The Great Todoroki Shrine Race


Shuuren, Hanami, Shemri, Imire, Matsuri, Momomo, Reikoku

Date: May 12, 2016


The Great Todoroki Shrine Race is run!

"The Great Todoroki Shrine Race"

Tea Country, Beginning at Degarashi Port and ending at the Great Todoroki Shrine

After a week of festivities, the time has finally come for the Great Todoroki Shrine Race! As the sun makes its ascent into the sky for a beautiful day, hundreds have gathered at Degarashi Port to witness the spectacle. The vendors in the area and those visiting are having quite a nice day already, as those gathered have bought things from breakfast food to drinks and snacks already to get their bellies full so they don't miss the action. Excited spectators stand all around to watch the beginning of the trek. Of course, they'll have to catch a ship to the final island to catch the end of the race while only some will get to see the middle.
Dozens of runners stand at the starting line, some shinobi and some civilian, and the Uzumaki hired to maintain the integrity of the race have already begin their jutsu. Of course, a lot of the civilians are sure they don't stand much chance against shinobi, but the promise that no jutsu can be used says they at least have SOMETHING of a chance, at least better than they normally would.
Standing to the side of the gate in front of the dock, the Daimyo of the land who has put this together, Nagamura Shuuren looks out at the crowd with a smile. This celebration may not seem much to some, but to him it's a sign that the different countries and villages in fact can coexist for a reason other than war. It will take some time for that to be truly proven, but it's an endeavor he is willing to strive for long-term.
The Daimyo glances up at the sky then down at a pocket watch he pulls from his coat pocket before looking over to a brown-haired, kimono-clad woman that stands on the other side of the gate. She nods to him then turns to call out, "All runners, if you have not already come to the starting point, please do so now. The race will start in three minutes." With that duty done, she moves into the crowd to take care of other things while Shuuren simply waits for the time for him to signal the beginning of the race.

Hanami rocks on her heels a bit nervously. She wasn't really sure how she was going to fair here, admittedly her speed relied more on jutsus but hopefully this would still be a good opportunity. It had been an interesting week with the festival to peruse. She had bought a few goodies and such, but mostly just enjoyed some fun. It was also nice to get away from the village since she had been basically twiddling her thumbs again. Left her a bit irritated, so blowing off some steam with this race would be great, regardless of the outcome.
So right now she was standing, idling warming up though she had already done that earlier but while she waiting for things to kick off… Right now she was sporting a simpler outfit, just a light blue tank top and dark purple running pants and shoes of course but sleek and simple for running.

Who can outrun a CAT? >) …Okay, so cats are well known to be better sprinters than distance runners, and the race will be something of a marathon. Shemri's not actually a cat, she's just from a clan that raises and partners with cats and takes on many of their attributes, at least compared to other humans. But she's still a human, and she's got pretty good stamina! So the cat analogy only applies insofar as it's good for her chances, right!? …Okay fine, forget the cat thing. :P
Shemri takes her place at the starting line. Her ninja gear, armored vest, and even her ubiquitous sash have all been left with her family on the sidelines; all she should need in this event is speed, right? So lugging around extra weight would be a poor strategic choice. Shemri does a few last limbering exercises as she awaits the starting signal.

Imire wasn't dressed in his usual body guarding attire today. He was dressed in a more breathable outfit that also allowed for as little wind resistance as possible. It was one of his favored outfits in his wardrobe when he was doing his speed training. The teen had gotten permission from Shuuren to run the race, too, because … Uhh … Well, a bodyguard was supposed to be guarding, but … Well … He really wanted to run >.<;; Imire hopped up on down in his spot, wondering what his competition would be like.

She has come to observe, not to run. Her health isn't the greatest, and she does a better job balancing books and making travellers feel welcome at her inn than trying to outrun them. But Matsuri also has another reason for being here. She is always on the look-out for orphans. Children in need of care, and who have no one to provide it. She has her purple eyes set on searching the crowd as much as watching the race. She even bought loads of food and drinks incase she sees any street urchins begging for hand-outs or trying to pick-pocket attendees. And of course, she retains an awareness of her own immediate surroundings as well.
The pale woman in her dark kimono has no problem enjoying the festivities. But knowing what so many go through on a daily basis while others have fun breaks her heart. And that hinders just how much fun she can have. Of course, if she can, she'd like to get a chance to speak to the Daimyou about establishing an orphanage in the Land of Tea specifically to address this sort of thing… But for now, she does not try to move towards him or do anything else suspicious. The race is to begin soon. Perhaps there will be time afterwards.

Fuma Momomo is attending the race at the instruction of her sensei, Himeko-hime. She remembered it like it was yesterday…
"Aah! There is to be a race of great importance here in the Land of Tea! I have contemplated attending, but I do not know if I am good enough…" Momomo had remarked while holding her chin and turning away in the darkness.
Suddenly, a spot light shone down and Himeko appeared! "Fuma Momomo! Believe in yourself! You have trained hard under my watchful gaze and become a true Fuma ninja! Now is the time to take the next step in your training, by pitting yourself against the greatest talents and racers the world has to offer! Bring prestige to the Fuma Clan!"
Momomo dropped to her knees, eyes sparkling, and clasped her hands together before her princess. "Himeko-hime! Are you really sure about this? What if I disgrace the Fuma? What if I—"
Himeko had slapped her across the face dramatically! "You fool! Don't believe in yourself! Believe in the me who believes in you! Yours are the running shoes that will pierce the heavens!"
"Himeko-hime! Should I attend the race?" Momomo had asked as she tugged on her cat-ear cap tight, and laced up her 'magical girl ninja-chan' outfit in back, and then tried to put on her boots while standing and wound up falling over.
"Whatever," Himeko had replied while lounging on some cushions and drinking heavily.
Yes, just like it was yesterday… But that sophisticated reply, even if simple in appearance, held deep meaning that Momomo is sure translated to something inspiring!
Now she moves to stand with the others at the starting line, ready to run and prove herelf! She is sure that somewhere in the crowd Himeko is watching over her from above! She starts scanning for her even so, but it's a big crowd so it's okay if she doesn't see her right away! Because she has to be here somewhere! …Right? Right!
RP: Momomo joins the roleplay.
«SUIT» Shuuren says, "That's the pride of Tea Country right there."
«WHOOSH» Hanami breezes, "Must be proud."
Also approaching the starting line is a figure in a black long coat, with a hood pulled up over her head. She is distinctly female based on silhouette, but aside from that, not much else is discernible about her. Not allegiance or ethnicity or age or skill. She simply walks up and stands with the others silently. Who is she and what is her purpose here? Well, clearly it's to run a race. But the other question remains unanswered, as she remains in her position between Shemri and Imire. She doesn't appear to be interested in seeing who the other races are, or checking what kind of competition she is up against.
Well, it's not like random hooded strangers are going to be anything special compared with all these more obvious ninja, or skillful villagers, right?

