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"Sakura-chan!" - Regular Speech

'Baka!' - Thoughts

:Shannaro!: - Inner Sakura

[Quest Announcement] - Gamer Ability/Notification

Beta'd by BigCC

Chapter 25: Joint Training Session

The Next Day

Training Ground 78

Tenzō, former Ne Agent and currently a member of ANBU, flexed his fingers nervously as he looked around the training ground. TG 78 was spartan, almost barren, in appearance, with only the occasional rock outcropping to break up the monotonous plains of grass and dirt.

The wide, open space was perfect for testing out volatile jutsu, particularly with the myriad of kekkai ninjutsu set up around the Training Ground's outer perimeter preventing anyone from seeing, hearing, sensing, or even feeling anything that happened within its boundaries

So far, he'd only had time for a quick, frantic look through the Shodaime's Journal, but that little bit of skimming had already answered so many of the things that the scroll Shimura Danzō had provided had glossed over, inferred, or simply left blank about his implanted Kekkai Genkai. And to think, it was only one of five such journals…

He truly owed the operative who'd located this precious treasure an immense debt all on his own. He once again reaffirmed his vow to discover their identity and personally acknowledge and repay the debt however he could.

For now though…

"Mokuton: Roppongi Daichūrō no Jutsu! (Wood Style: Six Trees Great Pillar Prison Jutsu!)" he declared after using the Ram, Rooster and Snake handsigns.

Instantly the ground in front of his feet split open, six large, barren trees shooting upward out of the ground in a circle. Roots and branches stretched outward to merge with their neighbours in a thick latticework as the tops merged in the middle. In just a few moments, a massive wooden cage sat in the middle of the field, thick walls strong and intricate enough to block any attempt at escape that couldn't shatter them outright.

'Just two days ago and this would have left me half-ready to collapse.' Tenzō thought, shaking his head slightly in disbelief. Due to the artificial nature of Mokuton implanted within him, he lacked the large chakra coils and dense chakra of a naturally born Senju, which was a major disadvantage considering how chakra-intensive the more powerful Mokuton techniques could be. Even with all his training and efforts, the more powerful of the Shodaime's jutsu were still utterly beyond him.

Oh, he could put up a house or too easily enough, or form a regular-sized cage, and just growing trees had always been fairly simple, but something as intricate and wide-scale as the Roppongi Daichūrō would have left him collapsing to his knees as if he'd just survived a free-for-all with several of fellow ANBU agents all at once.

Now, he was barely breathing hard!

He'd been trying to develop a more chakra-efficient mass capture technique using the Mokuton technique for years! And now, one of the jutsu he'd previously discarded as too chakra-invasive was working perfectly. All from a quick, frantic once over of the first journal.

"Looks like it's time I hit the books." Tenzō chuckled, heading toward the small section of the Training Ground where he'd set up his camp.

The Next Day

Training Field 7

[You have entered Training Field 7: Field of the Memorial Stone!]

All gains to jutsu EXP are increased by 2%!

All gains to regular EXP are increased by 2%!

All gains to skill EXP are increased by 2%!

'Whoever's got first dibs on this place is a damn lucky sonofabitch.' That was Naruto's first thought as he walked into the training field. So far, the regular training fields he'd encountered barely gave a half-percent increase to EXP gains, or maybe a one or two percent increase on a certain type of jutsu or training. And the Training Grounds filled with Chakra Mutations didn't give any sort of bonus to EXP gains.

What the heck made this one so much better!?

"Hey Naruto!" Tenten called out, moving forward to clap him on the shoulder when she noticed him approaching, a ready grin on her lips. "Ready to show everyone what we've got?"

"Heck yeah!" the blonde Gamer relied instantly, matching his female friend's grin. "What about you, Ten-chan?"

"I've been practising with all the jutsu Asuma-sensei taught me!" she informed him proudly. "Bet you my Kakyū can beat any jutsu of yours!"

"Oh, you're so on!" Naruto smirked back.

Their exchange had the rest of the Rookie Nine blinking and looking between the two in astonishment. It had been obvious when they'd been moving in that Naruto and the older girl knew each other from somewhere, but the fact that he seemed so…relaxed around her, more so than he did with any girl in their class, took them off guard.

For his part, Neji was simply frowning slightly at his kunoichi teammate, surprised at how friendly she was with the troublemaker who'd somehow managed to con his way into the position as their landlord. He'd heard about their encounter with the Nuke-nin, of course, and knew that they were at least friendly with each other afterward, he simply hadn't been expected her to greet him so energetically. Then again, it was an acknowledged fact that shared traumatic experiences generally led to people growing close far quicker than normal, so it wasn't that surprising.

It didn't make the annoyance he felt at seeing her interact so easily with the riff-raff any less prominent.

However, before he could voice this annoyance, several puffs of smoke heralded the arrival of the various Jonin-sensei. Asuma offered a lazy wave to his team and Kurenai offered Hinata a gentle smile. The silver-haired Kakashi studiously ignored everyone around him, particularly the exuberant green-clad figure next to him as Maito Gai offered the entire troupe of genin a Nice Gai Smile™ and thumbs up.

"Alright, gather round genin." Asuma called out, absently giving his cigarette one last puff before taking it out and incinerating in a small flare of Katon chakra; no need to get his kinda-sorta-girlfriend up on his back for smoking in front of the kids. He gave the twelve genin a quick once over as they assembled around the four adults before offering the entire group a genial smile. "Now, let's start this little shindig with a quick round of introductions. We jonin will start you off. I'm Sarutobi Asuma, you lot may have already seen me around since I live in the Amegakure Apartments as well. I'm Team 10's jonin-sensei, and I specialize in Bukijutsu and ninjutsu, particularly Katon and Fūton techniques."

Kurenai was next, stepping forward as he stepped back to give her centre stage, offering the gathered genin a beatific smile. "I am Yūhi Kurenai and I'm the jonin-sensei for Team 8, my speciality is genjutsu, though I am also quite capable in taijutsu as well."

"Yo, the name's Hatake Kakashi." the cyclopean jonin offered next, not even bothering to step forward as he offered the group a half-hearted wave. "I suppose I'm the jonin-sensei for Team 7, for my sins. As for my speciality…don't really have one, sorry. Maybe assassination, I suppose."

"Kakashi you shouldn't be so unyouthful around your precious students!" Gai admonished him loudly. "Also, you know over a thousand ninjutsu, is that not enough to make you a ninjutsu specialist!?"

"Hmm? Sorry Gai, did you say something?" Kakashi deadpanned innocently, not even bothering to look at the other jonin.

The bowl-cut man faceplanted for a brief instant before regaining his feet in an instant; his face overflowing with literal waterfalls of dramatic tears.

"Curse you and your overly hip and too cool ways, Kakashi!" Gai declared loudly, before twisting around and facing the genin again, his Nice Gai Smile back in full force. "Hiya! The name's Maito Gai, Konoha's Sublime Beast of Prey! I lead the former Team 9, rechristened as Team Gai after a full year of service. I specialize in the most Youthful arts of taijutsu and Bukijutsu.

Ino and Sakura STARED at the bushy-eyed man, both eyes twitching in abstract, fashion-based horror. Sasuke also looked particularly disturbed and his fingers were twitching as if he was keeping himself from forming handsigns. Kiba merely stared in fascinated horror while Shino's hive began to audibly buzz from within him. Shikamaru looked like he was one more word away from throwing up his arms and heading back to the apartments to try and sleep this off. Chōji simply continued to munch his snacks stoically.

Naruto stared uncomprehendingly for a moment before leaning closer to Tenten. "Is he always like this?" he whispered nervously.

"All. The. Fucking. Time." the aspiring weapon mistress bit out in a deadpan, her eyes blank and dead. "Welcome to my world for the last year."

