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The temple looked like it had seen better days. Located far from the beating heart of kirigakure it served as little more than a home for vermin and the occasional yokai. Surprisingly enough though the place seemed to have retained some degree of structural integrity even after centuries of abandonment. The statues while covered in moss remained solid and if one looked closely they could make out the details of dragons rearing up from the ocean.

This had once been a holy site dedicated to Di's grandfather the dragon god Bailong. People from Kiri (mostly fisherfolk and those whose life involved the sea) still worshipped the being but did so in either smaller personal shrines or the city temple in the modern capital. The place was still sanctified however and Di could feel it calling to him like a beacon. Such a place was once a locus for prayer and faith and thus it called to him as would any site of worship dedicated to his people.

Di had flown in earlier in the morning on the sea winds. He figured that it was time to do some training. Back in his home he had attended the dojo regularly working through kata and sparring with his brothers and the servants. While in the land of humanity he had received an education of a different sort. Mostly to do with how little he was prepared for the myriad methods that people , spirits and everything else under the sun used to harm one another.

Di needed to keep learning how to adapt to any sort of situation that might arise. So he had sent his messenger hawk out to Izumi's mansion. There it had delivered a message to the lady Nova, a puppeteer of surprising talent who piloted deadly mechanical constructs. Much to his delight Di had received a response saying that Nova would indeed take him up on his offer that of a training bout between the two so that they might hone their respective skills.

Now Di stood in the middle of the courtyard the afternoon sunlight glistening on his black cloak and hat. Trying to clear his mind Di thought about the cases that he had recently worked at. The one involving the captured ghost had been something of a handful as he had almost had his back broken by a spirit bear. Then again the escapade in which he fought a lunatic dressed as a giant bird leading a flock of murderous avian assailants had also been quite a handful. Though he couldn't complain about his cases being totally awol as the incident he investigated with Mokuzai in the onsen had turned out to be much more by traditional crime scene with a murder who while a cold blooded killer wasn't a complete basket case.

Finally even the feelings associated with the Yatagarasu case began to slip away from him. It felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Detective work could be rewarding but it carried a heavy toll on the psyche.

(508 words)

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Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden belong to Masashi Kishimoto.