Date: Unknown (log received August 9, 2012)
Kazeodori, Soren and Itami took to the road and arrived at their destination of Fort Kyuusen where they went to gather up some supplies to take back to Sunagakure. It was there they meet up with the most famous pickler of vegetables, Goh. A dive into the unknown is taken as his goods are sampled and Wanpo reveals how much he's grown
"Sample the Pickling Platter"
With the end of winter broken by the warm afternoons of spring's fertile call, the day is ripe and sunny. There remains a whisper of chill in the air, but - with the sun at its highest - the weather is bright and refreshing. Perhaps even warm enough to build a light sweat. Which is precisely what Kazeodori is doing whilst walking beside Soren, his every footfall a collapse into the ground. They have, after all, been walking quite some time already, and though sentiments were amicable in the beginning, it seems - like a petulant child - that Kazeodori's exhaustion is getting the better of him. Thankfully, the pair have just arrived at their intended destination, and the gathering of stalls and shops and merchants and wares and smells and shouts and sales is enough to wipe the grime of tiredness from Kazeodori's heels. His face alights at seeing all the shining tools for sale; the stacks of sandals and boots; the roar of laughter at a good joke told. The youth bumps into Soren's side as he walks, his consciousness so taken with the flurry of the market.
"Oh, hey, look! Huge shuriken!" exclaims the Genin, running off to better inspect the goods.
Soren seems to have taken the traveling in stride, having a decent amount of stamina really comes in handy on these longer trips. He glances over at Kazeodori as he runs off, and sighs. "Don't run off too far Kazeodori." But even as he nudges Kazeodori, Soren's eyes are averted by a shining Daikatana, that causes him a moments pause, his hand coming to his mouth as possibilities flood his mind. "Darn it… can't even sketch out the design…" he curses, before shaking his head, and sighing. "Ah well." He turns back around glancing at Itami. "So… we're here for construction materials, hai? Where are we supposed to be going exactly? This is my first time here, so I know where nothing is."
Travelling all about the world selling his goods, the pickler known as Goh has setlled in the area known as Fort Kyuusen. It's an area that the Wanderer had seldom been to, usually preferring to hit up the main Villages for a better return. Yet here he was, perhaps having heard that the Fort was in dire need of some supplies.
Regardless, he sits in his booth, cross legged upon Wanpo the Salamander. At six feet long from head to tail and three foot high from toe to head, the big lizard creature doesn't appear to mind that the blonde is sitting atop him. In fact, Wanpo seems so used to it that it would suggest this is a regular occurence.
Unlike most booths that have a bench or some sort of structure to plant things on, Goh's does not. He has the temporary structure around him, but he instead has his goods on a rug, simply laying on the ground. On this rug sit his ceramic pots, each with the word 'PICKLE' emblazed upon it. There are pots of different shapes and sizes, only hinting of what may be inside.
Wanpo licks his lips, perhaps enjoying the change of season on the surface.
"Where are you going?!" Itami called out to Kazeodori, though she's unsure if he actually heard her while darting off to the weapons stand. She muttered to herself and shook her head, idly patting her clothing to keep the occassional chill away. Maybe it was better this way considering what happened between him and Soren. "Here for construction materials? Yes, that's exactly what we're here for. The store we're looking for is a large warehouse. It's outside of this area. This is more of general shopping. For construction, we'll need to head somewhat deeper," she pointed out in the direction they'd be going to.
"If this is your first time here, the only thing you need to know is that you don't want to cause trouble. Fort Kyuusen prides itself in being able to be a neutral area, much more so than Sunagakure, I'd say. Any village shinobi or citizens that visit and have troubles need to leave them at the gates. Other than that, not much else I need to say." She shrugged.
After touching (and, in fact, nearly losing a finger to) several giant shuriken, Kazeodori finds himself - now at the end of the weapons stall - standing right at the corner of Goh's rug, and thus - subsequently - the salesman's numerous jars of pickles. Not being one who appreciates the fine casting of ceramics nor the delicious tang of pickled things, it is easy for the Genin to overlook the particulars of the gentleman's wares. That would be the case, were it not for the giant salamander upon which the man was sitting. The sleek, slimed exterior of the salamander - a glaze of transulent green in the mid-day sun - intrigues the boy as would a shiny object a crow. The youth finds himself standing right near the creature with but the flicker of his self, his mouth a uniform 'O' as he utters instinctively:
Kazeodori gazes at the amphibian for a wonderous moment before, with an expectant grin, looking to its master.
