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Old 11-05-2018, 08:17 PM   #21
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Just as the sun really started to lay into their skin, the two genin came across a shoddy rubble trail slinking eastward. “Oh, lucky!” The tall boy jumped towards it first while Ringo took the careful approach. “You'd think they would have connected this to the cave for us. What a hassle it was to get here.”

“Tell me about it.”
Ringo muttered under her breath. Maybe she should have let Ichi out so he could have scouted the area for them, but she decided again that it would be a bad idea. They were here to learn to work alongside their pets, and it might look bad if she started using the chicken without permission. After all, the two of them were soldiers! Armed and trained by the Kirigakure Navy! That meant following protocol at all times, even when there didn't seem to be any protocol.

Ringo and her awfully noisy partner trudged down the gravel path for another good fifteen minutes. It twisted and turned around chunks of rocks in very roundabout ways, and more than once Ringo thought it was taking way longer than it should have. The tall kid lead the way and kept talking about this and that and seemed oblivious that the girl following him wasn't even responding. “Don't you think that's crazy? I mean, with all those ships and all, there must have been a better solution. Are you doing alright, Kurusu? Should we take a break?”

The boy turned around and Ringo wasn't even there. His first instinct was fear. “Ah! Kurusu, where are you?” He shouted out to try and get a response. “Are you okay? Do you need help? Kurusu!”

About five hundred meters back Ringo resumed the harsh trek across the jagged rock faces. Normally she wasn't much of a 'go with your gut' type of person, but she just didn't like that path. And she didn't like that kid, so this was basically a freebie twofer. Of course on the stark surface of Shineshell Ringo, dressed in full sailor regalia, stuck out like a little white speck of paint on a black wall. Well, never mind that. She'd put quite a distance between herself and that kid. Even if he caught up she'd just continue ignoring him. People skills!
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:30 PM   #22
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It only took another few minutes of hiking for Ringo to spot it. The far shore of Shineshell looked very much like the shore they'd approached from, just a lot higher up. The whole island seemed like it was shaped like a giant wedge, with the eastern side having a massive cliff bordering it. Seeing this Ringo nodded to herself, agreeing with nobody in particular. Yes, everything made sense now. Of course this was the best way to get to the training grounds. All this struggle had been for very logical reasons! Those silly other genin were constantly questioning and challenging their superiors. Ringo knew better! Adults were smarter and stronger and could be trusted to make decisions like this. Who were a bunch of kids to complain? If you hadn't lived longer than a decade, you had no grounds to form a valid opinion!

All that aside, these 'training grounds' looked about as spartan and empty as their surroundings. She could make out a few brown thatched-grass roofs sitting on top of about half a dozen rock-and-mortar dwellings. A faint gray trail of smoke was rising out from some fire obscured by the huts. You couldn't get more 'training'-y than that, right? It's not like an island like this would have natives anyway. There wasn't anything to eat! Her confidence refilled Ringo redoubled her pace. This would be her first official training since she graduated from the Shinobi Academy and unlike her peers, she loved being instructed. Self-study and practice lacked that central authority figure's approval she desperately craved. She just didn't learn things as well unless there was someone ready to break her skull for making a mistake.

The closer she got to the huts the clearer sounds of habitation became. Some of those voices sounded familiar. For half a second her lips pursed in agitation. Shoot, Ringo wasn't the first one here. Well, that dumb path had wasted a lot of her time, and that other kid....no, no. As she approached she shook her head. No excuses. She was just slow on these rocks with this heavy camping pack on her back. It was her own fault.

“...not our job! We're just here to train!”

“We have to look out for each other! We're all shinobi. We're all playing for the same team!”

“Speak for yourself, bub, I'm just here to get my permit.”

“What if they're injured or dead or something? That'll make us look bad!”

“They shouldn't have run off on their own!”

Right at that moment Ringo stumbled into view. Sweat dripped down her face and her clothes were soaked, but she still held her head high. The other four boys all sat around a smoldering pile of...something that wasn't wood. They turned to look at the new arrival with a variety of expressions.

“Oh, look who it is!”

“You see? We just had to wait.”

“This is why you can't trust girls.”