Once he's satisfied that all that all the runners are in place, Shuuren gives them all a quick lookover. He eyes Imire for a moment, giving him a nod of reassurance to let him know that his leader believes he can do well in this. It may not be much, but perhaps that will help boost the boy's confidence and let him focus. He then eyes the others, which include wandering shinobi, people from this country, and even shinobi from Hidden Villages… and one whose cloaked her identity. He's a bit curious about that, but there's no use pressing that at a time like this. The race should be quite an interesting spectacle with this much diversity.
With his account of the participants taken, the Daimyo gracefully steps over into the center of the gate, his fluidity such that his cloak doesn't seem to stir at all. As he arrives, he turns to face the runners and the crowd with a smile. "Thank you all for coming, and welcome to the Land of Tea. It is a pleasure and an honor to have so many from so many different lands gathered in this place together in celebration. To the runners, you have our sincerest support. Give it all you have, but do remember it will take both mental and physical acuity to win.
He gives that a moment to set in before he steps to the side of the gate and lifts his hand for the signal. "Ready…." He takes his time with the cadence, giving it the precise amount of time he feels it would take to build the right kind of tension to get everyone pumped up for the race, runner and spectator alike. "Set…" With the final cadence, he drops his hand and calls out, "GO!"

Hanami glances around at the other runners, mildly curious though really it doesn't matter much she guesses. Instead she just tries focusing on the race ahead, getting ready. This wasn't some quick dash so when Shuuren yells go she takes off quickly but not pushing herself right at the beginning.

Shemri takes off at a moderate clip. No sense in tiring herself out too early, she's experienced with cross-country movement from her training as a huntress. Interesting how much one comes to rely on chakra without even realizing it, though. Shemri has to keep stifling the reflex to pour a little extra juice into her muscles. :/

'Ready!' Boy was he. Imire would hop up and down a few more times as he prepped himself. 'Set…' The teen would take a breath and get into a starting stance, his left foot in front and his right foot in back with his torso facing the path before him. Green eyes focused on the far off goal, and he awaited the signal to start running. 'Go!' And Imire would take off, trying to get a head start before he would work on maintaining the position he gained. Gotta save energy for the final length, after all…

Matsuri sets her food in her lap as she finds a place to seat herself, and claps for the start of the race. So exciting! For the time being, that is all she can really contribute. As people are already taking off running, soon she expects they'll get to witness not just running speed but also fears of agility and manual dexterity as the ships are prepared to set sail! Of course, she might not be able to watch anymore once they're out of view… But maybe someone set up a jusu or a big screen tv to show the rest of the race.

Momomo notices Hanami looking around at the other runners, and gives her a thumbsup and a big smile. "I'm rooting for you to come in second place!" she calls out cheerfully. She then turns to Shemri and gives her a thumbsup too and says, "I'm rooting for you to come in third place!" Then she turns to Imire and gives him a thumbsup as well and says, "I'm rooting for you to come in eight place!" What's with that sudden jump!?
Turns out she's too busy distracted rooting for other people to be prepared for the race's start until she suddenly hears, 'Ready' being called out after a speech she completely missed. "Eh?" Then 'Set…'
"Wah wah wah wait! I haven't done my warm ups yet!" Momomo panics frantically as she starts stretching and doing flips and all the rest as fast as she can. Then… "GOOOOOOO!" she yells out right after Shuuren does, and takes off running towards the docks with her eyes closed.
If she can't see how far behind she is, then it won't impact her morale!

Lowering herself a bit in preparation to run, the hooded stranger gazes ahead towards her objective. The meaning of the race isn't that important to her. Any deep spiritual significance, any friendly competition, any economic boon, it doesn't look like she's focused on that at all. However, unlike Momomo, she was at least listening. And so when the yell to 'go' is called out, she takes off running, her arms out behind her at her sides like the ninja she is. She's a bit ahead of Shemri and barely behind Imire. But at this point in the race, jockeying for a position is fairly pointless. Though given it appears at least part of it will be spent on a ship rather than running, getting an early headstart can only be beneficial.

At this point, Shuuren's job basically comes down to smiling and observing the race with the guests of his country and those from it. Being a diplomat doesn't have many easy days, but this one's not too difficult other than the sheer volume of people he must pay attention to that are here to enjoy the race. Still, it's what he enjoys doing and this is a great thing for Tea Country, so that makes it a good day.
Observing the runners as they take off, he takes note of the form and strategy each one takes. Most seem to have the idea to not take this first stretch too quickly, which is a good thought… so long as they all wind up able to handle the task of keeping their ship ahead of the others. The Daimyo watches silently for now, enjoying being able to spectate with the rest of the crowd. Perhaps one of the bigger surprises would be that the always-nervous Imire seems to have taken the lead early, though there are a couple that are not far behind him at all.

