Date: October 11, 2014
Red and Mushi have crossed paths in Suna. They've started to train after deciding to stick together.
"Stealing and Sparring"
The quiet chatter and continual rumble of proceedings at the markets is ever present. The sun has just barely risen over the horizon, meaning the air is still relatively cool with fresh winds whipping down the streets.
As merchants try to sell their goods and barter for the best price, the sudden sound of a grown man yelling shatters the nice, serene scene. "THIEF! THIEF!"
The grown man in question looks like a smithy, and he's pointing some old, calloused fingers towards a certain black haired boy. Red. "HE STOLE A SWORD! SOMEONE CATCH HIM!"
Red is trying to book it as fast as he can, looking over his shoulder at the brute of a man. "I didn't steal it, you big oaf! It was just on the floor and I took it!" — "IT WAS ON DISPLAY, YOU BRAT!" — "I don't even know what that means! It's mine! Come closer and I'll cut off your fat lips!" The smithy seems perturbed, though is mostly annoyed because he cannot catch the slippery boy. He's ducking and weaving amongst other people of the crowd, trying to put on as much distance as possible.
It is a shinobi village, and some formidable shoppers begin to stir at the shout of 'thief.' Mushi herself is looking at some produce when she hears Red shouting back in reply. She lets out a long sigh. But then she takes matters into her own hands. Red would suddenly find himself firmly frozen in place. And if he looked down he'd see a black seal had bloomed on the ground, freezing him there. Next moment Mushi is there, grabbing the sword and the boy. Red is slung over her shoulder like a sack of wheat, and she goes to hand the sword back to the blacksmith hilt first. "Kid, being on display means a vendor lets someone see their product so they can decide whether they buy it. You can't take it for free. Now promise you won't do it again." She looks to the blacksmith. "He's with me. He's not a thief, he's just ignorant. No harm done, right?" She smiles warmly.
The young wanderer gasps in surprise when his feet are suddenly frozen in place. "Argh! I've fallen into the enemies trap!" He cries aloud, before the sudden form of Mushi causes him to jump (mentally, anyway) in fright. "What are you doing here?" He queries, before being slung over her shoulder.
He kicks and wiggles, trying to gain freedom. But it's no use. Especially as she takes the weapon. "Don't give it back! It's my sword! I need it to become the ultimate sword master in all of the world!" The sword itself is largely unremarkable.
The blacksmith appears grumpy, though his heart does melt a bit when Mushi smiles so warmly at him. "Of course, Ma'am. Just make sure he doesn't do it again." Red, still slung across the shoulder, folds his arms across his chest angrily.
"Thank you very much sir," Mushi says gratefully, ignoring all of Red's ranting. A few people are laughing at the sight of the boy unable to get down. After they're a respectable distance away, Mushi sets Red down and ruffles his hair. She says, "You aren't ready for a real sword. You know how I know? Look." She turns his palm up. "No calluses. Your hands show you haven't used — haven't even practiced — with a real one. But let me tell you. You ought to use your ninjutsu. Not everyone has that. It'll give you an edge. Sometime I'd like to see what you can do. But are you hungry? I'll get you one thing to eat at the market."
"But that's hard." Red grumps at the idea of using his ninjutsu. "And takes a long time to do. Going through all of those seals… ugh. With a sword, I can swish it and cut down anyone who gets in my way." He makes a few swings with an invisible sword, hoping to show he has naturally good form.
When the healer looks at his hands, Red does too. "If I practice a heap with something not sharp and get hard hands, THEN can I get a sword?"
At the mention of food, he seems to brighten a bit. "Can we get something sweet and tasty? And maybe some milk tea? With pearls?" He beams. "And when are we going to start training? What sort of stuff are we doing first? Ultimate punches? Super flying kicks?"
Mushi smiles. "Well, having both taijutsu and ninjutsu is good too," she says. Somehow she is beginning to stop using complex words such as 'versatility.' She hadn't failed to notice quite a few things she said went over his seven year old head. She considers and nods. "You can train with a blunted sword." It's not that she could not heal him from injuries or protect herself in a spar. But there's a vast difference between fighting with a weapon that can bruise and one that can kill. "How about you eat and then we can train. Here you go." She hands him enough money to probably buy two things, and says, "I'll find your milk tea. Remember. No taking things for free. Heh."
