No one knew why the blind shinobi targeted Ikko. It was sudden; the attack. He just walked out of the house of healing and somehow, found his target by chance. Or was it luck? Even so, the blind shinobi had caused panic. Koga was not so pleased as peace within his village has not been disturbed by the troubles of war. It all seemed to unwind by one shinobi.
Her eyes seemed to have lost their shine. Her face looking stressed from the lack of sleep. Her hair tied back by a simple tie leaving some strands to fall in her face. There have been many times where Tsubaki has felt guilty. Her line of work comes with its share of stress and guilt that can weigh on ones body and mind. Tokiko felt a pain in her heart seeing her former student this way. Tsubaki blamed herself for all this. But, it was not her fault. No one could have predicted this. She should have seen the signs, she should have talked more to him, but she could blame herself for letting him hurt her other patients and almost killing a man she would call a friend.
"Why would he do this?" She looked to the cup of tea in her hands.
Her heart was heavy and she felt the need to find the answers. The blind shinobi was under her care and she had failed everyone around her. If only she knew how dangerous this man was, maybe she could have done something. But Tsubaki was no shinobi. There was nothing she could have done to prevent anything.
She felt helpless and useless.
"There have been stories about a shinobi like him. A lone man, blind, killing shinobi on both sides. Po told a story about a tribe of desert nomads that were killed by one of their own many years ago. He suspected that this was the same shinobi, but no one knew what this man looked like only that he was of nomad descent." Tokiko spoke.
Tsubaki looked towards the older healer. She told Tokiko of her worries and how she wished she would be of much help, but Tokiko had only assured that being a healer in a time of war was enough. She did not need to be a shinobi to fight battles. A healer battles to save the life of someone in their care.
The liquid in the cup had stopped steaming. The silence in the room was unbearable. Focusing on the doubt within her would not improve anything. All it did was bring back the horrors of a long past she wished to keep deep inside of her mind. Po had talked to Tsubaki and he made sure that she was not as useless as she claims to be. Where this doubt came from, only Tsubaki could answer for herself.
"How is Po sure that this was the right shinobi?" Tsubaki asked. "There are plenty of desert people that travel beyond their borders. Even their shinobi have to have a uniform in which they fight in. To think people would let a young man - a blind one- fight their wars."
Tokiko poured herself some tea tying to find the right words to say. Tsubaki was only killing herself trying to make sense of it all. Po only knew about the story of the nomads that were massacred. A living nomad from that tribe was unheard of until stories started about a blind man with tan skin fighting in the wars. His use of a pair of curved blades inspired legends.
Sitting quietly to the side was Ikko, observing and listening closely to the older healer woman. He looked like a mess with his hair in a tangled mess and bags underneath his eyes. If one looked closely underneath his clothes, bandages were there. Clean and fresh after the mornings routine of changing them. Though, he still felt pain in his chest from the weapon, but he was recovering well.
"Po never disclosed that information to us. He was sure it was the shinobi you have healed. Desert people never leave their land unless in times of war." Tsubaki took a sip of her tea trying to process the details. Tokiko could see that this disturbed her. She knew what kind of background Tsubaki came from and wondered if this was bringing back some unpleasant memory.
"Of coarse, that badger keeps his secrets unless we give him one of more rare herbs." Tsubaki rubbed her forehead out of agitation. Tokiko chuckled softly and Ikko smiled. He enjoyed the company of the two healers and seeing how dedicated they both were to their works. With the endless patients coming tk them, it might not be of any wonder how anyone could resist Tsubakis healing touch.
Though, his smile faltered as to why he was here in the first place.
The aftermath of the days before have made the villagers uneasy. Strangers coming into the village were always suspected of doing something. The villagers always kept a sharp eye. This place never seen war Ikko noticed. Koga had hired shinobi from neighboring villages to guard the village and his daughter in case the man responsible for Ikko's attempt murder comes back. Though, it was a bit farfetched to go tk such extremes. Ikko was a fully capable man who was caught off guard.
