Seduro rushes home through the village and through his family’s estate. Upon entering the main house he abruptly stops when he sees his father.
“What’s the great hurry Seduro?” Akira asks his son.
“I heard my order from the blacksmith had arrived, Father,” Seduro pants recovering his breath.
“From the blacksmith?” Akira chuckles, “That would explain why it was so blasted heavy! Your uncle has it in the library.”
“Hai, Thank you Father.” Seduro says as he bows quickly, just before running off to the library. Once there, he is greeted by his uncle who is currently sitting at a reading table examining the new weapons.
“Nice designs, Seduro, and multiple secret compartments in every one. Very nice weapons.” comments Katsuro as he balances one of the new Kunai point down on the tip of his finger.
“Thank you Uncle, I am rather anxious to inspect them myself.” Seduo says with just enough inflection added for his uncle to catch his meaning.
“Of course,” Katsuro says as he lays the Kunai down, stands from his seat, and points across the room. “Could you hand me that book there when you come.” Seduro picks up the book and upon crossing the room offers it to Katsuro who does not reach out to take it. “Seduro, I have shown an interest in what you are working on. Shouldn’t you return the kindness and show an interest in what I am working on.” At this admonition Seduro thumbs quickly through the pages of the book.
“It’s blank!” Seduro utters in surprise, “What can you learn from a blank book, Uncle?”
“What can’t you learn from something as wonderful as a blank page!” Katsuro enthusiastically rebuffs as he takes the book from his nephew, “For instance this blank book is about to tell me who will teach you your next Jutsu, Seduro.” Seduro simply stands there with a confused look on his face as his uncle deliberately turns to a particular page in the blank book and blows what seems to be a rather large amount of dust from it. “There! That’s settled!” Katsuro declares, “You tend to your new weapons then this afternoon meet me by the old well outside town for your next lesson.”
“Hai, Uncle-Sensei,” Seduro says with a bow and an ever more confused look on his face. His bewilderment doesn’t last long though, because as soon as his uncle leaves the room he gathers up his new “toys” and heads to his room. He inspects the weapons and the secret compartments to make sure they meet his designs. He then puts a very tiny chakra wick in each compartment before filling it with oil and sealing it up again. While he knows it will take hours to charge all of the weapons, he still decides to charge one of the Kunai keeping the rest of his chakra in reserve for whatever his Uncle has planned. He focuses silently on the Kunai for a few moments before opening his eyes. “Wonderful!” he says, “And you can’t even see the glowing.” He take several of his new weapons to the family dojo and practices there with them for the rest of the morning.
Later that afternoon Seduro goes out to the old well outside of town and as he approaches there is a Nekodama sitting cross-legged in front of the well. She is in her late 20s or early 30s with her families normal feline features and her hair in two different styles. The left side of her head has short spiked black hair while the right side has long flowing orange hair. She has her eyes closed and pays Seduro no attention as he approaches. Seduro, curious if she is preforming a jutsu or is really his uncle in disguise, sits down facing her, matches her meditative pose and begins using his chakra sight. Upon seeing the flow of energy around him it’s apparent she is not his uncle – he half expected that, but what he wasn’t ready for was the appearance of a clone of pure chakra. He wouldn’t have been able to see it without the chakra sight. He reacted in surprise, at which point the clone returned to the sitting nekodama before ceasing to be.
“I told your uncle my teaching style was only suited to teaching Nekodama and he assured me you would be able to follow along. Now I see why he had confidence in you,” said the seated nin (without opening her eyes). “Can you see Chakra Points, Kitten?”
Seduro not sure weather being called “kitten” is a term of endearment or an insult simply answers the kunoichi’s question dryly and factually, “I can see the flow and pathways of chakra, but not the individual Chakra Points.”
“That will be enough. Tell me, who taught you how to do that?” She responded coldly.
“My uncle,” Seduro answered, again simply sticking to the facts until he knew what was going on.
