[16] Let the Exams Begin!

7.4K 193 12

"Hana-chan, come here." Bunko's kind voice sounded like a melody to Kohana's ears. How she'd missed it when Bunko called her name. It had been years since then.

Kohana looked around, still uncertain if it was her she was calling out to. She curiously looked around only to find no one else approaching Bunko. Smiling, Kohana jogged over to the young woman.

Her caramel brown hair seemed almost a dark blond under the bright rays of the sun and the clear blue sky up above. The clouds were lacking and that was just how Kohana liked it. Bunko's face was clear of any blemishes or stray hair, her bangs opting to frame her face instead. Her eyes were still a bright green but there was a small, blue-ish tint to them, giving emphasis to her gentle features.

Bunko's thin lips curled into an almost sad, guilt-ridden smile. "Hello, Hana-chan."

"H-Hi, Bun-chan! Do... do you need to-to talk to me about something?" Kohana asked timidly, her tongue tripping over her words.

"Can I have a moment with you?"

Oh gods, Kohana thought. Was this all a dream? "Uh... yeah, I got nothing else to do for now I guess... just finished training." If this was going to go well, Kohana was going to have a fine, fine day. She'd trained with the Guard Platoon earlier that morning; she knew she was so, so close to finally executing the technique for the very first time. Genma, who had always seemed intent on trying to keep Kohana from getting overconfident, even told her that he was surprised at the rate she'd been learning. He'd said that if their estimations were correct, it was possible that Kohana could fully master the technique in a few months' time—after that, she could begin making the technique her own by modifying it however she wanted.

They sat themselves on a stone bench and watched children running around. Kohana was never particularly good with children; she only really liked them from a distance because they always seemed adamant at avoiding her (it must have been her hair). However, she did like them, and seeing them so happy and carefree was quite an appeasing and peaceful sight. The shade of the tree above them was as perfect as the gentle breeze that blew at wisps of their hair. Bunko tucked a lock of her shoulder-length hair behind her ear whilst watching the children laugh and play around with an old woman.

"How have you been, Hana-chan?"

Kohana fiddled with her thumbs shyly and chewed on the side of her bottom lip. "I've been good, I guess." Her answer was short and simple, for she didn't know how to talk about what she wanted to say.

"Do you want to tell me all about it? First things, first: I want to say... congratulations."

Kohana's face took on a look of perplexity. "Say what? Why?"

Bunko chuckled lightly at the girl's reaction and leaned back, flicking the girl's forehead protector. "Congratulations on finally becoming a kunoichi. I know what happened to you and Naruto... you were there weren't you?"

Eyes wide open, Kohana sat up straight and stared at Bunko with her curiosity at its peak. That incident was supposed to have been kept under wraps. Not to mention no one but Iruka and the Third Hokage knew that she was ever involved. "How'd you know about that?"

"I keep tabs on you through Iruka-san. That was nice of you... to give up your forehead protector to graduate with Naruto. I don't think anyone else is brave enough to do that."

A blush bloomed across her cheeks and she scratched her cheek. "As always... you overestimate me, Bun-chan."

Bunko laughed, startling Kohana. She wasn't used to Bunko's laugh anymore. It was a laugh that was perhaps the most unappealing sound of all; Bunko mentioned that she was bullied for it for almost the entirety of her childhood. In fact, it didn't even sound like a laugh, more like a series of snorts.

Crimson Thread [Book 1]Read this story for FREE!