Date: December 12, 2012
After months of trying to learn jutsu to no avail, Midori finally has a lead that might be able to help her progress.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Midori's Learning Jutsu: Finally Some Progress!"
Another day in Kiri, another ryo. Yeah, that's the upshot to this,
Atsuro still gets paid for chuuninly duties performed in Kiri. And from the
selection of spots for relaxing afterwards available to him, it's money well
earned. One of the better spots is this little area. Techincally a 'testing
ground' it doesn't see much foot traffic, and while it's woefully underequipped
for its purpose, there's sufficient shade and grass for napping.
Which is exactly what Atsuro's doing right now. He sits underneath a
tree, hands behind his head and eyes closed. His giant nindog Taizen,
meanwhile, is wandering around the area, sniffing at flowers and such, though
never straying too far from Atsuro. Aside from that, there isn't much activity
in this area right now.
Midori wanders into the area, her green hair flowing free in the winds
that blow through the area. She's out on a mission to find a place to practice
her jutsu. It'd been a few days since she'd got a decent practice session in,
and the student was always worried about falling behind the rest of the class.
The girl comes in to see Atsuro nearby, and stops for a moment, nervous about
sharing her training ground with anyone else. The girl preferred to train
alone, but today she'd make an exception. When she looks a little closer and
recognizes that Atsuro is a ninja of Konohagakure, and spots his nindog nearby,
she feels a little more relieved. At least she wouldn't be giving away secret
training methods. She stands on the opposide side of the training grounds to
the Konoha-nin and places her hands together, focusing her chakra in
preparation for her workout. When she's ready she forms three seals, quickly
but not perfectly, and a moment later a clone appears next to her. The clone is
pale, stiff, and falls over after a few moment. Midori frowns unhappily at the
clone, and looks over at the other ninja to see if he saw her failure. Failure
was bad, but public failure was much, much worse.
Luckily for Midori, Atsuro is still asleep. He can't see her failure.
Unluckily, Taizen is awake, and he sits and watches as she attempts her clone
technique. When he sees that the clone isn't very good, he barks. Midori can't
understand, of course, but if she could, she'd know he was trying to encourage
her. Sadly, his translator is asleep under a tree.
Realizing this, Taizen walks over to Atsuro and begins to nudge him
with his nose. After a few pokes, Atsuro opens his eyes sleepily. "What?" he
asks Taizen. Smelling someone else here, he looks over to see Midori. "Oh," he
says, "It's you, from the other day."
Midori hears the dog bark, but notices that the ninja is still asleep.
She knows that the dogs can speak, and are quite intelligent, but since she
can't understand him she simply shoots him a meaningful shrug. Then she goes
back to her jutsu, getting halfway through the handseals before Atsuro calls
out to her. She's surprised and loses control of her chakra, forming the worst
clone she's ever made. Its black all over, except its two, incredibly white,
very rounded eyes, which seem to shine like they're made of glass. The whole
thing has about as much flexibility as a log, and it falls over and turns into
a puff of smoke only moments after its created. Midori glances at her failed
technique and looks back up to Atsuro, then sighs. "Hi Mister," she calls out,
not remembering the ninja's name, "Sorry about disturbing you. I just needed
somewhere to practice." She looks very bashful, looking down at her hands,
which fidget nervously.
Atsuro and Taizen are both watching this time, and boy, she does not do
that clone technique well. "You're just learning?" Atsuro asks. He glances at
Midori, noting the apprent lack of any forehead protector or anything else that
might indicate she's more than a student. "Guess so," he says, "What, your
teacher has you studying even when you're on a trip? What a ti— stickler." He
shrugs. "Don't worry about it," he says, "If you've gotta train… And it was
him anyway." He gestures to Taizen.
Midori sighs loudly and shakes her head. "Nope, our teacher couldn't
care less if we practice while the exams are on, but I'm really not very good.
I can't afford to not train while I'm out here for the exams," she explains,
her lips tightening a little in anger at herself, "If I don't practice as much
as I can, I fall behind the other students. I mean, most of them can't get the
Clone Technique right yet either, but some of them can and there are a few more
who just about have it. And then there's my sister… she graduated a few years
ago now, but she learnt the technique in just one day." Once again she looks
ashamed of herself, but she quickly shakes it off and returns to her practice.
