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Duncan Crawford
Duncan Crawford
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:13 am
Max found himself watching, silently looking over the village he called home from the top of a nearby building. Things were changing, at least that is how it felt. The people seemed to be happy now, at least for the moment. Their moods were still joyous from all of the momentous happenings that had recently occurred. The joining of Lady Akihana and Mortarion had lifted the spirits of the village collective. Never since the start of Mortarion’s reign had he seen the village in such a mood.
 
Why was it that they celebrated? Akihana seemed like a kind soul, one that wished Kumo no ill will. Her presence here almost felt like a curse in and of itself. He thought he harbored little to no resentment towards her –despite her absence in the village during its time of need – instead placing most of the blame on the former Raikage that had abandoned them. Still, she seemed to be a lone flower in the heart of a wasteland. Max cared for the village, but that didn’t blind him to the obvious. One of these things was not like the others, and everybody could see it. Most people found solace in her presence, thinking that she was just what the village needed but Max had differing opinions. Those hopeful souls saw her as a beautiful wildflower, spreading across the village to better it overall. A pleasant thought, certainly. Max saw things a bit differently, though.
 
Take a flower and plant it in a dark room, with polluted soil and minimal nutrients. Only two outcomes come to mind in this event. The first is that the flower, despite its best attempts, just cannot survive in such harsh conditions. Its life is doomed to be one of misery and pain before its ultimate demise, wilting into nothingness. The second is that that flower adapts to the harsh conditions, learns to flourish despite those hardships. It will adapt and evolve to a form that meets its current needs. It will survive. The second outcome seems to be the better of the two, but Max knew from personal experience that it wasn’t quite that simple. See, in either case the flower would change drastically, either in death or evolution. The form it took before would be a distant memory, and those that gazed upon it would no longer recognize that which they saw standing before them. She was that flower, and Max worried deep down that no matter how much people had hoped and placed faith in her, New Kumo would change her… and likely for the worse.
 
Despite all of these thoughts on the matter, he hadn’t actually interacted with Lady Akihana since her return to the village. He wanted to, for he remembered her in a wonderful light, but something inside still make him uneasy about it. Mortarion had conquered the Hidden Cloud Village, and she was absent. She was not some rookie shinobi, either. Her presence could have seriously changed the course of events that lead to New Kumo. Not only was she absent when Mortarion took over, but now that she had returned, what did she do? She ended up marrying him… The more the young boy thought about the situation, the more upset he managed to get.
 
Hopping down from the rooftop, Max would try to gather himself. He didn’t want to be ruled by his emotions and so he began to take deep breaths to try and calm himself to a more stable level. Max began casually walking towards the place that he had found the most peace at, the cemetery. Nobody would bother him there, and he would be able to try and get more work done on his latest creations. They were a sound distraction from any of his worries, and he needed more vessels for his “friends”. Speakinng of friends, he was actually fairly surprised on just how quiet Napa had been this whole time. Was he sleeping? If so, Max didn’t want to wake him up at first, but then his own longing for company stirred awake his friend. “Napa, are you awake? Why so quiet?” Max would mutter out loud, ignoring any passersby that thought him to be mad. Many people would shoot strange looks his way or whisper things to each other, but Max paid them no mind. He was now getting lost in his own head, while his body was still on “autopilot” heading for the graveyards.
 
“Can’t a guy just sit here and think to himself? You think maybe that’s why I was so quiet? There are a lot of things going on in the village, and to be honest it is a pretty gross tonic to swallow. But you know that, huh, boy?” Napa would say in a snarky tone to the youth. “Oh, and one more thing! Look who’s lonely now!” Napa would say in jest, poking fun at the boy’s prior comments towards Napa.
 
Almost as if he had willed the encounter into existence with merely his thoughts alone, Lady Akihana was right down the road a little ways. “Well here’s your chance, Max. She’s right there. You can confront her with all of those pent up emotions and questions you have. I’m sure that’ll blow over well. I can see it now. Young… You know what, no, I wanna see this go down. Go for it kid. This is sure to be an entertaining experience, at least for me.”
 

