Anima: Part One - Public Secret


Reikoku, Nano (as Shinrin and Amaro Kuchibiru), Hakumei, Mana and Kana, Itami, Keiji

Date: September 16, 2016


Three mysterious shinobi arrive in Sunagakure to meet a pair of locals. The Kazekage is also on the menu, but things get complicated when she shows up at the same time as the locals, and brings her bodyguard with her…

"Anima: Part One - Public Secret"

Village Center Area [Sunagakure]

Reikoku, Shinrin, and Hakumei finally enter the Village. Reikoku and Hakumei have been here for a few days now, mostly just hanging around and observing the rebuilding of the Village. They've made no move to stand out in any way. Even their desert-inappropriate black clothing has been replaced or covered up with less distinctive white linen cloaks, robes, and body wraps.

But now the ronin-for-hire has joined the two kunoichi, and they're here to meet a few people. One of them is the Kazekage, and another two are simple villagers. There is no specific order in mind as to when they'll encounter each other, though the two villagers are preferred for now. If the meeting with the Kazekage goes poorly, and they have to leave, they might not have time for the other meeting.

The last thing any of them is probably thinking of is that they'll run into all three people in the same place.

Reikoku wanders the central area, the same place she bought replacement clothing that better fit the locale. She has eye out for anything else she deems useful while waiting for her contacts to show up. If they aren't here on time, then she'll head for the Kazekage Administration Dome next.

Just showing up in Sunagakure during a time of crisis and hoping to get a meeting with the Kazekage seems kind of sloppy to Shinrin, but it seems that his employer believes she has a way to get exactly that. She has demonstrated a great deal of knowledge and ability so far. Shinrin glances around for their young sensor-ninja. Yes, Reikoku seems quite skilled and informed… Unlike Hakumei. Sigh. That girl.

Shinrin scans the crowd, tempted to try using a sensor jutsu to locate her Chakra, but not wanting to seem suspicious. He isn't here to cause trouble, and with these Storm Brigade jerks on the loose, anyone can seem like an enemy to the defenders of a Village that has suffered attack. His sword is bonded. He can't draw or use it within the Hidden Sand without tearing seal tags on the sheathe.

If he tears them, on-duty Sand ninja will be summoned to his location immediately and subdue him. He isn't sure if they have other measures for detecting unauthorized Chakra usage, but he'd realllly prefer not to find out.

So he sets off in search of their spikey-haired cohort, while remaining aware of Reikoku's location at all times.

Hakumei is noisily eating some sweets she bought. Mmmming and Aaaahhning and seeming happy for the first time since entering this stupid desert. Okay, the desert isn't THAT bad. It's just the heat, and the sand, and the lack of adequate shade from the stupid sun, and also everything else about it. So, it's not that she dislikes the desert specifically, it's just that she's very specific about what she dislikes about the desert.

Black spikes of hair poke out from under a big pile of cloth wraps about her head, and a white mantle about her shoulders makes her look (in her mind) like a cool Arabian Knights-style avenger, just like in that one manga, Ninja Ball Super.

She heard they restarted the whole continuity so now everyone is down to a lower power level, like back in the early days of Ninja Ball, before Ninja Ball had a qualifier attached to the end of it.

…This is the kind of disjointed thinking that goes on in Hakumei's head. She wanders around this way and that until she almost literally runs into Shinrin. "Oh, there you are. Want some candy?" Then she makes sure to hide her own candy inside her mantle right in front of him. "There's some over there for cheap."

She has no idea what they're in the Village for at all. It's probably for the best.

A pair of dark-skinned twins with silver hair, wrapped up to protect them from the sun (because they sure as heck aren't wearing much under those cloaks and hoods), are presently hanging out by a fountain, scanning all the damage done. They wandered around, but so many places are construction zones, that Mana and Kana couldn't even get home easily.

So they're waiting. Because they're supposed to meet here anyway. "Kanaaaaa!" Mana whines as she slumps over and nuzzles into her sister's shoulder with her cheek. "Remind me why we're still herrrrre!"

