Chapter 1: Opening - New Home
“How long Bayani?” A feminine voice called out, her attention focused on the figure in front of her while her fingers danced around the strap that rested on her shoulder, moving it from its place to a few centimeters to the left. Revealing a slight red marking on her skin from the weight the bag had placed in that area. Bayani turned his head slightly expecting to see the young face of his sister Ririan, but hadn’t realised how much she had lingered back on their journey, causing him to turn his head further to see her lagging behind.
“Not long now, we’ll be there soon” He spook softly, before turning to face forwards again, he motioned with his hand for her to hurry along in a subtle way that if an on-looker had been watching the pair they may not have noticed it. But Ririan caught the sight of movement at her Brothers hand, she skipped somewhat in order to pick up her pace before slowing back down at Bayani’s side. She moved her hand from the straps of her bag to down by her sides, her fingers lightly grazing the dark teal robe she wore, before moving along the edge and entwining them with the thicker and lighter coloured edging. Moving again she adjusted the point in which the robe crossed over each other, pulling it tighter and then doing the same to the light teal sash that wrapped around her waist, letting it drop forwards. She watched it, to make sure that it lined up with the bottom of her robe, which ended just above her knees. When she had finished adjusting she glanced up to see that Bayani had been watching her, she blinked in slight surprise as she wasn’t expecting him to be looking at her, she looked back to the path ahead as she spoke.
“What?” She asked as if what she had done was perfectly normal, but the look he gave her stated otherwise.
“Are you nervous?” He questioned, almost with a mocking aspect to it, insinuating that she doesn’t normally act like this. To which she encouraged by the look of disbelief she gave him when she turned to look back at him.
“What? No!” She exclaimed with a huff as she turned to face the path once more, a soft chuckle left Bayani’s lips. They had been traveling for a while now and he could remember her reaction to when he told her that they would be moving, she seemed so giddy and excitable that he couldn’t get her to sit down. The chuckle died down and he was left with the lingering smile on his lips, both from the memory and the recent reaction. In her pouting mood at Bayani’s successful attempts at poking fun at her, she tried an attempt of her own. “Did you make sure that we were accepted?” Bayani was now the one to hold a look of disbelief.
“Of course, what do you take me for?” She had found her opportunity to poke fun back at him, but as she opened her lips with her retort he held a finger up and moved it side to side. “Uh-uh, that was a rhetorical question” Ririan left her mouth open, he always did that, whenever she could make fun of him, he managed to diffuse the situation by just saying something like that. She huffed, bringing her arms up in a quick movement across her chest and folding them while turning her head to the side, causing her long black hair to whip forwards, almost emphasizing the action, another chuckle left Bayani’s mouth. He brought up his hand in a slow motion and placed it on Ririan’s head rubbing it briefly. “You do act spoilt sometimes, don’t you?” After a few ruffles Ririan unfolded her arms and swatted at Bayani’s hand, he moved her back swiftly and out of her reach, laughing as she attempted to connect her hits.
“You always poke fun at me!” She complained as she tried to land one of her hands, her movements chaotic and having no rhythm to them, but Bayani able to just move from side to side easily and smoothly avoiding the childish attack, laughing as he did so.
“You’ll never hit me attacking like that” He spoke before pushing lightly against the floor with one foot and landing a few yards away, his long robe that covers both his hands and feet, in the same dark teal robe as Ririan’s, flowing in the movement. He stopped in the position allowing the robe to settle once again.
“It’s a good thing I’m not trying then!” Ririan spoke back, placing her hands on her hips, knowing that when he pulled a move like that was when he wanted to end the child’s play. Although her expressions and actions showed that of a spoilt child, the glisten of joy sparkled in her eyes and the slight twitch of a smile appeared through her facade of mock anger. But now a plain and happy smile sat on her lips, Bayani calmly shook his head before turning and continuing down the path, Ririan skipped into a run to catch up and slowed down to her Brother’s pace when she was next to him, Bayani glanced to the side and when their eyes connected Ririan bared a large smile before the both of them moved their attention forwards.
