Date: December 23, 2014
Arika's shadow clone training continues. The lesson of the day is….
"More Arika, More Fun - Lesson #2: Bare Bones & Basics"
North Shiren Caverns [Land of Wind]
Welcome to the Shiren Caverns. This place is a maze of tubular tunnels, carved out over the ages by natural forces, some of them of the living variety. As desert locales go, the caverns are a hotbed of life, providing shelter from the merciless sun and collecting moisture. All manner of creepy-crawlies, reptiles, rodents, and even large predators like sand cats can be encountered here.
This area of the caverns features mostly small tunnels in great abundance, enough that exam participants can be sent into the network at different entrances and quite possibly not bump into each other for quite some time. Running and jumping about are limited, but opportunities for stealth and ambush abound.
Recently one of the smaller tunnels leading to the entrance area has been drastically expanded, almost perfectly circular in shape and twice as wide. Burn marks on the rocks themselves indicate this was caused by a great battle.
Ayumu is a man of his word. Be it rain, sleet, or snow, if he said he would be somewhere at a certain time, then he would be there without a doubt. And while neither he or Arika had agreed on a time, the Iga had resided at the meeting point since the day prior. It was a good thing too, seeing as how before the sun has even risen over the horizon, it has rained relentlessly and with no end in sight.
Puddles and small pools of cold water are dotted all around, and continue to build in size with every passing few minutes. Ayumu's only concern however was regarding Arika. Did she dare brave the elements just to learn a jutsu? Or would she risk disappointing her teacher by not honoring their agreement strictly as said? Regardless of what the case may be, Ayumu remained seated upon one of the raised sections of the cavern, eyes closed, and mind elsewhere. Secreted about as always were a random assortment of sensory organs, as well as traps designed to keep any of the local predators from interfering with the day's plans. An unlikely event give the inclement weather.
Arika was almost too excited to sleep the night before. Ping had to basically knock her unconscious… But now she's up and ready to go! It's quite early in the morning, even for the girl, but she's filled with energy as she finally gets to the caverns, not caring about the rain and water. "Ayumu-San!!!! Hellooooooo?!" she calls out as she looks around curiously for the Iga, eventually letting a breeze take on her chakra so she can try to find him if he doesn't show himself.
Ayumu is jarred from restive meditation, cringing at the noise. He starts to open his mouth to reply, pauses, then grins and forms a seal. A few moments later, if Arika didn't sense the clone first, said shadow clone would tap her on the shoulder, greeting her with a wide grin. "Ohayo, Arika-san. Ready to train my liege hopes." He says, and after brief pause for a reply, the clone motions for the girl to follow. Arika will either need to employ what she knew of the tree walking technique or request help to follow him part of the way, but before long, the duo will arrive at a raised plateu.
"Welcome back, Arika-san. Please, pop and squat and lend my your ear… uhm, figuratively of course."
Arika notices the clone just a bit before he comes up to her and turns to see it. "Hello! Definitely ready!" She follows after him cheerfully, climbing up the wall with little to no help. The girl is pretty good at tree-walking, it seems! When they finally get to the plateau, she looks more impatient than anything. "Okie!" She moves to sit down across from the Iga, trying to seem attentive as possible.
Ayumu hid his mirth as best as he could, but the smirk inevitably forms. "Good… Mmmm-but before we begin, I should probably go over the finer points of the Shadow Clone Technique. Such as the whole fact about the clones being more.. sentient. The crazy amount of chakra it takes to make them in the first place, and… well, the mild headaches. At least, so I've heard, for you see, whenever a shadow clone is dispersed, all of its memories are instantly sent to you. A neet little benefit, nay? They are also capable of using whatever technique you are capable of with some exceptions. For instance, you cannot make another shadow clone using a shadow clone… Are you with me so far?"
Arika nods a bit at all the pointers, tilting her head at the news of headaches. She's already got one constant headache, so a little more probably wouldn't be so bad… "Sounds really useful! Even if you can't have a clone make a clone," she replies, trying to keep herself from bouncing too much from excitement.
