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Serah

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Chuunin
Serah plopped down onto the white couch, resting her head on one armrest while her body lay sprawled along its length. She pulled the gray cushion and propped her head up with it as she drew the orange cushion close to her body, feeling some of the muscles in her joints loosen as she stretched her stiff body on the couch, kicking off the other cushions from the couch in the process.

Serah was beat. Tracking that thief down had taken more out of her than she had expected, with her team dashing through the trees at an accelerated rate so as to not miss him. The fight itself had gone quickly though, with her acting as an innocent distraction to take the thief and the buyer’s attention away from Junichi, allowing him to drop from a tree and incapacitate the thief before he could escape, while she knocked the buyer out. She felt somewhat bad that she had to be so rough with someone she knew was sweet underneath the black market trade, but their mission briefing had required them to take in any and all suspects, which included the unfortunate buyer.

She craned her neck to the right to see the black, reflective surface of the flat screen television staring straight back at her, and she reached for the remote on the small table in front of her. It was propped at the edge, half of it off the table from last night when she had carelessly thrown it onto the rubber wood, and she lazily flicked her hand downwards in an attempt to grab it, only for her to miss and cause it to drop onto the floor. Grunting in annoyance, Serah reached down blindly with her right hand, searching for the remote until her hand came upon the device, grabbing it by one end and lifting it lazily, before flipping it into her hand with practiced ease and pointing it towards the television.

Even as she flipped through the channels, though, Serah didn’t pay attention to any of the programmes that were currently being broadcasted. The television’s lights and noises were just a welcome after a long day’s work of hunting down a thief who had stolen a priceless emerald from one of the wealthiest families in Konoha, and Serah could express nothing short of happiness that they were able to return the heirloom to the family at the end of the day. The only downer to their day was Mihoko-sensei refusing to eat with the team, and with her departure Junichi and Hirotsugu had agreed to meet up with her for a meal on another occasion, leaving the pinkette heading back home, exhaustion catching up to her now that her excitement was over.

Only her excitement wasn’t over. No, it was far from over. Even now as she lay exhausted on the couch a part of her was still more than just excited that she had completed a mission just like that. A few days ago, her sister had completed something similar, tracking a thief down with her entire team and then cornering him and a similar buyer in the woods. Oh, but her sister had taken down the thief with her entire team; she had only done so with one other teammate! She was so excited to tell her sister all about this! She knew her sister; jealousy wasn’t in her dictionary, and if possible this only served to further encourage her desire to want to tell her sister all about the mission that she and her team had for the day.

605 words


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Aqua

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Genin
Aqua made her way out of the elevator, hearing the doors shut behind her as she moved forward to look for her apartment. Rainfell hung loosely at her hip, matching the sway of her hips with every step she took. Her right arm rose to her left shoulder, where she massaged a recurring ache from where Matsu had landed a punch during their training. He believed it to be sheer luck that he had landed that hit, but Aqua knew better. He was improving, while she had sloppily underestimated his reach. Had it been a kunai and an enemy, she would have suffered more than a simple bruise.

She retrieved the keys from her pouch as she approached the apartment, only to for the knob to turn easily when she moved it.

‘So, Serah’s back,’ she thought, pocketing her keys and swinging the door open slightly, just large enough for her to quietly slip in and closing the door behind her, before she was greeted with the sight of her beloved sister sprawled out on the couch, eyes seemingly focused on the television, but the excitement on her face and the inattention she paid to the screen told her more was up.

“You’re looking excited today,” Aqua said, removing Rainfell from her hip and placing it against the dining counter, before removing her ninja pouch and throwing it on said counter’s polished marble surface.

She moved past the counter, stepping carefully but smoothly around the slanted form of Rainfell to reach the sink, where she washed her hands and wondered what she would have for dinner. She flicked the remnants of water off her fingertips, allowing the sensors to stop the flow of tap water for her while she walked to the fridge.

The half-filled sight of the fridge hit her, with soft drinks that mostly Serah purchased lining up the sides and a few packets of frozen food meeting her gaze. Her eyes scanned the contents, mentally reminding herself to head to the grocer’s to stock up on food, just like she had made a mental note to do so every night this week. Finally deciding on some frozen buns, she took the packet out with one hand and closed the door with the other, moving to the oven to heat it up.

The six buns within were unlikely to give her or Serah much in terms of sustenance for the night, but as she didn’t have too busy a schedule tomorrow, and considering she preferred to take her time with her meal, she was sure Serah would take more than her share of dinner, as Aqua had always let her. In case what she had prepared truly wasn’t enough, Aqua was more than prepared to head to the nearby diner to grab her own supper while Serah slept, unless the girl’s schedule tomorrow permitted her to accompany her sister out for the night as well.

