Chapter 2

Training Under Akume

The genin were greeted by their sensei and left the lecture hall, most going to the nearby classrooms to become acquainted and go over the basics. Akume remained at the front of the room, head bowed. Zaigon observed this, and took notes, keeping his eye on the other four ninja in the room as well, writing down bits of information from the tutor-nins conversation. The tutor-nin picked up their notes and left the room, leaving the four of them alone.

Rukarisu simply stared at Akume, waiting for his sensei to do something. Kuto was terrified. He looked around nervously, tapping his leg. He was in a room with the most deadly jounin of the village and the most intimidating genin of the village, and this Zaigon guy was nowhere to be found. Kuto was about to go made and training hadn't even begun yet.

Still Akume stood, head bowed. His hair was much like that of Zaigons clone, black and fallen to his chin. A large black robe covered his body, the collar raised to his chin. Looking up, blood red eyes shot open. His cracked lips remained still beneath his crooked nose, the result of multiple breaks. His face, hidden in places by strands of hair, was tan and covered in scars.

Slowly he made his way down the isle. He didn't seem to walk, but float like a ghost beneath his robe. He stopped beside Kutos row. Turning his head, his eyes pierced through the trembling boy.

"Scared?" Akume asked, his voice dark but emotionless.

"Y-yes" Kuto choked.

"Good" Akume replied, willing to overlook this instance of forgotten respect. Next time the word "sensei" was left out there would be consequences. Continuing up the hall, he stopped in the doorway "Follow, if you so desire. It makes no difference to me" with that he left the room.

At once, Rukarisu stood, silently making his way down the hall, and disappeared through the door. After finishing a few notes, Zaigon emerged from the shadows, leaving the room as well. Kuto scrambled to his feet, not wanting to be left behind. He didn't want to spend another moment with the barbarian or the jounin, but the thought of disrespecting them, which would lead to anger, made the decision for him.

Zaigon could already see this was going to be an interesting next few years. Akume had already scared Kuto near to death. Zaigon could understand a sensei testing his genin, but Akume hadn't even done anything but say a few words and move. Akume knew a million ways to intimidate and terrorize his opponents, and he hadn't tried any of them yet. Kuto wasn't going to last at this rate.

Akume was a member of the ANBU Black Ops, as well as a hunter-nin. He was used to interrogation and completing impossible missions. His passion was torturing and slaying those who opposed the village. He was not the sensei type. He was most likely assigned this task against his will to see just how well he could train genin, to see if he could shape them into ninja as good as he. It was obvious he didn't want to be here. He stepped outside the academy, and the genin quickly caught up.

"Zaigon Xandros, The Shadow" he said.

"Yes, Akume-sensei?" Zaigon asked.

"That wasn't a question" Akume responded, taking a few steps away from the trio and turning to look towards them "You have stationed a clone one look out. Very clever. Capable of alerting as well as observing. Good. Good. Get rid of it"

At the mention of clones, Kuto looked about, but could not see one. There was nothing but the academy, the four of them, trees and a path, buildings about fifty feet away, but none of the bystanders resembled Zaigon. Following the sensei's words, a notebook was thrown from the tree, and Zaigon quickly scanned it.

"Now!" Akume ordered.

Zaigon dismissed the clone. The notepad had little important information it in, so Zaigon did not mind letting it vanish. Had there been anything important, he may have objected, even to Akume.

"Hello. I am" Rukarisu began, but Akume quickly interrupted.

"Did I ask you to speak?" he spat "You will speak when spoken to and only when spoken to, unless you are confused about any of my instructons. Your introductions are a waste of breath. I know who you are. Rukarisu Kazekishu. Current holder of the staff of Kazekishu and secret practitioner of the jutsu's of the sand village"

At that, Rukarisu withdrew himself. This was the first time someone had mentioned the training his parents gave him, and the training he practiced on his own for the past six years. He didn't think anyone knew of it. He had been told not to let anyone know. Seeing the barbarian, as Kuto saw him, show emotion allowed Kuto to relax, if only somewhat.

