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Old 04-17-2018, 06:58 PM   #1
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“Another goddamn hour?!” Kubo slammed his cards onto the crate and spat. “How much longer are these weenies going to keep us waiting?”

“Easy, boss. Everything will work out. Did you fold?”
One of Kubo’s men tossed a few wadded bills into the center of the crate. “I’m calling. New guy, your move.”

“Feh!”
Kubo growled and left his cards where they lay. He waved the messenger off, watching as the young lad disappeared into the shadows of the massive warehouse. A few seconds later his ear buzzed as his guards confirmed the messenger left the premises. “What a bloody waste of time. Coming all the way out here, for chump change…”

There was a collective groan as everyone revealed their hands. “Damn, two pairs? Nobody could beat two pairs? All that money you guys threw around for nothing!”

“It is called bluffing.”
Motonubu snuffed out his cigarette and pulled out another as a new round of cards were dealt. “I expected folks like you to be better at it.”

One of the men laughed, throwing more cash into the ante. “I’m not gonna take lip from a fresh hire who is already down three months of pay. You’re gonna be our bitch for a while, boy, if you keep losing like this.”

“Hm.” Motonubu watched as Kubo, the boss of the outfit, heard something on his radio and left in a huff. “Live and learn, am I right?”

“This weather, though. Ugh.” Most the smugglers sat perched on their crates of wares, bundled up in cloaks and armor in the styles common to Kaze no Kuni. “Anyone seen my coat?”

And so an hour passed. Then two. Eventually the boss’s agitation spread to the whole group of twenty or so men in the company. “Hey, what gives? We ain’t spending another night in this dump, are we?”

“Have some patience.”
Motonubu tossed an empty pack into a growing pile of cigarette butts and beer cans in the corner. “I got a feeling something will happen soon.”
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:08 AM   #2
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“Was it really a good idea to make them wait?”

From the middle of the pack, Junichi spoke, flanked by a series of rather rough looking guys. Counting him, there were six in total, all dressed in hoodies and distressed denim. Some wore ballcaps while others bore military cuts or mohawks. The fact remained that the Shinshi looked painfully out of place, but the group had need for a chemist, or at least, someone who could mix up a batch of drugs before it was sent off to be processed.

Juxtaposing himself further from the group, the boy wore all black, with an oversized cardigan over a tank top and hightop sneakers to boot. He made sure not to step on any toes, lest his “allies” try and pound him into the dirt again.

“Everything’s fine.” The one leading spoke in a gruff tone before turning his head to shoot Junichi a silencing glare. He went by Takeshi, a former member of the EKD and aspiring kingpin. He was a man of few words, possessing about as much integrity as a snake – his muscular form slithered through the sandy plains just beyond Tenyokuchi, leading his posse to the prescribed location he had set previously. In one of his compatriot’s hands was a briefcase, a sword sheathed at his side. Everyone in the group appeared to be armed with at least a club, save for Junichi.

In truth, he was nervous. The people he walked with all possessed at least some kind of military training, but they were seedy. The opposite of trustworthy, Junichi had essentially been forced to be their glorified slave for what felt like weeks: He could hardly remember the last time that he had woven together chakra into a technique. But if that’s what would keep him safe, then that’s what he would do. He had intelligence to gather, and Takeshi was instrumental in gathering it.

As they approached the outskirts of Tenyokuchi and filed into a rather dreary warehouse, Junichi could see what appeared to be a group of merchants standing just across the building, crates taken off the carts they pulled in order to form makeshift chairs and a makeshift table. In their hands, Junichi could make out a few simple cards. They appeared to be killing time, understandable, given how late Takeshi had made everyone.

“Yo, sorry guys.” His voice still carried the gruff, rough-and-tough tone to it. “We got lost in the rainforest.”

Last edited by Wess; 04-18-2018 at 02:17 PM..
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:01 AM   #3
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Everyone heard Kubo before they saw him. Their boss’s voice was like a jackhammer, especially when wound tight. “Cripes, you’d think someone slept with his wife he’s so pissed!” Even before Kubo entered his men were already packing up the game and snuffing their cigarettes. It looked as though their buyers finally arrived.

Kubo stood two heads shorter than the smallest man in the company and never hesitated to knock heads with anyone who tried to exploit it. That type of aggressive compensating meant situations like the present were not strange to his crew. Words and phrases like “lost opportunity cost” and “eating into our paycheck” filled the air as his men began moving and stacking the heavy crates near the entrance. The buyers, thank goodness, didn’t seem all that upset by the shouting.

“The boss’s attitude should scare away clients.”
Motonubu remarked as he and another grunt hauled a long, table sized crate out to their customers. “What’s his secret?”

“Volume,”
chuckled the man opposite Motonubu. The flippant answer didn’t amuse the undercover shinobi. “Aw, lighten up, kid. Still sour about losing five months worth of pay?”

