Kyo

NC-17 [Private] Konoha - Leaf Chronicles

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[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."

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[Morning]

 

Birds chirped and flew over the village as another day dawned. Many were already out and about, setting up stalls and opening the fronts of their restaurants. The smell of cooking food began to flow through the streets in the centre of the village. It wasn't long before the centre of Konoha was a bustling hive of activity. Young students for the academy weaved amongst their elders, laughing and playing as they ran on their way to the academy, playing games that mimicked their vision that their lives would be, once they had become genin. But far from the hustle and bustle of the village centre, away from the noise of the markets, their merchants and the children. A soft noise fluttered in the distance, carried by the wind. 

 

[Guren]

 

The sound of the bamboo flute echoed out from the western residential area of Konoha, deep in the centre of it's streets lay a tranquil garden. The beautiful and sorrowful music filled the ears and minds of those passing. The only ones that would stop to listen, were children, who were quickly chided for their action and pulled away by their parents. The music of the bamboo flute could beckon you to enter. Beyond the tall red fence surrounding the garden. Beyond it's trees that covered most of the garden in speckled shade, only allowing a few glimmers of light to sneak through the leaves. Beyond the paths and the gentle stream flowing under and through an arched bridge. You could see the source of this music.

 

The stream snaked it's way past an outcropping of large stones, and upon the largest, the one with the flat top, was sat a young man. A red parasol lay open over his head, shading him from the rays of light that would otherwise have reached his face by now. His eyes were closed as he held the bamboo flute against his lips, playing the melody that had often intrigued his curious neighbours as to the creator of the tune. At last he finished the final note and took a deep breath. When he opened his brilliant green eyes, they immediately took on a look of surprise.

 

[Ochihabune]

 

"Oh, it's morning..." His voice was soft, gentle even. He took another deep breath and then with a single motion leapt up from the rock and grabbed the open parasol, with a single movement he closed it and with a quick swipe he shook the rain from the night before from it's exterior. "I've been out here far too long," he said aloud to himself, smiling. His teeth were unusual. They were shaped more like shark teeth than human's. His hair was black and spiky, falling down in short bangs at the front, but at the back, it was long enough to tie into a ponytail a few inches below his head, where it fell all the way down to the small of his back.

 

This boy of around fourteen years old, was as soft-featured in his face as he was in his voice, he was slim and tall for his age, and though he had muscles, they were small, defined like an athlete's, rather than bulked out. He wore a pair of black combat boots, as many ninjas did, a pair of baggy black shorts that came halfway down his shins and a plain grey t-shirt with short sleeves. The boy stretched and cracked his shoulders and back as he adjusted to standing after a long night in the garden, alone with his thoughts.

 

He bent over and picked up a long-sleeved green raincoat and a long, thick white scarf. Once he put them both on, and zipped up his coat, his hands were obscured by his jacket sleeves just as the white scarf he had wrapped around his neck had been pulled up to cover the lower half of his face. He turned around and gently tapped his foot off the edge of his parasol which flew up into the air and he deftly caught it in the waiting 'holster' sewn into the back of his jacket. He jumped off the rock and strolled out of the garden, twirling the flute in one hand like a baton while he hummed to himself.

 

 



 

 

[sasuke's Theme]

 

"Hmm," he mused to himself, as he walked, spinning his bamboo flute. "Hmmm..." He noticed he was almost at the barbecue restaurant that he had been asked to meet his new sensei at. He looked up at the sign and scanned the surrounding area, but only a few people were milling around, entering the restaurant, none of them particularly seemed like jounin-level ninja to him. "Hmm..." He hummed, and began to balance his flute on one finger, every now and then flicking it into the air and catching it on the same finger once again. He was just about to pull his scarf down and put the flute to his lips when he saw a figure appear from around a corner in the distance. He watched as it came closer and closer until at last he recognized it. This was his sensei. 

 

He had been previously denied a place on a team as his clan, the Shizuku clan had a powerful kekkai genkai. An ability unique to his family, that held a great deal of power and diversity, however, the disadvantage in their case was that it took many years of training in it's use to master. He had spent his entire childhood for as far back as he could remember training in it's use, but even so, he was still nowhere near as strong as his parents - yet. It was for that very reason that upon his completion of the academy, rather than being passed on to a team as the other teens were, his parents asked for him to be trained at home and in private training grounds until a time that they considered him a master of their kekkai genkai. However, this time had been cut short, for whatever the reason, which he had yet to be told, he had been pulled from his training by the Hokage himself, and asked to join a new team. He wondered what this woman approaching would be like as a teacher, and who, if anyone, were the other members of the team. 

 

He reached over his back and pushed the flute into a seperate holster beside the one on his back that he used for his parasol. "Good morning." He said, giving a slight bow to the woman, though a stranger, she was likely now his sensei. He observed her as she took the last few steps towards him and then gave a second slight bow as she came within reach. "If i'm late, i'm sorry. I lost track of time..."

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[Hyouhaku]

 

The woman was around 6 feet tall. Her hair was a dark brown, it was shoulder length, each strand exactly the same length as the rest. Only her right eye, an auburn hazel eye, was visible on her face. Her mouth was covered by a white scarf wrapped around her lower face and neck and a white eye patch was held over her eye. She was dressed in tight fitting fishnets on her legs and sleeves, with a pair of black shorts hugging her hips and a short tank top of similar design that exposed her midriff. Around her waist was a thick belt with a series of pouches dangling from it and the breast area of her tank top had three scrolls attached to it. She also wore black ninja sandals on her feet. She eyed the boy who had greeted her carefully, folding her arms as she looked him up and down, assessing his appearance, his physique, his manner. After a long pause she finally spoke. 

 

"Actually you're a little early" She replied, "C'mon, let's go inside." she continued as she ushered the restaurant, Yakiniku Q, one of the most popular barbecue restaurants in Konoha. The kunoichi took a seat in one of the booths and offered for Yu to sit opposite her, to which he complied. She pulled up the menu from the table and began reading through it, paying little attention to Yu. After a few minutes of silence the woman put down the menu and nodded for a waitress to come to the table. "I'll have the salted beef tongue...and this guy will have...sorry...which one are you?" the woman looked to Yu expectantly. 

"My name is Yu, Sensei." He replied, smiling before turning to the waitress, "I will have some barbecue pork and fried rice, please." He asked. 

"Oh and um...I guess the same for the other guy. Cant be picky when you're late." the woman said finally as the waitress nodded and headed off. "So" she said once they were alone again, "Shizuku clan huh? That's some big shoes to fill. I'm Omi by the way. Hizuchi Omi."

"I am very pleased to meet you, Omi-sama." Yu replied politely, as seemed his nature. 

"Cut that 'sama' shit out" Omi replied, shaking her head, "If you must, you can call me Sensei. Never assume greatness." she instructed wisely, before tilting her head in thought, "...I am pretty awesome though..."

"I make no assumption, Omi-sama. I only want to honour what little I know of your, no doubt--" He paused and smiled, "--awesome deeds."

"hmm...Kiss-ass" Omi replied, although the look in her eye suggested she was only teasing. Then her eye flitted towards the entrance to the restaurant, towards a boy who had entered, his hair a crimson mane. "Looks like your partner is here" she said, causing Yu to turn around to look. 

 

 



 

 

[Naruto's Daily Life]

 

Shuzo sauntered up to the booth where Omi and Yu were sitting. He took a seat with them and nodded to each of them. Before he had the chance to greet them both he realised that he recognized the other boy. 

