Verge of Darkness - Mysterious Sickness


Shuuren, Imire, Asami, Sakuya, Taro

Date: February 13, 2016


Someone seems to have poisoned the daughter of a feudal lord, and the best medic was sent for. Naturally, that best medic is Shuuren, who brings his personal entourage of guards and guests. What will they find..?

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

"Verge of Darkness - Mysterious Sickness"

Land of Lightning

With the sending out of good news from Tea Country, some bad news came into it in the form of a letter from the feudal lord of a small village on island to the east of Kumogakure. Apparently his eldest daugher has fallen sick suddenly and none of his own village meics have figured out the cause, so he decided to seek the help of the Daimyo. Since he was kind enough to provide a list of symptoms that the other medics gave him in the letter, Shuuren was able to form an idea, and it seems he may suspect foul play because he has brought along reinforcements.
It looks like Imire's getting his first taste of what it feels like to bear the trust and weight of being one of the Daimyo's personal guard, as even Daoma has been left back in Tea Country in favor of allowing the boy a chance to shine in his position. With that, however, comes a test of his will for trying to cooperate with and maybe even lead others since Shuuren has brought along three others to participate.
The first is Sakuya, a Hebisuuhai from Kumogakure. It's a little odd to only request a single shinobi from a village, but perhaps the Daimyo took special interest, or maybe he just thought that little bit of backup to assist the others would be beneficial.
Second are Fuma Asami and Taro. The latter of the two Shuuren is somewhat familiar with, perhaps extending an olive branch to in the form of a paying mission such as this to show that his refusal to bring him along another time on that trip aroun Tea Country was strictly protocol with an unknown figure as he said. Naturally enough the offer was extended to Asami as well since having a solid four person team tends to work well when one feels a mission may turn out to be much darker than orginally perceived. Of course, he could very well just be spending a lot of money to have three extra people watch him heal a young woman, but only going there to find out will tell.
At the docks of the Land of Lightning, the Daimyo currently stands near the helm of the ship studying a map over as he awaits the arrival of those he hired out for the mission. Imire hopefully is standing by the entrance onto the deck where the ramp currently sits to greet the other three as instructed as well as be sure they are who was requested to come a not imposters trying to kill Shuuren. That task may a bit above the boy's perception level righ now, but he's got to get practice at it some time.

Imire was surprised that he was selected over Daoma to take part in this mission. Of course, the best case scenario has him doing little but stand around like a good guard, but the worst case is likely to be exciting. The teen stands at the top of the ramp that led to the ship's deck, and he squints a bit against the light hitting off the water. "Hebisuuhai Sakuya … Taro … and Asami … Hebisuuhai Sakuya … Taro … and Asami …" he mutters to himself, recalling the names and the faces associated with each. He was given some form of photo identification of the group, right? Excepting Asami, perhaps, but Taro could vouch for her as needed. The teen had a sword at his side, but it was mostly decorative. He didn't really use it well … Shuuren could attest to such. But the Daimyo had selected him personally, so the teen would see that he performed his task. "Kami, help me…" he groans inwardly, praying for the best case scenario to play out. His confidence? Shot. Perhaps that was why he was shaking just a bit? Oh, wait, no. That was just the chill from the wind off the sea. Nothing to do with nerves and fear.

Asami isn't interest in watching Shuuren heal someone. She heard there was mercenary work available, and since her plans regarding Kumogakure were pretty much wrecked and she is avoiding any further situations that could result in her brother encountering ninja from Kumogakure, it seemed like a good idea to take this opportunity to get out of the country. And somehow, in the process, they wound up also having a Kumogakure ninja on the same job as them. Super.
The kunoichi still sees it as an opportunity to see what ninja from the Hidden Cloud are capable of, which is the entire reason they came to the Land of Lightning in the first place. Asami is unhappy about not having Rei with them, but she's more likely to go unbothered in Kumogakure than Taro or Asami.
So for now, Fuma Asami is definitely hoping to see combat. She and Taro need experience and practice to help prepare them for the next tournament in the Land of Jade. Body guard duty isn't useful if no one tries anything, and Asami has about as much interest in learning medicine as she does in learning how to be an erotic dancer. Namely: None whatsoever.
She is a Fuma. She wants to test herself in battle. Still, she tries to control her aggressive impulses, approaching the ship, waving off the greeter, and then advancing up the ramp with Taro in tow, unless prevented from doing so. Taro might stay behind to 'vouch', or not. But Asami does not appear to have any identity to prove to Imire. She has never had any contact with this Daimyou person, is completely unknown, avoids being photographed (as Taro should have, if he has any sense), and thus there'd be no way of verifying anything about her.
With Fuma Shuriken strapped to her back, she just plows on through. Unless, again, she is stopped from walking onto the ship with a huge shuriken strapped to her back.

