Date: January 28, 2017
Written for the RP challenge What if? Kage for a Day. The terrible reality of Hayase as Mizukage.
"What If? Kage for a Day - Interview with the Mizukage"
It was a terrible day for the Mizukage. It was past noon, and lunch still hadn't been delivered to her. Yesterday she got a nice helping of fried bass, chowder, kebabs, pork buns, bean buns, and cream buns for dessert. Now there wasn't so much as a minced minnow on her office desk. She sat there with her stomach growling, as she tried to read today's reports. One reported a landslide in a nearby town. An army of shinobi riding bears. Massive shortages in shipments. A message from the Daimyou. Another warning about an assassination attempt on her person. She leafed through them, and finally stopped at an interesting one. Restaurant policies.
It was a choice between having discounts on appetizers every Thursday, or specials on Sunday. The choice was obvious. She wrote that there would be both.
Another report mentioned clothes policy of Kiri shinobi. She wrote that they ought to be able to wear any clothes (or lack thereof) they wished.
There was another one about who would get administrative promotions. Since they'd been knocking non-stop on her door for the past two hours, she finally allowed the first applicant to enter. It was a sour faced Jounin by the name of Rokudo. He had expressed an ambition to be the Mizukage's personal assistant.
"Greetings Mizukage," Rokudo said. "I hope your afternoon is running smoothly."
"Yes," Hayase said. "I just confirmed an important policy."
"That's good to hear. I'd like to thank you for scheduling this appointment…even if you only let me in now, three hours late."
"Sorry about that," Hayase said. "I was busy."
"Understandable. So have you given a thought to who you want to promote to your personal assistant?"
Nope, she hadn't.
"Yes, of course, Rokudo-san," Hayase said with a smile.
"My name isn't Rokudo. It's Rishi. Touketsu Rishi."
"I said that," Hayase mumbled. "So, um, what are your qualifications?"
"I thought you said you'd given some thought to this appointment. I'm a hunter nin. I've been a hunter nin for thirty years."
"I knew that." Hayase grabbed the sheet that listed Rishi's shinobi information. There was his ID number, accomplished missions, main jutsu, and so on. "Yes, you're very accomplished." His picture looked so dour though. As if he'd eaten a sour plum. She picked up a pencil and started taking notes. "I'd like you to tell me your reasons, in your own words, why you'd make the best personal assistant."
Rishi nodded. "I'm a disciplined and well ordered shinobi. I've always carried out my duties flawlessly. I have years of clerical knowledge. I'm a skilled combatant and I…wait. Are you drawing a mustache and demon horns on my picture!?"
"No." Hayase quickly flipped the sheet over. "Thank you Rokudo-san. I'll consider your appointment. You may leave."
The next person to walk in was an Okumo.
"You may leave," Hayase said.
The next were twins. Hayase scratched her head. "Why are you identical?"
"We're from the Onchou Clan, who are known as the twin clan."
"I've never heard of that clan. You may leave."
The next person to come in was a thin man in plain clothes, but what drew Hayase's eyes was a plate of rice balls. They had pickled plums in them. Hayase brightened up considerably. "Finally lunch has arrived!" she said, as he set the plate before her. She wolfed down a rice ball in the blink of an eye. "You're hired," she said.
"Hired? For what?"
"You're here for the personal assistant interview, right?"
"No. I'm just here to deliver your lunch. I'm a delivery boy."
"These are delicious. Are you saying you don't want to be my personal assistant?" She looked at him with disbelief.
"Yes. I mean no. I mean, do you really want me as your personal assistant? I'm just a delivery boy."
"What's your name?"
"Well Gonbu-san the delivery boy, this is your lucky day. You've been promoted.. You're now my personal assistant Go get me some pickled vegetables. And tell the other applicants they may leave."
"O-of course!" Her personal assistant rushed out.
With the important matters out of the way, Hayase took the time to finish her lunch. Later that day she learned Gonbu had been assassinated minutes after leaving her office. That was a shame. And it explained why her pickled vegetables never came. One of her current advisers came in, and started a rant. It was about how she was not taking her duties seriously. That she was only thinking with her stomach, and in fact she wasn't paying attention even now as she ate a rice ball. He said if she carried on in this neglectful manner, the council may very well depose her. She tuned him out after a while, and occasionally nodded. When it was getting really boring, a man named Hatsu slipped in. At first she was happy for the interruption, then she was angry.
Hayase looked at him suspiciously. "Aren't you supposed to be guarding my family?" she asked. "You're their bodyguard."
"Your mother sent me to tell you that it's your bedtime. It's past your curfew."
Hayase glanced at her adviser, who was snorting back laughter. "Tell my mother I'm the Mizukage," Hayase said, with a pang of annoyance. "She can't tell me what to do. And Hatsu-san, please stop saying that while other people are around."
"She said if you didn't come home right now, you'd be grounded," Hatsu warned.
Hayase fidgeted. She really didn't want to be grounded. "Go back and tell her I'll be there in an hour."
"Half an hour, young lady," Hatsu scolded. "Erm, that's what your mother said."
"You may leave. You too, adviser…" Oh, he'd already left. Hayase breathed a sigh of relief.
In the next fifteen minutes, she ordered some quick dessert. She ate in the pleasant quiet. Yet it was short lived when the door banged open so hard it was wrenched from its hinges. Kaguya Tsiro stormed in. "Maki Hayase! People say you told everyone I made you Mizukage!"
Uh oh. Hayase ducked behind her desk. "I wanted to be Mizukage, for a bit. Sorry Mizukage-sama. You weren't around so I told everyone you'd promoted me."
"And they believed you?"
"You've been so idle. In fact, everyone's been idle lately. The only ones around are puppeteers, Shirayuki!, and half of the populace in the Idle Room."
"I've been busy in real life. Or helping out in Iwa. It's time for you to wake up. Wake up, Hayase."
"Wake up Hayase, wake up," a woman's voice said. "You're going to be late."
Hayase opened her eyes, and her mother leaned over her bed. Suddenly, she was Hayase the Genin. She had never been or would ever be Mizukage. And she was hungry. She hadn't had breakfast yet.
"You looked like you were having a dream," her mother said.
"Yeah, I had the strangest dream," Hayase said. "I was the Mizukage. But it was all just make believe. Our world was a game played by real people, and we were just characters."
"That sounds interesting," her mother said. "You should write about it."