Date: January 22, 2013
Tsiro administers a test of Ishino's tailing abilities.
Hidden Mist Village
There is no knock on Ishino's door. There was only a folded up letter that had been slid under the crack at the bottom of the door. It was sealed with a red wax mark. It had been left there some time earlier. It was not something Ishino had to read right away, but it was fairly time sensative. The message on the inside went something like…
This is your first assignment. At the pub on the east side of the Mist Village is a villager from Fort Kyuusen. The man is actually a paid shinobi looking to make a drop delivery to a corrupt Mist Nin. You are to locate and identify the villager. Then you are to track him to the drop site without being detected. Find the identity of the shinobi traitor.
Then after that the message was simply blank. It contained no more directions or any way to contact anyone once the mission had been finished.
Ishino was fast to find it after it was dropped off. It was that sense of something pending, that had him check the door. Note found and read, he'd ponder it for a moment. Interesting. Glancing over he'd quickly grab his stuff, Time Keeper put back together and sealed into the watch, Ishino was off across the village for the pub. After making his way there, he'd casually make his way for the bar, a glass of sake ordered as the subtle scanning of the interior seeking a person who stood out would be done. A villager meant they wouldn't have a symbol on them, but even then, there are certain noted differences in dress between locales, he should be able to pick out something.
Tsiro had actually arrived at the bar a slight bit earlier. He was henged as the villager. His attire consisted more of leather than anything else. It was pretty obvious that he was no local fisherman. He could have easily passed for an iron smith or perhaps a rugged tailor. His face seems to be that of a man that would blend in with a crowd. While he seems a little young not enough to actually draw attention.
Tsiro's eyes fall on Ishino momentarily as he arrives. He makes note how the shinobi moves to the bar and orders a drink. Before Ishino turns around, Tsiro casts his eyes off to the right into a metal shield hanging off the wall. It allowed him to see Ishino without making an obvious line of sight. Tsiro then notices the scanning of the establishment. While it was not uncommon to see a shinobi scan an establishment for a friend, a girl or even a target, there were a few other ways Tsiro might have done that differently. The boy made a mental note to speak to Ishino on that. Not that he had done wrong, but for improvement.
Tsiro, henged as the one who stuck out, was indeed noted. Not that Ishino's eyes stopped on him at all. It was a use of periferal vision that helped him track the one in leather. Finally getting his drink, he'd nod to the tender before walking over to an empty table, looking for all things to be what he had been scanning for to start with. Settled there, he too used a secondary object to keep track of the one in leather. It was an interesting note that the man seemed so intent on that shield. Had he been spotted early? Possible. Either way, he belonged, where the other did not and there was nothing saying he was the focus of that obscured attention. Quietly, with a simple ceremony, Ishino would drink from that glass, waiting in patience for the target to move. The start of the game was there. Ishino didn't actually drink any of the sake, just so there was no chance of him losing any edge he might have in the mental department.
Still henged as the villager from the neutral zone, Tsiro finished off his drink and then decided to leave the establishment. He passed by Ishino at the bar before walking out the door. He moved down the street a bit before stopping and glancing around. It was not a look like he knew he was being followed, but more of one taking in the surroundings. This test was not about the target not knowing they were being followed, but about not being overly obvious in following a target. After a few more moments, the henged villager begins to move once more. This time he moves to the edge of town. Anyone who had been around this area knew there was a forest off in the distance.
Ishino himself might be given away if he was too close to that target. That however, did not mean that he could not use other means to track the man. While within town, Ishino would give a good distance on his trailing, merging with the fellow walkers of the street, generally doing his level best to be unobtrusive while keeping tabs on the man. After he started for the edge of town, a spot that had some loose dirt, instead of cobblestone was used to summon Time Keeper and put him underground. While Ishino might be noted, it'd be a lot more difficult to realize that the puppet was there. Still casual, keeping Time Keeper on target with the man, he'd even let him get out of sight, that hidden puppet was useful in keeping tabs on what was going on.
While Ishino could have used a few lessons on blending in, even Tsiro had not fully been aware of the puppet under him. He knew Ishino was smart enough to use the puppet when tailing someone, but he had no idea all of the abilities of the doll. So the henged villager keeps walking, this time he waits until he is out on a forest trail to stop and glance around. This time there were no people to blend in with. Only trees waving around in the wind as it blew. This time would be even more difficult for Ishino to hide.
