Date: December 26, 2011
Deciding confrontation was not the best of ideas in solving an increasingly public situation involving Taiki, the minor elements of the Inuzuka Clan try something else… and still stick their foot in it. Note: Campaign name changed as the conflict goes well beyond Team Ten now.
"Inuzuka Pride Chronicles: Betrothal Follies"
Training Area #26: Genin Training area
Taiki seems to be off to the side of the practice area, along with Shinobu. They seem to be repeatedly attacking a very large stuffed bag hanging from a tree, with Shinobu attacking first and trying to hold it. Then Taiki attacks, trying to get at a weak point, or what would be a weak point if the bag were human. After his attack, the pair seem to talk briefly to evaluate something, then start again. It is mid-afternoon, the warmest part of the day, and the duo are doing something while waiting for someone, apparently.
Ryo wanders by the area and spots Taiki and Shinobu. He moves towards them and waves a hand. "How's it going?" he asks before glancing at the bag. He seemed unaware that Taiki was actually waiting for someone. He had been spending a lot of time around the area and was picking up a lot of combat experience.
A couple of loud rustles from the trees nearby signal the entrance of Atsuro and Taizen, who are now standing up in the branches of the trees near Taiki and Shinobu, looking down on the two of them. "Ahhh," says Atsuro, "Knew I smelled you. If it isn't my favourite student. And Taiki, his partner. That bag offend you or something? Looks like you're almost damaging the poor thing." He gives a smug grin, then looks up as he sees that Ryo is here too. "Ah, the little Uchiha that could. How's your sword fighting going?"
Taiki seems a little tense at the moment, but at first, at least, he's good at hiding it from all but the most discerning eyes. "I'm… fine," Taiki answers Ryo, before attacking the sack again. Small holes from bite marks can be seen all over the bottom edge, but Taiki is, at least for the moment, using just fists, so there's no actual damage from Taiki, other than clouds of dirt that seem to puff up at each exchange.
But when Atsuro come in with his taunts, which ordinarily would spark some kind of sarcastic comeback from the genin, Taiki instead seems to tense up. A faint whine can be heard from the distance as a different dog from the last time Ryo sparred with Taiki seemed to be watching. Atsuro would recognize it as Kenshin's ninken though, as it is apparently his turn. Taiki doesn't seem to answer Atsuro directly, but instead the duo launch themselves at the sack again. Only this time Taiki's stress levels show: he misses.
Ryo notices a slight difference in Taiki. He didnt seem as lively as his usual Inuzuka self. He then turns towards Atsuro and his ninken. "It is always a pleasure to see you Taizen. I see your taking Atsuro out for a walk." the boy states as he glances towards Atsuro with a smile. Taizen always did seem like the more down to earth one of the pair. "I am doing better. Earlier I destroyed two Hyuga in a two on one match. The sword play was the difference." Then Ryo noticed Taiki's miss of the bag. He had also seen the other ninken, but he was unsure of who's it was.
Hm. Well, something seems to have Taiki upset. And Atsuro has a feeling he knows what, at least to some degree. He hops down from his perch in the trees, Taizen following suit quickly afterwords and gets closer to Taiki, taking a look at the boy. "You alright?" he asks, trying to keep his voice low. Taiki might not want Ryo involved, or… there might be someone else listening in. He glances at Ryo. "Not today, but he often does. I need my exercise. I'm sure it's the same with you and your human, eh?"
"I thought I asked to meet you alone, Taiki'kun," a voice sound from behind the strange ninken just after Atsuro finished speaking. The voice was melodic and soft, but only on the surface, as if someone was doing their level best to be seductive, though it was not evidentially their usual way of talking. Strutting out from the trees appears to be a young girl about a couple years older than Taiki with black hair, the Inuzuka fang marks, and dark eyes. For a 15 year old, she seems to be filling in fairly well. "I had wondered why you chose this place. What, are you afraid of little old me?"
Taiki didn't even have time to answer the question, but the way he subtly tenses up at the sound of her voice seems to indicate an answer to Atsuro's whispered question. Taiki's gaze shifts momentarily toward Ryo before he sighs and shakes his head. "I had hoped she'd get the message and not come," Taiki very quietly answers Atsuro. It is safe to say someone is indeed listening in at this point. Carefully schooling his face, he turns around and gives the girl a short bow. "I'm sorry Sakura'sama, but I did not feel it would be… proper for us to have a private meeting as you had asked. Especially given your grandfather's position, and both his and your father's views of me. I am, after all, not well seen by your family." To those that can read him, Taiki seems to be drawing closer to a point between Atsuro and Ryo ever-so-subtly, apparently hoping to keep distance between himself and this girl.
