Date: January 26, 2012
"First Promotion Exams - Baby Eater"
It had been a day or so since Yuuka last encountered anyone in the tunnels, Shintaro to be exact, the network lacing deep underground such a maze of confusion that one has to be careful not to move around in wide circles without realizing it. With a tired breath the kunoichi leans against the hard cavern wall and lowers the red glowstick in her hand, shifting the shadows around her from the movement. Fatigue had settled in and where she once thought she would be able to handle the exams now causes the woman to have doubts. Yuuka lightly brushes her free hand absently over her stomach before releasing a quiet sigh, her weight sliding down to sit on the soft earth with the tunnel wall to her back.
The fire of tonight's campground had been extinguished. Some of the cooked, strange meat that had been over that fire now rested, wrapped in what appeared to be scroll paper, beside the fire pit. That'd be breakfast. Curled up in a sleeping bag and holding onto a kunai with both hands within the sleeping bag was Taniguchi Hitoshi, one of the Genin competitors in the competition. He was trying to sleep, but at this point, sleep was a lost concept on him. After having considered the fact someone could very well sneak up on him in his sleep and not only steal his scrolls, but gut him… yeah.
Way to fuel that nightmare of not making it out of here alive.
When he thinks he hears footsteps, he begins to sit up, and unzips the sleeping back with a small noise. He squints into the darkness… frowning, until he -thinks- he sees that glimpse of red from the glowstick. Is there someone hurt, perhaps?… He can't be sure.
"Who's there?" The young Genin's voice echos off the cavern walls, and he just waits, starting to get himself poised for a strike…
The red glow of light stretches out and fades at the edge of the darkness, obscuring who or whatever else lurks in the tunnels at the edge of one's senses. Yuuka shifts her bag from her shoulders to set it beside her, the soft crunch of dry earth murmuring from subtle movement as she leans back against the hard wall behind her. Poisonous water, unknown and very possibly dangerous creatures, they had become more probable threats than the other shinobi presently. And who knows what else could live down here. Her covered head shakes lightly to herself as the kunoichi searches for something in her bag, soon finding the food pellet. Hardly what her body was craving at the moment. Yuuka quietly pops it into her mouth as she glances up to one side of the tunnel, blinking her aquamarine eyes up at the darkness as she hears the voice coming from one direction. Or is it the echo coming from the other end of the tunnel? In either case the corner of her lips tugs with a slight smile, chuckling once and glancing down at her almost-flat belly with an affectionate brush of her slender fingers. "No one that threatening at the moment, I assure you."
There's silence after the response, and Hitoshi squints into the darkness. He wasn't familiar with this voice… It was yet someone else. Someone different. Certainly not Sora, or Daisuke, or… Eremi, or Naru. Not even either one of those annoying Hyuuga guys. He waits for a moment, before he decides to relight that fire pit that'd long since been extinguished… done so, with a small burst of flame of a fire technique. It's bright enough for a moment to at least give away the direction Hitoshi's voice had to've been coming from - and certainly not at the other end of the cavern.
He waits, then, letting the eyes adjust to the light, before looking out into the darkness again… The fire slowly getting a little brighter with each passing moment. "Are you injured?" he calls toward the voice again, waiting and considering his options.
Yuuka is quiet as she watches the darkness subtly become hinted with the light glow of a small fire. Clearly someone that was more concerned about her than suscpicious. Looping her arm through the strap of her back, she breathes out slowly as she shifts her weight and rises smoothly to her feet, the soft ground crunching faintly beneath her when she turns and starts to head in the direction of Hitoshi's campsite. "Quite the opposite, and that is what has me a bit tired." Yuuka murmurs, the gentle smile heard in her voice before the young woman turns around the bend of the tunnel. From the markings on her forehead, the boy would either instantly recognize the clan markings of the Kaguya, or perhaps not.
When it becomes apparent where Yuuka is, and Hitoshi can turn to see her, he keeps his kunai at the ready… and when she rounds the corner to approach, he tenses up… but pauses. They're not quite the same, but… almost close to Takeshi's. A mentor he'd picked up while in the caves. Someone who had actually been pretty decent to him. But also the same as Tsun's. He pauses, and makes a quiet assessment. She is older - obviously not a Genin, unless she was a significantly weak one, because she's old enough to easily be a Chuunin. And she -does- look quite tired. Maybe even hungry? He squints his eyes quietly… the light probably reflecting lightly off of his own forehead protector. He's obviously a Konoha shinobi… but not a highly experienced one, given the age he appears to be.
