Date: June 13, 2015
Several nin are brought to the task of deciding whether or not to help a scrawny thief from the clutches of those he stole from.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Wards of Ward 12"
Ward 12 [Fuuma Alley]
Fuuma Alley has more than its fair share of low-quality housing. However, they are also low-cost, so the unfortunate — and poor — civilian workers who live here are unable to complain. It is better to have a roof over one's head than nothing at all. The "houses" are primarily shacks, constructed from wood, and sometimes metal. However, there ARE a decent number of ACTUAL houses — they are just shabby, crammed up against each other, and have rather claustrophobically small interiors. Some are single-story, but with space at a premium, most are two or more stories high, with each house belonging to a different family or group. It is not always possible to live with one's own family in this city, and to save on the costs of living and the price of property tax, it is common for people who may not even know each other to live in the same house, in order to share the burden.
The streets are dirt, or mud when it rains, and are littered with various pieces of junk, rusted metal, and so forth, as well as the people who cannot afford to live in a house, regardless of how decrepit said house may be. Crime of all kinds is commonplace, and venturing out at night is considered exceptionally dangerous and foolish. Those who have locks on their doors keep those locks in place from twilight until early morning.
The air is dank and smokey, and most things are covered in soot from the factory furnaces. Clean water is a valuable commodity in such an environment, and one can easily identify outsiders by the lack of ash staining their clothing.
Southwest - (SW) [Ward 9]
West - (W) [Ward 6]
//\\Naruto Mush Rivalry//\\
\\//IC Time and Weather System\\//
08:56 - 11/16/12 A.F. - Thursday - Year of the Rat
The time is 08:56AM. It is a Thursday on the 16th of November in the
12th year after the formation of the Hidden Villages.
It is currently mid-morning in Autumn!
It's currently raining today!
Rain falls heavily from grey-black clouds filling the sky, and is
driven forward by a strong westerly wind.
It's an easy enough concept to grasp: the clouds fill, darken, release their manna from the heavens unto the waiting mouths below — rivers and streams and lakes and ponds and trees and roses and deer and tigers and mice. And people. People too. Too often do we neglect that rain, take it for granted, cast it aside in our hurry to escape from it, as if wet were the worst and we were all witches.
Not the people of Fuuma. Not the people beleaguered by ash and soot constantly spoiling their air, a black snow in a place where it's never not winter. The rain is welcomed here, worshipped here, invited in and hoped that it stays forever. Thus, the rain now - heavy and crowded together - splatters over open mouths and dirty clothes and buckets and cans and cups and laughter and smiles and so many in the street dusting themselves free the soot and smoke, reveling at the colors hidden underneath the weariness of this live.
Byouki is only just exiting one of the cramped homes, exiting into the lively expression of self that is currently being exhibited outside even at so early an hour. The boy smiles into the downpour, smiles at the people gathered, and for once he doesn't mind getting a little soggy.
Tsubaki is here for some reason, though she's not entirely sure why. Regardless, she's here. And there's a Chuunin with her that's been leaving her largely to herself. Hmm… Well, this is apparently only a pitstop for a greater mission or something, likely, so that would explain things. Where Tsubaki goes, the air is colder than usual. And about a foot from her body, the rain turns to snow and hail. Interesting. She sort of wanders as she watches people enjoy the rain, wondering what she should be doing during her 'time off'
It's not often that people from Konoha visit Fuuma alley and Hige is no exception to that rule. However, no matter what the reason might be, he is here and walking the streets of the seedy village of criminals. The teen's body is completely covered in a cloak, hood pulled up to hide his features such as the easily distinguishable Inuzuka markings. That would certainly point to where he's from, even if it wouldn't mean he was still with the Leaf or not. There's no hatai-ate on either him or the large pup that strides next to him. In the end it simply looks like a boy and his dog. They pause at a street corner not far from the house that Byouki exited from, looking up at the rainy sky in quiet contemplation before those hooded semi-feral eyes slowly sink back down to look over those nearby.
Ward 12 of Fuuma Alley is not somewhere to idly wander. Crime is rampant amongst these claustrophoic wards, each life pressed upon another until they're all standing so close their noses touch: it's easy to be pickpocketed when there are simply so many. Many are in need, too, for nor is this a place of the wealthy and un-needing.
