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Yuudai

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S-rank
Here he was, back at the forgotten well. This specific return had nothing to do with squad meetings, but rather personal training in the art of kenjutsu. As a jounin, his kenjutsu skill and training remained that of a genin. Yuudai knew many shinobi did not opt for kenjutsu as a specialty, but to him, there would always remain a soft spot for the art of the sword. His personal preference was that of the drawing style, Iaijutsu. A style that not many chose to use, but he himself found it intriguing. Intriguing enough for him to adapt to the style when he was still in the academy. His training back in those days, especially with that of a katana took up most of his time. He had a fascination with kenjutsu, and that captivation still remained to this day.

Yuudai felt a bit annoyed, attributable to the weather. Sunny days were tolerable to him, but blusterous days were something he hated with a passion. Today felt in between, enough for him to not have to circulate his chakra to keep his body at a cool temperature, the way every member of the Aisu clan would have to in the same conditions. Even with loose fitting clothes, his choice of dark attire would continue to draw in heat; he would have to somehow fend off the heat produced by the sun. Even the clouds would not save him today, as there were no clouds within sight. Yuudai knew the only way to experience less heat would be forgoing his darker clothing. His plain white scarf, which did not absorb heat due to the colour, was already on the ground. His katana would move about, still secured in his sheath and in the grasp of his sash. The heat of the sun was already getting on his nerves, since his black fighting kimono was absorbing the majority of the high temperature. Taking off the upper portion of his attire, the black fighting kimono, directly exposed him to the sunlight, but would save him from suffering further from the heat.

Yuudai had no qualms if someone were to come across him in his currently dresses state. Stipulating if someone were to come across him, he felt no shame. His body would remain his own, and he felt that he was not exposing anything that a person would find offensive. Besides, not many would frequent a visit to the forgotten well. Reaching to the nape of his neck with his right hand, Yuudai fixed and tightened the hold his hair tie had on his mane. With his left hand gripping the hilt of his katana, he began to perform his katas that denoted the use of Iaijutsu.


Kenjutsu Training C -> B
Word Count: 454/2000

Tsuneko

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Jounin
Today was one of the rare days that Kirigakure was not covered with its iconic mist; there was not even a cloud in the sky. As the village was normally shrouded in water vapor, the uncommonly warm day was considered hot by the villagers, and everyone was out enjoying the aberration. Tsuneko had opted to go for a swim in the pool. Although a little more populated that morning than normal, there was still plenty of room for laps. However, as the sun and the temperature rose, so did the population at the pool. Her quiet morning became increasingly boisterous until the crowd, unintentionally, drove her out of the pool. It wasn’t that the girl was anti-social; it was simply hard to keep up any sort of pace while dodging the various games that had been started.

After rinsing off the chemicals from the pool, she french-braided her wet, long white hair back, her bangs, left loose, naturally parted over the forehead protector that she tied on; it marked her as a shinobi as well as covered up the marks that would have revealed her to be a Kaguya. A brief trip back to her apartment allowed her to drop off her swimwear and change into an outfit more appropriate for training. Still having not taken many steps towards replenishing her wardrobe after the fire, her decision of a sleeveless, crimson shirt and a short charcoal skirt over a pair of black shorts was an easy one. As usual, she would not leave without her medical kit, which she strapped to her right thigh. Leaving her apartment, she set a steady pace and began to jog, making her way out of the village and into the surrounding wilderness.

She opted to stay closer to the more forested areas around the village, knowing that her fair complexion would not tolerate the bright sun for extended periods of time. After a while, despite staying mostly in the shade, the mix of the warm temperature and just general exertion got to the girl, and she decided to take a break. Recognizing the area, she knew that a well was nearby from a spar that she had had there before. Slowing her pace to allow herself to cool down, she did not come running out into the open; instead, nearing the area at a walking pace, she saw that someone had beaten her here, and she stopped just within the tree line.

The young man looked vaguely familiar; she was close enough that she could see he carried a sword, so it was likely that he was anotheer shinobi, which would explain the slight familiarity. Based on his approximate age, it was possible that she had seen him around the Academy while she was a student there, though she did not pay much attention to her peers back then. A mix of curiosity and not wanting to interrupt whatever he was doing led her to stay at the edge of the woods. Neatly swinging up into a tree near the edge of the forest, she found a seat on a sturdy branch. It was odd to see someone else out here. She was not aware that anyone else knew of this little spot. Neither announcing her presence, nor doing anything in particular to hide it, he would easily see her if he simply looked in the right direction; the red of her shirt easily stood out against the foliage. In the meantime, she watched from her perch, trying to piece together what his story might be from the details that she could see.

Yuudai

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S-rank
As the sweat began to trickle down from his forehead and down his face, Yuudai began to pump a bit more chakra through his body to keep his body temperature low enough not to feel any negative conditions that a member of the Aisu clan would have to face. He kept his focus on repeating his katas with his katana. The process of unsheathing, drawing, slashing and re-sheathing his katana was repetitive, but Yuudai never tired of the recurring motions he pushed himself to preform. After completing a set of katas, Yuudai felt it was necessary to take a break, for his body to continue to cool off a bit, due to the weather. Barely 20 minutes had passed and the temperature was already beginning to play a role in his training, though it was an obstacle Yuudai felt he needed to overcome. In a battle, there would be no chance to avoid the sun and he would need to fight within any conditions. For now, however, a break was necessary.

