Chapter Three: Infiltration: Where training and tests begin, and even old warhorses find they can be surprised by newborn ponies.
As she stood in the middle of the empty room, Sayuki lifted her arms to her sides. Breathing heavily for just a second, her hands quickly blurred in front of her face before stopping dead just as fast.
“Bushin no jutsu!” She commanded to herself and waited as she felt the many clones of herself appear at various places around the mansion. After all, what was a heavily guarded fortress if not without guards? She knew it would be unfair to make them contend with too much, so fifteen guards, excluding herself, would be reasonable. Over the number of floors that there were and all the traps included, it was more than enough.
It would just be a case now of waiting. In her mind, she tried to view what the situation was meant to be like, if she were an actual army general. It was harder than she imagined, as she tended to look at this from the other side of the mission, being an infiltrator rather than a guard, but she would just have to look at it logically. More than likely, the general of the fortress would just be relaxing in some manner at this moment, not exactly expecting anything to happen. It would just be another night, waiting for orders off the lord. In that sense, it would be just like normal for her. She would mould some chakra as a warming down exercise and go to sleep for the night.
But that was too boring. She was half tempted just to run up to them now, screaming her head off about how she had found them and maybe kicked the black haired one a few times. She held the thought, it would be wrong to cheat like that. In such circumstances, she wouldn’t know that anyone was coming tonight, even though she did and she should act like someone that wasn’t prepared for an attack, even though she was.
In the end, she guessed it was too hard to fully role-play this scenario she had planned. Both teams knew that each was there, and any motion would make be instantly noticed and recognized as coming from the other team. The main problem she could think of is that it was be impossible to use henge or henso style techniques, since to change form or employ disguises would be seen through instantly, in view of the fact that she would know they were not one of her clones. They would have to solely rely on sneaking around and hiding whenever one of her ‘guards’ got too close to them. Even then, since they weren’t as skilled as she was, she was probably more likely to sense them.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
“Oh come on,” Kiba complained, as he felt his heavy coat weighing him down in the water, “we’re making some progress, aren’t we?”
He was answered with a quiet squeal from Hinata’s direction as the shy girl fell through the surface of the water yet again before popping up yet again and exhaling yet again. Danjuro was getting annoyed to say the least. Wishing to have a campfire and a bucket of cooking oil so he could cook the three of them to say the most.
“Some progress, yes.” Danjuro said, with a hint of irritation. “You’ve gotten to the bit where you can imagine yourselves as stones, and then fall into the water. Now if you can just master turning your vertical momentum into horizontal, then we might get back to my country before the exchange program is over.”
As Kiba felt Akamaru shake himself dry all over the boy, he realized just how dark it was getting. The moon was now beautifully pitched over the sea, lighting the area up quite effectively, the large range circle actually providing them with a constant direction to follow in order to get back to the Water country. At that moment in time, the four ninja were in or around a small wooden boat. Making it and getting out to sea had been quite easy and the survivalist specialist in training was beginning to wonder if they should have just kept rowing.
“The skim stone technique is dead simple, dammit.” Danjuro now shouted as he watched the girl brace herself for another shot at it. “It’s just chakra control and a basic abuse of scientific physics. Let me explain it to you all again, just so you’ve got it.”
Hinata stopped at this and sat down to listen, slightly relived at getting a chance to rest after an hour of this exercise. Shino pulled himself back into the boat as well. The calm and collected Genin didn’t seem eager to go into the water at first, it was almost like he was afraid. He must have waited about ten minutes before allowing himself to fall in. He sucked at the technique, Danjuro noticed. He was the worst of the three. It was like he was concentrating on something else. Even now.
“Right, first I assumed you would have practiced the Leaf Village’s tree climbing exercise, but since you haven’t I now have another reason to cook you while you sleep. You’ve basically got to concentrate your chakra to your feet. You should all know how to do this, so I won’t bother with the details. Then, the rest is like this.” He stopped talking and grabbed a flat stone from a pile he had brought with him onto the boat. Standing up casually, he held it above his head and swung it from the side, causing the rock to start bouncing over the top of the ocean. The kids watched as it slowly disappear out of sight to everyone except Hinata, before turning back to their instructor.
“You just have to do what that rock did, skim.” He explained. “Toss yourselves off the boat and use the chakra surrounding your feet to skim across the water. When you’re feeling you’re running out of stream, just push the chakra slightly to give yourself a boost, not too much though, or you’ll start hitting the water harder and lose control. We all got that?” He shouted the last bit like a commanding offer, the troops replied accordingly.
“Urgh, swimming sounds like a better option.” Kiba complained as he stood himself up again.
“Impossible. There is no island in sight.” Shino stated. “We could not take the risk of not finding any land.”
“But if we master this technique…” Hinata started and faded out halfway through.
“Right. We should give ourselves a faster, non-exhausting way back to the Water country. Once we have the knack, it should be easy.”
“So we just have to get the knack, ey?” Kiba mused loudly. Thoughts popping into his head, he turned to the jounin who was laying back. “Oi, do all students really have to learn this technique in your country?”
“It’s not that weird is it?” Danjuro asked mildly, opening one eye to look at the boy as they spoke. “Don’t you have to learn the tree hopping technique in your village before you can graduate.”
“I guess when you put it like that…” Kiba stopped talking to think. He hadn’t thought of it that way before. He had learned the ability to bounce from tree to tree with relative ease when he was five. It was so simple a trick that even Akamaru soon caught on and simply did it by imitating his partner. This was the Water Country’s alternative then, was it? He stood up tall on the boat, making sure not to rock it.
