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1 Testing the Limits of Self [Solo | Training] on Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:17 pm



"Niichan, niichan, Kōrin niichaan!"

The sound of his name being uttered in an repetitive, unrelenting way was the first breach through his wall of unconsciousness, rudely awakening him from his slumber. Kōrin was never much of a dreamer, his sleep undisturbed by random fantasies conjured by the mind. A studier of the mind may make some inference about this personality because of this - he was, after all, generally very down to earth with little time spent daydreaming. Kōrin was a goal-driven person, living life by moving step by step towards his goals. Dreams unrelated to his immediate goals were distractions.

Distractions - much like the form in the midst of barreling towards his bed.

"Kōta, don't you dare --" Whatever threat that he was saying was cut off as the eight year old leaped onto the bed, landing heavily on Kōrin. Kōrin took a moment to regain his breath before rolling his brother off the bed and onto the floor, struggling to get himself out of his comforter to sit up on the bed. His muscles protested rather soundly, sore from his practice the day before and from the unwelcome wake up call. "You brat, you're eight now, not three. You weigh a ton!" But as the two brothers' gazes met, both dissolved in a fit of laughter, the younger one scrambling back to his feet to give Kōrin a hug before running out of the floor. "You told me to wake you before I went to the Academy!" He called over his shoulder, sticking his tongue out.

Oh, right. That he did. Locking his fingers together and stretching his arms over his head, he stifled a groan as the muscles in his shoulder, arms, and neck protested. Never again will he go to bed right after practice without a good stretch and a hot shower. Part of him wanted to go right back into bed, but he had training to do. Goals to be met. The missions he had taken on lately were simple, D rank missions, but time-consuming. To think that taking care of Academy kids were count as a mission ... not that he was complaining. He was still accumulating mission points, after all. But that meant he had less time for training, and getting out of shape was out of the question.  "Right then ... time to go."

It took him approximately 10 minutes to have a quick shower and get dressed, slipping a couple seals under his sleeve and keeping the rest in the small bag he carried with him, as well as a handful in his jacket pocket. Sauntering into the kitchen, he reached over Kōta who was sitting at the kitchen table and grabbed the half eaten muffin off his brother's plate, grinning through the mouthful of blueberry muffin at his brother's protest, but not stopping to look back. He knew just where he wanted to go - the small forest south of the village, where the low-hanging branches and soft ground would be ideal for what he had planned for himself.

Word Count: 519



Soft breaths escaped him as he finally jogged through the line of trees that marked the beginning of the forest. He wasn't out of breath, but satisfyingly warmed up after jogging the entire way. Not breaking his pace, he suddenly jumped up, both hands solidly grabbing at a tree branch. The running start gave him a swinging momentum that pushed him forward and he let go of the first branch, somersaulting once in the air before landing rather nimbly on the thicker branch of another tree, crouched down.  The branch shook under his weight, once, twice, before stilling again, and a grin splits his face, proud for a moment. Flips and somersaults didn't do much in battle, but it thrilled him nonetheless, revelling in the complex movements that he could push his body to do.

Moving into a standing position, he eyed another branch, hand slipping into his small messenger bag and hooking his finger into the single kunai in his possession. He had to admit - his weapons arsenal was  pathetically small, but business in his parent's restaurant wasn't going too well, and all the money that Kōrin made for himself through missions often went towards his brother, who was now in his second year of the Academy. He'd just have to work harder if he wanted to get more for himself. Another goal he loved forward to achieving. Instead of jumping off the branch, Kōrin casually stepped off, free-falling vertically, feet first, towards the ground. The only additional movement was his hands, one raising up above him to drop a paper seal, the other flicking his wrist and releasing the kunai just as the seal began floating towards the ground. The kunai would travel in a diagonally upwards direction, piercing through the seal and pinning it against the targeted branch - which was now above his falling form.

As he neared the ground, Kōrin would tuck his body into a ball, forcing his body to move forwards. The contact with the ground was bumpy but otherwise docile as he rolled forwards and eventually to a stop. Hopping back on his feet, Kōrin hastily glanced up to see the result. The kunai had hit the targeted branch as he wanted it to, but just barely, lodged at the very bottom edge of the branch. Not good enough. Catching the corner of his bottom lip with his teeth, he chewed it lightly as he replayed his action in his mind, analyzing it to see where he went wrong. He didn't fail, but it wasn't perfect. And perfection was what he strived for.

