Reizo was walking back home from his team meeting. He hadn't even read the whole memo about who was on his team. He hadn't realized he'd been placed on a team with Senshi and Max. Fate worked in some mysterious ways. Reizo was glad he had such reliable friends as his teammates. Itami seemed a bit peculiar and cold, but maybe it was just the situation he was forced into. Either way, Reizo was excited and relieved that his team was so diverse in talent and so friendly. It would mean they'd be able to accomplish a lot together, and Reizo looked forward to the many missions they would go on as a team. Reizo would have to be sure to be prepared for his mission tomorrow. He had been slacking in his training lately, and he noticed Senshi had already looked much stronger physically than even a week ago. It was a bit unnerving that Senshi had physically progressed so fast to Reizo, but at the same time, Reizo couldn't help but admire his vigor in training. Still, in the end it wouldn't really matter- they'd all likely reach the same points eventually. Reizo would be sure not to fall too far behind that he couldn't make up the time.
That reasoning was precisely why he was going on this self-devised mission for today. Reizo had been in the library and had checked out as many scrolls as he could pertaining to the various species of ninja animals around the world. He had seen scrolls on toads, slugs, snakes, rhinos, and even dragons, but Reizo wasn't too certain he'd be well connected with any of them. There was one particular group he was interested in, and he had brought the scroll home. Reizo wanted to look into the race of Samurai Otters that supposedly lived at Stormrun Lake, wherever that was. Reizo wanted to be sure to inform his mom of his journey for the day before he left on a seemingly blind quest - it would likely be his first day of many to come in order to find this seemingly forgotten race of otters. As Reizo approached his house and stood before the doorway, he paused for a moment, taking a deep breath to compose himself to announce his intentions to his mother. It was weird; he knew that something like this shouldn't be a big deal now that he was a shinobi, and yet he still felt disconnected from the whole thought of going out into the real world outside the village to search for this elusive group of otters. Reizo slipped out of his sandals and called out to his mother, "Mommm! I'm hoooome!"
Reizo would call out, his voice echoing in the nearly vacant household. Somewhat to his surprise, his mom was actually home and not working in the dumpling cart kitchen. "Welcome home, sweetie,"
his mom would greet him from the dining room, "I heard from a little birdie that you were going to go after some otters, is this true?"
Reizo was stunned and was very obviously guilty- it showed on his face very clearly. He wasn't sure if he was in trouble, or how she had even found out. Reizo hadn't told anyone about his mission."It's ok, you're not in any trouble. Quite the opposite, actually. Your father told me a long time ago that you would seek out the help of a summon. He also knew you'd seek out the same otter clan he did. He wouldn't tell me how he knew, but he said that it was just a special bond between father and son- a cycle that always repeated, even if its participants weren't aware. And I guess he was right about that, just like everything else,"
Reizo's mom sighed reluctantly. "He told me when that time came, to give you this. He told me it was only meant for you and to not look at it... but you know I'm too nosy for that,"
his mom would tell him, handing him a scroll with a ripped and broken seal. Reizo had to ask, how did she know about any of this? His face asked the question for him, being very expressive of his emotions and feelings. "I'm your mother, I know everything about you. I know you better than you know yourself. I've known you for 9 months longer, after all. It's just mother's intuition,"
she would say with a smile.
Reizo hastily opened the scroll, noticing it had been crudely taped shut, as though to hide the fact that the seal was already broken. It was a letter from his dad, dated well before Reizo's dad had disappeared on his mission. Perhaps the letter was just to provide a formality? Or did Reizo's dad really know he would be dead before his son was of age? It didn't matter too much to Reizo, and he didn't really pay it much mind. Reizo first scanned the letter, and then began to read it aloud:
If you're reading this, congratulations on becoming a full fledged shinobi! I couldn't be prouder of you. I told your mother to give you this once you've grown enough to be able to handle yourself, and when you started to show interest in finding some partners to help you out through hard times. I know you've been doing your research, but I want to tell you straight up that the only animal you should be looking for a contract with is the Samurai Otter of Stormrun Lake. I'm sure if you have come across them in your studies, you will have already grown fond of them. It's part of my will that I've passed onto you. You might not know this, but I was their messenger and a sage of Stormrun Lake. They put their faith in me, and I in turn put my faith in them. They were my trusted partners throughout my shinobi career, and now I want them to be the same help they were to me, for you. It won't be easy- even though you are my son, expect them to put you through a very arduous exam similar to the one I had to pass 30 years ago. They are not willing to pledge their loyalty to anyone, and you would be no exception.
