Date: 25th May, 2010
A meeting at the gates of Kirigakure. Kurohana and the Mizukage play chess.
Gray clouds dim the afternoon light, the perpetual grey-blue state of the air hinting at an aura of cold hovering on the outskirts of their watery lands. Just the edges of it cool the skin and then the humid heats fights, making its last stand for the year.
She had taken to the trees along the path, exploring up and down through the forests. Enjoying herself, really. She couldn't let her hood back like this in the Land of Fire. The sun would have charred her snowy skin in an instant. Feet softly land upon the branches and hands grip at the limbs. She seems to be gaining speed toward the village, her cheeks flushing red and a hazy fog of air puffing from her lips.
Her black cloak billows out as she lands back int he path, satisfied with her scouting attempt. She's learned enough for now. They've an interesting greenery about the village. Letting the hood stay lazily upon her shoulders, Kurohana finally approaches the gates, her green eyes lifting up in curiosity with a slight side of amazement. Nothing like Konohagakure. Her lips turn into a smirk. This place is far more suitable to her tastes.. so far.
"Checkmate", Mitsuo said, grinning triumphantly as he set his Bishop into place. His opponent stared through the blackened eye sockets of an eagle's skull in stunned silence. Nearby, another black-garbed servant of death and destruction shook its vulture's head and reached out to pat its comrade on the shoulder. With the slightest gesture of his hand, Mitsuo instructs his game partner to get the chess board ready for another game.
Even if it the weather wasn't exactly perfect for lawn chairs, the Mizukage settled back into his for a moment. 'Vulture' took the opportunity to offer him a glass of lemonade, complete with an umbrella and straw. The venture proved successful, much to the benefit of Mitsuo. As for why the horned master of Kirigakure was playing chess with one of his secret ops agents in the middle of the day… He liked the change of scenery. Plus, it kept some of his village's inhabitants on their toes to see their Kage out and about.
Whilst Kumogakure had been Suzume's home for the last month or so, the mountain air was starting to get to her. When all you've known is mists, death and destruction, one can get quite homesick when you travel. Due for a report back on anyrate, the Swordsman trudges back down along a familiar path, humming a tune to herself. With half of her face covered by hair, the youth tilts her head a little as she spots a stranger at the gates. Instinctively, a hand comes up to grip the hilt of Samehada—the massive bandaged sword strapped to her back.
"Strangers in Kirigakure? That sounds a little odd to me, especially in this time of War." She speaks out aloud, making no effort to hide herself. "You have exactly twenty-two seconds to explain why you're here, without using the letter 'I'. If you can do that, then I'll believe you're not one of those idiot Kumogakure shinobi trying to sneak in. Otherwise, Samehada here devours you." She grins widely. "..I like games. This sounds fun. Go!"
Kurohana's eyes lift when she hears a light rumbling of voices and the quiet movement of chess pieces against a proper platform. The girl pauses, watching the Mizukage for a moment. An audible half-laugh is heard from behind her pursed and smirking lips. Playing games like that in weather like this. And do all his friends wear masks? Is there even living flesh beneath them?
A closer voice draws her attention and her voice away from asking questions that he might consider rude. Green eyes peer slightly upward to the person. She just stares for a moment and then lifts a hand to motion to the Mizukage. Her shoulder shrugs slightly. There you go, an answer without a word at all.
The woman moves a step or two around her, her voice soft but polite. "Pardon." Her voice is rather smooth. A delightful noise. It's such a bother that she's being approached like this. She considers it a failure on his part to communicate. Tsk, tsk, Mr. Important-person.
Mitsuo felt quite content to lean back and idly watch his eagle skull wearing follower set up his chess board for another game. Ocassionally sip at the sour lemonade his vulture helmed servant had prepared, and relax. It wasn't until 'Eagle' turned its head slightly and then pointed down the pathway that the Mizukage noticed what was going on between Water's latest guest and one of the Seven Swordsmen.
"Hey, Suzume!", Mitsuo called out, waving her over with a casual hand, "We're not going to kill that one unless she causes trouble". It didn't seem to bother him in the least that Suzume was ready to cut down someone that may not even pose any threat to the village. Then again, genocidal warlords weren't big on compassion.
Looking over to Kurohana with a drowzy expression, he asks her, "Ito, you play chess? Not that drab Eastern-styled crap, but real chess". Even if the pieces moved the same, and the rules were identical, he loved Western-style chess. The pieces were much more stylish, making it them seem like an army - His army.
"Haha! Nice one." Suzume sounds greatly pleased, releasing the grip on her sword. "A Kumogakure ninja would have at least stumbled along words. That, and you don't have the gross smell of mountain air on you. Y'know, like goats." With arms folding across her chest, an eye glances over to Mitsuo as she instructs her not to kill the guest. Seems she missed him being there entirely! Perhaps she was too invested in playing her little game with the newcomer? "No problem!" She calls back. A nod is given to the guests direction. "I think she's safe to enter. Definitely not from Kumo. But! Mizukage!"
