Date: May 28, 2013
A black-clad man known as Tadashi appears to offer Yuuka and Meruin a plan to help them capture the insurgents within the Kaguya.
"Blood and Bones - A Difference of Opinion"
After having spoken with Takeshi previously to discuss his plan, Tadashi put the next phase into order. From observation, there are at least two more people he should have for this type of thing outside Takeshi. Yuuka is necessary due to her position, and she is also a talented combatant. There is also an impressive young Okumo Jounin who who be helpful. Both would have received notification to meet at the Boneyard Gardens at midnight if they wished to put an end to the resistance in the village swiftly. No name would be signed to it, though the katakana for 'order' would be stamped at the bottom. As of yet, the person who sent the message has not arrived, though he may be waiting for their arrival before making his appearance.
An unsigned message promising an end to the Kaguya problems, requiring attendance to a clandestine, midnight meeting. There would be plenty of reasons to avoid answering and attending. But two of the many possibilities for the night definitely outweigh the potential danger to many. The first, that it is legitimate and may actually provide an easier method of putting an end to things than he had in mind to employ himself. And the second. That this person is setting up a bold ambush in an attempt to capture or kill. Which means they are someone involved. Which means they're a possible lead.
These things in mind, Okumo Meruin had arrived an hour early, forgoing the rest he'd planned on having tonight in preparation for potential events on the morning. The trees at the outer edge of the gardens were the only easy place to hide oneself within view of the meeting grounds. So, naturally, he avoided choosing the obvious place to wait. Instead, he'd simply appeared on one of the rib bones of the fence, immediately hengeing into a bony spine. One natural protrusion of many. In place, he took on the stillness of the spider his clan lives as, awaiting.
Furniture can be replaced and walls can be rebuilt, however, one of her own was killed and the life of her daughter threatened. The escalation was becoming worse each day… it was intolerable, inexcusable. And whatever suspicions there may have been that someone behind Kaguya Raiji was actually pulling the strings was appearing less and less likely. So the real question is, what's going on? What or who has been stirring up her clan to the point that there may be a civil war?
So many thoughts shifted through her head as Yuuka moves through the quiet streets. Her robes a darker shade of blue to blend in with the night and a hood pulled over her head to cover her pale hair. She may have been anyone really if it wasn't for the enormous sword that's attached to her back. And the look in her eye… it was cold. Lacking the gentle warmth and quiet mirth that she's always had. But that was before the life of her only child was threatened. Passing through the gate, Yuuka narrows her eyes subtly with thought as she looks around, feeling something she can't quite place.
With a flicker, the black figure known as Tadashi would appear near the fountain in the guard. He stands looking up at it as if he had been standing there the whole time for a few moments before turning to look toward Yuuka. "Good to see that both of you have come," the inflectionless voice of the masked man rings out as he looks to her. While he doesn't specifically point Meruin out, he apparently seems already know that it is not just Yuuka here.
The aura this man gives off is not something one would call 'good', something of an ominous air hanging around him. However, he apparently serves the greater good, though one never knows what evils might be done to support the greater good. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tadashi, and I am here to assist you in ridding your land of this problem of insurgency it has. The others have such problems, but yours seems a bit more urgent since part of it spawns from within your own village. I know you do not know me, but, if you will lend me your ear, I have a plan that will work to get rid of these fools before they cause any more damage."
There would be no movement from the bone ridge that was the henged Meruin. To any bystander, the man speaking as though there were multiple people before him would only appear foolish or, perhaps insane. Of course, the Okumo was present. But he was going to make the other man prove that he had been noticed if he had.
Yuuka slows to a smooth stop just as the black figure appears, her dull gaze narrowing subtly on him for a brief moment before recognition flickers in her eyes. She's had a mission with him before. A brief mission, but he wasn't a complete stranger. Still, she found it strange that he wished to assist her. Not that the young woman was ungrateful, just wary. Pausing for a longer moment still, Yuuka turns her hooded head to glance over her shoulder, at where she feels the chakra though it feels muted or masked in part. Her cold blue green eyes return to Tadashi once more as she lowers her chin to him, "Alright… it could not hurt to at least hear your thoughts on the matter." she murmurs.
Tadashi peers up at that ridge as Meruin doesn't move yet, tilting his head slightly. "I would prefer to get down to business, as I have preparations and other matters to attend to, but, if you prefer it this way…" Reaching into his jacket, he would draw a kunai, casually tossing it as he draws it from the cloth, yet the amount of force and momentum behind it as he does is quite unreal, as it would stab into the bone mere inches below Meruin's feet to prove that he knows where he is. "Now, if you would kindly come over so we can discuss our business."
After giving Meruin a moment to do so, though he's fairly sure he's got some super-developed spidey senses that would allow him to hear it from where he stood anyway, he would look to Yuuka and give a nod. "My apologies that I have not stepped in in this manner sooner, but I doubt you'd have wanted to go to this extreme without things getting as real about this situation as they have for you." After a brief pause, he says, "My plan involves some high level jutsu on my end, but is more or less a lure and execute on your own. Mind you, it doesn't require killing all of them. I will leave how many live and how many die in your hands as a Head Elder of the clan, whatever you deem needed to restore order. I am merely here to set things in place so you may cast judgement after I have led and ensnared them in a proper location."
The kunai resting beneath him was his answer.
Meruin found it sufficient, the useless henge dropped, revealing him to be crouching against the rib bone. He launched into a graceful arc, a few moments passing with nothing but the sound of the air passing by before he landed in a low crouch, immediately coming up in a small spring, diffusing the momentum. He made his way beside Yuuka and simply inclined his head in greeting and waited, misted eyes on the dangerous man by the fountain.
