(Note: Keep in mind Yui we are mountain heading into a cave, not exactly a "house")
Nana was so used to people being physically comfortable around her she didn't notice the Twins' apprehension. Shimiko wanted to say something but she figured if the twins were really unhappy they'd tell her. She trusted Nana not to be too intimidating and overbearing. If she tried to rescue and correct her old gran in front of the Mountain Elders it might cause them to second guess their decision to let them in the Clan. Nana's eyes flashed a brilliant red as she activated her Ketsuryan in response to their question. When it came to special eating requests, the woman's blood lust increased tenfold. Nana was known for killing some of the biggest and most frightening game in the country. All in service of feeding her Clan members.
"I have just what you guys need! Follow meeeeee!!!
Nana would take them by the hand and bring them into the cave. Wangchuk Mountain was just that, a mountain. However, it had been so expertly hollowed out and engineered it also functioned as a mega-apartment complex. The rooms were plentiful and luxurious with plenty of room for parties, prayer, and various get-togethers. The old woman scurried as fast as she could to her custom-kitchen. She was practically pulling the twins into the inner recesses of the mountain. The internals of the mountain were lit via torches that were placed at regular intervals. They went down a winding staircase, through several corridors, until they reached a door. Nana opened it with a key and pulled them inside. The Twins would find themselves in a massive kitchen replete with exotic meats hanging from the ceiling, boxes of rare and extremely exotic vegetables, and of course fridges stocked with ancient spices. The Chinoike diet was a thing to truly behold. It was part of the reason why even though Nana was 228 years old, she didn't look a day older than 80. The kitchen was sparkingly clean despite the fact that it was used to fill the bellies of hundreds of mountain-folk.
There were several such kitchens within Wangchuk Mountain and Nana Chinoike had this one all to herself. She turned around and pinched Yui and Yua's cheeks. She wanted them to truly appreciate the splendor with which she worked. Their bellies would be bursting at the seams soon enough.
"I have plenty of human meat!
" she said her eyes shining brightly. "Here at Wangchuk Mountain, we Chinoike call it: Resotototonoshokuryohin
”. It was an extremely obnoxious mouthful but Chinoike culture could be quite esotieric at times. "Repeat after me Yui and Yua: Resotototonoshokuryohin.
If they successfully repeated the name or a close approximation to it, Nana would proceed to press a button on the wall. The goat, bat, cow, and pig carcasses would retract upwards to a higher part of the ceiling. The manflesh would be lowered from a secret compartment in the upper echelons of the room. Man meat was banned in the Lightning Country, however the Chinoike had supreme authority over this section of the mountains. So long as the wrong people didn't go missing, none of the feudal lords bothered them. This was a tradition that preceded the founding of Kumogakure. It was part of the mutual understanding that the Inazuma had with the Chinoike and it was expected that this understanding what continue until the end of time. Their brethren in the city of Kumogakure had dropped cannibalism and taken on the cuisine of the civilized world. Many of them argued that cannibalism was only done out of desperation. When a plague killed a herd of goats and there was not enough food to be harvested in the bleak and barren lands surrounding the mountains, the Chinoike turned on their neighbors. Non-Chinoike were captured and served to fill the starving bellies of young lads. The need for such a barbaric practice had ceased now that they had a steady supply of food from around the world. But some of the Elders maintained that this was their way and that necessity did not dictate their culture. The practice was continued by the mountain-folk of the Clan while the more modern members abandoned it.
Shimiko knew how to cook it but she rarely served it to the twins. The meat was quite illegal and the Church would occasionally allow a body or two to go "missing" so that it could end up in a stew pot. However, such incidences were rare. Shimiko could persuade Nariko that it was fine to kill criminals convicted of capital offenses but she got to persuade the Raikage that it was proper to eat them. Fortunately, they weren't in Kumogakure any more. They were in the heart of Chinoike territory. What Nariko did not know could not hurt her.
Six corpses would be lowered down into the kitchen. The bodies hung on meat racks perfectly preserved and flavored. The bodies were shredded of skin and nasty bits leaving nothing but succulent flesh. The heads were placed on the rack as mere decoration, a grim reminder of what type of human meat was on display.
Nana snatched a knife off of the table and pointed to the first corpse. The corpse belonged to a corpulent man and it was dripping with fat and a sweet-sticky sauce.
"Gabbaola, fat man meat. Very thick and juicy but not healthy at all. We save it for important celebrations such as your induction ceremony.
Nana would cut off a slice and feed it to the twins. It was a small sample to tide them over and just so that they could decide which meat was their favorite. She turned to the next corpse:
"Pickadillio, muscule-man meat. Bodybuilder style human flesh. Extremely muscular and therefore chewy. It makes for excellent jerky. We often pickle it.
Another sample would find its way into the twins' mouths.
