Date: June 21, 2013
The assassin makes his move, and Taiki ascends the throne.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Selective Assassinations - Claiming the Throne"
Outside and inside the Inuzuka Clan compound
The Inuzuka clan is about three short steps from falling apart. While there has been very little in the way of physical confrontation yet, verbal fights have been known to erupt at any time, any where as the clan slowly grew into three distinct factions. The smallest of the three were the politically neutral. These people expressed anger at Kenichi's arrest on the grounds of their inherent belief of his innocence. Several times a day someone from this group would approach either Hiruko or Taiki, demanding Kenichi's release, with predictable results.
The second group was actually only two times larger than the neutrals, but represented the traditional power amongst the Inuzuka Clan. The Alphas, lead by Hiruko, seemed not only utterly convinced of Kenichi's guilt, but lobbied long and hard for his immediate execution. They played on how well loved Tao was, and accused Taiki's faction of rumor-mongering and doom-saying. The neutrals were accused of not waking up to reality. What they lacked size, they made up in power, at least amongst the branches of the Inuzuka. Yet rumors abounded over what Hiruko would do if she one the position of Clan Alpha.
The third, and largest group, is headed by Taiki himself. Their goal in all of this is justice, regardless of who the perpetrator is. They are not interested in vendettas, and lobbied for Kenichi to get a fair trial. Interestingly enough, most people in this group didn't believe Kenichi guilty either. But their chant was, "Let the process play out." Taiki himself was known to doggedly pursue all evidence, regardless of who it pointed at, and counseled patience amongst any that asked him. Even the neutrals, who objected to Taiki's arrest of Kenichi in the first place, recognize that this is the right thing to do, at least legally. They wonder though how he could do this to an uncle he was known to care for.
In keeping with this stance, Taiki has spent most of his days chasing down leads and meeting with his investigative team. While he did not neglect his duties to Konoha, his team, or the hospital, he spent every waking minute pouring over the evidence, looking for the one thing that would bring this all together. He met with his investigative team, separately and together, several times to compare notes. But always there was something missing. Thus we find Taiki on this early evening just outside the gates with his seal desk out. He seems to be pouring over his notes yet again, trying to jog his memory. "It's here somewhere… I know it is… but where?"
"Try underneath the first three sheets of paper, left side of the desk, closer to you" Usagi raises a brow as she approaches slowly, a small smile playing across her face as she stops, about ten feet out. Her expression grows more serious as she stops though, and she looks him over. "You really didn't sleep when I took your shift, did you" It was not so much a question as a statement. She knew that look on his face, and how he looked to begin with. She's dressed in her shinobi gear, mostly black, including the vest. She's relaxed to an extent, though obviously prepared if random combat 'did' break out. "I'm also hearing of a few things here and there….almost had to separate two Inuzuka at the sake bar"
Normally, Atsuro would just do his best to avoid all three of these factions. He's not interested in politics of this kind. But as part of the investigation team, he just never had any chance of escaping it totally. He's directed all comments and questions to Taiki. Not that he wants to heap more trouble on Taiki, but he's not the leader of the investigation. Taiki is the one who knows the answers to those questions, and even if they should be answered. And besides, Atsuro has been working too. In fact, that's why he's here today.
He's tracked Taiki down (pretty easy for an Inuzuka), and approaches him much as before. Taiki's already talking to Usagi, and he's obviously busy with other things. Instead, he just folds his arms and leans against a nearby tree, Taizen sitting down beside him. It's important, but it can wait a little longer.
Narusegawa had recently made it back into Konohagakure, readying herself for the release of Princess Hiroko along with a debriefing with Hashiramako. All was on the table for now but with some delays due to the political situation of the matter. While Naru didn't return home to the compound, she did meander about the streets of Konoha… Peering around for anything that might catch her attention. About her body was the traditional worn battle armor of crimson, clanking with each step. Her audible stride soon ceased to a halt as she had come to witness a rather suspicious scene before her. Atsuro, Usagi, and Taiki all seemed to be near or peering over a set of papers along a desk. Why out here of all places she hadn't a clue but nevertheless she moved forward to find out, nonchalantly advancing as if she had been there the entire time. " So…what's going on?" Narusegawa curiously asked.
