Date: July 3, 2015
A small team travels with Nozomi so she can get herself a new flute!
"Nozomi’s Flute: An Upgrade"
Land of Lightning
Michiko is finally back from her trip to Konoha after far too many meetings and a few training sessions with Taiki that were surprisingly enjoyable despite the torture involved. First order of business: Get Nozomi a new flute. She had called upon the whole team (Whatever Asato wanted to call it…), but only two answered the call. Which is why she decided to join the Yamayuki on this mission. A letter would have been sent to both Nozomi and Asato to meet at the gates for the mission, though neither would have the details.
Asato had received his summons. A mission letter from Michiko… He wasn't sure what it entailed, but if it was Michiko, he was sure it was something important. He packed light, making sure that he had some basic supplies before he headed out for the village gates. As he arrived, he couldn't help but recall what had happened here not too long ago, and he felt a knot tighten in his throat. He couldn't figure out why it made him sick.. But it only made his heart burn more fiercely with teh desire to become stronger.
Nozomi rather liked getting letters from Michiko, even if she knew it was just business. In this case, a summons for a mission that was rather sketchy on th details. Interesting. Equally interesting was the lack of "avoid combat" warnings. Of course, she knew she should still take it easy, but still that omission seemed important for some reason. Thus she shows up at the gate, wearing a ninja kimono similar to the one she normally wears. Her skin is still somewhat taut from the acid burns, but eating and exercise is helping, at least a little. Her hitai itai supports a blue bandana tied around her head, hiding what is probably very short white hair that has only now started to grow back.
"Good! You're here," Michiko says with a small nod to both. "The reason why the mission details were so vague is I'll be briefing you while we travel. It'll take a bit of time to get to where we need to go, but we won't, or rather, we shouldn't, need horses." Then she starts walking out of the gates, stopping to talk to one of the guards to remind him about the report that all guards need to do. He was a newer guard, by the looks of it. Younger than others at his late teens. After the brief chat, she starts heading out, traveling at a slow pace for the time being.
Asato watched with surprise as Nozomi marched up. There was no way she'd be ready to go on a mission, already… What was Michiko thinking? Frowning, he looks to Michiko with a sharp raise of his brow, as if to make his point without speaking. Still, that wasn't about to change, now. Sighing quietly, he keeps an eye on his Genin and follows the Intelligence-nin out. He wished she would give up the details, already.. He didn't like the look of this.
Nozomi bows deeply to Michiko, and slightly less deeply to Asato. Now she understands the lack of warning to avoid combat on her mission. If she so much as steps a toe out of line on her restrictions, Michiko will be swift to administer discipline. Had she been her cousin, she'd be tempted to do just that, but she was the more reserved one of her family. "Hai, Michiko-sama," she replies. Her voice is once agaion loud and clear, thankfully. She then looks over to Asato and notes the troubled look on his face. "I'll try not to slow you down or over-exert myself, Asato-taicho."
"The goal of this mission," Michiko explains once they're clear of the gate, "Is to go to the Yamayuki village and get Nozomi-san a new flute. We're going to be using one of the main trails to get to the village, but even that isn't frequently used. The route is actually a bit perilous for most steeds, which is why we're traveling by foot." She pauses a moment. "The trip will take about two weeks if we're unlucky. Less if we travel swiftly and don't run into snowstorms."
Asato gave Nozomi a slow nod that told that he appreciated her understanding of the situation. When Michiko finally told them of the mission they were on, the Hatake paused a moment and then chuckled. "Oh, so /that/ is what we're doing.. I should have expected as much. We shouldn't run into much trouble, then, I hope." And he did hope. Glancing to Nozomi with a quick wink, he pushed his hands into his pockets and walked casually behind Michiko. "Easy does it, then," he chanted, though behind his seemingly carefree response, he kept his guard up. He knew better than to ever /really/ let it drop.