"Can I touch it?"
Supplies? What supplies?
Soren glances, and nods towards Itami. "Ok, I'll keep that in mind." He smiles, and nods towards Itami, before glancing back to check on Kazeodori. Wait… big lizard. "Ummmm… maybe we should keep an Idea on Kazeodori after all." he asks with a small grin, glancing back to Itami.
Looking around at the various people walking by, Goh's blue eyes tend to narrow a bit on the potential customers. After years of doing this, he knew who the targets were and weren't. Some looked busy, as if they just wanted to get from A to B. Others looked like stranded beasts in the wild. Unsure where to go, or what to do. Those were the potential customers!
Of course, as he looks, his eyebrows raise considerably when he notices the figure of Itami in the crowd. His jaw loosens in surprise, before looking to the left and right.
"Oiiii! Taaammm!" He cries out, that being his own little pet-name for the Sunagakure high-ranker. To be honest, this was the first time that he had seen her without all the heavy stuff on. But he can recognise not only the figure, but the voice. "I didn't know that your hair was so white. Looks like they pulled you straight from winter. How you been, girl?" He grins widely, no doubt happy. "Could it be that you've ventured all this way not only to see me again, but to have some of my amazing wares?!"
Of course, this is before the sudden arrival of Kazeodori. The small boy, who causes Goh to nearly wince when he stomps so close to the ceramic pots, hesitantly raises his hands. "Him, you mean?"
Goh gestures down to Wanpo. "Sure, I guess. Just watch out for the stuff I'm trying to sell." He then points to the pots on the rug. "If you stand and break any, I'll turn you into one!" There is a devilish smile from Goh, as if he's almost daring Kazeodori to do it. Surely he couldn't ACTUALLY turn someone into a Salamander… could he?
Regardless, there ismai room enough for Kazeodori to skirt around the rug and pat Wanpo's head, should he feel so inclined.
"Why?" Itami inquired of Soren. Was there something she was missing? She looked around and something caught her attention. Not Kazeodori, but the large salamander in the area. With the boy nearby, her jaw shifted in thought as she considered her options. Leave him there and get the supplies or stick around? The call of her name, nickname more like, from afar answered her question, so she decided to head on over with a smile and wave offered along the way.
"Hello, hello!" She responded, only giving mild focus to her hair when it was mentioned. She chuckled and swept her hair with her hand only for it to fall back into her face. "I've been well. Just trying to take care of business as usual. Ventured all this way for your wares? Nonsense, I'd venture across the world for them!" She beamed. "So, while I'm here I could see myself purchasing some. It's been a while since I've had some." She proceeds to whip out some money for the purchase. "He will do it, you know. Pickling juice is not something you want to spend the rest of your life in." She snickered.
Kazeodori ambles around the ceramic jars as swiftly as the semi-cautious feet of an 11-year-old will take him. The boy has certainly seen his fair share of oddities. A woman who can turn into a cat; a man who can turn into a wolf; another man who can turn into a scorpion; the one-armed man the Genin's currently traveling with; caverns in the sand; giant shadows in sandstorms; a girl who can spit out eyeballs. The list trails on and on, each wonder greater than last, and each wonder amazing Kazeodori with the distinction by which it does so. Thus, to be so near a tremendous salamander, with its shiny, oozing skin, rotund belly, and bugged-out orbs of eyes is - for the Genin - an utter delight. Tentatively, the youth eases forward a hand, and so strokes the side of the salamander, immediately pulling back his hand along with a laugh befitting the curiosity of the young.
"Oh, man, it's wet!"
The Genin takes a step back, offering up the palm of his hand that Itami may see the moisture the amphibian left behind, and in so doing, inadvertently knocks into one of Goh's pickle jars. The container wobbles around on its edge - for a breathless, motioned moment - before settling itself back on the rug, upright and still whole. A large sigh eases from Kazeodori, crumpling his stomach.