Hanami watches others pass her by, not really surprised. She keeps her head straight, pumping her legs. But it's pretty clear, pretty quickly that the others are pulling even more ahead. Soon most of them are out of sight as she makes her way through the streets toward the dock. She bites her lip, but all she can do is keep going.

Shemri manages to pull up and catch the lead runner. So much for third place…of course, this is the guy that odd girl predicted would be in eighth place. Sharp *taktaktaktak*s turn into *TOKTOKTOKTOK*s as the runners hit the wooden docks and sprint for their respective ships.

Eight?! What kind of encouragement is that?! Imire just grit his teeth when that comment flew by on the wind, keeping his pace steady. He was a bit slower now, but he was determined to hold out until he got his boat. From there, it would hopefully just be smooth sailing. *THMP* His feet touched on the docks, now, which meant he was not far from the end of the first stretch. He couldn't slow down… Nope. Gotta keep going! The teen was at least in good shape because he was supposed to be Shuuren's body guard. He was the worst at body guarding, yes, but he was definitely not the worst at running! Just don't look back.

Momomo is in the same boat as Hanami (figuratively speaking, because she hasn't even reached the docks yet)! While not in POOR shape by any means, she is not the best trained here. But she has a secret weapon! As she opens her eyes and looks around and sees her position in the race, she redoubles her efforts, and yells out, "FIGHTING SPIIRIIIIIIT!"
The louder you yell it, the more effective it is!

The hooded woman actually takes a moment to look behind her when she years the yelling. And for a moment she considers dropping some makibishi to slow them down. But if she's going to cheat, which she hasn't decided she's actually willing to do, especially given her lack of investment in the outcome, it isn't going to be where the Daimyou could potentially see her. She may not know all about him, but she doesn't want to underestimate what he's capable of. Most Daimyou are useless fops with no skill. But then there's the ones that aren't. Or the ones who have those alongside them who are truly skilled.
So for now, she seemingly caves in to the 'fighting spirit' of the others and focuses instead on making it to her ship. She has already reached the docks, and only has a couple people ahead of her. That should be good enough for this part of the race.

This is quite interesting. So far Imire and Shemri are tied for the lead with Reikoku just a couple paces behind them. Those three have all reached the docks while Hanami and Imire are at bit behind still and the civilians are further behind them. The civilians aren't likely to ever catch up with the experienced shinobi, but it's at least fun for them to try.
Shuuren watches curiously, quite invested, especially since one of his own is one of the two leading. It shouldn't be long before the lead three reach their ships and can head off toward the island.

Hanami keeps running through the streets, not really feeling like much progress is being made but eventually she sees the docks ahead after a turn and her ears fill with the thumping of her feet on the well trod wood. Dammit she had to do better than this, practically everyone else was already at their ship!

Shemri increases her lead a bit as she vaults over the side of her ship. She gives a curt nod to her skipper, who points her at the furled sails. Well, that's easily dealt with, right? Shemri leaps against the mast and — whoops, no chakra, right! c.c; Shemri quickly latches onto the match with simple arm strength. >.<; Once she's steadied, she climbs up and starts freeing the sails.

Imire doesn't pay much mind to his competition. The teen just focused on leaping into his ship and … wait, what next? He gives the man there a confused look, upon which he's directed in short order. Okay! Got it, get it, done! Imire shortly starts working on getting the sails untied, working quickly but slagging just a bit because of a sort of lack of stamina…

The Fuma girl wheezes a bit thanks to using up so much air with yelling while running. It seems that Hanami girl is ahead of her! Momomo yells out, "I was rooting for you to come in second! You can not be second if you are ahead of me! Don't you know there are… *wheeze* Like… *Cough* …Rules or something!? To this… Thing…!? Of… Conduct… Or… whatever…!" Maybe she should focus less on talking and more on running. But she hasn't finished her magical girl training yet. Can she really compete with a veteran magical girl like Bishoujo Senshi Creamy Hanami!?
At least the docks are in sight now and she's approaching them! Perhaps if she had a feline familiar to run alongside her and encourage her she'd do better. She'll have to ask Himeko for a familiar when this is all over.

Reikoku reaches her ship, and hops aboard, taking in the vessel, where its lines are, and glancing to the ship's captain to see if he or she looked competent. Then she starts on the sails, while keeping an awareness of where the others are at in their own progress. She apparently feels she can spare the attention. It's almost like she has a goal other than winning the race by being here. HMMMM.

Now things are heating up a bit. It seems the cat lady has taken the lead in reaching the ship and getting the most work done toward preparing it for takeoff. Imire's just a bit behind her. The cloaked woman seems to have fallen a bit behind with her musing to herself, but she has at least reached her ship. With a bit of luck she can catch up to the other two more fully once more between islands.
Watching the spectacle with interest, Shuuren eyes the excitable girl who, while showing great spirit, has fallen behind a bit. It'll be interesting to see if she keeps that spirit up on the way over to the island. There is a lot of ground and sea left to cover on this trek, after all, and the hardest parts are yet to come.

Hanami looks about, spotting the ship she's suppose to use she tries to put on some speed. She races up the gangplank and onto the ship, but here she's really at a loss. Thankfully there's someone on hand to instruct her on what exactly she needs to do to release the sails and get things going. The couple times she had been on a ship she wasn't paying particular attention to how it was run. But now she was climbing the mast and trying to keep herself moving while getting the ship ready. The others were already getting out to sea, she had a long of ground to cover.

