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Old 07-23-2018, 03:43 PM   #1
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Default One Point, No Jutsu

Fur, hair, feathers, scales, and some unidentifiable black dust all flew through the air. A cacophony of squawks, squeaks, and hissing accompanied this shower of animal detritus. To top it all off Ringo was pretty sure she’d stepped in some poop, which was totally not cool since she’d just shined these boots.

“Together, together, you rookies!”
A chuunin wielding a deadly looking clipboard waved at the crowd of genin as he tried to herd them into a fenced off area. “Don’t think I won’t fail you for goofing off! Kirigakure takes these examinations very seriously!”

Of course Ringo and her faithful rooster stood at the ready in their designated spot. The other nine genin scrambled across the training grounds, each with their own animal companion. Some of the beasts must not have gotten the memo about the importance of this meeting and seemed more interested in sniffing each other or starting fights. So unprofessional!

“Quickly, quickly now.”
The chuunin tapped his clipboard as he counted through the names. A big hawk in a little shinobi uniform of its own sat up in a tall palm, regarding the vermin with disdain. “I’m going to do role call and if you don’t respond, that’s gonna cost you. No complaints!”

“Hoshiru Yuri!”
“Manami Koshiro!”
“Kurusu Ringo!”

Ringo’s voice blasted out like a firecracker. Ichi, her rooster, let out a little cluck in affirmation of his own existence. With a nod the examiner continued down the list. When he finished he put the clipboard down to his side and stood at attention.

“Alright, rookies of group..."
He glanced at their name tags. "...6A! Welcome to Kirigakure’s annual Beast Permit Examination. Some of you I saw last year and you should know the drill. The rest of you,” The chuunin shot a suspicious looking eye at the young man having trouble keeping his python in place. “I hope you read the information sent to you last week. If you wish to keep your animals within city limits, I highly suggest you be on your best behavior today.”

Ichi and Ringo stood at attention and soaked in every word. If there was one thing the pair could do, it was obey orders without question!
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:41 PM   #2
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“Team Lambda!” The chuunin shouted, waving the previous genin and her juvenile armadillo away. “You're up next.”

“Sir yes Sir!”
Ringo goose-stepped up to the line and shot Ichi an incriminating glare. The chicken gawked a bit but waddled diligently behind her. “Ready to begin, Sir!”

The examiner finished scribbling a few notes onto his clipboard then readjusted his glasses. “Team Lambda, you have thirty seconds, start on my mark.” He gestured with three fingers pointed out. Then two.

Then one.

His hawk gave a sharp cry and Ringo shot forward like a rocket. Thirty seconds!

Her fingers wrapped around the stick at the end of the course. Twenty seconds!

With a mighty heavy she turned around and flung it high in to the air. Nineteen seconds!

In prime condition Ichi spread his wings and took flight. The dust at his feet swirled in a mighty gust as he took to the air in all his awkward majesty. Sixteen seconds!

Ichi might have a brain the size of a walnut but he knew his commands. As the stick flipped through the air he focused in on it with laser precision. Fourteen seconds!

Just like the ferocious birds of prey that he certainly wasn't related too, the chicken snatched the projcetile from it's trajectory like a fish from a stream. He even did a little loop on the way back to Ringo, just for fun. Eleven seconds!

Ringo felt her pet's talons grip onto her outstretched arm, then with the other she ripped the stick out from Ichi's beak. Ten seconds early! A regular prodigy! No smiling, though. This was a professional certification, not some dumb tournament or game. Ringo held the stick up high for the examiner to see. “Mission accomplished, Sir!”

A remarkably hushed silence fell across the training area. None of the other genin said anything. None of the animals made a noise. Even the wind completely died. The only noise to be heard was the scritch-scratch of the chuunin's pen.

Way, way more than ten seconds past. Then twenty. Then a full minute.

“Team Lambda, you didn't follow instructions.
” The chuunin spoke as though he'd seen this plenty of times before. “The projectile must travel over thirty feet before interception. You failed this test.”

What? What?! Ringo tried to maintain composure. Of course she'd thrown it thirty feet, she always followed orders as precisely as possible, what kind of garbage standard was being used here-

As if anticipating an outburst the chuunin pointed up at his hawk, who still stared downwards with murderous intensity.Over thirty feet. Exactly thirty doesn't count. Don't both arguing, my buddy up there doesn't make mistakes.”