"Oh my gosh…"
"Ha! Always such a charmer." Goh replies to the beaming Itami. Saying that she would cross the world for them. Like Goh had any doubt! "You and most others, Tam." He takes a look down at the kid. "These your little ones? Ninja from the Desert, huh?" He rubs his chin a little in thought. "This little guy seemed keen on the big shuriken. But! Of course my dear, of course. I can sell you some amazing things right here."
He gestures to the jars before him. "Not much of this stuff would be new to you, Tam. You've probably seen most of it before in different variations. Some small alterations have been made from some different spices and herbs I've found in the depths of Kirigakure, but not much else."
As Kazeodori nearly knocks over one of his goods, the blone quirks a brow. But since it doesn't shatter, he has no problem with it. "Ahh, ninja these days. So graceful." He muses with a laugh.
"Welcome, youngsters! My name is Goh, I pickle vegetables of all types, right around the world! You could say I'm the worlds best pickler of everything vegetable related." He grins. "My vegies charge the soul and enable you to take flight! They fill you with confidence. Confidence enough to ask that girl out on a date. Fill you with enough courage to take on the wildest of shinobi. Give you the power to move mountains!" He finger steeples. "So, the question you must ask yourself — are you brave enough? Keen enough to take them on full-tilt?"
Itami had to adjust her eyes to focus on Kazeodori's hand, observing the moisture left behind by Wanpo. She was about to comment on it when he managed to find contact with one of the ceramic pots. She watched the pot carefully as it rolled around on its base before settling back into place. She let loose a breath that she didn't know she was holding. "…Charmer? Me?" She recovered her part of the conversation with Goh and laughed, albeit a bit breathlessly.
"Ah yes, my little ones. Straight from the desert. This is Kazeodori and this one…" She gestured to her 'packmule', "is Soren. Thank you, by the way. I think I might be needing some of these veggies. It doesn't matter much to me if they haven't changed or not. So long as they work as I know them to." She chuckles.
While Goh advertises his veggies to the kids, she decided to try and find her breath and recover. With another chill coming through, she proceeds to pat herself a bit to warm up.
Kazeodori stares at Goh, blinking heavily several times. The boy turns to look at Itami, to notice her reaction to the pickle-seller's sales pitch. Is the man really getting this excited over pickled vegetables?
It is while noticing Itami's reaction that Kazeodori finally comprehends what it is he sees between the two. The playful banter, the swishes of hair, the laughs and giggles. Without his intending it to, Kazeodori's face scrunches itself together, a flush of red pickling his cheeks. It would seem - perhaps to those knowing - that Kazeodori has not lost any of his… admiration for Itami.
The boy coughs as his name is mentioned, allowing his face to sort itself out. With a humph of breath, and without thinking (or, perhaps, with thinking too much), Kazeodori thrusts out his hand, sticking it before Goh's face, the youth's own visage now set of iron, his lips thin and his cheeks taut.
"I'll try one!"
"Looks like you've come a far way. If even you're tired, then you should all probably get some rest first, before deciding on what pickled stuff to get." His arms fold across his chest, watching the slimey hand of Kazeodori with some amusement. "Yeah, they work as they always have." He confirms to Itami, watching her carefully for a bit, before looking down at the boy.
"Ho, you will, will you? Well, I'm glad to hear it! Which one?" Again, that devilish grin appears to come across his face. "There are a large amount of varieties. Slightly pickled, not very. What vegetable it is, how long it's been sitting, spices, herbs. If you like, I can just surprise you if you want." His evil grin widens, as if Goh likes that idea very much. "Or you can pick one of the pots and we'll go from there. Itami could probably suggest something for you?"
"I'm not all that tired, but I can't say the same for these two. I'm used to wandering around." Itami shrugged. "As for the pickled vegetables, I think an assortment will work, yes? We could try all the vegetables from each pot, experiencing the best of all the varieties. That way, I think he can get an idea of what he'd like," she looked toward Kazeodori as she said this. "I'll cover the payment for the vegetables just in case."
Ever the change of face for a sulking child once they actually acquire what is they so rapaciously desired in the first place. At the mention of a selection of vegetables, as well Itami's generosity, Kazeodori's jealousy sort of… loses steam.
"Oh. All right."
The youth shrugs, and give the salamander one last friendly stroke. The action itself - in its good-natured dampness - brings a quirk of the lips to the boy, his amusement at seeing (and actually touching) such a beast much more overwhelming than any lingering envies. Ah, but such is the life of one so young.
