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Karumo

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The letters had been sent out and they were officially given warning and task for their latest assignment, if they so chose to be apart of it. Karumo was at the village gate exactly five minutes before 0900 hours and waiting for those of his squad that would show up. The letter they would have received just around almost exactly twenty four hours before this moment would read as such,


Guest,
We have been assigned a mission, we're heading to
Sunagakure no Sato in the Land of Wind for
a diplomatic meeting with the Kazekage.
I've decided to invite you along to serve as both guards
and to learn of the higher order of the workings of
the world. At the same time, this will be your first
high ranking mission as a team. There will be no
room for screw-ups of any form so come fully prepared and
ready to be gone for an extended period of time. If you
choose to join me, then be at the village gate ready to go at 0900 tomorrow.

Karumo


Karumo stood at the gate with his ANBU armor and black clothing underneath like always, brand new sandals for a long journey and his kunai holsters at his hip and pouch at the back of his waist to his right side. What was different though, was that his white ceremonial robe was on over that and covered him nearly completely. Making him feel so weird in it, his arm was still bandaged up from his last mission and his pill situation from the hospital fixed up so he was in the right mindset. Still, the right sleeve hung emptily as his arm was kept close to his chest in a sling, leaving only his left arm free to move about. Under his robe he also had a backpack with his supplies and the like, but that was far more mundane and less important. Past that even, he had the Tsuchikage's ceremonial hat wrapped around him and hanging towards his back, using the strap attached to hold it around him while he wasn't wearing it.

He sat at the gate, outside of it and facing away from the village, just waiting for his squad to arrive so he could give his final brief and drag them on the road, whenever they would arrive. If they were prepared and would join him in a foreign land. Otherwise, he'd just have to travel alone with the lone ANBU squad that would be accompanying them, told to keep their distance and a watchful eye for the time being. Until something would happen or they reached the border of The Land of Wind. Karumo however, was more interested in the important options of their trip, refilling his metal case with cigars, currently burning a hole in his chest pocket under the robes. He held off though, as much as he wanted to smoke away his waiting for the squad, he would keep his composure now. Besides, he needed those to last the full time they would be in Sunagakure no Sato anyways.


[521 words]


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Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici ~ By the power of truth, I, will living, have conquered the universe.

Specs: Ninjutsu(S)|Taijutsu(S)|Fuinjutsu(S)
Elements: Katon(S)|Fuuton(S)|Suiton(A)|Doton(D)
Completed Missions:
D:4  C:5  B:4  A:2  S:1

Taeru

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Special Jounin
The pads of her fingertips would tentatively feel along the still ore area of her ribs as she smoothed out the bandage bindings making sure to wrap just tight enough to find comfort, strapping her chest down to a flat surface without causing irritation or pain to the sore area any more than she already had. Twisting on her heels her form would dip down into a crouch with her legs spread to give her upper body a wide enough birth as her rump almost grazed the ground. Her right hand would reach out to take up her dull olive-green shirt from the bed as her left shifted to the ground to support her movement. Pausing there she would again read over the contents of the note that had been sent from the Tsuchikage, a more formal echo of his words from his visit to the orphanage just two days prior. She would lean back withdrawing the t-shirt from the bed in the process before removing her hand from the ground to her knee to push herself back up, allowing a few things to sit in her mind, the most prominent of the thoughts echoing with the Tsuchikages voice, Diplomacy, dangerous, guards, best behaviour. Standing up fully she would slip her arms into her shirt before tugging it over her head, her actions becoming softer as she pulled the shirt down past the flat of her chest. Her gaze would remain down, running over her equipment that remained laid out along her bed, ready to be checked one last time, making sure she had everything for their journey. “Best behaviour… huh…” A smirk would crawl along her lips as she though back to scenarios that he could have been thinking on only to grims, the thought only highlighting the wrongs she had done so far.

“Diplomacy…” the word would be uttered aloud as her mind sort out coming to the conclusion that herself and her squad mate wouldn’t actually see much of the term, most if not all of the important talks would take part with more of a hushed tone if anything. As for being dangerous, most things in truth about not only the travel but wondering about a foreign land could be classed as dangerous, not to mention the fabled heat of the land, something she didn’t yet know if she would enjoy, should couldn’t imagine it would be hotter than the maw of a volcano so she should be just fine, happy even with the heat they were about to enter. Her gaze would flicker to a few of the kimono she had set aside for this travel, most suitable for the extreme heat of the land. Giving a light sigh, she would crouch back down this time allowing her knees to touch the ground just before her rump, allowing her feet to relax as she packed her clothing into her haversack.  As she rested against the ground her sheath at her thigh would tap against the ground, its sound empty causing her gaze to shift along the other contents of the bed taking note of her weaponry that lay there, freshly cleaned ready for this mission. Taking her time, she would make sure everything was packed nice and neatly, checking off each item in her head as she progressed through making sure not to leave anything behind. She would attach her parasol to her haversack before raising it from the ground to sling the bag over a shoulder before attaching a simple fan ornate and elegant to her belt, having already packed a few that would match her attire day by day, it was a shame however that her new weapons weren’t ready in time for the travel, but the possibility of gaining a new weapon out in Sunagakure No Sato were always a possibility. She would descend to the ground floor of the orphanage with the intent to search out the others to say goodbye only to find them waiting in the living room already.

A smile would spread along her lips and she lowered her bag to the ground slowly drawing her frame into a crouch as some of the children pounced to wrap their arms around her in a long hug. Her own arms would wrap around them in return as she spoke “I will be coming back, don…” Her words would be cut up short by a sharp voice from behind her crouching frame. “don’t be so sure of that. Who says you’ll be welcome back here?” just as the aunt spoke up the Elder brother would raise from the sofa making his presents known, the authority in his voice enough to shake a weaker person, “Taeru will always be welcome in this home. She has earnt her keep.” With that his attention would shift to Taeru though his expression easily confused her as he continued to speak, “Make sure you stay safe out there and come home.” The aunts face would screw up in distain before storming off out of the house. A mix of emotion would cover the childrens faces, including the young lad that had shrunk down to her side enough to rest his head against her shoulder, as silent as always. She would tilt her head into the touch to speak with him quietly, “I will be back, as I usually am, you’ll need to help Elder brother take care of everyone whilst I’m gone…okay?” the lad would give a light nod allowing her gaze to shift, locking eyes with the elder brother for a moment.

Standing she would make sure that each of the children received a goodbye whether it be a random handshake or a hug, such depending on each individual before heading to the door, accompanied by the Elder brother. Dropping to her rump she would tug on her boots, raising again to feel Elder brothers hand atop her shoulder as he spoke once more, “I’ve said this already but take care of yourself and well done, I am proud of you.” Her eyes would widen for a moment as her body twisted to look at the Elder brother to find he were already turning away and making his way back to the children. A soft smile would graze her lips as she turned back to the door tugging the haversack back on before leaving.

As she left the orphanage she would catch sight of the Aunt say on the tree swing gripping a small photo album, the sight causing her to withdraw her gaze planting it firmly ahead as the aunt turned to look at her. She would pick up her speed heading off to the meeting point, making sure to be just a tad early. Catching sight of the Tsuchikage her hand would raise giving her digits a wiggle, coming to a halt just before him, her upper frame would dip into a low bow as she spoke up “Tsuchikage Sama.” As she rose from her bow she would glance about only to look back to the Tsuchikage having not found sight of their other squad mate yet, she figured it were still a little early.



(Word count:1205.)


