Tides of Blood - The Unbiased Investigation


Sakuya, Yori, Eiji, Sanda

Date: June 26, 2016


The Cult of Jashin has arrived, and a mission was requested by the Daimyo's Head of Religion to investigate their risk.

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

"Tides of Blood - The Unbiased Investigation"

The Southern Shore of the Land of Lightning

They came to Kumogakure's shores two months ago. A people who had been turned away from the Land of Tea and the Land of Water finally arrived on the southern beaches of Kumogakure. These people proved incredibly industrious, and even accepted taxation by the Daimyo. These people weren't any clan, or anything expected. These industrious people who have already proven themselves valuable members of society were actually a group of people, ousted from their original lands, were members of a strange religion. Those who know of this religion also know that those who follow it wear a mark, a triangle inlaid within a circle. This was the cult of Jashin.

As peaceful as these people were, they were still outlanders in the Land of Lightning. The village they had come to populate was known as Daitokuji, and already it was beginning to look like a lovely little town on the edge of the water. Buildings there showed strange architectural nuances, such as curved rooves rather than traditional styles. Though the town was mostly tents at the moment, clear signs of construction could be seen all over. Wooden frames being set up here and there. People sitting around camp-fires, singing praises of their lord. It was honestly just like any other town across the Land of Lightning.

Only, Team Death's Whisper had been called by contract to do intensive investigation of these people. It was almost strange how quickly the local monastery had put a contract on the freshly-settled people, and the amount of money afforded into it technically classified the mission as B-rank. There were clear fears and apprehensions about these followers of some unknown god, much of it coming from the established gods. Yori was assigned this mission, given him and his team's investigative capacities. The mission was clear. Find evidence of a breach of law, and create a report on it. If these people are breaking any laws, it's important to know. Yet why so much emphasis was placed on it was terribly strange. It was as if this cult was being targeted.

Overlooking the town, further up the beach, Sakuya recalls her studies on her very own clan. She leans on a walking stick she had picked up on her way down from Kumogakure alongside her comrades, musing aloud as she looked down upon the busy people who had come here with barely a word and were already setting up a society. "A long time ago, my people were also considered a cult." The Hebisuuhai Clan looked once normal like everyone else, worshipping the snake like some extreme cult that was also forced underground by the established religion. Slowly but surely, her people's fanatic association with the serpent turned their cult religion into a clan. A clan that now serves the Land of Lightning. Maybe… Maybe this cult will do the very same in time. Who could tell? "Hearing them in the reports… It made me feel like something wrong was going on, but look at them… They don't look like the criminals the mission report painted them as…"

Eiji went with the others as they were ordered to go monitor, research and report back about a set of people who don't follow the normal path. Mentally Eiji thought it a bit ironic, the son of the Reizei clan who doesn't follow the normal path of the main branch, having to potentially hunt others who don't follow the main path either. Shaking his head slightly, Eiji would focus back on the here and now, studying the surroundings then the people below. "Unless you are in Fuuma Alley or something, most criminals don't necessarily do criminal activity in public. This is going to be tough. We have to try and blend in.. and here, we're the outsiders."

Such an odd-sounding group. Sanda had, in her years of being on the sea, never heard of these travelers that worshipped some weird god known as Jashin. It, to her, sounded as ridiculous as someone worshipping the gods within Kumogakure that their local shrine is dedicated to. No, her life centers around the sea, in many senses, and she prefers to think that there are no gods except for maybe weather gods because otherwise the world has been far too cruel. Sanda would make sure to pack up her belongings for this mission before moving out with her new teammates. That was odd to her as well… Being put on a team with people she didn't really know. Yori she had seen around the village doing paperwork, and Sakuya she met while being shown around, but otherwise… No interaction. She wonders if this is intentional… She'll have to curse the person that came up with this team later, though. Right now, it was time for a mission.

Sanda looked at the town from afar beside the other members of Death's Whisper, idly thinking that the name itself wasn't so bad for a team. She glanced to the sides, too, to see what they thought. "Really?" she asks, not sounding terribly interested in what Sakuya had to say. "Weird. And they might just be depicted as evil because the people that asked us to do this aren't really fond of them, right?" Sanda shrugs casually. "Who knows if they actually are criminals or not. All we have to do is keep an eye and make sure the rules are being followed. Or, if they are guilty, find evidence of them breaking the rules. Sounds simple to me." That being said, why on earth did she get put on the case? She had no idea what to do when it came to investigating!! Sigh… "Blend in? How the heck are we going to blend in when we look like this?" she asks. She would sort of gesture to their hitai-ate (and some other marks that shinobi might tend to wear). "I guess we could take them off or something. That /might/ work…" She would then look to Yori to see just what the leader though on this whole matter.