Tsubaki continued talking to Tokiko and her face seemed to be stressed. No doubt the toll of everything had come upon her and hearing about Koga's daughter as well. Asumi, however, had made it all about her. Claiming the attempt assassination was for her being the village leaders daughter. Tsubaki and most of the villagers did not see it as such. No one knew who the shinobi was truly targeting.
Ikko took a deep breath in. The pain shot through his chest quickly, causing him to make a pained face. Tsubaki turned her attention towards her patient with a worried look. She placed her cup on the table and placed her hand behind Ikko's back. He jumped at her touch and looked to her. He swore his cheeks were turning red.
"Are you hurting still, Ikko? Do I need to make a herb tea for you?" Tsubaki asked. All talk of moments past pushed to the side. The attention was on Ikko and he does not like being the center of attention.
Ikko coughed and shook his head of pain and embarrassment.
"No. No. I am fine, Lady Tsubaki. I am thinking about what I am going to report back to Lord Uchiha. He is not going to be so pleased that I was weak and not keeping my guard up. His punishments are not very ideal." Ikko placed his hand on his chest. Damn this pain. Damn the shinobi. The pain was getting worse, but he had to overcome it. The shinobi that did this to him was still out there. Madara was a man not empathetic to the weak. Hell, he trained Ikko and even spared with him from time to time.
"If he does anything to injure you further, I know some herbs that can slow a man his size down ten fold." Tokiko said with a sly smile.
"Do not suggest using those herbs you old crow. Remember what happened last time you made someone use them." Tsubaki's eye twitched in annoyance.
Ikko smiled softly, but the pain within his chest was not letting up. Tsubaki calmed herself as she noticed her patient in pain.
"You sure you are okay? I am just worried because you should be resting. Are you Uchiha's always this stubborn?" Tsubaki smiled as she spoke. Ikko smiled back and before he could speak, it seemed as if someone had eavesdropped on their conversation; and a voice was heard. This caused Ikko to panic slightly. How could he not feel their presence?
"The Uchiha are known for being stubborn and strong." Said a voice from behind the door.
"But we also known to be handsome."
All eyes turned to the door as it opened. The Uchiha brothers stood before them, tired, and maybe hungry from their journey. Izuna had a smile upon his dirty face. No doubt, what he said could be true but they knew he was trying to make the atmoshpere a little lighter. Tsubaki felt her heart beat fast but scolded herself to calm down as Madara entered behind Izuna. Tokiko stood up and offered both men a seat and some tea, which only Madara declined. He decided for standing near the door with arms crossed and a solemn look upon his face.
Ikko's face had paled and his hands clenched as Madara stood. What was there to say? He was an Uchiha. One of the most feared and trained of all shinobi in the lands. To explain to Madara Uchiha himself would be like being fed to the wolves, only worse. Tsubaki could see this within the injured shinobi and tried to calm him down with a small soft pat behind his back. Ikko flinched slightly at the touch which Madara had noticed. Was he jealous?
"Lord Uchiha, forgive me for…" Ikko spoke after a few moments of tense silence.
Madara turned a disappointing eye towards his clan member. His cold dark stare sending a chill down Ikko's spine. The pain in his chest growing worse which Tsubaki caught on quickly from his ragged breathing and sharp intake of breath. He had to calm himself, Tsubaki thought to herself. Before the very pale man, a cup of fresh tea was placed in front of Ikko. Tokiko knew instantly to make a herb tea for the wounded Uchiha, but not without a scold towards the elder Uchiha to not try to kill his own clan member with his stare.
Madara was known for many things and his cold hard stare was one of them. Ikko swallowed saliva that was forming in his mouth. He was not scared. He was not.
"Ease yourself, Ikko. You are just recovering from your almost fatal wound. Breath slowly or I will have to put you to sleep with a sleeping herb." Tsubaki said as she felt Madara's eyes on her. She paid no mind to it at the moment. Her focus was on her patient. Always a first priority. Such was a way for a healer.
"Yes. I am sorry." Ikko stumbled out.
Izuna could see from the corner of his eye the complete jealousy his elder brother was giving off. He would of smiled a sly smile if it were not for Tokiko scolding the elder Uchiha for his brashness. Ikko has already been through enough and having Madara's famous death glares was just a added bonus to his already death sentence. Izuna might have to have another stern talking, but to see his brother act out on pure jealousy was something Izuna will never let slide.
