Sorry for the very, very long update. Work, exam, school, God it killed me! Well, I'm just back to the land of the living and here's an update.

Also read Samurai Seed and kind enough to leave a review. It's the prequel of this story. Go to my profile and you'll find it.


"Chidori!": normal talking

"Rasengan!": special case (Naruto Berserker mode, different language)

'Darn!': thoughts

GWA HA HA HA! : Giant creature speech

"Journal no bla bla": Renald's writing or other uses

Disclaimer: I own nothing… except the plenty of OCs in the story.

Chapter 36:

The Three Way Battle

Round 1:

Neji VS. Shinja


The biggest pain in the ass they'll ever felt.

Quite frankly, Neji start to doubt if they (the Konoha Team) were as much as a big of a pain in the ass as Fujiki claimed them to be for the five Guards. He heard tales of Hatori Hanzo the Salamander. The very mention of his name was enough to send even the five Kages from five countries to complete silence.

Hanzo is not a name either. It was a title. Basically it came from a legendary shinobi Hattori Hanzo, the first known Kage. For some reason or another, this guy took that name as an alias. Amekage is merely a formal title to align the nin with other Kages. 'Hanzou' is their equivalent of Kage. Unlike other villages that have about four to five generations of Kages, the Hanzo of the Amegakure had only gone for 2 generations. He probably would not know his name if he had never heard the tales of the Three Sage. Fact is, all it takes for it to spurn his interest to perform a thorough research regarding this one character Hattori Hanzo was the story that even all three Konoha Sages combined cannot win against him.

Even with the Hyuuga's vast collection of knowledge, information regarding the Amekage was scarce. But information appeared from a much unexpected source. At first, it started with a curiosity. Why on earth there's a hentai novel in the esteemed Hyuuga library? The answer comes when he asked the writer himself. Grudging after his defeat before the Amekage, Jiraiya performed a personal in depth research of the Amegakure. He gained much, but has trouble spreading the word out. Rain Nin assassination squad will be close on the Toad Sennin's heels if he simply spread the word. And so he invented this method: using a cover of limited edition Icha-Icha Paradise volume, the entire breadth of the book's content were scrambled word per word. To outsiders, this would be another hentai novel. But for Konoha Code experts, a specific method of reading the book was inscribed on the front cover. A sign which only Konoha shinobi would notice. And once Neji found out about it, it was a simple matter of extracting and memorizing the vast information contained within.

The story went that the Amekage was a travelling Ninja. As he travel the country, people, either aspired by him, owe him his life, admire him… for various reasons they followed him. Over time his follower grew, and when that man decided to finally settle, the followers establish a small, unofficial ninja village. The fact that a small village like Amegakure actually survived two Ninja world wars would speak volumes of their fighting capability. Equally infamous with the Kage was the five guards. These five over-the-counter Jounin are handpicked by the Amekage himself. A ninja that is to become one of the Five Guards were put in a cage-match against 100 shinobi kidnapped or taken from other countries: missing Nins, criminals, nins without allegiance, etc, etc. They must kill all 100 and then survive another battle royal with 9 other similarly picked ninja. The winner will then serve for several years to earn Amekage's trust before being named a guard. And they were entrusted with the task of protecting the Kage 24/7. Each of them is experts in unmasking spies. That being said, ALL ninjas are essentially spies and these guards are the best there are in what they do. Each of them, if rumor is to be believed, is Kage-level ninjas who specialized in Anti-Ninja countermeasures. In layman's term: they are Anti-Ninja Ninja.

When he learnt of that, he never dreamt that he'd be fighting one.

Neji gritted his teeth as Shinja's hair turned into serpents before his very eyes. The serpents zoomed towards him with blinding speed. The hordes of giant snakes plow their way through the ground as if they are paper. It's the second time he evaded the barrage and he still have a hard time believing the snakes are made of HAIR. He grunted and dashed as fast as he can before the hair retracts. Once he's within reached, he slashed both of his twin dragons towards the kunoichi. The hair wove into a rectangular shield. And then it happened: The moment his weapon connected, all the strength he poured into the sword vanished, and he couldn't pull his weapon away or letting it go.

Neji was initially shocked. He glared to Shinja, who did not reply his gaze; she closed her eyes shut. But he can saw her ears twitching sensitively. Gritting his teeth, knowing what's coming next, Neji braced himself. Shinja's remaining hair suddenly burst forward in form of a long flat thin cylinder. A sickening breaking sound echoed as the hair cylinder shattered Neji's chest and throw him about 3 meters away from the Kunoichi.

'So that's how it is…' Neji grunted in anger. Well less so since he figured it out the secret of this strange occurrence. He felt like having a jackhammer being smashed to his chest. Slowly, the Hyuuga rose from his spot, saliva and blood dripping from the corner of his mouth.

"How… unanticipated. Thou art the exceptional among the few who survived mine assault."

"I had my teacher to thank for that…" Neji examined the point of impact. From the sound of it, the solid lumps of iron Kira had put in there for additional weight had served well as a shield. He can feel that they're in tatters now, but he can also feel some had turned to dust. "Thanks to that, I've also figured out the secret behind that ridiculously destructive hair."

For the first time since the start of their battle, Shinja opened her eyes. "Surely this art not the time for thou to jest about mine pride."

"I'm not… jesting…" Neji slowly got back to his feet. "And obviously I have nothing to say about your pride."

"If so is thy reasoning, then it is not jest. It is insult to me. How could thee; an unknown genin, see what many others cannot?"

"I have a different teacher. Stop me if I'm wrong. You're using the tremor inducing characteristics of Earth elemental chakra to strengthen your own hair. That's what plows through the ground earlier. That hair made snake is like a mass of high frequency blade. The continuous vibration produce massive shockwave that shatter and cuts through everything… and then there's the case when I try to hit you."

Shinja was speechless.

"It's the same principle when a master tried to examine the movement of a bird. We caught the bird's leg and shook it just before it took off, preventing it from leaving our hand. The tremor you caused on your hair shield works on the same principle. Adding all that together, I can immediately see it through."

"I see. It is no insult indeed that thou had seen and stated the facts. But!" Suddenly, Shinja shut her eyes again and stabbed some of her hair to the ground. This time Neji could barely see clearly the hair is shaking. But something even more horrendous happened: his leg felt like they've turned to stone and stuck on the spot. He couldn't lift even his toe away from the ground.

'Masaka… she shook the whole ground!?'


Neji avert his gaze from his feet and turned to Shinja in horror. She just finished an Earth jutsu!

"Jisshin Tou (Earth Quake Sword)!" Her hair vibrates intensely for one moment, and the ground before her shattered in a straight line, pieces of rock burst from the shattered rock like a hailstorm of stone daggers. The stone daggers pierced through Neji's body, riddling it with holes. But as Neji's decimated body fell, it turned into a pile of water as it hits the ground.

Shinja sighed. "Most impressive. But I need not mine eyes to find you."

