Date: November 25, 2014
Arika and Keigo search for a lizard for the day.
"A Lizard Hunt"
Mystic Flower Gardens
Sunagakure has been fairly on edge as of late, thanks to many differing opinions on Councilwoman Watanabe Itami's decision/bargain with the Silence. However, that doesn't mean life should completely stop! There are still those minor headaches that genin have to take care of so that their superiors can fry the bigger fish. The lucky genin today? Keigo. He's been tasked to go on a hunt of sorts, finding some old lady's pet lizard. What old lady keeps a pet lizard?? But a job is a job. Keigo's also been assigned a helper: a young student by the name of Arika.
The house of the old lady was where the duo were supposed to meet. She introduced herself as 'Granny Kaya' and told them that her lizard, Flower, enjoys alleyways that are sunny, places where it's warm, and places that tend to be dry. "If you two kids do a good job, I'll be sure to bake you some cookies in thanks," she says with a friendly smile.
A sigh escaped Keigo's lips after the explanation from Granny, as he walked away, Ayamakki walking next to him. "A crappy little retrieval quest… this doesn't help me with my training at all… unless you count the fact that the only way we're gonna get close to that lizard is if it doesn't smell us approaching… in which, Ayamakki has no smell so should be just fine." A wiggle of his fingers causes the walking Ayamakki next to them to flex its non-existent muscles. The redeeming qualities of an entertainer Puppeteer… the puppet is more lively than the string holder.
"So… she said sunny alleyways, and places that are warm and dry… throw a rock and get one of those places… that lizard could be ANYWHERE in the village…"
Arika bounces a bit, excited for this mission. It was, in fact, her first one, and she wasn't even a genin. Her guardian, Ping, told her that it was likely a form of assessment for her skills, but she mostly shrugged off this speculation. She has never worked with a puppeteer before, so the girl sometimes look back to watch Keigo control Ayamakki. "Should we split up?" the girl asks, occasionally darting ahead to check out some sunny spot, only to come back three seconds later with empty hands. "Or maybe Keigo-san can use Aya-kun to help us look?" She obviously doesn't understand how puppeteers work… "I can get into teeny spaces, which might help!" she then offers, still looking around.
Keigo sighs. "It doesn't work like that… I still have to look with my own eyes. I may be able to control Ayamakki, but he doesn't have a mind of his own. He can't see anything unless I see it." As if to prove the point, Ayamakki covers its non-existent eyes with its hands. Keigo pulls his mask up a little more, to help shield his eyes. "Dust storm's coming… it's gonna be impossible to see the lizard at this point…"
Arika frowns a bit. "Aww… I guess that makes sense." She waves a hand before Ayamakki's eyes before continuing on, still not seeing anything. Maybe a few lizard tracks are on the ground or nearby, but there are too many larger footprints for anyone to actually notice. "Hmm… Somewhere sunny and warm… Where's somewhere that would feel super warm…?" she wonders aloud. The girl might be trying too hard, but it's her first mission. "Ooh! Maybe we should check the gardens! They're super nice and warm." She nods a bit, looking to Keigo for the go-ahead.
Keigo shrugs. "I guess it's as good a place as any to check… the gardens are a sunny area, and something there seems to block out the worst of the dust storms. We might have better luck seeing there." He makes sure his mask is up and that he still has a firm string grip on Ayamakki before trekking towards the Gardens with Arika-chan in tow.
<Sunagakure> Final Boss! Tsuchi glomps back, with a vengeance, part duex!
Arika struggles a bit to get through the winds of the sandstorm that seem to be very against her today, but the duo (trio?) finally make it to the gardens. Upon entering, they encounter a warm breeze and many flowery scents. Arika sniffs a bit, always happy to be in the garden, then makes off with hunting for this lizard. "Hmm… If I was a lizard, where would I be…" she mumbles to herself, walking around the interior slowly. It's a big garden, so it would take some time or a lot of luck to finish this mission.
"How would I know? In fact, how would you know? We're not lizards ourselves…" Nevertheless, he helped to search the garden for the lizard while the sandstorm outside the zone cleared up.
Arika shrugs a bit, still enjoying herself a great deal despite being unable to find the target. "Hmm, I dunno. Guess?" she suggests brightly, moving under a few bushes to see if they had been disturbed by a lizard recently. Well, they /have/ been disturbed. Just not by a lizard… "Can you see anything?" she asks the puppeteer, scrambling out of the bushes to go look in a tree.
Keigo sighed. "Nothing. Not even a lizard track… it's possible the lizard was never here to begin with… all the smells might have put it away from this place." He took a deep breath, clearly upset. Ayamakki patted Keigo's back consolingly.
Arika hrms as she doesn't find any lizard tracks up in the tree either. "Well, where else could we look, Keigo-san?" she asks, dropping down from the tree with a small *thmp*. She proceeds to start wandering about the garden with no clear path in mind, hoping Lady Luck might give her a hint as to where this lizard is.
Keigo thinks for a bit. "At this point, the only thing we can do is to check each and every alleyway in the city… that could take ages, though… even with the two of us splitting up…" He thinks a bit… "We may need help on this one…"
Itami has arrived.
Arika hums a bit and thinks, perking up a bit. "Get help? From who?" she wonders. "I dunno who would wanna help us find a lizard. Especially with the mini-storm outside." She wanders around some more, circling a tree several times before resuming her aimless path.
