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Old 08-23-2019, 11:38 AM   #11
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Another one?!

Takumi never wanted to be here in the first place. He took the job because he was ordered to, and despite his undying hatred of everything that required physical exertion, he knew better than berate the requests of his superiors, and more specifically, his father, who had taken up residence in the missions office and seemed quite happy to send him on mission after mission, with little to no reprieve in between. He’d drone on and on about making a man out of him. No more!

“Fine! FINE. F I N E!

Takumi let out a huff and dropped his barnacle scrapping tool on the ground, retreating back to the boat. He shooed Ringo’s chicken out of his way and plopped down in the boat, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a neatly folded manga book. Also under the effects of the genjutsu, he flipped through the book trying to find the last place he’d left off in. He grumbled under his breath, whispering things like, “It had to be otters,” and “What the fuck is a giant, do these assholes talk to whales?” and “Sounds like something straight out of one of these books, but less exciting… …Talking otters heckling the fuck out of two genin that just want to do their job.”

His eyes jolted up, locking on Ringo.

“Sailor! Retreat to the boat! For now anyway. These, uh, otters don’t want us messing with this thing right now. It’s time for a break!” He looked towards the sky for a moment, furrowing his brow. Which direction were they facing again? It didn’t matter! “Come, let us dine upon the rations that the, uh… most esteemed chefs of Kirigakure have sent us!”

He gestured at the nearby picnic basket he'd brought on their voyage for emphasis.

Mom makes the best dumplings.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:14 PM   #12
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Slimy green residue dripped from the end of Ringo’s tool. Her jaw simultaneously wanted to drop down in disbelief while still remaining tightened in anger. As a compromise she spoke her next strained words through clenched teeth. “Yes, Sir.” The girl sat down in the boat hard enough to rock it, further upsetting the still tender Zwei. With a rigid upright posture and tense, uncomfortable movements, she did her best to follow her orders. The sun beat down. The sea breeze blew out In salty bursts.

Somewhere a flock of seagulls squawked and balked as they fought over a dying crab. The Voice stayed silent.

Ringo found it hard to get food past her tightly shut teeth. In a very uncharacteristic move, she started tossing the uneaten bits to Zwei. The one legged bird was quick to jump on the scraps. Maybe, she thought, maybe she was being too uptight about all this. Her Commander certainly seemed at ease, and the weather was so nice. Why not just kick back, relax, and enjoy the-

“Ahh!”
The boat tilted precariously as she darted to the side of it and leaned over the edge. “Stop that! You little soggy vermin!”

Several little soggy heads turned to look at the spitting girl. At the base of the shrine, among the shredded carcasses of the barnacles the two genin spent all morning chipping away, were several chittering otters. In their small paws they held the remains of the offending barnacles and were carefully placing them back on the gate, holding them in place with glowing paper seals.

Exasperated Ringo turned towards the ranking officer of the ship. “That’s our work! They are undoing our work! We haven’t even painted it yet!”
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:11 PM   #13
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Takumi was quiet for the most part once Ringo had sat down, content to let her idle angrily while they took their break. Despite his desire to get home before dusk, the appearance of the second otter had completely taken away what little work ethic he had left. He was sure he’d find it again though! Provided he made it to the bottom of the dumpling pile. Grabbing another stick of dangos, he plopped two in his mouth, chewing gingerly before nearly being knocked over by the sudden rocking of their boat.

The noise that escaped Takumi’s mouth was nothing short of choking. He hacked for a few moments, doing his best to dislodge the offending dumpling that had gotten trapped in his airway. There was a few moments of flailing as he tried to steady himself and the boat enough to stand. With the subsequent blueness of his face and inability to make noise, there was nothing short of panic on Takumi’s face, giving how is eyes bulged, how his nose ran, and how tears streamed down his cheeks. His hands weaved together, almost like a hand sign, but instead of casting a jutsu, he drove two hands into his diaphragm, concentrated on the thumb of his cupped hand. A few more thrusts, and a dumpling shot high into the air, landing with a rather disgusting splat on Zwei’s head.

Rubbing his eyes and nose, Takumi gasped for breath, following Ringo’s voice in the direction of the otters. His eyes, still bulged behind the circular frames of his glasses, locked on the miscreants as he hacked the remainder of food in his mouth in their direction.