"Oi, oi! Yu-san!" Shuzo said with a grin, "I haven't seen you since the academy. You look...different. Taller maybe?"

"Shuzo-san." Yu returned the other boy's smile, "I think, probably." He chuckled warmly, "And you, it is good to see you again. Even if..." Yu paused for a moment as he thought on his past, then he caught himself doing it and shook his head with a smile, and laughed, "Well, even if we did not know each other well, I am sure we will come to be close, ne?"

"Sure, sure!" Shuzo beamed, "What kind of ninjutsu have you learned? Anything cool?" he asked, but before Yu could answer they were interupted by the sound of sizzling meat. They both turned to see that their food had arrived and Omi had began to cook her beef tongue on the large charcoal brazier in the centre of the table. "Oh...Sensei..." Shuzo said as if he had just noticed her, "I'm Keiruno Shuzo. Sorry I'm a little late..."

 

"S'cool" Omi replied as she focused on grilling her beef. "I suggest you eat though. We don't have a lot of time left."

Time? Shuzo asked himself inwardly, What exactly are we going to be doing?

"Uh...got it" he said with a nod as he took some of the pork and tossed it on the brazier. He turned to Yu and and leaned in closely, whispering to him. "Psst! What's her name?"

"You could ask for yourself, Shuzo-san." Yu leant forwards and picked up his bowl of rice and simultaneously pulled his scarf down and placed the bowl in front of his face, he pushed the rice into his mouth using his chopsticks and by the time he was done, his scarf was back in place without ever having shown his mouth.

"It's Omi" said their sharp-eared mentor, "Now eat your food"

 

Shuzo took his pork off of the brazier and dropped it on his plate with a pair of chopsticks. He added his rice and began eating ravenously, taking large mouthfuls and barely stopping to chew before swallowing. Despite being late he had quickly overtaken Yu and had cleared his plate before even a minute had passed. He looked up at Omi only to realize her plate was also completely cleared. Shuzo made a shifty glance at his two comrades. 

Why is everybody covering their mouths!? he thought to himself. After another few moments waiting Yu had finished and the waitress came to clear their plates and left the bill. Omi reached into one of her pouches and produced enough ryo to pay for the meal. 

"This is the first and the last time I buy you guys lunch, got it?" Omi said as she paid the bill, "From what I understand neither of you have been on missions in a long time so I figured you're probably short of money. I had to make sure you ate though, it's important to have a good meal before going out on a mission."

 

[survival Examination]

 

"Oh, we're leaving?" Yu replied, he paused for a moment and then nodded, "That's fine, Sensei. I have everything I need, if we have to leave now, I am ready." Shuzo on the other hand seemed to take the news with a bit more surprise. 

"Wait, a mission?" He asked, "Right now? Shouldn't we arrange this sort of thing with the Hokage? Don't we have to be briefed?"

"Like I said before, we don't have a lot of time." Omi said as she stood up, nodding her head to suggest the boys follow her. They left the restaurant and were once again outside on the streets, walking together towards the gates at the entrance of the village. "You two are sort of being thrown in the deep end unfortunately. It wasn't the original plan, you were supposed to begin with a routine delivery mission to the Land of Waves. Unfortunately there is a situation that supersedes that. Instead we're heading to a location within the Land of Fire. It's only about a day's travel from the village."

"What's so urgent?" Shuzo asked, "We're only Genin. Anything serious would be dealt with by Jounin right?"

"Normally that's true" Omi said with a nod, "Our mission is a retrieval mission. A ninja holding sensitive information has gone dark. It's possible that he's still alive but...it's more likely he's dead. A special Jounin team is returning from a diplomatic mission in the Land of Lightning. They will be taking charge of closing up this mission. Since we are closer our job is to retrieve the information the ninja was carrying. We're essentially walking into an unknown situation. Do you both understand?"

"I understand, Sensei." Yu replied, "Do you expect us to encounter any resistance?" He asked, "If they have killed the messenger, then they would likely have already taken the message itself, what would they gain by remaining?"

 

"The information is under a variety of protective seals." Omi explained, "Breaking the seals is simple enough if you know how, but if you don't it could take days. The ninja transporting the scroll was supposed to arrive at his destination this morning. Considering the relevance of the information it is likely that the interceptors are from the Hidden Rain Village. It's unlikely that they have remained in one place, but we can't expect everything to be handed to us. We will have to investigate."

"And what about the information?" Shuzo asked, "I get that it's secret but isn't there more you can tell us? We're going to be running in blind here."

"I'm afraid not." Omi replied, "I don't mean to belittle either of you but the only reason you are on this mission is because the information is sensitive and I happen to be one of the few that is aware of it. I'm under strict instructions to avoid either of you finding out any more than you need to. Sorry."

"I wasn't complaining" Shuzo replied with a soft smirk, "I just want to know where I stand. I guess we have no choice. Our first mission...and it's a tough one. Let's watch each other's backs eh, Yu-san?"

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[shirotsumekusa]

 

"Of course, Shuzo-san. I would be honoured." Yu replied with a bow of his head, the trio turned and made for the open gateway leading out of the village, as they passed beneath the great wooden gates that stood at least fifteen feet high, Yu looked up at them, wondering when he'd see Konoha again. This was his first mission, would he be able to complete his mission? He turned to look at Shuzo and Omi, walking in silence. Would he be able to protect his comrades? Could he bring peace to his family through honour gained in service of their adopted home? These questions haunted him, but he did not allow them to take hold, he would remain focused in mind as well as in body.

 

Walking along the path leading out of the village, Yu had a sudden thought, "How many missions have you been on, Shuzo-san?" He asked, looking to watch the other boy's reaction to his question, he was curious about Shuzo. He wondered what, if any, was the gap in their skill, and could he even compete with the other boy.

"Eighteen." Shuzo replied without skipping a beat, "You?"

Yu's face tensed for a moment, he had been stupid if he thought he wouldn't receive a similar question. He shook his head, "Well, this will be my first." He replied, smiling sheepishly.

"For real?" Shuzo asked, raising his brow, "I thought you graduated at the same time as me? Did you get held back?"

"Not really." Yu replied, thinking about his answer. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his raincoat, "My parents wanted me to train with them, so I didn't really get the chance to participate in missions. They were asked once, but..." Yu paused again, remembering his excitement at the thought of going on a mission, and being denied, "... but, they said I wasn't ready. But this time, the Hokage asked them, so..." Yu trailed off.

 

Shuzo responded by punching his right fist into the open palm of his left. He looked at Yu with a wide grin, "Special training eh? So you must have some awesome jutsu! Looks like we'll give the bad guys something to worry about!"

"Sure!" Yu replied positively, smiling, "It takes many years for my family to perfect our kekkai genkai, and i'm not as strong as my parents, but... I will be." He said at last, looking up at the clear morning sky.

"Maybe after this mission we could spar?" Shuzo suggested, "I specialise in Taijutsu! Even without my ninjutsu I won't go down without a fight!"

"I envy your confidence," Yu replied and chuckled, "You would almost certainly beat me, ne?"

 

"Dont underestimate yourself!" Shuzo said with a soft frown. He lightly punched Yu on the arm as a way to playfully chide him. Then Shuzo smirked once more, "That said, I'm not to be underestimated either. I guess we'll find out one day which one of us is the strongest, eh?"

