Date: September 15, 2013
In the night, in her room, Shirayuki Sakuryu will find a surprise that demands she wield her weapon and begin her own personal manhunt.
"The Bitter Business - The First of Tests"
Late last night…
The night is a cold one, the moon a white crystal in the sky, lending it's gentle but effusive light bathe all that lay below it. It set the Ice Village ablaze, leaving the frozen water shining with the same tender touched light that the pale eye of the dark sky held. Within this village, stood a castle, tall and proud and cold, the strong winds of the evening battering it's walls to no avail. And within this castle, as it should be, was a princess. And in this princess' room, lit by nothing more than moon and ice, there lay a letter, just slipped under the edge of her door. A knock sounded, carrying through the room at a time most all should be asleep, and should anyone answer the summons, none could be found on the other end.
But there was still that letter for any who should seek an answer. Opened and read, it told tale of a summons for Shirayuki Sakuryu. That there was an affluent man named Jigon Tekai who owned a stall for the sale of precious gems in Kirigakure's marketplace. He has been linked to a criminal corp who has recently pulled off a large jewelry heist. Intel suggests, told the letter, that he has planned a sudden vacation, that tomorrow is the last day before he leaves, and that should he leave Kirigakure that jewelry is never likely to return to it in one piece. The final note? Erase him before he escapes and leave no trace of his body. The letter is stamped with the Mizukage's seal, and behind that is a picture of what should be Jigon Tekai.
Sakuryu would yawn at the knock, grumbling about no peace after the exams before opening and reading the letter. " She would look outside and walk a ways checking walls, hallways and the ceiling with a shrug. "Well…I guess it's legitimate." She nods a bit before finding her secret spot, slipping the letter inside before looking around. "I'll have to check this out.." She sighs a little and memories the picture before getting her clothing ready, adjusting some tools into the slips of the Yukata as well as hiding the Kusari-Gama in the threading of the waist sash.
The next day Saku would go to the marketplace, strolling through slowly as she usually did, her geta clacking softly on the stones of the street, her yukata swaying back and forth with each steady step, her eyes keen but looking aloof. To keep appearances she would stop and buy things along the way, humming softly as she tries to spy the man, this Jigon. When she sees him she would follow slowly to get a profile on how he was acting as well as tracking how he moves to see his skill level.
Tekai can be found where one might expect him to be found. At his stall in the marketplace. It's located roughly in the center of the Marketplace — truly, prime real estate for a stall, seeing quite a bit of travel throughout the day. And today was no different. Obviously a permanent stall, more a tiny building with a counter in front than anything else, its lacquered wood walls attract the attention of many who stroll by. Though not everyone here can afford to purchase something from it, everyone knows where it is. And that's enough of a boon for business.
And it's also probably the reason for the large guards standing at either end of the counter, eyeing the people who pass by. "One of the best purchases I ever made," spoke Tekai to himself as he looked up from a gem he'd just set into it's display case. (He was one of the only men in his trade who could afford actual glass.) The handsome blond haired man turned to the third guard, this one standing in the back of his shop. There was nothing to Tekai suggesting military training of any kind, though he was fit and perhaps 25 years of age. "Alright," he said to the last guard. "You've got your orders. Go back to your post." That large, rough looking man gave a grunt, a nod, and exited through the rear door, standing guard outside of it.
And Jigon Tekai answered the summons of a potential customer.
Sakuryu smiles a little bit with a hum, looking the stand over before approaching. "Sir….sir? Do you have any ice set sapphires?" She asks with a smile, her pale blue eyes looking up at him expectantly and happily. Those who were local would recognize the fine silk stitching as well as the Shirayuki Snow pattern across the blue piece draping over the girl as if it was a size too big like a well fit winter Yukata.
Sakuryu smiles. "I am looking for something a decent size that I can use as a nice gift to my mother, she's not feeling well and she always loves it when I bring her things, I got her roses last time and now I want to give her a gem." She smiles warmly to him looking all the bit of innocent someone her age and stature should be.
"A good afternoon to you!"
Tekai reaches the counter to answer his customer, a white smile, quirked in a slightly charming way, fully at the ready for the young girl who'd found her way to his store. "How may I be of service?" When he hears just what it is she desires, his light brows rise over his dark eyes, a certain amount of surprise and inquisition in them. Understanding soon replaces it and he inclines his head.
"Ah, yes. There is nothing that can exceed the worth of a good mother for a blessed daughter." His smile softens some as he says this, this less charming and more sincere. "It is important that we get her the right gift. But there are many gifts that can be right for a single person. Are you sure that a gem is the one you wish to seek out? It can be a very expensive item, young miss."
Sakuryu nods as she reaches into her yukata placing a token with the Shirayuki crest on the counter. "Yes sir, So you have any with a rose blossom on them?" She asks with a tilt of her head smiling warmly to the guards, secretly evaluating them as she stands there keeping up the weak look, her Shinobi symbol nowhere to be seen on her body. "So you do deliveries sir? The Shirayuki Merchants were talking about you as I left and wanted to talk with you if you delivered the gem to me. I think they need a new supply due to a conflict across the north sea." She nods a little bit with a frown about the fake conflict.