Byouki - in his ragged wears, black and gray and tattered - fits rather in with the worn and weary of Fuuma. The mask across his face too offers no strange audience for the people here: the air is filty, it's understood. The boy then, more so than any place he has known so far, finds himself home here. But he is not here for himself, for he is not here by himself.
A larger boy (a bit rotund, though large enough to be powerful, deep into his teens, dirty fingernails and long hair, his cheeks a little rosy) exits from the same door Byouki did, stepping into the rain with surprise: he lurches back into the doorway. "Fetch an umbrella!"
The water pelts off Byouki's clothes, him drenched now so long in the rain. He offers a salute (straight-forward, yes, but so is sarcasm), and runs into the crowd (towards the direction of both Tsubaki and Hige).
But, from the opposite of places, another too quickly into the crowd, and the pair collide, as it happens, quite near the Inuzuka and Tsubaki.
A bag of ryo bursts from the the youth collided with Byouki, the sound fallen coins sharp through the rain.
"Thief! Thief! Stop him!" comes a deep-throated call through the rain
The thief - a youth of maybe 10, scrawny, dirty, wide-eyed but sharp teeth - looks up, around. "Help me, quick, please."
Tsubaki blinks a bit upon hearing the coins falling to the ground, green eyes turning towards the sound. Then hearing someone call out 'thief'. She isn't here for anything except a small trip, so what should she even do? Help …. someone? The girl makes her way over to where this little incident occurred, peering through the crowds that may have gathered to try and assess the situation as best she can.
Hige isn't paying much attention to anyone in particular at first, allowing his gaze to simply sweep over the crowd and his subconsciously checks out the varying degrees of danger from those nearby. His contact was supposed to meet up with him in another hour, so that was time to kill. Time to explore. Amazing how things happen to change what you actually plan on doing. Hige's eyes shift over to the location the collision and subsequent coins sounded from, his face and eyes still hidden by the hood of the cloak. Common sense tells him to stay out of whatever it is that's going on, but there's another part of him that hates seeing kids in trouble. It's why he pretty much runs his own damn orphanage at this point. Luckily he doesn't really have much worth stealing on him, though trying to steal from an Inuzuka is no easy task to begin with.
After only a moments hesitation Hige moves towards the boy and reaches a hand down to help the little thief up, glancing over at the other who'd been run into and giving him a look over. Interesting. "Are you both okay?" He asks in a neutral tone, then looks to the kid who asked for help. "What's going on?" Konsho stays back away, the large pup keeping a careful eye on everything happening both near Hige and further out as well.
The rain ends with abrupt departure. The clouds remain, wooly threads covering the sun. The air becomes cold as the euphoria of the skywater evaporates. People notice less the sky and more their surroundings again: the dirty, tinny buildings crammed together like their own lives, the day never beautiful here, and a bit of the nastiness of being a resident of Fuuma returns to the people.
A few of the spilled coins roll right up to Tsubaki's feet, stopping right at her toes. Those around her are snatching up the coins in earnest.
Meanwhile, the little thief wraps himself around Hige's hand in an effort to get himself up, and once he is he ravenously begins gathering the spilled money.
"Quickly, help me, please, he's coming, and I need it, I really need it." People are beginning gather at the murmurings, a large crowd moving towards Hige, Byouki, and the boy, intrigued by the fallen currency. Byouki himself stands, breathing heavy through his respirators, a matching metallic sound as the rustle of the Fuuma factories. He takes a step back away from the boy and Hige, his eye… my, his eye cast over the other's shoulder, at the large man charging through the crowd, a pair of grizzly thugs flanking, the three of them an impressive oncoming sight of strength and size.
"Grab him! He stole from me! That's my money!"
The thugs, seeing now greedy people's fingers snatching up coins, start grabbing into the crowd, breaking hands and wrists and fingers to recollect the ryo.
