Naruto: Shichiyo Gaiden III
After the break, the genin candidates begin returning to their rooms, only to be awaited by several jounin shinobi. The room is pungent with the aura of strict and demanding peoples. The jounin are stationed all over the room, against the blackboard, up in the back row of the room, and sitting at some of the desks. As the genin go to take their seats, their previous feelings of uneasiness skyrocket to those of complete anxiety in the presence of Sunagakure's strongest shinobi.
“I hope these jounin are as strong as everybody makes them sound. It's going to be real boring if they're nothing but weak--” Koichi cuts himself off as he enters the classroom with Koji. His loud voice carries and as soon as he enters, the entire jounin population is focused on the two brothers. The room is dead silent, as the genin candidates already in their seats sit quietly with worry, and the jounin study the two Shichiyo brothers. Koichi looks around confused as to the situation, “What's up? Why is everybody so quiet?”
Koji smacks his brother in the back of the head, “Idiot.” Koji says as he walks past his brother to his seat. Koichi acts unaware of the situation and simply shrugs it off as he walks to his seat with his brother. Both brothers seem unaffected by menacing stares and auras of the jounin unlike the rest of their classmates. A few moments after Koichi and Koji's arrival, the chuunin instructor from before enters the room and gets to the podium.
“Alright, this part is short and simple. The jounin are holding slips of paper with your names and your team number on them. You will have to find your sensei and leave with them to go preform your test. Without further ado, you may all get to it.” The instructor says. The jounin hold out the numbers of the teams they are in charge of and the genin candidates find their match. After several minutes, the only team left without a sensei was Team 1. As the last genin teams left the room, Koichi, Koji and Ryoko were left alone in the room. Koichi and Koji sat together at the right side of the room, while Ryoko on the opposite side. The awkward silence remains between the three teammates as they wait for their sensei.
“Damn, where the hell is this guy?” Koichi complains. All of a sudden the door from the back room opens up and a shinobi enters the room, catching the attention of the three genin.
“Alright, now that everybody has left we can get started. I'm Kankuro and I will be your new sensei.” Kankuro states casually.
“You were waiting out in the hall way all this time?” Koichi asks, slightly irritated.
“I don't like big crowds, now I think introductions are in order, so why don't you guys start off.” Kankuro says.
Kankuro looks and sees Ryoko all the way at the other side of the room and he remembers the scuffle the three of them had in the training hall an hour prior. He scratches his head and sighs. “Alright, tomorrow I want you guys to come to the main entrance to Suna around 6am for our first training session. Bring all your gear, equipment, every--”
“Aren't we supposed to take our test today?” Ryoko asks curiously. Kankuro stands up and walks down the steps to the middle ground between the three shinobi.
“Actually, you guys are the exception to the jounin testing rule. As far as anyone's concerned, you're already genin so don't worry about any tests for right now. We're going to start training and then we'll begin our missions once we find our flow and we can work as a team. So tomorrow at 5am, don't be late.” Kankuro gets up and leaves the room and the three genin look at each other.
The three finally leave the room and Koichi runs towards Ryoko trying to get her attention. “Hey Ryoko, I think we got off on the wrong foot. Why don't we start over huh--”
“Listen, we're going to keep this professional alright. We're comrades who work on the same team, nothing more. I don't need to like you and you don't have to like me. Only for mutual benefits we'll work together until otherwise specified, understand?” Ryoko says plainly, cutting off Koichi.
“What's with you huh? You're such a serious person, why don't you learn to lighten up for once and your life and have fun?!” Koichi yells.
“If you think that being a shinobi is a game then you don't deserve to ware that headband. As for me, I have my own goals, I have a more riding on this then you can possibly imagine and, like I said before, I won't let you or anybody jeopardize it. I suggest you get the idiotic notion that being a shinobi is all about fun.” Ryoko passes Koichi and Koji, and continues on her way, while Koichi stares at her angrily.
“She's such a--” Koichi begins but a hand on his shoulder stops him. He turns to his brother who shakes his head, urging Koichi to let it go. “She doesn't know how much we have riding on this either.” he says.
“Ni-san, we know what we have riding on this, but it's our job as teammates to focus on the other members of the team besides just ourselves. That means we have to help her and not hinder her.” Koji says.
“But she's making it obvious that she doesn't want our help. What do you do when somebody doesn't want your help?” Koichi asks. Koji doesn't answer his brother as he fixates himself on Ryoko as she gets further out of sight. “Wait, did sensei say 6am or 5am?”
