- Ryo : 1500
Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:23 am
It has been a while since Kari had entered these training grounds. The warm sun never changed. The Gentle breeze gently combed through her hair. Nothing had changed, nothing of interest anyway. Kari brought with her a faded backpack with water, two sandwiches, some bandages, a towel, and her notebook with pencil attached. 2 large bandaged objects rested on her back, quickly falling down as the girl freed her backpack from her back. Stretching her arms out, her dark purple cloak opened revealing a plum t-shirt and dark blue shorts with bandages hugging her legs down to her knees. Another round of bandages. Wrapped around her ankle and crawled up half her shins. It had been such a long time since she practiced using her chakra, she wanted to be prepared and not break anything. Her hair was tied into her little pigtails, something her mother insisted she at least keep when she returned to this life.
Starting with her arms, she worked out the stiffness. Then she ran chakra through them before moving to her back. Bending down, she stretched out her back. Using her legs as resistance, she pushed cracking out the stiffness in her spine. After repeating this with her other side, she began to run in place. Chakra crawled through her legs, before resting at her feet. Her body felt charged, despite feeling much weaker than she remembered. It was a given but at least her chakra control was not dampened too much.
The first test of fitness was a jog. She raised her hand and numerous transparent blue strings flew out of her hand. The strings slithered through the air until finding their way to the bandaged objects.
“Too slow…” the girl mumbled with her traditional emotionalist tone. She was used to having much finer control over her signature ability. Still, she continued using them, pulling the objects to her back. It was heavy, but she managed to bare the weight. The girl held out her hands and did a couple of squats, testing if her legs could manage the stress. Nothing was popping, breaking, or in pain. Sweat did roll down her face though. She could feel the consequences of being out of shape. With one deep breath, she build up the will to start her jog.
A minute in, the girl was soaked in sweat. Her legs burned and her heart wanted to jump out of her chest. She unzipped her cloak so more clean air could find her mouth. Her body hated her, screaming with pulses of weakness and pain until she finally stopped. She fell down next to her bag with her arms spread out. Such training should have been light and easy. Kari dropped her head into the dirt. This was unacceptable. It was embarrassing to the Tsukami name. What would her father say? What would happen if her mother saw her like this?
“Baby, you can't be giving up already! You gotta fight fight fight!”
Kari refused to believe it. There was no way that woman could have known. She never returned to her family’s hotel after the trip. Plus, she had a job to do at the hotel. “Mom?” Kari stated in her quiet voice. Standing before her was a red haired woman who was about a foot taller than Kari with deep blue eyes. Her long red hair was in a ponytail fell to the middle of her back. She had a white cloak with plum trimmings, matching the color pattern of the Tsukami Inn. Under that was a dark blue shirt with a hiker’s vest with pockets running down both sides of the zipper. She wore cargo shorts and leggings on her legs and plum sandals. She was dressed terribly for a ninja but for a family in rep, it was the perfect slew of colors. It almost made Kari wonder if her father had in pull on the outfit. However Kari was more focused on more important things.
“Why are you here?” Kari continued.
“Well yesterday your father told me that you have been sending him letters every week and he never got one this week. My feelings were hurt so much.” The woman started to wipe her face. Then she started whimpering, “I was so… worried about you. My only daughter who doesn’t want to write her mother letters.” Sniffles worked their way between her words, slurring her speech. Kari just sighed.
“I knew I forgot something,” the girl muttered. Her voice was quiet without any tone. She pulled her arms together in hopes of picking herself up. Her mother however, continued the scene. Threads shot from the woman’s fingers and linked to the bandage objects on back. The bandaged objects darted to the edge of the training field leaving Kari unburdened. Then her mother picked up Kari and held the girl tight to her chest. She whimpered but no tears fell from her face. To Kari, it seemed like a powerful emotion but even her mom can make mistakes.
“Mom, you’re not crying.” Her voice remained as cold as ever. Her mother froze, refusing to let go despite her daughter’s accusation. Then she started snickering.
“Okay, fine. I knew you were safe, but I still missed you and I’m upset you didn’t send me letters too. Do you favor your father more? I raised you too!” her mother exclaimed. Kari lowered her head. She wondered if her mother was right. She should of sent her mother letters too, or at least include her on her father’s letters, even if the letters actually started with her father.
