Date: August 13, 2010
Onohara Meimei has been on the run for a long time. Now she is scouting out a country completely alien to her for a potential new home. That means getting to know the ninja who already live there…
Training Fields - Sunagakure
The sun is setting in the Land of Wind. Even with the sun so low in the sky, the air and ground remain a good deal warmer than most other countries would be at the end of the day. Things will cool off drastically and quickly once the sun has been down for awhile. For now, however, Onohara Meimei, a native and fugitive from the Land of Snow, is pretty freaking miserable. She has been miserable since she left her home country, but at least the Land of Earth eased her into the warmer temperatures. The Earth's north-western regions were still pretty snowy — thanks primarily to the mountainous nature of the terrain — but as she travelled across that vast country she found herself more and more uncomfortable.
Well, that was about half a year ago. She has had plenty of time to experience warm weather, humid weather, and humidly warm weather. She doesn't really like it, but there's not much she can do. However, coming to the Land of Wind had been a huge mistake. She has spent most of her life in a land almost permanently locked in extreme cold and winter-like weather. She was simply not prepared for the drastic difference between her homeland and the desert. More than once she had nearly succumbed to the heat, but perseverence, planning, and luck had payed off.
Now in Sunagakure, Meimei is wearing her usual black robe and hood, though she has also acquired some tinted goggles for her eyes. When confronted at the gates she had informed the guards that she had come to evaluate Sunagakure as a future home, and to apply for a job at the Academy. While the guards were not quite trusting, they did not treat her rudely or unfairly, and she was assigned an escort. Further, those in charge were likely informed of her presence, and she will probably have a meeting or interview of some kind tommorow, or in the next few days. For now, she is being shown around the school. Her escort is friendly enough, though he keeps an eye on Meimei.
"…And these are the training grounds for our academy. They are not restricted solely to Students, or even Genin, but are open to any of Sunagakure's ninja, regardless of rank." Meimei hmmms, trying to feign interest, and focuses out into the open area beyond the building's doorway that she and the escort are standing in front of. The trainin grounds are ringed with huge boulders to keep out the devastating wind that can be whipped up by a desert storm, and to keep younger children from wandering off.
At this time, the training fields are mostly deserted, although a lone figure can be seen near a series of logs that are partially buried upright in the sand. Nakamura Takumi is a ninja of the sand village, his rank clear from the chuunin vest covering his torso. His right hand is tucked into a pouch on his waist, the log in front of him studded with kunai and hira-shuriken, as well as a few bo-shuriken.
Turning away from the log and stretching his neck to the left and right, Takumi then spins around, his hand emerging from from the pouch and launching a hira-shuriken into the center of a log, creating a solid thunk. The sand ninja straightens up, and although his face is covered in a loose beige facewrap, his eyes smile as he makes his way toward the various logs and starts to work the various bits of weaponry out of them. While trying to pry out a deeply embedded kunai, he notices someone from the village, along with someone he doesnt recognize enter the area. Takumi turns toward them and raises a hand.
The raised hand is acknowledged by the escort, and returned vaguely, along with a friendly nod. The escort is a specialized Chuunin. He focuses more on diplomacy, espionage, and foreign relations, and so does not have quite the same gear as a typical Chuunin. The woman next to him is short enough that she might be mistaken for a child, or at least a much younger individual than she actually is. She declines to return the wave.
"We only have one more stop to make and then—" the escort begins, but is interrupted as Meimei says, "Would it be alright if I speak to that young man over there before we proceed?" The Guide-Chuunin pauses, confusion and suspicion likely warring in his mind, but not showing on his face. Diplomacy does not allow for betrayal of emotions to unknowns. Meimei turns to look up at the man next to her briefly. "He is an example of a qualified and capable ninja of Sunagakure. By conversing with him, I hope to learn more about what he feels would improve the Academy for its students, in terms of lessons, subject matter, and so on. It could be things he was taught or had to learn during the Clan Wars, or things he WISHES he had been taught back then. By learning these things I can better implement a study plan, or at least make suggestions to the administrators."
