Date: February 23, 2011
Mao is getting settled in Sunagakure, which is very different from the land of her home. She runs across adorable maimed child, Kasumi! The pair soon hit it off, with Mao's infectious good cheer brooking no challenge from the quiet young thing. Ninja life is discussed, and Kasumi sets something on fire just in time for Karakuri to turn up, confuse and terrify her! The Uzumaki shinobi is certainly quick to ingratiate herself amongst the village children… lets just hope they don't get all Plato on her butt!
"Cookies and Friendship"
Sunagakure Village Entrance
It has been several hours since Uzumaki Mao had arrived in Sunagakure. Her arrival had been heralded by a schedule /from which deviation would not be tolerated/. Now that she has made a royal pain in the ass of herself, and probably caused untold psychological trauma to Kuoroke by holding a conversation with his unconscious body and singing to him, it is time to get down to the serious business of getting comfy in her new home.
Step 1: Leave the village. Wait, what?
Yup. No sooner has she arrived, than Mao is heading back out the gates. She's whistling a jaunty tune, hefty clothing weighed down by dozens of straps, brow shining with bright sweat, and … a large, empty bucket on her shoulder. The gate guards look quite perplexed, they have, after all, /just/ checked this bizarre young woman in not that long ago.
Just inside the gateway is a young girl with abnormally pale skin and a brutal scar over her right eye. She is wearing a large thick cloak, but currently has the hood down as an awning protects her form the blistering desert sun.
In Kasumi's hands is a small canteen filled with water, with no more than a few good gulps of water inside. As this little girl spots Mao heading to leave the village she steps out from under the awning to greet her. Her voice is quiet and shy. "Hello miss. Would you like some water for your journey? Compliments of Sunagakure." This was usually done by someone a bit older than she, but it was given to her as a 'favour' for her psychologist in an attempt to force the girl to have some human contact outside of the academy.
Mao pauses mid-step when she is addressed, and the elder Uzumaki hesitates. Looking down at Kasumi, she lets the bucket drop from her side, and then squats down, so she can look the scarred girl in the eye. As it turns out, this is more literal than she would have originally liked.
Her smile doesn't even flicker, though. "Well aren't you sweet!" She says, cheerfully. "I'd love some water. Here, just a moment." She reaches back behind her, and withdraws from her pocket, a small paper bag with a (very) well preserved travelers biscuit in it.
"How about a trade, would you like a sweet? It's not very fresh, but it's still good…"
The young academy student actually takes a tentative step backwards as Mao enters her privacy bubble, which tends to be on the large side. Kasumi begins to fidget as Mao looks directly at her face, and she just knows that the woman is staring at her scar, thinking her ugly and repulsive.
Kasumi glances left, then glances right before she settles her cycloptic gaze upon Mao and the treat. She seems a little put off, as everyone so far has simply taken the canteen with a polite thank you and sometimes an impolite stare. "Ah… I uh… I don't know if I…" She fidgets in place a little, looking adorably nervous. "I guess I could trade."
Mao's smile seems absolutely genuine. Truth be told, she'd never been one to care overmuch about physical appearance. It was a hard fact of life, but all appearance eventually fades, and the Uzumaki tend to take a long view of these things. What good does it do you to judge someone by what they look like, when that is the one facet of them guaranteed to shift and change over time?
"Thank you." She says, brightly. Offering the biscuit up for the girl to take, first, at her own pace. "My name is Uzumaki Mao, but my friends call me Kitty. Because of my name, you see? If you say it fast, it sounds like a cat. I used to talk waaay too fast. But I think I've got better now, don't you?" It's a leading question if there ever was one, as she is talking quite swiftly. She doesn't look to be in a hurry to continue her journey, unlike many of the other travelers. Some of whom are now giving her dark looks as she takes up room unnecessarily.
Kasumi takes the bagged biscuit and hands over the small water canteen at the same time. She doesn't seem especially delighted to have the cookie, but a very tiny smile does reach her features. She likes this woman, being so nice to her. "Uzumaki." She says slowly and quietly.