To find them, you must head to the outskirts of the lightning country, through the Dragon Ravine. At the very end will be a lake- Stormrun Lake. You must remain cautious, as their den is still extremely hard to find. It is located deep underwater, but once you find the entrance, you will surface into a whole world unlike anything you have ever seen before. Good luck, and I will always love you and be proud of you no matter what.
When Reizo finished reading the letter and looked up, he could see his mom shaking and tearing up. Clearly the letter held a huge emotional attachment to her as well, and although Reizo wasn't tearing up, as he had been trained to avoid confronting his emotions, he was shaken up by the words as well. These were the only words he had from his father. He could barely remember his voice, and yet this letter held a huge amount of sentiment. Knowing he was making his father proud gave Reizo a huge surge in confidence in his choices and his abilities. Reizo rolled up the scroll and gently pushed it into his backpack. After kissing his mom good bye and packing a water bottle, Reizo put on his shinobi sandals and headed out to go search for Stormrun Lake in the Dragon Ravine.
Reizo was actually glad about the policies that were recently enacted by the Raikage. He had become a bit more lenient on who could leave the village. Any shinobi was free to head to the Dragon Ravine as they pleased. Reizo was grateful, he wouldn't have to stealthily leave the village and risk punishment in order to find the otters that had given his dad so much, and hopefully would help him as well. Reizo had done some research into the exam that his dad had spoken of in the letter, but he couldn't find many results. Some sources claimed it was just a simple display of your abilities, others said it was a death match with one of the members of the clan. Either way, Reizo was looking forward to it. Reizo proudly walked through the gates of the village, but the field before him was barren, decaying, and horrific in smell and sight. This was the village's Wailing Rot Forest. Rows upon rows of long dead civilians and shinobi, pierced through one end on pikes and stakes protruded out of the ground. The ground itself was equally, if not more, vile, composed of some nasty compounds that made it horribly sticky and smelly. Thankfully, Reizo had no trouble navigating it as he was exposed to it when he was younger as a student at the Academy, however Reizo still felt his stomach knot up as he walked through the decomposing fields.
Reizo leapt onto one of the stakes, carefully balancing himself on its very tip, and began to play a game of "lava" to entertain himself as he made his way to the Ravine. Reizo would jump from stake to stake, maintaining his balance, and attempting to attract the attention of as many "civilian guards" as possible. As any citizen or shinobi of Kumogakure knew, the village was protected by a patrol of virtually undead citizens, that while fast, were merely troublesome creatures. Perhaps it was somewhat cruel that Reizo was taunting them along the way, but as far as Reizo knew, their consciousness had long since been wiped. Reizo would rip off bits of the decaying bodies that were speared by the stakes- he took fingers, ears, and even entire heads- and would toss them at the "civilians" to provoke them into chasing after him. It was a fun little game. These bodies had been decaying for so long, even the squishier parts of their bodies just snapped clean off. Reizo continued his game for about 10 minutes before reaching the end of the field, leaving behind the half dozen civilians he had provoked by distracting them with a standard after image clone.