Tsubaki watches the crowd scramble for the gold coins, and she doesn't move to stop them. Maybe they would waste the money on something stupid; maybe they would spend it on things that are meaningful to them and their family, if they had one (like… food or something). Tsubaki figured that was their decision, though, and if they wanted to waste a chance, that was up to them. When the large man arrives, her green eyes narrow and focus on him. The rain is suddenly shifting, moving… Grabbing at the thugs that are hurting the people around her and keeping their hands in a clamp made of water before said water wraps around their bodies to keep them still. There was no escape from the rain; water that Tsubaki could control everywhere. "…" She's silent as she eyes them, even as the lucky few who managed to escape broken fingers scramble to grab what coins they could. The passersby were ignored, the young Shirayuki fixated on the thugs.
Hige eyes the kid next to him and he frowns slightly before finally saying, "Stay close." He doesn't offer anything else in the way of assurances or whatnot, but it's going to have to be enough while he deals with the more immediate problem. If the kids smart he will stay close. If not then he'll be on his own to deal with the consequences. The teen turns to look over at Byouki and raises a clawed finger from beneath the cloak to point at him. "Don't go too far. You're a part of this, I expect you to help." Kiri nin, not Hige's favorite by a long shot. Shield there are some between Konoha and Kiri that kill each other on sight. But Hige isn't generally so short-sighted. Turning back to the men who are wrapped up in water Hige speaks, acting like he had expected them to be attacked by the elements around them. "If you harm any more people then the same will happen to you. Money isn't worth your life, is it?" Again he speaks in the short statement and question, not offering anything extra at this point as he waits to see exactly what's going to happen with these men.
The thugs look up, around, finally finding Tsubaki's cold gaze, themselves trapped in the Shirayuki's cold waters. The people around Tsubaki flee from here, opening a space between the lot of them, too moving from Hige, Byouki, and the boy, ringing them. Hige's words find a retort quickly, the rotund teen who had been with Byouki before stepping in front of the Kiri youth.
"He will not help."
A long-fingered hand places itself atop Tsubaki's shoulder, it attached to a slender arm, a slender face, a slender self of a young woman wearing an identifiable Kirigakure chuunin vest. "Let them go," she softly speaks.
The other chuunin - the one standing in front of Byouki, afore Hibe, who had before spoken so defiantly - speaks again, louder this time: "This man is a merchant of Kirigakure. A trusted one. Who stole from him?" Byouki dashes a finger at the boy, and the rotund chuunin steps closer to the scrawny other.
"You have stolen, and you have been caught. A lesson needs to be learned here." The Kiri chuunin draws a kunai from his belt, and the large man grins.
Tsubaki feels the hand of the Chuunin on her shoulder. The woman is lucky that Tsubaki recognized her, or she would be a popsicle… That being said, she's tempted to turn the men into such. She continues to stare at the men, looking like she may not actually release them. Eventually she says, voice quiet despite the threat that's clearly within them, "… No running…" Or else! The girl lets the water release its hold on the thugs, though she's more than ready to capture them again, if need be.
More Kiri. First shinobi, and now merchants. This kid really did know how to pick 'em didn't he? Hige continues to eye the men until the one Chuunin mentions a lesson and pulls out a kunai. That is going just a touch too far, in his opinion. "How much did he take?" Hige asks, remaining in front of the kid for as much good as it does. Really, Hige is rather short for his age so they might be the same height and being covered with the cloak it's kind of hard to tell if he's any older than the other kid. One hand keeps a firm grip on the kid behind him while he watches the others. "I don't know what you're thinking, but this is not Kirigakure. Your rules don't follow you here." He's getting in a bit over his head but he can't just leave this kid to deal with this trouble on his own, even if he was at fault. Stealing a little money didn't mean he deserved to suffer the loss of a hand or more. Not in the already horrible conditions that make up this city.
Byouki, amongst all this commotion, is quiet. Things have certainly escalated quicker than not he would expect (being of such exacting standards as exists by Kirigakure), but perhaps more so than your average joe. The crowd thrives with life.
The rotund boy grins, his fat neck flanked by the rising shoulders of the Kiri chunin coat. The large man (the merchant, mind you) steps forward, interjecting himself between the Kiri chunin and Hige. His face is pockmarked, but firm, the body of a strengthy youth losing a bit of its vigor in old age, the world dragging it back down from whence it came. But he is still proud, still industrious in his desires. He looks into Hige's brown eyes.