“Hey, sister.”
The greasy looking guy from before pointed at Ringo in an accusing manner. “Where's the tall kid?”
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:37 PM   #23
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Still exhausted from the trip over Ringo's only response to the other genin was to make an unsightly face. After a cordial few seconds of silence one of the boys was about to speak again. Ringo held out her hand. “Let me catch my breath.” She carefully undid the straps of her pack and plopped it down on a flat look rock. The movement woke up Ichi, who had been enjoying quite a nice nap. He let out a little gurgle of unhappiness and tried to flap his wings. The tiny cage bars wouldn't allow it, so he decided to pout instead.

“Why did you guys run off like that?”
Bandana boy put his hands on his hips in a display of sassy dominance. “We should have stuck together.”

“Why did you guys lag behind like that?”
Ringo took up a squatted position and breathed in relief. Despite all her physical training, hauling heavy bags for long periods of time still took a toll on her. She was still a child after all. “And we aren't friends or anything. We are basically just classmates.”

“Well then, Ms. Kurusu.”
Another boy, this long black hair, spoke up. “Where is our other classmate? Wasn't he with you?”

Ringo gave as insincere a shrug as she could manage. “What am I, his keeper? He fell behind me about twenty minutes back. I'm sure he can manage.” Ringo took a quick moment to collect her thoughts, then came to a realization. “Hey, how do you know my name, anyway? I don't recall introducing myself to any of you.”

The other four boys suddenly became very quiet. One kicked a rock at his foot. Another turned around as if he saw something interesting in the distance. Ringo's eyes narrowed. “I asked a question. When did you learn my name.” The way she said it, it didn't sound like a question. It sounded like an orde.r She pointed at the greasy boy. “You. Spit it out.”

The boy threw his hands behind his head and let out a low whistle. “I ain't gotta tell you jack, sister.”

Ringo rolled her eyes and stood back up. She knocked the dust off her sailor uniform and took a deep breath. “Fine. Have it your way.”

Last edited by Junge; 11-06-2018 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:01 PM   #24
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“Ah! Uncle, uncle, time out!”
The greasy boy wailed as Ringo drove her knee back into his spine, keeping him pinned uncomfortably against the rocks. The bandanna boy whooped and hollered at Ringo's sudden aggression while the others looked either mortified or confused as to the development.

“Oh man, she got you good!”
The bandanna boy howled. “Imagine picking a fight with a girl and losing! What an embarrassment!”

A little distance away Ichi was panicking and rattling in his cage. His little half crows of distress were ignored.

“Now that we settled that, how about an apology?”
Ringo twisted the boy's arm again as he kept whining. “After that we can move on to my question.”

“Idiot! Moron! Ow, ow! Not so rough! Watch the hair!”
The greasy boy flailed his one free arm helplessly as he tried to get leverage on the rocky ground. “Look, you're the kid whose pet attacked a chuunin! Everyone knows your name 'cause you're a freaking crazy brat!” Ringo tweaked his arm just a bit harder for that and he screamed again.

“That didn't sound like an apology, but alright.”
Ringo released her hold of the genin and he scrambled to upright himself. The whole time he was swearing like a sailor but Ringo let it slide. She rolled her shoulder a bit as the unexpected altercation left her arms sore. She turned towards the still giggling bandanna boy, then pointed in the general direction of the group. “My name is Kurusu Ringo, genin of the Kirigakure Navy.” With a very stiff quarter bow she concluded her introduction. “Please call me Kurusu. Let's have a good three week training course.”

Bandanna kid was coming off his laughter high and wiped away some tears from his eyes. “Oh, oh, that's great. Yeah. Okay, 'Kurusu'.” The boy's tone suggested mockery but Ringo ignored it. “I'm Hisao. Let me give you a quick run down.” Intercepting any possible personal comments Hisao quickly pointed to the remaining three boys in rapid succession. “Girl-hair there is Choei. Nose-ring to his left is Daiju.” He jerked his head towards the still recovering greasy genin. “That pompadour lad you just made eat dirt is Hidehiko.”

“Kanehisa Hidehiko!”
He coughed, rising to his shaky feet. “Of the famous Kanotoshi Kanehisas! The legendary brewmasters!” As best as he could manage in his state, he thrust out his fist at Ringo. “Don't forget it, small fry!”

“Do you have to do that every time?”
The boy with the nose piercing and tattoos, who Ringo know knew was called Daiju, finally interjected. “And what do you mean, 'nose-ring'? This is a stud.”

