Date: May 14, 2014
Daisuke leads a mission to the Land of Bears, where internal politics have taken an unusual turn.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Bear Face of Politics - Part 1: The Mission Begins"
Route from the Land of Fire to the Land of Bears
Word has come down from the Land of Bears, a mountainous and forest covered Country between Fire and Rock, that a rogue ninja group has worked their way into the leadership of the Country and have recently installed a puppet Daimyo, the strength of their abilities enough to rule over the entire Country with fear and oppression. The request came from a local Lord within the country that owned a small trading village on the border of Fire and Bears but it did not contain much information other than what was stated above.
Daisuke held this request back from the usual pile of missions he sends out through administration each day. This one was interesting to him, and it had the potential of gaining a valuable allied Land between them and the Rock. Because of this, he talked to Tobi about it for a few days, and finally got her to agree to fill in for his duties for a week maximum while he took a small team with him and sorted the situation out. Not being able to think of anyone else more suited and most likely slacking off anyway, Daisuke went to Atsuro with the mission and would force hire him if it came down to it, it was time to get the trio (with Taizen) together again for another vital mission.
Atsuro doesn't need to be forced! It sounds like exactly the sort of mission he'd be interested in. Once Daisuke's finished telling him what little they know of the job's details, he immediately replies, "When do we leave?" Yup, looks like he's spent plenty of time behind his desk already. That, or he simply hasn't been on any missions this interesting lately. Taizen, naturally, just wags his tail and says, "Okay." Seems they're up for any adventure!
They didn't take long, discussion the details and a mission plan that night over BBQ, coming up with something simple to go with the next morning. Bright and early the next morning, Daisuke was desperately needing coffee as he waited at the gate for Atsuro, not used to mission mornings after so long behind a desk. After some grumbling and gear check, the trio makes their way out, heading NW through the Land of Fire towards the Land of Bears.
Along the way Daisuke reviews some details that Konoha had on the Land of Bears. "So apparently a good number of years ago a meteorite hit down in the Land of Bears. Reports say there was some kind of strange chakra coming from the rock itself, to which the ninja of the Land formed a village around. Technically this village was started even long before Konohagakure, which is interesting. It is called Hoshigakure, and they even have a Hoshikage. That being said, none of the Five Nations acknowledge it or the position, so it is not widely known. I'd imagine this could cause some resentment amongst the people."
Despite his usual habit of waking up well into the afternoon, Atsuro is right on time, looking both refreshed and cheerful. It seems that fieldwork agrees with him, even well before his usual wake-up time. Taizen is his usual pleasant self, so Daisuke's sour mood leaves him the odd man out. The Inuzuka duo is accustomed to long journeys to faraway places, so even the prospect of the long journey doesn't do much to threaten their good moods.
"So I assume Hoshigakure is loyal to the Daimyo?" Atsuro asks, "So we can expect them to give us trouble, I'm sure." As they walk through a small hamlet on the road, he suddenly grins and purposefully averts his gaze from a nice looking pub. "Hm," he says innocently, "Are you guys a little thirsty? I'm a little thirsty…"
Lo and behold! Soren, in his normal travel gear comes stepping out of the pub, scratching his head, Ayame following just inches behind in her pup form. "Man… was it just me… or that place suck?"
"Nah… it sucked."
Soren nodded at the affirmation, before noticing Daisuke, Atsuro, and Taizen. "Ah~ Well. If it isn't my two favorite drinking partners." he says, closing and matching their pace. "Please tell me you didn't come for the pub, now?" he asks with a small grin, keeping pace with the already formed Trio.
Daisuke nods his head to Atsuro's assertion. "Most likely not a friendly crowd, to anyone from one of the Five Nations anyway. We will have to see once we get there." he says with a shrug, walking through the hamlet, not thinking anything of it until Atsuro mentions the bar. "It's like 8 in the morning, man, little early for a drink." he says, right before Soren gets out of the pub. "Or perhaps not." he adds before he welcomes Soren to the group.
"We are on a mission to the Land of Bears." he explains to Soren, looking back at the pub as they continue along the road. "Rough night?" he asks Soren, who had come out of the bar so early in the morning.
<Kirigakure> Amata falls over.
