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1Among the Dead [ Solo Training ] Empty Among the Dead [ Solo Training ] on Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:44 am



...last year
“Koryu,” The voice was faint, but it was easily recognized. “Koryu, my dear, wake up.” It continued. ”You know how impatient your father can be.” The implied threat of his father’s wrath roused the young man finally. When his eyes opened he was greeted by the smiling face of his mother. “Goodmorning, my love.” She said as she kissed his forehead. “Now hurry, hurry your father is waiting for you.”

Koryu nearly leapt from the bed at his mother’s behest. “I forgot!” He shouted. He mumbled under his breath a curse that garnered a raised eyebrow from his mother and immediate silence from the young man. How could he have forgotten such an important day?

”You were up all night weren’t you?” His mother asked rhetorically, knowing full well that the boy had been. This, of course, answered the question he’d asked himself. Excitement had kept him up into the wee hours of the morning. This would no doubt be a debt against him during the course of the day but youth would save him some of it’s cost. “I know you were. Your father was too,” She continued with a giggle. “He must have talked my head right off my shoulders last night about all he had planned for you today.” She watched as Koryu stumbled about in search of his white gi and pants. She gently shook her head and motioned toward a chair in the corner where she had already set out his clothes for the day. “Koryu, my love,” Her tone had become more serious. “I know you’re excited, but I want you to be careful. Your father,” She paused and turned her head as if she were ensuring the person she was speaking of wasn’t near. “well, you know how he can be. I don’t want you to…” She stood up and stepped closer to Koryu as he slid into his sandals. “He won't change overnight, Koryu. I wish he would, could… but he wont.” She wrapped her arms around the youngster and pulled him into her. “So, be careful.”

”I will.” Koryu replied with a grin. He knew what she meant. He knew that this changed nothing, that he’d still have to prove himself. That he’d still have to earn his father’s love. Yet, none of that bothered him. This was what he wanted. Finally, he was given a means by which to earn that love and a chance to really prove himself. The young shinobi stepped toward his mother and wrapped his arms around her. “I love you, Ma.” He said as he released her and started toward the door.

“I love you too,” She responded in kind as she watched her son leave. “Show him what you’re made of.” She added as Koryu reached for the door knob and slipped out into the hallway.

A few moments later Koryu was standing outside of Kaguya Temple. He stretched his arms out to either side and drew in a deep breath. Today was the day he’d finally make his father truly proud of him.
“Late. That’s going to cost you.” The voice was raspy from years of smoking. “Let’s go,’ Seijin, Koryu’s father, ordered as he lifted himself from the wall he’d been leaning against. “You’ve a lot to learn before you attend the academy.” He continued as he flicked a spent cigarette off into the distance. Koryu nodded and followed his father promptly.

The two walked in silence for a time. This left Koryu, unfortunately, to his own thoughts. He worried what the ‘cost’ of his lateness might be. His father was a strict man, and often as cruel. The punishment could very well be any number of things. Time would tell, but for now he was left to imagine what horrors awaited him. Koryu became so lost in his own thoughts that he’d barely noticed when he and his father left the relative safety of the land belonging to the Kaguya Temple and moved deeper into the woodlands. In fact his attentions were not fully drawn to this fact until the strangeness of the trees became unavoidable. The woods slowly descended into disorder, disarray and dismay. The signs of battle became ever more apparent. Trees lie stricken down by the strength of men, some clearly torn from the ground at the roots. Other trees bore eternal scars where blades had collided with them, some even still holding rusted kunai in their flesh. Koryu became certain of where his father had taken him when beneath his foot the sound of brittle bone crunching became audible. This was the Graveyard, the place where the Hunter Nin of Kiri often caught their prey. Though not all that resided in the Graveyard were among the dead, it was not uncommon to find the living hiding amongst them as well; zombies clinging to what fleeting moments of life they had left before the shinobi of Kiri found them.

“I suppose this is as good a place as any,” Seijin said as he twisted his head about. They’d arrived in a clearing in the woods. The trees around had been knocked or cut down for the most part, apparently some powerful jutsu had been used here long ago and the area never fully recovered save for the few small sprouts that had sprung up amongst the rotting wood. The poor soul that had been the recipient of whatever technique was used here had left little more than a lower jaw bone and a rust metal plate bearing the symbol of kirigakure. It was unclear if these belonged to a Hunter or his prey, but the person had certainly been met by a most gruesome fate. Seijin turned to his turned to his son after inspecting the area. Koryu assumed to ensure that they would not be disturbed not to ensure that it was actually a safe place to be. “Koryu, my son, in a weeks time you will begin your training with the academy in Kirigakure. There they will teach you what it means to be a shinobi of Kirigakure.” Even as Seijin spoke the bone in his forearm began to grow, to twist and deform as he commanded. A small bit began to slowly slid free of its place as the bone grew out of his palm. “Today,” Koryu’s father said with a smirk as the bone slid further out of his palm. “I will teach you what it means to be a shinobi of the Kaguya clan.” As the final word fell from his lips the bone which slid from his palm suddenly burst forth, the tip of which had been sharpened. The spear like object which now protruded from Seijins palm snapped at its base and fell, point first into the dirt below. Seijin took hold of the four foot weapon and as his hand wrapped around it it continued to grow longer, the tip now took the full shape of a spear, it’s head wide and sharp. “Today, finally, There was extra emphasis on the word finally. ”You are Kaguya.” He said as he lifted the spear into both hands and lunged toward the completely unready Koryu.

