Boning Up on Cloning Up II: Struggling with Oneself


Atsuro, Taiki, Toshio

Date: Unknown (log received January 15, 2014)


Atsuro continues to work on his Shadow Clone skills through an… interesting training technique. Taiki continues to work on an… interesting technique.

"Boning Up on Cloning Up II: Struggling with Oneself"

Jounin training area, Konoha

Cling! Clang! Clong! It's just after lunchtime in Konoha, and in this part of the training area, a furious battle rages. Atsuro is wielding a pink-handled katana and he's in the midst of a fight with a man identical to him, using an identical weapon! They're fighting over a pool formed at the base of a water fall. Winter has frozen the water over, and they occasionally move along the surface of the ice, but mostly they hop along the far less slippery stones that poke up from underneath, striking ferociously at one another.
One might think that Atsuro is merely sparring with a human-form Taizen, but the dog is off to the side, watching the fight! What's going on here? Whatever it is, it won't last long. One Atsuro manages to knock the other over with a kick, then stands astride his prostrate form. He raises the sword above him, readying to deliver the death blow…!

Taiki and his two ninken have gotten some time off recently, and Taiki has been spending it in intensive training for himself, as if preparing to do something major. The clan council was told recently that he would soon be going out of Konoha for a short while along with a small team, and that he could not give any details of what was going on. Rumors abound of course, but Taiki is refusing to answer questions. Instead he has thrown himself into training as hard as he could, and today is to be another example.

The sounds of combat draw his attention as he enters the area, though his nose registers only Atsuro and Taizen. Indeed, he thinks at first that Taizen and Atsuro are sparring, but then he notices Taizen nearby and Atsuro standing over… Atsuro? Taiki is struck confused, at least until one Atsuro looks likely to kill the other. Taiki then forms a series of quick hand seals before calling out "Raiton: Lightning Needles!" He sends a barrage of needles directly in between the sword and the prostate Atsuro even as he starts to go down on all fours. "The real Atsuro has about one second to say something only he and I know, or I will subdue you both."

Forced to jump back to avoid the lightning needles, Atsuro is unable to deliver the coup de gras. He lands in a crouch on the ice, sliding backwards slightly. Then he and the other Atsuro look in Taiki's direction. "You wet the bed until you were sixteen," both answer in unison. Then they both smirk and look at each other. "Nice," the defeated Atsuro compliments the other.
"Relax," says the winning Atsuro to Taiki, "It's just a training exercise. See?" The defeated Atsuro makes a seal and disappears in a puff of smoke. "My clone should be about as good as me once I've learned the technique properly," the real, remaining Atsuro explains, "So, in theory, I know I've mastered the technique when I lose about fifty percent of the time. So far I haven't lost once, so I need to keep practicing." Taizen barks a greeting to Taiki and company.

Taiki arches a brow for a moment, and then sighs. "You know, the way you said it sounds like I had a bladder control problem, not grief issues," he says as he stands up. "Of course, knowing you, that's the way you meant that." Taiki of course had heard of shadow clones, but was surprised when the defeated shadow clone vanished. "So you finally surrendered to the dark side…"

Taiki then smirks and says, "Of course, given your focus on taijutsu until recently, it's understandable if you're having… difficulties." He then turns toward Taizen and waves a greeting. "So how entertaining has he been?"

So that crack actually drew blood? Oops. Atsuro quietly mutters something that sounds like "Wasn't supposed to be a real fact…" while looking off to the side. "I don't seem to recall ever suggesting that ninjutsu was the dark side," he says, "But this is all in service of taijutsu, so don't think you've won or anything." He gets up and brushes himself off a little, then walks across the ice to sit down on a rock.
He does his best to hide a laugh, then innocently asks, "How long did it take you to learn Shadow Clone?" Taizen wags his tail a little. "He is doing better now," says the dog, "The clones are properly formed, even if they are weak."

Taiki chuckles and said, "Didn't say you called it that, but it seemed to fit rather well, so I went with it." Taiki doesn't sit down, but instead nods to Nozomi who goes off to start working on her water tsugas. "I don't know Shadow Clone. To be honest, I've been working more on elemental taijutsu than any of the clone techniques. Lightning clones is still about the best I can do, and using them for defense still hasn't come around as well as I hoped. But…" Taiki says as his smirk grows into a grin, "I am very close to making up for that with a rather decent defensive dodge that I'm working on."

"Right," says Atsuro, "But I thought I already mentioned the fire ninjutsu to you, didn't I?" He pauses, "Well, if I didn't… I've got some fun news for you!" He grins a little as Taiki admits he doesn't know the technique. "Well," he says, "It's hard to learn even if you know a lot about ninjutsu, so don't get too cocky there, young Taiki. It interacts with your chakra in a totally different way than other ninjutsu — even other clone techniques." He shrugs, "Normally, I'd consider it out of my league. But at some point, any jounin Inuzuka has to deal with it." He clucks. "Unless they cheat and get an extra dog," he adds, grinning again. "So what's this dodge?"

