.

”Like I said both cultures are being stupid. You judge each other and you judge those that work with them as well. Yet I’m not going to argue over this Aoi. I won’t disagree the Taika had it hard but the Chonobi did as well. Yet let’s just stop the debate here cause personally I dislike all the cultures at this point.”

Aoi was glad she hadn’t turned to face him as he shot his view right back. It wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t right either. Her people hadn’t deserved to be slaughtered and put on display for what they’d done, not as far as she could ever see it.

She nodded her head as he told her that the conversation was ending with that and would lay herself down on the bed facing away from him, “I hope you don’t mind. Wake me when Meilin is back.” she’d say loud enough for him to hear before shutting her eyes tight and willing the sleep that had been trying to overtake her earlier to finally do so.


"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
[fieldbox=A Last Drink, wheat]
Koike Hon

| Magnhild, capital of the Hon Clan | Empire of Akino |
| Leader of Team 6 | A colonel of the 13th Brigade, leading the Foot companions | Lieutenant-Colonel of the Guardians |​

It felt like he had been here a lifetime ago. The cold atmosphere was barely held out of the thick, stout walls. This probably had to do with the few small windows that were opened, allowing the cold to slip in and reduce the temperature of the large hall. Whereas many rooms in the large keep were silent and giving the impression that its inhabitants were fond of order, silence and organisation, the current hall was anything but that. There were various duos that were practising with dull training weapons. The heavy metal weapons clashed as the practitioners were drawn into a mimicking of a deadly dance. The violent swings that produced songs of metal moving through the air were mixed with serious voices, laughter and soft curses.

It was a place where Koike had practically grown up. Where he had spent many hours with Miharu, studying the way of the sword as various other martial disciplines. Watching various young as older men spar and train together, these weren’t the same that attended to the Field of Valdar. The more privileged and those of noble origin were allowed to be trained in the safer and richer confines of Magnhild’s citadel. Members of the Wolf Guard, sons and brothers of nobility as those who had earned the right to be here. Either through trust, friendship or merit. Yet, there was no strict social etiquette as in other places. Here, everybody was a student of war and steel.
Despite having spent the previous evening till the late hours with Satia, Koike had managed to get up somewhat early to move to the large hall. He wasn’t entirely sure why but felt the need to visit it. To once more see the place and perhaps see if some old faces were lingering about.

Watching a pair of young men raising their dull blades, getting into a default stance, Koike couldn’t help but remember when he stood there himself. Barely a lad of nine years old, just strong enough to lift the heavy blade without toppling over.
Crossing his arms over each other, out front of his chest, Koike watched the two young men. They were being supervised by an older man, who made various statements as he pointed out in their stance. Giving them instructions to make sure they would start proper and memorise on how to use their stance.

[ Magnhild, almost 5 years ago. - Late January, in the year 473. ]

He walked into the large hall. It was early in the morning but he wasn’t drowsy from sleep. If the cold didn’t see to it that he was feeling awake, it was the sheer excitement that made his blood run faster. In the hall, there was only one man. A light complexion with a stubble beard and his hair in a short ponytail. There were various grey hairs visible as a few wrinkles on his forehead. Yet, the posture of the man gave away that age hadn’t tarnished his pride or energy.

”Morning lad,” the man said, his chin slightly raised as he eyed the young man that approached him. ”I hope you have slept well. I have heard that your twin brother is going to Konohagakure. Are you going with him?”

Koike lowered his head as a sign of respect to the older man, placing his hands behind his back. ”Morning, sir,” he didn’t use Alfarr’s personal name. The man was one of the most veteran members of the Wolf Guard. Once being a trusted companion of Atsushi Hon, Koike and Miharu’s father. A man that had fought in the Great War and did so without, apparently, ever hesitating about following his friend and leader into the thick of battle. If the rumours were true, Alfarr had managed to defend Atsushi’s body until more help had arrived, continuing fighting and even killing two members of the infamous Suzu clan.
”I am, yes. Where he goes, I will go.” Koike answered, pausing for a moment. ”Much like you followed my father.”

The expression of Alfarr briefly changed as he would nod. ”I see. A shame. I had hoped that you would stay and continue here with me. When are you both going to leave?” He asked, letting a practice blade rest on his shoulder. He held another practice blade within his left hand, holding the hilt towards Koike.

Stepping forward, Koike would gently grip the hilt. Taking a step back, he would briefly glance at the dull, dark grey practice weapon. ”Within a month.” Was the answer, given in a softer tone. ”Then we will travel to Konohagakure. To become shinobi.”

A soft chuckle could be heard from Alfarr as he shook his head. ”It is a shame. I think both of you lads will waste your potential of becoming shinobi. I bet that they will make you wear one of those dresses and then speak only Taika.” There was a sliver of amusement present in the older man’s voice. ”I wish that I could coerce you to stay. Konohagakure is far away and unknown. Are you sure that you want to go?”

He wasn’t sure that he wanted to go. He didn’t like the idea. Sure, Katsuro’s reign was anything but pleasant. The excitement that Miharu had for a new place where they could start anew. Without feeling that they needed to be cautious for political intrigue. To be among a different culture. To travel and see more of the world. That was all that Miharu wanted. If anything, Koike didn’t long for that. The unknown meant uncertainty. It wasn’t comforting. He knew and could speak Taika, so that was one worry less. He knew of the Uchiha, Senju and some of those clans. They were once rivals and enemies of his clan. And though those days were in the past, could he and Miharu consider a city founded by Uchiha their new home?
”Everybody needs a brother to have their back,” Koike said as he gripped the hilt with both hands, raising the blade and let it rest against his shoulder. ”I can’t let Miharu go alone.”

A sigh escaped Alfarr as he nodded slowly. ”Young, reckless and I would even say stupid. But, I can’t berate you for the motivation behind your choice. Very well. Let us begin. Usually, I would go about how to swing a blade, how to parry and such. But today, we will do a different lesson. For the coming month, I am going to teach you other techniques of the sword. ”

The ghost of a smile dawned on Koike’s lips as Alfarr spoke. Listening to what they would do today, Koike knitted a frown on his brow but would remain silent. Nodding that he was ready, he decided to ask a question. ”So, you are going to still teach me how to fight?”

”I know you know how to fight. I am going to teach how to fight and not die. Subtle difference.” Was Alfarr’s response. It gained another frown from Koike but the teen remained silent, curious what the difference would be.

Alfarr would let his blade move from his shoulder, holding the practice weapon with just one hand. Pointing to his wrist with his left hand, he would speak up. ”From the opponent’s wrist is where the attack is born. It is past tense, from which it can’t separated itself. The end of the blade, where the attack arrives, is its present tense. Which also can not be denied.” It stayed silent for a moment as Alfarr would then gesture Koike to take his stance. Without question or much more than a second delay, the younger Hon would do so. Holding the blade firmly in his grasp, the end of his weapon pointing towards Alfarr.

”You are still watching my eyes. Which is a good way of getting yourself killed.” The older man said, making Koike slightly lowering blade and deciding to ask a question back.
”How exactly am I supposed to watch two points of space at the same time?”

”Practice.” Was the sole answer as Alfarr flashed a smile. He would let the answer sink in and Koike eventually slowly nodded. It sounded rather cryptic but he didn’t doubt the older man’s words. Even if it sounded odd to him.


They sat down. Koike sharpened his blade with slow movements. The beads of sweat had stopped rolling over his skin and the few new blue bruises were a testimony that Alfarr hadn’t gone easy on him. The older man never did, for he claimed that nobody in a serious fight ever would take it easy.
Listening to Alfarr as he sharpened the blade, Koike didn’t lose focus. Last time that he had done that, he had cut his hand. The scar was small but still visible on the palm of Koike’s right hand.

”All warfare is the same. Two questions are of paramount importance.” Sitting next to Koike, the older man would raise a closed hand. Raising his index finger, Alfarr continued speaking. ”Who was my opponent yesterday.” Raising his middle finger, Alfarr would remain silent for a second. ”And who is he today. Never forget that.”

Koike nodded slowly. He kept the slow movements going, memorising the teachings of Alfarr as he sharpened the steel of the sword. The soft sounds of the whetstone moving past the edges of the blade would ring faintly into the large hall. Then Koike stopped as he had thought about something.
”Are you not concerned about this?”
”Concerned?” Alfarr asked, waiting for an elaboration from his pupil.

”You say that you’re teaching me how to fight. But before you told me that each man fights differently. Almost seems,” lowering the sword and whetstone, Koike looked at Alfarr, ”to me that what you’re really be teaching me, is how to defeat you.”

The older man locked his eyes with his student. He briefly broke his gaze and slowly a hint of a smile dawned on Alfarr’s lips. Returning his gaze back to Koike, he nodded slowly. ”I will take my chances.”

[ Magnhild, present-day - Early January, in the year 477. ]

Slowly inhaling and exhaling through his nose, Koike wondered what Alfarr thought of him now. He would have loved to meet up with the man, sitting down and talking with him. Sadly, that had to wait for later. For Alfarr had met his end bravely in the last siege on Magnhild, by the troops of Shoji. On the last day, the old man had been gutted in the side. From what Koike had been told, Alfarr had as per usual counted his death. The day before, his kill count had been numbering 54 Shoji soldiers. An impressive amount over a few days of fighting. Hopefully earning the man his place among the other heroes of their clan.

Watching the two young men swing their blades, trying to force an opening, Koike could just hear Alfarr’s stern voice again. Instructing him to watch his footwork, not to swing wildly or without purpose. To watch both his opponent’s eyes and the wrist. How to guide his opponent’s blade and how to use his own. A painful sting of guilt, miss and pride would go mixed with nostalgia, while Koike watched the two young men continue their training.

”How can a man be brave if he is afraid?”
”If a man is afraid, that is the only moment he can be brave if you ask me.”

Slowly nodding, Koike made a decision. Turning away, he would exit the hall. Walking with a clear purpose, he considered what he would leave behind. It didn’t take much or long before he had what he needed. A flask of ale. That was all that he needed.
Now heading towards the cemetery, Koike walked at a slower pace. When he finally found Alfarr’s grave, Koike just stared at the stone. It was richly decorated with inscriptions. The name of Alfarr Hon, son of Geir, of the lineage of Gunnvaldr.

Kneeling slowly down, Koike would shove some snow with his right hand from the gravestone. Proceeding to sit down, next to the grave, Koike wasn’t sure what to say.
”You know. You were right. Going to Konohagakure was stupid. I have lost Miharu. I have only gained scars. Seen things I could go without. Experienced anger and hatred. Disdain.” Koike held the flask with both hands now, eyeing the brown object that held the alcoholic liquid inside.
”But, it wasn’t that bad. It is, at least, warmer than here. I have some regrets about leaving you and others here. But I have felt alive. Managed to bond with others. I have seen that life has more to offer than glory and fame.”

Becoming silent, Koike slowly nodded. He opened the flask and took a swig. Letting the bitter drink flow over his tasting buds, he would chuckle. Slowly and almost carefully, Koike held the flask near the gravestone. Letting some of the content pours, going through the snow to the earth, Koike would release a sigh. ”Now I am home and you’re gone. And I am certain that there were, at least, a dozen of Valvravns eager to carry you to the afterlife. I hope you have seen Miharu there. That you may drink, fight and feast till Valdar’s Call, among the heroes of our people.”

Taking another swig, Koike would get up. Turning the flask, he would empty it from its content on the previous spot, before closing it. ”I will see you later, Alfarr. Hopefully, not too soon.” His lips parted, wanting to say something more but he decided to turn around and walk away. There was nothing left to say.