Taking off his headband and laying it on top of his upper garb, he reached for his scarf that was laying nearby, under the shade of a tree, he grabbed it to use as a towel, wiping away the sweat that mainly obscured his vision. He really should have thought about bringing a towel for filling the role his scarf had to substitute for. Sitting down, he leaned against the tree for support. 'Just a short break, five minutes at most.' Resolving how long this breather would last, Yuudai closed his eyes, reaching out with his other senses to see if anything changed since his training began. Nothing. There were no changes except those that occurred due to nature and the wildlife. As far as he knew, most people would be currently at the pool, enjoying the weather. Yuudai had nothing to fear about going to the pool, but he hated crowded areas and given the situation, the pool would be the most crowded area in Kirigakure no Sato. He has no problem with people themselves, but crowded areas are the source of noise and possibly loud, annoying noises.

With the time of his breather coming a close, Yuudai put his scarf back on top of his fighting kimono, which was directly next to the spot he sat in. Entering back in to the sunlight, more chakra had to be circulated within his body. The sun was unrelenting with the heat and he had no choice but to force himself through the obstacle it presented. His hair tie once again was getting looser, causing Yuudai to readjust his ponytail. In times like these, the option of cutting his hair shorter proved to be more beneficial. Returning to his repetitive katas, this time adding in more speed, he hoped in exceeding his previous prowess in kenjutsu.

In the middle of one his his katas, he felt a slight disturbance in the surrounding area. With his sense, he could tell that the presence was not threatening towards himself, as of yet. While continuing his katas, he thought of who it would be to come here. Most of the people he knew, he could tell what kind of entrance they would make and probably would not hesitate in disrupting him. Since this person did not disrupt him, but neither did attack him, he felt he could finish the last few katas before he would confront the person.

After what felt like three minutes, but was actually just under a minute, Yuudai finished the last few katas of this set. Not knowing how many more he would have to eventually complete, he turned to face the general direction of the presence all the while reaching for his scarf that laid in the shade. Once again proceeding to wipe the sweat off his face and even his chest this time, he debated on putting on his fighting kimono, but the heat turned him off from the idea.

The figure he could see was clearly a female, and from what he could tell, she was roughly the same age as himself. From his memory, which Yuudai felt was relatively good, as far as he could remember, he had seen someone who shared similar properties to the girl. They were probably the same person. Besides, the Kirigakure no Sato headband was a given. Feeling slightly awkward from the staring and the silence, Yuudai felt it was necessary for himself to speak of. "Hello. Do you require the area?" Sweat trickled down his torso, causing him to wipe away the sweat with his scarf. It still seemed a bit saddening to do such a thing to the piece of cloth. Realizing that he had not introduced himself and his current state, his ingrained manners kicked in. "Ah, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Yuudai Aisu." He would have apologized for his currently dressed state, but given training and the weather itself, there was no logical reason to apologize.


Kenjutsu Training C -> B
Words: 454 + 834 = 1288
Word Count: 1288/2000

Tsuneko

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Jounin
Because he continued with his practice after her arrival, Tsuneko assumed that the young man was unaware of her presence. However, when he stopped for a brief break, he turned, without hesitation, in her direction. This proof that he knew that she was there, likely from the moment she walked up, and chose to finish the series of movement he had been at work on rather than stopping to acknowledge her immediately would likely have irritated another shinobi, taking it as an insult to his or her worthiness. Tsuneko, however, knew the benefit of being assessed as a non-threat and, in fact, preferred strangers to view her that way as it allowed her to occasionally gain an advantage. Interesting to her was that he had noticed her quiet approach while, apparently, immersed in his training; although it was possible that he was simply quite observant, it likely that he was a skilled shinobi, one whose skill level might be on a similar level to her own.

Her mind occupied by speculation about the stranger before her, she did not notice that same man's discomfort with her scrutiny until he spoke. The color that rose to her cheeks was not from his lack of clothing, although it could easily be interpreted as such for Yuudai was rather attractive, but from shame as she realized the similarity to a situation she had had in Konohagakure, except that she had been in his position instead, and recalled her own resulting distaste for the girl that had been doing the watching. His courteously offering his name made her own lapse in manners seem worse. Scooting herself off of the branch which had become her seat, the girl landed lightly on the ground. "I didn't realize that anyone else knew about this spot," she replied, her tone apologetic, as she approached. She had excluded Kaguza from that comment, since he had been with her when she'd discovered it. As an afterthought, she added, "Anyone alive, anyways," as someone had clearly built the well that sat a few feet off from where the pair now stood together.

"My name's Tsuneko," she introduced herself with a friendly smile now that they were in closer proximity. "I didn't mean to interrupt your training. I was just taking a little break and remembered that there was a well over here." The moisture on her shirt, more than could be attributed to her still slightly damp braid, suggested that the break she was taking was from something active. Towards the end of her explanation, she moved the few feet over to said well. She could see the faint glimmer of the angled sunlight reflecting off of the water at the bottom of it, tempting her. Her affinity towards water did her little good here for, as she should have expected from the crumbling stone, the rope had rotted away and she had no way of drawing the water up. Disappointed, a frown crossed her face as she realized that she'd have to head back to the village if she wanted to rehydrate.

Not in a hurry to backtrack to Kirigakure just yet, she turned back to Yuudai. She was sure that she had seen him before, although, since it was apparent from his introducing himself that he did not feel as though she should have known him, she dismissed the familiarity as having simply passed him in the market at some point. Looking up to meet his pretty ocean blue eyes, she asked, "Iaijutsu? That's not a very common style." Her question sounded like a statement, her statement like a question. Having been taught of the basic styles of kenjutsu, as all academy students were, she had recognized his style though not why he uses it. Kenjutsu users were fairly common in Kirigakure, but she wasn't aware of one who had chosen the drawing style.