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Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
~Oderint Dum Metuant~
Completed Missions: D-4 C-4 B-3 A-1 S-0

Anri Mao

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Genin
"A... mission.." Anri would think to himself as he would keep reading the message over and over again, telling him of how they're heading to Sunagakure no Sato in the Land of Wind for diplomatic reasons regarding the Kazekage. His hands were shaking as his gray eyes kept reading. He honestly knew nothing about Sunagakure other than the fact that it's surrounded by almost entirely Sand, with water being rather scarce. He would definitely need to make sure to pack some water into his handbag to bring with him should he go as a means to ensure that he doesn't go thirsty. What made this even weirder was the fact that their Sensei wanted them as guards. Did he see how Anri appeared physically? Did he hear of Anri's poor skills? Or his natural weakness?! Taeru he can understand at least, but him? Karumo would have a better time having a rock guard him than Anri himself.

But to learn more about the world? Now that's something that sounds exciting, exhilarating, even. Iwagakure may be his home, and he has no true intentions of taking an extended amount of time away from it outside of a mission or assignment, but nonetheless the thought of visiting another land and seeing a completely different culture did sound exciting. It also sounds terrifying, as this will be their first high ranking mission while in a team, and as a result screwing up is something they can't afford. He knew he'll have to have a confidence boost of some sort, something to help him feel better about traveling and about being in a completely new place. He would put on his blue contacts for now and pack his costume for using it when they're there.

He still struggles with how such a thing even raises his confidence like that. Half of the time he feels like it's just him all along, and that the whole stuttering, shy buffoon is an act, but in other cases it has made him feel dependent on it, as though it's a piece of him separated that he relies on like a crutch just to properly function in certain situations. He can handle it in small doses, but whenever he actually put the costume on... no, it must just be him overthinking things. As he held onto the suit his hands would shake for just a moment before he would slip it away, packing it up and pushing the thoughts out of his mind.

Slipping his blue contacts in, he would look at himself in the mirror. Yup, this will do. It'll be just like his walk with Taeru, only now he felt more rejuvenated, as if he can actually make this trip without his fatigue getting the better of him. Grabbing that handbag of his, which contained a change of clothes, his costume, and tools, he would head out to the village gates, ready to go. Beginning to grow accustomed to waking up early, this wasn't the worst feeling in the world. In fact, the worst feeling was just the lump in his throat from the excitement of going on this trip.

At the gate he would see his sensei dressed in a white ceremonial robe; something which helped signify a Kage. His hat would also be hanging towards his back as well. Considering the fact that he didn't seem truly restricted before this, it made Anri wondered if Karumo even liked wearing this sort of thing. He definitely knew he wouldn't like wearing it. He also eyed the fact that the man's right sleeve looked empty, which rose red flags in the boy's mind at first. 'Did he lose his arm?! How? When? Why?' He would wonder to himself as he began to panic. Was this why he wanted bodyguards?! It would make sense if it was, but it made no sense that their sensei would lose an arm and they didn't hear about it, especially since he was the Kage.

"Uh, hey, Sensei." Anri would speak out loud, hoping Karumo could hear as he stood two meters away. "I came like you wanted. I see your arm is... never mind. So w-why are we going?" He would switch the topic quickly, deciding that such a thing would probably be a sensitive topic to bring up right now, or he's just stupid and couldn't realize that the man didn't lose an arm, but considering the fact that he's standing behind him, and as a result can only see his back, he couldn't even truly tell. It didn't seem like his sensei was the only one here either, as Taeru would be standing nearby as well, seemingly having gotten here earlier than him. It was no real surprise. "H-Hey, sorry about before." He would offer to her as he would tighten his grip along his handbag strap.

Wc 834

Karumo

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Karumo would turn to face the first of his arriving students, her wave and then quick turn to bow to him as she arrived was pretty standard. Karumo would sigh at the formality but nod back and speak up, "Taeru. Good Morning." Ending with a small smirk as he found his own gesture in return nothing short of mocking, or rather, not intentionally mocking but could be easily seen to be so. Karumo had realized that it might have been and that was enough.

Karumo ended and reached into the robe and to his jacket underneath it, finding his way under that a well to an inner pocket before pulling out his black pocket watch to check the time. Just a few minutes early and that left Anri with a short time to arrive to their meeting spot, the cigar in Karumo's pocket still itched at him. Glancing upwards he found the shadow of one of the one's that would be helping escort them to the border. Two squads of highly skilled and feted ANBU set to keep a perimeter around him and the squad while they traveled through the Land of Earth until the reached the border of the Land of Wind. Of course, Karumo would be keeping that detail to himself, no reason for the squad members to be worried about anything outright.

Anri would arrive in a typical fashion, at first a simple greeting, much more mundane and at Karumo's level. Karumo would wave back with his good hand and speak up, "Anri. Good Morning to you as well." he would offer a quick smile after the boy had gone on and changed the subject quickly from his arm to why they were going. Karumo hummed for a moment glancing towards the sky, clouds scattered around the blue color and the sun was quickly rising up among the scattered white forms while Anri addressed Taeru for a moment.

"Because you're my squad." Karumo smirked and looked back towards Anri as a sort of devilish idea hit his mind, some exceeding expectations he could place on them just before they took off on their journey.

"And being in my squad, you're expected to be splendid shinobi, the best of the best and future leaders of the village. Perhaps even to take the mantle of Tsuchikage yourselves as part of my lineage." he smiled broadly and looked at each of them to see how they would react, having some preconceived notion in his head of how they might react to something like that.

Still, after Karumo's early bit of fun he would let them settle in before looking around and nodding. Then gripping the straps of his backpack just below his shoulders, the hat and robes he carried so burdensome in his eyes, Karumo would speak up again, "Alright, it's time to depart. We have a long journey. We'll travel the rest of the day, take a break for the night wherever we can get. Tomorrow we'll be in the Land of Stones and passing into the Land of Wind, the day after that we should be arriving at the village if we keep a steady pace up. Any more questions before we go?" he would drop their itinerary upon them though Karumo would be leading the specific paths and the ANBU ordered to keep a close eye but also out of sight in the same move. Perhaps one of the two of them might pick up on their followers during their travel, maybe not?

It would be like a short test to them in some ways, see how on guard they would be outright. Still, with everything said and done, with no more questions and no other delays that might keep them. Karumo would turn his back to the village and began to drudge ahead on the road laid out before him, walking at a decent pace for the time being, until they were further from the village at least.


[671 words, 1192 words total]
[600 words to travel, completed]


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Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici ~ By the power of truth, I, will living, have conquered the universe.

Specs: Ninjutsu(S)|Taijutsu(S)|Fuinjutsu(S)
Elements: Katon(S)|Fuuton(S)|Suiton(A)|Doton(D)
Completed Missions:
D:4  C:5  B:4  A:2  S:1

Taeru

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Special Jounin
Taeru’s miss matched gaze would slowly comb over the area, only to be drawn back to the Tsuchikage and then to their team mate, resting her gaze with him. She would lightly incline her head as he spoke up waiting for the Tsuchikage to finish his greeting before allowing her own voice to vibrate within her throat holding down her accent enough for it to ever so lightly hang in her spoken word clipping at the ends of them, “Anri, it’s good to see you made it.” As she spoke her hand would raise lightly waving off the apology with a smile drawing the right side of her lips up only highlighting further the thin almost healed scab along her high cheekbone, though more prominent the still visible thin vein like marks that spread barely half a centimetre from the scab.

