Date: June 1, 2014
Having discovered through chakra paper that he has an affinity for lightning, Shiro has been searching for a teacher to guide him down the first, vital steps of elemental jutsu. His friend, Kenta, directed him to search for an Inuzuka named Taiki. At long last, the two cross paths, and Shiro finds his new sensei.
"Shiro's Lightning Sensei"
Konohagakure Training Grounds
It's a late October morning in Konohagakure, and the weather is turning a bit chilly. Various shinobi are moving along paths, with various training grounds interspersed between them. Taiki himself is situated in one of the more open training grounds, standing on one end of area with a boulder set on the other side. Shinobu and Nozomi are both laying off to the side as Taiki seems to be practicing some kind of ninjutsu technique. While it looks similar to Lightning needles, it really manifests differently. The "needles" appear anything but, being fewer in number, longer, and thicker. In fact, the latest stream could be equated to a flight of arrows launched at once toward the boulder. The boulder, however, is showing only minimal signs of damage, indicating that the jutsu is likely not complete yet. Every once in a while he stops to answer a question from some other shinobi, perhaps even giving a few pointers before getting back to work.
It may be getting a bit chilly, but one wouldn't know it to look at Shiro. He still wears his robe open at the front, loathe as he is to wear any more clothing than he must. What's more, there's that swift Uzumaki spring in his step to keep him warm. The young man often visits the training grounds when his travels take him through Konohagakure, for it's a prime location to observe the local shinobi in action. Academy-trained shinobi are such wonderful inspirations for new seals, what with all the things they can do.
What's this, now? He was told the features of a certain someone he wanted to look for, and what was that? Could it have been? Might it truly be? "Hey there," says Shiro as he brandishes an amiable grin, announcing himself so as to avoid being shot through with any of those arrows. He then unabashedly leans left to right, clearly examining the other man whilst balancing expertly upon the slats of his geta. "Are you … Would you be Taiki? Taiki the lightning master?!"
Doggy-snickers can be heard from the 'smaller' red-furred dog when Taiki is called a lightning master. The white dog lifts his head up and gives the red-furred dog a soft glare, while the Inuzuka 'elder' just rolls his eyes after glancing at the snickering dog. "I am Inuzuka Taiki, and the only Taiki I know of. And while I'm not as proficient in lightning as I am in other areas, I am very familiar with the principles." His words are humble, though his voice is hoarse sounding. That's likely a normal inflection though, as a set long-healed scars show on his throat, as if the skin had been abraded off at one point. "And you are?" he asks in return.
Shiro carries on without even seeming to notice the scars, so caught up is he in the moment. "I'm Shiro. My friend here in Konoha, Kenta …" He opens his satchel, only to pause to clarify, "Sorry. Uzumaki Shiro. I've really got a problem about remembering my family name, much less honorifics." Returning his efforts to his satchel, within which one can see dozens of painted tags sorted into sets, he produces a crinkled piece of chakra paper.
Holding the paper up with a broad smile, Shiro explains, "I finally got around to touching a piece of this stuff, and they tell me this means I've an affinity for lightning. Makes sense, with all of that energy in me! Anyway. Kenta says you'd make a great teacher, and I have some time to spend here in Konohagakure before I move on." Holding the paper aside as he peers intently at Taiki, the young Uzumaki inquires, "So, would you teach me? Please? It's about time I learn some elemental jutsu, hard as it is to leave my first lover - my seals! - behind."
Taiki digests that stream of consciousness known as an introduction with relative ease, only glancing at his ninken as Nozomi's snickers decrease while Shinobu's (the larger dog) starts snickering slightly. Then he turns his attention back to the crinkled chakra paper in front of him and ponders its meanings. "Uzumaki Shiro…" he says thoughtfully. "If it is within my ability to train you in this, I will do so. Normally I would ask for some kind of test for determination, but I owe one of your clan elders for teaching me."
The red-furred dog barks a couple of times, catching Taiki's attention. He seems to consider what she said before turning his attention back to Shiro. "She's right also. Don't forget that seals are very adaptable, and can be used in conjunction with other ninjutsu. You don't necessarily have to give up seals to practice lightning manipulation. In fact, the tow probably would work hand in hand very well."
Shiro eagerly nods his head. "Oh, I'd never give up on our Seal Mastery. It's in the blood! I just recently learned the Seal of Faith, which, uh …" A pause. "Whichever elder you owe a favor to, maybe you should forget I said that around them." Satisfied that he's proven himself truthful, the young man stuffs the piece of chakra paper back into his satchel, which he closes. "That's usually my thing, you know? The elders and I, we don't see eye to eye about some things. They like tradition, whereas I like new things. New ways of using seals, or new seals entirely. With so many years ahead, what's the rush to learn all of the old traditions, right? I'll only have a few decades of youth!"
