The wind blew in the scent of death and blood. So strong it attracted predators for its scent. Blood thirsty animals that have yet to eat or love the taste of human flesh. The crows cawed loudly with beaks clicking against wood as they waited for their chance to feast upon the flesh of the dead that were scattered. Eyes watched from the sidelines with hungry bellies and drooling canines as the jackals sniffed every dead human.
It was a reminiscent of those long dead by his own hand. Those he called family. Those who were to protect him and guide him. Traditions that were meant to be passed are now buried forever in the sand. Their skeletal remains scattered by the winds and animals. Saif may not have seen the destruction, but he could smell it. The way blood filled the air. How the sun looked down upon him. Seeing him a monster who killed his own people.
Kakazu never saw Saif as a monster. Just a nomad boy trying to find his place. His purpose in the world because he was different. He was to bring his tribe into victory and lead them, but now they were dead with buzzards flying above. Even if Kakazu never voiced it, he would have certainly seen the progress Saif has made.
The fire was beginning to die. The rains had stopped as it has been pouring for the last three hours. Their safety within a small hut was worn and broken. The sound of the rain falling upon the old roof had left puddles in its wake.
Saif was shaking from the cold. Kakazu sat motionless with his eyes closed and arms crossed and tucked away in his sleeves. The days training had come to a standstill with the rain coming in. Saif was unfortunately caught in the storm and suffered being wet for the next few hours.
With the fire dying and not wood left, Saif feared becoming sick. He would be of no use for his mentor in this state. His body was shaking with little tremors from his sore muscles. Twitching from both pain and being cold.
Sleeping was an option for him. Maybe it would keep his mind from the events and his own foolishness. Rubbing his hands together for some friction, Saif loser his eyes. Focusing on sleep in away the rain and cold. He could feel his body not complying with his thoughts.
'Now.' He thought.
No use. It was not going to work. His body was drained and shivering. There was no warmth under wet clothes. No heat. No fire. He would just have to suffer for it.
Kakazu could feel the disappointment within Saif. His struggle for warmth. For sleep. With barely raised eyes lids, he could see you Saif lying on his side with his back facing the dying fire. Without making a noise from the worn hut, Kakazu stood and walked towards the young boy. Taking off his coat, he placed it on the shivering boy.
'You will repay me, boy.' Kakazu thought.
When I die. Kakazu, take my heart. It would be of use to you.
Saif slammed his foot against the earth as waves of chakra energy spread for signs of life, other than animals waiting their turn. The three jackals raised their heads and growled as kunai's were thrown their way, missing them by mere inches. Saif turned towards the commotion as chakra energy from his new opponents approached him.
"How could so much death and destruction be caused by one rouge shinobi and dogs?" He heard a strong voice coming from a man in front of five shinobi.
Saif clenched his fists tightly feeling his body growing weak. He could not keep this going. His ghostly eyes staring dead center at the man who spoke. His irritation growing by the second. The jackals growled at the men. They were ready to lunge forwards and taste blood that was flowing through their arteries. Their necks looked like a weak point. Humans were so fragile. Humans were so weak.
"Dogs? Do you not see that these are desert creatures?" Saif spoke. "Living things have to survive in the harsh climate. Where little shade brings comfort. Where water is as scarce as food."
The shinobi were getting tense. He could feel their chakra fluctuate as he moved towards them. They were scared and trying to put up a front of bravery. With so little time in his strength, Saif had to finish this distraction. Their leader, however, was not one to back down even though he had this uncertainty about him. This man had experience and with the amount of chakra within his body, age had certainly taken its toll on him.
An easy kill.
The human body grew weak with age. So few shinobi lived to see old age and marriage. One would be gifted to survive a war. Stories would be told through generations. Clans have been slaughtered in the name of war or something more. Villages burned to smoldering ash. People dead and suffered. Saif may have never seen the destruction of wars fought, but he knew much of blood. The smell. The lingering scent of a metallic scent that drew in hungry predators.
"Surely, you cannot act alone in this. You are nothing more than a boy. A blind boy from the desert. An outsider to these lands." The leader spoke.
