Kiyoshi Island: Training
"Warriors! Take them to the Unagi!" The Leader commanded. With a small sigh, Naruto turned to the young Avatar and said,
"Aang, air-bend and show them that you are who you say you are." Getting a small nod in response, he watched with an amused expression as Aang used his air-bending to leave his rope bindings. The village gasped in unison, and one man even began to foam at the mouth in shock of his bending.
Once Aang touched down from his fifteen foot jump, their bindings were cut and the Head of the Village spoke with a shocked tone that voiced the thoughts of everyone else bar their group, "You are the Avatar..." Naruto could see the hope explode in the Leaders eyes. He knew exactly what he, and the rest of the village was thinking. "Hope has returned."
Now he really needed to get Aang into gear.
"Can you believe this? They're giving us the royal treatment!" Aang gushed as a very large feast was set in front of them. Aang was lapping the attention up happily, while Katara looked wary of the food before them just as Sokka sulked.
"They're even repainting the statue of Kiyoshi in my honor!" the excited twelve year old continued.
While he continued to gush at how well the habitants of Kiyoshi were treating the group, though mainly him.
"Aang, this is all great and everything but we can't stay long, we need to keep moving if we're going to make it to the North Pole." Katara cut in, effectively causing his expression to become a bit downtrodded.
Before Aang could reply, Naruto broke in and said, "It is good to inspire those around you Aang," he began, gaining a wide grin from the young Avatar. "however," he continued, "there is a point to where you can take advantage of said inspiration. As Avatar, people will naturally look up to you for wisdom and guidance, you cannot allow this power to take over your true calling. We will leave as soon as we have enough supplies and we are all well rested enough, we cannot afford to stay any longer, as no doubt our presence here has been spread and there is no telling who this information could get passed down to."
Katara looked grateful that Naruto had the same opinion as him, while Aang seemed depressed at the thought of leaving. Sokka took this time to roll his eyes and ad his two copper coins in the conversation.
"I don't even want to stay here in the first place..." he muttered grabbing a few of the pastries on the table. "Bunch of girls...don't even..." he continued to mutter angrily before taking a bite out of the pastry and walking out of the room.
"Aang." Naruto said calling the pre-teens attention. "I believe it would be best if we continued with our training. While I understand that this is all brought rather abruptly on you, you must see that this is of great importance." he said softening his voice. "This is no longer a peaceful world we live in, no longer the world you remember. The friends you once had amongst all four nations is no longer even a fathomable idea, nor is the idea that wars can be won with calm words and peaceful methods possible. Once, perhaps, but this war has continued for over a hundred years...hundreds of thousands have fallen for their cause...we must honor them and move as quickly as possible to end this war for the sake of the Four Nations." He said with a firm tone, though as soft as a grandfather would speak to his grandchild.
Aang seemed to have unshed tears in his eyes with the words that Naruto had spoken, whilst Katara seemed to have a small storm cloud over her head, her entire face hidden by a shadow as she kept it close to her chest and hugged her knees.
"So I was right." Naruto thought to himself. "She's lost someone very close to her because of this war."
"I...I understand.." Aang said with a low voice. "Ummm, could we go through the hand signs again?" he asked politely.
"Of course, Aang." Naruto said with a small smile. "Come, let us go outside and do so there amongst the nature of this Island." Standing, Naruto turned to Katara. "Katara, could you be so kind as to buy the supplies needed for travel? I suspect we should be ready to leave no later than tomorrow afternoon."
"Sure, Naruto." Katara said softly, her voice sounding close to tears but determined not to let it show.
With a sad smile, Naruto ushered Aang out of the room and walked toward the young water-bender. "Katara," he began gaining her attention. Her deep blue eyes were filled with unshed tears, "Never be afraid to speak to me of anything should you need someone to vent to. I know, more than most, the horrors of war...and what can be lost in them. Keeping your pain inside, will only leave you hollow...and set you on the path of an avenger...I do not ever wish to see another walk that path again, so please, if you ever need me, I am here."
Katara allowed a single tear to fall as she smiled at him sadly. "Thank you, Naruto..." she said softly.
