Unhappy Trails

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Unhappy Trails

Post by Ace Trainer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:46 pm

Ikinari was meandering. That was really the only word for it. It was late afternoon, the pique of the temperature and sunlight, which typically meant human activity dwindled to the bare minimum. The only people out in the desert on days like this were people with something very important to do, or absolutely nothing to do. Everyone else made sure to be busy within the safe confines of a building that protected them from the environment. Ikinari's genetic profile, however, meant that he tolerated the weather just a little better than the average guy, making it a little easier for him to handle it. And much better for him to clear his mind.

He just failed a mission.

Well, 'just', in the least literal sense of the word. It had been a few days of travel, but when you lose an official to an assault, you're on edge on your return. Ikinari knew it was no ones fault per se. He was a minor village leader in a small north Wind Country village who needed escorts to visit the Daimyo. He'd been very indignant about having shinobi guards and had hired his own guards in addition to the shinobi (Ikinari included) that the daimyo had requested for him. Unfortunately, one of the guards he village leader had requested got a better paycheck from someone else, and killed the village leader in his sleep while he'd been on guard duty.

They woke up to a dead leader, and a man down.

It's just how things went.

But the failure still stung. Had the leader listened to them, then only the shinobi would have been present and it would have been easier. Surely there were a lot of things that could have gone in their favor, but it didn't, and it was the mans fault. But the failure hurt nonetheless. And now, safe back in the confines of the village, Ikinari had time to think about the events that had transpired. It wasn't common for him to fail a mission like this, so it didn't feel good. It was a black mark on his record, too, so that didn't help any at all. So he walked, somber, mulling over the mission in his mind. Was this just how things would be?
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Unhappy Trails

Post by Zao » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:42 pm

Truly there were few people out at this time of day, though with the manner in which the white robed shinobi would immerse himself into his research and studies of late the days and nights seemed to almost blend together for him. This was exceptionally true for the time when he was locked away working within his personal realm located somewhere deep within the reaches of outer space. A small tear in space would occur in the courtyard of his home in the residential district of the village, stepping through the disruption in space the young man couldn’t help but feel like the wind from a hot blow drying had assaulted his face now causing for him to pull back slightly. ‘It’s already the peak of the day, I really do need to spend more time in the village…

As if attempting to shield his face and eyes from not only the heat but also the golden crow that linger above casting its bright rays of light down upon the village and now Zao. Shaking his head lightly the thin lips upon the jounin’s face seems to elevate just slightly in the corners, though it was a hot welcome back to Suna it was still a welcomed one as he truly loved his homeland. Even though the thin framed man welcomed the heat of the village he couldn’t help but bring the loose fabric of the right sleeve near the wrist of the arm up to his brow, a few droplets of moisture visible upon it. ‘I should take a stroll.’ The distortion of space which led back to the man’s personal realm closed and after a moment it was as though nothing was there to begin with now as he turned his eyes toward the single gate of the well taken care of courtyard and walked at a casual pace out into the streets of Suna now.

Those out at this time of day really must have had something to do or nothing at all as the number of shinobi and civilians alike were far and few between on this heated afternoon, yet with no clear destination in mind the young man with long white hair flowing down his back nearly to his waist at this point. Reaching up with slender fingers Zao would come some loose locks of hair behind his left ear and adjust the headband that hung loosely around his slim neck now, shifting his bright blue eyes from one side to the other just taking in the village and its inhabitants. It was during this moment of his walk which had lasted for a handful of minutes came across a meandering figure whom seemed to be consumed in thoughts of his own.

Normally the reinstated jounin wouldn’t have bothered the man, but it was the expression upon his face that caused for the wooden sandal wearing feet to come to a complete stop now, that was the face of failure. It was a look and a mentality that had followed the scholar for some time after Nori and him had finally escaped from the deadly cycle of traversing the spirit realms, only they had returned three lighter than the group had when they had departed. The failure to protect those under one’s charge was a hard pill to swallow but its had been the proper motivation to bring the wanderer’s thinking back were it should be focused, upon the village and its shinobi.

