Date: January 4, 2016
Dinner follows the arrival of the various ninja to the manor of the Mochi family. By the end of it, tensions have significantly increased, and the mystery has deepened.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"A Black Pines Tragedy Pt. 2"
Mochi Manor, Land of Black Pines
It's dinner in the manor of the Mochi family, in the Land of Black Pines. They aren't sitting a bunch of scallywags down at a table and expecting them to eat with proper manners, but there is still a dining hall, and the food is being provided to those therein in a sort of buffet-style affair. The spread is probably well beyond what any of these ninja would normally have, but is still not exactly a celebratory feast. Which is understandable, given the circumstances of why everyone is here in the first place.
Prior to the meal, Asashi was informed that no one was certain if any alcohol was present or taken into the room, though broken glass found might support that possibility. Isura discovered the ventilation system was too small for a normal human to crawl through unless they were the size of an infant, which indicated it's likely ninja were involved. Naruko's cautioning to not jump to conclusions or start placing blame was agreed to by a short, white-haired girl who said she would check with some contacts she has who deal in poisons to see if she could identify the particular toxin used.
If they know its source, they might be able to narrow down who would have access to such a thing, and thus who would have been able to get it onto the estate grounds. Kuchihige, the moustachioed financial assistant to the late Lord Mochi, has begun to get in contact with local law enforcement to arrange for the guards who were hired as security to be readied for questioning. Lady Mochi has changed out of mourning attire, but is still in very subdued dress. She is not hosting a party, after all. She has joined every one else, from the independent ninja to the ones from Villages in the dining hall and is remaining quiet unless spoken to. She seems pretty worn out.
When dealing with an enemy that uses poisons that cause people to erupt from the inside out, sitting down for a meal not prepared by oneself or someone trusted is generally a bad idea. Then again, failing to attend is also bad manners, so the Iga Clan Head would be in attendance for the meal, but he'd have slipped his own drink into the place and would choose only foods that don't have a strong enough flavor or odor to cover up any traces of poison.
As he sits at the table, only drinking from his personal drink thus far, the Iga goes over all the details they've got so far in his mind. Missing any piece that could be linked together could prove fatal in a situation like this, after all.
Isura went along with the group just to eye out possible suspect, Isura brought his own food and drinks just to be on the safe side. Pulling out a bottle of water he took small sips before nibbling on a protein bar. Yawning he tucked the snacks aways as he walked around seeing if he could gather more clue. Isura flicked his nose as he slowly as he peers at everyone around vefore approuching Asashi. "Hey man what do you think going on here?" Isura was stuck at this point with whats happen but his gut was telling him the guy with the all the facial hair couldnt be trust nor any of the food and drinks. Yawning he made sure to stay close to those he came with rather than those he didn't.
This time around Naruko was actually glad that Isura gave her that energy bar. After that gross stench it was hard to imagine eating anything from these place. There was just to much wrong going on…This was going to be a terrible investigation. "How many…of those bar things did you bring…?" Naruko questions Isura as she takes seat on the other side of him, munching one one while eyeing the food before her… It was going to be hard to resist, but then again not dying was plenty motivation for that. She gulps her own saliva and begins to ponder a few things, eventually leaning over to whipser in Isura's ear. "I wonder if Lady Mochi what's her face was ever…put to bed that often. Maybe a rocky marriage or something, let's not count anyone out okay?" Naruko suggests in a whisper before going back to see what else could come of all this.
Given how tired Miss Tsuki looks, the bed is definitely a place she belongs but probably not in the sense that Naruko intended. She looks completely destroyed by what's going on. Doesn't mean she can be ruled out, but she isn't acting like someonw who is glad her husband is gone. Then again… That's what acting is. Just pretending at behavior. So who knows?
The other ninja similarly seem to be cautious. Either they're using some method or other to verify the safety of the food, but to the umbrage of the cooks and residents as they are essentially being accused of poisoning house guests, or they are eating and drinking from their own supplies. Of course, there's one or two individuals who don't seem to care or perhaps have some sort of defense against poison. One of the ninja, the one who was waving seal tags around earlier in the art gallery to sense for something or other, is presently walking up to the banquet table and pulling out more tags, which he is blatantly passing over the food to check it.
