Rating: PG-13 ish i guess ? who knows.
Warnings: excessive amounts of "de osaru."
Notes: as usual, the final edited version will be posted up to FFNet in a few days time, or whenever i can get to it.
Episode 016 – Training, de Osaru!
It wasn’t often that Subaru actually reserved a weekend for hanging out with Luna and the others. Granted, they’d been seeing each other much more often given that the four children had become an unofficial test group for Utagai’s mass-produced version of the Star Carriers, but those meetings had never been planned out beforehand. When they did plan to meet up, more often than not the children arranged to meet up for some sort of school project, or the occasional weekend concert from Misora (the other three quickly learned to leave the seat-reserving to Subaru, he apparently had the luck of the devil when it came to reserving good seats for those shows).
This excursion was shaping up to be very much like the others: the class President would claim the three boys as her partners (for Gonta and Kizamaro this was a matter of course, for Subaru she was insistent on keeping an eye on him to make sure he wouldn’t skip school again, even though he was less likely to leave school than ever), they would mull over ideas for suitable topics for someone of the Class President’s stature, then Kizamaro would eventually suggest one odd urban legend or gossipy topic or other and then be summarily rejected, upon which the cycle would begin anew; or be accepted, whicho uld lead ot a suitable time being arranged (read: suitable to the Class President herself). Subaru sometimes wondered how Kizamaro could have enough time to listen through the grapevine long enough to catch these obscure snippets of information and still be available to attend to the Class President’s demands at any time. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to know how, either.
This time around, Kizamaro was fixated on ninjas. Supposedly, there were still hidden villages around in the modern world, passing on their secrets to only the select few that could find them. Kizamaro had (supposedly) found the location of one that was about half a day’s travel away…somehow still very isolated. Subaru wasn’t sure how that was possible. He had to wonder, though, why would Kizamaro suggest such a thing? It wasn’t unusual, compared to the other urban myths he’d been known to pull out before, but they were usually local things, other than the Dossy myth that he’d brung up recently…
“Does it have anything to do with ancient ruins?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. Kizamaro caught the gesture and grinned mischievously, confirming Subaru’s suspicions.
“Yes! They’ve lived undisturbed for hundreds of years! Whatever secrets they have are almost completely untarnished!”
“Sounds interesting…” Subaru conceded, allowing the Class President to give her final verdict: They would be going to this remote ninja village on their next vacation. Kizamaro pulled Subaru aside while she lectured Gonta about being on time and being ready to collect all sorts of information.
“I guess you can figure out the real reason why I picked this place, ne, Subaru-kun?”
“Mn, yeah. But if it really is a hidden shinobi village, how did you even find out about it?” If what Condor said was true, then the Shinobi tribe jealously hoarded their secrets close…even their archived history in the Nanska Lines was only the most general information. If Orihime couldn’t find them, then how could Kizamaro?
“Huhuhu…” The other boy adjusted his glasses so that the lenses glinted ominously in the light. “It seems like this hidden village is desperate to find students to pass down their ninja techniques to. They take on anyone who can find their village as a student, and even if they don’t pass, they still get a scroll to mark their progress! If they’re really that much in need, it’ll be easy to get information out of them!” Subaru found himself sweating nervously as Kizamaro chuckled evilly.
“But how did you even find out about this…”
“In a deeply archived thread on an obscure internet forum, I found someone’s retelling of their own training experience. They didn’t make it through, but they had a lot to say about it! Of course, no one really believed them…”
Honestly, Subaru had a hard time believing it as well
“W-we’re going somewhere completely remote and desolate based on some old story on an old obscure forum, with no other evidence?” If that was their only clue, the village might not even exist…
“Heh, heh, I know it might not seem like much, but listen to this! The ninja instructor, that guy said his ancestor and the progenitor of those techniques was named Tarara Mu!”
“Eh? Mu? Can’t be…”
“It could be! Nanska had some information, and we went there on less to go on than this!”
