A Lesson in Approval


Kaido, Isamu, Kyoko

Date: July 24, 2015


Isamu puts himself to the test to try and earn Kaido’s approval, but he finds himself learning a valuable lesson instead.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"A Lesson in Approval"


Training Area #26 - Genin Training [Konohagakure]

The Special Genin Training ground, in Training Area #26, is designed to suit all of a Genin's training needs. As well, it serves as an excellent place for Jounin to teach their Genin team members. The area is mostly a large expanse of grassy field, surrounded by forest, with a nearby lake, and various poles and tree trunks for practicing attacks on. There are boxes, carefully camoflauged, containing supplies of shuriken, kunai, smoke bombs, and similar basic ninja equipment, as well as racks nailed to a few trees, with weapons stored on them. They are all covered to be protected from the environment, and regularly checked to make sure they are clean and in good condition.
There are also medical supplies hidden around the area. Most of this equipment can't even be found by most Genin, since their containers are meant to be known to and used by Jounin only, but a Jounin teacher may point out the location of a few for when he or she isn't present and the Genin want to train anyway.


It was back to the training grounds this afternoon after classes, but there was a slight deviation in Isamu's usual routine. You see, he wasn't here for training. He was here to lay it all out on the table for Kaido-sensei, to prove to him that he was worth his mettle and he had what it took to succeed as a Genin. And what better way to do that than fist to fist. Isamu had a great respect for Kaido, he truly did. But there was something burning in his chest which told him that he was done deferring to everyone else, giving them, giving respect and expecting nothing in return. It was time to earn his /own/ respect, first from Kaido, and then from the entire shinobi community. This was just his first step on a much longer journey…
As Isamu waited in the training grounds, he checked his hand and foot wraps to make sure they were tight and secure, his palms sweating from nervousness… Or excitement. Right now, it was hard to tell. He just knew that whatever it was, he would be using it to fuel his drive today. That feeling of adrenaline would be what kept him going when it was down to the wire. He had to embrace it. Take in the present moment… Deep breath in… Slow exhale. Eyes open. He was ready.

Kyoko had heard that Isamu had challenged Kaido. The only thing that came to mind? 'Why on earth would Isamu do that?? Does he have a death wish?' Not that she voices these thoughts. Instead, she simply sits down at the edge of the clearing that Isamu is currently mentally bracing himself in. "Isamu, you're definitely being a giant baka," she calls over to her classmate. A few kikaichu have perched in various places. The trees, bushes, even a few blades of grass… Yeah, she has eyes everywhere for this fight!

But Kaido didn't show up… in fact, the day stretches on and Isamu is waiting and waiting, watching as other Students and Genin are practising and having fun sparring. But poor Isamu is stuck waiting for Kaido to show, the sun begins to descend in the sky and everyone's already abandonned the training area for their homes and baths and beds. The moon is starting to rise high in the sky, the twilight making the grounds look omnious in the darkness. Kyoko's kikaichu roam around, but sense nothing, not even a hint of chakra, save Isamu's… for the moment.

Isamu stood defiantly in the center of the clearing, not budging from his spot even as the hours passed by. He had a tremendous amount of discipline, when he put his mind to it… And even though a part of him wondered what was keeping Kaido, that vast majority of his thoughts were taken up by determination. He knew that Kaido would come. He took him to be a man of his word. This was surely a test… The boy's arms remained crossed firmly over his chest, his eyes closed as he felt the night chill come on and listened to the light breeze. He had managed to stay locked in the present moment, keeping himself in a focused meditative state without allowing a slew of stray thoughts to cross his mind. He couldn't lose his focus.. This match was too important. He had to be ready at any moment, no matter how long it took. His eyes opened slowly, and he looked straight ahead. Kaido would be here.

