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Mission name: Guarding the Crossroads
Mission rank: C
Objective: The team must travel to the crossroads and stay there for three (3) days.
Location: Sunagakure
Reward: 120
Mission description: There are many desert roads that crisscross the entire Wind Country, the biggest of these roads cross and at a point to the west of the Sand Village. The Kazekage needs someone to guard this large crossroads for three days before reporting back to the Sand Village with any news. The Kazekage has requested a team of three (3) ninja to travel to the crossroads and camp near it for three days.
Mission details: Minimum 1000 words, may be done solo. This mission will take 3 or more IC days to complete. Each day should be a separate post to complete.

Sunagakure was a big place, and the Land of Wind itself was an even bigger place. Such a big place would be inaccessible without certain technologies, and even if roads were no longer considered a ‘technology’ considering how archaic they must have seemed compared to the other leaps forward that mankind had managed to grasp in the recent decades, they were still something that made travel an exceedingly easy activity. Roads were some of the most underwhelmed things that they had in their time - important to any and all who used them and who didn’t plan to use them, but still unappreciated either way.

Lyralei was currently seated at one of these many roads. She was at a crossroads, to be exact. It was one of the largest in the entire Land of Wind and it was located to the west of Sunagakure itself. It connected Suna with one of the mining colonies that they had established centuries ago, which supplied Suna with a stable income from the sale of ores to other minor villages, other countries, and oftentimes other major villages themselves, but mainly also helped Suna keep a stable inflow of fresh and high-grade weaponry, welded directly from the iron that was mined primarily in one or two of the colonies.

Unfortunately, because of recent activity by bandits and whatnot, Sunagakure’s administration had become slightly worried about the possibility of these bandits taking off with Sunagakure’s supplies, attacking the helpless merchants and traders as they were transporting these supplies to the great village. It was for this reason that many ninja had been hired to guard and escort caravans and merchants travelling between Sunagakure and its several colonies, but apparently this was still not enough to satisfy Suna’s administration, as they had asked for ninja to be placed at this crossroads - the most likely place to be attacked.

Curiously, where one ninja would have been enough, Lyralei had surprisingly been posted here with three other ninja. One reason she could give a guess to was that these three ninja had also asked for the mission in roughly the same time frame as she did, and so Sunagakure had decided to lump them all together for this mission, since it took three days to complete before the next rotation of ninja came along. Maybe it was that, or they just didn’t trust a wandering ninja with one of their important supply caravans, though if that was the case, they may have been better off posting Chuunin to escort their precious caravans.

Nevertheless, Lyralei had gotten here earlier than the rest of them, and she began setting up camp, putting up a tent a few hundred metres from the crossroads itself. It would be near enough for them to keep an eye on the crossroads in case something bad happened, but also far enough that anyone using the crossroads wouldn't think they were overly suspicious, or wouldn't feel threatened or worried at their presence. Such emotions were often bad for business, and Sunagakure understandably wanted to minimise any ill will when dealing with such precious supplies.

Word Count: 524
Total word count: 524

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Fiore

Fiore


D-rank
Fiore stretched once more, following the culmination of her quick but intense spar against her father. Her mother had lent her her sword, since Fiore still didn’t have one of her own, but the sword had felt slightly different than the weight that she was used to. During her previous practices, where she went through form after form, she had used her father’s sword, and her mother’s was just slightly lighter, throwing off her form greatly, which compounded through frustration and exhaustion into what could be considered one of the worst spars that she had ever gotten into in her life. The fact that this was the first time she had sparred with an actual lethal weapon went ignored by the young Koga.

She took a towel and wiped her forehead, drying her sweat before she walked into the house. Her muscles still ached from the recent spar, even if they were still warmed up, though her ache came more from the frustration that she had been unable to hold her own against her father even after being so confident in her own form. Her father had gone easy on her, as an experienced veteran shinobi would on their daughter, but even then she could see how sloppy she was with a wrong blade, and she had been completely unable to parry the hits that he had sent her way. She was only fortunate that he had not been serious, or she would have sported some injuries.