It was an interesting mission but one that Yori was quite intrigued to take on thanks to his search for knowledge. He would have led his team towards the newly built city without much talking, more listening to what the others had to say about various things. IT was always good to have input from the others on your team. Once they could see the city in construction Yori would stop to consider what the others said. "No, we're here to investigate, not to infiltrate. We're here as official protectors of the Land of Lightning and they should expect someone to check on them if they're going to try and raise a village within it's borders. They have been said to be peaceful but everyone keep on guard in case it turns out they aren't." Instructions given, Yori would start towards the village camp.

Sanda had the best point. Contracts can be made by anyone, to do anything as long as you have the money to pay the hidden village to send shinobi wherever you'd like. They're not here to make judgements. They're here to carry out a task from the highest paying customer. Before they began to walk into the village to begin observing the people's way of life. Yori did not instruct them to remove their Hitai-ate, or try to blend in. That must have come to the team as a surprise. After all, ninja ought be stealthy. As Yori shuffled everyone forward, instructing them to remain silent, they could begin to get a glimpse of what the people of this village were like. Nothing really seemed out of the ordinary. Though, if one's hearing was sharp enough, they might hear the word 'Blood' as a recurring theme.

"Do we have enough Blood for the sacrifice tonight?" or "I've donated far too much lately. My head's starting to spin…" are among the many things that seemed to be uttered by the adherents to Jashin. Blood worship of some sort? Many of the citizens are starting to give the team stares, and they have just only started to walk through. There is one thing that stands out the most. The arms of every individual they look at contain scars, and every individual carries what looks to be some serrated blade not built to cut deep, but to cause bleeding. The general atmosphere of the air seems tense, because shinobi have been tools of driving them out of the other places they've wished to settle. In the center of the city stood a large chapel made of wood. If they were to gather information, a good majority might be gained there.

"As long as we keep our weapons holstered, I don't feel that they will think of us as a threat…" Sakuya seemed a bit tense, but perhaps it was partly due to her own religious convictions. As she and her team get a glimpse of the possible practices of these people, she finds herself being tested. How could someone believe in cutting themselves? Do they cut others? What of the sacrifice? The practice is completely legal unless someone outside of the religion is being used for their rituals. Sakuya's hand slips to tap on Zuzu, who lingers beneath her clothing, getting him to wake. She feels she will need him soon enough. "Sensei, if I might make a suggestion… Perhaps we should speak to the temple leaders. Maybe… sit-in on one of their rituals…"

Eiji glanced to Yori as he'd say not to try and blend in. Interesting choice, but the point is made. A simple, "Hai." is given in response to Yori and Eiji would move with the others. He glanced sidelong at Sakuya when she mentions keeping their weapons sheathed. That was generally how Eiji fought anyways, but he wouldn't comment on it. Instead he'd just give a slight nod to her and sweep the area again for what was happening. He did pick up now and then mention of blood and frowned slightly. This was potentially not a good situation.. it felt.. well it felt like trouble, pure and simple. But while his hand rested on the hilt of his blade, he'd keep calm and quiet, ready for something that might come at them, but not exactly going to strike first. No reason to, at least not yet.

Sanda would give a small nod to Yori when the instructions were given. She was glad that they wouldn't have to work on blending in, of course. That came as a relief to her more than a shock… Then again, the shinobi in Naruto-verse aren't known (entirely) for being stealthy… The teen would make her way down to the village, their words making the hair on her neck stand. The talk about blood sacrificing and similar isn't making her feel to well. Normally, she'd make a few pointed jabs to try and relieve her personal tension, but she'd rather not insult the people who seem to be armed with jagged blades. Jagged … blades… She could only imagine what they were used for, and the images coming to mind were far from pretty.

"Keep our weapons holstered… You should know as well as anyone that a ninja is deadly, and not solely because of the visible arms we might wear. Handseals and hand to hand combat are also things that some shinobi can excel in, even if it might not be the case for some of us." She didn't know her team's abilities, after all… All the same, she would refrain from making any handseals lest this cult see that as a threat as well. The last thing she wanted to do is start something violent or dangerous… When Sakuya mentions the temple and sitting in on a ritual, though, she almost loses it right there. The girl's face drained of blood, and she'd give Sakuya a death-glare that could rival many in that instant. "That…" she would start, clenching her jaw to keep the words from spilling out. "Might be a good idea…" She manages to say, suppressing a shudder even as the words escape her mouth.