Nozomi looks a bit surprised and relieved once she knows what the actual mission is. Finally, she can get a true replacement flute! She thought she'd have to beg her parents to take her back to her village for one. And although explaining to her cousin why she needed a replacement would be nerve-wracking enough, having her superiors with her to back up her tale would at least lend credibility to her reasons. She shivers slightly as she remembers the woman that caused her injuries and the tidal wave of acid that ultimately gave her so many problems, then settled into a decent walking pace. "Yes, though the cold air will do my skin some good," she says. Unlike the other two, her body is used to frigid conditions. "And I can help guide us there. I've been there and back a few times, and know how to minimize the risks due to the terrain."
Michiko would lead the group as far as she could, quickening their pace slowly so as not to tire out Nozomi. The whole way, she's been keeping an eye out for any bandits that may be about. Eventually, though, they would all find themselves somewhere that Nozomi would recognize as the halfway point to her village. Michiko would stop here and glance back to Nozomi. "Nozomi-san, could you lead us the rest of they way? I think you're better suited to this part," she says with a light smile. They would have stopped every now and then to recover, of course, so this is roughly the second day of their journey.
Asato remained quiet for most fo the journey so far, enjoying the walk. He was glad that they hadn't run into any trouble so far (those bandits were a damn nuisance), and the days had passed with relatively little to report. When they reached the half-way point, Asato glances to Nozomi and nods. He expected she /would/ know better about how to traverse this area. Of course, he wasn't really dressed for snow. /Someone/ had neglected to mention bringing along clothes for harsh conditions.
Nozomi smiles and moves up to the front. She pauses a moment to sniff the air, then bend down to look at the ground for something. A moment later she stands up and nods. "Okay, this way," she says, establishing a similar gait to that which Michiko had set earlier. Her eyes are focused and constantly reading the environment. Not only does she look at the sky, but she looks for signs of life, wildlife and other, as she guides them through increasingly rough terrain. While she is still slighly clumsy, she seems to be able to find ways along the trail to minimize dangerous ground, though that's not the only thing to worry about here.
RP: Michiko rolled a 3 with 1d4 die.
Michiko follows after Nozomi, watching the girl even as her senses track through the ground to find anything that might be dangerous. The group would be able to notice, eventually, a mountain lion that's a bit thin. Hunting in the winter isn't that easy! Michiko doesn't alert anyone but Asato, though, signaling with traditional Kumo-signals that there's an animal to the north and east up ahead.
It was cold, here. A bit too cold for Asato's liking. Wind, he could deal with. Rain, no problem. Snow.. He didn't much like snow. His muscles were tensed in an effort to keep himself a bit more warm, trying to focus on circulating his chakra to keep his blood flowing strongly. He stopped, however, when he noticed Michiko's signal. An animal ahead… And from here, he could see it. A mountain lion, eyeing the group hungrily. And with Nozomi taking point… She'd likely be the first target. That was no good. Focusing his chakra into a few hand seals, Asato silently summoned up a slew of rapid lightning needles, shooting them off around Nozomi and aiming for the beast, before she became dinner.
COMBAT: Asato attacks target 1 with LIGHTNING-NEEDLES with a roll of: 33
Nozomi became aware of the mountain lion just as Michiko did, though she saw some tracks before. As the lion came into view, she paused and started to read the environment. Not much prey around here… not good. She briefly considered using some meat from her rations to divert the animal away from them, but she felt the lightning needles pass her and knew that was no longer an option. Making up her mind quickly, she moved back behind Michiko and Asato to allow them to fight while she looked around for traces of any more moutain lions.
