Date: May 10, 2016
The Kazekage's ceremonial hat goes missing at the Sunagakure Ninja Academy. Hmm, wonder what that means…
"Capture the Hat"
Training Fields [Sunagakure]
This training area is an open field surrounded by large rock formations that help keep the harsh winds of the desert from just erasing it from existence. The field is actually divided into four major areas. The main area is used by all ninja of Sunagakure regardless of rank. There are many training posts, a few obstacle courses as well as a number of sparring circles for everyone to use.
The other three areas are set up to better cater to the needs of ninja of different ranks. They are all accessible by three paths that snake through some of the rock formations and lead to them. There's one set up for students, which is also used to test students intending to graduate as Genin. Another area has been primarily set up for Genin usage, even though some Chuunin can usually be seen there as well and finally there's an area set up for anyone of with the rank of Chuunin or higher.
All three of those specialized areas mimic the challenges found in the general training area, except the challenges found in them are customized for the appropriate ranks.
"There's a sneaky thief on the loose here," Itami began as she spoke to the students gathered in the field. "I came here to talk with you all and to see your progress, but now I'm missing something of mine and I know you all have it." She pointed out her missing hat. "So, where are you all hiding it?" Naturally, there is no answer, but that was to be expected. In fact, this is exactly what she wanted to happen. She clasped her hands behind her back. "Alright, so you won't talk. If I ever find out who did this…" She didn't bother to speak about what she would do. She just opts to leave it hanging in the air.
She turned to leave, deciding to search the academy for her missing hat. Meanwhile, the students sigh a breath of relief as they figure out a plan to keep it from her as long as possible. Time to break up into teams.
Deeper in the training fields, a rather enormous being adorned in armor strikes at training poles over and over again to practice. While Seireito probably notices that the Kage is interrogating a group of students, it seems to figure that's an endeavor to keep itself out of unless the Kage asks for some assistance in scaring the kids into giving the hat back to her with its size. Strike after strike lands upon the pole, the silent giant quite focused on its training as it seeks to perfect its blows, perhaps having some markers in its mind of which blows might be fatal and which might be otherwise useful.
Shinta had been on the academy grounds more and more recently while practicing new techniques, still, the pale-haired boy hadn't seen much of anything before he heard the voice of the Kazekage trying to lightly interrogate the students on something. With a knit in his brow, Shinta would gather up his duffle bag and slide his arms into the straps before heading off toward the sound of the Kage's voice. Considering the way the students were gathered together, he could guess there was something assigned to them though what it was only Itami would know. So… "Kazekage-sama? What brings you to the academy today?" Shinta would question as he walked along the ceiling toward the woman with his arms crossed in front of his chest… mostly to hold his poncho down. Or up?
Tekketsu Sabure, the six-year-old son of Fukanzen and Shemri, stands among the students being interrogated with a blank look on his face. That's par for the course for him, but the other students told him to 'look innocent', so he's doing that. Better than some of the other students who said that, with their nervous fidgets and reluctant swallows. e.e When the Kazekage turns away with her implied threat looming in the air, Sabure tilts his head. That wasn't a complete statement, where's the conclusion for that hypothesis? -.-a
Well, anyway, seems like Sabure's classmates are resuming the game. Mommy and Daddy told him to make friends with the other students and participate in their games, so that's what Sabure's trying to do. The point of this game, though the rules are rather loosely defined, seems to be keeping the Kazekage's hat away from her. Sabure lifts a hand to volunteer for doing 'the hard part' somebody just mentioned. Mommy said people like hard workers and initiative-takers, after all.
"Well, I was here to see how the students were doing, but as it turns out, they've decided to steal my hat, so now I must find it," Itami describes to Shinta as she enters the academy. "Not that I'm truly bothered with these turn of events. I figure if they're bold enough to take it, then they're skilled enough to keep it from me," she smirked. "So, I'm going to see how long they can manage."