"I don't think so," she says rather bluntly at the question of Mao's speech patterns. She holds the bagged cookie in front of her legs, holding onto the tiny bag with both hands. She decides to try her hand at conversation. "I know an Uzumaki girl from school. She isn't very smart. She tried to learn to run fast like the older ninjas by running barefoot on the hot sand. She burnt her feet." Her voice is quite quiet, and she mumbles slightly when she speaks.
Looking at the pair from a distance, the stark difference between the two girls is quite apparent. Kasumi seems to be a pale monochrome girl in both colour and mannerisms, while Mao is a vibrant colourful woman.
Mao actually laughs at Kasumi's bluntness. Sitting down a bit more comfortably, cross-legged so that she doesn't have to keep squatting, she runs her fingers through her hair. "Wow. You say what you think! That's good. A lot of kids would have said what they thought I'd want to hear."
Her smile does flicker just a little bit when Kasumi mentions another Uzumaki. The young woman's brow furrows a little bit. "Really?" She asks, "Well, that's… interesting. I wasn't expecting any other Uzumaki to be here. I'll have to meet her."
This does throw some things a little bit into question. But if the other Uzumaki is of academy age, then they can't be a renegade. Perhaps it's just a coincidence. It is, after all, just a family name. "I didn't really enjoy the academy." She says, as though she is confiding a dark secret in the younger girl. She drops her voice to nearly a whisper. "I probably wouldn't have made it here! Everyone is far more strict, and I still can't throw a punch to save my life. Pretty lame, huh?"
"I wouldn't say things I didn't think. That would be silly." Kasumi glances down at the treat. She opens the bag to peer inside for a few moments before closing it back up again. She would take it home and enjoy it in solitude later. She never did buy herself any treats with grocery money.
She seems a bit interested in this whole Uzumaki thing. Did they have some kind of kekkei genkai? Maybe she should no have said anything. "Your a shinobi?" She asks curiously. "You don't need to be able to throw a punch to be a good ninja." she says easily. "And you must be a good ninja if you are still around. Bad ninjas don't last too long in this business."
"Oh, well, that really depends on what you do as a ninja." Mao says, breezily. "But I am one, yup! I specialize in seals."
She's not really interested in elaborating more, so she keeps on talking! "So, what's your name? I've already told you mine, and I probably shouldn't keep calling you sweetie or kid. That's not very respectful to someone who is doing such a good job."
She's still smiling that easy, cheerful smile. Apparently entirely at ease with herself, and uncaring of the fact that she's caused a mild obstruction to other travelers by just, sitting in the street.
Kasumi nods her head, completely uncaring that she and Mao are messing with the foot traffic. "Seals. Those are hard. I want to specialize in ninjutsu, stealth, recon and tactics. I've been reading a lot about war tactics." She actually seems to be opening up to Mao quite a bit, which is surprising. If her psychologist was here, he would be dancing with joy. Kasumi? Liking someone? Hallelujah!
Kasumi bows her head politely. "Saotome Kasumi. It is nice to meet you." Mao's smile is infectious it seems, and Kasumi can be seen sporting a very faint one on her pale lips. She does pull her hood up as the sun begins to irritate her skin.
Mao nods along with that, obviously paying attention, and taking Kasumi pretty seriously. The girl sounds like she knows what she's talking about, after all. "Ninjutsu is kind of my second field, though I really love seals. They aren't so complicated when you've got a feel for them. It's all in the proportions, you see. You need to be very precise, but they obey an internal logic, I like that."
She then seems to realize that what she just said, might very well go over an academy student's head. She looks just a touch embarrassed. "It's nice to meet you too, Kasumi-chan. You seem to have a good idea of what you are aiming for. That's good. Do you know what your elemental nature is yet?
Kasumi cocks her ehad to the side lightly, listening intently. "So… They have some kind of… Formula? Like math?" She is at least trying to grasp the concept. When asked her elemental nature, it almost looks as if she is about so say something casually, but she stops quite suddenly. Even the smile form her face dissapears for an instant, but it soon returns. The smile does not reach her eyes. "No, I do not know yet."
