The Price of Defection


Taiki, Kaido, Hige, Hiei, Atsuro, Michiko, Sachiko

Date: January 9, 2015


Kaido gets to plead his case to Taiki in front of the Inuzuka Clan Council

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"The Price of Defection"

Inuzuka Clan Council Chambers

The fateful day has finally arrived, and all the interested parties have been notified of the time and place of Kaido's trial. The entire Inuzuka Council has been called into attendance, with Taiki's dad Kenshin sitting as head of the Founder's Clan. Each Inuzuka Clan Head is present today, as this has had the entirety of the greater Inuzuka Clan debating relentlessly. Taiki himself is dressed in his jounin uniform, save that he has a white, sleeveless Haori over it which displays the Inuzuka fang marks in crimson red on the back, making a prominant display of Taiki's status as Clan Alpha, Head of the entire Inuzuka Clan.

A quiet conversation rolls through the chambers as Taiki sits in his chair, which is raised a little above the others. His ninken are sitting up at his sides, watching the group as they assemble. Finally, when Taiki mentally accounts for the entire Council and interested parties, he looks to his ninken and nods. They both then release a very loud, almost earsplitting howl that is meant to call everyone's attention to Taiki. This is the Inuzuka gavel. "Members of the Inuzuka Clan, and guests, we are called here today to settle a grave matter. Four of our own were called to answer for crimes of a most low yet serious nature. At this time, I call forth Inucuka Kaido and his ninken, Bandit, and Inuzuka Hige, and his ninken Konsho. Bring them forth."

Hiei (YH) pages: Apparently your dad and mine have the same name.

Daisuke (Dai) pages: Only way I see him out of this is to 'change his mind' and receive a good slap on the wrist.

Well, here we go, the guards have come to escort him for his trial. Along the way, Bandit joins him and looks up at him and says gravely, "Well partner… I hope you have a plan, because the way I figure it, we're screwed." Kaido looks down at his friend and partner and quirks a smile, "Trust me… it's all under control." Bandit just looks at Kaido and snorts, "Yeah, that'll be your epitath on your grave marker… if they even give us one." Kaido just shrugs as they are led to the prisoners box and says, "I always have a plan Bandit… they may not always work the way I intend, but I always have a plan." Bandit just shakes his head and the two settle, waiting for Hige and Konsho to show up. If nothing else, his first task is to make sure Hige's name is cleared and Konsho and him released before he deals with his own situation.

The day they'd been waiting for. Hige was here for the trial because, although he'd been released from the jail finally, he wasn't really allowed to go far. And even though he'd already spoken with Atsuro-sama he knew that he'd still have to deal with the whole Council when the time came. And so the boy and his nin-pup are ready after they're called and both of them walk out behind Kaido and Bandit. The boys features are set as he tries to look as brave as he can be despite the situation. Worry and even a hint of fear still ebb from his scents however no matter how well he controls his face. Boy and pup are completely silent, eyes flicking around to take in everything as well as they can.

Atsuro winces and puts his fingers in his ears as Taiki's nin-dogs let loose that howl. He tried to get an actual gavel in here to avoid hearing that sound, but evidently the courier didn't make it here in time. He removes his fingers and settles back into the chair. On the chair to his left sits Taizen. Both watch intently, looking down at the proceedings as they begin. Though he doesn't know Kaido well, the whole business and scandal of the situation has left him mentally exhausted, and he hopes that it will simply stop here, with Kaido somehow delivering a brilliant defense. As for Hige, Atsuro cleared the kid himself — nobody had better try and reverse that decision. Atsuro glances over to Taiki, then back to the defendents and murmurs something to Taizen.

Sitting in the area designated for guests, is none other than Raikage Yotsuki Hiei. When the howls sounded out for the start of the trial, he winces and then wiggles his fingers in his ears to get the ringing to stop. Once he can hear again, he watches as Kaido and Bandit are led out, and then Hige and Konsho. He shakes his head slowly at the sight of the two of them. Being that he is representing Kumo here, he is dressed for the occasion in his formal gear, ornate ceremonial sword belted to his waist. The sword given to him on his 14th birthday by his sensei. He spots Atsuro and Taizen in their seats and offers his long time friends a brief nod and a smile. He then exhales softly. He was hoping Kaido would come through this alright. He would hate to see such a capable shinobi be put down for being a little idiotic for telling his clan head that he wanted to defect. Hiei could still wring his neck for that one. It puts him in an awkward position, but Hiei had let every Kumo shinobi know that to interfere in this would be them. The alliance between their two villages had to be maintained, even if it meant letting Kaido die. No one person was more important than that, especially with the war coming. He cants his head forwards slightly, a lock of white hair falling into his face to hide some of his pensive expression.

Michiko is here for the trial, of course, sitting next to Hiei. Kaido did ask for them to speak for him, no? The girl is mildly impressed by the whole setup, as she's never been apart of a sort of grand trial like this, and she has no clan to speak of to hold something similar. The howls make her wince, but she doesn't cover her ears. She's not sensitive to sound like an Inuzuka. The girl is dressed in her usual outfit, as she doesn't have anything that would be considered fancy. Hopefully things work out. She expects Hige will be mostly fine, but who knows? And Kaido… Well, he had his plan. She wasn't sure how well it would work, though….

