Written By intoxicatedasphyxiation
Original: Hunter x Hunter by Togashi Yoshihiro. Naruto by Kishimoto Masashi. Standard disclaimers apply.
Summary: A lead on the scarlet eyes of the Kurata clan takes Kurapika east – to the foreign countries that house the enigmatic ninja villages and utilize techniques so different from those he knows. Meanwhile, the Genei Ryodan is also on the move… with revenge and a search for red eyes on their agenda.
Dedication: To all those out there who enjoy the meshing of worlds within words.
The Origin of the Title: As with anything usually associated with Kurapika, the colour 'red' serves as the most prominent feature, and I found 'Incarnadine' to be most apt in terms of finding a title for this piece. 'Incarnadine' is a very malleable word, in the sense that it can be used as an adjective, a noun, and a verb. As a noun, it serves to describe the blood red colour of raw flesh – a synonym of red, so to speak. As an adjective, it can serve as a deeper elaboration of the colour red, for it relates to the flesh as well – thus eliciting imagery of a more graphic, blood-related nature. I like the word's allusions to flesh and blood; rather than focusing on the fleshy aspects of its meaning, it serves to unravel the layers of human complexity beneath a simple colour. Think of Kurapika – he's not just scarlet eyes and revenge; he's a whole series of morally-conflicting beliefs, goals, and mercy versus justice wrapped into a mind of rationale and human emotion. As for the verb, think of all the characters in manga, movies, and literature who delve into the tragedy of revenge – the digger they deep, the more bitter they fall, and don't they only serve to incarnadine their own hands?
Notes: This will largely take place in the Naruto universe, seeing that there's far more information about it. The time period for HxH will be after the Greed Island Arc (most likely running in conjunction with the Chimera Ant Arc, since the Genei Ryodan and Kurapika are not part of the main focus in the manga). As for Naruto, the time period will be a little more vague – I'd like the flexibility to move the characters around (since there's so much going on in the manga), so probably just after the time-skip, but before any major Akatsuki activity during that time. Before the invasion of Konoha, to put it simply. Anything I write is based solely on the manga of both series – if there are any abnormalities, feel free to point them out. I'm aiming to be as accurate as possible.
The dowsing chain had pointed east.
Not quite literally to the east, as one would imagine, but the dangling chain had swung across the map, and pointed beyond the edges of its paper folds. Kurapika's forehead had crinkled then – both in confusion and surprise, before withdrawing the chain, taking a breather, and resuming his hatsu again. He made sure to pin the world map to the table this time, smoothening out the slightest of folds before letting the dowsing chain do its duty once more.
He held his hand over the centre of the map, concentrating on his target, letting the ability manifest – fuelled half by nen, half by hope, just as the chain began to move of its own accord. It swung over the major continents, past even the corrupt republics and places plagued by civil warfare, before hovering beyond the oceanic borders of the map –
And the chain lingered there, diagonally, stiff, and aching towards a direction beyond the eastern black border of the world map.
Kurapika called off his technique with a sigh, and the chain swung loosely once more, unbound and free. It had been the fifteenth world map this week to provide him with this result. Shoving the map and its various paperweights onto the floor, he slammed his fists against the table, a growl on his lips as he silently cursed the abnormalities plaguing his search. The first time it happened, he had blamed the map for being insufficient in detail, and raided the nearest bookstore for all the maps it sold. He had even bought a comprehensive Hunter-exclusive atlas book, but each time he dangled the dowsing chain over any of the nations, it turned away from the centre, prying eastward, until he had run out of pages and geographic locations for the dowsing chain to settle on. He chose to question his chain next, fearing subterfuge, but upon testing with a variety of alternate subjects, the results revealed only one outcome: that it was fully functional, free from glitch or error.
Running his fingers through his hair, Kurapika let out another sigh – he was so close, yet again, but still so terribly far. The first time he had encountered a pair of eyes from his clan came during the York Shin Underground Auctions, when he had held them in his hands, only to watch them depart soon after – he had been told that they had vanished from the Nostrad Clan soon after the auctions came to a close, but nobody knew how or when or why. Kurapika had moved on then, following other leads. He did so freely with some degree of ease; the Genei Ryodan was no longer a major threat, or at the very least, its head – Kurapika took some degree of pride and comfort in binding the ability of the group's leader to produce nen, as well as excommunicating him from his subordinates by disabling their ability to converse. It was Hisoka, after all, who had said that the Spider would only keep functioning as long as the head was still attached to its body.
So he had continued his search – not for the Ryodan, this time, but for the eyes of his brothers, his sisters, and his home. Through a couple of contacts made through a series of seedy jobs that demanded for skills and questioned no origins, it wasn't long before he tracked down a single name associated to the scarlet eyes. With sufficient research and private enquires of his own, it wasn't long before he acquired an image of the man as well – and that was all Kurapika needed to begin his hunt.
Only, the dowsing chain seemed to imply that the man was hidden beyond the borders of the world.
Reaching for the Hunter identification card embedded deep within one of the hidden pockets in his attire, he reminded himself of the single purpose for his existence – the reason why he had gone so far as to take the Hunter Examination, attach himself to the shadiest of employers, and embed his nen so deep with rules that it served as a double-edged sword in the waiting – to avenge his clan once and for all. It didn't matter how long it took – Kurapika had decided a long time ago that he would destroy the Genei Ryodan, put an end to the trafficking of his clan's eyes, punish all those involved in the black market acquisitions of the eyes, and once and for all, gather the eyes of his family and take them home.