"Thus the dark side joke, since this is the second kind of ninjutsu that I've heard of you trying to adopt," Taiki mentions as he looks toward Shinobu who seems slightly offended at the cheating comment. "And getting a second dog is not cheating, it is proper allocation of resourses, not to mention expansion of abilities." At Atsuro's question he looks toward Shinobu and nods, then gets down on all fours. The dog and human both form lightning pads on the feet and hands, but then dissappear in a flash of light. It could be a more powerful verion of lightning replacement, save that there's no metal rods around. Several nearly-blinding flashes of light encircle Atsuro and Taizen for a moment before Taiki stops right in front of Atsuro. "It combines four legged dodge and lightning dodge at very high levels."

Oh, so that's what Taiki meant. "To tell you the truth," says Atsuro, "A lot of the reason I was learning fire ninjutsu was so that I could work my way up to Shadow Clone. Learn lower level ninjutsu so I could get the basics down before I started shooting higher. But, it can't hurt to have a few extra moves in my arsenal. Plus, a lot of what I learned from Fire Clone helps here too." He nods slowly as he watches Taiki's demonstration. "That's pretty good," he says, "Faster than I can dodge, technically. But I'm betting my reaction time is shorter than yours — I worked hard on that. It's actually a technique of its own." He waves a hand, "But I'm not here to brag about my dodging skill. I'm here to learn Shadow Clone." He makes a seal and concentrates for a moment, then there's a pop and a clone appears beside him. "Ready?" he asks the clone, raising his sword.

"Of course, you had an obligation to brag anyway, but that's just the way you are," Taiki says as he moves slightly away from Atsuro to about where Nozomi is. "It's not complete anyway, given that it is actually something akin to Four Legged dodge on lightning skates," he says as he gets down on all fours. "Only thing is, I'm going so fast its hard to keep track of my opponents. So attacks from here will likely either require dynamic marking or refinement of my senses." Given that, Taiki and Shinobu start moving around Nozomi, who fires water needles whenever she sees an opening. Thus the distance between Atsuro and them, as Taiki and Shinobu are training to improve reaction time while moving at such speeds.

"It's more like informing people of my skillfulness," Atsuro tells Taiki cheerfully, "It's a service. Anyway, I dunno what a lightning skate is, but it sounds like fun." He and the clone face each other, brandishing their swords. Then they charge in towards each other. There's a couple good exchanges of blows, then both back off simulataneously and start sizing each other up. "So you think all the moves you'll be making from now on… well, I'm not sparring with you until you refine your senses, I can tell you that much." The clone comes for him, swinging high. Atsuro ducks under and slices up, and the clone disappears in a puff of smoke. "Hrm," Atsuro says, "Need to use more chakra."

"All of my A-ranked lightning four-legged moves, at any rate, and any S ranks I may make in the future," Taiki remarks from literally all over the place, but gets clipped by a few water needles from Nozomi. "The B ranks really push the envelope as it is. Raigatsuga falls somewhere between Gatsuga and Garuga for speed, truth be told. That and with the propensity for water to wash out scents, a more refined nose is pretty much going to be required from here on out, especially now that she's got Saiton Tsuga down." The duo seem to put on a burst of speed, their flashes getting even brighter as they dodge Nozomi's attacks. Though an eye trained in the four legged style can tell that the lack of senses is becoming a hinderence at the speeds they travel.

Atsuro sits down on a rock, taking a moment to rest. Shadow clone is a draining move, there's no doubt about it. And sparring with the clones on top of that… well, there's no easy way to learn a move like this. That's why Atsuro only plans to use it for special situations. "I'm starting to lose track of all these different moves," he comments to Taiki, watching his former student zip all around the training area. "I can't help but notice you're not specifying whether you're going to use Dynamic Marking or improve your senses," he says, grinning a little.

After Atsuro says that Nozomi suddenly jumps and twists into a Suiton Tsuga. It looks similar in nature to the lightning tsuga, save the bit at the point is a whirlpool and streams of water whips rotate at very fast speeds out from her, easily catching anything but the ground, as they tend to shy away from that. Shinobu is clipped this time, and the two of them come to a stop, only slightly breathing hard. It is clear that staying power is high on the list with them. Nozomi comes out of the tsuga and spins around, howling a bit of triumph over hitting them. "Well, for the moment I'll be using dynamic marking, but only for the moment. Primarily, I want to get my senses refined as that will be a lot more versitile for me. Eventually we'll be doing collaborative taijutsu between the three of us, and dynamic marking just won't cut it. So I guess you could say dynamic marking is an intermidiary step, or training tool for more advanced techniques."

