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Kikuko Hayashi
Kikuko Hayashi
Citizen
Survived 2021
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Village : Kirigakure
Ryo : 161300

The Daily Necessities of Kirigakure [Solo, Mission Empty The Daily Necessities of Kirigakure [Solo, Mission

Sat Jun 26, 2021 7:37 pm
Spoiler:




The gentle clinking sound of glass filled the air with its vibrations.


Glass was a beautiful thing, existing in the land between fragility and usage. One false slip, and it would shatter upon the floor in a dazzling display of wickedly sharp shards. Despite this, it was a near integral part of daily life. Glass created, well, glasses. Windows, beakers, art. Prized for both beauty and function, there was no doubt that it would always be in demand until the day that civilization itself stopped beating.


Yet there was another thing within this room that was arguably more invaluable. Wrought from the same place as the sand from which glass was crafted, resting under the cresting waves of the ocean. Brought out to specialized farms, dried and separated until they became white flakes of deliciousness. Of course, what she was talking about was salt.


There was no doubt that sea salt was among the top exports of Kirigakure- the minerals in the area had a purity and taste unlike that of salt found within mines, making it a hard to acquire and expensive commodity in outside countries. Much like spices, it was traded at a premium. At the same time, it also had properties beyond its ability to flavor. Preservation of meat couldn’t always be achieved via the usage of a refrigerator, and that meant that the old ways of salting food couldn’t be left fully within the past. While it wasn’t exactly to her taste, Kikuko had never been one to say no to a salted fish. Sure, the taste was somewhat harsh, but at the same time that was the appeal of the dish. Perhaps she would pick some up later to bring home for dinner. Would her mother appreciate that? She wasn’t sure.


“You’re doing good work, Kikuko.” From behind her came the voice of the local chemist- Ms. Ugaru. She was an old fashioned sort, still creating the traditional remedies and concoctions for those who utilized them. Whether it be something as simple as smelling salts, or an incense to exorcise demons, it was her who would collect the ingredients to then be refined into the required items. Of course, it wasn’t always such a high and vaunted position. Most days, it was up to her to help provide the village’s everyday needs. Salt for preservation, alcohol for the sanitization of wounds, various leaves for treating common ailments. She had never married, although many had suspected that she once had a lover when she was far younger.


‘I’m married to this village.’ She had said, once. ‘The people of Kiri need older folk like up to take care of them even in our silver years. And perhaps when I’m gone, somebody else will take up my mantle. Caring for the young, the old, the sick. A village only thrives when those within it care for each other, darling.’ The thought had shook her, admittedly. A village that lives together, cares for one another, and thrives as a community. That was the sort of place that she wanted to protect. A place that she wanted to create and preserve for future generations.


With renewed vigor, she continued to stock the shelves full of salt.


=====


“Ah, Kikuko! You really didn’t have to! You’ve already helped out plenty.”
“Ah, please don’t work ma’am. It’s my pleasure to help, is all. Also, it was requested in the mission requirements. Please relax, and I’ll be finished shortly.”


Sweep, sweep, sweep the floor. Gather the sand, the dust, all the sort of debris that was dragged in by the feet of passerby as they strode into the shop. How far had it traveled, only for it to rest in these nooks and crannies? It was a curious thing, to meditate on the nature of dust. While it certainly wasn’t a very magnificent thing to focus upon, due to its infinitesimally small nature, that didn’t mean it couldn’t have a deeper meaning when looked at from a certain angle. We, as living beings, contributed to this debris that we leave wherever we travel. Eventually, at the end of existence, we join the dust in its transient journey. Our bodies scatter, becoming debris on the wind and being blown to all four corners of the world. In some ways, that couldn’t be considered a sad thing. Yet, from another, wasn’t that the next part of the journey? Perhaps it was somebody’s spirit that she was sweeping along, sending them to the next place that they were to travel to. From the market, perhaps they would blow to the ports. From, there, the grandness of the ocean. Eventually, that same speck of dust could even end up on a completely different continent.


Perhaps she would be like that speck of dust when she grew older. The idea of travel, of seeing lands entirely different from her own, called towards her with a fierceness that she struggled to put words to. The world was simply too wide, too vast, to not be explored. If she was to exist here, in this time and place, why wouldn’t she give her absolute best towards experiencing every single part of this planet that was on display? Why should she confine herself to these beaches where there was forest, mountains, fields? It wasn’t that she didn’t love her homeland. In fact, she did so with a ferocity that many would consider to be somewhat uncanny in this day and age. But in that same breath, she loved the entire world and all of its treasures. To meet its people, learn its customs, see its sights. Only when she had done all three of those things would she be able to say that she had lived a life worth experiencing.


Sweep, sweep, sweep the dust. Push away all the debris until the floor is sparkling clean. The sand was gone, and it would be an inviting place for customers to head into. Yet, with the next day, more would be tracked in. And the cycle would begin once more.


======


Ah. Here she was cleaning again. Gently sweeping dirt into a dustpan, before emptying it into a nearby trash can. The floor shined with a glimmer, and harsh white light illuminated her from above. Frankly, it wasn’t the sort of a place that she enjoyed being within. It was too clinical, cold. It was a place that was lacking in a scent, a presence, a character. It held no soul within itself, only the endless greed and ambition that fuelled the spirit of human commerce.


It wasn’t that Kikuko was inherently anti-establishment. She understood that to many, it was that very system in which they found meaning and happiness through the translation of their hard work into monetary rewards. But those who hoarded wealth for the sake of hoarding, those who accumulated without doing anything with such ‘power’ which confused her, irked her. What was the meaning of such an existence? To sleep upon a bed of gold coins without ever spending a single one was unfathomable. To own countless plots of land yet never set foot on one in favor of accumulating vast amounts of a wealth that would never run dry. In that sense, could it even be called a life? What was the difference between an existence where one does not experience the fullness of reality and one where every sensation is explored with fervor?


Now, for the mop. Soak it, squeeze out the majority of the liquid, and then place it upon the floor. She could see her reflection in the tiles as the ground gradually became slick with water. She was tired, she noted. Her hair was somewhat frazzled, and there were slight bags under her eyes that normally werent present. While she was never one to complain about busywork or chores, there was something about this place that simply drew the vitality out of her. One thing was for certain- she could never live or work in a place like this for long. To do that would be tantamount to suicide for one such as herself.


Roll the mop and its cart back into the maintenance closet, and close the door before locking it. The cleaning was done for the night, and soon she would be relieved by the actual staff whose job was to maintain this place during the wee hours of the night. They were well payed, she knew, and yet she wondered what they did with such money. Did they enjoy their jobs? What sort of fulfillment did they get out of the same routine every night, looking over a place in eternal vigil for an attack that would never come? She supposed the same thing could be reflected back upon her. Ninja were told to prepare for war, and yet all hoped that such a day would never come. It was a hypocrites life, striving for peace yet always training in preparation for violence. Perhaps, one day, it would be a gentler world that greeted them. Until then, she would train and be ready. For this world she so loved, even the parts that she found herself detesting, she would grow to be the best self she could be.


====
[exit]


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The Daily Necessities of Kirigakure [Solo, Mission Empty Re: The Daily Necessities of Kirigakure [Solo, Mission

Sat Jun 26, 2021 8:59 pm
Gamer moment.
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