Max would ignore the words of Napa and approach the newly appointed Lady of Kumo. Unsure of exactly what to say, or how to say it he would momentarily freeze up. If he spouted off the wrong things, it could easily be seen as treasonous as she was the wife of the Raikage. Still, he managed to look up at her with his big, grey-blue eyes muttering out loud, “Why are you here?” He gave no context to aid in the understanding of just what it was he was asking, and in all honesty he didn’t even think before the words poured from his mouth.
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:20 am
That morning found Akihana at the cemetery, just as a weak sun was shining over the freshly turned earth. It had rained the night before and for the first time in five months, the blonde had slept through a storm. Whether it was because she was tired or because someone had taken care to shut the windows she kept carefully opened to the night wind, she couldn't say but as she woke up with the break of dawn that day, the world outside her closed window looked clean, washed over.

Almost sparkling in how untouched it was.

The medic quickly went through her morning routine, shower, change, preparing breakfast which would go into containers for Youka regardless of whether he ate them or not, a note written and wedged under said containers letting him know where she'd be if he needed her, a quick check of her schedule for the day and then grabbing her snow white cloak from its hanger, she was out the door. The sun was not fully out but she doubted it would be until spring. Still a weak shimmer was better than non and autumn was the time for erratic weather. A soft smile on her face the kunoichi set a course for the cemetery.

There was a lot to do today, yes. She had to sit in with the official village accountants to justify redirecting funds to the prisoner rehabitation program, she had to stop by at the hospital to judge the progress of several chunin specializing in medical ninjutsu to see if they were ready to go on missions as the team's official medic, she had to pick up some more baking supplies too. But first she had to say hello to an old friend.

In her sturdy brown boots, Akihana navigated the muddy grounds, finding her way with ease. At least the graves were clearly marked. Even if Youka's regime had resulted in many dead, the fallen had been given a place. There was no greater honor than dying in defense of the village and that honor had been afforded to the fallen. The kunoichi made her way to one such grave, unique only by its simplicity. No flowers, no wraiths, not even a verse or quote because the man hadn't believed in such things while he lived.

"Good morning Kuro-san," she greeted, setting her picnic basket down by the grave. "What did you think of the rain last night? I slept through it all." She waited a minute, as if she could hear a response, though it would have disturbed her more if Kurokon Shikyo responded now. No, words were not his style. In life, he always listened quietly, grudgingly giving a nod now and then to imply he was listening - which he wasn't most of the time.

"I met Yaju the other day," she continued, a hint of the sad smile injected in her voice. "He's only slightly less cranky now that he's dead." The wind rustled, almost as if someone was chuckling quietly just out of earshot. The medic was about to continue when she felt another presence, a little way off, alerting her to the cemetery having another visitor. Not wanting to intrude on someone also coming n to see a loved one, the kunoichi averted her golden gaze, bowing her head respectfully until they passed.

Except they didn't.

When asked what she was doing here, Akihana raised her eyes to take in the small child posing the question. Was he lost? She doubted it. He didn't look lost or upset, and she knew better than to ask for his mommy. In a village full of orphans of war, that question was a one way path down a dangerous road.

"I came to see a friend?" she replied honestly, a kind smile on her face and her eyes glowing warmly as she took in the child. "What about you? Did you come to see someone too?" she asked, her tone still soft and her expression welcoming.

"Is there something I can help you with? I'm Akihana and it's very nice to meet you," she added politely.
Duncan Crawford
Duncan Crawford
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:26 am
Max would gaze directly into Akihana’s bright golden eyes as she spoke soaking in the warmth that seemed to radiate from her. Just this brief moment and he could begin to see why people looked upon her as a beacon of hope. None that Max had encountered in Kumo thus far had been as openly welcoming as she had seemed to be. Her pleasant smile and soft words could easily disarm someone, as Max had felt himself more at ease just by being in her presence. No wonder even the Raikage himself had seemed a bit different as of late.
 
