Date: October 13, 2014
Kenta, Atsuro and Tsukino schedules a meeting at Ono Teahouse to discuss the events that they faced at the Temple of Embers. There's a lot of mysteries surrounding what happened, but some information can also be gleaned from what they observed. Atsuro informs the group about Takato's sudden disappearance as a child. Tsukino also recognized the jutsu that the red haired girl from the Temple was using as a special Uzumaki ability. There's some speculation that neither of the thieves were working under their own free will. Plans are made to continue the investigation.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"This Immortal Coil - Tea with a Side of Discussion"
Konoha - Ono Teahouse
So many serious issues face the world these days that it's sometimes hard pressed to identify what the worst ones are. The attacks by the Silence definitely tops the list, but just because the Silence is making trouble doesn't mean that other issues can be ignored. After everyone's all rested up and settled back into life at Konoha, a meeting's set up between Tsukino, Atsuro and Kenta to discuss the what happened in the latest mission that they worked on together. The theft of what Kenta dubs as the "Immortality Scroll" for shorthand might not be the work of the Silence or it could be something related. What's known is that the kinjutsu inside is fairly dangerous to be passed around by unknown hands. Plus, they all did promise an old monk that they'll get it back.
Kenta's the first one to arrive at Ono Teahouse, but that's because he got there fifteen minutes earlier than the scheduled time. There were less paperwork to handle at the Konoha administrative building than he realized, so he found himself finishing everything quicker than expected. The young medic-nin is seated at one of the neat little tables. A pot of steaming tea has already been prepared along with some skewers of dango, a platter of sweet rice cakes, azuki manju, a bowl of edamame, grilled fish balls and cookies to start with.
Tsukino recieved the message to meet in the teahouse with Atsuro and Kenta. She ended up arriving a touch earlier than the allotted time and was moving stiffly, but did not carry any visible wounds. She was a bit paler than she had been, perhaps, though with her fair complexion it was hard to tell. She quickly spotted Kenta sitting at the table, surrounded by many different treats. She walked up and took a seat with a quiet greeting and a small smile. "Hello, Kenta-san. How are you?"
Not normally seen here, Atsuro takes a moment to look around as he steps into the building. It's so… so boring! Taizen comes in behind him and he braces for some kind of 'no dogs allowed' discussion, but the server simply asks him where he'd like to sit and, once he explains that he's meeting people here, brings him over to the table where Kenta and Tsukino are.
"Hey gang," he says, waving lazily, "That last mission went so well, huh?" He takes a seat at the table. "Hello, Kenta. Hello, Tsukino," says Taizen. Then he sits down by the table. Atsuro grabs a piece of dango and starts to eat it slowly. He looks away from the table, but the distant look in his eyes seems to indicate he's not looking at anything in particular.
Kenta stands up to bow at Tsukino. "Konochiwa," he greets the Uzumaki princess. Experienced eyes notices the way that she's moving and a tiny frown appears on his face. "Are you ok, Tsukino? You're moving like you hurt yourself and you're a shade paler than you usually are. Please seat down and have some food. I can give you a quick exam while you're eating if you would like me to take a look."
Kenta starts to sit down, but immediately flexes his knees straight again when Taizen and Atsuro approaches their reserved table. He bows to them as well, but deeper than the one that he gave Tsukino, due to them being higher rank. "Atsuro-senpai and Taizen-senpai. It's good to see you again. Ummm… I don't think that last mission really went that well, but we did at least managed to salvage part of it." He nods at Tsukino. "Your ability to store all those forbidden scrolls into another scroll was very helpful."
Tsukino smiled up at Atsuro when he arrived, greeting him with just a hint of formality in her nod. She greeted Taizen as well, separately. Once they were set down and Atsuro began speaking about how 'well' their last mission had gone, Tsukino pulled out a small scroll and poofed some dried beef into existance from the scroll which she set before Taizen. There wasn't much in a tea house to interest a dog she'd thought and so had come prepared.
