Date: March 4, 2011
Following the events in the Hitodama Highlands, Raiga and Hoiishime arrive in Konohagakure to deliver the remaining third of the Two-Tails's power to she who sealed the rest of the monster originally…
"Only Slightly Possessed"
Hokage's Lookout - Konohagakure
The office of the Hokage was mostly-barren today. Advisors had come and gone and were likely to come again. A large, strategic map was placed in the midst of the table showing the deployment of Land of Fire and Land of Water troops. All across her desk were stacked reports and plans and proposals and, perhaps most prevalently, requests for backup from more shinobi that she simply did not have. Everywhere one walked through the streets of Konoha, all they would find was villagers, not a single ninja in sight. This was not because they were hiding, it was because they were all deployed. Only the lowest genin and the students were left in the village, aside from the Hokage herself and her lead advisors and assistants.
For now the dark-haired woman simply sat behind her desk reading over an interrogation report. Along one wall was hung up a rather expansivly-detailed map of the Land of Water. Kirigakure's position was marked on it, as was almost every settlement in the Water Country. One island in particular had been marked.
Shifting in her seat, the Senju leader narrows her eyes at the map as if she could divine whatever strategic information it held simply through intimidation. Was that… killing intent that was starting to seep into the room. With a growl, she turns away from the map, dissipating her glare, and turning her scowl down towards the papers in her hand. The top sheet is laid aside, face down, leaving her with another. This one had a lot of numbers and doodles on it and looked much less official.
Hashiramako pushes to her feet, stalking towards the map of the Land of Water, holding the paper up as if comparing them.
The situation here is dire. The Land of Fire is under attack. Raiga had hoped to have more time to prepare the various shinobi nations for a >different< conflict following his announcement at the Tournament… But the Water Daimyou and his minions have changed everything. In the end… This should have been expected. Nothing is ever easy — a lesson that the Hokage seems to be keenly aware of. Standing in the hall outside her office, Yotsuki Raiga waits for his 'escort' to announce his presence while a Genin by the name of Hanma Hoiishime stands nearby. Raiga turns to the younger man and says, "I feel it is unnecessary to remind you, but just as a precaution — remember your manners in dealing with the Hokage. My interactions with her at the tournament could have gone better if I had remembered all my years of experience instead of trying to 'rediscover' the boldness of my youth. We may have come to an agreement about cooperation, but these are tense times…" He turns to face forward as the escort knocks on the office doors. "…And war touches all."
"I be sure, ya don't be recieved /too/ uncalmly, Raiga-sama… I mean, ain't like ya be tryin' to punch Hokage-sama… right?" A kidding tone, followed by a pat to… well, whatever his short body could probably reach on such a large man. Nowwhere improper of course. Hoiishime mood at this point had been well covered. A sense of worry overlapped a sense of joy at being able to visit the home of some of his good friend of Konoha. He knew a few of their best Genin. He though ot Daichi, and Tsukiko-san. He though of Fuuka-chan as well. Those people… the made him smile, though he never knew what was to come in his future. Not sense he was… or rather had become a vessel.
The monk walked alongside Raiga, feeling as much of his student, as he had his tool. A cup, though insignificant, still held water, and Genin, though inexperienced, was still an extra pair of arms and legs. Still useful. His humility shined at this point. He'd continue with, "Ya know… I do be tinkin' Lady Hokage to be a woman of forgiveness, and change. Ya two be sharin' alot of qualities… Raiga-sama. Perhaps… tis da ting' to remember."
The leader of the Hidden Leaf turns at the sound of gentle knocking by the villager-acting-as-messenger escorting the Kumogakure visitors. Showing Konoha in its time of weakness was not something she wanted, not when they had to use villagers to do what should be a chuunin's-duty, but the whole world by now knew of the Land of Fire's troubles. And they likely knew just how badly the war was going for them. That kind of thing couldn't be kept quiet, not as the number of lives lost and those missing kept mounting. Not while the number of civilian refugees fleeing west numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
As the woman's cool, clear voice rings out, the door is slid open, admitting the way for Raiga and Hoiishime into the office-turned-war-council-room. The Hokage's eyes take in both of them with a serious frown, lowered brows and all. But then, she didn't have much to smile about these days. Her feet bring her two steps closer to the desk, laying the papers she was holding face down. Wordlessly, a hand comes up to beckon the pair into the room.
"Thank you, Jingou, that will be all." The escorting villager bows and retreats down the hallway, just out of easy earshot, but close enough to hear a raised voice for when it was time to escort the two foreigners again. "I hear you have something for me."
Raiga enters, acknowledhing Jingou with a nod of his head, and then bowing more formally to Hashiramako. A man of his stature and reputation may be expected and permitted to show the barest signs of respect, but this is not Kusagakure. This is Konohagakure. He is in the Hokage's territory, during a time of great upheaval, and he has decided that ego shall fall by the way-side for now. As he rises from his bow, he says, "Hashiramako-san, as you are well-aware, a battle once occurred during the Clan Wars, in the Land of Grass. It was a terrible conflict with the loss of many of your Clansmen. Men and women, veterans and new soldiers, and even children were all lost. You sealed away the creature responsible… But left behind a portion of its power due to the vessel for the Two-Tails being unprepared for the full abilities of the beast. It was tormenting the spirits of your slain family and friends. They were trapped here in this world, in a very literal sense, unable to do more than experience their last moments of life over and over… Like a nightmare without end."
