Lost Lives, Lost Souls [Open]

Saotome Asami

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The Conscientiae’s interior was a marvel that few of its citizens truly appreciated. For the locals, the building was but another part of their day-to-day lives, melding into the background as they sought knowledge. When one had their mind set on finding the right book, the library’s inhabitants also faded into the background. One troubled academy student should have melded with the scene like everybody else, but it seemed Asami couldn’t help but draw attention to herself. It was her reading material that did the trick – several stacks of books on a table she seemed to have claimed for herself. If she had been younger, one could have guessed she was trying to build a fort out of the village’s treasured records. Her furrowed brow and troubled eyes, however, showed maturity too great for such games.

The academy was haunted. It wasn’t a matter of questionable rumours and playground tales, although she’d heard her fair share of those. Asami was never the type to put much stock in such hearsay anyway. She had seen the lost souls with her own eyes, endlessly wandering through the halls. Insane people never realised they were broken, but Asami had been very careful with her mental health. The academy hadn’t broken her yet; rather, its gruelling regime was drawing out more and more innate talents by the day. She couldn’t say she was happy that they were succeeding, especially if dead children were what she gained from it, but it appeared that was what she was stuck with. She did acknowledge, however, that the occasional spirit encounter wasn’t nearly as alarming as it should have been. An extension of said talent, perhaps.

It was difficult to ignore that the shinobi training grounds held more than its fair share of deceased. It was no secret that classes were brutal, but weren’t the most dangerous of those supposed to happen off-site? If students were just dying to injuries, then the hospital would have made more sense. There was no reason she could think of as to why so many felt tied to the building, and for some reason, asking was out of the question. The budding mediator could barely get them to acknowledge her half the time, and on the one occasion she tried to ask what happened, she received hellish noises in return. Annoying, freaky, and the source of at least one of her nightmares. She had a strong feeling that pestering the academy teachers about lingering spirits wouldn’t go down well, either.

She turned to the next best option. An inquisitive mind knew to turn to knowledge and history for answers, and so she sought one for her question - why? There was no expectation to find a record on ‘Child Casualties in Kumogakure’ – the administration would have that swept under the rug. She prided herself on being on the smarter end of the village youth, and she knew how to read between lines – that, she hoped, would help her reach a conclusion. That was why she had spent hours skimming through books and binders alike, gathering more and more of them to add to her collection. A report on the country’s chakra users had stolen her attention for the past several minutes, making it all the more unlikely for her to notice any newcomers to the scene.
 

Saito Yusuke

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Often times than not, Yusuke found himself wandering the seemingly endless supply of books and scrolls aligned neatly along the various shelves. His pale irises shift about the room, a small assortment of books tucked under his arm, with the occasional scroll or two. Judging by the dust accumulating upon them, they weren't in proper use, despite his interests on studying them. The youth often visited these collections of forlorn items in order to advance his knowledge on various subjects, as his parents often required him to stay ahead of the curve. They were demanding and strict goals set before him, but he's long learned to adapt to their desires, and merely achieve what they wished of him.

..That wasn't to say he didn't have his own ambitions, however. His thoughts and desires were often kept to himself, stowed into the back-burner of his mind in order to worry about it when he could afford the time to do so. With his entrance into the academy, and his scores requiring to be among the top, there was little time to enjoy roaming the village. He ate alongside books, slept in a room brimming with excess reading material, and woke up to a book or two occasionally resting upon his face or chest. In those latter cases, it was likely he had dozed off entirely from the effort to pay attention to the monotonous text that never seemed to end. Even so, he knew that this specific requirement of him was a necessity, as it would prepare him for the grueling, brutal world of a shinobi. What laid before him was still unknown to him, but he had to be as prepared as he possibly could, in order to succeed. That being said, he had gathered various materials in relation to the academy itself, in order to have a vague idea of what he ought to work on before the process of his classes had been entirely set in motion.

His footsteps felt too loud to his ears as he listlessly shuffled along the corridors of shelves, his eyes drifting along them with a distinct 'hunger'. Dawdling and wishing he could do something else outside of studying would only halt the task at hand, after all. Once a task had been set before him, he was determined, if not desperate to see it completed. Those small gaps of windows between those shifts in his tasking were what he savored, as it was a transition period from buckling down and preparing for his future, to enjoying himself. Needless to say, he wished to get through this particular segment, in order for him to be able to relax for just a few days. As he made his way out of the various aisles, he set a large stack of books on an emptied table, only to look around with a mildly wistful expression.