Yori does well at surprising people quite frequently. As he enters the small village he keeps a tight lipped smile on his face to show that they aren't here to kick anyone out. They were just visiting. "Weapons stay sheathed, voices remain calm. If we find anything of suspect then another team can come in undercover, but for now we simply approach as the protectors of this land as I said." He looks to the large building that's indicated and nods. "Good idea. We'll go speak to whoever is inside, though I don't know we'll want to stay for a ritual, considering the circumstances." Like…tons of blood.

If Shinobi were scared of blood, there wouldn't be wars. The entrance of the building is a simple modest door, no grand cathedral doors await. Though it is clear that their religion would turn the stomach of the common person, they do not seem to be grandiose in any sort of way. Sakuya herself wasn't interested in staying for a ritual, but this was supposed to be a mission to make sure these cultists were not breaking the law. It was clear they were causing upset stomachs though. "Sanda-san." Sakuya says as she peers at her team-member. "Even though…" Her voice lowers… "A shinobi could kill with their bare hands, keeping any weapons out of sight is more like a commonly accepted sign of 'we're not going to kill you'. I'd rather not rustle the people here. Those blades look scary." Eiji's discomfort did appear to rustle some of the cultist's jimmies, because they seemed to move into their houses or tents as soon as they sensed any sort of tension. Not that everyone wasn't a little tense.

The inside of the cathedral was spacious, and under furnished. The only thing that seemed to stand out were the little were the canals that run through the floor, which were certainly easy to trip in, but might have had sinister purposes. It was time to start making observations.

Eiji noted that people didn't like his hand on the hilt. Then again, they didn't like the shinobi there either. Shaking his head slightly, the people's hiding didn't get a comment from him. Afterall, he wasn't here to attack them, just to observe. Once inside the building, he'd look around carefully, frowning at one of the canals before shaking his head slightly. "Watch the dip. I suspect this is where they willingly offer their blood. The blade and the marks on their arm say this is the ritual. At least part of it." Shrugging slightly, he'd look about a bit more before looking to the others, waiting to see where they would go next. A person in charge was probably a good choice at this point.

Sanda would be more than happy to avoid the grisly ritual. Especially if this group was going to be doing some sort of sacrificing. Maybe it isn't as bad as what she imagines it to be (and what she's witnessed before…), but she doesn't particularly wish to find out. "Che… I know that as well as anyone, Sakuya… I just… needed to point that out," she mutters to the snake, keeping her voice low like the Hebisuuhai to try and avoid attention. Of course, they were being watched the whole time they were here because they were outsiders, but she didn't want /more/ attention for gossiping.

Stepping into the temple was both a blessing and a curse. It got Sanda away from the defensive stares, but it also brought her into a world that was creepier than the town itself. At least the town /seemed/ like they could be good people even though they wore outrageously creepy weapons on their person. She looks around, much like Eiji, but she doesn't move while she examines the place. The odd grooves in the floor catch her attention, of course. "Do you think there's any kind of pattern with these channels?" she wonders, tempted to test it out but not really willing to face the wrath of the villagers. She could only imagine what they would do to someone that might have messed up their little rites.

As they enter the temple Yori looks around in silence while the others make their own comments and thoughts on what is there. "Watch your step and be careful," Yori intones softly to the trio before he turns to face them all. "I want you to spread out and search the area for anything that might show illegal activity or seems out of place. Be respectful, however. If they aren't breaking any laws we don't want to cause problems." Yori takes a deep breath then turns and proceeds forwards towards the front of the church, looking for a priest or something similar.

It was a priest that would find Yori, almost immediately after he gave the order to spread out and search. "Shinobi. Why do you come here?" Said the very priest he was looking for. The individual whose eyes came upon him had white hair that seemed to have been rather usual of all people who followed this religion. It was either heriditary, dyed, or some aspect of their ritual caused their hair to bleach. His eyes that looked as if they were drenched in blood. Deep red irises that put fear into the hearts of the common man. Likely the reason he was chosen for his duty as the head of the church, and likely the de-facto leader of these wandering cultists. "I doubt it is to join our praises of Lord Jashin's name." His voice was deep, almost rediculously so. The blood-red ceremonial garb he wore also added to the entire scheme of his character. He was an imposing figure, no doubt. "I am Tomoyo, of Jashin. I speak not of having a last name. To join our religion, we abandon the name of our forefathers and take up our Lord's name as our own." The scowl on the man's face spoke volumes, almost as if he distrusted shinobi in general. "If you seek answers, I will provide them. Shinobi rarely seek answers, only false justice."

