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Sugihira Juko

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"The grass is always greener on the other side" - a popular saying that Juko had heard a couple of times throughout his youth. Especially when he had once again been trumped by some random Uchiha or Hyuuga Clanmember, or even some of the more talented Shinobi kids. Even now he felt as if the small overgrown hill he was sitting on was lackluster, the green not as fresh and vivid as the green he saw amidst the busier street opposite to him. Shit. Burying his head in between his arms Juko felt a strong desire to sob come up in him as he stared into the darkgreen nothing to his feet. Tiny insects were crawling here and there and altough his eyes were focussing on nothing in particular he saw all the small movements as his attention flittet this and that way. Shit! He repeated, this time with more intensity. Ive been looking forward to being an Anbu so much... if only i could have... maybe this really isnt my path?..
His hands wandered up his head and vanished in the blonde mane, clawing through the heavy strains of hair. On the way back his right hand did a quick stop to scratch at some of the scars at his neck and lower jaw before returning to the ground too.
Come on now Juko, your not a child anymore... you cant show the world this side of yourself no more! Remember what you have been told, remember what you have been tought!
Slowly he straightened his body up again, looking towards the people on the street. Despite not having cried his eyes seemed to be reddened, a result of two near sleepless nights as he pondered his future. As far as he knew most of his past classmates had all either already surpassed him or were in the process of doing so.
A soft breeze was now blowing, and not for the first time did the boy feel as though the wind was talking to him, whispering unintelligible words into his ears. Regardless of all, i need to take up training again. I cant let this stop me from becoming stronger, cant let this break me. I already feel as though i might never reach a higher level than trainee if things continue the way they are right now... the number one question now is: How do we get stronger?
Again he saw the inhuman face of Maru before him, all metal and wood with barely any resemblance to his actual face. Preferably without turning ourself into some weird puppettoy. There has to be a way, how else did Takeshi, Kenshin and the others get to where they are... For a moment he contemplated going back into the realm of the Youkai but considering his most recent adventure there he quickly dispersed the idea.
Altough i could probably call upon Kijin sometime... maybe the old monkey has an idea or something else to help me?
Pulling himself together again Juko took out a kunai and wiped the blade along his thumb, opening the flesh. A singly drip of blood fell into the green grass where it immediately seemed to turn black, growing into an intricate mass of symbols and signs. A small puff of cloud followed, momentarily blanking the spot before the blonde boy before being ripped apart by the wind. A small empty pumpkinflask came into view, signed with a messy message. "Cant come, drunk sleeping".... again? What is wrong with that stupid monkey... will i EVER be able to call him without something like this happening?
The young ninja punched the ground and allowed his body to fall backwards into the grass where he stayed, watching the few clouds above drift by. Shit.
WC: 626​
 

Yasu

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Yasu leaned right over the stranger who was laying in the grass. His face was parallel to Juko, only upside down. Their eyes staring deep into each others. "You have sad eyes." Yasu spoke with general concern. He let his body roll and he fell on his back so his head was right next to Jukos. They both were now laying on their backs looking at the sky. Yasu smiled as he admired the clouds above him. "Sometimes when I'm frustrated or sad I like to do some hard core training. Well... That or I eat, like everything I can get." Shouldn't you be doing just that right now? Training, not the eating. Yasus thoughts escaped him. My ninja way is to help those who cant help themselves. I feel like this qualifies.
"So, what will it be? Food? Or training?" Yasu rolled over to his side so he would be facing the stranger. "And I know Im just a kid but Im tough! I could take you on!" Are...are you trying to cheer this guy up or pick a fight? Im aiming for somewhere in the middle.
 