The Guide hmmms thoughtfully. Meimei bows and says, "You may remain here at the entryway if you wish, so as to make sure that I do not wander off somewhere I shouldn't be and become… 'Lost'." The man pretends to laugh away the polite accusation of being suspicious and says, "Oh, I am not worried about that at all! You seem like a very intelligent woman. It is unlikely that you would go wandering without an escort. After all, that might be… Dangerous." He smiles politely down at the purple-haired woman. Meimei just looks up at him with a neutral expression and her eyes covered in those reflective, dark-lensed goggles. "Err… So, I will wait nearby. Please inform me when you are ready to proceed with the tour…" The Guide excuses himself and wanders back into the building.
Meimei doesn't even bother watching him go. She just turns her back on the doorway and waits until he is around the corner. Then she begins walking forward across the sandy terrain, headed for the nearby training Chuunin.
Takumi finally removes the kunai from the training log and tests the tip with finger. After checking the sharpness, he spins the kunai into an under-hand grip shifts his position so that the log is somewhat between him and the new arrival, but not so much as to visually block him. The ninja then begins to make slow, practiced attack movements at the log, striking at imagined vital points and performing feints and distracting strikes with his free hand in an excercise meant mainly for repetition and learning as opposed to co-ordination and strengthening.
When the visitor gets closer, Takumi halts his training and faces her, leaning slightly against the training log.
Meimei stops a fair distance away, and nods her head slightly in greeting. "Would it interfere terribly with your training if I asked you some questions?" She thinks about explaining herself, and indicating she is looking into a teaching or teacher's assistant job at the Academy, but decides not to volunteer information that has not been asked for. The light continues to fade in the sky. The sun will soon be completely out of sight. Then Meimei can remove these idiotic goggles!
Takumi scratches his neck with his free hand. "I suppose some questions would be alright, depending on what its all about." He brushes some stray hair away from his eyes and looks Meimei over casually, wondering what sorts of questions are going to be presented.
Meimei nods briefly. "Judging from your clothing, you are a Chuunin-Rank shinobi of Sunagakure. It has only been three years since Sunagakure was founded. So either you are an exceptional ninja of genius skill and you graduated from the Academy nearly instantly, only to be promoted to Chuunin a short time later, or you were already an active ninja during the Clan Wars. Please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, but I will assume based on probability and your apparent age that the latter instance is the case here."
She pauses momentarily, seemingly to marshal her thoughts. In actuality, she is just trying to catch her breath. She does NOT normally talk this much — not to anyone or for any reason. But in order to make herself appear to be a different person, she must change her mannerisms a bit. Once she has her breath back, she asks, "Which lessons did you learn during the Wars that helped you and other survive? Which of the things you learned would you hope were provided to students of the Academy in turn?"
Takumi puts his kunai away in his waist pouch and then looks down for a moment in thought. "Well to begin with, youre right in the assumption I was active during the war. As for what I learned, most of it came from my father, who trained me almost exclusively in various healing arts. Most of the rest I learned from actual combat with older, experienced ninja." He pauses a moment to think. "The shinobi I was with tended to favor combat more, so I think there needs to be proper schooling for things like healing, and those skills that do not fall directly under stabbing someone with things."
Meimei nods minutely to indicate her understanding. "The importance of healing, both for those who will become Medical Ninja, and those who will not, would be wise to teach to new shinobi and kunoichi. Even something as simple as cleaning a wound, staying off a broken limb, or not trying to leave a hospital to train when one is still recovering from serious injuries would be good to stress the importance of…"
She pauses again, once more discretely getting some more air. Then she says, "Good. Now, is there anything that you did NOT learn during the Clan Wars that you wish you had had the opportunity to learn? Anything that would have made things easier, saved lived, and so forth?"
