Date: September 22, 2016
The Clock Tower's realization takes shape, when Doihara Ishino visits Watanabe Hotaru at her father's mansion. The symbol of unity for the clans of Iwagakure can now finally be fully built, and the foundation is already nearly complete.
"A Monument to Progress: The Last Timepiece of the Puzzle"
There are likely many reasons why Ishino was in the Land of Earth. While Kyousuke never returned with a response letter, Hotaru remained hopeful that the famous shinobi whose mark appears on many pocketwatches that adorn a noble's retinue would send some sort of. Hotaru sometimes felt as if she honestly was too young to handle this task, given that her limited lifespan ticked away. The young Watanabe remained in the house that Ishino had been given address to, and seemed to be counting. Ryo. A mental exercise of sorts, and an efficient time sink. Though her funds are dwindling thanks to having already paid many of the contractors she has hired to get the work of 'Improving Iwagakure' over with. "Once more… Five Thousand… Ten Thousand…"
The front of Watanabe Kohaku's house overlooks the Academy, in actuality. Not the best property, certainly not riverfront, but the walled and gated mansion had a rather nice garden.
Depending on if Hotaru had connections or not, she'd be able to get word of the arrival of Ishino, even if Kyousuke didn't get there first. Ishino came in on HARPS and after going through the normal routine of 'disarming' by leaving the massive war machine at the front gate and the gremlins with it, he and his old man companion would go to see the Kage. Afterall, diplomacy before pleasure, right?
So it was about a half hour after word of HARPS sitting outside of the front gate inactive, would Ishino come calling on the house. This was the right address, so Ishino was pretty confident this was the right location. Looking around, it's the old man that would actually knock on the front door, stepping back to resume holding the umbrella over Ishino and himself as they'd await a response.
Alas, even though she had a hearty allowance and was using it to improve the village, she hadn't the business contacts or even the shinobi contacts her father had. Lately, even, her father seemed to have slipped out of her life… Was it because she was no longer a shinobi? Perhaps… Hotaru's head rose as she heard the knocking upon the door. Hotaru wore her usual outfit these days. A white shirt with a striped blue vest upon it with blue pants and a white cape that fell over her left arm. At the moment, her right arm shifted over to grab a rusty-red cane, that would help assist her with walking at the moment. "Oh… It's probably Kaneko… Maybe… She hasn't seen me in forever."
Ishino could hear the sound of metal ringing against a stone floor as Hotaru slowly made her way to the door. Her legs, unable to truly support her weight, required this object. It wasn't just a symbol of being born into a moneyed family. Moments after she had stopped in front of the door, she struggled to open the door. Much grunting went into opening the reinforced entrance, and when she finally opened her her yellow eyes met someone whose height seemed massive in comparison to her own. "Black hair. Red eyes. Tuxedo. Please, come in. I-It's Doihara Ishino, isn't it? Please… Follow me…" The Dining Room was where she would start slowly walking towards. There was an expression of relief upon her face. Just like that, she trusted that this was indeed the master clockworker. "… Y-you did get my message… I'm glad. I didn't trust Kyousuke completely…"
Ishino would study Hotaru calmly as she'd open the door, focused on her with a certain intensity that would indeed be honed of one that was an ex-swordman. Glancing around one last time, Ishino nods with a small smile and bows formally in that eastern style. The old man bows much more normal western style. "Indeed. I am Doihara Ishino. A pleasure to make your aquaintance, Watanabe." Straightening, he would of course follow her in while looking around. The old man would close the umbrella once they're indoors and then close the door easily behind them. The umbrella never gets put down, but it's gone as they'd step into the dining area. Ishino muses and gives a nod of acceptance before looking to Hotaru. "I am here on a business request. A creation of a clock tower." He'd hold his hand out for the old man to put a scroll into it. "I have some intial plans drawn up, but I need some additional information from you."
"Watanabe Hotaru, but given that you know what I have asked you here for, you most likely know my name, and quite a bit about me." Hotaru says as she takes Ishino into a room with a large rectangular table, clothed in white. She does not sit at the head of the table, because she is not the head of the household. She sits down along the side of the table, looking towards Ishino and offering him a seat as well. "Sit…" Hotaru reached into her cloak, and pulled out what appeared to be blueprints. Some of them were not actually relevant to her request, but seemed to be a child's attempt at engineering nevertheless. "Okay… I can do this…" There was uncertainty in her face as she picked one of the scrolls and unrolled it across the table. "This is my preliminary design of the clock tower and it's specifications."
It was clear that she planned to use ninjutsu to build the building primarily. Plans were in place to create a metal foundation, and coat it with rock. There were even decoration plans, to be discussed with the artists of the Toujitakumi village. However, when ishino looked upon the plans regarding the actual 'clock mechanism' he found that she had tried. Yet, her attempted schematics were… Heavily insufficient. "I am… Running out of time. I don't have enough of it. to accomplish this task." Hotaru's eyes closed to half-lids as her hands clasp together. "There is so much I want to do. Perhaps, someday I could have completed the mechanism myself through hard study. The power source is simple. A spring, coiled and twisted, providing the potential energy required to run the clock for possibly weeks, but to create something on this scale… …"
Ishino would set his own scroll aside for now to study the plans that Hotaru had. Musing, he'd hold his hand out to have a pen placed in it. With the studied practice of someone who has done engineering for a long time, he starts making notations on Hotaru's plans, corrections to minor flaws he sees in the structure itself. With that done, he'd turn his attention to the clockwork mechanism. "Yes. It's a basic system, however it requires a higher level of knowledge into how the system works to maintain it for a long time. I can offer an increased capability of about 2 years in this format."