As they approached Motonubu cast a quick look over at the new arrivals. Kubo was frothing at the mouth about “twenty percent!”, which didn’t concern the chuunin. The upright and aware way these buyers carried themselves hinted they might be very well trained, at least when compared to the slovenly and lackadaisical way Kubo’s men moved around. In the back stood some young child dressed in black- was that somebody’s kid? How weird, to bring your offspring to a drug deal. Well, it was none of Motonubu’s business how criminals raised their children.

Eventually him and his compatriots built what looked like a small shrine to the lumber industry, with stacks upon stacks of crates lining the outer walls of the warehouse. Sweat poured off his face and he took a convenient break outside where the negotiations were still ongoing. Sunagakure had kept Kubo under close watch for months rather than busting him for peddling contraband. It was all in the hopes he would lead them to bigger fish.

These goons they sold too now hardly looked like a catch. It might be another week before any of this paid off. Motonubu looked out to the horizon and took a swig from his flask. Too bad he wasn’t the type to enjoy sunsets.

Last edited by Junge; 04-18-2018 at 02:44 PM..
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:39 PM   #4
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Takeshi continued his “negotiations” with Kubo, countering every offer with meager ones of his own. He knew what he was doing – chances were, he’d never see these Sunagakure smugglers again. But right now, he needed a supply. His operations had fallen on hard times, particularly in regards to competing with gangs plaguing the big cities of Grass Country. Takeshi, however, was the type that normally preferred quality over quantity: It was the main reason most of the men accompanying him looked like they were capable of ripping Junichi’s head off with their teeth. Shrugging his shoulders nervously, the chuunin watched Takeshi explain their situation, or at least, part of it. Junichi was, essentially, in charge of quality. It’s why the shinobi-turned-chemist was so closely guarded: The group couldn’t risk him running away.

Not that it would be difficult, but they didn’t know that.

It wasn’t long before the two men got loud, Takeshi bowing up towards Kubo. His thick chest met the smaller man’s head as he straightened his back, flexing his muscles and letting one hand rest on the sword at his hip. The men accompanying him moved in a similar fashion, producing clubs, shanks, brass knuckles, everything that Junichi had done his best to avoid.

His eyes nervously dotted between the two groups, waiting on the fight to ensue. That had been Takeshi’s plan all along, to work the adrenaline through the smuggler’s system and leave them weak and feeble, ready for punishment. He took a position near the back, watching as Kubo and his allies try to deescalate the situation before some drew weapons of their own. The smugglers had been double-crossed: Their deaths, while unfortunate, were instrumental in gaining further understanding of Druid’s Heart and the gangs that sold it like candy.

He only hoped that he wouldn’t actually have to fight.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:08 PM   #5
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The escalation was cute at first, but rapidly developed as Kubo’s usual hot air didn’t bother these Grass folks at all. Motonubu picked up the name ‘Takeshi’ in the conversation. It was not really something he intended to remember, he just liked knowing the names of people whose throat he might be slitting later.

The most loyal of Kubo’s crew came to the defense immediately and began posturing for dominance. The rest stood back unsure how to respond to the threat of violence. Kubo always talked big but usually put business ahead of petty pissing contests. In fact he already appeared to be backing down under Takeshi’s withering stance. “Alright, alright.” He held up his hands and scoffed. “Bunch of brutes, I ain’t gonna do business like this. Pack it back in, boys! We’re headed home.”

If a fight had everyone scared stiff, hearing that all the merchandise they’d transported needed to be put back was even worse news. A collective, disgusted groan rose up from the lookers-on. “Don’t give me that sass, you schoolgirls! Back on the wagons, now!”

What a bust. Motonubu tightened the lid of his flask and tucked his cloak around him against the growing night chill. Maybe this was some kind of last ditch negotiation ploy, but the chuunin hadn’t seen Kubo like this before. He looked legitimately shaken. But the guy had a family to go back to, right? Just another example of relationships being a weakness, thought Motonubu.

One of the less loyal men shook the crate Motonubu leaned on. “Yo, buddy, let’s get a move on, I want to get back home before sunrise.”

Motonubu lit a cigarette, keeping his eyes on Takeshi’s group. “Why are those men are still here? There was no deal.”

“Eh, whatever. They’re junkies, who cares what they think?”
The man violently shoved the crate forward, pushing Motonubu and making him drop his cigarette. “You better get to work or you’ll never pay back that poker debt, newbie!”

He glowered at the dying ember of his fallen cancer stick. “I need to relieve myself, be right back." Not strictly a lie. Motonubu needed relief from his growing doubts. With barely a sound, he slipped away and melted into one of the many growing dusk shadows.
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Old 04-20-2018, 04:17 PM   #6
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“I’m sure that we can still work out some kind of deal!”