Kana pat-pats Mana on the head and says, "Because we need to get an appointment with Nidaime Kazekage-sama to petition her to build a dance club when they're rebuilding the Village."

Mana whines miserably, "But everything is all brooooooken! There's nothing to dooooooo! We should just go to another town and dance therrrrrre!" Mana sits up, a hand to her mouth, and says, "Oh! Or maybe we can get a mission from Kokoroe-sama to do something sneaky."

Kana muffles her twin's mouth with a draping sleeve. "Shhh. Shhh. We don't even know where he is right now. Let's not discuss that in public, ne?"

Then, as Kana is scanning the crowd to see if anyone was listening in to the casual banter between two exotic ladies, she spots someone she isn't sure she recognizes due to the different attire from usual… The hood and cloak are nothing she recognizes. Standard traveler wear. She can't see a face or hair color or anything from here… But something about that person is verrrry familiar.

Mana struggles free of the hand over her mouth finally before she suffocates, and whispers in Kana's ear, "Hey, I recognize those boobs." She points out the same lady Kana is looking at.

Mana and Kana look at each other, nod simultaneously, and get up from the edge of the fountain as they prepare to go over there.

Looking for the Kazekage around here? Might not be as bad as first thought, but thankfully, she stands out a bit given her attire. She has distinguishable clothes on, but even then, her height may be a bit of a problem. Even she has to weave her way through the crowd. Not like it just parts every time she comes around. That's just not a privilege she has, even with this massive hat and robes.
"This thing causes more problems than it ever does help…" Itami remarks to herself as she readjusts her hat from time to time. Catches everything around here. She was moving about, making sure her presence was noticable for the people. She couldn't be stuck in the office all the time and besides, there was much to help out with here than there was in there. All that paperwork becomes hypnotic and draining after a while. "It feels nice to see my village getting back into shape…" When she comes into a clearing within the crowd, she takes a moment to breathe a bit. She isn't claustrophobic, but with all that heat and number of people, it gets to her from time to time.

Beneath the earth, Keiji easily avoided the crowds of the market. He would travel under the Kazekage. He was tracking her. Not that the old scaly one couldnt handle herself, but it never hurt to have a giant scorpion in the shadows… or in this case the earth. His concentration remains on her foot steps. With so many people around, it was difficult to keep tabs. There were millions of steps and different vibration travelling through the ground. God forbid someone drop something heavy. For the moment though he seems to be fairly accurate.

Reikoku feels eyes on her, but avoids betraying the fact she's aware she's being watched. She waits, even as she feels the presence closing in. She makes it seem casual, accidental, how she turns after completing her transaction and buying a canteen strap she doesn't need, and now is facing the ones approaching her.

And in the process, she not only sees the two Villagers she came here to meet, but also catches sight of the Kazekage out of the corner of her eye. This is either fortuitous or unfortuitous. She isn't sure which. She doesn't necessarily want the Second Kazekage to know she has contacts in the Village, so she makes direct eye contact with the approaching twins, even as people pass between them, and then intentionally turns and walks a different direction, away from Itami.

Mana and Kana she'll deal with first, send them on their way, and then return. Shinrin and Hakumei can keep an eye on her lizardliness.

She's unaware of Keiji presently, but she's also heading away from him, so if he's guarding the Kazekage, he's probably not going to go follow some random person who hasn't done anything suspicious. Right?

Shinrin states down at Hakumei. One eye a milky white from where it was slashed open, and possibly burned as well. The scar on his forehead, its origin point hidden by a turban, carries right over that eye, and down across his cheek, to vanish into his face wrap. It's not a pretty face to look into, and it's also a slightly scary one. At least when he's not just kind of exasperated or annoyed at a team mate's conduct.

He says, "I don't need any candy right now. You should really remain over by the south side, at the entrance to Sentou Valley." He turns his left eye but not his head towards the Kazekage as she emerges from the crowd and takes a breather. Then his eye turns precisely to where Reikoku is, as she wanders off out of the plaza to the east. Then he tracks to the two very similar Chakra signatures of two identical build, identical-height women.

