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1 Knock, Knock on Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:30 am




'Exams were Exhausting‘

Sakamoto had found himself outside, escaping the grounds of the Chunin Exams on the night after his opponent had shirked their responsibility and failed to make their intended grand appearance in the third of the gaunt arenas that the Leonid had taken part in. The unique challenges of the arenas themselves had been a welcome change to the drab sparring that Sakamoto had to undertake as part of his training to be a ninja, however, the challenges of his opponents could have been a little more relaxed. Sakamoto was a Genin, but he had the life experience and background which many of the well-sheltered ninja of the villages here hadn't had. An entire other life dedicated to villainy had preceded Sakamoto's ninja life, allowing him an insight into the ninja world from the perspective of an opponent who had been attempting to evade them for the better part of that life. While that age had gone, it was not forgotten, the lessons which blazed into the mind of the overly cautious cat were still vibrant in his thoughts and even reflected in his every-day actions; being hard to find, often defaulting to being hard to find, often defaulting to acting as a simple house cat to avoid detection in his daily life. Slinking from place to place across longer routes and having become an expert at taking his time.

Ninja in this world seemed to have adopted an almost pathological need to stand out of the crowd, to appear unique, interesting and in no sense ordinary. The art of hiding in plain sight amongst the boring and mundane seemed to have been lost in recent years, Konoha having come into a new renaissance era with vibrant colours and designs becoming the norm for a nin seeking their fame and glory in the ever-growing competitive nature of the world they lived in. So, the black cat, clad in nothing but the regular tattered crimson neckerchief he wore tied around his neck made his way through the twilight city streets away from the confines of his chambers. He was certain that soon enough a proctor would likely come looking for him, he was still a competitor in the exams after all, and while there was no match scheduled, it was against the rules of the organization for participants to seek out information of one another in such a manner that it could be considered an advantage.

So close to victory, it was fruitless to risk such an incursion.

Stretching his legs in an afternoon stroll, Sakamoto hung around the back-alleys of konoha like a mangy stray. Pilfering food from markets as they began to close for the day like a hapless stray while he walked the stone laid streets. Images of the Kirigakure ninja he had fought came to mind, the relentlessness of that opponent was something he was able to respect... while Sakamoto absently hoped that he would find what he seemed to be longing for before it consumed him he would draw his claws, peeling back the flesh of a stolen salmon with a single strike of his claws, segregating the juicy fillet at the envy of some of the neighbourhood locals, baying at Sakamoto for the hint of seafood at their furry lips from below as Sakamoto devoured his unearned meal... The thought crossed his mind that such a meal could be easily shared amongst the hungry stomaches of those that began to accumulate around him, and perhaps one day Sakamoto would be the kind of feline that would have outstretched a paw to the street cats in need of a meal. But today wasn't this day, still jaded by his past, and not yet truly understanding of empathy or kindness, he would simply eat his meal until the fresh fish was picked dry, to the disheartened mewlings of his audience below as they salivated in sorrow to pick what meagre scraps still clung to the bones.

No sooner than Sakamoto moved from his station on the table to the ground on the opposing side of the crowd, the wayward homeless carrion cats swarmed the fish, the cracks and crunches of bones echoing in Sakas ears which would perk and turn to face the disturbance. Fights broke out over the scraps, blows were struck against brothers, family and friends... "Hisō..." Sakamoto exclaimed in the arcaic ninja language used often for jutsu formation, calling the cats behind him pathetic in his judgementally flat afflictionless barritone. Flecks of silver studded the sky above him as Xiou seemed to have spotted him from her perch in the air, waving a greeting before the kestral moved on her merry way, simply checking in with her parner as was customary every couple hours with one another if they had no clue of the other's position. A smirk came to Sakamoto's face when he saw the brazen hawk flittering across the sky with such skill and finesse against the breeze.

"The exams would have been a lot easier with you at my side you know..." He would muse to himself while the bird was in sight for its final fleeting moments, only to disappear behind a cloud-bank high in the sky, beyond the range of even the keenest of leering eyes so that she may frollic amongst the rolling cumulus cascading across the heavens... While Sakamoto simply found himself the warmest rock he could find that had been basking directly in the evening sun, laying upon it with his tail curled around his body to form a little black bundle against the polished granite...

Tonight was a good night.


