Duke

[Plot] Confused Legionnaire (Open)

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"Revolution! Revolution! Revolution!"

 

Amidst the small gathering of fifteen or twenty folks in the beautiful market district stood one huge man, towering head and shoulders over the rest in attendance. He stood in a rather unassuming white button-down shirt, opened four buttons to reveal a healthy portion of his chest, and a pair of nice black slacks. He had ringed his neck in a the lose wrapping of a bright blue bow tie which may have at some point been tied or may have been artfully placed there to give the simplest of illusions of having once been tied - the true answer remained unclear to any who would care query about it. He wore a pair of white, round, thickly rimmed glasses fitted with sheets of un-prescribed glass which gave him the air of someone who thought he had made a gloriously clever fashion move but had, in fact, made a rather strange choice when considering the angularity of the wearer's face. 

 

From the crowd he pumped his arm, massive, multi-digited fist moving up and down in time with the chants of those surrounding him though he himself produced no sound. He had been now to a few of these small, impromptu rallies focusing upon the Shepard-Fairey posters which had sprung up on every conceivable surface of the village. It had taken some extra time for these silly pieces of paper to fully infiltrate the wealthy and uppity parts of the Market District this huge man liked to frequent and yet they had come here too. After three or four of these gatherings he had determined that they were both stupid and supremely unfun, so when a mission came out for all available shinobi to begin investigating the mysterious advertisements, Chaohuan, utterly unoccupied, found himself drafted to the task and found that task incredibly boring. 

 

Under the guise of gathering information, he stood in the middle of the crowd, absentmindedly swaying with the ebb and flow of the gathered crowd, not paying much attention to what they said. He'd been here before and had realized that no one here, least of all himself, had any idea what they were protesting for, against, or about. He had put his mind to the task of figuring out what was going on before realizing quiet rapidly that this truth held true: the mindless fools the village had clung onto an utterly vapid set fake ideals which stood in for their otherwise all-encompassing existential understanding that they would all die a totally unfulfilled life. He would never say that out loud of course, but that was what they were doing, clinging onto anything they could to attempt to give their lives an illusion of direction. He pitied not that they did this, but that the could not articulate this and that, as such, these posters had so roused them. He began to give up hope that any sort of understanding would come of this mission less something dramatic occur.

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Takara was feeling good. Despite the appearance of a low level mission, she took this quite seriously. She hadn't been in the field or genin training for seven years. As she walked towards the office of the kage tower, she noticed what appeared to be a rally. She paused on the outskirts, thinking over how shinobi were called to put an end to these things. She wasn't exactly a shinobi, nor was she strictly not a shinobi. Her parents had taken her out of training seven years past, when her brother Tasuki died himself on a mission. But Takara wasn't him and she was on her way to proving it. The crowd was large, but she had to find a way to disperse it. With that in mind, she had the advantage of not looking like a shinobi.

 

She took in a deep breath and straightened her back. She had no fear and was on edge as it was. Wearing a blue dress down to her ankles, the loose airy fabric flowing about, Takara strode right up behind the man giving his bullshit sermon. She looked like one of them, just another civilian, the girl who served in the sake-house. Nobody looked twice at the young green haired woman. She adjusted her pony tail, then the leather belt at her waist, and observed. The leading spokesman was standing on a very small podium, self made as in it was just a three foot tall crate. Takara crawled up quickly behind him and pushed him hard, forcing him to fall to the ground.

 

She found herself then standing on top of the crate at an audience of people stunned in silence. Takara hadn't actually thought this far.

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After a short while a small, sudden speech began, a random man walking up to a makeshift podium and beginning to babble on about the importance and moral virtue of revolution and the general corrupt nature of... things. He, to his credit, somehow managed to talk about all of these weighty topics with almost no use of non-abstract nouns, never once naming an object which could take the blame of these sorts of faults and failures. Chao rolled his eyes at this, still standing and swaying, mouth still hanging slightly open, but now growing increasingly uncomfortable as he bumped into more and more people. He was not claustrophobic, he just liked his space and, as the crowd grew, he, at its heart, found less and less room to call his own.

