[X] - Train Ninjutsu, Taijutsu, Genjutsu, and Teamwork too. Of course, sparring with Kota now too, as your now talented teammate will help your Kenjutsu (swordsmanship) get better faster and push you further. This will be very hard work, but Shinji is willing to give it his all
Chapter 15 - We Stay Hungry, we Devour
A week can pass quite fast when you're training so hard you have no free time and need to keep yourself concentrated for sixteen hours a day. Shinji felt a little tired, even though he slept eight hours and ate very healthy food.
He stood in the training ground, with a sword in his hand, and he felt distracting thoughts fill his mind but he pushed through when he saw another figure with a similar sword in his hand charge towards him.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
The sound of swords clashing rang out. Shinji and Kota were sparring as the smell of wet steel filled the air. It was clear who was faster and who was more skilled, Shinji was overwhelmingly faster than Kota, his sword barely anything more than a flash to his friend.
Still, Kota had his eyes open wide like an owl, not even daring to blink at such a distance. His swordsmanship had improved massively. Since he had discovered that he was talented in something, the amount of hours he put training into it was quite a lot and would make others throw up just thinking about it. Of course, someone like Shinji was an exception to that, he would even find the work Kota was putting in kind of lacking.
Kota jumped back and put his sword into its sheath. His sword was similar to Shinji's being a Chukoto style sword, like a straight katana. Taking a deep breath, and blinking, Kota's gaze sharpened.
<Sun Sword Style: Leaping Tiger>
Chakra gathered into his legs and sword, and he leaped forward and breakneck speeds, that to any average Genin it would seem like a flash. But to Shinji… Kota was kinda slow, and he had the time to contemplate whether to block or not and decided to test his friend's strength.
Their swords clashed, and the sound of steel clashing rang out through the forest. Kota used both hands to hold his sword, but Shinji needed only one to block. The Sun Sword Style was one of the countless swords styles, usually used by samurais, that Yamato had been able to get his hands on and teach Kota.
"It's kinda unfair that I am bigger than you, yet physically weaker," complained Kota, judging by his words alone many would assume he might be jealous of his friend. But Shinji knew by the gleeful look on his face, Kota wasn't the guy who would bother with things like envy or jealousy. They both knew the reason he was stronger.
Shinji smirked jokingly. "It's the difference in time spent training."
"Yeah, I know, I actually have a life outside of training," Kota tried to get a rise out of his friend, but it was useless as Shinji's face was like a stone mask with a smirk etched into it. "Also, where are your Jutsu? Am I attacking so fast that you didn't have time to use them? Hehehe~ I guess-"
His words stopped mid-sentence when he saw multiple Shinji's coming from behind trees. Kota's face went from a happy one to a sigh. "This is so cheating. When did you even make them?"
"When you blinked and were about to use Leaping Tiger. At that speed you can't see clearly," Shinji explained to his friend. "So better be careful using that attack in a real battle."
Kota nodded, with a grateful look in his eyes. "True, unless you're around I won't use it against someone until my eyes get used to moving at that speed. Also, I think it would be a good idea when we fight against someone to have me use my big body to cover their view from looking at you, and then you can secretly use a jutsu without them knowing."
"That's a good idea," Shinji agreed, the smirk turning into a smile. "So, what are you going to do now?" He asked Kota Using his free hand to make a hand sign which caused the water clones to start going through hand seals. "If you jump back you'll be hit by the jutsu, if you stay close… the same ending really."
"You cheat-like bastard, can't you go easy on your talentless friend?" crocodile tears rolled down Kota's face like rivers. "I thought we were best friends."
Though his act didn't last long as they both started chuckling. Even as their swords clashed and Kota was barely able to defend some slashes, they still didn't let the sparring ruin their mood.
"Can you guys stop messing around? This is a spar, not a talk show," Sayuri's voice rang out as the surroundings around them twisted. But Shinji, having already predicted this, pulsed his chakra and dispelled the genjutsu, his surroundings going back to normal.
"Damn it," she swore under her breath. "Can't you at least act like you're having a hard time."
Shinji didn't say anything but his clones acted, half of them attacking Kota while the others went to find Sayuri's location.
[Water Style: Water Bullet] x8
Eight of his water clones spewed out orb-shaped projectiles and seeing the speed of the attack brought a confident smile to Kota's face. "Too slow," he remarked, getting into position to stop the water projectiles, having already dodged some. "Almost forgot that the water clones can only use weaker variations of your jutsu and got scared for nothing there."
