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 Camping trip

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Join date : 2014-12-15

PostSubject: Camping trip   Sat May 16, 2015 4:46 pm

A camping trip, that's what it was for the young Hatasuko girl as she wandered back to the usual clearing she used for training. Seresana wore her usual attire of the large, white, short sleeved shirt held close to her form by a few tightly wrapped bands one of which was black and around her chest, another green and around her right arm at the shoulder, and the last around the upper waist and grey. Her usual black pants were present as well, right along the 3 bands around them that kept the baggy black material held tightly against her, two of which were green, one adorning her thigh and the other on the other leg around the shin, while the last grey band was around the shin of the same leg that had a green band around her thigh. The simple footwear she wore wasn't terribly remarkable or out of the ordinary past just being a simple brown in color. Seresana's left arm also sported the usual wrap of bandages as she expected to shoot today and having the extra little protection along her forearm had more than already lived up to it's purpose from prior training sessions. Her dark, raven black hair had recently been cut and framed her head just the way she liked it so that her bright emerald eyes were made all the more prominent by it and her fairly pale skin. She also now sported a small pair of earrings, a fairly new addition to her usual attire and for the moment were just small little orbs rather than anything truly noteworthy, though she did already have another pair picked out for when she was ready for them.

In her hands, Seresana held on tightly to her stick bow, a crude and weak replica when compared to what the real instrument was like, but it was her own work that had gotten her this instrument and she was proud of it regardless since it'd managed to survive prior training sessions. A  crude quiver rested at her hip, another of her own productions that was roughly stitched together out of mostly scrap pieces of leather that hadn't been used by her father, but now at least resembled something she could use herself to hold the stick arrows she'd spent some time making. It would only take a moments glance to realize that the arrows were also a home made creation of the young girl as they still mostly appeared to be modified sticks that still had their bark. The thirteen thinner and shorter pieces of wood did have some work done to them though, each sporting a feather to help the thing fly straighter and even though none could see with them all resting in her quiver, each arrow also sported a stone, roughly triangular arrowhead held in place by thin string. On her back, Seresana sported a larger backpack than usual that bulged outward in numerous spots thanks to the large number of things packed into it. There were even a few things that hadn't actually fit inside the large pack, and were simply hung on the sides of it by rope or cord. It'd take one only a moment to ascertain that Seresana was planning on being out for quite some time, and apparently planned to go farther out than she usually did as she simply kept right on walking past the clearing where she usually trained.

The sun was out in full on this day, warming it much like it had for many of the other days in the summer months, and only a few clouds littered the sky on this otherwise clear day. Seresana however couldn't see that much of the actual sky though with her walking through the forest and with the fairly thick canopy of trees above her, though this also kept her in a fairly constant stream of shadow that kept her from the harsh sunlight. That is until she got to the stream that she was trying to find, something Seresana'd swam in after many training sessions, but there wasn't time for swimming today and instead she turned to the right and began following the gently flowing water upstream. She walked along the banks for hours, occasionally glancing wistfully at the water as the sun beat down on her, but Seresana was resolved to make it to her campsite before relaxing and so she pressed on with only a couple drinks from her water bottle.

Hours later, and well after the sun passed it's high point in the sky, Seresana had finally arrived at her location. The terrain had started to get a little more rocky as she'd walked, but it had just recently became more sharply sloped to mark the presence of the mountain she was now standing at the foot of. Seresana then thought back to her father's advice about choosing a spot to make a camp at. She wanted to be close to the water, that was for sure, but not so close that she'd have to deal with any animal that wanted a drink or have to worry about being flooded out should rains start to fall. Looking back to the stream, It flowed a little more strongly here, just after a short waterfall over some some large boulders. The sounds of the water cascading down over the hard surface carried well here, and for some distance from the actual source when there wasn't all that much to take away or cover up the noise. Still though, right here on the banks of the stream were poor choices for her campsite since they were low and only just barely spared from the streams steady current. She could even look at the ground and notice the signs of stream sediments on the dirt and knew full well that where she was standing could  be prone to flooding should it rain, so her search for a suitable camping location needed to continue. Seresana tore her eyes away from the waterfall scene and continued walking, this time though, she turned away from the stream a little more and proceeded a short ways into the woods around the forest. It only took a short while for her to find a suitable clearing where the sunlight streamed through an opening in the trees, warming the soft grass below that was caught in this island of light. Seresana walked around the clearing, and finding it's opening fairly free of rocks and other debris, she sat down her backpack and began to unpack.

First was the tent, a simple thing provided by her parents that had seen much use over the years of being owned, but still served well enough and had the few holes in it well patched. It took a couple tries, but soon enough Seresana had the structure up and standing and she took a step back to admire her work while wiping some of the sweat from her brow. "Phew, that took longer than I thought," she said to herself while looking around the clearing and then towards the center of it. "Guess I need to get a fire pit built and some wood collected for a campfire now," Seresana said aloud before digging into her pack again and retrieving a sharp and well used ax, another of the items provided by her parents for this little camping trip. With it in hand, Seresana proceeded into the woods to retrieve some firewood. After quite a bit of searching through the lush vegetation, she came to a fallen tree that hadn't succumb to too much rotting yet, and proceeded to begin hacking away at it. Getting a few logs, Seresana slapped her head as she realized something she could have done to make this a lot easier on herself and resigned to do so after her return, but for the moment, she had all the wood she could carry back on this trip. Grabbing up the arm full of logs and sticks, she began the trek back to her campsite, arriving after a far shorter time than it'd taken to find the fallen tree in the first place. After depositing the small collection of wood into the beginings of a pile, Seresana turned her attention back to her pack. Removing a couple pieces of the rope that held other bits to the pack, Seresana picked back up her ax and proceeded back to the log to get some more fire wood. Hack after hack was made into the fairly dry wood until she had a decent collection of sticks and small logs. Then she got her pieces of rope and laid them down parallel to each other about shoulder length apart before getting some of the sticks and logs and placing them perpendicular to the bits of rope. Then Seresana made a couple small loops on the end of each piece of rope before stringing the other un-looped ends of the rope through the loops and pulling them taunt so that the cords tightly bound the pile of sticks together. Content that it'd hold up, Seresana tied the remaining lengths of rope back to the bundle to make some straps she could sling over her arms and practically double the amount of wood she could carry.

Grabbing up a large bundle in her arms as well, Seresana began the trek back to her campsite, arriving back still a little bit before the sunset really began. With this bit of extra time, Seresana deposited the wood she'd managed to lug back both in her arms and on her back and then took a moment to examine the pile. "It's a decent amount, but I could still use some more," she said before glancing towards the sun. "But I really need to get he pit setup while I still have light to work by," she went on before turning towards the river again and started walking that way. Arriving back at the stream, Seresana began to look for a collection of rocks to ring her small fire pit with, and didn't find much of any trouble with the act given the rocky nature of her current surroundings. There plenty of rocks at the mountain base and around the small waterfall and Seresana was soon struggling back to her campsite with a couple armfuls of stones. She had to make a second and third trip before she had a respectable circle of rocks though, but now she had a suitable place to build her fire, and it was close enough to her tent to provide warmth and comfort without immediate danger of burning it all down. With another glance towards the sky, Seresana noted with some shock that the sun was well into setting and thanks to the tree cover, she already couldn't see it. "Wah! How'd it get so late already? I need to get the fire going," she said while rushing over to her pack again to retrieve some matches. Then Seresana retrieved some sticks, twigs, and leaves to get the initial fire going. She layered the small logs together so they could catch off of the smaller sticks and tinder that were being shoved beneath them. Then Seresana used a couple matches to light some of the dry tinder, and once the flames caught, she added more wood until the flickering flames caught the larger logs and began to burn brightly. Seresana fed the fire a little more wood then, at least until she was confident it was in no danger of going out anytime soon, and she let out a content sigh.

"Phew, got that going just in time," she said aloud while sitting back and looking to the now mostly dark sky above her and then to her already diminished wood pile. "I should have gotten more," she said glumly before digging into her pack for her dinner. Retrieving the packet of noodles that had been dried and prepped, Seresana also unbound the pot that had been tied to the side of her pack and poured some water into the dish. Then she sat the piece on some of the red and glowing coals next to the open flames of the fire. Just then, Seresana's stomach gurgled loudly and she'd realized with a start, she'd missed lunch. With a sigh, Seresana wandered back over to her pack and retrieve the prepared meal that she'd forgotten about. "I can't believe I forgot about lunch... oh well, just means I get to enjoy it now!" she concluded happily before ripping the top off of the box and began digging in while waiting for the water in the pot to come to a boil. About two thirds of the way through the box lunch, the water came to a boil and Seresana dropped the dried noodles into the liquid and waited for them to cook while continuing to enjoy her late lunch. When she finished the box, Seresana went about adding a few extra  spices and things to her pot of noodles before pouring the meal into a smaller bowl and sitting back to enjoy her own 'cooking' if one could call it that. After slurping up her first big mouthful of noodles, Seresana looked up towards the sky and watched it happily while eating. The dozens of lights she could see through the hole in the canopy created quite a show for Seresana as she ate. Her eyes going wide as one of light suddenly appeared and streaked across the sky and in her excitement, Seresana choked a little on her current mouthful of noodles. With a few harsh coughs to clear her airway, Seresana weakly grasped for one of the bottles of water and downed almost half of it right there. When she was finally able to breath easily again, Seresana gasped and panted before exclaiming loudly. "Oh wow, a shooting star!" Seresana cried as she watched the sky for any more but she didn't see any, still she was sporting her happy grin while slurping up more of the noodles and watching the night's sky. "That's got to be a good sign," Seresana said though after a few moments and more mouthfuls of noodles. Seresana drank the last of her noodle broth then and poked the fire a couple more times before just sitting back and watching the night's sky, and the dancing flames until she started to feel tired, which really didn't take that long given how much she'd had to do during the day.

When her eyes began to droop, Seresana poked the fire apart so that the burning sticks and logs were reduced to softly glowing cinders, and then she poured the remainder of the noodle broth that was still in the pot out over the cinders to extinguish them. Seresana then went to her pack and stored the thing up in a nearby tree with some effort after retrieving her sleeping bag from it. Then Seresana took the sleeping bag and proceeded into her tent, taking off her shoes just past the entrance and proceeding to get ready for bed. She'd barely gotten the bag unrolled, and herself undressed before slumping onto the material and starting to fall asleep. With the last vestiges of her waking thoughts, Seresana squirmed into the sleeping bag so she'd be nice and warm during the cool night, and drifted off into the land of dreams.

One uneventful night later, Seresana's eyes slowly flickered open and she yawned widely before wearily sitting up. Slowly she rubbed the sleep from her eyes and gradually donned her next set of clothes. She put on her sandals before stepping outside and looked about the clearing. The dew soaked grass glistened brightly in the morning sunlight, and the day was already beginning to heat up under the sun's radiance. Seresana stretched long and breathed in the morning air deeply, letting out a content sigh as she relaxed again and looked about the campsite. Not wanting to fight with the dew soaked logs to get a fire going, Seresana instead went over to her pack and retrieved a couple pieces of fruit from it for her breakfast. An apple and some juice later, and she was ready to begin her day, the first of three she'd decided to spend out here in the forest to really strive and train herself hard. Not wanting to waste any time, Seresana grabbed up her bow, the quiver of arrows, her kunai and shuriken, and a roll of paper and proceeded back towards the stream. Once there, Seresana looked about to find a suitable tree to hang the paper target from. Once a large old tree was located, Seresana hung the target from it and flattened it as much as she could against the surface for her practice. Then Seresana ran back a short distance, drew her first arrow and took aim at the distant target. It was a lot farther than the usual one she had back in the clearing since now that she was along the bank of the stream, there was a longer stretch of open space she could use.

