177 The New Initiative (1)

Nawaki, for the most part, is standard but good. He does admittedly look a bit lackluster due to the people around him, be it his Sister, his Sister's Legacy Guardian, his mentor, or even a few talents from his generation but these individuals are beyond the top 1%, and knowing all this, Nawaki keeps up with a sense of reality and does not let all this hinder his path of growth.

As he said, they are grown-ups. And it's this bit of maturity that stops Nawaki from pouting and complaining about how it is unfair that Minato managed to create an S-ranked forbidden Jutsu or how his mentor and others still seem to be growing despite already being strong.

Time waits for no man and others will never ask Nawaki's permission to grow. Knowing all this, Nawaki has polished himself to be a textbook but dangerous shinobi— Be his knowledge of medicine, traps, and tactics to his skills in Kenjutsu, Kunai, Taijutsu, and Ninjutsu. While Nawaki lacks higher-ranked Genjutsu in his arsenal, it's not due to the lack of motivation.

Everyone except Kai and Orochimaru could be said to have their preference and specialization to improve greatly on a few aspects and not become a weaker jack of all trades. Orochimaru has instilled enough experience in Nawaki to identify and ward off the most basic Genjutsu while the youth specializes in Ken, Tai, and Nin.

Not only that, Kai has an astute assessment of the youth after their spar. While Nawaki's chakra reserve outclasses an average Jonin and his Kenjutsu is most likely to be in the same class as well, he has yet to amass an arsenal of Ninjutsu that helps him in dire situations. While offensive Ninjutsu is great and all, those that support a Shinobi's survival are needed the most. Not only that, Nawaki has yet to train in nature transformation itself the same way Kai, Mikoto, and Kushina did years ago.

This is only because Nawaki needed to spend time learning about administration to take over the clan. In essence, it's a compromise. And when asked about this situation, Nawaki admitted his lack of training in nature transformation and did state he intended to put his shadow clones to good use for the act. While the Chakra reserves of the Senju are lower when compared to an Uzumaki, this is simply a situation of a goliath compared to a larger goliath.

Both clans boast insane physical standards and chakra reserves after all.

Yet, the training looks like a success. Kurenai still remains on the quest to understand how Hikari Aburame placed her in a Genjutsu, Kinju continues to rally the aggro, and Asuma, too, understands his weak points to work on. Hikari has her taijutsu to polish. Shizune needs to work on her ability to shrug off the opinion of others and Konan needs only to get used to the weights since her ninjutsu and taijutsu are solid for someone her age and rank.


The next day, the training continues as usual. Team 6 and Team 9 arrive at a training ground and the two Senseis hand off their teams to Might Duy. The passionate youth then brings away the two teams for the usual jogging and then other taijutsu training as the remaining duo and the ninken start to spar.

"Repeat after me—" Before Duy can finish, all the genins jogging behind him raise their voice at once!

"The flames of youth burn through our veins!"

Duy's eyes widen momentarily and he briefly sneaks a glance behind to find anyone barely slacking behind. While the first day everyone ended up passing out, Duy did ease into the training yesterday but that also revealed Rin and Obito were a bit too embarrassed to put themselves out there.

Duy did not mind that. Behind the sheer ridiculousness of a green jumpsuit hides a father who wants the best for his son and that is why he understands what kids are. They are just monsters to be molded. While that is indeed how Duy has been raised, he makes a deviation in this generation to not mold the monster into cruel ones.

Yet, yesterday, Team 6 took the lead. Konan, Kurenai, and Shizune did not stop. They did not lower their voice even once. And it looks like the rest of Team 9 turned out for the better today.

Grinning broadly and tossing them a thumbs up, Duy shouts, "Let's keep going! Four more rounds!"

Rin and Obito barely resist the urge to speak out that they are getting sore when Kurenai hisses in between her wheezes, "Yes, Sir!"