A swift bow. "It's great to see you in such fine health. And enjoying the day, no less. Today marks day sixty-four of being away from Kirigakure and in the Land of Lightning. I have been doing everything as ordered. Killing animals, poisoning water, and of course, slaughtering their shinobi." It's no secret that Kirigakure has ninja in the Land of Lightning, and as such, Suzi makes no effort to hide this from the guest. "Everything is going well."
Kurohana tips her head to the side when he asks her about playing chess. She hesitates, looking toward the village gates and then back before she decides to join him. Her steps are casual as she walks forward. A pause is take as she looks to the person with the mask, expecting him to move. Yes, she knows the game.
Hearing the tales of pillaging and war-like things, the kunoichi seems unaffected and, if anything, uninterested. The strong defend themselves, the weak get pushed aside or trampled over. It's the way of things. Get over it. It's good that she makes no effort to hide anything for hiding something from an individual who couldn't care less is a waste of effort.
"Good work, Suzume", Mitsuo says with a grin of sinister pleasure, "I'll be sending you out again soon, but with a little more backup. I'll be taking to the frontlines again soon". The Mizukage's wicked expression splits into something even more vicious and twisted, "I want to see if we can't press our advantage and deal even more damage to the Land of Lightning and their shinobi village".
Growing from sadistic to sleepy, Mitsuo sinks back into his lawn chair and heaves a steady sigh. For a moment, it almost seemed as if he had fallen asleep. However, once Kurohana drew near, a small grin creeped upon his lips. "Good… Good", he murmured as the shinobi hearing the skull of a large eagle nodded to Kurohana and slipped out of the chair. Those weren't masks, but the real deals.
"Before you head settle down, Suzume, why don't you stick around for a little longer", Mitsuo asked, "I'd like to hear about how Kumogakure is reacting to our change of tactics - Assuming they're capable of learning at this rate".
Standing up straight from her bow, Suzume grins as Kurohana moves over to play some chess. "Er, you can start speaking again if you like. Don't worry, you're not dead or anything." Just to make sure that she isn't still following that rule. Adjusting her bandaged sword a little, the Swordsman walks over to where the duo are playing their game. "Chess isn't my thing." She reveals. Yet somehow, it shouldn't be surprising.
"One more thing, Mizukage. I fought the man whom is leading Kumogakure into battle at the Waves; Masahiro. The Raikage's right hand man." A pause. "I wiped the floor with him, but that isn't the big thing. I had to reveal 'it'." Seems there are at least some secrets she wants to keep! "…so I am not sure what will happen with them knowing that information. But it had to be done. He was angry at me because I stuck some Jounin heads on pikes all around the pathways." A smirk. "He fled after I hit him a few times. A bit of a wimp. He's able to travel exceptionally long distances in a relatively short time, too."
At the revelation, her eyes widen. "We are going to invade the village itself? Hmm. To be honest? I haven't felt pressured at all in that country. It's as if they ignore me sometimes and just deal with it. I have yet to be in the village itself, but moving around in the country is easy." A small cough. "It could be part of their plan. But with heaps of their forces at the Waves, I guess it's hard for them to counter-attack."
Kurohana sits down, her eyes studying the chess board as she listens to the two speaking. Her black-painted fingers lift up to move a piece, sliding a simply pawn forward to test his tactics, his strength. Afterward, her eyes lift to lock with the Mizukage's, studying his expression as he plans his counter.
"What is the purpose of your village?" It's a simple enough question. She likes simple questions sometimes. They can lead to interesting answers. Fingers rest gently on the edge of the board, her nails gently touching one of the stationery pieces.
"You did, did you?", Mitsuo remarks rhetorically, "I fought him too, during their initial invasion of Waves. Good to know that we have others who can best him. Did he use anything beyond basic sword techniques this time?". Hearing that Suzume had to use her trump card, the Mizukage chews his lip a little before shrugging. "That's fine. It just means that we'll have to start being more careful when you're in the field - We had anticipated that anyway", he goes on without even glancing at the chess board, "If he's capable of such travel, then we should expect their kage to move faster - Fortunately, she hasn't taken an active role in things. Yet. Anyway, give a copy of your report to Team One".
Once most of the business was out of the way, Mitsuo turned his glazed gaze to the chess board. A snort is blasted from his nostrils at the pawn Kurohana had moved. The Mizukage's expression is weary, his eyelids heavy and the corners of his mouth drooping. Yet, there is more to it than just a sleepy pair of eyes and a frown - Something doesn't feel right. Then, Mitsuo looks up from the board and into Kurohana's eyes, and then she sees it. The fire blazing far, far below the surface of his eyes. He wasn't tired, he was restraining himself.