Kyoko rolls her eyes and flops onto her back, waiting as well. She wasn't going to miss out on the chance to make fun of Isamu! … Err… She wasn't going to miss out on the chance to watch her sensei in action, rather! The girl's kikaichu start to spread out a bit, examining the area as it started to darken and darken. A few of them went to the Aburame village so she could at least let her parents know where she was. She may not like going home that much, but she wouldn't leave her parents in the dark.

Just as Isamu was at the edge of his nerves and probably starting to get endorsed that he's waited for so long, Kyoko's kikaichu would register a presence just as a huge smoke bomb explodes around Isamu, making it impossible to see. The smoke was a bit caustic as well, making it hard to breathe and disorienting and Isamu would just get the hint of sound before a kunai is pricked against the boy's throat and Kaido's voice rasps into his ear, "You're dead boy…" Before Isamu can even react to that, the presence and kunai are gone, leaving the boy as the smoke begins to clear, revealing… that now the boy is alone once more, but the grounds look different… more… menacing and Kaido's voice rasps from the shadows, "If you really want to fight me, come get me… but be warned, step carefully, because you never know what sort of things I've set up." The Jounin then moves so that the moonlight reveals him long enough for Isamu to see where he is before he vanishes again, "Your move Isamu…"

Isamu blinked, and suddenly this thick, irritating smoke was all around him! It hurt to breathe it in, and when he tried he only coughed, a shiver running down his spine when he felt the press of sharp, cold steel against his neck. But it didn't harm him. When the smoke cleared, the boy's eyes darted around quickly, locking onto the image of Kaido before… He was gone? Just like that? He was being toyed with… Isamu slowly pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to think. Kaido was trying to scare him… Well, he wouldn't be scared. He would be alert. He saw that Kaido had disappeared, but he had to be here somewhere… His eyes searched the surrounding trees and bushes, the dark shadows making things a bit difficult. He would have to rely on hearing and smell, as well.. 'And watch where you step,' the student reminded himself, knowing Kaido was apt to use basic traps to fool his enemies. Let the hunt begin…

RPCOMBAT: Isamu defends against with a PERCEPTION…16
RPCOMBAT: Kyoko defends against with a CHAKRA-SENSITIVITY…29

Kyoko blinks when she senses Kaido's presence, and … then a number of her kikaichu find themselves in the poisonous smoke. A lot of them were affected, but a few were not. Those that were not returned to her body for protection as the girl watched from her spot. The young Aburame closed her eyes and cast her senses out… But her senses weren't practiced. She had to really concentrate to even get a glimpse of Kaido, and even then… "Moving… quit it…" she murmurs, though mostly to herself. Her eyes flicker open, in the end, and she watches the field silently.

COMBAT: Kaido focuses 3980 stamina to turn it into 4000 usable chakra!
RP: Kaido transforms into SPAR-I.

Kaido reveals himself just long enough for Isamu to see him again and just as Isamu makes a move, a couple of discs made of wind fly out from opposite sides and attempt to slash Isamu as Kaido says, "Remember Isamu, in a real fight, your opponents won't be nice or honorable. They will want to kill you, are you prepared to die for Konoha?"

COMBAT: Isamu defends against WIND-SHARP(33) attack from Kaido with a DODGE…26
COMBAT: Isamu defends against WIND-SHARP(34) attack from Kaido with a DODGE…17
RPCOMBAT: Isamu took 220 damage.
RPCOMBAT: Isamu defends against with a PERCEPTION…15

