Chapter 11: The Academy (COTK Book 1)

This content rated appropriate for audience: M for Mature Teens

This entry is part 11 of 24 in the series COTK: Book 1: Blind Sight
Reading Time: 20 minutes

“Are there any questions?”

Hirofumi tapped the ruler against his palm as he surveyed the class. After waiting for a moment, he nodded and set the ruler down on the lip of the chalkboard. Walking over to the podium, which he’d moved off to the side during the lesson, he quickly reviewed his notes.

He’d wanted to make sure to open up his class this time with the most fundamental basics that every loyal Shinobi should know. It seemed like he’d succeeded. Neatly stacking his papers, he looked back up at the class.

“Everyone, if you will follow me? I’m going to show you to your next class.”

Stepping off the raised platform, Hirofumi slid open the door and stepped out into the hall. Looking over his shoulder to make sure he was being followed, he made his way down the hallway.

After a few minutes of walking, he stopped in front of another door and slid it open before stepping to the side. He silently counted the students as they walked by. It was unlikely any had gotten lost, but one could never be too careful.

“You all need to remember how to get here,” he said as the Genin hopefuls crowded around, trying to fit through the door all at once. “You will be coming here after my class on your own until told otherwise.”

Scanning across the small sea of faces, Hirofumi noticed that the strange boy who had arrived early at his class was standing at the back. Another boy was standing next to them. If he recalled correctly, they were Hogari.

He’d gotten a lot of exciting students this year. Naruto from Kazedama, son of a rich lord, come to train to become a shinobi, a rare occurrence. Hogari, a promising student from the Sengwari Clan in Chikadō City to the southeast. Another exceedingly rare event as the Sengwari Clan and its Shinobi were rarely seen outside of Kazaana Province.

Hirofumi decided as the two boys walked by him into the classroom that he would definitely keep an eye on them. Their future looked very interesting.

Naruto had been curious to see if Hogari would decide to sit next to him again, and was pleasantly surprised when Hogari did so. Since introducing themselves, they’d get to say anything to each other. He wondered if he should try to start a conversation, but nothing came to mind.

Hearing a chair being pushed across the floor, Naruto directed his Byakugan toward the front of the class. He’d seen his new teacher through the wall as he waited for the doorway to clear. The man was clearly a Shinobi, possibly retired based on his age. Unlike Hirofumi, they had a thick beard and extremely tanned skin.

His new teacher walked around their desk and stopped at the center of the raised platform. Naruto watched curiously as they stared at everyone, focusing on each student individually before moving to the next.

“My name is Ishida. I’m your Basic Taijutsu Sensei, and you will be attending my class for the next year. While we will spend time in this classroom, it won’t be much. Most of this class will be outside, which is where we’re going now, so get moving.”

Naruto stood up and waited for Hogari to move onto the steps before following after him. He could overhear several of his classmates complaining, but he didn’t recognize their voices. They’re so loud, Ishida-sensei can hear them much easier than I can. Naruto thought.

After they all made it out into the hallway, Ishida closed the door and moved to the front. They followed him out of the Academy and into the training yard in the back. There were numerous other classes outside as well. Naruto could see a class practicing Kunai throwing, another practicing wall climbing, and an older class sparring.

He was pulled away from watching the older students spar when Ishida raised his voice.

“Everyone! Space out and get down in push-up formation. There needs to be at least four feet between you and those around you.”

Naruto unfolded his arms for the first time since arriving at the Academy and dropped into a push-up. Hogari did the same next to him, four feet away. The rest of their classmates quickly followed suit with only minor awkwardness.

“Now. I want you to do as many push-ups as you can. Do not stop until you can’t do it anymore!” Ishida yelled, startling some of the students in his class. “Believe me when I say you do not want to be the first to give out.”

Relaxing his arms, Naruto began doing standard push-ups. He knew he wouldn’t be the last to give out, but he definitely wouldn’t be the first. While physical training was his worst field, according to his father and Kanade, he was confident he could hold his own with first-year Academy students.

I do need to focus more on my physical training though, Naruto thought, already beginning to feel the strain in his arms. Since Ishida had not specified whether or not Chakra was allowed, he assumed it wasn’t.

