Hey guys, sorry for the wait but this chapter is pretty action packed so I hope you like it.
On with the reading!
It happened quicker than the genin team could react, the clinking chain, the ripping sound, the attacker's intimidating voice. Sakura screamed, and as the two demons rushed toward Ryuto, their iron claws extended and ready to kill, the disguised boy jump started himself into action. With one hand Naruto hurled a smoke bomb of his own creation at the ground in front of the demons while the other pulled a pre-primed explosive kunai from his pouch, sending it flying immediately behind the smoke bomb. Immediately after that Ryuto tore through a small set of hand signs at a blinding speed before slamming his hands into the ground as he molded his chakra into the uncomfortable aspect of earth. A wall of mud sprung forth from the dirt path just before the twin bangs of the smoke and lethal explosions sounded.
Bright orange smoke poured into the sky, and Naruto was grateful to the clone that had thought up that particular maneuver. Just as he turned to help Sasuke off his butt (he'd already been in motion when Ryuto's jutsu had finished) a metal claw tore straight through the wall right next to Ryuto's head. As the barrier of wet dirt crumbled to the ground, the two men Ryuto had mistakenly thought of as demons were revealed to be relatively unharmed with the exception of their watering eyes and now completely orange outfits. Ryuto eyed their respirators and decided he needed to find himself one to call his own, it was because of those pieces of equipment that the two men had been spared from the main effect of the highly concentrated chili powder packed into that smoke bomb.
Sasuke rushed past Ryuto as the two mist ninja prepared to launch their chain a second time. As the Sasuke leaped into the air, deftly flicking his own ninja tools through the air to pin down the chain Ryuto charged straight under his teammate, a fist already reared back in preparation for a punch. The mist ninja's watering eyes widened in shock, even as he'd been raising his arm to block a fist he felt a foot slam into his side instead, followed up by a swift elbow, and surprisingly, a headbutt that dented his respirator and broke his nose. As the younger of the Demon Brothers stumbled backwards from the barrage of blows he looked up as the shining sun was obscured by the bottom of the apparent brunette's sandal.
Ryuto flipped off of his opponent's face and turned away from the ninja's crumpled body just in time to see his dark haired teammate complete a stream of combos that ended with the ninja skidding away, flat on his back.
"Wow Dusty, overkill much?"
"Shut up Ryuto! You're lucky I didn't do the same to you for disgracing the honor of The Holy Red Fruit."
"Uh, Sasuke. That wasn't me." Sasuke opened his eyes and sure enough Ryuto was standing right in his line of sight, so who was it behind him?
The dark haired Uchiha whipped around and caught a face full of Kakashi eye-smiling, "Yo!" The man was still reading his little orange book, he didn't look ruffled at all. Ryuto didn't need to look to know about the log lying on the ground in pieces as he pointed at his sensei, "You used Substitution! And a genjutsu to make it look like you'd died! You copied me!"
The cyclopes replied in a merry tone, "Well, they don't call me the Copy ninja for nothing." Ryuto sighed and Kakashi shifted into serious mode, "What I think we should really be focused on is why these missing-nins attacked in the first place. These guys are the demon brothers of the hidden mist, thankfully they weren't very strong but missing-nin don't just attack without reason, it would be like wearing a sign telling any bounty hunters to come and get it. No, someone payed them." Naruto noticed the bridge builder's grip tightening on his bottle of booze as the silver haired sense continued, "I couldn't be the target, only an idiot wouldn't send a high level ninja to deal with another. My students are all too insignificant for anyone to find it worth the money to hire any kind of assassin too. So that leaves," Kakashi trailed off dramatically as he watched Tazuna squirm under his knowing gaze, "You."
Before Sakura could even begin to ask the million ryo question, the bridge builder broke into tears as he flung himself into the dirt at the jonin's feet, "Please! I beg of you, don't leave! My country needs you! Wave is a trading country that makes it's money from shipping goods out into the other elemental nations, but ever since Gato arrived and bought everything out-!"
