Date: July 25, 2012
To evade a Sandstorm, Keiji shows Kazeodori what he does in his spare time.
"Spare Time - DIG!"
Somewhere in the Suna Desert
Sandy Expanse - Eastern Desert [Land of Wind]
The deserts of the Land of Wind appear to be a barren, waterless, plantless, lifeless wasteland to most people. There actually IS life here, and water can be found as well if one knows where to look and how to gather it. However, the fact remains that the desert is an inhospitable place to be without protection. The Eastern Desert is the great, barren expanse that lies between the border of the Land of Wind's border with the Land of Rivers, and the Hidden Sand Village.
Sunagakure lies to the west, and the border lies generally eastwards. North is empty desert.
The sun hangs high over the desert sand despite it still being towards the end of winter in the Land of Wind. There are not many creatures out and around yet as the area has not really heated up. Most things remain beneath the sand or in a cave somewhere. On the horizon however is a sandstorm in the making. The wind through out the area is gradually starting to increase. In the distance it has begun to howl. It will only be a matter of time before travellers and creatures a like are brought to a halt in their travels for at least the night.
Keiji stands on a sand dune looking out across the desert. "Well Kazeodori, it seems we will be camping around here for the night. Quickly, follow me. I have a shelter around here." the dark garbed Chuunin states. He then reaches into his vest and pulls out some cloth. He hands it back to Kaze before starting to walk forward towards the storm. "Incase you do not have something to cover your mouth and nose. You do not want to breath the sand." While it was common knowledge to most in Sunagakure, Keiji had no idea what survival training his student had. "By the way, I should ask, have you been trained for sand storm survival?"
Kazeodori grins, watching as the sandstorm bucks and gallops along the horizon, driving its way forward to engulf in its fathomless maw the breadth of the land around. The young boy takes not the cloth from Keiji, and instead pulls up a muff which had been laying below his neck, tucking the fabric over his mouth and nose.
"I also have goggles, too."
It's unseen, but the Genin smiles beneath his cloth covering. He has, in fact, been through many sand storms.
"I got to ride with the Kazekage to hunt sand Krayt, and they only come out only in storms."
Kazeodori shrugs, and seems to find that explanation enough, and so turns away from the sight of the storm to follow Keiji to his shelter. What they're doing out here, however, still remains to be seen.
"Sand Krayt. Nice." Keiji states as he moves down the dune. "It would seem that you have plenty of sand storm survival training. Thats a lesson we can skip then." He then glances about the area for something specific like a land mark. After a few moments he nods his head. He then turns towards the sand dune and punches his hand into the center of it. The sand then begins to fall apart revealing a hole leading down into the ground. "When using land marks in the desert, never use anything that is small and can be covered up by blowing sand." The boy then turns and points to a massive rock to the east. "Come on in. Welcome to one of my homes."
Keiji then enters into the small hole and moves down into the wide open cavern beneath him. The cavern could easily hold two shinobi teams. There are several halls leading off to different caverns. Keiji then moves into one of the side caverns before returning with a small torch. "Your eyes are not as good as mine in the dark, so I will let you use the torch to see." The Chuunin states before handing Kaze the torch.
Kazeodori steps slowly forward, idly grabbing the torch from Keiji's outstretched hand and stepping beyond the Chuunin.
"Whoaaaaaaaaa…" breathes the boy, his eyes at first finding nothing but dark in the bleak of the cavern and the shine of the torch. But as his irises adjust, widening into black, they begin to sketch details for the nothingness that just was. The youth turns to Keiji, his face the beginning of a smile, his lips twitching with the excitement he can barely seem to contain.
"You… live here?"
The boy cocks his head, puzzled, and - without really waiting for a response - turns his gaze back into the cavern, drawing his feet along. Kazeodori holds up the torch, that the light might find its way farther into the dark.
"Where do these all go?"
Keiji nodded his head, despite the boy probably not being able to see the gesture. "Yes, I live here. Like Scorpions the members of my clan are taught to live beneath the earth. Most live in small caverns like this with maybe one or two off shoots for bedrooms." Without missing a beat, Keiji moves to the first offshoot. "This one leads down lower into the earth. There is water supply down there." He then moves towards the next offshoot. "This one leads east. That one north and that last one south. When I am bored I like to further the tunnels. That is so long as…" the boy then cuts off and glances to the west where he has not made any kind of tunnel. "Nevermind."
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but surely that is why it was given nine lives. The Genin, however, pushes down his curiosity to wonder how Keiji would have finished his thought, and lets it bury be, perhaps to be churned up later, at a more promising time.
Kazeodori peers into each offshoot as Keiji introduces them, seeing exactly what the other is denoting he will see. The boy's eyes, in the dark now long, have seemed to adjust well to the low light. A question, however, rises in his throat as he stares at the cut-out rock wall.
"How do you, umm… how do you make these tunnels?" the youth inquires, running his hand over the smooth stone work. It surely is not a method done by man — or perhaps it is, and Kazeodori simply does not know what the will of man is capable of. All he knows is that he himself certainly would not be able to accomplish such feats as the one he sees before him.
There is a large grin on Keiji's face beneath his mask. "You have seen the form that does the bulk of the burrowing and digging. I use this to practice maintaining and controlling the Scorpion side of me. Compared to most Shippodoku, these caverns are a mansion. Then when I have rested from that, I return and work on the smaller details of the tunnel, like smoothing the walls. It is pretty decent practice for the tree walking jutsu. You climb all the way to the top of the cavern and then stay there while working with some tools."
