Date: October 12, 2014
Brought together by Renai's fundraiser, Renai, Isra and Akane discuss the current situation in the village and country they call home.
The Docks — Kirigakure
The docks, as usual, are busy, but there is tension in the air since.. well, things. And, the weather is certainly no help, being dreary and gray per the usual. Renai isn't going to let that get her down though! The girl is currently in the warehouse she rented, piles of clothes laid out in front of her. She's sorting through them with a grin on her face (and an occasional grimace when she needs to toss something into the dirty pile), but overall, she seems well-pleased with the outcome of her little drive. There /could/ be a bit more in the way of food stores, but something is better than nothing.
The building itself is back from the docks and closer to the entrance of the area. There are two huge signs that seem to have been painted out by the ward herself. One says "United We Stand!" in big, bold, blue letters and the other says "Donations Taken Here" in more conservative script. The door is propped open to both welcome people in and to allow the smell of musty, used clothing -out.-
Akane had been spending a lot of her extra time in the refugee camps that had sprung up around Kirigakure. When not healing the wounded and tending to the sick, she was on her usual duties in the medical center. She had taken to using chakra enhancing herbs to keep her energy up. For even if meruin ordered her to her face not to use her chakra healing abilities she would have done so anyway. The gremlins that followed her around had at first scared many then entertained the children. But today she had been conspicuously absent from the camps. She had another mission today.
The rather pregnant medic was walking down to the docks with an entourage. Three carts were loaded to the brim behind her and a strong refugee was pulling each along. A gremlin followed her as well and she had a satchel on her back. Her long hair was up in an elaborate weave, half a dozen hairsticks holding it up. Her dress still apeared tailored for her new shape though it was the same basic green dress she'd been wearing for months.
Once she reached the entrance of the donation center she motioned and the refugee boys pulled the carts to the side so they would not be blocking the entrance. Approaching Renai, the woman managed a bit of a smile. "Hello, Renai-san."
Helping refugees? Of course. Isra came along bearing donations from her family's shop. They gathered together to make a great deal of tea to be distributed to the unfortunate. It was their largest order yet, but they were more than happy to contribute. She had some help in dragging it all in from the village to be set off near the warehouses. With a giant grin, she chimed, "Hello!!!" Hopping off the container she occupied she continued with, "How are you guys today?" Speaking to Renai and Akane specifically.
Hearing the sounds of wheels on stones outside from the carts, Renai pauses in her work, laying the shirt she was folding back down on the table. She leans over to one side to see people outside through the doorway and is just moving toward her makeshift desk when Akane greets her. Renai's face brightens and she can't help but glance down to the woman's belly with a pointed look. It's hard to not notice the stomach of a pregnant woman, always a presence, always a concern that cautions everyone around her whether she wishes it or not.
"Akane-sama, it's good to see you." Renai gathers up a list and a couple of forms from her messy workstation to document whatever Akane has brought. The voice of Isra causes her to perk up again with another grin. "I'm doing well. How are you both?" She moves to gather another couple of pages and sits down with a pen. They brought the stuff. The least she can do is all the paperwork.
Akane heard Isra's group and stepped aside with a polilte bow of her head. Renai's greeting recieved a soft smile. The medic could tell she was unsure or wary of how to act around her because of the baby. "I suspect it won't be too long and then you can all stop worrying about me." Well.. for that reason anyway. She turned and indicated the first cart. "Ishino and I went to as many merchants as we could and bought up thier cheaper stocks. The first cart is adult sized clothing including… uhm.." She looked at the boy by that cart. "How many pairs, Ken-kun?"
"Almost 30, Ma'am." He answered hesitantly.
"Ah, yes. 28 pairs of shoes. The second cart is children's clothing and a bunch of toys. Bears, dolls, balls, games. And that…" She indicated the third cart. "That is full of food from all over the marketplace. I went to each stall and everyone added /something/ to the load. Even the foreign merchants." She moved to lean against the wall, taking a bit of strain off her back. "Ishino forbade me to do any of this alone so I found some strapping helpers."
Finally she reached into her satchel and pulled out a coil of velvet tied with satin string and laid it on the table before Renai. When she unrolled it, several high quality hair sticks were revealed. One was Jade, another was silver and had red crystals while yet another was carved from ivory. "Sell these and use the money for wherever the lack is." They would fetch a hefty sum indeed. The amber one came from the Land of Fire and at least one of the Jade had come from the Continent.
