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Fandom Naruto AU: Era of Tomorrow

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Action, Adventure, Anime, AU, Naruto Universe, Platonic, Romance, Super Powers
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Steven Toast

Yeeeeesss
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Takigakure hidden by the majestic waterfall of the small shinobi village that was surrounded by trees and water, a small piece of history tying to the five great nations through a name long since vanished from the face of Takigakure. A secretive entrance and a unknown history remains from public knowledge, while a growing future comes to the hope of many within the Waterfall.

Few notable shinobi have entered history that stretches beyond this place, though plenty of capable ninja have been produced over time. One young trio of Genin soon to become Chūnin after a trying and somewhat lengthy trial at the Chūnin exams, hold upon their shoulders a expectation from many as the faces of their potentially bright future.

While plenty of larger nations produce several young shinobi per year and per class, the waterfall produce less numbers yet still capable nin in their own right. Such a trio here that proved capable in their own right during the prior mentioned exams and now look to their return home, hoping for a rest of sorts and reflect upon recent history and accomplishments or perhaps merely converse and catch up with others or together? While they’ll have time for such things, one thing is clear their shoulders shall continue to bare a hope for one small nations future and prosperity. And surely.....

A mission and many more are yet to come....
 

Steven Toast

Yeeeeesss
Iwagakure the nation of mountainous terrain and swarming with earth style specialists who seemed to possess a attitude matching the nature of their lands. Konoha held the traditional chunin exams for the allied nations of Suna and Konoha and smaller countries of shinobi to see which of their respective young ninja would prove themselves worthy of promotion. Given the state of history it seemed opposing figures like Iwa didn’t care to sit idle while the chunin exams were held elsewhere prompting a forming of their own chunin exams, allowing many smaller villages to take part in Iwagakure though the participation of Kumo, one of the five great nations proved difficult.

However Takigakure by the decision of Lady Hifumi sent two squads to each nation, hoping the four squads of genin they had were ready and could prove the growth of the waterfall shinobi and its future. Shibuki led squad 1 and another Jonin led squad 3 to Konoha meanwhile Hikari’s squad 2 and another jonin’s squad 4 took part in Iwagakure’s chunin exams. The showcase of genin was impressive while tensions were clear especially between Iwa nin and Kumo, Taki and Kusa another pair of rivals that sparked the air around them.

The feeling of being outmatched and overwhelmed by the other genin, the spotlight nature of it all and the desire to not let anyone down only made the pressure seem insurmountable for Yori. The brown haired mess of a genin that never felt completely at ease under the watchful eyes gazing toward the spotlight filled spectacles taking place. Combined with a lack of confidence in his own abilities, the constant voice of his grandfather in his head and the fact his own abilities seemed lacking in comparison to others.... It was clear enough to Yori that his part in the exams would not be easy. What was Lady Hifumi thinking? Replacing him with another had to have been a better idea, if, Taki had another genin to send in his place. Instead, Yori had to deal with his own problems and do his best not to let down his team and Sensei....

~~~~
The squad faced challenging stages of various tests, each ended up with tough genin in their respective fights after stage two and the kusa squads never left an opportunity to get a few words in with the Taki squads meanwhile squad 2 had dealings with a kusa team in the second round. Throughout Yori kept in mind his limited supply of chakra pills and the presence of his clans vials of liquid rubber.... the temptation to use one and test his theory on the dosage playing a key role and could if careful be a controlled risk when limiting yourself to a small dose per use was always playing in the back of his mind. He felt his shortcomings would inevitably be the downfall of his team.

But despite the temptations to make use of the forbidden vials outside of extreme cases, Yori persisted without drinking from any of the vials. Much to his own surprise the genin made a good showing for himself and represented his team pretty well despite all the doubts and pressure he felt to not screw things up.

~~~~

The journey home after the exams were rather.... exhausting, Yori on one hand couldn’t wait to depart from the rocky, mountainous terrain of Iwagakure and return home to the more paradise like lands of Takigakure. The beautiful, majestic waterfall shielding the very entrance of the village, the great number of trees and flowing waters surrounding the place he called home. But on the other the journey wasn’t quick and easy, filled with wonderful sights as far as the eye can see and more comfortable terrain and temperatures.

Meanwhile the genin was very much left to his own thoughts at times, thinking heavily on every mistake and the near failures that could of cost the team of advancing through to the next round or simply could have let them down by giving a poor showing in the individual stages of the exams. To think he actually had improved over the years yet still lacked in simple areas of human nature and true shinobi strengths, it was a wonder to him at times how he made it this far though he was often reminded that his team played a great role in making it this far without dying or failing miserably.

Nearing the waterfall villages entrance and taking a moment to glance over his teammates, Mai and Suiren then over towards his Sensei, Hikari, Yori let out a soft exhale and closed his eyes while dropping his shoulders. “Meh.... looks like a long road ahead, or else grandfather is right and I will fail the team amongst others.” The young man thought to himself while wondering if his father died heroically or through failure and then shaking the matter from his mind and clearing his head a bit.

Truthfully his body was still rather sore from the extent he pushed himself during the course of the exams and his last fight, leaving him capable of more easily pushing aside the negative thoughts and overall wondering he had running through his mind. Through much training, working on endurance and trying to add other ways of combating opposing ninja and expanding his jutsu repertoire and skills, Yori managed to grow over time with his team and training with them alongside Sensei Hikari.

However it never felt enough to him, still often electing to fade into the crowds and allow others to shine while he remained overlooked and simply used his role as a sensor to prove useful and using his hiden in more defensible ways to offer further support. After all it seemed to work so far, Mai showcasing her offensive prowess to bring quick, versatile strikes from her dart or striking a blow with her hammer and Taijutsu as Suiren provided the poisonous effects to deal damage while flowing through the bloodstream of her targets and playing effectively with their minds through genjutsu bringing a double dose of terror when combined to wicked effect. While during missions and battles involving their sensei it proved even more reasonable to remain in the background and fade til he was needed acting as the shield for his team or as the sensor locating those sought by squad 2.

Passing through the waterfall and taking a pause to shift the senbon in his mouth from one side to the other while looking to his teammates and Sensei. The quiet nature often more common then anything with Yori though Mai, Suiren and Hikari Sensei worked with him over their years together to get him talking more and coax him out of his quiet shell. The look in his eyes merely pondered if anyone wanted to say a word before heading into the village through a under water swim and arrival home. “.... Think lady Hifumi... needs a talk before the day is over?” Yori spoke up rather neutral of tone and curious of what was next.

