Date: June 18, 2013
The investigative members meet after the third assassination, and discover that an old enemy is rearing its ugly head again. Taiki makes an important decision for the good of the clan.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Selective Assassinations - Throwing your hat"
Outside the gates of the Inuzuka Compound
It's the day after the last assassination, around noon-time. After Taiki's team had their turn at the site, Taiki ordered the body taken to the hospital for Usagi and the forensic team to perform the autopsy. He told the team to meet him at the gates the next day around this time to discuss what is going on, since this requires some secrecy while at the same time Taiki finds himself being in high demand by the clan, especially the elders who demand results. So far Taiki has his hands full with squashing rumors and attempts on Kenichi's life, stating that the investigation is ongoing and that while Kenichi is a suspect, he is not the only suspect. Taiki is playing on a fine line here, but surprisingly his known determination for the truth and his utter revulsion against traitors are working in Taiki's favor. He has their attention, at least for the moment.
Thus we find Taiki standing outside the compound talking with two chuunin, one Omega and one Delta, while he goes over the increased patrol assignments. "Check the elder's houses every half hour. Time is of the essence if we're going to solve this mess." Noticing the frowns on the two chuunin's faces, he adds, "Look, I don't like this any more than you do. But the fact of it is, we need to solve this before the Hokage comes here personally. I'm quite honestly surprised we haven't seen her yet, given that these deaths are occurring inside Konoha. I want these people myself, then we'll turn over what's left to the Hokage's office, okay?" The two nod sadly but resolutely, and move out to carry out Taiki's orders.
As Atsuro arrives, he simply waits for Taiki to finish up with the two chuunin. As they leave, he gives the Delta a fistbump (it can be a pretty tight-knit branch) and the Omega a nod, then walks up to Taiki. "You must be in hell," he tells Taiki, a bit of sympathy leaking into his voice, even if they're here to discuss business. "Things are really looking worse and worse for Kenichi," he notes, "If you don't have some strategy to handle it, maybe I could make a suggestion?"
Taizen is here too, and he woofs in greeting to Taiki. "It could be risky," the dog points out. "I know," Atsuro agrees, "But something needs to change soon, or he's chap— er, in trouble." Atsuro looks back in the direction of the chuunin. "Sounds like they aren't holding together so well?" he asks. "Anyway, what did you want to discuss?"
Dressed in dark blues and blacks, Hinotori finally makes his way back from another area they were looking around. Having found a few things primarily the seals, with his Sharingan he is capable of copying it, but also he is skilled in Seals which he does quickly jot down what he saw. As he rounds the corner, and walks over to where Atsuro and Taiki are along with their ninkens. "How are you two holding up?" he asks. With all of this going on, the more pressing parts was how Taiki was doing as well as Atsuro who this is happening to thier clan.
Taiki closes his eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath, then lets it out slowly. "Hell is actually a pretty good way to describe my situation right now, though most of the time I dare not show weakness. With the clan elders for the Alpha, Gamma, and Beta branches dead, they're out for blood. In fact, they're acting more like starving wolves on the trail of a prize buck right now. Sometimes it's all I can do to keep a things on a dull simmer. I dare not show excessive favoritism to my own clan member, and the only good uncle I have amongst the Founders, lest I loose what control I have. So I can't really take time to grieve, for I'm pretty much going non-stop. Really ironic thing though… I have gained more favor amongst the clan as a whole than I have ever had before. That's a good thing though, since I have a feeling I'm going to need it before this is all said and done." Taiki greeted Hinotori before starting his reply, since his teammate basically asked the same thing. "I was hoping you all had a chance to go over your notes and had something I could take to the council, or at least enough evidence to look in another direction other than Kenichi'sama. I have an idea or two of my own, but I'd like to hear what you have first."
"All of the deaths were similar," Atsuro notes, "There are the details you already know, but for one thing there's way more blood than you'd expect. And the way it's splattered, you'd think they went down fighting, but nothing else indicates that. They're either very tidy fighters, or someone thinks they're clever. Keichi's scent and hairs from his nin-dogs were there, but the hairs are suspicious — way too clean. Someone's trying to make it look like it was him. There was a piece of cloth near the window in last nights' scene… it actually smells kinda familiar… just don't know why."
