Date: October 2, 2013
Kirigakure is sending out its genin in a D-rank mission to clean up its beaches of debris and such. Meruin is overseeing one such time and sees fit to give this batch of shinobi an extracurricular activity for an error they made.
Kirigakure's Rock Strewn Beach
There is work being done on Kirigakure's shores.
On this rock strewn beach, to the northeast of the Land of Water's main docks, there are half a dozen of Kirigakure's genin toiling where other genin have toiled in the past couple of days. The village has continued to send them out on this D-rank mission to clean up the beach. And littered as it is with bushes, gravel, kelp, refuse, shells, veritable boulders and the occassional carcass of one animal kind or another, it needs plenty of cleaning. But the largest swathe of the ocean side seems to have been brought to a state of purity already, leaving it nothing but sand, and fairly soft sand at that. From the looks of things, the efforts will be finished either this day or the next, depending on the next group of shinobi.
And it was Okumo Meruin's intention that things were finished by sunset. He was here, overseeing these, largely standing off to the side and ensuring that none slacked where they should not. It was a stipulation he had not been entirely pleased with, but one that had been required of him. It was his movement, though none would know it, and he would see it completed. And soon, he should be seeing forms down the beach as the next six genin came to relieve these from duty. These ones were already tired, sweating from exertion and the afternoon sun in the cloudless, despite the cool, if light breezes that come in from the sea. They had only been working since an hour after sunrise. But, they were unfortunate to not have an earth ninjutsuist among them. The boulders were difficult to remove.
But they had performed as demanded and would be stronger for it, after rest. Seeing the first of the genin that began to trickle in on their own in the distance, on time and as expected, he knew that it was now only a matter of seeing if the next will do the same.
Saishi keeps quiet, carefully working to clean the beach. It was hard work but she knew to get stronger and better missions that she would have to work hard on these missions. She cleared and cleaned away everything she could, even using a bit of chakra and strength to try and move those boulders, straining and growling to move things away. She looked up at the sun with a grimace. It needed to be done by sunset, and she was definitely going to." She redoubles her efforts, dashing here and there silently to try and complete her mission.
In an effort to better understand Kirigakure and it's workings, Etsu has come out to the beach to observe and perhaps assist with the activities. Cleaning the beach seems like it'd be simple enough, but after seeing the extent of damage taken, she thinks that she may have spoken too soon. All that aside, the efforts appear as if they're coming across nicely and she can admire the work that has been done. "The sunrise is nice from here…" She commented as she drew closer to the work area.
It was such a bright and sunny day in the land of water. Sunlight shimmering off of the majestic waves that wash over the rocky sands, making it appear as if the ground itself sparkled like diamonds. And in an effort to help with the beautification efforts (aka fun in the sun), the tiniest Kaguya Genin is out and about with everyone else. Holding onto the hat on her head with a hand, dressed for the ocean rather than a serious mission it seems, as she wears a frilly swimsuit.
It had been some time, but Yuriko is finally smiling the way she used to, giggling as she jumps from rock to rock, looking for trash to clean up. Eventually she jumps off her last rock and switches gears, or rather, switches games. See how fast you can pick up trash! "Every bit is a point!" she giggles, taking off to try to snap up bits and pieces without slowing down or missing a beat.
It seems that word of just what was going on has sufficiently spread about the genin population, as the each of those newly arriving move right into work without the need for instruction. This was good. But there were other things about their arrival that were not. And so it was that Meruin's voice rose, taskmaster sharp, as he looked to another figure that had approached not very far behind the genin of the group.
"Squad, fall in!"
Immediately, two of the genin dropped what was in their hands and ran to stand in a line before Okumo Meruin, backs straight, thumbs pressed against the outside of their thighs, eyes straight ahead. He took note of the most disciplined as he looked beyond to Aburame Etsu, allowing the others time to join the line and stand at attention as commanded. He had had only trouble in his dealings with the woman, on opposite sides of a tense table of failed diplomacy and a combative mission. But he had also heard that she was now Konohagakure's envoy in the Land of Water. And while that put her in no better standing in his mind, it did mean that she was sanctioned to be here, and that he would avoid hostility if he could. So he simply watched her, assuming she would approach soon and begin her duties as an emissary.
Saishi finishes what she's doing and quickly moves to stand in front of the Okumo. "Shimizu, Saishi.. reporting." her voice is slow and dedicated, her eyes facing forward, her back straight and ears open for command. "What is our new objective?" she asks as she adjusts her position to one of more formality. Her eyels did wander over the other genin assigned here, sizing them up carefully with a little hum before turning back to the Okumo.