“Fiore!” she heard her mother call from the kitchen. She didn’t respond, preferring to keep quiet, and the recent spar didn’t help any. Her mother, used to her silence, continued, “Didn’t you have that mission this afternoon?”

Fiore’s eyes lit up. She did have a mission that afternoon. It was a mission to guard crossroads, and the mission desk had only been kind enough to tell her that she would be paired up with three other people for the task. She didn’t know why it was so important that a group of four ninja had to guard a crossroads. Of course, it was four Genin, but unless they were expecting enemy ninja, a Genin or two would probably be able to check the papers of the caravans passing through the area and take care of the rogue bandit or two that passed through the area, hoping to make a quick buck by ambushing the caravans.

Aware that she was running short of time, she rushed upstairs to shower, her heavy footsteps on the staircase alerting her parents that she had heard and acknowledged what her mother had said. She quickly showered, trying to get the smell of sweat off of her, before putting on her usual white tank top and grabbing the visor from her bedside table, and rushing downstairs. She was only stopped from rushing out of the door when her mother called her name, causing her to stop at the front door and turn back to face her mother.

“You’re not leaving without some lunch, dear,” she said sternly, but affectionately, and Fiore gave her a gentle, thankful smile as she grabbed three rice balls from the platter that her mother balanced in both hands, before biting into it and waving her mother - and father, when she saw him come out of the kitchen - goodbye with a rice ball-holding hand. She only had enough time to hear her mother whisper, ‘My little girl’, before she was already outside of their home compound and on the way to the crossroads.

The crossroads were located to the west of the village, and were supposed to connect the village to some small outpost or colony to the west of the village, where they supplied the village with important supplies. That was all Fiore really knew about the situation as she approached the crossroads. She noticed that she wasn’t the only one there when she saw a girl already setting up camp, putting up her own tent. Deciding that this was likely one of her teammates, she walked up to the girl and introduced herself.

“Hi, I’m Fiore. Are you one of the people sent to guard this crossroad as well?” she asked.

710 out of 710 words

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Joan

Joan


D-rank
Joan was by all means a princess. She had been brought up like one, but she knew the ugly truth about such a nice life. What was often hidden or ignored about such a life, where you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, was what you had to do to deserve it, and Joan didn’t think that anything was worth sacrificing your identity, which was the demand made of her by her mother in exchange for showering her with gifts, dresses, and attention, all of which she would willingly go without in a heartbeat if it meant allowing her to express herself freely and explore who she truly was as a person, not as an object.

That was why Joan had run away all those years ago. Her father’s inspiring story had given her the courage to leave the home, and she knew that her father may regret the choice of telling her at the age of sixteen, especially in those remorse-filled eyes when he had caught her leaving. However, he had willingly let her leave regardless, and she had no clue how he had dealt with her mother, but she was sure that her mother had not been easy to placate, if he had even managed to do anything of the nature.

However, it had been so long ago that it only felt right to return in the near future. She had been taught as a child the importance of filialpiathy, and while she had not liked her upbringing, strict as it was, she still held true to the teachings and the moral values that had been instilled within her. As such, she felt a compulsion to explain herself to her parents, her decision, why she left, and why she wouldn’t come back even if they forced her to, simply because she still yearned to find her place in this world beyond being a bride to a man she held no love for, or to be wedded off into what was probably a more opulent life than she ever had, even in her rich family. It was not a life she wanted, and it was not a life she was going to accept without a fight.

These were all Joan’s thoughts as she saw the small luggage that she had already packed, with the few belongings she had necessary for the short trip back home, a night’s stay, then the short trip back here. She had already requested for enough leave, three days from Sunagakure’s active ninja roster, and she was going to make the most of it, even if most of it was going to be spent arguing with her mother, something that she could honestly say has only happened once, and that had been the point of rebellion she had shown right before she had left. The same two rebellious acts committed on the same night, the first to break her mother’s heart, then the second to bury it.