It had been a few moments of silence as the two walked down the wide path when something new came into view. Ririan squinted her eyes for a moment to try and make out what it could be, but the heat coming off of the path, creating the waves, distorted it even further. However, she kept her attention on it when she could make out more and saw that they were buildings, some not very indistinguishable, they were just normal buildings like the ones in many of the other buildings. Her opinion changed when she found that the buildings just kept on growing realizing that they were very tall, noting a strange red building that seemed to be in the center. It was only after a few moments of staring at the growing townscape that she put the pieces together.
“Is that it?” She questioned, almost already knowing the answer as the underlying excitement was evident in her speech, but she wished to clarify as they had been through a few other places to get here.
“It is” Bayani stated calmly before turning to face her, seeing her excitement with the intention of calming her down “You remember what to do?” He stated his usual soothing and friendly nature to the voice hidden by the serious tone he took. Causing Ririan to look towards him, she noted the change in his eyes, normally holding the familiar kindness that she was used to seeing every time she saw those eyes had now been replaced with a sort of intimidating look, although she could see the caring behind it. She nodded slowly before facing the townscape once again.
“I remember. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine. This is a new start for us” She stated before looking back up with a smile, Bayani wavered in his determined look when it failed completely and he smiled back.
“Yes, it is” He moved his hand, allowing it to show from beneath the robe and holding it towards Ririan, she moved her hand to grasp his as they approached Konohagakure. Her eyes scanned over the large village when they lay on the mountain carving in the back, she pointed towards it.
“What is that?” She questioned only just being able to make out the faces on the mountain side, Bayani followed her finger to what she was pointing at and let his mouth drop open as he realized she was pointing at the faces.
“Ah! That’s the previous Hokage’s of the village, remember me telling you about them?” He asked back, she nodded in response.
“Yeah, they are the greatest Ninja in the village and lead it” Bayani nodded.
“That’s correct, only the best Ninja get to become Hokage” He paused a moment before glancing down at her “Do you think you’ll be Hokage?” She glanced back up before looking back at the mountain. She wondered what it would be like to be Hokage, to lead so many people and have them listening to all of her words, would she make a good Hokage? Would she ever get that strong? She didn’t know, but the idea that all of her actions and words would be held in high esteem and that the lives of so many peopled were essentially down to her. She almost visibly flinched at the idea before shaking her head.
“No, I don’t think I would want to be Hokage. That sounds like too much responsibility” Bayani chuckled at the thought and nodded.
“A wise response if there ever was one” He paused a moment “But you wouldn’t be doing it alone. You’d have friends and advisors” Ririan perked up.
“Would you be one of my advisors?” She asked innocently, Bayani smiled softly.
“Well, that would be up to you. Would you employ me?” She smiled at him, before quickly facing forwards.
“Nah” She spoke plainly, Bayani had a dumbfounded look on his face.
“I should have expected that” Ririan giggled a moment and then stopped, thinking for a brief time before speaking again.
“I doubt I could do something like that without you. But I think you’d make a much better Hokage than me Bayani” She smiled, causing Bayani to chuckle.
“Oh, you think so? Well, I guess we shall see. And if that day comes. I’ll make you one of my advisor’s” Ririan grinned and nodded, she was about to responded when a man came from behind the large gate towards them, Bayani released his hand from Ririan’s. She glanced up at him and the new person that was approaching them, then stopped, he brought his hand up as a visual command that they should stop approaching, to which they followed. After stopping the male called out.
“What’s your business here?” He asked firmly, his voice was somewhat raspy and deep, Ririan looked up at Bayani to wait for his response.
“We are relocating to Konoha” He spoke just as firmly, she turned her gaze back to the man in front of them, she took in his appearance, noting his wild dark hair, but taking more interest in the strap that went across the bridge of his nose. He looked the same age as Bayani and looked as if he was slightly shorter than him, though there were similarities in their posture as if showing they both were attentive if anything combat orientated would happen. They were very different in appearance, this male’s hair contradicted Bayani’s combed blonde hair and Bayani’s light blue eyes contradicted the dark irises of the man before them.
