Chapter 4: Training

(by 3D Master & Joshua)

The hermit ninja Kanasi stood before his three new students, deep in the jungle, at the dwelling he had built for himself. He looked at them for a few moments, and said, "All three of you will require the same basis, so I will start with teaching you all the same basics. Each of you however along the way will require different things, and so your training will diversify sooner or later. We will start with basics of crudely put your life force, your chakra, also chi in some parts of the world. Chakra and chi are the same, yet different, you will understand that after I explain them individually."

He looked at them for a moment, all three were enraptured. He nodded in satisfaction, and said, "First, Chakra. Chakra is energy of the body mixed with energy of the mind; in combination it can be made to do a wide variety of things. The energy of the body is at its base chi, but not quite, more on that when I explain chi. The way the ninja have done this, is with hand seals. There are twelve. Each one makes the chi in your hands and torso interact in a different way - I believe scientists would call it interference patterns - each pattern allowing for several different things to be done with it - which is where the energy of the mind and the molding of the two comes in. One can make long strings of consecutive handseals, including repeating the same one; the combination will unlock a variety of abilities and techniques. I will now show and teach you the twelve handseals and the images you need to conjure up along with them in your mind: Rat, Horse, Ox, Ram, Tiger, Monkey, Hare, Bird, Dragon, Dog, Serpent, and Boar." Kanasi showed the seals when he named them. When he was done with all twelve he went in-depth with each one, going closer to his three students so they could get a better look, and to manually correct their finger positions when necessary. With every seal he taught them the pictures to place in their minds and the way to imagine their chakra flowing.

When he was finished with that, half an hour later, he once more took position a bit further away from them. "As you noticed, it is hard to do, your fingers are not very limber. Ninja are taught and trained these seals when they are still children. You will have to practice these extensively, every free moment would be preferred on top of the times I will schedule in, until you can perform them blindfolded. The seals are more than a tool to form the chakra, repeat these seals and with the mind engaging enough, and they become ingrained - just performing the seal will make your mind automatically bring up the required chakra flows and images. It's a great advantage - especially for the younger users who are easily distracted - it means that even under the most straining situations, you could still perform your jutsu - your techniques - if you still have enough chakra left of course."

"It's also a drawback, isn't it?" Dawn asked the hermit.

Kanasi smiled, nodded with satisfaction at the girl's perceptiveness, "Indeed: it means that if you're good enough, and you understand the concept of chakra flows behind the seals well enough, just watching the handseals would allow one to understand and anticipate which technique is coming - even if one has never seen it before - and prepare an appropriate response or even counter, especially if the handseal combination is very long. Further, if one is good enough, just watching a technique being performed once, would allow one to do the very same technique as well, in essence copy it perfectly. Indeed, there are known people who using breeding programs have developed bloodlines - I believe the western modern world presently calls them genetic traits - for the specific purpose of copying techniques. It also means that I think you started at a too old an age to learn it, if I didn't know of chi, that is."

Kanasi had a small smile when he saw their wide-eyed reaction, and then their relief to his final sentence. He continued before they could speak. "When I left my homeland, I wished to stop killing, and the entire essence of ninja chakra techniques is about killing. There are only a very few exceptions - a few places where medical ninjas and medical techniques were developed, but I was not born in any of those places. Once I arrived here, I went to look around for ways to use chakra not to kill. I found a group of monks in China who used what they called 'chi', and it seemed remarkably similar to chakra. These monks used it to fight as well, but they put their effort in not killing, just incapacitating if they had that luxury, and the rest of it were exercises to build up the chi, to draw it in their bodies, to improve their health, and their immune system through - even, so they believed, lengthen their life spans. The difference between their use of chi, and our chakra is the engaging of the mind. Although present, it is much less present so, the main thrust coming from the specific movements of the body. This makes chi-use less diverse, less complex, and you can do less with it, however it also makes it more primal, more raw, and I'm pretty certain, more pure energy, more power. When you learn chakra seals along with the chi exercises and building up your power through them, you should be able to overcome your late starting age. I think you three are getting ready for some action, right?"

"Yes, most certainly for me," Xander said with a low tone. "The whole explanation was fascinating, but I think I'm about to spring roots."

Kanasi chuckled, and then started the practical session of the chi health exercises.