"...Barely anyone comes here."</B><i></i>

A small mutter escapes from his lips, wondering what his peers and classmates alike were likely doing. It isn't until he spots what appears to be an armada of books at one of the nearby tables that he pauses in place. Was he truly not alone in this dust-ridden graveyard of books?! He tries to peer past the arrangement of material in order to discern who had been among such a horrid pile, only to discern that it was someone whom was unfamiliar. Given his lack of actual contact with others, his curiosity gets the better of him, and he bravely hefts up his pile in order to waddle his way towards this elusive figure. Settling them down before her, Yusuke briefly examines her and drags a chair back with one of his feet. <B>"Hey! You're not in the academy, are you? Most people avoid this place like the plague, if they can help it."

An interesting way to start a conversation, to be sure. But he's paranoid that this might wind up being someone he would have to compete against, so it was only natural that his words were etched with a hint of suspicion in them. He sets himself into the chair before Asami, only to bring his smaller group of books to a segregated portion of the table. His eyes briefly wander over her respective collection, as if to discern what information he could gather through contextual evidence. The facade of friendliness was one that he rarely used, but he was definitely capable of it.
 

Harou

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The eerie silence of the Conscientiae was a safe haven for a social recluse such as Gattsu. Growing up in the secluded mountain tops of Monumentum Deo, he was unfamiliar with constant locals roaming the hallways loud and obnoxious. It stirred an uneasiness in the pit of his stomach, a dark creeping feeling that made him feel uncomfortable to be in such crowded and loud spaces. Lacking formal education most of his life as well as being unfamiliar with the lore and history of Kumogakure, the conscientiae was the perfect place to allow himself a moment of clarity while also immersing himself in the vast knowledge that he lacked. He had been spending many days in here studying and learning while also practicing his swordsmanship when not immersed in his historical studies.

An air of austerity surrounded Gattsu, his eyes lifeless as he quietly studied the historical textbook in his hand. His eyes looked up as he watched intently as Saito Yusuke took a seat next to Saotome Asami and began conversing with her. Hearing the word Academy, he guessed that they were fellow students attending the Academy with him. His lack of interest was apparent, he hardly paid attention to others in the academy. He was a recluse, and on top of that most people claimed he lacked manners and came of barbaric. People either avoided him out of fear he would do something or simply assumed he was uninterested in making friends. Realistically, Gattsu was socially inept and lacked the social grace to ever speak with anyone when it didn’t involve swinging his sword at them in combat.

His eyes returned to the textbook at hand, he carefully flipped the page in an effort not to stain it with blood. His hands and arms had fresh wounds, wrapped in bandages from an earlier training session. He had gotten excellent and wrapping up his wounds as it was something he suffered on a regular basis with his methods and lifestyle. His clothes were cheap, items he had gotten during his days on the mountain. They were ragged and dirty from sleeping outside nightly, something he had grown accustomed to. It only added to his already negative image, giving him a thuggish and barbaric look. He seemed uncivilized in appearance, which of course seemed even more baffling considering he didn't seem like the type who would studying intently on local history and lore.

Word Count: 403
 

Fujiwara Masaki

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I just want to be better.

The face his father made that day would be one that would forever be etched into his brain. A year ago when his younger sister was scouted by the CPPS, it brought a fire into his father’s heart about restoring the family. Even as his sister proved to not be as talented as they originally thought, but still slowly growing, his father still stayed in her corner. Now? He had two children who could bring hope and pride to the Fujiwara name. Masaki wanted to make his father proud, make his family happy, and make sure they were taken care of.

More so? He wanted to do this for himself. Being a shinobi was never something he wished for or wanted, he simply just never thought about it. Living life day to day helping around the house, keeping up on his general studies, and just enjoying his family was all that mattered. He didn’t hate that he was scouted. It was scary. Exciting. Exhilarating. However, despite wanting to make others proud, he namely wanted to make a name for himself and do himself justice. That’s all he could think about as he made the walk from his house to the Bibliotheca Conscientiae.

