• After fleeing the Leaf Village, they had headed north to the land of Rice Patties. Her father had seen an entrance to a set of abandoned mine tunnels. 'The perfect place,' he had said, 'but we have a lot of work to do before we can call this house a home.'

    The work had gone on for three straight days without pause to eat or rest, so it was no wonder Ariel's head was throbbing when she went to bed that night. The strain of the work on her tiny body had been almost too much for her but Orochimaru had said that the work would have gone a lot slower without her help. Still though, the calming thought of being able to rest after all that work gave Ariel comfort as she spent her first night among the sound.

    When she awoke, right arm burning with pain, it was early morning. Ariel grimaced, stifling a shriek, as she tried to suppress the pain from her birthmark. (Shaped like two intertwining snakes, it glowed whenever it was throbbing with pain like this. Also, it had glowed when she and Orochimaru had first met; he had seen it when he had held her in his arms. Knowing that this was a sign of great, untapped power, he had befriended her in the hopes of testing this unknown strength. The creating of the maze of tunnels was one of many tests that would be conducted in the years to come.)

    Since he knew she should not live in a world without sunlight, Orochimaru had created a complex in the old oriental style with an open courtyard which let in the sunlight on clear days and let in reviving rains on stormy ones. Ariel walked into this same courtyard in search of something to help ease the pain in her arm. However, what she found there instead of aloe or soothing arnica flowers was a boy staring into a pond underneath the magnolia tree.

    His hair seemed to blend among the blossoms somehow enhancing their natural beauty with a strange radiance all his own. 'Who is that boy?,' Ariel wondered. 'I've never seen him before.'

    Her pain forgotten, she began to walk towards him longing for a closer look. With each step she took, the pain lessened fading into nothingness as if it had never come at all. Suddenly, she stepped on a twig. Snap! This made the boy turn his head and for a moment they stood there, three year old girl and thirteen year old boy, locking gazes in the silent stillness of the misty morning.

    "Who are you?," Ariel asked, surprised that she had spoken after so long a period of quiet. "I've never seen you before," replied the boy, "so you should tell me who you are first. After all, I've been with the sound for at least a year and I've never seen you."

    "The sound? Is that what this place is called?"

    "Yes, or at least it will be. Master Orochimaru still has to establish relations with the lord of the Land of Rice Patties and gather more followers to our cause."

    "Master? But, he is my father."

    The boy scooted back on his rock, aghast that such a young person could have such an experienced shinobi as a parent. He scooted a bit too far and landed, bottom first, in the pond. Ariel helped out quickly in the hopes that he wouldn't catch cold, for she had learned from her teacher before she had left the village that landing in a pond on a misty morning will give you a cold if you stay in it too long.

    "My name is Ariel by the way," she said as she wrapped her blanket around the boy's shivering frame. "I came here three days ago with my father. He had me dig these tunnels in order to create a place for us to live."

    "You dug those tunnels? They looked as if they were cut out of the rock naturally when I was walking through them. I never would have guessed they were man made," said the boy.

    "Now then, you know my name boy. However, I still do not know yours."

    "Oh, how foolish of me Ari. I'm Kimimaro of the Kaguya clan. Actually, I'm the only member of the Kaguya clan now. My clan died in an assault on the Hidden Mist Village. I was the only one who survived."

    "So your an orphan, like me. My parents died in the Nine Tailed Fox attack when I was just a year old so I don't really remember much about them."

    "We should stick together then. One never knows what orphans are capable of until they do something wonderful."

    "I'd like that Kimimaro. I'd really like that a lot."


    Kimimaro and Ariel were inseparable from that time on. If one had not known better, one would have said they were like older brother and younger sister even though they had no relation to one another whatsoever. Orochimaru was particularly proud of this since he could not tend to his newfound "daughter" all the time with all the diplomatic relations he would need to establish and, later, destroy. He was glad that she had found a friend on whom she could rely.