Quiet! Dastardly Plans in Progress! [Private]

Shinrya Kahako

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Her breath quietly hitched as she watched Saito step into the light. The two before him quickly became one as the woman stood and disappeared in but a flash. The man promised to see her once again in the future as she completely faded from sight.

But where Ayumu turned to find where the woman had gone, Kahako’s eyes stayed solidly on her Raikage. Only quick blinks kept her sight from wavering. If anything happened, anything changing in his physical appearance, she would know.

“It’s him” she heard through her earpiece. Her fists clenched, gloves tightening around knuckles as she stared this man down. She could feel the hatred seethe from her stomach through her chest. A taste of it coming to her tongue as she breathed out slowly as to keep herself hidden. This was the man who injured and killed so many. Her frown grew stronger as Saito made to go sit across from him.

And suddenly, Kahako could no longer stand still. Her promise to remain uninvolved kept her hidden, but her anger towards this stranger bubbled like she had never felt before. Silently, she followed the shadows and rows of bookshelves to another part of the room, currently caring little if her counterpart stayed or followed. Damned be absolute stealth in stillness, if something shady went down, Kahako wanted to have a clear view of this assailant to give ample warning to Saito. It was better than walking past the great man and going for this stranger’s throat.

Once she had full, uninterrupted view of both the table and the men, Kahako grew still again. Her body remained in the shadows, just as before. By now, the man had set the board for a game and Saito admitted his lack of knowledge on it. She had to give her leader credit. He hadn’t flinched or changed demeanor in this new found knowledge. Kahako would not be so sure if she would have been able to do the same thing.

MFT
 

Osuteno

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Damn rotten brats creeping about her library, trying to sneak around with all that pitter pattering. What bagel baking, flavored potato chip eating, dango shop destroying, store merchandise stocking bastards were these? One was heavy as a damned mountain, she could hear that much. Only a few greenhorns that size ever came through here... Had be be that youngin Shinbatsu-chan's student... Akita or Akiba or Alibaba or something silly like that. What was he the tenth Raikage now since they started counting this damn "modern era" nonsense? Raiden she was getting old. Hell she was old before this damn, turnip sniffing, bamboo pole humping modern era.

There were a couple other llama drugging, tree kissing, tiger wrestling idiots running around trying to be sneaky. One was obviously ANBU trained from his steps but long before these brats were born she had faced just as well trained fighters. This particular sword brained, rock munching, rabbit kidnapping, bull in a china shop had the steps of a man straining not to spring. That along with the mumblings of her fellow librarians as they left the halls suggested a fight may occur in this precious fuckin' depository of knowledge. The other one sneaking in the shadows still had some growing to do in her skills though judging by the weight of her body in areas she had already mothered a child in recent years. Damn young, tortoise racing, slug licking, foolish children rushing into combat when they have babes of their own... Not that she had any room to speak there but all her children had long since grown and died doing just this sort of thing... All those ninny headed, paper spined cowards abandoning the stacks at a time like this... If she lived she would have all of them clean the floors with their toothbrushes for neglecting their duties as librarians.

The horrid old woman was many aisles away from them as she struggled to stand, fuckin' yorgurt bathing, chelsey smile kissing, back breaking hip of hers getting in the way. She started walking towards the protected records, of course if a fight were to break out anywhere it would be there, fox chasing, oak brained, vermin piss the lot of them. Still a ways off but she could hear the one crimson lusting, static brained, bucket of eel spunk mumble something about shogi. Better not be using her damn set in there, was a gift to her by a treesinger she knew back in the day. Cute boy that one was, though could never take a hint the clueless bastard, had to jump him he-heh.

She wasn't sure if she could do much with a fight serious enough for a man who at least holds the title of kage being part of the brewing. She had retired from the active shinobi life a good 60 years prior and in that time she had gotten regrettably old. Still her mission given to her all those decades ago by HER kage was to protect the books and she was damned well going to at least try to fulfill that duty or die, though at this rate her body was going to quit on her in the next year or so anyway so much wouldn't be lost. The whole lot of them were lucky troublemaking, snake's bite huffing punks. If she were just 50 or 60 years younger she would still be able to hang all their asses out on the line... Raiden it was going to take her all damn day to get herself over there... She punched herself in the chest. Backstabbing, man whore loving, bleeding heart almost quit on her again, cursed youngins always making her too busy to die.
 

Kouin

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The King had taken the challenge, yet what was his angle? Was he trying humanize his actions? This man made him question his very motives, yet did Kouin even know what he was going to do.... Was Titan really the way Kouin wanted to go? He knew very little of the company he had sanctioned himself into joining, yet he was so quick and hasty to join. His mind was conflicted. He was stuck in a tunnel, one end was a ray of light, one which beckoned him to return to the noble village life. The other side of the tunnel held a train which was steaming down ready to mow down anything that is in it's path. He wondered which path he would take; would he jump aboard the train? Or would he attempt the village life again? Though one thing raked the back of his mind.... Something he couldn't hide, not even from himself

He had done so much harm... Caused so much pain to his village, yet he was being so friendly, as if he were a colleague, Santaru Kaze Kouin, Prodigy of Storm, and Ex-Anbu of Kirigakure, a pleasure Saito-sama. He gave the man a nod as he sat before him. He stared at the board in front of him, and ironically he had grabbed the only piece he had actually known; he was in a bind now, but he wasn't finished, I must digress, Saito-sama... He let out a slight chuckle, I haven't the faintest clue in how to play myself.... He pushed the board aside and stared the man in the eye; he had trouble staring at the giant in the eye, his respect was suppressing, he couldn't look away, yet he didn't his stare to fill him with anymore guilt than it already could've. He gestured to the area, and selected a random book from the shelf, The feel and texture is always soothing, I'd much rather talk were it would be most comfortable for both side.... Wouldn't you agree?

Silence sat for a moment as he tried to gather his words; he was rather sure why the Raikage approached him, after all he had done things that would make most people in his current position instantly dead. He could already feel his own remorse welling up in his stomach, the weight of his victims lives weighed down on him deeply; he hadn't killed in the past for nothing, and still he didn't kill for nothing. So why join Titan? Why create the ideal world for a cooperation? What made them think they held all the cards? His mind was racing, he didn't know where his thoughts lied anymore. Just mere moments ago he was so sure of himself, oozing in everlasting confidence.... But now he just felt deep seated regret; he had betrayed and attacked his father's own village, tarnished his very name that his was trying so desperately to redeem... And for what? His homeland? What would he do after that? He'd still have no home to really go back too. His head drooped down; he could feel his tear ducts welling up with pressure; Am I.... Going crazy...?

With tears building he had reached his breaking point, which till now he never knew he had. He had nothing to lose at this point; it was obvious the Raikage wouldn't approach some as dangerous as Kouin alone, that would be fool hearty at the least. He spoke with a sort of feebleness he hadn't experienced since he was a child under his fathers tutelage, I believe I know why you're here Saito-sama...</B><i></i> He lifted his battered face from looking at the table and stared his executioner in the face; would he be the one to cut him down now, or would he severe his ties and let him make anew? They say time fixes all wounds... But what if you kept waiting and waiting, but the wound just never seals?<i></i> He picked up another shogi piece and held it firmly in his hand, <B>My father felt true betrayal from his village, your village; yet I come in... Expecting to deliver retribution? He let out a weak-hearted chuckle Having the ability to seal any wound with time..... Yet I can't rid this empty void that just can't be.... His words probably meant nothing to Saito. Kouin had killed his men, his allies; his friends. In hushed tones, he felt his chest tighten, I'm..... So.... So sorry.
 

