Date: November 25, 2014
Atsuro gives Kenta his first lesson on the shadow clone technique.
"Kenta's New Shadow - Lesson 1"
Konoha's Chuunin Training Grounds
It's been a while since Kenta found himself on the receiving end of a lesson. He's been busy giving them out these days instead. Nevertheless, the young medic-nin remembers that promptness is the first thing that all teachers look for first in a student. It's not a problem for him, since he usually arrives for scheduled meet ups at least early even normally. It's for this reason that Kenta's sitting on a small boulder in the middle of a clearing deep inside the Chuunin training ground in mid-morning. He has a medical book open on his lap and is entirely engrossed on the subject matter, which happens to be a graphic study of how the various make up of gut fauna affects bowel movements. Luckily, he's not so engrossed that he forgets to look up to check for his teacher's arrival every so often.
There's a sound of rustling leaves, then something black blurs out of the trees, landing in the grass not far away from Kenta. It's Taizen. "Good morning, Kenta," he says, tail wagging. Much less of a blur, Atsuro reaches the clearing a few seconds afterward, landing in a crouched position. He suppresses a yawn, then straightens up and walks over to Kenta. "Morning," he says, "Whatcha reading over there?" He leans over Kenta and looks down at the paper. It takes him a moment to decipher the upside-down text, then he comments, "Gross. So, what did you need us for?"
"Oh, yes. It's a little filthy, but so incredibly interesting," Kenta says. He slides off the boulder and bows deeply to the two older shinobi. He snaps the book shut and places it on top of his seat. "Good morning, Atsuro-senpai and Taizen-senpai. I really hope that I didn't take the two of you away from anything important. I'm afraid that I have a very big favor to ask of you. Umm… well, more of a trade." The young man scuffs his feet on the ground and folds his hands at the small of his back. "You know that I've been interested in the shadow clone technique for a while. I was hoping that the two of you will give me some lessons in exchange for services. You can name any service as long as it's reasonable." He turns big, hopeful eyes to Atsuro and Taizen. He even bats those eyes a few times, but without actually realizing what he's doing.
"Does it have any practical applications in your work?" As soon as he's asked that question, Atsuro slaps himself across the face. "Actually, I'd rather you didn't answer." He turns and walks away a couple paces trying to forget about the article. "Anyway, don't worry about it. I'm not too tired. And Taizen is a total morning person." He shoots Taizen a dirty look, which the dog doesn't seem to notice. Atsuro's attention turns back to Kenta as the younger man explains himself. "I can teach you," Atsuro says, "And don't worry about exchanging anything. Jounin should teach things to chuunin; it's how the village functions. The only thing you need to do in return is use it wisely."
Kenta opens his mouth to explain about the practical applications of the information in the book, but closes it again when Atsuro forestalls him. He opens his mouth a second time to protest the denial that any service must be exchange for the lesson, but closes it -again- when Atsuro comes up with an entirely appropriate explanation for why that must be the case. Thankfully, the third time that he opens his mouth is to say something unrelated to either of that, so he can forge ahead with no problem. "Don't worry, Atsuro-senpai. I'm not going to use what you teach me to go bully defenseless civilian or anything like that. I'd rather kill myself that to become someone that would do something like that. What I really hope is that this knowledge will help me become a better shinobi that can protect the things that are important."
"That's good," says Atsuro, "I did find doing… frivolous things with it to be kinda useful for training it, actually. But You have to do that sparingly, because before I can teach you a single thing about the technique in good conscience, I have an important warning." He walks up to Kenta again. "Gather 'round," he says. Taizen takes a step in his direction then sits down again. "This is the same thing Daisuke told me before he started teaching me this technique." He holds up a finger. "The first thing you have to know about this technique is that it can drain you of chakra very quickly. When you make one shadow clone, it cuts your chakra in half, because you're sharing it with the clone. If you make two, it has to be divided between you and two clones, so you're down to a third. Three clones and you're down to a quarter. Four clones — okay, you probably get it."
Kenta nods his head studiously and stays silent while he waits for Atsuro to finish imparting the important information. At its conclusion, he nods one more time. "Thank you for reminding me, Atsuro-senpai. I actually did some research on that after our last conversation regarding the shadow clone technique and the way that it can lead to chakra depletion if too many are made. I couldn't find much, but what I did find seems to suggest that someone with an average chakra reserve should be able to make two clones without a problem, but it starts getting dangerous when more than that are made. If the clone is manually dismissed instead of getting destroyed by an enemy, would that return at least some of the chakra to the user? That seems like it'll have great bearing on the overall usage."
Atsuro nods. "Well, you're right. Luckily, once a clone is gone, whatever chakra it has left will return to you. Even so, the technique can put serious strain on a user, even if they have a lot of chakra to draw on. Trust me, just practicing it will tire you out. So you need to be careful with it. That's part of why I wanted your promise that you'd use it wisely." He purses his lips and looks down at Kenta for a second. "I guess if you haven't gotten far in your wind training yet, you don't know any clone techniques beyond the basic one?"