Sugihira Juko

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None of the clouds above Juko's head had any real shape. Unlike in past times when he had been able to make out animals, shuriken and funny faces in the drifting clouds he could not see anything else but shreds of white puffs now, each reminding him of his recent failures and shortcomings. I wonder if the clouds look the same in any of the other countries... maybe theyre not even white somewhere else? Like, Sunagakure probably has orange clouds, what with all the sands being blown up... The drifting whites above suddenly took on a rush of color when a face moved into Juko's view. Hm? It was a young face, and that of a stranger nevertheless. To add to the young Seikons confusion the face seemed to be the wrong side around until the boy rememebered that the person above must be simply standing "behind" him. Behind me, i if i were in a standing position that is....
Confronted with the initial statement about his Eyes Juko watched the other boy roll to the side and vanish from his periphery as he lay down in the grass to his side. Some... hard core... training... Feeling somewhat caught offguard Juko could not stop himself from repeating the words. His eyes decided to follow this strange new curiosity that had stepped into his moment. As he looked to the side however he flinched and rolled hastily sideways to escape the sudden proximity of the other kids face. Gee, your to close man! What is this about Food or Training anyway!
I could go for some training though... and some NO. I do not want to train right now. But i should... He could feel his anger disintegrating as quickly as it had come and after a moment of frustrated staring he sat down crosslegged before the stranger.
Sure bet you are tough, heh. Juko smirked and moved one hand through his blonde mane, pulling out a few loose grass stalks.
How about you start by giving me your name, since youve already barged in here like that and all...
Unless you came here for a beating... i guess that would be a good excuse, heh! He could feel his emotions stir as he imagined punching this stranger and for a moment he lost himself in the thought.
Now, what the frick. I am not going to just punch a random kid here, Juko. What was that all about? The trainee blinked slowly. I think i need to get my head straight again... also id be time to take my supplements i think...
WC: 432​
 

Yasu

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How about you start by giving me your name, since youve already barged in here like that and all...
Yasu rolled back onto his back looking up at the sky. "I guess I did skip the whole name part huh." Yasu sat up and turned facing Juko. Letting out a slight smile he spoke. "My name is Yasu. Now if you want to be left alone I get that, I like to be alone when Im upset... Or.. whatever it is you are." Yasu turned again and laid back down. "You just seemed upset, and we ninja need to stick together and help each other where we can." We ninja? You're not even a ninja yet. "Alright well technically my Genin exam is tomorrow... BUT theirs no doubt I'm going to make it! So that makes us comrades." Yasu gazed off into the sky above. "We even can just look up at the clouds. Training is fun, and food is probably my favorite thing ever, but sometimes you just need to stop thinking all together to remember who you are." Yasu turned and smiled at Juko. "My best friend Sora tells me I turn my brain off a bit to much." Yasu quickly sat back up. "Oh man Im so sorry Im making this about me. I didn't even get your name yet. So whats your name? And why are you upset?"
 
Jan 31, 2018
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The breeze felt pleasant on Reicheru's face as she made her walk home from Red Oak. Her mother was away on mission, so after class that morning she had gone to Ichiraku Ramen for lunch since… well, truthfully, she hadn't learned a darned thing about cooking. Something she would certainly need to work on. Still, for the time being she expected she would be on her own for at least a few days, and before leaving she ordered some onigiri to go. They weren't much for sustenance, but they'd be filling; besides, the ones from Ichiraku were absolutely the best.

As she began to climb the hill bordering the Oak District, she heard an agitated voice from somewhere on the other side of it shout, "Gee, you're too close man! What is this about food or training anyway!" The word 'training' peaked her interest. Things were going well at the academy, but with her cousin being down and out with some sort of flu, she'd been hard pressed to find anyone to train with the past few weeks. Truthfully, she'd been hard pressed to find any sort of friends at all - her own fault probably, hanging around Hiroshi all the time and not forcing herself to branch out.

Curiosity getting the best of her, Reicheru made her way toward the voices on the hill. As she approached, she could make out both their appearance as well as more of what they were saying. Both were older than her, though one she recognized as another student. Yasu, did he just say? She'd seen him only in passing, and she figured that by now he must be nearing graduating. Likely out of her league. The blonde surpassed them both in age and stature, clearly a full shinobi. Definitely out of her league. 'Well, I may not be able to spar with them, but…' Looking down at the carry-out bag in her hand, she decided that with all the talk about food, perhaps she could bribe them into letting her watch a sparring match between them and learn something as a spectator. She approached confidently as Yasu finished speaking, but his last sentence threw her off. "Oh man I'm so sorry I'm making this about me. I didn't even get your name yet. So what's your name? And why are you upset?"