"Eeeeeeeeehhhhh…?" He drawls, looking at the ryo passed to him with a weathered eye. "Fine. But I get to pick what I eat with this!" And with that, he disappears amongst the various other citizens, worming his way to a food vendor.
Reaching the sweet stall, the young boy exchanges some of Mushi's money for some good, tasty food. He does resist taking the items 'on display' for free, if only because his current protector would probably be mad at him if he did.
The ice block is unwrapped and then stuck in his mouth, the youngster licking the tasty sweet frozen treat with clear delight. He just sort of stands there, waiting for the healer to come and collect him. "I'm gonna punch stuff so hard," He says to himself. "I'm gonna show her I'm super amazing. Hya!" He throws his spare hand forward in a punching motion, other hand still grasping the ice-pole.
Mushi comes back, handing him a bit of milk tea. She glances at the vendor's face, to see if Red might've done something uppity. But he seems to have been on good behavior. "Eat up kid," she says. She'd expected him to have something a bit more substantial, but she has to admit that it /is/ Suna. Boiling, frying Suna. Hence why she has a bowl of chilled soba noodles for herself. She slurps it up at high speed, and is done at the same time he finishes his ice. "Now, off we go to the training grounds," she says.
It'd take awhile to get registered and grab a training pass. The student behind the desk would blink at seeing her name, and then let her through. They enter a small sparring circle, and goes to a bunch of sparring weapons, before selecting a shortsword. It's heavy wood with a lead core. She passes it over to Red. "I need to find out what you can do. Try your best to hit me."
Red follows along like an obedient little pup, gawking at all of the various people that the duo walk past. By the time they get to the Academy his meal is finished, and by the time he's put through the sign-up process and onto the sparring sand rings, he's ready to roll.
"Alright!" The kid declares, rotating his right arm about like a windmill. "Dad taught me some pretty sweet things, you know!" And with this, he runs forward! The arm is still spinning like a windmill, and sure enough, he lets the clenched fist fly at Mushi as best as he can muster! "HIYAA!" He cries, his scrawny limbs flexed as tightly as possible.
When Red comes charging in, she catches his punch easily. "A straightforward assault only works if you're too fast to react to," she says. "Against a stronger opponent, you have to attack unexpectedly. Low!" She dips low, her leg lashing out to catch him by the ankles and sweep his legs out from under him. Chest! Arm!" She calls out where she's coming from, first aiming a flat palm at his chest that'd knock him back, and then making a grab for his arm to yank him around and toss him. Regardless of the warnings, she's swift and light on her feet.
Red winces a bit when his fist is caught. Not so much from the pain, but the sheer ease in which she did it. How frustrating! Gritting his teeth in an effort to try and push her back, Red's eyes widen considerably when he's swept! "Waah!" He cries out in surprise, before thrown away!
The boy lands ungracefully. On his back, actually — skidding to a sandy halt. Gasping for air, he gets to his feet in a slow manner before slowly yet surely, forming a string of hand-seals. It's almost a little embarrassing how slow he's going with them! Even more so when he mucks one up — not forming the correct sign. "…ARGH!" He cries out, crouching and hitting his own head in frustration. "Stupid!"
"If you're using hand seals, you need enough time to do them," Mushi says, and she leaps back. They're about ten yards apart. "Here I come. You'd better have those done by the time I get there." After that she'd run at him, and he'd have to cope with both the pressure of making the right seals as well as the need to do it in time. As she runs she's gathering chakra around her arm visibly. Will he fall in fear or do it till the end?
Red's mouth creases like a horizontal line, the young lad attempting to go through the seals. He seems even slower forming them this time, perhaps not willing to make the mistake he just did. Beads of sweat run down his face and drip onto his heavy coat. When Mushi is only meters away, he forms the last seal. "YOSHAAA!" He cries, executing the technique with a stomp of his foot.
Only a moment later, a column of earth shoots up from the ground, threatening to hit Mushi square in the jaw! It's not the strongest use of this technique going around, but it's solid enough.
When the column of earth shoots up, Mushi doesn't try to dodge and it thumps her in the jaw. Although she doesn't even wince. "You shout like Goh too," she says, with a wry smile. A bruise is already forming on her jaw. But then she raises her hand to place on her cheek, and the bruise and injury vanishes. Mushi makes hand seals then, much faster. The earth beneath them shoots up in a shower of pebbles and stones, to hover in the air for a second before raining down on Red in a painful barrage of thumping debris. "That's a good technique, Red. But remember. After seeing it once, an opponent will come up with ways to defend against it. You should use the same techniques in different ways, as many as you can think."
