Date: Unknown (log received January 6, 2016)
Juudai and Hiei conduct investigations of the Murasame within the village.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Iron Caged - Investigations"
Cliff Face [Iwagakure]
A small forested patch is the only obstacle left before reaching the face of the mountain. Sharp thorns and poison ivy comes commonly within this area, with this the people that seemed to have been here before had cracked the branches to clear a path for easy use. The trees seem to be growing at a constant rate, one tree from here stands upon a hill of rocks and is as thick as a house. The most marvelous sight is the grand view of the Land of Earth provided by the deadly drop of the cliff face of over 1,000 feet straight down. A clearing surrounded by a large metal fence allows people to stand near the edge to watch the sun set or just admire the beauty of the land. Warning signs are put here for the villagers protection and safety, although they look a little well used and worn out.
Recently, Hotaru had gone to Fuuma Alley. Partly to search for Kaneko (which is why Murasame Ken went with), and partly because her father had business to attend to. And what should be so fortunate to happen as they find one Murasame Zora, the teen that had managed to escape from the local jail. Ken had notified Juudai, of course, so maybe she wanted to come see Zora, who was under Hotaru's care. Alternatively, everyone could just be here to train …
Why, Hotaru must have been likely cruelly playing with Zora right now. After all, she has indeed brought him to the cliff face. Water has likely surrounded Zora, which edges him slowly to the edge of the cliff. "You've caused her nothing but trouble… Even before I knew you and your brother was behind it. Yet, she never had a frown on her face. Do you want to know why?" She asks the Murasame. "A true shinobi is made of tougher stuff than you've got." Yes, Hotaru is torturing the captive. She was training, but in a macabre way. She is using a single seal to hold the jutsu, as she leans on her cane. She was not a happy dragon. Her personality was slowly getting twisted as a result of her friend's disappearance…
"Hotaru." Juudai states simply, quietly, but with a cold certainty. It is as if the very use of Hotaru's name was more than just her name. It was a statement of something further. Even as Juudai approaches, for those that can sense chakra, there's a cold wash of her chakra like an explosion that holds the death she is known for. She looks at the one known as Zora as she approaches, her jacket flickering in a breeze floating by, "I don't believe killing this prisoner fits with what I intend." She looks at Hotaru. There's a sense of disappointment in her face as she looks at Hotaru, "You and I will talk later." She nods her head and then looks to Zora as she walks around to the side of him.
Zora was hardly flinching because of Hotaru's words. It was her tracks that was making him nervous… But he tries to make sure it doesn't show. When the Tsuchikage appears, though, he's ready to jump off the cliff. "Tsuchikage," he greets flatly, staring at the two.
Hotaru would be courteous enough to look upon Juudai and bow her head after slipping her legs together. She was being just the nicest Watanabe right now. "Hai, Tsuchikage-sama. We'll talk later.. I didn't realize he was a shinobi of Iwagakure anymore, and I paid a good fifty thousand Ryo for his 'contract'." The Watanabe tried to be cheerful. Yes she did. "I wouldn't senselessly ruin my own property. I was… just playing around with him a little bit. He doesn't seem to mind anymore. Look. He isn't even scared." She would move close to Zora, and spit on the ground near him. She clearly wasn't doing a good enough job scaring him… It's hard for a cute ten year old girl to do that, even if she is Watanabe blooded.
A frown and Juudai looks to Hotaru, "When I state we'll talk later. I mean that." She is still facing Zora but her gaze turns out of the corner of her eye at Hotaru, "I don't beleive I was stuttering when I made the statement." She then looks to Zora and steps right up to him. She looks at him closely, her form towers over most. She is one tall woman and she holds herself at her full height. She looks at him carefully, as if searching him for something before saying, "What exactly do you know of my missing shinobi?" She looks at him carefully, "I want either their bodies or themselves." She looks at him, "From what I understand, you can provide me with information I need." She nods her head and then makes several handseals. To her left, the earth bursts upward in several positions at varying heights, forming a chair, "Have a seat." She gestures to it.
Zora raises a brow. "I might…" He doesn't wanna really give up whatever leverage he might have. He takes a seat in the chair, mostly just glad he doesn't have to deal with Hotaru. "What do you wanna know, then? I'll answer as much as I can." He smirks a bit.
Hotaru had to release her jutsu to let that happen… Of course… Hotaru would also turn to walk away. If she stayed any longer she might… She might just talk back to the Kage. Better not. She wants to someday not be a genin.