The way this man was speaking to Saif reminded him of a parent scolding his child. Could he not see the danger? Could he not see that this was his resting place? It angered the blind shinobi. He was like them. Saying things that he did not understand. Underestimating ones opponents had dire consequences. Saif hated to be underestimated by his opponents. The very thought would send him to a blood filled rage.
Remember your purpose here. Madara Uchiha. He must die for the sake of sight.
Saif raised his hand. A silent command only the jackals knew well. Barking loudly, they rushed passed him with speed. Their long legs kicking up dust as the shinobi threw kunai and shuriken towards them. The sound of bone crunching under heavy pressure echoed and the men's gurgled cries fell upon deaf ears.
Saif moved fast and held the leader by his throat. The jackals had made a feast of the shinobi's with their blood dripping from their canines. There was no battle to be fought here. These men were only in the way. Just another obstacle in path and with milky white eyes staring pass his opponent, Saif pushed the man to the ground. One foot upon his back, crushing his bones into his lungs. Saif bent to one knee as he could feel the energy around him rise. Madara was coming towards him.
"When food becomes scarce, the animals will always find a way to survive." He spoke.
Koga could feel his body breaking. His men were dead and being eaten by these savage beasts. His entire life of knowing the way of the shinobi had failed him. His older age and lack of participating in the war had lead him astray. He became complacent in his obligation of village leader.
"You speak as if you will survive this." Koga said as Saif placed a hand on his throat. The tightness closing airways causing Koga to breathe heavily. There was little time to make peace before dying. Koga knew he was going to die by the hands of this blind boy.
"I never expect to survive." Saif picked the old leader from the ground. Using his strength, Saif threw Koga in the direction of the remaining villagers that sought refuge upon a hill.
She hugged them in a tight embrace. Thanking the Gods for their safe return. Though they were shaken, Tsubaki was grateful that Tokiko and Ami were safe. No harm had come to them other then being frightened. They escaped with their lives, but when Tsubaki heard about Ikko and Izuna, she had the urge of going out there and helping. Ikko might have a spinal injury and if she does not go to the wounded shinobi, there is a chance he may not be able to walk again or use his chakra if it was as worse as both women had mentioned.
"The best thing to do right now, is take care of these people. They are frightened and they look to you Tsubaki. They look to the healer for comfort and that is our job." Tokiko said.
"Yes, that may be true, but Ikko needs help. Izuna cannot carry him when he has a spinal injury." Tsubaki felt unable to move. There was danger still and she knew she could not leave the safety of the house of healing. Not when those creatures were still out on the hunt.
Po as yet to return and she feared for her furry friend. Madara hasn't even emerged from the forest. The villages best option of defense was nowhere in sight. Koga was not leading his people and the villagers were growing panic by the second. Asumi was the one trying to keep everyone calm. Much to Tsubaki's amazement at how fast Asumi had gone from being a spoiled woman to someone the healer could respect. Clearly, she was trying to repent her selfish behavior.
Maybe there was some good left. To keep the villagers from panicking was important in any situation. Keeping calm minds and steady heads was what lead to survival. Tsubaki was thinking of the herbs and their uses. There were a few injured in her care and not enough remedies to go around. She never expected to heal this many with so few supplies left in their garden.
"What we need to do is take these people to safety. Away from the village." Tokiko said.
Tsubaki nodded her head in agreement all the while trying to think of the villagers needs. She turned to Asumi for a moment. The woman was chewing on her nail in anxiety. The villagers were talking among themselves and keeping their minds off of the dead.
"There could still be danger even if we attempt to leave." Tsubaki stated. "These villagers are no shinboi. We are healers and not fighters."
"Then what are we to do, garden rat!" Asumi yelled causing all whispers to cease.
Tsubaki sighed and rubbed her aching head. She knew staying within the village was dangerous and their best choice was to seek shelter elsewhere, but no one knew what was out there. If there was more danger. God's help us.
A loud crash came from the side of the house of healing. Dirt and debris fell from the sky as people began to panic. Tsubaki coughed and wiped her eyes to see that there was a body laying still just a few meters away. Her eyes widened when she saw that it was Koga. His managed body unmoving with blood around him.