Once inside he felt pretty small. The walls were lined with book after book and scroll after scroll. Even to this day it was an impressive sight to behold. Masaki wasn’t quite sure what he was even looking for to be honest. All he knew is that he needed to progress quicker than his sister; not to beat her like they were in a competition, but in order to keep up with his classmates. After all, from what he could tell he was on the bottom of the totem pole in that regard. Which was unfortunate. Most seemed to come from a pretty incredible family or had skills prior to being scouted or sent to the academy.

Gathering some books on chakra control, basic ninjutsu, and a compilation of jutsu affinity, combination, and strategy Masaki wandered off to what he had assumed would be the rather empty protected records area to sit. However, upon rounding the corner he was greeted by three others. He didn’t really know anyone by name at the academy yet, but he sort of recognized them—sort of. He didn’t expect any of them to take notice of him though. The girl seemed to be drowning in books, the one with the white eyes seemed to be trying to get information out of her, and the other one? He seemed to be doing the same thing he was—sticking to himself.

I’m always so social with my family, it’s almost strange I can’t simply walk up to them and say hello. It doesn’t matter I suppose. Once I get a grasp of how to truly be a shinobi. Once I get passed all of this schooling and graduate the academy I think I’ll be better. Maybe. No, I need to start now.

Taking a seat at the table where the more muscular boy had been sitting alone, Masaki sat out the books he had gathered up and simply stared at the titles. It was still a bit weird how not long ago he was reading history books and fanciful stories about other places and people. Now he was teaching himself to how to fight and be, essentially, a soldier of the state. For the first time since he had left his house earlier, he cracked a smile, almost a smirk. It was funny what cards were dealt in life and what hand you were given to figure out the best play.

”Welp, no time like the present…,” was all he muttered to himself, at first, before mentally preparing himself as he looked up and towards the other boy. He immediately noticed the blood stained wrap; clearly he had been training. That's something that he too should be doing, not just reading about it. But, he shoved those thoughts to the back burner for now. "Physical and mental training huh? You must be pretty dedicated." He gestured to the other's hands and arms. Doh. Why did he bring the boys injuries up? Maybe he should have stayed quiet. But if the girl and the white eyed boy were going to be friendly, he wasn't going to interrupt, so this was theoretically easier. Right?

WC: 734
 

Michinori Kato

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Hearing about the Conscientiae from some people in the town Kato decided to come and look through. This atmosphere is different to Kato but familiar sense. Looking around at the seemingly empty place, Kato smiles as he looks up and down the sections of books. "Hmm.... " Kato says to himself as he looks through the books.

"There grab it..."Kato hears as he passes a very ominous looking scroll. Picking the scroll up Kato's tattoo glows slightly and has a warmth feel. Looking more at the scroll it seems to be a list of spiritual encounters of the demonic type. Reading more about the title Kato gets excites knowing he might be able to learn more about the being inside him.

Walking away from the scrolls and more while he starts unknowingly heading towards the seemingly substantial group that has gathered near the table. Walking closer to the group Kato hides his scroll slightly not wanting people to judge as he gets a bit closer to the group.

Kato waves slightly to them, "H-hello there, im surprised to see anyone here i was told its usually empty...what are you all doing here? If you dont mind me asking.." Kato stands there awkwardly and makes sure his scroll is mostly hidden. Kato does has an aura of fear and despair from the being inside him that radiates off him affecting people near and he has yet found a way to 100% master it.
 

Harou

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People seemed to be entering the library in numbers now. Since when was it normal for kids their age to be studying instead of goofing off? From what he understood, it was normal behavior for his classmates to be causing mischief, letting their instructors give them a mouthful for disrespectful and childish behavior. Instead, there were now four others in his library and worst of all they seemed to be gathering in the same general vicinity. It wasn’t that he hated others, it was more along the lines of him enjoying his solitude without having to worry about being trying to understand what the people around him were attempting to say or feel. His left hand raised towards his hand, satisfying an itch on his left temple with his fingers, perhaps attempting to understand the social system of other people his age was subconsciously causing him an itch to distract him from being too confused about it all. He signed silently to himself and his eyes dropped back into the textbook in his hands. ”It’s best to ignore their intentions.” he pondered silently to himself. He still had much to catch up on after all. They would leave him alone as expected, they always did. Apparently except this time.

