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Natsumi Nara
Natsumi Nara
Genin
Genin
Survived 2021
You've completed the Christmas Event of 2021 and qualified for the last reward, by partisan you are awarded this fancy badge!
Stat Page : Link

Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Remove Earth Remove Remove Remove Default
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Skipping Stones [P]

Sun Jun 16, 2024 11:28 pm
The early days of summer fell heavily over the streets of Konohagakure, breaking the village from the doldrums of what had been a rainy spring. Gray skies were replaced by blue, jackets traded out for T-shirts, and the streets filled once more with a steady stream of humanity, broken only by the patchwork awnings of storefronts cutting into the roadway in hopes of catching the eyes of curious passersby. Indeed, with the recent string of hot and humid days, the memory of spring was fast fading from the minds of many.

Among the mass of people reveling in the dying vestiges of the bygone season was a short, black-haired girl, Natsumi Nara. Hair tied back in a ponytail and wearing a black tank top, yellow shorts, and a pair of sandals, she bounced from storefront to storefront. Payday was still weeks away, but she still enjoyed imagining herself in the latest fashion or eating at the newest, trendy restaurant. A little window shopping never hurt anyone, even if she did get annoyed looks from merchants when she rejoined the mass of humanity without buying anything.

Today was her day off, and she had no intention of wasting it. The past week saw her out each day on one mission or another for the village. Whether it was finding a cat or fixing a fence, all the tasks began to blend together, with the only throughline being a distinct boredom. It turned out that being a kunoichi was a lot more work than the tales her older brothers used to tell her. And so, she had come to treasure her time away from it all, making a point to enjoy her free time to the fullest.

The one purchase the genin could afford with her meager means swung at her side as she navigated through the familiar village streets: a simple bento box lunch. One of the many lessons her late grandfather imparted before his passing was the simple joy of enjoying a meal by the water on a hot day. While the landlocked village lacked a nearby large body of water, it did have many streams that the Nara girl made a point to visit when she could.

Soon the crowds were replaced by trees, and the streets became grass as she entered a less-traveled park on the far side of the village. It was here that one could get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and, most importantly to Natsumi, enjoy the small creek that ran through the park. Its banks were peppered with cattails, water lilies, and all manner of water-loving grasses.

Kicking off her shoes and placing the bento down to her side, the girl sat down on the creek's bank, letting her toes run through the cool water. In the distance, a family of turtles lazed about on a log, dragonflies skimmed across the water, and an unseen frog sang a mournful song. The park seemed one of the last holdouts of nature within an ever-modernizing village and, for today, there was nowhere else Natsumi would rather be.
- - -
WC: 515
TWC: 515

Saku
Saku
Genin
Genin
Stat Page : The Child
Mission Record : Mission Log
Remove Taijutsu Bukijutsu Remove Jikūjutsu Default
Remove Remove Remove Lightning Remove Default
Clan Specialty : Taijutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 42970

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Mon Jun 17, 2024 7:52 pm
Another sleepless night. The change in weather in recent days had had an adverse effect on The Child's sleeping habits. Normally they struggled to form opinions on things, however they could say with some certainty that summer sucked. It was an opinion that seemed to be contrarian, considering how the rest of the village was reacting to the change in seasons. Market stalls aplenty buzzed with activity, with new ones popping up every other day. The Child didn't mind that part, mostly due to the variety of ice-cream stalls that littered the street corners on these days.

The early morning sun peeked through the curtains of their room, casting long shadows on the floor. The Child lay on their small bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to push away the remnants of their recurring dream. The figure with the scarred face and mismatched eyes haunted their thoughts, a constant reminder of the unknowns that still loomed ahead.

They sat up, rubbing their eyes and deciding it was time to face the day. The noise from the bustling streets below filtered into the room, a mix of vendors calling out their wares and children laughing and playing. The Child dressed quickly, donning their usual outfit, and made sure their cloak and bandages were secure. As they stepped out into the street, the warmth of the summer sun hit them, a stark contrast to the cold, rain-soaked landscape of their dreams.

The village was alive with activity. The Child wandered through the marketplace, the vibrant colours and lively sounds creating a stark contrast to the grim scenes they had witnessed during their last mission. The scent of fresh fruit, grilled meats, and various other treats filled the air, mingling with the laughter of children and the chatter of villagers. The Child's eyes scanned the stalls, eventually landing on an ice-cream vendor with a particularly enticing array of flavours. Their fondness for ice-cream was a recent discovery on The Child's part. They found that it helped sooth their thoughts, or maybe that was just an excuse to indulge their newfound sweet tooth.

