Date: February 19, 2016
Word is spreading about the attack at the Mystic Flower Gardens and opinion is divided about the event. This is just one more attack to add to the others that have been taking place, right? Well, not exactly. Surprisingly, the opinions are varied among the people, but nevertheless, it's still an issue that affects everyone. Itami has been doing surveys at night to keep her presence down and further, from interrupting personal opinion. She wanted to know what people felt without having to modify their feelings for her benefit. Unknown to her, Hiroto was also on the case, hoping to figure things out and draw some conclusions from the villagers. After an evening spent listening to the people, she and Hiroto decide to relax the night away at Hokenjo Baths where they are joined by Sorano.
"Tatsumihito Chronicles - The Dragon Lady"
"Did you hear about that dragon at the gardens? They caught it. Some people have also said it was the same one that attacked those pour souls in the Catacombs," a villager discussed with another as they walked down the street. "Since then there haven't been any other problems…" The other nodded their head along. "Maybe things will start to calm down around here now. We've already have enough issues on our hands. Do you think the Kazekage….?" The question wasn't finished, but the content was implied. The first villager shrugged. "Who knows. We all know she can turn into a dragon, but it does kind of make you wonder if she'd do the same." The two continued to speak among themselves as they headed to the bar, hoping to blow off some steam after a long day of work.
Their talk is similar to other kinds spreading around the village. So far, a great deal of scrutiny has been placed on the Kazekage's family, though at the moment, most of it is leveled against the one that's in holding so far. If that one could do it, what could be said about the rest of the family? And what of those other Watanabe? At least they didn't appear like they were causing any trouble…
Itami had heard these conversations taking place time and again, but she ignored them. They did bother her, but nothing she couldn't grow used to. Still, she found herself at a loss. She couldn't find a way to act to help her sister or else the action would likely be held against her. Still, what was with those spores? Extra security has been placed in the quarantined zone to ensure the fungus wouldn't spread and luckily, there haven't been any additional cases like Kishi's. At least, not yet.
Hiroto sat on a building and watched over the land below. Right now he didn't have anything on besides his normal clothing as people passed by. Even his bird was with him this time, but more so for reasons of trying to find what has happened. Tenshi would fly down and listen to conversations before flying up and repeating it to Hiroto. Most people don't look for a bird above them when trying to be secretive or hush hush about their words. Soon enough the talk of Kishi and the Kazekage came up. He frowned before hopping down then and moved to a new position to look out at them. "Tenshi. Could you keep looking for more talk?" He asked and the bird flew off beofre Hiroto started walking along the street and listened himself.
Word was certainly buzzing, even at this time of night. In some ways, Sunagakure never truly rests and it's evidenced by how information, whether false or not, sweeps across the village. In other circles, discussions of the Watanabe group and their help have been receiving positive reviews. It seems Ume has been hard at work trying to establish a connection with the people here and from the looks of things, it's working. While some express some discomfort with her and Taro, it's mostly due to their presence than any work they've accomplished.
Itami, for the first time, wasn't headed anywhere to drink. She took this time to survey the village in peace and observe how relief was coming along. By this point, most of the damages that were created by the previous attacks had since been cleared out, giving the areas a much cleaner look. All that was left to do was construction and Itami was already working on trying to get good materials here to be utilized. The glass and rubble from buildings has been recycled and crafted into building material to be used once again to save money. A little might need to be spent outside these walls, but it was a necessary investment for the betterment of the village.
"That lady, Ume? She's been really nice. I've talked with her a few times. She's really personable…though her friend is a little intimidating sometimes. I guess that's just how he is or something… Anyway, recently she talked about trying to free the dragon. Not sure why, though. She attacked the gardens, plain and simple. No need for her to be freed, but maybe she knows something we don't?" Another set of villagers discussed to themselves.