"Hmm…" Etsu folded her arms as the genin fell in line. They take orders well enough, it seems, though that hasn't been much of an issue for Kiri before. Once all were gathered, she began to speak, seeing it as an opportunity to do so. "I am Aburame Etsu, Chuunin of Konohagakure and Ambassador. I'm here for simple reasons, to observe and work with and towards better relations with your village. I have come to the beach in an effort to become better integrated an understanding of Kirigakure and perhaps to even lend a hand towards these efforts. From what I've seen so far, I color myself impressed and admire the ethnic shown at this point. I'm certain that by the end of this day, this beach will be cleared. There is something to be learned from that." She nodded. "I am not here to end your work, so I will refrain from speaking much further so that no more of your time will be taken away." She looked towards Meruin to take back the floor, so to speak. There was work to be done here.
Yuriko snaps up a seashell just as she hears the command, quick to alter her trajectory with a double skip, turning abruptly to…. fall into line, for the most part. She may be a Genin, but she's also five years old with a swimsuit and a sun hat. Also not in the least all that serious as some of these other shinobi. At the end of the line, she wiggles in place, grinning with the tip of her tongue sticking out between her teeth. "And I'm Yuriko-tan! Hee hee."
Yeah, this one isn't all that serious.
'Just why,' wondered Meruin, 'does it seem that everyone is losing their diplomatic touch these days?' His misted gaze flickers to Saishi and then to Yuriko at the sound of her giggling introduction, the pupiless nature of it masking the movement. 'And some have yet to gain their discipline.' But that was a matter to deal with on another occasion. Eyes back on Etsu as she looks to him, giving him /permission/ to take back the reigns and speak to his troops, he speaks.
"You came and you moved immediately to your work," spoke Meruin, chin lifting slightly. "It shows that you own an excellent mindset insofar as the willingness to work. But you have made a mistake, as well. You have forgotten to salute your commanding officer upon arrival." Not speaking to Etsu, then. To the genin. "And that is a mistake that shall not go unpunished. You are no longer within the academy., but you have -graduated- from it. This means that you only gain more responsibility, not that you can shirk the ones you were given. Do not be so quick to forget the lessons you were taught within it."
Meruin's hair shifts, beginning to move of it's own volition, parting and twining itself into a braid as though guided by invisible hands. "Behind me there is a perfectly spherical boulder about my height. It weighs approximately one ton and two hundred pounds. It was moved by the team before you. Your task is to undo their work, moving the boulder down the slight hill to the water. You will then see it returned to where you'd gotten it and continue about your work. Fall out and begin."
His head tilted slightly then as he does now truly speak to Etsu, his gaze something of a ponderous thing. "And you," he said to the woman who had not even had the courtesy to ask for permission to preach to his troops and disrupt his proceedings. "You may advise them if you so please. But no further." And then he turned away to watch the genin.
Saishi gave an inner glare to the man for insulting her but just nodded outwardly, examining him as well. Upon the utterance of their command Saishi looks over at the boulder, closing her eyes to think a moment. Moving it down would be easy, back up would be an annoying task. She shakes her head a little. It would be so much easier to just destroy the boulder. A bit of a grumble escapes her lips before slowly approaching the stone, eyes taking in its location, the landscape,as well as possible methods of moving the boulder.
"So you have wished it, so shall it be," Etsu replied in her typical monotone fashion. "I will sit and watch," she spoke as she began to pace about the beach. She thinks it's clear that she doesn't really like him, but she's not here to cause problems. She can admit the mistake is hers and move on. She looks between Saishi and Yuriko, definitely Kiri shinobi, but nothing she expected. She'd considered them ravenous beasts, but this may make her reconsider. After what the Hokage told her of them being not much different from them, she tries to work with this from an unbiased angle. She's finding it difficult, though. Just another challenge to overcome.
And Yuriko… doesn't seem to be paying any mind to Meruin when he chews them out. More or less. She isn't all that interested in being corrected, just interested in the seashell that she had picked up a bit more. After a few moments, she takes the shell cupped between both hands and dips it way down, knees bending before throwing it up over her head, she shell flying in a wide arc through the air before plopping in the ocean. "Mk!" Yuriko salutes, belatedly, before turning her attention to the bolder. Their goal? Move it to the water, then move it back!