[NPC System]: Lion roll(s) Dodge from 20 to 40 and get(s) a 37. - Rolled by: Michiko
COMBAT: Michiko attacks target 1 with METAL-BINDING with a roll of: 63
COMBAT: Michiko attacks target 1 with MUSCLE-RELAXATION-TECHNIQUE with a roll of: 50
Michiko sighs softly when she realizes the mountain lion was able to avoid the Lightning needles. She makes a few handseals, and binds of metal formed around the creature's feet, trapping it in place. "Well… I think that's enough excitement for one mission," she comments, disappearing from her spot in a burst of speed to tap several key spot that would make the beast collapse before a battle could get into full swing. "Nozomi-san, do you see any other mountain lions? It's possible there were others," Michiko asks the girl. Lucky for the group, there aren't any others.
Asato makes a short 'hmph' sound when his needles fail and Michiko easily takes care of the beast. He hated it when people made him look bad in front of his Genin. Pushing past her, he walks at a brisk pace towards Nozomi, a little heated up from that most recent embarrassment. When would they get to the village, already?
As great as Nozomi's inner hero worship of Michiko may be, she's not one to think of anyone being useless, much less her chuunin-sensei. "Thank you both," she says as she walks up from the back of the line. "Though I had a simpler way to handle it. We're close enough to a food supply that simply throwing the meat from my rations past the mountain lion would have diverted its attention away. It's hungry, and I'm no hunter," she says honestly. Honestly, part of village life was learning how to handle situations like this. She looks between the two of them and says, "There's too little meat on its bones for us." That said, she starts to lead them away from the beast.
Michiko glances over to Asato. "It was a good shot, Asato-san. You were just a bit unlucky, is all," she offers. "Hmm… We'll leave it. No sense in carrying it back," she says with a small nod to Nozomi's words. "How far do you think we have until we reach the village?" she then asks.
Nodding slightly, Asato sighs and unclenches his jaw, trying to let his failure go. It was always a difficult thing for him to do, considering how hard he was on himself. "Let's just get to the village," he agrees in a quiet voice, looking to Nozomi and nodding.
"There's a hunter's camp about a half a day from here," Nozomi starts as she looks at some of the rocks around here. "They may have had better than usual success at hunting this year, considering how hungry mountain lion-san was. My village is about another day's travel beyond that, by a large frozen lake to the northeast, and the remainder of the mountain valley to the south and southeast. There's only a few ways into this valley, and we're on the major path for it now. There's one place about half a day's walk beyond the camp that we'd be better tackling while comparatively fresh." That said, she motions the others on.
Hisomu has arrived.
Michiko nods and the whole group would continue to travel until they finally reached Nozomi's village. The only other trouble there would be would be avoiding traps that have been laid out by local hunters. When they finally arrive, it gives them all a chance to restock their supplies, by something warm for Asato to wear, and get Nozomi her flute!
Asato had suffered through the remainder of the trip to the village, when finally he was able to buy a fur-lined winter coat, something that he relished with near-embarrassing zeal, hugging it around himself and rubbing his arms gratefully. The coat was an off-white cream color, and the fur inside was dark gray. He didn't know what kind of animal the fur came from, but it was warm, and that was all that counted. "So," he says, after he's properly regained his obdy temperature, "where would one go looking for a bone flute?"
Nozomi is in her own element as the trio enters the village. Young children come running up to her in greetings, and older adults seem to be genuinely concerned about her appearance. Moreover, one lady in particular seems most concerned after hearing a brief description of what happened and asks, "Are you sure you want to continue in this Noz-chan?"
Nozomi simply smles and nods her head once. "This work may be even more dangerous than hunting, but I have a duty to my family, the village, and Kumogakure oba-chan," she replies determinedly. "And it will take a bit more than a little acid bath to stop me from doing it. Besides, if I stopped now, how would I ever be able to face Zumi, much less Kosho's family again? Besides, its bad enough that…" with this she pulls out the small bag that Michiko gave her. "Kosho's last gift to me…"
Then, as if in answer to Asato's question, a male voice sounded out from behind the old lady, "It was destroyed, wasn't it?" A young man about a year older than Nozomi, and dressed like a warrior comes forward. "Well, I'm sure that you'll still keep the pieces by your heart, and that would have been enough for Ko-chan. In the meantime, let's get you over to oka-san to get you a new one, ne?"