Asumi let out a terrible screech as she ran towards her fathers body. Tears were falling heavily as she babbled, trying to wake him. It was too late. He was dead the moment he reached his resting place. Tsubaki clenched her fists tightly. The other villagers were huddled together in fear, while one of them walked towards a grieving Asumi.
Just moments before, Asumi was telling at Tsubaki and now, she was covered in her own father blood.
Death is upon us.
"I have no quarrels with those who can not defend themselves." Tsubaki, Tokiko, and Ami turned around to see the blind shinobi standing before them. His milky eyes staring at them, though, Tsubaki had once stared at them before. This young man whom she healed was back.
He was bandaged from his chest to his arms. Blood stained the white fabric and dirt clung to his exposed tan skin. His hair ruffled in some places and possibly caked in blood and dirt. Tsubaki would never forget those eyes. And it scared her.
"You." She whispered.
No. It could not be. He was the one that killed those innocent people? Those creatures that roamed were his beasts? Tsubaki clenched her fists tightly and stood in front of Tokiko and Ami. Her heart racing inside of her chest as the shinobi's creatures were heard prowling the area. Even if she was not so skilled as the shinobi, she knew that they were staring at them. Waiting to feast upon their flesh.
"You! How dare you come here and kill these people. How can you say you have no quarrel when you sent these beasts upon the village." She spoke. Her voice growing louder with authority. Tsubaki could feel her body tremble and her voice cracked just slightly. She may have been fearful, but the courage inside of her wanted an explanation. Wanted reason. This blind shinobi spoke as if he will set them free, but how could he when he killed many?
"Tsubaki, do not provoke him." Tokiko warned. "He has harmed many here and wants nothing more than to shed blood."
Saif looked to the older healer. A spit fire that one. He knew wasting time on killing the rest would do nothing. In fact, it was meaningless to kill. These villagers had nothing to do with his mission. He wanted Madara Uchiha, nothing more. These villagers were just collateral damage.
"Do not speak as if you know my reasons, you old bag of skeletons." Saif snapped.
"You bring death. You are the blind shinboi from a tribe long dead. Killed by your hand." Tokiko pressed.
Saif was becoming angered. The memories of long ago had been brought upon his mind. Every stench of blood. Every cry and scream. Kakazu looking upon the dead. His bloodlust hiding the monster.
"You know nothing." Tsubaki ran towards the blind shinboi. Not knowing of what was to come.
"War makes sacrifices of many. To prove a point. To prove status. To see the fear in the hearts of men when they know their loved ones are laying motionless. Your gift of sight is wasted, healer." He was before Tsubaki and grabbed hold of her jaw.
Tokiko and Ami gasped loudly and took a step back. Tsubaki held herself firm, trying to remain calm. Trying to be brave as those white milky eyes stared at her. Those very eyes she saw when he was weak and came to the village. This young man was back with some type of vengeance in his blood. Why? Why was he here? Why did he sent those beasts to kill?
"Not so brave in the face of death." Saif spoke.
"Death only laughs when souls are worthless." Tsubaki spat.
Saif pressed on her jaw tightly. She grunted at the pain and bruising he was going to leave upon her skin. Though she may have seen death, Tsubaki would not let her fear get the best of her. She was not going to willingly die without a fight. And that is what she did, until the blind shinobi pushed her to the ground hard and moved with in incoming ball of flame came rushing towards him.
Tsubaki closed her eyes and covered her head. Going into a fetal position to protect herself as best she could, the heat from the flames passed her. Her heart was racing hard and fast in her chest. Her breathing became fast when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
She could hear Tokiko calling to her. Her voice cracking a bit.
Opening her eyes to see her savior kneeling beside her. His eyes red and a scowl upon his face. She has never seen something more beautiful in all her life. The way his hair swayed in the wind. His calm and collected breathing. The way his hand was firm upon her shoulder as if he was protecting her from the threat that was readying itself for an attack.
Madara Uchiha was angry.