Definitely no downside to the cat comparison for this task, right? Oh wait, cats don't like being out on the ocean. e.e; Or do they really mind it so much? Ships often have cats for hunting vermin, right? So they must be trainable to tolerate it at least…well, stuff it, we'll use the comparison anyway. SHEMRI CRAWLS THE YARDARM WITH CAT-LIKE GRACE and quickly unfurls the sails. And they're off! :D

"Go go go!!" Imire shouts, glad that he finally managed to get everything set up. He was only a second behind Shemri, after all. A second was far too long, though. He would probably just go ahead and swim himself if he knew he wouldn't drown. The teen just tugged the sails down and hoped they caught the wind >.<;

Momomo pushes herself onwards, encouraged by the mental image of Himeko floating in the sky surrounded by stars, and turning to her and giving her a thumbsup while laughing. 'Of course, I'll get you two cats! I'll get you as many as you like! Nothing is too good for my precious pupil!'
Momomo makes it to the docks, and avoids being discouraged by the knowledge that even if there's people ahead of her, there's way more behind her and they can go suck on a straw!
"Quick! Explain how ships work!" she yells to the captain as she leaps aboard. "Do I need a cat!?"

Indeed, it seems most of the delays on the hooded woman's end is due to her paying attention to the others, measuring them in a way… But even so, she gets her own ship underway and now it's just up to the captain to get it to its destination. They aren't quite out of sight yet, so if there's to be any shenanigans, they can't happen here. But again, it isn't necessarily winning that is her objective…
Any dirty play in this race…
Will be to test the capabilities of those who seem the most interesting. She looks back towards the docks, seeing the last two of the qualified ninja getting aboard and working on getting underway as well. They aren't out of the race yet. They might still surprise her.

With a few of them on ships and heading out and the last couple at the docks, things have at last progressed to the ocean. Now time to move things along. Turning around to face the crowd, Shuuren says, "Those who have passes for the ships headed to the finish line, make your way to the ships at your leisure, but be sure you're on board before your departure time. The ships must make the schedule, else a lot of people could miss the end of the race. Binoculars will be provided to you on the ship so that you can view the race while the ship is in motion." With that he himself turns to walk to one of the other docks to board one of the ships headed to the docks at the Great Todoroki Shrine.

Hanami gets the last ropes tied and sail unfurled at last. Annoying ropes, climbing, argh. She takes a moment to pause here, though she knows it wont be that easy since she's suppose to help get this ship to continue moving but at least they're starting to head out to sea, unmoored from the docks.

Shemri hops down to the front of her ship and lets the sea breeze sweep through her hair. Okay, yeah, she can see why some people would find this appealing. :) "Oi, stop spacin' out if you want to win, there's plenty more t'do!" Shemri blinks and looks back, then hurries to follow the directions of her skipper. Maybe she should've worn her sash after all, some extra hands could've been useful here.
"Dang it wind, why can't you catch the sails?!?!" Imire whines at no one in particular. Well, he whined at the sails, but that's totally natural. He keeps fiddling with them, of course, which might be why he isn't really going as fast. 'If you quit wobbling them, you might actually make some progress,' says a voice in the back of his mind that is promptly squished.

Momomo is on the ship and trying to follow directions as given to her. "Are you sure? Really? A cat wouldn't help? I can go get one! It's no problem! Okay, okay, I'm paying attention!" She frowns as she fumbles with the knots and tries to get the ship out of here.
"I'm rooting for you to come in two-hundredth," she mutters about the captain as she does so, without considering the implications of him being that far behind and what impact that would have on HER success.

Again, the hooded woman is focused more on the others than what she is doing, but she handles the sails fairly well… She's still in the running for now. There isn't much to do other than guide the ship and wait. This isn't the part where she has to be super fast.

While the participants diligently run the race, the spectators get to take it easy for now other than just making sure they board their ships on time. On the largest of the ships, Shuuren has made his way below deck to head into one of the cabins. He probably has ways to keep tabs on the race, but for now he will simply rest on the way to the shrine.

Hanami does her best to keep things going on the ship. Running around, which is a little trickier when the ship is rocking but at least she isn't prone to sea sickness and has been on boats before! Tightening sails here, loosening here. She tries to just take direction from the captain and other sailors as she looks around her at the vast ocean to try and catch sight of any of the others.

Shemri works tirelessly to keep her boat moving at maximum speed. Tirelessly, but not always flawlessly. "Lash the triangle sail to the bow!" the skipper calls out. Shemri blinks and furrows her brow at the command, then thwacks the triangular cloth with a rope before giving a bow. "Wha — no! Tie the sail to the FRONT OF THE SHIP!" >.<; "Oh…why did you not say so?" :P

Shouting at the sail seems to have the opposite effect of what Imire's desire is. Le Sigh! Imire just sighs and sits down, wondering if perhaps Shemri could give him some boating lessons once this was all done. Maybe he'd do a bit better once he was back on land? That'd be nice T_T Just gotta hope at this point.

The ship is moving! The ship is moving! Momomo jumps up and down excitedly! "HERE WE COME! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! Why isn't this thing moving faster?" She frowns and looks over the side of the ship, and then around at the others so far ahead of her. Is this thing broken!?

As Shuuren relocates to a big ship to keep up with the racers, Matsuri gets up, putting all her food in a basket, and heading towards it. This is a good opportunity to speak to the Daimyou. Of course, she'll have to get permission to board, and to see him. But who would turn away such a clearly non-threatening woman?

While Shuuren's not physically keeping an eye on the race right now, once in a while someone comes in to give him a message. Should Matsuri approach the the guards to seek permission to approach, the guards at the door to his cabin would look in to check with him. Upon receiving the okay from the Daimyo, they would step aside to allow her inside.

Hanami does what she can to keep things going on the ship. It's definitely hard work, and out of her expertise so she's not surprised at her progress. Well she is getting somewhere, she assumes. Lot of water, lots.

Shemri keeps at it, slowly getting more of a hang on this boating lingo, and also slowly getting more tired. "We need to turn fifteen degrees to port!" "I thought we were already headed toward the port on the other island?" c.c
sailing his boat like the master boats man he is. Wait, he's a - yeah, no. But he's doing his best. The teen certainly is doing better now that he's stopped wiggling the control for the sails. Makes it easier for the wind to hold or something like that… Maybe. Possibly.

