Crow in the Shadows: A Battle
Ok, here's another chapter. Been a while so I'm going to be releasing the next chapter quicker, perhaps tomorrow or next. ^_^
“Allow me to clean up here.” said Ryuu, obtaining another scroll from his pocket. He unrolled the parchment onto the floor, revealing that it was blank and began weaving hand seals while Itachi observed carefully. “Sealing Technique: Violet Flame Prison.” He intoned. Purple fire roared from the scroll and sped towards the remains of the buyers. The flames hungrily devoured the dead bodies, reducing them to nothing in a matter of moments then the inferno returned to the parchment from which it came, burning a large kanji unto its surface from which small wisps of smoke exuded. All traces of the ones who were slaughtered had been sealed away.
“Don’t know why we have to even bother with that.” grumbled Tenkaku, raising a heavy right arm to his hip.
“Leader’s orders.” said Ryuu with a small smile, rolling up the scroll and stowing the item away. “Let’s go now.”
Itachi observed as the three quietly filed out of the storehouse, shutting the door behind them with a dull thud and a distinct click informing the young Uchiha that they had fastened the lock. The ANBU sighed. The second phase of his mission had been rendered nearly impossible now. The original plan was to steal the scroll from the buyers after they had paid then move on to tracking the Hikari. However, seeing that the thieves had decided not to sell, he would have to retrieve the item from them instead.
This was however complicated. The Hikari were to be tracked and only tracked. Discovering the base of operations of this sinister organization by trialing the members who would come for the trade, that was the highest priority of his mission. Retrieving the stolen scroll was secondary. The scroll, as Itachi was informed by the Hokage and now by the Hikari members, was heavily secured by defenses put in place by Uzumaki Mito herself. It was unlikely that the enemy would gain access to its contents. The Hikari was the priority.
However Itachi was distressed.
What if they did unlock its power? How much danger would Konoha be exposed to? Uchiha Itachi took a deep breath and dispelled into smoke, as this was a Shadow Clone. The boy had made his decision; his original would rendezvous with Tenzo’s squad and they would all determine their next course of action. The real Itachi promptly received all this information from his clone and promptly set out towards Akakiba.
Kakashi had now met up with Tenzo and his squad, having tracked them to their hotel. He was a bit surprised at the outrageous expenses the team had incurred during their stay at Akakiba. Kakashi had joined them in their rather large hotel room just in time for breakfast, which was a great assortments of the most savory delicacies across the continent. Having worked up quite the furious appetite from a long tiring journey and an inadequate supper, he was more than happy to dine with his comrades. And so the silver haired ninja ate, as the team regaled him with details of their adventures in hot springs, casinos and the like. If the Copy Ninja didn’t know better, he’d have thought they were on vacation.
“…and Sato puked his guts all over the sofa. It was some party Kakashi-senpai! You should’ve been there. ” said Hoji, a tall pale-skinned nineteen year old of average build, smooth light brown hair, gaunt face and warm green eyes. He was dressed in an emerald long sleeved robe and seated at Kakashi’s right, entertaining the Copy Ninja with their escapades in all excitement and exuberance.
“Yes, I see you all had fun. Can we be serious for a second here?” asked Kakashi.
“C’mon senpai! Loosen up! There’s not much we can do until Itachi gets here. Then we start tracking.” said Sato, another one of the members of this ANBU team who was positioned on Kakashi’s right. The twenty year old was quite tall and stocky with brown hair which fell as bangs at the sides of his face and flowed freely down his back, terminating at the waist. His oval face carried the blank white eyes of the Hyuga clan, a small nose and thin lips which were quirked into a smile.
“We await his arrival.” said Tenzo placidly, who was seated directly opposite Kakashi with his usual calm and composed demeanor as he picked at some fish with his chopsticks. His rectangular face was made more striking by his sharp nose and piercing black eyes, which boasted a glare that could stifle the most unruly of subordinates. His short spiky brown hair flowed freely at the sides of his face and forehead due to the absence of his happuri, and his attire of a casual lavender robe with simple flowery designs belied the proficient shinobi that the young man was.
“When are we expecting him?” asked Kakashi.
“Tenzo-taichou mentioned that he sensed strong unfamiliar chakra from his seeds a few minutes before you arrived. This most likely means the enemy has been marked with it. If that is so then Itachi should be arriving very soon.” said the last member of their unit, a brown haired individual of average height and build which he hid behind a brown robe. His face was rounded, with almond shaped eyes, broad nose and small lips and his jaw was lined with trimmed facial hair. His name was Sarutobi Himura.
“I see…” said Kakashi as he set down his chopsticks, having filled his belly. “Tenzo, I hope all this merriment has not allowed your skills to wane. It’d reflect poorly on me as your former captain.”
Tenzo chuckled. “Having served under you, my skills can only get better, Kakashi-senpai.”
“Good. “ said Kakashi in his usual lazy drawl. “I’d actually like to test that. Right now.”
There was a small silence before Tenzo spoke, “I don’t understand what you mean Kaka-”
And a kunai was promptly sent flying in Tenzo’s direction from the lightning fast right hand of the Copy Ninja.
Without sparing more than the merest most furtive glance, Tenzo caught the weapon deftly by the handle with his left hand, the tip of the blade a hair’s breadth from his face and his right hand still calmly working his chopsticks. Jaws dropped in complete shock and a grave tension filled the air, so palpable that it felt almost tangible, the room grew deathly quiet.
