"Keep your posture steady and loosen up your wrists. Always remember to keep the outside foot away from the pivotal foot to keep your balance and to quicken your spinning motions."
Neji was helping Hinata to master the main stances and postures again after being inactive for quite a period of time.
"Now let us do this again. This time, try to flow with my movements as I am attacking you, you'll find that doing so will make it easier to find an opening to counterattack." Neji slid into his usual offensive position with one arm outstretched with his outside leg, the palm facing Hinata, and the other arm behind him near his inside leg, but still close to his body. Hinata took up a similar stance; though her arm that was near the inside leg was more to the front of her body for a greater defensive form.
Neji didn't even give a warning when he struck out with his outstretched arm to attack her. Hinata brushed it to the side with her inside arm and tried to deliver a blow to with her other palm. Neji pushed off of his inside leg to move in closer while slightly pivoting on his other leg and leaning his upper body to the side, using his closer palm to brush the blow away from him while simultaneously using his other arm to strike several points along her arm where her tenketsu would have been. Taking advantage of his position, Neji deftly spun around behind her, where he could give a few palm thrusts to her back. Hinata then spun around counterclockwise on her inside heel and brought down her arm from above to block the incoming palm with her left arm and brought her right arm up to deliver an attack from below. Neji used his left hand to guide her arm up away from him and found an opening to attack. He proceeded to land several quick precise jabs from her abdomen to her shoulder followed by a palm thrust to her other shoulder.
Hinata staggered back momentarily from the force of the attack, but regained her composure. It was a good thing for her that this was just training. If those jabs had injected any chakra into her, she would have lost a great amount of feeling in her right side.
"Your attacks are too slow, and that creates openings in your defenses. Your footwork is a little better and allows you to maneuver around an opponent's attacks , but your arms are what allow you to redirect your opponent's attacks, instead of simply avoiding them, while giving you the opportunity to strike as well," Neji continued drilling to her and pointed out several other flaws in her fighting style as they resumed sparring.
At one point, Hinata was able to land a decent palm thrust to Neji's gut, though he insisted that her wrists were still too stiff upon impact.
"A loosened wrist will allow for several consecutive strikes in one attack," Neji demonstrated to her with his own palm as he thrust against her lower right hip and her upper left shoulder in one fluid movement, "The more attacks made, the less time the opponent has to find an opening to counter."
"H-hai", was Hinata's stuttered response. She knew that she was still a bit sloppy, especially from being inactive for some time, but the only way to improve was to continue training. While Neji was a bit strict like her father, he was actually a very good teacher, and she enjoyed sparring with him occasionally.
Tenten was sitting on a tree branch only a few meters away from their training area, observing the sparring session. She had to admit that Hinata was doing quite well, despite being out of practice for so long. She couldn't get in many blows, but anything that reached him was still somewhat impressive to her, considering that Neji was a prodigy of the Hyuuga clan and very well versed in their Gentle Fist taijutsu. She had been given prior permission by one of the Hyuuga elders to observe Neji and Hinata practice the elaborate movements and graceful spinning that comprised of the famous Gentle Fist style. It wasn't often that they let strangers into their home, but they were willing to make an exception for her since she was Neji's teammate and a good friend of Hinata.
Tenten had been observing them for several hours and noticed the sun was setting in the distance. She decided that it would probably be best if she left for home.
She turned to the two sparring Hyuugas, "Hey, Neji, I'm gonna head home now. I'll see you two tomorrow!"
Neji seamlessly glided out of his fight with Hinata and turned to his bun-headed teammate. "Alright then, I wish you a good night Ten-ten."
Hinata also responded in a similar fashion, though a bit more timidly than her more confident cousin. Tenten bid them both farewell with a simple wave of her hand, and left in a puff of smoke. Neji took it upon himself to activate his byakugan and proceeded to watch her for as far as its range of vision allowed him to see her. It was more of a courteous gesture to make sure that her journey home was safe. While watching her leave, he also noticed Hiashi coming in through the compound gates, no doubt returning to check upon Hinata's progress as he said he would. He deactivated his doujutsu and fell back into his stance.
"Let us resume our training Hinata-sama," Neji said politely. Hinata nodded and imitated his stance.
It wasn't long before Hiashi sauntered regally out to where they were practicing. As he approached the two, they stopped their sparring and turned to bow to him. Hiashi addressed them in his usual tone, though his face was more passive than usual,
"Good evening, Neji and Hinata."
They both responded respectfully in unison, "Good evening Hiashi-sama/oto-sama."
Hiashi turned to Neji "I have come to check on Hinata's progress. How is she faring so far?"