That would be good. It had been near forever since the two of them had spent any time with each other, outside of their dinners. To stroll along the village and talk about their teams, something that had evolved from their Academy days of gossiping about different people in their respective years. Nevertheless, Aqua’s patience and discipline worn out, telling the giddy girl within her that what was realistic within the realms of possibility she would pursue, or wait for another opportunity to do so.

“Did anything happen?” she asked, in response to her earlier question, if Serah had yet to answer, just as she was about to peel open the green packet containing their to-be dinner.

WC: 614


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Serah

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Chuunin
Serah flicked through channel after channel, wondering what interesting shows would be on premiere while she tried to keep her mind off of the excitement running through her person. Unfortunately, none of the shows – geography, history, or even the local news – was enough to stave her attention away from the building exhilaration within her chest for when she could tell her sister of what had transpired that day.

Granted, Serah always told her sister about her day. She doubted there was one day that passed where the two of them didn’t share stories over dinner, unless they were stopped by a mission getting in the way of one of them turning up for their dinner. That hadn’t happened in awhile, though; neither of their teams had any long-term missions outside of Konoha which needed them to leave for an extended period of time; Serah was grateful for that. She loved her sister and while the threat of her not returning every day was an occupational hazard, the risk of such happening was only amplified every time their teams had expeditions outside of the village.

She idly flicked through some more channels, going through two cartoons and ending with another news channel before she heard the doorknob turn open. Her sister walked in, heading to the counter and resting Rainfell, her custom-made weapon, against the side before dropping her keys on the same counter and heading to the other side to wash up. Excitement flowing through her again, Serah immediately switched off the television, hearing her sister ask, “You’re looking excited today.” Her sister then went to the fridge and looked in it for a bit, before taking out a packet of sweet buns and beginning to peel open the packet at the oven. "Did anything happen?"

“Yes!” Serah answered, excitement as clear in her voice as it was on her face. “My team and I just caught a thief today! It’s just like that thief that your team caught last week, but only Junichi and I were there!”

Anyone else would have likely thought her boasting, but the two sisters were different. Any amount of exposition was going to have some sort of personal bias within, and Serah was more than glad Aqua took her stories, inflated or not, with the care that most blood sisters failed to exhibit.

“Are you cooking sweet buns?” she asked, before trotting over to the fridge and pulling out a packet of cold ramen she had stowed away at the very bottom. “I feel like having some ramen tonight instead! “

She took the packet of buns from Aqua’s hands and slid them on the table, replacing them with the freezing packet of ramen in her hand. Most people didn’t keep their ramen stored away in fridges; in cupboards where they couldn’t be exposed to the environments was good enough. However, Serah felt like the cold loosened up the ramen somewhat, after Hirotsugu’s mother had introduced her to the concept of how Hirotsugu loved ramen that was first cooled down before it was heated up, back when the two of them were an item, of course.

“Mihoko-sensei and Hirotsugu split up to cover more ground. Mikoto-sensei can take care of herself and she thought Hirotsugu would be able to use the forest to make up for the lack of a partner, since we tracked them to the denser parts of the Land of Fire,” Serah continued with her story, “And it was Junichi and I who found the thief! I managed to distract the thief long enough for Junichi to take him out!”

As she narrated, her left hand threw forward in a punch, facing away from Aqua, before her right hand replaced it just as her left hand retracted. Her playful boxing likely missed by her sister, it was more of a personal thing that she tried to show off of in her hype, throwing her fists out playfully even though neither of them had nearly as much experience in Taijutsu as they’d like to admit. Well, Aqua would probably admit it. She wouldn’t. Nevertheless, the smile never left her lips even as she fooled around in their little apartment, waiting for Aqua to get started with dinner so she could continue with the conversation over a nice steaming bowl of ramen.

729 words


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Aqua

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Genin
“I’m sure you and Junichi were amazing in taking down the thief,” she answered lovingly, holding the packet of ramen in her hand and feeling the odd cold radiating off of its surface, as she turned the packet around to inspect the expiry date and contents.

Just like Serah said, she and her team had taken on a similar mission in the recent past, though she certainly didn’t know as much about her client as Serah did hers: no indication as to the actual level of his material wealth nor the price of the item they were supposed to retrieve. It was all just another part of a mission that she and her team had to do, and outside of the family-cum-team dynamic that she ran with Team Sumimoto, she didn’t really pry into the matters regarding the mission details she was given, whether it was the target they were meant to go after, or if it were the client they were meant to fight for. It wasn’t a shout out to her heartlessness; Aqua just didn’t have enough energy to spare between her sister, her team, and herself to dig into matters that didn’t directly affect her or the extensions of her person.

