Date: Unknown (log received May 15, 2015)
Meruin receives a meeting request from Sei and promptly agrees;What he finds is nothing he'd have suspected.
Thick Forest beyond Kiri's hidden Oasis
Between moments, Meruin appeared traversing the forest floor.
The Mizukage's gaze was set on what lay in his path, dappled sunlight spreading across him as he walked, lighting the platinum silk of his hair and robes, the azure Mizu symbol glinting in its own turn.
He was, without doubt, a busy man at this point in time but when the request to meet had given to him, agreement was swift to follow. Present moment found the Mizukage honoring his appointment, long strides taking him swiftly towards a conversation he should know nothing about.
Sei was waiting for Meruin.
There were flashbacks to another time. Another location. Another life it seems to Sei as he'd contemplate it. The Mizukage, simply a shinobi of the time, teaching Sei the facts of life.. Sometimes the thing considered broken, is stronger than those that claim to be strong. Sei stared at the ground before him, one harp, of a dozen spread through out the area, sitting there at rest. The brood was busy, the area being covered in a fairly thick layer of webbing, purged of any outside sources that may see what happens within. Either this is the next step in the path required…
Or Sei is waiting for his death to arrive.
Meruin entered the silken domain without hesitation.
His surroundings spoke to him. The location, a place he had once shared lessons with Sei in. The dome of webbing, assuredly filled with a number of traps waiting to be sprung. The harps spread throughout the created room, ready for use in the other Okumo's chosen form of genjutsu. The boy was prepared for trouble; One could not help but wonder if it was because he had invited it in.
But the Mizukage speaks nothing of this, instead coming to a stop a fair distance from the other, inclining his head in greeting. "Fair tidings, Okumo Sei. It has been some time since we've found the time."
Sei would bow formally to Meruin at his approach, nodding with a whistle in agreement. The music would start, the harps around them strumming to life, the same song even if spread out across the area. That pad at the small of Sei's back was pulled out, the spider text that he had originally mastered used in this instance as it was held up to Meruin. The ease of the spiders flowing across it's surface making it a simple task to spell out to the Kage. ~Permission to use Genjutsu for communication?~ and Sei would wait. It can be done by writing if required. The fact that the writing is as transitory as the voice made both easy to deny.. if it ever came to that.
Motion deliberate and smooth, Meruin briefly extended a hand towards Sei, the gesture telling the other that it would be allowed and for him to proceed. He'd never even seemed to glance at the pad, though the nature of his eyes, dark pupiless orbs with shifting mists at their core, it was always difficult to tell just where his gaze lay. Moreover, it often seemed that it rested on the one watching him. There is fortune, then, that no hint of hostility sits within his mists.
Sei would nod in response, the pad lowered as the spiders would leap from it, clearing the area to scatter into the terrain around them. Sei's touch with the genjutsu and Meruin was careful. It was specific in it's task, the contact for the thousands of whispers to lead into that voice that was quite the same as if talking in turn to Meruin. "We-Sei know it has been much time. Plenty for plenty of growth, plenty of potential to occur. We-Sei appreciates you taking the time free to meet as well. What We-Sei has to say affects the Okumo at large, beyond Kirigakure." There'd be a moment pause, Sei gathering his thoughts as the brood would chitter softly, then cut off. "We-Sei is seeking to establish a better path for the Okumo.. We have seen times.. plenty of times that the desire for perfection within the clan has lead to wrong choices. Indeed.. the label of failed experiment attached to the Kage is.. preposterous to We-Sei and We-Brood. We have gathered resources to seek to create a transition that is smooth and bloodless. We know, however, that it is your stance, for or against, that will make this plan more or less difficult."
As the multitude of whispers coalesce into a coherent voice, Meruin's chin lifts just the slightest bit, his regard still very much on the Okumo before. And as he listened… rather, as he heard the word 'transition' that a change came upon him, the planes of his face shifting into a slightly more forward expression.
"Transition," he repeated, deep voice now filling the air.
Abrupt but unhurried, Meruin broke his stillness, beginning a steady stalking circle around the boy who'd used such sterile words to describe a coup. "A pretty way to describe a revolution, no?" he asked.