“A…ah…” Then again, Nanska was confirmed to actually exist…
“C’mon, Subaru-kun! It can’t hurt to go look, right?”
“Mmm…I guess not…”
If there was even anything to look at…
“And that’s what happened,” Subaru concluded, having finished regaling the tale to Misora. “I don’t expect much, but…”
“Don’t expect much?! From ninjas?!” She seemed awestruck at the idea, and Subaru briefly entertained the notion of Kizamaro telling Misora all of his own wild gossipy stories, then dismissed it. Imagining Kizamaro, with all of his speculation and digging up tall tales, and Misora’s loe of adventure and those same ridiculous tall tales, made for a scary combination that would drag many people into trouble. He shuddered. A formidable combination, indeed.
“I mean, the last OOPart to find is Shinobi’s, after all, so a ninja mansion would be the perfect place to look! And that guy’s ancestor…a ninja village with ties to Mu? It’s too perfect!”
“Mnn, yeah, but the source…”
“Doesn’t mean we can’t try, right? I mean, there’s too much of a coincidence with the name and the ninjas and everything. I’ll get Kaneda-san to give me some time off!”
“E-eh? Time…don’t you have some big graviure photoshoots then, or…”
“Photoshoots aren’t as important as saving the world, aren’t they? Besides, I hate those things anyway!”
“Geez…if you’re not gonna get in trouble for it…”
“You’d be in more trouble if you find an OOPart there without me! Whatever happened with the Dinosaur OOPart, I won’t let it happen again! I’ll rip it right out of you if I have to!”
“H…hah…let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, Misora-chan…”
Subaru was getting more and more apprehensive as they continued plunging further and further into the middle of nowhere. Getting off the train made sense: ninjas would want to hide somewhere out of the reach of easily-accessible manners of transport. So did leaving the range of the railcar that went only partially up the steep slope. But after a while, most of the forest looked the same, and it seemed like they were heading aimlessly upward without direction. He was close to simply suggesting to transform into Rockman in order to scout ahead, when-
“There it is! The hidden ninja mansion!”
Calling it a mansion was…a bit much, honestly. Maybe to ninjas of the day it would have been imposing, and it did have a stately charm to it, thanks to the aged wood that made up its structure and the fact that it was situated on the top of a large rock formation with a waterfall flowing down in a rather picturesque manner. But compared to mansions of the day, it was quaint and small, not even fit for housing more than a family of…eight, perhaps?
Before he could comment on it, a puff of smoke abruptly appeared before them, and when it disappeared a gangly sort of man stood in its place. He wore what looked to be ninja-like garb, but his hair was bright yellow and stuck up in every which way, and his face was wide and grinning with a monkey’s smile. Far too easy to read, and not like a ninja’s expected demeanor at all. Maybe he was a foreigner.
“Wh-who are you?!” Gonta demanded, as if the answer wasn’t obvious.
“Me is presently the one hundred and thirty-third leader of the Tougarashi-style Ninjutsu School, Jackie Hanzou-de osaru!”
“Jackie?” The Class President wondered.
“Yes!” Coupled with the name, that strange foreign word he’d used as an answer definitely pegged him as a foreigner. Subaru chose to ignore that, in favor of questioning:
“Yeah! A ninja always adds “osaru” to the end of his sentences, de osaru!”
That didn’t seem right.
“It’s a bit different than from what I’d investigated, but perhaps this is evidence of the change in times,” Kizamaro confidently stated.
“It’s not just ‘different,’ it’s completely off,” grumbled Berserk, who was (sadly?) out of everyone else’s hearing. “The Shinobi was a tribe of strict tradition and decorum, and this man breaks what little we know of them ten, no, twenty times over! What a sloppy shinobi!”
Subaru decided to tune out Berserk’s grumbling only to find the Class President and Gonta also doubting whether they would join. Apparently, Kizamaro’s request to take the introductory course to be a ninja was received a little too positively.
