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Nozomi

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It had been a long time in coming, and Nozomi had adequately recovered from her fight with her sensei, Gin. Syn hadn't really been all that much a problem for her, and she'd finished storing away the gear she'd collected from him for later, mainly in the scrolls that he'd had on him. Despite that, she had had to be on the move because her position had been compromised and she couldn't stick around. The recovery of her chakra from that fight was what was the most annoying, and had taken some time. Now though, she was on her way back to Kumogakure, and she wouldn't let herself get into a fight if she could help it. Not only did she not want to kill anymore Kumo-nin, but she just couldn't risk another fight before she had a chance to kill Sanosuke. Of course, the young Hunter-nin Captain had no way of knowing that Sanosuke was no longer the Raikage, replaced with her sister student, Lin. The young girl who had observed her fight with Gin, and was the only one who knew of her plot to kill the Raikage under any circumstance.

She followed the main road, not particularly concerned with hiding, as it took much more time and energy to remain hidden, and if she was spotted, it would raise more suspicion than anything else, so the smarter thing to do would be travel openly. Besides, there was nothing illegal about simply travelling through the country without being registered, she would just need to find a way to sneak into the actual village without being spotted. Out here she was perfectly fine.

The gravel under foot crunched with every step the Jounin took, a small cloud of dust trailing her as she walked. The bottoms of her pants and her sandals were all covered in dirt, suggesting she'd been travelling for some time. She wore a standard Kri Jounin uniform rather than her altered Hunter-nin gear, as she was sure that if they were hunting her for killing Syn, they'd be looking for her Hunter-nin persona, which nobody knew the actual identity to. However. that didn't mean that she openly displayed her headband and flak jacket. Everything but the jumpsuit had been stored away in her back. She had some kunai and senbon available in thigh pouches, but beyond that her gear had been condensed in scrolls and placed in her bag. A small travelling cloak covered her, as she had taken to ripping the sleeves off her shirts lately, and she'd been in the Land of Frost most previously.

A few birds chirped overhead, but apart from that, and the sound of her own walking, Nozomi hadn't heard anything different for quite a while. She was on a main path, but it didn't appear many people used it at this time of the year, or perhaps she'd just been lucky enough to have found good travelling times. Or perhaps Sanosuke had his city on lockdown for the most part, following the invasion of Kirigakure's forces. there were a few potential reasons, but it didn't matter for the most part. She'd been alone in her thoughts, and had started to just zone into walking.

WC: 536


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:14
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[D Rank] 2 | [C Rank] 0 | [B Rank] 4 | [A Rank] 1 | [S Rank] 1 | [SS Rank] 0

Zetsume Zix

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Jounin
Zetsume had been under a fair amount of stress as of late. To him there was something different in the air that stirred his soul in the wrong way. Looking outside his house, nothing was seen and Repede was actually acting calm. Still, perhaps it was his own lack of power that made him feel this way. Zetsume had lived his entire life for his village, and the fear of not being strong enough weighed heavy on his mind. Repede being the nosy dog he was, plopped his head on Zetsume's lap as he was sitting in his rocking chair that was in his living room. His house was far small. He took the small fortune from the Kyodara clan and built his house far off to the east of the walls of Kumogakure. Here he could leave when he wanted and entered. Due to his position not many really bothered him about why he was not in the village all the time. It took around a thirty minute jog from where he is to get to the inside of the village. Though the timing is a bit loose since Zetsume tended to sprint more than jog. Repede, feeling his master's heavy mind, used his mouth to tug on Zetsume's leg as if saying let us go outside. Giving a small pat to the dogs head, he decided it was best to get moving. There were always threats that loomed his village, and he would patrol these parts with diligence. Deep down he knew Repede was right in the fact that sitting here and sulking would do nothing but worsen his state. Putting on his black jeans, white T-shirt, and his leather jacket that had white fur on the collar he set off. He needed not bring his families old bow, he had become proficient enough with his clan's ability to not need to carry such weaponry. It also helps not to walk around armed nor marked. He could literally be anyone, he did not really enjoy walking around with his head band. It was more of an annoyance than anything. Plus, should he run into someone he could gain information before passing his own justice and this far outside the village not many would know of the incident unless someone was perhaps walking around. Zetsume locked and left his house with his trusted dog and ventured west as he normally did. His normal route consisted of going counter-clockwise around the village. Should he see anything off, he would have to check it out.

After a good distance of walking in the beautiful day, something caught Zetsume's eyes. Directly ahead of him was another person walking, alone at that. Zetsume knew that if this person was walking around alone then they have enough power to hold themselves up in a fight. That was not something he wanted to do, and from the distance he could not tell who this person was. Zetsume let his long arm up and waved from a distance before yelling out to the person, "YOOOOO!". Zetsume made a quick walk but not fast enough to seem like a threat to the person. He did not need such a head ache. With any luck this person was a friendly one. With no luck... well, he would have to resort to his normal method. Shoot first ask questions later. When Zetsume walked closer to see the person better, he could see that the person wore a Kiri Jounin uniform. His heart sank a little as he realized this person was not from his village. He would try not to be rude, however the reason why a shinobi was this far away from their village was a bit alarming. When Zetsume was thirty meters away, he spoke from afar because he had to make sure this person was of no harm. This shinobi was indeed taking the main roads, so perhaps she got lost along the way to Kumogakure. Either or, he would have to get answers from her before he could let her move on.