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Crayons

Iconoclast
As they returned home Suiren was in high spirits from their success, despite still shrugging off a few injuries, which manifested in a bounce in her step and a gently radiating air of smugness. Squad Two had succeeded in getting one over on their Kusagakure rivals, and the team had made themselves known in front of some of the largest villages and most notable of people including the Tsuchikage himself. She was sure they had made an impression, but whether it was a favourable one or not was debatable. Not withstanding Yori’s excellent performance despite his nerves, Suiren’s final match had been controversial.

She wished her brother had been there to witness her success, to see Tsutsuji’s face as she won her final match and her rank as chunin, but her brother had been in Shibuki’s Squad One - sent to the Land of Fire for his own chunin exam. She wondered how he was getting along, and an uncharitable part of her rather hoped he had failed. Instead she had her pseudo-sibling in Hikari-sensei. They had been mistaken for sisters on a number of occasions, and Suiren rather wished that she could exchange her real sibling for the supposed one. It was a flattering comparison, and one she thought about quite a bit as they made the journey home. Hopefully Hikari-sensei didn’t think that Suiren’s antics had brought her into disrepute.

Suiren had had a difficult time in her first match up, faced with an Earth Release user from Iwagakure who was both powerful and fast. After being thrown around by chunks of flying rock, and being thwarted by walls of earth being raised underfoot, Suiren finally managed to catch the girl off guard for a moment, and was forced to jab some heavily dosed tranquilising senbon into her. It was neither an easy victory nor a particularly impressive one.

In contrast, her final match was against one of the Kusagakure shinobi who had dogged Squad Two during the competition so far, and turned out to be rather one sided. Her first match had taught her a great deal, not the least of which was realising that she would have to take initiative early on, and pull out all the stops. Keeping secrets in reserve was a luxury she didn’t have. She would just have to learn more secrets after the chunin exams were over. Suiren started off with a genjutsu immediately, filling the Kusa nin’s senses with the illusion that he was trapped in a deep jungle, with strange and exotic plants growing thickly beneath the trees, and the sounds of peculiar birds and dangerous animals creeping behind to give him a sense of dread. She couldn’t be sure how long the genjutsu would contain him. He would realise fairly quickly that his surroundings had completely changed. As soon as she saw his eyes begin to dart from side to side, Suiren drew blood and activated her plant summoning ritual. Here and there she hid the real plants among the illusion, making sure that in the confined forest he would need to touch them. The pain of the stings was completely real. They seemed to wake him to his senses momentarily – he dispelled the genjutsu. But at the moment of his seeming triumph he collapsed onto the ground. He was undoubtedly in great distress, but unable to forfeit the match as his throat was closing up. Suiren approached the downed opponent, a syringe of antidote in her hand. She looked up to the crowd, unafraid of limelight in contrast to her team-mate Yori, rather enjoying the attention instead. She faced the crowd and calmly held up her thumb, first up and then down. Asking the audience to make the decision on whether she should save the Kusa nin’s life or let him die. They decided on mercy, though there was more outraged shouting than a visible display of thumbs. She crouched down and administered the antidote to the now unconscious shinobi, then stepped back and let the medics stretcher him away.

Tactically, it had worked perfectly, but there were definitely some who took an extreme dislike to her afterwards, not least of all the Kusa nin’s team-mates. It didn’t bother her unduly and there were certainly no apologies forthcoming.

The terrain gave way from the rocky and bare landscape of the Land of Earth, to the green forests that meant they were nearly home. Yori looked like he still couldn’t believe that he passed the exam. His silence had a more shell-shocked quality than his usual quietness. Suiren fell into step beside him for a moment and gave him a smile. “Missing the rocks already?” she asked him, “or has it just not sunk in yet?” She gave a small laugh. “Sensei, I still can’t tell if Yori is happy or not,” she called out to Hikari. She gave Mai a grin, though she was unsure how her other team mate was feeling right now either.

“Oh you think Hifumi-sama would want to see us?” she asked. “I wonder if the teams who went to Konoha are back yet…” her thoughts instantly going to Tsutsuji. “Well! I’m looking forward to getting home,” she declared, crossing her hands behind her head.
 

Ginko The Mushishi

Traveling Mushi-Shi
A demon-grinning child of flame, surrounded by water is an ironic sight; fire and water? How could the two mix so well one might ask. Sajin wouldn't give an answer befitting of any sort of philisophical deepness to say the least. The excitement still rung throughout his body as he had finished the Chunin Exams with a big bang. The young man of scarlet fire more than likely took the biggest beating among his teammates during them, fighting up close and personal is Sajin's game, punching you in the face is his checkmate; Simple yet effective one might say! Although, any normal ninja might find lessons from looking like a mummy as they travel back home... Sajin on the other hand, did not.

Sajin's first match up was easy-peasy, at least in his point of view. Sajin's speed countered the slow wind-up time of a Iwagakure Nin. Jet Jaguar was Sajin's bread and butter for this fight, agility, traversal, and manuverability was all he needed against the Iwa-Nin. The only problem was the defenses that were put in place by the crafty little Earth-user. Armor of rock kept Sajin from breaking through thus coming down to a fight of brute strength against one Genin to another. Fists connected; blood spilled, but Sajin's soul burned bright to attain victory. A powerful knee to the chest broke through the Iwa-Nin's fortified defense. Coupled with Sajin locking both hands, lifting them above himself and slamming straight down onto the opponents head would knock them straight out from the sheer force of the attack.

The final match became Sajin's true obstacle, forcing the young Genin to truly think or suffer crushing defeat. A long range; Water Style genjutsu and ninjutsu user was the worst match-up any close-range fighter could hope for. This is where the brunt of Sajin's wounds came from, the arena would be submerged in waist deep water by the impressive chakra control and strength of the Kusa-Nin. Giving them the ultimate edge in the fight, as they waded attacks of water ninjutsu towards Sajin, whom lost all movement speed in the ocean-like terrain. Frustration took over Sajin as he couldn't brave the continuous streams of attacks, being knocked over, toyed with; treated like a ragdoll in an endless storm upon a feeble raft. As the cocky Kusa-Nin casted his Genjutsu upon Sajin, it only swallowed him into the deep dark depths. Feeling himself drowning as he fell deeper into the dark pit of the Genjutsu...Sajin could only feel his worthless in the face of such an overpowering opponent...

"Don't fall. Keep fighting. Push...FORWARD!"

