Date: July 6, 2013
A visit to the boneyard gardens turns into an early lesson on war for Kaguya Yuriko, though it ends unexpectedly early for her and her partner.
Kirigakure's Boneyard Gardens
Hey. Dude. Snow day.
Snow covered the ground this morning in the boneyard gardens of Kirigakure and the kids of the village weren't having it. Hundreds of them. Thousands. Or so it seemed to some of the onlookers with how they all giggled and zipped about in pandemonium, scooping of snow and tossing it around at each other, building them up into snow people or just guzzling it down in their best Akimichi impersonations. Whatever they chose to do, they loved doing it, because it was a snow day, and bundled up nice and tight, nothing could stop them from enjoying it.
Yuriko was among those hundreds. She may not know any of those kids personally, but hadn't hesitated for an instant to dive into the fun and throw snowballs at the nearest open target. Try to throw snowballs in any case since there was more than one that didn't really make their target. It only further proved to the girl that she needed to practice! And what better time than this? Yuriko
laughs happily, dressed in her winter kimono crouched to gather as much snow as she can in a ball. Already her fingers numb from the cold. Not that she minded.
Carefree and as light as the sun reflected in the slowly falling snowflakes in so many senses, so much was joy here. Snowballs were thrown, some were taken, and both done with laughter on both sides. But there was an undercurrent to the masses, a brewing. Some of the older kids had ganged together, their numbers around eight right now. Their grins were a little less carefree, a bit more mischief in the curls of their mouths. One of them nudged a a friend with an elbow before gesturing to the Kaguya girl bending down to gather up some snow. He hefted his own snowball, already made, brushing some of his dark hair out of his eyes. "Headshot," he said, taking aim and letting it fly fast. "Ten points."
Yuriko catches the sight of the snowball heading straight at her and out of instinct, the Epigaea dagger appears in her hand and she cleanly slices through it, powdered snow puffing apart in the air on either side of her head. At first the little girl blinks once, as if with some surprise that such a thing occurred at all, but the next moment she giggle happily to herself and the dagger is gone
again. "I wanna play too!" Yuriko bends down to gather the snow again, trying to hurry and make a ball before she's made an easy target once more.
The boy that'd thrown the snowball at Yuriko blinked in surprise at the little five year old sudden prowess before his brow came down over his eyes. "Hey guys," said the boy he'd nudged, calling the attention of the others as the first bent down, scooping up more snow with eyes for the bouncing Kaguya child. The others of the group begin doing the same, focusing on the target of their leader, the way they fell in step quickly showing him to be such. He brushes his black hair from his dark blue eyes once more, blowing out a puff of steam.
Suddenly, he put a hand to his mouth, back arching as he let loose with a sudden wolf's howl. Quickly, the others with him joined in, raising their voices to the sky, the sound of their combined howls making the closer half of the kids pause and look their way. Some bore frowns, others bore grins, and other bore grins and a desire to join that had them jogging towards the sound, some
raising their own howls en route.
Abruptly, there was a blur in front of Yuriko. Brown hair, dark near black eyes, and a pale face above his red scarf and fur lined clothing. He couldn't be much older than her. Six, maybe seven. "C'mon," he shouted as he moved past from the side, looking to grab hold of her hand and tow her along. A raised snow bank seemed to be his target, something to climb over and put between himself and the wolf pack.
Straightening, Yuriko smiles brightly as she packs the snow in her cupped hand and blinks her bright aquamarine eyes up at the children around her, wondering if she should aim for someone in particular or just throw in a direction and hope that it hits a target. However, her thoughts are interrupted by the sudden howling of wolves as herself and plenty other children look up at the
source. Blinking again, Yuriko tilts her snow white head as her wavy bangs fall in her face, confused and curious while more kids begin joining in.
The boy suddenly appears in front of her, further confusing the girl as he takes her hand and pull her with him. Yuriko drops the snowball that she had been forming as she tries to keep up with the boy, fumbling a few times over her feet before managing to stay up. "Um, hi. Where are we going?"
"Just keep running!" shouts the boy back to Yuriko, red scarf trailing behind him. He tosses a glance back at the group, seeing their black headed leader starting to stalk their way, his group growing bigger. He scowls. Soon enough, he reaches the snow bank and ducks behind it, tugging Yuriko along behind him before looking at her. "You crazy or somethin? We aren't ready yet." He turns away, looking back, scanning the rest of the gardens. "Just make a coupla snowballs and get ready to go. I hope you gotta good arm."
