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Author Topic: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]  (Read 5836 times)

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Offline LexandriaTopic starter

In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« on: March 11, 2015, 11:34:09 PM »

In the Days Before
Lexandria and VonDoom


Table of Contents

Prolog: Arriving Home
Chapter 1: Team Building

« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 03:47:47 AM by Lexandria »

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2015, 11:52:42 PM »
Character Quick Reference

Yuhara Family
Yuhara Midori
Prolog
Age: 9
Gender: Female
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: Large, wide, and gray in color
Hair: Cut short in a haphazard and choppy style, black in color
Distinguishing Characteristics: N/A
Chapter 1
Age: 12
Gender: Female
Rank: Genin
Eyes: Large, wide, and gray in color
Hair: Shoulder length with long bangs, cut in a haphazard and choppy style, black in color
Distinguishing Characteristics: N/A
Image Reference: Age Progression, Adult[/size][/font]

Yuhara Kenjiro
Age: 32 (prolog), 35 (chapter 1)
Gender: Male
Rank: Civilian Traveling Merchant
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black and cut short in a haphazard and choppy style, similar to his daughter's
Distinguishing Characteristics: A slight limp in his right leg when he has been traveling for too long
Relation to Midori: Midori's Father.

Yuhara Ayaka
Age: 21 at time of death
Gender: Female
Rank: N/A
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Light brown, kept long and tied loosely back
Relation to Midori: Midori's Mother.

Yuhara Kanetaro
Age: 26 (prolog), 29 (chapter 1)
Gender: Male
Rank: Civilian Merchant. Owns a shop in the southern district.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black hair, kept longer than his brother and very wild. It is difficult to tame.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Looks like a younger, more relaxed version of his elder brother, but without the limp.
Relation to Midori: Midori's Uncle.

Yuhara Jinmi
Age: 26 (prolog), 29 (chapter 1)
Gender: Female
Rank: Civilian Homemaker
Eyes: Light Brown
Hair: Long and straight, kept loose it reaches mid-back
Distinguishing Characteristics: Five months pregnant (prolog only)
Relation to Midori: Midori's Aunt by marriage.

Yuhara Yuuhei
Age:  3 (chapter 1)
Gender: Male
Rank: Civilian Child
Eyes: Light Brown
Hair: Short, unruly black hair
Distinguishing Characteristics: N/A
Relation to Midori: Midori's Cousin


Hyuga Clan
Hyuga Ibiki
Prolog
Age: 9
Gender: Male
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: focused, white
Hair: black, shoulder length, straight cut
Distinguishing Characteristics: N/A

Chapter 1
Age: 12
Gender: Male
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: focused, white
Hair: black, shoulder length, straight cut
Distinguishing Characteristics: N/A

Hyuga Misaki
Prolog
Age: 9
Gender: Female
Rank:  Academy Student
Eyes: narrow, white
Hair: black, chin-length bob cut
Distinguishing Characteristics: branded with the cursed seal of the branch house, usually hidden behind a white bandana
Relation to Ibiki: twin sister, second born
Additional Notes

Circumstances dictated that the younger twin of the first-borns was to be placed into the Branch House. It was there that Misaki was raised, groomed for the role of protecting the main branch and particularly her brother. As she grew older she became resentful of her sibling and the rule of the main clan that had spurned her for being born only a few seconds later. She is fierce and sports quite the temper when she can afford to let it run wild.

Much of this stems from self-worth issues: though her real potential matches Ibiki's, Misaki's training in the family techniques was purposely held back. As her training in the academy proceeds, she will focus on Ninjutsu and healing techniques, attempting to incorporate them with her use of the Byakugan.

Chapter 1
Age: 12
Gender: Female
Rank:  Genin
Eyes: narrow, white
Hair: black, chin-length bob cut
Distinguishing Characteristics: branded with the cursed seal of the branch house, usually hidden behind a white bandana
Relation to Ibiki: twin sister, second born
Additional Notes


Hyuga Issun
Age: 38 (Prolog), 41 (Chapter 1)
Gender: Male
Rank: Clan Head/Jounin
Eyes: white
Hair: bald, formerly black
Distinguishing Characteristics:  scalp covered by faded burn scars
Relation to Ibiki: Father
Additional Notes
The head of House Hyuga is a strict man, harsh and uncompromising even with his allies. He prefers more strict militaristic order over the sense of community that the Hokage wishes to establish and has made it clear that he and his clan will only support the Leaf alliance as long as they receive the respect they are due as one of the oldest and most influential clans in Fire Country. Despite this threat, he has been very generous in contributing manpower and has even loaned funds to the Village.

Hyuga Ayame
Age: 32 (Prolog), 35 (Chapter 1)
Gender: Female
Rank: Special Jounin
Eyes: lavender
Hair: black, knee-length
Distinguishing Characteristics:
Relation to Ibiki: Mother
Additional Notes
Ayame originates from one of the few families that are related to House Hyuga but are not considered part of the clan due to their lack of a functional Byakugan. These families came to be before the strict marriage policies of Hyuga for preservation of their bloodline were established and can thus be considered distant cousins. Their dormant bloodline  tends to 'breed true' when paired with a full inheritor of the Byakugan and are thus considered highly desirable marriage candidates.

Ayame is a special jounin skilled in Chakra infusion/reinforcement techniques and views her marriage more as a duty. There is little love lost between her and Issun, especially after her daughter was handed off to the Branch House, and they usually treat each other with cold formality. Despite this, her strong sense of duty is trusted and she commands the clan in his absence.

Though she is gentle with Ibiki in private moments, she wants him to reach his full potential just as much as Issun does and never shields him from additional training or discipline.

Hyuga Kiko
Age: 24 (Prolog), 27 (Chapter 1)
Gender: Female
Rank: Chuunin
Eyes: white
Hair: black, short
Distinguishing Characteristics:  cursed seal on forehead, hidden by silk headband
Relation to Ibiki: Branch clan member, tutor, assistant to his parents
Additional Notes
Kiko is one of the most scholastically interested shinobi in House Hyuga. She acts as a personal assistant to both Issun and Ayame, handles many administrative duties for the house and is the main tutor for Ibiki. She is very serious about her studies and duties, but remains surprisingly bright-hearted. She is trying to teach Ibiki to be more tolerant of others and not take too much after his father, but fears that her efforts are failing.

Hyuga Junji
Age: 31(prolog), 34 (Chapter 1)
Gender: Male
Rank: Chuunin
Eyes: white
Hair: black, long braid
Distinguishing Characteristics:  cursed seal on forehead, hidden by leaf forehead protector
Relation to Ibiki: Branch clan member; Hyuga compound guard
Additional Notes
A low-ranked guard within the family, Junji has been an early supporter of the Hokage's philosophies. He is still waiting on approval for a transfer to active field duty.


Instructors
Kyoto Noboru
Age: 16 (Prolog), 19 (Chapter 1)
Gender: Male
Rank: Chuunin
Eyes: Dark Brown
Hair: Blondish-brown, extending down past his ears, but not quite to his shoulders.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Missing the tip of his left index finger, has a thin scar bisecting his upper lip on the right side
Position:Chuunin Instructor

Additional Notes
Hates children and finds them annoying, he resents that he was assigned to the Academy. He hopes that if he puts in his time teaching the first wave of students, he will be assigned elsewhere.

Kobayashi Ryuu
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Rank: Jounin
Eyes: Blue eyes
Hair: Dark red and cropped short, with a few bare spots due to burn scars
Distinguishing Characteristics: A few small burn scars on his scalp, as well as on his right shoulder and upper arm
Position: Jounin Instructor


Peers
Yamanaka Mika
prolog
Age: 11
Gender: Female
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: green
Hair: brown, shoulder-length, worn in a ponytail
Distinguishing Characteristics: none

Additional Notes
From a minor shinobi family and a strong candidate to make Genin, though she sometimes doesn't take things as seriously as she should. Friends with Komori Shun.
Chapter 1
Age: 14
Gender: Female
Rank: Genin
Eyes: green
Hair: brown, shoulder-length, worn in a ponytail
Distinguishing Characteristics: none

Additional Notes


Komori Shun
Prolog
Age: 10
Gender: Male
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes:  brown
Hair: black, spiky
Distinguishing Characteristics: none

Additional Notes
From a family that works for the Hyuga Clan, Shun is a close friend of Yamanaka Mika and has spent a lot of time with her family. Though technically a civilian, he has trained with her and is very passionate about becoming shinobi and not just another servant like most of his own family. Likes to act cool.
Chapter 1
Age: 13
Gender: Male
Rank: Genin
Eyes:  brown
Hair: black, spiky
Distinguishing Characteristics: none

Additional Notes

Mori Chizue
Prolog
Age: 11
Gender: Female
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Long, red, usually kept loose
Distinguishing Characteristics: Tall and gangly for her age, looks more like a 13 or 14 year old in height.

Additional Notes
From a civilian family, Chizue's mother and second eldest brother are both potters, while her father runs a shop to sell their wares. She is the youngest of three, with her eldest brother having found a shinobi to apprentice under, he is currently a Chuunin. Unfortunately her brother has little time to teach her, so she has been trying to teach herself what she can to prove to him that she is worth his attention. She completely idolizes her eldest brother, and tries her best to make him proud.
Chapter 1
Age: 14
Gender: Female
Rank: Genin
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Long, red, usually kept in a very low-tied ponytail
Distinguishing Characteristics: Has only gotten taller as she has grown older, now she is almost awkwardly gangly and very lean.

Additional Notes
So far Chizue has been unable to really distinguish herself amungst her peers, and is basically average at most skills.

Aburame Makoto
Chapter 1
Age: 10 (Chapter 1)
Gender: Female
Rank: Genin
Eyes:
Hair:
Distinguishing Characteristics:
[/font]
Additional Notes


Inuzuka Tadaaki
Prolog
Age: 10
Gender: Male
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brownish-red and short yet spiky
Distinguishing Characteristics:

Additional Notes
Chapter 1
Age: 13
Gender: Male
Rank: Genin
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brownish-red and grown out some now that the spikes sort of droop
Distinguishing Characteristics:

Additional Notes

Nara Miyu
Prolog
Age: 9
Gender: Female
Rank: Academy Student
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Ash-colored, shoulder-length
Distinguishing Characteristics:

Additional Notes
Chapter 1
Age: 12
Gender: Female
Rank: Genin
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Ash-colored, pulled up into a short ponytail
Distinguishing Characteristics:

Additional Notes
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 05:43:13 AM by Lexandria »

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 12:03:53 AM »

Prolog: Arriving Home


"Midori, do not be angry with me," Father glanced back at her while he lead the cart towards the village. It was the one that Uncle Kanetaro lived in; they visited a few times a year to drop off some of the best things that Father traded for, though they never stayed long. In the past few years, a big wall had gone up around the village, not that the walls could be seen until they were right up on it, anyway. All the trees were way too big. It made seeing the sky hard, actually. She liked the desert better, it was warm and the sky was always open, it didn't make her feel closed in like all the trees did.

The trees were nice, but... they made her feel so trapped.

Or maybe it was that Father was going to leave her behind. And, yeah, she wasn't talking to him right now, but that was because she would probably start crying if she said anything. Crying again. She'd cried the first time, yesterday, when he'd told her that he wouldn't be bringing her with him any more, and that, instead, she'd be left with Uncle Kanetaro. Because Father didn't want her with him any more. She'd been trying to be good, to not ask so many questions when he was meeting with other traders. But, somehow, it hadn't been enough. Father had left her at playgrounds, sometimes, but she didn't really like being around other children: they were mean and too loud and too rough. Midori liked staying with Father, but that didn't matter, did it?

"Midori. I will still visit, I promise." He looked back again, his limp getting worse because he had twisted to look at her. From her perch on the cart, Midori watched as Father did not even look upset about leaving her. She had cried, why wouldn't he just look a little bit sad?

Maybe Father had always wanted not to have her. She slowed him down, didn't she? She used to interrupt him a lot when she'd been younger. She...

The wall came into view, they were here. It took a while to get in past the guards, but Father had visited many times before, so it didn't take as long as the first time. Almost did she remember the way to Uncle Kanetaro's shop, but part way there, they turned down a different street, one with houses. Father was really going to leave her.

The houses were nice, all with little yards, some with flower gardens and some with vegetable gardens. The one that Father stopped the cart at was a light yellow color on the outside, sort of a happy color. Midori sniffled, trying her hardest not to cry again as Father lifted her down and lead her by the hand up to the door to knock. It was opened a few moments later by a lady with long, black hair. It was shiny and straight, different from Father's and Uncle Kanetaro's: not so bushy and thick. It looked soft.

"Hello? Oh! Hello Kenjiro, it has been a long time. This must be Midori! I haven't seen you since you were a baby! Do you know who I am?"

The young girl looked up at the woman, nodding miserably, "Hello. You are Uncle Kanetaro's wife, Miss Jinmi. It is nice to meet you." Maybe if she showed Father she could be good and polite, he might change his mind.

"Yes, that's right. Come in! I'll show you to your room while your father visits Kanetaro at the shop," without waiting for a response, Miss Jinmi took her hand and lead her into the house. Father left before she could look back to see him or say goodbye...

____ ___ __ _

Miss Jinmi was very nice, though she was loud and excited and trying very hard to cheer her up. The nine-year-old was aware of what she was doing, and how much she was trying to make this a happy thing. She spoke about how excited she was to have her here, that it would be nice for her baby to have a big sister when it arrived. But, it seemed she would still have her own room when the baby came, which wasn't for a while. She wasn't even very big yet, actually.

After a little while, Jinmi showed her the kitchen and made her a lunch, which was very tasty. Though she had made the hot dogs look like octopi, and put faces on the rice balls. Midori did not understand why she made the food cute, but she had told the woman that she liked it anyway, because that was the polite thing to do. She even continued to call her 'Miss Jinmi', even though she kept saying to call her 'Auntie'. That seemed rude, though, so she wasn't going to do that. Father would be upset if she did that, he had asked her to be good for Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinme. She might be sad about being left, but she would still obey Father as best she could...

____ ___ __ _

Clutching the sandy-colored furball to her chest, Midori ran after the cart as it worked its way through the streets. She followed it all the way to the gate, her eyes fixated on the back of the cart as Father left. She had to stop at the gate, the guards wouldn't let her out, but they let her watch, and she did, all the way until Father began to turn the corner in the trees. He turned around to wave at her, and, though she was hiccuping and sobbing a little, she waved with her free hand. The little cat she clutched to her chest meowed softly, digging her little claws into the fabric of her t-shirt. Slowly, the little thing climbed up to her shoulder, then perched there, digging in to cling to her.

"...bye..." Midori mumbled, wiping at her face to scrub the tears away. Father had asked her not to cry and not to be sad. She was still sad, but.. she could keep from crying, anyway.

Purring softly, the kitten on her shoulder nuzzled at her cheek, her slightly damp nose shocking the young girl. Midori reached up to pet the soft, fluffy fur of the kitten. "I think your name should be Sunako... you're very sandy colored, and I like the sand..." she mumbled softly as she turned to make her way back to Uncle Kanetaro's house. That is, if she could remember the way... she'd been running so much she hadn't really paid attention to where she'd been going...
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 10:58:51 PM by Lexandria »

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 12:20:27 PM »
One jab between the ribs, followed by another when the boy raised his arm a moment too late to defend against the first one. He grunted in pain, a response that might have been a cry if he hadn't remembered in time that to cry out was to show weakness.

The boy was named Ibiki, a child of no more than nine or maybe ten years. His face showed a mixture of pain and anger, reined in by the beginnings of discipline and pride. He was Hyuga, heir to his clan, as he had so often been told: indeed, his features bore the trademark entirely white eyes that came with their possession of the Byakugan along with the pale skin and black hair that was prominent throughout the family, currently bound together into a ponytail for training.

The man who was so casually poking through his defenses was his father, Issun. A tall, well-muscled man dressed only in a pair of black training pants, he had the looks of a seasoned warrior with little humor or ability to compromise. A few scars crisscrossed his body, though none more prominent than the heavy burn marks along his bald scalp.

Both of them currently had thin veins bulging out around the outer and upper side of their matching white eyes. To them, the ghostly afterimage of chakra emissions streamed through the air: made visible by the active Byakugan.

His father's mastery of the Juuken, their particular soft fist combat style, made Ibiki's own attempts at attacking his internal organs little more than an annoyance, but nonetheless each attack was commented upon as he had tried again and again to deliver what would be a decisive strike if he wasn't training against a far superior master. Issun's strikes in turn usually found their intended target -- but were made to sting rather than disable.

Their sparring took place in the family dojo, a small training hall that was reserved for use of the clan head and thus his immediate family. It was utilitarian and lacked the pomp of their official training grounds but it afforded privacy. Two others were watching their match: two women who knelt next to the entrance. Ibiki's mother, a beautiful woman with long black hair, whose lavender colored eyes made it obvious that she had married into the clan - though she likely carried some Hyuga ancestry, considering the strict clan laws on marriage designed to preserve the Byakugan - was watching intently. Next to her knelt an attendant; a young female member of the branch house with fair features, though as usual marred by the seal on her forehead, a blemish she hid behind a silk band.

----

Ibiki hissed in pain as the next strike graced his throat -- he swerved back to evade the brunt of the attack and pushed his own counter by instinct, bringing his own thrust -- middle and index finger -- to bear against the underside of his father's limb. Under ordinary circumstances Ibiki should have paralyzed the arm, but the clan head merely narrowed his eyes and pushed his own chakra against the invading force to dispel it.

For a moment it seemed as if Issun might strike again with the other hand, but then he opened the one he had attacked with instead, used their current position to take hold of the boy's collar and quickly flung him to the ground. Ibiki attempted to roll with the force of his fall but still found himself gasping for air after the impact.

"Never rely on what you expect an opponent to do," the bald jounin declared with his rough voice. "You're small. Light. Even if I use the Juuken, I can throw you with ease."

The larger man crossed his arms in front of his chest and stared down at his son, the veins around his eyes slowly fading. "We're done for the day. The counter just now was acceptable, but you fall into patterns too easily." Turning his back to his son, he slowly walked towards the exit as he continued to speak: "Kiko, have his training adjusted. He'll need sparring partners versed in other styles. I won't have him anywhere but at the top if I am to send him to that wretched new school."

The attendant, Kiko, bowed her head slightly as he passed her.

Just as the clan head walked out through the open door, Ibiki had managed to pull himself into a kneeling position, one hand clutching his ribs as he breathed heavily. His eyes, too, returned to their normal state as he glared after his father.

Ibiki knew that Issun was only doing it to make him strong; he wasn't really angry at his father, though the pain he felt all over made it all too easy to be. He was angry at himself for not living up to his expectations - he had a duty to his clan, after all. He had been told many times and already internalized the thought long ago.

Once he had pulled himself fully together and stood on his feet once more -- and only then -- his mother rose and rushed over to him, pulling the boy into her arms. She smelled of lilacs. Her embrace was soft. Comforting. It made Ibiki feel strange, like something was caught in his throat - the emotions that a normal child might have had were already well on their way to the practical coldness of a shinobi, he failed to understand why his eyes stung. Her voice was gentle in his ear, but he barely heard what she was saying. Something about his sister.

----

Later that day, after a trip to the clan infirmary for some ointment and bandages, Ibiki was dressed again in a long white robe, looking good as new. He was expected to attend study lessons with Kiko - writing and reading, the history and geography of the nations, lore on various clans and types of shinobi and many other subjects that seemed to increase in number all the time -- in an hour and then to participate in the combat training for the younger Hyuga. Between all the extra training and special lessons he received as the heir, it was less a challenge and more a chore for Ibiki, but one he didn't mind. It was an opportunity to relax a little and associate with other children -- only those of House Hyuga, but it was something.

They had tried to hide it from him for a while, but he had already overheard it weeks ago: that we was to be sent to the Shinobi Academy that was being established. Ibiki was looking forward to it: though he expected that few if any of them would be able to challenge him, an attitude well nourished by his father, he was glad for it. Perhaps there his efforts would be recognized rather than constantly criticized. Perhaps he'd find someone close enough to train with, even. Things just hadn't felt quite right since he was no longer allowed to spar with his sister. They had barely seen each other and even if they did, Misaki had refused to talk to him.

Deep in thought, Ibiki was strolling around the wall that surrounded the Hyuga territory. He was on the outside despite having been told not to leave on his own, but this was one of the few little acts of rebellion to young Hyuga allowed himself. Considering the Byakugan of their family, the guards and even his parents probably knew about and tolerated the behavior - a small indulgence was allowed, apparently, as long as he obeyed where it mattered.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2015, 11:55:29 PM »

"...Sunako, do you remember the way to Uncle Kanetaro's house?" The small girl eventually asked her kitten, who was still clinging tenaciously to her shirt up on her shoulder. 'Tenaciously' was a word that she'd learned from Father, when she had asked what it meant. He'd been talking about someone he did business with, and so the man had stopped to explain. Sunako was tenacious too.

When she'd been running after Father's cart, she hadn't noticed that he went out a different gate than they had come in the day before. Only as she started to make her way to where she thought Uncle Kanetaro's shop was did she realize she was not where she was supposed to be, and absolutely nothing looked familiar. After a while of walking, the short girl thought that maybe, maybe she'd found the market, and so would eventually come across the shop. But... this was a different market, none of the stalls looked familiar. Were there two markets in this village? More?

Why was there more than one gate?

"This place is confusing, Sunako. I don't know that I like it here.." some kids ran by, yelling and laughing, and they were so very loud and energetic. Eyes wide, Midori scooted backwards, bumping into a man and stumbling to try to catch herself. The man growled something mean at her, but she was already running away, weaving through the crowds while holding onto Sunako to keep her from falling. Running like that was hard, but she wanted to get away from that man and those loud kids. Too loud.

This market was way too loud.

By the time she got out of it, the stalls had thinned and there were houses again, but they were bigger than the ones in the area where Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi lived, so this wasn't right either. She should have been more adult and paid attention to where she had been going. Didn't Father always tell her to pay attention so that she would not get lost? There was a fast, panicky feeling pounding away at her chest and throat, and Midori had to fight to push it down. She needed to think clearly, to be calm. Already she was upset from Father leaving, and so close to crying again just because of that. But she was not a baby, and shouldn't be crying anyway, even if she was upset. Father had asked her not to, and she was too old to be crying.

If she just kept track of where she was going, and walked carefully, eventually she should find the house, right? How big could this village be?

____ ___ __ _

The short answer was: huge. Or at least it was arranged in a confusing way that made it seem huge. Midori's legs were starting to feel tired from all the walking, and so far she'd come across two other tiny market districts, a bunch more kids playing, and another housing district, this one was all apartments. But, finally, she'd found a wall. It wasn't the outside wall, but it seemed to be blocking her from it, so she decided to walk along it until she could find where it met the big wall, or gave way to a path to it. Once she made it to the big wall, she would follow it until she found the gate she was familiar with, and from there she could find her way to Uncle Kanetaro's shop.

This wall was pretty big, too, but it looked fancier, and wasn't quite as tall as the outside one. Not by a long shot. And even from her position on the ground, Midori thought she could see the roofs of houses on the other side. So... that was another housing district, just... one that was contained? Like a prison, or...? Maybe just super fancy.

She almost sat down against the wall to rest her legs, but thought better of it at the last moment. No.. the sooner she got to the wall, the sooner she could find the right gate, and the sooner she could get to the shop and not have to be wandering any longer. That seemed like the best idea.

Sunako had fallen asleep some time ago, and Midori held her even though her arm was getting tired, too. Maybe the kitten would like being in her pocket? It was big enough, "Hey, Sunako? I'm going to put you in my pocket, let me know if you don't like it, okay?" her shorts had a nice big pocket on the outside of the pants, a little ways down the leg, so Midori eased it open and slid the kitten inside. She plopped into the bottom and let out a soft sound. Giggling a little, Midori could feel the kitten moving around in the pocket a bit, before seeming to have made herself comfortable. The purring she felt vibrated her leg. Apparently, Sunako liked it in there.

With a little more walking, Midori saw a boy heading her way, and she paused, eying him. He did not seem so.. loud as those other kids. And he looked like he was maybe her age, though he was taller than her. But then, she had always been short, hadn't she? He didn't seem so loud, so... maybe it was okay to talk to him? He wasn't an adult, and she did not really want to talk with adults she did not know. Maybe he would know how to get to the shop? Or the gate, maybe?

But, she didn't really like kids, either. They were mean, always. He was... different-looking, though. Wearing a fancy robe, and his eyes were... different. Missing the part in the middle. If he hadn't been walking normally, Midori might have thought that maybe he couldn't see, but it was really clear that he could, so...

