Date: April 25, 2012
A dangerous D-Rank mission to recover a mysterious red rubber ball interrupts the training of a man and his dog! "Errand-Girl" Junko is on the case!
"Dog'gon Ball D!"
Toshiba Forest Clearing - Konohagakure
It's late afternoon. The shadows are long in the forest, and things are mostly quiet, the squirrels and birds having slowed their activities for the day. And by now, most of the ninja who have been training in the training fields (and occasionally the forest) have headed off for the day, being tired and hungry and wanting to relax at the hotsprings or get something to eat. Not everybody is leaving yet, however. Atsuro, for one, remains here in this area of the forest, getting himself some training in. He's hard at work, going through a number of different exercises. They're all fairly simple, no-equipment exercises, such as crunches or pull-ups. So, is Atsuro a super hard worker or what?
Well, no. He actually doesn't seem to be exhausted at all. He's a pretty muscular guy, of course, so it could just be that he's in peak condition. Of course, it could also mean that he's super lazy and has only just started his training for the day, possibly due to sleeping in until lunch time. Whatever the case, his exercises are certainly intense enough. He does hundreds of reps for each exercise with impressively little time spent resting. Right now, he's doing pushups in the middle of the clearing. On his back lies his big nin-dog partner, Taizen. In front of him is a big plastic bottle of water (some of it gone already). He counts the reps aloud, his voice a little strained from the exertion, "…two hundred seventeen, two hundred eighteen, two hundred nineteen…"
"Iie! Iie! <No! No!>" comes a high-pitched cry from the woods suddenly! This must be the famed No-No Bird! It's really rare, but it's not shiny, so most people don't bother trying to catch them. Still, the legends about No-No Birds are legion! Like the one about the writers who kept trying to teach ninjutsu to an ostrich, but there were as a No-No Bird and it kept going, 'No! No!' and so eventually they quit due to continuous pressure and negativity. Yes, truly an interesting specimen of—
"Iiiieeeeee~! <Noooooooooo!>" wails a blonde-haired girl as she comes running out of the bushes chasing after a rubber ball, arms, oustretched, eyes all closed like >_< in concentration, and her own feet kicking the ball accidentally every time she gets almost close enough to grab it. This, of course, sends the ball rolling and bouncing ahead of her and out of reach once more! From the twigs in her hair and the leaves on her clothing it would appear she has been taking a straight course through the forest without regard for what happens to be in the way and that this ball chase may have been going on for quite awhile now.
"Ball! I command you! Cease your forward movement or I will never get paid for this mission! If I never get paid I will begin to cry! Do you want to see me cry!? Look, it is starting alreaaadyyy~!" Q_Q
Then the ball comes to a stop at the feet of a certain nin-dog. Junko's eyes widen and she eagerly moves forward to grab the red rubber ball! Her hand lands upon it and then she realizes there is a ginormous canine looming over her. She looks up from her bent-over position, sees the menacing outline of the pooch, and suddenly starts crying. "Buuuhhhuhuhuhuuuu~…" T_T Her legs give out on her and she slumps to her knees, feet off behind her in different directions and begins rubbing her tearfull eyes. "All this work just to be eaten by a demon dog! Where did I go wrong? I am far too pretty to die-ie-ieeeeeeeee~!" T_T
Unusually friendly for a demon dog, Taizen responds to all of this by looking silently at Junko for a moment, mouth open and tongue lolling out as he pants slightly. When Junko is done begging him for mercy, he finally responds with a soft 'wuff.' Atsuro, meanwhile, has been trying to ignore all this commotion. He was hoping to make it to at least three-hundred pushups, but with the ball and the girl and the crying and the barking, he just can't keep his focus. "…two… hundred… twenny-four, unh!" He lets himself just drop to the ground, Taizen's weight above him pushing him into the grass. "Okay, geddoff."
