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Old 10-03-2018, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default Between Sky Blue & the Darkest of Greens

Sajime Sahori
Shichou Amane

Between Sky Blue and the Darkest of Greens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth Country Information
Sumiko City

Crime, decadence, and an extreme gap between the wealthy and poor can accurately describe Sumiko. On the surface, Sumiko is beautiful. Lovely waterfalls and a flowing river at the east of Sumiko brings down trade and food, a small forest at the edge of the mountains provide beauty, and the buildings of the city itself can be considered quaint. The buildings are made of the most cared for and treated lumber, giving the city a picture of romanticism.

However, Sumiko is also home to some of the most vicious gangs and criminal factions in Earth Country. There are at least two known mafia groups within Sumiko, and a suspected three more, though all parties involved claim to be innocent. Dozens of petty gangs litter the streets, terrorizing the citizens who wish to live nothing but peaceful lives. The police force within the city is corrupted as well, paid off by the mafia heads to allow their black market business to prosper. If there is anything illegal to be found, it is most likely within Sumiko City.

Politically, Sumiko is ignored. It is the outcast, the prodigal son, the black sheep of the flock, and it carefully ignored by officials and shinobi alike. Indeed, at times the shinobi are even hired by people within Sumiko who wish an unfortunate accident on each other. After all, business is business. It is a cesspool of crime, and many within Earth would support the idea of wiping Sumiko off the map. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done about the city, and so Sumiko just sits there.
“If I had known you two girls had come as one, I wouldn’t have bothered hiring the discount shinobi from the south.”

“It was foolish to hire foreign help when you’ve already recruited the finest Iwagakure has to offer.”

“Maybe, but it helps to double down on your investments here in Sumiko. I didn’t mean it as a slight against your brand. After all, Iwagakure has been taking on a lot of work at surprising rates, lately. Trying to make up for that earthquake in Jondori?”

“Whenever Earth Country suffers tragedy, Iwagakure will be there to protect and nurture the people affected...even if that means accepting less than market rate.”

“Won’t even drop the P.R. routine when you’re face to face with a conman? You ninja types can even make a evil old man like me feel sick.”

“I assure you, the feeling is mutual.”

The CEO of the textile company barked out a mad laugh, leaning back to rest his crossed hands on his fat belly, the leather chair squeaking under his weight. He wore a gaijin-style business suit, in stark contrast to the two girls across from his desk. One, who hadn’t said a word, rested her back against the wall with her arms crossed. Her miko’s uniform was centuries out of date – Byakko, a divinity posing as a mere mortal while she trained the shinobi that was bargaining with the devil. Said shinobi was Sajime Sahori, a beautiful example of class and discipline, her standard jounin attire a red and clay clash to the imposing, dark office – all this modern flair was meant to impress business partners, but it reminded Sahori of her company back home, an aged tradition that grew stronger each year.

“Still, I was surprised when Iwagakure answered our low-ball offer. You know, if you had held out, we would have easily offered twice that rate.”

“You’ve chosen an interesting time to make simple espionage requests, Takeda-san. The Yellow Army is particularly interested in maintaining solidarity during these troubling times. If we couldn’t manage a simple mission like this one, it would reflect poorly on our soldiers. As for this southerner?”

“Oh, right, right. Did you know that gods-forsaken country of Rain has a little nesting problem of shinobi rats, hiding away in the shit and mud? Well, they’ll crawl out like little hungry cockroaches at the first sniff of money. Desperate to make their mark on the world, maybe.”

“Amegakure.”

“Right, right. Well, I hired a little C-list nobody from them, too. My target has eyes on cornering the market down in the Rain Country, so I thought it only prudent to hire a native to assist you on this little venture.”

“That doesn’t sound like a complete waste of your resources, but I assure you, I can - -”

“Look, I get it, nobility and honor, but I need to make sure I get this package before it goes hot, do you understand? So swallow that little pride of yours and accept the local’s assistance on my dime.”

“Fine. Where’s the ninja?”

“I’ll have one of my boys show you to the courtyard. Feel free to partake of the wine and food, I’m sure you ninja don’t like to leave before nightfall, anyway.”

“You’re very generous, Takeda-san, but I don’t make a habit of drinking in Sumiko.”

“Ha, haha! I don’t blame you, a pretty face like yours.”

- - -

“No, we can’t kill him,” Sahori said begrudgingly, as if she didn’t believe it herself. “A client is a client. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to work for some fat old leech.”

