Gyuki & realisticenamel
As the sounds of children running around reached his ears, Ikki smiled and took a puff from his kiseru.Children, such innocent and loyal creatures, just likes dogs.They would never abandon or betray you, simply gaze up with those adoring eyes and await your every command and praise, no matter whether they were yours or not.As he blew out a stream of smoke,Ikki noticed a small blue ball roll over to his feet and looked over at the children who waved and called for him to kick it over.A sort of tenderness coming over him at the sight of such sweet looking children, the male gave a kick to the ball, sending it back to its owner.The children laughed playfully and soon called for Ikki to come join them.Unable to refuse such innocent pleas, the rogue placed down his bag and pipe before walking over to the small group of six, now seven with him.Time flew by with their game of kick, and it only flew by faster as kick soon turned to tag, and then tag to hide-and-seek before the group realized how low the sun had set.Soon mothers begn calling their children home, casting worrisome glances at the stranger that had been playing so childishly with their offspring.As his playmates bid farewell, Ikki merely gave a kind wave before returning to his bag and pulling it back across his shoulder.He picked up his kiseru and cleaned it before refilling it with a small amount of kizami and lit it as he began on his way.It wasn't as if he really had a destination, but anywhere away from other shinobi was good enough for him.After all, shinobi equaled trouble and complications, and both of those meant that Ikki might loose control again.
As he gave a smokey sigh, the dark-haired male noticed an abandoned shack up ahead and mentally decided he would rest there for the night.As he approached, he looked around to make sure there were no seals or traps set to spring upon the arrival of some unwelcome guest.Once he was sure the coast was clear, Ikki entered the shack.On closer inspection inside, it appeared to be more of a tiny cottage than a shack, though either way the male didn't mind.Just so long as it was a roof over his head and somewhere warmer than outside to sleep."Well, this is a rather nice place.Compared to the ones I've slept in so far anyways.At least there's a kitchen to cook in when I wake up.And I don't have to worry about putting out any fires before the smoke gets too bad," he mused to himself as he looked through the different rooms.It had been a long time since Ikki had been in a place as cozy as this.Ever since he'd passed his exam, he'd been given mission after mission with his only resting place being in his sleeping bag or up in a tree, and even then there was no true rest.That was all behind him now though, Ikki was free now and would never have to be decieved again by those people who called themselves his 'friends'.It was alright, he'd made them all pay, even the ones who hadn't betrayed him yet.It was a beautiful sight, seeing all of those backstabbers lying dead on the ground covered in a gleaming shade of crimson.Still, the ones who hadn't gone against him, but merely the village had still been slayed by his hand, and that was his only sin.
With a bit of a gloomy aura about him, Ikki moved to the bedroom and set his bag on the dusty bed.He glanced about the room with his bright amber eyes before sighing and pulling a fresh kimono from his bag.He quickly changed before walking back into the kitchen with a few packages from his bag and set to making some stew.It didn't take too long for Ikki to have a nice pot of vegetable stew going.He dipped the ladel into the soup and took a sip of it, giving a pleased grin at his handy work before dishing it into a wooden bowl.The male ate in silence, finding a sort of comfort in the over-bearing quite around him.As he continued on with his meal, the moon's illumination was his only light, leaving the shadows just as dark as the moon's own double face.It was beautiful the way the moon painted everything in a rich silver and left all the negitive space in an antique black, as if the moon wanted to show off her prized collection of silver toys to spite the sun's jealousy.Once he finished his his bowl, Ikki placed it in the sink and walked back to the bedroom, moving his bag to the floorwhile took a seat on the moth-eaten cushion.He bounced a couple of times, finding that he would be able to sleep there comfortably.Slowly, and almost cautiously, Ikki layed down on the bed, letting his eyes droop before closing entirely.It took only but a few seconds for the male to surcome to sleep, his breathing evening out and his muscles relaxing in much needed rest.