With ice-cream in hand and the rest of the day to themself The Child was left to wander aimlessly, a pastime they had partook in with increasing frequency of late. It was partially due to a desire to learn more about the place they lived in, and also due to the innate curiosity that sat in the back of their mind. The want to experience new places and people was an ever growing need for The Child, who was still hoping to find answers to the myriad of questions they had.

Today they had found a well-worn path off a side street. They had passed it last week and with being on the clock had made a note to venture back here on a day-off. Now truth be told The Child had forgotten about it but having wandered here by pure chance decided to check it out anyway.

The path was long and winding, taking The Child along a scenic route. It was an enjoyable walk, The Child finding the change of atmosphere from urban to nature a pleasant surprise. The sounds of village life died away, replaced by the soundtrack of leaves gently rustling in trees, as well as a variety of animals going about their lives.

Unfortunately the walk came to an end far too soon, the path opening out into a small park. The park itself looked like something out of a painting, in fact The Child was certain they had this exact image hanging in their apartment, and was a stark contrast to the village that lay not too far back down the path.

This village truly was full of surprises. Though the biggest surprise was that The Child was not alone, ignoring the animals that made their home here, as another human was within the vicinity.

The Child had never seen this person before, which was likely a good thing. After all most of their interactions had come through previous missions. In The Child's mind this meant that the person was not a bad guy and was safe to approach. Which is exactly what they did, entering the park fully.

With the place being so out of the way, there was only one real explanation for this stranger being here. "Do you live here?" The Child asked as they approached the water. It made sense, considering The Child had spent the first few months sleeping on rooftops. If they had known such places had existed, they would have likely taken up residence here themself.

[768]
Natsumi Nara
Natsumi Nara
Genin
Genin
Survived 2021
You've completed the Christmas Event of 2021 and qualified for the last reward, by partisan you are awarded this fancy badge!
Stat Page : Link

Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Remove Earth Remove Remove Remove Default
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Tue Jun 18, 2024 3:39 am
A skilled kunoichi would have sensed their chakra, an attentive kunoichi would have heard their approach, and an experienced kunoichi would have never allowed themselves to get lost in a forgettable daydream. The young Nara girl was, regrettably, neither skilled nor attentive nor experienced. In fact, all she was now was surprised.

At the sound of The Child’s voice, her back straightened involuntarily, her heart jumped into her throat, and her feet ceased their staccato sway through the water. Next, her daydream dissolved into the ether, and, at last, she plummeted back to her earthbound reality by the creek where it had become apparent that she was no longer alone. How long had they been there watching her before they spoke up?

“What? No,” an annoyed edge slipped into her tone, more a result of her reaction to the interruption rather than the interruption itself.  “Don’t you know it’s rude to—”

Turning around and standing up as she spoke, her gaze fell upon what a younger version of herself would have thought a ghost looked like. Dull eyes, bandaged face, and ill-fitting clothes, the diminutive figure before her was a stranger and likely would have been no matter where in the shinobi world they were seen. Though she had long since shed the superstitions of her youth, she couldn’t shake the supernatural elements of the figure’s appearance. Maybe she was still daydreaming?

“Wait,” the annoyance of before melted from her voice, replaced by genuine concern. “A-are you ok?”

She leaned forward slightly with one hand on her hip as if getting a closer look at The Child would answer her question. Many years ago, her taller, older brothers would have struck the same pose as they assessed the severity of her skinned knee after she fell during a game of tag.
- - -
WC: 301
TWC: 816
Saku
Saku
Genin
Genin
Stat Page : The Child
Mission Record : Mission Log
Remove Taijutsu Bukijutsu Remove Jikūjutsu Default
Remove Remove Remove Lightning Remove Default
Clan Specialty : Taijutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 42970

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Tue Jun 18, 2024 4:56 am
Apparently the stranger was unaware of their presence. At least that is what they gathered from their immediate reaction. It seemed as it The Child's presence had disturbed the stranger. The Child could instantly tell that they'd make a grave error. The tone and expression set off red flags for The Child. Maybe they should leave now, they could just turn and walk away. In fact The Child considered setting off at the upmost haste to avoid any confrontation.

