Date: October 21, 2010
A training session as Team 5 results in Taji and Hinotori being given an assignment, and Fuyu trying to obtain more information about Nobu's desire for "strength". Nobu gets tortured. Fun.
"Team 5 Training Stories: Searing Pain"
Konohagakure Lake - Konohagakure
It is training time for Team 05. Fuyu is aware of Taji's preferences for non-lethal solutions to problems, but is also keenly aware of the need for stopping an enemy when it becomes necessary. Disarming someone and moving fast only get one so far. Ranged combat appears to be a weak point. For Hinotori, she does not know how far along he is in terms of Fire Release, but assumes even he can use a good D-Rank Fire skill that deals no damage but can still stop a foe in his or her tracks.
Thus, their current situation. It is evening and the sun has set about half an hour before. Not exactly an ideal time for training for most, but presumably there is a reason behind Fuyu's choice. She is crouched down at the edge of the lake. Presumably either Hinotori and Taji are already here or will be so soon. If the former, she has kept them waiting until the sun went down, saying and doing nothing unless spoken to.
Taji has been playing with fireworks. His thought was to light a firework with fire dart, and let it go boom to stun someone. At least that was the theory. He's had a lot of problems making it work, not the least of which is it is hard to carry fireworks around and they aren't cheap. That said, he has a small bag of them along as he heads up to the training area. The small sack hangs at his belt, along with his usual large pack on his back as he arrives as requested. He arrives before the sun sets but just waits, turning his attention to the setting sun as Fuyu-Sama says nothing.
Having been called for training, Hinotori was actually excited about doing something fun. Leaving his own place, Hinotori makes his way to the lake where his teame was supposed to meeting at. Dressed in dark grays and black, Hinotori arrives at the training area and stands next to Taji. He was surprised at the genin for being on time. The last few teams he was appointed to, were not so great. Not saying anything he awaits orders.
So, now is the second time that Nobu will meet with the team. Last time was for introductions and a simple (if arudous) mission. This time, it sounds like an actual training session. Beyond that though, Nobu's not sure what he ought to expect from it. He walks into the area, seeing that Hinotori and Taji are already here. Wordlessly, he walks over to join them and stops nearby. Standing straight up with his hands at his sides, he looks to Fuyu, waiting to see what she will do.
Once the sun has set and it has been a half hour beyond that time, Fuyu rises to a standing position and turns to face the other ninja. "I see you all made it. I also will assume you are ready for some training, or else you would not be here. Taji! Hinotori!" She barks out their names, as she looks at those two. "You can both use Fire Release. But can you stop an enemy with it without singing so much as an eyebrow?" She does not wait for an answer, assuming the answer is 'no'.
"I am going to teach you a technique I developed that can do just that. It can stop a foe momentarily, and, in the case of Hinotori, it can be mixed in with normal Fire Release skills for psychological warfare purposes. Hinotori, you can act as an example for the others. Nobu, you said you wanted to become stronger. Part of that might be ninja skills… But there is also something to be said for experience and understanding. So I am going to show you something via Genjutsu that may help broaden your perspective. After this demonstration, that is. I consider Genjutsu to be an attack upon another if not expressly stated to be allowed. Thus, I am requesting your permission in advance."
Taji blinks as he's called on by Fuyu. He stands up a bit more straightly. "Ah…" He starts but realizes he's not being asked a real question, more rhetorical it appears and so he silences himself quickly. He glances over at Hinotori and then back to Fuyu and lastly back to Nobu. He nods a tad, thinking about the planned training, his mind racing from the looks of it. After a moment he says, "I know a defensive technique using fire. It creates a shell of flame that pushes outwards. But I don't think I know how to do what you're describing." He admits as he offers this bit of information at least then glances around and waits for the begining of the instructions.
Hinotori didn't have any way of not burning an opponent to stop them, well he did, but still he would inflict damage upon them. He had been meaning to broaden his uses of non-damaging techniques but that slump he was in didn't help him all that well. As Taji explains of at least one of his techniques which he uses, he still had to agree, whatever Fuyu was about to teach them would be very valuable. "I understand. I know that all of my skills are either an attempt to out manuver my opponent, or beat and burn them into submission." he states. When Fuyu addresses Nobu, he quirks a brow, he's never thought about using genjutsu, but then again, not everyone was talented with the usage of genjutsu, but then again, he does want to learn to defend against it. Looking forward back to Fuyu, he bows his head, "Well I'm ready." he states.