Arika could try to hold back her enthusiasm, but her chakra continued to literally scream with excitement from what the Iga could tell. He shook his head and smiled in mild amusement. "Indeed, it would be rather useful. Oddly enough, you could probably make elemental clones using them, but nothing more… In any case, let us begin." Ayumu takes a slow, even breathe before forming a sort of cross shaped seal. "This seal is another unique part of the shadow clone technique, and the only seal you'll ever need to use until you've fully mastered the technique. Focus your chakra through it, but remember these two.. three things?" Ayumu frowns a little, then snorts and moves on. "First, your chakra control must be next to flawless. Too much, and your clone may explode on you. And trust me, you really do not want that out of a physical clone like this… Secondly, you must make sure not to mix any elemental chakra into the clones make up, or the jutsu may fail. It has to be pure. And lastly… tune out all distractions. The only thing you should be focusing on is the jutsu itself."
Arika nods. "Okay! I remember." She listens carefully to the instructions, trying to curb some of her enthusiasm so that she'll pay attention closely. She nods solemnly to the instructions, then. "Okie… So… Control chakra… And no element… And focus on the jutsu…" she echoes once the Iga finishes. "And I just have to make that cross hand seal…" She nods again. "I think I got it. At least… Those ideas."
Ayumu double blinks, momentarily taken aback by Arika's restraint. Now he understood a portion of what Shun meant last time about Arika being an interest dish for him. "Good, now give it a go. I'll keep monitoring your chakra, and try to warn you in time should it seem you're overdoing it.. Though keep in mind, the exact mount for every shinobi varies from person to person. It'll be up to you to figure out that sweet spot from here." He explains.
Arika nods and makes the handseal, her chakra swirling into action. She has to focus really hard to stop from imbuing wind in the chakra, but she has to think of it like a simple clone. The girl isn't quite sure how she's supposed to make a shadow clone other than making the handseal and hoping for the best, so she is probably going to just be sitting there for some time before something happens.
There was something off. It was as if Ayumu was forgetting something of great importance. At first he both figuratively and literally shrugged it off, but then it belatedly occurred to him what was missed. "Ah, you do know the clone technique correct? Shadow clones are formed about the same, except you want to actually… condense the clone, pack in the chakra to make it solid."
Arika blinks a bit. Then huffs. "Ayumu-san, that's kinda important for me to know!!!" She pokes at the Iga a few times before trying again, this time having a better idea of what to do… Condense the clone… She makes the handseal again, and a normal clone starts to form next to her. And now she has to pack chakra in to make it solid? Ummm… Chakra filling process begin!
Ayumu feigns a wince of pain and robs the supposedly injured spot. Immediately after, the Iga settles back into place and focuses on measuring Arika's progression. Sensing the fledgling clone already form comes as a surprise to him. If he weren't blind, he knew he wouldn't actually see the clone, but just the hint of its formation leaves the man appearing a little worried for some reason. 'Perhaps this is her path..' He thought with a wiry grin.
Arika struggles to fill this 'clone' with chakra. It's hard to keep it packed into a single form that's basically as big as herself. So far, one could probably just make a faint outline of the other Arika, but nothing substantial is there. She frowns a bit as she focuses, imagining her chakra flowing from herself to the clone and /staying/ there.
The clone that had been absently playing with his thumbs turns about to face its master. "Ayumu-chama~ What is up?" Ayumu sighs lightly. "Take over from here, and… try not distract her. There's something that I need to take care of." The clone frowns at him, but isn't given a chance to argue before Ayumu seems to just vanish from his seated position.
"Heh…" Ryoji turns to Arika, and after a few moments of observing idly, he lays on his side and lets out a yawn. "… Ya know, ya got an interesting way of going about things, Arika-chan. I'd even call it genius."
Arika doesn't reply. She just continues to channel chakra into the clone, compressing it and solidifying the figure. It's less transparent, now, and it seems to be clearly Arika. She doesn't let up, though, as the clone doesn't quite feel 'complete'. The chakra keeps funneling in, but at a slower rate than before in the sense that she doesn't want it to pop like a balloon.