A voice called out to Sajin in his darkest moment; a surge of anger, fire, and strength broke the Genjutsu that had fallen upon Sajin. Sajin's own chakra flow had overpowered and dispelled the genjutsu all within his comatose state. His spirit was stronger than this Kusa-Nin's roaring waves. He vowed to win no matter what it took. The scarlet flame of Sajin spread throughout the field, causing the very water to boil as he rose up from the deep. Turning the very terrain around them into a hot spring with the amount of heat Sajin generated, it began to disrupt the Kusa-Nin's plans. "You can't handle the heat huh?" Sajin spoke as he waded forward to his opponent. With a sickening headbutt, the Kusa-Nin was reduced to their knees, dumbfounded as they couldn't understand how Sajin could alter the state of his water field technique. Sajin bent low, springing up into the air and allowing his whole body to become a catalyst of flame. Shooting up into the air like a torpedo; Sajin bounced around the walls of the stadium, generating momentum alongside the combustive force of his flames. Springing into the sky Sajin burst towards his now stationary target at blinding speeds, slamming his fist straight into the cocky Kusa-Nin's face. The dome of flame evaporated the ocean-like terrain, and Sajin's fist would dish out a personal, yet permanent reminder mentally and physically to the Kusa-Nin. Sajin held victory in his hands, and none could take it away from him.

Sajin's sharp toothed grin was ever present as scenerey changed to the familiar flora and fauna of home. The Mummy-Nin would waddle along with his team, carelessly enjoying the moment with them. "Lady Hifumi? I wouldn't doubt it, we're finally Chunin! I would hope a congratulations would be in order for our hardwork...But if not, who cares! WE MADE IT! CHHHEESSSTTOOOOO!!!!!!" Sajin's mouth opened wide as little spouts of flame shot from his mouth. "Chesto" at least to Sajin, was always the word he exclaimed to the world whenever he was excited, nervous, or to hype others up. "Let's get a MOVE ON!!" Sajin exclaimed, waddling just a tad bit faster now.
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ElenaIsCool

Ultimate Punster Goddess
Hikari was once again glad to get out of Iwa, as it wasn't really her kind of place. She enjoyed moving around more than her students, but she had to admit, it was tiring. The Chunin Exams were quite..Interesting. It gave her a close up experience on what was her team's strenght and weaknesses in a way that couldn't be seen during training. First was Yori, who had managed to win his last round with difficulty, seemed to have trouble with attacks that were random, unexpected and with no particular pattern. Next was Suiren, who reminded the jonin of her own teammates in many ways, did mostly well but almost killing another participant clearly went too far. Hikari had given her a look of dissapointment after that match and tried not to think about what would've happened had most people not voted for the contestant's mercy. And finally Sajin, the new one, Mai's ' temporary replacement'. He was one fiery ball of energy and pushed through the fights, burning with determination. Genjutsu was, obviously, his weak spot but Hikari was sure she could work on that.

The blue haired woman chuckled at Suiren's statement "Well, maybe it takes Yori too much effort to smile after all of this. It's been pretty tiring" She closed her eyes as Sajin, energetic as ever made it clear about how happy he was. "Well, we have to make it to Hifumi-sama first, even though I doubt it'll be to congratulate you only."

Hikari held up a hand "Speaking of which, you three I have something to say" she took out her bag and smiled at the three, taking out two wrapped objects. Taking the first one, she unwrapped it presented it to Yori, revealing a kusarigama "Toshiaki Yori, I present this to you as a gift and a congratulations on becoming a chunin. I'll train you on how to use it" She then took the second gift and presented it to Sajin, which contained a scroll of fire based jutsus "Otakemaru Sajin, this is a gift and congratulations for becoming a chunin. It took me quite some looking to get it, but I know it'll be useful for all of us". Moving over to Suiren, she put a hand on her shoulder "Asagi Suiren, your gift is not a scroll or a weapon, but a jutsu, two jutsus in fact, that I'll teach to you when we have time" Hikari beamed at her students, pride evident in her face. "I'm very proud of you three being my students." She wipes a fake tear and looks at the shell necklace on her neck.

'I did it, Toshiro. If only you were here..'

The jonin turned back to her students "Come on now! We don't want to keep Hifumi-sama waiting!"

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Steven Toast

Yeeeeesss
The journey was full of nature yet his mind was elsewhere returning to reality from the depths of his own minds troubles and creation. Even as Suiren fell into step beside him giving a smile, Yori had remained rather still-face only able to review each and every mistake no matter how minor and commonly made they were or expected in battle, he was trained and instilled to perform and execute on much higher level then he did during the exams, perfection was practically the only acceptable level in his grandfathers eyes anything less was failure and likely the showing of weakness in one form or another. Looking up toward Suiren, he pondered the thought of actually missing the rocks of iwagakure and listened to her laugh, giving only a slight turn up of his lips into a partial and brief smile in the corner of his mouth.

The thought of actually missing Iwa was almost terrifying. It was so different from home, the lakes of their village, the waterfall, the beauty of a small nation..... He certainly did not miss the rocks when trees and water were calling to him. Yori listened some more before speaking in turn, as Suiren spoke aloud to Hikari-Sensei regarding him being happy or not. “Twelve miscalculations, twenty-three visible facial expressions I shouldn’t have allowed to reach that point... atleast two mistakes in reaction time alone, a number of counter attacks and failed offensive maneuvers in the last battle alone.... Was it victory or survival? success or failure?” Yori thought to himself before nodding silently in agreement with Hikari sensei’s reasoning for his lack of a smile. “ The rocks are too hard, takes a toll on the body... sleeping on that ground. A smile might put me out from shear exhaustion.” Yori replied trying to respond in the same nature


“I figure she might...... Do squads report back after exams? We do on missions.” Yori asked aloud upon reply to Suiren. While looking over toward Sajin and Hikari Sensei with a listening but inquisitive look. “They should be... how long would it take them to return? We had rougher terrain.” He added giving a opinion on the thought from Suiren. As usual Sajin was as energetic as usual even while waddling forward. He expressed a excitement and certainty Hifumi would want to see them with a awaiting congratulations as they returned. Meanwhile Hikari Sensei stated it will likely not just be a congratulatory gathering once they report back.

Yori nodded to his squad mates and Sensei accepting whatever was to come. He was ready to take a swim in the waters and return to the village when his attention was grabbed by Hikari Sensei announcing she had something to say, leaving Yori curious, his eyes turning to full attention towards her and eying his teammates momentarily, uncertain of what to expect. She started with him, leaving him to wonder even more before realizing what was happening. Eyes catching the wrapped presence in her hands and unwrapping it and giving it to him with her congratulations on becoming a chunin. ‘A kusarigama?!’ His eyes widened while looking toward her and taking the weapon into his hands in acceptance. “I...uhmm... Thank you Hikari Sensei!” He offered a small smile and slight bow of his head in appreciation and remaining respectful. While truly liking his gift but unable to find the right words to express how he was feeling by the gesture and gift.