Feeling torn, the young girl, shuffled forward a little, feeling nervous and shy again. "Um... hello." she greeted carefully once she was close enough to be heard. The polite thing would be to introduce herself, wouldn't it? "I am Yuhara Midori." what else was she supposed to say? She wanted help, but how to ask? Maybe just...admit that she was lost, and looking for Uncle Kanetaro's shop?

That might work.

"I sort of.. I... I kind of don't know where I am at. Do you know where my Uncle Yuhara Kanetaro's shop is? He is a merchant. Or-or if you don't, I can maybe find my way if I can find the gate Father and I came in at." her words, suddenly, came in a rush, all at once, as she stumbled over them a bit. Really, Midori wished Father were here. He always knew where he was going. But maybe this boy would be nice and help. And if he wasn't nice, then.. well, he was only one, and she could run pretty fast, even if her legs were tired...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2015, 07:19:58 AM »
Ibiki usually didn't meet anyone during his little walks - the patrolmen knew to stay out of mundane sight and the civilians who lived in their part of the village, many of which were working for the Hyuga in the first place, tended to keep their distance. None wanted to be flagged as potential spies and held to closer scrutiny than they were already as part of the paranoia-cultivating shinobi world.

On the rare occasions that he did encounter someone, they usually didn't speak and made certain to either get away as far as possible or bow in reverence and then do the exact same thing. Most of the non-shinobi populace was cowed by the powerful clan - whether by their influence, their wealth or the mystical ninja abilities they were said to possess. And those who didn't care often found them creepy, with their strange eyes that never seemed to miss anything. Of the larger clans, only the Aburame had a worse reputation with their retainers -- very few people liked insects, after all.

All this was why Ibiki was rather surprised when he spotted a girl about his age walking alongside the same wall as he, just in the opposite direction. She had a peasant-like look about her that didn't blend well into the area and, he noted, seemed rather tired. The young heir wasn't sure what to make of her -- on the one hand she might be one of those spies he was always warned to be careful of, on the other she didn't really move the way a trained ninja did. Plus, if the girl was just walking around in the open like this, their sentries had definitely locked onto her already -- that she was still walking on meant she hadn't been judged a threat.

He had folded his hands together in front of him, uniting the long sleeves as he had been taught was proper -- and often practical if one had weapons hidden inside or strapped to the lower arm. He had neither at the moment, though of late he had received more lessons in light weaponry -- a practice considered 'lesser' by his teachers when compared to the Juuken, but still one that was necessary. His eyes focused on her briefly, though their color-less nature made it difficult to tell, and he simply kept walking towards her.

By all accounts he expected her to either shuffle away once he got close enough or pass him quietly, so when she suddenly addressed him -- albeit from a distance -- he stopped and almost looked startled. Not sure whether and how to reply, he simply stared at her for a moment a moment that she took to introduce herself. Though still baffled, that at least made the question of how to respond a simple one: "Hyuga," he said, his tone one of guarded curiosity. "Hyuga Ibiki."

His confusion only increased when she stated that she was completely lost and had no idea where she was. If his features hadn't given her an idea where she was or whom she was addressing, his name likely didn't mean much to this Midori either. He could only assume from her words and the mention of a gate she had entered together with her father that she was a foreigner to Konoha.

Ibiki lowered his head a little, closed his eyes and considered the information contained in her words. The name Yuhara Kanetaro meant nothing to him, but there was only one way an outsider merchant could enter the Hidden Village: the main gate. How the girl had gotten turned around this far he couldn't even begin to guess at, considering the Hyuga grounds laid on the very opposite side, but it was little wonder then that she looked so tired.

"… the gate is in that direction," he finally said after awhile and raised his arm to point towards the south. "Stay on this side and don't cross the ri--"

He was about to say 'river', but stopped when a figure dropped in between the two of them. It was a short but somehow still gangly man with a long braid running down his back, wearing a Hyuga Chuunin uniform with a somewhat unusual addition: one of the new forehead protectors that were being introduced to signify unity among the Leaf ninja. Ibiki immediately recognized the man as one of the guards. Veins were briefly visible around his eyes, but faded almost immediately as he came into sight.

The guardsman, whose name Ibiki vaguely recalled was something that began with a J -- Jin, or perhaps Jun -- turned towards him. "I will handle this, young lord. Please return inside."

The boy didn't protest, just took another look at Midori, perhaps a second longer than was strictly necessary, then turned away. Ibiki assumed the guard would simply make sure she left in the proper direction and that was that. It was about time for him to return, anyway, his lessons would begin soon.

Hyuga Junji, spelled with the characters for 'pure' and 'conduct', quickly turned his attention towards Midori. "I know where your uncle's shop is located, girl -- you may follow me there."

He shifted into a standing posture, examining her and waiting for a response. Junji intended to bring her to her uncle and make certain to have a calm talk with him to make sure that the child would not be left to her own devices until she learned the rules of the place. Walking in on the wrong sort of people or situation could be deadly in a Hidden Village.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 09:10:51 AM by VonDoom »

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2015, 11:57:44 PM »
The boy stopped when she greeted him, and so Midori paused as well, doubt filling her belly and making her nervous. But he seemed not to be angry, but rather surprised. Why would he be surprised, though? That didn't make sense, because he'd seen her coming, she was sure. It was a little hard to miss: she was the only one out here. But, just as she was certain that he would not answer her, he spoke up, and he sounded curious. He wasn't loud at all, and Midori thought that she probably liked that about him, this Hyga Ibiki. He seemed very calm, actually, and the little girl found herself envying him, when the only reason she was so calm was because she was exhausted.

But, except for his name, he did not say anything. Well, except he seemed to be thinking, which was a good sign, wasn't it? Maybe he did know the way to the gate, or to Uncle Kanetaro's shop. Perhaps she finally made it to someone who could help her to get to where she needed to go.

And then, eventually, he spoke up, pointing to give her directions, and she felt her tired face pull into a smile. He really was helping her, and--

Suddenly, someone dropped from the sky, causing young Midori to jump, though she didn't yelp, her eyes were wide as she stared up at him. He was between her and Hyuga Ibiki, to the point where she could not even see him any more, though he turned to speak to the boy, but did not address him by his name.  He called him 'young lord' which was weird. But his done was sort of super polite, like most adults didn't speak to kids. So, this boy was important, then? Midori recognized the signs, even if she had never met someone important before just now.

But, as Hyuga Ibiki turned to go, Midori leaned to the side a little, raising her hand to wave bye, not really noticing the sharp gaze of the man in front of her, who made her nervous, "Bye, Hyuga Ibiki. It was nice to meet you, thank you for your help!" the last little bit, she had to raise her voice to, since she was starting to feel shy and self conscious with the unknown man standing in front of her. She did not really yell, because that was rude and Father liked for her to be polite, but she tried to make sure he could hear her, anyway.

The man who had sent Hyuga Ibiki away was looking at her now, and his eyes were the same as the boy's were. Maybe they were related? Was this maybe his older brother, or... well, probably not older brother, because he looked maybe closer to Uncle Kanetaro's age than to her age. So maybe his uncle?

Shuffling her feet a little, Midori peered up at the man as he spoke, then brightened a bit as he said that he knew where Uncle Kanetaro's shop was. "Really? Thank you, sir. I think Father went out a different gate than we came in at, and I didn't realize it until I was lost..." quickly, she started trailing after the man, who, after walking quickly at first seemed to realize that she was having trouble keeping up, and so slowed down a bit. He did not really say anything for a while, which made the walk seem sort of lonely. And he seemed nice enough for an unknown adult. "Umm... my name is Yuhara Midori. Father told me that it is polite to introduce yourself, and you are being very nice to help me, sir, so I do not want to be rude." she ran a little so that she was walking mostly beside the man, turning her head to tilt and look up at him.

He seemed to glance at her a moment before looking forward again.

It was weirdly easier to try to talk to this man she didn't know than to kids her own age, Midori realized. Even though he'd startled her, it was easier to start to talk to him than it had been to work up the nerve to say something to Ibiki. But she had always liked talking to adults better, even if the boy had been more like an adult than a kid.

"Hyuga Junji," the man said finally, causing Midori to smile a little. He did not talk much, but it was enough to let her know he was listening and, probably, didn't mind that she was talking. Maybe.

"It is nice to meet you, Hyuga Junji, sir." what else could she say? Something polite and complimentary, right? Now was as good a time as any to practice being social like Father told her she should. "Your... um... relation?" she still hadn't figured out how the two were related, really, ".. um.. anyway, he seems nice. I don't think most kids my age are very polite, or quiet and not loud or disruptive, so it was very nice that he is different, I think. Do you have a big family? For a long time it was just Father and I, but now Father left and I am to live with Uncle Kanetaro and his wife Miss Jinmi. She's pregnant, so I'll have a cousin soon. I've never been around a baby before, so that might be interesting, I think. I've never had a big family before, and four is twice as many as two, so that'll seem pretty big. Plus Father promised he would visit," her voice wobbled a bit, but she got that sorted out quickly, "so then that will be five sometimes. That's a lot of people. I don't know if I will like it or not. Oh! And Sunako. Father gave her to me because he left, to keep me company. But she's asleep in my pocket now, and she was not very helpful in helping me find my way back, anyway. Does a kitten count as another person? She's really small, so I don't think so... maybe like.. a fourth of a person in a family?"

As they walked, Midori kept talking, because it had been a lonely day wandering around the village, and she didn't think that Hyuga Junji minded that she was talking. He had nodded slightly, she thought, when she was talking about big families. It took a while, and the short girl did not really notice how the other people gave them enough breadth that she did not have to weave in and out of the crowds sometimes like she had earlier. Mostly she just kept chattering away to pass the time, looking for some sort of response from the man who was leading her. Sometimes, she thought maybe he thought she was funny or weird, but he did not really make her nervous any more, at least. Well, not nervous in a way that helped her stay quiet, anyway. Now she was nervous in a way that made her talk a lot.

____ ___ __ _

Eventually, Midori began to recognize the area they were walking in, and so began to relax a little more. She even told Hyuga Junji that she recognized the area, but he kept leading her anyway. That was really nice of him, since she was taking up so much of his time.

As they entered Uncle Kanetaro's shop, Miss Jinmi exclaimed and rushed around the counter, pulling the startled girl into a hug. Uncle Kanetaro strode out after his wife, then bowed as he saw who had brought her back. Should she have bowed too? "Thank you, Hyuga, Sir, for bringing my niece back. I am in your debt." Miss Jinmi was fussing over her, and though she wanted to squirm away, Midori held still, though she was watching Uncle Kanetaro and Hyuga Junji carefully.

"Your niece was lost, wandering around near the Hyuga compound. You should be more careful that she knows where to go and where not to go in the village, some areas are not safe for an untrained child her age. She is fortunate not to have come to harm before she was found and brought back to you."

Uncle Kanetaro bowed again, and Miss Jinmi had stilled, pulling Midori a little closer to her and making the little girl uncomfortable. "Yes Sir, I understand. We will keep a better watch on her from now on." his voice was subdued, which was very unlike Uncle Kanetaro. Had she done something wrong?

"Excuse me, um... Hyuga Junji, sir?" being responsible and being an adult meant that she needed to take responsibility for the mistakes she made. At least, that was what Father always said, "I told Miss Jinmi that I wanted to see Father at the gate, and I ran off after Father's cart. I did not notice that he went out a different gate than the one we always come in at, so it was my fault that I got lost. I promise. I was not paying attention. Please don't be mad at Uncle Kanetaro. Was...was I not supposed to be over by that wall?" But he hadn't told her she'd been somewhere she wasn't supposed to be, he'd simply taken her back to her Uncle.

Did that mean that she couldn't go back that way? That would be sad: that boy Ibiki  had seemed nice, and since Father said she was supposed to try to make friends her own age, she'd thought he might be someone who she would like to be friends with: he wasn't loud, and had been willing to try to help her. But if she wasn't supposed to go that way, then she couldn't see him again to see if maybe he wanted to be friends...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2015, 06:21:28 AM »
Still walking next to the wall, though now out of sight again as he returned to the main entrance at his usual calm pace, Ibiki pondered the encounter he had experienced just now. The girl was probably a civilian and shouldn't really be of any concern to him.

For most shinobi, blending into the local populace of any given place was a valued and important skill, but the Hyuga with their distinct appearance were not a natural choice for social infiltration. There were techniques to disguise one's appearance, of course, but a shinobi who actually could look like a local with a simple change of clothes would always be more difficult to identify. As a result, the clan put less effort into outside interaction while training their children and when the individual was an important existence for their continued line that was twice as true.

What he really should be thinking about, he thought, was that his suspicions about the guards -- and thus, his parents -- being perfectly aware of his little trips had just been confirmed. Yet Ibiki couldn't help but wonder: he was to go to the Shinobi Academy soon. Would the other students there be more like the girl he had just met, this Midori? He had often heard his father say that other shinobi were undisciplined, that only those who had the will to excel would ever succeed. 

In a way, he thought so as well - some of the other clan children he trained with kept claiming that it was unfair that they had to spar with him, that he was a 'prodigy'. He understood what the word meant, but he didn't understand them - even great talent was nothing if it wasn't refined day after day. That, his mother had told him. He was better than them because of his training. He was the heir, so what another Hyuga trained for one hour a day, he had to train for two.

Midori hadn't looked like a bad person. Unfocused, perhaps, but for a moment Ibiki felt childish curiosity warring against the lessons he had been taught. As he stepped onwards and the compound gate came into his sight, however, the train of thought was quickly forgotten.

---------------

Jiunji's white eyes turned towards Midori again after she had addressed him. After their little walk, he wasn't exactly surprised at her manners anymore, though he halfway thought the woman behind her, her aunt, would stop her for a moment. It was expected of his clan to turn their nose up at commoners and 'lesser' shinobi, a trait that hadn't found its way to him. Perhaps that was the reason why he had never been promoted beyond anything but the guard duty he considered a chore -- though, to be fair, most others thought it a fairly prestigious position.

He waited for her to finish, then replied, speaking more than he had to her so far: "This village can be dangerous if you don't know the rules. Walking alongside our wall is not the problem, but doing so and being mistaken for a spy is, " he hesitated, for a moment, considering his choice of words, "not something you want to learn about."

"Your aunt and uncle will teach you where you can't go and how to behave. Until then, you best stay close to them." The Chuunin explained all this in a factual manner. Not particularly kind, but not unpleasant either. He still maintained professional conduct, even if he was more inclined to help than some others.

While a warning to stay away from the compound for the foreseeable future might be best, Jiunji was certain her relatives would ensure that on their own.

"Should you get lost again, seek out someone wearing one of these," he finally added and adjusted his head protector with the prominent leaf emblem for emphasis. "They may not always be friendly, but they have a duty towards the villagers."  Whether they wore it because they believed in the unification like he did or because they were employed by the village itself didn't really matter and he didn't want to make his explanation overly complicated.

His gaze briefly drifted towards Kanetaro again, where it lingered for a moment, before he gave a barely noticeable nod and began then, without another comment, made his way to the exit.

-------------

" … and the smallest of the five great nations is the Land of Water, which consists of many small islands and thus has always been difficult to target with large scale attacks." Kiko was in a sitting position, leaning over a scroll that she had opened up for the young heir she was currently instructing. The map was one of the known world and as she spoke, she showed the exact locations with a small wooden pointer.

"And the main shinobi presence there is … ?" she questioned, trailing off as her white eyes sought out the matching set of her charge.

"Kirigakure," Ibiki replied immeditely. "The Hidden Mist Village. They specialize in water element techniques and are experts in stealth assassination. They are very secretive and cruel. Their most notable warriors are the Seven Mist Swordsmen, who gain that title by merit of their fighting strength."

"Well done. And the location of Mist Village?"

"We don't know," Ibiki replied after a moment's thought. "It is suspected to be situated in the mountain range … there."

"Specifically, it's theorized position is … there." She reached out and led Ibiki's hand a little further to the right, into a mountain valley that was surrounded by high mountains and thus pretty much completely cut off from the outside.

Ibiki nodded, a light frown on his face. He didn't like getting things wrong -- almost wasn't good enough, as his bruised ribs still reminded him.

"And what is our stance on the Seven Swordsmen?"

"They glorify the individual," the boy repeated. "They are too well-known to be considered successful shinobi. While we as Hyuga are a clan recognizable by our appearance, they are entirely unrelated and would be better served disguising their skills. They are to be considered dangerous but foolish."

"Yes," Kiko nodded, her eyes briefly softening as her voice dropped to a more quiet tone. "But never underestimate an opponent because of that. Some cultivate a reputation as a tool like any other. We do it ourselves, too, to some extent."

She paused to put her own pointer to her side, eyes briefly flickering to the sand clock next to them. She had less time with the boy nowadays than she liked due to the increase in his other trainings, but there was still a little more time. Wetting her lips, she continued. "If the Hidden Mist sends one of their swords, they can charge higher fees for their services and use that name to cow their enemies. And since they have the replacements slay their predecessor, they only add to their reputation and ensure they're always top assassins."

Ibiki mulled that over with a pensive expression, trying to mesh together what Kiko had just told him with what he had heard from other instructors -- potential enemies were a subject approached from many different angles, after all. He had basically summarized what he had been told by others, including his father, but Kiko somehow stood out among them. She was a patient teacher and told him many things he asked about that others would not.

Being careful not to underestimate them wouldn't conflict with what he had been told. He could remember that, at least.

"Teacher," he asked haltingly after noticing that the brief period of silence had dragged on. Perhaps this was a good opportunity to voice his concerns. "I am to go to the Academy soon, am I not?"

She nodded. "And you're wondering what it will be like?"

"Yes."

She paused, leaned back and folded her hands together. "Honestly, Ibiki, I couldn't say. It's a new thing, but I think it will be good  for you. You will face some difficulties there, of course -- I heard they will be accepting untrained children, too, and you will certainly stand out all the more for it." She sighed, not sure if any of this was getting through to him. "Try and make friends there. The times are changing, we're part of something bigger now and you being sent to the Academy is a gesture of the clan supporting this, so it's best that you get along with your fellow students."

Ibiki nodded in response -- that made sense, in a way. The idea of learning alongside students that were just getting started on the basics didn't really appeal to him -- he knew how to mold chakra, he had been trained in martial arts as soon as he could walk. He wanted to learn things that were new to him.

Still, if it was his duty to go there and complete the class to become Genin, he would do so. He'd keep to himself, then there wouldn't be a problem and he would get along with the others just fine.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 12:36:48 AM »
Miss Jinmi's hands tightened on her arms, and Midori could feel her shaking a little. Was she afraid? Why? Hyuga Junji was not mean, he had not doe anything to make him seem dangerous. Instead, he had brought her back, and had been kind enough to listen to her talk as well, even though she had probably been annoying. Sometimes, Father had said that people could find her talking too much annoying, if she was not careful. Midori had thought, at first, that maybe Hyuga Junji hadn't minded her talking, but maybe she had misunderstood.

Maybe she hadn't been supposed to talk to him? Jinmi's grip on her arms almost hurt, actually. That wasn't a good sign, was it? But Hyuga Junji looked toward her, and he answered her, and he did not sound angry. Actually, he talked kind of like Hyuga Ibiki had: not a lot of emotion to his tone, and he sounded very calm. Midori did not understand why Uncle Kanetaro seemed to be so subdued, and Miss Jinmi seemed to be afraid: there was nothing wrong with a person speaking calmly.

Quietly, Midori nodded as her apology and her question were answered. Though, as he continued, she wondered if she had been behaving improperly. Father had told her how to be polite, and hadn't she been? Or maybe the rules were different here? A little late, she nodded again, her eyes wide.

"Yes sir. I will try not to get lost again, but will remember if I do." She would have moved forward to bow, as Uncle Kanetaro did when Hyuga Junji looked at him, but Miss Jinmi still held her too tightly. Now, though, she'd been pulled back, so that the woman had her arms around her middle. So, instead, Midori added as the man left, "Thank you, Hyuga Junji, sir, for helping me while I was lost."

Only after the man had left did Miss Jinmi let her go, only to turn her around and examine her again to see if she was hurt,  "Are you alright, Midori? Why didn't you come back home after seeing Kenjiro off?" she ran her fingers through the little girl's hair, then pulled her into a hug. Midori felt rather awkward, and wasn't quite sure if she should return the hug or not. Her arms still hurt from where she'd been gripped so hard, though she was sure that the woman didn't mean to hurt her. She'd just been scared for some reason.

"I.. I just got lost, Miss Jinmi. Father went out a different gate..." she felt like she had said that a lot of times already, but she apparently had to keep saying it. Apparently she was in trouble for getting lost, and not even just with Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi, but also with Hyuga Junji, although he had been nice about it. She had not behaved properly, either, apparently. It seemed like  this was going to be a complicated place to live, with a lot of rules. Really, she wished that she was back with Father, traveling again.

"Why did you let her go on her own? Jinmi, Midori has only visited a few times, she does not know her way around. She was brought back by one of the Hyuga guards, you saw his uniform. We're very lucky that he did not think she was trespassing."

"But.. but Uncle Kanetaro, I was not trespassing. I was only walking next to a wall. I did not go into anywhere, I was only looking for someplace familiar. I promise, I'm not... I didn't mean to do anything wrong..." she could feel a sob starting to catch in her throat. Today was a bad day, she'd been left by Father, gotten lost, and now was in trouble. This was not a good place to live, Midori decided she did not like it, and as soon as Father came to visit, she would beg him to take her with him again. It was all she could do, because this place was unfriendly and lonely.

"Oh, Midori, we know," Miss Jinmi was touching her hair again, and Midori really wanted to pull away, but that would be rude, so she didn't. But being touched by someone she barely knew did not make her feel very good at all. "Let's leave Kanetaro to the shop, and we'll go home, okay?"

"...yes, Miss Jinmi," with a soft sigh, she took the woman's hand, following after her slowly, glancing back at her Uncle as she was lead out of the shop. He was staring after them, looking somewhat pale and upset. Usually, Uncle Kanetaro was very energetic and laughed a lot, but he was acting really weird. She must have really upset him with getting lost...

____ ___ __ _

Once she had been taken back to Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi's house, Midori was shown to her room, which had its own cot, a dresser, and a bookshelf. It was really quite nice, actually. But, as soon as she was brought into the house, she took herself to the room and sat on the bed. She had stayed there until her uncle came home, coming out only to eat dinner, and then asking to be left alone again. Even though she had been feeling like she was going to cry, since Father had left she'd made sure she hadn't. There was no use crying, it wouldn't help anything. Father was gone, Miss Jinmi was trying way too hard to make her feel happy, and Uncle Kanetaro still seemed to be upset about her getting lost.

The only good thing was Sunako, who had woken up during dinner and demanded food. Back in her room, she'd talked to the kitten a bit, and it seemed to help, even though the little thing just managed to mostly stumble around and purr a lot before going back to sleep...

____ ___ __ _

"...We have to do something, all she does is stay in her room and talk to the cat your brother gave her. She needs to make friends, she is far too isolated and it's not good for her, Kanetaro."

"I don't know what you want me to do, Jinmi. I've tried taking her to the shop with me, but she does not want to go. You've asked her to help you with gardening, but she doesn't want to do that either. She never used to act like this when she was living with Kenjiro. Maybe she should go back to living with him. This is not working."

Yes! Midori sat by her closed bedroom door, listening while Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi spoke about her as if she would not be able to hear. Did they forget that the walls were thin, and that sound carried? Sunako climbed up the small girl's back until she perched upon her shoulder. It seemed to be the kitten's favorite spot. She curled up, tucking her head under Midori's chin as the girl continued to listen.

"She is upset, and so is isolating herself because of that. More, though, I think she is afraid to go outside. Since she was brought back by that Hyuga guard, she has refused to leave the house. I do not think that he scared her, I think that our reaction did; I've heard that children are perceptive, and so when we were afraid, she's decided that she is not supposed to go anywhere. If she does not leave, she can't get in trouble, right? Don't give me that look, she's nine! What else is she supposed to think? She left on her own once, got lost, found someone to bring her back, but when she finally made it, we were afraid of the person she found to trust."

"We should be afraid, and so should she! The Hyuga clan is not to be messed with or upset. Who knows if her being near their compound upset the guards, or the head of the clan! She is well behaved, I know, but I do not want something to happen to her! She's a child, and even a well behaved child can upset the wrong person." But... Hyuga Junji had been nice, why should she be afraid of him? Did that mean she was supposed to be afraid of Ibiki? He had seemed nice too...

"No child should be afraid all the time, Kanetaro! She needs to socialize, like Kenjiro said. I know that you dislike the idea, but perhaps we should send her to that Academy that is starting soon?"

"What?! No! Kenjiro would never approve, and, worse, neither do I! I do not want my niece to be in such a dangerous profession."

