Date: November 27, 2014
The current class of students in the Academy must prove that they are capable shinobi, and Arika is one of them. Watanabe Itami runs the final test in front of a large audience.
A ceremony was taking place for all graduates of the ninja academy here in Sunagakure. Those who followed the strict timing and met the requirements and beyond what was asked are here now to show that they have earned and deserve the right to be admitted into the ranks as shinobi. While Sunagakure wasn't one for elaborate ceremonies, things have begun to change as the population has catered to lives that come from all over the land and further. Banners are set up within the inner stadium with colors that complement the otherwise lacklustre colors of this village to present it with more life and excitement.
The students that were to be accepting their hitai-ite were peeking out from a doorway to see how the ceremony was going while being harshly scolded by one of their instructors for being impatient and disrespectful of their time to shine. They should exit out with dignity, not like a bunch of hooligans. Oh, how times have changed.
Itami was here to attend this ceremony to oversee the demonstrations of ability and subsequently hand over their hitai-ite after a successful performance. Knowing herself that the future of this village were capable performers could aid in reassuring her that this village will thrive and also gives a sense of support and understanding in a time where people are still shaken over the events outside of the surrounding walls. The host of the ceremony begins to call the stadium to order and soon the class would walk out uniformed to their assigned seating where they are soon to give their final demonstrations.
Arika is apparently one of the ones that was scolded one too many times. She ended up being dead last in the line of students preparing to receive the shinobi headband. The young girl pouts a bit in her spot while some of the other students smirk. They were, for the most part, older than her, and it was frustrating for them to see someone as young as Arika in line to graduate the academy. Ping wasn't with the girl, for once, as he wasn't allowed backstage. He was sitting front and center for the ceremony, looking just a bit nervous while he waited for it to begin.
The young girl sighs, trying to peek out the curtains again. "I told you to stop peeking, Ikitara-san!" came the irritated voice of her instructor. He was proud that she was graduating, but was honestly starting to wonder if he made the right decision. She seemed too young for the life of a genin. "Hai, sensei…" she says gloomily, waiting for her turn. The line stepped up, finally, as they were starting to be called out.
Arika sat in the very last row of the seats, there being about 16 people including her. 'There's too many people ahead of me…' she complains inwardly. ~Your fault this time! So quit talking and just sit still. I'm taking a nap.~ 'Booooo.' ~You're no fun. So I'm napping.~ 'Rude!!'
The students each went up to perform their demonstrations of the skills they acquired and then some. There are a few that excelled, some that just made the mark and others who seemed fairly average. Nevertheless, they each performed with vigor and precision and Itami couldn't have been prouder for what she witnessed here. The line continued down until it was only a few students left and then of those students, the last was Arika.
Itami lofted a brow at her in particular because she was dead last, partly wondering how in the world she got that far back with a name that should've placed her in the center, but all that aside, she gestured for her to step forward saying. "Today, you are to demonstrate the basic skills to pass. Replacement Technique, Stealth, Clone Technique, Henge, and a Perception check. There is a shinobi hidden among the watchers. You must find this shinobi and promptly take them out," she handed Arika a rubber kunai. "Starting now."
Arika jumps slightly now that it's finally her turn. She manages to stay calm and /walk/ to Itami, taking the fake kunai in her hand. "Okay, Itami-sama!" she exclaims, looking through the crowd to try and figure out who it is that might be her target. Her instructor facepalms silently when he hears her address Itami in a semi-informal manner, but he can't scold her now. "Umm… Hmm… What to do first…" she says to herself, idly making hand seals with her hands to try and figure out what she instinctually wants to do.
She decides to sneak off-stage, using the clone jutsu to distract everyone. A faint *poof* of smoke and the real Arika is gone while her clone simply stands there. It's good enough that it's difficult to tell she disappeared, but people might realize what she's up to upon seeing the stray foot slip into the crowd. 'Who am I looking for, even?' she wonders, looking over the audience from the way back area.
Clone Technique: Successful, Stealth: Success. Itami took a tally in her head of Arika's progress so far. She sees that she's having some difficulty attempting to find the shinobi hidden among the watchers, but given time, she'll make the mark. The shinobi looks like any other ordinary person in the crowd, even going so far as to feign their interest in her demonstration so far. There doesn't seem to be much difference to point out yet, but there are some inconsistencies lying in wait to be found.