That evening they ate with the old hermit for the first time. They sat below and in front of the ninja's very well constructed tree house at a crackling fire on which they roasted some vegetables and meat. Where the ninja had gotten the vegetables from, the three friends didn't ask and didn't really care. "All right," Dawn said, then took the time to swallow away a mouthful of food. "We're in the dark here. You're a ninja, great going, and you've given some hints to where you're from originally, but that's about it. Obviously you and others like you are no longer the pure physical-only ninja of old, and I doubt you're from Japan. Explain. And how old are you?" Xander looked up, and gave a nod. Oz looked interested as well.

Kanasi gave a smile, and then said, "I suppose anything that isn't secret should be shared among sensei and students. I am sixty-eight years old." The three friends' eyes widened in shock. A sixty-eight-year-old had killed eleven slayers without a finger being laid on him! A sixty-eight-year-old! What would a ninja in his prime be like? Kanasi ignored their shocked faces, and spoke, "A few centuries ago, bullets seemed to make the ninja superfluous. Many clans disbanded, many others continued fighting with guns, some were slaughtered and then there were several clans and ninja who broke from the disbanded clans that weren't about to give up. In their minds, ninja could still make a difference, they just needed to find out how. They left Japan in search for other pastures. They hid themselves on the islands of Oceania. There are thousands as you know, trying to find them, is like a needle in a haystack, more specific however, I cannot get, they are not hidden for nothing. There are names for the countries to the outside world, sometimes they are officially part of a different country, but within they are known by different names. Many of the countries have, or have had hidden villages - hidden ninja villages - a country's military might. Any interest in these places by the 'official' government has long ceased, nobody wishes to go there anymore. I am originally from the Hidden Village of the Mist."

Xander had listened half-interested, until Kanasi spoke about 'hidden'. Like the vision had told him: people would lead him to the 'hidden lands'. Whole villages and countries of these people! In their prime! Such military might . . . a flicker of hope and new look upon the world awoke in him. "Kanasi-sensei," Xander started, as the hermit had asked to be called. "What if I told you, I had a vision in which I was sent to find someone to lead me to the 'hidden lands'? Would you still not tell me?"

Kanasi looked at him, then down, thought for a moment, and said, "No, for multiple reasons. Were I a cynical man, I'd say you told me a story about a vision just to get me to tell you. Just because you had a vision doesn't mean it will come true, must come true, and that I should help you fulfill it. Finally 'hidden lands' could mean about anyplace on the Earth, visions and prophecies are like that. Never saying everything, being vague enough that if you're looking for meanings you can usually make a few things fit with the offering occurrences. However, I will see whether I will tell you or not during our training."

With a painful ache Xander landed on the ground. He groaned and looked up at the tree. On a branch sat Dawn, laughing. 'Put your chakra to your feet,' he said. 'Then use the chakra to stick to the tree and run up it.' He barely got two meters, and probably not even that! Dawn though, seemed to be able to do it much easier. There was a smack and an even more powerful groan from Xander right. He looked over and grinned; at least Oz was even worse at this. Xander got up, and ran up the tree again, dropping back down once more.

The knife hit Dawn in her neck, there was a poof, and a log dropped to the ground from where she just was. "Yah!" Dawn yelled, and Xander turned to his left, seeing Dawn in the air and two perfectly thrown kunai flew at him. He only barely managed to avoid them.

"Receive your opponent's attack without force, be empty, and yield," Kanasi explained as he caught Xander's attack, taking a step back. A few meters over, Dawn was attacking and Oz was similarly defending himself. "The essence of Yin-Yang, the essence of Tai Chi. Done right, well executed, some of your opponent's chakra will be taken by you, so that you can hit him with his own energy." Kanasi hit Xander, Oz hit Dawn. Xander was launched away from the hermit, while Dawn just took a step back at the impact of Oz's punch.

While Xander lay groaning in pain, Kanasi turned to Oz and said, "You still have a long way to go."

Kanasi looked at Oz when he stood right across form him. It had been a month since they first got here. Xander and Dawn weren't here, and Kanasi told Oz, "It's time your ways part. You are the wolf, you're power is great as the wolf. You're training will not be control, or subtlety, it will be chaos. When you transform, you chakra is whirling like a vortex. We're going to focus on you being able to ride the vortex, and keep your chakra - and thus the transformation - under control. /This/ will be about never letting that vortex of energy consume you, to ride it like a surfer does wave. Let's begin."

Kanasi sat in a lotus position across from Dawn, who was in the same position. "Dawn, you felt a stirring in your stomach? A tug of something energetic during your training?"

"Uh, yeah, actually," Dawn answered the old man.