Yuudai

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S-rank
Upon closer inspection, he had indeed passed by a person who shared physical qualities to this girl. Attempting to avoid scrutinizing the white haired girl, Yuudai directed his gaze back in to the depths of the surrounding trees, though it was quickly redirected back to the girl as she jumped down from the tree branch and approached his general proximity. It would probably be a general consensus that the girl in front of him was pretty, not that he was particularly looking at that aspect, but it was generally hard to overlooking. Besides, knowing himself, he would probably close himself out before getting closer to other individuals. While generally he would attempt to close off when people took a shot at getting closer to him, be it physically or emotionally, he felt a bit lax due to his current training session.

Yuudai noticed the girls cheeks starting to turn red, which he passed off due to the weather as the sun's heat remained merciless towards the citizens of Kirigakure no Sato. When she stated that she did not have knowledge about others who knew about this area brought on a quizzical look on Yuudai's face. As far as he knew, only himself, his old squad, and his knew squad were the only ones who knew of this location which he held a small soft spot for. While his eyes would gleam off in an unapproachable manner, Yuudai listened to the girl speak. "I know of quiet a few other people who know of this location. Guess they can't really call it forgotten anymore." The last part of his dialogue was spoken more to himself than to the girl. A bit of light humour would never hurt anyone.

As per her apology for disturbing his training, Yuudai had an attempt for mending the situation, though he would wish to spend more time in this location. "I should be done after another set of katas, then I'll be out of your hair and the area is all yours, if you wish." The latter of the two comments was included due to observations of others; most people hated being told what to do. Giving options was always the best route available. While he had no intentions of returning to Kirigakure for a while, he would willfully surrender the location if they required use of it. His training for the day, while not as intense as he wished, was almost complete for the day.

The girl had finally introduced herself as Tsuneko. The ommitance of a family name, though it peeved Yuudai a bit, he chose to forgo the matter. Tsuneko probably had a reason for the ommitance, whatever her reasons would be, but it would remain territory that he would not pry into. Taking his scarf once again and wiping the sweat off his face, Yuudai proceeded to place the scarf on his shoulders like one would with a towel. He proceeded to get lost in his thoughts temporarily, until he saw movement. Noticing a frown cross the pretty female’s face when she stepped closer to the well, Yuudai decided to pipe up and ask what was wrong. "Is there something wrong?" Usually he would choose to keep quiet, but seeing a person with a melancholy expression, where he could mend the situation, was something he wished to solve. Though his general outward appearance usually gave an aloof expression, there remains an inward of kindness to aid others.

When they locked eyes, Yuudai was momentarily lost. Not many people would actually have direct eye-contact with him, particularly those who he did not know at all. Shaking himself out of him momentary stupor, he was able to catch the last bit of what she had said. Taking a moment to fill in the blanks, he came to the conclusion that she was addressing his choice of kenjutsu style, Iaijutsu. Taking a moment to stare back, he redirected his gaze a little bit over Tsuneko’s shoulder. “It is uncommon for various reasons. I find that it fits my style of combat. The defensive aspects of the style appeal to me.” Giving his simple reasons for the style would be more than enough for an explanation. It wasn’t as if he would need to explain the style itself as the basic styles of kenjutsu were taught back in the academy. Slowly, he walked back towards the shade, to reach for his forehead protector and putting it back on. The sweat that was beginning to trickle down from his forehead and advancing towards his eyes was getting annoying. The solution was simple with the forehead protector, but his early thought process seemed to overlook the matter.

This momentarily extended break would have to come to a close to finish off the rest of his katas. “Excuse me for a short while, I need to finish my last set of katas, if you do not mind. Feel free to continue watching.” He wasn’t entirely too sure on what he would do afterwards, but that would be dealt with as he got to the end of his training. Grabbing the hilt of his katana with his left hand, which was secured on his right hip with the aid of his sash, Yuudai slowly got back in the rhythm of drawing the katana and resheathing it, repeating the process numerous times. He also seemed to get lost in his thoughts, this time about somewhat, somehow, enjoying the company of Tsuneko. It probably as due to the fact, that he had just recently become aware of, that they were both reserved individuals. He should have noted it from early from between the time of her arrival to her introduction.


Kenjutsu Training C -> B
Words: 1288 + 957 = 2245
Word Count: 2245/2000
Training Complete

Tsuneko

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Jounin
There was a quiet little “Hmm” as she learned that this place was not as abandoned as it had seemed. ‘That explains my reassignment to the Heavy Assualt squad. With all that’s happened, Sero probably has Anbu posted anywhere the shinobi congregate, especially an out-of-the-way place like this. I bet his little birds reported back to him.’ She didn’t often accept the simple explanation for things, such as that he might have just wanted a medic in the squad, and the speculation had some merit to it. Only a Genin at the time and distracted by her companion, it wouldn’t have been difficult for someone trained in secrecy to observe their spar unnoticed. Though, perhaps, those thoughts were just a result of her mind, guilty for prying into his training when she often preferred to train alone, herself.

