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Naruto, Naruto Shippuden
© Masashi Kishimoto

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Kenshi Saito
Kenshi Saito
Ryo : 500

A Journey Begins Empty A Journey Begins

Thu Jul 28, 2022 4:37 pm
As the first rays of sunlight peeked over the horizon, Kenshi finished packing up his tent and sleeping bag from the previous night's rest. The golden light touched the sprawling rice paddies that were laid out in front of him and he couldn't help but stare in awe. Growing up in a small farming village, he wasn't unused to large fields growing enough crops to feed dozens of people, but the scale of this was orders of magnitude higher. He hadn't realized in the night exactly where he was, but now it was pretty obvious: The Land of Rice. He must've crossed the border into the neighboring country overnight. 

He hadn't heard much about the Land of Rice (or anywhere really if he was being honest) until fairly recently when that stranger had come through with news of the world. He had known to some degree of course that it neighbored his own country along with the Land of Waterfalls and Land of Fire, but that was pretty much the extent of his geopolitical knowledge. The stranger had mentioned that there was currently some struggle going on in the country between a village called Tanbogakure and a warlord by the name of Zukumiki. Supposedly the village was trying to provide some real stability to the Land of Rice, which Zukumiki seemed to be against. Kenshi supposed a bunch of scattered groups would be easier for a warlord to deal with than a unified front that could actually resist his forces. At any rate, he would need to be careful to avoid getting caught up in the conflict. The Land of Fire was one of the Great Nations, so if he could make it there, he should be able to manage. He just wanted to see the famous rice paddies of this place and already he was glad he had done so. If this was what the world was like, he couldn't wait to see what else it had in store for him.

A few hours passed as he continued his trek through the rice paddies. He saw workers collecting the rice as he passed, most of them completely focused on harvesting as much as possible but the few who took notice of him gave him a look that told him he wasn't welcome there, especially if he had any thoughts of taking some rice for himself. Of course, Kenshi had no such thoughts. While it was custom for farmers to allow for a few pieces of produce to be taken by wanderers in his village, he would never assume that he was welcome to someone else's crop without their permission. Not even when it was clear that there was an overabundance of rice in this place.

Eventually he came to a small stream a ways away from any of the rice being harvested and dropped his backpack. With a sigh, he sat down on top of it and took a look around. The landscape was certainly a lot flatter here than his home. Not as many trees either, it seemed like mostly everything had been flattened for the express purpose of growing rice. His home village sat on a hill overlooking a beautiful meadow on one side with the farms of the various families out on the other. It was a very peaceful life compared to the almost machine-like efficiency of these workers. Soul crushing work seemed like an apt description of the "farming" here. 

"Well," Kenshi said to himself after a few moments, breaking the silence he had been surrounded by all day. "This looks like as good of a spot as any to get a little nap in." Nobody responded, obviously, as there was nobody nearby, but there was an air about the place that seemed to say "this IS a good spot to rest, isn't it?" Within a few minutes, Kenshi had begun breathing in the steady rhythm that indicated sleep

He awoke to the feeling of steel on his neck. "I wouldn't move if I were you," a gruff voice said as Kenshi's eyes shot open. "Wouldn't want to go getting yourself hurt for no reason." A big man stood over him with a sword held against his neck. Kenshi's eyes were immediately scanning the area. Two other thugs were behind this one and they both carried what looked like giant wooden clubs. His own sword was trapped beneath his pack, definitely not accessible quickly enough to avoid getting killed before he could even draw it. Even if he COULD draw it, he'd never used it before. It had belonged to his father and Kenshi had never even seen the blade before the day he left when his father had given it to him. This was a bad situation.

"Alright, here's how this is gonna play out. You're gonna stand up, nice and slow-like, then my friends are gonna take a little look-see in your pack there. We see anything we like, you get off easy. If not, you're comin' with us. Folks always lookin' to buy an indentured servant" Kenshi's heart sank. Indentured servitude? He'd be a slave! There wasn't anything he could do, though. He stood as the big guy motioned at him to get up. Standing up, Kenshi was actually a few inches taller than him. He looked just as surprised as Kenshi, but having a sword drawn on a man made size quite a bit less intimidating. He whistled and the other two moved in and started rustling through his pack.

"Look," Kenshi began, "I'm just a farmer. I don't have anything worth stealing and I'm not looking for any trouble."

"Hey, boss? Lookie what we got here?"

At the sound of the nasally voice of one of the two thugs going through his pack, Kenshi and the big guy turned to look at him. Both pairs of eyes widened, although for entirely different reasons. The thug was holding up Kenshi's father's sword. "Well well well, nothing worth stealing, huh?"