When the stranger stood they felt danger. Their body tensed, reflectively taking a step back in anticipation. The stranger was female, judging purely on their hairstyle of choice, and also taller than them. The size difference and demeanour of the girl unnerved The Child for sure. It definitely seemed it would be better to leave now and avoid the wrath of the fiery-girl.

Before The Child make a hasty exit however, the stranger's expression seemed to change. A question was asked, one that caused some confusion for The Child. Were they okay? It was an odd question for sure, one that they didn't entirely understand. "I'm not okay, I'm Saku." The Child responded after a moment's silence. The change in the girl's expression was definitely jarring for The Child, having little experience with people in an actual social setting.

"How did you get here?" The Child decided to question the stranger, the curiosity of how and why they had ended up in this area getting the better of them.

[1016]
Natsumi Nara
Natsumi Nara
Genin
Genin
Survived 2021
You've completed the Christmas Event of 2021 and qualified for the last reward, by partisan you are awarded this fancy badge!
Stat Page : Link

Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Remove Earth Remove Remove Remove Default
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Tue Jun 18, 2024 6:32 am
In life—and in the shinobi world especially—appearances could be deceiving, whether intentionally so or by mere happenstance. A kindly old lady could be a spy and a student just out of the academy could be a cold-blooded killer, so why, Natsumi reasoned as she appraised the shorter Saku, couldn’t a person wearing bandages be uninjured? They were, after all, clearly well enough to turn a phrase around in a manner not unlike her father would over the dinner table. Perhaps the bandages were simply a misguided fashion statement.

“Okay, not okay, I'm Saku,” she crinkled her nose at her rendition of the joke—it sounded better in her head. “I’m Natsumi, and I guess I got here the same way anyone else does.”

Straightening her posture, she gestured broadly to her feet.

“It’s nice to get away from it all, ya know? Eat lunch, enjoy nature, skip stones.”

Many of her peers spent their time off training in pursuit of some nebulous milestone in strength or prestige. And that was, of course, their choice to make. However, despite her relatively tender age, even she had seen the cycle it led to wherein after each milestone was reached another, more ambitious milestone lay beyond.  Those goals and milestones weren’t going anywhere, so why bother rushing towards them? Life was meant to be enjoyed, and endless training was far from enjoyable.

“You can stay if you want, I don’t mind.”

With the serenity of her previous solitude already broken, the Nara girl figured it might actually be nice to have someone join her for the first time in a while. The lunch-in-the-park ritual was, after all, meant to be a two-person affair from its inception with her late grandfather. Plus, it wasn’t like she could very well ask the diminutive Saku to leave—it was a public park.
- - -
WC: 304
TWC: 1120
Saku
Saku
Genin
Genin
Stat Page : The Child
Mission Record : Mission Log
Remove Taijutsu Bukijutsu Remove Jikūjutsu Default
Remove Remove Remove Lightning Remove Default
Clan Specialty : Taijutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 42970

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Tue Jun 18, 2024 9:14 am
Their eyebrow raised in surprise at the initial response from the stranger. They were okay but not okay, and they were also called Saku? Of all the coincidences The Child had not expected to encounter someone with the same name out in the wilderness. The pleasant surprise was cut short however, when the girl introduced herself as Natsumi. Now that The Child was fairly certain this encounter would not end in a violent duel to the death the tension left their body.

While the girl offered explanation The Child wordlessly listened, noting that the poor girl didn't seem to own shoes.

Given permission to stay The Child ambled over to the water. They silently watched it for a moment, eyes furrowing as a question came to the forefront of their mind. Lunch and nature they could understand, it made perfect sense to The Child. Nature was cool and interesting, animals were fun to be around and plants were nice. Lunch was also good, especially ice-cream. No, it was the last part of the sentence that was completely lost on The Child.

What exactly was 'skip stones'? The Child had not come across the term before. They wondered if perhaps they had missed the term in an academy lesson. Some sort of training maybe? Maybe it referred to practicing earth jutsu. That would make this girl a shinobi. The Child should have realised it before, after all no normal person would find such a location after all...right?

So The Child reckoned it to be some sort of training technique, secluded locations were the best place to practice. While The Child muddled through their intrusive thoughts a silence had come over the park. Well, not a true silence, the soundtrack of nature still played out in the background. It was pleasant listening, so The Child hated the idea of breaking it. However the question burned in the back of their mind, and so they had to voice it: "What is skip stones?"