He noticed that Hogari was doing push-ups at a rate faster than anyone else in the class, which seemed pointless to him.

“Come on! Is that the most you can do? Get back up! Keep going!” Ishida yelled at the student on Naruto’s right, who’d just given out and collapsed on the ground. Naruto wondered how many push-ups they’d done. He was confused by Ishida’s instructions but continued doing push-ups. His arms were beginning to complain.

“You, over there, doing push-ups at a pace that would embarrass a snail. Move it!”

The cycle continued for another minute. Every time a student would give out, Ishida would yell at them until they resumed doing push-ups. Hogari had slowed down but was still moving faster than Naruto was.

“Enough!” Ishida called out abruptly, and the class collapsed as one. The air was filled with groans of relief as students were finally able to rub their sore arms. Naruto pushed up to his knees and began breathing deeply. Next to him, he noticed that Hogari also looked exhausted, but was still in better shape than most of the class.

“Now,” Ishida said, bringing his class’s attention to himself as he crouched down.” Some of you might think that I don’t know how many push-ups you did, or who failed first, or last. I just want to tell you that you’re wrong. ”

Ishida stood back up and began walking away, “Take a quick breather and then stand up. You’ve got a minute.”

Naruto deactivated his Byakugan and focused on his breathing, slowly moving through the steps of the breathing exercise his father had taught him.

A few moments passed, and he’d just gotten his breathing entirely under control when he sensed Ishida walking back toward them. Reactivating his Byakugan, he got to his feet.

“Alright, all of you up on your feet,” Ishida called out. Naruto saw Ishida looked at him for a moment before he turned away.

“See that beaten path around those sparring poles over there? I want you to run until your legs give out, and you collapse to the ground. GO!”

The wave of relief Naruto felt as he sat down made him realized that Kanade had been easy on him in his physical training. Other than Hogari, three other students had kept running after he finally gave out. That hadn’t been the end of it either, Ishida had given them another minute break before making them all do sit-ups until they gave out.

It was apparent that the point of these exercises was so that Ishida could tell who needed the most improvement, and it made Naruto wonder what Ishida saw in him.

Feeling someone sit down on the bench next to him, Naruto shifted his Byakugan’s focus on them. It was Hogari, and he looked exhausted, but in comparison to everyone else, he was in the best shape. I’m going to bring training clothes to the Academy in the future, Naruto mused. His current clothes were ruined.

“Some of you might be hating me after all of that,” Ishida said as he closed the classroom door behind him, “and that’s fine.”

Ishida’s face changed, and it took Naruto a moment to realize the gruff man looked… sad. His habitually ramrod-straight posture had drooped ever so slightly, and his hard eyes became a little bit softer.

“I would rather all of you hate me for the rest of your lives… then have your life end in battle because you couldn’t keep fighting. Because your Sensei didn’t push you hard enough, didn’t make sure you were really prepared to become a Shinobi.”

The grumbling from the class had stopped completely, everyone was focused on Ishida.

“I say this… because being a Shinobi is not a joke, it’s not a game, and while it has its moments… it’s not fun.” Ishida took a deep breath and drew back his shoulders. “However, I’m not the right person to tell you about the life of the Shinobi. I’ve been retired for ten years now. Therefore, with every new class, I invite one of Suna’s active Shinobi to come and tell you about what being a Shinobi really means.”

The room was silent as Ishida walked over to the window and unlatched it before sliding it open. A woman climbed in through the window and silently walked across the platform. Naruto was confused as Ishida seemed to ignore the Kunoichi as he walked over to his desk and sat down.

“I don’t know what your parents, or teachers, have told you about what being a Shinobi means, and I don’t really care. Over the last decade of being a Sensei here, I’ve learned that most of you kids get this idea in your head that being a ninja means you get to learn ‘cool’ abilities and take out baddies. That being a Shinobi is all fun and games.”

Ishida scoffed as he propped his feet on his desk, “Well, it’s not, and I’ll let Maki here tell you about it.

Naruto was confused as he heard most of the class gasp.

