Date: August 12, 2013
A group of shinobi escort a wounded turtle back to Kamegakure.
"The Tiring Journey to Kamegakure"
Konohagakure to Kamegakure
After carrying the turtle ninken all the way back to Konoha the day after her last mission, Midori was exhausted. Her muscles ached and she'd barely slept while worrying about the poor creature. It hadn't woken up the whole day, and when she'd brought it to the hospital the doctors hadn't been confident. However, here she was two days later, and the hospital had sent word. The turtle was awake, and asking for her! Arriving at the hospital around the time the sun was rising, Midori enters the turtle's room quietly. "Good Morning, Turtle-chan," she greets the creature cheerfully, standing by the doorway, "I'm really glad to see you're alright. How are you feeling?"
The turtle raises its head from the bed and looks at Midori. "Oh, I see. When they told me a ninja saved me, I was kind of expecting someone bigger. You know, meaner. And with huge chakra reserves," he says in a meek voice, "But you look nearly as young as me. Anyway, I didn't mean to offend you. I wanted to thank you for saving me. And I wanted to ask a small favour."
Midori nods, accepting the turtle's thanks and saying, "Well, you're very welcome. You know I've never met a talking turtle before. The doctors tell me that you're probably trained in the ninja arts as well, is that right?" For the moment she seems to be ignoring the fact that the turtle asked a favour of her.
"Well, I suppose so, yes. To you, you'd consider our arts a type of Ninjutsu, although to us its just part of the Turtle Arts," the turtle explains, then coughs before saying, "Oh, I'm forgetting myself. My name is Kamechi. And I should probably tell you what the favour I'm asking is before I expect you to answer." And with that he starts mumbling, eventually returning to normal speech to say, "Well, I guess what I really want is to go home. You see, your doctors here are good, but the doctors in Kamegakure know turtles really well. They could heal me up quick-smart! So, uhh, would you mind helping me get home?"
Midori smiles and introduces herself in return, "I'm Uchiha Midori. And certainly, I'll help you get home. Although I'm not really supposed to leave the village on my own, since I'm still a very little ninja." She frowns a little, wondering how exactly she's going to manage to get permission to leave the village with this strange, talking turtle.
Kazuo sighs and drops her head. Damnit turtle! "I guess that's where I come in.." She steps into the room and nods at Midori and the turtle. "My name is Sarutobi Kazuo, clanhead and keeper of the flame." She peeks at Midori. "Pleasure meeting you." She says calmly. "You're an Uchiha right?" She asks calmly. "Got your sharingan yet?" So to the point!
Midori is completely taken aback by the Sarutobi woman's forwardness and confidence. "I… umm… no," she answers stutteringly, "But yes, I am an Uchiha. And what do you mean that's where you come in?" She seems a little confused. Why is this woman here? Who is she? And why is she asking about Midori's latent Sharingan? The turtle, however, smiles and says, "Well, good morning Sarutobi Kazuo. I know of your clan. You have an agreement with the Enma, the Monkey King correct? Well, I suppose it would be alright for you to accompany me to my village as well."
Kazuo smiles at the turtle. "You're knowledgeable for a young-un.." She smiles at Midori and nods. "I'm ordered to accompany you and assist your friend in his return to his village." Kazuo explains. "Maybe teach you a thing or two about chakra on our way there. My control happends to be … Well I wouldn't want to say the best in Konoha but it gets close to the best." Kazuo smirks.
Midori seems to still be quite confused about all this, her head turning this way and that as she looks between Kamechi and Kazuo. Finally the young Uchiha seems to come to an understanding and nods. "So then, we'll head to Kamegakure. And I can get some chakra control tutoring on the way!" she exclaims happily, still uncertain about how all this has come about, but rejoicing in the chance to get out of the village.
"Sarutobi-san, I wouldn't worry too much about that," Kamechi says to Kazuo, "My Grandfather is a great Sage, tutor to some of the greatest Ninjutsuists in the world. He can certainly teach Midori a few things about controlling her chakra. But, I suppose for someone who struggles with chakra control every bit of help and tutoring is a blessing." He looks at Midori, who seems to be almost cheering with excitement, and smiles.
Kazuo smiles at the turtle and nods. "I'm aware. I guess I could also teach her some taijutsu. Her tutors told me she's so horrible at it she's more likely to hurt herself than others!" Kazuo pats Midori's head. "No worries, you'll get there…" She grins and looks at the door. "So ehm, with that said. I think we should get going.." She considers. "I'll get us a cart we can roll you on.." She tells the turtle. Before looking at Midori. "And you're dragging it…"
Midori seems horrendously embarassed by Kazuo's scandalous, but completely true accusations. "My Taijutsu -is- pretty bad," she admits, a deep pink blush creeping across her face. Then, when she's told that she'll be dragging the cart for the turtle, Midori heaves a loud moan, slumping as she considers her already aching muscles. "Alright," she whispers, sounding defeated. If you want to get out of the village, there's always a cost.