"Well, hello there. You do not see many Kirigakure ninja this far away from their village. Do you think you could tell me your reasoning for being this far off? Oh.... Where are my manners, My name is Zetsume and this fellow is Repede. We are just weak ninja from Kumogakure.
I came out here to get some fresh air and I saw you walking out here alone. I was worried about your safety while within my jurisdiction."


Zetsume was good at lying, probably too good. While he did indeed feel weak, others did not see him in such a light. Aside from that, it would look bad if he just attacked this unknown Kirigakure ninja. For now, he would play the political part of being nice despite how much his mind was telling him to be worried. Small instinctive feelings seemed to surge through him. He was worried what this shinobi was up to and thus would have to make sure she was alright. Repede... However, seemed to have no shame as he walked right towards this unknown ninja and sat between the two. He was only a few feet from this ninja but was happily wagging his tail. Despite Zetsume being on edge, the dog seemed to feel no fear or hate from this shinobi. Zetsume let out a long sigh as he looked at the dog praying that this shinobi was not going to harm him. If she did, he would have to try everything in his power to make this shinobi's death as slow and painful as possible.

WC:947


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Nozomi

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In her blissful ignorance, Nozomi had failed to spy on ahead, and due in part to that, she noticed the man and dog in the distance far too late to hide without arising some form of suspicion for hostility. Swearing slightly to herself, she hoped that he wouldn't impede her progress at all and would let her be on her own way. Her hopes were quickly dashed by the exclamation from the man and his pace briskly changed, directly heading for her. She could barely contain her feeling of exasparation, but again, travelling wasn't a crime, and the tone wasn't hostile, so she kept her own pace constant until the man himself stopped moving. A small smile plastered onto her own face, Nozomi nodded to him politely, her eyes locked on his body. The dog's body language wasn't hostile at all, so she wasn't as concerned about it, as his actions would be the ones to determine whether or not the animal would turn hostile. Judging by the distance he kept, the man wasn't inexperienced as a shinobi and knew to watch out for danger of some sort by a lone stranger travelling. He was smart enough, at least of Chuunin level, but she couldn't be too sure about anything. She had to remind herself that violence wouldn't be smart this close to her goal.

The man answered some of the questions that had been going through her head, revealing himself to be Zetsume, and his animal companion to be Repede. He seemed to be friendly enough, despite having already clocked her as a Kirigakuran kunoichi, which she took to be a good sign. If there was hostility there, he would have attacked her already, and if not, the distance wasn't so great that she could be taken unaware's. Even at a short distance, she was still being cautious. However, she was correct that he was a shinobi of Kumo, and he claimed that he was worried about her safety in his jurisdiction. Perhaps he was friendly, but that didn't mean that the shinobi in the city would be as much. Repede had closed the distance between the two of them, and so she knelt down and held out her hand, palm presented upwards. It was usually seen as a sign of submission to animals, rather than one of dominance, and was a subtle thing she'd learned in order to seem less a threat during her training.

"Oh, me? I'm Nozomi, but most people just call me 'Hey you', or 'That girl'. No, I suppose there aren't many Kiri-nin around Kumogakure, are there? I've been travelling for a while now actually, and I'm kind of low on supplies. Thought I should go to the main city in order to stock up on supplies and catch up on the news of the world. I doubt there's any reason to worry about harm coming to me while I'm in your jurisdiction, I'm not necessarily a defenseless kunoichi. But I'd had good relations with some of the people around here, back when I was around when you all hosted the Chuunin Exams." she said, giving about as much information as she thought was necessary. Nothing she'd said was a lie, after all, but nobody needed to know why she was really going to Kumo. That's how squads get called to take you in for attempted assassination. Although, now that she thought of it, there wasn't really any harm in getting as much information as she could from this Zetsume.

"So, um... you wouldn't happen to know if Gin's been hanging around with Sanosuke or anything, would you? She's my old sensei, I wanted to catch up a bit while I was stopping around, and I figure, stopping in at the Raikage's office would be the best way to find her if she is hanging around him." Again, it wasn't a lie. She needed to know whether or not to expect to run into Gin while attempting to kill Sanosuke, as she was one of the only people who knew that she was planning on it in the first place. She wouldn't have told him, but she wasn't going to just let Nozomi do it either, and would find some way to thwart her plans.

WC: 713
TWC: 1249


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[D Rank] 2 | [C Rank] 0 | [B Rank] 4 | [A Rank] 1 | [S Rank] 1 | [SS Rank] 0

Zetsume Zix

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Jounin
Repede look notice to her gesture and sniffed her hand before rubbing the top of his head against her hand. Zetsume crossed his arms while she told him a good bit about herself. While this shinobi was not being aggressive, he would have to keep his distance from her till he is done. After that would be finished, he would have to help her to his village. Would not really look good if he shot down someone seeking help. It was a good feeling when she spoke of how she is in good relations with the village due to past experiences. That would mean that possibly there were people here she wished to visit, and Zetsume's main question was why. If she wanted supplies she could have gone to smaller villages. His questioning in his mind vanished when she spoke of a name he had never heard and his recently previous Raikage.

Could she be here to try and attack Kumo during this transition... Or perhaps to attack my new Raikage...he thought as his mind trailed a bit as he unfolded his arms and decided to talk back to her, his tone was friendly but a whole lot more stern than previously. "Pleasure is mine to great you then friend of Kumogakure, Nozomi. If it is true you do have ties here then you should have no problem making it to the gate. The village is but a short distance from here, I can provide slight company during your travels and easier entrance into the village."

