Date: July 17, 2016
Nozomi helps the bats find a new food source as the final trial.
"Origin of Batgirl - Acquiring the Necessary Tools"
Southern docks of the Land of Lightning
It's early in the evening about a couple of weeks after the battle of the summoners. The bat elders were generally favorable toward her after Ang's report, and unbeknownst to her, he had asked the council to be permitted to be her partner. He had talked to Arashi about this, primarily so he could ask questions about what was going on in Kumo and get a feel of what exactly he would be walking into. Still, they had her final trial to pass first, and unlike the previous two, this one would involve very little of what one would call traditional Shinobi work. As such, Nozomi was instructed by the bats to put her hitei itei away.
Nozomi's assignment was deceptively simple, she was to go to the docks of the Land of Lightning and find a new food source for the fruit bats. Their search in Kumo turned up fruitless, and so it was Nozomi's job to find something that was very durable, with a long in-season time frame, that the bats would like. But finding a new fruit was only part of the problem. The other part came in arranging for regular shipments for the next two years to Kumo of great quantities of the fruits. From there, the bats would take them to their realm. So Nozomi is actually dressed in lighter blues, with her alabaster hair loose down her back, walking around the merchant's area of the docks. "So…" she asks the bats that are hopping from stall to stall, "What exactly are we /not/ looking for?" She glances over toward Arashi, as if inviting input from him as well.
Arashi had spoken highly of Nozomi actually. More so than Kumo itself, but overall he had good words for Kumo. Kumo itself was in a bad position overall sadly. Was a pain to deal with everything that they had to deal with. He was wearing his normal clothes which normal meant an including shirt. "It was all pretty baggy, but kept warm air in well. Keep him warm in cold weathers while allowing coolness or air in hotter or more…humid settings. "And.. Do you have any specific things you may need from them? Like… a certain amount of this or that." He didn't know what exactly they needed to survive. "Anyways… I figure you might have some idea of what you want to find." He was looking himself and stopped to communicate with and question a few of the merchants and workers here. Helped that he helped out at the docks all the time.
"Assume we've tried the standard fruits you humans like it eat: strawberries, grapes, oranges, peaches, and none of them meet our requirements," Ang says for the group of bats that are with them today. "What we need is something that keeps very well, has a long in-season time, and can resist changes in temperature. It has to be a fruit, not a vegetable, and should be aromatic." Of course, aromatic has different meanings for beings that depend on their ears and nose for most things.
Nozomi nods and smiles softly as she paruses one stall full of fruit. "That would pretty much take care of everything here, given that the only thing I can think of that isn't standard here isn't that aromatic." She holds up a small, brown, fuzzy fruit and looks at it intently. "Unless your nose is picking up on something mine isn't?" she asks the bats.
"Hmmm. I see. That does seem to be an issue then. I will think about it. I have seen a bunch myself when I was younger." Arashi said as he looked around. "Hmm.. Would a coconut do? I don't know how much that would work for you myself, but I personally love coconuts. Can be pretty good." He states before tilting his head towards Nozomi and examining the fruit she showed. "I don't know what all would be considered…. good for each of those slots." He frowned. "Might not be good to look here if we want uncommon."
"We've tried coconut, and there were no few bats that weren't exactly enamored of coconut milk," Ang says sadly. Two of the other bats snort in agreement with that statement. Ang just sighs as Nozomi holds the kiwi, and then emits a couple of clicks. The other bats shake their head and he says, "No, it's not strong enough. I keep telling them we may want to decide on two different fruits, but they insist that we only need one."
Nozomi frowns when they shake their heads and puts the kiwi back down. "Is there any exotic fruit vendors here?" she asks the now freaked-out merchant. He just stands there looking at the bats warily as she waves a hand in front of her face. "Hello? Really, they're not going to hurt your wares. We would have bought anything they would have tried anyway. So, is there a more exotic fruit vendor here or not?" Finally the man nods quickly and motions up away from the docks a little, murmuring something about the 'new guy.' Nozomi gives him a broad smile and a bow, as well as a few coins. "Thank you for your patience and care."
Arashi frowned a moment and just nods. "Well that sucks. I guess my help isn't as good." He looked at Nozomi as she continued with her investigation. He helped by being there and basically saying what she did. "What? Really? Afraid of the bats? Don't worry about them trust me." He said before turning to the spot he motioned to. "Shall we go look Nozomi?" He asked of her.