Kogami Ayumu

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Ayumu crossed his arms, leaning back against the bookshelf. He watched as Kahako stealthily maneuvered around the shadows of the room making for a different vantage point. For now, Ayumu felt he was in a good position and didn't want to move. Kahako appeared to be antsy, it was clear that the events of the day had bothered her greatly. Ayumu couldn't blame her. A Sennin was dead. Even if it wasn't this man who had finished him off, he had placed him in a position to be so vulnerable as to be finished off. Listening intently, at last Ayumu would know the Missing-nin's name: Kouin. Ex-ANBU formerly from Kirigakure. 'Another refugee then?' Ayumu thought, shaking his head. It was a horrible thing that had happened to the village of Mist. Ayumu could only imagine the trauma inflicted on the residences that were forced not only from their village but from the country itself. If the same had ever happened to Kumogakure, Ayumu had know idea what would have become of him. The refugees had gone all over, some ending up in Cloud. Unfortunately, some of those refugees ended up causing a lot of trouble. It was another refugee from Mist, Isaki Hoshikata, whom had been the catalyst that eventually led to the assassination of Shin. What would this man bring?

Taking another quick glance with the mirror, he found that Kouin had taken a seat, admitting that he also had no idea how to play Shogi. Ayumu couldn't help but drop his face into his palm at the revelation. 'Is he just trying to mess with us?' he wondered. Shrugging it off, he took to watching the scene continue to unfold. Kouin said a few more words, but something seemed to be bothering him. For once, the man who seemed to have so much to say was quiet. Several moments passed in silence. Ayumu furrowed his eyebrows, watching the man carefully. Were those tears? 'What the hell?' Ayumu thought, moving his face closer to the mirror trying to verify what he was seeing. Kouin at last broke the silence, his voice wavering as he admitted to knowing why Saito had come. He knew he had been found out. He began to speak of his father, who was apparently originally from Kumogakure. 'His father knew betrayal from Kumogakure? What does that mean?' Ayumu pondered, his mind racing. Now he was genuinely apologizing?

Once more, this man had thrown Ayumu for a loop. This was the last thing he expected to happen when they confronted Kouin. Could he find some pity for the man? Sure. His homeland was absolutely annihilated and he was cast out into the world alone. But he had attacked Kumogakure shinobi, some of which were now dead. Even if he had nothing to do with the murder of Nobuyuki, which was still in question, two ANBU were dead by his hand. How could he be forgiven for that, even if he did apologize? What was he even thinking to begin with? Clearly he now regretted his actions, but why did he do what he did in the first place? Ayumu had so many questions. He hoped that Saito would get the answers on his behalf.
 

Junan

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The other man introduced himself, but Akira could feel him beginning to waver. Long ago Akira found he had this effect on people, but in a way he was surprised that he had this effect on this man. Most people he had dealt with over the years who had done what this man had done had stared him in the eye, or eyes depending on the time, and had backed themselves absolutely. That Akira was still here was testiment to his ability to end those people. It was the few like this one that Akira still entered into a conversation before combat. Because it was the wavering that told Akira that in truth, they weren't sure about the actions they had taken.

His name was Sataru Kouin. Of his introduction there were three key things of note for Akira. First was that the boy was of the Santaru clan, thus likely had ties to Kumogakure. This was of note for the obvious reason, why cause trouble in Kumo if you were from Kumo. He wasn't a missing nin of the village as far as Akira was aware, and later when he specified the secong point of note Akira was suddenly understanding of where he was from. But still, why cause trouble... The second point as already stated was that he was from Mist. Shin had closed the gates, in fear of people like this coming into the village and causing trouble, Akira had opened them, stating that they shouldn't hide from the world but instead embrace it. And should part of it hit them, then hit back, harder, more fierce, so that they never hit again.

The third note however was perhaps one which would escape most people. The man referred to himself as a prodigy. Whether this was a self thing, or whether he had been told it as a youth mattered not. He did so, not simply letting actions speak for themselves, he instead felt the need to tell Akira that he was a prodigy. Akira in his youth had been described by many in the same way, but nothing in his titles said anything about his capabilities, or his own opinion on his capablilities. Did he introduce himself as the man who led the victory in the war against Marsh Country, a combination of various shinobi villages and a countries army against an amassed force with powerful shinobi mixed in? No. Why? Because he wasn't full of himself. This man clearly was.

Akira smiled, the humour reaching his eyes as the man admitted to not understanding the game either. He took a book and felt it, then revealing why, Akira kept his smile and answered I've never been much for books. When I was younger and sought the knowledge contained, certainly, but as early as thirteen I was being taugh everything I needed to know to be shinobi by word, and action. I am not a researcher, nor do I pretend to be anything I'm not, but I feel that I know what I need to know, and should I need to know something I don't, then I wil find it out. And not through a book. He took a seat opposite the man, his eye firmly fixed on the others, he was confident, as a man of his age still acting as a shinobi should be. He was what others aspired to be, a shinobi who had been through a thousand fights, seen tens of thousands die, retired, become a kage. He was the prodigal son of Shinbatsu, he was worshipped by a few, and he was Akira Saito. Yet despite all this, he knew the truth. He was but a man, and he could only do what men could do, limited by genetics, limited by knowledge.

There was silence between them, the game of Shogi was being played, but not on the board. Akira and Kouin were in a battle, unseen, silent. Akira knew his position, he understood what was required of him. His goals were known, he was to do what he had to do to achieve them. The issue was that the boy before him was not so certain. Akira watched him with his keen Hyuuga eye, watched as the other struggled under his stare. The man before him potentially had been responcible for three shinobi's deaths. One of which was a man Akira trusted, a man Akira respected, a man Akira loved. Yet he was here, before this man, smiling, relaxed, composed. It was not his way to simply kill. He needed to understand before acting. Else Haruka would be dead, for she had killed a man who was the closest Akira had.

Kouin's head fell, Akira's expression turning to one of concern. He couldn't see what the man's face was showing, but the way his head had falled would lead Akira to assume there was grief there. Yet it could be a case of psychosis as well, that sick humour being felt by a man who was before his target who had so simply walked into a trap. Yet Akira was no simple prey, he cared not for any trap.

Finally the silence was broken, and Akira's fears put to rest. The man was feeling grief. His words alone perhaps didn't say it, but the way they were said told it instead. There were tears in the mans eyes, and Akira spared a kindly smile, like a grandparent hearing their grandchild speak of their troubles. He nodded as the man before him spoke, and listened as he said what he had to say.

After he was finished Akira sat silent for a moment, making sure there wasn't anything further that Kouin wanted to say at this point before he replied.

You know, my best friend died three years ago. I had grown up with him, he was closer to me than family. Akira smiled, his eye perhaps glistening a touch more than it had before He was killed by two members of this village and a shinobi of Kirigakure, who was also killed during that fight. He looked at the man seated before him, and of all things smiled. He died as Raikage, doing what he felt best for the village, beside another close friend of ours. They died fighting for what they believed to be right, fighting to better this village, to keep it safe even from itself. His kindly smiled turned to a grin, his head shook as he thought about it, grief welling up inside shown on his face.

We caught their assassins, their murderers. I met them, face to face, I was now Raikage, I was the one to decide their fates. With this he once more looked in the others eye, an unfallen tear in his, a serious look I had them imprisoned, I placed an order out to investigate me. Not them, but me. You see, I seized control of this village through force, I continued that fight that my friends died fighting. I want to protect this village from any threat, inside or out, even if that threat is me. I am not so conceited as to believe that I couldn't be a threat to this village, that is why I consult the Sennin, why I consult the council, why I am sitting here talking to you rather than doing my best to rip your head from your shoulders. I am in the most critical position of my life, I am in charge of an entire village of people, if I make the wrong decision, they suffer. Do you understand the pressure that has? It was a question, but not one he wanted answered.

His eye focused again, sharp, his voice taking on a tone which was serious, he wasn't going to muck around with this man, he had told him enough that he would understand that Akira too had been betrayed by the village, that he too had been forced to make a decision with how to deal with it, what the decision had been. His tone now however was sharp, almost accusatory.

The village as it stands is in a state of shock. Two ANBU killed on the street. A Sennin murdered in his hospital bed. Another ANBU hospitalized. The village is looking to me, looking to the other Sennin and asking what we are going to do. So I ask you. What would you do?