He looks back to Hakumei. "Reikoku has made her choice of who to talk to first. We need to remain aware of the Kazekage's location at all times, but we can't afford to watch her continuously. Someone of her caliber will notice people watching, surely."

Or so he assumes. Maybe Watanabe Itami's awareness is bunk.

"And while construction is going on, it's likely that, realizing how vulnerable the Village is right now, they'd have stationed security around her just incase." He could even scan for such if he wasn't concerned about the possibility of exposing the fact he's a sensor to any Hidden Sand sensors in the area. "So just stay at your assigned position and eat your candy and don't wander around, alright?"

Then, fighting the habit of putting his hand on the pommel of his sheathed sword, he wanders towards the west so he can cirlce-around to the north-west and keep an eye on both the north and western exits, while at the same time having a clear view of the east and south.

Hakumei squints at Shinrin in increasing confused annoyance as he lectures her, and continues chewing some kind of taffy or something the entire time. She lifts a hand to shield her eyes from the sun as she looks up at him. He talks of awareness and guards and her position and yadda yadda yadda. He KNOWS she's not a very good sensor yet. Why is he relying on her for this? She'd be better off just walking up to the Kazekage and engaging her in conversation if they need her to stay in one place.

When he wanders off, she turns around and immediately does just that. She waves a hand with half a strip of banana-flavored taffy in her hand, and calls out, "Nidaime Kazekage-sama! Excuse me! May I approach without being killed? I'd like to talk to you! Also, I can tell you where to buy some GREAT candy!"

She stuffs the rest of her taffy in her mouth and chews it vigorously so she doesn't have to share it.

Mana and Kana make eye contact with Reikoku, two pairs of purple-red eyes meeting one pair of deep blue, and then the woman turns and heads off to the east. The twins continue a few steps, looking straight ahead, as though nothing happened. Then Mana pauses and clutches dramatically at Kana. "Kana! I just remembered! I forgot to water the cactus!"

Kana turns in shock and dismay. "Eehhhhh!? That's bad! Or is it? I can never remember how often they need to be watered…"

"Which is why it's so important to do it on time!" Mana whines, tugging on her sister's sleeve.

Kana proclaims, "Then let's hurry home and do just that!"

And then the twins scurry along down Toufuu Street, hup-hup-hupping, bouncing a bit more than they probably would be if they were wearing proper support garments, and ducking down the first darkened alleyway they come across. Hopefully with Reikoku inside of it.

"Ah, so!" Kana begins, once they've checked around to see if there's anyone watching them. "As you may have noticed, the Hidden Sand was kind of attacked!"

"Kind of!?" Mana asks, appalled, as she looks at her sister, and then turns back to Reikoku, "It was SO attacked that we've been working over time to keep morale up! Also, it's kind of messed up our ability to keep track of where everyone is and what they're doing outside the Village!"

Kana holds up her hands, engulfed in her draping sleeves and mimes wiping away imaginary tears from her cheeks while sniffling dramatically.

Mana turns to Kana and hugs her. "There, there! It's okay! Once we get that dance club set up, the morale will practically take care of itself, ne?"

"Eeeeh?" Itami lifted her head and sought out the one calling after her. "Approach witout being killed? You…may?" She remarked more like a question. She isn't sure she's been asked something like that before. "What can I help you with? If anything?" She questioned. A deep breath was taken before she sighed it back out, all cleared and ready to face people once again. "I…think I may pass on the candy. I buy enough of it already and not because I want to," she mumbled a bit at the end with a bit of frustration. Her money gets taken almost all the time…

As Keiji followed the Kazekage, he noticed she finally came to a stop. There were still footsteps though. They were getting closer. Though they were making a direct route to the Kazekage, they did not seem to put her on edge. She did not seem to take any kind of defensive stance. For a brief moment, Keiji thought about revealing his presence. The cons of doing such simply outweighed the pros. If the Brigade had left anyone around to try to kill her, now would be a great time. Revealing himself might possibly scare off any would be assassins.