“Being a ninja isn’t too popular, I would imagine…”Gonta had mumbled.
“I think I’ll stay out of this one,” the Class President had decided. Subaru was close to deciding the same, honestly. This atmosphere was just a little too weird…
“No, no, don’t say that,” Jackie pleaded. “Ninja are making a comeback, de osaru. Why, enrollment is booming: recently we just had two new students enroll a little before you did, de osaru!” At that, Subaru found himself stiffening.
Two students? It can’t be.
Before anyone could even ask about the other two absent students, laughter echoed across the skies, its origins unclear. The other children began to look around, startled, but Subaru could only sigh. So they really had come, didn’t they?
His guess was confirmed when the two of them appeared on the roof and quickly swooped down on a ninja-kite: one dressed in bright pink (what a color for a ninja!) and the other abnormally short and brandishing crab claws instead of hands…the names “Fubuki” and “Kanimaru” only sealed it. Frankly, even if he didn’t know that they were coming, Subaru doubted that he would have ever failed to recognize them.
“Fubuki” and “Kanimaru” were declared as their senpai, despite apparently only arriving a few minutes prior. It seemed that their presence was enough to spur Gonta and Luna into at least being aggravated, especially the whole “senpai” thing. When Jackie presented the “Spring Roll” scroll that would be proof of completing the training, it seemed that they were well and fully caught by the idea of taking the lessons…which meant that Subaru would be dragged into it one way or another, despite his misgivings.
Well. He supposed taking up the mantle of the ninja “Ryuusei no Subaru” for a little while wouldn’t be so bad.
“And now, we begin the training! If you’re able to hit me with the shuriken I’ve given you or grab me, you get the Spring Roll, de osaru!”
Odd name for the graduation certificate aside, this seemed too simple for a graduation exam. Never mind that it was too early for a graduation exam in the first place-they’d just enrolled, for goodness’ sake! Either way, there must have been some catch to this.
Kizamaro clearly did not think the same, as his first course of action was to immediately start flinging shuriken in what looked like a practiced and rapid manner almost as soon as Jackie-sensei stopped talking. Perhaps he was hoping to catch the sensei off guard as he had given the instructions? It seemed like such initiative would pay off at first, that this supposed ninja instructor was a fake after all.
Then Jackie-sensei’s image vanished from sight, replaced by a log that the shuriken hit instead. There was no puff of ninja smoke to herald this, only a seamless transition as the sensei blurred out of sight and replaced himself. None of them had the time to even gape in astonishment as Jackie-sensei reappeared right in front of them.
“That was the replacement technique, de osaru!”
Gonta acted next. Maybe he’d been trying to get in a surprise technique, too, but Subaru didn’t think he was that kind of person. He’d probably just acted impulsively-why else would he just bumrush the ninja instructor with a full-body tackle after that kind of display?
His efforts were duly rewarded with Jackie-sensei vanishing again, this time leaving absolutely nothing behind.
“That was the clone technique, de osaru!”
“A…amazing!” Subaru heard “Fubuki” exclaim nearby.
“He’s the real thing…” Luna seemed to have finally shaken off her doubts about this whole “ninja” thing, at least.
“It’s far too late to be surprised now, de osaru.” The ninja sensei sounded almost intimidating, there. Subaru could only sigh and look on at the defeated boys at the other side of the clearing, even as everyone else stared at the sensei in awe. “These are the traditional ninja techniques of the Tougarashi-style that was concocted by this village’s founder; Tarara Mu, de osaru!”
Under normal circumstances, Subaru would have dismissed the name as mere coincidence. But a glance towards the other end of the field rewarded him with the sight of Kizamaro grinning widely at him, and he remembered exactly why they were here. Any link to Mu, however tenuous…they should investigate it while they had the chance.
“Come along, now, it’s training time, de osaru!”
“W-wait, de osaru!” they’d somehow all chorused in unison as the children all started chasing after him.
