Date: November 5, 2011
Atsuro finds Taiki practicing Man Beast Clone, and learns a few things about Taiki's situation and why he's somewhat introverted compared to most Inuzuka.
"Demands of Dinosaurs"
Team 10's training ground
There are many who would say Atsuro is indolent scum — himself being the first — but in reality, he actually works quite hard to maintain his physique. Really, there's just about no exercise he hasn't tried at least once. But right now, he's using an old classic, the pushup. But that's not enough for a self-respecting ninja. On top of him lies Taizen, who is himself at least Atsuro's weight. Atsuro can take it, though. Red-faced and sweaty as he might be, he's keeping a steady pace as he raises and lowers himself, his knuckles pressed into the grass below him. "One-seventeen," he counts, his voice strained, "one-eighteen… one-nineteen…"
Taiki comes into the training grounds with a larger Shinobu at his side. Apparently the dog had gone through another growth spurt, for he was now the size of a young malamute. Shinobu's head came up to Taiki's stomach now, with the back just within the Inuzuka's reach without bending over. Well, considering they had been partners since about a month after Shinobu was born, three years ago, it's only right. Taiki notes that Atsuro is training, and shrugs. He'd talk to his sensei, but the man was busy and Taiki had his orders. Damn busybody Elders… He shrugs and looks at Shinobu, holding out the doggy version of a soldier pill for the dog. As the ninken eats it Taiki says, "Okay, let's do this."
Shinobu barks, sounding both excited and resigned at the same time. 'I still think you should tell them to go sniff their butts,' Shinobu says in dog-speach. 'I mean, all that work you were putting into that move to please them already, and it's still not enough. Noooo… they can't believe that you and I are really partners unless we show them proof… Taiki, I'm pissed.'
Taiki himself sighs and shakes his head. "Yeah, I know boy. I'd much rather finish the Tsuga… but noooo… that'd mean they would actually have to congratulate me." He shakes his head again and sighs. "We're not getting younger, and complaining about it will fall on deaf ears. Let's just do this, okay?" At Shinobu's bark of affirmative, Taiki gets down in the four legged stance and Shinobu jumps on top of him. "Jujin Bunshin!" Taiki calls out just before both Inuzuka and his ninken are enveloped in a puff of smoke.
"One… twenty… FIVE." Having achieved one last pushup, Atsuro collapses. "Okay, agh, get off me." Taizen complies and rolls off Atsuro's back onto the ground nearby. Atsuro gets to his feet and brushes some strands of grass off himself. "Daaamn, my arms are going to be sore tomorrow. A new record, and extra swords." He draws the back of his hand across his brow, wiping away some sweat, then kneels down and gives Taizen a scratch behind the ears. "Well, comrade, that's the whole routine. We're outta heeeee…" He trails off as he spots Taiki. "Not yet, actually." He walks over to them, then leans against a nearby tree, trying to maintain a respectful distance from them. After all, he remembers the last time he watched Taiki train. Taizen takes a seat nearby and watches along with him.
The smoke clears away, to reveal something that to most people would be unexpected. Now there were two Taiki's, one just a little smaller than the other, but not by much. The animalist features on both were now more pronounced, and those claws and teeth actually looked like they could do some damage… from /both/ of them. The two "stand" there for a moment before launching themselves toward a tree, each running pretty much on all fours. The reach the tree and strike at it, seeming to actually damage it slightly, which is also more than an ordinary human could do, four legged stance or now. The two seem to move in perfect coordination, bouncing from here to there and attacking their target again and again. But the shorter one suddenly changes mid lunge, becoming Shinobu once again as Taiki looses some of the wildness he just had. Both manage to avoid smashing into the tree, but Taiki at least looks mildly chagrined. "Damn it, our chakras were just a little off…" he growls, looking at the tree.
Shinobu responds in his barking voice, seemingly pleased though. 'Yes, but you're doing better on releasing your animal side, and at least we set a new record. We'll get it Taiki.' The ninken seems to understand Taiki's frustration as he comes up and puts his head under Taiki's hand. 'Just remember, this is all stuff we were going to do eventually.'
"Huh," says Atsuro to himself, then glances down to Taizen, "Little bastards beat us." Taizen responds with a couple of low barks, pointing out that it isn't a race, and that 'bastards' was a rather poor choice of words, considering the source. "Not a race," Atsuro agrees, "But I can't help but feel like we're a little behind. And… I guess it was a poor choice of words. Whatever." He gives Taizen an idle pat on the head and the two keep watching.