Reikoku is indeed in the right alley, leaning against a wall, waiting for the twins o arrive. She's familiar with their eccentricities, as well as the intelligence hidden behind their facade of silliness. As they complain about working over time and so on, what she parses from the conversation between identical voices and identical faces is that there's been some trouble with their information gathering. Also the fact they emphasized OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE could mean many things. It could mean they still have intact analysis of the interior of the Village, that they simply aren't going to discuss information that could compromise Sunagakure in any way (as per their agreement), or a few other possibilities.

"That's fine. The Storm Brigade isn't going to last. I've lived through many groups like this. The ones with huge armies are the ones who fall. By making themselves the enemies of everyone, they make themselves the target of everyone." Her former employer taught her many things. A small unit of highly-skilled, trustworthy shinobi, operating within the shadows and keeping their support personnel out of the action instead of trying to turn them into an army of fodder… That kind of group can achieve things that even the Hidden Villages would consider impossible. "They can cause whatever chaos they want for now. The 'heroes' of the Shinobi World will take them down."

Yes, it's not the nature of the attack that interests her. As Mana and Kana talk about some kind of… Dance club… Reikoku squints at them. "Dance club? …No, nevermind. I only want to know one thing: What progress have you made on finding the person I told you about?"

Shinrin the ronin would be getting a headache out of frustration with Hakumei's antics. That's the kind of man he is. Though versatile on the battlefield, he prefers certain stable elements among his allies. Following directions is one of them. However, Shinrin the ronin is not the only person inhabiting his form. And that other self is a keen observer of behavior, of mannerisms, of personality, of values, of thought.

Giving lots of instructions to Hakumei had a 66 percent chance of causing her to do something other than what she was told to, and an 89 percent chance it would be something useful.

Stalling the Kazekage through direct conversation with a child-like individual who is just about incapable of guile or subtlety would appear to fall within the 'useful' range.

It was a gamble, but the thing inside of Shinrin is okay with gambles. Even when they fail, as long as it makes an interesting story, the result is acceptable.

Shinrin the ronin only holds his position for a little while, watching Hakumei's approach and keeping an eye out for anything unusual. Then he slips away somewhere, some hidden alcove, some dark corner, and following a series of sickening popping and tearing and slurping noises, and then a puff of smoke, a dark-skinned woman with a mess of long dull-green hair and bandages wrapped up in strategic locations to keep her from being indecent peeks out of the hiding place that Shinrin went into.

Then she looks at the sword that Shinrin was carrying. She pulls the bandages down from around the lower half of her face, opens her mouth… And stretches her jaw so far it deforms, the skin of her cheeks seemingly tearing bloodlessly like stretching taffy, and she swallows the sword, sheathe, seal bindings, and all.

Her jaw gradually returns to its original configuration, and she pulls the bandages back into position. And then Amaro Kuchibiru, Sunagakure-allied shinobi here to help attend to the wounded following the attack moves out into the square and stands where Shinrin was moments ago. She applies a little bit of Medical Chakra to her cheek to mend the tears while she waits.

Hakumei remains blissfully unaware of that terrifying thing that just happened! Because she's kind of a terrible sensor-nin right now! Instead, she smiles brightly when she's told she can approach without dying, and then does so. She starts off this conversation, this amazing plan of hers, this INGENIUS and intuitive stalling tactic, with all the cleverness and grace to which she is due.

"How are you doing today?" she asks with a big smile on her face.

Inside her own mind, she staggers back with an imaginary knife in her belly, making an imaginary 'ugh' noise. Even she can't believe that's the best she could come up with.

She continues to also remain blissfully unaware of the thing under her feet, because hahaha like she'd ever walk on the ground again if she knew.

Mana and Kana focus on Reikoku as she starts speaking. Reikoku may not care about the Storm Brigade, but for the people who live in the places they attack, it is kind of a big deal! Even so, if she's not digging into Sunagakure's affairs, as per her deal, then they won't force those affairs onto her.

Instead, in answer to the question. Kana lifts up her hands, still engulfed in her sleeves, and shakes her head as she answers, "Ze-ro desu." u___u

Mana mimics her in the same pouty, disappointed tone, and the same exact gesture, with the same exact face half a second later, so their words partially overlap, like an echo. "Ze-ro desu." u___u

"Until things settle down, it probably isn't safe to even go looking. Asking questions is right out!" Kana insists.