Even if this would end up being a more difficult task than he imagined.
They’d been running after him in a plain open field, nothing to hide their suddenly competent ninja sensei. Then he’d abruptly sped up, and they lost him.
“Keep up, keep up, de osaru!”
“W-wait, de osaru!”
He had hidden himself against the trunk of a tree with a piece of cloth, fooling Luna long enough that she had thrown her shiruken into the tree right next to him.
“Hurry up, hurry up, de osaru!”
“Wait up, de osaru!”
Somehow, the ninja had run straight up a cliff face without even changing pace, and the others had followed him without thinking. It took until they felt gravity slowing their steps halfway up for their minds to catch up with their bodies and they came to a slow stop. “Kanimaru” was the first to fall, his arms windmilling comically in a futile attempt to stay upright on the cliff before he came crashing back down. As if the fall had made the rest of them realize that rookie ninjas were still subject to the laws of gravity, the students fell one after the other, landing in a heap on the grassy clearing.
“Now, now, nonoe of you are gonna get the Spring Roll like that!”
They had chased him down a small path between two cliffs. He had bounded to the very end before they could get more of a glimpse of him. Just as they had managed to get halfway up the path, an impossibly large boulder exactly sized to cut off their path appeared-and began rolling towards them at alarming speed.
It was then that the young wannabe ninjas realized that 1) they had been running upwards after their sensei into this trap, 2) that the boulder was consequently rolling downwards towards them, and 3) that they should probably run.
As they screamed, they somehow heard Jackie-sensei’s voice echoing from the top of one of the cliffs somewhere: “If you hit the target with your shiruken, the boulder will stop, de osaru!”
Subaru wasn’t confident enough in his fledgling ninja skills to think that he could hit such a rapidly moving target under such duress, but Kizamaro and Gonta seemed to have not learned from their previous failures and had stopped to throw stars. Neither of them came close to hitting their mark. Both of them began to panic as “Kanimaru leapt in between them.
“I got this, buku!” It almost seemed like time itself froze as he concentrated on the target, and he threw several stars with perfect timing to strike the mark.
Now, if he had only had just as perfect aiming, he wouldn’t have been squashed by the boulder instead.
By the time they had peeled him off the boulder (after letting it crash to a stop) Jackie-sensei had already started walking across the lake they had followed him to afterwards, using some very large shoes that spread out wide like lily pads. There were several pair sitting by the shore, and they all slipped them on in unison to follow him.
“Wait up, de osaru!”
Their hasty, almost shuffling pace were nothing like their teachers long, graceful, all too casual strides, and he had reached the end of the lake long before they had even gone halfway.
“W-we need to go faster, -de osaru!” Kizamaro roared, and all fot he kids pushed themselves harder. Even at their more frantic speed, they were no closer to catching Jackie-sensei, and he would soon be out of their sight yet again as soon as he chose to move.
“Kanimaru, do something-de osaru!” “Fubuki” whispered harshly.
“E-eh? Me-buku? But what do you expect me to do, buku-“
“Do something, de osaru.” The terrifying expression on her face could only be imagined due to it being covered up, but somehow it being masked by a strip of pink cloth only made the sight even more foreboding.
“Eh? Euhhh?! R-Right, I got something! Ninja Art: Tidal Wave-de osaru!”
(The ninja arts, Subaru would find himself thinking later, must be really something if they got Cancer to forego his usual verbal tic.)
The water beneath their feet surged forward, bringing the entire group upwards as a giant wave formed beneath their feet. It carried them forward, and they all found themselves surging towards the shore.
“Heh! Now we’ll catch up in no time, buku!” “Kanimaru” crowed triumphantly, and the others all grinned at each other. It wasn’t quite water-walking, but it worked! Their ninja instructor didn’t seem fazed at all at their method to subvert his task-if anything he seemed curious and mildly interested.
Actually, come to think of it, that was kind of strange…Even if he thought it really was some kind of new ninja art, shouldn’t eh be worried about a giant, 20-foot wall of water surging towards him?