Not to be undone, however (and to play upon the youth which he so often doles out in heaping doses), Kazeodori finds his way carefully back around the pots of pickles, to take his place next to Itami, the boy eventually standing himself just close enough to touch. But, never to show it, he looks to Goh with a chin held high.
"Yes. A little bit of everything. Please. Thank you. Very much."
"Hmm. True. It's a long way to walk for people with little legs." Goh tilts his head to the left, and then to the right. "I don't usually do free samples." He intones, as if thinking for a little bit. "People usually know what they want to try before they come up, but sure. I guess that could work."
As Goh dismounts Wanpo, the Salamander suddenly opens it's mouth.
"Oi kid!" It suddenly… speaks. Surprising, if you didn't know that these critters could talk. "Be brave and pick one! You can't get through this life with sitting on the fence. Sometimes you just gotta make a blind decision, and stick with it right through the end." Wanpo's voice is deep, perhaps a bit deeper than last Itami heard. A sign that he's likely reached full adulthood at this time.
Goh gives Wanpo a gentle nudge and a pat, before sitting on the rug. "Now now, Wanpo. If he wants to get a sample so he knows what he's dealing with, I can let it slide. Since Tam travelled all this way, after all."
Wanpo grunts a bit, perhaps displeased. Goh explains, "This is a bit… different. Normally my way of selling these things is how I approach life. All out with big calls. But like I said, I can make an exception just this once!" And with this, he begins to prep the ceramic jars for opening.
"Free? Oh no, I'm paying," Itami laughed. "I didn't mean to give that impression. I'll still—" She's cut off when Wanpo begins talking. It's no wonder he's a great partner to Goh. They share much of the same mentality. Also…did his voice change? That certainly seemed to be the case. So, she remained silent and smiled while he delivered his speech of sorts. "So you're older now, Wanpo?" She inquired, too thrilled with the changes to let it pass her up. Waltzing over to his side, she gave him a few pats saying, "I'm pleased to see you growing. A lot has changed since we last met and it doesn't feel all that long ago." She focused on Kazeodori and continued talking. "He's fairly young, though. I hope you're not too upset with his decision making," she grinned. "And you don't have to make any exceptions for me, Goh. I'm fine with paying." She thought to make it clear since she knew what it was like running a business. It can be tough sometimes.
Immediately upon the salamander opening its mouth and talking, Kazeodori's face unfastens the blinds to the window of his amusement, his eyes wide and his mouth an oval of surprise.
It seems, for today, that there will be no end to the boy's delight, and he listens intently to the words the salamander says. Well… he's certainly listening, yes, but he is by no means actually paying attention to what the salamander is saying. The shock is the creature speaking is much too much for the youth to offer any sense of attention to the words of wisdom pouring forth from the beast. That is, however, until Goh begins speaking, for the blonde pickle-seller answers Kazeodori's question before he himself can even form it. Upon hearing the great amphibian's name, Kazeodori throws a hand forward and waves at the creature.
"Nice to meet you, Wanpo. I'm Kazeodori."
The boy seems ready to continue his conversation with Wanpo, but Itami herself seems as intrigued with the creature as he does, and so she begins talking to it as well, leaving Kazeodori with a slightly open mouth with no words to fill it.
AFter a few minutes, Soren comes striding back down the street, a rather large scroll resting on his back, as he goes weaving through the crowds, and trying to spy the group he came with, to very little avail. But he knew where the pickle shop (… er… stand…? ) was! So he made his way in that direction, eventually finding Itami, and a giant talking Gecko?!? He pauses, looking quite stunned for a moment, as he eyes the salamander. "Woah… it… talks…" he blinks a few times. "Is he one of those… ummm… what're they called… Kuchi-something no jutsus? Basically summoning a nature spirit of somesort?" he asks. But then he shakes his head. "Itami-sama. I've got the supplies." he says with a smile, and a nod.
"You bet, babe." Wanpo replies to Itami. It seems that having grown older also suggests that his hormones are starting to kick in. Some attitude, too. "I really dig you when you're showing more of ya stuff. Most of Goh's friends aren't a heap of chop, but I think yer smokin'." He seems to enjoy being patted by Itami far more, twisting his head a little bit as he's pet. Meanwhile, Goh rolls his eyes.