Michiko smiles a bit, hanging back near Nozomi and keeping to the background as much as she can for the time being. If she needs to back up the girl's story at all, she would, but she mostly busies herself with getting things ready for the trip back home and the like.
Asato could tell that Nozomi was well-tended. The people here seemed to know exactly what she needed. That being said, he hangs back a bit, sort of fading into the background while he watched all the interaction, waiting to see what would come of it. They had gotten her this far… It was time to get what they came for and rest up for the trip back.
Nozomi looks a bit flushed as Zumi talks about Kosho, but nods just the same. "I'll never forget…" she says quietly before looking up at the warrior in front of her. "You've grone Zumi-kun," she says with a smaile. "Let me introduce you to some of my comrades from Kumo. The young woman is a mighty warrior, and one of the leaders of the warriors in Kumo, Iwata Michiko-sama. The young man here is my direct superior, Hatake Asato-taicho. And last but not least, the quiet young woman behid them is Shinatobe Hanami-san, one of my comrades from Kumo" She of course is using village references instead of standard shinobi references, since Zumi is not likely to understand them. "Since I'm still recuperating from my injuries, they are here as body-guards of a sort."
Zumi takes a look at the two and then bows about half-way down. "Hello, Iwata-sama, Hatake-taicho, Shinatobe-san. I am Yamayuki Zumi, a cousin and childhood friend of Nozomi-chans, and a warrior of our village. It is goood to meet you. If you two please follow me, I'll introduce you to my aunt, who makes the majority of musical instruments for our village." With a smaller bow and a motion of his hand, he points them in the direction they're going."
Hanami had indeed been quiet, taking in the scenery and mulling over things from the last few days. She nods to Zumi when she's introduced though, giving a little smile, "Hello there, nice to meet you."
Michiko gives a soft bow to Zumi. "Pleasure to meet you, Zumi-san. Your village is very nice," she says. Then she nods and moves to follow Nozomi to whoever makes the flutes. As they walk, she can't help but look around, curious about the culture of the village. It was obvious this place was focused more on hunting and gathering.
'A Survivalist culture,' Asato thought as he wandered along the paths with the group, the man named Zumi accompanying Nozomi in the front. It was interesting, that was for sure. If it wasn't so damn cold, Asato might consider living this way. It took out some of the complications and politics of ninja life, at least.
Nozomi looks back at the crowd as it confuses her that they're being so quiet. After a moment she answers Zumi's question with, "Yes. As long as the pieces are here, I'll still have a precious momento to remember her by." There was obviously a story tied to that flute, and here's some of it. Then, as the group turns to the right she speaks addresses the group she came with, "I think you'll find things are a bit different here, somewhat simpler in some ways, but quite alike Kumo in others. I'm sorry if the references are going over your heads, but I'll explain soon enough."
Zumi nods and pats Nozomi on the shoulder in a brotherly way. "That's good enough. You know, I never thought you'd be a warrior Nozomi. I always thought you'd bring trade in with your music. But look at you now, a proud warrior that uses music to help others. Do you miss your life here?" Soon, a large hut comes into view and it looks like the duo is making their way over to it.
Hanami nods to Nozomi, taking in the village. It is different, but not in a bad way or anything. It must be nice for Nozomi to get to come back home, even under these circumstances. She frowns to herself, thinking back. But as the others are talking she focuses back on the present, curious as Zumi sheds a little light on Nozomi's past.
Michiko is mostly being quiet because this place is largely unfamiliar. The girl gives Nozomi an encouraging smile (and one that mostly says not to worry). Then she offers, "Nozomi-san's been very helpful around the village. There aren't many in Kumo that use Sound Manipulation, so she had to largely make her own path as she continues forth with the way of a Shinobi. Even though I'm not her Sensei, I do want to say that I'm proud of her."
