Date: December 23, 2014
Arika seeks out Ayumu in pursuit of super jutsu. But first, she must overcome her would be teacher tests in order to reach her goal.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"More Arika, More Fun - Limits & Lessons #1"
Toufuu Street [Sunagakure]
This populated section of East Wind street has many residential buildings, some two stories, and all constructed of finer sandstone blocks, held together with mud and rare wooden bracing. This would seem to be the more upper-class section of the city, where the richer villagers live. The street is bustling with a flow of people coming and going to the west and north. There are a lot of a people milling around, and talking, but most are in transit. This section of area is a hub of some of the most popular places in Sunagakure, and it gets a lot of traffic.
To the west is the epicenter of the village, the bustling central point where villagers gather for all purposes. To the south is more well built residential houses, and to the north a large crowd of people is present between two large buildings.
It is well into the evening by the time Ayumu finally relents, and accepts Shun's entreaties to sit down and rest. Although quiet Shun's exhale of relief is heard and prompts Ayumu to take his time in finding a spot to rest much to the woman's chargin. For being so obnoxious, the younger Iga earns himself some pinch to the side that risk re-opening bandaged up wounds resulting from his spar with Keiji a week prior. Though he clamps down on his lips, moans of pain still slip first.
"Oh hush up. Its your own boundary fault." She admonishes as she help her weakened companion down onto the bottom of a stairways. Even without sight, the glare she recieves is potent enough to be felt. Still, she pays it no visible mind both before and after she plops down next to the man. Instead, Shun focused her attention to their surroundings for any signs of trouble. With traffic being so high in the area, the task is nigh impossible.
"Ayumu-san!!!!!" calls Arika, the young girl dashing over to the injured Iga and almost hugging him. Then she notices that he seems injured and holds up on the hug. "Ayumu-san! Ayumu-san! Can you do me a favor pleeeeeaaaaaassssseeee?" she requests, bouncing eagerly in her spot.
Ayumu perks up at the cry, but it is Shun that actually turns to acknowledge the source. She starts to rise in anticipation of one of her cousin's past antics catching up to him, only to be stopped half-way by said cousin taking hold of her forearm. Her glare softens after a few light taps to the same arm. Afterwards, Ayumu finally regards Arika's general direction and smiles weakly. "What k'in I do yer for, Arika-chan?"
Arika beams. "I was wondering if you could show me how to do that thing you did! When I first met you in the caves, I mean. When there were a bunch of you. And stuff." Insert puppy-dog eyes here.
Shun is back to glaring at Ayumu again. The Iga shrugs awkwardly and smiles sheepishly before returning his attention back to Arika. Her puppy-dog eyes won't do her much good here. By nature all Iga were immune to such. Even so, her tone gives him pause for a second more before he finally speaks up. "Uhm… Me and mines were doing quite a few things in there, but I'm gonna go out on a limb that you wanted more coaching on Tree Walking?"
Arika takes a perch on the bench, sitting next to Ayumu now. "Nooo, not tree walking. I already figured that out! And can do it alright. I wanted to learn how you can make a bunch of yourself!" She nods a bit. "It looked really cool! Can you teach me how to do that pretty please with a cherry on top?" she asks in a single breath. She has to suck in another to make sure she's not going to pass out…
The instant Arika made clear her desire, both Iga turned to one another with a brief but serious look about them. While Ayumu looked away with brows furrowed and thumb absently rubbing his chin, Shun chose to step up. Figuratively. "Arika-san. While I'm sure Ayumu would love to teach you that technique, you aren't quite-…"
"I'll do it." Ayumu interjects. Shun frowns at him, but the younger cousin just grins faintly back at her. "But on one condition. You'll have to pass a series of test for me. Fail any one of them, and I won't teach you the technique. Understood?" He asks non-chalantly.
Arika pouts a bit when it seems like Ayumu isn't planning to teach her (well, Shun is saying it). Then perks up at his acceptance. "Really?! What're the tests? I'll try and do my best! And I'll definitely try and beat these tests!" She had a determined look to her eyes, and though the Iga might not be able to see it, they could certainly hear it in her voice.