Hiroto then heard some voices of his own talking about Ume, and he stepped into an alley before coming back out looking like any normal villager. In fact he looked like one of the workers doing contruction covered in sweat and all with a rag thrown over his shoulder and a toolbelt around his waist. He walked up to the group talking and lowered his voice to their level. "Ahh. That friend of hers may be intimidating, but he sure can do some work. Anyways when did you hear talk of freeing the dragon? Doesn't sound like a smart thing in my opinion with everything that has happened. Makes you wonder if that is the point. Imagine if the dragon was set loose on the whole village. Unless for some reason we got this all wrong. Do you think the dragon that is locked up could be innocent and maybe this Ume lady knows that?" He asked as he wiped a bead of fake sweat from his brow. "Either way it is something I might have to talk to my mates about when I get back to the contruction."
"He can? Have you worked with him before?" A woman asked as three others looked on at the henge cloaked Hiroto. "I haven't really got to see him do anything myself. I didn't hear much about freeing the dragon, just that she felt bad about her being held and wanted to do something about it," she shrugged. "The dragon attacked the gardens. She did, I mean, as a dragon. How couldn't she be guilty of that? Even the workers admitted to the attack," a man added in. "Ume would be making a mistake in my opinion," he finalized with a couple silent nods in agreement to his point. "Ume might know something…I just don't know what she could be thinking, though. Maybe she wants to give the dragon or…the lady a chance?" Another woman spoke up. She was supported by the final person in the group with a smile. "Yeah, who knows? If she can get that dragon on our side, then that's still less we have to worry about."
Itami overheard some talking going on around the corner and took a peek to see who it was. Just a group of villagers, it seems. She figures she'll stay back so she wouldn't intrude too much. She didn't need to draw any attention to herself at the moment.
Hiroto nods. "I have worked with him before. Though he is a quiet one. Almost like he was hiding something. I would think him suspicious if it wasn't for him being friends of Ume's." He stretched some before nodding. "Well not everything is as clear as it seems. You remember the last attack before this most recent one? Our own villagers were attacking each other. I nearly lost an eye that day, but it was saved." He frowned a bit. "Yeah she probably would be making a mistake. Honestly for her to do something that so many see as one you have to wonder if she hasn't already. I doubt she could of done anything though. Being so nice and all. I mean none of you have seen anything to contradict that have you?" He asked barely before moving on. "Maybe some of us should talk to her huh?" He chuckled a bit. "Though I can see giving her a chance at least….." He then froze though. "From what I hear she is already supposed to be on our side in some form. Making it seem more like a betrayal… Weird huh?" And then Itami might notice a bird coming from behind her and landing on her head. IT WAS TENSHI!
"You seem like you're giving her a hard time. Does she really feel like that to you?" The discussion leader inquired. She seemed genuinely interested in what Hiroto was saying. "I do remember the last attack, I'd rather not think about it…" She grabbed her arm in discomfort. "But she doesn't seem that bad of a person. I know she wants to try and help the dragon lady and she hasn't given me any reason tot hink she would do something bad. She's been nothing but helpful this whole time. Even when she doesn't have to be," the woman smiled. "Maybe we should talk to her. I think I'll do that whenever I run into her again." She appeared to be content with that idea.
"How many people have you worked with? Maybe you run into more people being part of the relief efforts, but you seem to be pretty confident in your words. You've also worked with the dragon lady too? I do remember her walking around here and helping to heal people. To be honest, she was great at that. She used her own medicines and salves. They were strong, but they worked. Kind of makes me wonder how she went from that to a dragon, now that you mention it? She was helpful too," another lady of the group chimed in. "I guess that's what Ume sees in her. She knows how she was before that happened. Maybe she'd like to give her another chance so she can return to being helpful like she was before?" Seemed reasonable enough.
Itami finished up her survey of the current area and proceeded away from it. From behind, she felt a weight on her hat cause it to dip backward and raise in the front. Seems like a Tenshi has just landed. "Nice to see you again," she chuckled.
