Date: June 14, 2014
A kunoichi meets with Meruin to speak with him about the prospect of joining his village
"We Who Hunger"
Meruin stands before the sizable hole in the wall of his office, his gaze on the sea out beyond the cliff that the room overlooked. It was a cool autumn day, the colors varied only in the blues and greys and greens. The shifting of the sea of waves, the sea of clouds and the sea of mist over the grass.
His profile was a dark one, the light from outside being brighter than that which reached within. His robes of platinum silk seemed made of thin shadows, swaying only slightly in the air that came through.
He canted his head, slightly…
It was time. He could hear them, the footsteps of the woman he'd summoned for an audience. Yet another wishing to join the ranks of Kirigakure. He knew scant little of the woman. Just what he received of his reports of her. But all of that would change once the guard opened the door on his command and ushered her in.
Today was Chizuru's big day, well sorta big. It had been a little while since she set foot in Kirigakure, expressing interest in becoming an official tool of the village(so to speak). She even got to go on a mission to earn some living expenses, which mostly went to keeping her stomach full now. It was happy about this.
The aspiring kunoichi had been summoned to the Mizukage's office to discuss her possible recruitment and it had been gnawing at her in the form of nervousness. But it was to late to back out now, she was already being brought into the office as if she were being sent to the principals office.
As the door to the office opened, Chizuru was more or less ushered into the office of the big boss man. Since her mission, she had purchased a nifty travel cloak which she was wearing now. It helped ward off the chill and keep her mostly hidden. Her eyes were darting about the room, taking it all in. It may very well be the last time she sees it after all.
Getting within a few feet of the large desk, Chizuru stops and gives a deep bow in greeting. "Thank you for meeting with me, Mizukage-sama." she starts off with, peering up just a little to see ahead.
A few moments after the click of the door closing behind his next meeting reached his ears, Meruin took a pivoting step to get his first look at her, the pupiless black orbs of his eyes letting his scrutiny fall heavy, the pale blue mists within them slowly swirling in his ponderous examination.
His head inclined.
"Well met, Rittou Chizuru," he greeted her, voice low and clear and smooth, easily filling the room as though it had claim to the space. He turns about fully, facing the woman garbed in a form obscuring travel cloak. "You've come to Kirigakure expressing interest in joining our ranks. You've had a taste of just what it can feel like. Tell me. What did you think of the flavor?"
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, all that silence between her greeting and the eventual reply… Chizuru finally stands up straight from her respectful little bow. A couple blinks and her yellow-gold eyes going for eye contact.. only to be met with two pools of darkness.. ink? That's new.
The girl listened intently, not wanting to mishear anything and then sound like a total idiot.. but the Mizukage just has to go and make some sort of food related inferrence about her initial experience with the village.
The deep frown on her face tugging upwards slightly, "It was quite delectible. And left me hungry for more." she eventually replies, extending an arm from the cloak to give a brief glimpse of what was within before patting at her tummy. "I thank you for that sampler course." she added, carrying on with more food related comparisons.
Meruin stepped from the far wall, leaving the hole in the stone behind him as he started towards his desk, nearly appearing to glide across the ground, robes covering the whole of his form. As he stepped away from the outside light, the cyan symbol of Kirigakure emblazoned on his chest became easily noticed. "There are not yet enough hungry shinobi within Kirigakure."
He gestures towards the seat on one side of his desk as he moves towards his own. "Your story has not been a happy one thus far," declared the Mizukage as he came to his own chair, finding his way down within it. "Nor an easy one, if you should think life in our village will make it easier for you." His gaze is direct on Chizuru's golden one, only now blinking. "Tell me of it."
As the Mizukage stepped away from that hole in the wall behind him.. she took notice of that dignified symbol on his chest. Probably meant for people who didn't know he was the Mizukage. Looks can be deceiving? "Which is kind of weird… considering food is in short supply from what I've heard." she points out with a dry, short laugh.