The first arrow was loosed and Seresana watched as it sailed through the air, passed the target on the right side, and planted itself into the dirt behind the tree. With her grin still present, Seresana drew her next arrow and readied her aim. "I was close, even at almost double the range, just have to adjust a little bit and..." She released the next shot and watched as it sailed true and hit the target solidly, sticking out a short ways to the right of the bulls eye, and only a tiny bit above it. "Hah, I've got this!" Seresana complimented to herself before drawing her third arrow and preparing to shoot it as well. Seresana got to work on this training, similar to as she had done so many times before. She started changing it up a little though as she got to work, striving to take less and less time aiming while still maintaining her accuracy. A difficult task, even if she were using a proper bow, but Seresana hadn't such luck yet, or the proper money, and so was stuck struggling to improve her accuracy with the little improvised stick bow. Shot after shot, having to run down to the target and sometimes past it to retrieve arrows that had missed, and then back to her position to take the shots again. Hours were spent performing this procedure, but by the time the sun was reaching it's apex in the sky, she was hitting the target regularly and consistently within the second closest ring while only sparing herself a brief moment to aim. Yet the training wasn't without it's casualties as 2 of her home made arrows shattered and broke upon use and a third simply disappeared, never to be found by the young girl.

It was around now though that her stomach growled loud enough that she missed her last shot badly. "Oh wow, I didn't realize how hungry I'd gotten," Seresana said with an awkward smile as she ran down to retrieve the 3 arrows she'd already shot and the one that had missed. Gathering them up, she proceeded back to her campsite and got the fire going again. As it burned, Seresana got her pot out again and this time loaded it up with a different kind of soup packet. A cheap thing to be sure, but the meaty broth promised to be filling along with the jerky and vegetables she'd brought along, and with a piece of fruit to act as desert, Seresana was plenty full by the end of the meal. "Ah that was great," she said aloud and gently patting her stomach. "Welp, back to training I suppose," she said before standing back up, cleaning up her little mess some, placing the unused bits of food back up in a tree, and grabbing back up her bow and arrows before moving back to her new little training spot. Arriving a short while later, Seresana began to make her training tough all over again. This time as she shot, Seresana was walking about, trying to keep mobile and moving since her target couldn't. Her first few arrows missed completely, and it was actually quite some time before she was hitting the target accurately again, shot after shot, arrow after arrow thunking quietly into the wood of the tree. Then gradually, Seresana would begin moving about faster as she shot, increasing her speed and giving herself less time to aim, just constantly making the act of hitting the target a challenge. Seresana would keep this up until she was running about, taking shots on the sprint and jump. At first, she was missing these horribly, but as the hours crept by and the shots were repeatedly taken, Seresana began to miss by less and less until she finally managed to score a hit on the tree. Not even caring that it'd taken hours and countless shots to score that one hit, or the fact that her next couple dozen shots were still rather inconsistent between managing to hit the target and miss widely. Taking these shots on the active move though was pressing far more wear and tear on the arrows though, and she was burning through them regularly, steadily dropping down to only 4 arrows by the time she was managing the inconsistent hits. She could only push herself so far though and by this time her fingers were starting to throb, a clear sign that it was time to stop should she hope to continue practicing her bow shooting in the following days.

So Seresana collected up her few remaining arrows, stowing them in the quiver and then removing said quiver to lean with her bow against a tree. She wasn't done though and set about continuing to practice, but this time with the kunai and shuriken. She was doing the same kind of practice, first just keeping well away from the target and trying to throw with less and less time to aim. Then when she'd feel comfortable with that, Seresana would begin moving about while throwing the weapons, going faster and faster as her accuracy got back up again. Luckily, Seresana didn't have to worry about the metal weapons being destroyed from their impact with the trees and so she was able to practice to her heart's content. By the time the sun was beginning to set though, Seresana was encountering a couple other problems. The first of which was that her target was becoming more tears, cuts, tips, and holes than paper. The other problem was that with the setting sun, and the lack of light to throw by wasn't helping her. She went over to the remnants of the target, and retrieved it from the tree, planning to use the paper as some extra tinder for tonight's fire. Then she scrounged about until she found all the little throwing weapons and set them in the carrying case. Lastly she, grabbed up her bow and quiver still holding the few remaining arrows, and proceeded back towards her campsite.

Arriving back at her new little clearing, Seresana stirred the cinders and remaining logs until she had them arranged in a decent manner and added in a few new logs before trying to get the fire going again. By the third attempt, the flames caught and Seresana was able to sit back and relax in the comfortable warmth of the fire. For a little bit, she just sat and watched the flames dance before her, getting lost in the entrancing flickers of light that fought against the overwhelming presence of night. Seresana would have probably remained lost in the little campfire for some time longer if it wasn't for the sudden rumble of her stomach that drew her attention to the fact that she was once again at the end of a long day with a lot of activity. With an awkward smile, she got up and went over to the tree that held her backpack to retrieve something suitable for dinner. She pulled out another one of the soup packets, the the other halves of the vegetables she'd used back during lunch time, an apple, and a bottle of water to wash it all down with. Repeating her already known procedures, Seresana set the pot on the cinders so that way she could boil some water and prepare her soup properly. Soon after the water was boiling, she added in the chopped up vegetables and the broth mix and while letting the mixture cook a bit more, Seresana munched on her apple. Finishing it off a bit before the soup was finished, Seresana disposed of the core and then tended to her soup until it was good and ready for her to enjoy under the light of the starts and in the radiance of the campfire. It didn't last long, and Seresana was surprised when she was scraping the bottom of the pot in a fairly short amount of time. Still, she felt full enough and didn't want to over do things, so she simply put away the cooking supplies and made sure her backpack was up in the tree again before retiring to watch the fire and stars. There was no shooting star this time, but Seresana still happily watched the skies for any until her eyelids began to droop and had consistent trouble staying open. When it became apparent that she wasn't going to be able to stay awake much longer, Seresana dispersed the fire as best she could and crawled into her tent for bed. She wasn't as exhausted this time and as such was able to easily switch over to sleeping clothes before crawling into her sleeping bag and curling up to keep warm in the cool night. "Two more days," she mumbled to herself before letting sleep take her.

That night however, Seresana had a visitor, one who had seen her earlier in the day when she'd been practicing and had taken a slight interest in the youth. It'd been some time since he'd seen someone so young venturing this far out into the woods and apparently staying there for an unknown amount of time. Now, he wandered into her little campsite, noting the way the fire had been handled, the way the pack with food had been stored, and the way the tent had been raised. "Hmm, I wonder who's taught her," the man asked himself as he stood outside Seresana's tent in the darkness that preceded the dawn. Then he quietly turned and left, without saying a word or leaving any distinguishable trace of his presence.

Morning came soon after, and Seresana woke with a yawn, once more wiping the sleep from her eyes and none the wiser to her mysterious visitor. She climbed out of her tent and noticed that most of the dew was already dried up and gone. Grimacing slightly at the late start to her day, Seresana got to work rekindling the fire and getting some breakfast prepared. The fire was alive in seconds and soon her breakfast of some hot tea, a couple rice balls and an orange was ready. When finished with her meal, Seresana went to her pack to once more put away her cooking supplies, but this time she pulled out several scrolls and some familiar tools that she'd used when making arrows before. After the rather intense training yesterday, Seresana needed to make some more arrows if she was really going to practice with her bow again tomorrow, she was going to need some more arrows. Placing the collection of materials near the fire, Seresana wandered off a short ways in search of more suitable sticks to replace the arrows she'd lost yesterday. She scoured the area and with the remoteness of it, she expected to find plenty of sticks that'd serve the purpose of her makeshift arrows, yet no matter how she searched, Seresana was only able to find another five sticks that were even remotely suitable to use. Determined though to keep looking at the bright side, Seresana returned to her camp with the sticks held tightly and placed them near the tools and scrolls.
Seresana then looked towards the fire again and noted how low it was, she turned to go add some more wood to it only to find that her little pile of wood was all but exhausted. With a sigh at the even greater delay she had to now face, Seresana went back over to her pack and retrieved the ax she'd used when first arriving to get some more wood. She started to walk away from the campsite, but remembered the trouble she'd had at first when she didn't have the ropes to help carry extra wood. Turning back around, Seresana ran back to her campsite and collected up the two lengths of rope before departing for the fallen tree she knew of again. Luckily she actually knew that the tree was there this time and so she didn't have to take too long finding it. Seresana got to hacking away at the log, the dry wood easily sundering under the sharp blade of the ax and soon she had several pieces of wood set upon the strands of prepared rope and then wrapped tightly by the binds. Grabbing up the remaining stack of wood in her arms, and leaving the ax being suspended in one of her bands, she walked back to her campsite with quite a bit of effort with all the heavy pieces of wood, but she still made it back and deposited the wood in her little pile. Finding it to be adequate for the moment, and partially just because she didn't want to have to make another trip back to that fallen tree, Seresana put the ax back and moved back over to the small fire where her scrolls, sticks, and arrow making supplies were. First she cracked open one of the scrolls, unrolling the document and reading through it's text while beginning to prepare her sticks to become arrows. Similar to form, Seresana began by breaking off the twigs and such so that she had only fairly straight sticks with only a few if any protrusions along their lengths. While doing this, she also poured through a scroll about chakra manipulation and how it reacted with one's affinity for a particular element, still finding no real topics related to her unique chakra paper reaction. That was just more proof that all the scroll her mother had given her proved to be true.

Before Seresana began to make the cuts in the back ends of the sticks for the fletching, she rolled up the current scroll and cracked open the next to begin reading it. This one was more advanced and dealt with more active use of chakra. As Seresana read through the scroll, she made the careful cuts in the backs of the sticks, and then proceeded to slip the feathers into the new slots before tying them tight so that the feathers would stay there even when shot. The current scroll was taking a bit more to read through and so Seresana got to work with the arrowheads, making the slots and attaching them as she tried to work her way through the scroll. Seresana had to pause though to add the painted rings to the ends of her arrows though as she didn't want to even risk getting any paint on the borrowed scroll, but once that task that took a relatively short amount of time was complete, she had all five arrows finished and ready to join her other ones in the quiver. Still, she left the quiver and her bow leaning against her tent and went back to the scrolls she'd been reading through. Now that she was able to focus on the readings a little more thoroughly, Seresana was making more steady progress through the scroll and soon rolled that one back up. Looking over to the other scrolls she had, Seresana saw she still had three more scrolls to work through and let out a sigh before cracking open the next one. This scroll was more specifically over genjutsu, how to initiate it, maintain it, and utilize it once it was in effect. This text Seresana had less trouble discerning, especially after working her way through the more advanced chakra control related scroll. While she read, the hours crept by, the sun continuing it's march across the sky and causing the shadows to first shorten and then begin to elongate again as the sun passed it's apex. Seresana would occasionally pause in her reading, taking a moment to meditate and concentrate on her chakra, practicing on focusing it to different areas of her body as per the prior scrolls instructions, and generally trying to maintain the abnormal distributions for longer periods of time, almost exercising the force like another muscle. Eventually though, she worked her way through that scroll, but when she rolled it up, Seresana didn't immediately crack open another. Instead, she set about getting another meal prepared as it'd gotten a bit past lunch time by now and while she hadn't done much, there was a some present hunger to Seresana that she just couldn't ignore.

With a few pokes to the fire to stir it back to life, Seresana had a few pieces of jerky and some other little snacks before getting up and dusting herself off. She looked towards the other two scrolls but didn't open either one as she instead turned towards the river. "Hmm. I think I'm going to want fish tonight," she said to herself before going over to her pack and retrieving some fishing line already tied off to a hook, some rope, and a small knife that had been provided by her father. Then she wandered off towards the stream, arriving at it fairly soon. The small waterfall created a small pool of water around it's base, but it rather quickly tapered off into the thinner and gently flowing stream that lead off into the forest. Setting down her gear, Seresana set about finding a decent stick to use as a pole and tied the end of the string that didn't have a hook on it to the end of the stick. Then came the search for bait, something Seresana had done plenty of times and found rather easy as the first rock she checked under had a large night crawler that wasn't able to escape into the dirt before Seresana's hand had seized it. With a baited hook, Seresana got another small piece of wood and tied it a couple feet up from the hook before tossing the line out into the current. Then Seresana reclined back on the bank, enjoying the shining sun and the gently rolling clouds while patiently waiting for the improvised bobber to show the tell-tale sign of a fish taking the bait. Seresana had quite a time to wait as several minutes passed by before the small piece of wood suddenly dipped below the surface and Seresana yanked back on the pole. The hook set and with a few tugs and steps away from the stream, she had her first fish. It was a fairly small thing, but only the first of what she hoped would be many. Seresana strung the fish on the thin rope she'd brought with her and then let the fish sit in the water. It could not escape from the cord, but being submerged in the water would keep it alive until Seresana was ready to return to the campsite and cook the meal. With that fish handled, Seresana cast her line back out again and resumed her little fishing experience. She once again leaned back and waited for the bobber to plunge under the water, and while she waited, Seresana thought back to the more advanced scroll that hadn't really made a lot of sense to her while reading it. She didn't have long to think about it though before the bobber dipped down again and Seresana pulled in her second fish that was strung up similarly to the first.