"No, you can't! That's my father's-"

He was cut off by the flat of the man's blade slamming into the side of his head, knocking him to the ground. "Settle down!" the man roared. "You can either shut up of your own free will or I'll shut you up myself and trust me, you wouldn't like that." Kenshi was more stunned than really hurt. He'd been in fistfights from time to time growing up, so he knew he could take a bit of a beating without too much trouble. The sharp edge of a blade wasn't a fist though. He'd be dead if he got a good cut from that.

"Now then," he continued, eyeing Kenshi somewhat warily for any signs of struggle, "looks like today's your lucky day. You get to continue on your way, minus the sword of course. Consider it the price to pay for a lesson: you ain't ready for this world. You should head back to whatever little farm you came from and stay there." All 3 of the thugs laughed at the words. Kenshi got to his feet while they laughed. "Looks like the pup doesn't know when to stay down," the leader said as he took the sword from his partner. "You two teach him a lesson and make sure it leaves a bit more of an impact. I'm heading back to the camp." The two other thugs chuckled at the joke as he walked away. Kenshi watched him go a fair distance before turning back to face the other two.

He was angry. The one thing his father had given him, a blade of extraordinary craftsmanship that probably cost more than what it would take to feed their family for months, had been stolen from him and there hadn't been anything he could do about it. These two, though… Clubs were still dangerous weapons, but blunt force could be taken more easily than a slice across the chest. He was head and shoulders taller than these guys too. They smirked as they stepped closer to him, clearly thinking he wasn't a threat.

With a cry, Kenshi shot a fist forward to try and take down the one who had found his sword. Caught completely by surprise, the thug was unable to dodge it and took it across the face. Unfortunately for Kenshi, it wasn't enough to actually lay the man out. By the time he had gotten another punch into the man's stomach, the other thug had brought his club around to slam into his side. He had expected the blow and had positioned his arm to block the brunt of the attack, but the force was enough to numb his entire arm.

From there, the fight was over. Kenshi didn't have enough experience with fighting to handle two men with clubs by himself. This was a dumb idea, he thought to himself as he tried to dodge and block the weapons to create some space. He fought well, considering. A few more punches and a solid kick to the leg before they finally managed to get him knocked down and began beating him mercilessly. I'm sorry, father, he thought with a feeling of sadness. I might not make it home after all.

Just then, he heard a thud next to him. He turned to look at what it could be and was surprised to see one of the thugs on the ground next to him with strange looking knife with a circle at the bottom of the hilt sticking out of his neck. The other thug was immediately on the alert. "What the hell!?" he shouted as he looked around frantically.

Kenshi watched as a figure came rushing out of the woods. The thug turned to face him but as he did so, the newcomer began to move his hands in a series of positions. A second later, it appeared as though there were three of the same person running side by side. Kenshi's eyes widened, as did the thug's, as the three figures threw knives aimed at the thug. He was able to bring up his club to block two of them, but the knives vanished as they made contact. The third one, however, hit its mark. It buried itself in his forearm, causing him to drop the club. Two of the figures vanished and the last one leapt into the air, making another series of hand movements. Kenshi couldn't believe what he was seeing as the man, he could make out that it was indeed a man now, breathed a stream of fire at the thug. The thug screamed as his body was engulfed by flames, bringing him down instantly.

Kenshi was in shock as the man stood still for a few moments. Did he just breathe fire? Kenshi wondered to himself. The man turned to look at him. 

"Hello there."

WC: 1,810

Last edited by Kenshi Saito on Sun Jul 31, 2022 8:18 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Formatting)
Kenshi Saito
Kenshi Saito
Ryo : 500

A Journey Begins Empty Re: A Journey Begins

Mon Aug 01, 2022 2:46 pm
The man was middle aged. That was the first thing that Kenshi noticed about him. The beginnings of a scruffy grayish beard covered his chin and he had a small scar just underneath his left eye that indicated he had seen a few close calls in his life. He was dressed in a dark blue outfit that was covered in various pockets and satchels. Kenshi had never seen an outfit styled like that, but he also hadn't exactly traveled before.

"Are you alright, son?" the man asked as he stretched out his hand. Kenshi snapped out of his thoughts and nodded as he took the man's hand. "Yeah, I'm alright" he managed as a response. "Thank you." As he was pulled to his feet, Kenshi realized the man was almost a foot shorter than him. In the back of his mind, he felt a little embarrassed that he had to be saved by this older, smaller man. He shoved that feeling down though with a reminder that this older, smaller man had just lit a man on fire with flames from his mouth.

