10: The Apprentice
"Please?" Korra whined.
"Korra, we've been over this a hundred times, and the answers remains the same," Tenzin sighed as he and the girl sat down at the table for breakfast, Tenzin reading the paper, "Pro-Bending is a mockery of the art of Bending, and I will not have it corrupt your training."
Korra sighed and plopped her head down onto the table, "Naruto would back me up."
"Naruto is, at this very moment, training," Tenzin pointed out to the courtyard where said blond sat motionless under a tree, meditating, "He doesn't seem to care about seeing a Pro-Bending Match."
Korra huffed, raising up to cross her arms, "He's never even heard of it!" She snapped, "Tenzin, since I was a little girl, it's been one of my dreams to see a Pro-Bending Match, and the arena's just a quick boat ride away, or even a bit of surfing."
Tenzin sighed, and was about to admonish her when Kurama's words rang through his mind. Let children be children. Knowing that Korra would likely lash out as Kurama had cautioned him, the man sighed. "Alright, Korra."
Korra looked up at him and beamed, "Really!?"
Tenzin nodded, smiling at her, "Yes, we'll make a day of it. Perhaps Pema and the children would enjoy it. Also, you should see if Naruto would be interested." At this, Korra huffed, and crossed her arms, "Is something wrong?"
"He's been meditating all morning," Korra sighed, "I tried to go with him, but I couldn't. Kurama said he'd have to take me with him if I wanted to see the spirit world."
Tenzin chuckled, "Well, it takes most people years of hard practice to enter the spirit world."
"Oh yeah?" Korra smiled, "And what's that say about Naruto?"
Tenzin shrugged, "Kurama said that the boy was a sage, so perhaps he's naturally in tune with the spirit world."
"And the fact that he has nine little spirit animals running around with him has nothing to do with it?" Korra giggled, recalling how much chaos had ensued with the arrival of Kurama's siblings.
Tenzin chuckled lightly, "Yes, well, there is that," he said, rising from the table, "I'll go find out when the next match is, why don't you go see if you can wake Naruto again?"
"Okay!" Korra all but flew out the window.
"Use the door!" Tenzin roared, then sighed with a slight smile on his face, "Let children be children, huh?" He shook his head slightly, "I suppose she is still just a little girl at heart."
A low chuckle startled him as Kurama appeared at the window, "All humans remain a child at heart, even at the best and worst of times, you can always find a spark of their childish wonder." The fox spirit smiled, "Though I hate to say it, Naruto won't be back for some time."
Tenzin cocked his head slightly, "Will he be alright?" He asked, watching as Korra tried to rouse him to no avail, "He's been diving into the spirit world every chance he's gotten these last few days."
Kurama dipped his head and laid himself down on the porch under the window, "He will be fine." The fox smiled, "As it happens, his family has rooted themselves in that realm of wonders, as well as my father, and siblings, who are teaching him the Bending arts of this world." The fox said, looking at Tenzin, "An Avatar he will never be in name, but he shall be a fine teacher to Korra when he himself has mastered the arts."
Tenzin nodded, "I still find it strange that he has the ability to control all four elements."
"To those known as Shinobi, it's not so strange, though it does take time," Kurama said, as Korra kept trying to get Naruto to wake up, even going as far as to throw water on him. "The greatest of his people, the man that practically raised him, was a master of the five base elements of nature."
"Five?" Tenzin questioned.
"Lightning is counted separate from fire," Kurama said, "Fire, Lightning, Water, Earth, and Wind are the battle elements of our world, some more suited for defense than offense. Naruto was naturally in tune with Wind, as I said, a perfect battle element for its ripping and shredding powers."
Tenzin shuddered hearing of what wind was capable of. True, a hurricane's wind could indeed flatten an island, even tearing trees asunder, but to think of such a force used against fellow humans...
"I can't budge him," Korra sighed as she came back to the house, her arms crossed in frustration, "Man, I wish I could go with him!"
Kurama chuckled at the young woman, "Feeling lonely without your dear one?"
Korra's face darkened with a blush, "Oh, shut up, Kurama! It's nothing like that!"
"Says the girl that shared a bed with him," Tenzin chuckled, unable to resist his own jibe.
Korra huffed, "It isn't like we did anything," she said, pouting slightly, much to Kurama's amusement.
If the monk still had hair, it would have stood straight up at his wife's shout, instead the man whirled around and barreled down the hall, "I'm coming, Pema!"
Korra and Kurama followed after him, both worried over the woman. What they found, however...