Hisao gave a careless gesture. “It's easier to say nose ring.”

“No it isn't-”

Choei, the one with long, flowing black hair, cleared his throat. “Now that we're all finished with that, let's get to the point.” He held out his palm. “Ms. Kurusu Ringo, if you don't mind.”

Ringo stood there in the blistering heat and stared with squinted eyes at Choei's palm. Slowly she looked up at the boy's feminine face. Through this whole scene she remained stoic with a look of disapproval. Now that expression was slowly shifting to disgust. “What. What do you want.”

“Let's be off to find our missing classmate, of course!”
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:20 PM   #25
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The long-haired Choei sat dejected on the other end of the small camp. “Someone's always gotta throw a tantrum, don't they.” Hisao tittered with not a small amount of smug superiority. “Like anyone was going to agree to go hiking back across this awful island.”

At the opposite end of the camp stood Ringo and the face-augmented Daiju stood, looking up at the sky with a pair of binoculars. Their head movements mirrored the slow, soaring flight of Ichi, who was flapping furiously to stay airborne. “I stand corrected.” Daiju gave a scoff of amusement. “That ball of fluff really can stay up there.”

Ringo allowed herself the smallest smirk and tapped her chest. “That's not Ichi. That's me. I taught him to do that.”

Daiju looked down from his binoculars at the small girl to his side. “So you can fly?”

“Weren't you listening?”
Ringo pointed as Ichi made a wide circle and began to fly back to the camp. “That is me. Ichi is my property. I can take credit for anything he can do. That's what it means to be an authority figure!”

Daiju resumed observing the frantically hovering bird. “I didn't know it worked like that.” Some quiet time passed. “So do you just poop out in the open like that too, then?”

A single, distant caw floated through the afternoon air. While the local gulls and seabirds tended to be quite vocal, this call had a distinct chicken flavor to it. “Aha! That's code, see.” With all the pride of a parent Ringo put down her binoculars and put her hands around her mouth.


She screamed with such volume that Daiju flinched. “What in the blazes was that for!”

Ringo turned to the boy and gave him a firm thumbs up. “Ichi saw somebody not to far from our camp.”

“No, I meant the scream.”

“Yeah, Ichi's a screamer.”
Ringo started packing up her tools. “I'm used to it.”

“I meant your scream.”

Ringo double checked her boots and looked at Daiju like he was speaking another language. “What scream?”

“Oy, dorks.”
Kanehisa Hidehiko waddled up to the pair with his weird bow-legged gait. “That could just be our teacher. She still hasn't arrived yet.”

“Not true!”
Ringo held up a single digit like an exclamation point. “From the length and pitch of Ichi's call, I can tell that this person is male and the same age as us!”

“What, did your chicken look at his birth certificate from up there?”

Ringo continued, ignoring the insult putting her index finger on her chin to feign deep thought. “The angle doesn't make sense. It sounds like he's north of camp. He shouldn't have gotten that far off course.”

“Did somebody saaaaaay,”
The sickeningly sweet tone of Hisao's voice slid into the conversation like an unwelcome guest. “We're making a field trip?”
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:35 PM   #26
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After a great deal of discussion, name calling, and hurt feelings, it was decided that there was no way upstanding gentleman like themselves would let a girl do a job a man could. “I don't even see any men here.” Ringo tossed another rock off the cliff and watched it tumble into the ocean below. “Just a bunch of boys. My rooster was the manliest of the lot, and he went with the group, so...”

“Ah! The naivete of youth.”
The long-haired Choei gave a flourish with a thin arm. “Let those youngsters go have their fun. We adults can watch the camp.”

Another rock in hand Ringo stared at Choei in confusion. The kid looked younger than her, actually. Even for an eleven year old, she was short, but this guy claimed to be fourteen and looked only half an inch taller. Also if he'd been wearing a dress instead of their genin uniform, he would have totally looked like an even younger girl. Ringo was all for acting mature and responsible, but you couldn't live in a fantasy either, you know?

With that in mind she made a huge wind-up then hurled her next rock some distance off the edge. She counted the seconds it took to land. “I got a question for you, Choei.”

“Of course! Anything for a trusted classmate!”

