Ninpocho Chronicles is a fantasy setting storyline set in the World of Ninjas where feudal daimyo, clans and ninja villages all wage war on each other for money, glory or for a common goal.

Each ninja starts from the bottom and start their training as an Academy Student. From there they develop abilities akin to that of demigods as they grow in age and experience.

Along the way they gain new friends (or enemies), take on jobs and complete contracts and missions for their respective villages where their training and skill will be tested to their limits.

The sky is the limit as the blank page you see before you can be filled with countless of adventures with your character in the game.

This is Ninpocho Chronicles.

An S-Rank pain in the ass

Junan

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So in the short time he'd been back there were several things that had happened. Hayata, his best friend, had died. Daisuke, a close second in the friend list, also killed. Both had spoken to him about a number of things, both had mentioned a corpse in Stone, and if he wasn't busy sorting out the ANBU branch then by god Stone would have trembled under the wrath of Shinbatsu. But perhaps anger was not the correct way to go about this. He wasn't sure as to what the details were, but he had found mention of the beginnings of a mission to Stone to retrieve the body.

To rebuild he needed to have cornerstones that he could trust. For Cloud to settle once more he needed to tie up loose ends, and this corpse was a loose end.

Shashu was the shinobi whose name he had seen associated with the mission, she was also a member of the ANBU, yet not a captain. It was a troubling thing this fact. Shin was going to be willing to let but a member of the ANBU lead a potentially suicidal mission. It couldn't have been as bad as he thought... or were the stories, the murmurs about Shin true? Not that it mattered either way.

Still a conversation needed to happen between himself and Shashu to figure out what was going on, why they were sending her and not a captain was something that would be revealed in that discussion. Also he would be sending some additional members to learn, or at least that was the plan at this moment.

He had sent for her, now while he read what files he had access to he would wait for her arrival.
 

Tsuirakuya Shashu

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Shashu breathed a sigh of relief. She had knew this summons was bound to come sooner than later, and frankly she was glad the wait was over with. With the ANBU in it's current state it needed it's new Sennin badly, and rather than seek him out herself she had waited for him to settle in and send for her.

She nodded to the messenger, let him know she had no return message, and sent him on his way. The second he was out of sight she incinerated the slip of paper with a burst of chakra and flicked away the ashes, earning her an internal scolding from Houki as they vanished. It wasn't likely that a simple summons really merited the action, but it was practically a habit at this point. ANBU didn't leave evidence unless they were meant to. Covering her tracks was second nature.

A few minutes later Shashu was kitted out and headed for the Sileo. Her mask and tattoo granted her entry, and she was immediately aware of the increase in activity throughout the halls. Whatever else this Akira Saito may be, he isn't idle. I wonder how he compares to the legend Takaki-sama made him out to be...

The ANBU came to a stop outside the Sennin's office. Truth be told, she had some reservations about someone other than Ayumu taking leadership of the ANBU. Shashu had no way of knowing the circumstances behind his departure, but she still hoped her Shukun would return and take up his old post. Fayth willing he's with Kahako, and he'll bring her back as well... She took a breath and shook her head. No point worrying about that now.

Two knocks, and she would wait for the invitation to step inside.

"Bikou, reporting in as requested." She said simply, standing at attention. Her face was hidden beneath the mix of predatory arachnid and feline features that made up her mask, but she knew the man standing before her would already know the name and face of the person behind it. First impressions were important, and Shashu made a point of keeping such things as professional as possible. Professional was competent, and the last thing she wanted the new Sennin to see her as was incompetent or incapable. It would reflect badly on both her and her Shukun, and-

And I need to quit overthinking things. She thought, making an effort to quiet her mind. Let's see what he has to say before we jump to conclusions.

[Topic Entered, MFT: WC-409]
 

Junan

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Akira nodded as she entered the room and announced herself, his eye not leaving the paper before him but his hand signalling for her to take a seat.

In his own seat he was monstrous, looking completely out of place and barely fitting behind the desk that was his predecessors. It was almost comic as the man who stood at nearly 7 feet looked like an adult sitting in a childs chair and behind a childs desk. He wasn't even as tall as Shinbatsu had been, but he was much broader and much more muscular. His hair remained spiked, a cut he had maintained his entire life, though the flecks of white through it and the patch of white in his fringe betrayed his age, as if the weathered features of his face didn't anyway. He felt as old as he looked, but it was entirely possible he was younger than that.

He finished the page he was on, there was so much to catch up on, it was going to be an impossible task to do so, so he had prioritised certain things over others and hoped that would be enough to do the job. Yet for the next while he would be reliant on the few ANBU members who hadn't gone off on random missions outside of Kumo for extended periods of time and who should still have had an ear to the ground. In many ways they were the people he was surprised hadn't been offered his position, but the council must have decided to go for what is perceived to be stability.

