A telephone rang.
Picking the receiver off of its cradle he answered it. "ANBU headquarters, this is Ibiki."
"Ibiki this is the Hokage. We have an emergency! I need you to arrest and imprison Anko as quickly as possible. She has been infected with some sort of curse seal / virus and is trying to infect others. I want the entire ANBU to track her down and anyone who is with her. Then begin searching for all those who are infected. Have your people use caution since they may try and bite you and infect you as well."
"Bite us?" Ibiki sounded slightly taken aback.
"Yes bite! Now get moving! This has highest priority; it's an S plus level emergency."
"Understood Hokage-sama." Ibiki put the phone down and turned to his master. "Apparently she doesn't realize the ANBU has been compromised."
"I think she'll figure it out real soon." Anko replied wearily. She was hunched over Ibiki's desk rubbing her temples.
"Are you all right master?"
"Do I fucking look all right to you?"
Ibiki shrugged. "To be honest I have no idea what a healthy complexion looks like in this form."
Anko turned her yellow eyes to him and snarled. "You know there are times when that stoic attitude really pisses me off."
Anko shut her eyes and kept rubbing her temples. "There are too many voices in my head. I can hear them all shouting and laughing and moving around in there. It's like being in the middle of a crowd and not being able to get away from it."
Ibiki looked at her cautiously. "If we keep up at this rate the number of voices…"
"I know," Anko snapped. "Don't worry. I'll adapt. I just need… I just need to rest awhile." She put her head down on his desk and closed her eyes."
"You want to take a nap? Now?"
"I've already given everyone their orders. Chomp. Chomp. I need to sleep and recover, I'm sure I'll get used to things. You're in charge. Take over the village. I'll lead things from there."
With that Anko fell into a deep sleep.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Ibiki muttered.
In his own mind he could still sense his master's presence, but it was a passive thing. There was no longer any sense of will or compulsion. He had his orders from before, and he felt a desire to carry them out… but he no longer felt them to be his only priority. It was like knowing you had to pick up some rice from the store. You would get to it but there was no rush.
Looking at Anko asleep in his chair it occurred to him that he could easily kill her right now. A vestige of his free will and true personality came to the fore. He approached her and produced a kunai. She did not instantly awaken or speak in his mind commanding him to stop. The two of them were alone in his office and she was powerless to act.
Ibiki stood over her and imagined driving his kunai into her neck. For the sake of the village he loved and for the duty he had always embraced he would kill her.
His hand and arm shook.
He tried to do it, to raise his weapon up and then slash down and slice her open like a ripe piece of fruit. The more he wanted to the more his arm and hand began to shake. He thought of reaching out with his other arm and strangling her. As soon as he tried that arm too began to shake and refused to obey.
When he took a couple steps back from her it passed and his body was once more still. "I see, I guess it's impossible for any of her creations to turn against her. Makes sense I guess. I wonder though…"
He brought his right hand up to his own throat and discovered there was no compulsion against taking his own life. His sliced his neck open with a clean professional stroke. As he fell over there was a relieved smile on his face.
Meanwhile the Yajuu began to run wild without any sense of order or plan.
Honto had been a ninja of the village hidden within the Mist. He had come to the Land of Fire with orders to abduct a young lord and return him to his village. He had succeeded, easily slaughtering the fool's bodyguards and capturing him. Unfortunately he'd had the extreme misfortune of running into Hatake Kakashi. The legendary copy ninja had beaten him and brought him to the ANBU for interrogation and imprisonment.
That had been more than two years ago. Now at last he was free. When he stepped outside and saw the sky again it was for the very first time since his arrival here. After two years of being locked up in a dark cell Honto the Chopper was finally free to do what he loved most. Even before he pulled out his beloved zambato the people on the street were staring at him and a few began screaming.
It was only then that it occurred to him that he'd forgotten to use a henge. He looked like a grey skinned monster complete with claws and sharp teeth. He thought about using one to look like his old self, but decided not to bother. He kind of liked this reaction. His eyesight and other senses were sharp and he felt an amazing strength flowing through his body. And if it was possible his hunger for blood was even greater than it used to be. Pulling out his six foot long blade he discovered he could wield it with just one hand.
Leaping from the steps of ANBU headquarters to the middle of the street there was a woman standing here frozen in terror clutching a boy to her chest who couldn't have been more than seven or eight years old. "Let me hear your screams."
The woman obliged him as she let loose a high pitched shriek. The boy began to wail. Honto brought his sword down chest high and chopped them both in half with one swing. Their blood splashed into the air and onto his face and skin. The long missed salty, coppery, smell filled his lungs. Like a starving man who'd just had a single bite his appetite was whetted. He laughed and laughed as he spotted more people to chop up. He was going to have a feast!
Tenzou and Aiko were on a nearby roof top as they heard the screams coming from below.
