A minor Incident
Kichiro was incompetent. I glared at him from the corner of my eye as he trundled along beside me, pausing every other step to readjust his grip on the scrolls he was carrying. I was half tempted to snatch them off him and carry them myself.
Although I had to admit, when he had first started he had been considerably worse. I suppose I had to give him some credit for his improvement, slight as it was.
Glancing down at the shorter male, I already knew what he was going to say, just like he probably already knew the answer.
'Can we slow down just a little? We're already mega early…'
I rolled my eyes in irritation, not even bothering to reply. He looked as though he was going to protest again, but a shout from behind thankfully distracted him.
The Uchiha jogged to greet us, easily matching my pace as we headed for the training ring the locals had provided for us. It had been a week and a half since we had left Ookiimura, but I couldn't complain about the distance we were covering. At this rate we'd reach the battle field in little over two months.
'Seen the sparring matches for today yet?' Sasuke asked, an annoying grin spreading across his face.
'Not yet.' I droned, keeping my eyes straight ahead. It really didn't matter to me who I was fighting, and it was too early for playing along with Sasuke's giddy mood.
'Hah, well you're in for a treat today, buddy!' He threw me another stupid grin, knowing the term 'buddy' would piss me off.
'Wait, are you against each other today?' Kichiro piped up, suddenly interested.
'Damn right.' He confirmed, his expression darkening into a smirk as he added, 'so you can be sure you'll be putting that medic of yours to good use tonight!'
'No way… Have you seen this guy fight?' The squire bubbled excitedly, and I'll admit the corners of my mouth did tilt upwards slightly at the compliment.
'Pfft, have you seen me fight? My medic's been bored out her mind up till now!' Sasuke quipped, which reminded me of something.
'She's gonna kill you when she finds out, you know.'
The Uchiha only responded with a slight snigger, earning a confused look from Kichiro.
'Who is? Finds out what?'
'Never you mind, Squire.' He snapped at the boy, earning a small glare from myself. I may not have been all that fond of Kichiro, but it really pissed me off when other people interfered with my things.
We finally arrived at the training ring, which I was disappointed to find that was much smaller than the last one. Ah well, I didn't need much space to wipe the floor with that cocky brat, Uchiha. My thoughts began to trail to Emiko and what the real reason was for her ultimate hatred for my comrade, as I had long since guessed it ran deeper than simply not getting along. Though he could be unbearable, at times.
The training consisted of four rounds, each lasting up to one hour each, with an hours break in between, where we were supposed to 'relax and recover' during that time.
There was 23 members in our Squad, so there was usually a couple of groups of three fighting rather than all pairs. We had to squash all our matches into the same arena and fight around each other, so this smaller ring would definitely be interesting. The only saving grace being that the squad was split in half, so while one set were resting, the other half of the squad would fight, therefore alternating starting times.
When the other warriors all finally decided to grace us with their presence, Sasuke and I were among the first half to begin.
Round one and two were relatively even, though I had managed to leave the Uchiha with a rather nasty concussion at the last minute.
Needless to say I was feeling pretty smug about that. But that was my first mistake.
Round three was a Taijutsu only round, which wasn't my strongest skill I'll admit, but I was still damn better than most of my snivelling, weakling comrades.
Sasuke, however, excelled at close combat.
As soon as the buzzer had sounded, he was in front of me in a flash, right leg extended to the side in a long sweeping kick. I sidestepped easily out of range, and leapt backward hastily to avoid an equally fast punch aimed for my gut.
The brat was completely undeterred though, and effortlessly kept the pace as he continued to throw incredibly well aimed blows at me until I was involuntarily backed up against the training ring wall. Crossing my arms over my face against yet another infuriatingly strong punch, I grunted on impact as I was slammed backward despite my successful block.
I rubbed my forearms, a low rumble forming in the back of my throat as I glared daggers at the Uchiha, who had pranced back to the opposing side of the ring grinning gleefully. Damn bastard was mocking me.
I took a step forward and repositioned into a defensive stance, gaze drifting from my opponent momentarily at a few of the other fighters who had paused their own spars to watch in fascination. Sasuke and I were by far the strongest of the team, so it must have been entertaining and unusual for them to witness such an encounter.
My distraction was my second and most stupid mistake. Something hard collided with the side of my face sending me sprawling onto the floor at the force. I snarled at the blow and was on my feet again instantly, too fast apparently, because my legs shook and wobbled dangerously as my vision blurred, my head spinning.
'You let your guard down, Sasori!' I heard my opponent sing, and I wanted nothing more than to snap his neck in half at his taunting.
Unfortunately, dark blotches had begun to form over my left eye, the same side that had been struck, and I clamped a hand over it as I rebalanced. I stumbled clumsily as a high pitched buzzing starting to drill into my ear drum. Squeezing my eyes shut, I cursed as I realised that the buzzing had actually been to end the round early, which really pissed me off. I had been looking forward to round four, as it was an anything goes kind of round and I usually did my best in them.