Ryoji frowns a little, and starts digging in his ears absently. "Not talking, eh? Well, that make sense. This ain't the easiest jutsu. Just creating one Shadow clone for most double your age is difficult enough… Honestly, I cannot help but wonder why ya haven't given up yet." Ryoji starts scratches his chin thoughtfully. Admist all that rambling there are subtle commands sent out to scattered sensory organs for re-alignment. Arika was coming close, but… The Iga simply shook his head and settled into a more relaxed position.
Arika continues on like she has been, a bit of wavering going on with the clone. She struggles a bit to keep it compact, but eventually the clone solidifies completely. It's not a full shadow-clone, as it doesn't seem to have any personality, but it's likely really good for a first try! Arika seems quite tired after that.
The Ayumu clone, Ryoji, grins widely as it pushes itself back up into a seiza stance. "Great substance, annnnd for the most part, a good first effort, though its lacking the right umph. But now…" His eyes narrow at Arika. "Your all out of gas, hmm… Ayumu should be back soon with some sort of snack, but in the meantime, let's take it easy… Oh, and you should probably dispel that thing before it gathers any more information. You'll feel weird 'n all, but it'll be nothing compared to how you'll feel later if you don't get rid of it."
Arika tilts her head a bit and nods, letting the chakra go and blinking as the rush of information enters her brain. It wasn't that she was hearing the same conversation twice, but she had a moment where everything could be seen as 'double' in a slightly different angle. "Where did Ayumu-san go, then?" she asks, rubbing her head as the flux of information calms down.
"Hmm…. Who really knows with him, though I suspect he sensed something down the tunnels worth look into. And rather than risk my going poof should it turn out to be dangerous, he went ahead himself." He explains. "Whatever the reason, you shouldn't have to worry about it. Just take a load off, and reflect for a moment of how it feels to use the jutsu. All the little knooks and crannies you noticed. And most importatly, well, what most would think is most important about this whole thing, wait… nevermind, that was a redundant thought. How silly of me!" He exclaims and laughs.
"Hmm… Okay, then," Arika says a bit hesitantly, settling down to relax and ponder over the Shadow clone technique. "Umm… It was really hard. To get all the chakra in one figure. And then there was a bunch of information in it that suddenly filled my brain. Like I saw you from two different places at the same time when you were talking and stuff. It was weird." The girl frowns a bit, still trying to figure out how her mind handled that.
"An echo." Ryoji says off-handily as he scratched at a cheek. "Unlike regular clones, shadow clones are one of the most closely aligned to who and what their user is. Naturally, after dispersing their energy gravitates back to the original source, but unfortunately, only the spiritual side-.." He chuckles. "Or mental for some — survives the trip back as an impression. Useful for discerning an opponent's ability without actually getting harmed, though their durability is lacking compared to stone or earth clones." He says nonchalantly, idly gesturing here and there in haphazard attempt at emphasising certain points.
Arika does not understand some of this gesturing, in all likelihood, the girl just nodding to the clone's words as she thinks them over. "So I can use them to get information and stuff? Cool! Ooh! So … Ummmm…" She frowns a bit, trying to think of how to word her question. "Do earth clones work the same way? Can they send back information and act like a person like you're doing, then?" she wonders, head tilting.
The clone chuckles good-naturedly, though it may have sounded more like a madman's cackle. "Negatori, dumpling. The chakra in a sense becomes corrupted. Too impure, or perhaps better yet, the energy is too aligned to the earth element to recongize its origins in the same way as Shadow Clones. Sad, I know, but t'is life and so forth." He grins sheepishly. "At least that is my take on it, though those at the academy might give ya a more standardized answer.. or perhaps, a simple 'Not possible'." Ryoji says, chuckling near the end, only to abruptly stop. "Oi… I am my own man, by the way. Keep that in mind whenever you use this technique. The more dynamic the persona, the more lively a clone you'll get."
Arika blinks a bit, idly wondering if the eight tails will end up being in one of her clones… She really hopes not. The girl hmms. "So you're … Unm… Not really Ayumu-san, then?" she says, obviously confused. "Makes sense why element clones can't do stuff… If they can't figure out their origin and the like…"
Ryoji starts to open his mouth, only to be cut off by another voice. "He is and he is not." Without further warning, Ayumu arrives back on the platform in a small tornado of dust. Neither clone or Arika have worry about getting dirty, seeing as how the Iga is mindful enough to make sure the gust ends flowing away from the duo. "Ryoji is.. who I once was for a long time." The original explains, nodding absently near the end.