“I think I got it guys. Just stand back and watch.” The other genin turned in mild surprise at their partner’s claim. Kiba grinned and concentrated. Logically speaking, the tree hopping technique was very similar to a flat stone bouncing off of the top of the water, so all he really had to do was the same thing, yet take into mind that it’s more of a flat surface, rather than the rounded branches of the trees. “Here goes.” He shouted, and threw himself towards the ocean, placing his feet on the surface, he began to thrust forward for the next step.
Needless to say, he fell through solid illusion of the dark ocean and plunged eight feet before he even started to try and bring himself back up. Danjuro just burst into laughter.
Had long had it been now?
Half an hour, an hour, two? She laughed to herself groggily, as she found herself becoming tired. In truth she already knew that, since the exercise began, precisely thirty-four minutes had gone past. Regardless, it felt that an eternity had past, liked a chewed up tape had played out the last five minutes and stretched it to four hours.
She quickly got out of the chair she was sitting on, to prevent herself dropping off completely. The last thing she wanted to do now was fall asleep, the exercise would be ruined, all her clones would disappear and the group could just walk up to the scroll and walk out with it.
Where were they anyway? They were doing an amazingly good job of remaining undetected. So far, none of her guards had detected anything. She briefly wondered if she had maybe dimmed the clones senses a bit too much. She had given all but one of them the senses of a normal human, in regard to a more realistic exercise. She had the last one remain as a total copy of herself in every way, to add a bit of spice to the exercise. The genin would have no clue as to which one it was. Indeed, they wouldn’t even be looking for one. In a real situation, they would have to achknowledge the different awareness levels of all the guards and not just get into a set pattern.
She became half tempted to cheat again and just scan for them immediately. It wouldn’t be impossible for her if not for her conscience. That would just ruin the exercise. She needed to be as ignorant to them as they were to her. They were just genin after all. They should have little to no special abilities yet.
She turned around, unexpectedly even to her. It took her a full half second to realize that her body had picked up the sound of a piece of grit getting kicked and a few milliseconds longer to notice that it had only happened 10.5 meters away. She let a grin appear on her face and jumped up to the ceiling. She was nearer than any of her clones. She decided to check it out for herself.
The hallway was as barren as it had been left about five months ago, when it had last been used for an exercise of the same manner. The wood of the floors was slowly rotting and every single nail in the place was rusted. A little longer and some of the workers would have to come and tear it down. The atmosphere felt very isolating. That didn’t matter to Sayuki, the only thing that mattered to her at that moment was the few pieces of wood about three meters away from her, for some reason they had grown about half a meter longer than all the other planks on that floor. She walked forward another two meters, before bringing a knife to the neck of nothing that was in front of her.
“Come on out!” She barked. “The exercise is over.” She could hear two feet step back and a gasp of surprise as a boy of around fourteen years of age faded out of nowhere in front of her. He had black hair tied up in a ponytail and a bright blue bomber jacket. On his face was a small bandage, covering up a slightly larger knife wound.
“How did you know I was there?” He gasped fearfully, scared at getting caught. Sayuki glared at him, not expecting the presence of the fifth ninja.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?” She asked simply. She recognized him vaguely. Judging by the headband, he was probably from the village. A genin too and, judging by his crappy illusion, just out of the academy.
“Hiretani Takashi.” He blurted out, trying to eye the knife that was just inches away from his neck. “I was scouting the place out on request.”
“On request?” She said confusingly. “On request of whom. I checked that nobody else was going to be using this place.” The boy’s eyes stretched in surprise at this as the small wooden blade bore down further on his neck, forcing him to step back to avoid death. He cursed himself inside for believing that no one would keep a check of the place. “Who sent you?” She asked again, losing patience with the knowledge that this was just the lax in security that the others needed to break past her.
“Hiretani Kousuke. Look, I’m sorry Sayuki-sama. We were just…”
“Your sister?” That name she did recognize. Also a Genin, the girl had a reputation for holding far too many parties. With that, the answer became clear. She picked him up and lifted him above her, then threw him to the floor. “Get out of here.”
“Ye…yes mam.” He responded quickly, before turning tailing and running away.
“And if I catch you holding drug parties at this sacred place, I’ll wipe out your entire clan, boy.” She sighed to herself and rushed back to the scroll room. Immediately getting there, she checked the scroll to see if it had been touched. The small lock of brown hair she had left there told her it hadn’t. Afterwards, she fully scanned the room in all possible places to place an ambush, but nothing had shown up. She was almost…disappointed.
She still didn’t know where they were, and this was beginning to get boring. She knew they could have at least chosen to do something then and, unless they were really good at infiltration, which she doubted, they had so far done nothing worth detecting.
Were they waiting for her to fall asleep or something?
The winds blew strong. Nothing could be seen. The hurricane blocked the senses of even the most acute mind. It was exactly how Sayuki had planned it. As much as she hated to admit it, the last fight with ‘frying pan moron of the Shinobi katana’ had been tough and with no real victor. As a result she had planned possible strategies against him in her spare time. She had anticipated his intentions of throwing the giant pan like a kunai, although not it returning to him, as well as the need to start collecting a load of debris for her newest attack.
She had pegged him for a short-range fighter when it came down to it, relying on Taijutsu and weapons rather than sneaking and illusion techniques, but still taking into account that he could use them. She figured he wouldn’t start using any Suiton until it was necessary, especially due to a lack of water in the surrounding area.
