Date: October 13, 2010
News about Abel's motives in attacking Taji are revealed, but are still confusing. Security measures are lessened around Taji.
"Taji Under Fire - Relief at last, but questions still not answered!"
A secure location in Kusagakure
There's only one real sign that the constant changing of rooms has affected Nobu, and that's that he's been sleeping in late in the mornings recently. It's already well past his regular breakfast time, and he's only just opened his eyes. He's lying down on his side in a bedroll, facing the wall he's sleeping right up against in the small, mostly empty room Team 5 slept in last night. His sleepwear is the fishnet shirt and a pair of boxer-briefs, just what he was wearing underneath his usual outfit the day before. Beside him is a fairly standard backpack which has filled the function of a suitcase during his stay in Kusa.
He begins his morning routine (something Taji might have be familiar with by now, depending on how much attention he pays to what Nobu's doing) by simply staying curled up in bed for a few minutes after he wakes up. Whether it's from tiredness caused by substandard sleeping arrangements or just something he does, he's been doing it for as long as the team has been staying here. Then, finally, he sits up and pulls off the covers, then turns to the backpack and begins quietly riffling through it, pulling out a few of his possessions.
Taji on the other hand has been sleeping less and less. It makes him irritable, it makes him irrational, but it also makes him awake before Nobu. He's sitting with his back to a corner, fully dressed already, his backpack to his side, and a scroll in his hands. He's reading it over, concentrating, studying, like he almost always is doing lately. It's rather insane the amount of studying he's doing as if it might help him figure out the secret or some secret or something. Anything. He's really rather frantic over it and there's hardly a day a scroll isn't in his hands for several hours. The scrolls look old, not new at all.
As Nobu starts to stir Taji looks over and offers a small, "Morning." He watches a moment then looks back to the scroll. Taji has his own morning and evening rituals, involving prayer actually, which is a bit odd as he doesn't talk about religion mostly and the prayers are silent so what he's praying about or two isn't clear. It could be mistaken for meditation in fact. Without looking up from his scroll a second time he asks, "You think we'll hear about Abel today? From Fuyu-sama? I'm getting tired of waiting to find out who knows what."
The first few things Nobu pulls out of the backpack are simply a change of clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and fairly normal morning-use items. "Good morning," he replies, glancing up at Taji, "Did you have a good sleep?" It's a silly question with the way things are at the moment, but he'll usually ask simply from habit. The last items he takes out are several pill bottles and a piece of paper. The bottles change, but the paper is always the same. If Taji takes a closer look at it, he might see that it's some kind of chart. Nobu, as usual, takes a half-minute or so to read the chart, then takes some combination of the pills and puts them away. "How long has it been since he was put in the hospital? I suppose he's had some time to recover, so… it probably won't be too long now." He's not entirely sure of this answer. He suspects Taji would know better than him, in fact.
Taji sighs and rolls up his scroll, putting it in a scroll case, "Well, he should have regained consciousness yesterday, but considering he was taken down with some kind of genjutsu, he might not have been very coherent yet. Depending on the trauma it could take a lot longer before we get anything useful out of him." Taji notes, "Not that… ah, not that I know that much about Genjutsu to be honest." He rubs the back of his head, "As for sleep, didn't get much. Um, at all. I'm afraid I'll have to play catch up once this mess is over. Or at least once we know how much risk there is. I can't help feel like disaster is on the horizon, but there are so many different directions it could be coming from, I'm not sure which way to look." He shakes his head, "I really feel bad for putting our team in this situation. But… thanks." He offers, as he watches Nobu with the medicines.
"You would probably know better than me," Nobu says, nodding. He gathers up his other things into a bundle in his arms. "But it's possible Fuyu-sama was thinking ahead and didn't use anything that would seriously slow down his recovery. If she knew to take him alive, she could also have known how…" He pauses, not sure that his own genjutsu knowledge is that great either. "How strong to make the genjutsu," he finishes. He frowns a little. "Maybe it's just easier for me," he says, "I can see why it might be harder for you to get to sleep." He gets up and walks to the door. "And don't feel bad. I said this before, but we'd be doing the same thing if something happened to me too. I assume." He leaves the room for a few minutes, then returns, groomed and wearing a fresh change of clothes. "What will you be doing today?" he asks, heading back to his backpack.