"Surprised? Nothing gets past the ANBU Black Ops. Your parents and I were not on very good terms, I suggest you don't follow their paths" he warned before turning in the direction of Kuto. "Zusukuto Subetabuyou, heir to the Subetabuyou sword technique and the Daichi Koutai. That is a useful technique, I suggest you learn to use it. A Kekkei Genkai that cannot be used effectively is worthless, and the failed ninja should be slaughtered" he scowled before turning to Zaigon.

"Zaigon Xandros. The adopted son of Ketaik. You are nothing like him, good. He's too soft. Prefers not to kill his opponents. You're prepared to kill, are you not?" he asked.

"I am, Akume-sensei" Zaigon answered.

"Good. That is my first rule. You must never hold back, never be unwilling to kill. Holding back will result in your death unless you do so carefully and have it well planned to gauge the skills of an opponent. I am going to train you. Not because I was ordered to, but because Konoha needs strong ninjas Our jounin have become soft, lazy. It makes me sick. We are the elite, we are the military. There is no room for laziness, no room for easy training sessions. I am a group leader for the ANBU Black Ops and I will train you as I train my men. Some would say that it is insane, some would say it would kill a genin. I say, let's give it a shot. From this point on, you will abide by my rules and obey my commands. Training will begin, now! Meet me at the training grounds pronto" with a hand sign he vanished.

"He's insane. Let's go. I don't know about you guys, but I really don't want to keep that guy waiting" Kuto said as he began to move in the direction of the training grounds.

"Wait" Zaigon ordered as he thrust his arm out even with Kuto's chest, keeping him from advancing. "Akume-sensei isn't going to just let us walk to the training ground. This has to be some sort of test"

"I was thinking the same" Rukarisu added.

"Test or not, he's waiting at the training grounds, and we can take on anything he throws at us. I mean, it's not like he's going to try to kill us or anything, right?" Kuto asked with a laugh, which was quickly replaced by a look of concern "right?" he repeated.

"No. He wouldn't blatantly kill three genin. If you want to go ahead, be my guest" Zaigon said, watching as Kuto jogged away.

"It wasn't very smart to let him run off like that. What if Akume had traps set up? Kuto doesn't seem smart enough to detect them, nor good enough to avoid them when sprung" Rukarisu commented.

"Rukarisu. If I am right, which I usually am, Akume-sensei will start with a genjutsu. I do not doubt he will put up traps, probably a few transformed or non-transformed clones later, perhaps a physical obstacle or two, but he would start with a genjutsu" Zaigon spoke, as if he was positive this was how things would play out.

"Why would he?" Rukarisu asked. This genin seemed to know a lot about their sensei, or at least acted like he did, but Rukarisu could not see the logic in Zaigons argument. Akume was an elite, even among the ANBU Black Ops. He didn't want to be there, and he wishes to train the next generation of himself, which Kuto obviously wasn't cut out for. If he had used genjutsu, they would likely be dead now or soon, and if Akume wanted to kill them he would find another way to do it.

"Akume-sensei is an elite ninja, even as far a jounin go. He works with the ANBU Black Ops, especially enjoying the interrogation unit. He loves genjutsu. It tests a mans will, their mental strength and physical endurance, a great way to break a ninja. I don't think he would try to crush the soul of a genin, but genjutsu can also be used to gauge all the attributes of a ninja, depending on how long the ninja lasts. My guess is that he used Kori Shinchuu no Jutsu, the Sly Mind Affect Jutsu" Zaigon explained.

Taking a few moments to think this information over, Rukarisu found the logic involved. It all clicked, each reason backed. He could learn much from this genin, and he was glad to have Zaigon on his side. Someone with intelligence and a knowledge of all things related to ninja. His last group was not so well off.

"If I am correct, then he expected us to run around in circles for hours and not realize we were passing the same buildings, or that the training grounds were suddenly hours away. He must have known Kuto would be fooled by such tricks, everyone knows that Kuto would fall for such tricks. He may have even expected you to fall for it for a while, no offense intended. But he must have known I would be expecting it" Zaigon continued "And, if I am correct, Kuto should be arriving right about, now" At that moment, Kuto rounded the corner.