"Ha! I hit you!" The boy cries out, no doubt not quite believing his own eyes. The youngster nearly loses his feet when the ground around them trembles, before he moves to haul ass out of the way from the falling debris! It's certainly not a well practiced dodge. It's more just running as fast as he can to get to a safe area.
Huffing and puffing, he bends over onto his knees. Tired from the little exchange and pressure he was under. "Okay. Break time?" He asks between gasps, perhaps more than a little happy that he managed to avoid any of that earthern rain.
"That you did," Mushi says, rubbing her jaw. She doesn't seem perturbed by it happening. She'd go over and sit down, patting a spot beside her for Red to do the same. "It's important to have plenty of chakra if even your defenses are based on chakra. Let's practice drawing on your chakra. As much as possible. As you do so, do it carefully so none of it's lost. That will give you more chakra for less stamina. Try as much as you can." And then she'd be drawing on lots of chakra — torrents. But so gradually and slowly it's not noticeable all at once.
Still gasping and panting as Mushi approaches, Red sort of rolls his head onto her leg as she focusses — using it as a pillow. It looks like he's content enough to just go to sleep! But when she speaks about focussing chakra, he opens his eyes. Sitting back up, he presses both palms together and closes his eyes in a studious way. "This is how Dad taught me to do it when he was trying to show me how to walk up trees. He used to say: 'Gather it low. Watch it flow.'"
Sure enough, he begins to gather chakra slowly. Naturally, a heap of it goes to waste. But he's not a total drop-out in this area.
"Alright… think I got it." Pause. "Hey. Can you teach me that rain technique?"
"That is how you do it, in essence," Mushi says with a laugh. "It's challenging to learn how to walk on trees, because you have to put chakra into your feet. The places your chakra come from are here, around your head and chest. So it has to go the furthest all the way down your legs, to your toes." This lesson may not be taken too seriously, as she's practically poking and tickling him showing it. "And of course I'll teach you how to use that technique." She goes through a short, clear explanation of the technique. "This technique can be used from all sorts of directions…straight down, from the front, from behind."
"Really?" Red IS finding it difficult to concentrate, with Mushi's niggling fingers constantly jabbing him in the ribs and chest. He does find it ticklish, the kid giggling and wriggling about to try and escape the evil clutches. "Hey, stop it. I'm trying to focus!"
When the explanation of earthen rain is run through, he seems to nod slowly. "Okay… I think I get it. I can practice it later. And what about sand? Do you know any sand moves I can learn? Dad didn't know any, so he said it was up to me to learn them."
Mushi laughs as if she too is being tickled. But then she straightens her face when he asks about sand manipulation. "Sand is a more refined version of earth," she murmurs, half to herself. She shakes her head. "That you have sand manipulation is rare. You know, I'll look around the village for you. Perhaps there's someone able to use sand manipulation; there'd be no place in the world more likely. If that's true, you can get a proper teacher for it. I know only earth manipulation." She smiles wryly.
"Ho! Is that so? Something I can do that you can't? Kakaka!" Red laughs out aloud in a triumphant way, as if he'd just done something mighty. "I already have some ideas, but… well, with no teacher it's hard to work it out. It's just me on my own." Rubbing his eyes, the youth suddenly seems to yawn. "Mushi, I'm tired. Can we go back to your apartment to have a nap? Then you can find a good teacher to show me some good tips on sand stuff." He pauses. "But I'm not firing you. Don't worry. You're still pretty good, you know."
Mushi raises an eyebrow. Red is surprisingly considerate. She nods and stands up. "Yes, let's go back for a rest at my apartment. This weather is so hot anyway." She rummages through her pack and pulls out a jewel-bright feather. Sapphire blue on one end changing to emerald green on the other. And it's a foot long. She holds it out to Red. "This is a good luck charm," she says. "If you can't find me and need my help…really need it…then channel your chakra into this and I'll come running." She grins. "Thanks for not firing me. I guess if we can't find anyone else, I'd be a passable trainer. As you say, I'm pretty good." And then they'd be off.