Oblivious to everything Ichi began to clean his feathers. Ringo let out a long, stale breath from her nostrils. Okay. Okay. One test of three failed. This one was her fault, she'd practiced this test too much. Next time she would-

“Team Mambo!”
The chuunin shook his clipboard at Ringo, urging her to get off the field. “You're up next!”
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:59 PM   #3
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While the rest of the applicants took their turns Ringo stood in the waiting zone and choked her chicken. “Ichi!” The others who finished before gave the pair ample space to vent. There was no judging here- everyone had been in a similar position with their pet before. “We failed the easiest test! The easy one! The one I told you not to fail!” To his credit Ichi took the strangulation in stride, offering little more than a few distressed clucks when Ringo throttled him a bit too hard. Then, a few seconds of intense animal abuse later, Ringo snapped back into professional mode. She hurled her bird away and smashed one of her boots into the soft soil. “Nnnng.”

Ichi did a few somersaults in the air before his feathers caught the air in the right way. With all the grace of a drunk he managed to right himself and land on the sandy area without further injury. Ichi let out a 'not this again' type of screech, then tried to fix his neck feathers. Ringo gathered her thoughts.

This was without a doubt her fault. No two ways about that. She and Ringo practiced the first test for two weeks, and she'd beaten him each time he failed to catch the projectile at exactly that mark. What a horrible technicality to fail on! No reason to get upset, though. No, no. There were two more tests. If they passed two of the three, her animal permit would be renewed and this little misstep wouldn't matter.

“Hey,” A decidedly unwelcome voice cracked out behind her. “I couldn't help but notice you failed the last test. Don't worry, just keep your spirits up and-”

Ringo spun around and stood up straight. She still had to look up at the guy talking to her though, since he was like six horrible feet tall. “Excuse me!” Ringo's voice was a bit hoarse from all the earlier scolding. “My name is Kurusu Ringo, genin-rank sailor for the Kirigakure Navy, and I did not request assistance!”

The boy seemed taken aback by the weird non-answer and decided to interpret it as an introduction. “Oh, uh, okay. My name is-”

“I don't care!” Ringo proclaimed without a hint of malice or hostility. “Now if you will excuse me! Ichi!”

Hearing his name the rooster perked up and strutted back towards Ringo. The girl left the overgrown genin behind her as she scooped up her bird and inspected it. As usual, she did a great job. Her pet showed no signs of damage from her discipline. Punishment is for teaching, not about revenge! That meant they could still ace the second test. Things were on track.

On to test two!

Last edited by Junge; 11-27-2018 at 06:52 PM..
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:14 AM   #4
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It never paid to be smug. There were just too many variables you couldn't control, too many unknowns that would flip your 'I'm a genius!' mentality onto its butt. Ringo worked very hard every day to keep this ego impulse in check. A shinobi could feel in control and powerful, yes, but a good shinobi would never let it get to their head. Everything should be taken without an ounce of frivolous behavior. That is what it meant to be a soldier!

But as the sixth genin's dumb lobster effortlessly passed the finish line those creeping feelings of self-assured victory wormed their way in. Every single pet so far passed this test, including that ridiculous looking goat. “Team Lambda! Get to the starting line.”

There it was, in all it's glory. The Kirigakure Standards and Permitting office never made any of these tests secret. Any genin could come out and run the obstacle course with their pet as many times as they wanted. It was the type of routine exam Academy teachers gave to young children to fill time in between classes. In short: a freebie.

Though the last test had been a freebie too. A sobering thought.

“You have two minutes.”
The examiner raised his hand to his hawk, who continued to reside over the proceedings with a judgmental eye. “On my mark!”

The trick here was to follow the plan and not do anything fancy. In all their practice runs Ringo and Ichi blazed through this course in thirty-two seconds. Her chicken might be a cocksure stuffed shirt, but he wouldn't disobey her orders. They were the perfect, well-oiled tag team. How could they possible fail?


Ichi scuttle off on his scrawny legs first. No flight for this test- but he moved faster on two legs anyway. Ringo shuffled sideways alongside him and maintained silence. He could manage a balance beam and cargo net fine. What mattered was following the exact orders of the chuunin. As Ichi approached the first fork in the course, the examiner gave his order.

“Team Lambda, take path B!”

Alright, the left path! It was nothing but a trivial bunch of barbed wire and a chain link fence! “Ichi!” Ringo shouted with all the authority she could muster. “Split the wickets!”

Without missing a beat the rooster ducked to the side, towards the path indicated by the examiner. Ringo suppressed a smile. Just as planned!
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:34 AM   #5
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“Path A!”