He wondered why she suddenly decided to take a break from being a ninja. She never actually initiated a letter with the man. With that in mind, Kari raised her head to look her mother in the face. Her mother lightened her inhuman grip enough to give the girl more freedom and it wasn’t an opportunity she would allow to pass her. “Mom, did father not tell you that he initiated conversation through the letters. If you wanted a letter from me, why didn't you just write one?” Kari asked.
“Because, I don’t like writing letters. And, and, it’s the children’s responsibility to keep in contact. It is apart of the Guide to Being a Good Parent 101.” Kari’s mother pulled out a small book from her pocket, give Kari even more freedom to break free.
“Really…” Kari responded in her monotone voice. She did not believe her mother. Well, she was not sure if the statement or general idea was in the book. She never read the book after all. However, she was sure that wasn’t the reason. Knowing her mother, she figured she was too busy slacking off or was too lazy to write a letter. Another thing that could have happened was that she asked father to do it for her. There was a letter from father that mentioned mother missing her and bugging him. Kari only took that as her mother looking to slack off work more. Now she was beginning to see the errors of her interpretation of that message. There was no way out of this. Her mother had set up the stage well. Kari was going to have to do something that annoyed her the most, apologizing to the woman.
Kari slipped out of her mother’s grip and then sat comfortably on her knees. She slightly lowered her head before taking a deep breath. “I am sorry for not doing my job mother. I will include you next time I respond to father’s letter.” The apologize sounded rehearsed and almost robotic but her mother still smiled. Kari could see the warmth in her face. It was like a sea of flowers in a meadow under a guiding sun. It was a perfect reference if not a great subject to draw, if only Kari was bent on not encouraging her mother to annoy her more by giving her praise. Now she braced herself for what was bound to come.
“BABY” the mother’s arms opened wide like a gator. Kari watched, awaiting her punishment for failing her duties as a daughter. The arms closed in, gently pulling Kari back into the woman’s chest. “I forgive you. I knew you still love your mama despite being a daddy’s girl. I will always forgive you cause I am better than your daddy,” the woman boasted. Kari was smothered in an ocean of motherly love, too much love. The woman had her fun among her squeezing and kissing.
“Okay mom. I get it. Please stop,” Kari asked lazily. Her mother snickered devilishly. She relaxed long enough for Kari to put an inch or two between them. Then she squeezed again. “I don’t want to. You won’t let me hug you again,” the mother whined. Kari groined in protest. The girl knew her mother was lying or at least bending the truth. Kari hated how touchy her mother was, but she understood the reason behind it. It was an attachment thing to show she cared. father explained it very well.
Kari started her turn in her mother’s game, “Mom I wont…” Kari’s mother suddenly interrupted the girl, “Call me mama. I want to be called mama.” Her voice went higher than normal as she whined like a little child. Kari had no choice but to comply in order to buy her freedom. “Mama… I wont do that,” Kari’s voice was muffled until she managed to pull herself away from her mother for a quick breath. The mother sighed, “You should promise me first!”
“No…” Kari responded immediately. The mother froze in shock. “To think my baby was so mean. Why must she be like her father so much,” the woman complained. Kari tried to push herself off the woman. “Cause you are skipping work,” she responded nonchalantly.
It was too much for the mother. Her dear daughter refused to play her game. So she released her, and prepared her defense. Little did Kari know, her mother had a legitimate excuse. “Not today. Your father, gave me the day off to find you. He even said I could have the week off if it took that long,” the woman announced. She was so proud with a wide grin that burned over her forever smile. Kari knew the woman was a good liar but the woman was not giving any of her obvious tells. This meant that she should be returning soon. “So since I have a week off, we can bond more together!” Her mother added. Kari grunted while trying even harder to push the woman off of her. “Why don’t you want to bond with your mama?” the woman asked why rubbing her cheek on Kari’s sweating one.
“Because, I am sweaty and tired. And I have to train. And Father needs your help.” Kari responded weakly. She was becoming more exhausted as this exchanged prolonged.
“The boys always talk about building bonds through blood and sweat. This must be the sweat part,” the woman joked.
Kari groaned in annoyance. Her mother, however, was finished with her little game and released her daughter. She gave a small giggle, “You know, it has been so long. We should take a bath together!” She turned to her daughter and saw her pulling out her notebook. “Wait, what are you doing baby?”
