Date: March 9, 2012
Itami calls Fuyu and Atsuro to the gardens to further gain support and aid in finding Hiroko and ultimately preventing any further problems that may come from her kidnapping.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"Get That Girl! - The Search Begins"
Mystic Flower Gardens
There's a feeling of tension at the admin dome, specifically for Itami due to the situation that she's in as well as those Konoha shinobi as well. She had to draw attention to it somehow, but now that she has the attention, she's feeling pressed for time. The more time she spents trying to gather people together, the more she feels Sabaku slipping away. She can't afford to lose her as she still feels responsibility for her since she was their guest taking asylum here. She sighed and shook her head while these thoughts ran through her mind. Not only that, but she was late to the meeting /she/ scheduled.
The sun has long since set and given way to the evening. A small crowd is building up on this particualr street as people are coming out of their homes and going to enjoy the nightlife. Pushing through the small remainder of people outside of the flower gardens, she ran inside, sandals kicked off to land awkwardly on the ground near the entrance. Before long, she arrives at the meeting place, the lemon tree, just slightly short of breath and maybe even a bit ragged mostly due to embarrassment. Straightening herself out, she sweeps her clothes to give them a quick dusting and bows deeply to Fuyu and Atsuro saying, "I apologize for my late arrival. I've been a bit busy as of late."
To be frank, Atsuro really doesn't know why he's here. He's certainly not one of the higher-ranking Leaf nin currently in Suna, or one of the higher-ranking ninja in his clan. And being one of the higher-ranking Inuzuka in Suna seems pretty unlikely too. So why is he in a meeting with people as high up as Fuyu and Itami? Suffice it to say, he's anticipating an awkward meeting. Even when waiting for Itami with Fuyu (for however long she's been here with him), his usual bravado has failed to manifest and he's simply tried to speak as little as possible, only doing so if Fuyu should somehow prompt it. The rest of his time has been spent doing little more than sharing glances his his nin-dog, Taizen. The dog's presence is some comfort, but it's not as if the two can just have a conversation under the circumstances. If he'd had his druthers, Atsuro would be one of those people coming out to enjoy the nightlife.
Even if she's late, Itami's arrival is something of a relief to him. He's spoken with her a few times before, and now they can get down to business and hopefully get this meeting concluded as quickly as possible. He tries to relax, and succeeds somewhat. He returns Itami's bow. "I don't mind," he says, forcing a smile. Two seconds into the meeting and he's already lying for the sake of politeness. Dammit.
Fuyu is rarely happy to begin with. With her growing suspicions about what the Kazekage is up to and what the TRUE purpose of these 'exams' may be, she is even more unhappy than usual when she hears of more or less all the Leaf Ninja in Sunagakure being detained for questioning. It's not about thinking she or the other Konohagakure natives are somehow entitled to special treatment so much as the treatment they ARE receiving is very different from what the other Villages are getting. And yet, the Councilwoman has scheduled a meeting to discuss things, Fuyu has sources of her own who have conveyed some of the critical information on what the detainment was about to her through secret channels, and while she can't deny she still suspects there is a lot of deception going on here, she at least doesn't think Watanabe Itami is the culprit.
She doesn't seem like the type, and if Itami IS the type then she's very sloppy, which should be cause enough on its own to suspect someone else pulling the strings.
No, Fuyu is not happy. But she is not radiating the barely-contained anger she used to for so many years. Her eyes are closed, and when they are not closed they bear a pale-red Sharingan as though they are operating at some lower level of power than normal. Not that Itami or Atsuro is likely expert enough in such matters to know that without being told. Uncrossing her arms, Fuyu raises her head and opens her eyes when Itami arrives. "Either you intend to brief Inuzuka Atsuro and Uchiha Fuyu, two of Konohagakure's sensor-nin, so that we can help you somehow, or you intend to keep the two of us away from detecting or tracking whatever caused that 'detainment' that you called for by stalling for time. Not to be rude, but if this is a critical situation I'd like to know which is the case here so that I may determine whether to pay attention or walk out of here to inform the Hokage we have had a 'situation."
Well, no one has ever accused Fuyu of lying for the sake of politeness, at least.
Itami raised from her bow, receiving acceptance from one end and figurative heat from the other. She wasn't sure of how to start without fumbling over ger words from lingering embarrassment. "That detainment wasn't anything particularly worrying. That aside, I only wished to discuss a means of retrieving Sabaku or, Toyotomi Hiroko rather, in this case…" She looked to Atsuro and continued saying, "He knows the situation, but I can explain it again. In short, Hiroko has been snatched up and in clear danger along with the Fire Daimyo with what information I was able to gather from the letter she sent me. The Land of Fire may potentially fall into civil war if something isn't done. I have no intent to keep you all here, but I figured that Konoha may be able to serve this situation better than Suna," she explained.
