The bell rang throughout the halls in the student academy. With a thunderous burst, the front doors of the academy flew open, and from them poured a flood of eager students. The children dispersed onto the streets, talking amongst one another.
When the air cooled and the school became quiet, footsteps echoed softly out of the school, and Hitori, alone, stepped out from the shade and into the sun’s light. He looked up, and the beautiful blew sky reflected in his eyes. He smiled faintly and pressed on briskly.
Hitori walked down the streets of the village, admiring the foliage and the chirping of the birds. Their sweet songs filled his ears. Today is the day, he thought to himself, smiling, I’m going to make you proud of me, Mom.
The young shinobi hopeful climbed the stone steps leading to his home in quick succession and burst through the wooden door. Slamming the door behind him, Hitori cast his belongings onto the table and dashed into his bedroom with a slide of the door. Upon entry, Hitori opened a window, allowing all of the fresh air into his room. The sun shined brightly, illuminating yhe otherwise dark room.
Hitori came to his drawer and withdrew a blue, ceramic bowl and a box of incense sticks. Lighting the stick and placing it into the bowl, Hitori flared his nostrils and allowed the sweet aroma of cherry blossoms to fill his lungs. He sighed. “You always loved these, Mother,” he whispered, looking up to a painting of his mother mounted upon the wall. The painting was created by Hitori himself shortly after his mother’s passing. He feared losing the memory of her kind face, so he painted it while her image, albeit one of illness and in spite of the emotions capturing her visage wrought, still remain vivid in his mind.
“The day at the academy went well, mother,” he said, kneeling upon a rug in front of her portrait. “I knew the answers to every question sensei asked,” he gleamed, “you should have seen it.” Hitori’s grin shifted into a faint smile. “I miss you, Mom,” he said, looking up at his mother’s face. “A lot of the kids were talking about how their parents were going to teach them some new jutsu today. I guess that means I’ll have to work twice as hard!” Hitori paused in thought. “I’m going to start to learn my clone jutsu, today, I think.”
For a moment, the room was filled with silence. Hitori sat silently, but nothing ran through his head. Calling himself back to reality with a realization, Hitori gestured to the character “mother” upon his shoulder. “Oh look, mother! I had this sewn on for you. I hope you like it. Look! It’s all golden, and-“ Hitori stopped. “It looks nice.”
Feeling a rush of cool air, Hitori looked outside. Dark clouds had overtaken the once beautiful, blue sky. “I’ll be going now, Mother,” Hitori said, standing. “Wish me, luck!” Hitori exited the room as the last of the incense sticks burned away.
On his way to the training ground, Hitori looked up to the sky. It had begun to rain. Thunder echoed throughout the mountainous landscape.
When he arrived at the training grounds, the dirt had begun to shift into mud, and the grass was saturated by several small streams. Academy students and their parents littered the training grounds in pairs, each commanding their jutsu as rain poured from the sky. Hitori tensed for a moment in jealousy and moved on, finding a place far from the other students and their parents.
Stationing himself, Hitori took a deep breath, allowing all of his chakra to flow throughout his body as best as he could manage. He joined his hands, forming a hand sign. “Clone jutsu!” Hitori shouted. Smoke released into the air, and, once it cleared, a dull and misshapen countenance appeared before him.
Hitori sighed. The transformation was a failure. Looking to his left, Hitori spotted an older man and what appeared to be his sun watching him and whispering amongst themselves. Cautiously resuming his jutsu training, Hitori attempted to create a clone once more.
“Clone jutsu!” Hitori yelled, planting his feet firmly into the mud. Smoke filled the air once more, but in its wake was a mere silhouette of Hitori.
Off to his side, the father and son watching Hitori turned and walked away. Hitori sighed. Third times a charm, he thought, taking another deep breath and planting his feet. Again. “Clone Jutsu!” Hitori yelled once more.
For what seemed like hours, Hitori tried and tried to perfect the jutsu, more and more narrowly missing it with each attempt.
The rain that had occupied the village shifted into a pouring flood. With each attempt of the jutsu, Hitori trudged through what was now a puddle that spanned the training grounds. Out of the corner of his eye, Hitori spotted the last pair of father and son leave. Alone again, he thought.
Hitori sighed, trudging through the water onto a tree. He leaned against it and let out a frustrated burst of hot hair from his nostrils. Nothing had been this difficult for him. Hitori looked down at his hands, now ridden with mud in each of it’s soft crevices.
Hitori gently launched himself from the tree and stepped forward. Again. Hitori centered himself and took a deep breath. Joining his hands together, Hitori spoke with ferocity and determination, “Clone jutsu!”
The air filled with an amalgamation of rain and smoke, and when the smoke parted, it left a perfect reflection of Hitori standing before him.
Overcome with joy, Hitori smiled, admiring the accomplishment. He looked for someone else to witness it, but no one was there. He turned in search but could still find no one. “Hm,” he hummed. Hitori extended his hand toward the clone, reaching for its hand.
With a burst, the clone dissipated into thin air, leaving Hitori by himself.
The shriek of the door was drowned by the sound of thudding rain drops and what was now accompanied by intense thunder. Hitori shut the door behind him and eased into his room, withdrawing his drenched clothes and changing into his kimono. He looked up at the portrait of his mother and smiled. “I did it for you.”
Jutsu: Clone Transformation
Stat Points: 5
WC = 1054