Sakuya, before the priest meandered up to her sensei, made an effort to give him a nod before moving off. She ought to have listened to Eiji, because she did not necessarily notice the dips. She nearly tripped, "I wouldn't offer my blood. I couldn't imagine someone bleeding out in one of these channels just… For some false god…" Sakuya winced when she said that. She was supposed to be subjective about religion right now, but was letting her beliefs slip in. "Sorry… I… I don't notice any patterns…" Yet, one thing was certain, all the channels pooled into a central pit made of stone. As she stepped over the channels, Zuzu stealthily slipped from her outfit, and settled in the channels as he slithered his way along them. "I will start searching, Sakuya. Please, do me a favor and try not to trip on me. Idiot." (Perception Rolls now, and any information received will be awarded come my next pose.)

Eiji nods lightly to Yori at the order. "Hai." While Yori went forward and Sakuya went another. He'd muse then go his own way, spreading out and as Yori is confronted, Eiji would start towards the back of the church. He was being polite, not knocking anything over and avoiding the channels, but he wanted to see if there was a back room and what might be hidden behind the front given.

Sanda would nod to Yori and start to look around, the girl wondering if she's going to be as useless as usual. Her usual perceptive skills might not be welcome here, so she had to rely on her actual senses. Well, this is going to come out well for her… Sanda spared a glance back towards Yori when the priest had approached him, her eyes studying the man briefly and deciding he was someone that one should not mess with. He did not have a good aura about him at all, and he reminded her greatly of some people from her past that she despises. It's probably a good thing that she wasn't the one talking to this Tomoyo person, as she likely would have lashed out with sharp words and gotten the whole town in a frenzy.

'Focus…' she mutters softly to herself, wincing as her steps echo across the room. She did not like this place at all, to say the least… While her back was to Tomoyo, though, she would make a few hand seals, making a Genjutsu link to her teammates. Hopefully they would accept it. ~Have you found anything of note?~ she would ask of them, even as she turned her head to search among what seats there were.

When the priest makes himself known Yori bows respectfully to the man. There is no hint of tension or anything negative from him. Simply curious. "It is an honor to meet you Tomoyo-sama. I am Saito Yorishiro of Kumogakure. I'm afraid we don't seek to join your praises but we do seek answers. We only seek justice when something is wrong." He straightens then, letting the familiar (if from a different person…) genjutsu come over him though he has no way to answer and wouldn't at the moment anyways. "We were sent out of concern for the safety of the Land. Others are worried as you have not notified the Daimyo of your intentions to build within his borders. As I'm sure you can see it would make others quite uneasy." He smiles at Tomoyo, trying to seem as friendly as he can despite his young age.

Sakuya and Eiji both notice rather quickly that there is another room at the back of the building. A ritual room locked tightly. Eiji would notice this just because, despite the door blending in with the wall well, there was indeed not enough space in the large ritual room to account for the entirety of the building's size. Sakuya and Zuzu notice it, because the smell of fresh blood was strong in that direction. If there was a hidden secret that was going to blow the lid off this operation, it was likely in that room. Alas, there was an adherent standing right in front of it. Upon his forehead was a circle, with a triangle inlaid within it. Clearly, a zealot who doesn't want their blood stores raided by shinobi no doubt. Sanda notices the subtle sounds of tiny little pittering feet that seem to be coming from down below, but how to get beneath the floor requires a little more looking

"If you are looking for answers, then speak. Perhaps… a list of prepared questions from he whom likely paid for your coming? It was the Buddhists wasn't it?" The man raised his eyebrows, as if making a comical note that this has happened time and time again as he acts surprised. "Such is the issue of Human Sacrafice, I am sure. So much blood, so surely there would be death. Is that not the question you wish to ask?" The tall priestly figure turned away. "No… I musn't let my preconceptions sour my view of Lord Jashin's world. You will be different, won't you? Pray, if you wish to witness the miracle of Lord Jashin, you need only linger. Tonight we will make our sacrifices, and the blood will boil." Aside from the obvious creepiness of the situation, the man's demeanor wasn't hostile.

