Chapter 5 Seductions with Shun
Hiro peacefully walked down to the dojo. As he reached the top of the small steps, he slid open the screen doors, casually gazing at the scene in front of him. He was the last to arrive, as always. Hiro started to wonder if they all woke up an hour earlier than him, or if he just had to walk farther and longer to get to wherever he needed to go. And the sushi and apple servings were already set onto the middle of the table.
Hiro quickly took a seat down in between Suzume and Futo. He quietly whispered a "hi" to both of them, then turned his attention to the Ninja Master. "Normal day today, ninjas," he explained simply. "You will have time to train, relax, catch up on your tasks someone in the village may have given you-"
Everyone at the table turned to Shun, who was about to shove an apple slice into his mouth, but was cut off when he heard the last part of the Ninja Master's interrupted sentence. He quickly threw the apple slice back down on his plate, and got up from his seat. "Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap," he muttered to himself as he grabbed his stuff, and started to head out the door.
"Where are you going?" the Ninja Master asked curiously. Shun stopped his sudden rush, and turned back at him.
"I gotta do something real quick," he explained quickly. "I forgot to do it earlier."
"Or just didn't feel like doing it," Kunoichi sarcastically whispered to Tora, who looked at her with curiosity.
"Oh shut up, Kunoichi," Shun snarled back at her. He quickly turned his attention back at the Ninja Master, who was still listening, wanting to know why his stealthiest ninja was in such a hurry. "So do I have permission to go?" Shun asked him, a little hint of worry in his eyes.
"I guess," he replied. Shun quickly bowed to him, and started to run out the door. "When will you be back?"
Shun stopped his run, and poked his head into the dojo. "I should be back in time for training, don't worry. Save me a piece of sushi!" With those last words, he bolted out of the dojo, and into the town.
About an hour after breakfast and Shun's unexpected depart, the Ninja Master had sent his students to go train. But he had not seen the return of his second oldest ninja that he had promised earlier. Curious to see why he had not returned, the Ninja Master sent Hiro, who didn't seem to be busy with anything important, out to find Shun.
Without questioning, Hiro took the task. He began to walk up the hill up to the village. On the way there, he looked around every orifice, trying to find the chamo clad ninja. But he had no luck whatsoever. He looked all through the town, in all the shops and stores, and even in some of the villagers' houses, but couldn't find him anywhere.
Hiro finally decided to check Shun's house. He knew that the archer was never really there, and that he was probably gonna find just a big, fat nothing inside of it, but Hiro figured it was worth a shot. He slowly creaked the old wooden door open, letting light shine into the darkness. He took a few steps into the building, looking around for any signs of life in there. "Shun?" he called out quietly. "You in here?"
Other than some villagers conversing outside, Hiro heard nothing but his own footsteps. He started to turn around and leave, believing that no one was in there, but something caught his eye. In the dark corner of the cabin sat a small night stand with Shun's bow on top of it. Hiro didn't know Shun that well, but he knew that, like Suzume and her flute, he never went anywhere without it.
It puzzled him. Hiro walked closer to the night stand and reached his hand out onto the light weight weapon. Without thinking, he picked it up and examined it, trying to figure out why Shun would leave one of his most prized possessions ('probably his only one, too' Hiro thought to himself) behind. Sighing, he slowly turned around, the ninja's bow in hand, and began to gaze out of the door.
"Do you have a deathwish, kid?"
The sudden appearance nearly made Hiro jump back. Shun was standing right in front of him, his piercing green eyes gazing straight into his. Hiro gasped in surprise. 'When'd he get there?' he mentally asked himself. 'How'd he get there?' Not knowing what to say, he slowly shook his head, no, without a peep escaping his mouth.
Hiro gulped silently. He had never imagined Shun being this... frightening before. "Put the bow down," Shun commanded calmly, but intimidatingly. Hiro slowly did what he was told, and placed the weapon back on the night stand behind him, never looking away from the ninja's seemingly glowing eyes. His stare was enough to make babies cry, and Hiro was starting to believe that Shun could do anything he wanted to with it. "Leave."