Kanasi smiled, "You told me about your origin: a magically created vessel for something called the 'Key'." Dawn nodded. "You are a magical construct, a magical construct to hold this very powerful Key energy, a similar energy had to be stored in you to keep it contained, and not let it consume your body. That storing energy, is still there, and I think you can access it. Doing so however, requires you to become hyper aware of your body and your energy; after all this isn't simple chakra or chi, it's energy on another level. In short, for a large part, I will be flying blind here. To get awareness though, you will have to meditate a lot from now one. Let's begin."

"I will teach you a jutsu I created myself, Xander, one that has no seals, and that is extremely difficult to master," Kanasi told the one eyed man. Kanasi held up his right hand, and a small ball of energy formed in it. "Behold, the Piercing Needle." Xander watched as the Ninja hermit walked over to a tree and casually slammed the glowing ball into it. There was a flash, a rumble, and then Kanasi took a step back. Xander's eye widened in shock. There was a hole in the tree, that he could see clear through. Behind the tree the

re was another tree, equally pierced, and behind that a third, but the hole in that one didn't go all the way through.

"Whoa," Xander muttered looking closer to see if his eye wasn't deceiving him: it wasn't.

"Catch," Kanasi said, and Xander stood back, catching the two water balloons the old sage had thrown to him. Xander looked surprised at the balloon, wondering when and where the old man had gotten the time to get balloons. Had an illusion been teaching them at least once? Obviously none of them could even come close the sage's power and tricks, nor could they see through his illusions if that was the case. The ninja himself was holding a balloon as well. "In order to learn this technique, there are three steps. This is the first." The balloon in the ninja's hand burst, water spraying upward like a fountain. He continued, "the key to this technique is pooling your chi at the hand. You're goal is to make the water pierce the balloon. Once you can do it with both hands, make sure you can do it with both hands simultaneously. I give you only one tip: contraction and expansion. One of the important things of this is, for you to figure it out yourself. Have fun." He then walked away from Xander, leaving a whole bucket full of balloons behind him.

"Ah, man," Xander muttered in defeat. Then he started concentrating on the balloon in his right hand. Nothing happened.

It was two weeks later, when Kanasi and Dawn were in deep meditation - a golden glow was flowing around Dawn, centered on her belly - that Xander came to the old ninja. "I finally figured it out," Xander said without a particular air of victory or triumph. "First one expands the water in the width, bringing it down and putting potential in it. Then one pushes it upward rapidly contracting it as thinly as possible, the tip preferably as small as a needle. The resulting impulse of the contracting water with the narrow impact is what does the trick." Both balloons, one in either hand, simultaneously burst, two fountains of water spraying up and coming down, wetting Xander's hands, wrists, and sleeves further.

"Ah, good," Kanasi said with a grin, as Dawn looked at Xander with a huge smile, the golden energy continuing to gently flow around her. The sage ninja got up and disappeared into the tree house. A few moments later he returned with a basket full of rubber balls. He tossed two to Xander who caught them. Kanasi grinned at him, and said, "First stage; basics of the technique complete." He picked up a ball himself, held it up. With a little flex the ball's side facing the sky exploded, and then the rest of the ball was limply flung away. "Second stage; build up power. Go train, I will continue Dawn's training."

"Ah, man," Xander said again, looking at the balls and then left the two alone, dragging the basket behind him.

Another three weeks later Dawn landed against a tree, and hung against it. It had rained earlier, and so she had to balance on the slippery bark for a moment. She threw several kunai at Oz who bounced away to avoid them. The kunai became enveloped by a golden glow and suddenly switched course, directly at Oz. Oz made a few hand seals and said, "Ice Barrier Jutsu." He placed his hands on the ground, and water vapor rapidly raised up, and froze in a barrier, just before the kunai. Unable to change course on time, the kunai embedded in the ice. Oz then turned to Dawn, who jumped away from the tree, and he tossed a kunai at her. The kunai in the ice though kept glowing, wiggling, and burning. Ice melted under the pressure and energy, and finally burrowed through the barrier. Much too late Oz noticed it, and the kunai embedded in his chest - not a single vital place because obviously they were training. Dawn landed on the ground, took a few steps forward, and grinned, "Got you."

Oz poofed, revealing a wooden log and it dropped down. "Not quite," a male growled behind Dawn. Followed by an oof as Dawn's elbow smashed in his ribs.

"Yes, quite, I /knew/ you were going to do that," Dawn answered with a grin. Oz growled then and picked Dawn up. She squealed when she was tossed away, and she realized the fight had only just begun.