Typically Yori would find reason to doubt, but instead only offered a softer glance and relax of his eyes giving a light smile to her statement. “It had to happen sooner or later.” He spoke attempting a small joke and offering a slight chuckle to his smile. Again his mind fought the doubts in his mind and remained a sincere, appreciative expression upon his face aiming to try and look past his mistakes, deemed failures and enjoying the moment with his Sensei and teammates. While joining the others and returning to the village at long last.

~~~~

Meanwhile Hifumi remained within her office sitting quietly at her desk inside a lightly decorated room filled with scrolls, books, reports and a understated but evident presence of flowers at different points of the room. While her hands held before her nose and lower face as her fingers intertwined and clasped her hands together with a straight look coming from her grey purplish eyes, seemingly awaiting for a knock at her door as a file lay before her on the desk.

Crayons Crayons ElenaIsCool ElenaIsCool Ginko The Mushishi Ginko The Mushishi
 

Crayons

Iconoclast
Out of habit, Suiren made sure not to stand too close to Sajin as they walked along. She had nothing against her fiery team-mate, she just wanted to be at a sufficient distance from him should his loudness attract any unwanted attention. She had explained to him once, that it wasn't personal, more that she saw him as a jar of jam one might put out a few metres from a picnic to attract the ants and wasps somewhere else. In fact, she liked him a great deal, for the energy and enthusiasm he brough to their team, as well as the possibilities of tactical combos.

Suiren had cast sideways glances towards Hikari all the way home, when she thought the jonin wasn't looking. She felt that her sensei was disappointed in her after her little stunt in the finals, and she hated that. She put a huge amount of stock in Hikari's opinion and had been in a half-sulk about it, neither wanting to defend herself nor apologise, even though part of her was desperate to talk to her about it to put her own mind at rest. As they reached their familiar land, Suiren had begun to relax. Hikari had neither berated her or asked her to explain herself, and it weighed less on Suiren's mind.

“Hmm... Sajin doesn't think so,” she replied to Hikari with a small smile, her head cocked on one side as she blinked at Yori. “Don't worry, I have something that would wake you up again,” she said to him, patting her medicine box.

She was surprised when Hikari called them all over to her, and stood near the others waiting for what the sensei would say. She was impressed by the presents that she offered to both Yori and Sajin, and felt a great sense of relief when Hikari turned to her next. New jutsus? That meant more quality time with her sensei! “Thank you … thank you so much, Hikari-sensei,” she bowed quickly, basking in the pride that Hikari professed for them all. She had to pretend to sneeze, so no-one would notice the moisture rising in her eyes.

Yori seemed pleased with his kusarigama, and Suiren thought that the weapon made good sense to combine with his fighting style and special abilities. Sajin could hardly complain about a fire scroll either. She exchanged a genuine smile with her team-members, pleased and excited for all of them.

She hurried forward, not wanting to be the one who delayed their team meeting with Hifumi-sama. If Tsutsuji was there, she had no doubt that she had done equally well or better than him, and began thinking of what kind of supercilious look she would treat him to in the Village Leader's office.

Steven Toast Steven Toast ElenaIsCool ElenaIsCool Ginko The Mushishi Ginko The Mushishi
 

Ginko The Mushishi

Traveling Mushi-Shi
Sajin was continuing his stroll with the group until Hikari Sensei stopped them all, listening to the congratulations of his teacher made him smile brightly. All of them worked hard to get to this point, the congratulations was heartfelt though, rather than an expectation to Sajin. Which endeared him to the next part of this moment with his Sensei. Gifts?! Sajin never expected gifts, but now he was excited! This reminded him of the day he finally started learning fire ninjutsu from his grandfather.
~​
10 years old, Sajin just finished a session of Taijutsu training with his father when he was ushered into the family shrine. There his grandfather, Kohoku Otakemaru sat meditating on his decision. Was Sajin ready to undertake the teachings that were passed down to each generation of the Otakemaru Clan? Was he ready to learn its deepest secrets and strongest skills? A strong headbutt through the shrine doors answered that question..
"YOU LITTLE IDIOT!! HOW DARE YOU DESTROY A PART OF THE SACRED OTAKEMARU SHRINE!" His grandfather fumed, staring down at Sajin who got up, rubbing his head.
Shooting back with just as much fury "WELL THE DOORS WERE CLOSED AND I COULDN'T STOP SLIDING! YOU OLD GEEZER!" Heads clashed, growls ensued and insults were shot back and forth for about a minute until Kohaku finally chopped Sajin on the head. "ENOUGH!!! I didn't come here to argue! We're here for your training..Specifically, your fire release! I will teach you the Otakemaru Clans Ninjutsu...It seems you are strong enough, and hopefully wise enough to understand them as I teach you."
Dumbstruck, Sajin blinked up at his grandfather. The pain from the chop having subsided... No way...He was going to learn the family ninjutsu!? "CHESSSSTOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" Sajin flared, actually having a little bit of fire spew from his mouth. "EEEEYAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!" His grandfather shouted in the same vigorous energy, his pointed moustache sizziling as his nostrils shot out light puffs of smoke.
~​
Those were fond memories, Sajin also got the old geezer back for that headchop by setting his pants on fire during dinner. Yori's gift was a kusarigama; that would certainly improve his skills in battle! Sajin was proud of Yori, finally getting his time to shine instead of being cooped up in his own home, and burdened by his grandfather. When it was Sajin's turn, Hikari produced a scroll in her hands. It was adorned in crimson, wrapped with a seal that clearly identified it as Fire.....A scroll? Fire ninjutsu? Sajin could barely contain the excitement. With a hurried thank you to his master, he nabbed it with his mouth ever so carefully as to not destroy its contents and let it slip down to his right hand. The possibilites were endless! He could mix and match his own skills in with whatever he would find in this scroll. It was like liquid gold in his hands! Sajin observed Suiren's gift, which would be new jutsu skills! Ohhh Sajin couldn't hold it in... Throwing his arms up in the air and then "CHESSTtoo-ooooo...." Such a roar was reduced to tiny squeaks as his arms ached horribly. Damn these infernal injuries!
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ElenaIsCool

Ultimate Punster Goddess
Hikari nodded at her team with a smile on her face. She felt so happy for them all, it was a fuzzy feeling in her heart. She suddenly pulled her team into a group hug “Good job, you three” Breaking away from the hug, the blue haired woman put her hands on her hips “Alright let’s get moving, we don’t want to keep Lady Higumi waiting do we?” Her smile turned into a mischievous smirk “Did I mention I took your lunches?” As if on cue, Hikari disappeared into a puddle and the real Hikari emerged from the shadows ahead “First one to Lady Hifumi’s gets lunch! You better catch up if you want to eat!” She started running and laughing hysterically. If the chunin would check, their lunch was gone..



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One exhausting race later, Team 2 stood at Hifumi’s door. The jonin knocked on the door before entering and giving Hifumi a respectful bow “Lady Hifumi, you called?”
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Steven Toast

Yeeeeesss
The lady of Takigakure never was one to stray from her reputation in fact she often used her expressionless and reserved manner to her advantage more times then not. If one couldn’t read your reactions then ultimately it gave a certain sense of a upper hand, a certain perspective watching them react to your non reactive nature, ultimately playing themselves into your favor without uttering a single word or moving a single muscle. There was a kind of satisfaction and joy it gave her. But it could also play against her where other elements of life and titles were concerned. Some responses matched better in some situations and played favorably where politics were concerned when the people were involved. However Lady Hifumi managed just fine so far as she sat within her office rather comfortably in forward lean with her hands propped up on her desk and hiding her lower face well enough. Giving a rather stern and stoic look while she awaited the latest team to return to the village hidden by the waterfall.

