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Rippa

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Rippa stood outside of the Administration building across the street from the front doors. Standing in a fairly relaxed way with his back against a street sign pole and his right foot crossed over his left ankle. In his hand was a half smoke rolled up cigarette. He preferred to make his own. More effort needed in order to actually smoke. It wasn't that he couldn't heal any damage it was doing to him. Rather that smoking itself wasn't an attractive habit. He had cut back for the most part except in stressful situations. This being one of those. His pale fingers rose to take another drag of his smoke before lowering as he blew out a small ring and then a ball to go through it. A little sniper game to have fun with in order to distract himself. He had been summoned after all. Or rather ordered to return to Konoha and nothing since. He had of course returned with all haste but since he came back it all seemed quiet. The administration had sent him nothing since his return to come in for a debriefing. No reason as to why his return had been demanded. He had grown anxious.

So here he was. White hair not entirely shoulder length but still close. Hanging loosely around his head and bangs showing bright blue eyes. Almost like the sky itself. It was cold out but bearable. Regardless he had put on his zip up high collar black vest underneath the long red coat with a konoha headband stitched into each shoulder and the kanji for captain down the back. Black jeans were tucked over black boots with a belt holding eight bolts in it and his pants up. The bolts were rumored to be the ammo for his odd weapons on either of his hips. Katana with curved handles and levers on the handles leading into a six cylinder repeating crossbow on top of the katana's dull side. Twin blades known as Adam and Eve. His preferred weapons in any scenario and what claimed him as one of the best snipers in the world. Still he sighed under the shadow of the administration building. As Sannin this building expected a lot from him and yet had been so quiet as of late. How was he supposed to know why he had been called back if no one had called for him to come in?

Perhaps reports of his return hadn't reached the office after so many weeks? He had been operating out of the Sword Saints compound so he doubted that very much. Perhaps they simply were waiting for him to show the initiative. He would take one last long, lingering drag of his smoke before dropping it to the ground. The harsh tobacco smelling of menthol. Sticking to his clothes as a thick scent. Almost covering the smell of medical supplies. As if to some distant memory he touched the scroll holding his medical supplies in his inner left breast pocket. A simpler time. One he didn't miss as much as he thought he would have. Still he moved through the doors leading into the administration building. Passed the shinobi looking for missions and the bustle of negotiations here and there. People were always looking to hire shinobi. A few recognized him but were to busy to do more than bow their heads in his direction. Still he would approach an elevator and step inside. Pressing the button to move to the top floor and waiting as the doors closed and the metal box rose. After a minute the doors reopened and he stepped out into an open waiting area with a receptionist there. He would clear his throat and step in. Making no move to separate himself from his weapons but smiling with a warm smile that met his eyes as he stopped at the counter and spoke.

"Good morning Miss. I am Captain Chi Rippa. While I understand no one simply comes to the Kage without an invitation I was wondering if perhaps you would be willing to ask them if they wish to meet with me? Terribly sorry to inconvenience you. I just need a moment."

707


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LOCKER | JUTSU | Rippā | BATTLE SONG

Missions:| D: 4 | C: 2 | B: 3 | A: 1 | S: 0 | SS: 0
Specs:
Medical Ninjutsu S - Ninjutsu S
Elements: Blood/ Raiton

Mitsuo

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Green eyes, one emerald and one slightly paler, scanned a wooden bust in the corner of the room, a place that he had often wished that he could return to, but that he had never felt right doing so. Crossed arms and pursed lips spoke of an unease regarding the garment that was displayed upon the shoulders of that bust, a tapping foot also betraying this discomfort. Fingers danced along taut muscles on a scarred forearm that had seen decades of wear and battle. Instinct caused his fingers to flex into the partial hand sign that he used in order to access the items that he kept sealed away, a cigarette and a zippo lighter appearing seemingly from thin air. Contentment filled him as the cigarette sat between his lips and the flame from the zippo lit it, the smoke filling his lungs and bringing his worries down. He had been called upon to serve once more, but he knew that there was no way that he could be the one to take up such a mantle again, and instead it fell upon his shoulders to find a suitable replacement to the title that he had been offered. Flames adorned the bottom of the white robe, the kanji for the number “Seventeen” written down the back of the garment. He would once again dawn the cloak of the Hokage, but only to pass the position to someone more deserving than he….

