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Old 04-10-2014, 11:36 AM   #21
Kapeesh
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Thankfully, it seemed that Shuju had no need to find an actual boat. His search for a sea vessel was quickly interrupted by Anji as he created his own means of transportation. It was an extremely convenient alternative and one that Shuju would have loved to be able to make on his own. Wind ninjutsu users were capable of creating their own version of dragons, but Shuju was still a beginner in that aspect of ninjutsu since he only picked it up in recent times so he still had some progress to do before getting there. It was just another thing he had to live with due to being overspecialized.

"Eh... I guess this works too." The sand jounin noted as he hopped onto the thorny dragon, refusing to admit out loud the usefulness and versatility of the technique that he wished he knew. Then the dragon swam towards the group of rocks and rapidly got closer to the girl. She spoke first, nervously introducing herself as pink gills started appearing on her body. It turned out she was just starting to turn into an actual mermaid, and one that was about to get away. Despite the shock, Shuju needed to investigate the matter and attempt to stop her escape. Holy shit. So she is a mermaid?

"Wait!" Shuju called urgently as he hopped onto one of the rocks somewhat close to her, while still maintaining a non-threatening distance between them. "We just want to talk. Nothing more."

The investigator hoped he could get a few answers from the mermaid, but he was half expecting her to ignore him and run away. She was surely suspicious and there was something fishy going on, but he couldn't quite place his hand on it yet. If she did dive into the water, Shuju had no means to give a decent chase and he didn't think his partner did either. Even though he had a good transportation method, that by no means meant he was any good underwater. Very few people were, anyway.

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Old 04-10-2014, 08:11 PM   #22
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It was leisurely going; the thorn dragon mostly floating and attempting what Anji could only assume was an adorable dragon-version of a dog paddle, but the ride was smooth. This more or less blows my national identity but the longer I've been out here, the less it seems to matter. He half turned towards Shuju and introduced himself. There was a little too much distance to reach out for a handshake, and the Grass jounin knew that as often as not such gestures were viewed suspiciously, so he instead placed one fist against his stomach as a casual indication of who he was talking about. "Akagawa Anji, by the way."

It was, perhaps, a less than opportune time to introduce himself to the Sand investigator, because when he turned back to the front he locked eyes with the supposed mermaid. She seemed rather interested in the two shinobi, or at least the dragon they rode on, until she realized they were also interested in her. Inwardly, Anji swore--how did I miss something so simple? she wouldn't let the Mist shinobi anywhere near her--but outwardly he smiled and waved. As the girl's toes hit the water, the Akagawa noticed the slits on her neck opening up. Gills? She's seriously a mermaid?

She was also a mermaid that was about to bolt, by all indications. Anji wasn't quite sure what to do; he felt less inclined to take hostile action than ever, but he also wasn't a fan of failing missions. In the end, he did what he always did in such situations.

"If you want to leave, by all means," Anji said cheerfully, "but it's not like you're the first mermaid I've ever seen." Talk, talk more, and lie. Lie a lot. "Come to think of it, she didn't like beets either. Is that a thing? Or just a coincidence?" Say anything that might get her attention and delay her from leaving. Get her to respond to something and go from there. "And if you are going to leave, at least tell me what the deal is with Sosuke, or I'll be wondering about that for weeks."

It was desperate, and a risk--I don't think she can read minds or know with certainty that I'm lying, yet I also didn't think mermaids existed all of a minute ago--but the Grass jounin was fairly certain that neither he nor his partner could match pace with the girl underwater. The best he could hope to do was track her and, given her use of genjutsu, it wasn't a promising option.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:38 PM   #23
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You're lying.

The girl stayed where she was, raised up on her palms with just her toes dangling into the water. The position looked uncomfortable, but she held it without much apparent effort, hinting at some hidden strength. She tipped her head a little and looked at the two men sideways, hair hanging down towards her shoulders. The girl examined them both, then sat back down on the rock – the gills closed together and smoothed over, becoming invisible once more. The mermaid tossed her hair with the back of one hand and crossed her legs at the ankle.

You've never seen another mermaid in your life, either one of you. In fact, you haven't even seen a single one, you know? Because they're not real???” The girl shrugged with both hands turned up to the sky. She shook her head with a small smile, just a tiny, amused curve. “You must be dumber than you look if you believe in fairy tales like that, aren't you both adults, just grow up already.” The girl crossed her arms over her chest, under her bosom, and continued looking sly. “And maybe I just don't like guys named Sosuke, so I hope that's neither one of you.

