Buried In The Sand - Difficult Digging


Asankaru (emitter), Akina

Date: June 26, 2013


With many questions and precious few answers, Akina sets out to tip that balance into a more favorable one. She finds that her first step towards getting more information proves to be a difficult one.

"Buried In The Sand - Difficult Digging"

Beneath Suna's Administration Dome

Sub-level 3.
The place where files of import and relevance are kept. In a place such as Sunagakure, which holds intelligence in the highest esteem, it is a place that sees a decent level of traffic despite the restricted access. It is guarded, always, with a chuunin at the doors leading to the stairs that bring you into the records department itself.
The way one reaches them is through a set of doubledoors in the public records area. One goes down a single flight of stairs, turns to the right and travels down a hallway leading to a guard station. A counter behind which a chuunin remains on duty, prepared to check the authorization of anyone wishing to get by. The hallway only goes a little ways further before ending, the double doors to
the final stairs leading to the records department on the right, another chuunin ready to open the door for visitors. Or send them packing.
At the moment, the one at the door seems fatigued.

The way one moves stealthily is to be where people aren't looking. That's what Akina was taught, and took to heart. Especially in situations like this. She moves quickly and quietly through the building, which, within Suna of all places, isn't easy. But if she's successful reaching the first guard the kunoichi passes silently on the ceiling just above him, holding her breath. And should she
be successful, once the hallway is clear Akina slips past him through the hallway. Once more she moves stealthily, being everywhere eyes don't linger. If she gets to this point, she waits until the hall clears before landing on the floor. The second guard would be easier, all she has to do is walk past him. Act like she belongs and she won't draw suspicion, so she looks bored if anything, pulling a pile of papers from her back to act as if she's shuffling through them.

The chuunin at the door blinks and looks up suddenly, eyes focusing on the girl that was walking towards the doors. He had definitely not been sleeping at his post. Wide awake and ever vigilant, he was dutiful in his job. He'd just been closing his eyes to focus his senses of hearing and smell better, to properly detect any who might've been trying to come through.
He nods his head to paper shuffling Akina in silence, stepping to the side and opening the door to her in the same manner. Once he was through, he'd close the door behind her, returning to his watch to let the girl descend the single set of stairs into the room where the restricted access records department was.
Sunagakure being a hoarder of knowledge, this place took an exceptional amount of space, holding secrets both within the village and without that weren't meant for all to be aware of. It was constructed in the design of a library, holding various sections with specific, alphabetically organized records within them. As of now, there were people within but few of them, and none in

Should Akina look up from her paper shuffling, she gives the guard an idle nod of her chin, appearing bored as she passes him and steps through the open door. When it closes behind her, she allows herself a small amount of relief before she focuses on her mission. To obtain the information that she needed about the stone sample she had gathered and the names that are engraved into the surface of the locket that's hidden away in one of her pockets.
First thing's first. Records on the Shippodoku clan. It was very likely that her father was mentioned or recorded in one point in his career before he was disowned in the strictest sense of the term. At least, that's what she had assumed in any case. Her father never spoke of their clan, only enough to instill a fear deep within his daughter.

The records department is indeed a vast place and it would take some searching to come upon the specific records that Akina wishes to find. She would have to go to the section holding information on ninja. And within that section, find the records holding information on the various shinobi clans. And within -that- one, she would eventually find a section of records holding information on
Sungakure specific clans that would hold a box showing records on Shippodoku. But standing before that box would be a woman. She stood tall with proud shoulders, her skin desert darkened but still managing to appear smooth. She wore a cloak to cover her form, leaving only her head and her raven hair, drawn into a long braid unbound. Her face was bent over the box as she rooted through it, delved in shadows.

Luckily everything appears to be organized well, but there's simply so much intel gathered that it takes a bit of time for Akina to find the direction of what's she's searching for. And even then… they're being looked through by someone else. At that exact same moment. Several feet away she pauses, making sure to keep quiet so that she can observe the woman if only for a moment. Was she… Shippodoku? Maybe… With a small breath, she gathers a little bit of courage as she approaches and calmly sits herself at the table set in the row, a few feet away from where the woman digs through the box. With an air of boredom Akina sets her papers and folders on the table as she begins to thumb through it. "Let me know when you're done with that, will you?"