A simple question, but one which begged an answer. The man was in an unusual situation, Akira had almost effectively told him who was here if he wanted to read into it in that way, and the man himself knew what he had done, better and with more clarity than anyone else could. Yet he would also be the one who would be the most sympathetic to his case, and that would cloud his own judgement, and Akira assumed he would be aware of that clouding it. Akira had told him what he had done to the people who had murdered those closest to him, those closer than family. How he had simply let them live, imprisoned them, but instead of focusing the investigation on them, he focused it on himself. Had he been right in taking the actions he had taken? He was deemed not guilty, that his actions were the right ones. But that action in and of itself was the least likely action to take.

With all that knowledge now in this boy before him, with him understanding that his father being mistreated by this village, understanding that the actions he took were the most obvious, what would he now decide that he would do. He was before Akira, and he was being judged.
 

Shinrya Kahako

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There was a moment of silence after the man’s… Santaru Kouin’s… confession. Kahako’s mind reeled with the sudden new found information. The rage she felt only moments before, tossed into array and confusion at his apology. How odd was this stranger. But how quick was her anger?

Quietly, Kahako listened as Saito emptied the silence. Had it really been three years? It was a story she knew all too well, and her eyes dulled as she listened to it. The pain in Saito’s voice… was the cumulative cry that rang throughout the village three years ago. But the look on Kouin’s face at Saito’s story was what brought Kahako’s full-blooded anger to a searing hault.

Pain… betrayal… sorrow…anger… all three Cloud leaders in this room felt this now as they did at Shin’s death. All three swore that they would die before allowing it to happen again. And here it was. Happening. But only Kahako felt Kouin’s shame and remorse. For her mother was one of the ones who had done the betraying, and when all others shouted for Kitsune’s head, Saito instead chose to forgive. Kahako was grateful for it. And now, this stranger from Mist, who had caused just as much harm…even more so… was asking for him to forgive again. The fists she made fell. If he could forgive Kouin, then Saito was a better human being than Kahako could ever be.

Knowing that there was no point to remain hidden now, Kahako stepped from the shadows. Her shoes clicked with purpose as she stopped, still a good distance should a battle occur... to make a point and settle her heart on this stranger.

Where Saito chose to approach Kouin with an open heart and a warm smile, Kahako chose to remain hidden to solidify whatever judgement that was to pass. The jellyfish that marked her as a medic acted as the only difference between her and the masks of the men this man killed.

Kahako chose to leave her mask on. The very mask she used during her time with the Sentou. When she fought alongside the men and women of ANBU to ensure they made it home. To ensure they would return to whatever families they had left, even if it was just each other. This was why Kouin’s actions bothered her so. Why the ANBU Sennin’s death bothered her so. In a matter of days, he destroyed what she threw her entire being into to prevent. People she knew, gone. People she healed, dead. They died honorably as their duty call for, but she had failed them. And he was the cause. Kahako demanded his head for it. Even after she understood his remorse and reasoning behind it.

And so she silently stared at him, waiting for his answer to Saito’s question. All Kouin would see looking at him were two black eyes and a small jellyfish. She would be the speaker for the dead. She would stand there for the injured. She would force him to remember the weight of what he did as Saito made his decision. How it affected the three in the room and the village they loved.
 

Kouin

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His shattered spirit swelled in his mind as he listened to Akira's response. He done so much harm and desecration to the man's village, to the man's very own heart. His pride and joy had been trampled by Kouin's own selfish intentions, and for what? To redeem his own father's name? Would his father have wanted his kill and maim the very people he had called allies at one point? Akira's words of saying the if he screwed up the village would be the one to suffer had struck a chord in his already shattered mind and heart. Had Kouin really been from village life for so long that he had forgotten what it meant to have comrades? Allies, people you could rely on or trust; his eyes widened even more as he said three were dead, yet he had only slain two, but he was scared, and frightened, yet was that any excuse?

The tears he had been trying so desperately to hold in gave way, he had acted on selfish desire, and placed himself in this situation; he could feel the disapproving gaze of his own father beaming down on him, suppressing him even further. What was a mere man to do? Could he even consider himself a man? He was nothing but a mere child. A child that had been thrown into a terrifying plight, with no home to ever return to, yet he tried to take the very same thing from the man in front of him, but for some reason he was still alive.

Akira had lost a man in the same regard, yet he took decisive action, but not with selfish intent; he did so to make sure his friend, his brother, he made sure his effort wasn't in vain, to make sure the very things Kouin was doing would never happen again. Kouin had been devoid of all those senses for so very long; how could shinobi who has had no village ever hope to realize the desolation, the pain and unbridled rage that filled their own very much so beating hearts. Who was he to strip them of their comrades and family, nothing but a child, that's who.

His own actions had sent the village in such disarray, he himself had shattered their own leadership, not his foolish missighting of the structure being weak; this village was nothing but weak, he was the only one here that was weak. Weak, shallow and a fool. A fool to think that he was doing good by his father, he had only caused him more shame; shame and betrayal to his own name. He had no right to be a Santaru, no right to have any tie to a village who could still forgive after being hurt so many times; so many times by Kirigakure, and by Akira's people. He had no right to remain sitting in the face of such pride and forgiveness.

In the wake of his own crushed mind, he could hear the footsteps of a new comer, or had they been there the whole time? With his remaining will he forced his head to turn at the fellow executioner that had taken the stage; his eyes veered to her hands that were tightly clenched into fists. He braced himself for the worse that he deserved; he had no reason to expect any less, yet a moment went by and nothing had connected to his face, his mind was even more hurt than before. The women showed such unbridled hate in body language alone, yet she had taken pity on me. For what though? She owed him nothing, no pity, sympathy, yet she showed him exactly that; everything he didn't deserve, he had been shown. Was this the meaning of being in a village? Showing those kindness when the thing they deserve the least was that?

I've caused.... So much senseless violence.... He had finally managed to break his own silence, yet his words were weak, he could hardly even speak. What could he even say? A third had joined, and it was the first and the last of his executioners; the man from the forest, the man that he assumed that tracked him. Their eyes would lock for mere moments, but he couldn't maintain even a simple gaze without seeing the hate, pain, sorrow and sadness in all of their eyes. They were this villages leaders, their cornerstone, the ones who kept everyone sane while they themselves were driven to the brink of insanity by his own misdoings.

His mind was waging a war on itself, Kouin felt himself being driven nearly to the point of insanity. The once voided feelings that a village life had was now flooding into his mind; the land alone was dangerous and ruthless. You are either cutthroat, or you die. It was as simple as that. You fight to survive, yet maybe he was never cut out or that life style; all was evident as tears simply poured from his eyes like a waterfall, his very own pain and sorrow were flooding from his own being. Though it wasn't his alone, the weight of his actions, the grief he could clearly see in all of their eyes, or eye were included, yet Akira asked a simple question, yet it might be the most important question asked yet, What would you do. These words echoed into his shattered mind and psyche. What would he do in his position?

Then something clicked.

He took in a shallow breath, one that took his will, but he would need to be strong in his words. He wiped the tears from his eyes, even though they still begged to flood, he couldn't waver, not yet at least. He stood up slowly as not to cause alarm, and fell to one knee, and bowed his head, I beg you, let my own blade protect what I have crushed. His own word hurt his very soul. Each syllable hurt him even more than the last, I swear on the name of my fath-... No. His own father's name wouldn't do any good, he had tarnished his name with his misguided actions, I swear on the name of Shinbatsu-sama, that I shall not let another drop of blood fall from this village, so long as I am allowed to live. I shall protect every citizen, shinobi, elder, and leader with my very life till the end of my own life. He had kept his composure for as long as he could, the rest was left to three grim reapers that stood before; his fate was in their deciding hands.
 

Kogami Ayumu

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Looking up at the ceiling, Ayumu let the hand holding the small mirror dangle at his side. Truth be told, he didn't much want to look at Kouin anymore. There was a tinge of sympathy that he felt for the man, and he hated it. Was it because he was alone in the world, no longer having any place to call home? Why on earth would he deserve sympathy from them? He had shown up in their village, made his way inside illegally flaunting their laws, killed and beaten their shinobi, and now he felt sorry about it? Ayumu lifted his hand, rubbing his eyes lightly with his gloved fingers at the bridge of his nose. There was no reason why he should feel sorry for him, so why was it eating at him like this? This man looked to be about Ayumu's age, but he felt as though he was looking at a boy crying over his mother's broken vase. There was genuine regret in his voice and tears, but that would not bring back those whose lives he had ended. Ayumu had once put down someone who, like Kouin, had come in to the village and taken lives. The thought had crossed his mind then about letting her live for a chance at redemption, but in the end he had decided she didn't deserve it. For that reason she was no longer a threat... or alive.