Shemri keeps at it, slowly getting more of a hang on this boating lingo, and also slowly getting more tired. "We need to turn fifteen degrees to port!" "I thought we were already headed toward the port on the island?" c.c "Just — LEFT!" Finally Shemri's boat noses into place and she hops out, ready to continue the race.

Momomo realizes she is super far behind, and she isn't allowed to use any jutsu! …Not that she has any to use! What's she going to do? Throw shuriken at the sail? Even she realizes that would be dumb. So instead, she climbs up the mast and starts… Blowing into the sail!
…She's blowing REALLY hard, okay!
Even though that's not how sails work at all.

Halfway there, and some have already made it ashore. The mystery stranger decides it's time to stop observing. Otherwise she's not going to be in the same vicinity as those in the lead, and thus unable to observe them in turn. But then there's the two behind her who might serve a purpose still… Decisions, decisions.

Once she is allowed aboard, Matsuri makes her way inside and waits just inside the entrance. "Daimyou." she greets simply, bowing to him. "I am Mitsuhara Matsuri. I wonder if you might have a moment to discuss something relevant to your country's interests? Namely, its future."
As the woman enters, Shuuren stands and bows in return to her. "I am Nagamura Shuuren, though you probably already knew that since you're here," he introduces himself before sitting back down and gesturing for her to take a seat in one of the comfortable spaces in the cabin such as a chair or one of the couches such as the one he's sitting on. "The future is always something I have time to discuss since it's what most of my actions are to benefit… What did you have in mind?… And would you like some tea?" Whatever the answer is, he pulls on a nearby cord, which is likely a signal into another room for someone to bring tea.

Hanami continues working the sails, trying her best to figure out the various ropes and things with guidance from the crew so she doesn't screw things up completely. But it's not doing her any good anyways. Guess she's still moving forward.

Shemri sets off for the final leg of the race. She has a bit of a hard time getting going for some reason, though. Must be getting her land legs back or something. c.c

Apparently blowing really hard works! She can't stop blowing long enough to tell the captain just how useful she's being, but gesticulates wildly in a way that, if he was looking at her, would indicate that she is a genius and has discovered the true meaning of the ocean blue and this secret technique shall revolutionize the age of sail and she WILL become King of the Pirates someday, and neither the Marines nor other Pirate can stop her, because she has BANDAIDS and she can SLEEP OFF SWORD INJURIES and EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AMAZING FROM NOW ON SHE CAN JUST FEEL IT.
Or maybe that's the dizziness as she starts to hyperventilate from all this blowing.

Imire can see the shore! yes! The teen would grin and just keep things steady until 3… 2 … 1 … TOUCH DOWN! As soon as the boat touches the dock, the teen was taking off without a second thought. He had to catch up to Shemri, and people were catching up to him, too!

The top-heavy racer reaches the other harbor and runs down to the docks, quickly making up the difference between between herself and the other two ahead of her. Soon enough, she is dead-even with Imire despite him having the initial lead. If he glances to the side, he may catch sight of certain features, glimpses of the other racer who has thus far been silent. Dark skin. Blonde hair. Certain… Curvature.
And she even turns her head a bit to look at him whether he looks or not. Though her eyes remain hidden beneath her hood and her bangs, so what they look like remains unknown, and soon enough her attention is forwards again.

Matsuri takes a seat and graciously accepts the offer of tea. Once she has it in hand, and Shuuren is seated as well, she begins her pitch. "No nations survives without children. Each generation, and all the growth, potential, and innovations that comes with them, can only come about if there are children to make that possible. However, many children are still without parents, without families, even 14 years after the establishment of the Hidden Villages. And more orphans continue to be made despite the supposed peace the Villages were supposed to bring. Tea is a nation that is not at war with anyone, and is building something special that brings together people of many nations and backgrounds."
Matsuri tilts her head to the side and says, "I think that the children who are cared for now, no matter their circumstances or origins, could offer the Land of Tea long-term longevity, and offer them a future that might have ended prematurely otherwise. And I would thus like to propose the construction of an orphanage."

While Shuuren listens curious to the pitch, a kimono-clad woman with black hair put up in a traditional manner comes in and sets down a tray with a kettle of tea and a pair of glasses on a table nearby. She quickly pours a glass for each of them then bows and makes her way out once more. The Daimyo doesn't pick his glass up yet, however, as he's curious what this pitch is all about, though it doesn't take him long to figure it out.
"So you want me to establish an orphanage in Tea Country to accept children of all nations that may not find a home otherwise," he comments, thinking it over a moment. "That's an excellent idea. I've been helping the youths of Tea Country that were left orphaned, but, if I can help more, I certainly will." He finally picks his glass up then and takes a sip before asking, "What part are you wanting to play in this other than its proposal?"

Shemri jogs along the pathway toward the next waypoint. She'd move a little quicker, but seeing as she has the lead, there's no point in risking burnout…especially since she's a bit more tired than she would've expected from all that work on the boat. >.<; Gotta have respect for people who do that sort of thing without chakra. Hup, two, hup, two…

Hanami frowns, trying to work the sails to get the most out of them. So much water. Water, water, water. Guess she'll come away from this with a little bit of sailing experience…

Imire would hop off the boat and … Fall onto his face. Ow. Okay, not terrible. It's just that the teen isn't used to such small boats. He still had his sea legs on! "Gah!!" He mutters, getting up and wasting the time to dust himself off. How humiliating >.<;; And he was getting beaten by a stupid cat, too! >:(
RP: Reikoku joins the roleplay.