Now he was trapped, the ‘formless prison span furiously around him, trapping the jounin in the centre of it. By now, he had probably figured that any attempt to traverse through the gales would result in being ripped apart by the debris that had been picked up and was being kept inside the hurricane by the girl’s chakra. Escape from the side was currently impossible.
“Ouch!” Danjuro whined, as he quickly pulled his hand away from the sandstorm going around him, four cuts and a small bruise appearing instantly, with the promise that more was to come. He sighed out of annoyance and glared around. He was guessing that getting out through the side was going to be impossible for a short while. He would need something else.
There was, simply put, no way to move without causing himself near fatal damage, which prevented the obvious answer of digging a tunnel to freedom out of the formless prison, since he wouldn’t even be able to crouch down, without the risk of having his kneecaps ripped off. A chakra jump might be possible, using his internal energy to rocket into the air, hopefully being able to reach the top and come back out again on the other side.
“No…she would have seen through that idea. Probably waiting to attack if I do come out. I’ll be a sitting duck. Plus, if I don’t get enough bounce, I’ll probably won’t land back here or outside.” His voice was difficult to hear, even for himself, as the haling winds raged around him, absorbing any and all vibrations. He had to hand it to the girl. It was a pretty nifty technique. It was like the ultimate prison. A wall that is not a wall, both unbreakable and impassable. A door that is not a door, empty space in front of him, yet certain doom if he tries to enter it. No view of the outside world, no view of escape, no view over whose watching you, no view of the outside full stop. It was near perfect, the only thing he could think of off hand was that it was all too short term, since the girl had to have tremendous concentration to maintain the elemental balance for the technique.
That, and of course, that there was no view of the inside either.
She woke up with a stifled yawn, shifting herself slightly as she did so. The girl immediately felt herself being pushed down and held in place, causing her to wake up faster. Her assailant seemed chubby and green all over. Her reaction was as fast as it was expected.
“Chouji!” Ino shouted, the genin struggling pointlessly. “Get off me.”
“Quiet Ino!” A voice came to the left of her, forcing her to calm down. “Did you forget what we were doing?” The calm forced itself over her as she took stock of the situation again. She looked up to see her two teammates watching over her. Well, Shikamaru was keeping an eye through the bushes. “Okay, nothing’s happened. Did you get anything good woman?”
The girl didn’t answer, but simply grabbed the pencil lying on the floor and began to draw, reciting everything from memory as quickly as she could. Despite not being as smart as her rival, Dekorine-chan, Ino knew the ninja technique for blind memorization, used for obtaining secret plans of the enemy without actually directly remembering anything. It enabled her to relay everything instinctively in a trance. Within a few minutes, Ino had everything she had seen about the mansion whilst she had been in the body of the boy who had been unlucky enough to walk past them down on the paper. A quick interrogation of some personal information and the boy had been possessed before he could comprehend what was going on. Shikamaru stopped lookout to see what the girl had written as she pulled herself out of the trance. The three genin now looked at the information in front of them, showing maps, guards posted and traps as well as the location of the real jounin.
“She’s using clones for guards. Fifteen of them.” Ino began to explain, pointing to the various little dots that spread out across the map. “They don’t appear to be armed, but it’s impossible to tell without getting too close.”
“You did do it as I told you right?” Shikamaru asked cautiously. The girl just smiled as she nodded her head.
“Yup. I snuck in and took stock of the traps, then, on the top floor, I let myself get caught. As you predicted, she put me in a position that I could run out, feigning fear. As I did, I took the longest route possible so I could take stock of the guards.”
“Good, that should do it. She’ll probably change the guard pattern out of superstition.” Shikamaru mused, “but otherwise, she’ll probably be getting annoyed and bored at the fact we aren’t doing anything.”
“So let’s just sneak in and starting knocking out guards.” Chouji stated, getting a little bored himself.
“Moooron.” Shikamaru chimed. “We can’t approach a single guard during the time we actually sneak in, whether we knock them out or not.”
“What? Why?” Ino asked. “…how?”
“Weren’t you listening earlier?” He asked rhetorically. “In an infiltration situation, if the general of the opposing forces has any reason to believed there have been any enemies in his camp, then he has reason to believe that they might have spied upon the plans. So he can’t risk the information getting away. In a real situation, we would be hunted down and killed. In this situation, we’ll fail the exercise. But even in reality, if we got away, the mission would still be a failure.”
“Because they would change their plans if they knew the enemy might have got a look right?”
“Ya. Anyway, lets start.”
The clone had no mind. Nothing real enough to call a mind anyway. It was nothing more than chakra flowing around a small piece of rock. It would have been content with this position, if it even had the ability to feel content.
It was mindless, a machine made out of spiritualistic energies, set on a predetermined course through life. A computer program with a starting command, a main program and a self-destruction command for the end. It was brought into existence, told what it was supposed to do and then to just disappear without a second thought when it’s task was done.
In a way, exactly like the one who had created it.
This current clone had been given the task of just standing still at a specific point and raise the alarm if it detected something of interest. It had been allowed to turn, but never to walk about. It was told its job was reasonably important, since the elevated surface behind it was the main means of mobility around the place under its protection. It didn’t feel a need to do its job well, or even do it badly, it simply knew that it would do it.
The program within had noted something earlier, rushing past at high speeds, but it was told to ignore it by something. It didn’t feel a need to complain when the object detected went through its field of detection several times and even once stared at it for a short period. It had been told to ignore it. It did its job.
Now it was walking forward, slowly and quietly, without making a sound. The clone continued to check if anything was within any of it’s six senses, but nothing new continued to show up. As it continued moving forward, it noticed a small creak. Its womanly figure tried to turn it’s head to observe the direction of the sound, but found it couldn’t. Since it was not part of the program to find this strange, it did nothing and carried on walking forwards, outside of the main door and into the garden.