“Is that so” He stated and gave a pause, Ririan glanced between the too, unsure of what was going on. She looked at Bayani’s eyes noticing the stern look that she couldn’t recall ever seeing before as if sizing up an opponent “You have the correct documents?” He asked causing Bayani to nod. He moved cautiously towards his bag, knowing that sudden movements could result in an unpredictable reaction. He drew a small book from his bag, it appeared to have documents poking out of the pages, he moved his hand forward and held it out for the male to take. He approached slowly, almost relaxed that it confused Ririan, she thought he was trying to intimidate them in case they didn’t hold honorable intentions with regards to the village. Then she realized that he must not be the only one at the gate, assuming that if something were to happen, a number of other Ninja would make their appearance known. He took the book from Bayani and glanced through it, looking at the individual sheets of paper that weren’t attached. He looked as if he was just skimming through it, but at the same time, taking in what certain pieces said slowly. After a short amount of time, he handed the book back “Everything seems in order, Welcome to Konoha” He spoke with a more casual tone, now placing his hands in his pockets. Bayani smiled back and placed the book back in his bag.
“Thank you very much” He paused a moment before motioning to Ririan “This is Ririan and I’m Bayani” He stated introducing himself, the male in front of them blinked momentarily, as if not expecting them to introduce themselves to him as he had already made a move to go towards his previous post.
“Oh? Erm, I’m Kotetsu” He greeted, a casual smile on his features, making him look a lot less intimidating than Ririan first thought “You know your way around?” He questioned since they hadn’t made a move to enter the village yet.
“Actually, this will be our first time” He stated as he ran a hand through the hair on the back of his head.
“Follow me” Kotetsu stated, causing both Ririan and Bayani to blink in confusion, however, they did so. Ririan glanced to Bayani who looked back and shrugged his shoulders. She looked back at Kotetsu.
“Erm, where are we going?” She asked curiously, now not really looking at him since their scenery had changed, she started to look at all the different shops and buildings that they walked past. Kotetsu let his gaze move to the corner of his eyes without turning his head, as if attempting to look at the girl, but not really trying too hard, before returning his gaze to the path forwards.
“The books state you own an apartment nearby. Thought I could show you there” Bayani smiled joyfully.
“That’s very kind of you” He spoke up, Kotetsu briefly bought a hand out of his pocket to show Bayani the back of his hand, as if stating that it was no problem. Ririan looked back to the male while he did this and found his demeanor to be quite friendly and laid back, she smiled softly as they walked forwards in silence, whilst taking in the sights of the village that they would now call home. Ririan saw a shop that caught her interest that she started to move towards it, Bayani extended his hand quickly and lightly caught her by the top of the arm when she looked back he shook his head. “You can explore later” She seemed to roll her eyes for a moment before nodding and continuing to walk beside him “Remember we have a lot to do today, we still have to get you enrolled into the academy” He stated, knowing that his previous comment would have made her somewhat upset, but reminding her of the academy he knew would restore the happiness lost over a simple restraint. He was right as a smile came back to her features, Kotetsu turned his head upon hearing the statement.
“You plan on becoming a shinobi?” He asked glancing her over as if now wondering about her potential as one. She nodded once, the same smile still on her features.
“Yeah” She exclaimed quite happily, Kotetsu looked forwards again.
“I wish you the best” He stated before slowing down outside one of the taller buildings, turning around he looked towards them “Here it is, I assume you have the keys” Bayani nodded and moved to a smaller pouch on his side before drawing the keys, Kotetsu nodded “Well, if you need anything else, I’ll be at the front gate” He said and then made his way back towards the gate, Bayani waved slowly to him.
“Have a nice day” He called out warmly, then motioned towards Ririan who gave him a confused look at first, then realized what he was requesting and turned to look at Kotetsu walking away.
“Bye” She spoke up so that he could hear, Kotetsu removed a hand from his pocket and in the same motion as before showed them the back of his hand before returning it back to his pocket, this time as a farewell. Bayani looked towards Ririan and held up the keys.
