Date: September 9, 2016
A pair of friends meet up and check on one another before Suizei heads off on a distant journey to discover new teachings to help him advance his struggles with Storm Release Ninjutsu.
"Before A Journey To Come"
Land of Lightning, Outside of Kumogakure
While the afternoon continues to drag on for most within Kumogakure, some lucky souls have sought relief from the tedious cycle. At least most would feel lucky, Yume however did not. There was still so much that she could be doing and trying to accomplish, but she did make a small promise. Suizei had wanted her to get a full day's worth of just rest and she reluctantly felt like following through with her promise. Still, she did not enjoy remaining inside so she made a walk down to the falls to try to get some fresh air. After scanning the ground in front of her, she eventually finds a rock to climb onto and recline against. She retrieves her mandolin from her back and makes sure that it is in tune before starting to strum out a light hearted and jovial melody.
Unlike many residing for a time within the village, Suizei was not truly bound to it and such often wandered, exploring the landscapes around the area. Once again he found himself in the mountains though this time he was alone, despite giving the location a focused examination, he couldn't find a trace of what he looked for and gave up. Walking down the trail again he began to hear a gentle tune ripple through the air causing a slight smirk to form on his lips. Drawing closer it would be a short time before his gaze washes over Yume while she performed yet another melody, one that he wouldn't disturb until she either spoke up or paused willingly.
A saddened smile crosses over Yume's lips as she continues to strum something from memory before her singing voice carries on despite having to compete with the falls to be truly heard. "You are an absolutely, absolutely worthless child…without a doubt the most worthless kid in this whole world." She laughs quietly to herself before mumbling. "La la…la la la…la la…" She lets the song fade to a hum before picking her voice again. "You are awful at studying, exercises, and speaking…you are just a destitute, dense, and dirty child…yet still I fell in love with the sobbing that came from your mouth, that couldn't even begin to utter her own name. Dirty bed sheet, dirty tissues, messy smelly diapers…you are a germy, scaredy cat, cry baby just ignore it all! Come here, your father will protect you…together, tethered, stay with me forever…" She laughs for some reason before letting the melodical la's fill in the empty space between the verses.
When the verses to the melody reach his head, the amusement painted on his face begins to fade. A dulled gaze watched Yume for several moments until the melody began fade with her forced laugh. "I was starting to contemplate giving you a jolt to snap you would of that melody.." Lifting his right hand, Suizei starts to rub the tips of two fingers and his thumb together slowly but steadily. "The line between melancholy melodies and echoed brainwashing is thin.. too thin at times.." Curling his thumb slightly, he uses his middle finger to press against it to make a sudden and loud snap before shaking his head. "Are those the kinds of melodies you make for yourself while you're alone, Yume-san?"
"A lullaby, to go to sleep…together we will sing a lovely duet to sleep at ease, peacefully…Sing with me and sleep at ease, you wretched lonely child." Yume gradually builds to crescendo before letting her voice back down to the chorus, actually letting the falls overpower her a little as she sings. "You are an absolutely, absolutely useless child…without a doubt the most useless kid in this whole world. You are an absolutely, absolutely useless child. A child who would have been dead if it were not for me…You are an absolutely, absolutely useless child. Such a sad, very sad, good for nothing kid. You are an absolutely, absolutely useless child. It will be myself, your guardian, who will save you." She lets the you drag on as she strums the mandolin and hums the la's to the verse. It is not until then that she seems to notice Suizei approaching her, only noticing him after the loud snap he makes. "Oh, hello Suizei…no, it is just something I remembered from a long time ago." She frowns, looking mildly conflicted. "I had thought about my father again…they wrote to me of the status of his sentence."
"Something you remember but, I doubt you were full here until you jolted just now." Tensing his jaw, Suizei stares upwards towards Yume while moving closer to her perch. One there was little distance between them, he simply shakes his head and turns away, taking seat within arms reach, sighing begrudgingly as he rests. "That case that you won't tell me of, though with that song makes me start to wonder somethings.. namely how much is just a song you heard, and how much is what you were, are.. to think." Twisting his head slowly from one side to the next, Suizei works on loosening his neck though he tries to keep an ear turned attentively towards Yume. "
"Perhaps not." Yume confesses, shaking her head as her hands go to absently strum the melody of the song again. She breathes out a quiet sigh before smiling to herself, "It was…something he sang when he thought that I wasn't awake to hear it at first. Then when I was older and began to frustrate him more and act out, he'd sing it to me to try to soothe me then too." She shakes her head slowly to herself, "After the anger passed, of course. I am glad that he is gone now but I am just sad for how long it took me to feel that way. There was so much time that I lost out on…" She looks over to Suizei, "So what brings you out here, Suizei?"