The kunai is thrown, but Yuuka doesn't even flinch as it sails past her and buries itself in the ground at the foot of the gate. Nor does she glance back at Meruin when he finally emerges and makes his approach, finally joining them. Her cold eyes remained train on Tadashi with silent thought for several full moments, only the gentle sounds of the night in the background to fill the silence. Tadashi basically wanted to use a lure to cut down the threat in one easy swoop. Nice and clean, without so much of a warning. But it didn't address an important issue.
Exhales a small breath, her long sleeves cross against her chest in one smooth motion. "I am afraid it is not so simple a solution. A public statement has been said, and now I must make my own in order to demonstrate that I am not the coward they claim I am." she murmurs. "Tomorrow I am making an announcement. I am standing my ground, then I am going to cut down every branch member that has anything to do with this chaos." It was a cancer, and it was spreading fast unless she did something quickly. "What I need is people that will back me up, support me. If enough people are on my side, from a political viewpoint, then they will have no choice but either submit to me or taste the ivory of my blade."
Tadashi remains silent to respectfully listen to Yuuka's position, giving a nod before letting out a sigh. "Forgive me if I seem brash, but, frankly, your plan is idealistic. If you make your announcement, you give the roaches the opportunity to scatter before they can be dealt with. Something needs to be done /before/ you spread the word about fighting back." With a brief pause, he says, "I have a decoy of a member of your clan by the name of Kiku I plan to use to lure them by making them think I've kidnapped her. With the heated stir they are in, they will come rushing to save her, and then we can capture them. No blood has to be shed immediately, as I can just as easily drown them in Genjutsu and lock them in a cage to give you time to make your speech afterward. I am willing to back you as I can, but do urge you to consider what steps must be taken first. You must also consider that they said that would kill your child if you do not deliver Takeshi's head. Would you prefer to alarm them into moving that plan forward to capturing them before they can?"
Meruin is entirely still, moving only mouth as he speaks, intonations subdued and shifting little throughout his words. "An interesting proposal," replies Meruin. "But it brings it's own issues. The first is that we cannot say, for sure, that Raiji would send his people to recover Kiku, whom he is unlikely to consider anything more than his other people. Who are pawns. The second is that this puts Kaguya in a weakened state in regards to her clan. She is not likely to hold her position long if she does not even have the power and command to keep her child safe and her clan in order. Having the solution led by an outsider is simply a slower failure. For the third reason. Keeping any of those alive with this mindset simply allows for that mindset to take hold and spread again."
The Okumo continues speaking, voice now curiously flat. "As for your concerns about her plan, Yuriko would never be kept in a place that someone could get at her after she'd just had her life threatened. They will not be able to enact their plan. Secondly, Takeshi has enough supporters to survive a conflict with Raiji's. He is elderly, but still powerful in his own right. Thirdly, you appear to know little of the Kaguya to suggest that they'd flee because another Kaguya is coming to fight them. These who call for blood, especially, will rush for the chance and be hewn down by Kaguya Yuuka. Lastly… You see the look in her eyes. This speech will be a rally. I doubt there'd be any time between the giving of the speech and the call to arms. There would be no time to run, even would they take it. As I see it, your plan is inferior to the one Yuuka plans to enact. Do you have any further evidence to the contrary?"
Yuuka quietly lifts a pale brow at Tadashi from beneath her hood for a silent moment before her attention drifts to Meruin, who immediately comes to her aide. After a long moment or so, she exhales a small breath and idly taps a finger at the crook of her arm. "We will not be able to get them all at once, with either plan." she murmurs. "Not completely. However, I believe that with the plan that is set right now will have a greater possibility of keeping more people alive through this." The mention of her daughter, yet again, bring a cold stare from the Swordsman. Clenching a hand at her side, her voice murmurs lowly as Yuuka shifts her gaze between them in warning, "The next person that even so much as hints that I am not taking in mind the life of my child will find his head severed and in his hands. Now then."
Yuuka snaps her eyes to Tadashi with a dark look. "I am not sure how much you do or do not know about my clan, but the best description of the Kaguya clan as a whole is a pack of wolves. They are always challenging one another, trying to become the strongest, become the alpha. And if they see so much as a single weakness in their defense, they will snap at it to take down the other wolf. Especially an alpha. Yuriko-chan is seen as that weakness, and they think that they will get me to back down because of it. Because I have wanted and still do want peace." The hand at the crook of her arm relaxes before her arms fall to her sides once more. "I can not rely on a plan that has only a possibility of luring one or two pawns out while the puppeteers pull at the strings from the shadows."
"My plan would involve less casualties on your own side, but, as I said, how many live and how many die is up to you. I also said it was not necessary to kill them all. I didn't say it wouldn't be just as simple to annihilate them completely," Tadashi says, his inflectionless voice showing no change in tone. Yuuka's threat is given no more than a blink, and he remains silent to listen to her explanation, apparently not caring to argue. "If this is your wish, I leave you to your devices, whatever casualties may be wrought. I have made my offer. It is no longer my concern." He shows no sign of angry nor spite, his tone yet unchanging, as if no more than an objective business man rolling back up a contract that a client has turned down. With that, unless anything is said or done that would cause him to stay, he would vanish just as quickly as he came.
"If I wanted a missive to reach you, how would I manage it?"
Meruin's gaze is a steady thing, the mists in his eyes slowly shifting, a match to the placid aura about him. He gave no other words. Simply waited for the reply that would come. At the answer 'Seek Order' and the vanishing in the way only skilled shinobi accomplish, the Okumo simply lets out a breath. It was not a very helpful answer. But he tucked it away for later consideration. Instead, he turned to look to Yuuka in silence, examining her.