Watching as Zora sits down, Juudai tilts her head, "There must be a lot of ambient noise on this cliff face." She hmms, "I asked what you knew of my missing shinobi and you asked me what I want to know?" She hmms and then shakes her head, "Are you eager to die?" She looks at Zora a moment and then her eyes turn slightly back and a kunai flies straight into the path of the leaving Hotaru, "I never said you were dismissed. You will stand at my side." She then looks back to Zora, "Now, we're going to try this again." She nods her head and then looks at him, "And don't believe for even a moment that you have any leverage here. No, instead what you have is a short time to live." She nods her head, "You can increase this time by giving me reason to not kill you or you can simply use up what time you have left. What do you know of my missing shinobi?"
"Okay, fine, which ones do you want to know about? I only know that Kaneko is alive, sadly, and she's being used to make sure that other one is being quiet. I only saw her for about four days until I got sent off to the slave market," Zora says, anger sparking in his coal-grey eyes.
Looking at Zora, Juudai smiles and pulls out a cigar. With a spark, she lights it before nodding, "Good, you have managed to buy yourself another day as mine." She states, "It seems I won't have to simply blast you off this cliff and then explode your falling corpse." She nods and then gestures. A pair of shinobi in masks appear nearby and she gestures to Zora, "Make our guest comfortable. He isn't to go anywhere as he only has one day to live." She nods her head, "Unless he has something else to give me that might buy him another day." She looks at Zora, "Keep in mind, everyone dies. Everyone will die. Your death simply is tomorrow unless you find a way to sustain your life." She nods her head, "Keep that in mind while thinking of things you migth know that might make me want to keep you around."
Zora would simply incline his head to the Kage, tightlipped. He was furious that he ended up in this situation. And he obviously had to think up something fast if he wanted to live.
Turning to walk away as the two masked shinobi approach to take Zora, Juudai stops a moment and looks over her shoulder, "Make no mistake, Zora. I own your life. It is mine to end when I please." She looks forward and pulls her cigar, "If I find my two shinobi with your help, you will buy that life back from me." She then starts off and makes a few handseals while saying, "If you think of escaping, know that you will not see your death coming." And with that she finishes the seal and very literaly vanishes from sight.
After his trip to the murasame village, Hiei got a message to meet here. And as he steps into the area, he looks it over even as he heads towards Hotaru and the man she has wrapped up in water. "Hotaru." He says in greeting as he moves to stand in front of the girl. His eyes move over Zora. "Who's your friend?"
"You're lucky I'm not holding you with fire." Hotaru would tell the individual. "Trash." She tapped her cane long the ground as she moved over to the metal dome. "Raikage-sama." She says in respect. "This is Murasame Zora. As I've learned, he is involved with the capture of my friends. Don't give him any respect. He doesn't deserve it… … I also paid a lot of money for him." Hotaru taps her cane against the dome. "Kaneko, Akio, and I were moving off to talk to a friend of Kaneko's who had done something special for Akio. I wasnt really bothered with the details of that. I couldn't keep up with those two and got left behind anyways. I could only watch in horror as I saw the life fade from their eyes from a distance as Murasame smashed blunt objects of metal against the back of their heads… She was looking at me. Smiling… Kaneko…" She rubbed her eyes, but held the tears back. They took their corpses, and the corpse of the Murasame I killed before they left me to die."
Zora scowls a bit. "I only wish I was, but no, I didn't help capture your stupid friends. And even if I was a part of that whole drifting thing, I probably would have killed that lap before I kidnapped her." Zora would start putting some pressure on the water chains, though his strength was lacking due to being a ninjutsuist. "You're still as idiotic as you were when I last saw you," he would comment off-handedly to Hotaru. "Oh man, the Raikage's getting in this too? People in trouble."
Hiei smiles. "How lucky. I was looking for him. You can drop the jutsu." A large arm snaps out and grabs Zora by the face, lifting him up off the ground as his fingers begin to squeeze. "I can only imagine the horror that you witnessed, Hotaru." Hiei turns his attention to Zora. "I just came from having a talk with Pozumeru. You know him, right? He says you're the reason that he didn't get to the kids in time to save them. He also says that you broke out of prison so that you could kill them. So.." Hiei begins to squeeze even more. ".. tell me a different story before I pop your head like a grape.."
RP: Hiei makes a Pow roll and got 12.
Hotaru makes a seal to release Zora. "Remember, don't kill him. He's my property. Purchased him in an auction." You need Hotaru's permission to kill him. The young lizard narrows her eyes and looks upon Zora. "I know Pozumeru. He was the one who was going to show Akio something special. I knew Zora had something to do with everything too. Now I know the specifics… I'd like to know more though.."