He looks towards Hoiishime. "I originally took this Monk and a ninja of Kumogakure, Hoiishime, to the Hitodama Highlands to free the spirits of the dead… To let them finally find peace. In the process, we discovered the decapitated essence of the Two-Tails's power. Sadly, to free the dead we had to reunite the head with the body."
He takes a breath and says, "I am sure you can figure out what happened after that."
A bow from Hoiishime was well timed with that of Raiga. He followed the man just that way, seeming to want to mimic, and catch every sign of his movement for use. He was to nod when he was referred to, and when told of this all, he was silent. He hadn't changed clothing since the time of the sealing, so his shoulders still showed the seals for which had been used to plant the partial Bijuu into his body. He thought of alot but for now, his mind remained clear, his manner respectful of both of the entities he now stood in room with.
The dark-haired Senju returns the bow as one is given. Past issues tossed aside, Konoha did not need more enemies now due to petty squabbles. Her eyes flick briefly to the boy that enters with the male, but remain fixed on the Kumogakure leader throughout his explaination. Nor does she seem to let her tense guard down. Whatever else may lie between them, this man was a powerful representation of a potential enemy.
"I see. And you took it upon yourself to lay my kinsmen to rest." The frowns lessens. But only slightly. "I have heard reports of lessening supernatural activities in the area, but they were vague. The Land of Fire and the Senju clan thanks you for your service."
She quickly changes tracks. "The Two-Tails fragment, was it destroyed then? Or dispersed? Did you manage to seal it back from whence it came?"
Raiga nods. "There is too much suffering the world already. Anything I can do to ease that suffering is a task worth performing." He fails to mention he is suffering pretty badly himself. His very soul has been burnt by the Two-Tails's Spirit Fire. He can feel pieces of his very >life< tainted with pain. The memory of his daughter's birth, for instance, is a weeping wound of agony instead of the moment of joy it should be. Shaking off this introspection, he says, "It has been Sealed." One large hand reaches out and is placed on Hoiishime's upper back firmly — but not so firmly he would go flying across the room or anything similar.
"It stands before you. There was nowhere else to keep it. I am too old to house a Bijuu — even in part. Hoiishime was present and able, and so it has been Sealed within him. It is not a permanent Seal and will decay over time. Due to your ability to control Bijuu and the fact that the Two-Tails's Jinchuuriki revealed herself as a member of Konohagakure during the Tournament… I felt it best to come here and provide an opportunity to keep the Bijuu under a closer watch. Whether it rejoins the rest of itself or not is not my concern. But I warn against it. The Jinchuuriki I saw at the tournament was not psychologically ready to wield influence over life and death itself."
Raiga pauses momentarily and then says, "I am not sure there is >anyone< psychologically ready for that sort of responsibility. However, I am ready to assist in the extracting of the Bijuu Chakra should you need such aid. And once this is over, I will be returning to Kumogakure to advise in the strongest possible terms that Kumogakure provide aid to your Village in this conflict. There are more pressing matters to attend to — for all of us — and war is an unnecessary and foolish distracting. I am almost given to suspect that the Land of Water is intentionally being urged to act by some other power… But that is for another time."
He removes his hand from Hoiishime and stands aside. "If you are ready, we can perform the extraction now. We need only a vessel, such as the wooden box that the Two-Tails's head was kept within originally."
Hoiishime felt the pat, and then bowed once more to the woman who led Konoha. It wasn't much to say beyond his gentle smile, and his rather obediant pause, that he was willing to what it took to help out the situation. Surely, however, Hoiishime wasn't without his own mental issues… The thing inside him, scared him so, especially when Raiga himself spoke of the actual Jinchiruki's inability to control it. That person had alot more of the Two Tails's chakra than he, surely, and surely had much more to deal with. Hoiishime, however, feared having something like what he and Raiga had to fight, especially with having to control it. So giving up such power, was not to far from within his want.
"A wise choice in an age where many seek only power." Hashiramako's eyes turn towards the Kumogakure boy. "If you're ready, then, let's get this over with. I'd rather not leave even a portion of the Two-Tails in you any longer than necessary. It can have unsettling effects on the psyche." Then back to Raige. "Rest assured, despite our problems, we are keeping the situation in hand."
Some time later…
The Hokage, the Kumogakure Jounin, and the boy all stand in a forested wood still within the walls of Konohagakure itself. Hoiishime has been placed before a massive pine, his back placed right before it. Raiga is warned off to the side, where he is to guard against the beast should things go wrong. Hashiramako places forms several seals, then places her hand roughly upon the boy's chest.
Much like a summoning technique, seals spread out from beneath her hand, encompassing the Kumogakure monk's torso with the consistency and feeling of fire. It is not a pleasant sensation, like a log of white-hot steel is searing through his heart. Forcibly removing even a portion of a bijuu's power from a living host was both uncomfortable and dangerous, requiring precision.
And in the end, after the pain, after the intense concentration, after the battle of wills, it is over, and the Hokage is left feeling even more drained than stress and fatigue had made her. But the seal that kept the bijuu within Hoiishime is no longer upon him, but upon the great pine that was behind him. Already the bark was beginning to blacken and peel away in that location. The tree was unlikely to survive, but the seal was strong and would likely hold. And here, within the walls of Konoha during this time of uncertainty, it could at least be watched and monitored closely.
The task is complete, and the three return to the Hokage's office where an offer of the village's hospitality is made for the night, as it was doubtful the monk was in any condition to travel. And likely where the two leaders discussed the promises of aid from Kumogakure long into the night.