"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
[fieldbox=Returning East, wheat]
Eastern Continent, Wolf Country.
Near Allied Camps.

A collab between Sketcher and Gerontis.

Koike returns from his mission west, using the Zodiac-summoning. Katsu allows Koike to summon himself back east. The two engage briefly into a talk as they make their way back to camp, for Katsu was out hunting.

Garbed in the gear that he had appeared in before in Magnhild, Koike was both eager and unmotivated to go back to the east. The mixture of emotions made Koike stare at the sharp knife. Slowly but surely he would prick his index finger. The sharp sting of pain was fleeting already, as if it was a very faint warning of what awaited him in the east. Yet, he remembered who were awaiting for him in the east. Holstering the knife, Koike would weave the handsignals.

Once finished, Koike stood still. Waiting for the sudden jump. For a moment, a thought moved through Koike’s mind. Wondering what if nobody would answer his summoning. That meant he would be able to enjoy his time away from the grim scenario in the east. Realising, however, what that could mean, Koike felt guilt washing over him.

Before he could dream more of the idea of remaining, Koike would find the fabric of space and time warp around him as Katsu’s familiar signature made its presence clear. The beautiful and lush view of Magnhild contorted and turned white and brown, of snow and trees.

Katsu let a curse under his breath as he held his short bow in hand without a nocked arrow. He made a small gesture as the snow ahead of him shuffled. Tanpo sprung forth, pursuing the small critter that barely escaped the tip of an arrow. The young nin turned to his friend, bringing his free hand up to his mouth for a brief respite from the biting cold, speaking under the muffle of his palm. "How’d it go?"

Blinking with his eyes for a second or two, Koike managed to regain his composure quickly. Resting his left hand on the pommel of his sword, he nodded. ”We will get our reinforcements and more supplies. Though,” Frowning, Koike threw a look around. ”I had expected to be at camp.” Turning his attention back at Katsu, Koike noticed the bow that his friend held. A soft smile crossed Koike’s lips but he decided to not make a comment about it.

"Sounds like it went quite well," Katsu said, pulling out another arrow. "We’re just outside the camp." He nocked the arrow on the string as he walked forward. "Things have been relatively quiet in your absence. We only almost burned the camp down once," he said with a cheeky grin.

Yeah, Koike thought to himself. ”Why am I not surprised? Who was it? Garrod? Skuli?” Koike asked, feigning clearly an annoyed tone. Walking next to Katsu, Koike decided to ask something else. Of a more serious nature. ”What about the enemy forces? Any movement that has been spotted? Any attacks been made?” Koike already thought back to the talk he had with Hayate, before he had left. If things had been quiet, then that meant that they didn’t yet executed the plan.

Katsu drew the string as he slowly tracked something in the distance. His eyes flashed for a moment, his arms flicked to aim, and let the arrow loose, dying a small patch of snow red in the distance with Tanpo arriving on the scene just a moment later. He turned to Koike with his index finger pressing on his cheek. "I can’t very well tell you, but… His name rhymes with Bakumu," he said jokingly. "Everything’s been rather calm, really. Not much movement to speak of."

Staring at Katsu, Koike’s eyes half closed. He wasn’t going to delve further into that. Shaking his head faintly, he watched how Katsu took a shot. It was good to see that Katsu hadn’t been idle and waiting for his return. ”Good. I will need to speak to Hayate. If nothing has happened then we soon need to get to moving.” Pondering further on the plan, Koike already started to make a plan on how they could present the plan to the Republican and Lightning commanders.

Tanpo rushed back to them with the dead rabbit in his mouth, the arrow still sticking out of the critter’s eye. Katsu picked up the arrow on the ground that he had shot earlier and missed before walking towards the camp. "I’m kidding, he’s been good," Katsu said, briefly sticking his tongue out to catch a snowflake out of the air. He scrutinized his friend’s belongings up and down and narrowed his brows. "Did you bring me any sweets?"

”Of course. I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t bring you some.” Patting at a bag that hang at his side, Koike frowned slightly. ”I was considering to bring something small but I remembered that you used to love pastries. Perhaps a bit too much.” Untying the small bag, Koike held it towards Katsu. ”But seeing that it will be a long time before you can get your hands on another bag, I suppose it won’t hurt this time.”

In a sudden, rapid jab, Katsu pulled a pastry out, a cookie sandwich with chocolate used to draw a cage-like pattern on both sides, with some red paste in the center. His eyes glowed savagely before he shoved it in his mouth. He stopped. His eyes closed and he stood still for a few moments. "I thought it would feel better," he said in disappointment. "I was hoping it would taste amazing after so long, but..." He let out a sigh and unfastened the belt holding a sabre on his hip. He held it out to Koike. "Here."

Taking the sword, Koike’s features softened. Slowly he would don on the weapon belt, to which the scabbard was attached to. ”Thanks. I am glad you didn’t need to use it. Seeing how sloppy you are with a decent weapon like a sword.” Koike half joked, a grin growing on his lips. ”Anyways, let us return to the camp. Unless you want to try to shoot down more ferocious bunnies.”

"Well… From that, I can only surmise that you don’t want any of the meat we caught today, so that’s fine with me," Katsu responded, taking the lead on the road to the camp. "In the end, it’s just more food for me and Tanpo."

”Might be good. You need to still grow after all.” Koike joked in return. Walking back to the camp, Koike wondered how Akumu had been doing. The soft crunching sound of snow below their boots snapped Koike out of his thoughts. ”You know, I delivered that letter. I also met Aiko,” he began, ”She misses you.”

"Oh, thanks for that," Katsu said with a relieved smile. As he continued listening, he brought a hand to his chin. "Oh… Is she doing well?" he asked. "I mean… I suppose she must be. Anyone must be, back home, huh?"

”She wasn’t home. I arrived in Magnhild,” Koike answered as he briefly thought. ”She is. Has a new genin that I also met. But she is doing fine.” For a moment, he let a pause follow his words. ”I am sure as soon we are done here, you will get to see her again.” Patting Katsu’s shoulder, Koike sighted the allied camps in the distance. ”Next time though when I try to summon myself to you, try to be closer to camp.”

"Too long a trek?" Katsu said with a smirk. Tanpo ran ahead of them and into camp. "Any ideas for where we can set up camp once we’re out of here?"

”Yes, cause I do have various meetings that I will need to attend to. To then also have a long trek added to it, isn’t really what I would describe as ideal.” Koike grumbled in return. ”And no. I know likely as much as you. I know what the plan might be but further than that? I have no clue.” Koike replied. He had various ideas but he wasn’t the one to call the shots.

One of the men on patrol around the border of the camp came into view, apparently surprised for a brief moment before saluting the colonel. As they entered the camp, Katsu glanced around. "Well, I would’ve been closer, but I didn’t know when you’d be coming back," he said with a huff.

”Fair enough. I should have expected that you would be going about with your new toy,” Koike replied, not hiding his amusement about Katsu’s newfound interest. The camp was just the same as what he had left before. It was bustling with activity with soldiers and people going on about. The cold didn’t do much to put a halt to the activities and Koike actually enjoyed the signs of discipline. Nearing the part of the 13th brigade, Koike wondered for a moment if he should call his captains to get a small battalion meeting going on. ”I want you to prepare. If Hayate hadn’t yet fielded the meeting with the other commanders, the plans for the next fight will be made. And I suspect we will see quite some action, again.”



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[fieldbox="Operation Dreadful Kiss; Part 3, #FFF370"]
Ino Namikaze | Sworn Sword | Rice Country

Part 1
Part 2

It took her several more hours of travel, and she arrived at the entrance to the new capital of the Rice country, known as Yatari. From the outside, there wasn’t much too much that could be seen, as the walls surrounding the capital managed to hide what the capital held in a rather good fashion. That being said, the walls were certainly well maintained, and it was apparent that there were guards that stood on top of the walls, overlooking the surrounding area.

The pathway leading into had more security, which was not surprising, and included a security checkpoint. They were more secure that she had initially thought they would be, but that was exactly why she had went a bit around to the other farm and retrieved the papers from Tobe. As she waited in line, she saw the guards were more friendly with faces they seemed to know better, but still checked everyone properly. They had no one slacking off or letting people pass by just because they knew them. Good soldier quality, at least when it came to obedience and following the rules, it seemed. But she had no intention of testing out the physical aspect of the Rice’s military unless she really had to.

Upon reaching the inspection, one of the soldiers came and checked her papers, which she took out without any issues, while another performed a brief body check. There had been a few other soldiers there, maintaining a couple more passages into and out of the city, including a passage of carriages for those who came in with goods of different kinds. All passages had small lines to them, indicating the trades and people going into and out of the Rice’s capital were rather consistent and certainly supported the word about Yatari being quite the bustling trade center of the country.

Once both checks were completed, Ino was allowed inside the walls of the Yatari. It seemed the quality of the forged documents were high, as she did not need to pay a tax for entering the capital as a ‘travelling citizen’, while a couple of people before her did need to do. Certainly was useful to be a travelling citizen then. Then there was her decision to not carry any weapons with her, which proved to be the right call as well. Just because a weapon can make a job easier does not mean it can always help execute a mission that requires stealth, after all.

Taking her first steps into Yatari, the first thing Ino noticed was the appeal the place had. It wasn’t the most beautiful or attractive place she had ever seen, nor was it the most clean place. But the appeal of Yatari came in the form of the energy it held within. From the outside, the main appeal it held in her eyes was the fact it stood in the middle of the country. But once she was inside, it almost felt like she had entered an entirely different world from the outside.

Standing almost by the gate to the city, some people were already yelling, calling out trade goods and trying to attract the attention of everyone. Fresh crops, fish, cloth, silk, silver, spices. It felt as though everything was being sold within the city, and almost right from the get go. But, Ino felt like stopping and looking at the first things you saw was not the right way to go. Just like a diamond in the rough, or people, you most likely had to go deeper into the city to find the things that were truly valuable.

Passing through the crowds of people, Ino slightly wondered how the Capital would be once the shops, stalls and all of those went to sleep. It was getting close to Dusk, after all, and she assumed not everyone who was in the city lived in it. Would it become a place of more shady trades in those times? Would it unveil the darker things that lurk in the shadows? She would have to wait and see.

Once she arrived at what felt more like the center of the city, the buildings became more spread out and Ino saw that there was a more than decent sized market, with many people wandering between the many stalls. These looked like higher quality materials and different foods, and also required higher prices to buy anything in there. The people who were mostly looking around there seemed to talk to the stall owners much more frequently about what Ino assumed were business proposals and not just negotiating prices, considering how the interactions were going. It didn’t take much for Ino to understand that this wasn’t the type of place she would normally fit into. And with the thought passing in her mind, she decided to start looking for a place she knew only by name as of now, and not by how it looked.

Walking away from the center of the city, Ino decided to approach one jewellery stall, which appeared to be vacant from any customers at the current time. As he saw Ino approach, the owner’s face lit up and he immediately picked up a pair of necklaces ”Fine jewellery, for a fine lady! Everything in a good price at Jure’s Jewels, cheaper than the competition, while being prettier than the rest! Anything that catches your eye?” He asked with a wink and a smile.

Ino shook her head lightly ”I apologize, but I’m not here for the jewellery, although I can tell you that people are certainly missing out. I was hoping you could help me out. I’m looking for a place for the night. Do you know of the local inns?” She asked kindly.

Jure’s expression dropped while he put the two necklaces he grabbed back on his stall. He nodded as a response to Ino’s question, but seemed less than reluctant to answer as he moved back to looking around and trying to spot potential customers.