Ryo turned away from Taiki as Atsuro just implied he was a hound. He looked towards Taizen and then points towards Atsuro's backside. "I think he just insulted ninken. You really should bite him." Then Ryo heard the girls voice. He glanced towards her and was able to tell she was of the Inuzuka clan. She was not one that he had seen before.
The boy watches as Taiki seems to move towards him and Atsuro. The boy places a hand on his shin gunto blade's hilt. He does so slowly, as if not to say he felt she might do Taiki danger.
"If you think Taizen's going to side with you, you're dreaming," Atsuro tells Ryo, "Side-taking isn't really his thing." But enough about that, Atsuro turns to look at this new girl. "Oh," he says, "You seem fun. I feel bad for ruining your meeting now, I bet it would have been a thrill a minute. Alas." He makes eyes towards Ryo and subtly shakes his head no, trying to indicate that he shouldn't try and fight for the moment. "But you know, I've had plenty of meetings here. You should give it a whirl."
"'Sakura'sama?' Mou… why do you have to be so mean Taiki'kun?" the girl asks cutely, batting her eyes at Taiki. "And since when have you been concerned about propriety? Though," she pauses, looking at the bag for a moment. "It seems like you're at least taking grandfather's advice this time. I'm sure he'll be soooo happy. He may even forgive you not attending his lessons." She gives Atsuro one glance and quickly looks over to Taiki. Ryo doesn't even get that. The guard ninken stands up and starts growling, turning his body to see both her and the trail behind her. "Go back to your master little doggy," Sakura adds toward the ninken. "You don't need to be here any more. I'm no danger to your master's son, am I Taiki'kun?"
Taiki also subtly shakes his head toward Ryo, even has his face pales a little more. This is not going to be a situation to provoke violence. "I'm afraid he can't do that Sakura'sama. I can't even tell him to leave, only pops can." His next glance is to Atsuro, but it is more to ensure the Chuunin is still there. "But as far as propriety goes… when your grandfather sits on the Elder Council, please understand that propriety is the foremost on my mind. That… and well…" He stops for a moment, unable to get out what he wants to say, only to be derailed by one implication. "What do you mean by anymore? And why are you being so… flirtatious with me? I thought you despised me."
Despite the fact that one of Ryo's new favorite pass times was to mess with Atsuro, the boy eases his hand off the hilt of his blade. In a dysfunctional way he respected Atsuro. He then glances towards Taiki and tries to understand what the kid says, but it seemed to be clan stuff and huge words that he had no clue of their meaning. For the moment he just sits there. He was interested to see how this turned out. Of course no one needed to ask who's side he was on should it turn violent.
GAME: Save complete.
Atsuro's only response to the girl's glance is a smirk. He's used to this treatment, and more than okay with it. Frankly, he would prefer to have as little of this girl's attention as possible. He stays silent for the moment, simply leaning against a nearby tree and watching the drama unfold. Taiki's glance gets a nod in return. The message is clear: I'm here if you need me. He only watches Ryo out of the corner of his eye, but nods to him slightly as well when the boy loosens his grip on the blade.
Sakura pouts in a manner that is supposed to be cute. But she has no idea what she's doing, and is laying it on really too thick to be even remotely genuine. "I don't hate you Taiki'kun," she says, her voice coming off like poisoned honey, "I've never hated you. I hate the shame you brought to the clan, and the generations of tradition you've thumbed your nose up at, but that's just your actions. I've always liked you, but I just thought you needed someone to help guide you in the proper ways of a Founder. Fortunately Daddy finally agreed with me, and promised to approach your parents about a contract. In fact, he should be with them now. Isn't that wonderful? I'm sure I can help you, and show you the glore of our clan's heritage. You'll see," she says as she glides closer to Taiki, "Taijutsu can be soooo much better than Ninjutsu, especially when you have someone who can properly show you just how powerful it can be."