"Yeah, Wanpo is finally fully grown. As you can tell, he's sort of… uh, at 'that' age now. I might have to send him back to the Caves so he can do his thing. Then he can finally settle down a bit." Seems a unique sort of problem, that's for sure.
As Goh begins to unfasten the ceramic pots, the aroma of pickled vegetables fills the air. Incredibly strong and pungent. If you don't like the stuff, it could well burn your nostrils into bits! But for the connoisseur of this dish, it's pretty much right on the money. Maybe a little strong, but that's no real surprise.
Gently, Goh gets out small pieces of each pot, placing the bits into a small wooden bowl. Potato, carrot, lettuce and more. Six vegies all in all, each sitting plumply in the bowl, swimming in pickled juices. And just like that, he slides the bowl over, sealing his pickling pots again.
Wanpo continues to speak while Goh preps. "Well met, kid. Wanpo's the name, travellin's the game. I must say, I'm getting a bit surprised by all this… surprise. Few ninja who've seen me for the first time and freaked out a bit. Itami, you senior ninja not teaching kids about us partners no more?" He must mean regular Summoning creatures.
Goh sort of answers, "The Summoning Technique is a bit of an off one, Wanpo. I dunno how many Sunagakure ninja know it, but it's not really taught in schools." He pauses, then looks up to Itami. "Is it?"
And then Goh looks to Kazeodori. "I can summon Wanpo here with a blood contract I made with the Salamander family. Wanpo is just one I can bring out. You should see Wanryo. He's a little goer, that's for sure!"
And then Soren arrives, to where he gives a thumbs-up.
Itami wasn't expecting to be responded to in that fashion. She was flattered, but couldn't help, but be amused. "Why, thank you~" she inflected to Wanpo. "I do like to keep myself fit." She won't go into details about all that, of course. "You might want to pick up the pace on getting him back to those caves," she snickered. Upon Soren's return, she cast her sights on him and the scroll he had on his back. "So you've got the supplies! Excellent! That means we can make our return trip back to Sunagakure. We might have to stop off at the outpost to rest along the way. Kyuusen is no walk in the park," she folded her arms after saying that, finding a bit of relaxation time by resting her weight against Wanpo. The moisture didn't bother her much.
The scent of pickled vegetables fills the air and many people look in the stand's direction. Some wonder how people could eat those things when the smell itself would serve as a good weapon against people. Alas, they are not weapons though except to give energy to those in need. Itami is looking forward to eating some along the way back to Sunagakure. "The summoning technique isn't taught. It's something that can be learned later. Students don't have the necessary amount of chakra to peform a summon on the level of Kuchiyose," she admits. "So these techniques are taught when they're late into geninhood or going into chuunin, if that."
"Oh my gosh, there's another one?"
"Oh my gosh, I can learn how to do that?"
"Oh no, it's time to go?"
Ah, the banal exclamations of one so young. Though Kazeodori certainly desires to stay longer, the intention of the mission is not his own, and thus, not his to command. It is with a ping of regret that the youth follows his leaders, waving as he does so to the salamander and its owner.
"Goodbye, Wanpo. Goobye, Mr Pickle."
The boy, it would seem, does not recall ever hearing the blonde man's name, and so adopts - as is his penchant - a nickname for him on the spot. A nickname that, in all likelihood, will remain the man's forever. And is with the meeting of new friends, and the fresh bubbles of new discoveries, that Kazeodori winds his way along aside his fellow troopers, and away from Fort Kyuusen.
"Ah." Wanpo replies, certainly not complaining that the babe of Itami is leaning against him. "That seems to make sense, I spose." Standing back up from his seated position, Goh dusts his hands together. "You guys came here just for some supplies that you picked up in twenty minutes?" The blonde seems surprised at this, though he's not really going to question the purpose. "Seems a long way to travel just for some supplies! But hey, whatever you guys want to do."
With Kazeodori stomping off to prep for the departure, Goh is left to settle on just the female and the new arrival of Soren. "Did the kid even say what veg he wanted?" Goh muses, before shrugging. "Let me know what you want, Tam. I'll whip it up for ya."
Itami thought to cut Kazeodori off before he left, so she flickered away for a few moments just to let him know to stay within Kyuusen. If things turn out the way she thinks, they might be here until nightfall.
