Tap, tap, tap, down the halls one last time. [Requesting passport]

Otani Ryuichi

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Ryuichi's boots made an echoed sound throughout the halls of the sileo as he was drowned in thought of the future, and what he wished to do. Uncertainty, and doubt filled his mind at the same time as anger, and determination.

He was donned in his usual colored jacket, and a blank white ANBU in Training mask that was practically begging to be decorated. His minor wounds from the chuunin exam he took a few days prior were all healed, and in his hand was a small book, filled with bingo book entries. To his left, an unseeable phantom of a girl with long, silver locks and a hole in her forehead.

"Ryuichi. Are you sure you want to leave? You didn't even give that Uri guy a heads up....and he's practically your mom at this point." The young woman asked, stepping in time with Ryu's own footsteps, but not making any noise.

"I'm sure, Yoya. I left a note...I'm just afraid of the reaction when I get back. Or if he finds out, and chases after me." He said in response. His purple Rinnegan eyes looking at the empty space where the ghost stood. "It'll be fine. I just need to do this."

"If you say so. I'll be here the entire way through, since I have nothing better to do. " She said, letting out a long and exhausted sigh....despite not being able to breath properly.

In time, Ryuichi's steps came to a halt as he got to the ANBU Sennin's office. His determination firm, and his will unbreakable, the white haired youth would open the door and step inside. With a polite bow, he'd say "Forgive me, Lord Sennin. But I have a request to make." to whomever may be inside.

[Requesting Kaji.]
 

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[youtube=DwUP87kxUyU|50|100][/youtube]</FONTFACE>
<FONTFACE fontface="georgia">In the heart of the hallowed halls of the Sileo Tempestas was the nerve center of that clandestine fighting force that kept the Hidden Cloud secure: the ANBU. Ryuichi had come casually with his ambitions leading him through heavy double doors strong enough to take a pummeling from the worst any foe could offer. The budding apprentice had earned his status as a true ANBU, which came with the right to enter the ANBU’s Central Command unharried. Opposed to the often dusty and desolate corridors of the ever-winding Sileo maze, this was where operations were coordinated around the clock by a staff of dedicated shinobi. In this grand chamber was where the ANBU led their efforts to watch over the village from its shadows.

Roughly half a dozen shinobi clad in tones of haze gray and sleek noir were teeming about, busy at their work stations or silently pouring through vital case records. A wall of monitors maintained a rotation of video surveillance feeds that kept an eye on much of the Sileo’s vast tunnel system. The energy within the room seemed to swirl around a large center console on the ground floor where a conversation was in progress. The sound of an argument filled the room with a short looking man with broad shoulders and a stout gut rambling with bluster. He was an old looking sort with baggy eyelids and a full beard that was starch white. His head was bald on top, and with his stature so short you might have seen your face in its shine, however, his lumpy skull would have been a distorted vision. This old man, who was in fact in his proper ANBU regalia, was stating a complaint to his Grand Commander, the Sennin Kaji Okada. He had a metal cane that he beat against the floor as a sign of protest, making a scene which caused the disciplined aides to turn from their work with curiosity. Once the echo of clanking metal ended the great old one turned away from Kaji and began his exit as fast as his stubby legs could carry him. He came towards Ryuichi without flinching, as if he’d run the boy over and would certainly try if the white-masked ANBU did not step aside.

“Well, that could have gone better” muttered Kaji to himself with his hand raking over his face. The ANBU Sennin seemed tired standing there and glanced at Ryuichi across the long way to the entrance. His emeraldine eyes could pierce the soul and sus out intentions yet Kaji seemed more plaintive than scrutinizing. He was disheveled from his wiry raven hair to the 10 ‘o clock shadow, and a coffee stain on his uniform. Blinking slowly, Kaji reached for a steaming mug of coffee in his reach that was black and read the words “World’s Best Dad” on it with an ANBU logo on the opposite side… he probably wasn’t the best dad but a co-worker went with what they knew in the last secret Santa exchange. Kaji took a long sip of his coffee, making a loud slurping sound that continued until Ryuichi stood a few paces away.