Her clan ties were something that she was not eager to advertise. Although she wouldn’t deny her family should she be asked about them, it was easier to avoid the topic than to deal with the reaction that may follow. It was mostly civilians who still distrusted and feared the clan renowned for their love of war and savage ways; however, not all shinobi were accepting of it either, and she would rather not find out which category Yuudai fell into just yet. So, she was pleased and a little relieved when he did not question it and appeared to accept her ommitance as simply a more casual introduction. His next question surprised her; Tsuneko hadn’t realized that she had made a face when she had discovered the rope missing, nor had she realized from his aloof manner that he would care to ask, if he did notice, so it took her a moment to figure out what he was talking about. When she made the connection, she was embarrassed. She felt as foolish as if she had picked up a clearly empty, feather-light bottle and attempted to drink out of it. “Oh, the, um, rope. It’s rotted away,” she explained before changing the topic from her mistake.

Perhaps it was some sort of result of her lying so often as a child, but she tended to look people in the eyes when questioning them; it was the eyes, she knew from experience, that tended to betray falsehoods. However, it wasn’t any suspicion of Yuudai that led her to do so, rather a habit. Confusingly, he seemed uncomfortable with the eye-contact, hesitating as though he had been caught off guard. ‘It’s not like I’m asking for some dark secret,’ she thought, wondering at his reaction to such a casual question. She puzzled over it as he went over to tie on his forehead protector, confirming what she had already accepted as fact: he was a shinobi from Kirigakure.

Tsuneko obligingly stepped out of the way at his prompting, and, this time at his invitation, she watched as he continued his training. She had never been drawn to Kenjutsu and the idea of having to lug about a weapon with you everywhere and the helplessness that would result from not having a sword on you, but if asked, she would admit now that there was a sort of beauty, a rhythm to it; although it was possible that her new-found appreciation of the specialty had something to do with the shinobi, himself. In watching him practice, she noticed that Kenjutsu was not too unlike the dances that the Kaguya had developed for use with their Kekkei Genkai. She had previously contemplated training one such dance out here after he left, but with the knowledge that more people knew about this place than she had thought, it no longer appeared quite so attractive to her. Waiting until he seemed to be finished, she said, “On second thought, I think I’ll actually head back to the village. Are you staying out here or heading in?” She hadn’t quite admitted to herself that she liked his company, his reserved manner was a welcome contrast to the boisterousness of the company she had shared lately, and the question came out sounding like an invitation to join her, if he was also heading for Kirigakure, whether she consciously meant for it to or not. Regardless, it was out there if he wished to take it.

Yuudai

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S-rank
Kenjutsu, as a form of art and self-defence, happened to intrigue Yuudai at an impressionable age and ever since he had become infatuated with the different styles, particularly Iaijutsu. Like every other obsession at a young age, it began to recede in intensity, but the fascination itself would continue to linger. The basic he had learned from the academy, but his further advancement in the art occurred because of keen observation and the dedication he once displayed years ago. It was not as if his devotion faded away, but rather his time to become more restricted and that he had a better affinity towards ninjutsu over kenjutsu. While continuing his lone practice, he could easily feel that he was being watched by Tsuneko. Knowing that someone was watching him had a completely different feel to it than when someone had come across his previous training sessions. It gave him an odd emotion, one that he could not place a name upon. It currently welled between an invasion of privacy and glad of the current circumstances. Though the sensation was leaning more towards the latter than the former.

This being the last set of katas for the day, Yuudai chose to give his full attention towards his own movements, or at least attempted to. He wondered if anyone else would end up coming across this area today, but doubted it due to the weather and the majority of Kirigakure citizens would be enjoying the pool on a day like this. Once again getting lost in his thoughts and trying to focus on his work out, Yuudai had a momentary lapse of forgetting to keep the chakra circulating within his body to maintain his cool body temperature. If one were to watch him intently, the slip would certainly be noticeable. He had become comfortable in this environment, calm enough to let the slight error happen. Quickly, he fixed him peculiar blunder by recirculating the chakra throughout his entire body. At times he would consider this vulnerability to being a shinobi, but as a member of the Aisu clan, he knew the benefits of having to do such a thing, and that was their Kekkei Genkai.

With the last of his training finish, Yuudai was on his way, back towards the shade, to grab his scarf to dry off and then redress himself, eventually departing the area for Tsuneko to use. However, the situation changed after Tsuneko posed him a question. “On second thought, I think I’ll actually head back to the village. Are you staying out here or heading in?” He thought about the question as he reached down for his scarf to begin drying off the sweat. He hadn’t really thought about what he would do after he finished here. Originally he was going to spend the day in someplace shady, preferably in the current area. Afterwards, he was unsure of what to do as he would leave the area for the white haired female to use. Now, however, she was asking him what he’d be doing. Attempting to put two and two together, he came to the conclusion that she was inviting him. Usually, he would opt to decline such offers, but he felt relaxed within her company for some odd reason. Putting his scarf back on the ground, and reaching for his upper garb, he looked to face Tsuneko to answer, as he brushed off the back of the dark piece of clothing. “I suppose I could accompany you.” Putting his fighting kimono back on and readjusting it so it looked proper, his gaze returned back to Tsuneko. The expression on his face was normal, blank, like always, but there was a faint trace of a smile. It felt oddly nice to be in the presence of someone else.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
Although her offer had been genuine, Tsuneko did not actually expect him to take her up on it. Besides a brief question, it had seemed that he was apathetic towards her company, merely offering to vacate the area out of politeness. She had assumed that he would make some claim, whether true or false, that he had other training to do as a convenient out from her invitation. Even from his formal acceptance, she wasn't entirely sure if she was wrong, or if he just considered it his gentlemanly duty to come along. In an attempt to alleviate the awkwardness, the girl good-humoredly teased him while he straightened out his kimono, "You make it sound like you're my escort or something. Accompanying me to make sure I don't get myself kidnapped along the way."