Asato nods slolwy at these words from Michiko. "She's right," he says quietly, glancing down to his Genin student. He had seen what she was capable of - and Hanami, as well. "The shinobi forces of Kumogakure and better for strong kunoichi like Nozomi. It is no surprise that your village produced such a prodigy, Zumi-san." Asato was a skilled diplomat, despite his usual demeanor. He knew how to coat his tongue in silver.
Nozomi blushes at the praise she's getting, which turns out darker on her stretched skin. "I would be lying if I said I didn't Zumi-kun," she says quietly. "This village is where I grew up, and where I learned my appreciation for music. In some ways, it's home. But…"
"The memory's still painful, isn't it?"Zumi asks conciliatorily.
Nozomi nods once as her eyes become slightly moist. "No matter how many times you tell me Zumi-kun, a part of me wishes…" She then shrugs her shoulders and sighs. "If wishes were fishes the village would eat for a year. I had to get away from here. Not just because Kumo could train me to use the energies inside, but because I need distance to become strong. I owe it to Kosho-chan, at the very least."
"Nonsense child," the voice of an older woman speaks up. "I do wish you'd stop that. No one could blame you for what happened, least of all me." The woman steps forward from the large hut and bows toward the group. "I'm Yamayuka Narume, bonecrafter of this village. It is good to see Nozomi with such strong people."
Hanami listens, and then when the older woman Narume speaks up and introduces herself she smiles and bows, "Thank you mam, that's really kind of you to say. Nozomi is quite tough though herself really."
Michiko makes a mental note to try and pry at a later time. For now, she smiles and bows in return. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Narume-san. And as Hanami-san said," Michiko replies with a nod toward the girl when she mentions her. "All of us are strong, including Nozomi-san." She offers a small smile, giving Nozomi a light pat on the back to try and reassure her.
Nozomi blushes again and then hugs the woman in front of her. "Gomen ne, obachan, but I need to ask you a favor," She holds up the bag tied around her neck with the pieces of her old flut in it. "I got hit by a lot of acid, and Kosho-chan's gift got destroyed. I need another one."
The elderly woman simply smiles at her and says, "I had thought you'd outgrow that one someday, but to see it destroyed…" She shakes her head once and says, "Of course I have one here for you. Kosho-chan had asked me to keep one in reserve for when you needed more delicate equipment." She motions everyone inside, then asks for the bag Nozomi is holding. After sitting down, she pulls out the pieces and arranges them carefully on her table, even as a young girl runs to get another bag. "Nozomi-chan, that bag will not do for you, and neither will your current outfit, not now that you're a shinobi warrior. I have an idea on how you can keep these, but let me ask you this, what's your budget right now?"
Nozomi sighs as she looks down for a moment. "Not very large, obachan. I'm still quite inexperienced."
Hanami smiles to Nozomi, "Don't worry, it'll work out. At least you know there's another flute ready for you, that's something of a relief right?"
"I have some money, if that would help," Michiko offers. She wants to help as much as she can, of course. "I'm not sure… if Nozomi-San wants me to help her, though." She shrugs lightly, looking to Nozomi for an opinion.
Asato was glad that the old woman knew exactly how to help. But when the subject of budget came up… He wasn't sure what would come of the endeavor. He didn't have any money on him to help. And even if Michiko had a little… For a specialty item like this, there was no telling how much it would be. "Maybe Oba-chan could cut you a deal," he suggests with a probing eye on the old lady. Not threatening, just insistent.
Narume looks over at Asato and chuckles indulgently. "My work is coming free, shinobi-kun. But I cannot vouch for the work of others, who would have to contribute to my idea." She then looks back to Nozomi and tilts her head, as if waiting for answer even as the person sent for the new flute comes back.
Nozomi looks back at Michiko and smiles gratefully, "I insist on paying you back for whatever she has in mind," she replies. It may take her a while, but she will. "What is your idea obachan?"