Pausing a moment to look at his hands, Takumi comes up with an answer quickly. "Well I noticed that some of the more esteemed mercenaries seemed like they were able to control the elements. I think a focus on intense chakra control and how it relates to the elements would be of great help. There were many times where it felt like I was not as functional as I could be, as I could know conjure up damaging fire, or crushing winds."
Takumi takes out a small hira-shuriken from has pack, rolling it over with his fingers between the four points. "Sometimes its just the simplest things that some people were unable to do, like simple marksmanship with thrown weapons. Its hard to comment on what I didn't learn, as by not learning it I am not aware of it." Takumi shrugs light with his last comment.
Meimei listens to the Chuunin's words. Chakra Nature training as a standard lesson in the Academy? Possible. Usually that's something only Chuunin-level ninja do with any regularity, but if the training starts early… Still, there are logistical problems with that. Most students simply wouldn't have the Chakra reserves or the control of those reserves to practice at controlling a Chakra Nature for even moderately long periods of time. And most teachers would say that mastering the basics of being a ninja should come before such advanced training as Chakra Natures.
To Meimei's mind, the real problem is that such teachers have a rather limited point of view. They see the issue as 'either/or' instead of 'in addition to'. Why do either Chakra Nature training OR basic ninja training when one can do BOTH? It would require a longer period of schooling, and much more intense training, but that's no reason to ignore the subject entirely. Abandoning her silent musing, the short woman responds to the taller ninja before her.
"Yes, that definitely has possibilities. A greater mastery of Chakra control, a more thorough understanding of Chakra Natures, and a refinement of the basic skills… Just because most of the Villages are not presently and actively engaged in war does not mean the lessons learned during the Clan Wars should not be passed on to the next generation. Certainly, it is the hope of all who experienced those Wars that no one else should have to endure the pain, horror, and sorrow thereof. But to keep the children ignorant of how to survive if another war starts up is the same as condemning them to death."
Meimei nods approvingly. "Very good. You're wise for someone your age. Even many young people who lived through the Clan Wars believe themselves to be 'invulnerable' somehow. It takes an experience with death to break free of that misconception, usually. That or the wisdom of age…" She shrugs. "I'll take your suggestions into consideration, and provide them to the Academy's instructors and perhaps even the Kazekage. With any luck, we'll see some improvements in lesson plans in the future."
Takumi nods his head in response. "Glad to be of help. Is there anything else you needed to know?" His mannerisms don't show it, but he secretly hopes there isn't. Takumi doesn't handle long conversations with unknown people well, especially when they have a high amount of needs, and prefers to be able to help people quietly and then move on.
Meimei thinks about it, and then shakes her head. "No, I believe that is it. I'm Hibiki Yoko. I hope to be teaching at the Academy in the near future, or at least acting as an assistant of some kind. So if you need help with something, be sure to look me up. I know it probably doesn't seem like you've helped much just by answering a couple questions… But you DID help a lot. Not just for study plans, but me personally. I had some misgivings about the Hidden Villages, due to past experiences. Knowing that at least one Village has a shinobi as wise and insightful as you is heartening. So, thank you. And thank you for listening to me babble when I'm practically a stranger!" She gives a light laugh and smiles a little bit.
Takumi smiles back, only his eyes visible to display emotion. "And I am Nakamura Takumi, by the way." He bows slightly after his introduction and then just stands quietly, not sure what else to do at the moment.
Meimei (or 'Yoko' as she is now calling herself) nods and returns the bow. "A pleasure to meet you. I'll let you return to your training now. Thanks again." Then she waves and turns to depart. Only once she is back in the building does the smile slip from her face. She wishes that the friendly, talkative persona she had just displayed was the real her. She wishes things were that simple. But they aren't. She'll have to keep up the act, however. For the moment, her survival, and her goal of vengeance, are dependent on not being identified.
Takumi bows slightly again and waits until 'Yoko' has moved on before he resumes his training. He takes a kunai from his waist pouch and starts going through the motions of his own kata, using the multiple arranged logs as opponents.