Tenri

A Night to remember | B-Rank Mission | Kazuo, Tenri

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Darkness would descend upon the Village Hidden in Water, its embrace like a dominant shroud of never-ending jet-black silk, her presence commanding and unnatural. A sharpness would envelop the streets as a glacier breeze would travel from the icy shores of the countries Frozen Tundra region and lay its claim upon Mizumura Village, it's occupancy unforgiving to those unaccustomed to its bite. Few lurked the abandoned streets of Mizumura, the hour late, its residents would slumber in peaceful dreams.

 

''It is when darkness descends, corruption comes out to play''

 

''In the shadows it Festers, growing like a plague, its touch infectious''

 

A beauty of long golden locks and skin of honey-dew tan would traverse the Village Hidden in Water, darkness shrouded her cloaked figure. Like a veil the shadows that submerged the woman kept her concealed from eye-sight as she prowled through the deserted streets. Few stragglers would linger like flies but their focus on their own doings during the late night hour, the woman unnoticed in the long hooded black cloak that shuffled in the light wind that cast across the Village. The woman, Tenri Terumi had her destination in mind, the bridge that connected Mizumura Village to the coast situated opposite to the Village itself, the only access was the bridge itself and was an excellent rendezvous point for the night's events.

 

Hours prior Tenri had been given a mission of infiltration that required a certain set of abilities and skills: and if need be, the ability to kill. The young beauty had no issues with killing especially given the targets, the mission a little close to home for her liking. Taro, a well-known Crime Boss with a reputation for criminal activities and a corruptive nature had been stirring more trouble lately and Tenri was issued the current mission alongside another to infiltrate and dispose of the filth the littered the Village of Water. 

 

Like a statue of black sin, Tenri occupied herself at the head of the bridge that connected the Village to the Mizumura Coast. Silently she stood, awaiting the arrival of her comrade-to-be for the mission, her curiosity of the man peaked enough for her patience to remain long enough for their arrival. While she waited Tenri checked over her equipment being sure she was prepared for a night of everlasting... joy, for when dusk came the hunger that plagued her blade would be satiated, if only briefly.

412 WC

@Kazuo Enomoto
 

Spoiler

Mission Name | Open Sesame
Mission Village | Water Village
Mission Type | Village Mission
Ranking | B Rank
Repeatable? | Yes
Mission Description | There is news that one of the crime bosses of the Water Village has secret hide outs and headquarters outside of the center village squares through which he conducts a network of black market sales. The Crime Boss, Taro, is highly protected and unlikely to be personally at the hideouts. The best way to thwart his black market trade and diminish his in city power, is to destroy these nests of criminals. The mission is to first find a hideout in the far tundra, local caves, rocky beaches, or wild forests, or even underground. Then develop a plan for sneaking into the hideout or luring the criminals out of the hideout. Finally, attacking and killing or apprehending all of the shinobi in the hideout. Giving information to the higher ups in order to have others collect the stolen goods is part of the mission, and showing some sort of proof of the death or capture of the criminals is required. The mission fails if do not locate the hideout, or if you do not apprehend or kill the criminals inside.
Mission NPCs |  2 D Rank criminal nin, 3 C Rank criminal nin with varying specialties
Word Count | 1000 WC per person
Requirements | May not be a solo mission

4

 

Edited by Tenri

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Taro. That name keep coming up on the mission boards. It frustrated Kazuo to know that a man like him was still at large. Sure they were dismantling his operation piece by piece but it should have never been such a huge problem in the first place. The Water Village, as much a Kazuo loved it, was soft on crimes. It should have squashed his efforts immediately. Kazuo knew how men like Taro took advantage of situations like that. He had seen it first hand. He's experienced it first hand. They don't stop until someone stops them.

 

With all this in mind, Kazuo was already in a bitter mood. So it didn't help when he saw what his teammate was wearing. He could see that under her cloak she was barely wearing anything. They were shinobi of the Water Village! This wasn't how a respectable shinobi dressed. Let alone one who he could rely on. For all he knew, she would fall over dead from a kunai strike that wouldn't have been fatal if she decided to dress smarter.

 

Kazuo rolled his eyes and huffed passed her, heading to the coast, not bothering to introduce himself. In a harsh tone, he said, "You should already know what we're doing here. Intel couldn't figure out where the hideout is or how we'll be able to find it so we'll need to be vigilant. Keep your eyes peeled and alert me when you find something. So let's stop wasting time and act like real shinobi."

