Carefully suppressing her chakra, Niko waited patiently in a nearby tree, using the leaves as cover as she focused on her surroundings, waiting for the one she had picked out the day prior. She had seen the young man, down on his luck after failing the Chuunin exams and with the overall optimism of a dying cat, and decided she would take a few hours out of her day to see if she couldn’t help him get his spirit back… that fire that pushed a person to keep going when things got messy. It would take some doing, but mental preparation had come a long way this morning while she had been doing her normal chores around her home. Leaving a note with Oriana so she wouldn’t wonder where the red-head had gone and dressed in her Niko’s Training Outfit
, she watched him approach, noting his own frustration and smiled gently.
He seemed to have particularly high standards for himself… that was good. Irui probably had absolutely no idea who it was that had summoned him to the training grounds; she hadn’t left her name when she had put in the order for him to come here, so likely whoever that person was that he was cursing about was a bit of a hard-ass. It sort of came with the territory, but that was fine too… everyone had their own teaching methods. But she needed to make a move before he decided that he might have enough time to double back and get his equipment. The lack of such things actually made for a great first lesson, and she planned on capitalizing on it.
Waiting for another half a breath, she landed silently on the dirt directly behind him and crossed her arms underneath her ample chest, her bright green eyes locked onto the young man and waiting for him to turn around. Her mane of red hair was tied back in a high ponytail and danced lazily in the breeze, and yet it still nearly reached her knees, but by all accounts, it didn’t look like she had weapons on her either, unless you were truly observant and noticed the pair of steel Senbon that were tucked into her hair, not looking like weapons and instead of seeming like decoration or something that was helping keep her hair aloft.
Once she had his attention, which she would be patient and wait to happen naturally, she introduced herself. “Good morning. I am Niko Kanuchi. I am the one who called you out here today.”
And then, she would wait for the response. Not a ton of people knew of her, even though she was an A-Rank Jounin, but that was how she liked it. She preferred to be known for her blacksmithing.
The sound of a sole pressing down on the earth, lightly grinding the dust beneath pricked his ears, and Irui’s whirled. He planted one foot forward, the other to his rear. With barely a sound the Jounin had made her entrance. He swallowed hard, half expecting to find a member of the Orthodox Church standing before him, yet his eyes settled on a woman with a warm presence.
She stood with a relaxed posture, her red hair flowing down her back, meeting his own expression with brilliant green eyes. “Good morning,” She greeted kindly, “I am Niko Kanuchi, I am the one who called you out here today.”
Irui’s cursing fizzled, and he straightened up as it dawned on him. “Uh-- err--Good morning Kanuchi Sensei!” He answered, “I’m Irui, from the Mikiri Clan and---” The boy twisted, and fished out the training scroll from his back pouch. He held it out for her to inspect if needed. “The Raikage’s office issued me this scroll, I was told to report here for training after….” He sighed, “Failing the Chuunin Exams.”
He’d offer the document to her to inspect. He’d run over it a few times outside the Administrative buildings. It contained not only analysis of his performance, but areas the village determined he needed to improve on, and where he’d most likely excel in. Reading it only confirmed for him just how poorly he’d underperformed. In the opening moments of the second round all he recalled was sensing the opponents before being hurled into a pond by Wind Release. The wounds on his side and shoulder were still tender, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t shake off.
“My last Sensei was Mikiri Morikawa, but I understand he retired. I--” He blinked, and tried to find the right words. “I haven’t exactly been able to find a permanent team the last few months.”
Irui fell silent, waiting for the Jounin’s response. The wind lightly jangled the wire fencing and rattled the signs, moving on to whisper through trees. If there was any time to reconcile with the past few months, to course correct and find direction, a small voice told him that now was the time. Thoughts of the Orthodox Church and Mora’s contempt gnawed at the back of his mind, so too did the Mikiri Clan who forbid travel outside the Land of Lightning.