After he had adjusted everything, Yuudai gave her an odd, vaguely pleasant look, which she took as an 'I'm ready to go'. 'He certainly doesn't wear his heart on those long sleeves of his. I wonder what his story is,' she considered as she began back the way she came, at a walk instead of a run, with the assumption that her new companion would fall in step with her. If he, for some reason, did not, she would stop after a few steps to see what the matter was. In the former case, after a couple minutes, she would comment, "That's a bit warm for today, huh?" referring to his choice to wear all black and a scarf on one of the hottest days that Kirigakure had seen in a while. The bit that she knew about the Aisu clan was that, along with the ability to maipulate ice, they could not tolerate high temperatures. For a moment, when he had been training, she thought that she had seen him fade a bit, as though the heat was getting to him, despite having already removed the top part of his attire, which he now wore again. She was interested in Yuudai, and though the comment had little meaning behind it besides simply making an observation, it was an attempt to keep them from stiffly walking side-by-side in silence, as though they were a lady and her guard in truth rather than jest.

Yuudai

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S-rank
His acceptance of her offer to join her on the way back to Kiri had either two directions it could turn in to. The first choice would be to continue to stay within Tsuneko’s presence for a while longer, if possible. His curiosity was starting to pick up, wanting to get to know what was real and what was a mask behind the female. The other option, while it would not aid his interest, was to eventually head back home. Home would probably be a cooler place than staying outdoors. Maybe even an ice cold bath would help him through the rest of the day. He wasn’t expecting Tsuneko to make a light hearted comment about accepting her invitation, nor was he expectant of her teasing him. Not trying to take the jab as offensive, which it entirely was not, Yuudai chose that he would go along with her remark. “Ah, but it would be terrible if something like that did happen. I think you’d be able to avoid getting kidnapped, with or without, my presence.”

While it was certainly hot outside, the shades of the forest certainly would not help in any avoidance of the heat. He noticed Tsuneko beginning to walk back towards the village, without any hesitation Yuudai’s long strides allowed him to catch up and fall in step with her. His choice of clothing really had nothing to do with the weather, but rather comfortable with the outfit for being loose-fitting and becoming slightly attached to the garb as well. The remark about his clothing was one anyone could have made, but also had legitimate claims to regard as well. It also served the purpose of avoiding an awkward silence as they walked. Usually he would prefer silence, but given the situation, he knew he would not enjoy if there was taciturnity. “Quiet. Though it slightly helps in building tolerance towards the heat.” A light comment that one could easily tell was far from the truth. He took his scarf, which was resting upon his right shoulder and chose to hold it within the grasp of his left hand. “There aren’t many outfits I feel comfortable for combat and every day wear. It was either wearing this or how I was dressed when you came across my training session.” That left a question, which he guessed, Tsuneko would rather not answer. Besides, the question would certainly create an discomforting atmosphere. Deciding to direct the conversation before it would come to that, Yuudai felt he should ask Tsuneko a question as well. “Why did you decide to back to the village instead of staying behind at the well?” That was one of the more confusing aspects he had come across today. Not only did she discover himself training, but stayed to watch, then decided she no longer wanted to stay. He could draw up conclusions, but he felt none would feel accurate.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
"Ah, but it would be terrible if something like that did happen. I think you'd be able to avoid getting kidnapped, with or without my presence." Tsuneko had enough confidence in herself to agree with him; she liked to believe that she could handle herself. However, it was not uncommon for other people to not share that belief. The girl certainly did not make for a threatening figure. At just over five feet in height and built along the thin lines of a dancer, the lean muscles that lay along her frame from her Taijutsu training were often overlooked. Whether it was from him noticing that or understanding, as was a prudent thing to do when around a shinobi, that appearances were not everything. Either way, it spoke to his presence not being out of obligation, and she flattered herself by thinking that Yuudai might have joined her because he simply wanted to be around her.

When he answered her query with the slightly odd comment about building tolerance, she didn't question it; she couldn't do much about his formalness, but she didn't want to make some remark that would give him reason to go quiet, as she guessed from his manner that he wasn't much of a social butterfly. 'But in a crowd neither are you,' she reminded herself. As he continued and seemed to present the only two options of attire for himself being either the full kimono or the half-dressed state she had found him in, her lilac eyes slid over to where he walked beside her. 'I'm sure I'm not the only girl who wouldn't mind that,' she reflected but was spared from having to voice such a potentially embarrassing thought or coming up with another response by his changing of the topic. "Well, I wasn't really planning on staying long anyways, just taking a break there. When I realized that the rope was gone from the well, I decided that there was really no point in continuing my run or pursuing other training if I was mostly just going to dehydrate myself doing so," she replied, leaving out the part about not really wanting to be observed herself; it was, after all, just a part of her reason for heading back. Turning the question back on him, she asked, "So, why did you decide to head back to the village instead of staying at the well once your distraction was gone? Were you really about done with your training for the day when I interrupted?"

Yuudai

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S-rank
Yuudai knew, as a shinobi, everyone had their own unique skill set and by underestimating an opponent, or even an ally, could prove fatal. A person’s perception of others would alter the course of the battle. By misjudging one’s abilities could easily put anyone in a bad position. He knew if he underestimated an opponent he would have to suffer the consequences, but miscalculating the abilities of an ally would most likely prove to be more fatal. Thus, he felt he knew Tsuneko had talent. Just what her abilities and skills were, he did not know. Yuudai had a hunch that he would find out eventually, it was just a matter of when and where. For now, being close to her presence would cure a bit of his curiosity; though that was not the only reason he accepted her invitation.