With a slow exhale the small feet of the jounin started to once more push forward in a path that would almost intercept the other man now, raising his tattooed fingers on the right hand in a half wave towards the shinobi he was unfamiliar with. A soft voice that carried an experienced and calm tone to it would speak out towards Ikinari, “Good afternoon my friend. Seems the heat has others hiding inside today.” Zao would speak out with his greeting, attempting to make a little small talk with the man...
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Yami Kasai - Kiri's Black Reaper - Future Mizukage
Saisuko Zao - Suna's Archeologist - Future Bannin
Sato - Dragon Country C-Rank
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Unhappy Trails

Post by Ace Trainer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:25 am

The flak jacket felt heavy on his shoulders. A metaphorical emotional weight. He was surprised, however, to run into someone who would not only be out right now, but take the time to stop and talk to him. He let a faint smile go towards the newcomer. The conversation piece he chose to open up with cliche as they came, but also appropriate, and very much relevant to Ikinari's own thoughts. He nodded agreeably, assessing the man in front of him.

"As it always does, my friend.", he let out a small chuckle as he said this, fleeting if anything.

Ikinari knew, though, that he was a Hizashi, and oftentimes an exception to the rule when it came to these things. Inspecting Zao, he was more than aware of the beads of sweat on the mans brow and the growing discomfort he was surely feeling standing in the sweltering heat. He was dressed somewhat formally, and certainly not comfortably, making Ikinari wonder how the man had managed to walk this far through the area without becoming drenched in sweat. His outfit, at a minimum, certainly didn't serve well for insulation.

"Come friend, lets get at least a little reprieve. what brings you out today?"

He gestured towards a small stall to their left a few yards off, it at least brought some shade. In the desert, shade could make the biggest difference of all. Ikinari walked slowly, his wooden sandals clicking on the pavement as he did, before leaning against one of the pillars supporting the stall.
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Post by Zao » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:57 pm

Aye.” The white haired man couldn’t help but echo the sentiment in agreement, the desert was truly a very different place from other places within their world. Though he wore his headband, the newly reinstated jounin was still found of his traveling attire and hadn’t yet transitioned back into the normal shinobi style wear as of yet. Perhaps he never would fully transition back into the standard uniform but from now on the headband with the proud Suna symbol inscribed upon it would be proudly worn around his neck for all to see. “A reprieve would be well welcomed from the scorching heat.

Smiling as he responded the bright blue eyes of Zao had followed in the direction of Ikinari’s gesture which caused for them to fall upon the small stall off to their left side now. As each would walk to the stall, Zao would take up his own position opposite of the fellow jounin leaving again casually against one of the other support pillars now. Allowing or his arms to fold over one another he couldn’t help but look up as a few bead of sweat that had been clinging to his brow and face now broke free slipping down his high cheekbones and down towards his chin in one go. “I had been away from the village for some time, so I just had the thought to talk a walk."

His almost feminine looking right hand, tattoos visible upon the fingers that ran up the hand and into the wide sleeve, had lifted during his words as the slender fingers slide across his chin and wiped away a few droplets of the salty liquid, a light chuckle escaping his thin lips at this point as he glanced back up towards the man. “It would seem that I’ve gone unaccustomed to the heat.” Shaking his head lightly he paused for a moment before speaking out. “Forgive me for not introducing myself, I’m Zao. What bring you out, my friend?

Though Zao had never met this man before, just judging from the obviously physical traits before him it seemed that this figure was most likely from the Hizashi and also just a bit younger than him. Perhaps that was why he didn’t know the young man but the scholar would not dare to say that he knew even all the jounin within the village...yet this was something he planned to change as he had made his return and wanted to do what he could within his power to aide the village.
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Yami Kasai - Kiri's Black Reaper - Future Mizukage
Saisuko Zao - Suna's Archeologist - Future Bannin
Sato - Dragon Country C-Rank
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Unhappy Trails

Post by Ace Trainer » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:01 pm

He nodded politely at Zao, he seemed like a nice enough guy. Away from the village? They were two peas in a pod it seemed. He smirked at the thought, his eyes drifting away from Zao and off into the horizon just behind him. The skies blue, devoid of any sort of cloud. Empty and endless. IT didn't take long for people to acclimate away from the heat, so he wasn't surprised someone that had been away would be struggling to readapt. It seemed it took only a few days to get used to temperate weather, but adjusting back into Sunagakure's merciless highs took weeks on end to fully get used to, if ever. He understood the struggle of his new comrade, laughing lightly at the mention.