Setting a knight into play as his first move, Mitsuo parts his lips to answer her question:
"Kirigakure is to serve as the foundation for a new age that I will usher in. An age so great that there will never be another so grand"
"He used some clones and wind techniques." Suzume reveals, nodding a little. "..but mainly his big sword. It was no match for Samehada though. Hee hee!" She grins, peering a little at Kurohana. "Kirigakure? What it does?" She doesn't answer, but instead goes back to Mitsuo. "Right, Team One it is. And I haven't even heard of the Raikage making any moves at all." Pouting a bit, she sighs. "I did so want to meet him, but I guess it isn't meant to be." With Mitsuo starting to rave about the new age that Kirigakure will bring, Suzume sighs in happiness, tilting her head to the sky. "Mmm. That will be nice."
Kurohana looks at his eyes, noting the energy in them. She grins, her lips partly slightly to show the pearly white teeth beneath. He's an interesting one. She'll give him that much.
Fingers trace gently over the tip of a bishop and she glides it through the empty squares and into play, setting it up for a possible future flank of his knight.
"At what cost?" Her black-tipped fingers pull away from the bishop and come to rest behind her King once more. Her eyes don't detach themselves from his face though. What's he hiding from her? What secrets will his eyes betray? One down.
"Heh! Clones and a few wind jutsu - Is that all? He'll be dead by the end of the month if that's the best he can do", Mitsuo laughs. A long pull is taken from his glass of lemonade as he sits up in his chair.
Peering up at Suzume, the Kaguya barely manages to raise an eyebrow. "The Raikage is a little tart in samurai armor. She fights like one too, which is no surprise", he says in a dismissive tone, "Anyway, if you want to fight her that badly, it'd be easy to get her into another trap. The only problem is getting around the goons that want to protect her stubborn ass".
Returning his attention to the game board, Mitsuo musters the energy to lift a bone-plated arm. The fingers that burned so hotly to clinch themselves round a throat, any throat, and squeeze the life out of it wrap themselves around the head of the Knight so gently. Willing himself not to pulverize the game piece into dust before launching a spike from his kneecap into the nearest person's chest, Mitsuo shifts the Knight out of a potential flanking area while bringing it close enough to attack in the next round. Subduing himself into a spacy, distant state the Mizukage lifts his head up to look back into Kurohana's eyes.
"At what cost? At any cost. We're talking about an immortal age of boundless greatness that reach far beyond this world. Human beings will give way to a race of shinobi, who will in turn give birth to gods - Only fools wouldn't pay the price to achieve that".
Suzume sits in silence, not really saying anything to begin with. Seems she's content enough to just watch the topics pass by. "Well Mizukage. Thanks for the information! I shall begin to hunt for tarts in Samurai armor." She grins, standing back up. "I shall return to Kumogakure after reporting to Team One. Are they to be my backup?" She asks, hesitating. "And.. are we to invade Kumogakure by ourselves? Or are we to wait on the borders before striking?" Lifting a finger to touch her chin, the girl thinks. "Who makes up Team One? I suppose I should go look up the information as to where they are." Looking down as Mitsuo controls his temper so well, the teen smirks a bit. "…what a strange game."
The kunoichi draws her attention briefly away from the board to peer up at the Mizukage's lackey. She hrmphs and reaches forward to scoot another pawn forward. "It sounds like a worthless endeavor." Sitting back, she relaxes into her seat, her eyes growing disinterested as she watches the pieces. His goal is no better than the Hokage's in her eyes. No one has been able to sway her into the urge or joining a village. He's failing as well. He'll have to come up with a better answer than that if he wants her considerations. If he wants them at all… She hasn't asked and neither has he.
"Report to Team One and rest for a few days. There will be a meeting before we depart, so that we can organize ourselves for the fight ahead", Mitsuo replies to Suzume without looking up at her, "We aren't invading Kumogakure - There's no need. If we destroy the land and the people that support it, it should crumble in on itself. I've heard that land has a history of civil war, so there's no need to risk ourselves when we can get them to kill each other - Or they'll simply cease to be a village. Either way, they won't be a threat to us".
Hearing Kurohana spit her vulgar opinion out, Mitsuo's expression suddenly dims. The man's eyes grow so heavy that they become only dark slivers. Swaying a little in his seat, the Mizukage cracks a weary grin. "Only to a fool", he retorts softly, "Human beings are pathetic, yet their only saving grace is that they gave birth to shinobi-kind. And tell me, Ito, what can a human do that a shinobi cannot do much better? Tell me, Ito, when a shinobi can easily obtain everything a human lives for, what else other than greatness is left to strive for?".
"Yes, Mizukage!" Suzume replies, hearing the strict orders. Knowing that they didn't have to take on an entire village was somewhat relieving, that much is sure. Bowing a little, Suzume suddenly vanishes from sight, likely fleeing back into the village proper. It seems that she's eager to catch up, or perhaps just rest after so much action.
The kunoichi rises up from her seat, not bothering to excuse herself or thank him for the unfinished game. She has that look on her face as if she knows something that he doesn't. "I expected too much." She nods once to him and once to the other before she vanishes.
Hiding her hands in her cloak, Kurohana begins to walk back down the path toward the docks. So quickly disinterested in visiting their village. She's a fickle one.