As Imire rushes forward, he couldn't help but … look back. No! He shouldn't! But it was too tempting to do so and see if he needed to push himself. the teen wouldn't actually look behind him, though, as Reikoku (whatever she went by) was just beside him. Oh. Uhh. … How distracting o.o;; The teen's step faltered just a bit upon seeing who he was running against, and he wondered what her actual face (not covered by a hood) looked like. Wait- no. He can't think of that. Just run! Dang it, Imire, this is why he's the worst bodyguard.s

Momomo is a bit over half way! She can't really see the ones who already made it anymore though… They're just specks in the distance, if that. Dizzy from blowing into the sails, the Fuma ninja woozily goes over to the side of the ship and calls out to Hanami, "Oiii… H-heeeeey… D-d-do you see the… Finish line… Anywhere?" Because she's just about finished. If not with the race than with being conscious. She slumps over the size of her sea vessel, waving limply to the other competitor. "Oiii… Oiiii…"

And then a curveball gets thrown Imire's way. The hooded woman speaks to him. "Are you happy with your current line of work?" she asks, apparently having plenty of breath to spare despite still running dead-even with the distractible body guard. "Getting paid enough? Feel safe in your retaining your position? The one you serve is worthy of your protection?" She turns her a little bit again as the path curves. They're both over a third of the way to the shrine. "Would you like to do or have more than you already do? Without changing anything about your life that you like the way it is?"

Matsuri smiles and nods her head. "Yes, that is exactly it. As for my role in all this… I grew up an orphan among other orphans. I have a keen interest in ensuring they get the care and homes they need. While I mostly run a small inn for travelers, I have my share of children living there as well. While I'd like to take on as many as I can, and I view them all as my family, there are space limitations, as well as attention limits. I'd like to provide education if I can, in matters like reading and writing, math and linguistics, history and geography… And someone qualified in Ninjutsu teaching them that as well so that they are able to defend themselves would of course be a great boon."
Matsuri looks at Shuuren as she sees something more about him than just his appearance. Perhaps it's that which drew her to him, and saw him as a worthy candidate for this important role. Or perhaps she can just sense his strong Chakra and realize he was more than just another pompous feudal lord.

Shuuren sips on his tea quietly as Matsuri tells her reasons for wanting him to establish the orphanage. All of it seems grand, and it seems she herself will be helping deliver some of the orphans to the establishment. "This sounds like a wonderful idea," he replies then takes another sip before setting the glass down as he looks at her in return with that same look of trying to judge her character. "Perhaps it'll even distract my city planner from her idea of trying to build a statue of me in the market… Anyway, I'm definitely for creating such an establishment, and I think my country is indeed the best place for it, as I assume you do since you came to me with the idea."

As Hanami continues working on the boat, it's really testing her wits. As is proven when a wrong move with a rope loses her momentum noticably. Well, more sailing then. She kicks the mast before climbing up carefully to peer ahead. Wishful thinking there'd be any sign of land in sight. Back down she goes.

Shemri starts to feel a bit better as she approaches a stone staircase. Hence, she decides to try taking said stairs at MAXIMUM SPEED! After all, the sooner that bit's over with, the sooner she can take it easy again, right? Shemri dashes up the steps triumphantly. On reaching the top, though, she decides maybe that wasn't such a great idea. X) *huff, phew…*

As Hanami continues working on the boat, it's really testing her wits. As is proven when a wrong move with a rope loses her momentum noticably. Well, more sailing then. She kicks the mast before climbing up carefully to peer ahead. Wishful thinking there'd be any sign of land in sight. While up there she thinks she hears something in the distance. Hard to say though. She looks around, catching sight of the other ship near. The only one she can see anyways. Sounds like someone there is trying to say something, but she can't really tell what. Trying to focus, she catches some words, something about the finish line? Not really sure, she yells back the only thing she knows, "No idea!" Not sure if that was the answer the other person was looking for, but best she has. Back down she goes.

Ehhhh????!!!!?!?!? Imire definitely slows upon hearing what this woman is saying. What is she even saying?! The poor teen definitely is the worst bodyguard in the world being so distractible … "I… Uhh … I mean … Hai, everything is fine." He manages to stutter out. "I don't think I can do much more than I already try without screwing more things up though." Like right about now he's letting Reikoku take the lead!!! Wait, how did she start getting ahead?!

Hmm… If the only other person close to her doesn't even know where the finish line is, maybe they aren't close to it after all. In which case… She'll have to try even harder! This is no time to be lying around! She leaps up and grabs a rope and starts pulling on it like a tug of war, with all her feeble noodly-armed teenage girl strength! Then the captain starts yelling at her that she's going to break something or other and is actually slowing them down, so she lets go and the ships starts going faster again, keeping relatively even with Hanami's ship.
Momomo sits down in the floor of the boat and hugs her legs and doesn't touch anything, because apparently it works better that way.

No aspirations? None at all? Reikoku doesn't know if she can take that at face value. He might need time to think about it. And a stranger asking you in the middle of a reason isn't necessarily the prime situation to seriously consider one's future as a body guard. Either way, however, she has enough for now. "I see." she says as she faces forwards, and then adds on, "If you change your mind, come see me after the race." Then she just speeds up suddenly, and is a distance ahead of Imire! Still not at the same spot as Shemri, but apparently this dark-skinned woman can run pretty fast when that's what she's focused on.

Matsuri tilts her head and says, "One of the better choices at least. I certainly wouldn't attempt to establish such a home for the lost in the Land of Water, for example. I think they have made quite enough use of child soldiers for a thousand life times. The other nations aren't much better. They are all focused on war, on profit at the cost of lives. Investing in the future doesn't mean teaching children to kill. It means teaching them how to live."
Matsuri bows to Shuuren slightly, unable to go TOO far forward with spilling her tea given the localized shock absorbers she's been blessed with. But enough to be respectful. "I wasn't certain what your answer would be when I came here. But I'm glad to see that you are as great a man as everyone says, and am very thankful that you have the foresight to understand how important this is."

