Date: March 15, 2014
A puppet Kuoroke, Katama and Chitose are expected to be guarding is stolen, leading to a frantic chase.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Golden Puppet"
A Jeweler's shop in Sunagakure
A wave of crime has washed over Sunagakure. The criminal is a brazen thief, skilled and quiet, and worst of all, he seems to think himself some sort of Robin Hood, stealing from the wealthiest citizens of Sunagakure and spreading his stolen goods around. This has gained him a certain popularity, making eyewitnesses unwilling to testify or come forward. Sunagakure's law enforcement had to admit to Kuoroke they've yet to find a single lead.
A likely target has presented itself and is in need of protection: a puppeteer with a particular taste for flair has commissioned a puppet made entirely of gold. It is to be presented in the jeweler's shop before it is sold, as a work of art, a masterpiece of craft, and an impressive ninja tool all at once.
Kuoroke arrives well before the puppet is to be displayed. He begins by inspecting the entire building from the foundation to the top, checking every single entrance. At the same time, he tells Chitose to keep watch over the item being displayed, and Katama to keep an eye on their client, just in case. After he's examined the entirety of the building, the roles rotate, and he takes Katama's place, then Chitose's, so that he has three different perspectives, and perhaps a chance to educate these girls in the field.
For her part, Chitose is fresh back from another mission only to be put on another one day later. After swapping out with Kuoroke, she moves outside and goes to where she feels most comfortable, the roof. She settles in up there, sitting on the edge of the roof and looking down at the people below and looking around. Chitose always felt more comfortable off on her own.
<Public> Sarasa has disconnected.
Katama took easily to dealing with the client. She displayed an aspect of her training that rarely came up in her shinobi life. She'd grown up in a civilian clan head's home and as such was used to levels of ettiquette. She seemed well at home talking with the client while keeping an eye around him… If asked later she would swear she hated it. After swapping with the other two on the mission, she ended up looking over the building's rear entrance…. it was too obvious as a target which made it ideal for most thieves' brains… She sighed tilting her head as she examined the layout of the alley.
The centerpiece in this, the puppet itself was on a stand in the middle of the shop. With a gray cloth draped over-top. It's shape clearly visible in the fabric. The shopkeeper just arrived from the workshop in the basement. "So are you all set up?" He asks, looking at the centerpiece and grumbling: "Oh dear…" He quickly walks up to the fabric and pulls, revealing nothing but a wooden framework, a note and a pouch with coins… The note reads: 'We apologize for the inconvinience old man. It's nothing personal. The bag contains your production cost plus a small bonus to keep your shop working *poorly drawn smiley face*' It appears the thiefs beat even the nin crew to the price!
The back however also has text on it: 'The white hand will reallocate Suna's wealth until the end of the opression. To the first official reading this, heed these words. For your three greatest wealths of Suna shall be taken upon the rise and fall of time.
"Oh my Bubba honey look at this!" Is the sound coming from the streets, several citizents holding up a small lump of gold they found somewhere on their person… "My Walter, we'll be able to eat for a month!" Says someone else, finding a pretty sizable chunk of his own….
The shopkeeper however grins and adjusts his spectacles… "Stupid filthy thieves, too dumb for their own good." He remarks, motioning for the nin to follow him to his workshop… "I put a fake in the store ofcourse, especially after recent rumours. The real product is safe and sound in my s….-…" The man falls completely silent as he moves a portrait aside and reveals his safe…. It being left open just slightly, inside is another note, the same handwriting: 'Nice try' *Another smiley face*
Kuoroke scowls. "Your gold will be recovered." Kuoroke says. "None of the villagers will be able to sell it to anyone, and they will, in time, see that keeping stolen goods will come with consequences. For now, we have to him off." Kuoroke takes a step aside, tattoos coming off the tops of his feet and wrapping around in preparation for a quick run. "Now, we need the three greatest wealths of Suna will be taken. THis man is clearly guided by greed - he'll see 'wealth' as purely financial. He couldn't steal Suna's real wealth, anyway." He looks outside, and his voice drips with venom and hatred. "Though he can try to destroy it."
A look at Kuoroke after seeing the thief's work, she hmms and then looks to the area around. Chitose rolls her shoulders before looking to Kuoroke again, "Well, where do you wanna try to get started?" She hmms, "I'm more of a hammer than an investigator." She nods, "This is more your area." She nods to him before looking toward Katama as if ot ask if she has any ideas.