The already angered chef takes a step forward, but is held back by a butler-like servant next to him, who just shakes his head. But as the seal tag ninja starts checking for poison, the white-haired girl who was making up a plate of food for herself, apparently either unconcerned with the possibility of poisoning or having already taken more subtle countermeasures of her own, narrows her eyes and tilts her head a bit.
Seal tag man, a guy with loose, jaw-length brown hair and a sort of pretty-boy face, in loose clothing, is smiling and humming innocently to himself, confident his seal tags will find anything unusual. But then… The more perceptive among those gathered (namely, Asashi, Isura, and Naruko) all notice tiny red glints, barely perceptible, drifting down onto the food as the tags are passed over them.
Is this guy…!? It seems that he's… Poisoning the food right now!
Having expert senses and Isura being right by him, Asashi is quite able to hear Naruko's whisper and smirks slightly. Of course, that IS a possibility, but maybe not a strong one at this point. Best to keep his eyes on everything around for now, which he does… As he notices the tags, his eyebrows narrow slightly. That guy's actually trying to poison the food right in front of their eyes and thinking he's going to get away with it? Baka.
Moving his hands casually to what look like simple pockets on his robe, Asashi flings them open and in the process sends a great length of wire out at 'seal tag man', which he grabs and uses his chakra to cause it to wrap around the man and try to bind him down right there on the table. Since the food's already poisoned, no sense trying to preserve it. "I believe you've got some explaining to do," the voice of the Iga calmly rings out as, if the capture was successful, he tugs around the wire around the man's neck to let him feel its sharpness without doing any real damage… yet.
Isura noticed but he wasnt sure it was posin it was to out in the open for him as he moved around the table he would appear next to the lady of the hour and very comical and clumsy way knocked her food and drinks on the ground just to be sure. Blushing red he scratched the back of his head as he bowed to her "I'm sorry I have two left feet sometime please forgive me." Isura than looked to Naruko before holding out three more bar as of he was offering them to her. "Again Im very sorry." Is all that is saod before returning back to the side of Naruko and Asashi. "I have enough to last a week or so just in case." Is stated as he chuckled to himself. Isura wasn't sure about what was happening but something wasn't adding up.
Of course Naruko could see it, it caused some concern but it looked like Asashi had already taken it upon himself to take hold of him. Perhaps a bit rash even for Naruko. There could have been accomplicies…But this would have to suffice for now. She frowns a bit and ignores Isura's offering for the time being, the mood was just a little too tense to care much…At the same time she wasn't sure if she should simply play dumb and see who else would step forward or if she should actually do something to undo Asashi's quick wrist. " Um… what's going on?" Naruko finally asks curiously, though she knew very well…what was happening. She wanted to see who else would come to the other Ninja's defense.
Seal Tag Guy is snared and restrained by Asashi and lets out a startled, "N-Nani!? What are you doing!?" He struggles against the wire but doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Other shinobi in the room have leapt into action at the sudden attack from Asashi, seeming about to draw weapons, or having already done so, or having their hands ready to begin molding Chakra. They don't appear to have caught what transpired. None of them except for the white-haired girl who is presently…
…Wait, where did she go?
Lady Mochi Tsuki is startled by her drink and food being knocked to the floor, but she didn't seem to have an appetite anyway. Those nearby her don't seem at all fooled by Isura's claim of clumsiness since he intentionally crossed the entire room at high speed just to knock her dish and glass from her hands. "How dare you!" one of the guests yells as he balls his fists. "You uncouth ninja!"
Lady Mochi, however, raises a hand and calls out weakly, but commandingly, "Stop. Please." When everyone has settled down a bit, Miss Tsuki says, "My guests, shinobi or non, will be treated as such. At least for the time being." This woman is pale, dark-haired, and has deep, wine-red eyes, like pools of blood. Even as weakened as she is by her ordeals, those are not the eyes of one weak of mind or slow of wit. "However, I would ask for an explanation of what is going on."
