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© Masashi Kishimoto

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Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK] Empty Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK]

Mon May 03, 2021 4:41 pm
Kozai quickly dressed, throwing on a pair of khakis and a button-up shirt, as well as his very best tan business casual jacket. As usual, his Deva and Preta paths assembled behind him, as his other four paths began taking separate routes toward his destination. He wrote two separate letters before he left, the first to the Hogokage, for security.

Lord Hogokage,

If I go missing, interrogate the Kazekage, or any party in whose interests it would be to cause a diplomatic incident.


Master of the Archives


He handed this to a messenger, who he then told to wait. Kozai removed a new sheet of paper, composed himself, and constructed a more elegant message.

Lady Kazekage,

The Master of the Archives cordially invites you to The Pit theatre, tonight at 8:30, for a night of music and celebration. Come, sample the cultured harmonies of Hoshigakure for yourself! The honored Master will be seated in the Master's box on the 3rd floor. The guards will allow you passage.

Master of the Archives


Satisfied, Kozai sent off both messages, and proceeded toward The Pit. The Pit was a publically funded establishment, lined with red velvet and possessing several floors of privately owned boxes. Well, technically speaking, the Master's box wasn't privately owned, but it was a secure space for the village's true rulers. If there was any place where he could get a good rapport with a foreign kage, it would be here, in this place.

Kozai took his seat, and had his Deva path leave to fetch refreshments while his Preta path handed him a small notebook. A blank, fresh one, just for this occasion... Kozai had boxes of these in a storage room beneath the Archives. Always helped to have a few spares on hand. Never knew when one might need to drop something somewhere convenient, or relay instructions in writing to an underling.

He looked down. The party was starting to warm up, and the band was making its preparations behind a thick cloud of artificial smoke. Some of the most insane drumming Kozai had ever heard emerged from the stage, and his attention was immediately drawn to the musicians. Unconventional, scruffy looking fellows, but appearances didn't mean much. The audience was starting to move around. Here and there, Kozai could see recreational drugs and alcohol being passed around.

Narcotics were fully legal, distributed and taxed in Hoshigakure. Kozai didn't really care one way or the other, but he found that controlling distribution could put a person in a great deal of power. Whoever became the Master in charge of the hospitals and other matters of the body would find themselves able to essentially control large swathes of the population through state sponsored addiction, if they wanted to. Kozai would have to insert an agent into the healthcare system at some point.

His other four paths entered through different exits in the party scene below.  They could all take care of themselves if they had to, but being that they were so far below Kozai, he doubted that the Kazekage would have the ability to detect, identify and find them, unless they were a sensory shinobi of great ability, and was actively seeking them. He himself, of course, had been suppressing his chakra this whole time, not that he thought it would do much good against a shinobi of this calibre. Still, it never hurt to keep up the façade. There was no telling what other foreign agents might be in the area.

His path returned, bearing no small number of refreshments, which he had it set on a table nearby. Kozai had little appreciation for the night life of Hoshigakure, which this crowd seemed to embody. Young people, mostly, tired of the material conditions that Kozai and people like Kozai had imposed upon them, seeking this night of escape into a realm of noise and dreams. Kozai himself could not possibly imagine actually wanting to get out of reality. He remembered with no fondness Arcanis' world of fantasy and delusion, and the ring that he had given Kozai to access it. Darcania, had it been called? It did not matter now. All dreams ended when the dreamer awakened.  

[WC 700
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a29cABW2qHk&ab_channel=DeathGrips-Topic
pre-concert jam described in post]
Mizuki Ohta
Mizuki Ohta
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Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK] Empty Re: Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK]

Mon May 10, 2021 2:46 pm
The day had been a drag to say the least, now that her identity was more or less compromised and she was known as the Kazekage even to the shinobi of Hoshi, she found it hard to stay in the inn she had checked into at the start of her stay - having to move up to a more secluded suite in a different hotel that was designed for guests of her caliber. The whole transition made her wrinkle her nose, all the special treatment and upgrades reeked of insincerity. The view from her balcony however… 

The moment was suddenly interrupted by a fluttering heartbeat followed by clear beating wings of a messenger bird landing on the railing with a note tied to it’s leg. Taking it from the bird she read it over with an amused raise of her eyebrow - an invitation from someone going by the title of ‘Master of the Archives’. Invitation to where exactly? The Pit theatre that evening for musical entertainment. 