"Oh, Kanetaro, she has no previous training. She will not actually make it to genin, you know. But it will be good for her to be around other kids for a while, and it might help her feel comfortable with the village as well, and learn the rules of the village and how to act." Why didn't Miss Jinmi think she would be able to do well? She could, Midori knew she could! She'd learned everything Father had wanted to teach her. She'd learned her math, writing, how to keep track of inventory, how to draw, how to speak politely. Everything. She could learn other things too.

"..I suppose you do have a point. I will get her signed up today on my way to the shop. The first day, I believe, is in about a month. Why not see if you can get her to leave the house, or do more than talk to her cat, in that time, okay?"

Midori frowned, scooting away from the door and grabbing one of the books off the bookself. Miss Jinmi had brought a few in for her yesterday. They were easy to read, really simple, but it was something to do. Setting her jaw, Midori decided that she was going to show Miss Jinmi: she was not going to fail at the Academy. She would do well, and even if Father came to visit before that, she wasn't going to leave early. Because there was no way she was going to be a failure. Father expected her to learn quickly and so she would. No matter what it took, she would do well and she would make Father proud and she would make Miss Jinmi regret that she ever thought that she couldn't do it.

Even if she didn't quite know what it was she was supposed to fail at, it was very much not going to happen. She wouldn't let it...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 05:48:57 AM »
The chance meeting with the newly arrived stranger quickly faded from Ibiki's conscious mind over the following days, as training both routine and new and increased filled his days from early morning to late evening. When he wasn't going through combat training, he was studying and when neither of these were true he was meditating or resting to keep the exhaustion at bay.

It was a grueling experience. When he had time to think, the boy felt conflicted about it. He appreciated the training from a standpoint of being a better ninja for it and most of the time he enjoyed practicing his skills, but he also began asking himself the question why it was necessary. He would be well ahead of most students there, excepting of course that if any of the other major clans sent their children they might be competing against each other.

That thought was what kept Ibiki motivated. Though he didn't see the necessity of exhausting himself before going to the shinobi academy, he wanted to be at his best if he was to compete against such a rival.

Perhaps part of the reason for his training was to stop him from inquiring into further details and motivations for his attendance, but that thought didn't occur to him at this time. He simply trained and, in his training and exhaustion, began to project the irritation he felt towards the academy: his father was an unquestionable bastion of strength to him, someone who towered over others and was training him to be as strong as he was -- stronger, even. Though he was the source of this frustration, he simply wasn't someone Ibiki could maintain anger against outside of the brief intensity of combat training - it was all for a good purpose and for the clan, after all.

----

Kiku held up a scroll with a number of herbs, asking Ibiki to name which ones were poisonous, which beneficial, then to list their various effects.

A grim smile appeared on his father's face when Ibiki actually managed to deflect the follow-up on a feint he had always missed before.

A sparring gauntlet against the Hyuga trainees, instructing them even as he was instructed by their combat teacher on how to improve his own form.

Nightly headaches from excessive use of the Byakugan.

His mother, teaching him soft fist forms outside the Juuken, as harsh as his father while training but always followed afterwards by gentle words and sometimes awkward motherly kindness -- as much as she wanted to be a good mother to the one child that hadn't been taken from her, Ayame was still a trained shinobi and had been taught to blunt her emotions. In this, she always acted outside her own comfort zone, though she did so honestly.

Solo exercise and stretching, running, sparring, tutoring, vision technique training, sleep, repeat and repeat until each day had begun to blend into the next.

Until the last weekend, of course. The weekend before the academy opened properly. It was that weekend during which Ibiki was allowed to rest, to recover from the intense training so that he would be at his best once the classes began.

---

There had been some precursory aptitude tests for those who did not come from any sort of shinobi tradition, to make sure they would actually be able to withstand the basic training -- the sick and weakly would not be allowed to hold up training for healthier candidates, nor would those who could not show at least the beginnings of discipline that were to be built upon.

For the Hyuga, this procedure was not even worthy of consideration, though it also served well for another purpose. Ibiki's twin sister, Misaki was sent there to get an early look at the layout of the Academy and to assess any potential dangers so that she could better perform in her primary future mission to act as her brother's bodyguard. A mission that rankled her: she was to go to the academy to protect her 'elder' brother, not to learn. Anything she might achieve there was, apparently, regarded as incidental.

So it was that someone who looked pretty much identical to Ibiki still at this point, except for her haircut and choice of clothing, was present at these aptitude tests.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2015, 10:34:19 PM »
"Midori!" Miss Jinmi was looking for her again, as though she were anywhere but in her room. She had left the house a little, after hearing them talking about her, though only to let Sunako play outside a little while Miss Jinmi was gardening. For the most part, she had still stayed in her room, though she had read the books Miss Jinmi put in there about a million times over. Mostly, she talked to Sunako, she practiced the math and writing that Father had taught her, determined that she would do well at the Academy that Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi still hadn't told her about.

Father had always spoken to her like she was an adult, he treated her like a person, not like... not like she couldn't be trusted. Why did Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi keep things from her, especially when it was something that affected her more than them? They would be rid of her during the day, and not have to deal with her like before. Because they talked about how much trouble she was sometimes, like they had when she had heard them before. They were as unhappy with her living with them as she was to have been left behind by Father.

And Miss Jinmi told her to her face that she was happy she was here. It was a lie.

So, Midori pretended, as much as she could, that she didn't want to just be left alone. She was in trouble no matter what she did; why couldn't they just leave her alone?

With a sigh, the young girl put her brush down, standing from the floor where she was practicing her writing. Scooping Sunako up, where she had started batting around the ink brush, the little girl opened the door and padded out into the kitchen, where Miss Jinmi was making some food. "Yes, Miss Jinmi?"

The woman turned to look at her and began to pack rice balls into a little box. "Your Uncle and I are going to send you to the new Academy that will begin in a few days. There are some tests that they want applicants to take, so you will be doing that today."

Oh, so now she decided to tell her, with no warning about it at all. Why would they do that? That seemed really...rude.

Rather than say anything, Midori just nodded, allowing Sunako to climb onto her shoulder where she liked to sit. As the box was handed to her, she took it... apparently, it was her lunch. Then, still remaining quiet, she followed Miss Jinmi as she lead her through the village. As she walked, the woman told her all the places she should not go, but never once told her of anywhere that was alright to go. Like she was only supposed to know what to do, rather than know anything that might be alright to do. That didn't seem right, and it wasn't how Father did things. Wasn't it important to know the good and the bad too?

____ ___ __ _

Once they had arrived at the building, the Academy, Miss Jinmi had found someone who seemed to know what was going on, and left her with them. He seemed rather cranky, and had just ushered her into a room with a lot of other kids her age, who were all mostly talking to each other and being a bit loud. Then, she was told to wait.

There were a lot of seats in the room, so she took one in the back, away from most of the other children, and figured that she should wait, as instructed. Eventually, another adult came into the room, they talked, and then the younger one, with almost brown hair, raised his voice, "Hey, you brats settle down! Everyone find a seat, ya hear me?" Immediately, a hush settled over the room and the other kids scrambled to find a place to sit. The older one, a woman with long blond hair, nodded once at the brown haired one then left, closing the door behind herself.

"Okay, listen up. You are all here because your family wants you to attend the Academy. Well, some of you aren't gonna be fit to attend, so today is all about tests. If you pass, I'll be your instructor. My name is Kyoto Noboru. I expect you to call me 'Teacher', and not by my name, got it?" Midori nodded, while some of the kids chimed in and spoke up, and others did as she did. Looking around, Midori found that most everyone had sat closer to the front, but this way she had been away from most of the other kids: they had been too loud, anyway.

"I'm gonna pass out these tests. First ones are written. You get two hours, fill it out as best you can, and then the other tests will be outside. When you are done, you are to sit quietly to wait for the time to be up." Midori nodded again, carefully pulling the sleepy Sunako off of her shoulder to tuck into her pocket again. Otherwise, she'd learned from experience, the little kitten would fall off her shoulder, and then catch herself using her claws. Usually, it was not very pleasant.

Everyone got a pencil and the paper tests. There were only two pages, it seemed weird to Midori that they were given so long for such a short test. But, maybe the other kids could not read quickly, or something? When they were allowed to start, she dilligently began filling in her name and answering the first questions. The first question was that first she had to read a long paragraph, then answer questions about the details in it. It was pretty easy, and even if some of the words were bigger, she often would remember Father using them, so she knew what they meant. The next one was a math one. There was one on the next page about the different countries, though she did not know a lot about them, she just described what she remembered from traveling through them with Father. There was a complex one about the village that she did not understand, and so wrote that she was new but would learn as quickly as she could. And that was it. Two pieces of paper for four questions. And she was done within twenty minutes.

Looking around, she saw that quite a few others seemed to be done too. Well, it was time to wait. Good thing she had lots of practice sitting still and being quiet. And, Sunako was asleep, so she would not be distracted by her kitten, either...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru sighed as he stood at the front of the classroom and watched the children. He could see that a few of them were a bit confused by the test. Some had finished already, which was a good sign for them, while some still seemed to be struggling to get further than filling in their name. They were definitely not ready for the Academy. Moreso, though, the real test, after the few questions, was to see how they acted after. Could they follow directions and sit quietly? Would they get squirmy? Would some forget and get up, or start talking? His job was to keep track of all the undesirable traits that were displayed, and then report them to see if any of the brats were to be eliminated.

He hated kids.

There were a few who were already squirming in their seats, they were mostly from civilian households; ones that wanted something as prestigious as a ninja in their family. The kids probably didn't even know what they were doing here, or, rather, half of them probably didn't know, anyway. There were a few others, and why there was a Hyuga taking the test was beyond him: their clan were always extremely proficient. And yet, one of their children was here. Probably to scope out the place for the clan head. She looked to be from the branch family, if her covered forehead was any indication.

And so, he watched, ticking off in his head which children acted too much like kids. When the test was over, he paced up and down the rows, collecting the papers, noting each name on each test, so he could write his observations on them before giving them to the Jounin in charge of evaluating them.

"Hey brats! You get a half an hour to eat lunch, or to go home and eat lunch, before the rest of the test. It'll be outside, so be ready for that." he waved his hand, dismissing the kids. Most of them jumped up immediately and ran out the door. Though a few stayed behind, and some stood and walked with the quiet and calm expected of a ninja. There was a civilian kid in the back, probably a girl, though her hair cut made it hard to tell, who simply pulled out a lunch box and began eating quietly at her desk. For a civilian, she had sat very still for the entire test, even after having finished her test relatively quickly, and her handwriting was very neat for a nine-year-old. If she could keep up with the physical tests, she might be one of the few civilians not to be cut from this first class...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 07:35:21 AM »
Misaki stood in front of the Academy. She had arrived more than an hour before the appointed time, just as she was supposed to. A mission was still a mission regardless of how angry it made her and she had a duty to fulfill.

Unlike her brother, of whose progress she was being informed as if it should motivate her,  she had not benefited from nearly as much special training. She had received the same level of instruction as all young branch house members -- and despite her own private attempts to improve upon that training, something was missing. But what she could not catch up to in martial prowess, she made up for in knowledge. Though Kiku was Ibiki's tutor, she was still of the branch house, and Misaki had been able to borrow scrolls from her to study. Ibiki was mature for his age, but Misaki? Spurred onwards by resentment towards her own clan, she already acted more like an adult than any Hyuga child.

She wore the official clan uniform -- or the version for young children, at least. A set of white robes not dissimilar from the outfit Ibiki had worn when he encountered Midori, but with a belt around her waist that held two pouches for a number of tools and another strapped to her right ankle. At this age, before puberty, she looked exactly like her brother: only her hair was different, a chin-length bob cut. And, of course, the constant reminder of her lowly status in the clan, the wretched seal they had burned into her forehead, hidden behind a silk band. As long as the headband wasn't questioned and she didn't speak -- and even then, if she lowered her voice just a little and spoke with male intonation -- she could pass for him easily.

As the Hyuga girl stood there, she glanced around to see if anyone was watching, then decided she had the time to do it properly and began forming seals with her hands. Horse, Tiger, Boar, Hare, Rat, Dog, Horse, Dog, Hare, Rat, Boar and Snake formed in rapid succession, flowing into each other the way only a sequence practiced hundreds, no, thousands of times could. With a burst of chakra, she activated her Byakugan. It was possible to do it with only the last seal or, if one was skilled enough, no seal at all, but this was the proper way that conserved the most energy. At the age of nine, chakra wasn't exactly an abundant resource even for a well-trained child.

To the all-seing white eye, walls were no barrier and with another seal maintained distance was no longer a big hindrance either. Misaki examined the layout of the building, memorizing it for as long as she needed to before she allowed the Byakugan to close again. With her initial reconnaissance finished, she calmly made her way inside, walked to the classroom she was supposed to take the test in and sat down. The room was still empty.

At one point a staff member almost missed her sitting there and was startled when he finally did notice the eerie child just sitting there and staring straight ahead, but other than that her wait was unproblematic and soon other children began to take their seats.

Misaki had opted for a seat in the back, opposite of the entrance. Whereas in any other academy such a position might be assumed to be in high demand for the lazy, at a ninja academy this was a vantage point that allowed one to keep all others within their sight.

Most of those who came in looked worthless to her eyes - untrained, undisciplined, probably not particularly intelligent either, considering the chatter and tendency to flock to the front.

Midori received a brief look when she opted to sit in the back as well, but no more than that. The Hyuga wrote her off just the same after watching her movements - perhaps more likely to actually get in than others, but not really a concern. Though that she had seen fit to bring a cat was somewhat unusual. As far as Misaki knew, they were difficult to train.

The only attendant she examined more closely was one young boy who was heavily clothed. Though he wore the clothes of a commoner, Midori had the impression that he moved a little too well, suspicious that he might be someone from the Aburame clan sent for similar reasons as she. They had a tendency to hide their bodies but otherwise lacked a distinct look compared to other people. Without using her Byakugan -- which she could not at this moment without drawing undue attention -- she could not confirm her suspicion, however. Something for later.

Her expression barely changed when their future teacher, Noboru, arrived. From his look and the fact that he would be teaching academy students, Misaki assumed he was Chuunin -- Jounin were too skilled to waste on pupils in the earliest stages of training and most Genin wouldn't be fit to teach.

When the written test was handed out, Misaki stared at it blankly for a moment, forcing the distaste down from showing in her expression. Should she actually dignify this with a response? She sat silent and unmoving for a full ten minutes, instead watching the other children with an unfocused look to take in the entirety of the room rather than minute details. Then she began to write, answering every single one of the questions in a brief to-the-point manner. Her script flowed well and was suitably beautiful for a noble clan, but she didn't put any particular effort into it.

When she was done, she looked around again. The girl with the cat had finished already and was waiting patiently. Interesting. Perhaps worth more than she had initially assumed. Others were less able to follow instructions -- and would surely be weeded out, as Misaki obviously expected their conduct to be just as if not more important than answering the questions. Most of them were trivial, though of course anyone unable to handle even these was not qualified to receive instruction at this point. Many of them would probably try again next year, better prepared and hopefully more disciplined.

Obviously, Misaki didn't move from her seat. She remained still, silent and observant of her surroundings. When Noboru's gaze fell upon her, she calmly stared right back - analyzing. Perhaps judging, considering the tendency of her clan to turn their nose up at lesser shinobi. It was difficult to tell with those completely white orbs.

Her test, when collected, was of course signed 'Hyuga Misaki', her given name written as 'beautiful blossom'. Just like the civilian girl, she remained seated but had no lunch to produce. It wasn't the first time she skipped lunch and she knew that in the field three meals a day wasn't always an option, so she didn't really consider it a problem.

Not to mention that eating right before the physical tests wasn't really a good idea if they were tasking at all. Lacking any motivation to go elsewhere or socialize, she remained seated and continued to observe.

That was, of course, until one of the older kids thought he might look better in the eyes of his friends if he tried his hand at intimidating the privileged creepy kid.

"Well, well. Too good to talk to us, white-eye?"  He mocked, crossing his arms in front of his chest in order to look bigger -- and betraying his lack of training, since that left him far more vulnerable. "Tell you what, you be my lackey and things'll be just fine."

Misaki just stared at the boy, mildly amused, though she fully expected that he would grow irritating momentarily. He looked to be about twelve. Punching him in the throat would likely upset the instructors as would any other bodily harm … perhaps she could sedate him if he didn't leave her alone? It might be worth a try.

"Hey, I'm talking to you! Don't you ignore me!"

Definitely worth a try.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 12:10:40 AM »
Midori had been far too nervous about the other children to really want to look at them too much, though she hadn't had much choice when she had been finished with her test and waiting. However, she did not turn her head too much, mostly because she did not want it to seem as though she were not doing her own work. She had even turned her paper over so that the blank back side was up.

After her test was collected, and the other kids had mostly left, Midori had taken the time to look around a little, noticing that the person who had been in the back looked like Hyuga Ibiki. However, he hadn't looked her way or acknowledged that he knew her, so Midori had gone about her business of eating lunch. All she had done was greet him once, anyway, that did not make them friends, or make him more likely to want to socialize with her. Not that she was any good at socializing, anyway. Still, though, the entire time she was working on eating the gigantic lunch that Miss Jinmi had given her, Midori kept looking over at Ibiki.

He didn't look the same, something was different, and it took her most of the way through her first rice ball, decorated like little panda bears (or dogs, maybe), to figure it out. His hair was different, more... feminine? And he was wearing a headband on his head. Also, Hyuga Junji had been wearing a headband, but also his features were very similar to Ibiki's: he had dark hair and light eyes. They looked like family. So... what if this wasn't Ibiki, but someone different? Maybe a sibling? That would explain the sort of...less calm feeling she seemed to get from how this maybe-Ibiki's-sibling (or cousin?)'s way of sitting and moving. And, Midori thought that maybe this possible-relative was a girl, which actually made her feel pretty bad for mistaking her for a boy. When she'd been littler, some kids on a playground had made fun of her when she'd tried to play with them. Now she felt very guilty about her mistake.

The more she looked at the other child, the more positive she was that this was not Ibiki. It wasn't that she knew him well, or hardly at all, but this other one just seemed...different, somehow.

Also, she was getting sort of full, and had only finished part of her lunch, even after having shared a little bit of the fish she had with Sunako. The kitten really did not eat much, and pretty much ate the offering, then curled back up to sleep, so Midori put her back in her pocket. Kittens sure seemed to sleep a lot. Sunako especially. At least the little animal had decided she was okay traveling in Midori's pocket, mostly during anything unless the girl was running. But there was a bunch of food left over, and maybe-Ibiki's-relative had not really moved, and had no food. Maybe she should share? That would be a polite thing to do, right?

Working up her courage, Midori had just started to stand when a large, older boy broke off from the group he had been talking with to approach the other girl. Tensing up, Midori watched quietly, her eyes wide, as the boy spoke rather meanly to the Hyuga girl, enough so that he actually insulted her. But, she didn't look sad, or even upset like Midori knew she would have gotten if she had been the target of that boy. Then, it got worse, and he got far more aggressive, enough so that she winced, turning to stare at the Teacher, hoping that he would do something.

She even managed to make eye contact with the man, then looked toward the Hyuga girl and the boy who was getting so... so... so overbearing. But Teacher Noboru just rolled his eyes at her and turned back to writing on their tests.

So, what was she supposed to do? Even if the Hyuga girl did not seem to be upset, if she were in her place, Midori knew she would want someone to help. So it was best for her to do something, right? But she wasn't intimidating at all, and would probably just become a target of that boy, and maybe his friends, if she butted in. So what should she do? She had to do something, right? It was wrong to just sit here and do nothing, wasn't it?

Father would be disappointed in her for having let this happen, even if she could not figure out what she could do to help.

So... if she couldn't do anything physically, because, well.. no. She was not good at that at all, that was a bad idea. And asking for help from Teacher did not work either, he seemed mostly sort of annoyed by it, actually, though he kept looking to see what was happening, like he was interested in the outcome, but not interested in helping. Why would he do that?

Thinking quickly, Midori went over anything else she might be able to do to help, figuring that her only course left was to try to somehow convince the boy not to continue. Maybe... maybe she could, without drawing the bully's attention too much?

Anyway, he probably wasn't going to pass the test anyway, he had seemed to struggle to the end with his test, and with sitting still during it. A school, with sitting still for most of the day, would probably be frustrating for him. And for Teacher, who did not seem to have very much patience.

"Um... so maybe you shouldn't threaten one of the Hyuga Clan?" Maybe.. well, her Uncle and his wife were pretty afraid of the Hyuga clan, so maybe she could use that? Either this would work, or she would become a target too. "So, my Uncle said that they are dangerous, and... and.. you know, she doesn't look upset or scared, only kind of mad, so..." her voice was pretty soft, but once she started speaking, her words came faster and faster, nervous as she was. It was like a scared version of what had happened with Hyuga Junji, the words just kept coming, with her brain scrabbling to pull enough information from what she had overheard to come up with something relevant to say that might possibly work. But her voice shook a little, she didn't  really have the bravery to do this and sound confident.

Maybe that would work to her favor? If they thought she was scared of the Hyuga girl, then maybe they would be too? "I... I mean, you're pretty big, so if she's not afraid, then there's probably a reason, right? Just... um... you know... I think that being mean to her is not a good idea is all..." Midori shrugged, struggling against the urge to look down and curl up to try to hide. If she seemed afraid, the boy would probably round on her, if he wasn't going to already...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2015, 07:23:47 AM »
Misaki would have continued to ignore the taller boy until either he was stupid enough to touch her - at which point he would have earned himself a nice knife-strike to the throat after all - or had annoyed her enough to actually put her plan to tranquilize him into action. She carried some sleeping poison and could easily have injected it with what would look like a casual touch to most eyes. But then the civilian tryout she had mentally filed under 'girl with the cat' decided to speak up.

Misaki had taken note of her distress at the situation with a casual glance -- empathy for others? An attempt to secure an ally? Her words proved that she knew well who Misaki was. Though how a civilian had taken note of her emotions left her wondering -- she thought she had masked them well. Or perhaps the girl just interpreted her default expression as angry and had accidentally hit the mark? Either way, she was more and more convinced that this one would be sitting in the actual class after they were done for the day.

The bully, however, didn't take any time analyzing Midori's words. No, he turned and glared at her -- perhaps he was secretly gleeful to have an out of whatever boasts he had made to his friends in regards to the Hyuga among them, but the meekness Midori displayed seemed to have caught his attention in turn.

"Well, if you're so afraid for me, you won't mind being my underling instead, right? I saw you eating earlier … you didn't finish, right? Give me the rest," he demanded, grinning as he realized that he could both earn himself a reputation someone to be feared and get some food while he was at it. He didn't really look like he was lacking for food usually, being tall and well-muscled for his age.

He was just about to turn away from Misaki properly and walk right over to the newcomer, but that was precisely the moment the Hyuga girl abruptly rose from her position -- eyes narrow, her hand struck with the sudden speed of a leaping snake as she suddenly held one of the boy's fingers in her hand -- barely a second passed in which the boy's eyes widened -- and then, she twisted.

The result was a yelp and a barely moment later the boy was on his knees, his entire arm twisted backwards. Misaki had a single open palm resting on his back even as she still held his finger. She wasn't looking at him but rather at Midori. "I don't need help and I owe you nothing," she stated, her tone annoyed -- her voice was similar to Ibiki's, too, though just a fraction higher and the inflections were different and more feminine, proving Midori's earlier conclusion about her gender.

She glared at 'girl with the cat'. Misaki hated it when other people thought that she needed their help and, worse, the grey-eyed girl would have gotten in trouble on her account. That was not acceptable. "Go now, while you still can," she then declared a moment later and let go of the surprised boy, who scrambled away with the laughter of some other tryouts as company and angry embarrassment plain on his face.

Misaki forced her expression into a calm mask of neutrality again, smoothening out her features before she returned to her seat as if nothing happened.

Some of the other children who had laughed at the performance were now whispering amongst themselves. One brown-haired girl asked a boy with spikey hair who leaned against the wall next to her: "Hey, Shun, your family works for them, right? Who is she?"

The spikey-haired one sighed and crossed his arms, and replied quietly. He obviously hoped that the subject of their conversation wouldn't overhear. "That's Misaki. They call her Sakki. I heard it's because people who spar with her tend to get hurt."

"Hmmmm," the girl opined. "And the other one?"

He shrugged helplessly, still trying to maintain a nonchalant look. "No clue. Haven't seen him around."

"Him? That's a girl, numbnut."