They couldn’t see her, Naruto realized. She was using a Genjutsu, and I didn’t see it.

“Hello everyone, my name is Tatsuda Maki.” The blonde Kunoichi said as she waved to the class. “I’m a Jounin here in the Sunagakure Force, and Ishida has been kind enough to invite me to tell you all about being a Shinobi.”

She paused for a moment as she slipped off the large scroll strapped to her back and set it on the floor next to her, leaning it against her leg.

“I think the first thing I’ll start with is the common perception in younger people that being a Shinobi is, quote on quote, awesome,” Maki said, noticing that several of the students looked embarrassed. “I’m fully willing to admit that when I first joined the Shinobi Academy, I had the same idea. So don’t feel bad if you’ve thought that. While being a Shinobi has its moments, I wouldn’t personally call it ‘awesome.'”

“But Shinobi can climb walls, jump from roof to roof, and control wind… right?”

Maki nodded to the student in the middle who had asked the question, “Yes, we can do all of that, but when all of your enemies can do the same thing, it becomes normal. To civilians, it may look like we are strong, and in comparison to them, that is accurate. However, for instance, I would not call myself a strong Kunoichi.”

“Why not?” A young girl asked. A look of confusion and curiosity on her face.

Maki shook her head and smiled, “I’m not saying that I’m weak, and I work to get stronger every day, but there will always be people stronger than you.”

She raised her hand and cut off another student as he was about to ask a question. “I’ll take more questions when I’m done.”

The kid sat back down.

“Before we get any farther, I want you all to be aware that leaving the Shinobi Academy is not a disgrace. The large majority of kids that enter the Shinobi Academy here in Suna drop out before their first year is completed. Currently, we don’t require those with the ability to use Chakra to join the Academy. However, in places like the Land of Water before and especially during the Civil War, joining the Kiri Force was mandatory, and kids were ripped away from their parents daily.”

Maki folded her arms as she looked across the class, noting who was reacting to what she said the most. She noticed two peculiar boys sitting on the closest bench on the far right side. One had pale white skin, a rarity in the Land of Wind, and was wearing a blindfold. She would have to ask Ichida about that, blind children couldn’t join the Academy.

The other kid, she immediately recognized as being from the Sengwari Clan by the green dye in his hair. She’d heard some conversation in the Shinobi bars about the kid, but she hadn’t believed it. The clan rarely left their province.

“Of those who choose to stay in the Academy after their first year, an even smaller number become Genin, the first universal rank of the Shinobi. Most die taking their graduation exam.”

Maki kept her face blank as numerous students looked at her in disbelief. It was clear they weren’t aware of the graduation exam. It was common knowledge in Suna, but it wasn’t talked about much. Civilian parents of children that died in the Exam weren’t allowed to talk about how their child died. Shinobi parents just didn’t talk about it, they knew the risks.

She slowly stared at each of the students individually, seeing which ones looked away and which didn’t. “Take this into consideration if you haven’t already, you are likely never going to become a Shinobi. You’re more likely to die. Is that a risk you want to take?”

She paused, but no one moved, no one said anything.

“Becoming a Shinobi anywhere in the Elemental Nations is no easy feat; it can’t be. When one becomes a Shinobi, you become a herald of the Shinigami itself. You gain the power to decide who lives and who dies. As a Shinobi, you live, eat, and breathe Death. A single punch from a Shinobi that isn’t restrained can kill a civilian, or go straight through a rock wall.”

Her eyes narrowed as she noticed some of the students gaining looks of amazement and awe. This was not the reaction she wanted. When she’d become a student, there had been a war. She’d been forced to join, and if she’d had a choice not to, she would have refused. She wanted these kids to genuinely know what they were getting themselves into.

“Some of you think that’s cool, and sometimes it is, but those times pale in comparison to the horrors you will experience as a Shinobi!”

As she continued, she began to pace back and forth across the podium. “You will defend your country with your life, even if that means taking the lives of others, and you will do it without question, without hesitation! You will be ordered to knowingly lay down your life for those you have sworn allegiance to, and you will do it.”

