Welp there's a massive typo in Chapter 11 that I feel I have to clear up.
The very last line said;
"He lasted 78 stabs, let's find out if there's anything better than him."
when it should have said
"He lasted 78 stabs, let's find out if there's anything you can do
better than him."
The battle between Itsuki and Hachemon begins, Hachemon's abilities granting him the advantage.
Haruko awakens in a strange hospital, his attempts to find out where he is are brought to an end when he is knocked out by a searing pain in his abdomen.
After a short while, Kamiko decided enough time had elapsed to once again approach Taiga. He had ignored her initial attempts to start a conversation, opting instead to lean his head against the bars and stare into space with a look on his face that rested somewhere between anger and confusion.
"Soooo...how'd you meet 'The Hand Of God'" asked Kamiko for the third time. "I mean you were dead so you don't know exactly but you must have at least had some sort of contact prior."
"She..she said she used Medical Jutsu" responded Taiga, he looked up, his brows furrowed and an edge of realisation to his voice.
"She? Who? Do you know her? Did you meet her?" Kamiko struggled to contain her excitement. The 'Hand of God" was the only person known to have ever brought back the living from the dead. Ever since the 7th Ninja War over 60 years ago, there'd been countless efforts by ANBU all over the world to locate the legend. Not a single person had succeeded. The phantom's existence was only confirmed by the random resuscitation of often Himitsu-affiliated, deceased shinobi. The latest being Taiga Himitsu.
Taiga shook his head. "It can't be her, it can't be.." He rubbed his temples as he struggled in his thoughts, clearly confused by something. Kamiko sighed, wondering how long it'd take before the name was revealed to her. She hid her frustration and tried a different tactic.
"Hey, Taiga, maybe if you tell me, I can help you with what you're struggling on. After all I am the Head of Ash...or was...The point is, I have a lot of information regarding who The Hand of God should be."
Taiga nodded, shaking his head once more in a final attempt to clear his thoughts.
"Well...that kid...Arashi, I think he said his name was. Well, he said that no one in the clan saw me, which means that when Mika said she used Medical jutsu...she must've been lying. But -" Kamiko interrupted his flow, half laughing at the name that Taiga mentioned.
"Wait, Mika? Mika Himitsu? Onimaro's reserved, gentle wife? The one that's tried to become a Medic almost a dozen times and failed?"
"I..I don't get it either but she said she revived me using Medical jutsu." said Taiga.
"She...she told you she brought you back from the dead and you didn't question how?" asked Kamiko, an edge of sarcasm to her voice.
"I..I had other things on my mind..." responded Taiga defensively.
"You know it's virtually impossible to bring anyone back from the dead with Medical jutsu?" continued Kamiko, "Not even an assortment of the greatest experts could bring a mere rat back from the dead. Once an individual dies, their soul is gone. Forever. And you're telling me that a Medic, a failed
Medic managed to bring you back and you don't even question her??" Taiga frowned, having no reasonable response.
"Well, she obviously wanted to protect her identity..." he muttered after a while. Kamiko eased off her ranting and sat back down. She'd always thought that 'The Hand of God' would be someone highly secretive and mysterious, likely someone that was already presumed dead and had revived themselves. The revelation that it was someone so public, the co-leader of the Himitsu clan who also failed the Medical ninja exam so many times...Kamiko was both annoyed and sceptical. As much as she didn't want to believe it, the evidence was staring her straight in the face. It simply annoyed her how someone she had met so often could harbour such a secret. Nevertheless a secret she'd devoted so much time and resources to finding.
"She would be an amazing asset to anyone who knew of her abilities..." Taiga's eyes widened and his jaw dropped as he remembered something.
"Oh no, oh no, oh no" he turned to the bars and put his hands outside. He casted a Wind Style jutsu and, while keeping his hands outside of the bars, sliced several of them into half. He carried himself through the small square shaped hole, his wooden leg clanging loudly against the bars. He dragged himself up in front of Kamiko's neighbouring cell and cast the jutsu again, freeing Kamiko as well. He turned and hurriedly hobbled towards the door without an explanation.
"Wo- woa- woah!! Taiga!" Kamiko pulled Taiga to a stop. "What the hell? You really need to work on your communication skills. Why did you react like that and how did you do that? Jutsu can't be cast in the cells." Taiga's face was an image of panic, he rushed his response;
"The Katakiuchi's Pride.... Konohuro? I think he was called...He just cast a fire-style jutsu outside the cells. Chakra is only suppressed within the cells, not within the entire dungeon."
"Damn" responded Kamiko, she hadn't seen Konohuro cast the jutsu as she spent the majority of the earlier encounter preteneding to be asleep. Once more she grew annoyed at her incompetency. Taiga continued.