"Why Soren, what…" Taizen begins. "…the ruxpin are you doing here?" Atsuro finishes. He glances back to Daisuke. He just wanted a drink, and it's still quite some time before they reach their destination, but he's suddenly feeling enlightened. "I guess you have a point," he says. And now Soren's trying to come along with them on this mission, fresh from the bar? "Go home, Soren," he says, "You're drunk."
He looks back to Daisuke and gives a nod. "In other words, we have two groups of ninja to deal with. Well, I guess I'm glad to have the illustrious Hokage along with me. Otherwise… you know. A two-man and one-dog team isn't a lot." He glances at Soren, "Or maybe a three-man team."
Ayame leaps up onto Atsuro's shoulder. "And a fox!" she declares proudly, her chest puffed out.
Soren just kinda grins, and shakes his head. "I wish I was drunk. Not enough gummy water in that bar to get me buzzed. And no long Daisuke. Fun." he says shaking his head. Yup, he was at it all night. And apparently now, he was going to join them on a mission. "Sounds like an interesting adventure. As long as you guys don't mind, I'd like to come along?" he asks with a raised brow, motioning Ayame back to his shoulder, to which she quickly complies.
"Our destination isn't Hoshigakure, but in case these 'unique' abilities this group has are something to do with it and the meteor, we don't want to be surprised." Daisuke says to Atsuro, making it clear that their destination wasn't to take on Hoshigakure. "The data isn't conclusive enough to know if the village works together with the capitol, so I suppose we will find that out."
Daisuke was in regular mission attire, gone the robes and hat and any other sign of his station, Tobi was renting them out, despite stating she will never be caught dead wearing the hat. "No mention of my rank, should go without saying, we are just here to find this group and deal with it, not make noise within the Land itself. You are welcome to come along, Soren, if you feel up to it. We can always use an extra helping hand. I'll let Atsuro summarize for you."
"I'm sorry," Atsuro says, looking at Ayame confusedly, "I'm not really sure who you are…?" He looks over to Soren skeptically, "Really. And you've been there all night? Whatever they serve in there, it must be weak as baloo." When Soren asks to join, he looks over to Daisuke and mouths 'no.' Nothing personal, he just doesn't think Soren is in any condition for it. But apparently that doesn't work. "A lord in the Land of Bears has hired us to help him with the Daimyo, who might be the puppet of some suspicious ninja group," he explains.
He gives Daisuke a nod. "I know," he says, "I'm just saying, if we're going to fight the Daimyo, and Hoshigakure is loyal to the Daimyo, we might end up fighting their ninja, one way or another." He nods and promises, "I won't say anything. You don't think people will recognize the H— very important ninja that you are?"
Soren nods. "I see. Well, this one sounds like you guys could use all hands on deck." he says with a nod. He glances between the other two, noticing Atsuro's little mouthing of something in the negative range of answers. "Relax Atsuro. I'll stay back, keep my mouth shut, and watch your smokey. Between that, and muscle should you need it, I'm perfectly capable." he says with a shrug. It's true. He doesn't seem to be in too bad of shape all things considered.
Ayame just kindof sneers back at Atsuro, before hopping up onto Soren's head. "Well… between him and I he means." she says with a small snicker.
Soren does kinda snicker. "They'll only notice he's who he is, if he acts like he belongs at his station." he says with a shrug. "Just a thought."
"Nah, to most smaller nations I look just like any other young punk." Daisuke says to Atsuro with a shrug. "And if you are thirsty grab your water canteen, we need to make good time here." He nods to Soren in agreement with his assessment and tells the group it was time to re-pick up the pace, heading NW again along the roads towards the border of the Land of Fire and the Land of Bears. The forests thickened and rocky hills increased the further they moved towards the border, and they finally reach the border, checking in with the local border guard group on station.
Atsuro avoids Soren's gaze. "I don't know what you're talking about," he says pleasantly, "I didn't ask you to watch my care, but that /is/ very flattering, thank you." He gives Ayame a shrug. "Whatever you say. I'm sure it'll all work out just perfectly."
Then he looks back to Daisuke and grins. "You do look like a young punk," he agrees with Daisuke cheerfully. "And that's a great idea." He grabs his canteen and takes a couple sips of water. Nice try, Daisuke! In any case, he and Taizen continue along the trail to the Land of Bears, full of vigour and with no complaints. The terrain is no worse than their usual scouting jobs, and it hasn't been /that/ long since they've had a mission in the field.