Zetsume extended his arm towards the village as if saying to follow this way. He was worried about this person more than he normally was about others. Zetsume could tell that she was indeed strong, but knew not how strong. If she would be a problem he would have to take her out. More information is needed and he waited till she was closer to him to speak again, "I know not of this Gin person you speak of, but as for Sanosuke, I have heard that Lin is the new Raikage. I do not think you will find what you are looking for here, unless you wish to see friends. So long as you do not mean harm, everything will be fine and I would hate to ruin such a fine day. I am sorry about Repede though, he enjoys attention. He has always been more of a lover pooch than a combat dog it seems. None the less, he is a good lad. Who is Gin that you speak of if I may ask? You say your old sensei, but I have no clue who this person is.  Baha then again, I do not even know Sanosuke that well to be honest so it does not surprise me. I am not a fan of the whole "Raikage" title. Seems like a way to paint a target on your back for the world to despise and try to over throw. Forgive my caution, but as you know humans are quite fickle, so please do not try anything that would cause a situation neither of us want."

As Zetsume said that Repede was prancing along side her staying close. The dog enjoyed people too much, and Zetsume for most of the part used it to his advantage. Should she be hostile, he would be the time barrier he would need to strike her down. Zetsume loved Repede more than anything but deep down both of the two knew Repede's true purpose for being under Zetsume's ownership. Perhaps that was why the dog seemed to have a way with people. Repede, being the heroic dog he is, would die for anyone he cared about. Zetsume, on the other hand would kill anyone to save the ones he cared about. Even his own beloved dog if the time should cause for such a moment to strike down a more vicious enemy. Zetsume gave Nozomi a smile and hoped she was not going to harm him. From the distance he allowed her to close, it was almost nerve racking for him. Repede tried not to pick up on Zetsume's nervousness and walked beside Nozomi standing close with his tail wagging.

WC:708
Total:1695


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Nozomi

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Nozomi smiled as she pet Repede. She was glad that he seemed to take a liking to her, because animals tended to have a sense of whether or not people were planning something bad or not. They had a sense for ill intent. Since her own intent wasn't towards the people of Kumogakure, or an immediate one against the two of them, she was projecting a rather good vibe. On the other hand, it didn't appear that Zetsume was fully trusting of her either, which was fair. He wasn't standoffish, but he certainly wasn't fully ready to close the distance between the two of them. Perhaps it was due in part to the recent Kiri Kumo conflict, and a Kirigakure kunoichi appearing out of nowhere didn't really bode well for anyone. When he spoke again, it was still friendly, but more stern than it had been before, and she silently swore to herself. There was no way for her to silently sneak into Kumogakure now. She wasn't able to talk her way out of this situation, because it would arise more suspicion if she were to turn down his offer to be escorted to the gate. That meant that she would have to register, which would mean eyes would be kept on her. Even in Hunter-nin gear, it would be easy to track her down as an attempted assassin.

Either way, there was very little she could really do about it, so instead, she just smiled and bowed her head. "Oh, well, thank you very much. I guess I have been a little lonely, travelling by myself for a while. I mean, it's been a few days since I've really interacted with anybody at all. And I get to hang around the cute pupper too!" she joked half heartedly. She knew she could probably take on this shinobi, but there really wasn't any reason to. If she had to take responsibility for attempted assassination of Sanosuke, she would. That was the risk she took already by committing to the actions. She'd already taken out one Kumo nin, she wasn't about to take someone else down either. And she didn't want to hurt Repede either. Besides, for now she needed to conserve her energy in case she wasn't able to take him out quickly and it came to a full blown fight.

Nozomi started to walk forward, following along with Zetsume as he spoke, but something he said stopped her dead in her tracks. Lin was the new Raikage? That meant that Sanosuke wasn't even the kage anymore. Only a short while before he had been. Had something happened to him? Already taken out? Or perhaps the conflict between their nations had forced him to step down, ousted by his people. This changed things. After a moment of silence, Nozomi continued walking forward. "....I see. No need to apologize for Repede, I like animals. As for Gin, I'm rather surprised you don't know who she is. She's been an honorary Seven Swordswoman of the Mist, and is a high ranking kunoichi in Kirigakure, someone who can fight on the level of a Kage. Not only that, but she's, at least to my knowledge, still the current chosen partner of Sanosuke Flynt. They've been heavily involved for quite some time. Kaekio Ryuzoji and I found it funny since Gin was my sensei, and Sanosuke was hers, and they were involved, as were we. Not only that, but when I was..... around for the recent conflict, Gin was training your current Kage as her sensei. I didn't realize Lin had become the new Kage, I wasn't aware the position had been up for contention."

She started to think to herself then, evaluating whether or not she needed to even follow through anymore. Sanosuke didn't have the position of power or resources anymore. He no longer held anymore power over Kumo, and couldn't do anything to harm Kaekio with any form of numbers. This solved her problems. There wasn't much need to kill him, as she had originally only wanted him to step down, but that hadn't appeared to be an option. Her only option to beat him was with the element of surprise, and in order to ask him to step down, she would have needed to give up the very thing that might have her win in a fight. But now, maybe she didn't need to do anything. A small, happy smile formed on her face.

