Date: July 12, 2011
Some time after the initial mission to gain the favor and loyalty of the reclusive Koumorite Clan began, the work and investigation continues. New ninja enter the fray to assist, including Kaguya Tsun!
"The Bat Hand - Watchers"
Koumorite Village - Land of Water
In the month of April, almost three months prior to the present, a diplomatic mission to the village of the Koumorite Clan was underway. That mission is still in progress in the month of July, but in order to understand the general situation >now< a closer look must be made at what happened back >then<…
Yuri and Yuuka had successfully concluded an inspection of three specific caves in the high cliff walls that surround the village. They had found no sign of who had conducted the thefts of cultural relics, but they had some suspicious about how the thieves had gotten in to begin with. Someone in the village — either a Koumorite member or someone who had lived here for a long time — may have supplied the thieves with information on how to bypass defenses and security measures.
Yoshihiro had returned to Kirigakure as an protective escort for Sadako after she had successfully treated the daughter of one of the Elders. That act alone had earned some good will from the Koumorite, but they still do not trust easily. They will have to find the thieves and stop them before anythng more can be done and before any other jobs will be given to them.
To that end, Suzaku Yuri sent along a message with Sadako and Yoshihiro to take back to the Hidden Mist. It was a request for more shinobi to aid in the investigation. She received Tsun and a couple other ninja, all of whom have been briefed on the situation. However, right now it is Yuri and Tsun who are together and working on the mission. The grey clous in the sky above have been drizzling on and off throughout the day. Right now, Yuri stands underneath a leather-hide overhang in front of a merchant's shop to stay out of the rain as she munches on balls of octopus meat on a thin, wooden spike that looks like an oversized toothpick. "Alright, so let's say that the thieves are being directed by an informant within the village," Yuri starts, gesturing with the octopus balls that remain on the stick. "Who is likely to be able to obtain that information and yet remain above suspicion? Keep in mind that we are mostly looking for a non-Koumorite at this point."
With Tsun finally being established as fit to serve once again, it was interesting enough one of her first missions would be to deal with peace making. Of course, they did do so with heavy caution and Tsun went out of her way to ensure them that she was indeed in perfect-ish control. Finally being outside of Kirigakure meant a lot to the girl as that's all she would usual see and was running out of things to do all day.
Although obviously as tired as usual, a combination of makeup and slight excitement had left Tsun to look remotely awake and on the ball as she stands a bit away from Yuri, hood over her head and jacket zipped to take on the occasional rain.
"All I can think of are other Koumorite. Though if it were to be someone not part of this village, it'd either be someone that /would/ raise suspicion but, no one is aware of them in order to suspect. Like, a ninja of sorts from another village." Tsun then sighs and begins to rub her right eye, "Buuut… living around ninja all the time that's sort of just the second thing that comes to mind." She then shoves her hands into her pockets and rocks back and forth on her heels, "Could be someone that… used to be part of the village. Kicked out or something, knows a way to blend in?"
Shrugging, Tsun would go back to chewing her bubblegum, finding it hard to use her brain for things other than, smash target A and B.
Yuri continues to nomnomnom on her octopi snack as she listens to Tsun. Inwardly, she is more than a little bit suspicious of the teenager. She is suspicious of >everyone<, but Genin who have the level of ability that Tsun does are few and far between. It is not just a matter of Rank. Further, Yuri's investigation into the matter has revealed some details that make her >even more suspicious<. She suspects that Tsun is some sort of 'secret weapon' of some kind… The result of an experiment or something else. She doesn't know for certain. Files that should be open to a Swordswoman like Yuri are 'restricted access', and there is no way she is going to Hikan about it.
She just smiled, waved it off, and said it was simply curiosity. She has not made any official or unofficial inquiries since then. She is sure her asking in the first place was reported, but she has done her very best to appear completely uninterested since that time. Yet, here she is, in an unaligned village, with the girl herself standing nearby. No other Kirigakure ninja are around to spy on her or interfere. She can find out just what Tsun is exactly.
One thing at a time, though. "I see… That's a good angle. A former resident of this village, or someone who was not expected to be present right now… Like someone on a trip to some other location. Perhaps even someone thought to be dead already. A faked death would be a perfect way to cover one's involvement. We should also see if anyone is missing. It might be that someone was simply abducted and is being held prisoner to give information."
