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1 Ciphers are the Spice of Life [Solo/Mission] on Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:26 am

Ryota Suzuki

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Genin
Mission Details:

Mission name Forbidden Communications.
Mission rank: D-rank.
Objective: Deliver ciphers to independent groups.
Location: Any.
Reward: 150 ryo + 1 EP
Mission Description: When a message needs to be delivered, it requires a courier.
Development References: What Lies Beneath Event.
Mission Details: Groups who roam the sand that have remained unaffiliated until now have begun sharing messages between them and are hiring willing shinobi to help. Ninja will pick up and deliver unmarked scrolls from one group to another.

As the sun beat upon the sand amidst the hustle and bustle of refugee tents consuming cordoned off countryside like weeds overtaking fertile land, a boy foolishly clad in black strode beyond official lines with teeth at an old, itching scar upon his lip. Crossing the threshold between territories flagged out as guarded by one village or another, a vague tension drew a squint from eyes 'neath sweat-smeared black hair not against the sun but against the unknown. The boy, taking a steadying breath beneath that once again black, pearl fanged visage of a demon's maw upon that mask concealing nose and jaw admitted to himself that for all the difference of politics that the people here seemed no less in need. Running naked fingers up his arms to ensure those sleeves were unbuttoned against the still breeze, he swallowed down the memory of the morning water ration and blinked away the sting of perspiration to his eyes. Muddling through the dust and the rising scent of so many packed tight, distant meals with foreign spices nudged his gaze to pry amidst the sheets of temporary housing. Alas, no reprieve from pondering is offered and instead he was met with the gruff, black-bannered tent of the independents and one of their dispatch centres. Prying up from this canopy of shapes and sizes the lack of uniformity given by individuals coming and going brought a faint unsettling to bare in his breast. A twitch from his fingers followed, itching to seize something to defend himself in this alien element.

Swallowing his pride and paranoia, footfalls turned from the clacking crumbling of dust to the softer mats of the insides. Some errant eyes of long-grizzled veterans chanced upon him, some sneering where others held suspicion. Ryota swallowed again as he reached that desk proudly proclaiming a procession of private interests under one affiliation which he supposed suited them for the time being. Turning those blue eyes up to the tanned bodybuilder of a man laced with gnarled scar tissue, the boy opened his mouth to speak. "I've come about your communications mission, I was informed by your liaison to Kirigakure dispatch." Clarified the boy in his usual indifferent tone albeit more theatre than fact for once. A few of the others chuckled and laughed through such a thing with passed whispers upon such a simple task, the trinkets and trophies adorning their attire jangling against the bobbing of their shoulders catching his gaze briefly. "Any help is good help." Spoke the man attending the desk, nodding to the boy as his gaze returned and the others quietened. "You'll have to ignore the whelps and wolves, hungry for their scraps." Pressed the green-eyed shepherd of vagrant wills and forces, rolling his steely gaze across the room. Sniffing at the desert air, he reached an arm thick as a tree branch and seemingly twice as sturdy below the desk, plucking up and smacking down the contract and item for transport. Admittedly, the boy yielded a mild recoil and a quirked brow against this brashness. Grinning out at him with a golden tooth expressed from beneath a bushy black moustache -- the only hair on his head, the man nodded again. "Every job is important, lad. Let nobody tell you any different." Came his parting words as the boy dashed a practised signature across the page, wrinkling his nose under the mask against the thick, heavy scent of tobacco that cast a slur against his nose from his breath. "Thank you, sir." Came cordially warmed appreciation before he turned tail and skittered from the tent, both articles tucked away inside his clothing to nestle neat in an internal pocket. Focused on making his way out of this tent fully intact without drawing the ire of his hosts in what felt to almost be a lawless territory, the boy ninja felt that place lingering behind him in the back of his mind like some blackened shadow painted in the dried blood of indiscriminate victims. A shudder passed over him at the thought of such people coming to take a firm grasp of the world and the inhumane, cutthroat fates that might await them all should such a thing come to pass. Musing on it a little longer as he took a few sharp turns to put distance and sight between him and it the thought occurred to him that perhaps having a country to tie together coin and honour was more or less the sole distinguishing factor between them as far as his eyes could see. Perhaps as it was, in time too those bickering private interests might grow as firm and influential as the Kage themselves...