Understanding everything in this place ran in one way, Ino picked up one of the necklaces on the stall, which caused the Jure’s to turn his attention back to her ”This looks quite nice, but perhaps if you’d be willing to help me out, I’d be willing to buy it instead of just looking. Would you be willing to help?” She asked, turning her gaze towards the man.

It seemed that all Jure noticed was the fact she was willing to buy something and not really caught onto what she had said ”Yes, yes, of course! I’ll tell you about the local inns! But please, also look at this one, I think it could really fit you.” Jure said as he offered her another necklace, placing it in her hand ”There are several inns around all of the capital, but usually people would be directed to the more expensive and luxurious ones. Those are nice, and the two of those I’d recommend are called ‘The Golden Bowl’ inn and the ‘Fine Fanged’ inn. Both offer great many services. But again, those are expensive. Maybe a bit expensive for you.” He said, looking over her. She certainly did not have the look of someone who would stay in any expensive place in his eyes.

Before he continued, Jure dropped another necklace in Ino’s hands to look at ”The more common place inn’s that I know of are ‘Daitsu’s Thirst’, ‘Tiger’s Retreat’ and ‘Rest Kage’. All of those are known for good service and being decent places. You can find the first two in the more eastern side of the capital, and the last one just a couple of streets down to the west from here.” Jure said, and then gave Ino a questioning look, clearly regarding the different jewellery he had offered her.

After looking at the different necklaces, Ino returned them all to Jure’s hands, who raised an eyebrow at her ”Thank you for the names and locations. As you have mentioned yourself, I’m not the most rich person, and I cannot afford the jewellery you offer, but I am very grateful, and I will pass to everyone I know to come see your stall for any jewellery!” She thanked him with a quick bow before also dropping something else in his hand and then stepping away from the stall. Looking at this hand, Jure would notice a Yen that was left. While he was still annoyed that she treated him like an information broker, he would put the Yen quietly in his pocket before putting the necklaces back on the stall and trying to attract the attention of potential clients.


Fierce Rebel
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[fieldbox=Obsidian Blood]
Empire of Akino.
Hon Clan lands.

Obsidian Blood

Performed by:
Team 4,
Team 8
Jounin Astrid Hon.
Scholae Yumi Hasegawa

At early morning, groups of the Sworn Swords were already on the move. On horseback, these groups swiftly rode towards the area that they would help to lock down. Within an hour, a large detachment of these elite warriors had left the city before the sun could provide any warmth. The Grey Guard would already be at the location, to start securing the area that was around five days ride from Magnhild. Certainly with the dreadful snow slugging down one’s travel speed.
When the sun would start to appear at the horizon, with no cloud being present to prevent its warmth or light, the city would come slowly to life as well. More specifically, in the courtyard, there would be a group of people readying a wagon and some horses. Some supplies would be placed within the wagon, with a canvas being pulled up to provide some protection for those who would be within the wagon as for the resources against the cold.

As this would take place, four women would meet up. Meilin Cho, Astrid Hon, Yumi Hasegawa and Aiko Cho-Hon. It wouldn’t take long for the introductions as some information would be shared between the four. With the supreme command of the mission being placed on Astrid Hon, due to various factors being weighed into the matter.
Once more the mission would be discussed. The goal being that they would be the assaulting team that would take down the high ranked zealots that got trapped by the Grey Guard and the ANBU that pursued them. The location being near the small village by the name of Alfstedt, the operation named ‘Obsidian Blood’.

The group that existed out of Team 4 and 8, together with Yumi and Astrid, would mobilise at noon and ride out of Magnhild. The streets were busy but nobody seemed to pay much heed to the group, more focused on their own affairs. Once exiting the gates, the pace would be picked up faster.
With Magnhild vanishing over the horizon, Astrid would quickly split the group into three parts. A vanguard to scout ahead would be formed by the members of Team 8, under Aiko’s leadership. Seeing that they could utilise the communicators, they could move a bit ahead. Of course, once they were given the directions of where they were going.
The ‘rearguard’ would be formed by Yumi Hasegawa and Astrid Hon. The wagon would be manned by Meilin Cho, further guarded by Aoi Miyazato on horseback while Madoc Yamanaka, Dea Cho and Dagrún Hon remained in the wagon.

The formation would venture forth, holding a few pauses. Not only to let their mounts rest but also to ‘enjoy’ the bland rations to remain on strength. Eventually, the sky started to grow darker and the formations would be rallied together as a camp would be set up. One campfire would be made and the guard shifts were made by Astrid. With, at least, having four people being on watch for any problems.
Last edited:


God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
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[fieldbox="Double A's - Obsidian Blood, #0080ff"]Astrid Hon and Miyazato Aoi| Chuunin of Team 4 | Magnhild
A collab between Aliceee Aliceee and FrostedCaramel FrostedCaramel

Aoi is unexpectedly approached by Astrid Hon after they have set up their tents. They hold a small conversation about themselves to get to know one another that, although mostly meaningless, helps Aoi to humanize the Hon a bit more than her new teammate has so far managed.
With the camp set and the sky darkening, Astrid first attended to her small tent. It was clear by how she handled it she had done it before. The small tent was quickly set up and then the woman glanced around, letting her gaze move over those who were present at the campfire. Deciding on something, the blonde woman would walk over to one of the members of Team 4.

"Hello," the friendly tone would be accompanied by a smile as Astrid gestured to the place next to Aoi. "Mind if I sit next to you?" There weren’t any others at the campfire, busy with their tasks so it seemed.

Aoi had been pleasantly surprised when the tents they had been issued turned out to have metal in their poles unlike the completely wooden tent poles she had used in the past, and due to it had spent no more than two minutes setting her tent up. A few simple knots around the metal stakes and simply laying the canvas over the poles was all it took as far as actually lifting a finger went, with the rest being done by her release. She made sure the canvas was on properly and stowed her small pack and gear inside before she would turn to the campfire that someone had started when they’d first arrived and took a seat around it while waiting for the others to finish up.

She was still sour about he situation with the new Hon and Meilin, but it wasn’t nearly as infuriating as it had been the day it had all begun and instead of secluding herself away like she would have then she simply refused to help any of those around her and watched the fire as it crackled and jumped. The voice of the Grey Guard member, Astrid Hon, caught Aoi a bit off guard as she walked up on her.

”Yeah no, go ahead...” Aoi replied a bit stunned that the Hon had approached her. She bit her tongue and decided the Hon probably hadn’t approached her, that she was simply being polite and taking a seat to enjoy the fire as well. ”Miyazato Aoi.” she offered as she cupped her hands in her lap, ”I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced.” she stated wearily.

"Astrid Hon. Pleasure to meet you," Sitting down, a soft sigh escaped the blonde woman. Gazing at the fire, there would be a second of silence before Astrid broke it. "Miyazato. It sounds familiar. Doesn’t a family own a shrine somewhere west of the Hon clan? West of Ecla, correct?" A sideways glance was thrown towards Aoi. "One of the Way of Fire, no?" The woman continued asking, sounding genuinely curious.

”The pleasure is mine.” she lied with a smile as the idea of interacting with another Hon began to bring back her frustrations from earlier. She was going to speak up to break the silence when the Hon stated that her name sounded familiar, then proceeded to point out the direction of her very own home. Her mouth was slightly open as she sat in stunned silence that a Chonobi would even know of the location of a Shrine of the Way of Fire, and more so that it just so happened to be her families. Conscious of the fact she was staring she closed her mouth and smiled, ”Sorry I was a bit stunned.” she stammered out with a small apologetic wave, ”That’s correct, it’s actually my home.” she said as the frustration of early began to give way to confusion and curiosity for the Hon in front of her.

Nodding she’d continue, ”We are followers yes… If you don’t mind my asking--” she sat back slightly and gave the Hon more of her attention, ”Why do you know this Miss Hon?”

If the staring was considered anything bad, Astrid didn’t show it with her features remaining the same. Listening to the response of Aoi, Astrid would chuckle when Aoi provided a question in return. "Why not? Knowing is half the battle, ain’t it? But I suppose it is good to know who your neighbors are. I haven’t ever visited but I did various missions outside the usual areas I got deployed in." Considering something, Astrid would turn a bit more towards Aoi.

"Besides, just Astrid. Miss Hon sounds a tad too formal. I am basically not even a superior over you, so no need for strict formality." The statement would be followed by another chuckle. "So, what is this shrine like? If you don’t mind my curiosity that is. You stated it was your home. Does it also function as a house then?"

Knowing was half the battle? Surely Aoi was just seeing things where there was nothing to be concerned about. She pushed the thought away and nodded along to the Hon’s talking, wondering silently what sort of missions she had undertaken around her own home the whole time. She had to keep the surprise off of her face as the Grey Guard in front of her told her that she was being too formal, that she wasn’t really even a superior at the moment over her. It was an odd thing to hear. That a Grey Guard wasn’t really above her? She simply smiled and nodded to the Hon as she continued onto asking what her home was like.

She felt herself pull back slightly as it was asked, as the idea of telling the Chonobi in front of her about her home, about something she likely didn’t actually care about beyond small talk set in. She was a Hon just like Dagrún. She couldn’t possibly care if the blonde Chuunin was anything to go off of for her people.

”The Shrine itself isn’t my home no… I live in a smaller building on the same property. And depending on if I am working or not I may spend the night in the small Inn we keep.” she spoke slowly as she answered the Hon, not entirely sure how much she’d want to be satisfied and completely unsure what to do next.

The right eyebrow of Astrid slightly perked up as she listened to Aoi’s response. Nodding once, to emphasize that she was paying full attention to the Miyazato, Astrid would respond as soon as Aoi was done. "Okay. But how does the shrine look like? Is it like a circular shape? Do many people come to pray or make the journey to it?"

Almost right after the questions, Astrid continued. "Sorry. I am just trying to get a tad better understanding on who I am working with. And it is usually a good way to learn somebody when you try to learn where they came from or about what they consider an important place. I, myself, come from Magnhild. Not that I am much around in the city with my occupation. But whenever I can or being send to it, I feel happy. I hope the same counts for you as well."

She’d misunderstood how much the Hon had wanted. She gave a shy smile and wave, ”Sorry Mi-- Astrid.” she quickly chimed in before she’d sti for a moment and wonder how best to explain the Shrine. ”I’m not sure I’m much of an artist with my words but I have something better if that would work for you Astrid?” she asked hesitantly as she smiled at the Hon.

"Something better? You piqued my interest. Please," gesturing that Aoi could show or do what she had in mind, Astrid nodded. "You got my attention."

Aoi nodded and frowned a little at Astrid, ”I’m not sure how well this will work either.” she admitted with a small laugh before forming a bird handsign and raising her hands out in front of her. The hiss gave away the fact that something under her clothes was moving before the iron dust began to flow from her sleeves and into the air in front of them. ”The Shrine Building is a bigger building than the rest, but it’s not actually the most important piece of the entire Shrine...” she said as the iron would form into a rather close replica of the rectangular building. The telltale Taika tiled roof and walling giving it away for what it owed its design to, and the wide stairway in front of it giving it the illusion that it was raised from the ground, ”the most important part is the fire behind the shrine’s main building.” she stated as the building would collapse into a large cauldron shape before their eyes. Four legs at the bottom appeared to hold it up and the iron dust that made the flame swayed from side to side much like the campfire in front of them, the crackling and popping of it only lending to the image.

The cauldron would spin for a few seconds before it’d collapse into a flat sheet of dust that spanned the distance in between Aoi and Astrid. More hissing would fill their ears as more iron dust came from her sleeves and created the rough layout of the Shrine itself on the flat surface. She’d point to the smallest building on her little three dimensional map and smile, ”This small one is just storage, nothing important.” she laughed before pointing to the longest building on the map, ”This is where the Shrine Priests and Maidens live. There’s a communal dining hall and kitchen at the end of it.” she continued as she seemed to pick up her pace of explaining. The next building she pointed to was more of a square and seemed to be among the more modest of the buildings. She hated this building.