Junichi spoke with an uncertain, childish naivety, if only to play up his character. He went by Akira, an alleged shinobi academy dropout that until recently, spent most of his time interning at a Sougan hospital in the pharmacology department. He had been “kidnapped” by Takeshi’s group, and served as their resident chemist. The men thought that they could keep him in line through intimidation, so in order to act complacent, Junichi simply allowed his personality to regress to how it was before: Shy, timid, eager to please, and too nice for his own good.

In truth, it hurt his soul.

Rather than respond to him, however, Takeshi’s group went on the offensive. Swords were drawn, clubs brandished, and brass knuckles fitted. They moved as a trained unit, appearing to work in pairs as they went straight for the kill, slicing, beating, punching, anything that prevented them from getting their supply. Takeshi himself moved straight for Kubo, bringing down his sword in an arc while the other man ducked underneath it, crying out in protest and calling his allies to arms.

Junichi simply watched it all transpire with a grimace on his face. He was supposed to be helpless, but the men with Kubo had a superior numerical advantage. Given the arrangement and position of the two men, neither had a distinct tactical advantage – it all came down to whether or not Takeshi’s men could kill a large enough percentage of the opposition with the surprise attack before they were overwhelmed.

Weighing his options, he continued to step back, eyes darting around wildly. He wouldn’t put it past one of Kubo’s men to go towards him: The trick was to make the scuffle believable, at least until he could stick a dagger through one of their throats.

In truth, Junichi was in a bad situation: He didn’t exactly excel at taijutsu, but more importantly, he couldn’t use his chakra without blowing his cover.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:27 AM   #7
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Several bodies hit the earth in rapid succession. Screaming, the bone-chilling kind, rose up in a wave as Kubo’s men became aware of the attack. This type of sneaky backstabbing wasn’t uncommon in the smuggling world, and Kubo’s most trusted men surrounded him at once to repel the forceful thrust of the attackers.

Unfortunately no such defense existed for the rest of the hired help. Everyone outside Kubo’s circle could do nothing but try and run as the swords and clubs crashed down on them. A few more bodies dropped and the rest scattered and ran. Typical. Even if these grunts might have been able to overwhelm Takeshi’s men in numbers, they weren’t exactly trained for such an event. And who was going to throw their life away just to save some crates of loot?

Motonubu sat motionless watching as everything unfolded. A few separate threads of thought dangled in his mind. This Kubo mission was hardly worth sticking his neck out for. He estimated that he could probably take down two to four of Takeshi’s squad himself (assuming there were no surprises) but it would mean revealing himself as a shinobi and thus fail the mission outright. Of course, rescuing the boss might put Motonubu in a higher rank within the company. A real brain teaser, this one.

After weighing the options and seeing a couple more men get executed where they stood, he made his decision. It’d be a bit risky but he would avoid using any shinobi tricks to help defend Kubo. He first targeted what he imagined were the weakest pair of Takeshi’s men. In the next moment Motonubu darted from his shadow in a head-on charge. One of Takeshi's men spotted him instantly and swung his club to intercept.

What a lazy swing! It was as if these cowards thought they were fighting dogs, not men. A fatal underestimation. Motonubu knocked the weapon aside with the backside of his hand then landed a quick jab to the man’s throat. His target sputtered, wheezed, and choked, not longer in any condition to counterattack. Nearby another of Takeshi's men stopped beating an unconscious man after noticing his friend was in trouble. This henchmen lunged at the chuunin with the same sloppy technique.

Another waste of time. As Motonubu's first victim clutched at his collapsed esophagus the chuunin turned around and released a handful of sand into the path of the second. The charging soldier cried out as the particles blinded him. His swings flew wide and quick, like a panicking child's. This attack was even easier to parry and the chuunin slipped into range after a few short ducks and weaves. A strong elbow to the jaw knocked his attacker out flat on his ass.

Not quite two down, but it was a start.

Last edited by Junge; 04-23-2018 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:31 PM   #8
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Sure enough, one came for him. Takeshi was too busy cleaving through flesh to come to his prize’s aid; rather it was one of his weaker compatriots who had noticed, happy to help until a fist collided with his throat. Part of him felt for the man – he was one of the nicer ones of the group – but Junichi had other pressing matters to deal with, most notably the man swinging an axe in his direction.

He sidestepped the swing, keeping a loose stance as he bobbed and weaved, ducking under the next strike and sliding a few feet to create distance. He could hear Takeshi screaming, “Secure the boy, secure the boy!” but no one seemed capable of coming to his aid. It made him a target, a real bother when it came down to it.

Still not wanting to come off as a threat, Junichi weighed his options, deciding to move to dispatch his first assailant. A few of Kubo’s men that had ran previously had decided to stick around, eying the fight carefully as if trying to decide whether they should keep running or try and tip back the scales. Junichi wasn’t going to wait for them to get any bold ideas, so yet again, he ducked under the axe, gathering his stance and drawing his hand just underneath his own chin.

