Author: Rhyssa Fireheart
Pairing: None at this time
Disclaimer: Donâ€™t own it, never will. Just like to play around with it in my mind.
Posted today over on Fanfiction.net (which is where I archive almost all my stories – gaming related ones aren’t there).
Shinobi donâ€™t fall out of trees. They receive rigorous training in chakra control in order to stick to the sides of objects (such as trees) or run across water or even to move quickly in short bursts, making it seem as if they can disappear. So why was she lying on her back gasping for breath, sprawled in the grass with a large root digging into her back? Not that it mattered, she couldnâ€™t have fallen, obviously, because shinobi arenâ€™t supposed to fall, at least not after theyâ€™ve graduated and become genin and chuunin and especially not once theyâ€™ve reached the rank of jounin.
Dragging herself to her feet, she tried straightening up, gasping at the line of fiery pain down the left side of her back. Something was wrong back there; something beyond simple bruising caused by a not-fall from the trees, but now wasnâ€™t the time to worry about that. Right now she needed to get moving again, get back up in the trees she hadnâ€™t fallen out of and keep going.
Forcing her body to keep moving, she jumped back up into the branches of the tree. Pausing to rub eyes gritty from dust and lack of sleep, she leapt to the next branch and then another, the uncertainty of her steps fading after several more jumps. There was still a long way to go before she arrived at her destination. Not that it mattered; nothing anyone could do would help the dead.
Izumo stared blankly at the people walking around the market, blinking slowly in an effort to stay awake. The heat of the afternoon coupled with the absolute lack of anything meaningful happening conspired to make the idea of closing his eyes very attractive. The sound of steady breathing to his right told him that his partner Kotetsu had already lost his battle against boredom and fallen asleep. Being assigned gate guard duty was usually reserved as a punishment detail (hellishly cold and wet in the winter, sweltering hot in the summers) except that he wasnâ€™t sure what theyâ€™d done to deserve punishment. He couldnâ€™t think of anything specific theyâ€™d done to get the Hokage upset recently, especially not since being her personal guards was usually a cushy assignment. Still, that didnâ€™t mean they couldnâ€™t be assigned to something as mind-numbing as gate duty on a hot summer afternoon.
The day became a lot more interesting when someone staggered through the open gates and slumped, head hanging, against the outer wall. At first glance, Izumo assumed the woman was a jounin returning from a mission gone bad who needed immediate help. Her clothes were torn and stained and a travel pack hung limp along her lower back. Residents were starting to stare, since most Leaf-nin didnâ€™t enter the village through the main gates, at least not looking like this. Kotetsu fell backwards in his chair when Izumo shoved past him to get out of the guard shack.
As he got closer, Izumo realized she wasnâ€™t a Leaf-nin at all. The clothes were a darker shade of blue-black and the steel grey flak vest was a different design than what Konoha nin wore. The shoulder guards were marked with four wavy lines; a Mist-nin then, probably here to see the Ambassador. Something had obviously gone drastically wrong if she was injured like this.
â€œKotetsu! Get over here and help me!â€ He yelled to his partner. He checked to see if she had any injuries that needed immediate attention, but going by the fact that sheâ€™d walked, or rather staggered, into the village he assumed she wouldnâ€™t be hurt any further by continued movement. Kotetsu showed up on her other side, already sliding his hands behind the kunoichiâ€™s back and legs to help Izumo lift her carefully. The woman barely reacted to being picked up by the two men, only mumbling something they couldnâ€™t understand as they headed towards help.
The hospital entrance was an island of serenity until they arrived. Two shinobi half-carrying a battered nin through the doors attracted immediate attention, and medics rushed to assist the trio.
â€œShe just staggered though the main gates. Sheâ€™s pretty out of it, hasnâ€™t said anything we could understand,â€ Kotetsu told the head medic. â€œWe need to get in touch with the Mist Ambassador to let him know a messenger from Kirigakure has arrived.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll take care of her. Go let the Hokage and the Ambassador know about this as soon as possible.â€ Medics in white tunics swirled around the unknown woman in a complicated dance, absently shoving the other two shinobi out of the way.
