Kazumi, Ayumu, Yuzuki
Date: June 24, 2014
A Kirigakure and Sungakure team are dispatched to the Land of Silk to investigate the increase of assassinations within the Silk Trade, causing price fluctuations for both nations.
"Silk and Poison"
Land of Silk
It has been a rather busy time within the Village of Kiragakure, a time of growth and prosperity. Both Ninja and Villages are enjoying this financial stability and growth, I mean who doesn't enjoy a few extra Ryos jingling in their pockets. Though within this growth bitter rivalries begin to grow, those rivalries begin to grow outside of the Village and to the suppliers of goods. Some of the finest tailors within the Land of Water and especially Kiragakure have had to change their supplier of silk, three times within the last year.
The reason you ask, it seems that every supplier they get within the Land of Silk (A Small rather unknown country located off a small island in the Seas), ends up dead, the victim of an assassination. Akasa the head of the Trade Guild that oversees the neutral trade of those associated with his guild has sent a request to Kirigakure for their aide in this investigation as to who is assassinating members of the Silken Trade. With further attempts to strengthen the Sungakure and Kiragakure, a Genin from Sunagakure was provided to aide in this investigation.
The mission began with Kazumi and Yuzuki traveling by ship to retrieve the Genin Ayumu, before the ship heads towards the Land of Silk.
This is where we find this team preparing to begin their investigation of these assignations, the ship has just weighed anchor outside the large city that holds the Trade Guild. The two Genins provided packets as to possible threats and tactics to use within this mission as outline by Yuzuki. They now prepare to disembark from the ship, the smell of salt and various food booths set up for weary travelers lingering in the air, while a cool wet breeze blows across the area. It is a rather warm day, a few scattered white clouds in the sky. The docks are busy with tax collectors moving from ship to ship to collect the docking tax and confirming others have paid in their records.
All Kazumi did was bow, both to Yuzuki and to Ayumu once he arrived. He wasn't leading, he had no reason to talk. Though being handed a packet just made him all the more nervous. He stared at it for a long moment, not really reading or comprehending he should, before a sigh in his mind kicked him into gear. Reading over it quickly, his brow furrowed. Why did… they need these? He wasn't sure, but… he didn't try to question the Chuunin and just followed along after her, silent as… a…. uh, well, something that was actually silent!
Unbeknownst to most folk, Ayumu /did/ actually spend a considerable time keeping abreast of the situation in foreign lands. Mostly the lesser and easily over looked ones to be more exact, and his reasoning being no different than his old facade's perspective on how one should live their life. He lacked only the means, and in some cases, the desire to investigate further with more personal future fortunes hanging in the balance at home. Fate intervened, and before long he found himself shipped out to one of those distance lands with a foreign team of Kirigakure shinobi.
He greeted each in turn as they did him, and spent most of the trip either reading over Yuzuki's packets were given or seemingly studying the sea. His attention, however, always remained truthfully on the other two. By the time they disembark, Ayumu is confident he has a different read of the duo, and it showed in the way he carried himself from then on. "Hmm… always a pleasure stretching one's history." Ayumu says before taking in one large lungful of air through his nose. Meanwhile, those same sensors he had discretely keep an eye on the crew (Kiri nin include) slip off the ship and scatter for reconnaisence. Plus, it would not do if he kept bumping into things because he was unfamiliar with an area's rhythms.
As Yuzuki disembarks the ship she simply motions with her hands to the two Genin to follow, she of course pays for the docking taxation and gives the captain of the ship instructions. Then her voice rings out a little, though her tone is meek, authority hides behind it, "Make sure you hydrate and if you are require nourishment quickly grab something from one of the stalls, I am not going to stop." she says as she begins to make her way through the crowd on the docks, expecting the two Genin to follow and keep pace. As she reaches the end of the docks, the Trader Guild's Headquarters is located almost directly across from them.
