Date: January 29, 2016
The trio of Asami, Taro, and Rei arrive in the Land of Lightning and set up camp. A discussion of their next step is held. Also group cuddles.
"Clouds, Camping, and Cuddling"
Small Plateau, Land of Lightning
Several days have passed since they departed the inn. Asami had a slash across her belly from a training mishap, which she would have seen Rei about. Once it was treated and healed enough, they went on their way. For now, they are mostly just wandering, as Rei likes to, but Asami and Taro have another purpose. To challenge themselves and to learn new jutsu, and methods of countering the jutsu of others. There aren't many ninja in the Land of Jade to gain experience against, after all, but there had still been several ninja aside from the Fuma family trio competing last time. That means that unless they're willing to go up against other ninja in the shinobi countries, they aren't going to gain vital experience between now and the next tournament.
Since Asami and Taro are both trained in sword arts, as part of blending in with the samurai, and Kumogakure is known for its sword specialists, it seemed like a good idea to edge their way into the Land of Lightning and see if they could uncover anything. Approaching the Hidden Village itself may be difficult, and they can't just walk up to their shinobi and ask to be taught all of their kenjutsu, obviously.
'One does not just walk into Kumogakure', etc.
But there has to be some way to observe Cloud shinobi in action. Even if it means going up against them in battle, though there are plenty of dangers in that as well, obviously. And consequences to consider too…
There's another reason for being here other than that however. Asami also promised Rei to help her train to improve physically. As a result, she has decided that hiking may be a good way to build up strength and stamina. There's plenty of mountain trails after all, and they have relative seclusion if they find the right training area. Right now, they have established a small camp up on a plateau along the side of a cliff. Just getting up here would have been a serious work-out, but for the time being, they can rest after the long journey.
Asami is lying down on a blanket, fanning herself with her hand, and watching the night sky spread out above like an ocean of stars. Dinner is cooking nearby, but the camp fire is being kept low to avoid being detected.
Taro didn't care where he went too much really, and he would rather have people with him then not. He was right now mostly just bored.. He had a good workout getting up here though, but now just sitting here he was lying down on a blanket of his own. His eyes were watching the same sky as his sisters for a moment as he thought about things. Maybe he could meet others here, and see if anyone was of interest. Maybe he could even see Rita again. He knew she was heading this way. Eventually his eyes drifted to the side as he went to look at the food he could smell cooking, but noticed his sister fanning herself. His eyes pausing on her longer than they probably should. Eventually he shook his head visibly for a moment and sat up to go check on the fire and the food.
Returning from taking a walk to exercise, Rei spots Asami laying down on her blanket and smiles. She holds a bottle of sake in her hand that she's already started drinking, taking a sip from it once in a while as she walks over. Spotting Taro as well, she lifts a hand and waves as she steps over. Her pace is slow as per usual, though she eventually makes it over and moves to lay down beside Asami and lay her head on her stomach. "Sorry it took me so long to get back, but you know how my legs can be."
Asami is going to cool off quickly enough in the mountain air, but even for her, there was effort involved in getting up here. Of course, in the shape she's in, there's no way she'd get exhausted just hiking. Though she was also relatively stationary for a year in the Land of Jade, while Taro was off fighting in the Land of Iron. He might be in even better shape than she is. She turns her gaze on him almost at the same time he looks at her, meeting his eyes and just… Looking back at him. That closeness that brother and sister have had for many years now is still intact, even after their time apart. But Taro is still changed from how Asami last knew him.
There's darkness there. And it worries her. But she has darkness too. Why doesn't that worry her? Does Taro see how she's changed and worry?
Sigh. Many thoughts in her head. Then Taro breaks his gaze and Rei arrives. Asami looks towards her and smiles as the blonde lies down next to her, using girl abs as a pillow. She pats Rei's head. "It's fine. We're not going anywhere any time soon. I suppose I should ask if either of you have been here before or not. I'm trying to determine the best course of action in learning about the techniques used here. If I had an idea of what kinds of techniques I am even looking for, who uses them, the most notable Clans and defense measures… I could formulate a plan."
Taro didn't pay any mind to Rei at first besides a small wave in her direction. He heard the both of them speak and after making sure the food was still cooking right and well he turned to face them. Again he sorta stared for a moment at the both of them before speaking. "I haven't been around here no. Other villages I was close to, but not here. Honestly I think the Land of Tea is a good place for sword training, but the Daimyo there….is… I don't know I just feel off around him. I feel like he is hiding something, and that man just seems fearless. Others there seem to admire him though…" He frowned and looked between Rei and Asami. He paused in thought himself, and his mind drifted a bit. His sister had changed a bit yeah, but he felt that was normal… He didn't see enough to worry at least…maybe he should. He didn't say anything else for now and just watched the both of them.