Several hours later, the evening sun poured rays of light into the hospital room as Tsunade and Shizune entered, the Ambassador from Kirigakure following with a bodyguard. The doctor standing beside the bed turned to the Hokage in relief.
â€œWhatâ€™s the situation?â€
â€œThe majority of her injuries are superficial bruises and lacerations, Hokage-sama, but there is some severe bruising down the left side of her back. Several ribs along the spine have minor fractures, but the spine itself is undamaged. Those injuries appear to have been caused by falling from a height onto something unknown and landing on her back. In addition, she is suffering from extreme physical exhaustion and dehydration.
â€œAs for her mental state,â€ the doctor continued neutrally, â€œweâ€™ve not gotten any information from her; in fact sheâ€™s not spoken at all. We managed to get her out of her ruined clothing to do a basic examination, but she refuses to relinquish the scroll in her hands or allow us to put her to sleep for any further treatment. The only medic that tried taking away that scroll ended up needing treatment himself, so weâ€™ve let her keep it. The remainder of her belongings, including several other scrolls which were in her travel pack, are over on the chair.â€
â€œI see. Kenji-sama, do you know who she is? Perhaps sheâ€™ll speak to you since Iâ€™d assume she was sent here with a message.â€ Tsunade turned to the Ambassador standing behind her, a distinguished looking man in his mid-fifties with dark graying hair. Stepping closer to the bed, he looked down at the patient somberly before turning to his bodyguard.
â€œImari-taichou, this is Niyame-san, isnâ€™t it? Itâ€™s been a while since Iâ€™ve seen her and she doesnâ€™t spend much time in Kiri, after all. Last Iâ€™d heard she was on a special assignment for the Mizukage. What could have happened to bring her to Konoha in this state?â€ The bodyguard heâ€™d addressed stepped closer, kneeling down to the face the woman curled on her side in the bed. A large bruise covered her left cheek, the ugly purple already fading to sick yellow at the edges and other bruises were visible from under the collar of the hospital gown. The patientâ€™s eyes flicked over Imariâ€™s features, her mouth curving into a gentle smile.
â€œYes, Kenji-sama, itâ€™s Niyame-san all right,â€ Imari continued, speaking directly to the patient, â€œNiya-chan, what happened to you? Why are you here in Konoha?â€ She masked her disquiet, keeping the unease she felt from her voice. The womanâ€™sâ€¦no, Niyameâ€™s smile dimmed slightly as she sat up in the bed.
â€œImari-chan, I didnâ€™t expect to see you here! Itâ€™s been so long since weâ€™ve talked!â€ A sigh. â€œIf youâ€™re here though, I guess this means weâ€™ll have plenty of time to talk now. When did you die?â€ It took a few moments for the meaning of her last words to register, but when they did Imari reacted with surprise.
â€œWhat? Niya-chan, Iâ€™m not dead! Iâ€™m kneeling right here next to your hospital bed in Konoha.â€
â€œOf course, youâ€™re dead. Everyoneâ€™s dead now.â€ With the sad smile fading from her lips, Niyame lapsed back into silence and refused to say anything more. The people in the room looked around uncomfortably, unsure of what to do next. No amount of cajoling, pleading or prodding could pull any further response from the silent woman in the bed. She simply sat there, looking out the window.
â€œWell, we need to figure out something. Iâ€™m sure you donâ€™t want us to hurt her further trying to get that scroll away, but I have a feeling itâ€™s very important,â€ Tsunade said. The group had been quietly discussing various ideas while Niyame ignored them all, moving stiffly to sit cross-legged and stare at the scroll in her hands. The ambassador didnâ€™t appear to be in a hurry to find out what was in the mysterious scroll, so any method involving extreme physical intervention was out of the question. She was almost relieved when one of her guards slipped into the room to deliver a message.
â€œWhoâ€™s she looking at?â€ Everyone turned at the nurseâ€™s question, wondering what she meant.Â Â Niyame was definitely looking more alert and staring at the group, or someone in the group, intently.