Yuzuki looks back over her should to make sure she hadn't lost either of them, before moving towards the door. A rather large man, who easily dwarfs Yuzuki in size and sheer mass is standing at the door, his hand extends outward gesturing Yuzuki to stop. Her gaze moves across him for a moment, before she reaches into her jacket and removes a roll up scroll and simply handing it to the man, who began's to make sure that everything is in order.
The area around this would continue to hustle and bustle as traders would come and go, from the HQ arguments would happen on the docks concerning taxes on goods and trade, before the Large man would finally allow the three entry. As they would enter, the first thing they would be greeted by would be a large room, that appeared to be some form of pub and Inn. Yuzuki would nod, looking at the two Genins, "Attempt to retrieve what information you can from those within here, while I speak with the Head." she would say simply walking off now to leave those two to gather information.
The pink-haired boy gulps, slipping away briefly to do as told and grab a drink. He communicates with points and bows rather than trying to speak because that would mean losing track of the leader of this mission and he just couldn't afford that. Kazumi sips at his drink, not feeling hungry enough to get anything to eat. Information retrieval is the bane of my existence, he thinks as he looks about the room. 'You're going to have to do this,' he hears and verbally sighs. He knows all too well.
Bowing his head to Yuzuki, he looks about the room and… quite frankly isn't sure what to do. Rather, none of them seem like people necessarily knowledgeable about assassinations… He whimpers quietly to himself before meandering over to the three at the bar. If you're going to mess up, best do it big… He takes a deep breath and glances at them, raising his brows slightly. He's still scrawny, but sitting upright gives him a little more height so he looks a /tiny/ bit less whimpy. "Hey. You guys able…" He pauses just briefly, barely interrupting his train of thought but just noticable enough. "To find decent work here?"
They were being followed. Ayumu gave no indication of having caught on to this simple fact, but instead, carried on as if nothing had changed since they first stepped off the ship. As always, even with his appearant attention seeming to flit from one person to the next (despite lacking obvious sight), Ayumu stayed mindful of his surroundings, and grew slowly acclimated to the area thanks to his sensors. Even if the packet came with emergency escape routes to boot, the Iga would not chance relying on that alone.
He's pulled from his thoughts by Yuzuki once more. Beyond a brief but curious glance to the afformentioned stalls, Ayumu ignores the offer and carries on after her quietly for the most part. Then, began humming something about "Oh secret one~ You shadow you~ Oh how I envy your freedom~" It wasn't that catchy. Still, it may serve to at least alert Yuzuki as pre-arranged to a degree. The proverbial eye is kept on the pink-haired boy as well. Such a nervous wreck he seemed to be.
"As you say, Cap'n… though-…" He starts to squirm a little. "I think nature is calling, so.. bebacksoon?" He doesn't wait for answer before making a beeline for the bathroom. A few minutes later, Ayumu returns looking postively refreshed and ready to tackle charming the Large Man's pants off. Not literally. Yet. >.> "Hello der big fella, mind if I set with ya awhile?" He asks, head canted to the side and foxy grin in full bloom.
Several minutes later, a dark-haired and blue-eyed fellow wearing the local wear of any natural born son of the Land of Silk clothing. Middle class, obviously, and a little nervous. Despite the very same nervousness — or perhaps even because of it — he immediatly takes a seat down at the table with the woman and looks about the room, absent-minded of his mistake.
Yuzuki says, "+E As Kazumi takes a seat with the three men, their conversation goes silent. All three of them look at him for a moment, before their eyes move up and down across him, taking him all in. "Shinobi huh?" one of them says with a small shrug, before returning to his drink. The one in the middle takes a large hit of his before he mutters, "Not as of late…" he mutters with a few choice words chosen afterwards. The last one to speak is perhaps the most helpful, "We got laid off, we worked for Yaka-Taka Silks, when old man Yaka was found dead, Taka sold the company to Suzukia Silks, about 1/3 of us got laid off." he says shaking his head.
