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Author Topic: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]  (Read 2245 times)

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Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2015, 06:05:53 AM »
A light frown appeared on Ibiki's face as he continued to look at Midori's kitten. He immediately took note of the various scratches on her owner's hand, some of which looked more recent than others, as she continued to play with the animal. While he, perhaps erroneously,  expected that evading Sunako's claws would pose no particular difficulty, the boy didn't seem particularly enthused about petting her.

Animals were not allowed in the Hyuga household and neither of the twins had ever emotionally bonded with any. It was cute, of course, but as shinobi Ibiki had been trained to treat anything new and unknown with wariness, so he resisted the -- somewhat childish, he thought -- urge to fawn over the young cat.

"No," he replied as he combined his sleeves together, folding his hands reflexively. "I'm fine." Another moment passed in which he said nothing, his tendency to say no more than necessary -- almost a family trait, it seemed -- in stark contrast to Midori.  "I did not expect you to enter this academy when I saw you last. Our servant brought you home safely, I hope?"

It hadn't occurred to Ibiki before to ask himself that -- he had assumed that this was what had happened and inquired no further. The girl hadn't exactly intruded, after all, and their guard had likely only interfered because they had been talking. It wouldn't have been the first time that their rivals and enemies had used children as spies.


Misaki continued to worry away at her rice cracker and kept looking out of one of the windows with a carefully crafted casualness so as not to betray any interest she might have in the conversation going on a couple tables over.

When she wanted to sneak a glance out of the corner of her eye, her gaze settled on their teacher instead. Or the really young boy, the Aburame, whose presence made even her skin crawl. Tiny, obviously gifted and more than likely full of bugs bred inside him since birth. Compared to that even her cursed seal, as much as she hated everything it stood for and the pain it brought, seemed more like a blessing.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2015, 11:03:00 PM »
Midori had thought, apparently erroneously, that Hyuga Ibiki had been interested in Sunako. Certainly he had looked at her, and so.. well, maybe he would like to pet her, right? But no, he just seemed confused, maybe. Or disapproving? Was this something else she had done wrong, like Hyuga Misaki had been saying about talking too much or trying to help her?

Feeling her shoulders droop a little, Midori brought Sunako back into her lap, setting the stuffed-full kitten into her lap, "Oh... okay, sorry..." she mumbled, looking down at the kitten as she wriggled and rolled around to get comfortable, then happily purred herself to sleep. Once her kitten was settled, the young girl looked back up at the boy in front of her. She was trying to figure out why he wanted to talk to her, since she had been good and hadn't approached him like had annoyed his... relative. Midori thought they were probably siblings, and maybe even the same age, but she was not sure. But.. she had talked a lot, once he had approached her. He'd only said one thing to her, and she had said so much in reply.

Stupid stupid stupid.

As hopeful as she had felt that he wanted to talk, she now felt disappointed that she had somehow messed it up. He even hid his hands away, as if to prove the point that her offer had been wrong to give.

"...if you decide you want to later, you can..." it just came out. Stupid. She'd gotten too used to just talking to Sunako without thinking about what she was saying, hadn't she?

But then he decided to continue the conversation a little. Hyuga Ibiki did not say a lot, but he gave her more to say, so that was something, right? Maybe... maybe he was just quiet?

"Um... why not? I mean, I don't... I didn't...uhmmm... My Uncle and his wife think that I need to be more social, so they thought they should send me here. Except they think I won't be able to graduate for.. for some reason..." that she was hurt and confused by the assumption went unsaid, but after a second she shrugged a little. "I am going to do my best, no matter what they think." she spoke firmer, now, putting the lid on her half-eaten lunch, she set it under her desk like before. She'd learned her lesson about offering to share her food the previous week. Now the space in front of her was empty, and she had nothing to do or look at except for Ibiki.

"Oh, and Hyuga Junji was very nice to walk me back to my Uncle's shop. I think that I was very safe..." she trailed off a moment, thinking a little and regarding the boy in front of her thoughtfully. "...Um... Hyuga Ibiki? How come my Uncle and his wife were afraid of upsetting your family? Your... um... is Hyuga Junji a relative? He seemed very nice and polite, anyway, and not like I should be afraid..." She was talking too much again. But he seemed maybe like he wanted to talk, because he asked questions. And at the end, he had said 'I hope?' like.. like he cared that she had made it home alright.

That was weird, that he had called Hyuga Junji a servant, because family should not be a servant to family, right? And he had seemed more like a guard than a servant, anyway. After thinking about it, she decided to file that information away to think about later...

____ ___ __ _

Well, now, that was interesting. Sure, the young Yuhara girl tended to babble when she was nervous, and it seemed as though interacting with anyone who spoke to her made her nervous, but that the Hyuga heir was sticking by her and had even been the one to approach her was really quite interesting. What had she done to attract his attention? Even more so than during the test, that small civilian girl had done everything she could to blend in and not be noticed, so something must have happened.

To listen to them talk, though, it seemed like they had met at least once, which of itself was strange, since the Hyuga heir was not, as far as he knew, permitted to leave the family compound. Very strange.

He still had half an hour to his lunch break, and much as he wanted to go grab something to eat, this was at least somewhat interesting, if not entertaining. The brats in front of him, though, the two boys and the girl, were beginning to get on his nerves. Soon, if they didn't calm down, he was going to kick them out of the classroom...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2015, 02:51:41 PM »
Ibiki frowned lightly when Midori showed that dejected look at his refusal to pet her kitten -- the emotional response confused him. Left him uncertain on how to proceed. It had not been his intention to upset her, so perhaps it was best to leave her to tend to her 'Sunako'. But then she spoke again, told him that the offer was an open one, so he nodded in confirmation. "I see."

But she apparently wasn't done. Ibiki inclined his head a little when asked about the reason for his statement, pondered it briefly, then proceeded to explain: "We are trained to be spies and assassins. You don't seem the type to want to be " the boy with the eerie-looking eyes trailed off, searching for the appropriate way to put it. He ended it somewhat unhappily with a 'that', having failed to come up with a more eloquent way to phrase his sentiment.

His features drew into a frown again when she mentioned his older relative. "Junji I thought it was something like that," he muttered to himself, since he hadn't actually been sure what the man's name was at the time. Their clan was large and he didn't really knew all of the lesser ranks, especially not those who didn't actually live and train in the main house.

"If you're under the protection of one of our guards, you are safe," he confirmed, raising his head a little higher, even though it was he who had actually asked. Her next question left him confused again, however. "That you should probably ask them yourself. Most fear our clan." He paused as a thought occurred to him, then briefly inclined his head backwards as if to indicate towards the teacher behind him. "There will probably be lessons about it."

Tired of holding the same position he loosened his hands again, allowed them to drop to his side. "The guard Junji is a member of our branch house. Like Misaki. Their duties are to serve the main clan," he continued slowly, eyes briefly darting towards his sibling as he mentioned her name. He wasn't really sure why he explained that part, yet was also oblivious to the effect it might have on his twin sister, who sat close and could hear them quite well.