---

Word Count: 253

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First impressions were a one-time transaction and this dark-haired 'boy' had failed miserably in presenting him self in a manner that even remotely satisfied the blonde dame, his demeanor toward her insulting to say the least. She'd understood his tone well enough, speaking down to her and striving to command her was something no man had ever dared since she was a slave yet here this man stood risking his luck. Tenri would allow a scoff to pass her lips aimed at the boy, the agitation toward him more than evident in her malicious posture. If looks could kill her crimson gaze would be sharp enough to pierce the man through the back and out through his chest. The tension that emanated from the golden-haired beauty would vanish just as swiftly as it had appeared. In truth, she held a hint of respect for the man and his brash act, stupid as it was. ''Do not test me, boy. We may call the same Village home and may both be Shinobi but do not perceive yourself to assume we are on the same playing-field. My loyalties do not extend to you simply because the Village requires it. Oh no. That honor must be earned. If you get in my way or hold me back I will leave you to die without a second thought''. Oh Tenri would enjoy this mission alongside this man Indeed but she would not blindly follow the man, her own pride would not allow it. If the man wanted to challenge her she would show him why she was the dominant party, why those in Water called her The Golden She-Beast.


Tenri would brush past the man without another word the only noise, a tiny growl slipping from her plump lips. Tenri knew she shouldn't bait the man but she never was one who played well with others, if he assumed to see her as some weak woman, she would demonstrate precisely why she was not to be underestimated. Besides, competition between the two would likely benefit the mission rather than cripple it. Tenri would cross the wooden bridge until she reached the security checkpoint that granted access within and without of Mizumura Village onto its neighboring coast. ''Tenri Terumi and..'' a sheepish look would be directed at her 'companion' ''company requiring entrance onto Mizumura Coast.'' her tone edged with a sharp cockiness. Displaying her Identification Tag as well as a seal of approval for temporary entrance onto Mizumura's Coastal region the she-beast of a woman would head into the beach-likes residential district, it's size scarcely a speck compared to Waters. Tenri assumed the man would follow so she continued her trek, her gait like the prowl of a wild cat.

 

Few homes scattered the coastline and even fewer businesses littered themselves among the homes. The twilight hour meant the sandy beach remained desolate of life and very few were brave, or stupid enough to wander the region at the late night hour alone. Tenri had visited the area many times before so she was aware of the first place to check. Tenri would gracefully walk the empty beach, glancing regularly back at her companion until they reached a large wooden shack. The exterior of the building appeared ragged, moss and other different coloured fungi growing out of its wooden body. Nailed to its roof read a sign saying The Mermaid Shipwreck. Tenri would smirk at the direction of her companion before entering the building. The inside of the building displayed as much of a run-down appearance as the exterior, the only difference being the large bar that situated at the rear of the room and various tables and bar stools that scattered the room. The bar looked like shit but it was the closest bar in the area unless the sailors and fisherman who lived in the region wanted to perform the large trek to and from the Main Village for simple ale. Tenri knew that being the only bar in the region Taro's henchmen's only source of alcohol would be this very shithole.

 

Numerous bodies lingered the room, their gaze falling upon the blonde dame as she lowered the hood that covered her head and face, the movement allowing her golden locks to cascade to her lower back. Tenri would barely glance in the direction of the eyes that followed her every movement, their gazes like hungry beasts ready to prowl on innocent prey, their intentions clear. Instead, the woman approached the bar without a second thought where she sat and ordered a drink for herself and her companion. ''What ith a fine *Hick* Purdy thing like *Hick* you doing in a place like thith'' a voice would say, his breath heavily coated in alcohol hitting the back of the blonde Dame's neck. The man's hands would land upon the woman's shoulders as if to massage them ''I suggest you vacate back to the rock you crawled out from before I break your hand sailor'' the dame replied. ''Come now darling I shure we can both show one anothar a good ol tim- echh. AHHHH!''. A large crack sound followed by an inhuman scream would fill the bar as the large burly man now clutched his broken hand. An hour would pass before the chaos in the bar would settle, the man had been removed from the bar and sent to a medic. At the very least the remaining patrons of the room would give Tenri a wide berth for the remainder of the night.


WC | 931
OOC | I am so sorry about the long post! Sometimes my muse comes out of nowhere. In your post you can state the thugs were after entering the bar or I will where we will then follow them back to their base when they leave. Up to you ^-^

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Why a bar? Kazuo had assumed that they would be scouting around the area, looking for anything that seemed out of place. It seemed that Tenri had other plans. It would be fine to gather intel from the sailors. Maybe the had seen something suspicious. But as Kazuo was dressed now, he definitely did not fit in with the crowd. He was a young adult clearly dressed as a shinobi. Civilians weren't typically warm to shinobi asking questions. It made them feel interrogated.

 

Kazuo wasn't sure what to do as he was looking down at the drink Tenri ordered for him. What was he going to do here? This was totally out of his element. That's when he opportunity came. Kazuo was shocked when he saw Tenri brake the sailors hand but the screaming was a good distraction. He quickly stepped back and performed a transformation. He no longer looked like an 18 year old shinobi but rather a 40-something sailor with greasy hair, worn clothing, and a beard. This would blend in better.

 

He waited until the sailor with the newly broken hand was escorted away before he started talking with the patrons at the bar. Thanks to their drunken states, Kazuo quickly found out that there have been a lot of criminal nin sightings. No one knew anything about a hidden base, but Kazuo did learn that one of the ninjas frequented this bar. A woman by the name of Nariko. Apparently she had a temper quiet like Tenri. Ironically, they said that the first time she came in she broke a drunk's hand similarly to how Tenri just did. She came for a drink after every mission. That would work to their advantage. Not only could they follow her to the hidden base, but she would be much less of a threat if she was drunk.