Kamechi allows himself to be shifted into the small cart, helping as much as his injuries will permit. Finally, with Kamechi settled and Midori on the long, stirrup-like handles, the group sets off for Kamegakure. Before they even reach the main gates of Konohagakure, Midori's muscles have renewed their screaming tirade against her senseless physical pursuits.
"Hey look at it on the bright side. At least this time he has wheels…" Says a voice from the cart. No wonder it hurts so much! Kazuo actually sat down on the side to be dragged by Midori as well! With a cocky face she leans back while looking at the turtle. "So, know turtle-fu?" She asks curiously.
The group would hear a few rustles within the nearby trees. It was faint at first but it would soon grow louder. Soon a figure leaps out and over the group only to land in a tree opposite of the trail that they walked on. Then all turns into an eerie quiet. A few moments would pass by of nothing, but then suddenly the figure would reveal himself as Katsurou as he drops down in front of the group with a light thud of his feet. His high cheek bones reveal his smile under his mask as he gives a small wave. "Got room for one more?"
Kamechi laughs and shakes his head. "Us little turtles don't know much of the physical stuff. For us its all 'achieving higher spiritual states' and 'learning to be one with nature'," he says jokingly, "But there are quite a few in Kamegakure that practice those techniques. Some of them are pretty good too!"
As the other ninja drops down in front of the group, Midori drops stirrups and frowns, folding her arms over her chest. "There's no way I'm dragging another person all the way to Kamegakure!" she says, her face a mask of stubbornness, "If you're coming, you're taking the cart!" Boy, she looks cute when she's angry. Its probably her complete impotence to actually enforce any threat she makes.
Kazuo smiles at seeing Katsurou again. "Only if there's a kiss to be got for it.." Kazuo leans in with her lips pouted as they roll towards the gates. "How are you doing Katsurou-bo…?" She smiles at Midori and shakes her head. "Oh no, you're pulling it.." She then looks at Katsurou. "And you're very welcome.." Though then she slips off the cart to walk alongside Katsurou. Making Midori's job a little easier!
Katsurou made his way closer to the cart, lowered his mask, and met Kazou's lips with his own. "You are in a good mood today." He adds as he watches the Sarutobi make her way off the cart to walk along side him. He looks over to Midori. "I would offer to help you, but it seems your teacher would rather have you do it." He then lowers to a whisper. "And I do not want to make her mad. She is not very pleasant when she is angry."
Katsurou looks at the turtle in the cart then back towards Kazuo. "You did not tell me you were taking on students; nor leaving the village. Am I in trouble or something?"
Midori slumps. Clearly she's been defeated once again. But at least Kazuo isn't in the cart any more! She picks up the stirrups and keeps moving out the gates, the cart trundling along behind her. When Katsurou speaks to her, Midori simply nods wordlessly. Kamechi, however, speaks up gleefully. "This kind of thing is great for building up stamina and spiritual strength. Trials that allow you to overcome the flesh and grow in soul. Plus, it'll probably help you learn new techniques too, Midori-chan," he says, looking very comfortable in the cart.
"Says you, who doesn't have to pull this thing. You aren't light, you know?" Midori says in response, looking particularly grumpy, then glancing over at the couple who appear to be bickering nearby.
Kazuo smirks and shakes her head. "This isn't a student of mine thank you very much…" She smiles at Midori. "Just teaching her some tricks while on a mission in fact.." She points at the turtle. "Konoha decided it's interested in seeing him return home in good health." She points at herself. "That's where I come in!" Smiling at Midori. "And yes, he is in trouble…. But that's for later." She winks at Katsurou.
Katsurou frowns at remark of him being in trouble. His gaze looks back down at the turtle after he speaks then back at Midori. "Is he always this…motivated?" He asks with a smile. "So your name is Midori? I am Katsurou. Has Kazou taught you any of these said tricks so far? You will have to forgive her if she seems a little absent minded at times. It is because she is thinking of me mostly."
Midori looks up at Katsurou and shrugs. "I don't know. I really just met him today. I hope not though, if he's always so enthusiastic it'd be really exhausting," she says, and with that she shoots a look back at the turtle, who seems to absorb it as if it were a compliment. "And no, she hasn't really taught me anything except how heavy turtles are, and how tired my muscles get whenever I'm carrying anything," she adds, sounding really tired already. How far was it to Kamegakure again?
"Don't worry, Midori-chan, only a couple of days of this and we'll be in Kamegakure. Then you can settle in for some rest for the night before I get Gramps to give you his special training!" Kamechi pipes in.
Kazuo was technically training Midori already. She just doesn't know it yet! Kazuo smacks Katsurou on the arm with her fist hard. "Yea, thinking of you is - all - on my mind…" She says back to him with a clear sarcastic tone. "This guy though, he's even stalking me when I leave town!" She then winks back at Katsurou now they're out of Konoha! "Your gramps sounds like a good man!" Kazuo muses to the turtle!