Ayumu smiled brightly in admiration of Arika's spirit. But he knew spirit would not be enough to pass all three of his tests. Perhaps the first one at least, which drew a more sly smile out of the Iga. "I'll only be naming them one at a time, and at the start of each test. That is.. if you can pass them." With no more than a curt nod to Shun, the elder Iga rises from her seat and dusts off her pants. "Your first test is rather simple. You have to keep up with Shun in a race around the village along the edge of the village once, then continue on until you two reach its center. Simple, neh? Hmm.. Ah, too simple… Last add a bit of a twist for the ending, and say the last leg has to be along ground where the regular traffic is too. Agreed?" He asks.
Arika blinks a bit and peers at Shun. "Umm… Okay! I'll try and do that." She looks between the two Iga, looking a bit nervous. "Does it have to be a clean race? I'm not sure I'm that fast, really…" she mumbles, frowning. "
Ayumu merely gives Arika an off-handed wave to proceed before reclining in his seat, seeming to drift off to sleep moments later. Shun bites her lips lightly, then shakes her head softly. "Do what you must, but I would remind you to keep his terms in mind." Shun states evenly. And with that, she'd motion for Arika to follow her before leaping up to the roof top (if allowed). A few minutes later, and the duo would find themselves just a block shy of the nearest wall. It is then there that Shun would take a moment to mark the roof before regarding Arika's general direction and ask, "Are you ready?"
Arika nods and follows after Shun, scrambling up to the roof with a bit of wall-walking to assist her. "I'm ready as I can be, Shun-san!" she exclaims, focusing some chakra so she can at least have a small boost when she needs it. The girl takes a ready position beside the Iga. "So around the edge of Suna. And then to the middle on the main road… Sounds okay, I guess…" she says to herself. ~Just don't lose and make me look bad…~ comments that voice, to which she nods minutely. Maybe less in agreement of the last part and more that she really wants to learn shadow clones.
Shun cants her head slightly at Arika. Something felt off about Arika for a moment there. Ultimately, the Iga chose to simply shake her head before setting her gaze along their intended track. "Then let us begin." She gives no further warning than that before taking off immediately. Although she would restrain herself at the beginning, this did not mean she would make it too easy on Arika. Shun understood Ayumu's intentions enough to know that the race was not as it seemed on the surface.
Arika takes off a little bit after Shun, using wind to try and make herself move faster. The girl tries to keep up with the Iga, but it's definitely a bit difficult. At least she's managing to not be behind too much! She's only a couple feet behind Shun at the start of the race, at least!
Shun glances back at Arika over her shoulder, observing the girl's progress. Even with the wind aiding her, she still had a ways to go before being capable of keeping up with the innately fast Iga. With that in mind, she slows down just enough to keep it a close race, and tries masking this intention by saying, "You are doing well so far, Arika. Adaptive. May I inquire who taught you to wield it in such a way?" She asks non-chalantly.
Arika doesn't notice that Shun is going easy on her. She's just focused on trying to keep up and make sure she's got her chakra to help her with the race. "Huh? Umm… Tsucchan taught me how to do this. I use it a lot to avoid attacks and stuff," she calls back, squeaking as she stumbles a bit on a crumbling surface. "It was one of the first things I got her to teach me!"
Shun nods faintly in understanding. "I see… Her lessons seem to be serving you well. Though, I suspect.. sense that you still have a long way to go?" She asks, more than just for the sake of asking. The race had just begun, but it was time to begin the second phase of the test: Stamina.
Arika nods a bit. She's doing pretty well in terms of stamina, it seems, the girl not even breaking a sweat despite the fact that it is a gazillion degrees in the desert. Wind from running so fast sort of helps, though. "Yep! There's a lot I need to learn. And I still don't have a team… Ping-san says I might not have one, even, with everyone all busy and stuff." She pouts.
