The Ugly, The Mask, and The Disturbed - Part I: Stand off at Bottleneck Pass


Ryoji, Imota, Kureno

Date: December 9, 2010


Ryoji and Imota, have found themselves at an impasse. Each can make a decision that may both influence an outcome as they face each other. However, a watching chuunin just so happens to be quite bored and fed up. However, Kureno ends up showing just how fed up he /really/ is.

"The Ugly, The Mask, and The Disturbed - Part I: Stand off at Bottleneck Pass"

Inside Bottleneck [Land of Wind]

Inside Bottleneck [Land of Wind]


Three trails merge together here, trapped between two large plateaus and a spur from one of the nearby mountains. The wind howls eerily as it blasts through the three trails, pulling sand and debris to pound the broken rocks and boulders, rounding the edges of them and slowly eroding their purchase on the sheer cliff walls. The oft dry and windy conditions could cause a landslide of sand and rock plummeting down the cliffs at any point, and there are small rocks and caves dotting the landscape, creating hundreds of hiding spots for any would be ambushers.

The ground at the bottom of the cliffs is hazardous itself, as it is formed of loose rocks, and has many small pits that could ensnare and break the ankle of an unwary traveler. Many boulders have already fallen, and make the going even more difficult as they are obstacles that must be traversed. Climbing the cliffs would prove quite difficult as well, as the steep walls are formed of shale, a rock that is not known for its strength, and it breaks off easily, a hazard to a would be climber that could suddenly find his handhold being held in his hand as he tumbles down onto the sharp rocks below.

The narrow, sandy trails are laced with the occasional sharp piece of shale or granite. They travel north and east, leading to more winding trails between the mountains and head toward a bottleneck that goes to the West, heading toward Sunagakure.



Today, was going to be one of those days for one unfortunate Iga. A day of many regrets, many promises, and most importantly! Many bruises, cuts, burns, etc…

"Hmm…Hero-san really is a bad luck charm", Ryoji stated glumly just moments before a fierce wind rips away his hoodie to reveal the true face beneath. Only meters away from the Iga stands no other than his greatest rival, his anti-thesis in so many ways, and the reason…the reason why he hasn't moved for the past few minutes since their time arrival into the main travel and "safest" trails towards Sunagakure. Thus far despite the sun beaming down directly onto the path and the natural winds whipping through the area carrying doses of potentially lethal debris, neither shinobi nor wanderer have broken a sweat or eye contact. Because at that moment, nothing was more important. "….Well then…", Ryoji trails off purposefully as he closed his eyes and shifted ever so slightly into a ready stance. His eyes only now drawing to a close in order to help him better focus between memories of their past encounters, the conditions of the battlefield, possible interference, and of course to see if Imota would actually make the first move this time. Illogical as it may be.

Who would have thought, that in his move to another place for some training, and a sense of peace he didn't understand, Imota, would find yet another hassle that would seem to just come walking back into his life. As Ryoji stood before him, the chakra signature that Iga emitted, was undeniable. Yet, to see him without the mask for the first time, revealed more than one fact about Ryoji, that Imota had yet to realize in his many mysterious meetings with this one youth.

Imota even now, stood on the opposite end of the road, merely staring.. analyzing. As with his normal behavior, Imota's behavior would show no ill will. No disgust, hatred, or even anger for what had been a virtual blame for many if not some of his mission failures.. In other words.. Where ever he seemed to go in this life, this, Iga ninja, was the bane for which fate had dropped in his lap. It was a hard decision either now, for what to do. Imota's mind, seemed to go on with endless idea of what to do in this situation.

One came in the form of arresting Ryoji, on grounds of the interference in ninja affairs. However, Ryoji often left no proof of himself even being around, no finger prints or otherwise. One came in the mere question, and investigation of who this boy actually was. However, Ryoji only now had just fouled up, in giving him a face to identify. Otherwise, questioning in previous cases, had proved fruitless, the young man either being evasive in his movement, or in his words. And the use of ignorance, forgetting about Ryoji altogether.. Well, Imota had a feeling that as long as he lived.. So would Ryoji.