Each of the other teams had returned from Iwagakure and Konoha except for one, team 2, Suiren, Sajin, Yori and their leader Hikari. It was already clear of where she’d send them next, while becoming evident over time which team was the most successful in the two respective exams further proving her choice was correct. Hifumi was never one to rest on her laurels and she was not one to allow for her shinobi of Takigakure to become complacent and rest too long on their accomplishments. While she was indeed proud of team 2’s efforts, understood rest would be needed, she wouldn’t allow their rest to become overextended nor their respective egos get too inflated by recent events and accomplishments whether they were at risk of doing so or not. No.

A high ranking mission of the upmost importance and care had come to her attention recently, a mission that could jeopardize takigakure, it’s people and the future of the small but slowly growing in strength and prosperity of a village. Reviewing the teams history it was almost perfect to her that team 2 would return in time and receive such a challenge to push them and see just what they could do when things really became challenging and nearly everything could be at risk requiring the most delicate and skillful of touch to accomplish the task and mission at hand. This mission had almost everything in one Assignment.

Awaiting behind her desk within her chair propped of hands as she was, the lady welcomed the team into her office with a nod as Hikari greeted first and entered. A cold, reserved silence greeting them in turn with only her nod, purplish grey eyes seeming to peer into their very souls with the look from her eyes and the atmosphere that seemed to exist around them. Even with a painting here and there, a soft almost overlooked presence of flowers in different places about the room, the office seemed dark and silent, a cold feel even as the light from outside shined through the windows and peeked In on their faces behind her.

“...... Hikari..... squad two.... well done...” Hifumi spoke in slow, drawn out fashion as she congratulated the team. “Please... come in and get comfortable... for the moment...” She spoke giving little if anything in terms of tone or expression as she spoke. It after all was very unlike her to show her softer side especially not easily and often, revealing just how much she cares for her people and village or just how proud she was of the team and respective people in Taki. Or the secret fancies and likes she had such as the flowers she kept in her office and about her home or the books and journals of poetry she kept on the shelves hidden amongst the scrolls and more punchily fitting books for one of her station. “ You’re the last team to return home. The reason is most accepting and delightful especially in comparison to more unfortunate events that occurred elsewhere.” Hifumi added with a soft sigh and exhaled before dropping her hands from face and down upon her desk.

“However.... Don’t expect to rest for long. You’ve all done well but there is always room to grow, improving upon certain tactics used in politically sensitive and shared gatherings , not letting the chessttooo’s blind you to the path ahead or relatives and doubt creep into your mind and putting you at risk.” Hifumi spoke seemingly pointing out respective examples for each and as a whole with her arms held behind her back and eyes looking out the window into the grand view she had from her office, before turning to face the team. “A important matter has come to our intelligence’s attention and I’ve decided you, Hikari, your team of Sajin, Suiren and Yori will be facing this delicate matter personally.” She shared with the squad confident they’d be both up for the task and would benefit from this experience going forward as it would be their most challenging mission to date. After all it was quite nearly a S-rank mission.

“You will have the remainder of this week to rest, prepare and train as needed before you’ll need to head out at once. I gather from details we’ve got at hand so far, you’ll be traveling deep into potential enemy territory in search of a former high ranking Anbu of our very own village. Who’s leading a small task force of possible Anbu operatives in the covert operations that include stealing confidential information from small villages all around the lands with our lovely friends in Kusagakure being the latest victim. They are believed in my opinion to be hiding out within the vast jungle of Kusa until enough time has past from laying low and recovering. It should be without need to say.... known... just how difficult of position this has us placed in. We are looking like the masterminds behind these Operations... only a matter of time before we become the victim and enemy of many fragile Allied villages who’d turn against us.” Hifumi spoke sharing the details and handing over the file to Hikari on the Anbu rogue they’d be seeking out on this mission. “This task will not be easy. Your main target is not only quite capable but was of high rank within our village and will know exactly how to make life miserable for everyone and thing in this village. He will know exactly how to pick takigakure apart piece by piece and sell out to any and all who’d oppose us, if successful in his plot.” She added firmly.

“Your time as genin has come to an end. You’re about to see what lays ahead as chunin and prospectively more as time goes forward. It will no longer be easy nor will you always have a safeguard of sensei’s and each other to see things through.... so... congrats on your well deserved rewards and new ranks, but, I expect more from you starting here and now. Enjoy, rest while you can... a future awaits.” Hifumi spoke in closing and a kind nod, dismissing them and in her own way showing how proud she was of the team, while speaking on the high expectations she had for them.

———————-

Meanwhile Yori was quiet and still since entering the office. The presence and aura of lady Hifumi was always quite.... well.... almost eery yet somehow familiar to him. Learning about the short rest was disappointing but almost fitting and expected in a way, Hifumi was always keeping squads on their toes in one way or another it seemed. She was the perfect example in his grandfathers eyes of a true shinobi and one, Yori always figured would be the model to seek to replicate and sculpt himself in the shape of, though..... whether that was right, wrong or too much wouldn’t change the facts. The precision of her example in pointing out his own personal flaws that stood out the most had brought him to full attention and struck like a hot knife to the chest.

The flaw wasn’t the most well hidden yet still struck as if it were. It was only moments ago it seemed that Hikari was hugging it out with her team and stealing lunches for some motivational race to the office, the chatter and aura about the team shifting suddenly as they entered the room and went from celebration, camaraderie and smiles to instant silence and assignment of such rank and importance that it made the near future shift from possible earlier expectations.


It became clear to Yori of what his time spent would include and just how much of it would be used in working on his skills and mental game. The first thoughts immediately going into intense training regimens, self reflection and evaluating his weaknesses to form a area of strength from those very aspects of his profile.

The thought of lunch almost escaping his mind and about forgetting who placed where in the race. He looked toward lady Hifumi with a small nod and bow before turning his gaze to Suiren, Sajin and Hikari with a slowly exhaled breath and closed eyes nodding slowly. He accepted the task ahead and results of the race with a silent nod, doing his best to reserve whatever thoughts he had and pushing them to the back of his mind and out of his minds view.

“I’m ready...” Yori spoke before exiting the room and heading out. While he couldn’t be certain where they’d all go next his feet seemed to drift and carry him out the office door toward the training fields of the village. Meanwhile Hifumi looked on with a inner smile and assurance as the team began to shuffle out of the room.

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Ginko The Mushishi

Traveling Mushi-Shi
The race was a hardfought battle for our Awesome Mummy Ninja. Waddling behind everyone, you could almost feel bad for Sajin not being able to catch up--But our hard-headed fellow would not lose so easily to his friends and Sensei!! He had one thing they did not: ROCKET POWER! Yes that's right, Sajin intentionally tripped while using Jet Jaguar to propel himself forward, finally becoming an even fight with his team. "I AIN'T GIVING UP SO EASILY YA KNOW!! CHESSTOOOO!!!!" Sajin would laugh hysterically as he was flying forward to meet up with them. A team to match the fun times, that's all that mattered in life. That's all that Sajin needed to feel like he was strong enough. His family and friends were the most precious of things to him. As long as they exist, they help push Sajin to become stronger. "To stand with them in the darkest of nights, and the brightest of days." A motto that the current Sajin lived by, though change is expected, Sajin will always hold those he cares about to the highest degree.

-----
