Date: October 14, 2015
By some mysterious twist of faith, Konohagakure's resident Ero-dono is offered the chance to join those who truly live within the shadows. Without hesitation or regret, the offer is accepted…
"Whispering Shadows: First Choice"
Toshiba Forest - Clearing [Konohagakure]
A circular opening at where when the moon is full perfectly shines and lights up this clearing. Surrounding this clearing are thick and tall trees with branches extending outwards. Further inside towards the center there are long patches of grass and several flat rocks one can sit on when resting. There is one single rock formations extending towards the west and back into the forest.
Animal life here are snakes slithering in the grass looking for squirrels or birds as prey while spiders can be seen within the tall grass and rocks. In the sky it is often that one or two eagles might be seen circling the area looking for rabbits. Finally, the rare deer comes here to feast on the grass while rumors of a predator lurking in this area is also known.
The sky is filled with white clouds; rain could well be on the way. The air is cool for the time of year, and the northwesterly winds do little to help. It is the type of day Zankuro would normally spend indoors grudgingly cataloguing his stash, researching, or simply sleeping the day away. Instead, the Sarutobi could be found in some rarely used clearing within Toshiba Forest, building muscle beneath a layer of thick fat. It is a sight few see. Those that knew the young man well enough would think his efforts to be the result of some punishment, more than likely implemented by his elder sister or some other higher up.
But such wasn't the case this time. If not for a pair of goggles strapped over his eyes, Zankuro's vision would be burning from all the sweat pouring out of his face and torso. His arms certainly did, and yet he continued pushing off the ground, demonstrating an uncanny sense of balance and strength in doing a handstand push-up. "Thirty-six… Thirty.. seven… Thirty… eight…"
The assignment was given and the time was limited. The need of completing the task had never been so important before as it was now. One day had come and gone quickly turning into two. Before long a week would go by and then the trail might go cold. What was to be done could wait no longer. Not with so much on the line. Moreso for himself, than anything else.
Slipping out of his normal shinobi attire and into the traditional ANBU garb, Hayai would slip into the trees after placing the ceramic rabbit mask over his face and head off in search of one of the chosen few to be selected. The search wouldn't be difficult, finding one of your own never was. Especially if they were still in the village. On average the most time it might take to pick up a trail or actually happen upon the individual. An hour at most. So it wasn't unexpected to quickly happen upon the young adult deep in training within the Toshiba Forest.
The winds would pick up slightly, pushing against the branches and allowing Hayai a chance to hopefully move from branch to branch for a closer look without being detected. Though if he was, it wouldn't be too big a loss. Exceptional stealth and tracking skills weren't a requirement, but would be looked upon favorably. However, only seconds would be allowed to pass before Hayai leapt from the trees to land suddenly near Zankuro. "Oi, a moment of your time."
"Forty-seven…. Forty-nine… Fifty-two… Fift-…." Zankuro hesitates for a moment in mid-air, completely befuddlement. Ignoring the serious complaints of muscles rarely used, he locks himself in that position while trying to puzzle out the conundrum of numbers. To say that Zankuro was unprepared for visitors would be a gross understatement, because the moment Haiyai spoke up the Sarutobi goes tumbling flat on his belly. Groans and moans of complaint is all Eremi gets for the next few moments.
Belatedly, alarm bells go off, prompting the rotund Chuunin to scramble to get at least his feet up under him. He isn't entirely successful the first couple of times, but eventually some semblance of a defensive seated form is put on display. "… An Anbu? Really? Oh… man… Can't anyone take a joke?" With that said, Zankuro's forehead falls into a waiting open palm.
Hayai would remain rather rigid in his stance, feet firmly planted to the ground with no intention of moving closer toward Zankuro for the time being. He didn't want to appear hostile nor threatening, but it came with ANBU territory. Even a mask of a rabbit can strike fear in the hearts that know well of the ANBU. "I don't know what you think you may have done, and I don't care. I am here for other reasons." Head would tilt slightly, waiting for Zankuro to regain some measure of composure about himself now knowing they won't be getting into trouble.
"I was sent to find you for other reasons. Be it because you've expressed interest or your talents have caught the eyes of your superiors, either way, they have deemed you worthy. Worthy of becoming a member of the ANBU." This news would certainly elicit a better response from the other, one Hayai would watch for through the slits in his mask.
It doesn't take much for Zankuro to regain composure once Hayai cleared him of one phantom worried. But why else would an Anbu be here? The thought provoking question is enough of a motivator to warrant removing the hand, and revealing a raised brow. As tired as he was, Zankuro remained prepared enough to wait for hours if necessary to hear the answer to his silent question.
Curiosity. Shock. Calculation. Serious. Each were expressed at some point or another once Hayai continued on, though only one may be of any real — or at least, immediate — interest to the Anbu Initiate. Zankuro rarely if ever showed any serious thought being put before commiting to an action. "It ain't my way," He'd said if questioned, but the truth was far from it. His uncle's journal taught him much about the true nature and ways of the Shinobi. They were things taken to heart, though rarely given the chance to shine.
After a lengthy moment of silence, Zankuro rigidly forced himself to his feet, dusting himself off along the way, and regarded Hayai with the upmost seriousness. "When do we start?"
A look of confusion would cross Hayai's face at Zankuro's words, but being covered by the mask, it would not be revealed to the other. Clearing his throat slightly to help alleviate the agitation the strain of trying to conceal his voice, whether or not Zankuro had ever met Eremi before, it was the persona he took once the ANBU garb was on. "We will start at the weeks end and once I can procure the other that will be joining our three man squad."
The ANBU's hands would find their way to the sack at his side, producing clothing and a single ceramic mask. "Until then, this is yours to keep.' The outfit was similar to Hayai's, but the mask was that of a Koi. "When you wear this you will no longer go by your name and instead will be called Kai. As we work along side one another, you may come to know my true identity, but even then you will call me Hayai."
Handing over the attire, Hayai would stand back and straighten up once again. "Your true identity should never be revealed. What we do as ANBU skirts the line of right and wrong, legal and illegal. You never question the superiors, you do what you are told and do so successfully. I'm sure you've heard before that failure is not an option, but this rings true no more than now. You do what regular Shinobi can not do. What the public can not know about. The training you have been through before now is nothing of what you will face from now on."
Zankuro seems almost taken aback by the time frame for a brief moment, but he ultimately offers no word of complaint or question at it before returning to a more serious expression. When offered the garb he takes hold of it in an almost reverent manner. Afterwards, he does not look up for it until near the end, silently awestruck. Only the mask elicits something other than respect bordering on worship. A brief smile of amusement at what the Anbu considered fitting for him. Or perhaps such consideration weren't taken into account?
Regardless, Eremi's words do not fall on death ears at this time. Zankuro's gaze meets the ceramic slits near the end. "Un-understood, Hayai-sama. I…" Zankuro shook his head sharply, removing the flash of doubt that nearly overtook his expression. "I will not fail you, sir!" He exclaims, grinning for the first time since the strange meeting started.
Hayai would offer a nod at Zankuro as the other took the clothing and regarded them in a respectable fashion. "It's not me you would be failing. It's the village." A brief pause, "And a little of me, but since you and the other person will be a part of my team, failure would be on my shoulders. So we mustn't let that happen." Another clearing of his throat and Hayai would offer a parting wave. "Once I meet with the other, I will call for you so the three of us can convene and prepare for the tasks that have already been laid out before us." The winds would kick up once again and Hayai would slip into the trees.