Ringo turned and held out another rock as if she was going to throw it. “Your hair is way longer than the regulated military-grade standard used by Kirigakure operatives.” She tossed the rock up and caught it, her tone shifting into more of an accusation. “Of course that's just a guideline. Soldiers can have any hairstyle they want, provided it is properly maintained.” Ringo's own jet-black hair she cut herself, as was apparent to anyway familiar with bowl-cuts. “But with hair that long...”

Here came the dramatic finish! Ringo reached back, ready to really let this next pebble fly. She'd have about six seconds to time this perfectly. Thank goodness she practiced this with Ichi so much. Her arm snapped back and the stone soared overhead. She turned back to Choei and thrust her finger out at him.

“You, Choei, must be an Academy stud-”

The boy twisted in his spot and threw an arm over his face. “You found me out, Ms. Kurusu! I am, in fact,” His arm pulled back revealing a malicious looking grin. “The instructor for this three-week pet training course!”

“-ent...rainer. Trainer. Academy trainer.”
The previously released stone gave a weak splash. Nailed it.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:46 PM   #27
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Wide-eyed and confused Ringo took in the moment for what it was. Their instructor for this course appeared to be a crazy person. She could deal with that! Lots of shinobi in the Navy were off kilter in one way or another. No, in fact, if a jounin-ranked shinobi was weird, that only meant they were MORE skilled than your average run-of-the-mill soldier. Getting promoted to the top of the command totem pole when you looked and acted like a small child must mean this Choei person was really good!

That put her mind at ease enough to regain composure. Ringo put her hands on her knees and gave a deep bow. “I am sorry, Sir! Uh.” She looked up to study the kid she'd been ignoring this whole time. “It is Sir, isn't it?”

“That's my name!”
He put a finger on his face and grinned. “Hatsumaki Choei, Manbeast Jounin of Kirigakure!” With an enhanced bit of femininity he winked. “And now I'll beat the snot out of you!”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Choei.”
Ringo's automatic politeness overlooked the boy(?)'s final statement. Was he really that young, or was he using some kind of transformation technique? Was he even a he? Did any of that matter, really? Hang on, what was that last part he said. Something about...

“I hope you're ready, Ringo-girl!”

“Actually it's Kurusuuuuuuuuuuuuu-” And so on. She couldn't find a good place to end the sentence since right in the middle of it Choei planted a forceful palm into her stomach. The powerful blow smooshed all the air right out of her lungs and sent her hurtling backwards a good twenty feet. Her body skid to a stop quickly thanks to the rough and painfully sharp rocks.

Choei let out a breathy little tsk-tsk. “Even when I warned you, you just stood there and took it. You have to be more prepared, Ringo-girl!”

Her limbs and torso pulsed with a familiar sort of soreness. There would be some bruises there, no doubt. Despite this set-back Ringo staggered to her feet in short order and stood at attention. “Understood, Sir!” Her expression might be pained but her words sounded as resolute as ever. “Are we beginning the pet training now, Sir, or were you just introducing yourself?”

Mirroring Ringo's resolve Choei ran a hand through his long locks of hair and smiled. “All of life is training, Ringo-girl! The way you and your animal interact isn't just about your relationship.” He flicked his hair, letting it be carried by the sea breeze. “It's about your personality! An impatient person could never be a gardener. A lazy person could never work as a doctor.” His expression warped to something a bit more malicious. “A good person could never be a slave driver! You are here because your attitude is incompatible with taking charge of others!”

Was that even true? Ringo felt pretty sure she was here because she failed a normal and otherwise unimportant animal permit test that the city of Kirigakure required her to take. That was a pretty big indictment of her character to just drop out of nowhere. But, like all insults, Ringo let it roll off her back. To offender her those remarks would need to cut deeper than just surface level stuff like 'you suck'. She nodded and bowed again. “I understand, Sir! I look forward to the training!”

That clearly struck a nerve with Choei, who was expecting more fireworks. He frowned and tapped his foot. No, that wasn't any good. She wasn't even going to try and challenge him. And after all that work he'd put into this! Clearly something more drastic was needed. “I'm so glad we could talk, Ringo-girl!” His face switched back to the gentle smile he wore earlier. He slowly approached the at-attention Ringo. ”We will get along great, I'm sure.” He put one hand on the girl's shoulder.