He nodded his head, a partial bow, at the production of a name and produced a light smile, "Hizashi, Ikinari. A pleasure."

The question he followed with was hard to answer.

"Clearing my head.", he offered, filling the silence for only a moment. Giving himself a change to think of a more full blooded response that Zao might be more appreciative of. " I returned this morning myself, in fact.", he shrugged, "Was out on a mission and it came to an end so I'm reporting back. I dropped off my after-mission report and felt this was as good a time as any to reflect on everything that happened.", his smile had faded at this point, reflecting what was likely he general displeasure with the events.

"Where have you been if not at the village?", he asked, an attempt to steer the conversation away from his own failures.
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Post by Zao » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:32 pm

Hizashi, Ikinari.’ Zao quietly went over the name in his head briefly, committing it to memory as he wished to get to know the majority of the jounin within the village after returning to the rank now. Every single jounin within the village was pillar of the village, though he had no aspirations of ever striving towards the position of Kage within Suna he felt it was his duty to instead serve as one of these might pillars that helped to hold the village up until the next generation would come along to take up where they would leave off. “Walks are good for such things...” The mention of clearing his head was something similar to what the white haired young man had been doing, helping his mind to break away from the grind and reset itself. So that later he could return back to his research and potentially gain some new insights that he might have missed earlier with a set of fresh eyes and a rested mind.

I see.” Just the way that the fellow shinobi spoke, without going into the context of the mission or its events, Zao felt that perhaps this one had not gone as planned for the man standing across from him now. ‘To reflect upon everything that happened...it probably would be considered inappropriate to pry into what happened..' His thoughts temporarily lifted from the deeper subject of the man’s last mission as he was propositioned with a question from Ikinari now causing him to smile lightly. Where had he been? There were honestly few countries that he hadn’t managed to pass through, at least on the main continent, for the outlying smaller islands and continents he’d only managed to touch base on a few of those on his research and adventuring travels.

I’ve managed to travel through a good portion of the main continent, actually. After my first enlistment I decided to step back from being only a shinobi and embrace my passion for research. It took me many places, some rather exotic while others were extremely plain but homely. We are truly a diverse people with so many different beliefs and ways of life.” As he spoke in return to his new acquaintance now he couldn’t help but lift his heads towards the cloudless sky and reminisce about the adventure’s that he’d been able to find himself upon during those handful of years away from Suna. “But something was missing from my life, being a shinobi for our homeland. I’ve only recently completed my screening and returned to a full duty status.” Though he didn’t go into detail about exactly how exotic or distant he’d traveled the man’s mannerism and confident speaking abilities seemed to demonstrate that he was a rather experience traveler on their own.

While he had many stories, what currently interested him the most was the relatively unknown man with whom he was currently conversing. “Hopefully in the future, we’ll be supporting one another in order to aide out great village.” A smile once more returned to the thin lips of the lightly tanned man now as he folded his slender arms over one another across his chest one more, “How long was your mission away from the village this time?” There was still an interest in the happenings of the fellow Jounin’s mission but he didn’t feel right just coming out and asking him bluntly and thus went a more roundabout approach at the moment.
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Post by Ace Trainer » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:13 pm

Ikinari cocked a brow at Zao's mention of having traveled through much of the main continent. While Ikinari had traveled his own fair share with his duties, he had not seen as much of the world he would have liked. Sunagakure's policies were largely isolationist, which mean that a lot of diplomatic travel was pertaining to matters within the country. When it did venture outside it's own political borders, Ikinari found that the trips rarely had much room for negotiations on the itinerary. He listened to what Zao said, casually brushing over his question at first to expand on Zao's background.