Shun cannot fully keep from smiling. The girl seemed hardy so far, the result — Shun presumed — of years of training in a desert. The fact remained they weren't even at the half-way point yet…
"That is… unfortunate. But nearly as you may think. While having a team may make it easier for you in the long run to work in tandem with others, you're more likely to learn an even more diverse set of skills by being paired with a greater variety of others as a free-…" She chuckles. "-lancer."
GAME: Save complete.
Arika continues along at a rather steady pace, able to keep up still. She doesn't really gain or lose distance from Shun. She just stays a few feet back for the race. "Hmmm… I mean, I work with a buncha different types of people. Like Tsucchan is a summoner and Rikkun uses genjutsu and ninjutsu. And Zankun uses some kinda poison with his tattoos."
Shun listens, but her attention doesn't waver from ahead. In part, she had to divide her focus between navigating a small obstacle course of patrol shinobi, larger buildings, and the occasional falcon companion of some nearby Hayato. Every effort on her part results in near misses, but ultimatley her pace hardly breaks. "And there you go. The advantages. The more diverse the pool of people you interact with, the further you grow. Your only fear should be a disconnection from the solid… But then, you are tied to the wind." She says evenly.
Arika just follows after Shun, most of the things the Iga has to dodge not getting in the young genin's way. "Ummm… Okay…" she replies, not entirely sure what Shun is talking about with that last bit. The girl doesn't let the distance between herself and Shun change, even if it means having to go a bit faster to catch up.
Shun shakes her head lightly and sighs. Now she knew how Ayumu felt around others. Her eyes grow wide in shock a moment later, then narrows as she groans. "I really need another assignment." She muttered derisively under breath. After a few moments of silence, Shun finally checks in on how Arika was doing. They were approaching the half-way point now, and still the girl didn't appear winded. "What I meant to say before is… you may find it difficult to connect to others, if your being shuffled around so much. But most aligned with the wind adapt well to change… Arika-san… Why do you really wish to learn Ayumu's jutsu? As far as you know it could be dangerous in some way, or even just beyond your current skills." She says.
"Why? Umm… I dunno… Because it seems useful, I guess? Or maybe because I like learning things from Ayumu-san? I don't have any particular reason, honestly…" Arika replies, looking a tad uncertain. And yes, that shows in her voice. "And if it's beyond me now, then I'll just try and learn it later." She nods a bit, ducking to avoid a messenger hawk that didn't expect a genin running around the wall.
Shun is silent for a long moment after Arika finishes speaking. "For your sake, I hope you garner certainty before this race has ended. Though he doesn't appear it, Ayumu takes handing over his techniques rather seriously; especially those he is well aware of come with a price." She states dryly. "However, to your credit you at least are willing to try again another time, instead of forcing the issue. Most genin your age have the tendency to be more… reckless." Shun smiles softly.
In another minute or so, the duo finally reach the half-way point. Now that Arika proved capable of last for so long, it was time to up the ante. Shun accelerates rapidly and without warning, only to maintain a more strenuous speed limit.
Arika nods a bit. She's adjusted to the current pace and seems to be able to keep up. The sudden boost in speed from Shun makes her blink and she has to struggle to keep up. It takes away some of her energy to add that boost of speed, and she's relying more on her own power than the wind for the time being. "Fast…" she comments. ~I can help you go faster if you want…~ offers that voice. 'Go back to sleep.' she grumbles inwardly.
Shun doesn't relent, not even for a second. Each stretch had its own tests, and this one was one of the most important ones. "Do not think for a moment I will slow down, Arika-san. If you are not willing to push past your limits, then will not be ready to learn the jutsu." She says, goading Arika on. If her luck held, Arika would try to rush ahead. If not, well, there was always plan B…
Arika pushes herself until she manages to finally catch up with Shun. She's not really at her limit, but it's certainly close in terms of speed. The girl tries to go at a steady pace, then, not wanting to rush ahead just yet… "I didn't think you would, Shun-San!" she manages to exclaim.