Kanasi sat down below, on the side, and nodded with a smile, making mental notes on their progress, or lack thereof in other areas. "I did it, I finally did," Xander's voice sounded from his right. He was breathing hard, and Kanasi just raised his eyebrows. Xander presented the rubber balls on his hands, and then squinted his eyes in concentration. A blue glow surrounded him as he continued to increase his power. Then with a scream of extreme effort the tops of the balls finally blew and the rest dropped to the floor. Xander then sank to his knees, breathing deeply. Kanasi grinned, and said, "Very good." He got up, and walked over to a tree. He then charged his attack and slammed it in the tree, forming a hole. "Final stage, finding the control and focus to do that. Now you must basically relearn the first stage, only with much greater power and keeping it focused in the exact space you want it to go, condensing it better. Hop to it."

Xander groaned, "Ah, man."

Kanasi, Xander, and Dawn watched - the latter two stunned - as Oz transformed. Fur rapidly grew on him. He grew a bit bigger. His hands became paws. His clothes ripped, although some managed to stay on him. His face elongated into a snout, and grew fur also. His eyes then turned into the fierce eyes of the predator. The cracking of bones as they rearranged sounded eerie. Xander and Dawn got ready now that the transformation was nearing its completion, just in case Oz couldn't control his form. Once complete, the wolf growled and barked at the three humans. "Oz?" Dawn asked.

"Hey, Oz, it's me, Xander, you got control there yet?" Xander asked, not enjoying the prospect of having to beat the crap out of his friend, even if he was in wolf form and wasn't going to feel it - at least not until after he awoke, which begged the question whether his werewolf healing would heal him before Oz woke up. Neither Dawn or Xander were afraid for their lives, with their newfound abilities a primitive wolf shouldn't be too much of a problem. They were, however, worried about sustaining a bite in the process and becoming a werewolf themselves.

The wolf barked again, growling, and then calmed down. The primitive rage reflecting in its eyes gained a more measured and intelligent outlook. Its stance became less aggressive, and it looked at them. "Hi, guys," the wolf spoke with a low growling voice, and Dawn gave a shocked squeal.

"You can speak in that form," Xander said in surprise, and Kanasi casually nodded, pleased his training was effective, but he looked expectantly.

"It seems that way, and . . ." WolfOz hunched up his eyes, looked up at his two friends, and added, "There's something else." Oz seemed to be concentrating, orange chakra started flowing around him, and Xander and Dawn looked interested. Oz gave a groan, his chakra intensified, and then cried out. There were cracks, the same cracks accompanying his reshaping bones earlier. A moment later it became visual as well; arms, legs and torso changed. Oz came to stand up, his snout became a little shorter, the chest broader. His front paws slowly changed into clawed hands, and his legs became straighter. A bit longer the transformation took, and then there was a seven foot, hulking wolfman standing in front of them. The shirt had fallen off, but Oz was glad his ripped jeans - like the Hulk - had stayed put. He knew, that even though Dawn was over sixteen, and close to seventeen now, she was still a virgin and if she got a glimpse of his privates, one Xander Harris in his ever protective ways would beat the crap out of him for it. "Well, how do I look?" Oz asked the amazed Xander and Dawn.

"That's so cool!" Dawn exclaimed with a huge grin. "I've got my very own cuddly, fuzzy wolfy!"

"Dawn!" Xander and Oz exclaimed in shock. Kanasi chuckled.

"Just kidding. Sjeez. Get a grip, guys," Dawn told them with a big grin.

Kanasi stepped back, pulling Xander along over his shoulder and slammed both hands in his stomach. With a groan of pain Xander was launched away. He landed on the trunk of a tree and jumped back. He kicked out, and Kanasi gently blocked it. The hermit attacked again, and this time Xander took a step back, catching the ninja's arm, locking it. Xander then made an uppercut with his right arm, directly to the elbow of the left. Kanasi's left hand grabbed his right by the wrist though, holding him there, and slammed a foot into Xander's stomach. With an 'oof' Xander took several staggering steps back. He was ready to go though, and saw the next attack coming. He moved his left arm to parry it. For the past several minutes the sparring match had been nothing but getting beat up, it got to Xander, he was rather pissed, not to mention desperate to score at least one hit, or least protect himself more effectively. Kanasi was undoubtedly pulling his punches, but Xander didn't feel that at all. He felt badly hurt, he needed to protect himself - at the very least for his hurt pride, whatever little there was left of it after the past few years. Suddenly, for some reason, everything in Xander told him to parry on the left side instead - he did.