Soren on the other hand had gone rather Silent. Normally he'd have some quite amusing banter between himself and Ayame, but not so much today. Ayame just kindof fell asleep on his head as they traveled, and Soren, well, except for the occaisional yawn, he seemed quite content to keep up with the pair quite well. It seems he's still quite used to the road.
Daisuke comes back down from the tree observation base at the border of the Land of Bears and reports on the situation. "Seems like the village we need to get to isn't too far from the border, but the capitol is a bit more of a hike. I think we should get to the village, meet our contact, and then settle in for the night and come up with a plan. Being the Daimyo, this mission won't be like the usual smash and grab, we will require delicacy in order to confirm for ourselves that the leadership is corrupt. Soren, do you have enough gear for at least a few days? I don't want your clothes getting smelly or anything, Atsuro wouldn't let you live that one down."
"Sounds fine to me," Atsuro says simply. He grins and jokes, "Bet there's a good pub /there/, eh? So, the contact is the lord who hired us, or somebody else?" He nods, "And I know we're not just gonna march into his palace and rough him up or something. Are you suggesting I don't have /finesse/, Daisuke? Don't worry, we got this. Tai and I are masters of investigation." He claps Taizen on the back a couple times. "And I certainly wouldn't."
Soren grins. "Yeah, sounds good. I could go for a night of sleep before we do this." he says with a grin, shrugging a bit. "And yeah. I've got plenty of supplies." he says with a grin, patting a scroll attached to the back of his belt. "Oh, no Atsuro! He isn't saying you don't have Finesse~… You don't have Tact." he says with a grin, passing him a sidelong glance. "Nah, no bars for me tonight. Last night was fun, but I figure if this is half as serious as you guys say it is, I need to sleep, not party for the third night in a row." he says with a small grin.
Daisuke nods his head to Atsuro. "The contact is the lord, yes. Ideally he will have lodging for the night, but if not there should be an inn or something." he says as they begin to walk out over the border into the Land of Bears. The delicacy and finesse Atsuro talks of just gets a skeptical look from Daisuke. "At least Taizen will keep things on track." he says as a joke. TO Soren he nods, confirming that the teen was ready to go, and seemed somewhat prepared. "Lets move."
After a few moments Daisuke stops and turns. "Don't think I asked for anymore help on this mission, did I?" he calls out to the trees around them, an ANBU fox-masked member appearing before them in a kneeled bow. "I appreciate the concern, but you can return to your post. We will return within a few days." Looking uncertain, the ANBU member hesitates before standing, bowing in acknowledgement, and poofing into smoke.
"Lets get going, I want to make it there with plenty of time to get the information we are missing before bed." With that he picks up his pace, moving along the road with his arms behind him because ninja run like that and apparently it makes them faster.
"I have both," Atsuro says, shrugging with a weird sort of confidence. "Ask anyone who I actually care about being tactful to. You two, of course, wouldn't have ever experienced that. Except for Daisuke a couple times, I guess." He pauses for a second, then shakes his head. Hopefully Soren will be ready for the mission tomorrow.
"We might be staying in a fancy noble's place, eh?" he asks Daisuke, "Not exactly my favourite accomodations, lifestyle-wise, but it sounds like a fine night. Maybe not the best time to go to the pub. 'sides, we'll get to sip thousand year-old sake or something like that." He pats Taizen on the head. "Tai keeps everything on track," he says, "I'll make sure to keep Atsuro from staying out too late," Taizen promises.
The ANBU member's disappearance gets a slight smirk from Atsuro. "I hope we don't end up regretting that sentiment," he says mildly. Not that he's anticipating a disaster, but having an ANBU dude around could have been useful. Oh well. He and Taizen hurry up after Daisuke.
Soren grins, shaking his head a bit. "A nobles place huh? Man, havn't stayed in a place like that since before I was banished." he grinned. "Couldn't stand it for an extended period, but if those beds are half as comfortable as I think they'll be, I'm going to sleep like a rock tonight." he says with a grin.