Niko waited, listening and watching. Words were often crafted, designed to show one thing while hiding another, and could tell you a lot about someone, but there was one thing that worked even better than words; body language. Something she had learned was that often enough, the body language of someone would tell you the truth of how they were really feeling, and could often tell you if they weren’t being honest or even add on to the words being spoken and reveal more than they themselves knew. It was a skill she practiced often and had perfected with her time living with Oriana, who in the beginning, barely spoke at all.
This boy, his body was showing her his respect, but also just how defeated he felt. She would have to do something about that.
Not wanting him to stand around holding the scroll, she took it from him, recognizing it instantly; after all, she was the one who had put it into the system to be delivered to Irui. She had done the bare minimum of research. Who he was, what clan he was in, and a snapshot of what he had done so far. No surprise that failing the Chuunin exams had made that snapshot, but what really stood out to her was the lack of leadership involvement. No one else had stepped up and tried to help him develop after that critical loss; in all respects, the kid had been abandoned. Maybe it was that maternal instinct in her, but she saw this as unacceptable, and was going to do something about it here and now.“I can’t say what the future will bring… and honestly, the past is nothing more than a lesson. So we are going to focus on now and do what we can. Will I be your official sensei in a week? No clue. That stuff is way above my pay grade, and there is literally nothing you or I can do about it right? So no use wasting energy on something we can’t fix. What we can do is make sure you make it past the second test next time.”
It had come out fast and furious, but that was sort of the point. Holding his hand and telling him it was going to be alright wouldn’t do anything but baby him and make him soft. The world of Ninja was anything but soft. If he was going to survive, he would need smarts, strength and grit. She would focus on that. But she couldn’t be pure hardcore on him either. “And don’t be so hard on yourself… most of them didn’t make it past the first test.”
Walking past him, she flipped the scroll back into his hands and approached the training grounds, walking inside and moving to the center. Once they were both there, she turned to face him, and a soft smile played on her face.“So… what skills do you have?”
she asked, trying to get a feel of where she could train first.
--Irui caught the scroll and held onto it firmly as she passed. He held back for a second, ruminating on her words. What would he do with the future? He paused, focusing on the binding of the scroll threading its way around. A lump formed in his throat the more he dwelt on the exams-- he didn’t just fail, no. The more of the Second Exam he recalled-- a furious chain reaction of Fire and Wind Style, the levelling of several hundred meters of forest-- he knew in his bones he shouldn’t be standing here.
It was a pure freak accident that he had survived the onslaught. He’d been given the option to get up and try again. His grip on the scroll only tightened, teeth clenched grinding them. The briefest arc of Lightning Style jumped across the scroll-- tearing the smallest fibers away. Irui’s expression softened and he swallowed the bitter pill: He’d been given another chance, and he had to make the most of it.
Irui returned the scroll and followed Niko’s path into the Training area. She turned, and rather plainly inquired warmly, “So… What skills do you have?”
“Well….” Irui breathed, pausing as a strong wind blew in, scattering leaves and pine needles across the ground. “I’ve relied on Genjutsu until the Chuunin Exams, but I leaned too heavily on it,” He admitted. “I thought I was proficient, but I think I’m more suited to Ninjutsu and Sensing.” Irui immediately recalled the mission with Seid and Sasaki-- ambushing the smuggling compound in the southwest. He hadn’t been able to defend against Kodokai’s men until he’d delivered a Lightning Style technique, and when it connected with such raw force….
The corner of his lips twitched at the memory, and the boy caught himself.
“Sensei, may I ask, what are you known for?”
Niko had always been known a little bit for having ‘eyes in the back of her head’ because she started using Sensory from a very young age, and this was no exception. She didn’t miss the bit of electricity hitting the scroll, the slight twitch of his lips, everything was within her field of concentration, because she was solely focusing on him and their surroundings. Listening to his words, he seemed to be shifting focus after finding some glaring holes in his reliance on a certain skill, and she knew about that all too well. Whe Niko had been coming up through the ranks, she had relied almost solely on her ability to use her weapons with extreme proficiency and speed, and learned that some people were really strong against that type of tactic.