Zora is about to say something when he's grabbed by the face and lifted a good several inches! O.O He's almost about to spill all the secrets when Hotaru reminds Hiei that 'no, you can't kill him!', and a smirk appears on his face. "But you can't, Raikage. If you do, she'll be mad. And you're not anywhere that /you/ belong, are you?" The boy's eyes gleam faintly, as if he were amused and the mastermind of everything.
Hiei smiles at Zora. "If you think that I'll be influenced by a genin, you don't really know me at all." He increases the strength of his grip as lightning begins to spark along his skin. "Besides, I have the full support of the Tsuchikage. She pretty much gave me free reign to do what I need to do. Orders that supersede Hotaru's request." Hiei chuckles low. "And I haven't killed anybody in /months/. I'm really anxious."
RP: Hiei makes a Pow roll and got 16.
Hotaru would narrow her eyes and let out a hiss. "Don't overstep your importance, Zora.. I wonder if you've even heard the stories of my father's mines. Only the select criminals go to them, and they are worked until they die. They never see the light of the sunshine again. Death would be the easy way out." Hotaru turns away. "You're body will be caked in coal and ash. Eventually, you'll start coughing blood as the poisonous air destroys you from the inside out. You'll never hear your name called again. When you die, you will be thrown down into the deepest parts of the mine to decompose." The little girl threw a noble fit. "That's if you survive what he's going to do to you. Goodbye Murasame Zora." Hotaru would walk away slowly using her cane, moving off towards the place where she saw Kaneko struck.
Zora mentally backpedals as he tries to recall details. His life was on the line! "Fine! I'll tell you what I know. One: I had no idea that your precious Kaneko was taken until I saw her at the base. She's alive and well, I suppose you'd like to know." Zora decides to keep his cousin's current state of mind a secret, though. He would love to see the look of Hotaru's face when it was revealed to her that Kaneko lost her memory, though… "I was just hanging out in my cell like normal when my uncle came over. He just wanted to say the usual 'I'm very disappointed in you' circuit. And 'do you know what you did to your family?' A bunch of F1. But whatever. He left pretty quick, since he said he had somewhere to be. And then some guards let me out. No idea who they were because they had masks on. But I was able to escape with them to near the northern parts of Iwa. Then I got blindfolded and carted away to gods know where."
Hiei smiles and then tosses Zora to the side like waste. "I've changed my mind. I think Hotaru's father's mine is a much better punishment." He glances over at Hotaru. "You'd better wrap him back up. Cause if he runs..well…I really will kill him." What Zora says falls into line from what he learned from the other guy. "By the way, Zora. If it turns out that you've lied to us..well..we're going to find out how long it takes you to cook. From the inside out." Lightning flares along his hand before he says. "Actually. What do you know of the base? I heard you when you said you were blindfolded, but your other senses work just fine. Sound, smells..how did the air taste. Any little thing could be helpful."
Hotaru was on the other side of the dome out of sight, grasping her chest over her heard when she heard the good news… She even slides down the dome a moment out of sight, counting her blessings. Kaneko is alive? That… pleased her. She would quickly pull herself to her feet and move around the dome. "Answer him and you might not die in the mines…" Hotaru says, trying to maintain an unhappy look.
"I know perfectly well what the base looks like. I'm not blind. I may have been blindfolded when we were traveling, but after I got in, I was in," Zora mutters. "It all looked like it was underground. There were a lot of structural supports made of metal to keep the ceiling from crushing us. Nicer areas were blocked off. Cells were blocked off. I mostly existed in the classrooms or in the housing area."
Hiei frowns. "No idiot. I want the base's location. You were blindfolded while traveling. Were there any landmarks, any specific scent or smell that you caught during the trip?" Though the description of the base was also a help, Hiei won't tell him that. Though he does take a moment to whip out a parchment and pen to scribble down the descriptions that he stated earlier.
"Nothing but a bumpy road. And I suppose it could hardly be called a road. They definitely had a cart when we were traveling, though. I have no idea where we were headed, sadly. I'd love to give those rats a piece of my mind…" Zora grumbles just a bit, recalling how he was betrayed by his newest set of 'allies'.
After speaking with Hotaru, Hiei had gone to check out the scene of the incident, and now he finds himself in the Murasame village. He's not hard to miss, either, mostly due to his height, white hair, and dark skin. He walks up to the nearest person and asks, "I'm looking for Murasame Pozumeru. Would you be so kind as to direct me to him?" Because of the fact that he's helping Juudai, he is decked out in his full gear, complete with the chakra swords on his back. His hair is down today, and the Kumo headband rests on his forehead.
