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Old 11-20-2018, 11:16 PM   #71
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Fifteen minutes of absolutely nothing happened. All eyes remained glued to the spot Ringo disappeared. A couple of nudges and whispers were exchanged but nobody moved. The reason why was obvious.

“Hell no.” Kanehisa Hidehiko crossed his arms. “You just know she's hanging off the edge there, waiting to pull whoever looks over down. I know I'd totally do that.”

“We can't just stand here.”

Hisao wagged his finger. “We totally can just stand here. At least until Choei comes back. Then we make him look.”

“This was his dumb idea anyway.” Raiju mumbled, tenderly bandaging over the eye Ringo damaged in their fight. “Hey, you don't think Ringo-”


“-was on to something? Choei was acting really fishy last night. And he didn't want anyone to go with him to retrieve our animals. It kind of makes sense.”

“Eh, whatever.” Hisao turned his back to the cliff and moseyed over to the coal fire they started for that morning's breakfast. “Maybe he is the instructor. Or maybe he's working for him. Either way it doesn't matter, we did what the note said, so we should get out pets back.”

“Her. The instructor is supposed to be female.”

“Right, her.”
Hisao kicked around the coals a bit and shrugged. “Anyway, whoever the instructor is, they would never put kids like us in trouble. That girl is fine, probably just royally pissed off. She'll understand in the long run it was worth it.”

“That's right.” Raiju grumbled. “Our animals are our lifetime companions. Itou is easily worth the lives of ten genin. I would sacrifice any of you in a heartbeat to get him back.”

“Gee,” Kanehisa Hidehiko scoffed. “Thanks, bro.”
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:37 PM   #72
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Fifteen minutes became forty. The thin fish gruel was made, eaten, and the dishes cleaned, and still no sound or sign of Kurusu Ringo surfaced. The sun crept high and the four remaining boys idled. A game of cards was started and stopped halfway though on cheating accusations. The afternoon passed without incident, which in itself was an incident. Still the silence persisted.

The tall genin, as expected, broke first. “Alright, I don't care.” He stood up as the other boys lazed in the shade of one of the stone huts. “I have to go look.”

“Good luck.”
Hisao waved him off. The other boys likewise gave half hearted shrugs of indifference which disguised their growing fears. Nobody wanted to look down and see the unthinkable. Slowly the tall genin crept towards the edge, making sure to walk down a little bit so that he wasn't positioned too close to where Ringo fell. When he drew near the edge he dropped to his hands and knees to really secure himself to the top of the rocks. The last thing he wanted to do was stumble and fall. The second last thing he wanted to do was get grabbed and tossed off by an rightfully angry little girl.

Like a timid gopher, he inched his head bit by bit over the edge of the cliff. He watched the pure blue ocean slowly give way to small black rocks, the very edge of the Shineshell shoreline. As he moved his head farther off the edge the smalls rocks grew in size along with the waves. The dark blue turned to white as the multitudinous crashing waves broke against the island. At the very base of the cliff a fine gray mist floated and obscured vision slightly. Not enough to prevent a quick visual search though.

His eyes moved across each rock and wave. He looked for Ringo's undecorated and plainly cut black hair, or her still-muddy uniform from the night before. The uniformity of Shineshell's rocks meant it was easy to see anything that stood out. So it was only natural that within a minute of his cautious search his eyes locked onto what he both wanted to see, and didn't want to see.

It defied the imagination. The poor boy couldn't even find the words to describe it. Though he clung to the cliff if felt like his heart had leapt off it and plunged into those cold looking waters below. His arms began to shake. Sweat formed along his entire body. He opened his mouth, but no words came out.

The thin veil of casualness that pervaded the camp since Ringo's fateful fall at once seemed to vanish. Everyone picked up on the tall genin's shift in mood instantly, even though he stood a good hundred feet from them. Obviously if he had found nothing, he would have said something by now. If he saw Ringo alive and well, he would have said something too. His continued silence meant the answer to any question they asked could not possibly be good.

They risked it anyway. “Oy, bro.” Kanehisa Hidehiko yelled, voice faltering slightly. “Don't leave us hanging. What's over there?”