“Let’s go, de osaru!” the pint-sized crab ninja yelled as the wave crashed to the shore. The water devastated the entire area where their teacher was standing, reaching all the way to the line of trees that circled around the small lake. All the aspiring young ninja leapt out of the water-walking footwear, ready to leap onto Jackie-sensei…but he was nowhere to be seen.
“E-eh? Where did he go, de osaru?” Luna cried.
“He was just here!” Kizamaro responded, which everyone else’s confused expressions confirmed.
“Look!” Subaru pointed to something among the flotsam and fish they had washed up.
It was a thoroughly drenched, but entirely intact log.
“S-Substitution?” Fubuki cried out in shock.
“That’s right, de osaru!” Jackie’s voice echoed from the treeline, and they looked up in surprise to see him standing on a high-up tree branch.
“You all seem to have some interesting new ninja arts up your sleeves! Even so, you won’t be able to catch me unless you master the basics, de osaru! Sayonara!”
And with that he disappeared again, hopping away through the tree branches. The group promptly chased after him.
“Wait, de osaru!”
In the end, they never did catch him. The end of the chase saw the kids all panting heavily in the ninja mansion’s courtyard while their sensei observed them, seemingly unaffected by the effort the tricks and evasions he performed must have cost him.
“Take this! Ninja rations, de osaru! A single portion can keep a man running all day, and they tak ea long time to go bad. After a long morning’s work, there is no more appropriate meal for a ninja, de osaru!”
Said rations were a small ball of dried…something, no more than an inch in diameter. The rations were dry and tasteless, and the aspiring ninjas all chewed them with disdain. Even Gonta, who would have enjoyed eating most anything, didn’t consume with them with any sort of gusto. Still., Subaru couldn’t say that they weren’t effective-even just biting into them gave him a burst of energy, and after swallowing them he felt like he never had been running at all that day.
“These rations…they’re definitely effective…”
“Yes~! Jackie-sensei exclaimed. “Quick, efficient, leave little to no trace, and give you all the nutrition you could need, de osaru! For long ninja-missions, there is no better substitute!”
“Heeh…I wonder why we don’t have something like this at home…I can think of a bunch of people who’d want to use this…” “Fubuki” wondered.
“Probably because the ancient ninja were very secretive, de osaru!” Jackie-sensei clamed. “Secrets and lies, that’s the way of the ninja, de osaru!”
“Haaah? But why?” Luna complained. “Something like this, people could make millions-diet supplements, travel enthusiasts, sports junkies-if they just improved the flavor a little to make it more marketable, then-“
“No, no no~!” Jackie-sensei insisted. “The point of keeping secrets is to keep the ninja hidden! A ninja’s greatest strength is that no one sees them coming! Absolutely zero information goes outside the ninja compound!”
“And this is coming from a guy who gives impromptu lessons to whomemver he can snag…” Subaru muttered softly under his breath.
“There’s definitely a difference between what he’s doing an’ what he’s saying. What a cheeky bastard!” War-Rock added. At this, Berserk deemed it fit to chime in with their two cents.
“Such hypocrisy is typical of the Shinobi. Those two-faced, underhanded-“
“You two…” Subaru only sighed as he finished chewing through the rations.
A ring from his Star Carrier silenced his thoughts, and as Subaru noticed the ID of the caller, he distanced himself from the rest of the bunch while they still debated over the merits of mass-producing ninja rations. Turning away from them, he switched on the calling screen.
“Subaru-kun. I’ve found a location where there may be an OOPart.”
“Eh?” He’d barely had enough time to regret having to leave when she continued to speak.
“It’s a ninja mansion located deep in the mountains. I’m sending you the coordinates now.”
Her message was cut off, and Subaru found himself wondering at its strangeness. It wasn’t like her to leave such an abrupt, hurried message. And…a ninja mansion. It couldn’t be.
