Date: June 21, 2012
A traveling band of performers finds themselves in Sunagakure needing assistance building their stage and attending the entertainment of the masses. Zalosu and Kazeodori - one Chuunin, one Genin - discover themselves the (almost) perfect candidates for helping the troupe in trouble.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"Troupe in Trouble"
Village Center Area - Sunagakure
The very center hub of Sunagakure, the Village Center is a bustling area. Crowds gather in huge groups, all across the very wide square. It is completely protected by the large buildings surrounding it on all sides, and the four desert winds do not seem to intrude into this area.
People can be found doing all manner of things, from hocking wares, to trading for certain fabrics and materials, selling their products, or any other activity from sleeping quietly, to getting into explosive arguments with people. Fights are not unknown here, so there is regularily guards overseeing the circle. The entire circle itself is built to face the largest structure in all of Sunagakure. It is a massive domed building, easily 5 stories high, that seems to be constructed out of seamless and flawless sand. No stones, no mud, just pure sand, caked hard and formed into a building. This is the Kazekage Administration Dome, the head of bureaucracy for the mighty city of Sunagakure.
Their are entrances in all directions into the square, except the south, which is where the Administration dome is located. People are always flowing into the circle from all directions, and leaving as well. Even during the night, it is a sure bet that a large crowd will be in the circle, talking about all manner of subjects.
South - (S) [Sentou Valley]
Enter Dome - (ED) [Kazekage Administration Dome]
West - (W) [Nishikaze Street]
North - (N) [Kitakaze Street]
East - (E) [Toufuu Street]
That day of the fair had arrived. The central area of that city had festive lights strung about the entire circle and everyone was busy getting ready for the festival that was going to be later that eve. The travelling performers had requested some assistance to help them with the preperations considering they were short handed due to illness in the troupe members.
Zalosu had sent a missive to Kaze, telling him to show up about 15 minutes from now, prepared to assist the troupe members with building the scaffolding and such for them. He himself had his own building supplies, as this was going to be a group effort, however this was going to be the first test to see how Kaze handles himself. Will he be on time? Late? early? A lot can be learned about how a shinobi will be in terms of how they handle missions.
As to one whom time is a mere breath of existence, a thing so easily distorted and worthless that even ninja can develop the means of pushing it aside, is punctuality to Kazeodori. Thus, to be so young, and to have such a mentality, relegates the idea of immediacy to the firm edges of apathy. Thankfully (for whom, it is unsure), Kazeodori found himself too throttled with excitement to even consider negating the possibility of him not participating, which explains why he is already here, meandering through the weave of shops and sellers, of deals made and promises broken. It is also, unfortunately, the reason why he has yet to recognize that the time has arrived for which he is to participate in helping Zalosu and the performers.
Zalosu took a moment before he recognized the genin that was under his training. Watching the kid move in among the shops and such, he'd raise a brow. Glancing at the clock, Zal waited patiently for exactly 1 minute past that point that Kaze was suppose to show up at. As soon as the clock clicked past, he'd take a deep breath, pour some chakra into it and yell out across the ring. "HEY!! KAZEODORI!! GET OVER HERE NOW!!!" Oh yeah, Zalosu was looking all kinds of juggled off. Of course, it was a complete act to try and get a point across, however he wasn't going to let the genin know that.. at least right away.
There's an infamous expression, one which bears such wisdom, such inherited foresight, that no father fails to pass it along to his son: never spit into the wind. Though perhaps not exactly folding to the constructs of the current scene, it nonetheless holds weight, as Kazeodori - upon hearing the voice of Zalosu, upon seeing the mirage of anger - does nothing but smile giddily, wave happily, and bound forward with the sense of frolic that only the truly young can muster. Of course, being 11 does not mean one is destined to retain every idiosyncrasy relatable to prepubescence and childhood; in fact, in Kazeodori's case, it is much the opposite, for he is well aware of tone and the meaning of facial expression, thus does he respond in the manner that he does. It's unsure, however, if he's meant to be the spit, or the wind.