“Path A!”

“Path C!”

Perfect, perfect, perfect. Each obstacle Ichi navigated with practiced precision. There wasn't any bumbling around the course like that surly python, or fruity showboating like from the cockatiel. This rooster was all business! It made Ringo proud to see her handiwork perform so deftly. Through the tires, across the hot coals, up the ladder, Ichi coasted through each roadblock as he'd spent his entire life on this course.

That wasn't actually too far from the truth. Ringo liked to be prepared, and expected the same from her pets. Many a dead chicken could attest to that. At least you could eat those failures.

A mere half minute into the test and Ichi now approached the finish line. Ringo, acting as his coach, strained to hear the last command of the examiner. Here there were three paths, all of which Ichi were well versed with. The chuunin would shout out the command, Ringo would repeat it (coded, because coded language was very professionl!), and Ichi would execute it. It would be a stunning come-back from their shameful previous muck-up! These genin would do well to copy Ringo's stern commanding style and...


...Ichi stood at the fork in the course with his head cocked towards Ringo. He was waiting for an order. Mimicking her pet Ringo's neck craned towards the chuunin examiner. The chuunin looked back with a dull expression. Somewhere, the hawk blinked.

A full twenty seconds passed like this. Ringo opened her mouth, unclear on what was happening. There wasn't any way the examiner had already said the path, right? She had been listening the whole time! Fine, whatever, she'd just asked him to repeat it. That wasn't against the rules. Ringo cupped her hands around her mouth to shout. “A-”

”One minute left!”
His own scream drowned out Ringo's. A brief, horrifying thought crossed her mind. No, no. She wouldn't fail from some dumb set of coincidences like this. Ringo yelled twice as loud a second later.

“Excuse me, Sir! I am unclear on the last path you ordered us to take!”

With an annoyed huff, the examiner shouted back. “Path C!”

Ah! Well, that was all well and good then! No mistake to be made here.

Or was there? Ringo hesitated. Ichi scratched the dirt in an unusual show of nervousness. Path C had been the last path, but was it the next path? There was nothing wrong with a little clarification was there? “I apologize for my misunderstanding, Sir! Is Path C the next path I should go on-”

“Path C is the final path!”
The chuunin hollered, now clearly agitated. “Do you know your ABC's, genin?”

Ah, see! It was a good thing she cleared that up. Ringo turned towards Ichi and shouted her order. “Ichi, D-”

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Old 11-03-2018, 12:54 AM   #6
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Sweat started to bead on her forehead. Now wasn't the time to take chances. Ringo didn't even let Ichi take a single breath before she shouted her order out a second time. “Spin the pot! Ichi! Spin!” The urgency in her voice became more apparent with each word. “SPIN! THE!”


Why was the examiner screaming louder than her? But, no, it didn't matter. Ichi knew his master's voice. At once his talons dug into he earth and he sprinted down the obstacles labeled with a big letter 'C'. Ringo felt the tension lift from her shoulders at once. That was it! How could she have doubted her chicken? A little bit of confusion was no excuse not to follow orders! Ichi made short work of the swinging sand bags and scampered up the rock wall like he was part lizard. The chuunin didn't even get to scream 'ten seconds' because Ichi finished the last stretch in just four seconds.

Ringo's face broke into a grin for half a second before she forced it back to its usual stern expression. Professionalism! A real shinobi wouldn't be proud of completing such an easy task. In fact she'd almost failed! What a time to get flustered.

The examiner's voice, now not quite as screechy, rose up over her internal emotional turmoil. “Team Lambda!” Ichi fluffed up his feathers and strutted back to his master's side as if the last two minutes hadn't been a harrowing experience in miscommunication. Ringo stood at attention with a glimmer in her eye. Everything was back on track!

“Your animal broke the rules, I'm going to have to fail you on this test.”
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Old 11-03-2018, 01:09 AM   #7
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What came out of Ringo's mouth was unintelligible, but sounded like a mix of the words 'what' and a long, drawn out groan. Expecting this the examiner once again gestured up towards the hawk, which now circle overhead in a very buzzard like fashion. “No jutsu allowed. Your beast used wall walking.”

“Eeehh?” Ringo's jaw hung open as conflicting desires raged inside her. “Wha- what, uh, Sir?” Her usually rigid hands now waved through the air as if she could brush aside the accusation. “I'm, I'm sorry, Sir? I don't understand.”