Clearing his throat to break through the awkward silence that followed Gai's…enthusiastic…introduction, Asuma started up again. "Now, I know most of you already know each from either the Academy, your Clans, or your own misadventures." he shot Naruto and Tenten a grin at that, causing both genin to blush slightly. "So, we'll keep this simple to break the ice. Just introduce yourself and show off whatever jutsu you're best at or most proud of. We'll go by team number and work our way up, so Kakashi's kids, you're up first.

Scowling slightly at what he thought was a waste of time, Sasuke slouched forward and decided to get it over with as quickly as possible. Turning to face a barren patch of the Training Grounds, he began forming handsigns. "I'm Uchiha Sasuke, and my favourite jutsu is this."

Finishing the quick string of six seals, Sasuke brought one hand up to his mouth. "Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu! (Fire Style: Great Fireball Jutsu!)"

With a powerful exhalation, the last Uchiha spat out a large fireball that slammed into the ground several dozen feet away, creating a large, smouldering crater in the earth.

"Huh, not bad for a fresh genin." Asuma noted absently, tossing Kakashi a curious look. "So, that means he's considered an adult by the Uchiha's standards, bet that caught you off guard."

"Somewhat." responded the silver-haired jonin with a slight shrug. "He was already wearing the clan symbol on his back, so I was half-expecting it. Honestly wasn't sure if he knew about that tradition or not, considering how young he was when it happened."

The introduction continued quickly after that, most of the gathered genin eager to show off their hard-earned skills and jutsu.

Kiba quickly showed off the Shikyaku no Jutsu (Four Legs Jutsu) that was the basis of his clan's fighting style, while Shino calmly and meticulously displayed his Hijutsu: Muchiyose (Secret Jutsu: Insect Calling) which attracted nearby insects to him.

Hinata was next, shyly going through a quick, basic kata of the Jūken (Gentle Fist) style. Shikamaru, after being threatened by an impatient Ino, laconically showed off his clan's Ninpō: Kagemane no Jutsu (Ninja Art: Shadow Imitation Jutsu), using a willing Chōji as demonstration dummy. Chōji, for his part, happily showed off his Baika no Jutsu (Expansion Technique).

Tenten started things off for the former Team Nine, sending ten shuriken and kunai into the bark of a distant tree in less than ten seconds, leaving a perfect Konoha symbol embedded into the bark. Lee then happily proceeded to show off a Konoha Senpū (Leaf Whirlwind) to kick the head off a training dummy Gai had happily provided. Neji finished their team's demonstration using a technique called Hakke Kūshō (Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm) to blast the rest of the dummy into splinters from several feet away.

Then it was Team 10's turn, with Sakura starting things off by demonstrating her Suiton: Suijōki Bunshin no Jutsu using the nearby river. Ino, not to be shown up, demonstrated her Ninpō: Shintenshin no Jutsu (Ninja Art: Mind Transfer Jutsu) to take control of a nearby bird and have it peck at Naruto's head.

"Real funny, Ino." Naruto growled out as he rubbed at his forehead above his hitai-ate where the sparrow had got him.

"I thought so." the Mindwalker smirked back. "What's the matter, 'Prankster King', can't take any of your own medicine?"

Naruto grumbled a bit under his breath at that. Asuma just chuckled a bit from his spot and then waved Naruto forward. "Your turn Naruto, now show me something new."

"Gotcha. The name's Uzumaki Naruto!" the blonde proclaimed proudly. "And I've got a technique that I just came up with on my own a few days ago. Check it out!"

Reaching for his waist, he drew Sumire with his right hand before pausing and looking at Gai. "Er, Gai-sensei? You wouldn't have another of those training dummies I could use, would you? This one's a lot more impressive if I have something to use it on."

"Of course, young Naruto! Just one second!" the spandex-clad jonin agreed happily. In a blur of green, a fresh target dummy was suddenly planted in the ground.

"Thanks, Gai-sensei! You rock!" Naruto returned the man's grin. "You guys might want to step back though, this jutsu's a bit wild."

Taking him at his word, the jonin ushered their respective genin back a few paces as a bright blue glow appeared around Sumire's blade.

"Huh? The Fūton Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu?" Kakashi muttered with a raised eyebrow. "Fairly impressive, but not what I was expecting after the build-up."

"Nah, I taught him that one months ago." Asuma shook his head, even as the sound of shrieking winds started to emanate from Naruto's blade. "I think the kid's managed to develop something new for himself using it as a base. Should be interesting…"

Suddenly the blue light expanded outward, expanding into a blade-shaped mass of chakra taller than even Asuma or Gai, the sound of shrieking winds intensifying as even more air was being cut by the blade of wind chakra.

Drawing his arm back, Naruto's focused scowl was locked onto his target before he brought his weapon around with a shout. "[Fūton Chakra Nagashi: Dantō]!"

With an explosive burst of wind, the blade swept straight through the dummy. For a moment, it looked like it hadn't been harmed by the technique. Then Naruto nonchalantly sheathed his tantō, the slight click of it hitting home in the saya coinciding with the dummy splitting straight along the path of Naruto's cut, the top half tottering backward before hitting the ground with a dull thud.

"…holy crap…!" Kiba gulped out.

"Huh, neat." Asuma muttered slowly. "That kinda looked like what I do with my Trench Knives when I'm using my Hien (Flying Swallow) jutsu, only bigger…much bigger. Well, that kind of chakra flow isn't exactly uncommon; there's several other chakra flow techniques that produce similar effects, not to mention the samurai's Samurai Sāberu (Samurai Sabre) technique. Still, first time I've seen something that damn huge though…chakra cost must be a pain and a half though."

"True, but with Naruto's reserves it shouldn't be much of a problem for him." Kakashi pointed out softly.

Asuma couldn't argue that. Kid was a frickin' chakra dynamo. Shaking his head, he returned his focus to the genin. "Alright, that was a fairly impressive display from all of you." the bearded jonin called out as he retook centre stage. "Now, to be fair, we jonin will show you kids one of our favourite techniques. Naruto, you mind giving me some Kage Bunshin to work with?"

"You got it, sensei! [Kage Bunshin no Jutsu]!" Naruto grinned, making the Clone handsign. In puffs of chakra smoke, twenty or so copies of himself appeared.

Blinking in surprise, Neji activated his Byakugan only to instantly freeze up at what he saw. "Those clones each have their own chakra network, they're actually Shadow Clones!" he muttered out in shock.

Perhaps…he'd underestimated his teammate's new acquaintance a tad.

"Sheesh, I can't believe that idiot can just throw those things around like that." Sakura groaned, rubbing her head. "Just the thought of how much chakra that has to cost is making my head ache."

Asuma simply grinned as he moved a bit away from where his fellows and the genin had gathered. "Alright kid, send them at me!"

"You heard him boys! Charge!" the blonde Uzumaki roared out.

Hooping and hollering their own battle-cries the twenty-odd clones charged forward, many drawing out their copies of Tsubaki and Sumire as they did.

Asuma merely smirked. With a smooth, well-practised motion, he shifted his left hand to form a half-Ram handsign in front of his chest, his right moving down with his palm parallel to the ground.

An intense gold light suddenly bloomed into life behind his back, forming a large, golden statue in the form of the Thousand-Armed Kannon, a multitude of arms fanning out behind its form.

"What the…?" Both Neji and Hinata instinctively activated their Byakugan, allowing them to see the golden chakra that Asuma was using. It was…strange. It looked human, but it seemed to have been altered somehow, unlike anything the two genin had seen before.

Every one of the attacking Shadow Clones were suddenly blocked by nigh-invisible arms stretching out from behind the Kannon, even those few that had activated their own [Fūton Chakra Nagashi]. Hopping back, the clones exchanged looks splitting into two mostly even groups that split off and tried to encircle the jonin from both sides.

"[Fūton: Yakaze]!" one group shouted after making the Bird Handsign. A positive flurry of wind bolts shot at Asuma, at least ten from each clone in the group.