So much for the intimidation factor? Either way, he'd continue that glare until Kaze got close enough to be spoken to in a normal tone of voice. The first thing of course, "Do you see the clock? You do understand you are late, correct?" Intense eyes studied the genin for a long moment, before nodding his head towards the construction. "Come on, it's time to get to work, we'll deal with punishment at a later time." Zalosu would start towards the construction himself, glancing back at Kaze with a curious look. "You do realize, afterall, that timing is everything.. one minute late means you just killed your team on a mission."
"If it'd only take a minute to kill my team, then I suppose being late would probably be to my advantage."
The Genin, unaware (or perhaps not) of his impudence, follows behind Zalosu, speaking as one would engaging in a conversation, rather than with a tone of insolence. Judging by the jaunt of his step, by the beam of his walk, he is of course unaware of what recourse may follow the words he just spoke. Though he finds himself mentally swift for being so young, there is still much to learn in matters of appropriateness. Thus, he continues on blithely:
"So what are we doing today? Fighting some ninja?"
Kazeodori karate-chops the air after his question, as in emphasis.
Zalosu would turn and stop suddenly right in the middle of Kaze's path, potentially to even cause him to run into the teen. Zal was braced for that impact, plus probably had a weight factor on Kaze, so most likely the younger nin would get knocked down. "Being late by a minute when your team is depending on you being somewhere and you failing them is NOT to your advantage! They died because of you!" Zal would shake his head, turning away just as suddenly to pick up that pace as if it was never left. "We're helping a travelling troupe with their set up, construct some scaffolding. They had several members fall ill. Most likely you will need to put on a show with them as well. Prepare yourself." Zal made a mental note to look into a better way to get a point across to younger nin. This relationship was probably going to teach Zalosu more than he taught Kaze it seems.
Kazeodori, as prone to do as one who does not always pay the swiftest of attentions, punches right into the rear of Zalosu, and - due the notable size difference between the two - collapses butt-first into the dirt of the Village Center. Unfortunately for Zalosu, as happens when an individual is bounced into the ground, Kazeodori hears nothing of what he was shouting: simply that he was. The Genin does, however, intercept the latter part of Zalosu's speaking, and so chalks up his falling to simple clumsiness, committing himelf to pay closer attention. He is, thus, back on his feet in an instant, stiff as a board, eyes focused ahead.
"I am prepared. Sir."
Zalosu just sighed. Well, he'd either learn patience with the genin.. or kill him. A brief moment's musing on that before he shook his head. Some of the building materials were passed over and he'd nod to the area about them. "Alright then, get to work. The sooner we get this set up, the sooner the show shall begin." With that order given, he himself headed off to start working as well. They needed to get the area fixed up for the troupe to be able to do their performance.
Kazeodori nods, staring at the building supplies laid forth around the ground, in seemingly haphazard fashion. Or perhaps that's how it appears to someone who has never held a hammer, nor sawed a saw, nor twisted a screw tightly into wood.
The youth looks further along, hoping against odds that there is some tool he may recognize, some cognizance of industry, that he may attempt work without looking like a completely inept individual. It would seem, however, for there to be no such luck.
"So… what are… we doing. Exactly. Sir."
Zal glanced over at the question from Kaze. He raised a brow at the question. "Building. You do know how to build, hai?" Zalosu would grab up a hammer and some nails, bringing them over to Kaze. "Build the scaffolding. That guy over there will show you where to place the wood and hammer these nails into them, hai?" He would point at one of the troupe members, a nod given in answer before he headed off to work on his part of the building. Hmm.. definitely will need to work on some basics with Kaze.
"Hammer. Nails. Right."
Kazeodori follows Zalosu's gaze, trailing his finger to the troupe member at which he's pointing.
"Scaffolding. Wood. Right."
And off he walks - slowly, unsurely - measuring each step, that he give himself opportune time to realize the task at hand. Of course, Kazeodori has seen such tools before: he has seen houses being built, fences being erected, sheds being hammered. But to actually participate, to be the one holding the hammer which builds — that is an entirely new sensation. With cocky aplomb, the youth listens to the directions of the troupe member, and, finding his way towards the scaffolding, begins to hammer. Or, rather, would begin to hammer, had the hammer not just flung backwards from his hand.