Misaki still fumed silently and somehow very pointedly showed no reaction. Only the intense air around her seemed to increase, just a bit. She didn't need or care for the reminder and assumed that Ibiki was doing it to rub it in - just like he in turn assumed that she was still being angry at him for no reason.

After a moment of silence passed, he gave her a light bow -- more of an emphasized nod, really -- and turned away again, stepping towards the exit. It wasn't a duty, but he still had something he needed to attend to.

Purely by coincidence, or at least that's what most spectators might have assumed, Misaki buried her face in her arms as if she was taking a rest -- or just exhausted from the lesson. Behind the visual barrier, however, she focused briefly upon her white eyes, carefully molded the Chakra necessary, and activated the Byakugan to check where her brother was heading and if she needed to follow. Walls were no barrier to the all-seeing eye, after all, and when she saw where it was that he was headed she dismissed the technique with an annoyed sigh. She had no intention to watch him peruse the academy's lavatory facilities.


Ibiki returned after a short while, casually walked through the rows without paying any heed to the other pupils and sat down on his chair. He pulled his legs up into a lotus position and closed his eyes. For all intents and purposes, the boy looked like he was meditating -- in actuality he was quietly practicing his internal chakra molding. He had decided to use part of the overly long break for that purpose; after all, if the lessons took up most of the day, especially while they were at such a basic level, he would have to make up for the training he missed somehow.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2015, 12:32:11 AM »
Midori decided that she was probably talking too much again, too used to talking to Sunako or wanting too badly for someone to want to talk to her. Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi were always talking about her, or talking down to her, but never really talking to her, and it was getting very lonely, to be honest. It would be more lonely without Sunako, though, and so Midori figured maybe she should just focus on her kitten mostly, because otherwise she got nervous and so many words would just keep pouring out of her mouth.

It was a problem, Hyuga Misaki was right. She should be quiet. No one else spoke so much.

Still, though Hyuga Ibiki was much nicer than his relative, Hyuga Misaki. He still did not talk much, but seemed to not be so annoyed with how much just came out of her mouth. He said something about that this academy was to train them to be spies and assassins. That was what Hyuga Misaki had said too, but Midori had thought that she had meant that was what she was going to be, or something. Hearing it for the second time made it more.. confusing and yet sit better than the first time. Assassins? The small girl wasn't sure if she could do that: kill people. She did not like to hurt anyone, honestly. But, then again, she could probably do the spying part, maybe.

Plus that would mean traveling, wouldn't it? She liked to travel, and was good at that. She knew a lot of good ways to go that were fast and not well traveled. So maybe she would be good at being a spy, if not an assassin. It wasn't something she had ever thought about being, actually. But she had always thought she would be a trader like Father. But Father did not want her with him any more, and Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi didn't really want her either. So this was maybe a good direction, and a good skill set to learn, right?

The small girl frowned slightly, thinking a bit. She wanted to know why she did not seem the type to want to learn these skills, but was thinking that she needed to be better at not saying too much, again. So, instead, she nodded a little, quietly trying to stifle the urge to babble at him again. It was probably getting on his nerves, too, even if he didn't have a short fuse like Hyuga Misaki did.

It was weird that he didn't know his relative's name, even though he had been sent away by him. Midori frowned a little more. It would be rude to say that aloud, though, so she just petted Sunako gently and pretended she hadn't heard what he said.

And then she couldn't help herself, "I felt very safe with Hyuga Junji walking me to Uncle Kanetaro's shop." she nodded a little, wanting to reassure Hyuga Ibiki that she did not doubt that she had been safe. Funny that he didn't know why people would be afraid, so she just nodded again at his suggestion. She couldn't ask her Uncle or his wife, since they both didn't like to talk to her like she understood them. At least Father would talk to her like he would talk to anyone else. It felt like Uncle and especially his wife, both thought that she was nearly an infant in her understanding of the world. It was part of why she did not engage with them as much.

Eventually, Hyuga Ibiki seemed to relax a little, letting his arms drop, so Midori felt a little better, too. Perhaps she wasn't annoying him? Not so much, anyway?

Still, though, she did not know what to say about the explanation of branch house and main clan. So... they were of the same family but not of the same family? That was weird, right? Really weird. A split family, but a big family, even though not everyone knew everyone? And then one part of the family was servants to the other?

To Midori, it didn't seem right, and she frowned at that again, glancing slightly towards Hyuga Misaki. They looked so similar, were they siblings? That would make it weirder, that one was of the main clan and one was a servant. She'd be mad, too, if she had to serve a sibling.

...if she'd had siblings, which she did not.

Oh, Hyuga Ibiki was leaving. "Thank you for speaking with me, Hyuga Ibiki. I enjoyed our conversation." When she wasn't thinking she was messing up, she had liked talking with him, anyway. And maybe expressing that would encourage him to want to interact with her more? He dipped his head at her, sort of almost bowing, and so Midori did the same in return, even though it was a little awkward from her sitting position. It was what was polite, and sometimes she forgot about it, much to Father's upset. Usually she was good about remembering, but... well, being left in this village had upset some of her normal habits.

Hyuga Ibiki left, and Hyuga Misaki put her head down, as if to nap, maybe. Quietly, Midori watched her for a little while, wondering if she was upset, but the small girl knew from experience that trying to help the other girl would not go over well. Still, she watched her for a little while, before finally deciding that she shouldn't go over and check on her.

The three kids up front were being rowdy, and the more they got in teasing each other, the more and more cranky that Teacher became. His eyes narrowed and his jaw set until he finally stood and stalked over to them.

"Hey brats, this is my lunch period too. If you're gonna be disruptive, go play outside. I don't want this sort of noise in here. Period. Got it?!" at the end, he even yelled a little, his temper showing.

The girl eyed him a moment, she really did seem like maybe the ring-leader of their little group, before she bowed, mumbled a "Sorry, Teacher" and lead her two friends outside. They hastily bowed as well before hurrying after, though it seemed they wanted to run, they didn't because the girl didn't. Midori thought that was smart, since running would show they were afraid, and even if Teacher wouldn't hold that against them, maybe some of the other kids would.

Not that there were many witnesses. She was here, and so was Hyuga Misaki, though her head was down, and Hyuga Ibiki was returning just as the three were leaving. And then there was the small kid who sat by himself quietly. He'd been very still the whole time, so Midori thought maybe he was sleeping sitting up.

Maybe tomorrow she would bring something to do. Already she had read all of the books Miss Jinmi had gotten for her, so maybe she could bring some paper, and could practice her handwriting some more. Outside, she could see and hear a lot of the kids playing, but Midori wasn't really interested in going out there with them, either. And walking back to her Uncle's home for lunch seemed unnecessary, and it would be awkward with his wife there, too. So she would find something else to do and to occupy herself with.

For now, though, she leaned forward, resting her chin on her hands, and her elbows on her desk, and proceeded to wait, quietly watching anything else that happened in the classroom...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru really couldn't stand children. Who the hell thought putting him in charge of this first batch of kids was a good idea, anyway? Certainly not him. He hated kids, but he'd been pulled from active duty to recover from some internal injuries, not enough that they showed, any more, but a few good hits to the right spot and he'd rupture something-or-other and probably die. He hadn't really been paying attention to the medical babble, anyway. Stupid doctors. Always so cautious.