Unbeknownst to the male, a shadow crept at the window across the room from his bed.A masked nin silently slid open the window and made his way into the room in just the same manner.His eyes held nothing but hate and the pride he would hold for killing this male and bringing his head back to the Mizukage.As the foreign ninja stood with a katana posed over the sleeping rogue, he was suddenly knocked over in a flash and flurry of blanket.Still a bit dumbstruck at the situation, the male could only give a frustrated growl as he noticed himself pinned down by the very person he'd been sent to kill.Ikki had a jagged dagger at the male's throat, those once gentle eyes now ablaze with anger and slight confusion,"What are you doing here, Sosuke?""What do you think?I'm here to kill a cold-blooded murderer," the male spat beneath his mask, moving to struggle a bit, though stopped as he felt the dagger begin to slice his skin."So, you too have betrayed me then?If that's the case, then perhaps I should paint you in crimson as well," Ikki spoke lowly before imediately ripping open the throat of the male beneath him.As he stood from his kill, Ikki felt his chest give a paing, but ignored it and quickly gathered his things.He could no longer stay here, he'd been seen, and surely there were others who had known where Sosuke was.Ikki quickly took to the trees and sped off, only stopping once he felt he'd covered enough distance to buy him enough time to rest.Carefully, Ikki settled in the tree, making himself as comfortable as possible.Slowly, his amber eyes fell shut once more as his last thought passed over as a regret for the loss of a comfy bed before he surendered to sleep.
There was something happening.
The Anbu Fox perched on a heavy branch of a cypress tree, gloved fingers inspecting the layered bark. There was a mark in it-- deep, sending cracks and fissures all throughout the sturdy wood, and seemed to have been left at an angle; like the weight of the impact had rolled front-to-back across the branch. The mark was unquestionably a footprint, the remains of some chakra-infused run along the canopy of the forest. A shinobi had been that way, in enough of a hurry to choose speed over caution. Or unaware of the patrols through this part of the forest, but his instincts turned that aside as unlikely. Konoha shinobi would have known he was here, and if there was enough urgency to warrant this kind of behavior ANBU would have been informed regardless. The messenger might even have come to him themselves, or at least inform him of their presence.
A foreigner would do neither.
For almost three years, Satoshi Matsumodo had patrolled this section of Fire Country. It was an old part of an ancient forest, full of huge trees and sparsely scattered villages. This was the area south-east of Konoha, between Otafuku Gai and the coast-border with Wave Country. Almost a hundred square miles in size, it was vast, and yet only one of nine trouble spots identified by the Hokage. Each, he had ordered, would have a single ANBU agent patrolling at all times, in varying rotations. It would not replace the genin and chuunin squads who patrolled, but having a high class shinobi within a few hours run was a fail safe, to prevent the invasions of criminals and enemy shinobi that seemed to constantly test the borders.
This was his second week in a three month patrol cycle, and Satoshi had been edgy the whole time. Something ate at his senses, a subtle and yet constant itch in the back of his mind. It had led him to longer patrols, combing the more unsavory routes used by criminals and-more worryingly- missing nin. But the mark on the branch was the first thing he'd found, leading him to-
The chakra signals hit him like waves on a shore, driving the Anbu's attention away from the tree and back to his surrondings. A shinobi, strong, probably jounin or ANBU, was nearby. Nearby and almost surely dead. There was a sense of finality to the wave, and-marking the spot of the mark for further study-, Satoshi leapt into motion. It was close to the village at the major crossroads in this territory, but the fading awareness led him past it. Past the outbuildings and the fields, until he was lead in front of an abandoned, ramshackle cabin.
A rapid inspection found the body, the markings of a mist shinobi. Touching nothing, the masked warrior backed from the structure, then-with a flurry of hand signs- blew a thin stream of white hot flames against the ancient wood. It lit instantly, a bright and sudden light among the darkness of the night. Designed to attract attention, Satoshi could only hope that the killer would be suspicious and at least return to investigate.
Drawing the black hood of his cloak over dark brown hair, the Anbu Fox faded back into the trees, resuming his patrol-- and waiting.
