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Jan. 29th, 2006 @ 11:56 pm June 3rd
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Zetsu pushed through the shadows, his Akatsuki cloak standing out against the faded browns of the tree he was pulling away from. He could sense Sasori was nearby, but could not discern where. This troubled him, and he frowned slightly. This far into the woods, there was little underbrush, and Sasori's puppet armor was large, and difficult to disguise without aid of genjutsu. His flytrap growths creaked, the lower spines whispering as they grated against each other.

A small boy ran through the forest, his eyes red from crying. He stopped not too far from the discontented Akatsuki, thought not seeming to have noticed his presence yet. The boy’s soft sobbing was all that could be heard echoing in the trees.

Zetsu paused, half in shadow, flat gold eyes staring blankly. He had sensed Sasori, but no others. This was unexpected, but also, Sasori was not one to take lightly. Perhaps this was one of Sasori's? Zetsu blinked slowly, prepared to meld with the trees and grass should the boy suddenly explode or fling poison grenades or kunai.

The boy’s gray eyes darted around and a soft whimpering, “Mama,” could be heard beneath his crying. When he finally caught sight of the half-exposed Akatsuki his shriek was enough to make the nearby birds scatter. His eyes said he wanted to run, but not knowing where to go he merely scampered behind the nearest tree.

Zetsu did not have time for hide and seeking games, but if catching the boy meant finding Sasori....He shrugged his shoulders, sighing as his plantlike-mandibles shuddered again. It was quick work to meld with the trees and emerge behind the boy, his flytrap mandibles snapping shut around the child's torso.

Sasori’s armor puppet appeared behind Zetsu, the genjutsu hiding him dispelled the minute Zetsu snapped up the boy. His scorpion tail wrapped around the tree and tapped on the now lifeless puppet in Zetsu’s grasp. “You realize you would be dead now if I chose. Kawaige only attacks once in contact with another person.”

Zetsu did not enjoy being pinned to the tree, his frown deepening as his mandibles snapped open again so he could look over his shoulder at Sasori. "Leader-sama sent a message. He is looking for Itachi, and he wants to know if you remembered your mission. He is...becoming irritated."

Kawaige was swiftly lifted up by Sasori’s tail and brought back to its master. After a quick inspection the puppet returned to its sealing scroll and disappeared into the armor’s cloak, to be retrieved by the real Sasori inside. “I have not seen Itachi since the raid on Iwagakure, nor do I care about his whereabouts. As for my mission... There is a complication.”

Zetsu waited, blinking slowly. Itachi missing when Leader-sama wanted him was...bad. Kisame had not been heard from, either. Which was also bad. Leader-sama was becoming irritated with the lack of progress, and that was very bad. Zetsu was beginning to get..anxious. He watched Sasori for a long moment.. "What...complication?"

“My target has been moving in between Suna and Konoha, making it difficult to acquire it. Now I have word that it is in his possession.” A little more bitterness rang in Sasori’s voice. He cared little of those he worked with, save for his own use of them, but a common goal kept them working together and he disliked those who went against the organization. If only because it hindered his own purposes.

Zetsu frowned deeper. "That...does make things difficult."

Leader-sama would not be pleased to find out that Orochimaru had the one-tailed demon's vessel, now.

“From my spies he does not appear to have the same goal for it as we do, but retrieving it will require more than myself if we want to take it from him. There is the chance that an opportunity may still present itself for its capture outside of his influence, but my spies cannot get close enough to determine if that will be plausible.” The armor puppet lowered closer to the ground, a reaction to Sasori’s momentary thoughts. From his years teamed with the now traitor Sasori knew Orochimaru would do everything to keep the demon in his control.

The spines whispered as Zetsu stared long and hard for a few moments before he spoke slowly. "He may...try to use it...for the body switch?"

Zetsu doubted it would work well, but if Orochimaru was set on it, then he would probably try anyway. "If...it fails, that would give us an opening. Would it not?"

Sasori’s tail continually curled and unfurled above his armor body as he thought. While he had to wait three years to transfer to a new body, during that time the vessel he chose could be very useful or very dangerous. And inferior body would only hinder him. But the technique itself forced his consciousness into the container, blocking out all but the ghost of its being in favor of his. How safely would it be to try that on a person who already has a second consciousness inside him trying to get out?

“I do not believe he will try that. He likes to test things before using a technique, and there are far too many unknown variables in trying to possess a creature already possessed. Just having him in his control gives him a powerful weapon. If Leader-sama wants this target taken by force from him I’ll need others familiar with his fighting style to help. He was not allowed in Akatsuki for nothing.”

"Mm." Zetsu inclined his head, staring at nothing. "Leader-sama will be told...of these new developments." That still did not account for Itachi or Kisame, but that would have to be dealt with later. This new information was a higher priority. "Do you know of anyone...in specific you would need?"

“As of now, no.” Considering he was partnered with Orochimaru most likely he knew the Sannin traitor’s style best of Akatsuki. “I must think of who would be most advantageous. Though Itachi’s Sharingan would be useful with its numerous stolen jutsu.” Indeed, with Orochimaru’s list of jutsu another with such knowledge would be useful, just as Sasori’s range of puppet jutsu would help. “Inform Leader-sama I will assist in locating Itachi until told otherwise. My spies will keep track of the target’s whereabouts.”

"Understood." Zetsu nodded, stepping back until he phased into the tree he had previously been thrown against.
Scribbles in the sand