Then she turned to the table and picked up the tea pot. She poured for all three of them,Atsuro first in reverence to his rank, Kenta second and finally herself. The movements and skill she showed with the tea pot might explain why she was a chuunin and older and not as skilled as some yet. Her mother had made certain that she was trained in the 'womanly' arts. And it showed. Her motions were graceful and confident while adding a hint of artistry to the action. Once she settled the pot down again she looked up at Kenta.
She held up a hand. "I'm just … a lttle weak. I helped flush out a nest of giant spiders and one bit deep into my leg. The medics at the hospital bound the wound and gave me anti-venom but I'm still feeling it." If he pushed she would of course aquiesce. She flushed a bit at the compliment from Kenta. "I just did my part. But the scroll that was taken… I still have the thieves' bag in a scroll."'
It takes Atsuro a moment to realize he's been addressed. "It was sarcasm," he says, finally, "Sorry." He gulps down an entire piece of dango then puts it down on his plate. "It was actually a disaster. One of the world's most dangerous jutsu is now all but guaranteed to be in the hands of a criminal organization." He glances away again, then sighs and adds, "And then someone I thought was dead reappears after ten years and I didn't do anything to save him. Who knows where he is now?"
Taizen lowers his head to the table and takes some of Tsukino's offered beef. "Thank you, Tsukino," he says. Atsuro nods. "Thanks," he says, once she's poured his tea, "You didn't need to do that though. We're just discussing business." At the mention of spiders, he suddenly looks over to Kenta and catches his eye meaningfully. "The scroll will preserve it?" he asks, turning back to Tsukino, "If we can get some kind of lead, I might need the scent from the bag."
"Sarcasm? That makes more sense now," Kenta says, nodding his head. He sinks into his seat and reaches for a cup, but -that- motion is arrested by what Tsukino said. "Did you flush out that nest of spiders that Nobunaga-san and Ikari-chan found? If the medics didn't get a blood sample from you yet, I'm going to need one after we finish up here. I have to test your blood for microscopic spider eggs. Ikari-chan's was clear, but that doesn't mean we can assume that these spiders don't inject eggs through bite. I have to check both you and Nobunaga-san just to be safe. The last thing that we want are giant spiders hatching in your chest cavity and bursting before anyone realizes they're in there."
Kenta's hand finally resumes its trajectory towards his steaming tea cup. He picks it up to take a gentile sip from the thin, porcelain rim. "I also think that we should all examine the contents of that red-haired woman's bag. The scents on it might prove very helpful indeed. Maybe there's other clues also."
Tsukino smiled to Taizen when he thanked her for the jerky. She liked being useful and that was one of the small things that sometimes made all the differece. Atsuro's comment that she didn't need to poour for them made her chuckle lightly. "I don't mind." Then she turned more serious. "The scroll will preserve it pretty well yes. Eventually it will fade even sealed in a scroll, but that should take many months at least."
Kenta's concern over her wellbeing was noted and appreciated. But she blinked suprised when he suggested that there could have been eggs in the venom. Or something like that. She disliked going back tot he hospital but she understood the need so she simply nodded her head. "Very well, kenta-san. I will follow you to the hospital when we're done here. Thank you." She sipped her tea daintily then set it down for a moment, picking up a small beanpaste treat between two fingers. "Unfortunately I don't think I'll be of much help in tracking but I might be able to trap them with my seals if we get close enough."
Atsuro manages a wan smile. "You should expect sarcasm from me by now, Kenta." He takes a sip of tea and admits, "But under the circumstances, I might not be myself so much. Don't worry about it. The sooner we find out what all we can do about this, the sooner we can get to actually solving the problem." He nods, "I think we should take a closer look at the bag too. It's really the only thing we have. Unless we go back to the temple and question everybody there, but it seemed like those three managed to pull the wool over everybody's eyes pretty well."
He looks over to Tsukino. "That's good," he says, "Anything that might help is valuable. I could tell you all about T— the Inuzuka, but it seems like that girl is a bit of a mystery. Do you have the bag's scroll with you?"
"I saw that you did to that red-haired girl, Tsukino. Your jutsu was very effective. I do wonder how they managed to get away though. It was all very strange. I saw that girl throw some kind of exploding ball. Then, some strange seal appeared on them and they were transported away. But I'm pretty sure it was the summoning jutsu, although I never heard of it working on humans before…" Kenta frowns in thoughtful puzzlement and sips from his tea again.