Even in his rather deep sleep, Ikki had awoken more by instinct than anything else as a sense of unrest filled him.Rubbing his tired eye the male looked around, trying to find what had caused him to feel so uneasy that he couldn't even get the rest he needed so very much.Those amber eyes imediately snapped to something brightly shining in the direction he'd just run from.'What in the hell is that....?Have...Have the ANBU found me already?Dammit', he thought as he jumped up from his resting placed.It would be a pain in the arse if they had a sensory nin with them.Thinking over some kind of strategy that would benifit him and aid in his escape.Surely if he were to use a jutsu of any kind, that sensory type they may or may not of had would know and lead the pack to the spark.After muling it over, Ikki flashed a few handsigns before looking over to the clone who poofed beside him in a cloud of smoke that quickly faded.Wasting no time, Ikki pointed to the north-west,"Head off in that direction with your chakra spurred, go as far as the border if you can.If you aren't followed within a few minutes, send a flare."The clone nodded in silence before doing exactly as instructed.Ikki then lept to the ground and began to run, keeping his chakra signiture low as he did, only using a small bit to enhance his speed.He stayed away from the trail and stuck to dodging through the woods, planting paper seals set to go off upon being passed along the trees and rocks he came into contact with.
Still not feeling completely safe, Ikki lept up and took to the trees, careful to tread lightly so not to leave too noticible marks.He should never have stopped to sleep, now he was going to pay for it with his life.As the wind rushed past his face, the male knew if that ANBU was smart, they would go after such a large display of chakra, but some shinobi had a better eye than others and would instantly know how such a plot would play out.Still, this was the only thing he could do to keep both himself and others uninvolved out of trouble.Soon, something in the distance caught Ikki's attention as he continued running towards it, though suddenly stopped once he was a few feet from it and eyed the object in a most frustrated manner."Damn it all!Of all the places I could find myself, the walls of Konoha is the worst of them...Hell, if I keep this bad luck up, I'll be caught and killed," he muttered as he gave the wall that enclosed the village a quick once over before taking off from it in an almost paniced flurry.It was bad enough to have been under ANBU pursuit from both his own and this country, but to have unintentionally arrived at the heart of land, the gods must not have been pleased with his prayers.After all, if the gods had been on his side, his village would've given up on him rather than throwing his name down into the Bingo Book and sending a warning out to surrounding nations to keep a keen eye out for him.
Still, Ikki knew of how politically unstable the Land of Fire was, especially within the walls of Konoha, and that was what had made the male think of coming here of all places.With so much civil conflict taking place in the larger towns and the village, it made for a great way to blend in.Even now, Ikki blended in much more than he would've in some other country.Yes, in the Land of Fire he fared much better than elsewhere.Soon, Ikki came upon a small, but lively town that seemed to be holding some kind of festival.He stopped to watch the crowds of people, his amber eyes peering longingly at the simple lifestyles of the common population.Many a time he too had wished for such a luxury as to forget his old self and pursue a lifestyle of laxed pace, but for Ikki that would never happen, not now that he was a criminal with so high a bounty that those who did know of him would openly attack him in public.Ikki pushed those kind thoughts away and entered the town, making his first priority to stop by an inn.He quickly checked out a room and deposted his things on the bed, though snagged his kiseru before heading out into the horde of people participating in the festival.As a child, Ikki had always dreamed of coming to a festival like this, one with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that provided the love he lacked from his parents as a child.
Again, Ikki shook the thoughts away and took a drag of his pipe, inhaling the strong scent as he walked through the thicket of people all around him.He then spotted and child trying to catch goldfish and walked over to inspect.The small child fumbled with the paper net, though each time failed and had actually began to tear up in mild frustration at her inability to catch a single fish.Ikki knelt beside her and gently rubbed her head before handing a bit of ryo to the stall runner and picking up a net.As he eyed the fish the girl had been trying to catch, he infused the net with a small bit of chakra to strengthen it before speedily capturing the silver 'princess' koi.When the owner handed the bagged fish to Ikki, he passed it to the little girl and smiled as she giggled and took his hand,"Thank you, Onii-san."Ikki just smiled, not saying anything more as he gave her hand a light squeeze and released it to walk away.Just as he'd taken another inhale of his kiseru, the male stopped as something tugged on his kimono and turned to see the little girl staring up at him with those innocent eyes he couldn't resist."Onii-san, will you walk with me to help me find my daddy.He said he was going to buy us both a mask, but I can't find him."Ikki gave a gentle laugh before picking the girl up and setting her on his shoulders,"Then I suppose we should start looking, yes?Just let me know when you see him and I'll take you to him, okay?"