She was here to see a friend? Was she able to see the same “friends” as Max was? No, that would be impossible. Max had never encountered anyone else that could see them without a vessel for them to exist within. He broke his gaze and looked down at the plain grave and then it dawned on him that she was paying her respects to a fallen comrade or loved one. That was the reason that most people came to the cemetery, so it would only make sense. “Did he mean a lot to you?” the boy would ask, though he knew the answer. “People don’t visit graves of people they didn’t care about, Max….” Napa would whisper quietly in his ear. “Don’t you think that you should introduce yourself to Lady Akihana? She was kind enough to introduce herself to you, though someone in her position rarely needs introductions.” Of course, Napa had been right. Everyone seemed to know who she was, as her matrimony to the Raikage and reputation would always proceed her. Turning and muttering back to Napa, though it would seem like he was speaking to himself he would give a quiet, “You’re right, I’ll go ahead and do that.”
 
“Sorry, for my rudeness. I am Maximillian of the Yamaguchi clan, though all of my friends call me Max.” The boy would say this while stepping closer to the kunoichi and reaching out with a hand to shake it, trying to pay the respect due to her position. As soon as the boy stepped closer, the scent of death and decay would likely be noticed by Akihana. Whether or not she accepted his offer of a handshake, he would take no offense either way and continue to speak. “I come here to be at peace. Most folks don’t bother me here. Since not many find time in their schedules to visit graves, I can normally come here to be alone, or at least away from all of the other people of the village.” He looks back down at the grave of Kurokon Shikyo, a tinge of sadness stinging now at his mind. “I too have lost loved ones. Maybe being near my kin is part of what makes this place so calming to me.”
 
Max’s thoughts would shift back to the first words from his lips. Why are you here? Such a simple question, but one that can ask so many things it had seemed. In all likelihood, he had wondered why she was in the cemetery when he asked and so her response was one to be expected and had answered one of his questions. He realized that in order to get the answers he sought, he would need to be a little clearer on just what he had actually been asking her.
 
“Would you be so kind as to answer a few questions I had?” The boys would ask while his gaze shifted back to meet the eyes of Lady Akihana. There were things that he simply felt he needed to know, things that seemed to be only answerable by her.
 
If she would agree to this, Max would end up taking a seat right near the grave, placing the large pack on his back (Napa) down beside him. The boy seemed completely oblivious to the mud that he was likely sitting in. He would rest his arms on his knees and wonder how to phrase the question. He didn’t want it to seem like an attack on Lady Akihana, but maybe the direct approach to the question would be best to avoid any confusion. Coming to a final decision, the boy would simply ask away.

“Why did you leave Kumo? And why did you decide to return?"

The tone in which the boy spoke was a serious one, and a hint of pain could be felt behind each word as if a deep sadness accompanied them.
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:13 am
When asked if Kuro meant a lot to her, the young woman simply shook her head, a few golden strands escaping her neat blonde ponytail and trailing down in light wisps around her face. "He did, though we never said it," she admitted honestly, an eye at the grave almost as if daring Kuro to rise up and claim otherwise. There was a lot she would do to hear his voice again but he hadn't spoken much while he lived so it was silly to expect him to speak up now.

"We never talked bout much of anything, though he did teach me that what you communicate through total silence is a lot more valuable. We were part of a team, a team that relied on silent communication as well as verbal and physical communication. He was the best at the first, not so great at the second."

The kunoichi shook her head, this child probably didn't want to hear tales of the old times. She shouldn't be telling him those either. They were in a new Kumo, there was a future to build here and it couldn't be done if they were stuck in the past. Smiling as the young man introduced himself, the medic ignored his hand shake, instead opening out her arms for a hug. If allowed, she would fully embrace the boy, wrapping her arms around his small frame and ignoring the scent of decay that seemed to permeate from him. "Hello Max," she responded cheerfully. "It's really nice to meet you."

When he admitted he came to the cemetery to not be bothered, the kunoichi's smile turned somber. Her expression however remained warm and welcoming, signalling that he could tell her what he wanted and she would keep it safe. That she would keep him safe. The boy didn't look much older than Arata and seeing him here made her miss her son painfully.

When he was done, the kunoichi found herself kneeling in front of his tiny frame so that she was on eye level with him, her golden orbs gazing intently into his own light blue ones. "I've personally found people aren't so bad once you give them a chance," she suggested lightly, speaking to him in a gentle manner. "Sure they can seem a bit harsh at first, but I believe there's good in all of us. Coming to the cemetery is not a bad thing, especially if you're here to see loved ones. But the dead would never want you to spend more time with them than with the living." Akihana related this with the sincerity of someone who knew this to be the absolute truth. All the friends she had lost would never want her to grieve indefinitely for them. And neither would the family of this boy.