What was the difference here? Ayumu had not changed that much in a few years. For one, that woman had slaughtered defenseless civilians with joy and the callous disregard for life of a monster. She had made it so easy to hate her, to recognize that she deserved nothing but to be ended. In this case, there were no reports of any civilian casualties- not even any significant injuries. A shinobi battle was a very dangerous event, especially in the center of a crowded shopping district. There had been plenty of damage, but not to any persons not directly involved in the battle. For there to have been no incidental harm to the numerous civilians present, Kouin had likely taken care not to involve anybody else. This said something about him, however small it might be. Was it truly self-defense, simply the desire not to be captured? Did it matter? Even if Ayumu himself could somehow forgive him personally, how would the village accept such a thing after losing two of its members? As Saito talked about Shin, the man's philosophy of mercy and forgiveness came to mind. If he were here, what would he do? Well, naturally he'd take him to Red Lobster, but did Saito even like seafood?

With the two Sennin being mentioned, it seemed obvious at this point that the two conversing were not alone. A glance with the mirror told Ayumu that Kahako was coming out of hiding. Ayumu slid the mirror back into his belt pouch and stepped around the corner of the bookshelf, leaning against it and crossing his arms as he watched Kouin. He would recognize Ayumu from the forest, naturally. Likely he would also realize that it was he who had brought the other two here. At this point, the pressure was certainly on the man. He was already brought to tears by his guilt, and now he had the three of them watching him, making their own judgement. But this was the result of his actions and he would have to bear it. For his life he would have to bear that guild. Whether he had little time left to do that, whether it would be done from behind bars, or whether he would be given some sort of chance to redeem himself- it was up to Saito. As he had said, as Raikage he was in the critical position of making decisions that would effect the entire village. That was what it came down to- would sparing him benefit the village or bring it more chaos?

As if to try to answer that question himself as well as Saito's, Kouin spoke a request that took Ayumu completely off guard. His eyes widened slightly in surprise for a moment. 'He wants to join the village?!' Ayumu thought incredulously. Of course, when he thought about it, the request made sense coming from the man. If he was truly regretful, he would want to atone. That could happen through his death or through prison, but why would he want that? No, much better to be allowed his freedom and life to live, if in servitude to Kumogakure. Not only that, but being so alone in the world, it was no wonder that he sought some place he might belong. Ayumu sighed. He only wished the man could have asked for such a thing when he first arrived at the gates instead of initiating a long line of poor decisions. Aside from shocked, how was Ayumu to feel about this request? The man was surely a skilled fighter having bested multiple ANBU and the Sennin himself. As a shinobi, purely from a logical standpoint, he would be an asset to the village. On the other hand, continuing from the logical standpoint, his trustworthiness was questionable at best and reactions from the rest of the village to allowing something like that could be very bad. Some part of Ayumu wanted to give him a chance, for something positive to come out of this, but this idea was simply crazy. Ayumu looked to Saito, to see if he could guess at his reaction from his face at all. The decision came down to him. If he liked it or not, Ayumu would abide.
 

Osuteno

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Damn this accursed hip! The librarian was only halfway to her destination, but the last-pudding cup eating, armpit hair dyeing, line-cutting, blasted thing decided it didn't want to go forward on her and she had to sit down for a minute. She pulled out her reading glasses and a small ancient pocket notebook titled simply "The List" and put another x next to her hip on it before pocketing it again. She punched her hip back into place and stood up again and looked in the direction of the protected records. There was a water bottle humping, Akimichi back fat licking, arms-dealing, mattress-soiling, spray-on deodorant wearing, cod breathed, chromosome-deficient, last cookie eating, tentacle raping, sock-sucking, modern art making, mace snorting, hippophilic, taco thieving, pineapple kissing, quintuple dating, stamp collecting, buttock-rimming, shota buying, corrupt dandruff-eating, nostril-offending, depraved orgy of subhuman indecency to put on her list at the end of this hall. When she got her hands on those myopic dingleberries they would never hear the end of it. These evangelical crusaders of sub-mediocrity come into her library and start all this fuss, making her cowardly underlings flee from their duties out of threat of battle. Oh they would go on her list the lot of them, but not before she told them just what a lamentably subliterate, solitaire playing, flesh-creeping, bug-eyed, porn-addicted, orgasm faking, soul-destroying mass of neuroses and pathologies the lot of them were as well tell them that their sneaking about had the natural grace of an intoxicated beluga whale.​
 

Junan

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Observing the man before him, Akira had continued with what he had to say, that the man was clearly feeling everything didn't mean that Akira should end, it meant that he was hitting the right note, it meant that this could be ended without combat. Surely that was the ultimate result. He was the man who he was because of his friends, Masao made sure he never lost his sense of humour, Rin made sure of his loyalty, Shinbatsu taught him strength, Shin showed him the power that words held.

It was his closest friend who was leading him now, but in the end, all of them had helped create the man he had become.

The silence reigned between them, and Akira could feel his Sennin move. No longer did they want to simply stand in the shadow watching invisibly, they wanted their presence to be known, showing the strength that the village now held. The man before them had fought three ANBU, one being the ANBU Sennin, killed two and KO'd the Sennin before fleeing. He had proven his strength. Yet Cloud shinobi continued to front up, one after the other, as long as this man caused trouble in Cloud he would be in combat.

He spoke, breaking the silence, the weight of the room on the mans shoulders as he realised how much wrong he had caused. Akira asked the question, perhaps it was a technique he had learned with age, but so often people found it hardest to judge themselves.

Kouin stood at first, Akira standing with him. If that had been the trigger for the man to attack then Akira would defend himself, but it certainly wouldn't be enough to make him feel the need to strike the man down. Not yet. There was too much in this man which told Akira that he could be saved from himself. Where Shin would simply forgive, Akira would make those he was judging feel the need to have it.

But the man didn't attack, he instead fell to his knee before Akira. His eye narrowed as he wondered what was coming. Akira nodded as he begged for Akira to allow him to protect what he had crushed. He then swore on his fath... on Shinbatsu, that he would protect this village with his life.

Akira's teeth grit. There was nothing more sacred to him that Shinbatsu. He loved his friends, Masao, Rin, Shin. But none were his master, none his lord, none his savior. The man before him could only have the slightest clue as to what he was doing, the love Akira held for his master was like that of a son to a father, and yet also that of a father to a son.

I will hold you to this oath Kouin, for if you break it, I will not go easy on you, I will not hold back. His fist clenched, it was the first time Akira had shown any sign of aggression. You break this oath and you spit on me, you spit on the man who stands beside your own ancestor as a god of the afterlife. I will tear you asunder if you break this oath and in that moment you will understand the meaning behind these words. For only for someone that Akira had allowed to live with an oath like this could Akira truly release his wrath. If this was a joke, then he had signed his death warrant, Akira would never forgive one who besmirched Shinbatsu.

Watching the man he made sure that he was understood.

Very well then. You deserve punishment however, and in test to your oath you will be given the harshest punishment I can think of. He glowered at Kouin. You will be surrounded by people who hate you. People who will stay their blade only because I placed you there. You will find no-where in the village where the name Shinbatsu is more commonly thought of as anything but holy, for their leadership are those who fought for him in a war hidden from even shadows. Ayumu would understand Akira's meaning, for he would be aware of the civil war that was fought within the ANBU, those who sided with Shinbatsu versus those who sided with Ryuuto.

Not only that but you will need to earn their respect, you will need to prove your loyalty, you will need to do your all for this village, and even then it may not be enough. He turned to Ayumu and Kahako, and allowed a small smile, knowing that it was very likely he would not be making a decision that they would agree with. In that look they would know exactly what he was doing. In that look he was telling them what he was going to do.

Turning back to Kouin he continued.

