Chapter 118: Mind Games, Motives and Teachings
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_________ POV Narration _________

Jiraiya yawned deeply as he sat down cross-legged in the middle of a classroom.

He couldn't help but be reminded of his time in the Academy.

Quite a while had passed since then, but the scene of a filled classroom was still on his mind...

It was a shame really... Many of those who had once been his colleagues were now already dead and buried.

The life expectancy for shinobi was low, and it seemed to never be going up either.

Still, at least his colleagues were still alive and well. His teammates.

Tsunade was worse for wear, sure. She had lost the love of her life during the second Shinobi War and was still grieving him.

She was also constantly getting into arguments with Sarutobi over changes she wished to make, but Jiraiya tried to stay away from that for now.

Orochimaru was just as usual, quiet and reserved. It was always difficult to tell what was on his mind. He was similar to Ken in that sense.

The Blind Monster that had now become his Senjutsu teacher had given him quite a bit of concerning information.

Information that Jiraiya almost instantly delivered to the Hokage through his toads.

He had yet to receive an answer, but he wanted to make sure that his teacher was up to speed on everything. And Ken himself seemed to be a credible source of information.

He was, at the end of the day, the best assassin and bounty hunter in the world. His senses were almost never wrong if one went by reports.

'Still... The rumours about him not being all that friendly sure were right. I'm sure he has plenty of rooms, but he still left me out in the woods...'

For the Sannin, sleeping in the woods was never going to be comfortable, no matter how used he was to it.

He would always prefer a warm bed and a roof over his head. Maybe even a nice woman to have by his side...

Alas, he didn't expect to get such accommodations with the Dark Brotherhood, but he at least hoped for a bed.

'Still... Classes sure are taking a while to start...'

Maybe the Sannin was just there very early, but that also felt strange since he was told the exact time that classes were supposed to start.

He was sure he had come in time, a few minutes early in fact, but he had now been alone in that room for 30 minutes and counting.

It could be argued that the Dark Brotherhood was playing some sort of mind game with the Sannin. Maybe they were trying to assert their dominance?

But that wasn't really needed, Ken was already strong, and he didn't need to play around with such measly tricks.

Jiraiya didn't know that, but although Ken didn't need to play those tricks... He was still prone to doing so.

He was just petty like that, used to taking every opportunity to gain advantage in a situation. Jiraiya himself, although now technically working for Ken, was still an outsider.

He needed to be shown that he was not important, that he was nothing within the Dark Brotherhood regardless of his status as a Sannin to the outside world.

Ken had no way of knowing that the 'Gallant Sannin Jiraiya' didn't really think that highly of himself yet. He knew he still had a very long way to go.

He definitely didn't dare to act out too much within the Dark Brotherhood and risk making an enemy out of Ken, putting the safety of Konoha in jeopardy for petty squabbles wasn't his thing.

Just as the Sannin was about to get up and go ask around, the children poured into the classroom.

It was almost like clockwork, forcing him to sit back down awkwardly as they all settled around him, taking their seats with smiles on their faces while chatting and ignoring him completely.

There was no hostility, no nothing. They were just children having fun.

There were around 10 of them, both girls and boys. The youngest one seemed to be around 10, which was a bit surprising to Jiraiya.

'Ken may have absolute control over Nature Energy, but is it safe for young children to be training it?'

Jiraiya himself had started at around 13 years of age, some could even say he was a bit talented in it as he could briefly enter an incomplete form of Sage Mode with the help of Ma and Pa.

But his talent really was nothing to someone like Ken.

'Now that I think about it... It's very possible that the Red Dot started from a much younger age...

Hell, if what I heard from the toads is right, then he likely hasn't ever been 'out' of Sage Mode...'

The Sannin had obviously made sure to question Ma and Pa about Ken. He learned a lot, but he wasn't told everything, obviously.

It was still enough for him to understand what type of talent Ken was...

His report to the Hokage clearly made him out to be an unmatched inborn talent, surpassing even the likes of Senju Hashirama, the First God of Shinobi.

This became even more obvious after Ken's age was revealed to the world.

This was a huge driving factor as to why Jiraiya thought it would be acceptable to request he become his Senjutsu Master.

Jiraiya hoped to be able to get closer to the Blind Prodigy, to at least form some sort of bond.

He knew that having an ally like Ken would help the Leaf immensely.

But, even if he failed to build a proper bond. As long as he managed to learn under Ken, then he had a high chance of becoming a Perfect Sage himself, and that in itself was going to benefit the village a lot as well.

After all, Jiraiya could still remember gaining control over that wisp of Nature Energy within him.

Although the training didn't last so long that day, it still helped him improve the time he could spend in his incomplete Sage Mode by around one minute.

It was astonishing really, he had struggled so much, yet that time frame hadn't budged at all ever since the Second Shinobi War had ended.

