Nox Noctis Ingredior
13 Years after Kyuubi Attack
1:45AM, Somewhere in Konohagakure
There was a clear night sky over Konoha, the stars twinkling brightly, the crescent moon smiling down at the earth, and the cool breeze drifting through the air, was a sure sign of good fortune for the Hidden Leaf Village. However, on this strand of air, came the scent of foreboding, as a dark figure could be seen leaping across the village rooftops towards the very edge of the village area nearest the mountains. His form silhouetted the sky, but nobody took notice. Even for those walking around the streets thought it was just a bird.
The relatively small figure leapt from one roof to another effortlessly, before stopping short of a series of houses bordering a small river weaving through this area. His eyes fell upon the bridge arching over it and, marking the next series of houses carefully, leapt forward, skipping on the bridge's railing and up onto the next series of roves.
He traveled for another few hundred meters before becoming perched on the edge of another roof. Hidden away in the shadows, the young figure then glared down towards the entrance of what looked to be an estate built into the cliff-side of the Hokage Mountains. The building was nothing too fancy or too dull. It had a nice, wide open garden up front with plenty of foliage, and a perimeter fence surrounding the garden. To further the figure's observations, he saw that there were at least a dozen guards outside, and judging from the masks and black attire, he could tell they were ROOT members.
The figure watching them was short, wearing black trousers and sandals, a ninja mesh top and over that a black jacket with a white fur collar, a hood, and it was zipped up. It also had a red flame pattern along the bottom rim, and the hood concealed the man's face almost completely. Even if the hood were to fall away, it would be useless to see his face, since he was wearing an ANBU mask that was red on one side and white on the other, completely covering his face. He also had a huge scroll tied to his back, and several more slipped into a bandoleer he wore around his waste. Furthermore, the man covered his entire outfit with a black cloak. To him, it was the perfect mask for his identity.
Looking around where he was crouched, perched on the very edge of the roof, he began taking closer looks at the perimeter defenses and building. He saw from where he sat perched abut 500 yards out, that the fence was tagged with paper, indicating that the fence was rigged to detect anyone to set foot across it, and rigged to sound off alarms. He also noticed that the electric wires running into the building had tags hanging from them, as were the poles, and from closer inspection, a lot of the high points that could gain access to the roof of the building were rigged too.
After studying the perimeter fencing, he then began to analyze the guards patrolling the area. For several nights now he had been watching the guards move in and out on a regular basis, and had gotten a full report on their activities. After watching for a few minutes, he knew exactly how the schedule would run, and where the holes were. Knowing that this was his only chance to enter the vicinity and escape perfectly without anybody catching him, he knew he couldn't miss this opportunity. After all, this was a particularly important night.
Nodding, the boy held his right hand up to his mouth, and from his thumb he bit down on it, drawing blood. Padding his fingertips with it, coating them in red, he placed it on the roof space in front of him, and with a puff of smoke, a falcon appeared. The summoned animal, quiet, looked around at its summoner and bowed to him. An exchange of silent words engaged them, with the figure reaching into his pouch behind him and pulled out a paper tag. Slapping it onto the stomach of the falcon, he then bid it to be on its way, knowing it knew what to do.
The falcon bowed and then took off, taking flight over the establishment. It swooped right overt the fence, seeing that it didn't set off any alarms, before taking flight higher into the sky. Hovering near the most foliated areas, it let out a quick screech.
The young male waiting on the rooftops nodded and, forming a hand-sign, disappeared with a puff of smoke. A split second later, another puff of smoke appeared, not on the roof, but under the very seal that was placed on the airborne falcon. The young assassin appeared out of the smoke, free falling and performing a few flips, before diving straight into the waiting bushes below.
A pair of guards close the entrance of the gate caught wind of the rustling in the bushes to their left and glanced at each other.
"Go check that out," one of the masked ROOT guards said. His partner nodded and walked over, drawing his sword from his sheath behind him.
The dispatched guard disappeared into the darkness of the edge of the garden, stepping out of the light of the lamps and out of his partner's sight. Reaching the source of the supposed rustling, the ROOT ninja then began to probe the bushes one after the other. He forced aside vines and cut away at the branches obscuring his view, looking around through the dark and thick undergrowth for any signs of life. It was then, just as he was leaning in to take a closer look at a 'peculiar' looking flower, it suddenly shot out at him with a hand, striking at his neck and pulling him in sharply and soundlessly. The only sound was the rustling of more bushes.