Hiroto shrugged a bit. "Yeah. Maybe so. Just I have a hard time trusting nice people because of past incidents. One too many times screwed over by someone who was being nice to me." He chuckled. "But yeah… I don't want to think about it either. Just saying…. People weren't acting themselves, and what you just described… With how she usually is… Sounds exactly like that. A nice helpful lady who suddenly decides she wants destruction? Doesn't seem right." He frowned. "I can't help, but think that maybe what Ume sees in her is instead the beast. And she wants to see it free again, but yeah… Obviously it is crazy talk and just paranoia huh?" He smiled and laughed a bit, but stopped suddenly as if actually expecting an answer. "What do all of you think? Maybe have people watching her, but she gets another chance? Allowed to…help others again." He smiled slightly.
Tenshi on the other hand was getting comfortable on the hat. He started bird talking and pretty much stated that the man over there with the toolbelt was Hiroto… Not that Itami understood of course.
"We're going to have to work on some way for me to understand you," Itami offered to Tenshi. She has no idea what he's saying, though she has a vague sense that she has spoken clearly with him before. "That all being said, I see that there's a group ahead. I've been attempting to avoid it so that they won't break conversation for me. I know what they're speaking about, so I've been taking it in as a way of understanding what they truly feel when they feel afraid to share it," she explained to the falcon companion.
"I didn't get a chance to know her," the guy shrugged. "I haven't really been involved in the efforts. Guess I can't really say much about anybody," he smirked. "I've talked with Ume and that's about it. I haven't really worked with her, but I like a lot of her ideas and what she has to say," the discussion leader shrugged and laughed.
Tenshi looked at Itami and just nods quickly like the bird he is. He says something about how he understands that before pointing to a wing at the Hiroto henged form. Then he just makes a few sounds. Hiroto just nods a bit. "Well I think we should give that dragon lady another chance. As long as we can watch her and make sure nothing bad comes from it I think she deserves that chance. Maybe we can do somesort of petition if you all agree? If you don't I can understand that too. Just…her medicines and such did wonders."
"Eh, I can't say I'm still for it. As much as I like to talk about it, I'm not sure I actually want to free her. After what happened in the Gardens, I'm still not entirely sure," the discussion leader remarked. "So, I think it may just be best to keep her in there. If only because it'd be better on the public. They're already fearful about what could happen next, doesn't seem like it'd help ease things by letting her back out." She shrugged and looked around at the group to see what they thought. "This guy seems to know a lot. Maybe he might be onto something. I think I could give her a chance, I guess. I'm still not sure, but I'm not sure in either direction anymore. So, I suppose I'm willing to take a shot," another lady spoke up. The guy of the group shrugged. "Whatever works." The last of the women in the group simply nodded. She didn't have much else to contribute.
"Ah, I see…" Itami hummed. "One of those in the group is not like the other," she grinned. "Well, I suppose I won't have to worry all that much about the group. I just didn't want to run into them, but my walks were taking me through the area. I could have turned around also, but…my curiosity did get the better of me. As long as they haven't noticed me, things are fine. That's more comforting to know."
Hiroto nods slowly. "I see.. Well I will talk to others about it and see the general opinion if I can. I of course am only one man." He smiled. "Well I better be off. See you all later." He turned and started walking right to where Tenshi and Itami were, but made it look normal. Of course he spotted them. He still had good eyes. He turned the corner and walked past Itami into an alley and came out as Hiroto. "Heya Itami. What you doing over here? You hear all the talking over there?I hope not and I hope so at the same time."
"Nothing is going on. I was just here entertaining Tenshi for the time being. As for the conversation, I did hear it. I wasn't entirely bothered by what ws said. It allowed me to glimpse into some of the issues plaguing Sunagakure that are going unsaid or unheard." Itami watched as the group continued down the street, talking amongst themselves even still. "If I can know these things, I can improve," she states. "So, what did you figure out, hm?"
Hiroto looked at her and smiled before nodding. "It is good to see you again. Back and everything. I started to get worried because of some things that were said." He looked over towards the group and frowned. "I might of convinced people to agree to Kishi being given a chance to be free again as long as she is watched of course. But I also learned that Ume is supposedly planning to free her. I don't think she has good intentions. I think she has something sinister about her… Just most people don't see it…" He sighed.