The partnership is bound. Our mind is doing its part to prevent the water entering this body through our pores for the rest of us. We do not have to worry about being drowned. In return, it asks us to push the flow of our food source so that it conjugates around this body’s feet. We have done this, yet still we all fall into the liquid blue. We ask the mind to figure out the best course of options in order to prevent this.
It states that the dog boy has partly figured out the nature of this test. It is similar to when we hop through the trees of the Konohagakure. However, to hop on wood and hop on water are clearly different. The task is to compose a method so that we do not fall through the liquid blue. We must also be fast, as the body may run out of energy before the task is done and our tunnels through the body will be flooded.
A minor problem has occurred. This body has been pushed into the water by the present jounin. The walls of the food source are stable and so the fluids cannot enter. We have no reason to fear. The mind has assessed that we should not be on the water long enough to sink. Thus, the symbolism of the stone has a possibility of being useful. For the tree hopping exercise, we are usually asked to make the food source jagged, in order to increase grip upon the target. The threat is over, the body has pulled itself out of the water and is negotiating with the jounin that it not push the body in again while it thinks of a solution. By remaining jagged, the food source can successfully grab any part of the target it needs to latch onto and then the legs can apply force to remove the feet from the tree and go along to the next target.
This will be efficient in this context though. The jagged shape of the food source has nothing solid enough to grip onto. The thrusting of the legs also pushes one into the water. This explains why dog boy failed.
In order to bring solution to this problem, we must first start by preventing the legs from moving during travel over the liquid blue. This will prevent the food source going underwater and causing the body to sink. The second part will require the reshaping of the food source as it is brought to the feet. The symbolism of the ‘flat stone’ will probably be efficient to secure safe travel across the water. To keep momentum, more of the food source should be dispersed along the way, every few hops.
Initial momentum is another factor that the mind must consider. It has suggested that we start with a jump step forward, and land on the liquid with one foot first. It then states we must ‘skim’ onto the second foot. After this, the technique must change and both feet must come together, so that they can ‘skim’ along the top of the surface with no physical effort required. This is efficient, as it allows the kikai and the body to focus solely on the movement of the food source.
It has been stated that we will take a short break, while the mind informs it’s other partners of what it has discovered. It is insisting on waiting until the dog boy has fallen in once more though.
The clone turned suddenly, swearing it heard the voice of a boy somewhere. It stayed alert for a moment, it’s senses stronger than those of the clones around it, to see if it could hear anything else. Nothing came for two minutes, and it was told to drop it as a false alarm. It carried on it’s walking pattern, changing systematically every x number of paces to create a variety in its step. After four steps, it turned round pointlessly, before turning back to where it was facing and continually moving on. After another fifteen paces, it stopped again before raising its arms and yawning.
“Nice night.” It said to the darkness of the mansion, not expecting an answer, nor having the capacity of expecting to receive one. It continued its fruitless journey to the end of the corridor before turning around again.*
As it did, it began to hear a large rumbling noise that shook the second floor of the building. It sounded like something large was rolling down the corridor of the west wing. Its program told it that that area was important and should be guarded carefully, so it went up to full search status and ran out to see what the noise was.
It only took it fifteen seconds to get to where the noise had been detected and it sensed multiple intruders there. About eight of them, all identical. The female clone’s instructions told it to go to full alert status after one final check, but the final check told it to stay in search mode. The search revealed nothing, whatever the noise was didn’t class as a full alert. After another minute of checking, the clone was told to return to its original location. It did so without question, as was its nature. It passed the old broken gap where a window once stood and moved back to its primary location before taking six steps forward, and yawning again.
Sayuki was starting to feel the sweat pour down her face more clearly now. How long had it been? She had lost count after around six minutes as exhaustion had begun to overcome her. The intense technique was taking more than her share out of her. Her chakra was nearly gone and her stamina was gasping, the latter being needed to prevent herself being sucked into the tornado vacuum in front of her. Her leg muscles were tense, trying their hardest to keep their grip within the ground she was pushing herself into.
She had been stupid, now that she had thought about it, every time she had tested this technique, she had focused far too much on picking up the rocks with chakra and discarding them to the winds, but she had taken her time doing it. In this scenario, she couldn’t risk getting lax and allowing a gap to develop. As a result, she had been pushing herself more than she should have. This was bad enough for the fight. After defeating this guy, she would have to carry on the mission, but she couldn’t have afforded to underestimate him.
She also, ironically, had far too much control over the formless prison. She had the entire four hundred mile per hour winds trapped within her chakra field, as well as around half a ton of rock and other assorted artefacts in there. None of them could move outside the field until she allowed it. Unfortunately, she couldn’t remove the chakra field either. This much control was too much of a strain, she would have to allow holes to move the field, and doing so might cause various boulders to ricochet out. It was far too much of a risk and it meant leaving the target of the technique a two-foot diameter to just stand on. If the target was smart, they could just stand there. Why was she only thinking of this stuff now? This also meant they could figure out a way around the technique, especially since…
“Bet you didn’t see me there, did you?” His voice snapped her out of her thoughts, she had kept her eyes at the top of the hurricane, but her other senses were dulled by the technique itself. She could hear him, but she couldn’t place his exact location. Was he right behind her, possibly holding a weapon to her neck? Her eyes tried their best to stretch around without twisting her neck, the control needed for the technique keeping her practically immobile. She had no choice but to see what would happen next.