Joan gave a sigh as she looked to the table where the luggage was placed beside. On it were several mission scrolls that Sunagakure had already assigned her to take. One was to look over the Crossroads. She was fine with that. She gave a sigh as she took the mission scroll and her mission gear, before leaving the room.

WC: 563
TWC: 563

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Aria lay in her bed, captivated by the new book that she had just bought a few days back. It was titled, ‘We Met in a Bookstore’, and it hit her harder than any other romance novel that she had purchased before this. It was indeed well-written, and was probably one of the best books of this generation, and Aria herself was not someone to give these credits out lightly. For something to truly catch her eye, it had to be something extraordinary, and this book by itself was already a marvelous piece of work, if not for the symbolism it held that made Aria associate closer with it.

Aria had first picked this book up at Sayoko’s Bookstore several days ago. Her initial reason for going there had been to find a detective-slash-romance book to pass the time, but in doing so, she had bumped into a very unique individual, Fiore. Fiore had managed to pique her interest in the same sex once again. That was not to say that Aria knew that she was in any way a heterosexual; she knew that she was bisexual, but she just hadn’t had an attraction to females for an absurdly long time that it had become common knowledge to those around her and those close to her that she was heterosexual. It was something that had never bothered her, since she never had to tell anyone, but she had to that day.

Orino, her caretaker, had not been completely surprised by this revelation, stating that she had caught several curious glances from Aria when she was young. She had suspected, yes, but she had given Aria the benefit of the doubt even since she was a child, and now that she had grown up, Orino had stated that it was completely okay for Aria to make her own decisions. This acceptance from her caretaker, who was also in some ways her mother and her sister (though if one looked at it that way, it seemed sort of gross as well), almost brought tears to Aria’s cheeks, since she was sure that her parents, her biological ones, anyway, would not have been as accepting.

Maybe that was why she had run away in the first place.

Aria saw the time and closed the book shut at the end of the third chapter. It had been a fairly interesting read, and so far, it seemed exactly like what had happened between herself and Fiore at Sayoko’s bookstore. Girl went to get book out of boredom, and girl meets other girl, who wanted a book for her boyfriend’s birthday. Of course, Fiore had been searching for a book for her mother’s birthday, but the lack of a boyfriend in the picture (she wasn’t aware of one, at least, though someone like Fiore most probably did have a boyfriend) gave her some hope that she could skip some of the complexities she was already expecting from this book - that of momentary one-sided love.

She placed the book back in her ninja pouch for future reading as she prepared for what she knew was a boring mission. Missions that involved guarding were always the most boring, but at least most of the ones that she had gone on had been guarding a caravan or a merchant. They would always be on the move. This, though, was guarding a crossroads. She had no clue what was so important about crossroads that she would need to be there for it, but she didn’t really care (though it was confusing here, since she normally dove for information).

She packed her stuff and left, ready to go meet her other compatriots who were guarding the crossroads with her. At least they should prove some entertainment, and if not, she still had her book.

Words: 645 out of 645

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Lyralei was busy setting up her own tent. She had already fastened three of the four edges of the tent and was currently working on the fourth and last when she heard a voice call out to her.

“Hi, I’m Fiore,” the voice had called.

It had come from behind her, and Lyralei turned her head to see a lovely blond girl walking up to her. She was dressed only in a simple whiet tank top that left her shoulders and arms bare, as well as black short shorts and ninja sandals, with a cute white visor sporting the Sunagakure emblem on the bill located at the top. Her blond hair was tied into a ponytail at the back of her head, flowing curvily down her back.

“Are you one of the people sent to guard this crossroad as well?” Fiore asked.

‘As well’? Oh, so she must have been another one of the shinobi that had been sent as Lyralei’s prospective teammate. One of them, at least. There were supposed to be two more, but there was no sight of them, so Lyralei only believed that Fiore had come alone. She hoped the other two would arrive at the same time, so they could cut the introductions shorter. As much as she needed the money and as much as she loved camping, there was a thing about the hot days in the Land of Wind that really got to her, especially since her outfit was so complicated to get on and get off that it wasn’t a simple question of removing one aspect of her clothing to give her more breathing room.