"What brought you to travel? Exotic you say, thats something many people within the village walls would be interested in hearing about, I'm sure.", Ikinari included himself in this all-encompassing statement. The idea of learning about the exotic places of the world certainly enthralled him. It also enlightened him that Zao was a returning shinobi, not someone who had been out on a mission. He found this interesting as well. While military duty wasn't mandatory in a traditional sense, Ikinari found in his experience that shinobi rarely were on and off with duty. Zao was certainly an anomaly in this sense. Missing the sense of duty and pride of being a shinobi was something Ikinari understood. Though the stings of his recent failure perhaps made this hurt more than it would have on a normal basis.

"Just over a week, to answer your earlier question.", he mentioned in passing, "I understand that though. Often times long periods outside of missions can feel as if you're losing your purpose. I can't imagine how much stronger that sensation must be when you've dropped the title entirely.", quite honestly, being a shinobi was much of Ikinari's identity, he couldn't imagine not being a shinobi. How different Zao's experiences must have been from Ikinari's own to be able to forgoe the title for adventure.
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Post by Zao » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:37 pm

"What brought me to travel?" It was an easy question for the young man to answer, he'd always wanted to explore the world and continue to educate himself in the ways of the world and the history which brought the world to the way that it was today. "Even as a child, I'd been enthralled with knowledge and the study of history. There is much which can be learned from the past. In the end, I traveled from here to there studying about the past and the many different societies that existed in the past and even in the present. Us human are quite the diverse bunch." It had truly been a bit of a selfish endeavor that Zao had embarked upon after deciding to not reenlist as a jounin back then but after all the experiences and tempering that the young man put himself through because of it he believed that if he hadn't chosen that path then he wouldn't be on the same level of understanding or power as a shinobi as he was right now.

Soon the conversation would shift back towards Ikinari now, some of the information that Zao had been wondering about came to the surface but it was mostly superficial information that didn't really tell the white haired man much about the mission itself. 'Only a week, perhaps its shortness was directly related to the failure...that would make the most sense.' A soft exhale came before his words now as he thought about the time that he'd spent away from the village, his friends, and even his father. What had started out to be only a short break for himself had lasted several years in what felt to be the blink of an eye. Yet, now it was time to once more uphold the mantle of a jounin. "It did take some time to come full circle and understand what my true purpose really was here." As he spoke Zao couldn't help but subconsciously nod his head as he finished with those words, he was back.

"Anyways, it feels great to wear the symbol of the village again." Since returning to the village and being able to be reinstated as a jounin after his personal talk with the new Kazekage, Zao hadn't really taken on any missions for the village but in the future this would most likely quickly change. His bright blue eyes drifted out to the empty desert once again. Most wouldn't find it to homely or wish to find themselves out in such an environment and yet Zao had longed to return to his homeland for just such a sight as this. "What mission were you out on?" Genuine interest was expressed in the man's soft voice as he directed it towards his new acquaintance now as he was trying to recall memories of what his last few missions had been before putting down the rank of jounin to return to being a civilian.
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Sato - Dragon Country C-Rank
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Post by Ace Trainer » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:25 pm

Ikinari let out a boisterous laugh at what Zao said in response. It wasn't that it was funny be any means, but it brought him true joy to know someone with such a profound curiosity had chosen to rejoin the ranks and serve his village. Sunagakure was home to a wealth of knowledge, but its policies -- more often than not -- made it difficult to gain much information beyond what was available. Ikinari recognized the flaws in such a methodology, but viewed it as a limiter that could be changed...one day.

'Thats marvelous!", he said with pleasure, a wide smile across his face. "The world is a large and wonderful place. There is much to learn and much to see, I'm glad there is a mind of like thinking among our people.", he grinned. Ikinari couldn't help but think this was the birth of a good friendship between the two. Even in this brief conversation he found himself being quite fond of Zao.