Sakuya came with high recommendations! She is after all, one of the most prominent genin of the Hidden Cloud. Sakuya's first mission was considered an S-rank, she has been a part of various tracking missions, and perhaps most important to Nagamura Shuuren is that she is perhaps close to being as strong as any average chuunin! At half the cost, because she is indeed still a genin. That is most likely the reason Sakuya is here. This was a mission within the reaches of the Land of Lightning, and the only reason Shuuren was likely chosen by this feudal lord was because Nagamura Shuuren was once a shinobi of Kumogakure. This makes him a very trustworthy person to the eyes of all who live and breathe in the Land of Lightning.
Sakuya herself was not completely aware of the fact that Shuuren was as famous as everyone seemed to claim. The first time she had met this man, she was decidedly take aback by his gloriousness. She knew even from the beginning that he was more important than everyone else. Why? He wasn't covered in dirt. Sakuya is currently watching the Daimyo at the helm, her forked tongue flicking as she watches the well-dressed individual look at his map. All the while, she is flipping through her notebook back to her original notes on the person. »Michiko liked him…« Sakuya communicated to some presence with genjutsu. »Why is it that -I- have a bad feeling, Zuzu? Not that anyone sees him in Kumogakure much anymore.« … «You're still offput by his scent? Why, because it is familiar? If you haven't figured it out now, then let me remind you of what I figured out last time. Nagamura Shuuren smells like we do, but stronger. He is not one of us, mind you. He is different. He was not born as he is now, like you were, but he has become more than you. Perhaps I am simply making assssumptions. Carry on with your pathetic excuse of a notebook, but I warn you there is more to him.» … »Are you sure he just doesn't have a pet ladysnake that you are smelling?«
Sakuya represented Kumogakure in a shinobi-oriented outfit. She wore black pants, and a black shirt which attempted to help her be more stealthy. Alas, that is all wasted, as she also wears a white sash that is tied around her waist, and looped over both her shoulders with sought to keep any bagginess in her shirt limited. Despite all her moody inner thought she shares with her pet through genjutsu, she has a rather forced bright smile, and her eyes are even wide open and curious. It only adds to the creepiness, as her eyes were slitted like a snake's eye. Oh, and there was a snake that blended in with her sash, white scaled with the same purple eyes as Sakuya. That was Zuzu, her snake. Her better half, if you will.
Oh… Was she supposed to talk to Imire? She noticed him cycling through names. Had she snuck aboard? How long was she there? No, actually, Sakuya had already reported in with Imire earlier! That must have been the case. Perhaps she had arrived rather early, to show Kumogakure her dedication that never seems to get rewarded. Imire was probably repeating her name so that he remembered it!

Taro was walking towards the docks a bit, and sighed as he did so. Recent events had him kind of down, but he was glad he was gonna be able to just hopefully knock some skulls together together with his sister. Would cheer him up a bit right? EIther way he knew he just wanted to do something and take out his issues on someone. A bit of walking was all it took for him to see the docks. He did folow Asami all the way up to the boat, and no he didn't have his photo taken any. He wasn't stupid. Though Imire would recognize him from talking before, and that was all he cared for, and he of course would make sure that Imire knew it was them. He had two swords on his side and a shuriken of his own on his back, but he would pause for a moment and look at his sister. "Hey Asami." He then walked over and gestured for her to join him near another spot on the boat. "You know I think we could stay here in Kumo honestly. I understand the bothersome side of my dumb moves, but I think we will be fine. He did notice Sakuya but didn't say anything. He didn't care for the girl all too much.

As the other start to arrive, Shuuren would cast a glance from his perch at the helm once in a while to see how Imire is doing. The nervousness the boy holds in performing this task is obvious, but performing it in reptition is the only way to eventually get rid of that nervousness. One day he'll stand tall and conident as a guard just like Daoma, or at least that's the potential Shuuren sees in him if he stays the course and continues to train diligently in all areas. Another glance is cast the way of the Hebisuuhai who came a bit early, the Daimyo perhaps wondering exactly what it is that she's jotting in that book. No matter. As a Kumogakure shinobi, hopefully she at least feels that they are comrades in a matter even if he has retired from traditional shinobi life.
Once all parties have arrived, he motions for a dock worker to untether them from the docks. The ramp is quickly put up and the ropes undone while the Daimyo looks down at those gathered, having apparently given Imire all the time he's going to get to check them over. He's going to have to learn to be swift in his job if he's going to keep up with the schedule Shuuen keeps. The Daimyo has likely already verified the identities of the shinobi and the two mercenaries in his own way anyway.
"Welcome aboard. Most of you know me," he says then looks more directly to Asami an offers her a light bow of his head. "I am Nagamura Shuuren, Daimyo of the Land of Tea. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." Glancing more between them all once again, he says, "Thank you all for accepting the mission… I will explain the details on the way." With that they are off into the sea to head toward the island as expediantly as possible.