“He can see Chakra too? I had always guessed. It looks like teaching you might pay off after all,” She said calmly.
They sit in silence in apparent meditation for the next half hour, the first few minutes of which Seduro silently worries to himself about potentially revealing a family secret and wondering how honest he should be with whom about what in the future.
After the half hour of silence has past the yet unnamed nekodama breaks the silence.
“Can you hear it yet, Kitten?”
“Hear what, Sensei?” Seduro asks.
She sighs before asking “What DO you hear?”
In a slow halting tone Seduro starts listing "I hear birds …. I hear the wind … some crickets … a frog … our breathing … "
“Yes, but do you hear the ground?”
After fifteen minutes of silence the silent sensei again speaks.
“Can you hear it yet, Kitten?”
“No Sensei.” Seduro admits quietly.
“Watch me Kitten, as I touch the ground with my Chakra. That’s all the harder it is. Reach out with your chakra and touch it, but gently. Let it push against you and recede from you. Feel it and you will be able to hear what it hears.”
Seduro takes a deep breath in preparation and tries to mold his Chakra correctly intimating she shape that Sensei’s chakra is making and proceeds to pop off the ground an inch. “I said GENTLY” the kunoichi bellows as she throws a small rock and hits Seduro.
“Sorry Sensei!” Seduro apologizes before making several more failed attempts to “gently” touch the earth with his chakra each time lifting ever so slightly off the ground.
“Your Jumping! Not touching!” Called out the Nekodama sensei. “Use your eyes kitten! This is not like shaping a snow cone from ice. It’s more like flavoring to the snow cone you already have. Don’t try and mold and force your Chakra. Look at your Chakra, it’s not compatible with the ground and the shape it takes won’t change that… It’s not quite the same color I’m showing you. Until they are the same don’t reach out.”
“Hai, Sensei,” responds Seduro just before the two begin another marathon of silence. In the stillness Seduro is using his Chakra Sight to study his own chakra system and Sensei’s in an attempt to match their “colors”. After an hour of watching Seduro contemplate his own navel the sensei stands up.
“I don’t have all day to hang around here and play with a kitten. Your uncle thought you could follow along, but obviously his faith was misplaced.” She begins walking out of the clearing as she says “If you need any help later … Find someone else.”
Seduro lacking anything substantive to say in his defense just sits there continuing his meditation. Even after the Nekodama sensei is gone he continues trying to make contact with the ground. After an hour and a half more he removes his shoes and socks and squats down so his hands and feet are in contact with the ground in an attempt to maximize the contact between the ground and his chakra points. After another hour of staring jointly at his hands and feet he makes a connection. He can feel the ripple of the ground beneath his feet. He uses his own chakra to match and amplify what he hears until he can hear the hums and thuds of the earth beneath his feet. He can hear the ground speaking to him, in a sense. When the squirrel climbs down out of the tree he can hear the deep thud of it’s feet as they make contact with the earth or the high hum of the trees themselves even when they aren’t moving.
Satisfied with his accomplishments he stands up and begins walking home. He leaves his shoes off for good measure to relish the new sensations of which he is now aware. On his way home as he is passing through town he is stopped in his tracks as he hears a barely audible voice that seems to be whispering in his ear.
“Can you hear it yet, Kitten?”
“Yes, I can hear the ground, and it is telling me everything it hears.” Seduro says confidently in a satisfied voice, just moments before he is hit in the head from behind by Nekodama Sensei whom he suspected was near but whose presence he is painfully aware of now.
“Don’t get cocky, your still just a kitten,” She says in a matter of fact voice, “but if you practice you might just be able to see me sneaking up behind you next time.” She turns and leaves with her departing words being “For your next lesson don’t be so slow on the uptake. I don’t have all afternoon to waste playing with kittens.”
Seduro mumbles “Hai, Sensei.” before continuing his barefoot journey home. On the way wondering what else Uncle’s blank book might say of him.