Kakashi was the one to break the silence. “Good, Tenzo.” He turned towards the rest. “I’ll have you all know that this mission is of great importance to the Hokage, which was why he sent me to join you, to head this team. I’ll need you all to put in your very best and even beyond your best, for that is your duty as ANBU. Now, if I’m not much mistaken, I perceive the scent of Uchiha Itachi has just entered into Akakiba. Let us get prepared.”
By the time Itachi arrived in their midst, all the enjoyment and gaiety had died away and five cold ANBU uniform-clad ninja welcomed him to report all that had happened at the trade. The Uchiha narrated what his clone had witnessed; how the Hikari murdered the customers and took their money. He also mentioned that the scroll which was stolen from Konoha was with the three members.
“This certainly throws a wrench in our plans.” griped Kakashi.
“Who were the buyers?” questioned Himura, the Sarutobi clan descendant amongst them.
“The Hikari members sealed away the remains and left no trace, there was no way to tell.” replied Itachi. “Anyways, Kakashi-san, I understand that you are now the new leader of this team. What should we do know?”
Kakashi sighed and kept his drooping eyes transfixed on the floor as his mind pondered on the wisest course of action. Raising his head a few moments later, the Copy Ninja replied, “we’ll track and capture those Hikari shinobi. Retrieving the scroll is our new priority.”
“But the primary objective given to us by the Hokage was to track down the Hikari shinobi to their hideout. If we capture them, this mission is pretty much already a failure.” protested Sarutobi Himura.
“True, but considering the fact that this organization quit its trade upon obtaining that scroll, it’s safe to say the contents of it are very dangerous, perhaps more dangerous than we thought.” responded the Copy Ninja.
Tenzo began, “But the Hokage - ”
“ - thought Itachi would have to stealthily retrieve the scroll from unsuspecting customers. Clearly the situation has changed.” interjected Kakashi.
“But not much has changed really. I mean, all we simply have to do is retrieve the scroll without them noticing us.” said Sato.
“True. But from what Itachi said, such would be impossible of fighters of that caliber. We would have to literally take it from one of their pockets without them noticing. We’ll have to ambush them. This team cannot return to Konoha without the scroll.” countered Kakashi.
“A battle is the only way. Alright, Kakashi-senpai,” said Tenzo, “let’s move out.”
The three Hikari members had left Kusagakure by this time and were racing through the sea of grasses that carpeted its outskirts when Ryuu finally decided to divulge some certain information. Upon hearing what the redhead had to say, Makoto was completely shocked but maintained his quiet demeanor while Tenkaku lost his composure in a fit of rage.
“So, there was someone in the store?!” roared Tenkaku. The questioned was directed at Ryuu, who had just informed them of the presence of an individual who watched their trade, or rather slaughter, from the shadows.
“I sensed his chakra, there’s no doubt about it.” said Ryuu.
“Why didn’t you mention this earlier?” asked Makoto, his voice still calm but his brows knitted in anger. “Our organization is supposed to be secret and yet, you let a witness to our activities go scot free.”
“C’mon, Makoto, you should have more faith in me.” countered Ryuu with a grin.
“Explain yourself or I’ll have your head!” growled Tenkaku, his eyes burning with a fiery rage and his teeth bared like a savage and ravenous beast.
“Fine. The quality of the chakra was too much for just any shinobi, I’m certain our spy is a tier about the average fighter.” said Ryuu.
“So, you were scared!” thundered Tenkaku.
“Let me finish, you buffoon.” returned Ryuu angrily before turning his attention back to Makoto. “The chakra was powerful but the quantity was simply too small. This led me to only one logical conclusion. It was - ”
“ - a Shadow Clone.” interjected Makoto.
“Exactly.” said Ryuu. “So, if we had fought him, we would have accomplished nothing more than revealing our abilities. I also wanted to determine was his purpose was, that was why I took out the real scroll from my pocket. If this clone was after the Second Hokage’s weapon then it might have tried to steal it from us then.”
“However, he did nothing.” said Makoto.
“So, I’m still unclear as to why he watched us. What I was sure of was that this person is a spy so I did my best to hide our abilities.” said Ryuu.
“So, you tried to use genjutsu to blind him, so he wouldn’t see Tenkaku’s finishing move.” said Makoto.
“Sadly, this person saw through the genjutsu instantly.” said Ryuu with a smile. “I sensed it.”
“Impressive.” praised Makoto with a grave expression on his face. “To break through an illusion of that level.”
“Well, what do we do now?! Our leader will be furious!” howled Tenkaku, boring a hole into Ryuu’s smiling face with his murderous gaze, though there was a gleam of dread in those golden eyes.
“No one has a temper worse than yours, Tenkaku.” said Makoto with a grin. “We won’t be heading back to base. My theory is that this person is tracking us now, we will head somewhere else. I also believe that this individual is from Konoha.”
“ Konoha? But why?” questioned Ryuu.
“The stolen scroll, powerful chakra and instant genjutsu counter. All speaks of an Uchiha sent by Konoha.” replied Makoto. “They move in four man teams, meaning we will be seeing more enemies. They might simply continue to track us or try to ambush us for the scroll.”
“That’s a lot of theorizing.” said Ryuu.
“But I’m always right.” said Makoto
“Hmmm, so a battle is the only way, huh?” asked Tenkaku.
“Exactly.” replied Makoto.
To Be Continued
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