The woman with the box freezes for a moment at the sound of Akina setting down her papers, obviously having been intent on the files she was searching through. She turned her head to look at the girl with eyes holding a sclera so dark one cannot discern the pupil amidst it. Or whether or not it was all pupil. Shippodoku.
"Actually," she said, chin lifting as she looks to the girl. "I'll probably be logging these files out for a while." She turned towards Akina, direct, studying her with obvious suspicion. The motion revealed the symbol of a Shippodoku Warrior on the front of her cloak. "What do you need from them?"

Turning her head, Akina idly lifts a brow at the woman with a look of boredom. Clearly not caring how suspicious the woman may be. Not that suspicion between Shippodoku clan members is all that strange. Still, beneath her cool demeanor her heart thrashes wildly in her chest. "Hm. I don't suppose you'll let me have a look before you do? My sensei would chew me out if I didn't get at least something." She idly shrugs a shoulder. "I don't know. He was vague on the details, just said to look for the information here and report back to him. I don't ask questions. None of my business."

"If you don't even know what you're looking for, I doubt it's all that important." The Shippodoku woman frowned at Akina, obviously disapproving. "So don't suppose." And then she turns back to the box of records, fingers deftly sifting through it, occasionally grasping hold of something and lifting it to read it a little more thoroughly. The sunagakure genin seemed to be put out of mind for the moment, but for something in the woman's posture saying that she was aware of her in a way that she hadn't been in the beginning.

Akina gives her a flat look. "Like I can help how vague he was. You know how Suna ninja are. And I'm just a student. Why would he need to tell me anything at all?" Elbow resting against the table, the girl rests her cheek into her hand as she watches the woman idly shift through the box, catching the sight of the recognizable emblem. Her stomach churns unpleasantly. Its very likely that this woman is on the hunt for a specific Shaman, looking for the trail that leads to him. "I guess you wouldn't tell me what you're looking for either, if you were my sensei I mean. Oh well." Shrugging her shoulders, Akina pulls her hand from her cheek as she begins searching through her papers, appearing bored of the task.

The Shippodoku warrior put the paper she'd been examining back down into the box, fixing the lid into it's place. Picking it up, she tucked it under an arm and started walking away. She never bothered to send Akina another glance or waste another word on the girl. Instead, her step took her towards the exit, where she apparently intended to go, carrying the information with her.

There was no other choice. Without that box she can't get the answers she needs. She'll have to put research on the dirt and paper samples on hold, sneak in a second time. Her hands clutch at her sides before Akina pushes herself to her feet, tucking her mock papers into her bag before she turns away. Where the Shippodoku warrior goes, she's going to follow at a distance. And once outside she'll pull on her mask, cover her head with her hood.

The warrior's path was a direct one, her step swift and measured as she moved, box tucked under her arm. Out of the restricted records department, past the guard at the door without a nod. She stopped at the guard at the counter, placing the box and waiting as he looked through it. After all was checked out and the information logged, she signed, and picked the box of shippodoku clan info back up. On she continued, up the stairs into the public records department. Soon enough she was out of there, and then out of the administration dome entirely. After leaving it's steps, she enters the crowd outside of the dome, starting to head to the west.

It wasn't difficult to follow the warrior, as she didn't seem to be paranoid. Which seemed unusual. Akina pauses when the woman checks out the box, peering at the log to try to get a glimpse of the name written. For the most part she keeps to the background, just out of line of sight as the woman makes her way through the public records department before exiting completely. And once in the crowd, it became easier to follow without looking suspicious, the current of the people moving both of them westward. Just who was this woman? What does she have to do with the box she checked out? Where is she leading her? There was so many questions.

A man steps past Akina in the crowd, and that brief blip in vision of the woman seems to be all it takes to lose her. Just like that, from one half of a moment to the next, the shippdoku woman had vanished from vi — no. There she was, walking in a wholly separate direction, still sifting through the crowd without any semblance of an issue. She pulls the hood of her cloak up over her head, walking on at her swift clip.

A man steps in front of her, briefly cutting Akina off and for a moment she lost where the woman was. It was moment too long. Normally the crowd would be used to mask her presence, but considering the numbers increasing around it was becoming a problem. A serious issue. It was becoming increasingly difficult to see the warrior as she pulls the hood over her head. Akina firms her jaw as she pushes forward, dipping her chin lower.

The woman seems to be deliberately moving in a manner meant to to shake pursuers, making severe and abrupt directional changes, dipping behind people or pushing through close knots of pedestrians. And worse still, at times where she makes a sudden turn, it looks as though she splits into two people, one heading in the same or opposite direction as the real one. She was using clones to further trip the girl up. And worse than that, she could be seen looking back at Akina every now and again as they haphazardly travel through the crowded village center. Eventually, it'd be realized that despite their indirect path, they were still generally heading north towards Kitakaze Street.