Taji says nothing until Nobu comes back and asks the question. When he comes back Taji has moved from the corner to sit on a chair. He shrugs, having blank space in front of him on the table, "Well, if we don't hear from Fuyu-sama, I guess I'll stay here, for now. I can work on the scrolls, studying more. Maybe I'll try to figure out something new. A move or something. I have a few ideas from what I've been reading, a way to make a defense out of the style I work with. Not a dodge but more a counter. If I can get it to work that is. I may try to diagram out the details before I even think of trying to make it actually work." He admits as he sighs, "Hard to work things out from just the scrolls and myself, sometimes."
Nobu kneels down and puts everything away in his backpack as he listens to Taji's answer. "The scrolls…" he repeats slowly, "That was the one you were studying before? You said that you took them before you left your old home, but you couldn't figure out what they were saying?" Well, that certainly makes Nobu's plans seem a bit trivial. "Do you mean that you're coming up with the counter on your own, or that the scroll says something about it and you've almost deciphered it?" He gets to his feet. "Because if you haven't thought of it already, maybe making your own moves within your style would be useful," he suggests.
Taji shrugs, "There are far more than a single scroll. Its a library of scrolls stored inside a master scroll. Each time I master one I learn to unlock the next. Only… it isn't just about moves, or techniques. It is a philosphy, a way of understanding the world. About balance and harmony. While I could make my own moves inside the style, and I think I could, it wouldn't help me unlock the next part of the training. As for the counter, it's kind of hard because the scrolls aren't like a diagram. The language is vague, even when I understand it, and the theories…" He shakes his head, "But the way it works is that once you understand the philosophy it helps you understand the way to do something and that works together in harmony. And once I've gotten that far I… sort of figure out the way to unlock the next scroll." He explains, "And with the latest news, I really feel like I need to unlock them all, even though I think that took the masters their whole lives." He admits, "I'm kind of under pressure. I fear I may miss the track at some point in my efforts to push through things."
And then suddenly the guards at the door open said door. And in comes Fuyu. She quickly finds Taji and Nobu, since there are not many places to hide in a single room, and says, "Abel is awake. I spoke to him. I don't think he was being hired or controlled by anyone. He's just a moron who thought that he could gain power quickly by—challenging you." She almost said 'killing', but luckily she did not even begin that word before she stopped it. "He claims you are his friend, and that the reason he attacked you was because he believes in going 'all out' against his 'friends' so that the two become stronger together. Or something idiotic like that. He has been dealt with and will not be attacking anyone else."
She looks around. "Where is Hinotori?"
Having stepped out quickly and given permission to grab some snacks for him and his team, Hinotori was rushing back when… 'You know how you get a feeling something really bad is about to happen?' Well thats the feeling he gets as he comes into the building and up to the floor where they were staying. As he nears the door, the guards look at him, "Uhh…..Can I go in?" he asks and after being checked is permitted in. "Ummm….." he says as he walks in just as Fuyu asks where he was. "I went to get some snacks for us." he says.
Nobu opens his mouth to speak, but Fuyu enters before he can say anything. He turns and looks at her expectantly, then listens to her as she speaks. "Hinotori-san was— " He gets some words out this time, but in the end, he's interrupted again as Hinotori enters. He stays quiet as the other chuunin explains his absence, then begins to speak to Fuyu again. "In other words, Taji-san shouldn't be in any danger for now?" he asks. It's not a serious shock that the whole thing was caused by a dangerously irresponsible genin, but it's still a relief to know that everything's fine. "What about that one thing he said, something about a whole village being after Taji-san?"
Taji blinks at the news, offering a distracted, "Hey, Hinotori…" Then looking back to Fuyu, "Wait… What? He… was trying to get power by… trying to kill me?" He stammers, because he felt like Abel was trying to kill him, challenge or no, "Trying to kill me while dressed up as a stranger, in a strange village? Even if he had gotten away, it would have caused a diplomatic incident. A leaf nin attacked by a stranger in Kusagakure territory?" Taji seems shocked into disbelief then… the rest of the news hits him, "What do you mean… dealt with? Did you…" He trails off, leaving the obvious punishment he's thinking of linger, as he continues to look rather shocked, stunned really.