“Interesting technique you have. You’re pretty cool.” He said, almost gloatingly, as his voice moved around her. “You use your chakra to first increase air pressure and speed, until you can form the gale force 10 hurricane. Then, to make it even more impressive, you use your chakra to contain, preventing it from going out of control. You even go one step further and use your chakra to pick up the rocks and throw them into the hurricane, increasing their speed.” As he said this, she swore she felt the air on her neck get brushed slightly, as if something was breathing on it.
“One problem though,” he stated mockingly. “I said the word chakra three times in that sentence. You must be pretty tired.”
“You think… i’m that…stupid.” She blurted out, the simple movement of talking revealing her current weakness. “You’re just a…damn illusion.” She imagined the voice leaning back in curiosity to this comment, before she heard a laugh.
“Oh really,” the voice of Danjuro continued. “Yes… I guess that would make sense. It is after all, the main weakness of your technique. It may have blinded me but at the same time it blinds you. You couldn’t have possibly seen that I had burned a hole through the ground with my chakra.”
“I…also couldn’t have not seen it,” she interrupted, practically wheezing by now. “You’re…just…a…bluff and I am the Cloud village’s best tool. I will not falter.” Even though she was saying it, she didn’t know whether to believe it or not. He could have honestly found a way out that she hadn’t thought of. He was capable of it, but he was also likely to do this as well, pretending he had escaped so she would drop the technique to fight him. It was powerfully pressuring. Was this actually the ninja of the hidden village of mist, preparing some kind of attack while she was powerless, or was it just loose chakra, forming an image to bait her to drop the hurricane?
“It was fun in the end, my eternal rival.”
“Great, it’s clear.” The girl announced in a hushed whisper. She waved over her companion who moved all the way up to the doorway. A fire had already ripped the door off its hinges in the past, presumably long ago. As he stepped in, he glanced in every direction he could think of. If there was a trap, besides the tripwire, it was too hard for a genin to find. And if it was too hard for a lower rank ninja to find, then he just couldn’t be bothered.
“She’s not here?” He said to his companion as she stepped over the tripwire. “I thought she would be guarding the scroll herself.”
“From what I could tell,” Ino began to explain, “she had integrated herself with the clones on the second floor. She left a simple guard here.” Shikamaru held up a hand and she stopped talking, realizing that they were on a time limit. The simple guard would be back after it realized that there was nothing to find. She hoped Chouji had done his job right. Now it was time for her job, she stepped up in front of the green scroll that was on display and began to fish about in her bag, pulling out a plain white scroll with no markings. She set it on the floor and crouched down. As she drew her breath, she noticed her companion staring at the scroll with a pissed off look in his face.
“What wrong?” She whispered, hoping there was nothing wrong.
“Screw it, it doesn’t matter.” Shikamaru replied. “Hurry up and do the technique, this exercise is getting too troublesome.”
Ino looked at him with heavy concern. It was still weird to her how lazy he was and yet so casually came up with all these plans. She shook the thoughts off and began forming her seals. When she finished, she grabbed the plain scroll with her left hand and raised her right hand in the direction of the green one.
“Ninpou: Makimono mane no jutsu!”
Slowly, but surely, the plain white scroll started to turn green, until it was an exact replica of the one that had been left on the stand. When she was finished, she picked it up and left without a word to her teammate. They began to head for the doorway when they noticed a shadow appear. Instinctively, they both launched themselves back and jumped into a alcove inside the room, just as the clone that was guarding this area walked into the room.
Ino felt perspiration start to slide down her face. In the midst of the exercise, her body had started to forget that this was all but an exercise and now the fear of getting caught had started to set in, she wanted to just run, as if a thousand kunai were reigning down upon her, but with the knowledge that if she did move, the ones throwing the small knives would sense her and strike her down as she fled, as if punishing her cowardice.
Luckily, Shikamaru felt nothing more than the urge to rest and didn’t hesitate to start up with shadow copying technique. As the guard stopped moving, it didn’t even try to figure out why it was no longer it control of its body. As it started to walk forward, it failed to notice that it was almost creeping forward slowly, it then failed to notice as its arm reach out and seemed to grab something, although there was nothing to grab. It even failed to notice that it had started to walk into the wall in front of it. Then it just stopped, and continued its detection program, keeping track of any intruders on the wall directly in front of it.
“Woah! He’s doing it,” Kiba shouted out, as the other male member of their group started to skim over the water. The others watched as Shino paced across the water successfully for around ten steps, before disappearing, as if he had just jumped into a swimming pool. Kiba laughed.
“Shino-kun was right.” Hinata whispered, excited enough to forget her own stutter for a moment. “If we do it as he says…”
“Ya, my go next.” Kiba announced, at first bracing himself to jump in before remembering what his partner had told him and repositioning himself, so that his first leg would skim instead of hop. “Here I go.”
Akamaru watched his assistant as he went over the ocean, bracing himself to hide behind the girl for when things went wrong. Instead, he found himself observing Kiba’s successful application of the technique. Watching his assistant, it made a lot more sense than when he just threw himself into the water. The dog studied the use of chakra that the boy had just used, and realized that it was all very simple. Without hesitating, he jumped onto the edge of the water as well and began to fly after his partner. Hinata watched on in awe, a little too nervous to follow just yet, she decided to wait for them to return.
Kiba, meanwhile, was far too wrapped up in enjoying the new feeling of the water rushing below his feet to realize what was happening behind him. There was no physical feeling to it, as he never felt himself touch the water, but that concept was enough to elate him, it was a lot like ice-skating. Ahead of him, he saw Shino, slowly swimming back to the boat. He was half tempted to soak him, but felt it would be better if he could get further that the insect box, to show he was better in the first run. As he went to skim past him, he plunged into the murky depths, Shino’s hand doing an impressive job of stopping his leg from moving.