Reizo exited the fields and continued his journey to the sacred Dragon Ravine, now in a normal forested environment. Reizo had forgotten just what fresh, pure air had smelled and tasted like, so he took a brief moment to take it all in. It was very relieving to finally be out of the hellhole he called a village, but yet Reizo never even considered abandoning it. He had too much heritage and too much sentiment to leave the village, even if it were run by someone whose ideology directly clashed with his own. Someday he might change that, but Reizo knew he probably couldn't do it alone, nor was it something he could really even conceive of doing now, as a child and a fresh Genin.
Reizo finally approached the mountain range that made up the Dragon Ravine. It was a very sacred and practically religious and hallowed area. Most went there in search of the dragons and supposed treasure and caves held up at the tops of the mountains, but Reizo instead was searching in the valleys. He had no intention of climbing these mountains, he was only interested in the lake and river that sat at its base. The temperature had dropped fairly harshly, but it was still tolerable for Reizo. He hadn't exactly packed for the cold weather, so he prayed it wouldn't get any colder. Reizo entered the mountain range, and began to walk along the bases of the mountains. An hour passed, maybe two, but Reizo still hadn't found any signs of water. He knew there had to be water here somewhere because of the elevation changes and because of his dad's message, but yet he couldn't find anything. Then the Genin noticed it- the peculiar silence. There were no signs of life anywhere, and no sounds being made except his own two feet. A light fog was settling in, but then Reizo heard it. He could hear the sound of running water, loud and clear. After three hours total of journeying, he had finally found some signs of a lake or a river.
Reizo started to run toward the sound, and then stopped immediately short at the edge of a cliff. He hadn't seen it because of the fog and had nearly tumbled to his death. The fog around the cliff cleared and beside Reizo was a fairly narrow, but long and tall waterfall, streaming down into the river about 300 feet below. Reizo knew he was in the right place, he just had to follow the stream to the lake where it emptied out. He began his slow descent down the cliff. The craggy cliff-face was very difficult to navigate, even with Reizo's abilities. He used his chakra to help him keep his balance- it was too jagged to simply walk down and so climbing was the only way. Without incident, Reizo managed to put his feet on the ground once more and followed the flow of the river once more. After 30 minutes more of walking, Reizo located Stormrun Lake. The river emptied out into a vast, blue lake- nearly a perfect circle filled with water. Reizo slid down the hill toward the lakefront and dropped his bag on the rocky beach. Now was the time to start looking. Reizo walked across the lake surface, peering into the relatively clear water as he surveyed it from the surface of the water. Reizo noticed one part of the lake seemed to be much deeper than the other parts, and as he had not found a cave or a den yet, assumed that this had to be the place.
Taking a deep breath, Reizo defocused the chakra at his feet and sank into the water. He swam deeper and deeper into the crevice. It was still fairly light, thanks to the sunlight, and even though he was nearly 30 feet underwater, Reizo could still see clearly. There were some small, brightly covered fish, but no prehistoric looking monsters. The boy was a bit disappointed in that, seeing how it was the Dragon Ravine and all, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was finding the den. Reizo was starting to get short on air and considered reascending. Then he saw it- an alcove in the rock face. Reizo swam toward it as fast as he could, knowing that there would be air on the inside should it be the right place. Luckily, when Reizo entered the cave, his hypothesis proved right. He swam about 20 feet in before he reached another rock wall, then swam straight up toward the light filtering in through a hole in the ceiling of the rock cave. Reizo surfaced, gasping for air, and helped himself onto the surface of the water. He was gasping for a couple of minutes before he managed to collect himself and look around. It was beautiful.
There were waterfalls from every angle, natural sunlight seemed to come through the roof, and yet the roof was provably rock. There were little holes dotting the roof to airate the place. Reizo knew from the outside there was probably no way to know this place existed, and yet from the inside it seemed practically open to the surrounding environment. There were bipedal otters that were very small, shooting water jutsu at each other. Others were playing with wooden swords and sparring. Still other small ones were eating as a group outside of a small hut made of mud and rock. Some very large otters that must've been at least 40 - 60 feet tall walked by on all fours, just talking about their day.