"Of course, Katara. Now, I shall go see to Aang and Sokka." he said before walking out the door while simultaneously creating an over-powered shadow clone and ordering it to seek out Sokka while he attended Aang in his training.
"Now this certainly is a sight to see." Naruto said with a blank face as e stifled a smirk. There in front of him, Sokka laid with a humiliated expression face down as he was surrounded by the Kiyoshi warriors.
"Forgive me fellow warriors." Naruto said with a light bow. "I did not mean to impede you during your exercises, but merely speak to my student."
Sokka stood up and walked to stand next to Naruto, wearing a downtrodden expression.
"It's not a problem, we enjoyed showing him his place." Suki, the leader of the Kiyoshi Warriors said with a smirk.
"Of that I have no doubt, but he is still learning, and perhaps, he could learn a great deal from you, if you would allow." He said sending Sokka into shock, his mouth agape.
"Oh? And why should we?" Suki asked. She wasn't particularly happy about the idea of teaching the arrogant boy.
"It would be a learning experience for the both of you. Whilst Sokka learns the dedication you have long since been drilled into you, you will gain a persepective of life outside of your Island, as I am almost certain you have never left the confines of this village perimeter."
Suki pondered over that thought and eventually, albeit hesitantly, nodded her head. "We'll teach him, but he'll have to dress in the Kiyoshi Warrior clothes if he wishes to learn." she said as the other warriors stifled giggles while Sokka turned rather pale.
"That is acceptable." Naruto said nodding before placing a hand on Sokka's shoulder. "I trust you to take this seriously, Sokka. They have much to offer, and you would do well to learn. Afterwards, if you aren't too exhausted, I will teach you the first technique I learned, known as Henge."
At the thought of finally learning a jutsu, Sokka became twice as determined to impress Naruto, a man who literally came from the Spirit World to help Aang, and offered his help to him. He wouldn't let him down.
"I will, Naruto." he said seriously.
With a wide fox-like grin, Naruto let go of Sokka's shoulder and said, "I would expect nothing less. Try your hardest, and don't be afraid to ask questions, or regret failure; it is the only way to learn."
Bowing once more to the Kiyoshi Warriors, Naruto left in a puff of smoke, all of the clones memories retreating back to the original who was smiling pleased at the progress Aang was making.
"Excellent, Aang!" Naruto said with enthusiasm. It became clear in their few training sessions that he responded well to positive reinforcement rather than sternly pushing him to do better as many instructors would do. They had barely started, but it was clear that Aang was going through the exercises with a new determination.
"Thanks, I try." Aang replied with a cheeky grin as he successfully walked across the water without falling through. It seemed that Aang took to chakra training easily, and he could assume that the boy would absorb jutsu's like a sponge once he was trained enough.
"I am glad to see that now." Naruto said with a smile. "Now, I believe we should work on your physical strength, as it will help your body course chakra, and your chi, more effectively."
Aang groaned out loud, but otherwise didn't complain. He knew that Naruto took training seriously, and if he said that it would help, then it would undoubtedly help.
"Hey, do you think Katara could join us next time?" Aang asked, sweat dripping down his face even as he tried to use his air-bending in order to dry and cool himself off.
"Aang, don't cool off with air-bending, it will only stiffen your muscles. Stretch out for a bit and allow your body to cool down on it's own." Once he received a nod, he continued. "As for Katara, I am already planning on teaching her a bit of hand-to-hand techniques when she is ready. I believe right now, her heart is set on learning water-bending, and therefore, not take my lessons to heart. Until she finds her a master, I will pause on teaching her much; unless she asks to be taught."
"Oh, okay." Aang said with a small smile.
Returning that smile, Naruto suggested that they should return back to their current lodgings and prepare to leave tomorrow afternoon or the morning after. Aang seemed saddened that he would have to leave the fangirls that watched him annoyingly closely during their training. How he could possibly like them, Naruto wouldn't know since he hated fangirls and knew that those who had them, hated them with a passion.
Not far off on another dock, sat a scar-faced teenager, brimming with bitterness and hatred, sat waiting for his dinner when the servant dropped down to ear level and whispered something in his ear.
"The Avatar is on Kiyoshi Island!?" he exclaimed angrily. "Prepare the rhino's Uncle, we have an Avatar to capture."
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