Chapter Eight: Jinchuriki Training and Chuunin Exams Pt. 1
Two weeks later….
After resting up in the Land of Waves, we soon returned back to the Hidden Leaf Village. When I spotted the grand gates, I released a sigh of relief. It was great to be back home. The mission was a success, Sasuke was alive, and everyone made it back home in one piece. Now I couldn't wait to see what our next mission was going to be. Once we entered through the gates, we stopped and looked towards Kakashi.
"All right, then. The mission is over, so you all are dismissed." Kakashi explained. "Rest up and I'll see you all at our next training session." And with that, he vanished in a cloud of smoke.
"All right!" Naruto yelled. "I know where I'm heading. Ichiraku Ramen, here I come!"
"Just hold on a sec, Naruto." I say as I caught him by the collar of his jacket. He turned around to face me. "Aren't you forgetting something?"
"Huh? What?" he asked, sounding a little confused. I stood a little close, cupped my hand by his ear to whisper to him.
"We're supposed to start our own training today." I reminded him.
"Oh yeah, I forgot about that." He said as he scratched the back of his head. "But can we start after a bowl of ramen? Please? Please? Please?" he begged.
"All right, all right. Fine, Naruto." I told him so he could quit it with the begging. "You can go have your ramen, but meet me at the training grounds at three. An hour should be long enough for you to enjoy your food in peace."
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Kazumi-chan!" he exclaimed happily. "I promise, I'll be there on time. Believe it!"
Naruto took off so fast that he left a dust trail behind him. I just scratched the side of my head sheepishly as I watched my best friend disappear within seconds. Like I said, he was a little weird, but you could count on him if you were in a tight spot. In fact, I'm still a little surprised at what we both encountered back in the Land of Waves.
"Hey, Kazumi." I hear Sasuke say. I turned around to still see him and Sakura standing there. "What was that about?"
"Oh, it's nothing." I assured him. "Naruto and I were just going to do a little training with each other, that's all. We were supposed to do it back in the Land of Waves, but we decided to wait until we got back home."
"Training? Why on earth would you two train now?" Sakura asked. "We just got back from a mission. Did you forget about that?"
"No, I didn't." I replied. "I actually feel pretty good, so a little training session won't hurt."
"I swear, you act just like Naruto and Sasuke." She sighed. "All work and now play. In fact, you're almost worst then they are."
"Sakura, we're ninja. And in order to get stronger, you need to train." I explained. "We may not be naturally gifted like you, but we have our own methods of making ourselves stronger and smarter. And here's some advice, you should start working harder yourself."
With that, I left Sasuke and Sakura, who had a shocked look on her face. Hell, I spoke the truth. All she did was protect Tazuna while Kakashi, Sasuke, Naruto and I fought Zabuza and Haku. All she could do was drool over how Sasuke looked when he defeated the water clones or did what she thought was a cool move. I swear, if that girl didn't improve soon, she was going to whine up dead.
I was already inside Training Grounds Nine, sitting underneath one of the trees. I sat there, leaning against a tree, as a calm, cool breeze swept across the area. It was quite peaceful out here. I usually didn't get to do this much ever since becoming a ninja, but that's just a small price to pay. And it's not like I would never get to do this again.
"Kazumi-chan! I made it!" I heard Naruto yell. I looked towards my left to see him running right towards me. He had a big smile on his face, obviously telling me that he satisfied his hunger for Ichiraku's Ramen. Well, for now at least.
"You're right on time, Naruto." I said as I got to my feet. "Are you ready to begin?"
"Yeah!" he yelled. "What are we going to do first? Are we going to try to summon our beasts? Or how about use their chakra? Or…"
"Hold on, slow down, Naruto." I told him. "Before we do any of that, we need to start by making ourselves stronger. Physically and mentally that is."
"All right. What are we going to do first?" he asked, obviously eager to start.
"Okay. First we're going to work on our Taijutsu moves." I explained. "And in the process, improve your method of using your shadow clone jutsu."
