Date: Npvember 14, 2013
Chitose is approached by a shifty saleswoman who informs her a weapon she'd taken as a trophy is more than a one-of-a-kind blade.
"Soaked Sand - Old Wounds Opening"
Inside and Outside Kuoroke's Office
Shortly after their late-night meeting, Kuoroke has once again invited Chitose to come by, this time far less urgently, in regards to the blade she'd received from the defeated missing-nin. The invitation was even so low in urgency he'd let her choose the time of when it would be convenient for her, as long as she brought the weapon. Whatever the time she'd chosen, Kuoroke is sitting in his office, as you would expect, with a small group of people waiting outside for their turn to face the bureaucrat.
Arriving shortly after noon, Chitose is well fed and is in better spirits than usual when she arrives. She has the blade with her as that was what was in question. She sets it out before them both upon arrival and states, "Well, what was it you wanted to talk about in regards to this blade?" She hmms as she offers it up to him and then looks to the blade before looking up again."
The weapon Chitose shows is a curved, inky black piece of obsidian. As its brittle material and its shape both make it a blade ill-suited for hacking or blocking, it is almost purely a slicing tool. The windings around the handle are grey and worn out, hinting at a respectable age, but the edge, chipped to a razor-like sharpness with only minimal deviations from smoothness by some undoubtedly very diligent master, seems to be immune to the passage of time, like it was crafted mere minutes ago. Only near the haft, where a desperate soul used it for a block, a small bit is chipped out and a crack runs a bit less than halfway into the blade.
After it is set out, Kuoroke picks it up and turns it in his hands. "I wanted to have a look at it. It is, as far as I can tell, a one-of-a-kind item, and this makes it recognizable, meaning its appearance in reports can be used as a measure. I wanted to see it with my own eyes - and before you leave, please pass it to the imagining office so they can get a few sketches for verification going." He explains. "That's all. Since I have you here: anything you think would be valuable to discuss?"
"At this moment, no. I've not yet had a chance to assess if my last run in with the wolves and scorpions would be my last yet or not." She nods her head, "We'll see before long, I'm sure." She then idly looks at her hands, "For now, this blade is the newest thing for me. Not exactly my style but it is worth looking into it if it has any purpose beyond just a normal weapon of unique quality."
"To me, it has use as a tracker. Apart from that… not really. That'll be all, thank you for coming. Don't forget to take it by the imaging office." The Kuroki gets up as he speaks to walk Chitose to the door and call in the next person. On the way there, he hands her the sword.
As she walks out and Kuoroke re-enters his office, followed by the next person, a woman aged about 50 to 55 years, rather short but in physically remarkably good shape for any age, rises to meet her. "Excuse me, young lady… I -hm, you look familiar- I couldn't help but notice you've got a very remarkable weapon. It has a history, you know… Long, bloody, and quite dramatic… would you like me to tell it to you?" She puts on a smile for Chitose, but the girl can't help but notice, in part because of her experience with a specific, particularly devious person, that there is some deviousness in this smile.
Walking out, Chitose stops and idly puts the weapon to a spot on her hip and ties it in place, "Oh?" Chitose states as she looks at the woman and tilts her head, "I would love to hear more of this weapon." She nods her head, "And what would you have to say of this weapon?"
The smile grows a bit, "Well, I'd love to be able to stay and banter, but I can't really afford to." She begins. This is where Chitose feels the catch is about to be pulled out like the rabbit out of an amateur magician's hat. "You see, I have to get prepared for my meeting with the Council regarding an order of weaponry to be delivered, and I need to be sure that I'm more prepared than a certain young competitor of mine, Eiji Matsumura. Now if I could be confident that I didn't have to worry, I may be able to find the time…" She looks at Chitose expectantly.
A glance at the woman and then at the weapon before Chitose stands up straight, "I'm the daughter of two merchants and a delivery girl myself who makes sales." She tilts her head, "What do you need and is it worth my time because I could love to enjoy a story but stories aren't often worth a lot of work." She taps a finger on the weapon, "So, what are you selling and don't think you are talking to some eager child happy to jump at a simple story."
The woman blinks - Chitose proves to be a harder nut to crack than she gave her credit for. But then she gets back into her sales pitch. "Ah, well. It's more than a story, my dear. It's -history-, a history known by few, especially now that apparently even the wielder has forgotten it. And that history speaks of some remarkably powerful people…" She trails off meaningfully. She lowers her voice so the others in the room can't listen in as easily. Chitose notices a few necks being stretched out. "What I want from you, is that you ensure that my delivery is taken over that of Eiji Matsumura… One way would be, of course, to delay the arrival of his sample weapons by perhaps a day. You know how certain people value their punctuality, especially in matters of life and death…"
A blank stare at the woman and she tilts her head, "And you want me to delay a delivery which is underhanded for some history of a weapon that I may not even care about." She pats it, "It's a pretty bauble." She nods her head and then waggles a finger at the woman, "See, my concern is that are your weapons better than the weapons of your competitor." She nods her head, "Or will my people be unhappy that the weapons they are getting are lower quality." She tilts her head, "Now…what I can do is convince the council to side with you with ease." She nods, "However, I'd need to know that what I'm selling is of t he highest quality." Stepping up, "I don't knokw if you noticed but I just came out of a meeting with a council member and I can easily goad another into taking whatever side I tell them to take if I make such an argument…however, am I arguing the right side?"
