Naruto RPG
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Naruto, Naruto Shippuden
© Masashi Kishimoto

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Koutaku
Koutaku
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 30650

First Impressions [P] Empty First Impressions [P]

Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:06 pm
Closing the door of his room behind him, Koutaku moved down the hall of the Iouchiryo house before descending the stairs and entering the familiar cacophony of the common quarters. As usual, his cousins were making quite the hubbub, his mother and uncle were in the kitchen--likely preparing something for the kids--and he could hear the all-too-recognizable sounds of two of his relatives sparring in the dojo. What struck him though, was that as he stepped off the final stair his father seemed to appear almost from nowhere as the man rounded a corner and fixed Koutaku with his dark eyes, the man’s still jet black hair giving him an almost ominous cast. Stopping in place, Koutaku met his father’s eyes before bowing his head once respectfully. Looking his son up and down, the raven-haired man was silent for longer than was customary, immediately putting the younger Iouchiryo on edge.

“Word from the higher ups,” Fudō said, his words direct, his tone as serious as ever, if not moreso than usual. He said little else, instead proferring an envelope marked with the Iouchiryo Black Lotus seal and holding it out to his son.

“This is for the new Mizukage.”

Koutaku swallowed hard and nodded, taking the letter without hesitation. He didn’t check the details on it, but held his father’s gaze instead. The man cracked the smallest of smiles, quirking only one corner of his lips, before raising his chin and passing his son as he continued down the hall. As he passed, Fudō laid a hand on Koutaku’s shoulder and squeezed once before he vanished into another room. Almost winded, despite having held his breath, the young man gaped slightly, relieved that his father wasn’t there to see it.

Suddenly grinning, Koutaku parsed the meaning behind their terse exchange. His father was proud, the hand on his shoulder had been enough, but for him to ask him to deliver a message to the Kage herself? That spoke volumes in how much he trusted him, and how he felt about his recent progress. It seemed that it was no longer his failings that his family was focused on, but rather his successes, and that brought him joy in a big way.

Smiling, Koutaku hummed under his breath as he dashed from the front door--summoning his gear with a set of handseals--before using another seal to utilize Shunshin and vanish from the area. Heading for the Kage’s office and residence, Koutaku zipped from rooftop to rooftop, using his wire, shunshin, and general acrobatics to make his way.

Eventually he arrived outside the building, at which point he flashed the letter to the guards, then the receptionist, who promptly informed the necessary individuals in the bureaucracy that he was awaiting an audience with the Mizukage.

While he waited, sitting in the lounge outside Murata’s office, Koutaku considered the decor and--indeed--how he’d ended up there at all. ‘What an honor,’ he thought, grinning slightly even despite the receptionist giving him strange looks every so often. He was representing the clan right now, to the Mizukage of all people.

Wild.

At that thought, the young man took a deep breath and composed himself somewhat, dialing down his excitement to a more manageable level as he focused. His eyes remained alight with interest, but his smile evened out somewhat, becoming subtler and surely more appropriate given the circumstances. That done, Koutaku focus on his chakra and considered the technique he’d been working on of late. Still, quietly he hoped the wait wouldn’t be terribly long.

Spoiler:
Murata
Murata
Jounin
Jounin
Ryo : 97535

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:28 pm
About five minutes after Koutaku sits down, Murata pokes her head into the front lobby from the hallway. The Mizukage looks better-rested than she has the past weeks, dark bags under her eyes faded to near-normality and her hair tidy... well, tidy for her, she can't speak to anybody else's standards..

"Koutaku?" she calls, looking to the sitting teenager with the excited but tasteful smile. In contrast to her predecessor, always clad in that imposing red armour, today's more of a 'I'm not going to sit at a desk wearing my armor all day, that would be wildly uncomfortable' day. She's just rocking the white turtleneck and high-waisted pants. "I'm ready to see you now. My office is up on the third floor, you can follow me. Nagisa, could you please get somebody to send up some tea?"

"Of course," the receptionist answers, paying more attention to Koutaku to see if he makes any more silly expressions.