Last edited by Sakamoto on Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:53 pm; edited 1 time in total


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2 Re: Knock, Knock on Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:46 pm



With the Chunin Exams came a wealth of international presence in the village, military police heightened their security, and the ANBU corps patrolled the city in silence, doubling down on their protection of the Leaf's most valuable assets. The young Uchiha had lost many nights to these measures, volunteering for more routes than any of the agents around him, a subconscious effort to earn their trust and prove himself seen as a tactic for advancement and scorned by his peers. As the sun set over Konoha, long shadows drew black calligraphy across the streets, making a mockery of the light and consuming the Hidden Leaf in the time between daylight and festivity. Still too bright for the nightly fireworks, or the strings of lanterns, night markets, and fire dances, this twilight was the city's reprieve from the cacophony of song and fanfare. Tonight, Kirei stalked the rooftops in a different capacity, freed from the ANBU for some hours, the cat-faced operative sought to continue his work in Fire Country's underbelly. Its soft, furry underbelly.

Most curious among the event's participants, a feline who competed beneath the Leaf's banner made himself known as a great warrior, though none could recall his training or his origin. The ROOT agent had pulled all available sign-up records for the exams and begun to paw through information in droves, piled up sheets of paper and photographs of a black cat strewn about one of the Uchiha's hidden offices had led him to this inevitable confrontation. With silent steps, Kirei followed Sakamoto through the streets, cape melding with the shadows causing him to vanish as he slipped between the depths of darkness that cried against the sunset while he tailed the mysterious cat. From what Kirei could glean, Sakamoto had made a name for himself as a bandit lord in the life before his arrival to Konohagakure, and one with quite the name for himself. No stranger to the slings and arrows of combat and strife, the cat would open many doors for the Uchiha's secret missive, one that the ANBU Black Ops would never allow. Growing across the Leaf's surrounding provinces, Kirei's network of spies had already begun to feed him information, criminals and fishermen, street urchins and rogue ninja made up this fragile alliance of knowledge and deceit which, in time, would grow to encompass the shinobi world for the good of the Hidden Leaf.

Sharingan memorizing each of Sakamoto's movements, Kirei's body rose and fell with the waning light, connecting between the cracks in the pavement where shadow lurked when he could not cloak himself entirely. The techniques of ROOT allowed the young operative to remain hidden, even as the cat's companion flew overhead, watching from on high but unable to see the shadowy figure, and equally incapable of avoiding the Sharingan's scrutiny. Perhaps Sakamoto would feel the occasional glance bounce off his back, the peculiar feeling of a watcher making his way silently behind while noting the cat's every movement, perhaps it would make the feline's hair stand on their ends and cause him to succumb to paranoia. Whether met with suspicion or nonchalance, Kirei would continue his trail, staying several houses away from the cat as he stole and scavenged, taunting other strays with the prospect of a meal kept only to himself, in utter silence. Owing to the visual prowess of his Sharingan, maintaining the sturdy Leaf Village buildings between he and his target would make such stalking effortless for the Uchiha, who would employ the use of his echolocation to make sure the cat would not escape his observation.

When finally the time came for his target to rest, Kirei found purchase atop the power lines where he perched for a moment, cloak rustling soundlessly in the evening breeze while the last orange glow of sunset dipped below the horizon. In time with the snuff of Fire Country's mother sun, Kirei would descend behind the dozing Leonid, not yet revealing his intentions as even the fall from such a height was masked by his attire. It would be the soft, calm voice of a cat-faced ANBU agent that alerted Sakamoto to his presence, cadence smooth with a sweet timbre marking the Uchiha's youth, though displaced uncannily from Kirei's typical tone.


The ominous greeting came alone, intended to catch the cat's attention and draw him to face the figure behind him, standing several meters away with hood and cloak still as the autumnal air surrounding them. The feline would see a peculiar affinity shared between them, Kirei's mask in the shape of a cat himself, with a black hood and flowing mantle obscuring his entire body, save for the red Sharingan, which seemed to leave a trail of light as the tomoe triplets within danced quietly.

"I've watched you these past weeks. Impressive, how you've dismantled your opponents in the Chunin Exams with the finesse of a seasoned warrior. Tell me, cat, is this owing to your life before shinobi? What does a king of bandits want with the Hidden Leaf?"



