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Santaku Nariko


Mission name: Securing Assets (Repeatable)
Mission rank: D
Objective: Secure important assets for Kirigakure’s effort
Location: Kiri
Reward: 80 Ryo
Mission description: “Raw metals are needed for the smithies and crafters. There’s an old abandoned mine on one of the islands west of here to collect them. Some say it’s haunted, be careful.”
Mission details: Go and collect 5 to 10 kilos of raw materials from the old abandoned mine, the mine seems to have had an accident some time ago, leaving raw materials lying around after travelling 200+ meters deep, haunting sightings up to the writer.

The chirping of crickets dominated the night, hinting that danger had vanished from the area around the mines, and was briefly interrupted as the light of a lantern shone over their hiding places, followed by the light sound of sandals hitting the dirty pathway. With her black hair, and dressed in a black toga-like dress, Nariko was but a shadow against the barely lighter inky night sky. Usually, she'd have her wings out, adding even more black to her shadowed figure, but she had requested them sealed before she left - her father had yet to hear of this, which was a good thing since he'd burst into peppers the moment he knew - and was now moving barely recognisable to the abandoned landscape of the 'haunted mine'.

For that reason exactly, Nariko had accepted the mission. She was hoping to find something in there that would give her inspiration for her genjutsu while all together offering her something that would break the boring routine for a change. Heck, if there was a ghost, she hoped it scared the feathers loose from her wings so she could gods-darned marry it and enjoy the inane until the end of times. Love included, no less.

So here she was now, shining the light of a lantern into the deep cavernous entrance of the abandoned mine. It creaked ominously, backed by the incessant chirping of crickets. So far for suspense, Nariko huffed. The entrance looked otherwise intact, aside from a forlorn pickaxe that must have been the victim of a panicked stampede of scared miners. Or maybe it was just overused. What did she know about mining materials anyway?

Ignoring the pickaxe for what it was, Nariko ventured forth into the gaping mouth of the sleeping mine, grinded stone pressed into the relative soft dirt flooring by her sandals. The light of the lantern danced around, revealing more of the tunnel with every new step. Dirt floor, stone walls, the occasional wooden beam and stud preventing collapse, part after part of the mine cart tracks, dust, a forgotten helm, a dead lantern right next to a broken one. On and on it went, before the mine finally split into a left and right corridor which both only seemed to show even more of the already considered dull mine.

"Ini mini miny moe...", Nariko said boredly, and decided to go left.

The path to the left wasn't much different than the main hallway. Well, there was more litter since the incident had taken place here. More rubble and material was left to its demise, dropped in the moment of chaos as most miners ran out in panic. Perhaps a few had remained to save those trapped among the rocks, or something, but that wasn't exactly what Nariko cared for.

She could perfectly imagine the screams of terror echo though the mines, the widened eyes of fear on their faces and mouths curled to a sorry grimace as they fled the mines. Nariko grinned gleefully at the overflow of her own imaginations, yet wished nonetheless that whatever 'ghost' was in there would actually show itself and attempt the same. It would be a lovely memory, or so she thought

The floor and walls became more roughened as the end of the tunnel approached, the darkness more oppressive with every minute. Was she imagining things now, or did the light of her lantern dim a little just now? As if on cue, the wind howled eerily within the mine and a frisky breeze brushed passed her, raising every hair on her arm. There was definitely something in here.

"Come out and play with me, little ghost.", Nariko giggled happily.
"I'll be most happy to oblige.", a voice in the dark replied, and barely leaving any time to react showed its ghastly face in the little light remaining the lantern shone.

Startled, Nariko screamed at the top of her lungs before she burst out in a laughter, almost wiping the tears from her face. Though her heart still raced from the adrenaline, she just couldn't help herself. This. Was. The. Best.

"So you're really a ghost?", she asked through her fit of giggles.
"You... aren't scared?", it asked cautiously.
"Of course I was, didn't you hear me scream?", she replied, annoyed at the dumb question.
"Why aren't you running, then?"
"Firstly, I'm a kunoichi. Secondly, I just loved the thrill. What are you doing here anyway? There's no one left."
"I'm trapped here"
"Huh? How that?"
"You might not know, but this isn't the first incident in the mines. A few years ago, we had a similar accident. One of the support beams collapsed, everything came crashing down... Most were just wounded or startled, but...."
"But you died., she finished his sentence, resting her arms in her neck like it was the most casual thing to realise. "And now you haunt the area?"
"Originally I tried to catch their attention, asking for help, but nobody listened."
"So you're throwing tantrums around, huh? How cute., she grinned."That's okay, ghost. I think you should carry on with that. It's rather interesting to see facial expressions, really.

Taken aback by the girl's casual, if not malicious, mischief, the ghost seemed to suddenly pale a little, as far as that was possible.

"You're not serious, are you?"
"Why not? Well, you don't have to cause any deaths, but I think the occasional prank wouldn't hurt. I mean, they did ignore you for who knows how long..."
"Can't you just set me free? Please?"
"That's just boring, but... I guess so. What should I do?"
"I would be satisfied if you could do a little burial ceremony in the hallway. It'd feel good to know I'm not forgotten just yet."
"I'm not exactly a priestess... I don't have incense or anything."
"T-that's okay. There's candles and paper a-plenty. Just write down a little prayer and burn the paper."

Nariko nodded, shrugged her shoulders and started to look for some forgotten paper and coal. Well, this surely wasn't as thrilling as she had expected. She would have been much happier if she could have tested genjutsu on the ghost, but then again... ghosts were real! That had to count for something, right?

Having found the materials rather easily, she scribbled something akin to a prayer and gently lit it. As it burned, she muttered some random prayer she once heard yet barely knew and hoped that'd satisfy the ghost.

Considering that she heard no whispers anymore after her makeshift ritual, Nariko assumed that would have sufficed and progressed to do the second part of her mission - the gathering of the required materials. And once she finished that, she left off to deliver whatever she had while her mind wandered back to the ghost.

Was he really gone?

wc: 1168

Strength: E-0 to E-2
Speed: E-0 to E-2
Endurance: E-0 to E-2
Perception: E-0 to E-2
Reaction: E-0 to E-2
TOTAL: 1125
Discarding the rest


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