Sei didn't move.
When stalked by one such as Meruin, moving would of been a waste. Even if the rumors were just rumors, some fact remained and Meruin was faster than Sei, alone, could move. His brood, while everywhere, was still going to be matching against a Kage. If it came to that. Instead, Sei stood calmly. "A revolution implies combat, a resistance. We-Sei seek for a transition of power to be fluid and bloodless. Losing those in power would be a waste of resources. Even if not in power, they would be useful knowledge of the Okumo in general." Sei paused as Meruin passed on his left, a slight turn of his head to allow his face to be towards Meruin. "Not, that We-Sei would stop at killing them.. if it came to it." Sei shook his head with a click of his tongue. "We learned. We-Sei has a plan to kill everyone but one.. We also see this transition as a potential difficulty for you as we would then be in a point of power to seek to end you again." Sei watched Meruin, gauging what slight reactions he might give, to figure out the next part. "So, in part, We-Sei wish to remove the label of failed experiment from you. It seems preposterous and simply false. We-Sei also plans to end and remove plans that may exist for killing you. To end the potential of We-Sei being known to seek to kill you." A truce? Maybe something along those lines. The falsely aged teen watches Meruin as he'd wait. This was probably the point of combat if it was to happen.
"In return for taking over my clan, you will spare my life."
Something pressed from beneath Meruin's skin as he spoke, a ripple traveling from his eye to his cheek and into the hidden depths of his hairline. "Quite the bold offer," he spoke.
"You should have come better prepared, Sei. Not only is your offer an insult, but your pitch contradicts itself. A fluid and bloodless transition that includes a plan to kill everyone but one.
From his silently trod circle, Meruin begins to bare the faintest hints of disgust on his features as he asks, "For what purpose have you taken up this cause, anyway?"
Sei's head tilts to the side slightly. "We-Sei think there is a misunderstanding there. We-Sei currently has a plan to kill everyone but one. That is the state we are in. If the Kage commands, we kill. We know how to kill. We know how to break the defense, how to get inside any barrier and to end the life. This is We-Sei's current state. We-Sei is stating that with this attempt, we-Sei will remove any plan involving the ability to kill you, Mizukage Meruin. We do not see a survival for We-Sei if we had to do such at command of the Okumo elder. We-Sei only sees destruction. But we-Sei was made for that potential."
Sei mused for a moment, continuing to not move in reflection of the circle that Meruin steps. "We-Sei is part of the clan. Meruin Okumo is seen as a failed experiment and it is labeled as termination for failed experiments. We-Sei is taking over We-Sei's clan. We-Sei wishes to have Meruin Okumo a part of that clan. That is what we seek." Sei's head straighten up as the slow circle that Meruin did brought him about to the front. "We-Sei see a weakness in the current clan. That the focus on experimentation to seek perfection fails to account for the natural strength of people. We-Sei seek to end this weakness. There is a better way to handle the experiments. Less loss of resources, which in turn equates into a stronger clan as a whole."
Meruin's stalking came to a stop.
His chin lifted, the man facing Sei head on, challenge in his demeanor. He was silent for a few moments as he simply stared at the boy, mists now roiling intensely. There was an air of resolution coming about him, beginning to condense within his aura. A decision was drawing nigh.
"I hear only of your plan of murder," he says. "And nothing of your gathering a whole Clan to your side. We are not the Kaguya, Okumo Sei. Killing our leader does not make you our next leader but our next target. All I see before me is damage to the clan."
Sei raised a brow as he'd stare at Meruin. "We-Sei has stated that we do not plan to kill unless there is no other choice. We-Sei was clarifying that the plans that we have, is not the same as what is planned for the transition in the clan." Sei would tilt his head to the side slightly. "We-Sei has gathered members of the clan to assist in this transition. We-Sei has made allies in other clans for the transition if it becomes necessary. We-Sei has the resources to make it bloodless. That is our goal. If it comes to a requirement of killing, if it is pushed to that point, then We-Sei and We-Brood will do what we must. This does not equate into a plan for murder." Sei shook his head slightly with a click of his tongue. "We-Sei has studied transfer of power. We understand if your stance is that you wish to keep the current leadership. We-Sei desired to be able to persuade you otherwise. So the question then becomes, what is the next step, Okumo Meruin?"