Hiding behind a tree, Neji cursed his luck. 'What a crazy pair up I'm stuck with…'

He remembered his latest conversation with Kira…


"Neji, in your situation where you have two opposing Chakra in your body it is both a good and bad thing." Kira pointed.

"Why so?"

"Well, let's start with the good one. For a start, you will be partially immune to some elements bad effects on your body. For example, fire, which is the neutral base of lightning is weak against water. However, in your case, since part of your chakra is water based, your lightning and fire based jutsu won't be affected as much as other pure fire and lightning jutsus."

"But on the other hand, it also became more effective when I'm countering other fire-lightning-based jutsu, since the water element factor in my jutsu weakens theirs, a bit."

"Correct. It's an anomaly, really. But doesn't mean it's a bad thing."

"And what's the bad part about this dual elemental?"

"First, well, you can use both Fire, Lightning or water jutsu with impunity… but the power drain is murder. Fire and Water are enemies by nature. It requires a significant portion of your chakra to neutralize this reactive effect inbetween opposing elements. And here's another thing. Some element became potently effective against you, as you share not only the strength of each element, but also their weakness. You're pretty much screwed if you encounter a master Earth elemental ninja."

"Earth. Elemental effect: vibration. It sucks up water, born from fire… and neutralizes lightning?"

"Exactly. Each fire, lightning or water jutsu you employ against your enemy will strengthen them moreso than the damage you cause them."

"Then… how do I fight them?"

"Dunno." Kira raised his arms with an innocent smile plastered to his face.

Silence for 5 minutes. "Excuse me… What?"

"Dunno." Kira repeated with a laugh.

Neji suddenly gained an unbelievable urge to bust their honorable teacher's face up. "DUNNO!?"

"Believe me… I had the same problem with you when I was young. I'm a Lightning and Water type myself! I was screwed the first time I fought an earth type master nin!" Kira raised his hands. "Then I asked for some advice… particularly from my sister. And then she said the exact same word I gave you: dunno."

"G… B… But then… what…"

"She said: Dunno. If I met one I just bust'em up good. On the face and on the arse. That's what she said to me… and I still got owned for… ten… twenty times by that same master?"

"…" Neji's eyes twitched. What an unbelievably unreasonable people, their teachers are. He was expecting after thousands of years of experience, the Shitennou of Seiryuu could come up with a more civilized method to deal with screwed up situation. "Can it… really be… done? Bust my way through…

Kira smiled happily. "She was always a reckless type… but admirably honest with whatever she's doing. A plain average girl, when you compare her with genius class like you or Sasuke. Heck she's probably near Naruto level. She used her fist and beat the earth elemental master with one stroke. ONE STROKE right past his guards into his jaw! I slaved for weeks to find a solution and she finished him just like that in less than a minute! Ha!"

"Your sister… she must be an Earth, no, Wood type! That's why she can handle Earth type easily!"

"That's what I thought too… before I get to know the Elemental cards." Kira looked at Neji, as if trying to send him a sign. "But guess what?"

Neji's prodigious brain figured out the answer.

Kira confirmed it and shook his head in glee. "The same type with Lee. No elemental affinity whatsoever. Can't use Ninjutsu or Genjutsu, instead relying on a myriad of Taijutsu techniques from across the globe to achieve all feats surpassing even that of a Kage or a ninja. Honestly, before I saw Lee, I thought she was one of a kind… The joys of simple mindedness."

"…" Neji sighed.

"You think so too right? People without extensive ability to understand, that is to say, an idiot, can always act without a care about the consequences. Like Naruto."

"Yeah. He's a first class idiot in many ways… but look at what he had accomplished." Neji chuckled. And suddenly a train of thought just entered his mind and he blurted it out ever so innocently. "Sensei… what should I do to become an idiot?"

Kira looked at him seeing if he had lost his mind. And then the Demigod bashed his head with a baseball bat that just appeared out of nowhere. "Do this once every hour and I damn well guarantee if you survive you'll be an idiot for life."

Neji's head was literally spinning. During his dizzied state however, he can still caught a few last words from his sensei before he fainted altogether:

"The key is: never stop to think what's next."

Flashback ends.

Neji rubbed the spot where the bruise once lay. 'Yeah right. What was I thinking, asking that question?' He took a peek at his enemy and saw her hair vibrate and the air skewed just in time before he jumped away. The spot where he was standing shattered. 'She sent the shockwave through the air using her hair… she's like a walking earthquake!'

"Thou cannot hide forever."

'Indeed. What should I do?' Calmly, Neji began formulating a plan. 'Right… let's see if this works.'

Shinja was still 'looking' for Neji's location. 'The youngling hid himself well. His voice is barely louder than the rustling of the leaf…' Just then, she felt something fast heading her way, from 10 different directions. Each is set with different timing within seconds and milliseconds to each other. 'Ho…ho… to set that amount of delicately set traps in such a short time… not bad at all, child.'

The first, third, fourth, seventh shuriken were shattered midair. The remaining six were split roughly to two before they hit the target by paper thin margin.

Neji frowned as he analyzed the situation. 'To think I'll be using that Sound spider nin's trick… Still, the way those four kunais were shattered… so the shockwave. Her hair vibrates creating some sort of shockwave field that protects her, shattering everything within range… like those Nagas Water Chakra field. What about the other 6? They didn't shatter… that means there's a lag in-between the shockwaves; a few millisecond lag… but they were split albeit roughly…' The Hyuuga blinked in realization. 'So that's how it is. Damn… that's quite tricky.'

He looked at his weapon at hand: a few more Kunais, a couple explosive tags, Souryuuga… Neji perked up.

'What will you do now, boy?' Again, Shinja sensed another projectiles coming her way. 'Another?'

A shuriken shattered. And a few milliseconds after that, something went through the lag in-between the shockwave. The second layer of defense stopped it and the projectile stuck there… but it cannot destroy it, much to Shinja's surprise. Before she could even react, she senses another projectile and this time, it wasn't aimed at her… instead, it was aimed at the stuck projectile. The latter projectile hit the first one and hammered it deeper, this time, Shinja HAD to open her eyes. She gasped seeing a one meter long katana is just millimeters away from her face. A kunai can be seen floating midair and on its way to clatter to the ground, signifying that this was the second object that hammered the Katana deeper. She was speechless.

"So that's how you do it." Neji's voice echoed from allover. And this time, he was fighting to make his voice as casual as possible.

Shinja frowned. Stopping the Tenryuuga were strands of her long, dark, hair.

"The first layer of defense is a field of shockwave generated by the vibrating Earth Chakra in your hair… but there's a lag of 0.01 seconds in-between the shockwave defense… covering that is your second layer of defense, and the reason why your destructive shockwave didn't destroy you… your swirling hair sliced them, in which, they also vibrates in a reversed frequency… nullifying the destructive effect of the first layer."

The woman gasped, and now she seems more captivated rather than shocked. "Magnificent. Just magnificent. Only the phrase 'Genius' would do justice to thy magnificent deduction. Not even the fact that thou threw away one of thy main weapon could tarnish this title." Shinja even clapped her hands in admiration. As she said this, the Kunoichi took the Heaven Dragon katana and planted it within her eyesight. Now if Neji wish to take it, he'll be at the mercy of Shinja's shockwave barrage. "Still… understanding and solving the problem, surely thou understand the difference."