Racing aside, Sajin stood resolute when Lady Hifumi spoke. The wounds he procured during the Chunin Exams were miniscule when compared to being spoken to by Lady Hifumi, whom deserved respect and thus Sajin would be no slouch towards her. Although for Sajin, his mind probably skipped over the meaning of Lady Hifumi's chestoo....Was she excited too? Eh, at the very least she seemed to be careful and serious with her words. Foreboding a potential need to grow stronger in the coming days, because of that Sajin understood the need to become stronger as well as aware of situations that lay ahead. No longer could Sajin just smash through opposition, but now carefully plan towards that end goal. He learned that much through his final fight in the exams. When finished with the congratulations, Sajin smiled bright with his sharp teeth in view. "You can count on us, Lady Hifumi! My family, my team, and my village push me to become stronger every day and I'll never give up!" With a smack of his fist against his palm, Sajin was fired up.

"HELL YEAH YORI! THAT'S THE SPIRIT!--CHHEEEESSTOOOOOO!!!!!" Sajin turned his heel, wrapping his arm around Yori's shoulder, walking in stride with him.

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Iconoclast
I knew she’d go for the lunches again, Suiren thought, her initial shocked look giving way to a smirk as she thought about how she had taken steps to make sure that lunch would be inedible to anyone but her by lacing it with a mild poison that would cause an intense laxative effect if the antidote wasn’t consumed first. But standing there and watching her team race off, her smirk didn’t last too long either. “Hikari-sensei!! Don’t eat thaaat!” she cried out, as she finally joined the race with her team mates running along to catch up with Yori and Sajin, and feeling the heat blast behind her fiery team mate that propelled him forwards. “It’s not like I need eyebrows anyway!” she complained.

Entering Hifumi-sama’s office was a far more sedate affair. She walked in slowly and silently, as though any noise would disturb the atmosphere of the inner sanctum of their village leader. She lined up with the others and gave a bow in greeting. The flowers had a softening effect to the eye but failed to lighten the very stiff and dark mood of the place. Suiren gave a slow look around, unconsciously noting the names of all the different blooms, but her eyes snapped back to Hifumi once she started to address the squad. She winced inwardly as Hifumi mentioned the “certain tactics” which she knew was directed at her, but otherwise she seemed pleased with their performance.

Unfortunate events elsewhere…? When there was a natural break in Hifumi’s speech, Suiren spoke up, but quietly, not at all confident she had the right to, but dying to know something. “Thank you, Hifumi-sama,” she said, giving another bow. “May I ask … how the other teams fared?” She didn’t want to think that Tsutsuji had been subject to the “unfortunate events” but she didn’t want him to have come home victorious either.

It was soon apparent that this wasn’t a meeting for congratulations alone. They already had a mission ahead of them. She felt her heart soar in anticipation, eagerly devouring the details that Hifumi gave them. She turned to exchange glances with her team mates as their names were spoken, then snapped her attention back to Hifumi. The mission sounded difficult. Many steps beyond what they had been used to as genin, and even what they had faced in the chunin exams. This was a real enemy and one who was higher ranking, smarter, and more experienced than them. “Thank you, Hifumi-sama,” was her softly spoken reply.

She walked out behind the boys, her hands clasped behind her back. “We should practice those combos we’ve been talking about,” she suggested. “I might even have a few more ideas for how to improve them.” To Hikari, she asked, “Do you think I will be able to learn the new jutsu in the week we have?”

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ElenaIsCool

Ultimate Punster Goddess
All of the laughs and funny business had ended when Team 2 entered the room. Despite having been there multiple times, Hikari never managed to shake off the strange feeling that overtook the atmosphere whenever she entered the office. All traces of having joked around left the jonin's face as she listened to what Lady Hifumi had to say. Hikari had frowned a bit at the mention of unfortunate events, prompting her to wonder what happened at the two other villages and once again relieving her from the fact that Suiren's little trick hadn't escalated into something worse. The woman made a mental note of having a talk with her student when the meeting was over.

Hikari couldn't hide her look of surprise when they got assigned a mission. Not just any mission but one that could be considered an S rank mission. While she got the idea that Lady Hifumi thought that they were ready for a mission of such a high importance, the sensei thought it was too dangerous and risky to put it at the hands of the young ones. The fact that if they failed, it may result into another war made the Sensei worry more. She didnt want the village, her fellow jonin or students to go through that. Not again. Hikari had put her hand on Toshiro's necklace on instict, which she quickly released and hope her students or Lady Hifumi hadn't seen the fear in her eyes for that brief moment.

One week wasn't the best time, but she understood the importance of why it had to be done as quickly as possible. Hikari hoped it would be enough to train her team well enough for this mission.

As the rest of her team left the office, the jonin stayed for a bit, glancing at the file "Are there anymore details I should know about our target and the mission? Do we need him alive or dead?" She asked, giving back the file.


---------------------------------------------------------

After the meeting with Lady Hifumi, Hikari spotted her team making their way to the training grounds. Quickly poofing infront of them, the jonin smiled and shook her head "I appreciate your enthuasiasm but today, you're taking the rest of the day off. Get some rest, you've earned it" She ruffled Sajin's head "You, mister, are heading straight to the infirmary. Don't want your wounds to open up" She turned to Suiren and Yori "Yori, go enjoy yourself ok?, Suiren.." Her tone switched to a rather serious tone when addressing her "You and me..We need to talk later" Hikari sighed and pinched the shell necklace before facing her team once again, with a devilish grin "You better rest up all you can today because for the next week you'll train like you never did before"

--------------------------------------------------

And some training they did. Hikari made sure to wake them up as early in the morning the next day and sent them all to the training grounds. She knew what their strenghts and weaknesses were and she had ideas for their training. First, Yori and Sajin were put to spar each other for the first three days. This made sense considering the energetic student's weakness being planned attacks and the other's being unexpected ones. While the two of them sparred, Hikari trained Suiren to use two jutsus; Water Release: Bullet Rain and Poison Mist. On more than one occasion, the woman had to use a lot of chakra to keep track of her students. She then switched to Suiren and Sajin sparring to help the latter overcome his weakness to genjutsu while the jonin trained Yori on the ways of using a kusarigama. Every once in a while, she would check on how Sajin was doing and dispel the genjutsus before they became dangerous. On the day before their last day to train, Hikari had her students spar against eachother and later, her. After the rather long fight, the blue haired woman gave her students a warning to be prepared for their mission. The last day, however, Hikari gave her students a break, to enjoy the whole day off as a reward of their training. Whatever they did that day, was up to them since Hikari spent most of that last day sleeping as much as possible with one thought in mind;

Whatever the mission brought, Team 2 would be ready for it.

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Ginko The Mushishi

Traveling Mushi-Shi
Fun and games ended as Hikari-Sensei sent Sajin to the infirmary. Although she was right; his wounds would open up if any more rambunctious behavior went on, and so with a dreadful sigh, Sajin complied. "Fiiine, see you guys later then eh? I can't wait for next week! CHEEESSTOOOO!!!!!!" as he roared out his catchphrase, A large cloud of flame erupted from under his feet, sending him into the air and shooting him at high-speeds towards the Village Hospital. His family would be glad to know he returned, although only after he got checked on by the doctors. At the very least, Sajin got ice cream in return for being a good patient, and that was perhaps all that was truly needed for our hot-headed Ninja to comply with the unbearable hospital beds.
-----
The training was long and fulfilling, but also challenging. Sajin was a wild-card for Yori, which posed a great challenge for both fighters. Sajin was accustom to head-on, non-stop fighting. Yori was calculative, strategizing even in the thick of battle. But Sajin took away a lot of new and valuable information when it comes to fighting against the mastermind opponent. Keep calm and use your unexpected style of fighting as an advantage, but keep an eye out for patterns or weaknesses. Sajin didn't stop his charisma in the face of hardships, and continued to support Yori and boost morale during their tough matches.