Seconds later, Kiba came up to the top, spitting water out as he did so. “What the hell did you do that for?” He got halfway through saying, before a small piece of white fur landed in his face, knocking him back. Shino grabbed hold of Akamaru, before the runt could drown in the deep waters and waited for Kiba to resurface.
“We need to head back first. We all understand the technique now, we need to know which direction to go.” Kiba’s eyes brightened up to this. It was very dark now, the moon shining brightly in the sky, and they had lost sight of the direction they were going. The jounin was also fast asleep, and he didn’t feel like waking that guy up.
They headed back and slowly, quietly got back on the boat, hushing to Hinata as they did so. This seemed to make the girl twitch slightly as she didn’t know what they were up too.
“We need you to find which way we’re meant to go.” Kiba whispered to her, hoping that the mere act of secrecy wouldn’t wake the mad cook up. Hinata nearly cried out at this, startled by the request, Kiba pout his hand over her mouth as she did though. “It might be dangerous if you do it whilst he’s awake though. Keep quiet and scout for his country, he can catch us up when he wakes up.
Hinata, finally understanding, stood up and looked around. She had no real clue where to start, there was no land in proper sight now, and with the amount of times the boat had rotated and with her falling into the water she had become disorientated. She guessed the land she could partly see to her left was the Country of Fire, since it was the only she could still see. Aiming with her hand, she guessed the general direction of the Country of Water and, as she did so, started to form several seals, initiating the powerful technique of the Hyuuga family.
“Byagugan!” She whispered forcefully, causing the boat to rock slightly by the mere action. Pure power flooded into her eyes, and she felt her veins bulge in their usual manner around her forehead. Suddenly, her short-range sight disappeared and became her long range, images up to 20km away suddenly appeared in full focus. Long-range tracking was hard even for her though, and she had to make sure she kept aware of her nearby surroundings as she did so. Looking down at the boat now would probably overload her brain with an in depth focus of the wood.
She saw nothing but ocean at first, the clear sky allowing the stars to illuminate the whole area perfectly, changing the focus in little bits as she tiled her head left and right allowed her to finally discover the country she was looking for. She pointed to the others in the direction where the full moon was shining as her blood circulation was allowed to return to normal.
“So we just have to follow the moon.” Kiba commented. “How far is it?”
“Fo..forty kilometers.” Hinata answered. “It would probably take us two hours.”
“Great, let’s go.” Kiba cried out, not waiting for the others to follow as he jumped out onto the vast ocean. Akamaru was soon behind him, although Shino waited for Hinata to start before going himself, intending to help the girl if she slipped at any point.
They were soon out of eyeshot, and Danjuro mumbled in his sleep something about shrimp mixed in with bean sprouts. He woke slightly and knew that they had gone. He figured that the scent that he had left on them would allow him to trace them in the morning. He glanced up at the moon. He was amazed at how fast it seemed to move sometimes, he wondered which one of them were truly moving. It was over his country now, but in a short while it would already be over the Country of Lightening. Something rang in his brain as he thought about this, but he decided it was better to ignore it and fall unconscious. The kids should be fine for the next few hours. They were ninja after all.
The klaxon sounded, and fifteen stray pieces of chakra disembodied themselves from the rocks they had been assigned to and returned to their original owner. Sighing, Sayuki put the horn down and stretched a little. Sitting around for two hours had been tiring, especially since nothing important seemed to have happened. The woman took her time walking out of the building, wondering partly to herself what she expected to find. Were they stuck in the mansion somewhere, waiting patiently to try and bypass some guards, now finding it futile to do so? Were they still outside, taking far too long to plan their entry and escape route? She had been aware of being unfair in the time limit, but it was mainly to see how they would improvise.
She jokingly thought that they might have succeeded long ago, and had spent an hour, waiting outside for her. It seemed unlikely, and as she passed the scroll room, she found it untouched. Then, with horror, it came across her, that they might have fallen victim to one of the more deadly traps and had been dead now for some time. The Raikage would have her head if something like that had happened, but only a complete amateur would fall for the fatal traps, the rest were merely designed to contain.
She cast all such thoughts aside as she left the building through the main entrance. She always found it a little strange herself that this point of access had the least traps to it. By the tree where she had started the exercise, she saw three children, one of which was asleep, and another eating. The third ran up to her as they saw each other.
“Sayuki-san.” The girl cried out to her. “We did it. We completed your exercise.” Sayuki stopped in shock as she saw the girl wave the scroll over her head. It looked unopened, thus ruining her chance to tell them they had failed for that reason. A flash of amazement came through her, before calming down. What did she have to be concerned about? This is exactly what she had been expecting of them.
“Very good girl.” The high rank ninja replied as they met each other. “Would you like to tell me how you got the scroll? According to my results, there were only two suspicions of intruders and one false alarm.”
“Two?” Shikamaru yawned. “I thought we got three. Better than I hoped.” He then seemed to fall back asleep, but she sensed he was still awake.
“It was all Shikamaru’s plan really.” Ino stated, with an excited buzz. “But it took all of us to implement it. Shikamaru suggested that the best way of getting a look at the place was if we didn’t go in ourselves. He figured you would use clones as guard and employ particular traps. Because of that, he said we couldn’t use any illusions or disguises and sneaking in without a map would be too risky, so we got someone else to do it.”