Okay, now that the Kazekage is gone, they can focus on what's important. "We still have the hat! Right now, it's hidden, but we have to move it so she can't figure out where it is," a boy speaks up. "Who's gonna hide the hat this time?" Upon Sabure's hand being raised, a smile was offered his way. "Really? You're going to do it? It took a whole bunch of us to do it before, but let's try it this way!" The group appeared to be in agreement.
"So, the hat is hidden in this classroom. It's under the teacher's desk. We need different groups. One to tell us where the Kazekage is, the other to move to get the hat. That's the group you'll be in," he indicated to Sabure. "Other groups will help to intercept and distract so we can keep the hat from her as long as possible."
Since everyone's wandered inside, Seireito is basically alone to continue its training. It makes a few final strokes to complete its training before deciding to check out what's going on around the academy. Since it never actually went there, it doesn't know the layout like some of the others, but it's taken time to memorized it as best it can. It eyes the group of students as they seem to be plotting their next move and waits to see what their actions are. This should be interesting at least.
Shinta nodded his head in understanding of what Itami had said before he'd wander back off into his own training room for the moment. It would take a moment but the boy would return to his training on his own technique considering Itami wasn't very bothered by the students. Shinta couldn't resist the curiosity of the students' activities for more than a moment however, soon using the henge technique he'd learned in the academy to shift himself into an opposite state of his actual self. With pale skin and dark hair, the boy would creep his way around the academy and then toward the group of students to join in on the prank and perhaps see firsthand how well they worked as a unit. Hearing the planning, Shinta smiled a bit. "I can try distracting her." The boy offered while lingering toward the back of the group.
Sabure nods compliantly to the spokesperson. This doesn't seem like such a hard game, apart from keeping up with the rules that seem to be made up as they go along. Maybe they're still designing the game? Is this an improvisational test run? Anyway, why does moving a hat take a whole bunch of kids? Does the Kazekage wear some sort of deceptively heavy hat for training purposes? :/a Sabure looks forward to finding out. He moves along with his group, continuing to 'look innocent'.
"We've got a plan and don't be afraid to take actions that you feel are necessary!" The boy chimes. "We should all break up now and get to work. If you're helping with distraction, then join in one of the distraction team," he pointed out to Shinta. With all that being said, the kids break apart into their particular groups, one of which has caught up with the Kazekage.
Itami entered into the first room she came upon. It was one of many classrooms. She began her search here, tailed by a small group of students who were using their best abilities to hide from her while engaging in tracking. So far, she's found nothing and the kids are confident she wouldn't. There's nothing in this room to be found. "Hmm…" She turned around to look outside the room, thinking she may have seen some kids run by. Moving outside of the room, she looked both left and right, seeing nothing. "Perhaps I'm just seeing things." It's quite possible. One of them could be using genjutsu.
Shinta gave a nod of his head in agreement with the directions before he'd start off toward the area where Itami was currently inspecting. The boy would wait not far from the door before creeping away from it to start around the corner. He'd rooted through his pack, currently disguised as a satchel, and pulled out a simple set of shapes to set up a simple cloth tent that resembled Itami's hat in another room. He'd used a bit of wire that was pulled taut to give the shape a well-defined form before he hung it on the side of a desk that was in the room across from the one she'd been inspecting. It was in an obvious place of course, meant to draw attention to itself so he could lure the kage into the room if she took the bait.
Genjutsu? From academy students? :o Why, they'd have to be precocious prodigies to learn such techniques so early, right? That kind of stuff only happens in manga.