“They tried to kill me!” Maybe he was overreacting, but dying at the hands of talking otters was not how the shinobi intending on dying. If anything, he intended to die from… “Old age! That’s how I plan to die, you disgustingly cute evildoers! You have undermined the Kirigakure’s authority for the last time!”

He looked toward Ringo’s direction one more time, producing a scroll. “Sailor! PREPARE FOR BATTLE!”
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:33 PM   #14
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Like the dawning sun a smile rose on Ringo’s face. Yes. Yes! The time for action was now! Heavy her baton weighed on her belt until this moment, as she brandished it like a banner of war. “Zwei! To arms!”

Zwei wasn’t in the boat anymore, though. As Ringo’s head turned around she felt the wooden boards under her feet tilt precariously. Had she leaned a little too far off the edge? The answer came sooner than anticipated.

“Silence, children!”

The far end of the boat pushed past the point of no return and with a yell, the whole vessel flipped over. The hard working otters pasting barnacles paused and exchanged worried glances. After a great deal of splashing and screaming for help, an ominous blood red cloud began to flow out from beneath the boat. Then came the anguished, tortured scream of a girl. “ATTACK! I'M BEING ATTACKED!” Thrashing around like a maniac the head of Ringo burst out from the water’s surface, her face streaked with the dark red liquid. As she flailed helplessly her horrified cries echoed around the cove. Each word she howled like a dying beast.

“THE PAINT! IT SPILLED ALL THE PAINT! WE CAN'T COMPLETE THE MISSION ANYMORE!”

Standing atop the upturned rowboat and watching with a judgmental eye was a black furred otter, a bit taller than her brown furred breathren. Carefully woven seaweed brambles formed a kind of robe over her, and her eyes looked down at the turbulent surface of the water with a stern intelligence. As it stroked its long whiskers she spoke down to the humans. “Are you really emissaries of Kirigakure?” The voice was unmistakably the same as the one from before, but now it came out in the quieter volume one would expect of a foot long animal. “Yet you cannot even walk atop the waves? Do the Giants disgrace us with such pitiful shinobi?”

Coughing and sputtering Ringo pulled herself to the rocky shoreline. Zwei stood somewhere far off to the side and was dissecting a dumpling. Her face was completely red, either from exhaustion, anger, or from the two buckets of paint that was now soaking into her uniform.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:32 PM   #15
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Spinning around in the boat, a series of small puffs of smoked echoed along the twirling shinobi, radiating from the scroll he’d unfurled around his body. As he spun, a series of kunai and shuriken spiraled out, aimed directly for the offending creatures. Takumi’s onslaught however, was short lived, given how he capsized with the boat. A series of splashes rendered the rest of Takumi’s attack void, leaving him and his teammate covered in ilk and paint. Like Ringo, he too surfaced, covered in the red paint meant to be used to repaint the shrine.

“How dare you!” He screeched, flailing angrily as he surfaced. Despite not being able to walk on water, he, like most Mist shinobi, was quite adept at swimming. He finally managed to stand, blushing vehemently, though it was hard to tell under the red paint. Still, he splashed around as we waded back to the shore, scooping up some water and throwing it over his face to help remove the paint once he’d gotten out of the stained water’s range. He grimaced as he looked back towards it. All their work for naught! What would his father say?

“We are genin of Kirigakure! What you’re doing is in direct violation of the Mizukage’s orders! There will be reparations for this, mark my words!” As his soaked scroll floated toward him, he sneered and snatched the object, rolling it up the best he could. All of his remaining seals had broken, their ink smeared and erased. A horde of ninja tools washed to shore like seashells. Takumi was far too indignant to pick them up.

“Sailor!” He folded his arms, staring towards Ringo. He wasn’t sure how to proceed. Talking otters foiling what should have been an easy mission. What a disgrace! “This is a test! In accordance to the Kirigakure shinobi bylaws, how should we proceed?”

