Date: November 29, 2012
Goh meets Kaoru for the first time.
Kirigakure - Boneyard Gardens
The dark and heavy clouds above Kirigakure completely block out the noonday sun. A steady, mild rain has been falling all day, making the land sodden and humid. Rolling in from the west are even darker clouds, the occasional peels of light in the distance foretelling a thunder storm. Unperturbed by the weather, Kaoru sits in the Boneyard Gardens, her eyes closed and her senses sharpened. She'd been monitoring the chakra sources in this part of the village for several hours, keeping her senses attuned for any potential conflicts that might arise. With so many foreign ninja in the village at the moment, Kirigakure's ninja were on high alert for anything that could cause an international scandal or embarassment.
Kaoru found her mind drifting away from the task at hand, and quickly refocused her efforts. After all, this guard duty exercise wasn't just for the good of the village, but it was helping to strengthen and hone her sixth sense as well. "Rest is for the weak," she mutters to herself, her brow furrowing in concentration, sitting cross-legged amongst the plants with her hands folded neatly in her lap.
It's been an interesting few days for the wanderer known as Goh. Arriving in the village of Kirigakure, one of his first jobs was to report directly to the Mizukage. To say that the blonde pickler had some 'history' with Yuge was a bit of an understatement. Regardless, they had sorted out their differences, leaving Goh free to wander the area. He was even allowed to set up his stall in the marketplace, though he had found very little space to do so.
As the clouds roll in and the morning grows old, the pickler had opted to switch things up a little bit. He was a bit of a sneaky sort at times, thought some who know him would likely voice their surprise at that.
On anyrate, right now he sits off to the side of the Boneyard Gardens, behind some shrubbery. Completely hidden from view, the blonde watches a little girl in the middle, appearing to be meditating. He doesn't move, not even an inch. Just… watches her. As if testing to see how long it would be before she picks up his presence.
Kaoru remains completely still, the rain pitter-pattering gently on her hood and shoulders as she sits intensely focused on her meditation. Even though she had felt the older ninja - and a ninja he certainly was, judging by his huge chakra presence - approach and secret himself in the garden, he didn't seem to be moving so Kaoru just waited, and 'watched'. His chakra signature dimmed a little, and for a moment Kaoru had to strain to keep track of him, the little lines on her forehead deepening as she slips even further into her sixth sense. It almost seems as if he's watching her. She quickly comes to the certainty that that's exactly what he's doing! Kaoru's eyes flicker open and she stares straight at the man, even though he's out of sight. An unnerving wind blows through the garden, sending dead leaves whipping about in a frenzy as the little girl refuses to break her stare.
A small smile grows on the foreigners face, as he slowly stands up from his crouching position. Revealing himself as he walks over the shrubbery, the blonde holds up his hands. "Easy girl, easy. I'm not here to hurt you. Those are some wicked senses you got though, huh?" After demonstrating that he means no harm, his hands go back to his hips. "You're a sharp little thing, that's for sure." Walking over, he seems to almost appraise the genin, looking her up and down.
"Not experienced enough yet to be part of the Chuunin exams?" His head swivels, looking in the direction of the Blood Marshes. The Chuunin exams had started there at least a few days ago now.
"Oh, before I forget!" He turns back to face the youngster. "My name is Goh. I'm the best pickler in all the world. I pickle vegetables, mostly."
Even though the man in front of her seems to be legit, Kaoru is still concerned by the large chakra signature. "Fooling me isn't so easy," she says. She then listens to the rest of what he has to say, but responds, "You say that you're a pickler, and yet I can tell that you're trained in the ninja arts. I told you, fooling me isn't easy." One hand glides easily to the hilt of her katana, resting on it with the practised readiness of a cat about to pounce. "And yet I've heard of your pickled vegetables, and I've seen you selling them in the marketplace. So either you're in a reasonably deep cover, or you're somehow both an expert ninja and a vegetable pickler. I won't bother asking which, since either way you're going to say that you're for real," Kaoru says, explaining each step of her logic condescendingly, "I am Manamune Kaoru. And you're right about one thing, I am not yet experienced enough to enter the Chuunin Exams."
"Hooooh?" Goh replies, sounding impressed by the logical progression that Kaoru has made. "Very astute. It's a shame you lack the physical strength to compete in the exams. I'd say you're already well above the Genin level for intelligence." Sitting down on the grass, the blonde lets out a long and dramatic breath. He doesn't seem too bothered by her gripping the katana. It's a natural defense mechanism.
"I can see there is no fooling you, Kaoru as you said. So I'll tell you the truth." He tilts his head a little, "I used to be one of the founding Jounin in Konoha. But I've left and cut all ties, and haven't been affiliated with the Leaf for years now. The part about pickling vegetables is certainly true, as that's my main hobby and how I stay alive. They really are the worlds best. I still keep pretty up to date with techniques and stuff, so I'm not too rusty." He grins a bit. "My presence in Kirigakure is strictly as a result of the Mizukage giving me permission. I'm always being watched, so there's no need to be nervous. Even right now, Yuge has shadows watching us. Making sure I don't kidnap you or anything."
