Date: Unknown (log received August 1, 2010)
Lady Ryoko is making a name for herself as a musical, dancing diva. Someone other than talent scouts have taken an interest in her however. Very strange and dangerous "people"…
"The Spider Queen, Part I: The Lady Spinner"
The new guards that had been hired to look after the Lady Ryoko's safety weren't much better than the old guards, given the limited labor pool to work with in this tiny town. The plan was to obtain a better, and probably more expensive, group in the first sizeable city they'd come to. The spending had been cut back to a reasonable level, but this was the Lady's own personal budget that had shrunk down. Most assumed it was either because she was still recovering over the bandit attack some week ago, or because there was nothing in this small village that she wished to own. But with her entourage replenished, and found, new wagons obtained, and new horses bought, the traveling troupe was ready to set out once more.
Dawn had broken an hour ago, and the dancers were settled into their wagon, the baggage and stage props loaded, the porters downstairs and ready. All that was left was the blonde-haired mistress of this show to make her appearance downstairs and enter her palanquin.
But she seemed content to make them all wait. In fact, the young woman known to most of the world as 'Datura' was still in her rented boudoire, in her sheer, white silk sleeping kimono, reclining in a leaned-back seat with her eyes closed, letting out an occasional murmur of appreciation. One of the hotel maids was busy washing her hair, rinsing the sweet-smelling soap out of the long, yellow tresses. After the basin is set to the side, the woman begins to gently wring out the light-colored hair of the self-styled young diva, before taking a brush to the mass. The hair-care treatment takes a while, brushing it softly over and over until it all but shone in the sun, still damp with moisture.
"All done, ma'am."
"Mm. Very well." Datura doesn't open her eyes as she speaks. "Where are my clothes?"
"Downstairs, ma'am. I made sure they weren't packed with the other things as you requested. Shall I get them?"
"Yes. See if they're ready to leave for me, won't you?"
"Of course, ma'am." The maid backs her way, bowing, out of the room, closing the door softly behind her. For several long moments, the blonde doesn't make a move, allowing her damp hair to hang over the back of the chair, her neck resting lightly against the cushioned headrest. With the contented sigh of someone with truly clean hair, the kunoichi finally lifts her head, straightening her posture as she opens her eyes to the rest of the room.
Meanwhile, in the hall a man in plain -- even shabby -- brown robes, with a hood over his head, is making his way towards Lady Ryoko's room. He pauses when the maid opens the door, and turns his head to the side, muttering under his breath, "That one?" A brief chittering noise emanates from within his robes. He then turns to face forward again and walks past the maid, offering no nod or other indicator that he notices her or cares about her presence. When he reaches Datura's door, he stares directly at the wooden barrier with his eight glistening red eyes. It's almost as though he thinks he can simple penetrate the door with his vision if he stares hard enough.
This turns out not to be the case, apparently, as he eventually grunts and raises a hand to rap on the door with his knuckles. "I think that is how we do it…" he mumbles. "It has been so long, I can't remember. Maybe this is the one that we open to let air in… Or is that a window?" He seems to mostly be muttering to himself, rather than expecting an answer.
Slowly, blue eyes turn to focus on the window, staring out at the beautifully sunny day beyond, a line of dark clouds on the horizon promising to coat the world in water just after the sun fell. It would be a pleasant enough day for traveling, perhaps even pleasant enough to ride a horse, rather than in her smaller personal transport.
Standing, the young woman stretches her arms overhead, reaching for the ceiling as she arches her back. Letting out an easy breath, she allows her arms to smack back down against her thighs, smoothing out the odd wrinkles the motion had caused within her clothing as she stares out of the east-facing window, squinting a bit into the morning sun. She could see her troupe down there, ready to depart, like they probably have been for the last hour or so, since she'd said she wanted to leave 'with the morning light'. It tickled her no end that their lives were at the mercy of her schedule, an arrogant smirk working it's way up her lips.
…Until a knock came from the door.