"I'm assuming that Hiroko has been kidnapped by Kiri shinobi, which wouldn't be all that impossible given the history between the both of you. She seemed to figure this as well, which I commend her for planning well in advance with the letter she sent. But…" She hook her head, "I don't believe Sunagakure has the resources to intercept the kidnappers like you all may be able to. We still have time, however short it may be, to catch the kidnappers. Hiroko mentioned water, so they have to be sailing right now."
Yikes. Atsuro exchanges a glance with Taizen. Looks like he was wise to keep his mouth shut earlier. He was actually somewhat impressed by Itami's actions, once he'd realized their purpose, but it seems Fuyu doesn't agree. Hopefully the explanation will cool things down a little. For his part, Atsuro figures it's best to avoid the altercation altogether and stick to the purpose of the meeting. "I don't know why you're asking me, actually." Okay, apparently he's being honest now. "Taizen and I have done plenty of water work," he continues, "But tracking down a boat isn't the same as diving near the shore or saving someone from drowning. If you want my opinion on the /logistics/ of tracking them down, I guess I've got enough experience in that area. But not as much as others, I'm pretty sure."
He reaches into a pocket and produces a sealed envelope. "One other thing," he adds, holding it out to Itami, "It's from one of my students. It's important, but not to what we're talking about now."
Fuyu listens calmly to the explanation. Maybe she's not polite but she's also still not seeming angry or anything… She takes in the story and then asks, "Do you have the letter with you? I'd like to examine it." She holds out her hand expectantly if Itami gives any indication she has the letter immediately available. Apparently she doesn't intend for her request to be refused.
"The neice of the Fire Daimyou… The potential for civil war… And Sunagakure was harboring this girl for how long again?" Fuyu asks thoughtfully.
Itami shrugged in response to Atsuro, "I'm just trying to narrow down some options. All of you are useful, but I suppose it's more of me trying to understand what I'm working with and who than anything else. Whatever you can offer, it would be useful. I could send some Sunagakure ninja out to help as well and attempt to form some cohesive unit or at least work together some kind of way. I still feel resposibility for what has happened, so I want to do everything I can to make this right," she reached out to take the envelope in hand only to briefly flip it over a few times and stuff it away. "I'll read it a little later, thank you. As for my letter…" She muttered to herself and slipped her hand into her clothes to pull it out and give to Fuyu. "A while now, is all I can say. She came here before the exams, hoping to gather an understanding about what may be going on in her home or to draw out some people associated when she participated. I suppose she got her wish…" She sighed. "We went far enough to have documents created to give the impression of her being a Sunagakure citizen, so she'd have more time to work with and less suspicion. Eventually, she was captured and I don't know who was responsible and I don't thinks he does either."
So Atsuro's here to offer speculation for the moment, it seems. "Why me, though?" he asks, "I'm a scout, but I can't do much until there's some kind of lead. But I know how to carry out an investigation, so if you want my ideas on where we should start looking, I'd say we should try to find out how she was taken out of the city." He pauses to rub his chin pensively. "I assume your people would have noticed if she'd been carried out over the walls or underground. Flying would be difficult, and probably noticeable. So we can rule those out." He continues to think about it, but fairly soon shakes his head. "I'd bet they snuck her out of the gates somehow. Either in disguise and coerced into coming with them, or bound and gagged in the back of a wagon or the bottom of a crate. I don't suppose we're so lucky that you guys keep records of people and things leaving the city? If none of those things help, I guess me and anyone else from my clan could just sweep the city looking for her scent." He shrugs. "That's all I've got right now." Itami's explanation of Sabaku's actions in Suna goes without comment. Atsuro's not interested in getting into the politics of this thing.
"Well, it doesn't have to be you specifically. It could be anyone else too. I just wanted to pick out those that showed up in my office and speak with them to see what you all had to offer. Just to make this easier for me to work with and think that I wouldn't be scrounging around alone on this," Itami smiled sheepishly. "At the time of the kidnapping, there was a cart filled with fireworks that were set off, but soon got out of hand. A distraction, I'm guessing for the crime that was actually in progress. That was something I'd just learned recently and managed to chew out the one that did the report, but it doesn't change the situation much. We know that there were some Konoha shinobi that were seen moving away from the scene and elsewhere," she shook her head. "I'm guessing they took the gates. Whatever they did must not have been all that suspicious to the crowd until it was noted that Sabaku had gone missing." She really hates that this has happened and she's growing frustrated once more by thinking about it, but maintains her composure. "So, I don't know what you can do with that information. Along with the letter she sent me and what some people have claimed to see, that's all I can offer at this point. Considering they were in disguise, there probably wasn't any clothing left behind or objects to pick up. Otherwise, they'd have been found…" Then again, with the level of ineptitude that has been going around, who /knows/ what would have been gathered.