Kanasi's eyes were wide for multiple reasons when Xander perfectly parried the left kick, and then attacked with both hands to his stomach. His feint had left him unguarded and the double-handed slam hit perfect. With a groan of pain it was Kanasi's turn to be launched off his feet. Xander then ran forward with a growl, preparing to take advantage of his advantage. Just as he was about connect a devastating attack, he ducked underneath Kanasi, pulled two kunai, twisted around and threw them directly next to a tree. The ninja hermit appeared from behind the tree, directly in the path of the knives. His eyes widened, and then he caught the triangular knives by their ringed handle. Then he ran forward. Xander was shocked, his eye widened. Kanasi was coming at him far too fast for him to defend himself. The bastard had obviously not even gotten close to using his full power - not even when fighting the Slayers. A moment later his powerful hands grabbed Xander's arms, and he said, "Hold, this fight is over."

"Why?" Xander asked in confusion, relaxing a bit. Oz and Dawn came over as well, shocked at Kanasi's speed, but also Xander's sudden change.

Kanasi looked at him for a tiny moment, and then said, "Why did you ignore the illusion?" Kanasi indicated the still standing version of him with a shrug.

"Because it's an illusion, it's got a log in it," Xander said, and once more his remaining eye widened. He blinked several times, then looked at Kanasi, and he said slowly, "I can see your chakra."

"Dawn, the bucket with water," Kanasi requested. Dawn, who had completely forgotten she had been carrying it, lifted the bucket up, looked at it for a moment and then quickly came over. Oz did too, both of them looking at him with wide eyes. Xander felt a little apprehension at their stares, and he had to muster up the courage to look into the water.

Xander did, and sucked in his breath. "Wha?" he said in shock, seeing his reflection. The iris of his eye was red. Red! And it had a black ring in the middle, on which were two black dots: two black dots with a tail - two small swirled dots directly across from each other. "What's that?" Xander asked in shock.

"Remember how I told you some clans created advanced bloodlines? Genetic traits?" Kanasi asked him. All three nodded. "That's one, the Sharingan, from the Uchiha clan of the Konoha village. Some say the eyes can see the future, can copy justus, see through illusions, and a whole lot more. Now that you have control over your chakra, it must have come out under stress of fighting this battle with only one eye - a compensation for losing the other."

Xander blinked and looked around calmly, muttering, "I does seem like I have depth perception back without having to look left and right constantly."

Kanasi nodded, and said, "I cannot help you with it, or teach you how to use it, only the Uchiha clan can."

"But how did I get it?" Xander asked him, somewhat freaked out.

"That too, is something only the Uchiha's might be able to tell you, I do not know, although . . . the first two letters of Harris, are the last two of Uchiha - there might be a relation there," Kanasi said, with Oz and Dawn looking at Xander in shock.

Xander hesitated a moment, and then asked half-worried, "So, I'm not a monster? I'm not infected by a demon or anything?"

"No, it's nothing but genetics, just like the color of your hair," Kanasi told him.

That relieved Xander, and his Sharingan eye dimmed, returned to normal. "Huh?" Xander muttered, seeing everything like he saw before.

"Can you activate it consciously?" Kanasi asked him. Xander blinked and then tried to focus, nothing happened. "Try routing chakra to it," the ninja hermit suggested. Xander concentrated, doing as suggested. Suddenly his Sharingan came out again, and to Xander's surprise the eerie super clear vision, and seeing things he shouldn't be seeing was back once more.

"That could come in handy," Oz commented with raised eyebrows.

"Indeed, but it obviously uses up chakra. Can you see through objects?" the hermit asked, and Xander shook his head. Kanasi nodded, and said, "I suggest you use it with moderation, and never learn to rely on it. The eyesight can obviously be blocked, and if an opponent does exactly that, you'll be in serious trouble if you don't know how to fight without your new eye." Xander nodded in agreement. "Now, let's continue our training, you have yet to master the third stage."

Dawn perked up and said, "With his new eye, will you tell us . . ."

"No," Kanasi spoke and turned away.

"Bastard," Dawn muttered darkly.

It was another week later, just about five months since they started their training with the hermit, that Xander walked over a tree next to where he was teaching Dawn something new. He grinned, and charged the little ball of energy. With a little yell he smashed it into the tree. A moment later the sawdust settled, and a hole was visible in the tree. In the tree behind there too was a hole, but not all the way through. Kanasi grinned and walked over to Xander. "The other hand?" he asked. With smile Xander performed the same move with his other hand. "Only a hole three quarters through?" the hermit asked. Xander looked at the old man for a moment, and then did as asked, then automatically did the same with his other hand.