Tekai inclines his head slightly as Sakuryu almost brushes off his question of whether or not she'd have the funds, taking the Shirayuki crest to mean that she was one of the nobility of the clan. It seems he's in business, then. "Unfortunately, Shurayuki-sama, I do not have anything in the shape of a rose. These are only precious gems. However, I -do- also see items crafted according to my customers' desires. So while I do not have a rose cut gem or an item like that on hand, if you would like to place an order and a down payment, that could change." He looks over behind Sakuyru at someone else eyeing his stall before turning his attention back to the young lady. "Ah. And no. I don't deliver. Personally, I find it best not to put my wares in too many situations to be stolen while they're still my responsibility. If a customer cannot come and pick up the item themselves, then they can simply have someone sent, though I will need their names beforehand."
Sakuryu frowns before looking around. "The frost Sapphire will be quite fine then. " She places a small bag of Ryo on the table before him. "I'll be by tomorrow to pick up the gem, make sure it's your finest, You will get the difference of the balance tomorrow." She bows respectfully before walking off slowly before moving into the shdows to write down a few notes on possible vulnerabilities moving to a rooftop a decent ways away, keeping low to keep watch.
Tekai sends a glance towards the gem in question, taking a few second to find it before nodding his head and looking forward to find a bag of ryo before him and Sakuryu bowing. "Oh! Just a moment, if you would. Shirayuki-sama? I won't be here tomorrow to give you your item!" But the girl seemed not to hear his calls, soon vanishing from view, leaving him standing there with her pouch of ryo. He lets out a quiet huff.
"This had better not get messy," he murmured to himself as he tucked the money away under the counter, deciding to simply hold it there for now. He shrugged it off, though. By the end of the month, he'd have enough money to swap out these guards for shinobi, and A-class ones at that. And whatever the Shirayuki girl had to say about his business practices wouldn't matter very much, then. And the work day was almost up. Nearly time for him to get out of Kirigakure. He looked towards another customer approaching his counter, only hoping that business would make the seconds turn into minutes, fast.
Sakuryu kept quiet, having switched her geta for soft tread tabi shoes, and her Yukata for a basic form fitting uniform for Shinobi, black all over with no defining marks upon her face an old halloween mask of a demon cat, the entire thing as anonymous as she could manage even doing her best to keep her gender secret with a headband and a set of banding ties.
She would keep low and quiet, studying the man's basic anatomy to figure out the best way to kill him. It would be best to wait till he was away from the public then take him to the sea to allow the beasts of the deep to take him.
By the time Sakuryu returned from wherever she had secreted herself to bind her chest and change her clothing, she'd find that there had been a change in the status of the target. Namely that he wasn't there. Tekai's shop had already been closed for the day, either having come to his closing time or deciding to do so early to get home and finish preparing for his travels for the little vacation he was about to take.
Saku sighs a little bit as she surveys the area from above, trying to calculate where his house might be, someone like him would want a good house, but close to his shop, as well as in a place near the edge to quickly escape the village if he wanted to.
There would be little information that Sakuryu would find in her sweep. The Marketplace only exited to the rest of the village through that single exit to the west onto Shippuu street. Heading northwards and westwards led towards better housing and the center of the village while heading southwards from that street led to the less taken care of areas. Jigon Tekai himself was not someone that Sakuryu would find. Truly, the chances of finding him were slim.
At least up until he walked back into the marketplace with a quick stride.
Sakuryu curses a little before seeing him enter back. The gods of fortune are smiling upon her. She gets her needles ready and dashes across the rooftops silently and in dark as she could, peering out slowly to follow him with her eyes with a slow breath out. She wouldn't lose track now, a slow careful tracking to stalk him.
Tekai seems to be heading in the direction of his shop, his path unerring, his pace a pretty swift one. Perhaps he'd simply saw fit to take a quick break or maybe business had popped up elsewhere and now he was coming to put in the rest of his time. Or maybe none of that was the case, as the man that has been linked to criminal activity turned into the alleyway that Sakuryu had changed in, heading down its shadows.
Sakuryu dashes quickly to follow from a distance with a quick breath soon dashing over with a quick wind dash looking down to make a better observation. This is probably where he hid his stash, she would wait and keep her distance, the market place was still too busy a place to kill the man. Though rest assuredly he was living on borrowed time.
When Jigon Tekai comes back into view, Sakuryu would find him simply standing within the alleyway, facing the way he'd come. As she looks down at him, he'll look up at her, eyes meeting. "Shirayuki Sakuryu," he spoke, his voice not at all the one that the girl had heard when they'd first been talking at the man's shop. Nay, this one was clear and smooth, every word pronounced with perfect enunciation. "Approach and attend."
Sakuryu sighs and jumps from the rooftop, silently dropping to her feet before the man. "Nice Henge technique. Who are you really, and where is Jigon?" She asks with a little glare, her guard still keen in case this was any kind of trap she would be ready to take care of the problem.
"We'll have quite a bit of training to do."
The henge fell apart, let go at the behest of the man who'd created it, leaving him standing before Sakuryu. "In the event that you've forgotten my name, I am Okumo Meruin." He inclined his head to the Shirayuki princess, misted eyes taking the girl in with their slowly swirling depths. "I've been assigned to be your assassination trainer."