Date: August 16, 2012
Asao comes across Kazeodori engaging in his favorite activity: marbles! Of course, with the history of the two and their competitive natures, a challenge quickly arises.
"Spare Time - Marble Madness"
Intersection Nishikaze - Nanpuu: Sunagakure
Where all those who gather to spend the day, having it linger on with the carelessness of a playful afternoon wind, be there too now the young form of Kazeodori. Tucked amongst the coupled old men sharing games of shogi and bygone days; next to the women taking lunch, away from the monotony of tending shop, their sandwiches and bowls wrapped in waxen paper; and between the cool of the shade of the heat of the day, is the young Genin. He is, currently, kneeled upon the ground, one palm pressing into the earth, the other's thumb tucked, a glistening marble quivering on its crest. The concentration is certainly palpable, one of the youth's eyes tucked shut, the corner of his tonuge poking from a dimple in his lips. Ahead of him lies a spread of other clear stones. Amongst the black and the brown and the green, a large gleaming white marble rests, undisturbed, lording over the other, lesser, unapproaching pieces. And undisturbed it stays, for Kazeodori's latest attempt - the bounce and the clatter and the hope of a young man - vanishes away, bumbling its way beyond the imperious center stone.
Asao would happen to catch the flickering sphere as it danced away from the circle with a light tap of a shoe to stop it's scamper. His head tilted to the side as he'd look at the circle with the other marbles within it, Asao would stoop to scoop up the marble, stepping closer to offer it to Kaze. There was that moment's hesitation, the cloak that was probably new to Kaze which hung about Asao would fold in on itself, revealing the underside to be a mass of clockwork, gears and pulleys, as Asao would kneel by the circle. "I believe this is a game called.. Marbles? I've not actually seen it in action. What would be the object of the situation, Sasaki-san?"
Kazeodori glances up as Asao's foot comes to rest upon his mis-shot marble. Rather, it is not that Kazeodori immediately notices it to be Asao, for the other's cloak - whirring and ticking and strung with the mechanisms of gear - is a startling transfixion for the Genin, his attention draw so swiftly, so eagerly, so timely as clockwork to the internals of the cloak. It is only afterwards, upon finally noticing that it is Asao, that Kazeodori smiles, watching as the other comes over and inquires.
"Oh yes. It is marbles."
The Genin stuffs a hand into his robes, coming forth with a handful of clinking, gleaming stones.
"What you have to do is get these tiny ones as close as possible to the big one. You can hit other people's marbles, or even the big one, but you only win if you're the closest."
The youth smiles - broadly, in tune with the mood and the chatter of the surrounding groups - holding out his handful of marbles before Asao. All of the rounded stones are translucent, glittering ub the fresh morning sun, the marbles a myriad of colors.
"You want to play? You'd probably be pretty good."
Asao would study the marbles intently as Kaze explained how the game worked. He'd give a slow nod, reaching out to take several of the orbs into one hand as the other that he had caught from dancing away was added to the few he collected. "So, closest to the large one wins. Hitting other marbles is ok." Much as the gears known to be in Asao's clock work contraptions, it could almost be seen the calculations going through his head as he studied the ring before them. Another nod was given as his eyes flicked to Kaze. "Alright. May I watch you do another shot first, Sasaki-san? I would like to get a full feel of what's required."
A curving grin curls onto Kazeodori's lips, his head cocking and nodding as he saunters down into the perfect marble-shooting position.
"Not at all…"
The boy tucks most of the marbles back into his robes, holding but a single one atop the divot in his thumb. Again, a single of the youth's eyes closes, his tongue creeping from the corner of his mouth. He lowers himself further towards the ground, like a lion before it pounces upon its prey. With a smooth flick (and follow through, of course), the marble glides through the air, landing upon the ground with a smattering of tinkles, bouncing and leaping and eventually streaming towards the large marble in the center. Cautiously does Kazeodori rise, watching as the shot marble slows itself to with a breath of the big one, not touching it, but pretty darn close.
Up Kazeodori comes, full to his height, beaming, as he turns to Asao.
Kazeodori kneeling down into that position..
The marble is flicked into the ring.
Already the calculations were going through Asao's head, trejectory, speed, friction. The inner workings of the dynamics of the marble colliding with the ground to come rolling to a stop near that central spot of the towering marble all filtered into place.
Kneeling down, Asao would study the lay out of the ring one more time, settling a marble onto that curve of his finger, he'd cock back the thumb as he'd line it up properly. That power and skill of a puppeteer with the subtle neuances of dealing with puppet strings was shown then as the flick of that marble had it skittering into the circle with a backspin. Clicking off of one marble that went rolling off towards Kaze, it'd ride back on that spin, clicking into place beside the goal marble with another hit off of the one Kazeodori had just shot, one last curl of the sphere dancing about, before it became still. Kaze's own target would dance off out of the circle, into Asao's waiting hand, as if he knew exactly where it was going to go. "Interesting game. Could be quite engaging on a larger scale I would think, as well. Do you not agree, Sasaki-san?"
Kazeodori snorts as the outcome of Asao's flick comes leaping back into the puppeteer's own hand.
The boy, however, though normally upset at such displays of calculation and mathematical prowess, is not distraught by the course of events. Rather - with yet another grin (though this one more efficient, more cunning) - the youth is curled back onto the ground, another marble tucked into his thumb.