"Indeed." Neji grunted. That last attack was his trump card. Kunai was too short and too weak. The Souryuuga are Katanas. And they are clearly built a lot tougher than any normal weapon. Heck, he probably wouldn't be able to do that trick if he was using some other Katana. Now he only got one left, the ferocious Earth Dragon on his back while the other were set as bait. 'Calm down… let's think this through, there's gotta be a way to penetrate that defense…'

And so Neji resorted to Ninjutsu. 'She's an earth type. Fire, Lightning, Water, all is a big no-no… my Wood element aren't that strong. So…' He made a few handseals. 'Tetsuton!' Neji throw all of his shuriken and Kunais to the air. 'Kyoukan-kiri (Giant killer)!' the iron kunais and shurikens melded and joined into one, forming a forked spear. 'Fight shockwave with another shockwave. And in the five elements, Earth strengthens Iron. This should do.' Neji grabbed the iron spear and with all his might in Iron element, closed the gap in between the forked spear. The two fork blades joined together, forming the shape of an average spear. And then, grasping it tightly, the Hyuuga hurled the spear towards the target. The spear zoomed past the trees and straight at her.

As expected, the shockwave field collided with the spear mid-air. At that time, the spear's tip chose that moment to open up, resulting in a resonating effect which cancels out the destructive shockwave field. The spear continues to plunge its way through, but the second layer of defense quickly activates. The reverse frequency of the second layer of defense nullified the spear's resonance and Shinja's hair also stopped the spear from going any deeper, but like with Tenryuuga, it was pretty damn close. Neji grunted angrily as he saw Shinja easily shattered the iron spear. Great. Now's he's out of long range weapon.

"Magnificent. Simply magnificent. Thou had brought me this close to death twice in this many minutes. Given time, with thy ingenuity, doubtlessly this defense shall crumble." Shinja's words stop Neji's train of thought. "To repay thy astounding effort, allow me to play thy requiem." Suddenly Neji heard the sound of something rattling. And Neji suddenly found everything he see… is darkness. He couldn't even hear a thing, his body gone numb, his nose couldn't smell anything, his tongue lost taste; all his five senses had disappeared.

"Wha… Genjutsu?" He couldn't even hear his own voice. All the sudden, something exploded right on his back followed by an agonizing amount of pain to his back. "GYAAAAAAAARGH!" And just like that, his senses are back and he could hear himself scream. Neji fell to the ground and noticed that the spot he was hiding on the trees had just been blasted through with a wave of air-quake.

"NEJI!" Yukiku and Naruto, who both were fighting their own adversary, were shocked when they saw the Hyuuga fell to the ground.

"Pay attention to your enemy, onna!!" Karas descent again and landed another slice to Yukiku's giant sword.

"DORYAAA!" Naruto barely dodge Juuou's charge.

Neji gritted his teeth, bearing the pain. How many ribs did she break with that one attack? Unbelievable.

"Absolve mine error. It ist not mine intention to make thee suffer so." Through the pain, he can still hear her speak. He glared at the Snake nin. What did she just do? A genjutsu?

"I shall end thy torment. Know that thou art the first nin outside of Rain's best that managed to pierce through mine defense multiple times. Die with that honor in thy heart." Another rattling sound and then everything gone blank again. Neji's eyes widened. He knew it then and there. An attack is coming. But he had no idea from where and how. His prodigious mind; unable to produce any sort of counter; come up with just one conclusion: He's going to die.

'MOVE!!' A loud rough voice broke through his stupor and by reflex he moved to the left. The darkness suddenly receded, followed by a large explosion right on the spot where he used to stand.

Shinja frowned but remain calm.

Neji was shocked. Who was that voice?

'Stop standing like a statue and move your ass! You're a genius, aren't you!?'

It wasn't caught by his ears. It was sent straight to his mind. Neji gazed to his weapon. Chiryuuga. 'It was you, wasn't it?'

'What the hell are you doing? Don't avert your gaze from the enemy, genius!'

The way he said the word genius was heavily tinted with sarcasm. Neji returned his gaze to Shinja then he heard another rattling sound. The instant before everything goes dark however; he saw several strands of her hair stand erect, as if electrocuted. A wave of realization hits Neji just as the darkness enshrouded him.

'Even if you can't see, you gotta MOVE! Don't make yourself a fixed target, BAKA!'

Neji shunshin-ed randomly to some place he can't see but he knows by memory. As the darkness unravel, another explosion occurred and the Hyuuga found out he was on a direct collision course towards a tree. With thud, the prodigy slammed the tree head on like an amateur nin.

Shinja looked at him. "Admirable effort. Astounding will to survive. I see through thee a glimpse of strength recognized by Hanzou-sama himself. But I shall not tire nor wane until thy lifeless body lay upon mine feet." Several of her hair stand on end again and darkness shroud Neji's senses again.

The Hyuuga jumped away randomly. His sense of pain dulled but his inability to reach certain place showed that he had hit something. Like a handicapped person he moved around using his hand, swinging wildly to feel his way. He didn't know if he still has a hand. All he knew he had to move.

'Don't just think on how to dodge her you idiot! FIGHT HER BACK!' the voice in his head grew harsher and angrier.

"How am I supposed to do that if I can't even-ARGH!" The pain transferred to his mind as another air quake blast ripped through several trees and grazed his shoulder. A minor graze but it felt like it just got pierced by a hammer.

'You know where's she's standing! STOP thinking strategy, start thinking PLAYSTATION! BLOW SHIT UP!!'

'Blow shi…-yeah right! That's the stupidest plan I heard all day.' Neji stop mid-thought. "Stupid-eh?"

Having sensed the message had gotten through, the Earth Dragon say no more. Neji stopped running blind and turn around. And there she saw her turning her closed eyes to him.

"I see thou had stopped running. Have thee resorted to finally give in for a quick painless death? Or… have thee found a way to stop my onslaught?"

"I… I'm impressed."


"The way you… used earth elemental to create shockwave field… that is already something… but to think… that you too have a lightning elemental chakra as well… and the way you use them to vibrate your hair to, what should I call it, short-circuit my nervous system via long range electromagnetic pulse? In more ways than one, you are, truly, beyond me."

Shinja closed her gawking lips and looked at the boy before her. The boy who figured out all her secret in just a few minutes. She confirmed Neji's theory by showing several jolts of electricity coursing through her erect strands of hair. "A pity. Such talent, at such a young age. Know that it is not thy ineptitude that this battle is lost. It is thy experience art lacking compared to mine. But give it a year or two… (sigh) If only thou were born in our village, what service thou can render to our lord."

"Thank you for your streams of compliment… but now… I think… heh… you'll about see me… at my dumbest moment." Neji grabbed the Earth Dragon with both of his hand… and then, just like that, he yelled, loudly, and charged up front!