It was probably then that the little girl notices Saishi, promptly smiling at the older girl. "So I got an idea. How about we make a long line in the sand where we want the boulder to go so that it can roll along it?" That should make things easier, in theory. Yuriko doesn't wait if there's approval on Seishi's part. The Epigaea Dagger appears, seemingly out of nowhere as the little girl beams. Hopping once, she turns and faces the side of the boulder; the direction that it's intended to go. "Though the sand!"
Meruin nodded at Etsu's agreement, eyes on the genin as four of them begin heading towards the stones, more than one with suppressed sighs in their chest, leaving Yuriko and the thoughtful Saishi behind. Though they're swiftly passed up by the energetic young Kaguya. The sight of her happily digging away at the sand makes some of those sighs rise and push past the mouths that'd captured them. But one of them simply shrugged and started clearing out sand alongside her. Once that was done, the other three paused before following suite, none of them apparently having a better idea.
Saishi looks over at the boulder and the water with a sigh. "It's perfectly round, with enough force higher up on the rock, it will roll in the direction it's moved using gravity and twisting force to slide down into the waters." She says before moving close to the rock, giving it a little nudge. "Let's move it this way first, then focus on moving it back once the simple task has been achieved." She grins a little bit.
Etsu continued to observe, everything from the shell tossing to the plan generated by the youngest member of the group. She isn't sure if any of them developed abilities yet, but if so, then there's a contrast already present. They work on their physical bodies versus being dependent upon jutsu. "Is this a…training session?" She inquired as she approached Meruin. "This task has elements of it, but looks quite natural."
Yuriko pauses in her digging to blink her bright aquamarine eyes up at Saishi, blinking at her a second time before glancing back at the boulder curiously. As if this was the first time she's seeing the boulder too. "Hm." Jumping up to her feet with a slight bounce, the littlest Genin approaches the boulder. "Hmmm." Reaching up, she taps on the surface experimentingly, followed by pressing her hand on it to test just how heavy it is. "Its a weird shape." Yuriko says bluntly. Sure, it makes things easier, but that's not the point. Her eyes then get big with a realization as she looks up at Saishi, whispering, "Maybe there's a shinobi inside…"
The genin are going about their business of digging and prepping the boulder's path without doing any more questioning. Really, it seemed like this was their only real option, anyway. DEspite the simple shrug and work mentality, they moved pretty quickly and with some measure of determination. At Saishi's comment about getting it moving, one of them looks up and says, "The path isn't ready yet." The sound of another giving a little laugh at Yuriko's thought of a shinobi being within the boulder rises before the boy continues. "We need it deeper and longer so it picks up enough momentum to roll." The one that'd laughed stopped grinning, suddenly saying, "But if we get this thing rolling… how do we plan to get it to stop?" He looks down to the sea, not liking the idea of having totry and get itback up onto the beach from too deep in the water.
And Meruin simply watched, eyes on them even as Etsu speaks. But once she does speak, he does listen, and he does reply. "This," he says, gesturing to the beach at large with a pair of sweeps of the arms and flicks of the hands, bringing the cleaned and the refuse filled sections both to attention. "Is a simple D-rank mission from the village. That." He gestures now towards the genin in the process of moving the boulder. "Is punishment for neglecting to salute their superior officer on their arrival. But both also serve the purpose of training them, yes. The village could see this completed with a pair of chuunin with the earth element. Their doton jutsu could see this task completed within a day. However, it would be a wasted opportunity to put the young to work. They can be swift to tire and undisciplined, betimes, but this is something that shall not last because, as you have noticed and will undoubtedly see, we attempt to tailor their lives to promote their growth."
Saishi looking over at the rest of the genin simply looks at them, then back to Meruin. "Move, it will go without a path." She moves to the side of the boulder and looks at it carefully before pulling out a pair of knives, giving a slashing cut at each of her forearms she winces a little. With a focused pumping of her hands she gets the flowing blood to almost coat her hands before getting a look of fierceness in her eyes, her chakra forces the blood to start acting weird, almost not liquid before the girl forms a few furious hand seals. From her fingertips extend long razor edged claws of blood, the loss seems to have caused her a bit of adrenaline as well as she moves close and with a hefty jump gives the rock a series of hard furious slashes to knock it back.
"Oh oh oh!" Yuriko suddenly jumps in place with excitement, only to promptly stop when she hears Saishi. The little girl couldn't help but frown with a little bit of confusion as her team mate takes a pair of arms and marks at her arms to… use her blood as claws? Her frown grows, a small hand reaching up to scratch at the side of her snowy head. Kaguyas are pretty much the first ones that would come up with the solution of slashing at something until the desired effect takes place, but still.