Taiki watches the four brought forward, and the others around the room. As his eyes orient back upon the four, he snarls slightly before speaking. "Inuzuka Kaido stands charged with attempted defection, attempted abandonment of the Clan, and declared treason, in that he willingly told the Clan Alpha that he started proceeds to deffect to another country, join their shinobi ranks, and intent to refuse all summons to return, all during a time of war footing."Grumbles are heard throughout the room as council members snarl at Taiki's pronouncement, with a couple of them looking downright hostile.

Shinobu lets loose another howl, this one about half the volume of the previous howl in consideration for people's ears. "Silence!" Taiki barks. His eyes then turn toward Hige and the snarl vanishes, replaced by a rather officially neutral experssion. "Upon my request, Advisor Inuzuka Atsuro questioned Inuzuka Hige and his partner regarding their parts in this. I recieved a report absolving Inuzuka Hige and his ninken partner Konsho of wrongdoing. Given the situation Inuzuka Hige found himslef in, Advisor Atsuro developed the opinion that Inuzuka Hige and Konsho cannot be held accountable for any additional charges or accessory charges. Is this correct, Atsuro-san?" Taiki has to be formal here, therefore he addresses each person with full honorifics.

Hige can't do anything but stand and watch. Despite the continued howls he tries to remain as neutral looking as he can cause, well, all the eyes are on them and the Council. Don't want to look weak or anything. Konsho is sitting next to the boy watching as well. When Taiki looks to him after that call for silence Hige finds himself feeling a little more nervous, though that slowly fades as the Elder speaks. His eyes move to Atsuro, the boy ever silent as he continues to do that waiting thing.

Though he and Taizen both nod back to Hiei, Atsuro isn't really in the mood to smile back. It's a grave moment for the clan, after all. When Taiki addresses him, he stands to give his answer. "That's correct," he says, "Hige-san told me that he had no idea what Kaido had planned. When he did realize, he protested. He also clarified that, although he did say he wanted to stay in Kumo, he only wanted to do so by legitimate means — he had no intention of severing ties with Konoha or staying in Kumo without permission. There was no evidence to contradict any of these statements, so I recommended that he be released immediately. I reported my findings to your office and the Hokage's, and to my knowledge he was released." He waits for confirmation from Taiki, then sits down. "I hate talking in these things," he murmurs to Taizen, "Makes me sound like such a stiff."

Kaido closes his eyes a bit in relief, good, Hige and Konsho are cleared. Step one of his plan has been accomplished, now it's on to his own situation. He hears the growling and hostile looks and though outwardly he doesn't seem to care, it hurts. He knew this was how things were going to go, and even at the best of times he was barely tolerated due to Bandit's and his antics. It causes him to reconsider his whole overall plan to the point of discarding it and recanting his intent to defect.

Bandit on the other hand is getting more and more worried, all the nin-ken have been telling him how much pressure is on Taiki to make an example of the two of them. Kaido better have a really GOOD plan to get them out of this, because the clan is out for blood. Not for the first time he wonders if Kaido was thinking at all.

Hiei shakes his head slowly as the charges are read off. At least Hige was out of danger at least. He murmurs to Michiko. "I feel partly responsible. When they showed up in the village, I never thought things would come to this. Perhaps I should have made them feel less welcome." He frowns deeply. When Taiki called upon them to speak, he would just tell the truth, tell them about the great things Kaido has done while he was Kumo and that while he had expressed how much he liked it there, he hadn't spoken, at least not to Hiei, about defecting completely from Konoha. He knew how Clan Elders could be first hand. He hopes Kaido has a plan, and if not, then he'll simply wish both man and dog good luck.

Well, that was a relief. It seemed Hige would be fine, from the sounds of it. Michiko doesn't let her relief show visibly, but there is a bit more relaxation soaking into her posture. Her eyes dart towards Hiei as she hears him speak. "Kaido-san was already being rejected by Konoha when he arrived. Anything would be better than that, no?" she replies softly. The girl notes the glares written on almost everyone's faces. Then idly hopes that Kaido doesn't do something even more stupid that what he did that put him in this situation. She also ponders over what she plans to say, if anything would need to be added.

Taiki nods and then turns back to Hige. "Inuzuka Hige, ninken Konsho, you are hereby released and found innocent. Let the records show you remained loyal to your clan and the village which we serve." The guards around the four Inuzuka move away from Hige and Konsho to allow them room to depart. "If you wish you may join the visitor's gallery."

After Hige and his partner move on, Taiki turns his full attention toward Kaido and releases a small amount of killer intent, just enough to punctuate the severity of the situation. "Inzuka Kaido, you told me that you were intent upon staying in Kumo and starting a living there as a shinobi of Kumogakure. You also stated you were severing ties with your clann, and would not return even if the Hokage called you to return. You also declared your skills would be offered to Kumogakure to use as they saw fit, and that you were using your assigned position as liason to Kumogakure as a means to cover your travel there."