â€œShe wasnâ€™t doing that a few minutes ago,â€ Imari said. â€œWhatâ€™s changedâ€¦?â€
Tsunade was quicker than the rest and decided to use the possible opening that had just arrived. â€œRaido, go over to her bedside, see what she does.â€
â€œHokage-sama?â€ Raido asked uncertainly. Heâ€™d been delivering a message that had just arrived from Suna; he had no idea what was going on or who the injured woman was.
â€œJust go over there and sit by the bed. See if she talks to you.â€
â€œYes, maâ€™am, but can someone tell me whatâ€™s going on?â€ Not that he was bothered by the orders, but having some unknown woman staring at him as intently as this one was a bit disconcerting. At least the explanation only took a few moments to relate, not that it helped him understand her interest in him. Still, if the Hokage wanted him to sit by the side of the bed, heâ€™d do it.
As Raido moved over to the hospital bedside, Ibiki Morino stepped into the hospital room where the Hokage and the Kirigakure ambassador waited. The ambassadorâ€™s bodyguard showed no outward change of expression at his arrival, but Ibiki could tell that she was mentally reviewing everything she knew about him. That was fine with him, heâ€™d read over the files Konoha had on her before she came here as well. He ignored the others in the room and walked over to stand next to Tsunade.
â€œIbiki-san, I didnâ€™t expect you so quickly. Weâ€™ve been trying to figure out a way to get the scroll away from the patient with hurting her any further, but sheâ€™s already injured one medic. Still, it seems that sheâ€™s responded to Raido for some reason â€¦â€ Tsunade paused at the sight of Ibikiâ€™s upraised hand.
â€œIâ€™ve already heard all about her arrival from Izumo and Kotetsu. Iâ€™ve reviewed the medical records and have read what data we have on Niyame Kisagawa in our files.â€ He looked thoughtfully at the Mist ambassador before saying, â€œAre you sure this scroll is important? Iâ€™ve heard there were several others found in her travel pack that had details of some serious illness in Mizu no Kuni and some sealed sample bags. What makes you think this other scroll is valuable, besides the fact that she wonâ€™t give it up?â€
â€œMostly just that she wonâ€™t give it up. When she spoke to Imari-taichou, she said that everyone was dead,â€ the ambassador replied, gesturing to his bodyguard. â€œThey know each other very well, so thereâ€™s no reason for her to say that unless she believed it to be true. Iâ€™ve read the scrolls that we do have and the news is pretty grim. I think we need to know what information sheâ€™s protecting in that other one as soon as possible.â€
â€œI see.â€ Ibiki studied the woman in the bed before him. She was sitting up in the bed, staring at Raido Namiashi and ignoring the other residents of the room. Tangled strands of braided black hair covered her face, partially concealing the damage there. Assorted scratches and bruises were visible against her tanned skin and he could discern the faint white tracery of knife scars covering the backs of her hands and forearms. Moving around the foot of the bed, Ibiki waited patiently to see how she would react to Namiashiâ€™s presence.
â€œUhh, good afternoon, Kisagawa-san.â€ At the sound of his voice, she jerked slightly. Her eyes held an aura of panic as they roamed his features. He waited a moment before speaking again, â€œHow are you today?â€
A look of confusion gradually stole over her face. One hand slowly released its death grip on the scroll and she reached out to gently brush her fingers over his scars. Surprised at the reaction, Raido pulled away slightly before freezing, letting the feather-light touches linger over his face although he looked uncomfortable.
â€œI donâ€™t know you,â€ Niyame said in wonder. â€œHow can you be here if I donâ€™t know you? The only people Iâ€™ve seen here are ones I know.â€ Her fingers continued roaming his face, brushing over the scars gently, moving from the bridge of his nose, across his cheek and sliding down his neck to be stopped at the collar of his shirt. When she started to repeat the gesture, he forced himself to not pull away in distaste; it felt too intimate and personal.