"There is nothing for you to apologize for, Ikko. If Madara is scaring you, I shall make him leave." Izuna stated trying to be the more level headed sibling, rather then having Madara hound Ikko for the answers he wanted. Said elder brother glared hard towards Izuna, which he ignored with a grin.
Tsubaki sighed heavily and shook her head. They were deffintly brothers. Tokiko chuckled as she sat next to Izuna.
"Scared? If there is anything Ikko could be scared of would not be me." Madras spoke which caused Izuna to knocked his brother to the floor.
Tsubaki could see the hesitation within Ikko's facial expression. "Now, gentlemen, let us not get to rowdy. Poor Ikko needs the rest and having Lord Uchiha trying to kill Tsubaki's patient will only disturb the peace we are trying to hold here in the house of healing or have you forgotten?"
Madara fell silent for a moment which surprised them all. Tsubaki turned her attention towards him. He looked regretful and his attention was on hers. "Forgive me." He said.
For that moment, it seemed he was saying to her. Maybe she thought too much of it and shook of the thought not wanting to act like a girl in love. This was not the time to be acting as such.
"Ikko needs rest and plenty of herbs. He also needs to not draw to much in his strength." Tsubaki said and rose from her place with Ikko. The shinobi thanked the Gods for his good fortune on not having to face the wrath of Madara Uchiha.
"Any question you have for him must wait until I say he is ready." Tsubaki was stern with her ways. Healers knew best, but Madara was not a man for patience. Izuna placed a firm hand on his brothers arm. He was not going to ruin this. His impatience for the blind shinobi's head was growing or maybe was it that jealousy?
"Will we have a problem, Lord Uchiha?" Tsubaki said.
Was she challenging him?
"I will not go against a healers wishes." Madara spoke as he turned his attention elsewhere. He would have grinned and teased the healer, but he would not dare do so. It would be to obvious.
Izuna chuckled softly as Madara jabbed his side with his elbow. No one was a sore loser more then Madara Uchiha. He took a deep breath in with his eyes closing. How could such a woman have a great effect on him? Never. Never has anyone try to challenge him, but she was right. He won't admit it, but Tsubaki was a healer first and that was all she could ever be.
Says the man who wanted her as a wife. His thoughts taunted.
He grumbled under his breath as Izuna looked to his brother in question. Madara has not been acting himself lately. One way or another, Izuna will make Madara confess his feelings or his worries. Right now, Ikko needed the proper rest and care. The hunt for the blind shinobi would have to stall another day. No doubt Koga is aware of their presence already in his village.
This just keeps getting better.
It was a barren wasteland where life thrived and knew how to survive. When man walked the earth, he knew only survival and the tools given to him by the Gods. In a time where men fought each other, the nomads were people who believed if they searched the desolate wasteland, the Gods would provide for them.
Their skill unmatched. Their way of survival forever lost in the sands of time. What remains of them are tales and myth.
He knew only blood and steel. He knew her voice even though he never saw her face. Only a world of darkness until he was taught how to 'see'. The large shadow that always looked over him guided the blind shining in his training.
"Saif, you must concentrate your chakra to the ground. Let it flow through the trees, through every root of all living things." The voice spoke.
Saif. His name.
'Saif, my son. You will learn and grow to become a fine warrior for our people. Remember to always dance with the blades given to you. Someday, your life will be worth something.'
He fell to his knees. The very breath knocked out of his lungs as his curved blade only inches from his finger. Blood was spilled and the blade tasted blood. He knew he had cut the Senju for he could taste blood in his mouth. His body was shaking from the fatigue as his hands clenched the dirt beneath him. Wounding his opponent could turn the tide of the battle. His chakra was close to being depleted. He could feel it deep within him. How?! How could he not be strong enough to defeat Tobirama Senju?
He turned his head to the side to spit out blood. He was hurt, he knew this. His muscles were twitching constantly and his nerves were sending messages to his brain to heal his body. Being wounded once more was becoming an annoyance to the blind man.
