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1 ornithomania on Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:40 am



Special Jounin
Issei knew that he had been so focused on studying and research and recruiting for Ninshiki that his other responsibilities had been lacking. He hadn't talked to his father at all since the night his mother died and he had been holed inside of his apartment, avoiding all contact with the outside world. It wasn't that this bothered him, necessarily, but what did bother him was that his training had been neglected in the process. To Issei, physical fitness was his key to combat and success as a shinobi. His taijutsu training meant the world to him and as such he always managed to make room for it in his schedule, regardless of what was happening in his life. He particularly remembered getting up early in the morning even in the midst of his divorce and going out into the arid heat of Iwagakure every day to train, to punch and kick monoliths, to scale cliffs, to fight dummies. He knew that this recent tragedy should be no exception, and that he should pick himself up and go train. The gentleman managed to psych himself up and so he showered, got dressed, tied his hair back, picked up his duffel bag, and put on his handwraps before going out into the mist...

when he heard a chirp from the trees behind his home.

Strange. Bird migration was at its peak since it was spring, and so Issei specifically recalled watching most of the birds leave Kirigakure to go north for the breeding season. He had been interested in birds as a child, just as he had been in flowers. His taste had changed over the years and he became more of a person inclined toward the indoors rather than the outdoors, what with his writing and his studies and his diplomacy, but that didn't mean that his interest in what he fancied as a child was gone altogether. No, in fact, it was stronger than ever, because he yearned for something to help him take his mind off of things. So, he followed the chirping noise behind his building and noticed, there on one of the air conditioning units, was a small cluster of twigs where the sound was coming from. This sent Issei into confusion, as he was sure that there was an adolescent bird up there, but he didn't know exactly what to do about it. If he moved the nest, the bird's parents might not be able to find it, but if he left it there, would it be alright on top of an AC? It didn't seem right. Yes, it was tucked away and hidden from predators there, but the AC was making loud noises of its own and didn't seem like a pleasant place for a nest. Then, once Issei realized the absurdity of his genuine concern over one bird, he rested his face in his hands and rubbed his sleep-deprived eyes.

The training grounds that Issei liked to visit weren't far, maybe a quarter of a mile away, which was short work for his long legs. When he arrived, he set his bag down near a mossy log and opened it, taking out his water bottle and a bag of almonds, which he snacked at quietly. No one else was there to train, unusually enough, but Issei liked the quiet. He wondered where the Genin that usually crowded the place with all of their inexperience and need to show off were. Then again, Issei was one of those Genin not too long before, and worse was the fact that he was the oldest Genin in his class, starting his 30s while all of his peers were barely starting their teens. He let out a sigh as he finished his snack, drank some water, and walked over to the training dummy set up to his left. He started with a single left hook, then another paired with a right hook. He took a few steps back and then charged forward with a lunging attack, chained in a few punches, and then brought his left leg up to strike with his knee in the dummy's torso. This continued for ten minutes or so, different combinations of attacks and finessed strikes, before Issei started to incorporate handstands, flips, jumps, slides, and spins, making his fighting almost like a dance, but with enough power to leave the iron pole that kept the dummy in place creaking and groaning with the force of every hit. Sweat dripped from the Chuunin's brow as he worked ceaselessly toward some indeterminate goal.

Some rustling in the trees behind Issei distracted him, and he turned to find nothing out of the ordinary. Assuming it had probably just been an animal, he walked back over to his bag and took another swig of water. The sweat he was working up helped balance out the cold humidity of Kirigakure, which had him covered in goosebumps. Then came the overwhelming feeling that he was being watched, which he would have dismissed as paranoia had he not heard the rustling just a minute prior. He knew better than to dismiss that, having been kidnapped in the past. "Who's there?" A woman revealed herself from between the trees, emerging like a nymph in a rain forest. She wore a Kirigakure headband, implying that she was a shinobi, but she didn't seem quite like anyone else that Issei had seen. She had crystal blue eyes and an unsettling stare along with white hair just like Issei's that fell well past her shoulders in long, straight lines. She didn't say anything at first, but she was holding a flyer in her hand. "Ninshiki. You're trying to figure out what happened to Yukigakure." Issei looked back at her blankly, annoyed that she had interrupted his training.

"Yes. How did you know I was gonna be here? The flyer says to leave any inquiries at my office in the administration building or mail them to me." It technically wasn't even his office, but a friend of his who owed him a favor. The woman ignored his question. "I'm only here to give you some advice. What you think is far from what is really going on. Yukigakure is alive and well. They disappeared from the map because they wanted to." Issei raised in eyebrow, not sure if he could trust her. "And how do you know this?"

"Because that is where I was born and I fled when I came of age. There isn't much good to find there. If I were you, I would drop the whole thing." With that said, she turned and started to leave, which alarmed Issei. "Wait! Who are you?
How do I know I can trust you, and know that you're not lying to me?"
The woman faced Issei again, and suddenly the air was flooded with noise, birds screeching and chirping and taking flight all at once. It was deafening, and all of them surrounded Issei, blocking his vision so that all he could see were their white feathers all around him. He dropped to his knees and covered his ears, but it didn't help. The woman's voice echoed over them all. "I'm Haruko. And here's your proof that I'm not lying." And with that, all of the birds flew away, and no trace of them nor Haruko was left behind except a headband that sat in directly front of Issei. The symbol engraved on it was four circles, three arranged in a diagonal line moving from the bottom left to the top right, and the last one below the top right circle and directly to the right of the bottom left circle.

A headband from Yukigakure no Sato. It wasn't for a few minutes that Issei realized the birds had been a genjutsu she'd put him under, as it was impossible that she could have summoned that many without any feathers being left behind. Issei picked up the headband and put it in his bag, engrossed in thought. Even if Haruko was right and Yukigakure erased itself from all records and didn't want to be found, that wouldn't stop Issei. He wanted to travel there and see for himself. He'd wished that Haruko hadn't left so quickly, because someone like her, who knew where Yukigakure was and what the village was capable of, was Ninshiki's perfect way in.

[ until we meet again? ]


the birds are the words:
training reaction time C-1 to C-3: 1,300 words

1,426 - 1,300 = 126 orphaned birds

total ryo cost: 275


Opening ThemeBattle ThemeEnding Theme

Jutsu ListIssei MomochiInventory
[ Taijutsu: S ] [ Ninjutsu: S ] [ Fūinjutsu: A ] [ Suiton: S ] [ Katon: S ]
Missions Completed ▶▶ [ D:3 ] [ C:4 ] [ B:3 ] [ A:0 ] [ S:0 ]

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