"I appreciate your concern, really," Itami states. "It's nice to know there's someone on my side every once in a while. Knowing that there are people who are even considering giving her a chance is much better than the odds I gave her initially. Yet, now it appears we have a problem on our hands. Not uncommon for these sorts of things, but it doesn't stop them from being annoying…" She sighed. "Ume is wishing to set her free? What makes you suspect that she's up to no good?" Not that Itami was in disagreement. Ume rubbed her the wrong way too, but she couldn't say she could find anything wrong with her. "What makes her sinister?"
Hiroto shakes his head a bit. "I don't know Itami. So many things about her look perfect. Almost too perfect. Her on paper record says the opposite of my thoughts. But…firstly things involving your clan didn't start until she got here. Second they seem to be everywhere… helping with relief efforts give an easy way to get things like spores. Then they at the same time are getting villagers on their side. Plus…. It is conveinent she decided to go into the gardens when we were catching the dragon. Err… your sister. Kishi. Something just feels off with her…" Tenshi nods in agreement.
"Hmmm…" Itami nodded to herself. She just had to know where his mind was going and it seems like he's on the right track. "I know something is off with her and I agree, but the difficulty is finding charge in her. Until we can charge her for something, we can't draw her in," she states. "I imagine we'll capture her a some point, but…I don't know. For now, we'll just have to hold up things on our end and ensure that this village remains protected from her influence."
Hiroto shakes his head a bit again. "Itami. She already has a head start in ruining you and your familys reputations while raising her own if all of this is the case. We need to find out if she is a dragon or not. If she can morph into one. We also need to find out why Kishi didn't look like her form unless you have multiple forms too and just one is more used than others?" He asked lightly.
"No, I only have one as does Kishi…" Itami states. "I don't know if she can turn into a dragon and to be honest, there isn't any way, that I know of at least, that can be used to induce that form to take place. If it could be forced, then…" She shook her head. "I feel like if we are to do something to Ume, it has to be a way in which she chooses to do it herself. Forcing it will only work against us. I…" Itami folded her arms and turned her head away. "I already know that she's growing in popularity…My family is being threatened and I'm still not sure why."
Hiroto frowned a bit. "I see…" He shook his head and started walking gesturing for her to join him if she wants. "I honestly don't think we should continue talking here. We need somewhere private. Could be your office, but people look for you there. Do you think you could get a private bath at the Hokenjo?" He simply asked and kept walking as Tenshi switched heads.
"I'm certain I could rent a private bath. Let's go. Besides, Sorano is probably already there…" Itami shuddered. She wasn't exactly looking forward to her. Not negatively, of course. Just…she's her and that's enough for the Kazekage to think that through. "Let's go. I think resting in the baths will be nice. Nothing like hot water washing over your body. I may even take the mudbath option…"
"I think it is, but I'm a Watanabe. A mud bath would be amazing," Itami chuckled. Upon arrival, she separated from Hiroto and went to go and get herself all washed up…only to get down and dirty in the mud. "Aaah, now this is what I call comfort… So, let's get back to business. We were talking about Ume and…the question if she can become a dragon or not."
Hiroto would do the same and joined her in the mudbath. It was not bad really. Felt relaxing although weird. For sure at first. "This is…different. Not bad though." He stretched as best as he could in the mud without also stretching into her. "Yep. If she can become a dragon. I figure it is possible, and I think we really need to find out. I just don't know how besides something that could get us in trouble if found out, and we are wrong."
"It takes some getting used to, but hot earth can be very pleasant…" Itami shifted and resettled. "I think that will be important. We need to cast doubt… This type of fight is different. It's not being waged with weapons. It's a mental thing," she pointed to her head and tapped on it, leaving a bit of mud in its wake. "It is a heavy risk. The truth is not every Watanabe has this ability. It is native to us and everyone has the capacity to achieve it, but whether or not they do is another story. I don't know what her story is."