"Meeko-Meeko. Basically meat belonging to someone really smart. This is the rarest of our meats. We have a dealer that supplies us with a few bodies every five years. We mash the brain and used it as a spread. Don't get used to this one. We only cook Meeko-Meeko once every ten years.
The grandmother cut off a slice of flesh and smeared brain matter over it then popped it into the twins mouth.
"Bababooka. This is skinny man meat. Nothing really important here. Its probably what we eat commonly. Usually crazed mountain men who are already half dead from starvation.
She'd give them a sample of that as well.
"Finally, we have Danglong and Dalai Llmaa. Danglong is human meat boiled in blood for seven days and seven nights then flavored with some of our spiciest sauces. Dalai Llma is holy meat taken from monks and priests and fried in their holy water
She'd give them each a sample. The Danglong was extremely spicy and would probably make them cough.
"So what do you like best?
Nana waited for them to think on each of the samples and decide which ones they liked best. The old woman was having the time of her life introducing the Twins to the rare and most secret parts of the Chinoike cuisine. Now that they were to be kin they'd find that their palate would be expanded tremendously.
Meanwhile Back Outside
Shimiko trusted her Mee-Ma to entertain the twins while she tended to the Old Guard. The mountain elders walked over to her and kissed her hand. She exchanged pleasantries and small talk with them while Vik stood off to the side. The Mountain Elders were not exactly her staunchest allies. While they did venerate a dark Goat god, they found Jashin to be too radical for their sensibilities. Although a few admired her boldness and willingness to worship such deities. The Mountain Elders often believed that Chinoike who grew up in Kumo were soft and dainty. While Shimiko fit the mold in terms of appearance, she was not a gentle person and the Elders respected her for it. The fact that she had been remained loyal to them and was the Raikage's sister also helped her case. Nevertheless, the fact that she was from the city and not one of them rubbed many the wrong way. This was her chance to win them over and with her charm she had succeeded in brightening a few faces that were originally indifferent or displeased.
After some lengthy topics on a variety of subjects, the Elders went about their merry way. They had an induction ceremony to prepare for. Shimiko was left alone at the mountain entrance with Vik Chinoike, the leader of the Clan.
Name: Vik Chinoike
Title: Scarlet Fever
Occupation: Leader of the Chinoike Clan
Vik was not exactly a young man despite his appearance. He was 40 years old biologically but he had ceased aging around his 21st birthday. A true Chinoike through and through. He'd eventually look older but by the time that happened many of his contemporaries would be dead. Vik was a laid back dude. He was a Jounin of Kumogakure but spent most of his time teaching at the Academy, working at the nearby hospital, and attending to Clan business. He was not a powerhouse warrior but he was smooth and had managed to secure several lucrative deals for the Clan. While it was true that Shimiko was the one that had secured them a Clan District, Vik had done his best to ensure that it was well ran and adequately maintained. Under his leadership, the Clan had flourished. Many had feared the Chinoike as a backwoods people fit for naught but massacres and ore extraction. In response, Vik had helped cultivate an image of sophistication and intelligence that the Clan desperately needed. The Inazuma's star was falling and the Chinoike's steadily rising. He had privately told her that it was his ambition to flip the script on them. For years, they had served as the Inazuma's vassals but with the ascension of Seigi to the Raikage position, it was only a matter of time before the Chinoike surpassed their former Lords.
Shimiko didn't mind Vik. In fact, she had come to respect him. The words "come to respect" is apt here because originally she thought him a bit of a creep. She suspected that her parents were grooming her to be his bride. Which was gross and weird because when she was like 10 he was 32. Looks be damned, Shimiko considered it nasty and while she knew that such things were common in the Clan she considered it another reason to despise her parents. They thought she'd be happier married to a man old enough to be her father as opposed to risking her life for her country like Seigi did. The fact that Vik was amenable to the situation only further disgusted her. She had thus decided that she wanted as little to do with him as possible. As she got older though, she realized he was only playing a part. He probably was actually interested now that she was older but at that time when the parents of the Raikage offers you his sister, it would be politically unwise to at least not pretend to be interested. Vik had over time demonstrated a level of maturity, respect, and youthfulness that Shimiko found she could get along with. He had gone out of his way to keep her happy and he asked for precious little in return.
He kept the Elders off her back when she was dating Sakata, he had gotten them off her back after losing to Nozomi, he had gotten them off her back when she asked Nariko to legalize Jashinism. He was good people. She knew it wasn't always out of the kindness of his heart, but she appreciated his efforts all the same. The man walked up to her and give her a hug and kiss on the check which she accepted and returned with a peck of her own.
"My Lady Shimiko Chinoike, ever the pleasure.
" Shimiko said with a genuine and warm smile. "How are things?