Taiki let this sink in to the council, but once they started murmering again Taiki let another flash of KI loose as a means to gather attention back to him. Taiki's face then twists into disgust as he relates the next part of this. "You then intimated that you had already put in a transfer request, agreeing to my question of submitting non-existent paperwork to that effect. When I asked you why you were doing this, your response was that you were leaving to gain a "fresh start" away from your self-admitted reputation as a pervert."

Taiki then looks at the council secretary and says, "Let this be entered as the basis of the charges against Inuzuka Kaido and his partner. Inuzuka Kaido, you now have the opportunity to speak on the charges previously divulged. Bear in mind, refusing a lawful order from the Hokage endangers this clan as a whole, in that it violates the agreement between the Inuzuka Clan and the other clans of Konohagakure, which in turn allows those clans to exact penalties against the clan as a whole."

Escorted in, a little late the party, is Sachiko. The woman appears a touch irritated at being held up, but she nods her head in thanks to her escort all the same. Although she normally has a much less professional appearance, the woman is, shall we say, fashionally late, at least. Adorned in a kimono styled after her home in the mountains of Kumogakure, she has made a point to tame her hair, which is put up and kept there by ornamental chopsticks as well as a comb.

In addition, she is not wearing her usual blindfold, instead baring her eyes to all in attendance. Some may or may not find them familiar, the forest green irises having crosshairs. Hawk Eyes, once used by Kirigakure to see great distances. As she seats herself near Hiei, she gives him and Michiko a soft smile while listening to Taiki explain the charges against Kaido. There is a faint shake of her head at the man's foolish words, but she stays quiet… for now.

Kaido listens to what Taiki has to say, Bandit just looks at Kaido and gives him a look, one that says, 'Really? This was your plan?'. Kaido winces, ok, maybe he didn't exactly execute that part of things properly. He waits until people have settled down again and then takes a moment to consider what he is going to say as his life literally depends on it. Kaido says, "I note that I said it was my /intention/ to stay in Kumo and to become a shinobi of Kumo… I would also note that I never said that if I was recalled, that I would not obey that order. I am here aren't I? I could have easily become a Missing-Nin and forced the village to send the ANBU after me, but I obeyed the lawful order of my Clan Head and the Hokage. Until and unless the Hokage sees fit to release me from my duties, I am still a shinobi of Konohagakure. Words are not deeds, and while yes, I stated my reasons for wanting to do so, let's be clear… that's all they are, words. I have not then, nor have I now, EVER betrayed Konoha or the Clan other then stating my preference."

Kaido takes a breath as Bandit just looks even more worried and continues, "I am unique among the members of this Clan… I do not know any of our techniques that all of you take for granted, save for the senses which is our genetic heritage. I have never gained acceptance in this village for the simple fact that few consider me to BE Inuzuka. Let's set aside the fact of my reputation which is of my own fault, how many of you here on the Council and sitting here observing has ever had to deal with being truly unwanted?" Kaido glances around, "Clan Head, you yourself have had to deal with something of this nature, if the rumors are correct? Can you truly blame for wanting to find a place where I could be welcomed, feel useful and not have to face the sort of discrimination for the simple fact that I chose my own path rather than follow the Clan's chosen one?

Kaido pauses to take a breath again and then turns to look at the Kumo-nin that came to speak on his behalf, "I ask that Iwata Michiko, Tokubetsu and Yotsuki Hiei, 3rd Raikage of Kumogakure be allowed to speak to what I have done while in their village, learn how I have served Konoha by being a trusted ally and have helped their village which serves OUR interests as they ARE our allies."

Well, here we go, he hopes this is going to be enough, his backup plan and his backup to his backup plan are beyond long shots if this doesn't convince Taiki.

Despite his best efforts to keep his emotions as hidden as possible relief flashes across his features at hearing he's cleared and he bows to the Council before stepping back. There's a brief moment where he looks to Kaido, a hint of concern appearing for a moment for his teacher, but there's absolutely nothing he can do himself at this point besides maybe speak up for him if the Council will hear him. But now isn't that time. The boy and his pup go to the gallery and find seats close to the Kumo folks to whom he offeres a vague smile. Once seated the boy begins chewing his lower lip now that he's no longer being scrutined by the entirety of the gathered masses. Konsho jumps into a chair next to him to have a better view as well.

His part in the trial finished, at least for the time being, Atsuro sits back in his chair and listens to what Taiki has to say. It's nothing unexpected — Taiki said much the same to Atsuro when they met in his office a few days ago. Kaido's words seem to contradict this account somewhat, but it seems that the crucial point still remains: Kaido intended to switch villages. But he's also sugested that he would only do so if he were allowed. Atsuro glances to Taiki and the council, wondering if they'll accept that reasoning.

Then, however, he winces as Kaido goes /there/. He's officially picked at Taiki's oldest and most persistent wound. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pen and paper, then starts writing something down.