"There is a reason why they are so slow," Shinji added, going through multiple hand seals in less than two seconds and his chest expanded almost unnaturally as he took a deep breath.
Kota's eyes widened, realizing what was happening, and tried to jump back. "Shit, too late."
[Wind Style: Great Breakthrough]
A blast of wind came out of Shinji's lips, blasting trees and almost uprooting trees, grass was easily ripped out of the ground. But what surprised Kota was that the water projectiles that were slow and had almost missed him changed direction with the wind jutsu and became deadly fast.
Using his sword he was still able to cut a couple of the water projectiles, and a small splash made a cut into his shoulder and Kota noticed that the water projectiles had turned sharp, like kunai, and more powerful as he could feel his arm tingle. Kota still tried to block the water projectiles without having any of the splashes land on his body, the Sun Sword Arts that he had learned was a balanced sword style that worked well in both attack and defense.
But even then, the speed of the attacks was too much and he tried to go behind one of the trees.
One of the water projectiles turned to a smiling Shinji.
Kota flipped off the Shinji that had transformed from the water projectile. "You suck. Sayuri too, where is her support? Her Genjutsus are useless against you."
But another Shinji slithered behind him and pointed a kunai at his neck.
This was the real Shinji, who had moved stealthily behind him. "You did amazingly," he complimented his teammate. "If we go back a week. You wouldn't even be able to survive ten seconds against my jutsu."
Shinji was truly impressed, with the hard work Kota had put into his swordsmanship he had improved by leaps and bounds. He might have neglected other ninja arts, like ninjutsu, or even taijutsu, but his Kenjutsu had reached levels that Shinji couldn't hold a candle to if they fought only using their swords.
'He was almost able to stalemate me in a battle of swords, even though I am faster, stronger, and have more stamina than him. So this is the difference in talent.' - Shinji contemplated, and knew that if he tried to compare himself with Kota who in a week had already mastered the Basics of Kenjutsu and already moved to a special sword style.
On the other hand, Shinji technically barely had not even mastered basic swordsmanship. He knew this was also due to Kota putting in more work into Kenjutsu than him since Shinji only worked an hour or two at best in Kenjutsu. Kota on the other hand was not only more talented but also put in around seven hours in training daily, sometimes even more.
"Now to find Sayuri," Shinji muttered and let go of his friend and tried to glance around for his other teammate. She needed to be close to cast her genjutsu, but where? This had been a battle of Sayuri and Kota against him.
But Sayuri, while she wasn't neccesarly bad in close quarters combat, Shinji knew she was smart to know that even against ten of her as he could crush her easily.
"You know, if this turns into a battle of cat and mouse it will take forever," Shinji yelled out, waiting for a reply that never came. If she yelled out anything necessarily or used a Genjutsu he would discover her position.
'She is good at stealth. If she wasn't so helpful and never does anything suspicious, then I would have assumed that she was a spy by how good at hiding she is. Especially her advancement in Genjutsu, which is a little too quick to be natural in my opinion, especially sound-related Genjutsu. If she was to be a spy, then which side would she belong to? Probably Orochimaru, that guy seemed to have his fingers in a lot of pies in Konoha. Why would she end up in my team? Probably because it was surprising that we passed and expected us to fail.'
Of course, while he contemplated this, to Shinji it was all hypothetical. But in his mind, he was playing a scenario of how it would play out if she was a spy… which she isn't.
He assumed that because if she was a spy with malicious intentions then she would have done something harmful, and masked it as something unintentional. Which otherwise would make her a spy who cared for her victims, which is something ludicrous to Shinji. Still, he shook his head to get rid of such useless thoughts in the middle of battle.
Still, he felt like there was something he wasn't seeing here. But suddenly he looked towards one of the trees where he sensed one of his water clones be destroyed. This interrupted this through and he slowly walked towards where the water clone had burst and he heard a sigh when Sayuri came from behind the tree with her hands up in the air.
Shinji pointed to the ground below her feet. "You should learn another clone technique. Maybe one that creates a shadow."
The clone Sayuri winces and sighs. "Not all of us have the chakra which doesn't even feel anything creating a dozen water clones."
"Hmmm~ is that so?" Shinji glances to the side and while everything feels normal at first, his eyes narrow. "There is no sound of the wind hitting leaves from my right. You wouldn't happen to have used false surroundings and used a sound muffling Genjutsu so I can't hear or see the kunai coming from that part? But at the same time, you silenced the leaves and the sound of kunai cutting through the air."