"So what about you? How long have you been out of the Academy? You sound like a sensor type?"
Kaoru gives Goh a thoughtful nod. The story made sense. In one smooth motion Kaoru drops her hand from the katana and checks the nearby rooftops for Hunter-Nin under the guis eof stretching her neck. "Well, your story fits, Goh-san," she says coldly, "And I'm glad that you're here with the Mizukage's permission. I wouldn't relish trying to eject you from the village." Her hand returns to her lap, palm-up and relaxed. There are a couple of long seconds of silence before Kaoru speaks again. "I never attended the Academy, however it was exactly one month ago tomorrow that I was given the rank of Genin. You could call me a sensor-type, although my capabilities pale in comparison to the Mizukage's elite sensors. That is part of why I'm stationed out here. Closer to the visiting ninja and in more danger. Yuge-sama doesn't want to risk the more experienced sensors being attacked in the streets."
"I'm not really one for fighting and stuff, to be honest." Goh makes a bit of a face. "Though as it turns out, the Mizukage was actually… well, I wouldn't say happy, but certainly welcomed me with positivity. Which was surprising." He scratches his head, perhaps not willing to go on any further than that. Fortunately for him, Kaoru continues to speak. He just listens to her background, seeming interested.
"Interesting that you think you would be unsafe in the streets of your own village. I mean, I know there are lots of foreigners around, but the Mizukage runs a pretty tight ship. Security is pretty amazing around here. Is there anything in particular making you feel unsafe? Or just a gut feel?" He leans back onto his palms, looking around. There aren't any visible hunter nin, though perhaps that means they're doing their job?
"I'm not entirely knowledgable with how promotions work here, or how the Academy functions, but I was under the impression you couldn't get to Genin without progressing through the school first. I guess there are always exceptions to the rule though."
Kaoru seems unwilling to elaborate on how she became a Genin without attending the Academy, but replies, "I won't tell you anything except that anything is possible if you know the right people. As for security, yes I suppose you're right. Its pretty tight here, especially at the moment. But with all the tension and talks of war, the security is as much for show than for actual benefit. If Konohagakure or Kumogakure or anyone else wanted to launch an attack on us the security wouldn't stop them. This is the perfect opportunity, with so many of their ninja already inside our walls. But I'm sure you know that already." The girl eyes Goh inquisitively and adds, "The general consensus is that we'd rather be overly wary than dead."
"Hmm. Do you think that there's still tension in the air?" He asks, peering at her carefully. "From my understanding, these exams were fast forwarded in order to relieve tension and bickering. It would definitely be bad news if that backfired, and all it did was leave Konoha and Kumogakure a prime chance to strike." Leaning forward a bit, he rubs his chin. "Well, if the worst case scenario does happen, what do you plan to do? Do the new Genin have orders to evacuate? Or are you just going to go all out on any intruders you see?"
He waves a hand, "Sorry. I don't mean to be asking about private orders. If fighting were to erupt out of no-where, I can at least tell you that I'd be out of here in two jiffies." He grins a bit. "Of course, I'll do everything I can to stop that from happening. It does suck though. Your leader, Yuge, doesn't want War at all. He's desperately trying to lift the public image of this village. But it seems like he'll have no choice in the end, y'know?"
Kaoru nods slowly, thoughtfully considering what she could and couldn't tell this strange, foreign ex-ninja. "If battle were to erupt, we have plans in place. Securing the non-ninja population isn't the highest priority, and with my sensor abilities my orders are to meet up with a combat team," the girl explains, "Although I believe most of the newly graduated Genin have been ordered to help secure many of the lower priority government buildings. Of course, if battle does break out, those orders will probably all go to hell along with the hundreds that are killed in the first few minutes. And Mizukage-sama, as excellent as he is, can't completely control the bloodlust of the people in this village. It is perpetually thin ice on which we skate."
"He's doing a pretty good job." Goh replies in a tone of admiration. "Obviously he can't undo years of bloodlust, but the public opinion of Kirigakure, at least from the outside, is going up. And it's believed that Yuge is the driving force behind that." He shrugs. "Every Village has its problems. Konoha isn't seen as the happy go-lucky peaceful place it used to. Sunagakure and Kumogakure are the same. Different pieces of the puzzle, or something like that."
He squints in the dark light, wiping some of the fallen rain off his face. "Anyway, I would hate to keep you from your meditation and training." Standing up, he dusts off his rear a little, getting the wet grass and dirt off. "It was good to meet you, Kaoru. You're a smart kid. If this place does erupt into War, I'll be sure to try and make sure you're alright before I get the heck outta here."
Kaoru raises an eyebrow at Goh. "If this village erupts into war, there are far more important people who's security needs to be assured," she says. A flash of light quickly precedes the loud crack of thunder nearby, and the vibration can be felt through the ground. The rain redoubles its efforts to flood the village with a renewed downpour. The threat of a lightning strike brings Kaoru back to full attention, and the Genin closes her eyes again, allowing her sixth sense to once again begin surveilling the nearby area. She almost looks peaceful, sitting there unmoving in the rain.