Despite his stiff posture, Nobu waits the remaining time out in silence, not seeming especially bothered by it. He continues to wait patiently as Fuyu addresses Taji and Hinotori. He listens to the talk of this new technique, but only so he knows what his teammates will be working on. He's not a fire user himself after all. And then, finally, his turn comes. "That is fine," he agrees, his voice just as lacking in liveliness as before. "But I only know basic defenses against genjutsu," he adds, "If that makes any difference to what you're going to do, that is."
Fuyu nods to the responses. Shaking her head at Nobu, she says, "No, that's fine. I just need you to try NOT to resist my Genjutsu. Just let it happen. I could have done it without your consent, but that is an attack. And allies do not simply attack each other without warning because it is 'training'." She then turns to Hinotori and says, "Come at me. Taijutsu. Try to close in on me from where you're standing right now. No need for anything fancy, but if you feel like it, go ahead."
She then focuses some Chakra and waits for Hinotori to do as instructed. "Pay attention. Even those of you who don't use Fire…" she says calmly.
Taji nods and simply watches, waiting to see what Fuyu does with Hinotori, stepping to the side to get a better view and give the pair space. He adds nothing, just watching for now, giving that needed space for whatever demonstration may be at play. He does tug a small notepad from a pocket along with what appears to be a little pencil to take some notes.
There is plenty of distance between him and Fuyu, about a good thirty to forty feet and when told to come at her, Hinotori nods his head. Getting close wasn't hard to do for Hinotori, but then again covering this much distance would prove a bit difficult for some. Figuring he would use his raw speed, Hinotori tries to quickly move in towards Fuyu-sensei, he did have quite a bit of distance to cover but then again, she did state that she was going to train them in skill that would allow them to attack and not hurt their target. So with that in mind Hinotori attempts to get closer to Fuyu.
"I understand," Nobu says, nodding slightly, "When the time comes, I won't resist the genjutsu." But for now, as he's been instructed, Nobu just takes a couple of steps back and gives his attention to whatever it is Fuyu and Hinotori are about to do. He may not be able to use the technique himself, but it's not a bad idea to know what one's teammates are capable of. And of course, Fuyu has told him to watch anyway.
Hinotori comes dashing in with considerable speed. Fuyu blurs through a series of hand seals. Only three of them, but it's like her hands stopped existing for a fraction of a second only to reappear in a horse seal. She then exhales a sudden rush of hot air as intense as the wave that precedes the Great Fireball Technique! It would hit Hinotori well before he gets within range, despite his impressive rapidity, unless he did something to leap aside. But what can one do against a huge wave of heat? Is this some sort of massive fireball that produces so much heat that in a 90 degree cone in front of Fuyu, before the fire truly even emerges, it is essentially a kill-zone!?
Nope. Just a wave of very hot air that may make the eyes flinch closed, or at least partially closed, reflexively for a second or two. Maybe longer. But both out of instinct and even the expectation of a fireball that will never come, this attack appears to be specifically designed for making an opponent 'twitch', and thus foul up any attempt to get close.
Nearing his sensei, he starts to smirk until suddenly a wave of heat so intense roils towards him. Closing his eyes and bringing his arms up to cover his face as he skids to a stop. Hinotori already knew the great fireball technique and as he jumps back away from Fuyu. The heat still hitting him he lowers his arms only to notice there was no fireball coming towards him. "Damn thats hot!" he exclaims as he blinks his eyes a few times even having to turn away and back off a bit more. "I see how that would stop an oponnent." he states
As he's not a fire user himself, Nobu cannot fully appreciate this skill himself. Regardless, he is fooled by the look of the technique for a moment, tricked for a split-second into thinking that Fuyu might actually burn Hinotori to a crisp. But that doesn't come, of course, and the only result is a gust of hot air. He actually feels a little bit of it himself, but from where he's standing, it's nowhere near as intense as it must be for Hinotori. The other chuunin's exclamation seems to confirm that.
