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  1. Hitomaro stretched as the wind rushed past him, saltwater sprayed over the bow of the ship coating his red hued jacket in a light mist. He probably should have been more careful with the fine fabric of his jacket but he was so used to the simple cotton black t-shirts and cargo pants that his new outfit felt a bit off. The well made jacket wasn’t the only uncomfortable piece, he was wearing a stiff yellow shirt, real jeans, and even a respectable looking scarf. He hadn’t picked it, some young woman tore through everything he owned until she found something she felt suited the task at hand then shoved him onto the semi large wooden boat. He chuckled a bit as he stood at the bow of the ship, why they’d send him to talk to someone important was beyond him. There was landin the distance, it was one of the Kazan Islands. It would have been polite to try and remember which one, after all there were five, but Hitomaro wasn’t the kind of guy who really cared. As far as the blond was concerned this was a waste of time. Three times before they’d tried to get the Wind Village to open up diplomatic talks, three times they’d been rebuffed. Yes, he’d read the damn manilla folder the young woman had given him. It was the same as all of the other manilla folders he’d been handed recently, it stuffed with papers so full of information written in small print that it almost looked like the sheet was caving under the weight of the ink. The Kage didn’t mess around when he sent you on a mission. Hitomaro had learned more in the last three hours than he felt like he’d learned in an entire lifetime. The Wind Country was a loose collection of island and port cities that had unified under a Shinobi banner quite a long time ago, so long ago in fact that it was almost amazing that they’d managed to actually lose out on the land wars to the Flame Country during the Great War. Hitomaro felt his skin crawl at the thought, he pushed the rage down. He was from Flame, he lived through the Great War, his family hadn’t. It was like swallowing a stone but he had to do it, worrying about his vendetta would only make what he had to do more difficult. He directed his mind back to the task at hand, back to the Wind Village and their newest leader. Sohei Nijiro didn’t call himself a Kage, he openly rejected the notion. According to the information Nijiro came to power as a spiritual leader, not a militaristic one, while still leaning on his shinobi traditions. He guided the Wind Country through the Great War and was the voice for the Kazan people during the dismantling of the old Shinobi world. Somehow he managed to hold together the Kazan Islands and then absorb a few the major port cities, all while fending off the major villages in a diplomatic spar. Hitomaro couldn’t help but admire the man's ability when he read the reports detailing his leadership qualities, most of the Lightning information experts likened him to a cult leader, Hitomaro couldn’t really tell the difference between that and a Kage. Regardless it wasn’t Sohei Nijiro that they’d aired the blond out to go meet, it was one of his loudest advisers, Kazuchika Okada. Okada wasn’t like Nijiro, he was known to be loud, vibrant, have a well trained entourage, and unlike Nijiro he really liked what the outside world could offer the Wind Country. He was the first chance to open a door into the Wind Country and the Village wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to ingratiate themselves to him. Which had Hitomaro a bit perplexed, if they wanted everything to go off without a hitch why in the hell would they send him? He’d asked why him a hundred times already, he never did come to a satisfying answer. The time to worry about why they sent him came to an abrupt end as his boat gently came to a stop beside a much larger, much more flamboyant ship. A small bridge was tossed over the side of the larger ship, connecting the two. Hitomaro sighed and pulled the sunglasses he was wearing off and put them in his jacket pocket, time to see how good of a talker he really was. 743/1000