What did you want to talk about?
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Old 04-13-2014, 11:56 AM   #24
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I'm in utter confusion right here. Shuju wasn't entirely happy with the situation. He was warned by the mist shinobi that the proclaimed mermaid was capable of doing... something. From what the investigator understood, what it was that she did, it worked better on weak-willed men. Shuju liked to think of himself as a person with good willpower, but the encounter with the strange creature was not over yet so the strength of the green-haired man's willpower was yet to be proven. Let's just hope she's not as devious as they make her out to be.

"Have you heard anything about the recent ship wrecks around here?" Shuju asked, beating around the bush. "We were told you were around when some of them happened so I was hoping you might know what caused them."

Shuju preferred to play dumb rather than rush in accusing her of any wrongdoings. She might have been really guilty, but he was being plainly curious to avoid the risk of her getting away, or acting out. The mermaid was likely the best source of information the shinobi had, so ticking her off was definitely not a good idea. She was capable of escaping through the water, leaving the two jounin no chance of catching up with her in the open water.

Shuju wanted to tell Anji to watch out and try to capture her if she attempted an escape, but he couldn't do so right then with her right in front of them. He couldn't even risk giving him a look that she might interpret, while Anji might not get it. It was their first time working together, so Shuju wasn't so sure that non-verbal communication was a plausible way to go. He knew Anji was physically capable, so he just hoped that the fellow jounin would react fast enough if there was a need.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:22 AM   #25
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Akagawa Anji shrugged, as if to say she caught him. On the one hand, the not-a-mermaid had seen through his lie immediately--which makes sense if she is not a mermaid--but on the other hand, she was still here. To Anji's mind, that proved once again that lying was generally the best policy. She might be lying about the whole not-a-mermaid thing, he thought, but finally concluded that there was really no way to know at the present time. The Grass jounin had neither the skillset nor the inclination for a field autopsy at the moment, regardless of how piqued his curiosity was.

"Additionally," he said, cutting in at the end of Shuju's questioning. "...some of the salvage team divers have had accidents. Do you have any idea what might be causing them? The accidents, I mean, not the divers. I imagine what causes them is simple biology." Anji held off on his follow-up questions; asking if she had any plans of going on a rampage against any of the camps that she seemed to be leaving alone might, at best, be rude and, at worst, put her on the defensive.

The jounin was ready to move at a moment's notice, but mostly because he was almost always ready to move. Anji glanced down at the dragon he was riding. No telling how much longer it'll hold up, but that's not so much of a problem with my specialist partner on the rocks. Truth be told, Anji wasn't sure what he'd do if the not-a-mermaid tried to bolt; he could dive in after her but he doubted very much that his topside speed translated to the watery depths. Better that it not come to that, and the best way to ensure that is to keep her talking. "Also, is there a name you'd like us to call you? Mermaid is inaccurate and not-a-Mermaid could describe pretty much anyone."
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:38 AM   #26
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Hmm...

The girl looked between Shuju and Anji, once, twice, three times, then narrowed her eyes by millimeters. She clicked her tongue and used one hand to toss her hair back over her shoulder. “You can call me Aoi if it makes things easier for you. Not that it matters to me. And I guess I can call you two...Wingus-san and Dingus-chan.” The girl, Aoi, pointed a slender finger first at Anji and then at Shuju. “Don't you know that it's rude to ask for a name without offering one yourself? You're worse than her.” With a non-subtle tilt of her head and strain of her neck, Aoi indicated the Mist woman, who was then fully engrossed in assisting the divers.

Wrecks and divers, huh? That sort of thing happens all over the island, doesn't it? People with money lie about how safe and secure everything is, and then when things get tough, they just throw more money at the problem until it goes away or people pretend it does. You come here, foreigners, and declare yourselves the kings of everything without worrying about who was here first or who has the real power.” As she spoke, the girl's eyes took on a peculiar edge – for someone the workers seemed to like, Aoi was hardly personable. She softened and touched a hand over her heart.

But, I wouldn't know anything about that. I'm just a cute little girl~” Aoi winked as she pulled her legs back up onto the rock. She wrapped her hands around her shins as she drew her knees up. “Sure is a shame about those divers, though. I really feel for them.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:29 PM   #27
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The girl was extremely childish. She gave herself a a name and made fun of the two shinobi. Normally Shuju would have made a big fuss over being treated that way, but he knew that there were times and places where he just had to be professional so he chose to ignore the insulting nicknames and didn't even respond, because any attempt at a response to that comment would have resulted in him starting a fight therefore zipped lips were the way to go. Instead, he focused on the investigation itself to keep his mind off things.