Irritably, Datura casts her suddenly-disparaging gaze towards the wooden portal. Was the maid back so soon? And retarded? Were her arms full and therefore unable to turn the knob easily? She expected the Lady Ryoko to lowering herself to opening doors for servants!? Placing a hand to the base of her throat, the blonde calls out in a pleasant-enough voice that didn't quite match the rolling of her eyes.
"It is open. Please, come in."
The spider-eyed man tilts his head at the delay between knock and response. Maybe he had it wrong. Maybe it was the door that was meant for letting in air. Well, that was mighty embarassing. He'll have to go look for the window so he can announce himself properly--Ah, there's a voice! "It's open?" he mutters in confusion. It looks closed to him.
"Hm… More complications." He considers his options. There's that thing protruding from the door. A piece of metal. "I seem to remember something about these things," he says to himself as he tentatively touches the doorknob and begins testing it. "However, I can't seem to--Ah-hah!" The knob turns! "How marvellous!" By this point, Datura must be wondering what the hell is going on out there.
Shortly, however, the robed man figures out that pressure must be applied in conjunction with the knob turning, and the door swings open about six inches. He hmms, and then tentatively prods at the door a bit more, and attempts to squeeze through the space between frame and door, as though he expects it won't open any further than that.
Now standing in Lady Ryoko's room, the man's face is mostly hidden, aside from his mouth. Deep lines rim his lips, making him appear old. And maybe he >is< old. They could be wrinkles, even! But they seem to be far too symmetrical to be normal wrinkles… Well, wahtever. He's standing there, he is nowhere near as pristine as anything or anyone else in the room, and he is probably quite unknown to the diva.
He turns his head to the side and whispers something unheard. A barely audible chorus of high-pitched noises responds from somewhere unseen. Does he have a radio or something? He turns his attention back on the blonde woman shortly. She has had plenty of time to yell at him or demand his name or whatever during all this, too.
Hearing the knob beginning to rattle as someone fiddles oddly with it, but only after a long delay, causes the diva's eyebrows to turn downwards, coming together over the bridge of her nose as she frowns towards the wooden entry. It slowly begins to creeeeeeak open, prompting a thin, yellow brow to lift in question, as her body tenses, expecting an attack. This time, with no one around to witness it, she wouldn't let anyone put their hands on her and go unpunished!
And yet, for a moment, nothing happens. Until a rather odd-looking, drab figure begins to try and squeeeeeeeze himself through the crack he's just made, as if he expected something might try to squeeze in with him if he opened it any farther. The young woman turns towards the door, an ominous, if petulant, scowl bracing across her features as she pulls the thin kimono about herself more securely, ensuring that the knot was tied securely. Each detail of the man is taken in in a silent, swift moment.
"I sent for my clothes and news of my traveling companions. You do not carry one, do you then have the other? Well? Who are you talking to!?" The odd exchange between the air is weird enough, but then the AIR ANSWERS BACK! This certainly sets the disguised kunoichi back on her heels in surprise. "You do not work here! Explain yourself or I shall have the guards remove you!"
The robed man attempts to bow respectfully, but seems to be having difficulty bending forward at the waist. He eventually settles for lowering his head so that he faces the floor. "We have been sent to obtain your services, Lady Spinner. You have been identified as one of the special ones whom our Mistress desires. If you are prepared, we may leave immediately." He then raises his head enough to look around the room. Once he has identified the largest empty patch of floor, he begins making his way towards it, apparently unconcerned with whether Lady Ryoko actually is prepared or not.
"Ahem, it's 'Lady Ryoko', actually," the diva replies dryly, looking less than amused by what she assumes is some sort of mix-up. For surely that is what it had to be! Until the male continues talking once more. The words 'services' and 'desires' ring most clearly in her mind, and immediately manage to pique her curiousity despite herself.
She clears her throat and folds her hands demurely before her, returning the bow properly, as if she were a lady of distinguished upbringing. "If your mistress wishes me to perform for her, she should really have had you speak to my manager and determine a fee. I am afraid I am not- What are you doing?"