Well, that's got nothing to do with Sabure's group anyway. They're off relocating the Kazekage's hat, not duping the Kazekage herself. As they jog through the hallways, though, they run into another potential obstacle: a random teacher walks out of a room slap into their path. "Whoa, slow down there! What are you lot doing running around the halls like this?" :/ The lead kids look desperately at the ground for inspiration. "Um, we're, uh…"
"We're playing a ninja game." Sabure supplies the answer in a frank manner. "Uh, yeah! Yeah, it's a sort of training exercise," one of the other kids agrees quickly. n.n; The teacher sighs and scratches her head. "Well, all right, as long as you're learning something. Just make sure you don't cause any accidents." The kids nod quickly and file past the teacher in a more orderly, if skittishly maintained, formation. Sabure turns around and walks backwards to give a last bit of explanation as they go. "It's about trying to keep away the Ka — mmmph!" Another kid clamps a hand over Sabure's mouth and drags him around the corner. c.c;
After leaving the classroom, she set up to enter into another classroom, hoping to pick up speed as she does so. She is dealing with a group of kids, after all. She walks at a brisk pace, coming across another classroom and entering inside. A teacher was here grading papers. "Hello," she spoke to him. The teacher looked up and immediately raised from his seat to bow. "Ah, Kazekage-sama," he spoke. She smiled and waved him down. "It's okay. I'm here trying to find my hat. The students have taken it from me."
The teacher frowned. "I'll see to it that they are punished." Itami shook her head. "No need. Whatever punishment they intend to face, they'll face it from me," she winked. The teacher stared at her until he caught on to what she was saying. "Ah, then I leave them to you." He nodded.
One of the students broke off from the group to update the others of Itami's status so far. She's not caught on to them yet. She's located in one classroom and is not a threat. But, they should continue in hiding the hat.
"We've got an update. We'll go ahead and hide the hat here," he pointed out a utility closet that was rarely used. It was in a part of the academy that wasn't frequented as much as it was being converted for other use. While they hid the hat, Itami left and approached another classroom. The students outside indicated for Shinta to head out before she came in and found his finished product and him with it.
Shinta nodded but rather than choosing the hallway, he'd take to diving out the window and scuttling along the wall using his hands. The boy was quick to move along the wall and then start climbing as well as he could to the next floor where he could silently hide away and listen to the goings on of the room below. Shinta would of course, work to seem as normal as possible in the room, no need to draw extra attention to himself, right? Now then, what should he do to distract her next..? A fake hat wasn't going to work a second time around.
Sabure moves along with his group to the classroom where the all-important Hat of Authority is stowed. At last, it is brought forth from under the desk, and Sabure is able to gaze upon its gloriousness! o.o As with most unfamiliar things, Sabure spends a long moment staring at the headgear, drinking in its characteristics and filing them away into memory with great detail. Doesn't seem that heavy after all. c.c Well, only one way to be certain. Sabure quietly holds out a hand in request to carry the object, and the kid who pulled it out shrugs and hands it over. Sabure further catalogues attributes of the hat by feeling it and turning it over to see its interior while the cadre of kids sneaks over to the supply closet to re-stash it.
Itami immediately spotted the tent and went over to grab it, but when she did, it only fell apart in her hands. "A trick?!" She called out as she grasped the rest of the materials tightly in her hands. It was a simple trick, but effective, none the less. She huffed and turned around to leave the classroom. It appears she'll have to make this a bit harder for them.
Needless to say, her call was heard throughout the nearest hallway and beyond and some of the students began to grow worried. Was she getting mad? They hope not. They don't want to see her turning into a dragon or anything.
Time for another report! The Kazekage is possibly upset! And as of now, she's leaving the current classroom and rounding the corner to go into the next hallway to search the next classrooms. At her rate, she'll be near them in no time! Best to split. Where are the distraction teams?
They're on their way! They've dispersed in the hall, acting as if they are not included in the game being played. Some are checking lockers, others are entering classrooms with objects in hand. "Hey!" She called out. Some of the students looked up. "Have any of you seen my hat?" She wondered. "Your hat? No, we haven't seen it." Itami winced. "…It's green and white, has cloth wrapped around it? Sound familiar?" The girl thought for a few moments. "Yeah, I know what it looks like, I just haven't seen it anywhere." Itami looks over the rest of the students and observes them for any reactions, but there weren't any. Not yet, at least. "That's unfortunate…" She began as she began to enter a classroom. "I was hoping to reward someone for finding it."
