Loki (emitter), Ryoji
Date: January 2, 2014
Ayumu takes the first steps to learning Shadow Clone
"Shadow Clone 1: Ayumu"
Some random village
Ryoji's many projects has taken him all over the place, though some have taken him farther than others. As he was working over details about his current mark, he got word that one of his old contacts was seen in a small town somewhere near here. The rumor was barely more than that, only adding that the man appeared skitish, causing him to stay mostly to himself. Yet this is the most solid lead he has had on this particular person in a long time. Shinjiro was, when Ryoji knew him, more paranoid than most, but also very well connected. If there was any hope of restarting his old business, Shinjiro would have to be found, or his successor located. Thus the sun is setting on this cold winter evening, with the smells of baked goods and stews wafting from various houses nearby.
It would seem that no matter how much time has passed there are some things that never seem to change. Case in point, Twitchy-san aka Shinjiro was, as per the norm, far too shy for the man's own good. If it weren't for that same persona actually working to his favor in regards to brokering good business deal, the man might've ended up dead well before now if not worst off. The possibility actually still existed given the nature of some of their past dealings. Which is why decided to take a small detour with Shun being left behind to take care of whatever other issues that have been stacking up on the Iga's plate as of late.
"Mah-e.. always these kinds of places," Ryoji muttered as he meandered along the virtually empty streets, adjusting the sensor organs inlaid in his hair as he walked. The scents, the feel of the place — He takes in a deep intake through the nose, and then exhaled from the mouth. He missed the this town so close to the Land of Earth's border. Truly, did the Iga miss it so. It is with great regret that the next intake through his nose is devoted towards trying to root out his old ally before the wintry air forced him to retreat for the time being and reconsider his approach.
With most people inside preparing to eat, and the smells of nearly completed dinners filling the air, it is hard even for Ryoji to find a trace of Shinjiro newer than three days old. Finally though, he finds one brief whiff of the cologne Shinjiro was known to practically bathe in, coming from the center of the town, likely near the merchant's stalls. Various merchants are taking this meal time seriously, as they prepare their own meals now that business is slow. But like any good merchant worth the name, they are always on watch for potential customers.
Ryoji's sensor organs seem to pick up a perfume trader near the end of the district. The smell of Shinjiro's cologne seems to intensify as he draws nearer to this man, though it competes, with moderate disharmony, with scents from other wares. Of course, these scents pale next to the strong, slightly spicy and earthy odor of the man's stew, which his sensor organs tell he's about to heap into a large round piece of bread.
The smells are intoxicating, distracting, and disturbing. In short, Ryoji would have his work cut out deciphering his old friends peculiar taste in cologne amongst the tangled web of scents wafting in the air. With preserverance, the Iga does run into a spot of good luck, or so it would seem. Despite his luck in finding a clue the man still kept to an even pace and made certain to keep a few less scent orientated sensors open for any tailers, ambushers, and etc etc…
He finds him (or what appears to be his 'target') at the end of the district, but err'd on the side of caution still despite reaching this conclusion. Ryoji prefered not nearly ending up a human pin cushion again or having to chase Shinjiro across another town again. Twice was enough. With such thoughts in mind, Ryoji spoke in as even and polite a tone as possible while maintaing a good three to five meter distance from the man. "Ohayo Shinjiro's san and — oh? I see you've kept to the same stew as before, eh?"
The man looks up at Ryoji, and if the Iga's sensors allow for some form of sight, it becomes clear that this is not Shinjiro, but maybe a relative of some kind. The words the man speaks confirms this, as it is deeper than the real trader's voice. "Sorry, but who is this Shinjiro?" the man says, blinking his eyes. "I'm just a perfume trader, setting up for the local faire. Are you interested in trying something new?"
Even after the mistake is made Ryoji does not lose that easy-going fox-like demeanor, though beneath that mask he is annoyed. On a side note, Ryoji vowed to at least have one form of sight present on his person from that moment on, but solely one. Too many shinobi these days seemed devoted to using tricks that played with one's vison, and Ryoji prefered not to be one of their toys… should he cross any of the sort. "My apologies then friend." He inclines his head briefly. "I am in need of a trim of these bangs, you see." He jokes. "… But right, this something new of your… I, nonono! Manners first between us before acceptance of this new thing, yes?" He grins broadily. "Wakahisa Ayumu." This time he bows fully at the waist. Instead of rising soon after, Ryoji merely lifted his head up and ask, "And you might be?"