From the corner of his eyes he noticed what seemed to be another classmate sit down, this time occupying the same table as him. He recognized the thin boy slightly from the Academy. From what he could recall, Fujiwara Misaki was a fairly new student in the Academy, he could hardly recall which of them entered the Academy first, perhaps around the same time. He occasionally noticed the boy keeping to himself, though he seemed to be shy rather than a social introvert such as himself. His eyes glazed around the room as his classmate sat next to him, plenty of other seats in the area so he intentionally sat near him. That was truly bizarre, most avoided Gattsu like the plague. He carefully studied Misaki, his eyes fixed upon like a predator waiting for an opportunity to pounce on an unsuspecting prey. His hands shows no callouses, he was unaccustomed to combat but had done plenty of chores and as such was use to do some forms of labor. He could sense nervousness from classmate, was it because of him or for some other peculiar reason?

He became distracted at his classmates words. Were the words directed to him? It was unusual for someone to go out of their way to speak to him yet here was this boy attempting to socialize with him. Gattsu stared at him intently, his eyes wild and predatory but relatively expressionless, he wasn’t annoyed with the boy as so much curious as to his intentions for speaking to him. After a considerable unhealthy amount of silence and staring, Gattsu returned his eyes to the textbook in front of him. In a deep voice for a teen their age, Gattsu responded ”Perhaps.”<i></i>. Success! He had a conversation with another student his age he summarized. Apparently one word answers in his mind was a conversation. It was almost laughable how bad of a conversationalist Gattsu was with strangers.

Looking up, he noticed yet another boy, enter the room and speak to apparently no one in general. This he could ignore, no reason to start a conversation at random. Without looking up at Misaki Gattsu bluntly asked ”New?”<i></i>. Yet another well thought out question he proudly gleamed inside, apparently one word answers was his version of a long well thought out conversation.
 

Saotome Asami

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Strange. She hadn’t expected her reading to be an invitation to chat, and yet, a group of young boys made themselves known. In fact, she wouldn’t have thought anybody would try to meet strangers in a library, but the academy life was full of surprises. The pale-eyed boy was the first to divert her eyes. He made himself comfortable at her table – a move that reminded her a little too much of an oblivious blue-haired genin. As brief as it was, it was difficult to miss the flicker was disappointment in her eyes. It was replaced by her welcoming smile, albeit a little weaker than it should have been.

“I am, actually… I’m not sure what that has to do with reading, though. I like to learn, and this place is very good for that.” Her current report remained open on the desk in front of her. Would the boy take the hint that she meant to finish it? …It didn’t matter. Another conversation was picking up but a few feet away, and a familiar face made itself known. She had met Kato under less favourable circumstances, but the aura around him hadn’t changed a bit. Fortunately, her apparent immunity to it had remained as well; any sensible shinobi (in training) knew how to hide fear.

Great. She had to be polite, but that meant her work had to be put aside for the moment. “I thought it would be empty too. Oh well. Doesn’t matter much.” It did. “It’s nice to see you again, Kato. I was just, er…” She glanced down at the records. It wasn’t the best conversation starter. “Trying to sort my thoughts out. I like to think learning new things can help make sense of what I already know… Though I’m not sure if that makes sense.” Her smile grew meek as she glanced at the other two boys. It was easy enough to identify one of them as a fighter, almost definitely a genin, and the other was unconcerned by that fact. It was safe to assume that all of them were a bit above the average child citizen. Whether that bade well for her was yet to be seen.

“Still. It helps me clear my mind, and I get to learn something too. There are much worse ways to spend a day.”
 

Fujiwara Masaki

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It wasn't the most successful attempts at a conversation, but it was a conversation none the least. Masaki had to admit though that the excessive amounts of silence and staring from the other was a little unsettling, which was likely easy to tell on his face, but he didn't let on at all that it was. The other boy didn’t seem shy or like he didn’t want to speak to him, it was more like he didn’t know what to say or how to interact—at least that’s what his guess was. Mulling over a way to continue the conversation, the other, thankfully, asked a question. A one worded, blunt question but it was a conversation starter regardless.

”Yes, I am new. I was just scouted not so long ago so I’m still trying to get used to everything,” he started, glancing down at the books he had brought and gestured to them. All of them were about chakra control, mastery, combinations of technique and jutsu, everything one would likely read much further in their shinobi career than the typical juvenile academy student. Despite not being trained or having a history, it was clear that Masaki wanted to learn, and learn fast. “What about you? Been in the Academy long? My name is Fujiwara Masaki.”