Fuyu nods. "I could have asked you to copy it with your Sharingan, but copying something with one's eyes closed is a skill that I don't think exists. Beside that, experiencing it for oneself is the fastest way to understand its capabilities. It is called 'Fire Release: Sear'. I'll explain the details of its functions in a moment. Right now, you just need to know that it is about producing the heat of a Great Fireball Technique, but without the flame. Practice producing heated air. The exact hand seals and so forth can wait."
Then she turns to Nobu. "Ready?" she asks. If the answer is an affirmative, then she has already Linked her Chakra to Nobu's. And a moment later, the world changes. The lake suddenly is no longer darkened but reflective water, but smooth, opaque, and red as blood. The sky has become white mist instead of darkness and stars, and the forest… The trees all around have become twisted, pitch-black shapes, Face leer from trunks, and glowing red eyes blink erratically from every shadow.
Fuyu stands there with her Sharingan active, staring at Nobu. "You want strength. Not just strength of skill, but strength of character. Courage, perhaps?" her voice echoes weirdly, seeming to come from everywhere at once, fading in and out and overlapping itself. "I cannot grant you courage. But I can challenge you to find it, here in this place. Every step you take will be met with pain. If you do not move, you will not suffer. But if you do not move, you will not leave here. So it is up to you. Find your way out… Or stay."
Then she wavers and vanishes.
Nobu responds to Fuyu with a simple nod in the affirmative, and then he finds himself in this dark and disturbing world Fuyu has created for him. "It's neither of those things," he answers. But since Fuyu has vanished, he has no idea whether or not she actually heard that. Is it possible that he said it aloud back in the real world as well, or do his actions only count here? Unfortunately, genjutsu isn't his forte. As for finding his way out or staying, he doesn't see any point in the second option. Aside from the lake, which doesn't seem like it would be much help to him, he doesn't see anything here that would be useful to him. So far as he can tell, the best choice is to simply leave in this world's equivalent to the path back to town and see where it takes him. Once again wondering if he's doing it in the real world too, he begins walking the path.
Taji watches this all as carefully as he can, taking little notes on his tiny notepad flip book. He scribbles in pencil a bit as he watches Fuyu. But… she moves her hands so fast he can't get the seals down and hardly knows what to write. He makes general notes. He studies what he can. He watches the genjutsu too, unable of course to see what she's doing to Nobu, but aware something is going on. Genjutsu is an area he is very curious about but knows hardly anything about. In both cases he simply watches quietly, not pushing or asking, waiting to hear more from everyone.
Hinotori on the other hand was fanning himself as now he's able to see again. "Well like you said, I have to experience things first then learn them." he says to her, "But then again, I've not had a lot of practice using my sharingan to copy moves, but now after all thats happend, I will be doing so." he smiles. As she explains Sear to him and Taji he nods his head, "I see. The Great Fireball Technique produces a lot of heat, so even if an opponent dodges the fireball, the residual heat tends to keep them at bay unless they attack from a different angle or area." he says to her.
Fuyu turns away from Nobu, keeping her Sharingan active. The sounds and visions he is experiencing are not evident to anyone else. But when Nobu begins to walk inside the illusion, that is mimicked in the real world as well. The difference is that inside the illusion… The first step produces a sharp, stabbing pain in Nobu's foot, as though he had stepped 'wrongly', and placed his body's weight in such a way as to twist his ankle. If he takes a second step, the pain is worse, as in his other foot it may feel like he just stepped on a nail with its sharp end facing up.
The blinking red-eyed creatures in the shadows giggle and chatter like demonic monkeys. High-pitched, somehow sinister, and definitely mocking. Every step taken seems to double the pain. Is it worth it? Surely, after awhile Fuyu will cancel the Genjutsu, or just run out of Chakra. Why not stay? The lake of blood bubbles briefly, and a whispery voice seems to emerge from it, asking, 'What do you seek?'
