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 Not quite a hermit, but you'll do. [Training]

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Uzumaki Kikuchiyo

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PostSubject: Not quite a hermit, but you'll do. [Training]   Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:29 am

Kiku had been coming here for close to a year now. It was a nice little shrine, out of the way. He had originally come here for a quiet place to read, but then he'd met the monk who took care of it. An elderly chap named Miroku, who had been tending the shrine for more than fifty years. The old man was very kind, and always seemed calm and understanding no matter what was going on. Kiku envied that level of chill, and eventually he let that fact slip. The monk had told Kiku that his meditation was responsible for his happiness. From then, Kiku had been intrigued. The young Uzumaki had always been a bundle of nerves. This might have been his ticket to the cool, collected attitude he had always wished he could have.

After a month or so, Kiku got up the courage to ask if Miroku could teach him. The old monk was more than happy to help out his most frequent visitor, and ever since then Kiku had been coming there weekly to meditate with him. Even at home, Kikuchiyo had been keeping up with it. He made sure to set aside at least an hour a day for meditation, and even more when he was especially stressed out. It worked, up to a point. Kiku was still a nervous wreck, but he was a little less of a nervous wreck now. With how panicky he had always been, every little bit helped.

But today, Kiku was here for a different reason. He'd started to feel something odd during his meditation lately, something he couldn't explain. Kiku had tried researching it, but nothing had come up. It was a total mystery. He really didn't want to bother Miroku, but he had to know what was going on. So here he was, climbing the steps to the shrine a few days ahead of schedule.

As always, the monk was happy to see him. The old man walked out, leaning on his cane. “Ah, Kiku-kun! Good to see you again.” Kiku bowed, and the monk returned the bow. Even though Kiku didn't consider himself Miroku's equal, or anyone's equal for that matter, the monk had no such hangups. He always treated Kiku as if they were old friends, perfectly on par with one another in standing and knowledge. “Um, sorry to bother you Mr. Miroku.” The monk just waved a hand. “It's no bother, really. Quite the opposite. What brings you here today?”

Kiku thought for a moment about how to say this. A lot had been going on lately. “Well I've been meditating like you told me, but something's been different lately. I've been feeling this new chakra. It's um, well different. I wouldn't say weird, I mean it feels kinda nice and peaceful and stuff, but I don't know how it's happening or whatever.” A look of realization came over the monk's face as Kiku spoke. “Tell me, Kiku, how much have you been meditating?” Kiku thought back to his routine. It was pretty standard. He hadn't had any away missions yet, and the missions and training he'd had weren't too taxing. He'd hardly missed a day since he started this regimen. “Um, an hour, maybe? Sometimes more.”

The monk looked thrilled. “I always knew you had potential, my boy. You've showed a great deal of dedication, and the universe has a way of rewarding that.” Kiku gave a confused stammer before letting the monk continue. This would be explained a lot sooner without him falling all over his words and interrupting. Miroku patiently waited. By now, he was long since used to Kiku's awkward fumbling. When the genin fell silent again, he continued speaking.

“That is a gift passed down from the Time of Legends, an ability granted only to those who have shown great dedication. It is called the Gift of the Hermit Group. It is a special kind of chakra, one that can only come from meditation on our ways. Long ago, when our temples dotted the land, it was used to open the great barriers that protected our sanctuaries. Now, few of those temples still stand, and even fewer are still in use.” Kiku was somewhere between excited and disappointed. On the one hand, it was a great honor to be given this gift. On the other, it seemed like it had become all but useless over the centuries. Still, it was something from the Time of Legends, and that made just about anything cool.

Before Kiku could fully settle on an opinion, Miroku had another shocking revelation for him. There was more to this hermit chakra thing after all. “There is another thing it can do. One that can protect you in your travels. I could teach you, if you'd like.” Kiku nodded enthusiastically. He was kind of a pushover, and he knew it. Anything that could help protect him would be perfect. “Please?”

The monk nodded, and gestured for Kiku to follow him. The two of them walked down to the path behind the shrine, stopping in the yard of Miroku's modest home. The old man took a stance a few paces away from Kiku. It was a bit of an odd stance. He was standing straight up, with his right hand in a half ram sign, and his left facing downward, palm parallel to the ground. Kiku wondered what he was doing for a moment.

Then he saw it. An apparition formed behind the monk, solidifying into the image of a golden statue. Its face was the picture of tranquility, and a thousand arms with open hands fanned out behind it. Miroku stood there with his eyes closed, while Kiku's eyes were wide with awe. “Now, Kiku.” the monk said, keeping his tranquil expression and odd pose, “Use some of that ninjutsu you told me about. Don't worry about anything, just show me what you can do.”

Kiku was nervous. He liked Miroku. The old man had been kinder to him than just about anyone else. He didn't want to hurt the guy. But then again, Miroku seemed pretty sure of himself. To test him out, Kiku drew a kunai and threw it, aiming to go past the monk's head. Close enough to seem serious, far enough not to put him in any danger. One of the golden hands of the phantom statue shot out, and the knife bounced harmlessly off its palm. Kiku's jaw dropped, and Miroku chuckled. “I told you I'd be fine. But that's an academy attack, show me what a genin of Soragakure can do.” Kiku nodded, gathering fire chakra into his lungs. He formed a few hand signs, cupped his hand to his mouth, and let fly. “Katon: Housenka no Jutsu!” A dozen small fireballs shot out in the space of a second. Twelve hands came forward, easily stopping every one of them. Kiku was impressed. This secret jutsu really was something. “Come now, take this stance.” said Miroku. Kiku stood up straight, putting his hands into the same position as Miroku's. “Now close your eyes. This is just like our meditation, just a different pose. Clear your mind, and open yourself up to the Gift of the Hermit Group. Let your mind and soul become a conduit for it.”

Kiku did as the monk said. At first it was nothing special, but after a few minutes he started to gain a sort of awareness. Even with his eyes closed, he could still see somehow. As he got used to it, that second sight became even clearer than his normal vision. He could feel the presence of the Kannon behind him, watching over him and protecting him. Miroku smiled, able to sense what he was doing. “Now reach out a hand. Try to strike me.” Kiku focused, trying to command one of the hands. It was too much to process, a thousand limbs all under his command. “I can't.” he said.

“You can. When you move your own hand, you don't concentrate on moving each joint individually. Focus instead on what you want it to do, the rest will follow.” Kiku tried this method, and it worked. A single golden hand jabbed at Miroku in a spear-hand strike. One of Miroku's golden hands blocked it, letting the hit glance off its palm. “Very good!” said the old monk. Without warning, a counterattack was coming right for Kiku. As if by instinct, five hands came up to block the one attacking hand. “But still unfocused. Conserve your strength, act only as needed. We will try again.”

It was after dark when Kiku got home. He'd made good progress, but there was still room for improvement. He had promised Miroku to come back whenever he could, so the two of them could practice Hermit Kumite.

[Words: 1473]

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PostSubject: Re: Not quite a hermit, but you'll do. [Training]   Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:57 pm

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