When she is motioned to take a seat, she gives a nod and takes a seat. She's careful to keep the travel cloak about her for the most part. Still quiet as she listens to the mighty kage speak. The look on her face thus far was for the most part neutral. At least until the mention of her 'story'.. which caused her face to darken ever so slightly as recent memories and older ones cropped up.
A quiet sigh leaves Chizuru's lips before she speaks. "I was looked at like I was some sort of monster and raised to believe that I would be some kind of messiah. Without ever being asked what I wanted. My parents lead me to believe that this village was the best place to grow with what was given to me." A bit of hardness in her eyes as she thinks about the events that lead her here.
After her little bit, Chizuru goes quiet for a few moments. All the while her eyes never straying from the Mizukage's. Her head then giving a short nod. "From what I've seen and tasted of Kirigakure. I too think this place will be a good place to stay, with your permission. I'd like to serve you in whatever capacity I am able." she says, only blinking once.
Meruin's head cants slightly at Chizuru's first line of explanation, expression unchanging, the man unblinking as he listened to the rest of her words.
"We shall see just what permissions I grant you," he spoke after she'd finished, "After we finish speaking. There are things that do not yet equate. Until I learn all that I feel I need to, the odds of getting what you request are not in your favor."
The Okumo leans forward slightly, fingers steepling as he sets them on the wood of his desk. " 'I was held as some sort of monster. Raised to be a messiah. Hefty words and too meaningful to be left unexplained. Just what makes you both monster and messiah that I would like to nurture within my walls?"
The fledgeling kunoichi just remains still in the chair she was sitting in, hiding within the warmth of the travel cloak that she had purchased recently with her pay from her first mission ever. Her expression remained about as neutral as it was before, despite hearing how things were not going in her favor. But on the inside she felt a bit disappointed that she might get turned away, with nowhere to go but perhaps Konoha or fending for herself elsewhere. With all this, she knows it is best to not try and hide anything from someone as influential as the Mizukage who seems to be quite well informed to begin with…
As the Kage before her inquired as to why she was heralded as a monster and a messiah, she draws in her lower lip to chew on it for a few moments. "Well. I know it's stupid for me to try and hide anything, so I won't hide anything. My heritage is that of a clan from Konohagakure, the Akimichi. If that sheds any light on things. And as to why I was raised as I was, it was thanks to my parents. As a child, they took me to a doctor who modified my body to be the 'Ultimate Akimichi'." she says before pausing for a moment to take a little breath.
"What he did to me…. I try not to remember, burying it deep inside. But when he was done with me, I was able to eat anything that was put before me. My insides modified to handle all the things that my new ability was able to consume. Then I was brought back to the village to be the next evolution of our clan. But was instead shunned. My parents ridiculed while people looked at me like I was an abomination… I don't look like one though, do I?" she asks, looking at herself somewhat. "So, that's about it really… I can eat anything and my stomach can handle it just fine." she says casually, turning her head to look at something interesting at a far wall. "And I find people to be quite tasty.." she mutters quietly.
Meruin dips his head in a nod after Chizuru finished speaking, not appearing to have heard that final comment. "For reports on the corrosive qualities of the fluid that comes from your mouth. There is more to eating unnatural things than a body that will accept it. It must also be able to break it down.
"Yes." The Mizukage's chin lifted slightly, "I could see such a development raising from the Akimichi clan, necessary lovers of food as they are. And I can see how they would shun such a thing, hailing from the land that they do. Konohagakure has a tendency for almost hypocritical fears. The Akimichi, who utilize jutsu and medicines to multiply the size of their forms, calling the modifications of the child you were unnatural is fairly unsurprising. And I suppose it was this shunning that lead you and yours to take refuge in the Land of Water, yes?"
After her little mumbling, she looks back to the Mizukage. She was expecting some sort of adverse reaction here. With all the power and skill of a Mizukage, his hearing had to be super human? Perhaps he didn't care? Huh. The girl's brow furrows slightly in thought as she gives a bit of a nod. "Indeed it does. I am able to digest anything that I eat and even draw sustenance from it. It's pretty handy when food is scarce. But I try not to do that if people might see it. For now anyways." she replies to confirm the Mizukage's inkling about how her eating ability worked.
