- Techniques Trained:
Lightning split the sky in two behind Zena as she stood in the middle of a downpour holding onto two ropes. She looked to either side of herself. She stood atop a massive mountain and the ropes were hanging over the drop offs on either side of her. At the end of each rope there were orbs of jumbled up words, spinning in circles. The one on her left filled with words like "Power", "Success", "Future". The one on her right with words such as "Morals", "Compassion", "Love". They were so heavy that she felt like she would be torn in two. She felt a sort of desperation to pull them both up but she couldn't do it, they were just too heavy. She would have to choose. Another bolt of lightning crackled behind her. Her grip was slipping, she was running out of time. Lightning struck again, this time hitting Zena directly, she dropped both of them and they tumbled away, forever out of reach. "Make the choice"
Zena woke up sweating, she was in her own bed, laying in silence. "A dream... it was a dream."
she said to herself, the sound of her own voice bringing her back to reality. She sat up and rubbed her head, her memory of the details of the dream rapidly fading as she woke herself up. She looked down at her feet dangling over the side of the bed and wiggled her toes as if to make sure she was in her own body. With a big yawn she got up and walked to her fridge opening the door and staring into it with sleepy eyes. "Muh muh milk, muh muh mayonnaise, mission. Mission. MISSION."
remembering something completely jolted her awake. Today was the day, her first mission on her own. She had to go alone, without Zeke, which she hated the idea of but she understood the necessity of it. They couldn't always be together and they would have to learn how to fend for themselves as well, should they ever get separated.
Zena got herself ready quickly, barely having time to eat a small breakfast before dashing out the door. She was supposed to meet up with the client that morning and then head out after getting the details for the mission. The client was a local merchant apparently, or rather he was a head of a chain of merchants that were trying to establish a monopoly on several different food products in the village in order to cut out competition. Point is he made a lot of money, and Zena was hoping that meant the reward was pretty solid. Of course she was just a genin, so she didn't really expect that much, maybe a bit more than the usual at least, that would be nice.
Fortunately the client's location was right there in Stonera, so she didn't have to go too terribly far. The streets were a bit crowded though, it wasn't hard for her to move through the crowd because of how tiny she was, but it was sort of difficult to see where she was going because of all the towering adults around her. Eventually though she made her way to the meeting location, right in the middle of the market, no surprise there. She might have been a tad bit late, but she was never punctual anyways so whatever.
She looked among the older men and found one that carried himself different from the others, it was clear he was prideful, full of himself, and selfish. You would have to be to get to his position, disgusting. Zena hated people in general, but men such as this were one of the worst by far. She approached him and raised her hand to try and get his attention (Being quite small but being a part of the shinobi world this was a habit she had developed to get adults to notice her.) "Ahhh hey there little Missy, if you would like to buy something please talk to one of my boys, I'm a bit busy you see."
he said, brushing her off. Zena remained in place, unmoving and stared him down with an empty expression. "I was told to meet you here, I am the genin you requested."
she replied flatly. "O-oh I see, well you certainly are much smaller than I expected, especially considering I specifically asked for a genin with high killing capabilities. I was told you are weaponkin, can you prove this to me please? Just to be safe."
The man was very friendly, although it felt very fake, or rather Zena knew it was fake, she hated him.
Zena raised her right arm and then looked around her, there were other adults around, too close to her to transform without causing some damage they might not be too happy about. Understanding, the merchant asked them to clear away from the girl. Once the space was there Zena's arm morphed in the blade of her weapon form. The man's eyes widened and smile grew as the blades size was double Zena's size easily. "Wonderful! Wonderful! You'll do just fine."
he exclaimed with an odd excitement. "If you wanted a shinobi that can kill, shouldn't you have hired a chunin or higher?"
she asked him out of curiosity. "Well you see, I'm a man of business, and as such I like to be thrifty where I can, its much cheaper to hire a genin, and I have faith you can get the job done."
he replied with a big smile. "I hate him I hate him I hate him"
The rest of the conversation wasn't very interesting, Zena returned to normal and he explained the mission. Apparently his business had been having problems with a single thief in particular that would steal a large amount of food at a time and they hadn't been able to catch them, after chasing him around they always seemed to lose him. Zena thought it was odd that she wasn't given any details on what the thief looked like, other than that he was male, but she didn't think too much about it. The plan was they were going to set up a trap, move a large amount of product at night time and they would chase after the thief like usual, but this time Zena would be waiting in the shadows, and unexpected variable to throw the thief off. What really surprised her about the mission, was the reward. Despite him saying he was being thrifty, the reward was still quadruple what Zena would normally get from a mission, it was crazy. She couldn't stop thinking about all the supplies she could get with that kind of money, she could become a much better kunoichi with that sort of money. Training supplies, weapons she could buy for studying and developing ways to transform, there were tons of possibilities. There was no way she could fail this mission.