Stepping away from the table, Kurapika turned to the leave the hostel room once more. This man was his first proper lead since the dispersion of the mafia community after the auctions. He was out there, and Kurapika knew that he would track him down, regardless of means necessary.
For now, he would simply have to expand his search scope.
"So… how much did you say this guy was worth again?" Phinx asked, an eyebrow raised, as he glanced down at the body lying just before his feet. Unimpressed, he turned to Shalnark, who was busy rifling through the pages of an untitled book, before glancing over to Feitan, who stood nonchalantly beside the body of another fallen man. Feitan merely shrugged, unfazed – he displayed none of the disappointment that his partner was emanating.
"Aha, found him!" Shalnark declared, his fingers falling to a stop on an open page marked by an image, followed by a few lines of text. "Says here that he's a former shinobi of the Hidden Stone Village. A missing-nin is the appropriate term for those who defect from their village of origin, it seems. And it's signified by the jagged line through that symbol there." He gestured to the headband on the fallen ninja's head.
"I don't get it," Phinx replied, "if he abandoned his village, why's he still wearing the thing?"
"Possibly to emphasize the fact that he's disloyal; symbols are taken pretty seriously over here. They use them to portray their identity or purpose." Shalnark replied, "And this guy's worth about 20 million ryo. The one Feitan killed is worth…" he flipped a few more pages before coming to a halt, "22 million."
"How much is that worth in jenis?" Shizuku asked, bending down to poke at the headband of the fallen ninja.
"I believe our currency's much stronger, but I can't say for sure. Probably around the same figures, give or take a few million…? But it should be enough to keep us going while we're on this side of the world." Shalnark replied, snapping the book shut in his hand, "And now that we've got a hold of this book, we can simply keep hunting them down if we need more resources."
"Or we could just steal." Feitan voiced, "We're the Ryodan, after all."
"Indeed, though the dispersion of cities here poses a bit of a problem in regards to that notion," Shalnark responded, "Most of the countries go for miles without so much as a rural village. I imagine that we were pretty lucky to even stumble upon these two so far from the main cities."
"Then let's just find the nearest town, then. I'm sick of wandering in this barren place – it's been miles and all I can see are rocks, then more rocks." Frustrated, Phinx crossed his arms, before turning to the lone female member of their troupe, "Shizuku, get Deme-chan to hold onto the bodies until we find the nearest underground trade-post, and then we'll move on to… where exactly?"
"We'll cut across the border to the Land of Wind," Shalnark replied, "Hopefully Bonolenov, Karuto, and Franklin, and Coltopi will have finished by then."
"Let's go, then." Feitan announced, and a monstrosity of a vacuum cleaner appeared in Shizuku's hands, accentuated only by the burst of aura that fueled its materialization.
Kurapika wondered if the archaeological Hunters felt the same upon discovering the ancient ruins that made and flourished their careers.
Not that he had discovered something previously undiscovered, but the effect was nonetheless the same in his mind. It wasn't common knowledge, and he'd be damned if he wasn't a Hunter – the access site he'd grown used to using in public places to avoid IP-address trackbacks had proven useful, once more. Of course, seeing that the subject was considered classified to a degree, Kurapika had to make the tedious decision of parting with a sizable chunk of his income for the sake of scholastic curiosity. The hefty fee was worth all monetary forfeiture, though, when the Hunters-only website coughed up an encyclopedic entry about the congregation of foreign countries in the east.
Or segregation, to be more accurate, Kurapika mused, casting aside all thoughts of political correctness and wordplay to focus on the rest of the information at hand. The voice on the monitor continued to explain the various treaties between the 'western alliances', which included everything from Zaban down to the corners of East Goruto and the neo-luddite nation of NGL, and the 'eastern alliances' – uncharted on most world maps and exclusive only to those with approved-business ordeals. It was near impossible to gain access to the continent without a Hunter license, so to speak, and even then – getting approval was another uncertainty. The continent was noted for being strict about its customs, lifestyles, and political systems – always coexisting between war and peace, ignorant of affairs beyond their oceanic borders. Kurapika wondered if they were merely negligent or paranoid, but chose to brush it aside as the voice continued to elaborate about the strict laws enforced in the various nations – it was almost military. He figured that movement would probably be a little constricted then; the notion of watching eyes was not a comforting one.
Printing out various informative guides and a general map of the world, Kurapika spread the latter out across the table before him, and materialized his dowsing chain once more. He felt his nen streamline down his fingers as the chain swung across the image of the foreign continent, hovering from border to border before falling to a stop over one of the countries – beside the foreign script that seemed to mark the country's name in its native tongue, a translation was marked beside it, and Kurapika beheld this new discovery the way a Hunter regarded the unknown – with purpose, for his previous roadblock had now been unraveled, undone. He pronounced it on his lips as the cogs of his mind spun into motion once more –
"Land of Wind…?"
Next Chapter: Kurapika cuts an unfavorable deal. The Ryodan members meet up in the Land of Wind. A prisoner is acquired; broken bones ensue.