The boulder does not have any conflicted feelings over these genin, it seems. Etsu nodded in understanding of it being a punishment task. "Understood. I'm assuming the issue is…unintentionally common seeing as the boulder is there for such a punishment. That would be difficult for even a high ranked shinobi to do on their own and on a team. Are they…" She silenced herself a bit. "Able to use any abilities? Or is this more of a physical effort?" Just as she finished tube question, she witnessed Saishi use her blood to attack the rock or more specifically, manage its movement. Guess that answers that question.
"What are you..?" The genin talking with Saishi looked confused and a bit wary as she began to cut into her own arms, wondering how this was going to help. As the blood began moving across her arms, though, he as well as the others narrowed their eyes. There were a few murmured words and one scowled. They looked at the boulder. But it weighed over a ton. As vigorous as her efforts were… "That's not gonna cut it, Shimizu," he said, her clan name laced with a hint of venom. Distrust. Dislike. It was difficult to pin down, but it was something along those lines. "You're going to need help." Before he'd even gotten those words out, the others had already risen and started towards the other side of the boulder. The distrustful one hesitated before starting to follow after them, another one saying, "We'll have a better time with this if we all work at once." Yuriko picked up a pat on the head by one of the genin passing by, the one that had grinned at her belief of the boulder being an egg.
Meruin took in all of this as it occured, neither raising voice to aid nor moving to guide them in any way, instead spending the effort to answer Aburame Etsu. "In actuality, the boulder is not there for any singular purpose. It may have been used for training before at one point or another, but I can only speculate as to why it is on the beach. Its shape suggests ninjutsu. Perhaps a spar or, indeed, a training or punishment tool." His head tilted slightly as he regarded the genin. "As for whether or not they can use something other than brute strength… I am somewhat surprised that they have not by now."
Saishi breaks her jutsu and sighs settling back onto her feet as the wounds on her arms slowly close. "Hmmm….that's a pity.." She frowns and steps back to clean her hadns slightly, inspecting the boulders base. "There must be something to this.." She whispers, with that much force and it being round and on top of a hill, that boulder should have easily started rolling. She crouches to inspect its entirety to try and figure out this puzzle
Between Saishi and the pat to her head, Yuriko frowns again. After a pause she makes a face and approaches the other girl, reaching up to tug at Saishi's sleeve. "Hey." her voice was an octave lower. "Make the line to the water, but we'll make it circle back to this spot here. If we move it slowly, it should take less pushing." Yuriko taps the side of her snowy head, and without a word she turns back, continuing to quickly make the shallow but distinct line to the ocean. It shouldn't take long, because they weren't making a moat, and when Yuriko reaches the water she begins turning the line with a wide curve.
The four genin seem to be readying themselves to rush and simply tackle the boulder in unison to try and get the ball rolling, so to speak. Yuriko's words cause two of them to pause, though, and then rise up out of their crouch. "I think that'd work," said one, eyeing the small girl before starting to help her create a circular path, joined by a nodding comrade. The suspicious one and the one that'd been talking with Saishi initially shook their heads, the latter speaking up and saying, "Just get over here and help us push. The six of us can get it going. This thing weighs a ton, anyway. More, even. It'll be too heavy for us to even keep it on the path and I am -not- getting crushed by this thing." But the others helping Yuriko out only say, "If we go slow enough, we can do it. And then we won't have to figure out how to get it back up."
"Hm. Convenient." The genin coming together to try and get this boulder together inspires Etsu to some degree. She's been meaning to train and get herself together. Being in Kiri shouldn't hinder that progress. At least, she's confirmed, is that they are normal. This group, at least. It's too small of a sample size to be sure, but she'll learn in time. "I am not entirely certain of the surface of the boulder, but cutting grooves into it should help it grip the earth a bit more easily." She hummed. "I know a sphere naturally rolls, but against all that sand, it might be tough…"
Saishi nods a little and watches the orb. "Something seems very suspicious about this orb is all of us didn't make it move an inch, and the fact that it is perfectly round yet sits here no matter what. No matter it's weight it should move in the way a sphere does…" She shakes her head before helping. "I'll aid you but the laws of inertia are very clear on why this will not work."