She waited for a few moments, watching the students as they processed what she’d said. As was to be expected, the Sengwari looked the least unbothered by her words.

“I’ll take questions now.”

She could tell that several students had questions, but they all seemed too intimidated to ask them. Maki was proud of herself, that was precisely the reaction she wanted. Seeing a young boy stand up a few rows back, she turned toward him.

“My parents told me that every Shinobi has a power that only they have… a bloodline or something like that. Is that true?”

Maki shook her head.

“Bloodlines, or Kekkai Genkai, are a rare combination of two or more Elemental Affinities. If you don’t know what those are yet, don’t worry about it. The chances of being born and having a Kekkai Genkai without one or both parents having one themselves is next to zero. I think the last known proven case was before the First Shinobi War.” She started, wishing she’d grabbed a chair. Kekkai Genkai was one of her favorite subjects growing up, and she’d put a lot of time into researching them.

The girl nearest her stood up next, and Maki had to resist the urge to grin as the girl asked just what she wanted to be asked.

“Where did Kekkai Genkai come from then? To begin with? What changed?”

Maki saw the look in the girl’s eyes, like herself when she’d started. The allure of having a power only you possessed was tantalizing. She hated to be the one to crush the girl’s dreams, but at least the girl wouldn’t waste as much time as she had trying to find a way.

“There aren’t a lot of records from the Warring States Era, or even shortly after it ended. Everything I’ve learned about the source of Kekkai Genkai, I’ve learned from talking to the oldest living people in the Land of Wind that I could find.”

It was clear she had the whole class’s attention.

“It is believed that before the First Great Ninja War, the source of all Kekkai Genkai came from a mysterious artifact, a stone of some sort. This stone was guarded by a powerful religion here in the Land of Wind. Shortly after the first countries were formed, the religion’s temple, where the stone was kept, was attacked by an invading country, and the stone was destroyed.”

“So, new Kekkai Genkai is impossible?”

She looked over, surprised that the Sengwari had asked the question.

“I’m sorry to say that it’s pretty much impossible. I’ve only ever heard of a few exceedingly rare cases where a new Kekkai Genkai was formed in a child from two parents with different Kekkai Genkai. However, such a thing is rare on its own, as Kekkai Genkai holders tend to avoid marrying someone with a different bloodline. More often than not, the child of those parents will die shortly after being born.”

The Sengwari nodded and sat back down. She turned back toward the class and looked around, when no one stood up, she clapped her hands. Picking up her huge scroll, she slipped it on her back and turned toward Ishida.

“Thank you for having me, Ishida-sama. I must be going now.”

The gruff veteran nodded, and she activated a Shunshin. Directing it out the window and toward the Shinobi HQ, she released it.

Naruto stared at the spot the Kunoichi had just been occupying for a few moments, processing everything he’d heard. He had never read, in the entirety of the Daimyo Royal Library, anything about a stone that gave Kekkai Genkai. He was doubtful such a thing even existed, but perhaps it did…

“Class is dismissed, I’m assuming you all know where the break room is. If you don’t, too bad. Go have lunch, and I’ll come to pick you up in thirty minutes.”

“I’m sure you’ve already gotten this question a lot, but how can you see wearing that?”

Naruto lifted his head, having been eating, and “looked” at Hogari. They were the only people sitting at the table, the rest of the class sitting at tables around them. Naruto had been the first here, as he already knew where the break room was and had gotten his food first.

“Echolocation Jutsu.”

Hogari nodded as he pulled a long metal needle out of his pocket. It looked similar to a senbon needle, but it was thicker on one end. Hogari started fiddling with it. Silence returned to their table as Naruto resumed eating his lunch. He wasn’t sure if Hogari simply wasn’t hungry or had already eaten, and he’d simply not noticed.

“What is your reason for joining the Academy?”

Naruto raised an eyebrow under his blindfold, surprised at the question.

“My father wishes for me to become a Shinobi before I am old enough to inherit his fortune.”

Hogari continued to twirl the strange needle around his fingers.

“So you’re a Shintakushikin Bebii.”