"Hello Kuto" Zaigon said as he turned to face the genin, who had stopped. He now looked blankly at the two of them before looking behind him, and back at his teammates.

"But. Uh. And. You. Me" he stuttered before coming to a sudden realization. "I see. This is one of those tests Zaigon was talking about. Good one, sensei. Transforming yourself and a clone into my teammates to make me believe I hadn't gone anywhere. Almost fell for it. Guess I passed, huh?"

"Kuto, you haven't gone anywhere!" Rukarisu stated.

"Right. Well, I'll see you at the training grounds Akume-sensei" Kuto said as he began to walk towards the training grounds he believed to be a short distance away.

"Kuto, the academy is right there, you went in a circle." Zaigon explained, pointing at the academy fifty feet away.

Stopping again Kuto turned, pulling all the elements together. "Oh" he said after a short while. "I know this village like the back of my hand, I couldn't have gone in circles!" he exclaimed.

"Genjutsu" was Zaigons simple response.

"So, what do we do now?" Rukarisu asked. If Kuto walked in a circle, what was keeping them from doing the same if they tried to move now?

"We continue on. The only way to break this genjutsu is to overpower Akume-sensei's chakra or have an external force aid us, or to have Akume-sensei release it. I'm assuming he's been watching us. Hopefully we passed his test and he'll let us continue" Zaigon said.

"I see. Shall we?" Rukarisu asked, making his way towards the training grounds. He couldn't help smiling with Zaigon at the obvious flaws in his logic regarding the academy that Kuto was too gullible to notice.

"So, what now?" Kuto asked. This sensei would try more then one way of testing them, that much he knew. He would not have only one test. What it was, he couldn't guess.

"Traps" Zaigon stated nonchalantly "I'm expecting dozens of them"

"Okay" Kuto said uneasily. After a few moments and no traps, he diverted his attention to Rukarisu "Hey, Rukarisu" he called.

"What?" Rukarisu asked, his focus on the ground and walls around him, searching for traps.

"Can I call you something else?"

"Why?"

"Because Rukarisu is too long to say. If we're on a mission and we're under attack, by the time I yell 'look out Rukarisu!' you'll be hit"

"No. By the time you yell 'look out Rukarisu!' I'd have finished my opponent and taken out the one you weren't paying attention to. Besides, you can't say anything that is much shorter then Rukarisu"

"Plus, genin aren't assigned on any dangerous missions. We'll be walking dogs and painting houses" Zaigon said, entering the conversation.

"Are you kidding me!" Kuto cried. The thought of washing dogs and painting houses for months did not appeal to him.

"No" Zaigon said.

"Well, that's depressing. So, can I call you something shorter, like Ruka?" Kuto asked.

"Call me what you will, as long as I'll respond to it" Rukarisu said with a wave of his hand.

"Can I call you cuddles?" Kuto laughed. It seemed he had lightened up since leaving orientation. Finding out that his sensei wouldn't kill him and his teammates wouldn't destroy him allowed him to relax

"No"

"Then Ruka it is" Kuto said, a smile plastered on his face.

"The traps are approaching, and I actually like the name Ruka. Jump" Zaigon placed himself in the conversation once again. The three shinobi jumped, avoiding a trip wire that had been strung in their path.

"A name is a name. We will be assigned code names when we are on missions as jounin. As long as it is only my first name, and as long as I'll respond to it, it's fine. Kuto, trap left" Rukarisu said, looking ahead while Kuto moved slightly to the right to avoid the trap.

"So, what's your guys deal?" Kuto asked, his eyes scanning the ground ahead of them for traps "You graduated a few years ago, so I don't know you. What are you guys good at?" Zaigon, trap right"

"Well I… Wait, there is no trap to my right" Zaigon said, scanning for anything he may have missed, but he saw nothing to his right. "You never learned to detect traps?" he asked, his voice emotionless despite the fact that he was a bit disappointed in is teammate.