A 4 foot tall bipedal otter was the first to notice Reizo. "We don't see guests here often, you were not an announced visitor. Who are you, and what brings you here. Answer incorrectly and you may not ever leave,"
the otter threatened. Reizo wasn't fazed at all by the harsh welcoming, and even embraced it. "Good day, sir. I'm here in search for a summoning contract, could you perhaps take me to your clan leader?"
It was perhaps a bit bold to ask so upfront to meet with the grand elder, but Reizo had a purpose and a time limit. "You're but a child, I doubt you meet the specifications we look for. Still, you managed to find us and you are at the very least a capable shinobi to make it this far, so I'll hand you off to the grand elder and he can decide what to do with you. Follow me,"
beckoned the otter.
Reizo proceeded to follow the young otter. The otter looked only slightly more mature than Reizo in comparable age to humans. He was likely only a teenager. Reizo took in his surroundings, bobbing his head from left to right to behold all of the different housing structures and dams the otters had created to make the place as breathtaking as it was. The site was incredibly beautiful: crystal structures protruded from the walls, waterfalls cascaded into a stream that surrounded the whole settlement like a crystal clear moat, and several buildings were multiple stories high despite being mostly made of mud. It was quite the spectacle. The otter led Reizo up the stairs of one of the more prominent buildings. It seemed about 3 stories high and had the clan symbol of the otter at the forefront gateway. Reizo entered the building at the request of his guide where he was instructed to kneel upon addressing the older otter that appeared before them. This otter was practically a human in build, he stood at 5'9'' and looked like he weighed around 150 lbs or so. He had two long white whiskers that formed a type of handlebar mustache. His nose was bright red like many of the other otters, and his eyes were solid obsidian in color. His hair was drawn back in an impressive ponytail. Like all the other otters as well, he fur was mostly blue, and he wore a cloth around his waist that extended to his knees in a petal-like arrangement, held together by a black belt and a scallop shell."So you seek, a contract with us? What is your name, young one?"
the elder otter would address Reizo. "My name is Reizo Shoyu. I'd be willing to take whatever challenges you have to throw at me, but I don't plan on leaving here without a contract, your Highness,"
Reizo would respond. He was being a bit facetious, but still added the last bit to be courteous. These were to be his future partners, he had to be sure to earn their respect. Reizo intentionally left out the fact that they likely knew his father, they could draw that conclusion for themselves. He also wanted to earn the contract on his own merit. [col,or=#0099cc]"Reizo, eh? Well, you seem like a fiery spirit. I'm Lord Goukawa, the supreme judge and arbiter of this clan of venerable samurai. You seem very eager, so I think I'll give you a test to reflect that. Give him Exam #3,"[/color] the elder would say before leaving Reizo to be escorted out by the guards. All the otters had a worrisome expression after he had said to give him exam 3. What was in exam 3? Reizo had to know. As he was exiting the building, Reizo decided to inquire his guard on the matter. "There are 4 exams that can be chosen for an incoming shinobi seeking a contract. The first exam is simple- a basic display of your abilities and ideology and morals. This is usually reserved for ninja that have already proven their worth; they're notable in the shinobi world and are probably Jounin or above in rank in their villages. Exam two is a display of willpower. The shinobi is tortured and brought to the brink of death over many torturous punishments. These tests are designed to break the shinobi. They have to prove that they are willing to go to any extreme. I would say that Lord Goukawa took a liking upon you for giving you exam 3. It is easier for a child such as yourself to deal with, and he clearly wants tto see you prove yourself. However, whereas the first two pose no real risk, this third one is extremely risky. You are to perform in a public spar with a chosen samurai. Should you win, that otter is to become your faithful, personal samurai. On his Bushido honor, he is to serve you with all his might and faith. Should you lose... you will almost certainly die. No child has survived the 3rd exam in almost 30 years. It's less traumatizing than the second exam at least, and a better outcome than the 4th exam. The 4th exam is reserved for miscreants and evil doers who seek the help of the clan. No one can nor ever will survive that exam. I would consider yourself lucky, at the very least you may have a chance if you're as strong as you sound confident. Gear up,"
the otter would lecture, stopping them at the entrance to an arena.