The caustic smoke had left Isamu's vision blurry and swimming, his throat still raw from inhaling the fumes. For some reason, his ears were ringing, too… This was becoming much more difficult than anticipated. He barely noticed when two chakra wheels flew and sliced at his arms, until he felt the cuts and winced hard, his muscles tightening. He was starting to get angry… Kaido wasn't fighting fair! If it was his intention to simulate a real enemy, then… Well, it just wasn't fair! This was nothing like what Isamu had expected. He thought Kaido was going to give him a straightforward fist fight, not all this… deception stuff! Despite his efforts to remain calm, he felt the rage building within him. Even through his fury, however, there remained one truth that kept him from completely losing it under pressure. Something that only drove him further.
Kaido wasn't treating him like a child.
This alone was enough to inspire the boy to make it through this mess, come hell or high water. And so, he continued, stepping forward gingerly - right onto a flash tag! The bright light stunned him for just a moment, and he took the time to steady his breathing and withdraw a kunai from his belt pouch. He could tell from the way those wind sharps had hit him before which direction they had come from. And so he kept his senses peeled as much as he could, trying to move forward carefully for a better sight before unleashing a series of knife throws in what he perceived to be Kaido's direction, aiming to lure him out into the open.

RPCOMBAT: Kyoko defends against with a CHAKRA-SENSITIVITY…27

Kyoko watched… As best she could. Her kikaichu were swarming the area as she tried to get a sense of what was happening through the smoke and mirrors that Kaido had laid out for the student. The girl scowls a bit, concentrating on any sense of chakra… Anything that might give her a hint as to an incoming attack. or maybe something else, like an exact location. Something /other/ than this stupid vague sense that continued to prod her mind's eye.
Perhaps the girl was getting better at sensing, though… Practice makes perfect? Kyoko was able to detect Kaido… sort of. She had a better sense of where he was. Through the trees? Her kikaichu hadn't spread that far. But… now he's gone? Something didn't add up.

COMBAT: Isamu attacks target 1 with SHARP with a roll of: 19
COMBAT: Isamu attacks target 1 with SHARP with a roll of: 12
COMBAT: Isamu attacks target 1 with SHARP with a roll of: 13
RPCOMBAT: Kaido defends against with a DODGE…29
RPCOMBAT: Kaido defends against with a DODGE…28
RPCOMBAT: Kaido defends against with a DODGE…28

After the barrage of kunai (which clatter uselessly to the ground) there is blessed silence. Only the sound of the wind ruffling the grass and leaves of the trees as the moon is bright in the sky. Suddenly, that silence is shattered as there's something dropped behind Isamu, something vaguely metallic… Depending on whether Isamu turns to see what it is and/or tries to avoid it at all, it explodes with a *POP!* and… bright colored streamers and silly string fly out in all directions.
It's just a distraction…
The real attack comes after the adrenaline rush calms, a dart flies out from behind and to the side of Isamu and attempts to bury itself into his neck!

COMBAT: Kaido attacks target 1 with POISONED-DART with a roll of: 31
RPCOMBAT: Isamu defends against with a DODGE…22

It was obvious that his kunai had missed their mark. And then suddenly, something landed on the ground behind Isamu, and he tucked and rolled forward on the ground, not wanting to stick around to see what it was. By the time he heard the pop and looked behind him, he blinked a few times confusedly before feeling something akin to a beesting hit his neck, and he quickly slapped it, thinking it was an insect. But when he pulled his hand away, there was a tiny dart in his fingertips.
Isamu's world started to spin, and he struggled to remain on his feet as his equilibrium flew off on the wind. He felt his body leaning, and before he knew it, the side of his face collided with the ground, pushing his body up before he retched onto the grass. The spinning… It was completely nauseating. But Kaido had asked him if he was willing to die for Konoha. And he wouldn't give him a lame-ass excuse why he couldn't. So even though he was wobbly on his feet, Isamu grunted and forced himself to stand, looking out behind him and shouting into the darkness. "Come on out and fight me! Man to man! Stop hiding in the shadows and let me face you with some dignity!" That's all Isamu really wanted. Dignity. And right now, he was getting none. And getting nowhere.