Once that was settled, she'd return to Wanpo's side and reclaim her place. "Efficiency," she started to say. "That is how we work in Sunagakure," she chuckled. "I don't think he said what he wanted, but I'll go ahead with some carrots if you don't mind. Do they have those new spices and such from Kiri in them?" She wondered. "I'm curious of how they'll add to the taste. I'll go ahead and allow him to try some carrots as well," she remarked about Kazeodori.
"Yeah, the carrots do." Goh replies, bending down to pick up some of the jars from the ground. One had a carrot mixture, the other was mostly all carrot. He places them to the side, perhaps for Itami to pick up whenever she was ready. "Kirigakure is a little weird." He intones, folding arms across his chest once more and looking out at the people coming and going. "I mean, well, the Village in a nutshell is a little odd of course, but the herbs and such that grow around there are just… different. The lack of sunlight that the place gets, on top of the constant salt in the air causes some pretty mega mutations. And of course, leaves most of the stuff I get to be pretty salty."
Turning back to Itami, he starts once more. "Speaking of Kirigakure, have you heard of anything from there recently? I just came from the Village. It's under new leadership now, and seems to have turned a bit of a corner."
Soren glances at Goh, listening to his description of the place. "Sounds dank." he says, kindof bluntly. "Oh really? For better or for worse?" he asks with a smile, genuinely curious about the land. "I've never actually been there myself… but I plan on visiting all 5 nations before I'm done traveling, so it'd be a good thing for me to get a heads up on the place." he says with a grin.
Itami hummed. "I don't mind a bit of salt. I think those would be perfect for a lot of meats. Wonder what other flavors they may have? Salt is something that goes in just about everything," she nodded. "As for the village? I haven't heard much. They've been fairly quiet lately which kind of worries me, but I suppose we'll just have to see…" Her voice trails off at the bit of news Goh gave her to chew on. "Kirigakure is under new leadership? I wish I could be more excited, but I don't know who this leader is, so I'm going to withhold my enthusiasm," she sighed. "Whatever corner they've turned might just be one for the worse considering their history." She looked off in the direction of Kirigakure. "The place is kind of dank every so often, but it's really tropical. With all that water, plants flourish…certain kinds of plants, at least. A nice place, really compared to how they're known to be."
Goh lifts a finger to Soren, as if he's about to impart the teenager with some great wisdom. "…just watch out for the shadows." That's not really great. More common sense, really.
He turns to face both Itami and Soren. "Kirigakure is trying to clean up it's image of being blood-thirsty killers. Yuge, the current Mizukage, is… oddly nice. Which I'm not sure how to think. Not weird, scary nice. Just genuinely seemed happy to chat about the situation in Kirigakure, and how he intends on turning a few corners." He sucks in a bit of a breath.
"Believe it or not, they even let me bring in a Kumogakure ninja. Just for touring. But given their history, and the fact she came out alright without a scratch, says a lot. They're honestly trying to fix up the place. But with the Kaguya there, I'm not sure how far they'll go in the end." He shrugs. "I did some pretty stupid things when I was there, just to test the waters. You could tell, for some of the Kaguya, it took every fibre of willpower not to rip me apart." He smirks.
"Which is good, I guess. They're adapting."
Soren blinks. He just sits there for a good long moment… before shaking his head. "Well… judging from what I heard about the kaguya from Asuka-sensei… that place certainly got alot more boring." he chuckles a bit. "Not that that's a bad thing. But still. Anyways, I'm going to go make sure Kazeodori stays out of trouble. You should have no problem finding us Itami-sama." he says with a smile, and bowing to her, before flickering off to Kazeodori.
Itami was still skeptical, but she'd have to take his word for it, she supposed. "Trying to clean up their act… It's hard for me to believe, really," she shook her head. "I guess I'll have to go there to visit someday in a show of good will. That way I'll be able to survey the place and see for myself if they're truly changing." She didn't want to sound too terse, but she had to be for the benefit of her village.
"I guess I'll have to see in due time. That's all I can think," she huffed softly. A small smirk is offered to Soren and his comments about the village. She guesses it's part of being young. Rising up from Wanpo, she wanders over to the stand and picks up her order so that she could enjoy some of the carrots. Upon popping them into her mouth, she swished one around and nodded at the flavor. Just a tinge more salty. "I like it," she smiled.