He shrugs, "Anyway, glad you're holding up. Kenichi's going to be a problem though. So… here goes: take him into protective custody, but say it's an arrest. Make it look like we're really going after him. We can satisfy the bloodlust a little while making sure nobody kills him. The one risk is that the murders'll stop… and then it really looks like him. But something's going to happen to him soon, I'm pretty sure, so we may as well make sure it happens on our terms." He pauses and adds, "That, or tell him to stop bloody talking to anyone of any topper importance in the clan. Him being the last person to see all three people is /really/ damning. He's not doing himself any favours by setting himself up like that."
Hinotori studies Taiki for a long moment and listens as he describes his current state of being. Nodding because he agrees with Atsuro that he is going through hell right now. Sighing a bit, Hinotori waits for Atsuro to give his report and as he does, his findings are similar to that of his own but there is something else. "Well in a similar state." HInotori says as he moves closer, folding his arms across his chest. "The firs two attacks were indeed very well execute, hardly any evidence whatso ever, but on the third attack is where things took a turn for the worse." frowning a little, "The third attack was interrupted during the clean up, also I was able to match Inuzuka Kenichi's shoe, but there was one full print and one partial print that didn't match up at all." Quirking a brow up slightly above his left eye, "I was also able to copy this." he pulls out a piece of parchment with a glyph drawn, "It was fading away but I was able to copy it, and also I'm studying it a bit. But here." he hands the parchment to Taiki.
Taiki listens to both people and sighs heavily as he takes the paper. "Well, your second suggestion, while it would be good advice, would tip off whoever's doing this that we're onto them without some kind of solid reason. Your first suggestion, however," Taiki notes as he looks at Atsuro, "Is likely the best bet. Kenichi has already said he'd voluntarily go into custody, which some see as him running. But if we did it the way you're suggesting, we'd likely have a good chance of catching the real perpetrator. I know for a fact Kenichi would agree to it, so we may go with that route."
Taiki then turns to Hinotori while eying the drawing. "Any idea what it does? I can likely crack it if given enough time, but finding the time is… challenging at the moment, for obvious reasons. Though the signature symbol looks familiar…" Taiki blinks and then shakes his head as he realizes something. "Though this would preclude Kenichi from being the suspect. He knows nothing about fuinjutsu. That's more my area."
Atsuro folds his arms and sits back as Hinotori gives his report. The glyph he knows nothing about, of course, but the stuff about the footprints is interesting. "The prints were in blood?" he asks Hinotori, then looks over to Taiki, "Please tell me Kenichi's shoes don't have some kind of unique sole. And if they do, please tell me he reported a pair missing before all this started, or there's some way to copy them. When's the last time he walked in mud?"
He nods as they discuss his suggestions. "The first is better," he agrees, "I don't think the second one would tip them off so much as show them that Kenichi is capable of basic pattern recognition, but whatever." He holds up a finger, "The first one still has the risk of making him look worse, though." He glances to the glyph, suddenly realizing something. "Isn't it possible for him to get it from someone else, though? Should I just fail to remember that when we're discussing it in public?"
With the questions asked to him Hinotori thinks for a moment before answering, also looking to Atsuro when he poses his question about Kenichi's prints. "The glyph is of a Fuinjutsu, it's a masking seal. It's primary objective is to assist in stealth techniques, eliminating all passages of chakra on a given surface, also it renders the user temporairly camoflaged like that of a chameleon.. This isn't a standard technique by far, it takes a great deal of time and concentration to even get the seal completed correctly."
Turning to look at Atsuro, he shakes his head, "The foot prints were in mud, no blood found there at all." he explains. "I found them outside the window, but on a interesting note." Hinotori looks back to Taiki, "I didn't find any tag remnents which means the seal had to be directly applied, further keeping with the stealth they were using."
Taiki nods as he absently studies the seal in question. "It's a good seal… every bit as advanced as you think Hinotori-san," he says as he looks at this. "This would take a seal expert to pull off… It's on par with my best healing technique, or my Seal Encampment Wall. Definitely too advanced for someone who doesn't know much of anything about fuinjutsu to use." He peers at the drawing, then pulls out a storage scroll and releases another drawing of another seal. Atsuro would recognize it as one of the more painful trap seals they encountered at the Hokage Mountain. He passes these two slips to Hinotori first, with a motion to share them with Atsuro. "Compare these areas," he says, pointing out specific areas.
