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1Distant Memories: the Missing Note Empty Distant Memories: the Missing Note on Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:15 pm

Akaneya




C-rank
The sun was still low in the sky, the break of dawn cresting over the tall walls of the village. Most missions didn't start this early, but this was a special occasion. Akaneya was to go to a foreign land, not in her capacity as an ambassadress, but rather in the context of being a former occupant. The mission had sent her to the Land of Rice, country of her birth, for a covert attempt at strategic analysis. It was determined that she was best suited for the task due to her unique circumstances, and she could not entirely argue with that point. Her partner had also been assigned as well, Chiaki, with whom she had been spending ample time lately. They were, indeed, coming into a proper cooperation with their favorable mesh of personality and skillsets both. All was well and good in that regard.

But not all was well inside. There was a feeling, almost sickening, welling up within Akaneya. She sat cross-legged on her bed, dressed in her old uniform. Her chest and gut heaved with each deep breath, the compression of her purple rope sash felt with each movement. It was familiar, moreso than anything she'd worn in years - a feeling she always tried to replicate with sashes and belts on nearly anything she wore, but nothing felt quite the same as this. The coarse fabric of her tunic, or perhaps a dress, draped over her form was, likewise, familiar and about as uncomfortable as she remembered. It was rough, but maybe she liked it rough. Her feet were still bare, apart from the bandages wrapping nearly all the way up her shins at the top and around the arch of her foot at the bottom. Black shoes lay next to her bed, ready to be used, and she packed a few pairs of boots in her bag as well. While not exactly a standard part of the uniform, they would not infringe upon expectations either, and would be much better for the inclement terrain and weather of the Land of Rice.

Breathe in, breathe out. In and out. What was this feeling, so alien, that she now felt? It made her want to punch something, feeling like a boiler about to burst, needing some sort of vent to spew from in order to stay together. How absolutely dreadful, now was no time to be gaining some awkward new sense of something or another - now was the time for action, as it was for any mission. She forced herself out of bed, strapped her black shoes on, hoisted her bag, and started her way to the front gate of the village.

She walked calmly out her door, and locked it behind her. Then, to the rooftops. Leaping from one to the next, disturbing only slightly those who might be below with the clack of her feet against the tiles, it was the most efficient means of travel even if not the most practical. She was typically in no rush, but a long day of travel lay ahead and Chiaki was most likely already waiting. Any time wasted would delay the mission. In only a matter of minutes, she landed just at the gate of Konohagakure, her large mass of untamed hair following soon after and blowing into her face.

Groaning at the uncontrolled mess, she reached up with her decidedly ungloved hands, for she wore only a sort of bracer, and pulled the hair back. Bit by bit her vision returned from the red void, and she quickly bound it all with the deep indigo of her headband. The shining metal had been polished only recently, the engraved quarter note as clear as the day she was captured by Konoha. It wasn't too effective, some curly locks still fell as a frame around her face, and a few poked out directly in front just as well, but it controlled enough to let her see well and to use her senses duly. That was enough.

Akaneya looked to Chiaki, who stood thereby. She was silent, letting her blue companion take in the sight. The silvery tunic, or perhaps dress, and the black shorts. The purple rope sash, the black shoes. The absolute lack of gloves, a true shocker. The headband might be the most shocking of all. The only familiarities that might be found were the wrapped shins, the tight black shorts, and the coin necklace she always wore. The hair was a bit messier than usual, though Chiaki herself bore witness for perhaps the first time to what it looked like unbound and might understand why. Akaneya, in turn, looked over Chiaki for anything that might give them away when they arrived.

"Are you ready?"


____

Unused WC: 11,947

2Distant Memories: the Missing Note Empty Re: Distant Memories: the Missing Note on Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:34 pm

Chiaki

Chiaki


A-rank
Chiaki awoke to a cool morning, and shivered under her covers. She didn’t like not having her heating blanket plugged in, but she hadn’t been on a mission in a while, and whatever staved off the bills would help with staving off the cold of being homeless. And it was better to have a home and be cold, than to be homeless and be cold for the entirety of the coming seasons. She shook the covers off of her frame and stretched in the morning briskness. The cold tendrils of the slowly moving air wafting over her small frame. She had decided to sleep last night in her satin nighty, which kept the cold barely at bay, and the comforter and the underblanket that she had used to try to warm herself didn’t help matters. It was still a bit chilly, as everything stood on end in the brisk morning air. The window was closed, but the cold always managed to leak in, like an unwanted guest or door to door salesman.