Meanwhile, Fuyu explains to Hinotori and Taji. "I asked you to practice at making heated air, Hinotori. Since you have not yet begun to do that, I will just explain in detail. The hand seals are simple. Dog, Ox, Horse." She demonstrates them, nice and slow. "You do not inhale when doing this, because you are not drawing in air. That would feed the Fire Chakra enough to make a fireball. Instead you use whatever is presently in your lungs, and just heat it up sufficiently… And breathe out. Knead the Fire Chakra in your belly, and release it along with your breath." She demonstrates on a low level, just sending out enough heat to make it visible in the air, rather than a full-blown attack.
"Ungh," Nobu grunts slightly as he feels the pain in his foot, and quits moving after the second step. Was that because he was trying to leave, he wonders, or is it just part of the genjutsu as a whole? Paying no attention to the creatures in the darkness, he turns back to the lake, wondering if maybe he can find some use for it. And then it talks to him. "I am looking for a way to leave this place," he answers, "Or whatever it is I'm expected to find while I'm here."
Taji watches this all, writing down the three seals that Fuyu instructs them in, then nodding and putting the note pad away, "Well, it is a bit like… fire dart, which is really just a very very small fire ball technique, I guess. Only no flames. But… How…" He hmmms softly to himself and moves a bit away from the others so he can try to practice a tad without risk, facing out to the lake. "Let's see…. Dog, Ox, Horse…." He makes the hands seals and tries a few variations, nothing happening the first few times, as he tries to replicate the technique. He has no magic eyes to try to cheat to master things, it will be pure hard work and it may take him a while. He hasn't even mastered water walking yet so… speed of learning is not what he is famed for.
Hinotori nods his head and begins forming the seals as Fuyu showed them. It took him a moment to just focus on the air that was already in his lungs. He could see why this was a bit different compared to the Great Fireball Technique. He finishes the seals then expells the air thats already in his lungs. The product of his effors are less then stellar, as he starts to expell the heat, but then it tapers off. Frowning, "I will get this." he says as he starts to go through forming the seals.
The lake says, 'Leave? You wish escape? Cowardice is your friend. Run until you can no longer run. Flee from everything. You will be vomitting blood from the pain before you get even 30 feet, but you will be escaping… If you wish to find something, then death is your friend. Dive into my depths, and swim until you find what you seek. You will die, but you will awaken whole and new.' The lake bubbles as though laughing. The demonic creatures join in.
Fuyu nods and watches as the two practice. "Knead the Fire Chakra in your stomach first. Make sure it is concentrated and then… Release it. Do not force it, though. Forcing a Jutsu can injure you or worse." She mentally is keeping track of Nobu inside the Genjutsu world she has created. The fact he has taken two steps and then stopped indicates he is fully in its grip. But what choice will he make?
Nobu knows his options now, at least. Either run and suffer until the genjutsu is finished, or dive into the lake and find… something. Not much of a choice at all, but he has some idea of what he should be doing now, even if the thought of actually swimming in a lake of blood is pretty disturbing. Even reminding himself that it's not real, it takes a great deal of willpower on his part to walk over to the shore and begin wading into the red waters of the lake.
Taji focuses, makes hand signs, does the whole trick, then… ends up having a rather nasty coughing fit and falls over, wincing. Apparently he didn't do the breathing quite right, leaving him not badly hurt or anything but coughing as he ends up down on one knee. Fire is not easy for Taji, and this is no different at the moment. He has to take some time to catch his breath, struggling to breath properly again, giving up on trying to focus the chakra and recover himself first. As the only genin of the group it looks like he may have to struggle to get up to speed if this is the kind of thing that they will be working with. Still, Taji was able to learn things from Fuyu already so he doesn't even ask for help and starts over once he can breath again.
Taking steps towards the leg adds to the pain once again. By the time Nobu reaches the waters and begins to wade into them, it literally feels as though flames have engulfed his feet and legs and are climbing up his body with every additional step. Every nerve is burning with agony. The lake of blood seems not to douse this 'fire' at all.
Not until several skeletal arms and hands burst out of the bloody waters, grasping at Nobu and trying to pull him down into the lake, as screams echo from the owners of the arms. The moment he is submerged even part way, even if his head doesn't go under, there is a cold feeling that permeates the Chuunin, like he is losing all feeling in his body… Is that what death feels like? No, that's just what it feels like when one walks into a cold lake in autumn after one's legs felt like they were burning down to the bone.