'Upset? Rei, you can't bribe someone who's upset,' she thought to herself. Looking down resignedly at her bag, she made her decision and approached the two boys with less confidence and more polite concern. "Forgive my intrusion, Senpai. My name is Saitou Reicheru, and I overheard you talking quite a lot about food, but I see you haven't got any. I actually just ate, and have some of these left over…" as she spoke she pulled the fresh rice balls from their bag while continuing, "and I couldn't possibly finish them all myself. Besides, food always lifts my spirits, so maybe it'll help?" She extended a handful of the onigiri to the boys, hoping she hadn’t over-stepped her bounds with her last comment.
 

Sugihira Juko

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Sure did... Juko continued watching the random kid that had appeared next to him. He sure likes to talk... a lot, doesnt he? Yeah sure does. And he isnt even a genin yet... welll... i guess technically neither are you Juko! Scratching his neck the Seikon glanced at the passing clouds above. Seems to me like your friend knows you pretty well... My name is Juko, and i am NOT upset! The last part came out a little bit harsher than Juko had ment it and he quickly caught himself, turning his head sideways to prevent any other harsh words to escape his mouth. I am NOT upset... i think... just angry! Shit... even that kid is gonna be a Genin tomorrow and no doubt hes gonna rise higher in the next years.... The picture of Shinzo came up in his mind and the boy slowly began grinding his teeth. The rise of his friend through the ranks of the shinobi society had spread quickly through the ranks of genin and anbu alike which did not exactly help in Juko's current situation.
As he was staring down the hill he suddenly noticed a single person quietly walking up the side towards them. Another one?
Is that perhaps your friend Sora over there? He pointed with his hand towards the kid that was coming their way. Life sure has a way of ambushing you... back when i was in the academy it was hard getting people to actually notice me and now... sitting in the grass is enough to have two strangers approach me, on a single day no the less.
Juko's eyes followed the girl as she came closer, scanning her appearance as well as the small bag in her hand. When she introduced herself Juko grimaced, however it was hard to decide even for himself whether it was by irritation, annoyance or contence. Senpai eh... i... guess i could get used to that... The hand that had pointed towards the newcomer before now vanished in the extensive mane as the young anbu trainee scratched his head. He wasnt used to such respect and for a moment he struggled with himself not to abuse her politeness.
No! You have to show your worth, here and now! You are their superior... in a sense, act like it! Raising his hand before them Juko tried his best to exude the experience of a fully trained Anbu, despite not being one. No harm done, Saitou. I will gladly accept your offer. Taking one of the onigiri he pointed his remaining free hand in the form of a pistol at Saitou and smiled.
Thank you very much! If you want, feel free to sit, hahaha! Haaa.... why am i doing this... Its not like i am not hungry that is true but... ugh... i guess i will have to postpone my thoughts until a later time... With a forced smile he bit into the riceball, savoring the taste in his mouth.
WC: 497​
 

Yasu

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My name is Juko, and i am NOT upset!
Yasu leaned back and put his hands up defensively as he shrugged. "Alright alright. You're not upset, you just look upset. That doesn't make it sound better, you know that right? What? He dose. Like... Im not wrong.
"Is that perhaps your friend Sora over there?"
No...Please no. Yasu looked down the hill and saw a young girl walking towards them. Yasu stared right at her. Shes kinda cute. Did you just call a girl cute!? WHAT! NO! Shut up! Shes like a pet fish or someone else's baby. Alriiiiight then. The girl addressed Juko and ignored Yasu except for the incisal greeting. She offered some food that she had in her bag. That looks amazing. Yasu noticed Jukos mood change as he accepted the gift from the girl. He looks happier already. What!? Already!? I have been here for like 5 minutes and he hasn't shown any sighs of improvement and she is here for like 3 seconds and he is smiling!? Yasu sat with his arms crossed. Are you getting upset? Its over. Job well done. Yasu blurted out "So I was right. You just needed food!"
 