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2015, 11:58:49 PM »
Oh no. Midori was pretty much positive she shouldn't have said anything the moment she had finished speaking, but that fear was completely confirmed when the boy who was bullying the Hyuga girl turned to glare at her. That was the worst thing that could have happened, since that indicated that she was about to become his target. She was still sitting at the desk, but every instinct in her told her to stand and run, her entire body tensed and if he got too close, she was going to do it. If it was one thing Midori was pretty sure she could do better than this boy, it was run. She liked running, but more than that, when she had figured out, when she was younger, that she was pretty fast at it, she thought it was a good idea to be fast if she got into a bad situation. Like other kids being mean to her. Or like this one, where she thought he might possibly try to do more than just be verbally mean.

"Oh, um... no thank you," the stupid response came right out of her mouth when he began demanding that she be his...underling? Or lackey, that was the other one he'd used. She knew that one, and it was not the sort of thing she liked: usually bullies had lackeys, and she did not want to be associated with a bully.

Before the boy had a chance to respond, or even finish trying to come over to her, when the Hyuga girl did something and somehow had his hand, or finger? She was so fast! And then the boy was on his knees in front of her, and she was behind him pushing on his back. It looked like that would hurt, actually. And if her eyes weren't already wide with shock, they would have widened further when the Hyuga girl spoke to her, instead of to the boy. Like it wasn't even the boy she was annoyed at. Quickly, Midori nodded her understanding that she'd upset the girl she had been trying to help.

So, maybe she had actually been mad? Mostly the little girl had been spouting off whatever she could think of to try to get that boy to back off, and though she got a.. not-calm feeling from the girl, she did not know that she was mad until she had spoken. Clearly, she had not had any idea how true her words had been, and was incredibly startled at the discovery.

And now the girl was glaring at her! So, now both she and the boy were people to avoid, or...?

When the girl told the boy to go, Midori almost jumped out of her chair, thinking maybe she was still talking to her. But then he was freed and did his best to get away as fast as he could. The girl, rather than advancing at Midori, just sat back down and went back to not looking calm or angry.

Nervously, Midori fiddled with her lunch box, trying to figure out what she could do now to fix her mistake. The girl had said 'I owe you nothing,' and Midori knew a lot about trading because of Father, and that sounded sort of like a trade thing, or, rather, that she did not want to have to owe a debt to Midori, which was okay, she didn't want to be owed anything anyway. But... since she hadn't done anything but make it worse, and then the Hyuga girl had helped her, whether on purpose or not, maybe she felt like Midori owed her, then?

And, anyway, she should apologize for having upset her anyway, because there was no reason to have two people dislike her right away, and that boy was more than enough to make her want to not make more enemies. She wasn't foolish enough to think that this girl would want to be friends, but maybe she wouldn't dislike her so much if she apologized. Maybe.

Standing, Midori moved the few desks over so that she was sort of hovering near the Hyuga girl, but not quite within grabbing distance. Swallowing thickly and taking a deep breath, Midori started speaking nervously, "Um... I wanted to apologize for.. for interrupting and implying that you needed help when you did not. I.. Mostly I sort of thought that if I were in your place, that I would have wanted someone to help me, so I thought that it was what I should do. Except that you and I are not the same person, so that wasn't quite the right line of thought I-I think." She was doing it again, her words kept tumbling out a lot. "Oh! Also, I thought maybe I should thank you for making that boy leave, I know that he was bothering you, and then it was my fault for drawing his attention to me, and.. and I know that you did not mean to help me but you sort of did, so... so I owe you a debt," yes, that sounded right. Like trading, wasn't it? "So... I.. I have part of my lunch left, if you want it? My Uncle's wife made the food look cute, I don't understand why it matters if the rice balls look like panda bears or dogs or.. whatever it is that they're supposed to look like, but I think that Miss Jinmi likes to do that or something, because it happens a lot..."

Fiddling again with the lunch box, she held it out. "If not, I promise I will leave you alone, if that would be a repayment you would like better. My name is Yuhara Midori, I probably should have said that part first..."

____ ___ __ _

Noboru kept an eye on the scene that was unfolding in front of him. This lunch break was turning out more interesting than he had thought, though it was still just kids being kids. It was allowing him some interesting observations on the students, though. Itou Sadao was proving to be quite foolish: besides his conduct during the test, he was proving quite prideful and not observant enough to realize that the Hyuga was the worst child he could choose to pick on. That other one, Yuhara Midori, even gave him the relevant information and he ignored it, only to be bested by Hyuga Misaki, though that outcome was to be expected.

The interesting part of all of it was the civilian girl. She was showing quite a bit of promise, even if she had looked to him for help first, she had decided to try to diffuse the situation. It hadn't really been successful, and she was far too meek right now to be a great candidate, but some of her other qualities would probably allow her entry into the academy. She was showing to be analytical, to know her limits, and to be willing to attempt to make allies. Incidentally, the Hyuga was showing loyalty, depending on her reasons for defending the Yuhara girl from Itou Sadao. Both girls were showing quite a bit of patience, both with their ability to sit quietly for over an hour and a half of the test, and for waiting in their seats for the lunch break as well.

He moved to make notes on his observations on their tests, even if the Hyuga girl was naturally a shoe in...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2015, 10:49:12 AM »
The lithe Hyuga girl leaned back against her chair and folded her hands in front of her chin, resting it against the thumbs. With the situation over and dealt with, at least according to her mind, she could go back to observing these civilian children. She couldn't really think of most of them in any other way. Some were more well-behaved than others, some tried to emulate the way they thought a ninja would act, but they were ultimately still mere children, with a few exceptions.

The two whispering to each other had some training - she could tell because she couldn't read their lips. She was still learning how to do that, but with most of those present it was easy enough that she could make out at least a few words. The over-dressed candidate she had pegged as an Aburame trainee kept to himself, but he too was worth keeping an eye on.

Now if only the break would end and they could get to the physical training. That at least, she thought, might prove mildly amusing -- until her train of thought was interrupted by Midori standing up and moving over to her.

The 'girl with the cat' stood close but not too close. Interesting. Of course it would be a simple matter to reach her with a chair or a projectile without even moving from her position, but Misaki couldn't just grab her like she had done with the silly boy just now. She lowered her hands, one of which briefly inched towards the pouch on her belt in reflex, but then stopped herself and looked back at Midori to see what she wanted.

At first her expression was guarded but neutral, though as Midori kept talking it slowly turned into a frown, then to a glare. Apparently she was quick to annoy. But when Midori was finished, the Hyuga let the breath she had been holding out and looked her straight in the eyes.  "You don't owe me anything, either," she said with a sharp note to her voice. "Go to your seat, Yuhara."

After another moment, she offered in the exact same testy tone: "Misaki." The Hyuga part was obviously already known to this Midori, so she saw no need to repeat it, but did add a brief clarification: "That's my name."

She could have said more, like how she would recommend the girl stop sharing details about her family and life. While it would be an unrealistic threat coming from that overgrown boy earlier, someone like her could use that information to blackmail Midori -- not that she intended to, but the potential was there and if she blabbed about her civilian relatives so easily, who knew what else she might accidentally reveal?

The girl had some talent, that much the white-eyed girl had already surmised, but she was still very much a diamond in the rough. Nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little training -- which, she supposed, was part of why this Academy had been established in the first place.

-----

At some point during the break, a faculty staff member dropped a message scroll for Noboru. It was sealed with the family crest of House Hyuga.

'Attending Chuunin', it addressed him. It was written in a feminine hand, though the seal and name at the bottom was that of Hyuga Issun, the family patriarch. It had most likely been dictated or just written on his behalf, with his approval.

Attending Chuunin,

This message reaches you as the future instructor of my son, Ibiki, who will enter your class in the following week. You are hereby given leave and expected to spare no effort in his education regardless of status, render punishment when necessary and treat him as harshly as is required.

At this point, you will also have encountered his sister, Misaki. She was sent here in order to assess the facility and potential academy candidates.

She is to act as a bodyguard for her brother during his lessons. That is her primary purpose, she is not to be separated from him. Outside of that condition, she is permitted to act as a student.

-Hyuga Issun


-----

"Will that do, my lord?" The woman was kneeling, her eyes lowered as she waited for a response. In her hand she held the letter she had just read aloud, presenting it for him to take if he so desired.

Issun had interlocked his hands behind his back as he gazed out of the window, following the movement of a bird he saw at a distance. It was something he liked to do, to reassure himself that his precious eyes were still strong without and despite the long-year use of the Byakugan. "It'll do," he said soberly, "place my seal on it and have it sent over."

He breathed in, then exhaled, slowly, his eyes flickering from the sky towards the village. "That's all I can do for her. If she has the potential you claim, she will have a place once Ibiki has graduated."

"Yes, my lord," Kiku replied and lowered her hands.

-----

Inside his room, Ibiki sat in a lotus position and meditated.

He was not actually meditating.

He was waiting.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2015, 02:12:46 AM »
As Midori talked, she could see the Hyuga girl getting angrier and angrier, which, of course, made her words just keep coming and coming, like she was unable to stop them. Sort of because she was unable to stop them, actually. She'd worked up the courage to start talking, but then just... just couldn't make it stop. That's all it was. Even when the girl's expression started to scare her, she'd finally managed to try to fix it by offering to leave her alone instead. It didn't really work, though.

The other girl was really, really aggressive, and did not seem to like that she had been apologized to, or maybe it was just that she couldn't make her mouth stop talking? In any case, the little girl was really beginning to regret having tried to make things right. Even though the other girl didn't actually say anything mean, or try to attack her, her tone and her expression were more than enough. Before the girl even said anything, Midori had backed up a step without even realizing it. When she was told that she didn't owe the girl anything, and told to go back to her seat, Midori nodded quickly, never taking her eyes off the other girl.

It felt like she'd been yelled at, even if the girl had only spoken.

Midori kept watching the other girl as she backed up a bit more, wanting to be further away from her before she turned her back. It was just after she'd turned that the girl said another word, then clarified that it was her name. And, though it would probably make the other girl angry, Midori mumbled politely, though softly, "It is nice to meet you, Hyuga Misaki..."

It was everything she could do not to run back to her seat. And she sort of wanted to sit farther away, but that would probably insult the girl, and she did not want to do that, either. So, she sat, tucking the partially-eaten lunch under her seat, then folded her hands in front of her on the desk, leveling her gaze on them and refusing to look anywhere at all other than there. While she sat, staring at her folded hands, the young girl wondered just why she had tried to interact with another child: so far every one her age that she had met here seemed to be hostile or rude, except for Hyuga Ibiki. And maybe he just hadn't been given enough time to become aggressive as well?

Perhaps she should stop trying to be social. Father had said she needed to interact with kids her own age, but... this was not working. She would attend the Academy, assuming that she passed the tests, and she would graduate even though Miss Jinmi thought she couldn't do it, and then she would see if Father would take her back. If she did well enough, he had to, right? Even if she did not get good at interacting with people her own age, she did fine with adults, shouldn't that be enough?

____ ___ __ _

Noboru looked up from the test he was currently evaluating, for a Yamanaka Mika who was one of the few to stick around in the classroom after having been dismissed, when he heard someone approaching the door. As he looked up, one of the support staff for the Academy handed him a scroll from the Hyuga family. What fresh hell was this? Not like dealing with brats was going to be enough: now he had to deal with their pompous parents, too. Great.

"Thank you," he muttered to the staff member, who nodded and quickly exited the room. Then, he unrolled the scroll, scanning it quickly.

Well, at least it wasn't what he had expected, which had been for the scroll to demand special treatment for the Hyuga girl in attendance. No, instead it was to make sure neither child received special treatment, except that the girl and her brother not be separated. That was fine, it wasn't like the kids would be singled out and split up until they graduated. If they graduated, actually. And then, he had no say in how the teams were split, though with the influence that the Hyuga had in the village, likely the clan head would get his wish anyway.

The odd little interaction with the students had finally worked itself out as well, with the meek Yuhara girl retreating to her seat to stare miserably at her hands. If she made it into the Academy, she would have a lot of work to do on her backbone, that was for sure, though her instinct to try to forge an alliance with the Hyuga wasn't too bad. On the other hand, the Hyuga's response, while expected, meant that she lost the opportunity for an alliance that might prove beneficial in the future. Not that Yuhara was anything special, but more that no one could predict the future, and so that refusal and intimidation tactic meant that she had lost future opportunities with the other girl. Already, he could see from Yuhara's body language that she was closing herself off: she would not even look up to give anyone an opening to approach her, and her jaw was set stubbornly.

There was only about ten more minutes before the physical tests. Noboru shook his head, then got back to his work, quickly jotting notes on the rest of the tests he had. Only about half seemed to have any potential, and most came from shinobi families, though not all...

____ ___ __ _

"Hey brats, come on outside. Hurry up!" Teacher barked once everyone had filed back into the classroom. He had waited for everyone to sit back down, though there were two empty seats that had had kids in them before: they hadn't come back. That was weird, right? And, since this was a test, being late was foolish, wasn't it? And not coming at all was giving up. Midori stood with the rest of the children, but she waited until they started leaving before she followed, wanting not to be in the middle of the crowd. As they were leaving the classroom, one of the late children ran up, panting and out of breath. He received a stern look from Teacher, but fell in line with the rest anyway, even if Teacher was muttering under his breath, "...stupid brats..." she heard him anyway, and figured if she did, this far away from him, that most everyone must have as well.

In her pocket, Sunako stirred, murring softly and wriggling until she could poke her head out. Quickly, before the kitten could try to climb up her leg on her own, Midori scooped her out of her pocket and stuck her back on her shoulder. Happily, the little ball of fur settled right into her usual spot, purring loud enough that her entire tiny body vibrated.

Teacher lead them outside, then around the building to a big oval of flat dirt, and inside of it there were some logs with targets on them and a big patch of grass that seemed really flat too.

"Okay, first test! All of you are going to run three laps around this track, got it? If any of you know how to use chakra, you better not use it to cheat. That's not what this test is about, got it?" Midori nodded while some verbalized their understanding. Chakra? So... only shinobi used chakra, right? Wasn't that what Father had said? What kind of Academy was this, anyway? At least she couldn't cheat, since she didn't know how. But... but that would be a neat thing to know how to do, right? Use chakra?

"Now, brats, line up right here, and on my mark, complete your three laps as fast as you can. Ready. Set. Go!" Midori started running: this was something she was good at and liked doing.. it wasn't too long before she was ahead of most of the kids, but she didn't really notice, mostly she just liked to run. It wasn't long before she'd completed her three laps, and even if she was a little bit winded, she wandered around while the ones who were slower than her finished up. A lot of the kids collapsed into the grass the moment they passed the starting line for the third time, but Midori knew that it would be way harder to get back up again if she sat down like they did. Plus, walking around made breathing come easier so much faster. Some of the kids who collapsed were panting hard, their chests raising and falling and their mouths open like dogs.

And, it was weird that they were so tired, since she couldn't even run like normal: she'd had to hang on to Sunako the whole time, since the kitten could not be in her pocket when she ran or she'd get hurt, and she couldn't stay up on her shoulder on her own, either. Now, she had the grumpy kitten back on her shoulder: Sunako did not like the prolonged and bumpy sensation of the running at all.

After the last kid limped over the finish line, Teacher immediately shouted, "Brats! Break's over, next test! Come here!" he was standing over by the logs with targets on them. There were only five of them, so he made everyone line up in five lines. Midori made sure she was last in one of the lines, because she did not want to go first, or be trapped in the middle either. Teacher then had them throw little yellow balls at the targets. They each had three balls, and when they were done throwing them, they were told to go wait on the flat patch of grass.

While Midori wasn't really all that good at throwing things: really, she'd never tried, it seemed sort of rude, she didn't do too badly, and after her first one hit the outside of the log, her second one hit the middle just below the target. Then, her third hit almost the center, it was only a little bit off.   Each time she threw, she was learning to compensate quickly, so maybe that was good. The last one had been almost perfect. If they were given a second chance, she was sure she could hit it all three times. But they only got the one chance.

The third test was really weird. Teacher had them all line up, and then would call two names and have each potential student step forward. Then, he asked them each a question about the other. For her, it was a question about Mori Chizue, a girl with long red hair and big eyes. He asked how many of her balls had hit the target. They had been throwing at the same time, Midori remembered, but she'd been focused on her own target. She had heard the girl groan next to her, twice, and sort of gasp once, though, so... "Umm... one out of three, Teacher?" Same as she had done. Mori Chizue was asked where in the classroom Midori had been sitting. The girl didn't even remember Midori being in the classroom, and said so, clearly hoping it was a trick of some sort. Every time an answer was given, Teacher didn't say if anyone was right or not.

Then, when it was all over and everyone had been asked a question, Teacher looked them all over and barked, "You brats are dismissed. If you made it, you'll get a message tomorrow at home letting you know when to come to class. If you didn't make it, too bad. Try again next time if you wanna," with a dismissive wave of his arm, he started meandering back toward the building, effectively ignoring them.

Quickly, Midori hurried after him, but once she almost caught up she decided it was better not to get too close, since she did not really know him. She only needed to get back to the classroom to pick up her lunch box anyway, then she would go back to Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi's house like she was supposed to...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru was being followed. He knew it from the moment he had left the track, and he knew it was one of his would-be students. Which one, he didn't even care, but he slowed his pace further. Probably, when he got back to the classroom, he'd be bothered by whatever brat it was, so he took his sweet time doing it. No use rushing; last thing he wanted was to deal with whatever it was the kid wanted. Once in the room, he took his seat, grabbing the tests to make his additional notes on the physical and observational part of the exams. He completely ignored the child when it walked in.

Oh, it was the Yuhara girl again. And, rather than bother him like he predicted, she just hurried to her seat, pulled her lunch box out from under it, and hurried to the door. At the doorway, though, she paused, and he looked up. Meeting his eyes a moment, she bowed, said a clear, if shy, "Thank you, Teacher," then ran down the hallway toward the exit.

Weird kid...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2015, 05:00:03 AM »
Their future instructor had not been wrong when he considered the Hyuga girl a shoe-in. She likely would have aced all of the aptitude tests  if she had actually tried. But that was not her purpose for being here -- she could afford to spend more time assessing the candidates.

----

As their time in the classroom continued, Misaki kept monitoring the few remaining children that were present. Midori, as well. As time went on the anger she had felt began to lessen - not disappear, never disappear, since it was part of what drove her -- and a small bit of pity wormed itself into her heart. The girl looked miserable.

Still, she would need to harden her spirit if she was to succeed. If Midori couldn't do that, she would never be a successful shinobi. Misaki knew that well. They were messengers, spies, but also assassins. It was not an easy thing to just kill someone in cold blood -- and that was precisely what a ninja was hired for when they needed someone removed. Her clan had left her under no romanticized illusions about what her future duties would be.

When the time to proceed with the next part of the test came, Misaki gave a brief sigh of relief. While she had no trouble sitting still and paying attention to her surroundings, that didn't change the indisputable fact that they hadn't been particularly interesting. Even the duo chatting over in the corner of the classroom hadn't been able to alleviate her boredom, despite her attempts to figure out what they were saying.

---

A slight frown appeared on Misaki's face when she heard the instructor curse about his charges -- while she wasn't particularly inclined to disagree, it struck her as strange for a teacher to openly voice his annoyance. But then, he wasn't particularly old either, and likely lacking in experience handling this sort of task.

By all accounts, she had pegged the young man as a Chuunin -- and though she couldn't  really place him yet, she assumed that he wasn't a particularly promising one, otherwise he would be sent on missions rather than teach only the basics. Still, there were definitely things she could learn in this academy, though she hoped that there would be some sort of individualized training. After all, if there wasn't, she'd spend a pretty large amount of time on learning things she already knew.

The first task was running. Simple enough. Misaki didn't run at her fastest, despite the instructions -- she ran fast, no doubt, but lagged behind some of the faster runners like Midori. The Hyuga ran fast enough to look like she was making the effort, but was more interested in watching those who excelled at running.

That Yuhara was right at the front came as a surprise to Misaki. She hadn't expected the timid girl to be physically among the more promising candidates as well, but apparently she had been mistaken. Why, she was even carrying the little cat on her shoulder as she ran, so she was running with a handicap to boot.

As the tests proceeded, Misaki grew even more certain that the 'girl with the cat', now identified as 'Yuhara' or Midori, would be selected. It was obvious by how she threw those balls that she hadn't done that sort of thing before, but she took to it like a natural. If she practiced, she might end up being better at it than Misaki at some point.

She didn't miss even one when it was her turn, precisely hitting the center each time, which likely didn't come as much of a surprise. Unlike with the running, she wanted to get it finished as fast as possible and three quick precise throws allowed her to return to her task of watching the others.

The third test was really weird, however. Not so much the nature of the questions, it was obvious that they were about how much attention the candidates had been paying to their surroundings and fellow tryouts as they went about their own tests, but the question she had received came unexpected.

The teacher didn't ask her about any such details about her partner. She had been called up together with Yamanaka Mika. She was asked a regular question. 'Did Misaki follow instructions during the first test just now?'

Obviously the Chuunin had noticed that she hadn't given her all and was subtly reprimanding her, or at least that was what the white-eyed girl took away from it.

"Uh, she came in fifth and ran pretty fast, so … yes? I didn't see her using any seals, so she probably wasn't cheating."

Well, Misaki noted, at least her acting was good enough to fool Mika. She'd have to work on that. But then her question came. It actually cracked her calm expression as she looked back at Noboru in baffled surprise.

The teacher had asked her what Mika's favorite dish was.

Even if Yamanaka had brought food into the classroom, there was no way of confirming whether that was her favorite or not. It was a trick question -- no, an impossible question. After a moment passed, she decided he was testing her and her features smoothed out into neutrality again. "I don't know," she admitted then, giving the man a light bow. "I could find out."

That earned her a glare from Mika, who wasn't entirely keen on the prospect since she assumed after the earlier dramatics, and her supposed reputation, that 'Sakki' wouldn't just ask nicely. But Noboru dismissed the idea and just proceeded with the next pair, leaving Misaki wondering if she had passed this one or not.

-----

Misaki hadn't left yet. She stuck around the area for a bit afterwards to keep an eye on how the other would disband, who left with whom -- Yamanaka and Komori stuck together, of course. They seemed pretty much inseparable. The tall boy she had taught a lesson to earlier actually left with two others -- he had done pretty well on this part of the exam, with didn't surprise her. He had little discipline and combat training, but he was pretty athletic. And Midori, the civilian girl that had caught her attention repeatedly? She went back into the building. Odd.

She could probably file this under reconnaissance, Misaki thought, as she followed after her at a distance. She had no intentions of tipping the teacher off to what she was doing, however, so she kept waiting at the exit, leaning against the corner there.

As a result, when Midori left again, it was the sight of the Hyuga girl that greeted her just as she was about to head out of the building. Misaki regarded her with a cool expression -- though the aggressive aspect underlying her character was still there, she seemed to have calmed down since their last exchange.

She offered no words of greeting. Instead, she simply declared: "You'll be here next week." Her eyes briefly trailed towards the lunch box Midori was now carrying before they returned to meet her gaze. "I suggest you get a chest-strap pouch to carry that cat if you plan to keep bringing it."

That was pretty much all she meant to say -- certainly, she had felt some pity for the girl earlier, but she wasn't here to make friends. She was here to spy on the academy and the candidates and, starting next week, she'd be a bodyguard. Between attending those unpleasant duties and trying to actually learn something she'd be busy enough. She didn't need friends. All they did was eventually betray her, anyway. Like Ibiki. He hadn't once sought her out after she had been branded and then, when they had met again, he acted as if he was upset at her. Like she was the one who had done something wrong. No, she wouldn't trust or get close to anyone, she was just here to follow her mission.

So she turned and began to walk away without waiting for a response. She wasn't moving with any hurry, however.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 08:18:28 PM »
It had become clear, as Noboru had observed his would-be students, that the Hyuga girl was the only one not giving her all to the tests. Even the Aburame did the best he could, which was quite well, even though he had no need to apply for his spot, same as the Hyuga girl had no need to apply. One word from either of their clan heads and they would be admitted automatically, but still they had been sent to the tests anyway. Probably, if Noboru had to guess, it was to check out the school and the competition, and the Hyuga girl was probably sent for security as well, if she was to be her brother's guard. She had been watchful and observant, as well as somewhat aggressive, and so Noboru found himself particularly annoyed that she held herself back for some reason. Sure, the tests for her were pointless, but a shinobi that did not always complete any task to the best of their ability was not one he could find himself respecting.

Hell, he might hate kids, but he'd still give them the best chance at a good education that he could, regardless of liking them or not.

Her reaction to his tougher question was priceless, though, and she did not seem to understand why he had asked it, as was obvious in her answer. She had been clearly surveilling the other students, especially during the lunch break, and he had happened to overhear the Yamanaka mention her favorite food, lamenting that she had not been given it for lunch, and had to wait until dinner when she arrived home. Had the Hyuga been paying close enough attention, or was as good as she seemed to think she was, since she did not believe she had to give her all, she would have known that.