Kari started scribbling a note into her notebook explaining how she was safe and sound and how mother has found her and is skipping work. “Nothing…” the girl lied.
Kari’s mother walked over and picked up the girl, pulling her off the notebook. “You are writing something,” she scolded before picking up the book, “Is this a letter to your father? How could you! I finally have a vacation and I cant trust you to not tell on me. Looks like you have to be apart of my vacation!”
“Wait… Mom. I wont write the letter. I Pro…” Kari was interrupted by her mother’s hand covering her mouth. “No no. I know how much you love this idea. You don’t need to say anything. Just get ready to follow me. Then I promise to train you. Nod if you agree. If you dont then, then, I will just take a two week break,” the woman said ending in a threat, a threat that Kari knew she would hold against her. So the girl did the only thing she could do. She nodded and dropped the pencil. “Great, now grab your stuff. We have a Girls Day out to attend!” sung the mother as she patted Kari on her head. Kari scrambled around to pack her stuff. Grabbing the pencil and notebook, she stopped to think if she could get away with sending just this out. However a hand reached over her shoulder and snatched the book away.
“And no letter writing,” her mother added. Then she ripped out the page. She made the tiger sign with one of her hands and the paper burned away. The woman was not going to let her daughter sneak away that easily.
Kari and her mother stood in front of a new building. Kari could recalled the building being built a couple weeks ago. It had a lovely design reminding her of her father’s theme for the Tsukami’s inn. “Sento Hidden in the Spring, I read that they just recently opened. I always wanted to visit but your father refused. He is always neglecting my needs,” The mother fawned over building while opening her pamphlet. Kari looked over the wooden roof which reminded her of a temple. The stone walls the whitest thing on the street. The girl knew it the color would fade away so she appreciated this opportunity to see it in its glory. With the cherry blossoms trees standing behind the walls, tranquil scene was complete. An itch ran through Kari’s fingers. She needed to draw this scene before it was corrupted by time and noisy people.
“Like you neglect work Mother?” Kari asked while reaching into her bag for her notebook.
“I work super hard. I need breaks, unlike you and your work-aholic father,” Then she giggled and put away the pamphlet.
Kari had her full attention on her bag as noticed her book missing. “You looking for this baby?” the woman asked while holding up Kari’s notebook. The girl turned her head and shifted her eyes between it and her mother. She could not imagine why her mother would have took it from her. She was also too afraid to ask. The games the woman played were so vast and numerous. “I know you are itching to write to your father. I can see it in your blank expression,” the mother announced mischievously. Kari started touching her face, trying not to adjust her expression. While she did not feel the way her mother expressed, she wanted to capture this expression for future use. “Do I really?” the girl asked in her quiet dreary tone.
“No not really… But your face makes it easy to project whatever feelings I want you to have. Me and your father do it all the time. Like right now, I’m seeing that you are really happy to spend time with your loving mother!”
“Oh… I don’t get it,” Kari responded.
“Oh funny, Now I am imagining you enjoying my joke,” the woman jested.
“Ha Ha Ha…” Kari pretended to laugh, “Was that the correct response?”
“Don’t patronize me girl.” The mother scolded.
“Sorry mom,” Kari apologized, “Can we go in… or you returned my notebook?”
The Mother smiled with an even brighter smile, quickly grabbing her daughters hand and dragging her into the building.
The front desk seemed a little cramped. Most of the space behind the front gate went to a garden where Kari would assume guest would sit and relax. An old woman stood behind the counter. She wore thick glasses and did not respond to them entering. It was not until the duo reached the counter that the woman finally greeted them. Kari’s mother struck up a conversation with the woman, but Kari was focused on something else. Her notebook was placed on the side of the counter. Kari wondered if her mother was paying attention. She walked up to the counter and stuck her hand out. Before it could even brush up against the notebook, her mother had her wrist.
“Look how excited she is. The most adorable little ninja don't you think?” Kari’s mother bragged.
“Why yes. She is cute. Well I hope you enjoy yourself,” The old lady responded.
“Thank you, we will right Kari.” The mother gave a glare which was hidden behind her smile. Kari looked up to see a combination of warmth and blistering cold. This was a new feeling her mom was giving off. Since she was smiling, Kari assumed she was happy. So she thought it didn’t matter how she answered.
