getting it started.
Shinji hated boats. The idea that the only thing standing between him and one hell of a pain in the ass was a rickety contraption made of wood just didn't sit well with him. The threat of being stranded in the water or drowning may have been laughable at best but being able to walk on water didn't make the distance back to land any shorter nor any faster. The smoothly painted railing he was leaned upon suggested that their vessel was quite sturdy but the blonde remained convinced that a solid knock to the hull would sink them in moments. He sighed and turned to face his two charges who seemed more than a little excited. It was understandable; the usual sort of missions assigned to Genin barely required them to leave the confines of the village and the experience of travelling so far abroad was undoubtedly a thrilling one.
He on the other hand was far less interested. The Tea Country islands were a favorite holiday location of his and the prospect of tainting its pleasant connotations with a mission was not an altogether appealing one. Such assignments were usually turned down by the blonde for that exact reason although he hadn't exactly been given a choice on this particular occasion and no illusions were held about why that had been the case. The higher ups had always been interested in causing Shinji as much grief as humanly possible or so the blonde liked to tell himself and others when chances to do so appeared.
The overcast sky had cleared up as the group neared the coast, eventually brightening to a clear blue and giving way to radiant sunshine. As a result, the seas had been peacefully still and the trip an uneventful one. The newly arrived sun brought with it heat and so Shinji had slung his coat over the railing. Along the way, the trio had exchanged idle small talk, nothing too serious but just enough for the blonde to begin learning about the two Genin. He'd tried to avoid telling too much about himself but eventually conceded a story or two about his time as a Jounin. Although he found the conversation enjoyable enough, the talking was primarily to keep the youngsters distracted and to prevent them from thinking too much about the upcoming task. The mission induced nerves would in time but the boat trip there was not that time.
As the shoreline drew nearer, the blonde felt the familiar wave of clarity and calm wash over him; he was on the clock and it was time to go to work. As a deckhand lowered the plank to disembark, he donned his coat and straightened his tie before leading the pair of Genin off the boat and onto the wharf. He recalled that the instructions given to him had indicated the meeting place to be one of the markets present on the island. Unfortunately the markets specified were in a section of the island foreign to the blonde and so a quick round of asking the locals and map scanning was necessary before the trio could be on their way.
The trek to their destination was luckily a rather short one and it wasn't long before the hustle and bustle of trade could be heard. Shinji's trained blue eyes took in every detail as they passed the first several stores, ever wary of potential dangers. The decision to meet in such a public place was a good one on the surface but also had flaws. The crowds of people would make flashy group attacks undesirable but made subtle assassins all the more dangerous. Any lowlife with a knife and a grudge to settle could pass through the gaggle, shank the target and slip away again without ever being noticed. Every street vendor or bartering customer was a potential threat and so the blonde remained wary.
Upon arriving at the designated meeting place, the group hit their first snag. As the Jounin swept his gaze through his surroundings, his eyes failed to pick out the dark flowing hair their client was famous for. "They aren't here"
chimed the little voice in his head and for once he couldn't help but agree with his intuition. Shinji turned to the two Genin and managed a calm smile of sorts. "Well looks like beauty and her beast aren't where they're supposed to be so, here's what we're going to do. Each of us take a third of the market radiating from this point and search for them. Remember, look for a tall brunette aged in her mid twenties accompanied by a male of average build in his early to mid forties. Client's name is Ryoko Tanami but try to avoid calling her name out; we don't want to attract attention. Meet back here in fifteen minutes with or without them. We'll go from there."
Ensuring that the pair understood his instructions, the blonde turned and disappeared into the crowd.
There weren't all that many people to sort through but the vibrancy and variety of the colors surrounding him made for a very disorientating environment. Even with his experience Shinji found himself looking at the same face more than once on a false sense of recognition. Despite his best efforts, he simply couldn't find the clients and after fifteen minutes, resigned himself to heading back and hoping the Genin had had better luck.