She had been forced to diversify, and came out stronger for it.
Niko nodded at the skills he revealed, but he needed to understand that hiding things from her was not going to be successful. “Not to mention the Lightning you seem to be able to muster.”
She had sensed it, and he needed to know that he should be open and honest with her. “The more I know about you, the better I can help. Sure, I could dig through your files and find out what I need to, but I wanted to give you the respect befitting a Kumo Shinobi. You tell me what you can do. Where do you feel strongest? What needs worked on?”
And then he asked her a question that made her smirk.
Reaching up, she pulled the pair of Senbon out of her hair and with a single hand twirled them between her fingers with practiced precision and speed. “Ever heard of the Hellforge?”
she asked, but considering his age, he might not have. Kagroth, her uncle and legendary blacksmith, had owned the shop, but they had their doors closed for a considerable amount of time at this point, and he might not know about the shop. “I am working to re-open the shop. Weapons, armor, mechanisms… I do it all.”
Casually, she threw the Senbon in his direction, a slow twirl to it so it would be easy to catch. Even if he didn’t catch it, the needle would stab into the dirt at his feet for him to pick up and inspect. It was better than anything the Market had available, but nothing too stellar.
--“Hellforge?” Irui echoed, the name not ringing any bells. So she wasn’t just a Jounin, she was also a-- “So you’re a world-class blacksmith as well as a Jounin?”
Irui’s eyes caught the glint of the senbon, and while it was a slow toss, his hand snatched it from the air; a smooth and sharp movement. His reflexes were improving, slowly but steadily, and he could feel it too in his grip and precision. It felt different from the exams, when he’d attempted to pickpocket the proctor for the answers; there was confidence in his nerves. Irui eyed the flashing metal and dropped his hand to his side.
“I fought a Tatsuda not too far from here-- a textbook example of what not to do straight out of the Academy,” He mused, “She overpowered me until I used Genjutsu on her, and the field evened itself. But I’m not as good I thought I was, and when the Exams turned into a NInjutsu slugfest….” He trailed off and breathed deeply. He hadn’t been able to do anything against the raw force of those techniques. “... I understand Lightning Style, at least I think do.”
Lightning Style, the signature chakra nature of the Hidden Cloud, was an element steeped in polarity, yin-and-yang, positive and negative. Some called it fire from the heavens; a lethal element that allowed shinobi to create floods of electricity to overwhelm their opponents. It was scarcely seen outside the Land of Lightning for good reason: Too few shinobi had as thorough of an understanding of the elemental style as the Hidden Cloud. Irui didn’t just want to create flashes of light with Genjutsu, no he wanted more; he wanted the strength that the Hidden Cloud were infamous for-- the ability to strike targets from long distance, or in the blink of an eye. Perhaps this was all youthful fantasy playing in his mind.
He switched hands--passing the senbon from right to his Marked left, twirled it into position. And tossed it back towards Niko; returning it on a similar, lazy arc-- a strange game of “Catch”.
“The Mikiri aren’t always allowed to leave the Hidden Cloud, much less the Land of Lightning. I’m sure you’ve heard that as a Jounin. So when I was younger, in the summer I’d trade stories with travellers. A man once showed me ornate Fuinjutsu from a far off country….” The wind returned, stirring the trees again, and Irui closed his eyes letting it pass.
“.... Anyway….” He said after a while, “I always thought the idea of turning text into Jutsu was really….Beautiful” Irui smiled lightly, “It's a skill I’ve always wanted to pick up.”
Niko gave him a warm smile. “The world class Blacksmith was my Uncle, Kagroth. I just inherited the mantle is all. I’m still working on my skills, but I am definitely better than anything the Market sells.”
She let him see for himself with the Senbon. The quality wasn’t all that different, but instead of Iron, it was made of Steel, which was far harder and more durable. The fact that he caught it meant he wasn’t completely inept with hand-eye coordination, as Senbon were inherently hard to spot when flying through the air. Granted, she had helped him with the slow arc, but still.
