"All Kill Landing Edge"
By Nes Mikel
I hereby acknowledge that the work of fiction presented here is for my own personal amusement and entertainment purposes alone. I hereby also acknowledge that while this story is mostly based on Kishimoto Masashi's "Naruto", certain crossover elements from Type-Moon's "Garden of Sinners/Kara no Kyoukai" also exist, although knowledge of it is not a requirement. Thus, I acknowledge that the original story concept and ideas, while heavily altered for the sake of the crossover, are copyright of all its associates.
For non up-to-date readers, this fiction will contain spoilers up to the latest Naruto manga chapters.
With that said, enjoy.
"All Kill Landing Edge"
- Chapter Eleven -
Welsh – "Lost and Found"
Squinting one last time at the document in front of him before stamping the seal of approval, Sarutobi Hiruzen picked up the scroll of paper on his desktop and deposited it on top of the stacks neatly piled on the side. With that, today's work was over.
He sighed and sat back, pushing his reading glasses up on his forehead. He massaged the bridge of his nose wearily. Despite the best lenses the glass-smiths of Konoha could grind, his nearsightedness was growing steadily worse with his age, and the lighting environment contributed nothing to improve the situation. The lamps that hung from his office walls burned with the finest kujira whale oils imported from Water Country in an effort to provide the best quality of lights, but despite its effectiveness it was sin to compare it with the levels of illumination that natural sunlight provided. Then again, if he'd just gone home at a reasonable hour like he was supposed to, he could just work in the daylight like he'd wished and not have to worry about the lamps at all.
Blinking a few more times to rid of the tears of sluggishness in his eyes, the Third Hokage sighed again at the thought. Unfortunately, going home early was a luxury he simply could just not afford, and the inconvenience was just one of many that came with the job description of the title he held. He knew that every single one of his subordinates – okay, maybe not every single one – would insist he go home early, but even if the workload didn't exist there simply wasn't much waiting for him at home since his wife's death ten years ago. Biwako had simply not been his wife, but his strong companion, fellow scholar, assistant schemer and his most precious counterpart for over thirty years. If he was going to be honest, her death was one of the main reasons he didn't go home when the rest of the administrative sections of the Hokage Tower shut down for the night.
Called on by the voice, the Third Hokage looked up and saw his teammate back from old times standing in the doorway. An uneasy smile returned to the lips of the Third Hokage as he, from his position at the table, waved an amicable hand to usher the man inside but it quickly faded when he saw Mitokado Homura close the door behind him. The Third Hokage leaned his chair slightly forward, for Homura closing the door behind him was a sign from his long-term friend that he wanted to talk privately about an important matter.
Gathering both of his hands into a loose fist in front, the Third Hokage decided to start it off as he let his hands rest on top of the table. "What is it this time, Homura?"
The elder councilman said nothing for a moment as he looked around the office, perhaps for a chair to sit in, but after a while he seemed to give up the effort and leaned on a nearby wall. "Yamanaka and Haruno." He said, with arms crossed.
The Third Hokage sighed. He had a feeling he was going to repeat the motion a lot tonight. "We already went over this."
"But no punishment?" The grey-bearded man, also an expert summoner with his control of giant scrolls, pressed on strongly. "The Yamanakas and the Harunos went behind our backs to strengthen their clan. I can understand the Harunos for not being upfront about the matter because their desire to reawaken the Ryougi traits within their blood was a long-forgotten one, but not punishing the Yamanakas for tempting the Harunos into it for the purpose of their own goals? One wrong move and it could've set off a chain reaction. You know as much as I do, Hiruzen, the importance of maintaining the power-balance within the village."
"It does not mean we must pressure the clans into holding back their potential for power." The Third Hokage told him. "We do not want a repeat of what happened with the Uchiha."
"Oh, I'm not worried about that." The councilman shrugged it off. "I'm not questioning the loyalty nor competence of the Yamanakas. What I'm concerned about is that it's setting a bad precedent. Just because this time the end justified the means doesn't automatically translate itself into a get-out-of-jail free card. All the Yamanakas had to do was to tell us from the start that they were co-operating with the Haruno in an effort to revive the Ryougi traits and perhaps integrate those traits within themselves – and everything would've been fine. But the problem here is that they didn't, and we're only told of it now because they can't hide it no longer now that the Haruno girl had awoken her 'Mystic Eyes of Death Perception'."
Homura leaned forward. "What are they hiding, Hiruzen."
"I can't tell you."
The councilman was glaring daggers at him now. The Third Hokage knew Homura had nothing but the best interests of the village at his heart, but this was a piece of information he wasn't going to share just yet. Not until he was absolutely sure of it, anyway.
"May I ask why?"
"That would be the equivalent of telling you the reason, so I can't tell you either."