Hence why, even now, there was a stare down between the two in the first place. Imota… was indecisive, and for the first time, it had nothing to do with a conflict of emotion and logic. He just merely had too many choices, and none that seemed to fit. If Ryoji hadn't been himself, Imota would have merely passed him up on the road, as any stranger whom he didn't know, or care of.

"Get on with it!" Comes a voice, and a rock quickly follows, falling in between the two. If one were to look towards the source of the noise, they'd see a chuunin with a bag of popcorns, sitting in the sand, leaning against a rock. No, seriously, he has popcorn.

"Come on already. Fight, you know you wanna. There's nothing more beautiful than watching a couple of /useless/ genin, fighting and ruining Sunagakure, about which I give no *bleep*ing damn." He said, quite hostile sounding when he mentioned Sunagakure.

Yet, someone as perceptive as Imota would be able to no doubt notice that he still wears his Sunagakure headband. Intact. No scratches or anything. A sunagakure ninja. Furthermore, he even wears his uniform, modified as allowed for Chuunin. If one were not to consider his words, he'd come across as amiable towards the place he described as 'shitty'.

"Well, whatcha waiting for?" He suddenly leans forwards, "Or would you two accept a different kind of game to see, obviously, who is the better of you two?"

Words fell on death ears for the Iga. Probably because the wind was still prankish about kicking up loud enough to drown out all other sound within the area in-between Kureno's tirade. It still wasn't enough to block out all of it, and thus Ryoji turned towards the elder man with a single brow raised as if to say, "Really now?".

"….I doubt that one would care whose better. It's…Illogical, Pointless, and in his Arrogance he already believes himself to be my better to begin with. Thus, I too see no reason why we should fight with that type of mindset.", Ryoji stated as dryly and bluntly as possible. The only thing besides his milky sea-green eyes, odd skin coloration, and, assuming Kureno was one of the type to spend plenty of time with the "branch" family of the Iga to recognize a resemblance between Ryoji and his grandmother, there would be little to offer about to who, what, or where Ryoji belongs to. "Nevertheless, I am still curious as to hear--" He turns his attention back towards Imota. "--what type of game you have in mind?"

However, the words of Kureno, would not quite fall deaf upon the Sasaki. Despite the wind, which by the way, was being caused by Imota's slight surge in chakra, the smaller of the young ninja, would hear it all, and yet seem to have a reply almost similar to Ryoji's. The Iga's words in reaction, would cause his head to turn. He had not sensed Kureno's presence at all.. Perhaps the distance above them had been too far for his sense to reach, though at this point, the Sasaki, had bigger concerns.. Like why Kureno was all of a sudden, being a real meanie.

Ryoji's words would be head, and at the same time, it would not take a genius to understand the Iga's obvious disgust. However, there were many flaws in Ryoji's words.. "While the concept of competition does appear illogical indeed, as the sentiment does not apply to the situation, this nin disagrees fully with the notion of 'arrogance' for which you assume this nin to possess. If this nin were to assume he was a better ninja, it would have to involve the analysis of available facts, and statistics for which would supply evidence of the fact. Unlike yourself, this nin does not simple make implication without the absence of evidence. Such also displays a lack of judgment, as well as experience in the workings of investigation."

Looking to the suggestion of Kureno, as well as the man's words, Imota would turn his head rather confusingly, and say, "To suggest a means of recreation does not fit this situation by any means. This nin has in recent months, interfered with the affairs of Sunagakure and caused the failure of several missions for which this nin has been recruited to. Therefore, the decision of arrest, or neutralization yet depend upon findings of evidence for the same implication for which this…person yet may fall victim to."

GAME: Save complete.

Kureno's face darkens and keeps growing grim by as the nin continue speaking. And speaking. And speaking. And oh god, more speaking. In fact, his fist clenches tighter as each second passes and than finally, he roars, "Oh shut the *bleep* up! You talk so *bleep*ing much! I wish you'd just shut the *bleep* up!"

Kureno pants after receiving the feeling that something clicked in place. Oh, yeah, he was in the mood. The mood to do bad things.

"You wanna fight? I'll give you a fight you'll never forget." Crystals begin gathering around him as he begins focusing his chakra. "You think that guy's at fault for the failure of your missions? Have you ever thought of him saving your life?" Kureno seems truly curious for a minute as the sand around him begins crystallizing, no doubt an effect of his crystal chakra surging. "Well, I think it's time that you do."

… Is that a threat?

Ryoji only gave a small smile in response to Imota. Even after all this time since there last meetin he was still a little "annoyed" with the Sasaki nin's speech patterns, but it wasn't enough this time for him to attack. Not yet at least. "Doubtful I am of this since you just did display. Daring to mention an arrest without some physical proof to start with. For shame, green horn…. Still, whatever misplaced problem you have with me will be settled in time because soon… soon we will have no choice but to get used to each other anyways. Unless you want to be sent back to the academy…or worse." Ryoji stated mysteriously towards Imota before turning his attention back to Kuoroke.

"And he's right too, but you'll never understand it in the end.", Ryoji adds on at the last minute while releasing the hidden mechanism that would release his cloak for his form. Catching the wind would lead it on a wild dance to places unknown, yet in time the Iga would find it. Somehow.

"Mines’ well though. Timing is as good as any, and maybe, just maybe you'll gain something from this too." He finishes calmly just as his skin as a whole finally stopped shifting and settled instead for abnormally pinkish tone. Chakra is rapidly built up during this display as well…

Looking on to this in its entirety, Imota was realizing a slowly brewing fact. He was in a bad situation.. The worst even. To have himself, sitting between someone who was obviously an agent against Sunagakure, and another who had been comrade, yet unstable in his mannerisms, presented an entire list of horrible events for which could happen under this predicament. One was that he would be betrayed by someone meant to be his superior. The other, would be that his one chance to actually take actions against someone whom had been possibly a criminal, would be lost.

Kureno, was interfering more than helping.

"Negative.", would be said as a lone reply to Kureno's request. "This irrational behavior displays in full, a potential treachery. Your choices narrow, Kureno-san, with every second." This would be said rather plainly as he would observe the two, keeping an eye on both of there actions. Each would have a rise of chakra, and some form of change in the air and aura about them, and in this noting, Imota was peering on in desperation. He could not take on both Kureno, and Ryoji at the same time.. Thus… in his own efforts, it was time for another plan.. Run.

His own chakra would rise, while his speaking would diminished.. He was preparing himself to leave… This had to be reported.

Kureno slowly walks forwards in the whipping winds as he releases the cloak draped over his right shoulder to fly in the wind and surround him entirely. He had no weapons. Empty-handed. And yet, he may very well be a image carved into the minds of these two genin, in what, as he described, may be their final moments. Though, has he really meant it is another thing entirely. Kureno was known to do things like this to force people to fight to the best of their ability. And many people who failed to amaze him ended up in the hospital. Though, this has happened only in Kusagakure so far, no known cases were in Sunagakure. And that may change.

And as he walked forwards, black cloak flying behind him like a corona underneath the sun, also behind him, he placed his hands together and chuckled.

"Let me explain to you the rules of this game. But first, I must ask for your cooperation, and by that I mean: /Stay put/" He definitely can't read thoughts, but Imota is not the only one here who can use logic.

"Crystal Style: Impenetrable Cloud Formation" He uttered, his shadowed face barely containing any movement as the sand around the two would burst in all sides, giving way to crystals rising from the very ground at a 27 degree angle, all around them, trying to box them in, without causing damage to tissue.

With intuition as his guide Ryoji followed them to the letter. Evading the crystals based on sound, scent, even air pressure from where they came dangerously close to piercing his skin. By the time the attack ends however, Ryoji is right back in the spot he started looking a little tired from the sudden need to move, but otherwise healthy enough to continue. An eye forms at the back of his arms to observe Imota's movements throughout the attack, and should he fail to avoid the attacks, the Iga would shake his head before saying, "…And your still concerned about those types of things. When will you learn?", He asks only briefly before shutting the eyes along the back of his arms and dashing forward towards Kureno. The wind was not making his progress any easier, nor did the terrain, but wherever he ended up scrapped, flesh would peel away before crawling off as where while he built of chakra to his palm. 'Banshee Strike! One-Two Combination!!' He cried out mentally as he attack. The first aimed at the abdomen while the second was aimed at the chest with greater lethal ability.