"[Suiton: Yūdachi]!" the second group shouted, having made the Snake, Ram, Rat and Horse Handsigns. In this case, it was dozens upon dozens of water darts that appeared and fired at Asuma.

"That's enough of that, playtime's over." the bearded Jonin smirked before his face became serious and he focused on his jutsu. "Raigō: Senjusatsu! (Welcoming Approach: Thousand-Armed Murder!)"

In an instant, the Kannon turned red and became angry, changing from a gentle, Buddhistic figure into that of a raging demon, before dozens of fists lashed out, destroying both the incoming attacks and the Shadows Clones which had created them in an instant.

"Wow..." Naruto gulped. He noted a window popping up and looked at it out of the corner of his eye.

[Kage Bunshin no Jutsu] has levelled up! LV10-LV11!

[Fūton: Yakaze] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

[Suiton: Yūdachi] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

At least he got something from that. Still scary watching yourself get one-shotted.

"That was a technique I learned from a dear friend of mine, a fellow member of the Guardian Shinobi Twelve." Asuma informed the awestruck genin. "Afraid its not one I'm capable of teaching, though, for two big reasons. First, I'd need permission from the Fire Temple to pass on the technique. Second, it requires special training to create the Senzoku no Sai (Gift of the Sages) Chakra that it uses, and you need training as a Ninsō (Ninja Monk) to unlock that. My friend taught me the basics, but I'm nowhere near qualified to even teach those to anyone."

After Asuma's rather dramatic performance, the other displays went by fairly quickly.

Gai stepped forward next, demonstrating a quick powerful combination of his Gōken (Strong Fist) fighting style, and finishing with an advanced form of the Konoha Senpū Lee had demonstrated, the Konoha Gōriki Senpū (Leaf Strong Whirlwind). A spinning backwards kick so powerful that it completely cleaved through the trunk of the thick, healthy tree he'd used as practice dummy, sending the top portion clattering backwards into the woods and bringing down several more trees in its path.

Kakashi had facepalmed at the rampant destruction of his Training Ground. "You're replanting those, Gai." he'd muttered in annoyance.

Kurenai had stepped forward next and, like Asuma had requested a few clones of her own. Sadly, the six Naruto had provided for her didn't even get a chance to fight back as Kurenai demonstrated a technique combination she called Anshōsui (Apricot Blossom Droop). A swift elbow drop had destroyed the first clone, followed by a pair of swift kicks dispatching the next two, before she seeming breathed out a cloud of cherry blossoms that engulfed the remaining three before exploding.

Apparently, the blossoms were actually miniature explosive tags covered with a small genjutsu to make them look like simple flower petals.

Sakura had been very much intrigued by that part.

Kakashi had stepped forward last, demonstrating a single jutsu that was, ironically enough, Naruto's worst element, lightning. Still, seeing the Raiton: Raijū Tsuiga (Lightning Style: Lightning Beast Tracking Fang) had really made him want to work with his weakest element until he could at least pull off that jutsu. Creating a literal lightning dog to attack your enemies that the user can literally control and direct using a leash of lightning connected to their hand.

So cool!

"Hey, Kakashi-sensei, are there any other elemental versions of that jutsu?" the blonde hadn't been able to keep himself from asking.

"Hm?" Kakashi had actually seemed to pause and consider it for a moment. "Well, the closest I can think of is the Kuchiyose: Doton: Tsuiga no Jutsu (Summoning: Earth Style: Tracking Fang Jutsu), but it that can only be used by someone who's signed a contract with a canine Summoning Contract. There's also a Suiton technique called Suiton: Suijū (Water Style: Water Beast), but that one's a fair bit more advanced and a B-rank technique."

"Aww…" the boy seemed to slump in disappointment. "And lightning's my worst element too…"

Asuma chuckled at his genin's overreaction, before clapping his hands together to get everyone's attention. "Anyway, now that the ice is well and truly broken, let's get to the meat of the day, getting you kids some practical training. Sakura, Ino and Shikamaru, you three will be starting out with Gai and Kakashi for taijutsu and ninjutsu training. Kakashi in particular will be helping you each learn at least one offensive ninjutsu. Shino, Kiba, Sasuke and Chōji, you four will be working with Kurenai on learning at least a couple basic genjutsu. Lee, Tenten, Neji, Hinata and Naruto, you'll all be working with me first. We'll switch out in a couple of hours to get you all a bit of training everywhere you need it."

"Yosh! And what Youthful activity will we be working at Asuma-sensei!?" Lee called out excitedly.

'Damnit, the kid really IS a Gai-clone.' Asuma thought with a sweatdrop. 'Mind, body, and personality included. Kami save us all.'

"Mix of weapons practice and training in how to fight against weapon-wielders." he replied simply.

"Hey, why isn't Naruto in the genjutsu group?" Kiba called out. "It was his worst subject in the Academy."

"Simply put, there's not a lot Genjutsu training can do for him. Naruto's problem is basically that his chakra reserves are frankly ridiculous for someone his age, which in turn severely inhibits his natural chakra control." Asuma explained, going with the cover story he and his father had agreed on. "That's why he can't use either genjutsu, which requires fine chakra control to be effective, or the regular Bunshin, which requires so little chakra that he can't manipulate it without far better control than normal. The only way for him to overcome this issue is to have him train extensively in various chakra control exercises to help refine his control and eventually build up his ability to manipulate his chakra."

"Hey! I'm standing right here." Naruto protested with a pout.

"It's not your fault kid." Asuma assuaged his genin's bruised pride. He knew the lie might be a bit degrading for the kid, but it was better than announcing his unique status for one and all to hear. "Your sensei back in the Academy should have noted it ages ago and had you working on your control from the very start. The fact that it took until Iruka fully took over your classes for the problem to be noticed is another black mark against them in my opinion."

Naruto grumbled a bit more, but didn't argue as their group moved a bit away to start their training.

"Alright then," Asuma started once their groups were separated. "Naruto, I remember my old man mentioning that Iruka would be picking you up after this training session to hit the library in order to grab a tantō and kodachi style for you to work with. So, actual training with them might not be all that useful for now. Once the lecture's over you're free to practice your jutsu if you want."

"Actually sensei, I've got a new weapon I was hoping to test out, not to mention I was sure Ten-chan would want to get a look at it." Naruto offered cheekily before he drew out and extended his new collapsible spear.

Tenten naturally went gaga the moment she saw it, eagerly grabbing the new pointy-stabby out of Naruto's hand and examining it in minute detail, looking for the maker's mark.

"Huh, I don't recognize this symbol." she muttered curiously as she examined the spear's butt, where the mark was located. She knew most of the maker's marks for the smiths operating in and around Konoha.

"Let me have a look." Asuma requested, taking the spear and examining the mark before he grinned. "Oh, that's old Iō's mark. Not surprised you haven't seen it before, he doesn't deal much with the weapon dealers. The man used to be a bit of a legend in the village's R&D department, came up with some seriously scary shit during the Second and Third Wars. He's retired now, but still runs a smithy outside the village limits, mostly to keep the property damage he causes to a minimum. Crazy old man like to work on any project catches his attention and most tend to be pretty…over-the-top."

"Over-the-top?" Tenten asked curiously.

"The old timer loves his weapons; problem is that he tends to make them just for the sake of seeing if it's possible rather than any actual combat applications these days." the jonin explained with an amused smirk. "A couple of his latest projects include a Dai Shuriken propelled via explosives and a kunai the size of a zanbatō."

"…the heck?" Naruto offered, sweatdropping, his thoughts being echoed by every other genin in earshot.

Asuma just chuckled, an amused grin on his face. "Old Iō did his part for Konoha, now he's just spending his twilight years doing what he loves, tinkering with weapons. And some of the stuff he puts out can still be pretty impressive, so the village keeps him funded." Partly true, but the semi-senile old smith had truly done a great deal for the good of Konoha over his life, and the village always repaid the loyalty of its shinobi in kind.