"The thing 'The Pride' said to me...he doesn't plan on using Mika's abilities, he plans on copying them. And in case Mika's told anyone else, he plans on wiping out the all the Himitsu in the Hidden Thunder as well."
"Wiping out the Himitsu?" Kamiko frowned, Konohuro had destroyed all documents that related to his abilities when he left the Hidden Ash's ANBU but Kamiko doubted he had any ability mighty enough to destroy the most populous and powerful clan.
"Hi...Himitsu?" whispered a raspy voice. The pair turned to one of the cells across from them. Huddled up, sitting just far back enough that their face could be seen, but not close enough that their body could; was a young, pale skinned male with a leathery face and dimmed blue eyes that had seen far too much. The figure rocked back and forth gently, with each backwards motion their face would be lost into the darkness of the cell and with each forward motion, the true extent of Konohuro's torture was evident. Though only the neck and face would be visible, the shape of a diamond had been branded across every inch of the individual's visible body. When he opened his mouth to speak, Taiga nearly retched at the branding on the individual's tongue.
Kamiko steeled herself, having used branding herself as a method of information extraction. She pushed down further self anger and focused on the individual before her.
"Yes. The Himitsu clan, I doubt there's a shinobi that doesn't know of them." responded Kamiko. The individual's rocking continued as he spoke, he seemed almost oblivious to the fact he was doing it.
"I...I overheard you..I can help. I'm Himitsu" croaked the individual. The dryness of their throat was obvious and if the evidence of torturing wasn't enough; the pair instantly knew that not all prisoners were treated the same. Kamiko rushed back to her cell to grab the bowl of water she had been given. After a very sincere thanks and the addition of Taiga's water share; the individual could talk freely. His voice still had a scratchy edge to it and Taiga figured it was probably from the sheer amount of screaming he must have undergone.
"Onimaro gathered all the Chuunin in the clan and several Jonin.. he said he had a mission for us within The Hidden Snow but couldn't disclose the reason behind it. He told the Chuunin to consider it a test for the upcoming Chuunin-Jonin exams." Taiga nodded, thinking back to his resurrection noting that Mika had mentioned Onimaro had several preparations to make. Taiga briefly wondered if there were more.
"Your mission?" asked Kamiko "What do you know of your mission?"
"I was placed in one of 4 squads; each made up 40 shinobi, half of whom were Himitsu and the other half made up of a combination of Amigake and contracted shinobi. As part of Stage 2, we were tasked with taking and holding important places within the Snow Village. I personally was part of Squad 3, whose target was the academy. The strongest ninja were placed in this Squad as the academy was likely to pose the greatest resistance."
The final statement gave Taiga an idea of the individual's strength, having not recognised him, Taiga presumed he must have been one of the younger Chuunin of the Himitsu. He wordlessly began to cast Wind Style: Wind Blade and proceeded to cut up the metal bars of the cell.
"We were to commence our assault at a pre-determined time, however we were told that if the village's warning alarm were to be set off before then we should use the confusion to launch our attack. Although we were not given the complete details or the reason for such an assault, we had complete faith in Onimaro's ideals and StarShizen's plan."
"StarShizen?" asked Kamiko, curious as to how the neutral shinobi had been drafted into what was turning into a potential war.
"Yes, she was one of the 4 'leaders' of our operation along with Onimaro and the Amigake clan's leader; Shishida Amigake."
There was a short pause and a clangy echo as the final bar hit the ground.
"He was a Sabaku, but...I cannot remember the name of the fourth. However, I do know that he specialised in Genjutsu...I believe he was personally trained under Vizier of the Dust. That is all I know. I have told you everything that I told the-"
There was another pause and for the first time, he stopped rocking back and forth. His eyes clouded over as memories of his torture filled his consciousness.
"Oi! Oi!" Taiga attempted to reach him but the wooden stump just below his left knee made Kamiko rush forward instead. She climbed out of his cell with the rigid body slung over her shoulder. Now that he was closer Taiga could really see the damage caused to the young man's body. Taiga briefly wondered why diamonds were branded into his skin and realised that "he" didn't even yet have a name.
"Kamiko...we didn't even ask him his name."
But Kamiko already knew it. Having met him on one of her first visits to the Hidden Thunder, she knew the young Chuunin from the age of 3, his mischievous and lazy behaviour had made him a burden to many adults in the village but to Kamiko, he was the closest thing she had to a younger brother. Highly talented at Taijutsu, Kamiko had planned to take a week off her role as the Head of the ANBU to watch him in the upcoming Chuunin-Jonin exams. And yet, she doubted he even remembered who she was.
