Date: January 7, 2015
Tsubaki is sent out to the field for her first assessment with Tsiro watching over her.
Land of Water
Students were the life blood of the shinobi villages. Without them the system did not work. However the way they are trained and brought up varied from village to village. Tsiro knew this all too well. So he made visits there to work with students. He stands inside one of the classrooms waiting for a student to arrive. She would be scheduled to meet him there. It was kind of like bring a student to work day, except she was paired with a Kaguya. If she was lucky, her teachers would have likely warned her not to cross him.
Tsubaki was a little late since the classroom was somewhere she wasn't familiar with. Hopefully that isn't a strike… She bows apologetically upon arriving, saying, "Shirayuki Tsubaki reporting in." The girl has pulled her black hair into a long ponytail for the mission, and it falls over her right shoulder when she bows. "… You're Kaguya Tsiro, yes?" she asks to double-check she had the right room.
The crimson eyes of the Kaguya study the student for a moment. She was very young. She was also a Shirayuki. He'd only ever known a handful of them. Some he liked better than others. It did not matter. "I am." he finally answers. After a brief moment the Kaguya moves from his place in her direction. As he walks a bone protrudes out of the tip of his finger scraping along the desk he passes beneath it. "Come princess, we have little time."
Tsiro would open the door and continue to walk. He was making his way for a cart with a horse attached to it. He expected her to follow. "Tell me, what do you believe a shinobi is?" he asks as he sits down in the drivers seat.
Tsubaki nods and follows on Tsiro's heels when he moves, climbing into the passenger side of the cart. "A shinobi… I think a shinobi is someone who is strong. They can protect the village easily and help people in the Land of Water with their skills. And the can also hurt people. … And withstand a lot of pain." The girl hopes her answer is, if not correct, satisfactory. Her green eyes glance from Tsiro to the world around the cart as she tries to figure out where they're going.
Tsiro cracks the whip on the horses. "Incorrect. Shinobi are tools. We are paid to do any job. If someone pays you to kill a kitten, then guess what you do?" he asks. His eyes stay focused on the road. He did not care exactly what the girl thought. She was young and had not seen the harsh realities of the world. Normally he'd try to save her the troubles, but she was chosen as a student and there for her training in the shinobi life had already begun. After a while, they find themselves in a small village. It was a quiet village. "This here is a good place to start your training. Any questions so far?" he asks.
'Darn…' she thinks, but the girl nods to Tsiro's correction, replying, "Kill the kitten." Tsubaki rubs her thumb and pointer finger together a bit as they move along, answering whatever questions he posed and listening attentively to his instructions/advice if there was any. "The only one I have is… What are we doing today? I was only told to meet you at the classroom." And the girl hopes she didn't say the wrong thing again…
Tsiro steps off the cart and walks out infront of it. "Funny thing you should ask. It turns out, we're killing kittens. Well not exactly kittens but cats." He does not even bother to look at her face. The concept of like was something she needed to get rid of if she wanted to survive in this life. To like something was something that no one up the chain cared about. "You will be paid for your services, but there is a huge cat population here and someone felt the need to pay us to kill them and get rid of the bodies. So… you are allowed to use any shinobi tools you want, but you need to kill every single one that you see without a collar on it. If its a stray, its a dead stray. Got it?" he asks.
Tsubaki's face is neutral, the girl having been schooled a bit in the art of the poker face. She simply nods to the mission, hopping off the cart. "Got it," the girl affirms, the green eyes of hers becoming piercing in nature as she reaches for the pouch that holds her Kunai and shuriken. A few are removed for easier access, and the rest stay in her pack. "Are you assisting? And if so, are we splitting up?" she then asks. Depending on the answer, she would dart off either on her own, or follow after Tsiro in search of those cats.