Murata leads Koutaku upstairs, the upper floors of the estate a little more reserved than the marble-floored lobby. The office itself may be smaller than he'd expected, and Murata has to grab some files off of the chair opposite her own so Koutaku can sit down.

"Sorry about the mess," she says, taking a seat opposite the genin. It's a beautiful day outside, the lagoon shining outside the window behind the Mizukage, framing her in ocean blue. "What can I do for you today, Koutaku Iouchiryo?"

243
Koutaku
Koutaku
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 30650

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:12 pm
Sensing the approach of what could only be a shinobi, Koutaku’s eyes slipped to a specific door and then focused. Tilting his head slightly, he watched as the door opened, admitting the Mizukage into the room. Dressed comfortably, the woman was immediately far less intimidating than the young man would have expected, and yet...the calm air about her was still a relief. The elders of his family would take note of that, but Koutaku knew she’d need to give them a firmer impression still. Nodding his head respectfully, Koutaku rose from his seat and followed, giving the receptionist, Nagisa, a small wink as he passed her by. He left a single ryo behind on her desk, adhered there with the sticky paper adhesion technique. Given her status as a regular civilian, she’d unlikely be able to remove it.

It was a bit of harmless mischief, and perhaps the slightest amount of payback for her clear bemusement with his unique brand of strangeness. Glancing at the decor with mild interest, Koutaku felt himself mentally taking notes that he hadn’t really been asked to give. Of course, that’s how things had always been with his father. The man had high expectations and once he had been a source of not insignificant shame and reproach due to Koutaku’s own failures. Things were changing though, and the young Iouchiryo was glad of that.

Entering her office and finding it somewhat cozy and lived in, rather than overly embellished and pompous, Koutaku felt himself further relax. As she removed the papers from his seat, Koutaku replied, smiling slightly, “It’s no trouble, I’m certain my own chambers are far less organized,” he spoke the words almost without thought, but somewhere in the back of his mind he noted the accusation that might be interpreted and then swiftly after the kind lie he’d told. Koutaku’s room was...very strictly regimented. Not because of his family, but because of his own preferences.

His cousins weren’t allowed into the room--he’d assured such with seals and punishments both in the form of clever pranks and the watchful eyes of the adult members of the family. Furthermore, he kept weaponry, notebooks, and other research-related items within. Everything had its place and he kept them organized except when in the throes of thought of research. His bed was made every morning before he departed, and his clothes were always thrown down a shute they’d installed some years ago. He loved that thing.

Nonetheless, he didn’t hesitate, stumble, or otherwise alter his well-meaning smile as he took some easy steps forwards and then smoothly sat down in the chair across from her.

“Well,” he began, eyes briefly flashing with enthusiasm as ideas of restricted techniques and other shinobi arts swept through his mind like a whirlwind. Still, just as fast, those thoughts were quelled by the subtle feel of the letter hidden within his sleeve. Flicking a wrist, Koutaku raised his left hand, the letter between his two fingers, before setting it on the desk between them, “...clan business as far as I can tell. Heh, of course...I wanted to meet you as well and this was a convenient excuse.” Where some might rub the back of their neck in embarrassment, or avert their eyes, Koutaku held her gaze--if he had it to begin with--his slight grin unwavering. Though there was no judgment in his gaze, there was a sharpness, a natural analytical edge, like he was measuring her in some yet unrevealed way.

Koutaku was entirely unaware of the look as he wondered how she’d respond to the Sixteen petaled black lotus crest on the letter before her. It wasn’t sealed with wax, but instead with what could only be fuinjutsu. Lightly pushing the letter towards her, Koutaku then leaned in a few inches and folded his hands on the desk’s surface. It may have looked like some kind of classic mastermind, but the reality was that the young man was trying to keep from fidgeting.

He’d willingly divested himself of his wires at the entrance--or well...he’d let them lock his storage dimension--and the lack of them against his skin was bothering him something fierce.

Besides, the idea that some genin could even be a threat to the Mizukage was frankly beyond laughable.

Nonetheless, there he was, weaponless and naked ‘cept the clothes on his back and his wit and the former hardly served as any defense against the world.