Activating his Supernatural Walking Technique as he walked over towards the tree the kunai was lodged in, he began walking up the trunk of the tree, knowing that he'd have to retrieve the kunai. Wasting supplies during practice was stupid, he knew his limited resources didn't allow him to leave his supplies laying around.

Word Count: 498



As he made it up to where his kunai was, Kōrin reached over and gave it a yank, pulling it free. The force of the pull, however, made him momentarily lose concentration - he never really was one for Ninjutsu - and he was free-falling once more. Except this time, he was going head first. Shit. Options ... what were his options? He didn't intend for this training session to result in a concussion, or something even worse. And if he expected to get out of this unscathed, then he had to clear his head and figure out what his possible options were.

Noting that he was falling relatively close to the trunk of the tree, he quickly formulated a solution. Bending both knees back, Kōrin was relieved to see that the bottom of his feet landed solidly against the trunk of the tree. This was good, he just needed to ensure now that he didn't flip over and smash his face against another tree. Taking a deep breath, he pushed off the tree, launching his lower body forward and providing him with enough momentum to flip himself back up right, where he would land rather unceremoniously on the ground. The bottoms of his feet had initially managed to land on solid ground, but his body wasn't done moving yet, forcing him to tumble back and land on his behind.

At least he remembered to bend his knees when he landed. If he wasn't able to absorb the shock, it would definitely leave him a little more than just winded. But he had to admit - the whole thing was exhilarating. Once the adrenaline began to fade, Kōrin stood back up, letting out a breath. Two falls in five minutes, that was quite the accomplishment. One expected, one ... not so expected. But now that he was out of immediate danger, his grin was back, mentally applauding himself for creating an ideal situation to test his reaction skills. Not that he was going to try again any time soon. Time to move on to Fūinjutsu.

Swinging himself up onto a low-hanging branch, he pulled out three small shuriken in one hand, and three seals in another. He had been working on this technique for a while now, and the forest was the ideal location to try it out. Throwing the seals out in front of him, he waited as they floated down halfway to the ground before releasing the shuriken, watching as they pinned the seals to the ground. From his previous practices, he had noted what projectiles worked well with his paper seals and what didn't. Kunai always worked best, as he could always just attach the seal to the kunai itself, and even if he threw it at the seal like he did before, it would carry the seal as it moved to longer locations. Shurikens, on the other hand, only worked for smaller distances - contact with the paper seals often slowed the speed of the projectiles down. And senbon. Well, senbon wasn't even an option. The tiny projectiles only managed to tear a mini hole through the paper seal and continue on its merry way, leaving Kōrin with a broken seal a meter or so away.

The sound of electricity crackling brought his attention back to the seals, and he mentally released a command. Within milliseconds, bright flashes of light burst from the three seals, expanding out in a circle and upwards. Kōrin watched as it continued to expand, suddenly realizing that if it continued to move up, it would reach where he was sitting. Eyeing another tree, he allowed himself to drop down until he was hanging off the branch he had been sitting in, swinging himself towards the other tree and out of harm's way. There was a final, resounding crackle before the seals deactivated, and Kōrin allowed himself to drop back down to the ground and examine the results.

It was rather disappointing. The undergrowth around the tree and the trunk of the tree itself were singed, but not to the extent that he would have liked. Of course, plants weren't exactly the best conductors, and the damage he saw here would be much more substantial on people or other objects, but it still wasn't complete. Not yet perfect. Letting his breath out in a puff of frustration, Kōrin leaned back against a tree, lost in thought.

Word Count: 747



Three hours later, chakra depleted and physically exhausted, the eighteen year old finally acknowledged his stomach - which had been growling for the past little while. He ached everywhere, the result of more tumbles and tricks he had decided on doing in between his Fūinjutsu practice. His blond hair was damp with sweat, sticking up in odd angles as a result of Kōrin's constant habit of running his hand through his hair. His jacket had been shed, hanging off a branch somewhere, paper seals littered the forest floor, and the marks left by his weapons marred the trees around him. Part of him felt bad for the minor destruction he caused the forest - the Senju clan would likely never forgive him if they found out - but he felt good overall. Satisfied that he pushed himself to the limits.