"Oy, Eiji…" Sakuya whispered as she walked close to her comrade. "You notice it too, don't you? There's definitely a room back there… How do you suspect we investigate it?" She asks, holding her hands behind her back as she tries not to make it noticeable that she is staring at the wooden wall guarded by an adherent. Sakuya would work to distract Sanda's discovery, as she places her hands in a seal rather soon after and contacts her through genjutsu, having the same manner of technique as she. ~We have, I believe. The location of their blood storage area might allow us to understand the Nature of their rituals… Can you assist us in getting through?~ (Fixed)

Eiji glances over as Sakuya steps close, then nods slightly. "I think I do. Stay still a moment." He'd shift slightly, using Sakuya to block line of sight with him and the adherent. He glances at the priest who's engaged with Yori. Pitching his voice low to Sakuya. "Make sure the priest doesn't look back at it." With that, he flickered through a set of handseals, then pointedly turned away to study a painting on the wall. At least, that's what it'd look like to the Adherent. The genjutsu Eiji put in place made it so he could sneak over to the door, watching the priest to make sure he didn't notice, attempt to open the door and slip inside. The secondary genjutsu he did was to cover the sound of the door with the adherent, rendering it silent and looking like nothing changed.

Sanda would blink a bit. In the huge empty hall, it was nearly silent, so the smallest sounds were easy to detect. Especially far from the others. She stayed still for a few moments, trying to ascertain that her ears were not deceiving her before she would turn her attention more fully to the floor. The noises sounded almost like small critters such as rats, moles, and other things that crawled in walls. She was familiar, too, with these sounds because living on a ship tended to give her a sense of which were rats and which were insects that she preferred to avoid. She makes another handseal, forming a bit of mist near the ground and having it swirl around her feet. It would try to slip into the cracks in the ground, seeking out the weaknesses as she attuned herself to the water she was controlling.

Hearing Sakuya speak in her head startled her, and she would snap her focus to the room around her before realizing that no one was trying to kill her right then. ~Blood storage?~ she asks. ~I would prefer to stay away from that… How can I assist, Sakuya-san? Also… What exactly are our abilities?~ This was one of the first times they were all together, and Sanda had no way of knowing what her teammates could do unless they told her…

Sanda would drop her attention from her teammates so that she could check on the mists she was controlling. The girl was now using it to try and figure out what was going on under the floorboards, hoping she isn't chasing after imaginary creatures or something not even of consequence. She doesn't get to notice what Eiji was doing because her back was turned to them, but she heard the small click of a door and would glance back over to her teammates. ~… What'd he do?~ she'd aim towards Sakuya, hoping that she managed to cover the click of the door for the priest. Or maybe Yori's talking would cover that noise as well…

"I have no list of prepared questions saishi-sama," Yori says, giving the priest a bit of a frown at the assumptions he makes. It doesn't seem like the priest is very welcoming. They must not get too many new people in their church. "Why don't you tell me about the god that you serve first, and what kind of sacrifices it is that you do." If they're just giving their own blood that's one thing. If they're killing people…well, that's something else entirely.

Eiji would slip through, likely because these simple people haven't the training of a shinobi to ward off genjutsu. He slipped within, and lo and behold he would find that this room was by far the creepiest of them all. It was a blood-fest, to be certain. Jars upon jars of them, and the smell of iron was thick in the air. It seemed there were places to boil blood and preserve it for long periods of time in order to save it for their foreign and terrible practices. There were no dead bodies, however. There were peculiar tools and tables that looked as if they were meant for restraining people, however. Sanguine practices were held here, and Eiji might even notice that there were tools that might have it's roots in chakra. Perhaps these people used blood in some manner? Like a jutsu of some sort using blood? Likely not. That's Shimizu territory.

Meanwhile, Sanda would find not only Zuzu lurking below, but also Zuzu's dream scenario. Countless helpless animals could be sensed as the soft mist reached below. Likely the live sacrifices for their rituals, mostly rabbits. Sanda could see Zuzu devouring a smaller one, putting it out of it's misery. Poor bunnies. It was fortunate that no one managed to notice the mist used to get beneath the floor-boards. The priest would continue to banter with Yori. "You're far more respectful than any other shinobi that has ever come through my presence. Very well. I will. Jashin is the God of Death, he who guides all to the afterlife. I will be brief, for I realize that you are not here to convert. Blood is the life-force of mankind, for without blood we cease to live. The properties of blood allow it to contain energies, like chakra, that have the capacity to do wonderous things. We come from a more extreme branch, one that casually practices ritual sacrafice of live people. The practicioner draws a symbol into the ground, the symbol of our Lord Jashin, of his own blood before tasting the blood of the one to be sacraficed. The practicioner then kills themself in horrendous ways in order to please Jashin. If done properly, the sacrafice also dies. We've come from Demon Country to escape that sort of practice. It is why your buddhist monks have such issue with us. Pray, we only use animal captives, and our rituals to please the God of Death are prepared before hand." That doesn't mean the technique to kill another with one's own death was lost. "I hope that suffice, shinobi."