WC:746
TWC: 1995


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[D Rank] 2 | [C Rank] 0 | [B Rank] 4 | [A Rank] 1 | [S Rank] 1 | [SS Rank] 0

Zetsume Zix

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Jounin
Zetsume kept his distance while walking alongside this so called Nozomi. He had not received any information reguarding her arrival so he assumed it as unofficial and that worries him. Anyone moving without official reasons, could be moving towards something sinister or possibly harmful towards his village. This sheer fact alone set him a little on edge while walking and talking with her. Nozomi stopped though shortly after he had finished speaking which causes him to also stop. At first he believed that Repede was annoying her but she brushed it off and said it was fine because she enjoyed animals around. Nozomi was quite shocked that he had never heard of the so called Gin, but then again Zetsume took no interest of things outside his village and outside his control. Though even he was quite shocked to hear of Gin's titles and prestigious right. Perhaps he should one day try to get information on this person from someone else. It would be odd to press the issue further because in reality he just needed to know this Gin's weakness incase he should have to combat said person. Trying to ask someone about that, who apparently thinks highly of this person, would not be wise. For now he would have to wait to get such knowledge. What Nozomi soon said following peeked his interest far beyond even that of taking down a potential threat. The words Kaekio Ryuzoji rang in his head as his mind flashed back to meeting said person. He once sparred with her in her earlier days and indeed did shoot her in the shoulder. Nothing too damaging but he still felt bad for it. He often wondered what happened to her, but never asked around the village. Zetsume kept his distance from the political and drama that ensued around the five great nations. For him it was mostly just a bunch of people telling lies, but he could possibly get the truth from Nozomi and in return he would allow her easy access to the village if she wanted. Well about as easy as he could make it he supposed. Even Repede's ears perked when he heard the name Kaekio as even he remembered her. The two of them did not keep in touch with her but still deep down he worried about Kaekio as if a long lost sister. Zetsume spoke back in a calm but rather serious tone, "What conflict do you speak of? Secondly why do you know Kaekio Ryuzoji? Sorry, I do not keep up with such events. I have been quite busy with missions and patrolling the outer edges as you can see now. I try not to dwell in such things unless they hold people of interest and in this case it would be Kaekio, a ninja from my village. Please if there is anything you can tell me please do, I have not spoken to her in quite some time and she is a dear friend of mine from long ago."

Zetsume gave the same half broken smile that Nozomi gave him. It was the kind of smile that was not actually true, yet rather more of a curtious thing to do. He did not want this shinobi to turn on him, even with his distance, Repede will get hurt. That is not something he wished for, but knew the possibility was there. From a distance a small group of Kumogakure scouts were traveling and when they first saw Zetsume and Nozomi from the distance they went to investigate. However, upon getting closer to Zetsume they realized who he was and just kept walking. Zetsume tried to wave at them but they brushed it off and kept walking. It was a common cold shoulder thing he had became accustomed to, since he was not exactly the kind of guy to just take criminals in. It was far easier for him to kill simply kill them so they can not seek venagnce for what he had done. The small group glared at Zetsume and kept walking. Zetsume let out a small laugh after they were away from listening, "As you can tell, I am not the most popular person in my village. Perhaps it's because I do things others lack a spine for. Do not worry about them, so long as you're traveling with me they should not question or try anything. The village is not much further now, we should be there within the hour of walking."

Zetsume would wait for Nozomi to keep walking and he would follow if she did. He had to keep his distance and his guard up incase anything bad were to happen. Repede however, did not feel any animosity or killing intent from her and thus stayed rather close to her. Close enough that if she wanted to pet him she could and he would happily take it. Zetsume was worried about Kaekio, he had heard rumors but nothing substantial and if this person knew anything he hoped that she would tell him. He often thought of Kaekio and trying to find her, but never got around to it. It was on his long todo list, one that just seemed to get longer before he could even get halfway done.

WC: 883
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Nozomi

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This man certainly was strange for a shinobi. He really didn't know a lot of important information that one would expect them to. To some extent, Nozomi could understand him not knowing Gin, but to ask what sort of conflict she was talking about was absurd. It wasn't some sort of highly kept secret. Everyone knew about it. On the other hand, he did know who Kaekio was, and didn't appear to act as if he knew that she had even left Kumogakure in the first place. A jounin of her rank wasn't someone who's disappearance didn't leave any impact. How long was this guy out of communication with anyone? Had he even been doing any missions at all? Her head was buzzing with questions, but it was only fair that she answered what she could of his first, as she wanted to keep him as placated as possible. At this point, Nozomi was starting to suspect that this man was at least a Special Jounin, as his actions placed him above the line of where she'd expect a Chuunin to be. With the autonomy he operated under, he wasn't a lower ranked shinobi either, otherwise he'd have been more in the know, with more information at least about the Kiri-Kumo conflict and Kaekio's defection.

She remained silent for a moment, collecting her thoughts, and watched the exchange between the group of Kumo-nin and Zetsume. It was actually kind of sad, and reminded her a bit about how her clan treated her now. There were some who actually kept in contact with her, but those were very few and far between. On the bright side, no one seemed to want to come close, so it actually worked out in her favor to be talking to someone who didn't attract much attention.