Shinja was stunned at such utterly direct and reckless attack. No jutsus, no preparation. No nothing. "So this is what thee hath chosen. How bold." She closed her eyes. The erect hair began to vibrate as electricity jumped in between for a flash. The vibrating hair began generating a sound like a rattling snake. The moment Neji heard the rattling sound, his world gone empty. But Neji ignored his blank sense and kept on running forward, targeting his opponent by memory alone. It was then.

The moment his body administer pain for the first time from the Air-Quake blast. The moment his senses returned, the millisecond the nerves of his crushed left hand sent the signal of pain to his brain, he chose that time to kick the ground and shunshin forward, right inside Shinja's Shockwave field. The field instantly crushed every inch of his body. Cracking sound can be heard from every bit of Neji's bones as it began to break. Despite that, Neji bear the pain and thrust the Chiryuga forward. Shinja was shocked as she did not expect such reckless behavior and once again, her second layer defense managed to stop the forward thrust, though with the extra force, it was cutting it pretty close this time, forcing her to back away a little bit and applied more hair to stop the thrust. However, due to the vibration of the hair, Neji couldn't let go of the sword and thus his right hand was disabled.

"Such foolishness…" Some of her hair also began to vibrate on the ground again and send ripple of shockwave to Neji's feet, intent on nailing him. And so Neji's feet were locked in place.

"MADA-MADA!!!" The Hyuuga made a handseal with his remaining left hand (or what's left of it). It was then Shinja realized: the Katana she blocked was plastered with layers upon layers of explosive tags!

"He wouldn't!!"

"…never stop to think what's next."

With that in mind, Neji roared. "KATSU!!"

A loud explosion engulfed them both and shattered the ground. Two figures were thrown to opposite direction from the blaze. One side, Neji, his right arm, still barely holding the Chiryuuga was half scorched to Hell and his bent left arm grasped the reclaimed Tenryuga. And on the other side, Shinja with couple of burns and most of her long hair was burned out. Neji landed on a rock and cracked it upon impact. Shinja was luckier as she landed on a softer tree which cushions her fall. A bit of her protective clothes were torn. Both fighters were equally injured nonetheless. The loud explosion also draws the attention of everyone on the field.

"THE HELL…!?" Yukiku was thrown off balance midair by the wave of explosion.

Juuou and Naruto paused mid-punch when they felt the hot air wave on their face. "What just…"

"What… art… thee… thinking? Are thee planning… to kill thyself?"

Neji chuckled in between his cough of blood. "Someone taught me… in certain cases, you have to dumb down a little." He grinned painfully. He looked at the singed but intact Chiryuuga. 'Just like you said… blow shit up.'

'You are ONE crazy STUPID son of a bitch.' Boy, judging by his tone, the sword was FURIOUS!

'That… is the highest praise.' Neji closed his eyes in satisfaction. But he knew it wasn't over.

Shinja coughed some blood. She looked at herself. Most of her hair was burned out, she hasn't run out of chakra yet, but her body is a mess. Forcibly she stood up, intent on continuing the battle.

She looked across the field and saw her opponent also stood up. "I admire thy tenacity. But even that must have its limits. Both thy arms are decimated, how can thee fight?"

Neji looked at his arms. His right one was singed, his left was somewhat broken, but it can still grasp the sword tightly. It was slightly bent. He positioned his left arm on the shattered rock behind him and then pushed HARD. A sickening CRACK can be heard throughout the battlefield as the Hyuuga just forcibly pushed his shattered and bent bones back in its place. He tied the sheath of Tenryuuga on it as a crutch. As for the right arm, he could barely feel them anymore. The pain had made him numb. Miraculously he can still see his fingers moving to his every command. But clearly wielding sword to fight is beyond him. It was then Neji thought of another stupid (by his standard) idea.

Shinja knew she's in for another fight but even someone as elegant as her had to widen her eyes in a rather unsightly manner when she saw Neji walk into the combat… with one sword in his left hand… and another sword tied to his right leg. With one of his leg higher than the other, the boy's way of walking was obviously awkward if not downright stupid.

"…if I knew nothing of thee, I would certainly ask: Art thee making fun of me? May I inquire how art thee going to fight like that?"

"Dunno." Neji smirked when he said that. "I'm just; and I quote: bust you up good in your face and in your arse."

Shinja looked disbelievingly at Neji. He. Was. Serious. He's going to fight her… with a sword tied to his right leg. "So be it." Grasping her remaining hair, Shinja concentrate and let electricity coursed through them, causing them to stand on erect. She concentrated even further, and then the strands of hair accumulated together, forming a black Katana, with electricity jolting through them.

Neji gulped and gather his remaining bit of courage. He took a deep breath and then dash forward in an awkward pace since his right and left leg now has different length. Shinja too dashed forward. As soon as both have their targets within range, they attack. Shinja's lightning charged Hair-Sword pierced through first and was aimed straight at Neji's left arm. But it was instead stopped by his right leg, bearing the Lightning Induced Chiryuuga.

'! He's also a lightning type?'

Using the momentum generated by the weight of his right leg, Neji used it to swing his left arm to his right side in a 360 degree counter-clockwise arc. The kunoichi ducked just in time, but the slash claimed a bit more of her singed hair. Midslash, Neji quickly turned it into a straight stab to the ground. Using the stabbed sword as an axis, his left leg kicked the ground and lifted his entire body, particularly his right leg, which spins vertically in a 180 degree arc, technically a drop kick/slash. It grazed Shinja's unprotected shoulder. The pain was a sign for the snake nin to jump away from Neji.

'Nanto… so he's a close combat specialist? To be able to fight in that kind of handicapped position… Then…' The electricity coursing the hair katana disappeared as it went limp. Replacing it, the hair swivel around forming a whip. Shinja cracked her whip, and the spot where the whip touched shattered as if they were pulverized.

Neji gasped. 'Intent on making this a ranged battle, aren't we? She knew now that I'm good in close combat. Naraba… I'm not mincing methods anymore, like he said… stop thinking strategy…' "Start thinking playstation…"

Shinja readied herself, though at the back of her mind she was wondering what the hell is Playstation.

Wondering that same thing, the Neji charged forward, closing the distance between them. Shinja swing her whip furiously at blinding speed, the battlefield was filled with countless afterimages of her whip cracking. Soon, the land around the two was filled with dozens of craters. Using his Chiryuuga tied to his leg, Neji made his way through the attack, blocking every whip coming his way. Walking with his arms and his one leg, he literally crawled his way through. Even Shinja was surprised that the boy was able to close their distance in a rapid pace. However, one brief moment of stinging pain and Neji missed a step. Not wasting another chance Shinja placed another well aimed swipe and it hit Neji squarely on his back. The Hyuuga prodigy felt four to five hard hit on his spinal cord.

'HOLY SHI-!' Neji bite his lips to prevent him from screaming out loud. Somehow he was still conscious despite the immense agonizing pain, and he kicked the ground for one last shunshin, and he was literally face to face with the shocked Kunoichi. He swung his right leg towards the hair whip. Shinja reflexively swing her whip and either by coincidence or intended, the two weapons entwined and stuck there. The two were interlocked, just like that.