Hiei raises a brow when Sachiko is admitted and then led over to where he and Michiko sit. He flashes a smile at her before giving his attention back to the trial. She had come to Konoha with him, but he figured that she might not want to attend, given the subject matter. He inclines his head at Hige when he comes to sit with their group and then raises a brow slightly at Kaido when he asks that he and Michiko give testament on his behalf. Before standing up and addressing the issue, he waits for Taiki to approve Kaido's request. As he had stated to the group before, this was a Clan matter and Hiei would follow the law of land, so to speak.

Michiko nods her head to Hige when he comes to sit nearby, and smiles to Sachiko. Admittedly, she didn't think the Iga would be here, but it was a nice surprise. Kaido's given her full attention, though, as he starts to speak… Don't be so sassy-sounding and go poking at the clan head, Kaido!!! She wishes she had a hammer to knock a filter into his brain or in his throat. She isn't sure if she and Hiei would be doing their testimonies or whatever it's called one at a time, so she simply stays seated unless called.

Taiki listens carefully to Kaido's rebuttal but remains in the same position through much of it, except at the one contradiction, at which point his eyes narrow and his lips thin slightly. Then Kaido makes a mistake, one likely to torpedo his case before Taiki even as it would get off the ground. "First of all, you told me, and I quote, "I'm going to stay in Kumo, probably for the rest of my life, /even if the Hokage calls me back/."" He replies, placing his own emphasis on the last part as it was one thing that caused Taiki to focus his attention on Kaido in that conversation to begin with. "Do not try to play around with words here, Inuzuka Kaido. That represents an open declaration to disobey orders, given the balance of the conversation."

From all appearances, Taiki moved from merely disgusted to offended now as he addresses a second part. "Yes, I suffered greatly for my insistence of following my own way within this clan. Far more than you have. To date, I have yet to hear of clan members breaking your bones, hospitalizing you, or even attempting to betroth you to people who would probably kill you. /That/ is the level of scorn I faced then, at the hands of traitors to this clan and this village. Those traitors are dead."

There are many growls from around the Council now, and some looks of shame as well as Taiki explains the facts to the wayward chuunin, in front of guests! The clan still had a lot to live down, and it was only through Taiki's efforts to protect the clan, despite the actions of some, that allows them some sense of pride today. "You, however, made an open declaration to me, the Clan Alpha, concerning your intentions, and then left Konoha, something I never did. I only told you to leave my sight, not the village. Therefore, not only does your situation and mine differ in many ways, but also I am well known for encouraging innovation in the Inuzuka, something that did not exist when I had my issues."

After a minute or two of glaring at Kaido, Taiki finally looks towards the visitor's gallery. "Yotsuki Hiei-sama, Iwata Michiko-san, you may come forth and offer your words to the council."

While her husband was not wrong, per se, Sachiko felt it was only right that she attend, as she had been in a situation all too similar to Kaido's before. If she was permitted to speak — which she would certainly request at a later point — she hoped her voice would make a difference. Her appearance, more specifically her eyes, would perhaps make an impact, either negative or positive, she wasn't entirely certain. She did it on purpose, however, and while she waited for Taiki to give permission to the Kumo-nin, she turned her attention to Kaido and gave him a smile which she could only hope would be reassuring. Taking a deep breath at the Clan Head's words, she twitches slightly, indicating a desire to move but a sense of control. She'd wait… Let Michiko and Hiei speak and if her words were still needed, then she'd speak up.

Stupid, stupid Kaido. Hige's barely a teenager and even he knows how stupid all of that was. If only he had long enough arms to reach up and smack his teacher upside the head it would likely happen in front of everyone. But again he can do something except sit and wait. When Hiei and Michiko are both called up to speak the boy glances over to them, offering a wane smile as his well wishes before turning his attention forward once again.

Hiei rises to his feet and clasps his hands behind his back. He begins by addressing those holding the event. "Taiki-sama. Atsuro-sama. And honored Elders. While I do not condone what Inuzuka Kaido has done, I do empathize with his plight. I, too, strayed from the path of the Yotsuki, electing to pick up a sword instead of mastering my family's taijutsu style. Eventually, after working things out with some clan members, I ended up finding a balance between the two." Hiei motions to Kaido. "But I will begin by giving an account of Inuzuka Kaido's behavior and contributions to Kumogakure since he was stationed there. I'm not one for flower speeches, so I'll keep this brief.."

Hiei continues, "Kaido is rough around the edges, Bandit more so than him. But they both work hard, and they work tirelessly to master the techniques that they have elected to specialize in. Recently, the Lightning Daimyo tasked us with rooting out a rogue Kamen agent who had joined up with remnants of the Yakuza clan within the Land of Lightning. This engagement was a success because of Kaido. Not only did he plan the attack, but his traps were instrumental in making sure that none of our team, including Inuzuka Takeo, were seriously harmed. While I cannot condone what he has done, I implore you to find another punishment for him other than him loosing his life. Given time, and discipline.." He pauses and looks at Kaido. "..LOTS of discipline, he has the potential to not only become a great shinobi, but also a great strategist, perhaps even rivaling those in the esteemed Nara clan. With war coming to both our lands, can you really afford not to have him at your side?" He places a fist over his heart and bows towards the Elders. "Thank you for allowing me to speak on his behalf." Hiei then returns to his seat.