Letting out a small breath of air, Nozomi giggled as she pet Repede, staring at Zetsume as they walked. "You really are an interesting person, aren't you? A higher ranking shinobi and still know nothing about anything big that's been going on. I guess I can fill you in a bit. All your questions are related in a way. So let me see... what conflict? The Kirigakure and Kumogakure conflict. We almost had a massive war. Lady Ayakashi assembled an army of our best, and we marched on Kumo. This really wasn't all that long ago, but plenty of time for everyone to know about it at least. As far as I know, we left without much issue though. But tensions are probably... reasonably high. Well, at least.... I'd think so. I don't know, because apparently Sanosuke isn't the Raikage anymore, so perhaps Ayakashi's mission was completed without need for bloodshed, so perhaps our relations are still fine? I'm not sure."

Nozomi took a moment to ponder, before realizing she still had to answer a few things. "Anyway, as for Kaekio, that's an easy one. I'm her girlfriend, have been for a couple years now. We met back in the Chuunin exams, when we were both genin. We've been together since before we had to fight in the semifinals. I spent a while here, way past my alotted time, when Kumo hosted the Chuunin Exams, and when I left... Kaekio decided to come with Sero and me for some personal reasons, so we snuck her out. Ayakashi faked Kaekio's death, and she was altered using some medical chakra and such to be harder to identify, but she became a Kiri-nin. Sanosuke was furious. In response, he decided to arrest all Kiri-nin in Kumo, and in retaliation Ayakashi assembled a fleet. Now it appears that he is no longer in power, so there's no need to continue the charade that Kaekio is dead. In actuality, I don't really.... know what happened with the invasion." she slowed her pace a little, looking at Zetsume, wondering if she'd said too much. At this point, it was all or nothing. "In honesty, I was coming here to kill Sanosuke, as a man such as him shouldn't be in power, but it doesn't appear to be necessary anymore. Now I'm trying to figure out what happened. I'm already here, so I kind of want to investigate a bit before I head back home. If..... If you want to attack me, I don't blame you, but I won't go down easy. But I don't want to hurt any other Kumo nin, I know Kaekio still has her loyalties in Kumo, and they always will be. And you call yourself her friend, so I wouldn't want to hurt you or Repede."

She took a huge risk in telling him, but he seemed to be close to Kaekio, so hopefully it would pay off. She'd rather have him helping her, as it would make things go much quicker. Even if she knew Lin, getting in to see her might be more difficult on her own than it would with the help of a high ranking Shinobi.

WC: 832
TWC 2827


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Zetsume Zix

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Jounin
Zetsume stood there listening as she began to explain more of herself and spoke little of him. She did mention that it was odd that he was not in the know of such important events, and in truth it was odd for him as well. He lived mostly a simple life outside the walls with a sustaining farm to provide produce and even had a few cattle for meat. Zetsume and Repede really only went into the village to turn in missions or get needed supplies such as medicine or better farming equipment. Never really did he spend time in the village talking with people and learning things as he had excluded himself slightly from the village but still remained loyal and did missions. Despite his apparent neglection in this event, he was still a Kumogakure ninja and he should have known better or known anything at all but it was all knew to him. He was not summoned or asked to do anything during this time, so the event was completely missed by him and it worried me that someone he had ties with went through such things without his knowledge. Zetsume let out a long and heavy sigh at this fact but what's more is that Nozomi was Kaekio's girlfriend. This explained why this shinobi did not want to cause harm, but to Sanosuke as she explained. With an odd look on his face he could not help but to wonder why she told him such secrets as they might have been better off to herself. Maybe she was trying to prove why she was here and such things. For now, he would keep an eye on her to make sure she indeed meant no harm. While he does not think he could take her, he would at least cause enough comotion this close to the village for someone to take notice. Though he wished it did not come to such things. Zetsume tried to smile, but his pride was hurting a little as he realized he was not there for Kaekio, and he should have been. With that, he spoke in a more friendly tone, "I thank thee for this information, however keep that bit to yourself about what you wanted to do to my previous Raikage. For now,I will act as though I did not hear it. So long as you do not pose a threat and if your relations to Kaekio are true, then you have nothing to worry about me and I you. I have been away protecting the village from the outside, only spending brief moments of time in the village for supplies and food. I was not informed of this happenings, though I wish I had been. I suppose not many know where I live, and in this moment it seemed to backfire. I just wanted to be the first line of defense should need be, yet now I feel as though I have neglected my people. How can I look at Kaekio the same and not feel ashamed? Thank you Nozomi for this knowledge. Please forgive my rude behavior earlier, I should have trusted Repede sooner."

Repede nudged Zetsume's body with his head and felt his pain. It was true, he felt an odd feeling of pain and guilt for what happened to Kaekio. The feeling was quite unusual for him as he thought he had been doing what was right all along. Perhaps, he should get into the know how of everything that is going on. He would use this knowledge and information to progress further in the understanding of the happenings beyond his ears and eyes. For a lot happened in this world without his knowledge and others had the key.

Zetsume kept walking but moved closer to Nozomi slightly but kept a small smile on his face to hide the apparent pain as Repede was between the two walking along side. He would try to lighten his guilt ridden mind by speaking of other things... Anything to distract him from the pain"Soooo girlfriends huh for quite some time I imagine at that. I only wish the best for the two of you and hope that your relationship can strengthen the weakened bond that Kirigakure and Kumogakure suffered from this event. I will make sure you can get into the village easily, from there you will have to seek the new Raikage on your own. Surely no one will mess with you once you're inside the walls as everyone must be checked out."