”The Hokage is ill Lord Sarutobi.” The Daimyo of the Fire Country looked upon the Seventeenth Hokage once more, his brown eyes taking in the changes that the Sword Saint of Konoha had gone through since the first time he had been brought before him. “If you will not take the mantle once more, then who shall?” His voice seemed troubled, uncertainty seeping through his voice and body language as Mitsuo stroked his beard, long strands of hair falling in front of his face. When he had returned to Konoha he had not expected such a development to occur, certainly not after having a disastrous meeting with the current Hokage, Kenta Inuzuka. He had heard that Kenta had fallen ill once more, however, and when the Daimyo had summoned him to his palace he knew that it was likely to attempt to coerce him to take the Hokage mantle once more.

It wasn’t that Mitsuo Sarutobi wasn’t dedicated to his village anymore, far from it in fact. He would still willingly die for his village, never once thinking that it would be a bad thing to do, but he knew that he would serve the village better from the shadows, and he had planned on leaving once more. He closed his eyes and exhaled, shaking his head before looking upon the Daimyo once more. He knew a couple of people who could potentially lead the village going into the future, and one of them stood out in his mind, though unfortunately it was not someone whom he particularly wished to have anything to do with. He knew it wasn’t the man’s fault that he led a division that was an insult to the title of Sword Saint, clearly a case of Mitsuhide trying to slap Mitsuo in the face one last time by stripping the uniqueness of his title. He also knew that of all of the shinobi currently wearing the headband of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, there was none more fit to lead the village than him. Mitsuo pulled his own Konoha headband out of his pocket, his thumb running over the symbol as he held it in his hands.

“I know just the man...Though he is currently playing the role of ambassador elsewhere. I shall call him back, and he will take the mantle…”


Mitsuo slid his arms into their respective holes on his Hokage Cloak, the garment still fitting him like a glove after all these years. The hat sat upon his desk, one that he had never assumed he would dawn again. He had heard that Rippa Chi had returned to the village a short time back, but he had entertained the idea of keeping the position of Hokage for himself, considering the idea of a stable life in the village he loved once more, but after thinking on it for a while he truly knew it simply wasn’t for him. He had dealt with small amounts of paperwork and had seen few villagers since taking the mantle once more as a proxy to fill the seat, not wishing to cause a panic. There were some in the village who thought him a deserter, and though most thought of him as a hero who would always be immortalized on the Hokage Mountain, he had no interest in spurring the hatred of those who despised him.

He took a seat behind the desk that had once served as his own, running his fingers over the wooden surface that had been created by a member of the Senju Clan upon his elevation, something that would always remind him of three of his closest friends whenever he sat behind it, each of the three of them reminding him of lessons that he had learned. Through Owydelu he had learned of perseverance, and following one’s dreams no matter the odds against you. Through Sousetsu he had learned that versatility was a great tool, and that a shinobi is not defined by their clan, but by what they themselves do. Through Ukiyo he learned the most painful lesson of all; that the mind shows you what you want to see, and if you get too close to someone they can use that to blind you to their true intentions. He moved the ashtray closer to him and flicked the ash of the cigarette into the crystal container, hearing a knocking at his door.

“Lord Sarutobi, Rippa Chi requests an audience. Should I ask him to leave?” The voice of the receptionist was not what surprised him, as he had become accustomed to her speaking with him. She often gave him the important tasks that needed to be attended too and kept him working at his job. What surprised him was the request. He hadn’t expected Rippa to come to visit the Hokage’s office, and word of Kenta’s illness hadn’t become so widespread that he would come to check up on him. Mitsuo supposed that fate had brought him here, and that perhaps it was the time to pass the torch to the next generation. He stood up and turned around, facing out of the window, his long wild black hair flowing as the breeze worked its way through it. A crooked half smile worked its way along his lips, a trademark of his, before he took another drag of his cigarette, exhaled and spoke.