Walking on the path back towards the village, out of the corner of his eye he briefly was watching Tsuneko. She seemed to be thinking about something that she did not wish to voice out loud. Whatever it was he felt that that if she did not want to voice her thoughts out loud, he would do as such. Tsuneko also seemed to be offering the same, as he often thought more than spoke aloud. But what really was catching his attention was the height difference between them. He felt like he towered over Tsuneko, stand a head over her. Turning his gaze back on to the path ahead of them, he was unaware of what else was going on through the girls head as he spoke a few comments about the heat and his clothing. After he changed the topic, inquiring about her appearance at the well, Yuudai was finally making ground towards getting to know Tsuneko, however much information she should offer.

As she spoke, Yuudai listened to her reasoning behind vacating the area. As she explained herself, the question was sprung upon himself, by way of Tsuneko turning to question his reason behind vacating the area. He knew his reasons were simple. He could easily come up with three reasons behind leaving the area and abandoning the solice of the peaceful forgotten well and the surrounding directly around it. One of the reasons was easily being a tad bit embarrassing to admit aloud. “I left because I simply had nothing better to do. That and attempting more training while the heat is affecting me this much already wouldn’t really be considered progressive at all.” He debated on whether or not he should give out last reason, though it would be better than not saying anything at all. “Also, you intrigue me, I do not know why, but you do. Being in your company is… enjoyable.” He really couldn’t find another word to describe it, which was the reason behind his hesitation of saying ‘enjoyable’.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
Yuudai answered her question with a couple simple, practical reasons, as expected, and then: “Also, you intrigue me, I do not know why, but you do.” Caught off guard, Tsuneko paused mid-step, turning that same searching gaze upon him that she had purposefully avoided since noticing him discomfort with it the first time. From his quiet, formal demeanor, she had not expected that he would come out and say something like that so openly, although it answered what she’d really been asking with her question. It wasn’t until he found the word ‘enjoyable’ that she realized her hesitation and resumed studying of him and ceased both. Catching up the few steps that she had missed, she offered him a bright, mostly genuine, smile and amiably replied, “Well, I’m glad I’m such good company.”

Tsuneko was attracted to the handsome boy, so different from the men in her squad, and had hoped that the feeling would be mutual. She had taken his words as a compliment, of sorts, although intriguing was not exactly her first choice of words for him to have used. Intrigue brought to mind underhanded dealings and puzzles to be solved, neither of which did she particularly desire to be. Tending to be a more private person, she didn’t like people digging around in her life as though she was just there for their entertainment, which her slightly paranoid mind warned her might follow such a statement. A minute or so passed as she considered that before redirecting the conversation away from herself with, “What else intrigues you?” The question was meant to refer to what things caught his interest; however, since he had put her among those intriguing things, she realized after saying it that it might be misinterpreted as her asking after other girls on his radar as well but decided that it was not worth correcting herself for, if he took it that way, she realized that she wouldn’t mind knowing the answer to that as well.

Yuudai

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S-rank
When he had used intrigue, it was the first word that popped out of his mouth. Having to re-evaluate his choice of words, however it was too late to fix that as he realized Tsuneko had already heard the words. The rhythmic pattern of their foots steps altered, Tsuneko had paused when she heard the words. Even without the recurrent pattern of their steps, Yuudai became easily aware of the lack of her presence by his side. Maybe fascination would have been a better word to use. His inner musings started to perceive a more negative outlook of the circumstances that may eventually arise. Yuudai resisted the urge to let out a sigh, though his thoughts were cut short as Tsuneko caught up and spoke. Her smile, he found that he liked it, but it was slightly missing something. Nevertheless, her expression pleased him.

As far as Yuudai was concerned with relationship, particularly those with romantic aspects, he never had any true thoughts about them. He supposed that it come along eventually within his lifetime. The girl in front of him was certainly attractive, there was no questioning that and he certainly felt comfortable around her that it may eventually lead to such an ending, but that was not in his control, just speculation. When presented with the question of what else intrigued him, there weren’t many things he could list off. The only other thing that he could list off was a certain form of combat and art he admired since childhood. Other objects and concepts were more of passing thoughts that he often sought to understand, but none to the level of kenjutsu. Yuudai also supposed he could fix his misuse of a word as well. “The only other thing that fascinate me as such is kenjutsu.” Pushing strand of hair away from his eyes, Yuudai turned his eyes towards Tsuneko, shifting his head to the side to avoid looking out of the corner of his eye, and chose to ask her about their destination. After all, it would be better for him to know where they were headed instead of following blindly. “Is there someplace you want to go within Kiri? Or were you just going to head back home?” The answer to the questions would determine the rest of Yuudai’s day, so long as the heat is avoidable, he would not mind any solution to the problem.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
Yuudai's remark about Kenjutsu was not really a surprise, him having been practicing it when she came upon him; her question didn't yield as much insight as she had tentatively hoped. It struck her then how similar he was to her. They were both rather reserved, and it seemed that he also had a knack, intentional or no, of answering her questions without really saying much at all. She supposed that she'd have to be more direct with her queries if she wanted to learn more about him, which she did, but she was a little hesitant to do so; so far he had not really began to pry, as people often did, but she had a feeling that if she moved away from the casual smalltalk that he would as well. She was uncertain that he would still think her such good company if that occurred.