"Zumi-kun, get Tsiroko-kun for me, and tell him that I have a commision from Kumo for him." As Zumi leaves the room she turns back toward Nozomi. Slowly she unsheaths a bone flute that is slightly thicker, and a little bit longer than the last. "This is what Koshi-chan had me make for you, and it is yours, no charge, as I mentioned earlier."
Nozomi slowly reaches out to grasp the flute, then brings it up to her mouth to play a note. The sound is richer than her old flute produced, producing a more mature "voice" that fills the room. As the note fades away Nozomi's eyes wet again as she whispers, "Domo arrigato-mas, Kosho-chan."
Hanami nods, enjoying the brief tune from Nozomi's new flute, "That's nice Nozomi. Can't wait to see what you'll be able to do with it."
Michiko smiles a bit to Nozomi. "You don't have to pay me back, Nozomi-san. This is the least I could do," she says. Because she blames herself for not being good enough to save everyone… Ahem! "Hmm…" is all she says when the new bone flute is brought out. It's nice, and the note sounds… Well, to her inexperienced ears, it sounds amazing. "That's a very nice instrument," she compliments, leaving things at that. Then she looks to Nurame for a moment. "Who are we getting the armor from..?" she wonders, eyes flicking between the natives.
Armor? Well, that was sure to come in handy. When he heard the note come out of the flute, he was also impressed by the rich quality of the sound. It was sure to produce stronger jutsu than her previous one, if she learned how to weild it.
As people were processing the new note, and Nozomi was thanking her old friend, an older man slips into the hut just behind Zumi just in time to hear Michiko's question. The man turns toward Narume and asks, "So it's time then?"
The older woman nods and says, "Everyone, meet my old friend Tsiroko-san. He's the best leatherworker in the village. He also works on armor for us." That said, she turns her attention back toward Tsiroko and says, "They agreed to pay for your services, but my mounting and bonework will not be charged. I'm envisioning a set of armor that can work either as under armor or regular armor, and I have certain ideas to incorporate. How soon do you think we can have this done by?"
The man examines Nozomi closely then says, "Stand up." She does, and he motions her away from everyone so he can have a closer look. "Depending on your ideas, and the materials we have on hand, about four to seven days. Do you have that amount of time?" Nozomi looks back to her comrades, her face looking rather hopeful. In a way its up to them, especially Michiko, to determine if they have that kind of time.
Hanami shrugs, looking to Asato and Michiko, "Well I mean there's of course work in rebuilding the village but this is important to so I can make the time."
Michiko hums softly as she considers how much time. "I think that'll work out. Asato-san and Hanami-san, you two will stay with Nozomi-san so she isn't alone on the journey home. I'm afraid I have to make my way back to Kumogakure, as I've already been gone for too long." She bows her head apologetically. "But I'm not going to be heading out today. I'll likely leave after two days have passed," she says with a small nod. "I'll pay you before I leave, Tsiroko-san."
Nodding, Asato agrees to staying. It was his responsibility as her Chuunin-sensei. Of any of them, he was the one who had to stay no matter what. "That's fine," he says to the group, crossing his arms and making himself comfortable inside of the tent. He was surprisingly warm in his new coat. Man, was he grateful for that.
Nozomi, upon getting approval from Michiko and her team, turns her attention to Tsiroko and bows at the waist. "Then I am all yours for a week," she says happily. She makes mental note to arrange for her payments when they return to Kumo, but refrains from saying any more lest she appear to argue with Michiko in front of the others. Instead she turns and bows deeply to the rest of them and smiles. "Thank you very much."
The old man then entwines his fingers toghether and turns his hands outward to crack his knuckles. "Okay then, I need to borrow Nozomi-san for a bit to get some measurements." She nods and follows even as the man waves, "She'll be back shortly."
Hanami nods, "Glad things worked out for you Nozomi. And don't worry about us, I'm sure we'll be able to keep ourselves occupied during the time."