"The one singing such a melancholy song is the reason why I'm out here, I just came from your practice site but couldn't find any disturbances.." A light smirk appears on his lips as Suizei turns to Yume to chide, "Nor a sleeping girl on a rock, always have to be on the watch out for those." A light chuckle escapes his lips while turning away, starting to look towards the pathway heading towards the village. "If you can, shape your own melody. That one holds chains, even if it is a link to when times were 'simpler'." Furling his brow, the contented tone in his voice yields briefly to a grumble, "That sounded like an order, it meant that as a request. You're far from useless, just wouldn't want the question itching in the back of your mind each time you sing."
"You nearly ordered me to take a day from training when I last saw you." Yume reminds Suizei, lifting her shoulders up to shrug. "And you did such a good job of tending to my injuries the other day, I saw no reason to disobey in particular." She huffs out a bored sigh before she confesses, "Still, remaining inside is never something I enjoy…so I decided to take a casual walk down here, so I can get some fresh air while not aggravating my injuries." She breathes out a gentle breath before she nods her head, "It is what I try to do. It's easy to slip back and think about it. Especially when one's alone." She looks up at Suizei and smiles quietly, "Thank you for that, I'm trying to remember that more often. I am not merely some blind victim any longer."
"A blind victim.. that lead me twice through a trap infested forest, in the middle of the night, while thugs with firearms were on patrol." Pausing suddenly, Suizei turns towards Yume and lowers his voice though a soft smile rests on his lips as he whispers, 'That sounds more bizarre out loud than it did in my head, just letting you know.' Looking down, he glances towards her treated leg and nods briefly, "Once you're healed, we'll be practicing together. Not just side by side, I want to see how talented your techniques are head on, but that's for another time." Closing his eyes, Suizei leans his head back, letting the sun warm his face some without becoming blinded. "Anyways, each time you think you're useless wear your hitai-ate and wear all of your equipment. You are a warrior of the cloud, there isn't a useless one within our ranks, not even the meek or the crazy."
"You still hit traps on our way back." Yume reminds Suizei, chuckling quietly to herself as she shakes her head. "I suppose I've also fought in the midst of war, rescued a stranger with my allies…there's a lot to think of when the thoughts decide they want to creep in on me." She looks up to listen to Suizei thoughtfully and nods her head once or twice in understanding, "Very well, that seems liek a reasonable request…I will try not to go too easy on you, but I will really try not to outright win either…it will be an interesting matter trying to balance both so that we will remain on equal footing."
"Beh," is sounded at the reminder of a misstep or two. A light hum vibrates in his throat at the news of Yume going to war. "I'll hold back as well, making too many bruises after just treating some would be rather bad wouldn't it?" Moving a hand from the rock, Suizei curls his fingers into a loose fist before thumping it against his chest. "I might be older than you, that doesn't mean I'm 'that' old. Don't try to think too lightly of me, I might have some surprises for you still." Opening his eyes after his hand lowers back down, he stares up and into the sky motionless while thinking. "People.. You shouldn't be alone in a time like this, with the doubts growing, other faces should help as well."
Yume chuckles quietly at Suizei's reassurances, but she bows her head all the same. "It was to make sure what it might take to really keep up with you. Who knows, I may need to work at full strength to even come close to having a chance against you." She stretches her arms out above her head, taking a break from the strumming for a time before she works on refastening the mandolin to her back. "It is somewhat easier to remain alone in these times though." Yume tells Suizei, shaking her head. "Other people can often only call the doubts silly at times and try to wave them off as best as they can without really understanding…but perhaps that is only because I am used to remaining alone in hours like this."
"They are to be waved off for the lies they really are." Patting the stone firmly twice, Suizei uses it as a signal his departure from the stone. "It's why I told you to dress up when you feel that. A loose idea or even a lie dies when it has to fight against hardened truths." Turning around though, he nods his head lightly while moving his hands behind his back, pressing them against the small of his back to help him stretch with more of a curve. "As for being alone though.. It's not just you, I enjoyed the solitude as well. Being away for so long though has made me miss having familiar faces like your's to greet regularly." Turning away, Suizei starts to look at the road towards the village but something causes him to pause for a moment, "Either way, I'm going to need to prepare soon.. I'm going to be traveling, I think to the Land of Rice for a time. I'm working on a lead that might be useful for study."