Hinotori has come back upon his investigation, most of what he's found was pretty similar to the last report he gave. Hino hadn't know there is a time that they were meeting, but still he knew he needed to be with Taiki just in case something was to come out of everything they've been able to scrounge up. Rubbing his head a little bit, the Uchiha Jounin makes his way to the compound and allowed in only after mentioning who he is here to see. Coming around to where the group is pouring themselves over a desk, Hinotori quirks a brow a little. "Wonder what they've found." he says mostly to himself only. Hinotori makes his way over and as he does he notices a woman in red armor, and upon getting close and seeing who it is, "Long time no see." he says to Naru as he too waits to see whats going on with the others.
"I tried, I really did," Taiki says as he looks where Usagi mentioned, finding her latest autopsy reports. He reads over the page and then makes a couple of notes on his note page. "Yeah, that helps quite a bit… but… I'm not sure what it is that I'm missing." He finishes the note and looks up. "I got 6 hours of sleep, only to be awoken by the two people the guards couldn't send away, my father and Hiruko herself. My father was trying to prevent her from waking me, but she wouldn't let him. And it was just another useless posturing exercise…" Taiki shakes his head then looks toward Atsuro and motions him forward. "Please feel free to come closer, I'm not going to bite anyone's head off… No one here has done anything to deserve it yet."
When Naru comes up Taiki looks up at her and smiles, though it is a smaller smile than normal. He looks, to put it succinctly, dead on his feet. Lack of sleep, grief, worry, and determination have given Taiki a very serious look on his face that doesn't just go away when his girlfriend appears. "Welcome back Na-chan," he says warmly, though he's not getting up and running to her. Instead he just looks back to his paperwork and adds, "A lot's happened while you were gone, including the assassination of Tao-sama and two others on the Inuzuka council. I'm leading the investigation, amongst other things…"
When Hino appears, his expression turns solemn but nice as he greets the man, "Hello Hinotori-san," he says simply, motioning for everyone to come closer. He's about to say more when several shouts rise up from the compound, likely another argument starting. Taiki looks up at it and then narrows slightly. "That's a bit close…" He turns toward one of the Inuzuka teams who were waiting for Taiki to send them somewhere. "Go find out what that's about, and see if the guards need help."
Usagi sighs softly and shakes her head. "I can take my scythe and try to shave a few inches of hair off to get her attention" She mutters that softly, and shakes her head. "It's not going to end well, and I already know that" She glances back to Atsuro and steps aside to let him in, and then nods to him as he likely comes closer.
It's the next person that approaches that brings a surprised look to her face for a brief moment, before a warm smile expresses itself. She offers a bit of a bow to Naru, then walks over and stands nearby. "Maybe you can get him to sleep….long story short, the clan alpha was assassinated, along with two other ranking members, all three at separate times. Taiki's uncle Kenichi is suspected. We're the investigation team" She motions to all those nearby otherwise, and none of this that she said was not public knowledge already. "That's the short version, anyways" She nods to Hinotori as he approaches as well, offering a nod to him lastly.
When Taiki speaks to him, Atsuro is in the middle of checking his fingernails. Doot do do… He bites off a hangnail. "If I thought you were, would I be standing like this?" he asks, "I'm waiting because I have something to tell you." He frowns at Taiki. Not because he's mad about the comment. In fact, Atsuro's response was something of a joke. That frown has a certain meaning to it. "I don't suppose you could arrange a meeting with Hiruko?" he asks, "I've been trying to get a hold of her for a while now, but evidently she has time to spare for you. Hey, maybe we can arrest her for hampering the investigation?" Of course, she might end up arrested for something else by the end of all this.
He gives a quick nod to everyone else. Taizen speaks up and actually says "Hello," to all of them. But for now, they're keeping things brief. There's important stuff going on.