"Mm!" Yu nodded politely and their trek continued in silence. Yu looked from Shuzo to Omi, she seemed entirely focused on the road ahead, he wondered what she was thinking about, but he knew that at this speed, they would likely be a few hours as the messenger was unlikely to be so close to Konoha, otherwise they would not be sending out a team to specially investigate his whereabouts. 

 

 



 

 

[swaying Necklace]

 

As the day wore on, the clouds had darkened and it had begun to rain. The team had been walking for several hours, he knew that despite precious time ticking away, that if they put all their energy into sprinting, they could arrive in a dangerous situation with a serious disadvantage, furthermore, they could run straight into a trap. He knew they had to be patient, and while he was used to doing this, he could see that his team mate was uncomfortable. Yu sighed to himself, but as he brushed past a group of branches he opened his mouth to ask if Shuzo was alright, Omi silenced him before he'd even spoken.

 

[Nervous]

 

"Sensei?" Yu whispered, questioningly. 

Omi turned to look back at her student, a glare that clearly enforced the silence, but the moment her eyes met with his her expression changed and she quickly but quietly walked up to him, he frowned as she brought her hand up to his face and swiftly swiped it across his left cheek and showed it to him without a word.

 

Blood.

 

Yu's heart began racing, outwardly he tried to compose himself, but the connotations of what he was seeing in front of him had hit him harder than he had expected. Omi took a step back and placed her hand on his shoulder with a stern look. Yu took a deep breath and nodded in response. Shuzo walked up beside him and the pair watched as Omi relayed a series of hand signals letting them know what was to be done. She would track the signs that would help lead them to the source of whoever's blood that was. She would be at the front, Yu would take the middle, and Shuzo as the experienced team mate, would take the rear, watching their back as they entered the forest. He allowed himself a quick glance to Shuzo before he steeled himself for whatever was to come next. Moments before passing into the brush, Yu looked up at the sky once again, and used the rain to wet his face before he rubbed away the blood. There could be no sign of their approach, not even the faint smell of blood. With that, they disappeared into the forest.

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[sneaking Nightmare]

 

Omi lead the team as they stepped carefully through the forest. The thick foliage had blacked out most of the light in the sky, and the rain was barely breaking through the trees. The air had a smell of wet leaves that always came after it had rained. Omi had detected another scent in the air, in fact even her two young genin had detected it by now. There was a sort of metallic smell mixed in with the damp, the smell of iron, the smell of blood. For it to be this strong required more than a few drops on a leaf. Somewhere close, there was definitely a large pool of blood. Omi shifted her glance backwards to Shuzo who was beginning to look uneasy. 

 

Shuzo's gaze was darting left and right shiftily. His muscles were tensed, sweat dripping across his brow. He felt nervous. No. It was worse than that. Fear was creeping through him, gripping him tightly, he felt like it was getting harder to breathe. The smell of blood was nauseating, but more so it conjured horrific images in his head. He was aware that Yu had given him a look of concern but he didn't register it fully. His mind was only half in the present, the other half flashing through memories of his past. As they all stepped through into a large clearing Shuzo's eyes widened as the fear inside him finally paralyzed him, stopping him from stepping any further forward. 

 

The clearing was dark and damp, the sun had finally set and turned the night sky into a black abyss. The rain was falling down in large pools of black. The darkness had coloured it black but there was no mistake that the pools were of blood, not rain. Across the clearing from them a figure was posed against a tree stump that had been uprooted and placed in the centre of the clearing. The figure was soaked in blood and had been pinned to the tree stump by an assortment of bladed weapons including kunai, shuriken, needles and even short katana. Omi was now on high alert, it was abundantly clear now that her team were not safe. 

 

"That's our man." Omi explained, "...the placement of the body, the positioning within this clearing...they wanted him to be found."

"Sensei, I think this is a trap." Yu said quietly, looking around. 

"No shit." Omi replied before turning her gaze to Shuzo. "How are you holding up?" she asked him. There was no reply. Shuzo was staring at the body intently, his gaze wide and unblinking. His entire body was shaking due to how much his muscles were tensed. He could hear Omi speaking but it sounded muffled and distant. He wasn't sure where he was. Something was wrong, he felt alert and yet incredibly drowsy and confused. Something washed over him and suddenly his surroundings disappeared, replaced by a dream. 

 

 



 

 

[Hidan]

 

Shuzo was stood in a pool of blood that stretched far out in front of him. The crimson water was so deep it reached his ankles. As he looked around frantically he realised that he was alone, and there was nothing but blood for as far as his eyes could see. Beyond that there was only darkness. He began to run, sprinting through the bloody floor, causing it to splash up his legs, splattering over his hands and face. He kept running, despite the burning in his chest. He ran for what felt like hours. Still he saw nothing but a sea of blood. Finally he fell on to his knees within the pool. He looked down into the blood and at his own reflection. But the reflection was not his, it was instead the face of his former jounin leader, Ine. 

 

"Shuzo!"

 

 



 

 

[Glued State]

 

Shuzo suddenly snapped back to reality. Omi was stood in front of him, her lone eye was fierce as she stared into his. He turned his head to see that Yu looked quite concerned with him. He turned back to Omi, she was still staring at him intently. 

"Is there a problem?" Omi asked him directly

"Uh..." Shuzo stammered, "N-no...i'm fine."

"You don't look fine." Omi replied quickly. "This is a bad time to start freakin' out kid. Stay sharp. I need to go check the body. You two need to cover my back. Got it?"

"But...what if it's a trap?" Shuzo asked. "You cant just walk over to it."

"No choice" Omi replied, "The enemy know that the scroll is a decoy. This whole set up means they know exactly where the information is..."

"What do you mean?" Shuzo asked, cocking his head to the right. 

"Doesn't matter." Omi said sharply, "Just cover each other, cover me. We need to stay alert."

 

With that Omi turned around and began to approach the body. She moved slowly but with purpose. She had already scanned the area for wire traps. There was no need for them. The enemy wanted her to get to the body. They wanted her to do exactly what she was going to do. As she reached the body she reached out and touched it around the neck. A pulse. It was faint but it was there. The man was still alive. This didn't give Omi any comfort though. The man wouldn't survive much longer. There was no way to save him. At most she could have offered him a quick death, but alas, even that was impossible. The information this man carried was in the form of a memory. As far as Omi was concerned it would be better if the memory died with the man, however, the Hokage wanted otherwise. She had no idea what the information was. Nor did the man in front of her for that matter. The memory was sealed within him using a special ninja technique. The sealing jutsu was used to lock a memory inside the mind of any person, however that memory was not available to the container until another jutsu had been performed, one that only the most elite of ninja would know. Omi did not know this technique, however, she did know another. She placed her right hand firmly over the dying man's head. Her left hand formed a seal and suddenly black markings appeared on the man's head, crawling across his face like writing. 

 

What is she doing? Shuzo wondered to himself.

 

Omi had finished her preparation. She paused for a brief moment, considering what she was about to do. She couldn't help but have admiration for the way this trap was designed. Her two genin probably didn't realise it but this kind of trap was inescapable. There were no walls, barriers, wire traps or anything of the sort, but she was certain that they were being watched. If she had ordered her Genin to flee, there was no chance they would make it without being ambushed by their enemy. Still the mission required this information be retrieved without failure. To lose it altogether was perhaps more dangerous than allowing it into enemy hands. The beauty of this trap was the enemy knew that this man did not know the seal to transfer the memory within him. By leaving him here they had lured another team in. It would be safe for the enemy to assume that the team would have a ninja that knew the neccesary transfer seal, in case it was impossible to rescue the captured ninja. Once Omi performed the transfer the enemy was going to trap her there. She may not have known exactly how but she knew it was unlikely she could escape easily. This meant that this mission's fate rested within the hands of her students. Ideally she would rather fight instead of them, she was far more capable, but she was the only one who knew the jutsu required. This was it. 