Rolling up the invitation back into its tight spiral she pushed herself off the railing with a curious feeling beginning to bubble in her - who was this Archives Master and what business did he have with a Kage from another land, and on top of it why was it in a public forum? These questions and more rang in her mind as she bathed and readied herself for the event that was quickly approaching. 

As she approached The Pit Theatre she glanced up at the marquee - some unknown accompaniment was listed for the showing slot of 8:30 - letting out a soft sigh she continued into the building. Her attire was at home in this environment, as expected; black dress made of silk that was form fitted and came down to mid calf with a slit on one leg that ran up her left leg mid thigh, a modest neckline to her throat with sleeves that stopped mid bicep and intricately cut out petals from the chest that tastefully exposed her collar bone while leaving her cleavage covered - her hair was tied back in a long intricate braid that was draped over her right shoulder to fall down at her hip, and though it was impractical she wore black heels that added a few inches to her short stature. 

As expected, she was expected, and whether her face was recognizable to this degree or she looked as though she belonged among a higher class - guards were approaching her to escort her to the 3rd floor in mere moments of her entrance. The heartbeats of those in her company and those she passed seemed normal enough but this arena… this auditorium of unknown beings would make anyone nervous, and for someone as careful as her she would find herself stretching out her sensory abilities to their breadth to gauge how many shinobi were in attendance - a lazy attempt at best. 

In no time at all she was passing a rather curious looking man who swept past the escort up the stairs into the room she was headed to - somehow that didn't seem like the person who had requested her, though interest peaked nonetheless. The guard held the door open for her and closed it with a soft click as she passed over the threshold; now in the ‘Masters Box’ she took in her surroundings quickly - the same figure that had breezed past her only moments before was standing idly by a table laden with refreshments while a man sat in one of the few seats overlooking the smoke filled stage. 

He was smoke filled too, not an ounce of chakra exuded from him, an eerie and unnatural deadened air that didn’t play well with the lively heartbeat pounding in his chest. The Kage stood just inside the room for only a moment before striding over and gracefully placing herself in the seat beside the man - dressed well in a business like manner of khaki and white that off set his stark black hair nicely. If she hadn’t known better now she might have assumed they were cousins with how similarly they resembled one another. 

As she settled herself in her seat, and the lights dimmed a little to warn the attending party that the show was soon to commence, she spoke - her multicolored gaze fixated on the cloudy stage - “My most humblest gratitude are in order for your invitation-”, her face turned slightly to allow her gaze to settle on his face, “-Archive Master. Though I can’t help but feel bewildered in the suddenness of the invitation at all. Quite… a bold move to make.” She would pause in her words, allowing the double meaning to linger before continuing, “A show like this is definitely a reach for even the most well versed in the culture, you may have taken me a bit further from my realm of comfort than normal.” 

Truly this was dead set in the middle of her comfort zone, she had worked in public arena’s her whole life, whatever he intended to glean from her this evening would not be barred by societal constructs were it to go too far.

WC 858
Kozai
Kozai
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Master
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Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK] Empty Re: Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK]

Thu May 13, 2021 6:17 pm
Kozai glanced at the door as the woman entered. He wasn't quite sure what to expect of this kage. His last visit to the village had been decades ago, and the faces he remembered from back then didn't correspond to the person standing there now. Well, it didn't mean anything, but it probably she probably didn't recognize him. If she did, or if she saw through his facade of chakra suppression, she certainly didn't indicate anything of the sort. Finally, someone worth his fucking time. People like Yasaki were so open and obvious that meeting someone who was more inscrutable was a refreshing change of pace.