"Actually, that was a good suggestion Arashi," Nozomi says in reply before the three other bats fly off. "Just they didn't give us a full list, and who knows what they consider common?" She watches Ang nod in agreement before continuing, "Maybe we'll find something at this next place. Though I have to agree with Ang's suggestion. Some of those fruit bats are pretty big, I can't imagine the same fruit working for all of them.
Ang remains on Nozomi's shoulder as they move toward the suggested place. "She's right. Don't hesitate to give ideas. Finding the right fruit is only part of the battle. You know more about Kumo's logistics than Nozomi does, and even if your suggestions on the types of fruit are declined, your ideas about logistics would be pretty much mandatory for the completion of this task."
"Oh I know that, but I don't exactly know what I can suggest for this part of it." He frowned for a moment. "Ummm… Well there isn't any reason to not check it out right?" He asked of Nozomi before walking along with her to the next spot. "I won't hesitate still don't worry. Just not coming up with anything good." He pondered a thought. "Alright well anyways I will be here to help at the very least talk to people here since I work around here. A few of them should know me at least."
Nozomi, Arashi, and Ang finally rounded the corner for the next stall, and what greeted them was decidedly different. Crates were set up on top of other crates, set on the ground and arranged in islands instead of one single stall. Various smells filled the air as differing types of plant life were arranged by region. Some of the fruits were huge, some small, and all were different from the standard apple/orange/banana/peach fare that most people went looking for. "If we can't find something for you here Ang, I'm not sure we can find anything at all." The small bat clicks a couple of times in agreement as Nozomi looks back toward Arashi and says, "I didn't know you worked around here from time to time Arashi-taicho. You'd definitely be of help at that point."
The bats in the meantime are finding it hard to find perches, while one of them seems to be flying around between the islands of crates. "Oh, there's definitely something here I like, just not sure which one it is." Another bat then adds, "There's a lot of competing smells here, but I'm sure we'll find something." Even Ang, who is silent at the moment, seems to be drooling slightly.
Arashi nods slowly as they walk around the corner. "Lets see… I think something here should be good for us." He ket moving before he looked at Nozomi and he simly frowned lightly. "Uhhh. I suppose that is true. I sorta help by just moving boxes around. Don't ay too much attention to what is inside though to be honest." He frowned again before looking at the bats. "Yeah? Then lets look for it?" He walked up to the guy and basically asks if they can see what they have in stock. All the boxes and all that. Will pay a bit if that is what it took.
"Not so sure if I should with all these bats around," the merchant says eyes the bats warily, especially the one flying in betwen the boxes. "At least a couple of thems' fruit bats, and I don't want my stock to be ruined." The bat flying around the crates stops and looks toward the man while hovering in mid-air, which seems to surprise him. "Don't that just beat all? I've never seen a bat do that before!"
Before this could escalate further, Nozomi steps forward. "They're summons," she says easisly enough. "Summons are all intelligent, as you should know," she adds as she had spotted something in the man's paperwork, possibly a glint of metal. "We're looking for a food supply for import into their domain, so how about we propose a compromise? Pull out a sample of each kind of fruit you have and line them up. If the bats cause damage to any of the fruit you lay out, we'll pay for that piece. If we find what we want, we can make your business a lot more profitable…"
"Nah they wont do that. Trust me. These aren't just normal fruit bats. They are intelligent, and understand what can and can't be eaten. And so far these can't be eaten. Not until Nozomi here or I buy them from you." Nozomi added and just stated the part about them being summons. "And there is that part." He chuckled. "Trust us. We are willing to compromise for this."
The merchant looks slightly nervous, then looks over toward Arashi, then back to Nozomi and sighs. He reaches back to expose the piece of metal she saw, which turns out to be a Konoha hitei itei. "I'm doing a favor for my family," he says lamely, then shrugs. After setting it back down he walks over to each 'island' and pulls out various pieces of fruit to set them up. The types of fruit vary widely from grapes the size of plums all the way up to huge spiky gords. Nozomi looks at the bats as he sets them up in a row on a counter, then goes to find a board to run alongside the counter. She leaves Arashi to deal with that latest revelation, since he's the one on duty still. The bats, in the meantime, seem to be settling down while everything is prepared.
Arashi raised a brow at the sight of the Konoha symbol. "Ahh. I have to wonder why you would want to hide that. Kumogakure and Konohagakure are friendly. I figure you being a shinobi might make it easier to get a good set up for this sorta thing." He asked though if it was something like earning it like normal he would be fine. "I can keep your secret though if you want. Just as long as you don't give a reason to do otherwise." He offers a smile. "You seem like a cool guy though." He paused. "You wouldn't happen to be familiar with any locusts would you? Maybe they or people with them ever come by or such?" He asked just to see.