He rose with an elbow, medical knowledge and taijutsu training combined to hit a pressure point just under his assailant’s chin. It was clean hit – clean enough to make the man drop his weapon and stagger back as his world went black before he collapsed on the ground.

Letting out a huff, he surveyed the battlefield, letting his eyes rest on one of Kubo’s men, one apparently skilled enough to have taken down two of Takeshi’s men by himself. He had a bad feeling.
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:04 AM   #9
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After a couple of quick kicks to their kidneys Motonubu felt comfortable moving on. As his prey writhed on the ground his eyes darted back and forth between the remaining foes. Takeshi and his partner were giving Kubo and his merry band of brutes a hard time. Drug addict swordsmen weren’t to be trifled with. His attention moved back to the young boy, a seemingly easier target to deal with. The kid knocked out the blowhard known in the group as Lugnut- who else but a nutter would lug around an axe in a desert country with a grand total of three trees in it?

He wanted to take down the next weakest group, which would be the boy, but killing children generally didn’t garner much respect these days. No choice, then. He’d team up with Kubo to take down Takeshi.

Thirty seconds later he realized the flaw in this plan. Motonubu ducked and felt the Takeshi’s blade bite into his cheek. He barely managed to twist out of a few more thrusts from the man before it became apparent a fair fight would end up in Takeshi’s favor. “Kubo, you bastard!” Motonubu’s feet shuffled backwards at an alarming pace as Takeshi grinned and forced him back. “His guard is down, take him out!”

Whatever Kubo’s response was, Motonubu couldn’t hear it over the sound of Takeshi’s relentless assault. Clang! Bang! Even as the sword bounced off crates and walls Takeshi pulled it back and lunged again and again, as if he had infinite stamina. His weapon gave him reach Motonubu couldn’t close with his fists. Whenever possible the chuunin glared back at Kubo and his bodyguard entourage. It looked like they were hurrying to pack the wagons and saddle the horses- trying to make a getaway in the middle of all the chaos?

It was just the kind of low-down and dishonest thing Motonubu would do, anyway. Takeshi’s partner suddenly swung in from behind and Motonubu had to make an embarrassing dive away to avoid losing an arm. The chuunin’s hand would be forced before too long. Time to dip into that bag of tricks. From his kneeling position on the ground he made eye contact with Takeshi’s partner. That’s all it took for the illusion to set in, no hand seals needed- it’d hopefully keep his identity secret just a little while longer.


Last edited by Junge; 04-24-2018 at 07:26 PM..
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:14 PM   #10
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Takeshi’s partner let out a scream, faltering for a second and inching away from Motonubu. It didn’t make sense to anyone, least of all to Takeshi, who screamed at his subordinate. “Cut the bastard down! The rest of you, don’t let them get away!” Amidst the chaos, Junichi weighed his options – it seemed that the man facing Takeshi had the most training out of the group, evident by how he generated enough bloodlust to cause an ex-militant to stop, dead in his tracks. However, everyone else seemed occupied with their own fight, which left Junichi to deal with Kubo and his bodyguards, rather than help Takeshi and whatever the scared bully next to him’s name was.

He knew a direct approach would be suicide, but he couldn’t risk letting the men getting away, not when Junichi was so close to figuring out who would be in charge of finishing the Druid’s Heart he manufactured. From the intel released to the medical community, chakra was somehow involved in the drug’s creation: They could manufacture it chemically, but not truly replicate its effects until they understood the ritual-like component to it. Interrogation was proving to be difficult, but infiltration...

He ducked behind a box of crates as he approached Kubo and the wagons, stopping before the last seal and judging his distance. The men turned toward him, one even laughing.

“Look at this punk.” He drew his sword, stepping in front of Kubo while he and several others finished loading the wagon. “What are you gonna do?”

“Uhm, ask you nicely one last time to leave that stuff with us?”

He was drowned out by laughter, at least until he clapped. The effect was twofold: He completed the genjutsu, causing a swirl of flowers to fill the men’s vision while simultaneously creating a soft green ring around him. The heavy lights that lit the warehouse shook as weight redistributed, and then suddenly, came crashing down, flattening the man that had stepped in front of Junichi.

However, he wasn’t done. After Gemmei’s wedding, he had trained with his older cousins extensively, allowing him to make full use of all the territories that he could. The wagon’s wheels popped off cleanly, leaving Kubo and the rest of his men without a cart, leaving them in a dimly lit portion of the warehouse with flowers still passing through their vision.

He swiftly unanchored himself, hoping no one had noticed the green glow. People were too busy trying not to die or to kill someone else to pay much attention to him... Right?

Fuck.
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