Not murmering a word, Hiro quickly scurried over to the door. He ran through it, not even bothering to close it. He scurried past the village, and back into the Ninja Training Grounds. He knew if he didn't get some information about his situation quickly, then he might've needed to start seeing a therapist.
Hiro asked everybody about Shun's strange attitude. And they all gave him the same answers, but in their own versions. "The guy's got a split personality," Tora explained, trying to untie a cat toy, but with little success. "One minute, he'll be the happiest, most fun guy in the world, the next, he'll be Mr. Sourpuss on a really bad day." He tried gnawing on the knot, and pulling back, but soon found himself giving up.
"Dangit, I hate this thing!" Tora yelled, throwing the cat toy to the ground. "It won't untie!" Hiro just looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Maybe its not SUPPOSED to be untied," he pointed out. Tora frowned, and walked away.
"Just depends on what mood Shun's in," Suzume had answered. "Or if he's talking to someone who gets on his nerves, 'cause his mood changes from happy to mad just like that." She snapped her fingers, indicating how fast Shun's mood could change.
"But why? I mean, its just... not like him," Hiro questioned, confused.
"That, my friend, is something you're gonna have to figure out yourself, because I have NO idea whatsoever," Suzume stated simply, walking away.
"You know, I never quite understood Shun," Futo admitted. "He's nearly the exact opposite of Kunoichi, but sometimes, he could be her male clone. Why do you ask?"
Hiro just slowly shook his head from side to side, as if he didn't really want to say. "I dunno, I was... I was in his room, looking for him, and he just happened to have left his bow there. So I picked it up, and was gonna bring it to him-"
"Woah, wait, what?" Futo stopped him. "You touched his bow? I'm surprised that Shun didn't just tie you up, throw you into a ring of barrels filled with gunpowder, and light a fuse!"
"Why? What's the big deal?"
"He lets NOBODY even near his bow anymore, it's like his most prized possession," Futo explained. "And I... I think I sorta caused it..." Hiro looked at him, and tilted his head to the side.
"Because I sorta.... broke it....." Futo replied, recalling the scary memory. Hiro looked at him, both fear and shock in his eyes. "The only reason he let me even touch it was because the Ninja Master was still trying to find me a weapon, and he found it harmless to try out a bow and arrow. Then I ended up breaking it, and he literally tried to kill me... with his bear hands."
"Wow, that's harsh," Hiro stated, making a mental note never to piss Shun off. "Well, thanks for the help, i'll see you later." He got up from his seat on the grassy hill, and walked off.
The Ninja Master looked down at Hiro, both hope and worry implanted in his eyes. "Hiro, I've brought you here for a reason," he stated firmly while his youngest ninja listened intently. "Over the past two weeks, I have been observing your training, and you have shown great promise in the Kuji arts." Hiro's attention immediately perked up, but he had no idea why.
"What's that?" he asked curiously. He could faintly see Shun sitting behind the two, rolling his eyes, as if the answer was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Kuji magic is a powerful ancient technique that has not been used for centuries," the Ninja Master answered. "It is rarely trusted to mortals, and only one every few hundred years is able to control the power of it." Hiro couldn't stop himself from whispering "wow," to no one in particular. "Your the first pupil I've had, in fact, with such a gift."
"So today, instead of your regular training, Shun and I will be showing you one of the many ancient shrines that the Kuji spells are hidden away in," The Ninja Master finally stated. "Originally, I would've chose Tora to lead us since he's been here longer, but Shun has explored the village more than he has."
Hiro nodded swith a shocked expression, trying to take all the information in at once. He was still stunned that out of all of his current ninjas who were at least ten times better than him, the Ninja Master would've picked him to be the next handler of the seemingly legendary magic. Hiro didn't even believe he was that good, and here he was being handed the powers that some people would die to have.
"Hiro, are you ok with this?" the Ninja Master asked, snapping him out of his trance. Hiro just nodded meekly.
"...Yeah," he answered, still a little dazed.
"Well then there's no time to waste. Come."