“Not really… I wanna draw the building,” Kari answered honestly.
“You can do that after the bath silly. Now come one and stop making your mama look bad!” The woman proceed to drag Kari through behind the curtains.
Sitting in the water, Kari’s mother relaxed with a towel wrapped up over her head. A tray with ice tea lay next to her on a platform raised out of the bath. “Kari honey, you know part of bonding means spending time with Mama?” the mother asked in a condescending tone. Kari, with a towel wrapped hair in a similar fashion as her mother. She had a towel wrapped around her body like a dress and she scoured through her mother’s belongings. “Okay Mom!” Kari yelled with no intentions of returning with any haste.
“You know the book is not my bag dear,” the mother taunted.
Kari sighed and finally left the changing room. She looked around to see nobody else was here. Was the establishment not doing well? Maybe their name just hasn’t gotten out yet. Either way, she knew her mother was enjoying the alone time. With less people around, she could mess with Kari more. Her time for stalling was up. She removed her towel and stepped into the water.
“This is great, did you know that resting is a key part of getting stronger baby?” her mother asked. Kari sunk deeper into the water so her chin could meet the water’s surface. Then she pulled her legs to her chest and braced into a ball. She was sure her mother was correct, but she did not feel any stronger after her long hiatus. In fact, everything about the village seemed… lesser. She could not find anyone she knew nor many ninja who were willing to train with her. This left her in a predicament. It would be a lie to say yes, well maybe a half lie. She heard the importance of breaks but she didn’t believe them. If she was to stay honest, then her mother would probably brag more.
“I don’t feel stronger… Everything is so different after returning.” Kari opted not to give her mother all the information she gathered since returning. Things like the betrayal of many of the ninja she knew probably should be kept out of the ears of civilians. Even if her mother probably knew about it, it was best not to share important secrets like that. Worst, her mother could equate that to work and then make Kari do more “vacation things.” She sunk lower into the water, hiding her mouth beneath the ripples.
“Its cause you were playing hookie,” Her mother joke.
“I don't go to school Mom.” Kari blurted out before dipping back into the water.
“And your father says we are nothing alike hahaha!” Her mother gloated.
“We are not… I cant smile like you,” Kari admitted.
“Not even i could smile like me, until I met your father. And even then, it took a long time to learn. You will get there. Just look deep within, follow your heart, do things for yourself,” Her mother said while patting the girl’s head, “and come home more often!”
“No… You always make me do your work,” Kari complained.
“That’s because your father gives me too much work! The both of you are work-aholics!” the mother complained.
“Are we done here?” Kari asked.
“Are you feeling stronger?” the mother responded.
“No…” Kari answered.
“Then we are not done,” the mother said while putting cucumbers on her eyes, “Just relax and bond with mama. And instead of looking for your notebook put on a facial mask and relax. Your skin will look so much better and then you can find another boyfriend.”
Kari rose up and pulled the bowl of paste to her hand. It was yellow and really cold, compared to the warm bath. The girl looked to her mother to see how she had it spread on her face. Kari scooped up some paste and rubbed it on her face. Her skin jumped causing her to squeal a little from the cold. Her mother giggled. Kari managed to get the paste over her face and then she place the cucumber over her eyes. It was weird but she bared through it. After all, she wanted this vacation to be over as quickly as possible.
Despite her initial protest, Kari was enjoying the peaceful rest. Her mother was much calmer than normal which made the girl want to question if she was even still here. Of course that would involve getting up and checking on her Mom, a risk she would not take. It could make her active again and then Kari’s peace would disappear. So the girl remained quiet and let the soreness seep out into the water. After such a prolonged moment of silence, Kari felt multiple lapses of time pass. All of it finally ending when the lights above her pierced her eyelids.
A loud crunching forced Kari to open her now free eye. Overcoming the powerful glare, she saw her mother chomping down on the cucumber that shielded her eye. As with everything else, all good things must come to an end.
“Mom… That was mine.” Kari commented in her dreary voice.
“I was hungry. I ate mine already,” her mother said with a little whine at the end, “ Let me have your other one.” Kari just sighed. There was no point, in her mind, only wearing one of the green slices. So she peeled it off and tossed it to the hungry thief. Then she sat up and pulled a spare towel over her face. Wiping away the mask she stood up and started leaving the water.