Odd that he was still so relaxed...odd indeed.

Spoiler:


Last edited by Koutaku on Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
Murata
Murata
Jounin
Jounin
Ryo : 97535

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:49 pm
"I've had lots of catching up to do! There isn't much space in here for everything I need," Murata fusses, looking between two folders and making sure one is on top before putting them on a shelf beside her. While she's at it, she picks up the sealed bottle of Kumogakure sake on the desk, carefully ferrying it to a more secure home in her office as though worried it may explode at any moment. 

Once she's seated, she gently raises her eyebrows at his words. 

"Well, you would just need to ask. I'm eager to get to meet everybody," she says. At first it made her a bit self-conscious to be so obviously sized up by all of her visitors, but by now she's just tired of it. They can think whatever they want, she isn't here to impress people, she's here to keep them all alive. Her gaze is mild, perhaps a little unimpressed, though not in any kind of hostile sense. She reaches forward to take the letter gingerly in her hands.

Nagisa enters holding a small tea tray, and Murata looks to them over Koutaku's shoulder.

"Couldn't find anybody?"

"I felt like stretching my legs,Nagisa replies, setting one cup down in front of Murata and one in front of Koutaku. "Enjoy."

"Thank you." Murata turns over the sealed letter in her hands. Nagisa nods and departs, closing the door behind them.

The envelope is emblazoned with a crest Murata doesn't recognize. Two of her fingers light up gentle blue and she breaks the seal enclosing the envelope, opening it up to read its contents.

Unbeknownst to either of the seated pair, the tea sitting in front of Koutaku has been brewed from an incredibly spicy hot pepper blend. It's certainly an acquired taste.

298
TWC 541
Koutaku
Koutaku
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 30650

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:38 pm
Tilting his head curiously as Murata fussed about her office, moving this and that before settling in, Koutaku’s gaze wandered to the various drawers and filing cabinets and couldn’t help but think that the Mizukage could likely benefit from some utility techniques from his family. They had a wonderful way of organizing a menagerie of items in too-small spaces. He was glad to hear that she seemed as personable as his initial impression had led him to believe. Notably, it was something he was only beginning to be capable of--measuring a person’s initial ‘vibe’ that is. He’d once been far worse at it and was glad to be gaining it as a sort of...acquired talent. Admittedly, Takashi was much of the reason that he was managing at all, if he was being entirely honest--not that he’d ever tell her that.

His thoughts shifting back to observation, he noted a subtle set of shifts in Murata’s demeanor. A look that he recognized, one Takashi often gave him, one he’d seen from many of his tutors: Disapproval. A microexpression--the smallest twitch of his brows almost drawing together--formed before fading just as quickly as he regarded the woman while she read. He had no idea what he’d done that may have offended her, but he had to at least try not to give the wrong impression.

It seemed he’d be bumbling through things after all. “Did I offend you?” He asked, relaxing his guard even more than he typically ever would with a relative stranger. His expression went from fairly even and observant to genuinely worried. While the change was sudden, neither expression seemed any less honest than the other. It was more that Koutaku was just...well, his own brand of strange. With his question asked he tried--harder than you might think--to wait for the kage to finish the letter he’d been tasked with delivering. He was quiet perhaps for roughly a minute before he broke.

“Please tell me if I did. I’m not,” he bit his lip, ground his teeth after letting it go, and then forced himself to continue. “...I’m not the best socially,” there was almost a wince on his features, as if he was waiting to be called out, told he was making excuses. He’d heard that from a great many teachers and adults over the years. It had always been confusing, frightening...demoralizing. She couldn’t know, but he was putting himself out there with her, allowing vulnerability that he honestly hated showing.

“Perhaps I was too intense? Uh...” he trailed off and then looked down at his hands and promptly separated them, remembering how it could be perceived only then. Frowning, frustrated with himself, Koutaku took a deep breath to compose himself and then bowed his head. “I mean no offense, I just find people interesting and I tend to over-focus on details sometimes,” his words came slightly faster with each one, before he seemed to stop and take a breath, focusing again. He met her eyes, or tried to. Koutaku felt bad that he was making a bad impression. He had been meant to represent his clan, but he didn’t know how to do that. No one had taught him the rules of engagements like these.

