Her head was pounding, the woodpecker going off in her head again, slamming against the base of her skull in a futile effort to break free and fly away.


She couldn’t think, with the noise going on inside her head she couldn’t tell if it was because of the woodpecker or the man in front of her or something else entirely. It was annoying.


“No matter. None of your current missions matter now. There is a time for change coming in both our village and our country. All you really need to know is that Dejiro is dead, and that Niro-dono here is now the leader of the entire country. As the leader of the Hidden Village of Clouds, I have decided that we shall support him.”


Did she hear that?  Or remember it? It was so hard to tell. There was only one man here. He seemed familiar, a source of amusement and infuriation, of laughter and irritation. Dejiro? No, he was dead, now. His mouth was moving, so he couldn’t be. What he said zoned out and was replaced with something else. The pain was still slamming into her skull like a jackhammer. It was more than annoying.


“As of now, your participation in the exchange program is over. There is no need for you to continue. You see, we have more important plans for you now Sayuki.”


“Niro-dono here has told me all about Dejiro’s last stand against him and how the man was defeated. However, it appears that as he died, he did something of incredible shame to Niro-dono. Sayuki? Sayuki, are you listening?”


“Yea.” She said out loud, confusing Danjuro after him saying something incredibly inappropriate for her to answer yes to. He knelt down to get a better look in her eyes. They were staring at him, and even focused to look him directly in the eye though. Even so, he could tell that she wasn’t paying him the single bit of her mind.


“Now, Niro-dono said he will accept our request for a fixed alliance, which is extremely fortunate for us, seeing as he now holds the entire country in his sway. However, it appears he wants something in return.”


She was remembering? That was it, this all happened just a little while ago, but she hadn’t been paying attention for some reason. It carried on flashing through her mind, the woodpecker proving to be as much of an annoyance as someone talking in the seat behind her at the cinema. The person in front of her was getting in the way as well.


“The main thing Niro-dono wants now, is revenge on Dejiro. Dejiro removed his ultimate hawk’s eye as he was defeated, a most cowardly act from what I have hea…” The voice died out again. The world came back into focus as she saw Danjuro standing in front of her. Part of her told her she would need to fix herself if she was going to carry on being a tool. It was the only part of her that seemed comforting at the moment. It was repressing the bad memory. She understood what she needed to do to feel better and, without restraint, slammed her knee into Danjuro’s chest. He had been expecting it more this time, and he blocked easily, but she didn’t hesitate to carry on attacking. Two punches from the left, before swinging behind him and executing a fast uppercut to his spine. Danjuro seemed too strong for them to have any effect, and allowed all to hit him with a grin. She may have been faster than in their last encounter, but he had gotten stronger, her Taijutsu would definitely not work against him. She didn’t seem to care.


“Oi oi gal. What’s wrong here? You look…” He stopped dead, something in his head told him that for one time in his life, he should be as quiet as possible, that his voice was making things worse in a way that even he didn’t want. He had been standing still while he said this, allowing her to continue pounding her fists effortlessly into his back, the tenth punch being just as ineffective as the first. It was frustration that he felt in each of them, a feeling of weakness desperately trying to make itself stronger, so that it could escape it’s situation, but with each attack, only finding itself more and more trapped in the predicament it was in, yet lacking the sense to stop and try something else.


“What is with this girl?” Danjuro mumbled, as he finally turned around and caught her punches. She was on her knees now, face staring at the ground, even as he held them steady, he could feel her shoulders trying to move. In her mind, she was still executing punches. It took her a long moment to finally stop, before she stared up at him.


“It appears that, as he died, Dejiro mentioned your name. Niro-dono has been curious as to your relationship with our former leader, and I have not neglected to tell him.”


Former leader, nonsense. She never, ever viewed him as her leader. It was always friend, her only, real friend, the type of friendship she had never had with anyone, not even Megumi or Yamato. For Raikage-sama to disrespect him in such a way… she wanted to vomit. The movement of her fists came to her attention, and she found hands gripping them. She followed the well-defined muscles that held her all the way up to their owner. As she looked as his face, the pounding increased.


“After he learnt of this, he has decided that his revenge shall be you, Sayuki.”


She screamed for a brief second, the pain getting too much for her to bear. In response, her legs tensed up, and lifted over her, swinging at maximum velocity almost instantly, before slamming into Danjuro’s chin. He had only had partial time to notice, and the impact was only softened slightly, but enough for him to release his grip on her. Her body used the momentum brought on by the kick to flip back a few feet. As she landed, she crouched down, her hand grabbing a clump of grass as she did so.


“In order to get his revenge on the late Dejiro, he has decided to take everything that was his.”