"I'm great! It feels good to be doing something worth it for a change," Isra remarked. "So, all that said and done, here's the bill for all this." She held out the paper with a straight face, but she couldn't hold it together. "Nah, I'm just messin' around. This is just a form that indicates all that in the two containers here. All of it is completely free, but my family decided to be mild jerks and told me they'll be taking 10% of my earnings from my missions to get it back /on top/ of shaving off some of what I've already earned!" She huffed. "Not that I'm too upset about it. I hardly did anything with my money anyway," she shrugged. "Anyway," she stepped to the side to get a better look at Akane. "How are things coming along with you?" She asked in a softer tone. "Well, I hope. The stress of our current situtions hopefully isn't causing problems for you and them."
Renai's hand moves quickly as she takes note of what all Akane has brought and then Isra. She marks down their names and the items and amounts, keeping careful track of who has brought what so proper amounts of gratitude can be paid later. Well, she does the best she can anyways with keeping the details. There is always a bit of chaotic order in these sorts of things. "Adult clothing is good. We have a huge shortage on that. And the food will be very much appreciated." She pauses at the hair sticks though, looking up to Akane as if to ask if she's sure. They seem precious and worth a lot. Should she not change her mind though, Renai would pick them up and tuck them away in her own shirt for safekeeping. She keeps all the precious bits like that on her body somewhere. Straight ryo donations, jewelry, and other things tucked away in her pockets. Doing so makes her less paranoid about the dock workers.
Her eyes turn to Isra then with first dismay at then bill and then a giggle, her lips breaking into a grin at the woman's joking about her earnings and things. "Well, the people will appreciate your sacrifice, I'm sure. We are in a constant need of tea!" With that, Renai gets up, offering her chair to Akane and moves outside to direct the helpers on where to put things. She seems to have everything well-organized.. except for clothing. That is just a rather tedious task. The new additions are added to one end of her giant pile to be sorted with the rest. The toys and games, however, are put in a box that she'll take with her later when she leaves for the evening. Returning, she makes a few more notations, signs a couple of receipts and hands them to Akane and Isra in turn. "For your personal records. I can't thank you both enough for all your generosity. Would either of you like something to drink?"
Akane listened to Isra as the swordswoman answered Renai with an upbeat tone and Akane couldn't help but smile a little at what she'd brought. Isra had had to pay for her donation as well. She was glad that though Kirigakure was built on strength and toughness that they still aided their neibors and went out of their way to keep all of the Land of Water's citizens cared for. Akane herself thought Isra was serious for a moment about demanding payment and almost stepped in to pay for it, but the woman was joking and Akane flushed faintly that she'd been so silly.
Renai was impressive in her organization. She was well aware of how tedious such things could be. Growing up on the streets she'd been to a lot of places that had extra mis-sewn clothing or returned or stained items but the people selling the things usually had the whole thing ground down to some insanely specific process. Very much like Renai was doing. The offer of a chair was accepted gratefully and she nodded lightly when asked if she'd like a drink. It was quite a walk from her house to the camps then back and all along the marketplace, before she had come here. As soon as she sat, though a Kirigakure Jounin with a patch over one eye stepped from seemingly nowhere and eyed Akane closely. Akane shook her head. "I'm fine Hiro-san. I'm not even out of the village."
The man replied with a deep but stern voice. "Close enough."
Akane shook her head and looked back up to Renai and Isra with a shrug as if to say 'what can I do?'. When asked about her health and stress, Akane's hand went to her belly and her cheeks flared lightly. She looked caught between nervous and happy for a long moment then she looked up again, her eyes covered by those reflective glasses Ishino had made for her. "I participated in the assault on the capital so there was some hiccups but we're fine now." She glanced between them and smiled, a real smile, not something half baked and fake. "The doctor said we're having twins." She almost added she could feel the chakra inside her but decided not to go that far. But her smile faded a bit then. "I hope Meruin and the Daimyo can find some kind of middle ground… There has been talk of division between the civilians and shinobi worlds." There had been talk of more than that but she was searching for new information, not just confirmation of the same stuff she knew. She had not been suspected of being a spy for no reason, afterall.
