• I stared all through the shops, streets and alleys in Konoha. My footsteps fell silently on the stones beneath me, and even though it was broad daylight, I tried my best to stay inconspicuous. The various shops selling jewelry, fish, pots and claywork stretched as far as the eye could see, but I was not interested in shopping at the moment. My crystal blue eyes scanned the landscape, my messy brown hair playing in front of them. I swept my bangs aside and looked at my map. Ten meters to go. The stone faces upon the cliff stared into nothing, never blinking, the expressions never changing.
    "Young lady!" a hoarse voice called, and I snapped my head to the left where a shopkeeper was eyeing me closely. In an effort to keep my somewhat shapely form concealed, I pulled my map up an replied, "Yes sir?", keeping my answer short and blunt as to not give too much information.
    "A pretty neck like yours needs some pretty decoration." he said with a smile, and I touched the silver leaf-shaped locket hanging on my neck by a slender silver chain.
    "Sorry, sir, I have no time for shopping today, and I have already spent my money," I lied. This man was at least thirty-five, and me being only fourteen was a considerable gap for two people. "As you wish, young lady," he said with a slinky voice chock with dissapointment.
    Acting hastily upon my near kidnapping, I scuttled to the huge building that loomed beneath the cliff. The building had cheerful yellow and red colors, though it gave off a dominating vibe.
    Me being from the Leaf Village myself, I knew this building was called the...er....um....ok well I didn't know. I had only lived here for three months, my mother and aunt thinking this being the safest place to dwell. I had no friends in my former home, the Waterfall Village, which was small and boring, so I had no problem leaving.
    My trip to the....erm...Hokage's office was to finish my application for the shinobi league of the village. I have heard of the remarkable ninja in this place, I hoped to become part of them. Ninja such as Kakashi Hatake, Might Gai(though I have also heard of his strange ways) and Sasuke Uchiha.
    I trudged up the steps to the Hokage's main office room and stood in front of the door. I reached for the handle, but a powerful, female voice called, "Come in." I clicked open the handle, and in front of me sat Lady Tsunade, Princess of the Slugs and Fifth Hokage of the village.
    I bowed respectively, my twisty hair falling around my face. "Kiirii-san," said a woman about twenty-five years of age standing right next to Lady Tsunade. "You have your forms ready?"
    I reached to the bag around my hip and pulled out a thick stack of papers. "Yes, Shizune." said Lady Tsunade, already answering her question.
    I dumped the papers on the desk, and stood back as Lady Tsunade skimmed through the files. Her brow furrowed, causing the purple diamond on her forhead to lower. "Very good," she said, still not looking up. "I will have your results by tomorrow."
    "Yes, my lady," I whispered, gazing upon Lady Tsunade's lovely face. I bowed once more, and exited the room. The halls outside sat silent, the various plants swaying from some unknown wind. I quietly left the building into the sunshine, smiling as the warm rays beat on my face. Time for lunch.
    I looked at my fairly new and detailed map once more, searching for resturants. Ichiraku Ramen was the first I spotted. Perfect. I loved ramen. :]
    I strolled a bit, drinking in the scenes, the colors, the sounds, the smells, and let my senses indulge in something new. Laughing filled the air, and delicious fumes wafted from tall chimneys all around. I was suddenly more motivated to reach my destination.
    The ramen stand was small, only having a bar with a few stools, and one was left. I sat in the vacant seat and glanced at the other occupants.
    "Naruto!! Stop eating so fast you're making me sick!" shouted a loud female voice, and I turned just in time to see her smack a blonde boy in the head. She had a vexed look in her face, her light sea green eyes full of fury. Her pale pink hair stood on end.
    "Sakura please!" the blonde one pleaded, rubbing his head. "I havent eaten in three hours!" He frowned, and his blue eyes closed halfway, leading my attention o the whisker-like marks on his face. He wore an orange and black jumpsuit, his black headband tied tightly. I chuckled in spite of myself.
    "What can I get you today, young woman?" a cheerful voice beckoned from behind the counter. I tore my eyes away from the strange pair. I looked at the man behind the counter and ordered some plain roast chicken ramen. He intsantly turned and began to work.
    "Oh!" called the female voice again, and I assumed it to be Sakura. Next thing I knew, she was seated right next to me, a small smile on her delicate lips. "Sakura," she said cheerfully, and held out a hand, and I took it warmly. Although I had no ties to break back home, it was in my nature to be kind and friendly towards people. The inhabitants of The Village Hidden in the Waterfall were catious and didn't trust easily.