It was interesting meeting everyone again, and while it would of been a nice time for fun and greetings unfortunately it seemed like there was a grave problem. Causing a sweat drop to trickle down the side of her cheek. SHe could feel for the assassinations but apart of her really hoped that things would calm down. "Is it the TFM? I didn't think they had the nerve or even the capability to assassinate people i nthis village…especially of that calibre…" She rubbed slightly at her temples, attempting to figure out things a little further. " I'm sorry this has all been happening…" Naru concluded, motioning behind Taiki, curling her arms along his neck as she hugs him from behind. She then nods along with Usagi. " You look like you haven't slept in days…perhaps some rest will allow you to think a little more clearly…" Her eyes blinked briefly at Atsuro and Taizen… did she just hear him speak? Rather than commenting on a rather lighter moment she nods to both Hinotori and Atsuro. "It's nice to see you all as well,"
Moving in along the other side so he is able to see, Hinotori stretches a bit and looks to the papers. He knows whats going on, but as Taiki and Usagi explains things to Naru, HInotori gets a better look at the papers that are on the table. It's when Atsuro speaks about having something to say to Taiki, "What is it Atsuro-san?" he asks as he looks to the older Inuzuka. It's a bit odd to have information and not have said anything about it yet when they are all starting to run low on leads. HInotori himself has given all of his information already, he's not found out anything else, so with there being possibly something new, might help them in going in the right direction.
Looking up when the shouts are heard. TUrning his head in the direction of the shouting, Hinotori looks to the team taht Taiki sends out to find out whats going on. "Yeah that is, want me to go with him?" he asks as Hinotori brings his hands together and begins forming seals and upon completion of the seals he creates a shadow clone and the clone goes off with the team.
Taiki leans into the hug for a moment and curls his arms around Naru's, but the embrace is fleeting as he listens to Usagi explain the very short version to Naru. He adds his own two cents, "The resulting power vacuum has my clan a few short steps from civil war, Na-chan. I'm hoping it hadn't finally come to blows," he says as he watches Hinotori's clone go off with the team. "And in order to save my clan, I'm having to step up to lead it."
"I take it she's been avoiding you Atsuro? That's rather interesting, since she has gone out of her way to antagonize me, and to either threaten or convince a good many of the other branches into accepting her bid for Alpha. Unfortunately I can't just arrest her on her avoiding you. If I were to do that, she would be instantly vindicated in her allies' supposotion that I'm a power-hungry upstart out for revenge. And I don't have quite enough evidence, yet, to make my case stick in public opinion."
A few moments later a rather large two-headed dog appears, accompanied, or more to the point point opposed by, by two more. One Taiki recognizes instantly, and he's not happy to see that one if his sudden swearing is any indication. "Who the chair is attacking Kenichi?!" He stands up from the desk to watch two of the enormous two-headed dogs go after the third one.
Usagi takes a slow breath and sighs softly. "No on the TFM…that's not the ca…" And then there's a good report for them 'all' to hear. She hears him swear rather hard and growls softly, looking at the three dogs, six heads. "Give me a target, Taiki" She crouches and pulls a kunai out. It was times like these she really wished she had her scythe in a scroll. That would make this 'so' much easier. She crouches and starts to approach in a circle, eyeing them. She had an idea that the third one, the one being double teamed, is Kenichi, but no need to make needless mistakes. Her demeanor's changed, her expression neutral.
She looks to Atsuro as well, then back to them, and says simply a moment later "…I don't know if I can pin one of them, much less two, but I'm willing to try if it will help" She's starting to circle again, as best she can with the large targets here, watching to figure a good strategy, once the target(s) have been decided.
"Maybe we can get some of the better sniffers from the neutral group?" Atsuro suggests, "There are at least a few Deltas in there. Not many of us wanted to support Hiruko. And that's why we're the best branch." Delta Pride! "If we can, I guarantee we'll have a lot more to arrest her for. I /did/ happen to get into her office a few times. She might have taken the scents from the bodies, but the people who think they're clever are the ones most likely to make mistakes."