Kenta takes one of the fish balls and munches on it while he nods along to the conversation. He gives Atsuro a curious look. "You said that the Inuzuka was someone that you recognize from ten years ago. He doesn't look much only than me. Did he become a missing-nin when he was still a student? I never heard of anyone deflecting that young before… Wait, did the Inuzuka clan even join Konoha at that time? Maybe you should tell us more, Atsuro-senpai."
Tsukino watched Atsuro for a moment as he hesitated over what to call the Inuzuka girl that had been at the temple. She thought a moment, hesitating whether or not she should ask or if it would be prying. But in the end, it was something that impacted the team and the village so she asked politely. "Do you know him, Atsuro-san? The Inuzuka boy?" At about the same time Kenta urged him to tell them more as well. She chuckled and appologised for interupting him. But the idea of the summoning jutsu working on humans.. Hmm.. she ran a thumb over the smooth clay cup with her tea. "Seals could be used on humans.. in theory. We transport animals when we summon them, it should be possible to do so with a human, though the testing of such a technique might cost many lives."
"Is there anything that could mimic the effect of the summoning jutsu?" Atsuro asks, "I don't know a whole lot about summoning myself. I've got all the nin-animals I need right here." He reaches over and pats Taizen on the head. "But if I get a chance to get something really cool, step aside, bud." Taizen calls him out, "You're only joking." Atsuro can't answer, having eaten another dango whole.
By the time he's swallowed, it seems the conversation has turned to Takato. "He's not a favourite subject in the Inuzuka clan," he starts. "But maybe it's best that you know about these things. The kid is Takato, the dog is Hageshi. You know how some kids latch onto older kids and follow them everywhere they go? They did that with Tai and I. Looking back, a couple of really sweet kids. But… I was kinda an earl as at that age. Moreso than I am now, I mean." He clears his throat, "Right. Anyway. They were still young when they disappeared, but they already showed promise in learning the clan jutsu."
He frowns, "A little strange, actually. His parents were never anything special, in terms of ability. Don't think they even made it to chuunin." He shrugs, "They're still around. I never asked them much about Takato and Hageshi disappearing. They asked not to discuss it with people. For their privacy. All I know is that they went on a trip to the sea and that's when he disappeared."
Throughout the explanation, he's looked down at the table, his frown slowly boring into the wood. "I haven't gotten a chance to talk to his parents yet," he says finally, "We could try to find out more about it, but I didn't really think he'd abandoned the clan. Did you see how he acted when Tai and I took them down?"
Kenta rubs the back of his neck. "Well, that Inuzuka, Takato, seems kind of upset. Maybe it's just because it was you that he saw and anyone else would have gotten a completely opposite reaction. You said that he used to follow you around. Remember what you told me about male-male relationships? What if he had a really big crush on you and then you're the one that nearly captured him. I bet that would upset just about anyone. Umm… not that this couldn't be something else. Maybe the best thing to do is to at least find out what happened to him all those years ago?"
Kenta snaps his fingers. He turns to Tsukino. "I just thought of something. If seals can be used to transport, can't they also be used to stop jutsu like that too? I bet that the Uzumaki clan has a way to cancel out a summoning jutsu. It seems like the Uzumaki has seals to deal with almost -anything-. If they don't, we'll need to find another way to keep those guys from getting away. Besides killing them I mean."
Tsukino pondered Atsuro's question. Could anything mimic a summoning jutsu… She thought for a few silent moments, sipping her tea. "I suppose it's /possible/. I'm still learning too, but I suppose a genjutsu could, but they would have to be able to make everyone present believe in it." She shook her head lightly. "I would have to do more research."
She listened quietly then when Atsuro explained about Takato. By the end she was frowning lightly. Kenta distracted her, though and she tilted her head as he spoke. "Hmmm. I suppose a dampening field, but it would have to be set up ahead of time… I can look through some of the books I have."