"What in the world?" Tenzin said as he found his wife in Naruto's room, filled with scrolls, which were consequently popping right out of another scroll held by the woman. "Pema, where did all of this come from?"
Pema looked at a loss as she held the offending scroll up, "I thought I'd do a bit of tidying up, and found this laying open," she said, moaning when another scroll popped out, "But when I tried to roll it up, some of the writing started glowing, and all of these started popping out, one after the other - Oh, no!" A larger scroll popped out, thudding to the floor, and rolling toward the blond's bed. "What am I gonna do about this!?"
Kurama stuck his head in the room around Tenzin and laughed, "Well, looks like the brat's going to have some work to do," he said, using one of his tails to pick of a scroll, "Hm, I know this one. It's a Lightning training scroll. All you'll need to know about using Lightning based chakra is held in this."
Tenzin bent to pick one up for himself, "So these scrolls contain knowledge from your world, Master Kurama?" He said, unrolling the one he held, "Huh, I can't make any of this out. The language is strange to me."
Kurama shrugged, "Different world, different writing system," he reasoned, "Probably a good thing, too. Wouldn't want any of this falling into the wrong hands."
Pema frowned as more and more scrolls piled up, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but could you please do something about this!?" She scowled. Kurama then took the scroll she held and passed a small amount of chakra through it, cutting off the flow of scrolls. "Thank you."
Kurama shrugged, "Sorry about the mess," he said, "If I'd known you were going to clean, I would've warned you about that scroll." He said, looking over the mayhem in the room, "Well, this will at least give me something to do while you lot are out. I've always wanted to look through a few of these particular techniques."
Korra frowned at the fox, "Aren't you coming with us?" She asked, feeling bad enough that they would most likely have to leave Naruto behind, seeing as he was lost in the Spirit World, but leaving Kurama behind felt just as bad.
Kurama chuckled, "That's very kind of you, little one, but let's face it," he said, looking up at her, "I'm a talking animal, neither I nor my sister would be a welcome sight at a public event such as this." He unfurled a scroll, and began reading it, "Besides, I wanted to look through some of this and see if anything is safe enough to teach to you." He said, and Korra smiled at him, "I know for a fact that the Nara clan's Shadow techniques would benefit both you and Naruto greatly."
Pema looked at the fox and the girl for a moment before turning to her husband, "Were you going somewhere, Tenzin?" She asked whilst stroking her stomach.
Tenzin nodded, "Actually, I was hoping we could have a little night out," he said, smiling, "Korra been pestering me about seeing a Pro-Bending match for quite some time, and I thought it would be nice to take the whole family out." He smiled as his wife beamed at him happily.
"Oh, Tenzin, that's a great idea," she said, smiling brightly, "Ikki and Meelo will love that, oh, but..." she trailed off, thinking of her oldest, "Jinora's not quite happy with them at the moment..." She admitted, making Tenzin frown.
He sighed, "Were they fighting again?" He asked, looking at the window in the room with a sigh, "I don't understand why they annoy her so? My siblings and I always got along fine."
Kurama sputtered, "Tenzin, no siblings ever get along entirely," he said, speaking from experience, "Hell, even the most patient of children will fight with their siblings at the oddest of times, and from what I've seen, Jinora is quite the opposite of both Ikki and Meelo."
Tenzin couldn't argue with that. He knew Jinora to be the quietest of his three, soon to be four, children. Ikki and Meelo...less so.
"If she doesn't wish to attend the match then -" Tenzin began, but Kurama placed a paw on his sleeve.
"I'll ask her if she'd like to help me organize these scrolls," he smiled, "Spirits know I could use an extra pair of paws."
Tenzin nodded, "I appreciate that, Kurama, thank you."
"Earth is easy enough to understand," Goku said as he watched Naruto taking a strong stance, "Earthbending revolves around being neutral, and waiting, and listening for the opportune moment. Be strong, and endure, and keep your movements diverse." He said, demonstrating by stomping thr ground, and raising a small pillar of stone, "Diversity is the most important key, because the Earth itself if diverse. The dirt has so much more than soil in it. It has grains of sand, which in turn can be turned into glass, and rock, which in turn can turned into lava, and then their is also small grains of metal within the soil."
Naruto nodded in understanding. "So I have to be strong to bend the earth?"
"Strong, diverse, and enduring," Goku reminded him as he hopped up on the pillar he had raised, "Earth comes in many forms, Naruto, meaning it is diverse, and you yourself must be as such, but you must also endure. Earth is not an easily manipulated element." He said, and sat before his pupil, "To fight as an Earthbender, you must first learn to see without sight." He said, making Naruto cock his head in confusion, "To master this, you must blind yourself to everything around you. Sharpen your senses to their maximum level to the point that you can see your opponent through the vibrations in the ground felt through soles of your feet. Thus, you must also be barefooted. Understand?"