Hiroto nods slowly. "Yep. A battle of wits. Planning and little fine details are what win this battle." He frowned a bit, and looked at the mud as his hand rose from it. "Itami. Maybe you should ask her. Just plain and simple ask her about her past and things like that. Put in under the idea of getting to know one another as she is a fellow clan member, and has done a lot for this village. It is only right she can ask." He said as he lowered more until his shoulders were under the mud.
"Perhaps I could…" Itami states. "I'm not against it. Being direct with her," she steepled her hands in thought. "I think I should. Try and get to know her…" While she applied some thought to the situation. Just off to her side, a small bulge raised up and grew in size before it popped. Air bubble. She opened her eyes and saw it followed by clearing her throat. She didn't pass any gas, but the image still looked strange on her side.
"Now that I think on it…she has asked about me before. Perhaps I should inquire more into that. She asked about me before… I know that as the Kage of this village, I can be well known, but to ask /that/ kind of question, that's more personal—" She couldn't even complete her sentence before a massive bulge rose up and overtook her, dragging her beneath the mud in the bath.
Hiroto nods and listens a bit. His mind drifts a bit in thought before a sudden air bullbe sprouts up and pops. He stares at that spot for a moment before looking back at Itami. "Yeah? That…does sound like something to look into." He ponders that thought again for a moment before suddenly that bulge ruses and drags her beneath the mud. He rushed quickly to where she was and feeled around to try and grab for Itami, and would try to pull her up out of the mud. "Itami!"
A search for Itami drags up a bulge of mud. At the very least, it feels human. Just after the first bulge, a second one rises up and begins coughing and hacking up mud. Sure, mud had an enjoyable taste at times, but at this moment, not much. "SORANO!" She choked out before launching herself at her. With her wrapped in her arms, she wrestled her from Hiroto's grip and put her into a headlock. "I sometimes underestimate how strong you are," Sorano gasped out, though she found the time to snicker. Eventually she was released to collapse back into the mud and recover. She really couldn't breathe for a bit. After resurfacing, she took a rest against the wall of the pool. Itami began to remove the excess mud from her face and snorted to clear her nose. "Ugh…" She groaned, plopping down in the mud.
"Such a sneak, but now that I know you're here and only somewhat question how you accessed a private bath, we'll continue from where we left off. I imagine you heard everything we were saying?" Sorano was busy clearing mud from her ears. "No, not much. I was submerged in earth after all. I don't expect to be able to her much but noise. Nothing discernable." Itami nodded. "Alright, we'll fill you in. You're here for a reason, I feel." Sorano tilted her head. "Maybe. I'm always here…"
Hiroto hopefully wouldn't grab anything too inappropriate. Either way he did pull up a muddy figure, and it felt human enough. He heard the other one scream out, and chuckled a bit when he realized. "Sorano? Oh." He chuckled a bit more. Then suddenly an attack came from Itami, and Hiroto just slipped and fell into the mud going under for a moment before quickly resurfacing and getting the mud off of his face and out of his ears and hair. "Hey Sorano. How are you?" He just sat back and relaxed a bit." He listened to the speaking and nodded in agreement. "Well pretty much a lot of crap has happened. Supposedly Ume has come to the idea of breaking Kishi out or freeing her in some form. I also convinced people that maybe she could be let out anyways." He didn't know what else to say…oh! "And we want to figure out if Ume has a dragon form." He just looked between those two and moved over to a spot that would keep them both evenly on either side of him. "So?"
Nothing inappropriate accomplished! It was just an arm. "Oh, you're talking about her," Sorano deadpanned. "That sounded…cold. Even for you," Itami remarked to Sorano to which she responded with a light shrug. "I'm not very fond of her. She seems strange to me." Itami nodded in agreement. "She seems strange to me as well. Hiroto and I were here speculating about her, but I think it's good we discuss some recent developments. As he's stated, she's thinking of helping Kishi out and getting her out of holding," she explains. "Our second problem is determining if she has a dragon form."