At this point, Neji smirked and rephrased the last part: "BLOW SHIT UP!!" in a flash, Neji finished to formed the needed handseal. 'SUITON! SUIRYUUDAN!' A dragon made of water burst out from Neji mouth, straight at the Kunoichi. Shinja quickly grasped his throat and pushed it upward. The water dragon burst out to the sky in a vertical take off. The two nins looked to the sky, the Water Dragon will be descending any moment now.

The two looked at each other.

Shinja's eyes widened, realizing what's going to happen next. "Thou shall not!"

Neji chuckled. "I shall." Lightning crackled through the Chiryuuga just as the water dragon landed on both of them, washing them clean, and electrocuting them both. The two went rigid and screamed while electricity surge through both of them, lighting the battlefield. After a few seconds, their weapon untangled and the two landed on their back, both a few shades darker than the previous with smokes puffing through their hair.

"To get me this far, I praised thee for thy intelligence and will… but… why in the name of GOD art thee doing something so imbecilic at the end!? What art thee doing!?" Shinja was still trembling from the electric residue coursing through her veins. She could barely stand and most of her hair had been rendered useless.

"What am I doing?" Neji smiled though he still trembling from the shocking experience. "Trying to be an idiot."

And the two lie down there, unable to do anything anymore other than watching the other's combat.

Neji vs. Shinja: Both combatants unable to continue. Draw.


Fujiki zoomed past the trees as he heard the faint sound of explosion and clash between weapons. "I hope I'm not overestimating those three…"

The swordsman quickly made his way towards the refugee convoy. 'Anyway… Kirigakure now thinks I'm dead… so I have to use this to my advantage… hid myself among the refugee and then sneak in. 'Touzou… you got a lot to answer for when I'm through with you…' "Hm?"

Fujiki stopped as he saw dark cloud abnormally rising right on the spot where Yukiku was fighting. Then he saw a giant ice dragon soar up. The Swordsman grinned almost manically. "The second coming of the First Mizukage Hitsugaya Toushiro…" His worry lessened Fujiki turn away and headed towards where the refugees are.


Round 2:

Yukiku VS. Karas


Pretty much, the only thing stopping Karas from ripping her body to shreds right off is one piece of iron called the Head Cleaver. The Dragon's Tail is too fragile… too many unarmored moving parts that are prone to jamming if she were to use it to block his attacks. She had faith in Kira's handwork, but, well…

"Gkk!!" Yukiku swore her fingers gonna come off anytime soon. She looked to the sky on the black shape that is Karas. She had experience fighting daemons, rampaging monsters, jounins… but variety aside, she never, for the love of her, faced a flying opponent.

"Whoa!" Karas just swoop down one more time, and this time she had to roll over lest he'll knock her weapon off her aching fingers. She looked around. Good god, did that big man just decked Naruto on his stomach? It sure looks painful. But he's taken worse and he had live through it. She looked to another direction. The snake lady was seemingly stuck on the spot, Neji was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly a horde of Kunai from every direction was launched at her. She blocked/shattered it all. Neji also got his hands full. Switching opponents won't do.

"This is not good, onna." Karas' voice echoed from up there. Knowing his opponent listening, Karas continued. "Ever since the start of the battle, you've been doing less honorably than your friends."

Yukiku twitched. Yeah right. Neji was fighting stealthily (and by the look of it, smartly too), Naruto fight openly and straight from the front. Both are being offensive. She's the only one who's being defensive from the start. "Your point being, mr. Hey-look-at-me-I'm-flying-in-the-sky-you-can't-touch-me?"

Answering her question is another salvo of the thing has been harassing her in the last few minutes of their duel: a couple of dozen of Solid razor sharp Iron feathers launched at super speed. But that's the least of her worries. The iron feathers dispersed… no, they oxidized, they rapidly rust and suddenly she's completely out of breath since all oxygen in the area was rapidly absorbed by the rusting.

'How could he combine air and iron like this!?' Yukiku took deep breath to gather what little oxygen she can get and then move away from the spot. Her position revealed, Karas span his black iron wing again and with one flap, a massive destruction was wreaked as a rain of Iron Feathers devastated the area.

Yukiku smiled nervously at the destruction. But she's more amused than scared. Oh, she gets exactly what he was implying. All her friends are being offensive, and she looked like a coward, playing hide and seek. But oh hell no, she will not accept that word from him. If it's the big guy or the snake kunoichi, she'll be more forgiving. But not from some sexist jerk flying on high who called her by her gender instead of name. Given this insult, she felt compelled to respond in kind. "That's quite some devastation you left here… you sure you got the right animal theme?"

He swoop down towards her at top speed. She grinned and took a step back from the tree where she hid. Grasping the great sword she swung it hard just as the tree was split to firewood from the incoming crow ninja. The head cleaver was an inch away from Karas' arm but just like that, he disappeared from his sight and Yukiku felt a sharp pain from her back. She swung wildly to her back, but Karas was already gone. But she held the pain and forced a grin. "Honestly, you resemble a freakin arena Bull than a bird."

Another barrage of black oxygen stealing feathers. Yukiku took another quick deep breath and jumped away. When she landed, her leg slumped a bit and the massive weight of the Head Cleaver isn't helping. The oxygen in their battlefield is steadily declining with each of his barrage.

"Silly little girl playing with a big ass sword barely fit for her size." Another insult coming from the sky. Yukiku felt like she wanted to tear that mouth off. But she understood it'll do her no good of being angry. Insults, taunts… they are psychological weapons for Ninja too. At the very least, she can feel Karas wasn't playing around with her. If she show some much as an opening, he'll kill her in a heartbeat. His insults are one of his ways of making her showing it. But if he thinks she's gonna remain a punching bag forever, he's in for a surprise…

The trick is, level the playing field. No easy task. She just ran from her spot, where Karas was waiting and launched another of his god-damn black feathers. She needed the right spot to do this.

"GYAAAAAAAARGH!" When she was half done, a loud yell from Neji distracted her. She looked at the direction and saw Neji fell off from the tree. Good god, his back smoking and it looked like he was just being pulverized by a giant hammer.

"NEJI!!" She wasn't the only one screaming. She can hear Naruto also scream.

"Pay attention to your enemy, onna!!" She gasped and Karas was already halfway on the sky. She raised the Headcleaver barely on time, but a slice found its way to her shoulder.

"Gah!" Yukiku grasped her bleeding shoulder. Stupid, stupid, stupid! RULE NO. 1 when fighting elite! Never avert your eyes from your enemy! Well, at least she's done. Karas flying up there, encircling her, his prey. Yukiku grunted and stood back up. She didn't run, but she remained on the spot. Waiting.