Immediatly after, he plops down, swinging a satchel to the forefront so that it ended up on his lap. "Here, seems my old stash of rationy delights were still about. Still good too, and actually tastier than prolly what yer used to." He says as he dug about in the bag until he found a couple of bars to hand over.
Arika huhs…. "I … Don't get it…" She frowns again, peering between Ayumu and Ryoji. "What's the difference between you-" she points to the clone. "And you?" she finished, pointing to the real person. "Food?" is then asked, the girl taking a bar and attempting to eat it, taking a rather sizable bite from it, considering how small she is.
Ayumu sweat-drops. Meanwhile, Ryoji just starts laughing his butt off until the man snaps at him with a threatening look. Soon after, Ayumu lets out a sigh and shakes his head in exasperation before regarding Arika with a serious look. "Basically, what it boils down to is persona. We all have different faces. The stronger the facade — persona — the more life you give to certain ones, the more likely your shadow clones may wind up reflecting that. Of course if you are, say, just plainly a bad personality in general.. LIke… Arrogant? Chances are this technique won't benefit you in the slightest, cus' they are too much like you."
Arika hmms and nods. "Oh… I think… Confusing…" She continues to gnaw at the food the Iga gave her. "So then… Why is having another personality in a clone a good thing? What's different about having one the same as you versus having one different from you?" she asks, not straying from the topic she's on… So interesting.
Both Ayumu and clone look towards one another, seeming to within a few seconds exchange an entire conversation before their attention reverts to Arika. "Variance, for one. Though when I mentioned having one with the same personality being a bad one, I meant only if your own is.. well, not conducive to team work. For instance, if your a loud mouth who wants your way a certain way, creating a clone that winds up with the same persona isn't likely too listen if they too have another idea." Ayumu explains.
Arika ohs again. "That makes more sense, then!" She wriggles impatiently in her spot, then, as she feels her energy is basically back to 100%. "Can I try and make another clone, then, Ayumu-san?" she wonders, peeking up at the Iga with curious eyes. Then the girl thinks of something and waves a hand in front of the clone, wondering if it can see when Ayumu can't.
Neither clone or original can see, but how much they sense may come as a surprise; especially to Arika once the clone attempted to grab her hand without warning. "hmm…" Ayumu emits before taking a bite of his own ration bar. "I suppose so… if you're really feeling up to it." He says warily, having not expected the girl to recover /that/ quick.
Arika squeaks when she's grabbed quite suddenly, her hand drawing back. "I am! Definitely!" she says, tugging her arm back towards her to start focusing her chakra again. The girl furrows her brow a bit as she concentrates, stuffing chakra into that form of herself. The clone appears, much like last time, as only a faint shape. Then it starts to seem more real, but is only an illusion still. Arika struggles more, but apparently something in her is frustrated, and a rush of chakra floods her body and pours into the clone, solidifying it, and even giving it some life! The Arika clone peers at Ayumu and Ryoji before settling down in its spot and just resting, seeing as it doesn't have orders.
While he may have hid it well, Ayumu remains skeptical, to say the least. Sensory organs are once more adjusted to better read Arika's chakra levels. Just as the girl had said, her energy had indeed returned. A small smile of admiration forces its way to the surface. His expression is warped abruptly into one of anticipation. By the time Arika finally completes the technique, the Iga is smiling again. Well, one of them is, while the other applauds and nods enthusiastically. "Very well done, Arika-san. While there is still a few flaws that remain, it is a good start.. Hmm… as well as a good point to practice from on your own from here." He raises a hand with his palm facing out towards Arika before she can chime in. "Not that I'm say'n your training is complete. You need more time to practice under less extreme cases, and I need to get going before my Ei starts to worry."
Ayumu grins sheepishly. "Meet me… ah, at the Gardens in a weeks time, and use whatever free time you have at home to keep practicing. I'll try to keep a clone or Shun nearby to answer any questions you might have, as well as to check up on ya too. Alright?"