"Okay, I have something that I need clarified." Holly – no, Rei – said, just a little wary as she shot Crazy Lady a look.
The woman had the audacity to look at the young witch with a vague expression of surprise on her face, "Sure kiddo, ask away. Just be careful of using all those long words, yeah? You might sprain something."
Holly was silent for a beat, busy with her fast-paced walk she had adopted that was necessary to keep up with the fully grown woman, before the snide insult clicked "oh, screw you" she dodged the slap aimed at the back of her head before continuing "you said 'road trip'."
"And the place that we are going to is..."
Holly deadpanned, staring at the white haired woman that was happily sauntering along, backpack bouncing with her gait.
Nope, Crazy Lady didn't get just how freaking contradictory the statement was.
Valiantly resisting the urge to pull her hair, or try to trip to woman, she took a deep breath. "The same 'Konoha' that you said would execute you for teaching me?"
"Oh yes." The woman smiled breezily.
"So, we are road tripping to a place that will want to kill you outright, and torture me before killing me?"
"Yup, got it in one."
"... You're... there's a word for it, I know there is, but I don't think I know a harsh enough one to explain just how bad an idea this is. What the hell? Are you freaking stupid?"
"I'm crazy, not stupid." Shiori replied with a snap, apparently finally deciding to object to Rei's behaviour towards her person.
Holly snorted. "I can tell, Crazy Lady."
She didn't manage to avoid the slap this time, and rubbed her sore head while glaring at the woman. "What? You said it first!"
"Pshaw, you're 'sposed to deny that and say 'Oh, no you're not! You could never be crazy because you are Tanaka Shiori, the most brilliant medic-nin of your generation and the teacher of Tsunade of the Sannin! You could never be crazy, you must be embellishing!' and then I would say, 'well, you might think of me that way, but I'm really just your average awesome ninja, and there's the slightest of chances that I've gone off the deep end according to general surveys conducted that for some reason link the decline of sanity in a ninja with the elevation of their careers, and-"
Holly started laughing so much she stumbled over a rock on the road, drowning out the woman's involved narcissistic lecture.
Shiori looked at her 'cute' – decidedly un-cute at the moment though – 'apprentice' (after a fashion) and pouted until the girl's slightly hysterical laughter died down into giggling interspersed by hiccoughs.
Holly couldn't contain another snort upon seeing the expression, but endeavoured to bring up the important issue again "S-so... Ko-noha equals de-death? *snicker* Problem, right? What...?"
Shiori crossed her arms and started walking a little faster, vindictively enjoying the girl's trouble keeping up with her own pace as punishment. "Oh, I never said Konoha wanted to kill me."
Holly was Not. Amused. "Yes. You did." Idiot was left unsaid but implied. She'd learnt her lesson not to push the rather unstable woman too far over her time staying with her.
"Nup, don't say I recall."
Holly clenched her fist, bit her lip and willed herself not to accidentally set something on fire. "You. DID. Just before, you agreed that they would kill you! And torture me! I don't like being tortured! I'm not gonna go to be tortured."
The woman looked at her, raising an eyebrow. "I think you'll find that, ah, just about no one likes being tortured, dear."
Holly tried really, really hard to convey 'fuck you' with her eyes but hold her tongue at the same time. She didn't want to sabotage her IQ via the repeated hits to the back of her head – brain cells don't grow back! ...Well, at least she thought she remembered Hermione saying something like that one time. Shiori really didn't like hearing vulgar words from her eleven-year-old appearing body, or at least the woman felt it was her duty to 'civilise' her. Since any type of explanation that she was already into her early twenties and had fought in a war was out of the question, she had to grin and bear it. Well, not grin, but you get the point.
Shiori had paused for a moment, and then smirked in victory as the time for her to voice the 'crude words not for civilised company' passed. She then cleared her throat; "As I was saying... I never said Konoha would kill me and torture you-" she waved her hand expansively, as if to swat a non-existent fly "- I actually just said they'd be well within their rights to do that had I taught you village secrets. Duh. Ninja." She waved at herself at 'ninja'.
Holly wanted to pick one of the trees that lined the road to bang her head against. She'd been hoping that leaving the old woman's house that had an unending amount of pending chores and such lying around would get rid of most of the woman's ticks that drove her to occasionally hate her. She'd been hoping that her own problem had originated from being couped up and separated from the outside world with only the old woman as company, and that was why they mostly bickered and clashed all the time.
Oh Merlin's hairy blue balls was she wrong. So, soo wrong.