Shinta was atop the hall, crouched down in the pathway and using the senbon on the ends of his wires to pick up the vibrations for his own understanding of what was going on. He wasn't expecting to make her angry with the trick, but he was shocked she was expecting them to make things so easy on her after going through the effort of hiding that hat. Time for phase two then. The boy started off at a brisk walk, moving down the hall with a purpose while rifling through his satchel for the next items that could be made useful in his efforts to distract Itami from her hunt for her hat. The best thing however, could come in the simplest of forms. He just needed to get to the bathrooms before anyone else.
Gasp! A reward? :o That changes the dynamics of the game considerably. Quite a few of the kids start murmuring about the possibility of abandoning the goal of keeping the hat away and instead setting it up to look like they found the hat and are virtuously returning it to the Kazekage. Others, more dedicated to the game, hiss that there's no way she'll believe they found it without having been the ones to take it in the first place, and call the others traitors for even considering it. >P Hmm, traitors…that falls solidly into the category of Bad Things To Be according to Sabure's parents. :|a
Just then one of the kids makes a swift grab at the hat, hoping to dash off with it and be the one to claim the reward. Sabure's grip is tight enough to keep it from being immediately yanked away, and one of the more dedicated players gives the would-be opportunist a sock to the jaw. D< A few others quickly get the same idea and reach out for the hat. Pretty soon the gang devolves into a knot of punching, shoving, shouting juveniles, and it's unclear who is fighting to keep the hat safe and who is just trying to keep others from snatching it before they do. Sabure hugs the hat to his belly and squirms out between the tangle of legs. o.o; "Keep the hat away!" shouts the leader of the mostly-dissolved team while holding back a couple of others. Sabure takes off down the hallway as fast as his little legs will carry him.
Well, things just got interesting and harder. Turning kids against one another? Genius. How will they hold out with some of their own becoming turncoats?! "No hat here either…" Itami remarked to herself after having searched the classroom. Time to deliver another report. She's still headed their direction!
Once the reporter came to deliver the news, he saw Sabure running with the hat in hand being chased by a bunch of other kids. What happened here?
Seems like the group has turned against each other. Well, the best thing to do in this situation is keep the hat away from those who want to give it up! At least, that was his assessment, but first, to report back.
Shinta was rushing down from the upper floor and just as he rounded the corner, saw the rushing children and crouched down behind the railing to watch. It was an impressive fight to see, a few children fighting to keep the hat from a raving mob of candy-driven lunatics. Well, if they were going to make a scene, Shinta had to do something to counteract that scene, now didn't he? The boy moved through into the bathroom and into one of the stalls so he could unroll a scroll and cut free the portion that had the seal writing upon it. Placing the seal on the underside of one of the toilets and triggering it, Shinta would make a quick break for freedom into the vents of the school. The reaction would be slightly delayed but it was around the right time for an instructor's restroom break from their lust for tea. Once they spotted the 'overflow' they would no doubt call for help while Shinta worked to make his escape. The boy wouldn't waste water however… it was a scroll of water he'd gathered from his trip to the port town. Salt water that wouldn't make it beyond the school and damage their precious desert! Responsible micro-terrorism.