In truth, he didn’t know. Lucky for him, his teammate was a stickler for the rules. She was practically obsessed with them. He did, however, know that the thing he wanted most was just to go home.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:42 PM   #16
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Though the girl knew no steam ninjutsu it certainly seemed as though her inflamed indignation was enough to boil the water that now soaked her uniform. “Assault! Endangerment of military personnel! Damaging private property!” Zwei let out a terse, poignant cluck of agreement. Ringo held up a finger as if it were an executioner ax. “And! And!” She swung her stained red digit towards the still unpainted gate. “Interfering with a Rank D objective without the proper authorization! It's a death sentence! It can't be anything but death!"

As Mumo cleaned her glossy coat the cloaked otter seemed unperturbed. Instead she merely gave a small wave with her tiny hands. “The Giant's Law is absolute.” She made a sweeping gesture, or at least as sweeping as one could make with limbs the length of a spatula. “You will be killing yourself afterwards for violating our sacred contract, yes?”

“Wha- of course!”
Ringo spat back before thinking, not really understanding what the tiny creature was chittering about. “Now get over here and let me execute you!”

Other than the lapping of the waves and the distant cries of seabirds, nothing seemed to move. Even the smaller otters repairing the shrine stood frozen.

When the otter spoke her words rolled out in a solemn growl. “Very well.” In the next instant the beast dove into the water and quickly spiraled towards the shore. Before Ringo could sputter out in surprise and draw a weapon the animal stood before the genin. The sun seemed to simply vanish into her black fur, making it almost seem as though she might turn into a shadow at the blink of an eye. Mumo bowed her head like a condemned criminal.

At a loss and unequipped with any sort of weapon she could use for a proper beheading, Ringo looked up at her commanding officer for guidance. Wasn't it proper that he do it, anyway? Justice could only be dished out by authority, and as far as Ringo was concerned, there was no greater authority on that rocky outcropping than her team leader.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:06 PM   #17
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Was this otter suicidal? Maybe nihilistic was a better term. Ringo did offer the creature death, after all! But this talk of contracts had Takumi inadvertently confused. None of it made much sense. Especially the killing herself after she killed the otter. Something weird had been going on ever since the otters showed up, and Takumi didn’t like it! These otters were tricksters! This all had to be one big joke. There’s no way the creatures were taking this serious. This was all a big sham! They were making the two genin into laughing stocks! He’d never be able to be a good shinobi if they ruined his reputation this way!

What would my father say?!

Clearing his throat, Takumi stood up as straight as he could. These otters had to be joking. No one will willingly die for putting mollusks back on a post. That seemed a bit too extreme for his liking. These otters were simply treating the two of them like he did Ringo. Maybe they wanted in on his harmless joke of treating everything the girl did as super serious.

“Alright, alright, one second.” He looked over at Ringo and shrugged. Were they calling her bluff? It wasn’t like the girl had anything to kill them with. Reaching for his dagger, he twirled it around in his dominant hand. He marched over to her and held it out for her, but held up his other hand to stay her execution before turning his attention to the otter.

“You stand accused of, uh.” He looked at Ringo, almost as if searching her face for guidance. “Accused of everything Sailor Ringo accused you of! Before we begin the sentencing, we, as esteemed shinobi of Kirigakure, demand answers!”

“First, what possessed you to interfere with our sacred mission? Secondly, what is a Giant, and thirdly, what is their law? And fourthly! Why on earth would you demand that Ringo, Mist's premiere genin, kill herself too?!”
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:02 PM   #18
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“My faith,” the otter spoke to the rocks beneath their feet, yet her voice carried with enough weight to be heard, “will not be tested by such pointless inquiries. The only judgment which matters is that of the Giants.“ One of Mumo’s tiny, dark eyes moved up to look at the girl holding the dagger. “Go on. Pass your judgment on me. If you succeed, then you have the divine right to do as you please with our shrine. If not...”

That settled it, didn’t it? Well, maybe not, but Ringo lacked the proper mental facilities to process whatever strange events now transpired. A master of a beast herself she found the vague mysticism of the creature very upsetting, especially all the alluding to authority figures which weren’t shinobi. In the Academy she learned about summons, the intelligence animal societies which contracted work out to shinobi from time to time. But this waterlogged rat couldn’t be one of those, right? If there were any kind of legal repercussions to killing snooty animals, Ringo and her ever growing chicken graveyard would certainly have known about it.