The guard's comrade standing at the gate looked over when he heard the sudden sharp rustle of bushes and stepped forward. Unable to see anything, the guard then called for back-up. Three more showed up, and he pointed towards the bushes and trees.
"Go find Eagle! We might have a situation."
The guards nodded and drew their swords, rushing into the bushes. The guard watched from the sidelines through the dark, listening and watching for any signs of life. It was then, out of the darkness, he heard a light clang of a blade and suddenly a grunt, signaling trouble. The ROOT guard stepped back and drew his sword out; he reached up to his headpiece and growled.
"Blast it…" But before he could do anything else, a shuriken shot out of nowhere, and knocked his head piece clear out of his ear, at the same time scarring his mask. He grunted in shock and was about to shout out for help, but was silenced. All he heard was a thud and his vision go blurry, and he felt a seeping, warm sensation escaping his neck. He reached up to his throat, unable to breathe as his own blood seeped out of the wound in his windpipe. Within seconds, he fell to the ground, only to be caught and dragged into the shadows by the assassin crouching behind him.
With the bodies dealt with, the short, yet well-rehearsed assassin then began closing in on the building wedged into the cliff side. Reaching the edge of the garden close to the entrance, he began counting the remaining guards. There were seven left, and he knew that he had to take them all out if he had a chance of escaping.
Spotting one closing in on his position, he crouched further into the bushes, flicking his wrist. It was with that a blade shot-out from under his right jacket's sleeve, reflecting a bit of the light from its shine.
The guard drew closer…
Inside the estate hidden in the mountain, underneath a glass roof, there was a round, conference room of sorts. The room consisted of a red and green trademark design, with large pillars, three floors with walkways visible, and on the ground floor, an oak made, large round table with twelve seats. Most of these seats were empty, and the number of guards there were numbered to around thirteen at the most, plenty enough for the three figures sitting at this round table. One of them sat in the upper-class seat, reserved for the head of this particular organization. He wore white and black robes, his right arm in a sling and a majority of his face and head wrapped in white bandages. Furthermore, as understandable for his age, the man also had a walking stick, and the only working side of his body was his left side. The two other people sitting at the table in seats across from each other were the two of the most recognized of the village elders, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane, who were looking upon the head of ROOT with great intent.
"Well, Danzo," the elder Homura began, "What do you plan to do with the container of the Kyuubi?"
"He is, after all, an important asset to this village…" Koharu stated.
"His isolation from the villagers should help you to be able to acquire him from the Hokage's circle."
"The people will hail you as the hero of Konohagakure for finishing off the Yondaime's handiwork, only in reality; you will be taking the little demon under your wing and train him to become the weapon he is supposed to be."
"Getting rid of the child will be easy. Its just pasting the blame on the person that is the problem…"
The leader, designated Danzo, lowered his head as he took the elders words to heat. However, he disregarded their words for the time being and sighed. "The Hokage constantly keeps an annoyingly close watch on the boy. He's even gone as far as to paste not only Anko Mitarashi on the boy's watch, but also Iruka Umino as well as extra protection…"
"Iruka poses no threat to the progress of this village," Koharu stated. "He is but a pawn, just like the other Chunin…"
"It's Anko Mitarashi that's the problem…" Homura finished.
Danzo nodded his head. "Unfortunately, I cannot make a move to get the boy, or I'll be caught. Hiruzen Sarutobi has already got enough eyes on me as it is. I'm assuming he's taken into account some of the rumors floating around the top…"
"Please, define 'rumors'…?" Koharu queried.
"As in, the situation back during the war in Amegakure… when I attempted to recruit the assistance of Hanzo…"
"Ahh… that one…" Koharu said, looking over at Homura.
"It's a shame though," Danzo said, lowering his head. "Those mongrel rebels are causing too many problems for him. Now we barely hear from Amegakure at all…"
"What of the info detail from your spy?" Koharu asked.
"Unfortunately, I have not heard from him since. All contact with him has been severed," Danzo said, looking up with a grim look. "There is the possibility that he has been either captured or killed. However, whether my spy is dead or not is of little consequence. There is something going on in Amegakure, and I intend to find out what it is."