My my, this is turning into quite the high-consequence game, isn't it? First students getting into a scuffle with each other (good thing this is a NINJA school where frequent cuts and bruises are to be expected), now somebody's making a mess of school property. :o
Well, Sabure doesn't get to hear about that, he's running down the hallway away from that diversion. He passes by another student who tries to tell him something about the Kazekage coming this way, though he doesn't have much time to hear the details. c.c
Sure enough, as Sabure heads into an intersection of hallways, he spots the Lady of the Sand herself down the left passage. Uh-oh, that's probably sub-optimal for success of the game. Surely she's seen him too, and Sabure hasn't really learned any ninja tricks yet…except…
With the intersection obscured by smoke, Sabure takes off again. Of course, even a non-ninja could make a decent guess at which way he went by the sound of his retreating footsteps, and the Kazekage doubtless has ways of easily tracking him…
Itami did hear the footsteps and turned her head in their direction to see a young boy with her hat in his hands. As she turned to face him, she was about to make a break towards him, but something else caught her attention. 'What was that noise?' A toilet just blew up and…kids are fighting their way down the hallway. Can't think about that much more, she just lost sight of her target, but not sound. The smokebomb obscured her vision as she approached it and stood at the intersection to listen carefully.
Once it cleared, she was met with the entire group of kids who were running by, but had come to a grinding halt after seeing her. "Aaah, what have we here?" She questioned with a smile. "Where are you running to?" She thought to inquire. Silence… "Of course… Well, when you wish to talk, I'll just be busy searching for my hat," she looked down the way Sabure ran off to. "…You're free to go first," she gestured to the direction he ran.
This place is a bit of a madhouse. Seireito wonders if things are always so bizarre when it comes to dealing with students, though it can't really put together that time in its life so far… Maybe it'll figure out more about that, but it is at least nice to see that children do have fun in Sunagakure, even if it involves causing a bit of trouble for the Kazekage. Still, she doesn't seem too angry about it thus far and hasn't asked for assistance, so Seireito keeps its distance for now.
Shinta was keeping watch of the proceedings from his hiding place in the vents, a bit of a grin on his face as he began to understand why Jiro liked to be such a rogue element. Then he remembered something about training and learning a new technique so adults couldn't beat him up anymore but…. this was so much more fun! The boy would quietly begin climbing along the vents to reach another classroom not far off so he could drop down to the ground and pat himself free of the newly collected dust on his clothes. The scroll cutting that was used in the bathroom would be running out of water by now so he'd have to return to making sure he wasn't discovered if he hoped to continue watching - and taking part - in this wild bit of fun.
Gasp…the Kazekage went the other way. :o The smoke bomb worked. Do you realize what this means? SABURE IS SOME KIND OF GENIUS PRODIGY LIKE IN A MANGA. O.O
Not that he has too long to contemplate this. The other kids glance at each other when the Kazekage invites them to give chase ahead of her, unsure what to make of it…but after a moment a few of them decide to take the initiative and dash off after Sabure. Sabure hears pursuit behind him and weighs his options. Unfortunately for the interest of the scene, the smartest option is the most boring: just keep running straight ahead! That's the quickest way to put distance between the hat and the ultimate fail condition of the Kazekage, and trying to lose his pursuers by changing path is an unlikely prospect due to their advantage of numbers. So he keeps on going as swift as he can…which isn't all that swift comparatively. He's a six-year-old who only recently joined the academy, what can you expect? c.c
Itami leaves after the students who take Sabure's path. This was the time to get her hat back! They kept it away from her about 30 minutes. Significant, she guesses. It doesn't take her long to catch up with the students that ran off. Seeing her there so fast was surprising. What do they do now?! "So, tell me which way he went?" She asked, speaking of Sabure. Seeing as how they wanted to get the hat for themselves…but now she's here…what do they do? There was a reward for getting it, right? But will they still get it if she gets it first? "He went that way!" They pointed out a random direction to throw her off. "Thank you," she flickered off, completely ignoring their directions, bet heck, she's gone now. She probably went the wrong way? They hope so.
Shinta peered from the classroom to watch after the other children as well as Itami, laughing a bit to himself before slipping from inside the classroom and beginning to quietly rush toward the cluster of students so he could find out what they were doing. The first question out of his mouth however, was innocent and in line with the objective of the other children. The advantages of being 9! "Where's the hat? Did Itami get it?" Shinta whispered loudly to test a few things. First, if they would all point him in random directions to thin out the competition, or the right direction and let him make sure that at the very least the hat wouldn't be damaged.