The event wasn't planned to take place until sundown, so Zena had a lot of time to prepare. She headed back home and grabbed a couple things, she also changed to a very dark uniform for stealth reasons. Later on, Zena returned to the market and sure enough the men were preparing a big haul to transport to another district. She was given a map of the route they were taking, with points marked where the previous thefts had happened. Her plan was to follow the caravan from the rooftops and watch closely for the thief to make his appearance. She gave them the okay to set off and made her way to the roofs.
The wagon moved so slow it felt like it wasn't moving at times. It felt like hours were passing with little progress and nothing was happening. Zena was focused on the surroundings, but under the dark sky, everything was starting to look the same, it was making her drowsy, and before she knew it she was struggling to stay away. She caught herself dosing off and moved to the next rooftop quickly and silently, staying in the shadows as much as possible. There was no telling what angle the thief would come from, and if she was seen before she saw him, the whole mission would be forfeit. Another seemingly endless stretch of time passed and then there it was. A brief flash in the corner of Zena's vision, but it was enough to catch her attention. She activated her night vision and looked that way. There was a body for sure, moving among the corners, staying a bit ways behind the wagon. The person was very small, it was a child. The target was a child? That was extremely odd, why would a child get involved in this sort of thing to the point of becoming an assassination target. A Job was a job though, it was his fault for breaking the law over and over.
The next few events were just like what she was told, he made his way stealthily up to the wagon and climbed on, filling a huge bag with cargo until he was seen. The men shouted as the wagon came to a halt and chased after the thief. It wasn't hard to see why they hadn't been able to catch him before, he was quick. He obviously knew the streets way better than them as he weaved his way through the alleyways nimbly. They lost him pretty quickly, but Zena was in pursuit from above the entire time. The boy came to a dead end, and Zena knew it was time to strike. She dropped down from the rooftops and once she did... she lost him. He was there a moment ago, and she dropped down on the other side, there was no where for him to go. So where... Then she saw it, a grate leading into the sewers, that was the only place he could have gone. Zena had to admit it was clever, there was no way simple workers would be able to catch this kid. Unfortunately for him however, they had some help this time around.
Zena made her way down, silently moving through until she came to a big underground room. There were candles lit everywhere, illuminating the chamber, she had to deactivate her night vision because all the flames were blinding her. As her vision cleared she saw bundles, all over the room. Looking closer they were children, all of them. They were all dirty and wore rags, some coughing, obviously sick. In a corner was the huge sack full of the stolen cargo, and it was being handed out to all the kids, various foods. Fruits, crackers, vegetables, some was being stored away in big barrels. It was obvious what this was. They were orphans... street children, surviving down her. Cast out from society and working together to stay alive, they had no where else to go. It was just like she was, only a couple years before.
Standing directly in front of her was none other than the thief. He was probably a few years younger than Zena was, covered in dirt. He had brown moppy hair and a dagger in his hand pointed at her. "The merchants hired a shinobi, I should have known this would happen. Lets go! I'm stronger than I look, I can take you."
he said to her with a smirk. He looked sure of himself, at first glance there was no hesitation at all. Zena knew his type though, she had been just like these kids. In his eyes there was a fear, she could see it, and it was completely in control of him. She began morphing her arm into the blade and as it grew and grew, towering over him, his eyes widened and the fear that was within became clear to see on the outside. "Please just take me away before you kill me, don't do it in front of them, I'm the only one that stole, they have nothing to do with it, please just leave them alone."
he fell to his knees crying.
Zena's cold eyes softened for once as she looked upon the younger child. It was truly just like her life before she joined the academy. She thought of the merchant that hired her and her stomach turned. He knew what he was dealing with, but to him these children were just rodents. They were less than human to him, and that's why he wanted them exterminated. So she was hired, and her she was, with a choice. That reward, that money would push her forward a lot, she could even help Zeke get stronger with it. And not to mention completing an assassination mission on her own would be great on her record for her ultimate goal of becoming a hunter nin. This mission was a huge opportunity for her.
She was cold, she tried her best to cut herself off from emotion, to pretend she is uncaring. This was the best way for her to keep from getting hurt again, to avoid the hells that she had experienced up to this point. Zena raised her blade high above the child as he wept, looking down on him with the eyes of judgement. His life was in her hands and hers alone. And she just... couldn't do it. It wasn't in her capacity to kill this boy. His situation struck her far too close to home, and if she slaughtered him here it would be like going back in time and killing her and Zeke. Zeke... Yes this boy was just like Zeke was back then, taking care of those smaller and weaker than him, and doing whatever it took to do so. Her arm returned to normal as she took steps backwards slowly. "When did I start..."
Tears were streaming down her face, this had it so close to home, she didn't even realize how much it was affecting her. She couldn't offer help to these kids, but she could leave, leave and never look back. Fuck the mission, fuck the merchant, fuck the money.
When the boy looked up from crying Zena was gone, no where to be seen. The other children told him that she had put her blade away and started crying and left. He didn't understand what it meant but he knew he had to stop stealing from those merchants. There had to be other nearby sources of food, and he would find them. He decided he wouldn't waste this second chance, he would be more careful, to better take care of those he loves.Technique Count: