Date: October 23, 2010
Nai celebrates his birthday several days in advance.
"Cutscene - 151 Candles"
Book Restoration Clinic - Sunagakure
Hone Nai lived underneath a Book Restoration Clinic. Or what used to be one, at least. The building was now just an empty structure, with stairs leading down into a basement. Oddly, it was the basement that Nai had chosen to expand, decorate, and dwell within. Books of all kinds lay stacked on numerous tables, organized on shelves that themselves stood five or six deep both north and south, and there was scarcely any room for the one rocking chair and one old couch that were apparently the only pieces of furniture that Nai needed.
A tapesty over the west wall concealed a tunnel leading deep into the underbelly of Sunagakure… The Catacombs specifically. Most people feared that dread place, with its history of strange disappearances, grisly murders, and plagues that can wipe out entire civilizations. Nai held no such apprehensions. Not because the threats were unfounded, but because he could legitimately claim to be the least vulnerable person in the entire Sand Village. And now here he was, in a vast, empty chamber, with a vaulted ceiling some hundred feet above him, and the surface somewhere even further beyond that. A dark, dry, cold, miserable, lonely place — the room was the perfect fit for one such as he. Situated all around the room, however, were candles. Presently unlit, Nai held a small torch in his hand as he looked around, counting them.
Good. They were all there. 150 candles. He lit them all, one by one or sometimes several at once depending on whether they were standing individually or clustered together. They were black candles, with wax that ran red like blood as the candles melted. And then came the final one. One last candle… The 151st candle. Nai took the torch and… Doused it in a bucket of sand. He then approached the table in the middle of the room. He took a seat in the chair he had brought with him. And then he used a match to light the last candle, which was planted right in the middle of a cake.
Hone Nai, Head Recordskeeper, friend of the Kazekage, citizen of Sunagakure, the one that ended the threat of the undead army that had been assembled during the last day of the siege, and soon to be 151 years old… Began to sing. "Happy birthday to me~," he began in his dry, raspy voice. "Happy birthday, to me~… Happy birthday, dear Yane—" Then his voice broke and he lowered his hooded head, goggles still in place, along with bandages wrapped about his face… Then he threw his head back and laughed. The laugh would echo up into various households throughout Sunagakure, and there would be nightmares in the heads of children this night, oh yes, indeed there would be.
His laugh was deep but normal-sounding. Not the dry rasping of before. His laughs died slowly, petering off into convulsions and chuckles as he lowered his head again to look at the cake. In an aristocratic baritone, he said, "My, my. Is this what it has come down to?" He pulled his goggles up and off his eyes, lowering his hood to his upper back and shoulders in the process. Two yellowed eyes with bright red irises and darker-red pupils stared out at the candle flame. The light pained him, but he endured. "Sitting alone in a hole in the ground like this, celebrating more than a century and a half of existence, and doing it eight days in advance of my real birthday, just so it will not interfere with my work schedule? How pathetic I have become." His voice, though pleasant, also evidenced tones that were both darkly humored and bitter as blood.
Nai looked at the festive blue and white birthday cake, with sprinkles. He had made sure the bakery had put sprinkles on it. He had been very specific. They had asked who the birthday cake was for, and he had told them. They had wished him a happy birthday. Oh, how he regretted not killing those two right then and there. Now it was too late, and he was stuck with this cake. It sat there and mocked him with its very existence, and to Nai's mind, it represented all he had lost when he became the monster he was now. He took his hand and placed it on the frosting-laden dessert, and then applied pressure until it squished out around his emaciated appendage and bony digits.
"What is eternal life when there is no joy in it? I have attempted to pursue the path of the living, and it has granted me no satisfaction, no pleasure… But what else is there? I do not wish to truly die yet. If the path of the living holds nothing for me, what other path can I follow? The path of the dead?" Nai sighed and withdrew his hand from the cake. He stared at the blue and white frosting coating his bandaged hand, feeling the inane urge to pull down his bandages from over his mouth, and try to lick it clean. But he had no tongue with which to lick.
"…Wonderful. Now I have begun talking to myself. Just what I needed. Insanity ontop of being an abomination." Sighing, Nai got up from his chair and began to leave the chamber. He gestured without looking and every candle went out at once, without so much as a breeze.