Xander then said, "And there is more." He turned around, charged a ball of energy, saying, "The power of the ball lies in the impulse of the thrust, if you never let that impulse out . . ." He sent the ball flying away, grinning, and said, "like keeping the back with the front . . ." The ball crashed against a stone, and then there was quite a powerful explosion. The stone was gone, and Xander said, "it needs another direction to escape."

As Kanasi laughed heartily, Oz came running from his training, looking around, and asking, "What was that?"

"Xander demonstrating his new technique," Dawn said in awe.

"The key to its power lies in the needle-thin chakra points," Xander explained with a smile, looking at the old man. "It took me quite a while to figure out I had to create a whole lot more, some even pointing into the blast to allow for the outward ones - it took me a month to master that even /after/ I knew what to do."

"Good, very good, it speaks highly of your intuition that you understood you could fire it as well," Kanasi spoke and then grinned. "Then we can now go on with the /actual/ reason that I taught you that technique."

"Huh?" Xander asked, his momentary good mood at finally figuring the thing out already dampening.

"Tell me, have you not wondered why you are so powerful?" Kanasi asked him with a grin. "Fighting on the Hellmouth for seven years has helped some, but still, the energy you have accumulated would take a ninja ten years of training since he was two years old. Dawn here has the advantage of her magical essence, and Oz has his beast, you don't though."

"I'm guessing the Hellmouth, and not the fighting," Xander answered a little perturbed.

"Some, but not nearly enough," Kanasi told him in no uncertain terms. "Have you ever been defeated, or just hit, and wondered why you're still alive?"

Xander looked down, not really liking to be put on the spot in front of his friends, and then answered, "I was hit by sledgehammer once - several times in a row - bigger even, heavier. I was launched across the room like I weighed nothing, I found it a little odd, but my broken wrist took my attention away. I wondered even more when said hammer turned out to be a magical Troll god's hammer that then brought down a hell goddess, but the death of my friend kind of hampered my ideas to investigate, and . . . I guess getting hit by a magical blast that combined with a temple ruin would kill all life on Earth and get nothing but a few scratches always had me stumped."

Kanasi's grin had widened, nodding, and he asked, "Dawn told me you were possessed once, a dog was it?"

"Hyena," Dawn corrected automatically.

"You've been possessed more often, haven't you?" Kanasi asked him.

Frowning Xander said, "Well, if you count turning into your costume one Halloween . . ." Kanasi looked expectantly, and Xander added, "I was part of a spell that unified me and three friends - one a Slayer - and invoked the Slayer's ancient essence to make her powerful enough to take down a very powerful cyber-demon-man . . . and I was split into two once, and put back together."

"I'm glad I left," Oz deadpanned. Dawn and Xander glared at him, but Oz didn't react.

Kanasi was nodding, and smiled, "Exactly, and each of those events, as well as taking the magic blasts to end the world, put energy in you, some chakra, some chi, a few bits magic that got reformed into chakra. I've been noticing it since our first training, there are at least four different chakras in your body, and that's why you could take the hammer and the magical blasts. When they damaged or penetrated one chakra, they still had several layers more to go, and they just couldn't pass all. It's also why you can generate so much energy, you can draw more of your own out, while the others keep your everyday bodily functions going. Now, for magical attacks and items, those other chakras are great protection, but I think you've noticed in our sparring matches, it's useless against more mundane attacks."

"I suppose," Xander said, with Oz and Dawn going over from Kanasi to Xander and back, wondering what this was leading to.

"The technique I taught, wasn't just for the technique, mastering the technique requires an enormous amount of control over your chakra," the ninja master explained, finishing with, "That means you should have enough control and knowledge of chakra now to find and access the other inert chakras, and fuse them with your own." His three students looked with wide eyes at the master at that revelation. He pointed to a position, and Xander slowly walked to the place.

Xander looked at the sage for a moment, and then Xander formed a hand seal. He sank to his knees, and closed his eyes, searching deep in him. He brought out his own blue chakra first, forming a glow around him, and searched onward. Xander's eye opened for a moment, when he indeed could still feel more chakras in his body. He closed his eye again, and with an audience in bated breath watching, he brought out a dirty red chakra. He opened his eye to watch it, and guessed it was the Hellmouth's energy. He searched more, and a yellow chakra came out, then an orange one, and a dark green one. "Fuse them together, huh?" he asked of the old master. The man gave a nod, and so Xander started to try and push them together.

"Not just outside, inside as well," Kanasi told him, and Xander nodded, mentally slapping his head that he forgot. He forced the red and the blue a bit together, then pushed the others in along the way. He pushed gently, trying to imagine the energy grappling into each other, and they did. But only a short while, before the energy refused to continue. Xander groaned out, clenching his teeth as he pushed harder and harder. "Haaah!" he started, increasing his power, pushing them together with might.