Sitting up, and putting the kunai away with a small twist, he moves to make room, wriggling himself completely out of the camproll and sliding it aside, gesturing toward the woman. "I don't have an intention of trying to take you on," he remarks, "and I have some food I managed to scavage before the fauna started falling dead. You look almost dead on your feet, yourself," he comments softly. "Come, join me. I'm Taniguchi Hitoshi, by the way…"
Yuuka lowers the red glowstick in her hand at the very edge of the makeshift campsight, slowing to pause when she sees the boy visibly tense at the sight of her. He recognizes what clan she's from at least, which could be ieght good or bad from his reaction. She quirks a pale brow beneath the hood of her kimono as she watches him anaylize her for several full moment, the smile tugging at the corner of her lips with some slight amusement. He was a young boy and from Konoha, she didn't really need to know anything else about him. Yuuka tilts her covered head slightly when he sits up in his camproll, noting the kunai before it disappears. "Well that is a relief." she replies lightly without further explaination. Approaching quietly, the smile grows on her lips further from his words as the kunoichi chuckles, "I just had a food pellet, but the little one would probably want more than that." she lowers her chin in a slight bow, "Kaguya Yuuka-san from Kirigakure."
The little one. Those words kind of dawn on Hitoshi after he thinks about it, and he blinks toward Yuuka for a moment, and just furrows his eyebrows, deciding not to outright comment on that bit. He moves from his seating, and moves to where that breakfast he had prepped for when he woke up in the morning is laying, unwrapping a couple of the meat cutlets and stacking them together, separated by the paper they were wrapped in. "I cooked these earlier. They're still pretty warm, so eat before they get any colder."
A bottle of water - his next to last flask - is also produced, after scooting over to his bag and taking it out. He had been gifted with this next to last one earlier, thanks to a certain other Genin. He had learned how to properly conserve water, but this woman appeared to have nothing. So, why not? Sliding it toward her, he nods. "Kaguya Yuuka-san," he remarks lightly, committing the name to memory. He makes a small noise, before sitting back down on his camproll, rolling his neck a little.
"Ran out of supplies a little bit too quickly, I guess?" he asks her lightly. He nods toward those meat cutlets… "I have more of those to cook to at least last me a few more days. Another shinobi from Konoha and myself got lucky on that." He sits there, then, considering her…
Yuuka quietly lowers herself to one side of the fire with a light sigh, slipping her knapsack from her shoulder to rest it beside her while Hitoshi moves around. She glances to the pieces of meat he had cooked earlier, and the bottle of water produced. The corner of her lips tugs faintly with some sort of approval before she gives him another slight nod of thanks and reaches for the offered food. "If there is anything I can trade for this, let me know. I do have food pellets, and also these little pills that can purify water. I had hoped that the lizards and whatever else down here would be enough to eat daily, but with the poison that I hear about, I rather not risk it."
If there's anything more Rise had then arrogant *censor?*, her current sensei(#7), and a certian few Kaguya(unreasonably), boredom was definetly at the top of the list. Thus, with the remains of her lizard dinner, which is still easily a good two feet in lenght taller than her, Rise began to meander Shiren Caverns looking for a little excitement. Even if that meant very well losing the scrolls strapped currently to her sides.
Within an hour she could feel herself slipping into madness just from how strangely quiet the caverns had gotten since she first entered. BUT as luck would have it the sound of voices and the faint glow of a campfire whips her right back out of it and straight into caution mode as she slipped further forward.
Unfortunatly, when your dragging around the dead remains of your prey, which by the way suprisingly enough went without attracting other predators thus far, it is.. kinda hard to sneak up close without the sound of dragging shadowing every footstep before she even reaches the edge of the tunnel overlooking the campfire.
From off in the cavern, Keiji approached the camp fire. He was eating a piece of cooked meat off of a wild boar he had found in the southern reaches in of the cavern. The animal showed no signs of poisoning. He had almost felt bad for the creature being as it had fallen into a small pit and could not escape. Though it had only been there a few days, the boy decided to put it out of it's misery. It was quite a treat for Keiji as his diet when out in the desert usually did not consist of meat.