Perhaps it will be a case of in death you finally earn the right to be honoured among those you will have been protecting. You will replace the man killed at the hospital, you will be the ANBU Sennin. You will be in the position most able to strike at me. He smiled at the man on his knee and the probable look of surprise on his features.

Turning he would walk back stopping when he was next to Ayumu. A hand moving to rest on Ayumu's shoulder, perhaps to reassure the Sennin of his decision.

Do not fail me Kouin. He smiled at the young man. You would make me look a fool.

Patting the shoulder he went to leave. His voice sounding from around the corner.

Or if you're too afraid then leave before I find out and pray I never find you. the words took an almost ominous tone as they travelled further. Otherwise be in my office tomorrow morning.

He wasn't moving overly fast, so he could be caught up with should Kouin desire to, but Akira hoped that he would take the time to instead take in everything which had just happened. After all, he had all of 17 hours to mentally prepare himself to begin leading the division of which he had killed two members of, and placed two others in critical care (the second being murdered in the hospital). Either that or test Akira's promise of an unwinnable fight.

[TLUS - with Ayumu and/or Kahako should they turn to leave with Akira]
 

Tsuirakuya Shashu

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The ANBU munched on a bit of takoyaki, watching intently as the figure she had been following met up with two more. Of course it was nothing unusual for her to be tailing someone; the entire village was buzzing like someone had kicked over a beehive in an attempt to track down the missing-nin that had not only broken into the village, but was also responsible for the death of the ANBU Sennin, two accompanying ANBU, and the hospitalization of one more. However, that was not why she was following this man.

Oh Shukun, you always look so dashing in uniform! Though I do wish you would go back to wearing glasses as well, that feeling of intensity they give you is to die for. But who is this you're meeting with? Dare I risk a closer look?

Shashu smirked, the only answer to her rhetorical question. Stealthily, as always, she crept along the columns and crenelations far above her source of fascination. Even when paranoid humans rarely watched above them, so what better place for a spidery predator such as herself to hide?

Hrmm...that's our dear Raikage for sure, nobody else in the village comes close to that ogre. And the other is...aha!
The ANBU grinned in satisfaction. She could recognize that body anywhere. Did you think a mask would hide you from me Kahako-chan? You're as dear to me as Shukun himself, you know. There's no way I wouldn't see through your disguise... she squinted, peering at the mask. ...especially if you go around wearing the same mask. Now, where are you three going, I wonder?
* * *​
Splat.

WHAT.

Naturally Shashu had expected something of import when she began following the trio. After all, the Raikage wouldn't muster the two remaining Sennin for a stroll around the city, especially with the village in such a state. Her interest had been piqued further when they entered the library on full alert, obviously looking for someone. When that person had turned out to be the cause of all the recent ruckus, and Saito had sat down to chat with him, they had her rapt attention. But now... now clear astonishment marked her face. Though her mouth hung open beneath her propped up mask she could manage only silence, her utter disbelief punctuated by the wet sound of her last takoyaki ball slipping from her fingers and impacting with the library floor. Her feet would join it a second later, all pretense of stealth forgotten as she marched straight up to Saito himself.

"Saito-sama, you cannot be serious! You're going to just hand him that seat, after what he's done? He claims to honor our traditions and swears on our heroes, yet he forces his way into our village and murders our people! I've read the reports. He showed nothing but arrogance as he cut our people down in the streets, but now that he's blubbering some bullshit about repentance you're just going to give him that seat!?"

Though Shashu started speaking out of shock she finished in full-blown fury. Her six hands, usually occupied with different tasks, were unanimously clenched in rage, and her eyes were filled with actual malice. She didn't even really care about the people who died. It wasn't like her to be bothered much by people she had so little involvement with, even if one of them was the leader of her branch, and Saito probably knew that. She was sure of it, in fact. He had to know, just like he had to know the real reason why she was literally shaking with anger right now, even if nobody else in the room did.

She was sure of it, and that was why she was pissed.

"I thought so much better of you," the ANBU fumed through clenched teeth. "You can't do this."

[MFT, Topic Entered and Saito stopped with his permission.]
 

Shinrya Kahako

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At first, Kahako glared silently through her mask as the man before her confessed. He acted like a child in what he had done, and now he realized it. Good. But no amount of apology excused the needless death.

No, a guilty heart was not going to bring back the dead. And when he rose, Kahako’s body stiffened in response in case of attack. Because that’s what she expected from a killer. Either that, or for him to run. The last thing she expected Kouin to do was bend his knee willingly to Saito, swearing on Shinbatsu that he would protect a village he barely knew of and had sought to destroy only minutes before. Kahako’s breath hitched. He teeth clenched.

But when Saito responded, she knew the Kage had reacted just as violently to the plea as she had. To to some people of Kumo, this promise was anything but feeble. Did the boy even realize what he had done? What level of oaths he had invoked? Probably not, and that only sickened Kahako further.

And then Saito turned. He smiled at both his Sennin. Was he apologetic for what he was about to do? The more he spoke, the more she realized that yes, the smile meant that he was sorry for the decision he was about to make. Kahako felt no relief in the reassurance he tried to silently express to her and Ayumu. Because he was going to allow Kouin to make true to his words.

And when the word ‘sennin’ left Saito’s lips, she realized how true he would hold Kouin. Kahako’s hands clenched once more. No, she would not have agreed to this if he asked. But she understood the reason behind it. Yer her words of protest were not the ones that rang through the room. Instead it was a voice she had not heard in a long, long while. Shashu’s.

Kahako’s head whipped towards the small, six-armed figure that gracefully fell from the rafters. It didn’t surprise her that her ANBU companion had snuck up on her. She was ANBU, after all. But Kahako had to mildly wonder if Saito and Ayumu knew she was there, and for how long. Her anger was apparent, as this was the first time Kahako had even seen all six of Shashu’s arms.

“Aaa…” Kahako hummed in agreement with heat still in her voice “I, personally, would prefer to see this man dragged by his entrails through the streets, and his corpse hung from the very spot he stepped foot on over the gates.” She vented through her anger, her words only slightly muffled by her mask. “But bullshit or not, I too cannot simply ignore an oath made in Shinbatsu-sama’s name. It would be a dishonor to him and the shinobi who follow him. Let him ruin his soul himself.” Kahako’s head turned back to the man in question. “I wonder if you even realize the level of which you have committed yourself to this cause?” Kahako said callously to Kouin. “But then, there are even worse things than death, and out of the three divisions, I am sure the ANBU will do everything in their power to find how many of them their newly appointed leader, Kouin-sama, can survive.” Kahako all but spat.

Regardless of what Saito said next. Kahako would grow quiet again until all were left but Kouin. More than likely, Ayumu would hesitate before leaving her alone with him. But Kahako would simply nod to him, letting the man know that she knew she would be okay.

For she had one more matter to settle with Kouin, as much as she hated to speak with him about it-or speak with him in general-it needed to be done if he were able to have some hope of redemption.
[spoilername="OOC"]MFT, please feel free to skip me until all but Kouin and I are in the topic.[/spoilername]
 

Kouin

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BGM: The Road to Kumogakure (Zanarkand)

With expected execution, he closed his eyes. He thought back to all the memories he had, and all the ones he had hope to live. The brutal reality of his actions weighing heavily on his spirit, yet with bated anticipation, he felt no sting of cold steel strike him. No, it was still cold, but their was no steel rending his body in two.

He listened carefully as Akira spoke his punishment; to be surrounded by the very people that hated and despised him. The very men that he had struck down, he would be forced be around. An amiable punishment, better than death so to speak. Though Akira wasn't finished. Kouin knew to a degree the gravity in which his oath had invoked, but not to the caliber in which Akira spoke, would he fail in even the slightest, he'd expect no more than to be condemned to nothing but death, which was he felt he would embrace today, but fate had other things in story for him.