Sorano sat quietly as she gave the situation some thought. "There's…something else," Itami stated. "…Ume asked about my birth when she first arrived here…and said she knew our mother. She didn't explain why she brought it up, only that it was something that shouldn't have been in the first place. And…" She leaned forward carefully, "When I asked you about it, you seemed to carry her same feelings on the matter…" Sorano's breathing slowed considerably. She didn't like where this was going.
"I remember seeing her from time to time in my youth. She does know our mother and appears to be a family friend of some sort. That may be why she asked about your birth," she explained. "As for a dragon form, I've never witnessed it or know if she has one. Given the history that is shared…"
Hiroto just listened along, and frowned a bit. "Given the history that is shared you believe it is highly possible?" He stretched a bit more and leaned forward in the mud. "Alright so all I understand is that a big talk needs to happen. Between all of you Watanabe. Including Kishi if that is possible. Now me. I can sit in if you want an outside source, and I think I can do that well if you want. Up to you on that end. Would be good training in a way." He looked at Itami and then to Sorano. "Also….we should do this before we try to see about the dragon form thing. Don't ya think?"
"No, just that given the history, I feel I should know more…" Sorano states. "But I don't." Itami lifted a hand to her chin, stroking it lightly. "So, what do you know? About my birth. If not much about Ume, then we can talk about that." Sorano began, "Of the Watanabe family, you were the only one that was born from a different father." Itami nodded. "I'm well aware of that. I don't look much like our father. But that doesn't indicate anything inappropriate." Sorano shook her head. "No, it doesn't. It's very common, but for now, I think we're detracting. You did want to know more about Ume, correct? Maybe we should take Hiroto's advice and speak with her." Itami went silent. "You're trying to avoid this, aren't you?" She questioned. "No, I'm not, I'm just trying to keep us on track. Do you wish to speak to Ume or—Not? Yes, I do, but this is something related to her. She asked me this directly, Sorano. Why would she do that?"
Sorano frowned, "I don't know why she would. As I've said, she's only just a family friend, one that I experienced few times in my life." Itami folded her arms. "Alright, I suppose I'll just have to ask her myself. She must know if she had the mind to ask." Sorano retracted. "I…you don't need to ask her." Itami winced. "Why not?" Sorano opened her mouth to speak, but she was cut off. "I'll give you this…Either you tell me or I'll go to her myself."
Hiroto listened to their stupid banter. That is what he thought of it. Questions being asked and questions being avoided. Nothing being solved through this. "Stop! Both of you!" He stood up a bit out of the mud with his upper half dripping in mud. "Sorano. It is firstly something to do with Itami's birth and Itami herself. Even if something involing Ume was a part of it she should still know." He sighed. "Ume asking of it and maybe having reason to…know or wonder…just… gives more reason." He shook his head before looking at Itami. "Itami. Relax. Let her speak on things. If she is avoiding something then she is avoiding it. Let her do it now when at least she is trying to talk about something else important." He shook his head shortly. "Both of you. Talk. About Itami's birth. And if someone should go ask about Itami's birth why not me? Also… Why not try to…. Plant someone on the inside? A mole? Something besides endless bicker that gets us no where."
Sorano was about to defend herself once again when Hiroto stepped in to end their bickering. Itami spat at the notion of ending the fight. "Fine, I'll let her speak on things, but if she doesn't speak on what I want to hear, this is over." It appears she wasn't willing to relieve the ultimatum. Sorano opened her eyes, something that caught Itami offguard for a few moments. The most intesne stare came from her and it nearly broke her. Nearly. "As I said earlier, you were born of another man. What you do not know is that you were born unwillingly of this man. In other words, you were the product of rape," Sorano explained simply enough.
Itami wasn't sure how to take what she'd just heard. She was reasonably shocked, but all the memories of her abuse resurfaced. "You wanted to know, so I'm telling you," Sorano dug in. "So why would Ume ask me about that?" Itami questioned. "How should I know? As I said, I've only seen her few times in my life." Itami still felt uneasy, if only because she felt like Sorano wasn't quite trustworthy. Why did no one tell her about this? /Anyone/? She was upset and wasn't sure what to think about her family at the moment. She suffered for years. "Where was Kin in all of this?" She asked of their father by name. "I don't know, Itami… You'd have to ask him…" She still didn't know why Ume would ask about that…why? It looks as if she'd need to talk to Ume after all.