It actually seemed so far, that everything was completely legal. No human sacrafice. Nothing at all shown that would be indicative of any real terrible actions that lead to loss of human life. Sakuya keeps her hands in a seal as she continues to keep the auditory link between her comrades. ~Sanda, Zuzu, Eiji, what have you found? Eiji, I'm going to need you to return. The guard is becoming suspicious that you've disappeared.~ Sakuya continues to help orchestrate their team direction the best she can.

~Sanda, Zuzu, Eiji, what have you found?~ Sakuya continues to help orchestrate their team direction the best she can.

Eiji took it in, studying details so he can replicate it later. Glancing back at the voice in his head, he nods slightly. ~Let's move to a quiet location and I will show you what I found. It looks like it's not too bad. However.. well.. I'd rather just show you when I can.~ Eiji would carefully make his way out the same way he did his way in. Once back in position of the illusionary Eiji, he'd drop the genjutsu, nothing really changing for his part due to that masking. Glancing away (finally) from the painting, he'd nod to the others then start for the door to lead out. Now to find a spot they could share the illusion of the room Eiji got to see.

The mists would dissipate once Sanda had a handle on what was going on. It took a few minutes to piece together everything, but she figured it out. And the best part is that no one noticed x.x; Phew. The girl would turn and make her way over to Sakuya, saying, "I still find this place a bit spooky. Maybe once it's finished, it'll be nicer," she would say aloud. Along the genjutsu link, she would say, ~Animals beneath the floor. I imagine they're being kept for a reason, but I'm not entirely sure what it might be.~ She wasn't listening to the conversation the priest and Yori were having, figuring that their team leader would tell them everything so they could piece together the picture together. ~Do you think we're okay to stop looking around? I think I want to get out of her … Right about yesterday would be a good time.~ Her tone is a bit sharp from nervousness, though her composure is that of being perfectly fine, if irritated. Her normal look. When Eiji finally escaped the room, she'd look over to him and say, "Did you really enjoy that painting? Or were you just riveted by the … Subject matter?" she asks, sounding just a bit annoyed. Not for any other reason than to sound annoyed… She would watch him leave, then she'd look to Sakuya. "I'm going too… Unless Yori says otherwise." Then she'd start heading out.

~Oh boy,~ she'd say through the genjutsu. ~I am not going to like what you found, am I?~ she would say towards Eiji, taking a big breath of the fresh air once she passed through the doors. Phew, it was getting stuffy in the unfinished temple…

Yori listens to everything the priest has to say, nodding occasionally and adopting a small smile despite the subject. Still just trying to look friendly. When he finally finishes speaking Yori gives him a final nod of understanding. "I see. That all seems to make sense to me and as long as you're not doing any human sacrifices or harming the land in any way then I don't believe there is anything wrong for the moment. We may want to check back in with you from time to time however, and you may call on us as well if you have any questions." As the others start to leave Yori gives the priest a respectful bow. "If you'll excuse me." And then he turns to follow his team outside, his mind going over the information.

Tomoyo nodded his head to Yori, arms sliding into his sleeves as he bids the shinobi fare well, "You are welcome to come back. Though, be warned, we are a suspicious people. I cannot judge what my kin will do if harassed by too many questions…" He looked to his Adherent as the team left, beckoning him to approach. The young man bowed his head, waiting for his order. The man's head drew close to the Adherent before he spoke his words, "The Buddhists want to play this game with us again. Two can play at it. I want you to head to Kumogakure, and send in a request of our own…"

Once outside, the group would likely tuck themselves in a more private part of the blossoming town to discuss their findings. Even though the settlement was half-tucked into a beach, there were still patches of sparse trees between the tundra-like landscape of the slopes of the mountains. Sakuya would move to one said tree, placing her forehead against it. All the while, her white snake would slither his way up to the tree's trunk, slithering up the thick of it until his mouth was near Sakuya's ear, though his voice wasn't hushed enough that everyone else couldn't hear what he was saying. "Sakuya. They have… quite a few delicacies underneath the floorboard. I partook, as my own payment for this operation…" Sanda could likely fill in more of that story. Sakuya pushed her head from the tree as she looked at her snake, whom had several… bulges in his frame… "You… You didn't… Really? I expect professionalism from you…" … "You ought to train me better then." … Sakuya grunted as she looked at her team-members. "Let's…. Discuss what we've found. I didn't see anything myself." Sakuya was going to write the report. Might as well hear what everyone had gathered.

Eiji would move out with the others, following the team as they gathered. Focusing himself, reimagining the space he saw, he'd make sure there wasn't no one immediately around, go through the hand seals and snare his team into the genjutsu. As his hands would open wide, the space between them was as accurate a replica as he could make of the back room. To anyone not in the genjutsu.. Eiji just opened his hands. "This is what I found. I'm not sure it's innocent as they say."