Eventually, the kids trailed back in, after a bit of a boring lunch break. An hour really was too long, but it had been bargained for by the council, who thought that many of the larger clans would prefer to have their children home for lunch. Shows what they knew: the Aburame and the two Hyuga had stayed for their lunch break and had no problem.

Maybe when he recovered enough, some other poor sap would be forced to teach these brats.

"Hey brats! Settle down. We're going outside now, I expect you to be orderly and quiet. Most of your physical abilities were already tested, so none of that today. We're gonna start with nine laps around the track." Okay, so if he had to stuffer, so did they. Most kids didn't have stamina for the three from the first test. Eventually, they'd get trained to the point where the nine would be no problem, but today... well, he was cranky, and he'd push them hard in this part. "Your physical fitness is just as important to your ability to mould chakra as your spiritual energy. To help grow your physical energy, you need to train. So, get running! Now!" was there something he was missing? Oh, yeah, "No chakra use! That would be cheating!"

Many of the kids jumped, and all started running. The small Yuhara girl was not as far in front as she had been the first time, which was interesting, he noted. Many of the kids from the tests that had made it ran at their same speed as before. She seemed to be pacing herself, though, which was smart for a civilian. Mostly only the brats from the various shinobi families or clans would have been taught to do that. She still had that tiny kitten she was carrying around, though. What a strange child...

____ ___ __ _

Midori held Sunako on her shoulder again, thinking over Hyuga Misaki's suggestion of a bag to strap to her chest to hold her kitten. It still seemed like the little thing would bounce around too much, though, if that had been the case. Sure, she bounced on her shoulder, too, but Sunako was able to sink her claws into the girl's shoulder to help herself hang on, so that was okay.

Nine laps was a lot, it was three times the amount they had had to run in the test, and Midori saw already some kids were going to have trouble. Mori Chizue had started running as fast as she could, but by the fourth lap was lagging toward the back. There were a few like that, while Midori tried to keep her pace steady. If she kept going at a medium pace, she'd be able to make it all nine laps without having to stop for breath. It also made the run smoother for Sunako, who was learning quickly how to hang on without needing to be held onto. Still, it would be a little while before Midori felt comfortable letting the kitten hang on all on her own.

Eventually, she finished her nine laps, and immediately decided that walking another one would help to keep her from wobbling and collapsing like many of the other kids did when they finished. There were quite a few who hadn't even finished their sixth lap by the time she was half way through walking around to cool down. And even when she finished, she walked around, shaking out her arms and stretching her back and trying hard not to give into the urge to lay in the grass. That was maybe the longest she'd ever run, but it felt good. Really, the small girl did like to run.

Sunako hummed softly in her ear, in her indicator that she was sleepy, so Midori tucked the furball back into her pocket, now that they weren't running any more.

By the time the rest of the kids finished up, Teacher jumped right into the next task, "Okay, brats, next is target practice. We're still starting with balls, like at the tests. I don't want anyone getting stabbed until later, understood?"

...Stabbed? Well, that made Midori wonder just what the balls were a replacement for...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2015, 06:42:05 AM »
If Misaki wasn't acting so strangely, Ibiki might have spent his break elsewhere with his own equivalent of 'playing' -- sparring with someone who could keep up. But as it was, he certainly wasn't about to ask any of the other pupils. Most would be unable to keep up and he wasn't about to demonstrate their family techniques that directly to some child prodigy of their biggest rival clan. Thus, practicing chakra molding would have to suffice.

Ibiki stepped out with the rest of the class, his expression guarded as always. It didn't really show on his face, but he was looking forward to this part - he had suffered through the earlier lessons by recalling and supplementing them with his own tutelage on the various subjects, but physical practice was always useful. Even if it wasn't enough to tire him out so that the previously untrained children wouldn't exhaust themselves, he could always increase the pace or give himself a handicap.

The white-eyed boy hadn't seen the track before, but once they arrived he carefully examined the area. They were supposed to run nine laps to start things off? Ibiki briefly gave a doubtful glance to their teacher, then let his gaze wander over the rest of the group trying to judge who might have problems -- the length was quite a bit, after all -- but ultimately didn't comment and lined up.

The strongest skills of the Hyuga Clan were surveillance and martial ability, making them excellent spies and assassins. Their prestige meant that they were rarely called upon for simple messenger duties, the main type of mission that required prolonged running. They trained in it, of course, to increase stamina, but their focus was elsewhere.

 It was one of the reasons Ibiki had been made to run more than ever before in the preparatory training he had been put through. A generalized curriculum would put no less emphasis on training for messenger duties than any other. As a result, Ibiki had learned to pace himself properly even for longer runs and made the nine laps flawlessly, but was perhaps more out of breath than what might be expected of him by the end.

Rather than walk another lap like Midori did, he dropped into a low stance, running motions flowing smoothly into a couple of precise kicks, followed by a brief Taijutsu meditation exercise that was done after an intense training session to calm mind and body.

Misaki's run had been odd -- it was obvious at times that she wanted to speed up, as evidenced by the subtle strain in her jaw muscles whenever someone passed her, but she kept pace for the entire time, staying just a little behind her brother. When they finished she was winded, but seemed comfortable with dropping to the ground with her legs splayed out. She wiped the sweat from beneath her headband, crossed her arms in front of her chest and dropped back onto her back.


Ibiki's eyes snapped towards their instructor when he called for their attention again. His little exercise had served him well and his breathing had quickly returned to normal, but his eagerness when he heard that they would be doing target practice was quickly disappointed when Noboru added the stipulation that they would be using balls of some sort. Thinking again, the targets would probably not be that hard to hit, either.

The black-haired boy sighed and lined up, resigned to another simple task.

The reaction from his twin was eerily similar, though Misaki huffed when she noticed and quickly looked away. For all their differences in personality, there were some subtle movements and expressions in which they almost mirrored each other.

Both of them were well-practiced with throwing weapons, reflexes honed by hours upon hours of training. Neither of them expected anything but a perfect record -- unless, of course, their teacher added some sort of trick to vex them.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2015, 10:20:47 PM »
It was so stupid that the children had to use balls to practice with. Sure, Noboru had made it sound like his idea, but really, it was the Council, again. He'd determined, and the rest of the teachers of the other tallent-levels agreed that it was most likely so that the Council didn't have to worry about some untrained civilian kid accidentally hitting one of the children of the important clans. As if the instructors weren't trained shinobi who knew the proper way to teach weapon safety.


At least he wasn't the only one annoyed; he could tell that the students with training were frustrated too. No shinobi clan in their right mind started with throwing balls. If kids started with the real thing, they learned better. But at least with one day of this bullshit, he'd fulfilled the Council's request that they start with non-dangerous target practice. One day was a start, wasn't it?

Noboru sure thought so.