The next training session was probably the hardest Sajin had. Suiren was so strong in Genjutsu that at most times, Sajin could barely make a match against her. The flame demon never gave up however, and even after multiple sessions of aching genjutsu nightmare attacks; Sajin gave Suiren his support and morale boosting "CHESTOOOOOs" as well.
If anything, Sajin gained a newfound respect for Suiren. He never understood Genjutsu, and seeing its effects and implementations firsthand truly enlightened him to the power it holds. Still weak within the area of Genjutsu however, Sajin did learn the basics of dispelling Genjutsu and being able to combat against it with his own willpower.

The final test with Hikari-Sensei was rather fun! The teamwork throughout the match was nigh perfect to Sajin, and really showed the growth that the team had. With the last day in tow as a free day off, Sajin returned home to create a new jutsu he had been devilishly crafting over in his free-time. Using the family dojo as his place of experimentation, Sajin spent the rest of the day crafting, controlling, and experimenting with the new jutsu of his own design. His mad genius would probably come in handy for the mission later down the line, and he was certainly eager to test it out on any opponents he faces in the future..

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Steven Toast

Yeeeeesss
The manner of Konohagakure and the Taki squads sent for the exams were of mixed blessings. Suiren’s curious nature of how they fared was not unexpected however it wasn’t the best of news either though better then could have been. Hifumi relaxed her posture and sighed to herself though keeping a plain expression to hide her mixed feelings on the matter. “ They avoided tragedy unlike a Kusagakure squad. However while they didn’t fall victim to said events, they failed to achieve much success the best result was reaching the early stages of the forest. They didn’t make it near the end or beyond the forest.” Hifumi responded to Suiren calmly. Before turning to Hikari after the newly appointed chunin left the room and exhaled a breath before placing her hands together upon the desk. “Not really. It’s a political minefield and nightmarish task. Unfortunately I’ve given all I can at this point in terms of information. However A live capture will be most likely impossible and further more difficult in its risk. Meanwhile Kusa no doubt will seek immediate action and intervene with any action they see unsuitable to the crimes against them and others.” Hifumi replied clearing up any doubt in where the end result must lay. “ They will cause you greater difficulty then already should be expected and your teams main target will not allow himself to be taken alive, unless, he sees a way to escape in which he most certainly will. So, the only option left is.... death.” The lady added before letting her guard down for a brief moment, it was almost clear that it would not be acknowledged as fact if word got out but she get the moment was necessary. “Hikari.... Try to relax, ok? The mission is serious but your team is ready. Just keep faith and prepare them for what’s ahead, they’ll make it back with you and a job well done. Got it?” Hifumi spoke returning to her normal presence of expression and atmosphere. “Now... If there was nothing more.”


Meanwhile Yori didn’t hesitate to get right to work though Sajin’s positive and encouraging energy was still strong as ever. The chunin still struggled to see how he managed to remain so high on life as he was as long as Yori could recall since the early years of teaming together. The wrapped arm over his shoulder brought a nod to Sajin’s presence and cheessto. Looking to the ceiling and tilting his head back slightly, closing his eyes and listening to Suiren behind them, Yori nodded pondering what improvements she had in mind. “A mind linked to another without a sound spoken or noticeable sign given.... the ultimate play in any match, syncing our minds and becoming one.... like, water flowing in the same direction but coming from different paths and how they join together. Quiet, flowing as one, ever more fluid as time goes on, nearly seamless.” Yori suggested in reply and agreeing with Suiren, while giving a thought of wishing to improve the teams chemistry to the point of needing no words or signals to know what the other was thinking.

Meanwhile Hikari Sensei had caught up with them in a poof giving a smile and shook her head instructing Sajin to take the day off and rest though she appreciated his enthusiasm, while Yori was to try and enjoy himself she spoke bringing a smile to his face and nodded to hide his plans for the day as Hikari moved toward Suiren next. As they went off to speak, Yori made way for a particular spot he had in mind pulling out a small mask to help him breathe underwater and removing his shirt to leave him with one piece of dry clothing once he was done with his plans. Once arriving at his destination Yori took a deep breath and exhaled giving a final thought before he’d clear his mind and begin his unique method of training.

He started off with the mask and dived into the deep waters of takigakure. Yori had no intentions of returning to his clans estate, even if his grandmother would like to see his return for herself, he intended to hold off such reunions amongst other matters. Besides home was where the heart is and he felt no more at home then he did when at the great tree during meditation or within the water itself. Upon diving into the water and swimming down to the bottom or as near as he could possibly get, Yori took out a scroll and performed a summoning Jutsu to bring about water safe mechanical dummies, entering into a modified version of his opening stance, Yori began to engage in battle sparring with these mechanical dummies beneath the waters surface, starting off slow and easy before ramping up the intensity as time went on, striking harder with each blow and in turn working on evasive maneuvers, looking to strengthen his body and improve performance under different conditions, looking to become one with water himself in a way.

Eventually he took off his mask and worked on controlling his breath, looking to improve how long he can remain underwater without assistance from his mask. This form of training went on for sometime until he eventually found himself near passing out stages and made his way back to the surface and slowly struggled his way to land before passing out for the night.

By the time morning came Yori awoke as sore as ever but worth it. He slept rather well all things considered and being so near the water it was almost calming to sleep beneath the stars, next to the flowing tranquil waters he knew so well as that cool breeze brushed against him as he slept

Through the assistance from Hikari Sensei, he not only awoke early in the morning but quite early as she wished to start first thing. It was almost fitting to start off with Sajin for sparring, the manner in which Sajin fought was quite different from Yori, while Sajin embraced not only his style but his clans jutsu to full effect, Yori chose a more reserved and methodical approach through observation and proper reaction of tactics, meanwhile using his hiden sparingly as possible which made for less unpredictable attacks most of the time and more expected forms of attack once his style was discovered. It left him a ace up his sleeve however brought lower odds of success in single combat especially where you’re within a enclosed space that offered little environmental protection or offerings to use against someone.

The battles were long and challenging as expected especially considering the nature of each combatants styles. Day 1 saw Yori use his hiden for defense only and when necessary. Day 2 using fresh knowledge and experience from day 1, Yori formulated a new strategy that continued to adapt to what he saw in the battle against Sajin on the second sparring match even introducing a few offensive maneuvers from his clans hiden. While day 3 was taking away the most from days 1 and 2 and what he had learned from his spars with Sajin while once more coming prepared with a adaptive strategy measured to improve upon his performance and showcase more of what he could do offensively, even trying a few wild ideas for complete shock moves that were intended to catch Sajin by surprise. Overall his work felt shy of his goal even if that was merely his own mind working against him and not truly fair of what actually happened during the three days of training with Sajin. Even during such conditions Sajin was still encouraging, boosting morale not letting Yori get too deep within his own mind and where it often led him. which was always aiming for a single goal, perfection, or otherwise it would be a complete failure leading to further doubts and self brought hardships and mental lashings.

All in all it was appreciated and not overlooked or Ignored by the chunin. Truly ended up being a good learning experience for him, which was the goal of this weeks training exercises of Hikari Sensei. He wasn’t easy on himself as usual, but he did take away quite the treasure of knowledge when it came to battling one like Sajin and pulling out more risks and unexpected attacks then he did. Sometimes battle is just as much about feel, heart and full head on spirit as it is mind and tactics.

