Date: May 20, 2014
The Konoha team learns the situation in the Land of Bears and starts preparing for their job.
"The Bear Face of Politics - Part 2: Briefing and Brief Preparations"
Land of Bears
Morning came and breakfast was served, not quite as lavish as the previous night's dinner but it still had a delicious fruit spread and some muffins, bagels, and juice. Once everyone had come to and joined the group at the table it was time to discuss the mission. The Lord of the manor clears his throat, letting everyone know he was about to get into the details.
"It has been two months since the untimely death of the previous Daimyo of our land, and within the two months of appointment of our new Daimyo, most of the privileges that Hoshigakure, our shinobi village, were vying for with our old Daimyo have been granted. Doesn't this surprise you that what took years and years of arguing with our previous Daimyo, was completed within a mere two months?" he says as he lets that settle in before continuing.
"Within these two months, a full replacement of our capitol's troops have also taken place, replacing loyal royal guards to the old Daimyo with Hoshigakure affiliated ninja. The hidden village has been flexing their influence and power all over the country and, to make matters worse, reports have seen a small group of Hoshigakure ninja consistently coming and going from the Daimyo's audience chamber. No one dares speak of it, as the last person to be found voicing his opinion was tried and executed for treason."
Being a hungry sort of fellow, Atsuro's breakfast consists of 'one of each.' But of course, he eats politely so as not to offend any noble sensibilities. Taizen sits on the floor, like the night before, and eats mostly dog-friendly fruit, plus a bagel or two. They're quick to quiet down in their eating once the noble shows he's ready to talk about the mission.
Atsuro had been curious about Hoshigakure's role in all of this before, but if what the Lord is saying is true, then they're not merely involved, but at the center of it all. When, and if, the Lord allows them a moment for questions, Atsuro asks, "What sort of privileges were these? Were their demands unreasonable?" Evidently the Inuzuka duo is comfortable discussing this sort of think, with Taizen also takes the opportunity to ask, "Are the ninja meeting with him the same people every time? What positions do they occupy in Hoshigakure?"
Soren had simply taken a full plate of fruit, and a couple of muffins for energy. He slowly nibbled at one of the muffins as he listened to the story, and nodded slowly. Likely the new Daimyo was a plant. Maybe the village got tired of waiting, and had the previous Daimyo subtley eliminated? That was jumping to conclusions without more evidence, but still, it was a good bet if the facts at hand were of any real indication. But for now, he stood silent, absorbing the information, and formulating the scenarios in his head.
"The previous Daimyo tried to restrict the influence Hoshigakure held over the country, as to separate it from the capitol, keeping shinobi with shinobi and commoners with commoners, similar to how the 5 Great Nations run. Hoshigakure sought privileges, like holding positions within the court, and running security. At least one of those two main privileges have already been handed to them. I swear, ever since that rock fell out of the sky, their egos have inflated on a daily basis." the Lord says, grumbling after the last bit and shaking his head.
"I have some contacts within Hoshigakure and they assure me that the Hoshikage there has no involvement with these dealings. I know it sounds simply like Hoshigakure is trying to take over, but I think there is some kind of shadow player behind the scenes. Just thinking about it makes me shiver." says the Lord, actually shivering. "To answer your second question and to strengthen my assumption, the people that meet with the Daimyo are always the same, four large gentlemen wearing the outfit of Hoshigakure ninja. Gods only know what they are talking about or doing in there." he says with a frown.
Daisuke finishes eating and wipes his mouth. "Well, it seems our job will not be a quick one. It may take us all over the Land of Bears. I see now why your reward was so high." he says with a smirk. "If there is anything else, please send word. We should be heading for the Capitol." He stands up and looks to the other two. "If you have any last questions, now would be the time."
Atsuro nods. "Just one," he says, "These four men. There's nothing else you've heard about them that might help us find or identify them? Even hair colour might be useful." Other than that, he has no questions, so he follows suit with Daisuke and stands up once he's finished eating — eating his remaining food as quickly as possible while remaining polite. Taizen does much the same.
What possible motivation could someone have for orchestrating this? He worked his hands over his mouth. Possibly? If they are trying to set up for a power grab… using Ushiogakure to take out the current leadership, and create an artificial rebellion… maybe…? He stood, and after a moment… he stroked at his chin, as his attention seems to be on the exchange so far. "Just a thought… but could there possibly be someone in the court, someone who's likely older, or been overlooked? They likely have had no political gain in recent years." he says, scratching his chin. "If there's no one matching that, then don't worry about it. Just a thought…" he says, his voice trailing off to a mutter.