Michiko gets up to follow after Hiei, waiting for him to finish his speech. The girl may nod to some of the points he makes, raise an eyebrow at others, and shake her head at another thing right after, though not in disagreement. Because a statement was amazingly accurate. Then she steps up to the plate, so to speak, once Hiei steps back. "Excuse me if I am not quite as formal, as this is my first time speaking at such a thing," she begins.

"Hiei-san is correct on many points. I have worked with Kaido-san often, meeting him just before he arrived in Konoha as I was going to meet with Kenta-san. I, while occasionally wanting to punt him off the mountain along with his nin-ken, respect Kaido-san for his ability to plan. He has extensive knowledge in strategy and traps, and I believe people can learn from him. He /does/ need discipline, as does Bandit-san, but judging from how I've seen him act, I can tell Kaido-san's grown up. I even recall him giving up his and Bandit-san's well-know title of 'The Pervert Nin-Duo'. At least as much as they can. I will respect your decisions, of course, but I believe that Kaido-san should eventually be allowed to continue helping his village and clan."

With a light bow to Taiki, his nin-ken, and the Inuzuka council, she moves back to her seat. Hopefully she had said the right things that would help Kaido's case.

Kaido narrows his own eyes and growls, "AGAIN! Words, not DEEDS, if you are going to punish me for words, then you are just as prejudiced as the ones who did you wrong. I am here, I am answering the charges, you told me to leave your sight but you never ORDERED me to remain in Konoha or stated that I was to do so. If you going to say that was supposed to have been assumed, it was not." He glares at Taiki, "Again, when I recieved lawful orders from you and the Hokage, I returned, and I presented myself as ordered TO YOU for judgement."

Bandit just looks down and can only see visions of the guillotine being dropped on his and Kaido's neck and their bodies tossed into an unmarked grave, never to be mourned or remembered.

Yup, that's what Atsuro was worried about. Even as Taiki is still ranting, Atsuro begins to write, quickly scribing a tersely worded note. Trying not to draw any attention away from the trial itself, he waves to one of the chuunin bailiffs standing at attention nearby. He hands him the folded paper, and says something, then the chuunin nods and, with some hesitation, approaches Taiki's seat from the side, presenting the note to Taiki when he has the opportunity. "From Atsuro-sama," he says quietly, "He said it was urgent." Atsuro glances over at the chuunin and Taiki, then back to the testimony.

Kaido was about the argue that when Taiki wanted him gone from his sight, he never actually stated that he was to remain in the village. He also was about the argue again that words do not equal deeds until Hiei and Michiko speak. He settles back then and takes a moment to fume as Bandit nudges Kaido on the leg. He clenches his fists and if this doesn't work, he's going to have to go to his backup plan. Hiei's words to him when he visited him in jail in mind, he waits for Taiki to speak again.

Taiki listens to both Hiei's and Michiko's words as he tries to convey polite attendance to what they're saying. Unbeknownst to Kaido, Taiki is not personally after the chuunin's blood, but Kaido's arguments are not helping the situation. Neither is insulting the Clan Alpha. When Michiko finishes, the balif Atsuro summoned warily approaches the young Clan Head, and nervously hands him a note. It is evident that re-opening old wounds has given the Inuzuka present cause to be very cautious in their actions, lest they exasperate the situation. Taiki, however, takes the note carefully and nods formally to the balif, who sighs in relief as he steps back. Taiki then quickly reads the note and closes his eyes for a moment to re-center himself. "My apologies to our guests, and to the council, for my outburst," Taiki then says clearly in a calmer voice. It's for situations like this that Taiki made Atsuro an advisor.

After bowing his head deeply in apology, he then turns toward Kaido. "The Raikage and Michiko-san both raise very good points, though I have major concerns. You not only lack discipline, but you lack deductive reasoning that your rank would indicate. When your declaration disgusted me, and I stated that I was considering confining you to the Inuzuka Village, that should have been a hint that leaving Konoha would be seen as carrying through with your declaration. I was, in fact, surprised when you did return on the Hokage's orders for that very reason. Anyone of chuunin rank, which implies skill and experience, would have considered that. I cannot help but to agree that you require discipline, but I wonder if it would be enough. Will you learn from experience? Will you stop running, and start facing your problems? Or will your lack of deductive reasoning cause injuries and death in the battlefield? I offer you this one chance, Inuzuka Kaido, to convince me that you can look underneath the underneath. Use it well."

Sachiko reaches up to scratch her cheek when the stressed Inuzuka doesn't notice her attempt to reassure him. She couldn't blame him. Circumstances kept her from ever having to deal with this situation, but then again… she would've handled the whole thing very differently. Not in a better way, either. As Taiki chooses to give the Chuunin a chance, she nods her head softly. Her words are not needed after all. Good. The woman turns her head to look at Hiei thoughtfully and she sighs quietly to herself. Partly in relief for Kaido's safety, and partly because she probably shouldn't have come, but oh well.