Hearing him talk about the Chuunin exams, she nodded again. “You understand the concept of rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats rock, correct?”
She knew most kids knew of the classic childhood game and decision making tool, but had to be sure before she continued. “Most ninja are exactly the same. Every skill has a way to counter it, and every ninja has a weakness. It’s how you manage that weakness that will have you standing on top of a certain situation. Take myself for example,”
she paused, allowing him to process what was said and prepare for what was about to be told to him. “I am extremely good with weapons, but if you manage to disarm me, I would probably be on your level. My hand to hand skills are completely trash for a Jounin of my caliber… but you will almost never see me without a weapon. Even something as a pair of Senbon I keep in my hair.”
She transitioned smoothly into the next topic. “Fuuinjutsu is something I am good with as well, and it’s diversity makes it one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. If you can think of a problem, chances are, Fuuinjutsu has a solution. I am in the midst of research right now on a type of Fuuinjutsu I will be able to apply directly to the skin and only reveal itself when you use it. Having that capability will allow me to carry around weapons and armor, multiple sets mind you, to help me compensate and have the advantage over any enemy I face.”
She then gave him a smirk. “But Lightning is one of the more powerful of the elements, in my opinion, as well as the signature element of the village. I think you have the right tools, you just need to get stronger, so let's start with that, hmm?”
She wanted to see what he thought of the idea before committing to it, as she was a rather open minded individual and cared about what someone thought.
--Irui nodded as he followed along. It made sense; the more diverse a shinobi, the greater their arsenal, the more tools they had at their disposal, and the more easily they could overcome obstacles. But a shinobi had to master the basics, something he had struggled with, and routinely fought with.
“Lets.” He said simply, agreeing with Niko. Irui bent down, and scooped up a handful of soil and rock-- and picked out the stray twigs. “I understand how the element fits into Nature transformations….”
“Lightning….” He said, and squeezed the dirt clod. A flicker of electricity arced between his fingers, trailing over and around the dirt. He focused more, and the lump pulsed once more with electricity before disintegrating into a fine powder. “Beats earth.” Irui let the substance, dry and course, run through his fingers and blow away into the wind. Irui glanced as the gust seized the rest of it and carried into the unknown. “And is insulated by the wind, neutralizing it.” He added, recalling something from the Academy.
Lightning Style he’d learned was a strange element in the world of Ninjutsu. Of all the elements, it was supposedly the most difficult for other nation’s to master. The Hidden Cloud long ago had simply occupied the niche, falling naturally into it. Folklore claimed it was a gift from the supernatural, others claimed the first Raikage tamed lightning earning the title. Even the Mikiri Clan had developed their own lore and studies on the subject-- the migration of energy from one state to the next. Within the Mikiri, it had always been naturally occurring, abnormally so. Something crawled through his nerves, unspooling in the back of his mind.
Irui looked down at his left hand, at the diamond-patterned mark, and narrowed his eyes on it-- two birthmarks overlapping. Yin and Yang, two halves intertwined, always sharing part of one another-- a cycle of duality. Polarity. He closed his fingers, and looked to Niko.
“Kanuchi Sensei,” He said suddenly, “I would greatly appreciate the chance to learn from you.”
Niko smiled at his earnest desire to become stronger, and nodded at the information he had presented, knowing the elemental rock-paper-scissors by heart. “Lightning has one other major advantage over every single other element out there that not many people think of… it’s extremely fast. It also is capable of being transmitted through metal such as armor or hand-held weapons, and can numb or paralyze people temporarily. Truly a diverse ability, and mastery of it will give you an edge over anyone who doesn’t have it.”
Niko then reached behind her and grabbed a pair of thick rubber gloves out of her pouch and put them on, then held a pair of Senbon, one in each hand.“Your goal is going to be to overpower the natural insulating properties of rubber, which will stop an electrical current completely unless it is vastly overpowering. So I will break this down into three phases. First, is accuracy. One Senbon will be your target, the one in my right hand, and you will practice your manipulation of the element until you can accurately hit the target ten times consecutively. I’ll use the other one to protect myself from any errant bolts. Once we get past this phase, we will move on… but this training… it could take days. I hope you are prepared.”