Mana paws at the air with a sleeve-draped hand in the direction of Reikoku as she says, "Say… Ne, ne… What's so important about this woman anyway?"

Kana props her hands on her hips and looks at Mana. "From how hard it's been to find anything out, it's almost like she doesn't even exist!"

Mana props her hands on her hips and looks to Kana in turn. "Right?"

Itami tilted her head to one side a bit. "I'm fine," she smirked. "I don't believe we've met before." She folded her arms and took a relaxed stance. "I know you know who I am. I'm recognizable enough, but you I haven't had the pleasure of meeting. May I have a name?" She looked beyond Hakumei momentarily to see how the village was coming along. Nothing bad to report yet. Excellent! Though, she was on her way to check on the progress of different areas.

Reikoku sighs. "She's connected to a unique existence. An existence that I want to study, but that no longer exists in this world. She is one of only two people I know of with information about that existence. The other is Kokoroe Sousa. And we lack the means to control him or manipulate him. He is both too strong and too experienced." She stands up and moves away from the wall. The only person she can think of who was both stronger and more knowledgeable than the First Kazekage was also the only one who was able to control Sousa and make him obey simply by showing up and ordering it be so. And that man no longer exists either. Reikoku, face normally impassive or simply annoyed actually gain a small smirk as she rubs her forehead. It's ironic in an annoying way.

She's searching for the daughters of two dead men to find out information about them.

She starts to walk away from the twins. "Keep looking. Be as discrete as you need to be. Be thorough. Be discrete. But also be punctual. We have to locate her before she makes contact with Sunagakure itself, or it will end badly for everyone."

Reikoku's eyes are dull and lifeless again as she heads back towards the Village Center. "The moment you find the daughter of Hone Nai, inform me. And in the name of every god in every heaven, keep her away from this Village."

Now it's time to talk to the Kazekage.

Kuchibiru impassively looks on as Hakumei clumsily engages Itami. Unless she does something a bit more meaningful than ask how Itami is, that gamble might turn out to have been a waste after all… But then the Amaro notices the white-garbed kunoichi coming back out into the Village Center, and pushes away from the wall. She begins rapidly striding towards Itami. From behind. Very intently. Without announcing herself.

Is this the assassination attempt Keiji feared!?

Bandages rise off of the Amaro kunoichi's body, uncoiling from what little of her skin they cover, and bobbing and weaving around her like serpents. And then…!

One of the bandages lashes out, and seeming latches closed on something on the Kazekage's right shoulder as forcefully as two hands clapping.

Hakumei smiles pleasantly and says, "Yes, I'm fine thank you!" This is going well for her first conversation with a Kage! Except wait, that isn't what Itami asked at all! Doh! "Uh, I mean, my name is Hakumei." She bows at the waist so far her head messy head wrappings fall off and onto the ground. "Aaaah!" She gathers them up, and starts wrapping them around her head again. "I arrived here a few days ago and noticed the state of the Village! And I was shocked! VERY shocked even! And I wondered what I could do to help out the Hidden Sand, and make sure something like this doesn't happen again."

Hakumei abandons re-wrapping her big mane of spikey black hair again, and as she spreads her hands apart in the air as though framing an image. "And there it was! The idea to keep these Storm Runners or whatever they're called out of the Land of Wind for good!" She takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly…

And then she says, "What you do is you build a wall!"

She pauses, looking fiercely determined about this, then says, "Not just any wall! A great wall! A beautiful wall! Right along the border between here and the Land of Grass! I mean, look at the kind of people that come from there. Nothing but criminals and vagabonds!"

She points at herself. "Look at me! I entered from the Land of Grass, and I'm a MEGA vagabond! I can't even enter a country without instantly not belonging there!" Hakumei gestures as though to cut Itami off. "I know, I know! 'Who will pay for this beautiful wall', you wonder? Well wonder no more! For you see, we'll get the Land of Grass to pay for it — AAAAH!" She startles as some kind of mummy chick snaps some bandages right over the Kazekage's shoulder, and jumps back a bit.