Sure, he felt quite a bit of smug satisfaction for having made things difficult for her: she would have to be one to watch, though. It would be very interesting to see how she reacted while her brother was around...

____ ___ __ _

Midori hurried down the hallway, not quite running, but not walking either. Not because she was in a hurry to see Miss Jinmi again, because she wasn't, but, well.. she just did not want to be around so many people any more. Especially kids. After what had happened in the classroom, Midori had decided that she would rather just avoid everyone in her own age group as much as possible. It would be better that way, and no one could get mad at her or be aggressive towards her or be mean to her just because they wanted to. Because Midori was pretty sure that she had done everything she was supposed to: she had introduced herself and been polite and tried to start a conversation, just like Father had said, but... still.

Keeping to herself was better.

Just as she was almost out of the building, Midori stopped suddenly. Hyuga Misaki was waiting by the door, and was staring at her, so.. so she'd been waiting for her? That.. that wasn't good, was it?

Sunako straightened up on her shoulder, as if she could feel the uncertainty and fear that Midori was feeling. All of her tiny little claws had dug into the little girl's shoulders, though she was used to it enough by now that she didn't wince at the sensation.

Then, the other girl spoke, and Midori found herself confused. Cautiously, she nodded at the first statement, thinking she'd done okay enough that she probably passed and would be allowed back. The second bit was.. odd, like advice or something. Like she was trying to be helpful? But she'd been so mean earlier, and had been rather scary in how mean she'd been. So what did this mean? Why did she just turn around right after speaking and start to leave?

After a second, Midori hurried a little to try to catch up with the girl, though she stayed behind her and didn't get too close; she'd never forget how quickly Hyuga Misaki had moved to grab that larger boy. "Um... I have to bring Sunako with me because she's really little and still needs to be taken care of. She's my responsibility. What is a chest-strap pouch?" she trailed after the other girl, though, truthfully, they would be going in the same direction for a little while, it looked like, since this was the way to Uncle Kanetaro's home.

Maybe that would be good to say?

"I'm not following you, Hyuga Misaki. I have to go this way too." She wondered if the other girl lived behind the wall too, or if some people in the Hyuga family lived outside of it. How big was their family? Hyuga Junji had not really said when she'd been speaking with him. And now, Midori wanted to ask Misaki, but the girl had gotten angry earlier, and Midori still wasn't sure if she wanted to draw the other's attention or not. Earlier, she'd decided she wanted everyone to leave her alone, but then.. well, maybe she was just being dumb and thinking that Hyuga Misaki had some to talk to her in wanting to be friends, because she didn't act nice or polite about it. But, still... she was the only person to talk to her first, so... so that had to mean something, right?

Then, just because she couldn't follow her own decisions and keep mostly quiet, Midori let out another question, "I... I thought you didn't want to talk to me? How come you were waiting for me, Hyuga Misaki?"

Maybe she was really stupid...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2015, 05:21:59 AM »
The question from earlier still bothered Misaki and she had mulled it over quite a bit while she was waiting at the exit -- of course, Midori returned quickly, so it wasn't much more than a minute or two, but she couldn't really come up with any reason other than that it was a reprimand for going against his instructions.

That, she resigned herself, was something she would likely have to get used to, considering that she had been sent to the Academy with a mission of greater priority than just studying there like her brother was going to. And if completing that mission to the best of her ability required that she underperform in other tasks and that she suffer punishment for it, that was what she would do. Had she run at the very front, she would not have been able to observe the top athletes without using the Byakugan's all-seeing visual range --- and that would have disqualified her for molding Chakra during the sprint.

Still, when the actual lessons began and reconnaissance switched to a lesser priority over acting as a bodyguard to her brother, she felt confident that she would have enough time to devote to the academic program. She'd just have to stick close to Ibiki, regardless of how much resentment she harbored towards him.

----

The Hyuga girl didn't increase her step when she heard Midori hurrying after her, but she didn't slow it either. Her first attempt to speak was met with silence -- what was Misaki to say in response? A frown crossed her face as she questioned whether the girl really needed her to explain what a pouch strapped to her chest rather than around her leg was.

The second one didn't really warrant a response, either. She believed the girl, as intimidated as Midori had been earlier she probably wasn't going to just follow her for the company -- and if it was some sort of attempt to coax information out of her, then Misaki could handle that.

The last one, however … she responded to that, after a moment had passed for her to consider her reply. "I wasn't there to take the test, just to monitor it." It wasn't really a secret, the conclusion was easy enough to make. Anyone with a modicum of training and likely  some of the civilians, too, had likely realized that at the very least she and the Aburame kid weren't there for evaluation. "Your test will be positive, so I took an interest in why you went back inside."

"You butting in forced me to deal with that idiot and draw attention to myself. I don't need help, but I won't have someone suffer because they thought I did." She actually stopped at that point and turned around to face the other girl. "Just leave me alone and we won't have any trouble. We're even, like I said." She sighed, shook her head and then turned away again.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2015, 12:26:35 AM »

Well, at least the girl didn't turn around and grab her, which was mostly what Midori was worried about as she followed after her. Even if it wasn't really following. They were just going the same way, that was all. And, it seemed, the other girl understood that, at least.

Though, Hyuga Misaki was really quiet, and didn't answer anything but the last of what she said, which was..weird. But then again, Hyuga Ibiki and also Hyuga Junji were very quiet too, and did not say much. Maybe it was a family trait? Or maybe she was just too talkative. Father said that, sometimes, when she wasn't being polite enough. And, before, Misaki had gotten angry when she'd been speaking, so maybe it was just that she talked too much. Maybe she should be quieter, then, and not say so much?

Was that possible?

Maybe.

"Oh. Um.. so how come you pretended to take the test, then? Because it looked like you filled out your paper, and.. and you did the other stuff too? Or maybe you were just sort of seeing how it went?" Why would someone her age monitor the tests? Wasn't that what Teacher was for? That didn't quite make sense, actually, and Midori didn't think she was so gullible as to believe that the other girl outranked Teacher. She was, though, given a tougher question than everyone else, which Midori thought was sort of weird, to be honest. But then, Teacher was sort of weird.

"Thank you, Hyuga Misaki," because she should thank her, right? For believing she could do it? "I just wanted to get the box that Miss Jinmi packed my lunch in, I didn't think that it would be a good idea to take it outside for that part of the tests. I think she'll be upset that I did not eat all of it, but she makes so much food, I don't know how she expected me to eat it all..." Shrugging a little, Midori forgot that Sunako was still on her shoulder, and the little cat wobbled a moment, sinking her claws in further to remain up there, "Oh! Sorry Sunako!" quickly, she reached up to steady the kitten.

Taking the other girl's words in, she paused as Misaki stopped and turned around, her eyes wide and somewhat distrustful, even if she was hopeful that the other girl maybe didn't mind talking to her so much, now. She seemed a little less angry than before, anyway.

"I... um... I really appreciate that you helped me, thank you. Really. Thank you. I would have run away if he had gotten to close, I think. But... um... everyone was still noticing you and him before I did anything. Not that.. not that that makes it right, and I'm really, really sorry that I butted in, because I know now that I shouldn't have. But Teacher was watching, you know? Also, that.. um... that boy with the spiked hair and that girl he was talking with.. they were watching too. But I'm really sorry I made it worse. I didn't mean to." She started rambling again, trying desperately to make things right with the other girl. Even if Hyuga Misaki said that they were even, they sort of weren't, since she'd messed things up for her, apparently. It was an accident, but Midori still felt rather guilty about it.

"I... um, I wanted to say that... that I know that you don't need my help, and.. and won't ever need it. But if there's something that I can help you with that I'm good at, if you wanted help I would do it if you asked. But I won't ever assume it if you don't say anything, not again." That.. didn't come out right at all, actually. But it was too late now, and Midori knew that she was probably starting to get on the other girl's nerves again. And, besides, her road to turn on was coming up. As they made it to the crossroad, Midori turned to go down the way towards Uncle Kanetaro's house. After a few steps, she stopped and turned around, "Hyuga Misaki? I think it was really neat how you got that boy to leave you alone. It was nice to talk with you," Quickly, the small girl turned back around and sprinted towards her uncle's house without looking back.

____ ___ __ _

The next morning, Midori woke when she heard a knock on the front door. Whatever it was, Miss Jinmi greeted the person and thanked them, then shut the door. Curiously, Midori stood, then cautiously poked her head out of her room, watching her uncle's wife quietly, though she didn't mean to scare her. Miss Jinmi yelped anyway and jumped when she turned around and saw the little girl in the doorway.

"Oh! Midori! You scared me, don't do that!"

"Sorry, Miss Jinmi." The girl mumbled quietly, watching while the woman unrolled the message scroll she was given.

"Midori, it looks like you passed your tests! You get to go to the Academy at the beginning of next week! Get dressed, we'll surprise Kanetaro with some lunch to celebrate!" The woman was really excited, though Midori wondered how excited she could really be, if she expected that she wasn't going to be able to actually make it through.

Without a word, the young girl took herself back into her room to get dressed...

____ ___ __ _

First day of classes. Midori arrived early, having convinced Miss Jinmi that she could, in fact, walk there herself without getting lost, and also that she did not need to wear a dress. The woman kept trying to take her clothes shopping, saying that the shirts and shorts that Father had gotten her couldn't really be making her happy, could they?

Except, yes, they did. They were comfortable and Sunako could stay in her pocket to nap when she wanted. Right now, the kitten was on her shoulder, like usual, but that would probably change in a little while.

Midori made her way through the hallways to the classroom she'd taken the tests in, then immediately found the seat she'd been sitting in that day. That was a good seat: in the back, most of the other kids hadn't sat near her, so she would probably have lots of room around her again and not feel crowded. And, also, sitting far away meant that most people would leave her alone, because she would look like she wanted to be alone. Again, she tucked her lunch box under her seat, though as she bent over to do it, her kitten jumped off her shoulder to sit on the desk, happily batting around a tiny scrap of paper that had been left there from some test, her little tail ticking back and forth as she tried to decide if she wanted to pounce on it or not.

"Oh, Sunako.. you better finish playing soon.  When class starts you have to be good and be quiet, okay?"

"Muurrr?" the little fuzzball looked at Midori for a moment, then returned to poking at the tiny bit of paper.

"Hey, I mean it. You're usually very good, you just have to keep being good, okay? Maybe you can take a nap when class starts, I think that would be a good idea. Then you can play at lunch time again." As usual, besides perking her ears up, the kitten only hummed to show that she had heard the little girl speak...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2015, 08:37:29 AM »
A slight grin appeared on Misaki's face in response to all those questions, despite herself. Was it possible for a nine year old to produce a grim smile? Apparently. Why would someone who is scoping out a place try to blend in? Was that her question?

Then Midori opted to talk about her lunch and share her thoughts, which quickly banished the smile from the ninja trainee's face. Instead, it earned the short-haired girl a snort as she turned away and started walking.

Of course, Midori followed along and continued to speak at her, again without any response to speak of. It was a similar experience to the walk with her relative, Junji, though there was a tension in the young white-eyed girl that didn't exist in her adult -- cousin? Uncle? A more distant relation? It was difficult to say.

The Hyuga knew that it would be better to remain quiet, but she just couldn't help it. It wasn't an outburst of anger, but her impatience got the better of her now that she had effectively completed her mission for the day. All that was left was the after-report. So she finally interrupted when Midori finished her words of parting, this time without turning around, her tone again testy.

"You may have talent, but a lot of catching up to do. We are learning to become spies and assassins, so don't speak carelessly." If she couldn't learn to talk less, she should at least learn to speak without revealing information about herself. Trusting anyone, fellow student, teacher, or even family member was dangerous. She had the mark to prove it, right on her forehead.

Others said that it was the way of things, that it couldn't be helped, but Misaki didn't care.

"Until next week," she added curtly, then leapt on top of the low wall they had been next to. From there, she quickly made her way back to the Hyuga compound.

---------------

"… and that concludes my report," Misaki finished, her expression neutral as she knelt before the head assistant. She didn't report directly to the clan head, any pertinent information would be neatly summarized and presented to him in writing.

"Hmmm. Well, all seems in order. I would have expected a more experienced Chuunin to be selected, but maybe a younger one is better." Kiko considered thoughtfully. After all, a teacher more close in age to the students should be able to relate to them more easily. Also, a system like this new school simply hadn't existed before, so a Chuunin not yet set in his ways would probably adapt better to teaching such a diverse group of children.

"Well done, you're finished here. Until your bodyguard duties begin, your time is your own."

Misaki rose with a quiet nod and began to head out of the room, but was stopped when Kiko addressed her again: "Try not to think of them as enemies. They're all our allies now. Rivals, perhaps, but still allies."

The girl frowned for a moment. Perhaps … perhaps she could do that. Allies and rivals were terms she understood, unlike such lofty things like 'friends' or this civilian idea of 'family'. "I'll try," she confirmed, then made her exit.

---------------

Two days left entirely to his own devices. No training assignments, no tutoring, not even the morning exercises that everyone in the main house participated in -- the branch house presumably did the same, but had their own facilities -- in short, Ibiki did not know what to do with himself.

A chance to recover from the intensified training he had gone through had sounded nice at first and he had slept like a log, but what was there to do now that he was awake? Leisurely relaxation didn't suit him and if he went to the training hall he would likely be chided since he was supposed to rest.

So he began the day with some light exercise in his own room: a little stretching was good to keep his muscles from getting sore and a short routine of push-ups, pull-ups, squats and the like served the same purpose. All of that took less than half an hour, however, so after taking breakfast the boy opted to observe some of the Hyuga chuunin practicing their Juuken techniques - usually barred from anyone beneath their rank, but there were some privileges to being the heir. And it was more a formality. After all, any of their line who had unlocked their Byakugan could just watch from afar if they wanted. Spying on other Hyuga within the boundaries of the compound may have been forbidden outside of guard duties, when had a determined ninja ever let that sort of thing stop them?

Once they were finished, Ibiki went to the archives to look through some of the scrolls - the ones that mixed history and mythology were usually quite entertaining. Legends of great sages, tailed beasts, demons and gods; many of the latter were thought to stand in for disease and natural disaster, but there was a certain appeal to the imagery. Some of them had been read to him before he had learned the letters, even.

His like of these was a childish fancy he didn't often indulge in, but lacking other options, it was a welcome thing to put his mind to. After reading for awhile he had started to work on an empty scroll, first practicing his letters, then attempting to paint a many-tailed goddess descending from the moon.

When he finished and looked at the result, he was unsatisfied with it and tore the scroll up, left the archives and tried some meditation.

The rest of the day was spent in a similar fashion, by and large, with Ibiki idling away the time in ways that largely irritated him because they were not what he actually wanted to do: he loved practicing his taijutsu, his Juuken, most of all. He wanted to improve, to get better -- even if the intensity of the past two weeks had been exhausting, he had benefited from it.

On the last day before he would begin to attend the academy, Ibiki spent most of his time with Kiko. His parents were both busy, as they usually were, and for lack of better things to do he had decided to question her about the academy. Pretty much all the intel gathered by the estate was handled by her: minor matters she managed herself, major ones she forwarded to the clan head. So it naturally followed that she would know about the place.

In fact, as it turned out, she knew a lot about the place. Ibiki could only conclude that she had visited or that they had sent someone to scope it out, since she actually drew him a map of the layout and proceeded to share some information on the identity of the man who would teach them, a young Chuunin named Kyoto Noboru, as well as some of the other students he would meet there.

" … Yuhara Midori?" he repeated in a questioning tone, surprised at hearing the name again. Especially in this context.

Kiko calmly laid her writing brush to the side and looked up from her work, her white eyes meeting Ibiki's. "I thought you would recognize the name. She's the girl who got lost, isn't she? I saw the guard's report."

"… she is," Ibiki confirmed after a brief moment of hesitation. It was silly, but for a moment he felt almost as if he had been caught unaware -- he pushed the thought aside, there was nothing to be concerned about. She was probably just a civilian who had made the cut, if she had been a spy their guard would have handled her differently.

"How nice, you can renew your acquaintance," Kiko added with a brief smile as she picked up the brush again. "You heard that you'll be assigned a bodyguard, yes?"

"Yes," he answered, this time without any hesitation. "I don't need a bodyguard, but if it's an order..."

"Hmm. Perhaps you'll be glad for it. I'm not at liberty to tell you who it is, but … well, you'll see."

"Someone from my training group?" He ventured at a guess, hoping to gauge whether he had hit the mark by his tutor's reaction. As usual, he failed to read anything from the kind but professional woman.

"Perhaps, perhaps not." Kiko knew the answer, of course, and expected that the reason for why the information was kept under wraps by Issun was both not to show preferential treatment for Misaki, who by all accounts was no longer considered his daughter,  and for it to be a surprise.

She continued to write things down on her scroll, but after about ten minutes had passed, all of which were spent under keen observation by her charge, she finally "I realize that resting is a difficult task for you, but I do need to work, Ibiki. If you like, I have prepared some documents on the Aburame you may take a look at over there." The woman pointed towards a neatly stacked up bunch of scrolls  in a different corner of the room.

The boy perked up at that. That was information he could use, starting tomorrow.

---------------

A pair of twins walked through the entrance of the academy, one followed closely by the other. Both clearly Hyuga, they looked identical except for a couple of minor differences in hairstyle and attire, though a good observer might take note of the difference in their movements: both moved with the ease of natural athletes, but the one trailing behind was a little lighter on her feet while the other's movements gave the impression of purpose.

Ibiki had a deep frown on his face. He still mentally reeled from the revelation that his own sister had been assigned as his bodyguard. First they had been separated, then Misaki suddenly was angry at him all the time and didn't want to talk whenever they did see each other and now she was to guard him with no explanation?  Well, he certainly wasn't going to try to get back in her good graces -- he'd done nothing wrong! If anything, it was she who owed him an apology. Not to mention that he didn't need her protection, not when he knew he was better than her at … well, at everything! He'd sometimes secretly watched her training in the branch house. She hadn't even moved on to the Tenketsu training yet!

Misaki had a deep frown on her face. She had known she would have to guard her brother, of course -- she had been in a sour mood because of that fact for the better part of the last month. And when he looked at her, she could almost feel the entitlement, the thought that he was better than her just because he received special training as the heir while she was being held back. It was disgusting, even more so because Ibiki remained unaware of that -- and she certainly wasn't going to enlighten him.

Misaki wore the same outfit as she had during the test -- Ibiki's was similar, though more elaborate and of course lacking the band that covered his twin's forehead. His robe was tied with a dark purple sash made of silk, beneath of which a small pouch with various ninja tools was hidden. It was emblazoned with a stylized dragon motif, the full extent of which would only be seen if it was uncurled. Concealed in his long sleeves, he wore hard leather armbands, for protective purposes.

His sister trailed behind as he stepped towards the classroom, perhaps to cover the hallway properly, perhaps just so she didn't enter alongside him, but when Ibiki stepped into the classroom his frown quickly grew worse. For it was Itou Sadao who immediately appeared before him.

The boy who had attempted to bully both Midori and Misaki during their test had been admitted, despite his disciplinary problems. The two main reasons were that he was suitable, at least physically, and it was believed by the higher-ups that cases like him could still have their bad temper beaten out of them. And his parents were wealthy merchants who offered a sizable donation just for admitting him. He had been a lot more quiet when he had entered and pointedly ignored Midori and her cat, sporting a number of bruises that hadn't been there when she had seen him last.

Apparently he couldn't quite reign in his temper anymore when faced with Ibiki's arrival. Ibiki, who he mistook for his sister at first sight. He practically leapt up from the table he had leaned against, back very stiff and straight as he moved over in a huff. "Don't think you've beaten me, 'Sakki'! Just because you're from a privileged clan! I'll show you what's what soon enough!"

Ibiki's response was immediate, though not nearly as violent as Misaki's had been. He glared at the tall boy. "… what sort of fool are you?" he asked, not really certain who or what he was facing. Sadao had openings all over and had clearly mistaken him for his sister. He wasn't fond of others calling her 'Sakki', either, all personal difficulties between them aside.

"… just someone I had to teach a lesson," his sister noted as she appeared beside him, giving the broad-shouldered boy an evil look.

Sadao stared at them with wide eyes. "… there's two of them?"  He grabbed the side of his head and just … stepped away, feeling somewhat weak in the knees at that particular revelation. "Um. I'll … I'll get back to you …"

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 12:40:05 AM »
As she waited in the classroom, watching as the other students slowly filtered in, Midori thought back to her interaction with Hyuga Misaki. There had been a moment where she had thought, maybe, the other girl had enjoyed talking with her too. She had sort of almost smiled, but it hadn't really looked right. And, in the end, it just seemed like she'd upset the other girl. Probably she should have just stayed quiet, like she had told herself she was going to do anyway, but hadn't, because she'd sort of hoped that maybe the other girl had really stayed behind because she had wanted to be friends.

Sometimes, Midori wondered how foolish she could be. That had been dumb.

Even so, after snapping at her and sort of insulting her, Hyuga Misaki had actually given her a sort-of farewell, but that.. Midori figured she didn't really mean it as anything other than a reply to her own.

This place was not friendly at all, and now, more than ever, Midori was certain that she should stop trying to make friends. Either the other kids were hostile, or they were unfriendly, or they were both. She thought she was probably done with that. So, now, Midori decided that Sunako was going to be her only friend, and that was okay. That really was okay. She would do well in this Academy, and she would focus on that, and she would show Miss Jinmi and Uncle Kanetaro that she would do well, and that was it. Father was wrong, and so was Miss Jinmi and Uncle Kanetaro: she did not need to interact with people her own age. They did not like her, and she did not like to be interacting with people who did not like her, and so she wouldn't.

The more children showed up, the more and more Midori focused her attention on Sunako, and then when the kitten became tired and hopped down into her lap, Midori petted her to sleep, rather than put her in her pocket.

Of course, the shy girl noticed when that boy, the big one, entered the classroom. But he ignored her, and so she kept to herself too, and did not make eyecontact with him. She also saw when the kid with the spiky hair and the girl he seemed to be friends with entered, and she noticed others, too. One kid covered up a lot, and she remembered that they were pretty good, too, during the tests. There were some others, including Mori Chizue, who she had been paired with for the question test outside. She picked a seat right at the front, and seemed very excited for having made it into the Academy.

Though she was trying to be left alone, Midori did notice when, suddenly, that large boy... he'd been called Itou Sadao when they'd been doing the questions test, quickly took himself to the front of the classroom. At first, Midori couldn't see around the boy, but she heard him confront someone there, calling them 'Sakki'. There hadn't been anyone by that name in the test, though, that she remembered. Then again, there were some kids she did not recognize, so they must have made it in some other way, or not needed to be tested. But.. oh.

It looked like Hyuga Ibiki had been mistaken for Hyuga Misaki, though the boy had her name wrong, because the girl came around and confronted him right back. So.. well, next to each other, now, Midori was pretty sure that they were siblings. They looked so very similar. So how come Ibiki hadn't come to the test, but Misaki had?

Truthfully, though, it was sort of funny how Itou Sadao reacted to there being two of the Hyuga in the class, and not just one. Maybe he would leave everyone alone, now? Or.. find someone else to focus on?

Midori hoped it wasn't going to be her.

After just a moment, the small girl averted her eyes away from Hyuga Misaki, knowing that the other girl did not like her, though she wondered if Hyuga Ibiki would be friendly with her or not. Well, it didn't matter, she wasn't supposed to make friends any more, she'd decided that. And probably he wouldn't like her either: he had been friendly with her when they had met, but perhaps he was just polite. That was probably it, actually.

Shortly after they had entered, Teacher came in, walked purposefully to the front of the classroom, and raised his voice to yell at them like he liked to do, "Hey, brats! Find your seats now, we're getting started, got it? I expect no one to speak unless I ask a question, and you will raise your hands and wait to be called if you feel you have anything to contribute. I will not have my classroom becoming disorderly or loud. You will be well behaved, or I will kick you out. Tomorrow, you will bring writing materials, because I will not provide any for you. You are responsible for taking any notes you feel you need. Otherwise, you will memorize what you are taught." That was okay, Midori was pretty good at remembering what she was told. "Today, I will go over the basics, I am assuming that you are all on the level of the lowest of your classmates. That means, many of you will get information you already know. You will still pay attention, even if you are bored, got it?"

Midori nodded, while, again, some of the students spoke up verbally. Didn't they hear him when he said not to speak unless he told them they could? His expression showed he was pretty annoyed.