"Hold please," Imire requests of Asami. The teen would use his sword to keep her a fair distance away from the ship. "I need to know your name and business." His green eyes would stare intently at Asami, flickering to Taro when the other Fuma approaches. "Yo, Taro …" He pause a moment, wondering how best to verify that the Fuma was who he believes. "Can you tell me … Where we met first? And what we did?" Something that the real Taro should know, and hopefully something insignificant enough that no imposter would come to think of requesting that information. In all likelihood, an imposter would expect the capable mystery samurai rather than the inexperience Imire.
Provided that Taro answered the question correctly, Imire would let both wandering mercenaries pass before waving to people to haul away the ramp up to the ship. It's only natural that Shuuren beat him to the punch, but at least Imire thought to do so, right? The teen sheathed his sword and followed the pair so that he could lead them over to where Shuuren was, then the teen moves to stand at the Daimyo's side as guard. He tries to look confident as possible despite the fact his innards were turning and tumbling in a very uncomfortable way.

Asami pauses when stopped, finding the idea of checking her identity to be a bit… Silly. "What kind of mission is this that you need to verify the identities of mercenaries you didn't know were coming? Neither I nor my brother announced we would be here in advance. Did we?" She turns to Taro, who Imire seems to know somehow. She isn't sure how she feels about that.
"I see no reason to give my name, unless it's already been offered. I'm not even certain if I'll be accepting the job yet. I haven't heard the nature of it, after all. I intend no offense, but if we decide not to take part, leaving a name in your hands would be a bad call on my part."
She sighs and folds her arms under her chest. "Still, if you already know my brother, you probably already have heard my name. It is Asami." She leaves it to Taro to prove he knows this teenaged ramp guardian and that Asami is okay to accompany him as a result. If Taro can prove it's really him, and is 'vouching' for Asami, then that's that. Though if Taro gave them information about their movements and identities already, Asami is going to have words with him later. He's already in the habit of running off and only letting her know after the fact. Not communicating this sort of thing to her is going to be a problem if it continues.
Geez! Little brothers!
Assuming she gets onto the ship, again she is treated to something she does not find at all acceptable. She decides it's time to put her foot down. "Nagamura-san," she starts, "There are a number of peculiarities about the handling of this job so far that I wish to address. To begin with, verifying our identities. I don't know what the purpose behind that is, or what the nature of this mission is that you need to check that mercenaries-for-hire are who they say they are, but I will go ahead and make the logical conclusion that if you are who YOU say you are, it has something to do with preventing assassins or some such."
She holds up two fingers. "There are two problems with that. First of all, we are not going anywhere until we hear the nature of the job. I do not intend any rudeness, but we will hear what the mission is about BEFORE setting sail, not after. As I have indicated to your companion, we have not yet decided to accept the job. If we discover it is not to our liking after departing, it would be quite an inconvenience to have to walk back. I'm afraid I must insist upon knowing what we are doing and where we are going in advance. My apologies."
Valuable experience or no, this is how a veteran mercenary would handle this. Only a complete idiot would just get on a boat without knowing where it's going on the promise that a stranger will let them know on the way, and further under the assumption the job will be worth the pay. As well… She ticks down one of the fingers. "Also, since this appears to be a mission so important that we need to prove our identities… I'm afraid I must ask for proof that you are who YOU say you are as well. You are not the only one with enemies, and there are many in the world with foul intentions. I prefer to take precautions against imposters too. Can you verify YOUR identity to someone you've never met?"