There wasn't any response. The tall genin, still on hands and knees, slowly retreated from the cliffside. He didn't make it all the way back to camp and instead chose to stop halfway so he could cradle his head in his hands. Was he wiping away tears?

“Hey, yo.”
Kanehisa Hidehiko now stood up. “That's not funny, man. Don't be like that.”

Raiju was next to move. He stood up and chose to stomp towards the genin rather than yell from the sidelines. “It's a trick.” Raiju growled. He moved past the tall genin without looking at him. “She's just tricking you. Don't fall for it.” What could he have seen? A body? Raiju's face contorted into a hard expression. That was impossible. Ringo wouldn't have died that easy, so she must be faking. She used a transformation technique to turn her body into something that looked like it was a corpse, and had been waiting down there just to scare them.

...for five hours. Well, of course she waited five hours! That was Kurusu Ringo, the girl who picked a fight with a chuunin pet examiner. She was absolutely crazy. There was no doubt she would go through such enormous lengths just to prove her point. Well, Raiju wasn't going to fall for it like that lightweight genin back there! He knew henge too well and would see right through this prank. Then all would be right with the world.

With that confidence he reached the cliff's edge and bent over. His one good eye picked out the target in an instant. It was obviously Ringo. He could recognize that ugly bowl cut anywhere. Good thing that haircut was so distinctive because the rest of her was-

He fell back and staggered. He reached out with one arm, grabbed the cliff face, then vomited right off the edge of it. Hisao groaned. “Oh man. I'm not making more soup, that's his own fault.”
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:55 PM   #73
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Another meeting was held. Choei still hadn't returned, their pets still hadn't come back, and now there was this other pressing matter to attend to. “It's not that urgent.” Hisao cleaned his nails as the other three genin expressed various levels of distress. “Like, if it's that bad, she's definitely not going anywhere.”

“We have to get her. What's left of her.” The tall genin rubbed his temples as if he could erase the memory that way. “I mean, oh, I don't know. That can't be her right? Heads don't just...pop off like that.”

“Looked torn to me.” Raiju gripped the edge of the rock he sat on with white knuckles. “Like something chewed on it.”

“Come on, man.” Kanehisa Hidehiko's voice was distant. Likewise he kept looking up towards the gray sky, which now seemed to be threatening rain. “Like you said, it's an illusion. She's, there's no way Ringo-”



“-Kurusu is dead. That's, Choei said she knew wall walking! What kind of idiot would die like that!”

“She fell backwards.” The tall genin spoke though his hands. “She probably wasn't able to touch the cliff the way she fell. Or maybe she hit her head on the way down. Or maybe-”

“-doesn't matter.” Raiju's good eye flickered around the camp from genin to genin. “I don't know of any genjutsu that a genin could do that would last this long. And it can't be henge because...” He looked at his hands. “You can't transform into something smaller than yourself. And since that's just her head down there-”

“-alright, alright, I get it!” Kanehisa Hidehiko groaned. Now he was obsessing over the exact angle and volume of his greasy pompadour with a comb. “Hey, look, I'll make the call, alright? This was the instructor's fault. We were just following orders.” He jabbed a thumb into his chest. “We're blameless, okay? Me especially. I didn't help tie her up or shove her off at all. This is really on you guys.”

The tall genin let out a surprisingly high volume yell back. “You took all her stuff! She didn't have any of her shinobi tools, so she was totally unprepared when we knocked her off! You didn't have to disarm her!”

Kanehisa Hidehiko shot back with his own loud retort. “Don't we me! You are the only one who shoved her! And you!” He snapped an accusatory finger towards Hisao. “You tied her up! And you!” Now the finger moved towards Raiju. “You attacked her in her sleep like a coward! I saved her life twice, you know! I'm the hero here!”

“Lot of good that did her, hero.” Hisao spoke from the side of his mouth, but loud enough to be heard by everyone. The sharp remark left Kanehisa Hidehiko unable to respond, and instead he just kept up with his angry pointing. More could be said but it didn't change the facts of the matter. Three days in and it seemed as though the four genin had murdered one of their own because a piece of paper left in their camp had told them too.

“Lesson learned then, eh?” Hisao patted his stomach in satisfaction. “Even soldiers shouldn't just blindly follow orders sometimes.”

“Blow it out your ass.”
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