WC:760
Total:3380


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Nozomi

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So that was it, huh? He'd been away. Just like that, one player off the board. To be fair, the invasion was fast and there was no real warning for it. They had been on Kumo's doorstep with little time for there to be any reaction. The defenses of Kumo weren't enough to grant warning before they had been in the city. Of course, Nozomi hadn't partaken in the conflict either, having gone to fight Gin beforehand. But it had been done and over rather quickly, and he was just now hearing of it. It didn't really make much sense to her. Regardless, it didn't really matter. That's how things went sometimes. She nodded though.

"Everything I do, I do for Kaekio. I just  want to be with her. I want everything to be okay for her. I never wanted to be strong, never thought I could be. When I met her, I was only trying my best to keep my honor for my clan, and to be accepted for once. But by the time our Chuunin Exams match started, I saw her, and I just... couldn't hurt her. Not until I had to retaliate and defend. I might have been able to beat her if I'd given it all from the start. We didn't see each other for a while after that, but it's been that way for a while. I got stronger after that, even though I'd been disowned from my clan. I couldn't let her eclipse me so much that I'd never be able to help her out if there was ever any issue. So I trained. Now, I don't even know what happened with a battle that I know she took part in. I was the forward scout, and she was in Ayakashi's detail, so I'm sure she's fine, but I haven't seen her since before that."

Nozomi walked and talked, trying to fill the silence with a little backstory. He was probably right. Once she got into the city, it would be easier to talk to Lin, especially if Zetsume helped her. She doubted anyone knew she was the one who killed Syn, or even knew that he was dead yet. She wondered whether or not he'd actually been sent by Sanosuke, or whether he'd come after her for other reasons. It all depended on how long he stayed in power after the conflict. And judging by Zetsume's lack of knowledge about the inner parts of Kumogakure's recent events, he probably wouldn't be able to provide her any more information on that front.

"Do you love your country Zetsume? Or do you have a specific reason for being a shinobi that serves Kumogakure? I've never really felt much loyalty to my country as a whole, but rather to a few select people, and so I fight as an elite Jounin because of that. To protect them, because they care about Kirigakure." she asked, mainly to pick his mind on the thoughts. She'd usually spent most of her time with foreign shinobi sparring them, rather than getting to know them as people. With Zetsume, she had some time to actually talk, and see why people chose the life they chose.

WC: 535
TWC: 3362


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[D Rank] 2 | [C Rank] 0 | [B Rank] 4 | [A Rank] 1 | [S Rank] 1 | [SS Rank] 0

Zetsume Zix

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Jounin
The story of herself was quite interesting, the information that came from her was bountiful. He listened and gathered his thoughts on what she had to say. His thoughts became slightly spastic when her question of his loyalty was in place. The question was not something even he could really answer. Almost all of the shinobi he had known left without much of a trace of goodbye. He ideally had no one other than Repede to truly say he cared about. The village that he was born and raised had always been kind to him. Everyone seemed to do their part and for someone like him, he kept his distance which explained his situations of not creating tangible relations like Nozomi spoke of. From his guess, she was not lying at all. Then again what did he know. As for Repede, his tail was slightly wagging as he pranced alongside Nozomi without a care. The dog did not seem worried, which usually set Zetsume off worse. Regardless, he decided he should reply after a small period of silence as is customary when speaking from his raising. He wondered, how honest and true is this Nozomi as his words came out a little sympathetic for the tale he heard. "Yes I do love my village, Kumogakure is my home and so I suppose I am linked to that even if I try to deny it. Esentially, I do not love one specific person, but rather, people as a whole and how good they can be. Perhaps it is because I am scared to lose something close to me and so I will not gain attachment like you have to Kaekio. I do not know her well, I only sparred with her when she was still early in training. Since then I have not seen her. Due to her being from my village and hearing your words I will keep quiet about your attempt on my previous Raikage so long as you promise not to cause any harm while within these walls. Keep that promise and everything will be fine."

The walls were close, and the day waned on. The clouds at least gave the cooling air the walk really needed. He was unsure of this person deep down but had no choice to believe it. If she indeed was this close to Kaekio as she said, then who was he to deny passage or hinder it in any way. At least he could explain to the guards at the front that she was okay. Proof of his validation and Repede being there would mean easy entry without a full extensive check. If she indeed mean harm then he would have to take responsibility for this action in hopes that it was not true. At least from it, he could learn a few things about the happenings within the world and hope that Nozomi was not put off by his attitude. Before getting to the walls he decided he would speak again to her, "I really do hope all works out with you and Kaekio. If anything, I would call this encounter a good one. Should anything happen, just seek me or Repede out for help."

As the words came out of his mouth, he wondered if he truly could help another from a different village. His clan always warned him of them and their devious ways. He would have to keep an eye on her so long as she was within these walls. It would be a slight pain, but at least he could sleep easy knowing she meant no harm. That also meant he would have to go to his house within the walls... It had been awhile since he had been there. Oh the memories...