"I don't care!"
Tazuna startled into silence, staring at the boy the outburst of slight killing intent and anger had come from. Sasuke clenched his fists, anger and determination burning in his obsidian eyes, "You think that just because some missing ninja showed up we're gonna back down? Don't insult me, things are just starting to get interesting." At the end of his short speech Sasuke struck a pose and whipped his bangs out of his face. Sakura cheered.
Kakashi looked at Sasuke with a dead look in his eyes, "Look Sasuke, I know you're confident and all but this mission isn't a C rank anymore, it's a solid B rank. It would make more sense to go back to the village and send out a more qualified team of jonin and chunin."
Ryuto snorted before makin his opinion known, "Dude, this is what we trained for. We'll work together to overcome anything and everything. And even if we can't, you said it yourself, they don't call you the Copy ninja for nothing. We'll be fine on our own and going back to the village would only be wasting out precious time. Think of it this way, the sooner we get the job done the sooner we can leave and all be safe."
The genin and bridge builder all watched with baited breath as they waited for the cyclopes' final decision, "I'm proud of you for deciding to continue on as a team." With that final statement there was a collective sigh before the group set off once more, with eyes and ears open. The silver haired sensei eye smiled to himself as he read his favorite book, "Another perfect performance from one Hatake Kakashi."
After that first encounter, the party of ninja hadn't had any more trouble getting to the boatsman who would be smuggling them into Wave. They didn't speak much during that time, instead opting for a sort of alert silence. Though Sakura was smiling once more that was of little concern to Ryuto as about halfway through what was left of the first part of their journey, Tazuna decided that the ninja needed to hear the sob story of his country and was just finishing up by the time the group had arrived at the edge of the large body of water two days later.
As Ryuto was silently giving thanks that he'd applied the hair coloring that needed hot water to wash out someone spoke to him, effectively knocking the boy out of his thoughts, "Hm? Say something?"
Kakashi nodded, unperturbed by the boy's spot on imitation, "Yes, I was just asking where you learned that jutsu you used when the demon brothers attacked." Ryuto nodded, he was expecting someone to ask him about that. Out of the corner of his eye Ryuto saw Sasuke glaring at him curiously and even Sakura was paying attention to the conversation. Smoothly, the disguised boy's face morphed into a wide grin as he spoke his well rehearsed words, "It's surprising what you can find at the ninja library, Kakashi-sensei."
The Copy non nodded, "Is that so?" The boy only nodded, tuning out of the conversation as Sakura started talking. "This mist, something about it is off. It's too thick, perfect for an ambush." Ryuto strained his ears listening for any sounds out of the ordinary, even going so far as to focus his chakra into the hearing organs only to immediately stop at the increased volume of the nearby voice of his pink haired teammate. Ryuto leaned back casually against the wall of the small boat, "Okay then, time for some recon." As Ryuto outwardly appeared as if he were relaxing, if one were to look at his chakra system they would see the boy molding his energies in the same way that they moved when creating shadow clones.
Underneath the surface of the small canal the boat was floating through there were two poofs, one after another, and out of the quickly dispersed chakra smoke swam a small fish, "Good thing shadow clones don't need to breath." Thought Naruto. The fake brunette allowed his consciousness to wander, they still had a ways to go before they'd be switching back to traveling on foot.
Naruto was worried.
They'd left the boatman about an hour before and the boy could swear that the mist was getting thicker. Just as Ryuto was about to say something his clone dispelling abruptly alerted him to the immediate danger.
Ryuto was already tackling Tazuna out of the way even as the words left Kakashi's mouth, and he already had a kunai flying at the man sitting atop of the giant sword imbedded in the tree across the way. The tall man snatched the kunai right out of the air without effort even as he ignored the boy, "Well, no wonder the Demon Brothers flailed their mission. They were up against the famous Sharingan Kakashi."
"Well, if it isn't Momochi Zabuza, missing nin of the hidden mist."