The arena was very gladiator-esque. It was a large center circle, about 30 meters in radius, surrounded by water on all sides with only 4 bridges across to reach the ring, all at a different "end". The guide left Reizo to head into the stands where a crowd was gathering. It seemed to be a big event to have someone come for a summoning contract. Reizo entered the ring as it was announced who he would be fighting. "Today we have a special treat. We have our challenger, a Genin from the Hidden Cloud, Reizo Shoyu. On the other side, as he makes his way to the stage, we have the honored, the venerable, Prince Futachimaru! A clean fight is sure to be underway shortly, winner takes all!"
a voice boomed from seemingly nowhere. Just then, a smaller otter, not even 4 feet tall, entered the ring opposite Reizo. He was the same shade of blue as Lord Goukawa, with a darker blue cloth draped around his waist in a similar manner to the elder. Instead of a scallion belt however, Futachimaru had two scallion shells on either thigh. Instead of a mustache, his two pairs of white whiskers formed two Vs on his face. His tail was black and looked almost like a cross between a fin and a beaver's tail. Shortly after entering the ring, Futachimaru bowed toward Reizo, and Reizo returned the motion."I wish you the best of luck. You'll need it,"
Futachimaru beamed. Reizo silently got into his fighting stance, firmly placing his feet on the ground a shoulder's width apart, his right hand contorted in a claw in front of his left fist which was placed by his cheek. A loud drum sounded, and the crowd erupted in a universal cheer for Prince Futachimaru. The two were only 5 meters apart when the drum sounded, and Futachimaru was quick to make the first move. He dashed in immediately, and his incredible speed caught Reizo off guard. Reizo managed a panicked head bob to the right to avoid his right straight, and then jumped away the instant he noticed Futachimaru start a swinging kick with his left leg. This guy is really fast. I've never seen speed quite like this. There's no way I can mount an offensive against that. Not only that, but his form shows me he's been practicing a ton. He has no distinct weaknesses in his form I can point out. This is going to be extremely hard,
Reizo thought. That kick was powerful too, Reizo had barely avoided it, but he could feel the power in it already. This Futachimaru guy seemed way stronger than Reizo. "You have some quick movement to be able to avoid that, but you can't win if you run away like that every time; I think I'll get a bit more serious,"
Futachimaru goaded. The otter appeared to release a seal in a cloud of smoke from a scroll he had entered the arena with, and a katana appeared in his right hand.
Futachimaru initiated another attack, lunging at Reizo's head. Reizo ducked to the right again, and jumped away as he started up another kick. This time Futachimaru pursued, going with a couple of shallow swings. His form was good, but Reizo was quickly picking up on it. I see. He may be a lot faster than me, but I have the advantage in experience. He may've been trained well, but he clearly has never fought in his life. His habits are so clear, it doesn't matter that I can't react... I know exactly where he's going to attack!
Reizo thought as he weaved in and out of Futachimaru's attacks. It was apparent Futachimaru was becoming frustrated with his lack of contact and Reizo's lack of a counterattack. Finally, Futachimaru performed a shallow vertical cut, which Reizo sidestepped to the left before delivering a right straight punch to Futachimaru's face. The otter stumbled for a moment, but it was clear no real damage was sustained. "Tch,"
Reizo winced. Not only was he outsped and out strengthed, but now apparently he couldn't even injure his opponent. Just how weak was he in comparison? Reizo lamented over his own weakness, but continued to forge onward, dodging each attack despite its speed as the pattern was far too predictable and no mixups were coming into play. Finally, Futachimaru grew too frustrated with his close combat, and threw in an unexpected kick which pushed Reizo to the ground and knocked the wind out of him. He quickly rolled and kicked himself back up onto his feet.