She was seeing nothing now, everything around her had gone blindingly white in the sun’s haze. All that was seeable now, was the man that only served to increase the pounding in her head. For a second, she felt comfortable. She didn’t know what to do as a human being, but she knew what she had to do as a tool. Looking straight at him for the first time, the fog in her head cleared, the woodpecker taking a break, she said.


“I need to kill you, and make this pounding in my head disappear.”


“He has decided to take you…”


“Bring it.” Danjuro said simply, too lost in his own wish for the fight to be concerned for what was actually wrong with her. From the sidelines, Ino went to stand up, intending to stop this in some way, Kiba held her down without a word. He felt it. If they attempted anything now, they would probably die within seconds.


As the male jounin watched, Sayuki seemed composed all of a sudden, as she stood straight up and started forming seals. Danjuro neglected to wait for her, as he unhooked his frying pan and slammed it into the ground, the resulting force lifting him backwards into the air as he observed his opponent. He formed a few quick seals of his own, as he watched the woman just stand there. Releasing the pan to the ground, he slammed his fists onto his own stomach, and a torrent of fluids came pouring out, covering the rock that was supposed to be the kunoichi.


“Kawarimi!” Ino said in shock, as she watched the shinobi transform into a slab of rock. Seconds later, the original jounin reappeared back on top of the rock, her hands having finished creating a new seal. As she lifted up to start her attacks, she finally noticed what the liquid was.


“Cooking oil?” she mumbled, somehow able to speak, despite the fire raging within her brain. It took her a second to figure out the point of the attack, and looking towards Danjuro’s pan, which was now sticking out from the earth, she noticed the tag.


“Shit, get back!” Kiba warned the two females, as the three of them dived into the bushes. The light explosion that came next quickly engulfed the surrounding area in flames. Danjuro landed on the handle of his pan as the inferno continued. The entire pan had been specially treated to resist extreme temperatures, so he found it perfectly safe to land there.


Unfortunately, by setting the entire area on fire, he had limited his range of mobility. He didn’t think it mattered at the time, the surprise of using such a unique attack coupled along with her current emotional state, whatever it was, should have been sufficient to get her caught up in the fire. Now that he couldn’t see her, at all, he could tell the next moment was going to hurt.


“Kazeton: Steel slicing feathers!” He looked up, the only direction she could have been at the moment that would favor a wind technique. She was there, her left arm was currently on fire, but didn’t seem to bother her, even as it hung limp slightly. Her right hand was in front of her mouth, and it looked like she had just blown something out of it, but he couldn’t see anything.


Left shoulder. Right leg. Right hand. Left ear. Solar plexus. Something hit him in these places less than a second later. Whatever it had been had gone all the way and caused him to fall off the frying pan. Falling in the fire, he instinctively rolled to the area underneath his pan, where he was sheltered from the flames. Coming up with a brainwave as he heard a large ‘clunk’ on his pan, he quickly formed a seal.


“Suiton: Suikoden no jutsu! Shoshite: Hono no chippu pan” It was intentionally lighter than his usual water dragon technique, but it served it’s point. The small amount of water hit the ground in front of him at an angle, extinguishing a part of the fire and causing the oil to splash up into the air at the same time. The oil immediately reignited over the handle of the pan, and he heard a light cry of surprise as it did so.


The pan seemed lighter now, and the fire would soon become hazardous for him anyway, so not wasting any time he grabbed for the handle, the bandages around his hands protecting him from any burns, and swung it over and around his shoulder, the huge updraft quickly extinguishing the entire blaze in moments. Turning around, he observed his opponent, just about all of her clothing now had been burnt in some way, and if she didn’t have short hair, then it would probably be on fire as well.


“Seems you have quite the resistance to flame attacks gal.” He taunted for half a second, before several sharp items passed through him again. He fell back through the sharp pain, and watched this time, as she blew something from her hand again. They appeared as a blur that were near impossible to see. He blindly went to catch one and cried out in agony as it passed through his thumbnail and lodged itself there. The numbing pain caused him to hop around, muttering his pain as the nerve endings screamed at him for being so stupid as for trying to catch a weapon there. The pain didn’t subside as he ripped whatever it was out, for half of it was still trapped in there. He brought the part he had ripped out to his eyes and stared at it in confusion.


“Grass?” He mumbled, as he observed the terrifying new weapon he was holding. “You’re hurting me with grass?”


“A hurricane can take a straw all the way through a solid oak tree and out the other side.” She muttered emotionlessly, as if her higher brain functions were nowhere in this fight. “It’s not so surprising is it?”


At this point, something clicked inside the both of them, and they both started to charge at each other, each pulling a weapon out as they clashed with each other, wooden kunai against metal frying pan, a much smaller one this time. The force brought on by her speed and his own immense strength matched each other pound for pound as they pushed into each other, teeth gritting and muscles tensing as it continued. Their eyes stared into each other with no love nor hatred, just the pure desire to fight, reasons forgotten, as if all emotions were being exerted through their efforts.