[Wind Style: Great Breakthrough]
He blew a blast of air towards the part of the place that was silent, and as expected some sound of kunai clanging was heard. When he broke out of the genjutsu, he could see the kunai too and the real Sayuri standing atop a tree. "That's some good Genjutsu, I didn't even notice when it exactly started taking effect."
She shrugged. "Glad it at least somewhat tricked you this time."
Then she jumped down and this time Shinji could tell that it was the real her, as she had just stepped into one of the water clones transformed as grass. She looked down and saw the grass that had turned into a puddle of water. "It's kinda scary how you can use such basic Jutsu with such efficiency."
Shinji shrugged. "During my time in the Academy I had nothing else but basic Jutsu and for years I tried to think of different ways to use them."
Suddenly Shinji felt a kunai rub against his neck, at first he thought it was Sayuri who had somehow outsmarted him. But it was Yamato. "Never let your guard down, even when you have assumed that you've dealt with the enemy."
He then grabbed Shinji behind the head. "Also what are the rumors I heard that you've been pushing yourself again? Gai has been singing praises about you."
Yamato gripped Shinji's head like an ostrich egg and his expression turned ghost-like and scary. "What did I tell you about working so hard?"
"That I shouldn't," answered Shinji reluctantly with a face that said a thousand words. "So, would an apology fix everything?"
"No, I was going to let you choose the first C Rank Mission. As a gift for your progress and helping your teammates. But it seems like you don't know what's good for your body yet. It doesn't matter if you have the will if your body fails you." Yamato warns him. "Also no training during the mission, this is your last warning, Shinji. During the fight, I could tell that you got distracted. Normally you would have at least reacted when I tried to sneak up on you. But this time, you didn't even notice at all."
Shinji nodded in agreement, he had been able to tell that he was mentally fatigued, which was dangerous in battle. If he wasn't so overwhelmingly stronger than his teammates, then he would have lost the battle, with his mind wandering around so much. "Right, no training during the mission."
Yamato narrowed his dark eyes, peering into Shinji's brown pupils. "I mean it. After all the trouble I went to find you a Wind Style teacher, the least you can do is take my advice into account."
Shinji remembered the man who had taught him some wind-style jutsu. He was an Anbu, nicknamed eagle, he was like a robot, giving instruction and demonstrating the jutsu until Shinji learned it. Not strict, but seemed to be very uptight and duty-driven. He is a very unassuming guy that never even bothered to try and get to know Shinji.
Yamato's grip on Shinji's head disappears, and the jonin sighs in disappointment. "Today we will get the mission, tomorrow we will set off. Also, Kota, I will take you to the hospital to check those wounds just in case."
Kota nodded and stood up, giving the jonin a salute. "Yes sir! I will sir!" Sayuri sighed in relief, but she looked strange at the mention of the hospital and Shinji caught that slip-up.
"Sensei, I think you should keep an eye on Kota when you're at the hospital he has…" she glanced towards Shinji and smirked. "Very Shinji-like thoughts when it comes to overdoing it."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Shinji asked, taking notice that Sayuri seemed uncertain of something.
"Nothing," she claimed, staring at the ground emotionlessly for a couple of seconds before coming to her senses. "Just warning Yamato -sensei so that we don't have to deal with someone else as troublesome as you in the team."
Sayuri spoke in a joking manner, but Shinji could tell that something was bothering her. He decided to not be petty about this and as Yamato took Kota away, Shinji approached her.
"How about you show me some places where we can have some fun and relax?" he asked since he hadn't bothered doing anything like enjoying himself after graduating from the Academy.
She was brought out of her thoughts and jumped slightly in surprise, but quickly came to her senses. "Right, I forgot you're the guy without a life outside of training."
"Hey now, you're supposed to be the girl who falls for the hard-working hero," Shinji smiled, trying to get Sayuri's mind off whatever was worrying her.
"What? That's illogical, with how much you work, no girl will like you." Sayuri reported the cold hard truth. "I mean, I am your teammate and outside of teamwork training, I don't know you. You never have free time to hang out with either."
Shinji contemplated what she said and couldn't help but agree with her. He was very busy, always looking for that next step to his power. Just like last week, he had grown stronger. But outside of training and D Rank Missions, he didn't know his teammates that much.