"Yeah, I'll let you be the first to know I was none too happy about that when I heard about it," Isra wagged a finger at Akane and although she was still largely joking, she still had a hint of seriousness in her tone. "Still, as long a you're doing alright and they are too, I'll try not to be so tough on ya," she chuckled. Her face hardened at the mention of division, but Renai's words regarding their contribution managed to soften the expression a bit. "I'm glad I could help. Really. It's all I ever think about doing…" She took the receipt and stuffed it away in her boot only somewhat agitated by the fact she had no real pockets on this outfit. Such an inconvenience. "I'm…concerned. More than that, but I don't have the words to really express how I feel about this potential division," she sighed through her nose. "Everytime I hear the Mizukage speak, I don't think he intends to make any middle ground, much less feels it exists."
There is a small cooking area in the warehouse and Renai has some water heated up. At the mention of twins, there's a clatter as she drops a spoon with a slight gasp. She hadn't heard anything. By the time they look to her though, Renai is recovering her spoon and getting a clean one to finish making their drinks.
Renai makes some tea from her personal stash and returns with the cups, handing out each individually. She moves to lean against the wall where Akane had been while they talk and she rests. If there's anything to be said for folding massive amounts of clothes, it is an awesome work out. Her limbs will hurt for months from this.
For a time, the girl is quiet, hiding her expressions in her cup and sipping at the soothing oolong liquid. After a bit, she remarks in a quiet voice, seeming rather aware that there are two, well, three if you include Akane's bodyguard, people here who could probably kill her if she says the wrong thing. "Well.." She starts and sets down her empty cup. Her arms fold over her chest. "I don't like the Daimyo. Never have. Never will. He sits on his throne thinking he's entitled to us. No man should be just handed that kind of power. At least, Meruin /earned/ his place." She shifts a bit, "I think it's time for something like this to happen. As long as the Mizukage can prove to be rational in both matters military and domestic, why not? He won't have to argue and fight with himself. Well, I hope he doesn't argue and fight with himself.."
Akane tried to look cowed by isra's light scolding abotu her part in the battle at the capital but she couldn't hold that any better than isra had held her own smile. "I was well protected and did not take a single strike until everything sunk into the ground. Thanks to Amata-san. Meruin actually ordered me to keep us both alive." She laughed lightly. But she knew that it had been foolish for her to go there at all. "I suppose I should have kept back and only gone in after the battle to aid survivors but I hate being more trouble than I'm worth."
Akane reached to take the cup from renai but the jounin took it instead and sipped it lightly before handing it over to her. Akane shook her head. "Ishino's paranoid…." She had seen Renai drop the spoon and almost laughed at her suprise but hid her amusement quickly. She did not wish to insult the girl after all. "Oh this is very good Renai-san, thank you."
Isra spoke then, admitting her own concern and Akane could see it on her face and hear it in her voice. "Meruin is taking a drastic step yes, but…" She sighed softly and sipped her tea again before she tried to finish. "The enemy took our Daimyo and a few days later he showed back up as if he'd been on holiday, only now he's singing the enemy's praises. It's suspicious. Though I do not understand why he denied the heirs…."
Akane saw Renai hesitate, a glance between the three of them, though mostly Hiro and Isra. Her words made Akane nod a little. "The Daimyo does seem like a figurehead more than anything else. It's the hidden villages that determine trade and affiliations. We shinobi decide conflicts among the masses and mete out punishment accordingly. When something is needed they turn to us. Meruin is right in that. But he was named a shadow for a reason. He is to be the dark hand of the Daimyo, the two /must/ be of the same mind or chaos will spread." She sounded like she spoke from some kind of experience but she did not offer that information.
Meanwhile, there was suddenly a little yelp and a shout and the gremlin came running suddenly away from one of the refugee boys carrying a metal ladle of some kind. The boy yelled for it to bring that back! and Akane laughed before tossing the creature a kunai instead. It caught the kunai and looked between the two items as if unable to decide. Then it handed the boy the ladle back and bit the kunai in half as it returned to Akane's side.