The words from Hiei and Michiko are well said and Hige is glad they pointed out Kaido's better things, as well as some of his not so good things. It was well rounded? With that done the silent boy simply continues to watch and wait, his eyes moving between Kaido and the Council. Upon Taiki's last statement the boy is barely breathing as he waits to hear what his teacher might say. Please let it not be something else stupid…

Hiei has pretty much said his peace. He glances over to the side to look at Sachiko and silently slide his hand into hers. This couldn't be easy for her in the least. He flashes his wife a reassuring smile before looking back towards the Elder Council and Taiki, trying to read their facial expressions as well as their body language. It was still up in the air, and it would hinge on what Kaido said next.

Kaido considers what he's going to say here, his lips thin, he seriously wants to go with his backup plan, just because. But he glances back at Hige and Konsho and then to the Kumo-nin who so eloquently defended him. He then turns back and looks down at Bandit for a long moment before back up to Taiki and says, "You know what, I'd like to say no… no, because even if I'm not executed, never more would I be trusted again." Kaido is silent for a long moment before he then continues, "BUT… there is a war starting, if anything, I made a miscalculation in my timing. You're right, you did state you were considering confining me to the Inuzuka village, but that would be a grave mistake. No matter what else, I am a nin, and I am needed on the battlefield."

He glances down and then looks back to the Kumo-nin and says, "The Raikage and Michiko have reminded me that there are no more important things than duty and honor… I respectfully request to be placed on the battlefield to live or die as a shinobi of this clan and of this village." If nothing else, Kaido's pragmatic and a survivor, at least fighting the Silence would be preferable to being left in jail forever. Bandit phews and looks up at Kaido after he says that, some of the tension leaving the nin-ken's body.

If Michiko had known all this would happen, she probably would have tried to grab Kaido and tell him what he ought to be saying, or maybe something close. She may not be the best speaker, but she isn't the worst. And Kaido seemed angry enough that… But no, he manages to calm down. And hopefully that means something good will result from all this. The girl looks to her friends and fellow Kumo-nin out of curiosity before her attention lands to Taiki to hear his decision.

Taiki listens to what Kaido says, but doesn't seem overly impressed. He looks around the room, his eyes meeting every council member's, who also seem unimpressed, each shaking their head toward Taiki when he silently inquires about their opinions. Finally he closes his eyes for a moment before saying, "The Hokage made one comment to me when I talked to him about this situation, one that shows he's just as disgusted by this as I. Looking around this room, I can see that you failed to convince any council member of your innocence, or of your ability to look underneath the underneath. As such, I have no choice but to find you guilty of the charges against you save treason. On that charge alone I find you not guilty, though only because you chose an allied country instead of the enemy."

Taiki looks down upon Kaido and Bandit for a few long moments, allowing his expression of resigned disgust to show just what he feels about all of this. "Inozuka Kaido, Inuzuka Bandit, you have been found guilty of attempted defection and attempted abandonment of the Clan. Normally, these charges alone would call for death, however, this clan is faced with conflicts on two fronts, and can ill afford to loose able-bodied shinobi. Therefore, at this time I conditionally suspend the recommended sentence. As conditions of this suspension, you are to be demoted to the rank of genin, and confined to boundaries of Konohagakure for a period of one year. During this time, you will be watched by members of the Inuzuka Clan, and required to undergo classes in leadership, deductive reasoning, and decourum. Furthermore, you will be fined 25 percent of your pay for the next six months. However, any further attempts to leave the clan and/or defect to another village, or failure to abide by these conditions will see this sentence carried out immediately. This is your last chance, Inuzuka Kaido, ninken Bandit. I heartily suggest you start attempting to repair your reputations, for you're going to be living here for quite some time."

The woman had gently taken hold of the Yotsuki's hand when it was set in hers, feeling as though the situation looked better than she expected. She was quite wrong, though.

This. This kind of thing is precisely why Sachiko herself left Sunagakure years back. "Wait," she emits, the word strained as she was about to yell, but reeled herself back just as it was leaving her mouth. Moving to stand, she stares at Taiki for a moment, her brows furrowed and an expression of concern and disdain fading as she calmed herself, releasing Hiei's hand. "Please let me speak before you truly judge him so harshly," she requests, calm and seriousness overcoming her tone and expression.

Kaido just shakes his head, if Taiki thought that this would change his mind at all, he's read Kaido horribly wrong. He is now more thoroughly and completely disillusioned towards the Clan and Konoha in general. He'd have spoken up and used his backup plan, but he's lost all respect for the Clan at this point that what would be the point. He looks at Bandit and Bandit shares his look of disillusionment. It's not like either of them expected this to go any other way, but with this sentence, they WONDER why he wants to leave this village. Why should he bleed and die for a place that obviously thinks so little of him that they would denigrate all that he is and accomplished and then turn around and then rub his nose in it.