Finally though, Sayuki’s force diminished, clearly mainly from her amazing speed, it could not match up to the strength of Danjuro’s wall. She eventually stepped back, and Danjuro took advantage to slam his foot into her stomach, knocking her all the way back. As she landed on her back, she looked up to see him diving on top of her, frying pan outstretched and ready to strike.


A blur between them prevented him from killing her.


Danjuro exploded, apparently meaninglessly, as if some outside force had interfered with the fight simply by clicking their fingers. He fell back onto the ground, as unconscious as Sayuki was feeling, the kids looked on in complete incomprehension as to what had just happened.


“Hinata, did you see…anything?” Kiba mumbled to his partner. Hinata looked just as confused as Ino did, but for different reasons.


“That speed…” She stuttered. She had barely picked it up, but it had to be several times faster than how the female jounin had moved. It was a miracle that she had noticed.


A figure appeared between the two unconscious jounin, with short blond hair and a feminine body. The person appeared completely weaponless, and was only wearing enough clothing to be considered decent enough to be outside. She had her head resting against one of her hands and a bothered look on her face.


“Why did you have to come back early, Sayuki-han?” the girl grumbled to herself as she walked up to the female jounin. Sayuki seemed to answer with a groan, as the other female checked her over. “I planned to wait for you tomorrow, to warn you.” Whoever it was, seemed concerned at least. Kiba tried to sneak a better look at her.


“Come out and help me you three.” The woman called out. “Don’t worry. I’m a teammate of Sayuki’s.”


Annoyed that he had been spotted with no effort whatsoever, the male genin quickly stood up and came out of the bushes, the two girls following behind him.


“Who are you?” He asked, forgetting his manners for a moment. The woman didn’t seem to mind.


“Megumi.” The woman replied, paying him only partial mind as she checked her friend over. The female jounin had multiple burns all over her body. “What on earth were you thinking, Sayuki?” As she looked her over, she realized that her nakama was awake, physically anyway. She slapped the woman’s face a few times. After the forth, Sayuki’s hand went up to grab her.


“Let me out.” She whispered, with an ache in her voice. Megumi looked concerned for a long moment. It almost didn’t sound like her friend. As she noticed the genin looking over her, she got up and turned to them.


“Are you Shikamaru-han or Chouji-han?” She asked the boy in front of her, unsure as to why there were two females standing behind the boy.


“Neither, I’m Kiba. Is she okay?”


“You’re with the Mist ninja then.” Megumi mused to herself, before answering, “She’s fine, physically. However, she’s entering a really screwy time for herself.”


“What? What do you mean?” Ino asked, confused at the woman’s choice of words.


“It’s not for me to say.” She mumbled under her breath as she pulled her jacket off, placing it over her ally’s remaining, burnt clothes. “Are you aright over there.” She called out without turning around.


“Yeah.” Danjuro growled. “I guess I’m fine.” Despite saying this, the mere movement of sitting up caused various wounds to reopen. Blood started to pour down his arms and chest.


“You’re bleeding.” Hinata called out, surprising Kiba. She rushed over to the jounin without thought and pulled out a small wooden box. As she did, she realized her own movements and stopped, blushing beet red as she did so. Danjuro eyed her heavily for a few moments, then sighed.


“Is that a healing ointment?” He asked, she looked away briefly for a moment, and brought her arms down with a slow, nervous twitch.


“Y…ye…yes.” She replied. Danjuro snarled, he hated dealing with shy people. It always seemed to him that they were wasting everyone’s time. He lifted his hand out.


“Thank you.” He replied, as he waited for her to give it to him. The girl said nothing, but fidgeted for a moment, before placing it in his palm. As he began healing himself, Sayuki sat up. Her ally immediately coming to her aid as she did so.


“Are you okay, Sayuki?” The jounin didn’t respond. She looked at her with half open eyes, as if she had woken up to find everyone in her bedroom. She looked around at all the people, taking an extra long look at Danjuro, as well as Ino, who was kneeling by her side. Eventually, she grabbed Ino’s shoulder, and used the girl for support to stand up. Ino followed her, and allowed herself to be used as a crutch for her temporary teacher.


“Sorry.” Sayuki muttered, apparently half conscious. Ino merely shook her head in forgiveness, before turning to the newcomer.


“Are we heading back to the village?” She asked, trying to maintain a smile to make everything positive.


“Hhhmm, I guess that’s the best option.” Megumi commented. “Yes, let’s head back.” She extended a hand to the Mist ninja sitting down. “You can come too. You’ve been given special permission to enter the village. Just don’t do anything stupid. We’ll be on you like a rockslide if you do.”