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3 Re: Knock, Knock on Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:15 pm



'Peace subsided to irritation'

Moments before the somber embrace of sleep wrapped its loving tendrils around the resting panther, a voice pierced through the darkness behind him, beseeching him from his attempted slumber and calling his attention to the deep shadow. Drearily, Sakamoto would press against the warm stone beneath him, eyes still closed as he would lap at the fur atop one of his paws and clean the soft liquid that had begun to coalesce beneath his eyes. Turning his head to look over his shoulder, he would bear open a single eye, expecting to see one of the proctors who had come to drag him back to his exam room as was a tradition. But, he was surprised to see the black cloak and ivory mask penetrating the darkness, the symbology of a cat strewn across its delicat features, expertly crafted. A piercing red laserlike eye blazing through the hatchling night having been freshly born. A single of Sakamoto's eyes would open, taking in everything in an instant, but, rather than react in shock or surprise, the intrigue and suddenness of an ANBU black ops member seeking him out, seemed to negate the contempt that would have followed if it had been someone he'd have expected.

Sakamoto would pick up his body, turning around totally to face the unnamed ANBU member, sitting at attention, back straight and eyes open awaiting what was to follow. A compliment, a revelation of the knowledge of his secrets, a distinct lack of an introduction and finally a question. The ANBU seemed to be attempting to unsettle Sakamoto, or perhaps simply establishing immediate dominance and control. Sakamoto always had an issue with authority figures, and this, in part was the reason why. Though, he couldn't completely disregard the being wraithed by the silhouette of their brilliant eyes. The ANBU of the ninja nations were the boogyman of his years as a bandit leader, every action they had taken while in the midst of a criminal endeavor was expressly to avoid their sight, to keep under their radar and stay within the much safer confines of the jurisdiction of the villages regular ninja. Though safety was relative.

'But a question had still been asked, and it begged a reply.'

Thinking about this for a moment, Sakamoto would reply coyly, it was good to see he still had a few secrets left under the covers, though not even the Jonin council he had made his deal with knew not the circumstances in which he found himself in Konoha. the ninneko would scrunch his face in thought for a moment as he would ponder his answer. Taking a little extra time as he did so to test the patience of the ninja before him. "Well, doesn't everyone deserve a second chance? I heard that Konoha was such a place where it were possible." He would answer without any form of wry smile or condescending tone, though his answer was meant to be playful in one way or another. "Though it seems you have me at a disadvantage, you know of me, but I know nothing of you, feel free to introduce yourself at anytime." Sakamoto's tail would flick from side to side in energetic twitchy bursts, as it usually did when Sakamoto was getting playful and excited.

If the ANBU answered honestly, he would be lowering some of that psychological advantage, but in return he would gain trust from Sakamoto as well as respect, at the cost of fear. Though the feline would understand him choosing not to, fear annonymity were powerful weapons to a ninja, such was the reason that Sakamoto had always requested he be segregated from many of his peers when it came to his training and daily life as a ninja. Spinning it such that he would be a much better tool to Konohagakaure if every single ninja in the village didn't know his name and stature. Not that the Chunin exams had helped with that cover, almost every female ninja enthusiast knew his name and what he looked like now, not to mention the international cover that the exams provided. Thankfully, without his sash he was just another black cat. He had worn the red bandanna at every combat he had been in, and it had become somewhat of an iconic symbol for the ninneko. If he could put more focus on the fact he was 'a cat with a bandanna' and not just a cat, shedding it would not be dissimilar to shedding his identity in the public eye entirely.

"So, to what do I owe the honor of Konoha's finest?"


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4 Re: Knock, Knock on Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:15 am



Slinking away below the distant mountains, sunset gave away its orange permeance to the ineffable sway of dark and moonlight, caressing the forests softly until autumnal shades of red and brown deepened into an ocean of swirling blue and silver. When the wave of shadow reached Konohagakure's walls, they rose valiantly to meet it before succumbing and allowing it to roll quietly through the streets, dimming the landscape and drawing forth the Uchiha's natural element. Kirei's cloak melted into the shadows, paradoxically pulling his body in all directions as he spoke, the cat twitching its ears and rising slowly in response, looking down from the face of his rock toward the knelt ANBU operative. It was plain to see that Kirei was not who Sakamoto expected, the greeting and appearance of his station alone enough to alert the young Uchiha to the feline's surprise.

With their eyes transfixed, Kirei's attempt to take full control of their meeting, and ensure its secrecy, would attempt to enrapture them within his favorite Genjutsu Farce, the tool of his he utilized more than any other. Using the cover of speech, and the hypnotic swirl of his Sharingan, the Uchiha hoped this cat would fall victim to the deceitful dojutsu, primarily motivated by the threat of outside sources somehow monitoring their conversation, Kirei intended to speak to Sakamoto in as private a way as he knew how, through lies. Whether or not he was successful, the scene would not change, playing out as the Genjutsu attempted to weave itself seamlessly over reality, encompassing it as the feline began to speak. The Farce would allow, in tandem, the Uchiha to shed his anxiety, breaking the shell of his reservations with the force of all his lineage. Within this bosom of lies, Kirei felt a mother's comfort. The perturbed Leonid responded as Kirei hoped, by offering himself to the path of redemption, a philosophy the young agent had come to preach these past months in the Hidden Leaf, and the smiling cat's facade mirrored Kirei's own smile.