Well, fine, if that's the way it's going to be, so be it… he'll do whatever they assign him to do, do the ransomed courses, utter the appropriate phrases, but otherwise fine Konoha and fine the Inuzuka Clan (save for Hige (provided of course he still wanted to train under him, if they even let him now)). But he'll be charged if he'll ever volunteer or offer his services when they aren't requested.

When Sachiko speaks, he turns to look in her direction, wondering what she's going to say.

Hiei stands up right as Sachiko does. He recognizes the look on his wife's face and he steps close to her and speaks softly. "Before you speak, understand that this is a clan matter, and that the only reason we were invited was to speak on Kaido's behalf. We have no jurisdiction here and we are guests, which means we /will/ abide by Taiki's decision. I urge you to keep this in mind as you address the Clan Alpha." While his voice is low, it is also firm and no nonsense. "Curb your temper, Sachiko."

Should Taiki look over in his direction, Atsuro is among those shaking his head. He's probably more sympathetic to Kaido than most of the clan's higher-ups, but he can't see Kaido's suggestion as an actual solution to the problem. Fortunately, Taiki's sentence seems about right. No sense in executing Kaido — it's more like bad judgement than an actual crime. Overall, it seems like a proportionate response… mostly. Atsuro settles back in his seat slightly, sighing a bit in relief, and Taizen gives a couple light wags of his tail. Now just to wait for the last few formalities to finish up before — wha-wha-whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!? Atsuro and Taizen look over to this woman objecting after the sentence has already been handed down.

"Great Stars…" Michiko murmurs under her breath, probably only audible to those nearby with super hearing, mostly at the sentence. It was … Not amazing. If she ended up in that position, she would probably have gone with Kaido's plan B, and quite happily. That being said, she probably wouldn't have gotten into this situation at all… Then Sachiko speaks, and surprise crosses Michiko's face briefly before she glances to the source of the 'wait'. She strongly hopes that Sachiko knows what she's doing, and even Hiei is cautioning the Iga.

After all is said and done Hige is waiting to hear what Taiki says while practically chewing a hole in his lower lip. No matter what Kaido had already taught him a lot and could probably teach him more…but Hige wouldn't go against the clan or the village. The sentence is a blow but it's not as bad as what Hige had secretly feared and he leans back in his chair looking at least a little relieved. Alive you could make things right. Alive you could help change things. Dead was just dead. The boys head swivels when he hears a voice speak up and he blinks at Sachiko, staring at her in surprise as he waits to hear what she has to say…if she's even allowed to say it.

Taiki expected an objection from Kaido, and by the look and body language the now genin is portraying, he's not disappointed. But what he was not prepared for was Sachiko's speaking up, and her subsequent request to speak after the sentence was meted out. He even arches a brow in surprise to the woman's look of disdain, and his inner self sighs. He really hated doing things like this, even when the offender was being less than intelligent in their actions. To have this debated further after it seemingly finished just made Taiki even more weary. But the woman was apparently attached to the Raikage in some way, so politeness and politics demanded he at least let her say her peace. Outwardly, he simply looked at her with curiosity. "Yes?" he asks, as if prompting her to continue to speak.

Sachiko's eyes drift shut as she listens to her husband. "I know," she murmurs to him, brows quivering slightly as she does exactly as he instructs: curb her temper as well as her usual personality of pushing back. When her eyes open, she looks over at Hiei, her eyes telling him very simply that if she doesn't say something now, she will only beat herself up for quite a while after they leave. Not something that is beneficial to him, her, their son, or their village. "If he chooses to keep the sentence exactly as is, then so be it, but I can't say nothing."

"I don't mean to be rude… but the only thing you are doing is pushing him farther and farther away from loving his clan and his village. I know this… all too well. I have been in his place before. I went Missing-Nin as a result of Kuroki Kuoroke attempting to do what you have just done. It was not my clan's actions, no, but I would still have been locked in the village. A village that couldn't — wouldn't accept me. I was never good enough. I rebelled. He, like I, will lose hope, lose faith in the people around him. I ask just one thing… Don't cut him off from Kumogakure. I understand why you want to. He almost defected to us, much like I did. You don't want to make him believe he can go back there on a moment's notice and not come back. I will personally ensure this doesn't happen.

"I ask this of you because I know the reason he threatened to defect was because he felt support there. We will support him… in the classes you have assigned, in becoming more defined. We will support him as a shinobi of Konohagakure, as an ally, and as a friend, nothing more. I will be staying here in Konohagakure, in the Land of Fire for a time myself." Something she had not informed her husband of and expects him to not be particularly happy about her suddenly announcing. "While I am here, observe him, and I will as well. Decide, when I go back, whether he truly needs to be confined or whether /we/ can be trusted with him in our village. The Raikage, by standing with me to warn me of speaking out against your decision, has shown you that he supports your decisions as the Clan Head. He will not take Kaido-san as a shinobi of Kumogakure. Please… allow us to aid you in your endeavors to better your clansman." The redhead continues to stand there, gaze set on the Inuzuka Clan Head as she observes his reaction.

