“So this is the contract we will be working off of?” Fushin sat with us in a tent as soon as he regained consciousness. They’d been keeping most of the now diminished group drugged and gagged.
“It’s also proof of your involvement, and a way to ensure if you ever do come for assistance you won’t be killed for claiming it.” Haku laid out the lines on the bottom of the page for the physical contract we’d made. There was a bit of minutia in there but the short of it was they were to act as decoys while we went about our business. They could run away as much as they needed to and had some discretion to use lethal force if threatened.
That wording was more a warning than anything else. We wouldn’t be traveling with them so there wasn’t any way to enforce their behavior, but if they acted in good faith they’d help divert the forces that were attacking us.
“When does this end? How will you contact us?” Fushin looked at the contract.
“Ostensibly, when we finish our mission. Practically, it’ll be when the payments stop.” I added as I looked at the contract, “I have an approved budget for your activities right here. Based on current rates and the predicted length of our mission, you’ll get this much weekly.”
His eyebrows jumped at the number on the sheet as he looked at me, “How are you able to give that much?”
“You’re taking on the equivalent of, depending on the danger, a B to A rank mission. You’re also doing so as independent contractors, so you don’t pay certain taxes in regards to upkeep. Though a chunk has been taken out to help pay for the promise of continued sanctuary even after the mission under the conditions that you don’t break any treatise with another shinobi village.” Haku replied.
“What does that mean exactly?” Fushin said.
“Avoid other shinobi villages basically,” I shrugged, “The treaties mostly just apply to working in and around shinobi village propers. In the field it’s impossible to prove who was an aggressor and what deaths were done in self defense rather than actual malice. So long as you stay in civilian areas or if you do go to a shinobi village don’t get in any trouble, you won’t be doing anything that we wouldn’t be able to protect you from.”
“Though you probably shouldn’t try claiming sanctuary before the contract is complete.” Haku added, “We suspect several of the people we’re avoiding are coming from Water itself.”
“How long does that mean though? When do you think we’ll be able to use this if it ever comes up?” Fushin asked.
“When Mei’s finished cleaning house.” Zabuza interjected from where he was propping up the wall. “By that point, most dissenters should be gone if not pushed into hiding.”
“I thought we were looking for the missing seven swords.” I said dryly.
He shrugged his shoulders, “It fills the time. We’ve located one of them so far, if we can manage to find any others it’ll be a bonus.”
“What are the seven swords?” Chino spoke up this time, having been looking through the contract.
“They’re seven unique shinobi weapons, of which three are missing, one is stolen.” I said, “We’ve figured out where Kiba is, but the others not so much.”
“Oh, what did they look like?” Chino scooted over from where she had been drinking tea.
“Why do you need to know?” Zabuza asked this time.
Fushin interjected this time. “Because we might have seen them. Before all this, we worked as fighters for a man named En Oyashiro, an arms dealer. He’s also known as th..”
“The Merchant of Death.” Zabuza grimaced, “I’ve heard of him. He’s not got a very good reputation.”
I blinked, looking at him, “What’s he known for?”
“Not being killed. Arms dealing, specifically working with shinobi weapons, is outlawed in all countries with a daimyo. There are stories of several villages sending assassins to make an example of him, all attempts have been very lethal. Though no one knows if it’s because of some hidden body guard of his, or him himself that’s doing it he’s gotten quite the reputation.”
“Is that where the name comes from?” I asked.
“No, he’s an arms dealer, giving shinobi grade weapons to civilians.” Zabuza said dryly, “Explosive tags, chakra forged blades and the like, any bandit with even a little chakra control could do massacres with that sort of stuff.”
“He also collects Kekkai Genkai users.” Fushin says, “Uses them to fight in arena matches.” He looks down.
I set my teeth and looked away, my recent brush with that world resurfacing. Maybe my little rampage killed this dude, he certainly sounded like he deserved it. But if he lived up to the name, probably not. Instead I pulled out a piece of paper and sketched out the missing blades. It didn’t take long to get a basic shape. Besides anything else, the seven swords were pretty distinctive in style. I held up the paper, “Here are the two still unaccounted for.”
The group gathered around but they didn’t need to. “That one,” Fushin pointed at the picture, “I remember he brought it down to the others to see if anyone could wield it. No one could really figure out how to use it because it was so unwieldy but…”
“Yeah, I remember.” Kayru said, “What a weird blade, who the hell fights with a giant sewing needle?.”
I blinked and looked back at Haku, who shrugged before speaking, “Do you know what happened to it?”
“He sold it.” Fushin said, “That’s what he always does when none of us can use something in the ring.”
“To whom?” I asked.
Chino held up the paper, “I think I have an idea. Apparently he was having trouble moving it, but after he met up with this weird guy, it was removed from the store house.”
“Well he was really pale, had long dark hair and his eyes were sort of like?” She thought about it for a moment. But my stomach started sinking at the description. “What is, oh right, they were pale yellow, like a snake.”
Merci pour le chapitre
I don’t know if I should be happy that it’s someone they know, or if it’s Orochimaru. Hopely Ume will survive this aswell and her luck doesn’t run out, because honestly Ume is such a danger magnet and an overwork girl boss