“Someone….else?” Sayuki asked surprised, remembering a certain little boy she found a while back.
“Yeah, we waited back at the mountain path for someone young to come up. Then this boy came up, so Chouji pounced on him and we interrogated him for personal information. Then I used my shintenshin no jutsu and…”
“I think she can figure out the rest Ino.” Shikamaru piped in. “You did say you met each other right?”
Sayuki didn’t say anything at this. She never suspected. She allowed herself to be tricked by an incredibly lazy genin and some hyperactive blond ditz. What the hell was wrong with her? It was too perfect really. He simply eliminated what could enter the building. He knew that the three of them couldn’t enter directly, and then he figured that any attempt at impersonating the guard wouldn’t work. She expected them to fall at that point, under the belief that, in a real life situation, all the guards wouldn’t know each other and so it would be all right to use transformation techniques. Instead, he had used the one thing that would make her drop her guard, an innocent bystander to the situation, who could just waltz in, find that an exercise was going on and politely excuse themselves. Meanwhile, checking the locations of all the guards and the layout of the place.
“Okay, that was quite lucky of you all.” Sayuki said calmly, eliciting a cry of anguish from the girl.
“Lucky? That was…”
“Tell me what the loud rumble was. I assume it had something to do with you.” She said this last part to Chouji, who seemed to be in a world of his own at that moment. When he caught sight of her, he just grunted, showing he hadn’t been listening.
“Looking at you, I’d say you were probably part of the hidden leaf villages school of multi size taijutsu techniques. You probably rolled up into a ball and sped across the empty corridor, distracting the attention of my guards.”
“They weren’t that hard to fool.” Shikamaru sarcastically shouted. “Setting them up to operate on their own puts them at a huge disadvantage. They ignore everything under the right amount of influence.”
He was smart, she noted, beyond basic ‘I study far too much’ smart. His talent for strategy went beyond anything she had ever seen before. In the two hours provided for him, he had taken everything into account. Not just how to obtain the layout of the mansion and the guard patterns as well as the location of the scroll but also how she would think, both role play ‘general’ wise and ‘ninja doing an exercise’ wise. Figuring out the strength and weakness of the use of clones, bypassing the disadvantage of not being able to use henge and utilizing the potential of their limited awareness. Not to mention all the traps that they avoided. While, overall, she had gone easy on them, he had shown remarkable talent. She almost felt bad for having to say this.
“Well, taking everything into account and your great performance tonight. For the stealth and infiltration exercise…” Both boys graced her with their eyes at this point, as she stood with hands on hips, “for the mission of obtaining the scroll, I congratulate you on failing miserably.”
“What?” Ino shouted out, immediately charging at the woman and getting stopped by a single hand. “How the hell did we fail? We snuck in, we got the damn scroll.” Sayuki watched as stream shot out of the small girl head in an amusing manner, she let her superiority wash over her again. It felt good to have it back after it had gone missing for the last two minutes.
“Shikamaru-kun.” She called out, causing the rampage of the thirteen year old to stop. “Tell your friend why you have failed. I know you know.” Shikamaru just looked towards her as if every move was a constant struggle.
“You wanted brown scroll, we have green scroll.” He said simply, before going silent with laziness again.
“So you did know. Why didn’t you try to get the brown scroll then?” The jounin asked out of simple curiosity. Shikamaru looked at her liked she had asked why he didn’t put his head through the lion’s anus.”
“Too damn troublesome.” He stated simply. “You only expected us to get the green scroll anyway. I couldn’t be bothered to make us do anymore.”
“What?” Ino screamed again, before charging towards her nakama. The boy stopped her with his hand as she tried to push against it to get at him. “You knew we had fail and yet you let us just sit out here for forty five minutes, watching me celebrate and everything. I even hugged Chouji. HUGGED CHOUJI! Do you realize how excited I have to be to want to hug someone?”
“Yeah, yeah I hear you woman.”
“Don’t you usually always try to hug Sasuke though?” Chouji asked as he looked up from his crisps.
“That’s different though. He and I are soul mates.”
“I doubt he thinks that.” Shikamaru stated.
“You dare?” Ino continued the futile rushing towards Shikamaru’s hand as Sayuki stared on in bewilderment. They were quite an interesting team. The fat kid seemed just as concerned with losing as Shikamaru was. It was as if the girl was more than making up for the lack of positive energy the others didn’t have. They were also closer than they let on, this seemed to be more an ‘inside joke’ thing between the three of them, especially since the girl was making no effort to get past the boy’s hand. Sayuki found herself chuckling at the events before her, before someone said behind her.
She stopped all thought and turned around. Only the empty forest seemed to be there, going over deep into the mountainside, promising nothing but death to all those who enter without any guide. The voice seemed to wake her up, how could she be having fun with these little shits? She shook off the effect the scene before her had on her before shouting at the group.
“That’s enough. Meet me in the square tomorrow at nine am sharp. If you’re late, you won’t get lunch. You’re already missing breakfast.” She disappeared before the sound limit could even get the words to the others. They stopped what they were doing and look at where she had been standing, the hollowness of her voice echoing throughout the mountaintop.
All rational thought left her body at this comment, and a small growl might have left her lips if someone could hear it. Her hands fell apart from each other and the left curled into a fist and spun behind her, slamming into the neck of ‘cook’ Danjuro. It instantly went through, and Sayuki cursed herself inside as she realized what her reflexes had allowed her to screw up on. Her hand became drenched with water as the mizubushin disappeared around it, the liquid blue serving as the ignition for an adrenaline rush.