"Takima Renji," The man says pretty much automatically before inwardly cursing himself for giving the family name away. He tries not to let the aggravation show in his voice though as continues on in a falsely calm yet honestly proud voice, "Traveling merchant and purveyor of exotic scents and dyes, questor of odds and ends throughout the elemental nations. It is good to meet you." He finishes ladeling the stew into one bread bowl, then produces another round loaf of bread. "Care for some?"
Ryoji doesn't appear to make anything more out of the name than what is given; but inwardly the man searches for any red flags regarding the name. Without being to overt in one way or another, the mental search will take some time, leaving the man to keep up the charade for awhile yet. "Mmm, that does smell quite the lovely thing, and if you should insist then, well, I wouldn't wish to offend you now." He says with an unerring sense of nonchalance.
So, unless given a reason not to take up the bowl, Ryoji does so with care. Actually consuming its contents on the otherhand would be put on 'hiatus'. Not at first, but certainly just as he is about to take a bite out of the soup soaked bread. "Tell me, Renji-san. Is this what you meant by something interesting.. no, no, New I mean?"
Renji's family name turns out to be the same as Shinjiro's, indicating some form of relationship. But Renji is inwardly glad that Ryoji moved on to other topics, and thus answers the comments. "Then sit and let us chat for a while. I could not help but to notice that your scent is something akin to a neutral scent used by people of a more… militaristic convention. As I sell perfumes and colognes extensively, my nose is pretty sharp that way. Yet what I smell is an older mix, and there are a couple of newer agents on the market that ar much more efficient than the one you're using. So the question becomes, are you interested in one of these newer products, are is there something… else… you have in mind?"
The placement is made, but only after he accepted Renji's extended hospitality by taking a seat nearby. Ryoji eyes seemed to grow distant for a brief moment once the connection is made. Once that moment passes however the fennec is back to his usual carefree-ish self. "Truth be told I find myself wanting a firm self-kicking for having not cleansed myself of that. Alas, the open road and time provided not the proper means to do so… though then again, I doubt either can fool the nose of a conniseur of such things like yourself." Ryoji admits and chuckles softly.
"But I digress-…" He relaxes back into his seat and peers upward. "While I would be interested in sampling — ah, purchasing such in due time. There are a few other things that must take precedence… For instance, I sense that you are not solely a purveyor of one stock and are… well traveled?" He asks whimsically, as he stroked the thin whisps of hair lining his jaw. "But of course, I could be wrong as well… However, in the off chance that I am not, I was wondering if you might be in possession of anything that'd making multi-tasking a little easier."
Renji looks around for a moment, then gives Ryoji a more careful look. Appearing to weigh the man carefully, he seems to be a bit wary of saying much. "Odor removal agents I can, and often do, supply to anyone with the money. I have to make a living after all. But I'm not sure what you're talking about otherwise," he says, leaving the impression that he's not about to make a committed response out here in the open. Denial can be a very important survival trait for those in his business. "I might know someone who would know… but the price does not come cheep, by any stretch."
GAME: Save complete.
Whoever this Renji person really was Ryoji had to commend him for how he handled the situation at large. He only hoped that the man did not have anything to do with his Shinjiro's possible early retirment, though, even thinking along those so soon was far too soon. The bowl in hand is growing steadily cold and untouched due to the night time atmosphere. Ryoji hardly pays it any more midn than he did Renji's hint at a high price for what he sought. "Naturally, my darling Renji, naturally… However, I would hope that old debts being considered… repayed, is enough to cover much of it for at least one side." He says with that non-chalantly air still about him, but there is an undertone beneath it all.
Not a threat per say, but a truth that should've been passed down to Renji should he have any true connection to Shinjiro beyond simply being related by blood. A truth unlikely to be so easily forgotten or cast aside. Shinjiro was — is quite the cautious one at that. Old favors must be repayed. Even for unintended debts picked up on the road of life.
Renji nods slowly as he takes a few bites of his half-forgotten meal. After a short silence, Renji says, "Repaying old debts is important, as I often remind certain people I know. It often is the case that people may be… leary of changes in the air. After all, with merchants being attacked, coming up sick, and sometimes even quarantined afterwards in certain trading routes, all by different people for different reasons, it's enough to make any man nervous. And those who tend to be over-cautious? Is it any wonder those go into hiding?" Of course, Renji is talking about several different events, some related and some not, such as the skirmishes in Suna, or the examinations in Konoha, and even some other events not happening inside the hidden villages. It is a dangerous time to be a trader, or merchant.