 

Then, just as he considered throwing off the shackles of this crowd and wadding away back into the more sane portions of the market district, his eyes snapped to a small, moving figure, approaching the man hemming and hawing at the small platform. The huge man tilted his head, a dead give away to anyone paying attention, but of course no one was. Instead, the smaller girl was able to creep up to this man and, with a full arm extension, shove him to the ground, sending him sprawling into the nicely cobbled streets.

 

For a full second the crowed was cowed, stunned into an intensive silence before a hearty laugh erupted from their heart. Chaohuan's voice jumped almost a full octave as he laughed, becoming a smooth baritone temporarily and he moved up a large hand to wipe a single tear from his eye, bumping into a man next to him and jostling the crowd enough to cause them to start dispersing. The man who had taken leadership upon him had skittered away, shamed intensely by his foiling at the hands of this woman in front of all his peers. The hearty laughter simply added to the insult and spurred the group to finally break apart at the edges, fraying like badly worn cloth. 

 

The black-haired laughing man then strode forward, his humor subsiding to mere chuckles. Though massive, he walked with a certain roll, his body remaining almost eerily still with respect to vertical motion, though he swayed slightly from side to side as his hips and shoulders rolled with his steps. In two or three moves he had come within a few feet of his green-haired woman, a slightly little thing, and spoke, his voice grinding like two massive slabs of granite brushing against one another. "I take it you aren't a fan of these weird posters either?"

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Takara felt the tension ease from her shoulders. That could have gone a lot worse. Maybe because the crowd knew her on a personal level and not as a shinobi, they saw it more with humor. If she had been wearing her shinobi gear they might have seen her as "silencing the message". She bit her lip and looked down, about to jump off the box she had climbed up onto. She saw the black haired man, whose grin and eyes told her that he had just finished laughing. She stretched out a hand to him, "Help me down?" Takara fixed her belt with her free left hand, leaving her right extended down to him, assuming that he would take it so she could jump off the platform.

 

If he took her hand, she would continue to reply to his question. "Well, in truth, I am a shinobi. It's part of the current missions to  end protests like these to protect people from the dangerous of an angry crowd. I'm glad to see some people have the good sense to see through the damn posters," Takara had an unusual amount of anger when she spoke of those posters. What this stranger did not know was that she had just finished ripping posters off of buildings in the local area. Her older brother had died living as a shinobi and protecting these people. Such a crowd as this, and such posters as were seen, filled her with unruly contempt. Her blue eyes were trained on the man before her and his smile, her shoulders relaxing as she was put at ease.

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Yet smirking, the huge man, still taller than this girl though she stood up upon this small stand, offered his hand up for her when she asked for it, her comparatively delicate and slight fingers easily dwarfed by the six larger which adorned Chao's hands. As she stepped down, a proper lady by his estimation, he figured he could have just as easily lifted her with but a hand and placed her upon the floor, though that would doubtlessly be rude. His face had slacked as she descended, appearing blank and bland, until she spoke up and his face animated.

 

"You too? I got a message saying I was supposed to go tear down posters and figure out what was happening but then..." as he trailed off he used his right hand, the one he had no offered, to gesture vaguely at where the crowd had gathered, trapping him within it. "Anyway, none of them have any idea what is going on or what these posters mean. Did you hear the guy talking before you knocked him over? He just kind of mumbled unclear nonsense about the duty of the people to rebel." He paused then for a moment, both gathering his thoughts and allowing for the girl to respond before asking.

 

"Do you know anything about genjutsu?"