“Mempo Otani, it’s a pleasure,” said Kaji in a tired yet formal measure. “What’s with the mask— getting used to it on your face or is there a zit ya don’t want anyone to see?” He managed a lazy grin from the joke and looked around, wondering if perhaps there was someone in the chamber who he might have taken a shine. Long days and subsequently long nights on duty had their way of making Kaji sort of rude, especially after ass-chewings from upset ANBU— they were in full supply that day. “Or is this a job? You’re here to assassinate me… my time has come.” He got off the console on which he was leaning and took a brief combat pose, almost spilling his coffee. Somehow, he always kept that liquid in the mug. “I’m sorry son, it’s just been a long day. What can I do for ya?”

- Kaji has entered the thread.
 

Otani Ryuichi

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Being able to enter the control room of the Sileo was definitely a change of pace and a bit of whiplash for the recently promoted mempo, when compared to his old method of 'do what other people say you can do'. However, Ryuichi didn't let such a thing phase him; Such a thing wasn't fitting of one who was expected to stay cool-headed.

But no matter what Ryu would try, he would never be able to keep up the appearance of 'cool headed' like the ANBU Sennin before him. He didn't exactly seem upset that the young man had approached on less of a ANBU matter and more of a personal one, considering he had cracked a few jokes that gave Ryu a small smile underneath his mask, which he soon removed.

"Just a force of habit to have this on when reporting in, I suppose." He said, before sliding the mask, and the bingo book into his oversized coat. "But I'm here on a bit of a...well, not so much personal....I don't know-" He paused, tapping his finger on his thigh. His emotionally solid appearance wouldn't shift at all with a moment of silence, but anyone with a hint of awareness would know he was deep in thought.

"I'm here to request two things from you, lord Sennin....technically three." He said clearly, wanting to cut to the chase to make it seem less suspicious. "I'd like to request my Mempo passport, a secondary main-branch ID to keep my cover when traveling, and an extension to the usual 90 day limitation to ANBU leaving the village.". He was clear, to the point, and made sure not to seem emotional or too ranty. Surely, Kaji would still find something to questiong (as to anyone this would be at least a little strange) so Ryu continued.

"I ask because I feel like the powers of my Rinnegan are failing me. The last time I tried to connect to my Queen's path yesterday, it was like lava was flowing through my blood. I was sure to get it checked, and nothing physically was wrong..." He flicked his shoulder, where a hard chakra rod was still lodged. "So I wish to travel around for a while, and work on improving my personal strength, while taking care of some bingo book entries that have fled lightning country. That way I'll still be worthy of my ranking should these powers reject my body, or fade entirely. And to find a few things about myself, as I've been in this ninja program for years now and...really haven't put much thought into why."
 

Jomei

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<FONTFACE fontface="georgia">The aging ANBU’s eyebrows were furrowing before Ryuichi could finish listing his requested items. Kaji fought to hide a scowl at the notion of letting one of the branch’s newest— and promising young ANBU abandon their post for a journey abroad. He almost interrupted Ryuichi with a stiff countering no, but opened his lips to blow steam off of his coffee instead before a sip. With wisdom prevailing, Sennin Okada paused to listen to the young Mempo explain his ambitions.
“That is a lot of hope you’re placing on the unknown” answered Kaji to that laundry list of reasons given by Ryuichi. “While it is our code to trust in you as a tried and true ANBU, I don’t know how ready you are for crossing into foreign territories, Ryuichi. When you are outside of the village your actions represent more than you, they represent the cloud as well… And we are in an ever-political atmosphere. More importantly, the vice-versa applies— strangers may act on you with statements intended towards our village. Dangerous statements.” While Kaji must have been confident enough in Ryuichi, his glare hinted at underlying concerns. “As for the further development of your abilities, I wonder what your sensei would say about this journey... That would be Uri, if my info holds true. Do you think he would vouch for your request? Would he say he has guided you to the limits of his knowledge?”

He let the question linger for a moment and watched for signs of doubt if Ryuichi had any in his response. “Would he say that you are prepared to hunt down rogue ninja? Not peers from your time as an apprentice, but proven warriors who’ve managed to evade our hunters for only The Five knows how long? And what if you fail? Alone in an alley of some foreign slum is no way for a Cloud shinobi to die. The ends don’t justify the means when you could be serving the village directly, here.” The duo of Kaji and Ryuichi were like opposites just on that long walk that was a shinobi’s life: one was seeing the sun rise into the days of his prime, while the other was heading into the dusk of a life well lived. Through experience, Kaji believed he understood Ryuichi’s yearning to see the world, but he wouldn’t allow it without being sure the budding shinobi was prepared.
 