A weak sigh of relief escaped, he would at least be put into a field he had knowledge of; he could execute ANBU tasks with ease and efficiency, yet a curve ball had caught him completely off guard. He was to be made Sennin of the Anbu Branch? It was enough to put him in shock.... He wouldn't question the mercy he was just bestowed, but a rank of such magnitude deserved to go to someone with honor, yet here he was being given the title.... Was fate and time playing a joke on him? He had only been an ANBU with tenure back in Kiri, and never would he ever have thought he would be the sennin of such a merciful village; a village that he had struck calamity to. Though here it was happening, as if chess pieces on the board were slowly moving into their assigned spots. He had just been saved and given his own death certificate if he so took it. Though he was done running. Done clinging to false ideals and false promises. The man before him took action immediately with zero hesitation, it spoke fathoms of his character and integrity, this man didn't want Kouin to die from his own blade that would've been to simple.

He could feel the weight of Akira's word fall on his shoulder's; he was now in charge of a whole group of people. No matter how less it was than Akira's own responsibility, Kouin was just as in charge of them and Akira was to them. He understood the punishment before him. I won't fail you Akira-sama.

He had regained some sense of composure, enough not to look completely ridiculous; he turned to his fellow sennin whom was no addressing him. She made it quite explicitly clear that he was hated, the anger emulated from through mask, Kouin could feel the hate and distrust at the sting of every word, and even spat on the title he already didn't deserve? Had he really made the right choice? Was this the most he could do? Even through all the insults, he couldn't bring himself to stand for himself; he deserved ever heated and stabbing word delivered, he expected no less. Kouin didn't even expect to be alive right now... In a tone only the sennin could hear, Death would've been so... so much swifter... He knew as an ANBU just killing a criminal is simple, but making an example of one is a test of time, yet he felt all time had forsaken him; left out hung to dry. Tears of finality fell from his beaten and battered face, yet these tears were somehow different than before.

These weren't tears of someone on of the brink of death, or grovel; they were tears of times to change, How could he forgive.... When I can hardly forgive myself? He clenched his hand so tightly into a fist his hand started to bleed; everything had hit the lad so suddenly. He never expected to be approached by the leadership, not here at least. Sennin... He took in a deep breath, and slowly rose from the floor, his eyes filled with new determination. He cast his hand outward to the side, and materialized his old mask. His fingers traced every crack and indent, how the times have tried him countlessly. His eyes set on the Kirigakure symbol... How much meaning it used to have to him, but now it was empty faith.

His tears collapsed onto the lifeless mask. The symbol held no power nor fear anymore, it was nothing but a gag now, a simple novelty to show your friends, but he had none in this room; he would be hated among all his peers till the day of his death, and even then... That might even be enough.... He attempted to crush the mask that he held dearly in his hands, yet the quiver and shake from before wouldn't allow him to commit such personal treason.... But why.... Why was he so attached... Why... Why can't I get rid of this god forsaken mask...
 

Kogami Ayumu

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Ayumu had doubted that Saito would truly accept the oath the rogue had offered. He had assured himself that he would be fine with the Raikage's decision either way, likely because he was certain which direction that decision would go. He ceased leaning against the bookshelf and stood up straight to watch as Saito rendered his judgement, swift and just. But as Saito began to speak, Ayumu's eyes widened in shock. 'Hold him to the oath...?' Ayumu thought, his hands falling to his sides, even his mouth slightly agape. Surely he didn't actually intend to accept Kouin into their ranks? Ayumu took a sharp breath, regaining his composure. This was unbelievable. 'Okay, fine. It's fine... I'll watch him. He'll be given a short leash, and when he slips up...' Ayumu thought, his mind racing as Saito continued, getting to the part about punishment. That line of thought ceased, however, as he realized what Saito was getting at. No branch had more zealots than the ANBU branch. He intended to place him with them. It almost made sense. They would watch them more closely than anybody else as the ones he had wronged the most. They would wait for him to slip up just once and it would be over. It was the strictest branch, the one that would require him to uphold that oath to the letter.

Then, Saito turned to Kahako and Ayumu and offered a smile. He may have intended for the look to convey a message to them, to tell them what he was going to do next, but what he was going to do was so out of the realm of possibilities in Ayumu's mind he missed it entirely. Saito continued, informing not only Kouin but the two Sennin that this man would be the new ANBU Sennin. Ayumu's upright stance faltered. He took a step back, his breathing halted. He stared straight forward, though seemingly focusing on something a thousand miles away. He felt his heart beginning to beat faster, harder. He barely registered the Raikage's hand on his shoulder as he passed by. His heartbeat suddenly seemed so loud he couldn't hear what anybody was saying. His hands twitched subtly as he finally came to look at the supposed new ANBU Sennin. His breathing returned but was ragged and unsteady. He didn't even notice as Shashu made her appearance and began her heartfelt plea with the Raikage.

'Sennin? Of the ANBU?' Ayumu thought, his face beginning to flush with blood. His hands twitched more, one of them beginning to move for the hilt of his blade without his conscious realization. His mind flashed to the broken and bruised body of the ANBU he had found in the forest. This was the man who had done that, who had killed others. Hell, they weren't even sure if he was involved in the death of the ANBU Sennin yet. How in Raiden's name could they trust him as the Sennin? Kitsune was one thing. Ayumu would never have been sure he could trust her to have his back, but at the very least he was sure that she didn't actively want to harm Kumogakure. And she had been removed from her position, despite her brilliant mind. His hand on the same side as his sheath had found the hilt of the blade now ever so quietly, his heart beating faster and faster. 'If I were to attack now... take him off guard...' Ayumu's thoughts began. He glanced around the room, finally noticing Shashu's presence and that Saito also remained.

'Shashu would take my side for sure. Saito... he made his decision, but would he defend this rogue?' Ayumu thought, his grip tightening on the hilt. He wasn't thinking of the consequences for himself now. He was back in the street with Hoshikata and Akkuma, staring down that monster whom they would slay for her actions. A voice came suddenly, clearing his mind for just a moment. Kahako was speaking. He looked to her, allowing himself to actually hear her words if nobody else's. She began, voicing her frustration and desire to see Kouin dead as well. 'Yes...' Then, she began to reason, explaining to Kouin that this judgement truly was a punishment. 'No...' She echoed Saito's sentiment, that the ANBU would be his wardens despite his being their leader. Kahako clearly did not like the decision, but she was going to trust Saito. She was a loyal shinobi and always had been. If Ayumu made a move against Saito's wishes, he could very likely be forced to go through Kahako. He closed his eyes tightly, taking a deep breath. He forced himself to release the hilt of his blade, to allow his hand to fall back to his side. His heart beat began to slow, and his mind began to rationalize. 'This is going to happen... how can I best ensure Kumogakure's safety in spite of it?' Ayumu thought, slowly opening his eyes once more, the rage subsiding. There was still something that needed to be addressed, perhaps after Saito made an attempt to explain, but once he had the moment Ayumu would address Kouin directly.

"You were not the one that killed our Sennin," Ayumu spoke up at last, having been silent for some time. He ignored Kouin's tears, the time for sympathy passed by now. "It was a woman... working for an organization by the name of Titan," Ayumu said, pausing for a moment to allow his allies to recall what he spoke of. He was sure it was still fresh in their minds. "Perhaps you have had some change of heart, but I doubt they are so easily swayed. It seems they have a vendetta against our village, and with our Sennin's death they have openly declared war whether or not they intended to," Ayumu went on, walking closer to the center of the room and Kouin now. He stared at him coldly, watching his expression carefully. This man had sent Nobuyuki to the hospital where Titan was more than happy to finish him off. "Were you working with them? Who was that woman just now? She seemed in a hurry to leave when she saw us, and very interested in speaking with you again," Ayumu said, recalling how as soon as Saito had made himself know the woman had vanished.

"If you intend to uphold that vow, start now," Ayumu said, crossing his arms once more. As well as an attempt to gain information, this was something of a test. Ayumu very much doubted that the woman who disappeared in a hurry was a potential suitor for Kouin, the protected records their kinky idea of a romantic setting. They were there for a reason though. It was because they didn't think anybody would disturb them there, however wrong they may have been. A discussion was occurring in secret, perhaps some dastardly plans being formed. If Kouin was turning over a new leaf, it was time to come clean.
 