Tsiro finally looks towards the young girl with distain on his face after the last question. "No, I will not be assisting. What type of monster would kill such poor little creatures?" he asks. It seemed that was his way of telling her that this mission was all hers. He then moves to the side of a building and leans against it. He makes a motion. "Bring back each corpse and toss it in the back of the cart."
If it was 'bring your child to work', then it wouldn't be unusual to expect help, would it? And, of course, Tsubaki is very new to the shinobi world. She doesn't know what to expect. Eventually the girl finds a cat, and she stops, trying to sneak up on it. Or at least not get spotted or seen as a threat. When the cat has its back to her, she throws three Kunai at it, aiming to pin it down or injure it before she tries to go in to snap its neck.
The cat turns around at the last moment. "Meeeo…" the sound is cut short by a kunai flying and hitting the cat in the chest. The cat flops over on its side. It makes a couple of thumps before the girl gets her hand on the pretty much lifeless body. She easily snaps the neck for good measure.
Tsubaki pockets the Kunai, as she'd rather not waste tools, and half-carries half-drags the dead body back to the cart, throwing it into the back to create a loud *thud*. "One," she counts, then sets off in another direction for more cats, keeping her eyes peeled for any signs of movement. She also has to make sure it's a stray, of course, so she's extra careful to look at the neck first.
Luckily for her, the first one was a stray. The body was fairly light for the average cat. Tsiro nods as the young girl tosses the cat corpse into the back of the cart. It was the only sign of recognition the young girl had gotten all day. The straight face does little to let on that she's already surpassed his expectations of a girl her size.
Tsubaki looks around the area, trying to think where a cat might be… Hunting for food. Where there are lots of rats, likely… The best place for that would be near a dumpster, right? She travels into an alleyway where a lot of the trash is stored, poking at the pile to maybe send a rat scurrying and draw out a cat at the same time.
The only thing Tsubaki would find was garbage. There were signs in of rips in the bags and trash dragged out of them but nothing more. It was likely that the tears were made from some cat or another animal of similar size.
She was on the right-ish track, it seemed. Tsubaki frowns, though, as her search is fruitless. Onto the next spot, then. She goes to a market-place center, looking around for the spot where a vendor might drop fresh food for mousies to eat. Cats would be stalking around there, hopefully, and maybe there would be milk/cream for cats to want to steal.
There was a single white cat. The cat was rather fluffy. It appeared to be in pretty healthy condition. It sat outside the local butcher's home drinking from a milk sauce with it's back turned towards the girl.
The cat was really healthy… Was it truly a stray? Tsubaki crept closer to make sure it had no collar around its neck, hoping the cat wouldn't turn and notice her approach. She didn't want to risk killing the cat if it were a pet, so no Kunai enters her hands, but she is ready to bat it away just in case.
That was a fairly good call. The cat indeed had a collar around its neck. It was pink with a bell attached and some sentimental name written on it. However just a brief moment later another cat, dark in color and missing patches of fur approaches the bowl of milk. This one is definately not owned by someone. Although its fairly close to the other cat and right infront of the butcher's window.
Tsubaki can tell this next one is a stray. She eyes the proximity of it to the owned cat and hmms, unsure how well this might go. So she takes a rock from the ground and throws it at the stray. If it hits the white cat, it wouldn't hurt because it's a pebble. The throw is just to attract attention.
The pebble hits the stray. It causes the stray to hiss at the girl before running off. Thats not the only thing. Soon the door opens and a big burly butcher comes out. "What are you doing kid?" he asks. He seems pretty angry. Obviously he was not the one who hired the girl to kill the strays. As he yells the white cat enters the shop. He stands there waiting for a response.
The girl is about to chase after the stray when 'What are you doing, kid?' reaches her ears. Tsubaki turns to the man, saying, "I'm chasing stray cats." Hopefully that's a satisfactory answer. She does go on to say, "One of them seemed intent on stealing from your cat, so I chased it away." Is that enough? She's mentally crossing her fingers.