Lyralei was still wondering why the Sunagakure administration had sent their ninja with a wanderer like her, though. Ninja villages were supposed to promote teamwork between their own ninja so that any apprehension with working with other people, even those from their own village, would be crushed before it had a chance to take root. This was why many teamwork missions were often assigned to Genin. Of course, maybe they were taking a different approach? Perhaps they were simply trying to promote friendliness with shinobi not of Sunagakure, so that their own ninja would be less opposed to teamwork as a whole?

Lyralei didn’t know. She wasn’t the type to look too deeply into the politics of any kind, social or governmental. She was just someone who liked to travel. These thoughts were far too out of her league and out of her depth.

Nevertheless, she turned her attention to the girl, standing up and dusting off her knees as well as her gloved hands before extending one to greet Fiore. “Yeah, I am. My name is Lyralei,” she introduced. “Nice to meet you.”

Word Count: 462
Total Word Count: 986

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Fiore

Fiore


D-rank
Fiore hoped she hadn’t disturbed the young girl when she had introduced herself. But, it seemed, at least on the surface, that such a small distraction from her task was no bother whatsoever. The girl, dressed in a surprising amount of jungle green that didn’t agree whatsoever with her surroundings, stood up from her position at one edge of the tent and dusted her knees and hands together. As she stood, orange hair fell down her back, just several shades darker and redder than the sandy background that made the backdrop. She extended one hand to greet Fiore.

“Yeah, I am,” she confirmed. “My name is Lyralei. Nice to meet you.”

Fiore quickly and welcomely took the hand of her momentary teammate, giving it one firm shake. She had never seen Lyralei around town before, nor had she heard of a girl who dressed in a surprising amount of green, so this girl had to be someone who took missions outside the village quite often. It also showed in the condition of her tent, which compared to Fiore’s, seemed to be much more complicated, elaborate, and frankly, livable. Lyralei’s tent reminded Fiore of one of those high-end ones that only rich people purchased for recreational purposes. It was a piece of cloth, likely plastic or nylon, or whatever that material was called, with four openings in it made to hold the four poles that connected in the middle and were secured into the ground on all four sides to hold up what would make up her tent. The stands were made of… was that metal? And the cloth itself was translucent, but most likely not less heat-resistant than her own, if Lyralei had brought it out to the desert as shelter. Fiore’s was arguably much simpler, since it basically consisted of sticking two poles out on the ground, throwing a sheet over them, and securing the base. Yeah, very very simple and very very outclassed.

Observing the state of her ally’s tent as she put hers up, she figured Lyralei was either someone who indeed, as she had previously guessed, travelled a lot, or had an abundance of money to purchase outdoor equipment. Ninja seldom slept in tents, instead preferring just a sleeping bag for its mobility, so having a tent was a rarity among ninja, especially one that seemed as elaborate and capable as Lyralei’s. Suna’s sleeping bags were also heat-resistant to trap heat within it to warm up its owner during the chilly desert nights in the Land of Wind, so there really was no downside to not owning a tent. Sleeping bags were also much preferred since ninja needed to be able to pack up after themselves and leave the area as soon as possible, in case a threat emerged or their objective left. It was also much easier to cover the indentations left by sleeping bags, rather than the holes often left in the ground while putting up one’s sleeping bag, so the issue of covering one’s tracks was also not up for debate. Overall, tents were often left for those who often took part in slower-paced missions or those who had a distinct fascination for the outdoors. Even Fiore’s tent had only been acquired by chance that her mother was of the latter, someone who was once an outdoor person in her youth but had long since given up that hobby. Fiore had had to clean this tent several times before she decided it was in good order, free of the musk and dust it had gathered over the years.

“Do you camp out often?” Fiore asked as she finished setting up her tent. Simple as it was, it didn’t take long. “I don’t normally see people with elaborate tents. Most prefer sleeping bags. I only got mine because my mother used to like camping. It’s actually refreshing to see yours.”