Mao makes a mental note that this seems to be a taboo subject, and does her best to change that. Reaching into her jacket again, she produces a scroll, which she unrolls. The seals on it are basic, some practicing she has done on the journey to keep her mind sharp. If this is secret knowledge, she sure doesn't seem to care very much. Instead, she points. "You can do a lot with seals. I like to think of it as another type of instrument you can play with your chakra. And every seal is a song. See, they are all different, but there's some parts which have similar purposes in all of them. Does that make sense?"
Heavy footsteps is heard as a massive armored figure begins walking from outside the village coming in, only so see a group of people sorta moving about as if someone was blocking their path. Karakuri would begin moving closer and tries to not bump into people but the armor wasnt designed to be graceful. He finally manages to see the two people sitting in the street, the helmet looking down at them, the eyes moving just barely but shine like jewels. "Excuse me." He says, a deep metallic voice calls to them from the entire armor, not the headpiece.
Kasumi seems grateful for the change in subject and glances sideways to see if anyone was listening to the two of them. As far as she can tell, no. When Mao pulls out the scroll, she takes a tentative step forwards to take a better look. The seals mean very little to her from appearance, but she is obviously paying attention. "I think so. Could you tell me more about seals?" Kasumi is a very curious little girl, but this trait is rarely shown as she has not warmed up to anyone since her incident. "I think they are neat."
The girl reaches out to touch one of the simpler looking seals. Without asking for permission she pushes a slight bit of chakra into the seal, curious as to what would happen. With her luck, an explosion.
Mao looks up. And up. And up. "Wow, they make them big around here, huh?" She says, and, then she notices that Kasumi is pushing some chakra into the seal. It wasn't completed, so the result is somewhat diminished, but it does spark, crackle, and then burn. Setting the paper on fire. Which, it seems, amuses Mao far more than it annoys her. Even if that did represent hours upon hours of theoretical study. Ah well. It's mostly in her head.
"I sure can!" She says, cheerfully, as she stands up. Content to ignore the rising smoke and smell of burning paper. Because teaching curious kids how to better maim themselves is, of course, a senior ninja duty. "I should probably confirm that I am allowed to give lessons with someone who is conscious before I do, but I don't think there'll be a problem. Kuoroke-sama didn't say there would be, at any rate." This is said as she tries to, gently, usher the younger girl out of the way of the giant suit of armored death.
Karakuri raises the helmet to look at at the scroll and makes a deep metallic "Hmm?" noise, as if recognizing it. "Ninjutsu seals?" He asks in a deep metallic voice before the armor does something very sudden. It explodes in a puff of smoke and seems to vanish. In it's place was Karakuri, the small white haired puppeteer. "Interesting seals…" He says, a scroll held in his hands, the seals on it was amongst the same for sealing objects onto it before he rolls it up. "Your not from Sunagakure…atleast I dont recognize you." He says softly, not hiding his voice like before.
Kasumi eeps as the seal does indeed cause a tiny explosion and light the scroll aflame. She takes a step away from Mao, scared the woman will chastice her for setting her things aflame. She looked a bit stricken at what she had done. She gives another quiet squeek as the giant suit of armored death appears. "S-s-orry!"
Fear turns to confusion as Mao simply seems to ignore the flaming piece of paper with hours of work put into it. Kasumi is even more confused after Mao mentions something about Kuoroke that doens't make any sense to her. "A-alright." She lets herslf be ushered underneath the awning of her post, which she has apparantly abandoned considering dozens of travelers have left the vilalge without their complimentary canteen. When the suit of armour ecplodes to reveal a young shinobi, KAsumi is even more confused. Why is everything exploding today?!
Mao blinks a couple of times at the revelation. Then she shakes her head, smirking, "Oh, don't worry about it, Kasumi-chan." She says, brightly. "These things happen. Nobody was hurt." Then, she turns her attention back to the young, observant man.
"No, I'm not." She says, cheerfully. "I'm going to be staying here for a little while, though. Probably no more than a decade or so at the outside. My name is Uzumaki Mao. That was a pretty interesting technique you had there yourself."