 

"Ninpou: Third Eye Transferal Jutsu" She said quietly. As she did so the black ink began to slide off of the man's face, travelling down on to Omi's palm and along her wrist, up her arm and under her clothes. It re-appeared coming out from under her mask, reforming in a similar pattern on her own face, with a strange symbol of an eye on her forehead, which then slowly faded away until nothing was there. No sooner had she finished she had heard the soft sound of movement within the forest. She went to move but it was far too late. 

 

[Kouen]

 

Omi felt her legs lock to the floor and looked down to see that a black liquid had emerged from the ground. The liquid was rapidly travelling up her body, stopping her from moving. Her eye widened in shock as she came to a realization. She knew this technique. She knew the ninja that used it. A feeling of dread rose within her as the black oil began to rise over her shoulders, she was now completely trapped. She fell forwards on the ground, struggling to break free but she knew it was no use. This ninjutsu was the 'Black Oil Abyss Jutsu' a complex technique performed using a chakra infused oil-based substance. Only one ninja was known to use it. The Black Eyed Beast of the Hidden Rain...

 

"Gekko Mori!" Omi snarled. Rising out of the ground behind her, emerging from the oil, was a man who was at least 6ft 5 inches tall. He was wearing black ninja sandals and black trousers, a dark purple chunin jacket. Over his shoulder he was wearing a black cloak that was currently dripping with the oil he had emerged from. His hair was black, greasy and slicked over to the right, with the left side of his hair shaved off. He grinned wildly as he pulled a large blade from a strap behind him, a double edged broadsword with serrated edges, resembling a hacksaw. He held the sword behind Omi's head, poised to strike, before stepping on her back with his right foot. His gaze turned to the two genin and they both noticed his most significant trait. His eyes were entirely black, with only thin, yellow circles to signify where his pupils were. 

 

Yu took a deep breath and watched this man carefully, "You should let her go." He said, his voice calm but stern.

"Oh really?" Gekko replied, still sporting his wicked grin, "Or what, boy?"

Yu reached over his back and pulled the parasol from its sling on the back of his coat, "Or you can deal with me." Yu replied calmly.

"Oh? I like the confidence boy. It's probably best that you keep your mouth shut though." Gekko said with a smirk. He dropped down and picked up Omi, slinging her over his shoulder. "I'd love to test your metal but I have an appointment to keep. I'll leave you with some entertainment though. Kurin! Mugen!"

 

Suddenly two flickers of movement shot in front of Gekko. The figures stopped at either side of him. They were both shorter and younger, only slightly older than Yu and Shuzo. The ninja both had long, waist length hair, each with the same spikey style, except the one on the right had snow white hair, whilst the one on the left had jet black hair. They were both wearing similar black jumpsuits, the black haired ninja wearing a white jumpsuit, the white haired ninja wearing a black one. Their mouths were covered by breathers but they each shared the unique trait of a pair of light purple eyes. Clearly they were twins. 

 

"Gekko-sama!" The black haired one spoke, his voice metallic and muffled through the breather, "Should we take out the trash?"

"The one with the red hair is mine, Mugen!" The other, Kurin, replied, "He looks fuckin' scared! It's pissin' me off!"

"Quit bickering and kill them. Join me when you're finished!" Gekko spat before turning round and leaping into the trees with Omi, disappearing into the darkness. The one called Mugen advanced forward, drawing a pair of short-poled glaives and rounded on Yu. Meanwhile Kurin dashed toward Shuzo, his speed far surpassing his brother's, he was at Shuzo in less than a second, lunging forward to stab him with a kunai. Shuzo hadn't even moved, he was frozen to the spot once more. 

 

 



 

 

[Guren]

 

"I...Ine-sensei!" Shuzo gasped for breath

"Calm down Shuzo" Ine replied. Shuzo once more found himself on the floor, weak and unable to move, his former sensei standing above him, staring out into the distance. "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. Shuzo tried to move, tried to stand a get to his feet. He pushed himself up, finally managing to get to his knees. Already he felt too exhausted to go any further. Just when he was about to give up something gripped on to him from either side and hoisted him to his feet. 

 

The forest had gone. So had Ine, running into the distance. Shuzo was now stood in darkness. He looked to either side of him. To his left a boy with a long, shaggy haired mohawk. To his right a a girl with blonde hair that was held back in a hairband. They were both smiling softly at him. 

"Teiru..." Shuzo whispered, his fists shaking with rage and grief, "Mitsuko...Why? What's going on!?"

"We came to help you up, aniki!" Teiru said with a grin

"But...you aren't here..." Shuzo replied, "You're dead!"

"Shuzo..." Mitsuko said as she rubbed his shoulder softly, "we know that. But we can still help you. It might be too late for us but...we can help you stand strong. So you can protect them!" she said before pointing forward into the dark. Shuzo looked up to see Omi and Yu walking in the distance. Yu turned around and looked to Shuzo. 

 

"Are you coming?" Yu asked

"You should go" came another voice. Shuzo turned around to see the person behind him. Ine was smiling back at him. "Remember what I said? You have to be the strongest you can be, Shuzo. Never surrender. Never stop fighting for those important to you." Shuzo turned back towards Omi and Yu who were beginning to disappear into the distance. He took one final look at his old team. He nodded slowly in agreement. 

"I won't give up." he said, "There's still a chance we can fix this. Me and Yu...we can figure this out together."

Shuzo gave a soft smile to his former team. Then he went off at a run, chasing after Omi and Yu, quickly gaining on them, until he was nearly at their side. 

 

 



 

 

[The Raising Fighting Spirit]

 

Kurin was inches from Shuzo's throat when suddenly Shuzo moved, gracefully swerving away from the blade, spinning on his left heel, twisting his body around so that Kurin had completely bypassed him, before coming right back around and forcing back his elbow into Kurin's back and sending him crashing into the dirt. Kurin quickly recovered, landing with his hands and flipping forwards to gain some distance before turning to face Shuzo. 

What the fuck!? Kurin thought to himself, This guy...his reflexes...he predicted my movement and overcame my speed! What is this guy!?

Shuzo turned to look at Kurin, his eyes wide, confident and wild with fury. 

"Don't underestimate me!" Shuzo snarled, before changing his stance so that his left foot was forward, his fists held steadily at either side of his waist, leaving his upper body completely open. 

 

"You fuckin' loser!" Kurin roared, "I'll make you suffer!" he cried out again before lunging forward once more, drawing two more kunai and advancing on Shuzo. This time as he reached him he stopped short of his lunge, clashing horizontally at Shuzo who simply leant backwards and avoided the swipe before arcing his waist around and coming back up to strike Kurin twice in the ribs before bringing his arm up to block an incoming strike from his right. He gripped Kurin's arm tightly and struck it with a left hook right at the joint between his upper arm and forearm, followed by a loud crack. Kurin began to scream in pain but he was cut off as Shuzo's fist connected with his jaw, sending him up into the air briefly, before he came crashing back to earth with a thump. Kurin was down but not out. Shuzo had to act fast. 