"I've been through before, but I've not spent a lot of time with the people around," Rei says, smiling up at Asami as she pats her head. "I know there are quite a few clans around, so most of them might not be willing to share their jutsu. You might be able to pick up on some of the more general things." When Taro starts to talk, Rei looks his way and lifts an eyebrow slightly. "Every village or country leader has secrets, I'm pretty sure. It's not a job I envy." After a brief pause, she lifts a hand and waves him over, saying, "Come sit with us."
"I'd trust your instincts. If you think there's something off about him without clear evidence, there probably is. The fact that he's setting off alarms without an obvious reason might be nothing… Or it might be something. Staying away from him seems best for now." Asami tilts her head towards Rei and says, "He may have reason to have secrets, but some of those secrets could be very unhealthy for us. I'd rather not get entangled in his politics. We have somewhere else to protect as it is."
She taps a finger on the ground, and then says, "We'll investigate around for a little bit at least. I'd like to wait at least a few days minimum. Maybe a week. We aren't necessarily going to be asking them politely for their jutsu, and we aren't necessarily going to be leaving them alive to report us later on. But if we can get information without exposing our identities or starting up a hunt, so much the better."
Then she looks towards Taro and says, "And yes, as Rei says, come join us. There's plenty of room." She pat-pats the space on her other side. "We can go to the Land of Tea next, and see what's what. Avoiding the Daimyou doesn't necessarily mean avoiding everyone there."
Taro listens and nods slowly. "Well I suppose that is true. ANd Rei…. I don't get bad feelings about every leader I meet.. Not that i have met many, but you get my point. But yeah I agree with investigating around. It is fine with me and I think we could probably learn a good bit from here if we study well. Lets just not get caught doing it and what have you." He frowns a bit, and lowered his head to the ground. At both of their offers to join them over there though he perked up probably too quickly. "Sure…" He slows his pace here and walks on over to the other side of Asami before lying down similarily to how Rei is. His head resting higher and pretty much directly on Asami's chest. His face turned towards her slightly. "How close are we all willing to go? To the village I mean."
Listening to the exchange between them, Rei glances between Taro and Asami curiously as they discuss the situation in Tea Country. When Taro finally decides to comes over again, she smiles again at the fact that he approached so willingly. Of course, her eyebrows raise slightly as he rests his head directly on Asami's chest. "My, a position to be envied," she comments in a bit of a low tone, though they might still catch it if they're paying attention. She then nods to Asami's words, saying, "I can blend in pretty well if you want me to go in. Not many actually pay much mind to a drifting drunkard if they're not interested in one way or another."
Asami smiles as Taro sits down next to her, and smiles a bit wider when he rests his head on her chest. She pats his head too, just like she used to when they were younger. But at Rei's low-toned comment, that other hand that had been stroking Rei's head slips a bit further downwards to stroke fingertips up and down the back of the Yamanaka's neck lightly. "Nothing stopping the both of you from having your faces in my chest," she teases. "And I find it hard to imaginate anyone ignoring you, Rei-chan~. But if you can scout for us discretely, that would be appreciated."
Then she turns her gaze from Rei and onto Taro. "I'm leery of getting close at all without knowing the outer limits of their patrols and defenses, to be honest. But that would be if I was planning to attack or infiltrate them. If Rei is willing to walk around and talk to people and investigate for us, we might be able to plan ahead and just walk right in in-disguise and not cause any trouble. Then we could arrange meetings outside of the Village or similar. Taro, you're a better sword-fighter than I am now, aren't you? You might benefit most from observing their techniques. Do you think you'd learn faster by actually fighting them or watching someone else fight? I'd be willing to take the hits or show how much less formidable I am, while you watch. But I could also use my Sensor capabilities to scan the area for anyone coming to aid them if you were the one fighting, so we could break off if necessary. It all depends on if what they show us is willing and friendly… Or because we had to instigate an incident. If at all possible, I'd rather avoid the latter. Their military strength alone is far greater than the three of us."
Taro was close enough to hear Rei and frowned a bit as she spoke, but surely what Asami said made her happier some. Taro did turn his head to face Rei though. "I am gonna have to agree honestly. About the ignoring you. For multiple reasons, but the one that is serious is not everyone ignores the drunk. Sometimes they are watched more." He does listen more to the both of them now. "Well yeah I have gotten better at fighting with swords, and I usually learn better by doing the fighting. Though either works. I can do whatever you come up with Asami. Honestly I would watch them for a bit before doing anything, so I agree on that point. If we can get disguises that would be great." He shifts between looking at the both of them before settling on Asami as he spoke the last few lines.
Chuckling a bit then grinning up at Asami when she says they could both lay on her breasts, Rei turns her head slightly and takes another sip of her sake then says, "I suppose you're both right. I'll try and make myself inconspicuous." As the other two speak, the sake she's drunk on the trail and now finally kicks in, and the woman starts to drift off to sleep while they discuss their plans for what they want to do in the Land of Lightning.