 

With all this information at hand, Kazuo left the bar to dispel the transformation without alerting the people in the bar. Now looking like he regular self, Kazuo reentered the bar and walked up to Tenri. "Our target is a criminal nin named Nariko." His voice was professional, no longer having the edge from earlier. Things were still rocky between the two of them but the mission came first and that's what Kazuo was focusing on.

 

"It sounds like she is a taijutsu user, but that is speculation. She frequents this bar so this is our best bet for now. I didn't get much information on her appearance but considering the crowd..." Kazuo looked behind, noticing that it was full of only guys. "I think we'll spot her easily. But we should wait for her outside. The two of us stand out and we don't need her realizing Water Shinobi are in the area. Let's wait outside."

 

With that, Kazuo began to head out.

 

---

Word Count: 473

---

Jutsu

Transform - 5 CP

195 CP remaining

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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Tenri observed closely as Kazuo interviewed the patrons of the run-down bar, he appeared capable and while it had been her intention to collect information, in the same manner, her earlier scene had evaporated any opportunities she'd had, so she remained attached to her stool at the bar eyes glued to the same drink she'd originally purchased hours before. She'd barely touched its contents, she'd already had a bumpy run in with Kazuo, she'd felt it best to ease into the familiarity between each-other. An amused look would flash across Tenri's features as Kazuo made his rounds, the form he had chosen for his Transformation was... unique to say the least. He had a skill, that much was apparent. If Tenri hadn't seen the man perform the hand signs earlier she would have assumed him to just be another Sailor docked for the night. 

With the return of her mission companion, Tenri would finally down the contents of her drink slamming the empty glass upon the bar as she listened to the dark-haired man. With a modest stretch -a movement that would cause the woman's large chest to penetrate the confines of her cloak- would stand and place a bag of Ryo upon the bar ''Thanks Lou, I'll see you next Friday'' she'd say before she'd turn and follow her companion. Yes. Tenri had frequented The Mermaid Shipwreck on more than one occasion. If Kazuo had deigned to be more perceptive he would have noticed Tenri's picture on the wall upon a plaque reading 'Shot Queen She-beast' a title she had won drinking all regulars of the bar under the table. With a snicker, Tenri would follow Kazuo outside as they sought for a spot to hide while they awaited Nariko's arrival. He was correct, they'd be better suited to remain outside so that when the woman, Nariko arrived they'd have an easier time trailing her back to base rather than spooking her on sight.

 

Blended into a large sand dune to the left of the bar Tenri and Kazuo lay hidden, their figure's masked by the height of the sand mounds around them. '' So Kazuo. Judging by the look of surprise on your face when I broke that mans hand you're not accustomed to violence? Pity... I had hoped this time I'd been paired with a man who wasn't squeamish,'' the woman would say, her honey-coated tone displaying a teasing manner. ''In truth when he had first met and the.. indifference you bestowed me. I had hoped you weren' weak-willed like the other men of this... simple Village'' the blonde beauty would add, her tongue creasing the tips of her upper lip.

468 WC

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"I'm not squeamish." Kazuo said. There was anger in his voice, but he keep it quiet as not to let anyone but Tenri hear him.

 

He thought back to his past. The first time Kazuo busted someone's kneecaps was when he was only 8. His father was training him to run an effective crime empire and would occasionally bring him along when he was intimidating people. The man was the town's butcher. He refused to be intimidated and stood his ground. So they targeted him. A bunch of guys held the butcher down as Kazuo's father handed him a club. He directed Kazuo were to hit. And Kazuo swung, ruining the butcher's leg. The proud look on his father's face made Kazuo feel ecstatic. Kazuo felt like he was doing the right thing.

 

But that wasn't true at all. The butcher had a limp for the rest of his life and he covered in fear anytime someone entered his shop. Violence was a necessary aspect of life, especially in the role of a shinobi. But there was a difference between violence and cruelty. Tenri crossed that line already. She had other ways of putting that sailor in his place without crushing every bone in his hand. She simply picked the easier option.

 

"I'm starting to doubt-" He was originally planning on finishing the sentence with 'your ability as a shinobi' but held his tongue. The mission came first. And getting into a fight with his teammate while they were suppose to be on the lookout for a criminal nin would cause them to fail their objective. "Um... I'm starting to doubt that this is a productive conversation. I'm here to stop Taro, not talk about my will."

 

Before the conversation could go any further Kazuo saw a figure out in the darkness. The figure was heading to the Mermaid Shipwreck. Once they got within the light it was revealed to be a red haired woman with a black bandana. She had a scowl on her face, looking angry at life in general. She had on black pants, a white tank top, and a black trench coat. Something told Kazuo that this was the one they were looking for. Now to wait until she left. Which meant that Tenri could respond, most likely with an insult. She really seemed to be itching for a way to hurt Kazuo's pride. But he wasn't going to let that happen.

