Date: July 23, 2014
Hiei supervises the match between Ryouji and Zankuro while Michiko and Sado watch from the stands.
"Fourth Promotion Exams - Reizei Against Sarutobi: Ryouji vs. Zankuro"
Katayama Hiko Training Center Arena & Stands
The third part of the Chuunin Exams have begun and standing in the center of the fighting ring is none other than Yotsuki Hiei. Being a prominent Jounin of Kumogakure and the current head of the Yotsuki Clan, he has been asked to officiate the first round of the tournament. Looking up at those in attendance in the stands, he offers a formal bow before speaking. "I am Yotsuki Hiei, and I will be the official during this match. My fellow Kumo shinobi, Exam participants, and honored guests, I welcome you to the Land of Lightning, and the first round of the Chuunin Exam tournament. It is an honor for the exams to be held in Kumogakure this year, and considering who we have here today, we will not be disappointed." He motions towards his left. "First, representing the esteemed Sarutobi clan of Konohagakure. His clan is known for some of the most powerful fire jutsuists in generations. He is counted among the most promising of competitors in this competition. Ladies and gentleman, I give to you, the wielder of the Will of Fire. Sarutobi Zankuro!"
Hiei waits for the applause to die down before he motions to his right. "This next competitor needs no introduction, he is considered to be a hero of Kumogakure, best known for his heroic acts during the Hitokage campaign. His clan is known for their amazing speed and expert swordsmanship. He embodies the Spirit of Lightning and happens to be the second son of the current Head of the Reizei Clan. Ladies and gentleman, I give to you..Reizei Ryouji!" Hiei waits for a moment before lifting his hands. "Now without further ado, we will allow these young genin the chance to showcase exactly what they are made of. Let's get this thing started!" He then leaves the arena floor to stand off to the side.
This. Was. It. Now was the time for Zankuro to stand up before all, and show them just what he was made of. His chest swelled with pride and excitement… then deflated as a nervous toot exited from his rear. "Really shouldn't have ate those specials." He murmurs as he rubbed his belly and smiled sheepishly. All the kidding around stops at the first sound the announcements getting underway. Not the nervousness though. THAT, unfortunately, refused to leave him. "YoucandothisyoucandothisyoucandothisyoucandothisYou. Can. Do. This!" He cheers, pumping the air with both fists before jogging his way out into the open arena.
By the time he makes it towards the center of the arena, Zankuro has already gotten a decent read on the terrain. Much of it was far too open for his tastes, but he pushed the thought aside as he bowed respectful to Hiei, then again to Ryouji as soon as he's made his way out. "Hm? Erk, can't forget that.." He mutters as he shifted his headband from his neck to his head. He's representing Konohagakure in something official, so best to look the part!
Granted, coming out wearing a still very loud green and red heavy overshirt may have already killed any hope in him from those Konoha folk in the stands.
It is the first battle of the third part in the Chuunin exams, and Michiko was going to cheer Ryouji on. After all, the Reizei was a good friend of hers, a part of Team Katonari, /and/ a fellow Kumogakure Shinobi. She also dragged Sado along, regardless of whether or not he wanted to come. The girl, naturally, has a book with her because the trip over and back home is boring. "Sado-kun, hurry up. It's starting and we need to get a seat," she says, voice a bit urgent as she manages to find some seats that she can actually see from. That lovely benefit of a small body…
"But Ryouji will just whirl around and win the day with his long hair." Sado whines as Michiko drags him along through the stadium and into the seating area as the first round fight between his eternal rival and team mate, and an ally from Konoha, begins. "I'm sure he will be upset that I watched and learned any new secrets he's trying to learn to beat me…" he states as he looks around before sitting down next to Michiko. "The only plus side….." he says, before producing candy, popcorn and drinks! "…is the junk food!"
It's awesome, that's the only thing that can describe Ryouji's feelings at this point. Things just got real as he's facing off with someone like this. Ryouji is standing in an alcove, hidden by shadows for a moment before his name is announced. He coughs and blushes a bit as he's not very comfortable with that much praise. He steps out of the shadows of the alcove and walks towards his starting mark of the fighting ring. He looks over at Hiei, nodding towards him, but showing little else. He doesn't want people to think the match will be rigged just because Hiei is Ryouji's sensei. He sees Zankuro steps up to him.