Yuri nods firmly, a smile on her face as she leaves the wooden shishkebab-like stick between her lips and says, "I knew it was a good idea to bring you, Tsun-chan! You've been a huge help already!" She reaches out and attempts to pat the younger female on the shoulder, if permitted.
A whispered thought in Tsun's head would go ignored as she tries to poke around her brain for any possible answers to who would have such information. Though with Yuri building off of Tsun's previous ideas, there didn't seem to be much room for her mind to make up any more creative angles, a ghost of the past or someone abducted would seem to be a perfect choice, though how to go about attaining this information and narrowing it down to a more useful search if it /was/ a ghost from the past?
Tsun's fist would clench and she'd look mildly irritated just as Yuri's hand lands on her shoulder, causing the girl to jump lightly under the touch, shocked back into reality. With a quick cough to follow, Tsun would play it off as cool as possible. "Kinda… cold and…yeah…. anyway. Um, who could we poke at for more mysterious disappearances, it'd probably be someone who suddenly disappeared without reason if abducted or… died in a strange way. Maybe?" As she stares off ahead with a determined expression, the heavy, embarrassed blush on the child's cheeks continue to linger despite how calm she kept her voice.
Yuri, of course, notices how Tsun jumps. Her face reveals no concern other than a momentary surprise and curiosity of her own. However, this placid expression belies her inward response of suspicion. 'The girl is very >tense<… Is she expecting trouble? Is she worried about something?' The excuse of it being cold here makes Yuri simply smile, however. "Ohh! I'm sorry. Yes, it's kind of chilly out here, isn't it? The cold from the sea tends to leave things less than pleasant when it rains. It's kind of weird, since in some other countries raining doesn't make the weather cooler at all. It just makes it more miserably humid."
The rain starts to slack off, switching from a drizzle to scattered droplets that spatter on the odd buildings, the rooftops, the overhangs, and similar. The buildings tend to be somewhat narrow, multiple stories, and yet not too >terribly< tall. All in all, they look most like giant totem poles or something. This is especially true with the stylized tribal decorations — primarily of bats.
Yuri is less focused on the artistic worth of the surroundings and more on all the nooks and crevices that people can hide in. They are being watched still. She knows that much. Time to get moving, however. "Well, don't worry, Tsun-chan. I'll keep you warm until we get somewhere less exposed to the wind!" She then moves up behind Tsun, and if permitted, wraps her right around the younger girl in a hug-from-behind sort of maneuver. Given the difference of nearly a foot between the Swordswoman and the Genin, and given the likely noticeable 'size' difference, this may mean that the back of Tsun's head is firmly planted between two large, soft, semi-firm 'pillows'. Maybe they are supposed to be ear warmers!?
If Tsun does not move away, the real purpose of this becomes clear a moment later as Yuri wraps her rain-deflecting poncho around the other kunoichi such that it protects both of them as she holds it up with one arm. How nice of Yuri.
This is also a great way to discretely inspect the girl close-up, gauge her reactions, and make sure she can't stab Yuri in the back. Not that she expects such, but you never know. o/‘
"Okay, let’s head to the village's records department! …I think they said they keep archives of birth records and death records and such to the south of the Elder's Hall."
'Why'd you let her do that?' There was finally a full mental response to… her own mind. 'You barely ever let anyone bypa-' The thought would be cut short by another, stronger one. 'Are you hurt?' 'Well… no but…' 'Are you hurt?' 'No but, that's besides the -' 'Not my fault 90 percent of the time someone comes in for physical contact, it's to cut you or crush you. I'm sure you enjoyed that moment, I'm deprived of a woman's touch! Stuck in female bodies for far too long.' Tsun's facial expression goes blank, slowly shuffling into further irritation as Yuri explains why the area was cold -Of course, Tsun spends a good amount of time coated in ice so the temperature was definately not the cause of the earlier jump-.
'Ah, even though I can't really feel it… just the idea of being part of the body that… ooo, even better~' Tsun was too wrapped up in her own thoughts to even realize she was picked up, the ever alert ninja being carried along. 'Hang around this one more often Tsun-chan!'
"Er…" Tsun would clear her throat, Shukaku had disturbed her, she wasn't entirely bothered by the fact of being carried, in fact, she perferred it her feet were pretty tired. Though if Yuri enjoyed it, that was a different story. Tsun was an iceblock, not an ounce of warmth radiating from her at all, that and the child weighed much more than she actually should. "Thank you… but um… yeah, nevermind. The record department.