The kids, well some of them anyway, hadn't done too poorly during their run. The Aburame had done well, paced himself and stayed the same speed the whole way, as had the Hyuuga boy, though the girl clearly wished to run faster, she had stayed behind her brother. She was from the branch house, so she probably wasn't permitted to show up her sibling; that probably was a major factor in her attitude, actually. The Inuzuka had done well too: he'd been quite fast, and outpaced everyone, actually. He seemed to enjoy running. The Yuhara girl had done well too, maintaining her speed: she'd come in just before the rowdy Nara girl, and then walked an extra lap, while the Nara had plopped down in the grass with her friend. The third one of that little group was struggling to keep running, and kept dropping to a sloppy jog or a walk every so often, gasping for breath. He'd done well at first, actually, but by the sixth lap he seemed to have reached his limit. Most of the rest of them seemed to have too.

Still, making them run so long had killed a lot of time, and accomplished some good training lessons as well. Two birds with one stone, or so the saying went. It would also be interesting to see if the kids would be able to do well in target practice just after running for so long and being mostly out of breath and exhausted.

Again, he had the kids line up in front of the targets, and gave them each three yellow balls to throw at them. He wasn't even really watching them individually to see how they did this time, "Okay, brats! You each get three balls, when its your turn at the front, throw them at the target, then wait until everyone's done, I'll tell you you can go pick yours up, then go to the back of the line. Then, next in line get to go on my mark. Got it? Okay, go!" This would get them all trained up so none of them stupidly walked into the line of fire when they started with the kunai tomorrow. Not that they needed to know that, but he needed to see just who was going to be stupid enough that he'd have to keep an eye on them.

He let the target practice go for nearly an hour, secretly quite pleased with how bored most of the kids looked. The ones that had gotten in, most of them had pretty good hand-eye coordination, and there weren't too many misses. Then again, they were throwing balls, it wasn't too hard to hit a target with a spherical object. So, when he thought they just couldn't take it any more, he decided to move on to the last bit. They still had about two hours left, so that would be a good bit of time to start their Taijutsu training.

"Hey Brats! Come here in an orderly fashion and put the balls away" he stood near the container that he had pulled them out of, "Then, everyone over to the field. I'm gonna have you line up in a nice, orderly grid formation, with two meters between yourself and the next person on both your sides, in front of you, and behind you." Well, then he had to go and adjust them all, since a few of them seemed to have no idea how much space two meters were. How annoying. Once that was over, he moved so that he was in front of the kids.

"Okay, now you brats are gonna learn some simple Taijutsu katas. I'm gonna go through it slow, and you're gonna copy my movements. Then, we'll go through them again and again. Eventually, I'll have you doing them on your own, and I'll be correcting your form, got it?" he watched as almost all the kids nodded, now, instead of speaking up. It seemed like they were learning, that was a pretty good sign, all things considered. So once he went through the simple movements, and the group was following along on time all on their own, he went about to the kids who needed correcting, helping them hold the forms properly before moving on...

____ ___ __ _

Midori found herself frustrated. The running and the throwing of the balls went pretty well, actually. She'd figured it out at the testing, so it was pretty easy to hit the targets this time, since she remembered how she'd done it before. The problem was these new movements. Repeating over and over. And still, Teacher kept coming back to her and changing how she was holding herself. It was her feet. She always seemed to be standing wrong, and she'd correct, but then by the time Teacher came back around, she was doing it wrong again. And again. And again. Sunako had to be moved up to her shoulder again, because some of the movements were sort-of like slow kicks. The first time she did one, Sunako almost fell out. But she hung onto her shoulder pretty well, even with the movements.

How was she going to prove to Uncle Kanetaro and Miss Jinmi that she could graduate this academy if she couldn't even stand right?

But, eventually, it was over. Everything else went really good, except the last part. What had Teacher called it? Taijutsu katas? Maybe she'd have to practice them at Uncle's house to get better? She could do that. Teacher dismissed them, and most of the kids, she saw, just started wandering home, most of them were with their friends they seemed to hang out with. But, her lunch box was in the classroom still, so the hurried back into the building after Teacher, though he either didn't notice or didn't care. Maybe he knew that she was getting her lunch, since she had done it last time too.

Into the classroom, quickly to her seat to pull the box out from under it, and then back out. Though, she did turn to Teacher, bow, and say  "Thank you, Teacher." in farewell, before making her way back outside. Her legs were a little tired, but for the most part, she felt pretty good. And, except for the bit at the end, she'd thought that she had done pretty well too. And when she got back to her Uncle's house, she could practice some more, since she had at least figured out how she was supposed to hold her feet, even if she couldn't seem to keep them that way.

Quietly, Midori exited the building, looking around to see if anyone was still outside; it would let her know if she needed to avoid anyone on her way to Uncle Kanetaro's house...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2015, 06:31:07 AM »
Ibiki stared at the small round object in his hand suspiciously. A simple small ball, for throwing, neither weighted for extra impact nor balanced for a clean throw, it wasn't exactly the sort of missile he was used to. Senbon-needles, kunai, knives and even cutlery, those he would have thrown in a heartbeat. This soft thing he wasn't so sure about, squeezing it in his palm as if to assert that it was real.

"Oh, get over it," Misaki huffed as she stepped up in front of the target, having been placed just before him into the line. She didn't waste any time weighing the ball or considering how it might affect her aim. She didn't even waste time throwing them individually, one in her left, two between the fingers of her right -- the young Hyuga girl released them in a wide wave of her arms, each hitting the center in rapid succession. The second she had thrown with her right hand was ever so slightly off, but not so that most would notice.

Ibiki commented with a slightly disgruntled 'hmm'. He had noticed -- eyesight was their forte, after all -- but didn't really think anything of it. Instead, he threw one ball lightly in the air to test it again, or perhaps just to be stubborn, then flung them the plain regular way. One by one, they hit their target. Moving to collect them after the command was given, he lined back up with a resigned expression on his face. He had already accepted that this school sessions would take awhile until they would be more than a lesson in self-control.

Misaki experimented a few more times with different types of throws, but eventually grew bored and just followed along until it was over.

Perhaps they were starting to bond again over their suffering, but the taijutsu training surprisingly went without any hateful glares between the Hyuga twins as both of them perfectly mirrored their teacher. Misaki would have preferred to hold herself differently to compensate for her different build and size, but she understood that deviation would be problematic at this point. Others might see her doing it and, thinking that the renowned Taijutsu specialists would be correct, imitate her and get their basics wrong.


In front of the school stood a man in a splendid white robe, tall and with hardened muscles visible beneath his sleeves. His head was bald and much of its top covered by old nasty-looking burn scars. He gazed firmly at the building, his expression severe, his arms crossed in front of his chest. His eyes were the same as Ibiki's, the same as Misaki's, clearly a Hyuga. Their familial resemblance was there, though the lack of hair, scars and age did not make his immediate relationship as their father obvious.

Hyuga Issun briefly unfocused his eyes, examined the lithe girl who had just stepped outside without looking at her, and decided she was another civilian recruit. Without comment, he moved past her to step inside the building. He had business with the school's assigned supervisor regarding their contribution and decided to use the opportunity to examine this place that his children would now frequent with his own eyes rather than have the man come to him, as he had before.