"Most of the Hidden Villages would be a bit too obsessed with their ulterior motives for it to be what it needs to be," Shuuren says with a nod. He then smirks at her next words, bowing his head lightly in return before taking another sip of his tea. "I'm not sure if I'm great, but I've made a life out of using the means I have to do what others are too selfish or are simply unable to do to create a better future. Whatever legacy that leaves me, I'm satisfied with." Peering out the window, he says, "It seems we're getting close to our destination." He then looks back to her, offering, "You can join my area at the finish line for a good view if you like."

Hanami is ready to just jump overboard at this point, but suddenly a cry comes up from the crow's nest, land! She looks out, and sure enough there's an island. It feels like forever, the other ship is a little ways back now it seems but Hanami is focusing more on the land ahead. Before they're fully docked she waves to the crew, yelling her thanks as she hops the side. Of course, having been out at sea her landing on the dock is well…an awkward stumble, roll, then she back on her feet and charging off the docks onto the trail, getting her land legs back as she jogs. Yes, she's impatient.

Shemri takes a few deep breaths. H'okay…now, just because she's in the lead doesn't mean she shouldn't give a good showing for her village. >) Shemri takes off again, snatching a jewel from the waypoint and heading off across the bridge. She must have caught a favorable breeze or something, because she's burning up the distance with very little fatigue.

And Hanami pulls ahead again, leaving Momomo in the dust! Or, you know, whatever the ocean equivalent of dust is. Salt? Yes, she has been left in the salt, and this is the most important thing to be thinking about right now, clearly! But she hops up when she sees she too is nearly to the docks… "ISOGI BEFORE I'S SOGGY!" she yells at the captain, causing him to stop and look at her in confusion.

Reikoku is catching up with Shemri gradually… Or not actually, because it appears Shemri is actually really fast and determined to win. But she is at least making progress. She's running up a huge flight of stairs, heading for the shrine at the top, where some kind of jewel awaits her. She's about half way up them, and thankfully is in really good condition, because despite the steepness of the stairs, and the slight burning in her legs she's starting to feel, it doesn't appear she's slowing down significantly from her previous pace. Still, the race isn't over yet. And she has at least one more to question before the race ends.
Assuming she can catch up with her.

Matsuri smiles and stands after finishing off her tea, and setting the cup and dish aside carefully. "I would be honored." she answers and then joins the Daimyou in heading to the appropriate place to observe the end of the race from. This has turned out to be a very productive and exciting day after all. Even more than she'd hoped. The only thing that could make it better would be if she'd been able to bring some of the girls from the inn… But someone had to take care of things there, and they were safer indoors.

Shuuren smiles and nods to Matsuri when she accepts the invitation. He sets his cup aside as well then stands up and opens the door so she can walk out. Once she's done so, he steps out and walks to the deck then off the shop as it's docked. They pass the concession stands and people already gathering to move to a sort of VIP section to observe the end of the race from the side of the steps that lead into the Great Todoroki Shrine at the end of the path from the Great Stone Steps That Tear Hearts Apart. "We should have a good view from here," he says with a smile then peers to a person bringing him a current update on the race. He actually lifts an eyebrow in surprise at how far a certain cat lady is ahead before nodding in thanks to the man and looking ahead at the path.

Hanami is finally getting her land legs back and putting them to good use. Warming up now she takes off through the island wilderness along the path that would take her to the shrine. At some point. It's a nice little island really, very lovely as she looks around her on the run.

Shemri reaches the final staircase and takes a moment to pay attention to the tightening knot in her gut and the burning in her legs. That was a good sprint across the bridge and over the relatively flat terrain, but she doesn't think she can keep it up all the way to the end, especially with the final part being such an uphill climb. So rather than embarass herself by being forced to stop for breath midway, Shemri tackles the stairs at a moderate pace. Easy does it, almost there…

Imire continues to sprint as hard as he can, panting a bit from the effort now. He managed to reach the place with all the jewels, though! Which means that he would quickly grab one, and then he was dashing off towards the next goal. Just gotta keep pushing himself… Keep going! He can do this! He didn't really want to be the worst at this race even if he was the worst bodyguard.

Momomo makes it to the docks! Yes, yes! Wooooo! She gets of the ship and runs around in circles in her excitement, yelling about how she's number one, even though she's more, like, number four. Then she stops with her hands on her hips, still looking proud of herself, and asks in confusion, "…Where am I supposed to go next? Do I… Do I get back on the boat? Yeah, I think I get back on the boat and go back. That sounds reasonable!" The captain will probably yell directions at her shortly, but for the moment at least she has reached the docks, which was her goal this whole time, not all the rest, because she wasn't paying attention.

Matsuri joins Shuuren at the VIP section, taking a seat and watching from this excellent viewing point. She does not know enough about the contestants to have an idea of who she thought would be in the lead or not. But the huge lead at least one of them has on the others is definitely impressive!

Imire passes Reikoku and gets the jewel by a narrow margin. But the race isn't over yet. While winning still isn't the point, the race is still completable without the jewels. So she's still here.

"Exciting, isn't it?" Shuuren asks with a smile as he glances over at Matsuri. "The crossing of the finish line will truly signify a new era has begun for Tea Country beyond the shackles of the past and the devastation of the wars." He then looks back ahead, waiting to see if his assumptions are correct on who will come first and second in the race.

Hanami runs at a good pace, fast but honestly she really isn't feeling the need to strain herself at this point. She is enjoying the scenery though. It's really a
Ever have one of those days where things just don't seem to go as planned? Shemri gets near to the top of the stairs and finds she just can't seem to pull up any more reserves. x.x She's still moving, just nowhere near her top speed. Oh well, can't complain really, she's still got an unbeatable lead…and one could say that just barely making it over the finish line before collapsing is a sign that one has run the best they can, without holding back anything that might've helped eke out a little more speed.