"Only that one," Kenta says in a slightly regretful voice. He keeps his hands folder behind his back and his legs splayed apart in attention while he looks up at the taller shinobi. "That means that it'll be harder for me to learn, doesn't it? I don't know any substantial clone techniques at all. Umm… but I'm reasonably good at making an insubstantial clone, if that makes any difference. It seems like a shadow clone would be similar, except it'll be filled out with -something- using chakra to make it substantial." The something is what's obviously perplexing Kenta, since infusing a regular clone with more chakra either doesn't do anything or disrupts it.
Atsuro scratches his chin. "Hrmmmm… hrrrrrrm… Well, I already knew how to make fire clones before I did. And in some ways, it was just like improving on that, but I also had to find a way to get the fire out. Uh, so what I'm saying is basically that you'll need to make a couple of extra steps, but you should be able to do it." He waves a hand at Kenta, "You know more about chakra and ninjutsu and stuff anyway, so don't worry about it too much." He makes a seal that Kenta may not have seen before. "See this?" he asks, "Now, before you would make ram, snake, tiger. Shadow clones are made with only this one seal, which isn't one of the usual twelve."
Kenta closely inspects the seal that Atsuro makes. He mimics the motion without putting any of his chakra into it. "That seems like a contradiction, Atsuro-senpai…" The young medic-nin makes the seal a few more times before he lowers his hands. "Harder jutsu tend to need more hand seals, at least in the beginning. I know that a lot of people skip some of the seals or don't need to use the seals at all when they get good at some jutsu. When I started learning medical jutsu, I had to make a lot of seals, but I don't need to with some of them anymore. It seems strange that the shadow clone technique would need even less seals than the clone technique to begin with. Is it the way that I use my chakra in conjunction with this seal that makes it special?"
Atsuro bends down slightly to inspect Kenta's seal. "That's good," he says, "You're such a natural, Kenta. I guess that's what a real ninjutsu user is capable of! Anyway. I don't know a lot about seals and chakra, but yeah… it does seem kinda weird. That's how it works, though. So I'm not sure what this seal's deal is, but it's somehow special, I guess." He gives Kenta an exaggerated shrugs. "I guess maybe the reason is that you /do/ use chakra more or less like you're doing any other clone. The hard part is that you have to put in waaaay more of it than you're used to. Which is harder than it might seem, though. Not only are you using a lot, it's hard to use so much more than the simpler technique and still use it in the same way. You know?"
"I think I know what you mean, Atsuro-senpai. When I put too much chakra into a normal clone, the chakra start to distort the 'shape' of the technique. It's not compatible to that technique… forced. So maybe this special seal is supposed to help mold the chakra in a way that it'll naturally fill out the insubstantial clone and give it physical form." Kenta makes the seal again and keeps his hand in position to get a better feel for holding it properly. "Should I try it out with chakra now, Atsuro-senpai? I'm not sure how much to use to get the correct balance."
"You'd probably know better than me." Atsuro grins, "Which is a little embarrassing, since I'm suppose to be the one who knows all about it. Ahahaha…?" He clears his throat. "Anyway. I do know that it works, even though it wouldn't if you just used the normal seals — or that's how it seems to be anyway. So the seal must have something to do with it." Then he nods, "Go ahead. A big chunk of getting it down is just figuring out how much chakra you need for it. It's a lot more than you expect… but you have to be cautious about it, because you don't wanna exhaust yourself. Oh, that reminds me. I know how you work, so I want you to promise me this: you're fully rested when you start practicing the technique, and you get fully rested before you do anything afterwards. You should eat something and sleep a little bit after you're done — you won't have to force yourself to, believe me. You'll be plenty hungry and sleepy."
Kenta experimentally molds some of his chakra around the hand seal, using more than he normally would for a regular clone technique. At the same time he concentrates on projecting his thoughts regarding where the clone will show up and what it'll do. There's a gentle puff of vapor to the right of him, which clears away to show an translucent clone about the height of his knee. A mini Kenta. The clone wavers like the surface of a pond on a windy day and breaks apart. Kenta's left staring at where it was. "Ummm… that didn't look right…" He looks up at Atsuro in embarrassment. "I actually didn't eat much breakfast today, only a single slice of bread. I was afraid that it might come back up if I had to be very active. From what you said, maybe it'll be better if I practice after a big meal instead."
Atsuro's expression is gleeful when he realizes what exactly has happened with the clone. "Aww," he says, "that's so cute! Maybe we can figure out how to make them come out like that on pur — uh, I mean. Don't worry about it too much. Trust me, you'll make all sorts of weird clones when you're practicing this move." He nods, "I was saying that stuff mainly so that you wouldn't exhuast yourself, but it probably would help to have something more to eat. Guess you'll just have to go and have yourself a proper meal!"