Atsuro is taking a sip of tea as Kenta says that. He nearly spills some on himself. "I guess I remember…" he says after putting the mug of tea down. What a weird time to bring that discussion up again! "Uh, but he was just a little kid. I don't remember it like he had a crush on me. I guess it could be possible. But it seemed like there was more to it than that. It seemed like they kinda snapped out of it and recognized me. Then that seal appeared. And I'm not a seal expert, but doesn't 'control' seem suspicious?"
He nudges his mug of tea with his finger. "We could talk to his parents, or see if there's anything in the official records. But it doesn't make sense. He goes on a trip with his parents and halfway through he leaves to become a missing-nin?" He grumbles. "That girl seemed to have some pretty serious seals herself. What was her deal, exactly?" He looks to Tsukino pointedly.
"I don't know any way to keep someone from escaping through a summoning, so you're our best bet, Tsukino. You have access to a lot more knowledge about seals than I do. Grandmother also knows a lot about seals. She does know one that can make it hard for anyone to summon a creature -into- an area, but not one that will keep a creature from getting summoned -out- of it. Maybe it can be tweaked somehow… I don't know…" Kenta says uncertainly. He frowns and absently picks up the teapot to pour everyone a new cup. The young medic-nin glances at Atsuro. "I didn't actually get a good view of the seal that appeared on their foreheads. It happened so quickly. Did the red-haired girl activate some kind of special jutsu? I thought it looked like she was caught in that black chakra prison before it happened."
Tsukino blinked when Atsuro asked her about the seals the girl had used. She looked down at her cup as she thought back. "They were about at my level… perhaps a bit higher…" She hesitated, though, as if she had recognised something else but was loathe to bring it up. She chewed on her lower lip and stared pointedly at her cup. Kenta refilled it for her and she nodded quietly in thanks. Then kenta added a question and Tsukino jumped at it with both feet to avoid whatver it was that had crossed her mind before. "If one knows the way a seal works it should be possible to reverse the process to get an opposite effect. In theory." She looked up hesitantly. "I.. I appologise, I'm just learning seals myself… I have access to Uzumaki seals yes but I don't know it all off the top of my head." A heartbeat. "I've never seen the mark that appeared on their forheads. Ever."
Giving Kenta a nod, Atsuro stays quiet for a moment before speaking. "It didn't seem like it was the girl that did it," he agrees, "She was hit with that other seal too. Then they disappeared without her doing anything." He reaches up to scratch his head with his little finger. "Look at me, talking like I know anything about seals at all. I'm just going off what I saw." He nods again to Kenta, this time as thanks for pouring him more tea.
He blows on it, then takes a sip before looking over to Tsukino. "She an Uzumaki?" he asks. "You said something about bringing her to the elders or something like that, when you were trying to capture her. I don't know much about your clan, but I wouldn't bring a captive to the Inuzuka elders unless, y'know, we had some kind of authority."
Kenta glances between Tsukino and Atsuro. He shifts his weight on his seat in a slightly uncomfortable manner. "The Uzumaki clan's an ally of the Leaf, although they -are- found in every land these days.," he points out slowly. "I never heard of one that'll do something like this before. I did see the red hair and that girl seemed to have decent knowledge of seals, but I didn't want to jump to any conclusions. I mean, there are non-Uzumaki that have red hair and are good at seals, right?" The young medic-nin reaches up to scrub a hand through his own hair a few times. He has a better knowledge of seals than many of his peers. He doesn't have -red- hair, but it's still one out of two conditions met. Kenta's prepared to hear a "no" quickly uttered from Tsukino's lips.
Tsukino listened to Atsuro comment on the seals the female had used, her own mind on another ability she had displayed. One Tsukino knew about all too well. But Atsuro was right. "The seal that took them away had nothing to do with the girl. She did not form it and was not in control of it." She glanced at Atsuro when he mentioned she had wanted to bring the girl to teh elders. "I offered to bring her home where the elders could remove whatever spells were laid on her could be removed. I do not have the skill to remove such seals but my grandfather does."
Kenta's comment made her close her eyes for a long moment. "Yes. There are others with red hair and seal knowledge. But…" She looked up finally. "She used something only an Uzumaki can utilize. Those chains of hers were made of pure chakra. I.." She glanced aside and became slightly evasive. "I've seen them before."