She gave him a warm, almost motherly smile of someone who had great expectations of the person before her.
--Irui’s earnest expression must have quickly given way as he pursed his lips and furrowed his brow in confusion as she pulled out a pair of insulated rubber gloves. She slipped them on, pulling them taut over her skin, and brandished the twin senbon. She’d changed the game. They would no longer be exchanging senbon, but rather the senbon would be the lightning rod, and Irui would be the thundercloud.
On the surface it seemed a simple enough task. He’d watched countless anvil-shaped clouds drift through the sky, forming against the Land of Lightning’s peaks as they gathered strength, then descended upon the lowlands, unleashing spear-like lightning. The highest points would be more likely struck by arcs of electricity connecting from cloud to ground. Irui folded his arms over his chest and tilted his head.
“So I have to use my Lightning Style to hit that point, and produce enough of a charge to overwhelm the rubber.” He murmured, understanding the exercise. “That other senbon you’re holding, will act as a lightning rod, diffusing the charge if I miss….” Irui turned now, and moved several paces back, and lined himself up with Niko. “I’d say ‘sounds easy enough’, but those are every Genin’s famous last words.”
Irui squared his stance, and took a moment to stretch his arms and fingers, before bringing them up and over, meeting together at chest level in the Tiger Seal. He breathed in and out several times, exhaling strongly before his hands snapped through the Snake and Tiger hand signs. Electricity sprang to life across his skin, arcing and snapping with a familiar warm pins-and-needles as it moved.
“.... Famous last words indeed….” He grumbled, squinting his eyes at the needle point. Irui’s stance shifted, one foot forward the other back. He raised one crackling hand to bear, and thrust it forward, sending a surge of multi-pronged energy snapping through the air from his fingertips . He felt the energy burst forth from within, and he pressed his outstretched fingers together, making a point with his hand, aiming for the needle point.
Irui’s teeth clenched. He knew the result before she’d say it, and felt it in his own movements/ HIs shoulder movement was too great, and uneven. The slightest wavering of the arm, even with the frenetic movement of lightning would be difficult to compensate for. He drew his arm back, and shifted the charge to the other arm; loosing another bolt of electricity; his eyes focusing as best they could on the needle point.
It was one thing to hit wide circular targets with Ninjutsu. It was a completely different skill hitting significantly smaller objects.
Niko watched as he prepared himself, looking and watching as he began to mold the chakra into electricity. This was extremely hard to aim, because of the chaotic nature of the energy, which is precisely why she made accuracy the first priority of her training of the element. He also caught himself getting too ahead of himself, and missed a pair of times, Niko’s other hand reaching out like a viper and snagging the errant bolts of electricity harmlessly. She knew this was asking a lot, but hitting a teammate with something as powerful as electrical jutsu could cost the entire team their lives, so if he could hit a Senbon, it would go a long way towards his development.
He would be able to use it with surgical precision, and that was nothing to scoff at.“You are doing well… an added benefit to this style of training is that it will help raise your stamina and body’s affinity to the element as well. Once you have hit it ten times, I am going to double the distance and we are going to do it again. I want you to be able to hit this Senbon at a hundred meters without fail before we proceed to the next phase.”
She gave him a warm smile, but now with the daunting task laid out before him, Irui would truly understand the toll that this was going to have. Niko was probably one of the kindest Jounin you would ever come across, but she was also probably one of the hardest working you would ever meet.
That meant when you trained with her, you had better be prepared, because she was going to find whatever limits you had and push you to where even you didn’t recognize yourself by the end of it. If there was one thing for absolutely certain, when Irui slept next, it would be akin to the dead, if she had anything to say about it. She would help him go beyond even his loftiest dreams… if he was able to put in the hard work and effort to make it happen.