"Wh-what is this!? What's going on!? Is this a custom!?! Is this a custom I didn't know about!?!? Are you telling me to get out of here and stop wasting the Kazekage's time!?!?!?!" Then she rapidly retreats, comedically fast, back towards the south exit, at Sentou Valley. "I NO SPEAK THIS COUNTRY'S LANGUAGE BYE BYE!" she calls out before leaping over the wall and dropping out of sight.


Mana and Kana don't really understand what Reikoku is talking about, but gather they need to find the daughter of someone named Hone Nai.

Kana says, "This should be simple, right? Since they'll have the same surname?"

Mana nods firmly. "It's not as though they'd try to hide someone super important who is the daughter of someone super important by changing their surname!"

Kana says, "Hahaha! No one is THAT paranoid!"

Mana says, "But man, what if someone did?"

All humor vanishes from Kana's face as she says firmly, "Then she would be impossible to find ever."

And then Mana asks, "What if they give her the surname of her other parent?"

Kana nods firmly once more. "Double impossible to find."

And so Reikoku leaves the twins behind to water their cactus or whatever they're going to do now. Or so she probably thinks. Because right as Reikoku is about to approach the Kazekage, Mana and Kana appear behind her, waving and calling out, "Kazekage-samaaaaa~! We want to talk to you about a dance club!"

Mana leans a bit further to the side, noticing the bandage-wrapped woman. "Is that a real mummy? Nice! Kazekage-sama is so influential she can even have a real live mummy guard her!"

Kana claps her hands to her cheeks as she and Mana move around Reikoku. "Waow!" she proclaims.

Reikoku is probably unhappy with them, but meeting the Kazekage out in the open with so much stuff going on right now is probably the opposite of a good idea. They're taking that decision out of Reikoku's hands. And at the same time pushing their dance club/mummy admiration agenda.

"I'm glad to know you're doing well, but your — " Itami didn't finish when Hakumei managed to give her name. "Yes, that. Hakumei," she repeated to ensure she got it. "So, you wish to help out the village? I wouldn't mind that, but first I would like to get you all cleared and registered prior to that taking place. Once I have you on record, perhaps we can talk further about the issues of the village." Her eyes looked towards the walls that surrounded the village. "We have walls, just…they weren't all that effective in keeping them out," she pointed a hand in one direction just to indicate out the surrounding canyon.
"This place became a bowl," she shrugged. "Ah, you mean a border wall. That is something else entirely. Between us and the Land of Grass. The desert honestly should have been enough, but some people don't appear to be deterred," she remarked curiously towards Hakumei. She had a lot of energy, that's for sure, but Itami had just as much to return! Though, not at her, no, this friggin' thing that just touched her shoulder what the — !?!
She reached around and latched onto the binding and gave it a good yank to drag out whatever was at the other end of it. She braced herself to put up a good fight as these bindings may be more to handle than she intended. "Wait, what!? Hey!" She called out to the retreating Hakumei, but she had a bigger problem on her hands. What the heck was up with these bindings?
"Dance…club?" She found herself asking aloud as her attention is redirected to the twins. "A mummy? I am uncertain of what is taking place here." She just yanked, she didn't think about what was at the other end, but a mummy certainly wasn't what she was thinking about. "New arrivals. Is there something I can assist you with?"

As the miniature chaos begins to ensue up topside, Keiji finally reveals his presence. His hand would rise from the ground as the steps came in behind the Kazekage. The pincer would be aimed for the pressure point near the ankle. In any normal person, it would cause their body to lock up momentarily. Enough time to allow Keiji to assess the situation topside. Itami would be able to hear his voice as he rose from the ground. "It appears you could use a hand or two… mummy!?" Keiji's verbal deviation from his usual bland self seemed to be caused by the concept of whatever he struck or attempted to strike being identified.