Even Kota and Sayuri, both of who could be considered strong Genin by now, couldn't even hold a candle against him. This wasn't arrogance, just a fact. He had fought them six times this week, and in none of them, they had been able to even scratch him. They weren't even to make him use up his chakra that much.
Shinji knew that feeling arrogant because that was stupid, which was why he didn't even feel a trace of it. Why had he won? In his eyes, it was simply because he put in more hours into training than both of them combined. That's why he was stronger than them.
'By now, I have grown comfortable in growing strong and working so hard. How will things play out if I don't train hard? Will Kota surpass me? While he wasn't talented in anything ninja-related other than swords, that lone talent was enough to overshadow his lack of other talents.'
"What do you think will happen to an average joe like me if he doesn't work hard?" Shinji asked Sayuri as they walked together out of the training grounds.
"I don't know," Sayuri shrugged. "Be a normal genius?" she added. "Also, I'm taking you to a dango shop I like. You're even worse at noticing people's feelings than Kota."
"That's debatable," Shinji chuckled, remembering how Kota can sometimes be. He walked next to her, looking onto the Konoha streets somberly. "Do you know how long it took me to learn the transformation jutsu?"
"In the Academy?" she tilted her head, her finger tapping her chin as she had a thoughtful depression. "I… don't remember. Were you bad at it? Like Naruto was with the clone jutsu?"
Was? What's that supposed to mean? Was Naruto no longer bad at the Clone Jutsu? Does Sayuri know something he didn't?
Shinji wondered if he was maybe reading too much into the situation, so he dismissed it. "No, I wasn't bad at it. Neither was I good. Average, it took around three weeks for most of the class to learn it, and that's how much it took me too."
"So? Am I supposed to think less of you for that?" Sayuri pointed towards a well-decorated dango shop. "That's the place."
"No, I am not trying to make myself seem weaker, or stronger here." Shinji clarified, walking alongside her and they arrived at the relatively quiet dango shop that had almost no customers. "I am just stating my abilities. I am neither special nor talented. At best people seem to assume I am something which I am not. As soon as I stop training, that lead I have will stop too. There is no miraculous power up waiting for me at the end of the road."
Sayuri stared at Shinji for a little bit as they found a table to sit down. "I really am stupid," she sighed, seemingly having thought of something that she doesn't logically agree with. "Well, I can help you this one time. But if you go blabbering to everyone about what I am about to say, then I will kill you."
"Kill me?" Shinji raised a questioning brow. But his talk was interrupted as a waitress came along and asked for their order. "A plate of dango, please."
"Get me hiruma dango," Sayuri said with a smile. Shinji was a little confused, he knew those were expensive, but why was she buying them? She was still paying for her stuff after all.
"Anyway, Shinji, if we fought ten times, how many times do you think I would win?" she asked, a smile on her face. Shinji didn't want to sound rude or lie, so he just shrugged.
"You would win every single battle," she stated confidently, her smile widening. "I probably wouldn't even be able to make you need to try that hard. "She took a bite of the dango and her gaze turned intense. "But when it comes to killing, I can kill you while you sleep, or when you're eating, or shitting."
Shinji nodded, deciding not to say anything, but he wondered how she would act if she knew that he was always on guard ever since the whole Orochimaru fiasco. Even when he sleeps, he does so under his bed while his clone sleeps on the real thing.
'I have thought someone would attack me and contemplated how I might go and do that if I was an assassin and have taken countermeasures.'
He stared at her and nodded, not even a trace of fear in his eyes which left his teammate confused. Seeing that, to not hurt her feelings, he added. "Oh, that's scary. Anyway, what're you going to show me?"
She narrowed her eyes at him, but in the end, sighed. "Jeez, act a little afraid at least. I just threatened your life. Don't trust me too much."
'It's not necessarily like that.' - Shinji thought, but in the end decided to play along to her demands, she was after all going to show him something that is supposed to be a secret. "Ohhh~ that's terrifying."
She took a deep breath and massaged her forehead. "I can't tell if you're mocking me or not," Shinji was about to answer, but she stopped him by putting her hand up and pointing a finger at Shinji. Slowly a tendril of Chakra came out of it, it looked like a somewhat translucent string. "This is a chakra string, I can't form long ones. But essentially it's the peak of Chakra Control for Ninja. Some medical techniques have similar effects and help with Chakra Control, but this is something kind of like that, both ways you can achieve Chakra Control that few Jonin ever bother to learn."