'Your purpose?", his smile faded into softness. Cocking a brow. This was interesting. Purpose was a question many shinobi did not ask. Their purpose was to serve. Ikinari knew there were grander gestures and bigger ideas, but at the end of the day they were cogs working towards a cause often thought to be too great to be fully understood. Protecting their people was all he needed to know. He nodded in understanding though, Zao truly was an inquisitive mind so it made sense that he'd be seeking answers beyond what is given to them.

The question about his mission didn't catch him off guard, but it surely wasn't a pleasant one to hear. Shrugging, he tried to brush it off, "A protection detail. A small village leader was to meet with the daimyo and needed additional escorts for the journey. It went...surprisingly quick.", Ikinari wasn't one to discuss his failures, especially in the company of someone he was quickly becoming fond of.
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Post by Zao » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:36 pm

The man’s hearty laugh actually caught the jounin a bit off guard, having not accepted such an action from the man he was just getting to know, but after a moment of awkwardness upon his face the man once more found his smile and nodded silently in return to Ikinari. This fellow was one that Zao found it comfortable to be around and speak with, it was quite possible that the outcome of this chance meeting would be that the scholar could gain another comrade within the confines of the Sand village. Ikinari was also someone who he felt also had a similar disposition to which the white haired man could relate to. It was a nice chance of pace to find someone to speak openly with while not being overly judged for his words due to it either being on the boundaries of the village’s line of think or even in some cases way outside that line.

Aye.” Though he only spoke a single world when the question came about the ‘purpose’ that he’d found for himself, it was all that he wished to speak about it at this time. The scholar felt that his purpose extended further than just protecting the village as a shinobi but also to ensure that the foundations of the alliance between the Leaf village and themselves was also more firmly solidified through joint missions. Along with partnerships, both professionally and personally, coming to fruition between members of both villages. Perhaps it would even help to alter the straight line thought process of the village as the village and its shinobi were exposed to other views of the world.

Yet, this was a rather long project that was truly on in its infancy phase with the first official ‘field trip’ only having recently finished, but it was a true success. With that complete Zao looked forwards to working with Tenzin in order to complete the administrative work that would help lead to the first true Suna ‘field trip’ where he could bring a large group of the village’s younger shinobi to see Konoha for the first time. It was rare to meet someone like the Leaf jounin who was so passionate about a project like this that the man was happy to call him a friend after the time they spent speaking about the villages’ relationship and hopes for the future before he left to return back to his home village.

His new acquaintance started to speak once more now and it was in response to his question about what mission that shinobi had recently returned from. “Escort missions are usually ninety five percent ordinary missions, while you always have that five percent or so that can be completely crazy.” As a fellow jounin, Zao was sure that the experience man before him was already well aware of this. The majority of the time just the known presence of a ‘Jounin’ or even ‘shinobi’ was enough to cause most people to think twice about acting against whom ever they were escorting. Before he’d thought that perhaps the mission he’d been out on had gone wrong by his body language but now he wasn’t so sure.

But in the end, what ever had happened in the past couldn’t be changed and perhaps it had been surprisingly quick because in fact nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. “A quick mission, I’m sure that soon enough both of us will be tasked back out on another. There truly isn’t a lot of rest for a jounin these days. But I had honestly missed the busy days…” As he spoke the man let his eyes shift out towards the scorching desert sand as he positioned his body just slightly further back into the structure in order to keep his lightly tanned skin just inside the slowly shifting shade.
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Post by Ace Trainer » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:25 pm

Ikinari smirked, nodding in agreement.

'Sure enough. It seems I'm either never in the village long enough. Or waiting around here too long.", he shrugged. His gaze followed Zao's looking out into the village. Though they were covered in the shade, the heat had its way of reaching in still. The overhead didn't hide their view though, and buildings were kept close to the ground to stay cool, giving Ikinari and Zao a clear view of the large sand wall in the distance that surrounded the village. Truly a sight to behold. He let out a soft sigh, his eyes turning back to Zao and sizing up the jounin in front of him.

