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Recovering after the final tournament taught Takuma the importance of— if he could put it plainly— not getting his body fucked during a fight because even with the miraculous power of iryojutsu, the recovery period was just plain awful. There was a limit before the iryojutsu healing became a burden on the body, and natural healing with time was needed to get it back to top shape.
Around-the-clock stiffness, spikes of pain on even the slightest movements, and the annoyance that came along with everything were just miserable. Even after almost a week of bed rest, he felt frustrated that his body wasn't moving as he wanted it to. However, he was thankful to be out of bed. As much as he enjoyed rest and looked forward to sleeping in his bed after a tough day of work— the sweet instant sleep that came after collecting fatigue throughout the day was a bliss of the highest kind— but spending every moment tied to a room got tiring real quick.
Dressed in the Leaf shinobi uniform, Takuma walked into one of the administrative buildings in the shinobi cantonments in the village. He asked around and found his way to one of the many small offices lining a corridor. Takuma knocked on the door and stood by the threshold until Yoshio called him in.
"Come sit," said Yoshio from behind the neat but packed desk with documents, stationary, desk decorations, and photo frames. The sight of the burly chunin, with the body rivaling a professional bodybuilder, sitting behind an office desk looked stage to Takuma's eyes.
"Good afternoon, sir," Takuma said as he sat across from his instructor. The room was a small office with one wall covered with filing cabinets, drawers, and shelves, filled with files, scrolls, and paperwork. The other walls were covered with calligraphy hanging scrolls, a fish ink print, some old weapons, a collection of fuinjutsu tags under a photo display, and other shinobi-related knick-knacks
"How're you feeling?" asked Yoshio as he set aside the documents he worked on.
"Stiff, sir. Iryo-nin's healing has worked wonders as always, and I believe I'm ready for duty."
"Good, good. It wouldn't have looked good if you were absent during your batch's briefing." Takuma's batch of genin had been given a ten-day break till the start of the following month before they officially started as on-duty genin. "Do you know why I called you here?"
Takuma gave his words a short thought. "My reward for winning the final tournament," he decided to be direct. The thing that kept him alive during his recovery was the thought of his pending reward. He looked forward to his first C-rank jutsu.
Yoshio grinned with a snicker. "Right, the reward. I didn't expect out of everyone in the batch, you'd be to receive it. I bet myself that it would again go to one of the clan brats who didn't appreciate it. A fresh surprise for it to go to someone who it'd truly help," he got up from his desk and asked Takuma to follow.
They exited the building, and Yoshio led them deeper into the cantonment where they arrived at a heavily guarded building with high and thick walls. The building was unmarked and looked unremarkable in every way except for the fact that they had to go through three layers of security, each with increasing levels of security and a number of shinobi who scrutinized both Yoshio and Takuma with unguarded suspicion and distrust. They checked their shinobi identification and asked them to submit their weapon packs on the counters before letting them enter.
Yoshio handed one of the guards something and told him something while Takuma was submitting his weapon packs. The same guard then led them into the building.
"What is this place, sir?" Takuma whispered to Yoshio as they followed the guard.
"It's the C-rank jutsu archive," Yoshio didn't hush his voice.
Takuma couldn't have been more shocked. The D-rank jutsu archive hadn't been anything like that. He had been let inside the archive after a simple ID check. The amount of security seemed overkill. Takuma wanted to know more, but the vibe of the place kept him silent. He would ask more questions when they got out of the premises.
They were led to an empty room with nothing but a small desk and a few chairs with a single shelf fixed on a barren wall that held a few binders. Yoshio told Takuma to sit down before turning to the guard, who handed Yoshio a square slip of paper.
As Yoshio sat down, Takuma looked at the guard, who didn't go out and continued to stand near the wall next to the door, staring at them. He made hard eye contact with Takuma, who was the first to avert his eyes.
"Here, hold this," Yoshio handed the slip of paper to Takuma.
The paper was rough, unlike the commercial paper made by machines; instead, it felt like handmade craft paper with an uneven surface. It had a dirty, dull grayish tone and was smaller than a standard post-it note.
