Ophelia is Konoha's newest Jinchuriki
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"...I think that certain skills I probably need to learn are only available to me by way of the Academy.  I do have a couple questions, though."

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"I'm glad to hear it. What questions are these?"

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"Firstly: No-one but a very small group of people has ever been glad to hear my questions in their life; please, don't bother faking enthusiasm.  Secondly: How much does training at the Academy mean that I'm committing to being a ninja when I'm older, and what level of choice does a ninja have regarding the missions they can be sent on?  I am direly displeased at the idea that - for example - I might one day be told I 'must' recreate something like the incident that left me here.  It would be profoundly against the Will of Fire, for one."

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"Sometimes people who aren't a good fit for being ninja don't graduate the academy, but if you work hard, there shouldn't be any problems. Missions are usually decided on by your team leader and the Hokage, and if you become a chunin you'll have the opportunity to be a leader yourself, but of course Konoha takes into account the opinions of ninja on what kind of missions they want to take."

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She nods.  "There's someone I need to speak with about some of the paperwork, but...Well, I suppose that settles it."

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"...I believe this is quite possibly the point at which I actually get some access to the books on chakra that aren't painfully vague?"

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"Yes, you'll have access to all kinds of information to help you learn once you start attending the academy."


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It's about a day after the academy instructor comes through that she hears back from the Uchiha, this time in the form of a shinobi in their teens stopping by the orphanage to deliver a message. They lack the Chunin flak vest, but their clothing still prominently displays the Uchiha mon.

"Naruto Uzumaki?"

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"...Yes?"

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"Lady Uchiha would like to meet with you at your convenience. Are you free this evening?"

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A nod.  "Yes."  Oh, dear Sage, she wasn't actually expecting to merit the personal attention of a clan head.  "I would be glad to meet with her.  Ah, did she give you further details on when and where I'm expected...?"

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"She suggested at six, if you were available. The guards will have been notified to let you through, but if they give you any trouble you may present this token."

He offers a thin disc embossed with a stylized Uchiwa in the traditional colors for her to take.

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She nods, and secrets the disc away on her person.  "Then I will gladly be there at six."  And spending the remaining hours of the day trying to figure out if she even has an outfit that would be suitable to meet a noble in.

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The courier nods in acknowledgement, and dissapears in a swirl of leaves.

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...She will have to make do with her outfit; she's an orphan, it's not like she has access to Uzumaki clan resources since the idea of there being one is just laughable - but she does think she's done well, considering.  ...She used most of the time she had available to sew a half-decent Uzumaki mon onto her fanciest outfit - in, admittedly, entirely the wrong colors, because, well, red doesn't really go well with greens, whatsoever - but it will have to do.

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As promised, the guards at the gate don't give her any trouble, and one of them leads her down the main street to the extremely fancy building that serves as the Uchiha main residence. Her blond hair stands out even more in this setting than it usually does in Konoha, but either the fact that she was invited into the compound or her escort seems to have served to prevent whispers from following her as she walks.

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...That's honestly an unusual level of courtesy to experience.  Most people don't seem to bother waiting until she's out of their presence to... ...gossip.

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When her escort knocks on the door, it's opened by a woman with long straight black hair in casual clothing.

"Thank you, I'll take care of things from here."

As the guard disappears in another swirl of leaves, she turns her gaze downwards to Naruto. "Come in. I'm just finishing dinner, but if you've already eaten I won't insist."

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It takes a good ten seconds for her brain to reboot and start generating a response to the new and surprising circumstances.

"...I haven't eaten, no.  ...I wouldn't want to impose..."  But the food does smell delicious, and her stomach rumbles, on a traitorous cue.

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"It's no imposition. My husband is working late today, so it's just you and my youngest; feel free to sit wherever."

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Presumably, the boy about Naruto's age already seated is said youngest; he looks as though he'd love to twitch impatiently, but his manners are too good for it.

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She waves, politely, if somewhat shyly, at him.

(...She is, honestly, something of a kindred spirit.)

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He's briefly baffled by the gesture, but after a moment he tries waving back.

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She beams at him.  ...And carefully, carefully, sets aside her emotions around the trust that Uchiha-dono is showing by letting her be here, with him, without even supervision.

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And about a minute later Mikoto Uchiha brings three dishes of beef udon and nukazuke to the table.

 

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