Her gaze would for just a moment flicker off before returning to the two shifting her frame so that she could hold both Anri and the Tsuchikage within her sharp gaze only for her attention to be drawn back to the Tsuchikage as he spoke up again, her gaze raising no higher than the Tsuchikages lips, simply avoiding eye contact whilst showing her attention where there.  Catching the smirk crawling along the Tsuchikage’s lips would cause her head to tilt just a touch, he clearly had more to say, something cryptic perhaps? If their interactions had taught her anything it were that cryptic would be her choice of words to descried their Sensei the Tsuchikage. The first part of his spiel of words came as no surprise, more should be expected from the squad of the Tsuchikage, shouldn’t it? She had barely finished nodding to herself inside of her own head as he continued stopping the original thought trail for her to come up short for a moment, 'future leaders of the village.’ The words would sit in her mind only long enough to be pushed to one side as her mind repeated. ‘To take the mantle of Tsuchikage… and be a part of his lineage…’ allowing a short moment for the words to process her face would take on a different setting as the image of the Tsuchikages smirk returned. Almost like a game with words, she would bite. A smile would crawl along her own lips, the action itself forcing her features to become somewhat softer, almost sweet, reminiscent of being around the children of the orphanage as her gaze shifted to Anri or a moment before flickering her attention back to the Tsuchikage as she spoke, “You know Tsuchikage Sama, I could see Anri one day becoming the Tsuchikaage.” After dropping her words into the mix like a bomb as her hands shifted to the strap of her haver sack as she continued, “after all,” her gaze would again flicker back to Anri, “You aspire to be strong and help people like the hero’s in your comic’s right?” taking a single step to almost face the Tsuchikage as though to take a step beside Anri as she continued leaving little time for an interjection, “and becoming the Tsuchikage you’d become the hero of the village.”

Though she meant her words, maybe the way she worded them were a little… different as she waited just as the Tsuchikage had for a reaction from the both of them before dipping her hands back into her pockets speaking up again, “and since we’re a team, if I were to become strong enough, I could protect you as a guard.”  Her head would tilt to the side allowing her to flash an honest smile towards Anri before righting once more, only then allowing her attention to return to the Tsuchikage, her features returning to their business-like stature as the Tsuchikage spoke of the travel. Nodding her gaze would again scour the area as the Tsuchikage began the departure leading them away from the village. She would inhale deeply filling her lungs with the scents about them before taking the first step forwards, that step alone setting off her heart like a drum, stepping quickly at first to take up the left side of the left, wounded, side of the Tsuchikage keeping around half a step behind him, looking back to Anri as she had so many times on their walk, just to keep her mind at rest, checking up on him before allowing her gaze to continue seeking out along their path seeking out possible dangers, catching odd shadows ever now and again that didn’t quite seem to fit, as nothing came to pass on the beginning of their journey she figured it were the Anbu that the Tsuchikage had spoken about at the orphanage, yet non the less she kept a close eye on this.



(Word count:806.)
(Total word count:2011.)


____

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
~Oderint Dum Metuant~
Completed Missions: D-4 C-4 B-3 A-1 S-0

Anri Mao

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Genin
He would meekly smile as the two returned the greeting, though he would pay special attention to his squad mate's reaction to his apology. An appreciative nod was offered in response to her seemingly waving off the apology. His ineptitude socially has had an effect on more than just negative situations, so he appreciated the fact that it wasn't exactly something that was needed to be spoken about in this situation. Definitely a friend.

His head would immediately turn back to Karumo as the words rung out in his head. Because you're my squad, the weight of such a phrase holds more than it would have a week or so before, before this has truly began. The pressures of the expectations added on and the duties that came with it were only matched with the feeling of pride. 'Because we're your squad.' He would think as he felt the light pressure within him, leading him to swallow as he pondered on the feeling for a few more moments. Why, the explanation that came afterwards almost flew over his head, though he would catch most of what was said. The expectations were still incredibly real, though with the addition of the possibility of even taking the mantle themselves.

"What?" He would say in response as a slightly concerned bough mostly confused look was on his face. Was this what the missing arm was all about? Was he injured and now considering stepping down? Anri only just got in this squad, so what the hell? He would then hear Taeru speak, causing him to look at her only to see a smile on her lips as well. She mentioned seeing him one day becoming the Tsuchikage, citing his admiration for the heroes in the stories he reads, furthering with her explanation that becoming it would make him the hero of the village. She even offered to protect him as a guard, the insanity!

In response, he would hold both hands up halfway in surrender to this wordplay. "No thank you, I can become one through other ways, but that spot? Me fitting into it would be a square into a circle, I know that for sure. I'm b-better suited for other things." He would explain as he lowered his hands. "B-Besides, the Kage can't be a hero, it has to be someone that can do what's best for their people, not what's right." He would say, leaving his idea there. Yes, Taeru is closer to a Kage than he is. They say she moves and acts, it's like a mini-Karumo, it's clear that she has more of a mind for it than he does. Neither he nor Kaji-Sakura is fit for the role, especially not him.

It would be then that Karumo would speak again, mentioning how they have a long journey in regards to traveling the rest of the day so they can take a break for the night. He would regain his composure, gripping his bag again as he nodded. It was definitely getting to the time where they should start heading off so that way they don't have to end up going through the night as well. After explaining how they should be in the Land of Wind shortly afterwards, he would ask if there were anymore questions before they had set off on their little misadventure. "I-I'm sure it can be answered as we travel but is there anything we should know about the Sand Village ahead of time? About the people there or anything like that?" He would ask their Sensei as he followed him and Taeru from behind, staying in the back of the group. Tactically, it was perhaps the worst spot of the three, but who thinks tactics right from the start during a traveling session? Perhaps a lot of people, but some are just stupid sometimes, and that's him for now.

Wc 665

Twc 1499

Ryuko

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Genin
Shit.... Ryuko was late. She knew she was late. She had spent the day before at the arena and in frustration with Karumo, and hadn't even gotten the letter left at her house until that night when she finally returned home. She then promptly spent all night packing, and stayed up way too late. Not that she was going to be making excuses for sleeping in, because really this was in all rights, her fault, and if she had missed the launch point for their, she honestly didn't deserve to go. Not that the girl really felt she had a right to go in the first place. Ryuko had only been assigned to squad Karumo recently, and hadn't really done much with her Sensei outside of prove how hurt she still was by what happened with her mother. She had only shown Karumo weakness, and still yet, he had invited her to come along on this most important of missions. Ryuko for this reason felt she couldn't let Karumo down. She had to prove herself, however being late was quite possibly the worst way to do so, and so Ryuko was running, as hard as she could.

Ryuko's Raven black hair flowed behind her as her red jacket flashed passed the people she ran past. The girl was running as hard as she could, because she figured, maybe, just maybe, if she ran as hard as could, she could still make it in time t join her squad before they left for sunagakure. It was for this reason, Ryuko was certainly glad she was a Fuinjutsu specialist, as the girl was currently not wearing anything that might be weighing her down outside of her normal clothing and her headband. Not her bag full of things she should have packed, not any combat equipment, none of that merely her. She had down herself the service of sealing most of it away to be brought out by her weaponizing technique, though she was almost certain she was going to get negative looks from her squad as she potentially showed up late, and seeming like she had packed next to nothing.

Which was the next thing the worried the girl. Her Squad. She was sure she wasn't the only squad member that Karumo had. It would seem a bit odd for Karumo to only take her under his wing, even though the two had a minor history. Though, Ryuko wasn't even sure if that had played a role into why he had decided to train her. Either way, it didn't matter. This was the first time Ryuko was going to be meeting her squad mates, and if she was being perfectly honest with herself. She was  a tad bit nervous. First, because she felt she definitely going to give the wrong impression, being as she was sure she was late. Secondly, Because she had never met a single one of her other squad mates. This was her first time meeting any of them. Honestly, the girl really didn't know Karumo that well either, outside of the fact that he knew her mother, and that he was her Kage, she really didn't know him all too well. What if she didn't get along with her squad mates, or what if, because they've likely had more tie with him, if they significantly outclass her? There was so many things working against the girls favor, that when she reached the, and noticed the white ceremonial robes of karumo and two other people, presumably her squad mates, begin to walk off away from Iwagakure that Ryuko's heart sunk a bit. Still, as disappointed as she was that she was late, she wasn't going to let this dissuade her. In fact, Ryuko ran harder shouting out "WAIT!" as she began to slowly close on them.

