[Kokuten] In the dead of night the rapid tapping of footsteps echoed throughout the forest. A young boy of around 13 years old was sprinting through the woodland floor, gasping for breath, his eyes wide with fear. His long, wide sleeves of his jacket flailed behind him as he ran, his shoulder length jet black hair, with shaved sides, was flaying behind him from the speed he was running. He looked behind him as he shot through the forest, trying to locate his pursuer. As he turned back to face his front a black shadow shot out of the darkness and clubbed him across his cheek, sending him crashing along the floor. The shadow advanced on him relentlessly before he could even stand up. There was a flash of bright blue light as a streak of lightning carved across the space between them. "Teiru!" the female voice screamed as a young girl dropped from the tree tops, dressed in a tight fitting cloth cuirass and a short skirt, her blonde hair held back with a hairband. "Are you okay!?" she asked fearfully as she neared the boy on the floor, helping him to his feet. "I-I'm fine" Teiru stammered nervously, searching into the darkness trying to track their assailant. "Where's Ine-sensei? I thought he was with you." "We split up" the girl replied, "He went off to find Shozu." "Shit!" Teiru cursed, "Mitsuko, we need to keep moving. If we don't then he'll ki-" Teiru stopped, his expression forming into a black stare into the distance. Mitsuko looked fearfully at her comrade, her head slowly lowering to his chest where a thin blade was jutting out from him, thick and dripping with his blood. "Teiru!" She screamed as the blade withdrew and Teiru collapsed to the floor. He looked up at her for a brief moment, his eyes longing and full of desperation, but very quickly they became blank as the boy's life faded. "TEIRU!!!" Mitsuko cried as tears streamed from her eyes. She motioned to touch him, to embrace him. The hair's on the back of her neck prickled as she sensed movement. Her instincts drove her from her grief and her hands clasped together to perform a series of seals before her right hand ignited with the same electric blue light from before. The loud noise of birds chirping emanated from the crackling electricity that sparked furiously in her palm. She turned into the darkness and her eyes were ablaze with fury. "Come out!" she cried, "Show yourself! I'm not afraid of you!" "You should be." came the reply in a dark and sinister tone. Darkness descended on Mitsuko's eyes and suddenly her chirping stopped, before a piercing scream echoed out through the woods, followed by a deafening silence. Elsewhere another young boy was in a dire state. The boy was collapsed on the ground, suffering from several broken limbs, blood dripping from his forehead, blending with his shaggy mane of red hair. His dark blue eyes fell on the feet stood before him. His gaze slowly moved upwards to the man who was facing away from him. "I...Ine-sensei!" The boy gasped for breath "Calm down Shuzo" Ine replied. He was older than the rest of his team, but still youthful in his mid-20's. Ine was dressed in traditional black shinobi gear with a green chuunin jacket and a brown poncho-like cloak over his shoulders. His hair was tall and styled in a single spike, his eyes fearless and confident, staring into the darkness directly ahead of him. "I'm sorry that things have happened this way...I won't try to sugar coat it...we're in serious trouble." "Sensei...who are they?" Shuzo asked weakly. "I wish I knew..." Ine replied, "...Shuzo...I might not get to talk with you like this again. Please...whatever happens...never surrender. You have to be the strongest you can possibly be...for Konoha...and for me." "Sensei!" Shuzo cried desperately, "I don't understand! Please!" "It's too late!" Ine replied, "They are coming!" and then Ine shot off into the distance, out of Shuzo's view. The boy felt weak, his eyelids becoming heavy. It felt like he had been staring into the night for hours. Then true darkness washed over him as he finally slipped from consciousness. [sadness and Sorrow] 1 year had passed since that dreaded night. The red haired boy looked out into the sunshine over Konohagakure, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. He stood on top of a large mountain that overlooked the village. On this mountain the heads of each Hokage that had served Konoha were carved into the rocks. Shuzo's hair had grown slightly longer but was still the same style, shaggy like a lion's mane. He was dressed in a pair of thigh length black boots with open toes, and a pair of white trousers. His jacket was sleeveless and left open to reveal a bare chest with bandages wrapped around his lower torso. His arms were lean and muscular, with a black forehead protector tied around his right bicep. He was tying bandage wraps around his wrists and hands, gripping his hand into a fist as he tightened the bandage to tie it off. As he finished he gazed off into the bustling village once more, his eyes glazed as if he was off in some distant land, far away from it all. "Shuzo-kun!" the call snapped him back to reality. He turned around to see another man with brilliant red hair like his own, except his mane was much longer, hanging down his back. The man was in his mid 40's and was a good 6 feet tall, with bulging muscles and wearing black sparring gear that made him look like a martial arts instructor. The man grinned confidently and clenched his fist in front of him, motioning for his son to pay attention. "It's almost time for you to go back out into the world as a ninja. That said...you still have time for one last round with your old man!" [beautiful Green Wild Beast] "You got it!" Shuzo said as his expression became a confident smirk, "No ninjutsu, just you and me pops!" "Hahaa!" His father laughed heartily, "Bring it on you cheeky pup!" Shuzo stretched his legs out to increase his balance, holding his left arm in front of him and his right raised up behind his head, palms open and relaxed. His father responded by holding his tensed fists at his waist in a horse stance, before quickly launching forward to attack his son. With incredible speed he closed the gap between them and threw a deft haymaker, that Shuzo pushed away with his left hand as he maneuvered around his father, ducking and spinning on his heel, coming back round and striking with a with a heel kick into his father's arms as he had already moved to block. Shuzo changed direction in his spin, lowering his body as his leg swiped under his father who leapt and flipped backwards to avoid. Shuzo advanced relentlessly, his arms in a V shape behind him as he sprinted to meet his father as he landed. As they met Shuzo swung a right hook at his father and he ducked accordingly, Shuzo countered with a left jab to his father's chest that connected, before uppercutting his jaw, sending him back and leaving him open. This is it! Shuzo thought. Shuzo brought his arm back at waist height, stretching it behind his back as his fist clenched tightly. Suddenly he punched forward, his fist twisting as he made the strike. Just as the punch was about to connect, his father suddenly rallied, crossing his arms up to his face to guard from the attack. Shuzo's fist connected and for a brief moment there was stillness, before the force of the strike sent his father sliding back across the dirt, a trail created under his feet. Still his father stood unscathed. Shuzo looked unnerved, but his father appeared to be beaming. "Oho!" He said admiringly, "That is some serious power...had I not brought up my guard you might have knocked me off my feet...you've improved Shuzo-kun!" "Still not enough..." Shuzo griped, "I better do some more training before the meeting." "No time!" his father replied, breaking his stance and approaching his son, tapping him gently on the shoulder. "You have to meet your new Jounin leader down at the barbecue restaurant." "Barbecue?" Shuzo asked with a raised brow, "That stuff is so greasy...why not the Sushi bar...it's got way better protein meals..." "She doesn't like fish-ah! I mean...you better be on your way son!" His father stammered, scratching his head nervously. "Huh?" Shuzo looked up at his father questioningly, "So my new leader is a girl? Who is she?" "You'll see..." his father said as he made a motion with his hand that suggested Shuzo run along. "Go on, or you'll be late."