Kakashi surfaced from the deep meditative state he was in. Opening his eyes, he tried to pinpoint what had him on alert. The years of being on missions had honed his ability to sense something different and could potentially cause harm to himself or his team. A ping on his chakra senses had Kakashi springing to his feet, Tenzō and Itachi following right behind him, all facing the door.
Kakashi concentrated, and just on the other side of the door was a familiar chakra signature. Kakashi kept a kunai in his hand as he nodded to Tenzō to release the seal on the door.
Tenzō's hands formed the necessary seal and he whispered, "Kai."
Kakashi felt the rubber band snap of the tightly coiled chakra release, which cause Shishui and Yugao to shoot to their feet, weapons held at the ready.
The door slid open and the familiar silhouette of Jiraiya was standing in the doorway. He blinked rapidly at the sudden light but took a step into the house. "What a welcome!" Jiraiya boomed, barely looking around the room at Team Ro all with weapons held at the ready.
Tenzō closed the door behind the sannin and reset all of the seals with a whispered command.
"You are late, Jiraiya-sama," Itachi replied softly. "Harumi-chan was kidnapped and taichou was invited into the Village Hidden in the Rain by the man that kidnapped her, you will forgive us if we are a little on edge."
Jiraiya grinned, the red lines on his cheeks moving with the movement, "Always so polite, Itachi-kun. But not to worry, Jiraiya the great sage of Miubaku is here to tell you all that I know to ensure that you all have the best chance to make it through this alive."
Kakashi rolled his eye at the man's antics, it was easy to forget that Jiraiya is deadly, especially when he acts like this. But then again, it is the perfect disguise, no one looks too closely at the visiting goofball.
Jiraiya moved closer to the fire, holding his hands over the low flames, warming them, "It seems that Hanzo was defeated a long time ago and a man known as Pein has taken over the village. He is known as a god and has a woman who is his spokesperson known as Lady Angel."
Shishui shook his head, "We already know that."
Jiraiya sighed, "Patience Shishui, I need to make sure we are all on the same page before I can move onto specifics. Now the reason they say Pein is a god is because it seems that he controls the weather."
"You mean he makes it rain all the time?" Yugao interrupted.
"Yes," Jiraiya answered, "He stops the rain on certain days, such as for a celebration. He also stops the rain one day a week and that day changes often. The god Pein is said to bring about this new world with the help of Lady Angel and his prophet, a man in an orange mask. This man is said to be anywhere in the world at one time, that he can travel through walls and through unknown distances. People claim to have seen him walk through a locked door. The orange masked man also has two very distinct personalities. One is child like, he likes to play games and also likes to play pranks on people. This personality is primarily used around Ame, but it is not confined to there. This personality is usually used to make people feel comfortable around him. The second personality has a deep voice and talks logic. This personality is used to convince farmers to leave their farms and head over to Ame, it causes nuknin to follow Pein.
"It is difficult to know when those personalities will come out, however it is also noted that they do change places often, depending on the situation."
"So, the serious personality must be the one that we talked to," Kakashi mused.
"Most likely," Tenzō replied.
"Do you have any idea when the next non rainy day is?" Yugao asked.
"I have it under good authority that it will be soon, if only because it hasn't happened yet," Jiraiya answered.
"Do we even need to wait?" Shishui asked, "I mean, Kakashi was invited. Why go to all the trouble to kidnap one person, to tell another to come and get the kidnapped person only to block their entrance into the area?"
Itachi nodded, "That is true, however, it might be a tactical advantage if Kakashi-taichou would show up without warning them."
"They already know he is coming, they should already be on the lookout and prepared," Shishui argued.
"It doesn't matter if they are expecting Taichou or not, we don't need to wave a bright red flag announcing our arrival," Itachi countered.
"Enough," Kakashi's voice cut through the argument before it could continue. "Jiraiya-sama, do you have a map or a layout of the village? The masked man said that he would be in the tallest tower in Ame. We can safely assume that Harumi wouldn't be kept there and only brought there once we are spotted."
Jiraiya nodded and pulled a scroll out of his hip pouch, "Ame is very different from any other hidden village. They build tall buildings and are very industrial in nature. You will find lots of metal buildings and should remember that metal makes noise easier than any other surface."
"So how are we going to get into Ame?" Itachi asked.
Jiraiya unrolled the scroll and pointed to the map, "There are many entrances into Ame, it doesn't have fortifications like Suna does, but that is mostly because they are surrounded by so much water, and the rain. Unlike Konoha though, the streets are straight paths, along with different levels. At the very center of the whole village is the building that was once the watch spire. Since it is the tallest building in all of Ame. It also contains the administration and Kage's library. This is most likely what the masked man was talking about. One thing to remember, is that most buildings are not separated from each other, there are ways to move from building to building without having to leave a building group. Remember when I said there were levels, well the levels are the bridges that connect the different areas of Ame. You can get anywhere on the ground, but most places are built upwards, rather than outwards. That means you can have a single building where each story is a different business or residence. There are bridges and other walkways that are there to help people navigate.