”This is an additional shrine building. For smaller ceremonies or important meetings that the main building isn’t suited for.” she remembered the nights she had spent there with her brother and quickly moved on, pointing to the large building at the figurative “head” of the map and the circle behind it she’d quickly explain their places, ”The main shrine building and the fire behind it.” she finished and the map would continue to float in place, slowly spinning around so that Astrid could get a good look before it all collapsed again into a smaller two level rectangular building.

”This is my home, it’s farther down the trail that leads to the Shrine. Inbetween the Inn and the Shrine to be exact.”

Silently, Astrid watched how Aoi explained as visualised the place. Surprise was an emotion that briefly graced Astrid’s features but she didn’t ask or inquire about the girl’s ability. Simply watching and listening, Astrid nodded from time to time to mark it that she was listening intently. When Aoi was done, there would be a second of pause before Astrid spoke up.

"It sure seems like a place worthy of a visit." The tone was softer, clearly giving away that Astrid was impressed by what she had heard as well seen. "I wish I could portray my home like that. But sadly, I lack any ability to really lay it out without words. You sure have an interesting ability, if you don’t mind me saying so. I don’t think I have ever seen somebody doing something similar." But Astrid would swiftly change the topic as she leaned a bit back.

"My home itself is dull. A simple house within one of the calmer districts in the city. My father has a small forge where he now and then conducted some of his smithing. Not really the source of our income but I believe he does it because he likes to keep himself busy. That and my gramps was also a smith. Then I have a mother and a younger sister. I am not sure if my old room is still intact or if that my younger sister has that now." Turning her gaze to the fire, Astrid continued.

"I imagine you can try to shape it perhaps a bit. You guys were in Magnhild. I was often outside so I can still picture the vibrant nearby markets. Or going down to the southern districts where often foreigners stay. Also where I and some friends would try to get on the rooftops and drop wet balls down. Using paper and you know, making them wet. The menace would get worse during winter," a smirk grew on Astrid’s lips for a moment. "Often I would get a firm smack on the back of the head for it when we would get caught."

”Thank you.” Aoi said in response to Astrid’s comment about it seeming worthy to visit, and just giving a firm nod and a smile when she called her magnet release interesting. She hadn’t expected that the Hon would have seen it around anywhere, even if her family wasn’t the only one with magnet, it was still rather rare around the rest of the world.

She shook her head in protest when Astrid called her home dull, ”I think that Magnhild was quite beautiful.” she stated firmly before she continued to listen as the Hon explained her family and what she used to do with her friends one her free time. It seemed like she had had an interesting childhood to be honest, far more exciting than growing up a Shrine Maiden was that was for sure. ”I’m sure your home was quite nice if most of the city was anything to go off of, though I fear I don’t think I could replicate it for you.” she gave a small smile.

”I have only one sibling. Younger than me by five years, a brother. My mother is the head of the Inn and runs it day in and day out with a handful of employees, and my father is the Head Priest of the Shrine...” her cheeks grew a bit rosy as she continued, ”I actually was raised to be a Shrine Maiden… Well I am by all rights. But I don’t think it really suited me, and with my release… she emphasized by moving the iron in front of them around before it would all disappear back into her sleeves, ”Well my parents weren’t exactly able to fight to keep me home with it.” she said.

"Hmm, Magnhild is pretty. But so is Ecla. And other places. I even got to admit that Konohagakure has a beauty of it’s own." There was a hint of a playful tone in Astrid’s voice. Continuing, the woman briefly frowned. "Raised to be a shrine maid? Sounds rather important. But if it didn’t suit you then I can imagine that you wouldn’t want to do it for the rest of your life. My father always wanted me to stop risking limb and life for adventure. But here I am. Old geezer must have a heart attack whenever I write back to him."

A soft and cold breeze passed, causing Astrid to pause. "So, what made you become a kunoichi though? For me, it was first all about the adventure. Only later did I consider duty and loyalty to be my motivations to keep striving forward."

Aoi gave a small laugh, ”Surprisingly it was my parents choice actually. Despite that they wanted me to be a Shrine Maiden… They wanted me to be of use to the Fire Country.” she said with a shake of her head, ”I knew what Shinobi did. I learned about them when the priests would teach me about things, but… It never interested me until I was sent away for it. Only then did I find out that I wasn’t suited to be a shrine maiden.” she felt silly sitting in front of the Hon, someone who had obviously chosen her own path. Someone that had known what she wanted from the start, and her, having only accidentally stumbled into her profession after being forced to follow it by her family.

”There are plenty of other girls that would ki-- they wouldn’t kill--” she assured Astrid, ”that would love to take the position of a shrine maiden at a larger shrine. It’s a big deal in my faith.” she added, confirming that it was an important job, but nothing that couldn’t have been done by someone else.

"I reckon. Priests and the lot to keep the gods happy. Not really much of a light-weight responsibility, I imagine. I barely can keep myself happy at times. To understand what the gods want? I reckon that somewhere an ancestor of mine is just waiting for me to enter the afterlife, to give me a good ol’ sneering and beating." The blonde woman snickered. "Though I got to be honest. I met a lot of other people in my time of serving. But never one that was close of becoming a shrine maid. Do you sometimes consider to resign and take up another occupation?"

Aoi had to take a moment to think as Astrid asked if she’d ever wanted to change her career. To do something other than being a Shinobi. There was a time that she would have said yes, but after the time she had spent home and away from the shinobi corps she could no longer say it. If anything she’d like to stay as far away from her home as she could for as long as possible, as far away from her brother as possible. ”There was a time I was forced to leave the service, just before the Shoji Rebellion. I had to go help my mother tend to the Shrine and Inn as my father and brother became very ill… Before then I might have said that I’d like to be a Shrine Maiden instead of a Shinobi, but now?” she shook her head and blushed a little, ”I don’t want to change anymore.” she was a little surprised by how easy it was to talk to the Hon in front of her. Such an opposite she was to that of Dagrún that she had almost completely lost the feelings of frustration from earlier.

”During that time I became a fully fledged Shrine Maiden, I wasn’t just close. I am one.” she added to correct what seemed like a misunderstanding from Astrid. ”How about you? Do you ever think of a different occupation?”

"Well, I used to say yes. Just to do me pa a favour. To give him some semblance of hope that I wouldn’t forever stick myself into dangerous missions and operations. But honestly?" Astrid frowned as she gazed at the fire. "I don’t think so. I am not that good at creating stuff. I once tried to paint an animal. I think it was the neighbour’s cat. The fat critter was laying nearby and I had gotten some paper and a pencil. Needless to say, I have no true skill or talent towards artistic skill."

Pulling her legs a bit up, Astrid scratched the back of her neck. "I once considered to follow my gramps’s vocation. Becoming a smith. But much like drawing, I was so bad at it that my dad was afraid for both our lives. So no. I actually never truly considered another occupation. I am kind of okay with traveling down the path. Like this evening, sleeping out in the wild. In these parts of the Empire, there is even a different attitude towards shinobi. Granted though, I suppose it is easier for me than for outsiders. But I kind of like being a kunoichi."

Aoi wasn’t entirely surprised that the Hon had never thought to hard on another path in life. That their culture was focused around martial prowess, or at least placed much more emphasis on it wasn’t exactly a secret. Even given the taste that Shoji had left in the lands mouth it seemed that the Chonobi hadn’t actually seemed to mind it as much when it came to the Shinobi if what Astrid had said was to be trusted. She tilted her head, a questioned poised on her features, ”Even a place like Magnhild? Doesn’t hate the Shinobi? A place that was sieged by the Shoji forces?” she asked Astrid.

"Hate is a strong word. But from what I ever gathered, no. That and we consider the siege more because we refused to bend the knee again. We are horrible at doing that. Really." Once more there was a sliver of amusement present in the woman’s voice. "It is different though. Shinobi are considered to be close to scum of the earth unless an individual proved himself or herself to be truly good. Though I imagine it is different cause the Grey Guard works in more elusive ways. Sending raw recruits to do meaningful tasks and risk screwing stuff up is something that doesn’t happen. If anything, the idea that you’re being protected and watched over is more comforting than seeing a pack of shinobi wandering about."

Becoming silent, the tone of the woman became softer as her features betrayed that she was less happy about what she was going to say. "I also think it is the idea that many have of that shinobi are different. Most people can’t do much with chakra. They just have it and don’t bother with it. Shinobi constantly use it. And from what I have seen, most recklessly use it whenever they feel like it. I once saw a shinobi just scaling a building in a public area. That can cause all kind of reactions alone. Envy, fear, misunderstanding. If anything, Shoji had some points right on about shinobi."

Not cutting in as Astrid spoke Aoi would wonder if things could have been different at some point. If someone somewhere had just shown some restraint with such acts, and forced it on the others, ”Perception is everything.” she agreed, ”Chakra is a scary thing to those that don’t understand it.” she spoke softly as she remembered what it had been like when her release had manifested, the terror of it all. She shivered as a wind blew through the camp kicking up a small snow drift and causing the fire to flicker and sputter before it found its footing once more. ”In a way… I guess Shoji was right.” she agreed with the Hon before shrugging, ”But there were others that were right too.” she stated.

”If you don’t mind my asking, would you mind explaining the Grey Guard a bit more? I only know what my team leader told me of your organization, and it wasn’t very much if I have to admit it.” she asked, changing the subject from the failed rebellion.

"Most things aren’t. Gods, ancestors and foreign people. All matters unknown are quite scary." The question regarding the Grey Guard caused Astrid to frown as she shot a sideways look at Aoi. "Truth be told, I am not allowed to say much. And though you seem as an okay person, I don’t trust you to tell you a lot of details. But," a smile grew on Astrid’s lips. "I can try to give you the idea of who they are. After all, you can pretty much ask anybody that lives in these lands. They will probably tell you something similar. So, hmmm."

Pondering on where to start, Astrid gestured to the shadows cast by the light of the fire. "In a very easy concept, they are much like shinobi. Shadows that move and operate in the dark. That kind of deal. But most people don’t know how they recruit new Grey Guards. Or where they are located. It is way more elusive than the shinobi that you and most people are used to. To make it more complicated, most famous work of the Grey Guards isn’t contributed to a person’s name or such. They are just like that. Nameless shadows that operate to defend my people and these lands. In a way, I guess you could call them a more humble version of some shinobi. Not me though, I am pretty grand if I dare say so myself. But I am more of a connection to the Grey Guard than a full member."

Shaking her head lightly over her own ‘statement’, Astrid continued on a more serious tone. "The difference further between shinobi and Grey Guard is thus that they operate different. When a team of shinobi is sent to a place, they are so noticeable. Not that it is bad but people just know. In all honesty? I never knew when I was dealing with a Grey Guard or a proxy, unless they desired to let me know. I hope that helps a bit to understand them, as far as we," gesturing first to Aoi and then to herself, "Can actually understand those damned experts at hide and seek."

They acted from the shadows? It certainly seemed a better way to go about things then some of the stories she had heard of fresh genin making all sorts of public mistakes, and if anything they seemed to be a far more professional force than the average Shinobi. They were probably picked from higher ranked shinobi or other organizations if she had to guess, places that they could take those that they already had a track record of that spoke to their skill and discretion. She wondered if there were a place like that that she could perhaps shoot for, though none came to mind that she knew of off hand. ”I think things would be better for us if we operated along the same lines.” she said with a frown, ”And I didn’t want you to give up secrets. What you just said was more so what I was looking for Astrid.” she said, barely getting her name out at the end as it still seemed wrong to say it.