"Peachy now that you and the twins are here. I do miss civilization but you know we can't ignore our mountain brethren
"Thanks again by the way. For all of this. It means the world to them....and to me.
"Oh please, Shimiko. You know all you ever need to do is ask. I may be the head of this Clan but you are its heart, soul, and muscle all in one
Vik gave a charming smile and gestured towards a path off to the side. He clearly wanted to talk with her in private. He had waited until the Elders had spoken before approaching her. The blonde shrugged and allowed him to lead her down a stony path winding around Wangchuk Mountain.
"I have been in regular contact with our scholars as you've asked
"We found it.
Shimiko stopped dead in her tracks and stared at her leader. She turned her head to the side as if wary of what he was about to say. She didn't want to get her hopes up.
" he said with a shrug
"When did they find it?
"About a month ago....except its not a book like we suspected....its a room. A rather large room to be specific.....and every inch of it is covered in a strange language. We don't know what it is or what it means but its there and I am pretty sure that it leads to something big
Shimiko's heart began to beat faster. After losing to Nozomi, Shimiko had thirsted for more power. She had always trained to the nth degree and while she could comfortably say she was one of the strongest shinobi in the world, she wasn't the best. As ANBU she had received reports of what had happened at the Blood Prison. Nozomi had led an attack on the institution. The results were absolutely devastating. Hundreds if not thousands of prisoners freed. An incalculable amount of research, items, and subjects recovered by some of the worst criminals in the world. It was enough to make a grown man weep for what would become of the innocent in this world. She had told Mora and Mora was extremely concerned. The Orthodoxy would be facing new challenges soon and if Nozomi was strong enough to take down the Blood Prison, then god knows what she might be able to do to Kumo and the Church.
Shimiko had turned down Nariko's offer for the Shukaku. She swore that she would find power her own way. She would not copy that vile bitch of a kunoichi. She had no interest in Bijuu or what they represented. However, that left the task of now finding a way to become stronger. She was nearing her peak and as much versatility her skills granted her there was only so much she could do when faced with the overwhelming might of an Bijuu empowered foe. Shimiko reached out to Vik. She told him to embark on a research project that none had attempted before. She needed to find out if there were ways to exceed the limits of the Ketsurygan. If she could find out a way to bring out the full power of her Doujutsu then maybe she'd have a fighting chance in the next encounter. Mora didn't even need to be told. The woman had instructed each of her Sacristans to spent every spare moment praying and researching ways to help their Defender. The Church had yet to find anything but she was patient regarding progress on that front, Jashin would reveal his will in time. She was growing worried about the Chinoike side of things. The clan's history was difficult to parse after a certain point but against all odds Vik had apparently made significant progress.
Shimiko shrugged and looked at him like: "What the hell, man?!".
"Alright then, take me to it! We still have time before the ceremony! Take me there!
"Well see that's the thing....
"Don't get me started on the Elders, Vik. Don't. even. start.
Shimiko's entire demeanor changed from friendly and warm to angry. No one would come between her and protecting her family and her Church. Not even the Chinoike. If the Elders were going to block her on the grounds of some bullshit politics then she'd have to become a kinslayer.
"Wait now, listen Shimiko. This is extremely important and its something I've actually wanted to talk to you about. No matter what though I will show you to this room but I think you should at least hear what I have to say
Shimiko folded her arms and pursed her lips. She was strong enough to force them to do what she wanted but she also knew that it wasn't proper. She had gone through painstaking efforts to keep close ties with her Clan even though she hated her parents. Vik knew he wasn't going to stop her from getting to that secret information, but he did know that that information was useless unless certain factors came into play.
"You asked me to find a way to increase your power. Some source, scroll, or book that would take you to a level that no other Chinoike has reached....and while I'm not 100% sure if what we've found is what you're looking for... if it is you'll be poised to take us as a people to a new level
"Vik, I'm not interested in becoming Clan leader if that's what you're worried about
"No Shimiko, listen. Its not that. The Elders as you know are deeply concerned about this Jashinist thing. They don't like it, but regardless of what they like many of the youth are taking after you. I've convinced them that the spread of Jashinism is a good thing for the Chinoike Clan. You know my thoughts on your faith....I respect it but even more importantly I see its potential. We can bring the Clan in line with the Church's ambitions
Shimiko rolled her eyes. "Vik the Church doesn't have any ambitions.
"Ya sure it doesn't. But if it ever does decide it needs to take its rightful place as the head of the Lightning Country, I want our Clan to be there supporting it. The Orthodoxy is the opportunity that I've been dreaming about since I became Clan Leader. After some vigorous debate and a few scrapes, I've convinced the Elders both in the City and in the Mountains that we should fully support the Church in every way possible. Manpower, Finances, you name it we'll provide it. In exchange, all we ask for...no.....all I ask for....is one thing