With two fish on the line, Seresana laid her improvised pole on the ground and looked towards the sky. The sun was still high overhead, and the weather was very warm if not full on hot. The water before her looked rather inviting and now that she had the fish, she didn't need to worry about disturbing the water, so Seresana stripped down to her underwear and stepped into the water. The stream was nice and cool, a refreshing contrast to the almost muggy heat of the air around it. Swimming about a bit and just relaxing in general in the clear water, Seresana's mind once again wandered back to the advanced scroll and more specifically, a technique it outlined. It'd shown the ways a shinobi could focus and maintain chakra at the bottoms of their feet to walk on top of the water as well as other unstable or unusual surfaces. Wanting to try it, Seresana half swam, half walked up the stream to the little pool of water with the waterfall. Near the center of the pool, and fairly close to the waterfall, there was a large rock that peaked out of the water. Seresana climbed up and out of the water and onto the flat, slick surface. Once there, she sat down for a moment in a meditative position to focus on her chakra and try to redirect it to her feet. A minute later, Seresana stood up on the rock and wandered to the edge of the large stone. She cleared her mind, thought about what the scroll had shown her one more time, and then took a bold step forward. "WaaaH! 'SPLOOSH'", a splash of water erupted upwards as Seresana plunged into the cool water with no hesitation at all. Resurfacing a moment later, she spat out the water that had rushed into her mouth during the panicked outcry and coughed a couple times before shaking her head. "Pleh, well that didn't work," she complained to herself while swimming over to stone again and pulling herself up on it. Seresana stood up on the boulder again, refocused her chakra and tried stepping off the boulder once more. "Waaah! 'SPLOOSH'", and once again, she plunged into the water with absolutely no hesitation only to resurface again, spitting and coughing out the bits of water that she'd accidentally swallowed. Seresana grumbled a little before climbing up onto the rock to try again, and again, and again, but each time resulted in the same immediate plunge and with no signs of any improvement. Gradually though, Seresana started spending less time trying to focus her dwindling reserves of chakra and adding more and more of a jump into the step off the boulder until she was just straight up using the boulder to jump into the water from, having fun and giggling all the while. Then a thought came to her and she glanced towards the waterfall. Wanting to test it first, Seresana got to about where she thought she'd land and swam down. Finding the bottom of the pool to be fairly deep, she swam to the shore and began to hike up the side of base of the mountain, hooking around so that at the end of her little stroll she was standing at the top of the waterfall, roughly twenty two feet above the water. With a slight skip just to make sure she wouldn't clip any rocks on the way down, Seresana jumped off the small cliff. In her free fall, she managed to do a flip before diving into the water below.

"Oh wow, that was fun," Seresana replied after resurfacing and swimming about before going to the shore to again to run back up to the top of the waterfall and jump off again, doing another flip before hitting the water. Giggling after she resurfaced, Seresana was back to openly enjoying herself, laughing and giggling as she ran back up to the top of the waterfall and jumping off again and again, eventually just settling to lay back on the rock and relax in the setting sun and to the sounds of the waterfall next to her. "Ah, this is nice," she said while laying back but an errant and cooler breeze sweeping by was enough to get her to sit up and look towards the sky to note the tints of orange starting to appear in it. "Oooh, time to get back I guess," she commented before jumping off the rock again and into the water. Then she swam down stream a little bit before coming to where her two fish were still strung up near the shore and climbed out of the stream. She found her clothes where she left them and donned them quickly before getting her fishing supplies together and collecting her fish. Then Seresana rushed back to her campsite, trying and succeeding in getting back fast enough that she still had enough light to get the fire going again and then starting to cook the fish over the flames. "Mmm, this will be wonderful tonight," she commented as she sniffed the cooking fish and got a few other things to have with the food. After being sure the fish was thoroughly cooked, Seresana happily enjoyed her meal and with it finished she set about cleaning up her cooking mess. Only then did she notice the other two scrolls that were still left out and unopened on the ground nearby. With a 'hmph', at forgetting the articles, Seresana picked them up and put them back with the other scrolls, though taking the extra effort to make sure they were on top so she'd hopefully get to them first near the start of tomorrow. Tomorrow was to be the last day of this little camping trip after all, and Seresana was feeling pretty confident in what she'd managed to accomplish so far on this outing. Sure it'd been alone, but she'd had fun, read plenty, and she at least thought she'd gotten a little better with her bow. Tomorrow also marked a return to her more physical practice along than her chakra practice.

Seresana turned her gaze to the night's sky again, watching the stars and moon overhead. At least until a loud rustling, and louder squealing growl sounded out from a nearby bush, ripping Seresana's attention back to earth. Seresana had barely enough time to stand and take the first few steps towards her bow before a large boar stepped out of a bush. The beast was snorting and sniffing hard as it looked about Seresana's little campsite, it's old tusk gleamed dully in the fire's light, and the ragged hide had the scores of prior battles adorning. the boar took one look at Seresana, let out another squeal and proceeded to stomp and rake it's hoof in the dirt, a clear sign of it's intentions to charge. Seresana gulped and nervously glanced over at her bow and arrows, just a scarce few feet away, but she didn't dare turn her back to the boar for now, lest she invite it to charge her. Slowly, Seresana took a couple backwards steps towards her bow, but she was still a foot away when the boar suddenly let out another squeal and charged her. Seresana let out an 'eep!' as she quickly took the last step she needed to get her bow and arrows and jumped out of the way of the charging boar. The beast's charge crashed into her tent, ripping the flimsy structure from her from it's posts and temporarily blinding the boar. While the boar whipped it's head back and forth to try and remove the tent from it's face so it could see again, Seresana drew and arrow, took aim and loosed the projectile. The arrow landed solidly against the creature, piercing it's hide, drawing some blood and a loud squeal from it, but the beast was still thrashing about. Seresana drew again, taking aim and firing when she knew she'd hit, and sure enough the arrow smacked into the the boar's side, producing a similar effect to the first arrow, only this one didn't stick in and after drawing a little bit of blood, simply fell out. Seresana also shot her third and fourth arrows with more of the same, but as she drew her fifth arrow, the boar succeeded in finally ripping the tent off it's face. It turned to glare at Seresana and charged the young ninja who for the moment nervously grit her teeth, and held the arrow drawn. When it got close enough, Seresana gulped and released the arrow, only to be shocked when the arrow all but bounced off the creature's skull. Seresana barely had time to react after her shot though before the boar was right on top of her. The beast kept up it's charge, aiming to drive the tusks into her, but when it did, there was just a poof of smoke and her form was suddenly replaced with a small log from the pile of fire wood where Seresana was now standing and panting from the sudden exertion. The boar was stunned for a moment in confusion as it tossed the small log off it's tusk and looked about until it found the panting Seresana.

"No way," Seresana said aloud as the boar prepared to charge again. Seresana didn't draw her next arrow and instead tried another trick. A quick hand sign, a bit of focus and 'clone', she thought while performing the jutsu. Another poof of smoke later and there were 4 more Sena's standing around, each one drawing an arrow and taking aim at the boar which barely hesitated despite the appearance of four more enemies. Confident in her little illusion, Seresana held the arrow at the ready and waited for the boar to charge, which it did shortly after. The beast charged forward and when Seresana had another excessively close shot at it's head, she released the projectile only to watch in horror as the arrow once again harmlessly bounced off the boar's skull. With Seresana's attack not slowing the boar down at all, it's charge plowed through one of the clones, and a swift kick from it's back legs took out a second one. The three remaining clones all turned away from the creature and tried to take a couple steps away before actually running back a bit and away from the frantic creature. While on the run, Seresana drew another arrow, and in mid stride, turned about and fired the arrow, only to see it miss the chasing boar, her first miss against the creature as it chased her and the clones around the campsite. The boar however seemed to have a few plans of it's own as it suddenly put on a burst of speed that surprised Seresana, allowing it to catch up and take out another clone. That left Seresana down to one last clone and  a single arrow in her quiver. Looking over and nodding to her fake self, Seresana abruptly stopped, drew the arrow while turning around and aimed at the boar, but she didn't shoot yet. The boar got closer, and closer, and when it was right on top of them, Seresana and the clone jumped up, abruptly aiming the bow straight down at the creature and fired the arrow. It pierced the hide, and even stuck in like her first arrow, but the creature was still alive, and while Seresana and the clone were in the air above it, the beast suddenly threw back it's head, the tusks and skull catching Seresana's feet and throwing off her jump.

Seresana landed hard on her side, and her left foot hurt badly and the clone that had to follow her actions hit a tree and disappeared with a puff of smoke as well. Groaning, Seresana pushed herself up on her elbows only to gasp in fear as the boar glared angrily at her. On instinct now, she drew a kunai knife, and held it front of her defensively but she doubted the effect of the weapon against the charging strength of the large boar. The beast raked it's hooves again as it prepared for another charge, and Seresana looked about worriedly for a way to not end up gored on those tusks that were lowered and aimed now directly at her. With a gulp, Seresana waited for the beast to charge, and when it did she acted. Throwing herself up back onto her feet, Seresana's form bore the brunt of the charge, only to disappear again in a puff of smoke that marked a switch between herself and another small log from her fire wood pile. Seresana didn't waste her time though, hobbling over to the nearest tree and grunting through the pain in her foot to get up it. She managed to haul herself up onto a branch well before the boar recovered from the latest little trick, and there she sat and panted. She'd used up too much chakra throughout the day and now she was left panting and tired while sitting in the tree with the boar right beneath her, squealing angrily up at her. Regardless of the boar's wishes though, it still had hooves and couldn't climb up the tree to get her. She was safe for now, only needing to wait it out now. It wasn't long though that the adrenalin from the scene began to wear off and the exhaustion she felt came crashing down upon her. Her limbs felt heavy, her foot hurt, and she was tired, all in all she was exhausted and soon fell asleep in the tree.

Come morning, Seresana woke up stiffly, and feeling a little cold. She stretched roughly and nearly lost her balance on the tree limb she'd spent the night on. After a moment of panic at the thought of falling, and then another at the thought of the boar still being about, Seresana regained herself enough to look about and see if the boar was still in sight. Despite her looking, she couldn't spot the animal and so gingerly lowered herself out of the tree, wincing strongly whenever her left foot had to be used. "Oww," she complained when finally back on the ground where she just sat for a moment in the grass to keep the weight off her foot. She couldn't stay like that for long though, there was training.... Seresana's thought was interrupted as she recalled a very important part of the prior night, and that being she'd shot all of her arrows trying to fend off the boar. Seresana forced herself back onto her feet with a groan to begin searching for the arrows, only to be a bit shocked when she saw so much blood on the ground. "I know I hit it, but I didn't think it did that much," she commented with some confusion as she stared down at a fairly large bloodstain. Once more, the stain appeared to be in the middle of a large section where the grass had been flattened considerably more, and the blood pool was smeared as if something had drug itself along the ground while bleeding. Now Seresana was really curious, and after gathering up all the arrows she could find, which was unfortunately only five, as well as her kunai and shuriken, she proceeded to follow the trail of blood into the woods. Near the start of it, Seresana drew an arrow and kept it nocked to the string as she hobbled onward. Deeper into the woods Seresana went, and the harder the trail became to follow. The drops of blood becoming more scattered and less frequent. More than once even, did she have to double back a little ways to redetermine where the blood trail was headed. Eventually though, Seresana came across what looked like a little shack. Mostly made of wood, the small hut like building had a few animal hides out in front of it up on racks, the pelts stretched tightly on the wooden frames to dry after being treated. The hut had only a single visible opening, and that was the front doorway, a simply thing with a flap hanging down to provide some privacy to the occupants inside. A small plume of smoke drifted however drifted out of what must have been a second hole in the roof of the structure.