"Could it possibly be civil war related? Last I heard Hanzo and his forces were involved in a war with the populace…"
"Perhaps," Danzo said calmly. "But there has been little or no chatter to support this. Amegakure's borders are a strict no-go-zone. Completely sealed off…"
"But what of your plans for the Kyuubi?" Homura asked.
Danzo looked over at him. "I intend to bide my time till the right moment," the old war-hawk said. "Presently, the little bundle of energy is proving to be a nuisance around Konoha. Reports from my overseers say that he is causing much havoc for the villagers, befouling the Hokage monuments and making a mockery of what this village stands for! It's starting to become a real errant."
"The demon is just a little troublemaker. He can cause no harm as of yet," Koharu said.
"The Hokage should keep a tighter leash on it," Homura stated, earning a nod of agreement from Koharu.
"Unfortunately, the Hokage is continuing to make it a point that the boy is nothing more than that, a little trouble-maker," Danzo said. "He is currently attending the academy, and scoring at a rather unsatisfactory level. Grades at average, progress hindered… no genius of course. But in spite of his incompetence, he is still the container of the Kyuubi, and must be treated in high discussion and must be controlled."
"Nothing more than a kettle about to boil over…"
Before anymore words could be spoken, there was the sound of shattering glass overhead and suddenly, a body came plummeting down from the ceiling, landing with a ear-splinting crash right in the center of the table. The very impact caused it to leap off the ground abut a foot, and shocked the elders, and surprised Danzo.
When the body came to rest, it was revealed to be one of Danzo's ROOT guards, dead with a kunai lodged in his head. Danzo gritted his teeth and rose to his feet, looking around.
"We've been infiltrated!" he yelled. "Guards…"
Just as the guards were gathering at the railing, ready to come to Danzo and the elders' aid, there suddenly came a rain of shadowy figures from the ceiling above. Emerging through the massive hole in the skyline, the figures leapt through the air, straight for each corresponding guard. The solid figures landed one after another beside or in front of every guard on the upper and lower floors in sight. The guards leapt back in surprise, drawing swords and ready to strike. But before any of them could, each of the small figures dressed in black went up in flaming balls of fire.
The explosions rocked the very foundations of the estate, disintegrating a couple of the ROOT ninja and blowing apart the others. Blinded by the onslaught of explosions, and caught up amidst the blasts, Danzo, Homura and Koharu remained where they were, holding their ground. It was when the explosions faded and the smoke lifted they looked around to find that all the guards in the immediate area have been dispatched.
Danzo frowned and, from his cane, drew a straight-bladed sword, looking around for any more attackers. However, what he failed to notice was that the corpse that had fallen from the ceiling before had a seal tag placed upon its chest. So, just as Danzo was turning on his axis, a puff of smoke exploded from the dead ROOT ninja's chest, and once it cleared, it revealed the crouching assassin, glaring directly at Danzo.
The two village elders spotted him first, but before either of them could react, the unknown assassin threw his arms out towards them, flicking his wrists and suddenly, clusters of shuriken flew out from under his sleeves, hitting the elders' like targets on the range. They were dead before they even hit the ground.
Sensing the assassin behind him and kill the elders, Danzo spun around, performing a few quick hand signs before slashing out with his blade at the attacker. A stream of wind escaped his sword, extending the blade's attack indefinitely as he made the horizontal slash. The assassin however saw the attack and crouched flat down onto his stomach on the table, letting the attack pass over, before throwing his right arm forward. Another cluster of shuriken flew from his hand at this, and flew straight at the old war-hawk.
Danzo readjusted his blade and slashed downwards, effectively knocking aside some of the shuriken and attempting to kill the intruder at the same time. The assassin, however, pushed off of the ground and leapt to the side, spinning through the air in rapid succession, just as the wind blade came down and struck the table, destroying it in a hail of splinters and dust.
Danzo suffered a couple of scars from the shuriken he didn't deflect, thrown by the assassin. He readjusted his attention and glared at the boy, slicing through the air with his wind blade again down at the short man. The assassin managed to leap through the air again, this time retreating. Flipping through the air, the assassin flung his hands through the air, sending a third barrage of kunai at Danzo. Danzo leapt out of the way, gritting his teeth as he watched the assassin gain distance, landing on the second story on the railings of the above walkway.
