While Rian and Kyoku attend to negotiations with Konoha, Orochimaru is involved in the just as important task of feeling out their smaller neighbors. Plains, home to Kusa, is still in the aftershocks of turmoil from its civil war, even as brief as that one was. Bandits seem to be overcoming their fear of the Mountain's Graveyard, at least for now. Rapids, home to Taki, will likely go whichever direction Konoha does, and hasn't historically tended to interact much with outsiders anyways. Hot Water is an entity for Kyoku to talk to, after their demilitarization campaign. Frost is traditionally Lightning's ally, but might be moveable...
They decide to send a few new chuunin to clear out the bandits, with two jounin-and-genin teams on missions nearby so the jounin can play backup. Good practice for working alone.
Frost demands a softer touch. They'll open with an envoy.
Tsunade seems an entertaining option.
(And it's practical, the jounin commander of Frost was reportedly a medic in his early career, and their feelers indicate Frost has long sought to improve its hospitals.)
She isn't, particularly, amused by being made to play diplomat, but she's already gotten several balls rolling on fixing the entire country's mess of a healthcare system, and her old teammate does have a reasonable point about Frost.
She agrees to it with only minor grumbling.
She's greeted at the border with some suspicion, but her arrival had been announced ahead of time, and the jounin commander had agreed over hawk to meet with her, so they're an escort, not an army. For now.
Acceptable. Trying to keep her down is a somewhat laughable consideration, but she understands politics.
She makes no trouble for her escort.
The jounin commander meets her in a tea house in a town near enough to the Hidden Village for reinforcements, not so near that the village's location is automatically given away, nor that a fight would endanger it immediately. It's a bit of a polite fiction, that she doesn't already know its location, but little in politics is true.
"Tsunade-san," he says, bowing shallowly when she enters. "It is my pleasure to meet you."
"Pleasure is all mine, Hira-san," she says, returning the half-bow.
"Come, sit..." he begins, and once pleasantries and niceties are out of the way, he leans forwards, expression serious. "Why did you want to talk to me, Tsunade-san?"
"Pursuing the possibilities of an agreement between Frost and Sound - likely for trade alone, for now."
"That depends on the nature of the trade, of course," he says, voice neutral. "What does Sound have to offer?"
"Medicine is somewhat a specialty of ours. The wider nation also is fertile, and produces much in the way of excess farm-goods. I know rice is hard to grow here."
He inclines his head. "And what would you ask in return?"
"We're mostly interested in trading raw materials. Especially things that're useful to the development of medicines. We'd say nothing easily weaponized, but, well, everything is a weapon."
He inclines his head. "Fair enough. It'll depend on specifics, but we have few limits on materials."
He turns the conversation to those specifics, then - preliminary negotiations. It'll be a while yet before they have so much as a draft of the agreement.
Fortunately, she's available to be here a while...
Nothing disrupts the negotiations.
It'll be several more rounds of back and forth; still, she's done for now, and she returns with a sense of mild relief.
It's Rian that meets her. "Talks go well I hope?" they ask.
"Well enough. They're not opposed to the idea, and agreed to initial trade terms, but there's a lot of diplomacy remaining - which I'd rather someone else handle."
"That can be arranged. You'll be wanted for any actual exchange of medical knowledge, but for now I should be able to handle future talks."
"I'll see about setting out an educational course. Them sending doctors to us to be trained might be good as an eventual goal of this."
They nod. "It'd certainly help strengthen ties."
Tsunade hums, and then, after some more clarifying details, goes to find her brother.
He's findable, currently hanging out with his genin team, laughing at something Karin's said.