Driven by her insatiable curiosity, Seresana proceeded up to the structure and hesitantly pulled back the leather flap that served as the hut's door. Inside was a surprising amount of room and things inside. In the center of it was a well worn fire pit, ringed with rocks and with an iron stand over it for cooking. Currently though, the metal framework was all that was present. Directly behind it seemed to be something of a cross between a desk and work table, obviously hand made and hand repaired, but looking fairly strong where it stood. On it's surface were numerous thin pieces of wood that Seresana would recognize as arrow shafts in the work, the wood shaving from them being properly prepared still littered the ground around the desk. There was also a small bowl full of what looked like actually sharpened stones to serve as the arrowheads, and just past that was another one with a collection of the same kind of feather, all laid about the same way. A very well made looking quiver was left leaning against the side of the desk, currently holding a decent collection of arrows itself. Casting her eyes to the left of the desk then, Seresana beheld a collection of bottles, jars, and other containers that seemed to be holding quite the variety of things, though if she had to fathom a guess, she'd assume it was an area for food as there appeared to be dishes on it. She could also see that in some of the glass jars were fruits, vegetables, and what she could only believe to be dried meats like jerky. With that spot scoured, Seresana turned her attention to the right and saw a crude but rather inviting and comfy looking bed right up against the hut's wall.

"It's rude to just go into someone's home, you know," said a slightly guff, annoyed, and deep man's voice behind Seresana, making her jump up and bump her head on the doorway of the hut. Seresana ducked back down while rubbing the back of her head and backed up enough to where she wasn't in danger of repeating that blunder and then proceeded to turn around and regard the owner of the voice that had startled her so badly. It was a man, and one that towered over Seresana's own smaller frame. He had boots on instead of the usual sandals, made of leather and well worn. They came up to a short ways past the ankles, keeping the bottoms of the darker brown pants he wore bound tightly and unable to flare out. On the man's chest was a simply leather vest, and over his shoulder, Seresana could see the feathered ends of arrows sticking out of a similar leather quiver. The man also carried a bow in his right hand. A large weapon with a gentle curve that strong spoke of the immense power the weapon held on it's taunt string. The man also sported a thick belt with a few leather pouches hung on it, but their contents were a mystery. He regarded Seresana for a moment or two as well before shrugging and walking on around to the back of his hut where a different looking station seemed to have been erected. Curious, Seresana followed and was shocked to find the boar from last night, dead and in the beginning processes of being skinned. "You did a number of this hide with all those sloppy shots," the man commented glumly as he worked.

"Sloppy! I only missed him once!" Seresana protested while stamping her foot to the ground. "I even managed to hit him mid jump once," she added with a little grin to herself.

"Did the boar die to that?" the man asked simply and without looking back over at Seresana, who's arms fell to her sides as she couldn't deny the facts.

"No, none of my arrows really seemed to hurt it," she admitted while looking down.

"Sloppy shooting. If you don't know where you need to shoot, then you might as well not be shooting at all," the man continued, much to Seresana's dismay.

"Buh, but," Seresana stammered as she tried to form a protest but nothing was coming to mind as she stood there, and the man didn't give her much time before speaking again.

"And you try to hunt with a toy," he said dismissively. To this Seresana didn't respond vocally, and instead just looked down to her bow weakly. The roughly bent stick with it's tight string did look a tad childish when she took the time to really examine it. Especially when compared to the almost stunning weapon in the man's hands. The powerful looking and expertly carved wood almost spoke of the power it held. Then there were the arrows, her crude little sticks with their little stone arrowheads were a mockery of a comparison when one looked at the well made arrows in the man's quiver. Their fletching being smooth and even with each other, the shafts shaved into the fine, straight, round little strips, and the heads themselves were carefully carved pieces of flint, that despite the crudeness one had to deal with when working with hard stone, still showed the obvious signs of craftsmanship so that they were roughly the same size and sharply pointed. Seresana took one of the arrows out of her quiver just to have the in hand comparison and was almost down trodden with the sizable gap in quality. Her arrows had exceptionally rough heads given that they were just stones she'd found with absolutely no work done to them and was just lucky enough to have been triangular in shape, the shafts were still covered by bark and despite the relative straightness of them were plagued with little dips, curves, and knots, and then her fletching was rough clumpy feathers that were lucky to match.

"But I worked hard on these," Seresana tried to protest.

"And it shows."

"Huh? But you just sai-"

"Even toys like those can show someone's determination and talent. And as I've seen, you've got some of both at least," the man said finally looking back at Seresana with a critical eye. "Not to mention how you fought this boar," he added with a gesture to the skin he was still working.

"Then... can you make me a bow like yours?" Seresana asked hopefully.

"No," the man replied without looking up from his work.

"No?"

"No, I can not make you a bow. I do not have the time, and you would not benefit from something another made," the man replied and turned back to his work. "It would be a waste to take such a shortcut."

"Then could you teach me how to make a bow?" Seresana asked then, taking a tentative step forwards to look around and see what the man was working on.

"No."

"Can you teach me anything?"

"Not until you have a weapon that shows resolve worthy of being taught," the man replied simply.

"You mean you'll teach me if I can get a good enough bow?" Seresana asked hopefully and happily.

"If you can MAKE a good enough bow, then perhaps, but that will remain to be seen until you have such a weapon," the man replied as he finished the skinning the boar, and then started to get some things together to make a frame for it as well.

"I don't want to be disrespectful but, why?" Seresana now asked as she watched him work.

"I am an old man, with no kin to speak of anymore, and I would not see my knowledge pass solely to the dirt," he said simply. "You know a good bit for one so young, and it's through no lack of trying or effort. If you can prove you have the resolve and the talent I deem required," then I might see towards imparting some of what I know to you young miss," the old man went on, and for the first time since meeting him, Seresana actually took notice of the man physical features. The abundance of grey and white hair that marked his old age, the wrinkles and loose skin that hung on thinned yet still muscled arms and legs, the aged eyes one of which was grey and the other still a vibrant blue, and the long beard the man sported all shown greatly of the man's old age.

Seresana regarded the aged man before her with a new level of awe, and bowed deeply to his offer to teach. "I will fulfill this task mister..." Seresana trailed off as she still hadn't gotten his name.

Thankfully, he offered it then. "Ranzaki Tokamin," the old man said as he looked down at Seresana with critical eyes.

Getting the hint, Seresana repeated and went on. "I will fulfill this task Mister Tokamin, and then you will teach me, Seresana Hatasuko, what I can learn," she finished with another bow, but when she raised back up, Seresana was a touch uncertain on what to do.

Noticing this cluless expression, Ranzaki spoke up. "Well you won't be making a bow here or in a single day. Go now and leave me to my work, back to your little camp site and then home with you until you have a bow worthy of my teaching," the old man said dismissively and while waving her off.

Seresana winced a little, but ultimately smiled up at Ranzaki, nodded, and then turned to leave. "I'll be back, and with a bow that's just as good as yours!" Seresana called as she began to work her way back to her campsite, only for her first step to force a harsh hiss out from her mouth. Not wanting to show weakness though, Seresana bore the brunt of the pain and continued to walk away, trying to hide favoring the injured foot as much as she could. Soon, the old man and his hut disappeared in with the forest surroundings, and Seresana was once again alone in the woods as she hobbled back to her camp. Free now from the prying eyes of Ranzaki, she didn't try to hide her staggered steps at all. With the limp though, Seresana's progress back to her camp was slower, and it took much longer to return to her campsite, but when she did, there was a definite collapse of relaxation as she leaned back against a tree and looked at the damage the boar had inflicted. Her tent was ruined, with several holes and tears throughout it, the temporary structure had been forced into an early retirement. The fire pit hadn't really suffered any damage as the boar hadn't seemed to want to get too close to the open flames, but her woodpile was knocked apart and scattered about. Luckily, her pack was safe and undisturbed from where she'd left it in the tree, and that returned a hopeful grin to her face. It'd turn out to be short lived though as that hopeful grin fell when she looked towards the sky and couldn't deny the abundance of clouds serving only as a early warning towards the rains that were to come pouring down tonight, and she couldn't very well stay out in the woods, in the rain, with her tent torn to bits. "Looks like I'll have to pack up and head back now," Seresana said to the air. "And mom is going to freak when she sees the tent like that," she added with a grimace. "Oh well, it'll still be nice to sleep in my bed again," Seresana added at the end which put a smile back on her face.

So after a bit more rest, Seresana forced herself back onto her feet, the left one becoming just a dull ache at this point, and she started to gather up the tent pieces she could before retrieving her pack from the tree. Storing the shreds of tent into the pack, and kicking apart the smoldering remnants of her fire just to make sure there wasn't any risk of it spreading, Seresana then began the long trek back home. Not wanting to risk getting lost in the woods, she proceeded towards the stream and began following it downstream similar to how she'd done on the day of arrival. The stream was still flowing as it had for the entire trip, the clear waters looking cool and inviting but Seresana didn't have the time to enjoy them with the lengthy walk before her. Eventually, Seresana came back to a familiar section of the river and turned abruptly to begin going into the woods. She passed through her and her father's clearing and the remaining few woods until her house came into view. The fairly large structure that laid just a bit outside the more heavily populated town. It's two stories were well constructed and looked almost picture quality when framed by the still blue but cloud heavy sky and the abundance of woods around. With an almost excessive amount of happiness and relief, Seresana wandered up to the doors, threw them open and proceeded inward.

"Is that you Sere dear? I wasn't expecting you to be back until tomorrow," Sophia's voice called out from somewhere deeper in the house.

"Yeah mom, I'm home," Seresana replied wearily as she began to shrug off the backpack and take off her shoes. "Hey, is dad home? I need him to show me something."

Initial Word Count: 11028
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PostSubject: Re: Camping trip   Mon May 18, 2015 12:30 pm

'Thunk' the hatchet went as it cut into the thick branch of wood. This was but one of many similar sounds that had resounded out this morning as the hatchet was swung again and again at the thick branch, the sharp blade cutting into hard but flexible wood steadily. Seresana panted with the effort of swinging the weighty tool at the branch, but the thoughts of the bow she'd be making kept her going. She'd spent most of this morning after breakfast out and searching for the tree her dad had described and recommneded that she use for her new bow. It'd taken quite some time, but when Seresana had found it, she wasted little time in hefting the hatchet and beginning to hack at one of the tree's branches. Progress had been slow as she tried to cut through the hard brach, but her dad had told her to find a thicker branch and work her way down until she had a bow rather than find a small stick and hoping it was close to the right size.

Seresana's train of thought had been interrupted though when the sounds of several rustling leaves and some crackling wood marked the fall of the branch she'd been hacking at. Wiping her brow, Seresana climbed down from her post she'd been sitting on to even have access to that branch, and when back on the ground, she picked up the piece and began to walk home with it. The large branch was drug behind her, rustling along the ground as it was brought over underbrush and against trees. Luckily though, it didn't get stuck along the way and soon she managed to reach her house. Dragging the large branch around the back side of the house, Seresana deposited the piece near one of the porches where she'd already left several tools to work on her new bow, including a bow string her dad had helped her as little as possible acquire.

The tools consisted of a couple knives and a few other carving tools that while her dad had said wouldn't be needed, she'd brought along anyways. For now though, Seresana stuck with the hatchet that was still in her grasp. As she took a seat on the edge of the porch, Seresana began to hack at the branch, clearing away smaller twigs. When she was left with just a long straight branch, Seresana stood back up and stood the branch next to her. She marked where her head came up to on the branch with her hand and then sat back down. Eyeing the spot she'd marked, Seresana moved her hand away from the spot while keeping her eyes on it and then swung the hatchet to cut off the branch at the desired length. It took a couple swings, but soon she was left with a branch just a few inches shorter than she was. Happy with her stick, Seresana grabbed up one of the carving knives now and began the very long process of shaving down the wood until she had a bow.

Sliver by sliver was shaved away by the incredibly sharp knife, but progress was still incredibly slow. She continued working until suddenly her mother's voice called out to her. "Sere, lunch time," Sophia said loud enough to be heard thoughout the house, but not quite yelling. With a sigh at her lack of visible progress and at the still daunting amount of work that lay before her Seresana got up and proceeded into the house, heading straight for the dining room.

Her mother was already sitting at the table with her little brother while their father was still out for the day. "There you are dear, take your seat please so we can begin," Sophia asked sweetly.

"Yeah, hurry up, I'm hungry," Hitagi chirped from where he sat.

"Sorry," Seresana said as she sat down and everyone began to get their plates filled.

"So how's progress on your bow dear?" Sophia asked as she placed a few pieces of meat on her plate, and a few veggies on Hitagi's plate, much to his displeasure.