Akane Mirai

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Ziren had noticed that there was a bit of yelling, or rather, raised voices. He sighed, the ex AIT, following his gut instincts walked to where he had heard the yelling. And the blood flow seemed to match the emotions being expressed. That is, until a soft voice spoke up and things seemed to have calmed down.

Today, he wore faded blue jeans, a black shirt, and his usual green cloak around him, basically hiding his shirt. He wore grey eyes contacts to hide away his actual bloodified eyes. And a long sleeve glove to cover up his left hand, which was made of metal. He moved out, from where he was behind a tree to take a look at the trio. He studied them all and memorized their blood flows. Though, only one he seems to have a sense of seeing around before (Juko), though he scanned the other faces, none of which looking familiar to him at all.

The twenty-one year old male let out a sigh. "Thought I heard some raised voices in this area." He looked up at the calm blue sky, as he sat down, a bit away from them all. "The name is Chigokai Ziren, if any of you are wondering."

He didn't bother trying to talk to Juko, because, if he thinks he knows where he has seen him from, it'd be best to leave it alone, since secrecy of one's own identity and who they work for is vital for the ANBU business to keep it all quiet.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Reicheru smiled back Juko as he accepted the food, but his smile had the same sense of being forced behind it as his earlier insistence that he was not upset. What else could she expect? Most normal people try to hide feelings of hurt and vulnerability with even their closest friends; should she expect anything different, if not more intense, from someone whose profession of Shinobi requires detachment and distrust? She wouldn't push it, but she would take him up on his offer to sit. Maybe some pleasant conversation would take his mind off of things. "Thank you Juko. It's a beautiful day, I'll gladly take it in with you guys!"

As she sat she turned toward Yasu, chuckling as he insisted that he was right that Juko only needed some food. "Sounds like you could use some yourself, Yasu-san. The offer was meant for both of you, if you'd like some," she said, holding out one of the onigiri to her fellow student. "Aren't you graduating soon, Yasu? That must be terribly exciting! Any idea what branch path you want to follow?" A moment later a new voice entered the conversation. An older man - well, older than the rest of them - introduced himself as Chigokai Ziren, placing himself in the conversation yet keeping his distance. "I'm Saitou Reicheru," she paused, allowing the others to introduce themselves as well. Looking in her bag, she found just a few of her take out treasures left. "Would you like some onigiri, Ziren-sama?"

[OOC: Sorry for filler post, just got to vacation but wanted to at least get something up so we didn't get stuck :)]
 

Yasu

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"Sounds like you could use some yourself, Yasu-san. The offer was meant for both of you, if you'd like some,
Aren't you graduating soon, Yasu? That must be terribly exciting! Any idea what branch path you want to follow?"
Yasu was more then overjoyed to find out that he would also be receiving a snack from the kind stranger. Yasu gave a slight bow as he accepted his treat. "Thank you very much!" Yasu attempted to hide the grin on his face only to have his stomach growl giving away his excitement. Yasu took a bite and began to speak. "Yup! I have my Genin exam tomorrow. Im super excited for it! I have been training extra hard." Yasu stopped to take another bite and to also size up the stranger walking up. "As for what path I'm going to take I'm going with the main branch. Im going to become the Hokages personal body guard!" Yasu blushed a bright crimson as he noticed how excited he was. "I have spent my years practicing defensive Jutsus and formations. I passed on almost all of the offensive because I'm a pacifist... I know that sounds crazy, a pacifist ninja. It honestly sounds like a bad joke." Yasu ate the last bit of his onigiri. "Its how I was raised... Violence only leads to more violence, that's what my Dad used to say." Yasu paused and looked at the ground. This is the first time you have brought up dad in conversation with strangers Yasu. I know... I don't like it. Yasu looked up shocked. "Sorry got lost in my head for a second. What was I saying? ...Oh Ya! Ok so I just figure that if I want to protect as many people as possible why not protect the person protecting people! ITs perfect! Plus I might even get some one on one training with the big guy himself! That would be way cool! AND on top of that would have to get crazy strong, because you can bet that anyone who is gong to try and take on a Kage is one tough customer! So I have to be ready for that." Yasu paused for the final time as he realized how worked up he was getting. "Anyway that's just me." Yasu smiled and gave his new friends a thumbs up.
 