"Hah," gasping for breath, Shizune recalls her defeat from yesterday and the one title that still seems to haunt her before gritting her teeth in frustration and admitting, "Yes!"

"Are they serious?" Rin jogs closer to Konan and feels the sheer heat rolling off Bluenette as Team 6 continues to push itself to the edge of its limits. This catches Rin off-guard for a moment and Konan looks at Rin seriously, "Are you?"

Rin's lips part open and Konan follows behind Kurenai and Shizune who take the chance to put some distance between them as a sense of competition brews within them, too.

"Tch, what's up with them? They're all acting like jerks and teacher's pets at the same time," Obito purses his lips and mutters in an annoyed tone.

"Didn't you know?" Rin looks at the youth with surprise, "Kinju is calling Shizune traitor even now..."

"Oh..." Obito frowns, a little unhappy. After all, due to their team Senseis being on good terms, the two teams know each other quite well and the fact that one of his friends is calling another one of his friends a traitor leaves a complicated taste in his mouth.

But that's the good thing about being kids.

You hear from one ear and let it pass from another as Duy demands their focus on training by calling out to repeat words after him loudly once more.

On the other hand, Rin looks at Konan's back with a pout.

'Kai-san calling me distracted is one thing... he is joking, of course. He likes to tease others. But... how can Konan question if I am serious or not?' Rin grumbles internally and then wonders something else, 'Kai-san... is joking about that, right? Or am I actually falling behind somehow?'

Picking her pace, Rin focuses on her situation, 'I don't think I'm behind in medical knowledge... no,' recalling the exam Nagato set for Team 6, she frowns, 'I am behind... even now, they are wearing ankle weights. I am not... Guy is ahead of me, too. Obito knows ninjutsu, too...'

She is subpar.

And the fact that one of the most well-known shinobi of the village has been trying to warn her this every time they meet only for her to take it as a joke... shows her how shallow her thought process has been.

The four rounds demanded on an impulse are actually delivered but by the end of it, instead of jogging, Team 6 is barely walking. And then comes rest.

Sweet, sweet rest!

"Alright, you six! Keep up with your training and missions," Duy grins and reveals his blindingly pearly whites, "We have one more day of pure training to let our passion for youth burn more furiously! Let's give it our all!"

"Yes! Father!" Guy pumps his fist while others wave him goodbye with an exhausted— "Yay..."

After a while, once Tsume is rested enough to move after her spar, she barks out for her team to gather themselves, too, "Come on, let's go! We have other stuff to do!"

"Sensei, can we stay today? Kakashi's team is going to be here today, right? I want to spar with him, too," Obito raises a request at this point and Guy blinks in surprise before nodding, "Me, too! Kakashi has been evading my challenge constantly!"

"Give it a rest, you two," Rin frowns, "Kakashi is busy and you two shouldn't bother him."

"Or, the more appropriate response of a Kunoichi with nothing better to do in face of learning from better counterparts would be— yes, let's get better," Kai smiles at Rin and the girl flinches. Again, the youth's demeanor is anything but serious but now that she focuses on him, his smile didn't reflect in his gaze. And... she is left wondering— Did it ever?

"It's alright with you, Alpha?" Tsume looks at Kai and already feeling Cinnamon's reluctance for she will be further pestered by Kuromaru, Kai grins, "Sure, why not? Just my team alone wouldn't have competed well with Mikoto's team in the first place."

"We'll get better, Sensei," Kurenai pouts, "You don't have to constantly remind us that we're weak."

"You're not weak, of course," Kai smiles sincerely and Kurenai's expression eases.

"You three are... hmm... still 'green.' Kurenai, you still don't get how Hikari put you in Genjutsu. The answer is simple but it's this simplicity that gets you all confused."

She only huffs while Kai looks at Obito and Guy for a moment before closing his eyes.

It doesn't take long for Team Mikoto to arrive but they bring some startling news, too.