Sanda is more than happy to be outside of the temple. …. And then the village. She would join Sakuya near the tree, plopping down on the ground with a small exhalation of air when she lands. "That place gave me the creeps," she says. The girl would glance over at the Hebisuuhai duo, blinking just a bit. "That might not have been the best idea… They'll be mad at us and have reason to want to try and put a curse on us or something," she says with a small frown. The teen then turns her attention to Eiji when he appears. The genjutsu takes her a bit by surprise, but she doesn't move to dispel it and takes the chance to observe her surroundings. "Hmm…. Creepy," she states bluntly. "The only thing I can say is that they have rabbits in their basement. Probably less rabbits than they remember, too, considering…" She eyes Zuzu briefly.

Once they reach the area Yori looks between the various people as they speak though he frowns at Zuzu and shakes his head. "Those are not yours to take Zuzu-san. You will pay them back for those that you took." Golden-brown eyes look around the group then as he continues on with what he learned. "They are a group that left hte Land of Demons to have their religion no longer require human sacrifice. From what I can tell there was nothing illegal going on even if it may make others uneasy. As long as they don't harm a person or negatively affect the surrounding area by overhunting then there is nothing bad going on." It just might be unsettling though Yori doesn't seem at all affected by it. "We can come back and check on them again in a few weeks as well, just to make sure nothing new is going on."

Thus, this was what they had gathered. It was clear that the members of this faith, at least this rather moderate faction, do live sacrafice… of animals. At the same time, it appears human blood is important, but it comes from the worshippers themselves. Serrated blades for blood-letting, and special rooms full of jars of blood as well as strange devices that seem to be used for infusing blood with chakra. Also, a rather researched off priest who has had a lot of trouble with shinobi in the past. This seems to be all there was to this cult from what was discerned from the group's interaction.

In short, nothing here was against any law of the Land of Lightning.

Sakuya leaned against the tree behind her as she seemed slightly uneasy. "Well, there wasn't really anything going on after all." Sakuya sighs. "Religion is strange…" Even as a practicing buddhist herself, she didn't see anything wrong with what was going on. "That just leaves the question… Are we going to watch their ritual, or are we going to head back to Kumogakure and become vegan?"

"I'll pay them back all-right." Zuzu said, as he snaked out to wrap around Sakuya's neck. "By protecting them." Call it protection money? Doesn't seem like the snake really makes enough to worry about paying for something…

Eiji would study Yori for a long moment. "Does the whole table for holding a person down on it, not concern you?" Shaking his head, Eiji drops his hands and the genjutsu. "You're the leader. Your call." He looks back over at the church, then the others that may be around, citizens of what feels grisley but is trying to break away from the mainline. He'd look back to Yori. "Does this mean we are leaving?"

Religion is definitely strange. Sanda would stand back up and dust off her pants a few times before she looks over to Yori, Eiji, and Sakuya. "Sounds like a plan, I guess. This was a really interesting mission… I don't know if I really want to come back here again, though," she says, suppressing a small shiver when she recalls the illusion that Eiji had shown them. So gross… She didn't appreciate this cult, regardless of the fact that they were only using rabbits. "I'm more than happy to leave now," she says to tack on to Eiji's question.

- One Day Later -

The mission that Team Death's Whisper had been assigned seemed to not end with the confirmation that the Adherents of Jashin were doing anything wrong. They were a people from the Land of Demons who had fled a more radical branch of their faith, and though their practices were barbaric in the eyes of the established religion, they did not seem as if they were particularly terrible individuals. Sometimes, a false alarm is a false alarm. Yet, there are still those in the established that are continuing the pressure upon these people. Thus, it falls to Yori and Sakuya to continue the search for the truth…
Sakuya seems to be sitting in Yori's chair, in the office that leads to the Head Ninja's office. In front of her are a stack of papers of the limited amount of information Kumogakure already had on the radical branch of this cult. There wasn't much, but what they had was a little frightening. Frequent Wars, and Mass Sacrafice in the name of Jashin. It was… a little scary. "What we saw was nothing like this…" Sakuya's hands were clasped as she propped her chin up by her elbows.

Luckily there was no shortage of chairs in the administrative building and Yori simply had to take another one. He didn't mind being displaced since it was Sakuya. It just gave him a chance to try different chairs if nothing else. The young Saito is going through different papers, examining them carefully for information almost as if he seems to expect there might be something hidden on the pages. "No it isn't, though they did say they weren't like the others. They don't do human sacrifices for instance." Or so they claimed at least. But then they'd found no evidence of such a thing either. "I'm starting to wonder who is so worried that they keep filing requests."