..Ah, the mission. Slipping into the shadows of tents cast as some textiled alleyway, he took the initiative of liberating himself of his headband, it too neatly set aside in subtlety of his task. Internally he reasoned every precaution helped, after all. Exiting through the other side of the alleyway the colourfully curried dish bubbling away in a pot caught his musing, blessing his senses with a bouquet of scents unknown in the odour-eliminating rains and damp of the Mist. Greedy eyes awoke a stomach that  begged of aught but more travelling rations and cemented him to a halt for a moment as he eyed the familiar flesh of a monkfish carcass upon a makeshift cuttingboard. The scent of coconut and the vibrant orange adorned with lemons only further hypnotised this poor, innocent bystander until at last he registered the worried gaze of a mother clutching her child close, the father casting a warning glance up at him. At last he blinked, coming to understand the concern such a mask might cause and yet with no time to waste, he offered only a gentle incline of his head before pressing on. Some torturous minutes climbed upon one another as he traverse the emotionally torturous desert of the midday sun, squinting once more through sweat as he wiped his brow against the back of his wrist. He made a vague sound of apparently affluent agitation through a dry mouth as he turned the final corner to the edge of the camp to a new hovel of hope, freshly built with telltale signs of people dragged wounded through the dirt and behind various curtains of seclusion. Once more he made effort to swallow, only for his dustbowl of a mouth to refuse and force a mild sputtering against the back of his mask. Grumbling as ever against displeasure the overheating teen looked along the emblems painted upon each tent, some elaborately sewn whist others seemed to be little more than hastily scrawled ink.

Spying the mark of his destination, the embodiment of silence pried closer, peering into that tent to discover nobody home. More to the point, the belongings in  struck him as so Spartan it appeared positively unlived in. Between an untouched bedroll neatly packed, an unused gas lamp and a seemingly empty, innocuous pack upon the ground it wasn't the most unsound conclusion. With a tut and furrowing of his brow against this twist of affairs the blue-eyed messenger's fingers itched again with the instinctive urge to prepare for attack. Luckily, he had enough presence of mind to at least attempt to maintain some degree of subtlety even with his brash mask. Turning his smouldering back to the tent, surrendering his front once more to the sun's efforts to beat heat into his face as the surface of a drum, another sigh escaped. Immature eyes pry about this quiet corner camp for any sign of life coming or going only to find not even a flicker of recognition in passers-by. Idle fingers fidgeted with the scroll in his coat, probing it's contours to ease the paranoid itching. Too late he hears a rustle and metal sliding free behind him, too soon did that metal point meet his neck. A man's voice, harsh and graveled enquired, "Who, why?" Against his business in this avenue. This wasn't like the man at the counter, this man's breath held a higher pitch and a far more haggard lilt. Wary of attempted interception from a man so close to the edge or worse yet the risk of either corpse being picked clean by vultures, he speaks with feigned cowardice, "I come to see my Father. We fled separately from the village, he insisted I leave a day prior." The teen with death at his skin swallowed against the hard, unrelenting sharpness, his captor mumbling something about Ryota's supposed relative. His eyes strained and squinted at those indiscernible words 'fore the scent of blood rose to his nose through the suffocating dust of the sands. "You're clumsy." The ninja pressed to this unknown with growing confidence at that now quaking hand. The juvenile shook his head, opening his mouth to speak and yet before the wind could rise from his lungs the gust of another's barking command to cease came from a man broaching the corner.

A sound of frustration emanated from behind our masked visitor, hardened tip disappearing from his throat and retreating back into the dark. The man, clad in cloak and bandages that fully obfuscated his means and identity gave a nod to the boy presently rubbing that raised, reddened pinprick. Taking quick note of him for much sign of threat, the boy concluded that a bedroll under his arm and a medical pack in the other hand were not of much overt risk. "My apologies for him, took a nasty hit on the way out and has been paranoid ever since. As for you, you must be our courier boy. Not bad acting..." Mused the man, tossing the items to that bloodied, wounded one behind him with sounds of exertion elicited from the soft thuds of those imparted items against his ruined flesh. "...But next time you want to nail a voice like that, ya wanna try a touch of acting on top of it. Not a whole lot of frightened people stay so steady, eh?" Ryota nodded in acknowledgement, his expression easing as he was finally able to ease away from those curtains to close the remaining distance between the two. "Besides, you're a little early." Came a more stern hint of expression. Self-assured as ever the boy made a noise of indignant indifference as he fished for the scroll in his garb. The recipient shifting the handle of the pack onto his wrist held his hand in beckoning, only to yield a distasteful tut against the contract and pen instead ushered into his hand. Ryota begs  The man scribbled his validation 'fore Ryota swiftly swapped one paper for another and bid them farewell, skittering off before this formality could overstay it's welcome. Once far away enough for their voices to fade he affixed his headband back in place about his neck with intent to deliver that completed contract as soon as he spent that slither of extra time appropriately. Following his internal map as best he could that moderately developed sense of direction persevered just enough to bring him back to that enclave of delectable edibles.