"What do you mean?" Konan looks at Yahiko. He never spoke about this to either her or Nagato yet Kai and Mikoto look oddly calm despite how 'strange' Yahiko's news truly is.

"Well, I realized this during that competition due to Tsunade-sama's bet but... what I want to achieve cannot be done by being part of a three-man cell under a Chunin or a Jonin," Yahiko chuckles while scratching the back of his head, "So, I'm going to take break for a while and visit other lands before the skirmishes on the border turn more intense."

Konan furrows her brows harder, still unable to understand what Yahiko means and she clenches her fist, "Tsunade-sama won't—"

"She allowed it," Mikoto sighs with a smile and looks at Yahiko, "And only him."

"Yeah," the orange-haired boy nods, "I wanted to tell you and Nagato the moment my request is approved by Lord Third which happened a few hours ago. I already met with Nagato in the hospital but waited for you to complete your training with Guy's Pops."

Konan looks at Kai with her amber pupils demanding a detailed explanation but what greets her is a cold reality as Kai reaches out to ruffle Yahiko's hair and chuckles, "I hope you have fun. When are you leaving?"

"Tonight," Yahiko smirks and Konan snaps, "Are you kidding me?! I thought you wanted to help orphans like us once you grow up! What are you talking about traveling now?!"

Kakashi, too, looks at Yahiko with frustration visible in his gaze. While Yahiko isn't extremely talented, he did give Kakashi quite a good spar every now and then, and... losing Yahiko also meant that their Three-man cell will either be disbanded or they will have a replacement, something Kakashi found hard to accept after his most recent loss.

"You two will have time to discuss in private after your training," Mikoto interjects, "The only reason Yahiko tried to break the news is so that you and Nagato aren't caught off-guard tonight."

Konan snaps a glare at Mikoto and narrows her eyes, "Did you already know?"

Turning her attention to Kai, she demands, "Did you?"

Raising an eyebrow, Kai grins, "What do you think?"

In reality, as Yahiko said, he only felt this way a few days ago and worked on the situation to find a better place to achieve his goals.

"Oye, Konan, calm down," Yahiko pats her shoulder, "We'll train, have some fun and I'll treat all you guys... although, I didn't know the weird Uchiha would be here, too?"

"Excuse me?" Mikoto looks at Yahiko as he sweats bullets, "Ah, not you Sensei. I meant him," he points at Obito.

"Hah?" Obito raises his voice.

"You're the only Uchiha with goggles... you're pretty weird, you know."

"I'm done with this training," Konan scoffs and crosses her arms, "Until you tell me what's going on, I'm not training!"

Her direct declaration silences the growing clamor as Kai matches the defiant blue-headed cinnamon's gaze with a curious expression, "So... your answer to unexpected news of someone else is to hinder your duties as a Kunoichi? Boy, you really aren't cut for the position of importance like the ones held by Nagato or taking the initiative to achieve goals like Yahiko. If you've got a problem, at the pace you receive information, raise your quality."

Looking around, Kai continues calmly, "The same goes for you all. Demanding information by being stubborn instead of using your qualities is quite a discouraging act. And Konan, if you would have taken a moment to cool down, you would realize Mikoto did say you'll get time to ask questions later."

Konan falters for a moment and explains, "I—"

"You will sit back on this training. If others want to practice with you, they will approach you," Kai commands coolly and Yahiko purses his lips in dismay as he sees Konan on the verge of tears. She rarely acts this way... Yahiko cannot help but feel guilty. But when he decided on this endeavor, he readied himself to give up on a lot more aspects of his current life.

Kai's unquestionable disposition cools down other's jets, too, and soon, like yesterday, Mikoto leaves a clone before leaving with Kai to spar. Although they used to spar regularly, with his wooden clones in the act, Kai has been unable to spar with others any time of the day so he, too, relishes the chance to polish his already impeccable edge even further!


Alternative Title: No Defiance Accepted!; Throwing Tantrums is for Kids, Drunk Tsunade, Kushina, and Kai!


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