"Ah, welcome, Lady Kazekage. You'll have to forgive me if I don't shake your hand; standard Archive procedure with shinobi." Kozai would simply incline his head. No standing bow, here. Even in his guise as a standard civilian official, Kozai bowed to nobody. "I trust your accommodations have been adequate? If you like, you may call me 'Shang-Ren'. I find that the title fits my position in the village quite well." The word meant "gentleman" literally in the indigenous tongue, but its true meaning in the context of being a title was that of a learned scholar, someone enlightened through study and practice. In short, it was perfect for Kozai's use.

He gestured lazily with one hand, and his path came forward, offering him and the kage glasses of whatever beverage they were serving down below. Not great stuff, upon further inspection, but what did you expect? This wasn't exactly a high class gathering. Kozai took a glass and sipped gently. Some thickly spiced local drink. He didn't really feel one way or the other about it, but he at least hoped the Kazekage did.

"Ah, one moment. They're about to begin." Kozai leaned forward eagerly as the first number of the night began.

It was truly enchanting.

Kozai had never heard anything like it in his life. Every disparate piece, every jarring, abrasive component fit together perfectly. He didn't think the people down below could hear the same thing he could, but they sure seemed to be having a great time either way, so there was something in this sound for everybody. Kozai sat back with a slight grin on his face.

"Truly marvelous, isn't it? This new style is a Hoshi original, I believe." Like so many others, of course. With so many cultures and ideas crashing against each other, it was inevitable that all kinds of new, unique forms of art would be created, and Kozai wanted to sample all of them. He'd have to make arrangements for this act in particular after the show was over. With a few silent pushes here and there, he could have them performing all over the village and making news in a matter of weeks.

"My apologies, both for the interruption and for the abrupt invitation. I asked you here today, not only to take in our arts and culture, but also to discuss a matter of greater importance." The music from the stage continued, ramping up then crashing down exactly as he expected. "I'm informed that our respective villages have some history." Well, that was an understatement. Kozai had done some preliminary reading prior to this, and he knew of some of the connections between the two, as well as the actions of that one brash Akari fellow. It was that latter incident, in fact, that had pushed Kozai down this course of action, in a manner of speaking. A civilian government so weak that it buckled under the slightest pressure from a single, outrage shinobi was no small matter, and neither was the Church's abduction of a ninja. 

"I'd like to strengthen these bonds; on a civilian level of course. I wouldn't dare to interfere in... ahem, paramilitary matters." A half-truth, if Kozai was being frank. He didn't want to get involved with those YET, but he would if his hand was forced. For now, he was content to prod at matters from his more conventional position. "It's my fervent desire to start by conducting some small exchanges between our scholars. I'm hosting a domestic gathering of the academia at the Archives in a few months, and if all goes well, I'd like to replicate the event at an international level." 

He snapped his fingers, and his path approached again, offering the Kazekage a brochure. A simple printing, with some graphics and a heading on the front that read, "Let one hundred flowers bloom, let one hundred schools of thought contend". Rhetorically effective, as always. 

[763
Opening track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMh6ZySqP-o&ab_channel=Tsuaretehn_EspiraTsuaretehn_Espira
Historical reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Flowers_Campaign
Sorry I rambled a bit with the dialogue]
Mizuki Ohta
Mizuki Ohta
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Kazekage
Fame : 109
Ryo : 205150
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Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK] Empty Re: Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK]

Fri May 21, 2021 12:15 pm
Having made no attempt to reach out for a handshake the comment brought a knowing look in her eyes, but otherwise showed no other gleaned meaning. Formality was expected in her village but to expect it from another country was for fools and arrogant men - this man showed whom he was loyal to most; and that was himself. “Standard protocol indeed, the hands of a scholar are worth more than most would appraise them for, I’ve found that information is often traded for cheap when men of war are involved in their sale.” A gentle smile would pull at her lip as her eyes followed the order his lazy hand had set in motion - as the glass was offered to her she would let out a sigh of satisfaction. Taking the glass in her thin fingers and swirling the glass slowly, watching the familiar drink form frothy bubbles at the edges, she would answer in a polite but blunt tone. “The accommodations might have been better but I do not expect more than what is available.”