Meruin let out a long breath through his nose.
Sei didn't seem to understand. There wasn't another choice. The boy would have to kill to get what he wanted.
Resolution solidified, settling about the Mizukage's shoulders like an invisible cloak. It filled the sinew and bone of his body, imbuing it with its power and settling in his chest like a weight. Meruin opened his mouth and gave voice to it, letting it answer Sei's question.
With a burst, he summoned chakra to his command.
Sei looke crestfallen for a moment. Meruin wasn't going to give. Fair. That was his choice. As the chakra would flare within Meruin, Sei would leap back, his already raised chakra spreading out to the web.. at which holes would form at different spots around it. That genjutsu, the voices of the harps allowing it to flow around all over before, intensified, the voice strengthening, touching Meruin certainly if he didn't exspel it, but also those whom Sei had summoned as soon as the dome closed. "We regret that is your decision, Okumo Meruin. Those who are aiding We-Sei in the bid for control of the Okumo enter. We must prove to Okumo Meruin that we are not going to arbitrarly kill. But you all are in agreement with We-Sei that We-Sei can lead the Okumo to a better place."
This… is happening sooner than Yoichi would have liked it to. His hope had been to raise up a team of powerful Medical Ninja and use the power they would show to prove that it was time for Kirigakure to change. Still, it must happen sooner or later. Perhaps this won't prove to be too soon, but, for those joining in, it may very well be.
Upon the command to enter, Yoichi would enter in one of the holes in the webbing made by Sei and nod to both him and Meruin. "There are many in accord with Sei on thus, Mizukage. Just as you showed your strength to earn you position, we hope a show of unity and strength will complete the task today without the shedding of blood. It is time for, not only the Okumo, but the village to change. We have crossed the line between warriors with a code and monsters who would be willing to devour one another at a moment's notice merely for the potential to gain more power, and it will eventually lead to Kirigakure imploding on itself. We hope that our turn from this path of can be accomplished without regicide, but that is entirely up to you."
'Tsk' escapes the young Okumo as he watches from afar how everything turns sour. Once the dome began to close he didn't waste any time and quickly made his way close until he manages to slip inside using one of the several entry points Sei had manages to maintain. Rather than prepare for engagement, Naoya held a split stance, a palm resting on the hilt of an ivory blade while at the same time leaving his head towards Meruin, not looking up towards the man's face. "Mizukage-dono.."
While he did not speak, silk began to wrap around his own throat protectively. Several spiders could be seen flowing from his neck out to his shoulders and into his hair, shifting to look to his sides as Yoichi spoke, towards Meruin in front of him and even behind himself, waiting on something. A brief snarl flashes across his lips as he murmurs to himself, 'It wasn't supposed to turn out like this.. the Mizukage was supposed to be on our side in this.. not the Elders..'
The voice vibrates in her ears and with little hesitance Yuriko steps into the orb webbing. Much like the others, she hadn't expected the Mizukage to be against Sei, nor attempt to kill what was once his student. One of the three of Team Blueprint that Meruin had hand picked himself. Her bright eyes are almost sad as for a brief moment she watches. The young Kaguya didn't want this, for either of them. "Meruin-sama…" she says his name softly, almost pleading. Though Yuriko wasn't sure if he would still fight back, much like the others she prepares for the worse, gathering chakra in her gut. A sword is not drawn, however. None of the sharp ivory spikes that would be expected. Bloodless. This needed to be bloodless.
Kiji was in a unique spot to recieve Sei's summons. But as she stood outside the webbing she was left wondering what she should be doing. Who's side was she truly supposed to be on here? She had told Sei she would support him.. But.. Meruin was… How could she choose? As the webbing opened she looked up, the wave of identities present made her look to Yoichi's speech with hope.. Would Meruin listen? Naoya's presence suprised her for a moment but then she turned to peer at Meruin, her eyes an odd combination of golden rings and pearl irises. She was ready for a confrontation, yes, but she did not want one. Yuriko looked at Meruin with a similar expression… Kiji took a deep breath and stepped closer, kind of off to the side from the Mizukage. "Meruin-dono.. Please… This isn't the answer…."
