Naruto: Shichiyo Gaiden XX
Chapter 20: Reunion Between New Shinobi
Ryoko stands in a dark room, illuminated only by small candles, hanging on the stonewalls, burning on the last drops of oil. Her face and body are bruised and she pants as if the air was shallow and barley existent.
“Have you reached your limit already?” a voice echoes through the room. Ryoko’s father appears, from the darker ressesses of the room, the only thing visible is his mask as his body, covered in a black hooded shroud, remains in the darkness of the room. “Is this all the results of your training child?” Kai says, six more Anbu masks appearing all around her in the dark.
“Not at all father.” She says gripping her blade and standing upright. Ryoko takes a deep breath and curves her shallow breathing, looking into the eyes of her father, seriously determined. *I will show you how strong I’ve gotten*
“Then show me that you’re not weak!” Kai and the six clones of him dart out towards Ryoko, they all take out shuriken and launch them at her. Ryoko crouches down placing her left hand on the ground and keeping her right arm above her, with her sword gripped tightly. As the volley of shuriken close in around her, Ryoko closes her eyes, her mind empty and black. Seven bodies of chakra appear all around her. The second before the shuriken close in on her, Ryoko leaps forward at an incredible speed just as the candles in the room die out and the room becomes pitch black. The sound of blades clashing fills the room for no more then two seconds and then the room become silent.
A light appears from the entrance to the room and Kai is seen standing there, Ryoko standing in the position she stood before in the room, this time holding two blades and six fallen shinobi lay around her. The six bodies disappear in clouds of smoke. Kai’s attention is on Ryoko’s left hand with the second blade in it. The sheath on his back is empty and Ryoko pants even heavier then before. Kai turns away and begins to walk away. “That’s all for today.”
Ryoko clinches her fist, her faces baring a look of discouragement, her hopes being on a compliment from her father. As he walks away she sighs with acceptance at the entire ordeal, refusing to fight anymore. “Father, do you want your sword back?” She asks. Kai stops mid way down the corridor and turns his head slightly towards his daughter, the only thing seen is part of his mask.
He moves his hand up the center of his chest and unclips the sheath on his back. “No,” he says throwing the sheath in the center of the room at Ryoko’s feet. He continues to walk away after that. Ryoko looks down at the sheath in front of her and a small smile can be seen on her face just before the light from the candle leaves the room.
Ryoko soon exits the dark room, appearing in from the dunes some ways from Sunagakure. She steps bright desert and begins walking towards Suna. “I just realized…it’s been about four months.” The wind blows her blonde hair, which now falls waist length on her. She wares a tight, sleeveless vest and tight black pants that fall just above her knees. She now dons two katana strapped to her back. “I wonder how those two are doing?”
~A few Kilometers away~
Koichi stands before Gaara, smiling somewhat arrogantly but proudly. Gaara stands with his arms folded, his back shielded by a thick sand shield with several projectiles imbedded within it. “Finally made you use your barrier Shishou.” Koichi says.
“You’ve improved greatly these past four months Koichi, but don’t get too cocky.” Gaara holds out his right arm and in an instant Koichi’s body is layered from the neck down in a coffin of sand.
“Damn it!” Koichi yells, “I was sure I—”
“You’re supposed to keep me at bay, not allowing me to manipulate the sand around you, but you let your guard down.” Gaara says. The sand falls down from Koichi and Gaara folds his arms again and calls off his barrier as well. “I think you’ve done enough for today.”
“Yeah, I’m getting kinda hungry.” Koichi says, smirking. “Come to think of it I haven’t seen Ryoko or Koji in a while. I don’t know why he’s still in the hospital, four months seems like too much time, his injuries weren’t that bad.” Gaara walks past Koichi and heads towards the village, Koichi follows close behind him. “Poor little brother, while he’s been playing sick I’ve been getting stronger. He’s just going to fall more and more behind me.” Koichi sighs.
“I suspect you know your brother rather well don’t you?” Gaara says.
“Well of course, I do, he is my brother after all.” Koichi says.
“Then ask yourself this, have you known your brother to ever be the kind of person to play ‘sick’ before?”
“Well no but…” Koichi stops his own sentence and stops in the middle of the desert “What could he possibly be doing.” He says to himself. “Wait Gaara-sama do you know something I don’t?” Gaara doesn’t say anything; he simply keeps walking towards the village. “Hey Gaara-sama, why are you ignoring me? What is Koji doing in the hospital if he’s not injured?” Gaara keeps walking and Koichi pulls on his hair with anxiety. “Gaara-sama!!”
Several minutes pass and Koichi finally makes his way into the village and he stands in front of the hospital with a puzzling look on his face, thinking about what Gaara had said to him. *Koji…what on earth could you be doing* Koichi stares at the hospital even longer and with deeper focus, then his expression turns into terror *Or maybe sensei was implying something bad happened to Koji!* Koichi’s mouth drops as he comes to an early conclusion *NO…My little brother, he can’t be…his injuries couldn’t have been that serious, or could they?! * He shakes his head vigorously and pounds his fist into his hand with a more optimistic expression on his face *No, Koji is strong, not as strong as me but he’s no pushover. He’s strong enough to get through this I know he is! * Koichi goes bursting through the doors of the hospital, “KOJI!!” He yells at the top of his lungs, startling everybody in the.
“What the hell is the matter with you?!” A voice says. Koichi opens his eyes and immediately is hit on the top of the head by Ryoko. “This is a hospital you idiot,” she sighs.