The butcher's head tilts to the as the girl mentions she is chasing strays. "It's milk. I'm not real worried about it getting stolen. There is more than enough for the others." he states. The other cat seems to have already escaped somewhere out of sight.
Tsubaki just nods, "I'll remember that. Have a good day, sir." And then she darts off to try and find that cat, heading in the direction it fled. Maybe she'll get lucky and stumble across it again, or maybe she'll find a new target. Either way, she plans to complete this mission.
The butcher seems to be fairly disgusted with the girl but decides to go back into his shop. He had other things to take care of like making money and slaughtering big animals. Who knew he'd have a soft spot for defenseless cats.
Tsubaki continues on with her search, finding another alley to go down. She'll have to avoid dragging a dead cat's body in front of the butcher's residence, or maybe pretend that she found it injured. She doubted she would be able to do that, though. She should have thought up a good lie. The girl pokes at the different corners in the alley as she searches for signs of a cat.
As Tsubaki turns the corner into the alley a little kitten is seen. It's tiny and pretty skinny. It seems to be poking out of some form of den made under a crack in the wall. It's obviously pretty hungry and fairly young.
Tsubaki eyes the kitten and attempts to scoop it up so she can check for a collar. Hopefully there aren't any other cats in the den structure, but just in case, she takes a Kunai from her pouch.
The kitten is easily scooped up. Also, as Tsubaki gets closer to the den she can hear more kittens meowing. It sounded like a litter that was going nuts meowing. There could easily be half a dozen in the den, but they were somewhat protected from her just going in there and getting them.
Tsubaki makes a note of where she is and dashes back to the butcher's house, knocking on the man's door with the kitten in her arms. When the butcher opens the door, she says, "Sir, would you mind taking this kitten? And also, I would like to borrow a saucer of milk, if you have some to spare?" she requests, hoping the man might help her out. And if not…. Well, she could always try her 'plan b'. Tsubaki tries to look innocent when looking up at the butcher.
The butcher answers the door with some confusion. Anger and maybe a little rage seem to turn into a smile as he sees the kitten. "Why sure." he states. He then points to whats left of the bowl of milk as he takes the kitten off her hands. He then nods and closes his door. He does not even bother asking her what she is doing.
That's one kitten taken care of. Tsubaki takes the milk bowl and brings it over to the place she had seen the other kittens, planning to lay out a trap for the rest. The bowl of milk is placed outside the den, and Tsubaki crouches just outside as she waits for them all to come out, idly pondering if she should give them all to the butcher or if she should kill them all. She could also do a sort of half-and-half, depending on how many there were.
The bowl is not there for long before the kittens start to come out from the den. The first one seems to be the bravest. If left along, a second one would make its way towards the bowl. Then a third until there are four total kittens drinking from the milk. From the shape of them, its likely the first meal they had all week.
Tsubaki just waits for all the kittens to come out. She peeks at each of them, figuring out which ones were 'cute' and which ones seemed too weak to survive without proper care. She then chooses one of each (the first kitten and the fourth kitten), snatching them up in her arms before attempting to snap the necks of the other two. If the butcher can't accept the two cats, then she'll kill them, but for now, they live.
The bodies are left behind for the time being, and Tsubaki once more knocks on the butcher's door, this time maybe looking a tad embarrassed. An act. "I'm sorry to bug you again, sir, but would you mind taking these last two kittens I found? They look like they need a good home." And hopefully he doesn't ask /her/ to take one…
The butcher once more opens the door. "Jeeze kid. This isnt an animal shelter…" but then he seems to realize she's like eight years old. "Fine, I will take these but no more." He reaches out and takes them. "Run along kid. Go play or something." He shakes his head as he takes the cats in doors. A kid handing out stray cats. In his mind he's still thinking that she was trying to make up for tossing a rock at the one cat.
Tsubaki seems to brighten and nods. "Yes sir!" she says, then dashes out, back to the alley, picking up the dead bodies and hiding them from sight so she can make her way back to the cart. She avoids going past the butcher's house. Back at the cart, and the two kittens are tossed into the back. "Two-three." she reports to Tsiro.