“Ready to see our new place?” He asked her, she nodded excitedly. He reached down to open the main door that didn’t have a lock on it as it was the door to all the apartments. They looked to the floor in front of them, to the right revealed a tall stair case and on the left was a hallway that held two doors, written on them was 1A and 1B. Glancing to the keys that he held in his hand he saw the lettering 3B, causing him to look towards the stairs “I guess we are on the third floor” They moved to walk up them, making their way to the third floor, they walked down the hallway that they came across, reaching their destination of apartment 3B. Flipping the key and tag round in his hand he moved to unlock the door, opening it with his other hand.
It wasn’t a very big apartment, but just the right size for the two of them, as they entered they saw the main features of the room. To the left as the came in was a corner kitchen, holding a fridge, oven, stove and a few cupboards. further down on the same wall was a single door that was open, they could make out white tiles on the floor which they assumed meant it was the bathroom. to the right was a coat rack area and a place to put shoes, following the same wall were two doors equal distance from each other, both open showing the same wooden floor. In the centre of the main room was a table with four chair around it, it was a very minimalist look to the room but it had everything they would need. On the furthest wall opposite the entrance was two large windows allowing them to look out onto the village and it was a rather nice view, it allowed them to see the strange red building they had noted earlier. Moving inside they wandered around looking at the items, it didn’t take long since there weren’t many, they glanced at the two rooms on the other side, Ririan looked to Bayani who had glanced to her, he smiled and motioned towards the rooms as if telling her to pick which one she wanted. She glanced at them and noticed they were identical and had decided on the one to the right, closest to the entrance, her logic behind it was when she was tired it would take less time to get to her bed. She moved into the room and made note of where everything was, on the furthest wall was a single window that didn’t look out onto anything spectacular, below that and to the right was a single bed, on the right wall adjacent to it held a desk and at the foot of the bed, a wardrobe. She took her bag off and placed it on her new bed, moving to the window, a smile making its way to her lips.
“Do you want some tea?” Bayani called from the main room. She looked behind her and made her way to the main room.
“Yes please” She stated and moved to the table, pulling a chair out she sat down and was overwhelmed by the feeling of weight coming off of her feet, she let out a relieved sigh before slouching in the chair.
“Glad to be sitting down?” He chuckled as he moved a kettle onto the stove and started placing tea leaves inside of it. She nodded and lent forwards, resting her elbows on the round table.
“So, what exactly will we be doing when we get to the academy?” She asked as she began tracing imaginary patterns on the table “And do you even know where it is?” Bayani cocked an eyebrow and turned to face her while the kettle was brought up to heat.
“You don’t have a lot of faith in my do you?” He chuckled softly as she glanced up “I know where the academy is” He noted as he turned back to face the kettle. Ririan tilted her head to the side.
“But you had to get directions here”
“The man offered, I couldn’t turn him down, that would be rude” Bayani stated, Ririan shook her head.
“You’re so weird sometimes” Pushing herself lightly she leaned back in her chair and glanced out one of the main windows, looking towards the red building.
“Only to you” He picked the kettle up and poured from a height into to cups, before picking them up and placing one in front of Ririan and then sitting down himself “We’ll be meeting with one of the instructors there, he’s going to show us around and show you were your classes will be” Ririan looked back, her gaze dropping to the cup, she lifted her hand to place it around the cup feeling the soothing heat from the ceramic.
“Can’t we wait a day or two?” She complained as she was starting to get comfortable and began feeling the relaxing ache in her legs from the amount she had been walking. Bayani shook his head.
“No, Ririan. I trained you better than that. You will be going today” He stated sternly, although she often associated kindness and the calm demeanor towards Bayani since that was what she often saw. She somehow always forgot the stern way he would talk to her, especially when he trained her, it was the fact that he would only use that voice when he wanted her to do something, that she would often comply. When she thought about it, it was a good technique, it often got her to push herself when she thought she had reached her limit, but it had also gotten her to calm down when she was reacting far too much to a situation. She nodded and sipped her tea, although she agreed, she really didn’t want to get up from her seated position and if he were to admit it, he didn’t want to either. They had trekked a long way to get to the village and all the pair really wanted to do was lie in bed and fall into a deep sleep, but they had things to do and the world wasn’t going to wait for them to get some rest.