Taizen complies and rolls off of Atsuro's back into the grass. He barks at Junko again. "He says…" Atsuro pauses to get up into a sitting position and start dusting bits of grass off of his clothes. Once that's done, he finally looks at Junko as he addresses her. "He says he's not a demon," he finishes, his voice a mixture of tired and irritation. "Guess exorcism isn't the career for you."
Rubbing her eyes and sniffling as she settles down, Junko becomes aware that the person the demon-dog was on is actually a person and not some kind of mandog-fusion. She is incredibly confused and shaken by her nearly-gruesome encounter, but this is not quite as much of a detriment to her functioning normally as one might imagine. Junko's normal state of being is 'confused'. However, one thing is abundantly clear: she is NOT about to be eaten!
Pressing a hand to her mesh-covered chest, Junko heaves a deep, cleansing sigh with only a tiny hiccough from her prior crying. Then she looks at the boy and asks, "Exor… Exorcism… Oi. Oi! OIIIIII!" She leaps up, suddenly furious and leans forward, hands on her hips, to glare at Atsuro in the FACE! "…Did you just call me fat!? I will have you know that I exorcise quite regularly when I feel like it!" She then attempts to go on a five-minute rant about the trouble involved in maintaining her gorgeous hair, getting her beauty sleep, shopping for clothes to compliment her figure, completing missions to be able to afford those clothes, and still finding time to exercise/exorcise… Unless she's interrupted anyway.
She eventually wraps up with a hand on her skirt-covered rear trying to crane her head over her shoulder to see if she's really fat back there or not. "Honto… <Really…> Saying such a thing to a girl on first meeting!"
Then she startles as something belatedly penetrates her awareness. "…You speak dog, ne? You must be a prophet of the Dog-King, Bite-Then-Bark! This would mean that your companion is not only a ninja dog but possibly… A heavenly…" She trails off as her eyes get really big and then she clasps her hands together alongside her face as she announces, "A heavenly guardian!? That would make this noble beast a 'nin-ten-doggu'!" Ba-dum psh. She then sets about 'Ooo'ing and 'Aah'ing and admiring the friendly ninja dog she had previously been convinced was going to eat her face.
Taizen sits down and listens to Junko patiently as she discusses the finer points of maintaining one's appearance. Atsuro does too… at first. He just sorta looks at her with an eyebrow raised, pulling back slightly as she gets in his face, and listens. However, once it becomes apparent that she's not going to stop for a while he attempts to stop her himself. "Woah there," he says, "You don't think I know all that? You aren't the only person in this village who wants clothes that compliment their figure." He gestures to himself. "Anyway, exorcism means getting rid of demons."
He's thinking of adding something to that, but all of a sudden she's on to something else. The excitable type, apparently. Taizen barks something as Junko starts to worship him. "He's not a dog-king, either. Is that like a rat-king?" Atsuro translates, "He's a nin-dog. And I'm an Inuzuka, so I understand him. That's it." He glances over to the ball that Junko chased in. "That yours?" he asks.
"…Hoh! Just a ninja-dog then, ne?" Junko critically eyes Taizen but seems to find no flaw in his demeanor or appearance so shrugs off his attempt to impersonate a heavenly dog ninja thing or whatever that idea was that was probably not hers, and then moves away. "I am Yamanaka Junko! The ball isn't mine, but I have been hired to retrieve it for its owner! He is physically incapable of the ardujudicioucitrus task of chasing the ball, due to being a war veteran with a hook for a hand, two peg legs, a glass eye, and a wooden nose!"
She bends down to retrieve the ball, making sure not to present her posterior for further criticism from Sir Rude-a-lot, and then straightens up. "Ee… <Ummm…>" Awkward shifting around and drawing shapes in the dirt and grass with her sandals, Junko eventually says, "…Please forgive me for asking this if I am being too forward, but…" Her eyes shift between Taizen and Atsuro. "…The reason that your friend was on top of you… Is it because… You two are…!?" She brings her hands together in front of her, tapping her index fingers together. Then she point dramatically at Taizen. "…Are you the man now, dog!?" she demands with an expression that indicates she is distressed, intrigued, angry, scared, and tired all at once!