When more talk of the Akimichi and how they would definately act that way towards something like her, Chizuru's mood darkens some more as an emotion started to play across her face. The tightening of some of her facial muscles as what looked to be anger took hold. "Yeah… it was. I'm surprised they didn't try to hunt us down… Should I feel insulted that they didn't?" she wonders aloud as she switches from anger to injury with a sigh.
"I cannot say."
Meruin's head canted slightly, examining the woman. "They likely didn't pursue you because they did not want you. If you were young enough that this was before the founding of Konohagakure, or within its first two years, it is possible their black ops corp was simply unaware of where you had gone. Regardless. It would seem… that their decision reflects more on them than it does on you.
"It would seem," he reiterated.
"How often do you consume human flesh?"
Chizuru simply gave a little shrug to the unsure reply, she didn't know either. Though when he said it might have been because they didn't even want her… Well that hit her kind of hard. A clan that boasted family, not wanting one of their own because they were a little different. Her deep rooted loathing of her own clan roiling inside her as her face looked pained, distraught.. then neutral. Acceptance? No, buried with the rest of her unwanted things. Or perhaps the latter part of Meruin's pondering seemed more logical for the time being. She'd never really know. She then looked a little confused, "What do you mean about that last part there? Sorry, I'm not the brightest." admitting it with a straight face even.
Her question hangs in there air for a few moments as Meruin's question finally registers in her brain as if it got stuck in her ears for a while. It was just thrown in there all of a sudden and it shook her a little. Maybe startled was a better reaction. "Well… not that often really. I'm not going around eating all your peoples, if that's what you're wondering. The last time was when I got to go on that mission with Mitty." her tongue slipping out from her mouth to unconciously lick at her lips. The thought of the tasty morsels she sampled then made her mouth water a little.
"It could be their loss."
A simple, single sentence answer to her question and a marker that he was seeing something he liked in her. Followed by the words, "Could be." The completion of his message, and a reminder that he was still searching for some answers, that some had yet to be found.
Meruin's direct gaze remained locked on the woman, the weight of his attention ever heavy. "Kirigakure is much different than Konohagakure. It is harsher, holding to fewer of the comforting lies that all men hold dear. But it is still made up of people. There are none of us that like to think that we could be prey rather than predator, subject to the same rules as the beasts we place ourselves above. There are still those who would find you unnatural. There will be people who fear and abhor you, should you let knowledge of this get out. So long as you live in a world where man exists, you will not be able to escape this. You must either hide or face this to stay here."
Once the thoughts of her last tasty meal left her mind, Chizuru's tongue quietly retreated back from whence it came without even being noticed by the one who owned it. Despite the neutral look that she always wore on her face, whenever emotions perked up they seemed to spread across her face and make her easy to read. Like a stupid book. When Meruin mentioned that it was Konoha's loss when they shunned her out of the village, smugness took over.. It /was/ their loss that she was gone now. The greatness she might one day wield! The corners of Chizuru's lips tugging upwards slightly into a tiny little smile at that thought.
When told about how Kirigakure is, Chizuru simply sat there and took it all in… nodding slightly every so often. She was a good active listener! She also realized that she now viewed other people from a different perspective.. a possible source of food. Her frown returns as she ponders this fact she cannot escape from… "I was planning on hiding it until I grew strong enough to stand up for my way of life. Seems like the best way to go about it really… And it's not like I hunger for them all the time. I have willpower." she declares with a nod.
Meruin inclines his head at the answer he receives, "If that would prove to be the case, it would be a point in your favor. In many ways, the time could prove beneficial to you, not the least of which being the opportunity to grow strong enough to stand for yourself, as you'd mentioned."
The air about the Mizukage shifts subtly, though in what particular way is difficult to pinpoint. "In that vein, I would like to get a feel for the potency of your power," he told her, voice smooth. His fingers slid apart from one another, unsteepling before one hand was extended towards Chizuru over the desk.