After they had finished their tea, the pair of them left the apartment and made their way towards the academy. It wasn’t too far from where they lived, which although neither of them would physically or verbally admit, they were grateful for. Their muscles still ached from the journey and the quicker they could get this done, the quicker they’d be able to rest for the day. When they arrived Ririan glanced up and noticed that the section they were entering was a part of the massive red building they had distinguished as a monument that defined the village. Entering they found themselves within the academic division.
“Hello” The person sitting at the desk spoke, Bayani smiled at her and nodded.
“Good afternoon, I’m here to speak with Iruka. My name is Bayani Kanboku attending with Ririan Kanboku” He spoke clearly and gave all the information she could possibly need at the moment, she nodded and moved from her seat, disappearing off through a pair of double doors. Ririan looked around the room they were in, wooden floors, whilst the walls were three quarter wooden slabs and off white walls. There were a few seats, that upon seeing Ririan was extremely tempted to sit herself down once again, but she knew if she would even make an attempt at showing that, that was her intention. There would be a stern look from Bayani and a few stern words when they would arrive home. Soon the double doors opened again, the woman that had been sat at the desk entered first, shortly followed by a somewhat tanned male, the same height as Bayani with a long scar across the bridge of his nose. He brought his hand up and gave the friendliest smile, that it could match Bayani’s.
“Hey there. I’m Iruka Umino” He greeted before holding his hand out, Bayani smiled back politely taking the hand and giving it a firm shake.
“Hello, ” He spoke cheerily when the handshake broke Iruka looked down towards Ririan.
“And this must be the one who wants to enroll here. I hope you’re up to the task” He spoke encouragingly, she smiled back up at him and nodded once, Bayani glanced at her before looking back to Iruka.
“She’s ready, you received the recommendations?” He questioned, causing Iruka to draw his attention from Ririan and back to Bayani. Ririan looked towards her older brother and wondered what kind of recommendations he was talking about, but Iruka nodded and motioned for them to follow him through the double doors.
“Yes, I must say, they are quite impressive. You trained her yourself?” Iruka asked as he held the door open for the siblings to walk through. Bayani nodded at the query and glanced towards Ririan, a soft smile came to his lips as he saw the confusion on her face.
“You remember the occasional time I would take you to be assessed? They were respected shinobi. I had asked them to review your progress in order to make sure you would be able to transfer to this academy without being held back” Ririan nodded at the explanation, she knew she was being assessed by those shinobi, but she didn’t know that one day they would be asked to provide a recommendation towards this academy. She assumed as Bayani said it was to make sure that she was physically able to be at the same standard as those of the same age.
“Being home schooled and getting above average results are quite rare, you must have been put through your paces” Iruka stated causing Ririan to look at him, she realized that he was talking about the intensity of the training she received under Bayani’s tutelage, she nodded quite furiously, causing both the adult men to chuckle as they continued down the corridor. “Well, whilst you are here it shouldn’t differ too much from what you had already been studying. Although you will be doing it with peers” He paused and looked towards Bayani “I understand you wish her to study alongside those of Kuna?” Bayani nodded and again Ririan was confused before she remembered a conversation she had, had previously with Bayani.
“They call them the Kuna, their name is short for Kodokuna, or Solitary. It means that you will be working alone, it isn’t a very well-known part of the school because of how few students are able to apply and coupe. If exceptional they can become part of the Anbu and in the ancient Shinobi times they would have become Younin or Innin, it’s not going to be easy, but you will do it.”
“That’s correct” Bayani nodded, Iruka seemed to narrow his eyes, a look of concern easily readable on his face.
“Are you sure? It might be easier for her if she joined the normal-”
“She’ll be fine” Bayani interrupted and she heard a tone that she wasn’t used to hearing from Bayani, he sounded as if he had almost been offended, glancing up she tried to see his face, but walking behind the two men she couldn’t make anything out. But she was right, although Bayani didn’t particularly like using tones other than that of his natural way of speaking, he did feel as though his training and way of recommending her was being put down and sugar coated. Like he of all people didn’t know the ability of his own student and sibling, however, to quickly discourage any thoughts from Iruka that Bayani was being hostile he turned and offered a soft smile. Iruka smiled back and brought a hand behind his head.