Tsiro remains leaning against the post. "Not bad. Guess its time to pack up." Of course if she looked into the back of the wagon, she'd see a nice pile of dead bodies. At least ten of them. Tsiro moves back to his position driving the cart. "Come on." he states as he is about to crack the whip on the horse. He does not seem upset, but more or less quiet. It was typical Tsiro.
Tsubaki catches a glimpse. Enough to know that Tsiro had been busy. She setes down into the passenger seat, then, silent for as long as Tsiro is since she doesn't want to risk getting scolded again. If he asks her a question, she would answer as honestly as possible, though she would leave out the part about saving three kittens…
As Tsiro drives he remains looking forward. It was the same path they took to get there except in reverse. About half way through the trip, Tsiro asks a question. "So, how did the mission go?" he asks. It seems a simple enough question. Something to pass the boredom maybe. Tsubaki seemed quiet enough to him. He pondered if it was out of fear or natural respect. In the end it really did not matter, but it was part of his mental assessment of her.
"Judging by the pile back there, I think it went well. There were a few hiccups, like escaping cats and angry people, but I think I managed to handle it," Tsubaki says evenly. Her silence was likely from a combination of both fear and respect, though more the latter. The former was from knowing that he would be reporting this to her Sensei at the Academy.
"Ahh yes, the butcher. He seems to be awefully soft hearted for a man who slaughters animals for a living. Do you not agree?" he asks. He then turns to look at the girl. "So, do you think you passed or failed the mission?" he asks. He does not miss a beat cracking the whip on the horse after he asks the question. His crimson eyes never leave the girl's face.
Tsubaki inclines her head slightly in acknowledgement, letting her expression change to minor annoyance. "It's odd. But maybe he just likes cute things?" The girl shrugs, then is posed the question. She considers it, then answers hesitantly, "Well… I think I did fine… I tried to complete the mission as best I could. But I obviously didn't kill all the strays, so it could be a failure." She starts to think that Tsiro was the butcher, considering he pointed the man out so pointedly.
Tsiro turns his attention back to the road as they speak. So she was still skirting around the issue. "You are a student so I will give you a break this once. You failed to meet the criteria of the mission. This was a failure. In some missions you will be able to put two and two together and solve things the way you did today. However this mission was not one of them. You were instructed to kill cats. The issue is that someone found a cat that starved to death. This means the community no longer has enough food to support that many strays. The humane thing to do is to give them a quick death. Giving them to someone else usually means they will escape back to being strays eventually."
Tsubaki sighs faintly to herself, though it doesn't sound like much of one, if anything at all. The girl nods to what Tsiro says, only a hint of her disappointment in her eyes. "I see… I understand," she says. And she does. She doesn't particularly like it, but she understands the reasoning. Becoming a shinobi is going to be difficult, from the looks of it, but she won't give up just because she failed this time.
The girl kind of reminded him a bit of Katsurou. He happened to be a former prince who ended up with his head on a pike because he decided to go do his own thing instead of what the village required of him. Tsiro decided not to bring up the reference. He'd speak with her teacher later about the mission. The teacher could figure out how to deal with it.
As Tsiro pulled up infront of the school he nodded to the girl. "I give you credit for the try. Just remember as shinobi, we do not set the mission most the time. We follow it." Perhaps if she was against killing small animals, Tsiro may have been upset. Knowing that she did not have that issue makes it seem like a decision made due to logical reasoning. That was a good skill for a shinobi to have, just not in this situation.
Tsubaki nods and hops down from the cart, giving a respectful bow to Tsiro. "I'll remember that in the future. Thank you for the lesson," she says. And if she has class or something, she would head back into the school before returning home so she could share her adventures with her family. They would probably tell her the same thing as Tsiro… But she'll give them the report anyway.