"Th-that man attacked me!" Seal Tag Guy responds as he gives one more experimental tug against the wires before settling down. "I was just checking to see if there was any contamination of the food, and then I was attacked!"
Lady Tsuki turns her attention on Asashi and says, "And why have you attacked him?"
It doesn't seem that anyone is stepping forward to defend Seal Tag Guy…
Listening as everyone starts a commotion, Asashi peers around then looks back down at his current target. He looks up at Lady Tsuki as she looks upon him and says, "The answer is simple. This man was poisoning the food. The question now is if he is the one that performed the assassination or if he was simply trying to kill the rest of us so he could take the bounty for himself." There is no wavering in his resolve, even when the other two don't back him up. As he looks down again, he notes the substance is coming from the man's sleeve and lifts an eyebrow before taking a kunai from his robe and going to cut the man's sleeve open to try and see where the substance is coming from.
Isura noticed the swift movement that no one else picked up on, twisted in his step he was standing behind her and released a small yawn. "So what's going on in this part of the room?" Isura was confident and calm as a pure reflection of his sensei Hino. Isura was aiming for a private meeting with the two but the crowed room was hard either case private or not he was ready to make a move is she dared to. "We could keep this little thing between the three of us or…well it can get messy. I personally don't know why Asashi so heroic when if the poor cone was poisoning the guest then we could've closed the case but eh. Anyway what are you doing with this man?" If the conversations was private then his tone was low enough only the two of them could hear, if not it was loud enough that everyone could. Either case didnt change Isura phrasing in the slightest.
Asashi was dead on assaulting this nin, which wasn't a bad thing in particular. Naruko could only watch more however trying to find leads to anyone else being involved. We had a guy that had poison, but we also had a person who knew poisons very well. Her suspicion was on both individuals. At this time there wasn't much her own abilities could do. No fancing eyes, all she could do what use her keen senses to see if anyone was doing anything suspicious and hopefully watch events unfold. Someone in this room would twitch… budge… Anything…. all she could do was take notice. Let Asashi ask all the questions.
As Asashi draws a kunai, Seal Tag Guy gets increasingly nervous. "No! L-let's not do anything hasty! I wasn't poisoning anyone!" Then Asashi slashes at him, and he yells out, "STOOOOOOP!" and cringes away, apparently expecting to be stabbed or his arm removed judging by his terrified expression. But all that happens is his sleeve is torn open, and a small pouch full of red sand or crystal or powder falls onto the floor, spilling its contents onto the marble tiles.
He relaxes a bit and seems totally confused when he realizes he's not injured. "I-I don't know what that is or where it came from! That's not mine!" he protests.
The white-haired girl has somehow turned up behind that dark-skinned eye-patch ninja from earlier, has him down on his knees, with a kunai to his throat and the guy's arm up behind his back using her other. When did she…!?
But it seems that Isura noticed her and moved into position behind her. However, since she's restraining someone, she can't do anything about the presence she in turn noticed appearing behind her, except to turn her eyes to look behind her without being able to turn her head much. "The man with the seal tags wasn't the one trying to poison everyone. The one I have restrained was."
Eyepatch guy, sweating and trying not to move too much, yells out, "What!?" and starts to pull away, only to find the kunai pressed even harder into his throat.
White-haired girl says, "Don't bother denying it. You planted the poison on that man over there. And you have more where that came from."
Eyepatch guy grits his teeth and tries to look at white-haired girl without turning his head, kind of like the girl was doing to Isura a moment ago. She rustles around in the ninja's tool pouch and then pulls out a small pouch much like the one Seal Tag Guy just had exposed to everyone. "See? Here, compare it." She tosses it underhand to Naruko. "…And don't drop it." she adds on only after throwing it. "See if what's inside matches what's all over the food and the floor. Uchiha-san probably would have seen it as well if his Sharingan had already been active at the time. But Uchiha-san already showed that he had the Sharingan, so Mister Eyepatch here probably hoped that someone would notice the poisoning of the food…"
The girl looks to Asashi and says, "He was probably trying to frame our aspiring Fuinjutsu user in a blatant way, but still subtle enough that only other ninja would notice, to sow suspicion and reduce the competition." She asks teasingly of her captive, "Am I close yet, Mister?"