Ryuko would then run until she slid in front of Karumo. Putting her hands on her knees as she hunched over, catching her breath as she had just ran as hard as she could quiet a ways to make it to the gate... After a brief moment, Ryuko would look up, her eyes burning red as a wash of emotion washed over Ryuko as she saw Karumo's face. She hadn't seen him at all since the two parted ways, and she still wasn't quite sure how to deal with the emotions that rose in her when she saw the Kage. However outside of her eyes, the girl, unlike last time, managed to suppress her emotions, and instead she merely looked at Karumo in the eyes, only a hint of pain being visible to those that were looking for it. The girl would then give a small bow, and say. "I'm sorry for my tardiness Sensei. There is no excuse for it, and if you'll have me, I'd like to come on this mission with you." Ryuko would then remain bowed until Karumo acknowledged her.


WC: 841
Total WC: 841

Karumo

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Karumo smirked, almost scoffing at each of them as they denied the position, a simple, "Hm." mumbled from his throat as he awaited any of their questions that they might have. Truthfully, he didn't necessarily imagine either of them being Tsuchikage yet but such was the way of students, learning and developing still, having yet to truly grow into their own. Taeru being a gifted genius and having the prowess for it, incredibly young still and having a ways to go but then Anri had the heart and mind, the room to grow and better himself. It was always those who grew the most that had the highest ceiling of potential. That is just basing on their physical abilities, their mental state, ideology and all else were an entire class of recognition and potential to explore in their qualifications as shinobi alone.

Anri's question ended and they began walking from the village, Karumo nodding about as he pondered over the question itself, having only been to Sunagakure once so many years ago he would have to dig back into his mind. "Well, the Land of Wind is expansive and diverse so it's-" his train of thought and wording began to cut off, the familiar voice that screamed out from behind them to wait not long after they had begun to walk from the village gates. Karumo slowed his pace and turned a shoulder, a curious glance fell behind it as he looked out for the intrusion.

The third that would reform his squad had arrived, late. Not that it was a problem, she was just behind his clock and Karumo was never a stickler for punctuality but she was almost left behind. Karumo's eyes met her and he could see it all for a moment, the pain that he'd dealt with before. He sighed a bit as she bowed and began to apologize, justifying her lack of reasoning as a reason in itself, as if Karumo was supposed to just understand? He mentally shrugged it off and smirked, "Sure." was all he would say as he would continue on and turn back to the road. She didn't seem prepared and was already a bit fatigued, it might be a good lesson for her though.

As Karumo walked forward, he waved his hand over his shoulder, trying to usher them forth as he would began speaking again. "This is Ryuko, she will be our new addition and third member of the squad. Now, as I was saying," he would pause for a moment and look to make sure they had followed or were in the act of following for soon he would pick up the pace on them, and really test their endurance. "The Land of Wind is expansive and diverse and so is the Village Hidden in the Sand. There are many parts poorer than us and many parts more extravagant. It's been a long time since I've been there but I remember it being mostly hot, a constant barrage of sandy wind, and a generally similar cast of citizens that ranged from incredibly hospitable to those who wouldn't cast another glance. However, I wasn't Tsuchikage at the time either..." he would pause in his thoughts for a moment about what else he could add on to say about the village he vaguely remembered.

"I would just be on your best behavior and keep your cool, though... don't try to freak out too much or get too nervous." he would glance to Anri for a moment then turn towards Taeru, "And try not to pull a knife on the Lady Kazekage either." he would chuckle. Then lastly his eyes would set on Ryuko as he thought about something to say, knowing that his squad would either behave exceptionally well or awfully in every way possible. "Well, you should all just behave, at the very least while we're under watch."

He would end off then eye ahead of them, he would make a small formation of them, setting Taeru in the lead, Anri and Ryuko shoulder to shoulder and at the sides of themselves and Karumo would place himself in the back of the group, forming a makeshift diamond as they walked. For Karumo, he wasn't nervous about anything happening as the ANBU were around, but he did want to see how the other three would act in formation, soon, they would shift their pace up several notches and begin a long journey out of the Land of Earth. Testing their endurance, awareness, and how well they could operate as a squad, even if there was a totally new person thrown into the mix among them.


[788 words, 1980 words total]


____


Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici ~ By the power of truth, I, will living, have conquered the universe.

Specs: Ninjutsu(S)|Taijutsu(S)|Fuinjutsu(S)
Elements: Katon(S)|Fuuton(S)|Suiton(A)|Doton(D)
Completed Missions:
D:4  C:5  B:4  A:2  S:1

Taeru

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Special Jounin
The smile would remain, the right corner tugged up as she watched Anri’s hands raise, like you would expect someone to do when an attempt at talking someone out of something, though with his words her pearly whites would flash into view as she waited for him to finish before speaking up in return as she slowly turned away, attempting to hold back the smirk that threatened to twist her facial features, “Well, with enough effort you could beat a square into fitting in a circle… or simply find a smaller square.” Pausing her features would slowly daw back to their neutral state as she continued, her accent becoming thicker as she did so, “I beg to differ, Hero’s aren’t always right. No one truly is, it’s all down to perspective. Our enemies to us are villains and we the heroes of our own stories but if you were to look at things threw their eyes we become the villains and they the hero’s… so, having what it takes to do what is best, though sometimes dark can also bring light.” Pausing her brow would arch at her own words only for her to shrug, her accent fading once more, “though again, it’s all about a person’s perspective.”

Keeping her senses alert as she kept to the wounded side of the Tsuchikage as they walked, her gaze would shift over the land even when the Tsuchikage began to answer Anri’s question before being transferred to their rear, her sharp gaze would dart past Anri as the sound of another approached. Taeru would come t a halt taking in how fast the new arrival were moving towards them, her natural instinct kicking in as her left foot grazed over the surface of the ground drawing her form down just a tad, taking up her preferred stance. Her left hand would shift to her pouch at her thigh taking hold of the small latch as her right hand slipped behind her jacket flicking the latch away to allow tatsu to slip into her grasp. Readying herself she would take the few seconds she had to take in the sight of the stranger, no weapons? No visible equipment… but there were other ways to fight. As her mind raced for a moment the word ‘Wait’ would ring out in her mind stumping the flow of her thoughts causing her brow to crease, mouthing the word herself. Stealing a glance at the Tsuchikage her frame would relax just a little watching the female come to a halt, though she would keep her frame between the female and the Tsuchikage just in case.

'Sensei?' at the word her brow would arch for a moment though she would inwardly shrug as she physically waited for the Tsuchikages conformation of the individual before straightening up and stepping to the side collecting up her own personal space once more whilst the Tsuchikage shortly introduced the female to herself and Anri. Taking the opportunity she would resist arching a brow again opting to instead incline her head to the new female as she took in the sight of her before looking back to see Anri’s reaction to the new arrival. If she were being frank her reaction hadn’t been all to different to the first time both Anri and Taeru had met the Tsuchikage. Natural reaction?
Her left hand would shift to rest against the sheath against her thigh as her right hand slid Tatsu back into the sheath at the base of her back, clipping it back into place. Her attention would shift from the squad mates to the Tsuchikage midway through his explanation on Anri’s question, only shifting to Arni as the Tsuchikages attention did before sensing the Tsuchikages gaze on her. An awkward attempt as a smile and nod would tug her features before looking away rather quickly as she spoke up, “I don’t plan to, but if she’s going to be hopping down from the lofty rafters to startle us, I can’t help my reaction.” Though she had spoken it would have come more of a mumble, heavily layered by her accent and the overall dull monotone tone of her voice.

