Work Smarter, Not Harder


Kazuo, Atoshi, Zankuro

Date: February 27, 2014


Zankuro & Atoshi are given an impromptu lesson on thinking before acting during a multi-part mission by none other than cland head Kazuo Sarutobi.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Work Smarter, Not Harder"

Land of Whirlpools - Farmland

A small envoy, namely Kazuo, Zankuro and Atoshi have been drafted up to head for the land of whirpools. It was a multi-part mission, part for a private client who hired Konoha to solve some issues at his docks. The second bit was Kazuo's job. It was simple enough, she had to discuss a renewed trade agreement with a few of the local nobles. And the third part…. Well, lets just say Kazuo didn't mention the third part. Knowing how the genin are likely to respond. They met up by the gates just before dawn. And they have been walking for the majority of the day. The genin outfitted with large backpacks to carry camping equipment and such. since it's a rather long haul to reach the land of whirlpools. Normally people take two to three days, and two and a half days worth of walking is indeed what the small company managed to make of it.

Kazuo was in a good mood. Friendly at both genin, openhearted, happy to answer questions and teaching tidbits of jutsu along the way. Especially being open for Zankuro to ask any questions, especially if it's chakra or fire related! Other than that it was a normal haul with small talk, plenty of decent food and occasional training. The genin were asked to alternate guard while the other two slept. But Kazuo took most of that burden upon herself. And while she didn't appear too worried or vigilant. Her eyes were constantly shooting back and forth. They weren't expecting any trouble. But it was worth keeping an eye out.

Man.. what a drag. Loaded up with big packs. But at least the person in charge wasn't hardcore. He still woke up in cold sweats at night due to Noab! Shifting the pack on his shoulder, Atoshi shoved his hands into his pockets and kept up with the others. While not necessarily withdrawn, he didn't really engage the others too much in conversation, interested in watching Kazuo and Zankuro train, than doing much of his own. He thought about what Noab had said. Military requires a certain order.. and he hadn't been doing it.

Zankuro Sarutobi the third (Not really) kept up the "hard" pace set forth by team leader and clan head Kazuo. The fact that he was drenched in sweat within the first hour of walking had nothing at all to do with the pace being too much. Nope. Not one bit. It all had to do with the how cheery and friendly the clan head had been throughout most of the trip, because really, what growing young man wouldn't be nervous about such attention? Again, totally that and not the pace or the heat or the weight of supplies bearing down on him OR any concerns regarding the mission. Nope. Nadda. Zilcho! Honestly. Although… he did kind of skirt away from any practical execution of jutsu on his part whenever Kazuo's impromptu lessons seemed to veer towards that direction. He even went as far as to try and get Atoshi to take some of the heat, but after the first time or two the effort was quickly abandon. Something about the other boy just seemed to radiate 'Do not bother me'.
"Neh, Kazuo-sa — mmm… Sensei?" He start off abruptly at one point. "What's with all the shifty eyes?"

"It's called a defensive posture." Kazuo explains. "I'm extra weary, I'm the squad leader, so making sure you're safe is my responsibility. And since I'm more adept in spotting alterations in terrain I spot ambushes easier and earlier. That said, it's wise to always expect the unexpected." She smiles and turns her attention to Atoshi. "So, what kind of jutsu can I expect from you, silent one?" She asks somewhere along the trip.

Having noticed Zankuro's nervousness Kazuo's reply was leniency and comfort. She smiled a lot, let off when he felt uncomfortable and made sure to let him know he wouldn't be judged for his mistakes on more than one occasion. "Really, I'm a nice girl once you get to know me. I'm not my father you know…" Her father, Sarutobi Sasuke was known to be a bit more…. Strict. Easily disappointed and quick to show it. Though all with good intentions. "Come on, I think it's fun to be on a trip with one of the clan's genin.." She ruffles Zankuro's hair and points ahead. "That's the border. So good job you two, we're…. about ten percent done." She smirks. "Lets get the private client dealt with first…" She points down a dirt road… "He owns a farm that way…" She does grab a map to double check, correcting to another path. "I mean that way." ….