The truth responded to, Renji finally makes a decision and gives a small smile before starting to speak. "No, these are dangerous times, more so than normal, and as a result, trust must be earned, not simply given. Far too many things are happening, and its not just livelihoods, but lives that are in danger when one trusts too blindly. So I tell you what… There's a man in this town that has something that belongs to me, but refuses to meet with me directly. He's far too spooked by events beyond his control. If you go to the big house on the outskirts of town, and meet this man and procure the scroll for me, it would persuade me to trust, if just a little. What do you say?"
Ayumu relunctantly found himself agreeing to Renji's words. His own travels and the spy networks the Iga was tapped into revealed enough regarding such events. An unfortunate thing it is to be a merchant during times like these. But, for the truly bold there will always be an even greater reward for their endeavors. That is, if they play the game well enough. But can one conclude the worth of any said endeavors base on the succesful few? Ayumu had neither the words or thoughts to convey an appropriate counter towards what is on the table. Not yet.
Ayumu says not a word immediatly, but instead kept his gaze cast upon the murky surface of the soup. "… I would say that that little will have to be enough." Unless bade to do otherwise, Ayumu would rise to his feet and sharply crack his neck to one side before rolling it around once. "Do reflect while I'm away on rather or not this 'little' bit is enough… but naturally before that, I will need a name of man, finer description of this misplaced item, and more exact coordinates.. Presumeably if the obvious is not present enough after my departure."
Renji gives Ayumu the information asked for, quickly describing one of the more prominent men in this town. Soon it would become very apparent why the man did not want to meet Renji in person, as this man was a trader of shinobi artifacts, scrolls, rare weapons, and the like. It would look too suspicious for a perfumer to meet with such a person, especially when that man didn't have anyone who would use such things. The item is a long, foot-wide by foot-deep box, one that measures about a foot and a half wide. The description is detailed, but there is a catch. "Obviously any communication I have with him is second-hand, and he won't just accept your word for it. He'll ask you to prove you know me, but I don't know how he'll do it. He changes his identification proceedures from time to time. Just be prepared…"
Ayumu could feel the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose and bow his head mounting as the troublesome aspects of his mission became clear. He also mentally cursed himself for not bringing Shun along for the mission. But given how it is far too late to call in his retainer without the current deal going sour, Ayumu accepted the circumstances with a heavy sigh and bid Renji both thanks and goodbye by raising the bowl up before — "Hmm… Mind if I hold on to this lovely offering of yours?" Ayumu asks, gesturing to the bowl. With or without the offering, Ayumu would bid Renji goodbye once more before making his way to the target's house.
If the main path towards the district his target stay is not winding enough, then the Iga would take care to walk upon the more circuitous and discretly scatter sensor organs of various kinds along the way. Some would follow, others would remain, and those that were in neither group proceeded well ahead of the Iga to warn him of any potential obstacles, be they benign or malignant, human or otherwise. Ayumu was especially mindful of any tails that might be picked up along the way.
Renji nods his head once to Ryoji's request, and bids the man goodbye. The trip is normally pretty much straight forward, but the circuitous route that the Iga takes adds a little time. A short time later, the large compound comes into view with a wall-in yard surrounding a large house. So far there isn't any traps or surprises, but it is evident that there's also no way to alert someone inside the house of visitors once the gates were closed, which is how they stand now. For Ryoji to complete this, he's going to have to find a way in, or find a way to get someone's attention… without causing the neighbors to suspect foul play.
All is good. All is well. Ayumu was became increasingly paranoid with how smoothly things had progressed up to the gate, and only had Sunagakure to blame for that. Well, mostly them and some other nonsense. Doing the ninja thing and hoping over the fence was always a possibility. So was invoking the spirit of Satoril and do some investigating from afar before taking anychance. Then, there was always the not so obvious choice of seeing if the gate was open too.
"Hmmmmmm…." Ryoji sets the bowl and his travel sack aside, fishes around in the latter until he produced a pair of gloves, then stashed the latter aside before trying to see if the gate only appeared lock or was indeed, very much locked. If it ain't, Ayumu is back on guard in an instant, wondering if there were more involved than what Renji let on. IF it is, there is only plance two-hundred-and-fifty-six: A few of eye balls, though specifically, those he could spare out of the lot he expelled earlier. Each were attuned to certain frequences and slipped either over the gate, through it, and if possible under it before being dispatched to take in the grounds from whatever cover there is. Ayumu on the otherhand would back-track aways to ensure that no noisy neighbors or someone from the inside grew too curious as to why he was standing at their gate without any obvious intention of tyring to grab someones attention on the inside.