Sabure reaches the doors of the school building and is faced with a conundrum. Is he allowed to leave the academy grounds? The rules of the game are so vague, and nobody is on his side anymore to explain them. =.=a Well, he recalls something about how they're not supposed to leave during the schoolday, and that's probably more important than the hat game. Probably. Hard to say with the Kazekage involved and all. But yeah, Sabure makes a hard right at the doors and scuttles off around the inner perimeter of the building.
"The hat is…" The kid is muted by another while one speaks up in his place. "The hat is fine!" A girl looks back worriedly. "How do you know?" She questioned. "Some other kid has it!" Yet another girl says. "Sabure!" A boy chimed from the back of the crowd. Mixed opinions, it appears. All of them are right, though. While the group continues to contend with itself, Itami continues tracking down Sabure and her hat.
She comes across the school doors and examines them carefully. Doesn't appear to have been used, though that's not saying much. The key is them having not been used recently. Besides, she was close enough to have heard them open and close, among other things. So, she leaves them and takes off, using Sabure's same path. Before long, she was able to see him ahead of her and with him, her hat. "My hat!" She called out, now confirming that it is indeed hers and not some mockup. At least, she hopes.
Shinta couldn't help letting an "uh-oh" slip as he listened to the kids arguing amongst themselves and then frowned a bit at the way they all seemed so disorganized. Shaking his head slowly Shinta spoke quietly, and most likely in a way that wasn't much like another student at all, but it had to be said. "The Kazekage is the enemy while we have her hat. No matter what she promises to give us, if we give in, we're betraying each other. If we don't protect each other now, how can we even think to do it when we graduate?" The boy questioned, quickly turning to start off after the Kazekage while trying to think up a plan of what he could do. He could only do so much while pretending to be another student, and more than that, he didn't want to be too directly involved in the game if he could help it.
Sabure runs to the end of the lobby area at the front of the building and finds himself at a dead-end — for students, anyway. There are doors, but they're locked, accessible only to academy staff. In a way, that's almost a relief to Sabure. It means he has an excuse to stop running. XP Even for a kid in his first year at the academy, he's always been the bookish sort. Oh look, and Kazekage-sama has shown up to block his way back. c.c Well, not much to do but — MAKE A BREAK FOR IT! Sabure makes the last-ditch effort of trying to dash past Itami. He can't go back to his classmates and tell them he didn't at least try, after all.
Itami reached out and made a grab for Sabure to drag him back to her and to obtain her hat. "I know that you tried and that's alright. You slipped away from me for a while," she chuckled as she reached for the accessory. "I had fun, though. All together, you and the rest of the students managed to avoid me for close to an hour. Around 52 minutes, in fact. That's a significant amount of time. In the field, an hour of withholding could make or break a mission that required that sort of skill."
The game has ended, but she can't say that she won't still offer a reward for their efforts. Hmmm…
Shinta paused when He saw that his talk was a bit too late but with that done, there really was nothing for Shinta to do besides quietly use that door to escape the academy and find somewhere to hide himself away in before shifting himself back to normal. As much fun as it was, he didn't want to be a part of the group of children that stole Itami's hat! What if she sent him back to the academy or revoked his hospital privileges?! The crushing reality returned ten-fold as Shinta suddenly began to think of the possible punishments he could endure.
Ack, Sabure's been caught. Guess that means game over. "So we won then?" Sabure says, setting the hat back on Itami's head. "This is the first time I've played, so I'm not very clear on the rules, Kazekage-sama." o.o
"Oh, there's no rules in particular. The objective was to see how long you all could keep my hat from me. Any other way that you determined to do that was strictly of your own ability and foresight on the matter," Itami explained to Sabure as she adjusted her hat. "Now, let's go find the others and tell them that this game is over. In the meantime, I'll have to think up some sort of reward. I think I might order something out of Iwagakure, express delivery."