Atoshi studied Zankuro and his.. difficulty. Yeesh. He'd stare at Zankuro any time the offer was done, glad to not have to do that once it was let go. Looking to Kazuo at her request, he'd give a small shrug. "I'm boring. I got some genjutsu I can do, along with taijutsu using the Kokuhousou. I don't do the.." He'd eye Zankuro, "Fire thing. Or anything like that. I'll help as I can, Sensei." Polite. To her at least, yeah.. Noab scarred him well.

Zankuro tries to nervous edge, but even a change of tactics leaves him just a smidgen wary. "H-hey!" He says, trying in vain to smooth his hair back into its usual wind-swept look. When that fails Zankuro just sighs in defeat and would keep his head pretty much down until the borders are in sight. He perks up only as Atoshi starts listing off his abilities, but only just a little. Sorta. Kind of. "Kokuhos.. Kosho… Konoto… mmmm… Ah! Your a gainso, right?" He asks with a snap of his fingers and smile in his voice.

"Smart lad, close enough anyways." Kazuo said while pointing at a large farm estate by the coastline. "There we go." She says, knocking on the door once they arrive. A happy farmer opening the door. "Oh good! You're finally here!" Kazuo nods and smiles. "So you said you had a little pest issue?"

"Yes yes, please follow me… Please…" He moves down his fields, where he produces things ranging from tomatoes to leaks to rice… "Ever heard of the sprouter-mole? It's an endangered species and essential to the watering of the rice fields.." The man explains. "Issue is, they're stubborn little creatures and hard to catch… You'll see what I mean." The man sighs. "We're not allowed to kill them, so please - be careful - …." He points down to his tomato field. Which appears to be flooded by a small layer of water, which in turn ruined his crops. "There's one of the platitudes!" Says the farmer, pointing at a mole poking his head out of the dirt.

A cute little animal, looks more like a miniature otter! Though this one can dig! "Don't be fooled by their cute apperances… They're nifty little creatures. Anyways, theres about thirty of them. And I want them in that cage by nightfall…" The man sighs and walks off as the animal stares at Atoshi, almost challenging him to get close… Kazuo crosses her arms and moves to sit down on a little bench. "Well then, better get to work boys.."

Atoshi stared back at the critter for a moment. Eyes narrowed, he'd focus a single hand sign as a flickering purple briefly showed about him. With a few more hand seals, he'd reach out for that mole. A sound behind it, in it's hole, of a preditor's low growl in precursor to a leaping attack. If it worked? Atoshi would immediately move, running over there to try and catch it while it's above ground. If not? Well.. nothing ventured.

The sprouter-mole shows why he's called so. With a cackle that can easily be mistaken for a laugh, the cute little thing, feeling endangered shoots a sharp, concentrated blast of water from its mouth right at Atoshi's face. Aiming at his eyes specifically. Using the distraction to pop down below deck. Soon enough though another one pops up near the other side of the field…. Looking around cutely…

Kazuo giggles, a hand ending up on her mouth. She had dealt with these things when she was little. It was almost nostalgic.

Another mole pops up for Zankuro. Staring at the boy for a long moment, looking innocent and like it won't attack as long as he approaches gently… slowly…… NOPE: *Water blast in the face* ….

Kazuo really has to make an effort not to burst out laughing this time!

Zankuro grins, puffs out his chest, and rubs at the space between lip and nose at the acknowledgement. It would probably be a week before he belatedly catches on to the mistake. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps. But before then it is time to follow after Kazuo again. Albeit this time he does trail behind the group until they reach their destination, and would continue to do so once the farmer showed them the big issue.
"So that's it, huh? Doesn't sound all that bad. Ain't that right Gainso-san?" He asks, turning now to peer at Atoshi. He can only scratch his head at the sight of Atoshi and the critter having a staring contest of some sort. "… Uh, At — " He starts to say, but by that point the boy has already rushed off after the critter! If he manages to catch it, Zankuro would literally applaud him for it. But if doesn't well…
"D'aww, Ain'tcha a cute fell — " The rest get drowned out by the water hitting him in the face. Dripping wet and mildly confused at first, Zankuro can only stare blankly at the critter for the first few seconds, then glare halfheartedly at the creature. "Of course ya know, this means war." He states blandly.

The little critter cackles and begins back paddling through the small bottom layer of water. To make things worse, trying to get close gets you stuck in a deep layer of mud. Making even the fastest ninja's nice and slow… Unless you would know water walking!