That tattoo would flash out, catching the hammer out of mid-air. A soft sigh was given as Zal walked over to Kaze, holding the hammer out to him. "This is like a kunai. It can hurt, it can kill. Treat it appropriately, hai?" He'd put the hammer down by the wood once again, studying Kaze. "Alright, so you do know how to use kunai, hai?" He'd chuckle lightly, taking up a closer post by Kaze to make sure he could help in case the genin needed any further pointers.
The words would be a whisper, a mere phantom of sound, nearly drivel but for their disctinction as part of the spoken language:
"That is so coooool…"
But belie his enchantment would he not once Zalosu comes back, returning the hammer to the awkward, delicate fingers of the 11-year-old Genin. Kazeodori nods as he hefts the hammer, feeling the strength of wood and steel as he would the handle of a kunai (which he understands much more adeptly than the wielding of some primitive instrument). But by the clangs and falls of the iron around him, by the sweat and toil of the workers so far engaged, certainly such a thing cannot be difficult. So with his greatest raise of the arm, down falls the hammerhead, crushing into the wooden beam with a soft splinter of wood. Grinning, Kazeodori pulls back the tool to admire his handiwork, and is aghast to find that there was not even a nail. He'll get it soon, surely…
"Ahh.. Kaze-san, it helps to have a nail too.. that keeps them together, hai?" He'd chuckle slightly, continuing his own work. While guiding Kaze, it only took two hours for the whole thing to go up, the rest of the troupe efficent, even if the genin was learning. As they'd get close to the end, the troupe leader would approach Zalosu and Kazeodori.
"You two have been a big help, yes? Now, we have one more thing to ask. We need one last act. You two have any extra skills to help us entertain the crowd? We're just one act short for what's in our contract and it'd be greatly appreciated if you two could assist."
Kazeodori stands before the troupe master, accomplished that he managed to nail as many nails as he did. That a young ninja would be so unwieldy with a tool seems preposterous, but such incivilities of thought regarding what a young man should and should not know are the seed of ignorance and hatred. He really should learn how to better use a hammer though. Perhaps it will become something of a hobby: the ability to build. The troupe master's call to arms brings Kazeodori's attention swiftly back.
"An act, huh?"
The Genin looks over his counterpart, and remembers the strength - and number - of his tattoos.
"Zalosu. You can't, by any chance, juggle, can you?"
Zalosu would look confused at Kazeodori for a moment, before a slow shake of his head was given. "Never tried it before in my life. I've always been preoccupied with.. other things." Zal would chuckle then, pointing at his feet. "I'm more of a skater.. having them built in is a nice boon.. never really been into juggling stuff though. Although may not be too hard." Zal would nod towards Kaze then, "What about you? You got somethin you're good at? That wind manipulation ya do is pretty kickin, think you can wind juggle some shuriken for the crowd?"
"Pfffft. Piece a cake."
The Genin swiftly whips a shuriken from his robes, and floats it over his palm, juggling it up and down without ever touching it. His eyes follow the sharpened steel with the fascination of a serpent weaving before the pipe.
"But what about you?" he asks, never taking his eyes from the task. "What will you do?"
The shuriken drops into the boy's palm, and he rings it around his finger, spinning it round and round through the hole in the middle. A wicked grin curls his lips into his cheeks as the whistle of the shuriken spurs through the air.
"Something cool, yeah?"
Zalosu would laugh at that, a grin given back at the infectious grin from the genin. "Hai. I will do something cool. You think you can do five of them shruiken at once?" Zal would start stretching, a nod given towards the ringmaster. "We'll have something for you, friend. Just let us know when we're on." Continuing his warm up, it almost looked like Zalosu was getting ready to fight, with how he was stretching and getting ready.
Kazeodori uses his unclothed arm to pull forward the drape of his robe, peering inside without trying to reveal too much of himself.
"…three, four… yeah, I can do five."
Five shuriken. In the air. At the same time. Easy, right? Right? A bead of sweat triggers down the back of Kazeodori's neck, exploding in a wet mass on the edge of his collar. Five shurikens. Five. Shurikens. One was hard enough to hold up like that. It's not as if he's been practicing this forever, like he can control the wind with the flick of his wrist. Well, actually, he can. So maybe it won't be so bad. Right?