The young Shippodoku made no attempt to hide his presence from Hitoshi or the others that might be at his camp. The dark pupils of the boy scan the area for any new faces. It was a hope of his that no one there had lost a scroll or was interested in his. While he was not fearful of protecting his own scroll, he had little intention of placing himself in a possibly dire situation where he could be weak for another to pick him off. "Greetings." he states plainly after swallowing the piece of meat he had been chewing on.
The boy then looks directly at Rise. He places a small hand on his forehead. The girl was actually dragging the food around with her. It was cooler in the caverns, but still it was only a matter of time before that began to go bad and the smell would start to drive everything nuts, combatants and predator alike. He then flashes her a smile and waves.
"Pay me back with a warm, freshly cooked meal when we're both out of here with our sanity and our lives," Hitoshi simply responds lightly, smiling a little bit and shaking his head. "Everyone I've been giving food to so far has said they'd pay me back someway. To be honest, I'm really not looking for anyone to do so, but to offer to do so is quite nice of you."
Should Yuuka go ahead and start munching on the cutlets, she'd realize they're actually not that tough. But at the same token, they carry a slight hint of some sort of off-tasting gaminess to them. Likewise, they don't really taste like any kind of meat that'd be standard… certainly not beef, or chicken, or lizard. Mystery Meat Surprise is the name of the game there.
Far be it from Hitoshi to enlighten yet someone else that they were eating Giant Spider. He feels like he's sprung that particular surprise on enough people today. Instead, he's set into eating one of the remaining cutlets himself, and drinking at some of the water. "Some of the sources have been purified by the host country so that we don't die of dehydration," he remarks softly, "and I've been boiling my own, to purify it and cook out any kind of toxins. So far, so good."
And like moths to the fire, more people seem to turn up. He first hears the dragging of something large, which attracts Hitoshi's attention to Rise… and he blinks, with a rather blank look on his face, toward her. "… Oh, wow…"
Then, Keiji. He turns toward the direction he's coming from, and raises a hand lightly… "Shippodoku-san," he calls, greeting the boy in return.
All channels have been ungagged.
Her smile grows brighter at Hitoshi as Yuuka chuckles, "I can certainly do that. I will even borrow a kitchen in Suna to make it if need be." The Kaguya smiles to herself as she takes another bite of the meat, fingers tentive and delicate with each small bite from the food. Whatever it was didn't matter now, she can speculate when she wasn't hungry. "That is smart of you. One can not be too careful in these caverns after all." It was almost the exact same time that others seem to appear out of nowhere, one footstep is all it takes for Yuuka to tense and shoot a look over her shoulder with a narrowed gaze, already prepared to defend herself if need be. First Rise, then Keiji. Just where were these people coming from? She narrows her aquamarine eyes on both of them in turn as she looks them over with some suspicion, her free hand loosely cupped against her stomach out of habit.
Keiji offers a slight bow to Hitoshi before looking towards the Kaguya. He had no idea who she was or what jutsu she used. He was not sure of her rank either, but she made no move of hostility, so he relaxed a little. The boy took a seat by the fire and looked towards Hitoshi. "There are still small amounts of game on the outskirts of the caverns that have not been poisoned. I also found a water source. It uses the sand and dirt from the surface to filter out toxins on the way down. Would you like some water back?" the boy asks. Hitoshi had given him two flasks the night before. It was only right the boy offered to share his resources.
"The whole point of the survival round is to not just test our physical prowess, Kaguya-san," Hitoshi remarks softly, "but it's meant to test our mettle and what we're made of, mentally. The physical aspect is just part of it." He sips at his water for a moment, rolling his neck and he looks around, blinking as Keiji continues to move in, and when he settles in, he nods toward the other boy slightly to greet him…
But at the offer of water, Hitoshi holds up his hand. "Thank you, Shippodoku-san, but no. Keep 'em and hold onto 'em. I've found another source and I'm making sure to boil it to make -completely- sure that it's clean." He grins, and winks slightly. "But I appreciate it."