Fuyu's eyes narrow as she reads the letter handed to her. She thinks she recognizes the hand-writing… No, she's positive she does. But the person it belongs to is dead… Or so she was told. Were remains ever recovered? Her pulse and heart rate both quicken, but she tries not to let the shock, the sudden excitement, or the momentary dizziness of realizing the posibility exists that one of the members of Team 5 thought dead may still be alive… And someone even more full of secrets than her suspicious mind had thought back then.
"It says the coast of the Land of Wind is where they'll be departing from… And the Land of Tea is the 'point-of-no-return', as it were. I need maps. Trade routes used by merchants, any roads that are maintained to keep them from being hidden by the sand, outposts, watch towers… The nearest port towns and the ones with the least presence of Sunagakure ninja or Land of Wind military forces, if they are not one-and-the-same." She keeps rattling off information as it pops into her head. Maybe Sunagakure is the espionage capital amongst the ninja Villages, but Fuyu was security chief for the Uchiha Clan during the Clan Wars, and personal guard of Uchiha Madara. Being thorough is her business, and letting kidnappers, saboteurs, and assassins escape is something she is proficient at stopping.
"Are you sure there's no underground routes, actually?" When Itami says there were Leaf ninja scene departing around that time, she scowls, some of the spirit returning to eyes that have been like once-burning coals frozen in time just before going out.
"Actually, that helps a lot. If they still have the uniforms then I can simply see who amongst the Konoha shinobi forces should NOT be roaming the desert right now. Then we need reports from all of your scouts as soon as your messenger birds can get to them of any sightings of Leaf ninja in the area while I recall any units who may have strayed. If they're stupid enough to keep wearing those disguises, they'll stand out like beacons. If they discard the disguises but don't destroy them, then they've left scent-laden evidence that can be tracked." Fuyu turns her attention on Atsuro and says, "Speaking of which, I need you and your nin-ken to check the letter's scent and see how many people have handled it, any latent odors that could provide clues as to who is responsible, any odd plant chemicals or similar…" she indicates Itami vaguely with one hand as she hands over the letter.
"Watanabe, I recommend you use those vaunted Hayato of yours to search from above. Shippodoku tracking from below would be great too, but I don't know how fast they can travel and while secrecy is a factor, their concealed movement underground is less relevant than just chasing these people down. A few more falcons in the sky than usual will just have to be lived with, and if others figure out something is up, then maybe they'll investigate on their own… Or panic, if they've got something to hide. So be on the alert for people fleeing as well… Unrest amongst criminal circles, and so on."
She's giving out orders like this is her Village instead of Itami's, but she makes sense at least. "We have to move fast. I'll see if we can alert people in the Land of Tea in advance. Maybe they can help watch the waters."
The amount of information that pours forth from both Itami and Fuyu is, frankly, staggering. "I was also thinking that less suspicious activities might have been recorded. If she was taken to a coastal village, maybe you have records of items being transported to coastal villages. Then look for something unusual. If they said they were delivering — ****, I dunno — marble to a tiny little fishing village, that's cause for suspicion, isn't it? And if you know that they were disguised as Leaf nin, maybe there's a record of Leaf nin leaving the village around that time?" He glances between Fuyu and Itami with a looks that says 'I don't really know,' then looks down at the letter. "We'd need a few minutes with it to sort out that many details." He glances around at the various trees and flowers in the gardens. "And not here."
Fuyu's words didn't go unheard by Itami and she took them all to mind while thinking over the options she has. The Hayato would be useful in this and could at least find traces that would otherwise have gone unnoticed by others and the Shippodoku…she sighed. Such a difficult bunch to work with, but she thinks she can manage. All in all, she now has what she needs to go ahead and get this all started and hopefully get to those kidnappers before they get too far. "I'll get some Hayato on the case and Shippodoku if I can manage getting past their…selfishness. Anyway, maps, I have and logs as well among other notes and such that may be useful to this. I'll be looking over them all personally as I don't want to leave this in anyone else's hands, but my own," she offers. "I'll leave right now and return to Administration to get started. I've got the time to spare and…I haven't been sleeping all that much anyway, so hopefully I can gather up something before the morning hours." She bowed once more to both of them, "I appreciate you both coming to meet me here and discuss this. I do hope that we can all manage to save Hiroko and ultimately the Land of Fire from a terrible fate." She began to back away and rise from her bow. "If there's anything else you all need of me, I'll be at admin." She then turned to head back down the path and leave the gardens.