“Send him in…”


1152


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~Item Locker~Sarutobi Mitsuo~Jutsu List~Mitsuo's Tracker~

Rippa

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Still Rippa could feel himself trapped there with bated breath. He knew he had done no wrong by anyone. Even his own uncle he had chosen not to pursue. The man had connived and taken a great deal from him. He had used the snake emperor to steal away his fathers health and thus Rippa's childhood. Forced to train to take over his fathers position as head of the branch. Or rather during his childhood he had a great deal of schooling in the medical arts. Mostly in seclusion which he realized now his father had done to spare him the same fate. Even upon his return and taking the branch from his uncle it hadn't ended. The blood princes return had only sparked more greed in the man. Hiring assassins and bandits to attempt to eliminate him everywhere he turned. However even as that drove him into seclusion it had forced him to train in the shinobi arts simply to survive. For a moment a new thought put him at ease. His hand reached out to touch a wooden mantle and feel within it. A slow but happy smile spreading across his face. He could feel the chakra residue within. He could feel that old familiar chakra of his sword master. Master Sousetsu had found him surviving in the woods amidst the blood shed and was the first to teach him to pick up the sword. He taught him through spar after spar and so much pain that the sword was his shield.

It had been such an odd concept to him at the time. Looking back he had recalled his hesitation due to his bloodline. The Chi clan as a whole avoided close combat for good reason. Those who hadn't mastered the blood would fail to control it when cut. If they bled even a child could be driven to rip men in half as the blood took over its host. He had feared his blood back then. Having been called the blood prince at the time. Still Sousetsu never feared him and showed him the way of the sword. He had a great deal of honor. It had been Rippa's pride to serve under him on a squad in the old days. The three med nin of konoha had been feared even back then. Chisaki, Lamya and himself. Separate they were fearsome but together they overcame any challenge. An old memory indeed. He would sigh as his hand fell from the wood and back to his side. He was the last of all four. Chisaki and Sousetsu were gone. He knew not where. He missed them dearly but not as much as the other. The one he truly had a history with and connected with had been Lamya. Even when it turned out her uncle had been the snake emperor. That the man taunted him with the very poison he had used on his father held little over his thoughts for her. She had committed atrocities against Konoha and fled. For her he felt a great ache and hoped she never returned. After all he would have to stand against her. He doubted they would spar as they had as children.

Even as his hand left the wood he was reminded of another failure of his. One he had no way of seeing coming. He had trained in archery under Gin herself though he hadn't known it at the time. He hadn't understood who she was until after her public assault on Sousetsu was spread as harsh rumor. He hadn't been there to Sousetsu's aid and the man had suffered a defeat. He doubted he would have made enough of a difference but it felt like a betrayal. He hadn't seen or heard from the man since and could only assume Chisaki was tending to his broken body elsewhere. He felt doubt still over that but he had grown since in order to protect the village to repent for when he had not. He still practiced every day in both single Katana and dual Katana. Finishing each practice with archery practice. A hundred shots a day. A hundred stance shifts a day. A hundred swings a day. Even though he was widely considered a master swordsman the basics were what he focused on. He had a determination to refuse to fail and as such his body had grown since he was a genin into a broad shouldered man. Taller than most of his peers and still he held a warm smile of a med nins bedside manner.

His thoughts broke away from fond memories of the office and the waiting room when the receptionist returned. His sky blue eyes shifted to her. Observing her professional appearance and mannerism. Nod doubt in his mind though she was a highly skilled combatant. Last line of defense before reaching the Hokage. Still he bowed his head to her in acknowledgment before she returned the gesture. Still she spoke up to him. "The seventeenth will see you now. Please see your way down the hall." He nodded and moved passed her as he considered those words. The Seventeenth? But he was sure there were more beyond that number. Was an old one returned? If so where was Kenta? What had happened while he was away on a diplomacy mission? He paused as he reached for the door handle. Who was it again? Deciding the answer was on the other side of the door anyway he gripped the handle and entered the office. He would blink a moment before recognizing the sword saint himself. The man he strived to rival in everything he did and his entire division was named after. Of course he hadn't known the insult there. He would take the tie from his sword that kept it attached to his waist and pulled the still sheathed sword up and held it before him in both hands horizontally as he bowed his head. Speaking with surprise in his voice.

"My lord Sarutobi. Had I known it was you I would have scheduled an appointment. It is an honor to appear before the Sword saint himself. My sword is pledged in service to Konoha due to being inspired by yourself. Truly I am humbled."


