Date: January 13, 2016
Three perspectives on the night that the ninja arrived at Mochi manor.
"A Black Pines Tragedy: Mysteries"
Mochi Manor, Land of Black Pines
Dinner at the Mochi manor in the Land of Black Pines ended rather abruptly following the whole poisoning attempt debacle… The culprits had been arrested, five ninja had shown off their skills and stood out as worthy of continuing the investigation. Two others remained who had yet to make themselves noteworthy. While all of the ninja were free to spend the night in the guest rooms, one chose to continue sneaking around and investigating on their own.
Satsumaki Furo was a ninja from the Land of Hot Water who was suspicious of the other ninja on the job. While he'd failed to stand out during dinner, he thought that some of the others caught on to the poisoning plot a bit too quickly. There was something off about a few of them. The blonde who had sniffed things to identify who had touched what, Uzumaki Naruko, that super-fast white-haired girl who was an admitted poisons expert, Karuko, and that Saito Kisuke who was so quick to propose a theory when Karuko's was shown to be flawed…
It all seemed fake to him. Too theatrical. Like it was staged. He wasn't sure how many of those three were working together, but as the ninja stalked the halls, moving from shadow to shadow, trying to find which room Naruko was staying in, he just couldn't shake the impression something was wrong…
Something Naruko had said or done. He couldn't place it, but… He used water from a jug to create a liquid 'key', which he then used to work open the lock on the Uzumaki's door. Just as he managed to get it open a small crack, he thought he understood what the problem was. He was staring in at the pig-tailed Uzumaki… Thinking about what she'd said after she sniffed the poison pouch. It didn't smell like the eye-patched man… And the other one didn't smell like the Seal Tag Guy. They only smelled like the people who carried them. Or so she claimed. But there was another.
And that meant that at the very least, Naruko was working together with—!
That line of thought was cut off as a shadow fell over him. He didn't even hear it or sense the presence. He just saw the shadow. And before he could turn the liquid key into a liquid knife, something was invading his mouth, his nose, his eyes, his ears… He was blinded, and could not even cry out in pain as his throat filled and the unknown substance expanded to infiltrate his lungs as well. He could feel it crawling inside of him through the pain.
He was panicking, trying to fight back, but he couldn't find anything to grasp as he fought for his life, trying to ignore the agony and the horrifying feeling of his own body being intruded upon by something foreign and monstrous.
Eventually, he blacked out.
His body would be found the next morning.
Saito Kisuke was meditating in his room, but he had a Shadow Clone watching the ground from the rooftop. He didn't think anything would happen outside, but those inspectors… The Alpine Patrol had come by at an awfully convenient time. Many people here suspected many other people. But Kisuke suspected not his fellow ninja, but the one who seemed to have the most to gain from the death of Lord Mochi… And his wife.
Their mission here was to find the one responsible for the murder and bring them to justice. Kisuke believed that Kuchihige, the financial assistant and advisor, may have something to do with it. Further, he believed that Kuchihige had a use for the ninja here. Already, two of their number had been taken away under the premise of being poisoners.
And there had been Kuchihige, ready to hand them over to the Alpine Patrol. What a coincidence, ne? The swordsman raised from where he sat in the center of the floor, and drew his sword. He looked at it, and the inscripton on the blade. He was one a candidate to become a Senshi. But he'd failed the entry test. Disgraced, he had been ostracized by his own family. He found a new purpose, wandering the world, honing his skills and using them to earn coin. But being nothing but a mercenary was suffering for him. Suffering and misery and shame. Before he died, he wanted to do something noble to off-set his failure to be good enough to protect Yotsuki Hiei, his Raikage.
He wanted to save a life, not just take them.
He wanted to find the one responsible for the murder, but he also wanted to save Mochi Tsuki. He felt she must also be in danger. But was that just him trying to convince himself that there was a quest here to complete? That he had a chance of becoming a hero. He made his way into the bathroom, to look himself in the mirror. He couldn't stand it for long.
What he had done… It made him sick. No… Actually… That nausea was…
He staggered over the toilet, feeling his insides heave. And then he spewed forth a stream of something black and vile.
Looking at it, he knew he didn't have much time left.
"…I never should have delivered that poison." he muttered to himself, as he tried to gather himself enough to avoid disrupting his Shadow Clone. He didn't know if he could make another with the Chakra he had left after earlier…
Karuko sat on the bed given to her, looking in the mirror. She hated how she looked. She was in her 40s and still looked no older than 16. Possibly younger. She would always be like this. Even if she was still suffering the effects of age, still dying, little by little, like everyone else, she
never developed or grew. She would always look like a child. She told herself many things in her head. Many voices warred which each other, as she tried to pick the right one to learn from. The right teacher, the right lesson. After all her experiences, all whom she had convinced to teach her through her innocent appearance, she still hadn't found what she really wanted. The cure for being eternally young.
A genetic disorder? A side-effect of the poisons she handled? A curse for what she had used her skills for?
She didn't regret the deaths she had caused anymore than she cherished the lives she had saved. Even now, this mission was like any other. But this was a new land, a new place to find new opportunities. To piece together who she actually was. She knew that sometime soon, she'd face a choice, like she always did when THAT moment arrived.
The time to decide what her story would be. What people would remember her for. But there were so many options. So many voices. So many faces floating around in her head. And she just couldn't choose. She would have to contact that poison dealer in the morning. She'd find what toxin had slain Lord Mochi, and stock up on some things of her own. She had a feeling she was going to need them before this was all over.
And she'd already used up so much of it.