Giggling echoed through her mind, the immaturity of Shukaku never ceasing to amaze her as he seemed to enjoy this moment a bit too much.
Yuri picks up Tsun, and has a few moments to pretend not to react swiftly to the deathly-frigid temperature that is immediately evident from the moment she touches the girl. She is so >cold<! "Brr! Are you feeling alright? I know it's pretty chilly out here, but that's definitely not a healthy temperature. How's your blood circulation? Exercise regularly? Move around?" Keeping up the concerned questions gives the Swordswoman time to think over why Tsun would be so… Well… >Freezing!< Given the placement of Yuri's chest, she almost expects the typical reaction to cold to be evident to observers even with the padded vest and all in the way. But thankfully, she is not becoming >that< hardened by Tsun's corpse-like chill! …Actually, Yuri likes dead people better than she likes living people, so maybe there's even another reason for that reaction. Coughcough.
Okay, probably not. "…Hm. I guess we actually should get you somewhere warm first. I'm not going to have you going and getting sick and dying on me. This is our first mission together! As your team leader, one of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Hidden Mist, and a fellow woman, it is my responsibility to ensure you remain healthy if at >all< possible!"
"So, let's go to the inn I've been staying at, get you out of those clothes and into my bed!" …. "Then I will try to stabilize you through body-heat transfer." Ohhhhh. "…Seriously, >how did you get so cold<, Tsun-chan!? Did you fall in a puddle and then just drip-dry!? That's how you get hypothermia!" During this whole thing, Yuri is walking towards the local inn she has been sleeping at for the past few months. Even >she< is starting to shiver a bit from the cold Tsun is emanating! But maybe the friction of the woman's breasts rubbing on the younger kunoichi's head will heat up >one< of them!?
'Heheheeheheheee.' Tsun was somewhat, impressed by Yuri's thought process, all the while resonable the child couldn't shake the vibe that this woman might be a tad bit on the crazy side. Most of Yuri's questions and suggestions would be met with silence, mostly because Tsun couldn't really feel a proper time to respond. Between Shukaku and Yuri, Tsun's mood would slowly dip into a more sour location as the combination of voices were making her head swirl. "That's…" Tsun would go silent again as Yuri suggets an inn. 'Look at that Tsun-chan~ You're quite the ladies woman at your age she already wants you in her b-' Tsun's bitter mood would somehow manage to make her become even more frigid
In order to at least distract herself from Shukaku she'd go on to explain the situation and so the girl's right hand slowly raises up in front of her, displaying it to Yuri. "I'm fine really." Tsun's fingers would simply melt away, revealing… another set of fingers that are ever so sliiiiiightly thinner than the first set. The first layer of the onion ninja's hand splashes onto the floor below as Tsun goes on to explain. "A combination of water creation and ice manipulation. It's a protective layer… just in case I can't protect myself by normal means… it's not very often I'm picked up." Tsun's choice of words much more mature for her usual self.
"In case you try to cut my throat or something. Sorry if I'm freezing but, I can't really fully get rid of it, even if I try." As she says this, her fingers momentarily glisten as the ice returns. "I seem to have trouble dying so don't worry about me all too much, I'm fine. Really." Tsun places a reassuring hand on the arm lifting her, though all it does is send another cold chill.
Oh, yes, Yuri is not used to this level of cold. There is 'dead cold' and then there is 'rubbing bare skin on ice for long periods of time'. …Though even that latter can be fun, in Yuri's twisted mind. <3 >That aside<, she observes the demonstration and carefully sets Tsun down shortly after the explanation is begun. Backing away, the mother-of-two fights the urge to rub herself vigorously to warm up the painfully throbbing skin that stopped circulating blood from the cold. Actually, why fight it? If she looks weak, that will just make people underestimate her!
She begins rubbing her arms where she touched Tsun and where Tsun touched. "Well, that's quite something… An involuntary defensive technique. I thought it was the Shirayuki who could use Ice Release, but your family name is Kaguya…" she muses aloud. Thinking deeply and going 'hmm' repeatedly, the top-heavy kunoichi proceeds to rub some warmth into her breasts with apparently no concern for Tsun being >right there<! …Or anyone else who is around and looking.
It is not until someone trips and falls on a fruit cart and smashes it and its produce to pulp and causes the cart's owner to start yelling and swearing and demanding payment that Yuri becomes aware that perhaps she is paying a >bit< too much attention to warming up >those<. "…Mmm. Well, I'll save that for later~. Tsun-chan!" she starts suddenly.