The memory of hiding within the bush hit her, and she let a smile as she played the teamwork Team Sumimoto displayed back in her head. A small auditory distraction by her, Keishi disabling the buyer, and Matsu trapping the thief, before Keishi continued on to incapacitate the thief. Sumimoto-sensei had been sitting on a tree branch, watching his team work from afar and assessing their strengths, weaknesses, and what he could do to help them further grow as a team, something he had been restlessly doing ever since he had taken command of this small dysfunctional team eight years ago when they were all twelve, although anyone looking at his gruffy, mostly ungroomed self wouldn’t have been able to tell him apart from your average alcoholic.

Of course, he had only decided to share this small detail with her, not the whole team, as she had been the only one staying back in the clearing long enough, trying to find the source of her unease even with the completion of a mission. Had it been anyone who wasn’t Sumimoto-sensei, she would’ve been able to escape the trap he’d set, though considering it was Sumimoto-sensei, he’d anticipated her dodge roll and set another trap in the same area, carefully calculating where his team was least likely to step, but where she was most likely to escape to when they were gone.

She swore he was sometimes more crafty than a Nara.

After their ceremonial student-teacher exchange, which she suspected he held almost exclusively for her simply because her teammates were never sharp enough to catch him around when they thought he shouldn’t have been there, she had been allowed to leave. It was another typical mission for their team, ending with Sumimoto trying to polish her to take up the role of team leader, which was currently unofficially held by Keishi simply due to his status as nobility… or Hyuga, which was basically the same thing.

She wondered if Sumimoto-sensei had anything with Keishi and Matsu that she wasn’t aware of. Knowing him… actually, even knowing him, she couldn’t fathom a guess as to the man’s next actions. He was as crafty as he was skilled, and his mind was one filled with so many complexities and peculiarities that she couldn’t begin to wonder what it was he was going to do next, much less what it was he had done. Deciding to ask him about it next time, not that she believed that he was likely to spill anything regarding them if he hadn’t already been freely talking about it, she turned her attention back to the ramen packet in her hand, having half-heartedly scanned its contents to make sure it wasn’t overly-filled with anything unhealthy, which Serah was prone to overlook.

‘So she wants ramen for tonight?’ she thought. ‘Hmm… I haven’t cooked ramen in awhile, but since I just have to boil it, it shouldn’t be too difficult.’

“You just came home from a mission, right?” Aqua asked, more guessing than anything. “Go take a shower first. I’ll have dinner ready when you’re done.”

WC: 752 + 614 = 1366


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Serah

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Chuunin
Serah walked over to the other side of the counter and sat herself down, before once again throwing a playful punch in the direction of the balcony, pretending that she had done more than she actually did in the takedown of the thief.

Junichi had done most of the work. She had been the distraction, yes, but if she had taken on a more offensive role, the outcome would’ve differed very, very slightly. Besides, Junichi had proven himself a very capable fighter, especially when he began using his Fire jutsu, which was fueled to greater heights by the Sarutobi blood that ran in his veins, one of the many families that had stood by Konoha through thick and thin for centuries since the village’s founding. He had always been the fire of the team, providing support either from the back or outright running up to the enemy and blowing hot burning air into their faces to keep them occupied while the rest of the team regrouped.

Her thoughts went to Hirotsugu, and how his Senju heritage gave him control of the famed and feared Wood Release. It was literally one of the most powerful Kekkei Genkai known to the history books, and was why Konoha was one of the major five villages… or so that was what she thought, anyway. Hirotsugu was arguably the strongest member in their team if they were to ever fight each other fairly, even if only because his Wood Release had the immeasurable strength of changing the environment almost permanently, putting them at a prolonged disadvantage as he changed any battlefield to suit his desires. Yes… Hirotsugu would probably be strong enough to take them on.

Even Serah with her Sharingan wouldn’t be able to last against him. Many people considered her a prodigy amongst her peers, graduating two years early, but what she made up for in raw skill she normally failed to apply to a constantly changing situation, more specifically a situation where she was already being played with like a marionette on strings by her opponent. That was what most fights in her team went like: Hirotsugu would be able to manipulate her into a disadvantageous position by simple use of his Senju bloodline, while Junichi’s sheer unpredictability left her lost in most cases. However, she did remember one point that she did have over them: if she were given just that little bit of warning, her quick mind would almost surely help her survive that much longer when combined with her Uchiha prowess.