Sakuya would slowly notice the people start to trickle on board. First, she sees Asami. This Kunoichi did not look very happy. Understandeable. She wasn't from Kumogakure, and she does seem to have the scents of a woman with a chip on her shoulder. Mercenaries. Mercenaries come and go in the Land of Lightning. Wanderers are here and there. She wished some wanderers would stay around, like Soren. Whenever they go, Sakuya often wonders what life is like for them on the road. They must have a good time. At least in the books she reads, the journey is always the funnest part. Never the destination. Who surprises her the most was likely Taro, whom she knew quite a bit. She leered at him, but eventually sighed and gave him a small Sakuya smile. «I hate that kid too, Sakuya.» … «I don't hate him, I just don't like him. Well, a part of being a shinobi is to get along with people you don't like!». All her chakra expenditure for keeping communications might be suspicious. So instead she would whisper to Zuzu in some undescribable language, which was likely an order to keep his watch on Taro at all times.
"No going back now." She would turn to Taro as the ship begins to move. "Hello, everyone. My name is Sakuya." She would walk up to Taro momentarily and bow her head. "Michiko-sensei told me that you know her. If we had any past issues, I hope you'll look past them." Not everyone in Kumo wishes Taro dead. Only most of Kumo… With that, she only had to look towards the Daimyo, whom she needed to study more. This was a good opportunity to try and piece together all that she senses of him. "It's hard to trust people without allegiances." she would say as she studied the Daimyo, though was still talking to Taro. "Yet, those unallied people are some of the best-natured people… Sometimes…"
It was indeed now time for the Daimyo to riddle everyone with the details of this mission. Sakuya knew the basics already. It was partly an investigation of sorts for Sakuya though. A Lord's daughter suddenly sick? If it was foul play, then she was in the right spot. Sakuya, tutored by Saito Jon, was going to learn to use her mind and unwravel all possible evidence leading to the culprit of who was causing this mischeif, if there was someone doing so. It was her duty as the junior investigator of Kumogakure, whose duty was-. "Are you having illusions of grandeur again, Ssssakuya?" Zuzu spoke in plain english, so everyone could hear. Such a blatant assault on her in the middle of doing the very same caused the young girl to blush. "I… I don't know what you are talking about, dear Zuzu." »SHUT UP, SNAKE!« … «You were, weren't you? Hilarious. If I had the capability to laugh, I would.» … »Still, don't you think it's a little strange that anyone on an isolated island with little contact with the outside would suddenly get sick? Miasma theory or germ theory, Zuzu, that doesn't just happen. Isolated populations don't fall to disease that easily. It has to be someone making her sick… So you and I are going to make sure we do a little research, got it?« … «By the plagues, here comes another goose chase. A goose we cannot even eat. You're a fool.»
There was really something that caused both Zuzu and Sakuya to suddenly shudder. It was the attitude dripping off the Kunoichi. While Taro was rather calm, and respectful, Asami was absolutely different. She was spitting rude everywhere! That's another thing. Wanderers are allowed to freely express their inner nature as much as they want, as freely as they want. »I envy her, Zuzu. I remember when I started my time of the month… I got so angry that I made you do all the work, Zuzu. I also gave people lip, and acted out.« … «That was fun for neither of us… Hmm. She does seem quite the spicey one, doesn't she?» … »Are you -condoning- that kind of behavior?« … «As a snake, I simply like humans with a spicey angry attitude.» Sakuya would shake her head as she suddenly approached Asami… "Excuse me… You are… a mercenary, are you not? Mercenaries are in it for the gold, are they not? I suspect that even if this job was the most simple in the world, you are still getting paid. If this is inconvenient for you, there is still time to jump overboard and swim to shore." Sakuya was serious, even though she kept a nice bubbly smile. She tried to act. "Oh, by the way, I can confirm it. This is indeed Nagamura Shuuren. In the flesh. Former Kumogakure Shinobi, and current Daimyo of the Land of Tea." Sakuya reached up to the forehead protector on her arm. "I confirm that I am a shinobi of the Cloud, and I'm pretty sure I've smelled him before." Sakuya's forked tongue flicks out of her mouth a moment. He's the employer. She is employed by him, thus, Sakuya has to step in and defend him.

Taro looked at Imire and then to Shuuren. Well he didn't really expect it to be them when he asked for the job, but it worked he supposed. You don't just expect the Daimyo of The Land of Tea to be in Kumogakure and surrounding lands… Even if he used to be from there. Taro looked over at Imire and frowned a bit. "Imire. This is my sister. And I doubt I can remember where we first met. Not like it matters anyways. As my sister says we are simply mercenaries. You wouldn't come to find mercenaries if you couldn't handle there being assassins in their ranks. Trust me… I am sure you don't have to worry about us." He looked at Asami. "Sorry. I didn't know it was them that were asking for the job, but yes I have met them." He looked at the boat and just stepped on as Shuuren seemed to comfirm already, and he followed his sister with a few paces keeping him behind her. He looked at Sakuya when she came up and kinda listened to her and his sister. "Sakuya. The past is already behind me as you don't just suddenly accuse me of murder again. That didn't happen!" He shook his head a bit. "I wouldn't suggest my sister murdered anyone either if I was you." ANd with that he would stick by his sisters side for the moment.

As Asami speaks, Shuuren looks down at her an lifts an eyebrow as he stalls the wheel to not quite head out just yet. "I am a Daimyo of a land. Attempts on my life are made more often than I let on about. Having a guard at the gate to be sure no one is trying to kill you is rather standard practice or someone in my position, even if it's basically just practice and my guard's not quite competent yet in how he's supposed to be doing this since his job was to just greet and passingly inspect you as you came aboard, not ask for your life story or verification. For that I apologize, but he is still learning the proper way to do things." A brief glance is cast Imire's way before he gazes back at Asami. That boy has a long way to go, but no one ever said training up new guars didn't have its points of being annoying. He hates to scold by pointing out the flaws he made in front of others, but it seems necessary in this case.
"I have been contacted by a feudal lord and told his daughter has suddenly fallen incredibly ill. Judging by the list of symptoms he provided, I am keen to suspect foul play and that this might be an assassination attempt. This is also why I'm in a bit of a hurry to move forward with this mission since there is quite literally a life at stake." When she asks for verification of his identity, he starts to step down onto the deck where they are and reaches into his coat to withdraw a closed scroll and a box of some sort. He holds the scroll out to her, saying, "This is the letter I received." Once it's clear how it was addressed, he puts it back away then opens the box to reveal his official seal, something that never touches the hands of another. "Unless I were an S-Rank assassin and had already killed myself to pry this seal and my daimyo cloak away, I would not have these things. I also wouldn't risk my identity being revealed by using this ship to sail around or hiring a shinobi from Kumogakure where the missive I sent to request shinobi assistance would have been thoroughly inspected. One thing they would specifically look for is the use of this seal and my exact manner of its use."
Once all that is said, he closes the box and moves back up to the helm of the ship. "I trust that is all sufficient?" he asks as he casts his gaze Asami's way once more. "Either way, this ship needs to move forward."
It seems all of Sakuya's staring at him is basically ignored for now.