WC:626
Total: 4006


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Nozomi

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As she was walking, Nozomi started to tune out a little bit from her own thoughts, letting herself relax a bit. The company was pleasant, and now that she was assured that Zetsume wasn't going to attack her, she simply listened to his response. It was a weird one for sure, but something she could relate to a little bit. In honesty, she didn't have a lot of attachments, but the ones she had fueled her motivation in life. The fear of losing those attachments were higher than the fear of her dying. Perhaps Zetsume's reasoning on not getting close to anyone made more sense than she'd originally thought, but at the same time, there wasn't any purpose in living other than being used as a tool for war in that case. At least in Nozomi's eyes, fighting for someone important to you was more important than fighting for a village due to it being the place you were born. Loyalties forged through bonds were stronger and meant more than loyalties formed by circumstance. Still, she nodded, able to understand his point of view. She didn't agree with him though. At least his loyalty was to Kumogakure and not to the previous Raikage, because then he might have been more inclined to not help her out, or to hinder her.

"I certainly will. It might be hard to find you if you don't really spend much time in the city, nor am I expecting to need any further assistance once I'm inside, but you never know. It's good to have friends on the inside. I just happen to have quite a few here."

Interestingly enough though, Nozomi wondered about his personal attachments. It didn't matter how closed off a person was, there were always people or things that a person hung out with more than others. Even Sero, perhaps one of the most closed off individuals, had people he would consider close to him. At least, as close as they could be. Zetsume didn't seem like a sociopath with no ability to connect either, so there had to be someone. Nozomi looked at Repede as she walked, and smiled slightly to herself. The animal companion must have been enough for Zetsume. It made sense, in a way. He did spend time outside of the city, so some small companionship would have been enough to keep him sane.

Pleased with herself at the revelation that Zetsume was full of it and actually had someone he cared about, Nozomi grinned slightly. "Ah, attachment can be more than just with a person of course Zetsume. I think Repede here would be put out a bit if he didn't think you cared about him. Sure, it's.... different than my relationship with Kaekio, but not all attachments are based in that sort of nature. Take me and Sero for instance. He's probably my best friend, which is saying something. That man is the least likely person for anyone to call a friend, but we have a bond that seems to defy that nature. Sure, you might not have many bonds now, but as long as you've got Repede, there's always something there. And it's pretty much impossible to go through life without forming one or two attachments."

She broke off as they were approaching the gates. Now was the moment to see whether or not he'd actually help her or not. It had occured to her that Zetsume could have just been waiting for the best moment to get her in a place she couldn't necessarily fight back from. Sure, they'd come across small groups of shinobi, but that didn't guarantee success in taking in a Jounin class Kunoichi with little trouble. The gates, however, were a different matter. They were usually guarded with several shinobi who had capabilities to call for back up and hold off threats long enough for reinforcement to arrive. The numbers were the biggest threat at these junctures. "Alright Zetsume, do your thing." she said, nodding for them to continue.

WC: 673
TWC: 4035


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[D Rank] 2 | [C Rank] 0 | [B Rank] 4 | [A Rank] 1 | [S Rank] 1 | [SS Rank] 0

Zetsume Zix

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Jounin
Nozomi was right about Repede, and Zetsume knew it. The slightly more interesting part was a mention about a man named Sero. Her mentioning that he was the least likely person for anyone to call a friend. He would have to keep memory of that name, but to ask on him would be far too suspicious. The likely hood of Zetsume running into Sero he thought was low, but knowledge is power sometimes. While he does have attachment towards Repede, there was a certain kind of distance held between the two. The fact that Repede would die for Zetsume, but Zetsume would not die for Repede, was what made this distance. It was why Repede loved to taunt and almost make fun of Zetsume, because the dog knew his life would be shorter than Zetsume's. This odd connection was primarily built on his nature of not really trusting others. If he was more open like others, perhaps he could feel the true capacity to love. For now, his life was built on death and distance, and he wanted to keep it that way. Their talks have been rather eye opening and true to his word, he replied on the issue about his attachment and hers, "The problem about love, is that it can breed hate. To watch someone you love die or even get hurt can spawn things unimaginable. Sometimes I believe it is best to keep distance and leave minimal attachment to people, because I could not even begin to fathom the methods of pain I would instill on one that hurt someone I loved. Repede, is my one and only exception as you have mentioned."

She broke off from him and mentioned him to deal with the entrance. It was a bit odd that she did not just verify herself, but then again perhaps she wont be here long. At the very least, he just wished she did not cause harm. He scratched his head and laughed a little as she nodded for them to continue. He spoke in a friendly tone, but did not move while speaking. "Haha, well if you indeed mean no harm, then getting through this should be easy. With me here, they should not do as such of a thorough check in case you happen to have some kind of bounties on you. If so then I am sure we will see each other real soon. I try not to go inside the gates, business never waits it seems."

Zetsume walked ahead of Nozomi towards a group of guards that were standing at the entrance to Kumogakure. Repede lagged behind with Nozomi, sitting upright close to her. He slightly tried to nudge her hand with his head in hopes of attention while Zetsume handled diplomatic things. Walking up to the guards, he smiled and waved. It was probably coincidence that Zetsume normally went through this side, and knew the names of everyone well. After being out of earshot Zetsume spoke, in a low and almost confidential way to one of them, "Hey, I have determined this one is not a threat by at least ninety-eight percent, however, should anything involving her happen while I am here please notify me at once. Oh and her name is Nozomi and she apparently has ties with people here. Do not give her any trouble unless she does so first.", the man nodded as Zetsume walked away from him as he told the others and walked towards where Nozomi and Repede were. With a smile on his face, he spoke to Nozomi again, "Well, this is where we depart. I wish you the best of luck Nozomi and enjoy your time here in Kumogakure. Say your goodbyes Repede, it's time to go. There is still time in this day for patrolling."