"Yeah, it probably would be…" begins the lad, staring down the center marble, and the one of Asao's so neatly nearby. "'Cause the terrain is always changing…"
And thus is another marble flung, this one with less loft, and more direct force, the glowing globe winding through the canals of dirt and dust to strike, with such heaviness as but a boy's game allows, the large center marble, driving it away from Asao's perfectly placed shot, and nearer to Kazeodori's previous attempts. For the boy had been playing much before the other arrived. Again, does the Genin rise, smiling a triumphant smile, though one which certainly bears a tinge of possible oncoming regret.
"This is why marbles is so fun. Like life, it's always keeping on."
Watching the shot from Kazeodori, Asao couldn't help but chuckle softly. "Indeed. Afterall, when you might get close to the goal, it's then moved and you must work again to get back close to it.." Another marble settled into that crook of the finger as Asao leaned in, he'd study the set up for a moment before a small nod was given. Flick goes the thumb as the marble bounces into play with that spin on it. The first richochet is off of one of Kaze's previous attempts, bounding the shot that Asao does into the main sphere himself. This in turn has it with a calculated move that looks almost like it was being held, roll back towards Asao's original shot, coming to a stop just short of it's previous position. Obviously the coefficent of friction in Asao's calculation wasn't high enough. The marble that Asao had shot, rolled on, curling in the dirt as the spin over-wrote the forward trajectory to have it come spinning to a stop on the other side of the goal marble. Straightening up from his shot, Asao would give a small nod. "Of course, being able to define your own goals, does indeed help the process."
Kazeodori can't help but leak a small smile along his lips, the pink of his mouth settling itself into a curl as he watches Asao's marble coil behind the target. Though the youth doesn't let on, amongst his stalwart facade, he holds a deep revere for Asao — and for all who are a part of his team. The sailing isn't always smooth, but everyone is on the boat together, and no matter what may come - rough seas or sharks or matchsticks of lightning - those are the people who are going to be by your side when terrible strikes. Thus, again, Kazeodori can't help but grin as the aphorisms of Asao pour into his ear like warm honey into a cup of tea, to be so smoothly stirred together.
The Genin kneels upon the ground once more, pulling another marble from inside his robes.
"So what are your goals, Asao?"
Once more, Kazeodori's tongue plucks from the side of his lips, his eye tightening shut, and away the marble rolls. The shot is close, but just too short of how close Asao's marble rests.
Interesting thought that. Asao would muse for a moment, the second to last marble he held palmed. "Short term goals are to grow in capability so that our team can become something akin to Team 1. I think we have the potential between the three of us, although a third would be appreciated." Asao would shake his head slightly, studying the marbles for a moment. That sphere was settled into the crook of his finger once again as it'd be flicked to stand among the rest. Once more Asao did an attack first, bouncing one of the other marbles of Kaze's out of the circle, to cause that rebound to settle on the opposite side of the goal marble from where Kaze's last shot had stopped at. "Long term.. I plan to develop my clock work capability to rival Kara-sama. It will be a full clock work masterpiece that will be hard for anyone to face against from it's capabilities. I will also refine my own abilities to control such a creation.. easily going to take 10 different systems working together." Asao straighten up as his shot completed. "I'll make my puppets strong enough, that we don't have to worry about dying within a combat situation. The living shall be safe as the clock work removes the threats."
The Genin watches as another of Asao's shots clicks through his own marbles, winding up again near the white target marble. The boy, however, finds himself unattached from the game once Asao begins explicating his goals. A twitch lifts his eyebrow up his forehead, his head turning to the side, as he considers Asao. Myriad questions evolve from the other's explanation of how he wishes to manage his life as a shinobi, but they are all overshadowed by the initial question, the first inquiry, which beat so hard at the boy's mind, that it is the only thing out of his mouth once Asao concludes.
"Who're Team 1?"
Surely, the lad has heard of the remarkable Team 01 of Sungakure, but - perhaps as with much of his knowledge - it is spun around an empty identifier; that though the boy may know, he cannot place the knowledge. Thus, he does stand there still, curious as to why his own team would be so wanting to be like another.
Asao chuckled slightly, a shake of his head given. "A previous team of Suna. They were once responible for saving the entire village from doom. They also assisted with stopping assaults from Kirigakure." Asao would shake his head slightly. "It's a personal goal, of course. I would like to be strong enough to assist with protecting the village, no matter the level of threat, hai?" Looking at the marbles, he'd motion. "I have one last shot, if you wish to take yours, Sasaki-san."
"Oh! Right!" the boy concludes, perhaps in reaction to the information, perhaps it the recognition of his turn at marbles — perhaps both. Whatever the case, the Kazeodori shuffles to his hands and knees, and - with the expectant tuck of tongue and squinch of eye - looses his final marble, the glass stone rolling and jiving into the circle, coming to tap ever-so-lightly upon the large white marble, knocking it just that much closer to Asao's other shot.
"Shoot," curses the boy, standing again.
"Well, I guess you win."
The Genin grins, looking towards Asao, appreciative perhaps just a bit more so of the Chuunin now that his philanthropic hand has been revealed. Suddenly, over the top of the murmur of lunch-time conversation, comes the sound, deep tone of calling.
"Kazeooooooooo! Lunch tiiiiiime!"
The Genin looks up, stares around a moment, and finds - in the distance - the waving hand of a matronly woman.
"Oh, dang!" exclaims the youth as he clambers to snatch up his marbles. With the flash of a smile, the youth pops in front of Asao, swiping with dextrous fingers the last marble from the other's grasp.
"See ya' later!"
And away the youth scrambles, heading - so it would seem - to grub. With no hesitation, mind you.