---

Word Count: 406

 

 

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Tenri had been taken aback by the tone Kazuo has lined his words with, the look in his eyes telling a story of more than his outward appearance and personality let on. Intrigued by the turn of events Tenri would examine the man closer, her gaze would meet his for a brief second before returning back to the beach before them, her eyes hollow of emotion. In the expanse of time that passed a woman matching the description of Nariko would arrive, her red hair illuminated in the light of the streetlamp. ''There goes our girl'' Tenri would say as she watched the woman broodily enter the bar. Now the two would have to wait, Tenri's blade hand itching the comfort of her Wazikashi.

 

Tenri would break the silence after what felt like hours, the tension that filled the air made her uncomfortable ''You judge me, don't you? You see me as some cruel predator who thrives off of violence. I do not blame you, you are of course partially accurate, but do not presume to know me as a person. That man deserved that punishment, men like him have preyed upon a woman like m-'' there would be a brief pause before she'd continue not wanting to refer to herself ''- a woman too weak to protect themselves simply because most men believe it is their dominant right to do so. That mans hand will heal over time but tell me this, do scars that aren't physical but emotional in nature heal as quickly? Their remnants remain no matter how much time passes, it changes them as a person'' Tenri would say her eyes no longer hollow, behind them a fire seemed to burn. ''What would you know, you most likely lived a privileged life, a warm meal each night eaten surrounded by dotting loved ones, most don't get such a life'' she'd add her gaze flicking in the opposite direction of the man.

 

It was her attempt at trying not to think of her youth as a slave. Unfortunately, the memories would come regardless. Her first night in that shit hole of a prison, eight years old and trying to fight off a man who had tried to attack her in her sleep, his intentions as clear as day. That night had resulted in her first kill yet even now that kill was no regret. No, it had taught her a valuable lesson.

410 WC

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"You're right." Kazuo admitted softly, practically whispering. She had the specifics wrong, but Kazuo's life wasn't tragic. His father was an awful man, but he still cared for Kazuo, even though it was in a twisted way. And sure he hated his childhood, but it never gave him nightmares, just regrets. Plus, Kazuo was happy now. He dutifully serves the village he loved. Life was good for him.

 

 

"But pain is pain." The softness in his voice disappeared and was replaced with a steel demeanor. "No one has the right to dismiss the suffering someone else went through. If you are so caught up with your own pain that you can't accept someone else's tragedy then that is your shortcoming, not there's."

 

"If you're out for vengeance then you've picked the wrong path. Go become a wanderer or mercenary if that's what you seek. You'll be paid more and you wouldn't have to worry about people depending on you. Being a shinobi is about justice. Taro and his gang are hurting people. Stopping them will mean that somebody out there will be able to live in peace again."

 

"And believe me, I want so badly and beat Taro to a bloody pulp and watch him squirm as he asks for mercy. I want him to suffer for hurting people, people who wanted nothing more than to live their lives. But it wouldn't help anyone. No one would be sleeping easier if I did that rather than slit his throat quickly. The honest truth is that if I choose to draw it and make him suffer, I would be giving him more time and opportunities to escape and hurt someone else. And that would be on me."

 

Kazuo sighed. This was a tough subject for him. He talked about justice often, but never to this depth. It was stirring up a lot of bad memories and emotions inside of him. "Imagine if you failed to stop the people who hurt you because hurting them was more important to you. And imagine if they hurt someone else the same way they hurt you. Could you ever forgive yourself?"

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In all her years - as short as they were, Tenri had never met a man who's ideals so closely aligned to her own, of course, there was Kensho but Kensho agreed with all her actions; regardless of their intent ''You speak of pain like you are familiar with its embrace, so then tell me... what divides the difference between Justice and Vengence? To me, they are one and the same'' the woman would say, her tone soft. It was not that she saw her pain as a crutch to lean on. No. She believed her pain was what made her strong, for she had thwarted the attempts of countless people trying to conquer her and from those attempts, she had been reborn. Reborn as a woman who took care of her own. Who took care of herself above all else. ''The fact is Kazuo, I have already failed. The men responsible for my pain still plague the world to this day. Their corruption still festers in this world and even now there is nothing I could do to stop it and I'm not sure I'd want to. They have a lot to answer for but deep-down I thank them. They helped me become who I am Today, they sent me on my way to a Woman who I now call Mother. Should I feel anything other grateful for that? They will die by my hands eventually but it isn't what I seek'' the woman would add.

 

''A life of vengeance has never been my goal in life, the life I lived I left behind a long time ago. The only solace I seek is that of my pa-'' Tenri would not finish her sentence for she wasn't sure why she or how she had even opened up so willing to this man. Very few knew of the mysterious parents that had abandoned her in Flame, yet that bit of info had almost escaped her lips to a man she barely knew. 