"Anyway, we should get started. Hinata, Naruto you're both up first, you two have probably got the least amount of experience fighting against weapons out of everyone here, so Tenten and I are going to go over some of the more common weapons you're likely to encounter in the field. After that, Lee and Neji will offer up some advice based on their own experiences fighting weapon users in the field."

"This will be pointless." Neji cut in sharply, shaking his head. "Hinata-'sama' is fated to stay the same, no amount of training will change that."

Hinata seemingly wilted in on herself at the scornful glare from her cousin. Asuma on the other hand, simply looked pissed. "Are you refusing a direct order from a jonin, GENIN Hyūga?"

"I am merely stating that this type of training will offer her no benefit." the Hyūga prodigy retorted shortly. "What is wrong with simply pointing out a fact?"

"Man, you're a dick." Naruto offered up, smiling innocently even as Neji's pale grey locked onto him in a glare. "That's also a fact. So, going by your own logic, you shouldn't mind me pointing it out in the least."

"Enough," Asuma grunted out icily, looking sharply between the two teens. "Genin Hyūga, consider yourself formally reprimanded for conduct unbecoming a member of the Konohagakure Shinobi Forces. Your jonin-sensei and I will be having words when this session is over, so you can expect at least a deduction in your pay for the next few months. Naruto, stop taunting someone who's got a year of experience on you and is an accredited genius in the village's deadliest style of nin-taijutsu.

"Understood, Asuma-sensei." Naruto nodded, sounding thoroughly unrepentant.

[Neji Hyūga] Dislikes you!

'Oh, how am I ever going to survive.' Naruto thought sarcastically.

After that, Neji pretty much refused to interact with either him or Hinata anymore than was strictly necessary to follow Asuma's orders, leaving the majority of the work on Tenten and Lee under Asuma's scowling supervision. On the bright side…

As a result of being subjected to a detailed and interesting lecture on the subject of facing weapon-wielders while barehanded or only wielding a kunai and shuriken, you have gained the temporary Perk: [Man Against Steel] for the next thirty days!

[Man Against Steel] (Passive) (30 Days)

In spite of its name, this perk allows the user to gain an advantage against any and all handheld close-combat weapons; swords, staves, nunchaku, tonfa, kama, kusarigama, polearms...the list goes on. As long as this Buff Perk is active you take 5% less damage from any weapon and gain a 5% bonus to any dodge chance when confronting weapon wielders.

The perk itself was fairly neat, but it was a bit disappointing that it was only a temporary buff. Naruto was honestly a bit worried about why he'd need something like that in the next month or so.

Sparring with his new dagger/spear against Lee was an interesting experience. The older was insanely fast, and his taijutsu was just scary, even if the boy's over-exuberance was a bit…grating. He'd also gotten some good experience with his new weapon as well.

Watching Hinata spar with Tenten was also intriguing. He knew that Hinata didn't really like hurting people thanks to her Status Page, but sparring at least, if nowhere else, showed that the girl had some genuine skill beneath that meek shell.

They rotated partners a few times over the course of a couple hours before Asuma called a halt to their current training and shuffled them around between different groups and tutors. Naruto was put with Gai and Kakashi, along with Hinata, and they were quickly joined by Kiba and Chōji. Shino Sasuke, Ino and Sakura were put with Asuma while Shikamaru, Neji, Lee and Tenten were sent to Kurenai.

"Yosh! Greetings Youthful genin!" Gai boomed happily. "To start off our most Youthful training session, please let me know what taijutsu styles you practice. I know that Hinata is a practitioner of the Jūken style, which I'm already quite familiar with.

"I'm halfway decent with the [Advanced] kata for the [Hakage Style], but that's about it." Naruto answered with a shrug. He'd already been planning on looking into a more advanced Taijutsu style for when he maxed out [Advanced Hakage Taijutsu] when he and Iruka hit the library today.

"I use the Inuzuka Clan's Jūjin Taijutsu (Beast-Human Taijutsu)." Kiba answered.

"Baika (Expansion) Style." Chōji offered simply around another mouthful of chips.

"I suppose the last two are to be expected given your clans, both have capable and firmly established styles that they've been practising for years." Gai nodded. "Sadly for you, Naruto; while the Hakage style is an excellent introductory style, I'm afraid it will not prove useful for anything outside of a D-Rank mission."

Gai was firmly of the opinion that a solid groundwork in taijutsu was a necessity for any ninja, no mater their speciality. While the Hakage style was quite good at its intended tasks, instructing new practitioners in the basics of unarmed combat and promoting basic physical health and fitness, it was not a combat style. He personally believed that non-clan and civilian aspirants should at the very least be encouraged to begin studying a new style no later than the start of their final year.

"Iruka-sensei is planning on escorting me to the Shinobi section of the Library after this training thing is over to look for a proper dual-tantō and kodachi style." Naruto replied with a shrug. "I was already planning on looking into finding a better taijutsu style for myself while I was there."

"Excellent! In that case, our first order of business should be a quick spar!" Gai enthused with a bright, sparkling grin on his lips. "I am, with no false modesty, the acknowledged taijutsu master of Konohagakure; I'm sure I can offer some insight onto what form of style would be suit you. Simply come at me in whatever way feels natural to you, that way I can judge not only your physical capabilities but your natural combat inclinations."

"Alright!" the Uzumaki returned, grinning sharply, only for it to freeze, an eyebrow began to twitch, as the world greyed out around him. A second later, a blue window popped up.

[Quest Alert!]

Fight the Best, to Be the Best: Maito Gai, the acknowledged Taijutsu Master of your village, has offered to spar with you in order to gauge what sort of taijutsu style you may be best suited for. Take this chance to get advice from the best, and fight in a way that suits you!

Quest Objective: Spar against Maito Gai and try to avoid losing too soon. The Rewards are not cumulative.

Quest Reward 1: Last 30 Seconds: +500 Reputation with [Maito Gai], Basic Taijutsu Style Advice.

Quest Reward 2: Last 45 Seconds: +750 Reputation with [Maito Gai], Thorough Taijutsu Style Advice.

Quest Reward 3: Last 60 Seconds: +1000 Reputation with [Maito Gai], 'Youthful' Taijutsu Style Advice.

Quest Failure: Lose before 30 Seconds pass.

This Quest has been Auto-Accepted.

Something deep in Naruto's gut told him that he didn't want to know what 'Youthful' Taijutsu Style Advice would contain. Losing before a full minute ended sounded fine to him…provided he could last that long.

Then the world suddenly regained its colour and started moving again.

"Ahaha! Now that's the Youthful spirit, young Naruto!" Gai guffawed loudly, before addressing the other three genin. "Hinata, Kiba, Chōji, we'll each spar as well so I can get an idea of your respective skill levels. Once Naruto's session is done, I'll call the next one of you over and we can continue working Youthfully from there."

'Does he add 'youthful' to everything he does?' Naruto had to wonder as he walked over to stand opposite Gai, allowing the other three Genin to move away with the silver-haired jonin.

"Now, we'll keep this simple and straightforward. I'll be purely on the defensive for this match, and feel free to use whatever taijutsu enhancement ninjutsu or technique you have." the Taijutsu Master instructed. "Nothing directly offensive mind you, but anything like the Inuzuka's Shikyaku no Jutsu (Four Legs Technique) or the Akimichi's Baika no Jutsu (Expansion Technique) are perfectly permissible."

"You got it sensei!" Naruto called back, forming two sets of handsigns one after the other. "[Ninpō: Kitsunerisu no Binshō], [Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo]!"

"Hey what gives!?" Kiba called out. "My clan's the only one who uses beast-style nin-taijutsu!"