"Well, no" Kuto admitted. His eyes lifted from the ground and instead looked forward. They knew now that he could not detect traps, no point in trying to pretend that he could.

"Kuto, if you don't have anything intelligent to say then don't say anything. Ruka, trap center" Zaigon scolded, despite the fact that his voice did not change in volume or pitch.

"Okay, okay, I get it. But what is your guys deal?" Kuto asked, curious about the power his teammates may or may not possess.

"To put it simply, I use mostly ninjutsu and my staff, Kuto trap right. As Akume-sensei made known, I do know numerous jutsu from the sand village, mostly ninjutsu, but that should stay between us" he threatened "I was in a group, but lets just say that we didn't get along too well so we split. I should have been a chunnin three years ago, or so my old sensei said. Zaigon, trap center"

"I was just never assigned to a group" Zaigon began "I trained under Ketaik-sensei for two years, Kuto trap center, before taking part in this genin orientation. Basically, I just use academy level jutsu's on an advanced scale. Duck"

"Okay, cool" Kuto said, trying to retain the information. "So, you guys want to hear about me?" he asked, expecting his teammates to be interested in his story.

"No" Zaigon and Ruka said in unison.

"Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. I, woah!" Kuto exclaimed as he was flung through the air by a rope that gripped his ankle. A moment later he hung upside down from a pole protruding from a nearby building.

"Think we should have told him?" Zaigon asked as he stopped to observe his swaying teammate.

"Nah" Ruka replied.

As they looked up to their teammate, they became aware of the presence of a number of other figures. A dozen, at least.

"Seventeen" Zaigon said as he turned his back to the wall Kuto hung from. With kunai in hand he prepared to strike. Ruka drew his staff, extending it to its full height and forming a 70 degree angle with Zaigon. Kuto drew his sword and sliced the rope that held him. Flipping to the ground he landed a crouch, both swords drawn, completing the triangle.

"I say we even the odds" Zaigon proposed.

"Alright" Ruka stated, stabbing his staff into the dirt at his feet. After a hand sign and a few words he picked up his staff, standing beside three of himself, weapons ready.

"Okay. Clone Justsu!" Kuto cried. With a few hand signs he was engulfed in smoke. When the smoke cleared, Kuto stood beside himself. "Um, yeah. I wasn't really paying attention during that lesson" he said, scratching the back of his head.

"We can see that. Looks like I'll have to make us equal. Clone Jutsu" Zaigon said. Instantly he was surrounded by himself. Ten clones. Kunai in hand, they prepared to attack, all except for Zaigon, who placed his own kunai back into their pouches.

"Ten?" Kuto asked in disbelief. He had never seen a genin create ten clones of himself. Five at the most, but never ten. He couldn't recall ever seeing a chunnin summon ten clones, although he hadn't been around many chunnin, and when in the company of jounin they were never in combat.

"Like I said, I use academy level jutsu's on a higher scale" Zaigon stated. You havn't seen anything yet, he thought. Looking around, he saw their opponents. Ruffians, by the looks of them. Clones of Akume. Descending from rooftops, emerging from alleyways. He was the first to move. His clones charged their opponents, kunai flying. After his clones clashed weapons with their opponents, the others charged. Zaigon, on the other hand, had jumped backwards and onto the pole Kuto had hung from moments earlier.

Taking a few deep breaths he stepped backwards and onto the roof of the structure. He could feel his chakra returning at an immense rate, as if he had never brought forth the clones. According to his research, the clone jutsu distributed a ninjas chakra evenly throughout the original and the clones. When the clones were destroyed or dismissed the ninja would be exhausted from the amount of chakra used. Zaigon seemed to be an exception. Standing on rooftop he saw the battle going smoothly, something he didn't like. Akume was supposed to be testing them. This was no test. The clones were dropping like flies. Something wasn't right here.

"Hey, are you just gunna stand there all day?" Kuto asked from the fray beneath, swinging his sword up to meet the kunai of his opponent.