"It is still…disconcerting if they are thought of as silly. But it would be different if it was just insisted that they were not to be believed in." Yume admits, looking over at Suizei as he climbs down from the stone. She chuckles quietly and holds a hand out revealing the hitai on her wrist, "I keep it out of easy view I suppose because of the cloak, but it is almost always on me." She leans forward to rest her elbows on her legs as they talk. "It can be easy to take for granted…I suppose." Yume confesses uneasily, before shaking her head. "I do not know how I would fare if I was thrown into complete solitude again…I just appreciate the times I can choose to find myself there. I still enjoy companionship." She does raise her brows from behind her bandages curiously, "Really? How long do you believe the trip will take?"
"Hmm.. Let's see.. I average two months to a season each time I take a trip. It's rarely a rush, often taking a relaxed pace to see what was not seen before." Turning back to glance at Yume, a light smirk returns to his lips as Suizei raises his voice slightly to ask, "I could likely make it a shorter trip if I had a reason not to dilly dally. Did you have a reason?" With his back stretched with only modest sounds, his hands lace together behind his head, helping him shift it from side to side, stressing the muscle slightly trying to free a tension within. "If the reason's good, I could likely shave several weeks off without any real issue."
Yume does smile and laughs quietly to herself as Suizei supposes that he could make the trip shorter. "Having me waiting here for you is not enough of a reason?" Yume ponders to Suizei, trying to sound a little hurt just as she has done in the past with him. She then shrugs and reaches up to scratch the back of her neck in a bashful manner, "Because I would be. And I would have to say that if you were ever gone for as long as two months, let alone for a season, I would miss your visits and company. You can be strange sometimes, but you've proven to be a brave and good friend to me…"
"Oh? You'll be waiting for me?" is asked in a mildly teasing tone, though it doesn't last for long. When Suizei turns around, the smirk on his lips fades some as he watches Yume. While he wasn't an expert, he could see how nervous and antsy she was becoming while talking, "Hey now, hey now.. Relax. If I'll be missed then I'll be gone less, that simple. If my family actually lived in the village not half the time out at sea when I return, I'd be around more often as well." Turning around, he walks back to the rock she sat on and lays a hand onto her shoe, patting it once before slightly tensing his grip to get her attention. "I'll be gone maybe a month. Most of a week there, most of a week back. Two weeks to find out what's going on and any fresh leads on the teachings. Does that put you at any ease?"
A blush has crept onto Yume's cheeks at some point, especially when Suizei attempts to console her with his answer. "I've…never really had family who travelled, but I do know I try to visit my grandmother as often as I can manage…" Yume admits as she looks down and stretches her arm out to rest her hand over his to show that she knows that he's there. "So I understand what you mean…thank you for saying that though." She chuckles quietly, "It will still be odd waiting a whole month, but it will be more manageable than two or a season. But try not to worry too much, okay? Take as much time as you need to get everything done down there. I would not want you to skimp out too much on your teachings simply on my account…"
"You won't be counting the days idly. You're able but for now mending, likely tomorrow or the next day you'll be in training shape." Moving his free hand forward, Suizei pats the back of her hand after it rests onto his first one. "You'll likely be on assignment in the mean time and I'll be back before you realize a full month has passed.. though, that is a cute color on your cheeks. I wonder if you even noticed them being lightly." Drawing his hand away, he takes a few steps away from Yume, making way to the village. "Why don't you share a last meal with me before the trip? I'll be leaving soon, should do so while a nice meal is still in me."
Yume chuckles quietly and nods her head in understanding, "Yes, I suppose that my days will not be entirely empty…I'll try to find ways to pass the time." The blush darkens though when Suizei points out the color on her face, "I'm not sure what you're talking about…perhaps your eyesight is starting to give out as well." She lifts her head as he starts to walk away from her and slips down off of the rock to follow after him, "Alright, one last meal. That'll be nice." She sticks her hands in her pockets and hurries just enough so she can figure out how to walk side by side with Suizei as they start to head back to the village.
The walk from the mountain pass to the inner sections of the village wasn't long, taking less than an hour which felt short from the steady talk shared between Suizei and Yume. Pausing at the restaurant where they shared a meal almost two weeks ago, he continues on choosing to pause at one of the more serene locations within the village. "This one will do, better than before." Extending an arm out, he lightly taps the back of two fingers against her shoulder as he says, "We couldn't settle and relax before with a dish, this time there's no excuse. You have even less of one, especially after going onto a 'A' Class assignment."
A soft grin spreads across his lips as he says, "Time to march," before walking into Rakurai Bar. Even in the middle of the day there were faces about, some elder though most were only at the end of their youth or settling into the middle age. "Over here will be just fine," is said with a soft tone while Suizei shifts around one of the open shout tables. Stepping to the edge of a mat, he loosens the laces of his boots and steps out of them allowing only his socks to touch the mat before kneeling down onto it. "I wonder, how many true victories and reasons to celebrate does it make now?"