The genin’s faith wouldn’t be tested either! She gripped the leather hilt of the dagger with both hands and held it above the tiny creature's body. Despite its earlier flipping of their boat Ringo felt the otter wouldn't be able to so easily shrug off a blow from the cold steel. All that other nonsense about 'killing herself' she wasn't paying much attention to. Ringo only played by one set of rules: Kirigakure's!

“It's uncooperative. Talking won't get us anywhere”
Ringo's harsh gaze shot at her captain. “Say the word, Sir, and I'll do my duty.”
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:10 PM   #19
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Like Ringo, Takumi’s brain churned, though he liked to think his cogs turned a bit faster than hers. Like her, he knew of summons, but had never learned of the ones contracted to Mist Country. It was an odd conundrum, possibly facilitated by the discriminatory tendencies of the Umikami of old and perhaps, timeline discrepancies. Whatever water gods were in charge now seemed to have their affairs in order and apparently thought it would be amusing to invoke the wrath of religious animals. Regardless of the absurdity, Takumi had had enough.

He hadn’t wanted to kill the adorable, furry creatures, but their attitude made them infinitely less likeable. Even now, the creatures baited and taunted him at any given opportunity. This creature was even calling their bluff! ‘Divine right’ and all of that crap! This was nonsense! NONSENSE!

“Kill it, arrest it, at this point, I don’t care. Just keep it away from me.”

He produced another scroll with a huff, marching back towards the shrine. He had prepared it days prior, when he just thought it would just have been him going to paint the torii gate. Unfortunately, the Kirigakure bureaucracy loved teaming him up with people that would hold him accountable. The other otters scampered around anxiously, staring at him, but maneuvering in a kind of defensive formation. He rolled his eyes and shooed one out of his way with his foot.

Squeezing the papyrus to rinse out the water that had gotten on it, he unfurled it. Luckily, the water had only gotten to the outermost layers, and given the work that the two had already done on the shrine, Takumi figured his backup plan would work.

“Ringo, as your team leader, I demand that you not be a tattle tale, regardless of how bad this winds up looking.”

Leaping into the air, Takumi rose, spinning furiously as he vaulted over the shrine. As he did so, red paintballs flew out of his projectile scroll, blasting the shrine in messy splatters. As he passed over the top and the other side, several otters chirped angrily in protest, trying to shield their holy monument.

Both the shrine and the majority of the otters were covered in red paint. The shrine was blotchy and didn’t exactly look its best, but he could blame that on Ringo. He was the oldest after all!
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:00 PM   #20
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A more enthusiastic death sentence could not have been uttered. Ringo could barely chirp out a ‘Aye aye Sir!’ before her body blazed into action. With chickens her aim never faltered but this beastie was quite a bit smaller, so a bit of care would need to be taken. Unlike a chicken the otter seemed more than willing to stand perfectly still all the while. How nice of it to be so cooperative now!

The tip of the blade fell and slipped easily into the animal's neck, plunged down from above like Ringo was trying to plant a flag in the base of its skull. A more perfect hit could not have been accomplished by one of the Seven Swordsman themselves! Satisfied with her work, Ringo took a step back to admire it, pulling the knife up along with her.

But when Ringo looked down there stood no otter or pool of blood. There was naught but the rocky crags of the atoll, and some splashed up red paint churned ashore by the sea waves. Was this a trick? An illusion? No, no, definitely not. Ringo felt the blade's recoil shudder along her arm when she struck. That otter absolutely, positively had the knife in it.

A cold, sharp claw placed itself on her wrist. Her eyes darted down to the hand that still held her commanding officer's dagger.

“Is that all you can muster, child?”

Even with the knife embedded in what Ringo assumed to be the creature's head, Mumo's face did not betray a single trace of anger. Instead when Ringo looked into the beast's eyes all she saw was a cold, calm determination. If only Zwei could be that collected!

“Your turn, then.”

A few seconds later Ringo was in full panic mode, tripping over the rocks as she ran towards Takumi. “I've failed! I've failed!” Her usually stern face now wore an expression of shame mixed with fear. “Help! I need assistance!”

Behind her, nimbly jumping from rock to rock even with the dagger stuck out of it's body, was Mumo. Her teeth were bared and an ominous, menacing mist seemed to be churning behind her with each leap. Who knew what kind of unholy powers this seemingly innocuous animal possessed!
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