”Though I have to disagree a little.” she began as she raised a hand, ”Shinobi can be unnoticed too. You can’t always tell it’s them. I think the difference is that much of the time Shinobi teams don’t care to not be noticed. If they put in the effort they can be just as good at staying unseen as long as they’re an experienced team.” she finished with a nod.

"I mean, yes. In some ways. But there is nothing wrong with letting people know who saved them. Or know a bit more about who the people are that prowl the shadows. Though the Grey Guard are respected, they are also feared." Hearing that Aoi disagreed caused Astrid to nod when she heard the argument. "True. It is often just a small group that ruins it for the rest. I imagine that could be considered with more than just shinobi."

"But let us move on to more cheerful topics. Talking about the shadows and what not is rather gloomy. And I imagine we will soon face those Zealots. I prefer to have some cheer going off before that. Perhaps you could tell me a bit about your team. I met your leader ago but not that kid and other two people. What about them?"

”My team?” she stopped with that, unsure what exactly she should say about them all. For one she wasn’t exactly on the best of terms with the majority of them, and the things she thought she couldn’t really say without just increase the fact that Shinobi teams were just unqaulified for what they were doing.

”My team leader, Meilin, the one you spoke with… She’s quiet. Reserved in a way. But she’s strong, and she… she cares in her own way about us.” she said, hating every syllable of what she was saying, ”Madoc Yamanaka is the second member. A tall blonde with a habit of getting himself into and too easily out of trouble. He’s a bit of a handful but he’s enjoyable.” she smiled. She kept going as she gave just enough for an idea about them both, ”As for the two new members, Dagrύn Hon and Dea Cho… I honestly know little of them both.” she finished, not exactly a lie but not the whole truth.

"Kinda an interesting matchup. Not that I see anything wrong with some Taika, Yakimara and Chonobi working together. Some could say that the Empire could learn a thing or two from you lot." The smile dawned back on Astrid’s lips. "Well, I do think I am going to leave you for a bit. I am going to check on my gear and get a bit of my rations. I wish I had something less bland than the standard but not much spice to find in the wild and certainly not during winter."

Slowly getting up, Astrid nodded towards Aoi. "Thanks for the talk, Aoi. As stated before, it was a pleasure."

‘Interesting is just scratching the surface.’ Aoi thought as she resisted the urge to speak on just how interesting things had gotten on the team. As Astrid made her goodbyes and stood to leave Aoi would stand with her, nodding agreement with her as she thanked her for the talk, ”It was.” she affirmed the Hon before offering a hand, ”Good luck tomorrow Astrid.” she stated with a ghost of a smile.

The gesture seemed to be a tad of a surprise, judging by the brief expression on Astrid’s face. Reaching out with a hand of her own, she would accept and gently shake Aoi’s. "Thanks. I would say to you as well but judging what kind of ability you have, I think you won’t need it." Pulling her hand back, Astrid made a subtle nod towards Aoi before she would turn and head towards her tent.


Fierce Rebel
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[fieldbox=Time to unify - part 2, plum]

Asami Sanosuke
Raikage Assistant |Lightning Country, far north.

Previous part.

She kept herself silent. Watching the jarls bicker, Asami wondered how long it would take for an agreement would be reached. It was, at least, clear that none of the jarls were eager to submit to the demands of the regency council. To see more of their young folk being drafted into service of people that actually despised them. That treated them in their own homes and cities as second-rate people. A factor for the cold resentment that the Sanosuke in the northern lands held for most outsiders.

The only jarl that hadn't really spoken or said his thoughts was Aldvar. Whereas it was clear on how each jarl was standing and wanting, Asami hadn't been able to figure out what the jarl of Yngvar wanted. Thinking back, she could remember that the jarls of Yngvar had some old blood-feuds against Reistara and Langanes. Had those feuds been settled already? Asami clicked softly with her tongue as she knew it had been a bit too rash to not first figure out which feuds were still unresolved.

"I say, we raise an army. If we band together and keep the north, what hopes do those Taika have against us? Last time that they marched against us in large numbers, we repelled them!" Hallbard said, his beard subtly moving as he spoke out loud. "They can come and try to take our people once they have gotten over our corpses!"

"You forget," Grotnar said, calmer but his tone giving away that he was far from happy, "That the last march to the north was just the Hojo and whatever allies they could muster against us. If the regency council can muster the Hojo and those blasted Alaricus, then we will be outnumbered. And will be undone. Unless you forget that those radical fanatics and enslaving scumbags aren't small clans, jarl Hallbard."

"Perhaps we can rally with the Raikage?" Thorstein wanted to suggest but he merely had finished his sentence or some of the other jarls started to speak up again. Hallbard and Grotnar were against the idea. Stating that the Raikage was too far away and couldn't be trusted, for he was just like the rest. A Taika that would see them as mere fodder for his own agenda. Morimoto agreed that it was a decent idea, better than to stand alone to weather the storm.

Stamping with his right foot, Aldvar gained some attention eventually as it became silent. Leaning forward, the jarl of Yngvar locked his eyes on Asami as he spoke up. "You have served in the south, in Kumogakure, for years. Underneath Jinyaru, who did little to nothing to help us. And I believe we all know Waki, who became some kind of monkey priest. Serving rather the Taika than helping his fellow clan in some self-proclaimed solitude with animals." Aldvar paused as he frowned. "What I wonder is how much we can trust you as the assistant of a Taika leader. And if you are with us, how you desire to help us."

It became painfully silent after Aldvar's words. Asami's facial features didn't shift from the even expression that had been on her face the entire time. Still, with her back against the wall and her arms crossed, the woman would stare back at the jarl. Normally, she would have given a sneer back. Telling him to go and suck on a seashell. But this wasn't a situation where she could do that.
Pushing her back off the wall and letting her arms move to her side, Asami took a step forward so that they all could see and hear her properly.

"I traveled from Kumogakure all the way to the north. Twice now in a short span of time. Not because I like the Taika so much. Not because I am in favour of one or two jarls here. Cause I am not," Asami bluntly stated but still having a modicum of respect lingering in her voice, "I came here because I detest the idea of seeing the clan I belong with to become some mindless sons of bitches to whatever we can call the regency council. I didn't come here, traveling through various lands of clans, out of order from the Raikage. I came here out of free will. If you don't wish my aid in this conflict, so be it. If you want it? I can offer my abilities and resources. To prevent that the true north will be subdued and changed, for the worse."

Soft grumbles followed as Asami finished and took a step back. Aldvar nodded slowly as he threw a glance at each jarl. "I think we all know enough. It is to submit and yield without wielding steel in our fist. Or it is to do it the proper way. Our way. I say we will keep that son of a bastard in Reistara. If the Regency council wants us to bend some knee, then they best give us a good scuffle first."

The other jarls grumbled and nodded. Hallbard laughed out loud as he raised both hands in the air. Slowly the jarls would disperse with their guard. Asami watched how they now acted in a different manner to each other. Despite their old feuds, small differences and history, Asami believed that none of them were eager to be treated anymore as second-rate citizens of the north.

Standing still, back in her previous spot, Asami watched how Aldvar spoke with Thorstein and Grotnar. She wanted to join the talk but Morimoto came to her. The jarl flashed a sad smile as he nodded towards her. "Lady Asami. Seems that I might have the honour of soon fighting alongside you. May I perhaps ask if you already have a place to stay in the north? If not, I am happy to offer you a place. One fitting for somebody like you."

"Thanks jarl Morimoto," making a small bow with her head, Asami would talk further, "But I have some other plans. I am intending to find some more allies for our cause. I will soon, however, attempt to travel to Reistara."

The jarl slowly nodded but Asami couldn't see if he was pleased or displeased with hearing such a response. "The best to you then, Lady Asami. Know that you will always find a warm hearth and meal awaiting you in my halls. May the Gods be with you," he said, lightly bowing his head before turning away. Asami nodded as she mumbled something to herself.

"May they be with us all."

Jason Targaryen

Lord One-Eye
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[fieldbox= Operation Hawke's Eyes Part 2, darkcyan]

[ Amegakure to Aguni ]

{A collab between Talentless and Jason}

ANBU operatives Sairento and Kali are deployed to Aguni with a simple mission: Assassinate Tokaji of Aguni.

Sairento enjoyed the silence of their walk, but was rather thankful when they arrived at the destination city. Without a word in response to Kali’s question, he gestured towards the center of Aguni. Where their target’s mansion lay. A clear message that they would be scouting briefly before anything else. ”Eyes ready. I wanna go sightsee.” He said softly as he led the way deeper into the city. On either side of him people passed through the streets careless, seeming to enjoy themselves or be heading in a hurry towards home or work. Guards occasionally milled through, and once or twice Sairento thought he spotted a pair of much more careful eyes than normal. But he was playing the part of a casual sightseer, so they did not spot him in return. The agents of the fang were no doubt present, serving only to make his life more difficult. As they approached a massive walled off area, which Sairento knew to be the compound he looked around before grabbing Kali and pulling her in close. Whispering as if a man trying to steal a woman away for a moment. ”Back alleys. We need to see inside that wall. I'll keep watch, and you get a vantage point. Act like we are a couple sneaking back to an alleyway.” He said calmly before letting her go with a brilliant smile and slight laugh.

Kali’s eyes wandered back and forth, examining every civilian, and they were right, operatives of fang could easily be spotted wandering about. With them walking about it might be a bit harder to operate, but nonetheless they needed to finish the mission regardless. Kali grabbed a hold of Sai’s arm and hugged it as they walked, letting out a small giggle as she did so and rested her head on his shoulder as they walked, they were a couple that were sightseeing of course.

Once they got to what had seemed like the compound wall, Sai pulled her close and kali smiled sweetly as the man spoke. He wanted to get eyes on the compound, and she was gonna be the one to do it. As soon as he stop talking, she grabbed a hold of his hand let out a endearing laugh before pulling him into the alleyway “ Oh hun, stop it you’re gonna make me blush ” as soon as they got out of sight she let go of his hand and began to eye the wall up and down. She dropped her bag and suddenly ran up and grabbed the ledge pulling herself up, once she could see over the wall, she was met with a tree. It completely blocked her view of the place, but it was in arms length from her. So she pulled herself up and onto the wall and jumped into the tree, landing on one of the thickest branches causing only a slight rustle that didn’t draw her any attention. The place was beautiful, red wood, birch wood walls with several floors, cherry blossom trees at every corner of the place. There were a few men walking around, almost looking as if they were surveying the area, no doubt were they fang members protecting the man, their target. The place wasn’t huge, which meant less places to search for when the time comes, but it also meant less room to breath incase anything went wrong.

Just then as she was going over everything in her head, she spotted a man that looked as if he was looking directly into Kali’s eyes, she froze and her heart almost skipped a beat. The man then turned away and kept walking, it was just her being paranoid. After that she turned around and hopped off the tree and over the wall landing back in the alleyway going into a tuck and roll to lessen the impact of falling before standing right back up. “ Very pretty place, man must be loaded she spoke softly and casually before throwing her bag back on.

Sairento raised an eyebrow as Kali came back from her little scouting mission. ”Interesting. Anything important?” He said calmly, turning to look back around the alley to make sure no other elements were sneaking up on them. ”I want to go around front, see what it looks like. Go get our hotel room, then meet me at the tavern just across the way.” The man said calmly, handing his bag to Kali. Then turning on a heel and heading out of the alley to walk around the front of the massive compound while his partner went off to get their accommodations taken care of.