It was as this exchange between him the boy across from him went on that another student, he assumed, walked into this particular section of the library. That made five of them. It was a bit odd to see so many coming into such a remote part of the library, but he simply smiled in acknowledgement, glad that the girl drowning in books seemed to address him instead. Good. That meant that those three would integrate into their own conversation while he had his with this boy. Should they all start talking it would be perfectly fine, but, in Masaki’s mind, one person at a time was much more bearable for now.

Glancing down at the books he had brought once more, he figured he should at least open one of them and start reading. The other boy seemed intent on continuing his studies while casually keeping the conversation going with one word, quick to the point answers. It was a start. All he ever had was his siblings for friends so making them wasn’t exactly his strong point. However if this was the start to that, or at least to find someone to help him train then that would work. After all, judging by the boy’s appearance he was quite skilled in combat.

If I can even get half as good as he seems to be then I’ll be able to make something of myself in the academy, maybe even graduate and become a Genin. Then I can help Suzu do the same. Father would be so happy to have both of us official shinobi and we can start our own paths.

Mentally happy at the thought of that, his eyes darted between his book and the boy across from him. After all it was only polite to engage and look at one who is speaking—even if the other didn’t have much to say.

WC: 531
 

Saito Yusuke

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A moment of contemplation encroaches upon Yusuke's features, though he soon comes to the understanding that there were multiple people gathered within the library, likely thinking of the same course of thought that he had. Surprise riddles his features, perhaps perplexed by the amount of individuals within the enclosed, if not typically unused area. His books are protectively covered with his right palm, coming to an eventual stand as he began to frown lightly. There was far too many people, but this would also prove to be a healthy opportunity to know his classmates...right?

A wave is offered to those whom greet them, though the words of the lass before him are briefly digested. It would make sense that she had arrived here as a means of finishing her studies. Despite this, Yusuke would proceed to gather his belongings, likely to relocate as the group itself was a bit overwhelming for the youth. With his studies in mind, he could only handle one or two extra people at most, but attempting to bury himself in the text within his grasp would prove difficult at best. Even so, he remains polite with those around him, only to move into another section of the library in a quest for silence. He's surprisingly quiet, but he was never one for many words to begin with. The books within his grasp are briefly inspected, cradled as if they were precious to the young lad.
 

Michinori Kato

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Kato smiles at Asami,"Hey there Asami, didnt think you would be here,
What you looking at?"
Kato says as he moves a little closer just trying to make new friends and say hi to his old friend. After Asami says her piece he smiles and nods as he likes the book choices before he takes his scroll out and shows it to Asami a little.

The scroll has two dark red crimson eyes much like Kato's when the demon is out and the scroll is about such a thing similar as Kato's problem. "This is what im reading." Kato has a weary smile as he shows this to Asami.

Kato looks at the other people and smiles."What are the rest of you doing here...except studying cause well we are in a library," laughs a little trying to break the ice.
 

Saotome Asami

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Needless to say, Yusuke's reaction left her a tad confused. Approaching a stranger for conversation was one thing, but to do it in a library... and then walk off almost immediately after? She watched the boy depart with a raised brow. "...Well, alright then." She returned her attention to Kato and his paper. "It's not often that I see a paper decorated like that. For adults, anyway." The significance of the work had clearly been lost on her. "Not that there's anything wrong with that. It makes it stand out, compared to..." She gestured to the stacks of books surrounding her.

An inquisitive gaze fell to the others as Kato tried to lure them into the conversation. For a moment she considered telling him to leave them be, but she remembered that if they meant to be left alone, they had the whole library to go to do that. Therefore, if she wasn’t allowed to finish her reading, neither would they.

“Research,” she began, hoping to at least get a second opinion. “I don’t have much studying to do now, so I’m looking into some… mysteries.” Admitting that one could see ghosts was probably not the best way to make friends… Or sound sane. “For a country that seems to be running low on potential shinobi, there’s still a handful of students that go ‘missing’ every year. Strange, isn’t it? You would think that students so important to the village’s safety would be watched over a little more.” She tested the waters with a few curious thoughts; if they reacted well, then she would push the envelope a little further.
 

