Date: January 31, 2011
Kaede has a mysterious benefactor that not even he is aware of. This benefactor is trying to get him out of imprisonment.
"A Tale Of Three Brothers"
Kazekage Administration Dome - Sunagakure
In his office, Kuoroke is writing furiously with an expression of supreme concentration. The time is late enough to start being called evening, and due to some unforseen interruptions today, he's behind on his work. It shows in his movements that he is in a bad mood, which he has been put in both by the interruptions and his resulting lateness. It also shows that he's in a bit of a hurry, but that's not why he looks at the clock more frequently as time passes. He's expecting a late appointment and they should be here shortly.
Some pudgy guy in a suit shows up at Kuoroke's door. He has a bowler hat and a bushy moustache and also a suitcase. Behind him are two more men that are… Identical to the first! They even have their own suitcases. They are probably being escorted to some degree or another — even if discretely. Stopping in front of the office door, the man at the front of the procession of duplicates/clones/whatevers raises a hand and politely knocks on said door.
Kuoroke stops writing for a moment, looks up to the door from behind which he heard a rapping, and then at the clock. He hesitates for just a moment, then decides to finish his work first. About ten second later, when he has finished what he was working on, he puts what he was working on into his desk and a bit coldly announces, "Enter", awaiting his visitor.
The door is opened when the trio are bid to enter. They all enter and line up in front of Kuoroke's desk. The third one, in the rear, closes the door behind him before standing alongside the other two. They all three bow and smile, tipping their hats to Kuoroke and then removing them entirely. "Good day to you, Councilman Kuroki. We are legal representatives hired to act on behalf of our employer in the matter of negotiating the release of a captive of Sunagakure. I am Jacob." The man to Jacob's right says, "I am Wilhelm." And the last man says, "I am Ludwig." And then they all three say, "And together, we are the Brothers Grimm."
Kuoroke nods. "Which one of you will I be talking to?" He asks. "Who is it that you want to represent, and on what grounds would we release him?" While speaking, Kuoroke examines the three visitors with some dislike, and mostly curious whether these people are who they claim to be, and not just a some kind of Genjutsu.
Jacob rises from his bow and says, "You may speak to one or all of us. I am the eldest of our trio in order of birth, but we are all equally capable. My brothers followed me primarily to carry a certain 'burden', shall we say." The three suitcases are dropped on the floor with loud THUMPS, showing they are quite heavy. "We represent a party interested in the release of one Seishukuni Kureno, who now calls himself 'Kaede' we believe. We have both financial compensation for structural damage and hospital bills that may have been incurred by this man's actions, and certain information you may find valuable enough to release him into the custody of our employer. He will be kept from causing further destruction, of course, and if he violates the conditions of his release he will be hunted down both by bounty hunters hired by our employer, and by anyone you wish to set upon the task, with no further chance of being 'bailed out'."
"Seishukuni Kureno?" Kuoroke, at first, is just pleasantly surprised to finally get a good idea of who it was they captured. The clan name was a given, but who exactly he was had still not been determined with certainty… until now. "Hmmm. You want to release him for payment." The thought seems not to be unpleasant to Kuoroke. It doesn't appear to have surprised him in the least, either. Confidently, like he does this kind of thing twice a day, he answers, "In other words, you want to let him off with what amount to a hefty fine, and you want us to agree because you will give us some information." He pauses for a few moments, thinks. "I may be able to convince the Kage about this, but then I will need to know a number, what kind of information you're offering, and what our guarantees are that any of this information can be trusted."
Wilhelm says, "It is no secret that Sunagakure is having financial difficulties as a result of the most unfortunate incident that occurred last year… A siege, was it?" As if he didn't know. Jacob nods. "Correct. What we are offering is financial aid from an independently wealthy party — our employer. We are also offering to trade information that will benefit the security and interests of Sunagakure in exchange for this minor criminal being put under the observation and strict guard of our employer. Believe me when I say that the means are available to keep him out of your hair indefinitely if such becomes necessary. First, however, as per your request…"
Jacob, Wilhelm, and Ludwig all drag their suitcases back and away from the desk so that they can be seen clearly. Then Jacob says, "Ready, gentlemen?" Latches click in quick succession. The cases drop open, revealing bundles and bundles and bundles and bundles and bundles and bundles and bundles of ryo of the ten-thousand denomination. "We are willing to offer ten-million ryo right now, and another forty-million ryo once the information we are offering on behalf of our employer has been verified to be accurate and Kaede-san is being turned over to our employer's custody."
Kuoroke contains his suprise when he hears the figure, and it takes him some focus not to have his eyes change into oversized dollar signs. Or ryo signs, perhaps. After a moment of silence, he gathers his thoughts and focus, and nods. "Ten million now, forty upon release? And that's your upper limit, I take it?" The Councilman nods, making a mental note to find out just who funded this thing. This kind of money does not move quietly, and should give them a reliable trace back to its source. "Well, I will still have to know the nature of your information. If it is suitable in amount and nature, I will bring the case and your suggested solution to the Kage's attention."