Holly flexed her hands, momentary the feeling of longing for her wand multiplied to the power of a hundred thousand as she wished, just wished that she had it so she could turn the old bitch into a toad, or so she could use that bat-bogey hex Ginny was so fond of on her without consequences. Oh, if she had her wand she'd have been able to stun the woman, lock her movement, curse her then Obliviate the memory from her in succession, all before the woman could use her super-powers on her to counter her attack.
Holly paused. Hm. That was a rather extreme and involved wish, quite mean in its conception. Okay, it definitely stemmed from the months of being physically taken apart by the woman in the bloody-minded goal of 'training'.
...it was for my own good. For. My. Own. Good. Merlin do I wish I could forget that tiny little detail and be able to fantasise about cursing Crazy Lady to hell and back without getting a guilty conscience.
"Anyway-" Shiori continued, blessedly unaware of her apprentice's line of thought (or maybe aware of the general direction of them but very unconcerned with anything the little girl could possibly do) "so yeah, ninja. We don't like people knowing secrets they shouldn't know. That's why I'm taking you to Konoha! I'll introduce you to Saru, explain your situation and it'll all be right as rain. No problems, no miscommunication and, most importantly, you'll get an opportunity to meet proper shinobi your age. You know, Konoha's hosting a competition at the moment, so there's lots of people about!"
Something about that sounded rather foreboding to the 'young' witch.
"That's... is that Konoha?" Holly asked, eyeing the foreboding wall in the distance. It was... huge. They had been walking through a forest – and Shiori wouldn't confirm one way or another if it was the same forest her house was in or if they'd passed through a different one, though they hadn't passed through any towns on the way – and the tall, foreboding trees had been getting progressively more normal-sized (as far as Holly could estimate, anyway) and they'd just come to the very end of the tree-line. Ahead (very far ahead) was what would be a truly enormous gate and walls that ran as far as she could see in both directions.
"Yup, home-sweet-Konoha." Shiori practically crowed, delighted in watching Rei's face and changing expressions.
"It's... big." Holly replied finally, saving any kind of judgement for when they actually managed to properly arrive.
"Sure is" Shiori nodded "and now's the perfect time for you to remember the rules for being there with me."
"Yes, rules – keep up, gaki." Shiori favoured her with one of her 'I'm-being-a-sensei' expressions, her voice turning more firm as she finally slipped back into the role of an adult. "In order to be in Konoha with me, I've got a few rules – you know, just stick to these and the chances of any of us being chucked in prison or interrogated will be quite small." The woman's smiled gained a rather mad edge, and she clapped her hands.
"Got that – good. So, rule one – listen to me. Two – do what I say. Three – don't talk to anybody that looks older than fifteen without me there. Four – repeat after me."
Shiori suddenly stopped, whirling around and pinning Holly with a look, pointing a finger in her face. "Ahem. I am not a shinobi."
Holly sighed. "I am not a shinobi."
"-I am not in training to be a shinobi."
"I am not in training to be a shinobi."
"-I will not use my chakra."
"I will not use my chakra. ...Unless I have to protect myself."
Shiori glared. "If I find myself in a situation that would require me to use chakra, I will run away."
"...If I find myself in a situation that would require me to use chakra, I will run away."
"-I am not going to set anything on fire."
Holly tried to keep herself from pouting. "...I am not going to set anything on fire."
"-Because even though 'Konoha' is the ninja village of Fire Country, they don't approve of the country literally being on fire."
"Because even though 'Konoha' is the ninja village of Fire Country, they don't approve of the country literally being on fire." She repeated.
"-I will not tell or show anybody, or even lead anybody to believe that I have a blood limit. I am not allowed to change into a cat."
"I will not tell or show anybody, or even lead anybody to believe that I have a blood limit. I am not allowed to change into a cat."
"-And lastly: I will do everything Shiori-sensei says, bowing to her greater knowledge and trusting her to pull my ass out of the fire. Not that the fire will be literal, for I am NOT ALLOWED to set anything on fire."
"...I will do everything Shiori-sensei says, bowing to her greater knowledge and trusting her to pull my ass out of the fire. Not that the fire will be literal, for I am not allowed to set anything on fire."
Shiori stared straight into Holly's eyes for a moment, gauging her ability to both remember and comply with the set rules. Apparently whatever she saw there was at least enough for the woman to sigh and continue along in their trek ever closer to the gates.
After a few minutes of silence Shiori looked back at the struggling young girl. "I mean it. I really do. You better obey those rules. Or we'll both be in deep shit."
Holly looked at the woman and for a moment felt a little bit of pity. She would try to follow the rules, she certainly had no intention of going in there and disobeying consciously. She was allergic to torture. And death. ...Although, maybe the correct phrasing of that would be that Death is allergic to her?
After a long moment, she replied; "I'll definitely do my best, Shiori-baba."