The two girls walked in stride to the courtyard, next to a pale-faced yakuza with a fresh series of cuts across his face, like he had been struck by an angry cat. The miko was mumbling to herself, looking down at her nails. “You’re far too forgiving, Sasa-hime.”

“If we kill these guys, there’s no job. No job means no pay. ...and I have a reputation to uphold.”

Byakko blew at her nails and glared up across the courtyard, populated by waitstaff and gangsters in various states of relaxation. There, alone and across from them, was a boy that couldn’t be more than fifteen years old, looking terribly out of place – well, at least as out of place as the two women did.

“Are you the agent from Rain?” Sahori called out, her cheeks flushing a shade of pink as she raised her voice. “The discount shinobi?”
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:52 PM   #2
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“Liru-sama, forgive me, but I don’t seem to understand the urgency.”

There Amane sat, legs folded neatly together, with his ankles tucked behind an ornate mahogany chair’s stretcher. Across from him, on the other side of the matching table, the Shichou’s “boss” (she hated the term matriarch) drummed her fingers against the burgundy leather that cushioned her own chair’s arms.

“Never mind the urgency. I am telling you, Amane, that Amegakure, and the Shichou as their extension, need you to take care of this. I can’t risk letting you onto my reasoning so soon, but you’re bright. I trust you’ll figure out why it is that out of every Shichou I could have sent, I chose you.”

Amane narrowed his eyes, minding drumming through ideas. “A jounin would draw too much attention, especially since my accompaniment will be one. You need someone that they’ll underestimate. And an Ame-nin outside of the clan won’t report to you directly.”

Liru’s eyes lit up, and she offered the chuunin a small grin. “That’s part of it – you’re catching on. See to it that you figure out the rest before you return.”
As the “discount shinobi,” Amane had not been offered the same courtesy that his Earth Country contacts had been. Rather, he reported to a postman inside Sumiko and been told to wait until the Iwagakure kunoichi could make contact in the courtyard. He took the time to begin augmenting his clothing, having outstretched a scroll before forming a hand seal.

Inside the scroll were a myriad of carefully sealed fabrics and threads. Rather gingerly, he waved his hands around the sigils and kanji, causing them to light up. Within a few moments, khaki fabric shot out of one sigils, tearing itself neatly while thread spooled forth from a smaller sigil. The two twined together, eventually resulting in the creation of hood, complete with fastening buttons. He took the hood and rerolled his scroll before placing it inside an inner pocket of the trench coat designed to match the hood.

By the time he finished attaching his hood to the coat, he could see two women on the approach.

“I am Shichou Amane, yes.” He offered the woman a slight smile, his posture imperfect as placed a hand on his breast and offered her a small curtsy. When he stood back up, he still seemed to lean a bit forward, neck jutted forward, drawing attention to his Adam’s Apple.

“I take it that you’re the agent from Stone?”

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Old 10-04-2018, 05:12 PM   #3
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It was difficult to pretend not to notice all the eyes focused deep on them, two mercenaries standing out of place in this little hive of criminal activity. One of the serving girls giggled in their direction, maybe amused by the traditional clothing of the Stone ninja and her companion, but cut her attention quickly when the catlike eyes of Byakko settled onto the laughter.

“That’s right.” The kunoichi gestured politely at her companion, palm skyward as she smiled at the boy. “This is Byakko, White Tiger of the West. She’s helping train me in mystic arts, and acts as my stalwart companion.”

She tilted her head to the side as she talked, eyes dazzling with a spark of humor. “She gets angsty if you don’t say the whole thing every time.”

The miko rubbed her fingernails against the chest of her apron as she flashed a heartless smile, all teeth and no warmth, before finally saying, “I’m mostly here to watch my cute little student work. I don’t make a habit of pretending to know the ways of ninja.”

“I’m Sajime Sahori, by the way. I’m a jounin from Iwagakure. I was surprised that the client had hired a foreign ninja to work this mission. Especially not someone from your, ah – “

She gave a pained smile as she looked for the words. “Your particular village. We’re both suffering relationship issues with the people we serve, outside of our villages. I can understand your situation.”

“I’m looking forward to this mission.” Sahori crossed the space between herself and the boy, extending a hand in peace. “This is a simple bit of thief work for the two of us, seems like a good way to see how well our fundamentals are holding up. Can I trust you to have my back, Shichou-san?”
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:59 PM   #4
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“A pleasure, Byakko,” The boy paused, taking in the appearance of the woman. Small, unassuming, undoubtedly dangerous, given the look in her catlike irises. “White Tiger of the West.” His gaze turned toward his jounin companion, head tilted ever so slightly. “And you as well, Sajime-senpai.”