Without any hesitation the Murasame points Hiei towards the house Pozumeru would be at. Pozumeru was actually out front sitting in a big chair and just watching people walk by. He would be doing something, but he had just returned from a small mission himself. Unknown to everyone around him he was actually sending his chakra into the ground every so often keeping an eye on anyone who was to approach him. His house was probably middle of the way for the housing in the Murasame village, so wasn't too big or small.
Hiei thanks the person and then moves further into the village. Part of him is doing a little sight-seeing, getting a small kick out of seeing the village where Michiko would have grown up if she hadn't been taken to Kumo. However, the rest of him was on alert. He's a foreign shinobi in a village that isn't his own. His defenses are up, and his senses are on alert. However the tickle in the back of his head that alerts him to chakra being used directs him to the very place he was looking for. So, showing up in front of Pozumeru, he keeps his distance but inclines his head to the man. "Murasame Pozumeru, I presume?"
Pozumeru looked over to Hiei and stood up. "You presumed correctly." He offered a hand in greeting not completely standing up to the height of Hiei, but tall nonetheless. "Can I assume you are the Raikage I heard was visiting? What has brought you to my home?" He turns to walk towards his house, and would open his door. He stepped inside and invited Hiei to do the same before moving to his kitchen if followed. If not he would just stand in the doorway for a moment curiously watching him.
Hiei shakes the offered hand, and then moves into the house behind him. "I am. I'm helping the Tsuchikage with finding two of her missing shinobi. I was told that you may have been the last one to see them alive. I was wondering if you could give me your account of what might have happened that day?" He takes a moment to look around the house briefly before turning his attention back on the man. Hiei is all business and conducts himself like this isn't his first investigation. Because it's not.
Pozumeru heads into the kitchen and starts pulling things out to make tea. "Ahhh. Good to see another Kage helping out the other villages in there time of need. I hate to say though that I wasn't the last to seem them alive. Hotaru was, but I did see Kaneko right before that. Akio I hadn't seen the whole day. I had asked them to meet me out near the forest as I had wanted to show Akio and Kaneko something. That something was simply the house of Akio's parents." Maybe a slip up as not even Akio knew who his parents was. "I was running late getting there because another Murasame stopped me asking for help with some issues of his. The kids name was Zora, but I didn't get to what his issue was before I ran off to meet them. When I arrived well… all I saw was Hotaru stuck in a muddy ground, and third degree burns all over her body."
Hiei nods faintly as Pozumeru tells his tale. He reaches up to tap his chin. "So then you're well acquainted with Akio's parents? Were you a friend of theirs, since you knew the location of their home?" He then pauses a moment before asking. "And where is this Zora now? I'd like to ask him a few questions as well."
Pozumeru addresses the Zora thing first. "That's the thing. I don't know. He was in a cell and just had me sent for. The reason I was stopped and took so long getting to the place. I would of been much longer if the jails was not on the way. Now though he is gone. Went missing around the same time really…which is suspicious. That kid isn't bad though, and he is just troubled. Now Akio's parents I did know. Though I didn't know Akio was their child until I saw this necklace he had. It was his mothers, and he happened to have it now somehow. I felt like he might like to see the place."
Hiei hmms softly. "So Zora is MIA and no one saw or heard anything of the battle that took place in the woods. And Hotaru was the only one left alive..allegedly." He motions with his hands. "It stands to reason that if this attack was from a force outside of the village, then there would have been no reason to spare Hotaru and kill Akio and Kaneko. Which leads me to believe that this was a targeted attack against the two of them specifically." He has a thoughtful look on his face for a moment, before he nods to the man. "Pozumeru-san, from your knowledge, do you know of anyone within this village would might have wanted to hurt those two genin, or who might have an issue with the Murasame clan?"
Pozumeru frowns a moment. "Yeah. It does seem that way, but I don't have answers for your questions." He finishes some tea and offers a cup to him. "Within the village no. People here are usually loyal to each other though there have been times when that loyalty was broken. Now for the Murasame clan enemies itself I don't know… we have as many issues with ourselves as we do outside forces." He sips a bit of his own tea.
Hiei tilts his head slightly, blue eyes staring at the man for a moment. "Issues with yourself? In what way, Pozumeru-san?" He personally knew that some of them had tried to kidnap his Head Ninja. But there might be something larger at play here. As far as he's known, nothing like this has ever happened within the Yotsuki clan. They've always remained united and in support of the Raikage.