Giving an inward sigh as she were placed at the front, having glanced back to see the formation, displeased would be putting her mood lightly. Not only were the Tsuchikage in a vulnerable position at the back, though this must be to simply watch his squad or not trusting any of them to take up such a position but having the new arrival placed behind her, simply made her feel on edge not liking having her back to strangers. Keeping her left hand atop the sheath holding Amai she would at the Tsuchikage’s signal patrole forwards, both taking the time to mull over the situation along with keeping her senses trained on their surroundings.


(Word count: 824.)
(Total word count: 2835.)


____

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
~Oderint Dum Metuant~
Completed Missions: D-4 C-4 B-3 A-1 S-0

Anri Mao

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Genin
He would almost chuckle at Tae's rebuttal, the female Shinobi mentioning how you can beat a square into a circle or you can also find a smaller square. And while that is true, a smaller square leaves empty gaps needing to be filled while a jammed one will never truly fit right in, instead becoming an ugly remnant of what it used to be. She also seemed to disagree with his comment about being a Kage, saying that Heroes aren't always right, that no one truly is considering how it's all down to perspective. The concepts of heroes and villains depends upon who is seeing it that way, but that is exactly what he's basing his argument upon. He wished he could explain it better, but he didn't have the words at the time, not the right kind of words.

It seemed that as they were traveling again after this, Karumo began to answer his question, only to hear someone scream out of nowhere. "WAIT" they had screamed, pretty much jumpscaring Anri while Taeru herself already seemed ready to attack this person too. While Taeru appeared to already be ready like a hardened warrior Anri himself played the coward. His teeth were closed shut like mighty walls to prevent the chattering and his body shook for a few short moments, almost as an earthquake struck, swallowed the fear, and left. The short shot of adrenaline that had come and went like a deadbeat parent would immediately cause him to turn around to see who it is that was screaming for them to wait. While the voice was more feminine than he remembered, his first and immediate assumption was that it was their third missing squad member, whom he hadn't seen since their meeting as a squad.

Instead, it was someone else entirely; a female even, whom had flowing black hair and a red jacket. Immediately she gave their Sensei a small bow after seemingly stopping her pace, apologizing to him, calling him sensei, and then asking if she can come as well. "Sensei? What happened with..? He would begin to say to himself until Karumo himself confirmed her accompanying them. He guessed this meant they were a man down, that's sad, though then again he guessed it just meant a new opportunity to meet this new person as well, which is a good thing too. He would introduce her as Ryuko, the new addition to their squad. Anri himself would wave to her before looking away, holding onto his the strap of his bag tightly, still trying to undo the knots in his mind generated by this new arrival.

As the pace began picking up, their Sensei would begin to speak, explaining how the Land of Wind is expansive and Diverse, with Sunagakure; the Village Hidden in the Sand, being just as much so. It's a mix of many parts that are poorer and many parts more extravagant, and while he hasn't been here in a while he did recall it being mostly hot with a constant barrage of sandy wind and a mix of citizens that are both incredibly hospitable and others that wouldn't give them a second of their time. The main advice seemed to be that they should be on their best behavior and to keep their cool, and to not freak out too much or get too nervous, let alone not pulling a knife on the Kazekage either.

Afterwards, it seemed Karumo would change their formation, with Taeru being in he lead and Anri and Ryuko shoulder to shoulder, with heir sensei in the back. He didn't know if this was meant as some sort of test or lesson but he did know one thing, and that's that it would be really awkward if he spent the entire trip not knowing what to say to what should now be the person next to him, and he'd very much rather not come off as a total creep, even if he can't help being off even if it's a little. "I'm Anri, I-It's nice to meet you." He would begin, trying to figure out what to say next for a small moment as his blue eyes looked around before back towards Ryuko. "So, y-you like sand? Have a-any hobbies?" Well, he tried.

Wc 734

Twc 2233

Ryuko

avatar

Genin
"Sure." This was the only thing Ryuko got in response..... 'sure'.... no punishment, no "I'm disappointed in you for being late" no anything outside of 'sure'... Was she being ignored, or thrown to the side? There wasn't even a greeting to be had. Sure she couldn't expect special treatment simply because she had a history with the man before her, but was this really how the Kage of Iwagakure treated his students? There wasn't anything but what felt like apathy there... that was unless of course he had other motives for letting her join, but was actually disappointed in her arriving late, but couldn't express that because he had reasons for her being there. Maybe he was testing how well she would function with her squad mates, or how well her squad mates would function with her, despite each of their initial first impressions. Something of which, Ryuko was already beginning to get.

The other girl in her squad was... very eager for a fight, or at least on her toes quite a lot, not only did she immediately put herself in between Ryuko and Karumo, but Karumo also threw some shade towards her about drawing a knife on Sunagakure's Kage, and her response was that she wouldn't as long as she wasn't surprised. The boy however was an interesting case. He hadn't even said a word, much less looked at Ryuko since she had showed up. In fact he seemed a bit spooked about her sudden appearance, though before Ryuko could really surmise more about him, she caught Karumo's gaze settling on her, as he spoke. "Well, you should all just behave, at the very least while we're under watch."

Was that supposed to mean something? Ryuko merely turned her gaze away from him, preferring to look elsewhere. She couldn't determain if he was calling her out for some reason, or if he was implying we should do some investigation of Sunagakure while not under watch. She'd have to ask later because she honestly wasn't sure, not could she really think of a reason why Karumo would think she would behave poorly. She wasn't notorious in Iwagakure for being a trouble maker by any means, in fact she hated those types of people. Maybe he thought because of her showmen ship towards the Assholes they had met at the tea shop that she may get into trouble, but she she the circumstances of the mission as well. They were here to represent Iwagakure, and that meant they had to prove Iwagakure wasn't just filled with a bunch of egomaniacs, and trouble makers.

It was then Ryuko's line of thought was caught off once more, as they started to move in formation and the boy next to her began to speak. "I'm Anri, I-It's nice to meet you." Oh definitely the shy type. Ryuko would turn her head a bit to face him, and look him over. There wasn't a shred of hostility in her eyes, mere curiosity. "So, y-you like sand? Have a-any hobbies?" Ryuko began to giggle at this statement. She then look at him with a cocked eyebrow and say "Sand? Do I like sand?" she would then giggle a little bit more before continuing. "I'm not really opposed to it I suppose, though I've never really been in a place filled with sand, so I couldn't give my opinion on how much I'm going to enjoy Sunagakure..." She would pause for a bit. "As for hobbies...." as the girl started speaking, she would begin to move like she was putting on a backpack, and then halfway through doing so, a backpack filled with all of the stuff she had packed would materialize in her hand, and she would simply finish putting it on. "Not really.. I spend most of my time training." She would then look back towards Karumo, as she would say her next bit. "I want to become Tsuchikage some day, and I'm not going to do that being as weak as I am." she would then let out a small sigh "I really have a long ways to go/". that was something she hadn't told Karumo when they met, but she had made that her goal ever since.. well... the current Kage himself failed her. She would then look back towards Ahri. "What about you?" Ryuko would then giggle a little bit. "Do you like sand?" She would say with only a little bit of a mocking tone in her voice, but with more sincerity then not. She was actually curious about what Ahri's thoughts were on Sunagakure.


WC: 795
Total WC: 1636

Karumo

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Well, they each heeded his warning, or seemingly so as Taeru was the only one to really respond and in a way that Karumo would have predicted in some sense. She was always on guard, and it showed heavily as she took the front of their formation, keeping her hand hovered near her weapon. The other two surprised him a little, just talking away, Karumo supposed it wasn't a big deal for the time, getting to know each other was valuable for their squad and becoming more comfortable with Ryuko instead of treating her like a stranger. He would let it happen for now, part of him had wished internally that he could stage some danger or the likes there of to test his squad, but with Taeru severely on guard and the ANBU around them, he had no real concerns over the focus of the other two for now.