Neither Ibiki nor Misaki had noticed their father when they had left just a little before he arrived. They were walking back towards the Hyuga compound at a leisurely pace, in silence -- Ibiki kind of wanted to say something, but her sister's firm silence made him reluctant to do so. And it was probably better to think of the training ahead. Now that most of their days were occupied by the school, the private tutoring and combat lessons would have to take place in the evenings. At least they would be reduced to what they had been before his intense preparation regimen, out of simple necessity. Even a Hyuga heir had to sleep sometime.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2015, 04:09:30 AM »
There was someone outside, and though Midori did not even come close to almost running into him, she stepped to the side and dipped her head respectfully, "Excuse me, Hyuga Sir." she managed to say, before hurrying on her way. He'd had the same eyes as Hyuga Misaki and Hyuga Ibiki and also Hyuga Junji, so he was probably another relation. Hopefully, she did not guess wrong about his family name, but then again, he hardly even seemed to notice her anyway. Besides which, the man seemed very serious, so besides her brief words, she hustled on her way back towards Uncle Kanetaro's house.

Actually, running seemed like maybe a good idea: it wasn't far, and it seemed like Teacher was going to have them run a lot. It had been part of the test, and they had done it again today, so getting better at running would be good, wouldn't it? She was already not too bad at it, but not better than some of the other kids.

Yes. That seemed to be a good idea.

With a small nod to herself at her decision, Midori started off at a quick jog, then carefully increased her speed to a full-out run. This was more than she had done during the run at the Academy, because she had farther to go and did not need to pace herself. So it was as she ran full-tilt that she came upon Hyuga Ibiki and Misaki after just a bit of time, though they had started quite a bit ahead of her. Of course, her reflexes were pretty good, so she kept herself from running into either of them, and just sort of used her last few steps to slow back down with a sort of jarring stop.

"Uhm,, Hi Hyuga Ibiki and Hyuga Misaki. Sorry if I bothered you..." Now, for some reason, Midori felt sort of embarrassed, and quickly looked to make sure she hadn't kicked up any dirt after her abrupt stop. It didn't seem like she had, but now she didn't know what to do. To run past them would have been rude, but then stopping made it seem like she'd been rushing to catch up, which implied that she thought they were good enough acquaintances to walk home together, which... well, was also rude. And now she was stuck awkwardly trying to figure out if she should continue home or if she should walk with them until their paths would part.

That meant, though, that she had to figure out which would be right to do, which meant asking. Hyuga Misaki would probably be annoyed, but Midori was not sure how Hyuga Ibiki would respond, since he was mostly polite but not really emotional in any way, it was hard to tell how he might react to... well, anything, actually. But.. part of being an adult meant that she had to do things that made her worried and uncomfortable.

"Um... can I... can I maybe walk with you two until I have to turn to go to Uncle Kanetaro's house?" Because if she wanted to maybe make friends, she should sound like she wanted to spend time with them, right? There was really no other good way to phrase her words without upsetting someone, she thought. And it was true: she didn't want to be alone, really, but without being invited, it seemed weird to ask to tag along. Having friends would be nice, maybe; she hadn't really had friends before, so the small girl wasn't quite sure if she would like it or not, but it seemed like a good thing.

And, besides, she wasn't really in a hurry to get to Uncle Kanetaro's house anyway, because then she would just be there with Miss Jinmi, and she would have to figure out how not to upset her again with her only partially-eaten lunch. Actually, Midori found herself wishing she had someone to share it with, since that would solve that problem pretty well. But, last time she had tried to share, she'd upset Hyuga Misaki, and so she was pretty wary to offer to share with anyone else. It was probably something that wasn't normal to do, so she wouldn't any more...

____ ___ __ _

Noboru sighed to himself as he began working on his report on the first day and the starting base for the potential ninja. It was, really, somewhat premature, but knowing where the students started was important, and even he could see that through his annoyance. As predicted, the students from the major and minor clans had done very well, though only the Aburame and Hyuga children had their discipline really perfected. Of course, they did very well over all in every aspect, especially the physical training. All in all, though, they all had potential, even if many of the students had no experience and were quite rough.

Unfortunately, he hadn't been able to have final say in his class, so some he would have cut for one reason or another had made it through, but it seemed, when he spoke to the instructors, that that was pretty typical. Seemed that the new council was really looking for as many new recruits as possible, so the standards were lowered.


Well, he supposed they would either shape up or be weeded out eventually...

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2016, 03:46:14 AM »

Chapter 1: Team Building

After that first day of classes, things seemed to settle more into a routine. Well, as far as Midori could see, anyway: Miss Jinmi would make her lunch before class, she would walk to the Academy early and get into class first or nearly first and sit in her spot, play with Sunako a bit so the kitten would be tired out and sleep for most of class, the first half would be theory and history and all sorts of information, and then the second half of class would be physical training. Then, when class was over, she would take the rest of her lunch from the classroom and hurry to catch up with Ibiki and Misaki to walk most of the way home with them.

Mostly, at first, the Hyuga siblings hadn't interacted with her much when they walked together, but Midori sort of thought they were almost friends anyway. Misaki was always on the edge of being angry, but Ibiki was just quiet and polite, which was nice. And after Misaki had gotten mad and yelled at her one day for needing more practice, she'd started to train with Misaki.For some reason, Ibiki was not allowed to join them, even though he'd asked and Midori had thought it'd be nice to have more than just her and Misaki, especially since the other girl still sort of seemed like she didn't really like spending time with her.

But, training with Misaki was actually pretty fun, except for the katas, which she was not very good at, no matter how much Misaki corrected her. It was enough to pass for the Academy when they had exams, but not really that great for close quarters combat. But what she was good at was accuracy with projectiles; kunai first, then shruken when she showed talent in that, and then senbon, because it was the most accurate and precise tool, and Midori found she liked being accurate. It also made her feel more like maybe Misaki sort of liked being friends with her, even if she seemed angry a lot.

Midori was pretty sure that she and Misaki and Ibiki were friends, and neither of them were like most of the other kids, who were loud and boisterous and intimidating for Midori. Except Aburame Makoto seemed nice, very quiet, but nice. Not that she interacted with the other student much at all.

Eventually, Miss Jinmi had given birth, too, so now she had a little cousin, Yuuhei. Mostly he called her Big Sister and liked to try to play with her, and his favorite was waking her up in the mornings before she left for the Academy, and he was always waiting for her to come home after training with Misaki. Every time, as part of the routine, he asked if he could go with, and she'd say to him "wait until you're a little older". Then, the next day he'd say he was older and could he go with her now.

Miss Jinmi didn't seem to think he should go to the Academy, and kept trying to distract him with activities, but Yuuhei seemed to like the idea of going with Midori more than spending time with his mother or father. Midori knew that, when he was older, he was going to be loud and boisterous, like the kids who made her nervous. But, he was very cute as a three-year-old, and she liked spending time with him, even if he did like to wake her up by jumping on her and then running away screaming.

