X


━━━━━━┓༻❁༺┏━━━━━━


Arc X Chapter 2


━━━━━━┛༻❁༺┗━━━━━━


Asami presided over her hastily improvised and poorly organised office that once was her modest apartment.

Her rooms were small, cramped, and ill-suited for all kind of administrative task, but it sufficed as a temporary solution.

For the time being, her former apartment fulfilled its new noble calling and allowed her to govern her emerging realm from the safety and coziness of her living room.

Masanari assured her the would the Hattori provide her soon with a more suitable accommodation. Their clan compound would serve as her impromptu headquarter for her future activities.

The Hattori would also provide her with the necessary staff, servants, and maids. A noble lady of her status shouldn't perform menial task of meagre importance, such as cooking and cleaning. Unimaginable and truly dreadful.

fter such a long time, she would reclaim her old life, that of a true princess. Asami was looking forward to it. She really was.

Asami was patting Katsuki, her personal huggly cuddly fluffball. So soft. So warm. So fluffy. She was such a lovely pet.

Katsuki was a reliable source of profound rest and relaxation in stressful times like these. Moving the wheels of history all by her own was an exceedingly tiresome affair. After a long day of work, little girls like her deserved some well-earned rest.

Asami smiled. Katsuki was so sugar sweet. "How do you like my tickles?"

"Purr." Katsuki closed her eyes and purred in deep satisfaction. She was in heaven. Her mistress treated her well.

"Thought so." Asami smiled. Katsuki enjoyed her preferential treatment in forms of tickles. Her favourite kitten loved being tickled under her fluffy chin or around her cute tiny earsies.

Asami continued indulging her kitten in secret, unseen by prying eyes. For the sake of her honour and pride, nobody was allowed to see her playing with a little kitten. Nobody was allowed to witness her undignified behaviour and her having fun.

...

...

...

A knock at the door interrupted her playing session. The door opened. A ninja entered. It was Kenshin, her personal secretary provided to her by the Hattori clan. What would she do without her helpful aide against the growing mountain of paper.

Kenshin stood straight, his hands folded behind his back. "Lady Asami, I inform you that your guest has arrived."

Asami leaned back in her seat, while still patting Katsuki. "Excellent, guide him here. We don't want to make our guest wait."

"Understood." Kenshin nodded and followed her orders.

Asami welcomed her esteemed guest with a smile. Makoto had finally arrived. "I hope you had a magnificent day, Makoto. Please take a seat."

"Not necessary." He declined.

"Are you sure?"

"Quite."

"I won't disagree." Asami smiled.

"Anyway, you summoned me. What do you require from an old man like me?"

Asami grinned. "An old man ... For an intelligence officer of your calibre, that's quite an understatement, isn't it, Makoto?

I know about your reputation. I know about your exploits during the war. You made quite a name for yourself back then. You served under Hanzo and were responsible for directing Amegakure's intelligence operations. I must say I am quite impressed by your accomplishment."

"..." Makoto hesitated. "I appreciate your compliment. Unsurprisingly, Your Ladyship, is well-informed about my person." He should have expected so.

Asami smiled along. "Why shouldn't I?"

Asami patted her fluffy kitten. The soft cuddly temptation proved irresistible. "My intention is to rely on your expertise and knowledge once again. They are both sorely needed in desperate time like these. I have a series of tasks for a man of your talents."

Makoto raised an eyebrow. "Such as?"

"I want you to rebuild Amegakure's intelligence network. Our services have disintegrated after all these years.

We are blind, Makoto. We rely on rumours and hearsay for information. We stumble around like a fool in the dark. Such circumstances are unacceptable. We require a working intelligence apparatus. We need to know what our enemies are thinking, what our enemies are planning. If the village shall survive the struggles to come, we need to be ahead of them.

Fix this situation, Makoto. You have the experience. You have the connections. You know the men. Gather your people and start your work. We will provide you with funds and personnel."

Makoto He didn't appear enthusiastic. "That is quite the task, if I may speak freely. It might take years ..."

Asami reassured him with a smile. His concerns were understandable. "No need to worry, Makoto, I am a patient person. Neither do I seek, nor do I seek immediate results.

In fact, you will need to operate with limited resources in terms of trained personnel. The military takes precedence when it comes to the allocation of ninja. Kaoru and her clan have their hands busy with reorganising our forces from scratch. They will need every ninja they can get.

You will rely thus mostly rely on civilian personnel, merchants, artisans, etc. I hope that's not an issue. Personally, I think that's not the case, as the vast majority of ninja aren't exactly cut out for the intelligence business. Ironically, they lack stealth and secrecy. And those few who are, those are easily ... replaceable.

So take your time and proceed with diligence. If it takes years, so be it. We are willing to play the long game if necessary."

Makoto didn't object. "A reasonable approach ... I will commence my work tomorrow. I will try to reactivate some of my old channels. If we are lucky, they are still functional. Anything else you require?"

"Yes, before I forget, I would appreciate your help with a set of projects, projects of the more special kind ... Delicate operations, and a personal inquiry of mine. Strictest secrecy is demanded, and highest confidentiality must be maintained. Their existence must remain guarded at any cost. You are the right man."

Makoto paid attention. "I am listening."


━━━━━━┛༻❁༺┗━━━━━━