Naruto set his chopsticks down, “If you mean I won’t be staying in the Shinobi Force after graduating, I don’t know.”

Hogari’s expression confused Naruto. It was like Hogari was judging him, analyzing him, weighing some decision in his mind.

“So, you are loyal to the Land of Wind?”

Naruto nodded. After all, he would become the country’s Daimyo after his father retired or died.

“Good.”

He waited for Hogari to elaborate, but no explanation came.

“Welcome, everyone. My name is Taketa, and I’ll be your Basic Weapons Sensei for the next few weeks. After that, you will be moving to more advanced courses.”

Ichida had brought them to a new classroom instead of his own when he’d come and picked them all up. Unlike Ichida’s barren and rather lifeless room, this one was covered in racks and shelves, each holding a different and significant amount of Shinobi weaponry.

“To start, I’ll be going over the different categories of Shinobi weapons and tools, and what their uses are. Then I’ll let each of you hold them and get a feel for their weight. Tomorrow we’ll start learning to throw a Kunai, which is the most common and more or less basic Shinobi weapon there is. It’s rare to find a Shinobi who doesn’t use them.”

Naruto watched Taketa walk over to a nearby shelf and pick up a shuriken off its hook.

“Now, obviously, this is a shuriken,” Taketa said. The entire class jumped as the shuriken hit the target at the back of the classroom. Most of them turned around to see the shuriken had landed perfectly in the bullseye.

“I didn’t even see him throw it,” someone whispered loudly.

“Shuriken are similar to Kunai, in that almost all Shinobi carry several if not dozens of them,” Taketa said as he began walking down the middle of the room. “However, unlike Kunai, they are much easier to accidentally hurt yourself with.”

Why is he treating us like children holding our first knife? Naruto wondered as he watched Taketa retrieve the shuriken and walk back to the front of the room.

“When we get to practicing Shuriken, you will find throwing them much easier than Kunai though,” Taketa said, setting the shuriken back on its hook. Slowly walking back across the room, he continued. “Now, most weapons are created by the Land of Iron, where the metal needed to create the special properties in Shinobi weaponry is found. Also, if you or your parents have a knife at home, don’t practice throwing it or using it for training. A Shinobi weapon is not a dull knife, and you’re more likely to hurt yourself than anything else.”

Taketa smiled as he looked across the class, “Starting with you, you all will come up one by one and take turns holding a Kunai and then a Shuriken.”

The student he’d pointed to stood up and walked around the benches.

“What’s your name?”

“Bauru, Sensei.”

Taketa nodded, “Bauru, take this. Get a feel for it.”

Bauru took the Kunai he was offering and weighed it in his hand, and then gripped it tightly by the handle.

“Do you think you could throw it?”

Bauru nodded.

“Accurately?”

Bauru looked unsure.

Taketa smiled internally as he heard someone in the class speak up, finally cracking.

“Why can’t we just learn to throw Kunai today, we all know what they are.”

A kid on the left, with light brown hair, had gotten to his feet. The students around him had looks of agreement on their face as well. It was clear they were getting annoyed. Perfect.

Smoothly slipping the Kunai out of Bauru’s hand so that he wouldn’t hurt himself with it, Taketa pocketed it and focused on the student who’d spoken out. Releasing killing intent, he watched as the entire class collapsed. Either to their knees or down in their chairs.

He raised an eyebrow in surprise as two students on the far right regained their posture quickly. He’d spotted them when they’d come in and had immediately been curious. They seemed to be friends, and one was obviously a Sengwari.

“Stop, please stop!”

He cut the killing intent off, and the majority of the classroom gasped in relief as they rushed to get air back in their lungs. Taketa smiled, “You will learn to throw Kunai… when I say so.”

Civilian Housing District, Sunagakure, Land of Wind, EN.

The frustration was seriously beginning to get to her.

Hunting for a Shinobi, even when you have all the information you could want, was still hard. Not to mention dangerous. What’s more, Iwata and her team had been ordered to capture a member of this strange group alive.

She had her doubts that it was possible, and she was about to see if she was right.