Taizen gives another short bark. "Yes," Atsuro says simply, "He's just a nin-dog." He reaches over to pat Taizen on the head. Don't worry, Taizen. The description of the war veteran just causes him to kinda grimmace. He's getting used to this girl's insanity. Sorta. "Wow," he comments mildly, "Sounds like someone really did a number on him. I wonder why he'd have a ball in that condition… I'm almost curious about it."
He tenses up slightly as the girl becomes nervous. Normally he's okay with nervous people, but coming from her… this can only be a bad thing. He glances over to Taizen as the girl points to him. Once the question is asked, he just sits there for a moment, thunderstruck. So does Taizen, actually. "I can only think of two things that question could mean," Atsuro says eventually, "The answer to both of them is 'no.'"
Junko heaves a sigh of relief like maybe she was holding her breath the whole time waiting for an answer. Her shoulders slouch and she leans over a bit and rests a hand on the nearest tree or boulder or other surface to lean on as she recovers. She offers lightly, "Soo desu ne? <Is that so?>" Having calmed herself, she straightens up and says perplexedly, "Now that I am thinking about this, why DOES he have a rubber ball? Hmm…" She looks at the red rubber ball in her hand and squeezes it a couple times, resulting in a squeaking noise that is especially appealing to dogs (normal ones anyway). "Hmmm…!"
The blonde teen shrugs eventually and says, "I am very happy to have met you two! Thank you for your help in stopping the ball, but I should return to officially complete this dangerous D-Rank mission!" Then she darts forward and attempts to take one of Atsuro's hands in her own, and one of Taizen's paws in her other, and put all three together as she says very earnestly and sincerely, "Do not let others judge you! I will pray for your happiness!" She nods firmly. Then she is dashing away, waving over her shoulder and smiling brightly as she heads away from the clearing and back towards the Leaf Village-proper!
Taizen whines a little at the squeaking of the ball. Seems it isn't just normal dogs that like it. "Easy there," Atsuro pats the dog on his shoulder. "I'll buy one for you sometime if you want it so bad." This seems to ameliorate Taizen's desires, but it also appears that Atsuro's attempt to convince Junko of… something else hasn't worked. "I was doing push-ups," he explains in exasperation. After she's gone, he glances over to Taizen. "Did she think…?"
Junko makes it back to the Village and to her client, all scratched up and looking like a woodsland creature instead of a girl who regularly takes lengthy bubble baths. "Oiii! Veteran-saaaan!" The old man, with more or less just one 'natural' appendage remaining, looks up from where he sits on a bench, raising a large hat and shifting around in his poncho. "It took you quite some time! I hope it was not a great trouble?" the man asks. Junko waves off his concern because she wants to make it look like she is perfectly capable and not a loser kunoichi who does errands all day for old people. "Iie, iie, it was nothing!" ^_^
She hands over the ball and says, "Now please do not lose this again, Veteran-san!" She leans forward a bit to wag a finger mock-scoldingly, and the man says, "Hai." Before she is even done straightening up, he raises his arm and calls out, "Fai-do! Get the ball, Fai-do!" An enormous black dog with ears that look like horns and glowing red eyes stands up behind the bench and glares at Junko.
"Huuuuun~… A demon-dog…" T_T Then the man throws the ball and the slavering beast leaps over the bench and charges after the ball, barking loudly. «I touched a ball… That was in the mouth… Of a demon-dog…» Junko thinks to herself as she continues to cry quietly. T_T
Then, as she wanders away in a daze, she hears the man's voice in the background. "What!? You lost it again!? How can you lose the ball!? Are you a dog or aren't you!?" Demonic-whining of a scolded demon-dog ends this trip into… The Headlight Zone!