Takuma looked up at Yoshio, confused, not knowing what to do with the slip.
"Your Raiton jutsu, it doesn't work good for you, does it?" said Yoshio. "You must've felt it difficult to learn and improve your proficiency in it. Nenro used the same jutsu— that's how it's supposed to work and not how you do it."
Takuma pursed his lips, feeling bitter. He had looked back on the fight in his recovery. After the surprise that Nenro had chosen the same jutsu as him and hadn't said a word to him about it, his thought had gone to how much better this teammate was at the jutsu than him. It wasn't even a competition. It wasn't just that. Nenro knew three jutsu— two ninjutsu and one genjutsu— and from the sound of it, he was better at the other two than he was at Raiton: Shokku(Lightning Release: Shock). It filled the quota for the regular dent in his confidence.
"Don't feel bad about it, it's only partially your fault," Yoshio said.
"What do you mean?" Takuma sighed, a headache overcoming him.
"Every person's chakra has a level of affinity towards one of the five basic nature transformations: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Lightning. Learning ninjutsu matching your affinity is much easier to learn and improve in than one that's not your affinity. I believe the reason why you were so much worse than Nenro is that he has a high affinity toward lightning, while yours is pretty low. That's why shinobi find their highest affinity and stick to it as the jutsu came easier to them."
Takuma frowned at the paper slip as he listened to Yoshio. He felt like he was forgetting something.
"That," Yoshio pointed at the paper slip, "will tell you your highest affinity."
Takuma's frown deepened before his brows went to his hairline. "No, no, no," he remembered… he remembered what he had forgotten. The paper slip. He knew what the paper slip was. He had seen it used in the manga once when Naruto learned his Futon: Rasenshuriken.
"What happened?" asked Yoshio, confused.
Takuma grabbed his head as he groaned. "I knew this existed, but I forgot. I didn't check my affinity when I chose my jutsu. I wasted mission points, time, and effort."
If he had checked his affinity against the paper slip, he would've known which element to focus on. The time saved on learning jutsu, he could've put into improving his lacking taijutsu skills. There were so many things he could've done.
"Not necessarily," said Yoshio.
Takuma looked up at him. "What do you mean?" he asked.
Yoshio pointed at the paper slip. "Do you know how much one of these small slips costs? If you bought one, you wouldn't have been able to buy your jutsu. Chakra Induction Paper is made from a special tree grown and fed with chakra. The tree needs to reach maturity before it can be processed into paper and the maturity period is twenty years. The care put into growing that tree is massive, making them rare. This small slip would've drained your mission points, and even then, you wouldn't be able to buy it."
Takuma ogled the slip in his hand. Suddenly he felt anxious holding something so precious. He put it down on the table, fearing it would get wet from his sweaty hands.
"For most people, it's beneficial for them to go through all five releases to find their affinity because that's cheaper than buying one of these," said Yoshio. "I bought this for you, this wasn't supposed to be part of the reward. I was going to bring you here, let you look at the catalog, and whatever you chose, it was yours."
"Let's just say you winning the tournament was good for me."
Takuma wouldn't lie by saying that he didn't feel touched.
"Now, channel some chakra into the slip and get this moving. I don't have time to sit with you for the entire day,"
That felt more like it.
Takuma picked the slip and channeled chakra into it. He felt the paper absorbing the chakra, and almost instantaneously, the paper turned a dirty brown like a litmus paper and crumbled away into dirt.
He looked at Yoshio. "Earth?" he asked.
Yoshio nodded. "Yes, earth. You have the highest affinity toward Doton jutsu. That's surprising. I thought it would be water with how well you performed Suiton: Kirigakure Jutsu. But it seemed I was wrong. Was it easy to learn that jutsu?"
"…It was easier than Raiton: Shokku," said Takuma. He had picked up Suiton: Kirigakure Jutsu(Water Release: Hiding in The Mist Jutsu) after being sick of failing at Raiton: Shokku(Lightning Release: Shock) as a second option which fortunately ended up working better for him.