Kazeodori grins - an infamous grin, perhaps now known, which imbues him with a sense of mischief, often accompanying a conotation of evil for the look which slides up his face - and asks, in almost a whisper:
A pause. Just long enough.
How easily the boy has begun to corrupt - or, rather, utilize - his innocence, that he couple his mischief with the most noble of virtues, that his will be forwarded. It would seem, that although the boy's body may not be engaging so swiftly in its pubescence, his mind is certainly making up for the lack of physiology. As such, Kazeodori simply stands there, smiling, his eyes pleading of Keiji, the torch crackling in his hand.
There was a slight bit of shock for Keiji when the boy asked. It seemed he enjoyed the Scorpion form where others were terrified of it. He remembered once looking into the eyes of Kazuhito and knowing that the boy felt him a freak. A good freak, but something he feared none the less.
"Fine, I will show you, but be careful. Rocks tend to fly everywhere." The boy then closed his eyes and began to focus. Parts began to spring out of his body making extra legs and claws until finally the boy sat in full, demonic, scorpion form. The cavern seemed to be about the right size for scorpion and not much else.
Soon the scorpion turns his attention towards the one unbroken wall. His claw smashes into the wall, tearing large chunks of it out. Then the next claw does the same. Soon the Scorpion has begun a decent sized tunnel.
Kazeodori leaps aside as small boulders begin to tumble from the hands of Keiji-as-scorpion. The boy utilizes his own feat of Chakra Walking, and climbs up the vertical of a section of rock, watching intently as the new tunnel begins to take shape, the scorpion before him churning through stone with what seems to be an intent ease.
"How often are you down here?"
the youth inquires, but as his question goes unheard during the excavation, he raises his voice.
"HOW OFTEN ARE YOU DOWN HERE?"
The boy coughs after yelling, his voice perhaps a bit too hard. The cavern itself is rather cool, and one can't even hear the sandstorm raging away outside. This is certainly a prime spot - a prime hideaway - for meanderings through the desert. Kazeodori too wonders how many of these caverns Keiji has built, and if he, being of the Chuunin's team after all, would be granted access.
The first time the question is asked, it is unheard. The second time it is heard and causes Keiji to stop for a few moments. He then turns back and starts to tunnel again as he thinks the question over. After a while the Chuunin reverts back to his normal form. "Often times due to my schedule being different than others, I stay up during the day and sleep at night. So during the day, I tunnel in that form. It keeps me on schedule with you and Asao. Also, any time you need them you are welcome to be in them."
And he didn't even have to ask! Kazeodori grins, walking himself a bit further along the wall, to the point where it just about becomes ceiling. The boy (as Keiji knows) has never had too much a fear of heights, and less so now that he can freely climb them with his chakra-imbued feet. And even more less since Itami rescued him from falling. In fact, it would seem, for the Genin finds his mind wandering to this conclusion: the boy is too clumsy to have a fear of heights. Perhaps a more careful approach would yield less caustic results. But, then again, where's the fun in that?
The youth leaps from his spot on the ceiling, narrowly dodging a loosely thrown stone. Already, does he start looking deeper into the other off-shoots of cavern, seemingly bored by the monotonous task which Keiji seems to so fervently enjoy. A bedroom, huh? Does the Chuunin sleep like a scorpion, Kazeodori wonders — or like a man?
Keiji watches the boy as he walks the ceiling of the cavern. "These tunnels are more natural instinct. I am also not the first to tunnel beneath this land." It was true. There were many tunnels and even catacombs beneath the hidden village of Suna. Those tunnels however were much more dangerous not only because of the age of the tunnel, but because of what may inhabit them.
"So, what do you think?" the Chuunin asks. It was not a typical hobby, but it was a large and semi complex hobby.
For much, it would seem, the Chuunin and the Genin - perhaps from spending so much time together - share a likeness of mind, for it is Kazeodori, who smiling and nodding his assent of enjoying Keiji's hobby, procures an inquiry from within the forefront of his mind.
"So does anything else live down here?"
The boy casts his light around the cavern, glancing around it again.
"You can't be the first, right?"
Perhaps Keiji is, perhaps he is the first to chuck away these caverns in which Kazeodori now stands, but surely - for the mark of a bloodline is the mark of a history long covered - surely, there is more to these depths than simply bedrooms and wells. Even Keiji must know the stories of the beasts which roam the desert sands. Such tales, such terrors, that even Keiji as a scorpion would bear nothing but the weight of dust to the shoulders of such demons.
"In nature, ones home is either protected or abandoned. There is not much in this land that will kick me out of my home. I did come across a SandShark once that might but I do not see it being a huge fan of a cavern like these." Keiji then movd more towards the center room. "I am sure there are other Shippodoku Dens. I doubt any of them have been extensive like this. It is rare to see our blood line trait, so it means having men do the work through manual labor."
Kazeodori smiles as he listens to the Chuunin, interested in what his teacher has to say. His interest in the cavern, however, has certainly waned (for it is, after all, only so big). The young boy takes the torch, and with one last cursory glance around, heads up the incline towards the exit of the cavern. The closer the boy gets, the more he can hear the grind and wail of the sandstorm. With a tentative look, he crests the top of the entrance, and sees - in just a minute of distance beyond - the blinding fury of the approaching sandstorm. Too swiftly, Kazeodori is ready to duck back into the cavern, but were it not for a glimpse taken, and within it seen the specter of some… thing. The boy peers into the approaching sand, his hair whipping wildly around his face, and, with his hand clutched over his eyes, surely sees something… something within the storm.