She almost looks like she's going to cry, but she managed to hold on as she
tries the technique again. She makes the handsigns and a clone appears next to
her. It still isn't anywhere near life like, but its certainly better than
before. Its pale and waxy, and doesn't move, but at least it could pass for
human on a dark night.
"…huh." Atsuro doesn't really know what to say for a moment. Man, the
Uchiha culture is kinda screwed up sometimes. "So you're trying to catch up
with your sister, or the other kids in the class?" he asks. He pauses, and
decides maybe he shouldn't have asked. "Nevermind," he says, watching her try
again. "That one is a little better," he notes. "If you gave it more chakra and
held the handseals a little longer, you'd probably get it looking more
Midori shrugs in response, letting the clone 'poof' in the process. "I
don't know if I want to catch up to anyone," she says in a small, squeaky
voice, "I just want to pass my exams, and if I don't work hard for it I don't
think I'll ever get to Genin. I definitely don't think I could ever catch up to
my sister. She's Uchiha Chiyoko." Most people have heard of Chiyoko, as she's
an up-and-coming star among the Uchiha clan, and dominated the other Genin in
the internal Konoha promotion exams a couple of years back. She was the
youngest Genin by a couple of years, and beat out all the others when she
unlocked the third tomoe of her sharingan during one of the matches. "Compared
to her, I'm a no-talent nobody," Midori says, tears starting to well up in her
eyes as she speaks.
Ouch, living in the shadow of her sister. Must be a common problem in
clans like that one. "You're doing fairly well," Atsuro says, "Just keep
practicing and your clones will start looking better before you know it. You're
worrying about it too much." He shrugs. "As for your sister, don't worry about
her either. Everyone likes to ooh and ah when they see someone reach their peak
early in life. It sounds like she's done well for herself, but someone noticed
and exaggerated it a thousand-fold. People do that."
"Thank you," Midori says to the Chuunin, not really believing it but
taking the encouragement anyway. "I don't know that its been exaggerated very
much. I've seen her fight, and she's so fast. And when she uses the Great
Fireball Technique, its nearly as big as a house," she adds certainly.
Meanwhile she starts forming the handsign of the clone technique again, and
after the final seal another half formed clone appears. It has the same kind of
appearance as before, but at least its balancing upright rather than falling
over. Midori turns to examine the clone, then lets it go. She only has enough
chakra to use the technique another half dozen times or so before she starts
exhausting herself, and wonders exactly when she should stop trying.
Sitting up a little, Atsuro gives a shrug. "I might be wrong," he
admits casually, "But I know how these things work. People talk and talk about
how they're destined for great things. Then the other ninja in their generation
catch up with them, and they're no longer exceptional, just better than
average. By then, some other kid turns out to be an early-bloomer and they've
found the next target to latch on to." He adds, "Maybe your sister is an
exception. But I bet I could beat her, and I didn't make it to chuunin until I
was eighteen. Stride, I could beat some jounin."
He glances at the clone. It's better, but still… "I think I know the
problem. Make sure you're forming your handseals /perfectly/," he advises,
"Better to go slow and get it. You can speed up once you've got the technique
"Well, I've got this problem, you see," Midori starts explaining, "I
can't really keep my chakra pressure up high for very long, so I've got to try
and fit in all the handsigns before I lose my chakra pressure, or else nothing
happens. Or at least, nothing effective." She demonstrates by forming another
set of seals slowly, ending in the seal of the tiger. Then she takes a very
deep breath and blows outward, away from Atsuro. Its certainly a fire
technique, but not much of one. A tiny amount of fire comes out, more akin to a
cough or burp than an explosion of fiery power. "See?" she asks, "I can do the
same thing with the clones, but they look like ghosts… there's just no chakra
in them." The girl's eyes are positively watering now, as she wonders what she
ever did to deserve such a handicap.
Atsuro sucks in air through his teeth. "Huh," he says, "Well, aren't
you lucky?" He pauses for a second to think about how this could be dealt with.