'Doesn't everyone deserve a second chance?'

"Purrfect," Kirei cooed.

Chuckling under his breath, the Uchiha met Sakamoto's playful jaunt with honesty, and if his Genjutsu had not succeeded, then he would peer around them, Sharingan piercing the buildings to find any surrounding, above, or beneath the pair who might seek to eavesdrop. Carrying on, he tilted his head, causing the cat mask to shift comically beneath the cascading shadow of his hood.

"ANBU division zero-two, callsign: Songbird."

"Do you recognize these eyes of mine? The Uchiha and Ninneko clans were once great allies. I'm not here to do do you harm, ya know? I'm here because I want to ask you a favor."

Decidedly more jovial, Kirei's words came with a playful undertone, voice still neutralized by his mask to temper the natural youth at the edge of his teenage voice, but allowing some of his real attitude to leak through the facade. Withdrawing a small scroll bound in blue and cracking the seal, Kirei unraveled it several inches and began to read from its surface, reciting the information steadily. From the ANBU's lips, a string of names sauntered forth, said with purpose and perfect diction as Kirei undertook his best effort to make sure Sakamoto understood him clearly. Matching phantoms of the bandit's past, each name sought to conjure memories of ruthless criminals Sakamoto once had known during his time above the law, with the last such name drawn out after a pause as Kirei looked up from his scroll to punctuate his statement.

"Itawa Kuzumo, Kajida Ame, Tokaku Sora, Hayata Surika, Moronai Muro..."

"Keiabe Kamoto..."

"These are known associates of yours that we know are in the Land of Fire. I've come to you today to ask a favor of you, Sakamoto of the Ninneko..."

Shifting upright from his knelt position, Kirei's five-foot-ten frame would make itself apparent as his left hand tucked away the parchment, vanishing within the folds of cloak that still clung eerily to the shadows at the Uchiha's back. With its reappearance, Kirei made an impassioned fist with the same hand, thrusting it out in Sakamoto's direction, in an exaggerated gesture designed to put emphasis on his words, which he spoke with dedication and truth.

"Keiabe Kamoto has been spotted in Shinwato, he has attended each of your matches, and we believe he is operating out of a compound in the district's outskirts. I've been assigned to neutralize this threat to the Hidden Leaf through any means I choose, and I've chosen you, Sakamoto."

"I'm not one for brutal assassination, but I will do what it takes to protect Konoha. Before worse comes to worst, I want to try and turn this enemy of law into an asset from whom I can ascertain information of underworld dealings throughout Hi no Kuni. Your connection to him is my key to a peaceful resolution. You have knowledge of his personality, personnel, and history, together we can achieve a great victory for the Hidden Leaf. So whaddya think, will you help me turn this enemy into an ally? Isn't that what the path of redemption is all about?"

Bringing his hands out to his hips, Kirei would lean on his left foot and relax his stance, the Uchiha had no reason here to persist down the road of fear and control, requiring the privacy of his Farce for the sharing of sensitive information, but not intending to manipulate Sakamoto to his ends. If the cat accepted, the two would be off, and the Farce would drop away, revealing itself as Sakamoto moved, placing him back standing on the rock, and Kirei kneeling before him, winking before shooting off along the rooftops. The path to Shinwato's suburbs would give the pair a few minutes to discuss any possible plans, as Kirei would take the lead toward the criminal's suspected location while asking Sakamoto for any information he might possess. The young Uchiha was under no illusions that the two would meet with no resistance, but felt confident they could subdue any threat mercifully, and would await their arrival before making his intentions known.



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5 Re: Knock, Knock on Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:29 am



'Today was going to be interesting...‘

ANBU was one of the organizations in Konohagakure that Sakamoto had an intrinsic curiosity towards, the shadowy organization of military secret police that prowled the shadows as a pseudo-public force that was known of by even the most average of civilians but with almost zero specifics created about them. The shadows of Konohagakure were thick with secrets, and even among ninja cats, Curiosity was still one of their key flaws. Rumors about lethal killings, disappearances and dirty deeds done in the deep dark of the fire countries dank forests were enough to carve rumors of demonic creatures that proved to catalyze intrigue into the collective subconscious of the usually cantankerous cat. Yet he felt like he was immediately about to regret it as the pun at the response to his playful question seemed to reverberate through his mind, the pun like nails on a chalkboard as Sakamoto's expression would dull to utter vacancy as the genjutsu would swallow the two of them into a purely mental world.