“Clear the course, Team Lambda. Team Mambo, come-”

“No, hey, wait. Wait!”
Ringo gasped out her words. “Excuse me, Sir! My animal doesn't- he can't use wall walking. I can't even use wall walking.” She looked over to the other genin waiting their turn, as if they could help. “There's- and I knew the rules! Ichi, Ichi,” Ringo yanked the rooster up by the neck and held him up for all to see. “He knows the rules! We always follow the rules!”

“Team Lambda, I won't repeat myself.”
The chuunin scowled at the upset genin and spat. “Those eyes in the sky don't lie. My hawk caught your pet cheating. Or are you calling me a liar?”

“No, Sir.”
Ringo's teeth clamped tightly together. “No. I'm sorry.” She bowed, dropping Ichi unceremoniously at her feet. “I'll take my leave.”

The walk of shame didn't take too long. The other six genin who finished before her were all sitting just a few dozen feet away. They didn't say anything as she marched over to a boulder and sat down on it. Ringo sat down and bent over, holding her head with both hands.

Two failures. How? How had such a horrible thing come to pass? Her, Kurusu Ringo, caught off guard not once but twice. A soft clucking let her know that Ichi was nearby. For a chicken he sure could be empathetic sometimes.

Ringo sat upright and jabbed a finger at Ichi. “Why do you know wall walking? You can fly, you inbred, ungrateful, insipid blob of lunch meat! Why would you ever learn to walk on walls?”

Sensing his owner's frustration Ichi did his usual thing and flapped his wings a bit to stretch. Then he bent his neck sideways and gave a little murmur of a squawk. Ringo understood the intention instantly.

“Fowl play? Er,”
She coughed and hoped nobody heard her say that. “Foul...foul play? How? Why?”

Ichi offered nothing but a quizzical half dance step to answer.
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Old 11-03-2018, 01:27 AM   #8
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The tenth genin passed through the obstacle course without a problem. Ringo looked on with intense concentration. Ichi stood off to the side, digging up dead grass and pecking at the insects hiding underneath.

There was no other logical conclusion. Ichi couldn't possibly know a jutus that Ringo herself hadn't yet mastered. Even if he somehow learned the technique, Ringo previously threatened the bird with death if he broke any her commands. They both knew no jutsu were allowed during the test. Her pet might have a multitude of flaws, but disobedience wasn't one of them.

Did she know the examiner? She gave the chuunin another once over. Nope. He looked just like any other Kirigakure soldier. Tanned skin, average height, normal shinobi uniform. She'd never seen him before and actually couldn't even remember his name. Ringo had enemies, sure, but they were all back in the Academy. A normal boots-on-the-ground ninja like this guy would never have crossed paths with the genin. Could someone in her family of offended him? No way! Those fools didn't even live on this island!

“Oh, hey, Ringo-”

“It's Kurusu.”
Ringo spat out her response automatically. “Kurusu Ringo.”

The tall boy from before took a step back as if she'd attacked him. “O-oh, my bad. Kurusu-”

“Who are you?”
Ringo turned her attention away from the obstacle course and back at the boy. “Do I know you?”

“It's me! We talked like, twenty minutes ago!”

Ringo maintained a flat expression. “Can I help you?”

“I, I just wanted to check and see if you were feeling alright, after that test.”

Now her face contorted into a disgusted sort of contempt. “No, I am ashamed at having failed a very easy obstacle course. I am -was- reflecting on my mistakes.” Ringo's doll-like head shook from side to side. “I would appreciate it if you left me alone, please and thank you.”

“Oh! Right. Sure.” The boy scratched his arm, unsure of what to do next. “Well, good luck on the final test.”

“What final test?”
She sighed. “I failed the first two. The last test is irrelevant.”

Now it was the boy's turn to be confused. “Huh? The tests aren't like strikes in a baseball game, Rin- Kurusu. It's a cumulative point total.”


The boy held up his fingers to illustrate his point. “Oh, yeah. The first two tests are worth, uh, thirty five percent, and the last test is worth the rest. As long as you didn't completely screw up the first two then you can pass with an amazing score on the last one.”

Ringo's eyes lit up. One of her hands jumped up over her mouth to hide her surprise. “Is that so? That's- that wasn't in the handbook.”

“Yeah, it was a recent-”

Ringo's bark came back and her beast at once stood at attention. “We can still make it!”

“By the way, my name is-”
But it was too late. Ringo's feet carried her faster than the genin's juvenile awkwardness and like the wind, she was gone.