Nothing too crazy, big metal gate in front, three floors with balconies surrounding each floor. The very top floor looks to be the smallest though, most likely were the target resides. On top of that there’s a lot of space between the walls of the compound and the building itself, lots of open areas with very few trees, none of which are close enough to the main building to utilize. Each door is a double sliding door, one on the first second and third floor balconies and I think i remember seeing a single door behind it as well ” she took his bag and throw hit over her shoulder, “ Don’t get yourself in trouble Sai, It would be quite lonely having to do the mission by my own lonesome self ” She said with a wave before walking in the opposite direction. Making her way through the crowd of people, Her eyes stayed focused on what was in front of her. Occasionally her eyes were met with a wandering gaze, which she would reply with a nice smile before looking away and continuing on her way. Certain people just didn’t know when to mind their own business.

She got herself a bedroom for two from this nice old lady running the hotel. Once she was alone in the room she placed down the bags and pushed them into the closet. She grabbed what she needed, utilities and such, and tucked them away. She put her hair into a bun and left the building.

She went to where Sai had said to meet up at, and sat on a nearby bench, with a uprite and formal posture giving faint smiles to anyone her glanced at her.

Kali really needed to work on describing what she had seen. Sairento let that thought briefly slip through his mind as he went around front of the compound. He allowed a faint look of amazement as he looked over the gated entrance, made of two solid metal gates with ornate little carvings along the the fronts of them. So the man liked his privacy, fortunately enough that would work well for Sairento. Four guards stood outside the gate, privately hired from the looks of it. Two on each side, and kept a critical eye on those who got too close. Definitely not getting in there without extra preparation. He thought to himself as he continued looking along the large walls surrounding the compound. With a soft sigh he started walking away, mumbling about what he'd do with the money that man had. The tavern was only two buildings down, owned by the very man they had been sent to dispatch. He found Kali sitting out front and a small smile spread across his lips. ”Thank the Gods you didn't get started without me!” He said playfully, just in case any creeping eyes had followed him.

The man sat on the bench next to Kali and put an arm around her. Leaning in as if to whisper something sweetly into her ear. ”The gates are truly beautiful, though seem dreadful to open. I don't envy the poor fools.” He said softly, before adding on in a whisper barely loud enough for his fellow ANBU to hear. ”Watch for a servant.” He said, figuring there would likely be a different entrance for the servants to come and go. That would have to serve as their way in for now.

Kali only smiled and shook her head “ what kinda wife would I be if I had done that sweetie” she leaned in listening to what he had to say, giggling slightly as she put a hand to her mouth as if what he had to say wasn’t appropriate for public ears. Feeling his breath against her ear sent a shiver down her spine, causing her to blush slightly, fortunately for her, it only added to the disguise. She nodded and her eyes began to search the area.

Of course they didn’t spot anyone immediately, it took them a few minutes, close to what felt like a half hour. Most of the civilians were either couples staying a put a bit too late, or just the drunk group of friends trying to make their way home. The town was different from what she was used to, Amegakure didn’t have all too many people walking about, especially at night, the rain had always made short work of that, people had to stay dry. It was refreshing honesty, and it was almost relieving when she spotted someone in more formal clothing then usual, holding a few boxes and walking towards the compound. The poor man was struggling with it all, and rushing to get back before he dropped the goods.

Don't you think it’s time for us to head in honey, it’s getting quite late ” the tone in her voice was a little too sweet.

When the woman spoke up, about heading in, Sariento followed her gaze. Spotting the out of place man with the boxes heading towards a small door on the side of the wall, he let out a small sigh. That was their way in. ”I want a souvenir.” He said softly, gesturing lightly with his chin towards the door the man had went in. If they could get in, then it would be a simple matter of helping their dear friend end his own life. He reached over as if to give her hand a squeeze, pressing a small wad of paper into her hand. Enough to keep a lock from fully closing. ”I need to go grab something, don't have too much fun without me, dear. Meet me back in our room soon.” He said before standing to move up to their room. While Kali would hopefully go and jam the lock, Sariento went about grabbing a pair of simple gloves to hide his prints, and preparing. Perhaps he could make a move tonight...

She smiled sweetly and watched as Sai stood up and began to walk off into the distance, her eyes then fell upon the servant. Her expression changed, eyes on the target, like a lion stalking its prey, emotionless expression. She stood up and began to walk with determination, keeping out of view and or keeping any attention off of her. She watched as the man walked up to a door and placed down the boxes, and pull out what seemed to be a set of keys.

Kali watched as he searched for a key and placed it into the lock of the door, twisted and pulled the door open. He placed a foot in front of the door to keep it from closing and struggled to pick up the boxes then kicked the door a bit more open and wobbled into the compound. Kali moved with haste, she grabbed the handle of the door and slowly kept moving it close from behind it, in case anyone was looking back, she placed the wad of paper between where the door hinges keep the door to the frame. She slowly kept the motion of the door closing, and once she felt the resistance of the paper wad, she let go and took a step back. The door looked closed, but it was just centimeters off from locking. With a nod, she walked in the direction of the hotel.

Kali walked into the room, and slowly shut the door behind her, She looked over to Sai and gave him a nod. “Nice gloves” She mocked.

”Its cold, and I’d hate to get my hands dirty.” He said calmly, unsure of whether or not there could be listening ears and not wanting to run the risk. ”So, see any interesting sights out there, honey?” He asked before gesturing towards the wall then towards his ear as if to say somebody might be listening. Hopefully she would finally give him a full report on what she had seen, thinking he was making it obvious he was going for the task as he kneeled to slowly pull a small blade from his bag, although he fully intended to not need to use the weapon. Hopefully he could make it look like a suicide or pin it on one of his servants. Not particularly his issue who took the fall, so long as it wasn’t traceable back to the Empire. After stashing a few more pieces of gear, Sairento straightened and looked towards Kali expectantly.

well I saw what I wanted, some pretty nice shops as well I think we should hit before we head home tomorrow morning ” she suggested, giving him a nod before going to her own bag and grabbing what she needed. She grabbed her tanto and stuffed it into her dress, and packing senbon into pouches, along with the toxins she had packed, gloves, and some poppy pins, and put her hair up with the said pins. They weren’t wasting time, and honestly she wished they had a little more time at the village, it was a refreshing. Unfortunately though with the way Anbu functions, members don’t have too much of a life.

Turning around she gave him the okay sign before walking to the front of the room and leaning her back up against the door.

”Then we shall hit them tomorrow, sound fair?” He said quietly before moving towards the door. ”Let me make one thing clear, we do not act suspicious, nor leave any trace of who committed the act. Understand?” He said firmly before gesturing for Kali to move. She was an ANBU, sure, but he also knew she was newer and thus worried about how she might perform on such an operation. The man would then head out the door, looking like he was doing nothing more than going out for a late night stroll.

Moving to the side with a slight smirk she snapped back with “ Of course Sweetie ” With the snarky remark, she followed him out the door. She wasn’t surprised that Sai was a bit worried that she might not perform to the letter, sure it was a bit disappointing that he thought that, but more reasons to impress him overall.

Sairento wasted no time in stepping out, hands going into his pockets as if to protect them from the frigid air on that cold night. Slowly mingling through the crowds in the street, he simply looked as if he were heading out to some bar or another for a bit of late night fun. However, the man took the first chance he saw and slipped stealthily from the crowd into an all too familiar alleyway. Checking over his shoulder briefly he ensured nobody was following as he casually strolled down, only stopping once he came to the previously jammed door. Sairento slowly creaked the door open, ensuring there wasn’t anybody immediately there before quickly slipping inside. Kali would follow soon enough, and he prayed the girl had the sense to remove their jam as she came in.

He found himself in what he could only assume to be a storage room for the estate, and the servants who worked there. Along one wall sat rows of hooks with simple uniforms the servants wore hanging on them, no doubt waiting for their respective owner to grab them and change for work. Moving slowly into this room to stay out of immediate sight of any others entering, Sairento started to form an idea of how to move about without drawing too much attention. He looked back towards the entrance as he did so, keeping watch for anybody coming and for his partner once she entered.

Tailing from behind, kali made sure her eyes didn’t wander too much as she made her way to the compound, not trying to draw too much attention to her. Moving away from the crowd when she could, by the time she did, she watched as Sai slipped into the compound. Smiling slightly as her handy work still stayed intact. She moved quickly and quietly, opening the door, and slipping the paper from it and putting it in her back pouch.

Once inside the storage room, she took a good look around, noting the uniforms that had been hanging up. She looked him in the eyes and nodded towards the uniforms, as if the both of them had the same idea.

Sairento gave a small shrug as he eyed the uniforms. Finally grabbing one that was his slightly bigger than his size, and moving to put it on over his clothes. He quickly got this done then waited on his partner to do the same. Meanwhile he moved to lean against the wall and simply seem as if he were on a break or relaxing before starting his shift in case anybody came by.

Without any hesitation, Kali grabbed a uniform and did the same. This outfit was slightly too big due to what she could only guess is it was a male’s uniform. When she put it on all she could smell was cigarette smoke and body odor. She did what she could to make it seem convincing and threw on her hat and looked over to Sai who seemed to casually be leaning up against the wall, she knelt down and began to adjust her shoes.

Sairento gave Kali a stern look and mouthed a single word. Exit. To tell her he wanted her to secure his exit as he turned and started quietly making his way down the hall. He occasionally would check over his shoulder to ensure Kali was on the mission. It wasn't that he didn’t trust her, but rather that he always wanted to ensure he knew what was going on. Sairento had never been comfortable leaving certain things up to chance or others if he could avoid it.

Kali nodded, getting up from her kneeling position, she leaned up against the wall right next to the doorway that they had entered in. She crossed her arms and looked as casual as possible. Luckily for them the servant’s outfit involved a hat, so she looked down at the ground enough to mask her feminine appearance, but not enough to completely take away her ability to see her surroundings. She had the easiest part of the mission, couldn’t mess up now, right?

Seconds later a man’s voice could be heard calling for her. “Hey! You” Kali Looked up at the man who was now picking up pace towards the Anbu member, He seemed to be a little peeved. “No one is supposed to be on break righ-” He stopped mid-sentence as he saw her face being completely unfamiliar to him. He then without hesitation went for her throat and she reacted, she grabbed his arm and twisted it sharply, causing the man to yelp, she then delivered one swift blow to the side of his head causing him to go unconscious. The young girl then turned to Sai who was a good 20 feet away. She had an expression that had basically said “Fuck”. WIthout much a second passing she felt someone's arm go around her throat, whoever it was must’ve gotten in without her hearing in the commotion. She was held in a choke hold and went to go elbow the intruder in the ribs, but to no prevail.

Upon hearing the commotion, Sairento swore but figured he could turn the situation into seeming like violent robbers. However, when he turned to check on Kali, he saw her being choked and his eyes went wide. For a moment he debated turning away to continue with the mission, but something inside him told him otherwise. This girl was young, still had a lot ahead of her. With a long sigh, he reached into his pocket before flinging something back with a glint of steel in the air. Embedding in the wall near them, the guard shouted and was stunned for a moment, enough that Kali’s elbow caught him and made the man stagger. The man then shouted for reinforcements, and Sairento cursed as he moved towards Kali. ”We need to leave. Now.” He growled, not overly eager about failing a mission. Yet at this point they were outnumbered, and to succeed would mean ninjutsu. Better to escape with their lives and be able to try again later.