"From fingertips to wrist," he said, "You have free reign." Still, his expression was nearly unshifting as Chizuru's was mercurial, giving off nothing that said this moment perturbed him in any way. "Show me just what you can do, just how near you are to that ideal of the Ultimate Akimichi. Now."
Chizuru seems to mimic the Mizukage's reaction with a simple nod of her own in agreement. "While I've grown to accept who and what I am, I'm still smart enough to think about survival over my… pride?" she muses that last part. "I know that I'm unskilled compared to most of your shinobi. And I'd be easy pickings if word got out and they wanted to deal with me before I became a problem." she notes with a dry, humorless chuckle at that. People, afraid of her for what might become of them if she turned a hungry eye on them. Those yellow-gold eyes shimmering with an assortment of lively emotions.
At the mention of testing her ability, she perks up. Another opportunity to make a deposit in her belly. Should she eat her sword? That'd probably be cool?… Do Mizukage's do cool? Hrmm.. It's no surprise though at the look of confusion when Meruin's hand is extended over to her and offered as a snack. Oh the look on her face. Confusion, hesitance, hunger, curiosity…
Again, Chizuru's tongue crept out to lick her lips as she eyed the proffered hand. Her gaze drifting back to the Mizukage and then the hand. He did just say up to the wrist… Just a snack. Was this a trap?… The girl's lower lip disappeared into her mouth as she chewed on it for a moment. Her resolve suddenly establishing itself. "Very well."
And just like that, Chizuru leaned forward from her chair and closed the distance to the hand before her. As if taking a meal, the girl quietly claps her hands together before saying "Itadakimaaaasu~" quietly to herself. That mouth of hers opening wide… wide enough that she takes Meruin's entire hand into her mouth. Her lips resting snugly about his wrist as she peers up at him with her yellow-gold eyes.
In her mouth.. her saliva had already started doing it's job and with it an explosion of flavor had bombarded her tastebuds, causing the girl to visibly shudder. The flavor was rich, delicious beyond anything she had ever tasted before in her entire life… better than the best ramen she ever had. Which was earlier that week… She did not bite down or chew.. savoring every moment as flesh.. muscle.. and even bone were dissolved into nutrients for the girl. Her lips tightening around Meruin's wrist to keep it from getting away from her.
Meruin waited, unspeaking patience hovering about him like a shroud, watching the woman as she came to terms with just what she had been asked to do and how she was to respond. It was a fully interesting experience, the various emotions that slid across her face during that time, the thoughts that lit her wolven gaze from behind. But soon enough, they passed and the woman was giving thanks for the bounty and parting her lips in preparation.
As her mouth closed over his hand, a preternatural stillness filled the man as though time had abandoned him between moments, even his diaphonous hair caught between seconds.
Heat. Fire encompassed the whole of his hand, searing down to the soul as his flesh began to melt away. Meruin's eyes slowly, subtly widened, flecks of golden light sifting into the mists as bone began to liquify. His gaze was bright, forceful by the time her lips tightened around his wrist, hand very nearly wholly missing.
It was at this point that she'd feel as though the process suddenly reversed. The taste of him, the feel of feeding would continue and yet the bone grew stronger rather than fragile. What was lost began to return, the process somewhat sluggish as it combated the corrosion of Chizuru's saliva but the regrowth steady, the Mizukage's eyes never leaving hers.
"That is quite enough," he said after a time.
The entire time that Chizuru spent savoring the taste of a Mizukage, her eyes had been glued on him the entire time. Watching his reaction to the entire thing, but lacking the insight to actually read beyond what she could gather as surprise maybe? She wasn't trained to read people like books. It wasn't often that someone freely offered a hand for sampling and she wasn't exactly complaining either.
Her body felt tingly from the taste, it was good. Too good. And she could feel the need to consume more welling up inside. More and more until there was nothing left. A glint passing through her golden eyes for a moment. The moment that glint passed however, a look of confusion came to her face as something felt off… Her tongue easily confirming that somehow the bones that had been dissolved had started growing back. And to make it crazier, they were growing back faster than she could dissolve them.