"People have always had ideas of what more proves who is the better leader. Well a good while back when we were switching clan heads and choosing new ones people disliked our new clan head at first. It was majority with him, but there were still a lot that disliked the idea of him. So some people decided they would take control through force. One of them was Akio's father, and he ended up gaining a lot of peoples trusts. Before it got too far though it was found out and he was exiled along with most of his closest followers. Haven't seen them since." Pozumeru moved towards the main room to find a seat.
Hiei listens to the story and then nods once. He's silent as he processes the information, then one thing bugs him and he voices it. "So if Akio's father was the head of this faction of Murasame that wanted to depose the Clan Head…how could people know if he was dead, if he was exiled? Or how are they sure that the man they believed to be dead is in fact..deceased? Is there a body, medical records..did someone identify the body if there is one?"
Pozumeru frowns a moment. "If he is dead it isn't records I would have. The last I knew was they all went towards one of the nearby small villages, and stopped there a night. At first the village obviously kept tabs on them. There were two bodies that were burned to ashes found in that village the next day, and well one had seemingly just given birth. Considering the age of Akio and the fact that his mother was pregnant when they left I felt it was safe to assume that he was betrayed and killed along with his wif, and the baby…Akio was taken." Truthfully Pozumeru was one of the people there delivering one of the killing blows 12 years ago.
Hiei moves into the room that the man went into. "And now Akio has been targeted, along with Kaneko." Hiei had to admit that the story was neat and tidy. Which is why he believes that most of it is true…but there was still something bothering him. "Let's change topics. Pozumeru-san, going back to that day that you found Hotaru in the forest. Judging from the devastation in that area, some high powered jutsu was used. Now, I'm sure that there are sensors in this village. Knowing a bit about the Murasame clan, I know that the Tremor Sense technique is taught. How can something like that happen..and no one be alerted? It just doesn't stand to make sense."
Pozumeru leaned back in his seat and got comfortable. "Yes we got sensors in the village. I am a sensor myself, but having planned to head there I wasn't using chakra to use tremor sense. Though that does bring up question. Murasame usually have their own people around even when not assigned the job by the Kage. Surely one of our sensors should of found something even out as far as they were. This is getting more worrisome by the minute. Do you think that there may be moles in the village itself?"
Hiei smiles at Pozumeru. "I am aware. You were using the technique when I approached your home earlier. A weird thing to do, given that you are safe and sound within your own village. Perhaps the one place where you /can/ let your guard down. Seems like perhaps you were expecting company?" He does hear him ask about a mole, and yes, he does think there is one, but that is something that he would discuss with Juudai. For now, he has laser like focus on the shinobi in front of him, looking or any kind of tell that would alert him to the man being uncomfortable.
Pozumeru nods slowly. "I was expecting someone. People have come to me a few different times now. It happens when you are one of the few people who witnessed the scene right at the start. I was just seeing if I should expect someone else today though I will say I was surprised when it was the Raikage himself that visited me." He looked around the room for a moment with no goal in mind as he sips his tea. "Though now that I think about it maybe that is where Zora was, and it was his mission? The timing was pretty convenient."
Hiei nods. "A man who, currently, cannot be found." Hiei inclines his head to the man. "Pozumeru-san, thank you for your time. I may have questions for you later, so don't be surprised to see me in your village again." Offering the man a bow, he turns to walk out of his house without incident. Hiei clasps his hands behind his back as he mulls over everything that he's learned so far. Pozumeru didn't make it on time because he was busy with a friend at the prison. A Zora. However, he also suspects that Zora is the one who attacked Akio, Kaneko, and Hotaru. Hiei does some quick math and realizes that there is no way that Zora could have been at the scene of the crime and in the prison at the same time. And even if a mistake /had/ been made on Pozumeru's part, he has established that the man was indeed /in/ the prison when he visited. But yet he was too late to get to the scene because of that visit. So unless Zora was in possession of the shadow clone technique..which is highly unlikely..he couldn't have been in two places at once. Which means someone is lying. Hiei frowns as he heads out of the village proper. He'd have to talk this over with Hotaru and Juudai.
Pozumeru knew he had screwed up slightly. He knew what happened with Zora, so it was a hard thing to avoid. But he would have acted confident either way with his words. Something he had learned from Tanjiro, but had obviously not mastered yet. "Thanks for visiting. You are always welcome." He would sip his tea as he escorted Hiei out of his home, and actually made sure not to use chakra to watch him leave now that he knew the raikage sensed it last time.