"Huh? How?" he asked.
"Well to start, you have an advanced level jutsu, which you have learn to use quite professionally." I told him. "But you need more methods of attacking then just relying on an all out, straight forward attack."
"Mm-hmm. Okay, so what do you have in mind?" he asked.
"Simple. We're going to have a Taijutsu only training session." I answered. I walked a little ways from Naruto until I was in an open space. "Ninja Art: Shadow Clone Jutsu!"
A cloud of smoke surrounded me as soon as I called forward my clones. Once the area was cleared, I had three prefect clones standing beside me. They moved into position and stood in a triangle formation surrounding me. I then directed my attention back onto Naruto, who was now standing a few feet away from one of my clones.
"So, what's this all about?" he asked.
"Your training session." I answered. "I want you to use your clone jutsu and try to get through my clones."
"What? Really?" he asked.
"Yes." I said, nodding my head. "Try to get through my clones. But here's the catch. Try to use a different method of getting to me. Don't rely on a direct approach."
"Got it, Kazumi-chan." Naruto said, nodding his head. "Shadow Clone Jutsu!"
Naruto sent his clones forward, attempting to break through my own clones. My clones quickly drew their swords and began to defend. One by one, Naruto's clones were eliminated one by one. I did see Naruto had changed his method of attacking some. He sent a couple in first, then adding another wave soon after. I saw he was trying to distract my clones and used that distraction to get to me.
"Heh, he may be a knuckle head sometimes, but he's a quick learner when it comes to being a ninja." I thought to myself.
Our training lesson continued until Naruto tired himself out by using a little too much chakra. Once I saw he was done, I canceled my jutsu. I approached him as he sat on the ground, trying to catch his breath. Once close enough, I kneeled down to one knee so I was at the same eye-level with him.
"Darn it. I almost had it." He growled as he breathed heavily. "Come on, Kazumi-chan. Let's go, one more time."
"Come on, Naruto. There's no need to tire yourself out even more." I explained to him. "The good news is that you understand what I was explaining to you."
"Well, you're right." he said. "A direct, straight-forward attack is good. But I really shouldn't rely on it. My enemies will use that to their advantage."
"Yeah, you got it." I nodded. "Look, I think I know of a way that can motivate you."
"Huh? What would that be?" he asked.
"I'll make you a deal. When you go home tonight, try to think up a strategy that can take me down. Put me in a position where I have to surrender." I explained. "And if you do that and succeed, I'll treat you to some ramen."
"What!? Really!? Do you really mean that!?" he asked, suddenly very excited.
"Hey, I always keep my promises. And this one I will also keep" I assured him with a smile. Well to Naruto, I sent him and eye-smile, just like Kakashi does.
"Yeah! You got a deal, Kazumi-chan!" he yelled as he jumped back to his feet. "I'm definitely going to get you next time."
"Well, I can't wait to see what you come up with." I told him as I returned back to my full height. "Just don't strain yourself, all right. Oh and one more thing."
"Yeah?" he asked.
"You are the only one who can come up with the strategy. Do not ask anyone." I told him. "I understand that you have comrades to help you, but there will be times where you, yourself, may need to come up with a plan."
"Don't you worry. This will be a Naruto Uzumaki original. Believe it!" he assured me.
After training with Naruto for the rest of the day, I returned home, ate and got ready for bed. Since tomorrow was Saturday, I decided to sleep in late. Hell, who wouldn't want to sleep in late on a Saturday? I was in a peaceful sleep when out of nowhere, I started hearing tapping. I was halfway asleep, so I figured it was just my imagination. I turned over and tried to doze back off. But I continued to hear the annoying tapping. I snapped my head up to see Naruto peeping through my bedroom window as he tapped the glass quietly.
"What the hell!?" I groaned.