Then, back to the Kaguya. He looks to her as she sort of reflexively covers her stomach, and he makes a small noise. "—this totally probably isn't any of my business… but did you really think being down here while in your condition was a good idea?" He watches her, tilting his head…
The moment the everyone's eyes seem to lock onto the young Shirokiri, Rise tilted her head up defiantly on reflex before going wide eye in shock as she ducked deeper into the shadows. Twice she reprimanded herself in thought for only making herself look foolish before leaping out of the tunnel to land a few meters in front of an empty space at the campfire. A wary look given to Hitoshi first, then yuuka, and finally Keiji belatedly as if an afterthought. "Yes, wow. Be shocked and amazed at my.. ergh.. one sec.." With one bite the rope is set free to let her kill fall freely. "… Prey! The best this cavern had to offer!~" SHe calls out dramatically, granting everyone a moment or two to respond before interrupting them anyways with a loud snort and her eyes rolling. "… Since you two ain't fight'n n'all that I guess that means everyone here is all set then for the next part, right?", SHe asks though her tone implied a statement; and regardless of how everyone responds (or refuse to for whatever reason), Rise would still drag the remains of her prey up to the campfire and plop down right next to Yuuka without a care in the world in her expression.
Yuuka glances between the two with some mild suspicion, blinking once as Rise openly plops right next to her with her prey in tow. She frowns lightly with confusion as her aquamarine glances around at the people gathering. So far they weren't attacking each other, so that's a good sign perhaps? She absently bites at the corner of her lip before glancing back to Hitoshi, blinking once until her expression visibly softens. "Thank you for your concern, but precautions were taken before I entered this leg of the exams." The Kaguya smiles a bit further as she reaches up to slide her obi up just slightly, pressing the hand against her lap to pin the fabric in place while the other reaches up to part the front of her kimono. The pale skin of her belly is only slightly rounded, almost unnoticable unless one knew what they were looking at. The kanji for 'osanago' in ink black letters a sharp contrast against her skin. "Its a protection seal."
Rise wasn't sure -when- exactly her minded decided to wander; but by the time she returned to the present with a sharp few shakes of her head, whatever Keiji and Hitoshi spoke passed through one ear and out the other. Yuuka's words and even moreso her actions instantly draws her eyes curiously to the seal over her belly. Her fingers naturally itched to prode the seal. However, she managed to restrain herself if only barely by asking, "Protection seal?… Hmm… Shouldn't ya have a whole lot of those all of yor body for that tho?"
Keiji eyed the seal for a moment before turning away. He had not seen a lot of female skin in his eleven years. Though it was nothing exposed like a boob, he kind of just turned his head. "I should be going. I have things to focus on before this part of the exam is over." The boy was right. He had to make sure his scrolls were safe for the last minute portion of the exam. You never know when someone would make an attempt at taking one of them. The boy stands up and offers a bow to all of those present. He then turns towards Hitoshi. "If you need anything, let me know." He then turns and walks off into the darkness of the caverns.
Huh. Well, that's not something you see everyday.
"That's some pretty powerful Fuuinjutsu," Hitoshi remarks lightly, looking toward the seal on the woman as he lifts his eyebrows slightly. "Smart, and powerful. You must have a -very- trustworthy friend to have worked on that for you," he remarks idly, sipping on his water still and raising his eyebrows slightly. "It's good to see some forethought to make sure you took a good level of precaution." He takes a sip of his water, looking toward the newer girl and blinking slightly…
"Hi." A pause, and he considers her, and the lizard she'd been dragging. "I don't think I've ran into you yet," he comments, squinting slightly. "… And you'd be?"
At Keiji's sudden announcement of his departure, he looks toward the boy, blinking. He raises his eyebrows, and nods. "Of course, Keiji-san," he remarks. "Thank you again! And I'll see you in the next round, for sure," he remarks, grinning.
Yuuka blinks once at Keiji when the boy turns to leave. Maybe he had upset him somehow. She presses her soft lips together with a slight frown before looking back to Hitoshi. Her eatures soften gently once more while her fingers absently brush against the seal, "I owe her much for going through such lengths, yes. I am just glad the exams were not in another six months when it would be impossible for me to enter." Yuuka chuckles lightly to herself, only to give Rise and odd look with a quirk of a pale brow. "I would if it was a protection seal for myself, but it is not. It is for the baby." the Kaguya explains calmly. "This seal and natural body defenses make sure that my little one is safe."