Junan

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Shashu came out of the shadows, how long had she been following them... it didn't matter. Akira hadn't been looking for people tracking them, they had been too busy looking forward to look backwards, and there like the ANBU she was she hid. None were recorded to be as stealthy as the six armed woman, none as potentially deadly. Yet every attack type had its weakness, and hiding from sight meant that ones actions often went unseen.

Today however he was confronted by her small frame.

She stood before him, looking him in the eye almost as though she were just as tall, if it weren't for the crooked neck. Her hands clenched by her side, he tried an apologetic smile. Before he could answer however Kahako spoke up reflecting Akira's view on his own judgement. The ANBU were the group who like her would be most pissed off. There would be losses in their ranks, that went without saying, however there would be a core who would hate him so much that they wouldn't dare let him be. That was the core that Akira wanted to remain in the ANBU. Those who had died were those who were loyal, now he needed to cut them down from simply the loyal, to the loyal and strong. He believe that this would do it, and also believed that if they could be turned by Kouin then he would have earned his place in the village. If he couldn't, then chances were fairly good that he would simply die somewhere due to an accident during training... or some such.

Words were shared between Kouin, Kahako and Ayumu, yet to Akira there was only one person in this room who he was concerned with. Kahako understood. Ayumu would understand given time. He had their trust, or so he believed, and so he felt capable of making this decision. If he didn't believe that they would remain by his side then he wouldn't have done so.

Shashu was the one Akira needed to speak to. The others would overhear him, but this was his feelings regarding his decision, his thoughts which had led him to come to it, the words which were for the people of Cloud.

I'm sorry Shashu, so sincerely sorry, but what would you have me do? Place him as an ANBU? Then he would go on low level missions, dangerous ones certainly, but who would take the blame should his comrades die? The answer was obvious in Akira's mind. If Kouin were on a mission and another Kumogakurean died... he would be blamed. Rightly or wrongly, he would be blamed by one and all.

The same goes for any other position in the village. Which was also true, it didn't have to be ANBU for casualties to occur. They were shinobi, death was half a step off of the path. Sometimes it was simply on the path, an inevitability.

As Sennin he cannot hide among our numbers requiring resources to watch. As Sennin he has to think about not only his own actions, but of the missions he bestows on others under his care. Deaths are attributable to him in some measure should people die, but at least he cannot be held fully accountable. As anything other than a Sennin I do not believe that he would ever restore himself in the eyes of the village, yet he never betrayed us. There is more hate for this man than there is Haruka who cast aside her vow to the village and instigated the murder of a Raikage and a Sennin. The smile had faded with that last. It was something which ground on his resolve, but his resolve remained, and he intended for it to remain until the stone which ground on it broke.

He was approached by three shinobi, two ANBU and a Sennin, death was always a potential end for either side. No civilian casualties. I do not believe this man intended to kill anyone, but the ANBU did their duty, they fulfilled their oath, just as I would have, just as I hope you would have. They would have no regret to their deaths, if perhaps only the lingering thought of sadness that their lives hadn't bought the village the peace it deserved. Surely we shouldn't let their lives then cost us double and stand in the way of that same peace? His hands reached out slowly resting on her shoulders.

I am but a servant, a loyal follower who would do whatever was needed for you. The you meant her directly, and the village as a whole was included This decision is the best I think I have available to me at this time, for Cloud. I hope that that is enough for me to to earn everyone's forgiveness, for I know only too well that there will be anger for my decision this day.

He squeezed her shoulder slightly, a show of how serious he was. He understood what would happen towards him, but it wasn't his job to be liked. It was his job to lead.
 

Kouin

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Finally the silent piece in the back spoke up, the one who could vouch for him not killing the prior sennin. You're right... It wasn't myself... He listened as he described the assailant. Blue hair, female, and a Titan operative. He took in a deep breath, Titan clearly had a vendetta against Kumogakure, and they had used his seeking of retribution as a way to pull him. He ground his teeth down, The women I was just talking to was in fact an operative of Titan... His anger began to subside and his mental acuity was returning to him.

He rubbed his chin slightly, pondering all the moments he had in the village, I believe Titan has hidden operatives, no so much as stealthy, but literally hidden from eyes that just can't view them, spirits The sennin had gotten out of the shadows, and had made his features more noticeable, Man, if this guy hit me... I'd be cleaved in two.... Thank god I didn't. He let out a brief sigh, They used my personal agenda to help forward their own goals. The woman who disappeared without a trace, her code name is Child, but her real name I suppose is Hana.

Though he would only get that one return meeting, no doubt Hana had him bugged in someway, but she had already told him the rendezvous point, she just couldn't take that information back now. I'm sanctioned to meet her again yes, but I doubt I'll get another meeting after that, no doubt they'll be able to tell the change of tide on my part. He could feel his hands and body begin to crackle like the sound of intensifying lightning, I'll show them lightning can strike the same place twice.
 

Tsuirakuya Shashu

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Fear, Shashu knew. Irritation, happiness, relief, satisfaction, anger, all these she knew. But this, this degree of not anger, but fury...she couldn't remember ever feeling this much sheer malice all at once. She wanted to strike out, lash out, cut down, and outright tear apart the ones responsible for it. Saito was unassailable; even Ayumu and Kahako would turn against her if she attacked him, and she couldn't bear that. Kouin however...he was vulnerable, sniveling on the ground while he clutched at his mask like the traitorous coward he was. Her instincts welled up from deep within and pointed out the obvious: if she could cut out the source of this rage, crush him like an insect, all would be well.

First her gaze flickered over those around her. There was no way of telling if Saito would stop her or not, and she didn't much care. As always her concern lied with Ayumu and Kahako. Shashu's eyes fell shifted to Ayumu, and what she saw made her pulse beat even faster. She could taste his bloodlust, feel it wash over her skin like a red tide. It was an exhilarating sensation made all the stronger because it was her Shukun, and she loved everything about him. Even this, especially this. His eyes told her all she needed to know.

Please Shukun, please! One word, the barest muscle movement, anything! Say the word and we can kill this worm together, bathe in his blood together! And then when he's dead, we can...we will... Fantasy took over from there, finishing what mere thought could not. She watched Ayumu with a stare born of equal parts bloodlust and arousal, her self-control barely holding her instinctual urges in check, when suddenly...

...it stopped. Ayumu relaxed and Shashu's heartbeat fell to a more normal pace, the killing intent fading from both of them. It was Kahako of course. The only voice of reason in that room that could pull Ayumu, and by extension Shashu, back from the brink. Neither of them would risk attacking Kouin if she sided with Saito, and that left no other option than to back down. There was a deep sense of disappointment from her instincts, displeased at being denied the chance to run wild with Ayumu. She longed for any chance to be with him, and she could think of few things more intimate than sharing a kill with the one you love.

Did...did I just...no, I need to rein that back in. For now at least. The ANBU thought. This is why I love you too, Kahako. Even with this scum in front of you you manage to keep your head. You're a perfect match for Shukun. 'And me,' she wanted to add, but dared not voice it even in her mind. There were other things to focus on now besides. Ayumu set to question Kouin about his questionable meeting, and Saito jolted her attention back towards him as he tried to convince her of his actions.

He said he was sorry. He tried to speak reason, asking her what she would do in his position while at the same time explaining why he couldn't do anything else. He appealed to her sense of camaraderie, and pointed out it would be a waste of their lives to seek further bloodshed instead of peace. To his credit, his arguments even made sense.

It was his lack of understanding though, not his reasoning, that swayed Shashu. His arguments, meant to make her see reason, ironically only served to show her that he had no idea of the real cause behind her anger. It was almost enough to make her laugh. She stifled the impulse though, and replied calmly as she could.

"What would I have you do, Saito-sama? I'd kill him, and be done with it. No matter how guilty he is over the deaths of those ANBU, I can't trust the oath of a man who cares so little for the customs he swears on. If he cared, why break into the village so impatiently? Why not leave peacefully and appeal to you directly when confonted by the ANBU? Fayth, if he felt guilty for their deaths why not turn himself in instead of plotting with Titan, as he admits himself?" The ANBU shook her head. "I don't believe a word he says. But, as you said, if he is being honest this is the only way he can pay us back. However...you won't be making any friends with this." She leveled her gaze and stared him seriously in the eye. "They'll hate Kouin, but some of that is going to fall on you too. It seems like a long time, but it's only been three years since Shin's death. We were played by someone who feigned a desire to join us then too, and people are still talking about the treason that happened that day. When they hear about this...it won't go over well. I'm not the most in-touch shinobi by far, but even I can see the people have lost some faith with us over the past few years. This is going to make that worse." She sighed. "But you're the Raikage, and both Shukun and Kahako are standing behind your decision. That will be enough. For now, at least."