[1346]
Natsumi Nara
Natsumi Nara
Genin
Genin
Survived 2021
You've completed the Christmas Event of 2021 and qualified for the last reward, by partisan you are awarded this fancy badge!
Stat Page : Link

Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Remove Earth Remove Remove Remove Default
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Wed Jun 19, 2024 4:13 am
No longer interrupted by the fleeting affront of human conversation, the sounds of nature returned to the fore as Natsumi reclaimed her seat by the stream. The splash of the frog abandoning its solo act for the comfort of the water, the rattle of reeds in the intermittent breeze, and the monotonous, omnipresent buzz of the distant cicada harmonized as one to reassert nature’s presence.  

It was within this conversational lull that the girl picked at the contents of her bento box. Half the box was filled with white rice, with a single pickled plum. Beside it were a few slices of sweet, rolled omelet and some green heads of broccoli. There were also a couple of pieces of karaage paired with a small orange wedge that seemed to have been thrown in as an afterthought more than anything else. Franky, given what she paid for it, she couldn’t complain too much.

“It’s just like what it sounds like, I suppose,” she responded to Saku’s question between bites. “You’ve really never skipped stones before?”

She finished chewing the bland broccoli before placing the bento at her side.

“It’s not too hard,” she stood up and into the creek. “You need to find the right stone…”

Feet in the mud and up to her ankles in water, she scanned the creek bed with a practiced eye. Small fish flitted this way and that, further away from the shore something green swayed in the water, and then there, a few steps away and deeper into water, was the kind of stone she was looking for. Undeterred by the now calf-deep water, she retrieved the stone before returning to the shore to stand beside Saku. Yes, she could have likely found a similar stone on the creek's bank, but then she couldn't have gotten some relief from the heat by way of the cooler water.

“You want one like this,” she turned the stone over in her hand, so the sun caught its flattened contours and earthy color. “And then you kinda throw it across the water?”

The more she thought about it, the more she realized that explaining how to skip a stone was more difficult than it sounded. Despite having likely thrown more stones than shuriken, she couldn’t quite remember what it was like when she was first learning. Though, she reasoned that it likely involved a lot of failed attempts and more than a bit of frustration, granted she was much younger then.

“Watch.”

Stone cradled in her hand, she uncoiled her arm in a smooth motion, flicked her wrist forward, and released the stone. The flat disc of earth skimmed across the river, bouncing once, twice, and several more times before finally vanishing to the bottom of the creek. The ripples from the act played about in the creek’s current before finally dissipating fully, wiping away any memory of the stone's impact on the water.  

“You give it a shot, it’s all in the wrist.”

Stepping back, she crossed her arms across her chest and waited.
- - -
WC: 507
TWC: 1627

Saku
Saku
Genin
Genin
Stat Page : The Child
Mission Record : Mission Log
Remove Taijutsu Bukijutsu Remove Jikūjutsu Default
Remove Remove Remove Lightning Remove Default
Clan Specialty : Taijutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 42970

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Thu Jun 20, 2024 11:47 am
For a brief moment The Child wondered if they were being ignored. Natsumi seeming more interested in lunch, which was understandable. The question lay unanswered, and The Child simply silently stared, for the brief moment before she replied to them.

Never skipped stones before? The Child had not, or had maybe, they didn't remember. Their memories of anything before becoming a shinobi were non-existent. Was such an activity common? From the way she spoke it seemed to be. With more questions running through their head they simply shook their head when questioned about it.

They would listen to the explanation quietly. Maybe it would prove valuable in the future, The Child was unsure.

Their eyebrows knitted together as they watched the display of stone skipping. It seemed...easy. Though they remembered not too long ago another throwing activity that had cost them a vast amount of ryo. That too had seemed easy. Still, they had got a stuffed doll out of it so it wasn't a complete waste in the end.

Though The Child did not expect to suddenly be put on the spot. They blinked, and were slow to move initially. Finally they moved closer to the creak, looking into the clear water. Wait did their hair always look like thi- now wasn't the time. The Child hopped into the water, letting out a small gasp of surprise upon finding it a bit too cold for their liking. Also in hindsight, should've taken their sandals off first. A reminder for future stone skipping attempts for sure.

Their were plenty of stones sitting on the bed of the creak, allowing The Child a vast wealth of choice. Not that they knew what to look for anyway, they guessed a rock that was flat. Picking the one that seemed like the best they'd hop back out of the water. Squelching their way back to where they had stood before.