When he asked if she would answer a few questions, the blonde nodded. Th boy joined her on he ground, taking a seat by Kuro's grave and Akihana came to sit beside him, contemplating his next question. Why had she left, and why was she back.

"As a ninja," she began quietly, an ethereal quality to her voice. "We were told that it was our duty to grow stronger, so strong that we would be able to stop what happened to our village. But what happens when you/re not that strong?" The question was rhetorical but should Max answer, she would let him before she continued.

"Then we look for other ways of ending conflict. If not through strength then through diplomacy. If not through diplomacy than a bargain. Two year ago I was nowhere near as strong as my team... Which made me the ideal bargaining chip." It was not a conclusion she held anyone responsible for. It was her chose to give up her life and freedom in exchange for a promise that would never come to be kept. "I was a kunoichi of Kumogakure. How could I refuse when the man who killed Echo Uchiha in broad daylight said he would leave our village be if I came with him. How could our Kage refuse? As much as we loved each member of our team, we loved the village far more. We always knew we would sacrifice ourselves for Kumo, but that day we were faced with the decision to sacrifice those we held dearest, and we passed that test too."

The next part of his question made her ponder a bit. Why had she returned? Was she stronger now? She doubted it, not in any ways that mattered at least. All she knew was that she couldn't have stayed away if she tried. "I suppose the right thing to say is that I returned for Kumo, but that's not entirely truthful," she admitted, the contemplative look on her face her most prominent feature in that moment. "Because I also came back for the Raikage. I met a friend of his a long time ago, a friend who remembered him as a different person. I guess you could say I came to find the person he used to be. Remember how I said people weren't so bad once you gave them a chance?" She turned to grin at Max as she finished, assuring him he hadn't done anything wrong by asking.

"Though from your questions, I'm assuming you knew me from before, when I worked for Yaju-sama. Were you in the academy with Arata-kun back then?"
Duncan Crawford
Duncan Crawford
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:18 am
Max would be in shock as the lady pulled him in for a hug. It was strange for him to be embraced this way, especially considering that she had really only just met him and most people would stay as far away from the boy as possible. It took him a second, but a smile crept its way across his face as she fully embraced him, making him feel a sense of peace and joy that he hadn’t felt in years. His expression would change back fairly quickly, but it would not be hard to notice for the expert kunoichi.
 
Upon hearing Akihana speak of how people aren’t so bad if you give them a chance, he would shake his head in such a way that would seem as though he didn’t quite accept the advice, though he would not say anything at the moment, instead thinking more on it while he listened. Few showed him kindness, instead mocking him and avoiding him as though he carried a plague. The orphanage would feed him meals every day, but that was less out of kindness and more out of responsibility for the hungry children.
 
The children….
 
Those babies did show him much kindness, each and every time that he would play with them. They would not caste judgement, or glare in disapproval. No, instead they would smile, laugh, and play back by grabbing fingers and making playful noises. They were a few of the only living souls that Max knew that he enjoyed being in the company of. The dead might not want Max to spend all of his time in the cemetery grieving, but most of the living didn’t seem to want him to spend his time around them either. The dead never seemed to complain about his presence though as some of the villagers had.
 
Max would intently listen to Akihana as she would answer his question, one that had been bothering him for some time now. “So I see…. You left not out of cowardice on your part, nor because the wretched Yaju commanded it of you. What you did was… brave in a way. I take it that Echo Uchiha was the strange man that fateful day...” A sadness washes over the boy, his eyes almost to tears as he recalls the terrible events that took the lives of those he truly cared about. Shaking the thoughts from his mind, he would maintain his composure and finish listening to Akihana.
 