Katama folded her arms over her armored chest as she contemplated the note and Kuoroke's words. She pondered to herself. Obviously the first thing to figure out was what the three wealths of Suna were… "If we knew what they were after, well there's 3 of us… and 3 wealths.." She glanced at Chitose then thought a moment though. "I don't know that we'd get very far if we split up though… What are your orders?" She asked Kuoroke.
"Greed or not, this thief has a sense for the romantic side of things, got to give it to him…" Says the shopkeeper, clearly not too concerned about his gold as he weighs the pouch he got and seems content with it to a degree. Enough not to get in anybody's way or throw a fit!
And a flair this one had indeed. For the trail of people finding gold in one place or another was like a trail of breadcrumbs. The thief - wanted - the group of nin to find - something - … The pattern becomes more and more obvious for those weary enough. Especially Kuoroke should notice… All the statues in town were … different. Upon closer inspection you find someone painted black X's over their eyes, along the path of people finding out about their new riches. Chitose is the only one not to notice, perhaps due to speed or other distractions.
Once the group is aware of the eyes however things start to make sense. All three get the hint at the same time. This has just turned into a race against the clock. A jeweled eye the Iga keep as an ornament in their clan's main legislative building (why the blind people need ornaments is beyond everyone's knowledge) is sure to be one of the riches these thieves are after! The eye overlooks the entrance of the legislative building. Issue is however, getting in without the proper permission and paperwork in Suna would be outrage! Even for a council member.
As he races, Kuoroke thinks ahead. Getting in there without authorisation would be difficult. He doesn't have the authority to power through. He does have the authority to command an Iga to take over, though. So, they speed towards the Iga village as fast as each of them can. Kuoro isn't too bothered by abandoning his teammates should they fall behind: he's sure they'll catch up eventually. Once he's at the village, the Kuroki stops at the first Iga he recognises. "You. You're now part of a criminal investigation. The eye in your legislation building is liable to be stolen. Go. Observe. Report back. If you don't find anything useful, find a way to get us permission as fast as you possibly can."
Following after Kuoroke, Chitose hmms as she goes along, watching as she moves. Frankly, she was going to let Kuoroke lead this one but…honestly, she could have gotten in but wouldn't have been making friends doing so. Why? Well, sometimes she throws her weight around given she's the only one of her kind. Sure, it doesn't make her a ton of friends but when things need to be done, they get done. However, seems by the time they get their, Kuoroke has already done it, or at least started it.
Katama followed Kuoroke as he sped along, though she fell back to keep pace with Chitose, figureing at least then half the team would be together and she had full faiht in Kuoroke's ability to hunt them down should they lose him. -_- She glanced around and watched the Iga get flustered by the councilman's orders before heading off to do thier thing.. She'd only really met one Iga before, Ayumu… She pondered seeing if he could get them into the place but it seemed Kuoroke had things well in hand.
A fresh Chuunin Iga Kuoroke ran into salutes Kuoroke awkwardly and replies with a yes sir. Though he doesn't move much. "The eye is still in place." He explains, oh right… KG… "Ehm, my sensei has been notified he'll surely bring the proper people." The Iga explains, only now moving somewhere else. It takes a minute, but there's already nin assembling near the eye and Ryoji gets faced with an Iga council member. "What's all the fuss about this time Kuoroke-san?" Right, did I mention they aren't exactly on the best terms? The leftist Iga made it a sport to disagree with nearly every resolution Kuoroke seemed to come up with!
"The eye in that building is likely a target of a brazen thief in your village." Kuoroke answers. "Take appropriate measures. If you need help taking such measures, let me know and provide me with the necessary clearance. If you don't, that is fine by me, but then I hold no responsibility for what happens from now on." He looks around the group. "There are more likely targets. Tarry and you knowingly put them all at risk." He moves towards the building, but stops at the doors, turning back towards those gathered.
A sigh escapes Chitose as she notes the tone with which the Iga Council Member takes. She watches Kuoroke speak and rolls her eyes before stepping right up to the Iga and eyeing him, "Yes, we all get it. Kuoroke has a stick up his jalapeno and can be a really big bag of Peanut at times. However, right now the jewel that is a treasure to you guys is in danger. So, your options are to either work with us and try to save it or not work with us and hope that you can protect it yourself. However, when it is stolen from the members of this village who are known for their perceptive abilities without them noticing…well…" Chitose shrugs, "I'm pretty sure you'll live down the humiliation of that at some point, right? I mean…it should only take a few years till people stop making jokes about the real reason the Iga are blind…hint…the joke will involve that some thief stole your eyes." She then starts moving with Kuoroke.