The bats seem to stop and find places to hang as they listen to the conversation. Truth be told, Nozomi would have asked that question about the locusts, but Arashi already beat her to it. Instead she does some sub-tonal throat exercises just in case things get hairy. Ang looks over at Nozomi from where he hangs and nods once, as if approving. It figures the bats would hear her…
The man's face reddens slightly as Arashi starts asking him questions about his intentions. "No, nothing like that. My parents are simple merchants, and don't approve of shinobi life. We've had several… discussions… concerning the ways of the shinobi, and they made it perfectly clear to me that they didn't want my main job to be in any way involved with their livelihood. So I keep it hidden for them, mainly." He looks slightly confused about the locust reference, but speaks up anyway. "There are locusts everywhere on farms, but I don't see how they could be a problem for bats. Don't some bats eat insects? I mean I know fruit bats don't, but I recall hearing some breeds do." He then shrugs and says, "But… there were some men that came to my parent's house just before I came here, trying to warn them against making deals with people who tend toward more unusual animals. They were kind of vague, but they intimated that if we made a deal with such people, things would not go well… I hardly know what they meant though, since I was not with them at the time."
Arashi was just nodding and smiling, but the longer he went on talking the more that smile turned into a frown. "Wait what? Okay where do your parents live. For that to be a Konoha hitai-ate that would mean you maybe live closer to there?" He asked. "If they know you are making this deal now your parents might be in danger." Shinobi Arashi kicks in over Nozomi's helper Arashi. Lives might be in danger! "The Locust and their summoners are lets just say not friendly with the bats and their's. So… We might need to go make sure your parents are in danger… And.. For them to be someone would have to be nearby watching you." He paused. "Nozomi. You may not be on duty but.. Can you scan the area and listen for anything that might be a bit off?" Unless he saw Locusts in the mists he doubted he could find anything himself.
Nozomi had just found a board to set up against the counter when the man had gotten to that part. She stops and listens, then listens to Arashi's reaction. Her eyes flair to a light blue as she activates her Nejigan and looks around, even going so far as to emit a small harmonic hum. "No locusts," she says as she picks up the board. A moment later she awkwardly throws the board off in the direction of a particularly dark area, only to hear a grunt and a thud. "But there was someone paying too close attention to what was being said." The bats seem agitated and sad, but Nozomi isn't going to give up on this quite yet. "Arashi, you're on duty, if I could get one of the bats to volunteer, can you send a message back to Kumo to alert Konoha about this? I'm sure we can arrange some form of payment if necessary. I don't want to see this man's family hurt, but we really need his help."
Arashi nods to Nozomi before noticing the board that was thrown. "I see… And yeah I can write a quick message." He pulled out a bit of supplies. Seems he keeps some tools for this on him just in case. He writes a quick message stating for the people in charge or there to have this message sent to Konoha by on of their quickest birds or to write a better message. Maybe even send people that could handle it if they are quick. Just..don't know where too well. "Payment can be arranged. I should have… enough to be able to get something done about this. And yeah.. I don't want to see it either." He states.
The Konoha nin jumped when the board had hit the man, and Nozomi was quick to rush over toward him. "I don't recognize this one," she says even as one of the three other bats wings over to take the message from Arashi. After Ang clicks out quick instructions, the bat flaps away into the night. In the meantime, Nozomi drags the man over and asks the foreign nin, "Do you recognize him?" After receiving a negative response, she quickly ties him up, being sure to keep his hands separated, then looks up. "We will do our best to make sure your family is safe."
Just as she says that, Ang looks between the three and says, "We're going to send some of our better bats out to where your family is directly, so we can help keep them safe. Our ally is right, we need your help, and we're willing to help you to get it. We can at least help your family hide until human re-enfrocements arrive." The man looks nervous, but his conviction to work with them seems pretty strong at the moment, even though he appears worried.
Arashi looked at him, and shook his head. "Don't think I have seen him before." He frowned a moment. "Hey.. Nozomi. Good job finding him." He paused. "I think you and the bats can get first dibs at him with him spying on this specific situation, but… He was spying in Kumo's land so if you get what you need maybe we should get him up to Kumo prisons. They would help too if needed. We have good interrogators or at least better than us two." He whispered a bit of the last parts.
Arashi then turned to the Konoha ninja. "So I think you are willing to help as much as you can? On both accounts." He paused. "We will make sure your family is safe. Even if they aren't in danger. You help our friend here with this and we can gurantee that we will help you with your family as well as help you get back to them sooner." He looks at Nozomi. "Probably best to figure out this as soon as possible I would think."