The dog would then try again for a bit of attention before catching up to Zetsume who was already walking away. He did not have time to mingle with others inside the village, and quite frankly did not want to. Zetsume gave as small smile as he walked away, hoping that Nozomi would be a good friend to have. Perhaps he could try to trust people, especially ones from outside his village. Even with that hope however, he still feared for the worse. He knew that they would let her inside, and from there it would be easy to get around and find things. Zetsume was not a tour guide and did not plan to be one in the future. When he was far away from Nozomi he spoke to Repede, who was walking next to him without a care in the world it seemed. "What do you think of Nozomi? Do you really think she could be seen as a friend."

The dog barked with such excitement. Zetsume figured he would, the spoiled pooch enjoyed people's attention. Though dogs tend to have the ability to almost sense people's intentions and he did not think Nozomi would cause any harm. If anything the dog considered her amazing. Zetsume laughed a bit before speaking again, "I am glad you think so buddy, but I hope your instinct is right this time. If not... Well... I should not think on that now should I?" The two walked around the village perimeter once again just to be sure before heading back to their house. Nothing out of the ordinary was found, which only made Zetsume return to his house a little distraught. He needed to train his abilities, and wasted his time patrolling. For the remainder of the night Zetsume stayed up training his abilities till late in the night. The last thought he had on this day was just one more time, before he passed out to which Repede helped Zetsume inside. Repede could not get him on the bed, but at least inside their house was safer than outside. Grabbing a blanket from his bed, he put it over Zetsume before laying next to him and going to sleep.

[Exit]

WC:1007
Total:5013

Training:

Fuuton: D-Rank to C-Rank (5013-3000=2013)
Speed: B-1 to B-3 (2013-1700=313 throw away)
Ryo needed 425


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Nozomi

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She offered no response to Zetsume Zix's words, as they were an argument she hadn't quite expected to hear. What he said wasn't untrue, but she didn't think anything she'd have to say would change his mind, and so it was just better to leave it off there. She knew it was true, if anyone ever hurt Kaekio, she'd be in an unimaginable amount of pain, and would do whatever she could to end the person who had done anything. It was evident that she couldn't really disagree, because that's exactly why she'd come in the first place, hoping to kill Sanosuke. That being said, she couldn't agree that it was then wiser to not grow close to anyone so that there wouldn't be any amount of vengeance taken if someone hurt those he cared about. If anything, that was something that gave her reason.

She just watched though, as he went up to the gate guards and exchanged some brief words with them as she followed slightly behind, Repede somewhat slowing her down as he nudged against her hand. Petting him, Nozomi smiled at the dog. "You take good care of him, okay? I'm glad he has a friend like you looking after him. Otherwise, he'd be pretty lonely." But it looked like her guide had finished his talking and was now coming back towards the pair.

In all honesty, the main reason that Nozomi hadn't bothered just going up herself, and had instead sent Zetsume to vouch for her was because she knew it would end a bunch of the hassle she'd have otherwise. When she'd originally come to Kumogakure with the forward scouting parties, she hadn't brought her papers or identification with her for fairly obvious reasons, and since she'd yet to return to Kirigakure, she knew that going through the proper channels at the front gate would take more time and hassle than she really wanted to deal with.

"Thank you for the company, and for listening to me. It's nice to talk rather than to fight sometimes. I look forward to meeting you again someday. Well, you and Repede of course." she bowed to the two of them, and turned towards the gate, stopping briefly to talk to the guards.

The one who was in charge on shift looked at her and flipped through open the bingo book. "Full name, ma'am?" he asked.

"Nozomi Himitsu, Jounin of Kirigakure." her reply came in, sounding a bit bored once again. After he made sure she wasn't listed as a criminal, he waved her through the gate, probably just wanting to get on with his shift.

And so, Nozomi found herself once again in the main parts of Kumogakure. She wouldn't be here long, she'd been away from Kirigakure for long enough. For now, her main focus would be going to talk to the new Raikage, so she could find out exactly what happened with the former Raikage, and how she'd come to power. Beyond that, she needed more information of the brief conflict and how it had all turned out in the end. What had caused everything to end so abruptly, and what had really happened.

After a deal of walking, it started to grow dark, so Nozomi knew she'd need to find somewhere to settle for now. Lin was probably no longer seeing anyone for the night, so she'd have to wait til the next day to get in and see her. She didn't really have much urge to stay in some inn, so she went to the one place she knew she'd have lodging. Finding herself at Kaekio's old place, Nozomi saw that it was dark, and hadn't been in use for a long time as she'd figured. She really missed that girl. Popping one of the window's out of its hinge, Nozomi crept into the house, and replaced the window. She'd done the same thing to her place multiple times, having accidentally locked herself out, so it wasn't all that difficult. There was a small layer of dust everywhere, but that didn't bother the girl. She made her way to the bed that they'd spent so much time in together and collapsed, Kaekio on her mind and in her dreams. They would see each other again really soon, hopefully. She was tired of being away from her love.

WC: 728
TWC: 4763

EXIT THREAD:

Training:

Perception: A-2 -> A-3 [1300/1300] Ryo: 300
Endurance: A -> A-3 [3450/3450] Ryo: 825

Total: [4750/4763] Ryo: 1125


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[D Rank] 2 | [C Rank] 0 | [B Rank] 4 | [A Rank] 1 | [S Rank] 1 | [SS Rank] 0

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