"Slow mom, but I'm getting it," Seresana replied with a determined smile as she grabbed up a few pieces of meat and veggies herself. Past that though, the meal was eaten in relative peace and quiet until about halfway through the meal when Hitagi spoke up suddenly and began talking about what he'd managed to do so far today. Seresana however didn't really hear or pay attention though as her mind drifted back to the image of her own bow she was working on. It wasn't until she was addressed that she even realized her mother and brother were not only talking but had apparantly assumed she was listening. "Uhm, I'm sorry but what?"

"I'd asked what you thought about your little brother following you out on one of your training sessions some time," Sophia repeated.

"Wah, uh umm... they aren't really that interesting," Seresana replied more towards Hitagi as she tried to dissuade him from tagging along.

"I don't care, I wanna go," Hitagi demanded from where he sat, and while Seresana had little trouble telling him no, she had a bit more trouble denying the pleading yet firm stare from her mother.

"Fine, he can come along sometime," Seresana admitted with a slump of her head in defeat. "Well, thank you mom, the food was great but I need to get back to work," Seresana said as she stood up and excused herself from the table and Hitagi's triumphant grin. Returning to her branch, Seresana picked back up her knife and got back to shaving sliver after sliver of wood from it, gradually working the shape down. Occasionally, Seresana would have to pause to just set the piece before her and look at it for a while to make sure it was still coming out the way she wanted it to. Hours rolled by this way, with Seresana alternating between cutting off slivers of wood and pausing to briefly make sure she was still cutting it to her specifications. Dinner came and went, and Seresana returned to work on her bow after it, eating quickly so she could get back to work faster. Darkness came soon after, yet Seresana continued her work by lantern light until finally she simply got too tired to work on it anymore, and with a gradual slump, Seresana fell back onto the porch the rest of the way and was softly dozing.

That next morning, Seresana awoke in her bed with a start, sitting upright rather quickly and looking about to figure out where she was since she couldn't recall ever going to bed herself. One of the first things her eyes fell upon though were her bow and the carving tools, and then she finally realized what must have happened. At some point, she must have fallen asleep and either her mom or dad had taken her and what she was working on inside. Getting up and after changing into something a little more fresh, Seresana picked back up her bow, the associated tools, and proceeded back to where she had been resumed her work once again. She didn't have much to do though now, and soon enough she was shaving off the last few slivers of wood. With the fall of the last one, Seresana sat downt he carving knife and grabbed up a small bit of leather that her father had leant her to be used on the grip and after tying that off around the handle, Seresana grabbed up the string for her bow. Once the weapon was strung, she gave the new weapon a few experimental pulls, carefully listening for cracks, groans, or other signs of weakness. Not hearing any, she ran around back to the front of the house and grabbed up her quiver. Without the patients to run all the way to her usual training clearing, Seresana drew an arrow and aimed at a nearby tree, well away from the house. Loosing the arrow, she was shocked at how much faster the arrow flew and how it broke upon impact with the tree.

With a quick shake of her head, Seresana recollected herself and ran back inside to grab up a few things. Moments later, and after saying goodbye to her mom, she was running back out and towards the stream past her training clearing. It didn't take her too long to reach it and then she was running up alongside the stream until familiarity brought her to the little waterfall she'd been at before. Turning in at this point, Seresana found the clearing she had used before as her campsite and then she pressed onward until finding the old man's hut again. Several hours had passed in her trek to here, and the sun was well on it's way to setting, but Seresana didn't care about that right now as she approached the hut. First she knocked on the side of the structure, but when she didn't get an answer, Seresana peeked her head inside curiously.

"Still just as rude," a now familiar voice resounded out to her side and while she still jumped at it, Seresana managed to not bump her head against the entryway's frame this time. Seresana however didn't respond and simply adopted a determined expression as she held out the bow to Ranzaki who took the weapon and began to look it over. Ranzaki looked the weapon over, inspecting it thoroughly before giving it a few experimental tugs to test the strength and durability of the weapon. "Hmm, not great, but not bad," he said to himself as he drew one of his arrows on the weapon and loosed it at a tree where the arrow buried itself in decently.

"So you'll teach me now, right?" Seresana asked persistantly while looking up at the old man.

Ranzaki gave Seresana a critical eye and then nodded. "Now go fetch my arrow, we'll begin in the morning," Ranzaki said as he proceeded inside his little hut.

Even while completing the little chore, Seresana could hardly contain her glee as she beamed about. Then a realization hit her at what he'd said. "In the morning, but to get here that early..." She trailed off as she tried to think about how long it took her to reach this place in the round about manner she'd conducted, coming to the conclusion that she'd need to leave a good while before the sun was up to even have a chance to reach Ranzaki's hut by morning.

"That's what I said, and you'd better be here, otherwise my offer may rescind," Ranzaki's voice interrupted her thoughts, and spurred her hastened trek back home.

Word count: 1793
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PostSubject: Re: Camping trip   Tue May 26, 2015 7:51 pm

Seresana's morning began far earlier than she'd have liked, but this was when she need to be gotten up at, she'd even requested it from her parents despite her reluctance. Still, she had a meeting to keep and Seresana wasn't going to miss it if it was within her power to attend. This is why she was up this early, packing her things well before the sun had rose and getting ready for the day. A few days worth food, several bottles of water, her sleeping bag, and her tent were the first things she grabbed up. Grabbing up backpack again, Seresana began to store these things inside it piece by piece. Once all that was stored, Seresana went back to her room briefly to pick up a collection of scrolls that were soon packed away in her backpack as well. Then she wandered back to her room again to pick up her kunai knives and shuriken and added those to the pack too. Those were followed by some matches for lighting a fire, a brush, some extra clothes, and a few other miscellaneous supplies provided by her parents or just laying around the house before she shrugged the large pack onto her back. Proceeding towards the door, Seresana slipped on her sandals, slid on her quiver with the new arrows she'd recently made, and lastly grabbed up her newly made bow.

With everything ready, and the sun still a little ways off, Seresana set off from her house and into the dark woods. She didn't need to see far, for she knew the way well by now and walked with the memory of so many prior trips. First was the clearing she'd frequented many a time before and then beyond that in a single direction until she came to the stream. Even with the limited light, the stream still stood out enough to be seen and Seresana walked up it's bank with a tired but content expression. The stream and woods were a far different scene at night, the sounds encompassing those of the nocturnal creatures and a grander sense of serene calmness than the day time. The limited light from the setting moon, stars, and slowly rising sun just barely provided enough to walk by, and the reflection of them in the stream was quite a welcome sight as Seresana continued her little stroll towards the waterfall that marked the turn off point. When Seresana came upon the the waterfall, she gave a gleeful smile towards the natural feature as it marked roughly the two thirds point of her journey. So, after her moment of regarding the waterfall, Seresana turned inwards towards the forest and began to walk into it.

By now, the sun was rising and the night was fading. The blackness of night was steadily being replaced by the light of the sun even though it had yet to raise above the horizon. Still, this was quite the boon for young Seresana as now she could see well enough to actually walk through the forest with relative ease. That being said, it still took her a couple tries and the sun to actually manage to get halfway through it's rise before she finally found the old hunter's hut. Ranzaki was outside this time and in plain sight. The old man was already dressed up in what appeared to be similar, if not the same clothes he'd been wearing the last time she'd seen him. The same rough leather vestments about his old yet muscled body, the leather quiver strapped to his back, and the powerful bow clutched in his aged hand. He was looking right at Seresana before she'd even emerged and realized she'd approached his little hut and regarded her with the same critical stare he had when she'd first met him. With a grunt the man shrugged forward and spoke with that tired, guttural, and stern voice. "You made it, barely," he said before making a jerking gesture towards his hut. "You can store your things there for now, you won't need them for this first exercise."

Seresana nodded before sliding off her pack and stowing it inside Ranzaki's hut. With it in a relatively safe place, Seresana turned about to regard Ranzaki, who simply jerked his head to the side to motion for her to follow him. Without hesitating, Seresana began to follow the old man to wherever he was going to lead her, and surprisingly enough it seemed to be back to the waterfall. "You wish to learn my techniques, but first you need more training and greater strength, dexterity, coordination, speed, and wit. You need to be able to react more appropriately, more powerfully, with greater decisiveness, and overall faster," Ranzaki said as he lead Seresana into the woods in a direction she was unsure about. "We'll begin with you standing on this post," Ranzaki said with a point to a thin wooden post that looked more akin to a pole planted in the ground and standing roughly four feet tall. "And we'll progress from there," he said simply before awaiting Seresana to comply to his instruction. He wasn't waiting long as Seresana rather quickly got into position and jumped up onto the pole which wasn't even quite big enough for one of her feet and so she was left balancing on just the one.

Or at least she tried. Almost immediately, the pole bent to one side and Seresana fell off with a thud on the ground and an small outcry of pain. Ranzaki just shook his head before pointing to the pole again, not seeming to care at all about the Seresana's condition. Seresana took another small moment to rub her sore bottom, but soon got up and jumped back onto the pole again, only to be deposited once more, rather ungracefully on the ground. "We've a long road ahead if you can't even stand," Ranzaki commented with some disgust in his voice. "Perhaps I was too hasty in my de-"

"No wait!" Seresana protested quickly as she got up again, ignoring the pain she felt. "I can do it," she said with teeth grin in determination. Trying once more, Seresana jumped up onto the pole again, planting her foot steadily on the pole and managing to adjust her weight as she stood upon it to account for the bend the pole adopted when encountered with Seresana's weight now at the top of it. It was quite the task, but Seresana was for the moment managing to stay up, albeit very wobbly and it looked like she could fall off any second.

"Better, but you still have a long way to go," Ranzaki said as he hefted his bow, drew and arrow and shot it at Seresana. She was so shocked by the suddenness of the action that she hadn't the chance to even try blocking or dodging the projectile and it slammed into her square in the stomach, and in the next moment, she was off the pole again and on the ground. Seresana however was surprised when she was able to open her eyes again and even more so when she placed a hand to her stomach where she'd been shot and didn't find any trace of either the arrow shaft or the blood that should have been there if she'd actually been shot. Letting curious eyes wander over to the projectile, Seresana regarded it's peculiar head and noted that the surface was actually rather large, flat, and seemingly padded. Hesitantly, she touched the unique arrow head and was surprised to find how soft it actually was, and then she thought back to Ranzaki's shot and finally bothered to note how little he actually drew the string back to where the blow hadn't even really knocked the wind out of Seresana. With confused and angry eyes, Seresana looked back over to Ranzaki but before she could actually voice an outcry, the old man jerked his head back towards the pole, another of the padded arrows was already in place on the bow.

Grumbling and gulping back a bought of nervousness, Seresana jumped back up onto the pole, but she barely had time to get herself situated before before that arrow struck her in the hip and knocked her right back off the post. "Again," came Ranzaki's gruff voice as he began to draw the next arrow. Seresana nodded and once more climbed back onto the post, managing to get up onto it fast enough and she was actually able to situate herself on it before the similar pressure of the arrow slamming into her shoulder this time, and sent her flailing back off the post. This time though, Seresana jumped right back up as quickly as she could, regaining her balance on the post as Ranzaki was still pulling back the arrow. In these few seconds, Seresana was able to flail her arms a bit, and make an effort at blocking the shot, but the arrow sailed right past her attempt at a guard and smacked her in the stomach again where she fell right back onto the ground. "Again," Ranzaki sounded off and so the training continued, shot after shot and fall after fall.

Hours later, and Seresana was finally managing to get up on the pole and make contact with the arrow of her own accord. Yet the act still threw her horribly off-balance and she was still hitting the ground before Ranzaki had to loose a second arrow. After her most recent fall, Seresana hopped back up on the pole, but this time, no arrow was loosed at her and when it didn't come, she threw a questioning gaze at Ranzaki.

"That's enough for now, it's time for lunch. If you're hungry, that'll just be another distraction that you don't need," Ranzaki commented as he began to walk away from the training site. Seresana hopped off the post and followed after Ranzaki, who led her back to the hut. After a quick meal, it was right back to training, but this time, Ranzaki told Seresana to grab up her new bow and he brought an extra quiver of arrows that he had her strap on as they departed. Ranzaki also grabbed up what appeared to be a collection of small logs that he carried under his arms as they progressed back towards the stream. "Alright, now you're going to stand on the edge of the waterfall there," Ranzake said with a point towards it once they arrived. "I'm going to float these logs down the water and you're going to try and hit them ONLY when I give the signal," he explained before turning about to take up his position. Seresana nodded and complied, climbing up the small cliff before taking her position on the ledge and looking down stream towards where Ranzaki stood.