"Yeah, and I got a job to do. I'm here for the old man."
At the mention of the bridge builder the three genin placed themselves in a defensive formation around Tazuna. Kakashi's only move was to shift his hitai-ate so that it wasn't covering his left eye, "Fine. Looks like for this fight I'll need this."
In a blur of movement Zabuza had moved from his perch atop his sword to a position on the lake just at the end of the clearing. Sakura expressed her amazement vocally, "He's over there! Standing on the water!" The Copy nin stared with his sharingan eye and Ryuto stared as well, their eyes never leaving the enemy. The missing ninja stood with one arm bent, the other pointed toward the sky, as the water swirled to life, thickening and stretching into a dense mist. A wayward leaf landed on the water's surface, and the ninja standing upon that very same surface disappeared into the growing mist.
Que Sakura, "He disappeared!"
"Zabuza is a master of the silent killing technique, it happens so fast you pass on into the next life before you're even aware of the pain, so all of you stay on your guard. On the brighter side of things, if we don't win the only thing we lose is our lives."
"How can you say that?!"
The ninja stood, tense, as the mist grew thicker and thicker, so much so that even Kakashi was out of sight. The silence grew as they waited for something, anything to happen.
"Eight points." Ryuto would have liked to have said that he didn't jump at the sound of the deadly missing nin's voice, But, He reconciled himself, At least the others are scared too.
"Larynx." Sasuke gulped and the sound echoed with the disembodied voice.
"Spine." A bead of nervous sweat slid down Ryuto's face.
"Lungs." Tazuna shook in his boots.
"Liver." Sakura licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry.
"Jugular." If Sasuke gripped that kunai any harder there'd be an imprint on his hand.
"Subclavian arterie." The pinkette wondered if she'd live long enough to beat Ino in the race for Sasuke.
"Kidneys." The bridge builder yearned for his bottle but didn't want to distract the ones responsible for his safety.
"Heart." Ryuto gritted his teeth, To hell with keeping a low profile! If I have to I'll use everything at my disposal!
"Now, which will I use today?"
Suddenly, the white haired jonin brought his hands together and blew the mist away with pure chakra. Glancing to the right, Ryuto noticed his dark haired teammate freaking out. The disguised boy felt the killing intent crowding around him, though he wondered why Sasuke was taking it so much worse than him. Just as Ryuto was about to say something, Kakashi beat him to the punch, "Calm down Sasuke. I will protect you with my life. All of you." The Copy nin paused a moment, as if he were remembering something, "I will not allow my comrades to die. Trust me."
"I wouldn't be so sure." Ryuto spun on his heel, That voice, how did he get behind me! It was in fact Zabuza, standing right in-between the three genin in a ridiculously cool pose. "It's over." Time seemed to stop as the missing nin moved to decapitate the bridge builder.
"Like hell it is!"
…And promptly burst into water. Ryuto didn't stop moving as he flitted through a quick set of hand seals, spinning around just in time to spit a garbage truck sized fireball in the face of another Zabuza who evaporated into steam. It took a moment before anyone could see clearly again. "Hm, the brat's better than I thought. Too bad water clone's only have a tenth of their user's strength." In a blur of movement Zabuza had Ryuto by his brown hair, a knife at the boy's neck, "Ha, so much for not letting your comrades die, Kakashi of the Sharingan." Kakashi moved to stop the ninja but was stopped himself when he caught sight of his student's smirk. A slight fizzing sound was all the warning the Copy nin needed as he quickly grabbed the bridge builder and his two other genin. A second later the earth shuddered.
Sakura shook her head in an attempt to rid it of the ringing noise before she tried to speak, "W-what? D-did he just-? Did Ryuto-?" Sakura's voice caught, she couldn't say it. Ryuto had blown himself up. To get a blast that big he must've used at least ten explosive tags. The pinkette looked to her jonin sensei in confusion, "Kakashi… There was no way either of them could've survived that." The Copy Nin hung his head slightly before snapping back to attention, "No, get back in position. This isn't over."