Katama watched the exchange between Kuoroke and the Iga villagers and nin. It seemed they had a personal beef with Kuroke…. However Chitose's rant leaes the young samurai…with her mouth open. She literally stood aghast, staring at the girl. Her gauntleted hand came half way up as though she were about to pounce the kid and shut her mouth but when reason came back to Katama's eyes the hand went to her own forehead instead…
The Iga waves off-handedly. Not wanting to Achmed off Kuoroke much it seems. "Do what you have to do. Just behave please? People in this part of town do actual work…" The Iga smirks as he turns around and heads back to his duties. Looking at Chitose and taking a moment to consider her little speech. It turns out even council members can be childish, as he turns once more to adress Kuoroke. "I do feel for you, having to babysit little girls." With that he body flickers away. Chitose didn't earn Kuoroke any points. Knowing this guy he would remember this insult for years to come. Especially since he was already planning to give the merry band of nin access… "Ehm, sir… My senses are inter…" Says the Iga boy Kuoroke spoke too first, running up to Kuoroke and pointing at the legislative building. A thick green cloud beginning to rise from its windows and doors. Iga's running out in panick and then just dropping down… Not dead, snoring in fact…!
Kuoroke's first impulse is to glare at Chitose as she speaks out of turn… then he notices her words serve a purpose, and purpose goes over politeness to the Kuroki. He reminds himself to talk to her sometime soon, voicing his approval. The Iga's attempt at a personal attack is met with a comtemptuously raised eyebrow. It's common knowledge Kuoroke doesn't take days off and has work days of upwards of 13 hours. 'Actual work'. As the action begins, the Kuroki springs into action, body and mind alike. The mind begins registering every detail he can, by the way also filing away the boy's identity. He might need to talk to him, later, too. His body deals with the issue. Two fingers point to Katama and Chitose. "Keep guard. Nobody leaves." With a sharp inhalation into lungs trained by air manipulation, he slams into the smoke, relying not so much on his eyesight as his hearing in the thick smoke - and trying to move quietly, himself.
«OOC» Chitose is going to have to AFK for a few, "Skip me and assume Chitose is moving around the edges, "Sorry."
Katama was about to bolt toward the building, ignoring the requirement that tey have permission to enter… but then Kuoroke's showing that he could actually do this all by himself if he tried and ordered them to remain at the entrance to the village. Not willing to disobey a direct order, Katama nodded as she watched the councilman enter the smokey building… She narrowed her eyes and turned so she had her back to a wall and could watch the government building and the entrance to the village both, her crimson eyes flicking back and forth and watching for anyone suspicious….
Kuoroke notices the poison cloud clears faster than he might expect, as another Iga wind manipulator blasts air in, the air pressure doing most of the work for them. A masked thief is revealed climbing out of a window in the back of the building, about fifty feet away from Kuoroke and Katama, grinning and actually waving while slipping out of the window, speeding off into Suna along the roof-works.
Kuoroke almost hesitates. This is most likely a decoy, he considers, but then again if it isn't… he can't take that risk. He has to hope that if it is, the girls will catch the thief, instead. But just in case it isn't, he leaves a trail for them to follow: a kunai left on the windowsill, pointing in the direction in which the Kuroki takes off after that infuriatingly grinning figure.
Katama nearly followed Kuoroke, but had a similar thought, that the person he was chasing might be a decoy, in which case it was smarter to have someone remain at the building's entrance, watching and ready to give chase… She turned to Chitose and suggested to Chitose that she follow Kuoroke as the girl was far more acclimated to rooftops than Katama, but she was ready to follow if she caught wind of Kuoroke needing or wnting assistance.
Kuoroke was too calculating it seems. Smart to leave one behind, but it's soon apperent this lightning fast thief got matched by someone of equal speed. And the eye held him down enough for Kuoroke to eventually catch up. It's no surprise the thief suddenly turns around, the sound of metal sweeping through the air as the thief tries to stab Kuoroke with a poisoned kunai repeatedly!