Otani Ryuichi

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Ryuichi crossed his arms as Kaji gave his upsetting, yet expected answer. The pale boy's rippled eyes looked down at no particular part of the floor as he thought of an answer to his first set of questions. "I have no hope in the unknown..." He said, as the ghost returned to his side to watch how this went down. "Hope is for when you don't know the outcome, and wish for the best. I know fully well what lies beyond the borders...not only the borders of lightning country, but the boarders of this very city."

He looked back up to Kaji, using his right index finger to point to his right eye. "The woman who took my eyes is still out there. She's more powerful than me by a large margin, to boot. When she loomed over me, and ripped them out I could only freeze, and black out in pain and fear." He lowered his hand, being sure to hide the anger and sorrow he felt at the memory.

"She showed me how terrifying the enemies of a country can be. And yet, knowing that, I'm not changing my mind." He said, as Yoya's ghostly form looked Ryu over sadly. "I've let a team mate die in my arms. Yet, knowing that I'll still gain more, and allow them to put their trust in me. But only if I can trust myself. And right now, I don't."

With the mention of Uri, Ryuichi took a deep breath. "I owe Sensei my life. He saved me after I was attacked, and made sure I had a home and a future. I'll be sure to repay him when I get back...but right now, I don't know if I want to put more on his shoulders. If I suddenly lose my powers in a normal mission, and die...he would blame himself. If I fall, I want it to be entirely my fault." He paused, and raised a hand. "Not that I want to fall, mind you! But it's always a possibility."

With that, Ryu pulled a small scroll from his coat, pulling it open slightly to show sealing markings. "In here is the body of Itoni Yoya, A.K.A 'Snow Rabbit' of the Mempo ANBU, and now my 'queenly path'. I'm sure you've read the reports..." He said, referring to her demise at the hands of an assassin while on a mission with Ryuichi, and the following interrogation of Ryu to ensure he wasn't directly the cause of her death.

"Yoya trusted me to have her back, and in return she died. What if this happens again? If every life put in my hands is in risk, why shouldn't I put my own in the way of harm to ensure they're in safe hands?" He said plainly, only now noticing how he was slightly winded from his tirade, hoping that he didn't say anything to upset the Sennin, or mess up his own chances of leaving. And at his side, hidden from those with ungifted eyes, was the very ghost of Yoya, looking sadly at Ryu as he took the blame for her death.
 

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<FONTFACE fontface="georgia">“You’re so young to be such a realist” riposted Kaji, who was surprised by Ryuichi’s take on having hope. Then again, as a pupil of Uri, such a course of behavior was to be expected. Either Ryuichi generally had a plan, or like his sensei, had the belief in his intentions and the bluster to speak them confidently.
But as Kaji thought of more comparisons between their fiery Uri, the spiral-eyed Ryuichi, and their other two teammates, Ryuichi unveiled a purpose which struck a chord in Kaji. Defeat was a valuable lesson Kaji understood well, and survival was often commendable for shinobi. “You want revenge” he asserted forcefully, straight and cold. “I can understand that. And while no amount of just deeds will bring back your friend, by making a path from her…” he paused for a beat, snagged on the gruesome concept. “You’ve sought to keep her by your side while you could.”

Upon receiving the scroll there was a sudden discomfort in holding such a thing— a sensation that felt unright. However, when considering his own techniques employed when finishing opponents with Eelspine, Kaji felt no right to judge Ryuichi. Looking down at the fine details of that scroll, Kaji took everything Ryuichi stated into account. He was stuck in deliberation and a quiet moment passed, so awkwardly. With a reluctant huff, it seemed he had come to a decision.

“Alright, fine. I’ll arrange for your Mempo ID, and the fake, but I have caveats if you want an extended passport.” It was hardball from the Grand Commander, who wasn’t fucking around. “The body of Mempo Itoni is laid to rest— you let her go and I let you go. Secondly, your passport extension will only last for the standard ninety days, but under the care of ANBU. Establish regular contact and keep us abreast with your activities and findings, and additional extensions will be granted as needed. And one more thing,” the last caveat made Kaji pause to finish his mug of coffee, not so bottomless after all. “You may say abroad or aimless, but don’t think I’m not aware of where you’re headed… stay out of trouble in the Land of Fire. That’s my only warning, don’t screw it up.” And with the scroll of Ryuichi’s departed friend vanishing under Kaji’s cloak, his right hand came forward to offer a handshake. “Do this for me and journey as long as you need. I'll even do you a favor and keep it a secret from Uri long enough for you to cross the border. Deal?”