â€œIâ€™m here because youâ€™re in the hospital in Konoha. Youâ€™re Niyame Kisagawa, correct? Iâ€™m Raido Namiashi. Can you tell me what happened to you? What happened in Mizu no Kuni to send you here like this?â€
â€œYouâ€™re not sick, are you, Namiashi-san?â€ Her hand shifted suddenly, the back lying against his forehead as if to check his temperature, before going back to gently brush his scars one final time. â€œYou donâ€™t seem ill. Thereâ€™s no summer fever in Konoha, is there? Thatâ€™s a good thing.â€
â€œIâ€™ve never heard of summer fever, so I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any here in Konoha. Why is that a good thing?â€
â€œEveryone gets it, you know. And everyone dies now. Youâ€™d know if it were here, so you must be safe. Of course, Konohaâ€™s safe. Itâ€™s not near the ocean. It always comes from the outer isles first. But it could be here. Has anyone died lately?â€ Her voice was earnest despite a dreamy quality to the tone.
â€œKisagawa-san, weâ€™re a village of shinobi, of course people have died lately.â€ Ibikiâ€™s sarcastic response cut into the conversation. Her eyes flew up to stare at the new speaker, clearly unsure of what to think of the interruption. Raido took the opportunity to move back slightly, hoping she wouldnâ€™t touch him again. â€œDo you mean died from this summer fever? Iâ€™d have to ask the medics, but I donâ€™t think so. We would have heard about it by now.â€
â€œYes, you would have heard. So many die from it you know. Everyoneâ€™s dead because we were too late.â€ Her hand groped blindly for the scroll in her lap. â€œI donâ€™t know you, do I? How come someone I donâ€™t know is talking me now that heâ€™s dead?â€ Ibiki stared at her for a few moments before motioning for Raido to remain where he was and then walking over to where the others waited.
â€œDoctor, the reports on her said she was suffering from extreme physical exhaustion. Is it the type caused by lack of sleep for several days?â€
â€œYes, thatâ€™s what I would guess itâ€™s from, judging from how sheâ€™s acting. The nurses have said that sheâ€™ll doze off occasionally, only to jerk herself awake a few moments later. Itâ€™s as if she refuses to allow herself to sleep. That would also account for her current mental state as well,â€ the doctor replied. Ibiki only nodded at the confirmation of his own thoughts. Turning back to the patient, he whispered something to Raido before taking up position at the foot of the bed.
â€œKisagawa-san, can you tell me why everyone dies?â€ Raido asked.
â€œBecause it changed. Summer fever changed and no one knew it. We didnâ€™t notice until it was too late for some places. People got sick like usual, but we should have known. We should have known it was different this time. Why didnâ€™t we know?â€ Her voice rose as she was speaking, becoming more urgent sounding. She reached out to grab his arm, shaking him to get her point across. As Raido gaped at her, she dropped her hand and turned away, once more ignoring the room. She jerked away when he touched her shoulder.
â€œIâ€™m sorry; go on with your story, please.â€
â€œIâ€¦ yes, of course. I wonder what you would have been like when you were alive….â€ Niyame looked back down at the scroll she clutched, and hesitantly began to speak once more. â€œIt took over three weeks before someone realized that people were dying who shouldnâ€™t have been; before we realized that people were dying at all. No one dies from summer fever, but they do now. Treatment is easy but no one bothers, because no one dies from summer fever. Except that now they were. Dying, I mean. Everyone diesâ€¦.â€ Her voice trailed off sadly.