The merchant turns his head to his thugs, noting their wettened conditions.
"And 500 ryo for my men's clothes."
He returns his dark-eyed gaze to Hige.
"And 1,000 ryo for the business I've lost being out here."
The chunin behind Tsubaki pushes the little Shirayuki forward a step, nudging her towards the merchant; the one in front of Byouki simply stands with his kunai pointed at the boy (but he, he indeed remains quiet).
Tsubaki glances back to the Chuunin, expression neutral for the time being. Then she looks to the guards thoughtfully, making a handseal as she does. The water on their clothes, including that from the rain, is suddenly drawn from the material, forming a sphere of water with it so the men were dry, for the most part. It's not like they could escape the wetness completely, with the rain, but she couldn't help with that. Then her gaze is on the merchant, a brow raised in his direction as if to ask 'is that okay?'.
Hige has absolutely no doubt that the price itself is inflated, much less the fact that he's trying to get him to pay for the money he's 'lost' by being out here dealing with this. The cloak-covered teen doesn't seem to move for a moment though in truth he's pulling out one of his money pouches. The cloak open just enough for the money to be tossed towards the man. "You'll get the 2,000 that was taken. I had nothing to do with your men's clothes and they'll dry anyways. As for business…" Hige glances around, semi-feral eyes still hidden under the hood, "I think we've caused enough of a stir that people are going to be curious enough to visit your shop." His gaze returns then to the man, settling on him as Hige waits to see what his response will be.
As for the others, Hige more or less ignores them at this point. He's dealing with the man that was wronged and that's his focus. Of course he doesn't dismiss them entirely and is still watching them…as is Konsho, the pup possibly forgotten in the crowd. He's especially watching the kunai wielding Kiri nin.
As the water is pulled from the clothes of his 'men' Hige's eyes flit there momentarily before looking back to the man again. "It seems someone has solved one of your problems for you."
The merchant pays no attention to Tsubaki, though his eyebrow does dash when the Shirayuki pulls the water so cleanly from his henchmen's clothes.
The man looks pointedly down at the bag of ryo now resting in the muddy street afore him. His gaze returns to Hibe.
"I don't know where you're from, kid, but around here we don't just throw money around."
The merchant flicks his chin at the bag of ryo at his feet.
"I hope you got a cloth to wipe this off, or another bag to put it in."
Byouki, meanwhile, has crept his way into the crowd of Fuuma residents, moving a few layers back that he can't be immediately spotted. His chunin accompaniment (who seems oblivious or apathetic to the masked boy's whereabouts) takes a step closer to the other youth, the scrappy thief, who's still clinging to the allegedly stolen bag of ryo, the boy's fingers thin, strong in their desperation. The Kiri chunin glances over at his colleague standing behind Tsubaki, and a wicked grin comes to him.
The chunin woman seems to know exactly what the other means, and she pushes Tsubaki forward again, somewhat harder this time.
"The boy was caught. What are the rules, Genin Tsubaki?"
Tsubaki takes a few steps forwards, green eyes hard when she's pushed. "… Thieves must… face justice…" she replies, looking at the boy with a neutral gaze. Then she glances between the two Chuunin, wondering what exactly they wanted her to do. Pass judgment? "… But… we haven't heard his story…" the girl indicates the thief, making no real move to try and approach him. Yet. Interestingly enough, the push resulted in the temperature dropping a few degrees… Enough to definitely be noticeable, even if it's late autumn early winter.
"It's not my fault if you don't know how to catch a bag that's tossed to you," Hige replies simply, voice completely neutral and free of even sarcasm. He simply watches the man for a few moments, eyes peering out from beneath the hood of his cloak. When the mention of thieves is brought back up and a particular girl is pushed forward he turns his head to regard her more fully. He can feel the temperature change, even if he doesn't let it affect him. Perhaps the two are related in some way? Interesting. When she talks about passing judgement Hige turns his head to look at the Chuunin. "That would be fine, in Kiri. Here every man is his own, and does not have to follow the rulings of a foreign location." Hige has considered revealing himself as his markings would easily give him away as an Inuzuka. Just one problem with that. He doesn't know if it would make the situation better or worse. So for now it remains hidden, and one hand remains behind him firmly clasped to the boys arm so he doesn't try and go anywhere. "In fact, you did not technically catch him. I have. You've been paid for your loss and I think that we are done here."