"We probably shouldn't discuss your… Unique abilities further right now. It might be… Unwise." She thinks that is enough of a clue. They >are< being watched, and these Koumorite do >not< seem to be intrigued by squishy things. It's almost like they're not even human. They just look at outsiders like… Like…
'Prey. Food. >Meat<,' one of the many thought-voices that compose Yuri's shattered consciousness supplies. She is not aware she is hearing these voices of course. It is more like one's own 'mental voice' when one is thinking to oneself. It's just that there's >more than one voice< and she >can't distinguish between them and her own thoughts< so she just >accepts them as her own<.
Crazy, right!? The point remains, however, that chattering about secret powers here would be a bad idea. The Bat-Hand Clan have superior hearing. They can probably hear a >lot< of interesting things. Like heart beats speeding up in fear. Breathing becoming shallow and ragged. Footsteps as one tries to sneak past them. Whispered conversations…
"It's pretty clever how they arranged their village," Yuri remarks suddenly as she turns and leads the way back towards the records building. Yuri's rear is more or less covered by a sort of 'briefs' shorts, not unlike schoolgirls in some crazy other land might for sports classes! There is also a cloth flap hanging down from her tunic to cover her further, but it is kind of narrow for the job of concealing such a generously proportioned target, so either Tsun is looking somewhere else or she is looking at >buns of steel<! …Or maybe she is spacing out while she tells her own voice-in-the-head to bugger off.
"They have the vital and 'Koumorite-only' buildings and facilities placed near each other in such a way that guards and 'peacekeepers' can get to any of them in a very short period of time. It looks like a tangle of roads and street-markets and businesses and so forth from down here, but because of their Kekkei Genkai, leaping four stories to a rooftop is no big deal, and they have an entire network of 'bridges' that link buildings and important sites together for the Koumorite to use."
Yuri turns her head to look back over her shoulder at Tsun, grey-brown eyes looking at the younger kunoichi without any trace of suspicion or crazy-go-nuts. She is very good at hiding that part of her. Usually. Right now she is just smiling slightly as she gives this lesson or monologue or whatever. "You notice how it feels like there's people darting around just out of the corners of your vision? Movement just out of sight? Like there's always someone following you? That's because at >least< the first two are true. They're using those bridges above us. You can see them sometimes out of the corner of your eye before they pass behind one building or another, or leap down to street level, or go indoors… Sometimes they even cast shadows when the sun is high, and that can also make it seem like someone is down >here<." She points suddenly at a 'sky bridge' above the two of them.
If Tsun looks where directed and watched for a couple seconds, someone with a bald head, somewhat-pointed ears, and a ragged black cloak lands on the bridge from somewhere above and barely pauses to finish touching the ground before darting along the bridge and out of sight.
"Meanwhile, all the stuff for outsiders like us is cordoned off in a seperate 'wheel' of the village. They aren't letting foreigners walk around freely in their own Clan's homes and facilities, but they also aren't going to just plunk us down in our own section with no observation."
Facing forward again, Yuri says, "We could learn a lot from them. They open their gates to those not of their own blood… But they don't open their doors or their hearts to us. Constant vigilance!"
Glad to be back onto her own two feet, Tsun continues to deal with her own, easily determined consciousness…es, the complaints of Shukaku ignored as well as possible. Which tends to prove more difficult as Yuri begins to warm herself up. Which leaves Tsun to wonder, how often is he lurking and what all does he see exactly. Causing to whisper a thought to Shukaku, 'I didn't think it was possible butm I hate you even more…' Tsun sighs, a little frost cloud of a sigh as she nods to Yuri in agreement that both facts of Tsun's name being Kaguya and only the Shirayuki clan manipulating Ice was true though, gives no answer as to why she managed to pull off both at once.
"Er…" Tsun would just follow along her eyes quickly diverting away from her leader as to avoid giving Shukaku more eye candy. Taking in all that Yuri had said, the teen never really worrying all too much about looking at who exactly was following her as she had, what she assumed, was a fail proof automatic defense, besides… with how often Death's Hand stalks her in the village… the feeling of being stalked has become strangely natural.
Tsun would look though, barely catching the man zipping off before looking back down to her own two feet. "Constantly paranoid. Seems like a lot of work to stay that way." Tsun responds and then tries to ease in a subtle way of saying /You need to put on more clothes./ "By the way…."
The jacket clad girl says, "Don't you ever get cold in that?"