The remaining elder growled and slapped his hands together again in another series of hand signs, inhaling air quickly before throwing his upper-body forward and across, letting loose a series of wind trails from his mouth, which sliced through the air, straight at the assassin. It tore up the second story walkway, effectively clouding the whole area with smoke, and seemingly consuming the assassin, sending him to his doom.
Danzo breathed out and in, catching his breath and frowning up at the second story, seeing the dust and debris continue to rain down from his technique. Scanning the area, he saw that there was no more presence to be weary of, and lowered his head. Sheathing his sword away, he confirmed that the battle was over.
Sighing, the old man prepared to make his departure, turning on his heel and intending to head back to HQ, and attend to this new problem. However, when he turned and his eyes fell upon the shadows near the entrance, he stopped in his tracks and his expression showed his slight surprise when he saw the familiar silhouette of the assassin standing on the ledge right above the entrance. He was standing at an angle that would have deemed him invisible to the naked eye.
Upon being spotted, the assassin stepped over the ledge and dropped to the ground floor, landing in a crouched position and a light thud. When he did and rose to his feet, Danzo furrowed his brow and was about to draw his sword, when he suddenly detected another presence beside him. Looking to his right, he saw another or… shocking enough, the same assassin step out from the shadows, followed by another, and another and another. Soon, he was surrounded by over a dozen more assassins, all wearing the same clothing, the same clothing and was the same height.
He looked around him, seeing that he was surrounded by copies and smirked. He adjusted his grip on his sword.
"Nothing more than Shadow Clones…" In a swift, lightning fast movement that was impossible for a man of his age to perform, Danzo spun on his heel and drew his sword, a loud whip-crack of wind sounding and ripped through the air, striking many of the clones and wiping them out. They all perished in puffs of white smoke as the trail of wind emerging from the sword slashed through the air and cut through them one after the other.
Stopping mid-spin, Danzo once again adjusted grip and performed several hand signs. Once completed, he spun around fully, slashing his sword across and effectively scarring the inside of the building, and killing the rest of the clones with a final wind slice. They all went up in puffs of smoke, with an explosion of debris to follow from the old-man's attack.
"You'll have to do better than that to defeat me, assassin," Danzo called out, straightening his stance and looking back towards the entrance, only to find that his opponent had vanished. He looked around, trying with difficulty to try and find his attacker. "I've braved many conflicts in many countries over my years as a ninja of Konoha, and have learned many techniques! It'll take more than a Clone Jutsu to get the better of me!"
It was then, when the dust cleared again that Danzo was faced again with another onslaught of clones emerging from the shadows, only the numbers have beyond doubled. Surrounding him on all levels of the building, Danzo saw hundreds of clones standing, perched or sitting around him casually. He was surrounded, and effectively closed in by a Mass Shadow Clone technique, which made him raise his eyebrows in surprise.
"Mass Shadow Clone Jutsu eh?" he curiously stated, looking around. "Well, a thousand more just isn't going to cut it…" Slowly raising his sword wielding arm up and, with the pommel of his sword's handle, pushed up one of the many bandages covering his hidden eye, Danzo revealed his secret weapon. It was underneath the bandages he concealed a three tomoed Sharingan, immediately setting it to glare directly at the masses of clones surrounding him. "Very well then…"
Performing a brief variety of more hand signs, Danzo then took in a deep breath and, with one swift movement, threw his upper-body forward once again. "Fire Style: Grand Fireball Technique!"
The next attack left his lips with a loud boom and a rush of hot-air. In merely a few seconds, a massive ball of flames escaped his lungs and quickly spread throughout the room. The old war-hawk himself guided the technique, sending it spreading into the masses of clones, obliterating one after the other, and directing the flames in every possible angle. From here, he performed another variety of hand signs and, increasing his range, spun around and performed yet another Fire Style technique in a blink of an eye.
"Fire Style: Phoenix Flower Technique!" Danzo shouted, smaller balls of fire shooting out from his lips this time, targeting individual groups of shadow clones one after another, sending them into oblivion like the rest of them. He kept spitting out fire ball techniques one after another with absolute precision, eventually coming down to one last assassin standing by the entrance. For this last one, he directed one last Grand Fireball Technique, only to have the assassin raise his right hand and produce what appeared to be a glowing ball of blue chakra. The swirling ball struck the fireball technique head on, and dispersed it in a blink of an eye.