"Basic scroll mastery, sealing things into the scroll. The armor is my puppet, Masamune. In an old play, there was once a powerful giant samurai who was loved by the people, only to be killed in his sleep by an assassin. Instead of serving the next of kin, his loyal servants tracked the assassin down, and made the ones responsible for their deeds pay. They then turned themselves in after avenging their master." KArakuri explains. "Uzumaki…the sealing clan?" He asks curiously.
Even though Mao forgave her quite easily, Kasumi still feels bad. She glances back and forth between the two shinobi and steps deeper under her little awning. She turns her back and places the biscuit on the corner of teh table and begins to quietly arrange the water canteens. She didn't want to interfere with the two ninjas talking, so she escapes into her work.
This won't stop her from listening in, obviously. Who knows what interesting tidbits Kasumi could learn from these two.
Mao does seem momentarily distracted by the boy. "Well, the sealing part may be basic, but the puppetry was impressive. I've heard of such things, but I've never seen it up close before." The question has her give a languid shrug. "Can any one group of people really be said to be one thing and one thing only?" She asks.
Her smile returns full force fairly quickly, though. "You know, when I was your age, I wanted to be a fisherwoman. I was pretty good at it, too. But, we aren't the fisherwoman clan, so I guess it was inevitable. Not much fishing to be done in the desert though." At this point, she hooks her foot around her empty bucket, and scoops it back over towards her.
Wait, didn't she just completely contradict the vagueness of her original statement there?
"Ah, the Kugutsu no jutsu. I learned it from my mom and dad. Despite learning it from them, I have a different…puppet style then them. For example, my mother would make mishmosh creations which every part was capable of doing multiple things, and could interlock with other puppets. My father, made puppets in likeness to people he has killed, so he could as he put it, make the dead fight for him."
Karakuri then looks to the girl and smiles before looking to the woman. "If you want, I can show you some more of the Kugutsu no Jutsu, Masamune is capable of being used with me in it or not." He says calmly.
Kasumi just continues to restock her supplies. She almost appears to be completely ignoring the pair of shinobi. For someone with such stark skin and scars, she blends into the background quite well when she wants to. While Kasumi clicked quite easily with Mao, this new boy kind of intimidated her. It might have been the exploding armour of death and the deep menecing voice he initially used. Just maybe.
Mao's eyes slide back towards the background. To Kasumi. Yes, she's quite sure now; that is a child with a bright future in the arts of stealth, if she wants it. She definitely would have to ask someone about her, when she had the time. Soon enough, though, her attention returns to Karakuri. "I would like to see more." She admits, "I don't think this is the right kind of place for that, though. I was just heading out to collect some sand." She suddenly kicks her bucket, and catches it on the tips of her fingers. "As fun as it would be, there is a time and place for everything, don't you think?"
KArakuri nods as he would then look to the girl, watching her for a moment before smiling. "Well I need to head back to my workshop before I burn in the sun." He says as he begins to walk off, not saying much more
Kasumi finishes up restocking her canteens and looks at her handiwork with her hands on her hips. She reaches over for her cookie and takes it out of the bag. She pulls it out of the bag and takes a little bit, giving a small smile at the sweet taste. She never did get enough sweets.
Mao doesn't try to stop Karakuri, instead, she nods. "Okay, goodbye!" And then, she turns on her heel, and walks back over to Kasumi. "Hey, Kasumi-chan. Thank you for the water. I'll be heading off now myself, to finish up my work. If you'd like to talk to me some time, why don't you head over to my apartment? I'm on the second floor of Satetsu Apartments. Room twenty three. Oh, and if you see the other Uzumaki, could you let her know I'm looking for her?"
Kasumi turns about as Mao adresses her again. She bows her head and smiles a little bit at the Uzumaki woman. "Your welcome. Thank you for the cookie. I will be sure to come over some time and tell the girl about you. I…" She fidgets a bit, looking at the ground. "I hope we can be friends."
Mao smiles brightly, though she has the good sense not to touch the girl. Although she doesn't show it often, Mao can be frighteningly insightful at times. "I would very much like that, Kasumi." She replies, "I'll look forward to seeing you soon. We can talk about seals some more then!" With a cheery wave, the woman balances the bucket on her shoulder, and walks out into the desert, whistling a jaunty tune as she goes.