"Although, if you are not familiar with the area, you will get lost. It is very easy to get lost there," Jiraiya said a thoughtful look in his eye. He blinked, and the look was gone, "But the easiest way to get to the watch spire is to enter through one of the gates, over the bridge and just walk forward. All the major roads lead there."
"So not unlike other villages then," Shishui said.
"Similar in some ways, vastly different in others. You will also notice most of the shinobi have a slash on their forehead protector. It symbolizes that they are loyal to Pein and not to Hanzo. Since Hanzo himself called the group nuknin."
"So, you are saying that taichou is going into a village made of nuknin?" Tenzō asked.
"Yes," Jiraiya replied. "But you won't be alone, at least Kakashi will have all of you with him."
"Where would they keep Harumi?" Kakashi asked.
"From what I understand, they don't have a prison, or something similar. They also don't have a specific place dedicated to interrogation, so my best guess would be in the watch spire. However, if the rumors of the masked man are correct, then Harumi could be anywhere and the masked man will just transport her to the spire."
"Great," Shishui said, "so we have no idea where Harumi would be kept. Which means we can't just pop in, grab her and go. We actually have to face the man, who knows we are coming. I just want to go on record and say that nothing good can come of this."
"Quiet, Shishui," Yugao said, "you are not helping."
"A miracle, that is what we need," he answered.
Kakashi ignored the two. While Shishui is correct, Kakashi always knew this wasn't going to end well for him. He had a promise to keep. This time, maybe just this once the gods would look upon him favorably and he would be able to keep his promise. "Jiraiya-sama, is there any way you can sneak into the village with my team? I could walk through the main gates. Which would cause enough of a distraction, I think."
"I could bring two in, Kakashi," Jiraiya answered.
"I could come in through a different entrance," Shishui offered.
"I think those that can't sneak in with Jiraiya-sama, should just walk in with Kakashi-taichou. That way they won't be worried about anyone else trying to get in," Itachi said, "After all, Ame knows that Konoha is famous for its views on teamwork and it would look strange for taichou to show up alone. This way we may trick them into thinking this was a simple three-man team."
"That is a good idea," Jiraiya replied, "I think it would work."
Kakashi nodded, "So the plan is that Jiraiya-sama and two people will sneak into Ame, while myself and the other two will just walk in through the front gates."
"Who is going to go with Jiraiya-sama?" Shishui asked.
"I think Itachi and Yugao should come with me, while Tenzō and Shishui should go with Jiraiya. Both Tenzō and Shishui have ways to move around quickly which is helpful in such a large area. Which should give us a better surprise element," Kakashi said.
"Sounds like a good plan, will you have radios to communicate?"
"We have them available, but I do know that it is doubtful that I will be able to talk on mine."
"But Itachi and Yugao could give updates on what is going on."
"True," Kakashi agreed. He glanced at his team, they were already nodding at him, knowing that the four of them would have radios attached to themselves even before they left. "If that is our plan, then let's continue to rest for the night then we will leave at first light. Jiraiya-sama, how long will it take you to get to Ame?"
"It shouldn't take me too long, but to be on the safe side, I think we should leave one hour before you."
Kakashi nodded, "Then we will leave just after first light. We will be moving fast, I can't afford to be late."
Team Ro nodded.
"We will be fast, taichou. Don't worry too much."
" Harumi-san will be mad at you if you walk into battle at anything other than your best."
"We have your back, taichou, just like you have ours."
Team Ro answered, their voices talking over each other.
Jiraiya grinned, "You have a good team, Kakashi."
Kakashi nodded, "Get some rest, it will be a difficult journey and I will need everyone at their best."
"Hai," Team Ro answered before they went back to their sleeping areas and looked through their packs to ensure they had everything they needed. There was a slight hissing sound of radios being turned on and tested.
Kakashi nodded again, Team Ro is a wonderful team, they were the best that Kakashi could make them. Kakashi always promised his teammates that he would bring them all home, this time though, the promise was to bring Harumi home. If that meant Kakashi had to die, then that was a worthy sacrifice.
Kakashi could only hope that Naruto and Harumi would understand.
AN: Welp, it is going down now. Buckle up folks, it's hitting the fan now. I know I keep saying "this is my last chapter" or "only one more chapter left," but I want to give you all as much as I can before I have to stop so that I can post the two different endings at the same time. But yes, only a couple more chapters left until that time. Unless I can think of a few more things to throw into this.