Let alone reaching the 'Perfect Sage' status, Jiraiya was still far off from properly using sage mode in actual battle by himself.

He tried to train more after Ken left, to keep that feeling in mind. But he wasn't able to grasp it again by himself.

None of the toads could replicate Ken's absolute control over Nature Energy, not even The Great Toad Sage Gamamaru, who was the most in tune with it.

Only one living being was capable of such a thing... And that was Ken.

Now, as the Blind Monster finally entered the classroom, Jiraiya's thoughts were overcome with excitement.

'I'll finally get to experience that feeling again...'

The children also got excited. After all, they had all been selected to learn directly from their father. How could they not be excited?

Morita especially was excited at being chosen. Even Tatsukio and Yue were unsure of what all of them would get to learn now.

But Ken had picked the children that were the most capable when it came to chakra control.

Yue's entire strength came from her control, so she had honed it specifically so that she could manipulate her wires with maximum proficiency to perform her art.

In Tatsukio, there was no area that he did not excel in. Even without a leg, he was still the strongest among all of his siblings.

Morita was not that far behind him either. Inferiority complex aside, he was Nr.2 for a reason.

He was already a skilled assassin, close to graduating with skills that would put most Chunin to shame.

And Ume, their youngest, was also among that group. She was certainly the most talented in that regard, even if she had yet to match some of her older siblings within the brotherhood.

The other 6 that were picked seemed to also be purely on the basis of potential, they were younger and less experienced, Ken also seemed to have picked someone that specifically had trouble controlling his chakra as well, which was quite confusing to Tatsukio...

'It's safe to assume that Father is trying to experiment and see how well people with different skills would react to his teachings... He's likely looking to teach what he's going to teach us to the whole Brotherhood...'

Tatsukio immediately noticed his Father's intentions.

And yes, all of the children within the brotherhood still called him Father.

Why? Well, he had unironically raised them. Who cares if he himself was young? He acted more like a father to them than any other adult who had been around.

So, out of respect, they all completely ignored his age and continued addressing him as such. It was a complete relief for Ken, of course, though he didn't vocalize it.

Hushed whispers filled the classroom as the children present excitedly discussed the upcoming lessons, all eager to find out what their father and teacher had in store for them.

Jiraiya was obviously a bit taken aback by hearing all of the children call Ken, a 13-year-old child, 'Father'. But he didn't dare to comment on it in any way.

"Hush now children..." Ken's authoritative but calm voice was also somewhat surprising to Jiraiya.

Especially the strange affection he could feel in the word 'children'... It was clear that Ken cared for all of the students present.

"I am sure all of you are wondering why I dragged you here, away from your usual scheduled training." Ken crossed his arms as he spoke through his mask.

He had decided to wear it as he didn't the children getting too distracted trying to catch a glimpse of his whole face throughout the lesson.

"Whatever it is, I bet it's going to be amazing!" Yue clapped her and together, a sweet innocent smile spread across her lips as most of the children around her seemed to agree with her statement.

"Amazing indeed... Today is the first day in your training to become... Sages." Ken extended his palm towards the children, clenching it into a fist as his arm became larger and covered in scales.

Yue immediately squealed.

Her teacher's transformation was something she had wanted ever since she had first seen it in the courtyard on that faithful day.

Ken shut her up by just angling his head in her direction slowly.

"You won't be able to transform the way I do... But you will learn to control the energy that I use to transform in such a way..."

Yue did let out a disappointed sigh at the first part, before immediately perking up again.

Most of the class was too immersed in Ken's words to pay much attention to her.

Jiraiya was the only one doing so, and he found her a bit unsettling. Again, he kept his thoughts to himself.

'But still... Will I have to sit through the basics again? I already know what Nature Energy is...'

Unfortunately for Jiraiya... No one cared that he already knew the basics.

Not long after the lesson started, the Blades also joined in, all sat at the back of the class and just listened to their Master.

Jiraiya was shocked to see them as well, and honestly, he was a bit intimidated by them as well.

No one really knew how strong the three Blades were. There was only speculation for the most part. But now that he met them in person, he could tell one thing...

'I don't know if I can win against any one of them...'

Even against the Second Blade, who was seemingly unknown, the Sannin's instincts were flaring up.

It was hard to quantify their strengths, but they still made the Sannin uneasy because of their fleeting presence, similar to Ken.

Hell, even the presence of the children was somewhat fleeting. Especially for the older ones.

"This energy is simply called... 'Nature Energy'. It exists everywhere around us, every plant, every tree, is filled with Nature's Energy.

And you will learn to harness it and use it to strengthen yourselves."

The Sannin could only sigh as he realised just how long his day would be.


Hope you liked the chapter!

The DB children finally be learning Senjutsu :)) It's been a long time coming, though it's a pretty important part of Ken's character. And his control over it makes him possibly the best teacher ever for it. 

Anyhow, stay tuned 

Story Shoutout: The Final Desperation

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