Ryouji notices he's bigger, but he's faced bigger opponents before. It's nothing new to him. Ryouji lifts his head at the crowd gathered around him and swallows the frog that's sprung up in his throat. "Wow…" he says softly. He tilts his head, looking at the older kid and says with a gleam in his eyes, "…exciting, isn't it? Hey, I just want to say…good luck. I'm sure you'll do fine in this." He figures Zankuro is a nice enough guy and holds out one of his fists for a bump, the equivlant of a handshake. With the other however, it's all serious as he makes a hand sign and starts charging up his chakra.
Zankuro stomach gurgles again as the boy appears. He slaps it, and then smiles good naturedly. The kid was teeny tiny compared to him. Most would call the fight unfair right off the back. Those six swords on the kids back and the fact he passed the first round with the one Okumo kid running about said otherwise. Study time is get pushed aside after getting question so 'abruptly'.
Started for that sec there, Zankuro can't find anything to say or nod except nod dumbly. "Right." He finally gets out after bumping fist with the guy. "Also, I want you to know that some folk said it was impossible for me to have gotten this far. But you know what I said back?" The Sarutobi takes in a deep lung full of air through his nose. He then says in a cartoony cowboy (or whatever would be the closest equivalent) voice, "I'll see your impossible, and Rei-zei-ah I just. Freaking. Did. It."
Zankuro was all kinds of proud for that opener. And even more so for not forgetting to form a hand sign of his own and start charging up his chakra.
Ryouji nods and even gives a bit of a grin. "Cute, well, if you're ready, let's do this." Best not to get mad at the jokes, they'll just be a distraction. He takes a step back and slides his feet out to get into a good stance. With his chakra sufficiently charged, he puts on a burst of speed, rushing for Zankuro. He grips his blue sword dubbed lighting cutter and pulls it from his saya. He does not draw it out all the way though and aims the hilt towards Zankuro's gut, hoping to stun for a moment. He pushes off to the side, gripping his other hip mounted blade, white lotus and pulls it free slashing quickly with an even higher burst of speed. In the same moment, he plants his other foot once the arc of the cut passes Zankuro. He reverses his momentum and comes back across, this time pulling his first blade out all the way, slicing in the same arc so two silver blue lines suddenly flash across Zankuro with Ryouji ending a short distance away, both blades resting comfortably back in their sayas.
Michiko watches the interaction between Ryouji and Zankuro with mild interest, only looking up when Sado suddenly produces junk food… "Ah, Sado-kun, is it really a good idea to be eating junk food? We're also in the exams, even if today isn't our fight." Then Ryouji starts up the attack with some swordplay that the girl is familiar with. "Of course he starts off the combat attacking first…" she murmurs, mostly to herself. "Sado-kun, remind me that we aren't using the spar rules when we've got our fight going on. I'll likely end up forgetting and just send two firebolts at a time." She grins slightly.
"Mrhasdhg shasd hes gonehsn hits." Sado says with a mouth full of popcorn and a nod towards Michiko. After swallowing, he clears his throat and says, "Who says we aren't doing our Deuces Wild?" he asks Michiko with a raised eyebrow. "And junk food at a spectacle is THE best time to enjoy junk food. You know you want some of the buttery popcorn." he says, holding out the bag for Michiko so that the buttery flavor smell could reach her nose.
Michiko gives Sado a … very confused look at whatever he was trying to say. Just smile and nod, Michiko, just smile and nod… "What, you want to do it even in the exams? I suppose it would be interesting for us to fight like that…" She shrugs lightly, nose wrinkling a bit as the smell of popcorn assaults her nose. "Really…" she sighs, taking a handful of the popcorn and starting to eat it one piece at a time.
'Everyone's a critic' Zankuro thought and looked after getting nothing but crickets in return for his joke. "Alright, gonna have — thrrk!!" Is all he gets out before nearly biting through his tongue from Ryouji's sudden attack. Dazed, he doesn't even see let alone sense the next attack coming until well after the fact! Acting on impulse, Zankuro swings his giant scroll around and triggers the seal, granting it both a steel sheen AND its toughness!
"Hah! My rock beats your scissors!" He manages to say mid-deflect, hoping to throw the kid off just long enough to manage a quick jap to one of his striking arms before leaping back a short distance towards the tree line. Retreat or attack? He stays on the offense and flashes through a series of hand seals. First to bind the boy with illusions, and next to send him flying back away with a comet of burning destruction! The more distance the better for him for now.