~~~

What followed was training with Hikari Sensei. He’d begin his work with the kusarigama and how to properly use it in battle, there was a great deal Yori liked about this gift, it’s multiple ways it could be used in battle, the different styles of combat one could engage in or use all the while building a personal form of ones own with this weapon. It was a training session he’d not only look forward to but also learn from as well just as before.

what followed this session was two different battles. A three way bout between Yori, Suiren and Sajin then a team battle against Hikari Sensei. Both of which saw Yori utilizing recent learnings and debut some work with his newest weapon while weaving into play more use of his clans hiden aside from defensive measures. Overall showcasing a greater range of the hidens abilities when used beyond just it’s defenses and using far more in one showing then Yori typically choose to do when not forced.

Though he was still quiet and calculating throughout each battle, adapting to the situation as they came. Yori displayed a little more of a vocal presence during the team stage against Hikari Sensei. All the while utilizing the elements around them to his advantage whenever possible even for the smallest and most subtle of things whether it was creating a natural sound to distract or throw off, or any number of other things that could go unnoticed but prove effective, a level of detail that often went into Yori’s tactical measures. Environmental warfare and awareness was a favored form of tactics, another form of adapting to ones situation and perhaps the most common yet overlooked as well.

The last day brought a day off from Hikari Sensei. Leaving the team free to do as they pleased as a reward for their training this week. The first thought that came to his mind was another session of training underwater though adding a level of other senses into play and improving upon, a form of meditation combined with his physical and environmental training Further improving senses and the mental side.

However a second thought entered into his mind.... Perhaps first he’d ask after those other ideas Suiren had about the teams combos. After all each day this week Yori did additional work underwater and involved others methods to improve senses and other areas in that form of training. Perhaps today was a good time to work on the social aspect of team chemistry? A simple yet always lacking area of Yori’s. Always one to work himself into exhaustion and mentally defeat himself with doubt, ecetera. Perhaps social enjoyment or enjoyment in general was the key focus? Maybe Hikari Sensei had the idea all along and he just went to work instead?

Turning to Hikari Sensei offering a smile and a bow. “ Thank you Hikari Sensei!” Yori spoke Then looked to Sajin who was seemingly off to do whatever he had in mind before looking to Suiren. “ You mentioned ideas before.... eerrr... I mean if you want to discuss them?” Yori spoke up not wishing to force the idea on her especially if she had other ideas in mind for her day off before the mission.

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