Yume walks along side of Suize, one hand on her cane while the other has found a pocket on her cloak to slip into. when they come to a stop, Yume looks up and listens to make out the familiar sounds of the bar which cause her to chuckle softly. "Very well, and I'm not certain what rank my part of the assignment would be, but I suppose it is the most advanced I've been on to date." She follows him inside and looks around, inclining her head just in case anyone happened to look her way and expected some sort of acknowledgement. When they find their table, Yume slides in and rests her cane flat on her lap to make sure that it is out of the way, but still in her reach. As she kneels, she considers Suizei's question quietly, "I'm not certain." Yume confesses before telling Suizei, "I would have to say two major ones though. The contract at the village and my encounter with the storm…the others might not exactly be worth drinking to."
Shaking his head gently, Suizei lightly clicks his tongue. "Is that all or all you think is special?" It wouldn't be long before, without being asked or called for that a waiter in simply attire stands at their stable. Placing down a small platter in front of each of them was followed by a short dish with slightly upraised edges which carefully held the sake that was served. Bowing his head slightly to the waiter he softly says, "Thank you" but nothing else at the time. Turning back to Yume, a smile returns to his lips. "Advancing your techniques with your voice is also something special, at least I think so. The discovery of something new, the creation of something unique all on your own.." Lowering his voice it hardly above a murmur he muses, 'Then again, it might be an excuse to drink sake after finding something interesting..'
Yume lifts her shoulder to shrug at Suizei as she reaches out to feel the very edges of the dish when it's brought out to her. "Perhaps all that I think is special." Yume tells Suizei, before she smiles quietly, "After all, I am constantly working to discover new techniques and advance my prior ones. So it hardly feels out of the ordinary to me, even when I make progress." When it is filled, Yume slowly brings the dish to her mouth to take a slow sip from it before setting it back down to have time to appreciate the taste. She chuckles quietly at Suizei's admission and shakes her head, "Company with a friend is reason enough to drink sake." Yume tells him, before her smile pulls up into more of a grin, "Besides, if you or I advanced only for the excuse to drink sake, then I dare say that we would both be more alcoholics than shinobi."
"Hmm.. Very dangerous and powerful alcoholics," is said in a almost 'correcting' tone. Gripping the dish wish two digits, Suizei lets it rest balanced on his remaining slightly curled fingers. "Right now you advance and advance, but that's because your mind is clear the goal is set. You are just grasping it so easily, some what envious." Lidding his eyes slightly, he tilts the dish to allow just enough for a light sips worth to wash over his tongue. With a content hum, he lets it stay in his mouth for a while before swallowing it, 'The sweetness is more tame than what I remember.. Might have gotten used to the plum ale I had while further south of here.' Shifting his attention back to Yume, his hand sways slightly before saying, "What is the next goal for you to grasp, something small or wishing to move a mountain with a single verse?"
Yume chuckles quietly and nods her head in agreement with Suizei, echoing after him, "Dangerous and powerful alcoholics, but alcoholics nonetheless." She brings her dish up and closer her eyes again as she sips from it once more, looking comfortable with the taste of the sake. When she lowers it again, she tells Suizei, "Perhaps, I do have some goals in mind, but advancing right now is one of the few things that keeps my mind clear consistently. Inactivity tends to make it wander through some dangerous places." She chuckles softly to herself and smiles quietly, "Plum wine sounds interesting. I believe I would like something more tart, perhaps with some citrus in it. Would you have any recommendations there?" She then tilts her head to the left as she considers an answer, "Well, I've only recently grasped the concept of tree walking, I believe I will be trying to master its counterpart next, water walking. They are two fundamentals that I do not wish to look over in my training."
At the mention of citrus, Suizei ends up scrunching his nose at a memory. "I 'may' know of something with a bit more sinus burn, an ale made from fermented lemons.. That stuff gave my tongue blisters, think I might of had a bottle from a group that didn't know what they were doing." Moving a hand up, he soon begins to rub over his lips gently trying to dismiss the feeling. Closing his eyes, he begins to listen carefully as Yume starts to think over her practice lessons. "I think for water treading training you need to work on a different fundamental.." Shifting forward, Suizei extends two fingers to tap at her brow faintly before recoiling a few centimeters. "The water effects your hearing, your balance and equilibrium. You might need to work on a way to refine your movements while on the water. I believe you'll master water skiing in no time, I'll be testing that when I return to the village, just to keep you on your toes."