The dark frown returns as the male not only fails to recede from the room to approach her aforementioned manager, but proceeds to walk further into it, nearing the small sitting area where she had just minutes ago finished receiving her hair-pampering. The soapy basin of water was still on the small table, the maid having failed to take it with her when she left. She'd have to remember that when it came to leaving a tip. She tries to verbally interrupt the male's activities once again, this time taking several steps towards him as if to physically block his progress.
"Surely you can see the problems I face, what with scheduled appearances along the road. If you would just speak with my manager, he can try to squeeze your benefactor in when we have time. What are you doing!? It's most inappropriate to traipse about a woman's bedroom uninvited!"
Blue eyes narrow on the male's robed form as she reaches out to snag his sleeve. Cover or not, paid job or not, it might soon be time to get rid of this guy! In the most permanent of senses.
The man pauses once he has reached his intended destination. He starts to turn towards Lady Ryoko when she grabs at his sleeve. The cloth tears readily, clearly not even half as durable as it appeared to be (and it did not appear to be all that sturdy). This act reveals three things. The first thing revealed is that the man's skin is powdery-white, splotched with occasional black 'spurs' or spikes of some kind that seem to be protruding from >under his flesh<! Ew! The second thing revealed is that on his forearm is tattooed a design that brings to mind thoughts of arachnids, despite it not necessarily being an obvious spider tattoo. The additional symbols that mimic a Jutsu formula probably indicate the tattoo is more than simple decoration.
The third thing revealed is that he apparently has some real, >live< spiders he's carrying around with him -- on his own body -- because a few small brown ones scurry back under the meager cover of the robe when they are exposed. The man is close enough and his head raised sufficiently that his face can likely be seen. Mostly human, weird symmetrical wrinkles aside, but those two clusters of four crimson orbs where his eyes should be make it pretty clear that if he actually >is< human, then he's not a normal man by any means.
"Lady Spinner Ryoko, then." His mouth twists into a confused frown as his brow furrows. "Performance… Performance?" After pondering the words, likely while Datura is utterly repulsed and putting distance between herself and he, he finishes, "My Mistress has a task that only one such as you may perform. You have an affinity for her people, and enough vicious power to draw her attention. We can not detect your suitability on our own, but she has lent us one of her more sensitive servants."
His other arm is raised, either not noticing that his left sleeve is ripped, or not caring. On his upraised palm is a single spider that appears to be made out of pure diamond. It glitters and refracts all light sources in amazing ways that Lady Ryoko may or may not be inclined to appreciate at this point. "She says that you are the one who can serve the Spider Queen. Others have tried and failed. But they have not had your darkness or your affinity. You understand now, yes, Lady Spinner Ryoko? The Queen of Spiders requires your service."
Almost as an after-thought, he adds on, "A suitable reward will be given, of course."
For a moment, the not-quite-diva stares at the ripped cloth in her hand in surprise, as if she'd just tried to lift a parcel only to have it crumble the moment she'd touched it. Her eyes snag onto pale skin, not in and of itself unusual. The tattoos are dimly noticed, as much more prominent in her vision are the spiders, which her eyes home in on with deadly intensity.
She certainly recoils, though the disgust that is likely expected on her features is not evident. Instead, there is only suspicion, several feet suddenly being gained between the strange-looking man with the odd eyes and the Konoha-born kunoichi.
Even as he continues speaking, the young woman's mind races, trying to place which village spider-users came from. The Land of Water, Kirigakure, she believed. An assassin then? She tenses noticeably when his arm comes up, her hands coming together in front of her even as her legs prepare to spring away, the sleeping garment she wore thankfully not as inhibiting as the beautiful cloth she wore last week when attacked. And yet… nothing happens. A spider is held out, but one seemingly made of gems. But the prettiest traps were the deadliest ones, a lesson she'd taught a few people in her own way.
Datura finds herself both drawn by the allure of a beautiful creature, and appalled by what may very well be a cleverly-disguised capture or assassination tool. But why would the Village Hidden in the Mist send people after her? Not even Konoha knew she still lived, though it was possible someone had learned of her existence and desired the Yamanaka's hidenjutsu. And if that was the case, she certainly just revealed that she was shinobi-trained. The blonde licks her lips, baby-blue eyes flicking from crystal spider to humanoid one, and then back again.