A sudden spike of annoyance pierced him and an image of his father floated through his awareness before he pointedly dismissed it. Meanwhile, the now broken seal of his clan seemed almost to leer at him, reminding him of expectation, of responsibility--duty. He swallowed hard, and feeling his mouth begin to dry, glanced down at his tea.

Reaching down for the glass, Koutaku raised it to his lips and just before taking a sip, drew in a slow measured breath. His throat closed slightly, but calmly the young man lowered the mug several inches from his lips. His nose burned slightly at the smell, but it was faint. He’d had faintly spicy tea before, but he wasn’t sure which this would be and he felt like he’d already made enough missteps already. Could he really afford to refuse the tea he’d been freely offered by his host?

Deciding to bite the bullet, Koutaku took a small sip from the drink and clenched his teeth as he set the mug back down on the desk. The liquid burned as it passed from his mouth to his throat and onward. It offended his sensibilities, and it was far worse than he’d thought. Gradually, his face reddened and he found that his burning tongue forced him to ask another question, “Would it be too much trouble to get some water Nagisa?” It was clear by this point that he was struggling to keep his composure.

Spoiler:
Murata
Murata
Jounin
Jounin
Ryo : 97535

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:05 am
Murata blinks at Koutaku's fumbling over the edge of his clan's letter. That hint of disapproval vanishes as quick as it arrived.

"I'm not upset," she says, tone patient. The awkward silence had been largely produced by the fact that she was still reading. She sets down the letter, having only been halfway through. "I can relate, sort of. When I came to this village I experienced something of a culture shock. I was very interested in knowing all about people, but... you know how shinobi are."

Murata stands up again and stretches, leaning down to pick up her own tea in her hands and give it a sip. 

"I've been cooped up in here all day. Let's go talk outside," she says... just now noticing the expression on his face. Steam is practically coming out of Koutaku's ears. Does he have a tea allergy? Is she going to kill one of her genin today? Or... oh, no, it's Nagisa trying to kill her genin, she knows that tea. 

"Erm. Nagisa is..." ...already downstairs. "Hold on."

Stepping out of her office, Murata raids one of the other rooms on her floor for a water bottle, tossing it to Koutaku. What was Nagisa doing getting into Scyxion's tea? He won't appreciate that, those teabags are expensive. Oh, well, something for them to fix between themselves, Murata isn't interested in any workplace drama. She sips her own tea, glad that she hasn't been subjected to it. 

Once she's got Koutaku some water, she unlatches one of the windows and casually jumps out seeming to slow just as she reaches the grass outside so she lands gentle as a feather without spilling her tea. She waits for him to join her by his own means, whether that be a similar jump or... going down a few fights of stairs and out the back door.

"Why were you so excited to meet me? Clan business aside," she asks once he meets up with her on the estate's grounds.

334
TWC 875
Koutaku
Koutaku
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 30650

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:17 pm
Relieved in more ways than one as Murata replies--and then fetches some water to help him not combust--Koutaku takes some sips of the water, infusing it with chakra to help scrub the spice from his mouth and throat. Dutifully, he follows the kage, glad to know that she hadn’t truly been upset with him. Sometimes he just...missed cues, or comported himself in a way that he thought was normal only to discover that it very much wasn’t.

As he hopped through the windowsill, reorienting himself with one hand before he let himself begin his fall, Koutaku casually placed a bit of wire against the wall behind him, adhering it as he had the coin earlier, allowing him to slow his fall to a gentle decline as he neared the ground. While he easily could’ve softened it with a wind affinity technique, this used less of his chakra and thus was simply more efficient.

Landing beside Murata, he lets a moment of silence form between them as he considers her question. Then, with a small smile he replies, “In the shinobi world, people who hold office are often those of significant skill.” He glanced to Murata, their eyes easily meeting as they were of a height with one another.

“I find such people, those like you, fascinating. Experience...skill...power, they change people and seeing where I might one day be I think is good, it helps me consider what sort of path I should follow. Plus, you never know what you might learn studying your betters.”