I was lucky that my sheet was covering my face at the moment. I quickly pulled up my mask and jumped out of bed. I was also thanking myself that I decided to wear shorts and a black t-shirt to bed. I walked over to my window and slid it open. Now fully aware, I notice Naruto was completely dressed in his Ninja gear. I just scratched my head as I looked at him with half opened eyes.
"Naruto? What are you doing here?" I asked as I glanced back to look at my clock, then turning back to him. "It six in the morning and it's a Saturday for crying out loud. Why the hell are you up so early?"
"I did what you said." He quickly said. "I was able to make up my own strategy. I know it's going to work, so I quickly came over to challenge you and hold the deal you made."
"I figured you'll ask me later on today, like later this afternoon, not this early in the morning." I groaned. "Aw well, I can't do anything about it now. I'm up so I might as well stay up."
"Cool! Come on, let's get going!" he said, catching my wrist.
"Whoa, hold on, Naruto." I said, stopping him from pulling me out my window. "Let me go get ready and change clothes. I'll meet you downstairs in fifteen."
"All right, Kazumi-chan!" he said and jumped to the ground below.
"If it were anyone else, they'll be six feet under by now. He is so lucky that I think he's cute." I thought as I closed my bedroom window.
I quickly pulled out my clothing and went to the bathroom to freshen up. I threw own my regular ninja attire and strapped my sword on my back. This time, I allowed my hair to hang freely. Some still hung on the sides, but it just wasn't in its original low ponytail style. I grabbed my headband but decided to tie it around my neck. Once I was finished, I quietly closed my door and proceeded downstairs. As I walked down the hall, I spotted Kakashi's light was on. I approached the door and knocked on it quietly.
"Come in." I heard him call out. When I entered, I spotted Kakashi sitting on his bed, Indian-Style. I could tell he looked tired, as if he didn't go to bed at all. I noticed that he was trying to hide something behind as well.
"What are you doing up this early? You know today is Saturday, right?" he asked.
"Yeah, I know. And I should ask you the same question." I replied. "Or a better one would be: did you even go to bed at all?"
"I did." He said, clearly lying with a straight face.
"You are such a liar and a bad one at that." I told him. "You were up all night reading that damn perverted book again, weren't you?" I asked, knowing he was going to lie, I knew him too well.
"No." he said. And there it was.
"I swear. I should just take those books and burn them to hell. That's where they belong anyway." I told him as I folded my arms.
"Huh? You wouldn't?!" Kakashi asked, having a look of shock on his face.
"Geez, chill out Onii-chan. Calm down, I was only kidding." I said as I scratched the back of my head. "Can't you take a joke?"
"Not when it deals with my reading material." He replied. I just narrowed my eyes at him. I soon closed my eyes and released a held breath.
"Anyway, I'm going out to train with Naruto." I told him, getting back on the subject. "I'll get breakfast while I'm out."
"All right. Just don't overdo it." He said.
"I won't." I assured him. "In the meantime, you put down that Kami-awful book and get some sleep. You're starting to get bags under your eyes."
I soon left out, closing his door. I headed downstairs, jumped into my shoes and exited the apartment. Naruto was waiting for me as he rocked back and forth on his heels. As soon as he saw me, he quickly ran over.
"Come on, let's go." He said. He caught my wrist once again and began dragging me down the road while he ran at full speed.
"Naruto, slow down. The training grounds aren't going anywhere." I told him as I got my running speed to match his.
As fast as we were running, those who were walking this early stared at us like we were crazy. I really didn't have time to pay attention since I was moving fast to keep up with Naruto. We were there within minutes. I swear, when you put ramen into any equation with Naruto, you better be prepared to deal with the hyperactive, extremely excited side of him. A lesson I had to learn the hard way several times.
"All right, Naruto. Before we get started, you need to calm down." I explained. "You being in that hyperactive mode or yours will cause you to make a mistake."
"Right, right." he quickly says. He took in a deep breath to calm himself down. A few seconds later, he was back to normal.
"Okay, then let's begin." I told him. "Ninja Art: Shadow Clone Jutsu!"