 

''As for Taro, the world would sleep better knowing his influence no longer plagued this Village yet you forget that once you rid evil another always takes its place. Taro is only the foundation of that evil that coexists in this world. If you seek to rid the world of corruptio-'' again her sentence would briefly end. She didn't like the topic anymore. Here Kazuo stood making her doubt herself, her life choices, her way of life. No man had ever attempted the feat and yet here was a man chiseled by his own pain and suffering still able to see a silver lining at the end of the tunnel. It had been enough to earn her respect though she would never admit it.
 

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There were so many things that Kazuo wanted to say, but didn't even know where to start. Here he was, hiding next to someone he couldn't stand just an hour ago, and now they were baring sides to each other that no one else had the privilege of seeing before. The conversation felt like a tangled ball of yarn where tugging on one string could unravel them. But the question was, did he dare to pull?

 

No. Not yet. If they continued down this path there was no telling where it may lead. They could find each other literally tearing each other's throats or they could find themselves crying their eyes out. When the mission was done they could continue, but for now they had other focuses. One of them being Nariko, who had finally exited the bar and was stumbling down the beach.

 

She was tipsy, but not outright drunk. She would likely put up a decent fight if they ambushed her head on. However, her mind is hazy enough for Kazuo and Tenri to have no problems trailing her from the forest edge.

 

Pulling out a kunai, Kazuo whispered, "There is a difference between justice and vengeance, and I'll show you what it is." Without another word, he began dash off, following Nariko from the shadows, trailing her as she went into the woods herself. After a short distance, they came across a large cabin in the woods that had lights flickering from the windows. Two large, bald-headed men stood guard at the door. They each stood over six feet tall and had bulky muscles. However, they weren't well-trained, as Kazuo could tell by their poor postures and unfocused gaze. Nariko passed by the two guards, only giving them a brief nod as she walked in, closing the door behind her with a gentle click.

 

Considering the nature of their mission, it would likely be easier to take out all the bandits one-by-one. But seeing as that wasn't possible here, they would need to precise and strike instantaneously. "We should take both of them out at the same time if we want to go in undetected. I'll take the one on the left, you aim for the one at the right. Give me a signal when you're ready," Kazuo said, bending his knees as he prepared himself to dash forward as fast as he could.

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Tenri had succumbed to the time that had passed, the world around her had been no more than a blur. It was as if the duo, Tenri and Kazuo had been within their own pocket of space that the outside world could not penetrate and there they had come within reach of a mutual understanding. The illusion had not lasted long though, the arrival of their mark, Nariko shattering the veil that encased the two. Of course, they were still on a mission, an aspect the blonde dame had forgotten about almost entirely. It was a welcoming thought knowing this man had allowed her mind to drift enough to totally disregard the blade that normally called for blood.

The blonde dame would follow her partner without another word, perhaps their conversation would resume later, perhaps not. Regardless Tenri knew there were more important matters at hand and taking out the men and woman that resided within the large cabin in the woods took priority. Following Kazuo's line of though Tenri would nod at her partner ''Now'' she'd murmur, the word audible only to Kazuo. Like the leap of a Lioness, Tenri would first partially unsheathe the pommel of her Wakizashi sending it directly into the hulking man's groin. In the surprise of his pain, the man would tilt forward hunched over like an elderly woman. A manicured hand would clasp over the man's mouth in order to stifle his cry of both pain and surprise at the sudden assault as Tenri maneuvered herself behind the brute. With this position, Tenri would completely unsheath her blade with her free hand and place it against the man's naked neckline. Without a second thought, Tenri would make a clean slice across the man's throat his blood coating the blonde dames blade and the grass-like ground at their feet. Taking the majority of the man's weight Tenri would slowly lower the man's gurgling body to the ground with the lightest of thuds as she looked over to her partner dealing with the second door guard.
 

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On her mark, Kazuo ran over to the guard on the left with blinding speed. He rushed behind the guard and summoned chakra to the soles of his feet. Since the guard was a good bit taller than Kazuo, he needed something to help prop him up. Hopping onto the wooden wall and using a surface walking jutsu to cling onto it would do just that. Now Kazuo had just enough height to clasp his left hand over the guard's mouth, muffling his screams.

 

The guard was reaching up to heave Kazuo off when his arms stopped as they where chest high. Suddenly guard's arms dropped to the side lifeless as his body sagged. Kazuo let go of the kunai he had just plunged into the man's heart to grab hold of the man's incredibly heavy body. As softly as he could, he lowered the body towards the ground, careful not to make a sound. 

 

With his end taken care of, he reached to get his kunai back. That when he looked over at Tenri's side and saw her enemy lying on the ground, blood pooling at his neck and at his groin. Kazuo gave Tenri a dirty look and a disapproving shake on his head, but didn't say anything further. Now was not the time for that.

 

With the guards dispatched, Kazuo placed his index finger over his mouth signaling silence. He then pointed at the door. Sneaking up to it, he pulled out an explosive note and placed it on the door. He knocked on the door and dash back into the wood they were hiding in before, hoping Tenri followed alongside him.