"I don't think talking to Ume is the best option right now. I believe we should hold back for now…" Sorano offered. "Why? Something else you're trying to hide?" Itami cut at her. "No…" Yes… "I mentioned it earlier. I am not very fond of her…." Sorano remarked, she turned her eyes away, finally breaking the staredown between her and Itami.
Hiroto listened to this and accepted their agreement. Then the truth came out. He blinked a few times before frowning as he took that information in and looked between the both of him. Thoughts filled his mind as they continued to speak. Why would Ume ask about that? What reason could she have for wanting to find out more about this…unless…could she somehow..be related to Itami's real father?" He looked between the both of them again. He listened a big longer and just sighed for a moment. "Okay… I see… Maybe we don't talk to her then, but really. We have to find out more somehow." He looked at Sorano and his connection with birds giving him that slight intelligent intuitive sense. "Sorano. You are speaking to the Kazekage on important matters possible relating to the safety of this village. I have to ask you that if you are holding anything back you rethink that decision before it does more harm than good. Because then we would know who to hold accountable for it."
Sorano can't say she didn't expect to be hit by that one, but that still didn't keep the surprise from showing in her body language. It was growing harder to hide each moment spent here. In some ways, she feels like she was better left hiding in the mud. Feels like a great place to be right now. "I only say not to talk to her because in the times that I've seen her, I always received a strange feeling about her. I can't explain why I felt that way, but it's a shared feeling that you all have about her. I know because you wouldn't have the questions you do without suspecting her. What she's after, I don't know…" She sighed. Why did this have to happen?
"If you feel that way, then that's all the more reason we need to figure her out," Itami considered. "There's something about this I just don't like and I need to figure it out. With this out of the way, we need to know if she can become a dragon or not and…what else were we trying to figure out? I couldn't remember on account of my mind fogging in anger," she asked of Hiroto.
Hiroto nods to the both of them and sighed a bit. "We have to talk to her Sorano. Trust me. That is the best way to do something. I trust she won't be able to hide much from us. Maybe bring some ANBU and have them use means to check?" He shook his head slightly. "The dragon part yes. Another thing would be us figuring out why she wants Kishi out of the prison. When for all we know she might be at fault for it." He frowned slightly. "Itami. What if Ume is related to your…….Biological father?"
No, you really don't. "Utilizing the ANBU may be a bit heavy handed," Sorano answered honestly. "She won't hide much at all, I suspect." She'd be more than willing to share. "The ANBU shouldn't be necessary, if only because they're a resource you'd want to use under absolute certainty. If it was ever discovered that ANBU were used against her without proper cause, it'd cast further doubt. This is a delicate situation." Fragile, actually. "I believe you all have people more than skilled enough to handle the job without having the ANBU track her. Kishi, as far as I know, isn't in prison. Not yet. She's being held, but it's close enough. I suppose I shouldn't mince words. The evidence against her is pretty damning," she shook her head. This is all going to fall apart.
"That would be…something I suppose. Knowing she's related to my biological father. It'd be interesting to look into, but I feel like I don't have much reason to. He's a sick individual who brought unspeakable harm to my mother. Not sure I really wish to know," she spoke bitterly. She did consider murdering the man if she ever figured out who he was. "That aside, she could be responsible for Kishi's holding, but we have no proof. Until we can prove that, Kishi is as good as held. Ume is looking incredibly clean right now."
Hiroto looked onwards and nods. "I know… I just.. I don't know what to do. I feel like something needs to be done, but I just…. I… I want to be able to help just there feels like there isn't any way to. I mean… everything makes it seem like Kishi is at fault. Ume doesn't even seem near to being a threat of any kind. I just…don't know." He frowned and stood up out of the mud. Rising to sit on the edge as the mud was slipped off of his chest. "I am out of ideas…. Just… we just have to ask her. That is all we can do. Or at least all I can think of." His head lowered.