Behind her mask Akina narrows her eyes, watching the unnatural way the woman has been moving. Even going so far as to make a clone of herself. She'd been spotted. Regardless how careful she had been, she was seen. It can't be helped. Keeping her chin low, the kunoichi keeps her pace even and steady, her eyes on the original as the clone dashes off in the opposite direction. Akina attempt to slip unseen once more, though if not… she's already decided her next move.

This continues on this way for a small while through the travel as the Shippodoku warrior nears the northern street. Before she leaves the village center and it's mass of people, though, she pauses looking back. She doesn't seem to see the Shippodoku girl anymore, giving the crowd sharp, searching glances before cutting out of the crowd. She heads towards an alleyway between two nondescript buildings, quickly making her way inside of it.

Akina was almost fearful that the woman was going to leave the village entirely, but instead she cuts out of the crowd entirely and ducks into the alley between two buildings that she doesn't recognize. Giving the buildings themselves a searching glance, she takes in a silent breath before dipping into the shadows, keeping where the light is absent as she follows the Warror into the alley.

When Akina steps into the alleyway, the Shippodoku woman was turning, looking back ahead again, as though she'd just been checking for a pursuer just before her pursuer had actually come into place. But she'd noticed nothing out of place, it seems, as she continues walking down the alleyway. Her pace remains swift but her gait becomes one with a little more grace, the natural sway to her hips seeping into her movements. The alleyway the cloaked clansman travels through is fairly bare, nothing but stone beneath and the same as the walls on either side with the exception of the random crate or two that was passed by. But this alley is soon ended and veered off of, the Shippodoku woman taking a left into an offshooting alleyway, vanishing behind the corner.

Catching sight of the woman, Akina pauses against the shadows of the wall and becomes still just before the warrior glances back again, a breath held for a moment longer before the woman lets her guard down and proceeds forward. The alley eventually comes to an abrupt stop and the hidden kunoichi has no choice but to follow after into the offshoot alley.

When Akina steps into the offshooting alleyway, she'll find that it really wasn't much of an alleyway. It was a dead end in and of itself, so small and bare as to almost seem like it was created with wasting someone's time in mind. But the Shippodoku woman is standing there, awaiting the masked and hooded genin, the box of information tucked under her arm as she frowns at Akina.
"Who are you?"
The question is posed in the warrior's voice, but her mouth never moves. Indeed, the voice came not from in front of Akina but behind as the woman steps out from the alley that they'd all just traversed. She has brows furrowed, Shippodoku eyes locked on the child, asking, "And what business do you have with me and my clan?"

Akina barely takes a step inside the offshoot alley before she pauses, face to face with the warrior. The masked girl tenses subtly for a longer moment before she turns her head just enough to glance over her shoulder, seeing either another clone or the original. "I just need information. No different from anyone else." She makes sure her movements are slow as she reaches into her sleeve, carefully pulling out a polished locket and holding it up visibly for the woman to see, watching her expression to see if the sight of it triggers anything. "Ansaari."

The Shippodoku woman watches closely as Akina begins reaching into her sleeve, a quick jerk of her wrists bringing her metallic pincers out of her sleeves. The weapons snap together, the sound of gnashing steel asking 'Are you sure you want to do that?' But surprise widens her eyes as the masked girl pulls out not a weapon or an easily identified trick, but a locket. The surprise is quickly replaced by aggression and she takes a single step forward, demanding "Where did you get that? Who. Are you?"

Akina doesn't flinch as the woman known as Ansaari snaps out a pair of pincers, the familiar sound of metal clamping hard on metal. But that didn't matter. What mattered was her reaction after. Surprise, aggression… anger. Keeping a careful measure of the space between them, the locket is opened, the tiny piece of paper that was crammed inside so delicately taken out and unfolded by the tip of her thumb, turned swiftly towards the warrior. Her name written there. "What sort of relation does Ansaari-san have to the names engraved into this locket?" she asks, her voice softer. "If you answer my questions… I will try to answer what questions you have that I can."

"That's not how this works, girl," growls the Shippodoku warrior, something like a snarl coming to her face. It was hard to tell if she put any focus on the paper lifted her way, the composition of her eye hiding the pupil that would normally show where her gaze was directed. "If you answer my questions, I'll look through your answers to try and find a reason to let you live. And if you don't,
I search your corpse for clues instead. Now tell me." She takes one more step forward, fists forming, pincers opening. "Who? Are? You?"