--The lightning leapt the gap between them, scorching the air as it flew, but for as dramatic as it appeared, Irui knew the result: He’d missed. Niko’s arm shot out with the spare needle, catching the stray energy and diffusing it through her gloves. Hands and fingers still crackling with electricity, Irui made a sound of disapproval and resumed his stance.
She was right, there was no getting around it. The more a Shinobi exercised their nature affinity, the more efficient they became at handling it. Stories had been told for generations of Shinobi that could summon Water Style in the middle of a raging inferno, devastate fields with raging flames, or upheave the earth and transform it into canyons. Chakra was like a muscle, the more it was used, the greater toil the body endured, the better it could be handled. Irui’s fingers curled into claws.
Hit the needle ten times, then advance the distance, again and again until he reached what seemed to be an astronomical range. One hundred meters with Lightning? He breathed in, and settled himself. “Yes, Sensei.” Irui replied and set his sights on the needle. The faster an object traveled it would transverse its path more quickly, there would be less deviation from the path. If chakra followed the same principle, he had to guide his Lightning Release as firmly, and quickly as possible-- A straight shot from point A to B.
With a grunt, he threw his hand forward, clasping his wrist to steady the movement, and sent a bolt flying towards the needle point. Again and again, signweave, generate and cast, flashes of electricity snapped and hissed violently between the two of them. It wasn't enough to point the arm and fingers, the energy had to be controlled from its source to its termination. It had to be harnessed, restrained, sharpened. Lightning couldn’t be wild and erratic. The more he watched the flashes of energy, felt it course through his body, and spring from his flesh, he could feel it. Lightning, in nature appeared chaotic, directionless, but it always hit its target. It chose its target, meditated on its path, plotted its course, and with a brilliant flash drove its spear-point home into its target. Like the thundercloud casting its spear, he had to reign in the flow of energy.
Visualize the point, focus on the needle, let it unwind from the core, bring yin and yang together, and unleash the lightning. Flesh became cloud, and the needle turned to a lightning rod. Finally, with a savage hiss of energy, after numerous attempts, a writhing arc of energy snapped and coiled between irui and Niko.
Breathing hard, with sweat dripping from his brow, Irui grinned.
“Ten more to go….”
And ten more lightning bolts connected.The slightest deviation corrected, the Lightning controlled, brought back into order. At long last, Irui bent over, bracing himself on his knees, working to catch his breath.
Niko smiled. She could have helped him in a dozen ways, but there was absolutely no substitute for raw experience. To guide him along more than that would mean that he would become reliant on help instead of learning how to become sufficient and learn how to read his body, understand how the element interacted with it, and feel it and experience it over and over again. Now that he had hit the target ten times at a close distance, she would help him along with the next step.“If you can remember the feeling of what it was like to strike the Senbon, think about it while you rest for a moment. Get some water and recover while you listen. Resting will be important for growth as well.”
She waited for him to get comfortable and begin recovery before she began to speak again. “Lightning, naturally, is guided by negative electricity, and then the bolt, what we actually see, technically launches from the target back to the source following that negative charge. So, what we do to replicate those results is we use chakra to generate the electricity and try to simply force it where we want it to go. Instead, try seeking out the passive electrical charge already present in the Senbon, lock onto it, and use that to guide your lightning. It will likely make it far easier until you get to the higher distances where detecting the charge in the small target will become a challenge. You don’t see many pin-point lightning techniques because most people cannot master this concept. Questions?”
With her lecture complete about the workings of naturally generated lightning, Niko waited for his questions to come. She knew a considerable amount about lightning because she had researched it considerably, trying to find a way to harness that power in order to develop some more improvements for her Forge. She hadn’t been successful thus far, but the pursuit was coming in handy right about now.
--Irui had taken his seat, sitting cross legged with a canteen in his lap. Now that he’d taken a step back from the training area, he paused to note the sheer number of scorch marks peppering the field. More than a few branches had been zapped from their trunks, and he traced the scars left by electricity dancing through the grass. Had his aim been that horrible?!