 

Yu leapt forwards without warning, holding his parasol behind him in one hand as he ran. When he was within range of Mugen he thrust the weapon forwards, the sharp barb in the centre, stabbing at him. Mugen dodged to one side and tried to strike Yu in response but as he tried to attack, Yu spun the parasol around and opened it, the enemy nin's glaive clashing with metal. Mugen pushed backwards as he heard footsteps advancing from his left. he managed to block Shuzo's flying kick with the flat sides of his glaives, forcing him back before Yu advanced once more, causing him to duck to avoid the strike and leap backwards to create distance. He prepared himself to fight both Yu and Shuzo, however, Shuzo had already motioned for Yu's attention. 

 

"Yu, I've got this" Shuzo said confidently, "You have to go after Omi-sensei!"

"Are you sure?" Yu asked, his eyes on the enemy ninja.

"Not exactly" Shuzo replied, "But if you dont follow that guy we'll loose Omi-sensei! I don't care about the mission or whatever! Yu...we can't let her die...trust me...we can't give up!"

Yu hesitated but he saw the look in Shuzo's gaze and knew he could delay no longer, he turned his back on his comrade and leapt up into the trees, after the leader of the trio of ninja, and their sensei. Mugen went to run into the trees after Yu but Shuzo had already pressed his hands together to perform seals. 

 

"Doton: Moving Earth Core!" Shuzo said as he activated his ninjutsu. Suddenly a large chunk of the earth rose up under Mugen's foot, causing him to stumble in his movement. Then as he stumbled another, larger piece of rock shot up in front of him, which he narrowly avoided taking his head off. Mugen turned back around to face Shuzo. Kirin had also re-emerged, clutching his broken arm but ready to fight. 

"Are you sure this is what you want?" Mugen asked him, "We're twins. We may be strong separately, but together we cannot be stopped. We haven't even begun to fight!"

"Fine with me." Shuzo said with a confident smirk, returning to his fighting stance, waiting for his opponents to strike. "Come at me then, unless you're all talk?"

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[beni Soubi]

 

Leaping from branch to branch in the forest treetops, Yu pursued Gekko Mori as quickly as he was able. He could see the man in the distance, occasionally he would disappear from view, only for him to find him again a few seconds later. Yu tried to increase his pace, he had to catch him. He would be no match for him, but he had to free Omi somehow. Shuzo was preoccupied with the enemies that Gekko had left behind, so he was alone. He knew he was alone now, and it scared him. He tried to calm himself as he gained ground, the wind whistling all around him. His long-sleeved green raincoat and white scarf flapped in the wind, while his incredibly long, loose black ponytail rippled behind him. The wind bit at his face, but still he was not moving fast enough. As he took another leap into the air, he made his move. 

 

[Narukami]

 

Gekko Mori knew he was being followed, he took a moment to look over his shoulder and saw Yu chasing after him. He smirked and increased his pace, "Stupid boy." He mused. The words were barely out when he felt something approaching him at speed. He whirled around in an instant and whipped his head out of the way of a single kunai. But although he had dodged the throwing weapon, he was forced to throw Omi's oil-encased body into the air and draw his double-edged hacksaw blade, which he used to slice through the centre of a chakra-infused ball of condensed water.

"I'm not in the mood, boy!" Gekko barked, as Omi's oil-covered body fell back into his hands and he slung her over his shoulder, holding his sword in his other free hand.

Yu repeated the hand seals and yelled, "Suiton: Dragon Cry Jutsu!" He brought his clasped hands up to his mouth and expelled a great mass of water. The ball of liquid shot directly towards Gekko who dodged to one side, slicing it in half as it approached.

 

"I've had just about enough of you." He muttered, looking at Omi's cocooned form for a moment, "But this won't take long." He held her out in front of him with one arm, and let her drop. Her body disappeared into the undergrowth. "Come on, then, boy." He raised his serrated blade. "My sword is thirsty."

Yu pulled the parasol from the back of his coat and held it in front of him, his heart was beating against the inside of his rib cage. His mouth was dry, he was shaking and Gekko could see his nervousness.

"Oh, if you're scared, you can always go home?" He said mockingly, "Or we can play?!" He spat the last word out like a weapon as he brought his arm back and threw his serrated blade directly at Yu, the sword flew through the air and crashed into the tree trunk just a centimetre to the right of Yu's head. Yu had time enough to realize that he could have been instantly killed in that moment before there was a flicker of movement in front of him, and he was bathed in shadow.

 

[Himoji]

 

"If you're going to stay, you have to play!!" Gekko cried with pleasure, and though Yu saw the fist ripping through the air towards his chest, he couldn't stop it. It smashed into his abdomen with enough force to drain him of every breath of air in his lungs. Yu buckled over and gasped for air, clawing at Gekko's legs. "You're no fun." Gekko muttered, and picked Yu up by his long ponytail, "A child needs to learn the rules of the game..." With little effort, Gekko Mori yanked Yu up into the air, smashed him down against the branch he was stood upon and then threw him. Yu soared through the air, the world spinning around him until he stopped abruptly, crashing into another tree.

 

The branch holding him was stained with his blood, Yu tried to open his eyes, but one was badly hurt and he winced. He felt the weight of Gekko's body as it silently landed on the end of the branch he was lying on. "Ughh..." Yu groaned, trying to pick himself up. He licked the inside of his mouth and spat a mouthful of blood onto the branch.

"You're a resilient child, aren't you? But you're awfully quiet." Gekko mused, rubbing his chin as he sauntered over to Yu.

"I--" Yu opened his mouth and Gekko immediately brought his leg back and kneed Yu directly in the bottom of his chin, the boy fell backwards and smashed the back of his head into the trunk.

"I'd rather you were quiet." Gekko added, then he lifted his serrated blade above his head and prepared to swipe it down upon Yu's body. With his free hand he grabbed Yu and lifted him up, "I'm done with you." He muttered finally, and tensed his arm to attack.

 

[sarutobi]

 

Yu looked up suddenly, catching Gekko's glare and spat the blood in his mouth into the man's eyes. Gekko recoiled in disgust but as he tried to finish Yu as he had intended, he felt something plunge into his shoulder. Gekko Mori gasped, a look of pure shock and surprise spread across his face in an instant. Looking down at his shoulder, he saw some kind of porous rock with a pink hue, jutting from his wound. 

"What the hell is this?!" He roared, and released Yu to pull the stone from his shoulder. He grasped onto it and suddenly the stone morphed, spikes jutted out from the place at which Gekko had grasped on and he screamed as it ripped through his hand, impaling him in several places.

 

"Coral." Yu said.

"What?!" Gekko yelled, knocking Yu back against the trunk once again. 

Yu laughed, "It's coral." He said again, as Gekko pulled the stake of coral from his shoulder and with a painful grunt, yanked the spikes from his hand. 

"You have a Kekkai Genkai...." Gekko muttered, shaking his head before laughing, "Well that's just a shame," he added, and at last he grabbed Yu by his ponytail at the back of his head and held him up, and with his still-bleeding hand he gripped his serrated blade and plunged it into Yu's chest. Yu cried out in pain as the sword dug into his flesh, a look of ecstasy spread across Gekko's face, and then something strange happened. His sword seemed caught on something, he couldn't force it any deeper. He tried with all his might, but something was stopping the blade from reaching the boy's heart.

 

[Kouen]

 

Gekko froze as he tried to fight against the immense force pushing his blade out from Yu's chest, despite all his strength he was unable to stop it. The serrated blade left the boy's skin and would not pierce it again, indeed he watched as the wound began to steam, and heal within seconds.