He glanced at the Anbu member before they dissapear. "Huh… I figured they'd trust Atsuro to watch your back." he says with a shrug. Ah well. Could've been usefull, even if just for an extra set of eyes while they slept… but she's gone already by the time he thinks to speak. Say la vie~
"Have faith." Daisuke says as he looks back at Atsuro as they move along the road towards the village, giving him a friendly smile. The now four ninja group moves quickly and makes good time, arriving in the small, old-fashioned village within an hour of leaving the border. The stone cobbled houses and brickwork around town suggests the place is most likely self sufficient in its own way, though the presence of stalls along the main street suggest enough trade to keep a small economy. It wasn't hard to find where their contact would be located, as the house on the hill towered over the town, only a few minutes away from the outskirts along a paved road. For now their goal was to arrive and get the details for their mission, so the town will have to wait.
Arriving at the large house, Daisuke announces who they are and they are taken to a large hall with wht looks like a dining table that would be big enough for 30 people. The lord of the manor is there at the head, some paperwork spread out over the table. As the group walks into the room, the lord ushers them into seats before he calls for dinner. Daisuke looks around before clearing his throat. "We were really here to get some more necessary information from you." he says to the man, sitting down anyway as he was hungry.
"That comes later, I'm sure you are tired from your trip and I wouldn't be a gracious host to those who are about to save my Country if I didn't offer at least a meal. Please stay in my guest rooms tonight, and we can discuss business over breakfast."
Despite his bragging about tact and finesse earlier, Atsuro figures he's got a lot of tongue-holding to do over the next little while. Of course, that's just /part/ of tact and finesse, isn't it? "Fan-cy," he mutters to himself as they approach the house. And of course, there's a huge dining hall and a host of servants. And the lord careful to show hospitality before they get down to any brass tacks. The air is thick with nobility, but Atsuro knows he'll just have to deal with it for now. He gives the lord a polite bow when they're acknowledged, and takes a seat when it's offered — Taizen stays on the floor, even though Atsuro would far rather he be up on the seat with the other people. That's right, /other/!
Soren just kinda grins when they enter the estate. Not quite like his homeland, but close enough that he feels a bit more welcome than he'd like to admit. When they do meet the lord, he gives a very slight bow. Maybe not as deep as it should be, but still atleast some sign of respect. As they sat down, he moved Ayame off his head, onto his lap, hoping she didn't wake before they finished.
As the meal is served, probably enough for 20 people or more, Daisuke enjoys refueling with carbs and proteins, never one to turn down free food. He does hold back in order to be polite, at least Atsuro having seen his legendary appetite before. Upon finishing the meal, their rooms are prepared and Daisuke calls everyone together to have a quick pow-wow in his room.
"So game plan is, tomorrow at breakfast we grill the guy for all he knows and why he thinks the Daimyo is corrupt. we head out within the hour, so get your stuff ready before. We make it to the capitol by noon, barring any unforeseen events, where we establish lodging and get the lay of the land. Questions?"
Atsuro has to resist hmphing at Soren. Who are you accusing of having no tact? When the food comes, he doesn't hesitate to dig in. Politely, of course, but he'll have as much food as he can without looking rude. He makes sure that Taizen gets to eat as well, of course. Not that this lord seems too snooty, but Atsuro does feel the need to re-assert Taizen's place in the world. Once they're in Daisuke's room, he seems to agree with the plan. "Sounds good to me. Gives us some time to rest before we have to start figuring everything out. And, y'know, we didn't hear a word about what's going on over dinner." He pauses for a second and rubs his chin. "Are you going to turn down the mission if you aren't convinced that the Daimyo is suspicious?"
Soren digs in, having not had too much in the way of actual food today, but he doesn't forget his manners. Through most of the evening he's completely silent. "Sounds good to me." he says with a shrug, his only concerns already being brought up by Atsuro.
"We tread a delicate line, messing with Daimyo's and politics. Let's just say I want to be certain before we do anything severe to this Land like taking out a Daimyo or something." Daisuke answers Atsuro's question with, turning to Soren. "Alright, if you guys don't have anything else, lets get some rest. Think of some good questions to ask tomorrow morning so that we can get a complete picture of what he knows and what his reasons are for asking us here. Good night." he says, dismissing the team.