"I thought you were," Imire mutters. "I just know that there were two mercenaries set up to come here. So I wanted to make sure you were who you say …" He was just a bit too paranoid this time around! Newbs … :| The teen would frown just a bit when Asami continued on with her comments. "You can talk to Shuuren-dono, then," he would tell her as he led her further onto the boat. At least Taro seemed fine. Imire sort of knew Taro, so recognizing the other's mannerisms wasn't too difficult (if they were to be trusted, at least). Imire would just stay silent when the fiery Fuma and the Daimyo discussed things, and he couldn't help but cringe slightly as his mistake was pointed out. But he could apologize later for his actions. Note to self: be discreet. Sadly, Imire didn't work often enough with Daoma to have recalled her own mannerisms and what she did when Shuuren was around strangers. All he had to go off of was Ryuusei, whom was arguably one of the worst bodyguards if Imire wasn't counted within their ranks.
Then Sakuya and her snake spoke up. Well, just Sakuya. But Imire couldn't help but stare a lot at Zuzu. Was that snake like those dogs that the Inuzuka had? Or was the snake something different than that? He wanted to see what kind of relationship the pair had, but now was really not the time. Still, the green eyes would stare at the slitted purple ones as he wondered at the snake and its partner. Taro speaking up about begin accused of murder startled him, and he would say, "But you seem like a nice guy!" suddenly. Then the teen would realize he spoke up about something that really wasn't his business, and he would promptly close his mouth and grip the hilt of his sword. 'Don't speak. Don't breathe. Don't move. Maybe everyone will forget you said anything …' he thinks to himself, gazing straight ahead as he tries to avoid everyone's gaze.
Fortunately for Imire, the Daimyo is a super-smooth talker. So smooth that he can … hopefully smooth over any awkward and heated situations that arise. Like this one. The teen just couldn't help but feel impressed that Shuuren was so readily prepared. The life of a simple 'man' doesn't really help, though. He knew little to nothing about personalized official seals and Daimyo cloaks. For the younger man, everything felt as far off as the stars.

RPCOMBAT: Asami defends against with a CHAKRA-SENSING-TECHNIQUE…30

When Sakuya starts talking to her, Asami puts off acknowledging her while she is waiting for an answer from the person she's actually speaking to. She has been cool as ice throughout all this, except for a moment of exasperation over the possibility of her brother sending word ahead. Thankfully, all is well is sibling town. She receives an explanation and evidence, nods, and says, "That is acceptable. Thank you." She turns to look at Imire and says, "He was doing his job the best he knew how. I am sure he will improve with experience." Experience. It's a valuable thing. It's why they're doing all this.
Concerns allayed for the time being, and the group finally on their way, Asami then turns to Sakuya finally. "I had no more reason to accept your word than I did his. Why would I believe you? I don't know you. We've never even met. You may have been trying to help, but did you ever consider the possibility of an imposter? If someone rolls up in a wagon and says, 'Hey, little girl, hop in my wagon. I'll tell you where we're going and why on the way. There might be some candy in it for you. Also, I'm your Uncle Steve who you've never met and didn't know existed.' would you just hop in the wagon without a thought?"
She then points down at the moving boat. "If not, why would you expect me to just get on a ship without knowing the purpose or destination? It's common sense." Perhaps that's something that isn't taught in the Hidden Villages.
She shakes her head and turns away, saying, "I would also invite you to keep assumptions about my values and motivations to yourself in the future. My brother and I are not cattle to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. We work for pay. That does not mean we accept all work just because pay is involved."
Then she takes Taro by the arm and tries to escort him somewhere else on the ship, if possible, where they can speak privately. "What's this about being accused of murder?" she then whispers at him. And with her back to Sakuya, and Taro shielding her from the other direction, she begins forming hand seals until she is able to focus on the Chakra around her keenly. She doesn't know who or what Sakuya was talking to, but she wants to know who EXACTLY is on this ship, and how many.