”Agh!” Koryu yelped as he attempted to side step his father’s attack. Unfortunately, he wasn’t nearly fast enough to avoid what was coming. Fortunately enough for him his father was fully aware of this. The spears tip stopped just a few mere centimeters from Koryu’s face. Despite, Koryu’s haste to move out of the way caused him to stumble and subsequently fall on his backside. Fear washed over the boys face. Had his father meant to spare him or had this only been a fluke of luck?

”Not good enough. Get up.” Seijin said as he thrust the spear into the dirt next to him. He then walked back a few meters. Slowly, Seijin slide his legs apart and slouched his body some. His strong hand, the right, was pulled back slightly while the lead was thrust forward, the palm of which was open. Koryu knew this meant that his father was switching to a taijutsu focus but had never seen this stance he was taking. ”Come.” He commanded.

Koryu wasted no time. He dared not disappoint his father again. The young man rose to his feet and immediately took off in a sprint toward his father. He’d thought he might catch him off guard, he’d thought of this moment time and time again and considered himself prepared for at least this. Koryu stepped to his right at the last moment, thinking that he’d be doing something his father wouldn’t be ready for, or even think his son capable of. With this side step Koryu quickly launched a right handed hooking punch toward his fathers exposed ribcage. He learned quickly that he was mistaken in his beliefs. Seijin’s left hand dropped and slapped the boys sorry excuse for a punch out of the way and in a swift singular motion the man’s body twisted and his right hand came barreling toward Koryu’s face. There wasn’t time to move out of the way and there would be no mercy. Seijin’s fist collided with Koryu and sent him reeling backward and flat onto his back..


The command was short and Koryu obeyed. The boy rose to his feet once more. This time deciding to close the distance more slowly. He inched toward his father, which the older man allowed, until he was a mere three feet from him. Koryu then matched his fathers stance. This prompted a most unexpected response from Seijin; he smiled. The smile quickly faded however and in an instant the three feet between them was no more. Seijin threw a left handed body shot at Koryu, obviously holding back as it came much slower than the last punch. This alloted Koryu the time he needed to react, and react he did. Koryu ducked and raised his right arm to block the punch. He then shot up like a rocket, hoping to dig his free left hand into the bottom of his father’s chin. He thought himself clever for blocking in such a manner and immediately launching a counter act in the form of an over exaggerated uppercut. Truth be told, Seijin was somewhat impressed. It wasn’t the best response but it was not what he’d expected the boy to do. It wouldn’t matter though. Seijin merely leaned his body back to avoid the punch and as he did he kicked his right leg outward, sending his foot into Koryu’s stomach. The force of the kick knocked the wind out of the boy and again put him on his backside.

”Again.” Seijin commanded of his son. It seemed there would be no relent, no mercy for even his own blood. He had no care for what harm may come. There was a lesson to teach in all of this and they would not pause until he was certain that lesson had been taught. The pair traded another volley, and then another, and then yet another for hours without pause.. Each time Koryu ended up on his ass, rubbing some part of his body that his father had struck. It wasn’t until it seemed that Koryu simply could not withstand anymore that Seijin finally allowed the boy a moment to breath. “You’re slowing down.” He said flatly. ”Unacceptable.

”It hurts. Koryu replied as he rubbed his chest where his father had last literally kicked the breath out of him.

”I don’t care if it hurts. Neither will your opponent. Neither will our families curse.” Seijin said as he sat down on the least rotted part of a fallen tree. ”Come here, Koryu.” He commanded as he motioned for the boy to take a seat on the ground in front of him. Koryu obeyed as always. Once Koryu had sat down, Seijin quickly kicked him in the face much to Koryu’s dismay. ”It’s going to hurt, it’s going to come when you least expect it. These are things you must be ready for. You are a Kaguya. I already see in you the lust and love of battle, or perhaps it is merely my favor you lust after.” Seijin frowned at this realization. He’d never actually acknowledged the boys need for his father's acceptance. In fact, it was only now that he realized just how unaccepting he had been over the years. He regretted none of it, however. The boy had only just developed the abilities that were his birthright two years ago. His son was fifteen and only just beginning his journey to becoming a shinobi. There was no time to coddle him, no time to stroke his sensitive ego. There was only time for facts. Thus, as Koryu lifted himself off the ground Seijin kicked him a second time. ”Life is hard and it only gets harder, Koryu.” He started. “Imagine when you are a shinobi of the mist, imagine what hardships you will encounter. You barely can handle me. How will you handle an enemy meaning to kill you? How will you handle it when your own body begins to work against you?” He kicked the boy back down a third time. ”Will you continue on or will you whine about how much it hurts?” Seijin went to kick the boy in his face a fourth time but this time Koryu was ready. The youngster caught his father’s foot and yanked him from his throne of rotted wood. For the first time Seijin was truly proud of his son, but he’d not give him the satisfaction of knowing it. Instead Seijin performed a series of handseals even before his body hit the ground. When he did hit the ground as if the action had caused it, the ground twisted and from it rose a serpent like dragon of earth and mud. The dragons mouth opened wide and from it a ball about the side of a basketball was shot forth. The thing moved with such speed that Koryu had no chance of avoid it. When the bullet hit the boy he was sent careening backward into a tree and knocked unconscious. There was certainly no mercy this day.

