Chapter 3: Flexing, Just a Bit
After being reverse summoned into a spacious courtyard filled with sand gardens, medium-sized Bonzai, and a small koi pond, Wu gave himself a quick once-over as he muttered, “That…felt weird…”
Hearing Wus remark, Hiruzens brows raised ever so slightly as he mused, “Ho~ Most people arent able tofeel anything when being summoned or transported. Well have to look into that during your training. For now, lets get you settled into the manor.”
Placing his hand on Wus back, Hiruzen ushered him into a large manor comprised primarily of dark wood. It had bamboo partitions and tatami floors, but the thing that stood out the most, at least to Wu, was its sheer size. Compared to the manor owned by King Enma, it was at least three times as large.
Having spent the last few weeks preparing for Wus arrival, Hiruzen led the curious eight-year-old into a relatively empty but spacious room. The only furnishings within were a large bed, a mat for meditation, and a small wardrobe. This was intentional, not because Hiruzen didnt want to make Wu feel welcome, but because he didnt want to overwhelm the young boy with items and furniture he wasnt familiar with. Instead, he would let Wu decorate and fill the room with things he had personally purchased or acquired, similar to thehideout he knew the young boy possessed.
Matching Hiruzens expectations, a smile developed across Wus face as he remarked, “This is perfect. I have plenty of space to store my stuff and perform basic exercises. You have my gratitude, Grandfather.”
Though it was a little strange to hear an eight-year-old speak in such a formal manner, especially considering Wus upbringing, Hiruzen returned a smile and replied, “Youre very welcome, Wu. From this day forward, this room is yours to do as you please. You are also free to wander around the manor, though my bedroom and study are off-limits. Any questions”
Shaking his head, Wu was about to respond that he was good, but the truth was that he hadmany questions. Most of them could wait, but the one thing hehad to know was, “When will I be attending this Academy you mentioned previously If possible, Id like to recommence my training as soon as feasible.”
As Enma had already informed him of howspirited Wu was about his training, Hiruzen exhaled a light chuckle before explaining, “We have set things up so that you have a month before classes begin. Since you will be two years behind the rest of your peers, I have made arrangements to have a Chuunin instruct you until then.”
Flaring his chakra, Hiruzen managed to startle Wu with the appearance of a young woman with unkempt, raven-black hair and peculiar red eyes. Her body was garbed in a red kimono, and she wore the identifying headband of a Leaf Shinobi. However, the thing that stood out the most was the fact she was female, the first human woman Wu had ever encountered.
Adopting aknowing smile, Hiruzen gestured toward the kneeling woman and explained, “This is Yuuhi Kurenai, one of our most talented, up-and-coming Kunoichi. She can only instruct you for an hour a day, but she has memorized the Academy Curriculum. She is qualified to answer any and all questions you may have about the village, its history, and the duty of a Shinobi.”
Rising to her feet, Kurenai gave Wu a quick once over before adopting a smile of her own and repeating, “Im Kurenai. You can address me as both Kurenai-sensei or simply Kurenai. Its a pleasure to meet you, Wu.”
Though Wu was a little shorter than other boys his age, standing just under 120cm, he exuded a sense ofawareness that could generally only be found in members of the Nara Clan or seasoned Shinobi. He didnt give off the impression of an ordinary human child, an impression cemented by his wild brown hair, yellow eyes, and prominent canines.
Recovering from his brief stupor, Wu adopted a smile of his own as he said, “The pleasures mine.” Then, exhibiting a complete lack of shame, he asked, “Do all human women look like you Youre a lot less…hairy than I expected.”
Taken aback by Wus question, Kurenai opened her mouth but couldnt find the words to respond. As for Hirzuen, he simply exhaled a chuckle at the side, his silvery-grey eyes glimmering in amusement as he stroked his pointed goatee.
Recalling that Wu had minimal interaction with other humans, Kurenai did her best not to take offense to his words, an almost indistinguishable red hue coloring her cheeks as she cleared her throat and revealed, “Classes related to the differences between men and women will take place during your fourth year at the Academy. The focus of third years is mathematics, the basics of chakra control, Shurikenjutsu, and sparring. Boys also focus on physical conditioning, while girls study the basics of herb classification and court etiquette.”
Hearing the words Shurikenjutsu, Wus face scrunched up as he said, “Im not fond of ranged attacks. I prefer Taijutsu and Bojutsu.”
Unsurprised by Wus retort, Kurenai nodded her head in understanding but insisted, “The Academy is the ideal place to improve upon the skills you lack or struggle with. You might not depend upon Shurikenjutsu in the future, but not knowing how to use them puts you at a disadvantage if you ever need to.”
Instead of arguing with his newly acquired tutor, Wu returned a nod of his own, admitting, “There is truth to what you say…” before adopting a broad smile and asking, “When do we start”
Looking to Hiruzen and seeing him nod his head, Kurenai forced a smile as she answered, “I wasnt expecting to instruct you this afternoon, so lets limit things to a simple skill assessment. Drop off your stuff and meet me in the courtyard.”
Before Kurenai could turn around to leave, Wu, with a smile as radiant as the Sun, asserted, “I prefer to keep my things stored away, so Im ready to begin immediately. Please, lead the way.”
Feeling a little exasperated, Kurenai looked to Hiruzen a second time, only to find the elderly man suppressing a laugh. This gave her a sudden and intense urge to smack him on the back of the head, but doing such a thing to the Hokage would be a faux pas of epic proportions. Hiruzen presented himself as a kind, grandfatherly figure, but he was still the most influential man in the village, commanding the respect of more than twelve thousand Shinobi.