Zalosu would chuckle slightly, a pat given to Kaze's back, he'd take off a few of those layers, leaving him to just one set of outware, more of those brilliant tattoos revealed as he'd strip down to that basic garment. Flicking his arms out, he'd nod, focusing to have chakra pour through his form before going through a series of hand seals. As the rest of the travelling troupe put on their show, Zal was focusing himself, getting a lot of chakra set up so that he was almost glowing with it while he prepared.
The ringmaster pointed towards Kaze and Zal towards the end of the show. "And for the final show of tonight, two of the shinobi of this very village! They have helped us with setting up and are now going to put a display of those elite ninja skills out just for all of you!! Come one, come all! Come to see the amazing Kazeodori and the astounding Zalosu!!"
Yeah, no pressure.
No pressure. Right, none at all. Just an 11-year-old nearly-hermetically-sealed-from-the-outside-world Genin to demonstrate his imperfect skills in front of a crowd of strangers. Not a thing to worry about. But determination! Determination, is it not, is a cornerstone of the ninja way. Determination is the will to act, to take a minute - but a minute! - to save the lives of your comrades. What good are any of these ninja skills if they have no purpose? If they are not willed by determination? The visage of Kazeodori - moments ago, one of anxiety, of fear, of youthful worry - is transformed, is set as does a stone carver his work upon the medium.
"I'm first," says the youth, in a surety of tone perhaps well unknown prior to this moment. To the stage he goes, and with a single wave to the gathered cheering, he pulls a shuriken from within his robes. A huff blows from his nostrils, and with the concentration he exhibited before, the shuriken floats in the air above his hand, rolling forward and forward again. A slow breath leaves Kazeodori's lips, as he pulls two more shuriken from his robes, and with what seems nary a thought (but which is truly the lack of hesitation afforded those willing to be brave), he tosses the pair upon the first, and then there are three shuriken rolling through the air, dancing as steely stars against a fog-filled night. Thus more, within the free hand, with sweat beading on the Genin's forehead, his eyes lost in their focus, shimmery and bright, there appear two more shuriken. Another slow breath leaves the Genin's lips, and he flicks the last two shuriken onto the rest. And they all come tumbling down.
Zalosu, while Kaze had been working on tumbling those shuriken in the air, was focusing himself as before. Multiple tattoos across his form came alive, the ones that wrapped about his ankles and feet were active, curled under his foot to give that slick surface and allow him to 'skate' as he had put it before. So with that extra burst of speed, he had taken off. Straight for Kazeodori.
While the shuriken tumbled, that tattoo whipped, two strands that had been curled about Zalosu's waist, snaked through the air, neatly threading the metal stars, then whirled as the tattoo caught them smoothly out of the air. How did they do this you might ask? Simple: Zalosu was above Kaze. He had done a kick flip, launching himself with that extra speed up and over the genin, making the slip on Kaze's part look to be a complete part of the act as he'd land on the other side of the genin, speeding into a curve that tucked into a spin, the tattoos all returned to where they had been. The 5 shuriken were left in Zal's hands, splayed wide to show that he had them.
"That would be it for tonight, folks. Thank you for coming to see the show and please tip the troupe members!"
Before dejection could even cross his face, before recognition of his stumble even registered, the threads of Zalosu's tattoos curled through the rings of the shuriken, plucking them from a certain doomed thwack into the wood of the stage. It all seemed so planned, so perfectly executed, a perfomance that left people applauding tremendously. It is grand to witness an amazing act: it is human to have the actor stumble and recover. Without even intending, had Kazeodori grafted hope to the performance. His mouth was agape as Zalosu landed, his eyes bright, leading to a smile upon which he raised his hands into the air, and took a firm bow. Once they were to exit the stage, Kazeodori would whisper to his comrade. "Yep. Pretty cool."
Zalosu would laugh at that, once again a pat given to Kaze's back. "Thanks. That, my good friend, is the importance of timing.. afterall, think what would of happen if I had been a minute late." With those words of wisdom and a wink, Zalosu would recover his gear and get dressed again. Once set, he'd wave towards Kaze. "Have a good night. We'll do some more training tomorrow, hai?"