Snow White from Lightning's Turf

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Late afternoon found Sai strolling down the winding path that led into the depths of Kami Forest. Her arms were laden with a basket and a soft blanket. The forest was one of her favorite places to go when she needed to think, and the girl had a lot to think about after her encounter days earlier with the man that claimed to be the assistant kage. Sai hadn't even told her brother what had transpired yet. No, she needed time to be alone in a place where the quiet let her really hear her own thoughts.


Of course, one was actually never alone in the thick copse of trees through which the trail led. Animals constantly flitted through the leafy scene, almost with no fear of the humans that found their way into the unsettled part of the mountain valley. Sai had spent many days, and a few nights, in the forest. The basket she carried was part of the routine she had cultivated during these many trips; animals were a lot easier to befriend if you brought them snacks.


The walk itself was enjoyable. The day had cooled considerably with the sun having dipped behind the mountain peaks; spring or not, the village and the surrounding forest got cold at night, hence why Sai had brought the blanket along. The path led her to the edge of a small lake upon which several ducks were lazily floating about. Sai seated herself with her back against a tree near the water's edge with the blanket wrapped around her and the basket open upon her lap. She extracted a small loaf of bread from within and began to tear it into small pieces which she then flung out onto the water for the ducks. The water came alive with raucous quaking and splashing. It was just enough to make Sai momentarily shed the weight of her concerns and she smiled, real and genuine, not the kind she typically gave to people on a day to day basis.

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It was a beautiful turning of day as colors of pink and orange brushed across the horizon, the shimmering rays of the fleeting golden sun glistening, a small rainbow struck afar, breaking through the overcast skies far off the peaks of the jagged mountain. The blissful forest sang of life under the beauty of the watching skies, birds hovered above chirping and singing a tune that would make even men of stones turn a cheer. All around the forest below critters of different sizes wandered about, there was a sense of serenity here, a peace yet unknown to the troubles of the world. The animals around seemed to work in equilibrium as they shared their meals, squirrels chasing one another on trunks , a woodpecker hard at work on a tree. A hardened Stag raised its head from the plant it was enjoying, cautious at the sound of footsteps at a distance, the sound of a repeating tune ringing in the stags ears. 


  A large cloaked man trounced through the wooded area disturbing the spell of frozen time over the grassy land,there was a rather small yet noticeable  skip to his step as he moved about. The scene itself was odd, cloaked in all black and incredible large this appeared to be an imposing figure yet it appeared like this man was frolicking through the broken path, whistling along with the birds above. The air was cold and refreshing as the thick trees surrounding rustled along with the soothing wind as the man broke into the opening in the woods, a small crystal lake cutting through the rocky are running down the mountain side. The water splashing against the riverbed aided in the small mist that surrounded the rocky terrain, the sound of two ducks arguing over their meals filled the air as the hooded man skipped through and towards the water. Looking to his left he spotted a small girl sitting by the riverbank leaning on a tree, she tossed bread out in front of her for the birds to enjoy. Nodding in approval the man brought sleeved hands together, the oversized sleeves covering his arms beneath, performing a couple of handsigns three exact replicas appeared our of smoke to his right. Turning they all skipped into the forest whistling in harmony. 


The loud whistles echoed through the forest with every passing moment becoming fainter until disappearing completely. Moments later the sounds returned, with them other chirps as the leaves around the opening rustled hooded individuals appearing from within. Behind them squirrels, chipmunks, chasing at one another, raccoons appeared at a distant in the trees eyeing the scene unfolding. A trio of beavers followed suit appearing behind the last cloaked man as several grey foxes dashed at towards the smell of bread.The clone at the center who at this point was surrounded by several different species of birds, walked forward as all the animals stared curiously. A hawk flew above, calling down to his friends before landing on the mans right shoulder, a raven screeched his greeting. The blue jays above had picked up the rhythm of the tune being whistled as the whole forest had seemed to come alive in a whistling song. The animals around seemingly bobbed their heads to their tune, as even the ducks had stopped their quarrel and had joined in a peaceful sway on the water. The opening had now been frozen in time over a looping methodic whistling as all ears turned to listen and watch the four hooded individuals and their gang of animals weaving along.

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The ambient noises of the forest wove a spell of calm that lured Sai into an easy reverie as she watched the ducks squabble and intermittently tossed more bread in their direction. She sank back deeper against the tree, her head resting along the trunk as her eyes closed. Her thoughts drifted along to the sound of the ducks continuing to squabble before another sound wormed its way into the mix.


Sai opened one eye and craned her head around to see the source of the whistling, but it had already begun to retreat. A nervous energy blossomed in her chest, chasing away the momentary serenity that she had found alone in the forest. She wasn't ready for another confrontation with a stranger; the last had left her confused enough which is why she had found herself hiding among the trees and animals to begin with.