Imire huffs and puffs as he runs up the path. He really hopes he doesn't happen to drop this rather heavy jewel, now that he thinks about it. It's pretty heavy, really, and he doesn't really want to break it. But even the prospect of breaking a valuable gem doesn't seem to break his stride as he struggles to catch up to Shemri. Can … not … Lose!!!

The ship's captain yells at Momomo to get going, giving her the basic instructions on what she's supposed to be doing next, and she yells back, "OKAY OKAY THANK YOU CAPTAIN VON GRUMP." and takes off running. She's sure this will all work out somehow! Maybe she's suddenly just become way faster or discover her magical girl transformation and then ZAM. POW. A life of fighting evil by moonlight! She'll have it made! And at least two cats. She thinks she might want more after all the trouble she has gone through.
But for now, she runs up the path, heading for the shrine!
Isn't that the girl form before up ahead!?

To be honest, Reikoku is kind of impressed by Imire's performance. Of course, Shemri, so far ahead of everyone else, is also someone to consider. But she isn't in a position to give a good analysis of the other kunoichi right now, whereas Imire is right here. She'd though he was without ambition, but he is showing a sudden turn of determination and physically ability that has him roughly equal with the Medic herself. Maybe even better, if physical prowess is his specialty. She's a lot more focused in other areas, after all.
Still, Reikoku isn't done yet. She has been tempted multiple times to test her opposition in this race, but the possibility of being spotted and the trouble that would result have prevented her thus far. After the race though, when there aren't so many eyes on her…
There are plenty of stairs to go still, and she's just starting to actually feel the strain. She isn't accustomed to racing like this, but she's at least in good enough physical condition that she's in no danger of passing out or anything. It's really not THAT much more difficult than standard ninja running through forests and such. And given the trees, mountains, and deserts Reikoku has had to trek across, the only major hinderance to her long-term longevity in the race is the lack of ability to use Chakra. That's what's weakening her the most, since more of her focus is on Chakra control than raw physical ability.
Perhaps that's why she's been so surprisingly behind. It's possible she has simply overestimated how good she is without the use of jutsu.

"Hmmm… I admit to not being fully familiar with the Land of Tea's history. If it suffered from war, you've such an amazing job of fixing it up that is looks almost like it was untouched by them." Except, of course, for all the ninja running around who probably didn't just magically manifest out of the ether. "It sounds like this is an even more significant event than I thought it was! I'm honored to be present for it." she replies. Perhaps Matsuri can even regale children about this race sometime in the future. Though she should also research Tea's history as well.

"It was almost completely leveled during the war with the Crawler actually, and the war with the Silence didn't do any favors," Shuuren replies with a look over his shoulder at Matsuri, a bit curious how she missed such news. Perhaps she was in a different part of the world during that war where she didn't hear where the beast began its attack. "It's my pleasure to have you here, and thank you for the compliment." He then looks forward, glancing toward the sun then back down at the track once more. At least one should be coming toward the finish line soon enough if she can make it up that last step to the long path through the many giant red gates that lead up a path lined with spectators cheering all the participants on.

Hanami runs through the wilderness pretty nicely, able to dodge the regular pitfalls one might find like roots, dips and such. Looking ahead she thinks the trees are starting to thin a bit, but could just be her imagination.
COMBAT: Hanami finishes her turn.
COMBAT: It is now Shemri's turn.
Imire is a bit frustrated that he can't seem to catchword probably up. He try to go faster, but stairs are his enemy, it seems, and they're more exhausting than just running on a normal flat ground. Sigh… He'll never be able to catch up at this rate. v.v

This is it! The race comes down to this final moment! Shemri puts everything she can (although it isn't much compared to her better moments) into one last burst! >.<

Aaaaand that's the finish! Shemri staggers and pants a bit as she delivers the jewel. *.*

Imire is a bit frustrated that he can't seem to catch up. He tries to go faster, but stairs are his enemy, it seems, and they're more exhausting than just running on a normal flat ground. Sigh… He'll never be able to reach Shemri in a decent time at this rate. v.v

And here comes Momomo, running up from behind! "Oiiiii!! Oiiiiii, lady who doesn't know where the finish line iiiissss! Did you already get your henshin rod? Is that why you're so far ahead!? OIIIIIIII!" she yells as she chases after Hanami, just assuming the other girl knows where's she going.
Also, maybe she can discover some kind of secret power up if she wastes air yelling to her competition while running! Flawless logic!

It seems Reikoku has pulled ahead again of Imire again. It seems like there's a lot of back-and-forth going on between them. But while the kunoichi is just starting to feel the effects of fatigue as she runs up the stairs, it looks like Imire's stamina is starting to dwindle. It HAS been a pretty long race. Though the fact that Shemri has managed to be so far ahead says volumes for her ability. While someone powerful like that could be useful… They also tend to already be a notable asset to their Village. Imire is unpolished.
Imire still has potential. He is thus a much more enticing specimen to Reikoku, who she'd like to sample at her leisure another time. Based off of what she has observed of him, he appears to have a lack of confidence in his own abilities. She could use that. And for his own benefit, by encouraging him.
Though, there is ONE thing that Imire lacks that is actually probably of benefit to him…
…Because all this running is really starting to make Reikoku's neck and shoulders sore. Sigh. The burdens of genetics.

As Shemri comes over the top of the steps, the crowd begins to cheer for the apparent winner of the race. Shuuren looks to her then back at the top of the steps to see if anyone might give her some competition… Nope. He then looks back to Shemri, applauding with the crowd as she crosses the finish line. Once the jewel is delivered, he steps over and makes a motion toward her. "This year's Person of the Year," since they can't really say Man of the Year anymore since for the first time the winner is a woman. "Maneshi Shemri!" He turns to her, bowing and saying, "Congratulations."

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