Sado snickers lightly as if he just got Zankuro's joke, munching on some more popcorn. He offers Michiko some bottled tea in case she needed some to wash down the popcorn or was generally thirsty. "You know, if we limit our moves, we can prolong the fight and make it a nice close one. We don't usually use our transformational abilities in a spar, but here in the arena it is different. Who knows how quickly a Trio rule set could end. We want to look good for the judges, right?"
Michiko hmms, tapping her chin as she finishes the handful of popcorn. The tea is accepted, and she takes a grateful sip before handing it back to Sado. "Alright. We'll use the rules in the exams. Slight adjustment in that we're allowed to transform. Agreed?" she asks, offering her hand to shake on it. "Of course, let's hope we do our best, Sado-kun," she adds with a grin.
Sado accepts the bottle back, not intending to receive the bottle back in the first place, though now Michiko drank from it he could probably sell it to Ryouji for a month's worth of food. He looks down at the ring as Ryouji gets a clean hit, then Zankuro, then Ryouji, before noticing Michiko was holding out a hand to shake. "What have you learned in Kumogakure that would make you think a Yotsuki boy like me shakes hands, Michiko-chan?" he says as he looks at her, holding his fist out to bump.
Ryouji sees the attack coming, he's already shifting into blur mode as his features start getting fuzzy but not enough to really make a difference with his speed, just his perception of the attack which he can clearly see. Ryouji pushes his body forward though, slicing with one of his blades and skidding to a stop. However, he gets a prickly feeling and knows what it is. He pulls out a kauni and cuts himself atop his arm. No place vital or that he'd bleed out, but it's enough shock to his system that he snaps out of the genjutsu being acted on him. No luck though as his skill with genjutsu is academy and a bit above at best. He flinches, just enough to see the fiery projectile slam into him sending him tumbling away and to his knees. Bits of him smoke and a few places are scorched. But so far so good. He shakes his hair, growing it out form the short tied back form it was. It elongates and takes on a life of its own as several strands bunch together to form spears. They move on their own as they strike out at Zankuro, but this is only a distraction as Ryouji closes the distance much faster this time, having his blurr finally taking effect. He clicks open his white lotus blade with a thumb and pulls it cleanly, leaving a brilliant silver white streak in its wake.
Michiko's eyes are mostly on the battlefield below. It seems both boys have transformed at this point, the battle itself getting intense. "Looks like that Zankuro person is holding his own against Ryouji-kun…" She bumps her fist against Sado's, then, grinning slightly. "I forgot myself for a second there, Sado-kun. Not many hand shakes or fist bumps going around as of late, it feels like." Her attention shifts again to the fight, the girl silently cheering Ryouji on as he fights.
Zankuro's danger senses tingled. Unfortunately, they don't loud enough because he still ended up retreating with a wounded arm. 'That…' He starts, then says smokily, "Oh riiight, barrier." The Sarutobi promptly gets skewered after that… Or does he!? In an explosion of smoke, a log with a picture of Zankuro striking the good guy pose carved in it takes his place. When the heck he had time to do all that in the first place one may ask? Who knows! And sadly for him, Ryouji isn't fooled for long. Zankuro could run all he wanted, but the reizei was faster still! He barely manages to shift his weight and let his scroll swing around to block the blow. Most of it, at least. Now a nice little scar adorned his cheek from where it glanced off.
Zankuro grimaces, but keeps on going, stumbling at first as soon he touched down. Most would've panicked the instant that happen, but the Sarutobi stays cool and calculating. A barrage of fire balls to keep Ryouji off his toes for a precious frew seconds, then a faster barrage follows. The last of which unbalanced him so much he flew a bit back from the force, and had to go into a defensive roll to recover.
This is survival of the fittest. Do or die! Ryouji leaps backward, dodging the first barrage but hasn't gotten far enough away before he's consumed in fire. He leaps out of the fire trailing lines of fire behind him. Ryouji glares down at Zankuro as his body is pushed to its limit. He goes way beyond blur as his body goes from slightly fuzzy to electrical lines of chakra running across it to…nothing. His body goes still, with only flickering waves of movement across an arm or down a leg. The Reizei seems to stand still in mid air, then disappears in a flash of speed. He reappears a nano-second later, right above Zankuro with both swords drawn and slashing downward at him. He explodes on the ground, the impact leaving a huge dust cloud. Within though, Ryouji is striking again with the blades, forgoing defense and stabbing with both blades, high and low. His eye glow near white as the blur takes over, leaving only speed. Not conscience thought or even a soul to some, just pure speed.