"Just keep your hands where I can see them. …So you need something done. Something only I can do, and this 'Spider Queen' wants to hire me." The blonde-haired kunoichi is silent for a long moment, her mind trying to work out all the possible ways this could be, or go, wrong, and there were many, MANY ways that it was, or could. But at heart, she was a creature of chaos, and it was that very danger and uncertainty that both excited and interested her. Finally, she relaxes her hands, spreading them benignly as she allows a radiant smile to envelope her features. "Very well, Mister…? Just know that my time is precious and I expect to be compensated for the trip, if nothing else."
The man stares at Datura calmly. Either he is very confident he can take her down if necessary, or… He just didn't notice? He lowers his hand and the gliterring spider crawls slowly into a pocket of some kind under his robes. He attempts to bow again, and then remembers his difficulty with that. Lowering his head he offers, "Okumo Ra is our name. We are the First Okumo. Worry not, however. Our allegiance lies solely with our Mistress. The establishment of Kirigakure was founded many years >after< becoming the Spider Queen's harbinger." He nods solemnly as though he had just said something amazingly reassuring.
"The reward is not ours to name, but the Brood Mother does not parsel out trinkets for hard work done. The effort put in deserves an equivalent payment. This encourages the same quality in the future." Ra then turns and bites his thumb hard enough to draw blood. This he spreads on the tattoo on his left forearm. A moment later he forms a few hand seals, and plants his left palm on the ground. Black letters and symbols spread out without visible source from his hand, forming into a pair of circles, one inside the other, with him at the center.
A cloud of smoke rises from the circles, but disperses quickly, even though this is happening indoors. A door that appears to be built into the back of a spider that is standing on the tips of its forelegs, the rest of its body vertical in the air, has appeared. Ra frowns at the door. "Another of these…" he mutters. But he has had practice at opening doors now, and so he slides the door open, revealing a rocky tunnel on the other side, even though it is blatantly possible for such to exist. Standing so the back of the door can be seen reveals only the spider's underbelly.
The Okumo starts to step through the door, but then pauses and asks, "Do ladies go first? We cannot recall. If you wish to go first, you may precede us."
The young woman doesn't bow a second time, once was certainly enough. It was rude not to do so, but then it was in her nature to be capriciously rude, instead, she merely continues smiling pleasantly at the introduction of the First Okumo. She doesn't correct him on his belief that her name is Spinner, Ryoko, or even Spinner-Ryoko. Datura wasn't her real name, either, so introducing herself as such was likely only to confuse him further, and make him suspicious of her as a liar.
Which she was, but she didn't need to advertise that.
At the mention of Kirigakure, Datura's smile turns a bit vacant, uncomprehending, but she doesn't give voice to her questions, instead just nodding acceptance. She inclines her head in agreement a second time as he speaks further of rewards. "Fair enough. I suppose your, ah, 'Mother' and I will discuss specifics when we meet. When exactly were we to-"
The blonde's question remains unfinished as the male bends down to place his summoning seal upon the floor, causing Datura to back up a few more feet, until her rear impacts the wall of the small room, from the source, still more than half-expecting something nasty to pop out and begin assaulting her. Instead, she's met with a doorway. She's met with the sight of yet another underground passage. It was ALWAYS underground! She shakes her head mildly at the absurdity of willingly walking into an underground tunnel with an unknown male who may or may not be working for people who want to kill her.
"Why yes, thank you. You are too kind, Ra-kun." She pauses at the doorway, keenly aware that she wore nothing but her sleeping kimono and light slippers. Her hair wasn't even fully dry yet, still hanging down in honey-colored, damp strands! "Relax, Dat." She murmurs to herself as one slim leg is lifted to step through onto the rocky terrain. "The worst that can happen is dying in a slow and horrible manner."
Somewhere in the back of her mind was the wonder of what her maid would think to come back to a suddenly empty room. What would everyone think? Likely that she'd been kidnapped. What would she tell them when she returned? IF she returned? How long would it be, and would Amuro-kun be angry at her abandoning her assignment so readily for a bit of excitement? Actually… that last one only made it all the more interesting!