'Will you fail?' He could hear that deep voice in his mind. His tone full of disappointment.
'Will you fail me Saif?'
He could feel the pain coursing through his body. If seemed small movement sent paralyzing pain to shoot through every crevice. His muscles were tensing, not wanting move. He knew his chakra was low and he had to reserve it. He was fighting with all of his might against the Senju. Though, it was tough considering Tobirama was fast and rather calculating. His use of jutsu's was hard to dodge for the blind man. He had to use every ounce of his chakra to see through his feet. He was lucky to still be alive against someone strong.
Tobirama stood before the blind shinobi. His sword now resting at his side as he could see how helpless this shinobi before him was. The sun hid behind clouds causing a cool breeze to pass through both men. It was a solemn feeling. If one could listen closely, they might here the soft voice of a woman humming. Tobirama, however, kept his distance from the blind man, but he was close enough to strike in case the blind man wanted to attack from a close range.
"Give up now while you still have chakra. Do not risk your life and run, because it will not end well for you." Tobirama spoke in a calm tone.
The blind shinobi could feel the sweat dripping off his forehead. "I have always heard that the great Tobirama Senju never shows mercy to his foes. Why am I granted such a notion?"
Tobirama took a knee to catch his own breath as a jolt of pain coarsed through his right leg. Shinobi never showed their fatigue or their weakness. Fighting this blind man, Tobirama could see that the use of his feet was his only option in able to 'see' what was before him. It was interesting to say the lease. There were not many shinobi that could fight barefoot unless it was deemed necessary.
"You must answer my questions." It was a simple answer. One Tobirama could only think of at that moment. True, he was one of the strongest shinobi in all the land and some say stronger than his brother, but he was one to get answers.
The blind shinobi looked up to the man. His hands could feel the chakra flowing through the Senju man. He had to escape once more to live to fight another day. His mission was not yet finished. He clenched his teeth in frustration. Tobirama saw this action and stood in a fighting stance.
"Questions? No! You are only in my way from me continuing my mission. You are not the one I need to kill." The blind shinobi was furious. The chakra he could feel through his feet had picked up something firmiliar. The dark shadow had felt it as well and knew who it was. He would have smiled if it were not for the future fight he would be able to see.
Tobirama stood his ground waiting for his chance to strike. As it were, the blind shinobi was contemplating or so it seems until a sudden spike in his chakra caused Tobirama to charge forward with his sword ready to strike.
What Tobirama did not know was that attached to the blind shinobi was string. Invisible to the human eye unless you focused enough to see it. The dark shadow has kept his eyes on the blind man. Though he could say he was proud of having taught a strong protégé, there was still much for the blind man to learn. He was too hasty, too focused on trying to kill quickly where a shinobi makes his biggest mistakes.
'I should let you die here, but your usefulness and talent cannot be destroyed'
Quickly, the blind man disappeared before Tobirama could strike a final blow. Looking about, keeping his eyes focused on his surroundings, he could hear something buzz through the air. Moving out of the way of kunai's coming towards him, Tobirama caught sight of the blind man. But, the smell of burning paper caused him to look down at the kunai's and knew that attached to them were paper bombs.
He wanted to get my guard down. He thought and moved out of the way of the impact of the bomb. The blind man could feel the vibration and hear the explosion from his position. Tobirama was smart and would not put himself into a corner. The Senju would attack any moment, but would he be able to survive the fire?
"I could have killed him myself." The blind man spoke in anger. His teeth clenched as he looked into the blackness. The smell of smoke going through his nostrils. Madara was alive and well. His target was close and it seemed it was coming from the direction of that village.
"Could you have killed him Saif? Could you have lasted without my strings to rescue you? Before Tobirama could have ended your miserable life?" The tall shadow loomed over Saif.
The blind man backed down.
"But you hesitate." The voice scolded. He grew tired of having this blind shinobi wasting time.
"No. I could feel him. Madara Uchiha." Saif said and fell to the ground out of exhaustion.
AN: We finally get a name to our blind shinobi. It took me awhile to think of something, but I believe he deserved a name. Finally getting to the good parts and soon, Madara and Saif will battle it out or will they? Well, find out in the next chapter.