"Wrong again!" Naruto called over his shoulder, grinning ferally as energy surged through his body from his newly activated jutsu. He eagerly crouched down, ready to begin. Gai's face instantly hardened into a more serious mien as he took an odd stance, his right hand held diagonally up in front of him, palm towards him, while the other arm was tucked behind his waist. It was the oddest fighting stance that Naruto had ever seen, but if Gai was half as good as [The Gamer] seemed to indicate, then it was probably a lot more impressive than it looked.

"Kakashi, if you'd kindly referee." Gai said, focussing on Naruto.

"Oh boy." the silver-haired jonin sighed, but complied nonetheless. "OK, on your marks...start!"

Without a moment's hesitation Naruto shot forward, moving faster than he ever had before. He'd been training both of his speed-boosting techniques since his encounter with Bugs Bunny, and they'd both levelled up quick nicely, about four levels apiece, but their levelling speed had slowed sharply after that and both were still sitting at about halfway to their next level, Level 13 for [Kitsunerisu no Binshō] and Level 10 for [Usagi no Sokudo].

'Quite fast.' Gai noted, his eyes narrowing slightly. 'He's already moving beyond what a normal genin should be able to manage…Mid-Chūnin, or perhaps even High-Chūnin? What an interesting little pair of jutsu.'

Naruto began with a feint, starting with what looked like a right-straight that Gai quickly moved to block, only to leap upwards at last moment to try and slam a high kick into the jonin's head. Gai easily dodged the sudden blow, stepping back with a casual ease that would have been insulting if it wasn't for his serious expression. Naruto's kick still managed to hit the outside of Gai's arm, which the genin quickly used to springboard into a leap over his head, landing behind him and quickly trying to close in from behind.

"What the…!?" Kiba was gaping. Sure, he'd lost in their match on moving day, but he'd honestly thought that it was mostly because he hadn't taken the match seriously enough. He could barely keep up with the former class clown's movements now, hell he was pretty sure that even his older sister would have had difficulty keeping track of them!

"Yosh! Naruto-kun is battling most Youthfully with Gai-sensei!" That came from who you'd expect.

"Hm, well." Kakashi eye-smiled as he watched the match progress. "Naruto's certainly been putting some serious efforts in, hasn't he?"

As the match continued, Gai remained purely on the defensive, doing nothing other than blocking or dodging any attacks Naruto managed to launch, only rarely pushing the boy back after blocking or redirecting a strike. Even so, he couldn't help but smile a bit to himself. 'His movements are focused, swift and aggressive, but he's also been careful not to sacrifice either his flexibility or agility so he can fall back at a moment's notice. This boy might just make a good Gōken practitioner with a bit of polish, though it doesn't suit him quite as well as it did Lee. Time to end this, I think.'

Knocking Naruto back, Gai suddenly burst forward, leaping into the air in a rapid spin.

"Konoha Senpū! (Leaf Whirlwind!)" With a sudden shout, the Taijutsu Master unleashed a storm of kicks onto the blonde Jinchūriki, who barely managed to get his defences up enough that he was only sent flying backwards straight towards Kakashi.

The one-eye jonin didn't flinch, absently reaching and catching the flying boy by the scruff of his neck before he could impact.

[You have lost 2037 HP!]

'Holy hell!?' Naruto mentally swore as he tried to recover from his sudden airtime. 'He just cut my HP in half with just a few kicks!'

"That was well-fought, young Naruto!" Gai called out, offering him a large, sparkling smile and thumbs up. "I shall write out a thorough analysis of what you should look for in a taijutsu style and even a few suggestions that I know are in the library."

[Quest Complete!]

Fight the Best to Be the Best: You sparred with Maito Gai and impressed him enough to give a thorough breakdown of the type of taijutsu style you would be suited for! Well done on avoiding the influx of 'Youth'!

Quest Reward: +750 Reputation with [Maito Gai], [Thorough Taijutsu Style Advice] Scroll.

'So the Youth one was a trap after all!' Naruto thought. This damn Gamer system...!

[Advanced Hakage Taijutsu] has levelled up twice! LV27-LV29!

Well, at least he got something out of the experience.

"Thanks, Gai-sensei!" he called back aloud, eye twitching slightly as he watched the man plop down onto the ground, pulling a scroll, ink-pot and brush from…somewhere, before he began writing with a surprising amount of grace and speed.

"Well, once Gai finishes with that, he'll call one of you three next, so you'd best be ready." Kakashi offered with a nod. "For now, I suppose its time to start our ninjutsu lessons. How many of you actually know your Primary and Secondary Elements?"

Naruto was the only one to raise his hand.

"Hm, let me guess...Primary Fūton, Secondary Doton?" Kakashi said with a tilt of his head.

"Yup." Naruto nodded.

"Well, at least one of you already knows, that's better than the last group. The rest of you, take a piece of this paper and channel a small amount of chakra through it." the silver-haired jonin instructed, holding up a small bundle of chakra paper squares. "If it tears then you're a Fūton Affinity. If it gets wet, you're a Suiton. If it burns, you're a Katon. If it crinkles, you're a Raiton. And if it crumbles, you're a Doton."

Kiba, as it turns out, was a Primary Doton, Secondary Katon. Chōji was a Primary Doton, Secondary Suiton, and Hinata was a Primary Suiton, Secondary Fūton.

"A Fūton, even as a Secondary Affinity? That's fairly rare in Hi no Kuni. For there to be two of you in a single class is fairly remarkable." Kakashi mused as Hinata looked at the remnants of her paper in shock. "Most Fūton Affinities in Konoha are Tertiary Affinities at best, developed by hard work to satisfy one of the requirements for jonin rank, aside from the even rarer Primary Affinities like Naruto and Asuma."

"A-Aren't most Hyūga D-Doton Primaries?" Hinata asked tremulously.

"Sure, but while your bloodline has an influence on what your affinities will be, it isn't absolute." the jonin replied bluntly. "In a homogenous Clan like the Hyūga, it can be fairly uncommon, but sometimes this happens every generation or so. There's a fancy name for it that Med-nin and doctors made up for it, but most people call this happening as Affinity Rebound; your paper was shredded and soaked, meaning both of your affinities are fairly powerful, which is also common with Affinity Rebound. You'll have quite a bit more trouble training if you try and learn a Raiton or Katon technique beyond even what is normal when training with jutsu of an opposing element to your own affinities, but you will also find Suiton and Fūton jutsu that much easier to learn and manipulate. I'd suggest you focus on refining your natural affinities for now in your ninjutsu training, the strength of your natural affinities should make learning a few basic techniques for both elements fairly easy."

"I-I...see." the Hyūga Heiress said softly.

Kakashi then gave Kiba, Hinata and Chōji a different D-Rank Doton Scroll for them to practice with; Kiba got Doton: Tobi Tsubute (Earth Style: Flying Thrown Stones), while Chōji got Doton: Doroku Gaeshi (Earth Style: Earth Shore Return). Hinata was given Suiton: Teppōdama (Water Style: Liquid Bullets), while Naruto, much to his surprise, got given Fūton: Reppūshō (Wind Style: Gale Palm), a C-Rank technique.

"As Asuma mentioned earlier, you have naturally large chakra reserves." Kakashi explained helpfully when Kiba complained. "Not learning to make the best use of them would simply be criminal. I understand that you've already learned quite a few Fūton techniques, but this one can be quite handy. If you learn to wield it correctly it can have offensive, defensive, and eve supplementary uses."

Nodding eagerly, Naruto took the scroll, found a spot to sit, and quickly unrolled it before starting to read. While he couldn't use the [Absorption] System in a place like this, his ability to focus and absorb information had greatly increased since he received [The Gamer] a year ago, which had greatly increased his ability to learn things the normal way as well. Thus…

You have read and understood the contents of the [Fūton: Reppūshō] Jutsu Scroll! Checking requirements to learn...done! You have now learnt the jutsu!