Ishino turns his attention to the old man and motions, receiving two more scrolls that are then laid out for Hotaru to look at. Ishino's own notes are in crisp, precise entries across the page, both entries being about similar clockwork designs. One is for sand, the other for water. "These require more initial resources, but less maintenance. I was planning on doing a lot of the building work myself with my tools. I can guarantee that it works correctly then. Outside resources are not always precise enough."
Hotaru doesn't need to look at the notations. She trusts Ishino's skill implicitly. Perhaps, against normal reasoning. "… I won't… be alive in two years…" Hotaru mumbled beneath her breath. She couldn't maintain it herself in the eventuality that she learns how his system works. Her genetic disease will have claimed her by then. When his designs come out, she notices the symbols for two other hidden villages represented within the notes. Perhaps, her relative, the Kazekage was commissioning one too? … No…. These were mechanisms that were powered by water and sand… "I will provide the resources you need… Yes… The more initial resources and less maintenance the better. Yes… Yes…" Hotaru would prop herself on the table as she looked more closely over what he had to offer.
The only question now was… "How much would you need for your labor-specific serves?" Hotaru's eyes once more look upon his. "I know you'll be reasonable… tell me what you want."
Ishino muses as he'd watch Hotaru. Finally, shaking his head solemnly, he smiles slightly. "I require nothing for my labor. While you initially requested the clock tower, I see this as a good attempt at diplomacy between Kirigakure and Iwagakure. As such, I am providing my services free of charge." He would hesitate as he'd watch her. "However, I do need you, as the one who commissioned the tower, to pick which way you wish to go. Sand or water? Both have their advantage and disadvantage. I suspect sand would be easier to obtain here. Water sounds better." Ishino pulls out another note and unrolls it carefully. Inscribed on it are the clan symbols that are known to be in Iwa and notations of which sides they'll be on the clock. "I also had this idea to have each clan represented in the clock. I've also contemplated asking Koi.. Akane, my wife, to try to help you out."
"Water…" Hotaru would specify. "Though I do not understand the differences, it would be far easier for the future generations to acquire water for it's maintenance." That is her reasoning. "The Foundation has been set up, aside from the changes that would improve stability… I can take you to the building site whenever you wish." Hotaru would close her eyes, for this is the first business deal she had ever truly partook in. Her father is going to be very proud, she just knows it. "Sasaki. Toujitakumi. Murasame. The Clock Tower isn't just a tower that tells time, I wanted this tower to be a symbol of the industriousness of the Land of Earth and her clans… What you ask is something I had already planned to do in a different way. As a memorial within the tower itself."
Hotaru looked back up at Ishino. "My mother was a woman who died the very same way I will, only she lasted long enough to give birth to me. She was known as the Seijin Ten'nen Mizu (Saint of Springwater) in the Land of Waterfalls, because she was instrumental in ending a drought in the region by using her mastery over water manipulation to tap into an aquifer below the earth. Before her death, she helped thousands of people from starving, by allowing the crop to continue. I, too, want to do as my mother had. I will die before she will, but I will also find some way to leave something that benefits many behind…" Hotaru would take her cane and move from the table. "This will bring Iwagakure closer together, but not only that, but it will do something that I don't believe has ever been done. This will standardize time…" Hotaru had one little thing to address. "Fujikujo-san did come to Iwagakure. She did… Make it so that I could walk for a short period of time. I appreciate your expressed concern, but she was unable to solve the problem… If I happen upon Kirigakure when I set out for my last attempt to find a cure, I will make sure that I ask her to take a second look… Thank you."
Ishino nods solemnly. "I thought I had saw that file but wasn't sure. I know of your mother as well. I researched you before I came to verify the request as well as determine it's truth, value and likelihood of it being a trap." Ishino smiles slightly at that last part and stands himself. "Indeed. A foundation is perfect. We can start there. Using my gremlins, I should be able to have this finished in two months. This is including time for travel. I will begin initial work and get you the list of additional resources needed. Water is fine, appropriate as well from the sounds of it. While I will have the Doihara's symbol on the clocktower, it will be tasteful and interior. I don't plan to spoil it with any symbols of Kirigakure. You are, after all, hiring me as a clock maker, not the Kirigakure shinobi." The old man would offer Hotaru his arm as they would walk, to help her with travel of course. If she takes the arm, she'd probably note then that it's wood and metal in her hand, a puppet with what seems to be a perfect henge. Ishino has had a lot of practice with it, afterall.