1760


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LOCKER | JUTSU | Rippā | BATTLE SONG

Missions:| D: 4 | C: 2 | B: 3 | A: 1 | S: 0 | SS: 0
Specs:
Medical Ninjutsu S - Ninjutsu S
Elements: Blood/ Raiton

Mitsuo

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Admin
The Sword Saint of Konoha scowled as he looked out the window, being robbed of the surprise that he had hoped to achieve when he turned around to reveal himself. He supposed there wasn’t much to be done about it. He knew that his appearance was fairly distinctive compared to all of the previous Hokage. They had all been fairly tidy in appearance, keeping their hair combed and straight or short or styled, whereas he had always been known for allowing his to be a wild mane with no rhyme or reason. His beard was kept trimmed but still was fairly unkempt for a man of his position, and he wore no shirt under his coat, showing off his considerable amount of scars and the seals he had tattooed upon his body. Around his neck sat a headband not of the village of Kohona, but denoting his membership within the Aoi Bara, a rose set in the middle of the plate. He turned around to look at Rippa, barely recognizing the man who stood before him.

Mitsuo had never personally met Rippa Chi, but his friend had spoken of him over the years. When Mitsuo was the Hokage, Rippa was still relatively unknown in the village, long before the rise to prominence that would see him in the position that he was currently in. Mitsuo didn’t think he actually realised why he was here on this day, though he couldn’t imagine many being prepared to be named the Hokage. He knew that the first time he had been asked to take the mantle he was shocked, assuming that Sousetsu would be given the position. He had learned that his old friend had gone missing at the time, and he reluctantly agreed to take it in his stead, holding onto it until the time was right to pass it off to the man whom he believed deserved it the most. Since the days where Mitsuo had been Hokage, it had seemed as though Konoha had missed a step or two, falling off in the production of truly excellent shinobi, and Mitsuo knew not how he would find someone to take the mantle who wasn’t himself. He knew of Rippa through reputation and word of deed, however, and that reputation was excellent; one shining star in a vast void.

Mitsuo didn’t want to blame it on Sousetsu or Kenta. He knew that sometimes things simply don’t work out or villages go into decline, or if nobody is birthed in a certain generation that has the potential to be a stunning shinobi, it simply cannot be helped. But a part of him couldn’t help but think it was something more. He knew of the organization that had been attempting to pull the strings behind Konoha, removing people for their own gain. He knew that they played an extremely active role in what happened to the villagers and shinobi who took up residence there. He had been searching for them for years, and had finally come so close, only to be robbed of the chance to finish them off once and for all, driving a spike of pain and hatred into his heart once more. Mitsuo hoped that Rippa would break the trend that the last two Hokage seemed to have set the village on, and that was why he had chosen him.

He motioned a hand to the seat in front of his desk, not waiting to see if Rippa would sit or not before turning back to look out the window once more, scanning over the village that he loved. It was sick and dying, and he wasn’t sure if anything could cure it. He could only hope…

“I am not an important enough man that people must schedule time to come and see me.” His voice was strong but not unkind, authoritative but welcoming at the same time. It was one of the things that made him a good leader; there were none in Konoha who could inspire through word in quite the way that he did, save perhaps for his fellow Dragon King. “Though it is an honour to hear that you have taken to the path of the swordsman due to my deeds, I also do not believe I am worthy of your praise or admiration. I am a man, like you. I bleed and feel pain, and I feel the pain of my village in its diseased state, like a virus attacking the system of the whole. Long have I sought a way to cure that disease, and while I have come close I have never been able to truly find the way to end its suffering. I need your help, Rippa Chi. I have heard about you, good things about your skill and the way you conduct yourself as a diplomat and emissary of our village. My friend Sousetsu speaks highly of you, and when he speaks I always listen. I wonder, without hearing what I have to say, would you help me? Would you pledge that blade to the Sword Saint of Konoha, and help me cure this village?”