He looks over to the fighting dogs and frowns. "Why the seat is he out here is more like it!" he points out. He holds up a hand to stop Usagi. "Whoa, whoa," he says, "That one's Kenichi, that one's his guard." He points out the two ganging up on the other dog, and… "That one's Hiroko. Pin her and we'll get them to stop."
"We'll lets go moving then I don't see why anyone else would be fighting especially considering what's been going on…" Naru comented, honestly she was was still quite lost… Not having a clue as to what was going on or even the people involved. Naru didn't know that much about the Inuzuka leadership. With a slight sigh she released Taiki from her grip, her sharingan coming to life almost instantly as a safety measure… she was ready to leave with the others as soon as they were ready.
A bit distracted, Hinotori is about ot move closer when the information from the now disposed of clone comes back to him. "Taiki-san, one of your guards are dead and a old woman with her ninken are facing Kenichi and the other guard." he reports as he is already activating his Sharingan and moving out to head where his clone was dispatched at. There wasn't much time, this could be an attempt on Kenichi's life and he's doing what he must and thats defend himself.
Sharingan activating, Hinotori is already starting to move but as the distance presents it's own bit of a problem, HInotori figures those who aren't fast enough will not make it on time and if they are to detain the woman it would require them all to be able to get to where they need to be all at the same time. "I can send more clones but this time allow them to be more covert and assist with the detainment.
Taiki looks at the distance then steps away completely from Naru. Nozomi and Shinobu appear from trees to form a pyramid as Taiki runs through some hand signs and changes to the monserously tall three-headed dog version. "Usagi, Naru-chan, Hinotor-san, get on my back. We'll get there. As soon as you're in range, grab and hold that greyish dog Usagi." Yes, Taiki recognizes them too. "Let's move!" Taiki lowers himself long enough for the others to climb up on him, and once they're there, he leaps over the walls and is on his way, hopeing everyone has a tight hold and counting on Atsuro to be able to get there on his own.
In the meantime others are joining the other two as the greyish dog is being surrounded. She, however, is simply out to kill the brownish dog (Kenichi) even as she is being subdued. Others soon try to rise to her defense, but Taiki's insistance that all branches work in patrols is helping contain the problem, at least for now.
Usagi nods slowly and crouches now, waiting for him. As he changes, she leaps into the air and lands on his right shoulder, and takes ahold of some fur to keep her on his back. As they move in, she nods as others start to move in. As they do so, she leaps off once she's in range, black shadow wings spreading from her back as she lands in a kneeling position and her hands assume the rat position. Shadow lance out from her, looking to bind and hold the large, greyish dog. "On it"
Atsuro and Taizen transform as well, but they've chosen to go for a more compact model. The black, two-headed dog they form is large, but only about as large as you'd expect from mushing Atsuro and Taizen together. Certainly not as big as the massive dogs who seem to usually result from these techniques. There's an advantage, though: they're lightning fast, and streak towards the fight to deal with the incident. Just because they're small, though, doesn't mean they're strong. In fact, they're more than a match for the strength of the normal Double-Headed Wolf users here. And any of Hiruko's defenders who get in their way will learn that lesson the painful way.
Narusegawa also followed through with the team, bursting forward with lightning fast speed as well she kept to the rear as more of a backup roll rather than being purely overt. She honestly didn't know who exactly the enemy was and would wait for Taiki's move before moving along with the strike. The crimson aura of her sharingan became more potent as she looked on ahead, being careful incase anyone else decided to join the fray… She remained silent for the time begining allowing the events to unfold.
Hinotori didn't need to climb up on Taiki, he's already pretty fast as it is. As he goes off with Usagi on his back, Hinotori sees Atsuro chanve into something similar. Smirking a bit, Hinotori's Sharingan appears in his eyes and with just a step HInotori is covering distance quite quickly, a bit of heat distortion comes from HInotori as he flickers towards the combat area. Moving off to his right Hinotori tries to get into a position where he is able ot possibly strike without being struck in return due to lashing out at the wrong moment.