“It’s just that, the Kuna are quite intense and although her scores are adequate for her to join. It could be tough” Bayani turned his head to face Ririan, a flash of memory passed by, a single image of Ririan forcing herself to stand up after an intense session of training and a smile full of pride came to his face as he looked back up at Iruka.
“She can handle it” He stated calmly, Iruka noted the pride on his features and knew that feeling all too well, it was enough to convince him that the man before him was confident enough of his student’s abilities to push her into this situation, giving him enough reason to stop his insistence that she join as a regular student. As they continued to walk they came up upon an area that had pillars and a fence lining one side of the wall, allowing you to look down into an open area. There they could see a few people seemingly doing drills, Iruka had stopped and motioned to the groups down below looking towards Ririan.
“When you pass your test to become a Kuna Genin you’ll most likely be working with one of these groups. As well as by yourself” Ririan nodded as she looked towards the groups watching them spar, Bayani too watched before looking towards Iruka.
“When is the test?” He asked curiously, Iruka looked up from the open space below to Bayani.
“It’s in a week or so. However, she can wait a year before taking it” Bayani shook his head, bringing his hand up almost to say stop.
“That won’t be necessary, she is ready” He stated, Ririan looked at Bayani and wondered to herself if she should really be taking the test so soon as entering, she wasn’t as confident in her abilities as Bayani was. He would often call her modest due to the fact that she would never brag about what she could do, mainly because she never thought much of it to begin with. This mindset came with the training she had with Bayani and seeing what he was able to do compared to her, she knew she had a long way to go to be as good as him and thus at this moment she was worried she would fail the exam and disappoint her big brother. She bit her bottom lip as she looked back at the people below, she was worried, but she knew she shouldn’t show it, it wouldn’t be a strong move right now to show her worry, so instead she would just bite her lip. Bayani caught site of the action, however he would not draw attention to it instead he gave a kind smile to Iruka who nodded before moving forwards.
“Just down this hall way will be the classroom you will be going to until your exam. So it looks like you might not be at the academy very long” He chuckled softly as he approached a door, Ririan looked at it then looked behind her as if making a visual memory in her head so she would know where to come the next time she had to come here. “So you will be starting tomorrow, I have informed the teachers and they look forward to meeting you. I hope you learn what you need to before the exam” He stated positively “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a class to attend to. You are free to have a look around and leave when you wish” He nodded to them both in farewell to which they both returned the gesture, they watched him closely as he left and exited behind another pair of double doors. Bayani looked towards Ririan.
“You are ready for this. Aren’t you?” He questioned, as if relieving he saw her bite her lip earlier, she pursed her lips in response and nodded.
“If you think I can do this. Then I’ll do it” She responded calmly, Bayani shook his head and brought a hand to his forehead.
“You can’t just depend on my word with regards to your ability Ririan, you need to have the confidence of your own. You’ve have proven yourself. Why can you not appreciate your own skill for yourself?” He seemed concerned, his eyebrows tilting as if confused. Ririan shrugged as a small sigh came from her.
“My only really opponent has ever been you and I know for a fact that you hold back on me. How am I supposed to know my real worth when that hasn’t been tested?” She retorted, frowning at her own words as if the verbal self-doubt made it worse. Taking a deep breath and realizing her words rang true Bayani stepped forwards and placed a hand on her shoulder, she looked up at him their blue eyes locking together.
“I believe in you; I want you to know that. But you are right, the only way you will really know the worth of yourself is when you face your first real opponent. Someone who is not me. I guess we will know soon enough about your worth, but as long as you remember what I have taught you and to stay calm. You will go far” Bayani ended on a bright smile and Ririan was staring at him in awe, it was moments like this that she could truly say that Bayani was her role model, she wanted to be just like him. Kind but in stern, calm and collected, she wanted to be just like him. In moments like this, she knew she loved him so much, Bayani raised his hand and ruffled her hair, bringing her out of her awe inspired daze. “Come on, let’s get home. I know we both need some rest” She nodded in response, now looking forward to laying in her bed and going to sleep, after some much-needed food.