That done, she turned to Kouin, eyes narrowing as she stalked towards him this time. "As for you, scum-slut. You think I give a shit about you selling out Titan like it means something?" Without breaking stride she grabbed him by the shirt and throat, lifting him with the arms on her right side before throwing him bodily to the ground. Before he recovered from the impact a boot would slam down as well, grinding into his chest. "Where do you get off acting all high and mighty? 'You'll show them lightning can strike the same place twice'? Weren't you on your knees just a few seconds ago, blubbering like a baby and begging for forgiveness with snot running down your face? Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic."

The former Kiri-nin's mask caught her eye as she let up her torment. It had fallen to the floor when she struck him, so she bent to pick it up, turning it over in her hands. When she spoke again her voice was calm, almost sympathetic. "A Kirigakure ANBU mask...it's rather old, isn't it? Was it your father's, perhaps? It must be very important to you." The misty-blue ceramic was slick under her fingers, still wet from the tears Kouin had shed on it. "I can understand that, you know. I have things that are important to me too. Thing is, in order to become ANBU you have to set aside your former life to make way for the new one. Cast aside former attachments so that you can do your duty with no regret or hesitation. You don't seem ready to do that though, so I'll be nice and do it for you."

She knelt and violently grabbed Kouin's head, making sure his eyes were free to clearly see what she was about to do. "Watch, and know your place scum. If you're to be Sennin you better fucking act like it. Your past..." Shashu slowly crushed the mask in her many hands, making absolutely sure the former Kiri-nin could see every second of it. Nothing but shards and dust remained when she finished, hissing softly in his ear. "Has no place here."

The ANBU rose to her feet, turned, and left without another word, making sure she ground the remnants of the mask beneath her heel as she stepped away. This wasn't enough to satisfy her, not at all, but it would suffice for now. She'd made her point.
[Topic Left Unless Stopped]​
 

Shinrya Kahako

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There were very few things in Kahako’s life that enraged her to no end. One had always been the harming of those in her village. The second, ‘prodigies’ who placed their skill in frivolous endeavors, or were so prideful in their skill they lost all sense of hesitation. And the final, was showing any form of weakness to an enemy. Somehow, the last thirty minutes of conversation seemed to hit every note to this fury lullaby.

As she spoke to Shashu, she could almost taste Ayumu’s hatred as much as her own. It didn’t take a special sense or his hand on his hilt for the Sennin’s lover of nearly six years to pick up on the hatred Ayumu had for this man. It was fortune that he chose to see reason, and unbeknownst to her, calm Shashu in the process. The rising chakra in her hands settled when Ayumu’s own hand left his sword. Only the gods would know who Kahako would have sided with should battle have broken out.

And when Kouin answered about what he knew of Titian, she mentally scoffed at his self-acclimation. Thus counting the man’s second slight against her being. But the name Hana seemed so familiar… like a distant memory accompanied by a sweet smell… However, fate would never give her a moment to recall it, as Shashu reacted to Saito’s words violently both verbally and physically.

Kahako removed her mask as Shashu unleashed what fury she could upon the man. When the mask shattered, however, Kahako’s third trigger was pulled. Enough, Shashu.” Kahako said with a heated voice. Whether listening to her, or done with proving her point, Shashu left the room without another word. She would have words with the ANBU later. For as much as she hated Kouin and preferred him dead, the younger woman blatantly toed the line when admitting the political unease of Cloud in Kouin’s presence. To show anything besides a village united to the enemy was unacceptable. Added to it, Shashu’s fury controlled her. Showing him a weakness he could exploit if he chose to poke hard enough. It was a mistake that could get the Hachiashi killed in the future.

Silence filled the room as the door closed. Saito seemed done talking to the man who was once again on the ground. This would be his day to day. Perhaps all his life, perhaps even long after he returned to the earth. “I think we’ve all had a large enough man-hunt for the day. Titan can wait until tomorrow.” Kahako said as she stepped forward, effectively ending any further conversation. Her face set in a solid frown as she stepped forward to grab the largest shard that was left of the mask. “For tonight, we will need to secure you a place to stay. No doubt, there will be those who will still want your head. I would suggest steering clear of the barracks and public inns.” She set steely eyes on the man before her. The emerald orbs still showed an angry fire as she spoke tersely.

“Give me your hand.”
She said, grabbing it roughly. Allowing medical chakra to glow in her hands, Kahako drew a small glyph on the back of his hand with what was left of his previous mask. The small jellyfish glowed softly before disappearing into his skin, leaving a warm buzz, a ward, behind. “In case someone decides they want to poison you tonight,” she muttered before turning his hand and placing the shard in his palm. “And in case you forget how your decisions nearly brought you to death today,” she finished before turning. Leaving no other explanation to what her words meant.

Turning she bowed to both Ayumu and Saito. “If you will excuse us, I will take our ANBU sennin somewhere I know he will at least be able to last the night.” With all said and done, Kahako walked toward the exit.

Just as she passed Ayumu, her hand softly touched his in farewell. Her fingers traced the tip of his hilt for just a second before falling back to her side. “I pray we will never see the day where I would have to choose between you and my duty,” she whispered softly as she glared at him. His recklessness brought her too close to that decision today for comfort. Too close to consider one or the other. “Come, Santaru Kaze Kouin, if you don’t want to sleep constantly watching your back tonight.”
[spoilername="OOC"]TLUS[/spoilername]
 

Osuteno

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Oh Raiden she was dying! The damn brats were beginning to leave and she was moving as fast as she could. But little old blind woman finally made it to the protected records. "Stop... Ri... right there. All you... *wheeze* Dumbasses coming into... *Gasp* My library and scaring off all my fucking cowards... Oh this damn hip... I... I ought to tan all your worthless... pox scarred... hides..." She was in pretty rough shape for walking about 400 feet. "I want... to see... at least one of you brats... oh my heart... lick up whatever that is... off my floor. No food in... the library. That right... That right there is how you get ants... Is that what you whoresons want! Do you want flaming... scrotum sniffing ants! I need to sit down." She started waving her cane around at those still remaining. "I don't give two flying, cotton-tailed shits who the lot of you are. This library and its rules *punches her heart to make it start beating again* have been around longer than any of filth eating toddlers. I oughtta... I... Oughtta..." Dammit she was exhausted. She hadn't even told them that she prayed to Raiden that they would all have chronic jock itch yet. She couldn't fall asleep. Yet she found herself sitting in a chair and starting to doze. "The whole lot of you should asphyxiate on your own... damn... gene..." And with that lovely sentiment she fell asleep. Fuck being old.

[TLUS]
 

Kouin

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He was kicked, choked and thrown around like a cheap rag doll. His mask was shattered beyond repair. Kouin's final ties from the mist village were essentially completely broken. The assailant was one of his underlings, but not a recruit, she was a full fledged anbu; Kouin would have to make a special note of this persons anger, it could be her upbringing or untimely downfall, and he would be the judge of that.

Suddenly he could feel the warmth of a medical ward wash over him; many would be out tonight in search of him; his assault was quick and decisive there was no doubt about that, though he was curious. Where was he to go? Kahako was right, and inn would be just as a death sentence as the barracks would. He rubbed his temples in an irritating manner, Why is everything so confusing.... He surmised the forest would be a good idea, but his fellow sennin seemed to have a better idea, an idea which won't end up in his death.

He offered Ayumu and Akira a bow for his departure, Till the morning, farewell. He bowed half way, and then turned to follow Kahako. It caught him off guard by her using his full name, Last person to call me by my full name was my father..... It has a nice ring to it....

[Topic left w/ Kahako]