Both brows go up in surprise. Once again Arika did not exactly meet her expectations, which in this particular case was a good thing. Arika might catch a hint of a sly smirk as Shun turned her face back to the path ahead. "Glad to here it, Arika-san. But now let's put that determination of yours to the test." With that said, Shun gradually began to pick up the pace further by loosening some of her restraints. If Arika could keep up another few minutes of racing along the roof tops would be cut down to a couple before they are forced to take the challenge down into the main streets, and face the nighttime traffic.
Arika huffs faintly, frowning a bit as she makes herself push past her limits even more. She's still maintaining her speed in that she's not slowing down her movements. The wind that's assisting her, though, seems to grow stronger as she keeps up with Shun. She's starting to get a little tired now. The fact that they're basically almost done and she's only just starting to feel the race might be a bit odd… She realizes that the last stretch is coming up and idly wonders how she'll deal with the number of people down there. Avoiding them would work, maybe..?
There's little forethought or hesitation on Shun's part when the time comes to dive into the main path. Whatever fear she should have felt was numbed by experience. A rag-tag group of running kids nearly trip over themselves trying to stop in time to keep from running into the new arrival. Shun gives them a passing 'glance' before her gaze is drawn to Arika. She lingers in place only long enough to sense where the girl ended up. Then, she just… walks.
Was this some sort of trick? Maybe. But either way, the red-haired woman allows the crowded street to dictate how fast or slow she proceeded without any visible worry about the outcome of her decision.
Arika closes her eyes briefly as she hops off the wall, using wind to slow the descent so she doesn't end up breaking anything (or anyone). Now that she's on the ground, she can't see the Iga as well as she could with no obstacles in her path. With a small grumble, the girl sets off to the middle of the village, walking towards the center with the crowd and taking the small opportunities to slip through the larger groups of people that happen to be out and about.
She could sense Arika, if only a little. Without straining her abilities further the crowd would continue to play havoc on her senses. Even so, that little was more than enough to begin the final phase of the test. Arika might catch the distinct sound or sight of two columns of smoke poofing into existence a few meters ahead. While one Shun (henged as a stereotypical tough guy) shoved nearby folk around and mess up openings in the crowd in the process, the other sneaked back through the crowd to try and find those kids again..
Arika sees the puff of smoke and huffs. "No fair, Shun-san…" She continues to weave through the crowd, though it's harder to find openings now. She uses her small stature to her advantage, though, sometimes slipping in between people's feet or just managing to squeeze into an already impossibly tiny space between two people.
Shun had started to snicker at first, but is given pause. She slowed for a few moments to focus on distinguishing Arika from the rest of the crowd. Shun did not know how to feel upon sensing the determined little girl grow closer using means only available to her, though amusement and agitation were at the top of the list. Before she can even sort her own feelings, the memories of her henged clone getting pummeled hits her.
"Hnn… So much for that." She murmurs as she turned about to refocus on the test. Meanwhile, the other clone has managed to convince the kids from before to join in on the race, in a matter of speaking. Aside from perhaps a lucky look back, hearing them call for Arika specifically would be the only warning the girl gets from the kids as they slipped or forced their way closer to her.
Arika hears her name and feels those footsteps behind her. She glances back and grumbles again, focusing her chakra to send a burst of wind at the children following after. Hopefully it would get a few of them off her tail as she continued to make her way to the square. She's actually surprised she has chakra to do that, since she had used a lot of it during the race atop the roofs/walls. Arika squeaks a bit as she has to duck under a load that two merchants are carrying, but then she goes along her merry way.
Arika's hopes do not go unanswered. The more determined bunch continue to pursue, though now they are more wary and far too slow to catchup any time soon. Seeing that its attempt failed, the clone sighs heavily before dismissing itself.
Shun sighs. Short of enaging the girl directly, Shun has tossed practically everything she could at Arika. There remained plenty of time to still try some other ideas. However, the woman pushes aside the other ideas, and refocuses instead on just reaching the Village Center without further incident. Arika already proved enough to her. Rather or not Ayumu saw the same however would be another matter.
Regardless of what happens during the last stretch, Ayumu is waiting at the dead center of the village, seated on the ground and slouched forward as if asleep. Shun clenches her jaws as soon as she sensed his sleep to be genuine. As much as she yearned to kick him over for putting her through so much trouble, the woman bides her time to calm down. For now.