The man shook his head to dismiss the thanks. "It was no trouble. Bandits like these have been plaguing our country for a while. They need a reminder every now and then that not everybody can be bullied without consequence. I’m just sorry I didn’t get here sooner to help you out.” Kenshi's face fell at the thought. If he HAD gotten here sooner, maybe he would still have his father's sword. The man seemed to notice and offered a sympathetic grimace. "The name is Akabo, by the way."

"Kenshi," he replied.

"You gonna be able to make it to where you're going from here, Kenshi?"

Kenshi paused to think about it. He probably could make it to the Land of Fire, or at least a safe village here in the Land of Rice, but he had thought that before he came through here too. He would obviously be more careful but… "You took care of those guys like it was nothing," he said after a few moments.

Akabo chuckled slightly. "Those twerps are nothing compared to a village-trained shinobi."

"A shinobi?" he asked in surprise. The stranger that had come through his village had mentioned shinobi, but he had thought they were just a legend. ”I thought shinobi were just a story.”
Akabo looked at Kenshi in disbelief. ”Just a story? Ha!” He chuckled for a few seconds before he realized that Kenshi actually wasn’t joking. ”You’re serious? Where are you from, kid?”

Kenshi’s mood soured slightly. ”I’m not a kid,” he protested. ”And I’m from Kotesiko Village in the Land of the Moon.”

”There used to be a Hidden Village in the Land of the Moon,” Akabo said, still in disbelief that Kenshi had never seen or even heard of a shinobi. ”Tengakure, I think it was. You really haven’t heard of it?” Kenshi shook his head firmly. ”Wow. Well, I’ll tell you what, Kenshi. My home isn’t too far from here. Why don’t you come stay with me for the night? It’ll give us a chance to talk some more and I promise you’ll be safe there.”

Kenshi thought about it for a minute. While it was true that he had plenty of questions for Akabo, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay the night at his place. Then again, if he had any ulterior motives he certainly wouldn’t need to wait to have him at his house. He could’ve killed or robbed him rather than saving him from the bandits. ”Alright,” he agreed. ”I appreciate your hospitality.” With that, the two of them set off.

WC: 613
TWC: 2,423
Kenshi Saito
Kenshi Saito
Ryo : 500

A Journey Begins Empty Re: A Journey Begins

Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:08 pm
As the two walked along the path to Akabo’s home, they conversed companionably. Akabo asked him about his home; what sort of crops they grew, where it was located, interaction with the government of the Land of the Moon, etc. Kenshi answered as best he could, although he had never been particularly interested in the goings-on of the country at large. Their mayor, a tough but kind man, and the village council were the only government that Kenshi had ever known. Akabo seemed surprised that a village could be as isolated as it seemed like his was, but he didn’t seem to look down on it. In fact, he almost seemed to be jealous.

”I have to say, Kenshi,” he admitted, ”I almost wish I lived in your village.” Kenshi looked at him in surprise. ”I’m not a native of this land myself. I was born and raised in the Land of Lightning. In Kumogakure. That's where I received my training as a shinobi." His face took on a sorrowful expression as he thought about the past. "Eventually, I decided that I didn't want to serve a village that cared more about power than anything else. I ran away to find some peace and quiet for myself, and so I came here. This was before the current mess of things that has been going on here, of course. At any rate, nobody came to look for me here and by the time these bandits had moved in, I had already made a home for myself and wasn't about to be forced out of it."

Kenshi understood the sentiment. Even though he had been longing for adventure for years, he wouldn't have willingly been pushed out of his home. Neither would any of the members of his village. They may have just been farmers, but they would fight for their homes as fiercely as any soldier would. "If you don't mind me asking…" he said after a few minutes of silence, "You did things back there that are impossible. Making copies of yourself, breathing fire…"

Akabo chuckled. "Oh, that? That was nothing. I have to admit, I was never that great of a shinobi back home."

That was nothing? Kenshi wasn't sure if he was just being modest or if he was telling the truth and that there were other shinobi who could do even crazier things. "How did you do it?" he asked. With power like that, he wouldn't need to be afraid of being stopped by bandits again. He wouldn't have lost his father's sword…

Akabo looked at Kenshi with an appraising eye. "It takes a good amount of training,” he responded hesitantly.

”Please.” The earnestness of his request was communicated clearly in that one word, along with something else. Akabo could see a determination in his eyes that rivaled that of even the Kumogakure shinobi that he had served with years ago. Was that a warning sign? If he did train this earnest seeming young man, would it turn him into a monster as the search for power had done time and time again in this world?

”We’ll see,” Akabo responded after a lengthy silence. ”The way of the shinobi is a dangerous path. Make no mistake, if you learn what you ask, you WILL be a shinobi. There will be no turning back.”

