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Old 05-02-2018, 12:33 AM   #1
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Two ninja, both alike in dignity,
Near Doshaburi where we set our scene,
Tend to ancient wounds that love may fly free
With bravery, skill, and what wit may glean.




starring hyuuga yuu and uehara tamon


Tamon hadn’t been sleeping well since his first mission turned out to be so violent, by his own fault as much as anyone else’s. He had done his best to distract himself with cooking, with cleaning, with target practice, and late night jogs, but nothing seemed to stitch together his frayed nerves. He didn’t want to bother his aunt about it, and Tame was kind enough to keep a polite—if strained—distance while he sorted himself out. She was worried for him, and rightly so he wagered.

He didn’t think it would be a mercy to be given another mission, but it was, and he was off almost as soon as he read his orders. While the mission was important, and of course he would fulfil it as best he could, it was springtime and that meant one thing: rain. Tamon could only remember encountering sparse needles of rain before, and he tore across the narrow, sand-swept roads and dunes towards the greener parts of the Wind Country in his excitement to see the sky open up and give life to the crops for another year. If he sorted this all out fast enough, he could send his report ahead of him to his superiors in KAZE and stay in the city proper for a few days to enjoy whatever a ‘deluge’ was.

The wastes began to trickle with greenery until the sand was behind him, and it was late afternoon by the time he had arrived at the Sasami estate. He had to navigate around a tall wall until he found the gate. He was running low on hits from his inhaler, which was unfortunate, because the sight of it took his breath away. It was as ancient as the family that owned it, but he could only truly tell by the architecture. The workers who served the Sasami family kept all the wood and stone clean, from the walls to the tall, horseshoe-shaped mansion itself. The courtyard connected the manor to several smaller buildings, and it was serviced by brick walkways. The walkways were cut into rows, with small gardens separating them intermittently, and the backdrop was the city of Doshaburi to the north. It was beautiful land, Tamon reckoned, and it would be a shame if the patriarchs of the Sasami and Okita came to blows and this was all ruined.

Tamon stepped through the open gate, and immediately felt a strong hand grasp his slim shoulder. He yelped in surprise, and looked up at a gentleman in a crisp, black suit, with his head shaved clean and tattoos that Tamon couldn’t quite make out creeping up his neck.

“Something I can help you with?” His voice was gruff, and he narrowed his beady eyes at Tamon.

“I’m here to meet with Sasami Kaito.” Tamon had spirited a shuriken in his hand, and motioned with one of its points to the hitai-ate stitched into the sash wrapped around his waist. He wore his best, most devilish grin for the guard. “By request! To help resolve his disputes with the Okita family.”

Tamon thought the gentleman might have been a street tough hired to keep unwanted guests out of the estate, but there was nothing tough about the relieved smile the guard wore. He squeezed Tamon’s shoulder with good-natured affection.

“Hey, well, I’m glad you’re here, huh?” He beamed at Tamon as he began to guide him through the web of walkways towards the manor. “There’s been a uhhh, development, but it’s best if you heard it from the Boss himself. Maybe you and your friend can talk him down.”

The inside of the manor was as antiquated and impressive as the outside, but Tamon didn’t have the presence of mind to appreciate it. “A 'development?'” He scrunched his nose. He had a sudden, sinking feeling. “Talk him down? Uh, I’ll do my best!”

The last part didn’t quite register for him until the guard slid the door open to Sasami Kaito’s chamber, and he halfway barked—alarmed, loud, and incredulous.

“Friend?!” Tamon managed to surpress a cough. “What friend?”
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:07 PM   #2
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Yo.

Fae-like and enchanting, the shinobi that stood in the entryway as the door opened was a testament to royal breeding. Pale, almost alabaster skin punctuated by rich black hair that spilled down the shoulders to a lithe and supple body, taut with lean muscle were striking enough, but those eyes, milky and alien, as if blind, but the faintest outline of the pupil stretched and tightened as it took in the visage of Tamon. All at once, every secret of the body was laid bare – his muscle structure, the weapons on his body, every single scar and stray hair was revealed to the divine kekkei genkai of all-sight. The famed Byakugan of the Hyuuga clan, in full display in this most immaculate example of breeding. The sweet voice that rang out from such a carefully crafted face continued, “Hyuuga Yuu, from Konohagakure. This is a joint operation, of sorts.

Hyuuga bowed slightly, with the reserved practice of courtly training, hair spilling down across the shoulders and flickering down in a cascade of ebony strands. The body was perhaps more impressive than the coloration of the skin, hair, and eyes – a testament to the mythical martial arts training of the Jyuuken philosophy, each motion almost imperceptible in its fluidity. Here was an overwhelming example of genius tempered by hard work, and combined with the sweet voice and careful posing, a friendly one, too.