Toshio watches the goings on, seeming very impressed. "Wow…" He says as he peeks from the entrance, watching the goings on with wide eyes.

"Sounds like you three are in for an interesting spar then," says Atsuro, "Juuust wanted to confirm." Yeah, it's kinda childish, but he thinks he's earned that right, when it comes to Taiki. Having had a moment to recover his stamina a little (though with a move like this of course the training can only go on for so long, whether he takes breaks or not), he gets to his feet again. "Alright. Gotta make sure it's good this time." He really focuses, making a seal, adding more chakra, like he said he would. The clone appears and they get ready to fight once more. Before this next spar starts, though, he glances towards the entrance. "Your kid's kid is here," he helpfully informs Taiki, "In the Jounin training ground." He and his clone get into fighting stances at almost the same time, and rush in towards each other again.

Taiki just laughs and shakes his head as Atsuro acts a little childish. He then waits for Atsuro to start training again before he answers Atsuro's other observation, "You make it sound like Usagi gave birth to him," he says as a way to set up his jibe. "Well, I guess that makes you his great-grandsensei, old man." Taiki runs through a couple of hand signs and summons a lightning clone to walk over toward Toshio. "You know you could get in trouble, or even more likely, seriously hurt for being here. This is where most Jounin test out their techniques, and those attempts can be rather… dangerous for people who haven't reached a certain skill level." The admonishment done, he adds, "So what do you need?"

This clone is definitely giving Atsuro a bit of a workout. A trained swordsman could probably tell it's still not at his level, but it's better than his other clones were. "That would suggest that you're my son," he points out, not missing a beat despite being in the midst of a swordfight, "As for old, you're only about four years younger. In fact, you're now older than I was when I became your teacher. So just watch it… whippersnapper." He and the clone dance around each other for a minute more, then Atsuro starts a ferocious series of attacks and the clone is now on the defensive. Still not up to Atsuro's standards?

Taiki gives a fake shudder and then shrugs. "I was your student, now I am a grandsensei…" He then shrugs and sighs. "Where has the time gone? Our students are growing up and having students of their own!" The real Taiki wipes a fake tear out of the corner of his eye before setting up for cotniued practice again. They start practicing again, and the rest seems to have added focus to Taiki's movements, making them more fluid and at the same time a little more instinctual. Still, the lightning clone waits for an answer.

Atsuro and his clone's fighting has brought them out to bare ice. Even being highly agile ninja, they slip and stumble occasionally, but both of them maintain their footing for the most part. "Can't tell if you're joking or if you're just displaying your talent for histrion— er, boy, that's hilarious! Haha haha ha!" Atsuro smirks a little at Taiki, giving the clone the opportunity to charge in, striking at Atsuro as soon as he's in range. Atsuro /barely/ blocks. "You're good," Atsuro tells the clone, "So I must be getting better." But it probably doesn't look like it, since the movements cause the both of them to slip and fall flat on their butts. And the clone disappears in a puff of smoke. So it was an improvement, but he's still got a lot of work to go, it seems.

Taiki grins a moment when Atsuro starts accusing him of having histrionics, then changes to the showing that it is a joke. "It was a joke, Atsuro. I haven't been given to histrionics since Dad came out from his coma. Though I can see how you'd think otherwise." He then steps up the speed once again, pausing as Shinobu launches up in the air for a case of dynamic marking. The duo disappear save for flashes of ever-increasingly blinding light and sound that would obviously be disorienting to even normal ears. It would seem even the dodge version of this technique has some rather harsh effects on the defender. Taiki and Shinobu also start trying to "tag" Nozomi, but they miss more often than not.

Getting to his feet, Atsuro steadies himself and stands on a rock. He's feeling pretty tired now. Remembering Daisuke's advice, he realizes he should probably leave things there for now. Can't put himself in hospital just trying to learn the technique. "Right," he says in a mock comfortingly sort of way, "Yep." He grins and dusts off the seat of his pants. "Anyway," he says, "If I don't quit now, Taizen'll probably have to carry me home."

The faux battle continues for a little while longer before the trio comes to a halt. Minor scratches and a bit of tiredness seems to be the order of the day where they're concerned as Taiki hears Atsuro speak. "Good idea to quit then. I think we're just about done too. I've been straining my senses as I've been doing this, and even though I'm one of the best when it comes to efficient use of chakra, it's been draining." He then adopts a serious expression for a moment and adds, "You seemed to be faring better Atsuro."

"I don't feel better," says Atsuro, "Takes a lot out of you to use it so many times in such a short period." He hops from stone to stone, away from the ice, before he starts feeling too tired to carry on. "But thanks," he says, "Your moves look pretty… well, terrifying. But I guess that's kinda what you want in moves like those." He waves for Taizen to follow him. "Anyway, I've gotta nap for like a day or so. See you later." He waves to them, then starts to head off. Taizen woofs goodbye, then follows.

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