"I don't know a lot about ninjutsu," he admits, "But have you tried just
practicing the seals without actually doing the technique? Try and get it so
you can do them perfectly really fast. Then time it so that you've got enough
chakra built up to do the technique properly." He rubs his chin, "Then you
should probably get into taijutsu once you've graduated."
Midori seems a little disappointed with this answer. 'But then I'll
never be considered an adult in the clan,' she thinks to herself, but shakes
her head to clear the tears that are forming in her eyes. "Yeah, that's what
I've been trying to do," she says, brushing her hair out of her eyes, "But I
have the feeling that I'll never really be able to use the techniques properly
until I deal with the chakra problem. Father says its just improper chakra
control and that I'll be able to overcome it, but its really hard work!" She
returns her attention to the clone technique, after all she can graduate
without fire jutsu, but not without being able to make a decent clone. She
forms the handseals a couple of times at the fastest speed she can manage
without making major mistakes, already taking up the Chuunin's advice.
"Doesn't sound like it to me," Atsuro says. "Chakra control isn't about
molding chakra, it's about molding it in the right amounts at the right time.
It's improper chakra control just like not climbing a tree is improper tree-
climbing." He pauses and shares a glance with Taizen. Doesn't this sound a
little familiar? "One of my students was studying how to more efficiently mold
his chakra," Atsuro recalls, "Inuzuka Taiki. I wonder if he or his tutor would
know more about this."
Midori suddenly looks far more interesting in the conversation, and her
eyes light up. "Really? There's someone who's studying how to do this?" she
asks excitedly, "Would I… would I be able to meet them?" She clasps her hands
together in front of her pleadingly. "It would help so much if I could find
someone who had a clue about how to help with this… none of the instructors
at the Academy even some interested in helping. They all just say to go and
practice more," she begs, simultaneous looks of elation and fear on her face,
"And if I could work out this one problem I might actually be able to graduate
this year!" This might be the first life line that anyone's ever thrown her,
and Midori is determined to grab ahold of it and not let go.
Oops, maybe Atsuro didn't qualify that enough. "Woooooaaaah," he says,
"Easy there. I didn't say he could fix it for sure. Just that he or someone he
knows might be able to offer you advice." He shrugs, "He doesn't have the same
problem. But he's been studying on how the body works with chakra and all that
sort of thing. I don't know if talking to him will help. But it can't hurt
either." He reaches into a vest pocket and pulls out a pen and paper. "Here's
his name," Atsuro says, writing Taiki's name on the pen and paper, "He's an
Inuzuka, like me. Around fifteen. Thin, two dogs with him." He offers her the
Midori gladly takes the paper, folding it carefully and placing it
inside the large ribbon tied around her waist. "I don't care if its a sure-fire
fix or not," she says ecstatically, "There's a chance it could help, and I want
that so so much! Thank you sooooo much!" She looks so excited that she's just
about bouncing with joy, and she claps her hands a couple of times as she
thinks about the possibility of actually learning her first ninjutsu technique.
If Atsuro had ever seen the girl's taijutsu, he'd know that that wasn't a path
that was worth walking.
"Wow," Atsuro comments, "You sure changed your demeanor in a hurry. You
really /didn't/ think there was any hope, did you?" The question doesn't really
need answering. Atsuro will just be quietly satisfied with himself. "What can I
say? I'm just a nice guy." Oh, nevermind. He sits back against the tree again,
putting his hands behind his head. "Anyway, he'll probably help you if he can,"
he adds, "If not, you could try dropping my name: Atsuro. If he's still
reluctant, you could mention that I saved his sorry a— hide a few days ago."
Midori bows, and nods, and bows again thankfully. "Ok Atsuro-san, I
will. And thank you again," she says, sounding like she's now in a hurry to
rush off and find this Taiki guy. The rest of the world could be burning to
advance, and Midori would probably still think this was the most important thing
happening. Ahh the blissful ignorance of a ten year old. She spins quickly on
her heel and starts rushing the path back to the village. She doesn't have a
clue where Taiki might be, but she's determined to find him no matter what.