Between the moment when Mana and Kana passed her up, and when Itami and Keiji put mummy girl on the ground, Reikoku had made her way out of the Village Square. This is not the time or the place for a meeting. She understood the message. And she is glad that she has such highly-skilled, and trustworthy shinobi in her small unit, that they would look out for her like that and even test for protectors before allowing her to approach, at risk to themselves.

It's bringing back memories of another group, at another time.

'This time we'll do it better,' Reikoku thinks to herself. 'This time it won't crumble when one person falls.'

She'll make contact another time. Somewhere private. Though it would be a lot easier to make that happen if she had the ability to jump through gaps in reality like He could…

Kuchibiru makes no motion to defend herself or stop Itami when she is yanked by her bandages and slammed into the ground on her back in front of the Kazekage. She just lies there, staring upwards. And blinks slowly. A large part of that is likely the paralysis inflicted by Keiji with that pressure point grab, but she honestly just doesn't seem to have any intention of resisting. "My apologies, Kazekage-sama." She says in a raspy, barely-audible voice, like some dry corpse out of a tomb. "A mosquito of a species that carries disease was on your shoulder. They have been becoming more prevalent ever since the Storm Brigade attacked. Many have fallen to illnesses spread by them. I am a Medical Ninja, and member of the Amaro Clan, Amaro Kuchibiru. I am in the records as a ninja registered as a freelance operative allied with the Hidden Sand. I have been treating the injured and have had to deal with far too many victims of these pests already. I did not wish to see the Kazekage afflicted as well."

Her purple eyes drift up to the underground guard who just emerged. And then to Mana and Kana. And then to the place where Reikoku just departed through. "I am often thought to be a mummy, due to my appearance and the fact I spend much time in underground tombs. It is a common mistake. Just as it was my mistake to use such direct methods. But if I had called out to Kazekage-sama, she might have turned to face me, making the insect leave, and leaving it to infect others. I apologize for my clumsiness and the inconvenience."

Mana and Kana say simultaneously, "Yes, a mummy!" They point at the same time to the mummy woman lying on the ground in front of Itami, with pincers pinched onto her ankle.

Then Mana says, "I am Uchuu Mana!"

Kana says, "I am Uchuu Kana!"

Mana says, "We're traveling entertainers who have been living in Sunagakure for most of our lives! But a lot of our entertaining has to happen in improvised locations, due to the absence of a dance club."

Kana learns forward earnestly and says, "The last one was destroyed during one of the many unfortunate attacks upon the Village! Thankfully, the lingerie shop remains intact!"

Mana nods solemnly and says, "Since we are in the process of rebuilding, we wished to petition you to have a new one built. It would provide a place for people to gather, enjoy dancing and music, and boost morale in this time of crisis!"

Kana leans forward even more earnestly and says, "There is only so much morale we can boost with lingerie!"

Mana, again, nods solemnly. Then she and Kana clasp their hands together and lean forwards towards Itami simultaneously (while remaining at a safe distance so they don't get pinched). "Onegaiiiii~?"

"Not a mummy, thankfully…" Itami replied. There's so much in this world she's faced, anything is possible. Besides, she did face a type of mummy once before. "But thank you for your quick reflexes," she offered gratefully to Keiji. "Your apology is accepted. We have been having mosquitos lately due to the water issue, but I hope over time, they'll eventually leave. The water that still remains here is bound to evaporate and return everything to normal at some point." She sighed to herself.
"It wouldn't do much good for me to have been downed by a simple insect, but what they lack in complexity, they more than make up for in numbers and ferocity. With that in mind, I should see to it that I continue my rounds. I will try and keep the idea of a dance club in my notes and in the back of my mind. You'll have to forgive me if other areas are placed in greater need and consideration," she explained to the twins.

Keiji's dark pupils fell on what was thought to be the dummy. Luckily he was wearing a mask to hide the grimace he made with his face. "My apologies." Sure the person knew things were on edge but he still pincered the a non hostile. He moves and offers a hand to help her up. Of course that did not prevent him from over hearing Itami talk about a dance club. "That's just what we need. Instead of worrying about the assassin's busting her head, we can worry about her busting her hip." There is a slight sigh as he hopes Itami wasnt in range to hear his joke at her expense.

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