Date: February 1, 2014
After more clone practice, Daisuke finally convinces Atsuro to do some proper ninjutsu work.
"Boning Up on Cloning Up IV: Sealing the Deal"
Konoha Training Area
"Okay, ready? One… two… three!" Taizen dashes towards Atsuro, and leaps into the air, obviously aiming to tack him — which would definitely knock him over, Taizen being as big as he is. Atsuro makes a seal… but it's too late! Taizen smashes into him and they both tumble to the ground. "Owwwwwwwww," says Atsuro. Taizen clambers off of him and he gets to his feet. Then he walks over to a nearby boulder, which has a handy flat surface. Using a piece of chalk from his vest, he adds a tally to the little scoreboard he's already written up here.
"Three for me, eight for you," he reports, "So that's a little more than a quarter, which… completely sucks." He sighs, then shakes his head. "Well, I've still got some energy left in me. Let's keep at it." He walks out into the open field again, then faces Taizen, who gets ready to charge again. "Ready? One… two…"
Walking into the area on his usual rounds, Daisuke spots two familiar faces, deciding to head over to check out what they were up to. As Atsuro walks away from a boulder, Daisuke's curiosity piqued and he makes himself known, even though his lack of a bath last night probably already did that with those two. "Hey" he says as he gets closer, not meaning to interrupt anything.
"What are you two working on?" he asks as he arrives, looking between Atsuro and Taizen. He crouches down, waiting for either Taizen to charge at Atsuro and finish him, or come over for welcome scratches. Either way he would look up to Atsuro for an answer.
"Thr— eh?" The Inuzuka boys look over to see Daisuke coming into the area. They both settle out of their stances, apparently opting to talk to Daisuke rather than continue the training exercise for the moment. Taizen does come over for welcome scratches, greeting him, "Hello, Daisuke." Atsuro walks over to the score rock and sits down, careful not to smudge the score. "Well, it's kinda your fault," he tells Daisuke, "Shadow Clone." He gestures to the score. "My clones are pretty much perfect now. I just can't do it quickly enough that it's combat-ready. Eleven tries, and I've managed to actually finish the technique three times."
"Hey buddy." Daisuke responds to Taizen, giving him plenty of scratches, especially the good ear ones. He looks over to Atsuro and listens to him, chuckling at the blame. "You know, the best part of the shadow clone is the fact that any normal enemy, even high level ones, cannot tell the difference. What do you suppose that gives you as an advantage in combat?" he asks Atsuro, quizzing him a bit to see if he would pick up on a potential new strategy than throwing something at him and trying to be 'reactive'.
Taizen wags his tail, stretching his neck and twisting his head to expose as much as possible to all that wonderful scratching. Doggie heaven! A little irritated from the way his training is going, Atsuro answers with some annoyance, "I can trick the opponent so that I can have the clone already in play when the battle starts and they think it's me." Figuring that was what Daisuke was getting at, he continues, "But the problem is that I'm just not doing it fast enough. I'm not trying to simulate real combat here. I just want to figure out how to get the clone out on time."
"Mmmmn, sort of what I was going for. At any point in combat where you are on the defensive or have a moment away from the eye of the opponent it can be used, as well. Just a simple replacement technique and it's there. But I get your issue, it's really just practice practice practice before it becomes as fast as a normal clone." Daisuke says as he continues to lavish Taizen with attention. "Unfortunately, as with any clone, preparation is better than reaction."
And Taizen continues to enjoy being lavished with attention. Atsuro doesn't seem quite so happy though. "Whaaaaat?" he says, "You mean, you don't have some hint or something for me?" He sighs, "I feel like I've been practicing this technique forever. I've fought my clones to make sure they were good enough. Then I had to make sure my seals were perfect. And now that I can actually make the clone perfectly, I have to just keep practicing. Jeez."
"Hey, you have everything down, you just said it yourself. Everyone is different in terms of learning speed and quickness of release. Hell, my aunt Tobi can do a 20 seal water technique with a single seal. It just depends on the person and practice." Daisuke says with a chuckle, finishing up with Taizen as he moves over to the boulder to examine the score, chuckling lightly.
"What?" says Atsuro, "Doesn't that make it a one seal technique?" Hey, he just has a limited interest in ninjutsu… which might actually explain his stubbornness on this one point. He sighs dramatically and gets to his feet. "Well, fine, I guess. C'mon, Tai." They get into their positions again. "This is why I prefer Taijutsu," he says, "Once you've learned a technique, you've just plain learned it. And if you're to slow, it's because /you/ are too slow, and you just need to get faster. One… two… three!" Taizen charges and it plays out much like last time, with the big dog knocking Atsuro onto his back.
"Well seals are just a way of focusing your chakra in the right away. Anyone else would take all 20 to do it right." Daisuke points out, figuring Atsuro didn't quite appreciate the amazing-ness. He hops up on the boulder as Atsuro gets some incentive to try again. As Atsuro gets knocked over again Daisuke says, "It's the same with ninjutsu. If you're slow, you are slow." he says to the Inuzuka on his back, sticking out his tongue before laughing.