Karumo would keep quite and continue walking along at their pace, letting them chat about and smirking at Ryuko's comment about wanting to become Tsuchikage someday, a noteable goal. Perhaps she would surpass him and take up the mantle that he wore at the moment, not that surpassing Karumo was any great feat of power and ability for a ninja. Still, it was nice to know that at least one of his squad aspired to the position, another had the heart for it, and the third had the mind for it.

Some of their path would lead on, surrounded by trees and cutting by drop offs that would lead to little creeks of water that scissored through and carved the landscape. Light gusts of wind carried on and the sun rose through the sky and was blocked briefly and rarely by the few clouds that were scattered about against a bright blue background. If any of them had any more questions or comments then Karumo would address them, otherwise he would stay quiet and diligently watch his grouping, taking note of their actions and demeanor. Wondering about how he would adjust the squad composition and formation going forwards on their travel.






Eventually they would reach a peak in their walking, probably tired and fatigued and the sun beginning to set, the various formations and scenery of land had moved entirely to rock and the likes, dry and warmed up but beginning to cool off by the absence of the sun. They had a few more hours of time to go before they would call their travel for a night, and even as he mused on in this specific moment, they would be moving from traveling in the Land of Stone to the minor land of Rock. The buffer they had between the Land of Wind and their own country. Karumo would shift about, removing his white robe as he could, taking it in his hands and beginning to fold it diligently and tightly, compacting it down as small as possible.

He would then sling his backpack over one shoulder and begin to tuck it away before tying the ceremonial hat over the back of the black backpack. Underneath his robe, he would have on his ANBU armor, grey in padding and black clothing underneath, his right arm would be obviously in its sling and a cut across the left forearm of his armor would be obvious with how deep it was, cutting into the very armor itself. With a sigh he would pause, knowing he had such a short distance until they were through the border, if his squad would take notice of his doings or not and ask wouldn't matter much, he would reach to his left pocket with his good arm and pull out the headband of their village and tie it around his forehead tightly with a single arm.

After his headband was tied he would begin to slow his pace slightly, not taking notice of his squad for the instance, almost hoping they would walk forward so that none of the three would be alarmed by the change. By the arrival of 4 ANBU agents who were marked with Iwa's symbol on their mask and in the red flak jackets of their village.

"Lord Tsuchikage. It's time." One in a bear's mask would speak up and Karumo would nod in response. They were about to lose their escort and be on their way into the abyss of the Land of Wind on their own and without serious back up to help if they got into trouble. Still, Karumo wasn't bothered so much and hoped his squad had the mentality for it. He shed the robe so that he could be much more free moving and avoid restraint in his movement.

"It's not too late, we can-"

"No, we'll be fine. This squad is plenty capable, you're dismissed to go report back to the Captain and follow his orders." His reference to the current captain of the Oracles who would be in charge while Karumo was away, keeping things running cleanly and smoothly. Karumo would turn back to his squad, assuming that none of them would comment or do anything in the meantime to disrupt his short conversation.

The ANBU would flicker away as Karumo raised his good hand to dismiss them formally. He would take his left hand and grab the strap of his sling and break it, letting his right hand fall out in its cast as he would speak up, "We're going to change the formation a little from here on out. Taeru, you'll be taking the rear from here on out. Ryuko, I want you in the front and I'll take the left side since my right arm is limited. Anri, you'll be staying on the right if you're alright with that?" Karumo would end, not really asking the question so much as stating it. Truth be told, he didn't know why he'd even bothered asking but there was no turning back from that decision for right now.

"We'll have a few more hours to get into the Land of Rock tonight, then we can stop for the night... hopefully in an inn." he would speak and mumble his last bit as he smirked, even chuckling at the bit before continuing to move to the left and then walking onwards, expecting the squad to form up at his pace. For tonight, he would keep it slow, but tomorrow, they would increase the speed of their travel severely so. As a precaution at not wandering around in the wilderness any longer than they absolutely needed to.


[1110 words, 3090 words total]


____


Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici ~ By the power of truth, I, will living, have conquered the universe.

Specs: Ninjutsu(S)|Taijutsu(S)|Fuinjutsu(S)
Elements: Katon(S)|Fuuton(S)|Suiton(A)|Doton(D)
Completed Missions:
D:4  C:5  B:4  A:2  S:1

Taeru

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Special Jounin
‘Do you like sand?’ The words would rattle within her mind tugging the corner of his lips up for a moment as she fought the urge to turn around, to look at the others, making sure to do a complete scan of the area ahead before catching a glimps of the two chatting away along with the Tsuchikage bringing up the rare. Drawing her gaze back to the front keeping an adamant watch along their patrol, her hand would rest down against the butt of Amai still sheathed, continuing to listen to the twos conversation for a little while longer. Training… a hobby of the new arrival to their squad, Taeru’s mind would wonder as to what type of training the female referred to yet kept quiet. As she caught mention of the girls dreams of becoming the Tsuchikage a light smirk would curl the right corner of her lips upwards. So, there was one of the Tsuchikage’s squad that wanted to advance to take up the mantel, and pursue his lineage.  This girl just got a little more interesting. Biting down on the soft pale pink flesh of her bottom lip, her fingertips would drum down against the edge of Amai. Though she were taking in the scenery at the same time it seemed to simply pass by as she concentrated on keeping guard alongside attempting to make sure her mind wouldn’t wander along the familiar path they took away from the village and out of the land of stone.




The scent of dusk flittering in on the light breeze signifying the oncoming night as the sky darkened, settling in a very different aura to the air. The creatures of the day scurrying off as the creatures of the night began to stir. Tugging the right sleeve of her jacket down a touch to cover over her hand a little more her attention would flicker back first over both Anri and Ryuko in their centre ranks before shifting to the Tsuchikage as her gaze had done before, only now the sight causing her brow to crease, was he…getting out of his robes in the middle of a patrol? ‘in the most vulnerable position?’ Her frame would turn once more towards the front with the intent to scan over the area before them only for the sound of other approaching at a quick pace to catch her attention darting her attention back towards the Tsuchikage once again. Just as her body lurched, far too late in her reaction her sight would take in the Iwagakure symbols on the masks of the ANBU at the very least recognising one of the masks among them, the sight easing her stance even if such were just a little, recalling having been told previously the ANBU would be escorting them to the boarder, yet had hopped the Tsuchikage had reconsidered about not taking them along too.

Now her form had come to a complete stand still having disrupted their formation to stand still facing the ANBU and the Tsuchikage. At the Tsuchikages words her stomach would drop as she struggled with a sigh. Right in that moment she had proven at the very least she was not up to the job of protecting the Tsuchikage, yet his words rang like white noise in her ears ‘This squad is plenty capable…’ a statement she highly disagreed with. Fighting back a scowl her features would harden as the squad’s formation were repositioned, this time a formation, very much welcomed, that she felt better suited with the Tsuchikage in the centre. As she fell into the new formation she would steal a glance just off from their position before setting her gaze right once more. Reminiscing would have to wait for not her mind would continue keeping watch, later would be plenty enough time to travel back to her past as far back as her mind would allow, for now it would split unintentionally between keeping watch and repeating the reasons for her latest spout of agitation. Were they capable of protecting the Tsuchikage? In her view, the answer was simple enough, no.


(Word count:691.)
(Total word count:3526.)