Harou

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How peculiar, people apparently surrounded themselves in a library to study and learn. It was obvious that these were students who were attempting to actually become something and tread forward, they weren’t just there to gossip as many of the other classmates seemed to be doing. The boy before him seemed to be frantically educating himself, obviously looking forward to becoming stronger himself. He glanced down at his battered hands, his old experience wasn’t going to help him in the shinobi life, and it wasn’t an edge. Every student in here had the rare ability to control chakra, they weren’t the thugs and mercenaries who were limited by only physical abilities. He had begun learning only recently about chakra and its capabilities, just how far behind was he compared to these students? He had to continue moving forward and not allow himself to fall too behind. He not only needed to continue his physical regiment he thought, he would need to learn to train as a shinobi, not just a swordsman. It was infuriating as he looked around the room once again. His eyes fell upon the young girl sitting at another table, Saotome Asami. He could tell deep inside, the girl was more skilled then him at the moment, her posture, the air around her, she was closer to a shinobi than he was. At the moment, he was merely a sword wielding boy. Frustrating, yet exciting. Gattsu was never afraid of strength, instead he held a deep admiration for it. The world of shinobi seemed to be filled with richness.

He returned his gaze upon Masaki after hearing him talk once again. He shook his head no, ever slightly as a response to his question of the length of his stay at the academy. ”Gattsu”</B><i></i> he responded, missing his surname as was unusual for him in particular to be called by it regardless of traditions. Mercenary traditions differed after all for a boy as young as him. He noticed the lack of confidence around the boy, he was not confident but eager for strength. Gattsu flipped the page over to the next, contemplating his own thoughts at the moment. <B>”Why are you here?” he stated rather coldly. Though it could be confused with why he was sitting at the table, he actually meant why pursue the life of a shinobi.

Word Count: 391
 

Fujiwara Masaki

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Well, there goes one.

It was an idle musing, but it seemed the white eyed boy had had enough of so many people around. He supposed he knew the girl that was among all of those books, but he couldn't be sure. However it seemed that, though a bit annoyed, she was content in keeping her conversation with the newcomer who had addressed them all moments ago. He was trying to include everyone. That was nice. Masaki wasn't quite sure how to handle that sort of situation but he was glad that the girl at least gave him time of day. One day the four of them, even the five of them including the white eyed boy who walked away, could be on a mission together. Who knows. It was important to at least be comfortable around those who you would grow strong with.

When the one in front of him shook his head and then followed up with his name, a singular name, he paused briefly as a few thoughts ran rampant. This boy, Gattsu, he was strong, physically fit, an clearly could take care of himself. He apparently had no surname as well. To Masaki, that just screamed orphan or a runaway. It wasn't surreal to hear of such things in Kumogakure. After all, it seemed that from he learned that most of the students that were rounded up were just that. "Well, pleasure to meet you Gattsu. It's nice to make a friend starting out like we are now,", he started, pausing for a moment as the other two began speaking again behind them. That's when Gattsu followed up with another question. It was stated pretty cold and monotone. If Masaki didn't know any better, which really he didn't but he gave the other the benefit of the doubt, it could have been taken as to why he was at the table. But he took it as the library in general, in this situation, learning to be a shinobi.

Why indeed. It's not like I had a choice in the matter really. Did any of us though?

"The CPPS scouted me. I had no desire or thought to be a shinobi nor did I ever really think about them in general. But now, since this is the role I must take and the path I must walk, I want to be as strong as I can to survive it.", he said, motioning the books he had brought to the table as reference. After all, they were all about gaining strength, wit, and becoming a SMART shinobi, which was the same as being a strong shinobi in his opinion. Pure strength means nothing if that person doesn't know how to use it correctly or counter it correctly. At least that's how he looked at it. His sister, though younger, was still in the mindset that power was power. He just hoped that she got out of that school of thought soon.

"What about you?"

After he asked, that's when he picked up the topic of the girl and other boy's conversation. Missing academy students. There were whispers around the school about students that disappear each year. Masaki simply assumed that they were students who couldn't rise to the challenge and perished during training, after all, the training was pretty intense. Though, in that same thought, names were never spoken, nor specific ways on how they died. So maybe it wasn't that they died during training but something else instead. Turning in his seat to look back at the other two, he waved a bit before speaking, "Now that you mention it, if it was something serious or as obvious as students dying, we would have been taught about it or given some sort of advice on how to not end up like them. Why do you think that is?"