The way she said 'properly' causes both Taiki and his father's ninken to bristle up even more than before, though Taiki is losing his trepidation. When he hears what her father is doing, he starts shaking as his eyes narrow. "I'll never marry you, Sakura'/sama/," Taiki all but snarls. "I don't believe for a minute that either Mother or Father would acquiesce to such a contract, since they remember how you hurt me when I was seven," Taiki says as he stiffens. He takes a moment or two to calm himself down, reminding himself of just what is at stake here. "And besides, my interests lie elsewhere, as both my parents well know." His eyes move over to Ryo again, silently trying to guage his reaction to this latest tactic. Why did she have to do this in front of an Uchiha, especially the teammate of said "interest?"
Things were making more sense now. Ryo was understanding what this was. A marriage of sorts and the eyes of Taiki were elsewhere. They were on that of Naru. Ryo glanced towards Taiki and offered a shrug. He was not about to look down on the boy. To each their own. He knew damn well he would be pissed if someone else was to decide whom he would marry. Then again he figured there was something deeper here. She had injured Taiki before. She also spoke of shame. Things were starting to unravel in this mystery.
Wow, this chick is /creepy/. And it's taking all of Atsuro's willpower not to say this out loud. Much as he would like to, he's pretty sure it would have some serious repercussions for Taiki. And maybe himself as well. He takes a couple of slow, careful steps towards Taiki. He can't interfere directly, at least not yet, but he can make his presence known. Who know what this girl is planning to do? He glances over to Ryo and raises an eyebrow, turning his head slightly, trying to direct him over to himself.
"Never is a long time, Taiki'kun," the female Inuzuka replies sweetly. She looks for all the world like butter would not melt in her mouth, even when Taiki all but states that she had attacked him before. "And I'm sure your parents can be persuaded, given the right… impetus. And once they sign, you'll have no choice. It will be either marry me, and do what I say, or be banished."
Taiki winces at that last statement. He can't even take solace in Atsuro's approach. He is silent for a few moments before gulping. "The day my parents are forced to agree, either by threats or other… inducements… is the day the Inuzuka won't have to banish me," Taiki says finally, shoring up his courage. "I'll leave, and take Shinobu with me. And then the clan will have to kill me to get me back. Because I'd rather die than be your slave. Or more to the point, your grandfather's slave."
At this point the seductive stance and voice falls away as Sakura glares at Taiki. "OH REALLY? Tell me Taiki'dobe, where do you think you'll go? Even the mongrel kurr there can't escape the clan. What makes you think you will be able to? Who do you think will take you in? I can guarentee it won't be the Uchiha… After all, their as steeped in tradition as we are, and won't take someone who defies his elders at every step and won't fulfill his role. Do you think your precious Uchiha "interest" will like you when she finds out you have defied tradition, spit in the the face of those trying to get you to fulfill the role you were born into, and refuse to follow the clan's ways? What will they do when they learn all these things about you?" She then looks over to Ryo for the first time and smirks. "Oh wait… there's an Uchiha right there! Oops!"
Ryo smiled as the woman babbled on about the Uchiha clan and Taiki's Uchiha interest. "My clan really is the pride of the entire village. It brings me great joy to know that you would try to solve your clan politics by looking to the greatness of mine." Ryo then turns towards Taiki. "Sorry bud. I tried to stay quiet as long as I could. I think your right to have interests elsewhere. This chick has no personality, talks way too damn much and to boot, she's flat as a board." Ryo then glanced an eye towards Atsuro. He was not sure just how much trouble he dug himself into.
A low chuckle escapes Atsuro's lips. Apparently, something Sakura just said was funny to him. In any case, he apparently feels it's finally time to speak up. "I hate to interrupt, but why don't we just cut the crap? What is it you want exactly? You can't seriously expect to get anything out of this, can you? Not the deal itself, I'm guessing, unless you want a loveless marriage for some reason." He no longer walks towards Taiki, but instead starts moving off to the side. "So, is it a filial duty thing? Some kind of reward?"
At first Taiki barely resists slapping his forehead with his hand. Ryo just stepped in it big time. But looking at Sakura, he could tell the witch is too stunned to come back with a retort. That and Ryo played his clan card perfectly. The more he thought about it as Sakura stood there imitating a fish, the more he began to realize Ryo was a certifiable genius! Because of this, Taiki relaxes a bit as Atsuro asks his question. "Oh, I know what she gets out of this. You see, she's quite the sadist, this one. She knows how to heap the abuse, and only my parents threatening to have her jailed prevented her from pushing me of an even higher roof after the first time," Taiki explains. "Her grandfather was the one that beat me so bloody that time sensei. And he threatened to do it again if I got medical help. She's the same way, thus the reason I'd rather die than be with her. That… and I happen to think Ryo'san is right, she's not very attractive at all. And her family! Sheesh!"