Usually Zaigon would stay away from a battle, or his opponent, in order to examine them and analyze them. In this case, he didn't need to. They were clones, all of them. Their strengths were all of Akume's, and their weaknesses were being hit. There was nothing more he could analyze, already knowing Akume's fighting style, and noting that the clones were not using any jutsu, simply hand to hand and weapon combat. At the rate the clones were dropping, Akume wasn't trying in the slightest.

"Clone justu" Zaigon whispered, watching as ten additional clones appeared around him. With a nod at each other they dispersed, one Zaigon leaping down and into the battle while ten leapt across rooftops and fell into alleyways. As he hit the ground he joined the ranks of his clones in battle. However, he did not stay idle long. The eleven Zaigons formed a line in the center of the battlefield. They jumped back in unison, drawing shuriken as they did so. "Dual Shadow Shuriken Jutsu!" They cried, releasing their projectiles. The weapons hit their mark, if not the first then the second hidden in the shadow of the first. The shuriken stricken clones disappeared, leaving the seventeen allies alone.

"All right Zaigon" Kuto said, both of them sheathing their swords.

"Don't celebrate yet, that was too easy" Zaigon stated, the clones keeping their kunai raised as they scanned the area for more enemies. Sure enough, their gaze was met with more clones, shifting through the wall of a nearby structure. With weapons ready, the trio and clones prepared to battle.

"Let my clones handle this" Zaigon said. Ten clones made their way to the only ten who had shifted through the wall. With kunai in hand they moved. However after a number of steps it became obvious that the clones had no intention of attacking, for their arms remained at their sides and their strides were long. When the Zaigons were within striking distance, their opponents moves, aiming to end the Zaigons in one direct stab to the heart.

With kunai wedged into their chests, the Zaigons disappeared in a puff of smoke. However, wooden logs filled the empty space where their bodies once were, a substitution justsu. Spinning, the Akume clones raised their weapons to block the attacks sent by Zaigon's clones. At that moment the ten clones who had performed the substitution justu fell from the sky, driving their kunai into the shoulders of the Akume clones.

"Twenty clones? That's insane" Kuto exclaimed. He could not maintain his single clone, and it had vanished as soon as the enemies began shifting through the walls.

"That's impressive. I can barely keep these three" Ruka stated.

"Then get rid of them" Zaigon ordered. With that his clones turned and launched a wave of shuriken at the trio. The shuriken skimmed their shoulders of their allies, some of who were disappearing in puffs of smoke anyway, and stuck into the foreheads of the Akume clones behind them. "My clones have that side covered, we'll take this side" he finished, flipping a kunai in his hand.

"I want first attack" Ruka called, smashing his staff into the ground, forcing a wall of dirt and dust to rise. When it fell, Ruka was gone. "Body Flicker Jutsu!" He cried, swinging his staff from behind the clones. He took out five, the number of clones that could fit in the length of his staff. The remaining clones turned towards this newcomer, Ruka.

"Guess it's my turn" Kuto said with a smile. Raising his sword, he slashed it straight down and into the ground. A large wave of earth broke its way through in a line towards the clones. While the wave flowed, Kuto vanished, sinking into the ground beneath him. The wave smashed into the clones closest to Ruka, causing them to fly backwards before vanishing. Kuto appeared where the wave ended, spinning and slashing into the closest clone. Pivoting, he cut through another opponent before jumping to stand beside Ruka.

Ruka had picked up his staff, spinning it in a small circle that slowly grew faster until the staff was barely visible. At this speed Ruka could not move forward, but because of his size it could not move him either. The clones took this time to attack. Weapons flew, only to be blown away in the wind of the spinning staff. Lunging forward, a clone was thrown back into a number of its own kind.

Kuto decided that it was time to finish the clones off, now that Ruka had them at bay. Unsheathing a sword, he launched it at the group of remaining clones. "Clone Jutsu!" he cried. His sword was suddenly accompanied by a dozen others, flying a true path into the clones.

"So, you missed that day of training, huh?" Ruka asked with a laugh as he slowed his staff. Once it was manageable he stopped it, leaning on it as he watched Zaigons clones finish off the rest of Akumes clones.