“Ryoko-chan?” Koichi says with pain in his voice as he looks at her, rubbing his head. A brief moment passes and Koichi immediently springs to his feet. “Ryoko-chan! It’s been so long! How’s it going?!” He says shaking her on her shoulder. She gives him an uppercut, knocking him on the ground again.
“You’re still doing it idiot, we’re in a hospital. And don’t ever shake me like that again.”
“What are you doing here?” Koichi asks, fixing himself on the ground.
“I went to your house to see you guys but neither of you were there, I asked around and some guys said you were out with Gaara-sama and Koji was still in the hospital.”
“Wait so you came to the hospital to see Koji instead of me?” Koichi says with some jealousy in his voice.
“Of course, I can actually stomach being around Koji without worrying about him embarrassing me. I actually don’t mind him.” Ryoko says crossing her arms.
“Well fine, I prefer him over you too!”
“Stop yelling, they’re going to kick us both out.”
Koichi springs up to his feet again and grabs Ryoko’s shoulders and looks into her eyes with the expression of terror he had before. “Ryoko-chan, why is Koji still in the hospital?! I mean after all this time, you don’t think his injuries were more serious then we thought do you?!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Ryoko says, looking at Koichi with question.
He begins shaking her like before, “I mean what if something bad happened to him?! I haven’t seen him in months either. I’ve been too busy with my training from the brink of dawn to night fall everyday and I’ve been too tired to check up on him. What if something happened?!”
Suddenly the doors burst open from the training wing of the hospital, getting the attention of everybody and Koji appears holding the doors, his eyes closed and his expression is pure annoyance. He walks to Koichi and Ryoko and Koichi’s face lights up.
He runs over to his brother, ready to embrace him in a hug. “Koji-kun…Little brother—” Koji grabs Koichi by the collar with both hands and picks him up, launching him through the doors of the training wing. A crash is heard and several objects falling as Koichi makes impact.
“Freakin idiot.” Koji mutters. He turns around to face Ryoko, “Nice to see you again Ryo…” He stops in the middle of his sentence as he opens his eyes and looks upon Ryoko. His eyes widen slightly as he looks at her and he blushes a little.
“Same to you Koji-kun.” She says in her normal tone, not noticing Koji’s expression. “Wish I could say the same for him though…should we go get him?” Koji regains his composure and nods his head. “I can see we’ve all changed our look a little haven’t we.” Ryoko says.
Koji’s brown hair has grown longer and is now back length. His hair is tied down into a thin ponytail and his attire consists of a loose sand brown shirt and pants with mesh arm guards. As the two genin head towards their teammate on the ground, they see his black hair has gotten longer down to the top of his shoulders, and he wars garb similar to Kankuro with a black robe over it.
“Well, haven’t seen you two in a while.” A voice says walking through the double doors of the poison unit. Kankuro appears in the door way looking down at his three young genin disciples. “It certainly has been a while hasn’t it.”
“Hell yeah sensei!” Koichi says with a large grin on his face. Koichi rises to his feet and then turns his attention to Koji, and switches back and forth between his brother and Kankuro, catching onto Kankuro’s words. “Wait sensei…have you and Koji been here this entire time together?”
“Yeah we have.” Kankuro answers, looking at Koichi curiously, “why you ask?”
“So what’s the deal, why were you here all this time Koji?”
“I take it you didn’t look at the sign before I threw you in here. This is the training wing of the hospital, this is where the medical personel of Suna’s medical division train.”
“So you’ve been—”
“You think I’m the type of person to just lay around in a hospital bed all day for several months?” Koji says rather surprised at his brother’s shock.
“There’s a whole new side to all of you that the neither of you have seen, it’s going to be quite interesting to see just how far the three of you have come individually since we last saw each other. I honestly can’t wait to get back on the field.” Kankuro says anxiously. The three-genin look at their sensei, all baring a look of confidant anxiety on their faces. They’re not only willing but eager to demonstrate their newly developed skills to one another. The reunion of team Kankuro brings the revelation of new abilities and new shinobi to Sunagakure.
~At The Kazekage Residence~
Gaara stands looking out the large window in his office, staring with an expression of ominous worry in his eyes. The sunset in the Land of Wind illuminates the vast desert in a dismal red glow, which adds to the uneasy aura that surrounds the village. “What do you have to report?” Gaara says facing the window.
A shinobi in full Anbu gear kneels down before the Kazekage behind him. “Sir, our scouts from the Jomae Village report that their movements are still refined into their own area. There are no traces of any odd behavior within the village higher ups or their activities, and our sensors haven’t picked up anything on the outskirts of the Suna.”
“I see.” Gaara’s tone is still plagued with hints of reservation.
“Sir, is there something wrong?”
“I feel uneasy,” he begins, squinting his eyes more, “this sky is so unsettling, it’s forshadowing something devious but I don’t understand what?”
“We have our best men scouting out the village, sending in regular reports and our top sensors patrolling the country.” The shinobi says in reassurance to his leader. “If I may Kazekage-sama, maybe you’ve been working yourself too hard, you should get some rest and leave this to us.”
“Very well, you’re dismissed.” The shinobi disappears after that and Gaara lets out a small sigh, closing his eyes as he does so. He opens his eyes again and looks at the sun, which is now slowly sinking lower and lower into the horrizen, turning the village darker and darker. “It’s not the Jomae village that is worrying me, but what sets me off the most…is the fact I don’t know what it is yet.”
Gaara continues to stare at the village as the sun continues to set over the village and eventually becomes night and the moon takes over the Suns’s duties as the bringer of light. However, though the light shines down in the darkness, it doesn’t shine light everywhere to reveal the shadows that lurk unbeknownst.