Seresana didn't have to wait long as the man tossed in the first log with a rope tied around it just a moment after Seresana turned around. She quickly drew her first arrow set it and started to take aim before waiting on Ranzaki's signal. She waited and waited as the log drifted further and further down the stream and when it was right at the limit of what Seresana thought her bow could even reach, the signal came. Seresana loosed the arrow and watched it sail towards the target, but frowned as the arrow simply disappeared into water, missing the log. Before she could really accept the loss though, the next log was already in the water and Seresana was left to scramble to get her next arrow set and ready to fire while Ranzaki reeled in the first log. Seresana had just raised her bow when Ranzaki's signal came and she fired off the shot. Again it missed, but she had no time to contemplate it's failure as she drew her next arrow as the third log was tossed into the surf. After this miss, Ranzaki tossed in the first log again, while reeling in the second log so that he could continue alternating between the three logs, almost always keeping one up to be shot at while another was prepared and the last was being reeled in.

Eventually, Seresana ran out of arrows, and for once she did so without managing to score a hit on a single log. The distance was so far away and the constant movement and bobbing the logs did made the task of aiming difficult. Ranzaki seemed to have known exactly how many arrows Seresana had used for after the last one was shot, he didn't throw out another log and instead bid her over. With a reluctant sigh, Seresana slung the bow over her shoulder, climbed down from the cliff, and proceeded over to Ranzaki. She could feel his disapproving gaze long before she could see it and when she approached him, her head was down awaiting scolding. A scolding never came though, instead all that was said was a simple, "come," before Ranzaki began leading Seresana away and presumably towards the next training session.

Surprisingly though, instead of a new training spot though, Ranzaki lead Seresana back to his hut before turning to address her. "Now you replace the arrows you lost," he said before pointing in a direction for her to go and gather straight sticks for arrows. With a nod, Seresana began to get to work collecting sticks for the new arrows, and while it took some time, it didn't take nearly as long as it could have given the abundance of wood in the area. Soon enough, Seresana had an arm load of fairly straight sticks and was proceeding back to the hut where she deposited them in a pile before Ranzaki who simply nodded at them before getting up and walking into his hut. He emerged a moment later with a strange looking tool in his hand and handed it over to Seresana. The thing had a hole for the where the sticks were to be run through to smooth them, and after a brief demonstration from Ranzaki, he left Seresana to get to work on the new arrow shafts. By the time she finished working on the last one, the sun was almost setting and Ranzaki already had a fire built outside his hut to provide light to work by. Barely a moment after she had finished, Ranzaki deposited a pile of stones and a piece of metal at Seresana's feet. Ranzaki proceeded to show her then how to chip off bits of the stones to make arrow heads. It took Seresana some time to get the pressure right and she completely botched the first two stones, but after that she was making fairly steady progress. When Seresana was about half-way through the pile, Ranzaki came up to her and stopped her. "Time for bed, you'll need your rest as we're to begin as early tomorrow," he warned before proceeding into his hut. Seresana didn't even really have time to reply, or the energy to really set up her tent. Luckily, the warm weather they'd been receiving recently made the night comfortable and she wasn't too worried about anything coming around the old hunter's hut so she just unrolled her sleeping bag and fell asleep before the fire.

The next morning, Seresana was abruptly woken by Ranzaki at the first traces of the sun's rise. After a large breakfast, Seresana was directed back to the pile of stones to resume her arrow construction. The sun was well above the horizon line by the time she finished the last of the arrowheads, but she barely had a moment to flash a happy grin towards Ranzaki before he laid a bundle of feathers at her feet. Ranzaki then showed her how to split the arrows, bind and apply them to the arrow shafts. Ranzaki didn't have to show her how to tie on the arrowheads though and once Seresana had finished the last of the fletching, she moved right on to attaching the arrowheads to make the finished arrows. With the sun about halfway through it's rise when she finished, Seresana didn't get a break yet as the moment she was finished with the arrows, Ranzaki nodded at the work and got up. "Back to the post now, we resume your training," he said before turning and leading Seresana back to the post where she quickly hopped up on, only to be knocked right back off by one of the thickly padded arrows that Ranzaki had. Today though, it didn't take Seresana nearly as long to actually start making contact with the arrows as they were shot at her, and by the time the sun had passed it's crux, Seresana was actually managing to occasionally block and arrow and stay on the post. At that point though, Ranzaki bid Seresana off the post and over to him. "Time for lunch," Ranzaki stated simply as he wandered back over to the hut and got some food from his hut. Seresana retrieved some from her pack as well and they ate the brief meal in relative silence.

Once finished, Ranzaki got up to lead Seresana to another training session in a new area. This area had a large series of targets hanging from ropes from overhead tree branches. "You stand over here, I'll be down there and setting the targets to swing back and forth. You'll try to hit them as they swing, simple enough," Ranzaki stated as he began to walk down range and towards the targets, completely missing the nod she gave him at understanding the instructions. Seresana didn't have long to wait before Ranzaki had taken his place behind a tree and pulled on some separate ropes to get the targets swinging steadily. Seresana drew her first arrow and took careful aim at the quickly moving targets and when she loosed her first arrow, she was almost surprised to see it hit where she thought it would. The stream had prepared her better than she'd though and throughout the session, Seresana had her best series of hits ever since starting her work with Ranzaki. There were still misses, but overall, the majority of her arrows found their mark in the targets, striking at widely varying points among the four painted rings that marked each one. Once she finished firing off all the arrows she had, there was a brief break where she and Ranzaki would collected back up the arrows before resuming the session and firing off all the arrow again with similar results. After several rounds of this though, Seresana was eventually down to only missing three to four times per set of twenty five arrows as compared to the missing roughly twelve to thirteen times she had been when starting.

The sun was about halfway towards it's set when Ranzaki called off that training session and told Seresana not to fire the arrows off again after she collected them up. "You're going to spend the rest of the day working on your chakra control. Tomorrow we begin on you learning new techniques and you'll need to be ready for it," Ranzaki said which drew a large grin from Seresana, and one that Ranzaki almost seemed to want to break. "Don't get too happy, it'll be just as hard if not harder than what you've done so far," he forewarned before beginning to lead them back to his hut. Ranzaki left Seresana to her own practicing as he stepped around behind the hut. Left to her own methods for the first time since coming out here, Seresana began the simple chakra focusing exercises they'd been taught in class and kept them up until her stomach growled to signal a desire for dinner. She however fought off this desire until Ranzaki came back around and addressed her. "Time for supper," Ranzaki said simply before setting out his own meal and then a little for Seresana to add to her own bit of food she'd packed. While they ate though, Seresana looked over curiously towards Ranzaki.

"Ranzaki sensei," Seresana started and continued when he looked towards her. "Why do you live out here by yourself?" She asked, but Seresana didn't get an answer as Ranzaki simply got up at that point and went into his hut without a word. Confused and a little worried she'd upset him, Seresana finished her meal quietly and went to bed shortly afterwards.

In the morning, Seresana was woken up in the same manner Ranzaki had done the prior day, a hard shove that left her almost panicking as she picked herself up. "Grab your bow and come along, we have a specific jutsu to practice today," Ranzaki instructed as he began to lead her off into the forest and back towards the area with the hanging targets. Once they arrived, Seresana wasn't sure what to expect, and was surprised when he drew his own bow and set an arrow to the string. He drew the arrow back and released it soon after, as if it was just a regular old shot, but then as the arrow was in mid flight, Ranzaki made a couple one handed seals with his off hand. The arrow suddenly surged forward with a massive burst of speed and power much to Seresana's amazement and when it slammed into the target, she was sure it was going to tear itself from the ropes that held it. "Now your turn," Ranzaki said sternly which quickly ripped Seresana out of her shock before nodding and drawing one of her own arrows only for Ranzaki to shake his head. "No, first you practice the jutsu first, then apply it to your arrows," Ranzaki instructed before showing her the individual seals for the jutsu. After a couple tries, Seresana finally got the order down and was able to string them together quickly enough, but then came the act of actually performing the jutsu. Under Ranzaki's instruction, Seresana started with just throwing a rock into the air and then trying to perform the jutsu while it still flew. Surprisingly to both her and Ranzaki, Seresana managed actually successfully perform the jutsu on her fourth attempt, and she watched with amazement as the rock rocketed into the ground. Turning with an excited grin towards Ranzaki, Seresana caught the briefest moment of something other than his usual almost scowl like expression, but it quickly turned back to his normal expression as he nodded to her. "Very good, now rest up a little and then I want you to try it with the bow," Ranzaki instructed.

Seresana complied and after her brief rest, she got up with determination in her eyes and a readiness to try. She stood strongly and readied her bow as she looked down range towards the distant targets hanging in suspension from the overhanging branches. She drew her first arrow, set it to the string and drew it back the full length, taking extra care to make sure it was aimed properly. Then she released, letting the arrow fly towards the target before immediately beginning the series of hand seals for the jutsu while focusing her chakra for the jutsu. Amazed, Seresana beheld as her own arrow almost repeated what Ranzaki's did, burying itself deeply into the target and sending it rocking hard on the ropes that supported it. Before Seresana could really celebrate the success though, Ranzaki's voice called out "again" and Seresana complied. This time though, as she drew the arrow and took careful aim at the targets down range, Seresana was shocked to find Ranzaki starting to pull the ropes and set the targets to motion. "You will need to time when you cast the jutsu so you know it will hit," he went on from behind the relative safety of the tree he normally stood behind. She drew her arrow and took careful aim, trying to figure out the movement and time her shot. A moment later, she released the arrow and watched it begin to fly towards the target. A little over halfway towards the target, Seresana preformed the jutsu and watched as the arrow suddenly accelerated towards the target. It didn't catch it near the center, but the arrow did hit the suspended piece of wood sending it spinning on the rope cords that held it. Still though, Seresana was grinning at the prospect of managing to successfully hit the target at all even if the act of such left her on the ground and panting.

"Good," Ranzaki said as he came back up to her. "But that would appear to be all the jutsu practice you can handle for one day. Come, we return to the post training," Ranzaki said in his stern and simple matter. Even with the short compliment at her work, the man continued his generally cold and almost uninterested demeanor. Luckily for Seresana, it didn't take long for them to reach the pole and soon after Seresana took her post on the pole while Ranzaki took up his usual position and drew the first of the padded arrows. This time, it only took a few shots before Seresana was managing to deflect the arrows generally, and then only a few more before she was able to maintain her position upon the post while deflecting them. Seresana wasn't given long to celebrate her success though as soon the arrow stopped flying and Ranzaki was walking over towards her.

"What's going on?" Seresana asked as he approached, but instead of getting a initial vocal reply, Ranzaki just held out a couple of odd looking bracers and shin guards. "What are those?" she asked hesitantly before even reaching out for them.

"Training weights," Ranzaki replied simply as he handed them over. "Put them on, they'll make this much harder but speed up your progress as well," Ranzaki went on before turning about and beginning to walk back to his position while Seresana strapped on the weighty apparel. When she had them on, Seresana tried to stand back up on the post, but found even that act fairly difficult with the new distribution of weight, and when she finally did manage to stay on for more than a few seconds, the first arrow that Ranzaki shot at her near instantly knocked her off the post and onto the ground where she landed fairly hard given the added weight she now sported. Not wanting to give up though, Seresana climbed right back up to resume her training, ignoring the small bruises that were slowly forming on her after every fall. After many falls, and many bruises, Seresana was eventually left panting on the ground and utterly exhausted. Seeing that she was finished for the day, Ranzaki didn't draw another arrow and instead turned back towards his hut. "There'll be dinner ready when you get back," Ranzaki said as he walked off, leaving the exhausted Seresana to walk back on her own. A couple hours later, Seresana finally managed to get back to the hut and all but collapsed before the campfire. As she laid there, Ranzaki placed a lightly steaming bowl of some thick soup next to her and motioned for the exhausted girl to eat. "It's a nourishing recipe, well practiced and good at revitalizing the weary," Ranzaki explained before returning to his spot at the campfire. "Tomorrow, we'll practice that jutsu some more and then go back to the floating log targets," Ranzaki said bleakly and to which Seresana nodded to in acceptance of the proposed training. "Good, then get some sleep, you'll need your energy," he added before getting up and proceeding into the hut without another word or look.