____

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
~Oderint Dum Metuant~
Completed Missions: D-4 C-4 B-3 A-1 S-0

Anri Mao

avatar

Genin
An eyebrow would raise as he looked at her, wondering if he had said something funny as she had begun to giggle at his question. Well, there goes that attempt, strike one and he's out of here, or at least he had thought as much. She cocked an eyebrow in return, repeating his question, clearly entertained by it before responding. He couldn't help but to let out a shaky chuckle in response; a mixture of hopes of his not already messing up and of the insecurity that he did and just doesn't know it yet. She would mention that she's never been in a place filled with sand, so she can't give her opinion on whether or not she will enjoy the village. He watched as she was seemingly putting on a backpack, youth he couldn't see one, which led him to veering his gaze every few moments or so to make sure nothing was coming on his side while he waited for a response.

When he looked back, his eyes widened as he didn't expect a backpack to actually appear, though the surprise would be short-lived. 'It must've been some kind of scroll or storage technique.' He would muse to himself. It would be then and only then that he would learn that she is much like Taeru in the fact that she spends a lot of time training as well, making him the odd one out of the bunch for hobbies. He would listen to her admitting her aspiration to become the Tsuchikage, and admitting that she isn't going to do it while she is as weak as she is. "A-As long as you're sure of your goals though it'll be worth the w-wait." He would respond to her mentioning her having a long way to go, only to receive a question in return that would be accompanied by giggling. Did he like Sand?

"Well, I-I haven't really seen much sand o-outside of books before, but I'm used to heat, so o-overall I think I'm p-pretty okay with it. It's the people I heard can use s-sand that I'm concerned about." His brow would furrow for a few short moments as he would look away, only to shake off the thought that had popped up so his gaze can return to the newly met ally. He would begin to open his mouth to say something else, almost thinking that she was asking about his own hobbies, but decided against it. If she wished to know she'd just ask, so instead of just forcing answers to unanswered questions upon this comrade, he would opt out for looking away for now.

Looking outwards, he could see that even with the somewhat distracted vision of his the surrounding wilderness was indeed beautiful. The trees that surrounded them, their cutting by drop-offs that led to creeks of water, the light gusts of wind which gently cluttered his clothing would be a welcome feeling to this nice day. The sun with the scattered clouds above promised a nice day today, which was good. It wasn't humid from what he could tell, so there was no rain or anything else of the sort which could put a damper on it. Granted however, these were but a few moments of nature's beauty that the fourteen year old could partake in before returning his attention to the surrounding wilderness and his own squad.

It made him nearly forget the underlining ugliness that was his own physical form, where the easily fatigued male was attempting to mask his somewhat heavy breathing and he had further attempted to ignore the light burning in his legs, accompanied by a light cold sweat on his forehead. Thankfully the interaction with Ryuko and the enjoyment of nature around him helped in easing his mind, but now that he had acknowledged it, it was only a matter of time before it comes in full force. He needed something to help him take his mind off again. A setting sun among the now barren rocky terrain that they were in was t cutting it, not one bit.

"Hey Ryuk-" his voice would trail off as he took notice of Karumo's removing of his white robe. 'Whew, two arms..' A light sigh of relief would come out of his mouth. Sure, he didn't exactly look as if he was in prime condition what with an arm in a sling and all, but it's better than no arm at all. He looked back towards the squad mate of his. "S-So how long have you k-known Karumo-Sensei?" He'd ask of her, assuming that she did know him somewhat prior to this due to the interaction that occurred when she first appeared. His eyes would look back towards their Sensei after he asked, taking notice of how he was now wearing a band around his forehead.

That wouldn't be what kept his attention though, as the four forms of masked figures appeared. The red flak jackets, the stylized masks, and the village's symbol upon them already alerted to the male of who they were; Iwagakure's ANBU. They seemed to speak with the Kage for a few moments, with from what he could hear Karumo expressing confidence in his squad's ability to be capable without an escort. The younger male swallowed, creating a light gulping sound. He wasn't exactly sure of how accurate that information was, and that was only on top of how intimidating the four were. If he could, he'd have put on the mask by now, to allow the confidence coming from his other self to pour through. He couldn't though, at least not with Taeru and Ryuko.

After they had left, and another sigh of relief came from Anri, their Sensei had broken out of his cast, declaring a change in formation: Taeru takes the rear, Ryuko the from, and Anri himself the right, as his right arm is limited. Even though he ended with a question, the form revealed it to be nothing more than a statement, one that he nodded approval of nonetheless. He would begin to move to Karumo's right as their Sensei spoke, telling them how they have a few more hours to get into the Land of Rock, then they can hopefully stop for the night. He wasn't sure how to act in regards to this new formation, and he wondered what Taeru and Ryuko's reactions are as well. He didn't dare ask though, at least not today. For the rest of the night he would try to keep focus on the going-ons around.

Wc 1144

Twc 3377

Ryuko

avatar

Genin
Anri's response was a bit interesting. First he told her the wait for her to become stronger would be well worth it... "I can only hope so..." she thought to herself, as she let her eyes wonder as she listened to the second half of Anri's response "Well, I-I haven't really seen much sand o-outside of books before, but I'm used to heat, so o-overall I think I'm p-pretty okay with it. It's the people I heard can use s-sand that I'm concerned about." He's used to heat? Ryuko was a bit puzzled by this, she knew iwagakure could get a bit hot during the summer, but nothing like she had heard about the temperatures the desert got up too, and the people that could use sand? seemed like an odd worry. Ryuko couldn't say she was terribly worried about them. Obviously they'd be surrounded by their primary element, but that was like being afraid of Doton users in Iwagakure, or Suiton users in Kirigakure, or maybe even a bit more extreme because Sand users would inevitably be more rare than those who merely just utilized the base elements. Either way, it really didn't matter much.

Ryuko would carry on carrying her backpack for a little bit, looking towards the back of taeru's head. The other girl within her squad. She hadn't said hardly anything to Ryuko since she showed up. In fact Ryuko didn't think she had said a single word to her the entire time. Ryuko was beginning to felt like she had done something wrong to upset the girl in some way. "Hey Ryuk-" Her name being called caught her a bit off-guard, but as she turned her attention to face Anri once more, he was already trailing off. "Yeeeesssss?" she would say, hoping to catch Anri's attention, as her eyes would follow his, she'd see Karumo taking off his coat, but she really didn't make much of it, and looked back towards anri as he turned to her and  "S-So how long have you k-known Karumo-Sensei?" Ryuko would pause for a moment at the question, and her face would go a tad bit white. She'd take a gulp and look at the ground before answering. A awkward and forced laugh coming out of her throat as she tried to not get choked up. "Ummm.... I actually don't know him terribly well believe it or not...." she'd say pausing for a moment. "But my mom knew him." The words on her mouth tasted bitter. She'd leave it at that for now.

As she turned to look towards karumo, his outfit had changed a bit, and he looked a tad bit more serious. "We're going to change the formation a little from here on out. Taeru, you'll be taking the rear from here on out. Ryuko, I want you in the front and I'll take the left side since my right arm is limited. Anri, you'll be staying on the right if you're alright with that?" Ryuko would give a nod, picking up the seriousness in his voice, and the change of squad formation. And honestly speaking, she was a bit surprised she was vanguarding the group, but when she thought about it, it made the most sense, though the answer she had arrived at left even more of a bitter taste in her mouth. She couldn't be trusted.

In the front, everyone else had eyes on her, and no one would have to put their faith in her to cover their flanks. However on the flip side, she would need to put all of her faith in her brand new team to cover her backside. It was a cleaver move on Karumo's part, and she would fufill her duty to the best. As the vanguard, she'd be the first to see things coming. That was if she was on the same level as Karumo. She's certain he'd notice something miles out before she could pick up a trace of it. Even still she was determined to take this seriously.