At this point another ninken stalks out of the trees, circling around the guard ninken in order to try to get a clear shot at Taiki. Sakura is about to order her partner to attack when Taiki calls out, "Shinobu, Sentry!" At this command Shinobu circles around and faces off on the invading ninken's other side.
Ryo grins wide at the Inuzuka girl. He had figured in the Inuzuka world, those words amounted to some kind of prelude to love. He then spots the other ninken that came out. "No need to get Shinobu involved if she's attacking me. I will be more than happy to defend myself." the boy states as he places a hand on his blade. He then glances towards Atsuro. He was unsure what part the sensei would play, though to see him not be his usual smart ass self meant this chick must have been someone.
Atsuro looks over to the new dog and frowns. "Oh," he says, sighing, "And here I was starting to like you, but then you had to go and do something stupid." He stops moving to wherever it was he was moving. He rubs his chin. "Actually nevermind, everything you've done up to this point has been nothing but a series of mistakes. But if you'd like to change that pattern, you could start by calling off your mutt. Just a friendly suggestion."
Before Sakura can say another word, Taiki adds his own words to the "discussion." "Let's see… three ninken, a Genin's, a Chuunin's, and an elite Jounin's ninken versus one little bitty Chuunin's ninken… And it wasn't that long ago you were a Genin, Sakura'sama. I don't think Hiroku stands a chance, do you?" Taiki then says, "Likely she called her here to attack me, Ryo'san. After all, it is her family's favorite past-time. But you see, I have friends, comrades, and family that will stand up for me now. Your tricks used to work… when I was maneuvered away from everyone. They don't work quite so well anymore. So what now? Hmm?"
Sakura may be sadistic, may be (barely) calculative, but like all bullies, she crumbles at the first sign of strong opposition. "Hiroku, stand down," she calls out, taking a few steps back. "I'm not afraid of you, Taiki'dobe. You're weak, your Taijutsu sucks, and your sensei is trash. More than that, you and the Uchiha are genin. What can you do against me, hmm?"
Ryo nods his head towards Taiki. "You sure she's a girl? I mean there is a slight bulge in her throat. Though only boys had the adam's apple." Ryo kinda points. "I'm telling you Taiki… maybe her folks just figured she was too damn weak to be a boy. So they named her Sakura and told her she was a girl." It becomes painfully obvious Ryo has spent way too much time around Atsuro.
With Sakura deciding she'd rather not fight for the moment Atsuro relaxes slightly, though he's still careful to keep an eye both on Sakura and Hiroku. Nodding at Ryo, he says pleasantly. "Now, Uchiha-san, we don't talk to the children like that. Nothing mean, please." He shakes his head and smiles. "Trash? Well, now you're just being nasty. Anyway, I'm sure you have other things to take care of." He lowers his voice to a snarl. "Don't let us keep you."
Taiki smirks a bit and says, "You really are behind the times, aren't you?" Taiki then channels some lightning chakra into his hand, holding it out in front of him so she can see it. "I'm doing pretty well in my training now, especially since I've discovered my affinity for lightning. So if you think you can outrun lightning, feel free to attack. Otherwise, I'd get out of here. You see, Ryo'san here is perfectly capable of keeping up with seasoned Genin. He'd even provide a Chuunin with a workout. And we all know how /you/ got your promotion… at least if the rumors are true. And you call Atsuro'sensei trash? You, who is dressed like a two bit prostitute? Did you honestly believe I'd fall for that? Please… you repulse me. Go on back to Daddy, Sakura'sama, and tell him you failed."
Sakura frowns deeply and says, "I may have failed, traitor. But one way or another, you will bow down to us. You will act like a Founder Clan member should act, and you will be a proper Inuzuka. Remember, we can do far worse than kill you." With this she turns and stalks off, her nose in the air.
"I'm surprised she hasn't drowned in a rainstorm yet," Taiki observes, shaking his head. Turning to his sensei and his friend, he bows slightly. "Domo Arigatomasu."