If he had looked back, he might have seen Seresana's concerned expression, her raised arm, and the un-asked question that sat upon her lips, but he didn't and Seresana's inquiry would go on unanswered. With a sigh, Seresana set about eating her first bowl of the thick soup and then got a second when she realized she was still hungry after working so hard through the day. The weights had really made the day's work a lot more exhausting and Seresana was sure she'd feel it in the morning. For once, she wasn't looking forward to the following day's training session and it was with some surprised reluctance that she climbed into her sleeping bag and soon drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, Ranzaki woke Seresana up as per the usual manor and they went about their normal routine as quietly as they usually did. After breakfast, Ranzaki lead Seresana back over to the hanging targets to resume practicing the ninjutsu. First though, they started with just shooting the regularly moving targets until Ranzaki called out for Seresana's next shot to be with the jutsu. Seresana complied and she adopted a confident smile when the arrow struck the target solidly in the second out of the four rings. Then the regular shooting resumed for a while until Ranzaki called out again for Seresana to use the new ninjutsu, with much the same results. After a little bit more of the regular shooting, which Seresana was regularly hitting the targets, they stopped for lunch. After the brief meal, Ranzaki lead Seresana back over to the stream and waterfall where they got into the spots needed for the shooting practice. The first few arrows missed but they were close and the moment that audible 'thunk' resounded out on her seventh arrow, Seresana's face exploded into a wide grin. She wasn't given much time to celebrate though as the next log was already tossed into the stream and was rapidly floating down to the targeted range. Now that she knew she could hit them, Seresana drew her next arrow confidently as the training continued.

Hours later, Ranzaki stopped throwing out the logs which signaled the end of this training for the day. The fact that Seresana had arrows left in her quiver by the end of it left her pleasantly surprised, but she'd still have to spend some time making new arrows early the next morning she supposed. Still, it was with a triumphant grin that she climbed down from the slopes, at least until she actually got all the way down and realized just how tired her limbs actually were after all the training with the added weights on them. The moment she was on the ground, Seresana all but collapsed while panting heavily. Ranzaki scoffed as he came upon her collapsed form but didn't say anything negative. "You hit the targets well, supper will be ready when you've the strength to make it back," Ranzaki said before just turning about and leaving. After catching her breath, Seresana wearily stood up and began the trek back to Ranzaki's camp, arriving a bit before sunset. The smells of the prepared food for them were thick in the air and Seresana's mouth was watering almost as soon as she stepped into the clearing. Seresana wasted no time in getting herself a bowl of the thick soup and sitting down to enjoy it, taking full note of Ranzaki who was sitting in another spot around the fire and eating a bowl of the thick soup as well. At first, no words were said between the two, but the silence was bound to break and by Seresana's hand.

"Ranzaki, why do you live out here by yourself," Seresana asked quietly, and much to her suprise, Ranzaki didn't immediately get up and leave. The old man however did pause in mid bite, even letting the piece of potato he was holding fall back into the soup with a thick 'plop'.

"Because there are none I wish to see back in the villages," he finally replied after several moments spent just staring into the small cooking fire. "It was quite some time ago, probably before you were even alive," Ranzaki began without looking over. "I was a chunin, and a damned good one along with my team. We'd went on dozens of missions together ever since we first graduated from the academy. There was myself, the scouter and bow-nin. It was my job to find the enemies, make sure they didn't escape or flank us, and provide cover fire for the others. Anya Miniki was our coordinator and planner. She could predict an enemy's plans terrifyingly fast and set up countermeasures just as quickly. And then there was Nimri Wunon, the team leader. He was the muscle to the team, strong, fast, powerful jutsu. We were quite the team and thought nothing could beat us," Ranzaki reminisced and as he went on, the old man seemed to gain some energy back into his being. His speech became more pronounced, her posture straightened, and his eyes reclaimed a bit of light to them that Seresana hadn't seen before. But then the man slumped back down again as he paused. "At least until that last mission. Something had felt off about it and Anya knew it too, I could read it on her face, yet she didn't say anything about it. It was an escort mission, but the man we were escorting turned out to just be bait for a trap that we sprung. When everything started going bad, we split to try and lose them, but I was the only one who made it to the rendezvous point," Ranzaki went on before letting out a tired sigh. "But that was a long time ago," he then added before going back to eating.

Seresana was quiet throughout the entire story and remained so for sometime after it. When Ranzaki had finished, she just looked down into her bowl of soup, contemplating what she'd been told and imagining what it would have been like. Ranzaki's voice eventually pulled her out of her thoughts though. "Tomorrow we'll begin work on another ninjutsu, make sure the fire's burning down when you go to sleep," Ranzaki commented before standing up and proceeding into his hut. Seresana didn't reply though and just watching him quietly before turning her attention back to her soup, which she glumly finished before going to bed.

In the morning, Seresana woke up on her own and got up quickly. Curious as to why Ranzaki hadn't woken her up, Seresana looked around, but found everything where it had been last night before she'd fallen asleep, only no old man. She grabbed up her bow and arrows and began to search for him, heading first to the suspended logs training area, and the post balancing trading area, but when no signs of him appeared at either of those locations, she pressed onto to the stream. There she found Ranzaki, and her mouth fell open in shock as she saw him floating in the air over the stream. "Ah, about time you woke up," Ranzaki said as he looked over to her with a bored expression and began to float back down and towards the shore. "You'll be learning how to do this," he said while continuing to float in the air just a few inches above the ground, and then abruptly, his feet landed on the soil much to Seresana's amazement. "It's called Furo-to No Jutsu, or the levitation technique, now let's begin."

And so Ranzaki began by showing Seresana the hand seals and explaining the way to control the ninjutsu as it was being used. The explanation however was rather brief and she had more question than answers by the end of the first explanation. So Ranzaki went over it a second time, but instructed her to actually try it as he explained. Seresana complied, listening to his step-by-step instructions, focusing her chakra in what she hoped was the right manner, readying her balance, performing the hand seals, and finally activating the jutsu, only for nothing at all to happen. Letting out a sigh at the first defeat, Seresana quickly picked herself back up and proceeded to try again, listening to the occasional additional pointers that Ranzaki made as she performed in front of him. The second time, some of the grass around her moved, but nothing much more happened past that. When she tried it again, it turned into a repeat of the first as nothing at all happened. Over the course of the next couple hours, more of this happened where either nothing would happen, or the grass and foliage around her would shift a little. When something finally did happen, it happened explosively. Seresana performed the ninjutsu but after the constant effect of nothing happening, she was horribly unprepared for the sudden burst of wind that tried to sweep her up. In the flurry of her flailing arms and panicked shriek, Seresana's concentration broke and she fell in a heap on the ground.

Seresana was about to stand up and try again when Ranzaki's hand stopped her. "That's enough for now. It's time for the post again, then the suspended targets, and then we'll come back to this," he said already beginning to lead her away towards their next work. The training sessions at the post and the suspended logs went fairly normal, with Seresana improving over the last time as she continued to become more accustomed to the new weights that were attached to her arms and legs. That didn't mean however that she didn't fall off a couple times, or miss a few shots, but Seresana was doing each less often. In between these two different exercises, Seresana and Ranzaki had their lunches, a quick meal to be had before training resumed and the two got right back to work. Time flew by for the young girl as she trained, the constant strain to maintain balance, coordination, and speed with the added weights forcing her to put forth a far greater effort than she normally would have. Yet, Seresana could almost feel it paying off as the work continued. Her shots were getting more accurate and the dodging and deflecting the arrows were becoming more percise. When the sun was just beginning to set, the two returned to the stream to resume the ninjutsu practice. Seresana took her position, performed the seals, and focused her chakra while trying to replicate the last time she'd at least partially succeeded. The familiar burst of wind came to her, and she felt her feet leave the ground, and while she maintained it for about a second, the moment an errant gust caught her, Seresana was once more sent sprawling about which broke her concentration and sent her crashing into the stream with a sizable splash. Resurfacing, Seresana spit out a bit of water and began swimming to the shore only to pause for a moment in surprise at something she thought she saw. That sight was a fleeting grin on her sensei Ranzaki, but she wasn't positive and before she could really get a clear view, his usual expression was back. Shaking her head briefly to clear the thought, Seresana resumed swimming back to shore and got back into position to practice the jutsu again.

A few more attempts later, and Seresana was managing to get in the air and stay up in it for a while. However, the moment she tried to move, she lost her balance and ended up first flailing, then screaming, then falling, then crashing, and finally groaning from the heap she'd become upon impact with the ground. After her latest attempt which deposited her into a bush, Ranzaki told her to stop for the day and that they were heading back to camp for the night. That night, there was actual discussion around the campfire as Ranzaki explained finer points over their dinner so that Seresana could improve her training and technique. Seresana couldn't stop grinning as Ranzaki explained things, and she tried to relate with situations she'd been in or experienced. It was however the first conversation she'd had in a few days and it felt great to finally be able to really talk with her sensei. The talks didn't end until the moon was well in the sky and Ranzaki looked towards it with a groan. "Tomorrow we will be doing a very different kind of training as I need to hunt again and replenish my food stores," Ranzaki commented as he stood up and began to proceed into the hut. He paused though at the door to look over his shoulder and muttered out a quick "goodnight," before proceeding the rest of the way into the hut and going to bed. Seresana had been quick to reply, but she couldn't be certain if he'd heard it or cared, however that didn't seem to diminish her mood in the slightest as she curled up in her sleeping bag and slept soundly, possibly the best she'd had since departing for this training trip.

Ranzaki woke her up the next morning, as early as he had the first day they'd gone training. After some urging to quickly get ready and have a quick breakfast, Ranzaki began to lead Seresana out into the woods to begin hunting. As the progressed, Seresana watched Ranzaki closely as he'd told her to and beheld with wide eyes as he silently crept through the underbrush and foliage of the woods, without making a single sound. Seresana strove to copy the movements, and was marginally successful in not only keeping quiet but also keeping up. Through brush, over hills, and across creeks the two walked on, each with a bow in hand and an arrow set to the string. Onward they progressed, for hours of time until Ranzaki stopped so suddenly that Seresana very nearly ran right into him. Ranzaki looked back and made a 'shooshing' gesture before raising his bow and taking careful aim. Seresana followed the arrow's direction until her eyes fell on the distant buck, just barely visible between the trees. The deer was fair sized and sported a decent rack, it's head looked towards them and in that instant, Ranzaki released his arrow. The projectile flew straight, catching the deer solidly in head and making the beast fall over dead after a couple post death jerks. Ranzaki stood up after that and proceeded towards the kill with Seresana following close behind. Immediately, Ranzaki began to skin and dress the dead dear while Seresana watched. This wasn't the first time she'd seen this act, after all, she'd watched her father dress kills before as well and even helping a couple times recently since she'd gotten a little older. Once dressed, Ranzaki shouldered the bulk of the kill and began walking back while Seresana merely followed after him.

When they got back, Ranzaki dismissed Seresana to conduct some solo training while he skinned the deer and prepared the meat to be preserved. Seresana nodded and proceeded to depart for the suspended logs for training. When she arrived, Seresana already had a goal in mind for what she wanted to do and proceeded with the first part of it, using her newest ninjutsu. After a quick moment spent recalling exactly how she was supposed to do it, Seresana performed the hand seals and performed the ninjutsu, sending herself rocketing into the air before coming to an unsteady stop a ways up. While in the air now, Seresana drew an arrow and set it to the string before taking aim at the suspended targets and firing. After all the training Seresana had already done on moving targets, and her prior training on trying to move while shooting, she actually had fairly little trouble in hitting the target. While still floating about, Seresana continued to shoot at the target, taking shot after shot and when that proved to be easy, she began to start moving about the open air while shooting to keep the challenge present. Still though, Seresana just wasn't seeming to have much trouble hitting the targets even from her aerial and moving position and soon the ninjutsu wore off, forcing her to land. Instead of going back to her mid air practice shooting, Seresana just quickly drew an arrow, took aim and fired before performing the other ninjutsu Ranzaki had shown her, watching with a satisfied grin as the arrow rocketed forward and slammed into the distant target.