The chunin with the kunai takes a step closer to Hige, his weight much heavier in its closeness. THe chunin behind Tsubaki tenses slightly, stepping up to the side of the young genin, her slim fists clenched. But the other only grins (it, however, is a meager affair: the curl of a lip and the tight squint of his eyes).
"Indeed, stranger. Byouki!"
Byouki leaps from where he was in the crowd, knocking into a few grumbling people, but they - along with most of the crowd now - wander away now that the tension is gone, the money is gone, and the rain is gone. The gray clouds linger.
"Byouki, let's go. I'm done here. Let's go, Ai!"
The chunins depart together, bounding onto a rooftop and then away before any one can really even notice. Byouki, Hige, Tsubaki, and the boy are left. Well, them and the two thugs (who have now been joined by two more) and the merchant, whose money is still sunk in the mud.
"It's your fault if you don't know how to throw it, kid. Look where it landed. You were short. Pick it up."
Two of the thugs approach Hige, the other two still eyeing Tsubaki. Byouki glances at the circumstance… and decides to follow the chunins, the boy dashing over the rooftops and away.
Tsubaki watches the two Chuunin disappear and she simply watches them leave. Then Byouki disappears. She glances over to Hige and the two thugs, eyes narrowing a bit as they threaten both him and, in her opinion, herself. The temperature continues to fall, going from mildly cool to chilly to … freezing, some of the rain turning to hail or snow.
Hige's gaze follows the Chuunin and other Kiri nin as they depart, not seeming to mind one bit the absence of the other ninja. Yet one stays, how curious. However it's time to finish this. He was not here to fight this fight, he had other plans, and he was going to be late now. "I've been more than reasonable," Hige states flatly, eyes narrowing under the hood. "If you insist on continuing this way then I can't be responsible for what happens to you." Finally, Hige reaches up to lower his hood, his Inuzuka markings and the semi-feral eyes coming into full view, as do the fangs that hang out over his lower lip. He may be small for his age, but his gaze and stance holds danger and death in them.
"I suggest you all leave now. Take the money and go before you do something you'll regret later." He pauses as his gaze turns to the two closest thugs, "You won't be of much use without any arms." To help solidify his threat Konsho finally joins him, hackles raised and baring his fangs with a low growl. Lightning starts to dance along the edges of his fur as well, little sparks showing every now and then.
The merchant had gotten closer and closer (edging minute bit by minute bit by minute bit nearer to the Konoha youth), unfazed by the Inuzuka revealing himself (to be honest, the man didn't much know what they representend, though he saw the teeth as a bizarre mark of individuality). The thugs too increase their proximity to the young boy-
Until the wolf arrives. Standing several feet tall with crackling fur… most people would frighten, and these are no exception. The merchant scares; the thugs do too. They all step back. The merchant shouts at one of the men: "Merko, get the money. Let's get outta here. Let's leave these lovebirds to each other."
One of the thugs grabs the bag of ryo, and the merchant and his boys give the Inuzuka and his wolf a wide berth as they wander back down the muddy streets. As the last of the thugs leaves, he spits at Hige's feet.
Tsubaki watches the merchants turn tail and run, then her gaze turns to Hige. She offers him a quiet bow, then takes off after the Chuunin, who may or may not end up punishing her… She has a feeling she did something wrong, judging by the way Ai reacted, but there's no helping that. The Inuzuka was simply noted in her mind for a later report.
When the others retreat away from Konsho's crazy gaze Hige can't help but smile faintly. Once they're actually gone the pup stops the show and sits, looking up at Hige with a sad look. "I told you it'd work," he tells Konsho. "You can pretend to be mean and it'll help a lot." He turns then to look at Tsubaki, nodding to her before adding, "Thanks for the help, Kiri." How intriguing. Once she's gone he turns back to the kid and sighs softly, running through his options. "Alright, you're coming with me for now until I can decide what to do with you. I don't want you out on the street if they come back though." He offers the kid a ride on Konsho before the two take off in a speedy fashion, vanishing from the sight of the common man as they make their way along the rooftops to their meeting.