Date: October 16, 2015
As a storm rolls into Kadomai, a meeting of two souls takes place drawing up feelings of the past. Steeled in their resolve, the reason for the visit becomes clear. Konoha's future has need of more protection.
"Whispering Shadows: A Link to the Past"
When the village began expanding to invite more people into the area, Etsu was one of the firsts to jump on and purchase a plot of land. It wasn't long before her home was assembled or at the very least, she was incredibly patient. Her home wasn't palatial like the others around here, but it was modest in the way only upper-class could make it mean. Quite traditional, it had the familiar tiling and swayed roofing, but was largely unfortified by any walls except for those that protected against falling into the lake water. A path led up to the door through a garden that she happened to be tending…at night.
Yes, her tendencies to do things at times normal people didn't tended to cause unease and discomfort to those around her, but she didn't care much for their opinions. Besides, it's not as if they understood some plants and flowers did much better under moonlight than they did sun. It'd be preposterous to even consider that everything didn't happen in the daytime. But, it's time to go inside, anyway. The clouds above are gathering and they'll soon bring rain with them. She sent out her insects to go and gather netting to protect the plants from the storm as it appeared it'd be severe. The air was heavy with the scent of dirt and thick with moisture. Lightning was clawing through as if attempting to rip the open to pour out the contents.
"I suppose I should head in; we should head in. Come along," she spoke to her insects which returned to her to head inside.
Much like before when it came to tracking Zankuro, Etsu was no different. However, despite the minimal effort put forth in doing so, Hayai was not able to find the Kunoichi within the village. So his search lead him outside the gates and into the forest until eventually reaching his own hometown of Kadomai. Once there it wasn't long until he picked up the trail of the Aburame and was able to track her to this locatiion. The 'upscale' side of Kadomai. A place that didn't exist when he was growing up. Nothing but dirt roads and shanty's
Rounding a shadowed corner, Hayai would come to a stop, hesitating at the sight of Etsu. Surprised at seeing her followed by the flood of emotions that came bubbling up toward the surface. Unlike Zankuro, the man he did not know, Etsu was one whom he shared quite the past with. A past that unfortunately did not connect to the present, at least not until now. He found his strength slipping just at the sight of her and wanted nothing more than to just stay where he was and watch her from afar through the slits in his mask.
It was something he knew he could not do, especially with the clouds quickly gather ahead. His time was fading short. Gathering what strength he could, he stepped forward and with a raised hand called out. "Before you go, a moment of your time." His voice was calm and collected, a surprise considering how knotted up and twisted his insides were. Even though his face was hidden and his appearance had changed since last they spoke, there was always the chance Etsu would still recognize him. Hopefully, she would not state whether she could or not…
Etsu paused before she reached her door, her hand placed upon it to push aside and let her in. She was so close, but now she had a solicitor. She turned around and looked at the one before her. She was silent for a while and it's quite possible this silence stemmed from familiarity. She broke it by placing her hands into her pockets and approaching. "I have enough of it at this moment, but I doubt the storm does," she remarked as she cast her sights to the sky momentarily. She stopped just a few yards from him, perhaps not certain if she should draw so close. At the least, it wouldn't seem too suspect, she hoped. The people around here could be nosy.
At one point in time, Etsu would have been bothered by the term butterflies in the stomach, but she can now say that this is a real feeling…
Swallowing back the lump in his throat, Hayai took the nonchalant response from Etsu as a good sign, even if that was her normal behavior. It had been so long ago… "Then I won't keep you too long." A wary glance would be cast about them before the man stepped forward and focused his eyes on the goggles of the Aburame before him. "I have been sent to find you and let you know that if you are interested you have been given the opportunity to join the ranks of the ANBU. This being either because you showed interest or merely because your skills have caught the eyes of your superiors and would be a waste to not have you within our ranks I do not know, and I do not question the directive." Not anymore…
"Really…" Etsu's voice climbed momentarily in shock. She was far more shocked than she let show. "I don't know myself, to be honest. I didn't think ANBU would have any interest in me, to be honest," she offered honestly. "I never thought I was good enough to be sought by them. But, if this is the case, then who am I to decline? I would rather serve my village in greater capacity than I would as I am now if it meant I could protect it with greater efficiency."
Hayai would offer a slight nod in response before reaching to the pouch at his side and fumbling around a bit, "You can't honestly be surprised? Your connection with your Kikaichu is strong and would be more than a valuable asset to the village if you were to join the ANBU. Unfortunately though what you do as an ANBU for the village from now on will never be known to anyone but those in your immediate squad and superiors with enough clearance to be deemed worthy to know what we do."
Empty hands from before would now be holding garments and a ceramic mask with markings similar to a seahorse with three points at the top that could easily be construed as a crown. "Which is why you will have to keep a second identity, one that goes by the name, Tamafune. Once you accept what I offer you, you will join myself and one other on a task force that will begin doing special jobs other shinobi would not be able to do. Jobs that skim the line between right and wrong, black and white. We do so without question and are reward is a better village for all to live in."
"I suppose so. Still. There's that child-like innocence that looks up to certain things in the village with a sense of awe versus the truth of the matter," Etsu shrugged. "I am willing to take up the burden of isolation. It's almost natural to Aburame, so in some ways it's more of a relief." She took note of the garments and mask he provided and her heart skipped a beat. A seahorse… She was elated, to say the least. "Tamafune will be my name," she repeated. "Reasonable. All that this task force does is towards the greater good of the village. Therefore, I accept all that comes with it. Right and wrong, black and white."
"Another nod was given, "Good, I'm glad to hear you accept this so willingly. Most of your duties will be tied up with the ANBU, but to keep up appearances you will still be able to do normal missions as a regular shinobi assuming you are free to do so." Hands falling to his sides, he'd shift some in his stance before glancing up at the sky to gauge how much more time the clouds would give the two of them. He didn't want it to end so shortly, but considering how Etsu had agreed to join, they would naturally be seeing a lot more of each other. "My name," Lowering his gaze back to the Aburame. "Is Hayai and the others is Kai. I'm sure you are curious to who I am behind this mask and as we work together it wouldn't be unexpected were you to figure that out, but even then I am still Hayai and Kai will still be Kai."
"Hayai…" Etsu repeated softly to herself. "I know you as Hayai and from this point, you will know me as Tamafune. I am curious but as I said, child-like innocence," she remarked. Her heart knew, but she couldn't very well let that get in the way of the importants of this issue. "When we gather, I intend to be better acquainted with Kai. Until then, I shouldn't keep you here as this storm approaches. It would be rude of me to do so."
Hayai stared in silence briefly, quite possibly thinking the same as Etsu was at that very moment. If not for a change in the atmosphere, he might have dazed off even longer. "The next time we meet won't be too far from now. We have an important task that has fallen upon my lap, and I am to see to it that it is completed. You and Kai will accompany, but will not interfer. You both will observe and…well, I'll go over more into detail at a later point." The first drop of rain had managed to squeeze from the clouds overhead and land softly against Hayai's mask. "I will call for you when that time comes." A gentle wave of his hand and Hayai would slip off into the nearest shadow.