Yuu smiled broadly at Tamon, and extended a delicate hand with long, slender fingers. They were positively riddled with the scars of a shinobi, knicks from shuriken and calloused from extreme training. “I’ve been on Sunagakure reserves for a while now, but I don’t believe we’ve met. I was just about to be briefed on the situation, so I’m glad you’re here.

The faechild let out a soft, self-chiding laugh. “I’m not so presumptuous to try and garner solo glories, I just have a bad habit of arriving early.

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Last edited by Virtual Dream; 05-05-2018 at 11:41 AM.. Reason: redundant wording
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:41 AM   #3
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“Goodness!”

To say that Tamon’s reaction was colored with surprise was unfair; he was surprised, surely, but also delighted by the sight of Yuu. He was arrested by Yuu’s gaze, and felt like a fool for meeting it with a delighted glint of curiosity in his orange irises. He had heard about the visiting Hyuuga clan member in passing, but never thought he would ever meet them. There were legends even in Sunagakure of the sacred all-seeing eye; that there were no truths that could hide from it, that it could see what was to be, and all sorts of stories of how it could see through walls as well as deceit. He wondered if any of that was true, or if Yuu could even see the kunai he kept hidden in his left sleeve or the row of shuriken worked into the folds of his shozoku. Needling anxiety made his next thought a question as to whether or not the Byakugan could see the sickly, imperfect way that Tamon’s chakra moved through his body.

“Oy! Yuu-sama!” There was a certain alien quality to the Byakugan that made him feel vulnerable in a way he hadn’t since the day he was injured, but he did not let it get the best of him. He first bowed to the senior genin, if only slightly, before moving forward to shake his hand. “Pleased to meet you!”

He was excited to find Yuu’s fingertips were likewise covered in knicks and scars, and shook his hand with a firm grip. He decided immediately that he liked Yuu. The anxiousness that Yuu had sent racing through his veins like a bolt of lightning had become a challenge to be met, to impress the visiting Leaf-nin, and Tamon started by wearing a cheshire grin that curled his lips beneath the folds of the dappled camouflage scarf he wore over the lower half of his face.

“Ah, well, you know, I’m not one for glory either,” he lied, if only to test a strange legend of the truth-seeing Byakugan he had once heard. He brushed aside a careless strand of auburn hair that dangled artlessly in front of his bright eyes, as soon as he had disentangled his hand from the shake. “Is everything alright? The, erm, attendant I met seemed to be worried about something.”
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:01 PM   #4
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Yuu dropped his hand from the greeting and folded his hands behind his back, and leaned back slightly so that Tamon could see the rage-filled Sasami Kaito tossing everything off of his desk. There was a clatter of books and papers, an ornate ceramic plate that shattered into a thousand shards, and a crossbow that launched when it landed. The errant bolt sailed towards Yuu, who didn’t even flinch – as the bolt came close to him, he dismissed it with a wave of his hand, and it shifted, slid ever so slightly, and rested in a warm thunk into the wooden wall behind the boy. “Sasami-san here is in an understandable anger. It seems his daughter has been abducted by his business rivals, the Okita family. I performed a quick investigation of the Lady’s rooms, and found that most of her essentials and items of nostalgic value seem to be have stolen away, as well.

I’ll kill those bastards, every single one!” shouted Sasami. He was a hulking man, hair clean cut and slicked back, tattoos visible even behind the neat cut of his business suit. He slammed his fists down onto his desk and practically spat venom. “He’s gone too far this time, this isn’t business, he’s attacked my family!

I find it particular that her kidnappers allowed her time to pack her traveling clothes and her photo album,” Yuu said, quietly aside to Tamon. The guard that let Tamon to the quarters adjusted his collar uncomfortably. It seemed Sasami wasn’t willing to listen to the reasoning that perhaps Sasami Arisu’s disappearance was unrelated to the Okita feud. “But considering Sunagakure isn’t in the interest of supplying shinobi to both sides of a wealthy civil conflict, I think our best move would be to investigate the Lady’s disappearance, and visit the Okita family--

Sasami glared over at Yuu, who politely coughed into his hand. “...visit the Okita aggressors and press them for any information.

He looked politely to Tamon for agreement before nodding at Sasami Kaito.

Shinobi have ways to garner information without escalating your border dispute to full out war, Sasami-san. If worse as indeed come to worse, I’m sure Tamon-san and I are more than capable of arresting anyone involved in the kidnapping of a child.