“Wait were you going deary?” The woman asked confused.
“To get changed. It’s not safe to stay in hot water too long,” Kari responded while wrapping a towel around her body. The woman pouted after popping the cucumber into her mouth. She quickly wiped her face and tried to leave the bath but Kari was already in the changing room.
“Wait for Mama,” called Kari’s mother. However, it was too late for the woman. Kari was already changed, wearing a low cut black short sleeve top with jean shorts designed to look ripped at the bottom. She had a necklace with 5 stagehands and her whistle, in the middle hanging along the string. She had a straw bag where she would carry her notebook if her mother wasn’t hiding it. Lastly she had on brown strapped sandals with her toes painted a light blue. Her nails were also painted light blue. Kari stood in the front entrance at the front desk with her arms folded. Her hands rubbed against her arms as she tried to grow more comfortable with this style of clothing. It was much less conservative compared to what she normally wore, almost opposite to her usual cloaks or jackets. At least she was allowed to keep her pigtails. She feared her mother would make her have her hair hang down.
“So you really are a girl, I thought your mother was joking hehehe,” joked the old receptionist as she cleaned her thicc glasses. Kari turned to the woman before looking at herself. What did the woman mean by that. The only REAL difference was the clothes. Even that was just a cloak.
As Kari’s mother left the changing room, the girl decided to end the thought there. There was more precedent matters to pay attention to. She turned to her mother with her arms still folded.
“If your cold, you can always wear that jacket. Or are you mad at me?” The woman said, lowering her tone and transitioning into a whine. Kari looked at her arms and then looked to her mother. “I am uncomfortable in this,” the girl corrected her mom.
“Darn… I thought I had you,” her mom said before laughing and rubbing her hand in her daughter's hair. Kari sighed. It was pointless to try and stop her mom though she really wanted to. “Mom, can we go now?” Kari asked before trying to walk away. Her mother closed her eyes and hummed for a few seconds as she let the girl move from underneath her hand. “Okay, lets go get something to eat,” the woman cheered and grabbed her daughter's hand. She then proceeded to yank her daughter out of the establishment.
“Where are we going mom?” Kari asked with in her monotone voice. “We are going to have some sweets!” her mother responded excitedly. By now, the two were just walking together. Kari had lessen her stance of folding her arms. Now she only had one arm holding the other. Her free arm fiddle with her bags strap ring. She was not big on extremely sweet things, unlike her mother. Also, she really wanted her notebook back. “After we get there, can I have my notebook back,” the girl asked. “No… stop asking,” the woman snapped, “We will bond together! Or else, I won’t enjoy my vacation.” Kari just sighed. It was a quiet walk, or it would if her mother would stop humming her song. The girl stayed quiet until they arrived at the shop, a cake shop to be exact.
“Mom, I really dont…” Kari was suddenly interrupted by the woman pulling her in. A cool breeze glided along Kari’s bare skin leaving goosebumps in its wake. It was night and day with the AC inside the shop. Kari reached into her bag, dreading the idea of catching a cold only to remember her mother did not allow her to bring a cloak or jacket. She needed a new plan as she could feel the bumps on her skin crawl into her clothes. Finally she sneezed before looking up and seeing an outdoor table. This was it, her ticket out of the building.
“Mom, Let’s eat sweets outside.”
“Why?” the mother asked while staring at the window.
“Cause I’m cold”
“Oh… but earlier you said that you were just uncomfortable,” she said while putting down the menu and grinning.
This was a hot grin, not as pleasant as the ones she normally gives. Part of the girl just wanted to hide under the menu but the other half was worried about another sneeze coming along. Kari knew her mother was not someone who wanted to hurt her, but she knew she did play around too much. So it might be quicker to change her tactics. Instead of asking for something that benefited herself, Kari would try to put it in her mother’s best interest.
“Don’t cold sweets taste better in the warm sun?” Kari doubted this logic herself. In her eyes sweet tasted the same no matter the temperature. However, there was a reason you don't see ice cream in the middle of the winter. So maybe, that would work here too. Her mother relaxed her grin and returned to her menu.
“Fine fine, It is a beautiful day.”
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