Today was no different, and the small child jumped on her stomach, shrieked "Get up! Get up, Midori!" then jumped off of her and ran from the room, continuing to yell, "Mommy! Midori is awake!" as he bolted into the room, his heavy footfalls echoing down the hallway.

For such a small child, he sure made a lot of noise when running.

Sunako, who wasn't really so small any more, wedged herself out from behind the bookcase, where she always managed to squish herself when she heard Yuuhei coming. The not-really-a-kitten-any-more was quite good at hiding from the little boy, and seemed rather annoyed by his attention most of the time.

Today was going to be a bit different, though, since she would find out what team, if any, she would be assigned to today. Teacher had told them that the last few weeks had been assessing them, and those who would graduate would be doing so today.

She hadn't told Uncle Kanetaro or Miss Jinmi about that yet; if she failed out then they'd be happy, but if she showed them wrong and graduated, she was pretty sure they'd be upset. And, really, she hadn't figured out how to tell them either way, anyway. She'd been working hard to get good enough to graduate and join a genin team. Mostly, at first, it was to show her Uncle and his wife that she could do well and that they were wrong to think that she wouldn't be able to do it. But then she sort of started to like it: besides the running, she liked being accurate with the senbon and working on jutsu and chakra control. Also, being a spy didn't seem like that bad a thing, and she could probably work up to being an assassin. Maybe.

Yeah, probably.

So the morning went like usual, and she got to the classroom early, as was also usual. Aburame Makoto was the only one there, and Midori nodded her head at the other girl as she walked by, but thought probably it would be best not to say anything: she knew what it was like to be shy, and didn't want to make the other student uncomfortable.

Eventually, Teacher started the class, and he was still as cranky as ever.

"Good, brats. Looks like everyone's here. Now, Today's not even really a full class day, got it? I'm gonna read off your groups, if you made it, that is, and those that didn't are gonna get outta here and go home or whatever, and the rest'll stay for their new Jounin instructor. Got it?" The entire class nodded, having learnt their lesson rather early on about that.

"Okay. So the first passing team is: Aburame Makoto, Inuzuka Tadaaki, and Nara Miyu. Second Team is: Yamanaka Mikia, Komori Shun, and Mori Chizue. The third team is: Hyuga Ibiki, Hyuga Misaki, and Yuhara Midori. The rest of you didn't make it. Maybe if you stick around another year you'll be re-assessed, but for now get outta here." he waited while the few who didn't pass left the room, while Midori found herself simultaneously relieved and excited. She'd made it, and would get to stay with Ibiki and Misaki, too, which was nice since she and Misaki trained together a lot and Ibiki was pretty nice. She'd been worried that she might get set with Inuzuka Tadaaki or Nara Miyu, who were both so loud.

Eventually, a lady came in and called out for the first team, listing their names off. Then, an older guy did the same for the second team, and both lead them away. As soon as the second team was gone, Teacher left the room and another man came in. He had blue eyes and a dark red-ish hair, and he immediately smiled and lifted his hand in greeting.

"Yo, last ones left, huh? Must be my team; two Hyuga, Ibiki and Misaki, and then Yuhara Midori must be the girl with the cat, huh?"

Midori decided he was weird, he was sort of talking to them, sort of talking at them, and sort of talking like there was someone else there that he was talking to about them. But, at least he wasn't calling them 'brats' like Teacher liked to.

"I'm your Jounin instructor, Kobayashi Ryuu. If you want, you can just call me Ryuu, I'm not nearly as grouchy as Noboru, after all. And, last ones, we get the classroom to ourselves for a while, which is great. So.. I read the files on you three, but I wanna know about you from you. What're ya good at, and what about your teammates? How much have you observed about them? You might be Genin, but it's never too early to start working out how to best be effective as a team, since that's what you'll be unless you make it to Jounin eventually." Casually, he hopped up to sit on Teacher's desk, and really reminded Midori of Sunako for a moment. Especially since the gangly almost-cat was still curled up on her own desk, watching the man while her tail flicked back and forth lazily.

"Why doesn't Misaki start, huh?" The easy-going man turned his attention towards her, his expression overly friendly, even if he was doing that weird way of talking again...

Offline VonDoom

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2016, 07:21:08 AM »
As the names of those who had passed were read aloud, Ibiki sat in class, hands on the table and back straight as always. The Hyuga heir had a calm, collected expression on his face and appeared almost bored with the current situation - there was certainly no anxiety or doubt there.

The truth was, he already knew all too well who would pass and who wouldn't, as far as skills and achievements went. Any political or financial concerns that might have been part of the equation for letting people attend the school would be weeded out here - actual Genin duties were dangerous and would not be wasted on those who could not handle them.

Obviously, he and his sister were in; as was the Aburame girl, towards whom he briefly leveled a glare as he thought of her. It still nagged at him that she had been able to disguise her true gender from his all-seeing Hyuga eyes for as long as she had. But all three of them had one thing in common: they probably could have skipped straight to this step, right from the beginning. They had learned many things over the last few years, of course. Some techniques, a few fields of education they had not touched before due to age, but particularly teamwork and teamwork with those of very different skillsets, which naturally they could not train for as easily within their highly specialized clans.

The loud-mouthed pair of friends, Miki and Shun, who stuck together like glue . Well, boyfriend and girlfriend now, as Yamanaka had made sure to stake her claim and tell everyone at every opportunity, much to the boy's growing embarrassment. Ibiki thought of such things as distractions at best and a weakness at worst, but their skill and teamwork was passable.

There were Tadaaki and Miyu -- Inuzuka and Nara, to Ibiki -- who seemed to have taken a shining to Aburame. They weren't just tag-alongs. They had genuine skill. The Mori girl, too, but Ibiki had not paid her too much attention. She wasn't loud or annoying like the Yamanaka-Komori pair, nor an exception like the Aburame prodigy.

And Midori, of course. He had seen potential in her from the beginning, but it had really crystalized lately. Especially with Misaki helping her out -- he had volunteered as well but to his growing frustration had been denied by his sister. He still had no clue why Misaki kept blaming him for everything and had grown fed up with it long ago.

Despite Kiko's attempts to lessen the impact of his father's lessons, his annoyance with his sister only fed into the notions of superiority and elitism that the man sought to foster in his son. It was a good thing that he had first encountered Midori when he did -- if they had run into each other for the first time now, he probably would have barely spared her a glance. Now, she was perhaps the sole exception, and he had begun to actually treat Misaki like his bodyguard in public. She was still his sister and he eased up when they were with Midori, both siblings did, but there was always this underlying tension between them.

It was a concerning development to those who considered him friends or hoped for more equal treatment for the branch clan in the future. His father couldn't be more proud, of course, being a traditionalist - and whilst the patriarch at times felt concern for his disavowed daughter, his sense of duty bade him to disregard it.