As Sei ordered his allies to enter the dome, a stillness entered Meruin.
He became as stone, form lifeless in the way of statues as the Kirigakure shinobi entered the trap and spoke their minds. The only movement in him was the mists of his eyes, slowly condensing into a single point until the vast expanse of his gaze was the abyss, an intense dot of crimson glowing at its core.
That dot regarded the each of them after they'd spoken, hot to the touch.
He turned to Yoichi, the highest rank of the group, saying, "And you the greatest of them. You do not think that I know this? That I know we have always been our greatest enemy? It is this mindset that I have always regarded as Kirigakure's truest foe and one I have always fought." His thoughts turned to his decision not to lead Kirigakure into civil war, to the subtle focus on instilling the importance of one's comrade's into chuunin in the exams, on — He reigned himself in, focus resharpening.
"I had thought I'd been making progress on changing a nation, slow but steady," he said. His gaze now left the Swordsman to slide along the each of those who'd confronted him. "I'd believed so until some of the only people I've trusted came to me… and told me that to gain the power to cleanse Kirigakure of its habit of killing itself for power, you would do the very same thing you claim to hate. First Sei, unhesitant to kill for the position of Clan Head. And now the rest of you, apparently willing to kill to put him there."
He looked to Yoichi. "You are not fit to lead such a revolution." His potent gaze turned on Sei. "Neither, Clansmen, are you. And you can rest assured that I will not allow you to destroy the future of our village."
His pinpoint vision remained locked on Sei, but he spoke to the group at large, hands clenching. There was nothing but righteous rage in his voice, dangerous tone filling the whole of the dome. "You've the option of bowing down and offering yourself into custody, Okumo Sei. Pending his decision, the rest of you have a choice to make. No matter what happens from here, if combat ensues, your fates are sealed. When shinobi come to investigate either my usage of chakra or my loss of it, there will be nothing but treason to rally your cause behind. Your time here in Kirigakure will come to an end by death or hunted exile. If, that is, you do not bleed at my feet first.
"So tell me. Will you throw aside oath and loyalty to either die or be exiled? Are you willing to sacrifice this much for your vision of Sei taking over the Okumo Clan?"
The Mizukage's hair lashed backwards with the snap of a cracking whip as he strained more of his energy into chakra, preparing to meet whatever answer they gave.
Sei stared at Meruin, unmoving. He knew the others came in, they spoke their piece. They did what they could to show that Meruin was wrong about Sei..
For nothing. Sei stared at Meruin, the plans swirling about within his mind, chances, potentials. The chittering of Sei's brood around them, everywhere in this area as the dome wasn't the only construct that had been put in place. Sei was ready for the fight. Indeed he considered those arrayed here before Meruin enough to even bring low the kage.
But, is that not exactly what Meruin is saying is the issue? Is that not what Sei is fighting against? Of course they would try to seek to not kill.. But what of those too stubborn? Does it end in blood? Is that the strength that he saught?
Sei's eyes closed a moment. The final decision coming clear to him as he'd walk slowly forward, eyes opening to look to his comrades, his allies. Those who wished to help him reach that goal that he had. Sei knelt before Meruin. The harps would slowly fade out, a single harp left active as the genjutsu would touch all those there now. "We still believe fully in our goal, Okumo Meruin. While we have plans to kill all but one, this was never aimed at killing you. Indeed, the only way to kill you would of been to strike instantly, not show you what you face. Not give you the time needed to come up with the response we know you have." Sei looked up at Meruin then. "I will not sacrifice my allies. My comrades… My friends.. in a fight against you, Okumo Meruin. We will deal with what punishment you give. But there will not be a kill by our hand, for the goal we seek. Not here. Not today." Sei would bow his head then, releasing that grip on the chakra, dropping back to his normal interaction with the brood as the chittering would raise, then sharply cut off, leaving the simple harp's song in the background.