Ah, Uchiha, Sarutobi, and Senju. The three most notable clans that were, during Konoha’s founding days, with a third of the trio now scattered to the wind and the other two less prominent among the many other clans that were popping up in the lands, as well as Konoha’s waning presence in the ninja world due to the militarisation and active politics going on in the rest of the world.

But, all that was beyond her expertise. As much credit as people, especially Aqua, liked to give Serah, she didn’t really have as much of a gift as they thought she did. She had just been lucky on many occasions, such as learning how to utilise chakra years ahead of her peers. Although, if she were to think about it, the two years that Junichi and Hirotsugu had on her may have contributed to the results of their spars… Nah, ninja’s strengths weren’t determined by age.

She had been about to continue her story, when Aqua had instead told her to shower, informing her that she would be done once Serah herself was done.

“Okay!” she replied, skipping off happily in the direction of the bathroom, before turning back to Aqua and looking at her back from around the corner, realising that her sister, too, had just come back from a day’s missions. “I’ll keep the water warm for you!” was all she said before she disappeared around the corner again, shutting herself in the bathroom. She would tell Aqua all about the mission over dinner.

2023 words

–EXIT–

Speed
Reaction Time
E-0 to D-3
E-0 to E-1


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Aqua

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Genin
Aqua had been inspecting the contents of the ramen packet, just in case Serah had left something out when she had purchased this particular brand of ramen. Although Aqua couldn’t recall seeing this particular brand, it had also been some time since she had visited the ramen section; no reason to suspect it was anything foul if Serah did buy it. More likely than not, the only thing she had to worry about wasn’t additional flavourings but the expiry date.

As she had been inspecting it and reminiscing about the mission she had taken, parallel to the one Serah had completed today, the girl had moved from beside her, where she had stood and played around with some pretend Taijutsu after handing her said ramen packet, to over the counter, staring at her earnestly. There was a slight pause as Aqua waited for her to continue on with her tale, always eager to hear about her sister’s day. That was one aspect of their relationship that had remained the same throughout years of falling out of touch with friends and the introduction of an infinite number of variables into their lives: an unavoidable part of growing up.

However, just as Aqua thought Serah would continue, she instead directed her to the showers. “You just came home from a mission, right?” Aqua asked, more guessing than anything, though her guesses were nothing if not educated. “Go take a shower first. I’ll have dinner ready when you’re done.”

To her relief, her sister replied with an enthusiastic, “Okay!”, not that Aqua had been expecting resistance. The girl skipped off happily in the direction of the bathroom, one leg raising in front of the other as she semi-hopped, semi-walked off to the bathroom. Although Aqua wouldn’t know, she could still feel when her sister’s eyes were on her, having turned back around the corner. “I’ll keep the water warm for you!” was added last minute, before Serah turned and truly shut herself in the bathroom to get cleaned off from a day’s grime.

“Thank you,” Aqua answered, not too sure if her gratitude was caught by her sister’s ears.

Aqua assumed that she would continue with telling her about the day’s mission over dinner, which was fine by her. It was little different from the tradition they had practised over the years, something they fell into step with doing since they were in the orphanage, before moving out into a small apartment, and then buying a bigger one when their accounts permitted. She grabbed a pot – any pot – from the cupboards beneath her and put it behind her, allowing the sensor to run tap water into the container as she peeled open the packet and threw the hard lump of ramen into the water, before heating it up over the stove. The water sizzled, and Aqua noted ironically that it was oddly reminiscent to her namesake, of boiling water in terms of her being Aqua Uchiha.

Nevertheless, it didn’t stick for long as she focused on the task at hand, feeling a slight evening breeze sweep into the room. The girl welcomed the chill as she peeled open the first and second of three packets of flavouring and ingredients, all to give their dinner a little more flavour than the bland dough it was made out of.

As she waited for the ramen to absorb some of the soup before adding the thin strips of vegetables contained in the last pack, she looked around their apartment, considered sizeable for two girls to live in. They had bought this apartment several years ago, and even now it contained the shine that any new apartment would; selling it off would net them at least as much as they paid for. At least. Part of it she chalked up to the two of them being relatively wary of the hygiene of their surroundings, most of it she chalked up to her being willing to clean up the place, but either way it remained that she was glad for how they had turned out.

Life had not been simple and it wouldn’t be, but with Serah, she knew she’d make it.

WC: 710 + 1366 = 2076

[Exit thread]

Speed from E-0 to D-3: 1925 words and 150 ryo
Perception from E-0 to E-1: 75 words and 0 ryo


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