He was slightly taller than Ikinari, though didn't seem quite as large. Athletic but still thin. Not a surprise for someone who had been traveling. He had a regality about him, certainly an academic. Again, not really a surprise based on what Zao had told Ikinari about himself. He seemed like an interesting guy. He had a presence of strength Ikinari hadn't encountered very often in his life, suggesting to him that perhaps the man was quite a bit stronger than he had let on. Ikinari had grown accustomed to evaluating people and getting a sense of how strong they were and Zao was certainly giving off the presence of a relatively strong individual.

"A symptom of how uncommon capable jounin are becoming. Times are changing...", he mentioned. He paused for a moment before continuing, "Your name isn't one I've heard before. What is it you do? Will you be joining any types of teams or squads now that you're back?", hopefully this would give Ikinari a little more insight into his new friends.
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Zao
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Unhappy Trails

Post by Zao » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:16 pm

For those that wished to be out an about doing the village’s will, sometimes the wait between missions could seem like a true drag. Since returning he’d only done a few minor things in terms of the mission set that he’d been assigned to but he felt that this was most likely the Kage still sizing him up and testing what his true strengths were one step at a time. While he could be considered to be a decently strong shinobi he had also been away from the lifestyle for a handful of years. Returning back to it was going to take a bit of getting use to for sure, but it was a welcome change of pace for Zao as he continued to gaze out from their partially shaded position towards the great sand wall easily visible even from their distance.

I wonder how much longer it will be before the next one…” The white haired scholar’s words were spoken softly, his gaze shifting as both bright eyes disappeared for a few moments behind their respective eyelids now. With a half smile his eyes reopened after the brief moment of rest from the bright sun that beamed its steamy rays down upon them and the village. He hoped that the next one would be a bit more challenging and would allow for him to demonstrate his strengths as a shinobi. But of course he would still carry out whatever mission was given to him no matter how easy or difficult with the fullest of his ability. Both eyes lifted from the sandy earth beneath the two men's feet that Zao’s had drifted to momentarily at the words of his fellow Suna nin.

Indeed, the times are changing. There are few things which can change the flow of time, all we can do is continue to adapt.” The young looking man nodded in agreement to Ikinari’s words about the fact that the times were changing. He truly hoped that the past was no going to repeat itself, easily the shinobi wars about sixty five or seventy years ago. But if it did the man would be prepared for it in order to ensure the survival of those under him and the village...he would defend his homeland from all thread, foreign or domestic. “Right now I am mainly helping to keep an eye on our genma host and work with the Scribes in their various task. In the near future I do hope to join up with a squad. Do you know of any that are in need of a jounin? I still haven’t gotten a full grasp on the other jounin or the status of all the current squads in the village.
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Unhappy Trails

Post by Ace Trainer » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:19 pm

Ikinari couldn't help but feel a tinge of disappointment at Zao's answer. His shoulders dropped just a tad as his hands tucked into his pockets. To be honest, he was a little curious about what exactly this mans skillset was, so he was hoping he'd have gotten an answer a little more rounded than what he was given. He couldn't complain though, his curiosity could certainly also be considered to be a little nosey. Shaking his head, he frowned, "Unfortunately not. I am usually inserted into teams on an as-needed basis, I don't really have a squad to call my own.", he shrugged.

"My skills lend to a lack of permanence, I suppose. I'm better suited for being called upon as needed. I'm a commodity.", he laughed at the joke, not particularly bragging about himself, though he knew it sounded like it.

"Being tasked to the Genma is a mighty high responsibility though. So quickly too? You're certainly a commodity yourself my friend. To be honest I don't keep much tabs on the other jounin and higher ups in the village either. My superiors and the counsel are one matter, but all our compatriots are another. Hard to keep track of so many names. Not always the best to get attached to too many people in our line of work, I've learned.", he frowned this time at the somewhat dark humor. But it was reality, Ikinari certainly knew it, and he had a feeling Zao did too.
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