Karas took note of this change in behavior and launched another wave of black feathers. Yukiku took a large deep breath and stood her ground and a rain of black feathers showered her spot. She managed to block them all, but they quickly oxidized, and the air disappeared completely. Her face turned red, holding her breath, and she fell to her knees. Karas bent his wings and descent at top speed, intent on giving her the finishing blow. Moments before the attack hits, Yukiku opened her eyes and flash him a 'you're-so-screwed' smile. She threw away the giant sword and welcomed the attack. Karas clawed arm went through her chest. But her body turned into an icy figure soon after, locking the crow nin place for a few precious second at most.

At this point, Yukiku appeared out of thin air (quite literally) and slashed not the HeadCleaver, but the Dragon's Tail. The segmented blade separates itself and encircles the nin. Karas grunted. Suddenly he felt something even weirder. He felt his chakra is being drained bit by bit.

'Shinkirou Shunshin (Mirage Body Flash). Another technique used by Hotsuma the Sealion, a first generation swordsman. Interesting.' Yukiku grinned. She tightened her grip on the segmented chain sword and she can feel more chakra came rushing in. "I'm taking this chakra. Compensating all that oxygen you've taken from me."

"A chakra sucking sword? You're more cowardly than I thought, Onna!"

"I don't want to hear that from you. NOT you of all people! Flying around, not once touching the ground to fight like a man. Weaken ground target who can't strike back by stealing their oxygen and then whack them straight… you're no better than that frog bastard!"

"The hell… you know… ONNAAA!!" Karas roared and his wing suddenly expanded again, releasing the nin from the Dragon's tail grasp and Karas soared again. But when he tried to reach the altitude he wanted, something stopped him. He looked around and saw his wings were jammed. 'What?' he looked closer and saw countless strings have now blocked the sky. 'W…when did she…!?'

"Ninpou, World of Web. You're not going anywhere, Black Sky-san." Yukiku smirked. Karas barely fly outside her sword's reach. Now he's in her area.

"Like this going to…!" Karas groaned and struggled to break free. Yukiku sheathed the Dragon's Tail and took the Head Cleaver and charged forward. Karas crossed his clawed gauntlet and blocked the slash. The giant sword does no damage though it did break his defense. Yukiku used the moment and step on Karas and jump away to the empty air. She suddenly stopped midair and step on nothing, dashing back at the trapped Raven nin.

'Wha…!?' Yukiku's target this time is his wing. Sparks lit up when her giant sword met with Karas' wing.

"Eh?" Yukiku paused as she landed. 'That wing… is it completely made of iron? That's a hell of a strong and heavy wing… but if he's an iron type… it'll only make sense.' The girl continued her barrage of slashes as she jumped here and there, time and again at a blinding speed. For some reason, every slash Yukiku made caused the Raven Nin felt like his body is getting heavier and harder to move.

"ONE MORE TIME!!" Yukiku kicked the air one more time and was about to perform a final stroke when an explosion stopped her from continuing. "THE HELL…!?" Yukiku was thrown off balance midair by the wave of explosion.

Yukiku and Karas look at the direction of the explosion. Neji was thrown to one side, his arm smoking. His opponent was also thrown away, her head… or specifically her hair was burnt out. Their battle paused for a moment.

"Did Neji just… blow off his arm or something…?" Karas' grunting diverted her attention. She looked at her hand and saw some severed iron wire. 'Damn… the last wire… oh well…' Yukiku look satisfied at her handiwork, albeit incomplete. Karas continue to struggle to no avail to break free; his black wing was tied in innumerable number of strings.

"With this, you're just a caged bird."

Karas' eyes widened at the comment and he stopped wriggling. 'Caged… bird…' And he went unnaturally silent.

Yukiku didn't realize this change of behavior and continue to eye the battle between Neji and Shinja, which had reached its end.

"To get me this far, I praised thee for thy intelligence and will… but… why in the name of GOD are thee doing something so imbecilic at the end!? What art thee doing!?" Shinja was still trembling from the electric residue coursing through her veins. She could barely stand and most of her hair had been rendered useless.

"What am I doing?" Neji smiled though he still trembling from the shocking experience. "Trying to be an idiot."

Yukiku sweatdropped. Neji must've, like, electrocuted himself along with his opponent. Naruto's idiotic way of thinking must've affected him more than anyone can imagine.

Meanwhile, Karas was still suspended midair. His lips trembling, remembering an old memory.

"That's impossible for you." Hanzou stated with a tone of finality.

"WHY?" a younger Karas roared in deviant tone.

"Look at these papers Karas. You may have the look and probably the skills of your brother… but that fighting style is impossible for you. You may also possess a powerful wind elemental chakra, but your base is an iron elemental type. A strong one too. It was in direct conflict with the prerequisites of this fighting style."

"Then I'll learn fire element! My brother can do it, I can do it too!"

"You'll destroy yourself. Your brother is blessed with the sky. Wind and Fire element since birth, it was as if he was born for it. Fire will destroy your base, iron element. You'll never survive the training process."

Karas gritted his teeth in frustration.

Hanzou sighed. "I understand how you feel. It's not fair. But even if you force yourself to learn the way of Tenjutsu (Sky jutsu) at the very best… you'll be just a caged bird. And that's that." The Amekage sealed the verdict.

"I…" Karas muttered.

Yukiku blinked.

"I… am… NOT… a CAGED BIRD!!" The raven nin roared. And with that he oxidized his wings and other wires holding it in place. A rain of rusted iron fell from the sky. Karas fell to the ground, the large blades which were his wings' feathers were now dulled and corroded by the rust. What's left of the wings was not sufficient to keep him aloft.

Yukiku blinked. She must've hit a soft spot in his opponent's heart when she said caged bird. It was a not so innocent mistake, but she knew she's going to pay dearly for that now that her opponent is pissed.

Karas looked at the pieces of his rusted wings. 'This… this is not… this is not the kind of sky I wish to see…" He gritted his teeth and glared at Yukiku. "Let me show you."

Yukiku grunted and readied herself.

"The real sky." Karas rummaged his dougi and pull out… a white feather.

Yukiku almost stumbled. What's he going to do, tickle her to death?

"STOP, KARAS!!" Shinja cried out in horror, realizing what he's going to do.

Karas blow the Feather away. "Hijutsu, Tenjutsu Ninpou, Shiro no Jigoku (Secret Technique, Sky Jutsu Ninja Arts: White Hell)!"

The 1 feather multiplied to 2, then to 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so forth and so forth. Before long, the feathers were incalculable, filling every corner of the battlefield.

"Ouch!" Yukiku winced and saw a trail of blood just trickled on a burnt gash. 'Burnt?' She looked at the feathers and gasped. The feather just cut and burnt her! In a short work, dozens of cuts and burns filled her skin. The feathers were everywhere. Cutting at her fingers, arms, cheek, everywhere, the more she moves, faster the feathers cut her, but if she remained still, the feathers would continue to multiply and cut her still.

Karas gritted his teeth, concentrating. But beyond that, he's also trying to hold back the excruciating pain he felt within.

Yukiku jumped far away from the range of the feathers. To her horror, the feathers followed her, no matter where she goes. 'What the hell is this jutsu!?'