"I can't duplicate large things, Okay!" Kuto complained.

"Look here, Kuto actually did something" Zaigon laughed as a number of himself disappeared around him, the opposing clones vanquished.

"If it's fun, I'll do it. And that was fun" Kuto said, grabbing his sword from the wall of a structure and sheathing it.

"I'll keep that in mind. Akume-sensei may have finished his tests, he may not be. He has a few original tests he could try still. Our bodies are weakened, our chakra isn't at its best, or it should be by this point. He could put us through any of the previous obstacles, and we may find ourselves in some trouble" Zaigon said as the group continued towards the training ground. They kept their eyes open. Scanning the ground for traps, the walls for the repetition of buildings, and the roofs for enemies.

"So Zaigon, what's with you and knowing everything?" Kuto asked as they moved, keeping his eyes open for signs of enemies.

"What do you mean?" Zaigon asked. By this point his chakra had near replenished, and if there was to be another wave of enemies he would be prepared.

"I mean you know everything" Kuto said.

"And?" Zaigon asked, not getting the point Kuto was getting at, or what he was asking for that matter.

"Why? All the stuff you've said today, It's more then I've heard since leaving the academy, it's more then I'm used to hearing in the academy"

"Well then you should have paid more attention during your time at the academy, a lot of what I said was taught there. The rest I got from observing people"

"So, you stalk people?"

"No. I usually don't do most of the observing. I send my clones out to gather information. Never into homes or other private residence, and they take notes. I spend my days training and occasionally taking notes, and my notes copying the clones notes. My information comes from observing in public places, not stalking" Zaigon explained.

"You can handle stationed clones and training at the same time? How?" Ruka asked. It seemed very unlikely that one could train and maintain numerous active clones at the same time for an extended amount of time. Zaigon made it sound like he did it all day.

"I'm not sure myself. I haven't found any theories that match, and I have a few of my own, but with no solid evidence. What I do know is that I can use chakra all day, so to speak"

"Perhaps you are a kin of Raiden" Ruka proposed. It would make sense if that were the case. Raiden converted energy from the sun and moon, the stars and the like into chakra, Zaigon could do the same.

"No. I thought that for a time as well. I did my research, all members living and deceased are accounted for, and I have yet to find any rumors or hints that there are any other members of the Tentoukigen clan"

"Enough with the chakra talk. You've got insane endurance, end of story. You never answered my question" Kuto interrupted.

"Why do I know so much?" Zaigon restated the question, taking a few moments to think it over "for a number of reasons I guess. A tutor-nin is the only father I've ever known. This chakra endurance allows me more time to study. I find it better to do something productive in my free time instead of wasting it. Plus, knowledge is the most powerful power on the planet"

"Now you sound like a tutor-nin. Sorry I asked. Hey, look, there's the grounds!" Kuto cried, pointing to the forest before them.

"And there's Akume-sensei" Ruka commented, motioning towards a tree at the end of the clearing. The shade of this tree concealed their sensei.

As they approached, Akume stepped forward. "Not bad. You show some obvious skill in team work. Zaigon and Ruka, you show potential. Kuto, I can't say I expected much of you, but I expected more. If this is the latest generation of genin, I fear for the future of the village. I assume I should congratulate you on reaching the training ground, but I won't. This isn't the academy. You don't get rewarded for doing as you were instructed. And, unlike the academy, you cannot afford to let your guard down"

With that, three Akume clones emerged from the trees, taking position around the treo. Within moments, Ruka had his staff out and extended, and an angered Kuto had his swords drawn.

"I didn't" Zaigon said. From the shadows of the forest flashed for figures. In a moment they had taken position, a kunai at the neck of the four Akume. Zaigon clones.

"Clones? When did you make those?" Ruka asked, genuinely confused. He had been alongside Zaigon since they had left the academy. He had watched Zaigon, and knew that he had only made twenty clones, clones which he watched vanish.