Isra took the cup of tea and began to sip at it. It was probably best to have at this point. She closed her eyes and took larger gulps of it in time while listening to the viewpoints offered between the three of them. She smacked her lips lightly at the beverage before dropping in her concerns. "Meruin took his page first by peaceful resignation by a former Mizukage and then by a fight later on involving higher ranked shinobi. That's all irrelevant now, I suppose, but we can't assume that the Daimyo is not involved with the matters of his state. He is in control of this land after all and that means that regulation in some form comes from him. The Daimyo is largely concerned with matters of economics in most cases. The villages, being the military arm are trusted to know how to handle themselves without his intervention. We've done that well enough, I think. The Daimyo is rightly fearful and under a great amount of pressure. I wouldn't place it beyond him that he's not in a position to think very rationally. Yet, in the same vein, I don't believe it's wise to wrest control while there is unrest going on. I think this is all suspicious myself, I really do, but we don't need more division in the face of division. The Daimyo holds the Land of Water together. If he falls, then this will have greater effects than a village losing its course. An entire state will be left in shambles." She sighs. "I'm not liking any of this. Neither decision is thinking of what's best for the people and both will end up creating factions, but in the end… there should always be Kage and Daimyo. I feel the Daimyo should remain seated, if only to keep from having the land fall apart."
Renai listens quietly to Akane and Isra, nodding her head. She frowns slightly, "I think perhaps our Daimyo was trying to ignore his shadow. He brought it on himself." Her eyes move to watch one of her sensei's gremlins as it goes about its display of antics. They always serve to lighten the mood at the appropriate time, but she can't help but wonder how he controls and moves them from so far away. A brow quirks inward as her mind gets lost in thinking about that and how impossible it seems. Either, it's some trick or he's a stalker. She makes up her mind about it. He must be stalking his wife.. And that's just weird.
She agrees with them about needing the Daimyo and the Kage, but thinking that seems somehow like betrayal to Meruin on a personal level. It's something she doesn't want to voice aloud, so Renai stays mostly quiet about the rest of it. "I just hope it all comes together in the end without too much bloodshed. There's been enough already." Her attention is tugged away as a man arrives at the door, seeming out of breath and disheveled. Renai recognizes him though and moves to the back of the warehouse where she's been keeping the medical supplies. The girl retrieves a box that's already been prepared with bandages and balms and sends him off with it. She takes a quick moment to lean over the desk and make a note of the retrieval and goes back to leaning as she had been.
Akane looked to Isra as the woman finally broke her silence on the issues at hand. Akane herself had come to Kirigakure just before Meruin took the post from Yuge, but she did not know much of the internal politics of what had been going on back then. She frowned at the statement that Meruin took his seat peacefully then through a fight between higher shinobi. So perhaps the Daimyo had never intended to leave him as Mizukage or perhaps he was afraid to declare another because of Meruin's strength. Either way it was a bad situation.
"Givent he situation with the Daimyo's capture and inadvertant release he should not necessarily be given back full control, though. The Silence wish to harm the shinobi world and they are going about that task in precise ways. We — and the other villages probably — have taken actions to protect ourselves from what we /thought/ was their plan only to have them attack the capital. That's a place where the shinobi are not in charge. If you're hurting the shinobi world, why decimate the capital? And why would the Daimyo be so pliant to their wishes and ways of thinking?"
Akane took a final sip of her tea and set the cup down, glancing at Hiro before turning back to Isra and Renai, also adressing Hiro, however. "When id the military arm as you call it, needed to step forward and take control? Perhaps Meruin went a bit far by suggesting we do not need a Daimyo, period, and denying his heirs, but perhaps he means it temporarily. You are correct, however, that we need both 'legs' to stand as a country. I would bet this division is part of their goals. They want us fighting eachother."
The medic looked up then to Hiro, her lips a set line, hard as she viewed the bodyguard silently for a moment. "And you may tell Meruin every word I have said. I would say it to his face as well."
Hiro raised his one remaining eyebrow at her and folded his arms. "I shall."
Akane shook her head and looked at Renai and Isra. "Hiro-san's the reason I'm still alive but I know who's man he is." She tried to laugh that off, but it came out as more of a grunt. When Renai returned, Akane turned to her. "I fear the trouble is only beginning, Renai-san. And you and I will have to choose between the men." Ishino would certainly do what would protect Akane, but… "If the Daimyo decided to remove Meruin from office because of his declarations this village will be ripped apart and the country with it. So the question is: What do we do to help fix it?" She looked at Isra directly then. "You are a Seven, are you not? You swore allegiance and obedience to the Daimyo. So what will you do if he orders Meruin struck down?"