The Sasami patriarch took a deep breath, and sat down into his chair, looking over the mess he had made, before dropping his face into his hands. He let out a sound between a sigh and a sob. The guardsman started to move, to say something comforting, but held his tongue.

Then do it. Arisu is more important than land or pride.” Sasami-san finally said. Yuu turned to Tamon and beamed a smile.

Do you have any other concerns, then, Tamon-san? If you want to doublecheck my investigation of the Lady’s rooms, I’d be glad to assist you.

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Old 05-09-2018, 08:50 AM   #5
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“Look—” Tamon moved, despite his alarm, with speed that had been hammered into him until it was reflexive when he heard the familiar twang of a crossbow thumping out a bolt, yet Yuu acted with such a smooth and practiced gesture that it came off as almost blasé to him. The sound of the bolt punching into the wall seemed surreal and out of place, and he stared at it for a full second before finishing his thought. “—out?”

He did his best not to wear the astonishment he felt for too long, and it was thanks to his raw coughing fits that he had become an expert in collecting himself in the matter of a heartbeat. “That’s a pretty strange thing for the kidnapper to let her do, yeah,” he said, slow and steady before he repeated what Yuu told him back to himself under his breath. “Definitely a good idea for me to see the room too!”

“Mind showing us the way?” Tamon asked of the guard who had escorted him. His relief at the gate made him come off as more than just a mere acquaintance or disinterested employee, and if he and Yuu were looking into a disappearance, it would pay off to have someone nearby who could afford to pay attention. “I’ve got a bad habit of getting lost in big buildings.”

“Oh, uh.” The guard’s lips formed a ‘yes’ that he didn’t sound out. Instead he looked to Sasami-san, who was reloading his crossbow with the intense focus of a man who was very particular about everything. When the bolt clicked into place, he looked up and gave the guard a stern nod of approval. “Yeah,” he said at last, adjusting his black gloves “Yeah, I can do that for you.”

“Find her!” Sasami Kaito called out as the guard led them away from his study, his voice so hoarse that it almost cracked. He was angry, and worse, he was desperate and lost enough to make Tamon flinch. Aunt Tame would be the same way if he went missing, and he wondered when—not if—he would put her through that.

It was not in any way, shape, or form difficult to find the bedroom, nor would Tamon have actually found himself lost if he had needed to find his way on his own. The manor was kept neat and orderly, and the west part of its horseshoe-shape had the dining room, the kitchen, and the bedrooms. As he took in the details of the manor, the thought occurred to him that he might want to activate his KAZE audio/video recording cube, but he felt a prickling on the back of his neck as his hair stood on end. Something instinctual told him that wouldn’t be a good idea.

The Sasami guard stopped at a door and slid it open for Yuu and Tamon, and when they entered, he eased the door shut to stand guard outside of it. Arisu’s room was far cleaner than he thought it would be. Her bed was made, her closet was organized by the color of the clothes, and her writing desk was immaculate. Had it not been for the uproar, he would never have known that an abduction had taken place. Given how neat it was kept, he wagered that the daughter was very much like her father: exacting and particular.

“What happened here?” Tamon wondered aloud as he entered the room. He snapped a shuriken into his left hand and used it to inspect this or that, drawing the flat of the throwing star along the neatly folded sheets of Arisu’s bed. He did his best to remember his training as an investigator, and hummed to himself as he turned to Yuu.

“Y'know, I was told that most abductions are committed by someone close to the victim. She didn't even sleep in her bed, so I think she was expecting someone.” Tamon tapped his shuriken against his clothed chin. “You said she took her photo album, but maybe there’s some gifts lying around? Can you…see anything?”
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Last edited by daxAttacks; 05-09-2018 at 08:52 AM.. Reason: plot point clarification
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Old 05-12-2018, 12:48 PM   #6
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The genin from Konohagakure let out a long sigh as the door closed behind them, and relaxed his stance considerably as the pair were alone in the room. He stretched, crossing his arms over his chest then up over his head, and let out a long yawn before looking over at Tamon. His face flushed over a bit, and he held out his hands in a gesture of good will.

It was a really long trek out here so I had to leave early...I guess I left earlier than I should have.” He cocked a grin. “And acting courtly and uptight makes my back hurt.

He rubbed underneath his eye and let Tamon double up on the investigation, resting his body against a chest at the foot of the bed as he stretched out his limbs some more. He had been getting used to the Sunagakure heat, but it still took a toll on him. He looked over his shoulder at Tamon’s questioning, and rolled his eyes about in his head as he took a quick glance around the room with this extended levels of sight.