RPCOMBAT: Kyoko defends against with a CHAKRA-SENSITIVITY…15

Kyoko, while she didn't get hit by the dart (not that she saw it), was a bit startled by the 'bang' of the party gag. So much so that she lost her concentration and … completely lost Kaido. The girl hisses softly in frustration and casts her senses out as best she can… but it's no use. He's gone from her immediate vision. She'll have to concentrate again…. How irritating. The girl watched Isamu for a bit, thinking that the kid sorta had a point. This fight was already going to be one-sided, even in an open match (if she had to judge the fight from just their base chakra). Kaido was just toying with this kid…

Kaido calls out from the shadows, "And what will that prove? You will lose either way, and more importantly, learn nothing." There is silence and then from a different direction, "Dignity? Boy, you really need to listen and understand this well… I am training you to survive. Out there, in the world, you will be facing people who want to kill you and who won't be so nice as I am to use a tenth of my power and abilities on you. Do you really think any opponent you face is going to be stupid enough to stand toe to toe with you? HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING AT ALL IN MY CLASS AND ON MY TEAM??" That last roars through the training grounds.
There is silence once more and then Kaido drops down in front of the swaying Isamu and says, "Do you know something Isamu? Of all my students, I consider you the best, unlike Shinobu and Kame, you aren't hampered by emotional trauma and unlike Tatsuo, you aren't painfully shy and hesitant. You have the heart and desire to be the best, but you lack one very important thing and that's going to get you and your teammates killed one day…" He moves and leans and says so that only Isamu can hear, "You want my approval too much… News flash, I don't give it… I can't, I train you all and then I have to send you out, praying I've done enough to help you survive and know that some of you will go out and never come back. That is the pain /I/ have to live with daily… to know that you, Shinobu, Tatsuo and countless others will die and I will visit your graves and wonder if I trained you just a little better that you would have survived. You want to impress me? Learn from me, but stop seeking my approval like you're starved for affection. I will tell you this though… I didn't expect you to stand up just now… consider that… a win."
Kaido draws back, and Isamu can see the smile of pride for Isamu for just a moment on the half of his instructor's face that's uncovered as well as the barely imperceptible bow before Kaido is gone… this time for good. As soon as Isamu realizes that, he'd also realize that the effects of the poison are gone, and he was healed completely, it seems the Jounin DID care for Isamu after all!

COMBAT: Kaido heals Isamu for 571 with MEDICINAL HEALING.

Isamu stood in shocked silence for a long while after Kaido had gone. His heart was beating fast in his chest. All he could hear was the sound of it filling his ears. Kaido-sensei… He had no idea what to make of what had just happened. That Jounin was the master of mixed signals. But one thing had come across very clear. He was never going to gain Kaido's approval. That was what perhaps took the longest to absorb.
Isamu's eyes drifted down slowly, surprised to feel that he was no longer dizzy. The poison must have worn off. He was beginning to think clearly again. 'Kaido will never give his approval'. The boys brows furrowed deeply as his mind processed this new bit of information. Earlier this year, he might not have been able to recognize what he could train for, if it were not to gain some outside recognition. But now, on this day, something dawned on him. He didn't need Kaido's approval. The only person whom he needed to make proud was… Himself. He would become a man, a warrior, that he could be proud of. He would forge his own shinobi way, and live by a personal code of honor which would keep his head clear and his conscience clean. He would forge his own destiny from the ashes of childhood, one which would leave behind a legacy which would last for a thousand years… Yes. It was time that Isamu realized his own true strength, the one thing that only he could tap into, that belonged solely to him. And once he grasped hold of that… then not a man in the world would be able to keep him from realizing his full potential.

Kyoko can only hear so much. After the bit of ringing in her ears goes away from Kaido's scolding, she can barely hear a whisper of the man's voice as he talks quietly to Isamu. And then he draws back… and is gone. She blinks a bit, then sighs and stands from her spot, kikaichu gathering around her slowly. Then they disappear into her body. She stands there for a moment, consider. Then calls out to Isamu, after he's done thinking so hard, "You should get home. It's late." Then she walks back towards the Aburame village. While she hadn't learned any lesson like Isamu's, she /was/ put to the test in some way. It wasn't much, but it was something. Even when Kaido's teaching one kid, it seems he's able to teach the other.

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