"I don't know… anyone, at this point… I can't see anything with that dust storm going on out there… it's just annoying." He sighed as he continued looking around the place for this lizard… he figured it wasn't here, but it was better than wandering aimlessly in the dust storm out there… ordinarily, he'd just hole up in his house while he rode it out. But with having to look for this lizard, it was a little more complicated now.
People sometimes get caught unaware in these storms and Itami has to help out by guiding them to safe places. The vast majority of people to get trapped and completely overwhelmed happen to be visitors and it doesn't help when that visitor thinks they're going to die. Best to take those kinds to the hospital to be sure. With her sweep taken care of, she finds a bit of refuge by heading into a nearby flower garden and dusting herself off. "Even the smaller storms can be terrible," she coughed. She thinks she might have gotten something in her nose. She promptly inhales and blows the air back out of her nose to clear it of any foreign material. "Aaah, much better," she withdrew a cloth to rub whatever excess came from that.
Arika hears a familiar voice and perks up a bit more, moving to glomp onto Itami when she finally gets within range. "Itami-sama!!!" She calls out, beaming a big smile to the councilwoman. "Wanna help me and Keigo-san find this pet lizard?" she asks, eyes pleading.
Keigo turns around to see the girl he'd met the other day. "Oh! Hi there! I… don't think we were ever introduced the last time we met. I… kinda just… yeah, I don't have an excuse actually…" He clears his throat… best to be polite. "I am Hougenka Keigo. And this here is my partner, Ayamakki." The wooden puppet gives a respectful bow. "As Arika-chan has expressed, we would very much like your help in finding a lost pet lizard."
"Eeeh?" Itami didn't have much time to react as she's glomped and promptly floored by Arika. "Hello, Arika," she gagged lightly after taking that fall to the ground. "You two are looking for a pet lizard?" She seemed confused. "I can help out, certainly. What does this lizard look like?" She wondered. "Do you know of its habits and habitat, any behaviors that you could point out about it?" She asked while rising from the ground. "Or um…well, I suppose I shouldn't expect all that to be known."
Arika nods. "Uh-huh! There was this old lady who needed help finding it. I dunno much about it, but she said it likes warmth and stuff." She looks to Keigo. "What else did she say?" she asks the boy, unable to remember all the important details. Then her attention is back on Itami, and she scrambles off the Watanabe so she can get up.
Keigo just sighs. "Granny Kaya said the lizard enjoys alleyways that are sunny, places where it's warm, and places that tend to be dry. We were searching in the city proper, but the sandstorm kicked up and cut our visibility harshly. So we came here to get out of it and see if maybe the lizard had gotten here… so far, no dice."
"Ah, I see. I don't know how long the lizard has been in her possession, but if it has been with her long enough, it's possible it's become tame. We'll have to find it. Otherwise, it may still retain some instincts that will keep it safe. If all else fails, find a warm spot to burrow under. Considering this village gets its fair share of sun, it may be it's found someplace warm under the earth to keep safe," Itami explains. "There isn't much sun out right now, so that'd be my next best guess. It's certainly something I'd do."
Arika shrugs a bit. "Maybe? I dun-" she breaks off when she notices a lizard tail disappearing into some bushes. "Ooh! There it is!" she exclaims, pointing wildly at it. "After it! Quick!" She dashes off towards the lizard. Of course, the whole reason it was moving was to get away from the noisy humans, so it hisses loudly at Arika and skitters away even faster than before. At least the searchers have a trail, though.
Keigo turned towards the direction of the hiss, going into capture mode! "Ayamakki! Target acquired! Capture mode!"
Ayamakki dashed forwards to attempt a capture against the slippery little critter!
With a quick flick of the wrist, and the rattling of the wooden puppet's movements, there was a squeal and a quick stop of the puppet as Ayamakki held up the lizard in its wooden hand. The lizard tried a few times to bite the wooden puppet, but since the puppet didn't feel pain it was kind of useless. Keigo smiled as Ayamakki held the lizard tightly enough to not let it go, but loose enough to not hurt it. Keigo nods. "And that's the benefit of using a Puppet. Dangerous creature that could harm you if you grab it? Send in a unit that can't feel pain or get hurt. That's where we Puppeteers shine through." Ayamakki walked back over to the others with the lizard in hands. Keigo looked at the surrounding area. "The sandstorm seems to be letting up a bit. Let's return Flower to Granny Kaya before it picks up again, yes?"
Arika is a bit slow on the uptake. She is just about to grab ahold of the lizard when Ayamakki comes darting in. "Eep!" she exclaims from surprise. Then she realizes that the mission is actually over and done with! "Ooh! Nice one, Keigo-san!" she compliments. "Let's hurry back to Kaya-baa!" Like she ran the whole thing. The girl skitters off back towards the house, glad the wind storm earlier was done with.
"Ah, my little Flower~!" Kaya exclaimed upon finally getting the lizard back. She hugged it to her chest, scolding it and telling it how much she missed it. Finally she calms down and shuffles backing, coming back out with two parcels filed with fresh-baked cookies. "Thank you very much, Arika-chan and Keigo-kun. I'll be sure to remember this." She smiles and bows, the lizard perched on her shoulder. And with that, the mission is truly complete!