"Brats! What did I say about speaking?" he grumbled something under his breath, then continued, "Now, we're gonna go over the basics of history and geography first, about all the other countries, just to give you a good basis of information. Then, we will go over the theory of chakra control, again, to give you basics. Then lunch break for an hour. When you come back, it will all be exercises outside, so be ready for that. Starting tomorrow, we will begin to go into detail about everything I touch on today. Got it?" This time, less kids spoke up, and more of them nodded like Midori did, or remained silent.

Teacher seemed even more annoyed that some still didn't get it and spoke up.

"So, to begin, we will start with the Land of Earth..."

____ ___ __ _

Eventually, lunch came, and Midori found it was interesting that they were given a full hour. Then again, maybe it was to give more of the students time to actually go home to eat and get back in time. That made sense, didn't it? In any case, most of the kids left, as before, and Midor pulled out her lunch box. Sunako woke up as soon as the lid was lifted, and started sniffing at the air like a puppy might.

"Hey, hold on Sunako... don't be rude" the mumbled, pulling the kitten down from where she had tried to climb back onto the desk. Quickly, the young girl grabbed a piece of fish off of one of the nigiri balls Miss Jinmi had made her, setting it in her lap for the kitten to work on eating. Immediately, the sandy little furball began to purr while licking at the fish. It'd take her a little bit to work up to actually biting it.

Only then did Midori look into the lunchbox, finding that she had something that looked like maybe it was supposed to be a cat or a tiger inside. It was another rice ball, but the rice was somehow red-ish today, which was weird...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2015, 03:46:13 AM »
Ibiki's white eyes briefly rested on the entirety of the class, glancing from left to right. He was still annoyed by the encounter and his gaze remained on Sadao for a moment longer than the others -- and on Midori, though it was only a moment, easily dismissed as imagination -- but after awhile he moved to sit down at the right-most table in the middle row, the side on which the exit was.

It was a matter of practicality -- the boy saw no reason to spy on the rest of the class and Misaki was supposed to be his bodyguard, so he choose a place where she could comfortably keep him in her sight even without the Byakugan, assuming of course she resided in a place where she could keep tabs on the entire room. Ibiki was certain she would, even without glancing back.

He wasn't happy about being assigned a bodyguard or that it had to be her of all available people, but there was no reason to make her position more difficult than it had to be.

Still, he couldn't dwell on the presence of his sister forever -- or at least all the time. He settled in on his seat, posture straight, his hands on the table in front of him. He hadn't carried a bag -- nor had Misaki, for that matter -- so that was all the preparation he needed.

In the brief time before the teacher entered, his thoughts briefly returned to Midori, the odd girl he had run into not so long ago, right at the outer wall of the Hyuga compound. He wasn't surprised at seeing her, since he had known that she would be present, but he was still surprised that she was there at all. She hadn't really struck him as someone who might be interested in becoming shinobi and from what he recalled she was new to the village to boot.

He was somewhat interested in how she would do, but for now, he expected, his main challenge would be self-control.

---

"Can't we sit up front?" Shun nagged his friend from his seat right next to Midori, where the brown-haired girl had dragged him earlier. "I can barely see the board."

"Quit griping," Mika returned from her seat once-removed from Midori. "All the smart kids sit in the back. Look at that Sakk--Misaki girl."

"Yeah, yeah … not like I want to have both of them in my back." He grumbled a bit, then pulled out a small notebook and a pen. "We still on for lunch later?"

"… you say that like you're not freeloading with us every day," Mika deadpanned, resting her chin in her hand nonchalantly.

He gave a light apologetic laugh, then suddenly turned his attention to his other neighbor. "So, guess we're neighbors, then! Komori Shun. We met the other day." He gave her a grin. "If you need any help, feel free to ask. We civilian kids have to take care of each other, eh?"

A slightly annoyed 'tch'-sound came from Mika's direction, but she didn't add anything.

"… and that's my friend, Yamanaka Mika. Don't mind her, she gets grumpy when I talk to other girls for some reason."

That earned him a glare, but she seemed more upset with Shun than Midori, since she also briefly glanced towards the other girl and gave her a nod.

When the teacher entered, however, both of them snapped to attention.

---

Misaki sat there, listening sullenly to a lesson she didn't need. It would likely be some time before they got to anything new to her, but if she was to pay attention, she would. She had already upset the teacher during their last encounter, after all.

Ibiki had rested his elbows on the table, fingers interlocked as he listened. His attention occasionally drifted as he recalled his own lessons on the subjects, mentally supplementing more details than they were given at the moment where he could.

Shun was rather enthusiastically taking notes, still elated by the thought of learning to be a ninja for real. Mika seemed to be paying attention, but she had a very casual way of doing so, practically lounging in her chair.

---

Lunch finally came and a full hour of it to boot.

Mika and Shun departed quickly after a brief 'Later!', the both of them heading over to the Yamanaka residence if their earlier exchange had been any indication.

Misaki merely leaned back in her seat, gave a sigh and let her eyes drift towards Ibiki to see if he was going anywhere or not.

He wasn't. The boy produced a small wrapped package from his longsleeves and placed it on his table, slowly opening it to reveal a large ball of rice. He also produced a pair of chopsticks and began eating methodically.

Seeing that, Misaki pulled a rice cracker from one of her pouches and started nibbling on it. She still didn't seem keen on any conversation and after her encounter with Sadao most were even more happy to leave her alone.

Eventually, Ibiki finished and rose from his seat. For a moment it seemed like he was about to leave, but then changed his mind and stepped towards the back of the room. One might expect him to go over to his sister at this point, but instead he stopped in front of Midori's table.

"You brought your pet," he noted, staring at Sunako as if it was a strange and alien thing.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2015, 12:03:31 AM »
As she slowly ate her lunch, picking the pieces of fish from the top of the nigiri to eat first, then eating the rice second, Midori contemplated her new seat-neighbors. The boy.. he had been very friendly-seeming, which was interesting. He had managed to somehow argue with his friend while speaking to her and introducing them both somehow in the process. with embarrassment, Midori realized she had spend a lot of time just staring at them when they had been speaking to her, until she had completely run out of time and teacher had begun talking.

Then, of course, it was time to listen and pay attention, rather than see about socializing, which she wasn't quite sure she wanted to do. Not again. She had tried before, and been met with nothing, and tried again and gotten in trouble, and tried a third time and still...

Well, anyway, the idea of trying again really sort of scared her.

Still, though, when the two next to her offered a farewell, she had managed to get her mouth to work before they got too far down the isle, and had offered a soft, "It was nice to meet you Yamanaka Mika and Komori Shun." What she should have said before class had begun, she said late. But better late than not at all, right? Maybe?

At least they seemed friendly. Well, Komori Shun seemed friendly, Yamanaka Mika was.. kind of harsh, but not unkind. That was interesting. Maybe it would be okay to try to socialize with them, even if Komori Shun seemed sort of loud.

Quietly, the small girl glanced up at who else remained in the class: not many. There was the kid who covered up a lot, eating quietly and not really interacting with anyone, and there were three others, two boys and a girl, who were socializing toward the front of the class. None of them had been at the test, so.. they had made it in some other way, then. Or... well, no, one of the boys had been at the test, but she remembered him doing well: not a fast runner, but good at throwing things and he seemed to know answers at the questions part at the end.

What had his name been? Tsuji Kaku? No, no... oh! Tasuji Kakeru. That was it. He seemed pretty rowdy, as did his two friends, and the girl was really loud and boisterous, with long, braided hair. They seemed to be having fun teasing the other boy, but he seemed to be teasing them back.

Friendships were weird, it seemed. Midori still wasn't sure if she would like that sort of thing. Mostly, she just liked talking to Sunako, because Sunako never got mean or mad or anything, and mostly just liked to purr and cuddle. In fact, she was part way through her piece of fish, now, and seemed to be pretty pleased, actually. The little sand-colored cat was purring so hard she was almost falling over from the vibrations. She really did like the fish. Still, Midori knew she'd be lucky if the little thing managed to finish the piece she'd been given.

For her own part, she'd made it through the nigiri and part of the weird-colored rice ball. Whatever gave it the red-orange color also made it a little spicy, and so she ended up drinking a lot of the tea that had been packed in a thermos as well. It was even still warm, but not hot, so very good for drinking...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru was surprised, when he returned to the classroom from turning in his preliminary report about his observations of the students, to find that some were still in the classroom. There was the young Aburame boy, he was only seven, but had proven to be extremely intelligent and adept, and so had been let into the class full of mostly older children. Especially after his tests had shown that he was as qualified as the other children who were older and larger than he.

Then, there was the three who were certain to be trouble makers, as they'd banded together quickly, even though one was a civilian boy, he obviously knew the other two who were from families that might soon be considered as full-fledged clans in the village. The girl was from the Nara family, her elder sibling and mother were both well-regarded shinobi, and her father was an animal breeder that specialized in deer. She seemed to have inherited her mother's harsh personality. The other boy was not as rowdy, the girl seemed to be the ring leader, but he liked to rile her up. The red marks on his face were interesting, but seemed to be a family trait of the Inuzuka.

Noboru just knew he was going to have trouble with them, just from observing them now. They'd also sat in the middle of the class, entered almost late, and would have sat in the back, he thought, if the seats hadn't all been taken already. The Hyuga girl, the Yuhara girl, and the Hyuga boy were the others that were left. And none of them were interacting so far. The Yuhara girl seemed to have closed down, while the Hyuga girl was annoyed by his lessons, and the Hyuga boy was attentive but probably bored. Really, even the civilian Yuhara had to have been a little bored: she'd written enough details in her test about the different nations that his summary had to have been review for her too.

Interesting that she had so many details, but then again, his information said that her father was a traveling merchant, and she'd only recently come to live in the village. Her information and experience would be useful if she graduated. That sort of practical traveling experience and knowledge of the culture would set her ahead of her peers on their fist mission out of the village.

Actually, quite a few of the civilian children were turning out to have quite a bit of potential.

Just when he thought his break would be boring, the Hyuga boy surprised him by standing and making his way over to the civilian Yuhara girl. Interesting...

____ ___ __ _

Midori felt like she was being watched, and so she looked up to find Huyga Ibiki at her desk, and he spoke just as she looked up. He wasn't really looking at her, though, but at Sunako, who perked up at the new voice and abandoned her mostly-eaten fish to climb up onto the desk surface, her little tummy full and round and making her waddle more than usual.

As if she knew she had been being spoken about, the little critter sat down next to the lunch box, puffed out her chest like she was about to preen, then promptly yawned big enough that she almost fell over. Midori caught her before she could totally fall. Of course, then the kitten decided that she should just cuddle up to the hand that held her and roll over to show her belly and stick her tiny legs in the air, purring hard.

"It is nice to see you again, Hyuga Ibiki," she mumbled softly, most of her attention on Sunako and keeping her steady, but as soon as the kitten rolled over, she looked up again. "Yes, I have to bring Sunako with me; she is very little and is my responsibility. I had her the other day, too, by the wall? Um... but she was in my pocket then, she likes to sleep there, and she sleeps a lot."

Sunako continued to roll around on her back, her full stomach making her somewhat extra round-looking. Midori scritched her hand over until she was tickling at the kitten's tummy, and she got two paws full of tiny claws as a reward. Then again, her right hand was covered in scratches and did not seem to mind.

"Um... did you want to pet her? She is really soft. If I flip her over she won't use her claws any more. She's so little she doesn't know how to bring them back into her paws yet, so they're always out. When she gets bigger, she won't scratch any more, unless she means to," Since the kitten was small enough to fit in her one hand, it was really easy for Midori to flip the kitten over but keep a hold of her, so her tummy and chest rested in her hand, and her front paws could curl around the girl's hand to cling to her. The kitten's back legs, though, dangled off her palm, like she was very used to being held like that. Well, because she was. Sunako was handled pretty much all the time by Midori, and had decided she pretty much liked to be held however the young girl wanted to do it...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2015, 06:05:53 AM »
A light frown appeared on Ibiki's face as he continued to look at Midori's kitten. He immediately took note of the various scratches on her owner's hand, some of which looked more recent than others, as she continued to play with the animal. While he, perhaps erroneously,  expected that evading Sunako's claws would pose no particular difficulty, the boy didn't seem particularly enthused about petting her.

Animals were not allowed in the Hyuga household and neither of the twins had ever emotionally bonded with any. It was cute, of course, but as shinobi Ibiki had been trained to treat anything new and unknown with wariness, so he resisted the -- somewhat childish, he thought -- urge to fawn over the young cat.

"No," he replied as he combined his sleeves together, folding his hands reflexively. "I'm fine." Another moment passed in which he said nothing, his tendency to say no more than necessary -- almost a family trait, it seemed -- in stark contrast to Midori.  "I did not expect you to enter this academy when I saw you last. Our servant brought you home safely, I hope?"

It hadn't occurred to Ibiki before to ask himself that -- he had assumed that this was what had happened and inquired no further. The girl hadn't exactly intruded, after all, and their guard had likely only interfered because they had been talking. It wouldn't have been the first time that their rivals and enemies had used children as spies.

----

Misaki continued to worry away at her rice cracker and kept looking out of one of the windows with a carefully crafted casualness so as not to betray any interest she might have in the conversation going on a couple tables over.

When she wanted to sneak a glance out of the corner of her eye, her gaze settled on their teacher instead. Or the really young boy, the Aburame, whose presence made even her skin crawl. Tiny, obviously gifted and more than likely full of bugs bred inside him since birth. Compared to that even her cursed seal, as much as she hated everything it stood for and the pain it brought, seemed more like a blessing.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2015, 11:03:00 PM »
Midori had thought, apparently erroneously, that Hyuga Ibiki had been interested in Sunako. Certainly he had looked at her, and so.. well, maybe he would like to pet her, right? But no, he just seemed confused, maybe. Or disapproving? Was this something else she had done wrong, like Hyuga Misaki had been saying about talking too much or trying to help her?

Feeling her shoulders droop a little, Midori brought Sunako back into her lap, setting the stuffed-full kitten into her lap, "Oh... okay, sorry..." she mumbled, looking down at the kitten as she wriggled and rolled around to get comfortable, then happily purred herself to sleep. Once her kitten was settled, the young girl looked back up at the boy in front of her. She was trying to figure out why he wanted to talk to her, since she had been good and hadn't approached him like had annoyed his... relative. Midori thought they were probably siblings, and maybe even the same age, but she was not sure. But.. she had talked a lot, once he had approached her. He'd only said one thing to her, and she had said so much in reply.

Stupid stupid stupid.

As hopeful as she had felt that he wanted to talk, she now felt disappointed that she had somehow messed it up. He even hid his hands away, as if to prove the point that her offer had been wrong to give.

"...if you decide you want to later, you can..." it just came out. Stupid. She'd gotten too used to just talking to Sunako without thinking about what she was saying, hadn't she?

But then he decided to continue the conversation a little. Hyuga Ibiki did not say a lot, but he gave her more to say, so that was something, right? Maybe... maybe he was just quiet?

"Um... why not? I mean, I don't... I didn't...uhmmm... My Uncle and his wife think that I need to be more social, so they thought they should send me here. Except they think I won't be able to graduate for.. for some reason..." that she was hurt and confused by the assumption went unsaid, but after a second she shrugged a little. "I am going to do my best, no matter what they think." she spoke firmer, now, putting the lid on her half-eaten lunch, she set it under her desk like before. She'd learned her lesson about offering to share her food the previous week. Now the space in front of her was empty, and she had nothing to do or look at except for Ibiki.

"Oh, and Hyuga Junji was very nice to walk me back to my Uncle's shop. I think that I was very safe..." she trailed off a moment, thinking a little and regarding the boy in front of her thoughtfully. "...Um... Hyuga Ibiki? How come my Uncle and his wife were afraid of upsetting your family? Your... um... is Hyuga Junji a relative? He seemed very nice and polite, anyway, and not like I should be afraid..." She was talking too much again. But he seemed maybe like he wanted to talk, because he asked questions. And at the end, he had said 'I hope?' like.. like he cared that she had made it home alright.

That was weird, that he had called Hyuga Junji a servant, because family should not be a servant to family, right? And he had seemed more like a guard than a servant, anyway. After thinking about it, she decided to file that information away to think about later...

____ ___ __ _

Well, now, that was interesting. Sure, the young Yuhara girl tended to babble when she was nervous, and it seemed as though interacting with anyone who spoke to her made her nervous, but that the Hyuga heir was sticking by her and had even been the one to approach her was really quite interesting. What had she done to attract his attention? Even more so than during the test, that small civilian girl had done everything she could to blend in and not be noticed, so something must have happened.

To listen to them talk, though, it seemed like they had met at least once, which of itself was strange, since the Hyuga heir was not, as far as he knew, permitted to leave the family compound. Very strange.

He still had half an hour to his lunch break, and much as he wanted to go grab something to eat, this was at least somewhat interesting, if not entertaining. The brats in front of him, though, the two boys and the girl, were beginning to get on his nerves. Soon, if they didn't calm down, he was going to kick them out of the classroom...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2015, 02:51:41 PM »
Ibiki frowned lightly when Midori showed that dejected look at his refusal to pet her kitten -- the emotional response confused him. Left him uncertain on how to proceed. It had not been his intention to upset her, so perhaps it was best to leave her to tend to her 'Sunako'. But then she spoke again, told him that the offer was an open one, so he nodded in confirmation. "I see."

But she apparently wasn't done. Ibiki inclined his head a little when asked about the reason for his statement, pondered it briefly, then proceeded to explain: "We are trained to be spies and assassins. You don't seem the type to want to be …" the boy with the eerie-looking eyes trailed off, searching for the appropriate way to put it. He ended it somewhat unhappily with a 'that', having failed to come up with a more eloquent way to phrase his sentiment.

His features drew into a frown again when she mentioned his older relative. "Junji … I thought it was something like that," he muttered to himself, since he hadn't actually been sure what the man's name was at the time. Their clan was large and he didn't really knew all of the lesser ranks, especially not those who didn't actually live and train in the main house.

"If you're under the protection of one of our guards, you are safe," he confirmed, raising his head a little higher, even though it was he who had actually asked. Her next question left him confused again, however. "That … you should probably ask them yourself. Most fear our clan." He paused as a thought occurred to him, then briefly inclined his head backwards as if to indicate towards the teacher behind him. "There will probably be lessons about it."

Tired of holding the same position he loosened his hands again, allowed them to drop to his side. "The guard … Junji … is a member of our branch house. Like Misaki. Their duties are to serve the main clan," he continued slowly, eyes briefly darting towards his sibling as he mentioned her name. He wasn't really sure why he explained that part, yet was also oblivious to the effect it might have on his twin sister, who sat close and could hear them quite well.

Misaki still fumed silently and somehow very pointedly showed no reaction. Only the intense air around her seemed to increase, just a bit. She didn't need or care for the reminder and assumed that Ibiki was doing it to rub it in - just like he in turn assumed that she was still being angry at him for no reason.

After a moment of silence passed, he gave her a light bow -- more of an emphasized nod, really -- and turned away again, stepping towards the exit. It wasn't a duty, but he still had something he needed to attend to.

Purely by coincidence, or at least that's what most spectators might have assumed, Misaki buried her face in her arms as if she was taking a rest -- or just exhausted from the lesson. Behind the visual barrier, however, she focused briefly upon her white eyes, carefully molded the Chakra necessary, and activated the Byakugan to check where her brother was heading and if she needed to follow. Walls were no barrier to the all-seeing eye, after all, and when she saw where it was that he was headed she dismissed the technique with an annoyed sigh. She had no intention to watch him peruse the academy's lavatory facilities.

---

Ibiki returned after a short while, casually walked through the rows without paying any heed to the other pupils and sat down on his chair. He pulled his legs up into a lotus position and closed his eyes. For all intents and purposes, the boy looked like he was meditating -- in actuality he was quietly practicing his internal chakra molding. He had decided to use part of the overly long break for that purpose; after all, if the lessons took up most of the day, especially while they were at such a basic level, he would have to make up for the training he missed somehow.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2015, 12:32:11 AM »
Midori decided that she was probably talking too much again, too used to talking to Sunako or wanting too badly for someone to want to talk to her. Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi were always talking about her, or talking down to her, but never really talking to her, and it was getting very lonely, to be honest. It would be more lonely without Sunako, though, and so Midori figured maybe she should just focus on her kitten mostly, because otherwise she got nervous and so many words would just keep pouring out of her mouth.

It was a problem, Hyuga Misaki was right. She should be quiet. No one else spoke so much.

Still, though Hyuga Ibiki was much nicer than his relative, Hyuga Misaki. He still did not talk much, but seemed to not be so annoyed with how much just came out of her mouth. He said something about that this academy was to train them to be spies and assassins. That was what Hyuga Misaki had said too, but Midori had thought that she had meant that was what she was going to be, or something. Hearing it for the second time made it more.. confusing and yet sit better than the first time. Assassins? The small girl wasn't sure if she could do that: kill people. She did not like to hurt anyone, honestly. But, then again, she could probably do the spying part, maybe.

Plus that would mean traveling, wouldn't it? She liked to travel, and was good at that. She knew a lot of good ways to go that were fast and not well traveled. So maybe she would be good at being a spy, if not an assassin. It wasn't something she had ever thought about being, actually. But she had always thought she would be a trader like Father. But Father did not want her with him any more, and Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi didn't really want her either. So this was maybe a good direction, and a good skill set to learn, right?

The small girl frowned slightly, thinking a bit. She wanted to know why she did not seem the type to want to learn these skills, but was thinking that she needed to be better at not saying too much, again. So, instead, she nodded a little, quietly trying to stifle the urge to babble at him again. It was probably getting on his nerves, too, even if he didn't have a short fuse like Hyuga Misaki did.

It was weird that he didn't know his relative's name, even though he had been sent away by him. Midori frowned a little more. It would be rude to say that aloud, though, so she just petted Sunako gently and pretended she hadn't heard what he said.

And then she couldn't help herself, "I felt very safe with Hyuga Junji walking me to Uncle Kanetaro's shop." she nodded a little, wanting to reassure Hyuga Ibiki that she did not doubt that she had been safe. Funny that he didn't know why people would be afraid, so she just nodded again at his suggestion. She couldn't ask her Uncle or his wife, since they both didn't like to talk to her like she understood them. At least Father would talk to her like he would talk to anyone else. It felt like Uncle and especially his wife, both thought that she was nearly an infant in her understanding of the world. It was part of why she did not engage with them as much.

Eventually, Hyuga Ibiki seemed to relax a little, letting his arms drop, so Midori felt a little better, too. Perhaps she wasn't annoying him? Not so much, anyway?

Still, though, she did not know what to say about the explanation of branch house and main clan. So... they were of the same family but not of the same family? That was weird, right? Really weird. A split family, but a big family, even though not everyone knew everyone? And then one part of the family was servants to the other?

To Midori, it didn't seem right, and she frowned at that again, glancing slightly towards Hyuga Misaki. They looked so similar, were they siblings? That would make it weirder, that one was of the main clan and one was a servant. She'd be mad, too, if she had to serve a sibling.

...if she'd had siblings, which she did not.

Oh, Hyuga Ibiki was leaving. "Thank you for speaking with me, Hyuga Ibiki. I enjoyed our conversation." When she wasn't thinking she was messing up, she had liked talking with him, anyway. And maybe expressing that would encourage him to want to interact with her more? He dipped his head at her, sort of almost bowing, and so Midori did the same in return, even though it was a little awkward from her sitting position. It was what was polite, and sometimes she forgot about it, much to Father's upset. Usually she was good about remembering, but... well, being left in this village had upset some of her normal habits.

Hyuga Ibiki left, and Hyuga Misaki put her head down, as if to nap, maybe. Quietly, Midori watched her for a little while, wondering if she was upset, but the small girl knew from experience that trying to help the other girl would not go over well. Still, she watched her for a little while, before finally deciding that she shouldn't go over and check on her.

The three kids up front were being rowdy, and the more they got in teasing each other, the more and more cranky that Teacher became. His eyes narrowed and his jaw set until he finally stood and stalked over to them.

"Hey brats, this is my lunch period too. If you're gonna be disruptive, go play outside. I don't want this sort of noise in here. Period. Got it?!" at the end, he even yelled a little, his temper showing.

The girl eyed him a moment, she really did seem like maybe the ring-leader of their little group, before she bowed, mumbled a "Sorry, Teacher" and lead her two friends outside. They hastily bowed as well before hurrying after, though it seemed they wanted to run, they didn't because the girl didn't. Midori thought that was smart, since running would show they were afraid, and even if Teacher wouldn't hold that against them, maybe some of the other kids would.

Not that there were many witnesses. She was here, and so was Hyuga Misaki, though her head was down, and Hyuga Ibiki was returning just as the three were leaving. And then there was the small kid who sat by himself quietly. He'd been very still the whole time, so Midori thought maybe he was sleeping sitting up.