See? He wasn't so weird after all. Once again Ringo felt at ease. “Thank you for the kind words, Sir. I hope I can do you prouuuuuuuuuu-”

In the next instant Choei gripped her shoulder and hurled the genin off the side of the cliff.
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:04 PM   #28
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This was part of the training, wasn't it?

Wasn't it?!?

There must have been two hundred or so meters to fall. That meant she would have about seven seconds before slamming into either one of those boulders at the bottom or into the ocean water. Both targets would break her small body without much trouble. Very likely lethal, and if it wasn't she might just end up drowning or dying of the injuries anyway. Ah, she thought! So I'm perfectly safe, then. A jounin wouldn't possible want the death of a genin on their hands. It was a good thing, too, since she couldn't use wall walking to simply stick to the cliff face. After approximately three seconds of thought she resigned herself to fate. She placed absolute trust in the jounin to save her.

As the air roaring past her ears deafened her, Ringo came to a completely different conclusion. This must be part of the training! Choei went on and on about Ringo not having the right temperament. Was this what he meant? The dark blue ocean zoomed closer and closer to her with every passing fraction of a second. The white foam of the waves washed up against the black rocks of Shineshell Island. Yes, that was right, wasn't it! Her instructor wanted her to change her attitude. Under normal circumstances Ringo would have patiently waited the whole time for the trusted jounin to save her, but that would mean failing this test! To please her superior officer, Ringo couldn't do what Ringo would do!

Now with three seconds to spare she recommitted herself to a new plan of action. A practiced hand whipped to her side belt and unhooked a trusty shoge, basically a fancy hook on the end of a chain. The odds of successfully hooking the cliff at this velocity weren't great, but what was important not that she succeeded. As long as she tried, that would undoubtedly prove to Choei she was learning. Then he could save her if she failed, so it would all work out one way or another.

A deft flick of her hand launched the hook, which disappeared from her sight as it clinked up against the dark cracks of the cliff. With only dozens of meters to spare the shoge clattered across the rocks and stuck fast against one of the many outcroppings. The chain at her belt pulled taut and Ringo's trajectory instantly shifted. In a short arc her body flew, tethered by the chain as it was, and she slammed full force into the cliff side. She bounced once, then slammed back into it on the return. It hurt. It hurt a lot. Though the side of her body bore the brunt of the damage, her skull shook hard enough that her entire worldview suddenly became blurry and indistinct. Like a beaten pinata she hung there above the ocean surface for a while.

Look at that! She'd done it! Ringo would have patted herself on the back, had she not been in so much pain. After all that rowing, and walking, and fighting, here she'd managed to prove to her instructor she could change. Any more than this though would kill her, for real. Head still spinning she tried to look up at Choei to give him a thumbs up.

Instead it seemed at that very moment that her shoge, after being forcefully shaken twice by her impacts, decided it really didn't want to be stuck in a rock. The small hook chipped away at the outcropping and gave way. Ringo once again found herself in a free fall, and in no condition to do anything about it.

Her toy-like boy gave only the smallest splash as it plopped into the water like a fallen stone. Nailed it again!
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:20 PM   #29
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After what must have been ten minutes of her desperately clinging to a slime covered rock, fighting back against wave after wave that crashed against her, salvation came. Like magic Choei appeared on another nearby rock, this one tall enough to avoid getting swallowed by ocean waves. “Wow, Ringo-girl!” She couldn't look at him because she was too busy clinging on for dear life, but from his voice she imagined him looking really smug. “That was quite a way to go. I didn't expect that.”

Aha! Yes! As another surge of sea water forced itself down her throat she sputtered out a cough of pleasure. So she'd been right, Choei had been testing her! The satisfaction of fulfilling her superior's expectations (or in this case, the opposite?) gave her renewed strength to not immediately drown in the rushing, frigid waters that pounded her. Now to just hold on and wait for him to save her.

“Say, Ringo-girl.”
Choei shifted his position, now sitting cross-legged in a very casual manner. “Why didn't you use wall walking? That would have been easy enough, and spared you this embarrassment.”


“I'm pretty sure...”
The jounin tilted his head in thought. “I read in your dossier, Ringo-girl. You failed the pet permit exam because of an illicit use of the wall walking techinque, didn't you?”

This nonsense again! Ringo sprayed out another mouthful of sea water in frustration and tried to clamber up her tiny rock to speak. Unfortunately this effort caused her to almost lose her grip entirely and she slipped back into the ocean.