Getting up from the ground and dusting himself off, Atsuro looks frustrated. But he seems to be coming around to what Daisuke says. "So, you're saying that it's a bit like working on your muscles," he says, "I can't pop off a clone just like that for the same reason I can lift a boulder over my head easily, while people like you have to slowly work it up? We reach the same place, but since I'm stronger, it's easier for me to just go straight there?"
"Well I wouldn't use me and my brute strength, which is second to none, as the example, but yeah you are catching on. Ninjutsu and Taijutsu, each have their own pinnacle of performance you can reach." Daisuke says with a nod of the head, producing some jerky from one of his many vest pouches to wag for Taizen to celebrate him knocking Atsuro on his butt. "While smashing a rock may feel natural to you, popping a clone comes naturally to ninjutsu users."
Having started to figure this out, Atsuro seems to be in a bit of a better mood. "I'm sure your muscles are just ducky," he says, getting to his feet, "By which I mean you're definitely strong enough to lift a duck above your head, assuming it cooperates." He dusts himself off. "So, really, I shouldn't be looking at ninjutsu like I'm just practicing a skill. More like I'm training my body, just like if I were doing pushups." He frowns. "Hold up. Does that mean I'd get better at this if I practiced some other ninjutsu move?" Come to think of it, he /did/ work his way up to this point with fire ninjutsu.
"Any kind of activity that involves the reformation and moulding of your chakra should help you. Even firing off a few elemental techniques help. Doing some extreme wall walking practice, maybe even learning to use the Fire Clone technique. Anything would help." he says as he waves the jerky again for Taizen, hoping he would see or smell it this time. "You've got the idea now, and, to be cliche, every bit helps."
For a second, Atsuro looks like he's been stabbed, then he bursts into laughter. "Waaaaaaait. Wait, wait, wait." He takes a moment to get control of his laughter. "You mean, I've been practicing for months, like this, having to do it only an hour per day because the stupid technique drains my chakra so fast… and I could have been getting the same results faster using a Fire Clone? Ha, why am I laughing? I've wasted so much time." Taizen has been eyeing that jerky longingly. And as Daisuke waves it enticingly, the dog leans forward and takes a bite of it. "Thank you," he says, wagging his tail.
Daisuke gives Taizen a pat and lets him take the jerky in his mouth, eyeing Atsuro. "I think he's lost it." he whispers to Taizen as Atsuro bursts into laughter. As he explains himself, Daisuke chuckles at his realization. "Of course it would've helped, but don't get me wrong, they are different clones, different techniques. You don't have to worry about there having been an easier way, you've taken a pretty common route. The only reason why I learned it faster was because 1, my Aunt created the technique, and 2, I have a little more chakra to spend on training such things. That's all, you are doing fine."
"He doesn't do that often," Taizen admits. Atsuro waves a hand. "I know that," he says, "But, if I'm getting you right, it's like this. Not everyone can do even one pullup, so you can't just start off with a low amount of pullups and work your way up to a high amount. You have to start with rows, then after a bit of that, you can move on to assisted pullups, and then after that, you're finally ready for the big leagues. Doing a row isn't much like doing a pullup, but if your work on your rows, you get better at your pullups." He folds his arms and nods triumphantly, "I know you don't know much about /advanced/ exercises, but it's kinda like that, isn't it? So I think I /should/ mix it up a little, shouldn't I?"
"This beautiful body doesn't require advanced effort to maintain." Daisuke says in response to not knowing much about advanced body building. "But I fully encourage you working on a C rank technique like Fire Clone, it is the hardest basic element out there to stabilize into such a form, after all. There's no telling just how much it would help you with your efforts here. Then again, it involves more time spent on your Ninjutsu, which means less time on your body and a greater distance behind mine."
"You mean, it'll give you an opportunity to close the gap a little bit." Atsuro makes a show of looking at Daisuke, then down at himself. "I think I'll take my chances," he says teasingly, "And keep working at it. Someday you might be nearly as good as me, and you'll need those advanced techniques to further your education." He rubs his chin. "Okay," he says, "I already thought I'd mastered Fire Clone, but I guess there's mastery and then there's /mastery/, right? So if I mix that in and train with it instead of Shadow Clone on some days, maybe I'll make more headway. And I might even get good at ninjutsu." He shakes his head, "Never thought I'd see the day. In for a ryo, in for… ten ryo, I guess." Gosh, if only the local currency lended itself to such turns of phrase.
"Good, that is settled. I bet you feel a bit more positive now, huh?" Daisuke says as he hops down from the boulder and stands up, dusting himself off. "My job here is done, I guess." he adds with a grin and proceeds to give Taizen some farewell scratches and another piece of jerky. "I guess I better get back to my rounds, and you should get your burn oil and start training." he says with a nod.
"Why Daisuke," says Atsuro, "I'm always positive." Taizen happily accepts both the scratches and the jerky. "Thank you." Atsuro takes a second to think about what he should do from here, then nods a little, feeling more resolved. "Okay, Tai," he says, "We're gonna try it it fire clones. Careful not to get burned." He turns to Daisuke. "See you later, dude. Thanks for the pep talk." Taizen says, "Goodbye, Daisuke!"
Then it's back to training. They get into position. "One… two… three!"