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Jade woke up with a hangover that morning. It didnít surprise her. She did have a lot to drink the night before. She wasnít one to usually indulge in such vices, but her frustrations over having not even gotten the slightest of leads on her mother and fatherís location, or even if they were still alive after they had left Iwagakure, was bearing down on her young adult mind. She was not trained to do this. She was trained to fight, to obey, to be the perfect ninja. She wasnít trained to deal with the emotional trauma of being kidnapped from her family and home before she graduated and being forced to fight her way to freedom after biding her time.

She prepared a cup of coffee in her small apartment. It was literally not much, just a room where it had her bed, a study table, a bedside table, and a cupboard where she kept most of her belongings. The only other two rooms in the place were small square rooms that were no bigger than two or three metres each, with one being the kitchen and the other being the bathroom. Most ninja would find themselves in such settings, living in conditions that were just enough to sustain them for the day. Most of them didnít need large living spaces, since most of their lives would be spent out in the fields or in the village helping make their village a better place, or a more renowned one in the Elemental Continents.

The last night, she had been confronted by a man and a woman, presumably siblings, who had asked her about Suezo. She knew that affiliating herself with the man meant bad news, but it had been her only ticket to finding her parents, and having come from a group of slavers, then a businessman who collected women like herself as his personal trophies, she had already mingled with some of the most rotten that society had to offer. To her, Suezo, as disgusting of a man as he was, lusting for not only flesh but also cash, was her normal crowd.

Unfortunately, both siblings had found out about her from Suezo, likely from persuading him the ninja way. After sitting down to think about it, she realised Suezo was not one to work with people, so the information they had gotten out of him was likely coerced out of him. She didnít remember telling them anything sensitive, since she didnít know anything sensitive, and as they hadnít inquired directly about her, she didnít feel like a target was painted on her back. They did ask about a Kyoden Nara, though, one of the most influential businessmen in Iwagakure who had his finger in every pie, and she wondered why it was so.
As Jade put away her now washed cup of coffee, she wiped her hands dry on a towel before throwing it onto the back of a chair, where it dangled limply to dry. Dressed so far only in her undergarments, she pulled the rest of her attire from her cupboard and decided to visit her neighbours for some onigiri. They were nice people, and Jade genuinely liked them.

And after that, it would be to Suezoís, where she would get some answers. This time, one way, or the other.


Nakatsuka Ranmaru

Nakatsuka Ranmaru

Suezo Kawagishi. That was the name of the man that he was supposed to find.

He had been tipped off by some of his less than respectable friends on the streets. It had taken a bit of convincing, and he had to get slightly physical with them, but they had finally pointed him in the direction of the one man who could help him become stronger. It wasnít that he wanted to be taken under Suezoís wing. No, Mr. Kawagishi himself wasnít a ninja, so it was unlikely that he would be stronger physically, which was his final aim. Instead, he wanted information from the man, of the few targets he could hunt to test his limits. What better a man to get this information from than the man who dealt in information itself?

Of course, being that he dealt in information, the man might already know he was coming. It didnít really matter though. Even if his street friends had tipped Suezo off that he was coming, for maybe a lovely lady for a night or some more drugs to taint their blood system with, he wouldnít be stopped. He couldnít be stopped. Not here. He still had a family to protect, and while this was probably going against their very wishes, delving deeper and deeper into the darkness of a shinobi life instead of trying to grasp for some form of light and sanity like everyone else, he knew that it was what he had to do to protect them from the dangers of such a life, and maybe, to protect them from himself as well.

He knew he was a Jugo. Of that he was beyond sure, and he had for several years. He also knew of the Jugoís tendency to lose control and rampage. When they were in that state of mind, it was almost impossible to calm them down. He himself had never experienced an episode like that. The only transformation that had been forced out of him had been his first, and the trigger had been the death of his youngest sister at the hands of two rogue Jugo who he and his sisters had been tasked to bring back, dead or alive. Ever since then, he had ample control over his beastly, monstrous transformations, though he would never admit to using them in public.

No, the pain of that was still too great. Surprisingly, he could use it on his own without remorse though.

Maybe that scared him.

He snuck out the front door early in the morning, leaving a note that he was going training again and probably wouldnít be back until very late tonight. His family, while disapproving of his antisocial attitude, did nothing to stop him, as they knew that he had taken the death of their youngest far worse than any of them had, even if he wasnít even related to them by blood. He had blamed himself over and over again, never letting himself out of that dark pit that he had dug for himself and kept digging himself further into, and they knew no way to get him to change his ways.

Ranmaru didnít mind. He knew he was a monster. He was a monster through and through. And now, he would find another monster.

WC: 558
TWC: 558

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