What an annoyance.

Planting her feet on the ground she grunted and wiggled her toes, closing her eyes and focusing her chakra. It was going to be a long day if she didn’t get ready. She looked at the clock and the numbers emblazoned themselves in her mind. Only four o’clock. Plenty of time to find an outfit and make breakfast before meeting Akaneya at the gates. The thought of their encounters thusfar was… was enough to warm her up. The rush of blood to her cheeks made her self-conscious of what she looked like and, looking in the mirror, she found an identical Chiaki staring back, disheveled, wan, and quite bleary. Time to make sure that Akaneya didn’t see that.

Shuffling out of the room, she made her way into the bathroom, rubbing her soles of her feet against the soft bath mat that she had purchased in a set. Chiaki closed the door, making sure that the warmth from the hot water would stick around and turned on the shower before disrobing and inspecting her tiny frame. Picking out the imperfections, she frowned and pinched at areas which needed attention and stared at certain stretch marks which she wanted to get rid of, but couldn’t.

Damn.

Chiaki pulled back the curtains and stepped into the torrent of hot water, letting it carry away the sleep, the self conscious thoughts, and the grime from the night. She liked to shower twice daily if possible, and it was one of the reasons that she didn’t have enough money for her heating blanket. Oh well though, not enough for her heating blanket probably made it easier to sleep when she was discomforted, like on missions. But somehow, it was harder to sleep when she was in discomfort at home.

The shower squeaked to off, and Chiaki stepped out of the shower, already her hands started to weave her hair into braids. Three that coalesced into one big braid, which she tied to the back of her head, looping it around itself and stuck a decorative pin in it. She dried herself, making sure that she was completely dry, or at least as close to it as possible before opening the door.

Bracing herself didn’t help Chiaki at all as she made a little audible squeak when the cold air rushed over her damp body and chilled the ambient moisture in the air. No way to avoid that, she supposed.

Next came dressing. She wanted to impress, but not be too impressive, wanted to stand out, but also blend in. Well… that was a problem. In and out of her closet she went, between four different drawers, and then finally settled on three outfits that she would wear to the land of sound. She didn’t want to stand out, but she packed her normal kunoichi dress, the one that was tear proof. A bright blue rain jacket was to follow into her bag, along with some water resistant pants. The next were some street clothes, ones that she hoped she wouldn’t stand out too much in, a fancy bralet, a white tank top, and some shorts, along with sneakers. The next thing that she picked out, that she wore was a set of comfy pants, boots, a warm-ish sweater, and the sweater was over a plane t-shirt with a cute cat pawing at a ball on the front. All in all, she looked like a regular girl. Perhaps a bit less along the way than she was currently, maybe to be confused for a girl of 16 or so, but it was alright, better to blend in and not stick out, than to be murdered on sight.

Chiaki then cooked and ate miso soup, her favorite for the cold mornings, washed up, put clothes in the hamper, closed the curtains, set the air to kick on at 50 degrees, and took one more look around before she took off for the gate.

She arrived first, as she had planned, and took to people watching for a couple minutes before Aka showed up. It was interesting, she was… she was different. A frown came to Chiaki’s face, a thoughtful one. She wasn’t wearing gloves, she was in completely different attire. This was… this was Aka right? The eyes and the expression told her that it was.

“Hiya!”
She beamed, after Akaneya approached and asked if she was ready. A nod came from the small blue kunoichi who just wanted to take in the difference in her companion’s appearance. It was… it was striking to say the least. And it complemented her in a strange way. She wasn’t sure she didn’t like it. It was… it was strange and suited her.

Chiaki wondered, if to herself, if that outfit would stay in her wardrobe even after they left otogakure.

“So off we are then?” She tilted her head, “Or should… I didn’t know what to wear. Is this alright?” She suddenly became self-conscious. She didn’t know if she should be wearing something more formal, or even perhaps what Akaneya was wearing herself.