It's only then that he notices the nearby dogs, to whom he offers a smile and an upheld hand. Part of studying shinobi means knowing the bloodlines, and he knows well enough not to underrate these particular beasts. "So! I'm grateful that you'll teach me, Taiki. Honored, even. Can I call you Taiki? Or is it Taiki-sama? Inuzuka-sama?"
Taiki looks back at the dogs for a moment as both start snickering anew. "Yes, he does remind me a bit of myself, only not nearly as angry as I was in my youth. Given that Taiki appears all of 18 or 19." The dogs both nod in eerie unison, causing Taiki to nod back to them before turning his attention to Shiro. "Well, the red-furred ninken is Nozomi, while the white-furred ninken is Shinobu, and both are my partners. They don't seem to care what honorific you use with them."
Taiki then pauses for a moment to think before continuing, "As for me, I grew up with a more formal upbringing. But as you are not part of my clan or my village, I won't require you to address me as 'sama.' Instead, you may use either Taiki-sensei or Inuzuka-sensei, whichever is more comfortable with you. And don't worry, Tenken-sensei won't find out about your comments from me."
"Ah, Tenken-ojiisan! Medical seals. Very good, very old." Shiro sounds very impressed by the seals part, not so enthused about the elder or old parts. "As for what to call you, I guess we'll go with Taiki-sensei. Maybe we can lose the 'sensei' one day, yes? After all, I'll be around for quite a long time, and we could come to be the greatest of friends." Someone has a rather carefree attitude on life. He brings his hands together, rubbing them quickly against each other. "So. I'm not used to doing anything that doesn't involve a seal. What's first with elemental ninjutsu?"
Taiki's resulting smile and shrug indicates that he is long used to people not being as formal in speech as he is, even in forms of address. Still, it's better than what his old genin sensei used to call him, or still does. "Well, when dealing with elemental ninjutsu, the first thing is to get yourself used to changing the nature of your chakra as it exits the body. To accomplish this we here in Konoha tend to use a leaf exercise."
At this point Taiki walks over toward a tree and pulls of two leaves. After handing one to Shiro he says, "Focus your chakra into the leaf, and try to mimic the results the chakra paper showed. Cause the leaf to dry out, turning crinkled like so." Taiki holds his leaf up and channels a low amount of lightning chakra into it, causing the leaf to turn brown and shrivel up. "Now you try."
Shiro may be a bit exotic, to put it politely, between his conduct and his manner of dress. Even so, he's serious when it comes to learning what Taiki has to teach him. These are but the first yet very much essential steps in his learning elemental ninjutsu, after all. Wonder is apparent in Shiro's eyes when the leaf slowly turns brown and then crinkles, mimicking the piece of paper he'd produced from his satchel. "That's impressive," he says, perhaps lacking a sense of scale when it comes to lightning.
Shiro takes one of the leaves and holds it up when his turn comes. Although nothing might happen for a lesser apprentice, no matter how intense his focus, the Uzumaki has an affinity for this element. It's for that reason that the leaf turns brown and crinkles … just at the very tip. Shiro tilts his head a bit, much like the nearby dogs might do when confused. "Well, I guess it takes practice."
Taiki nods once. "You didn't learn seals in a day, no matter how strong an affinity you have for them. But that is a good start, especially for a first attempt." He then looks the leaf over and says, "Pull the chakra in a bit, and transform the nature closer to your body. Your electrical field formed too far away. Don't worry about shocking yourself, as most people have an instinctive sense to prevent them from doing the transformation process inside their body… unless they are using lightning manipulation for other reasons, such as taijutsu." Before he can go any further another man and dog, obviously Inuzuka appears. The man bows then whispers something into Taiki's ear. "I'm sorry, Clan business calls, and I must go. Keep practicing this until the entire leaf crinkles and turns brown. If that happens, find me and we'll move on to the next step."
"Until the entire leaf crinkles," echoes Shiro. He looks pleased to have found a new master for an entirely new field of jutsu exploration. Of course, before he could learn to hurl arrows of lightning or wield electrified blades, the young man would have to overcome the obstacle that was a stubborn leaf. "Thank you again for meeting with me, Taiki-sama, and for taking me as your student. I tend to come and go, as I said, but I'll certainly stay until you think I've learned what I need to know."
Shiro gets back to focusing on the leaf. Gather his chakra, slowly change it to lightning as was his spiritual inclination, and then … a tiny little crinkle. A dot of progress, but progress nevertheless. "I'm gonna have to thank Kenta for this. Taiki seems like a nice guy, good teacher. Maybe I'll treat him to the baths."