Chapter 3

Birds fly overhead as we make our way through the forest. My exhausted body drags itself forward as I look to see Teru and Hikaru are in the same condition. Behind us is the horse-pulled wagon, driving said wagon is Takashi Bakin, sitting next to him is Iruka. Why he is not guarding the wagon as well I don't have a clue.

The long adventure has taken it's tole on my clothes. My dirt covered boots are beyond cleaning, my mud-stained pants are also in a terrible need of a cleaning. Sweat on my forehead falls down to my neck. "How much longer until we reach the village?" Teru asked.

"Very long. We've got possibly 3 more days until we reach our destination," Takashi said.

"Three more days!"I said with shock.

"Yep, so we better not waist any time dilly dallying, or it might just be 4 days instead," Takashi said. "The sun soon will transform into the moon in a couple of hours so we better make camp after a mile or two."

A couple of miles later and the night sky hovers over us. The wagon stops in it's tracks as Takashi jumps out of his seat. "It's time to let the horses rest up a bit and then we'll start again," Takashi said.

"When you say horses, you mean us right?" I asked.

"When did ninja ever take naps during missions; you all guard the wagon while I fix myself some food," Takashi said walking away from us.

"That guy is a complete...," Hikaru said.

"We must follow all orders given to us," Iruka said. "So that we don't exhaust ourselves too much, we'll work in shifts. I'll stay guard first, then Teru, then Kei, then Hikaru."

"Understood," We said in unison.

As we take our shifts back and forth, I wonder how my brother, Naruto is doing. I hope he's not having to guard an obnoxious guy like Takashi. I look over and see him eating a bowl of oxen beef soup, it's so delicious. I turn my head back before I get to the point of becoming a soup thief. I look up to the moon. It's a clear night tonight so I can see the moon and all it's beauty.

The stars that surround it sparkle, like the entire sky is dancing before my eyes. My attention on the moon is broken as I hear what sounds like humming. I look and see Hikaru sitting on a tree branch, she doesn't seem to notice me. She seems to be humming some sort of song. It sounds beautiful, almost like a melody. As Hikaru continues to hum her song I begin to doze off. My eyes try in vain to keep awake.

My weary eyes begin to close as I am jolted back awake by Teru's sudden kick to my hip. "Teru," I said.

"It's your turn," Teru groaned. "So get off your lazy ass and start guarding."

"Alright already, geez," I sighed. I walked over to the wagon. The horses are either eating grass or sleeping. I have never wanted to be a horse so badly until now. I lean on the right side of the wagon. I can still hear Hikaru hum her song. She really has a excellent voice, it makes me happy to have her as a team mate. It balances out having to have a tough guy like Teru as a partner.

Although, me and Teru still don't get along, our talk at the hot springs has given me hope that maybe one day, me and Teru will become great friends. I close my eyes as Hikaru's melody flows through the night.

"You make a horrible guard," Iruka said. My eyes open fast as my Sensei looks at me with a smile.

"Iruka Sensei...I was just," Iruka holds up his hand and I silence myself.

"It seems we're all tired. It's your first mission after all," Iruka said. "I'm guessing you're probably thinking of Naruto aren't you."

"I...," I stutter.

"Don't worry, I'm thinking about him as well," Iruka said. "That kid loves to cause trouble, but when it comes down to it; he is an excellent ninja."

"You don't sound like all the others," I said.

"Others?" Iruka asked.

"The ones that think of Naruto as some sort of demon," I said. "Your not one of them."

Iruka sighs. "They just don't know Naruto like you and me," Iruka said. "They don't give him the chance to show how wrong they are of him."

"You know him better than I do," I said.

"Why do you say that?" Iruka asked.

"I've known Naruto since he was 5, you've known him since he was a an infant," I said.

"How do you you know that?" Iruka asked.

"Naruto talked about you some times, he said that you cared for him as a young child. You helped him in his beginning months at the Ninja Academy," I said.

"But you Kei, did more than I ever did," Iruka said.

"And that was?" I asked confused.

"You gave Naruto a brother," Iruka said. "And that my young Genin, is why you know Naruto more than me."

My conversation with Iruka is interrupted by Hikaru who walks up to us.

"It's my turn Kei," Hikaru said.

"Oh sure," I said. "Have fun."

"I will," she said playfully. I walked away as did Iruka who went over to see how Takashi was doing. With my curiosity, I decide to take a little walk. Not too far from our camp. This happens to be my first time far from home, as well as my brother. We've always been adventurous, but never really ever left the safety of the village. It's sad that I am not in his team, though we'd drive our other team mate insane along with our leader. I wonder if Naruto is thinking about me as well, I bet he's already done with his mission already and having fun at ichiraku ramen.

The forest out here is great! Lush, open, just how I like it. I've never seen these types of plants before. Many of them are blue with a hint of orange on them. They look kinda beautiful actually. The flowers that bloom around the Leaf Village always look special. To my eyes the village has always been special to me. I look to my left and see this white lily. I swear I've seen these somewhere, but I can't tell where. I put my nose up to them and they give off a sweet aroma.

I stare back to Iruka and Takashi, they seem to be in a long, hard conversation. I look over to Teru who is dead asleep, and Hikaru is petting the horses. I can see a bright future in me and Hikaru as teammates. I go back to looking at the flowers and a shadow jumps out of sight. I take out a kunai, ready to take on any opponent I see.

Iruka and Takashi are sitting in front of the fire. Takashi's gaze never leaving the flames. Iruka looks at Takashi weirdly. "These woods will do things to you," Takashi said in a soft moan.

"Excuse me?" Iruka said confused.

"The Village Hidden in the Moss had many enemies surrounding it. To combat these enemies, they had to surround the woods around the village with death traps. This entire forest is known as the Forest from Hell because each step could send you to your untimely death. Even the flowers are said to have poisonous scent and if inhaled by the nose, can cause severe paralyses and if left untreated, will lead to death," Takashi said.

"So then how would we be able to travel through here?" Iruka asked.

"Simple. I'm from the Village Hidden in the Moss. I know every single nook and cranny of this forest and every poison there sadly, I don't have the medicine to help stop the poison, must of left it back at my home," Takashi asked.

"And if one of my students gets poisoned!?" Iruka asked.

"Then we'll have to put him in the back with the supplies until we reach the Moss Village. And hopefully not run into any of them," Takashi said with a grin.

"Who's them?" Iruka asked.

"The Munetaka Clan, that's who," Takashi said. "They are the one's who give this forest it's demonic name. They were once a proud clan of ninja that was once part of the Moss Village. But after many years of murders and suspicious behavior, they were cast out and lived off in these woods. They mostly kill any travelers they see and take all the loot they can find. That's why you all are here to take me from point a to point b."

"And the Hokage simply allowed my team which has never been in combat before take on such a dangerous mission!?" Iruka asked angrily.

"It's between you and him," Takashi said. "Just pray that none of your brats get's killed or poisoned."

I stare off into the shadows, kunai in hand. My hands begin to shake nervously. I can almost here laughter in the distance. I try to call my team, but the words won't come out. My body feels painfully stiff as I drop the kunai in my hand. I look out into the darkness that looms in front of me. I can see three pairs of red eyes watch me. Their malevolent laughter still heard. I try to scream loudly, but nothing comes out. Iruka