664 out of 1374 words

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Joan

Joan


D-rank
The desert was a wide place.

That much was clear to Joan even when she first ventured out of her parents’ home, making the long trek across the desert and nearly running out of water beneath the striking hot sun as she attempted to make her way to Sunagakure, where she had believed her destiny awaited.

Throughout her stay in Suna, Joan had to undertake many sorts of missions, some taking her out of the village and into the wide expanse that was the desert that made up over ninety-five percent of the Land of Wind. It didn’t matter as to the nature of these missions, for the one thing they had in common was that they introduced Joan to exactly how large the Land of Wind was, and exactly how large the damned desert was.

This was simply another mission that served to solidify that train of thought, as Joan took in what she realised once more as the wide expanse of the desert that she had come to call her home. Regardless, she couldn’t make out any obvious tracks that any merchant or caravan was supposed to use, instead relying on a the general direction, a map, and the setting of the sun as her environmental compass to guide her through the desert.

In retrospect, it was a very traditional way of doing things in a technologically-drive era such as the one they lived in, and Joan found it ironic how she was more comfortable with tradition all the way out here in the wilderness, while she had been all but disgusted at her mother’s fixation on tradition back when she lived in what amounted to her family palace.

Arriving at the crossroads, Joan saw two people already there. She joined them quickly, introducing herself quickly as Joan Ishido, careful to keep her real name, Mitsusaka, away from them. While she didn’t particularly hold too much love for the family name that had locked her up for fifteen to sixteen years, she knew that there was also the practical goal of keeping her family safe, especially one that was as famous and wealthy as the Mitsusaka.

Her quick introduction done, Joan would set about fixing up her own tent, very simple in design compared to the orange-haired girl’s, but still sufficient to do its job in keeping her safe from the elements and the night.

WC: 405
TWC: 968

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Three people were already there. Shit.

That was the thought that went through Aria’s head when she arrived at the designated camp site and saw that she was the last of her team to arrive at the area. It was still before the time of the mission was supposed to begin, but being the last to a mission was never good for first impressions, and she promised herself to be earlier to the next team mission she was assigned, if only to be rid of this small feeling in the pit of her stomach that told her she was already underperforming, even if such an issue hadn’t been a problem for her before.

Until she saw who one of them was, that is.

Her eyes traced over the woman’s blonde hair, tube top, and shorts, as well as the white visor that adorned her head, with all her features seeming awfully familiar to the woman known as Fiore Koga that she had met at Sayoko’s Bookstore. Her greeting died in her throat when, upon approaching the group, she realised that true to her thoughts, it was indeed the very same woman whom she had helped purchase a book, and she suddenly realised that her throat was very, very dry.

“Um, hi,” she managed to get out.

She didn’t know if they heard her, but if they did, she would try to exchange some pleasantries with them, while trying to keep her eyes, and mostly failing, off of Fiore. The very presence of her – not even sight, but presence – made her heart beat and race, and she had trouble keeping her breathing level.

Hopefully, Fiore wouldn’t notice her surprise or her agitation, but being from the Koga family, it was highly unlikely. The Koga were trained in the art of noticing one’s body language in an extremely precise fashion, and it was this very same ability that led them hide their body languages from those who sought to make use of it.

Following that, she would head up to set up her own tent, with the four tents now forming a small semi-circle around an open area, allowing the four of them to peek out of their tents at any time necessary to keep an eye on the crossroads that had lately come under so much scrutiny by the merchants’ guild for the possibility of bandits raiding the area.

The day would be fairly uneventful, and Aria would try to strike up conversation with her other friends, but otherwise, it would be a normal day for any of them. There would be no occurrence for the entirety of the day, until night fell and they were forced to retire.

Aria, for one, was happy to retire early, since it would allow her to finally have some time to herself and work through the emotions that were now racing through her heart, amplified each time by the sight or sound of Fiore, whose tent was unfortunately right next to hers, which was in itself the rightmost tent, meaning she was segregated from the other two and unable to look to them to distract her from Fiore.