The last test was the cincher! There was no way they could fail it- quite literally, it only required that you do nothing. All those thoughts of sabotage melted away. Ringo and Ichi would ace this last test and secure their permit, and all these failures would be like dust in the wind!
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Old 11-03-2018, 01:41 AM   #9
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“Team Lambda!” Like the last hour of testing hadn't been a mortifying roller coaster of embarrassment, Ringo marched up proud to the table. It was a simple little wooden fold-out thing covered in the scratches and tooth marks only animals or the surliest of genin could produce. The chuunin, ever the consummate professional, tapped the table with a long ruler. “Place the beast on the designated mat, please.”

Ringo complied and scooped up her pet. Ichi didn't protest as she grabbed his haunches and laid him on the table like a piece of fresh meat. The examiner gave her a weird look. “Upright, on both his legs.”

“Right away!”
She chirped. After a minimal bit of fussing Ichi stood proud on a little green mat atop the table. A large black charcoal outline marked off the edges of the map, and indicated the 'pass' area. “If your animal flees this area for any reason, it's an automatic failure. Understood?”

“Crystal clear, sir!”
Ringo nodded and bowed in tandem. “I should take my leave now, right Sir?”

“Yes, yes.”
The examiner picked up a scroll and began to unroll it. “Wait over behind the tree. Any signals or communication between you and the animal is grounds for disqualification. So do try to be quiet.”

In response Ringo let out a little affirmative hum. She gave the rooster one last look of 'I'll kill you if you misbehave' then marched off to the genin waiting area on the far side of the training field. The third test was the 'provocation' test. Ichi would be manhandled and shaken by the examiner and probably yelled at and called hurtful names. It varied depending on the pet, but the whole idea was to test whether or not the animal was 'socialized'. A bad pet would attack out of anger or fear. A good shinobi pet would stand unshaken against the abuse. The best pets wouldn't even flinch.

It was the perfect test for Ringo and Ichi. Not just because Ringo already did all that stuff to Ichi all the time anyway, but because in all their time together, Ichi had never once attacked a person on his own. Truth be told, for a rooster, the guy was kind of aloof and hard to perturb. That probably explained why he was the only chicken to ever survive Ringo's harsh recruitment process.

A calmness of mind and spirit overcame Ringo as she stood off with the other chitchatting genin. Yes. Yes. All her worrying was pointless. Despite all her bluster, she trusted Ichi. If that rooster could weather a typhoon, it could deal with a little poking and prodding. Confidence! That's what Ringo needed! A new level of confidence!
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:55 AM   #10
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Left, right, left again. Back to right. Double back on right. Okay, now left. Ichi's head swooped and swiveled and bobbed as he stood alone on the mat. How humans managed to ever be at ease with their two forward facing eyes, Ichi couldn't fathom. Then again as a one year old rooster there was a lot of things he couldn't fathom. Like doorknobs, and boneless pork rib!

With the two eyes on each side of his head Ichi boasted an impressive wide angle of vision. It let him watch his master stomp off while keeping an eye on the 'examiner', though Ichi couldn't comprehend the reason for this examination. If his master was anything to go by, humans did a lot of painful testing. Just a fact of life! While moving his head he caught sight of the hawk gliding silently above him. His chicken instincts kicked in again and his feathers bristled. Now that was a scary animal! Like humans, hawks had those front-facing eyes so they could hone in on prey. Chickens, being prey, spent a lot more time trying to avoid getting hunted than hunting themselves.

The bizarre looking human finally put away his clipboard and approached the table. Ichi shook off his fears and stood proud. The man reached out and grabbed one of his wings without warning. Ichi let it happen.

After that Ichi endured a series of pokings, liftings, and pinchings. Each new invasion of his personal space he regarded with a cool, stoic expression. As much as a rooster could manage, anyway. Beaks didn't allow a very wide range of facial movements.

The human nodded his head and went back to the clipboard. Ah, he looked pleased! There was sure to be a treat for Ichi at the end of this. After all, his master had done far worse to him in preparation for this test. What would it be today? A strip of beef? Some shelled pistachios? A whole bag of crickets? Nothing? It was probably nothing. Master had been really stingy with the treats lately.

A shadow moved across his field of view and Ichi froze from head to toe. Even his limited thoughts stopped. The ninja-trained jungle fowl felt a bad omen.

“Good human socialization.”
The examiner held out his arm, and the hawk landed on it a split second later. “Onto the animal-animal interaction part.”
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