3Distant Memories: the Missing Note Empty Re: Distant Memories: the Missing Note on Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:08 am

Akaneya




C-rank
Akaneya looked her partner over just one more time. While the blue stuck out a bit, there wasn't anything that caught the eye too much. With the chilling wind beckoning, blowing curly locks of hair out of her face for a moment, she turned to face the outside. "It will suffice. It lacks distinguishing marks or icons that could be used for identification. Nothing particular to be remembered by. That is ideal for our situation, and I speak with experience that deviation from this principle will cost our lives." She almost started to walk away, but felt compelled - there was one item she always saw on Chiaki that was missing. A pause, a few thoughts, that's it: the forehead protector!

"Chiaki, did you bring your headband?" She inquired, watching as her companion cheerily nodded and pulled it out for demonstration's sake. Akaneya quickly grabbed hold of it, drew a kunai, and gouged a deep slash from side to side. Putting the knife away, and returning the item to Chiaki, she stated as plain fact - "If we had gotten caught with that, unmodified, it would be the end. Listen to me, this is no ordinary mission. I was chosen for this because of my familiarity with the Land of Rice, and the way things work over there - but this goes beyond even that. Pay attention, I will only say this once."

"This is not a normal mission. There is no guarantee of safety or return. We must have the full discretion of an ANBU agent if we are to succeed in our task. We must leave no trace of the Leaf's involvement in anything, not even things we take with us. We are going to be in hostile territory, and beyond that, a hostile territory with little regard for individual life and little mercy for threats to the establishment. The moment we walk through that gate, we are no longer ourselves. The moment we walk through that gate, I never left the Land of Rice two years ago, and you are a rogue ninja who defected from the Leaf and allied with Otogakure out of convenience. Any items, any conversations to the contrary of these, must be taken under only the most extreme caution, and preferably not at all. Deviation may have fatal consequences. Am I clear?"

Following confirmation from Chiaki, Akaneya took the first bold steps beyond the gate of Konoha. The decadent land she'd come to reside in seemed to disappear entirely with that first step, and all there was now were a few days of forest, and then home. Home. Such an odd thought, that. Like some sort of pilgrimage to a mythical abstraction, or like a lost dog sniffing her way back to her master - she was going home. The land that bred her, the land that fed her, and the land that bled her.

It was little time at all before the trees enveloped the blue sky above. All that surrounded them was vegetation. It was calming, in a way; it was the serenity that Akaneya always sought on her own, and that she'd shown Chiaki before. As the gnarled masses of twisted trees and broken branches dimmed out the light, small breaks in the canopy offering shining rays to guide the path and warn of dangling vines, it all felt so familiar in an uncanny sense. Did it remind of when she took Chiaki to see the clearing? No, no, it was something else, something deeper. These were the very same woods she had walked years ago, and though hardly the same trail, or lack thereof as the case may be, it was unmistakable. She was dazed, confused, and paid no heed to any landmarks, and yet the forest in its entirety was a landmark of its own.

Time flew, just like the birds overhead, just like the bugs whizzing about every which way. The journey had almost felt as if timeless, Akaneya could barely feel time passing at all, only a series of steps, of motions and sounds and words and lights. All well and good that may be, but a resting place had been found. A humble inn on the side of the road, a waystation for travelers in the Land of Fire to rest the night in comfort, warmth, and privacy. A filling meal, a hot bath, a soft bed, everything a wanderer could ask for condensed into one place. How...charming. Akaneya handed Chiaki a few ryo and told her to get a room for the both of them, noting that in her lack of a uniform, Chiaki seemed less conspicuous and less suspicious for the innkeeper's purposes.

As Chiaki went in, Akaneya stood outside and watched the trees. Those old, rotting husks of wood and leaves. Somehow, it felt so familiar - like she'd been there before. That nausea, the knot in her stomach, had refused to subside for the entire journey; perhaps a warm bath and a soft bed might help just a little? She could only hope, for her fairly spartan lifestyle had done her no good in easing these aches. Maybe, just spending some quiet time with Chiaki could calm her down once more. She had that effect, inexplicable as it may be, but it was no doubt useful. She then began to wonder - which room might theirs be? How close? What would its accommodations be?

Good job, Akaneya. Going the extra mile to avoid thinking about some things.


____

Unused WC: 11,947

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