Atoshi frowns as his initial attempt failed. Well.. now he's wet. "This is boring." Sighing, he'd step back a bit, wondering. Of course, that's when the mud would latch on, sticking him to one spot. "Great." Muttering, he'd retreat off the mud field, pondering exactly how was he going to handle this..

"Think'n of getting away too, eh?" Zankuro says as he watches his cackling target start to flee. "Well then — " He flashes through a series of hand seals. "Try fleeing from this! Katon: Covering Fire!" He literally cries out before taking a deep breath and expelling a barrage of fireballs if not stopped. All would miss as intended and hit the water front behind the critter. He only means to paralyze the critter with fear and perhaps a few of his buddies too. Then and only then does he try his hand at the muck and capture, twitching every now and then from the sound each step makes.

The little critter EEEEPS and begins peddling left to right. Kazuo didn't do anything, seemingly trusting the boy to be careful with his fire. Making a mental note to lecture him later on the nature of flames and carelessness around them. Though there it is! The things only have flippers and claws! That should make it very difficult for them to move on dry ground! If Zankuro is fast enough, he'll also be able to snatch up this particular panicking … forever traumatized sprouter-mole.

Musing, he'd look for the next critter, trying one last time to use his audible effect. Always behind the critter would the sound of a predatory growl, seeking to drive it onto land. As soon as it was on dry land, Atoshi would move as well, attempting to capture the critter to put into the basket. If the genjutsu didn't really work, then he'd simply have to apply his speed faster than the thing could move, dodging based on his instinct instead of planned response.

Zankuro isn't all that fast, but he definetly gives it his all when he sees the punk critter flee in confusion! "Gotcha!" He and all his fluffy build suggests is sent flying at the creature. Time seems to slow down for a scant few seconds as he fell, tongue hanging out the side of his mouth as he grew closer… and closer… and finally had the little beast inbetween his hands. "Ho hum! See this here Gainso-san?! This'n the way it should be done!" He yells out, pumping the hand clutching the critter in the air a few times, and totally oblivious to the amount of crud now clinging to his once perfectly good shirt.

Kazuo giggles, shaking her head to see both of them catching one like that… "Truly, you boys are incorrigible…" She smiles and nods at the field…. "Well get to work. Twenty-eight more to go before you're allowed to take a shower. I'll make sure the inn has hot water ready for when we arrive. And some food as a reward for good work…" Then her face turns to pure evil. "Fail the task however, and you each sleep without shower nor food until it's done the next morning.." Then she smiles again innocently. "Good luck!~" And with that she disappears …

Atoshi deadpans Zankuro. "It's Gansao." Shaking his head, he'd glance over at Kazuo as her creepy side showed up… Interesting. Frowning, he'd shrug and look back to his work. Repeating what did work with the genjutsu and speed, any of them he couldn't get with the gen, he'd leave for Zankuro to get with fire.

"What do you mean its gone south? It's right here in my hand ain't it?" Zankuro asks, for he's all kinds of confused at the moment. That same confused look is turned upon the critter in hand before an idea strikes him. "Wait… Kazuo-semp-mm-sa-mmm… Kazuo-Sensei! Can these things use genjutsu?" He calls out, holding it up for Kazuo to see for herself. Only problem is the fact that she already vanished from the scene. "Huh… Guess she went on to get lunch ready for us little buddy." He says as he meandered over to the caging area, completely and blissfully unaware of Kazuo's last words. Granted, he did have to tax quite a few brain cells regarding Atoshi's sanity.

It's like the hours flew by… Completely covered in mud, cold spit-water and having caught twenty-eight of the darn things. The two boys are down to the final two. Kazuo arrives holding a bento, opening it up and using her chopsticks to om-nom-nom in front of the two… The smell is delicious… "Almost done?" She asks tauntingly, while sitting down by the same bench she sat down before. Though now, the sun is going down, instead of just starting to brighten up their day!

Panting softly, gritting his teeth to keep going. This was harder than originally anticipated, he'd eye Kazuo as she showed up. "Hai. The last two awaiting your effort in part of this mission are here. We have corralled the rest." Probably the longest sentence he's said all day. Then again, he was tired, hungry and cranky.. so not exactly in the best of moods and most likely attitude either. Flicking mud away with his hands, he'd frown at the last buggers. He couldn't genjutsu them.. and neither of them have been fast enough yet for the fire trick.