Now to cure his stomach. Taking five minutes to clean things up and grab his jacket, he strolled out of the forest, heading towards his parents' restaurant. This time, he allowed himself to go at a reasonably casual pace, taking the time to sort out his thoughts. Although not much of a day dreamer, he did often let himself organize his goals and plan his immediate future in his mind. And his goals were as follows:

1. Complete more missions. Both for the experience and the money, he knew that missions were an essential part of a shinobi's career, and the more he could put behind him, the more experience and reputation he would gain. The money was also key - he looked down on those who ran solely on greed for wealth, but knew that without the money to fund the supplies he needed, he would only go so far.

2. Supplies. Following his first priority, he needed to stock up on supplies. Kōrin was still figuring out his fighting style, but Fuinjutsu as his specialty was unquestionable. Seals were an important supply, as were small, handheld projectiles. Part of him wanted to try his hand at swordplay as well, but that would have to wait much longer, when he could afford to get himself something more than a wooden play sword.

3. Training with others. As much as he wasn't much of a people-person, especially around strangers, training with others was important. Or at least, that was what he was told. While Kōrin doesn't necessarily consider it a top priority - he would much rather practice on his own - his parents and teachers alike have repetitively encouraged him to seek training with others.

Goals for the moment, the rest would have to wait. The ultimate goal at this point in time was to get to Chūnin, something he knew he would have to work towards in the long run. Rushing it was stupid - he could get himself killed in his haste to get up to a rank he wasn't ready for. He'd need the experience, skills, acknowledgement, and everything in between.

Word Count: 500



"Kōrin, take this out to table four. The spicy one goes to the lady, the seafood one goes to the man."

It was clear that his parents had no time to even greet him. The moment he stepped into the restaurant, a tray with two steaming bowls of soup were handed to him, and without protest, he obliged obediently, serving the food before wandering back into the kitchen. It seemed business was doing well again, the cooler temperatures made the craving for warm soups increase as people sought something to keep them warm for the rest of the day. Sidestepping his father, he bumped right into the hired help - a sixteen year old girl who always seemed to flush red whenever their gazes met. Red like she was now, muttering apologies under her breath as she went from a pink flush to a beet red. Kōrin smiled kindly at her, reaching to help her with her balanced tray of drinks, despite her incoherent protests.

"Come on, let me help you out Nae. You look better when your face isn't shielded by towering trays of food." Grinning, he carried her tray over to the waiting table without glancing back, knowing that she would have frozen on the spot, her face as red as the apron his mother wore. Kōrin didn't usually go out of his way to flirt with girls, but Nae was an exception, having worked in his parents restaurant for over two years now, a sweet, hardworking girl that he couldn't help but tease every now and then. Sauntering back, he gave her a light pat on the shoulder before going on the hunt for food, snagging a bowl of soup and retreating out back, where he would climb the stairs behind the shop to sit up on the rooftops. It was one of his favourite places to be. Close to family, yet far enough that no one could really bother him. He could see everyone that came in and out of the shop, as well as those wandering down the streets. If he really squinted, the faces of the previous Kage on Hokage Mountain could be seen, but out of focus and without detail.

Kōrin never really had dreams of being kage. His brother Kōta's head were filled with fantasies of becoming strong and one day becoming Hokage, but Kōrin had no such ambitions. He wanted to succeed in life, yes, but becoming kage wasn't his ideal form of success. With all the glory of becoming kage came tedious work and an ever-present obligation to keep everyone happy and safe, something the young shinobi found to be rather troublesome. That didn't mean he didn't respect the position - he did - but it wasn't something for him. Maybe he would aim to be Anbu. Or some other special force. Perhaps the Sealing Division. He hadn't given the far future much thought, as was characteristic of him.

The last few spoonfuls were gone before he knew it, and soon he lost interest in lazing around, climbing back down to figure out what he was to do next. Perhaps seek out the administration building to see if there were any available missions to do, or attempt to tackle the goal of finding someone to train with.

Word Count: 560

Total Word Count: 2824
Speed (E->D): 750 / 750
Perception (E->D): 750/750
Reaction Time (E->D): 750/750
Endurance (E->E-2): 225/225
Strength (E->E-2): 225/225
Remaining Word Count: 124

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