"What the hell..." He looked on as the boy's other wounds were healing and he began to feel a terrible weight pressing down on him.

"We're done--" Yu began.

Gekko Mori immediately went into a rage and brought his leg back to knee Yu in the face once more, but this time, as he struck, the boy caught his knee with one hand and grabbed it, keeping his leg in that position in a vice-like grip. Yu slowly looked up at Gekko, and gone was his calm serenity. Yu was grinning, his mouth agape as he panted.

"-- when I say we're done!!" Yu screamed.

 

[Heavy Violence]

 

In a burst of energy, visible blue chakra began pulsing from around Yu. Gekko could do nothing but watch in awe and confusion at this sudden change from frightened child to unrecognisable monster. The look he saw on the boy's face was as familiar to him as his own, but it still surprised him to see it looking back at him. The boy's eyes were different than before, darker somehow. 

 

Gekko's face contorted into a snarl and he struck at Yu with his serrated blade. Yu dodged to one side, still holding Gekko's knee in one hand, and grabbing it with both hands he lifted the fully grown man into the air and began to swing him around in circles. Gekko crashed into the tree trunk several times as he was spun rapidly until at last he was released and mid-flight he heard Yu yell out.

"Suiton: Barrier Reef Jutsu!!" Yu formed a series of seals, and as he did so, the coral with the pink-hue instantly surrounded his hands. He brought them up to his face and a torrent of water exploded from his mouth. Spikes of coral simultaneously extended from his clasped hands and fired into the super-pressurized torrent of water. Gekko fought against the onslaught of the current, but the wear of the water itself, and the projectiles that were soaring through the stream like torpedos, were quickly forcing him back. His clothes started to tear in places and his body started slicing open as the coral spikes glanced his flesh.

 

"Argghh!!" Gekko roared, trying to deflect the power of this attack, he couldn't believe where this was coming from. This attack had the strength of a jounin behind it, not a genin. No, Gekko corrected himself, this was beyond that. He couldn't dodge this, if he tried to move, he would only be struck by the coral shards which he was mostly trying to deflect with his sword. But he was being worn down. There was only one thing he could do. In an instant he fell to his knees, while a piece of razor-sharp coral was flying towards his chest. He brought his sword down upon the branch and sliced it in one powerful movement of his blade. The branch buckled and both of them fell to the ground below. Yu landed in front of Omi's oil-cocoon wrapped body, the visible blue chakra expanding from him in waves.

 

"What are you?!" Gekko croaked, picking himself up. "I've had enough of this, no more games." He muttered, brushing himself off. But while he felt the weight of the chakra upon him, he hadn't noticed until that moment, what it was doing to his oil-cocoon. He looked on in horror as the strength of the chakra itself was forcibly pulling the oil away from Omi's body. She was being burnt by the chakra itself, but she was being freed. Yu's attention however was entirely focused on Gekko, he roared like an animal and dropped to the floor, ready to charge... ready to resume the fight he now ached for.

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[ultimate Secrets]

 

Shuzo stood in waiting as Mugen and Kurin rounded on him. Kurin was the first to strike, leaping into the air with a kick to Shuzo's head which he deftly swerved to avoid by leaning back and moving underneath the range of the kick. Mugen intercepted him immediately jabbing one of his glaives toward Shuzo's throat. Shuzo leaned backward and pushed up with his feet, narrowly flipping away from the strike. Once again Kurin came at him and this time he grabbed the ninja's arm as he swung a fist and flipped him over his shoulder using his enemy's momentum. Kurin landed on his feet but Shuzo responded with a swift upward kick to the side of his thorax, knocking him off balance and sending him crashing along the ground. Mugen was already at him again, swiping his glaives furiously at Shuzo who narrowly ducked and dodged to avoid them. Between the strikes Shuzo saw his opportunity and swung out his fist toward's Mugen's face, however the ninja swerved an inch to the side and avoided the strike before countering with another slash at Shuzo's exposed abdomen. Shuzo moved but he wasn't quick enough, with the blade of Mugen's glaive cutting across him causing blood to spray along the ground. Shuzo doubled back, clutching his wound. 

 

"Getting tired?" Mugen taunted through his breather. Shuzo scowled back at him, removing his hand from his chest. The wound looked worse than it was. He had managed to avoid it cutting in too deep. Still the brief exchange had taught him plenty about his opponents. Kurin was clearly the weaker of the two, at least in terms of Taijutsu. He was fast but his execution was sloppy and his moves were too predictable. Mugen, however, was far more careful and considerate with his strikes. In a hand-to-hand fight Shuzo felt confident he could win, but Mugen had evened the odds by using bladed weapons. There was no doubt about it; Shuzo could not hold back any longer, but at the same time taking on the offensive would be his downfall. His opponents were beginning to figure out his tactic. His style of Taijutsu focused on strong and precise attacks, using stances that maximized the power of his strikes, whilst providing balance to his core to harden his defense. This much they knew, however they had only briefly experienced his full combat style. 

 

[strong And Strike]

 

"I'm just getting warmed up, Mugen!" Shuzo said through gritted teeth, before going forward at a sprint. Mugen followed suit and charged at him. Shuzo's hands performed seals. 

"Doton: Rock Clone Jutsu!" He cried as the earth and rock on either side of him emerged from the ground, moulding into his shape and becoming exact copies of him, running alongside him. The weaved in and out of each other as they approached Mugen. One of them advanced ahead and confronted Mugen who attacked with his glaives, slashing at the clone who was deftly dodging, meanwhile the other clone leapt into the air and spun around, launching a kick at Mugen's chest sending him back and off balance. Shuzo performed another set of seals as Mugen fell backwards.

"Doton: Moving Earth Core!" He said once again as the ground beneath Mugen fell away, causing him to drop down into the growing hole and crashing on his back at the bottom. Shuzo pushed his hand out forcefully and the earth on top of Mugen re-joined and closed him off, trapping him in a box underneath the ground. Shuzo turned to Kurin who was advancing in a rage. He knew he didn't have long before Mugen managed to escape. Now was his chance to take out Kurin once and for all. 

 

Shuzo's two earth clones advanced once more as Kurin advanced to meet them. His speed was incredible, dodging and swerving the attacks by the earth clones, striking with his only working arm. He was struggling, even against just the clones. His speed was enough to dodge them but Shuzo had broken his arm, and he was unable to form seals properly, stopping him from using ninjutsu. Shuzo formed seals again and as Kurin avoided the clones' strikes the earth began to shoot up around his feet, throwing his footing off balance and slowing him down. Finally one of the clone's connected with a blow to Kurin's face whilst the other followed up with a swift kick to Kurin's back, causing him to cry out in pain. Kurin fell to his knees as the strain was too much for him. He was sure this was it for him, however, as he went down so too did the clones, that crumbled into dirt around him. 

 

[bunta]

 

Kurin looked up to see that Shuzo had approached him with his arms folded, standing straight, and with no fighting stance. His eyes looked piercing and angry. He stared at Kurin for a brief moment but said nothing. He seemed to be considering something at that moment. Kurin stood up hesitantly, unsure whether to strike Shuzo whilst he wasn't guarded. He felt weak and tired, for the first time in his short career as a ninja, he felt hesitation. 

"Leave now!" Shuzo barked finally, glaring at Kurin. "If you continue I will have to finish you off. I don't want to do that. So leave!"