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~Item Locker~Sarutobi Mitsuo~Jutsu List~Mitsuo's Tracker~

Rippa

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Rippa would keep his head bowed a moment. His blue eyes staring to the man that had been a legend to him. Tales of the mans known deeds didn't seem to even draw his mind from what he imagined the man had done while he was away from the village or even considered dead. To Rippa this was a man of power, honor and conviction. He could easily imagine the man conquering an army before he fell only to cut open the heavens as they attempted to reach his soul and knew not the man they came for. He had always wished to be so great a man and the only reason he didn't recognize his own feats was simply because he compared himself to the image he had of the man before him. When he was motioned to take a seat he would rise from his bow. Removing the other sword from his belt and moving to the seat. Leaning the two blades by the handle against the desk on his side of it. Though twins in every way down to the wrap, they were unique. No other sword like them as far as he knew. Still they didn't hold his attention as much as one detail he hadn't expected. Even as he settled into the seat and sat with his back straight and his hands resting on the arms of the chair, his eyes were drawn to that headband. It wasn't a konoha headband which caught him off guard. What was the meaning of the symbol and why did it matter more than the konoha symbol to a man who clearly still cared about his home? He would need to look into the symbol later but it wasn't important to bring up now. The sword saint was about to speak.

“I am not an important enough man that people must schedule time to come and see me.”

That was something he disagreed with wholeheartedly and his eyebrow would twitch ever so slightly at the obvious disagreement he had to the statement. However Mitsuo had his back to him and Rippa made no noise in retort out of respect. Instead he would listen with his mind open. Attempting to pick out any information he could from the mans speech. “Though it is an honour to hear that you have taken to the path of the swordsman due to my deeds, I also do not believe I am worthy of your praise or admiration. I am a man, like you. I bleed and feel pain, and I feel the pain of my village in its diseased state, like a virus attacking the system of the whole. Long have I sought a way to cure that disease, and while I have come close I have never been able to truly find the way to end its suffering. I need your help, Rippa Chi. I have heard about you, good things about your skill and the way you conduct yourself as a diplomat and emissary of our village. My friend Sousetsu speaks highly of you, and when he speaks I always listen. I wonder, without hearing what I have to say, would you help me? Would you pledge that blade to the Sword Saint of Konoha, and help me cure this village?”

He would pause and Rippa would raise that eyebrow that had twitched earlier. Truthfully he wanted to smoke again already just from the intensity of the man before him. He could feel a small chakra pressure from him but knew one thing from it. It was highly suppressed. He took a breath in and could almost taste a heat that radiated from the man. Mitsuo seemed to feel himself as a broken and tired version of who he had once been. The man was under a lot of pressure but one thing was not to be denied. He was a walking inferno of power. Of the Sarutobi none matched the mans flames. Rippa was a master of blood and even he was unsure he could quench those fires before they did real damage. He had always been glad that the man was on their side. Never had to fear what was out there beyond his own problems simply because men like this existed. While it was his opinion that Mitsuo Sarutobi had earned every title ever given to him including and not limited to Hokage, he found the words troubling. There was something the man had not been able to overcome. Something Mitsuo Sarutobi could not cull with his blade alone. The idea that there was such a being made Rippa wonder quietly to himself if he could be of any help. If he was worthy of standing next to his hero against such a great challenge. However when he spoke his words were calm and collected. However a passion burned in those blue eyes.

"You said you are just a man like me. With all due respect I disagree. You are what men like me inspire to be. A word that draws men like me who might have otherwise been content to be average shinobi and live a peaceful life to fight. The name Sarutobi Mitsuo is not one spoken lightly of in Konoha sir. You have become more than a man to the people. You are a legend that lights a fire in the hearts of those around you. A fire that burns and even when we believed you fell to us legends never die. When the world calls for hero's we stand because you stood before us. You ask me if I will stand with my blade and help you without knowing the enemy. A simple man is not something I would do that for. Facts and reason are my first weapons. However as a legend, as a village in need of something great to happen, as a man with a dream that the village will rise to a glorious age once more. I will in fact pledge my sword to cure whatever disease this village might have. I have always healed the sick and afflicted and even should I fall in doing so, I will leave such an impression on the next generation that when they speak of my legend, its a part of them driving them to be great men and women. That is my relentless pledge."

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LOCKER | JUTSU | Rippā | BATTLE SONG

Missions:| D: 4 | C: 2 | B: 3 | A: 1 | S: 0 | SS: 0
Specs:
Medical Ninjutsu S - Ninjutsu S
Elements: Blood/ Raiton

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