"Been trying to get on with another place… but with three companies being sold in the last year… too many of us don't have enough work… we work on the docks helping to load and unload cargo." he says shaking his head and returning to his drink, before he mutters something about a women leaving him because he didn't have steady work.
As Ayumu made his approach to the large man, he gaze moved up and watched him sit, not saying a single word. Just gesturing for him to take a seat when he asked, the large man remains silent for a long moment, before he finally says, "Can I help you?" he asks quietly as he picks up his drink and takes a small sip, his grey eyes locked onto Ayumu's presence. As the middle class looking man sits down at the table with the lady, her eyes slowly move up from the sea charts on him, "Buy your own Sea Charts with trade routes." she says rather defensively, moving to close up the scrolls and charts, "I paid good money for these and if you think you are just going to waltz over here and start making mental notes of the trade routes I am going to be using…" she spits out in a rather acidic tone. Though she eventually stops and her eyes move across him slowly, "I haven't seen you around here before… who do you work for?" she says slowly, her eyes narrowing."
Oh no, I'm going to die, is all the poor Genin can think at the not-so-pleasant welcome from the initial man to respond. Oh, well… maybe not. The second man gives him a slightly less distasteful response and he relaxes a little. Kazumi just listens to the man's troubles when he gets more of a response and nods his head a little. "Well… I'm really sorry to hear that. I… heard about the death. Seems there's b-been a lot around lately, huh?" He frowns, his expression appearing apologetic. "I don't suppose you heard anything about how he died? Or even why all those people a-are selling out? You'd think… that silk w-would be a good business, yeah?"
'Get a grip. Stop stuttering.' It's not like he's trying!
The middle man speaks this time to Kazumi, slamming his drink down on the bar before his mouth opens, "A lot? Three, the three biggest companies have all told out, Yaka-Taka, Mazune and Takeon silks." she says clearly looking displeased by this, "All bought by other companies… Yaka-Taka had actually bought Mazune." he says shaking his head, "So Suzukia got two in one failed swoop." he spits out. The first man who had spoken pipes in now, "Then Takeon was bought out my Kentaro Silks." he offers before continuing, "Well it is a good business… but nothing is worth your life." he says with a chuckle, "I'd sell too if I thought I would get poisoned when I was eating dinner." he says looking at Kazumi, "Wouldn't you kid?" he asks with a smirk. Then the one closest to Kazumi speaks again, "Everyone thought Yaka-Taka killed old man Mazune and that they tried it again with Takeon… but now everyone is pointing their fingers at each other." he says with a shrug, "No one knows who to trust anymore."
Ayumu simply shrugs. "Who really knows in all honesty." Ayumu replies, then sighs and props his head up with a hand and elbow at rest against the table. "But probably. Anything of worth worrying about for someone considering striking up trade around these parts?" He adjusts his head just enough to peer in the man's direction. "General stuff, to be more exact. I still haven't decided what route I'll take as far as good concerned. Maybe fishing?… Hmm… Would help acting as a third party for the Land of Fire and Water maybe…" Ayumu says absently as he seemed to trail off in thought.
"Huh!.. O-oh! Sorry, Mam.." The middle classman says after whipping around to face the woman. Then, his mind seems to catch-up to the question. He averts his gaze looking completely depressed now. "Noone, mam… Not anymore… *sighs*… I came here hoping to try my hand at something.. I dunno… different. Anything really instead of clothier. Something…" He trails off into silence, rubbing his hand absently.
Kazumi had to use all his willpower to not jump when that glass hit the table, but he managed. Listening to them all, he let out a nervous little half-giggle when questioned, grinning and nodding his agreement. Of course, he nearly always feels as though someone is going to poison him in Kiri so… Maybe not. In any case, he just looks at them for a moment before nodding his head. "W-well… Thanks. I appreciate you telling me all this. If… if you don't mind, I'll pay for a drink for you three." That said, he reaches into his sleeve and pulls out just enough to pay for a mug for those three and offers it. The point was to repay them for their time, so he leaves the money with the three men rather than worrying about whether they're actually going to spend it on alcohol or not as he wanders off to think over what he's heard.