"There is a lot you cannot know, Ishino-sama." The young Watanabe says, sure of herself. "What I can say, without a doubt, is that if this is a trap… It won't be because of me. I'm not a shinobi, and you're providing a service to me that is critical." Trying to sound professional right now is difficult. Sometimes her conjugation of a sentence slows, only because she is attempting to find the most advanced words she can. "You will have your name upon the plaque, by the way. Not just a symbol. That is saying quite a bit, given that I don't care to put my own name upon it. If it becomes a symbol of unity for our village, and a symbol of cooperation with Kirigakure, so be it.
She would likely take the hand of the butler, because the trip would be particularly long. The tactile feel of the hand brings Hotaru some slight concern. Was this individual made of… clockwork? Either way, Hotaru was quite slow. Almost burdeningly slow. This would make the arrival to the Yotuna square a bit of a challenge, and possibly the reason why Hotaru did not wear the symbol of Iwagakure upon any part of her person. She was not a shinobi any longer.
The arrival of the azure-haired Watanabe aided by Ishino's butler and the black haired puppet master showed that the tower's construction was well under way. The height had to be tall enough that everyone in the city could see it, and the clock had to be facing the west, because the majority of the city was west of it. That included all the administrative buildings. The foundation was as it looked in the plans. Steel beams sunk deep in the ground, with the framework of the building slowly taking shape. One could see many Murasame showing just how industrious they truly were, as raw metal was shaped on the spot into steel beams, and refined into exact lengths before being raised and bolted with further metal-release ninjutsu. It's construction looked very modern for it's time as a result. "… Our ninjutsu allows us to grow far faster than any other village. Yet, we've never had an administration that focused on expansion." Hotaru begins.
"Civil war has torn our country apart, making the kind of gains our village could make impossible. Now, it is possible. We could quite easily become the strongest hidden village, if we change and refine our focuses. The same mechanisms used to drive this clock might one day drive an individual effortlessly across terrain. It may sound… like the insane drivel of a little girl, but perhaps even flight like a bird will be possible. We have the 'industry' to achieve that sort of thing…"
Ishino was patient with Hotaru. After all, this was a man that used the perception of time itself on others, why could he not be patient with her. (Including a little genjutsu to make the time flow faster so it didn't feel like it took as long for him.) As such, he was quite content going her pace to the building site. Watching the work done, Ishino nods slowly as he looks it over with a keen eye. "Not too bad. The few flaws I saw on the blueprint are easily corrected on site too. That's a good thing." He glances over to Hotaru and chuckles softly. "You have not seen HARPS, have you? It is a device, I built, that enables me to travel quickly across the land. I have seen shinobi come up with ways to fly, so I would not be surprised if industry is not far behind it." Ishino muses then shrugs, looking back at the tower. "We'll need to get the water for the setup. A spring would be best, but I can work with what you have here. The system will be mostly self contained. It'll lose about two ounces of water a week. So once a month someone dumps a bucket of water into it and it'll be able to run virtually indefinitely."
Haarps is a complex machine, that only Ishino would ever be able to reproduce. Iwagakure is far from being able to mass produce machines of war made of night impenetrable steel. Hotaru seemed a little surprised to hear all of that. "HARPS?" She asks, head looking up at the 'clockwork man' as she suspected he was to some degree. Yet, to business! "You happen to be in luck… When the Toujitakumi excavated the sight with their prowess, we… Dug too deeply. There is a hole deep enough to reach the aquifer. I believe there is an entry hatch that I had to work into the design… I haven't actually told the Tsuchikage that such an entrance exists…" Either way, the water problem is solved relatively easily. Hotaru would let go of the clockwork butler's hand as she walks over to one of the steel beams, raising her cane for moments and tapping against it. Her legs shuddered as they held her weight while the cane was raised. "… I'll get you in touch with the Sasaki that will be annealing the stone facade to the structure, and the Murasame leading this particular part of the building process. That way, you can coordinate with him. He can easily shape parts for you out of any metal you choose. I think…"
Ishino nods solemnly. "A steady water supply like that would work perfectly." He muses then points to the western wall. "Do you wish to make it a fountain as well? Something that provides drinking water to those who pass? If we're pulling from that source it would be easy to draw the water up, then let it fill into the fountain before draining back down." The old man would stay close to Hotaru, there to help her if she ever reaches out while Ishino paces slowly. "I can definitely work with this. I'll use my gremlins to fill in gaps of course. But it shouldn't be hard to get this done soon.." Musing, he nods and looks to Hotaru. "I think we have definitely come to a good agreement."
"A fountain would be a little extravagant for the inside. The center of the tower will be where the monument celebrating Iwagakure's unity will go. That includes your name, Doihara Ishino." Hotaru would turn in place, looking between the two. "Would you like to formalize this agreement with a signature?" Hotaru asks.
Ishino chuckles with a shake of his head. "I mean the fountain would be on the outside. Working with fluid, it'd be easy to have a small waterfall from about halfway up into a basin. People can use it to drink and refresh themselves. Then a pipe system to funnel it back into the tower and either back into the clockwork or to the underground aquifer." Ishino nods lightly. "Certainly. I am happy to sign the agreement and then we can start on working on the rest of this project."