Zankuro is little better than Atoshi. If anything, the boy is a living mountain of sludge after the critters started to catch on to his tricks. Still, he didn't seem to mind all that. Then again, his face can't quite be discerned amongst it all so…
"Mmpghraph — uck, bleh!!" He wipes some of the muck from his face. "Hai! What Atomo-san said!" He strikes a good guy pose. "Oh! ARe those for me?" He doesn't wait for answer before snatching up the nearest bento. Even if it meant snatching up the one Atoshi was going for (which he would).

Suddenly, there's a sword in front of the boy's face. Glowing red with heat… "Not yet…" Kazuo says. Lightly tapping down so the bento drops onto the ground. "I brought these to teach you guys a lesson. Your dinner will be ready at the inn…" Kazuo smiles. "See my sensei… Dad… Taught me this when I was nine years old. Not with these animals, but the situation was similar. And obviously I took the effort of asking about these little critters in town." Kazuo smiles and puts the bento down… "Apparently, smoked rice drives these things nuts…" She calmly opens up the bento, laying out the rice in a small path towards the pens… "And viola.." Really quickly, the cute little animals come racing in, beginning to eat up the rice and simply following Kazuo. Who picks them both up with ease… "See, nothing to DNHUIBBLRBIR" …. Yes… She too has a wet face now…. Both critters are placed in their box…. And Kazuo uses her arm to wipe off her face. "Then again, I forgot they did that…" She then bursts out laughing…

Atoshi raised a brow as Kazuo pulled a sword on Zankuro. Shaking his head slightly, he'd shove his hands into his pockets. "Make us work all day when you already had the answer is such a waste of time and so boring." He'd eye the animals as they were all caught before walking over to pick up his pack. "I'm going to clean up." His stomach would pick that moment to growl. Loudly. He'd glare at it, then start walking. "If I'm lucky, there'll be food, I'm sure."

Zankuro goes cross-eyed from trying to peer at the heated blade in his face, and then glanced at Atoshi with an almost pleading look before returning his gaze back to the elder Sarutobi. What she says earns a gulp and a slow nod from the boy. A mental note is added as well: Don't mess with Kazuo-sensei. Yet. The last part being his prankster heart getting the best of him.
"Kazuo-baka~" Zankuro bursts out laughing himself along with Kazuo. "Whoa-whoa-whoa there Atama-san! Ya almost forgot to thank Kazuo-sam-moam-sensei for the life lesson!" He exclaims, and even go so far as to try and grap ahold of the boy's wrist if he could.

"It's okay Zankuro. Don't worry about it. He'll realise when he gets older that occasionally, going head on to something isn't the way to go. But finding common ground, will instantly resolve your conflict." Kazuo smiles and nods in the direction in the inn. It's a mere three minutes walk. "And yes, there's hot food and a hot shower awaiting on you both… Now, how about I race you there?"

Atoshi shakes his head, glancing at Kazuo. "no, because I don't want you suddenly adding some bet or something that requires us to get there first or no shower.. and since we don't have that chance, it never happens." He'd shift his pack on his shoulder. "I'll walk. I've been working all day because someone decided instead of working smarter, we had to work harder. Sensei." That last bit was said with such venom.. and yet he didn't say anything overtly disrespectful. Military chain and such.

Zankuro turns back to Kazuo with a frown, but wordlessly accepts her words before turning back to regard Atoshi. The frown only grows(?) after hearing the two speak. "Geeze… *sighs*… Sorry Kaze-sensei, but I'm with Atomi-san with this one. If'n eitha of ya haven't noticed — " He picks up his gut and shakes it a bit before letting it drop. "Ain't exactly much for running to begin with. Plus, I'm freaking starving over here." He admitted shamelessly with a smile in his voice. He put his palms together and bowed his head. "Rain check, Kaze-sensei!… please?"

"A rain check it is… I see I got lucky and scored the two laziest genin in the universe!" …. Kazuo rolls her eyes and winks. "And don't worry. You don't think I would ever let you two go to bed without shower and food!" She smirks. "Though I'm glad you both liked the workout. It was in fact, to teach you to work smarter, not harder. I didn't define - how - you had to go about it did I?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License