"What?" Kurin was taken aback by this, "Even if I wanted to you know I can't! Are you stupid, kid!? We're enemies!"

"You'll lose" Shuzo replied confidently, "If you retreat now you can live to fight another day. I'll offer the same to your brother when he emerges."

Kurin was wide-eyed. He couldn't believe it. Was this what ninja of the Leaf were like? Showing mercy to their opponents? He just couldn't grasp it. He shook his head, unable to accept it. It must have been a trick. He wouldn't fall for it!

"Fuck you!" Kurin roared, "A true ninja never gives up!" 

 

Kurin ran towards Shuzo, pulling a kunai from his pouch as he reached him and swiped furiously at him. Shuzo ducked and swerved effortlessly to avoid the sloppy attacks. Finally he lost his patience and took his chance to knock Kurin back with a swift kick to the chest, causing him to fall crashing into the ground. He went to get up again, pushing up with his only good arm. However as he began to push up he felt something come up from underneath him, piercing through his chest.

 

[Need To Be Strong]

 

Shuzo's eyes widened as he saw the curved blade shoot through the earth, piercing through Kurin's chest. As he went to go forward he paused, the earth beneath Kurin was parting and something was rising out. From beneath the earth emerged Mugen, letting go of the glaive in his hand and letting his brother fall to his side in a heap, his blood pouring out across the ground. Shuzo's eyes were wide with rage as he stared intently at Mugen. 

"What did you do!?" he roared, "He was your brother!"

"He was weak!" Mugen replied testily as he glared at Shuzo. "I spend most of my time trying to protect him, and my own combat effectiveness suffers because of it. He was dead weight, so I cut him away from me. That's what it means to be a ninja. You cannot tolerate weakness."

"But..." Shuzo tried to speak but he was overcame with anger. His body was shaking, adrenaline flushing through him. "...Damn it! Urraaaaaaaaaggggh!" He roared as he sped toward Mugen, his fist raised in throbbing anger. As he reached Mugen the pair clashed, exchanging blows, fists hammering into each other, both of them equally matched. Shuzo leapt up and spun around, kicking away Mugen's approaching fist, before landing and twisting his torso, as he sent a punch into Mugen's chest, then bringing his other arm up to block Mugen's arm that was coming down on him. Finally he pushed upwards, rising back up to full height with his fist raised, sending it crashing into Mugen's jaw, hitting him so hard that his breather cracked and then shattered, falling away beneath him. Mugen fell back from the force, clutching his jaw as he wobbled from side-to-side, his balance compromised from the blow to the head. Shuzo continued relentlessly, pummeling Mugen's face again and again, before finally he raised his fist one final time, holding it in the air, shaking with rage. 

 

He paused, his fist waiting in the air as he stared at Mugen. The ninja's face was covered in blood, battered and heavily bruised. Shuzo hesitated as he realised what he was about to do. He had never killed anyone before. He felt no sympathy or understanding for the ninja stood before him. He deserved to die. Shuzo tightened his clenched fist as he breathed heavily, working himself up to perform the final blow. Still, he hesitated. He cursed at himself inwardly. All his rage, all his pain, no matter how much Mugen deserved it, Shuzo still found himself unable to do it. He hesitated for a few moments longer, and then finally he swung his fist, connecting with Mugen's jaw and sending him crashing to the floor, collapsed in a heap next to his brother. 

 

[swaying Necklace]

 

Shuzo looked down at the two bodies beneath him. The rain had come on heavily again and was battering down on him. He looked up into the sky and the rain fell down on his face, the cold droplets feeling harsh against his hot skin. He had managed to make the final blow, but he had hesitated at the last moment, holding back his strength. Mugen would live. He felt frustrated and weak. As a ninja he was supposed to be able to make these hard decisions, but ultimately he had shown restraint to someone who did not deserve it. Shuzo slowly walked away from the two bodies. His body was aching, he felt tired. He had to press on though. He took one final look at the two brothers, and then he leapt into the trees and disappeared. 

 

 



 

 

[Girei]

 

Omi finally stood up. She was finally free from her prison, however the right side of her body was badly scalded. Yu's chakra had taken physical form and it's intense resonance had seared her flesh. She pushed the nagging pain to the back of her mind. She had suffered far worse in the past. Right now her concern was with Yu, and the sinister chakra emanating from his body. She had been warned of this, but she had not expected it so soon into their time together. She knew she would have to deal with Gekko, but for the moment Yu was her main concern. If he was not dealt with, it could mean trouble for all of them. As she watched Gekko and Yu preparing to face off once more, she considered letting it play out. Perhaps Yu would take care of Gekko for her. No, that wasn;t an option. The longer Yu stayed in that condition the more dangerous he became. Finally she placed her hands together and performed a series of hand seals, and then dropped down and placed her hand on the ground. 

"Suiton: Five Sharks Frenzy!" she said sharply as chakra shot out from her five fingertips and across the wet ground. The rainwater around Omi began to be absorbed, transforming into shapes that were moving through the ground at speed, only their curved dorsal fins visible above the ground. 

 

[Kouen]

 

As the water sharks moved through the earth towards Yu, his chakra seemed to intensify as if it had sensed them. When the sharks neared they breached the ground, leaping at Yu. The chakra exploded out from Yu, cutting through two of the sharks like butter, whilst the other three managed to break through, two of them biting down on each of his arms, meanwhile the third clamped on to his right shoulder, crushing down on his chest and rooting him to the spot with the weight. Omi saw her opportunity as moved forward with such speed that she was but a flicker. Ignoring Gekko wasn't her best judgement but she had no choice. She rounded on Yu, who's chakra was violently bubbling around him. As she neared him the chakra began to force itself on her, burning her even more as she raised her hand in the air, her palm spread. 

"Five Elements Seal!" she said as she placed her hands on Yu's chest, her fingers igniting with purple flame. As she made contact with his chest, the flames extinguished and Yu immediately looked like he was in pain. However, this quickly subsided, as Yu's chakra seemed to calm down and disappear back inside his body. His eyes became docile and calm, then finally they closed as he fell unconscious. Omi breathed a sigh of relief, however, as she did so she felt something dark growing inside her. Her vision began to fade and she was plunged into darkness. 

 

She stood in the darkness, in complete silence. Omi looked around but she couldn't see anything. Where was she? Then she felt it. The feeling of pure dread crept up on her, almost overwhelming her. She began to shake violently. She felt like she was going to be sick. 

What is this? she wondered to herself. She had never felt fear quite like this in her whole life. She felt like she was staring into the abyss and that there was no point of return. Then, through the darkness, she saw it, a sinister eye opened up and glared at her. Omi's gaze was fixed on that of the sinister beast's. She was horrified at the mere sight of it. The darkness growing around her was emanating from the creature. 

This is it? Thee thing that's inside Yu? She thought to herself. Then, as quickly as it had come, it had faded, and she found herself back in the cold forest, the rain beating down on her, with Yu lying unconscious at her feet. She felt a presence and turned to see Gekko advancing on her. He was brandishing his hacksaw blade and lunged at her, bringing the blade over her shoulder before dragging it back, cutting into the top of her shoulder and causing blood to spray out. Omi ducked down and pushed back, stepping over Yu and preparing to fight. Gekko held his sword aloft and prepared to come at her again. 

 

[Kokuten]

 

Suddenly Shuzo shot out from the trees behind her, leaping over her head and sending a kick towards Gekko who held the flat side of his blade up to deflect the kick and volley Shuzo back towards Omi. He flipped in the air and landed with a tap at her side. 