Ludwig says, "We have only what we have been given. If there is to be a negotiation of monetary payment we would have to return to our employer and provide that information." Jacob nods and straightens up, edging around his case and shifting some of the bundles aside while humming. He then draws forth four large stacks of paper from underneath the ryo, and brings them over to Kuoroke's desk. He places them down individually. "The first folder is information on an individual known as 'Nagi'." The photograph on the front of the folder shows a rather pretty but otherwise ordinary desert-native woman. Or at least desert-native based upon her skin tone and clothing. "She was seen before and during the time period in which the self-proclaimed 'bandit lord', Shun, was assassinated and the various desert bandit tribes, numbering over three-thousand fighting men, were unified under the command of a mercenary army of three-hundred experienced soldiers. The mercenaries were responsible for the greatest number of casualties on the side of Sunagakure after the weeks of fighting were completed. Part of this was their tactics, another was due to the weapons they were provided, which self-destructed when the defenders approached in an attempt to pursue the fleeing soldiers of fortune."
Jacob continues to explain, "I do not know all the contents of the folders. I have not been instructed to read them. But I know that I have been told that Nagi was the assassin that eliminated Shun, and further that she was operating under the purview of a foreigner calling himself 'Koro' as she united the bandits under his command. Few knew that name, and fewer still dared to speak it. They fear him even still, but one of Shun's personal guards apparently chose to reveal this information."
Jacob indicates the next folder, with a photograph of a man in a crowd. He has been high-lighted and the rest of the crowd darkened. "Shinji, experienced mercenary. Believed to be the leader or at least coordinator of the assault. Also believed to be working for 'Koro'." The other two folders have no photographs, but more information on other subjects of interest. They're labeled 'Misc. Confidential' and 'Misc. Confidential 2'. The top issue in the first folder is that Uchiha Satoru is believed to be a missing-nin that is responsible for the prison break in the Land of Fire, and that one of the prisoners, a man named 'Emu', is a Land of Wind native that is now returning 'home'.
Kuoroke looks unimpressed. He was planning to be unimpressed even if they told him how to turn every enemy of the village into pure gold statues with a snap of his fingers, but now there's even an amount of honesty in his being unimpressed. "A lot of this information I could get directly from my bingbook." He replies. "If not all. This individual nearly caused my death, so I would like to see something close to revelations concerning the village's enemies and competition." His fingers move across the folders, find the one of Emu. "I know he's headed here, and measures have already been taken. Is all of your information this useful?"
Jacob nods. "You were aware that the man known as Emu is headed to Sunagakure? You knew already that he intends to procure a metal that is able to suppress — or potentially even eliminate — the Kekkei Genkai of those bound or wounded by it? From THIS Village? My apologies if this information is not to your liking. It is all that I was given. To the best of my employer's knowledge — or so I assume — 'Nagi' has no records anywhere. She does not belong to any Village, and did not EXIST until her appearance among the bandits. Shinji is known enough to have been identified, but the weapons technology he displayed is notably NOT part of his usual arsenal or even something he has demonstrated having to any degree. That means SOMEONE is supplying him with rather advanced military equipment… The kind that not even the Hidden Villages have possession of."
Wihelm calls from back by the cases, "It appears our offerings are not adequate, older brother. We should return to our employer and inform him that this deal has fallen through…" Jacob nods. "Quite right." Ludwig and Wilhelm step on pedals on their respective cases, and they close themselves up. Snap-click. All the money is gone like that. Jacob bends forward as though to gather up the files and papers.
Kuoroke just raises one hand, and heavily drops the others on the papers, preventing them from being gathered. "This village? Metal?" He asks, before recomposing himself. "Cut that out. IF you're offering that much money, you're not going to walk away just because I decided to negotiate. I know that, and you know, that, so cut the nonsense." He orders. "Stop there. I'll consider the information given to us. I would appreciate something of higher quality, but if that's what you have… Well." The Councilman shrugs… "Well, then then we'll see if that's worth a dangerous criminal or not quite."
Jacob moves away when Kuoroke drops a hand on the papers. Beaming, he says, "Oh. Alright. Very good, Councilman-san. You will find four more stacks much like these four in the other cases. You can deem for yourself the value of the information therein." He then turns and closes up his case of money. The three brothers line up the cases against one wall so that they are not in the way. "We will be remaining here in Sunagakure until our business is completed, Kuroki-san. Your secretary will know how and where to contact us." Then, on the way out, Jacob — or is it Ludwig? They all look the same! — turns to grin and say, "I recommend especially that you look at the one labelled 'Koro'. Sources indicate that the Kazekage was chatting amiably with him, face-to-face, while the siege was concluding. So you MAY wish to be cautious about who you turn to with this information." He then bows and puts his bowler hat back on, giving Kuoroke time to say any farewells, or anything else, and then departing.