The large man stares at Ayumu for a moment before letting out a chuckle, "Yeah fishing." he says with a small shrug, "Be better than trying to get into the silk trade. Between Kentaro and Suzukia they pretty much have the Silk on lockdown… though I wonder which one them will end up belly up next." he says shaking his head, "That is why I am in the Salt Trade." he says nodding slowly, "You see kid, salt is always around and everyone uses it. Everyone cooks with it." he says nodding, "Why even your fish would need salt." he says tapping his nose, knowingly. "No matter how bad things get, people always buy salt. It is a staple and no one kills you over salt." he says nodding, he then starts to bombard Ayumyu on the 101 ways to use salts.
The women looks him over, "Well I am the personal assistant of the Head, so I have heard all about the woes with the silk." she says with a small wave of her hand, "Go tell your sob story to someone else, I am trying to figure out a new trade route for the import of our Bean Supply from the Land of Red Beans, to cut back on docking taxation." she says shooing him now.
There's a pattern to the man's seemingly nervous hand rubbing. The grating of the thumb and the subtle cranking of bones formed a message that only the Iga and his clones could discern. An insightful onlooker might notice it too, but beyond 'knowing' he seemed to be signaling someone, there remains little to no way to tell what the message is without the key. Plus, certain 'words' within the same message required ears keener or some other abnormal senstivity to sound to pick up on. The message is relayed by the clone stationed in the bathroom, as well as any updates on the man that shadowed them before. Unfortunately for Ayumu, there existed few means for him to hand out orders just yet, so it was up to the clones to act as they saw fit.
Not that he cared to at the moment. The Large man proved quite insightful about the nature of salts! Ayumu may have interjected and made a few mistakes in regards to the packaging and best places to get salt (despite being from the Land of Wind), but he recovers quickly enough and apologies for these errors. Belatedly and so long as it didn't upset the large man too much, Ayumu does try to steer the subject back to the mission at hand. After about the 80th note about salt. Maybe 85? Hard to say really when he actually truly became enraptured by the topic.
But let's say I'd be willing to take a gamble on Silk trade. Who'd you think would be the best to back on it? Just a guess a really."
Meanwhile, the middleclassman gets out of his seat and slips into a seiza stance before the woman. "Pe-please, mam. Ma-maybe we can work something o-out. A have a cousin who lives in the Land of Red Beans, well, not really a cousin and more like a friend to my cousin's ex-girlfriend, b-bu-but still, if I ca-can get in contact with her, th-then would you be willing to help me out?" He asks, then bows his head to the floor.
As Kazumi thanks them, they seem rather unimpressed if not a little annoyed. The one at the end goes to say something, but then the talk of paying? For Drinks? Happens and almost in sync all three men stand… no leap from their seats and embrace Kazumi in a rather drunken embrace! "Oh you can keep talking to us!" one says warmly, "Do you want to hear about my pet crabs?" the other asks nudging Kazumi in the ribs, "Oh Oh I heard about these sea monsters, you interested in those too?" the last one asks, all three seem to want Kazumi to stay, I mean if he is buying why not?
After his rant on salts, he did finally come back to answer Ayumu's question about the silk trade, "Well I would put my money on, Suzukia, they got Yaka-Taka and another company that Yaka-Taka had bought out, was it Muzune? Maybe don't know, silks are too pricey for my tastes." he says with a small wave of his hand, "Silks are for the rich you know?" he says shaking his head, "You know what is for everyone?" he says smirking at Ayumu, "Salt." he says nodding, before now embarking on a tale about how he got into the salt trade.