Though Yoichi regards Meruin's words to him with a stern look, he allows Sei to be the one that speaks at this point. By the look on his face, however, he would seem to be questioning if Meruin is truly oblivious to the facts of things he himself has done that have turned Kirigakure against itself. He peers between those gathered before looking back to Meruin and Sei and simply waiting and listening for them to decide between them how this will go.
'This was to be an Okumo matter.. Not in the open..' was murmured softly shaking his head lightly. The hand shifted behind himself slides lower along his hilt, preparing the blade to be drawn just incase Meruin soon made a move forward towards them. Raising his voice to the open question, Naoya answers "Loyalty and oaths are never tossed away.. Worthless if I could do that.." Exhaling slowly from his nose, the teen more softly speaks, though he soon sounds as if he was speaking to someone else 'I'll be culled either way once the Elders are told.. Yes.. we're prepare that.. Yes.. Leave nothing..'
It wasn't until Sei began to step forward with the dying of the sound that run within his ears and his mind that his amber gaze shifts to focus onto the other Okumo. Furling a brow, Naoya closes his eyes and bites down, silencing himself from even murmuring. Shifting his head downwards, his posture doesn't relax, though his chakra began to shift within the lengths of silk wrapping around him, torn between lingering and fleeing.
Seeing the look in his eye, the promise of punishment uttered, her shoulders fall ever so slightly with disappointment. It was inevitable maybe. "Sei is trying to change his clan for the better. I trust and believe in him." Yuriko murmurs quietly. "Because he is Kirigakure shinobi. I stand by him just as I stand by you, Mizukage. And if my bonds are so easily broken just by threats… then I have no honor…" Her bright eyes are drawn towards Sei as she watches, waits. Part of her frozen still when the chittering of his brood suddenly becomes silent.
Kiji froze as she could feel Meruins resolve radiating off of him. They were going to kill eachother, one way or another?! Why did it have to come to this? Death or Exile? Was there truly no third option? And then Sei knelt. It was all in slow motion. her eyes went wide and the color froze out like snow in a winter night. Sei had taken a knee…. Her heart ached both for Meruin and for Sei. One was more than a master and the other was more than a friend.
No one seemed to be willing to step forward. Yoichi did not, Naoya remained still, though she could sense the chakra shifting… She had not given an oath to Sei to betray Meruin. She had given an oath to support him. But even that did not necessarily make her move. It was a desire to see those she cared for safe, even now she found she had.. hope? At least Yuriko spoke.. more eloquently than Kiji could imagine doing… But she had to do something….
Kiji moved then, careful but determined, steping between the kneeling, bowing Sei and Meruin. She stayed on her feet, eyes still blank, completely overloaded with various emotion to show anything. Her voice was strong though. "You are making progress, Meruin-dono. You have kept Kirigakure together and.. and moving forward. Sei did not want to fight. He knows what allies are worth." A glance up at meruin then. "As I know you do…" She looked back at him kneeling on the ground and pain crossed her face. She was Kiyoshi's mate but she still clearly cared about Sei. She allowed Meruin to see that look on her face. She was ready to join Sei on the ground, felt the urge to cower under Meruin's crimson gaze, but she stood strong.. If he was going to kill her at least she could die standing… "We did not come to fight…" Yuriko was right. If thier oaths were so easily destroyed on both sides of the coin, they were nothing but animals.
Meruin's unblinking gaze radiated brighter as Sei approached, growing hungrier and hungrier.
He was fully prepared to react to whatever came next, body unencumbered and mind bolstered by a pulsing fervor. And when Sei knelt before him, his aura held just as strong, untouched by the act or, apparently the words that followed it. The young Okumo had put his life in his hands and his grip showed no mercy.
Nevertheless, he allowed Kiji to step in between himself and the other, laser eyes drilling into hers. She spoke, clearly affected by the situation and fully willing to stand in the same flames Sei had thrown himself into.
The Mizukage turned his back on the pair and those who stood behind them, starting to walk away. "Your lives and allegiances are spared," he declared. "I'd never intended to kill you, anyway.
"Consider me an ally," are his final words before he vanished.