Turning back to Wu, Kurenai forced a smile back to her face as she said, “Very well.” before turning around and adding, “Follow me…” in an audibly exasperated tone…
Though he expected Wu to beabove average after training alongside members of the Monkey Clan for four years, Hiruzens silvery-grey eyes glistened with theWill of Fire as he observed the incredibly agile youth putting legitimate pressure on Kurenai, a season Kunoichi.
Since the best way to ascertain someones skill was via a spar, Kurenai made the mistake of challenging Wu to a Taijutsu match. Her specialties were Genjutsu and Ninjutsu, but that didnt mean she was inept in hand-to-hand combat. She was even expected to be promoted to Jonin in the next 2-3 years, so it hurt her pride to be driven back every time Wus fists or feet impacted her guard.
(“This brat is starting to remind me of Kakashi…”)
Feeling a little indignant, Kurenai opened her guard, allowing an excited Wu to close the ten meters between them in an instant, his tiny fist nearly disappearing into her gut. Such an impact would have caused an ordinary person to vomit blood, but Kurenais body burst into a cloud of faint pink smoke, a heavy aroma of perfume filling the area as a medium-sized log was sent crashing into the estates wall.
Blinking in surprise, Wu exhaled a confused, “Huh…” before leaping away from the cloud of smoke in search of his quarry. He immediately glimpsed Kurenai sneaking around in his blind spot, so he disregarded the smoke and leaped toward her, somersaulting to land a heavy kick on her crossed arms.
Exhibiting a mixture of disbelief and slight panic, Kurenai could only stare in stupefaction as Wus follow-up kick barreled toward her face. She had used a C-Rank Genjutsu to try and buy herself some time to recover, but Wu hadnt been affected at all. She would have noticed if he had resisted or broken out of it. Instead, he acted as if it simply never happened…
Catching Wus ankle, Hiruzens eyes briefly widened before immediately returning to normal as he said, “Thats enough, Wu. You have more than illustrated your talent in Taijutsu. Well done.”
Flipping away from Hiruzen the moment the old man released him, Wu adopted a cheeky smile as he asserted, “Its easy when your opponent looks down on you. That technique that allowed you to swap places with a log was pretty neat. What I dont understand is, why did you drop your guard”
Recovering from her momentary stupor, or at least pretending to, Kurenai forced a smile and replied, “Youre right, Wu; I did underestimate you. For that, you have my sincerest apologies. As for why I dropped my guard at that time…the more pertinent question is, why were you unaffected by my Genjutsu You should have been trapped in an illusion…”
As he had never encountered Genjutsu, Wu shrugged his shoulders and responded, “How am I supposed to know From my perspective, you just swapped places with a log and moved into my blind spot. I didnt see any illusions or whatever.”
Blinking several times, Kurenai tried yet couldnt quite believe what she was hearing. She was certain she had performed her Genjutsu correctly, yet, according to Wu, it never went off She had flubbed Genjutsu in the past, but not since her fifteenth birthday, more than eight years prior…
Curious about Wus claim, Hiruzen decided to lend a hand to Kurenai, stroking his beard as he proposed, “Theres a simple method we can use to clear this matter. Wu, please allow Kurenai to place you in a Genjutsu. I assure you that you will not be harmed even if shes successful…”
After seeing Hiruzen block his full-powered kick with his bare hand, Wu had gained a hint of respect for his elderly mentor. Thus, without thinking too deeply into things, he nodded his head and answered, “Sure. Im also curious about what its like to be in a Genjutsu. Lord Enma taught me that Genjutsu and Sealing Techniques are to be feared and respected.”
Nodding his head in approval, Hiruzen muttered, “Well said…” before turning his attention to Kurenai and ordering, “Chunin Kurenai, please proceed to try and place Wu in a Genjutsu.”
Swallowing her nervousness, Kurenai returned a nod of her own before forming a series of hand seals as she stared into Wus eyes. When she was finished, her chakra reserves depleted noticeably, but Wu just kept staring back at her, unblinking as he eagerly looked forward to the effects of her Genjutsu.
Before Kurenai could admit her failure, Hiruzen garnered the attention of both her and Wu as he mused, “I see…” while stroking his beard. Kurenai might not have noticed it, but he was able to glimpse Wus eyes gaining a faint, fiery-red hue the moment the former activated her Genjutsu.
Seeing the almost desperate look on Kurenais face, Hiruzen exhaled a light chuckle as he revealed, “Our young friend here appears to possess a Dojutsu that filters out the effects of vision-based Genjutsu. Be sure you both keep this a secret, understood”
Though she wanted to protest that no such Dojutsu existed, Kurenais father had once told her stories about the Chinoike Clan. The effects varied from person to person, but their Ketsuryugan was said to make the user impervious to Genjutsu while allowing them to confer it unto others with a simple touch. Wus eyes were clearly different, but she would be foolish to refute something she had experienced first-hand…
Accepting that her specialty would be useless against Wu, at least until she figured out how his Dojutsu functioned, Kurenai exhaled a sigh before bending the knee and responding, “Understood, Lord Hokage. This secret shall not escape my lips…”
Seeing Kurenais display, Wu would about to emulate her when Hiruzen shook his head, a faint smile adorning his wrinkled face as he said, “Thats enough for today. I intend to take Wu on a brief tour of the village, so you can return and fulfill your other duties. Good work today.”
Despite feeling she had performed terribly, Kurenai lowered her head as a sign of respect before using Shunshin, a Jutsu that permitted the user to move at blinding speeds, to make her exit. Wus yellow eyes flickered with intrigue as she departed, but he was unable to ask Hiruzen for the name of the technique before the old man squeezed his shoulder and asserted, “You have a promising future as a Shinobi…”