Date: May 23, 2013
As the henged Ishino and Meruin approach their destination, they hash out the specific details of the short notice plan they intend to put into effect.
"Blood and Bones - The Blueprint"
They had a name.
With all the malcontent in Kiri going on, someone had to be agitating the clans into the conflict. Afterall, they had all agreed with the Mizukage that peace was best, why fight now? Someone was pulling the strings. Raiji was just a front, indeed even behind him was a front that lead to another and another. The final name they had was a rumor in Fuuma.
The question now was how to find this rumor, bring it to light and dispel the trouble that it's causing. Meruin and Ishino were selected for the task, each due to their own specialty. While Ishino was a seven swordman, a nod was given to Meruin for his work for the clan and he was put in charge of the mission. Their task, of course was to find this Malkani, contact them and make them explain the reasoning behind the harassment of the clans, most likely including bringing them in for war crimes and if nothing else, kill them. Ishino had most of his gear packed within his scrolls, Time Keeper out in his old man henge as Ishino would go with Meruin. This was big, and Ishino was prepared to give all he could, to help it's successful resolution.
Having found a lead in this somewhat difficult investigation, Meruin swiftly moved to follow it in the hopes that he'd find the end of the trail and the solution to Kirigakure's issues with the Kaguya. He was henged into an entirely different person and had been for some time, well aware that Fuuma was not too far away. His unique eyes had been swapped for something far more mundane, an
uninspired shade of brown. He'd grown a couple of inches, putting him at 5'9. A brown mop of hair covered his head and he boasted traveling clothing, a grey pack, a healthy tan and a rougher voice.
Far beyond needing to concentrate to hold a henge, his mind was on just how to proceed. They had the name Malkani, the location of Fuuma, the idea that he was the man behind the curtains, and a need to figure out the location of this one man amidst the whole of Fuuma. "We shall have to acquire further intelligence in order to make any sort of extrapolation," speaks the Okumo as they walk. "We know that Malkani will need to have connections to act as he has. Other people that he has worked with. It is likely that these people share his desires to topple the shinobi-centered structure of government, perhaps with Kirigakure specifically. Our best bet is to look for the people they move through and follow the trail back to them.
"As such, we will have to root out those who have an issue with shinobi here and investigate the each of these in hopes that they have connections to 'Malkani.' And we must do so with haste. This is a large place. We could try the bars, the criminal organizations, the casinos and other such populous places, but it would take a huge amount of time going through so many people in the hopes of finding a single one who knows Malkani and getting it out of them. We will need something that is sure to draw them out. Something that involves shinobi and becomes well known. A performance of sort."
Ishino, forgoing any sort of major disguise other than avoiding anything that may show him as being something more than a well to do merchant with his hired help in the puppet following along holding an umbrella for him would nod in response. "A puppet show then. I have heard word that Sunagakure is facing the same sort of manipulations, theirs are external, but they also do not have the same sort of clans as Kirigakure." Ishino would ponder for a moment before a small nod was given. "A puppet show that is not obvious at being a puppet show. I will need to put on the play and you will need to watch for interest, detain and question them. Most will avoid shinobi confrontations. Those we're looking for may relish it." He'd thing on it for a moment longer, before a small nod was given. "I think that may be our best bet.. I do believe I may serve well, as bait."
Meruin nods to this idea. "Acceptable. A puppet show. Though, we will wish it to be obvious that it is performed by shinobi. Otherwise, the people we are looking for are far less likely to attend. For the same reason, we will have to do some advertising for the show. If none know of it, none will attend it." He looks towards Ishino. "You are aware of the dangers of being the staged bait while attracting these people, are you not? There is the potential of harm to come your way. I will be in the crowd, watching and listening. I may not recognize trouble in time while you are distracted by your performance."
Ishino gives a small nod. "It's all in the timing. While the puppets put on the show, I will be more intently watching the surroundings.. Indeed, I may not even be on the stage itself, instead use the blade and Time Keeper as the main bait while I hide within the shadows to see who will do it. With that said.. do we say we are Kiri nin doing the show.. or do we simply say it is a shinobi play? Both may draw attention, one may tip our hand." He'd keep walking as he thought about it, before shaking his head slightly. "Origin may be best to avoid mentioning. I will pick a Land of Water fable to display. That should be draw enough."
"Nay," replies Meruin, the henged teenager shaking his head. "A shinobi play in these times would already have the air of a trap to anyone who actually did have their anti-shinobi base of operations here. This will already have them on guard. We will not advertise the fact that we are Kirigakure ninja, nor choose a Kirigakuran fable. Rather, it would be best to choose one from Sunagakure or the puppeteer practice in general. You would be best received as a traveling shinobi living through his performances, I believe. It will make the Sunagakure fable sensible; It provides a reason for a shinobi putting on a performance in a time where people are rebelling against them; it will be less likely that they automatically assume that we are enemies trying to draw them in; and it still provides enough of a possibility for us to be enemies that those we are looking for may visit to at least investigate."
Ishino ponders that for a few moments, before a final nod was given. "Agreed.. then I will have to come up with an appropriate story." Trailing off, Ishino thinks about it, of course he's done research on his own past, how else to improve on a future if you don't know where you've come from? Finally, a small nod was given. "I have an appropriate one. It may even amuse people.. a thief whom falls for a princess. He gets lured into finding a lamp for three wishes and manages to get the girl in the end."
"Excellent," replies Okumo Meruin. "Prepare your performance as swiftly as possible. It'll have to be performed tomorrow. I will take care of the advertising for the event. Be aware that I will be utilizing some of the funds brought along for the necessities of the mission in the effort, so I will need a list of materials you will need to put on the show." The jounin narrows his eyes a little bit as he looks off into the distance towards Fuuma as it begins coming into view. "As a final note for our disguises, to explain away the fact that we make a living doing this and are spending revenue to put on a free performance, our hope is to get word about us spread so that we can be hired to put on performances, notably by the casinos in Ward 6." He avoids sending Ishino a glance, brown brow twitching over a muddy eye. "And find a new face to wear. You are a swordsman now. Expect there to be people who will recognize it."
"Hmm.. point." Ishino would contemplate for a moment the burden of fame of carrying the blade. A small shake of his head given and he'd focus that energy into a henge of himself, changing his appearance to a more neutral wanderer, with markings of being from the Land of Wind, although nothing specific to Sunagakure itself. Time Keeper would be altered to match of course, although the old man guise was still in place. With a small nod, Ishino takes out a small thing of paper and carefully scripts down the materials needed. It's nothing too elaborate, a wooden stage, a point at the top to be sitting in for a view of below. Everything else Ishino was going to be able to manipulate on his own it seems.
Okumo Meruin turns his head, looking to Ishino, examining the unfamiliar face for a few moments. A nod and he looked back towards the city they were approaching. Not too long now. Indeed, it was time for him to fully assume his disguise. His back and shoulders lost their unyielding straightness, the perfect balance in his steps shifting to something sloppier, heavier. His hands go to the straps of his packs, thumbs tucked on the inside and his mind turns to the further specifics of the plan. The next few hours it'd take to make the city would go by swiftly, he knew.
There was much to consider, much to plot.