Sakuya's hand moves to the official documents filled out by the one whom filed the actual report. Shuffling the papers around, she brings out the records stating who filled it out. Slipping her hands into her collar she pulls her glasses out of a hidden compartment, one of many within the outfit, and settles the glasses upon her face. "We know who the one filing is. It's the Daimyo's 'Head of Religious Affairs'. Yokoma Hazusashi." Sakuya removes her glasses, rubbing her eyes a moment later as she continues to list the various duties assigned to the individual… "… not only that but…" All relatively useless information. "… lastly, he does have a personal guard of sorts called the 'Shinto Directive'. When I asked our very own priest here in Kumogakure about his recollections, Yokoma was hailed as a legend, combining Buddhism and Shinto into a combination that most of the populace could get behind. Very old guy." Sakuya's glasses are once more pushed into the compartment it was taken from as she stands up out of her seat, sighing. "This isn't the last time he hasn't used shinobi to further religious agenda, but maybe we should move out to Raion with the team and question him and his motives. This… might be as simple as dispelling someone's worry. Yet, if we are asked to observe the cultists continually, it's eventually going to lead to violence…"

Sakuya's hand moves to the official documents filled out by the one whom filed the actual report. Shuffling the papers around, she brings out the records stating who filled it out. Slipping her hands into her collar she pulls her glasses out of a hidden compartment, one of many within the outfit, and settles the glasses upon her face. "We know who the one filing is. It's the Daimyo's 'Head of Religious Affairs'. Yokoma Hazusashi." Sakuya removes her glasses, rubbing her eyes a moment later as she continues to list the various duties assigned to the individual… "… not only that but…" All relatively useless information. "… lastly, he does have a personal guard of sorts called the 'Shinto Directive'. When I asked our very own priest here in Kumogakure about his recollections, Yokoma was hailed as a legend, combining Buddhism and Shinto into a combination that most of the populace could get behind. Very old guy." Sakuya's glasses are once more pushed into the compartment it was taken from as she stands up out of her seat, sighing. "This isn't the first time he has used shinobi to further religious agenda, but maybe we should move out to Raion with the team and question him and his motives. This… might be as simple as dispelling someone's worry. Yet, if we are asked to observe the cultists continually, it's eventually going to lead to violence…"

"Wait, the requests are coming from the capital?" Yori frowns as he stands and moves around the desk to stand behind Sakuya, looking down at the papers she has. "That's odd. I wonder why they would care so much to keep having us check on them. Something seems odd about that." Yori leans over Sakuya's shoulder to grab a page that contains one of the requests and skims it quickly.

This request was made for two weeks from now, requesting a check-up on the cultists for posterity measures. This one is ranked rather high. A C-rank mission for a simple surveillance operation, as if to make the shinobi who was carrying it out far more on-guard than usual. Not only that, but this mission wasn't even assigned to team Death's Whisper. Most of the future mission requests require a different team, as if switching them out would keep the pressure on the cultists. It was not something that seemed fair at all.
Sakuya stepped around the table, looking onto the paper that Yori held. "What is it, Sensei? Do you find something off? Well, clearly there is something. This just doesn't feel right, and… After this week, we aren't even assigned to this mission anymore. It hands off to a different genin team…" Was that suspicious?

Golden-brown eyes skim the one page, then another. He's silent for a few moments as he considers the pages before he finally speaks again. "Maybe." Very reassuring, right? After scanning a few more pages he glances over to Sakuya, flashing her a smile. "What do you think about taking a trip to the capital to talk to whoever sent in all these requests? I think we should find out why they're so suspicious. They may have some clues that can give us as well."

That was what she was hoping to hear. Sakuya returned the slight smile and nodded her head. "Should I send for Sanda and Eiji?" Sakuya says as she slipped her legs together and gave Yori a salute. "I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of this, but we only have a single week to do so. Afterwards, this entire operation goes to a more worthy team of genin." Dropping her salute, she heads over to gather and shuffle the papers…

"Yes, we'll need the whole team for this," Yori agrees, the smile shifting into a bit of a grin at her enthusiasm. He looks at the paper in his hands again before he reaches for a pen and leans down to scribble a note on it. "Sadly that team isn't able to take the mission at this time, so it's now reassigned to us again." Sometimes it pays to be the Head Ninja's assistant. "Send for the other two and then go get ready for the trip, okay? I'll meet you all at the front gate in an hour."

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