â€œYouâ€™ve already said that, Kisagawa-san. But why did people start dying from a common illness? Was it an attack from somewhere?â€ Ibikiâ€™s stern words jerked the woman back to the hospital room. Namiashi seemed unsure of what to say next and Ibiki didnâ€™t want her to start staring off into the air again. â€œWhat did the Mizukage do about the sickness?â€
â€œThe Mizukage made sure people were healed as soon as they showed any signs of summer fever, of course. If you heal it right away, then thereâ€™s no problem. You donâ€™t die. But most people didnâ€™t bother getting healed at first. And once Kiriâ€™s residents realized that people were dying, they overwhelmed the medics trying to get healed. We were so busy taking care of the people in Kiri, we forgot about the other villages and the outer islands. We forgot all about them. It was too late for them, because summer fever starts there, you know.â€
â€œNo, I didnâ€™t know, actually. Why was it too late for them? If all you needed to do was heal people once they caught the fever, then why would there be a problem?â€
â€œBecause everyone dies! They all die if you donâ€™t heal them quickly enough.â€ Niyameâ€™s voice lost the sad vagueness it had held, becoming more forceful and angry. â€œWe took too long to realize what was happening! It wasnâ€™t until people started dying in Kiri that the medics realized that something was wrong. Summer fever moves inland, usually by the time it reaches Kiri the fever season is in full swing in the smaller villages and itâ€™s almost over in the outer islands. Donâ€™t you get it? If people were dying in Kiri, how many more were already dead in the rest of the country? We should have realized what was happening earlier than we did!â€ Shoulders shaking, she drew her legs up to her chest and dropped her head to her knees.
Ibiki watched her for a few moments, giving her time to calm down before asking his next question, â€œWhat did you do about it then? If the medics learned that healing the new strain of summer fever was all that was needed to prevent deaths, what did you do after that? Iâ€™d assume that the Mizukage didnâ€™t keep the medics sitting around Kiri doing nothing. You were sent out into the rest of the country to see what help could be provided, correct?â€
â€œWhat good would it have done? Youâ€™re fine if you can get healed within the first two weeks. It had been over three weeks since the fever had gotten to Kirigakure.â€
â€œSo it was just assumed that everyone outside Kirigakure was dead and they concentrated on the village instead. Is that what youâ€™re saying?â€
Niyame sighed, lifting her head to look at her questioner. â€œYesâ€¦noâ€¦thatâ€™s not what Iâ€™m saying. The Mizukage didnâ€™t want to let us go at first, so it took a while to get teams set up. At least two members of each team were either a full medic or a combat medic-nin so that we could help anyone we found. It wasnâ€™t so bad in the first few villages; they hadnâ€™t had summer fever for very long, so we could heal many of the sick and save them. Once we got closer to the coastline though, there were more and more dead to deal with. Some people seemed to have a bit of resistance so they werenâ€™t as ill, but so many died. It seemed like everyone died. A few of the smallest villages are completely gone now. So many dead.â€ Her voice faded away slowly and she stared down at the bed once again.
â€œI asked to be sent to two of the outer islands as part of my route. I wanted to see how badly Abunta and Moetra were affected; I had to see for myself. Did you know that theyâ€™d actually be one island if the sea level was lower? Thatâ€™s how close the islands are. Children from each island raid the other as practice for when they become genin. It wasnâ€™t really very hard; water walking is one of the first skills island genin learn after swimming. After all, if you live surrounded by water, youâ€™d better be able to deal with it. And sometimes, when the tides were right, you could walk from one island to the other even if you didnâ€™t know how to water walk; thatâ€™s how shallow the water is in a few places. Of course, the kids get in trouble when theyâ€™re caught, but all the adults understand. They did it themselves when they were kids, after all.â€ The silence in the hospital room was complete. Even the sounds from outside seemed muted, hushed, so that her quiet words could be heard.
â€œAbunta is closer in, so we went there first. The village there is a little bit larger than the one on Moetra, but that didnâ€™t mean a thing. So many, so many gone, there were just so many goneâ€¦. It hurt to walk past the houses and see all those bodies lying there. No, thatâ€™s not true; it was harder to see the survivors and the living dead. We treated the ones we could, but it was too late for so many of them, far too late. We stayed around long enough to help bury one of the families that had been wiped out. I found out later that it was Michiyoâ€™s family. She never told me she was from Abunta, yet weâ€™d worked on teams several times in the past. I never got to meet her family. We probably raided each others homes as kids and I never knew we grew up so close.