When their names were finally announced with the third and last team, Ibiki wasn't really surprised -- they were the only ones left over. He had almost expected to be put together with Makoto -- that he and Misaki would be placed together had never been in question considering her assignment, even though there might have been choices that would better complement his skills  -- but it was Midori instead. They were taking personal relations into account for some reason, it seemed, since all teams had somehow incorporated those who had grouped together more closely over the years. This was the only actual surprise about it. He wasn't displeased by any means at the selection - they already worked well together and getting along wouldn't be a problem.

Misaki stared at their teacher with a glare as he read those names. To be fair, she was really only watching him attentively, but her expression had always been and still remained rather intense most of the time. Unlike her brother she had no interest in figuring out who might have made it and who wouldn't -- she only really cared about one name in that list. Just like her brother, she knew fully well both Hyuga twins would be on there, so that was barely an afterthought, until finally the last name was called. Midori's. As their teacher read it, her expression finally eased up a little -- her lips inched into a smile -- a smug one, but still a rare smile.

After all, she had invested quite some time into training with Midori, whom by now she considered a friend. It wouldn't do if she didn't pass as well, even if she had originally considered her a nuisance and decided to help her simply because she couldn't stand watching her stumble around anymore -- that was how she remembered it, anyway. That they were both outcasts and lonely despite being surrounded by 'family' at home and really could use the company wasn't something she liked to acknowledge. It was a weakness and she didn't like to be weak. Ever. There was already enough of a distance in skill between her and her brother that she couldn't afford it -- she had taken extra classes in medical skills and techniques to compensate, had trained like a madwoman with the senbon needles, sometimes together with Midori, to compensate for the relative lack of training she was receiving in the Hyuga techniques compared to Ibiki, but she never felt it was enough.

So, even now, she was still angry at her brother. She had come to understand that her situation wasn't his fault, that he had never really had a choice in the matter, but it still sat wrong with her that he received all the attention, all the praise.

Hence their little group of three -- now actually Team three, for the foreseeable future, was an odd gathering of tension, uncertainty and -- nonetheless -- friendship. Even if she didn't like to show it. Especially not towards Ibiki. But with Midori around she could relax her guard a little without feeling like she was giving up.

The years had come and gone and while they were identical twins, the beginnings of puberty had made them more easy to tell apart. Misaki had gained some slight female curves -- not a lot, she was still slim and her chest was barely larger than Midori's -- and her robes now incorporated some slightly fancier designs. On some occasions, when she wasn't on bodyguard duty (where being mistaken for her brother at a distance was advantageous), she also liked to put some rouge on her lips, though she never put anything beneath her eyes or on her lids. Perhaps makeup didn't agree with her eye techniques.

Ibiki, on the other hand, had put on more muscle than her -- his jaw was a little stronger, as were his eyebrows -- few would mistake him for a girl, though for disguise purposes he could pull it off as long as he remained quiet. This was the greatest change and difference between them, sex aside: their voices. His had gotten deep for his age and would probably grow similar to the intimidating tone of his father soon enough, whereas Misaki's was much lighter. Her manner of speaking wasn't exactly feminine, but her voice clearly was.

Thus, when their new Jounin instructor came in, it was unlikely that he would confuse them -- unlike in the beginning of classes, when it happened more than a few times.

As soon as the odd-looking man with red-ish hair entered, Misaki stood up from her table and stepped over to Midori's instead, where she propped herself against the right front corner and crossed her arms in front of her. She was clearly appraising their new and future teacher while he talked.

Ibiki remained seated -- his table was right in front of Midori's anyway, so there wasn't really any need to move to make things easier on the man. He was also studying this 'Kobayashi Ryuu', but with more of a curious expression than the nigh-defiance Misaki liked to employ (which stood in an odd contrast to her very professional conduct when it came to missions, training and all manner of duties).

Neither of them responded to the greeting, of course. Not until they were individually acknowledged. She briefly released her defensive posture to indicate a formal bow -- right hand closed into a fist, embraced by the left to accompany it -- and began to speak. "Instructor," she greeted the man. "Hyuga Misaki, of the Hyuga branch family. Age twelve. I specialize in the Hyuga family techniques, the Byakugan and Juuken open palm combat. To compensate for my lack of advanced training, I have studied medical skills and throwing needles."

She kept it curt. Professional. Listing her skills without going into greater detail about them. How exactly the family techniques worked and the real specifics were still a clan secret, after all, even if the current age moved towards a more open attitude and at least the extent of their practical uses would grow more commonly known with every passing year.

She paused, then glanced towards her brother. "Hyuga Ibiki. My brother, same age, of the main clan. Heir to the Hyuga techniques." The words tasted bad on her tongue, but she still continued to list them without apparent emotion. "More skilled at them than I am, with knowledge of advanced techniques. No additional skills outside the clan techniques and the standard curriculum, but excels at both. I am assigned as his bodyguard by order of the clan head. No notable weaknesses to exploit outside of inexperience and young age. If I was to target him, I would require backup to wear him down, or use poison traps."  She was tempted to say something about his excessive pride, or add a small barb, but pushed the thought away. Instead, she continued, with Midori.

For a moment as she considered her words and the damage they might do to her relationship with the shy girl and hesitated, a brief moment. But she had always placed her duties above all else -- and answering her superior to her best ability was one of those.

"Yuhara Midori. Child of a traveling merchant, raised here by her uncle and aunt of the same but settled profession. One infant brother. Highly intelligent, but too introspective. Professional conduct beyond the other civilian recruits. Compensates for weak taijutsu with throwing techniques, with which she is well above average, and is good at keeping her distance." She mulled the addition over for a moment, then continued: "She is very attached to her pet, which would be my first target if I had to go after her."

"We practiced outside class to improve on her foundations and taijutsu, so we are familiar with our respective combat movement and should work well together," she finished on a more positive note -- or so she thought, anyway. When she glanced back again at Midori she looked like she regretted her cold assessment a little -- anyone else would probably have missed it, but reading the subtleties of their very subdued displays of emotion was something that came with the territory of being a friend to the twins.

Her gaze then returned to the Jounin, waiting to see if he wanted her to expound on anything or if he was satisfied with what she had shared.

Offline LexandriaTopic starter

Re: In the Days Before [Lexandria and VonDoom]
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2016, 03:36:03 AM »

His group was so quiet, it was kinda strange. The three young Genin simply watched him as he entered and greeted them. Well, Hyuga Misaki had moved to Yuhara Midori's table, either simply to group together better, or as a sign of solidarity with her new teammate reamained to be seen. Interestingly, the movement did not seem to really enhance her ability to act as bodyguard to the Hyuga heir, which was her 'primary duty' as dictated by the clan head. Still, their lack of reaction to his entrance and greeting was just...different.

Then again, Noboru was grouchy and had probably trained his students not to make much noise; he'd had three years to do it, after all. Though, with what he'd read from Noboru about these three, they hadn't ever been especially outgoing. That was a shame, but not necessarily bad. Meant they paid more attention to direction than not, probably. So, a good thing.

But what else should he expect from the Hyuga heir and his sister? The other one had been observed interacting with and spending a lot of time with them as well, so it would track that she would pick up more of their habits, too.