Isra looked at the gremlin making its way through the area and causing trouble. Her face twisted in mild confusion, but mostly amusement at its antics. It was lively considering the overall face of this camp. She looked back to the small group to continue with the conversation. "Here's what I don't understand…" Isra began to pace, her mind focused as she begins thinking in that long, drawn out Uzumaki fashion. She had to really consider what's happened up to this point and pieces don't fit together the way she'd like them to. "Your question brings to mind a good point. Why attack the capital of they wish to harm the shinobi world? The capital typically doesn't mettle in the affairs of shinobi villages, but they, like any other person or group make requests, the difference being that the Daimyo and Kage sharing a bond. To be quite honest, neither side has been doing well on that part. Kirigakure, in its short time, has experienced four kage. That doesn't leave much time for the Daimyo to acclimate himself. Additionally, Kiri has had a long history of bloodshed which could breed uncertainty and discomfort in knowing how to approach matters where civility has largely been something claimed through might. Still, it doesn't answer the question of the Silence and their attack against the capital. It does establish how they could generate a foothold in the division between village and state, however. Anyhow. They couldn't attack Kiri because were already prepared for them. So, they decided to infiltrate a less guarded area…or did they?" She questioned. "See, what we know of the Silence is that they're a real threat. Enough that Kiri itself felt it necessary to put up its greatest guard, but…why would they be fazed by that when they've blatantly assaulted Sunagakure and managed to sneak into Kumogakure to introduce themselves, both times escaping to carry on their plans without so much as a hitch? And given their power and ability in both instances, I pose that attacking another village wouldn't have been a problem. Perhaps carrying more effort, but not a problem. This is the only threat that has openly mocked villages and lived to tell of it as well as back up their claims." She paused in her pacing to look at them.
"I don't think that they're truly threatened by us. If they are, this is an elaborate and well thought out ruse. Yet…why attack the capital? This is the only instance of them attacking people directly up to this point and look at what came of their attack. What benefit did they gain from us by attacking the state? None, from us. At least, nothing of secrets. What they did gain was a revelation. Mizukage wishes to oust Daimyo and will even break apart the state to attain it. Declared himself Shogun. Further division between us and them."
When Akane says they will have to choose between men, Renai gets a rather unsettled expression on her face. At one time, she would have done anything Ishino had wished of her. The girl idolized him and would fight on no one's side but his, but children grow up and shinobi gain responsibilities. "I can only fight for what's best for the village. I belong to Kirigakure -I have since I was rescued and brought here- and its protection is my duty. Until the Mizukage proves himself to be a greater threat than an asset, I must do as he directs for the good of the people." Just like that. Even if it means going against the Swordsmen. Even if it means turning on her Sensei. Though in all reality, if it ever came to that, she'd probably find a way to make herself disappear. It's not like she hasn't considered that prospect before. And, she certainly has the means to make it happen. Her eyes turn to Akane, "If things get bad, you'll get out of here, right? You and the babies. I know Ishino will protect you.. Just what if he can't. It worries me."
She listens to Isra, taking in the words of her superiors and wishing she could magically know all the answers and understand all the secrets. Finally, she just sighs and emits a huff, "I think we're doing exactly what they want us to do. And that's pretty sad." The genin seems entirely disheartened by her own statement and moves back to the clothing tables with heavy steps. She starts in on her work again, listening intently to the two women, but distracting her hands to keep herself from fidgeting.
Akane listened to Isra as the woman began to pace and Hiro followed her movement with his good eye. She was puzzling something out and useing them as a sounding board so to speak. Well, so be it. Akane watched and listened. "The division seems to have been their goal from the start. It's true that for a lifetime ruler such as the Daimyo it would be hard to acclimate one's self to a village system which works on a decidedly shorter term." Even if that term was determined by sudden death. "So he could not have trusted Meruin to start with. The fact that while he was 'missing' Meruin declared that we did not need a Daimyo seems to have angered him. And he retaliated. But something feels strange to me as well. Why would the Daimyo remain silent until he was taken hostage by them and then suddenly he's on their side?"