Hiruko's reinforcements are quickly subdued not only by the Betas, but by the presence of Atsuro on the field, who managages to arrive there before Taiki does, despite the giant beast's loner strides. Taiki's merged form stands taller, and bigger all around, than any other two-headed wolf combination there as it interposes itself right in the midddle of the battle. Usagi's lance hits, ensnaring the greyish combo even as the other patrols render Hiruko unable to move. "Report," one of Taiki's heads tells the guard combination.
"Hiruko-san killed the other three. After the death of the first two I started to unlock Kenichi's cell per your orders, and set off the alarm," the guard says in growling human speech.
Taiki looks back at the smaller but more compact and says, "Verify the scent now, Atsuro." In the meantime, the enormous three-headed dog covers Atsuro as he does his work while relaying a request to Naru, "If anyone tries to attack the sandy or brown-colored double-headed dogs, or Atsuro's black form, stop them. I would prefer alive, if possible. Hinotori-san, check the cell and other areas for evidence." For now the fight has stopped, and Taiki is taking control, while Hiruko can only whimper under Usagi's snare.
Usagi remains where she sits for now, holding the greyish one down as the shadows ripple a bit, further holding her down. She's taking slow breaths as she does so, looking at the double headed canine to let her know without a doubt, she wasn't going anywhere. "She's staying down" She doesn't waver her focus, the rest of them she basically doesn't pay much mind to. She doesn't have to.
With a puff of smoke, Atsuro and Taizen return to their usual form. A little risky, maybe, but even as they are now, they're still confidant in their abilities. And this is the easiest way to smell. Which is exactly what they do. Atsuro focuses chakra into his nose and takes a good sniff. "It was her," he says simply. "Her stench is quite distinctive. I'd tell you that I take no pleasure in this Hiruko, but that would be a lie. If it weren't for all the people you've murdered — far better people than you, I'm sure — I'd be positively delighted right now."
"I will use genjutsu if there are any sudden movements," Narusegwa insisted, keeping herself more so in hindsight. She focused a bit of chakra throughout her body, focusing her attention more so on the scene before her more than anything else. Her claim was maintained throughout the event, honestly she wasn't aware of what was truly going on but regardless she would wait for anything to pop up at her…
Coming up on the opposite side of Naru, HInotori is ready for whats to come. His eyes survey the area around them and as he looks around he sees that the onlookers are being held at bay for now. He turns his attention to whats ahead of him which are the large wolves which the grey one is being detained. Still there is no need to getting laxed right now.
And that is all Taiki needs. The three-headed dog leaps and lands right in front of Hiruko-dog, two of its heads ready to strike at the throat should Usagi waver in the /least/ little bit. "Inuzuka Hiruko, you are under arrest for the muruders of Inuzka Tao, Kirito, Mi, three guards and their ninken, as well as for treason and attempted subversion of the Inuzuka clan. You will face trial for your crimes and, if found guilty, will likely be sentenced to death. It goes without saying you will never be Clan Alpha. You have one chance to redeam some small part of your honor, who was your accomplice?"
That answer becomes obvious as another person from the Alpha branch leaps up to perform a gatsuga on Taiki while screaming, "Die!"
Usagi takes a slow breath as she remains focused on Hiruko. Taiki is fully capable of handling himself, and even if he wasn't, there's Naru, Hino, and Atsuro to deal with as well, so she honestly was going to simply keep the first traitor pinned. The wings remain as they are for now, though they slowly expand and retract as she holds the shadow binding.
Atsuro looks meaningfully at the Alpha clan members who came to Hiruko's aid. "You idiots shouldn't expect to escape prosecution either," he warns, "Attempting to resist arrest will be considered grounds for using brutal force. I will /wreck/ you." And then someone goes and does something even worse than attempting to resist arrest. Well, brutal force time. Atsuro and Taizen jump into the air. What's the best counter for a gatsuga? How about a gatenga? Instead of spinning like drills, Atsuro and Taizen spin like buzzsaws, attempting to knock away the attackers with the even more powerful move, aiming to simply overwhelm the attack. Which is pretty reasonable from the looks of things. You don't wanna touch those buzzsaws.