Homura rolled his eyes behind his glasses. "That's not the answer I was looking for, but fine. At least now I know they're hiding something. But pray tell, this doesn't have to do anything with the go-ahead you gave to the Ino-Shika-Cho about their idea for a nine-man squad in two years, is it?"
"No. And Homura, it's not really a nine-man squad." The Third Hokage corrected him. "It still will be three different three-man cells teams, taught by three different jounin teachers, assigned different missions. All they're promoting is frequent joint training sessions and increased communication between each other, so when the time comes for them to co-operate under missions that require more than a single team, they can co-ordinate and thus operate flawlessly. Although we pride ourselves in teamwork, Shikaku did make a good point out how different teams aren't so co-operative with each other because they could be so territorial. So I gave them the go ahead to experiment."
"Strength in numbers, hm?"
"That's the idea."
"They'd be stacked against competition in the chuunin exams."
"I wouldn't deny that I'm looking forward to the results."
Homura stared at him hard. "Awfully considerate of them, isn't it."
The Third Hokage didn't say anything.
"So there is an ulterior motive, and it's not just the Yamanakas. You have one too, don't you? Let me guess, the Haruno girl?"
"The Hyuuga is the other reason."
The Third Hokage saw the other man's expression turn into something that closely resembled shock, and eyes flickered with a touch that might've been resentment. For this the Third Hokage thought of saying something in return, but quickly changed his mind. After all, if Mitokado Homura thought of Sarutobi Hiruzen as a scheming old man, he had a point.
And that was what a Hokage was supposed to do.
Elsewhere that night, in a land far to the north, a silent needle shot through the darkness and eliminated another life.
The sentry who'd seen his attacker at the last moment not only managed to miss with his weapon, but in his panic he had hit another sentry square in the chest. Unfortunately for him, had he even been miraculously accurate in firing his arrow, it wouldn't have done a thing to change his impending doom for two others were quickly moving to neutralizing him.
Desperate now, he tried to alert the other guards stationed around the castle. He picked up the hammer attached to his belt so he could ring the alarm bells – something he should've done a moment he'd seen the intruders, he realized too late – but before he could slam the tool down on the metal instrument the attackers were on him. His standard-issue spear blocked the slash of the first attacker's sword, and a quick but crude thrust with the butt of his weapon knocked his attacker back on its feet. He wasn't as lucky with the second attacker, though, as he tried to twist to the side but couldn't completely avoid the kunai that had been thrown at him. The cold metal buried itself in between his ribs, and before he could cry out in pain the third attacker came in from behind and drove steel into his throat. He was dead even before he hit the ground.
The sentry had been one of the more lucky ones; none of the others even saw their attackers. Three of them were blinded by the bright light of the flash bang when their assailants flowed over them, and the other five were already too busying dying from their wounds from the black needles that pieced though their jugular veins. Their efforts hadn't been completely useless, though, as shouts of alarm came from the residential areas of the castle and someone began barking harsh-voiced orders as more guards came pouring out of their assigned rooms. Their efforts had been quite commendable, evidence of the discipline they've been put through, yet compared to their assailants their efforts were still too slow. They were still scrambling for their mental balance, fighting past the stunned shock of complete surprise, when twice their own number of assailants swarmed had swarmed right inside.
Soon the castle quieted down, and absolute silence dominated thereafter. A figure clad in black, who watched the entire proceedings from a safe distance atop from his position in the branches of the evergreen tree, dispelled his clones with a quiet motion of his hand, leaving no trace of the attackers that had massacred the castle's inhabitants. Its task done, the figure bit its forefinger and, after going through a few quick seals, slammed the palm down on the branch and summoned a small scroll. He opened the scroll and started to read, just as he was instructed to after his mission was complete.
"Sai," The letter read. "We have new orders for you. Return to Konoha for further instructions."
"All Kill Landing Edge"
- Chapter Eleven -
Blarg. Couldn't make the midnight deadline. I could've uploaded the chapter a bit earlier, but it only contained the first half of this one and would've been way too short. And as if this one isn't short enough already.
You know, I never really planned for the buildup of the story to last this long (heck, we're still two years away from the start of the canon!), but ideas keep on popping into my head and I just pretty much have to write them down. So I ask my readers to be a little more patient as the story unfolds. I know we're all eager to get into the juicy bits. I know I am.
Also, as a certain reviewer pointed out, by the nature of this story's quick updates this story contains quite a bit of errors in terms of typos and small grammatical mistakes. I do go over each chapter to stomp out as much as I can, but do feel free to point out anything you notice so I can go back and correct them.
Thanks for reading!
- Nes Mikel
All Kill Landing Edge, Chapter Eleven "Coll", First Edition: March 2nd, 2013