The sandstorm of the village is still vigorously sweeping through the village even in the debt of night. Silence fills an empty home. Just like the home of Koichi and Koji, however, the home is that of Ryoko. A plain, ordinary home, filled with no life. In the training room in the back of the home, Ryoko kneels on hands and feet, panting and sweating harshly. A katana lay next to her as she looks up at a target with several slashes, marking it up. At that moment the smooth sliding of a door from the front of the house is heard and Ryoko's face lights up as she's suddenly fueled with energy. She runs out of the training hall and to the front of the house, where a large man with Anbu gear hangs his dusty brown hood on the rack besides the door.
“Welcome home father.” Ryoko says, bowing to the man. He says nothing, nor does he acknowledges his daughter, as he starts taking off his gear. “I've prepared dinner for us and--”
“I still have work to do.” the man says, still with his back to his daughter. Ryoko's neutrally expressed face begins to sadden, coming to the realization that the implication made that she and her father wouldn't be eating together.
“I passed my jounin exam, well sort of. Our sensei said that our team didn't need to take the test, our scores on the exams were the highest so I guess that means that we don't have to go through the test.” Ryoko says with a slightly impressing tone.
“What news is that to me? I expect nothing less then perfection from you.” The man says coldly, still with his back to his daughter. Ryoko's expression completely saddens with dull eyes of depression, seeking more then the unexpressed emotion of her father. “Who is your sensei?” He asks.
“Kankuro-sama.” Ryoko says, lacking emotion.
“The Kazekage's brother?” He asks, stopping what he's doing as he shifts his face, still hidden behind his mask, towards his daughter, but only enough where his peripheral is seen. Ryoko nods to her father, dissatisfied with the attention he gives to the name of her sensei rather then her. “You'll do best to pay the best of attention to what he says, he is one of our village's most powerful. You'll show him the highest form of respect and you will take advantage of his tutelage understand?” The man demands.
“When you pass the chuunin exams the corp will begin to profile your progress. I will recommend you and it will be your job to impress the board and get into the academy.” The man states. Ryoko nods her head as the man turns around, with his Anbu attire off, including his mask. His emotionless gray eyes peer through Ryoko, who is looking down towards the floor. He walks past her and heads for his privet study.
“Father...” Ryoko calls hesitantly. The man stops and turns his head to his daughter, “I was wondering...about mother, I--”
“I don't have time for this I have too much work to do.” The man says as he turns around, and heads into his study. Ryoko stands in the middle of the room alone, as the house is once again filled with utter silence. She looks into the kitchen and heads to the meal she prepared for herself and her father. The food is still steaming and the scent fills the kitchen. Ryoko sighs as she sits down and begins to eat by herself. Just another ordinary day for Ryoko, as she sits alone eating, she ponders the vague memories of her dead mother and the distance between her and her father. Her consent attempts to gain his attention and his high expectations of her plague Ryoko everyday.
The next day arrives as the sandstorm still rains throughout the village. Koichi, Koji, and Ryoko arrive within minutes of each other at the rendezvous. Moments after their arrival, a hooded figure arrives. “Damn this storm!” Koichi says as the figure approaches them.
“Now that you're all here, I can explain to you what your focus will be as shinobi from this point forward.” Kankuro's voice emits from the figure.
“What do you mean?!” Ryoko shouts, trying to project her voice over the howling storm.
“Normally, your training would be me teaching you simple abilities like chakra control, teamwork, and other things, however, I'm not that kind of teacher. In fact I'm not much of a teacher at all. You are all independent on this, which means for the most part you'll be on your own when it comes to developing your skills. You guys are the elite squad of the academy so it shouldn't be so hard for you to do that. What I'm going to do is place you in countless situations where you'll be forced to use your self imposed knowledge to accomplish them.” Kankuro lectures. “Your first task will be to locate me.”
“What do you mean locate you?” Koichi asks. Suddenly the hooded figure brings it's head up, revealing the face of a puppet. “What the?!” Koichi exclaims with shock.
“This is my puppet Crow. I'm using my chakra to project my voice to him so that we can communicate.” Kankuro says, through his puppet. “Think of this as a mission simulation. You're mission is to locate the target i.e me. I will hide several of my puppets along the way to try and hinder your progress. You'll have 10 hours, Begin!”
Crow sinks into the sand fast, and the three shinobi are left alone to complete their mission. They look at each other and then turn to face the vast desert in front of their village. Besides the ferocious storm, they see nothing but sandy wasteland ahead of them.
“No sense in just standing here right?” Koichi smirks, placing his hand on his brother's shoulder. “Right?” Koichi looks at his brother and Koji smiles back at him. He turns his head towards Ryoko and she acknowledges him from her peripheral, which indicates her agreement. “Then we better start, we don't have all day.” All three nod and they dart out into the desert.