That said he fell silent as they walked the grounds, admiring the weather and the well-groomed gardens. All the while, there was something about the genin that spoke of a young man who was always alert.

Spoiler:
Murata
Murata
Jounin
Jounin
Ryo : 97535

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Mon Oct 18, 2021 1:32 am
"I could always be a talentless hack of an exception," she retorts, lazily resting her hands on the back of her head. Their eyes are similar - sharp, observant. "What sort of path do you think you'll follow? Are you undecided?"

Out behind the estate there is an open area framed by trees and walls. From this vantage point they cannot see the lagoon beyond, but the smell of the sea washes over the grounds and seagulls cry overhead. The day is clear and crisp, the stubborn morning fog vanquished by afternoon sun and intermittent sunshowers.

Murata snaps her fingers, face lighting up with a revelation. "I know! We should spar!"

110
TWC 975
Koutaku
Koutaku
Genin
Genin
Ryo : 30650

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:32 am
Chuckling at her casual response, Koutaku shakes his head, “Considering what I’ve heard about the previous Mizukage, I highly doubt he’d have stepped down if such were the case.” That said he shot her a small smile, clearly sharing the mirth of the idea even though he clearly knew it to be false.  Shifting his attention to their path as she asked another question, Koutaku replied fairly swiftly, “It’s hard to say, there’s so much ahead of me, I’m only a genin after all, and hardly an experienced one at that haha. Still...” he trailed off, glancing to the side at some nearby trees as the sea-breeze gently passed them by. His smile returned, but it was smaller, more private, turned inwards.

“...I do have my own aspirations. To change the face of the shinobi world, even if only in some small way. I want to make techniques, innovations really, that are remembered long after I am gone.” He paused a moment, hearing the sound of some nearby birds and laughing a bit to himself, as if his aspirations, his ambition, were unlikely things. Some part of him thought they were. His track record wasn’t currently the best after all.

“Beyond that though,” Koutaku flicked his wrist, a kunai appearing in hand, “I’m a weaponry expert. I’m also a decent hand at ninjutsu all said. When I’ve got those more firmly down, I’m planning on learning some fuinjutsu as well, it seems useful, and fascinating.”

That said he went silent until they came into view of a training ground of sorts. He took a pull from his water, and then closed the bottle even as Murata spoke up. His eyes widened and he glanced at her, before composing himself, turning away and clearing his throat. “I. ehem, uh, I’d be honored honestly, though I don’t know how much good it’d do you, given the disparity between us.” He gave her a sheepish smile, his fingers fidgeting with the kunai he’d drawn, the blade flicking between his fingers almost without thought. He didn’t even seem to be entirely aware of the action.

He hoped she wouldn’t take offense.

Spoiler:
Murata
Murata
Jounin
Jounin
Ryo : 97535

First Impressions [P] Empty Re: First Impressions [P]

Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:34 pm
"You've been doing well! I've seen your mission records, and you seem pleasant and responsible," Murata says. His ambition is humble. Techniques are things that stand the test of time in this tumultuous world, and she can respect it.

The training ground isn't far from the estate. It's intended for the use of the Mizukage and other inhabitants of the administrative district, but has been supplanted in recent times by the advanced facilities. It's become a quiet, secluded spot, ringed by trees and overlooking the lagoon like the estate still visible nearby.

"I will get to know you better!" she says in reply, stretching catlike. "The Second definitely thought I was no pushover, but I was chosen more for my leadership skills than my combat prowess. The village - all of you - and my ability to understand and guide you are more important than my own personal strength."

She walks to a position 30m opposite of Koutaku, the entire training ground a 70m x 70m square with them both 15m from the center at a neutral starting position. With the Seal of Confrontation formed with one hand she summons a kusarigama into her hand, warming up with a twirl of the chain and counterweight.

"We can start whenever you're ready," she says, twirling the chain idly and watching Koutaku curiously for a response.

222
TWC 1197

Summoning Technique -20AP
Murata AP: 901/921

Stats:
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