 

A man with spiked blonde hair opened the door. "What do you-" he stopped when he saw the dead bodies. But it was too late. Kazuo made the tiger hand sign and whispered "Ignition," setting the explosive tag off. The blonde shinobi was caught in the explosion and wood splinters few off in every direction, including inside the house. He couldn't tell if the explosion was enough to take out the blonde shinobi and how the other two criminal shinobi were faring. The only way to tell was by going in and checking out. Kazuo began to run back to the house, fully intending on going in. However, he had the feeling that Tenri would beat him in.

---

Word Count: 393

---

Jutsus Used

Surface Walking - 5 CP

Ignition - 5 CP

 

190 CP remaining.

Edited by Kazuo Enomoto

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With her view of her partner, the blonde woman watched as Kazuo took out the other man with ease, a simple kunai to the heart ending the man in an instant. Even while he killed, he did so in a manner that caused no pain, no suffering to his enemies. Tenri was not yet capable of such feats, the malicious way she fought was part of who she was, even if her methods were frowned upon. The events that followed the deaths of the door guards brushed by in a blur and before she could even recall what had transpired she found herself hot on the tail of the dark haired male as they avoided the eventual blast that shook the earth at her feet.

 

The explosion had been beautiful and the blonde woman had watched its beauty with envy, the rupture sent splinters of wood cascading like a shallow mist of rain. The woman had held her breath as she watched the events unfold, the blonde man who had answered the door and to his dismay had realized too little too late what was happening 'Poor sod'. Tenri had to admit, Kazuo was competent in battle and while she knew she had misjudged him earlier, there was more she wanted to see. Her crimson gaze flicked upon the man once more curious as to who exactly he was. ''Interesting..'' the woman would murmur to herself briefly.

 

After recovering her composure the golden beauty equipped for her infiltration into the building, the doorway now no longer existent due to Kazuo's paper-bomb.  There was more fun to be had and there was no way she would let Kazuo take all the glory. The thrill of battle shook the woman to her core, the influences of adrenaline pumped through her veins as her legs moved without a second thought. Once inside the sounds of metal upon metal clashed as Tenri's blade was met with another, a piercing sound would grate as sparks lit up the small room. A man who stood three inches shorter than the blonde dame had converged Tenri's Wakizashi with his own weapon, a longer version of her own blade. What the man lacked in height he made up for in strength which caused a grunt to escape Tenri's light lips. The man's face remained contorted with his struggle against Tenri's own force granting the blonde woman the chance to quickly survey the room. The man she remained locked in a force of power with had short cropped dark hair that clung to his face and beady eyes. A scar snaked its way down his left cheek where it met his lower lip. To her left, the woman from earlier Nariko clutched a Kunai in her hand in preparation to flank Tenri while she struggled against her own opponent. ''Wait your turn mongrel'' the blonde would growl to the woman as she pivoted her body and lifted her left leg sending her foot into the chest of Scarface. With the amount of force, produced behind her kick the tiny man was sent flying across the room with ease where he landed in a heap upon a broken wooden beam unconscious.

A small trail of blood trickled from a tiny cut on the woman's arm where Nariko had barely knicked her, its trail leaked onto her black bikini-like top ''Oh.. you cut me. This just happens to be my favorite shirt and you got blood over it..'' the woman would say calmly. With a corrupted smile, Tenri would move to intervene Nariko, her clenched fist would collide first with the woman's face while her sword hand would follow, it's arc in line with the woman's abdomen. With the flick of her wrist, the maneuver would cut Nariko across her stomach where a thin red line would appear through her shirt. Followed by this motion Tenri would kick the woman's feet out from under her causing the woman to land upon her back. While winded Tenri would plant the blade of her sword into the woman's chest in order to stop her heart, a move she had seen her partner utilize moments earlier. Life slowly left the woman's eyes as she groaned in pain ''Die quickly child and let this be the end of it'' the woman would say in a hushed tone. In fairness, Nariko had been slightly under the influence of alcohol still so it had been easier to beat the woman. That perhaps had been her biggest mistake.

During her fight, Tenri had missed the signs of a third member within the room, while she aware of the unconscious man in the corner of the room, a third had cleverly hidden and made his way toward the blonde woman ready to strike...

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The man lunged toward Tenri, ready to strike her with her back turned towards him. He only got halfway towards her when a shuriken pierced his right temple, knocking him towards the ground. He was dead by the time his hit the wooden floor.

 

Kazuo walked from the door frame to take a quickly scan the room. That was all of them. They had successfully fought against all the bandits and criminal ninja in the base. His eyes lingered on Nariko, having seen how Tenri killed her swiftly. Kazuo smiled and nodded in approval to Tenri. He couldn't help but feel proud of Tenri's actions just now. "And that is how a true shinobi enacts justice."

 

He stopped smiling and looked over to the unconscious foe, the one on the broken beams. He was the only one they hadn't killed yet. They did need to show proof that all the enemies here were no longer a threat to the village but it didn't necessarily have to be by bringing in someone alive. There were other options to show proof. Kazuo smirked. If Tenri was willing to meet him halfway then perhaps he could do the same for her.