"Yer supposed to give -your- name first before ask'n anotherz there's." Rise stated without so much as a glance back Hitoshi. No, the seal had her completely enraptured now and wouldn't let her eyes fall to anything else. THEN Yuuka just had to say something about a baby. "Wha.. wha… Whaaaaaat!?!" Faster than anyone can say quick, Rise had already dashed over to hide behind the lizard corpse. Her head poked up just enough to stare at Yuuka with eyes wide in shock and terror. All while her mouth murmered a chant over and over for a few moments.
Given a bit of time Rise /does/ calm down enough to stop chanting, but her eyes never leave Yuuka's form. "… You… You… How could you! You.. fffffreaking cannibal!" She exclaims, now glaring at the Kaguya.
Oh, God. This girl was making Hitoshi's head hurt. He quietly chews on a piece of meat as the girl begins to rant and he just quietly does his thing, watching the fire burn slowly. When the word 'cannibal' is exclaimed, he swallows his last bite, and takes a swig of water, before rolling his neck slightly and considering how to word what he's going to say….
And then, he goes to town.
"Whoever you are, my name is Taniguchi Hitoshi of Konoha," he remarks lightly, first introducing himself. Then, he goes on to note, "obviously, Kaguya-san has her own reasons for wanting to participate in these exams aside from simply wanting to advance in rank, otherwise she wouldn't have taken such a high risk. The least you can consider is the fact she -did- take precautions to keep harm from coming to the kid growing inside her." He pauses, then, rolling his neck again. Not once does he actually look toward Rise while he speaks, he simply states all of this in a calm, rather soft voice. He's not scolding, no.
"We all have our reasons for being here. What makes ours anymore righteous than what hers may be? Think before you leap," he summarizes, before taking another sip of water.
Yuuka blinks up at Rise as the girl starts flipping out, narrowing her blue green eyes at her when she dashes behind the body of the lizard she had drug here. Her expression darkens subtly at the accusation of cannibalism. The nerve… The Kaguya gives Hitoshi a brief glance before narrowing her gaze once more on Rise, "You know, shouting accusations like that is not good for your health. A pregnant woman like me tends to get a little… moody." she murmurs, "Not only that, I'm a Kaguya, so I am a little more /moody/ than I normally am. So, saying that I eat babies when I am pregnant… you can /imagine/ how that might affect your health…" A hand lifts from her sleeve and she calmly holds up two Jounin scrolls. "I have two of these, it only suggests what I am capable of in my current state. So I suggest that you think before leaping to such conclusions."
Rise growled irritably at them both after listening to them with /some/ degree of an attempt to remain calm. "That's not the point Hitoshi-san! Everyone knows that anything that's in yer stomach is eaten! Not grown. Aaaaannd, that babies are delivered anyways from flying turtles anyways! SO—" A rasberry is blown at Hitoshi before her eyes narrow to slits at Yuuka. And for all her bravado the sight of not one, but /two/ jounin scrolls in hand weakens her resolve enough that her aggression dies down a peg or two.
"… Tch.. D-don't… *coughs*.. well, unless ya gotta a better reason for carrying a baby in ya bella, I'm /all/ ears.. OTHERWISE, both of ya got no reason to get all high and mighty with Shirokiri, Rise. Kumogakure's crimson beast!", She exclaimed, nodding her head fiercly in the open before ducking back down to eye level again.
As soon as they finish answer or probably ignoring her at this point, Rise would give one last growl underbreath before slinking off with only the leg of her prey ripped off along the way.
— wait, what?
Hitoshi kind of blankly -stares- at Rise as she begins to trod off, and he just kind of keeps this blank look on his face as the girl disappears… "… She… thinks… wait…"
Did Hitoshi just have an aneurysm? It's possible.
He just shakes his head, violently, trying to get things back straight in his head before looking toward Yuuka again. He smiles a little, tilting his head slightly. "… I'm gonna hold you to the warm, fresh meal once we're out," he simply states, before taking another bite of the meat he has. "And I promise I won't tell you what this is until we're out. But you can be rest assured that it's not people, or anyone from my village." He beams.
Yuuka blinks a few times before she releases a quiet sigh, shaking her head once before her bright aquarmarine eyes look back to Hitoshi, who seems even more confused than she is. The corner of her lips tugs with a slight smile, "Knowing myself, I would probably go overboard with the cooking and end up making bento boxes for everyone in the tournament." she chuckles lightly to herself. "And I am not too worried about what this meat might be, but thank you for the reassurance. I think I /would/ be a little worried if its people from your own village though."