Arika spots a certain red-head ahead of her and decides to kick it up a bit… At least for herself. She uses a lot of her current chakra to catch up to the Iga, then tries to hop onto Shun's back. Well, if it failed, she at least could stay the same distance from the Iga. If it worked, she would cling to the woman much like a baby monkey holds onto its mother. … Hey, whatever works!
Shun had been to frustrated to notice the danger ahead of time. Now she had live with the consequences for however long Arika decided to cling to her back. A fact the Iga tried to remedy with a glare thrown over her shoulder, as well as by asking, "Why are you on my back?" Ayumu goes from an abrupt snort to outright laughing so hard that the man holds his side. "Ayumu!" She exclaims, only to renew Ayumu's laughing fit. "Oh, Omoikane-sama! My si-sides! Bwahahahaha!!!"
Arika just smiles back cheerfully to Shun. "Because Ayumu-san just said I needed to keep up with you! He didn't say how~." The girl is going to stay there until they reach the village center. Unless Shun decides to try and pry the girl off… Whichever comes first. Hopefully they reach the center before her grip fails! She can't help but giggle when Ayumu busts up laughing.
Shun doesn't growl or attack, but her narrowed eyes scream murderous intent. Before Shun is pushed over the edge, Ayumu forced himself to calm down and let out a sharp whistle to drag her attention back towards him. "Gomen, Shun-senpai." Despite noting the sincerity behind the apology, Shun's eyes remained hard up to and well after reaching Ayumu's side. "Well, I tried…" Ayumu mutters to himself. Then aloud he adds, "Welcome to the finish line ladies~ Now tell me, how did things go?" He asks, smiling that infamous foxy smile of his.
Arika giggle s a bit more and clambers off Shun's back, dusting herself off a bit. "I thought it went well! It was really tiring, though. And Shun-san kept being mean and tried to make me slow down and fail and all sorts of stuff!" She nods a bit, then sits down on the ground to rest her legs, even if it's only for a few minutes.
Shun is quick to dust herself off as well. "Well, it would not be much of a test without a challenge. And seeing as how you are here, I suppose you've passed the first one easily enough. Though I find myself curious… Do you understand what was the whole point of it all?" He asks, sounding honestly curious.
… There was a deeper meaning? Arika furrows her brow in thought as she tries to come up with an answer. "Ummm… You wanted to see if I could run the whole way? Or maybe to make sure I was strong for the technique?" she asks with a tilt of her head. She looks to Shun for a bit of help, though doesn't expect it.
Arika was correct in expecting no help from the elder Iga. The woman doesn't even bother to acknowledge the look, but instead chose to take a seat nearby and idly observing the folk milling about the village. "That last bit was the closest, but to be more exact… Endurance, Patience, Ingenuity, and Persistence. No matter what the technique is, or even how simple, it takes at least three out of the four of those to be successful in mastering the technique." Ayumu explains. "The test…. was also to help you get acclimated to using Shadow Clones." He admits with a sheepish smile.
Arika pauses and nods a bit. "Hmmmm.. Okies! That makes sense. Ping-San and Tsucchan always tell me stuff like that." Then she blinks and hmms. " … So does that mean I passed the test?" The girl looks between Ayumu and Shun again. "Cuz I wanna know what I have to do next! … Please?"
Ayumu smile falters a little. He hadn't counted on other teacher's employing a similar method of teaching. But in another moment he is smiling more brightly over how like-minded folk were to him the village. Well, sort of. "Yes, you did pass the first one. However, I will need time to get the next two set-up, so in the meantime, keep working on building up your stamina t'ill the end of this week. I'lllll meet you at the caverns where I first taught you tree walking then. So… run along now, and do whatever it is you kids are do for fun these days, neh?" He says while making a shooing motion with his hands near the end.
As soon as Arika-san was out of earshot, Ayumu lost the smile, sagged forward in his seat, and began running a hand through the tangled folds of his hair. "Now to figure out just how to structure those next two lessons."