Fuyu turns around when Hinotori enters, then nods to Nobu. "Yes, Taji should be fine. And I believe that Abel was just saying that in an attempt to cover up his responsibility… He was hoping Taji would play along. Smile, nod, say, 'Oh, of course, Abel-my-friend. I understand. You were helping me because of the threat to my life.' Something stupid like that. No one in Kusagakure has made any move to come after Taji, and they have been very… Stringent in ensuring the safety of all involved. Not just Taji, but Abel as well."
Turning to Taji she just gives him a look like she is trying to tell him something silently. Was there a tiny shake of her head? Then she says outloud, "Yes, he is a moron, as I said. Diplomatic concerns are thankfully the least of his worries now, though. I have had a Seal placed on him that will make him go blind any time he attempts to attack someone. He can defend himself, but that is all. He will have to prove himself worthy of his Clan by behaving in an appropriate manner. That means showing good judgement, common sense, and responsible conduct. If he does not show any of these things, he will retain the Seal until he does. Further, it prevents the awakening of Sharingan as long as it is in place. He is useless until he proves he is not useless."
Frowning slightly, Hinotori walks over to Taji and Nobu. He hands them smaller bags with chips and a sandwhich in them. He then takes out another bag for Fuyu. He doesn't say anything, but he does listen as Nobu and Taji reply about Abel. Sighing and shaking his head, "Classic Abel." he says simply as he sits down, upon hearing the punishment Abel has gotten. A seal that keeps the sharingan from awakening, as well as not able to fight when you want but only in defense. Shaking his head Hinotori sighs, "This isn't the first time he's
Nobu is speechless for a second. "I… don't think I understand," he says finally, "But I guess that doesn't matter right now, as long as the situation has been dealt with." He shakes his head a little. "I hope nobody else gets that idea… whatever it was. I don't think I can make sense of it, even with this explanation." He accepts the food from Hinotori. "Thank you."
Taji is observant, drops the issue, with Fuyu's small shake of the head even if he isn't sure what he hit on. "Well, that… I guess this will at least be the last time he's done this. I only hope that we haven't attracted too much attention in this whole mess so that a real threat /can/ emerge." He shakes his head, "But it sounds like right now the best thing would be to just go about things normally, cut the security back to normal, and pretend this was just one delusional genin." He suggests even as he accepts the snack, "Thanks." He says as peers at the bag then back to Fuyu, "I think I'd like to talk to you about some things later… maybe, but… right now I need to think about this all. It's a lot to take in. Mostly because I get the feeling that this is… well, I mean are you /sure/ nothing was behind it? Daichi attacked me back in Konoha. And I passed it off but this is the second time a genin from my own village has attacked me. I can't help but wonder if something is.. behind it all."
Taji shrugs, "Still, am I at least off of tight security and able to go watch some of the matches now?" He asks, hopefully, "I'm getting a bit stir crazy in here lately, cooped up and all."
Fuyu nods. "Yes, Daichi was just angry that someone has a different point of view than he was. He was stupid also, but in a different way. Abel admitted he knew the rules, and did this anyway. He didn't give any thought to the consequences. Or if he did, he decided he didn't care." She sighs. "Yes, security can go back to normal now. You are all free to go about your business as usual. My apologies for my reaction to all this, but… Old habits die hard. And being paranoid is one of those habits that is especially hard to break."
Looking into his bag, he forgot there was another. Reaching in and taking the bag out he gets up and walks over to Fuyu and hands her the bag. Everyone has said what they needed it seems. But then again with Abel, you never know how things will go with him. Upon hearing that security will scale down, Hinotori looks to his two team mates, then back to Fuyu, "Well Fuyu-sama, we can learn from your paranoia. Honestly, if there was a situation and an attempt on Taji-san, you did everything right." he says to her. "There are things that happend to me back during the Clan Wars that even I still have trouble with." he sighs. "But thats a story for later. For now…" he pauses and gestures for Fuyu to take a seat, "Please." he says to her. He waits then looks to them all, "Hows everyone been enjoying Kusagakure and the tournament?" he asks.
"I don't mind, Fuyu-sama," Nobu says, shaking his head a little. "I agree with Hinotori-san. Given the circumstances, what you did was reasonable. Taji-san was attacked and you made sure he was safe until you finished investigating." Apparently he doesn't really care all that much about the various inconveniences of the extra security. "Unless you're blaming yourself for what Abel-san did?"