No traces of blood or anything you’d use to clean up blood. No damage to the windows or the doors.” He lifted a finger to point over his shoulder at the bedside table. “There’s a journal in there, but it’s a lot of romantic prose and poetry. Nothing biographical, from what I could tell. I didn’t notice any ciphers or anything, but I only looked at it for a few minutes. Felt intrusive.

He shrugged and held out both hands before slumping back onto the bed itself. “I’m maybe ninety-nine percent sure she’s a runaway. There’s no signs of a kidnapping or a struggle. Unless Papa Sasami out there sent her away or killed her to have an excuse to escalate his feud with the Okita family, I guess.” He pointed at his own face. “I don’t think that guy’s a liar, though. He looked pretty pained. Normally people’s faces flush and their heartbeats change tempo when they lie, but he seemed pretty depressed underneath all that blustering.

He wrapped his hands underneath his head and closed his eyes, letting out a sigh. “Besides, her riding boots are missing. Do people ride horses in Wind Country? Normally noblegirls have them. Maybe she followed her heart instead of her head.
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:06 PM   #7
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Tamon breathed a sigh of relief when Yuu’s polite facade cracked to reveal that he was just a young man; that, perhaps, they were more alike than anyone looking at the pair of them might surmise. “I think it’s fun to be all courtly and polite, but, y'know, in small doses.” He rolled his shuriken between his clever fingers, tumbling it end over end, without any regard for the way it might slice his finger. “Like at a party. Or at my graduation from the academy!”

It didn’t take more than two breaths for Tamon to start opening the desk drawers one after the other until he found the journal as soon as Yuu mentioned it, and felt the selfsame misgivings that his partner had voiced simmering in his veins. “I’m an investigator,” he mumbled, and the half-truth was enough to convince himself that this was in the best interest of everyone involved.

He hoped he seemed reticent enough to Yuu as he began to thumb through the journal. His stomach tied itself in knots as he plumbed through the woman’s stories and poetry. Tamon realized that he would be reading something personal, but he didn’t understand the enormity of how personal it could get until he read a few of the Arisu’s poems. He wasn’t sure how he felt about looking at someone’s untempered thoughts, hammered into something so heartfelt and so startlingly saccharine.

One poem stuck out to him:
Why are we thus divided having kissed?
My sickly heart yearns thus to be made whole.
Though wicked stars conspire, I resist;
Without your sweet poison, death grasps my soul.
As wine is sweet to taste for eager tongues,
So too is your soft kiss to me, it seems,
Yet I breathe it deep until it chokes my lungs
In quick, stolen moments and far-flung dreams.
Oh, cruel is the twisted hand of fate!
My only love sprung from my only hate!
He skimmed it over two more times, before reading it out loud for Yuu’s sake.

“I don’t think I’ll ever understand poets,” Tamon admitted, before closing the journal. He tucked it into the folds of his robe, and told himself it was for safekeeping, but even he had to admit that lie was lame. He hoped, perhaps beyond hope, to find Arisu and return it to her. “Can you make anything out of that poem?”
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:23 PM   #8
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Yuu looked up to Tamon as he read from the book, drumming his fingers against the top of his head as he considered the words. “I’m a fan of poetry, actually. It’s nice when people have hobbies outside of surviving and fighting. Sort of reminds me of why this shinobi lifestyle is worthwhile.

He stretched his arms out and swung himself up to a seated position, rubbing the bottom of his chin in thought as Tamon pocketed the book. “I normally assume stuff people write down is just for fun, you know. Fiction. But I guess if it was in a hidden journal, hmm..

He paced about the room a bit, tilting his head slightly. His long hair spilled over his shoulder as he did so, and he absently stroked it as he thought. “Only love from only hate, huh – maybe she’s gone and got herself involved with someone she shouldn’t. A bureaucrat's son or...

He lowered his head a bit so he could lightly press against his brow in disbelief. “The Okita family has an heir about her age, according to my informant. A lot of the rivalry seemed to spark up as the children started to reach adulthood, I figure to ensure a prosperous future for the respective families. My father’s of a similar mind, so I didn’t really give it much of a thought.

The Leaf ninja turned to Tamon and have him a thumbs up, that classic gesture of all great Konoha taijutsu specialists. “Nice catch. I couldn’t stomach pouring through the one about the heat rising between her thighs amidst her summer sighs, or however it went.

There was a soft sound of pattering as he crossed the room quickly, smoothing out his hair as he did so – straightening his posture to look as proper as ever as he practically exploded through the door. “Excuse me! I’m Yuu, by the way.