The dark-skinned man just snarls, "You little bit— " but stops himself as the kunai digs into his throat enough to draw a thin line of blood. "Uchiha-san. Your Sharingan can see Chakra, right? Can you please check the Chakra of Mister Seals and determine if he is under a Genjutsu?"
"Don't you?" Asashi asks, lifting an eyebrow as he looks down at the man when the pouch falls out. When the white-haired girl takes the other man down, the Iga peers up their way and smirks slightly. He doesn't unbind the other man yet, as he's still not fully certain of the man's innocence in this matter. Still, he nods in agreement with her idea and waits to see what Isura can discern.
Isura sighed as he glanced around the room since he is the only on with Sharingan and in fact the man wasnt under genjutsu "he looks void of any genjutsu chakra so yeah." Isura placed his hands onto the shoulder of the one holding the kunai "how about you stop pressing that kunai to his neck cause if he choose to bite the bullet he can just do it. Than we have nothing." Isura yawned as he took another sip of his bottled water. "I feel that we're a step closer to finishing this but things are not adding up to me." Isura tucked the water away as he touched his hand to his chin to think. "I wonder." Isura glanced across the room more with Sharingan to see every current chakra levels.
Naruko nodded to the other girls assessment, and indeed the two poisons matched. She muses and then rubs her temple with her free hand. "Looks like there is a match and…" She sniffs a bit more. "The one pinned down didn't slip this into his garments… I say they are both guilty and working the same angle… Elses anyone else around here may be involved…" Naruko began to speak up and explain, interesting to see what else Asashi and Isura could come up with. Anymore leads? She wasn't sure just yet. Naruko was slightly out of her element in a case like this.
"I see. So the man isn't under the influence of Genjutsu. Meaning he wasn't being controlled to do what he was doing," the white-haired girl says. She then responds to Isura's suggestion she remove the kunai from Eye-Patch Guy's throat with, "I don't think so. Do you really belive someone who couldn't even stomach going inside of a blood-stained crime scene has the guts to kill himself when he's already been caught? Further, do you really believe he had any involvement with the murder itself? Even if he was somehow present during the murder, and given no body here has recognized him, that is unlikely, a plan this clumsy could never have been carried out by whoever we're presently struggling just to discover the identity of, let alone capture."
At Naruko's declaration that the poison pouches smell the same as the ones who were carrying them, the White-Haired Girl says, "Oh, is that so?" as she turns her attention on Seal Tag Guy. "It seems my theory was slightly off."
The scarred, top-knotted man who has thus far been mostly silent then takes that moment to step forward. "I'd like to propose… A theory of my own." His hand is on the pommel of his sword, but he doesn't seem to be drawing it.
"Oh-hoh?" the white-haired girl supplies. "Please do tell us about it."
The scarred man says, "My name is Saito Kisuke. While I mostly practice the sword, I know my way around Seals. It's true that this man…" he indicates Eye-Patch, "…Stayed out of the art gallery when the rest of us went in, and that the one currently being restrained with wire came in with us." Kisuke proceeds to come closer to where Asashi and Seal Tag Guy are standing, but not too close. "With your permission?" he asks first, before moving to gather up a number of seal tags that are scattered all over the floor, if he receives that permission. If not, he'll try to examine them from where he stands. Either way, the result is the same. "It's as I thought. These Seal Tags are forgeries. Cheap knock-offs. Fakes." If possible, he'll hold one up, and Isura should be able to confirm that the reason they didn't stand out before when he was using his Sharingan, was because they are just pieces of paper without any Chakra infused into them.
"They may have been working together, or not. But one of them is attempting to pass himself off as a shinobi when he isn't one…" Then he turns and glares at Eye-Patch with one intense, violet-hued eye. "…While the other is just a coward with no guts, like the little girl says."
The little girl smirks and says, "Well, I think we've established which shinobi here are actually qualified for this job. And by the way, the name is Karuko."