‘Why am I acting like this?’ Aria asked herself as her head hit the makeshift pillow she had fashioned out of towels. ‘I like her, don’t I? Is this how it’s like to like someone? To always be afraid of them?’

Regardless of the reason, Aria continued to play around with the emotions that she believed were instead playing her like a fiddle, as she drifted off to sleep.

Words: 603 out of 1248

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Four people on a mission?

It had sounded ridiculous on paper, but experiencing it in person gave the ridicule an entirely new perspective.

Although, maybe Lyralei was moving a tad too fast.

As she was setting up her tent, she had been approached by a blonde whose preference of silence and succinct words didn't fool Lyralei for a moment that her brain wasn't churning every second with new stimuli and information.

"Do you camp out often?" the girl had asked. "I don’t normally see people with elaborate tents. Most prefer sleeping bags. I only got mine because my mother used to like camping. It’s actually refreshing to see yours."

Lyralei turned from her activity (not really a chore, as she couldn't love the outdoors as much if she failed to grasp the craft of setting up one's tent, and the beauty that went into every model) and wiped sweat off her brow, her water-resistant gloves faring poorly in absorbing the sweat but admirably still clearing her forehead of excessive moisture.

"You can say that," Lyralei answered. "I like camping a lot. Also, you might want to try pitching those two a little farther apart," Lyralei pointed out, looking in the direction of the two poles that would hold up her teammate's tent for the night. "I don't think you're accounting for the wind in the region."

The next to arrive had also been a blonde, though she looked much more modest than the individual who Lyralei had the pleasure of exchanging gabs with. The one thing they did share was their disinclination to conversation, as both remained almost as silent as the other when they had first interacted with Lyralei, who at least held the knowledge of her two companions names.

Fiore, lacking any notable last name for now, while Joan had introduced herself as Joan Ishido. The name sounded familiar, but under the desert heat and with the thrill of her tent almost at fruition, she failed to recall exactly what that name entailed, or what made it so famous that she would hear about it on her travels. One bell that rang was the affiliation that coins had to their name, so Lyralei could only assume that Joan was a small boat among a navy of wealth.

The last to arrive was dressed differently then the two teammates that Lyralei had already been introduced to, especially with the distinct purple hair that she sported, as well as the glasses which disclosed her short- or long-sightedness and the necessity of a pair of spectacles to fix that shortcoming.

Unfortunately, if possible she held an even lesser disposition to words than the other two, which proved a large disappointment for the extroverted girl whose lips itched to be occupied with an activity of her liking.

The entire day was spent in silence, with awkwardness clearly hanging in the air, the tension between the four strangers almost thick enough to cut with a knife, but no one truly acting on proper introductions until nightfall, when they were all gathered in front of their tents for a mild debriefing during dinner.

Lyralei, having been the first to arrive and being the only one who was even comfortable with the notion of opening her mouth when there was no need to, had been the one to congratulate them on a successful Day One, before introducing herself.

"You can call me Lyralei," she would say, while waiting for the others to join in.

The rest of the night, however, would pass by relatively quickly and almost as uneventfully as the day itself, allowing Lyralei to recuperate from the day's events, needing the relaxation from the lack of doing anything more so than she did for anything in itself. The cold sand beneath her and her sleeping bag recompensed for the lack of an air-conditioner, and the soft billowing of the wind against her tent, shaking it rhythmically, rocked her to her dreams.

WC: 671
TWC: 1657

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Fiore

Fiore


D-rank
There were four people on their team? Now this Fiore had not been expecting.

When the girl had exited her house, packed for an extended mission out of the village, she had expected to be accompanied by others, to make up for Genin’s supposed vulnerability in the wilderness. Not her, of course. Being one of the proud Koga, she was completely capable of taking care of herself, with not a day wasted without her picking up her father’s sword and training until dusk signalled the end of her training. While not the heir, the intensity she brought to each swordfight reinforced her confidence in her abilities; she would not be beaten by bandits.