She gulped down spit inside of her mouth. Tsubaki was frozen in her place. No words could describe this moment for her other then how he glanced at her. For just a brief moment, his eyes we're mesmerizing. Though, something dark and powerful was hidden inside of them. Something she would never want to see. Was this what the Uchiha's were capable of? This power that had Koga wanting Asumi to marry into? Is this what other's wanted?
Madara stood to his full height in front of Tsubaki. Feeling a bit of relief, yet foolish for putting her in harms way. He had to do it. He had to push that damn shinobi away from her. Foolish.
"Are you hurt, Tsubaki?" His calm low voice captivated her.
She licked her lips and said, "No. Don't let that shinobi kill anymore."
Madara grinned. His power. His strength. The need to end this shinobi's life was all from Tsubaki. The woman whom he had claimed as his wife.
In that single moment, Madara disappeared and reappeared in front of Saif. The blind shinobi had a bit of surprise when he felt pain in his chest coming from something pushing into him. He flew many yards away, but was able to land on his feet. Coughing up blood Saif wiped it away. The dust around him had settled and he was now toe-to-toe with Madara Uchiha.
Madara paced towards Saif. The soles of his feet could feel the Uchiha's chakra building. The energy that was sending static towards him. Saif moved out of the way and sent enough chakra through his fist to land a blow at Madara's side. He grunted from the impact, but it was not enough to break his ribs. Fuck!
"Something about her. She gave you strength, did she not?" Saif spoke through a wheezing breath. Sweat rolled down his brow and the taste of blood refused to leave his mouth.
Saif kept a firm grip on his opponent. Once more, he sent chakra towards his palm. With much force he hit the same target in Madara's ribs. The Uchiha clan leader stumbled back from the impact, but was unnerved. It was as if all thought was blocked and was left was a man with ambition.
"That woman. You love her." Saif mocked.
Madara rushed once more towards the shinobi, but was met with one of his large dog-like creatures. Madara moved his arm out of the way of sharp canines. Quickly, his chakra reserves were dwindling by his consumption of jutsu's and shot large flames towards the creature. In an instant, it was consumed by the fire where it cries fell upon deaf ears.
Madara breathed hard. He was trying to keep his strength to last until he was able to kill this blind dog. This very same shinobi that wounded him. That bested him. Damn it! No one can best him. To hear him say he loved Tsubaki. Was it a driving force? A need to keep her alive? To keep the darkness from consuming his soul?
Saif was beginning to see something has changed within the Uchiha clan leader. Something powerful. Something dark. This was not the same man back in the forest. Where he had the Uchiha on his back like a dog. Oh no, this… This was perfection.
Saif moved quickly towards Madara and threw a hard left punch towards him. Madara dodged the attack the moment he saw Saif move. His eyes were catching on to his movements. This powerful feeling was coursing through his veins. He loved this feeling; this power.
Madara grabbed hold of Saif's arm in a tightening grip. Saif used his free arm to pull Madera in closer. Their tense bodies were just inches a part from one another. Their noses touched that they could feel each other's hot breath. Madara was once more staring into those eyes. His sharingan unable to make a direct link. Unable to see what wasn't there. Madara threw a fist into Saif's elbow out of anger.
Unable to use his powerful eyes on a shinboi with no sight.
He threw Saif away from him. Angered at the fact his sharingan wasn't capable of its gift.
Blood came from his mouth. The two remaining jackals came to his need as they could sense their masters distress. Madara watched the creatures cautiously. As unpredictable as any predator, he had to keep his eyes on them.
Saif slowly returned to his feet.
"I can feel how your body needs strength. The more you use jutsu's, the more chakra it consumes." Saif yelled and threw his hands to the ground.
Madara jumped on one of the rooftops when a tremor from the ground below threatened to crack open. Saif smiled and sent his two remains jackals after Madara. The two large creatures jumped high and Saif called upon the earth to raise. Two large boulders emerged from the ground and helped the jackals reach the rooftop.
Madara once more used his flames to engulf the creatures, but was hit when Saif emerged from the flames and the two jackals were sacrificed in order for their master to survive the flames. Madara growled and grabbed onto Saif as they both were flung from the roof back to solid ground. The flames now engulfing everything in sight.