Episode 7: Knowledge is Power
“So, you have tamed the Kazankage?” A deep voice spoke from the shadows. Toshiaki recognized it immediately: the gentle voice of his leader.
“No -- I saw a better opening.” The red haired Chitsuki took a moment to regain his breath. He was ill and weak still, but he had recovered some. “He had doubt in his eyes; a victim to his own mind.” Toshiaki paused again. “I allowed him to believe he had broken the genjutsu -- the Gensō-tekina Hanpuku.” Toshiaki was fond of the technique he had created, and hated to see it be broken so easily. Well, I suppose I allowed it.
“The genjutsu that can only be broken through the victim’s suicide. Of course, they don't actually die, since it is only genjutsu, but it does take a lot to drive someone to suicide -- especially if they're unaware that they've been stuck in a repeating illusory world. One that forges positive memories, too.” Toshiaki explained from his bedside.
“Yet the scenes Kazuki received -- were they not particularly negative?” The leader asked, intrigued by such a powerful genjutsu.
“That was the intention. He saw the strife caused by the Kage, their ineptitude, but also several loving memories of his home land.” Toshiaki gasped for air.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, I'm fine. Those particular scenes were shown in an attempt to distance him from the Kage, and make him beholden only to Haigakure.” He paused and thought for a second, rewording his sentence: “To sow the seeds of discord amongst the Kage.”
“I understand. It was a sound plan, why did you allow the genjutsu to stop?” The leader continued his friendly interrogation. Toshiaki rubbed his eye, trying to gather his thoughts and put forth an acceptable reason.
“I wanted the Haikage to play a more active role. Simply laying in a coma until he was brainwashed or dead is no good. And so, I used another S rank forbidden genjutsu. It will feed on his paranoia, grow and nourish it. He will mishear things and see things that may not be there.” Toshiaki began wheezing, continuing for almost a minute, until he was able to continue speaking: “I suspect that as we speak, the comrades he traveled with speak against us, but Kazuki will hear doubt in them, too. He will hear them voice opinions that may not be all that harmful towards us. This genjutsu will shape who he is for years to come.”
Reminance stood alone, leaning on the war map. The scattered location of the Chitsuki began to worry him -- they seemed entirely uninterested in the upcoming Kage Summit -- except for their cheap shots at the traveling Kage.
“Two in Inferno, two in Thunder, two in Metal and two in Hill.” Reminance spoke softly to himself as to not disrupt the rapid exchanging of information that took place between his office workers nearby. They had been incredibly busy sorting the notifications sent in by the scouts and spies he had all over.
Reminance picked up the Inferunokage’s piece and inspected it. There was a growing doubt in his mind about the true status of Tameshi Hinode. He was a smart man, and Reminance didn’t believe that he would die so easily.
“I’ll just keep it here for now.” The Kaminarikage said as he moved the piece to the side of the board. Best not to throw it away yet. I feel something off about his death.
“Ten versus eight.” Reminance mumbled to himself. His intense blue eyes shifted over the map, trying to see if there was any pattern to the Chitsukis’ locations. Maybe these locations are wrong altogether. Or, maybe there are more than just eight.
The Kaminarikage’s gaze crept to the aides in his office. They were buzzing about, sorting incoming pigeon messages and decoding intercepted messages. Or maybe I’m being fed lies.
“So, I suppose you will be unwell for our battle.” The leader said, a hint of disappointment in his voice. “There will be no other time that the Kage have gathered to distract themselves with useless conversation. A shame.”
“No.” Toshiaki had a tone of firmness. “I will fight regardless of my health.”
“Good.” Was the response Toshiaki heard before a loud voice began yelling outside.
“This is the Okagakure Police Force! Get down on your knees and put your hands on your head as we enter the room!” The deep voice commanded.
“We have reason to believe that you are affiliated with the criminal organization known as the Chitsuki!” A couple seconds passed before the door was blown off its hinges.
“Put forth no resistance, and we will show…” The captain charged into the room followed by almost a dozen shinobi. His incessant shouting trailed off as he saw the gaze of eight Chitsuki members. “...mercy.”
Everything was silent for a moment. The captain instantly recognized the deceit which led him here. The suspects were supposed to be low ranking spies, or even simply loyalists to the Chitsuki -- not the real thing. The Okagakure shinobi broke the standoff; some became so intimidated as to drop their weapons in fear. The captain’s shaking hands tightened around his katana, but it would be no use.
The inn’s back wall was blown to bits as the ensuing battle took place. Within seconds, nine of the ten Okagakure shinobi had been dismembered or decapitated, leaving the captain on his knees, his own blade held to his neck.
“You are a senior captain, no?” Ryuzaki asked, holding the katana firmly against the man’s skin.
“Y-yes, I am a senior captain.”
“Good. Then you have access to the Bento Archives, no?” The Chitsuki continued his interrogation.
“Alright. Listen closely then, Mr….” Ryuzaki trailed off.
“Mr. Hakuchō. I want you to listen to Tamashi here. You know him, right? Tamashi of the Shinzoku clan?”
The captain only nodded in response. The green-haired Chituski member stepped forward from the tree he was leaning on.
“I was an ANBU for several years, Magatta. I am well aware of the existence of the Bento Archives, in fact, I am featured in them now, as every person of interest is.” Tamashi explained. “I am also aware that you, as a senior captain in the Hidden Hill’s military, have access to the Bento Archives. The Chitsuki has a simple task for you.” Tamashi kicked the kneeling man into the mud, unsealing a shining sabre as he did so. Magatta instantly recognized it as the sabre of the Fourth Kinzokukage -- another subject in the Bento Archives. Tamashi grinned; the recognition in the captain’s eye confirmed his suspicions. So, the senior captains did retain access to the Bento Archives.
“I know exactly what you’re thinking, too. ‘Oh! I’m a hero! I’ll never do what they say! I'll die for my village!’ Isn’t that right?” Tamashi prodded the man with his sword. “It doesn’t matter. If you just run away and hide without doing what I say, we’ll flatten Okagakure. It isn’t beyond us -- and your Okakage isn’t anywhere near here. So, on to your task at hand: pretend this didn’t happen. Return to your headquarters, say the anonymous tip submitted was a bust. Grab the file on Person-003 in the Bento Archives, and bring it back here.” Tamashi laid out his requests. “And make sure you’re not noticed. Well, not that it matters to us, but if you want to walk away intact, you’ll make sure nobody knows of this.”
Tamashi lifted the man to his feet by the collar of his flak jacket.
“Got it, friend?” Tamashi asked.
“Yes. It will be done.”
This is actually my favorite chapter to date, I don't know why, but I just love it. Hope you ballers enjoyed it as much as I did.
A massive huge thank you to @Rapho
for the drawing of the war map.