WC: 641
 

Michinori Kato

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Kato smiles just enjoying to talk to some new people before paying more attention to the conversation as he hears about mysterious disappearances of students and death. Sitting down at the table in which ever open seat there is he listens as Asami and Masaki are discussing this topic. Dead students, they could of died from training to hard or on a mission right? But, they said in the school what could of happened?

Kato sits here wondering this as he listens to the conversation seemingly lost in thought be fore chiming in after Masaki finishes talking.
"What if they didnt know about the deaths? Or if it was from a unnatural cause and they didnt want to cause panic?" Kato says as he looks at them.

Kato sighs a little hoping it was just they didn't want to cause a big commotion over the deaths as that would mean something of unnatural source is here in the academy waiting for students to prey on. Hopefully, that isnt the case cause otherwise this might have to be a mission if brought up to the Hokage and anyone who goes on the mission will be in danger, we wouldnt want to add more to the casualtie count would we?
 

Saotome Asami

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Three out of four people participating was a passing grade, in her eyes. Gattsu showed no interest, though she did briefly catch him looking her way. Strange, how she and the armoured boy both saw each other as the superior. She was very good at maintaining an aura of elegance and confidence in day to day life, but she knew she had no interest in being a fighter. It only took one look at him, on the other hand, to understand that he was ready to kill. No effort was made to hide his injuries, and no money was spent on better clothes. If she were younger and a little less mature, she would have turned his nose up at him altogether. Instead, it seemed that he had done that to her and Kato. Oh well. Some people weren’t interested in conversation, especially where death was involved.

Then there was the other stranger. He looked much closer to the average student – that was to say, he looked like an average child that had been torn from their everyday life. From what little she paid attention to, he appeared to have accepted his fate, which was more than she could say for herself. Curious, she thought, but who was she to tell somebody to give up? More important, he had a point; both him and Kato did! How could they be sure, and why was it happening?

“…That’s what I’m trying to find out. At first, I thought there was no way they would mention anything like that in books, but… They’re not afraid to mention the kidnapping, so maybe not.” She placed a pair of fingers on a single-page report, sliding it further away from her as an offering. “I think all of them would be… ‘unnatural’. We don’t live in some slum where diseases can get to us, and now that potential shinobi are so hard to find, that shouldn’t be an issue for us anyway. Why would a squad go to the trouble of escorting us all the way across the country just to let us get measles or something?” She paused for a moment, glancing down at the paper again. She had proof, but only she could see it, and bringing it up would cause more problems than it solved. Without that, she may as well have been speculating.

“Normal children don’t just die of natural causes, but I have a feeling I know what would. A training battle gone wrong. Children… giving up, since some strange men already stole them away from everybody they ever cared about. One of those surgeries they give to struggling students, but only the struggling ones… Being left to fend for themselves on a bad survival class. It’s sad, really.” The last example came with a bitter edge. Was she speaking from experience? “I guess the advice would be ‘don’t screw up, and then you won’t die’. I’ve heard stuff like that a few times already. I guess when you’ve already made it through, it’s easy to say that the only ones that didn’t were too weak.”
 

Harou

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“No desire to be a shinobi” he thought to himself. He himself didn’t care much for the idea of being a shinobi. As long as he could remember, he wielded his blade and took lives even at his young and tender age. It was simply all he knew, it was easier to be a mad dog than to stop and think about things such as a future, dreams, or ambitions. He had no goals, no path to walk. He was just a dog of war, it’s all he knew, swing the sword and take a life, go home and wait until the next battle. His ledger was pouring blood already, he was sure there would be plenty more lives to be taken in the future. It wasn’t that the boy enjoyed killing, quite the contrary, his reality seemed to be that if he didn’t swing his sword a part of him would shrivel up and die, he would be nothing. It was barely worth calling him a person, he truly was just a mad dog after all, one to be ordered to take a life and return to the nothingness that he had grown accustomed to. “Why am I here again?” he pondered silently to himself. Studying? It wasn’t as if he cared much about learning. He didn’t consider himself the intellectual type, perhaps he simply wanted to escape the depravity of social interaction with others.

