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1For the Soul [Private/Invitation] Empty For the Soul [Private/Invitation] on Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:40 pm



An autumn breeze blew through the air. There weather was crisp, though the sun, which sat low in the sky still provided a warmth that prevented the wind from cutting through any patrons walking the road, particularly in the lower altitude of the hospital. Even with the warmer temperature, it was still cool. The air seemed sweeter here than it did in the main roads of Iwa, a nod to the lingering late summer that still tried to offer a cacophonous accompaniment the autumn breeze's song.

The hospital remained up the path a ways, but was visible from where a young woman was stationed. She was in the shoulder of the main road, overtly out of the way in case any dire emergency needed to be sped through. The brunette, whose hair was tied into a long ponytail that swayed in the wind was obviously bored-- her nails tapping to whatever rhythm was caught in her head. The nails clacked against the small handmade stall, with the word "Ramen" intricately painted on the side in bright, vibrant characters. The young woman's body, obviously the hawker who belonged to the cart, was draped lazily over the side, as she waited for a patron to come from one end of the path or another.

The afternoon had been fairly uneventful, the road heading toward the hospital had been empty save for the young woman off to the side. She had been posted there for a few hours already, and had only been passed twice, by the same man, a friendly graying bloke. The elderly gentleman had come and gone from the hospital, and had disappeared up the road early in her shift, but had been sure to stop for a bowl and conversation each way. The girl had learned of his fragile wife, who he had made the long trek to visit daily since she had been admitted earlier in the week. He regaled stories of their meeting, with hearts in his eyes, as he stared intently at the bowl. Love at first sight he claimed.

Even now, she replayed the story again and again-- the only thing she could think about since their meeting. Her cheeks were flushed some, and her lips curved upward, as she stood, allowing it to envelop her again... After all, what else was there to do on this lonely road?  After some time, the fingers eventually ceased, and instead disappeared into the pocket of the white apron that was tied around her waist, a stark contrast to the orange yukata that was draped over her skin. All the while, her amethyst orbs traced the road one last time. "Maybe it's time to pack up for today... The world is too healthy for ramen I suppose." she whispered. The defeated look that came with such a thought wiped from her face quickly though, as she shook her head. "One more batch, perhaps..." she said decidedly.

Nimble fingers got to work, as she artfully prepared ingredients. The strong aromatic flavors filled the air, a firm reminder as to why she picked the road in the first place. If no one showed up, this bowl would be the one she brought the old man's wife. She had long decided that she would visit her too, and hope that a warm meal would offer her nourishment for her soul, as it had her husband. Otherwise, she hoped the enticing smells would lure a traveler to her stand instead.

2For the Soul [Private/Invitation] Empty Re: For the Soul [Private/Invitation] on Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:01 pm



Wind found itself through windows made for that very purpose, allowing a cool freshness to course through the hospital. The abnormally clean smell that usually stuck to the air with a sickening presence found itself brushed aside, if only for a moment, by the gentle caress of Gaia. Summer was desperate to extend its reign, but alas the cool of Fall was already making itself known. Some would argue it had gotten chilly, were it not for the suns rays offering a taste of heat for any exposed surface to lap up. That heat did not transfer well into the hospital itself, allowing for the wind to drop the temperature of the building just enough to make the elderly retreat beneath any covers they were left with.

For the young, however, it was a call to leave back outside. It was an enticement that offered them escape from the mundane if only they chose to follow. For those who were unable to leave their beds, for reasons of sickness or injury, it was a torturous feeling. It was yet another reminder that, at least for the time, they would be unable to venture through the perfect weather. For those who were there only temporarily it was a reminder of the passage of time, emphasizing the weight of each second and dragging those moments on for eternities. Even in its perfection and attempt at offering relief, nature was quite the cruel mistress.

Jukei was one of the lucky few. His presence in the hospital was by choice; At least, semi-so. His mother and father insisted that he volunteer in his spare time from the moment that he announced he wished to become a ninja of Iwagakure. Anyone who would choose to protect the village should understand the weakest the job had to offer. Those who had fallen ill, or those whose bodies had betrayed them in one way or another, were those people. More than the children who could be herded into protection, and more than those who had no sort of combat experience, the sick could sometimes not even be relocated. It was easier to put ones all into the job, and make it home, if one knew what they were fighting for.