Out of his periphery, Reizo caught Futachimaru weaving some hand signs- a long range attack. Thinking back to what he had seen earlier upon entering the den, Reizo immediately suspected a water jutsu and began weaving seals of his own, barely managing to complete them as a huge stream of water shot from the otter's mouth: "Water Style: Water Trumpet"
the otter would say. Reizo managed to get his guard up in time - he had been practicing the block even moreso now that he had the time to make it even stronger. The force of the water was crazy strong, however, and Reizo was still forced off his feet, but not before channeling his lightning chakra into his hands for the Cramp Technique. As Reizo tumbled backward from the force of the stream, the lightning chakra used the water stream as a conductor straight for Futachimaru. It didn't matter how tough the otter was when he had lightning chakra being funneled directly to his insides through his mouth. Battered and bruised, Reizo managed to see his chance and knew he had to take it immediately. He had to fight through the pain and take advantage of the now stunned otter. The stream of water had stopped as soon as the lightning chakra hit, Futachimaru's whole body was now shaking uncontrollably and he couldn't even remain upright. Reizo used the Body Flicker technique to close the gap, and swung as hard as he could with the Leaf Whirlwind at Futachimaru's head. It completely knocked him off balance, and then the follow up sweep assured that the otter would soon be on the ground. The otter didn't seem to be in pain, so much as he was in disbelief. He couldn't move at all, and although he had been hit by some of Reizo's strongest moves, they still were barely doing any damage- only a few bruises.
Reizo wasn't having any of it. Putting the otter on the ground wouldn't be enough to win the fight. He had to close it out now- it would be his only chance. The crowd went silent as Futachimaru nearly fell to the ground, and Reizo seemingly vanished. Ducking directly underneath the now foundationless otter, Reizo delivered a Leaf Rising Wind, kicking the otter straight into the air, the kick connecting with his ribs. Futachimaru winced in pain for the first time, his muscles still unable to control themselves. The katana dropped from his hand as he got sent nearly 15 feet into the air. This was it- the opportunity Reizo had to seize. Recognizing the dropped katana, Reizo snagged it out of the air with his right hand as he prepared his Dancing Leaf Shadow. Futachimaru had finally regained some motor control, but by this point it was too late. The stunned crowd observed in absolute silence as Reizo shadowed Futachimaru and brought the katana to lay broadside against the otter's neck. The two floated for what felt like an eternity, and the otter finally acknowledged the situation, although he was rather embarrassed to have been caught in something so seemingly trivial. "You win,"
Futachimaru would mutter, as the two began their decent toward the ground. Reizo would pull the blade away from Futachimaru and flip to land on his feet, the otter flipping to land on his feet as well before immediately kneeling and conceding. The crowd suddenly erupted into raucous applause and cheer for Reizo, the champion.
Lord Goukawa, who had been watching from his special throne, jumped into the scene. "I must say, that was quite the show. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that your performance was very unexpected and impressive... and against my grandson no less!"
the elder chuckled, summoning up a contract scroll to be signed in blood. "As promised, you may sign our contract scroll, right beside your father's print. He took this same exam nearly 30 years ago, you know. He was the last one to pass the 3rd exam. I was his opponent at the time. Funny how the world works sometimes,"
the otter reminisced. He then called Futachimaru over, who was still kneeling and contemplating his shame in his loss. "Head up, Futachimaru. You know the rules, I had to follow it at one point as well, consider it an honor. From this day forward you serve Reizo Shoyu, you understand that?"
the elder otter demanded. Futachimaru said nothing, but bowed in respect toward Reizo and knelt to the ground once more, signifying his subservience. "Don't mind him, he'll come around. He just needs some time to be humbled, is all,"
Lord Goukawa reassured Reizo.