Depending on what the outside sweep would uncover, Ayumu would try to manipulate the organs inside if at all possible. Discretely.
The gate is indeed locked, both by its own internal locking mechanism and a large pad-lock and chain, neither one of which appears to have seen much use in months. Yet it is obvious there are people inside, who are well aware of someone at the gate. But no movement is made to allow Ayumu in, though the sensor organs do pick up that he is watched until he leaves the gate. One thing is certain, they have to get in and out somehow, but how? The only other exit is a back entrance, which also does not appear to have been opened for years. But… there is a small clue, in that there are several odd scratches around one of the light holders on the wall beside the gate. They're faint, but they seem both circular and vertical, though your average person would be at a loss to figure out how they were made.
The average perhaps, but Ayumu is BEYOND Average! :D Or so he has been told at one point… and another. One of which was by a family member close to the man, to which he replied with a belly shaking laugh. That is, it would be a belly shaker if not for all that walking and running about the young Iga did on an average basis.
*cough* Moving *cough* On.
With the grounds revealing nothing and no other way being presented, Ayumu re-routed a few of the more peculiar eyes to the scratches along with popping out a tongue and ear combination for further investigation of the wal section the clue was found. Only once he determined that a more hands-on approach would be necessary does he follow through personally, but again, discretely if at all possible.
It would seem, upon closer taste and feeling sensation, that the entire rear gate feels like dirt, as if it had contact with the ground. The sconce tastes of human oils, as if it had been handled, frequently. Furthermore, several finer decorations are worn down, as if the sconce was handled on a regular basis. It would seem as it holds a definite purpose, further supported by the fact it moves slightly when significant weight is added to it.
Ayumu can only shake his head in exasperation before straightening out fully and making his way back towards the gate. While it would do him no good to reprimand whoever comissioned this secret entrance, Ayumu — came to a complete stop. Locked gates, secret entrances, connection to a 'versatile' merchant… "No," He murmured, shelving the disturbing thoughts that were begining to pile up, and then continue on his way. The disturbing line of thoughts continued to nag him the entire way though.
Careful to positon his hand in as exact a position he predicted others have done so before him, Ayumu then goes about manipulating into the same positions the scratches indicated.
Luckily enough for Ryoji, there really isn't a strange combination to the twists and pulls, though it does take a few moments to find the right direction to turn the sconce on each stop. Finally the third position is set, and the entire back gate falls down like a portculus, lying flat on the ground. The way is now clear for the Iga to head inside, and still it does not look like anyone is moving to intercept. The yard appears, to most, to be like any other yard found in civilian establishments, though it would seem a waste if that trick gate was the only security this place had…
"A waste indeed voice in my head, a waste indeed." Yeah, Ayumu >totally< wasn't dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall there. Like that one Shirayuki floating down a river once did and — that is neither here or there. The important thing is that the way was clear for Ayumu to proceed with the misson, hoping all the while that the troublesome thing with the trick gate was only apart of some rich man's passing fancy. In his wake, and in time even before him, Sensor organs that helped him get inside and a few of those he scattered across town surged through the gates so long as they are open, henged as rodents or leaves that seemed rather taken by some unknown wind. They scattered almost immediatly, searching once more intently for any signs of trouble.
Ayumu went the extra step as well by stoking what little chakra sensing abilities he has in hopes of confirming if his watchers were still… watching. :P
As Ryoji approches, a large cat comes walking around the corner. Well… it was technically a cat, but it looked more like a miniature leopard than a domesticated feline. It sits down in front of Ryoji and starts to clean itslf, pausing every now and again to look at the bowl of food that Ryoji is carrying, then going back to clean itself. It does this until the Iga tries to go around the cat, at which point it gets up, moves to a position directly in front of Ryoji, and plops itself down again to continue its grooming and eyeing the bread bowl.
Step. Step. Step. Cat. Ayumu paused in step as soon as the scent hits his nose. Stiffling the urge to sniffle and thereby opening his nose up that much further, Ayumu took a good few moments to analyze his options. On the one hand he could possibly just side-step the beast and be done with it… and on the other hand he could subdue it in mortal combat too. Then one of his regular disemobedied eyes notice the cat eyeballing his bread bowl, revealing a third option as well. Decisions, Decisions.