    "Hey hey hey!" a voiced pecked in my ear, and I flinched every time he said "hey". "Naruto here, your number one ninja in the number one village!" I looked at Naruto, and his smile nearly took up his whole face. This kid was nearly bursting with energy and enthusiasm. I liked him already.
    He took my hand and nearly shook my arm off, clearly amused he had a new person to meet. "Pleased to meet you both," I said, chuckling at these newly intoduced ninja of the Leaf. "My name is Kiirii," I said warmly, beaming, giving off waves of friendliness.
    "Great! A new opponent!" Naruto yelled, and I winced as though he had hit me. "Don't mind him," whispered the pink-haired kunoichi in my ear. "He can get crazy." I smiled. Looks like I have new friends now.
    That very second a bowl of steaming ramen was placed in front of me. My mouth watered. I thanked the man politely, and grabbed a pair of chopsticks. I was into my first mouthful when I noticed a drop of drool had landed next to my napkin. I looked to the side. Naruto was staring with huge eyes, mouth agape, as I paused with noodles hanging from my mouth.
    "NARUTO!" Sakura roared, and grabbed him by the collar and yanked him away. "C'mon, we're leaving!"
    "Awww!!" whined Naruto, his feet dragging. "What if she doesn't finish it!"
    I laughed. People here were clearly interesting. Living here wouldn't be so bad.
    I paid my bill after I finished and began to walk home. There was nothing left to do, so the only option was returning to my apartment. It was beautiful outside, and I breathed the fresh air again and again, loving the mixed taste of sweetness.
    Once I reached home, I turned the doorknob and entered. I was instantly greeted with a voice as sharp as barbwire.
    "KIIRII-SAN!" it screeched, and I flinched. Wonderful. It was my Aunt Lin. "Come in here! I have a new kimono that needs modeling!"
    Groaning heavily, I dragged my feet to my aunt's room. Her kimonos were ugly, having various shade of pink, purple, and green mixed together, and were often decorated with brown flowers, like the ones off old people wallpaper. I hated them, yet she insisted I be a little doll for her to play dress-up with them. it sickened me.
    "Now, put this on." she croaked when I reached the room, and her hideous creation was flung at me. I grabbed it blindly, and stalked to my room.
    The process went on for two hours, the putting on, the strutting around, the taking off, and back over again. I was completely miserable. Suddenly, like a malevolent force, my mother returned home.
    Now don't get me wrong, my mother means well, but she has the dispositon that all girls should be lady-like, and never harm or hurt. Needless to say, my desire to have a vocation of a ninja annoyed her deeply. My argument took at least a week for me to win.
    "Kiirii-chan!" she chimed, and stode into Lin's room, armfuls of groceries teetering and threatening to topple over and send rice balls scattered on the floor. "Lemme help you, mom," I offered, hoping to make an escape from the torturous prison I was in.
    "Sure, sure, dear," she manged to grunt out underneath the weight of the paper bags. I dashed to her, grabbing two or three bags a running to the kitchen, not even giving Lin a chance to speak.
    The rest of the day concluded me helping mother with dinner, eating the dinner, changing back into my oringinal clothes, and leaving the house at night to take an evening stroll. I shrugged on my jacket and headed out. "Kiirii," my mother called out with a worried voice. "Be careful, please?" She knew my outgoing spirit too well. "Of course, mom. I'll be fine!" I called as I rushed out the door.
    The night air was still, and the stars twinkled and shimmered brightly. It was a lovely night. I walked slowly, enjoying my freedom. The candles and lanterns in the streets glowed with a friendly light. Laughing filled the bars, and music leaked out of the theatres. I closed my eyes. This place was so much better.
    My eyes suddenly snapped open as I heard a cry from a dark alley. It sounded like an animal, maybe a dog. I hated to see or hear animals in pain, so I went to investigate.
    The alley smelled musty, and was filled with rotting wooden boxes and trash cans beaten and dented. I focused on hearing the sound again, and sure enough, a small whimper came from underneath a box. I approached cautiously, fully aware it could be a trap. I lifted the box gently, and a small brown puppy stared with begging eyes whined softly. I tossed the box aside and swept up the pup in my arms.
    "There, there," I cooed, my motherly instincts showing out. I scratched the puppys head, kissed his nose and set him down near the edge of the alley, where he scampered out of sight. I chuckled. "Hello, young lady," a menacing voice called from behind. I froze, eyes widening in fear. It was the same voice I heard this afternoon, the same voice who commented on my neck.
    "I wonder who's going to save such a pretty neck now," he crowed, and I wondered the very same thing.