"Confidence is key, but overconfidence can lead to false security and eventually your death" Akume advised as four additional Akume clones were immediately at the necks of the Zaigon clones.

"This is an exception" Zaigon stated as four of his own clones were at the throat of Akume's clones.

"Do you always keep this many clones with you?" Akume asked as four of his clones rushed to Zaigons.

"Do you?" Zaigon asked as his clones followed step in this dance.

"I must say I was not expecting this from a genin. I've depleted my clones, I only made a dozen. Call off your clones, you've done well" Akume instructed. With that Zaigon waved his hand, and his clones disappeared in puffs of smoke. "I told you not to let your guard down" Akume said as his clones charged the treo.

"I didn't" one of the Akume clones said as he changed direction, pushing a kunai to the throat of Akume. The transformation vanished to reveal Zaigon.

"Impressive" Akume said as he disappeared in a puff of smoke, his clones vanishing with him. Leaving a Zaigon alone and a Zaigon in a trio.

A shuriken flew from one of the many trees that surrounded the clearing, piercing the lone Zaigon, who vanished in a puff of smoke. A figure leapt from the tree, landing a back flip in the center of the clearing. "You see, not everything is as it appears" Akume said, throwing three shuriken at the trio. The shuriken were easily avoided, a return kunai being launched at the lone figure.

Akume easily avoided the kunai, which soon changed form, the Zaigon in the trio vanishing in a puff of smoke, the real Zaigon standing where the kunai had landed, another kunai at the neck of his sensei "I know, Akume-sensei"

"Very Impressive. If I didn't know a hundred ways to kill you before the blade struck I'd be dead" Akume said nonchalantly, as if having a kunai to his neck was something he experienced on a daily basis. If he was an average jounin, it probably was, but Zaigon doubted that this mans life was in danger all that often.

"Thank you, Akume-sensei" Zaigon said, keeping the kunai pressed against his neck. He had not created any more clones, having to at last resort to himself, he was not about to let his guard down.

"No more. This has lasted too long. I have a meeting to attend. Rukarisu, I assume you are familiar with the advanced taijutsu exercises"

"Yes, sensei"

"You will lead instruction. Advanced taijutsu exercised, three time. After, you may all leave for the day. I shall see you all bright and early tomorrow morning" at that, Akume vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving Zaigon with a kunai pressed against a log.

"Zaigon. That was insane. I mean, that was tense. But how?" Kuto asked, all his previous anger having been replaced with confusion and awe, mostly confusion.

"You were never with us, were you Zaigon?" Ruka asked. He could not think of another explanation to this situation.

"No, I was. At the fight I jumped into an alleyway with my clones, letting one of my clones join the battle with you two. Once my second set of clones jumped into the battle I made two more and kept my distance. I noticed one of Akume-sensei's clones keeping an eye on us, so I made a few more and stayed low until now" Zaigon explained.

"Why are you a genin? I've seen chunnin with less skill then you" Kuto asked, still not entirely sure he was understanding what was going on.

"Hopefully we won't be for long. The next exam is in five months" Zaigon stated.

"That's too long for me. But talking isn't going to do much. I have stuff to do, so let's focus on the task at hand. I want to go home. What are these advanced taijutsu exercises?" Kuto asked, ready to go relax.

"Jounin level exercises. I used to do a lower version with my old sensei. One set will leave you sore for a week, three sets is likely to kill us" Ruka said, not wanting to contemplate three sets of exercises.

"I like my life, thank you" Kuto said, ready to leave here and now.

"Akume won't when he hears you disobeyed orders" Zaigon warned.

"Fine." Kuto complained "What's his problem anyway" he asked ashe began his workout, copying Ruka. Squats, certainly not his favorite thing to do.

"You really want to know?" Zaigon asked. His chakra had been slowly replenishing itself. There was no way he was going to recover from that display tonight, and after these exercises were done he'd be physically exhausted as well, but he assumed it was all part of Akume's training.

"Yeah" Kuto breathed between squats.

"I'm quite interested in hearing his story as well" Ruka added.

"Fine, I'll tell you"