Hello Bikou, or rather Shashu. I hope you don't mind my using your real name rather than your callsign? It wasn't really a question, he used personal names, that was just his way. In the field he would use callsigns, that was when they mattered.

One of the first things I have decided to look into is the retrieval of the body in Stone. He had seen the name of the person who had gone and died, hell he'd been told it multiple times... his memory was normally better than this, but the amount of intel he'd been cramming had meant that certain details had been lost in the whirlwind that was his mind currently. He hadn't felt like this since his early days in the academy.

Yukiko Ayumi died over there according to the reports and did so quite some time ago from what I can tell. Perhaps the lack of leadership in the ANBU caused the delay in the retrieval, perhaps it was something else, I don't know but I feel that we need to sort matters like this sooner rather than later so that we can move forward as a village. Together as a village. When I looked into anything on record to do with this I noticed your name was assigned to it. Would you be able to tell me about what the plans were to do with the retrieval? How far decisions had been made and how progressed they were?
 

Tsuirakuya Shashu

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The first thing that struck the ANBU upon entering the room was, of course, the Sennin's size. Despite her apprehension she had a difficult time stifling a giggle at how totally out of place he looked. It was hardly surprising; Akira Saito was a beast of a man where Ayumu had been surprisingly lean and slender. Her Shukun had looked elegant and studious behind the desk, this man looked as if a wrong move might send the whole thing flying across the room.

Fortunately for propriety's sake the giggle never made it out of her head, and Shashu felt the rest of the tension drain from her body as the Sennin acknowledged her presence. His informal greeting was the answer to the question she hadn't asked, which was probably a deliberate action on his part to put her at ease. Or it's his normal greeting, and I'm just overthinking again.

"Not at all, Saito-sama." She said in response to his question. Or statement, it didn't really matter. She dismissed her mask as well, the chakra-based compound crumbling to dust. The Sennin had done her the benefit of showing his face, and if he preferred a casual work relationship then it would be rude of her not to do the same.

Without wasting time on formalities Saito immediately moved on to the reason for calling her here. She nodded knowingly as he spoke, his words confirming her earlier assumptions. He continued on, noting his lack of information and requesting she fill him in with whatever she knew.

"I'm afraid there isn't much to tell," she responded, idly scratching her hair. "From what the Raikage told me he had been in correspondence with officials in Iwa, and that they had offered to meet us halfway to retrieve the body. I was to be accompanied by a small squad along with a Med-Nin to verify the identity of the body. After retrieval the squad would escort the Med-Nin back to Kumo, while I would continue on a fact-finding mission within Earth Country and Iwa itself. With rumors of war circulating the Raikage expressed particular interest in the current political climate of Iwa, specifically whether or not they presented a threat to the village. He also stressed the importance of uncovering the cause behind Ayumi's death so that justice might be served."

Shashu paused a moment for breath. "I'm not entirely sure what happened, but somewhere along the line preparations for the trip fell through. I was supposed to meet with the Medical Sennin to find a suitable Med-Nin, but I was unable to contact him. I attempted to reach the Raikage afterwards but I was stonewalled there as well. Without anyone to report to I opted to sit tight and wait for further orders."

She opened her hands in a gesture of helplessness. "After that I received word the Raikage had been murdered along with the Medical Sennin. I returned to the Sileo at once but the officer on duty at the time said that there was nothing for me to do and sent me right back with orders to sit tight and wait for further orders. From there nothing else of import passed my way until I received your message."

[MFT: WC-538]
 

Junan

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A slight sigh escaped his lips at the mention of his friends deaths. He had dealt with this kind of trauma before of course, it was part of being a shinobi. Family members close to him had died, hell, one of his friends from the Academy got turned into a prostitute for the gains of a particular sennin only to have heard from her once since, his sensei disappearing as he arrived back into Cloud... their reunion never to happen after his being cast out of the village.

But this hit hard, and as such even Akira's armoured exterior was exposed.

However he knew of Shin's focus on Stone, he had witnessed the mans obsession during a visit by a Leaf Sennin and Kushin's return. A meeting which he would keep to himself, but it had been disturbing.

Very well. I will arrange for a mednin to accompany you on the mission and already have a team ready to go. The team will be trainee's and I will run them through a class before I send you all out so that should things go wrong they will at least in some way be prepared. Because of their low skill level I will also send another mission to shadow you, make sure that things are safe, should the worst occur then at least you will have skilled backup and perhaps the enemy wont be prepared for it.

He wrote notes down as he spoke, reminders to make sure that things would happen.

While we prepare for this I will also see if I can find out who it was that Shin was messaging. Perhaps we can still arrange a neutral meeting point.

He looked at her and thought for a moment.

I'm sure you've noticed the downturn in activity through these halls. I am hoping to rebuild the ANBU to what they once were under my previous care. To that end I will be needing leaders who will work to help towards this. This mission will be my vision into whether you can or will be one of these leaders. After recovering the body enter the village and be careful. At this time I would rather you arrive back to Kumogakure with no further knowledge than we already have than needing to send out yet another mission to retrieve yet another body from Stone. One body we can forgive and write off as an accident. Two would make me need to act violently.
 