Naruto nodded, "I think so." He said, frowning in thought, "But shouldn't I be more focused on Airbending? I mean, it is my natural element, isn't it?"
Goku nodded with a toothy grin, "Which is why we are going through Earthbending first. It's your natural opposite, meaning it'll be the most difficult. Everything else after this should come easily." He said as Naruto took off his shoes, and placed a band around his eyes.
Naruto dug his toes into the soil, feeling the grains sliding between them. Goku watched for a moment before hopping off the pillar, and thudding to the ground, and Naruto twitched. It wasn't clear, but he felt a vibration in the ground where Goku had landed. Those vibrations traveled to the soles of his feet and up his body, giving him a blurred image of the Four-tails.
Son Goku noticed this and smiled, "Very good," he muttered quietly as Naruto turned his head in the direction of his voice, "Your natural sensory abilities have played a part in gaining a Seismic Sense, even though it's not perfect, you are able to see without actually seeing."
Naruto nodded, "It's almost like a black void with a ripple running back and forth," he said, "sort of like the surface of the water."
"Good analogy," Goku nodded, "Sound creates wave-like patterns through both the air and the ground, even through water," he said, thumping the ground with his tails, "As a Shinobi, your senses have already been honed to their max, in a sense, but being able to see through vibrations usually takes decades to master, if you weren't born without sight to begin with. To do that, you need to rely on your sense of touch the most."
Naruto nodded once again as the vibrations from Goku's tails rippled through him, "I think I get it, but when do you think I'll be able to Earthbend?"
Goku hopped over and bopped him in the chest lightly, "There, that should do it." He said, confusing the young man while he rubbed his chest, "Ah, coming here via meditation cuts your physical and spiritual energies away from each other, meaning coming here like that makes you unable to bend. I just gave you a bit of a boost so you'll be able to grasp it better, and bend a little from here."
"Okay, so now what?" He asked.
"Earthbending is a geokinetic form of martial art here," the Lava Monkey said, "Though they do it unconsciously, most Earthbenders use a Seismic Sense to control their arts. Expand your Chi into the ground, and feel the Earth, and become one with it. As with all bending, Earthbending is to make the very Earth itsle a part of you. Now, as if it were your own limb, make it move; Bend it to your will!"
Naruto took a deep breath, and took a Praying Mantis stance, tapping the ground lightly with his right foot. He sensed Goku off to his right. The pillar was directly in front of him.
His left foot came up and stomped the ground in front of him, and out shot a boulder that hovered directly in front of him for a moment as he sent a palm heel strike at it. His hand never touched the boulder, but the piece of stone flew away from him, and slammed right into the pillar, breaking his boulder into pieces, although there was a distinct dent in the pillar.
Goku hooted, "Well done, Naruto, well done indeed!" He laughed, clapping his hands together, "Though you technique needs work. That didn't have much omph to it."
Naruto nodded, "I could tell," he sighed, "I guess it's a little weaker here than in my actual body, huh?"
"Not hardly," Goku nodded, "Once you've gotten a handle on Earthbending, you'll be able to properly bend metal. No metal, save for platinum, is entirely pure. Even gold has a little dirt in it. Metalbending is more or less making those imperfections in the metal spread, and use them to make the metal react to your own will. Iron's the easiest to bend."
"What about Lava?"
"Well, like Waterbenders, Earthbenders are capable of melting and hardening the Earth." Goku explained, "All you have to do is bring the Earth into its liquid state, but that's even harder than Metalbending, because Earth is harder to melt than Water. You're also adding an element of Fire into it. Ice is able to be melted with normal body heat, Earth on the other hand, takes much, much more."
Naruto seemed to understand, but adding to the fact that he had to use fire to melt rock...
"So I just have to think of the Earth like an extra cold piece of ice?" Naruto theorized, making the Monkey falter.
Goku sat up from the ground, roaring, "It's not that easy!"
A giggle broke the pair from their training as Kushina came up on them, "You two sure seem to be having fun, ya know?" She said as Naruto smiled and took the blindfold off. He went to hug his mother, "Naruto, I know you want to master these new bending arts, but you've been here all day. It's nearly dusk in the mortal realm."
Naruto frowned, "Really?" He groaned, scratching the back of his head, "Wow, no wonder I started to feel hungry."