Her reaction that followed was almost instinctual - hide. However, Sai had adapted enough to the shinobi way to know that gathering information was key. There was only one way she could think of that would allow her to do both. Her hands met in a trio of signs and her chakra surged forth from within its internal well, shaping its container and controller into something else entirely.


Sai had become a squirrel.


It was not the first time that she had used the transformation jutsu to escape having to interact with people, but it was the first time she was actually using it for reconnaissance. She dashed from the base of the tree trunk through the bushes that littered the ground, following the sound of the whistling until it disappeared completely. Sai chose to scuttle up the side of a tree rather than dispelling the jutsu and sat with her bushy tail and ears perked.


Her guard was about to drop when she caught the faintest hint of the melody again. She nestled her tiny squirrel form into a clump of leaves on the branch and watched. Then four figures instead of one came into view along with a myriad of other animals. Sai cocked her head to the side as she watched from her perch. She was good with animals, but she had never managed to have them follow her around in a group.


Curiosity started to replace the nervousness that had consumed her before. Animals were usually excellent judges of character. Perhaps this person, or persons since there was no telling in the shinobi world, was/were trustworthy. There were ways of finding out though and Sai zipped down the tree trunk and came to a stop in front of the first figure, keeping a few feet between it and herself.


Ninjutsu; Beginner to Novice - 443/750 WC

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The man at the center stopped his whistle mid-tune as he observed the small squirrel scramble off the tree, stopping in front of him curiously. He stared at the small creature, the critter a speck of dust in size compared to the large hooded shinobi. The animals around him fixed their gazes on the newcomer still continuing the whistle faintly, both curious and wary of the only animal in the small wooded paradise not joined in song. The clones behind him continued their slow weather dance behind them as the man crouched down, the animals around them lowering their body  eyeing the strange squirrel.  Raising his arms he performed a couple of hand signs resulting in two clouds of smoke appearing at both sides of the small rodent, two more clones emerging from the clones. The loud valley had gone silent once more as everything stood still. The ducks at the end of the pond turned their heads towards the moment, one of them noticing his distracted kin and used the opportunity to snatch the remaining bread crumbs, before retuning to battle in the water once more.


Extending his right arm in front of him his large hand escaped his sleeves, the tip of the mans index finger softly grazing against the center of the squirrels face. A small shove would set the squirrel of his bottom as the crouching man go up once more. He looked at the new clones in front of him before turning to the scene behind him as the animals all around hopped and chirped in excitement. Lifting his arms up in front of him the animals began shifting around, circling around the large hooded men. Once sitting they all stared impatiently. The clones who at this point ended their swaying glanced over to one another before each clear their throats. A small hum began from the clone at the end to the right, another to the left. The two clones moved joining the circle formed around them, all of them plopping down with the other animals. The Standing man waved his arms as the orchestra began once more. 


The escaping light of the fleeting creeped at the horizon, a blinding ray of orange painted across the valley.The sun waving its final farewell, as the creatures of the forest sang it its lullaby. The animals had all joined in once more in chirps and whistle, in swaying and giggles. One sitting clone revealed a set of small drums from his cloak, handing one to a beaver besides him, before playing the other. 



Turning the man dropped his arms, his gaze back to the small being under him. His head had begun a slight methodic swaying from left to right, as he joined in whistle to the tune around. 

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The feeling of more than a dozen pair of eyes on Sai made her skin crawl, or rather in this case, her russet hued fur bristle. The pseudo-squirrel further tensed when the giant of a man squatted down in front of her. Beady little eyes that were primarily composed of pupils stared at him as he summoned forth yet more clones then reached out to touch the animal's cheek. Sai took half a step back before the finger brushed against her fur and then he rose again to continue his woodland orchestra after it had fallen into a silence that Sai had somehow been unaware of occurring.


All around her the animals and clones settled into more comfortable positions as they produced an ode worthy of the twilight hours quickly taking over the forest. While she normally admired the beauty in things such as sunrises and sunsets, Sai found herself distracted from the latter at this point in time by the musical transpiring around her. She was pretty sure she even saw a beaver playing the drums. Sai wasn't entirely sure that she hadn't made a mistake during one of her medical experiments and was currently hallucinating.


Her black eyed gaze shifted away from the ring of animals and clones back to the ringleader who was staring her down again, this time swaying hypnotically as he whistled. Sai found herself entranced by the rhythm and almost out of body experience of it all. She swayed back and forth herself for a moment until her concentration slipped away from what she had been holding onto and with a faint pop, her body shifted out of the transformation jutsu, leaving a girl where the squirrel once sat. Sai immediately quit moving and remained silent, paralyzed in equal parts fear and embarrassment.

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The hooded man continued his whistle as he lifted his right hand to his face waving off the cloud of smoke away from the dispelled transformation. The nearest clone to his left sprang to its feet disturbing the wave of swaying occurring all around, birds fluttered into the air alarmed. The scene however otherwise continued around them as the clone began concentrating its lightning chakra around his palm, once completed he waved it in front of him as two thin lightning spears formed in front of him. The low cutting electrical currents a back up singer to the tune around them. A fox stepped away from the clone, as if to avoid being involved in the foray while several other animals nodded and bumped each other in recognition of the scene unfolding. The standing clone eyed the young girl as he adjusted ol his stance, the spears above him fixing on their target. "SPY!!!" 