Kali closed her eyes as he saw Sai pull back something to throw at them, thinking it was gonna be her in the mess of it all. She wasn’t afraid to die, so she relaxed, but as soon as it hit the wall and the guy was stunned she elbowed him once more with enough force to free herself. Then as he fell back the man started to call for backup, Kali stumbled back a few steps before going to finish him off. She went for the side of his head with a closed fist, but the man brought both of his arms up to protect himself, and soon as the hit landed, Kali responded with a straight knee to the face knocking the guy onto his back and was out like a brick. She took a second to collect her thoughts. “ I, I had no control there, that was just luck, you should’ve left me to luck…. This is more important than my Life…” She gave him a longing look before closing her eyes and looking the other way ashamed of what had even happened. “ We need to leave before the rest show up ” she added as she heard other men shouting from in the compound and their voices were drawing near. Without giving a second thought, and without even looking at Sai a second time, She ran for the back entrance that they had previously entered through, and made for the Tavern.

”I don’t trade lives. This is why I usually work alone, no allies to worry about.” He said firmly, looking at Kali before quickly making his way towards the exit. He disappeared into the tavern, grabbing his stuff and looking at Kali. ”We need to leave. Now.” He said before checking the windows to see If they were being followed. At the moment it seemed like the answer to that was a firm negative, as the guards seemed to be searching the crowds for the two would-be assassins. ”But carefully. I didn’t save you to just get arrested.” He added as he removed the servant’s clothes and throwing them into his pack to be disposed of later.

Once at the Tavern kali began throwing her clothes into a back and changed her outfit. “ I messed up, I messed up Sai, there is gonna be huge consequences, I’ve never messed up like this. ” She started to shake, feeling as if an empty void just took the place of her stomach and her legs began to quake. Feeling as if she was going to throw up. “ You could’ve let me die, You should’ve! ” She half shouted, she couldn’t handle this type of mess up, it wasn’t like her. “ I would’ve much rather laid down my life for the mission rather than leave with it incomplete, I can’t Sai...” She dropped to her knees as she stared at the ground, while Sai kept looking around through each window.

Sairento turned as the girl began shouting about messing up. His eyes wide at her distress, but even more so with the implications it could cause. He quickly crossed the small room and looked down at Kali. ”Shut the hell up.” He ordered firmly, pulling her to her feet and giving her a firm glare. ”We can deal with this once we are nearly back, but I didn’t save you so you could cry and get us both killed. Now move it.” He said as he let her go and grabbed his pack, already making for an exit. He made a motion for Kali to follow after him as he ducked into the hallway, then quickly made his way out of the tavern. Moving quickly yet quietly, Sairento knew that their escape wouldn’t be noticed. Yet he had the odd feeling that he would much rather need to dread what came next.

Kali’s eyes widened, she blinked a few times then shook her head. “ O-okay… okay you’re right, we can fix this later… our lives first ” She then quickly snapped around and grabbed her bag and followed behind. Her life was changing drastically, and she didn’t even know it yet.

Their escape was easy enough, simply disappearing among the people coming out to investigate the commotion that the guards were causing. Before long the two were out of the city and heading back towards Amegakure. Once they were far enough out from the place of their failure, he looked back towards Kali with a look that betrayed no emotion. ”They’re going to be harsh on us for failing. You can not break down like that again, not if you want any hope of salvaging your record.” Was all he said towards the girl as he tried to sort out his own thoughts. She was right about one thing earlier for certain.

He should have let her die.

Yeah ” She didn’t even look back at him, she just kept watching her feet as they walked.

Throughout the days that followed there wasn’t much chatter between the two, and it stayed that way up until the two got back to Amegakure, their fate was left up to their superiors.


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[fieldbox="A Deadly Talk, #9a32cd, solid"]

A collab done by Oetje and Obli
Summary: Finding out one of the members of the operation is Meilin, Kazumo seeks her out for a talk that has way less lies. Yet a more serious talk this time around as well.
Collab Length: Average sized

He so far enjoyed most of his talks, some more than others yet he still wished to speak to the one he was most curious about. After all more truth might come out of this conversation than last time. Meilin Cho the leader of Team 4 it was rather impressive to lead a team at the rank of chuunin, not having seen her around the camp he could only assume that she was at her tent. If she was sleeping or not he had no clue too. Yet he would make his way towards it although now he wondered what others might think about that. He honestly only wanted to talk yet sometimes people assumed more than they should have.

Arriving closer to her tent, she was indeed outside which was a slight relief. She also looked more natural in this kind of setting than she was at the feast. Arriving closer he would smile slightly as he looked at her. ”So are you plotting a death this time? Or which friends you will hang out with?” he asked referring to her mentioning before that she mostly spent time with her friends.

Putting the knife back into the holster, Meilin wanted to inspect the next piece of equipment. Hearing the soft cracking of snow underneath boots getting closer, Meilin threw a look on who was approaching. Seeing it was Kazumo, she would continue. Putting the holstered knife down, she picked up the scabbard with the weapon that Hayate had crafted for her. The question of Kazumo was met with Meilin’s eyebrows raised but a certain smile gracing her features.

"Perhaps a bit of both. I imagine that there is quite some chance on becoming famous by spilling blood of Sigeberths descendant." Pausing, she would let the tip of the sheathed weapon rest on the ground, allowing Meilin to shift some weight on it.

"Shame that we couldn’t continue our little game. I have to say that it was becoming quite enjoyable." She further added.

Somehow that comment instead of worrying him only made him smile, she was an odd one for sure then again he was probably odd for not fretting over what she just said. ”I’m sure there would, only problem is you have to succeed in that regard.” Kazumo replied with as she would go on to comment on how they couldn’t continue their little game, as it was becoming enjoyable to her. ”True even if it was rather obvious, it was entertaining. Then again I found out about you from someone not too long ago. They had nothing but good praises for you, so you must be quite the killer if you got their respect.”

She wanted to say something, on not finding that a too big problem. However, when Kazumo stated that he had found out about her from somebody, Meilin wondered on who that could be. Her first guess was that it could have been either Aiko or somebody on her team.

"I might be. I am still alive," Meilin replied as she paused for a moment.

"I can’t say the same for my enemies. So far, at least. But is that why you came over here? To talk about my kills?" She decided to ask, waiting to see what he would respond with.

Talk about her kills? He shook his head at her question as that was far from the reason he approached. ”I ain’t no sadist, what’s dead is dead. How one killed them isn’t important for me. Unless proof is needed.” Kazumo stated as he rested his arm on the hilt of his sword as he looked around before looking back at her. ”I wasn’t lying before when I said I was a curious person. I like to learn and seeing you again, I thought maybe just maybe that I could learn more about the real you, and vice versa. We are after all going to be working together on this operation. In fact I will start. I’m a chuunin under Aiko’s command, learned most of everything I can do from her. Mainly Genjutsus.”

She wasn’t sure how to respond back when he told her that he wanted to learn more about her. The dark made it harder to read his features but she decided to not seek any ill-intent behind it. When Kazumo spoke about himself, on what he had learned and from who, Meilin remained silent for a moment.

"I am a chuunin, leader of team 4. Served underneath Kensuke Nimatsu for the early start of my career. Most of what I have learned comes from a various amount of people. Though swordplay," Meilin considered on how much she would say but decided that this wouldn’t hurt, "From somebody I consider a mentor. Koike Hon."

Served under Kensuke Nimatsu? He knew who the Nimatsu were as they had a certain brutal history, then the one part he did know from Koike himself. Debating if he should state if this high praise came from Koike crossed his mind briefly.

”Koike is a good man, someone I consider a friend. He taught me a bit of sword play as well, yet not as much as I would have liked. He had to leave before any further lessons, guess I could consider him my mentor in that regard as well. You didn’t learn any swordplay from Nimatsu though?”

She shook her head as response to his question.

"No, I didn’t. I fought alongside him but not more than that." She further elaborated. Considering what more she could tell about herself, Meilin wasn’t keen on spilling all the beans. Even if they were supposed to work together.

"Most of it I just picked from here and there, regarding skills and what not." Considering a question, Meilin slightly narrowed her eyes.

"Though, if I remember my meeting with this, Orun, correctly. He is the second in command of team 8. Doesn’t he train you or the others or is it only Lady Cho?"

He felt a bit more was missing from the whole Nimatsu situation but he wouldn’t pry for details. This wasn’t what this was about anyway, yet a more self taught kind of woman, he debated teaching himself somethings when he had more time for it. He felt he was more so a one trick pony. Then she mentioned Orun and a frown appeared on his face, as she asked if Orun trained him or if it was only Aiko.

”I just meet Orun today and he’s rather… bland. So he hasn’t trained me and majority of my lessons came from Aiko. A couple from Koike, and one from her majesty. Do you and your team train together? A nearly full squad of chuunin must have tricks for the others.”

Bland? So far she had experienced, Meilin couldn’t disagree. She nodded but didn’t decide to say more regarding Orun, seeing she didn’t know much about the Hyuzu.

"We tend to train together. We haven’t been a team for more than one mission and haven’t had much chance to really train together."

Remembering that Dea wasn’t a chuunin and still required training made Meilin pause. Shame that she hadn’t more time and chance to teach the genin a bit more.

"Though if I remember correctly, you guys have some chuunin as well. You and this," remembering the name, Meilin continued, "Neji Uchiha? Lady Cho told me that you both are chuunin. Have you served long together in team 8?"

Made sense that they didn’t have that much time to learn from each other. One mission in and they were now on this one, time was tricky like that. Next question was about his team and a name that only made him frown further. He stayed silent for a bit before speaking. ”You are correct. Neji…. Is indeed a chuunin as well as I, Satia being the only genin on the team. As for served long together, I was in the team before him. It was originally Korina Kusangi who went back to Kumo with her nomad family. Then Hiraku Hyuuga who passed recently on a mission. Which was the mission in which Neji was placed on the team. So I served with him for a little bit now.”

"My condolences," Meilin answered, lightly bowing her head towards Kazumo as he mentioned that this Hiraku Hyuuga had passed recently on a mission. It made her wonder how Hideki was faring in the east. But she set those thoughts aside.

"Seems you have served with some interesting folk already." She began, "And what kind of places have you been to, if you don’t mind me asking."

He wanted to tell her that she had no need to give any condolences as he himself didn’t much care for the Hyuuga. He knew him the longest but they by no means were friends. Yet decided to not seem like a jackass by saying she didn’t need to give her condolences. Although he did chuckle at the interesting folk comment. ”That is one way to describe them I suppose. Although your team seems much more interesting if you ask me.” he said to her as he would think of it as a chance to learn more about the different cultures. Although the blonde male, Madoc if he recalled correctly. Didn’t look like he was a walking conversation.

Her next question caused him to pause and think. He hadn’t really been that many places that he could recall, some not for very long anyway. ”I believe I’ve been to the Grass for a very brief period, then the Rain to help deal with the zealots in Amegakure. Nothing too fancy or exciting. Amegakure might have been more enjoyable but the situation at the time made it rather tedious work.” Kazumo said pausing if there was anywhere else when he snapped his fingers. ”I also went to the Iron country to partake in the Ironblood tournament. Made it to the finals where funny enough Koike’s team beat us. What about you? Any places you’ve been to?”

"They are,” Meilin agreed, regarding her team being interesting. She doubted though that her team was that open to exchange much cultural talk. Upon hearing to the many places he had been, she wasn’t sure if she envied him or not. Remembering that Aoi once stated she wanted to go to Amegakure, Meilin decided that she would ask about it later.

"I have been not to too many places yet. I have served in the city I grew up in, Keishi. Then I also had an operation that made me go to Blackroot Vale as following to Pinedale.”

A cold shiver ran down Meilin’s spine as she didn’t try to think of the gruelling experience she had gotten at the end of that mission.