Maybe tomorrow she would bring something to do. Already she had read all of the books Miss Jinmi had gotten for her, so maybe she could bring some paper, and could practice her handwriting some more. Outside, she could see and hear a lot of the kids playing, but Midori wasn't really interested in going out there with them, either. And walking back to her Uncle's home for lunch seemed unnecessary, and it would be awkward with his wife there, too. So she would find something else to do and to occupy herself with.

For now, though, she leaned forward, resting her chin on her hands, and her elbows on her desk, and proceeded to wait, quietly watching anything else that happened in the classroom...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru really couldn't stand children. Who the hell thought putting him in charge of this first batch of kids was a good idea, anyway? Certainly not him. He hated kids, but he'd been pulled from active duty to recover from some internal injuries, not enough that they showed, any more, but a few good hits to the right spot and he'd rupture something-or-other and probably die. He hadn't really been paying attention to the medical babble, anyway. Stupid doctors. Always so cautious.

Eventually, the kids trailed back in, after a bit of a boring lunch break. An hour really was too long, but it had been bargained for by the council, who thought that many of the larger clans would prefer to have their children home for lunch. Shows what they knew: the Aburame and the two Hyuga had stayed for their lunch break and had no problem.

Maybe when he recovered enough, some other poor sap would be forced to teach these brats.

"Hey brats! Settle down. We're going outside now, I expect you to be orderly and quiet. Most of your physical abilities were already tested, so none of that today. We're gonna start with nine laps around the track." Okay, so if he had to stuffer, so did they. Most kids didn't have stamina for the three from the first test. Eventually, they'd get trained to the point where the nine would be no problem, but today... well, he was cranky, and he'd push them hard in this part. "Your physical fitness is just as important to your ability to mould chakra as your spiritual energy. To help grow your physical energy, you need to train. So, get running! Now!" was there something he was missing? Oh, yeah, "No chakra use! That would be cheating!"

Many of the kids jumped, and all started running. The small Yuhara girl was not as far in front as she had been the first time, which was interesting, he noted. Many of the kids from the tests that had made it ran at their same speed as before. She seemed to be pacing herself, though, which was smart for a civilian. Mostly only the brats from the various shinobi families or clans would have been taught to do that. She still had that tiny kitten she was carrying around, though. What a strange child...

____ ___ __ _

Midori held Sunako on her shoulder again, thinking over Hyuga Misaki's suggestion of a bag to strap to her chest to hold her kitten. It still seemed like the little thing would bounce around too much, though, if that had been the case. Sure, she bounced on her shoulder, too, but Sunako was able to sink her claws into the girl's shoulder to help herself hang on, so that was okay.

Nine laps was a lot, it was three times the amount they had had to run in the test, and Midori saw already some kids were going to have trouble. Mori Chizue had started running as fast as she could, but by the fourth lap was lagging toward the back. There were a few like that, while Midori tried to keep her pace steady. If she kept going at a medium pace, she'd be able to make it all nine laps without having to stop for breath. It also made the run smoother for Sunako, who was learning quickly how to hang on without needing to be held onto. Still, it would be a little while before Midori felt comfortable letting the kitten hang on all on her own.

Eventually, she finished her nine laps, and immediately decided that walking another one would help to keep her from wobbling and collapsing like many of the other kids did when they finished. There were quite a few who hadn't even finished their sixth lap by the time she was half way through walking around to cool down. And even when she finished, she walked around, shaking out her arms and stretching her back and trying hard not to give into the urge to lay in the grass. That was maybe the longest she'd ever run, but it felt good. Really, the small girl did like to run.

Sunako hummed softly in her ear, in her indicator that she was sleepy, so Midori tucked the furball back into her pocket, now that they weren't running any more.

By the time the rest of the kids finished up, Teacher jumped right into the next task, "Okay, brats, next is target practice. We're still starting with balls, like at the tests. I don't want anyone getting stabbed until later, understood?"

...Stabbed? Well, that made Midori wonder just what the balls were a replacement for...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2015, 06:42:05 AM »
If Misaki wasn't acting so strangely, Ibiki might have spent his break elsewhere with his own equivalent of 'playing' -- sparring with someone who could keep up. But as it was, he certainly wasn't about to ask any of the other pupils. Most would be unable to keep up and he wasn't about to demonstrate their family techniques that directly to some child prodigy of their biggest rival clan. Thus, practicing chakra molding would have to suffice.



Ibiki stepped out with the rest of the class, his expression guarded as always. It didn't really show on his face, but he was looking forward to this part - he had suffered through the earlier lessons by recalling and supplementing them with his own tutelage on the various subjects, but physical practice was always useful. Even if it wasn't enough to tire him out so that the previously untrained children wouldn't exhaust themselves, he could always increase the pace or give himself a handicap.

The white-eyed boy hadn't seen the track before, but once they arrived he carefully examined the area. They were supposed to run nine laps to start things off? Ibiki briefly gave a doubtful glance to their teacher, then let his gaze wander over the rest of the group trying to judge who might have problems -- the length was quite a bit, after all -- but ultimately didn't comment and lined up.

The strongest skills of the Hyuga Clan were surveillance and martial ability, making them excellent spies and assassins. Their prestige meant that they were rarely called upon for simple messenger duties, the main type of mission that required prolonged running. They trained in it, of course, to increase stamina, but their focus was elsewhere.

 It was one of the reasons Ibiki had been made to run more than ever before in the preparatory training he had been put through. A generalized curriculum would put no less emphasis on training for messenger duties than any other. As a result, Ibiki had learned to pace himself properly even for longer runs and made the nine laps flawlessly, but was perhaps more out of breath than what might be expected of him by the end.

Rather than walk another lap like Midori did, he dropped into a low stance, running motions flowing smoothly into a couple of precise kicks, followed by a brief Taijutsu meditation exercise that was done after an intense training session to calm mind and body.

Misaki's run had been odd -- it was obvious at times that she wanted to speed up, as evidenced by the subtle strain in her jaw muscles whenever someone passed her, but she kept pace for the entire time, staying just a little behind her brother. When they finished she was winded, but seemed comfortable with dropping to the ground with her legs splayed out. She wiped the sweat from beneath her headband, crossed her arms in front of her chest and dropped back onto her back.

----

Ibiki's eyes snapped towards their instructor when he called for their attention again. His little exercise had served him well and his breathing had quickly returned to normal, but his eagerness when he heard that they would be doing target practice was quickly disappointed when Noboru added the stipulation that they would be using balls of some sort. Thinking again, the targets would probably not be that hard to hit, either.

The black-haired boy sighed and lined up, resigned to another simple task.

The reaction from his twin was eerily similar, though Misaki huffed when she noticed and quickly looked away. For all their differences in personality, there were some subtle movements and expressions in which they almost mirrored each other.

Both of them were well-practiced with throwing weapons, reflexes honed by hours upon hours of training. Neither of them expected anything but a perfect record -- unless, of course, their teacher added some sort of trick to vex them.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2015, 10:20:47 PM »
It was so stupid that the children had to use balls to practice with. Sure, Noboru had made it sound like his idea, but really, it was the Council, again. He'd determined, and the rest of the teachers of the other tallent-levels agreed that it was most likely so that the Council didn't have to worry about some untrained civilian kid accidentally hitting one of the children of the important clans. As if the instructors weren't trained shinobi who knew the proper way to teach weapon safety.

Whatever.

At least he wasn't the only one annoyed; he could tell that the students with training were frustrated too. No shinobi clan in their right mind started with throwing balls. If kids started with the real thing, they learned better. But at least with one day of this bullshit, he'd fulfilled the Council's request that they start with non-dangerous target practice. One day was a start, wasn't it?

Noboru sure thought so.

The kids, well some of them anyway, hadn't done too poorly during their run. The Aburame had done well, paced himself and stayed the same speed the whole way, as had the Hyuuga boy, though the girl clearly wished to run faster, she had stayed behind her brother. She was from the branch house, so she probably wasn't permitted to show up her sibling; that probably was a major factor in her attitude, actually. The Inuzuka had done well too: he'd been quite fast, and outpaced everyone, actually. He seemed to enjoy running. The Yuhara girl had done well too, maintaining her speed: she'd come in just before the rowdy Nara girl, and then walked an extra lap, while the Nara had plopped down in the grass with her friend. The third one of that little group was struggling to keep running, and kept dropping to a sloppy jog or a walk every so often, gasping for breath. He'd done well at first, actually, but by the sixth lap he seemed to have reached his limit. Most of the rest of them seemed to have too.

Still, making them run so long had killed a lot of time, and accomplished some good training lessons as well. Two birds with one stone, or so the saying went. It would also be interesting to see if the kids would be able to do well in target practice just after running for so long and being mostly out of breath and exhausted.

Again, he had the kids line up in front of the targets, and gave them each three yellow balls to throw at them. He wasn't even really watching them individually to see how they did this time, "Okay, brats! You each get three balls, when its your turn at the front, throw them at the target, then wait until everyone's done, I'll tell you you can go pick yours up, then go to the back of the line. Then, next in line get to go on my mark. Got it? Okay, go!" This would get them all trained up so none of them stupidly walked into the line of fire when they started with the kunai tomorrow. Not that they needed to know that, but he needed to see just who was going to be stupid enough that he'd have to keep an eye on them.

He let the target practice go for nearly an hour, secretly quite pleased with how bored most of the kids looked. The ones that had gotten in, most of them had pretty good hand-eye coordination, and there weren't too many misses. Then again, they were throwing balls, it wasn't too hard to hit a target with a spherical object. So, when he thought they just couldn't take it any more, he decided to move on to the last bit. They still had about two hours left, so that would be a good bit of time to start their Taijutsu training.

"Hey Brats! Come here in an orderly fashion and put the balls away" he stood near the container that he had pulled them out of, "Then, everyone over to the field. I'm gonna have you line up in a nice, orderly grid formation, with two meters between yourself and the next person on both your sides, in front of you, and behind you." Well, then he had to go and adjust them all, since a few of them seemed to have no idea how much space two meters were. How annoying. Once that was over, he moved so that he was in front of the kids.

"Okay, now you brats are gonna learn some simple Taijutsu katas. I'm gonna go through it slow, and you're gonna copy my movements. Then, we'll go through them again and again. Eventually, I'll have you doing them on your own, and I'll be correcting your form, got it?" he watched as almost all the kids nodded, now, instead of speaking up. It seemed like they were learning, that was a pretty good sign, all things considered. So once he went through the simple movements, and the group was following along on time all on their own, he went about to the kids who needed correcting, helping them hold the forms properly before moving on...

____ ___ __ _

Midori found herself frustrated. The running and the throwing of the balls went pretty well, actually. She'd figured it out at the testing, so it was pretty easy to hit the targets this time, since she remembered how she'd done it before. The problem was these new movements. Repeating over and over. And still, Teacher kept coming back to her and changing how she was holding herself. It was her feet. She always seemed to be standing wrong, and she'd correct, but then by the time Teacher came back around, she was doing it wrong again. And again. And again. Sunako had to be moved up to her shoulder again, because some of the movements were sort-of like slow kicks. The first time she did one, Sunako almost fell out. But she hung onto her shoulder pretty well, even with the movements.

How was she going to prove to Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi that she could graduate this academy if she couldn't even stand right?

But, eventually, it was over. Everything else went really good, except the last part. What had Teacher called it? Taijutsu katas? Maybe she'd have to practice them at Uncle's house to get better? She could do that. Teacher dismissed them, and most of the kids, she saw, just started wandering home, most of them were with their friends they seemed to hang out with. But, her lunch box was in the classroom still, so the hurried back into the building after Teacher, though he either didn't notice or didn't care. Maybe he knew that she was getting her lunch, since she had done it last time too.

Into the classroom, quickly to her seat to pull the box out from under it, and then back out. Though, she did turn to Teacher, bow, and say  "Thank you, Teacher." in farewell, before making her way back outside. Her legs were a little tired, but for the most part, she felt pretty good. And, except for the bit at the end, she'd thought that she had done pretty well too. And when she got back to her Uncle's house, she could practice some more, since she had at least figured out how she was supposed to hold her feet, even if she couldn't seem to keep them that way.

Quietly, Midori exited the building, looking around to see if anyone was still outside; it would let her know if she needed to avoid anyone on her way to Uncle Kanetaro's house...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2015, 06:31:07 AM »
Ibiki stared at the small round object in his hand suspiciously. A simple small ball, for throwing, neither weighted for extra impact nor balanced for a clean throw, it wasn't exactly the sort of missile he was used to. Senbon-needles, kunai, knives and even cutlery, those he would have thrown in a heartbeat. This soft thing he wasn't so sure about, squeezing it in his palm as if to assert that it was real.

"Oh, get over it," Misaki huffed as she stepped up in front of the target, having been placed just before him into the line. She didn't waste any time weighing the ball or considering how it might affect her aim. She didn't even waste time throwing them individually, one in her left, two between the fingers of her right -- the young Hyuga girl released them in a wide wave of her arms, each hitting the center in rapid succession. The second she had thrown with her right hand was ever so slightly off, but not so that most would notice.

Ibiki commented with a slightly disgruntled 'hmm'. He had noticed -- eyesight was their forte, after all -- but didn't really think anything of it. Instead, he threw one ball lightly in the air to test it again, or perhaps just to be stubborn, then flung them the plain regular way. One by one, they hit their target. Moving to collect them after the command was given, he lined back up with a resigned expression on his face. He had already accepted that this school sessions would take awhile until they would be more than a lesson in self-control.

Misaki experimented a few more times with different types of throws, but eventually grew bored and just followed along until it was over.

Perhaps they were starting to bond again over their suffering, but the taijutsu training surprisingly went without any hateful glares between the Hyuga twins as both of them perfectly mirrored their teacher. Misaki would have preferred to hold herself differently to compensate for her different build and size, but she understood that deviation would be problematic at this point. Others might see her doing it and, thinking that the renowned Taijutsu specialists would be correct, imitate her and get their basics wrong.

-----

In front of the school stood a man in a splendid white robe, tall and with hardened muscles visible beneath his sleeves. His head was bald and much of its top covered by old nasty-looking burn scars. He gazed firmly at the building, his expression severe, his arms crossed in front of his chest. His eyes were the same as Ibiki's, the same as Misaki's, clearly a Hyuga. Their familial resemblance was there, though the lack of hair, scars and age did not make his immediate relationship as their father obvious.

Hyuga Issun briefly unfocused his eyes, examined the lithe girl who had just stepped outside without looking at her, and decided she was another civilian recruit. Without comment, he moved past her to step inside the building. He had business with the school's assigned supervisor regarding their contribution and decided to use the opportunity to examine this place that his children would now frequent with his own eyes rather than have the man come to him, as he had before.

------

Neither Ibiki nor Misaki had noticed their father when they had left just a little before he arrived. They were walking back towards the Hyuga compound at a leisurely pace, in silence -- Ibiki kind of wanted to say something, but her sister's firm silence made him reluctant to do so. And it was probably better to think of the training ahead. Now that most of their days were occupied by the school, the private tutoring and combat lessons would have to take place in the evenings. At least they would be reduced to what they had been before his intense preparation regimen, out of simple necessity. Even a Hyuga heir had to sleep sometime.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2015, 04:09:30 AM »
There was someone outside, and though Midori did not even come close to almost running into him, she stepped to the side and dipped her head respectfully, "Excuse me, Hyuga Sir." she managed to say, before hurrying on her way. He'd had the same eyes as Hyuga Misaki and Hyuga Ibiki and also Hyuga Junji, so he was probably another relation. Hopefully, she did not guess wrong about his family name, but then again, he hardly even seemed to notice her anyway. Besides which, the man seemed very serious, so besides her brief words, she hustled on her way back towards Uncle Kanetaro's house.

Actually, running seemed like maybe a good idea: it wasn't far, and it seemed like Teacher was going to have them run a lot. It had been part of the test, and they had done it again today, so getting better at running would be good, wouldn't it? She was already not too bad at it, but not better than some of the other kids.

Yes. That seemed to be a good idea.

With a small nod to herself at her decision, Midori started off at a quick jog, then carefully increased her speed to a full-out run. This was more than she had done during the run at the Academy, because she had farther to go and did not need to pace herself. So it was as she ran full-tilt that she came upon Hyuga Ibiki and Misaki after just a bit of time, though they had started quite a bit ahead of her. Of course, her reflexes were pretty good, so she kept herself from running into either of them, and just sort of used her last few steps to slow back down with a sort of jarring stop.

"Uhm,, Hi Hyuga Ibiki and Hyuga Misaki. Sorry if I bothered you..." Now, for some reason, Midori felt sort of embarrassed, and quickly looked to make sure she hadn't kicked up any dirt after her abrupt stop. It didn't seem like she had, but now she didn't know what to do. To run past them would have been rude, but then stopping made it seem like she'd been rushing to catch up, which implied that she thought they were good enough acquaintances to walk home together, which... well, was also rude. And now she was stuck awkwardly trying to figure out if she should continue home or if she should walk with them until their paths would part.

That meant, though, that she had to figure out which would be right to do, which meant asking. Hyuga Misaki would probably be annoyed, but Midori was not sure how Hyuga Ibiki would respond, since he was mostly polite but not really emotional in any way, it was hard to tell how he might react to... well, anything, actually. But.. part of being an adult meant that she had to do things that made her worried and uncomfortable.

"Um... can I... can I maybe walk with you two until I have to turn to go to Uncle Kanetaro's house?" Because if she wanted to maybe make friends, she should sound like she wanted to spend time with them, right? There was really no other good way to phrase her words without upsetting someone, she thought. And it was true: she didn't want to be alone, really, but without being invited, it seemed weird to ask to tag along. Having friends would be nice, maybe; she hadn't really had friends before, so the small girl wasn't quite sure if she would like it or not, but it seemed like a good thing.

And, besides, she wasn't really in a hurry to get to Uncle Kanetaro's house anyway, because then she would just be there with Miss Jinmi, and she would have to figure out how not to upset her again with her only partially-eaten lunch. Actually, Midori found herself wishing she had someone to share it with, since that would solve that problem pretty well. But, last time she had tried to share, she'd upset Hyuga Misaki, and so she was pretty wary to offer to share with anyone else. It was probably something that wasn't normal to do, so she wouldn't any more...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru sighed to himself as he began working on his report on the first day and the starting base for the potential ninja. It was, really, somewhat premature, but knowing where the students started was important, and even he could see that through his annoyance. As predicted, the students from the major and minor clans had done very well, though only the Aburame and Hyuga children had their discipline really perfected. Of course, they did very well over all in every aspect, especially the physical training. All in all, though, they all had potential, even if many of the students had no experience and were quite rough.

Unfortunately, he hadn't been able to have final say in his class, so some he would have cut for one reason or another had made it through, but it seemed, when he spoke to the instructors, that that was pretty typical. Seemed that the new council was really looking for as many new recruits as possible, so the standards were lowered.

Typical.

Well, he supposed they would either shape up or be weeded out eventually...


Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2016, 03:46:14 AM »

Chapter 1: Team Building


After that first day of classes, things seemed to settle more into a routine. Well, as far as Midori could see, anyway: Miss Jinmi would make her lunch before class, she would walk to the Academy early and get into class first or nearly first and sit in her spot, play with Sunako a bit so the kitten would be tired out and sleep for most of class, the first half would be theory and history and all sorts of information, and then the second half of class would be physical training. Then, when class was over, she would take the rest of her lunch from the classroom and hurry to catch up with Ibiki and Misaki to walk most of the way home with them.

Mostly, at first, the Hyuga siblings hadn't interacted with her much when they walked together, but Midori sort of thought they were almost friends anyway. Misaki was always on the edge of being angry, but Ibiki was just quiet and polite, which was nice. And after Misaki had gotten mad and yelled at her one day for needing more practice, she'd started to train with Misaki.For some reason, Ibiki was not allowed to join them, even though he'd asked and Midori had thought it'd be nice to have more than just her and Misaki, especially since the other girl still sort of seemed like she didn't really like spending time with her.

But, training with Misaki was actually pretty fun, except for the katas, which she was not very good at, no matter how much Misaki corrected her. It was enough to pass for the Academy when they had exams, but not really that great for close quarters combat. But what she was good at was accuracy with projectiles; kunai first, then shruken when she showed talent in that, and then senbon, because it was the most accurate and precise tool, and Midori found she liked being accurate. It also made her feel more like maybe Misaki sort of liked being friends with her, even if she seemed angry a lot.

Midori was pretty sure that she and Misaki and Ibiki were friends, and neither of them were like most of the other kids, who were loud and boisterous and intimidating for Midori. Except Aburame Makoto seemed nice, very quiet, but nice. Not that she interacted with the other student much at all.

Eventually, Miss Jinmi had given birth, too, so now she had a little cousin, Yuuhei. Mostly he called her Big Sister and liked to try to play with her, and his favorite was waking her up in the mornings before she left for the Academy, and he was always waiting for her to come home after training with Misaki. Every time, as part of the routine, he asked if he could go with, and she'd say to him "wait until you're a little older". Then, the next day he'd say he was older and could he go with her now.

Miss Jinmi didn't seem to think he should go to the Academy, and kept trying to distract him with activities, but Yuuhei seemed to like the idea of going with Midori more than spending time with his mother or father. Midori knew that, when he was older, he was going to be loud and boisterous, like the kids who made her nervous. But, he was very cute as a three-year-old, and she liked spending time with him, even if he did like to wake her up by jumping on her and then running away screaming.

Today was no different, and the small child jumped on her stomach, shrieked "Get up! Get up, Midori!" then jumped off of her and ran from the room, continuing to yell, "Mommy! Midori is awake!" as he bolted into the room, his heavy footfalls echoing down the hallway.

For such a small child, he sure made a lot of noise when running.

Sunako, who wasn't really so small any more, wedged herself out from behind the bookcase, where she always managed to squish herself when she heard Yuuhei coming. The not-really-a-kitten-any-more was quite good at hiding from the little boy, and seemed rather annoyed by his attention most of the time.

Today was going to be a bit different, though, since she would find out what team, if any, she would be assigned to today. Teacher had told them that the last few weeks had been assessing them, and those who would graduate would be doing so today.

She hadn't told Uncle Kanetaro or Miss Jinmi about that yet; if she failed out then they'd be happy, but if she showed them wrong and graduated, she was pretty sure they'd be upset. And, really, she hadn't figured out how to tell them either way, anyway. She'd been working hard to get good enough to graduate and join a genin team. Mostly, at first, it was to show her Uncle and his wife that she could do well and that they were wrong to think that she wouldn't be able to do it. But then she sort of started to like it: besides the running, she liked being accurate with the senbon and working on jutsu and chakra control. Also, being a spy didn't seem like that bad a thing, and she could probably work up to being an assassin. Maybe.

Yeah, probably.

So the morning went like usual, and she got to the classroom early, as was also usual. Aburame Makoto was the only one there, and Midori nodded her head at the other girl as she walked by, but thought probably it would be best not to say anything: she knew what it was like to be shy, and didn't want to make the other student uncomfortable.

Eventually, Teacher started the class, and he was still as cranky as ever.

"Good, brats. Looks like everyone's here. Now, Today's not even really a full class day, got it? I'm gonna read off your groups, if you made it, that is, and those that didn't are gonna get outta here and go home or whatever, and the rest'll stay for their new Jounin instructor. Got it?" The entire class nodded, having learnt their lesson rather early on about that.

"Okay. So the first passing team is: Aburame Makoto, Inuzuka Tadaaki, and Nara Miyu. Second Team is: Yamanaka Mikia, Komori Shun, and Mori Chizue. The third team is: Hyuga Ibiki, Hyuga Misaki, and Yuhara Midori. The rest of you didn't make it. Maybe if you stick around another year you'll be re-assessed, but for now get outta here." he waited while the few who didn't pass left the room, while Midori found herself simultaneously relieved and excited. She'd made it, and would get to stay with Ibiki and Misaki, too, which was nice since she and Misaki trained together a lot and Ibiki was pretty nice. She'd been worried that she might get set with Inuzuka Tadaaki or Nara Miyu, who were both so loud.

Eventually, a lady came in and called out for the first team, listing their names off. Then, an older guy did the same for the second team, and both lead them away. As soon as the second team was gone, Teacher left the room and another man came in. He had blue eyes and a dark red-ish hair, and he immediately smiled and lifted his hand in greeting.

"Yo, last ones left, huh? Must be my team; two Hyuga, Ibiki and Misaki, and then Yuhara Midori must be the girl with the cat, huh?"

Midori decided he was weird, he was sort of talking to them, sort of talking at them, and sort of talking like there was someone else there that he was talking to about them. But, at least he wasn't calling them 'brats' like Teacher liked to.

