The soft glow of the lanterns started to light the main strip of Omoichidou, casting faded shadows onto the ground in the light of the sun setting behind the Mikokage’s tower. Hundreds of voices, overlapped and muffled together, buzzed in the air, with the occasional yell of a booth tenant rising above it as they called to grab the attention of passersby. A thousand smells decorated the air, varying from salty to sweet, savoury to rich and spicy. There was something to suit to the tastes of everyone, enough attractions to prevent long line ups at favorite booths, and a surplus of food guaranteed to fill even the emptiest of Warashi stomachs. This was the setting of the village as the summer neared its final stages. Omoichidou was known for its festivals, which were among the liveliest in the country. It meant that not only were village residents welcome to the festivities, but its occurrence attracted a variety of tourists from the surrounding areas as well.
Because of the crowd, like at any festival, Kanmuri had had her shift at the first aid booth. The diversity in injuries always astounded her. She’d seen a poor booth owner with a dart in his leg from a civilian with very bad aim, a burnt finger on a cook from one of the food booths, and a weeping child who’d skinned his knee so badly in his rush to get a festival mask that he’d required stitches. The Byakko always enjoyed her work, however this day she had been particularly grateful when her sister had come to relieve her at the end of her shift so that the siblings could go and enjoy some of the booths together.
“Are you sure you should eat that much cotton candy, Eimi?” the younger sister inquired, inclining her head downwards slightly to glance at the pink fluff that was being held in her sister’s hands. The Mikokage scowled a bit and popped another clump into her mouth, enjoying the feeling of the pink sugar dissolving on her tongue.
“Of course, the festival is for everyone to enjoy, myself included. Besides, I’m saving some for Momo.”
Kanmuri couldn’t help but bite her lip as she smiled. Knowing her sister, the stick of air light sweetness she held in her hands would be gone in a few more minutes and she’d have to stop at a booth on the way home. Joshua’s role as priest in the festival had ended when the lanterns had been lit, allowing him to take his adopted son home. Eimi, however, was expected to be most lively in the evening when the shinobi games and tasks would be started. The medic politely shook her head and smiled at a man trying to get the two girls to come over and look at his jewellery booth.
“Step right up, test your mind against the sharpest in the village! Intelligence division here to help you discover your mind’s hidden powers! Step right up, one and all!”
The enthusiastic call from the booth owner caused Kan to glance over. As soon as she did, she almost felt bad for the shinobi that belonged to the voice she’d heard. She recognized them vaguely, a red haired chunin level kunoichi from her own clan that she’d seen around the compound now and then. From what she knew the girl was slightly younger than she was and had seemed content not to take the jounin promotion exams.
Despite the girl’s impressive enthusiastic tone, her face told another story. It was resting in one of her hands and had a bit of a bored expression painting it. Her free hand was spinning a pencil on the table top she was resting on, and after her energetic beckoning she let out a soft yawn. Eimi noticed her sister slow down slightly and stopped walking, letting Kan look over at the booth.
“You want to give it a go?” the elder Byakko asked, popping another bite of cotton candy into her mouth. Kanmuri smiled and nodded.
“Sure, why not.”
The two sisters walked over, causing the chunin to raise her eyebrows and sit up straight almost immediately, an effect the Mikokage had on most people, never mind the fact she was also this girl’s head of clan. She bowed her head slightly at the women in greeting.
“Welcome, welcome, m’ladies. Care to give your mind a workout this evening with our little test here designed by our very own Intelligence division?” She flashed them a warm smile, genuinely looking less bored and perhaps even a bit curious to see how the girls would do.
Kan looked down at the folded up papers stacked beside the red-head and raised an eyebrow a bit. “You can determine someone’s intelligence from only one piece of paper?”
The kunoichi shook her head and gave a soft smile. “Well…it’s an estimate only. After all, who’s going to sit down for a sixty minute IQ test at a festival? So? Do you want to give it a go?”
The medic glanced over at her sister who gave her an encouraging nod and a smile. “Why not; we have some time before we have to go, right?” Kanmuri nodded.
“Yeah we have some time.” Kan pulled out a few coins and paid the Intelligence division member the necessary fee and then sat down in one of the folding chairs, smoothing out her lavender festival kimono as she did. “So what, I just answer all of the questions on this card and you give me a number?”
The booth manager smiled just a bit. “Sort of. It’s actually a test that I took myself. It was made by another member of the Intelligence division. If you can beat my score of 96, you win a prize. Oh, and you only have two minutes.”
Kan’s eyes widened a bit as she looked down at the paper in front of her. “I have two minutes to answer all of this?!”
“Yep. On your mark, get set, go.” The red haired woman flipped an hourglass over on the table, signaling the start.
Kan’s fellow clan member blinked in shock at the test score in front of her.
“So? Did I pass?” Kanmuri chewed her lip as she waited for an answer. That was one of the fastest tests she had to write in a while.
Shaking her head in disbelief the girl smiled just a bit and circled a score before handing the paper back to Kan.
“Congratulations. You got a 98.”