“This is just what I was talking about, Ringo-girl!”
Choei shook his head and sighed. “This pride of yours! You wouldn't admit that you knew wall walking to the examiner, and here you were prepared to die rather than admit you lied!” Gripping the rock with her teeth Ringo used one hand to reel her lost shoge back in. It was a slow process, as she could only pull up a few inches of the chain at a time before another wave shook her entire body.

“Well! You don't seem to be in any dire straits right now, riiiiight~!” Her superior officer stood up and wiped some of the sea spray off his hair. “You can get up that cliff in a lickety-split if you use that wall walking of yours. Or I guess you can sit here and die!” He chuckled an insufferable, knowing chuckle. “How much does it mean to you, Ringo-girl? Is it really that bad to accept you cheated? Ninja cheat all the time, you know! You shouldn't be ashamed of it.”

As a response Ringo screamed, which came out very garbled and bubbly since half of it was done underwater.

“Tsk, tsk, Ringo-girl!”
Choei did a few leg bends and leapt from his rock, landing on the side of the cliff. The soles of his feet stuck to the rocky surface and he stood horizontally in the way typical of all shinobi when they used wall-walking. “Swallow your pride, or the ocean! Your choice!”

And with that completely unhelpful remark the jounin left the genin to die at the base of the cliff. Ringo didn't see him leave because her eyes burned. Not from the salt water, but from tears.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:11 PM   #30
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Triumphant yelling and fun times were being had at camp as the evening hours waned. The 'campfire' consisted entirely of red-hot coals and as such it didn't offer too much light, but even so the boys were in high spirits. “Man, oh man!” Hisao slapped Choei on the back again. “What a save! What an adventure? Can you guys even believe it?”

Daiju poked through the coals with long iron spoon. “No. I can't.” Across from him sitting cross-legged was Kanehisa Hidehiko, covered in bandages. “I'm not sure what the hell happened, to be honest.”

“Good friends, don't worry about it.”
Choei magnanimously held his arms out wide. “This was just a way to show that through teamwork, we can overcome anything! I am certain this is all part of the instructor's plan.”

Kanehisa Hidehiko moaned, rubbing his wounds tenderly. “Some instructor. So far it's just been us here. I don't feel like I'm being trained at all.”

The tall boy sat closest to the fire as he tried to get warm. He wore what looked like a furry backpack. “Hidehiko, that's because you let that bear chew on you for so long."

The greasy Hidehiko barked. “It's Kanehisa Hidehiko! Say the full name!”

“Right, sorry.”

A small shadow flapped nearby and landed on Raiju's shoulder. He turned his hear so it could chirp right in his ear. “Itou didn't find anything. Choei, are you sure-”

“Oh, yes, yes, absolutely.”
The long-haired Choei smiled and waved his hands dismissively. “Ms. Kurusu, oh, you've seen how she is. She insisted on being left alone. It's so hard to get along with those combative types, isn't it!”

“Damn straight!” Kanehisa Hidehiko hooted. “Her and her stupid chicken.”

“The chicken that got you loose from the bear.”

“-yes, that stupid chicken.”
Kanehisa Hidehiko pointed and scowled. “No wonder they failed the permit examination. That thing is a menace to society, picking fights with animals a hundred times its size.”

“Hidehi- Kanehisa Hidehiko,”
the tall boy shifted uncomfortably. “You can't pick your enemies. Sometimes you just have to fight.”

“I would have been fine!”
For emphasis he ran his hand over the scaly creature wrapped around his neck. “Gila lizards have poison potent enough to take down a horse. Shinsou would have gotten that ugly bear eventually.”

“Oh, yeah, sure!”
Hisao ceased his preparations and plopped a big iron pot atop the coals. It was filled to the brim with some kind of uncooked soup. “You had that bear right in your sights, bro! What a shame the rooster showed you up!”

Raiju stroked his pet's fur and looked hesitant. “It's getting too dark. Itou can echolocate, but I don't think Ichi can, and he hasn't returned yet. We might have to go looking for both Ringo and her rooster.”

Choei gave off a playful, but disturbing giggle. “Don't be like that, Raiji!”


“Raiji, that girl can take care of herself. At the very least,” Choei glanced towards the rapidly darkening cliff face. “Let's eat first! I'm starved.”
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