Meanwhile Katama gets faced with that impatient council member… "It seems we can't leave anything to people's incapeable hands these days…" Says the man with a grunt of annoyance. "Go, we'll tie up the loose ends out here…"
Kuoroke keeps up the pursuit, catching up to the thief, only to find himself running into three kunai. His hand shoots into his cloak and then emerges, chucking forward a small, rolled-up tag intended to blast the kunai out of the air. Two of them are thrown aside, a third one merely spins rapidly as it continues it way towards the Kuroki, slicing him over the cheek. Kuoroke scowls, but he knows he's accomplished his initial goal: to slow him down. Now to keep him occupied. With one motion, the Kuroki casts off his cloak, before bring his now gloveless hands together and exhaling, a glare focused on the thief, while he builds up chakra.
Katama faced the Iga councilman with a neutral expression on her face, listening to his fussing way of teling her to leave. But she would have none of that. "Forgive me sir, but I was ordered to remain here and that is what I will do. I am certain that if you bring your complaint about my actions to my team leader, Kuoroke-dono will be certain to mark my file." She was non-plussed by the man's station and quite frankly, the fact he was so quick to shoo her away made her put him at the top of the suspect list…
The thief grunts and jumps up into the air. Only to turn around and come crashing down towards Kuoroke with … Tattoo's forming around his leg and solidifying! Yes, he was fighting a kinsman!
Meanwhile Katama gets stared at… "Look kid. If I say you're trespassing then it is so. The only reason you're not locked up or dead yet is because I want to avoid having to deal with that stubborn teacher of yours. So let me recap what I just told you. Leave….. NOW…"
Kuoroke steps back slightly, nudging the leg aside. A Kuroki… well, he's had to deal with those of his own clan before. They are notoriously undisciplined people, after all. This thought passes through his mind as his arm continues forcing the kick aside, moving the airborne man's body to fly past him. But the Kuroki isn't ready yet. A small sliver of tattoo on his shoulder is freed, and swung around the man's leg, trying to catch him. Kuoroke braces himself, forcing the man's entire momentum to twist his body without moving Kuoroke himself, over the councillor's shoulder and face-first into the ground. The tattoos on Kuoroke's fists are already lit up, ready to be brough down onto his kidney if he's caught, or just rammed into spine if he isn't.
And Katama stared back at the man. His words were irritated and sharp, but Katama wondered for a moment if she should remain and possibly face incarceration or if this man was just trying to get rid of her…. She quirked an eyebrow when he called her a kid and referred to Kuoroke as her teacher… well she wouldn't correct him… She almost stayed… But decided to follow the letter of her orders. She'd been ordered to keep someone from leaving and someone already had. She would make quick time by simply running up the side of the building and following Kuoroke's kunai directions….
The thief grunts out loud as his leg gets caught by a single tattoo, causing him to nearly convulse all over the rooftops as he's flung around and smashed down face first. Ending up down with a grunt… Slowly crawling up however, the man reaches for another kunai on his belt. Stepping up to Kuoroke and wildly swinging the thing around. "You… Meddling… Piece of…." He yells as he aims his last stab at Kuoroke's stomach.
COMBAT: Joker attacks Kuoroke with POISONED-SHARP-II…36
COMBAT: Joker attacks Kuoroke with POISONED-SHARP-II…30
The eye just lays there on the ground. And just as Katama arrives a second hooded figure shows up, swooping the thing up… By her size it's clearly just a genin. As well as her footing, which wasn't as solid as the older, experienced thief. The genin speeds off in another direction though, tossing a kunai at Katama for good measure.
Kuoroke isn't listening to the man's words. His face is a distorted grimace of rage, his motions precise and destructive. His hands shoot up, then to the side, guiding both kunai around him. He can barely feel the poison coursing through his body… and he is unrelenting in his assault. Now that he's gotten one strike in, the Councillor moves after his prey, going for a sharp one-two combo of jabs.
