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There was not really anything worthwhile about Ryo. Only months ago he was just dirt, nothing, and did not deserve to be called a Genin. Despite being useless in almost every scenario, Ryo did not do anything to fix the problem. He was like a statue, standing still while everyone he knew grew bigger and better. He thought of Aikiko and Kejido, the only other Genins he really talked to. The three of them had plans to become something great together, playing off of each other’s strengths. That goal lasted until the two of them realized that Ryo was too much trouble to work with. He was like a ruined building, where fixing it up was too much work for what you got out of it. When Kejido moved on, he went straight to the rank of Chuunin. In Ryo’s mind, Kejido was too great for him, way out of his league, so he deserved to be left behind. Ryo did not really give anything to bind Aikiko to the group and he assumed that she disappeared once Kejido lost faith. However, while this feeling was bottled down, Ryo did look forward to a day that Aikiko hated him, but now that day would never come. Now, Ryo was finally beginning to move his frozen limbs. Tobetsu promised him power and knowledge if Ryo could prove his worth. With his past teammates as motivation, he was determined to accomplish that goal. The only way that he could really do that was in the Chuunin Exams. The exams did not mean much for Ryo. Sure, he was here with the desire to win, but aside from that, there was not much keeping him here. After all, this whole experience was to gain Tobetsu’s, the current Zenith’s, approval.

Konohagakure, however, was something special to Ryo. He did not know much besides the barren landscape of Iwagakure and spent his life trying to find the beauty in the earth country’s rocky landscapes and lackluster forests. There were some great things near Iwagakure, like the mystical feeling of Rockhenge, the multiple valleys in the mountains, and the cool breeze of Waterfall Point. This was nothing compared to Konohagakure. The village hidden in leaves was nothing but beauty. Upon arriving, he could not recall a point in his life where he saw so many trees. The dense forests around the village really made its name make perfect sense, complimenting it much more than the village hidden in rocks. Hokage Rock was also a slap in the face for the young man. His home village did not have anything as monumental as the famous sculpture that showed the past Hokages faces in all of their glory. He really felt like a tourist, looking forward to seeing everything the village had to offer.

Those plans did not last for long, coming to an end once Ryo realized how dull everything became when you were being escorted around by several bodyguards. That was one thing he really did not like about the exams. He, along with the other participants, were treated like celebrities. They each have their own Konohagakure ANBU soldiers to escort them around and keep them safe for nonexistent threats and had each and every luxury. Ryo did not deserve something like this and really despised it. Other participants of the exams seemed to enjoy the special treatment, which pushed the sloth away from his peers. He was different from them, finding pleasure in simple things.

One day, around the middle of the afternoon, Ryo finally had enough. He hatched a plan to go off by himself to actually find the things he actually enjoyed. While in Shinwato, the designated area for the event’s festivities, he finally succeeded. With a chess board in his hand, he found a way out and ran deep into the village. He did not know where he was going in the slightest, having the educated hunch that the ANBU, once they realize he’s gone, would be able to fight in only a matter of seconds. He kept walking along the paved path lit by street lamps until he happened among a park. He was not really far from the several tents and activities that were set up for tourists, and he was able to hear the crowd over the rustling of the trees in the wind overhead.

He found a row of tables positioned near a large fountain which seemed to have some sort of monument incorporated into it. The tables were nothing special but seemed to follow a higher standard than the furniture one would expect to find in a park. Ryo was not alone, with a few people around the fountain who were performing activities such as reading, lounging, or just talking with one another. Ryo assumed that these people were citizens from Konohagakure, who like him, sought a refuge away from the energetic crowd that never seemed to die down. When Ryo sat down at one of the empty tables, he realized that he could be grouped with the people around him. With his Hitai-ate missing from his head, his white button-up and black slacks made him seem like your average commoner. This was not what he desired, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.

Ryo unfolded the chess board in his arms, grabbing the black velvet bag that the folded board held inside itself. He placed the board on the table and proceeded to take each piece from the bag and place it in its rightful spot. He placed the black pieces on his side, giving whoever came along the courtesy of having the first move. This could be seen as an act of confidence, as Ryo was positive that having the disadvantage of black would mean nothing to him. Chess matched his personality perfectly, as he incorporated strategy into almost everything he did. Though, playing chess in the park with a stranger was not about winning or losing. Playing chess with a stranger can really give you some insight into how they think, and you may even find yourself a new friend. And so, Ryo turned his gaze to the people and trees around him as he waited patiently for someone to come along.

Word count: 1045 of 1045

Nova Makato

Nova Makato

The sun had set on another evening in Konoha, and though she had been here for several days it felt as though Nova had only seen a fraction of the village that housed this year's chuunin exams. On the first two days she has seen what were likely considered the biggest tourist draw in the stone monument to the Kage and the Hokage's office. Free evenings and moments between watching battles had led her to the markets, which seemed like endless veins through the city. Nova pondered whether the village were normally like this or it were merely the excitement and numbers from the exams boosting the numbers and activities. Despite the fact she had felt as though she had limped through the same street several times, it never looked the same. Perhaps it were the bright lights the flashed during the night that made it seem as such, nearly as though she were in a painting or a dream. Still it felt unusual to be around so much... life. Solitude and silence had always been more friend to her than foe, and that followed true for her time once returned to the land of Wind. While once a crowd like this may have intimidated Nova to the point of staying in, this time it seemed to embolden and excite her instead. And with that she decided to leave the comfortable room she had rented for herself to yet again explore the village she were a guest to.

