Our heroes returned from grass, their travel a somber walk. Victory was snatched but not without losses. Victory at a price, one that was rather hard to bare for Kimiko. Taiichi too was saddened, having lost another friend. Konoha’s initial reaction to the news was actually off-putting, though when the loss of a comrade was revealed, the village was in unison. They would have Muramasa Shinkei’s funeral the next day.
Upon arrival in Konoha, Kimiko sought to visit Shinkei’s family and asked for Taiichi to guide her there. Taiichi refused, stating that the family should have more time. The shock of Taiichi’s actions was rather off-putting to Kimiko. Wouldn’t a friend and teammate be the better person to tell them the news? Needless to say, they’d part in silence, Hotaru instructing Kimiko not to do any work or training for awhile.
Taiichi would return home to see his place seemingly broken into. Of course, this was his rather insane Master’s work (and Taiichi wasn’t surprised). Master Sanjo would ask him for a moment, before having the place nice and clean, perhaps cleaner than Taiichi left it. Taiichi then attempt to have a heartfelt discussion with his master…which didn’t turn out well at all. Yet admist the craziness, Taiichi was able to glean a message.
He also realized that he hadn’t introduced his Master to his new teammate (he also wanted to make sure she hadn’t gone to visit Shinkei’s family). Sure enough, Kimiko was at home as instructed by Hotaru sensei. Though bringing Sanjo to Konoha’s cafe resulted in quite the scene. Hosuke tried his best to meet Sanjo’s wild expectations, seemingly rather confused about the man’s desire for a Birthday cake and instance on it being sold at the Cafe. To make matters worse, after Taiichi checked on Kimiko…he hadn’t quite described his relationship to Sanjo. This resulted in Kimiko mistaking Sanjo for Taiichi’s father.
Crazy as he is, Sanjo briefly thought that Hosuke was Taiichi’s father and there leaving would blacklist Taiichi from these fortunes. Ever one to make an exeunt, Sanjo leaves through the window while Kimiko and Taiichi go through the door. Though of course, Kimiko tries to stop him from leaving through the window, only to fail. She at least brings the result of Hosuke and Sanjo’s argument; an origami Birthday Cake. It’s made up of a single menu from Konoha Cafe.
Kimiko attempted to wrap her brain around the art, even trying to dismantle it. Though before Kimiko can proceed, Taiichi takes it away, insisting it’s a normal Origami Birthday cake, just like her leg and cast were normal. Having lots of trust in Taiichi, Kimiko agrees and allows the two to eventually be on their way (though not after Sanjo further bringing down Kimiko’s mood concerning Shinkei’s demise and increasing her paranoia about Taiichi abandoning her also.
The next day is Muramasa Shinkei’s funeral. Kimiko arrives rather early, seeing that many people hadn’t gathered for the genin’s funeral. This made her rather depressed, having taken a seat up-front and lost in her own thoughts. However, closer to the start time of the funeral; more and more people show up. It results in a full showing, with people even forced to stand. Shinkei’s girlfriend attends the funeral as well, though not arriving in time to get a seat. Funny enough, Tenma too is at this funeral and seeing Tenma, Kimiko is reminded of the previous funeral for someone from their year. The Hokage eventually makes a heartfelt speech about Muramasa Shinkei and his brave sacrifice for the village. It was important to note that life isn’t measured by ones death, but by what they do with their life.
After the speech, everyone pays their respect by heading up to Shinkei’s gravestone. Kimiko is so overwhelmed with emotions that she can only appologize for letting her teammate down. Yet the sign of the sky slowly clearing is comforting to her, she eventually waits by the exit of the mountain, speaking to Shinkei not unlike she would her mother, giving him a much better goodbye. Taiichi sends his teammate off by doing a customary prayer seen in Iwa. Tenma is seen in an actually sad state, touching the tombstone far longer than anyone would expect. He then leaves in a hurry, which was rather odd. Kimiko notices his rush but thinks better of calling him out.
Taiichi waits around, hoping Tetsuya doesn’t show up (because it’s something he’d totally do). With no sign of the Missing Ninja, the last person to pay respects is the Hokage. Kimiko waits for Taiichi an eventually they head off. There’s not much for them to do but return home. For Taiichi, he chooses to get some well neeed rest and relaxation. Sleeping in for a very long time. He wakes up at 12:00pm, rather glad he was able to get good rest and not be awoken in the morning. He goes about his routine, taking note that there’s no milk. Sanjo seemingly took some and left some new milk outside. Taiichi brings said milk back inside and into the fridge. Since the milk is warm, it has upset his morning routine and he decides to eat out.
Much to his surprise, Konoha is bursting with life today. There seemed to be far more people than usual. Thus all the restaurants and cafes are full. Taiichi does his best to keep an eye out for a spot that’s just about clearing up and stumbles upon Konoha Cafe. Meanwhile Kimiko awakes rather late herself, waking up at 1pm. She slept terrible the night before, mostly in regret and nightmares and has completely ruined her morning routine. The tea her father left out for her has gone cold, but she appreciates the offer and drinks it all the same. Once she’s presentable (she’d looked like quite the mess from the tossing, turning, and crying), she’d head down to the store and greet her father. To her surprise business is really good today she asks about the newfound intake. The duo spot Taiichi sneaking in and they both have lunch together.
The early bird truly does get the worm and our heroes missed out, leaving them confused and having to play catch up. As it turns out the village received a new-intake of people. Minami Hosuke provides insight into the amount of people and why; Cloud ninja had come to Konoha. This sparks Taiichi to want to look for his former Jounin and with nigh a word to Kimiko, he leaves. Kimiko being rather confused by this but wanting to learn more, follows along quietly. Taiichi leads the duo to the Hokage tower, where he asks about Master Diego. Kimiko gleams that he must have been a former teacher of sorts, possibly his former jounin leader (but it’s just a guess on her part). With news that he was indeed there, Taiichi seems much happier and once again heads off with nigh a word.
Back in the streets they hear word of a familiar ninja: Tetsuya. Supposedly, someone is looking for him and mention of his name makes Kimiko worried, though Taiichi doesn’t seem to be alarmed in the least. Listening into the conversation, the person asking for Tetsuya is unaware that he’s no longer a Konoha Ninja. It is clear that the person is disappointed and the duo gets a look at the party having the discussion. It’s Tenbu, Genbu, Zenbu, speaking with someone they didn’t recognize. Kimiko asks Taiichi if they should leave, in order to protect Tetsuya’s whereabouts, though he seems confused as to why they should. Kimiko explains her feelings of the inquiry being bad but they no sooner here that it’s not a bad inquiry.
Thus they decide it okay to approach but Taiichi is distracted by a young couple and loses sight of the rogue-ish fellow. Kimiko being at a different position, doesn’t lose sight of the young man and approaches him. She questions why he’s looking for Tetsuya and explains that she and her teammates can’t really help much with his inquiry. Taiichi soon joins Kimiko’s side as the terrible trio exeunt due to a meeting. Before the two can get more answers from what they gather is a Cloud ninja, said Cloud ninja takes off down the alley. Taiichi choses not to concern himself with the ninja who had issues with his former teammate. Instead, he decides to go home and take a nap.
His nonchalant demeanor confuses Kimiko, especially since he left without saying goodbye. It causes Kimiko to think about what the boy’s master proclaimed earlier; that she wasn’t good enough to be with Taiichi as a teammate. With such paranoia and depression building, she heads for the library in search of some answers.