What a young girl thought was evidently distinct from what the village thought, if they had saddled her not with the traditional three-man team plus a sensei, but instead a four-man Genin team for the situation. Four-man teams were uncommon, principally at the lower levels where there wasn’t much that could go wrong in a D- or C-rank mission, yet this mission seemed to necessitate the impromptu formation of such a four-man team.

Not that Fiore was opposed to it, especially when the last of their team came. Lyralei and Joan had been interesting in their own right, people that Fiore would like to get to know better if not for the packed schedules of her daily routine in perfecting her skills with the sword, but Aria had been the girl she had most certainly not been expecting to see any time soon. If the blush on her cheeks were anything to go by, the same could be said for Aria about Fiore herself; neither expected to be so soon meeting again after their bump-in at the bookstore.

The rest of the day went by uneventfully, with no one using the crossroads, to her disappointment. The only one up and about had been Lyralei, whose green wear clashed with their surroundings, giving her little breeze or cover, trying to strike up conversation with each of them, though all attempts were sooner or later shut down by their team’s surprising lack of a verbose nature in all but the foreign kunoichi.

After Lyralei had tried and failed again to get them to open up at dinner, they were allowed to retire for the night, something Fiore took in stride. While she had concealed it the entire day, she had been nervous in such close proximity to Aria. She didn’t believe in any higher power, but there had to be something more than coincidence that she and Aria met again on such a random occasion, considering the thousands of other shinobi residing in Suna.

Regardless, she drifted off to sleep, the face of a purple-haired beauty haunting her dreams.

472 out of 1846 words

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Joan

Joan


D-rank
Set up camp. Check. Lack of bandits. Check.

It was with these two important things that Joan had gone to sleep the previous day, as uneventful as it was. In fact, while Joan was not one to ever admit these details, the previous day had been boring. There had been absolutely nothing to do. There were no bandit sightings, there were no merchants passing by the area, and none of them had anything good to talk about. The only one who had been talking was Lyralei, and even then almost none of them had verbally responded to any of her queries or exclamations.

Joan admitted that she did indeed feel bad for the girl. Here she was, trying her hardest not just to ensure that the mission was a success, but also to ensure that the four girls present were able to use the three days designated for this mission without having to greet each other and part as if they were complete strangers. She was trying to make friends. And that was the most unfortunate part of it. None of them were answering in any way whatsoever, and she was worried that her lack of participation in the conversations was discouraging Lyralei from further conversation. 

This day would be the same as the previous one. There would be absolutely no bandit raids across this crossroad, which supposedly would be the target of several bandits in the following days, which was what had caused Sunagakure to draw up a mission requiring four young kunoichi to camp out far from the village's borders just in case any bandits did indeed try to nab any passing merchants. However, there was also that problem. There were hardly any merchants in the area. For some reason, none of them passed by today as well, making Joan suspect that it was due to the fact that bandits were likely to attack that they had chickened out of using this particular route, at least until the commotion had died down or they were more confident that their wares wouldn't be coveted the moment they set foot on this path. 

Today, Joan would make a better attempt at conversation should Lyralei try once more to open up her friends to the notion of 'conversation'. However, as much as she would try, her upbringing and her quiet nature would prove that she would be nearly, if not completely, hopeless at forcing out a conversation, and it was likely that she would make a fool out of herself more so than otherwise if she had just remained silent. In this case, Joan would then clam up for the rest of the day, unwilling to suffer any further embarrassment. 

Joan would go to sleep that night feeling that their day had been uneventful yet again, boring yet again, and with regards to Lyralei's attempts, disappointing yet again, especially since she herself had failed to carry a conversation, which was mainly held up by the other party. Perhaps this dissatisfaction with the turn of things could only be attributed to the lack of socialisation that Joan was so familiar with, even after escaping from the shelter of her home. 

It was with this thought and dissatisfaction that Joan would drift off to sleep at the end of the second of three days of their mission.

WC: 557
TWC: 1525

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Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden belong to © Masashi Kishimoto.