â€œWe finally went over to Moetra to check on the residents there. The islands arenâ€™t far apart so we just ran across the water. Maybe it would have been better to take a boat. I donâ€™t know. It would have taken us longer to get there. The village on Moetra is smaller, so seeing so many people missing was hard. You could tell where all the new graves were because of the fresh dirt. Someone had been keeping up with the deaths; probably some of the living dead. So much fresh dirt.â€
Ibiki heard a soft gasp over the sound of Niyameâ€™s words, and turning his head slightly saw how pale Imari-taichou had gotten. The ambassadorâ€™s head was bowed, hiding his expression. He turned back to Niyame as she continued speaking.
â€œDid you know there is a clan of artisans on the island of Moetra? Renowned throughout Mizu no Kuni for their ceramics and glassworks. In their clan, itâ€™s expected you join the family business and learn to handle glass or clay. Even the children are involved somehow. They say the founder of the clan chose the island because of the clay found there and theyâ€™ve been part of Moetra for several generations. But now, no one knows if the clan will survive. So many dead on the island. And the living dead are the hardest to see.â€
â€œYouâ€™ve said that before, â€˜living deadâ€™,â€ Ibiki interrupted. â€œWhat does that mean? Someone is either alive or dead; thereâ€™s no middle ground.â€ Niyame looked surprised when he spoke, as if sheâ€™d forgotten the rest of her audience in the room.
â€œBecause you donâ€™t die right away. It can take weeks for the disease to finally win. You just get weaker and weaker and weaker, and finally it hurts to even breathe. You canâ€™t breathe and everyone dies. They all die and it hurts, oh how it hurts them!â€ Niyameâ€™s head was bowed again, the bald words being forced out from behind clenched teeth. Ibiki waited to see if she would continue on her own before speaking again.
â€œWhat did you find on the island, Kisagawa-san?â€
â€œI told you! Dead, dead, dead people! The recently dead, the walking dead, those who didnâ€™t know they were dead. There were so many of them. Who knows if that clan will survive now? All because we didnâ€™t pay attention in time. Itâ€™s all our faultâ€¦.â€
â€œYou still havenâ€™t explained why you called them â€˜walking deadâ€™ though. What did you do once you reached this island?â€ Niyame didnâ€™t answer for long moments. She just sat there, shoulders shaking and her head bowed over her knees. Ibiki was getting annoyed again at the lack of progress when she spoke again.
â€œTheyâ€™re walking dead because thereâ€™s nothing that can be done for them. I said that if you get healed in the first two weeks of catching it, youâ€™ll be fine. If youâ€™ve had summer fever longer than that, itâ€™s harder to heal. It takes a lot more energy and effort by the medics. If itâ€™s been longer than a month, thereâ€™s nothing to be done. Do you understand now?â€ She looked at the others in the room, not really seeing the confusion on their faces. â€œYou canâ€™t do anything for them. Theyâ€™ll just get sicker and sicker and weaker until they die. You. Canâ€™t. Do. Anything. Theyâ€™re dead, even though their bodies havenâ€™t realized it yet.
â€œDo you know what the worst part is?â€ she continued without pause. â€œThe children. Theyâ€™re so full of life and energy and so their bodies fight longer. Theyâ€™re all dead, it just takes longer for them to realize it.â€ Once more she dropped her head to her knees and started rocking back and forth, murmuring â€œeveryoneâ€™s deadâ€ in a strained voice. Raido stared at her expressionlessly, one hand on her shoulder while Ibiki watched for several seconds before moving over to stand before the Hokage and the Ambassador.
â€œWell, thatâ€™s probably all the information she has. If she spent weeks trying to help the sick, traveled to the outer islands and then turned around and headed here, Iâ€™m not surprised sheâ€™s exhausted. Actually, Iâ€™m surprised sheâ€™s as coherent as she appears to be.â€ At the first signs of anger in Imariâ€™s eyes, he held up a head before saying â€œYes, Iâ€™m sure all Mist-nin are strong and capable and excellent shinobi. No one is disputing that. That doesnâ€™t take away from the fact that she should probably be sleeping right now. Was there anything else, Tsunade-sama?â€
â€œJust see if you can get that scroll away from her, or if sheâ€™ll give it to Kenji-sama instead.â€
Turning back to the bed, Ibiki found that he didnâ€™t need to do anything else though. Raido had the scroll now, forgotten while the woman finally grieved. However much Ibiki may have wanted to see what it contained, the scroll was handed over to the ambassador without hesitation.