"Omi-sensei!" He cried, "Yu! What happened to him!?" he demanded, however his eyes were fixed on Gekko. He looked ready to fight, but Omi held her hand out in front of him to block his path. 

"Don't ask questions" she said calmly, "Just take Yu and get back to Konoha."

"Omi-sensei! I can help you fight!" Shuzo protested

"Do as your told!" Omi snapped, "Get Yu back safely. Do you understand?" she said as she stepped forward to close the gap between her and Gekko. "I will handle this. Don't worry, I won't fall into any more traps. Just get back home."

 

Shuzo didn't like the idea, but he nodded in agreement. He turned around and picked Yu up, hoisting him over his shoulder. He gave Omi another acknowledging nod, and then he disappeared back into the trees. Meanwhile Omi and Gekko were locked in a stare off. Gekko looked heavily wounded but he was still in good form. Omi, much the same, was also badly injured. This fight would be tough. 

"Do you remember me, Gekko Mori?" Omi asked. Gekko raised his brow at this and smirked. 

"Should I?" Gekko replied, "You don't seem all that memorable. Besides, after today you'll be dead. The only reason you're still alive is I need what's inside your head. 

"Hm" Omi replied as she pressed her hands together to form a seal. Gekko moved to counter but it was too late. "Hidden Mist Jutsu!" she said intensely, as the rain around the area began to evaporate and change into a thick fog. By the time Gekko had reached Omi she had already moved away. The thick fog was quickly taking away his field of vision. 

This technique...it's not from the leaf! he thought to himself. At this point he realised that Omi was not at all what she seemed. Still he didn;t understand what she had meant. Remember her? Why would he? Then he heard her voice echo through the mist, it's tone now cold and sinister. 

 

"By now it must be coming back to you..." she said, "...Your first encounter with the Demon Shark of the Mist."

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[samidare]

 

As he opened his eyes, Yu was momentarily confused as to where he was. Like he was waking from a dream. He rubbed his eyes and scanned the room he was in, but he didn't recognize it. He leant up in the bed and looked around before getting up and crossing the room. However, as he did so, the wall he approached fell away and he found himself walking beside his parents. He felt strange however, like a ghost in a physical world. He reached out to touch his mother on the shoulder but his hand passed through without touch or notice.
"Mother?" He asked with a frown, before realising that she looked younger than he recognized. Her hair was longer and she looked less worn somehow, he looked over to his father and saw that he too was younger. Gone was his cold, stern and controlled demeanour. He had a serene expression on his face and his eyes were as soft as his own. It was the first time he noticed how much he looked like his father. Even their long dark hair was the same, tied at the back of the neck into a long ponytail.

 

As he walked beside them, unable to change path or direction, he noticed their mouths moving. The more he focused, the more the silence began to lift, blur until the noise became distinct words. His father was speaking to a man that walked beside them, while the man was cradling a small baby with green eyes, the same colour as his and his father's.
"He's quite like you, Jun-san." The man said. His face was angular and hard, but he was smiling with the same sharp teeth that many mist ninja had. "He's going to be quite the boon for the Shizuku clan, hrm?"
"You're too kind, Goro-sama." His mother replied, "He will have his father's bloodline limit, and that will be enough."
The hard-face man named Goro nodded quietly, cradling the young baby in his arms, "Perhaps..." then his face softened again as he scratched his bald head with his spare hand, dark eyes glistening, "But then, we all want the best for him."
"Mm!" His mother replied, smiling back at him.

 

Yu frowned, he'd never seen this man before in his life. Was this the mist village? Who was that baby? For the first time since he'd woken, he questioned where he was, was he dreaming? Almost in answer to this question, the world around him faded away and he found himself stood in a dark room, lit by only a handful of candles. A baby was crying out, it's cries echoing against the cold stone walls.
"It is done." He recognized the voice as belonging to Goro.
"Good." Another voice replied. Yu focused and once again, the figures cleared from the fog of this strange world, and he was stood behind Goro and the other man, their backs to him. Though he did not see the other's face, he knew who he was for the clothes he wore. The Mizukage. Leader of the Mist village.

"Hey!" Yu called out, but his voice neither echoed nor carried. The figures didn't respond, except to one another.
"I have waited for a long time for this, Goro." The Mizukage added.

"I know, Kage-sama." Goro bowed, "I am honoured to have provided you with the..." he paused as he considered the word, "Opportunity." His grin widened and became like the cold grin of a predator as it launches upon it's prey.
"Will you be remaining in the village now your task is complete?" The Mizukage asked, bending over to pick up the baby.
Goro shook his head, "No. I have other things I must attend to. The Jinchuuriki is the power of your village. Guard it well." Then Goro vanished, leaving the Mizukage alone with the baby in his arms.

 

Yu slowly walked around the room, circling it as he noticed they were not alone. Several ninjas were stood in the darkness, their faces covered by black masks, each eye hole slit surrounded by a thick red line. They looked like some kind of secret unit. Then his attention returned to the Mizukage and the child. He finally came to an angle that he could see the child and the moment he was able to, a look of anguish spread across Yu's face. There, on the belly of the child, was a complicated black seal in the formation of a spiralling wave, framed by five spike-shaped points. Even as this information reached him he found himself being pulled from this world.

 

[Evening]

Waking with a start, Yu panted furiously. He was lying in a hospital bed and he knew he was in Konoha, and no longer dreaming. He immediately looked down and tore off the bandages that covered his bare chest and looked down at his belly. The same seal he had had for as long as he could remember. He had been the child in the dreams, it was so obvious now that he was awake. Why had he never had that dream before? He looked around the room, considering his surroundings, then realised that it was not daylight. The luminescent lights of the room kept back the darkness, but looking out his window it was pitch black. How much time had he lost? Had it been hours or days? He looked back down at the seal and then several more questions came to him.

Jinchuuriki? What is a Jinchuuriki? That man called Goro had said that the Jinchuuriki, that... that it was the key to the power of the Mist village. What did that even mean? Why did Goro and the Mizukage have him and where had been his parents? Was he the Jinchuuriki? He felt his mind clouding as the questions overwhelmed him, but one question pushed its way through regardless. 

What is a Jinchuuriki?

 

Yu slowly pulled himself out of bed and took a deep breath but winced as a shard of pain erupted through his entire body. He almost collapsed but caught himself on the edge of the bed frame. He took another deep breath and tried again, this time he tried to summon his reserves of strength and called upon his chakra. But he found as he tried to dig, it was not available to him. This confused him greatly. Yu then took his free hand, and tried to make a fist, it was weak, he could barely clench it. What had he been doing? He waited for a few moments, eyes searching as he tried to remember, then it suddenly came flooding back.

"Shuzo-san..." He muttered, "Sensei!!" He added with a cry, and tried to run to the door. As he moved however he almost immediately fell over, his body failing him entirely. He started crawling until he reached the door frame and then used it to pull himself back up, "No..." He groaned as he fought against his lack of strength. The last he'd seen of her she was in great danger, then he remembered a strange sensation pushing at the back of his mind. It was familiar, but it had never been that close to him before. It was dark, and he disliked it. But then nothing. Everything was blank, and it was like he'd lost a great span of time. She's in danger, I have to help her! He screamed in his mind as he felt helpless. Then, from down the hallway, he heard quick footsteps and he tried to steady his breath as the sound of them approached.

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