Atsuro grabs a fishball and puts it on his plate, grinning a little as Kenta touches his hair like that. "Maybe you should dye your hair red," he suggests, "You can become one of those people!" As he eats the fishball, though, the smile seems to disappear. "I still think Takato's in this whole thing against his will," he says finally, "Someone other than those three was involved. Maybe it's the same for the girl too." He glances over to Tsukino, "You said she had some kind of spell on her? Did you notice anything like that on Takato and Hageshi too?" He frowns, "Maybe all three of them were victims."
Kenta nods slowly. "I know that type of thing is possible. There are many techniques that can make people do things that they don't want to; genjutsu, parasitic mind control, cursed seals, possession, shadow manipulation…" The young medic-nin blushes slightly and offers a sheepish grin at Atsuro. "I mean, I can do the possession part sometimes. There's probably even more techniques out there that can manipulate people that we don't know about. Grandmother always said that if something can be done with a jutsu, there's someone in the world that's figure out how to do it." Somberness suddenly suffuses Kenta's face. "But we also need to keep in mind that maybe they -are- acting out of their own free will. Just because two were Inuzuka and one was an Uzumaki doesn't mean that they can't be criminals. It just means that they're less likely."
Tsukino sat back and sighed softly. "What is true for one could easily be true for the other. They both displayed character changes when the seals shifted. I would say it's a high probability that they were coerced in some way. Whether by threat or spell I cannot say. I have to believe that." She took a sip of her tea and looked to the side, away from the men at her table. What bothered her the most was the chains. Those chains weren't standard fare for Uzumaki. It was a special ability that only a few had learned to display and fewer had learned to use in combat. "I would go back to Uzushiogakure to look for information but I think I'm not going to be given passage to travel alone anymore. From Daisuke-san or my Grandfather. I can send a message, though, encrypted. It would take a few days to get a response."
"I'd rather think they were," says Atsuro, "Takato was a good kid. I don't like the idea of him doing this, unless he was forced." He glances off to the side and frowns, "Well, I don't like it either way. The point is he was a good kid… and it seemed like that was coming back, before he disappeared." When Kenta points out their biases, though, he sighs a little. "I know. I should be thinking about my objectivity and whatever. But still. I'd rather rescue Takato than kill him. And that includes rescuing him against his wishes."
He drums his fingers on the table. "Well, I have ways of finding out about Takato, and Tsukino has ways of finding out about the girl. Only other thing I can think to investigate is that bag she dropped."
Kenta quickly shakes his head from side to side. "You definitely can't travel alone, Tsukino. After what happened with that kidnapping, I'll be very surprised if Hokage-sama lets you go anywhere without a powerful shinobi like Atsuro-senpai to escort you. I heard that some of those Silent shinobi are just as strong as our Jounin or even -stronger-." His brows draw together in a frown as he peers at Tsukino with slightly narrowed eyes. "You're also not completely recovered. You should take it easy for at least a little longer. I don't think you would have been sent on that mission if we knew it'll turn out to be dangerous. A scroll to your grandfather seems the best way to find out more."
Kenta looks down at his plate. He hadn't really eaten that much since arriving. The young medic-nin methodically starts picking food from the platters with his chopsticks and setting each piece neatly in front of himself. Every body needs fuel. "One of the labs at the hospital would make a good place to study the contents of the satchel. We'll have a private location with plenty of equipment around in case we need it. It might take me a few days to arrange for a time slot, but I should be able to grab one. I just hope that nothing bad happens with that stolen scroll until we manage to get more information."
Tsukino nodded her agreement with Atsuro hoping the two were coerced into what they were doing. She did nnot like the idea that an Uzumaki was working against the world's shinobi. But she didn't like the idea that they were being forced either, though that was mostly from the angle of her not likeing people to be harmed in general. Kenta's comment abotu Daisuke not letting her go anywhere alone caused her to make a face. She wasn't sure if she should feel cared for or restricted and ended up feeling about halfway between. But his comment that she shouldn't be on dangerous missions made her wince. "I decided to be one of your shinobi here. I don't want to just be some foreign princess that no one knows or cares about. I want to make this my /home/ and fight for it!" She caught the tone in her own voice and looked down again, embarassed by the outburst. "Forgive me, I know I'm just being protected. I will send a hawk to Grandfather later today…."