[Fūton: Reppūshō no Jutsu] (Active/Passive) [LV1, 0%]

The Wind Style: Gale Palm Technique is, at first glance, fairly weak for a C-class ninjutsu, rarely being strong enough to do more than blow a grown man over in even the hands of a skilled user. However, this technique makes up for this lack in raw power with its impressive versatility. Utilizing this jutsu, the user can create brief burst of powerful wind that can be manipulated in several ways. The technique, at its most basic can be used to fire off a sudden gale of wind at a target, knocking them off their feet. The user can also further compress the air before releasing it and use it to either deflect incoming projectiles or augment the speed and power of an allies thrown weapons. Skilled users can even manipulate the resulting bust of wind to briefly accelerate themselves when they move.

- Handsigns: Snake, Ram, Boar, Horse, Bird, Clap Hands.

- Chakra Cost: Gale Version: 30 CP. Compressed Wind Version: 35 CP. Velocity Acceleration Version: 40 CP.

- Gale Version: The user uses five of the above six handsigns before thrusting a hand at their target. This causes only Damage equal to the user's INT Stat, but also deals knock-back to the target, with a 10% chance of sending them to the ground and stunning them for one second.

- Compressed Wind Version: Using all six handsigns, the user compresses the air around them and launches it at their target. If the target is incoming thrown weapons, there is a 50% chance to knock them off course. If the target are weapons thrown by you or your allies, this jutsu increases their velocity by 20%, which also increases the damage dealt by them by 10%.

- Velocity Acceleration: After using five of the six above handsigns, the wind parts before the user slightly as he runs, increasing his speed by 5%.

'Whoa!' Naruto blinked at the information. 'Kakashi-sensei was right! This technique is like having three jutsu in one!'

"Kakashi-sensei, this jutsu would really suit Ten-chan." he said as he closed the scroll. "Fūton isn't one of her elements, but it really suits her combat style."

"Oh? What are her elements?" Kakashi asked.

"Primary Katon, Secondary Raiton." Naruto rattled off. "The ninjutsu I know she's learned are Katon: Hotarubi and Katon: Kakyū."

"A solid enough foundation, I'll consider it when she rotates over to me." the silver-haired jonin offered. "Now, let's see if you managed to get a handle on the jutsu you've been studying?"

"OK! Here's the Gale version!" Naruto declared and ran through the five handsigns. "[Fūton: Reppūshō]!"

Thrusting one hand out towards Kakashi, a roaring burst of wind erupted from his palm that slammed into the jonin, knocking him back a step before he quickly recovered.

"Not bad for a first try." Kakashi offered, absently dusting off his flak jacket. "And what about the other two forms?"

Naruto only grinned brightly. Drawing out a couple of shuriken from his holster, he threw them at a tree and used all six handsigns this time to send a gale at their backs, making the throwing stars speed into their target with a great deal more force than normal. Then Naruto started running around the training ground using the third version of his newest jutsu to briefly boost his speed. When he came to a halt, a pleasant little window appeared before him.

[Fūton: Reppūshō] has levelled up! LV1-LV2!

You have impressed Kakashi with your ability to use all three versions of your new jutsu! You gain 500 Reputation with [Hatake Kakashi]!

"Well, that is an impressive surprise. It usually takes people a while to get a handle on all three forms of the Reppūshō's after they first learn it." Kakashi said with an eye-smile. "Well done, Naruto."

"Ehehehe!" the [Gamer] grinned and rubbed the back of his head.

"Why are we even bothering with this stuff?" Kiba grumbled from where he was hunched over his own scroll. "We have our clan jutsu…"

"Meaning any enemy smart enough to recognize your clan will likely have at least a general idea of your combat style and probably some idea of what kind of jutsu you'll use." Kakashi pointed out. "Knowing a few jutsu outside your clan's techniques is a fairly basic trump card that most smart ninja appreciate. Even Shikamaru is learning a Katon jutsu, do you want to be outdone by him?"

"HELL NO!" the Inuzuka Heir shouted back before redoubling his efforts to practice his new jutsu.

'Wow, he's easy to trick...' Naruto deadpanned to himself.

When it came time for him to be switched around to Kurenai, Naruto asked her about his new tantō jutsu, [Nisen Tōgen Kyō], and even showed her the scroll for it

"A genjutsu that isn't a genjutsu, hmm?" the Genjutsu Mistress mused thoughtfully as she browsed through the scroll. "Your difficulties with chakra control means that most conventional forms of genjutsu won't work for you, Naruto. I would say though, that this would require you being at least passably skilled in a formal Nitō Ryū tantō style before it could be learned. Moreover, it would work best with one that emphasizes speed and skill over raw strength."

"Thanks, Kurenai-sensei." Naruto said cheerfully. He'd known that he needed a formal style to learn it, but the additional advice on what kind of style to get was useful.

After the Joint Training Session

Streets of Konoha, Outside the Konoha Library

"This is a pretty big place." Naruto remarked as he looked up at the Konohagakure Public Library. The building was indeed quite large, with the name laid out in bronze characters above the door.

"Trust me, the sublevel where the shinobi section is located is even bigger." Iruka offered. "Follow me."

The Chūnin-sensei led Naruto into the building, past the front desk and through what seemed like half a forest's worth of scrolls and books to a more guarded entrance that had a pair of regular Chūnin on guard outside of it. Iruka passed a scroll to one of them, who read it, glanced at Naruto and then waved to two in.

"What was that about?" Naruto asked as they descended down a narrow spiral staircase.

"Normally, rookie genin, that means any genin without at least a full year of service, aren't allowed access into the shinobi section without their Jonin-sensei." Iruka explained. "That scroll was a directive from the Hokage allowing me to act in Asuma-san's stead for this afternoon. He would have been the one to come with you today, but Hokage-sama received word a few days ago that he would be needed for the next two days starting after the first Joint Training Session of your Genin Platoon today."

"It's OK, Iruka-sensei! I know you won't steer me wrong!" Naruto reassured his old sensei.

"Glad to hear it." Iruka laughed. "And now...we're here." As the passed through a stone archway at the base of the stairway

Stepping in, Naruto gasped in awe at the sheer size of the space within, easily two or three times wider than the building above them.

"I did warn you." Iruka chuckled good-naturedly as he gestured at the room. The entire place was seemingly lined with octagonal stone blocks, each a little bit under a foot in diameter and illuminated by hundreds of lanterns hanging down from the ceiling. It was full to the brim with shelves for scrolls, instruction books and even a few weapons on display. Oddly enough, the stone blocks seemed to have been painted a different colour in different sections of the room.

"Welcome to the Konoha Shinobi Open Library, Naruto." Iruka informed his quietly. "As a genin, you're entitled to check out up to three books or scrolls at a time, but are only permitted to access the Green and Blue sections. The Red and Yellow require at least Chūnin ranking to enter, while the Purple section is restricted to only full Jonin."

Naruto scanned the areas Iruka mentioned. The Green and Blue stoned areas were the smallest sections of the library, while the Red and Yellow sections were the largest. The Purple area was as large as the Blue and Green areas combined.

"Wow..." was all he said.

"So Naruto, what exactly are we looking for exactly?" Iruka asked. "I know you need a tantō style and a kodachi style, but do you have any idea what your third scroll should be?"

Naruto had to pause and think for a moment, he had two other things that he needed to look for: a sōjutsu/bōjutsu style to use with his new collapsible spear and a new taijutsu style. It took him only a moment to decide. He was still getting used to his new weapon and wanted to build a better understanding of it before he started looking for a style for it, plus he had the scroll from Gai-sensei that he didn't want to let go to waste.

"I also need to get a new taijutsu style; now that I'm a full genin, the Hakage style that I learned in the Academy isn't holding up so well." Naruto answered.

"That's probably a good idea." the Academy instructor agreed. "So let's start with the tantō. The first requirement is that it should be one that can switch between one and two tantō depending on the situation. Are there any other things you'd like to narrow it down by?"

"Kurenai-sensei suggested one that focuses less on raw strength and more on speed and skill." the blonde genin replied. "If it's one that can make use of the Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu, especially Fūton and Doton, that would probably be even better."