He extended his hand to the guard. “We’re definitely going to have to check out the Okita grounds, if you wanted to come along.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:23 PM   #9
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“Whenever I play my flute, I just play what comes to mind.” Tamon once again began to roll his shuriken between his fingers with the same carefree abandon as he had before. “So, I figure the same might be true of someone that writes poems.” He sucked in a sharp breath after he felt a soft sting along the side of his pinky finger, and worked his hand beneath his scarf to nurse the wound from his finger. He reminded himself to stop playing with his shurikens. He hated the taste of blood.

He talked around the pinky in his mouth. “Y’know, Yuu-san, I think we’re on to something big!” When he plucked the finger from his lips, it came out with a wet pop, and he felt a sudden prickling fear of being seen as annoying or improper by Hyuuga Yuu, but the thumbs-up set him at ease. “I’ve got a good feeling about visiting Okita estate.”

Tamon adjusted the folds of his robe to make sure the journal was secure, and trailed after Yuu as he beelined for the door. He was taken aback by the way Yuu threw the door open, and if falling onto his haunches and away from the door was any indication, so was the guard outside. From how he fell, Tamon surmised that he had been listening to the best of his ability to the conversation. He pursed his lips in thought, and said nothing.

“Noboru!” the guard said, easing himself back to his feet with the practiced dignity of someone who fell down often. “My name’s Noboru. I’m the Sasami’s chief lieutenant.”

“I can lead you to their homestead, but I probably shouldn't really be seen around there right now.” Noboru adjusted his tie, and when he was done, he looked as crisp and well-kept as when Tamon had first seen him. He was almost too jealous of how well Noboru could compose himself to notice that three of his fingers had been shortened. Noboru’s black gloves and confident demeanor made it hard to notice. “They’ve more than likely already heard about Arisu’s disappearance, and if they see me, they might think we blame them—which we do— and that an attack is imminent—which it is.”

“If it’s real important, though? I’ll always do what's best for the family.” The lieutenant gestured for Yuu and Tamon to follow him, before walking away with a cocky sway to his stride, even if he glanced this way and that with a nervous bite.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:19 AM   #10
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Yuu clenched his fist a bit as Noboru introduced himself, a grin splitting across his pale face – obnoxiously perfect teeth shining in the light spilling in through the ornate windows of the mansion.

You’re so cool, Noboru-san. Ninja have a code of conduct they dedicate themselves to, did you know? For me – it’s to do anything for my family’s sake.

His face flushed a bit with excitement as he walked alongside the lieutenant and carefully prattled on a bit about Noboru’s length of time with the Sasami family – long enough – his relative health – good enough – his combat skill when it came to being a bodyguard – more than adequate. Yuu’s childlike wander giddiness was just disarming enough to get the man to speak a bit more openly than he would have normally, something Tamon most likely recognized as a shinobi interrogation technique. Yuu continued to smile and pose and punch in the air with excitement every time Noboru spoke, encouraging him to speak more and more comfortably with the children. As they were reaching the edge of the Sasami estate, they had gleaned quite a bit of information from the man – nothing slipped about the actual purpose of the farmland, although the way he gruffy dismissed questions meant it was likely criminal in nature. However, the Sasami patriarch’s love for his daughter seemed to be no act. Even Noboru himself was pained when she came up.

His nervousness was apparent, though – was he just worried about losing an other knuckle for failure? Eventually he’d lose his ability to carry a sword, and then he’d be properly useless to the family. Without investigating it properly, Yuu’s Byakugan wouldn’t be able to reveal the age of his dismemberments, and the kid wasn’t nearly so rude as to press about a man’s injuries.


So, I assume we just follow this path to the main building.

Yuu could see the house already – hidden behind a rolling hill – but it seemed to throw people off when he saw things he shouldn’t be able to. He was practiced in pretending it away. Noboru nodded at the boy.

“I’ll be waiting here.”

Yuu gave him a thumbs up, and turned to Tamon with a smile as they started across the crest of the hill.

Talking with him relieved some of my concerns about who we were working for. Lots of lies wrapped up in half-truths, but the concern over Lady Arisu is genuine. I had thought maybe Sasami-san had locked his own daughter away to motivate a landwar, but if he did, his chief lieutenant doesn’t seem to know about it. This Okita family has archers on those two guard towers, by the way. We should probably walk with our hands exposed.

His eyes glimmered in the sunlight, the reflection of swelling storm clouds in the distance marring the otherwise beautiful day.
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