Tsuirakuya Shashu

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Shashu nodded, taking in the Sennin's words. She had her reservations about sending trainees, but the retrieval itself ought to be tame enough. Especially if they would have an escort shadowing them.

They've got to get field experience somewhere, and if it's just the retrieval it should actually be pretty tame for them. If worse comes to worst I can distract the enemy while the escort gets them out.

He mentioned getting in touch with Shin's contact in order to see if they could maintain a neutral meeting point, to which she agreed.

"That would probably be for the best. Even if we're meeting in good faith, I would be wary of taking trainees to a country that just killed one of our own."

Then he followed up with the real kicker: in addition to the obvious responsibilities of this mission, he would also be using it to judge her suitability as a leader. And that he wanted her to make sure she came back in once piece, not wanting to have to retrieve another body after the first, but a leader?

"I-I can understand that Saito-sama, but are you sure?" she asked visibly flustered. "I've only been a full ANBU for a few years! I mean yes, I have done my share of missions and it's an honor and all, but are you sure? There must be others more qualified than me..."

The ANBU paused and took a breath.

"I just...don't want the reason I was promoted to be that there was no one else around to take it," she finished lamely, looking somewhat embarrassed.

Truth be told Ayumu was a large part of her reluctance. Her motivation as an ANBU, hell, her motivation for joining the ANBU had been to impress the former Sennin, to prove herself to him. Her desire to reach Captain had stemmed from her desire to stand by his side. She had held this vision in her mind of him personally handing her the promotion with a proud smile on his face, asking her to work directly with him alone...

The idea that she might finally reach her goal because of the state of affairs after he left was more than a little heartbreaking.
 

Junan

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It seemed they were in agreement, which was good. Her hesitation on taking trainee's to a place which just murdered one of their own Akira thought overly cautious. If they were a village against Kumogakure then they wouldn't be entering into conversation and be willing to meet in a neutral zone to hand over the body. If they were setting up a trap... well... that's why Akira would be sending the shadow unit.

As they entered into the conversation about this being a test for captaincy it was interesting to see the thoughts that the woman had. She was asking about whether there were any more qualified and whether he was sure.

There are those who have performed more missions, there are those who have been here longer, but in the end these things only matter to a point. Some people aren't meant to be leaders, aren't meant to be captains and being the strongest doesn't mean that you are meant to be in charge. Some people simply make good soldiers. They don't think for themselves, they follow orders and they do their job well. Others aren't so strong, have done their job barely, but they ask the right questions, they suggest alternative options which could result in a better outcome with less losses. I would rather one of the weaker questioning people leading a team than an unthinking monster leading a team. Of course in the ideal world they would have both strength and the ability to think, but sometimes we can't have everything. He gave a very small smile, try and lighten the mood.

You're someone who has shown skill and intelligence. This mission could throw up some curveballs, things which might require you to think on the fly. These are the things I need in my captains, this is why this will be a test.
 

Tsuirakuya Shashu

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She was thankful for the Sennin's words, though they did little to quell her discontent. It wasn't his fault of course, but short of whisking away a curtain to reveal Ayumu had been hiding in the corner all along there was nothing he could do that would more than superficially reassure her. Still, she ventured a halfhearted smile at his joke anyway. He meant well. The ANBU couldn't really blame him for not addressing concerns she didn't feel comfortable telling him in the first place.

"I think I understand Saito-sama, and thank you. I will try my best to live up to your expectations," Shashu spoke, rising and bowing respectfully from the waist. "With your permission, I should see to preparations for the trip. I'll be ready to meet the recruits when you need me."

And with that, unless Akira had something else for her, she would leave and speak to the provisioner and a few merchants to ensure they would have the necessary gear and supplies for a cross-country trip. Afterwards she planned on doing something that she had been meaning to for some time, but had never found the opportunity. Perhaps it would even take her mind off of the Sennin's announcement and how keenly it reminded her of how much she missed the former Sennin.

If only.

[Topic Left Unless Stopped]
 

Junan

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There wasn't a level of comfort between them, though for what reason Akira could only guess at and the most likely of them would be that she'd never worked with him before. Naturally that was fine, he did hope it wasn't some kind of bias against him, maybe one day he'd find out, maybe he wouldn't. Either way he had to trust his instincts here and out of those ANBU he knew were still alive and stationed in Kumogakure she was the best choice.

He nodded in response to her bow and let her leave. He would contact the man Shin had been speaking with and find out what the next stage was. Was the man an ally or an enemy? Akira didn't know, and though he didn't like to send shinobi into the unknown like that he would make sure that they would have the best chance of survival possible.

Writing down notes of the meeting he then placed those aside.

It was time to write a letter.

[topic left]