Yume laughs softly and shakes her head before telling Suizei, "I don't know whether you're recommending it to me, or simply trying to deter me from even trying it. But yes, lemon is one of the stronger citrus flavors. I was hoping for orange or something along those lines." She brings the dish up to finish the last of the sake in it, before setting it off to the side now that it is finished for now. "An interesting theory." Yume agrees softly as she tries to consider it, "Originally I've been simply using what I remember of my tree walking to try to apply it to the water. Trying to keep my feet from truly connecting or breaking the surface tension so that I may walk without falling. But it is difficult on such a malleable surface. Perhaps I can try to stand on a board in the middle of water to get used to the sensations…or borrow a small vessel of my own. That would be fairly dangerous though if I decided to go out to the ocean…I couldn't attempt it on my own." She shakes her head to herself and chuckles, "Still, I'll look forward to the test. After water walking, I believe I will try to return to another voice technique…one meant to still an opponent in their place long enough for me to squeeze in a strike. Then…perhaps my close quarter methods."
"Sailing out in a boat, when you might not be able to swim all that well.. without someone to keep the boat from drifting away.. and where you might get dragged under by a shark.. or the current?" Tilting his head off to one side as he slowly lists each issue results with Suizei sighing before starting to chuckle. "You are about as bold as you are creative. Why don't you start somewhere safer with something far easier to initiate with?" Taking pause, he brings the dish back to his lips, drinking it slowly, keeping Yume without an answer until his dish had run dry. "The hot springs. Water, water all over.. no true danger of drowning or beasts, mildly more difficult to walk upon due to the heat and being bare. Walking at sea for any length will be something for another time." Setting the dish down onto the platter, parts his arms, stretching while tensing his back for a few second as he starts to relax.
"I can swim." Yume tells Suizei, smirking quietly before she chuckles quietly to herself. "But that is partly why I suggest a board somewhere shallow enough to start with." Se does briefly consider the idea of the hot springs, "An interesting idea." Yume agrees with Suizei, letting her head bob and tilt from one side to the other in thought, "I'd probably like to get a private pool in that case…not that I do not mind training in front of others, but it is not the typical place where one trains. Not to mention how much I may splash around at first trying to get the hang of it." She scrunches her nose quietly, "Though the idea of heat on my bare feet is not the best one, if remains as bearable as it is when I am submerged, then it will be fine." She looks up when a server comes by to see if they would like their dishes refilled, and Yume holds hers up to allow them to pour some more into it.
"Coastal swimming and deep sea swimming are two different things.. but I'm starting to get a feeling you've explored both aspects, even if only a little." Looking away and to the side, Suizei also accepts another dish of sake though he was also informed that those would be the last. Nodding again, and thanking the waiter once again he picks up the dish and stares into it as he talks. "While it isn't typical, how you train it doesn't need to be typical either. Just as with my mug, every aspect could be practice.. not just your feet." Extending his free hand across, he taps the back of her closer hand lightly, "These. Each time you bathe in the spring, don't use the side support, nor the steps. Use your hands and your chakra to help you treat the water as a hand hold. Step onto the water itself and walk free. Little things, all the time.. even to how you hold your chopsticks or your dish of sake." Leaning forward, he faintly whispers to Yume saying, 'When I'm in a new land, I use chakra to hold my coin pouch against my thigh, no straps no signs that I have coin. Subtle but constant practice will make it second nature to you too.'
Yume sips from her sakke slowly and inclines her head in confirmation, "I have. Breaking into the storm, we had to go far out into the ocean to locate one of their bases." She tilts her head down to quietly examine the way the liquid moves in the dish as she carefully swirls it around. When her hand is tapped, she nods her head, "Yes, I know that other parts of your body can be focused on as well, a decent idea." She does end up lifting her brow curiously before turning her head to better hear Suizei as he whispers into her ear. She smirks quietly and chuckles to herself, eventually shaking her head. "In a new land?" Yume wonders to him, "I would think that it'd be better to do that when you're in more familiar settings. What if your concentration slipped and the pouch slipped out of your pants? You might not notice where to look if you lost it, or someone you don't know could run off with it before you can pick it back up."
The idea of failing causes Suizei to start chuckling and shaking his head. Closing his eyes, he takes a mild sip from his dish though he doesn't savor it as he did the first. "That's why practice is needed. Do you think much about when you walk, when you talk, how to say your own name? ..I don't, it's second nature, but at one point all of those things were difficult and needed a lot of focus." Nodding his head again, a content hum vibrates in his throat as an idea strikes him, "This is nice.. I wish most of my send offs could be like this. Often unless I managed to find my family, they are jaded or alone." Closing his eyes, he extends his hand out towards Yume silently toasting her before drinking the last of the sake from his dish and setting it down gently.