"Calm, not so much power, it's control you seek," Kanasi advised and Xander nodded. He calmed down a bit, starting to look for more subtle ways. He stayed standing there, sweat gathering on his forehead as different colors of chakra swirled around him. Seconds steadily turned to minutes.

Dawn couldn't hold on her excitement any more and encouraged, "Go on, Xander! You can do it! I know you can!" Oz gave an acknowledging grunt.

There! That was it, Xander realized. If he just let one frequency interact with the other, let them slide into one another and not against each other. More and more the chakras merged. The visible energy around him churned and swirled, started to twist and turn around him. Some chakra flowed upward, wrapping into the others. Colors slowly started merging. This was it. Xander could see it, /feel/ it. Just the last little bit, control didn't help here anymore he realized. He forced them together, gritting his teeth, and then roared, out, "AAAAAAHH!"

Just before Kanasi was about scold Xander again, it happened. The swirling vortex of multiple colors energy sped up another few notches, and started flickering as they were forced together. Suddenly, as if ink was poured into water, the different colors disappeared, merging together in a swirl of blue, much darker blue than the almost ethereal blue a human standard had. With a burst the vortex grew in size, both vertically as well as horizontally, and a powerful burst of wind blasted into the spectators. The energy was burning so brightly now it was audible.

"Whoa!" Dawn muttered in shock.

Oz nodded.

And Kanasi thought, More than the sum of its parts, indeed.

Xander was amazed, he had never felt such power, never felt so strong. He just had to try it out. He jumped, and turned around, with great speed. He was certain that somehow he was using his chakra for some of the speed and movements on an instinctual level. With a roar he slammed his fist about halfway up against a tree . . . and straight through. The trunk splintered and exploded into fine strings of wrinkly wood, and then the top of the tree simply toppled over backward. Xander pushed off against the remaining trunk, and rammed his feet against another tree with the same result. The large top toppled over toward Oz, Dawn and the hermit, and so Xander bashed the entire top of the jungle tree away into another direction. Having testing his newfound power thoroughly he landed on the ground, and looked at his arms and hands in amazement. Then he drew his chakra slowly back into his body.

"Now /that/ is impressive," Oz said, nodding his head. Dawn just looked amazed.

"About halfway a kage's power. You might actually be able to defeat me now, in a battle with just power, you still lack the number of jutsus," Kanasi said with a grin.

Xander looked at him suspiciously for a moment, and then said, "You're lying, and what's a 'kage' anyway?"

Kanasi chuckled and turned around towards his tree house, and said, "Well, that concludes my training of you three."

"What?" Dawn asked in wonderment.

"You wish to learn more, you will have to go the hidden villages - the hidden lands - of which I will provide the location - since I can't teach Xander anything about that eye of his, and his vision told him to go there, it's only proper you go there," Kanasi told them walking to his house. "You will learn about 'kages' there."

"When did you decide this?" Xander asked in some annoyance.

Kanasi turned half around and said, "The moment I noticed your multiple chakras, I knew you were absolutely telling the truth, and you weren't just trying to trick me into giving you the location."

"Was that /before/ or /after/ I asked you to tell where they were?" Xander asked him suspiciously. Kanasi just grinned. Xander groaned, while Dawn and Oz looked with wide eyes.

- O -

"Wow," Faith muttered, when Xander said he was finished with his tale. Faith still didn't know the full extend of Xander's abilities, but she got an idea he was quite a bit stronger. "Oz can really turn into a half-wolf half-human creature on two feet?"

Xander nodded, and said, "Yep, a real werewolf, were meaning 'man', or 'human'."

"Amazing," Faith muttered just before her eyes fluttered closed and she fell asleep. Lying on that couch in Xander's arms had had an extremely calming effect on her, and her body's need for sleep finally exerted itself. Xander grinned, and very gently picked her up. He watched as Kurenai emerged from behind the door frame, looking at the two.

Kurenai smiled, and said, "It still amazes me, how those super tough, supernaturally endowed girls can look so sweet and fragile the moment they are asleep - and it's even more of a contrast with Faith here."

Xander smiled and said, "Same happens with you. Which guest room did you put her in?" And Kurenai led the way.

"RRRAAAAWWWWWWWRRRRRR!" the oldest living Slayer roared out as she threw the very full dumpster at the demon at a very high speed. It helped that it was on wheels.