"Then it's settled. We'll just talk to her. It's an option that's on the table and one I'm willing to take," Itami concluded. Sorano's heart sank to the pit of her stomach at those words. "Sorano…" Itami began softly. "Is there something bothering you?" She felt compelled to ask the question and in many ways Sorano was elated to hear it, but she couldn't talk about it. This couldn't be happening again. "There's always something bothering me, Itami," she answered lifelessly. "Always. I'm concerned about this situation. I want Kishi to be freed, I want you all to find out as much as you can about Ume…" Two things she truly wanted, but only one half that truly bothered her.
"…We'll find a way to get through this, Sorano. I know when it comes to investigations, you want the truth to dominate. As a magistrate, you want justice to be served. Very strongly. Your convictions are powerful, but to be honest, I never knew where those convictions came from, but…they always seemed to come from a place that was experienced and wise," Itami complimented her. Wading through the mud, she moved forward to embrace her. Seems like she's had some time to cool off.
Sorano's breathing was broken as she sat and stared up at the ceiling of the room, completely torn apart by Itami's compassion. A single tear fell from her eye, leaving a dark trail in its wake as it slipped down the dried mud on her face. Itami truly made her feel alive when all else felt dead.
Hiroto listened a bit and waited as they spoke. "Yeah.. We do too Sorano. Remember… You can talk to us and if not me Itami. Either way I am more connected to your family than pretty much any other and I want you all to be safe just as much. Even if it isn't a sure thing for to them when looking at me." He smiled and watched the both of them eventually move to a hugging position. It was a family thing and he didn't want to interrupt it so he moved out of the bath itself. "Times like this despite all the fighting shows why you are sisters." He smiled and looked about. "Should I just wash this off or is a towel used for mud too?" He was facing them while standing side ways and he was indeed fully nude besides the mud covering his body.
Hiroto's words only made Sorano's current feelings more intense and more tears flowed. As much as she wanted to speak, she couldn't find it within herself to do so. Internally, she was shouting, but outwardly, she was locked up. Her body felt like a prison right now and her past was resurfacing with such strength that she could hardly bear it. Strangely, this all felt real…too real. She imagines she could be grateful for that much. "Sorano, I've never seen you like this before. You're usually so stoic…but maybe that just comes from being a magistrate," Itami began. "This is a…nice change." She figured her anger had managed to cut her deeply enough to feel this way. "I…I apologize for my anger. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I guess…in some ways I assumed you didn't have any or rather, you just didn't show them as much, but now, I know they're there and maybe I can be a bit more mindful."
Sorano lifted her hand and wrapped it around Itami weakly. If only… Sorano didn't know she was capable of this emotion. For a long time, she didn't know how to express it. This level is difficult for her to handle physically and reason with, but at the very least, she's glad she could experience it. Much of her past was lived without them. "It's alright," she cracked softly. "You had every right to be. I think…I think we should end this discussion. Besides, you all have made your decision."
Hiroto just watched over at them and smiled softly as he watched the scene play out before him. "Sorano. We can end this discussion. How about for the rest of the day we just…relax… Completely. I would happily treat you both to dinner later if you would like. Chuunin work gets me a lot more Ryo to save up." He smiled a bit and started walking. "I think I am gonna get cleaned up. Get this mud off of me. Alright? Private room should have private wash room and such if you need me." And he stepped in there to get himself cleaned up.
"I think that's for the best. Let's end this. Sorano, let's go and get cleaned up," Itami offered to her as she moved up and out of the mudbath. She extended a hand to Sorano to take. She was hesitant, but eventually broke past her reservations and took it to be lifted out of the pool. One arm, really? Yes, Itami could lift her up and out with ease using one arm. "I'll follow your lead," Sorano stated as she walked along behind her. She wanted to follow the light that was in her. Maybe she'd be rescued from this darkness inside. Someday soon.