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Maruko Ichibara
Maruko Ichibara
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The First Step [Private] Empty The First Step [Private]

Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:55 pm
It was a few days after Maruko had sparred with Teru Inuzuka at the Ninja Academy, and the boy was still not over his defeat. He had been stupid enough to leave a blind spot and paid the price for it. He didn't care what other people told him- that he did a great job, that the match was unfair. Maruko was not satisfied by these condolences. His usual smile was absent, and he had spent the last few days reading alone. Not reading for amusement; no he had no time for that. He was reading books about shinobi techniques and strategy. 'Knowledge is the first step to power' he had heard his father say. So, Maruko decided to heed his father's words and learn what he could about fighting like a ninja. He was determined to never suffer such an embarassment again.

Maruko's father, however, was concerned about his son. Maruko had taken his loss far too hard. After all, it was only a sparring match at the Ninja Academy, not the finals of the Chunnin Exams. Matako began to think of a way to cheer his son up, all the while nuturing this desire for knowledge. Luckily for him, his daughter Anika had just returned from a mission. He decided to have her train Maruko in ninjutsu. After a quick discussion and some exaserbated sighing on Anika's part, Matako went to go inform his son of their decision. 

"Maruko, are you awake?" the father asked as he opened the door. Maruko sat at his wooden desk reading, and neither took his eyes off the book nor responded. "Well I've got some good news for you." That caught his attention. Maruko raised his head, though he did not look back at his father. "Anika's home now, and she told me that she'll help train you in ninjutsu." Matako could tell his son now had a large grin on his face. "After all, we can't let an Inuzuka be better than you," he said jokingly. Maruko jumped out of his chair and hurridley gathered the things he would need. The smile that had been absent for the past fe days had finally returned, and Matako sensed his son was more determined than ever to succeed. His proud gaze followed the brother and sister as they made their way through Suna to the training grounds.

"Alright, Maru, first thing we need to do is find out what your chakra nature is," Anika began. She then produced a small square of paper from her pocket. "Just hold the paper in between your fingers and let your chakra flow into it." Maruko grinned and nodded, and took the piece of paper from his older sister. Her emerald eyes watched as he put his chakra into the paper, and then as it turned to dust in the boy's hands.

"Uh oh. Did I do it wrong, Sis?"

"No that's how its supposed to work. Looks like you've got the Earth change in chakra nature, just like me. Guess we must be family after all." They both laughed at that. "That should make training you a whole lot easier. So first off, try and feel the earth around you. If you're gonna use Earth chakra, you need to be in tune with the ground around you." Maruko stood still, closed his eyes, and tried to concentrate on nothing but the ground at his feet. The loose rocks, the grains of sand, the cracked mud. "Mm, that's it. You seem to be catching on pretty quuckly. Spend a few more minutes on that, then we'll move onto the first technique." Maruko could hardly contain his excitement, so much so that he almost broke his focus on this ground. 

A few minutes later, Anika and Maruko were standing in front of a rock face as she explained the first jutsu. "It's called the Flying Stones jutsu. Its pretty straightforward: build up Earth chakra, channel it to your mouth, and then release it, like you're spitting out water. Let me show you first." Anika took a few steps forward and then began weaving the few hand signs required. Then she inhaled deeply, and when she exhaled, a small cloud of tiny rocks flew from her mouth. They collided with the rock face, nicking it then falling to the ground. "Think you can handle it, Maru?" she challenged. 

"Just you watch, Sis," Maruko responded confidently. He stood where she had and wove the hand signs, albeit slower, then inhaled. 'I've totally got this jutsu,' he thought to himself. However, all Maruko got when he exhaled was spit. Holding back a chuckle, Anika called over to her little brother. "Don't worry about it, Maru. I didn't get this on my first try either. Just keep working at it until it works." Maruko nodded with determination and started over again. "I'll keep at this till I get it," he said to himself as he started the jutsu.

A few hours went by before Maruko started to get the hang of the jutsu. By this time he was sweaty and panting slightly. 'Geez, I didn't know Maruko would push himself so hard,' Anika thought. 'I coulda sworn he'd have give up by now.' Maruko now called over to his sister, who had taken a seat under an awning. He looked excited and pleased with himself as he completed the jutsu and sent a small cloud of stones hurtling through the air. Maruko was proud that he had finally gotten that jutsu down, though it had taken him quite some time to do. "Alright, not bad, Maruko. I think you've got a good grasp of this one. How about we move onto some more complicated moves?" Maruko eagerly agreed, more than willing to spend hours on hours training so long as it meant he got a cool jutsu out of it.

"This next move is called the Earth Fist jutsu. It's good for when you need a liitle extra oomph on a punch. Watch closely." Anika cast the jutsu, and suddenly her hand was enveloped by earth and rock. A gauntlet formed around her hand, and she held it up for her little brother to see. Then Anika walked over to a rock the size of her head and struck it, breaking the rock and cracking the gauntlet. "This is a D rank jutsu, so it'll take you a little more time to get it right. Just remember not to give up. Now, once you've gotten the gauntlet down, I want you to break a rock the same size as the one I hit. Got it?" After seeing that he did, she resumed her place under the awning and decided to take a nap while she waited.

Maruko, on the other hand, was hard at work. The first few tries he could not even get the earth to move, let alone form around his hand. After some time, Maruko managed to get the ground to his hand, but it crumbled apart and fell through his fingers. He could feel himself getting worked up, but he remembered what his sister had told him, and so he calmed down and kept practicing. In a couple of hours he was able to form the gauntlet, and he realized that the most difficult part was behind him. Maruko spent a little more time getting the hardness of the jutsu down right, then proceeded to start hitting his rock. After repeated heavy blows the rock finally gave way, but Maruko was not satisfied. He kept working at the Earth Fist until he was smashing apart rocks in a single blow.

When Maruko finally went and got Anika, the sun was beginning to set. He was covered in sweat and was breathing heavily, but despite the exhaustion Maruko was smiling. "Well done, Maru," Anika applauded. "I think you're taking the first steps to becoming a great shinobi one day. That Inuzuka kid won't know what hit him when you get back to school. Now let's go home and get some dinner, cause I'm starving!"

"You're starving?! All you've done is nap! I'm the one whi's been working hard all day!" The sound of their laughter echoed through the streets of Suna as they returned home, the setting sun to their backs and a homecooked meal to their front.

Word Count: 1402; +7stat, +14jp
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