"I'm your Jounin instructor, Kobayashi Ryuu. If you want, you can just call me Ryuu, I'm not nearly as grouchy as Noboru, after all. And, last ones, we get the classroom to ourselves for a while, which is great. So.. I read the files on you three, but I wanna know about you from you. What're ya good at, and what about your teammates? How much have you observed about them? You might be Genin, but it's never too early to start working out how to best be effective as a team, since that's what you'll be unless you make it to Jounin eventually." Casually, he hopped up to sit on Teacher's desk, and really reminded Midori of Sunako for a moment. Especially since the gangly almost-cat was still curled up on her own desk, watching the man while her tail flicked back and forth lazily.

"Why doesn't Misaki start, huh?" The easy-going man turned his attention towards her, his expression overly friendly, even if he was doing that weird way of talking again...


Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2016, 07:21:08 AM »
As the names of those who had passed were read aloud, Ibiki sat in class, hands on the table and back straight as always. The Hyuga heir had a calm, collected expression on his face and appeared almost bored with the current situation - there was certainly no anxiety or doubt there.

The truth was, he already knew all too well who would pass and who wouldn't, as far as skills and achievements went. Any political or financial concerns that might have been part of the equation for letting people attend the school would be weeded out here - actual Genin duties were dangerous and would not be wasted on those who could not handle them.

Obviously, he and his sister were in; as was the Aburame girl, towards whom he briefly leveled a glare as he thought of her. It still nagged at him that she had been able to disguise her true gender from his all-seeing Hyuga eyes for as long as she had. But all three of them had one thing in common: they probably could have skipped straight to this step, right from the beginning. They had learned many things over the last few years, of course. Some techniques, a few fields of education they had not touched before due to age, but particularly teamwork and teamwork with those of very different skillsets, which naturally they could not train for as easily within their highly specialized clans.

The loud-mouthed pair of friends, Miki and Shun, who stuck together like glue . Well, boyfriend and girlfriend now, as Yamanaka had made sure to stake her claim and tell everyone at every opportunity, much to the boy's growing embarrassment. Ibiki thought of such things as distractions at best and a weakness at worst, but their skill and teamwork was passable.

There were Tadaaki and Miyu -- Inuzuka and Nara, to Ibiki -- who seemed to have taken a shining to Aburame. They weren't just tag-alongs. They had genuine skill. The Mori girl, too, but Ibiki had not paid her too much attention. She wasn't loud or annoying like the Yamanaka-Komori pair, nor an exception like the Aburame prodigy.

And Midori, of course. He had seen potential in her from the beginning, but it had really crystalized lately. Especially with Misaki helping her out -- he had volunteered as well but to his growing frustration had been denied by his sister. He still had no clue why Misaki kept blaming him for everything and had grown fed up with it long ago.

Despite Kiko's attempts to lessen the impact of his father's lessons, his annoyance with his sister only fed into the notions of superiority and elitism that the man sought to foster in his son. It was a good thing that he had first encountered Midori when he did -- if they had run into each other for the first time now, he probably would have barely spared her a glance. Now, she was perhaps the sole exception, and he had begun to actually treat Misaki like his bodyguard in public. She was still his sister and he eased up when they were with Midori, both siblings did, but there was always this underlying tension between them.

It was a concerning development to those who considered him friends or hoped for more equal treatment for the branch clan in the future. His father couldn't be more proud, of course, being a traditionalist - and whilst the patriarch at times felt concern for his disavowed daughter, his sense of duty bade him to disregard it.

When their names were finally announced with the third and last team, Ibiki wasn't really surprised -- they were the only ones left over. He had almost expected to be put together with Makoto -- that he and Misaki would be placed together had never been in question considering her assignment, even though there might have been choices that would better complement his skills  -- but it was Midori instead. They were taking personal relations into account for some reason, it seemed, since all teams had somehow incorporated those who had grouped together more closely over the years. This was the only actual surprise about it. He wasn't displeased by any means at the selection - they already worked well together and getting along wouldn't be a problem.



Misaki stared at their teacher with a glare as he read those names. To be fair, she was really only watching him attentively, but her expression had always been and still remained rather intense most of the time. Unlike her brother she had no interest in figuring out who might have made it and who wouldn't -- she only really cared about one name in that list. Just like her brother, she knew fully well both Hyuga twins would be on there, so that was barely an afterthought, until finally the last name was called. Midori's. As their teacher read it, her expression finally eased up a little -- her lips inched into a smile -- a smug one, but still a rare smile.

After all, she had invested quite some time into training with Midori, whom by now she considered a friend. It wouldn't do if she didn't pass as well, even if she had originally considered her a nuisance and decided to help her simply because she couldn't stand watching her stumble around anymore -- that was how she remembered it, anyway. That they were both outcasts and lonely despite being surrounded by 'family' at home and really could use the company wasn't something she liked to acknowledge. It was a weakness and she didn't like to be weak. Ever. There was already enough of a distance in skill between her and her brother that she couldn't afford it -- she had taken extra classes in medical skills and techniques to compensate, had trained like a madwoman with the senbon needles, sometimes together with Midori, to compensate for the relative lack of training she was receiving in the Hyuga techniques compared to Ibiki, but she never felt it was enough.

So, even now, she was still angry at her brother. She had come to understand that her situation wasn't his fault, that he had never really had a choice in the matter, but it still sat wrong with her that he received all the attention, all the praise.

Hence their little group of three -- now actually Team three, for the foreseeable future, was an odd gathering of tension, uncertainty and -- nonetheless -- friendship. Even if she didn't like to show it. Especially not towards Ibiki. But with Midori around she could relax her guard a little without feeling like she was giving up.



The years had come and gone and while they were identical twins, the beginnings of puberty had made them more easy to tell apart. Misaki had gained some slight female curves -- not a lot, she was still slim and her chest was barely larger than Midori's -- and her robes now incorporated some slightly fancier designs. On some occasions, when she wasn't on bodyguard duty (where being mistaken for her brother at a distance was advantageous), she also liked to put some rouge on her lips, though she never put anything beneath her eyes or on her lids. Perhaps makeup didn't agree with her eye techniques.

Ibiki, on the other hand, had put on more muscle than her -- his jaw was a little stronger, as were his eyebrows -- few would mistake him for a girl, though for disguise purposes he could pull it off as long as he remained quiet. This was the greatest change and difference between them, sex aside: their voices. His had gotten deep for his age and would probably grow similar to the intimidating tone of his father soon enough, whereas Misaki's was much lighter. Her manner of speaking wasn't exactly feminine, but her voice clearly was.

Thus, when their new Jounin instructor came in, it was unlikely that he would confuse them -- unlike in the beginning of classes, when it happened more than a few times.

As soon as the odd-looking man with red-ish hair entered, Misaki stood up from her table and stepped over to Midori's instead, where she propped herself against the right front corner and crossed her arms in front of her. She was clearly appraising their new and future teacher while he talked.

Ibiki remained seated -- his table was right in front of Midori's anyway, so there wasn't really any need to move to make things easier on the man. He was also studying this 'Kobayashi Ryuu', but with more of a curious expression than the nigh-defiance Misaki liked to employ (which stood in an odd contrast to her very professional conduct when it came to missions, training and all manner of duties).

Neither of them responded to the greeting, of course. Not until they were individually acknowledged. She briefly released her defensive posture to indicate a formal bow -- right hand closed into a fist, embraced by the left to accompany it -- and began to speak. "Instructor," she greeted the man. "Hyuga Misaki, of the Hyuga branch family. Age twelve. I specialize in the Hyuga family techniques, the Byakugan and Juuken open palm combat. To compensate for my lack of advanced training, I have studied medical skills and throwing needles."

She kept it curt. Professional. Listing her skills without going into greater detail about them. How exactly the family techniques worked and the real specifics were still a clan secret, after all, even if the current age moved towards a more open attitude and at least the extent of their practical uses would grow more commonly known with every passing year.

She paused, then glanced towards her brother. "Hyuga Ibiki. My brother, same age, of the main clan. Heir to the Hyuga techniques." The words tasted bad on her tongue, but she still continued to list them without apparent emotion. "More skilled at them than I am, with knowledge of advanced techniques. No additional skills outside the clan techniques and the standard curriculum, but excels at both. I am assigned as his bodyguard by order of the clan head. No notable weaknesses to exploit outside of inexperience and young age. If I was to target him, I would require backup to wear him down, or use poison traps."  She was tempted to say something about his excessive pride, or add a small barb, but pushed the thought away. Instead, she continued, with Midori.

For a moment as she considered her words and the damage they might do to her relationship with the shy girl and hesitated, a brief moment. But she had always placed her duties above all else -- and answering her superior to her best ability was one of those.

"Yuhara Midori. Child of a traveling merchant, raised here by her uncle and aunt of the same but settled profession. One infant brother. Highly intelligent, but too introspective. Professional conduct beyond the other civilian recruits. Compensates for weak taijutsu with throwing techniques, with which she is well above average, and is good at keeping her distance." She mulled the addition over for a moment, then continued: "She is very attached to her pet, which would be my first target if I had to go after her."

"We practiced outside class to improve on her foundations and taijutsu, so we are familiar with our respective combat movement and should work well together," she finished on a more positive note -- or so she thought, anyway. When she glanced back again at Midori she looked like she regretted her cold assessment a little -- anyone else would probably have missed it, but reading the subtleties of their very subdued displays of emotion was something that came with the territory of being a friend to the twins.

Her gaze then returned to the Jounin, waiting to see if he wanted her to expound on anything or if he was satisfied with what she had shared.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2016, 03:36:03 AM »

His group was so quiet, it was kinda strange. The three young Genin simply watched him as he entered and greeted them. Well, Hyuga Misaki had moved to Yuhara Midori's table, either simply to group together better, or as a sign of solidarity with her new teammate reamained to be seen. Interestingly, the movement did not seem to really enhance her ability to act as bodyguard to the Hyuga heir, which was her 'primary duty' as dictated by the clan head. Still, their lack of reaction to his entrance and greeting was just...different.

Then again, Noboru was grouchy and had probably trained his students not to make much noise; he'd had three years to do it, after all. Though, with what he'd read from Noboru about these three, they hadn't ever been especially outgoing. That was a shame, but not necessarily bad. Meant they paid more attention to direction than not, probably. So, a good thing.

But what else should he expect from the Hyuga heir and his sister? The other one had been observed interacting with and spending a lot of time with them as well, so it would track that she would pick up more of their habits, too.

The cat would probably be a problem eventually. Unless it could be trained, but cats were notoriously difficult, especially if she had not already started. There was no indication that she had.

That the new genin were grouped by their social ties was a fairly smart move, he thought: without rivalries or difficulty getting along, it would make the teamwork that much stronger, and help to make each team specialized. How they would specialize would remain to be seen, but for the first ever group of graduating genin, it was a smart move. Not that the Hokage would do anything other than the smart thing. There was a reason he was the leader, and the strength he had was not just in combat prowess, but in the ability to strategize and plan and see the best path to take.

And so it was his job to mould this younger generation into a group who could participate in the Hokage's plan.

As he spoke, they all gave him their full attention, if in their own ways. Hyuga Ibiki seemed genuinely curious, but his sister was very defensive and seemed almost..protective of Yuhara Midori. Especially with how she had positioned herself at the desk, her folded arms, and the way she assessed him before he even spoke. Likely, Midori would differ to the twins in most situations, and while she likely would not like to, Misaki would differ to her brother due to duty only. That would force him into a leadership position; even now he was situated in front of the two girls. Ryuu could not quite decide if he thought that Ibiki realized that yet or not. He had the opportunity to grow into an effective leader, but he had been observed being dismissive of others outside his very small social circle.

From Noboru's observations, not one of the three were very social with anyone else, in contrast with most of the other students and new genin.

When asked to describe herself and her teammates, Hyuga Misaki pulled out of her defensive attitude and professionally and efficiently evaluated not only herself, but her brother and her teammate. Part of what he was doing was seeing their ability to observe and then relay data, but also it was interesting to watch the reactions of the other two to Misaki's words. He'd picked her first, of course, because she was known to be accurate to the point of being bluntly unkind: this would be a good indication of how they would interact with one another...

____ ___ __ _

Secretly, it pleased Midori to no end that Misaki moved to be closer to her when Instructor Ryuu entered the room. Misaki liked to act annoyed a lot, especially with her, but by now Midori was pretty sure that the other girl liked being friends with her. Even when they'd first met, she had sort of reached out in her awkward and aggressive way. Why else would she have spent time to help her train and get better? For a long time, Misaki had intimidated her, even sort of scared her a little, but Midori thought that that was a lot of her own reaction to feeling lonely. And Midori knew what it was to be lonely.

She thought maybe Ibiki did too. Maybe that was why the three of them got along?

Well, Misaki was always sort of tense around Ibiki, and more angry. The best times were when it was the two of them, though it seemed, sort of, that Misaki was less actually-angry lately, and more so because she was just used to being that way now. Soon, maybe, she would let go of that too. Midori really hoped that they would be able to get along better at some point, and she tried so hard to help them do so. Which was hard, because Ibiki was treating her less and less like family, and Midori had no idea why, let alone how to fix it. Because she knew that Misaki did not like it, and that was probably why she was staying angry for so long.

Maybe.

Ibiki was a pretty good friend too, though. They were her first and only friends, besides Sunako, and so the newly-minted genin really tried to take care of them, in so much as she was able. Especially since they were so much more capable than she was.

It was so very like Misaki to point out how she would target them when she was evaluating skills; to Midori, it seemed like Misaki was always looking for everyone's weak point. What was unlike her was the way she sort of paused before moving on to talk about Midori. Well, that, and that she thought that Yuuhei was still an infant. An infant could hardly fling himself onto her stomach with as much flair and velocity as her cousin could, but she was also pretty sure that Misaki hadn't ever really seen him, though she probably had heard him screaming her name when she came home sometimes. His high-pitched little voice was deceptive.

She'd never known that Misaki thought she was 'highly intelligent': the praise made her flush a little and stare at her friend. The comment about targeting Sunako (and she knew that Misaki knew the cat's name) was surprising but also not: it was very Misaki, anyway, and easy enough to let go.

By the time Misaki looked back at her, Midori was still staring at her, and a bit flushed, but as soon as she realized her friend was feeling bad for her words, she smiled slightly, enough to let her know that she wasn't hurt by what was said at all. Most of that she already knew, anyway. Except that Misaki, who was so amazing at everything important, thought she was intelligent, and that she was good at not getting too close when fighting. Which she'd always thought was a bad thing, but it didn't seem that Misaki thought it was bad.

"That was a very thorough assessment, thank you Misaki. Yuhara Midori, do you have anything to add?" the small girl blinked, returning her attention to Instructor Ryuu.

How could she follow that up? Misaki had covered almost everything. Frowning a moment, Midori sifted through his original question. Observations. She had observations about her friends, though some seemed sort of personal: like Misaki being sort of mad at Ibiki but probably it was really that she was hurt by how he acted. And how Ibiki seemed like he was confused by Misaki being angry with him, so he was mostly frustrated at her. Those were things that she thought Instructor Ryuu didn't need to know, and if he did want to now, he could figure that out for himself.

So.. observations. Yeah, okay. She could do that.

"I think, Instructor Ryuu, that Misaki covered most of the technical parts, and she's really good at analyzing skills and weaknesses. For observations, because you asked for some of those too, I know that Ibiki only eats nutritious food, and nothing really fun or frivolous, so I haven't figured out what food he likes yet. Misaki likes hanami dango the best. But they both like to train with other people, doing sparring, except that it's hard for them to find peers who can do a good job at that..."

She paused a moment, "I think katas are boring too, though." especially since she still had so much trouble with them and had to do them more than everyone else to keep at a passing level at the Academy.

"Also, Ibiki is very formal, and I think has an easier time talking to more important people," like his father, who Midori found to be super intimidating, but she was polite and was mostly sure that she had never done anything to actively annoy the man. "And Misaki is always honest, and sometimes seems unkind when she is really just not worrying about disguising her meaning, which is a good thing in some situations too. Misaki is more quick to actively defend, while Ibiki is more prone to wait and observe more before choosing an action..." It was hard to put into words what she meant, but even when she first met them, Misaki had been quick to defend herself by pushing back at everyone, while Ibiki had been curious but very reserved and observant.

"What about you, then?" Instructor Ryuu was hard to read, but now that they had been talking, he seemed very interested and focused, and much less..weird.

"I'm not really... not really good at interacting with my peers, but I do pretty good with adults, I think." she nodded once for emphasis, still not sure if she'd done that right. All of it was things she'd observed, or thought she'd figured out about her friends from their behavior, but she'd never actually said it out loud before. Maybe they wouldn't like it?

Now it was her turn to glance at her friends, Misaki and then Ibiki, to see if they were upset by her words.

For a moment, she thought maybe Instructor Ryuu was waiting for her to say more, but he nodded after a second of thought, "I see. Ibiki, is there anything else you'd like to add? If not, I'll move ya right along to the physical evaluation. We'll run down to the forrest, and you'll be tasked with defeating me. The evaluation will begin the moment we enter the training grounds. Your objective is to retrieve the object I have tucked in my pouch before your time is up. So.. anything ta add before we go?" he leveled his gaze on Ibiki, making sure to give the boy a chance to speak up if he were somehow put-off by the lack of a chance to truly add anything to either side of the situation...


Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2018, 07:21:24 AM »
Misaki had an odd expression on her face after that -- angry, but … good angry? She wasn't upset, but there was something ominous about it. The kind of look she had when she was about to come up with a new training exercise.

In fact, that was exactly it. Between all Midori had said, there was one topic Misaki was particularly invested in -- an activity that Midori had just called 'boring'. Now the Hyuga would have to put in some extra effort to ensure that the next kata exercise would not be boring, wouldn't she?

"… and she is too quick to apologize for herself and others." the girl then said entirely out of turn, looking a bit smug for having managed to talk over her brother's turn.

Ibiki, for his part, wasn't too put off by this. He had not expected Midori to be aware of his diet, but other than that, nothing of what they had said was all too surprising. Misaki's strategy planning was a bit excessive to him -- she overvalued finesse to the point of impracticality sometimes, but he was also aware that she was trying to make up for her lesser skill in the family techniques. He was fairly confident she was unable to tell where his exact blind spot was these days -- but he knew hers. His eyes had gotten sharp to the point that he could pick it out every time he saw her sparring.

That was a very technical weak point, however, and hardly relevant to this evaluation. He frowned as he studied Ryuu some more -- he wasn't familiar with the man. No doubt their family intelligence division had files on him that he'd be able to peruse later, but he was walking blind into the situation at the moment.

He had, for a split second, opened his Byakugan to get a very short glimpse of the man just as he had entered. The Jounin was actually young rather than just looking it, unlike some of his peers, and carried a suitable amount of spiritual energy for his rank -- he was probably fairly skilled at molding chakra. He also seemed to have some idea about the three of them already, which meant that their ability to work together and overall skill level wouldn't be enough of a surprise to overwhelm the man during this test he had planned. He would be expecting it.

Still, the attention and call to respond was now on Ibiki. He briefly placed his hands together in front of him, resting his chin against them, and held the Jounin's gaze evenly as he gave the question due thought.

It didn't sit entirely right with Ibiki that he had nothing of relevance to add. Misaki had spelled out everyone's weaknesses, including his own -- even if she had framed it as part of his strengths. He excelled at what they had been taught, this was true, but his skill spectrum remained within that. Against a foe familiar with the Hyuga techniques, the only surprises he held in store was his skill level with them.   And his twin had been pointed that out just as she had pointed out Midori's family attachments and Sunako, her cat.

Meanwhile, his own strategies for dealing with either of the other two if he had to were as obvious as they were effective -  when comparing their strengths and weaknesses, the best option for him was the direct approach. He could outfight both in a direct battle, all he had to make certain of was that there was no room for either to weaken him beforehand.

"… no, nothing to add, instructor. Anything more would weaken our position for this test," he asserted as he rose from his chair.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2018, 06:37:26 AM »
When she checked on her friends, Misaki especially, Midori noticed the girl’s expression but found herself having a bit of trouble deciding if she was mad at her or not. Mostly she looked sort of..thoughtful? Which somehow made her a bit nervous, which it shouldn’t. But it did. Because Misaki was hard to predict sometimes and if she was mad, then it would be very hard to come back from that. In Midori’s experience, Misaki did not forgive easily: she was still mad at Ibiki, as she had been since Midori had met the two of them.

”…and she is too quick to apologize for herself and others.”

Turning quickly to look first at Misaki, and then at Instructor Ryuu, Midori still couldn’t tell if Misaki was mad about that or not, but she did notice the interested look on their Instructor’s face: his eyebrows rose as he regarded Misaki and her verbal butting in. He did not reprimand her, but, Midori thought, this was something he noticed and was going to do something about later. It was the sort of face Teacher made when he was making a list of people who were going to get in trouble later.

But now there was nothing she could do to help Misaki without proving the girl’s point about apologizing for others. Which, Midori didn’t think she did except when needed, but was definitely not going to argue with her friend over. Usually it was best to just let Misaki have her way with most things.

Of course, as she was thinking about that, and worrying over it, Midori also saw Instructor Ryuu watching her reaction too before turning his attention to Ibiki. This was not just to get to know them: it was some sort of a test, too: it had to be. If she were alone in this, Midori was certain she would be very anxious, but it was easier to be calm with Ibiki and Misaki with her. Even if the twins did not get along so well, she could rely on them to work together toward a common goal, and to lead their small group to victory. The only thing Midori worried about was if she would be the one to mess this up for them, because, honestly, that would be the surest way to loose them both as friends…

____ ___ __ _

As Ibiki indicated he had nothing to add to the evaluation by his sister and Yuhara Midori, Ryuu nodded and motioned with his hand, “Allright. Follow me. There’s no rules except you have ta get the item I’ve got in my pouch, beginning when I set foot in the training ground. You’ve got til the end of the day. I’d suggest keeping up with me on the way there.” Though, it was up to them what they did or did not do, of course.

Leaving the Academy building he kept a brisk but professional pace. The moment they were outside, though, he set off at just short of a run; moving efficiently but not so fast that the three he was evaluating would have trouble keeping up. That is, if they’d kept up with their training, which, to graduate, they aught to have. It took no time at all to reach the training ground his team had been assigned to, and the moment he was in bounds, he darted into the trees, not really planning to do more than stay ahead of them at this point: if he detected them coming up on him, he would move. Absolutely he would not be attacking his students. This was basically an… hmm… advanced form of tag…


Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2018, 09:47:35 AM »
Even with the angry disposition between the Hyuga twins, all their similarities and differences aside, they both possessed one trait that made it particularly difficult to keep up with them - their all-seeing eye, the Byakugan. It granted an immense advantage in reconnaisance as well as combat, but more than that, both Misaki and Ibiki had a disturbing tendency to notice just about everything in their vicinity, even when their hereditary technique wasn't activated due to their constant acuity training. Every little motion, every micro-gesture -- it made it very difficult to hide anything from them, but this also meant that they communicated with each other on a level that was often mysterious. The only complete outsider to have spent enough time around Hyuga clan members with enough regularity to catch onto some of it was, in fact, Yuhara Midori.

Such as in this case -- as soon as their new teacher turned to leave, Ibiki made a barely perceptible gesture to indicate that he disagreed with the notion of following immediately. He would briefly linger behind, whilst the other two kept up and marked the path so that he could follow after them.

Misaki shrugged visibly and pushed herself off of Midori's desk. If the big bad house heir wanted it, she was allowed to separate from him, at least for awhile. But she wasn't sure if their friend had gotten all or any of that, so she half-turned and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Let's go," she said, nodding after the Jounin, and immediately began to follow.

The branch house girl saw no reason to exert herself in order to fully keep pace once they were outside the building and instead followed at a bit of a distance, occasionally marking trees and branches with quick characteristical nicks that she knew her brother would recognize. As long as the Jounin wasn't actively trying to hide, it was a simple task to follow and, she decided, it was best that they conserve their strength until Ibiki caught up.

What was the Hyuga heir up to, though, to so readily disregard a teacher's advice? Did he think he knew better? Did he have a previous appointment?

Ibiki had a smirk on his lips as he finished binding cloth around a small package and placed it inside his left sleeve. This could very well prove to be the edge they needed to secure a victory in this test -- Ibiki wasn't entirely certain just how capable the Special Jounin would prove to be. The structures and hierarchies that came with the academy were still new and for all intents and purposes, Instructor Ryuu could well be anywhere between the level of an experienced Chuunin with special expertise to a proper, war-tested master. If it was the former, he'd likely be in for an unpleasant surprise going up against these particular three genin. If the latter, he now had a surprise in store.

With quick steps, Ibiki left the training supply cabinet and darted towards the forest to join the others.