“You came back for the Raikage, to find the person he used to be? And who might that have been? Lord Raikage… no, Mortarion is a powerful man, one to be respected and feared. His methods may seem a bit extreme, but the village has managed under his rule. The man that he is taught me that in order to protect the village one must be strong. One must inspire terror in those that wish you ill, or that would dare go against you. He does not cower or hide, avoiding conflict whenever possible as other before him have. Nobody dares attack the great Mortarion as they would have past Raikages!” A spark of passion fill the eyes of Max, it burning clear enough for Akihana to see with little difficulty as he spoke this.

Then the tears would begin to flow, and Max would sink his head low, no longer the passion in his words. Instead an unhappy tone was all he could muster, less anger and more sadness.  “At first I blamed him… I thought that if he hadn’t attacked Kumo then all would be well. But in reality, he opened my eyes to what I needed to become if I wanted to protect this village. One must be powerful, able to instill unease and fear into the enemy. You said it yourself, when the shinobi is not powerful enough to stop intruders one must resort to other...significantly less effective methods. Just look how it turned out when it was tried before. They still came and conquered us, because we were not strong enough to stop them.”

The sadness that was in his voice changes to a more serious tone again. “Never again. Never again will I allow such things to happen. I will grow strong enough to destroy any who dare oppose us, no matter the cost to myself or others.” Max looks over at the bundled up pack next to him, “We’ll grow strong enough together, won’t we Napa?” The puppet whispers back, “Yes we will, Max. Yes we will.”
 
Realizing that he had just let out a rant in poor Akihana’s presence he would apologize for his behavior. “I’m sorry. I was out of line. Yes, I remember you. You were the kind lady secretary of the former Raikage.” He ponders for a moment on whether or not he knows this Arata-kun she speaks of.  Turning to the puppet he asks a simple, “Do you know this Arata, Napa? I can’t seem to place a face to the name.”

Thinking silently for a moment, he comes to a conclusion. “The name rings a bell, though I didn’t know him well enough to remember him. My time at the academy isn’t something I prefer to remember. Not a whole lot of positive memories from that time. Why do you ask? Was he another person you cared about?” Max looks over at the gravestone beside him, "Was Arata taken from us during the battle? Maybe that is why I don't remember him..."
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:58 am
It was kind of Max to suggest that she left as a form of bravery, not of cowardice. Certainly kinder than her own son had been when he had held her as singularly responsible for Kumo's destruction. But despite the child's thoughtfulness, Akihana made no reply, Whether what she'd done was brave or self serving, there was still the chance that her staying could have stopped what happened. Sure, the chance was minuscule but never having played out it still existed as a niggling thorn at her side. She could have made a difference, she just hadn't been around to see how much of a difference that would be.

She supposed that's why she was back here. She had came here for Kumo as much as she had for Youka personally, but she had also come for herself. To finally give herself the opportunity to see what she could do. As the child began to cry, she reached over and enveloped him in her arms once more. He reminded her entirely too much of Arata to not try and comfort him. A child in pain was the saddest sight in the world and she wouldn't be Akihana if she didn't try to make it better.

"The Raikage is a powerful man indeed," she confirmed, wiping away his tears with the hem of her own snow white cloak now caked with mud, dirt and tears. "But that doesn't make him right all the time. No one is right all the time and he's no exception." Some might have called it treason, her speaking of Youka like this but over the months she had worked hard to humanize the image of Mortarion. To let a bit of Youka Tau seep though so that not only she could see the man underneath, a man who cared just as deeply for his village as she did.

"He is powerful, he does make his enemies cower behind walls, and yet that isn't the reason I'm loyal to him," she admitted, her tone reflective, almost as if she was speaking to herelf and not the child in her company. "You see, the problem with following someone for strength is that strength is fleeting. Your loyalty remains for as long as your Kage has the strength to lead you. And the moment you become stronger, you no longer care for the one that came before you. I follow him because I believe in him."

"I believe he knows what he did was wrong, and I believe he wants to do what is better for all of Kumogakure. He should be valued for far more than his strength and I see that. Strength is just one quality a leader should posses, compassion, understanding and fairness are qualities that should hold equal weight." Perhaps this was not what Max had in mind, a discussion on political leadership but this was where they were. He certainly seemed intelligent enough to not only understand but engage.

