Things seemed to be going quite well for Kenji these days. Coming up along one of the many trails that led into the city of Lincere, he was quite looking forward to his visit to the city again. After a few weeks of travel to visit the forests to the south and some of the clans residing there, despite his love of travel, every good thing had to come to an end. Right now, he was needed back at the Academy to teach his students, including the new ones.
Whistling as he walked, Kenji made his way along the dirt path, idly grasping the leather strap of the pack jostling around on his back. Glancing up, he took a deep inhale, savoring the scents of the terrain around him as he got close to the city, his sunburn aching uncomfortably. Tomorrow was going to be a good day, he could feel it...but then again, he always looked at the good side of everything.
Though the night was quiet, save for the chirping of crickets and the aching of the trees, Kenji didn't feel alarmed, but he did make sure to keep his eyes and ears open. One could never tell when highwaymen would strike unexpectedly, even though most of them tended to be really bad fighters.
Hearing a snap, Kenji froze in his tracks, instinctively reaching for the dagger that was always strapped to his waist, his fingers brushing the ivory handle. Murmuring filled the air, and a pair of figures, along with the familiar footfalls, and Kenji saw a man and a young child appear out of the darkness. Relaxing, he retracted his hand and made a small smile as he overheard their conversation.
"Up ahead is the city of Lincere," the man said, "That is where you will be attending the Academy."
"Really? It looks so...big," the child said.
"Yes. You will go on to learn to be a shinobi one day," the man added.
"I want to be an assassin!" the kid piped up suddenly.
Listening to their talking as they approached, Kenji gave a humorous grin. New kids at the Academy were always the best, and so fun to listen to with all of their enthusiasm. Continuing on ahead of them, Kenji moved his walking stick with his movements, making his way into the night into Lincere.
The next morning, awaking to what seemed to be an unusually bright morning, the sun streaming through the windows as he squinted, shifting his weight as he sat up in bed. With a groan, Kenji slid out of the warm covers and got ready for the day, making sure to shave, and slipped downstairs. The sweet smell of baking bread met his nose, and hearing his stomach growl, he winced as he walked through the doorway into the lobby. So far, the hotel he'd stayed in for the night was turning out to be just as good as he expected.
"Good morning!" a cheery old woman greeted.
"Hey, Grams," Kenji replied, "That sure smells like some really good stuff."
"Oh, it's just my specialty," Grams said with a chuckle, "Feel free to help yourself."
"Yeah, sure...hey, thanks for giving me a free room last night. I appreciate it."
"It's no problem, dear. You need your rest after a big trip like that," Grams said sweetly, bustling off to tend to the food.
Making his way over to a deserted table in the small dining room, Kenji made himself comfortable, resting for a bit by himself in the chair before getting up to go get something. In the end, he piled himself a huge plate of food, definitely what looked like to be a lot more than the plate could handle, and managed to scarf in all down in a matter of fifteen minutes. When he was done, brushing the crumbs off his lap, Kenji made sure to clean up meticulously after himself, giving a thin smile when Grams came back in and nodded to him, shuffling over to bus another empty table.
Getting up, Kenji pushed his chair in and headed out, his walking boots creaking against the wooden floor as he stepped on the planks, closing the front door behind him as he moved onto the verandah. Creaking, the sign in front swung as the string breeze picked up, denoting that it was a bead and breakfast place, and one of the best ones in Lincere, to be sure, since Grams ran it. Already he could feel the odd sensation in his legs, almost akin to an itching he couldn't scratch, and his right knee twitched as he shifted his weight, then moved forward. Luckily he managed to pack his stomach full, because he was going to spend some time out and about today in the city, not only savoring the nice, sunny weather but the sights, sounds, and smells of the city.
"To the marketplace," Kenji muttered to himself as he walked, his eyelids dropping as he felt the leftovers of morning laziness seep into his system. Better get some caffeine, though he preferred it to be as natural as possible, something his parents had stressed to him as a child as 'healthy'. "Better go get some tea."
Making his way to the marketplace, Kenji walked as stand owners shouted at him and the many other customers from both sides, trying to woo them to buy their products. Some were artisans, selling their craft for a living, and passing by one such booth, he briefly admired some beautiful, glass wind chimes, tinkling in the slight breeze. Others, like his mother, sold "traditional medicines", while others still sold normal and exotic foods, from fully feather chickens hanging by their feet, to fried crickets in steaming vats. Inhaling, a multitude of scents, mostly of cooking food, filled his nose, and had he not just stuffed himself, he would get what looked like roast, sweet looking ham and pay for a huge plate.
Navigating his way through the crowd, Kenji soon arrived at the tea stand, one run by a fellow who had once introduced himself as Takun Samir. He'd bought tea from the fellow a few times and it happened to be some pretty good stuff, so Kenji hoped to buy some more. However, as he approached, Samir seemed to be talking to someone else, another man who looked vaguely familiar, but whom Kenji couldn't quite seem to place in his mind. He waved to Samir.