“Heh, you guys couldn’t beat me.” Danjuro joked, as he lifted himself up, without the woman’s help. He noticed how he felt better already. The shy girl’s ointment seemed to act both as a healing aid and a muscle relaxant. Of course, it probably meant he shouldn’t start anything until he was ready. He decided to give the girl a reward for helping him.


“You guys bring my stuff.” He ordered the two remaining genin, following the three females as they walked back towards the village. Kiba’s cheek twitched, as his body became frozen. Hinata just sighed in relief.


Back with the females, Ino remained quiet. She wanted to say something, whether it be to tell her it was all alright or to pry into whatever the situation was that made Sayuki like this. Her replacement sensei looked like she was in another world, one that was constantly dishing out pain for her. Ino tried to think of something amusing to say, but was put off when she noticed the shoulder that Sayuki was using to lean on her was bleeding quite heavily.


“Ino.” Sayuki called out suddenly, grabbing the attention of the girl. “My apologies, but it looks like I’m not going to be part of the exchange program anymore.”


“What? You’re not? But there’s only two weeks left anyway.” This upset Ino greatly. Despite Sayuki’s unusual character points, such as extreme changes in her personality within seconds, she had had a good time over the past week. She figured that it was probably going to get even better as time went on and she got to understand the woman better.


“I’ve been given a permanent assignment it seems.” Her words croaked as she said them. Megumi moved on a few steps ahead, purposely quickening her pace as much as she could. “In response to the war. I am needed to secure an alliance that will truly unite the country.” Ino watched as Megumi went to running speed, and was soon out of sight. Behind them, Danjuro was listening as intently as ever.


“What are you talking about, Sayuki-sensei? This is all…”


“In order so that Niro will accept a fixed alliance with the hidden Village of Clouds, I am to become his personal servant, for as long as I live, out of revenge for Dejiro-san taking his eye.”


Everyone stopped moving. Even ahead, Megumi stopped in a treetop, having slammed her fist through its side.


The sun shone brighter than ever, encompassing them all in it’s light.




“Man, what was that moron of a ninja thinking?” Kiba exclaimed out loud, as the two remaining genin stared at the problem in front of them. “How did someone as stupid as him become a jounin anyway? He’s worse than Naruto.”


Hinata shook slightly. She had gotten use to the usual torrent of insults that the other kids would have thrown at Naruto over the years, both behind his back and directly in front of him, but it still always installed a twinge of guilt within her when she never found herself saying anything in his defense. Indeed, she knew it was better to say quiet, less any comment on her behalf caused the person to continue insulting the boy she admired.


“Yo?” Kiba called out, surprising the girl back to attention. “You got all the other stuff?” He was friendly with her, she noticed. Kiba was actually friendly to pretty much everyone. Even as he spoke in a way that might imply he was treating her like a lesser, his face conveyed no malicious intentions. That being said, why was it that he, and almost everybody else, was always nasty to Naruto. She could never begin to understand it. Naruto may have been the lowest in the class, and always messing stuff up, but…but. “You listening girl?”


“Y…yes!” She finally replied, almost shouting her answer. She lifted up the bag that held all of their temporary jounin stuff in it. She couldn’t find anything else.


“Nice one. Now…” the boy started, as he turned around to face their current dilemma, “how do you suppose we get this out of the ground?”


The two meter diameter frying pan, with a non-stick base and a special coating that meant it could even survive in lava for a brief second longer than if the solid steel cooking utensil was dipped in on it’s own, was the object of Kiba’s attention. The reason behind the dilemma was that the 400lb frying pan, Danjuro’s main weapon which he was constantly carrying around on his back, was currently wedged three quarters of the way through the earth beneath them. Even with the handle sticking out, there seemed no real way to get it out.


“It took us a whole two minutes to get it off the fire yesterday, now two of us have to yank it out of the ground? What’s he thinking?”


“Maybe it’s some kind of test?” Hinata offered weakly, though she was just as clueless.


“I hope not. I can’t think of a single thing either of us could do to get it out.” The survivalist genin pondered over it for a few moments, before his brain held his upper brain functions to random and demanded that he go to the toilet first. It had been an hour already, and the Yakiniku was starting to take effect in the usual way.


“I’ll be back in a moment, Hinata. Just gotta take…” He saw her blush profusely. “I’ll just be back.” He stumbled into the undergrowth of the woods as quick as possible. That girl, she was far too naïve. Even though her eyes could see almost everything, she still couldn’t see humans properly. Was it because she had been isolated within the Hyuuga household all this time? He didn’t understand it at all. Finally finding a place to get to business, he got on with it, when he heard a light cry behind him, followed by the sound of something falling.