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It was a relief to hear him admit to being a shinobi, realizing after she confided her identity that it might not have been so wise. When he mentioned the crowd, she glanced about as they dispersed. The people found better things to do, shopping at the local places, some moving to go back to work manning stalls, but still they whispered. It was disorienting. She could just imagine what they were saying. "It was funny the way he got knocked off his podium- but what he was saying, I really got that." Takara made a slight face, unable to hide her distaste.

 

"Whomever is doing this, it's a group not just one person. There's too many posters, too much unrest. And it's easy, let me tell you. I work all night and day in a sake-house, bout four blocks that way," Takara continued, gesturing with her free hand at the same time as slipping the other hand away from the grip of the man who had helped her down, bringing it to her side. "They complain, but then, we all do. We feel dissatisfied with our lives and instead of making a change, we point the finger at the kage. Those idiots don't even seem to remember the generations of cruelty we had to overcome, or just how good our kage is." Takara's frustration was deep and personal, because of her connection with her brother, but she didn't expand more on the subject. She sighed, watching the crowd and then looking back up to the man when he questioned her.

 

"I barely know anything. It's been seven years since I used the things the academy taught me in the field. I remember a little about genjutsu, but not how to use it. Why do you ask?"

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A bit of fire welled up within the girl as she spoke, the the man near her did not fully grasp why. He could not fully understand if she was mad at the civilians in general or, more like him, upset by their utterly empty and unseeing natures. He hoped it was the latter, but ultimately he had no powers of mind reading to divine this information and he simply waited, quietly, for her to finish. When she had hit the ground and during her speech he would take a slow step forward, body rolling like a stalking jungle beast, to approach a nearby wall of posters so that they could tear them down as they spoke and strategist. 

 

His face fell a bit, admittedly unintelligent looking features drooping in a kind of puppy dog approximation of disappointment when he heard that she had not used genjutsu in such a long time. He also had no notable abilities in that particular discipline. "Yeah, I haven't used it in a long time either. I just thought that maybe someone might have cast one over the village or something, maybe there's some way to design one that would make these people just believe some low-grade imperative without questioning. Were that the case someone with an acute chakra sense might be able to locate them, or a genjutsu user might just be able to break it." He reached his hand out and tore off a few posters in a collection of rapid swipes, tossing them to the street where the gentlest of breezes carried them down the cobbled streets.

 

"Have you looked into this at all before? I honestly have no idea why people are roused by these posters."

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The green haired woman nodded, helping him to pull some posters down. It was an intriguing thought, but she didn't know what to make of it. She didn't have basically any capabilities. She crumpled up the posters into an oversized ball and held them tightly in her dainty looking grip. The man with her was huge, she doubted she had anything to fear with him around. She lifted her blue eyed gaze to him and answered, "It's not that unfathomable. I listen to people all night and day complain. For them, someone just gave them a place to put all the blame for unhappiness. Better its our fault, or Mizukage-sama's fault, than to accept some things in life as unfair or challenging." The adventurous woman was not lacking in compassion or empathy. She wondered if the man beside her had been so removed from the people that he could not understand how life could be so hard.

 

"I understand them, even if I don't agree with them. Until today, I was miserable. I just took charge of my life, but they.. they haven't yet." She shrugged, her shoulders relaxing. "Whoever is behind this knows how to manipulate the fearful, the guilty, the downtrodden. He's no genius--he's a fucking coward." From her, such a swear would seem unusual, very unladylike, but it didn't seem to faze her.

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Listening, he found he heard compassion within the woman's voice, something which he found rarer and rarer, though to be honest he had always found it a luxury; growing up as he had and fighting as he had, one finds the simplest of kindnesses both hard to come by and of terrible value. A small smile lit his face, and he maintained it as she spoke of the unwillingness of the civilians of this country in acknowledging how they could take their lives into their own hands. Perhaps this woman could inspire the rabble of the village to think more deeply on the nature of their unhappiness. Or, perhaps, the were doomed, as always, to a life of ineffable woe. 