Sado smiles as Michiko bumps his fist, nodding his head. "Oh look, there he goes." Sado comments as Ryouji's movements become so fast they were hard to see. "Told you before the fight started what would happen!" he says to Michiko as he opens his back of rock candy, offering some of the sugary hard delicious candy to Michiko.
Michiko watches the battle intently, actually recognizing a few of the moves that Zankuro uses against Ryouji since Hiei and herself are users of fire style. Certainly, that fire dodge is more than familiar… "With that Genjutsu the Sarutobi has, Ryouji-kun has his work cut out for him, I think…" she comments to Sado, declining the rock candy offer for now. Her eyes are focused on the battle, trying to analyze Zankuro's style of fighting as well as keep an eye on Ryouji's techniques.
'Know your opponent..'
Zankuro's gaze hardens at the thought. His mom's advice, though sound, did not help. Still, he glances over his shoulder mid-run. Even without chakra sensory abilities, seeing the blue blur wonder go from 'twitchy' to 'flickering' sends up warning flares. He doesn't wait to try and guess at where or when Ryouji will strike. Knowing what little he knew of the Reizei, he knew that he add to think ahead and act pre-emptively. A single seal is formed, and thanks to months of practice, Zankuro manages to turn himself into a human rocket.
He isn't fast enough. Not by a long shot. The most he manages as the flury of blades comes at him is to alter his course mid-flight and spit bursts of fire close enough to temporarily make it harder for the Ryouji to track his flight. Between the two manuevers, Zankuro reaches his destination barely able to stand out.
Normally, he would have given up now because NO amount of pain was worth this. It is what he wanted to do. But instead, he turns back and without a second thought sends out a wave of smoke and embers in a wide spread. Under its cover for even a second, he hoped to it would be enough time to complete his binding illusion and seal Ryouji in place long enough to go into hiding amongst the mini forest.
Ryouji follows the rocketing zankuro, launching up after him and delivering strikes all the while. He breaks off the attack however as he can't keep up after him. He lands a short distance away and slides his weapons home. The clouds of embers rolls at him and Ryouji disappears in another burst of speed. He reappears upside down on the ceiling high above Zankuro. With his blur ramped up as high as it can go, he can't keep this up and expect to go forever. Breathing heavy, he makes a hand sign as the same genjutsu flows over him again. This time though he's ready and slaps himself, hard. The shock keeps the genjutsu from taking over and the smoke can't keep Ryouji from seeing Zankuro from above. He clenches his fists, sending chakra surging down his arms. Both begin to glow as he draws the chakra into two flat blue disks on his hands. He holds them out and with his chakra shaping, fires out two long poles of chakra with sharpened ends at his target. He also sends out several spears of hair as well, sending out a wave of hurt down towards the leaf ninja.
Sado frowns as Michiko declines the rock candy, thinking sugar wasn't her thing. He puts the bag away reluctantly and offers her some more popcorn to munch on, letting her also know the tea is there whenever. "Way I see it, Ryouji-kun has the advantage as it doesnt seem like Zankuro from Konoha has an answer to his Blur level. If he had a serious genjutsu move or two, he would've been able to compete well, though." he says, munching as he watches the fight.
Zankuro has just turned around to look over his shoulder and gauge if Ryouji still pursued him when the lances of chakra come. 'Too Fast' He thinks just as he slammed his hands together into a seal, twisting and leaping within the same motion. He only manages to correct his course a bit more with a burst of fire before the spear still nicks his shoulder and sends him spinning. He focuses through the pain bring his scroll around to defend, only to suffer a similiar consequence when energy spear deflects off it and nicks his face.
He free falls from there, seemingly stunned from the last blow and vulnerable to the spears of hair that follow. They pincushion him… but again, he explodes into another custom log; only this one is bearing a sad panda as its mark. "Over here!!" He calls out breathily, already on the ground not far from where the log is. His giant scroll is opened before him. All it would take is a bit of chakra, seal work, and a stomp to implement his final plan…
For now however, he grinned at Ryouji, defeated but determined to go out swinging.
