Crow in the Shadows: Tenkaku VS ANBU.
Another chapter released. Read and Enjoy! ^_^
The two teams were on the move; the three members of the mysterious organization known as Hikari and the six Konoha ANBU sent to deal with them, the latter trailing the former. By the time it was noon, Makoto had led his two companions and by extension their Konoha trackers southwards, away from the grassy Kusagakure and towards the icy Land of Iron.
The frigid air stung at the exposed skins of the Hikari team. As the temperature sank and snowflakes fell, so did their pace until they were no longer speeding through treetops with furious rapidity, but were now meandering through the towering trees across the snow crusted forest floor. Ryuu sneezed every now or then, Tenkaku’s hefty arms were folded tight around his body to conserve body heat, while Makoto seemed entirely unaffected.
“Makoto, why the **** are we here?” barked Tenkaku, a slight tremor in his voice due to the cold.
“Oh, the weather’s bothering you?” asked Ryuu teasingly, lips curved into a wry smile. “Makoto, we should have accounted for pig-headed crybabies.” And the redhead broke into roaring laughter which was interrupted by vehement sneezing.
“You don’t look so good yourself, you son of a *****!” shot Tenkaku, glowering at Ryuu with golden eyes, which were narrowed as a result of the brutal frosty wind.
“Quiet, the both of you.” ordered Makoto. “Sorry about the weather but we’re almost there.”
“You know, we really should consider adding cloaks to our uniform.” whined Ryuu. “Where is this place?”
“Just up ahead.” replied Makoto. “It’s one of the Hikari abandoned hideouts.”
“How come I never heard about it?” asked Ryuu with a quizzical look on his face, fingers of his right hand running through his goatee.
“Cuz it was used before your time, before the both of you joined.” replied Makoto. “We’ll have to take care of the Konoha trackers before we get there.”
“Never expected we’d end up here.” Sarutobi Himura said. He and the rest of the ANBU were bounding from tree to tree as white flakes were swept in their masked faces by a ruthless icy wind. Luckily for them, their bodies were wrapped in warm white cloaks to stave off the cold weather in this Samurai nation.
Ahead of the others, Kakashi, Tenzo and Itachi were sprinting forward in tandem with speedy footsteps, indifferent expressions, which belied their worry and impatience, written on the pallid faces behind their various animal themed masks. Sojourning in the Land of Iron without obtaining permission was dangerous, considering the status of this nation as neutral between all shinobi countries. Why would the Hikari head here? The question rang clearly in their heads.
“They’ve stopped.” announced Tenzo. “Just one kilometer ahead.”
Kakashi raised a gloved hand, signaling the halt of his team. “Sato, give us a report with your Byakugan.”
The hand seal was promptly weaved, invoking the throbbing veins around Sato’s blank eyes as his pupil dilated, allowing the Hyuga to peer into the distance ahead. What he saw brought an alarmed expression unto his face. “One of them is headed back, towards us!”
“I-I can sense it with my seeds.” stuttered Tenzo. “So, they knew we’d been tracking them. This was all just a ruse.”
“Give us a report on the approaching adversary.” instructed Kakashi coolly, unfazed by the spectacular turn of events, as he discarded his cloak in preparation for the battle. The rest of the ANBU team did the same.
“H-he has very large amount of chakra is all I can say... unless that bat shit crazy look on his face is relevant. The other two are moving away but this guy is getting very close.” informed Sato.
Tenkaku rushed towards the Konoha forces, his eyes alive with a malicious fire and his teeth bared in a savage smile. His massive arms came together once the enemies were in sight and his joined hands began to glow as they were surrounded by a small luminous sphere. “Storm Release: Laser Circus.”
Hyuga Sato leaped in front of his team, his hands raised into a peculiar stance as soon as his feet touched the branch he had landed on. Twisting into a high speed whirl, rotating so fast that his body appeared merely a blur, the Hyuuga produced a defensive dome of rapidly spinning chakra with him at the center. High speed beams of bluish-white light shot towards the Konoha team from Ryuu’s united hands and were met by the Hyuuga’s Kaiten. The defense took most of the shining projectiles, only a few straying towards the rest of the team but were evaded easily.
And so the ninja battle in the trees was set in array.