"Unfortunately not, though one is particularly loud and rotund, one is abnormally tall, and the other two are very nondescript. I couldn't get much else as I have not laid eyes on them myself. As for the second question, there are very few left in the court from the old Daimyo's rule. The new Daimyo really cleaned out the place upon taking over. Sorry I couldn't be of more help" the Lord explains apologetically. "I wish you all luck and safe travels, let's deal with this issue and restore the Land of Bears to its original glory."
Daisuke nods to the Lord and turns to the troops. "Let's head out so we can set up in the capitol before nightfall." he says, heading for the door. Assuming the others follow, Daisuke would head northwest from the village, towards the great capitol they have heard so much about in the last 24 hours.
Well, that's only semi-helpful, if that. Atsuro nods. "We'll keep an eye out for them, if we can. Or maybe specifically seek them out, although that would probably be pretty difficult given the lack of information." He nods to the Lord, "Thanks." He and Taizen follow Daisuke out of the manor and on the trail to the capitol, where they can hopefully find out more about what's going on here. "What will we be doing when we get there?" he asks Daisuke.
Soren Hmmms, as he nods, and follows Daisuke, the young man still seeming to be entirely lost in thought. "Thank you, sir." he says, still half distracted. Once they leave, Soren just shakes his head, trying to stop overthinking the situation. He glanced at Daisuke, wondering what he'd suggest before they set on their path.
"When we get there, Soren will find us a good place for lodging while Atsuro, Taizen, and I scout around the city for various things including vantage points and a general lay of the land. We will meet at a bar determined by Atsuro, since Soren's last one was quote 'awful'. If we are going to be in this city for a few days, we need to learn our way around, especially if we get caught or are running from guards or something crazy." Daisuke says as they continue along the road, picking up the pace. "I'm getting a general picture in my head of the situation, only because of what the man said about the Kage having no part in this. I guess Kage experience comes in handy sometimes." he adds, not alluding to what he was thinking just yet. "Let's pick up the pace, the sooner we get there the more time you will have for food and drink after work."
"Is there an 'after work' in this kind of situation?" Atsuro asks, "I'm always up for some bar-related fun, but it seems like a group of Leaf-nin in the city would attract attention. Especially from any Hoshi-nin around. Much carousing and we might be putting ourselves at risk." He rubs his chin, "As for vantage points, you're thinking we can keep a lookout around the Daimyo's palace and see if we can spot anyone who looks like the Hoshi guys showing up to meet him?"
Soren nods a bit. "Agreed. But that shouldn't be too hard for us to do. As long as we're carefull about how we present ourselves, we can fly right under the radar." he says with a nod. "I'll find a place where we can lay low. Shouldn't be too hard. Don't be surprised if we end up in the center of tourism." he says with a small grin.
"You think we are going to be wearing our Leaf nin attire into the capitol? No no no, we are laying low this whole time, my friend." Daisuke reiterates to Atsuro. "The best informants can be found in the sleaziest places, after all. I guess going undercover sadly means around others, Taizen probably shouldn't talk." he adds, musing on things that would need to change. "Yeah, that and other things that may come up like guard rotations, any special visits, etc. It will be good to secure those points to observe everything."
With that they hurry on, the day turning to afternoon, their quick pace actually making good time as they arrive outside the walls of the capitol itself by dinner. The city itself is rather grandiose, lots of brickwork and architecture went into building just the walls themselves. The Daimyo's palace sat in the middle of the city, like it had just been built around the palace itself. With long grass lawns and what looked like only one large road from the palace gates to the palace itself, the trio would need to find a really high vantage point if they wanted to check out who's leaving the front doors.
"You didn't say we wouldn't," says Atsuro, shrugging. He then gives Taizen a pat on the back. "Sorry, Tai. No human-speak once we get to the capital." Taizen shakes his head, "I don't mind." Fortunately, Atsuro is quite good at observing that sort of thing — he is a scout, after all; observing something like that is practically second nature to him.
"It's not just the back doors we need to keep an eye on," says Atsuro, once they're looking out at the palace, "Any back doors and… well, I guess we'll just have to hope there's no underground entrances. Luckily, if other people have been spotting these guys, they probably haven't been doing that." He points to a fancy-looking apartment building near the palace. "That's a good vantage point, and we probably wouldn't be noticed if we can get to the roof. And it would cover the front, and the north side of the building." He sniffs the air, "I think I smell a market or something a couple blocks away. If you know where to look, you can often find someone selling /information/ in a city like this."