The cat would probably be a problem eventually. Unless it could be trained, but cats were notoriously difficult, especially if she had not already started. There was no indication that she had.

That the new genin were grouped by their social ties was a fairly smart move, he thought: without rivalries or difficulty getting along, it would make the teamwork that much stronger, and help to make each team specialized. How they would specialize would remain to be seen, but for the first ever group of graduating genin, it was a smart move. Not that the Hokage would do anything other than the smart thing. There was a reason he was the leader, and the strength he had was not just in combat prowess, but in the ability to strategize and plan and see the best path to take.

And so it was his job to mould this younger generation into a group who could participate in the Hokage's plan.

As he spoke, they all gave him their full attention, if in their own ways. Hyuga Ibiki seemed genuinely curious, but his sister was very defensive and seemed almost..protective of Yuhara Midori. Especially with how she had positioned herself at the desk, her folded arms, and the way she assessed him before he even spoke. Likely, Midori would differ to the twins in most situations, and while she likely would not like to, Misaki would differ to her brother due to duty only. That would force him into a leadership position; even now he was situated in front of the two girls. Ryuu could not quite decide if he thought that Ibiki realized that yet or not. He had the opportunity to grow into an effective leader, but he had been observed being dismissive of others outside his very small social circle.

From Noboru's observations, not one of the three were very social with anyone else, in contrast with most of the other students and new genin.

When asked to describe herself and her teammates, Hyuga Misaki pulled out of her defensive attitude and professionally and efficiently evaluated not only herself, but her brother and her teammate. Part of what he was doing was seeing their ability to observe and then relay data, but also it was interesting to watch the reactions of the other two to Misaki's words. He'd picked her first, of course, because she was known to be accurate to the point of being bluntly unkind: this would be a good indication of how they would interact with one another...

____ ___ __ _

Secretly, it pleased Midori to no end that Misaki moved to be closer to her when Instructor Ryuu entered the room. Misaki liked to act annoyed a lot, especially with her, but by now Midori was pretty sure that the other girl liked being friends with her. Even when they'd first met, she had sort of reached out in her awkward and aggressive way. Why else would she have spent time to help her train and get better? For a long time, Misaki had intimidated her, even sort of scared her a little, but Midori thought that that was a lot of her own reaction to feeling lonely. And Midori knew what it was to be lonely.

She thought maybe Ibiki did too. Maybe that was why the three of them got along?

Well, Misaki was always sort of tense around Ibiki, and more angry. The best times were when it was the two of them, though it seemed, sort of, that Misaki was less actually-angry lately, and more so because she was just used to being that way now. Soon, maybe, she would let go of that too. Midori really hoped that they would be able to get along better at some point, and she tried so hard to help them do so. Which was hard, because Ibiki was treating her less and less like family, and Midori had no idea why, let alone how to fix it. Because she knew that Misaki did not like it, and that was probably why she was staying angry for so long.


Ibiki was a pretty good friend too, though. They were her first and only friends, besides Sunako, and so the newly-minted genin really tried to take care of them, in so much as she was able. Especially since they were so much more capable than she was.

It was so very like Misaki to point out how she would target them when she was evaluating skills; to Midori, it seemed like Misaki was always looking for everyone's weak point. What was unlike her was the way she sort of paused before moving on to talk about Midori. Well, that, and that she thought that Yuuhei was still an infant. An infant could hardly fling himself onto her stomach with as much flair and velocity as her cousin could, but she was also pretty sure that Misaki hadn't ever really seen him, though she probably had heard him screaming her name when she came home sometimes. His high-pitched little voice was deceptive.

She'd never known that Misaki thought she was 'highly intelligent': the praise made her flush a little and stare at her friend. The comment about targeting Sunako (and she knew that Misaki knew the cat's name) was surprising but also not: it was very Misaki, anyway, and easy enough to let go.

By the time Misaki looked back at her, Midori was still staring at her, and a bit flushed, but as soon as she realized her friend was feeling bad for her words, she smiled slightly, enough to let her know that she wasn't hurt by what was said at all. Most of that she already knew, anyway. Except that Misaki, who was so amazing at everything important, thought she was intelligent, and that she was good at not getting too close when fighting. Which she'd always thought was a bad thing, but it didn't seem that Misaki thought it was bad.

"That was a very thorough assessment, thank you Misaki. Yuhara Midori, do you have anything to add?" the small girl blinked, returning her attention to Instructor Ryuu.

How could she follow that up? Misaki had covered almost everything. Frowning a moment, Midori sifted through his original question. Observations. She had observations about her friends, though some seemed sort of personal: like Misaki being sort of mad at Ibiki but probably it was really that she was hurt by how he acted. And how Ibiki seemed like he was confused by Misaki being angry with him, so he was mostly frustrated at her. Those were things that she thought Instructor Ryuu didn't need to know, and if he did want to now, he could figure that out for himself.

So.. observations. Yeah, okay. She could do that.

"I think, Instructor Ryuu, that Misaki covered most of the technical parts, and she's really good at analyzing skills and weaknesses. For observations, because you asked for some of those too, I know that Ibiki only eats nutritious food, and nothing really fun or frivolous, so I haven't figured out what food he likes yet. Misaki likes hanami dango the best. But they both like to train with other people, doing sparring, except that it's hard for them to find peers who can do a good job at that..."

She paused a moment, "I think katas are boring too, though." especially since she still had so much trouble with them and had to do them more than everyone else to keep at a passing level at the Academy.

"Also, Ibiki is very formal, and I think has an easier time talking to more important people," like his father, who Midori found to be super intimidating, but she was polite and was mostly sure that she had never done anything to actively annoy the man. "And Misaki is always honest, and sometimes seems unkind when she is really just not worrying about disguising her meaning, which is a good thing in some situations too. Misaki is more quick to actively defend, while Ibiki is more prone to wait and observe more before choosing an action..." It was hard to put into words what she meant, but even when she first met them, Misaki had been quick to defend herself by pushing back at everyone, while Ibiki had been curious but very reserved and observant.

"What about you, then?" Instructor Ryuu was hard to read, but now that they had been talking, he seemed very interested and focused, and much less..weird.

"I'm not really... not really good at interacting with my peers, but I do pretty good with adults, I think." she nodded once for emphasis, still not sure if she'd done that right. All of it was things she'd observed, or thought she'd figured out about her friends from their behavior, but she'd never actually said it out loud before. Maybe they wouldn't like it?

Now it was her turn to glance at her friends, Misaki and then Ibiki, to see if they were upset by her words.

For a moment, she thought maybe Instructor Ryuu was waiting for her to say more, but he nodded after a second of thought, "I see. Ibiki, is there anything else you'd like to add? If not, I'll move ya right along to the physical evaluation. We'll run down to the forrest, and you'll be tasked with defeating me. The evaluation will begin the moment we enter the training grounds. Your objective is to retrieve the object I have tucked in my pouch before your time is up. So.. anything ta add before we go?" he leveled his gaze on Ibiki, making sure to give the boy a chance to speak up if he were somehow put-off by the lack of a chance to truly add anything to either side of the situation...