"What is he doing?" Aiko demanded. "He's not even trying to turn people he's just slaughtering them!"
"I wonder if the master ordered him to do that was a distraction." Tenzou said with a frown. Anko's presence in the back of his mind had changed and become less active. He still felt the need to carry out her orders, but felt free to decide for himself what method to use.
"Should we stop him?"
Tenzou hesitated but shook his head. "We aren't ANBU anymore and it's no longer our duty to protect the village. We need to follow the master's orders."
Aiko frowned. "But he's slaughtering our people."
"They're not our people anymore Aiko. They're human and we're not. Come on, he's bound to draw a lot of attention. Let's move out and carry out our orders."
"I am sorry but I have orders." Komachi was an ANBU member who was using a henge to still appear human. She was in her standard ANBU armor and even had her tiger mask flipped to the back of her head. Despite having what looked like ordinary teeth she bit down on the man's neck and injected the poison. He struggled for a bit but was soon paralyzed.
Komachi gently set him down on the floor along with several other people she had already infected. She had broken into a private home and bitten everyone inside. She intended to break into one house in a neighborhood and then move to another neighborhood to do the same. Though she was infecting ordinary citizens rather than shinobi she was sure with their new found strength they would have no trouble spreading the seal to their neighbors.
"What's going on in here?"
Komachi looked up and was surprised to see two ninja enter the house. One had the markings of an Inuzuka and the other the distinctive pale eyes of a Hyuuga. She stood up with six people lying on the floor around her all momentarily paralyzed.
"This is ANBU business and none of your concern, move along." She shifted her feet into a fighting stance and slipped one hand into a pouch where she palmed some needles.
The Inuzuka rubbed at his nose furiously. "I don't think so, there is something seriously wrong going on here. You smell of rot and I can smell it coming off of all these people too. Hinata?"
The Hyuuga girl nodded. "Byakugan!" The veins near her eyes popped up noticeably as she activated her bloodline. The girls gasped at what she saw. "Kiba you were right! There's something wrong with her chakra system. It looks as though it's been polluted somehow." She glanced at the people on the floor. "The same is happening to all of them."
"Yeah, I don't need to see their chakra to know something is wrong with them." The stink was coming off of them and he could see their bodies changing. A woman near the door had skin that was bluish grey and claws. He could transform into a bestial form but that was a temporary jutsu. She was a civilian and whatever had been done to her didn't look to be temporary. Kiba gave the ANBU a hard look and pulled out a kunai. "Just what did you do to these people?"
"I was just following orders." Komachi told him. She had three needles in her right hand and was waiting for the moment to act.
"That's a lie," Kiba declared. "The Hokage would never order anything like this."
Komachi grinned. "Who said the orders were from the Hokage?"
The woman by the door gave a groan and began to move.
"Please stay still, I will try to help you." Hinata knelt over the woman and performed a basic diagnostic jutsu.
The woman opened yellow and slitted eyes and moved with shocking speed. She grabbed Hinata by the forearm and before the kunoichi could react sank her teeth into her wrist.
"Aaaaahh!" Hinata cried out in surprise and sudden pain.
"Hinata!" Kiba turned to help her.
Komachi had her opening and did not hesitate. Three long throwing needles flashed from her hand and pierced Kiba's throat. With a choked off gurgle he stumbled and fell.
"Not to worry," Komachi told him as she knelt by his side. "I didn't hit any vital points, you'll live. Welcome to our team." She bit down on him.
Danzo listened to the reports, first from Sai and then from his other agents. A large number of his people could no longer be contacted. The mice created by Sai gave him a view of what was going on inside ANBU headquarters. From all the news that was coming in a frightening picture was developing.
"The ANBU has already been defeated and this strange plague is spreading quickly throughout the village."
"What are your orders Danzo-sama?" Sai asked.
The old ninja gave a heavy sigh. No matter what his enemies thought of him he truly loved his village. Everything he had done had been for her sake. Every crime and every sin were committed to protect Konoha. "Order all ROOT agents to withdraw from the village and to assemble at point 'K.' Also send a report to the Hokage of what is happening once our people are safely withdrawn."
"Get the students out of here!" Iruka shouted.
He had no idea what was going on but a group of three ANBU had suddenly arrived and started attacking the students. He attacked one of them and was surprised to see just how strong and fast the man was. He kept fighting though to help buy the students and other instructors time.
He was glad that most of them had gotten away by the time he was knocked down and one of them bit him.
"The only thing that could make this day better is if I could run into that Kakashi again." Honto the chopper declared.
The street was filled with the sliced up carts of dozens of people and blood was flowing through the gutters. He'd even fought a couple of leaf ninja and had the pleasure of hacking them to pieces too. He'd been a Jonin, and a strong one, now though he felt invincible. The power that filled him was like a dream. He looked at all the blood and pieces of meat and felt happier than he could ever remember.