During all of this, Reizo felt overwhelmed. So many emotions were running through his mind at once. Never before had he felt so accomplished and so close to becoming a high level shinobi. Reizo bit his thumb and proudly imprinted his signature in blood on the contract right beside his father's. Reizo and Futachimaru were dismissed from the arena, and the two walked down to the area where Reizo had first entered the sanctuary. Having been silent the whole time, Futachimaru finally spoke up, "I'm sorry, I guess I'm just having a hard time coping with my loss. I don't understand how you did it. I was faster, I was stronger. I had everything. I trained to have the perfect form, the best jutsu... I was trained from birth in every aspect. How... how did I lose?"
he asked. Reizo didn't even have to think about it, and he immediately began to explain the importance of intuition and battle sense. "A battle you survive is never a battle lost, you should never think of it that way. The experience you gain far outweighs any sense of defeat. Your habits were obvious. It was clear you had a lot of private practice, and it's true that in physical speed and strength you totally outclass me. But, I know how to fight and adapt. You have clearly never been in a real life or death situation or fight. Your patterns were obvious to me after our first two exchanges- I couldn't have kept up on pure reaction. I also made a small gamble on your jutsu. I have lightning natured chakra and I noticed that many of these otters had water ninjutsu. I took a gamble that the jutsu you would perform would be a water style one, and my gamble paid off. I had no way of weaving those hand signs in time on pure reaction. Instead, I had to rely on my battle intuition. I took the hit knowing full well that the reward could be greater. To be honest, I'm lucky you dropped your sword. Not all parts of the fight are skill,"
Reizo admitted. It felt amazing to be able to convey his thoughts to someone so clearly. Usually he didn't get the opportunity to discuss battling so openly with a peer. "If you didn't drop your sword, I would've lost. After all that setup, I actually had no way of doing enough damage to you to end the fight. I had no follow up to the Rising Wind and Dancing Shadow. I suppose I could've used a kunai, but I don't think it would've been as effective as you would still have possession of your katana,"
Throughout all of this, Futachimaru was listening intently, somewhat bewildered that his teachers had never covered such an important part of battle. He had never learned about having to adapt to a real opponent, but it all made a lot of sense now. Futachimaru told Reizo that any time he needed help or wanted to train, that he was just a simple summon away now, before seeing the Genin off. The two shook hands with great mutual respect for one another, and Reizo departed the Den and sunk back into the lake. It was now a lot darker and very difficult to see, but Reizo managed to return to the surface by using the wall as a guide. Thankfully his stuff was exactly where he had left it, and he grabbed it and headed back upstream, retracing his steps back to the village. Reizo now knew that he would certainly have to devise some type of finishing move to compliment the Dancing Leaf Shadow, and so he would have to go back to the library to find some jutsu to learn. He won because he was lucky, and even though he was elated to have obtained the contract and a new second family in one day, he couldn't help but feel the results were mildly bittersweet. He couldn't win exclusively on his own, he needed a little bit of luck. Truth be told, the kunai probably could've sufficed, but Reizo would never know. Reizo smiled as he began his long journey home, knowing that wherever he was, Reizo's father was smiling at him in this very moment. Reizo had finally begun to live up to his father's legacy, and his own goals were now one step closer to being attainable.
The moon and the stars would guide Reizo back home. He was wet and cold now, as the Den had been surprisingly warm, but happy, and to Reizo that was all that mattered. He could go home with a smile on his face, knowing that he was fully prepared for his mission tomorrow. Reizo hoped he would get a real good night's sleep, because he would have a big day ahead of him. It would be his first real step in his actual shinobi career since he graduated the Academy, and Reizo couldn't be more excited for it. Reizo felt even more confident than ever before in his abilities. Even the animals in the forest as he left the mountain range and Dragon's Ravine seemed to have more respect for him, but that was probably just Reizo's imagination.6012 wordsSummoning Contract: Otters of Stormrun Lake
2000/2000 wordsPersonal B-rank Summon: Futachimaru
3000/3000 wordsTaijutsu Style: Block (B-rank upgrade)
+30 stat points