As often was a consequence of such extended torture, a Shinobi would forget much of their past as their brain blocked out not only the pain they were suffering but many many memories too. At the end of the information extraction, the shinobi would remember little more than what they had been tortured to retrieve. Kamiko bit her tongue to prevent herself from crying out in anger and turned away so Taiga couldn't see the pain in her eyes.
"Diamond...His name is Diamond Lee Himitsu."
Avoiding the wicked and questioning glances of the prisoners surrounding them, Taiga, Kamiko and Diamond Lee began the lengthy journey to the single door that marked both the start and end of these dungeons.
The real or 'conscious' Hachemon laid his back against a wall, clones bandaging and tending to the wound on his knee. Hachemon looked at the brother of the shinobi who caused him such injuries, wondering how it was that he was surviving so long.
Held up by two clones, Itsuki was on sitting on his knees, every visible inch of his skin plastered with dry blood. Hachemon had lost count of the number of times he'd stabbed him and yet Itsuki refused to open his mouth to scream. As Hachemon grew tired he swapped consciousness with the clone who stood over Itsuki.
"..77....78....79!" with extra emphasis on the last number, Hachemon drove the bloodied kunai into Itsuki's crotch; receiving a muffled scream in response and a look of pain and suffering that Hachemon had long grown accustomed to. There were no more tears to leave from Itsuki's eyes and his head lowered once more as his body shook in a fit of dry sobbing. Of course, the circumstances were such that Hachemon could've killed Itsuki several times over, and Itsuki had long since beaten his brother in terms of resistance but yet he felt as though....
Hachemon paused. He wasn't exactly sure why he had insisted on torturing Itsuki anymore. He glanced once more at the watch on his wrist and realised he'd spent it'd been nearly an hour since he ran into Itsuki. Considering capturing him had taken at most 10 minutes, Hachemon couldn't understand why he'd spend the most part of an hour unnecessarily torturing his defeated foe. Hachemon didn't even enjoy the act of torture, he found pleasure in the mental defeat of his enemies but he had no interest in the delicate art of inflicting pain. He glanced once more at Itsuki and realised the sheer volume of blood that surrounded the heaving body,
"There's...there's...way too much.."
Hachemon surged forward in a flash of rage as he realised his situation. Stabbing the kunai deep into Itsuki's throat, the body shimmering as the fatal blow was inflicted. Hachemon stared at the empty air as the blood on the ground, clothing and kunai shimmered and vanished. His gaze drifted to his kneeling clones before snapping once more and punching himself in the face. He lost his mental composure and the rest of his clones vanished, Hachemon letting out a roar of pure fury.
Itsuki ran out of a hidden stairwell, welcoming the feeling of cold air against his face as he was buffetted by the winds of the Hidden Snow. He had spent over 45 minutes finding his way out of the various tunnels that led to the Hidden Snow's citizen bunker and now that he was free, he let out a genuine sigh of relief; confident that he had left Hachemon 3 kilometres below. He took a minute to catch his breath and find his bearings, during which he noticed his Genjutsu unravelling. Knowing he had a good while before Hachemon made it out of the tunnels, Itsuki began lightly jogging in the direction of the Hidden Snow Academy. He doubted that the strong team assigned to the assault the Academy could have been stopped as easily as his was.
"At the very least, I can warn Squad 3 of Hachemon's abilities" Itsuki thought to himself. He ignored the gnawing idea in his head that if Hachemon had single handedly defeated his team, then an even stronger individual, or individuals would've been tasked to take care of Squad A. He shook his head to get rid of the feeling and ramped up his speed as he shuddered in the cold.
What Itsuki didn't know was that the shudder wasn't caused by the cold of his environment, but instead, he had sensed the unadulterated blood lust from Hachemon's roar. And although he had escaped him this time, the pair were certain to meet once more.
The land between Hidden Villages were not often travelled on one's own. Most shinobi moved in teams of 2 or 3 when travelling to another village. And in case where 2 shinobi were travelling, both would almost always be alive.
Such was not the case for Kenshi Himitsu, who dragged the limp, shattered body of Kuria Himitsu in a dusty, worn bag. It had taken Kenshi nearly 3 days, but he made it back home to the Hidden Thunder. Exhausted, both physically and emotionally, Kenshi had passed out on the roads leading to the village and if not for the travelling tradesmen delivering construction supplies; he too would have likely perished.
It was another 23 hours before Kenshi would awaken.
Spent alot more time on this as I felt quality was kinda lacking recently. Chapter's will also be taking a tad longer as I go through them in more detail.
ALSO, I was introduced to this new book. It's not the greatest thing I've read but it's pretty good in my opinion.
It's also reeeeaally long. Like the size of a novel. If interested, here's a link;
P.S. I might steal a couple of writing tips off the writer
AND AS USUAL THANSK FOR ALL THE SUPPORT