In my dingy apartment flat I scribbled away at a piece of paper, once again going through the list of jutsu I knew, the required handseals and the remaining steps to carry them out. Although written fast, the handwriting remains neat - a special talent of mine that had been the envy of many others back in the academy. Looking back now, the academy still felt like yesterday even though almost three years had passed. I took off the tinted glasses I wore and I put it to one side as I rubbed my tired eyes, taking the chance to rest my tired right hand while I was at it. This exercise sounded silly but it kept me going; it put that bit of routine in my life aside from training and it kept all of my skills and techniques, even those rarely used fresh in my head. You never knew when you would need to use any of them in the future. The next few minutes consisted mainly of me finishing up the list, cross-checking it with the master list before I used it for a bit of training. Forming a single rat seal, I channeled my chakra to my mouth which caused the air to combust and I blew out a small spurt of flame that consumed the paper and turned the pieces of paper into black ash that flew away fast enough from the draft that blew in from the window. My eyes moved over to the clock and I noted the time; I was supposed to meet up with Kozue to discuss tactics and all that for the Chuunin Exams. With the war having been over for just a few years we were still quite underpopulated - so the exams had been made to have the people compete in pairs. Fatalities were also made to be kept at a minimum. Jounin watched for everywhere, throughout the forest to make sure no one died. Kozue was a Senju and she also was my best friend - we were alike in some ways and different in others. I wasn't as serious about my work as her. She was hardcore, literally. I calmly noted the envelope of cash that the Uchiha had left, unmarked of course, in my post box. At least they kept me alive with a steady cash flow if they weren't going to acknowledge me - more like cast me out and pretend that I didn't exist. I used to think about it a lot, whether I had any half-brothers or sisters or other family that I never got to know but I got over it. If I had to walk life's path alone, so be it. But I didn't need to. I had Kozue. A few shortcuts through alleys and winding streets saw me to the Training Grounds at half the time. In the distance, in a training court about two units beside the one I was in I could see some of the Uchiha Genin training with the adults - I recognised them from the academy. I felt a touch of sadness but I brushed it off easily. I didn't need them. Surpassing all of them .. That would be all the revenge I need. I drew my sword; it was a rather unorthodox weapon, being more like a thick and heavier sabre. Not to mention straighter. Although it didn't have the swiftness of the katana or the other shinobi blades, mine had true power and raw strength behind it. It suited my fighting style that focused more on dealing with an opponent as fast as possible by using any tricks necessary more. I slashed through the air, going through multiple exercises while I waited for her to show up.