RPCOMBAT: Sakuya defends against with a HEBISUUHAI-SENSES…43

See? He was going to explain himself. Shuuren explains, and Sakuya listens. Seems that he also suspects the same, but he seems to go a little bit more into depth. Assassination. »Who in the world cares about poisoning some noble's daughter?« … «Perhaps the Lord as a disgruntled son who wanted more inheritance?» Zuzu suggests. Neither of them know if this is a suitable explanation. They will try to find out though. As time progresses Imire's attention on Zuzu caused him to look back. It ended up that the two might have been staring at each other for quite a while. "What." The snake hisses. "You act like you've never seen a talking snake before." Zuzu spat in a most indignant voice. Mean snake. Meeeean snake.
Sakuya was in disbelief, to be honest. Yet, Asami did have a point. There was no telling where this boat was going. Asami and Taro might be experiments for the Daimyo. They might be heading into an unwinnable situation. Sakuya didn't wish to give her any credence "You're right. I suppose trained mercenaries like you can find work anywhere. It doesn't have to be here, but eventually you're going to have to jump a fair share of wagons and kill a fair share of uncle steves in the line of work you are a part of."
Sakuya would walk up and examine the Daimyo a moment. He was indeed as she remembers him, and her village did indeed fact check him. This wasn't exactly just any wagon. This was the Daimyo's wagon, and his name was Uncle Shuuren. She turns and gives Asami a half-hearted salute. "From now on out, I'll make sure to note that you two are not to be trifled with." Despite quite a bit of killing intent she supposedly feels from her. c.c; Geeze. «She is so saucy. Why can't you be a strong dominant female, Sakuya?» Zuzu teases Sakuya more. »She insulted a Daimyo, Zuzu! I can be strong and confident whenever I please. Like… right now! I'm being plenty strong and confident.« This was going to be one tense boat ride.

Taro looked at SHuuren and just watched him for a moment. He figured he was the real Daimyo for a few of the things mentioned, but mostly he had nothing to say to him for now. His sister was the one adressing him any. His eyes switched over to Imire for a moment and sighed. "Imire. There was no murder. She accused me of a murder that didn't exist because I was carrying swords… Something you should expect in a place like Kumo which is known for its kenjutsu users." He himself didn't mind Imire speaking up any and just shifted his view back to Asami for now.
Taro just listened and honestly grinned a bit at his sister as she spoke to Sakuya. Not too long after he was being dragged around by Asami and just waited for words. When they came he sighed a bit. "She saw me walking and saw swords and just walked up to me asking if I knew of murder. I pretty much said no, and eventually was accused. I was infected and was gonna walk away and just got more infected when she told me it was some tactic and the murder never even happened." He just shook his head a bit. And yeah Taro doesn't pay much attention to Sakuya right now.

"You are welcome, and thank you for being understanding of Imire's situation," Shuuren says, nodding to Asami. With that said and everything else stowed since it seems Sakuya won't bother the other woman any more, they are off to the island! It takes a few hours of sailing, but they eventually reach a quaint little village atop an island decorated with forestry and rolling fields of crops. For a small place, it seems to have a lush environment. There are a couple ships at the docks in front of the island, though they are marked as merchant ships and fishing boas, likely whom work together. All in all it's a peaceful-looking place. What could possibly be wrong here? And who'd want to bring harm to the daughter of its lord?
As the ship pulls up to the dock and comes to a halt, a few of Shuuren's workers move to fasten the ship to them and then lay out the ramp for them to step down.. Once that's done, they move back below deck to tend to their duties.
"Here we are," the Daimyo says as he steps down from the helm toward the ramp. "Everyone ready?" Admist the brisk sea wind, he seems to pick up something ever so faint, slight enough that probably only another with enhanced senses such as Sakuya or Zuzu might detect it, but foul. In fact, they are who he looks down as his eyebrows furrow. "… Do you smell that?"

RPCOMBAT: Imire defends against with a PERCEPTION…27

Imire blinks a bit as Asami speaks up for him. A random stranger speaking up for him? That was … Strange. The teen would sort of cast a surprised glance towards the Fuma before quickly looking away and frowning in thought before that snake captured his attention again with the hissing. "Uhh, but see, that's the point. I haven't seen a talking snake before. It brings up a lot of questions, you know? Like how can you talk? I only ever seen dogs talking, and they were special." Imire would shrug helplessly, then he glances to Taro and nods a bit. "Oh, that makes sense, I guess. But why would you be accused if carrying swords around is something common? Also, Kumo is known for its kenjutsu users? Maybe I should head over there for training if Shuuren-dono gives up on me." The teen would give a small chuckle, trying to make the comment seem like a joke. Sadly, he felt like it may about to become true because of his screw-ups.
Well, that is all in the past now. So Imire would cast his thoughts to the future and await his fate. The teen glances around, but doesn't really notice much of anything because his senses were nothing to brag about. "Smell what?" He would ask with a frown, taking a large sniff of the air to try and figure out what it was that Shuuren was speaking of.