”I understand,” Kenshi responded quickly. The gravity of what Akabo was saying was beginning to sink in, but he couldn’t afford to back out now. He would learn what this man had to teach him and prove that he was a worthy student. Akabo nodded, sealing the deal.

”I will need some time to think on how best to begin, so perhaps tomorrow will be the beginning of your instruction. For now,” he said, a warm grin slowly spreading across his face as he glanced ahead of them, ”I think we could both use some rest.”

Kenshi followed his gaze. Akabo’s home was a fairly simple cottage nestled in a clearing inside of a copse of trees. It was nicer than any of the homes in his home village, but it seemed fairly similar to them, nothing incredibly extravagant. To Kenshi, though, it was the nicest home he had ever seen. "This is your home?" he asked in awe. "It's amazing."

Akabo simply smiled. He was obviously quite a fan of his own home, but he knew that at the end of the day it was just a cottage. Kenshi really was a fledgling to be so impressed with it. Perhaps there was hope for him yet. He could be taught a better way than the struggle for power that had consumed so many shinobi across the world. "I'm glad you approve. You might be here for a little while, after all. Like I said, go ahead and get some rest. Get the lay of the land if you want to. Tomorrow we'll start your training."

WC: 822
TWC: 3245
Kenshi Saito
Kenshi Saito
Ryo : 500

A Journey Begins Empty Re: A Journey Begins

Sat Aug 13, 2022 9:04 am
”I believe,” began Akabo after he had taken a sip of his morning tea, ”it would be best to start from the beginning.” Both Kenshi and Akabo had woken up before the sun rose. While Akabo had prepared tea for both of them, Kenshi had gone out to explore the surroundings. There was a nice brook that flowed through the clearing, and it seemed like Akabo took care of the nature surrounding his home. There were no weeds or invasive plants within the boundaries of the clearing, but there was a small garden where it looked like Akabo grew his own food. By the time Kenshi had come back inside, the tea was ready and Akabo motioned for him to take a seat on a tatami mat that he had prepared. He did so and eagerly awaited what Akabo had to teach him. ”Since you don’t know anything about shinobi, I have to assume you don’t know anything about chakra or ninjutsu, correct?”

Chakra? Ninjutsu? Kenshi shook his head. He had never heard of either of those words. Akabo sighed, but seemed pleased as well. ”I thought as much. Well then, at least we won’t have to break any bad habits or preconceptions you might have.” He took out a scroll and laid it out on the ground between them. There was a diagram of a human body, exquisitely detailed, drawn on the scroll. ”We’ll start with chakra. Chakra is a form of energy inherent in all humans. Just as there is a cardiovascular system that supplies blood throughout your body, there is a chakra network that does the same for chakra.” He pointed down at the picture. Kenshi could see that there were many winding pathways detailed on the body, which he now assumed must be a representation of the chakra network.

”It is made up of two parts,” he continued. ”Physical energy and spiritual energy.” As he spoke, he drew Kenshi’s attention to the yin-yang symbol that was at the center of the diagram. ”The physical energy of a person is gathered from each cell inside the body. This half of chakra can be strengthened through training and exercise.” Akabo stopped and glanced at Kenshi. ”The more you train, the stronger and faster you’ll become and you’ll learn to utilize your chakra to help you accomplish things you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.” Kenshi’s mind was already racing. He wasn’t a weak person by any means, but it sounded like this was a whole new type of physical conditioning.

”I see that look in your eye,” Akabo said, cutting off his thoughts. ”Remember, physical energy is only half of chakra. If you focus all of your training into that, you’ll never reach your full potential.” He pointed to the Yin portion of the symbol on the drawing. ”Spiritual energy comes from your mind’s consciousness. Studying, meditation, and experience will help you to increase your spiritual energy reserves. I like to think of it as the direction of the physical energy’s force.”

Standing up, Akabo gestured to the door. ”Every morning, we will go for a run around the area. That will work up your speed and stamina, increasing your physical energy. Once that is complete, we will spend an hour here meditating and practicing feeling your chakra flow. That will increase your spiritual energy. After those things are done, we will conduct more specialized training depending on what we determine your strengths and weaknesses are.” Kenshi groaned internally. He had never particularly enjoyed running, and he had a feeling that Akabo wouldn’t let him take it easy either. Still, if that was the price to pay, it was certainly worth it.

”Now, let’s go,” Akabo said, grinning slightly at the expression that Kenshi had been unsuccessful in hiding. ”We’ll talk more when we return.”
WC: 637
TWC: 3,882
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