The clearing was quiet as the two old friends stared at each other. Jiraiya had a grim face while Tsunade also tried to appear glum but inwardly she was feeling quite giddy. Who would have known this portable info-bank would come to her right when she needed some intel about the happenings in the world?
In the end, Tsunade raised her eyebrow at him and asked. "Since you are here, do tell what is happening in the world. I know you have quite a lot of information."
Jiraiya smirked at her and took it as praise. Tsunade was obviously complimenting his awesome spy network! His ego was almost reaching clouds! "Ah, ah, ah," He wiggled his eyebrows at her. "I am afraid that"s for Hokage"s ears only!" Then, with a smirk, he added. "But maybe if you go on a date with me..." He trailed off.
The more he opened his mouth, the more the corner of Tsunade"s mouth twitched in annoyance. She never liked Jiraiya"s overly playful personality but at least he had enough sense to not ask anything perverted. Alas, he was out of luck. She already had a man and would not go on a date with another, much less Jiraiya. Fortunately for her, Tsunade knew exactly what worked on Jiraiya.
Jiraiya could only widen his eyes into saucers as Tsunade"s fist met a nearby tree, utterly devastating it. He watched the upper part of the tree fall onto the ground because the middle part of its trunk was obliterated by one punch... and then he spotted Tsunade"s gaze on his belly, giving it a similar look like the bark of the now non-existent trunk. He shuddered and loudly gulped.
"I am sure we can find a compromise, Jiraiya!" Tsunade cheerfully eye-smiled at him. "What about you being a good pal and telling me what you know and I will leave your bones in their unbroken state?" She said but then pursed her lips and tilted slightly her head. "I am kinda curious if you would get out of Kiri with a broken spine though...." She trailed off, and Jiraiya took an unsure step back. This Tsunade... His former teammate was somewhat different. More cheerful and not as depressed as she should have been. Worse yet, he was completely unsure if she would actually follow with her threat. Her expression showed only an amusedly raised eyebrow and lips raised into a smirk as she watched him like a hawk. But despite the danger, he was still a loyal Konoha shinobi! And so, he did what any Konoha shinobi would do when confronted by angry Senju.
"Fine..." He said fearfully. Jiraiya, despite his loyalty, liked his bones in their correct place. And anyway, Tsunade was Konoha shinobi even if she was currently on long, long unpaid leave. It"s not like a Senju would ever betray Konoha and he really didn"t have incredibly valuable intel either... The atmosphere between the two instantly lightened and both chuckled. They lived and fought together through thick and thin so both knew the other quite well. It was always joking like this that enabled them to keep their cool and not succ.u.mb to depression during hard years of war. With a sigh, Jiraiya started. "The Kumogakure is restocking their border outposts with better weapons. They try to hide it so it is a very slow process, not to say it"s something very normal so it usually wouldn"t be reported but my spies," Tsunade rolled her eyes at the word "spies" as from his activities, she was very aware just what kind of "spies" Jiraiya had. Tsunade was however surprised he could pick on something as common as a slight change in restocking the outposts. Seeing her eye-roll, Jiraiya"s mood dropped a bit. "My informants were sharp enough to spot the situation. The weapons that are being sent to the outposts are those that are usually not really needed there. Clearly, somebody is preparing for quick deployment of troops..."
"And let me guess," Tsunade interrupted him. "It"s mostly outposts closest to the borders of the Land of Fire." She said and silence once again engulfed the clearing. It was obvious. Konoha won two wars already and Kumo would not like that. Neither of the remaining four villages liked that, to be honest. Jiraiya just nodded. That meant Kumo will most likely attack mostly Konoha and from their previous behavior during the second war, they won"t really invest much on other fronts. There will obviously be skirmishes against Iwa and Kiri but their offensive would be focused on Konoha. "Okay, next?" Tsunade asked and Jiraiya shrugged.
"Suna is buying wood from Konoha... you can guess what that means. Kiri couldn"t be more obvious. They did so many assassinations in these last years that only an idiot would not know they plan to join the war." He stated but then frowned with a whining sigh. "I am quite mad about it too! Their targets are so random that it"s hard to properly guess who they will attack. My guess is they would go for revenge against Kumo but nothing is certain yet. Sensei is quite worried about Kiri as there is no buffer between us except Wave Country."
"Yes... if Kiri attacks Konoha, the battle will instantly be inside of the Land of Fire." Tsunade nodded. It was a no-brainer. All other shinobi villages had to cross other countries therefore their forces could be spotted or even intercepted easily. But Kiri was a wild card. Worse yet, it was a wild card that was so well positioned, Konoha couldn"t do anything about it! Take the fight onto the sea? That"s suicide against Kiri. Take it into the Land of Water? Sarutobi would never do that. He knows that the Kiri forces would wipe his soldiers out if he tried to fight on their own land. There was literally nothing Hokage could do except strengthening the shore outposts. That however was far from an acceptable countermeasure. Tsunade already knew Kiri would attack Konoha but she kept quiet. Rei had his own plans and she wouldn"t endanger those.
"The problem is Iwa." Jiraiya flopped onto the ground and leaned his back onto a tree. "They are gathering forces. Openly at that. Recruiting from the slaves and making them capable genin cannon fodder quite quickly. As a mountain nation, the Land of Earth is also very wealthy in iron so they have no problem gearing up either... Plus it"s obvious who their target would be. The old man is really bothered by it but he assured me someone competent will hinder them."
Tsunade also leaned onto a tree but didn"t sit down. This was important information. Firstly, Iwa stubbornly wanted revenge and it was obvious the main "event" in the upcoming war would be Iwa versus Konoha. The situation didn"t look well for Konoha. Suna was their grudging ally since they lost the second war but both Kumo and Iwa would be attacking. The Hokage naturally knows Suna would not be really eager to help so Konoha was more or less on their own. Which led Tsunade to the second point, "someone competent". Obviously, it was Danzo. There was no question to be asked about it.
"And I guess Konoha is preparing as well..." Tsunade said and looked at the sky. She didn"t need to hear what the village would be doing. She knew exactly what "preparing" meant. Clearly, Konoha had to even the board by making the pot of hate between villages boil. It wouldn"t do if everyone focused "only" on Konoha. After all, that was exactly how they won the previous wars even though they were majorly outnumbered. As if it was in the "quality" of their shinobi... That thought was laughable in itself. Sure, they had good ninjas but not "that" good. It was all in very underhanded tactics... They were ninja, after all.
Tsunade was hundred percent sure that Danzo"s ROOT would be running circles around the Land of Earth dressed as shinobi from either of the remaining four villages, killing important people. Tsunade had no illusions and knew that Iwa would be in conflict with Kumo and Suna by the start of the war. She also knew that the war would not be really waged in the Lands of the villages. No, it will again be in the smaller countries in-between them. That was why the situation with Kirigakure was making Jiraiya shit himself and most likely the reason why he was actually here. He was surely tasked to find out Kiri"s intentions towards Konoha.
Jiraiya just shrugged and grinned. "So... up for a drink? You know, to remember the old times!" Tsunade chuckled and returned the shrug in acceptance. "It"s a date then!" Jiraiya exclaimed but Tsunade quickly put his hopes down.
"No, it"s not." She dryly deadpanned, inwardly sighing. She only accepted as she knew Jiraiya tended to talk more when drunk and in the company of someone he trusted. Plus both Rei and Konan were on a mission and Mei in the academy... she had an hour to spare so why not gleam more secrets from her toad-loving friend?
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