"There's nothing wrong with growing strong, Max," she assured him with a smile. "As long as you remember that there are different kinds of strengths in this world, and that everyone has a different kind to their name. That's why a village isn't made up of it's kage, it is made of of its citizens, like you and Napa." The ghost of a laugh shimmered in her eyes, for the first time indicting to the child that she had heard him speak to whatever was in the bag.

"Would you like to introduce me to your friend?"

When he asked of Arata, the blonde shook her head. "Arata-kun is my son. He's about your age I believe so I thought you might have known him in the academy. He's almost eight and quite the handful."
Duncan Crawford
Duncan Crawford
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:34 am
Max listened intently, hearing the words of wisdom from his elder. He was happy to have someone to share his thoughts with, one that would try to be understanding and not label him a traitor to the current Raikages regime for any thoughts he might have. He wasn’t completely sure what to think anymore. Mortarion was painted in the mind of the youth in a certain light, and her words began to chip away at the image. He wasn’t right? Part of Max would agree with this, but the other part would reject this notion completely.
 
“Is it not determined by the victorious who is right or wrong?” Max would inquire, no malice or anger in his voice towards her. He was genuinely happy to be in her company, though he did not seem to see things quite the same way as the positive minded lady before him. He would be torn asunder by his own thoughts of the matter. He wanted to believe one thing, but life would seem to show him a less glorious ‘truth’ of things.
 
Strength is fleeting? It was rather hard for Max to wrap his head around the concept, not because of how she had explained it, but more because he couldn’t see the Raikage’s strength as anything but absolute. This was what the boy was taught to believe, and a simple conversation between them would not so easily shake those thoughts. “It is hard to imagine someone stronger than the Raikage, nor does he seem like an overly compassionate man. Despite this, he is our leader. One might need those things in order to be a ‘great ruler’ but it seems that one only needs enough strength to take what they want. That is how Mortarion came to be Raikage. It was not because he cared about the citizens of Kumo, but because he took what he wanted through his own strength. He wanted you, and through force he took it. He wanted Kumogakure, and through force he took it. It wasn’t as though he asked politely for these things…”
 
When Akihana inquired about Napa, it had surprised the boy a great deal. A look almost of confusion at first, but then one of pride. “Oh, you want to meet Napa? Yeah, I’ll introduce you!” Blue chakra threads worked their way out of the fingertips of the youth, sliding into place on the puppet within. The wrappings fell to the ground as a skeletal figure emerged, the stench of death growing more intense with its presence. The flesh of this corpse was long gone, only the bone remaining. He was reinforced in a few places, an attempt by Max to make the structure more suitable as a puppet vessel for his friend.
 
The skeleton known by the boy as Napa, would bow before Akihana. The jawbone of the puppet would move, while Max’s own mouth would remain motionless. In his own distinct voice, Napa would introduce himself. “I am the boy’s good friend, Napa. A pleasure to meet the famous Akihana Akari.” The figure had a pouch on his side, and the jingle of weapons could be heard inside.
 
“Akihana is kind, as I’m sure you’ve heard. No doubt you were listening. What do you think about her views?” Max would ask the puppet, his features the same as if he were speaking to Akihana herself while talking to it. Max didn’t seem to be putting on a show for the Lady, instead honestly believing his friend to have a mind of its own.

“Well, she mentioned something that I don’t think you addressed. She has faith in Mortarion. She believes he can become a better person if properly motivated. But then I must ask, since I’ve never really questioned you about such matters, why do you follow the Raikage, Max? Is it out of fear of his power? I bet it is. The real question is, are you loyal to him? If you had the power to end his life right now, would you?”
 
The question was not a simple one to answer, for Max had to bring into question his own loyalties. Napa would cackle before continuing, “I don’t see how you could turn away from such a thing. Was he not the man who brought misery to your life? Does he really deserve the mercy he so rarely shows?” Turning to Aki, Napa would further inquire, “And you, Akihana. You said that you see the good in him, in everybody. If you were given the power to go back and strike him down before he had done such atrocities, knowing that if you failed to do so things would pan out the same way, would you?” It was as though Napa was testing just how noble and righteous the flower of Kumo really was. Of course, she could always lie to Napa, or even to herself about the matter. Napa would just wait and see how she would respond.