"Then I went to the River province, to the city of Hanaguro. Not that I managed to get much sightseeing going but it was a rather beautiful site.” She further stated.

"What about Amegakure though? What kind of place is it? Is it true that it never stops raining in that province?”

She been to both the Blackroot Vale and Pinedale? He was a Sarutobi and even he didn’t visit those places yet. She also has been to Hanaguro though hmm? Yet not much sightseeing though? He knew what that was like, Aiko told him Amegakure was a rather lovely place but he didn’t get too see much of it. So when he asked if it always rained he couldn’t help but chuckle.

”Well the time I was there it was raining. Not as horrible as I originally thought, more like a drizzle on some days. As for what kind of place, well I think its unfair for me to judge it on the experience I had. Yet lots of rebels, fire, vandalising. Then we had insurgents to deal with so that was annoying. A clan ground was attacked as we dealt with another situation. So overall it was rather troublesome. It does have good ice cream establishments though.” Kazumo would answer before asking his question.

”So what did you think of the Blackroot Vale? I only ever heard what was written in books, and they make it sound like a whole different form of survival.”

That was a bit disappointing, she thought, upon hearing that it didn’t always rain. Further hearing that it had suffered a lot of rebels and other troubles made Meilin less eager than before to venture to Amegakure. She was curious on how much experience he had gained with fighting insurgents. And if they had a link with Zealots, seeing those bastards seemed to be the root or affiliated with the root of problems lately.

"It is," Meilin sought briefly for the right words, "Enchanting. The woods were dark and dangerous. But there was something to them. As if it is walking among the gods. I haven’t seen much of various creatures that dwell there save it for boggarts. Which I prefer not seeing any time soon. I have not been really scarred for many things but seeing a boggart charging at me is a sight that is far from pleasant. The rumours that the Blackroots are unpleasant or don’t know what hospitality is also quite wrong." She remembered the interactions she had with the Blackroots. Wondering how they were faring with the dangers that lurked in their dark woods.

"There is a lot to still discover, I feel, about the Blackroots and the Vale. Naturally, I am not allowed to just venture on my own but I certainly plan to one day see if I can’t visit the Blackroots and Knvell Blackroot again."

It was good to hear that not everything was true to what he read. It was one of the few times where he didn’t mind having wrong information. Yet some did match up with what was written such as the boggarts. Something she didn’t wish to see anytime soon, which was something he found amusing. She didn't wish to see them and he did so he knew what he would be up against. ”Sounds like a place I hope to see one day. Yet how would you describe the Blackroots then? I rather hear what someone whos seem them thinks, than what was written.”

"Perhaps we should go together? I could use a good traveling companion. That is," an amused scoff followed, "If you can make yourself useful. But about the Blackroots," she thought back about her interactions, trying to figure out how to explain the rumoured distant and hardy folk.

"I have seen them fighting. They are as tough and scary as the stories paint them. I have never seen warriors fight so vicious in the dark or able to drown the ground with the blood of their enemy. But they are outside battles quite hospitable. The team I was with didn’t do much to gain the approval of the Blackroots. Just waving their methods and manners as too foreign to understand."

Frowning, Meilin felt a slight sting of irritation coming up. Even Sen, which was a Cho, seemed to consider the Blackroots as foreign and odd. Something that made Meilin not miss the genin for one bit.

"But even despite that they offered us a place to stay, food and drink. And treated us properly. So far, much better than some Taika hosts have, in my experience."

Go together? Well it would be easier with someone that knew them better than he did. Yet her next comment caused him to chuckle. ”As a hunter, that comment wounds me to hear. Yet that sounds like fun.” he said with a smile as she would explain to him what she thought of the Blackroots. Deadly fighters indeed, they needed to be tough to live in woods where almost anything was the prey to something even bigger and tougher. So it was surprising to know that outside of battle they were rather proper hosts. If what she told him was true, then it seemed some things not even books could explain to him.

”Seems like I would have a lot to learn from interacting with them then. I honestly look forward to meeting them one day, makes the dangers in their woods seem worth it.”

"I never seen what you’ve been able to hunt. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt, for now." Meilin said, a sliver of amusement clear in her voice. She nodded upon his comment that the dangers were worth meeting the reputed inhabitants of the Blackroot Vale.

"If anything else, it is close to Pinedale, which is also a place worthy to visit. I actually want to travel further south. Seeing I never have been able to visit the lands of my own clan and folk. But first," a sigh escaped Meilin as she straightened her back a bit more and flashed a smile, "Got to attend to the current duty and make sure that those blasted Zealots don’t tear the stability of the realm apart."

Glancing briefly at the sheathed sword at Kazumo’s hip, Meilin slightly frowned.

"For a hunter to use a sword? Quite fancy, no?" She decided to comment to see if he would speak more of why he carried a blade. Then again, seeing to who he was related to, it shouldn’t surprise her.

”Well anything bigger than a bear will be new to me.” he commented as she explained Pinedale was also a place worthy to visit. Something that was on his list, all the Sarutobi factions were on his list to visit. He needed to know what they were like after all if he were to lead them one day. He nodded at her saying they had to take care of the Zealots first though.

”Going to be a painful nuisance but one that we will come out on top of. This operation will simply be another day on the job. Just a more challenging one.”

Hearing her comment on his sword he would snicker as he took the scabbard in his hand and looked at him. ”Never really considered using one you know? Yet her majesty insisted. If I’m to accomplish my goal then I will need to learn how to use one. So it’s a sword that means a lot. I call it Metnaður, kind of cheesy I know.”

"If you ever get to go with me to Blackroot Vale, count on things larger than an ordinary bear. I can tell you that much." She remembered the bear that had been the first inhabitant of the Blackroot Vale that had ‘welcomed’ them. She wasn’t sure how big bears were in general but that beast had been anything but small.

"True. I am looking forward to shed some Zealot blood. A good zealot is a dead one, if you ask me."

His answer on her question caused her eyebrows to slightly perk up.

"You called your sword, Ambition? I suppose it is a good name if you have a proper ambition to it. May I see her?" She decided to ask, not able to hide her curiousity. The dark didn’t help much as she could see the hilt. Being gifted a blade by the Empress herself must meant that the blade was probably quite special too.

She made it sound like she had experienced every dangerous critter those woods had to offer. It was amusing to think that an ordinary bear would be terrified of those woods. ”And some zealots need to be dead, least some that I experienced. Not sure what kind you fought so far, but some are more terrifying than others.” Kazumo said referring to the ones that no matter how often you stabbed it, seemed to bounce the attacks off. Attacks that should be fatal are like rubber. Had to strike multiple times to even start to cut them.

When she asked if she could see it, he would pause for a moment before holding it out. ”I don’t see why not, as for the name. Yes I do have an ambition, one I think is worthy and one I hope benefits all when its achieved.”

She decided to not respond to what kind of zealots she had fought. Perhaps it was best to avoid that subject, for now, she thought to herself. When Kazumo held out the hilt, Meilin slowly unsheathed the sword.

"She is a beauty though." Meilin said, on a softer tone. The craftsmanship showed the quality, so far she could judge it. The weight was also proper balanced. There was a slight temptation to see how sharp the edge was.

"And what that might be?" She asked, deciding to swap the blade so that he could take the hilt and thus the weapon back. "I don’t think I have ever seen a blade that could rival that one in terms of beauty, that is for sure."

Smiling as she would gaze at the sword, before swapping the blade and holding it out. She would ask what that ambition was as he grabbed the hilt and resheathed the sword. ”Not even your own? Yet as for the ambition. I plan to unite the Sarutobi once more, to better serve her majesty I feel this is the best I can do. A force that strong even when they aren’t united. Imagine what they would be like as a whole? It’s one reason why I study so much, why I seek to learn as much as I can. The more I know, the more help I can be.”

"Mine is less ornate," Meilin gave as answer.

Hearing Kazumo’s ambition, Meilin remained silent. For a second she wondered if he was trying to pull a joke on her. Eyeing Kazumo, Meilin would take some steps as if she was properly sizing him up.

"You want to unify the Sarutobi." Pausing, she kept frowning at him. "No offense but how do you intend to unify that is been separated for centuries? I imagine that your lineage must gain some respect with some of the Sarutobi and perhaps you have the Empress but how do you intend to unify them yourself?"

He gazed back at her as she seemed to eye him up, judging if he could actually do such a feat. So her next question was to be suspected. ”By learning about them from personal experience, how they act, what problems they have, what they don’t like in leaders. I don’t intend to unite them with my name alone or with her majesty’s help. This is my challenge one I have too see through, without aid from those around me. I don’t expect this to be easy, nor do I want it too be. Yet I’m determined enough to see it through to the end. I’m not one to just give up when defeated.”

It was clear that he wasn’t joking, that was something she could conclude. She wasn’t sure if he would manage though but there was much about leadership she had yet to learn herself, so she didn’t judge or state her thoughts out loud.

"Huh. That is rather noble. I imagined that power or wealth would be more attractive. Unifying the Sarutobi and becoming their leader means you’re one of the big players in the Empire. Influence, wealth, power. That is what I would rather expect when somebody declares that they want to unify a clan or lead one."

Placing her left hand against her hip, she couldn’t hide the ghost of a smile.

"Well, I suppose that sword’s name quite fits with what you given her. I wish I could be of aid but I am as useful in politics as a fish on the dry."

”Those are all nice but I consider they shouldn’t be a main factor in why some lead. Granted those types do exist, yet I never yearned for riches and the only power I ever sought was to improve myself. So that’s not the kind of leader I want to be, nor is it one the Sarutobi will simply accept as a leader.” Kazumo said as he smiled faintly at her comment

”Well thank you, and don’t be so sure. After all a guide through the Blackroot Vale is certainly helpful. As for politics well… I have to learn in that regard. Thankfully Aiko stated she would help me understand that topic a bit more in the future.”

Wanting to believe him, Meilin just couldn’t yet that his intentions were this noble. The comment about having a guide through the Blackroot Vale being helpful caused her to snicker.

"I suppose so. But now I am a bit saddened that I didn’t ask for a price for my services. I guess it is too late for that now."

Considering something, she decided to suggest something.

"Know what? I will try to see if I can be that guide through the Blackroot Vale. In return, I am allowed to ask three minor favours. Nothing too big like having a large plot of land or something. Just three favours in return that I will announce later."

A price for her services as a guide? Smiling as he shook his head not many would say those kinds of things, yet its what made people unique. ”I guess you did. Guess you know what to ask for next time someone wants you as a guide.” he said as she then said that she would be his guide but only for three minor favors. Three favors that she would announce later. Whistling he chuckled. ”Quite the predicament I’m in now. I will have no idea what said favors are…. Yet I suppose I can agree to that. Just as long as you know that I’m not going to be able to do anything drastic like large sums of money.”

Meilin’s eyebrows perked up as she let his response ring for a moment through the cold air, before she replied on turn.

"I hope that I don’t look like the person that is only after wealth. But don’t you worry. The favours will not be anything too absurd. You will learn in time what I will request in return for my help."

There was the temptation to toy a bit around, perhaps initiate a similar play that they had going on before. But Meilin decided that this wasn’t the time or the place.

"I am going to prepare to tuck in. Goodnight Kazumo."

”Oh I didn’t mean my comment as such, just a reminder that I’m only capable of so much this early on. Although I do look forward to knowing what it is you want from me.” Kazumo said as she informed him that she was going to prepare to tuck in for bed, to which he would nod.

”Alright then thank you for talking with me. Goodnight Meilin I will see you in the morning.” Kazumo said with a wave goodbye as he made his way towards his tent. To also prepare for bed.
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