Zipping from branch to branch, Tenkaku charged at them, fingers joining and disentangling in a sequence of hand seals, a maniacal grin plastered onto his face. “Water Release: Water Dragon Technique.” The Hikari shinobi spewed from his mouth a great torrent of water which rose and shaped itself into a great serpentine dragon. The elemental beast surged over the Hyuga and pounced upon the thin form of Uchiha Itachi, who had removed his ANBU mask and now stared at the approaching attack with the crimson eyes that signified his clan and a katana occupying his right hand.
One swift and long stride carried the Uchiha away from danger, his free hand already filled with several shuriken just as his light feet touched down on another branch. The throwing stars were let loose at blinding speed but Tenkaku had just finished a set of hand seals.
“Water Release: Water Encampment Wall.”
A circular wall of water rose around the Hikari shinobi, deflecting Itachi’s weapons with ease and his hands were already evoking another technique. “Lightning Release: Lightning Lion.” From Tenkaku’s body, electricity surged and rose, forming a large lion composed entirely of lightning chakra with a bushy mane resembling white flames and a long sharp tail which flashed and crackled as it swung dangerously behind the creature. The beast immediately bellowed a great roar which echoed like the continuous clapping of thunder, reared on its sparking hind legs and leapt towards the Uchiha.
Hatake Kakashi landed in front of the charging beast, his two hands chirping with lightning. He rammed both fists into the head of the approaching lion, cancelling out the electrical composition of the beast with his two Raikiris. As the last scintillations of both lightning techniques crackled and faded away, Tenzo emerged from the gnarled bark of the tree on whose branch Tenkaku stood, slamming both palms on the tree. Several extra branches budded from it and ensnared Tenkaku in mere moments as Kakashi, long ANBU blade drawn, moved to finish the immobilized opponent.
Suddenly, Tenkaku became encompassed in a bright blue aura of lightning chakra which cackled fiercely and thundered ominously, shattering his wooden restrains and forcing Tenzo to leap onto another tree. Kakashi attempted to strike with his weapon but Tenkaku caught the blade with his bare right hand.
The sharp edge sank deep into the bare palm of the Hikari ninja, scarlet pouring from the wound but the attack was halted all the same. Then, he delivered a heavy kick to the Copy Ninja’s chest which earned a grunt from the silver haired team leader as he was sent flying backwards, slamming into Sarutobi Himura. As Tenkaku disposed of Kakashi’s blade, his lightning chakra aura faded away and the Hikari ninja broke into wild laughter.
“C’mon boys, that the best you got?”
Kakashi leaped to his feet, fixing the Hikari shinobi with the dull apathetic look that served to hide his intense meticulous scrutiny, as Sarutobi Himura charged at the foe, his hands already locked in the Tiger seal. Uchiha Itachi moved to the Sarutobi’s right, his two hands set in the same hand seal. Both shinobi spewed a great torrent of flames which united to form a giant fiery conflagration which blazed towards the Hikari ninja, swiftly reducing everything in its way to ash and cinders.
Sarutobi’s hands intertwined into another seal which invoked a powerful gust of wind, the sudden turbulence acting as a fuel to the already immense flames, increasing its size to such titanic proportions that the rest of their team had to leap away for safety as the inferno swept towards their foe.
Tenkaku was still smiling, corners of his lips raised towards his eyes in a toothy grin so feral that it was hard to imagine this was on a human face. his bleeding right hand locked with his left, blood from the wound spattering on his face and then he intoned, “Water Release: Great Waterfall Technique.” A large deluge of water splurged from the Hikari ninja’s lips and surged into the ravenous fiery death that swam towards him, both techniques colliding and exploding into a loudly hissing cloud of steam that swallowed up all the ninja present.
Uchiha Itachi and Hyuuga Sato, trusting in the insight of their respective eye techniques, navigated through the blinding mist as quiet as possible towards their enemy; Itachi approaching from a tree on their target’s left and Sato from another on the Hikari’s right.
The Hyuuga darted his palm at Tenkaku, fingers curved inwards like a claw and intoned. “Empty Palm!” just as Uchiha Itachi extracted a large shuriken from a scroll. An invisible force slammed Tenkaku on the right side of his body, and he groaned as it lifted him off his feet and swept him towards the rotating blades of the large shuriken Itachi had just flung at him. The steam cloud cleared sufficiently enough for the Hikari to see the gruesome death that spun towards him.
No time for seals.
Tenkaku’s chin sank towards his neck and the skin of his cheeks stretched taut as the man opened his mouth wider than one would have thought any human could manage, his eyes bulging painfully their sockets and his nostrils flared grotesquely due to the strain on his facial muscles. The bandaged wrapped metallic hilt of a sword emerged between his lips and the entire sheathed long blade sprang forth shortly after. The Hikari grasped the handle of the weapon, separated the sword from sheath, and lifted it towards the giant shuriken that slashed towards him, meeting its deadly blades with his own in a shower of orange sparks.