The Academy made him uncomfortable, he just wanted to perform his duties and ignore this portion of life. He did not fear death after all, though it wasn’t for something as extraordinary as courage, he was simply blind to it all. He needed to fight in order to feel something, remind himself that he was valuable in some kind of sense. His empire of existence was one built of bones, dirt, and blood. He would die a nameless nobody in the field, something that he was particularly fine with. He wasn’t a hero after all, he had no values, no traits of remembrance, and he was just good at ripping others apart. “Perhaps these people value their lives…which is why they care so much about the death of others. Perhaps why so many of them are hesitant to be shinobi.”

He closed the book in his hand and looked over to the attractive female who had attempted to engage them all in the conversation. She seemed to care much for her physical appearance, looking rather elegant compared to other females at the academy. She had hardly any interest in becoming a shinobi from what he could tell, she seemed disinterested, perhaps one of the many forced into this lifestyle. What was the point of caring for the deaths of the weak? Did she care? Genuine curiosity? Or was this simply another ploy to distract her from training and the harsh reality of what Kumogakure was. She felt sad for what? The dead children, who cares? They died because they’d rather live their lives pathetically rather than fight for it. After all, you couldn’t eat sadness, why bother feeling it?

“Is that the cushioned life that you want? To be watched for because a few weak ones failed and lost their lives? Is this your reality? Worrying about a few meaningless deaths?” he signed finally speaking as he retracted his gaze from her and down at his hand as he clenched it into a fist “Don’t make me laugh. All these kids did were give up and lose their lives. Every last one of them, when their lives are on the line, all any of them do is lie down and wish for it to end quickly. It’s easy for the weak to look at the strong and complain about how things were wrong or too brutal or that they should do things differently for the weak to live, as if the reality of life is that forgiving. They died. We are alive, does anything else matter? We are weak, a bag of flesh, bones, and blood just waiting to be ripped open. If you want to live you have to fight for it because when someone is in front of you trying to take away what little you have, I would rather fight for my life than worry about trampling the ants in my path. Training accidents, losing hope, the end result is the same. They lost at life, they died.”

Though his words sounded harsh and brutal, he simply was speaking of his own experiences in the end. People were cruel, unforgiving, and willing to sacrifice others for their own sake if that’s what it meant at the end of the day. If any of the people in his room wanted to survive, he felt they either needed to become strong enough to do what was necessary or perish the same as said students. At the end, Gattsu, having no real reason to want to live didn’t even know what it felt like to be weak minded enough to allow himself to die so easily.
 

Saotome Asami

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Asami was raised with manners, and so she’d allow the boy to say his piece, but her face grew more and more disappointed as his explanation went on. She could tell from a look that the boy was no ordinary student, but his complete lack of empathy for his fellow human was… disturbing, to say the least. What could have happened to a boy so young to leave him so broken, she wondered? How was she supposed to explain basic morals to somebody like him?

The simple answer? She couldn’t, and she knew better than to try, not in a place where people were meant to study in peace. The odds of her doing that were painfully low as long as the group was around her, and being about such an uncaring person was bound to be a distraction. “…How unfortunate. I wonder who hurt you so much to make you think that way.” A sad smile crossed her features as she stood up. “I should go. Sorry. I remembered I have something to do.” She didn’t bother trying to think up a better excuse, and soon departed, leaving her stacks of books behind.

[OOC: Thread left due to inactivity. I tried DMing all participants and received no response.]
 

Harou

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The boy sighed deeply at the girl’s comments as she left seemingly bothered by his behavior. Such reactions were common, perhaps Gattsu was too cold or rude in his behavior and mannerisms. It was common, the boy had nearly no skill in socialization and he consistently disrespected those around him with his words, actions, and general lack of concern for the feelings of others. He looked over at the books the girl left behind ad he scratched his head lightly and gave another sigh. How perplexing, how could one be in such a path and still have such emotions and naïve idealism? Even if forced, he thought that in order to survive you had to force yourself to think a certain way.

She won’t live long if she keeps up such naivety he thought as he stood up from his chair himself and dusted off his dirty clothing. None of it mattered to him, she’d shown her weak minded way of thinking. He was growing tired of the complaining and whining done at this academy. These people were naïve in their ideologies and weak in their will to survive. Was this was being a Shinobi was all about? He was better off as a mercenary he thought. He didn’t bother stopping the girl as she walked away, scratching his head slightly as he walked past all the others without caring to be as proper her in terms of pleasantries. The Academy was filled with fools, they were training to be killers. How bothersome it was to deal with such people.

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