For the past couple of weeks, they had aimlessly searched around Suna for any trail. They’d found nothing, of course, and their efforts had only resulted in being detained by Suna patrols numerous times.

They’d eventually changed tactics and just started trailing civilians out late at night. To date, they’d followed over a hundred civilians around and found nothing of value.

However, last night, she’d gotten lucky. A civilian she’d been trailing, though she was pretty sure they were not significant, had passed by an apartment as someone left. Her gut had made her change targets and follow this new stranger.

A couple of minutes passed, and she’d lost track of him in a dark alleyway.

It had been the first Shinobi they’d run into that was pretending to be a civilian.

Rolling off the edge of the roof, Iwata twisted in mid-air and landed on the railing of the recessed balcony below, smoothly keeping her balance.

“We’re clear for a bit, patrol just passed by,” Iwata whispered into the shadows. She could barely make out Taisho’s nod.

Dropping onto the balcony floor as silently as she could, Iwata moved farther into the darkness and focused on the doorway across the street below. That was where the Shinobi had exited from last night, and she was hoping they would come out again.

She really didn’t want to break into the Shinobi’s home. If it was a Suna Shinobi, then they couldn’t easily explain their actions, and even if it wasn’t a Suna Shinobi, it was still a Shinobi. Shinobi’s homes were always full of traps, and if this one was rigged to blow, they could end up indirectly killing civilians.

Starting a war between Suna and Kumo wasn’t on her bucket list.

Just come out already, we don’t have time for this, Iwata cursed. It was nearly three in the morning, which was about when she’d seen the Shinobi last night. When she’d been following him, he’d walked down the street to the north before entering an alleyway and vanishing.

Taguchi and Fujino were farther down the street, hiding as they waited. If the target went somewhere else, they would just have to do their best to catch him.

As the door creaked open, Iwata was surprised by the sudden sinking feeling she got in her stomach. For some reason, this just felt like a bad idea, but they didn’t have a choice.

She had to wait until the Shinobi got farther down the street before she moved out of the shadows. It was always best to assume that every Shinobi could sense you no matter what you did, and operate on the assumption that they knew you were there.

Once the target disappeared around a corner into the alleyway, Iwata and Taisho moved onto the adjacent roof. Staying as low as they could, to avoid being picked out by a passing patrol, they jumped back across the street and dropped into the alleyway.

As she landed on the ground, Iwata took in everything quickly. Taguchi was leaning against the wall, breathing heavily, a kunai hanging limply from his hand. Fujino laying on the ground a few feet away, and she couldn’t tell if he was dead or not.

In the middle of the street, slumped over on the ground, was the suspect Shinobi.

“What happened?” Taisho asked as he rushed over to Fujino and crouched down next to him.

“He didn’t know we were here until we moved in, but he was fast.” Taguchi panted, pushing himself off the wall and sliding the Kunai in his hand back in his pouch.

“Fujino is alive,” Taisho announced as he picked his knocked out comrade up and slung him over his shoulder.

“What happened?” Iwata asked as she bound the now prisoner’s hands behind his back. It wouldn’t hold for very long if he was to wake up, but it was better than nothing.

“Fujino dropped in front of him as a distraction, and the guy immediately went for the kill. Drew a tanto from inside his clothes and almost took Fujino’s head off. By the time I’d even gotten close, he’d already knocked Fujino out. I barely got the needle in his neck as he turned around.” Taguchi said, shaking his head. “I thought Fujino was dead for sure.”

“Let’s get back to the Embassy and secure the prisoner before he wakes up,” Iwata ordered, and Taguchi crouched down beside her as he pulled more rope out of his pouch.

“Only found one pair, so I hope that’s enough.” Taisho said as he walked into the interrogation room, “Downstairs is really a mess, we need to clean it up sometime.”

Iwata ignored Taisho as she took the Chakra restraining cuffs in his hand and latched them to the prisoner’s wrists. They would hopefully prevent him from using his Chakra, or at the very least, limit how much he could use. She’d heard stories about some Shinobi having enough Chakra to break the cuffs anyway.

She didn’t think their new prisoner was that strong, but there was no way to be sure.