Once Atsuro sprung into action to strike down at the rival Gatsuga technique Narusegawa also moved in to accomplish her portion of the deal. Almost instantly her body warapped in a field of lightning, buzzing forward to intercept the technique and reappearing just in time to lapse her genjutsu, swelling them in a painful prison of blades, all heightened by her powerful genjutsu. THe swirl of her sharingan would hopfully be able to keep the attacker at bay while the arrest was finally made.
Hinotori on the other hand knew Taiki and Usagi could handle things on their end, with the other Alpha leaders coming out, HInotori moves to watch the backs of Atsuro and Naru, when one of the members tries to attack, with Atsuro and Naru defending, HInotori's Sharingan spins as well and as he steps forward he seems to blur and come back into focus and as he does so, he pulls out a few tie wraps and apprehend the one causing teh trouble. Looking to the others he nods his head, "Anyone else?" he says as his makes sure to make eye contact with everyone he sees.
And the man is stomped on, hard, by the combined forces of Atsuro and Naru, left twitching as the gatsuga is shut down and the genjutsu takes effect right afterward. The rest of those involved in Hiruko's defense do not look like they want to challenge Hinotori at all, and stay still.
Well assured the man isn't getting back up anytime soon, and seeing the look of defeat come over Hiruko's eyes, Taiki growls out, "We have our accomplice. He will face the same charges, as well as attempted murder of myself on that list. Any other Inuzuka, regardless of branch, that tried to aid this traitor will also be detained and appropriate charges will be filed."
The middle head turns toward the assembled Inuzuka and says, "I, Inuzuka Taiki, grandson of Inuzuka Tao and son of Inuzuka Kenshin, do hereby ask the entire Inuzuka Clan, will you follow me as Clan Alpha? These scum did not work alone, as they willingly submitted themselves to the same rule as the nameless ones. The Recluse has tarnished our name long enough, will you stand with me?" He is answered with nearly the entire clan howling in affirmation, save for those that are about to be charged with crimes against the clan. As they quiet down he nods. "Then I accept your votes, and the position of Clan Alpha of the Inuzuka. As my first act, I order these people detained. They will be questioned, and will await fair and equitable trials per Inuzuka Clan and Konoha Laws. The fights end now. I challenge you all to look to your neighbors, your families, and begin talking to them. Let us heal each other, and grow strong as a family, as we should have been."
"Narusegawa figured her genjutsu would work, especially after Atsuro's counter attack and Hinotori's assault. With reinforcements about and the clan also coming together as a united group, Narusegawa couldn't help but to smile a let out a tired sigh. SHe had no idea what was happening these past few months but regardless it was coming out to be quite the peace they were looking for. Perhaps this would lead them one step closer to finishing off the recluse as well… For now she just stood from afar, while not joining the chanting it definitely was a proud moment… She would have to poke Taiki a little more about the details at another time..
Usagi takes a slow breath again and closes her eyes. It was done. And the traitor was not going anywhere as of now, though she does stand. "If you want to either take it from here, or make her transform, I can shadow imitation her in her human form to come along. Not…the bigger size" At least that she's tried. She looks at the others for a few moments, nodding to Taiki as he's accepted as the Clan Alpha. She slowly stands, hands still clasped to keep Hiruko restrained, but she offers Taiki as much of a bow as she can.
This is hardly the most satisfying way to win a victory and definitely not the best way to start the healing of the clan. But even Atsuro has to look on the bright side here. Inexperienced Taiki seizing a moment and snatching victory is much better than Hiruko and her band of reactionaries winning by any means — and it's not like the means they chose were commendable either. Atsuro's pretty sure everyone who cares about this clan has a lot of work ahead of them. But for now… no reason not to let loose a little.
"Everyone!" he calls, "Get to the Husky Hound, pronto! First round is on me!" That, of course, only gets an enthusiastic response from the rowdy drinking types. But that's fine, since that's about 80% of the clan.