"Fair assesment…" Soren nods in agreement to Atsuro's note about the situation. Soren doesn't seem to entirely worried about the lodging. Has they split into groups, Soren simply heads out to find where the tourists, and visitors to the city stay, and starts looking for the seedier sections of the district, somewhere just deep enough into the dark underbelly that the guards won't like to venture there, but close enough that they can still be in touch with everything, while still blending with tourists. It probably wouldn't be the most comfortable place to sleep, but they weren't here to be in the lap of luxury, now were they?
"Usually in palaces like that, especially older ones, there is some way out either underground or by the least conspicuous place on the property to get the Daimyo out if attacked. We will have to scout some more to see if we can find something." Daisuke says to Atsuro. As Atsuro finds a good vantage point, Daisuke looks up, nodding his head. "I will find access that doesn't draw attention, you go fish around in the market, see what you can find." he says to the Inuzuka duo.
As for Soren, he would have a much harder time locating a room for rent even in the seedier areas of town. Apparently the Daimyo was housing honored guests and had decided to hold a grand spectacle in a few days time, drawing everyone in from around the Land and some adjoining ones. Rooms were tight, he would have to make haste if he wanted to find one.
The market Atsuro locates with his nose was hustling and bustling, complete with vendors, stalls, and the occasional pickpocket. Moving through the crowds would be tough, but locating who has information will be even tougher.
"That sort of scouting might mean going into the building," says Atsuro, "Hope you're confident in your abilities to bluff past security. And get into the most secure areas of the building, most likely." He does not relish that idea. In any case, he gives Daisuke a nod, then he and Taizen head off to see what's up in the market. Fortunately, Atsuro is a perceptive and agile ninja, so maneuvering through the crowd without getting pickpocketed is easy enough. But finding an information-seller, that could be tougher. After a while of searching, he finds a suspicious stall, and decides to check it out. What's so suspicious about it? Well, it's rather odd to see a stall labelled with something so specific as 'coat-hanger salesman.' He walks up to the stall. "So," he says, "Coat-hangers. Must be a tough business."
Well atleast quick was something Soren did relatively well. So even as it became apparent that most of the town was going to be filled, Soren simply skipped the higher class Hotels, the ones where people would pile into first, and simply went straight for the less desirable rooms. So after finding a suitable inn, he enters, finding the inkeep, no doubt already swarmed by customers. He politely waits, before asking. "Hello sir. You wouldn't happen to have a room left, would you?" he asks with a small smile.
"You got a problem with my business, pal?" says the coat hanger salesman, standing up ready to make a scene. It seems the guy was legit, and as the clothes salesman in the next stall eavesdrops on the conversation, he is informed enough to figure out Atsuro was looking for just such a thing. "Pssst." he says, looking around before waving Atsuro over. Always the ones you least expect. After Atsuro is finished with the man, Daisuke would be waiting at the bar the three were to meet at.
"A room? Ha!" says the innkeeper as Soren comes at him politely. "You be hard pressed to find one of those round here…." he says, eyeing Soren's state. "Course for the right coin…" he adds, flashing Soren a toothy grin, minus a few teeth. Seems some negotiation will be needed if Soren hopes to saunter in and find a room before he is to meet the others back at the bar.
"No," says Atsuro, "In fact, I'm /in/ your business, and I'm thinking of opening up shop in this very city. You'll rue the day you crossed the Coat-Hanger Emporium, buddy. See you in Hell!" He shakes a fist at the poor salesman, then moves onto the clothing salesman's stall. "Hello there," he says demurely. Then he lowers his voice, "How much do you charge? I'm interested in some… politically-related information." He and the salesmen spend a couple minutes hashing out terms, then arrange to meet up later. With the man's scent, Atsuro and Taizen should have no trouble finding him when the time is right. For now, they go to meet up with the others and let them know how things turned out.
Soren simply shakes his head, reaching into his pocket, and slipping out his coins, taking a quick count. He had planned to be out for atleast a nother day enjoying himself… so it seemed he'd jsut have to devote that money to lodgings, as it were. "Fine. You'll get twice your normal charge upfront, and a hefty 'tip' on my parties departure. That is, ofcourse, as long as you actually do a decent job." he says with a small nod, placing coin on the table, and glancing at the man, before simply taking his key, and heading up to the room procured.
The room wasn't much. Not much at all. But it had 2 beds, and a comfortable enough looking couch. Given the circumstances, it would suffice for what the group needed.