Ayaka Akiyama. A pop star in Kirigakure. It was nothing new now to the members of 244, who had discovered the person in question to be a proctor in disguise. And yet, standing at Gate C stood that same little pop star now. Luxurious brown hair, now loose, framed a rather pretty face. Brilliant blue eyes meant to captivate her audience, soft glistening lips. The sort of girl who took care of her appearance. A good shampoo, a good lotion, embalming lipstick. Everything to preserve that pop star allure. But there were a few differences now. She wasn't wearing any fashionable clothes this time. Just casual clothes. An open sweater over a sober white shirt, and cotton pants tucked into shinobi sandals. Were it not for the earrings and that delicate face, she could have looked like your every day girl.
The second difference were the seven people wearing a black suit. Six of them were men, gaze hidden by black sunglasses. Defensive. Perceptive. The sort who took no nonsense and would make swift work of fools and overeager fans alike. Among them, a single woman who talked to the pop star in question. Reminding her of all the do's and dont's she was to uphold as a teenager of her stature. Worse than a mother, it was hard to say if she cared for the girl or tried to protect her bread-winning financial asset in the showbizz.
"Make sure you stay hydrated."
"Don't trust anyone. Not even your partner. I bet they're a no good plebian who'd grab your glamour first chance that arrised."
"If you can, let him do the fighting. It'd be unthinkable if you were scratched in the slightest of ways. You can't imagine the stress the media will give me if they catch wind of their favourite being hurt"
"And don't overexert. You're well-trained but the showbizz is more important than being a kunoichi. You hear me?"
"You know, maybe you should just forfeit. I think that'd be better. Too bad for your team if they loose but the show must go on."
"Yes, manag- Wait, what? N-no, we can't do that! Toshiyuki-san doesn't deserve that. Besides... the yokai would haunt us"
"Aaargh. Once this is over, we're scrubbing the yokai out of you. No more of that silly bloodline. You must be the purest thing in the world."
"I-I don't think that'll..."
"No! It must be done!"
"Ah ah ah... Manager-san, you're scaring me..."
Their absurd conversation would cease when one of the bodyguards interrupted them to mention the arrival of another genin. The manager watched his approach with the look of a vulture. Ready to pluck him bare and sell his soul to the devil if it meant she could strike another long-term deal in the show-business.
"That must be Toshiyuki-san. I think it's time I-"
"Waaaait a minute. Guys, check him out first. Then I'll deal with him. You, get ready to escort Ayaka-chan through the gates!"
"Manager-san... You can't do that. I'm not allowed to have a bodyguard once the test starts."
"Hrk. Stupid rules... Fine. But you better call us as soon as something goes wrong."
"Now go. Let that guy slave himself off for the star you are."
She laughed rather uncomfortably, then walked over towards her team member to meet him.