A muffled noise leaves her as her jaw shifts a little, as if that'd help out her cause. Her desire to eat more growing as she seemed to have a never ending supply right before her. But when Meruin speaks, breaking that strange silence that filled the office… she snaps back into her normal frame of mind. She had just been told to stop and she had to relinquish her treat.
Meruin would feel her lips still keep their grip for a moment before loosening up and her mouth opening back up so she could sit back. A hand reaching up to daintily wipe her mouth, tongue once again licking her lips to get the last bit of flavor she could. Her body suddenly giving one final little shiver before she coughed embarassadly at that. Her face super neutral, but her cheeks were tinged pink. She said nothing yet.
When Chizuru's mouth opened once more, the woman sitting back, Meruin slowly withdrew his hand from over the desk. Gaze a riot of scintillating golden light, he stretches out his fingers, loosening the bones and muscles within his hand, whatever thoughts that might lie behind his face left unknown as he looked at the woman.
"Your mother," he spoke after the pause, hand falling to the armrest of his chair. Deep purples began to seep into the gold of his mists, joining and slowing their turbulent shifting. "Your father, your surgeon, they each had a vision. What they viewed was you, Rittou Chizuru. Whether or not what they saw was an abomination is yet to be decided." A reference to an earlier question he seemed to have ignored. "It will be up to you, an image formed by your actions and thoughts and ideals." He inclines his head.
"I am offering you a place to figure them out."
Seeing the strange colors in Meruin's eyes, Chizuru had no idea what he was doing. Perhaps it was that, that caused him to regenerate his hand? Some sort of jutsu maybe..? Ah well, it wasn't her place to know just yet. She was still dwelling on the flavors that lingered on her tastebuds. At least until the Mizukage started speaking again.. his words evoking images, memories.
At the word mother, Chizuru's mind flashed through various memories of her mom… Some happy, others not.. and then ended with the finality of her last confrontation with her mother.. She tasted good, but bitter… nothing like the Mizukage.
The word father brought back fewer happy memories, most of them being all the preaching and lecturing she had to endure about her future and about how her clan was to be looked down on. As with her mother, the last memories were of their confrontation to keep her under control. His flavor was kind of sour…
The mention of the surgeon who had done all of this to her, making her the ultimate Akimichi… it only served to bring back a nightmarish recollection of going under the blade. Shadowy figures working their horrors on a poor little girl. It made Chizuru break out in a sweat
All things things swirled around in the girl's head as she struggled to keep up with it and what Meruin was saying… What she did pick up was that perhaps she was being allowed to stay? She focused on it and become quite sure that was it. Her neutral look shifting to that of pleased. A slight smile cracking on her face. "Thank you very much, Mizukage-sama." pushing herself from her seat to bow deeply. Coming THIS close to slamming her forehead into the edge of the desk in the process. *whiff*
"Serve well," spoke Meruin. "Strive towards your potential in the greatness of your village and I will know that you are thankful." He reaches to a stack of papers on his desk, slipping the top three off and over in front of him, a pen finding its way into his hand. He begins writing on the page, saying, "You will be given the basic equipment of the shinobi trade and your knowledge in ninjutsu, genjutsu, taijutsu, and the general curriculum of reading, writing, science, mathematics, and geography will be tested. If any tutoring is required, we will provide one for whatever area you lack in."
The pen touches the final page. "You'll be given a listing of local housing opportunities so that you may begin your transference from your hotel to a place of your own. You'll be entering with the rank of genin and given a loan to rent and furnish your home, which will be taken from mission payments until it has been fully paid off."
A sharp gesture signals the end of his writing, signature made, and he looks back towards Chizuru. "As of this moment, you are officially a shinobi of Kirigakure, the Village Hidden in the Mist, hailing from Land of Water. We are your people and you of ours. Your Hitai-ite will be ready for you by tomorrow. Wear it with pride and strength.
"I expect excellent things from you."