His eyes lock onto someone whom he'd been looking for. He raises a thumb and shouts. "SQUAD UP!" The boy, a flaming head of hair and clear blue eyes raises a thumb to the tune of the wolf pack letting out another, larger, more chorused howl. They were moving. He looked to Yuriko. "We need to go. Now. Keep low. Run fast. Follow me." That said, he dips down, scooping a quick snowball and pushes off of the snowbank to run. It seemed that not every kid making snow buildings was just doing it for fun. There seemed to be a myriad of raised snow embankments between here and where the other kid had been, that boy rushing to a huge snow fort.
Yuriko tries to tighten her hold on his hand, struggling a little bit but managing to speed up ever so slightly, just before he pulls them behind a bank and pulls her abruptly behind it. Plopping on her backside, the young girl blinks her bright blue green eyes up at the boy with the utmost confusion. "Ready? Ready for what?" she asks. What was going on? When he instructs her to make snowballs, Yuriko frowns to herself for a fraction of a moment, but doesn't hesitate to begin scooping her fingers in the snow to begin forming a snow ball. The wolf howl sounds again, and once more the boy with the red scarf issues quick instruction. Taking a quick breath and holding the snowball between both hands, the young girl prepares herself before taking off with sudden, swift
Red scarf blinked as Yuriko quickly caught up to him, near black eyes shifting to the girl before he nodded to her in a thoughtful way. But a snowball crashing in front of his feet broke the moment and he put on more speed as the white spheres began to fly in. A couple whizzed by his head, one tore apart against his fingertips, leaving them stinging, but he made it across without any real incident, pressing his back against the snow barrier. "War," he finally answered her question, looking to Yuriko with a small smirk.
In the distance, down the way that they were heading, there were kids approaching. You could hear them calling to each other, getting organized, a head of flaming hair popping up here and there every now and again. The boy noticed it all with a second long glance before looking Yuriko over, checking to see that she was alright in a cursory glance. And then he rose — he ducked as snow
powdered against the covering. He peeked his eyes back over, taking stock for a few moments before coming back down.
"They got 25 and countin' comin' at us. We need to get to that next bank." He pointed to one that was… definitely far away. That'd be at least 15 seconds of open running. "Then the boys'll have our backs. On three, we get up, fire your two shots at the closest people — aim for the neck — and then run. Don't look to see if they hit, just run. I'll be right behind you alright? You ready?"
Yuriko quickly ducks to avoid the white snowballs that fly by her head, just before they manage to get behind the second barrier. Breathing quickly, she huffs a breath and tries to shake her wavy bangs out of her face, frowning with confusion again as she glances at the red scarf boy. "War? But, its snow balls." she murmurs. Boys are so confusing… The wolf calls start again behind him and Yuriko peeks up over the edge to see if she can spy the ones that were after them. "Twenty five… that's a big number…" she mumbles. "But… why are they chasing me? And why are you trying to protect me?" The young girl glances back at the boy beside her, frowning slightly at him. But her questions are not answered quiet yet, as they have to make another mad dash. "Yeah… ready."
Red scarf arches a brow at Yuriko, suddenly looking so much more adult with the wryness on his face. "Just snow balls, huh? We'll see what you think when the day's done." He pats her on the shoulder before turning around, hands on the snow before him. "As for the wolves, you set them off. The leader, Koro." He begins quickly fashioning ammunition. "Dad's a hunter. He's fallin in step. And if you aint with them, you're with us. That's how it works. Now no more questions. Get your snowballs. We're up on three. Ready?" Why wait? "Three!" And then he's up, whipping two snowballs into the crowd and shouting, "Go!" His own strike the closest two running towards him, catching both in the face. They'd been practically sprinting and were too fast and too tired to veer. They hit the ground. Most of the rest were only maybe 15 yards away and moving, a few closer. He took aim at some of those but didn't throw. Throw too early and they'd just see and dodge.
He flinches as a snowball whirs past his ear.
Yuriko blinks her bright eyes once at the boy, but gives him a mildly flat look when he pats her shoulder as if she's slow and just now catching up to the reality of snow balls and their purpose. For some reason she found it annoying and she didn't like it very much. "But, what did /I/ do?" she makes a displeased face. "Koro just seems like a bully to me. I don't see what's so special about
him." But the boy says no more questions, and just after he jumps out of hiding and fires his handful of arsenal. Yuriko bounds out a moment after, pulling back both of her hands and firing each at whoever's closest. The first hits a boy square in the face, but the second flies high over everyone's heads and lands in the middle of nowhere. Oh well. Already the boy with the red scarf was taking off, and the little Kaguya girl struggles to keep from tripping over her own feet, managing to do just that as she quickens her pace in a mad sprint to the third bank.