"This is the jutsu of my brother. Tenjutsu." Karas heaves and pants as he said this, more to himself than to Yukiku. "No matter where the enemy runs it'll follow and kill them in an agonizing burning death. The white hot flame of illusion which marked the hottest flame in form of white feathers. That… is White Hell."

"You don't look so good either…" Yukiku grunted, But she can still notice the tortured agonized look on Karas' face.

"Worry about yourself, onna! I'll kill you before this jutsu kills me!" The raven nin glared at the wounded and surrounded Yukiku. Another image comes to mind.

"Maa… don't be too sad about it." Taka tried to cheer up his groaning twin brother.

Karas was panting. His veins felt like they're going to burst.

"It was good. I would even go so far as to say its destructive power exceeded even mine in comparison."

"But I can't hold it for long… not as long as you!"

"So what? As long as you can defeat your target before it expires!"

The raven nin groaned. The fire element is burning him inside out. Especially since his base element is in direct contrast with the element he's using to the extreme.

Yukiku nearly fell to her knees and used the Head Cleaver as support. She looked at the Raven nin and saw he seem to be close to dying as well. Another slice and burn on her back warrants a groan and forced her to face the ground, which had turned red from all her splattered blood. Just then a sting in her mind followed. A man with spiky white hair came to view. She let go of the Head Cleaver and grasped the Dragon's Tail again. But this time, she took off one of her sealing gloves. "You fight to the point of torturing yourself… I guess I have to respond in kind."

When her unsealed hand touched the Dragon's Tail, the chain sword was instantly enclosed in ice and start growing scales, not dissimilar with Dragon Scales. "Hyoton Hijutsu… HYORINMARU!!" She lashed the chain sword and suddenly an ice Dragon was generated from the tip of the chain sword. Blizzard encircles the dragon's body, which in turn, circle around Yukiku, repelling the white flame feathers. The ice dragon and the white feathers fought for dominance. With one load roar, the Ice Dragon rose to the sky and blasted the feathers away.

Some distance away from that spot, Fujiki paused and looked to the sky. "The second coming of the First Mizukage Hitsugaya Toushiro…"

The Ice Dragon roared and broke apart, revealing Yukiku, now supporting an Angelique Icy Wings. Her hair glowing blue, as are her eyes. One flap of her wings and it was as if there's a blizzard passed by. Karas was frozen on the spot. Beating her wings, Yukiku dashed towards the nailed nin.

Karas roared. What's left of his iron wings glowed red and melted to a red glob of iron. The red hot metal melted the ice and then accumulated on his right hand, forming a large jagged arm with a series of long jagged blades as fingers and claws. Karas groaned, holding the pain as the hot iron sears his flesh.

The two nins collided one another. The red hot black iron claw met with the icy dragon blade and clashed. Amidst the spark, the two looked at each other before began clashing. Blow met blow at a rapid pace. Sparks jumped out with each impact. Yukiku slashed the whip sword upward vertically; Karas blocked it with a horizontal swipe. The raven nin followed with a thrust, Yukiku parried it to her side, followed with a horizontal slash of her own. Karas added an extra force and smash the chain blade to the side. Using the momentum of the impact, Yukiku spin counter clockwise and swing from the other side. The blade headed straight to Karas' head. The nin duck down and avoided the attack just in time. He continued with a dash and a forward thrust. Yukiku changed her slash just in time and blocked the forward thrust. It was powerful enough to push her backwards a few meters back.

Yukiku grunted. The chain whip sword retracted and formed a sword again. Now she grabbed the sword with both hands.

Karas retracted his right clawed hand and prepared his stance.

"DORYAAAAA!!!" Yukiku rushed towards Karas before jumping midway before beating her wings and descend at high speed for a very powerful overhead slash. Karas roared and thrust his clawed arm forward. What Yukiku would not expect was that the blades on Karas' black arm actually extended midway, messing up her timing. Several of Karas long hot blade pierced her body. One stab through her shoulder, two pierced through and beginning to melt her left ice wing, one pierced her thigh, and another one pierced through her stomach, but miraculously no vital organ were pierced. Yukiku coughed up some blood.

Karas pant and heaves. The adrenaline had gone a long way numbing his sense of pain. All bombarding his mind are now more memories of the past.

"Ugh!" Taka punched another nin who made fun of his twin brother.

"Call my brother that one more time… and I'll show you the sky beyond the sky."

The Rain nins, bruised and battered ran off.

Karas grunted. His arm was broken and he had several internal injuries due to him flying too fast, too high, and then landed too hard in a sparring session. The weight of his iron wing broke many of his bones. Made himself a laughing stock afterwards.

"Karas… you overdid it again didn't you?"

Karas turned away.

"The Red Phoenix Maneuver. It's a jutsu that ignores the safety of its user. A suicide jutsu. You're not exactly supposed to use it for ramming through enemy defenses like that… Especially you with your condition being as it is!"

"Because I'm a black iron bird?"

"I'm not saying this to insult you or anything!" Taka's tone grew a tad louder, signifying his annoyance. "I'm worried and Shinja's worried sick. You keep doing this you're gonna kill yourself one day. It is your strongest original move, that's the reason Hanzou-sama bestowed the title Black Sky to you. This move of yours is so powerful, you charred the sky black every time you do it."

"No. Not because of that."


"I'm a black sky… because that's all I see… Every time I fly… I will always be in black iron cage. Flying below you in your shadow. Flying within the limits."


"I want to fly, as you do. Seeing the same sky as you. But why…"

A punch on his aching head was his answer. "Baka. So what if you're a crow and I'm the falcon? We're both birds of a feather and we can fly. Especially you. There was once a betting poll on how long until Hanzou-sama reprimands you personally and literally ground you. Look where you stand now. On the same ground as me, Shinja, and even Juuou. I was blessed. But you… you are determined. If I were in your position I would probably never get this far."

"Stop it. You're just trying to make me feel better-WHOA!!"

Before he knew it, Taka grabbed his back and soared sky high, bringing Karas along.

"O…Oi! What are you doing!?"

"In the end, you are you. And I'm me. We're two different identical brothers. But that's what makes this life interesting. Don't you think? And even if… as they say it, you're a caged bird… then I'll just carry your cage as high as my height. Isn't that what you wanted, na? Karas?"


"Taka… if you're no longer there… who's going to take me to that height?"

"Huh?" Amidst the pain Yukiku blinked in confusion, though she's starting to understand something.

"Hijutsu, Fuuton, Katon, Red Phoenix Manouvre!!" Karas tossed the bleeding Yukiku to the sky. The claw gauntlet in his left and the giant clawed hand on his right melted and formed a wing on what's left of Karas' previous wing. The wings are smaller and shaped differently. There are exhaust vents in place of feathers. Karas screamed both in pain and resolution. The exhaust vent light up and a burst of flame burst out propelling him upward. The flame formed a pair of giant burning wings, in an apparition of a phoenix, just like its name sake.

"KARAS!!" Shinja shrieked in terror.