Katama spotted the second thief as it took up the bag. She stepped to the side as the kunai sped past her, missing her easily before she took off after the genin-thief. She drew a kunai of her own and threw it at the center of the thief's back. Her skills leaned more toward blade attacks and sword skills, but she'd learned to throw a kunai as well. She hoped the attack would at least make the mark hesitate. She then drew one of her swords and flipped the blade. She was not interested in killing the thief, so she would strike with the flat of her blade, aimed right at the thief's neckd. She followed this up with a second strike, trying to drop her opponent quickly…
The thief acrobatically dodges away from the palm attacks this time. Clenching his fist and about to retaliate. Though suddenly being blasted off the roof by a gust of wind, followed by being plastered by a small wall of flesh. "Still fighting so ineffectively, Kuoroke?" Asks the Iga council member who just arrived with a small army of his own elite nin. "Go ahead, question him…" He says as the attention is turned at the genin girl, with a kunai sticking out from her shoulder, on all fours, at the mercy of Katama's blade, panting and bleeding… The bag is on the rooftop… "Mercy.." The genin girl cries…
Kuoroke ignores the Iga, walking up to the genin and picking the eye out of his pocket. For a second, he holds it up. "You talk. I do the work." He says, with a slight smirk, chucking the precious sphere towards the Iga with complete disiniterest. He then grabs the girl by the collar, giving Katama a nod as a signal to back off, before lifting the genin into the air. Easy target. Good. "Mercy? No." A long, tendrilous tattoos snakes out from under his waistcoat, through his collar, reaching towards the girl with five tentacle-like fingers… or finger-like tentacles, perhaps, sharp and acidic. "Tell me -everything- you know about these thefts. Or that won't be the only eye you lose." He promises, anger still very much present in his voice.
Katama reached down to pull the kunai from the girl's shoulder, but kept her blade at the genin's throat until kuoroke motioned for her to back off. Once she had literally backed up a step, Katama wiped the blade off and sheathed the weapon, raising an eyebrow at the council member's comment that she might not be so useless after all. She would have offered to help Kuoroke 'talk' with the genin but he seemed to have things well in 'hand'.
COMBAT: Katama finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Joker's turn.
'I… I … I don't know sir…!" The girl says in utter terror… "PLEASE NO, DON'T HURT ME!" She shivers and kicks around… "I.. I .. He promised me money to pay for my family. My mom is ill… Please sir, PLEASE!" She kicks around more violently… "My mom will get a heart-attack if she finds out… Please sir… I didn't know what to do! I made a mistake! SIR…" The girl begs clearly… "I don't know the man, he just gave me money and promised me more. In the drunken nomad in the town center (a bar) …. Please sir, you must believe me!"
The tentacles withdraw again. "Alright." The Kuroki nods. "Tell me about this man." He lowers the girl slightly, to give her the idea that cooperating will make her plight easier. "Describe him, and what exactly he told you to do."
Katama frowned when the girl spilled her story, sick mother, gave her money, poor kid caught up in higher matters she probably did not understand. The samurai in Katama showed it's colors and she looked away, folding her arms. She found the idea of harming the girl to gain information did not sit well with her, especially when done by a high ranking member of Sunagakure…. She glanced back, relaxing slightly as he seemed to give the girl the message she wouldnt be harmed if she told them everything. Katama tried to swallow her feelings to think on them later.
"He was wearing this kind of clothing…" She says…. "A hood and a cowl… So I only saw his eyes. They were green sir, about your height…" She spoke more calmly now… "He gave me cash after we spoke. He told me it was unfair how Suna was ran. And that he was going to change it. He told me to go to something he called a dead-drop, where I get my instructions on paper and my gear. And payment. At first we did things like pickpocketing, but then it became more, and more…." She looks down.. "I didn't know how to stop. I was afraid he would rat me out if I did.. It said in the letters…" Then she falls silent.
Kuoroke stares at the girl for a few more seconds. "Good. So apparently you were coerced. Keep talking. Do you still have these letters?" he asks, putting the girl down. "Did he provide you with -this- particular outfit?"
Katama watched the girl coldly, hoping her presence and the look might help Kuoroke get the information, contiueing to not think too hard about it while still trying to figure out why these theives were doing this to SUna.
"Yes… And yes.." The girl says, reaching for one of the pouches on her belt… She taps it a few times and looks up in horror… "My.. My pouch has fallen off I think…" She swallows… "PLEASE DON'T HURT ME!"
As the girl begs again, Kuoroke glances towards the other thief, the adult one, gauging his reaction. "I won't." Kuoroke he promises, matter-of-factly, but in a low voice, so that the thief can't hear him. "Katama, take care of the girl. Escort her to the Dome… unharmed. Anyone and everyone is to stay at least two meters away from her while she's there. Wouldn't want anyone else to disappear. Then take the cloak, and have it brought to my office. Maybe we can track down the maker." The Kuroki turns his attention to his kinsman. "As for you… let's see what you know."