Max would finally mutter something, after Napa haad finished. “I guess the true measure of a person is what they do with the power they are given, Napa. I don’t think that I would kill the Raikage, even if I was powerful enough to do so. He is far too valuable for such an end, and it would only weaken the village as a whole by removing one of its strongest protectors.” 


(Using Puppet Art: Ventriloquism to have Napa speak out loud. -5 AP if being kept track of. 145 AP left.)
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:42 am
As the child asked if victory was the indication of right and wrong, the kunoichi lightly shook her head. "I'm afraid not, sweetie," she spoke, her tone serious and her full attention on the inquisitive young ninja beside her. "Victory - like strength - comes in many forms. So as difficult as it is to decide what is strength, it is even more difficult to describe what is victory. That is why you need to look inside yourself, because the answers your mind does not know, your heart understands." It was the core belief she held fundamentally, that everyone had a sense of right and wrong. Even the Raikage, after all he had done, knew enough to not force someone into marriage. He knew he would have to end his dictator ways for the growth and expansion of the village. He had sacrificed his personal ideals for Kumo without Kumo being any the wiser and Akihana believed that was real strength.

"Well, I'll let you in on another secret," the blonde divulged, the hint of a smile playing on her lips as she gazed at the boy warmly. "I've known stronger men than your Raikage. Much stronger. And I've also seen them fall because they didn't know how to channel their strength. They didn't know what they stood for. Yes, he took over Kumogakure by defeating the previous leaders, but it didn't become his village until he started to care for it." It was the truth, albeit one she doubted anyone would know about Youka.

"He could have razed the village and then moved on. But he stayed. Why do you suppose that is? He continued to ensure economy and trade prospered. He even developed programs for his ninja and defenses for the village. Even today, anyone may go to his office and speak to him openly if they wish." Whether Max already knew of all this or was hearing it for the first time, Akihana didn't know. She only knew it was important he understood it now.

"So while he may not seem compassionate or caring, he is more than what he looks like. But you'll only find that out if you give him a chance. He can be your undefeated leader and a good person, or a person trying to be good."

Akihana lapsed into silence after the explanation, letting the boy absorb what he could. They sat in silence for a few minutes until he finally brought out his friend. The skeletal puppet would have revolted anyone but being a medic, Akihana had seen her fair share of oddities. More than that, she had been a ninja long enough to know people found different ways of coping. The puppet attested to Max's loneliness far more than his admission to frequenting the graveyard so he wouldn't be bothered by the living. "Hello Napa," she greeted the puppet politely, reaching out to shake it's bony hand. "It's lovely to meet you, thank you for keeping Max company all this time."

The way the puppet questioned Max, she could see their discussion was still weighing heavily on the child's mind. In a perfect world, children Max's age would not have to struggle with such fundamental issues as these but they were far from a perfect world right now and it was all she could do to protect and nurture this child from the world view he had learned. Max was a product of his experiences and perhaps, using that logic, she could make him see a different way by changing what he experienced. For one thing, she could ensure no one ever bothered or bullied him in the village again.

At Napa's question to her, the blonde paused. "If I could go back and undo it, I would not slay the Raikage. Rather, i would negotiate with him. I would ensure the village was kept safe but a battle does not do that because whenever we engage in war, there is no winner." The question haunted her more than she could claim but the answer was always the same. Akihana wouldn't have killed him then and she couldn't kill him now. It was the mere thought that killing someone solved problems that led to war and conflicts and the real adversity anyone faced in this world was that thought.
Duncan Crawford
Duncan Crawford
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:58 am
Max would listen, taking all of Akihana’s views and wisdom in.  She was his elder, but that alone is not the determining factor for Max soaking in what he could from the experience kunoichi. Max would learn more and more with each word spoken answering his questions. Each change in body language and tone could speak volumes about a person, and he had been learning as much as he could about Akihana without even thinking about it. He was learning what made her ‘tick’, and whether Max realized it or not such information may find hidden value sometime down the road.
 