She then explained how to do the jutsu, by usually putting a leaf on the tip of your finger and letting it fall while still attached to a thin chakra string. They didn't have leaves on hand, so she demonstrated with a dango stick.
Shinji observed the process and memorized it. He tried to do it but had no success at all, showing that the technique was something quite hard to master. But Shinji could tell the chakra control that even most Jonin didn't bother to practice, was very useful to him. Since at most, this would have 3% of Chakra used in a jutsu, and the effort put on it wasn't worth the return for most.
Still, for him, this was another opportunity to evolve. He knew that Chakra Control helped with using fewer hand signs in jutsu, and while not even Jonin would bother with such a thing, unlike old middle-aged Jonin, Shinji had the time and ambition to train like this.
"Thanks," he was grateful towards her. Grateful and suspicious as hell now. - 'Maybe that spy theory of mine might not be so wrong after all.'
"Don't question where I got the knowledge from, and don't tell anyone. Those are the promises that I want you to keep, and whenever you feel a roadblock, I will help you to the best of my abilities." Sayuri reasoned. She seemed casual when she spoke about it, but Shinji knew the risks she was taking if his theory was right, or if she somehow was the heir of some secret clan.
"So why are you going this far for me?" Asked Shinji, inspecting her face, trying to find any trace of deceit or evil intentions, there was none. "I don't mean to sound rude," he contemplated whether he should say what he was about to say. But since he was tired mentally, he didn't think about it as much as he usually would have. "But I don't think we are close enough for you to do something like this. It isn't a matter of just life and death either."
"I said, don't ask questions," her eyes sharpened.
"Okay, okay," he waved her off and looked to the side, glancing at the entrance of the shop. "Jeez, a teammate with so many secrets. How am I supposed to trust my back to you?"
"Don't worry, I won't betray you," she said smirking before getting up. "Also this dango treat is your payment to me."
She started walking off with a smug smile on her face.
"Uhhh… I don't have any money on me." Shinji's words made her stop in her tracks, she turned around, and peered at him maliciously. Her intent to kill was as clear as daylight.
"What did you just say…" she muttered angrily, giving him a chance to take his words back. But Shinji didn't want to wash plates today.
"You know, keeping money on me when it could get wet while sparring. Even storage scrolls could be destroyed." Shinji had thought about this problem quite a lot, but it didn't seem to appease Sayuri so he also added. "I don't have a lot of money, to begin with, because training weights, food, explosion tags, and ninja soldier pills too. Also leaving my wallet somewhere close by while I train, it could get stolen."
"It's the second time you made me do this," she clenched her teeth and took out a wallet, opening it revealed stacks of money, she had a lot, and she paid for both of them. "Also enjoy the rest of the day," she sighed while looking at his face, as her anger seemed to slip out of her. "Tomorrow we will set off on our first C Rank Mission."
The waitress saw this all transpire, and she frowned, coming and taking the money while whispering under her breath. "Men these days. Using women for money."
'I am twelve, lady, and stop talking behind your customer's back.'
Shinji ate the rest of his dango and thought about what to do for the rest of the day. He had until tomorrow to do something. Shinji wondered what he should do, maybe try his hand at doing something fun?
What do you even consider fun nowadays? Learning new jutsu? No, it needs to be something that doesn't involve training.
[Pick one and put your choice in a comment down below.]
A - See if you can help around the orphanage you used to live in.
B - Go and play some Shogi at the park, with the old people there. Shinji knows that old people have lived many times longer than him, and might have some wisdom to give?
C - Tell Yamato, or if you can't find him, another Jonin about your suspicions of Sayuri. Shinji knows that this will betray his teammates' trust.
D - Go train Chakra Strings and try to get the hang of it. Shinji feels kind of tired of that, having worked like mad for over three weeks straight now. But maybe he can try one last time? Shinji hopes Yamato -sensei won't catch wind of this.
E - Give Sayuri that dinner that you promised. You've stood her up twice and made her pay for your things. So take her out for dinner. (Trait: Multitasking in effect) Since dinner is quite a bit away, maybe you can also have the option to go and talk to play Shogi with some old folk at the park?
Jesus, he rolled so well on figuring out Sayuri's identity. Also, be careful when not listening to people's advice, Shinji could have chosen a C Rank Mission. But due to Yamato's advice being ignored to take it easy on the training, then he will choose for us.
P.S: If you like this story, don't forget to give it some power stones.
P.P.S: Join discord where I post the dice rolls of the chapter and their effects.