Several wrong turns later, Nova would find herself having wandered away from the lively markets and past a calm park softly lit by a number of street lights on its border. While not empty the road now was sparsely littered with people, most of whom appeared to be residents of the village or lonesome tourists. Fewer village symbols were visible on the public's attire, and Nova suddenly felt quite out of place with her embroidered Sunagakure symbol across the back of her charcoal silk robes. The back of her neck would have trail of goosebumps where it were exposed to the air as the long waves of lavender were currently pinned up in a tight bun with a slender silver pin. Though often her face was bare of makeup, her desire to make an impression of all who saw her led her to paint thin black lines rimming her eyes, apply mascara, and apply a deep violet color to her lips. Wondering to herself how she looked, as it had been many hours since she had checked a mirror, she would have to remind herself to not let her hand wander up to her weary lids as it might smudge the delicately drawn wings of eyeliner.

Had she wandered much longer without something to spark her interest, she probably would have turned back and found a meal somewhere back withing the lively confines of the market. Instead, under the streetlights and on one of the stone tables she saw the ebony and ivory pattern that was the familiar top of a chess board. Each in their designated spot, the pieces sat, with a velvet bag beside the table which she could assume had been their home before. It was a nice set, seeming to have been treated with care by the young man who sat across from an empty seat. Board already set up before him, the black pieces waited for his hand to move them while the white waited for someone to claim their use for a game. It had been quite some time since Nova had relaxed and played a game, often her times that were not filled with action were no more than sleeping and eating as there were always something to be done in the recovering land of wind. Here however, between battles and such it seemed there was so much free time. Limping up to the empty seat across from the young man she would speak, ”May I?” She would not even wait for the response, so certain that he would not deny a game, for if he did then why did he sit here waiting? With slender and well manicured fingers, her left and would extend and move her kingside pawn two spaces forward and gesture for him to take his turn.

W pawn E2-E4

719 WC


Nova Makato|Jutsu|Locker
Permanent 30% discount on items

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break."



The more and more Ryo watched the people around the small courtyard he had found himself in, he came to the sudden realization that he did not really have any friends. Sure, Aikiko and Kejido existed at one point, but now there was pretty much no one for him to talk to. Even if he did have some friends, he doubted that they would have followed him to Konohagakure to see him perform in the exams that they failed to qualify for. They may have qualified if they existed, but he just assumed that they would have just failed. He also thought about his foster parents, the same ones that kept him under their roof because he provided some sort of income for them through his shinobi duties. Ryo’s relationship did not really bother him. He enjoyed the sanctuary that his room was and felt comfortable there. However, he could not really help but feel… lost. Everyone around him lived with loved ones and had people in their lives that they cared about. He was the opposite. He did not really have anyone to love, confide in, go to events with, or even have a conversation with. He was alone. Unlike becoming stronger, making friends with people was much harder. The path to strength had a clear goal, with its own staircase to ascend. Friendships, in Ryo’s mind at least, was the type of thing that you have to win the lottery to achieve. It was either that or put on fake emotions to attempt to please those around you. But hey, that was how the world works, so what can you do?

He kept thinking about the subject of actual human relationships, a slight frown appearing on his face as the envy he felt for the strangers surrounding him grew. He prayed for some sort of change to happen, as a feminine voice echoed in his ear. It was a request, one that he was sure was not directed towards him. After all, what girl would want to talk to a loner like him? When he turned towards the voice, his eyes went towards the woman’s face. Her unique hair and her discipline towards makeup made Ryo curious about why the hell this girl spoke to him. His eyes quickly went down her face to her shoulders, following the length of the woman’s arm as she would gesture towards the chess board, a white piece in a new spot. This was when Ryo realized that this woman wanted to play chess. He almost snorted at the thought of going against someone like this, with his frown going to a slight smile that could be interpreted in a number of ways.

“Yeah- uh… sure. Go ahead and sit down,” Ryo sputtered out as he looked at the woman’s move. She chose to move the kingside pawn two spaces forward. It was certainly not a unique move, with it probably being the most common out of the available options. Ryo responded quickly, not needing much time to think about his own move. His right hand moved to his pawn positioned on C7, quickly sliding it forward to C5. Having made his move, Ryo would shift his position so he was leaning forward, his left elbow was resting on the table while it supported his head. His eyes shifted between the board and the woman he was playing, as he began to be pulled into the game before it even really started. Chess, unlike most games that are popular, is not based on luck. The game makes it painstakingly obvious one of the players are just better than the other. It was either be better and win, or be worse and lose. It was almost like the game of life, in some aspects. Maybe that was why Ryo enjoyed it so much.

“So… what’s your name? I’m Ryo.” Ryo said as his opponent made their move. He thought back to what he was thinking about earlier, these words coming out much calmer and more sincere than the stuttered response he gave before. It was a genuine question of interest. While Ryo was pretty confident that would win at chess, he was very much interested in socializing with his opponent. He did not intend for whoever this was to be his enemy, despite the somewhat competitive nature of the game that they were playing. He really did hope that this person would find something interesting about him and ultimately decide to let him into their life. Although a simple game of chess did not make that a guaranteed, it did provide some way for people to bond.

Personal word count: 781 of 1826
Thread word count: 2545
Event points gained: 1

Moves and board:

E2-E4, C7-C5

The strategy behind a conversation. [Invite Only] 5k2wyjx

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