Katsurou merely smirks when Kazou hit him in the arm. They were not far out of Konoha before Katsurou is already asking, "Are we there yet? You know I could use my ice to speed us up along the trail, right?" He says looking at Kazou. His head quickly jerks back around to look at Midori. "It is not stalking if you are a ninja." He quickly adds.
Even with Midori pulling the cart the whole way, the group manage to make it to the walls of Kamegakure by nightfall. Without the help of Kamechi, they never would have found the village, though, even with their extensive knowledge of the Land of Fire. It had been a long hard day, and as soon as the reach the gates of the Hidden Village, Midori collapses in a shuddering heap. A booming voice calls down to them, "Who's down there? Why have you come to our village?"
"Its me, Kame Kamechi! And these fine people from Konoha have helped me get home!" Kamechi calls back up. His voice isn't very loud, and for a while it isn't clear whether he's actually been heard from up above.
Kazuo looks at Midori and then the turtle, yawning briefly while hugging Katsurou's side. A hand resting on his back underneath his shirt. "Yep, we're here and we're tired…" Kazuo adds with a smile. "Honey mind grabbing a cig for me?" She turns her hip at Katsurou so he can reach into her pocket, taking out the pack and stick one into her mouth. It would ignite right away with her fire chakra if he actually does it. "Anyone else want one?" She asks, using her right hand to grab the cig between to fingers, blowing out the smoke in no direction in particular. Also offering to Midori!
Katsurou arrives at the walls with Kazou at his side. He gives a long stretch as Kame attempts to get his people to open the doors for them. The Shirayuki does as he is asked and helps Kazou with her cig. He would argue that smoking is bad for the health but studies show being a shinobi is way worse for your life span than cigarettes. His gaze turns down at the turtle and Midori. "Are you hungry Midori? Perhaps we should find a place to eat before calling it the night."
Kamechi is the first to wave away the offer of the cigarette, followed closely by Midori. The silence is eventually broken by the long, low grinding sound of the gate opening. Just inside are a three turtles standing on their hind legs. All three are a little larger than a full grown man, but the one in the middle is the shortest of them, and has a long, grey beard. "Kamechi-kun, I'm glad you've come home," he says, and walks over to the cart where he picks up the turtle and hugs him. Midori's mouth flops open as she takes in the sight of the giant turtles. "Umm, Kamechi-chan, is that your gramps?" she asks, completely forgetting proper decorum and introductions.
Kazuo nods politely at the old man. "Hello again." She says while bowing deeply. "I'm Sarutobi Kazuo, keeper of the flame and represenative of Konoha. This is Uchiha Midori and…." She pauses. "And Katsurou…" She knew they knew naming his last name might not be the best idea. So she left it at that. "We're here to bring back your grandson for treatment, and to hopefully receive shelter for the night." Wow… she can be surprisingly political. Though she said this all with a cig in her mouth!
Katsurou bows as Kazuo introduces them to the turtle people. Once the introductions were over he looks at Kazou. "Keeper of the flame? Who gave you that title?" He faces forward and says, "My name is Katsurou. I am the Popsicle Maker." in mocking but not changing his voice like most would. For now the turtle people dont really capture his attention. He is too busy giving Kazou a hard time.
"Oh yes, yes, please come in. If you helped my grandson get home, you're welcome guests of the village," the old turtle says, and then looks to Midori, "Yes, I'm Kamechi's grandfather." After this he turns to face Kazuo, and offers the woman a rather professional bow. "Its a pleasure to meet you, Sarutobi-sama," he says, offering her a high title, "We've been very hesitant to make contact with the human villages, as they've often shown themselves to be unreliable and dangerous, but maybe its time to start reconsidering that position. But there'll be plenty of time for diplomatic talks tomorrow. I'm sure you'll be wanting some food and a warm bed." At this point Kamechi interrupts, saying, "And some training. Midori is having problems with her chakra control, and I said I'd talk you into giving her some pointers." Midori once again looks embarassed, with that pink blush covering her face, but she nods in acknowledgement.
Sarutobi Kazuo, keeper of the flame looks at Katsurou, her eyes turn into a very small angry squint. She opens her mouth to speak… OR blast him over to the southern lands with a fire blast! But then the elder turtle does it for her; "Keeper of the flame is the official title for the clan-head of the Sarutobi. The clan that sees themselves as the protectors of the will of fire." Kazuo closes her mouth and nods. "That.." She says. smacking Katsurou on his popsicle with her palm. "Popsicle maker!" She then looks at the turtle and bows again. "Thank you, that's most kind.." She says. Nudging Midori to start walking!
The Grandpa turtle stops in front of Midori and eyes her appraisingly for a moment. "Well, you look exhausted. That's a start," he says with a marvellously charismatic grin, "The first thing you'll need to do is build up your stamina. With more stamina comes more chakra, and as your chakra increases your exercises will strain your system less. So, more hard work and physical exercise for you, then you can move on to bigger and less exciting things." Midori looks like she's going to fall over with the terrible news. And with that the head turtle ushers all three visitors toward the only inn in town for some much needed Rest and Relaxation (well, much needed for Midori at least).