"While her overall form is a bit stiff- which is expected after being in the hospital for some time- she is still capable of holding her own for short while. Her chakra control is still intact, and her vision with the byakugan is still sharp. She has made great progress, and I expect that she will be able to return to her usual exercises in by tomorrow." Neji reported honestly.
"I see…." Hiashi was about to finish, but activated his byakugan at that moment.
"Were you expecting to meet someone here this evening?" He asked, his firm voice laced with curiously.
Neji activated his byakugan and was surprised to see Shizune waiting patiently outside the compound gates. It was getting rather late, though he believed that whatever reason she was her must've been important.
"I am under the impression that she is here to see us, Hiashi-sama. Should we let her in?" Neji voiced his thoughts calmly. Hiashi turned his focus on the two Hyuuga guards who were stationed outside the gates and waved his hand in the air, signaling the two to let her in. They complied immediately, opening the gates to let her in. One of the nearby branch members came to escort her from the entryway where they offered to seat her in preparation to meet the clan head.
Hiashi turned leave, "Come. We shall be meeting with our guest momentarily."
As the Hyuuga relatives came into the room, Shizune stood and bowed in formally, the Hyuugas returning the bow.
"Good Evening, Hiashi-sama. I'm sorry if I have inconvenienced you in any way."
Neji noticed that Shizune seemed rather uncomfortable when addressing the clan head, though who wouldn't be with his intimidating and commanding presence. She was speaking to the highest ranking aristocrat within Konoha.
"That may depend on the reason for your visit. It is rather late right now and I must be departing in a few minutes to deal with other important affairs," he replied in his usual, frigid tone. His gaze was hard and penetrating, even without his byakugan activated.
"O-oh, well," Shizune had briefly lost her composure, but gained it again after a moment, "The reason that I am here is that I came to check up on Hinata. I wasn't able to see her today in the hospital, and I wanted to make sure that she hadn't developed any problematic symptoms."
Hiashi looked at Hinata for a moment and returned to Shizune, "Very well, you may examine her for any abnormal symptoms. We have a room just down the hall to the left that you may use if you wish. I will have Neji be your escort around the grounds."
Shizune's composed face showed a small trace of relief as he left the three to attend other matters that likely didn't concern them. The group remained quiet until they knew that his slightly overwhelming presence had passed.
Neji was the one to break the awkward silence that had come over them, "Alright then, I will show you to the examination room."
The room's interior was not unlike the rest of the Hyuuga compound; though small, the walls were coated ivory and there were several wooden tables and mats in the center with several scrolls placed on top, which were used to teach the clan members about the chakra circulatory system.
Shizune had Hinata sit on one of the tables and began checking her vitals. It didn't take her very long as she finished within a few minutes and was already questioning her about any symptoms that she may have had during the past 24 hours. Hinata replied that she had felt some soreness around the main injury site, but nothing else other than that.
"I remember that you had Sakura-san deliver us some anti-inflammatory medicine," Neji said as turned to leave left the room, "I'll go brew some green tea for her to take with it like you instructed."
"Umm…yes, arigato, Neji. That would probably be helpful at the moment," was Shizune's reply.
As Neji walked towards the kitchen he couldn't help but notice that something was a bit off about the way Shizune was behaving. Even without his byakugan, his great perceptual abilities told him that she seemed rather unsure of herself, something that was a bit out-of-character for an experienced medical-ninja. It wasn't like her to be so nervous around any of the Hyuugas, even if she wasn't used to dealing with higher-class society.
He grabbed the medicine box from its resting place inside a cabinet near the kitchen and proceeded to boil some hot water in a kettle. He opened the box and carefully poured the contents into a measuring glass, making sure that he drained at least half of the vial before pouring it into a tea-cup that was conveniently set out on the counter. He finished brewing the tea, set it on a portable table, and went back to the room where Hinata and Shizune were waiting patiently.
Back in the room, Hinata was listening to Shizune as she instructed her not to exert herself too much or the healing process would begin to reverse itself. Neji came into the room with the tea and served Hinata the hot liquid.
"A-arigato Neji-san," she took a sip of the medicinal mixture. It was apparently good tasting as Hinata smiled softly and began lightly drinking in more of it.
Shizune smiled good-naturedly, "Well, I'm glad that you're enjoying it. Anyways, I shall be taking my leave then. Tsunade-sama still needs to be looked after." She then turned to Neji, "Before I go, may I have a word with you in private?"
Neji, while curious and slightly suspicious, obliged her with a casual look. "If you wish. Is there something wrong?"