She brought the glass up to her face and breathed in the sweet and spiced fragrance for a few moments before setting the glass down next to her on the accompanying side table. While ‘Shang-Ren’ eagerly sat forward and seemed to soak in the exotic and jarring tones of the music that seeped up into their box, she pressed her back into the chair crossing her legs and tilting her head slightly watching. Not the performers on the stage or the raucous crowd, but the room she was in - the woman who had obediently served them their drinks stood with docile body language while every nerve in her body seemed to hold taunt for the next command of her master. The sounds of the entertainment were something she was finding wasn’t quiet to her sensitive ear’s liking but she was nevertheless a gracious guest, matching his smile with one of her own as he sat back to resume their conversation.


Curious bit of control was going on here, perhaps it was unintentional, maybe even unconscious, but it was an act of control at its core. Being the one to initiate and lead the conversation, cut it off at whim and reinstate it with calculated timing would throw off less adept conversationalists. In reality Mizuki valued the time to watch between spats of conversation. “Hoshi has changed a great deal since my last stay in these walls, it’s inspiring, even humbling, to see how the world at large grows regardless of how much we as individuals are involved.” Her attention had shifted down to the crowd as she spoke this last sentence, face an impassive mask of polite appreciation with nothing behind the eyes. 


Considering his words with interest, though her gaze never left the crowd, the only change in her expression was a crease between her brows as she heard the phrase ‘I'm informed that our respective villages have some history.’ Informed - clever word with multiple sources of attainment. Before addressing this though she was gifted an even more interesting phrase, or rather proposal from the man who had decided to insert himself at the forefront of her attention - whether it was wise to do so or not was always up for debate. Her eyes finally slid from the crowd, watching the woman with intense curiosity as the snap of Shang-Ren’s fingers moved her into motion once more - this time a brochure was offered to her before prompt dismissal of the woman from her view. Looking over the brochure she mused to herself aloud, softly prodding at its truer intentions, “A convention of scholars to share information and form bonds that go beyond the boundaries of their countries. Hosted so benevolently by yourself, it’s a brilliant angle really. If you don’t mind my asking, what kind of like minded conversations might be held at one of these events?”


Her gaze had been looking over the brochure as she spoke, her voice gentle in the delivery as though she spoke to a dear friend, but when her eyes rose to meet his they were in stark contrast to her voice, as well as the rest of her well maintained expression. The violet hue was pushed to the outer with only half a centimeter of blood red separating the color from the pupil - the color was indicative of nothing that the man would be able to discern but the tempestuous nature they held was clear - and she held his gaze unblinking. “I find the nature of such a meeting of like minds to be a fascinating plane of observation … oftentimes being the birthplace to a great many underground operations.” The look in her eyes was instantly gone as she let out a soft laugh, closing her eyes for a moment and shaking her head as though to dispel the thought from her mind and wipe it from the room. “I will happily consider this offer, though I would also love to hear how the small scale version goes here in Hoshi before giving you an official decision.” 


The music below had begun to rise to a pitch that would make even a normal person’s ears ring with the pounding rhythm. Taking a few moments to collect herself with her eyes closed she would take a deep breath before gazing back at the Archive Master with a soft smile, “If there wasn’t anything else Shang-Ren? I think I have had my fill of culture for the evening.” If he said nothing more to keep her there she would thank him for his invitation, rising from her seat and exiting through the door she came, no attempt to touch the man or look back as she descended the stairs and exited the building.


The sounds of the street life sounded like silence when compared to the decibel endured only moments before, glancing down at the brochure she still held she would pull her eyebrows together in a genuine expression of tentative curiosity, before folding it and tucking it onto her person and headed down the street back to her accommodations. 

WC 1023

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Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK] Empty Re: Crux of the Nightlife [IO, NK]

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