The coordinates came in, and Subaru found himself recoiling in surprise despite half-expecting the results on his screen. The ninja mansion he was currently in, and the ninja mansion Orihime wanted him to investigate…they were one and the same.
“I can’t believe this…”
Subaru wasn’t even given time to process the odd coincidence (was it really one? This was the second time that she tried to send him to investigate a place he was already at) when someone hailed down the ninja sensei, a new voice that hadn’t been heard on the grounds before.
“Excuse me? Is this the ninja mansion that’s taking new students?”
It was immediately familiar to Subaru, who looked on in horror as Jackie-sense cheerfully addressed the newcomer with long, braided blond hair and an equally long styled purple coat.
“Yes~! You’re interested in applying?”
“H-Hyde!” Subaru found himself muttering under his breath. “What’s he doing here?”
Naturally, no one answered his question. Even if they did hear him ask it, they wouldn’t have had the time. A large whipping of winds forced everyone to brace themselves as a helicopter suddenly descended towards the grounds, stopping to hover at a dangerously low level so that the occupant could clearly be seen and heard as he held open the door: an occupant with a gaudy pink suit and wearing copious amounts of gold.
“Yo! So this is the ninja mansion, eh?”
“G-Gori Monjirou? That guy’s here too?! No way…” Subaru watched on incredulously as the large tycoon jumped down from the helicopter and approached the lanky ninja instructor to offer him loads of money to sell him the ninja mansion and all of its lands.
“No, no~! This land has been passed down for generations! It will only be given to the next master!”
“And how does one become the next master, then?” Gori asked.
“Anyone who has completed the ninja training is eligible to be the next master.”
“Sign me up then!”
“A-ah! I’d like to sign up for lessons too!” interjected Hyde, which garnered him a glare from the portly businessman.
“So, you’re here as well, eh, Hyde?” Gori growled.
“Don’t think that you’ll get the OOPart before me!” Hyde hissed back, grinning maliciously.
“Wonderful~! So many new students today-I haven’t seen enrollment like this in years!” Jackie-sensei clapped his hands together gleefully, seemingly oblivious to the tension between his two newest “students.”
Subaru looked on in horror as his teacher continued to ramble. This was not wonderful. This was not wonderful at all.
0-0-0-End of Chapter 8-0-0-0
Episode Preview: I can't believe both Gori and Hyde are both here searching for OOParts at once...we're running out of time! But if Jackie-sensei won't tell us anything...eh? Gain his respect? But how are we gonna do that? Next time on Ryuusei no Rockman: Tribe : Aim for the Top! Let's Go, Genin! The top? What kind of plan is this?!
[A/N]: If Jackie Hanzou isn't a walking reference to Kakashi Hatake, I'll eat my nonexistent hat.
All of Jackie's "rolls" are food jokes. In canon, there was also an "Iron Fire Roll" that Misora and Cancer got for leaving early, which translates to an allusion on Japanese sushi rolls. Here, as you can see, Misora has extra motivation to stay other than impulsive "oh this looks fun" sort of thing, so she arranged beforehand to cancel engagements. Yay, more Misora and Cancer! There's actually official art of her and Cancer in the shiruken-patterned robes that the others are wearing at night, so there very well could have been original plans to have her involved in the Shinobi Star fight. Plans that I fully intend to honor, tbqh.
Shinobi are supposed to end their sentences with "-de gozaru," it's a sort of humble phrase. "-de osaru" is mostly nonsense, although it might mean "monkey." Jackie himself looks pretty monkeyish, so I think that was the intention. And yes, I'm highlighting his bursts of Engrish/foreignness in canon for a reason, you'll find out in a few chapters.
Still not done with writing out the ninja mansion arc, the fight scenes are taking a while for me to get down on paper. They're very difficult for me to write, as you've heard me constantly complain. However, they have ended up long enough that this arc looks like it'll go on for four chapters instead of the three I originally had planned. Yay,serial escalation?