Then, after the mermaid girl started to talk about the issue at hand she spoke in a pattern that the investigator recognized quite well. She was pretending not to know anything about what went on in the sea around her but the extremist in her spoke in an unsubtle way. Shuju could sense the edge in her tone and the fierce look in her eyes. It was fairly obvious that she felt strongly and defensive about the subject, but the sand jounin wasn't about to start questioning yet. Despite his personality flaws, he knew how to extract information involuntarily, so he started putting body language into play. He previously stood like a statue, asking questions and listening to answers, but it was time to play the role of a sympathizer. Things were starting to get interesting and he wanted to know a lot more. We've stumbled on a touchy subject. Time to play sensitive. Sensitive was never a word that was used to describe the puppeteer, but he could act. He had deceived many people before and it was time to see just how gullible the girl was. It was worth a try.

Shuju took a step closer and knelt down, getting a bit closer to the girl to let her see his green 'puppy' eyes. "Just what are these people doing to your island?" He spoke with much fake concern. "Did they try to hurt you?"
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:49 PM   #28
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Anji opened his mouth as if to say something, and then closed it as Shuju took the lead in the conversation. It was fortunate that their timing was not off to the extent that they interrupted each other, because the Grass jounin had been about to take the exact opposite tact; provoke the girl into inadvertently revealing more about herself and whatever unknown dangers or factions might be on the island. While he couldn't fault the Sand shinobi's acting, Anji felt little confidence in the nice approach.

We've more or less refused to react to her provocations, Anji thought, which tells her that we're not being honest. Well, that and the fact that I lied rather blatantly a moment ago. Going by what the Mist woman had said, the mermaid was obviously wary of shinobi. Had either of them been truly concerned, the Akagawa felt that they would still have a hard time getting the girl to believe it.

She's just going to insult us some more, Anji concluded. Now, though, he wasn't so sure that the mermaid was completely innocent of the accidents--while she seemed to save her anger for the people running the operations, her remark about who was there first and who had real power seemed like a clear reference to a group of natives. Thinking about it in that respect, "Aoi" could be little different than some of the more exotic bloodlines present in the Villages, he thought. Which means whatever group she is associated with might just be a more naturalistic cousin to our own shinobi arts. It was an intriguing thought, and Anji filed it away as something to pursue when he wasn't on the clock.
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:13 AM   #29
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You don't know? Isn't it obvious?

Aoi huffed and grumbled, then tossed her hair back with a shake of her head. “It's exploitation, isn't it? All these people showing up to take whatever they can and make whatever money they can. They don't know or care...” She stared down at the water around the rock she sat curled up on. Her reflection looked back at her, though something about it was strange. Beyond even the wave motion of the water, her image seemed to ripple and move, indistinct. “No one here now has hurt me, I already took care of that.

The girl looked up to the shinobi and clapped her hands together once. “Okay Wingus, Dingus, how about this. Let's make a deal. I promise it'll be worth your while.” The girl winked at the boys and laughed a little. Seagulls brayed over head and the sea splashed over the sides of the boulder. “I think you two are here to make sure that the divers don't get into trouble anymore, and you think a cute little girl like me could possibly be doing something as horrible as that. Normally, something that mean would make me cry, but I don't think you two can feel sympathy for cute little girls, so how about this?

I can make sure the divers here are safe, but you two have to do something for me in return. It's not difficult, but I'll know if you don't do it, so don't try to cheat me!” As she spoke, something rose up out of the water. A small conch shell, red and white, floated up to the surface. Aoi reached down and lifted the shell up out of the ocean, then tipped it to pour some water out the side. “All you boys need to do is give this shell to a man at Last Landing. His name is Ozu Seiki – you should probably find him around the taverns.

She held the shell in one hand, offering it towards the shinobi. Aoi added, hastily. “And, uh, he's really cute, so don't mess this up for me, stupid boys!
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:58 AM   #30
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Akagawa Anji took the lead on the response, taking the shell from the mermaid girl and tucking it into one of his pouches. I don't suppose we can entertain the notion that she is utterly alien, and simply mimicking girlish behaviors. It wasn't usually hard for him to get a read on someone, but she flicked back and forth so quickly it was hard to tell what, if anything, was the act and what--again, if anything--was sincere. Still, it gets the job done and doesn't take us out of our way. It seemed like a winning scenario for all involved.

"We'll deliver it. I have two questions, though," Anji said, "one related to this and one not." He gestured down at the water. "If you are protecting the divers here, what dangerous predators are you protecting them from?" He didn't expect too much in the way of a revelation of who or what had been attacking divers earlier--probably just sharks, octopi, the dangers we've already been warned about--but it didn't hurt to ask.

"The unrelated question," he continued, pulling the map out of a different pouch and pointing to the area in the middle of the circled incidents. "Is there anything interesting going on here?" The Akagawa Jounin had already decided that he was going to see for himself, but any information could be useful information.

"Lastly, I lied about there being two questions. What..." Anji asked, "...do we tell the man that we deliver this shell to? Who do we say it is from?"
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