"We should be avoiding any unnecessary travel regardless," Atsuro notes, "Of course, someone has to go, unless someone has a really good idea for sending that letter. But I don't think I've heard any reports of the Silence intercepting messages like that. Anyway, yeah. The sooner we see what's in that bag, the better. Could be useless, but we're not in a position to pick and choose our leads." He inhales slowly and nods. "We should try and get more details on what exactly it does. If we know how the villages are destroyed, maybe we can find out some warning signs or something." Despite his bad mood, he still finds humour in Tsukino's loudness. "Please try to modulate your voice; that was really embarrassing," he deadpans.
Kenta reaches out to pat Tsukino gently on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Tsukino. You're not useless and you're already contributing to the safety of Konoha. I didn't say what I did because you're a princess, but because you're not a hundred percent healed and you're a target. You're a valuable member of our shinobi forces. It'll be bad if we lose you especially when we need good shinobi around." He pulls back and lets out a sigh. The young medic-nin pops a cookie into his mouth and chews it slowly. "I actually think that we're all indispensible at this time, even me. Konoha can't afford to lose any of us. That's why we should be careful and be prepared for whatever comes up instead of just rushing out to meet trouble head on. The fact that we're doing planning now is a good thing. I'm definitely also going to keep my ears open for strange rumors that might be related to this issue."
Bright red stained Tsukino's cheeks when Atsuro told her to modulate her voice. The comment that she'd embarassed him (or them) made the color even deeper and she lowered her eyes even more. Her hands dropped to her lap rather than the table where she'd had them with her cup. She wouldn't ask forgivness again but she looked quite cowed. In fact she'd been strangely bothered by all this ever since the failed mission. She jumped a little at the light touch by Kenta, but her head came up a bit at least. She tried to offer a smile for his kind words but it came out a bit strained. "I will send the Hawk. And I will encrypt the message."
Atsuro listens to Kenta for a moment, then gives a nod of agreement. "If I'm not mistaken, we don't know what made them target you the first time around, do we? Not to scare you. Just that we should stay cautious about it, if whatever they wanted is still there." He then shoots Kenta a glance. "Even you," he repeats, "Try especially. Give youself some credit." He looks over to Tsukino, "And I was just kidding. No one really cared all that much." He waves to someone at another table. "Hi, hey! 'sup?" The other person reacts in exactly the way one would expect and lowers their head against the table, trying not to be seen. Atsuro turns back to face them. "See? And bonus, now everyone's forgotten about you."
Kenta claps his hands together. The sound that it produces is louder than he expected, which makes the young medic-nin wince. Atsuro may not think that bringing attention to them is a big deal, but he still doesn't want to do it by mistake. "Ummm… right… So, we all know what to do then. I'll book one of the hospital labs, so that we can examine the satchel that Uzumaki girl dropped. Atsuro-senpai will find out about this Inuzuka Takato that suddenly showed up again after going missing for so many years. Tsukino will send a scroll to Uzushiogakure about the seal related questions and the red haired girl. And we all need to keep our ears open for rumors about people suddenly dropping dead. I wonder if getting your soul ripped out by a kinjutsu would leave an actual mark…" What a morbid mind Kenta sometimes have. "Well, we should finish our food before it gets cold…der."
Tsukino shook her head at Atsuro's statement. "No, they just kept referring to 'plans' and keeping me healthy enough for them. Though that .. might have been all that Suna nin's work. I don't know. They kept me in a cage inside one of the tents where they were decoding Suna's secrets. As if I was one of them waiting to be decrypted." She glanced up as he said they weren't sure why they'd taken her in the first place and it was true. She wasn't frightened by that, but she did wonder what good she could possibly do for the Silence. Not counting as a tool against Daisuke of course. Which was possible. Kenta's sudden clap made her ump and she looked upa bit as he talked about what they each needed to do. She remained mostly quiet the rest of the time at the table, feeding Taizen now and then but mostly avoiding eye contact or ducking questions. Finally when it was polite she begged off with a comment aout another duty. She bowed and made a quick escape.