The demon, a Pholikall breed, snakelike demons with scales, two legs, and an upper torso and neck and head like an Anaconda Python, hissed in terror as it was thrown and then wedged between the alley wall and the dumpster. It was just passing through and unfortunately just as it had finished with an evening snack of a bus load of tourists when the Slayer happened upon it. Or more likely, to it.

Because Pholikall demons have a specific preference in their meals - young human children, between infancy and 10 years old - a mass of digestive feeler tentacles at the base between its legs also gives most Pholikalls a perverse pleasure while consuming their prey. The London Police would be listing the death of the St. Mary Preparatory Academy's Social Science Class field trip as a wild animal attack. Of course nobody would mention, in the cover-up, that the wild animals that could have done that were over 5,000 miles away in a tropical jungle somewhere.

Buffy had actually been walking back to her apartment she shared with Dawn, Willow and a few other Slayers from the Watcher Headquarters, foregoing the car that evening after the phone call from Faith. The entire mess was just so damn frustrating that she needed to cool off before going home to rest. She was not on patrol.

But then she saw the van, and smelled the blood, as well as something else. Something else that was too familiar to ignore. The sight inside the tour bus immediately sent her mind reeling, and the stench nearly caused her to puke on the spot. Instead, her eyes darkened as she felt the darkness within her roil, overwhelming her psyche in seconds. Whatever had done this was going to pay, and pay dearly.

Taking a breath, she immediately had the demon's scent and had tracked it down within five minutes. She didn't even consider the possibility that this demon might be too powerful for her, or even try to surprise it. She was too far gone by that point and where years ago - even when she'd been pretty experienced, but before her deaths, she might have erred on the side of caution and made sure she could take the demon as quickly and cleanly as possible - now she came roaring down the alley and hit the demon before it even knew what was happening.

From then on it was a blood bath. The Slayer tortured the evil creature, tossing it around the alley like a two year old with a doll it didn't like. When it tried to fight back, she snarled and started to beat on the thing even harder until it lapsed back into defending itself when she slowed again to make it pay some more.

When it was finally done the carcass lay in a pile of goo in the middle of a gore-covered alley. With blood, guts, and other various parts the walls and ground were painted. Buffy stood in the middle of it all, glaring hatefully down at what remained of the demon, only her hands and a single drop of blood on her cheek showing any sign of the demonic remains.

Unlike Faith, who was shocked by her rage, Buffy just looked down with satisfaction at the blood bath. Without a trace of shock, she turned around and walked away, feeling better.

Buffy entered her London apartment, not even bothering with taking her coat off, or reacting in the least bit to Willow and Kennedy making out on the couch. "Goodnight guys, I'm hitting the sack," she grumbled at them, quickly walking down the hall to her bedroom.

After she was already halfway there, she faintly heard Willow welcome her home, and then immediately go back to kissing her girlfriend. Anger and frustration suddenly welled up within the elder Slayer's mind, but was just as quickly pushed to the side and repressed down with all the rest of such impulses. Besides, Willow wasn't the only one that could relieve stress through sex with someone like Kennedy. It was just Willow happened to have more time for the relieving stress part, while Buffy seemed to be stuck with compiling it.

"Hey beautiful," a dark and dangerous voice spoke from the shadowy darkness of her bedroom. Buffy didn't even pause in her undressing.

"Not tonight, Adrian," she growled at him, her bloodshot eyes dull and dark in the low twilight. "There's a lot of shit going on right now and I'm not in the mood for your 'evil' little games tonight, all right!"

The creature known as the Immortal, also known to extremely few as Adrian Tepes, the half-human son of Dracula, and a lot older than most thought Dracula actually was, stepped out of the shadows and embraced the nude blonde from behind.

"Want to talk about it?" he whispered in her ear.

"No, I just want to sleep. I'm so tired . . ." her body was wearing down, it was more than obvious in the half-light of the room.

The Immortal smirked to himself, and then replaced the 'concerned boyfriend' mask upon his face and guided his Slayer to the bed. "Then rest, I'll take care of you. Trust me, I'll take care of you . . ." he proceeded with hypnotizing her into a deep and restful and relaxing sleep, and then calling upon his power, he stood over her and took in the status of her aura, his demonic reddish yellow eyes glowing in the darkness.

"Won't be long now, my beautiful Slayer," he whispered in the night. "Soon I will have a mate /worthy/ of being my queen, and having one of the only creatures that have ever existed that could ever match my own dark soul."

Resisting the urge to laugh maniacally, he instead joined her in bed, and continued raping her and her soul.