Someone was shaking my shoulder and repeating my name, so I batted a hand awkwardly in their direction to get rid of them. Regaining my sight long enough to get to my feet, I pinned Kichiro with a furious glare.
'Get back to the room. I'll meet you there later.'
The boy scuttled off without a word and I turned to the squad leader that was now standing before me.
'You should probably get back to your medic.' He advised, forced concern tainting his otherwise firm expression. 'You're dismissed for today.'
I didn't bother to argue, I knew he'd made up his mind. My face matching my sour mood, I marched for the exit, keeping my head focused straight ahead, not only to avoid eye contact with the rest of the gawping warriors, but also to keep myself from stumbling again.
I reached the hotel we were based at in no time, but for some reason my feet continued past the building and into the temporary medical tent that our team had set up. I shifted uncomfortably as I hovered in the entrance, unsure of why I was here when I had a medic of my own back in the room.
I shuddered at the thought of the accusing glare she would throw me when she saw the state my eye was in. Something about the way her eyes would skim over my body as she examined whatever condition I was in unnerved me, so I willed my feet to move forward again to the small desk that had been set up.
The woman behind it smiled brightly, directing me behind one of the curtained off squares at the back of the tent.
'What happened to your own medic, hm?' She wondered aloud as her cold fingers prodded at my forehead, gaining a small frown from me. Emiko's hands were always warm.
'She's too judgemental.' I rolled my eyes at my comment, hearing how pathetic it sounded.
The nurse chuckled softly, moving to grab a damp cloth to dab over my eye. 'Well, I hate to break it to you but we can't do much for you here, we're just a back-up medical team. You'll have to face her at some point.'
The cloth was pressed against my eye, forcing it shut as she wiped off some of the blood from where Sasuke's sandal had sliced my eyebrow. I winced at the pressure and scowled at the floor. Emiko never used this sort of pressure when the injury was so fresh.
'What's the point of having a back-up medical team that can't use medical jutsu?' I murmured, more to myself.
'For stubborn patients like you, I suppose.' She winked and I resisted another eye roll.
The woman continued to chatter lightly as she finished cleaning the wound and gave me a small bottle of pills to take if my head started to ache again. I mumbled my thanks and wandered into the clouded daylight.
Sasuke was never going to let me live this one down. And if Emiko found out, neither would she.
Sighing, I slipped the small sheet of paper that I had been using as my bookmark into the journal I had been reading and tucked it under my pillow. There was very little to do in the day when everyone was out, so the squad leader had provided each medic with several journals containing information on herbs and spices that could be used for more old fashioned healing methods to read. But they weren't all that interesting.
I glanced at the clock. 2:35pm, still a least another hour and a half until the boys were back with the keys, which is why I was pretty surprised when the door was flung open and Kichiro, looking much more flustered than usual as he fumbled with his mass of scrolls, came wobbling in.
'You're back early,' I stated, waiting for an explanation as I took several scrolls from his arms and laid them out on his bedroll.
'Thanks,' he mumbled, mirroring my action with the rest of his burden. 'There was a minor incident…'
My eyebrow raised curiously. 'What kind of incident?'
The boy shook his head stubbornly. 'You should speak to Sasori about it. It's not my place to say!'
I frowned at his sudden compliance. 'Kichiro, tell me what happened!
'I can't! Please don't get angry, I don't know who I'd rather be killed by, you or him!' He jabbed a finger over his shoulder to the empty doorway he'd just come through, but I knew who he meant. I glared at him threateningly before sighing in submission. I did feel sorry for Kichiro at times, getting caught up in between mine and Sasori's short fused tempers.
'Fine.' I muttered, wandering back to my pillow and propping it up against the wall.
'I'm going down to the campfire thing tomorrow night. You should come, it'll be a change from sitting inside all night!' Kichiro grinned, changing the subject.
'What campfire thing?'
'Oh right, I forgot you don't pay attention.' He laughed as he dodged the journal I threw at him. 'After training tomorrow, they're setting up tents and stuff just outside this village with a bonfire and all sorts! We're still sleeping in this hotel tonight and tomorrow though. Anyway, after we get the new lot of troops there's going to be a big gathering thing to keep the spirits high in the squad, I suppose.'
'…What new troops?' I frowned, confused by everything he had just said.
He sighed. 'Geez Emiko, you really don't listen to anything do you?' I scowled across the room and stuck my tongue out as he continued. 'Tomorrow morning we're meeting up with about 12 more warriors who are travelling from the East. They're joining our squad.'
'They're bringing their own medics and squires and stuff, so we won't be moved around or anything.' He smiled as he concluded, obviously looking forward to the upcoming events.
'Wait, did you say everyone was invited?' I asked, my attention sparking.
'Yeah… Oh yeah! Hey maybe your sister will be there!' He caught my drift and pulled a cheesy thumbs up. 'I'll bet she will be. It'll be a great night!'