He spun round, pulling his trousers up quickly whilst doing so. In the bushes ahead of him, something rustled. He approached it carefully, unsure of what to suspect. Was it a kid, a stupid ninja, Hinata finally growing a sense of humor or curiosity? As he reached his destination, a mere four feet from where he was originally standing, the answer seemed to be both the first and second ones.


“Fuck.” The girl whined to herself, rubbing her forehead under her bandana. Kiba looked on in astonishment, as a beautiful young girl was presented in front of him. He stepped back slightly in shock, before finally regaining his bearings.


“Oi, are you okay?” He asked simply. The question seemed to snap the girl back to reality, and she stood up tall, to face him. Kiba looked back at the girl as confused as before. It looked like she was staring him eye to eye, but her eyes were hidden under the bandana. His sensitive nose sniffed the air slightly. He could smell blood somewhere.

“That could have gone better.” She mumbled to herself. “Still, no sense talking to the target…” As she phrased her words, the girl pulled out a large spear weapon. The boy recognized it as a bronze naginata. Kiba stepped back, worried slightly at the tone of her words. Did she intend to attack him? As he moved back, he noticed her head lift slightly, as if she had become aware of something.


“Who are you?” She asked simply. Kiba stood there for a second, too uncertain of the situation to do anything. “You’re not from this country. Your legs, they’ve never climbed a mountain in their lives.”


This sentence snapped Kiba back to reality at it’s complete irrelevance. “What on…How could you tell…” He found himself stuttering more than Hinata as he looked at the girl. He caught his bearings, as he saw her forehead protector, hanging loosely from her belt buckle. With that, he understood the situation instantly and composed himself as such. “I’m a genin from the Leaf Village, Inuzuka Kiba. Erm…pleased to meet you.”


“A leaf ninja?” The girl seemed to be talking more to herself than to him at the moment. “Shit. Good job I didn’t kill you then.” She relaxed her blade slightly, almost too lightly. Kiba examined her carefully. She was beautiful, more beautiful than a guy like him could find the words for. Even without seeing her eyes, he could guess that were probably as magnificent as the rest of her. If it wasn’t for…


“Blood?” Hinata called out, grabbing the attention of the both of them. Kiba and the newcomer turned around to focus on the female genin, who had a worried look in her eyes as she stared at the new girl. “Are you okay, you’re bleeding.” The girl called out, sincerely worried. Kiba began mentally cursing. The girl clearly had no idea what was going on, this girl could have been an enemy. He wasn’t even sure if she was an enemy or not. Yet there she was, pulling bandages out of her bag without any hesitation. She stepped up to the newcomer, just as Kiba began to wonder where exactly the girl was bleeding.


“Bandages won’t help, Chibiko.” The older girl stated as she slammed her naginata into the ground, causing it to stick there. “Nothing helps except this bandana.” Her hands went up to pull the red stained cloth off the top of her head. “It’s my sockets you see,” she pulled it off and turned to leer at them, “they’re missing their eyes!”


Kiba screamed.




Back in the Cloud Village, Akamaru jumped to attention, before yapping at the three boys in front of him.


“Huh?” Mumbled Shikamaru, who was half way through leaving the toil of consciousness. “What do you want?” Akamaru yapped at him, as meaninglessly as before, talking in a language that very few understood. “I don’t understand.” Shikamaru complained, before listening intensely one last time, to see if all of a sudden he could become fluent in pointless yapping. “Never mind.” He muttered, before leaning back against the wall again and dozing off.


“Maybe he wants to be eaten?” Chouji suggested, more than willing to volunteer if that was the case. Akamaru growled heavily, before sniffing and turning in the opposite direction, running off to the villages main entrance. As he left, Shino made a point of watching the dog run off. The bugs that he had left on his nakama hadn’t had anything bad happen to them, so he knew nothing was wrong. If that was the case, he would prefer to just sit in the shade, this country was a lot hotter than he expected it to be.


Before the dog had gone out of sight, it stopped at a corner, and the genin watched as it barked at an older female. From what he could hear of the conversation, the woman actually replied to the dog, and told it of Kiba’s location. The canine seemed pleased, before running off in the direction she pointed.


From behind the woman, came Ino, carrying the jounin that Shino recognized to be the one who had picked them up earlier that day. Their own temporary jounin was right behind the two women. All were being quiet.


“Oh, it’s Ino.” Chouji pointed out, although Shikamaru made no real effort to respond.


“It looks like there has been a fight of some description.” Shino mentioned, before standing up to meet with the people.


“Is everyone still alive?” Shikamaru asked, not opening his eyes to look for himself.


“Kiba and Hinata are not there.” Shino stated, as monotonous as ever. Shikamaru responded to this with a non-descript mumble of some sort, which neither of the boys could understand. “I will have to inquire about my teammates.” The boy, whose body stood as a home for thousands upon thousands of insects, stood up and silently walked over to the passing group. The remaining two watched as he started to speak with a female they didn’t recognize, before being kicked by the male jounin. Not responding to this at all, Shino walked off in the direction they had come from. As the two boys stared in shock at this action, the group eventually reached them.


