Date: October 8, 2013
After being stalked by Arisu, Kuoroke calls in an old favour to provide an alternative to his own unnecessarily onerous measures.
"Follow the Money - Seeds of the easy way"
A secluded little beach on the Land of Fire's coast
Kuoroke didn't often get to train with water. Usually, his training involved a dry area. So, now that he's in Konoha, he has embraced a rare chance. He has to stay in shape, after all, preferably far from society's spying eyes. He left Konoha early in the morning, lightly packed, and has rapidly crossed a significant part to a ruined, mostly deserted, part of the cost, where he's found a small cove concealed from all directions by rocks and undergrowth. Now, his clothing hanging off the dry remains of a felled tree on top of a boulder like a black flag, the Kuroki swims through the sea. Not just swimming, of course, that would hardly be fitting training. No, his practice is more akin to a suicide attempt, with rocks tied to his wrists and ankles, weighing him down. Still, he's swimming rapidly enough, quite far out in the sea - far enough to be irrecognizeable to anyone on the shore, he expects. The Kuroki regularly looks back to see if he's being watched.
Rarely was there a better spy than those who could render themselves weightless, soundless, and invisible, in the same way Arisu was capable of doing. She had mostly been frequenting the village proper of Konoha, invisible in the form of a very loose collection of freefloating chakra that travelled across the rooftops and only rarely dipped down low enough to catch sight of those passing below… It was during one of those rare dips into the streets that Arisu had found Kuoroke, moving through the streets on his way outside of the village, and had seen to following close behind Kuoroke out to the shore.
She had remained invisible the whole way, floating around the beach, and then as Kuoroke swam out into the ocean, following behind, from above, curious as to his apparent desire to drown himself in the deep water… Of course, he was clearly managing to NOT do such a thing, which made things seem much more like a strength training exercise rather than a suicide attempt, which was of course… preferable.
It was during one of the times where Kuoroke turned back to look at the shore that Arisu finally manifested just outside of his cone of vision, standing atop the water without so much as causing it to ripple. "…Why would a ninja from the desert be attempting to become a stronger swimmer, when there is neither any water to be swam through, nor any need to worry about water when a trained ninja can simply move over it like dry land…?" She let her question be the thing to announce her presence, as she stared down at Kuoroke. She of course made no threatening movements… but then again, as a ghost, she really didn't NEED to. She could deal enough damage without giving any tells to a potential opponent that even a completely neutral stance and expression could have hidden hostile intent… But since she hadn't started throwing foxfire around, and had declared her presence more or less amiably, it seemed unlikely.
Kuoroke's reaction is to turn around and sink below the water instantly - if nothing else, it would provide a shield to a suprise attack. While underwater, he quickly loses the rocks - no need to give whoever's watching an idea of his physical strength. With a push of his legs, he rises to the surface again, and looks around. One more push gets him close enough to the surface to climb onto it. Only now did he recognize Arisu. It wasn't comfortable seeing her - he hated how she could spy on him. "Fancy seeing you here. I thought you'd vanished from the face of the earth." He says, in lieu of a proper greeting, or an answer to her question. "Had been exorcised, perhaps. Why would a dead girl be out in the ocean, anyway?"
"Because that's where you led me… I saw you in Konoha, and followed you here." She nods slowly, "And I did… for all intents and purposes. I don't get out much anymore. I keep to myself, out of the way. This world is for the living, not the dead, and it's best to let the living go about their lives without the shadows of the people who went on before them hanging around." She nods, then glances into the water, tilting her head a bit as she raised her gaze again slowly, the rocks dropped by Kuoroke coming out of the water to hover in front of her, "…Some people might consider this a cry for help. It would have been a shame if someone had incapacitated you while you had these on in the water… Without you being conscious, I suspect you would not have resurfaced in the near future."
"Yeah, extensively philosophical. I don't fall under the 'living' then, I guess?" The threat doesn't amuse Kuoroke. He scowls, and contemplates threatening back, but the brief satisfaction that would give him doesn't measure up to the damage of tipping his hand. "Oh shut it. Don't try to threaten me, little girl. If you've wasted several perfectly good hours to come here and harass me with empty threates, you're free to go try terrorise a six-year-old. That would be more up your alley. If not - what -are- you here for, anyway?"
"It was not a threat. Just an observation. I hardly have any need or desire to threaten you." She shrugs at the question of what she was there for. "Nothing in particular. I was curious, so I followed you. It's not as if I have anything better to do. The person I usually pester is away on business, so my entire… well… week, maybe month, is free. I figured I'd use my exhorbant amount of time to come and see what it is you've been up to, since it's been a long while since I was in Sunagakure… I hear that Suna and Konoha have entered into an agreement recently."
Kuoroke scowls again, but his tone is neutral. "You should try to watch your 'observations', then. I'm fine." he prevaricates. "What about you?" The Kuroki shakes off his initial irritation and even summons a shade of a smile to his face, starting to walk towards the beach. This could be an opportunity. "Speaking of my village. I believe we had a standing agreement as to your occasional employment by Sunagakure. Do you remember that?"
