Date: January 18, 2012
In an effort to compile more complete data over his opponents beyond what his probe can find out, Ryoji decided to directly confront potential targets. The first on this list, Shintaro…
"First Promotion Exams - We Who Thrive On Shadows: Ryoji vs. Shintaro"
West Shiren Caverns [Land of Wind]
The western area of Shiren Caverns is typified by long vertical passages. Narrow walkways formed by accidents of geology wind over deep pits, with stalagmites and columns jutting up all around. A trained shinobi shouldn't have too much trouble climbing up or down these passages, provided they aren't hindered by rivals or the local fauna. Say, isn't that spider web abnormally large…?
Day Two. Or at least it 'felt' like Day Two to Ryoji when next he awoken to darkness. For a briest instant his heart started to race from seeing nothing at all… but then with a light facepalm, Ryoji realizes his error before rising to begin the day.. or evening..
An hour later with a notepad in hand, Ryoji checks through the list of data he collected thus far from the other competitors. Be they potential chuunin or jounin. Some, like Takeshi, have their names already crossed out while others like a certian Nara's had there's circled twice over. "Hmm…" He traps his chin with the eraser end. ".. Thus far he's kept to those areas with plenty of light from the looks of it.. A double negative?… No, just enough light so tatical reasons like my own.. His battles however.." He shook his head negatively, subconsiously focusing his chakra to his feet to start walk along an abruptly vertical passage. "Probes were nixed by him probably too… *sigh*… time to route the others and see If I can catch him exploring.." He muttered darkly before tuning out completely with the present except continuing to walk, in order to check in on the baits.. and the probes..
The relentless darkness and shadows of the caverns are quite unwelcoming to most, but are naught but a playground for a skilled Nara. While hanging around these caverns for a couple weeks is a bit of a drag, the danger of such seems rather minimal to Shintaro, as he can use his jutsu to pretty much take over a large space of a battlefield quite easily here. His first battle with a quite skilled woman and cat combination was rather interesting, but nothing he couldn't handle with tactics and walk away minimally damaged.
Leaning against a large column in the cavern, Shintaro crouches down in its shadow. His fingers are steepled, eyes closed as he relaxes back against the column. Staying in one spot for long periods of time to conserve energy has made these last couple days go by rather slowly, but it's given the Nara Chuunin time to relax and think on how he feels about something he recently found out. His eyes are closed, a rather pissed off look on his face as he simply waits for someone to come along.
Exactly how long Shintaro has known of Ryoji's presence may be hard to determine, but his eyes cut around toward the probes and then back toward exactly where the boy himself is trying to hide. For now, he remains silent and simply begins focusing and gathering chakra to prepare for a likely impending fight. A light smirk tugs at his lips, yet there is an intense look in his eyes, almost a bloodlust. Perhaps he plans to vent some frustration in this fight through punishing his opponent for choosing him to challenge.
The Chuunin's finger remain steepled in from of him, though they could quite easily be turned to form seals that position. He doesn't even bother to stand up, remaining relaxed as he prepares to bring pain upon whoever this is who is unlucky enough to have chosen him for a target.
"The interesting thing about most things used to cover holes," Shintaro says calmly as he brings a hand up to mouth. "They burn." After inhaling quickly, he breathes out a massive ball of fire toward Ryoji. He expands the flames as much as possible, focusing more on ridding the area of whatever moss or other objects he's using to block the light out than only doing damage. "Nara Shintaro," he introduces himself amidst the flames. "You are?"
Watching Ryoji put the flames on his hair out, Shintaro remains crouched down. It seems he won't be bothering to stand up for this fight either. He forms his hands into the Rat Hand Seal, and the shifting of shadows that form a shell over his body is almost unnoticeable. However, when he doesn't even bother to move and allows the spiked hair to simply bounce off him. "The path of flames and darkness," he says with a smirk as his shadow creeps toward Ryoji's attempting to lock with his shadow and control his movements through Shadow Imitation.
"Vagueness.." Ryoji deadpanned just as his ears twitched in response to something. Could he here the shadows try to the creep up on him!? Probably not quiet that, but he -did- still have plenty of eyes roaming about somewhere admist the room, thus his intuition was all the more sharper because of it in guiding him into leaping to the side of the shadow jutsu. "And here I thought the will of fire lay not in such path!" He called out just as he started to toss seemingly at random, bits of sharp rocks at the Nara picked up around his feet without standing.
A delay tatic for in truth his other probes were being re-routed once more for the second phase…
"The Will of Fire takes many paths," Shintaro says, still remaining crouched down and allowing the rocks to bounce off him. So this guy's just buying time or is a complete idiot then. His hands remain in a seal as his shadow combined with that of the column begins to creep forward and combine with those of the environment around, creating a large diameter of shadow around him to give him a wide radius of shadow around him.
"Variable Paths…", Ryoji muttered, grinning broadily as his mind worked in over time. Not just over the 'idea' of so many paths being possible for Konoha nin, but also in trying to figure out the best plan of action; especially after seeing every shadow near Shintaro become drawn towards the Nara like some kind of gravity well. As if to focus better, Ryoji closed his eyes, kneeled, and pressed both of his knuckles against one another with the palms facing inwards.
He was no inherient genius like the Nara…
His perceptive levels were.. at best.. average compared to most clans 'specializing' in the area. And..
He was an Iga…
Thus his plan of attack… was to avoid attacking; only summon another distraction, a snake larger just barely able to fit inside the cavern burst from the ground before him as it tried feverently to chase not one, not two, but hundreds of Ryoji's ocular probes up until now. And despite managing to devour nearly half of them after forcing them into the air, the rest managed to bound away off the cieling and in large clumps tried to keep away from the snake dweller. It didn't bother to even think or way until they gathered together again, only start carving a path of destruction throughtout the area as it gave chase while Ryoji… slipped back down into the fresh tunnel it created. A tunnel that seemed to drop into infinite darkness with no sound of Ryoji hitting anything….