He glances over to Hinotori. "I'm not that interested in the tournament, actually," he answers, "I'm taking the opportunity to find out more about Kusa. There might be something I can learn from watching the competitors, but I don't see much point in the tournament
Taji shrugs, "Well, I think you didn't under-react but we can talk about that another day, Fuyu-sama. As for the competition… I don't like it. If you watch… well, let's just say if you were good and kept good notes you could basically create detailed profiles on half the high powered ninja of each village, strengths and weaknesses, abilities, powers, strange quirks. It leaves us too exposed. I didn't even sign up to fight because of fears my style would be recognized. While it is nice to show off a bit, this… seems a great way for a village to figure out the other villages' weaknesess." He points out as he opens his bag and pulls out the chips and eyes it then eats one. Taji is a vegetarian after all, something the team would know by now.
Fuyu accepts the food offered by Hinotori, but declines to be seated. "I agree on the weaknesses aspect… But then I think that is generally the idea. The Village that wins the tournament is going to have shown everyone else that it has the best ninja. It is the strongest. It could be considered 'immunity', of a sort, to attacks. Because the others will know they have nothing that can stop the winners."
She hmms. "Well, thank you all, but I want to get some sleep. Even a fearless leader needs to rest sometime. So, feel free to rest yourselves, or roam around, or whatever you need to. But stay out of dark alleys, if at all possible." She then turns and starts to leave. "Oh, and don't knock on my door. I'm going to set up a vibration-sensitive kunai trap just incase someone tries to wake me up." She's joking right? Her tone sounded serious, but there is no way that was serious. That wasnt serious, right?
"I don't like it either, but hearing what Fuyu-sama has said makes a bit of sense. But then again, you have a lot of villages with Abel-like mindness." he says rolling his eyes. Yeah, Hinotori really doesn't like Abel, "Anyways, I'm going to keep going in the tournament though. I've been having fun and kinda taking them lightly. But if either of you." he looks to Nobu and Taji, then back to Nobu again after hearing about Tajis earlier comment. "Want to do an exhibition match go for it or if you wanna spar me I'm fine with it." he smiles. "We need to keep our team on its toes. I would ask Fuyu-sama for a match, but I know we both got matches to come and we can't afford to weaken one another." he chuckles.
As Fuyu starts to take her leave and warns them, Hinotori wondered if she was really joking or not. He really hasn't seen her laugh before, rubbing his chin, he grins slightly. "Alright, we will not disturb you, but later tonight we go to dinner on me." he smiles. "I've been saving money for forever and haven't really spent anything and well tonights dinner is on me. And no going all out because I'm paying either."
Nobu seems to accept Fuyu's explanation of the tournament, though he doesn't seem entirely satisfied by it. "Thank you, Fuyu-sama," he says as she begins to leave, "Enjoy your rest." That business now over, he realizes that he's still holding the food Hinotori gave him. And it occurs to him that he hasn't even eating breakfast yet when it's probably closer to lunch by now. He takes the sandwich out of the bag and begins to eat it with a little more vigour than most things he does.
He turns to Hinotori. "Well, maybe one match wouldn't be so bad," he admits between mouthfuls, "And it wouldn't hurt to know exactly what you can do, as my teammate." But for now, he seems perfectly satisfied to lean against the wall and keep eating.
Taji nods to Fuyu as she leaves then looks to the others, "I need to get some air, I'm tired of being cooped up and could use some 'alone time' if you all don't mind. I'll be happy to do a meal later? As for a match, I'll fight if I must to show what I can do but I won't do an exhibition as it is too big a risk. I'd rather not fight at all, if I can avoid it." He points out. He stands and stretches, "If you don't mind… gonna go have this meal outside. Thanks again for the food, Hinotori-san." He says, trying to look cheerful but having trouble since he looks so tired.
Having already given everyone their lunches and desert in a bag, Hinotori moves off to a corner and leans against the wall. "Well everyone have a good day." he looks to Taji, "You don't have to fight if you don't want. I'm just offering as a team mate and a friend Taji-san." he smiles. "If you need help, all you have to do is ask." he smiles. Looking to Nobu, "You too. I normally don't like fighting in public, but eh, this is a bit different." he says. "You guys have fun, I'm going to take a nap myself." He then lowers his head and closes his eyes.