Nozomi nods once to Arashi's whispered comment to her even as the Konoha ninja speaks up, "Yeah, I'll help as much as I can. I can't not charge you, but I'll definitely be fair about it," he says before fetching another board for the bat to walk on. "My parents may not like being involved with shinobi all that much, even for their own protection, but they will listen to reason. They were pretty upset and worried about it all, especially when their warehouse was threatened."
Nozomi nods again and adds, "We can help with that. Even if I can't directly, between Kumo, Konoha, and the bats, we will keep your family and their business safe. In the meantime, Ang?" The small bat hops on the board and starts going from fruit ti fruit, sniffing each one. It's not long before his choices are narrowed down to two: the Daidai and the jakfruit. "The bigger one would be best for the larger bats, but this one smells /really/ good." Nozomi nods and looks at the man before saying, "What we need is a two year contract for the delivery of fresh fruit of these types to Kumo. At least about a ton of the smaller and about three tons of the larger. Also we'll need another two year contract for sapplings for both plants. The main fruit contract will be renewable on a yearly basis thereafter." She then looks to Arashi and asks, "What will we have to do to arrange a storage and transfer sight within Kumo?"
Arashi nods along with Nozomi before watching the bats. He looked at them as they went through them, and he simply smiles a bit as they found some. "Good. I am glad they found something they can use." He grinned a bit before looking now at Nozomi. Seems since the issue of this Konoha shinobi's family isn't on his mind any longer since the message was sent. "Alright. The biggest issue with these is that both the Kage and Head Ninja are away. The two people that would've made something like this much easier." He frowned and paused. "And the same for a storage and transfer sight. I think as long as we get his side of it written up we can go get our heads to sign both a contract for the trades as well as plans for that exact thing." He sighed. "Which means we can either head to Kirigakure to go meet with our Kage and get their help, Iwagakure to get our Head Ninja's help, or wait until they both return. Either way I don't think it will be too tough to get it all worked out. I just don't have the sway alone to make it happen."
The Konoha nin appears to contemplate things before pulling out a sheef of papers from his satchel. He rifles through them and finds what he is looking for, then fills out his parts. "This is a standard contract for a major customer, including discounts four bulk, which I have marked off another 2 percent off the standard discount. All that will be needed is details about where you want it delivered, which has to go through either the Head Ninja or the Kage of your village since you are definitely a kunoichi," he says as he passes his part of the papers to Nozomi.
Nozomi looks at the remaining bats, who click amongst each other for a moment before the oldest speaks up, "You got some rough spots to iron out girl, but yeah, we'll take you as our summoner and representative in this area. I give you full authority to sign for us." She quickly reads over the contract and then says, "Deal, to be completely finalized when Kumo agrees to the contract to act as a receiving depot." She signs the first part of the contract for the bats, then turns toward Arashi. "While their situation is worsening, they can hold off for about two weeks. Do you think the Head Ninja or the Raikage will be back before then?"
Arashi watched the whole event, but simply let it all happen before addressing Nozomi. "I don't know. They all went to their respective villages to speak with their Kage's I believe. Which means it could be a short amount of time or it could be long." He frowned. "I trust Michiko would be more accepting and if needed would have more sway over Hiei." He frowned slightly. "If you want I can bring this to her. Alone or with you. And in doing that I can explain things and get it settled out. Then I can return, and if I left now it should be fine." He smiled. "Otherwise I don't know."
Nozomi thinks on that question for a while as she does a quick calculation in her head. "My leave time is up in just over a week," she finally says with a sigh. "Probably better I don't push my luck to go with you. I'd rather not be locked up for being AWOL upon return to Kumo. If you could take this to the Head Ninja, and explain things, I would be very much appreciative. If you need, feel free to tell her why I didn't come in person. It's not because of any other reason, just because red tape can take a long time to wade through when you're threatened with imprisonment." The Konoha nin seems to have gone back to putting the fruit up, save for the two types they just signed the contract for, which he offers to the bats present free of charge.
Arashi nods slowly. "I see. Well in that case I think I will. I don't mind." He simply said before looking off into the distance. "Alright. Well if everything is settled I need to quickly make preperations to head out." He said quickly before quickly offering her a hug. "I am glad I was able to help you." He smiled again. "Now.. I think since this is settled I should leave now?" He simply asked and if she said yes he would quickly leave without more response.
Nozomi smiles and bows to Arashi, "Thank you, and yes, you can go now. I'll likely spend a couple more days settling things with the bats and then return to Kumo myself."