Without hesitating, she aimed her right hand towards where the tornado was quickly falling apart. A few of the larger rocks were already rupturing the ground around her and she knew she would have to be quick about this. Concentrating all of her remaining energy she formed a loose wall of chakra in front of her, far weaker than the one she had up a moment ago but enough to serve the kunoichi effect. She felt the remaining debris slam into her wall and forced them towards the ground, where she knew the real Danjuro would still be stuck.
She could only guess when the rocks hit him, and she was far too out of it now to care. She felt oblivion try to claim her and for a few sweet moments she welcomed it, the bliss of unconsciousness surrounding her. She awoke an unknown amount of time later to feel a searing pain in her left arm. Several small needles had been pierced through her skin and a large amount of blood was pouring out. Her eyes widened in horror as they tried to focus on the small projectiles, in her current weakened state, she had no real idea if they were poisonous or not. Finding it near impossible to move, her arm slowly crawled along the ground, and she realized it to have four fractures about it. Determined, she struggled to move it to a hidden pouch under her vest, where she pulled out a small bottle. She flexed her back, allowing her to quickly roll over, using the momentum to pull the bottle to her mouth. She pulled the top off with her teeth and drank the contents quickly, hoping it was a simple poison, if there even was one.
As she lay there, hoping she could be allowed a minutes before she had to get back up, but knowing that she wouldn’t allow it herself anyway. She became aware of a loud groan, as something tried to get up. She recognized it as her opponent, laying on front of her, in a similar state. The man had cuts and gashes everywhere, and his leg was clearly as broken as her hand. It looked like he had stayed in the middle of the technique all the way through. It was impressive that he was still alive. She wanted to grin inside, but could do no more than rest her chin on the earth.
“Danjuro-sencho!” A voice from around her cried out. She saw something land by the jounin and smash a rock that was covering his leg. She saw the blur check over the fallen ninja, checking the extent of his injuries. Her eyes, there were something wrong with them, she could barely see.
“Danjuro-sencho, the mission is a success sir. All targets have been destroyed sir.” The trooper ninja had to wait a moment before it received an answer. The voice sounded very pissed off.
“Fine,” Danjuro said. “Let’s get out of here. Get any wounded dead and let’s go.” He laughed to himself, coughing out blood as he did so. Hadn’t the last fight ended up like this as well, one of them being dragged away by one of their subordinates, whilst the other one lay, just as defeated on the floor? It was a shame really, she had done so well because she had been expecting him, whilst he had no idea of her presence until she showed herself. Had wold it have gone if they were both expecting each other.
“Sir. What about the woman.” Sayuki would have frozen if she weren’t already practically paralysed. She had no idea where any of her nakama were. Her companions could have all died by now if the plan had gone wrong. Even if it had gone right, none would come for her now. She had specifically ordered it.
“Leave her. She’s my rival. I’ll kill her when I’m ready.”
“Sir.” Her vision disappeared behind her eyelids as they faded out to wherever they intended to go. Within a few moments, everything was unexpectedly quiet, the explosions died down to their last few embers, before cutting off, like somebody had ripped the tape out. She enjoyed the peace, as she felt satisfied to the success of her mission. As she felt ready to move again, she whispered to herself.
“Your plan is safe, Dejiro-kun. I’ll leave the rest to you.”
End chapter 3
Yay, it finished. I hope someone enjoyed that. Now if you could just provide me with a vast amount of wealth, then I’ll be happy to do the next chapter.
*This moment was brought to you by the guards of Tenchu. Ah, how stupid they were.
Glossary for chapter 3
Bushin no jutsu: Replication technique: Create an intangible copy/clone/bunshin of the user
Henge: Short for henge no jutsu: Transformation technique: Allows the user to give off the appearance of someone or something else
Henso: Short for henso no jutsu: Disguise and impersonation technique: A non-chakra technique. The user simply dresses up and acts the part of something else.
Taijutsu: Hand techniques: In other words, basic fighting techniques in hand-to-hand combat. Uses no chakra, but stamina instead
Suiton: Water techniques. Normally said before one gets used
Shichinin no Shinobi katana: The seven Sword shinobi/ninja: A group of seven ninja’s residing from the Hidden village of mist that specialize in using large swords. Zabuza and Kisame are technically part of the group (although both are outcasts now). Danjuro isn’t officially part of the group, even in this storyline.
Dekorine-chan: Ino’s pet name for Sakura: The translation is loose, but it pretty much means Forehead-girl
Konohagakure: The long name of The Hidden Village of Leaves, normally shortened to ‘Konoha’
Byagugan: White eye: The bloodline limit of the Hyuuga family: Awakens the ultimate potential of the eyes, allowing them to see everything physical
Ninpou: Makimonomane no jutsu: Ninja skill: Scroll copy technique: A made up technique by myself. Copys a scroll exactly by using chakra to seep into the parchement and feel the imprint of the ink. A special blank scroll is used to copy the imprints.
Shintenshin no jutsu: Mind exchange technique: Ino’s primary skill, allows her to switch her body with that of the opponents. The opponent falls asleep in the user’s original body for the duration of the technique (I think). Can only be used in a straight line though, if it misses, the spirit has to get back to it’s original body by itself. This can take a few minutes and leave the body undefended. Used for spying.
Mizubushin: Water replication/ clone: A more tangible form of the bushin. Made of water. When the illusion is shattered, the water just drops out.
Kunoichi: A slang term for a female ninja
Danjuro-senchou: A Japanese ranking term for a superior officer. Not sure what the western equivalent would be
Nakama: Comrade, companion, teammates (take your pick)