RPCOMBAT: Asami defends against with a PERCEPTION…29

Asami was checking to see who Sakuya was casting Genjutsu on, originally, and what the deal with the snake was. She has never met a talking snake either. So it seemed highly likely that Asami was under the effects of a Genjutsu that was making her perceive the snake as talking. But not only does she not detect any such Genjutsu affecting her, but she also senses a large source of Chakra nearby. She focuses on that, listening to Taro as he speaks, but frowning as she holds her hands in a focusing seal. Hmmm… So Shuuren is more than just a Daimyou. He's actually a ninja himself, and a strong one.
She then scans the rest of the area, identifying everyone she can to the best of her abilities. She can't tell many details with her level of skill, but she can definitely tell how many people (and snakes) are on this ship. She settles for that knowledge and spends the rest of the trip sitting quietly and keeping an eye out.
When they get to their destination, the various other ships in the area are given the once-over, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Any of these ships that are moving to intercept them, or that seem to have non-standard equipment visible onboard, or any sudden activity. Things like that. The mention of an unusual odor has her immediately trying not to smell it, but to cover her mouth and nose with one hand. If there's a weird smell in the air, best thing to do is to stop breathing it in while others try to identify it. She'd rather wait and see if any of them start hemmorhaging everywhere than indulge the impulsive curiosity to try the scent for herself.
She doesn't have an enhanced sense of smell. If those around her can't identify it, with or without such an ability, one more person sniffing fumes isn't going to help. If Taro isn't taking similar precautions (though with his face-mask, maybe he has some degree of filtration already), he gets a subtle thwap on the butt to wake him up to the possibility of danger.
What the miasma have these kids been through that they'd immediately be thinking about something like poison gas the moment someone mentions a weird odor?
Aside from guarding her mouth, Asami is also looking for anything unusual on the water on either side. For a number of reasons. First of all, if someone has used Water Walking to sneak up to them, they could be spreading combustible material or toxins in the water around them. Alternately, explosive charges might be in the area, or there might be some other threat. As well, if it becomes necessary to escape some kind of acid fog or poison mist in the air, the water might be a good place to get away from it. Even if it means ditching the ship and crew, though Asami would make the effort to grab Shuuren if it came to that… If Shuuren even needed the help.
Water Walking can double as underwater propulsion in a pinch.
For now, however, she just waits to see if anyone starts melting while scanning for threats that SHE can detect.

RP: Sakuya transforms into ZUZU'S-WISDOM.
RPCOMBAT: Sakuya defends against with a HEBISUUHAI-SENSES…54

Sakuya indeed would like to say, that if Zuzu's voice could be dispelled due to it being genjutsu, she would do it in a heartbeat. Trust her. Zuzu can be a handful, and has many times whispered traitorous things into her ears, slowly trying to manipulate her to do what he thinks is the right course of action. Serpents are never to be trusted, even by the serpent handler whom themselves are part serpent. Said serpent continues to banter with Imire. "I talk with vocal cords, that are located along my body which consist of elongated lungs that are specialized. My mind allows me to do this because my breed has been bred over generations to have an intellectual capacity. Same as the dogs." Hasn't Imire ever seen a summoning contract? Plenty of animals can speak! "We're not soul-less… hmm?" Zuzu flicks his tongue out and rather loudly coplains. "DISGUSTING! What manner of trash are we sailing into?" He thought humans smelled terrible. This kind of smell makes him disappear, as in he would promptly crawl into Sakuya's clothing.
The snake charmer herself would narrow her eyes. It smelled like disease to her. Perhaps Miasma theory was correct? "I smell it…" Sakuya simply says. "I don't like it, but I don't think it is something that will harm us." Maybe it is just a terrible indicator of the quality of life here?
Sakuya would slip the collar of her shirt over her face as she looks over to Imire. "Uh… It's kind of like the Inuzuka… Me and Zuzu, that is. It's just… Inuzuka's dogs get a lot bigger than Zuzu will ever be. He's… a special kind of snake. You see? Please forgive him. He is a bit ornate…" She would squeak, after Zuzu bit her thigh. That ornate!

Taro was mostly only gonna talk with Asami the whole time. Of course he knew that the Daimyo was more than he seemed. From the moment he met him he felt like something was off, but unlike Asami he didn't know why he felt like he was…special in some way. He didn't know that those things he felt was the power of their chakra. Like when the Raikage suddenly went into his armored mode he got that slight headache. Of course it was in his mind him just being a little worried, but it couldn't just be that huh?
He didn't have to worry too much from the smell that was noticed by others when they arrived. The mask did filter out a bit though he wouldn't also cover his face with his hand until his sister thwapped him. He looked at her with a slight glare and a raised brow, but he trusted her thoughts and covered his mouth with his hand. Of course he knew why she did so, and it made total sense. He just trusted his mask to keep it out.
Either way he would eventually join her in looking around, but he looked outwards into the distance and tried to cover places she didn't look. Even more so he tried to listen for footsteps of some kind or some other noise. He knew of some people hiding their presence through the naked eye as well. Couldn't be too careful. For now he just listened to others and would point things out to the others if he saw something.