Sakamoto would feel the hairs on the back of his neck and back rise as something became off about the world they seemed to inhabit, it drew his eyes from them for a moment before moving back to the ANBU black ops ninja before him. There was something going on here, but, none the less he'd still ask for his identity. 'Songbird' wasn't the codename that he expected to be hit with, though the monikier seemed to suit the quirky individual who stood before him, so Sakamoto accepted it and allowed his mind to move on to more important processes like a sluice gate withholding a next phase of overactive neurotic analysis... and of all the things that could have possibly stemmed from his mouth, the most interesting request imaginable would slip past the lips of 'Songbird,' his down to earth, relaxed and friendly tone betraying a gentler nature as he would ask Sakamoto for a favor...

Eyes sharpening like blades as opportunity laden upon a platinum tray had been served to him. The dam holding back his overactive mind collapsing under the weight of potential futures fanning out into the infinite, consuming the vestiges of restraint with the tidal wave of excitement that saw his tail flicker even more excitedly from side to side and a reflective glint in the sly eye of the feline while he would continue to listen to the plight of the ANBU... The names that would come forth would confirm the amount of homework that had been done by the ninja for Sakamoto... though the last name was one that Sakamoto would never be able to forget. He would close his eyes in thought for a moment as he would process the task that had been undertaken, only to widen his eyes in surprise that the mission at hand was not the systematic elimination of the threat... it was to turn them into an ally, turncoat the criminal and turn them upon the friends of the criminals that Sakamoto had once run with in the bad old days.

"Sō ka... " Sakamoto would speak reflectively on their task.

"You know, if you posed this kinda question to almost anyone else in my shoes, a brotherly bond among scoundrels would compel me to toss this request aside or deny any association with these types. But... you don't seem like other ninja I've met. You're smart. " Sakamoto's lips would twist into a cheshire smirk as he would confirm the mission that had been proposed. "Alright, I'll help you 'Songbird,' but on one condition. " He would await an indication of acceptance in some form before continuing to speak, though the condition he had thought of was rather juvenile, the fact that 'Songbird' had a cool callsign and Sakamoto didn't made the feline feel somewhat inferior in comparison... it was such a minor detail, but it was enough to bug him more than he cared to admit.

"I want a callsign, and I'd like it to be 'Cheshire.' In an official capacity on your report, which I'm sure you'll have to do at some point. If you can swing that, I'll be happy to tell you everything about any amount of former associates of mine. Beginning with Keiabe Kamoto. "

'If Songbird Agreed, Sakamoto would begin.'

"Keiabe was a scoundrel and a fense by trade in the early days. If he's operating nearby and he heard that I was competing in the exams, he probably thought it was hillarious and came to see. He probably came first to confirm if the cat named sakamoto was really me, then stayed because it was hillarious, or just to dig up dirt on me. Keiabe moved from selling to collecting and trade, ended up being known as 'the dragon' later because of his hoard. Any cutthroat worth giving a damn about traded with him... normally, getting him to flip would be impossible..." Sakamoto would pause, for little more than dramatic flair as he would play coy for a moment before revealing his information.

"Well... impossible for anyone else... Few could tell, but you can smell his pheramones change when he spies something new and shiny. He perspires and his pupils dilate with the dopamine hit. He's an addict, well and truly. He'd trade his mother for something shiny enough. Though scum as he is, he's damn good at what he does, he has an eye for quality and authenticity which has led many criminals to pose a problem to authorities in whatever country they start trouble in... If you wanna turn him, you could find him something irresistable, but something like that would have to border the legendary, and I doubt you could give up something like that in good conscience. You could always apply pressure to his 'hoard,' word has it that it's under lock and key at a fire temple in north fire country which is a front. He also has a couple key suppliers and collectors that he calls friends that could be hit"

Summing up the options, Sakamoto wouldn't have an idea at the kind of clearence that the ninja before him had when it came to dealing with the threat on Konoha. The man they were looking for had been a minor player in Sakamoto's day, but had grown to be a key figure in the criminal underworld in recent years. So he would await to see what the ninjas thought on their course of action would be. Was it to be a heist resulting in a deal? Blackmail? Or reverse racketeering?


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