The three set off into the wilderness, Shun leading the way. Unlike usual, he didn't say anything the whole time. Hiro couldn't figure out if he was mad, annoyed, or just plain wasn't feeling any emotions at the time. On the way to the shrine, Hiro learned that Shun did a lot of things differently than most people would have. For instance, when the three came across an about two inch deep stream, Shun hopped across small boulders that happened to be placed in the stream, keeping completely dry, while he and the Ninja Master just took the chance to get their feet wet. Hiro vaguely remembered Suzume telling him that Shun could swim, he just preferred to stay dry, for he believed that getting wet completely ruined your chances of sneaking into somewhere without being noticed.
Shun always kept a tight grip on his bow, and his free hand was always twitching, ready to grab an arrow from his sack, as if he was expecting someone to jump out and attack. He was tense when he was in the wilderness, seemingly expecting the worst. Despite this, he didn't show any signs of distress in his expression, and he never spoke a word to either of them the entire way.
The three finally reached a wide, but medium sized ditch with a river clearly visable at the bottom. To the right was a tall waterfall, pouring down tons of the clear blue liquid. To the left, the wide river continued down into another waterfall, but not as big as the other. A small platform was emerged from the center of the river. A log was placed above the small canyon, leading up to the platform, while a bridge connected the the other side to a dark cave. Hiro suspected that it was the direct path to the shrine, but didn't feel like breaking the silence.
Ruining the stillness of the three, Shun casually walked onto the log, and began to walk across. Hiro started to get onto the log after him, but was stopped by the Ninja Master lightly grabbing his arm, and pulling him back. "Only one should go onto the log at a time," he inferred. "The log is very old, and could break easily if enough weight is put on it." Hiro quietly whispered an 'ok,' and got off the log.
When Shun was about halfway across the log, the three heard a loud boom in the distance. Shun stopped his walk almost immediately, and looked around frantically. Tree leaves were shaking, and were starting to fall not to long after. Old and unstable chunks of rock were falling off of the cliffs. The ground started to shake. It didn't take long for anyone to realize an earthquake was taking place, and a big one too.
Shun quickly placed a hand onto the log, attempting to keep himself on it. Though, his hopes were short lived, as he noticed the log was starting to roll to the side. The log finally got to a point in the rock where it wasn't strong enough to support it. 'Crap,' Shun thought to himself as he noticed the rock beginning to crumble underneath the hard wood. A large chunk of the small cliff broke off, making both the log and Shun fall down with it. The two things plunged into the river, the log colliding into the opposite cliffside, making it snap in two. Shun sunk down into the river, getting engulfed in bubbles along the way. He hit the bottom with a thud, one of the log halfs crashing down on him. Before even thinking, he quickly covered his head with his arms, trying to prevent any large rocks knocking him out.
Shun could feel the water and mud slowly entering his nose and mouth. He tried not to cough or breathe out, fearing that his life was at risk, and he didn't want to expand that risk. But he could already feel himself failing at that task, as he felt the liquids entering his lungs, he started choking as little as he could prevent himself from. The shaking of the earth finally died down, and Shun slowly lowered his arms from his head. He started to make a mad dash towards the surface, but he found yet another problem:
His legs were stuck underneath the broken log.
'Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!' Shun mentally told himself. He frantically tried to move the log off of his legs, but it wasn't budging. He tried to pull himself from the weight holding him down, but nothing was working. Shun swore he could feel his lungs shriveling up to the size of jellybeans. He sighed silently, letting go of the breath that he had been holding, closed his eyes, and let his consciousness slip away. The last thing he could feel was the extreme weight being pushed off of his legs, and someone grabbing and pulling his body upward.
"So the log snapped?"
"Yeah, and he was on it when it happened."
"Oh my god, I hope he's ok."
"Yeah, he's fine. We had to give him... mouth to... mouth, but other than that, he's fine."
"What's mouth to mouth?"
"Trust me, Tora, unless you're planning on saving a life sometime soon, you don't wanna know."
Shun slowly opened his eyes. He had the urge to shield his vision from the nearly blinding sun that was streaming through the windows, but he felt to weak and tired to do anything. He sighed, and just layed back on the bed. He tried to recall what had happened earlier that day, what had been dramatic enough to land him in the nursery, but nothing was coming to mind. All he could really feel was stiffness in his legs and a twinge of tightness in his chest. Shun looked at his stiff legs with weary eyes. His pant legs were clearly torn, the scars he had gotten from Tora a long time ago clearly visable, along with some new, but small cuts.