Well that didn't yield anything positive. Behind her mask Akina softly presses her lips together as she turns the small piece of paper so that she could read the name. The name of the woman who clearly didn't want to compromise. "I found the necklace on a body. A corpse. One I didn't kill." she reiterates. Just in case there was any misunderstanding. "No, I don't know who it was. Just
another answer I'm looking for. As for who I am." Akina exhales a small breath as she folds the piece of paper and reinserts it into the locket, holding it tenderly in her hand for but a moment. "I can't say."

"You can't afford not to say," speaks the Shippodoku woman in swift, warning still clear in her voice. But these words had broken her contemplative silence, one that'd lasted throughout the time that Akina had been speaking and the pause afterwards. And while her face was still deadly serious, something in her stance was a little less hard. "Why did you call me the name on that paper? And what is this about a sensei needing the information in the Shippodoku clan records?"

"I can't afford to say either…" The masked kunoichi murmurs softer. No matter what threats that will be made, she knows that her life is on the line either way. "Ansaari is the name that you had written down when you checked out that box." she motions a hand towards the storage box that had been checked out. "That box, and you, are leads for answers. Probably answers that you will never give me regardless how many answers I give you. That's how Shippodoku work, right? They don't trust even the members of their own clan." She curls the hand around the locket as she slips it into her sleeve. "Who is Ansaari?"

The warrior is silent for a long moment, the darkness of her eyes settled on the young kunoichi across from her in a steady gaze, weighing her and who knew what else. And from behind Akina, at the other end of the dead end, the other her did precisely the same, eyes slightly narrowed. "Trust," is said by the one in front of Akina, "Is hard earned, girl. Even among family." That said, she rises to a normal stance, no longer standing ready to attack the masked girl. "Take off your mask."

Akina quietly watches the one in front of her for moment, then glances over her shoulder at the other. Stared down from both sides. Then her reply comes. Hard earned… "Why do I have a feeling that no matter the situation I would be hard pressed to earn trust…" she murmurs. A longer moment passes before Akina reaches up, a hand on the plain white mask as beneath her features are henged. Her nose becomes pointed, cheeks more prominent, and lips thinned with the appearance of a completely different girl than the one before. Air touches her face as she removes the mask and openly lifts her eyes to look up into the warrior's own eyes. "Ansaari." she repeats.

The Shippodoku warrior let out a little huff of a breath through her nose, seeing that the face that was revealed was wholly different than the one that she'd seen down in the records department. It sort of confirmed and potentially disproved a hunch she had at the same time. But it hadn't mattered. Truly, all that she was looking to do was see the girl's face when she said, "Nearly there, no need to pout. Just answer me one last thing. How long has Akihiko been dead, Akina?"

The girl gives her a flat look at the word 'pout', though her expression darkens entirely with the last question. "Thirteen months and twelve days. Do you want me to state how many hours too or are you fine with that?" Akina growls, clearly not pleased. "Who are you? How do you know my name? My father wouldn't tell anyone of my existence, so you better tell me now before I kill you straight out." She scowls. "And where are his scrolls? They belong to me!"

Despite the girl's words and expression, what flitted across her features was an expression of… surprise… of some pleasure and some sadness… of a gentleness and a wistfulness. "I had hoped…" And then she shakes her head. There was a puff of smoke and a crumbling of sand to the ground as the one at the end of the dead end proved to be a clone. It seemed that the one she'd been tracking a clone from nearly the beginning of her travel through the village center's masses. "I don't know where the scrolls are," she says with a shake of the head. The Shippodoku gestures to the box behind the girl. "Just take the box. Look through it. You'll find a lot of your answers in there. And you'll be seeing me again soon, I hope." A slight moment of hesitation from the woman before she vanished, flickering out of sight without further preamble.

What angered Akina most of all was the small amount of gentleness she was shown, if but briefly. Whoever this woman was, it didn't need her pity. The puff of smoke behind her earns a glance out of the corner of her eye, dark gaze narrowing before she looks back to the remaining warrior in front of her. A hand curls at her side, just before woman disappears altogether. "I hate all of you…" she growls to herself, shaking her raven head quickly and pushing the mask on to cover what chance there may have been to show the pain that thrummed through her. Of the tears that had threatened to appear. Akina forces her hand to uncurl as she turns around, sweeping the box up smoothly into her arms. She needed to look into it at home, in private, before anyone /else/ had a chance to get the slip on her.

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