"Wha? What do you mean? Ryuto's dead! So is Zabuza! There's no way either of them could've survived that explosion! They were literally at the epicenter!" Kakashi shook his head, "Ryuto may be gone but we still have to deal with Zabuza. No jonin who's earned their rank would get caught in that kind of attack, he's survived too many battles where every other person does the same thing with their dying breath."
"Heheheh, that's one brat out of the picture. So much for not letting your comrades die, eh ,Kakashi?" The white haired ninja stood completely still as he stared at Zabuza, a dead look in his eyes. He took a step forward, his sharingan eye spinning, before disappearing in a swirl of leaves. The mist ninja's eyes widened slightly before he pulled his massive sword from his back and disappeared in a burst of speed, the only sign of his passage being the ten foot tall tower of water sent in the other direction.
They met at the center of the clearing, Zabuza's sword already moving to bisect the Copy Nin. Kakashi dodged over the blade, sending his own kunai down to imbed itself into the eyebrow-less ninja's arm that held the now embedded sword. The ex-mist ninja released his weapon and launched his own knife at Kakashi who dodged past liberally. The white haired ninja had just enough time for his eyes to widen marginally as he was caught by Zabuza's foot and sent flying toward the lake. The leaf nin was able to twist enough to dive into the water just before he resurfaced a moment later.
"What's up with this water? It feels heavy for some reason!" Zabuza leered over Kakashi just as he finished his technique, "Idiot. Water style: Water prison jutsu!" The water from the lake swirled and engulfed the white haired ninja in a ball of water, with Zabuza's hand sticking in. With the other hand, the missing nin made a sign and another water clone, "With that brat out of the way, I'll only need one to take care of the rest. Hehe, your confidence was your downfall, Kakashi of the Sharingan."
Sakura screamed as she ran toward him, "Kakashi sensei!"
"No, Sakura! You have to run! Zabuza is using much of his power to keep me here! His clone can only go a certain distance away from him so if you guys run you'll still be able to make it!" Sasuke smirked to hide his fear, Yeah, but even if it is just a clone he'd catch us before we could take ten steps. Ryuto may have been able to kill two but he isn't with us anymore. Damn it! how far ahead of me is he? Sasuke clenched his heath, No, our only option is to free Kakashi from that water prison. The dark haired boy glanced at his remaining teammate who was only a thread away from hysteria, Looks like that responsibility falls to me, not that I didn't expect it to. The last Uchiha continued to ponder their predicament as Zabuza continued to monologue, It seems he has to have his arm in the water to keep his jutsu running. So if I want to stop it, I have to make him move. A glance at the clone, No way am I going to be able to plow through him. But, maybe a distraction will work?
As the ex-mist nin concluded his monologue Sasuke took a deep breath, Okay, it's now or never! With that mental declaration Sasuke charged strait at the water clone, launching volley after volley of shuriken at the clone. As he blocked the flying edged weapons, Sasuke chucked a smoke bomb as he prepared himself and began a set of hand signs that his teammate had performed. Just as the smoke cleared the boy was ready, and not a moment too soon. Sasuke found it slightly satisfying to see the clone's eyes widen just in time to receive a face full of fire about the same size as Ryuto's.
Out of the large cloud of smoke, dust, and steam shot Sasuke on a beeline towards Zabuza. The boy meant to surprise the ninja as he put on a burst of speed, launching himself into the air. But the eyebrowless ninja wasn't having it as he simply snatched the genin's fist out of the air. Just as Zabuza was about to crush Sasuke's hand, something burst out of the water right behind the missing nin screaming the name of the technique that would strike fear into the heart of even the most battle hardened warrior.
"Leaf village secret finger jutsu!" Time seemed to stop as the universe itself gave a shudder.
"ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF DEATH!"
So? What did you think? What was your reaction to Ryuto's death? First one to let me know gets bragging rights.
I gotta get started on the next chapter so peace out and peace off!