She shook her crimson head. She felt something had to be done. something specific. But a glance toward Hiro said she wasn't going to speak of it here. She might not fear Meruin but she did not wish to test his patience at this time either.
Behind her glasses Akane's green eyes watched Renai closely. She knew the girl well enough to see that look on her face. She recognised the reservation there and nearly pitied the girl. Only a sense of respect kept her from doing so. Rather she felt empathy. She herself would face an impossible descision. Ishino and Meruin. Ishino /or/ Meruin. Could she do it? She would have to….
Akane had not been shy about her feelings for either man, even unto telling Yuuka directly that she loved Meruin as well as Ishino. She had sworn to serve one and love the other. But now things had gotten complicated. She was going to have children to care for and they might even come before the village. She glanced back to Hiro who was watching both she and Renai closely with his one good eye. He looked implacable standing there, arms across his barrel chest. He had been set at her side by Meruin and welcomed by Ishino Especially after that assassination attempt on the way to Sunagakure…
"I swore to protect and heal this village. Perhaps my place is not to choose a side but to try and form a bridge." Her tone said she was thinking aloud and that she doubted her own words even as they came out of her. She had sworn to more than that but that was a simpler way of explaining her vows. Vows performed staring the Mizukage in the eye and showing no fear. She wanted to save them both….
Renai's voice pulled her from her deliberation. She would escape? With Ishino's children? Behind her glasses her eyes slid sideways to look at Hiro then turned back to Renai. "I will keep my children safe, yes. But rest assured even if I were to be called a traitor Meruin would not kill me." She coldn't explain why, but her voice showed she was clearly confident in that statement. "should it come to blows between the Seven and the Mizukage…" She shook her head, at a loss. She didn't know what she would do….
The gremlin beside her had finished grinding down the kunai and reahed up to tug at Akane's skirt with a pudgy hand. The medic smiled faintly and patted it on the head as if it were a living being. Pulling out several coins from her pocket she handed it to the gremlin. "Pay them and I'll give you another." Quick as that the gremlin was on it's little feet and running off to pay the three refugees a few ryo a piece for their help with the carts. They would bring the carts back to the merchant and recieve the holder's fee which she had told them they could also keep for their aid.
Finally she turned to Isra again. "And what about you?" What would Isra, one of the Seven, do if ordered to destroy her Kage? The medic's eyes bore into Isra's from behind her glasses as she waited for the answer…
Isra clasped both of her arms and laid them to rest on her chest. She still had tea to finish, but she found herself distracted and instead it became an object to fiddle with by swirling the liquid in the cup. "There is part of our answer," stew spoke quietly. "We're doing exactly what they want us to, but that's not all. By creating division, we are being plunged into darkness and to fall silent before one another." She gripped her cup. "The shinobi world is not the only one in trouble. The entire world is in trouble. And if we keep thinking that the village is the only part that matters, we're going to lose the real war. We will fall silent. All of us. We will become actual silence when we all kill one another in disagreement. Their name is speaking of a very real future for all of us. We can't protect the people by killing the people. Bloodshed has always been our answer, our solution to things and now it may very well be our downfall. The lack of communication…our silence the Daimyo's silence…do you all see how far reaching this is? Their name speaks volumes of our weaknesses." She decided to lift her cup to her lips to finish off the tea while giving the gremlin side eye. She might have to ask about it later and more importantly, ask about protection from it. "I would not have Meruin struck down…" She finally answered. "But I also cannot afford to lose my Daimyo. I'm certain a bridge can be formed, but we need an opportunity to make it work. I intend to save the Daimyo. This land is dependent upon him. I need his ear so that I may convince him away from the Silence. They're manipulating all of us and if we don't get it together, I don't think the phoenix intends to rise again this time."
Her arms are busy as she folds and folds, going through a pile of unmentionables with quick, rehearsed movements as she's ton a million times. One particular garment gets a -look- from Renai and she disappears briefly outside to find a fire to shove it in. She's back in only a moment and listening to the women and folding and folding.
This is where she can't do anything. When it comes to creating action, that is what she is not expected to do. This is where the grownups shut their ears and tell her what to do. She isn't resentful about it. Renai is not quite an adult yet and she understands her role as a subordinate and why it is necessary for her to obey and to learn. But, there are certain things she cannot do. It violates every moral fiber in her being and participating in a civil war would destroy her. The girl stops her actions and stares at the clothes for a long moment.