“What are you guys doing? Get over here and help!” Ino shouted to them, the bossiness in her voice coming to assault Shikamaru’s ears. The organs did their best to avoid the vibrations, but in the end he was forced to answer her.


“Okay, okay.” He said, making it look like every ounce of his resolve was needed to stand. “What happened?” Ino looked at him, annoyed for a second, before a cruel look appeared on her face.


“It’s too troublesome to explain it to you.” She said ironically. “Just help us get Sayuki-sensei to the doctor. As the youngest female there said this, the jounin lifted herself up and away from the girl. Opening her eyes, the genin saw an empty look to them.


“I am a tool, that is all I am.” She muttered, an impoverished whisper that rasped from her throat. With that, she began to walk away on her own.


“Heh. You being that guys servant. It’s quite amusing.” Danjuro commented with a grin as she tried to leave.


“Oi. Shut up!” Megumi warned him. The jounin took no notice, and took a few steps forward.


“Is he going to make you wear a maid’s uniform? I’ll bet you’ll finally look cute.” The Mist shinobi started laughing to himself, the mocking noises causing Sayuki to turn around and stare at him. He braced himself in a fighting stance, ready to assume their eternal conflict at a moment’s notice, but she did nothing. After a few moments, she turned around and continued to walk away, slowly, slouching slightly from her wounds.


“Man, wish I could get to see…” Danjuro never got the time to finish his sentence. An elbow slammed into the back of his head, and actually causing the base of his skull to crack slightly. He heard the genin around him gasp, as he fell to the floor. He opened his eyes, and he could tell from the wind shift that he had blacked out for at least a few seconds. He swung around, intending to focus on his opponent. A hand was already around his neck squeezing, before he had even registered it was there.


“Wish you could see what?” The man in front of him was tall, with black hair like himself and squinted eyes. He was smoking a cigarette. Danjuro didn’t recognize him at all, but the forehead protector indicated that he was from this village. The man squeezed harder. “Answer me!” It seemed like a polite request, but Danjuro couldn’t tell. Something had gripped his body besides the man, but he couldn’t tell what it was for a moment, then he realized. It had been a long time since he felt fear,  but the grip on his throat was now causing it to run rabid through his body. This man, whoever he was…the mist ninja could sense it, he was a predator, much larger than he could ever hope to be. Even with his entire body free, Danjuro couldn’t do a thing, the intent to kill in the man’s eyes had blinded him cold. The man shook Danjuro as he squeezed again, as easily as a rag doll. “I’m not letting go until you finish what you were going to say. Say it!”


This was surprising for the jounin, even if his stricken state, he realized that it wasn’t exactly regular for someone to insist that a person finish his or her insult. Usually such words were to scare. “I…i…” Danjuro coughed, despite being given enough space to talk, he found he couldn’t, he simply had no air left.


“Put him down, Yamato-kun!” Megumi called out. “If you kill him, we’ll have a whole world of crap in our hands!” Yamato responded instantly, dropping his prey. Danjuro gasped for air, and started to cough up, in a reflexive urge to vomit. He held it back.


“Ah sorry, sorry.” The big man replied, scratching the back of his head. “I should of guessed by the fact that he was Mist.” The man known as Yamato started to laugh the whole situation off, as his female companion just sighed.


“What!” Danjuro muttered under his breath. The feeling of death from this man, the desire to escape and the regret of helplessness. All these feelings that the man had caused him were completely gone. Was he really looking at the same guy who had just nearly killed him in a whim just a second ago? For some reason it felt impossible. There was no way.


“So, Sayuki knows.” Yamato grumbled, finally calming down himself. “Was it too much of a problem?”


“She took it quite well I think.” Megumi answered. “All she did was try to kill this guy. Oh, and she’s currently in ‘trance mode’.” As she said this, the kunoichi lifted the fingers on both hands to indicate speech brackets. “She’ll probably stay like that until ‘that time’.”


“It’s gonna come a lot sooner than we thought, isn’t it.”


“Ya, we should start to make preparations tomorrow.” Yamato stretched, and sighed to himself. “You wanna go to Yakiniku tonight.” Megumi just laughed.


“Sure, why not. I have nothing else left to do. I’ll see you later.” The woman turned around to walk off. She was stopped by a shout.


“Oi!” Ino called out, stopping Megumi from moving away. “Sayuki-sensei…” For once, Ino found herself stuttering. “Is Sayuki-sensei really going to be turned into a servant for some guy?” Megumi turned to face her fully.