The pain is gone, but now Nobu is standing in the lake. The sky is back to normal, the trees are too, and the lake is just… Water. Fuyu turns around, no longer observing the other two for a moment as she looks at Nobu. "Interesting choice. But now that you know the kind of pain you might face in the field, I hope you are ready for more training that focuses on suffering and continuing to fight regardless. I won't damage you, but when you can endure what would kill anyone else, and still come out victorious… I think that is a type of strength." Then she looks towards Taji and says, "Remember not to inhale while doing it. You don't want an excess amount of air in your lungs, and you want to expel it when it starts to heat up."
The pain is excruciating and the skeletons are terrifying, but Nobu's mind is set. He's already chosen to go into the lake. Really, the skeletons are taking him closer to his goal. Whatever's at the bottom of the lake, he knows he's about to find it. And then, suddenly, it's just Lake Konoha, the one he's been accustomed to for years now. He's only just realized what's happened when Fuyu begins her explanation. "I agree," he says, nodding slowly. "What sort of training will it be?"
Taji nods and tries again, but while he doesn't have another choking fit, nothing seems to happen. Either he's not focusing his chakra properly or… well, not really clear what is going wrong off the top of it. He pauses to look over at Nobu and Fuyu. "What are you two doing then?" He asks, curious about the training that Nobu is about to go through, clearly curious about the whole genjutsu thing in the first place, "I'm not having much luck yet. But I'll keep at it. Just… curious." He says as he tilts his head, watching the pair talk.
Fuyu answers both of them at once, as she deactivates her Sharingan. "I can make an individual experience pain as though he or she had been wounded, and even make that person see a wound on himself or herself. That is what I did to that… 'Serin' all those weeks ago. On his way out, I essentially made him feel as though I had just blown several large holes through his torso, limbs, and so forth. I hate to admit it, but I was amazed he managed to continue running after that. It would have put most people into a coma, or at least crippled any efforts to escape."
She shrugs. "So that is what we were doing just now. I was exposing Nobu to a mix of extreme pain and some fear… Two things that are hardly uncommon in the world of shinobi. It seems pain is where we will need to focus, as fear is not Nobu's weakness. If he had run and tried to get out of range of my Genjutsu, then he would have been choosing to face the pain. That would mean it was something he is strong against. Instead he chose the option that was the most frightening, but the least painful." She shrugs and looks over as Hinotori continues to struggle, the same as Taji. "…I think we are done training for the night. You can continue to practice on your own time. It is easier to learn how to use this technique if you do it during the day, because the air is warmer, which accelerates your efforts a bit. I intentionally chose night time because it is cooler, and thus more difficult to heat up the air. It is your choice which method you use."
"I see," Nobu says, "So that was what it all meant…" He looks down at his feet, just now realizing that he's still standing in the lake. He wades out onto the shore, wishing that he'd found a drier alternative (he'll probably have to change his pants when he gets home). "That's all for now?" he asks Fuyu. It seems that Taji and Hinotori are finishing their training for now, at least by the sound of what Fuyu has said. So maybe his training is finished too, now that he's out of the genjutsu.
Taji eyes the damp footed Nobu, "Hey, I can start a fire for you, warm you up, dry your legs out before you head back to the village?" He offers to his teammate. "I haven't mastered this new thing yet but I can still do fire darts and start a nice fire, if we gather some wood." He suggests as he glances to Fuyu, "I'll probably stay out here and practice some, if it is harder at night then… then if I master it at night I'll get it and during the day will be a piece of cake, right?" He says as he already turns to try to find some wood nearby to use for kindling.
Fuyu nods to Nobu. "That's right. No more training for tonight, unless you want to continue." Then she looks to Taji. "That's the idea. Master it at night, and you can do it easily during the day." Then she rolls her shoulders and her neck and offers, "I have some things to take care of before our next mission. Paperwork and so forth. I'm going to head back. Don't tire yourselves out TOO much…" Then she wanders out of the area, away from the lake. This is a nice start, but she'll have to push them harder, it seems.