"It has to be stopped. We have to fix it. Someone needs to .. make them talk. Or.." Her eyes move around the room, seeming lost. "We can't fight one another. Ever." Her eyes close briefly as if to firmly exclude the possibility from her mind. Then, she straightens, squaring her jaw and getting a ridiculously stubborn demeanor about herself. "I refuse to choose. If the Daimyo and the Mizukage go to war, I refuse to fight." Meruin did tell her to not forget who she is.. Well, he just might regret it.
Akane turned to look at Isra closely as the woman spoke again. Akane had had little interaction with Isra since comming to the Land of Water, but apparently the Swordswoman did not consider her a spy or a real threat. Sometimes Akane wondered what Hiro considered her, but the man was usually a silent sentinal, following her around. When Isra said that the village was not the absolute most important thing he actually nodded slowly, as if agreeing with her on that point. Akane looked him over then turned back to Isra.
"It's true. If we find ourselves in a civil war we may lose everything, Daimyo /and/ Kage. That is not something I would see happen. But Meruin has my loyalty whereas I know nothing of the Daimyo. I chose my leader and it was Meruin I pledged to."
Sitting back in her chair, Akane watched the gremlin scuttle back to her side having paid the boys their coin and seeking it's own little reward. Akane drew out a kunai from her low slung belt and handed it to the gremlin. It jumped and sat down next to her before starting to gnaw on the blade. Akane watched it with a kind of sadness on her face, but it was only a moment and she was back to a calm calculating expression.
Hiro watched them all stoic as ever, a silent sentinal indeed. But then he canted his head and asked the three women, "So do any of you have a plan to end the treat?" A pause…. "Even just an idea?" Clearly he thought they were clucking hens, talking and whining about the situation as if it were gossip. Akane turned a cool expression on him and he shrugged at her.
Renai had been folding clothes like there was a contest to see who could fold the most in as little time as possible and Akane recognised the habit for what it was. But her words suprised the medic. She didn't blame the girl as some might. She did not think her a coward. She understood all too well that choosing between Meruin and the Daimyo would be like her choosing between Meruin and Ishino. An impossible task set by an impossible situation.
Hiro spoke up, motioning toward Renai. "The girl made a descision. It will not help her or you or you Isra-sama. But at least she made a descision."
Akane's head came up and she set her jaw. "Enough, Hiro-san." Turning to Renai Akane simply nodded to her. She had little to offer except acceptance ofher choice to not choose. Unfortunately, as a Chuunin, as an adult of the village, a stray Meruin had taken in, Akane could not take the same avenue as Renai.
She looked thoughtful for a long moment then looked at Isra. "Perhaps we should go see the Daimyo you and I, Isra-san. You may be able to regrow the lost connection between the village and the Daimyo. Even if it's just a temporary truce between them, something to last until the Silence is neutralied. Then they can go at eachothe without an added threat." She looked at Hiro then back to the other females there. Going would have an added benefit for Akane. "I trained as a sensor for some time when I first came to the Land of Water. I can tell if he's under a genjutsu or perhaps if he's been brainwashed. What do you say Isra-san?"
"I agree. We should talk. It's very hard to think about talking but I feel like it's our only other option, especially because we're so used to fighting to get what we want. Granted that isn't too say talking all the time gets results too, but a balance between them is necessary. Talking is what led to each of these villages being established. We should use it to our advantage to take the power out of their hands, if only for a little while and show that we can be flexible," Isra stated. "This does have to be stopped. It's absolutely necessary for everyone's benefit." She observed Renai and nodded to her. "I won't force you to choose sides. You're decision is your own as much as mine is my own. I think we should speak to the Daimyo, at least, to call off his forces and get him on our side again, but that can't happen now. He's too livid and vulnerable. So, we need time for him to cool down, but that time should also be spent searching for the camp he resides in. As long as he's in their possession, it means more time spent being swayed against us and further, against his people." She smirked. "I'm not sure I want them going at each other at all, but that's something to deal with when we get there. For now, my plan is simply to wait. When the Daimyo is calm, then we should be able to act."