As the flames dispersed, Danzo saw that the last assassin was still alive, and easily assumed that it was the real one. In their wake they had completely destroyed the conference hall, burning walls and scarring the entire room. The entire structure was left crumbling and ablaze amidst the destruction. It was a miracle this place was still standing.
Danzo smiled, seeing his opponent still alive. He clapped his hands together slowly.
"Oh, exceptional… absolutely exceptional skill for a common assassin," Danzo exclaimed in his stoic voice, showing no hint of emotion whatsoever. He lowered his hands, watching as the assassin stepped forward a bit from the shadows. "I appraise your abilities to manipulate chakra so well. You truly are something more…"
The assassin flicked his left and right wrists, two short blades suddenly shooting forth from under his sleeves at the wrists with audible slicing sounds. Clenching his fists, the young male slowly proceeded to continue forward, intent on finishing the old man once and for all. All the while, he listened to him talk.
"You've coordinated your techniques well. Skill like that would be very useful in ROOT," Danzo stated, lowering his head a little. "How would you like to join me, assassin? Together you and I will be able to take Konohagakure from the Hokage, and make this village a better, safer, and more just society? I can make you a viable asset of my organization!"
The assassin stopped in his tracks, looking up and taking a closer look at his opponent. Considering his observations quickly, he then stepped, back into the shadows.
"No? Then perhaps a deal then? Name you price," Danzo offered.
Frowning, the assassin flicked his wrists again, his blades retracting. This sight made Danzo smile, but it struck him a little curious as he watched the short figure reach for his right sleeve and adjust something concealed underneath it. But it looked as though he was just fixing his sleeve and nothing more.
"I can give you anything you want? Maybe offer you some suitable accommodations, or a certain amount of ryu? Just name it…"
Stepping forward, the boy raised his right arm upwards towards Danzo and with his left, gripped the trigger hidden underneath his sleeve with his finger. Suddenly, with a pull of that trigger, the barrel now protruding from under his sleeve went off with a loud bang that ricocheted around the hall. Danzo let out a loud 'oof' of discomfort and staggered back as the air was knocked out of him. With his steps of agony, the man looked down at his stomach to see that the assassin had unexpectedly fired with some sort of device a kunai at an extremely high velocity. It had impaled him straight in the stomach, with blood already beginning to seep out.
Without knowing exactly what the assassin had used to hit him, the war-hawk collapsed to the ground with a loud thud. He was dead within seconds, his cane and sword clattering to the floor, joining him.
The assassin lowered his arm, content with his job and adjusting his sleeve to cover his kunai gauntlet. With a frown, he walked forward, coming to stand next to Danzo's lifeless corpse. No lingering shred of pity or any signs of emotions could be seen on him, mostly due to the mask, but his body didn't rattle or tremble at all. The assassin just stood silently and glared down at the old man.
Shifting a little, the short man glanced down at his shoulder, where he saw a trickle of blood escape a tear in his coat. He ran a thumb over it, and found that he had been cut by Danzo's Air Release Technique. The Jutsu had left quite a gash in his side, but it was to be of no consequence.
Ignoring it for now, the assassin turned back to his kill. Without hesitation, he rolled the old man over, seeing his Sharingan lying still in its socket.
Proceeding to extract it, the young assassin knelt down and simply took the Sharingan from its user. It wasn't messy; it was just a clean push and pull. He placed the eyeball into a water flask from his pocket and sealed it. Afterwards, he then took the old man's cane and, sheathing it onto his back, and pocketing the Sharingan, turned on his heel and began to leave. However, the assassin did not forget to clean up the mess he had made, and tossed a kunai with an explosive tag attached to it straight up into the ceiling.
Just as the assassin exited the facility through the front doors, the bomb went off, causing the unstable roof, as well as most of the Cliffside to come cascading down onto itself, burying the entire site. The assassin didn't even look back at the explosion or the avalanche of rubble, only raising his right arm to allow his falcon to land onto his shoulder. He pets it in congratulations, and allowed him to fly off, freeing him for a job well done.
Just another day at work…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Excuse me readers, i am currently experiencing technical difficulties with my review access. Could those who have reviewed me already send the review again please for the first chapter and the second? i would really appreciate to read them. Thank you...