 

"I'm going to go collect some proof off all of these criminal nin. I'll let you decide what we do with this guy..." Kazuo pointed his thumb at the unconscious guy behind him. He walked past Tenri, taking off Nariko's bandana. In a hushed tone, he added, "We can take him in dead or alive. It doesn't matter to me. I'm going to be too busy with my task to pay much attention to what you do with him."

---

Word Count: 277

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Tenri had been startled by the sudden circumstance of the man at her back, she knew she should have known better but her mind has been so enwrapped by the fight that she had forgotten to be more cautious. It was a lesson she'd remember for next time. If Kazuo had not been with her who knows what would have happened, she was lucky the man had her back. With a subtle nod, the blonde Dame would acknowledge the man for his help for at the very least saving her from a severe injury.

 

At his words, Tenri couldn't help but feel a beam of pride encompass her, in truth her fighting style differed from Kazuo's and it would take her sometime before her mind fully grasped the difference between the two but it was a good start. With a nob Tenri would now smile a genuine smile, her first of the night ''I had a good Teacher'' she'd respond gracefully. Pulling a small piece of fabric from the pocket of her jacket Tenri would begin cleaning her blade of blood, it's crimson touch beginning to crust upon her Wazikashi. She'd always been taught to take care of her tools which is why cleaning the weapon was important while she had the chance.

 

Surveying the room the amber skinned woman eyes would land upon the unconscious subject in the corner of the room ''How lucky.. this is the very first person I've not killed immediately following a scuffle. Go ahead Kazuo, I have a few questions for our little friend here before he departs this world'' she'd say placing her blade back within the holster at her hip, an inch of lust to her words. 

 

Tied with rope to a wooden chair in the center of the room the blonde dame tipped a bucket of water upon Scarface causing the man to shock back into consciousness. Placing her fist into the palm of her opposite hand Tenri would crack her knuckles ''Scarface, so nice of you to take time out of your schedule to speak with me. I have a few questio-'' the woman's words would be cut short as the man would spit at Tenri, his saliva colored red with blood. *THUD* The connection of her fist with Scarfaces mouth would resound ''That is no way to treat a Lady of my stature Scarface. Now be a gentleman and answer my questions'' the blonde would say nonchalantly. Scarface would groan in pain before a nod would follow. Stepping closer Tenri would smile at the man, her crimson gaze snaking across the man ''Good lad. Now I want to know where Taro is and you're OH SO overjoyed to tell me right?'' the woman would say mockingly. ''We're only one of his many lackeys! I've never even seen Taro befor-'' *THUD* a second punch would echo, this time in the man's eye. ''PLEASE! I really don't know! We're only one of the many establishments in Water. I promise'' the man would groan from beneath his pain. Tenri would sigh ''At least tell me where I can find another of these little establishments. I know you have a communication network in place. Give me a location boy'' the woman would reply. Encased by fear the man would utter two three words ''The Frozen Tundra'' before Tenri would snap the man's neck. 

 

This was a new source of information. While small, she had still discovered another location for a possible future raid party. At the very least it was information the Village could use to their benefit. ''Well it seems we're finished here Kazuo. There is another in The Frozen Tundra but we'll save that for another mission. That kind of trek would require more preparation'' the woman would say as she turned her back to the now lifeless body of Scarface and approached her partner. ''What are you doing?.... Oh I see'' a chuckle would escape the woman's plump lips.

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Kazuo stood up, having pulled something out of Natsumi's back pocket. He turned toward Tenri and flipped open a ninja card, which had a picture of Natsumi as well as descriptions about her.

 

"I'm grabbing any kind of identification I can find on their bodies. Fortunately, we can use this as proof that we eliminated everyone in this base." He has already grabbed everyone else's. Natsumi's was the last to get.

 

Kazuo found it disgraceful how all of the criminal ninjas here were from the Water Village. Why would they throw away their honor and responsibilities to join up with a man like Taru? It made no sense to him. Being a shinobi of the Water Village was a privilege, a chance to make the world a better place.

 

"Why would anyone do something like this?..." Kazuo whispered, looking down at Natsumi's photo. It was taken a couple of years ago, probably when she first became a shinobi. She looked so excited, beaming at the camera with the world at her feet. And now she laid, crumpled on the floor, oozing blood. Her face scrunched up in a horrified expression. Such a sad turnout for such a promising Water shinobi.

 

"They all just betrayed our village. Why? What could they hope to accomplish without their village?" Kazuo looked up at Tenri, searching as if she had some kind of answer.