Arika finally notices who this particular person is. He doesn't seem to fit in with the crowd, wearing things that are 'not quite Suna' in appearance. There was a jacket that was clearly meant for the land of wind, but the colors were more like the green of Konoha. He also had something that seemed to mark him as Kiri and Kumo. A headband for the former and a clan symbol from the latter. The girl makes a handseal, creating another clone of herself. The clone transforms into the same man she sees below, and does a quick replacement technique to switch places. Hopefully it's quick enough that no one is the wiser… "Found you~," she says cheerfully, pointing her rubber kunai at the man's neck as soon as he's within reach.
Perception, Replacement, and Henge: Success. Itami smirked seeing the event play out. The guy, having been found froze up and eventually his disguise fell apart in a poof of smoke, revealing none other than the instructor himself. He gave his nod of approval while the crowd looked on at how it all played out before them. They clapped and muttered at how amazing it was that young students could do these things. It never seemed to get old. While she runs her course, a genjutsu is secretly being cast on her, switching the banners around and stage arrangements. Subtle, but effective. Shinobi must always be aware of their surroundings, after all.
Arika blinks a bit as she notices a slight flickering in the corner of her eye. That banner is odd… She vaguely recalls the trick that Rikuto showed her and surges her chakra to try and detect the genjutsu, and phews lightly with relief when they stop distracting her. "Right! Back to the stage~" she says, tugging her instructor along to present him to Itami. She looks to the councilwoman with curiosity, wondering aloud, "Itami-sama, do I pass? Do I pass?" The young girl seems to be bouncing in anticipation, hoping that the reply was a 'yes' in some form.
Genjutsu Perception: Success. Itami clasped her hands behind her back as Arika and her instructor came to the front, though he was more pulled than anything. The councilwoman didn't appear to offer any sort of indication of her passing or not. Her face certainly didn't express it, in fact, it was as stern as it has ever been. She looked between her instructor and back before turning around to pick up the hitai-ite and presenting it to Arika. "You pass. Congratulations," she smiled. "You are now officially a Genin of Sunagakure."
That stern look makes Arika nervous. She worries if she was misbehaving too much earlier, and the girl shifts a bit in her spot. But finally she's given the hitai-ate. The girl holds it in her hands, eyes a bit wide from disbelief. She had /finally/ graduated! "Yay!" she exclaims, bouncing in her spot. She can hardly contain her excitement, and doesn't even bother anymore. The girl gives both her instructor and the councilwoman a giant hug. "Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou!!!" she says happily before getting a look from her instructor. She oopses faintly and steps back with an embarrassed grin, giving Itami a small bow before returning to her spot.
For how small the girl was, she had enough power to pack a strong hug. Itami, at least this time, was ready and managed to stabilize herself through the force of the hug. She smiled and cleared her throat to speak. "All the examinees have proven their worth by demonstrating the necessary skills to pass the final test to become shinobi. Their training is not over, however. In fact, it's just beginning. Their growth from here will come with many more challenges and difficulties. They will be exposed to realities they've only just seen the surface of and though it hurts my heart for them to see this, it is also necessary that they understand the world around them and the many faces it shows," she states. "I will be frank. As acting shinobi now, you all should be proud of your children and their achievements, but you should also know that they are a living sacrifiice, dedicating their lives to the protection of those they have come to love, be it friends, family, acquaintances…All who fall under these conditions."
She began to pace the stage. "When they leave this academy, they will come face to face with the biggest threat we've faced thus far, The Silence. That is not to say that it will be immediate, but a very real possibility in the future," she explained. "I am saddened to see them enter into a time where the world is threatened by such powers, but I believe in them. I have faith they will perform admirably and with outstanding skill. They are our future and I intend to protect them as our investment for the betterment of the lives that will come in our lifetimes and after," she looked back to the students and gave them a respectful bow, indicating her lowliness, but deep appreciation of them and their efforts to come.
As she rose from her bow, she continued saying, "I present to you all the Graduating Class of Sunagakure on this 11th Year following the Founding of the Villages on the 21st day of the Tenth Month of the Year."
Arika looks out to the audience as Itami speaks. Ping was there looking like his usual self. Rather grim thanks to Itami's words… She wasn't listening very attentively thanks to the rush of excitement of graduating. It meant she could train for real, have an official sensei, and even travel outside the village without Ping. Life was, in her opinion, about to become very very fun. The ceremony ended on a rather high note with applause from the crowd, and the girl hopped off the stage to Ping. "Can we have mochi for dessert?" she immediately asks the Jounin. He sighed, but nodded. "Of course, Ikitara-San. We'll even have some of that soup you like so much." With that, the two wander out of the Academy.