Red scarf ducks a snowball thrown his way from a distance, the thing actually nearly managing to come in close. He lets out a feux curse, muttering. "Girls. Always gettin us men into trouble. Dad was" he whipped a snowball at the closest man now that they were getting close. "/right/ about it." He threw another one, tossing a glance over his shoulder, looking to Yuriko. She was moving
fast but she needed just a little more time. He fell into silence, no longer needing to talk to himself to keep his nerves settled, the motion of creating and throwing snowballs enough to allow him to settle into the rhythm. But they were getting close and he couldn't stop all of them. He tensed…
And then he whirled around, starting towards the third bank with a sprint of his own, arms pumping furiously as he dashed after the little Kaguya girl with the serious speed. There was a howl from the pack of boys approaching, the group of about thirty putting on a burst of speed as they started hunting. From them rose a small cloud of snowballs, these sent arcing over towards Red Scarf as he ran towards the third bank with all of the speed he could muster, the ends of his scarf fluttering behind him. They soared and flew, pelting the ground about the boy, melting into the rest of the snow on the ground.
And then one hit him. Square in the back of the head, the ball of snow exploded into cold dust, sending the boy from a breakneck pace to an uncoordinated sprawl. It was a few seconds of downtime before he was back on his feet and running again, but it made all of the distance. He was moving slower now, and the head of the wolf pack was gaining. It was clear. They'd catch him before he ever made the third bank.
From behind the third snow bank Yuriko lifts her snowy head to peek over the top, trying to spy just where it was that the boy had disappeared off to. He was just behind her not even a moment ago. Her bright blue green eyes blink as she sees him running towards her, throwing snowballs to fend of the coming 'wolves'. When he runs out of snowballs, she watches him make a made dash straight for the snowy bank; a snowball soon pelting him in the back of his head, making him falter just enough to send him to a sprawl. It took only those couple of seconds to give the pack of boys a chance to gain several feet on him. And when he gets to his feet, he's running slower.
As the little girl watches this her expression hardens with something serious, appearing strange in her otherwise innocent and carefree demeanor. Yuriko steps out from behind the bank as she begins approaching, the dagger appearing at her side once more. When she gets halfway between the snow bank and Red Scarf she comes to a stop, "Stop it." she says, "This isn't fun, and you're being bullies. Stop it right now." Really she's intending to pull the attention towards her, even intimidate the boys as she boldly confronts them with a no nonsense look. Anything so that Red Scarf would have a chance to escape. She couldn't let him take a fall by himself after all, not when he was trying to protect her.
"What're you doin?!" manages to shout Red Scarf once he manages to look up.
He'd heard the girl talking, and he obviously hadn't liked what she'd said if he'd spared the energy to look to her and speak. He would've told her to get back to the bank but it was at that time that the first of the wolf pack caught up to him. He turned to look at them, his pace slowing only to find that they weren't stopping at him but rushing past. He came to a stop, just a few feet away from Yuriko as the pair were swiftly surrounded by the older children, the boys and girls smirking at them. But they didn't push in just yet.
Instead, they waited the half a second for Koro to push through into the circle, idly packing a snowball in between his two hands. He flashes a grin at Red Scarf before looking over to Yuriko. "Well now. Baby girl's gotta knife. And it's a pretty cute lookin one, too." He looks over to Red scarf, who scowled at him. "You know how to pick 'em, runt. Your little girlfriend just lost the war for you and your team. Too bad you won't be around to try again next year." On those words, the circle began to close.
And in the distance, too far, the sound of reinforcements arises.
Her expression never wavered, vivid aquamarine eyes merely narrowing as she watches as they're quickly surrounded. Yuriko carefully positions herself back to back with Red Scarf, just as Koro emerges through the crowd. She isn't visibly bothered by the mocking, not really, though what's intimidating is the dark smirk that grows on her lips, "Yes, it /is/ a rather cute looking dagger."
the little girl replies. And with a small flick of her wrist she lets go of it above in the air above her hand, though at its peak it doesn't fall, merely spins there as is suspended. "And my dagger doesn't like bullies either." Still in the air, the dagger appears to be thrown straight at the snowball Koro is packing in his hands, making it explode in a puff of snow before Yuriko twists her wrist back as if snapping back the dagger into her hand by an invisible cord. "Go. Away."
And all eyes turned to Yuriko. Some with fear. Some with surprise. Some with awe. Red Scarf's with contemplation. Koro's with anger. The dark boy turned towards her, starting forward with a glower, his aura of invincibility clear about him. "I've never hit a kid so young before, but you jus—" He breaks off at the sound of a snowball hitting the ground not far outside of his circle, head turning towards it. "Blood and ashes," he snarled.