Kushina giggled and gave him a tap on his chest, "Best for you to get going, Dear, besides the next time you come here, I expect you to bring that young woman with you, ya know." She said, making the boy frown, "What was her name again? Ah, right, her name's Korra!"
Naruto grinned, and nodded, "Right, Mom, I'll bring her along next time."
Kushina smiled, "Don't feel like you have to hurry back, though," she said, making him frown again, "Sweetheart, I know you want to spend more time here with us, but coming to the Spirit World so much can be unhealthy. Besides, Korra is an Avatar, so she can help you master your powers."
Naruto nodded in understanding,"I guess that's true," he said, sighing, "I just wanted to spend more time with the parents I barely got to know."
Kushina giggled and hugged her son, "I know, and you will, trust me," she said, "Minato is glad to finally spend time with all of us together. But as I said, it's incredibly unhealthy to spend so much time here. Your real body may start to fade away if you stay for too long, or even come too often. We'll be here whenever you want to see us, we're not going anywhere, ya know."
Naruto smiled, "So...I guess I'll see you again?"
"Of course, you silly boy," Kushina smiled as Naruto began to disappear, "And don't you dare forget to bring Korra with you next time."
Kurama sighed as he placed the last scroll on the shelf, smiling, "Well, that'll about do it," he said, dusting off his paws, "Thank you for the help, Jinora. It was much appreciated." He said to the girl standing next to him.
Jinora sighed tiredly as she wiped a bit of dust from her brow, "It was fun," she admitted, "Thanks for helping me get out of that Pro-bending match. I wasn't looking forward to that very much after that fight with Ikki."
Kurama looked at the girl and sighed, "What happened, anyway?" He asked, "I didn't even know you two had fought until Tenzin and Pema mentioned you'd had a row."
Jinora sighed, and sat down at the table in the room, "I was meditating, or I was trying to, anway, but Ikki and Meelo wouldn't leave me alone." She said, frowning, "Seeing Mister Naruto going to the Spirit World so easily made me want to try harder than I usually do to get there."
Kurama huffed, "Jinora, I will tell you this much," the old Fox Spirit said, "While siblings may be troublesome, they can often be a blessing in disguise." He said, looking over the scrolls they had placed on the shelves, "You see, for the longest time, I shunned my siblings, proclaiming myself to be superior to them. By the number of tails I had, I proclaimed myself to be the strongest of them all. Therefore, I pushed them away, remaining strong on my own. I grew bitter, and angry at the world, and at them as each one of them was sealed away. And then it happened to myself. Ever since then, I regretted shunning them. Had we all banded together, we may have remained free. Alas, they followed me into isolation, and were all hunted down."
"Did you ever make up with them?" Jinora asked.
Kurama nodded, "I did, but it took the spirit of my father, and the words of an idiot to make me see things as they should have been," he said, smiling at the girl, "So don't try to push your brother and sister away, but listen to what they have to say. You are the eldest, and often when the younger siblings pester their elders, they simply want their attention for all but a moment."
"I know, but they can be so - "
Kurama chuckled, "I have eight siblings," he said, "I know exactly what they can be like." He said, gaining a smile from the girl as she looked over one of the scrolls still sitting on the table, "Hehe, Naruto will be busy trying to go through all of these scrolls." He chuckled, "Korra will be pestering him for days trying to convince him to teach one to her."
Jinora looked at the scroll, seeing the strange symbols and hand seals, imitating one of them, "Do...do you think I could learn, too?"
"I'd be happy to teach you," Naruto himself said as he entered the room, smiling tiredly, "You two have been busy, huh?"
Kurama nodded, "Pema activated the seal on Father's scroll by accident," he explained, "We've been sorting them out all day."
"Where are Korra and the others?" The blond asked.
"They went to a Pro-bending match," Jinora said, "They tried to wake you, but you were deep in meditation."
Naruto chuckled, his hands on his hips, "Yeah, I was learning how to Earthbend from Goku," he said, smiling with his thumb jerking at himself, "pretty awsome, huh?"
Kurama huffed, "Don't let it go to your head, Kit," he said, crossing his arms, "You're only able to do all of this because each of us has elemental affinities to the four basic elements."
Naruto pouted, "Hey, no need to be so mean, ya know?"
Jinora giggled at their banter, "Do you really mean you'd teach me?"
The blond nodded, and grinned, "I'll teach you, right alongside Korra." Naruto said, smiling down at the girl, and patted her on the head, "In no time at all, you'll be a Shinobi."
Been way too long since I updated this story. No excuses, just lack of inspiration, but you guys just kept reading and loving it, so I had to push forward. More is on the way!
Don't forget to review...just don't blast me for take so long :p