When Koryu finally came to the sun had long since left the sky and darkness had engulfed the woods. The only light was provided by a fire that his father had built. Koryu lifted himself from the base of the tree where his father had left him and slowly crept toward the fire where his father sat, hoping that they were at least done for the moment. Assuming this was true being that his father hadn’t spoken a word despite clearly having noticed his sons return to the conscious world Koryu took a seat opposite him. His body was on fire, never before had they trained this hard. Yet despite the agony that he was in Koryu smiled. The smile brought about his fathers voice, finally. “You smile. Why?” The man asked, hoping his child would give him the answer he sought.

“We’ve never,” Koryu paused for the briefest of moments unsure if he should answer as honestly as he was about to. He feared that perhaps his father might see this as weakness, but decided to continue anyway. “trained this fiercely before. It was… fun.”

Seijin smiled back at his son. This indeed was the kind of answer he was looking for. “Never before have I thought it so important that you be ready to uphold the legacy your grandfather and I have left behind.” He spoke of even his own legacy in the past tense, something that he did often. He’d long ago come to terms with the idea that he would not lead a long life. Death awaited him impatiently. “What most of this have you enjoyed? It certainly can’t have been the beating you’ve received.” He laughed at his own cruel joke.

“I’ve learned,” Koryu started. ”My own strength.

”What strength boy? You possess little to none of that yet. You are weak, weaker than I would have hoped you be by now. You are barely ready for even the academy.” Seijin snapped.

”But now I know just how weak I am. Now I know how much stronger I have to be. Finally I was ab-”

Seijin cut the boys sentence short. ”Shut your damned mouth, boy. Never take pride in weakness. What kind of son have I raised that he’d be proud to know he is weak. You are Kaguya, child. You are born of strength and should only strive toward such.” Seijin paused for a moment. ”I brought you here, Koryu, because Kaguya blood was spilt in these woods many years ago. Blood that sought strength, that came here merely for the love of battle, merely to test their own mettle against the strength of others. They were slaughtered and our name nearly stricken from history. That can never happen again. You and others like you are our future. But you, boy, you are my son. Years from now they will not say the son of Kaguya Seiijin took pride in his weakness. No. They best speak of your strength, of your power, of your legacy.”

Koryu was taken aback for a moment. ”I’m sorry father.” He started. “I only meant that I’d finally gotten to test myself against you.”

“No, you meant that you were proud to be weak and thought it meant you could get stronger.” Seijin corrected his son. “Be ashamed of your weakness, boy, and then you will have no choice but to be stronger.”

Koryu nodded. He then looked around for a moment. He’d never heard the tale of what had happened to the Kaguya here. In fact, as far as he knew the Kaguya had come to Kirigakure looking for a home and had been granted that home by the Mizukage of the time. “Father,” He started. ”You said that the Kaguya came here to Kirigakure looking to test their strength.”

”Yes, it’s not a story often told. I suppose the elders had thought it might sour the blood of our clan against our,” He paused. ”slavemasters. He finished. ”But, yes. Here in these very woods. Here on this very island many of our kin were slain. Do not misunderstand, however, Koryu. The Kaguya came here of their own will, in search of something they could only find here against shinobi of such strength. Perhaps that is why we returned. These people were worthy of men like us, of men possessing strength akin to their own.”

“Then why call them slave masters?” Koryu questioned.

“A dog, no matter how much you love it is still a dog, son. It will never be a man. This land, it is soaked in our blood and they are owed.”

”Owed what?[“/i]

Seijin sighed heavily. Was his son really this dense? [i]“What else? Vengeance, I suppose you could say. Shit, we are owed a rematch.”
Seijin laughed. ”Perhaps one day some young Kaguya will rise up demand just that, but now is not the time. Our numbers… we just aren’t ready to take on an entire village. But that’s nothing you need concern yourself with son. Your only focus need be getting stronger, stronger than any of your peers. Stronger than the Mizukage, herself.” Koryu nodded at his fathers command. His words were not lost on him, however. He’d heard just what must happen to truly gain his fathers love, to truly make his father proud. But first, he needed to get stronger. Much stronger. “Now,” Seijin rose to his feet. ”You’ve had your nap. Let’s get back to it.”


Word Count: 3,417

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