Karas rammed his flaming form to Yukiku, and she felt as if the flame just went through her and roasted her inside out. A trail of flame can be seen across Yukiku's chest. Karas turned around and ram her again before the trail disappeared. Another trail of fire appeared on her back. Then another on her thigh, a cross trail to her arm, a trail went straight through her stomach. There's no open wound, but the heat were enough to vaporize even the water from Yukiku's wings the instant they melt. However, even for the one on the receiving end, it was obvious to Yukiku that she was not the only one getting burned. At the center of the moving inferno, Karas gritted his teeth as third degree burns appear all over his skin. Eventually, the trails of fire converged and turned into a great conflagration in the sky, like a sun that explodes.

Karas fly upward out of the blast, smoking head to toe. Yukiku also fell down and on a direct collision course to the ground. She landed with a thud. She gasped and wheezes. Using the Dragon's Tail to support herself, she managed to stand up again and look upward. The sky was charred from all the smoke. Karas, with her bright burning wings stood out from the black background and look at her menacingly.

"You're one tough bastard, I give you that, Onna." The flame wing flared up again. "But this is where it ends!" The flame burst and he launched himself to her.

Yukiku gritted her teeth and suddenly an image of someone who look EXACTLY like her flashes in her mind. Another person also stood next to her lookalike and he has an aura of that of a demon. And suddenly she knew what to do. Segmenting the Dragon's Tail, she swing it towards the Head Cleaver, who had been stuck on the ground for a while. The chain blade wrapped itself around the large blade and pulled it towards her. Wielding the two blades at the same time, Yukiku swung the HeadCleaver and managed to parry Karas' final attack.

"I don't know about this height or whatever…"

Karas was shocked to see that his opponent still has that much strength.

"But I'm taking you down!" She swung the Dragon's tail several times in circles over her head and placed it on her back as she jumped towards Karas, preparing for one powerful overhead slash. The Raven Nin knew that the Kunoichi will attack with that sword, and prepared accordingly.

As expected, Yukiku swung the Dragon's Tail forward. Karas welcomed the attack with a stab from the flames of his right wing. The stab went through the sword like butter and pierced Yukiku on vital spot. Much to his surprise, the flames froze and shattered, just as Yukiku's entire figure, along with her background break apart like a mirror. The pieces of the said mirror surrounded the stunned Karas from every direction, effectively encasing him in a circular cage of mirror fragments.

"Hyoton Hijutsu: Makyo Hyosho (Ice Element Secret Art: Demonic Ice Crystal Mirrors)!" Suddenly, Yukiku's reflections appeared on the fragments. And while Karas is still wondering on what's going on, one of the reflection sprang out from the mirror and struck him hard with the Dragon Tail. The reflection moved back to another mirror, and then another reflection from a different mirror lashed out as well and struck him again before hopping back in to another mirror. The pace gets faster; when the next reflection barely returned to the mirror, two more reflections also sprang out of the mirror and slashed him in rapid succession. A barrage of clones, no, reflections rain slashes and stab him from every direction at blinding speed. When the battered Karas tried to resist, he suddenly realized he was already chained on the spot. Layers upon layers of the Dragon-Tail chain sword wrapped up around his arms, legs and chest, the chain swords jutted out from all the floating mirror fragments like a spider web. Yukiku's reflection strapped another binding with each of her connecting blows. A large mirror piece appeared right above him, dispersed, and revealed Yukiku, descending upon him for the final blow with the head-cleaver on a massive vertical slash.

The mirror fragments shattered to sparkling dust as the final attack connects. Yukiku rolled several times before landed on her feet. She stood up and caught the descending Dragon-Tail soon after. Karas stay suspended midair for several second before his wings crumbles away, fell, and he landed with a crash, creating a crater in its wake. Yukiku panted and wheezed. That move took a lot out of her. She approached the crater slowly, dragging her aching feet and saw Karas, lying on the ground, barely conscious. A huge carve can be seen across his chest. But there's no blood, for there's no open wound. Yukiku had used the blunt edge of the head cleaver to inflict a heavy but non lethal wound.

Karas coughed up some blood and know he was beaten. "Why didn't you kill me?"

"You're not my enemy. Didn't we tell you that before we start?" Yukiku grinned. "Besides, she look like she's going to kill me if I kill you. And I don't have the energy to deal with that."

"KARAS!" As if on cue, Shinja had forced herself to stand up despite her injuries and move towards the fallen Crow nin. All dignity forgotten, she caressed Karas' blood soaked cheek. "KARAS! Karas! Are you okay?"


Yukiku looked at Karas and felt she needed to say something more. "I don't know in full detail of your relationship with your brother, but I can tell you two are close. And I can guess the problem too."

"Your point… being?" The crow nin turned to Yukiku again.

"That jutsu I used to beat you? If the sources are to be believed… it was a favorite jutsu of my late twin brother." Yukiku's eyes curved as she grinned, ear to ear.

Karas blinked and stared wide eyed at Yukiku and then his hardened look softened, catching the message. She understood his pain. Moreso than even he could imagine.

"I got things that bother me too. You can't imagine the number of times people put me down just because I was born a girl. But in the end… you are you. Your brother's is himself. But that's why it's interesting, life that is. Ne?"

Karas chuckled painfully. "…I never catch your name."

"Yukiku. My late brother's Haku."

The crow nin nodded. "For ridiculing you throughout our fight… and insulting your gender… I'm sorry, Yukiku."

The girl grinned understandingly. "What kind of moron called you a caged bird in the first place anyway? You flew didn't you?"

Yukiku vs. Karas: Yukiku Wins.


Round 3:

Naruto VS. Juuou

Unpredictable indeed

"That was a close call. Yukiku you're alright?" Neji drag himself up. He saw Yukiku was standing, using her sword as a support.

"Peachy. And I'm half raw, and breathing, which is a good thing. What about you?"

"I'm just half dead. Well done though. You fare better than I did."

"Right. You've seen Naruto?"

"No. I was too transfixed on my own fight. But I saw some brief scenes… it's a tough fight." Neji remembered he saw Naruto in a cross counter with the big guy.

"Yeah. But… I'm not too worried." Yukiku's reasoning is not baseless. Naruto was always the strongest powerhouse of the three of them. He just couldn't imagine someone that strong can actually lose.

"That makes two of us. It's Naruto we're talking about here. The no. 1 most unpredictable ninja in Konoha. What could go wrong?"

Neji's comment was answered when something, or someone, had just been sent flying straight past between them and crashed through several trees before landed on a rock, shattering it to dust. Neji and Yukiku's eyes widened and looked at the person lying half dead on the rock pieces. As the dust cleared, their jaw dropped.

Konoha most Unpredictable Ninja indeed.

Lying unconscious on top of the pile of rocks and dust is Naruto, beaten halfway to hell with the enormous Juuou's feet stepping on his swollen chest. The giant was spotless, barely a few scratch. And he stood there, roaring his victory to the sky.

Naruto Vs. Juuou: Naruto, soundly beaten. Juuou Wins.