Spying the scene of that family and their scented sauce from afar, this time the adolescent carried enough sense to unbuckle that mask and tie it about his bicep. Tweaking his dry nose, a mote of hesitation claimed him at the twinge in his nose bringing his eyes to water. For a tense moment he halted, gazing into the palm before his nose as quaint prayers for mercy from his body held. A quaint breeze blew, the moment passed. Relief at no nosebleed overcame him and his stride began, internal timer ticking a spur of encouragement into him. "Excuse me, Miss?" Came as much of a polite tone as he could muster that still fell tragically upon indifference. Stilted body language and only the faintest lean across betrayed his awkwardness in this foreign land, a mutedly polite yet nervous smile sprouting across his face to bask in the sun. Again with an arm across her child and her partner now absent, an elderly woman in his place she frowned against this man seemingly unaware of the forming tan line across his nose. Instead she nudged the child with it's carved wooden bowl filled to the brim with that delicious concoction of flavour, taking them inside their present abode. The old woman chuckled, her voice coarse and confident with the strain and stride of age. "What is it?" She pressed to him, casting him not even the faintest glance or time of day. His own brow now quirked in surprise as it was wont to be, the boy felt that familiar uncertainty of how to treat the elderly bubbling up to hold pace atop his exasperation with the temperature. Best expressed with his fidgeting and uncertainty of where to look it wasn't until she cast a glance from the corner of her eye against him that he felt the social pressure waving that internal clock. "I was hoping I could learn about that dish you're cooking there, the spices and recipe and such. It's just where I'm from, we don't really--" He rushed out. "--Of course." Came a surprisingly willful answer. "However, you understand these things cannot be done for free, yes? More of my family is coming tonight and as it happens, I'm well aware that this place is short on enough hands to get the tents up in time. Sign yourself up to put my conscience at ease and then perhaps, we can see about this. Now..." Her gaze turned to the angry looking man peering out from the tent, "On your way, little shadow." Mouth agape, Ryota had expected nothing of the sort. Fumbling with the mask on his arm he soon fastened it back into place, nodding to the old woman as the footsteps of that man began, his raised voice fading into the distance. Hard furrowed brow crowned a gaze affixed upon the ground as he weaved back toward that dispatch point. Were all the people of the sands so resilient?

Crossing that threshold from dust to mats once more, the first thing to strike him as he looked about was the absence of all those prior faces but the one behind the desk. "Hey there, rookie." Welcome the mission director with a nod exchanged between the two. "So, they were all headed out to fight?" Answered the boy behind the mask, plucking the contract from his coat he wasted no time in setting it forth to this gentleman mercenary of sorts. "More or less. You can imagine why they were hoping you would be some backup for them, right? But never mind all of that. How was the relay?" Pried the man, jade eyes checking over the signatures and plying his own. "Ah, it was fine. Nothing I couldn't handle. The only thing I don't understand was why I would be needed to go such a short distance. Wouldn't it be better to send your own?" Another elder chuckling at his ignorance painted a scowl under his mask, especially after his efforts to play off the slight snag under the radar. He felt he'd had quite enough of that today. As if sensing his discomfort the man raised a hand to peacefully wave it off before fishing in some wooden sounding drawers beneath the counter. "Peace, lad. We can't have our own being recognised or else everyone will know our comings and goings." A wheezingly dry inhalation dragged itself through the man's nose. "Bad for business if we have any spies in our midst, eh?" Came a warningly edged tone topped off with a sharp, rasping chuckle through those partially fake teeth. He slapped down his pay and with it, some odd looking coins. Fishing them out of the ordinary Ryo, Ryota turned the coin this way and that. The two coins seemed to be brass, dirtied heavily with illegible language about it. The coins were rounded and about a centimeter in diameter with a small, cross-shaped hole in the middle. About this hole on one side were six of those illegible characters at cardinal points and on the other, the hole served as a gap in the middle of an eye. The rim was also slightly bevelled. The man nodded to the coins, coughed out, "Out of circulation currency. Consider it a momento for doing a good job." Which earned little more than a shrug from the boy as it disappeared into his clothes. "Thank you for this opportunity." Came his parting comment alongside a swift departure, all too eager to cross back into the Kiri campsite. Rubbing away some of the sweat along his face with a gasp against the air and finally permitting himself a moment in the shade, relief met with him as finally the midday heat receded the temperature a meagre degree or two. It was time to go back to his temporary accommodations for the time being and see what water rations he might be able to scrounge up. After that? A nap, no doubt.

[2889 WC]


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