Of course as soon as they got to that tree line, Ishino would vanish into the canopy above. He'd purposely keep out of sight, not even trying to keep eyes on the guy until they got to where a meeting point was at. Keeping very careful control of his sounds, he'd listen for voices to know the drop was going on. Otherwise, it was a matter of hide and wait. The puppet continue it's own stealth movement, keeping out of sight below the villager, a perfect marker for Ishino to know exactly where the man was and how far back he had to be to avoid that detection.
The sound of the stress on the branches could barely be heard by Tsiro. This was something a villager might not hear, but a shinobi would. Now Tsiro had a decision to make. There were two reasons a person could fail a test like this. The first was that their body was not in the proper shape to do what their mind wished to accomplish. The other was that their mind was not intelligent enough to command the body in a suitable manner. The latter was the more difficult to solve of the two. This however did not seem like an intelligence issue.
Tsiro decides to ignore it for now. He continues on down the forest path until it came to a fork in the road. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out an evelope. He dropped it behind the direction sign. Then he turned around once more and began walking away down the path, not the same one he arrived on.
Ishino would take up a post within sight but hopefully hidden of the drop off location. He wasn't sure if he had been heard or not, obviously the 'villager' didn't seem to notice. However, the puppet would continue to track the villager to the extent of his range. The main goal now seemed in sight, but there was no reason to not be sure. Once again that patience was used. Gathering information was everything in a game like this and if the person HAD figured him out, it could just be bait. Good thing he had the puppet to keep tabs, right?
Tsiro continued to walk down the path, although something seemed odd. There was something moving. It was not behind him, above him or to either side. It was beneath him… 'Very clever.' the young Jounin thought to himself. While Ishino's body required some more work in the stealth arts, the puppet had done rather well. Even a normal shinobi might not have seen that one coming. With a shrug of his shoulders, the henged Tsiro once again kept walking. He was actually heading home. Now the true test began for Ishino.
The puppet would follow to the edge of Ishino's ability, then stop. Well, that was as far as he could go without giving up on the drop point. Coming back within the same tunnel created, Time Keeper would pop up out of the ground well away from sight of that drop point. From there, it'd tediously, as only an inanimate object's patience could, replace the ground it dug up out of so there was zero chance of seeing that hole, or even falling into it as the back blast from it digging had filled in the hole. Once settled, it'd return to where Ishino was and wait. Both of them were within that tree, in sight, but hopefully out of sight of the drop point. A blind would be crafted after just a short amount of time, giving Ishino some shelter from the elements, while still keeping out of sight.
Fifteen minutes… half an hour… a full hour. No shinobi had come by. At least none that were obvious. Perhaps the shinobi was running later? Maybe the shinobi had already been there… Either way it was obvious that the villager had left. He was probably back at his hotel.
Time ticked by, as it inadvertently did. That was just how it was for life. Ishino was patient, staying silent within his blind as he'd continue to watch that drop point. He was hoping his decision to stay wasn't the wrong choice, otherwise he would of failed the mission right then and there. But, it was a choice and he'd stick by it. Indeed, he'd probably do the same thing if facing the same scenario again. Some missions were all about the battle. Others.. waiting out the target. Both ways, Ishino would succeed, this was not going to be any different.
One and a half hours, two hours… three hours… There is no sign of anyone or anything.
24 hours from when the villager had dropped the letter off. Ishino knew it down to the second, that was just part of what he did. Shaking his head slowly, he'd do that simple stretch that didn't give him away, but kept him able to move if needed. 24 hours. Obviously something happen.. or he failed. Time Keeper was used to retrieve the note, the puppet not having the same issues as Ishino if needed for hiding. Once he held the envelope, Time Keeper would watch the location again, while Ishino would first check for poisons, traps, that sort of thing. No need to set off an explosive tag accidentally, right? Once he knew it was safe, he'd open the envelope, to try and find out what was dropped off.
The letter read:
As you can tell there is no actual drop. When you have found this, report to the test givers home.
Ishino couldn't help but laugh. All that patience.. for naught. Shaking his head, he'd take apart the blind as carefully as it was put together. No sense wasting resources.. or giving away a spot for someone else to use. That taken care of, Time Keeper was put away and Ishino would head for where he knew Tsiro to be resided at. 24 hours. It was a bit of a stretch, he was a little sore from that long in suspended state, the cat naps he allowed himself making him a little tired too, although none the worse for wear. A simple change of outfit, using one of those scrolls and he looked as proper as always in that suit. There was a polite rap on Tsiro's door as he'd wait, the letter in hand.
When Tsiro would finally hear the knock on his door, he'd open it and nod at Ishino. "While the test was not perfect, you have passed. I will pass the results on. From there you will be trained to standards. Wait until you are contacted once more." Tsiro states he then offers a small bow. After that he closes the door and goes back to what he was doing.