Several hours later, Tsunade stared out the window of her office, thinking about the information written in the other scrolls sheâ€™d read, the ones from Niyameâ€™s travel pouch. It was morning already and sheâ€™d wasted the entire night reading through book after book of medical data and history. The Mizukage would probably be surprised to find she owned several of those books, since they had originally come from Kirikagure.Â Â It was in one of those books where she found the notes carefully written on the page margins.
The unknown Leaf medic detailed how summer fever, a minor viral disease found only in the Water Country, was actually a cyclic disease that changed every 30 years or so. The notes documented the most recent prior outbreak and how decimated the population of the country had been at the time. No wonder Mizu no Kuni was the smallest of the Five Great Countries. It wasnâ€™t just because of the location, but also because the population was frequently winnowed by this fever, war between the countries and their own blood-thirsty habits. She wondered idly if anyone from Konoha had ever thought to send this bit of information to the Mizukage or if it had been held secret, another weapon to use in the never-ending war between the lands.
After a week of constant requests, the medics finally released Niyame from the hospital and allowed her to move to the Mizu no Kuni Embassy in town. She reluctantly settled into the room assigned and set out to speak to the Ambassador the first chance she got.
â€œKenji-sama, do you have a moment, please?â€ She found him sitting in a sunny room over-filled with plants, tingeing the light fainting green. He continued staring out the open windows, not responding or acknowledging her presence. Just as she was about to ask again, he turned to her and sighed.
â€œI suppose you want to return home and see what has happened,â€ he said quietly.
â€œYes, sir. I didnâ€™t have much of a chance to see to the family. Iâ€™m not even sure how many or who survived out on the island. Iâ€™d like to see to that as well as speak to the Mizukage about what can be done for the outer islands,â€ she said.
In reply, the ambassador reached into his jacket and pulled out a scroll then tossed it onto the table beside him. â€œIâ€™m afraid that isnâ€™t possible. Iâ€™ve received orders from the Mizukage about you.â€
Niyame was shocked. Sheâ€™d only been in Konoha forâ€¦ a quick pause to add up daysâ€¦ just over two weeks. It hadnâ€™t even been a month since she left Mizu no Kuni, why would the Mizukage have sent orders already? Uncertain, she picked up the scroll and opened it slowly, reading the words there with a sense of disbelief.
â€œIâ€™m to remain here, part of the embassy, until ordered otherwise by the Mizukage. I wonâ€™t be part of your guard detail but will be considered a â€˜specialâ€™ jounin under your command and Iâ€™m to follow your orders without question.â€ She let her hands drop, the scroll forgotten as she stared at the ambassador in disbelief. â€œKenji-sama, this makes no sense. Iâ€™m needed back in Moetra to see whatâ€™s happened to the family. I not going to be any use stuck here in Konoha. Besides, I really donâ€™t want to reside here surrounded by enemiesâ€
Kenji didnâ€™t look at her at all; he just said again, â€œThat isnâ€™t possible. Your brother, Yuhiko, will have to look after the family for now. Heâ€™s also been placed under my command on detached duty, just as you are, and Iâ€™ve sent him orders regarding the situation and what I expect him to do. You will be more useful here in Konoha. Perhaps you should consider getting to know the residents as more than just enemies.â€
She begged, she pleaded, she threatened to simply leave without permission (that resulted in the threat that sheâ€™d be declared a missing-nin and ordered killed on sight), but in the end, Niyame bowed to the orders from the Mizukage. She was now permanently attached to the embassy in Konoha and under the authority of the Ambassador. And despite her own desires, she was now a resident of the Leaf Village.