There's a clapping sound from the entrance into the banquet hall, where Mister Kuchihige stands, with a bunch of the local law enforcement officers, the Alpine Patrol, and the detained security guards in tow as well. He's applauding all of this. "Splendid, splendid! That was a marvelous display of your amazing abilities and deductive skills! Wire weapons, the legendary Sharingan, a superhumanly keen sense of smell, high intelligence, and the experience to tell fakes from the real thing. I'm sure that we all feel much more confident with you five on the case, and these scoundrels exposed!"
The Alpine officers seem a bit displeased with being displaced by shinobi, but as Eye-Patch snarls and says, "This is a frame job! That girl and her swordsman buddy probably planted those pouches on us!" he is released by Karuko and restrained by the officers instead. Karuko steps back, and hands over Eye-Patch's weapons and tool pouch that she has already confiscated. She's fast!
As Seal Tag Guy is also restrained by law enforcement, freeing Asashi from the burden of keeping him tied up, he begins protesting as well. "No! It's not true! I admit I'm not actually a Seal-expert, but I have no reason to poison anyone! It's a lie! Why would I do this!? Think about it!"
Kisuke butts in to say, "The terms of the job are that those who contribute to the capture of the one or ones responsible will be paid. A fake and a coward would have to find some way to make themselves useful. And since we already have a poisons expert with us, pinning the poisoning on her would be a quick way to blame her and make off with the payment while the one actually responsible for the murders remain at large." Then he puts his other hand on his sword hilt as he adds on in a menacing tone as his eyes dialate to pinpoints with the gleam of a killer, "Now settle down."
Seal Tag Guy chokes on his own tongue in his hurry to shut himself up, and doesn't resist further as he's taken away.
Well… There are seven ninja left, with these two being taken away… But only five of the remainder showed off any abilities during all this. The other two have realized they're totally out of their league… But greed and the possibility of still finding a way to contribute and satisfy their pride keeps them from leaving right here and now.
It looks like Asashi, Isura, Naruko, Kisuke, and Karuko are the main players, however.
Lady Mochi Tsuki went quiet during all of this. She speaks up now as a servant finishes cleaning up her ruined food and dishes, and the rest begin to CAREFULLY clear the banquet table. "This has all been… A bit too much… Excitement. Thank you all… For your dillegence. I must… Retire for the night. Servants will show you… To your rooms." Then she is helped up and led out of there herself.
This is only the first night, and already so much has happened…
Asashi is silent for a bit as the scene before them plays out. He may've caused a bit of drama, but sometimes that's necessary to figure out what's going on. A silent nod is given to Kisuke as he asks to demonstrate, the Iga watching and listening intently. He smirks slightly as the two are called out on their ineptness here then looks to Karuko, saying, "Nice to see a young person with some competence… Asashi."
When Kuchihige chimes in, he looks over his way and lifts an eyebrow. He easily lets the officers take Seal Tag Guy away and turns his attention to Kisuke and finally back to Tsuki. "Our apologies for the distress, madam," he says with a light bow of his head. He briefly considers how easily he might slip in to visit her and find a way to judge whether she is innocent in this or not… but that process might be a bit slippery. His jutsu will allow him to try to pull that off if he decides. For now he simply peers around at the others remaining and studies each for a moment while waiting for the servants to take them to their rooms.
Isura just watch and when asked he sighed "they are fakes that they are." Shifting his attention over to the door he smirked as the pieces were making a little sense to him now. "This is far from over, there are some foul works at play." Isura thought to himself but for now he'll let it go and just go with the flow. The one he wanted to know more about was Karuko cause the things she came up with was more than he felt she should have been able to piece. Either way the night was over time for rest and relaxing.
There were lots of discussions, accusations, and all the nice sort of stuff. Naruko had no idea what that mean't what and if those who were captured were actually the people that they were suppose to go after. A heavy sigh escapes her lips and belatedly she motions over towards Isura, shoving her hands into whatever container held those energy bars and perhaps a spare bottle of water if he had one. "This…totally sucks," Naruko simply comments as she tries to wrap her brain around what exactly happened here… Too many wild cards… Too many different ways the whole thing could have went. Naruko didn't other waiting around. She frowned and quickly began to head back to her room. Hoping some sleep would clear her mind.