Michiko nods in agreement to Sado. "Yes, that certainly seems to be the case. Ryouji-kun should probably practice that hair jutsu of his a bit more before trying to use it in the exams, though… It's never been very useful in this kind of intense battle." She does take a handful of popcorn to be polite, munching on it slowly and taking another sip of that tea Sado offered. "I'm curious to know what our fight will be like when we go almost all-out, admittedly…"
Hiei had been standing off to the side the entire time, a passive expression on his face. He was thoroughly impressed with both combatants. Being friends with Akinori, and having been on several missions with him, he knew what the Sarutobi clan could offer, and Zankuro had put on an excellent showing. With Ryouji, he had to hide his emotions a little better. He was proud of his student and it took a great bit of doing to keep the smile off his face. However, when he notices the condition of both fighters, he moves to step out into the area. "I believe that both fighters have put on a great show. But the damage to each is extensive. At this time I would recommend that the fight end..however." He looks from Ryouji to Zankuro. "This tournament is about you. If you choose to continue…you do so at great risk to yourselves." He looks over at the medical nin on stand by. One of them shakes his head, but Hiei looks back towards the combatants. "The choice is yours. The medical ninja recommend this contest ends here." Then he waits to see what their decision is.
"Lots of lightning crackling, fire roaring, earth rumbling and exploding." Sado says with a nod as he watches the fight as his sensei interrupts to give them a choice. "If that is me down there, though, you won't be getting off like that. With those damage dampening seals in place, I'm going all out until I am exhausted!"
Michiko gives Sado a glance. "I suppose it'll depend on the situation, when it comes down to that. If they stop the match now, Ryouji-kun is likely the winner after all that. But with us, it tends to be a tie or ends with you besting me simply because of your power." She sighs. "I think I need to think a bit more when it comes to fighting you. New strategies and maybe one or two techniques you don't see often might do the trick…" she says idly.
"Gimme all you got, Michiko-chan." Sado says with a smile after hearing her begin to strategize before the match. "I love surprises like your whirlpool, it makes our spars spicier." he adds with a grin. "As for me, you've probably seen all my moves…. all but… one." he says, almost cryptically as he gives her a wicked grin before shoving more popcorn in his mouth.
Michiko raises an eyebrow at that final comment. "Yes, I figured you didn't release all the tricks up your sleeve. Though it saddens me to know you know all of mine… I should get working on that new jutsu as soon as I can, I think… Just to surprise you a bit." She nods slowly. "And you only got the whirlpool when I was just starting to use it. I wonder what will happen now that I've actually been training with it more," she adds, grinning.
Ryouji reappears with a flicker on the floor again, hair already tied back with his forehead protector. He's singed, bruised, and slapped around but could still fight. However, he says, "Zankuro-kun, we are allies on the battlefield, your village and mine. There is no shame in calling defeat in this contest. I cannot do it for you and if you continue, I'll respect that and use my blades to finish the battle decisively. But I will not attack if you choose to yeld." He narrows his eyes though and says, "You do look eager to continue though. If you want, come at me and see what you can do. For the pride of your clan and your village."
Zankuro doesn't taker his eyes off of Mr. Blur for even a second. He listens, and tries to keep from letting his trembling limbs show through. His pride demanded he continued. Not as a Sarutobi, or even as a Konoha shinobi, but his pride as a man. MANLY Pride! Just one more move than maybe the mad dash wasn't all for not. Just the one. And if it failed…
Zankuro sighs and inclines his head, still considering his options despite knowing the answer. His arms visibly tremble at his side for a few seconds, fists clenched tightly and teeth gritted behind his lips before he lets out all his frustration in an even heavier sigh. "I… surrender." He states, raising his head proudly with a forced smile glued on to his expression.
'Did what I could, Ma..'
Hiei steps forwards once again and bows. "Winner of the first round goes to Reizei Ryouji." Hiei motions to him with his arm as the crowd applauds. "Give a big round of applause to the tremendous effort of both combatants." Hiei then walks out of the arena to allow the two genin to have their moment in the spotlight before the next round begins.
Ryouji shuts down the blur quickly as soon as Zankuro surrenders. It feels like he just got off an amp cranked up to 11 and got dumped in cold water. He sucks in a breath and gives a long sigh. He draws a sword and holds it high for the crowd to see. He sheathes the weapon a few moments later, then walks over to Zankuro with a hand out, "Excellent work, Zankuro-san. I hope I never have to face you for real." He rotates a shoulder, but it's scorched and burnt so he winces. "Good job, I hope you'll watch the rest of the matches." he says, giving him a polite bow.