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Tenri could not hope to know how Kazuo's mind worked. Tenri knew how people like these criminals thought and in truth if she hadn't taken the path she had with her adoptive Mother by her side she may well have ended up like these poor deceased individuals. But Kazuo. Kazuo was not a man she could easily read. It was not like he was an open book like most she interacted with. He was the type of man who remained guarded which was no easy feat. The fact he felt a pang of regret for these people showed her he was not quite as open-minded about the world as she had originally thought. ''Betrayal isn't something that comes easily to people Kazuo. Sometimes the world with all its blight and bitterness sends people on a different path than the one they had originally thought to follow. They most likely did not see it as a betrayal. A fine example is the state of the Slums. While the Mizukage has started creating new ideologies for the Water Country to follow, he has not yet stopped to think about fixing things closer to home. Over the recent years, the Slums have become more plagued than it ever has been. The Mizukage has played his hand at closing down the Criminal Organizations that plagued this country and now rather than being open about their business front, they work in the shadows.'' the sigh that would escape the dame's plump lips would be heavy as her hand ruffled through her long golden locks. ''With that state of the slums no one can blame these people for following Taro, 50% of our Shinobi numbers are children who once lived in the slums or who were children affected in some way by its touch. These people likely chose the easy way out by reverting back to their roots thanks to sweet promises made by Taro himself.'' Tenri would finish before sighing once more. 

 

The blonde dame would gaze upon the picture in Kazuo's hand, a softness creasing the emotion on her face. Nariko Indeed looked happy and excited and while Tenri could not find it in her heart to say it, she looked healthy. Tenri's gaze would land on Kazuo's face, a look of compassion on her own mug  ''Tell me Kazuo. When was the last time you visited the Slums? I may be a lot of things and I may not seem like the sentimental type but in my spare time, I like to visit the slums. I feed them and clothe them and while my actions are moral, they make no difference for these people. Employment is out of the question for them and most rarely live past a certain age which is why Taro's numbers are always increasing. Remember how I said I don't trust people simply because the Village tells me to? It is for this reason'' Tenri's hands would expand signaling the room before landing gently at her sides. ''Why should I do anything for a Village who does nothing to help those who really need it. The slums should not have remained in such disarray after all these years. '' with that Tenri would remain quiet. Truthfully she did not know how Kazuo would react to her words, so far their interaction had been rocky and while she normally had very little interest in what people thought of her, Kazuo's opinion mattered to her.

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Normally, Kazuo would be furious that someone would question the Water Village. The village provided them stability, security, and a chance for a life. However, what Tenri said almost pointed to the opposite.

 

Truth be told, Kazuo regularly visited the slums. But they were all patrols, keeping an eye out on suspicious activity and asserting that there was shinobi presence there too. Kazuo did it out of a sense of moral obligation. Not many other shinobi did that. Many of them would even try to shirk out of their patrol duties. Some even skim over the slums, preferring to go where it was more peaceful. 

 

Tenri was actively helping the citizens who lived there. And by the sounds of it, it wasn't a mission or anything she was asked to do. It was an act that she did because she truly cared for the people, something Kazuo definitely didn't expect out of someone like her. It was almost laughable now how Kazuo didn't view Tenri as a worthy shinobi simply because of her flashy apparel.

 

"Let's do something about that." Kazuo's voice was full of conviction as he unconsciously tightened his grip on Natsumi's ninja card. He looked Tenri straight in the eyes. "My loyalty is to the people of the village, not the Mizukage or anyone else in charge. If protecting the innocent comes with the cost of changing the whole Water Village then I'm prepared to do so. I'll train as hard as I need to, fight anyone I must, and do what I have to in order to ensure men like Taru don't hurt anymore people."

 

Kazuo stepped forward towards Tenri, getting within arms length of her. "Tenri, I swear to you that I will not stop until the people are safe. We can stop those who prey on the innocent. We have the strength to do so. And even if we were the only two who could do that, I would stand against the whole world alongside you."

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Perhaps her first genuine smile of the night, the blonde woman's facial features expressed a fondness that reached her eyes. It was a smile very few saw and while most had not been seen fit to bask in its beauty, on this night of bloodshed and justice Tenri had allowed it to shine upon her face. ''I am glad to hear we finally agree on something Kazuo. I believe it is our duty as Shinobi, who have not only lived comfortably but also deprived to see that such a world becomes reality. If not for The Water Country, then for the people who suffer at the hands of the corrupt.'' the woman would continue to smile even as she said the words. She meant them and while her own methods were sometimes seen as inhumane, sometimes a necessary evil was needed in order to preserve the innocence of the weak. Tenri had meant every word and although she had not said it, there were still a few things she herself needed to see to. 

 

With Kazuo closing the gap between them the expression that covered the blonde Dame's face was one of confusion. In all her years she had not found a man she could call comrade. The singular man who had been granted that honor was Kensho, and that was simply due to him being like a Father to the woman. Yet here stood a man willing to fight by her side as just that, comrades in arms. Reaching out her hand Tenri would await the man to embrace her own to perform a handshake ''I would like that Kazuo. I look forward to working alongside you to better the world and I look forward to seeing your accomplishments in fulfilling that promise.''

 

The next words from Tenri's lips would be ones she'd remember for the rest of her life, words that held more meaning than any she had said before ''I too promise that whatever the future may bring, together we can-No. Together we will create a place where the innocent are protected. Where the strong fight for what is right and not for greed.... As partners. You have indeed earned my respect Kazuo to be called my comrade. I shall trust you in whatever future endeavors we may be apart of'' 

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