In a flash of smoke Ryuko's backpack would dissapear once more. She didn't need the additional weight, weighing her down if they were to get attack. Ryuko would then tightened her headband as she spoke "Right." moving to the front of the group, her eyes glowing a bright eye as a single tomoe swirled into place. Then finally, Ryuko would begin twirling a kunai in her hand, that would appear out of thin air. She wanted to be at the ready in case something showed up. She wouldn't let her new squad down.


WC: 808
Total WC: 2444

Karumo

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Their new formation was set and Karumo was more unburdened, even with his arm wrapped up like it was. The ANBU agents he had were gone, poised to return to the village and make their preparations where needed and report in. That no longer concerned Karumo as he began to move forward and set the pace for their group, he knew of one small town marked on the map as they would arrive. Nothing more than an outpost village a single paved road and buildings around it divided by alleys and other small markers. Some restaurants and inns for travelers moving between the two great lands, it wouldn't be much and there wouldn't be much happening as they would arrive late, after the sun had set and then some time after that.

Hours wouldn't be a bad estimate of their remaining time traveling and upon arrival, it was exactly as Karumo remembered, quiet and sunken into the hills that were falling flatter as they arrived near the Land of Wind. There, Karumo would find an inn near the middle of the village and take up a room for each of them, nothing spectacular as they were small. Small enough to notice but it kept things cheap and rather inconspicuous all the same. Karumo himself would retire away early, leaving them to whatever they would be up to under the advice that they also rest up as their journey tomorrow would be more strenuous and with a lot more tension than their travel today. Still, Karumo didn't need to reiterate that to them but he felt like doing so anyways, the nervousness on him being in a foreign land with several genin.

It'd keep him up, sleepless, stuck in his room just listening intently and smoking his cigar with the window open, watching the street below and occasionally looking up to the moon that shone brightly in the sky amongst the clouds and stars. For most of the night, it would stay that way, Karumo occasionally finding himself in a walk down to the lobby and street, really keeping to himself for the most part. His lack of sleep wouldn't heavily affect his ability to travel, sleepless nights and days without rest were something he was used to. In his time with the ANBU, his time early as Tsuchikage and even before all that, he was heavily a night owl and tended to revel in that fact.






The next morning would be easy, Karumo would be downstairs, ready to go with his bag packed and across the street at a tea house as he ate his breakfast and drank coffee from a ceramic cup. He didn't have a real set time for his squad to be ready but he expected them up fairly early, to eat and then continue their travel. He would greet each of them and give them a few minutes to eat if they chose so. Soon thereafter, they'd be back on the road at full pace that morning, heading straight for the Land of Wind and entering into the sandy planes of that land within a few more hours after they had left.


[534 words, 3624 words total]


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Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici ~ By the power of truth, I, will living, have conquered the universe.

Specs: Ninjutsu(S)|Taijutsu(S)|Fuinjutsu(S)
Elements: Katon(S)|Fuuton(S)|Suiton(A)|Doton(D)
Completed Missions:
D:4  C:5  B:4  A:2  S:1

Taeru

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Special Jounin
Out of, in her mind, necessity she would occasionally when permitted the chance to eavesdrop in on her team mates conversation during their walk she would do so, each in their own way interested her, mainly since they Tsuchikage seemed to have such high hopes for.As the Tsuchikage called for a repositioning, though happier with the new positions her stern features would crack before showing such. She would simply nod before stepping to her position, she would make sure to step in between her team mates yet careful enough to not touch then, barely disturbing the air about them.

Passing them by she would steal a glance at each in turn to gather any and all information about them she could since they had been walking for quite some time. First her miss matched gaze would move to Anri, almost promising she would revisit the image he gave, he had previously stated his endurance were lacking, now the signs though hidden to an extent were becoming evident, if she were at a leisure she would have given her time to watch him analysing how much he would take and its effects on his seemingly frail form. Her stern gaze would cut to the newest member of their squad just as she passed by. Her usual marble like features would twinge as her brows creased but for an nth’ of a second parting her lips a simple wisp as the female’s dark hues filled out with red and a single tome swirled into view. What could this new squad member do?

Her gaze would cut immediately to the Tsuchikage, as it would have anyway though now with a different reason, resting now atop his head band before scanning over the area to the rare of the group. He had of course known about the special abilities possessed by her team mates but she could in her own way be classed as unusually surprised. Had he planned to introduce them to one another? Clearing the gallimaufry from her mind she would outstretch her sense watching as the others took up their respective positions in the formation. She had a fair amount to ponder on, but such could wait and would have to as they tracked along.




Reaching the inn, Taeru’s first action would be to check that the building was only secure but would take the chance to note the exits in whatever form they resented themselves in whether that be a door or window and so on. She would take the time to watch what rooms each settled within, making sure to remain close by not just the squad but the Tsuchikages room, now more than ever, knowing the anbu wouldn’t be able to assist if anything were to happen. Though tempted, she would refrain from slipping into the rooms of the others to investigate them further.

Biting down on the soft pale blossom pink flesh of her bottom lip she would peel away the binding that held her chest flat before allowing a silent breath to leave her lungs. Removing her hair pins to allow her hair to flow down in ripples against her back she would settle down for the night keeping fully clothed bar her bindings, her miss matched orbs would close, though not for long.

A cold sweat easily dragging her from what could barely be classed as a slumber. Though she were silent, used to the need of silence. With bags under her eyes and the night sky above, she would pass the time until morning training and listening to the others of her squad. This unsettled night like most of her nights since she had left her home.




Just a few short moments After the Tsuchikage entered the tea house, Taeru would follow, after of course taking the time to listen at the doors of her team’s mates, listening simply for their breathing and signs as to whether they had awoken yet or not. Her miss matches hues would scan over the inhabitants of the little tea house, before stepping inside fully, her steps almost silent save for the soft sound of the thin slates of material brushing against one another with her striding steps. She would pause beside the Tsuchikage dipping her form to a bow before raising as she spoke, “Good morning Tsuchikage Sama.” She would pause for a moment stood to her full height all signs of sleep deprivation a mere shadow in the hue of her orbs. She would throughout most of her time easily pass for a young male in her usual attire and would often be mistaken for such by the majority of those around her, though now in her present attire of a plane light grey Iromuji Kimono, finished with a darker grey coloured obi, styled at the back as a taiko musubi she most definitely looked the part of a female, once growing into grace, just like an ugly duckling in its transforming. The obi itself holding a small pattern of flowing swirls, and atop the patter resting central her family crest, to its left she bore the crest of the orphanage that had taken her in and to the right of her family crest would bare the crest of old, one that she would be surprised if anyone would recognise, but all the same would be that of her previous village now long gone, whilst showing broadly in the centre of the taiko musubi, the symbol used by her grandmothers Okiya, the symbol of Jashin.  Fashioned against her chest would be her headband showing her loyalty to Iwagakure. Her pastel lilac hair would be bound tightly to a tucked buckle at the back of her head save for the shorter sections that framed her face being weighed down by the clasps as her fringe, though still somewhat lopsided were otherwise neat as her beaded senbon fanned out from the tuck of her hair. She did, now more than ever resemble a mahiko of the geisha world, formal and ridged, though her kimono had been adjusted in a few ways that would make combat easier than it would have been if the dress hadn’t been changed. Her tessen settled neatly with her clothing Amai resting in the front of her obi as Tatsu rest in the back of it, safely strapped and nestled behind the taiko musubi, hidden. The rest of her tools stashed about her form. She would place her bag down before taking up the seat beside the Tsuchikage as long as he permitted such as her tea were brought over to the table. Past her greetings she would for now remain quiet unless spoken too.



(Word count:1114)
(Total word count: 4640)


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Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
~Oderint Dum Metuant~
Completed Missions: D-4 C-4 B-3 A-1 S-0

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