RPCOMBAT: Taro defends against with a PERCEPTION…35

While Shuuren would normally encourage Imire, he doesn't seem to have time for that right now with what he's trying to figure out. He squints a bit as he peers toward the direction of the smell, at least its general direction because it's hard to figure out where it's coming from exactly from this distance. "You can relax. Whatever it is, it's on the other side of the island and not a present danger," he finally points out to Asami. He closes his eyes for a moment as he tries to figure it out.
"I think something caught a barn or something on fire from the inside out, but the scents is covering something else up," he says as he finally opens his eyes again. "Maybe there were some livestock in the building when it burned… But someone should discretely go check that out." He glances between the other three in a moment of deliberation before saying, "Sakuya, Zuzu… I want you to go look it over. At one of the others will need to go with you. I will leave it up to them to decide which will go. The other two will remain behind and keep an eye out around the outside of the house the girl is in. Follow me through the village for now, though, and I'll send you that way on the pretense of gathering some herbs for me."

RPCOMBAT: Imire defends against with a PERCEPTION…31

For all Asami knows, the genjutsu could be getting cast on Imire! His chakra reserves were lower than average, and it would have felt off. Like something was messing with it. But no, he isn't under a genjutsu (at least so far as he knows), and he definitely isn't within the Cloud Snake's illusion. The teen would notice Asami smack Taro on the rear out of the corner of his eye, but he ultimately ignored the action because it seemed unimportant. Tucked into the recesses of his mind to gather dust forever. At least she had the same idea as him: check for any danger.
Zuzu is quick to grab the teen's attention once more. Or at least, Imire would finally remember to respond. "So any animal can talk?" he asks, tone showing how distracted he felt. His eyes were also still scanning everything. "But they just aren't smart enough?" he would inquire. The squeak had him worried, of course. "Are you okay? The gas or whatever it is isn't poisonous, right? Did you see something?" Imire's head would whip back and forth as he sought out a potential enemy.
Thankfully, Shuuren was able to allay most of the 'guard's' worries. "Hai, Shuuren-dono," he says, frowning just a bit. He had made himself look to be a fool, hadn't he … Imire heaves a mental sigh, but would listen dutifully to the Daimyo. "Look at a barn?" The swordsman in training looks back to see Asami and Taro, neither of whom were jumping for joy at such a prospect. Actually, their responses seemed quite negative to Imire's eyes. "Umm … I can go with Sakuya," he offers, turning to look to the Hebisuuhai. "If you don't mind, I mean. I'm …" he stops himself from speaking any further, though. Saying that he was awful with a sword would not inspire any confidence. And Shuuren would probably punish him in their next training season for saying such a thing. "I'm Imire, if you forgot." Well, that was dumb to say. But who knows, maybe Sakuya forgot in the short amount of time they knew each other.

Asami volunteers to stay behind. It seems that nothing immediately lethal is happening to them, but she's still wary. And she'd rather be certain their way out of here remains secure. Last thing they need is some yahoo sneaking on board and lying in wait or planting explosive tags all over or something. Also, Taro needs the experience.
"…And for all of those reasons I will watch from here. I'm more of a distance fighter anyway. I can provide ranged support if anything happens. I'll be monitoring all of your Chakra for any sign of danger."
She nods encouragingly towards Taro. She trusts he can handle whatever task he's assigned. It's true he needs the experience. But he's also a lot better suited to close quarters combat.

"I will request Taro's expertise, if it pleases him." Sakuya says, knowing that in the end he can accept or deny. Mercenaries of his calibur can be snooty as she has learned. Honestly, Imire feels like a more trustworthy person who isn't prone to hiding anything from anyone. Surely not. Yet, he was Shuuren's body guard, despite seemingly being new to the task. For now, it was time to follow the Daimyo, which Sakuya does, her hand grasping her wrist in front of her as she closed her eyes and moved. The smell of burning barn animals. It was terrible from afar, and smelled like disease. She guess miasma theory is out of the question. Something else must be causing the woman's disease. Yet, then something surprising happened. It was Imire who volunteered to go with her. "H-hey, aren't you the Daimyo's personal guard?" She asks. "Are you sure he'll be alright without you?" She wonders. Well, this was surprising. This was her actual first pick!

Shuuren nods to Asami's idea then looks between the others as they plot out who's going where. He smirks a bit as Sakuya asks if Shuuren will be alright without Imire, finding that a bit amusing… Once the matter is decided, he says, "Very well. Let's move forward then. No sense wasting time or arousing suspicion for now." With that he turns and they would begin moving down the docks toward the village…. Fade to black.

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