"Hmm...that rules out the Konoha Tantō Nitōryū (Leaf Short Sword Two-Sword Style) for a start." Iruka mused. "That focuses on balance over most things, with a slight emphasis on speed. Let me see here..."

Walking over to the desk, Iruka consulted with the librarian behind the counter for a minute or two, before coming back with three slips of green paper, and two sheets of blue paper, each with a series of letters and numbers on them. Iruka then led Naruto around to pick up books and scrolls from sections in the Green and Blue areas before leading him to a table.

As soon as he sat down, the world bleached grey and Naruto sighed again. As expected, here was [The Gamer] butting in again.

[Tantō Style Selection!]

Based on the criteria you gave him, and with the help of the on-duty librarian, Umino Iruka has selected five Nitōryū Tantō styles that may be suitable for you. Kindly select one of the five below after reviewing their description and comparing their statistics and special features. Be warned: once chosen you cannot select another.

1) Low Genin Style: Nisen Ryū – The Twin Line Style is a basic style donated to Konohagakure by the Uchiha Clan approximately fifty years ago, when they obtained it after a series of conflicts with Hayashi no Kuni (Land of Woods). While fairly basic, the style is easy to learn and has some utility with various forms of the Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu.

Ease of Learning: 4/5

Speed: 3/5

Attack Power: 3/5

Skill Required: 2/5

Special Characteristics: None.

Select this Style?

Y|N

2) Low Genin Style: Senba Ryū, 1st Chapter – The Thousand Feathers Style is a defensive tantō style which places emphasis on deflecting projectiles from enemy shinobi. It is known for being divided into three 'Chapters' for Genin, Chūnin and Jonin level respectively. While a truly great style for defending against many forms of ranged attacks, it lacks many offensive techniques and isn't compatible with the Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu.

Ease of Learning: 4/5

Speed: 4/5

Attack Power: 2/5

Skill Required: 2.5/5

Special Characteristics: [Anti-Projectile], [Shield Style].

Select this style?

Y|N

3) Low-Genin Style: Ranka Mankai RyūWild Flowers in Full Bloom Style is a style taken from the now-destroyed Hakuran Village, once a mortal enemy of the Nadeshiko Village. It is an unusual style that focuses primarily on using a single tantō in combination with shuriken as well as more traditional Nitōryū sword skills. The strongest technique was known as Hakuran no Mai (Dance of the White Storm), and was passed down from leader to leader of the Hakuran Village, along with the advanced techniques of the style. It is believed to have been lost during the destruction of the village. As such, this is an incomplete style.

Ease of Learning: 3.5/5

Speed: 3/5

Attack Power: 4/5

Skill Required: 4/5

Special Characteristics: [Incomplete], [Sword and Shadow Sword].

Select this style?

Y|N

4) High-Genin Style: Fūko no Tsume Ryū – A style from Kaze no Kuni originally, and gained by Konoha through its alliance with Sunagakure, the Claws of the Wind Tiger Style is a style that focuses heavily on using the Fūton Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu in combination with chakra metal weapons. Difficult to both learn and master, it is nonetheless a highly effective style that can quickly overwhelm and cut down many opponents. The style's main weakness lies in its restrictive nature, only able to truly flourish when used in combination with Fūton chakra flow.

Ease of Learning: 3/5

Speed: 4/5

Attack Power: 3.5/5

Skill Required: 4/5

Special Characteristics: [Elemental Restriction: Fūton], [War Style], [Elemental Compatibility].

Select this style?

Y|N

5) High-Genin Style: Ryūsui Ryū – The Flowing Water Style is one that focusses on controlling the 'flow' of combat, manipulating and controlling the movements and attacks of the enemy towards the practitioner's goal, whether that be death, capture or something else. A highly technical style, its reliance on technical skill over physical ability marks it as a borderline Chūnin-ranked style.

Ease of Learning: 2/5

Speed: 2.5/5

Attack Power: 3/5

Skill Required: 5/5

Special Characteristics: [Battle Flow Manipulation], [Technical Style], [Difficult to Learn and Use].

Select this style?

Y|N

Blinking at the information provided, Naruto let out a sigh. "Well, at least it's letting me compare stats, right?"

Shaking his head, the young Uzumaki took in everything he could about the styles. The first to be eliminated was the first one listed, Nisen Ryū. Its only real benefit was that it was easy to learn, otherwise the style offered nothing really special in comparison to the other styles being offered.

After going through the remaining fours styles again, he reluctantly decided to eliminate the Ranka Mankai Ryū; while the style itself sounded pretty cool with its inclusion of shuriken techniques in addition to normal tantō training, the fact that it was missing its more advanced kata and final techniques was simply too much of a negative for Naruto to ignore.

Next to be eliminated was the Ryūsui Ryū. While the [Battle Flow Manipulation] certainly sounded interesting, Naruto knew himself well enough to know that he simply wasn't built for a purely technical style, which would discard a lot of the work he'd put in on bolstering his physical abilities.

Finally, he eliminated the Senba Ryū; while the idea of a defensive style was certainly intriguing, it simply wasn't what he was looking for in regards to his tantō style.

This left Fūko no Tsume Ryū. It was the best of the five options, and fit into the requirements for his [Nisen Tōgen Kyō] technique as well. He had to wonder if there were other styles that had the same name? Because 'Claws of the Wind Tiger' sounded like a truly awesome name for a ninjutsu technique in addition to being a pretty badass style name.

He selected 'Y' for the Fūko no Tsume Ryū, and then hit 'Y' again when asked to confirm if he was certain about his choice. The colour of the world came flashing back to him, and he mentally throttled his power as he made a big show of carefully considering each and every one of the styles (again) before again selecting Fūko no Tsume Ryū.

"I thought that this would be the one you'd choose." Iruka nodded. "Most styles deal with only one or two elements if they deal with them at all, so I made sure to select one with your Primary Affinity. There were other 'tiger' styles in the same vein, like Kako no Kiba (Fangs of the Flame Tiger), but none of them suited you and unfortunately there wasn't a similar style using Doton."

"Ah well. This'll suit me fine." Naruto shrugged. He was a bit disappointed that he couldn't use both Doton and Fūton with the same style, but decided it didn't really matter in the end. Hopefully he could use his Doton affinity with one of his other weapons.

"Now, what about your kodachi style?" Iruka asked after putting away the rejected tantō styles.

"That's a tough one. Have you heard about my kodachi from Tenten's dad?" Naruto asked.

"Only that it's special, and a chakra weapon." Iruka confessed.

"It's a really complicated weapon that can transform its blade and stuff. It's called 'Kogetsu Kyūshiki' and I'm really looking forward to being able to wield it." the Uzumaki grinned. "But I dunno what style would suit it; something using Doton wouldn't work well with something that flexible, and a Fūton style would probably get in the way of operating some of the tools."

"Hmm. I think your best bet for now would be the Konoha Kodachi Ryū." Iruka said thoughtfully. "While it lacks any particular strong specialities, it is a solid, versatile style with a slight emphasis on speed. If your kodachi is going to be as unique as you expect it to be, then the Konoha Kodachi Ryū would serve as a good base for developing a style around using it."

Naruto considered that for a moment, before nodding his head in agreement. "Sounds good. Guess that just leaves a new taijutsu style. Oh, that reminds me, Gai-sensei gave me this after we had a short spar during the joint training. It should have some details on the kind of style I should go with." he added, pulling the [Thorough Taijutsu Style Advice] scroll Gai had given him out of his belt pouch.

The Chūnin took the scroll and unrolled it, giving it a quick examination. "Hm, Gai-san is as thorough as always when it comes to taijutsu training." he offered as he noted the detail on the message. "Well it shouldn't take long to finds the scroll on the styles he's proposed. You stay here and take a closer look at your tantō style while I go grab the scroll and one for the Konoha Kodachi Ryū."