“That guy is now the reigning sovereign of this country,” Megumi explained, “and Sayuki won’t actually mind. To us three, serving the country is all that matters, and that girl follows it the most.”


“But why?” Ino shouted out in adolescent anger. “Why Sayuki-sensei?” This caught Megumi by the tongue for a moment. The jounin looked down to the ground, hiding her eyes from all in sight.


“That Niro. He believes that it is best to torture the soul.” Ino felt pain in the woman’s voice as she spoke. She couldn’t tell if it was out of regret or experience. “He believes that, even after death, one can torture the soul. He intends to do that with Dejiro-sama. He intends to do that through that girl. Even in this, she is just a tool.”


“That’s just stupid!” Ino called out, the words causing tears to trail down her face. She wiped her face clean. “That’s really just stupid!” She stormed off, with only Chouji trying to follow her. Shikamaru stopped him.


“Leave her for now. Women are dangerous when they’re upset.” Whilst Chouji didn’t agree with this completely, he nodded. A curious thought struck the genius after his friend stopped. He turned to the jounin, who had just remained standing, with a look of annoyance on her face, latched onto Shikamaru’s last comments. “Isn’t it a bad thing to send her off like this, the jounin that is? Someone as skilled as her…I mean, I’ve seen better, but she’s got a lot of experience, and the fact that she was able to cut through him with grass.”


Megumi said nothing at this comment, more surprised with how Shikamaru would know one of Sayuki’s secret techniques than anything else. Yamato answered for her.


“It doesn’t matter. An orders an order. It’s the way of the ninja.” As he let this thought hang in the air for a moment, depressing everyone, he added. “Besides, Niro will have her stripped of her techniques anyway. I heard he’s making Raikage-sama perform a sealing of some sorts on her.


“What?” Danjuro said aloud one last time. For some reason, this news hit him worse than anything he had felt today, the pit of his stomach howled with emptiness. He stayed standing there, as everyone else slowly walked off.


He would only move later, when the intensity of the sun’s heat would start to irritate his back.




(Next Itako scene, this will continue into the next chapter, this one will end with Danjuro just meeting with Raikage. At the end of the Itako scene, Takeda will kidna Hinata and run off with her)

(Raikage’s feelings to these events. Calls upon Danjuro “We are all trapped Danjuro-san. In all our roles. Even with the ability to track cross country in a day and ascend the highest mountain with one hand, we are still all trapped. Trapped by roles, trapped by culture, trapped by life”)


“Haha, come on, admit it. You pissed your pants.” Itako exclaimed, as they all sat around the fire. All around him, Kiba felt bitter humiliation as even Akamaru mocked him with harsh banter. Hinata had conserved herself to a light smile.


“Well what do you expect,” Kiba retaliated, in an attempt to retrieve his manhood, “you have no eyes. Of course I was gonna freak out!”


“Chibiko didn’t freak out. Her response was at least slightly understandably. You were just a girl.”


“Um…” The good mood had made Hinata slightly more confident to talk than usual, and she was actually talking semi-regularly. “Are you sure it’s okay.” Itako took a sip of her juice, before shaking her head at the girl in an erratic motion.


“Don’t worry about it at all.” She insisted, with a voice that implied it happened all the time. “It happens all the time. It was just because I bumped my head, set them off again. This bandana soaks it all up, and nobodies really notices.”


“How could they not notice?” Kiba mumbled, the red stains on the white bandana stood out clearly, and he finally understood what the initial smell was.


“Should we not be returning soon?” Shino asked. They had been having this party for an hour now, and he viewed it a waste of others time if someone got concerned about them.


“Ah relax.” Itako insisted, clearly wishing the company of others for as long as possible. “You’re so fucking stuck up, right Chibiko.” Hinata just smiled a little more, not wishing to offend either her comrade or her new friend. She wasn’t used to the girl’s language, but Naruto swore a lot of the time as well, as did Kiba, but never as much as the girl had been doing. Itako seemed to sense wish not to join her in bashing Shino, despite being blind and found it hilarious.


“Ey girl, one question?” She asked after calming down, clearly high on her own excitement. “How the fuck did you know I was bleeding? It doesn’t show at all. You got a special technique or something?”


Hinata remained apprehensive for a moment. To speak of her bloodline trait was an area she remained unsure of at times. On one hand, her family was the oldest and proudest in Konoha, and most knew of it anyway, just not how it worked, but on the other hand, to tell a stranger…


“Come on gal. If you show me yours I’ll show you mine.” Hinata fidgeted and looked away slightly, still unsure.


“Ooh, go on Hinata.” Kiba called out, apparently unaware of her feelings for once. “I wanna know what it is.” The shy girl weighed the options in her head a little, before finally nodding to agreement. She was a little curious as well after all. She stood up and stepped back, bracing herself for a moment as she formed six seals, ending with the unique seal that left one finger sticking in the air.