Seeing that her training with the bow had paid off well enough for the moment, Seresana leaned it against a nearby tree as well as shrugging off the quiver. In that moment, Seresana'd decided that it was time for a different kind of training, and one that didn't require the use of her bow. She then stepped up to the suspended target and readied herself by wrapping some bandages around her other hand before getting into a position and beginning to punch the target. It didn't take long for her fairly untrained fists to start aching, but with the bandages in place, they were spared the rough surface that would have likely already had them bleeding. Still though, Seresana could only keep up the punches and other hand strikes for so long before her aching hands hurt too bad to hit the target anymore. When that happened, she switched over to kicking at the target repeatedly and in a few different ways. The shoes she wore spared her feet in much the same way her bandages had for her hands, but that didn't mean her rather untrained limbs didn't end up throbbing in pain soon enough anyways. Unwilling to raise either her legs or her arms to strike the suspended log anymore, Seresana wandered off from this training area and back over to the spot where the balancing post was. Seresana quickly hopped up onto the pole, easily balancing on a single foot and standing straight up. After a little while, Seresana would jump to shift over to her other foot, and then back again eventually. Then Seresana would try and switch it up again, jumping up, flipping upside down, and catching the top of the pole with her hand to hold herself up. When her arm got tired, Seresana would switch to the other hand and continue the exercise until that arm got tired as well and then she'd simply hop off the post altogether. She tried then to think of something else she could do, but found herself not coming up with any ideas on how to continue training and so turned her attention towards different activities and before she knew it, Seresana was wandering over toward the stream.

It didn't take long to reach, and Seresana rather quickly stripped down to the point where she was ready to enjoy the waters. She didn't just walk into the waters though, instead Seresana went up to the small cliff where the waterfall spilled over and pooled down below. She took a quick moment to look at the pool of water before taking a skip forward and jumping into the stream. The waters were cool in comparison to the warm day, and offered much relief for the young ninja who was soon swimming about the small pool of water. Seresana would switch between lazily swimming about the waters, and diving down beneath for some underwater exploration and fun. Hours later when she tired of that, Seresana gradually swam over to the shore and pulled herself from the waters to dry off in the last lights of the day. Donning her clothes when she was confident she wouldn't soak them by doing so, Seresana began to walk back to Ranzaki's camp and found him still tending to the deer kill. Since he appeared busy, Seresana got to work on preparing dinner this time and a little while after it was cooking steadily, Ranzaki peered around the hut. Apparently pleased with what he saw, Ranzaki gave a nod and got back to work while the food finished cooking. "Ranzaki sensei, the food's ready," Seresana called out a short while later when the food had indeed finished cooking.

"Ah, thank you Seresana," Ranzaki said as he came around the hut and got himself some of the meal. It wasn't the usual thick soup that Ranzaki had been making, but it was still fairly good and the two ate and talked simply over what they'd done during the day and why they'd done it. Seresana listened aptly to Ranzaki's secrets about how to work with the leather and the special ways he went about preparing the hide along with the techniques he'd used in preserving the meat, while Seresana talked about the different training she'd done to pass the day's time. They talked lightly until after the sun had set, the moon had risen, and Seresana was yawning tiredly at which point, Ranzaki told Seresana to go onto bed so she'd be well rested for their final day of training before Seresana had to head back home. Seresana obliged and went to her sleeping bag, but found herself having trouble falling asleep for some reason. No matter how she tossed and turned, her mind simply refused to let her sleep and with a final turn, Seresana was left looking up and watching the glittering stars of the night sky above. Those stars twinkled and shone against their black canvas that was the sky, and Seresana watched patiently, as she waited for sleep to come to her, but it continued to elude and evade the her. Giving up on just trying to sleep like that, Seresana got up and began to walk about a little. In the limited light of the night, Seresana made her way back over to the post training spot. She jumped up onto the post, planting a foot onto the post before lowering herself down a ways until she was almost sitting. There, Seresana began to meditate and focus on her chakra, thinking back to when she'd had the chakra paper experiment. She thought back to how the paper had shown her to have the unique nature of ice. Seresana continued thinking back on that notion and meditating towards it. Her mind traveled far from her, to a field of ice, where the cold was strangely comfortable and welcoming. There was snow gently falling, like rain in slow motion, and not a single breeze came to distrub their graceful descent. This was peace, this was tranquility and Seresana was calmly enjoying it immensely. She wasn't sure how long she was there, as the time floated by, but some time later, Seresana finally stopped the meditation, got up, and proceeded back to the camp. Seresana quickly climbed into her sleeping bag and was soon asleep after the lengthy meditation she'd perfomed.

On this morning, Seresana got up of her own accord, almost at the same time Ranzaki emerged from his tent. After a quick breakfast, Ranzaki and Seresana proceeded straight to the river under Ranzaki's instruction for this training session. Seresana first performed the Furo-to No Jutsu and then while hovering, moved out over the center of the stream and drew her first arrow while Ranzaki set the first of the log targets in the surf of the stream. Seresana fired and then drew another arrow to fire again as the next target was thrown out, as their usual training session commenced but with the extra bout of toughness of having to shoot while levitating over the flowing waters. Shooting out constantly, Seresana and Ranzaki continued the practice session until the Furo-to No Jutsu wore off, and Seresana descended to the shore again. Ranzaki was waiting for Seresana when she descended. "Alright, it's time to put what you've learned to the test. I want you to try and shoot me with one of these," Ranzaki said as he withdrew a second quiver full of the padded arrows that Ranzaki had been shooting her while she'd balanced on the post.

"You want me to try and shoot you?" Seresana asked back and to Ranzaki's nod she began strapping on the quiver somewhat uncertainly.

"Don't worry about trying to hurt me, and you're free to use whatever tricks you can think of," Ranzaki went on before turning about and beginning to walk away. "I'll be at the post training site, come there when you're ready," Ranzaki went on, but Seresana couldn't help but notice that his back was to her. With suspiscious eyes, Seresana drew her first arrow, took aim, and quickly fired, and was shocked to see the arrow make contact right in the center of Ranzaki's back. That shock however disappeared quickly when a puff of smoke erupted out from where Ranzaki had been standing, showing that he'd used a substitution jutsu, a fact reinforced by the fact that a log and her arrow fell out of the smoke cloud a moment later. "And you'll need to do better than that, but you are on the right track trying to use a sneak attack," Ranzaki's disappearing voice said before silence returned to the stream's shore.

Seresana grinned a little at the challenge before her, tightening the grip on her bow before starting off into the woods. It didn't take her long to find Ranzaki, as he was just standing in the middle of the clearing and seemingly not doing much of anything. Seresana however knew better than to assume he wasn't prepared for an attack from any angle, and so she began to plan her next attack, and she had to do so quietly and sneakily for she knew that Ranzaki was used to hunting with keen ears and sharp eyes. After a little while of setting things up and trying to be as careful and quiet as possible, Seresana found herself ready and performed her first jutsu. A puff of smoke later and her Bunshin no Jutsu was complete as 3 clones of Seresana stood at attention. Knowing what was needed, they went their seperate ways and began to spring Seresana's trap.

Ranzaki had been waiting, and waiting for some time. He could tell Seresana had been working around him, she'd been almost quiet enough that he'd missed her, but the occasional rustle of a branch or snap of a twig had betrayed her from time to time as well. Still, it served as little surprise when despite the last rustle of a bush coming from directly in front of him, Seresana emerged from his right, drawing his attention and making him begin to lean that way. The first arrow however still came from in front of him but with a smooth maneuver and a quickly drawn stick, the arrow was deflected before the stick was thrown at the clone, making it disappear with a puff of smoke. 'Hmm, so she knows bunshin no Jutsu, probably should have asked for all the jutsu she knew before beginning this,' Ranzaki thought to himself when another Seresana emerged from the front where the first arrow had been fired from. As he prepared to defend against this Seresana, another arrow was fired, this time from the right. With a similar maneuver, Ranzaki once more drew a stick, used it to deflect the arrow and sent the branch flying at that Seresana that also went 'poof' with a puff of smoke. Without letting up, a third Seresana emerged from abover Ranzaki then, while a third arrow was fired from behind. This time, Ranzaki actually grabbed the arrow in mid flight and threw the projectile at the Seresana currently above him. Still not missing a beat, another Seresana emerged from what had originally been behind Ranzaki while a fourth arrow shot out from his right side. Ranzaki grabbed that arrow as well, but as he prepared to throw it at the Seresana that had suddenly emerged from behind him, he felt a 'thud' on the top of his head.

In the next moment, Ranzaki looked down to see one of the padded arrows laying at his feet and then overhead at the now levitating Seresana above him that was grinning widely. "Hmph, not bad. Setting up bow traps to be sprung on string pull so while your clones ambushed from the sides, you'd trigger the arrow shots from another side. And then when it became obvious you couldn't get me from that, you made yourself seem like one of the clones," Ranzaki analyzed while Seresana lowered herself to the ground. "You've learned well, and even incorporated a new jutsu into the act of ambushing me," Ranzaki went on before nodding approvingly to Seresana's beaming face. "Seems I made a decent choice on who to teach, you'll have to be sure to come back later so I may finish teaching you Seresana, but I believe that's enough for this session. Let's head back for lunch and then you'd best be on your way," Ranzaki said as he began to lead her back to his camp.

The meal passed quickly, and soon Seresana was beginning to pack her bags, but she paused when it came to her bow which she couldn't seem to locate. "Ranzaki sensei, have you seen my bow?" Seresana asked while she continued to look around for it.

"Yes, I'll be holding on to it," Ranzaki said simply from where he worked on the most recent hide some more.

"Wah, what do you mean you'll hold on to it? I worked hard on that thing," Seresana protested as she walked over towards him.

"Yes you did, and now it will stay here with me as a reminder and reason for you to return," Ranzaki surmised. "You wanted to be my pupil, and now you're stuck with me until I've taught you everything I know," the old man replied bluntly.

"But, but that's not fair," Seresana weakly replied, though she was less angry and upset and now just kind of looking at him curiously.

"Maybe when you can take it from me, I'll let you leave with it, but until then, you'll only have this when we train," Ranzaki went on.

"But I, but, *sigh* fine," Seresana submitted but then grinned again. "Guess I'll just have to keep coming back then," she went on fully realizing that Ranzaki wasn't holding onto the weapon just be a jerk.

"Good, now off with you. Your presence has set me back a few days and I've much to do to get back on track," Ranzaki said dismissively.

"Goodbye Ranzaki sensei," Seresana replied with a nod and bow before shrugging on her pack and beginning to wander into the forest in what she believed to be the direction of her home.

"Wait Seresana," Ranzaki said after she'd only taken a couple steps. Seresana looked back curiously though and tilted her head when she saw Ranzaki gesturing to his wrists and ankles. "I'll be needing those training weights back too," he explained to which Seresana oh'd and proceeded to remove the weights. After handing them back to Ranzaki, Seresana once again departed into the forest and headed for home. It took some time, but eventually the familiar house came into her view and she rushed to the building, eager to tell and show what she'd learned from her new sensei. Throwing open the door, Seresana was immensely surprised to find the entryway empty and the building void of the usual noise that plagued it. That however didn't stop her from proceeding inside after removing her shoes and pack, and heading straight for a long overdue bath.

The warm water was such a refreshing contrast to the cold stream she had been swimming in that Seresana couldn't help but let out several audible sighs of relief and relaxation as she submerged herself in the waters and began to clean herself. It was while she was in the bath that she heard the front door open and her mother's voice call out. "Seresana, are you home deary?"

"Yeah mom, I'm taking a bath," she replied.

"Oh good, well be sure to get all cleaned up, I was thinking we'll be heading out to eat tonight since you're back," Sophia called back.

"That's awesome mom, and I can't wait to show you and dad all the new stuff I learned how to do!" Seresana called back one last time before relaxing into the water a little more. As much as she liked the training, nothing beat those moments immediately after where she could finally relax.

Word Count: 10037
Learned Jutsu to be taken from word pool:
Ranged weapons rank D -525
Wind Release • Projectile Push [Fuuton • Tobidogou Maishin no Jutsu] -400
Levitation Technique [Furo-to No Jutsu] -400
Beginner Hand-to-Hand Combat -100
Beginner Weaponry Combat -100
Total: 20358
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