Chapter Sixteen ~ Persona

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"This is so exciting!"

Aisa was acting like an overexcited toddler in a toy store. I let out a long suffering sigh but said nothing. It was their first "real" mission, after all.

"Aisa, we haven't even left yet," Kento muttered, trying to pull off a "I'm so cool I've done this a thousand times and I'm too bothered to get excited about it" persona.

It was failing miserably, I noted, seeing as he was practically vibrating on the spot.

"Cmon," Aisa wheedled. "You have to be a little excited!"

"We are helping out the Land of Air," Michiko pointed out. "Recovering their 'ancient historical artifact' has been entrusted to us. That's pretty exciting."

"If it's been entrusted to us," Kento retorted. "Then obviously it's not all that important. And the men can't be all too skilled."

I clicked my tongue disapprovingly. "Always plan for the worst," I chided.

They nodded distractedly, clearly having already dismissed my words. I rolled my eyes as I stepped out of the gate, setting off on a slow enough run that the genin could keep up fairly easily.

No troubles occurred during the travel, and soon we were camped out in the middle of the woods. It was only the genin's complaints that reminded me that they would be unable to run through the night.

And then I had nearly  sat on a tree branch and leaned against the trunk to sleep, before remembering the rolled sleeping bags that we had packed.

Right. Because normal people didn't sleep on rocky terrain without cushioning. Right. Right.

"Before you sleep, go over the mission objectives again," I ordered the three genin.

"The thieves stole an artifact from Sunagakure," Michiko began. "Um, it was... A..."

"Teapot," Kento cut in boredly. "They've crossed the border into our land and are currently hiding inside of a village that is just past border. We've had trouble with this particular village before; this is because the village doesn't care who trespasses with ill intentions so long as they have money. Village sounds like scum," he muttered towards the end of his mini lecture.

"Our objective," Aisa jumped in, "Is to infiltrate the village and steal the teapot back without being caught. Avoid detection at all costs!"

I nodded. "And if you're caught..." I trailed off, making sure that I had their attention before I continued on to the graver side of this conversation. "Kill them before the alarm can be raised, and do your best to quickly hide the body. Or we'll have to fight our way out of there, tooth and nail. You hear me?"

Aisa is the only one of the genin to nod, easily agreeing with me. I realized in a split second that despite Aiden's vigilant protection and constant sacrifice, Aisa was simply less innocent and naive than the other genin.

I turned and glared at Michiko and Kento. "I mean it," I growled. "If you hesitate and die, I'll bring you back to life and have you running around konoha until you die again! And if you compromise the mission... I'll have you hold those precious stress positions until it really is torture."

They're eyes widened in fear and they nodded desperately, and I can't help but wonder if I went about that completely wrong.

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