While both of them are looking over the seals in question Taiki nods slowly. "It could, but any plan we utilize could backfire on us rather spectacularly. But something needs to happen soon, or we'll be out of Elders completely. Already the branches affected are arguing about replacements, and I for one don't like the person the Alpha Clan is putting forward. Remember Hiruko'san? The… esteemed elder… that blamed me for us having to do the investigation in the first place before making me responsible for hunting the Recluse? If she gets it…" Taiki shudders once and says, "I'll fight her for the position myself if needs be."
Atsuro nods to Hinotori. "Alright," he says, "Was just wondering really. Although that makes it a bit hard to fake, depending on exactly who did it." Not looking great for Kenichi, but it hasn't really for a while now.
Taiki shows him the seal… and he doesn't really know what to make of it. "I don't know jack about seals," says Atsuro, "You're going to have to spell this one out for me kid." He adds in a sing-song voice, "If you think that's embarrassing for me, just remember that I've had to spell out /all sorts/ of things for youuuu." He cuts short as he hears about the replacements for Tao. "Her?" he asks, "Ugh. That would be a death blow for this clan. We just start to get out of the whole mess with your uncles, then we have her dragging us back down again. Does she have any support in the other branches? Maybe we can dig up some dirt on her. Openly supporting traitors to the clan would be a start…"
Taking the slips, HInotori looks them over, noting that they match he smirks a little. "I see." he says as he hands it over to Atsuro. He quickly explains the seal, just as Taiki does, but then goes quiet. He didn't knwo fo the structure the Inuzuka used, but like all clans, most of this isn't public knowledge which is a good thing, but also it's bad seeing as whoever is doing this is trying to take out threats that may pose a problem for them to take over, which is only Hinos thought. "Explain these two seals a bit more." he says as he looks up at Taiki.
"Thankfully no," Taiki responds to Atsuro's question first. He then takes back the slips and says, "This is the sketch you gave me. This other one is a sketch of a trap seal we came across while removing the Recluse from their hidden base in Konoha. If you look at the signature marks, they're identical…" he says as he looks between the two. "In other words, it looks like Atsuro's first inclination is right, we have another traitor in the clan. They've somehow managed to plant yet another person into the clan for the express purpose of following their aims, whatever those are. One thing for certain, they're against progress. This is bad… very bad. We need to find the real perpetrator as soon as possible, or bad things will happen."
Taiki looks back toward the compound and then adds, "Hinotori-san… be on the lookout for people who have an irrational fear of /anyone/ accumilating more power than the average person of their clan. The Recluse are…. masters of stealth, infiltration, and recruitment. They will hire clan members to do their work for them, much like my two traitorous uncles did. Do not underestimate them."
Taiki looks back at Atsuro and says, "I have a suspicion she is either part of this issue, or has no qualms profiting from it. Either way, that makes her a bad choice for Clan Head. We have work to do, Atsuro…" Taiki pauses for a moment, then shakes his head. "I'm throwing my hat into the ring. We can't afford her, or anyone her faction would compromise for…" It's obvious Taiki is very nervous about saying this, but he is resolute in his conviction.
"Apparently she has support in the Alphas, though," he notes, "The ones who count… ugh." He looks down at the drawings, nodding along with Taiki, though he only kinda understands. "Okay," he says, "Basically, some of the seal is unique to Recluse, so they must be involved somehow… and they're using their old techniques." Vindication. Which feels much worse than usual. "Great," he says, sighing.
"She'd be bad either way," he says, not even really giving those complaints proper consideration. "I guess if the investigation is making you as popular as you say… might work. You realize this is a /huge/ responsibility, though? Leading a clan this big, especially in this stage, is going to be like being under siege 24/7."
Looking at the similarities of the two seals, he then catches what Taiki meant. "Ah ok I see it now." Hinotori apologizes. Looking to Taiki as he explains that there may be others hiding out here in Konoha and that implications of an Alpha member may be in league with the Recluse only brings up more questions. Nodding his head a little bit, "Alright, well we better find out where they are hiding and take them out soon or this woman you don't want in charge will have all she needs to fully take over the Inuzuka." he say sto both Atsuro and Taiki.
Taiki shrugs, then stands up straight. "With the way things have been going lately, a 24/7 seige would be the same thing I've been doing, just on a more permanent basis. I can't say I'm ready for it, and I can't say the prospect of being the Clan Alpha isn't daunting, because it is. But at the same time, I'd rather take the position knowing that my clan would be safe with me than allow it to fall into the hands of her or someone like her. I realize I'm young, but…" Taiki shrugs and then looks over as one of the patrols call his name. "It looks like I'm needed. Meet me later?"