As he continued to listen to the woman speak, Amane’s lips formed a thin line, almost in a kind of protest. He was all for being cordial, but the jounin had begun to make assumptions. He was no political expert and could see the parallels between Iwagakure and Amegakure, but the prior hadn’t been chased underground and forced to live in squalor for five decades.

“I am too, looking forward to the mission that is.” He positioned his head skyward, inhaling a deep breath and letting his gaze linger on the starlight. “It isn’t too often that I get to see a day where it doesn’t rain. Even fewer where we’re permitted to leave the country, let alone go above ground.” He lowered his head, neck resuming its proper position – leaned forward, permitting him the chance to be just an inch or two shorter than normal.

For another moment, he sized his jounin companion up and down, almost as if he were gauging her strength. In reality, his gaze burrowed past her flesh, digging into her spirit. If it came down to it, he’d save his own hide, just like she would. The only difference was that she had a loyal companion to protect her. Still, he mused that in order to avoid an international incident, he’d better not think like that. The death of either one of them wouldn’t be taken lightly.

“I’ll have your back if you’ll have mine.” He slipped one of his hands into his coat’s pocket, the other fidgeting with a button that served no purpose other than decoration.

“Shall we proceed?”
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:01 PM   #5
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“I’ve spent a lot of time all around my home country, and a fair amount of time outside of it.”

Sahori was chipper, striding alongside the broad-shouldered boy, holding her head eye with a mixture of pride and motivated excitement. Her lady friend had quickly grown irritated with the back and forth of shinobi jargon and had disappeared as the pair of ninja made their way through the streets of Sumiko. For all its breathtaking architecture and beautiful geography, they didn’t have to travel long to hear fights breaking out behind doors or drunken yelling. As night swelled across the city, the tension rose. “Assuming this mission goes well, I’ll make sure to request continued joint ventures between our villages. I could show you all sorts of great sights in this country, not to mention all the money to be made.”

It was perhaps two-faced, the way she was talking up her country to a foreigner, but also promising excitement and pay for a job well done. Maybe to motivate the boy beyond any lingering doubts, or maybe out of a good-hearted attitude. She handed him a small folded piece of paper with her Iwagakure orders on it. The special runes that had encrypted the message had been destroyed when Sahori herself at read it, leaving a soft lead residue on the paper, like it had been scribbled across a raised tablet impression to make the message. It detailed the specifics of the mission:

Takeda Textiles has specific interest in a revolutionary new product from a competitor. Acquire the files of the product, and if possible, destroy any in-progress production. Return the files to the client, after making a copy for Iwagakure’s records.

“My company has interest in textiles as well. The Sajime Zaibatsu has been making some international moves, but we don’t have much activity as far south as Rain. If this product is really all that for the Rain market, maybe we can buy a copy from Iwagakure ourselves.”

She stuck out a tongue. “Of course, Iwagakure comes first. I can’t always try to make a buck on a mission. You’re not wearing what I’d expect a ninja to wear. Any particular reason you were assigned to this mission? I think I was just up on rotation for field work.”
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:18 AM   #6
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Amane regarded the jounin with no small amount of skepticism, but it didn’t show. A lot of shinobi had a sense of nationalism, himself included, but that didn’t mean he was oblivious to what went on behind closed doors. From what he could gather, Sahori meant to use money to motivate him. Despite coming from a poorer country, Amane didn’t care much when it came to the money generated by his little excursions. Rather, he cared about the contacts he made in order to further his art and his sales. Shinobi-work, while relevant to the Shichou, was only a small part of what made the guild tick. It might have been a good portion of their clan’s revenue, but just the same, so were the uniforms they sold to Amegakure and its allies. As Sahori produced her mission transcript, Amane glanced it over. Liru’s plan became clear.

“Surely you’ve at least heard of the Shichou.” His eyes scanned Sahori up and down, as if to examine her reaction. “We’re responsible for most of Amegakure’s military grade uniforms. They’ve blacklisted us on the surface, you know – probably out of fear for the enchantments we put on our clothes.” He smirked, confident, almost to the point of being cocky. “I might not look like a ninja, wearing this that is, but you can believe that it’s made better than anything we’ll find where we’re going.”

He paused, realizing how much he had upped his pace. He slowed himself, falling back behind Sahori, unsure where her miko friend had gone. He mused that she might have decided to tail behind them in case of an ambush, but he didn’t count it likely. For the most part, he was unassuming – his hitae-ate had been stashed away in order to keep him from drawing attention.
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