Taiki and Shinobu set up again, and once again transform. This time it is nearly impossible by sight or sound to tell the difference between ninken and shinobi, unless you had a /really/ sensitive sense of smell. You barely could even then, which marks this as a complete success. But they are not done, by a long shot. It seems that Shinobu had earlier stated what both he and his partner were feeling, and it was apparent they were blowing off steam, and parts of tree. They kept to the same tree, on apparent reasoning that too much damage to too many trees would be brought to the clan. Felling one tree was easy enough to fix, or use, after all. But the pair were far from that point, seeming instead to leaving long scratch marks in the tree. Finally both stop, look at each other, and change back. "Much better. Now if we can do that every time. It's a good thing Pops played hookie to help us… otherwise we'd still be working on chakra issues."
Atsuro and Taizen continue to watch without interrupting for the second round of practice. This time, though, Atsuro pipes up once they're done. "Not bad you two. Or, it could be a lot worse. Not that I'm such a great judge, but a truly great teacher gets a feel for these things. Guess that means good luck for both of us, eh?" He curls his fingers and looks down at his hand, checking his nails. "Gotta say though, you didn't seem to keen on learning clan techniques last time we met like this. Has my wisdom inspired you?"
Taiki's immediate frown at the mention of their enthusiasm to learn clan techniques would be a strong indicator that Atsuro's question was /way/ off the mark, and something had happened to piss Taiki off very much. An accompanying low growl from Shinobu showed that the ninken was equally upset, so much so it should be a surprise neither one of them are throthing at the mouth. It takes a minute for Taiki to finally calm down enough to answer. "We had always planned on learning the clan techniques, just not this soon," Taiki states evenly, mindful of the fat that Atsuro was his sensei. "We have /never/ spurned the clan techniques, or our heritage!" He all but snaps.
Shinobu gives a warning bark, alerting Taiki to his temperament right now. "Despite what certain /ELDERS/ think, we are proud of our heritage. We just think that there's room for improvement. There's /always/ room for improvement. But noooooo, some people see us wanting to get a good foundation on something we are actually /best/ at as insult. Damned busybodies with far too much time on their hands and not enough brains to blow their noses… acting like we're raping their…" Another bark cuts Taiki off again. Taiki closes his eyes for a moment, taking deep breaths. When he opens them he says, "My apologies sensei. I am in a foul mood and do not mean to take it out on someone superior to myself." With this he bows to Atsuro, his normal demeanor of the withdrawn Inuzuka returning.
<Public> Satsukiyami has disconnected.
"Have you gotten checked for short-term memory loss?" Atsuro asks, "I'm wondering because you don't seem to remember how I reacted the last time you yelled at me like that. Anyway, you know /I/ don't know that technique? Well, not really. It's on the backburner. Point is, I never actually mastered it because I was too busy playing with my sword." The corner of his mouth lifts a little. "A literal sword. So my point is, what's the difference between you and me? Is there some reason you can't just tell those dinosaurs to go to hell?"
"If memory serves me right, Atsuro sensei, you first yelled at me and then laughed, happy that I showed a bit of a backbone," Taiki says, still remaining much quieter than he was previously. He thinks quietly for a moment before looking to Shinobu, who lets loose a series of barks.
'Those dinosaurs are holding his parents up against him,' Shinobu barks. 'He's not free to speak ill of them in their ears.'
Taiki plops himself down on the ground, and lets a little of his frustration bleed through. "I meant what I said about Pops playing hookie to teach me this. He's the brother of the Founder's clan heir, and as a result he has to keep his reputation clean. Which means I don't have my parents to back me up, and if I do lash out, it reflects badly on them, which makes it harder for Pops to do his job. It doesn't matter, I'm a failure as a Founder anyway." The last part is said bitterly, apparently he heard it far too many times before. "But this is something I can't draw you into Atsuro'sensei. Please forget you ever heard it."
<Konohagakure> Ryo has disconnected.
<Public> Ryo has disconnected.
"It went something like that," Atsuro confirms, "Maybe you saw it a little differently than I did, but I guess 'backbone' is sorta like shorthand for telling other people to stick it in their ear more often. Anyway, Shinobu…" He looks down at the dog, "I'm not sure what you mean by that, exactly, but I have a feeling it's a matter of perspective." He listens to Taiki's explanation of his circumstances, though he chuckles a little at the last statement. "Honestly, I doubt you could draw me in if you tried." He looks up at the sky, "Listen, I've gotta go, but I'll try to think of something. Work hard, kids." He jumps into the trees, Taizen following shortly behind, and then they're gone.