"You pushed it." Yuriko murmurs in clarification. "The group didn't push it. You did. Big difference." Her small hands continue digging, making it just deep enough that the boulder should follow the indent in the sand. In theory. And with three of them they quickly make the roundabout line leading to and from the boulder. Brushing off her hands, the little Kaguya pushes herself up to her feet to inspect their work, nodding with a bit of satisfaction. "Mk. I think this should work. All of our pushing together should make it follow the line like a train on a choochoo track."
"Alright," said one of the genin at the boulder with a shake of the head. "Just get over here so we can try and make this work. Come on everyone." And then he just walks back to a couple of yards behind the boulder and prepares himself to give it a heave along with the other genin that had just wanted to push it in the beginning. Now finished with the creation of the track, the two genin helping out Yuriko give little nods and start off to set themselves up the same way. "Choochoo train it is," said one with a little grin to Yuriko. "But this one's not for riding, alright?" Two of the other three genin shake their heads.
And still, Meruin just watched, finding nothing to act on, either from Etsu or from the genin seeing about moving the boulder.
And now things were coming down to the clincher. The combined effort of these genin in plan and execution appears to be producing results. Etsu will have much to write about regarding the events that took place here. "If it is not too much, may I invest some energy into the beach while they are preoccupied with this task?"
"You may not."
Meruin's only reply to Etsu's request to help with cleaning the beach while the genin see their punishment finished. Nothing short of a succinct answer, the man sparing no time tidying up the comment to make it easier to swallow or understand. He just continued watching to see whether or not the genin would prove able to see their task completed without too much trouble.
"Fair enough." No rest for the weary, but perhaps it would be taking away from them. Etsu thinks she may need to consider how assistance is viewed here.
Now that they have their 'train track', Yurimo moves behind the boulder, waving for the others to join her quickly. Seems like the little girl might be getting impatient. "Mk! Two behind it, two on one side and two on the left!" she says, "The ones on the side will help push, but if it starts going too fast you guys have to slow it down. Or if it starts rolling off, its up to you guys, k?" Yup, she's in charge, and its time to get things moving! Behind the boulder, she places her hands on it and begins pushing with all of her tiny might. Puffing up her cheeks with a held breath.
Now that they have their 'train track', Yuriko moves behind the boulder, waving for the others to join her quickly. Seems like the little girl might be getting impatient. "Mk! Two behind it, two on one side and two on the left!" she says, "The ones on the side will help push, but if it starts going too fast you guys have to slow it down. Or if it starts rolling off, its up to you guys, k?" Yup, she's in charge, and its time to get things moving! Behind the boulder, she places her hands on it and begins pushing with all of her tiny might. Puffing up her cheeks with a held breath. (re)
"The baby talks way too much," said one genin even as another said, "After. We've got to get this thing moving." Another answered the first, the one that'd grinned to her: "She's had way more helpful ideas than the load of nothing you've offered up." Another genin, "Alright. Shut up. Push on three." He counts down as Yuriko begins pushing, and soon the other five genin, Saishi included, run up and heave against the boulder, putting their straining strength into pushing upwards and forward on the boulder so that it rolled.
And… it was enough. After a few second and some sounds of strain the boulder was rolling and starting off down the slight hill. Once it picked up enough momentum on its own they largely left it alone, only giving it a small amount of energy to keep it going. And it followed the 'train tracks' in the beginning. When it neared the bend, three of them stepped out from the back to the side and began pushing it that way, trying to get it to stay the course. And this worked as well. The boulder was going slowly enough to following the curve and start slightly back up the hill. And once this was the cave, the three returned to behind the boulder and pushing. The low speeds meant it would stay the course and thus stay out of the water, but it also meant it wouldn't travel very far back up. So now… Now they pushed, grunting and straining as they tried to force the stone up by inches.
Altogether they push, taking the curve slow so that the boulder doesn't run away from them. And pushing it uphill was more difficult than guiding it down the slope. That doesn't mean that Yuriko tries any less. Despite her size, she pushes with all her might, and inch by inch they push the boulder back into place. With one last grunt, the little girl smiles brightly to herself and giggles. "We did it!" She promptly plops onto her backside. "I think I need a nap now." Yup. Nap time.
"Excellent," spoke up Meruin now that the boulder had been moved back into place. He looked to the six genin, knowing that the each of them must feel dead on their feet, their arms burning and legs shaking. "You have successfully moved 2200 pounds of stone brought your punishment to a close. Now that we are back to where we started, you may continue with the actual mission of seeing this beach cleared of debris. I reccomend choosing more effective and less strenous methods of moving the other boulders on the beach."
No time to take naps. There was work to get done.