Michiko eyes Sachiko when the Iga mentions wanting to stay in the Land of Fire. Why /now/ of all times? She can't help but nod, though, as Sachiko speaks. It was well-spoken. She even says so, murmuring, "Nicely said" to the Iga once Sachiko is in ear shot. The Iwata stays silent for now, though, curious to see the reaction….

Hiei blinks. This was the first he'd heard of Sachiko wanting to stay in Konoha. Well, they had discussed her coming here for medical nin training, which he was more than fine with. But he has to admit that her appeal to Taiki actually made sense. That is if the Clan Alpha would go for it. So he backs her play on this one. "She's right. I wouldn't. In fact, I'd like to smack him across the back of the head again for putting you all through this mess to begin with." With Sachiko in Konoha, it would mean that his parents would be looking after Shun. With his schedule, he wouldn't be home with the boy much and they haven't hired a caretaker since Sachiko was at home with him during the day. For the moment, he waits to see how Taiki responds to this.

Atsuro closes his eyes and considers Sachiko's words. In some ways, she's correct. Simply piling on punishments isn't likely to put Kaido back on the path to being a trusted ninja of Konoha. And her point about relationships with other members of the village has the ring of truth to it — Hige even mentioned something similar while Atsuro was questioning him. But it doesn't solve the ultimate problem: at some point, Kaido has to return to Konoha. Rehabilitating him has to include bringing him into normal relations with other members of the village and clan, and that's not going to happen if he isn't here. Atsuro stands up. "Taiki-sama, I don't mean to interrupt, but since you've already handed a sentence down, perhaps it would be best to end the proceedings for now and take some time to consider this over the next few days."

Hige stares at Sachiko the entire time she speaks, eyes a little wider than usual with not only the story, but the request. And it does all kind of make sense. When she's done he quickly turns back to see what kind of reaction Kaido and the Council members have as he returns to worrying a hole in his lower lip. Are trials around here always so…eventful? He hopes to never see one again. With Hiei's added insurance Hige really begins to wonder what's going to happen. It's like a soap opera!

It's Taiki's turn to narrow his eyes at the woman. One would have thought the outburst he apologized earlier for would have made it well known that if anyone understood about not fitting in a clan mold, Taiki would. However, whoever this woman is just threw that idea right back into Taiki's face. Taiki thinks for a few moments, then stands. "Kaido-san referenced my past before, drawing similarities between the two of us. He, apparently, relies more on abilities other than standard Inuzuka techniques. You, and others, apparently believe that this is why Kaido is not liked by /some/ members of this clan. Maybe he believes it himself. You are wrong."

Taiki looks to the balifs and asks for a small area to be cleared of everyone, Kaido and Kumogakure guests included. Once that has been accomplished, someone brings in a storage scroll and pulls out a rock about 2 feet in diameter. "I had thought that the majority of the clan, including Kaido-san, knew of this, and knew of my directives. Kami knows, we have had many debates about situations like Kaido's and my own in these very chambers." Taiki then faces the boulder, at a right angle to the guests, and assumes a position on his feet and hands as a definite electrical feeling seems to manifest in the air around the chamber. Shinobu joins him, and the ninken's fur spreads out, full of static electricity just like Taiki's remaining hair. A couple of hand seals later, and Taiki's hands now sport 3 inch claws of pure lightning on each finger, which Taiki uses to make a single swipe at the boulder, creating a rather impressive set of five gouges into the boulder. Shinobu does this as well before Taiki stands and allows the electricity to fade away. "I am a elemental taijutsuist who adapted my clan's style to lightning. This clan now contains several others who have different styles, including Advisor Atsuro's kenjutsu style. As you can plainly see, it's not his preference for trapping that is the root cause of his problems."

Taiki then moves back up to his chair, but stands in front of it. He then looks at Kaido and says, "His problems, as he confessed to me, deal with his reputation as part of a pair of natorious perverts. He admitted himself that he was partially to blame for this reputation. Honestly, Nozomi, my female ninken, is nervous any time Bandit-san is near. But this is a problem he and his ninken caused themselves. Since you spoke so eloquently about supporting him, let me ask you this: Would he be best served by allowing him to run away from the problems he created, or would he be best served by forcing him to face those issues and attempt to win them over? Which would give him the most opportunity for growth?" Taiki then looks to ATsuro and nods once. "Since I highly doubt this emotionally charged atmosphere is conducive to this kind of discussion, I agree with Advisor Atsuro. Let us take some time to think about this, on both sides."

Kaido blinks and his jaw drops at Sachiko's pronouncement, even Bandit does and mutters, "That woman… is so… so… so…" Kaido just nods, what else can be said. And here he thought he knew who wore the pants in THAT relationship, clearly he read Sachiko wrong. How can one respond when he's been feeslapped and cuddled at the same time. He just shakes his head in admiration, giving the woman her due. When Hiei speaks he makes a face, mostly because his smack is likely to take his head clean off. He looks over at Atsuro and he has a little respect for the man for at least realizing that Hige was blameless and making sure he was cleared. When Taiki speaks he listens and then says, "Shall I go back to the cells or can I be released from there to stay in the village?" He asks, not an unimportant question

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