Suiton: Kirigakure Jutsu covered the surroundings in a thick mist and allowed the shinobi to control the thickness with their chakra. When the opponent lost their visibility and the means to defend against attacks, it was time to strike in the 'dark' and finish them. It was a useful jutsu he remembered being used by Zabuza during the 'Bridge Arc.'
"You must've worked hard on it, and it paid off," Yoshio got up and walked to the wall shelf to retrieve a binder. "These are the C-rank Doton jutsu accessible to everyone with enough mission points. Whatever you choose— doesn't have to be a Doton jutsu— it's already paid for. Choose one and let him know," Yoshio pointed to the shinobi guard. "Take your time, I'm leaving."
After Yoshio left, Takuma began to flip through the catalog. Compared to the D-rank archive, there were lesser options in C-rank library's catalog, but the options were still enough that he knew he wouldn't be able to choose on the spot.
He turned to the shinobi guard. "Is there any way I can get a copy of this binder to take home?"
"No," the guard frowned. "Nothing inside this facility leaves the premises. If you want to read the catalog, you read it in this room. If you're granted access to a jutsu, you read it here. Nothing will leave the premise."
"Wait… I won't get a jutsu scroll if I buy one?!"
Takuma's mouth hung for a moment before he gulped and asked, "May I ask why? I mean, I got the D-rank jutsu scrolls to take home."
It wouldn't have been a problem if a jutsu scroll was only a set of hand seals as that could be memorized in a single sitting, but it wasn't just that— the research that came after the hand seals and the rudimentary tenketsu chart was the critical part about the jutsu. The research material described the intricacies of chakra that happened while casting the jutsu and how the transformed chakra interacted with the mind and body. For Raiton: Shokku, there was an entire section on how the lightning bolt was made and how making a mistake during the casting could electrocute the user. There were specific instructions on how not to do that and what to do if the casting was interrupted in the middle so that the shinobi could avoid a backlash. The Suiton: Kirigakurescroll had vital information like how to dynamically control the density of the mist after casting— if he didn't read that portion of the scroll, he wouldn't have been able to adjust the mist's thickness, and it would come out a random thickness as he wasn't skilled enough to get it right every time during casting.
"Do you want to be kicked out?" asked the shinobi guard.
Takuma promptly shut up, even though he thought the guard was rude. He could guess why the jutsu scrolls weren't issued for those who purchased them. Giving out copies of jutsu meant inviting piracy and illegal copies. The state wouldn't like a black market of powerful jutsu scrolls floating around in the wild.
A large disclaimer on Takuma's D-rank scrolls warned him not to copy the scroll's content and sell the copies(or original). Everything was forbidden, highly illegal, and a criminal offense punishable by law. And Takuma didn't want to do that. The shinobi court of law wasn't kind to those who broke its rules— the punishments were much more severe than their civilian counterparts.
The only thing you could do with the scroll was to sell it back to the state, who did buy back the original scrolls if a shinobi wished to sell them back.
He sighed again. With no choice, he opened the catalog and began reading.
It looked like he would be visiting the C-rank jutsu archive a lot in the future.
 That's it for ARC-02! ARC-03 is next. I was looking at ARC-03 doc, and it was shit. I'm not a editing guy to make everything correct, but even I was ashamed to see how many mistakes I had let past. It was like I had written the entire thing half-asleep. Will take a day or two to edit everything out to the best of my ability. See you guys soon.
 Even though I have already written fifteen chapters in ARC-03, I'm ALWAYS open to ideas. So, if you guys have something you wish to see, put them in the comments— I read everything. Your suggestions can be about anything— but here are some talking points:
-- Setting: We are officially entering the Genin Corp, how do you guys think it should be.
-- Takuma: What all changes do you want to see in him. This category is for personality and such. What do you wish to see more in Takuma.
-- Relationships: This isn't limited to romantic relationships(Takuma is too young for that). It can be anything from friendships to rivalry to antagonistic relationships, or any form of relationship.
-- Everything Else: As I said, everything's welcome.
[Complete] ARC-02: The Nourishing Training Camp for Top Genin
Word Count: 60,446
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The link is in the synopsis!