There was a large puff of smoke. When it cleared Honto found himself facing a white haired ninja with a giant scroll slung over his back. "I am not sure who or what you are, but this is as far as you go."
Honto instantly recognized the man from the Bingo Book. A wide smile of needle teeth split his face. "You're Jiraiya of the Sanin aren't you?"
Jiraiya gave a curt nod. "I am. Who are you and what are you doing here? Why have you attacked all these people?"
"Because it was fun." He answered with an honest laugh. "They call me Honto the chopper back in Bloody Mist. I was a prisoner here until just a little while ago."
Jiriaya's eyes could follow the trail of bloodshed and body parts. They pointed like an arrow back in the direction of ANBU headquarters. "What are you? This form doesn't seem to be a jutsu."
"They tell me that I am a Yajuu now. My master gave me and all the others orders to go out and convert people into this form." He chuckled. "That seemed sort of boring and I just couldn't pass up the chance to enjoy myself. I could feel the master watching over me in my head, but now I'm free to do what I like."
Jiraiya found a lot of that to be troubling. "Who was it that did this to you? Who is this master? Is it Orochimaru?"
Honto grinned and whipped his massive sword about in a display of his strength and ability. "I'd love to tell you but the dead don't need to worry about things like that." He raced forward with an eager heart to slice the famous Toad sage into pieces.
"Hari Jizō no jutsu." Jiraiya's spiky hair grew and expanded into a hardened cocoon protecting his entire body.
Honto slammed his zambato with all of his might only to see it strike the spiky barrier and bounce off. Focused on chopping up one of the Sanin he stood his ground and kept striking as hard as he could. All his ferocious strikes though could not make a crack in the protective cocoon.
As he drew back his sword to try again the hair suddenly reverted back to its original form. Jiraiya had a ball of condensed chakra in his palm. Before Honto could swing his sword down Jiraiya ruthlessly slammed the ball into and through his chest.
Jiraiya spared his defeated opponent just a moment. He saw the form remained in death. That was one more thing to worry him. A jutsu would have expired with the shinobi's death. The fact he remained in this form even in death was deeply troubling.
He set out for ANBU headquarters in search of answers.
"What does Danzo mean the ANBU have been infected and that the village can no longer be saved?"
The ROOT ANBU bowed apologetically. He wore the mask of an ant. "I apologize Hokage-sama, that was all I was told."
"Where is Danzo now? I need to talk to him and find out what he knows!" Tsunade demanded in mounting frustration.
The ninja again bowed to her. "Danzo-sama is currently in transit and I do not know either his current location or destination."
She'd gotten all sorts of confusing reports from all over the village. Ninja and civilians being attacked. Sightings of grey skinned monsters with claws and sharp teeth. There had been an attack on the academy on the shopping district. Since her phone call to Ibiki there had been no further word from the ANBU. All calls made to them went unanswered and ninja sent there didn't report back.
If what Asuma had told her as true the village was in serious danger. If people could be infected with a bite and transformed in a matter of minutes as had happened to Asuma this was an epidemic of horrific proportions. She was Hokage, but she was first and fore most a medic nin and thought like one. There was a 'disease' spreading through the village for which she had no treatment. She had no firm information on how many were currently infected or what parts of Konoha were infected.
Until she came up with a treatment there was nothing she could do for the infected. All she could do was try and save as many of those still unaffected as possible. She had to keep the healthy separated from the sick. In other words what she needed to do was set up a quarantine.
"Shizune, set the sirens to sound 'immediate evacuation.'"
"What?" Shizune cried. "Lady Tsunade if you do that than most of the people in the village will be trapped! There's no way to organize a proper evacuation under these circumstances."
"Don't you think I know that?" Tsunade snapped. "There is no other choice! I can't fix this before we lose everyone! All I can do now is save as many as I can and try to figure out a solution. Now go and send out the order while there's still time!"
Looking miserable Shizune nodded and hurried out the door.
The sirens all across Konoha uttered three short blasts then paused and repeated.
The ninja and the villagers had been taught what that signal meant.
The ninja fled as quickly as they could, most not bothering with the gate but simply walking up and leaping over the nearest section of wall.
The civilians had only one way out. They rushed to get to the gate as quickly as they could. There was no time for packing and at best people were only able to grab family members and a few precious items before fleeing. Those who happened to live near the gate were the lucky ones. They were able to get out with relative ease.
Soon though there were people from every neighborhood filling up the road and pressing together trying to get out. Many were crushed or stampeded to death. Those who had tried to bring wagons or rickshaws with them had them overturned by folk desperate to escape.
Before too long though the packed crowd at the gate attracted the wrong sort of attention as many Yajuu descended on them. People screamed and cried for help but there were no ninja to help them and nowhere to run.
Eventually the massive gates were shut and the sirens silenced. The Hokage and the leaf ninja were gone and the village was in the hands of the Yajuu.
Konoha had fallen.