With that, the scarred Chūnin quickly turned and headed back to the stacks.

Shrugging, Naruto did as he was told. He couldn't absorb the scroll here anyway, so he may as well get an idea for what the style was like; unlike with a basic jutsu scrolls, a weapon or taijutsu style scroll was a lot longer and more involved, so he couldn't read the whole scroll in such a short amount of time.

He was so engrossed in his reading that Iruka had to tap him on the shoulder when he got back about five minutes later.

"Oh! Back already?" Naruto said, looking up at his old sensei,

"Yeah, and I think I've found a style that you'll like." Iruka nodded, and placed a scroll on the desk. It was fairly large and, despite looking quite old, was rather ornate, with metal handles carved into the shape of tiger heads. "It's called Randora Ryū (Storm Tiger Style) and it's one of the styles Gai-san suggested that I thought would suit you best. It's fast, aggressive, manoeuvrable and works well with physical enhancement ninjutsu."

"Sounds perfect!" Naruto was grinning as he picked up the scroll.

"Just to warn you though, it's not an easy style to learn." the Chūnin offered fairly. "While not quite as bad as Gai-san's Gōken style, it is still an incredibly strenuous style to learn. You're going to have to sweat and strain to learn this one Naruto, but I agree with Gai-san that you have the ability to make incredible use of it."

"I won't let you down Iruka-sensei." Naruto grinned up at the first adult aside from the old man who'd actually believed in him. Gathering the two chosen scrolls of the desk, as well as accepting the plain-looking scroll containing the Konoha Kodachi Ryū that Iruka had brought along with the Randora Ryū scroll, he quickly started following Iruka toward the front desk.

The librarian, a slightly older-looking woman with greying hair, dressed in a Chūnin vest, took a quick note of the three scrolls he was checking out, as well as accepting a small scroll from Iruka, before adding a quick addition to the note.

"Considering this is a reward from the Hokage, you're being allowed to check these three out indefinitely this time." she explained as she finished as she finished taking noting everything down. "After they're returned, any further checkouts will need to be either renewed or returned within one month. There is a hundred Ryo per week overdue fee if they're not, and any significant damage will also come with a fine and a possible restriction of privileges if it happens repeatedly."

"Understood." Naruto nodded obediently.

Iruka treated Naruto to Ichiraku Ramen again on the way home before the two said their farewells in front of the Amekage Apartments, with the Chūnin telling Naruto to study his new styles hard.

Zipping up to his apartment (he had to get ahold of the Shunshin no Jutsu at some point), Naruto grinned like a lunatic as he locked himself in for the night and headed to his living room.

"OK, time to upgrade my armed styles..." he muttered excitedly. "Kodachi first..."

He pulled out the Konoha Kodachi Ryū scroll and grinned as the expected pop-up appeared.

You have acquired the [Konoha Kodachi Ryū] Scroll. Do you wish to learn this Kodachi style?

Warning: Learning this style will upgrade your [Self-Taught Kodachi Kenjutsu] style and it will not be reversible. Are you sure you wish to do this?

Y|N

"Hell yes!" Naruto muttered and hit 'Y', doing so again when he was asked to confirm his choice. The scroll dissolved into blue motes of light which were absorbed into his body almost immediately.

Congratulations! You have upgraded your [Self-Taught Kodachi Kenjutsu] into [Konoha Kodachi Ryū]! Due to the former 'style' being maxed out, it starts at Level 2!

[Konoha Kodachi Ryū] (Passive) [LV2, 0%]

The Leaf Kodachi Style, like all other forms of Konoha Ryū kenjutsu, was originally developed from the Senju Clan's own sword styles, though the styles were simplified in order to make it easier for most shinobi to learn. Over the century since they were first developed, the various forms of Konoha Ryū have developed and evolved into their own styles, each with a proud, reliable history of service. While not excelling in any particular area, save for a slight focus on attack speed, the Konoha Kodachi Ryū also lacks any form of distinct weakness that can often be found with more specialized styles. Advanced practitioners can advance to the more dangerous Ura Konoha Kodachi Ryū (Reverse Leaf Kodachi Style), which is primarily used by the ANBU forces.

- Increases Damage dealt by kodachi-type weapons by 14.

- Increases Attack Speed of kodachi-type weapons by 16.

- Increases STR while wielding a kodachi-type weapon by 12.

- Increases DEX while wielding a kodachi-type weapon by 12.

- As the level of this style increases, various kodachi jutsu may be unlocked depending on the user's luck.

"Huh...that's pretty good." Naruto blinked. His [Self-Taught] version had capped out at ten across the board. "OK, now for the tantō version..."

You have acquired the [Fūko no Tsume Ryū] scroll! Do you wish to learn this tantō style?

Warning: Learning this style will upgrade your [Self-Taught Nitō Ryū Tantō Kenjutsu] style and it will not be reversible. Are you sure you wish to do this?

Y|N

Again confirming twice that he did indeed want to do this, Naruto watched as the scroll was absorbed into his chest. He was really glad that the [Gamer] gave him an exact copy of any scroll or book that he absorbed, otherwise he'd have needed to learn these styles the old fashioned way.

Congratulations! You have upgraded your [Self-Taught Nitō Ryū Tantō Kenjutsu] into [Fūko no Tsume Ryū]! Due to the former 'style' being maxed out, it starts on Level 2!

[Fūko no Tsume Ryū] (Passive) [LV2, 0%]

The Claws of the Wind Tiger Style was developed by a wandering tribe of shinobi in Kaze no Kuni. Unlike most, they dwelt in one of the few mountainous areas possessing lush vegetation and plentiful water in that barren and desolate land. This tantō style was developed after the son of the tribe's chieftain was almost killed by a white and black-striped tiger while hunting. Specialising in swift hit-and-run tactics combined with the use of the Fūton Chakra Nagashi Jutsu to give it a fair amount of striking power, it is difficult and arduous to master, but the results are well worth it. The tribe which created this style were wiped out during the Warring Clans Period by invaders from Iwa no Kuni, with only this style and a handful of other jutsu surviving them.

- Increases Damage dealt with tantō-type weapons by 12.

- Increases Attack Speed with tantō-type weapons by 16.

- Increases effectiveness of the [Fūton Chakra Nagashi Jutsu] when used in combination with tantō-type weapons by 5.

- Increases STR when wielding tantō-type weapons by 12.

- Increases DEX when wielding tantō-type weapons by 12.

- Increases the effectiveness of evasion-type skills by 5 while wielding tantō-type weapons.

- As the level of this style increases, various tantō and Chakra Nagashi jutsu may be unlocked depending on the user's luck.

Again, it was a huge jump from his crummy [Self-Taught] style. As he'd learned the style as a whole, including any special attacks and sword techniques they might have had, it seemed he might earn them when his overall level and/or his level with the respective styles reached a certain point.

The only one he didn't learn right away was Randora Ryū, because he wouldn't get the full benefits of learning it after the Hakage style until he reached the maximum level with it. Each tier of the Hakage Style, [Basic], [Intermediate] and [Advanced], consisted of ten levels each, with the name changing every time you upgraded it. Looking at his tantō and kodachi styles, they had each gained a free level because the preceding style had been maxed out before the upgrade. If taijutsu styles worked anything like weapon styles, maybe he'd get one free level per ten full levels of the Hakage Style he had mastered. It was worth a try, at least, and there was only one level to go before he maxed it out, so he wouldn't be wasting much time with it.

"Sakura-chan and Ino should have learned some ninjutsu from Kakashi-sensei today, and hopefully learned how to fight a bit from Gai-sensei, so Asuma-sensei'll probably make me take them into Training Ground 13 soon..." the Uzumaki mused aloud. "I hope they know what they're getting themselves into..."

In their apartments, Ino and Sakura shivered for some reason, a sense of foreboding coming over them.

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Next Chapter: Sakura and Ino vs. Training Ground 13

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