He bends down, scooping up a little snow and compacting it with one hand before whipping it at Red Scarf. He does nothing to defend against it, getting hit in the face hard enough for his head to rock backwards, blood staining the snow. Koro turns around dismissively, saying, "Off them. Omegas on me. You know the plan." He leaves the circle.
Immediately, most of the 29 children threw their snowballs at the pair, those that didn't holding off out of fear of Yuriko. Even without those, there were far too many to block and avoid, not that Red Scarf was trying to do anything about it anyway. It was a hurried thing, just a couple of seconds. And then the kids were scooping up more snow, some rushing towards the third embankment where reinforcements were coming from, others rushing off to the side towards Koro.
The sound of the snowball poofing upon impact with the ground draws Yuriko's attention as well, her bright eyes blinking in that direction if only for a moment before her attention is pulled towards the crowd of kids around them again. Shoulders tense as she prepares to go one way or another. However, the snowball is thrown straight at the boy at her back and it hits his face and blood
thinly streams from his nose. That in itself is enough to alarm Yuriko. Snowballs should never be able to draw blood like that. Just what kind of game is this?! Then they're clouded with snowballs, and the young girl uses her Epigaea dagger to slice through as many snowballs as she can, just not enough of them as she quickly becomes soaked with the melting snow. After the children's attention become scattered, giving the pair a chance for escape. Yuriko reaches for the boy's hand, "Come on!" she pulls him with her, taking off for the third embankment again and in the direction of their reinforcements.
Red Scarf's hand was limp in the girl's, her momentum taking him a few steps before he abruptly tugs himself out of the girl's grasp. "Hey! We can't. We're already dead." He shakes his head at the girl, looking at her with something akin to disdain. "Don't you know anything? We can't play anymore." He wipes his nose on his sleeve, getting most of the blood off before wiping at his eyes with the heel of his hand. Those weren't tears. He'd swear it.
He turns away from Yuriko.
Yuriko blinks her bright eyes at him with mild surprise as he pulls his hand from hers, appearing confused for a moment as a small frown forms. That frown deepens as he turns away from her and wipes at the blood at his nose. Annoyance rose up inside of her. She came back for him, why wasn't he grateful? Taking a few quick steps Yuriko moves around him so that he's facing her again. "Why? Just because they say we can't?" She points in their direction. "They're the ones that pulled me into this stupid game. I just wanted to play with snowballs." Still, he was hurt… concern shows in her face as she steps closer, "Are you okay though? You're bleeding a little… I didn't think snowballs were supposed to hurt."
"I'm fine," he says gruffly, blinking and rubbing the blood on his sleeve onto his pant leg. "That little skizz just likes to use chakra to make his snowballs hard. Likes to leave his mark." His dark eyes look over to Yuriko before he starts walking towards the fountain, an edge of disappointment and anger in the set of his shoulders. "And those are the rules," he calls back. "Don't try to go back in. You'll just get in trouble. Go play with some other kids off of the battlefield or something."
The young girl gives him a flat look as her concern is dismissed, the boy turning away to the fountain. "You know what? I don't care." Yuriko says with a hard voice, the dagger disappearing into her sleeve before crossing her arms across her chest. "Those are stupid rules and I didn't even want to be part of this stupid game. But at least /I/ came back for you. I didn't run away and leave you to be pelted by yourself, because I wanted to be part of your wolf pack. And I don't leave anyone in my pack behind." Yuriko steps close enough to poke him in the chest once. "Next time don't rescue someone unless it actually means something to you." Her hard gaze remains on him for a longer moment before she shakes her snow white head at him, wavy bangs falling in her face as she turns around and starts walking away. Her winter kimono is soaked from the snowballs and she was visibly shivering, trying to rub a little bit of warmth into her arms while she walks off the field.
Red Scarf never even acknowledges the five year old but for a shake of the head and a "Whatever," as he continues on his way towards the fountain. He tugs on one of the ends of his scarf, not watching as the girl started tromping off. "Thanks to you, I don't even have a pack," he mutters, near black eyes locked on the fountain across the way, narrowing in refusal of the tears that threatened to cloud his vision. He brings a had to his nose, wincing slightly as he touches it. He withdraws his fingers, looking down at them.
He'd started to bleed again.
It was probably a moment after that a white handkerchief lands on his head, the lacing around the edges clearly indicating it belongs to a girl. "Return that to me when you're done. And don't stain it." comes a voice from behind him. Yuriko. Though she's already walking off again, debating whether or not she made the right decision lending him her handkerchief for his nose. Boys don't really care for delicate things after all. Another cold shiver ripples through her and the small girl rubs at her arms again, exiting northwards through the bone archway.