Taguchi stood up, having just finished tying the prisoner’s legs to the chair. Finally satisfied he was restrained properly, Taguchi began frisking the Shinobi for weapons. He found a hidden Kunai pouch strapped to his side and a kunai hidden in his sleeve.

“Taguchi, look at that.”

Looking at where Iwata was pointing, he pulled back the prisoner’s shirt the rest of the way, revealing a seal made of thick black ink on his chest.

“A seal? For what?” Taguchi wondered, leaning closer as he tried to make sense of the lines and strange symbols drawn on the man’s skin. Seals had always been a mystery to him.

“It’s probably a suicide seal, they’re usually the ones positioned over the heart,” Taisho commented, and Iwata nodded in agreement.

“Do we have any sealing supplies here? I can’t remove the seal, but I can nullify it, so it’s useless for a while. We only need him alive for a bit anyway.” Iwata said.

“I saw some downstairs, be right back,” Taisho said and left.

It was times like these that Taguchi was thankful silence seals existed. No one outside the Kumo Embassy could hear the pained screams of the prisoner as Iwata interrogated him.

Hearing the screaming diminish, Taguchi lazily looked over toward the one-way glass to see Iwata walking toward the door. He was surprised. It had only been an hour, and this was the first time Iwata had left the interrogation room. He’d left because the screaming was giving him a headache.

“What’s the scoop?” Fujino asked painfully as he pushed himself up on the couch. He’d woken up about thirty minutes ago with a splitting headache, but it seemed like he would be okay.

Iwata looked proud of herself as she pulled over a chair and sat down.

“His name is Tofu, and he’s part of the organization we’re after.”

“What’s the organization called?” Taisho asked curiously, and Iwata shrugged.

“He doesn’t know.”

Taguchi frowned, “Was he blackmailed or forced into it then? You’ve spent too much time on him if he’s a dead end…”

Iwata shook her head, “No, he’s definitely more than just a thug for this group. However, it seems this organization has never cared to give themselves a name. Or they’ve just not told Tofu what it is.”

“Interesting.”

Iwata nodded and continued, “I started off with why they attacked this Embassy and killed everyone inside. He didn’t know why it had happened, only that the leaders of his organization had deemed it necessary. It happened before he was summoned to Suna.”

Fujino groaned painfully as Iwata grinned, and laid back down on the couch.

“Fine. I’ll play along and ask questions since you’re fucking terrible at giving briefings.” Fujino said as he stared at the ceiling, “Why was Tofu summoned to Suna?”

“He was summoned to help capture the Daimyo’s son, Naruto Sakamoto, who is also known as Miyasato,” Iwata said, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. Taguchi raised an eyebrow.

“The Daimyo’s son is in Kazedama, though?”

Iwata shook her head, “No, the Prince is here in Suna. He traveled here secretly with the Kazekage, presumably by the Daimyo’s request, to train to become a Shinobi here in Suna.”

“That makes sense… I’m guessing they want to kidnap the Prince to blackmail the Daimyo with him for the stone?” Taisho said thoughtfully.

“That would be it,” Iwata confirmed, “Other than that, he doesn’t really know much of use. He’s a missing-nin from Iwagakure and was recruited by this organization around a year ago. Since then, he has been spying on the Tsukikage until being summoned here.”

“So, is this a dead end?” Taguchi asked.

“No, we have a lead now. I obviously got the location he’s been going to at night out of him. Who do you think I am? A Chūnin?”

Taguchi shook his head, “That’s useful, but aren’t we screwed now? This organization presumably has meetings, and someone is going to notice him not showing up.

None of Iwata’s teammates were happy about the grin on her face.

“I’m going to activate his seal, we’ll dump his body near where we found him, and most likely, they will assume he got caught out by a Suna patrol and suicided.”

“Sounds like a plan. After that, we need to inform Lord Raikage immediately, this is crucial information,” Fujino said, and Taisho and Taguchi voiced their agreements.

Chapter Navigation<< Chapter 10: A Sister’s Love (COTK Book 1)
Chapter 12: A Grim Truth (COTK Book 1) >>
Total Word Count: 6004 words

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