"Throw it across the water." The Child repeated to themself. Simple enough, they'd thrown plenty of things. The Child drew their arm back, carefully aiming for the water of the creak. With precision befitting a trained shinobi they launched the rock through the air. The Child had judged it perfectly, the angle would make it hit the water and th-

Sploosh.

The Child stared wordlessly as the rock plunked into the creak and settled at the bottom.

They then turned to Natsumi, confusion etched across their face. "It didn't work." The Child stated plainly, pointing at where the rock had sank.

[1764]
Natsumi Nara
Natsumi Nara
Genin
Genin
Survived 2021
You've completed the Christmas Event of 2021 and qualified for the last reward, by partisan you are awarded this fancy badge!
Stat Page : Link

Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Remove Earth Remove Remove Remove Default
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Fri Jun 21, 2024 5:17 am
Natsumi met Saku’s confusion with soft, subdued laughter, creating an uneven harmony with the sounds of nature around the pair of shinobi. In the distance, her diminutive companion's failed attempt sent ripples outward in large, lazy rings that eventually melted into nothingness. In the end, both Natsumi and Saku’s stones ended up in the same place: at the bottom of the creek—it was just a matter of what they did before returning to the mud that mattered.

“It wasn’t a bad try,” her gaze left the bandaged figure and returned to the shoreline. “No one’s ever perfect the first time they try something, so don't sweat it too much.”

Retrieving an acceptable stone, she returned to Saku's side.

“Make sure it’s a flat stone, and hold it in your hand like this,” she gripped the stone loosely between her thumb and index finger. “Then send it flying across the water at a lower angle than you had before.”

Instead of skipping the stone, however, she tossed it to Saku in a gentle arc that would allow even one with a slower reaction time to catch it if they were paying attention in the slightest. Ultimately, there was only so much direction a verbal explanation could provide. As with most things in life, skipping stones relied on physical repetition rather than theoretical musings and, of course, failure came before success.

“Try it again,” she prompted Saku with a half nod to the creek. “It helps if you try to think about hitting the opposite side of the creek while keeping the arc of the stone as close to the water as possible, gravity should do the rest…or something like that.”

Natsumi, despite her mother’s best efforts, had never been an exceptional student, so it followed that teaching was something that did not come naturally to the teen. Nonetheless, she watched Saku with a certain attention to how they might improve their form that many of her instructors would have undoubtedly appreciated. Perhaps there was hope for the young genin yet.
- - -
WC: 339
TWC: 1966

Saku
Saku
Genin
Genin
Stat Page : The Child
Mission Record : Mission Log
Remove Taijutsu Bukijutsu Remove Jikūjutsu Default
Remove Remove Remove Lightning Remove Default
Clan Specialty : Taijutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 42970

Skipping Stones [P] Empty Re: Skipping Stones [P]

Fri Jun 21, 2024 5:35 pm
Watch closely and just mimic what you saw. It was something that The Child was familiar with, having graduated almost purely off of mimicking others.

They noted the difference in throwing motion when Natsumi offered the explanation a second time, and only narrowly avoided getting hit in the face from their partial distraction. Catching the new stone in their palm they looked it over. It seemed similar enough to the one's from before, so it was likely down to user error more than anything.

Naturally the instruction was...lacking too say the least. Not that The Child would have understood it much anyway. Hit the opposite side of the creek...but keep it low? None of that made sense to them, so they just decided to copy the throwing motion and hope for the best.

The Child looked from the stone to the creek, eyes narrowing in a seriousness that was quite unnatural for them. They had overcome all obstacles when it came to throwing side-quests, and this one would be no different. The sacred art of skipping stones would, like the ring game before, be conquered by The Child.

They brought their throwing arm back, tensing up and preparing for the all important throw. The Child took in a deep breath, the oxygen flowing in and being utilised to enter a state of total concentration. Then their arm rocketed forward, the stone flying from their grip and toward the creek at an unnatural speed.

The Child watched as the stone made contact with the water, and then skipped once, twi-- never mind only once. The stone had skipped over and into the bank on the other side, landing in the soft grass with a loud thud.

Still, it was a success in their eyes. They exhaled, their concentration slipping as they had achieved the goal set out for them. Stone skipping was yet another thing The Child had succeeded at, adding to the list of their many feats and accomplishments.

Naturally they were thrilled, raising both hands in the air in celebration. "Yay." They said joyously, though from sound alone it would come across as monotone and entirely unenthused. "That was fun."

[2125]
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