 

With a broad stroke of his arm he gathered up another fistful of these strange posters, different on the surface and yet so basic and simple in their message and intent - or rather, lack-there-of. He frowned a bit at her final comments, pausing in his destruction of the posters to think briefly before speaking to her once again, his voice like grinding slate. "I guess you're right, maybe they are just deeply misguided and lost. I don't..." he paused, himself, on some fundamental level, also misguided and lost. Could he even offer advice on the matter that he so casually shrugged off?

 

"I don't really know what to do about that I guess." Though in truth, he would rather not have to think about what to do. "But I'm glad you aren't miserable anymore. We can't let life get us down. Plus," he chuckled then, punctuating an otherwise darkening conversation with a touch of some blackish humor, "we get paid to punch those fucking cowards. And trust me, that's more fun than not getting paid to punch them." He smiled and as he did his blue eyes seemed to shine, though somewhere deep within them lurked some kind of hidden madness swimming all about.

 

"Do you, uh, know who we're supposed to report any of this to?"

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Takara belted out a laugh as he spoke. She reached up, still chuckling, helping him clear out the rest of the posters. There were an abysmal amount of them on this little street corner. As she piled up the papers, crumpling them one at a time, she glanced around for a trash can. Takara spied one not far away and motioned towards it. "I think we should inform some of the higher up shinobi, or..." She paused, her voice taking on a playful air.

 

The man before her was putting her in a good mood with all his laughter and his very amusing joke. "Or maybe we should take all these posters and dump them in the kage's office?" It was obviously a joke, but Takara was half serious she was so annoyed by the amount of them. She knew of course that her kage was concerned, that is why she was out here with him cleaning up the streets. But Takara wasn't sure he actually had the problem of having his tower covered in the damn things in the same way that she and other's had their shops vandalized.

 

Regardless, the 18 year old made her way to the trash can, showing she was only joking by throwing the posters into the trash can. A group of people whispering not far watched her activities, and his, somewhat disapprovingly. They didn't look like they would come forward about it, but Takara was sure they were unhappy.

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He giggled at the girl's words, a slow rumbling escaping from his chest as the pair finished up clearing the side of a business which, like a blemished face, had become colonized by these strange posters. While mirth filled the pair, both clearly understood that something greater worked here, that these simple and plain posters could not possible be the only reason for these thoughts of revolution. Chaohuan thought that, likely, it also had less to do with the populace's general displeasure with the emptiness of their lives. No, something else played here, something darker and more sinister slithering about in the gutters. But he laughed it off.

 

"Hm... I would like to put them all in the Kage's office, but I don't really want him to yell at me. I have never met him and I think that would be a less-than-stellar first impression." He smiled as he spoke, musing along with the green haired girl as they tossed the papers into the nearby waste recepticles. "Well we'd best go report to the Kage's people, if nothing else. Someone will want to hear about this. And you're right: there's clearly something else here, but we may need some additional man power to figure out what."

 

He began moving away then, leading down the path that would take them to the tower of their liege lord, feet padding in utter silence as he went. Then, a few steps down the way, he turned and extended his many-fingered fist to bump with the girl's. "My name's Chaohuan, by the way. Sorry I didn't say anything earlier." He smiled a big, rather goofy smile before turning to continue sauntering to the ruler of the country. 

 

[Exit?]

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Akane listened to the man laugh and smiled. As she returned from the trash can, she thought to herself it was lucky that he had been around. What had she been thinking pushing that guy off his makeshift podium? Together they had cleared the crowds and helped the ideals of the posters, the ones being pushed on the people, seem more ridiculous. But it was always a possibility that the people would have instead been drawn to anger. That could have been quite the beat down.

 

She was grateful to the man who bore a cheery smile. She fist bumped him back with a chuckle, "I'm Taka, let's do this again sometime." Takara watched him go, then  moved back to the wall, pulling off the last poster on the corner wall and carrying it to the trash. She then made her own way to the kage tower, having plenty of business on her own to conduct with that Mizukage.

 

{Exit}

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