He asked about her plans for the rest of the day, as the brisk pace she had set, a norm for her, brought them within sight of the village walls. She considered if for a moment; what's was she going to do for the rest of the day? "Well, first will definitely be finding something to drink and then.... I guess I might do some studying before figuring out what to do for dinner... What about you? Will you escort me the rest of the day or do you have some plans of your own?" The first part was more thoughtful, making decisions as she spoke, but when she turned it to Yuudai, her tone became more joking. Interested in learning more about him, she meant to invite him along for a, clearly non-alcoholic, drink or for dinner later but asked in a bit of a jest so that it was clear that he was not obligated to do so, that she wasn't begging for his company. Keeping it casual, so to speak.

Yuudai

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S-rank
Home, Kirigakure no Sato, just came within view. Usually his travel between the well and the village would certainly be a long trek due to the pace he had set. Though, somehow, while walking at relatively the same strides, the village seemed to appear even faster. It was as if time had sped up, not allowing him to savour the journey back to the village. Or it could be because of the company which presented him with an atmosphere he never was within before, yet still felt oddly comforted by it. Simple enough, he felt as if the journey should have lasted longer, enough to enjoy the companionship of Tsuneko for a bit longer. He found himself acting off, he usually would attempt to place distance, but then again most people that he had met weren’t quite like him. They were neither quiet nor reserved. Most individuals he had encountered spoke more than himself. Tsuneko was different from them, resulting in them being a similar to one another. Yet, somehow, he had talked more to her than he would to anyone else in the extent of time that had past.

Yuudai heard her speak of her plans and began to think of what he would do. Personally, he hoped for someplace that would get him out of the heat, even momentarily. Home would seem like the ideal location, though he did want to extend the time he spent with the kunoichi, so long as she would welcome his presence. She did allow him the option of leaving or continue to accompany her, probably for a drink like she had stated. As far as his plans for the rest of the day, he already knew how the rest of his day would turn out if he chose to decline her invitation. “I really don’t have anything else planned for the day. I would enjoy remaining in your company that is if you do not mind my company as well. Maybe I could also help you with your dinner plans, if you are stumped that is.” Yuudai offered her a smile after he spoke. He had spoken exactly what he thought. He questioned himself if he was being too blunt about the situation.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
"I'd like that," Tsuneko replied, mirroring his expression. It was the first time she had seen him truly smile, and she was a little relieved. She had been starting to worry that he was too solemn, that she'd never get more than a vaguely pleased expression out of him, which would certainly make those plans less fun. She didn't put a whole lot of stock in the expression itself; she had faked enough of them to know that the feelings shown on the exterior were not always indicative of what was going on in the interior, but it was a step anyways. 'And why would he have accepted if he didn't want to come? He could have just as easily have asked his questions and been done with it.' She tried not to worry too much about it; she wanted his company, after all.

Continuing, she commented, "As much as I like to keep busy, it's kind of nice to have days like this; days without some obligation or mission demanding your attention, you know? What squad are you a part of?" With the way that squads were organized by the specialities of the members, it sometimes dictated the type of missions that one was assigned, which is why it occurred to her to ask, and could potentially allow her to gather some information about Yuudai as a shinobi and, by extension, as a person. The type of ninja one is often reflects the type of person he or she is. She couldn't say what that meant when applied to herself, but then, she had been switched around a few times. Did that mean she was adept at everything, nothing, or that she was simply still developing as a kunoichi? Fortunately, she did not let such a thing carry much weight, or she'd likely obsess over it; the query was more for curiosity's sake than anything.

Yuudai

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S-rank
The gates to the village were within eyesight, after a few more moments they would be back within the walls of the Village Hidden in the Mist. Yuudai knew that if he got too close, maybe even attached, he would have to eventually make a choice concerning the matter. For now, he was satisfied - pleased - about the current circumstances. Hopefully, the rest of the day won't whiz by like the trek to the village. He was beginning to get used to the sound of Tsuneko's voice. A tone that we would seek to hear more of, if given the opportunity. Speaking of her tone, he was brought to her next inquiry, specifically about the squad he was assigned to.

Deciding to first voice his thoughts about days such as today, his voice with filled with calmness. "I enjoy days like these. No need for violent matters and meeting deadlines. It's a nice change of pace." He truly did enjoy calm, peaceful days. They offered more than other days - days where he had to work for the betterment of the village. Though they did bring about a sense of accomplishment, the tasks provided, more often than not, had to deal with what civilians would consider crimes. Luckily, the squad he was in charge of dealt with support, be it healing or aiding other squads. The move from the heavy assault squad to his current squad was a welcomed change, though not much was accomplished with his previous team due to sudden changes, particularly his advancement to jounin. This brought him to answering Tsuneko's question. "I'm the squad leader of Squad 4, the support-assault squad. And what about you? What squad are you in?" It was easy to discern from Yuudai's voice, when he spoke of his squad, was that he enjoyed being placed in charge of a squad that did not have to deal with conflict as a first resort. The village gates were just up ahead, less than a minute and they would once again be in the village. This brought him to question, what if someone were to see them. He wouldn't be embarrassed or anything, it would be a bit difficult to explain if someone came across them. He didn't even know what they were. Acquaintances, maybe? Shaking himself out of his thoughts, he turned his focus back to Tsuneko, deciding it would be better to listen to her than get lost within his own head.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
A shinobi that enjoyed days without conflict was rare, particularly a young man around Yuudai's age. It was encouraged in their profession to train and to test one's physical prowess against another's, to find where one fit in the power hierarchy of Kirigakure; it resulted in the increased skill level of all parties involved as well as benefited the village by keeping their troops in top condition. That is a well-known fact of their job, and many young ninja enjoy the spars that often pop up, relishing in the adrenaline that comes from the risk of bodily harm. Tsuneko, while not unecessarily violent minded, liked to spar for the sake of competition, of winning and being the best.