He could faintly remember what had happened. He was leading both Hiro and the Ninja Master to the shrine, and somehow, he had nearly died, but the rest was a blur. Suddenly, Shun had the unexpected tingling in his throat that made him start coughing. He started quietly retch, and coughed up some of the cool liquid he was exposed to earlier. He guessed that not all of the water had left his lungs yet. Cursing silently, he wiped the water that had begun to drip from his chin away, and sighed. Then, the side door opened, Kunoichi standing on the other side with some other visable ninjas off to the side. She looked at him with a sidemouth frown, as if she was gonna start tsking him.
"You ok?" She asked, not much care audible in her voice.
"Was until you got in here," Shun replied, sarcastically. Kunoichi just rolled her eyes.
"Good for you." She partly closed the door, and sat down on the small bench next to her.
"Can you get Hiro in here?" Shun questioned, sitting up in his bed. Kunoichi dropped her shoulders and stared at him with a look of annoyance.
"No," she replied coldly.
"Come on, I just wanna talk to him. Give the dying man his wish."
"Your not dying."
"I came CLOSE to dying, and in my world, that counts," Shun pointed out. Kunoichi rolled her eyes and sighed, then got up from her chair and opened the door.
"Hiro, Shun wants to talk to you," Shun could here her say in the background. As if on cue, Hiro entered the room and took a seat on the bench. He looked up to Shun's bedside, waiting for him to speak.
"What happened?" he started casually.
"You mean you can't remember?" Hiro questioned with worried eyes.
"No," Shun replied. "Its just that I was in it, you actually saw it happen." Hiro nodded silently as he started to recall the dramatic event.
"Well," he started slowly, "you were leading me and the Ninja Master to the shrine, and while you were crossing the log that led to the cave, there was an earthquake, and the log snapped."
"Oh," Shun mumbled to himself. Hiro couldn't tell if he looked tramatized by the experience, or if he was just cooking up some deep thoughts. "Did anything happen after that?"
"We had to give you... mouth to mouth.. and had to carry you all the way back to the village, but other than that, nothing really," Hiro explained. Shun nodded understandingly. "Is that all you wanted?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
Hiro gave a small nod, and quietly left the room, partly closing the door on the way out. Shun watched him walk out, wondering what could've happened if Hiro wasn't there with him at the shrine. He shuddered, deciding that it wasn't a very pleasant thought process, and sighed.
Sitting up on the rooftop of his cabin, Shun sighed as he watched all of the villagers close up shop for the day. He watched as some of his fellow clan members entering there houses, and going to sleep. He thought about joining them, and ending the miserable day, but he decided against it.
"How can you sit up here every night and not get annoyed with all the hay needles up your butt!??"
Shun turned around immediately, startled by the sudden voice. Although slightly stunned, he wasn't too surprised to see Hiro trying to get himself situated onto the hay-and-straw roof. He smirked, chuckling to himself a bit.
"You get used to it. Do it every night, and it starts to drift away from your mind," He replied. Hiro finally got to sit down in a comfortable position, and turned towards the archer.
"So, what's up here that's so interesting?" he asked.
"I dunno, its just kinda fun to watch everybody from above." Shun's gaze suddenly turned from a villager closing up shop over to Kunoichi, who was carrying some fire logs into her house. "Looking good, Kunoichi!" he shouted down to her. She just gave him an evil eye and scowled.
"Screw you, Shun," she called back to him. Shun just smirked and raised his right hand to his shoulder, like a cat.
"Love and luck, princess. Love and luck." He smiled to himself as he turned back to Hiro. "Other than that, though, I'm not really sure."
Hiro nodded understandingly as he started to get up from his pointy seat. "Ok, well, I gotta go. See you tomorrow, I guess."
Hiro climbed down from the house, carefully letting himself onto the soil below. He began to walk up the hill on which his house was built on, but a sudden voice stopped him.
"Hey Hiro!" He turned back to Shun, who sat with a non-sarcastic smirk on his face. "Thanks... for everything." Hiro gave him an ok, and started walking up the hill again, his lips drawn on his face.