This situation was becoming more and more dire.. These two, by Imota's standards, were insane. Though he had no intention for a fight, apparently, this was where Ryoji would succeed him. While the Iga would seem to move quite easily away from the rising crystal, Imota would be caught dead, and enveloped up to his neck. The wind that would blast about him, would seem to be too slow by comparison of the crystals that would come up amongst him. As dire as the situation would be, and as weird as the comment by Ryoji had been, Imota, was cold as ice.

Even now, movement and analysis in the crystal had been to pretty much see, just what had been the structure of the material he was now based in. His knowledge would be his freedom, if he had anything to do with it. Meanwhile, Ryoji's attacking, as well as his monitoring, would be noted quite well in this situation. After all.. if fortune smiled, Ryoji would prove a valuable distraction.. Meanwhile, the more chakra that was expended, the more the broken Seal of Paths upon Imota's shoulder blade, would glow.

Well, it seemed as if Kureno wasted some chakra, since the other guy dodged his move. Kureno would beat himself up over it later, he needed to refine his technique and strategy more, to the point of perfection. But for now..

"Earth Barrier!" He shouted out as a barrier of earth rose from the ground, meeting the strikes head on and outlasting them.

Kureno growled at the Iga and jumped back as he continued his earlier train of thought.

"Escape is futile. If you run.. don't forget that I am a trained ninja and that I'll find you and finish the job when you least expect it." He says, quite serious too, no doubt.

"Your only chance of defeating me is to fight me together. If you don't, you'll die, simple as that." Kureno explains and than adds, "That's the only rule there is."

And as he said that, the crystals around Imota shattered, allowing him movement once again.

"Well, let's start."


Ryoji winced as he pulled away his hands after slapping into the earth barrier. "Like that wasn't obvious from the get go…*nods*…Imota. Mind giving me a few extra hands?", He hints briefly before pausing only for a second to pull out a senbon secreted in his hair and toss at kureno. A distraction mostly so he could he leap past him, spring off the wall behind him, then try and attack with another Banshee strike V2.

If escape was so futile, then why even give the chance? The contradiction, would be set further into pondering by Imota, even as the boy would be threatened, and then let free, all in the same time. He would look on, no expression, though naturally about this time, if he used facial expression, his brow would be quirked. He would look on to the threat, seeming to ignore it, and the cry for help from Ryoji, with no apprehension what-so-ever.. After all.. these two, were of less than stable mind, and more so, more dangerous within his proximity, than he could stand to actually care for.

Once the crystal would be shattered, and he would be able to move, hands would seal, for the efficiency of speed, and high speed movement. The Shunshin no jutsu, would be used in hopes not to leave a single trace for Kureno to follow. After their match in Kusagakure, Imota hypothesized that the Crystal users threats, had been only that.. and thus had no backing. And even if they did.. Imota's options would not allow any further speculation. Action, was needed much more.

Kureno gets struck. The kunai slams into his chest, but as soon as contact is made, the Kureno poofs. And maybe he was too busy looking at Imota and letting his anger get the better of him to notice the Iga jumping behind him and managing to land a strike on him.

He growls suddenly and sets his sights on Imota.

Indeed, Kureno hated that Genin even more now. And to top it all off, he wasn't gonna hold back one bit. Just to punish this futile indisgression. "You want to escape?" He growled at Imota. "Fine, escape. /In death/!!"

And haven't you noticed the crystals around him? They aren't there just for show. Even better yet, the crystal formation that Ryoji escaped suddenly begins to glow and than literally /explodes/ sending micro and macro debris and shrapnel in all directions, timed precisely when the two are close enough to it to be in range. Even though it's range extends to hundreds and hundreds of feet, judging by the spread pattern.