When Yuudai gave his squad name and position, she assumed two things about him: he was likely a Jounin, and he probably tended towards the support side than the assault. She went for a Jounin, because he was rather young to be a Sannin, although with their youthful Mizukage nothing was impossible. The thought of Yuudai tending towards support was due to his comment which she had interpreted as meaning that he didn't prefer violence; however, having witnessed his training, she knew him to be a capable swordsman, and he must be skilled in combat to have such a rank at his age. He seemed proud of his position, as well he should be, but not full of unfounded pride for himself, which she very much respected.

"I'm a part of Squad Three, the Heavy Assault Squad, under Eiji Kaguya." Already naturally, in the course of the conversation, having turned her head to look over at him while speaking, it was easy for her to watch his expression. Her gaze was significantly more friendly than intrusive, as it had been before, but it did not change that reading his reaction was a part of it. It was still a bit odd to herself that she had been placed in such a squad, looking as unthreatening as she did. However, it was more of seeing if he would respond to her distant cousin's name that interested her. It was true that Eiji and she had little in common but the name Kaguya and the Shikotsumyaku, but if he showed some aversion to the clan itself, well... atleast she would know how long his company would last.

Yuudai

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S-rank
Upon hearing Tsuneko state her squad, his former squad, and her squad leader, who also happened to be his former squad leader, brought about a quick flashback to his meeting with the man. Eiji Kaguya certainly had his quirks that one could spot upon their first meeting with the pirate turned ninja. Even with his brief stint with the squad, which ended due to his quick succession through the ranks, from genin to jounin, Yuudai wondered what it would have been like to remain under the same squad for so long.

"Ah, so I see Eiji's still in charge of the Heavy Assault Squad. When you see him again, tell him I said "Hello." I have to be wary of your skills if you are in the Heavy Assault Squad if we ever spar." Yuudai had a smile on his face, faint, but entirely genuine. Yuudai hoped his current squad would last a while, but knowing the shinobi world, nothing was a given and he could quickly be relocated to where his skills were needed the most. Realizing he hadn't explained why he just said what he said, Yuudai decided it was best to explain. "I was in Eiji's Heavy Assault Squad at one point, back when I was genin. Not too long ago if I recall. Circumstances forced me to progress to Jounin." He really did not know how he, or why he, had progressed so fast, but nonetheless, he could not change the matter. He did not care much for rank, but rather for how he was seen, whether it be useless or not, that was what would always remain on his mind. He knew, as long as he could preform his duty, he would continue to remain useful to others, and to the village.

Tsuneko

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Jounin
“Sure,” Tsuneko casually agreed to pass along the ‘Hello’. She had assumed that the two would know eachother, as they were both Jounin, but she hadn’t guessed that Yuudai would have once filled the spot that she held now within the squad. It boded well for their budding...whatever it was that they had… From their brief run-in, Eiji had not appeared to be shy about using their Kekkei Genkai, and if Yuudai was still friendly with him after being on his squad, for however long that was, perhaps that meant that he fell into the group of those who didn’t hold the Kaguya’s reputation and past against the individual clan members.

The information that she was gathering and assumptions she made from those answers were proving contradictory. Perhaps that was because her assessments of Yuudai were not always accurate, or it could simply be because of the disorganization of their village after the fire. She was not privy to what all personnel records were or were not lost in the flames, but that could explain all of the shuffling of squads that she had experienced and the placement of Yuudai in the Heavy Assault squad when he, like herself, did not appear to have the disposition that one would expect from a member of such a squad, although he could be hiding some gift under the surface, as she was. Despite all of her attempts at coming up with rationalizations for the different things that the higher-ups dictated to the shinobi in Kirigakure, it was most likely that it was simply to serve the village’s interests. Her jump from Genin to Special Jounin and, apparently, Yuudai’s greater leap from Genin to Jounin, while not necessarily undeserved, were progressions much faster than the traditional route, she suspected that the higher-ups may have seen fit to reward a Genin’s progress much quicker now that so many of the higher ranking ones had perished. All that to say that if she wanted to learn more about Yuudai, she would have to be more blunt, but before she could do so, the pair passed under the village gates and into the noisy, bustling crowds of the Downtown Marketplace.

-Exit-

Yuudai

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S-rank
The village gates were directly in front of them. He had no idea that today would take such a turn. Instead of spending the rest of the day by himself, preferably in a peaceful and quiet area, such as the well, here he was following a fellow shinobi of Kirigakure no Sato. Yuudai knew doing so would inevitably lead to a connection, whether it be good or bad one would be formed. Hopefully, he hoped, it would be a connection that would be of a positive nature, though he wasn't entirely too sure about what the implications could mean to such a relationship, but that was not his main concern at the moment. Instead, his focus was on getting out of the heat, and possibly learning more about the white haired girl, Tsuneko. He'd have to be a bit more open, but seeing as how he'd already welcomed her invitation, he believed that he could possibly be more open. As they passed through the gates, Yuudai was walking alongside Tsuneko, however he was just a half step behind so that she could lead the way.


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