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This article, Cold Stone Diplomacy, is property of Benknightprime.

This article, Cold Stone Diplomacy, is property of Dragon Lord Erin.

The sun was shining on upon the mountains. The people of Iwagakure toiled about on such a clear and beautiful day. Parents shopped with their children happily in tow. Older kids played with one another. Truly, it was a blissful day for the village. Outside of her drab office, the Tsuchikage wandered towards the gate. Many stopped and bowed to their leader. Several kids ran by, happily yelling "Hello Lady Shizuka!" She smiled a small small and waved back towards her young citizens.

As she reached the gate, two large stones stood in the way. Earth Release-using guards used their chakra to pull on the stones and separate them, opening the gate. She stood and awaited for her important guest.

The long dirt road finally reached it's peak at the doors to Iwagakure, massive stones of older times. Three figures approached the gates as they shook, moving apart as their massive forms revealed the path forwards. The first of the three stood tall, his hair and beard white with a grin plastered on his face. He wore a white robe, green shorts, and a pair of glasses that rested firmly on his face. This was Jouman Gankai the current Village Head of Takigakure and the harbinger of their golden age. Behind him walked a younger girl holding a clipboard. Her hair was held in a bun behind her head and she wore a formal blue kimono. Finally the third figure towered over the two in height, his hulking form was completely hidden by an oversized hooded cloak. The cloak's sleeves fell beyond his hands and the bottom dragged on the ground, concealing his feet. The hood of the robe drooped massively over his head, barely leaving any view into the pitch black area under it.

"Yo!" Jouman shouted as the gates revealed Shizuka. She was younger than him by a good 40 years at least but that was a good thing. The torches needed to be passed, Jouman was just far too stubborn. He had far too much left to do, plus there weren't quite any suitable candidates. "Lady Shizuka it's a pleasure." He spoke with a small bow as his party reached the gate.

"Lord Jouman of Takigakure. The sentiment is returned." Shizuka gave a similar, quick bow before standing back upright. "Welcome to Iwagakure. May I ask who are these two with you?"

Shizuka began to lead them through the gate and into the city. The sprawling bridges that connected different parts of the city seemed infinite to those unfamiliar, but Shizuka led them confidently and safely as she showed them different parts of the village. "Is there anything in particular you would like to do?"

Jouman nodded and motioned to the girl beside him. "This is Niwa, she's one of my assistants as well as a second pair of eyes for everything here." Niwa smiled and greeted Shizuka.

"A pleasure to meet you Lady Shizuka." She responded quickly, giving her own bow before taking a pen from her hair and preparing to jot down notes on their visit so far.

"This man right here." Jouman continued, motion to the tall cloaked one. "His name is Abunai. He'll mostly just be taking a backseat here. His job is to protect me, primarily during the trek here and back." The large man seemed to bow to Shizuka as well, letting out no noise. Noticing the possible confusing Jouman quickly stepped in. "I forgot to mention that he's mute, I believe he is greeting you formally as well though." He was met with what looked like a nod from the figure. Jouman smiled and addressed Shizuka's second question. "I'd prefer to sightsee after our meeting actually." He stated, glancing around as they walked through the streets. "However I would like to request that we have the meeting outside. It seems like far too nice a day to be all cooped up inside."

"It is nice to meet you Niwa and Abunai. You are just as welcome in my village as your leader." Shizuka nodded to the two as their names were said. "As for meeting outside, I am fine with this. It is a nice day in the village. I suppose I will just get down to business. I would like to forge an alliance with you and your village."

Jouman nodded as they reached a relatively clear space before he extended his hands outwards, sealing formulas wrapping around the air in a large cube. The seals completed as Jouman returned his hands to his sides. "This'll prevent anyone from interrupting us in here. They won't even realize this space is sealed." Before any hasty moves were made he elaborated. "I unlocked the sealing method so anyone inside can dispel it with a simple sign. So please feel free to dispel it if you feel uncomfortable." As Jouman finished his speech, Niwa pulled out her clipboard, ready to record the conversation for the official records. Abunai on the other hand walked to the corner of the barrier, which was partially on a building and climbed up to the roof. He sat atop it patiently waiting for the meeting to end.

"Now about your alliance proposal. I have no qualms with it. I myself was hoping to forge bonds with other villages as well, so I believe we're on the same page for that." He folded his hands. "Now the details of this are what really need to be hashed out. Your land possesses many raw materials that would be of use to us. As you might have heard I'm building another maximum security prison for the world in The Land of Waterfalls. That is what I am most interested in for trade at least."

"That I can provide. Accessing iron and stone for construction is an easy task for us to accomplish. The building in question as well is helpful for us. If we are allied with one another, we can send among the worst of the Land of Earth's criminals there quite easily. The one thing I would like to get out of this alliance other than your cooperation is access to fresh water. While we are able to last through it, the Land of Earth has limited access outside of our rain season. It would be helpful to know we have quick resources in the event of a prolonged drought period." Shizuka said with confidence. The barrier around her didn't bother her, she felt no insecurity in trusting the Waterfall's leader and even if she did, she trusted her ability and village in the event something went awry.

"That's good to hear." Jouman replied, "We have an abundance of water, so we can gladly send some your way." One of their water users has created a method of completely purifying water. It was invaluable to Takigakure after the revolt that destroyed the village all those years ago. Via his chakra alone an entire basin could be purified in mere seconds. "Are there any other issues you would like this alliance to touch on. Personally I would like to know your thoughts on wartime efforts as well as other possible alliances you have or plan on making. As it only makes sense Takigakure allies with them as well, should you choose to and vice versa." As they spoke Niwa continued to furiously scribble away, making sure to gather every detail. Meanwhile Abunai continued to survey the area.

"If war was to arise, I do believe we could support one another. Iwagakure has a powerful military, even among the great nations. While I can't judge the military of Takigakure as I am unaware of its current standing, I will acknowledge I have heard great tales of its might. As it is known, Hashirama even awarded the village a tailed beast within its history." Shizuka said, speaking truthfully on what she knew of the village.

Shizuka looked back towards her fellow village leader. "As for other alliances, the new leadership of the Land of Iron and I have been in contact. As it stands now, the Earth and the Iron may stand together."

"Indeed we are quite something." Jouman responded with a grin. "I've been around quite a while so I've seen the Iwagakure military in action. They're definitely top of the line." Jouman pondered her next line briefly before nodding. "I have no problems allying with the Land of Iron as well. I suppose once our alliance is cemented either you or I could send them word of forming this triad of powers." The Land of Iron was definitely a good friend to have. With their Samurai forces and high grade weapons they made a powerful ally.