Somewhere in the distance, the sharp crack of another shinobi’s Ninjutsu resounded. His ears pricked at the closer sound of a blade scraping against metal, and while the moment belonged to him, it reminded him that others needed training as well. The weight of his training slowly began to creep into his muscles, and the longer he sat the more content he became. Suddenly the crunchy, stony ground beneath him felt oddly comfortable, and he fought the urge to let it embrace him--
“--guided by negative electricity” Niko’s words sliced through the distractions as keenly as a kunai knife, jolting him back to the present. “-- and then the bolt, what we actually see, technically launches from the target back to the source following that negative charge.” She elaborated plainly, “So, what we do to replicate those results is we use chakra to generate the electricity and try to simply force it where we want it to go. Instead, try seeking out the passive electrical charge already present in the Senbon, lock onto it, and use that to guide your lightning. It will likely make it far easier until you get to the higher distances where detecting the charge in the small target will become a challenge. You don’t see many pin-point lightning techniques because most people cannot master this concept. Questions?”
Irui put the canteen down and wiped his mouth. What she’d described, as they rested underneath the swaying pines, made sense. From a young age, children in the Hidden Cloud were taught to be mindful, respectful even of the storm clouds that boiled into purple-blue anvils in the summer heat. They’d hear stories of shinobi whose kunai knives had begun to hum and crackle, or hair that stood on end. The paradox of Lightning Style was ultimately that Shinobi had learned, in a forgotten age, how to mimic lightning. It wasn’t true lightning, despite its name.
“Kanuchi Sensei,” He started, “The techniques I know generate erratic Lightning Style…..” Irui thought back to the men he’d snared and electrocuted. Bolts had flown from his fingertips, surging wildly through their armor. The results had been nothing short of gruesome. “You said you don’t see many pinpoint techniques, could you elaborate on those?”
He screwed the cap back onto his canteen and hopped to his feet. “I mean, how can I make my techniques as straight as possible?” It was a simple question, but he wanted to avoid setting the training fields aflame wherever possible.
Niko gave him a smile as his questions were posed; he was asking the right questions. Considering the information that had been provided so far, him discovering the answers required his mind be engaged, which was the entire point of dumping that information on him in the first place. “Well, most would tell you to use another item to channel it.”
Niko then reached up and grabbed something from the back of her hair, and suddenly her red hair spread out instead of being in the high ponytail as she removed the wire that had been holding it up. Niko had a habit of keeping weaponry on her at all times, disguising it as common things that you wouldn’t think twice about, this time it was ninja-wire that had been used to keep her hair out of her face.
She quickly wound the wire around her fingers a little bit, and with the flick of her wrist, the wire rose and danced around her as her arms began to move. Another quick flicker of movement, and the wire wrapped around the branches of a tree, as though it were an enemy. “And this point you would channel it through the wire and electrocute your foe. But relying on this has several weaknesses; it makes you predictable, and they can cut the wire or dodge it more easily than they could Lightning Release itself.”
She released it, flicking her wrist again and drawing the wire back into her hand, and with practiced movement, put her hair back up into the ponytail quickly and easily.“There are two methods you can use to help your accuracy. First is visualization. When you picture lightning, you naturally think of its natural form, which is very erratic normally. Change the way this looks in your mind, and focus on that. Whatever it is that makes you think of accuracy; an arrow, kunai, senbon… whatever you’d like. Next, you need to use that in combination with your normal senses to lock onto your target, and guide it to reach. The most basic example of this is a Lightning Bolt, which is a focused ball of electricity that is projected from you and is able to travel a considerable distance before running out of energy, but is also easier to dodge because it isn’t[i] erratic. But getting to that point, or some variant of your own, is very difficult. Lightning is a living thing, and has its own will. It’s up to you to [i]convince it to hit your target, despite the distance. It is not your slave, but with practice, your friend and ally.”
It was a lot to take in, but important nonetheless. Fire was much the same way, although much slower and easier to tame… but if he could master this, fire wouldn’t hold a candle to what Lightning was capable of.