Still, he was but a young man. The introspection to understand all of his parents intricacies had not yet matured, and the fake smile on his face was obvious to the woman he was accompanying. In contrast to his blue hair and youthful skin, her white strands seemed frail and her skin with etches from time. In her age came wisdom, and she was not at all fooled by his fake attitude. She let him know as such, and insisted he leave early to enjoy his time. He had tried to protest, if only out of concern of what his parents would do, when she gave him a bit of parting advice.

"Of course you don't want to hear about my stories right now. Why look so far in the past when the present is here for the taking? Wait until these words will matter to you, and then I'll tell you all the stories you want to hear."

Her words stuck with him, more than they should and certainly more than he'd realized. She was a sweet woman, the last of his rounds due to her own insistence. She had apparently been visited by her husband that day, a man desperately concerned with her rather fragile health at the time. Love at first sight, hm? That woman seemed full of quotes that would stick with him. Maybe he'd have to go back sooner, rather than later?

His mind was so stuck on the old lady that he did not see what lay ahead of him, his nose having the demand his attention. It had caught a whiff of something that smelled fresh, warm, and delicious. His eyes refocused on what was before him, only to notice a ramen stand with a woman no older than himself hard at work. An eyebrow arched in curiosity as he approached the stand, circling in a way to make sure he'd enter her field of view sooner rather than later. It was obviously a stand to make sales, and seeing as how the woman was the only one there, she was either a preemptive worker a hungry one.

"Are you still open for business?" There was only one way to find out, after all.

3For the Soul [Private/Invitation] Empty Re: For the Soul [Private/Invitation] on Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:46 pm



The young woman's nimble fingers continued working methodically, even as her gaze landed elsewhere... To the man that walked the path from the hospital. Truthfully, she had seen him even before he circled around, her amethyst orbs watching him intently as he walked in her direction.  It wasn't that his initial movement had been overt necessarily, but the young woman's gaze always had been rather perceptive. She had contemplated hollering out to her new company, but hesitated when she saw his circle. It appeared he wanted to be seen, which made her job easier. Usually when stationed on the side of a road, the foot traffic would avoid being noticed at whatever costs necessary: down-turned eyes... hands in pockets, avoiding any noticeable interest: her new companion hadn't seemed to be displaying any such tendencies.

"Are you still open for business?"

The smile that had tugged at the young woman's lips widened, as she allowed her gaze to register the being in front of her. He was taller than she was, though not egregiously so. His face was handsome, with a strong jawline, and sharp blue eyes. The strokes of youth were still painted across his face: not fully faded into maturity yet. She speculated that he was around her age. Amethyst orbs fluttered away from the man's visage, returning to her prep work, which was quickly becoming a meal as her hands moved automatically from one task to the next. The movements were fluid and second nature, suggesting years of practice.

All of this speculation had occurred in the first few seconds from his question. Her bright, airy response was forthcoming and timely, as she shook her head. "You're actually just in time... Maybe even a little early..." Her eyes smiled with her through the retort, "How did you know I was making this bowl especially for you?" she teased. She would give the man a short while to reply, had he so chosen to. Her amethyst gaze fluttered briefly between her cooking, and the hospital road before settling back to  the young man's face. She felt a foreign heat come to her cheeks, as the elderly patron's voice echoed through her head:

"It was a fleeting moment when I met her, a day that our paths perhaps shouldn't have crossed, but they did, I knew instantly that she was the one, and we couldn't keep our eyes off of each other."

She cleared her throat, attempting to push the dialogue from her memory, now overly conscious of how hard it was to look away from the man in front of her. "Are you newly discharged, or are you merely nursing the heartache for another?" She asked sweetly, as she extended a delicate bowl in front of her, resting it on the stall, closest to her new patron. Once the food was delivered, she ducked below, before emerging with a stool, which was swiftly next to him, and would turn her small cart into a bar where the young man could partake in his fare, had he decided to sit. "Either way, my ramen's known to be good for aching bodies and souls... Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back." she beamed. She hadn't actually taken any money from the man, nor had she intended to. After all, she wasn't fully in business yet-- but he didn't need to know that presently.