"I do… Though I was under the impression that it was a one-time offer in exchange for the ability to move around Sunagakure without being harassed, and that I looked into some events in the Land of Water that turned out to lead to a dead end in exchange. Was that insufficient?" Arisu tilted her head, and raised a brow, letting the stones drop back into the water as she floated along the surface back to the beach. "Why, was there something in particular that you had in mind? I may or may not request some form of payment in the future… Depending on the nature of the request."
"Well, I wouldn't want to insult your professionalism, but usually when I hire someone I prefer results." Kuoroke answers. "As for what I want from you - you said you had a month free. For that month, I'll need a poster girl. A figurehead… a strawman, if you will. I'll need you to spearhead a little business venture -entirely free of risk- with pomp and glory, then hand that venture over to us officially. You'll be able to make a bit of money though not much. And I'll leave you some freedom in the execution. However, this is paramount: I want a vow of secrecy. Not even that 'person you usually bother' will know of your employment. Agreed?"
"It would be in my best interest to hide any involvement in my efforts to provide assistance to a hidden village anyway. There would be no benefit to me revealing any information about this particular venture, I'm sure… What exactly is it that you need me to do? And why is it that I would be an ideal person to do it for you?" She raises a brow curiously, this wasn't her usual assignment, but of course… she wasn't going to just ignore the request. It seemed easy enough anyway.
<Public> Kynshin has connected.
<Weather> Rain falls gently from pale-grey clouds which fill the sky. A few puddles have formed in places, though the rain is barely enough to water the grass.
GAME: Save complete.
"You've got a month free, you owe me at least half a service and you've got a talent for deception - you vanished off our radar, after all." Kuoroke answers. "Now, as to what I want you to do…" He hesitates, filtering out what she needs to know. "That treaty you mentioned isn't working out, and we can't just turn everything back to how it was. So what I need is an outside agency to clean up a mess - provide our merchants an easy way out before we're hoisted by our own petard. What I need you to do is assume the identity of an opportunist merchant, well-versed in Sunagakuran law. Offer merchants to do their forms for them -at some nominal charge- if they just share their financial data. You won't even have to do their paperwork, you just pass on the financial data to us and we'll do it. After a while, we can claim our approach was functional even if it wasn't, take that business off your hands as quietly as possible, and move on with our lives. Oh. And feel free to decry Sunagakure for its woeful inefficiency."
Arisu considers for a moment, "Fair enough…" She nods slowly, "I suppose I can do that. I suppose I don't need to know the exact details of how this is supposed to work in your favor. I assume you already have that planned out appropriately… If all you need is financial data and various forms of paperwork, that should be fairly simple… You may need to provide me with a book on Sunagakuran law… or at least a brief lesson so that I can show them that I know what I'm talking about should it come up." She looks thoughtful for a moment, "Ah, also… if you happen to need to get ahold of me in the future, perhaps it would be prudent to come up with a means for you to do so… I don't intend to reveal my hiding place or places to anyone at this point in time, so just telling you where to find me wont be an option."
"The best option is to have something that signifies that you wish to speak with me scattered around… Something that would mean nothing to anyone else but me, and would largely be ignored by the masses. Ideally, it'd have to be something that would be inexpensive to implement… the spreading of a specific rumor… advertisements for a small business, such as the one you wish me to be the poster girl for… a sudden cockroach infestation of every single hidden village. Things like that… When I hear about them, or notice them, I'll come to you."
Kuoroke grins slightly. "A posting address is easier, cheaper for me, and less conspicuous. Do you have any idea how much cockroach farms cost these days?" He gives her a disappointed once-over. "It's pointless to hide things in the mundane when you're making it a big show of something mundane. Large size -always- attracts attention."
"Then how about you drop off something in a specific location. I tend to frequent Uzushiogakure and Konohagakure these days… You could send a letter to my old address, and I could periodically check. Also, you could simply have someone leave flowers on my grave or somesuch, it's in the village graveyard, and it'd be nice for SOMEONE to leave something, if only to give the illusion that I'm missed."
"I'll do the latter." Kuoroke promises. "And you'll find me… Oh, I think you can find me if you want to, but if not, check at my office. Oh - and none of that ghost stuff, please. I trust you but not that much. I'll send word ahead to Sunagakure so you can get a crash course there and start setting your operation up. Try to be there as soon as possible, please?"
Arisu nods, "I cannot garuntee a lack of… 'Ghost Stuff' as that's what I am. But if I remember right, you have most important locations in Sunagakure sealed appropriately to prevent me from just stepping through walls and doors, so it shouldn't be too big of an issue." She shrugs a little then begins to fade away, "I'll head off to Sunagakure then, and wait until someone comes out to invite me inside… just to be polite. I'll arrive as a tall brunette woman in nice, but informal clothing… Nothing special. I just prefer to avoid wandering around as 'Arisu' these days."