"Oh, no nothing's wrong, I just needed to speak with you for a minute about something. Is there any way for you us to …you know…have a conversation without anyone seeing us? It's kind of confidential," Shizune asked a bit awkwardly.
"Even confidential to the clan head, Hiashi-sama?" Neji perked up an eyebrow at this. Usually anything that was confidential was reported directly to Hiashi himself, "Although he is away at the moment, you could always come back and report to him when he returns."
"Well, yes, actually it is. As a matter of fact it's about something that happened in the village. Here, let's take this outside for right now." Shizune took Neji's hand in hers and led him back outside through the gates, leaving Hinata to sip quietly on the medicinal drink by herself.
Once they had walked several minutes away from the compound did Shizune release her grip in Neji's hand and turn to explain herself.
"I believe that there is a spy among us right now. I was recently attacked right outside of the fifth's own tent and barely got away with my life. I don't want this to go around however, so I am coming to you because I can trust you and your abilities with the byakugan to help me find the culprit."
The sudden news left Neji even more curious and suspicious than before. "Why not report this to the Ninja Council and have everyone on high alert? Or even directly to Hiashi-sama for that matter? It's definitely important enough to discuss with him."
"Like I said earlier I didn't want too many people to know since the spy might be among them in disguise. He could be trying to tail me for all I know. So please, Neji, we need to talk about this someplace where no one can eavesdrop on us." Shizune gave Neji a pleading look to accompany her request.
Neji took a moment to absorb her words. She seemed convincing, but her behavior was a bit off. Was it possible that she was the culprit herself? He activated his byakugan, careful as to how she would react to him doing so. She didn't move even as Neji carefully observed her chakra signature. Her chakra flow was not irregular like it would be if she was using a henge jutsu. Actually, it was relatively calm as it usually was, despite her slight nervousness. Everything checked out OK to him, so she couldn't be the infiltrator in disguise, though it wouldn't hurt to be a bit cautious, just in case.
"Alright then. I'll take us somewhere else more private." Neji turned and jumped into the trees, his byakugan still active, Shizune remaining close to him the entire trip. It was at least fifteen minutes of fast-paced tree-hopping until Neji lead them into a vacant clearing just outside of the village walls. The closest people to them were well out of sight of his byakugan.
"We are well outside of even the greatest known range of the byakugan," he stated calmly, arms folded across his chest, "Now, what is it about this spy that you are interested in discussing so privately with me? If you want me to find him for you, I will need some details as to what he looked like as well as what type of jutsus he uses if possible."
"I'm not exactly sure what he looked like since he was behind me the entire time, but he was very pale-skinned and possessed an unusual trapping jutsu that I have never seen before in my life," Shizune said, though her focus was not on him, but rather everywhere else as if making sure that they were alone.
"There is nothing to worry about, we are alone out here, at least for the moment anyways. There is no one out there close enough to eavesdrop or observe our conversation." Neji reassured her. His byakugan constantly scanning the area for any suspicious activity. So far there was none that he was aware of.
"OK then, I guess this is good enough." Shizune's posture relaxed completely. It was then that Neji noticed a small disturbance in the air around them and an unfamiliar presence made its appearance out of nowhere just a few feet beside Shizune.
Neji immediately backpedaled a few feet, his body already falling into the signature Hyuuga fighting stance. This was impossible! How could someone evade detection from the near 360 degree view of the byakugan?
As the shadowy figure completely materialized in front of him, Neji turned to Shizune only to realize that she was slowly transforming into a completely pale-skinned, green-haired creature whose limbs and torso resembled venus flytraps. Even this…plant…thing…whatever it was, had somehow managed to fool the byakugan's incredible sensory capabilities! He was in the middle of an ambush with absolutely no backup, something that he thought would never happen to someone like him.
The mysterious hooded figure approached him slowly, hands raised in a non-threatening manner. The person pulled back his hood to reveal a strangely designed, orange-colored mask with only a single eye-hole from which a fully matured sharingan shone forebodingly. Neji also noticed that his chakra was just as unusual as his jutsu, noting its slightly ominous nature in accordance with the person's presence.
The masked man spoke to him plainly, revealing his identity to the bewildered Hyuuga prodigy, "I am Madara Uchiha. I have been waiting for you."
Well here you have it! My third Chapter! Again, if you viewers leave enough reviews, then I will post another chapter earlier along with my weekly updates!
So those of you who want to read more will have to leave some comments about the chapter!
Again, Please R&R!
Also, I see that I kindof mispelled the title in the chapter so sorry for confusing anyone
Last edited by fastrthnwind; 08-13-2012 at 03:30 AM.