“Sick.” spat Sato.
Tenkaku flowed lightning chakra through the blade, allowing him to slice through the large shuriken and he lunged at the Uchiha who had thrown it. The blade swung a long precise arc at Itachi, who shifted a tiny distance backwards to evade.
Tenkaku pushed himself forward in a single long stride, closing all distance between himself and Itachi. He delivered an iron fisted punch to the boy’s face, which Itachi barely managed to cushion with the arm guards that accompanied his ANBU uniform, but was still sent reeling. The destabilized Uchiha was further thrown off balance when Tenkaku rammed a heavy knee into his gut, knocking the wind out of him.
The lightning coated blade was lifted high above Itachi, the weapon wielder grinning madly in triumph and then swiftly brought down, tearing a clean straight line from the boy’s right shoulder to his left waist. However, the Uchiha, instead of falling dead to the snowy ground beneath the tall trees, scattered into a large flock of dark crows, the gathering of birds besieging Tenkaku thus obscuring his vision as well as rendering him deaf with their loud grim cries.
Uchiha Itachi’s blade gleamed as the boy made a diagonal slash across the Hikari’s back, earning a pained grunt from the hulking man. Tenkaku dove downwards to the forest floor to escape the cloud of birds that had beset him, his white shirt already soaking crimson from the wound dealt by Itachi’s sword. The crunch of snowflakes was heard as Tenkaku landed on the icy ground.
“Not bad.” complimented Tenkaku as all the ANBU shinobi landed around him, enclosing him in a loose circle. Perhaps some other caliber of shinobi might have thought it a grim situation to be surrounded by so many enemies in addition to the burden of a sword wound, but Tenkaku merely stood firm with an air of utter indifference, flexing the blade in his right hand as he cast his eyes on Uchiha Itachi who stared back with an inscrutable expression.
“Been a while since someone got a clean hit on me like that. However, you’re feeble. The wound was too shallow, you lack the strength to wield that weapon. You’re still a child after all.” said Tenkaku
“Allow me to remedy that. My Raikiri will be more than sufficient to end your life.” offered Kakashi.
“What an insult.” barked the stocky Hikari ninja. “I guess it’s time for me to get serious.”
Elsewhere, Ryuu stood in the forest between two mighty tree trunks brushing off the falling snow that had accumulated on both his shoulders as his right foot tapped impatiently on the frosty ground, long face marred by a deep scowl that was better suited on the face of a five year old child who had just been denied candy. “How much longer Makoto?” he drawled in a lazy tone which attempted to mask the annoyance that gleamed in his violet eyes, as he narrowed his gaze on his companion.
Makoto was seated in a meditative pose on the white blanket of snow that spread over the forest floor, hands united in a hand seal and eyes firmly shut, the expression on his face the very picture of serenity. “In a minute.” the brown haired man replied Ryuu in his usual placid tone.
“Damn, I’m freezing my ass off!” the red haired Hikari complained. “This hideout better have some hot cocoa or I’m gonna-”
And the Hikari was interrupted by his own sneezing.
Makoto grinned. “Let’s go.” He instructed as a patch of earth in front of them sank away, revealing a very long winding staircase which led underground. “Sorry for making you wait this long.” Still wearing that childish scowl, Ryuu eyed his comrade icily for a second then he shrugged and made towards the stairs. Makoto was right behind him, barely stifling a chuckle. As soon as both ninja had completely descended below ground level, the earth moved of its own accord and sealed their entry point.
“Oh, this place is big!” exclaimed Ryuu excitedly, fingers hanging over narrowed violet eyes as he surveyed the large cavernous room into which the stairs had led him. His voice reverberated off the walls, each of which stretched for at least a hundred meters and were of a strange gleaming emerald stone marked with various elaborate murals, most of them illustrations of dragons displayed in spectacular curved poses with candles lit in their eyes; the sacred symbol of the Hikari. Though illumination was provided by fiery torches hung at intervals along the walls, the ceiling was too high to be seen and thus cloaked in shadow. The silence of the cavern was at times pierced by distant sound of wings beating the air, odd shrill cries and the muffled sound of surging water from somewhere above.
“Come with me, Ryuu.” said Makoto as he sauntered across the room.
To Be Continued.