As the middle-class man starts to beg, the women simply gathers up her scrolls and lets out a small 'Hmph' before starting to walk away. "Begging is unbecoming of a busniess man!" she says with the sound of disgust. "Maybe you should dabble in safer matters!" she says sharply at him before stomping off now.
Yuzuki was aware that they were being followed but didn't seem all that concerned with the situation as she normall airs on the side of caution but had left the two Genin alone. She had her spoken too the Head of the Guild, who really just wanted this all to end it seemed, telling her that the smaller compies had begun to complain about a monopoly. That works complained that they didn't have enough work or the salaries were too low. The those who collected taxation in the docks complained that they were being strong armed by the larger companies now, mainly just whining as far as Yuzuki was concerned.
As she entered back into the large room she stopped to stare at Kazumi who was being embraced by three men, all seeming to want to be his best friend. She would adjust her glasses slowly, "Kazumi… tell your friends it is time to go, maybe you four can play next time." she says nodding slowly, before walking by Ayumu her hand moving up and gestering him to follow. Once outside she would look between the two, her eyes leveling on each one for a moment, her slender finger coming up and tapping on her lips slowly, "Formality is done on my part… where are we going now, you two." she would ask, seeming to wait for their input on where to head next.
Kazumi was crushed by hugs of thanks and… desperation, he was sure. However, his fear of people caused him to nearly faint, which struck something else. He peered at Yuzuki as she commented on his predicament. Then he reached out and gave each man a pat on the back. "Sorry to disappoint you, men, but should any shinobi from Kirigakure come through, be sure to ask for Suzuki Kazumi. I'll be sure to come listen to any tales you have to tale at a later date. For now, enjoy the drink I offered. Ah, and if we should meet up in the Land of Water, don't hesitate to come find me."
An overly confident grin settles on his face as he waves to them, heading out after Yuzuki. Once outside, his grin has vanished and he looks… well, bored. "A company named Suzukia took over Yaka-Taka… but personally, I think it's Kentaro Silks we should be keeping an eye on. Of course…" He mumbles briefly before shrugging. "Chose the wrong people to talk to. Hard to keep everything a drunk man says straight."
Defeated and obviously crushed by the news, the bowed man lingers with his head pressed into the floor for awhile yet. Later he would pick himself back up, dries his tears, and move on to bar for a few drinks, if not elsewhere to naturally blend into the crowd until hitting the bathroom again seemed safe. Meanwhile, the clone in the stall tries desperately to tune out the salt trade and focus on everything that was gathered by its creator and brother until all fell into place. He has his work cut out since both seemed to have fallen into their own little worlds for awhile there…
"What pinkie here said basically. And thanks, for the rescue I mean." Ayumu says, smiling crookedly at Yuzuki after finally being led outside. "Though… There is-…" He pauses, double-checking their shadow to try and garner if he's paying attention. What he sought in particular was a measure for his reaction to what he said next; openly, but discretely enough not to attract attention from random passerbyers. "Yo-hei docks. I'll admit, more so because of just how it rolls off the tongue then anything." Ayumu chuckles.
If the man turned to run or tried to sleep away, he'd have one of Ayumu's earlier clones after him before long…
Yuzuki would listen to them both nodding slowly. She would remain silent for a good long moment before finally responding to them both. "Kazumi, you did well integrating yourself into the group." she says nodding, "Auyumu, good use of tactics to collect information." she says pushing her glasses up on the bridge of her nose slowly. "So we have two choices." thought before Yuzuki would be able to get much more out, before the figure that had been tailing them would emerge from the shadows, pulling her cloak back and revealing himself, a tall slender man with silver hair and blue eyes approached slowly.
"What if it is not Kentaro Silks?" he asks slowly looking between the three of them, "Let me introduce myself, Yukio." he says nodding, Kentaro Yukio, Grandson to Kentaro Tanzo and sole heir to Kentaro Silks." he says looking between the three, "Perhaps we should talk… somewhere a little more private?" he asks beckoning them to follow.