Akane Mirai

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The little girl handed Ziren a little snack. He accepted it. "Thank you, but you didn't have to give me one."

He had realized that Juko hasn't spoken up yet for quite a while. He must be thinking about a lot of things right about now. But Ziren had let him be for a bit more as the other boy talked excitedly about wanting to become one of the Hokage Guard. And also a pacifist at the same time.

This was interesting indeed. Ziren wonders what promise this kid has. He took a bite out of the snack and looked at him. "Luckily for you, I personally know the head of the Hokage Guard. Trained under him for a bit to get me back on the right path. And as for being a pacifist, there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, the hardest battles that need to be won are through words and not bloodshed. I would rather solve a problem without any deaths, than to solve that same problem through fighting. But just know, still be ready for anything to happen. It is a lesson that you would want to learn right away."
 
Jan 31, 2018
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As Ziren took the small rice ball and Yasu began telling his plans for the future, Reicheru's polite smile turned into a full, toothy grin. The excitement and enthusiasm that radiated from people who knew what they wanted to do and who believed in the reason they did it, it was contagious and encouraging. She only hoped he would maintain that sort of child-like enthusiasm as he continued to chase this dream. From her parents she knew that the life of a shinobi was a hard one, and while it did not crush all those who pursued it, it was difficult to come out unscathed and unchanged. Though it would seem her new friend was already familiar with some of the hardships of this life; as he mentioned his father, Reicheru took note of the longer than normal pause and shifting glance. It was a tick she knew too well, as she herself was still working on talking about her own father without having the obvious written all over her face. As the cool breeze visited them again, Reicheru closed her eyes and turned her face into it, enjoying the way it felt in her hair while she thought. Turning back to Yasu, she tilted her head slightly with a smile before saying, "That sounds like something my dad would have said. They would have gotten along well, I think. And honestly, as much as I enjoy blowing off some steam in training or class, the thought of a real confrontation coming to blows… I dunno, I think I would just always prefer it not come to that. So I guess I understand where you're coming from on the pacifism thing."

When Ziren mentioned knowing the head of the Hokage Guard, Reicheru's lips pursed as those words echoed in her mind in a different voice, the voice of the man the title belonged to. 'He knows Kenshin, personally?' In her first encounter with the Main Branch Sennin, she was certain had not made the impression she had hoped to. Like Yasu, she also planned on going into the main branch, though she hoped to teach like her father rather than be a part of the Hokage Guard. Still, a good relationship with the leader of her branch would be an important thing to cultivate. Running her fingers through her mop of brown hair, the young girl fixed her face and focused on doing better this time rather than on her recent failures. "If I can ask, what is it you do, Ziren-sama?"
 

Akane Mirai

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The other two kids were silent, but the girl was the only one to speak up. Talking about her father. Ziren thought about his own father. But nothing came to mind, his own father was killed, by a mercenary, who was ordered to do so by his older brother. Ziren never had that luxury of having a family. But he wants to be the father, that he thinks his old man was once was, for his twin children.

Then the girl asked Ziren what is it that he does for a living. "Firstly, I don't deserve the kind of respect you gave me, of a sama, though I do appreciate it thank you. As for what I do. I do a little bit of everything. Not the type of the whole 'Jack of all trades master of none'. But moreso refining what makes me who I am today." An answer, he gave as only another person of the ANBU Branch would give. Even no longer in that branch, he still thinks as an ANBU operative should. "But as for Branches go, I am a Medical Ninja. Before that, Main Branch, learning to better myself under Kenshin's wing."

He then brought out a pocket watch, looking at the time. "Well, sorry for taking up everyone's time, but I'll have to take my leave now. You all enjoy the rest of of your afternoon."

With that said, Ziren got up and walked away.

(Ooc: Topic left due to inactivity)