She really did seem to have faith in the Raikage, more so than anybody it seemed. It wasn’t a shallow faith, either. She really believed in Mortarions ability to better himself and the village as a whole, and her complete faith was strong enough to inspire similar beliefs in others. She had seemed to be telling the truth when she spoke, too. Maybe Max needed to have such faith in Mortarion, but Max didn’t see the Raikage as she had. He just couldn’t, at least not yet. It might have been because the changes have been recent, or it might be because she had a much bigger and kinder heart than he did. Either way, she had opened Max’s mind up to certain things that he had difficulty seeing from his perspective in Kumo’s current state. Maybe the power and strength to crush your enemies was not all that mattered, other ‘strengths’ being just as important. Maybe.
 
All of this would weigh on his mind, though he would not be able to come to any hasty judgement or newfound enlightenment. It would be difficult to reverse the beliefs of the young Genin, as years of seeing things one way firsthand had cemented many of them. Even cement can be broken though…
 
Napa would remain quiet, seemingly contemplating the answer that Aki had provided. Was she really so noble as to not take a life, even that of a ‘monster’? She couldn’t vanquish a foe, even one that would end up taking the lives of so many others. Was this truly good of her though? Taking the life of one vile creature could end up saving so many other innocent lives. Napa found her answer hard to believe, though maybe she was as much a kind-hearted soul as her reputation had claimed. Napa would just shake his head. Kumo was far too cruel a place for her idealistic views, though he would speak nothing of such thoughts out loud for Max or Akihana to hear.
 
“Let’s lighten up our discussion, shall we? I don’t want to only speak of such unpleasant things. You said you had a son, Arata? I haven’t seen him around.” Despite many folks shooing him away and trying to pay him little mind, Max normally walked around the village and tried to learn as much about the ongoing events of the daily lives of the other villagers. He tried to pay attention, for such information could somehow be important later down the road. He did care for the well-being of the village even if it cared little for him.
 

“Where is he? Do you keep him penned up in your chambers?” Max would have a hint of jest in his voice as he made this remark, trying his best to lighten the mood of the conversation. Plus, changing topics would serve another purpose. Max knew that Napa may not have much kind to say, and he didn’t want to cause any conflict with the lady that had been showing him nothing but kindness.
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki] Empty Re: A Chance Encounter with the Flower of Kumo [Aki]

Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:46 am
At the mention of keeping Arata cooped up somewhere, the blonde let forth a small, musical laugh. If Max thought her seven year old could be contained within any chamber, he obviously did not know the young man at all. "I'm afraid not," she answered with a smile and a shake of her golden head. "Though if I had, I'm sure he would have found a way out by now, he isn't one to be contained by walls and doors." Or even promises, but that part didn't require saying. Arata was growing up and as much as she had tried to ignore it, it was becoming clear that his ninja way was not his mother's. Still, if Akihana could have faith in the rest of the world, she could certainly have it in her own son.

"I didn't bring him to Kumo," she admitted after a pause, hoping the child would pick up the rest. She had arrived on something akin to a suicide mission and despite how things had turned out, the kunoichi still did not feel safe revealing the location of her children. Youka may have treated her with utmost courtesy and even marginal affection, marginal affection was not something Akihana would stake her childrens' lives on. She was disposable, her children - and the next generation, children like Max - were certainly not.

"I hope to one day," she finished thoughtfully. "He was born here, you see. This is the only home he's ever known. But I can't bring him back until things have become more.. " she trailed off, the grief in her eyes real. In that moment, she could understand Max perfectly. Arata was the lucky one, he hadn't stayed to see the aftermath. This child had, so much so that he no longer believed in the goodness of the world. It was her fault really that she hadn't been able to get him out, that she hadn't done more.

But she could rectify that now.

Changing the subject, Akihana spoke up. "I like the way you made Napa, though he might start losing parts now and then." It was true, while the bone material would hold, the clothes and pieces packing the puppet together were prone to regular wear and tear. "How about we go get you some better material to reinforce him? I'm sure Napa would like a nice Armour of his own." The offer was twofold. Firstly, Akihana wanted to see how much this boy could afford and how much he would need to create more durable puppets before she allotted that amount into his standard budget. Secondly, being seen walking with her around the village would at least ensure he got lesser odd looks and a heartier welcome at local establishments in future

"We can pick out basic supplies too, for your gear and your home. Where do you live, sweetie?"
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