Before anyone could react any further  a lightning spear ripped through the standing clone crashing and spearing the ground beneath it as he disappeared into a cloud of smoke, the spear itself remained impaled on the ground. All eyes turned now to the sitting clone with the drums, who's right arm was now extended in front of him."The song must go on." The clone called out from where he sat, before returning to his drumming as the tune once more began around them, the animals forgetting what had occurred and once more joining in song and dance. The hooded man at the center in front of the girl had never turned his gaze from the girl nor stopped his whistle. He waited for a moment before letting out a short chuckle, the birds around him rose from where they sat as the man took a step backwards while reaching up to his hood.


Once removed the hood revealed the rough unshaven yet handsome face of the towering shinobi, his feral hazel eyes seemed strained and tired but furthermore complimented his glowing caramel skin, he showed long black hair which was braided neatly behind him. A wicked smile slid across his face as he looked deep into the eyes of the girl as he pushed. He had yet been given the pleasure to of meeting this kunochi but he quickly assumed she was a fellow lightning ninja, it was hard for him to remember all the new ones with such a influx of graduates. 


"A squirrel becomes a girl. Why Feint when we are already animals in our own skin hmm? Do you not find our tune and song pleasant and uplifting? Does your soul not cry and reach out in longing for this?  Tell me if you will to whom I might be addressing during this wonderful, essentric experience. And fear not when joining us for we are all a part of one..."


He asked down to the girl, his voice was deep, low, and stern but there was a faint softness in the ending of his sentence. Chuckling once more he reached both hands into his sleeves before revealing a long white cigar like object in his right hand. Walking over the the speared ground he bent down, slightly grazing the paper over the spear as the bud of it caught ablaze. The aroma of the burning substance filled the air around them as the man took a deep pull enjoying every moment of it to himself before standing upright once more and turning to her.



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Posted (edited)

All that Saisaki had wanted today was a relaxing evening beneath the leafy canopy of the forest, far away from the people and noise of the village, and to share a meal with the curious little creatures that usually visited her when she came to their domain. That was it.








Instead, what happened was the shaking of a panic induced paralysis that had been triggered by her disguise breaking in favor of an adrenaline infused reaction to the sight of crackling energy forming before her eyes into two spears before a veritable giant of a man. Sai was on her feet in what seemed like an instant and was prepared to bolt when a third spear entered the scene through the back of her accuser and out through his chest, leaving behind nothing after the whirl of smoke cleared.


Her gaze shifted from the man that was seated then to the spear that still lingered, embedded into the earth in front of her, then back to the man again before shifting over to the one that chuckled in favor of the whistling that he had continued even during the attack from the other. He appeared to be the ringleader. Which would make sense if these were naught but clones as the disappearing act with the smoke seconds prior had indicated. Saisaki briefly mused over the discordant behavior between his clones; the implications from a psychological point of view was that this was a dangerous man. His first instinct was to attack, but he was logical enough to stop himself from doing so, but with a show a force and a wolfish grin to keep a potential enemy from making a stupid decision.


Yes, dangerous was fitting.


That observation was more interesting to Saisaki than the man's appearance as her eyes drew away from the grin and his slightly elongated canines to the rest of his face. From a purely scientific point of view that came with her medical training, he didn't look much older than she, but he gave off an aura of someone that had seen much. Sai saw it in his tired, yet wild, eyes and his previous actions of carefully reigned in hostility. The rest of his features were registered with less concern; he was attractive, but Sai had never been one to focus on looks, especially when frightened as she was now, though she was calming herself by focusing on the fact that the man before her was from her own village and that she posed no threat to him.


Plus the animals seemed to like him.


He spoke, drawing Sai away from her musings only to have to interpret his melodic speech. Somehow, the words he spoke held a sense of inappropriateness to the naive female, but she gathered that he wanted a name. That much she could do. "I... I'm Saisaki," she said, her voice barely above a whisper and her head tilted down, gaze dropping away from the man and to the familiarity of the ground and only looking up when the faint smell of smoke started to fill the air. That explained a lot. Sai scrunched her nose and continued speaking.


"I'm sorry if I interrupted you..."


She paused again, not knowing his name.


[Reflexes: LvL 5 to LvL 6 545/1000]

Edited by Saisaki

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The song around them continued and the haze of smoke grew. The giant of a man seemed lost in the moment and Saisaki questioned her own state of mind under the influence of the pungent cloud and the overall surreal nature of the moment. She slowly and warily rose from the ground and started to back away from the scene as the song swelled before turning and bolting, leaving behind the picnic stuff that she had brought with her and set up under the tree where she had first been feeding the ducks.



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