4For the Soul [Private/Invitation] Empty Re: For the Soul [Private/Invitation] on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:07 am



His approached, or at least the approach of a customer, brought about an immediate reaction from the woman working the dough. Her eyes were brought up from her work, though it seemed her focus had not wavered. A smile had formed upon her lips almost immediately, as though something truly magnificent had just happened. Though Jukei would not know any better, the smile that had graced her features was not one of someone who was simply happy to have a paying customer. It wasn't the smile of someone who had their business saved for the day, nor was it tainted by any such greed. It was of one whom knew that her art was going to the right place, rather than wasted or left to rot. The bowl she had begun making, either out of boredom or desperation that her creation could be an offering to whatever God would direct someone to her, had done its job. It had attracted someone, and luckily enough, it was someone who appreciated it.

Jukei did not have an in depth understanding of food, not the ingredients that went into it nor the process. He couldn't begin to fathom that her years of training and practicing to make the perfect dish likely rivaled his own for any of his similar passions. Yet still, he appreciated the fact that she could make something that was greater than the sum if its parts and offer it up with a smile. That was a chef in his eyes, and as her light features were directed his way, his eyes found her own. His face was relaxed, lips lightly curved upwards, and he felt the lightest flutter in his stomach. His respect for ones who crafted food aside, she was stunning.

As she answered his question with a bit of a teasing, he allowed the distance between himself and her place of business to shrink. Before he knew it there was only the stall between them, separating the master and her patron by only a counters length. "What can I say, I have a knack for my timing," he responded, a hint of amusement in his voice as her cheeks reflected the color of dusk, though it may have just been her cheeks becoming flushed from the heat of he bowl beneath her face.

As she placed the bowl in front of him, sporting a question and some assurances, he couldn't help but notice a bit of the excitement in her movements. They were measured enough, showing she had repeated them thousands of times. It was something about the sudden way she started and stopped, as though she were more excited to have a customer than anything else in this world. It leaked out in her voice, her words offering promises of passion that he could taste if only he try her dish. This girl suddenly gained a few points, at least in his mind. Yet as she set out the stool, he seemed to shake his head lightly.

"I appreciate the thought, but I've been sitting all day. I'll eat while standing if it's all the same." He walked over the bowl, his fingers tracing down the fresh chopsticks she had laid out for him, the crease of the two pieces of wood still unbroken. He normally preferred forks, but he was not opposed to something so traditional either. "Neither, actually. I was just visiting no one in particular." He broke his chopsticks in half, lazily resting them in his dominant hand and swirling the soup that was slowly being absorbed by the noodles. His eyes had seemed to become lost in the dish, though his words were still directed towards the one who presented it. "The people there have a lot to say, so every now and then it's good to become someone who'll listen." He lifted up the noodles, gently bouncing them once or twice to set the remaining droplets free before bringing them to his lips. In a quick slurping motion they were gone, and with only a few chews his mouth was clear again. A sigh was heard, his eyes finding hers and appearing perhaps even more relaxed than before.

"I'm glad I came when I did, it would have been a shame to let this get cold; Its fantastic." As he began to balance noodles on his chopsticks once more, he turned his attention back down. "So, how has business been today?"

5For the Soul [Private/Invitation] Empty Re: For the Soul [Private/Invitation] on Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:18 pm



The noodles themselves were filling, and while the girl seemed like she wanted to further their discussion, she was instead pulled away by the necessities of her business. The cart in which she peddled ramen was one that needed constant relocation, and her current location had seemingly run up its time. As she busied herself with cleaning tools and packing away ingredients, he found himself silently enjoying the steaming pot of broth and noodles. The add-ins it came with, such as meat and egg, were an added treat that brought the flavor of the dish to new heights. It made him wonder for a moment whether or not her other variations of the dish would meet this ones standards. Could she create such a perfect flavor even when she was busy, dealing with multiple customers at a time? How much skill did this one ramen chef possess? It was something that titillated his mind, and made his mouth water for future flavors.

Watching her move with such determination and dedication in her task, he would have been lying to say he was not impressed. This cart was more than just a job to her it seemed. She moved with the same intensity that he did during his training, and so it was something that he both noticed and respected very well. "Thank you for the meal." Placing his utensils over the plate to signify he was done, he stood up and offered her a quick bow of his head. He would have been lying if he said those were not some of the best noodles he'd had in a long time. And it was respect to that craft that he vowed he would eat her food again sometime in the near future. Perhaps, by then, he'd enjoy them as a Chuunin.


(TWC: 1786)

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