The woman seems insulted by the implication. "Of -course- they're of the highest quality. I've been doing this since I was smaller than you-" There's some definite tongue-biting happening. "I've raised three children to be weaponsmiths. Any Nishibori creation is a work of masterwork quality, as much art as utility." Chitose can just see how she swallows several outraged sentences before continuing, "As for the blade… if all it is is a 'pretty bauble' to you, then perhaps you need to learn some more respect for a blade of t- For a well-crafted blade. No masters can create a blade like that any more."
There's an internal grin as she makes the woman emotional and Chitose keeps her calm. Victory is already in grasp at this point, "This thing?" She taps her hand on it, "It doesn't even look like it could block and has a crack in it." She nods her head, "I imagine it'd fall apart if swung too many more times." She nods her head, "See, that's why I'm not sure anything you'd have to say is worth it." She nods, "It'd be a neat treat to hear it but I'm not sure I'd really wanna put my reputation on the line on your behalf over some broken blade." She looks at the woman, "Is the history really so worth it? If it is, well, then perhaps I could be persuaded to tell a few councilmembers that they should really look into your weapons…might even be able to slow down your competitor a bit with a well placed natural disaster…but as I said, it is just a broken blade. Councilmember Kuoroke didn't even think it was worth anything past a bit of noting and then perhaps as a keepsake." She waves a hand and starts to walk off.
"Well, if that's all it is to you," the woman answers, clearly upset and no longer bothering to keep her voice down, resulting in the retraction of the previously stretched necks, "perhaps you're not the person to have such a work of art. Certainly not to learn the heritage of its creators." She sits back in a huff, glaring at the others in the chairs. She briefly turns around to the door and sends a, "You'll regret not listening to me, child!" after Chitose.
A blink and Chitose turns to look at the woman looking at her, "No, you'll regret not talking to me." Chitose walks back toward the woman confidently, a hand resting on the blade, her eyes on the woman. Her tone is now hushed, serious, almost as brutal as the desert that raised her, "You offer me a story for a sword that I don't even use. A weapon I took of a deserter. A coward who was willing to leave everyone and everything over one incident. A man without honor." She leans forward, "And you want me to use my word. A word that can shift your business into position to stay afloat, make money and move forward while your competitor flounders. You offer me something nice. Something shiny and pretty that may one day provide me growth or joy. I offer you immediate gratification and guaranteed profit." She shakes her head, "No, if I walk away, you are the only one at a loss. No matter what happens between us. At the end of t he day I either have a sword that will look nice on my mantle or I might have something I can use. When I walk away…you still have an unsure future." She then stands up straight and turns to walk off.
"Whether you -use- the sword is not the key, or who you took it from." The woman answers, seemingly emboldened by the fact Chitose hasn't just walked out. "That sword is perhaps the last remaining link between today and the warriors of the past, warriors whose knowledge and skill today have been forgotten. As you would know if you knew or respected weapons, no master living today can make a blade like that." For a few seconds, she looks Chitose in the eye silently, hoping she might flinch. "What's your offer, then?"
A smirk is her offer and she shakes her head, "You want me to forge you a guarantee over a possibility." Chitose raises a hand, "You will tell me a story of this sword's past and I will offer you as my choice for weapons to the council. I will inspect your weapons myself and I will find them favorable." She nods her head, "I will check them out and I will find favor with them before I find favor with those of your competitor. If I see fault in those weapons, I will hold you responsible." She then leans forward and whispers, "And no arguments, anyone willing to do something underhanded such as try to get a child to delay their competitors order has no right to ask for trust." She then steps back, "I will make it a requirement that I inspect your competitor, too. Then I will give a verdict in your favor." She nods her head, "Take it…or leave it."
The woman shakes her head. "I doubt you can do all of this by noon tomorrow, dear." She shakes her head again, this time to express disappointment rather than refusal. "The decision will fall when my competitor's weapons arrive -if they arrive on time- and obviously you can't examine them before they arrive… at which point this entire conversation becomes moot because even if you're Sousa's favourite granddaughter, you don't have the authority to turn back decisions. I suppose I'll just have to look for support elsewhere."
"I suppose will." Chitose smiles, "And as a note, the way Sousa thinks. I'm positive beyond all believe that Sousa likes me more than his granddaughter." She then leans forward, "And I'm favored by two council members and Sousa." She chuckles, "Good luck." She waves her hand, "I do so hope that I don't go out and find your competitor…and show favor to him." And Chitose is now officially on her way out.