"Mah-e," He murmurs in defeat before kneeling down and setting the still full bowl of food. Not trusting the animal to bum rush him immediatly, Ayumu took care to give it some distance as quickly and calmly as possible. Now there is only the waiting game…
Once the bowl is set down, the cat gives a kitten-like "mreow" and starts to eat it rather daintily. His sight orbs easily pick up the incongruity of this as it starts purring while eating, seemingly ignoring Ryoji at this point. Once the bowl is finished, and only the bread remains, the cat starts batting it around, like its one large toy. Cat and bread bowl are soon gone around the corner, leaving Ryoji's way clear once again.
Curiosity killed the cat.
That is a bold face lie.
It was stupidity from the Iga's perspective for one. Secondly, he is not a cat. There was also the simple fact that the stealer of his pass meant to convey Ayumu's connection to the perfume salesman has just been devoured; BUT, the Iga tried not to let that bit get him down. As a safety precaution he still scent an eyeball henged as a leaf after the big 'ol kitty to see if it had a means of getting inside. While awaiting on 'word' from it, Ayumu focused his attention back on combing the place for another way inside. A secret, er, more discrete way in since at this point he is /technically/ breaking and entering.
Windows? Secret Latches? Back Doors? Chimneys? The man kept his options open.
Just as Ryoji is trying to figure out how to get in, the door opens and a man steps out to look at him. He seems perfectly at ease, given the fact he's found a stranger in his back lawn. "So… Renji sent you?" he asks, tilting his head to the side. "Renji is the only one that I know of that combines tarragon stew in basil bread, which is Spot's favorite food. So answer one question for me, and I'll give you what you came for."
For his part, Ayumu doesn't so much as twitch from the man's suprise appearance. If anything he seemed about at ease as the stranger (From Ayumu's perspective), and simply stuffed his hands into his pockets. Despite what appearances may show Ayumu remained cautious. The cat is followed, his remaining 'followers' are scattered, and what is presumeably the man in possession of his main objective given great scrutiny. With that being stated, It is no wonder Ayumu's response lacked haste. "More or less." He shrugged. "That having been said, I do believe I answered your question, neh?" He jokes lightly.
The man smiles for a moment and waves someone behind him forward, showing a person that could be his twin standing behind him. "When is a man not a man, but an imitation of himself, with all the feelings and thoughts the man would have, but weakness pervades?" The man leans back for a moment gainst the doorway, getting comfortable as he waits for Ryoji to answer.
"A Shadow, more or less, but if life be given to it as well to have such feelings and thoughts then… A shadow clone." The words flow forth seemlessly from the Iga's mouth (Barring the brief pause) with hardly a second lost since the question was posed. While there has been only another instance in his life with a similiar question being posed, the way the references stuck with him. That, and the dilemma the man still finds himself in. That is in a matter-of-speaking. He waits now, no longer holding onto the grinning fox-like mask with as much fevor as before.
The man nods and steps aside as he steps out from behind himself and comes forward carrying the box described. Yes, there are two of the same man. "That is correct. Give Renji our regards." That said, the other man sets the box down at Ryoji's feet, takes a couple of steps back, and disappears in a puff of smoke. The door closes, and the gate slowly starts to rise again. If Ryoji hurries, he can get the box and be out of the yard before it's fully erect.
Ayumu bowed to the quarter mark at the waist, thanking the man with a simple gesture. He held that pose until the door is closed. As a result, the Iga does have to rush a little due to the gate rising once more. Truth be told, Ayumu was suprised the gate stayed down for so long in the first place. "What an odd device," He murmurs softly to himself as he bent down to take up the box, then rose, groaning at one point from adjusting the box. He pauses only once after sprinting (and leaping if need be) past the rising gate to watch it slide back into place with whatever audible noise it might make.
"… Quiet brain, We will not regress to that stage again." On that note, Ayumu dismisses his outbound sensors and takes off back to Renji.
The trip back to Renji's was pretty much uneventful, with only the shadow of a cat crossing his path every now and again. Renji smiles when he sees Ayumu, then motions him inside the pavilion. "Well, you kept your end of the bargain, now I will keep mine," he says as he opens the box and pulls out a scroll. "I'm sure you'll find some use for this, but I'm not sure hwat, as I can't unseal it. But its supposedly something to help with your multitasking problem."