-- Passport Granted
 

Otani Ryuichi

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Ryuichi watched as the body of Yoya was taken under Kaji's cloak, and felt a twinge of guilt, and relief. While he was upset he couldn't bury her himself, the fact of the matter was that she would finally be able to be put to rest. On the topic of the land of fire, and revenge all he could say was, "I don't seek revenge, lord Sennin. Revenge is for those who failed the first time, and pin the blame on another. I simply want answers...I don't intend to break any laws in Fire, either. Or anywhere, for that matter."

He grabbed Kaji's hand with his own, revealing that his hand was cold, and tough despite the delicate appearance his skin may have. Yoya's spirit at Ryu's side gave him a warm smile, before heading out to prepare a course.

"I have one request for Itomi-san's body...." He would say after pulling his hand away. "She longed to see her family again, in the northwestern region of the land of lightning. She was inducted into becoming a shinobi, and eventually an ANBU due to her ability to wield chakra. If she is to be buried anywhere, let her parents decide." He would say. "Finding them, and sharing the bad news is my first stop. From there, I'll send the location via messenger bird." He paused, before remembering one little thing about Yoya's path. "The eyes within that path. They're faded, but still retain powers that anyone would covet. Please, replace them with brown ones before her burial. Give one of her Rinnegan eyes to Uchiha Maikeru, whom knows of their power, and the other can go to the village itself."

Ryu, not wanting to sound like he was doing nothing but giving commands, bowed to Kaji. "I'll be sure to send a messenger bird every night. It will only be signed with my coordinates at the time of sending, and the kanji 'Ryu' (龍). Monthly, I'll send a more comprehensive report."

With a small pause, all Ryu had to add afterwards is "Thank you."
 

Jomei

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A steely gaze was set upon Kaji as he observed Ryuichi, who offered another answer wise beyond his years. To seek answers from the culprit of a wrongful deed insisted on a desire for understanding over justice— to identify with the perpetrator rather than have vengeance. To a shinobi such as Kaji, this was a fool’s quest born from naivety, but a valid lesson to learn from a savage world. In truth, understanding an enemies’ motives is a rarity for the fast-acting shinobi: if you should have it— exploit it all you can.

As for dealing with the remains of Ryuichi’s fallen ally, Kaji offered an ensuring answer while their hands were still clasped. “I will see to a proper burial for Miss Itomi, according to the wishes of her kin. Deliver the news gently, and we’ll move forward with a burial fit for a true shinobi of the Hidden Cloud.” The handshaking gesture suddenly shifted to a pat on Ryuichi’s shoulder, heavy-handed despite how fluid the movement was. “Leave it to me, everything will be put in its proper place concerning Mempo Itomi.” Then he let the boy free, letting his gesture and words settle as if he were complying with all of Ryuichi’s request at once. Nodding, Kaji seemed resolved to accept Ryuichi’s plans and added an “aye, make it so” as the journeying youngling swore to keep up a correspondence in his travels.

And to the final show of thanks, Kaji formed a welcoming smile and said: “until we meet again.”

-- Topic Left Unless Stopped.
 

Otani Ryuichi

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Before now, Ryuichi didn't know it was possible to feel both relief, and a whole new wave of anxiety at the same time...but here he was. Happy that everything went as well as it could have, but knowing that his path was being set before him. On top of that, Yoya's body wasn't going to spend years in a scroll, whilst the white haired boy rushed to find a way to use it again.

"I'll deliver the news as gently as I can. I owe them that much." He said, flinching ever so slightly at the hand placed on his shoulder. "She'll be happy. We didn't know eachother long before..." He sighed, as if letting go of a boulder's worth of weight on his shoulders. "She really did want to see them again. Let's hope that if whatever heavenly forces that be are merciful, they can meet one another at some point."

With that, Ryu began to walk away from Kaji with his parting words striking a particular bell with the youth. 'Right. We will meet again, Lord Kaji.' He thought to himself, only giving the Sennin a side glancing smile and a raised fist as he walked out the door. His determination true, and someone new behind his back who at least had a sliver of trust in him...He knew he would return with the resolve to crumble a mountain.

-Topic left unless stopped.