“Byagugan!” She called out, her vision increasing by a full ninety degrees as blood flowed faster around her eyes. She made her vision not go into far range focus, just to prevent her from getting dizzy trying to look through trees. Itako stared at her direction somewhere, clearly impressed, despite seeing nothing.


“Whoa, the Byugagan ey?” She cooed. “I should have guessed. You did say your name was Hyuuga after all. So, can you like, see behind you and stuff.” Hinata let her eyes calm down, not wanting to waste her chakra too much, especially after the day’s excitement.


“Not quite. I’m still working on it.” She turned away and blushed for a moment, embarrassed at her own lack of progress.


“Hey, don’t sweat it gal. People have their own pace. Look at me, I only discovered I even had a bloodline trait last year. The girl waved her hand to brush it off, as she took a moment to stand up straight.


“You have a bloodline trait as well?” Kiba asked, surprised. Itako clapped her hands together, keeping them in place as she did so.


“Well duh. How do you think I can tell you have red stripes on your face?” The others gasped at this, as everyone, even Kiba, found themselves instinctively looking to see if it was true. “Anyway, don’t talk much while I’ll show you. It gets really annoying.” The girl braced herself as Hinata did, ready to show off as she did best. After the fourth seal, she glanced upwards out of shock. “Look out!” She shouted, catching the attention of everybody as they all turned around.


Smoke filled the area, blocking everyone’s field of view. If that wasn’t enough, the genin noticed traces of poison in the air, and started to cough in response. Kiba, Akamaru and Itako were clearly the most effected, their sensitive noses reacting badly. Shino heard Hinata scream, and rushed to reach her. It was too late. The smoke disappeared as if it had never been there, so had Hinata. In her place were…


“Mushrooms?” Shino stated, recalling something.

(personal note: has he taken her to coerce Danjruo back, or to kill her and frame Cloud (bloodlinelimit). They think the first at first, but really the second)



Five hours later


At the top floor of the mansion that stood in his name, Raikage stood. He had left his ceremonial headgear and robe on only for one more reason tonight, and he sensed it coming now. He hadn’t moved at all for the last hour, but he head was full of thoughts. Thoughts of what was to come, and what had been. Both inside and outside, he was calm, he knew what he had to do.


He looked to his left as a sudden noise caught his attention. His left hand had stabbed itself into the wall, leaving a fine gap as he pulled it out. Looking, he was shocked to find himself bleeding, as wood chippings cut into him.


“How long has it been…” he wondered out loud to himself, “since I have bled?” The line amused him. “How long will it be…until I make this country bleed again?” He paused for a few moments when he sensed something approach. “Come in Danjuro-san.”


From the window, Danjuro stood up, with a pissed look in his face. Grumbling, he crawled in. Approaching the man with politeness, rather than respect.


“Look, thanks for letting me stop in the village for the night, even though it wasn’t necessary. I guess if you want some kind of payment…”


“Please stop Danjuro-san.” Raikage commanded calmly. “That is not why I have called you. I have called you to ask a favour.”


“A favour?” Danjuro repeated, not suspecting this to be what he wanted. He suddenly had a rather bad image of chains. Raikage simply turned away from him to look through the window.


“Do you know Danjuro-san? If there is one thing I have learnt over the years, it is that we are all trapped. Trapped in all our roles. Even with the ability to track cross-country in a day and ascend the highest mountain with one hand and fight the gods, we are still all trapped. Trapped by roles, trapped by culture, trapped by life”


“Eh…what?” Danjuro responded, definitely not expecting this.


“The thing is, we are always trapped by other people (personal note, we are trapped by ourselves, others are only a convenient excuse(this is what I intend to have the characters discover)). I, for example am always trapped by the political concerns of this country. I do not care much for them, but I have to do whatever is best for the village. If Dejiro is the best choice, I will follow him. If it is Niro, I will follow him.” Danjuro was just staring into the honorable man in front of him now, even minor philosophy couldn’t penetrate his skull. “Sayuki, on the other hand, is trapped by me. She is a tool of the Hidden Village of Clouds. In other words, she is a tool of mine. I know this. She knows this. There is no hatred on either side. As a craftsmen, I cannot abide someone taking my tools away from me, especially one of my best ones. I would rather have the tool destroyed than give it away in a charity.” (make it sound more regalish)


With this, Danjuro snapped to attention. The man was now talking in a language he could understand.


“You mean?”


“Yes, Danjuro-san. As you are probably aware, I want you to kill Sayuki-san. For her sake as well as mine.”


End chapter six


Next: Itako rescues and Danjuro angsts


And what of Sayuki, who is a complete idiot.


Find out on the next Power Rangers…hang on, that’s wrong.