"D-ah, D'awwwww. Had to go and--!", The rest is of what he had to say died in his mouth as every pain sensory amplified by Ryoji's transformation is set off with each bit of crystal that manage to tear into whatever he couldn't move out of the way fast enough. Sadly, this would mean deep gashes across most of his right arm along with his pinkie and middle finger being severed without a doubt. By the time the assault ended, Ryoji was a twitching mess of wide eye pain as he laid on the grown and simply bled there. The excess skin that made him look so blotchy now peeled away completely to reveal parts of Ryoji's real face.

To your death. The words would seem to echo in the boy's mind, to the point where even now, his eyes would widen. The crystals that had remained.. It was as if the remnants of the fight with Tsukiko, had been pretty much coming back to haunt him, once again. He hadn't remembered many portions of the fight beyond one thing, and it was all because Kureno, had decided, even in his prevalent insanity, to repeat the tactics. That first skill, had littered the field with so much crystal, that even when the first explosion would happen, the sheer amount would be enough to blow Imota back, scaring his arms, shoulders, legs, and back. It would only be through sheer fate, that hand seals would finish, enveloping Imota, and protection him from what was left of the rest of the attack.

The winds, as the boy would sail backward, would swirl about him, forming a wind like orb, gathering the rest of the crystal before impact, and carrying away. The boy would land with a three point stance, and skid back, all before falling down upon the ground. Blinking, Imota, would rip out a large shard from his shoulder, beyond taking a look at the field.. Ryoji, had been downed from the impact.. Looks like he hadn't been that resilient. However, Imota, was still in the game.. And it seemed that he would have to defend himself, if not for to survive just to save the Iga's life.. That’s right. He had a chance to capture Ryoji, the Iga's body being quite limp, awaiting to be carried off.

But could Imota even do that, in his current condition? What /was/ Imota's current condition? Bleeding from cuts, bruises, one stab, and.. swirling with dirt and wind? That's right.. The Seal of Paths, had been weakening. Imota's evident shock, as well as a touch of anger, had been showing on his face.. Kureno, was pissing him off now.. This would beg a question. Just what happens, when a kid who suppresses his emotions, gets upset? Well…

Not one. Not even one of the crystals come even near Kureno. It's as if they degrade in mid, fall apart, or literally /change course/ to avoid him. It was the true extent of his power. No matter where he was, he could crystallize. And no matter how far the crystal is, or where-- he can control it. It was a fact that has been proven through all the years Kureno fought, and through all the fights Imota may have observed. He could control Crystals. And the battlefield simply littered with so many of them… everything was a weapon. If Kureno would even so choose, he could possibly overpower Imota with the sheer amount of tactical value the battlefield now provided to Kureno.

But as soon as that thought may occur, the crystals fall apart, and return to dirt. And Kureno stands there, black cloak flying in the wind, tattered at the edges, like a corona of darkness undercutting the sun behind him. His form is bright enough to hurt the eyes of anyone who watches directly at him, from the right angle (Since the sun is behind him) And yet, even in the darkness of his shadowed face, a frown was visible. A tear glittered as it slid down his cheek. For some reason, he was sad. And if one were able to /feel/ this sadness, they may even be crushed under it's weight.

And yet, he still finds the strength to step forwards, and with voice steady, he asks, "What do you fight for, genin?" Kureno's eyes are as dark as the shadows and his hair, "You cannot simply be a robot, jumping when douche bags tell you to jump. Or do you really find that kind of existence… entertaining and fulfilling?" He laughs, "Don't act surprised by this. Everyone knew I hated Sunagakure. I admit, I wanted to hug the Kazekage and kiss the ground he walked on, for convincing me to return. Even though he did nothing directly. Otherwise, I wouldn't have met… Itami."

He stops than, focusing more chakra. "But look at me. LOOK AT ME!!" He shouts out, "I feel /NOTHING/. I feel empty. No longer joyous, no longer alone. This feeling will pass. But the clarity. The clarity.. I can finally see. I can finally see the root of all my pain. Even though I do not see it clearly with my eyes. But I can feel it. I can feel it like hatred." He pauses. "I look at the people, the ground, the trees. And I feel only hatred."

"And I was the same as you. A robot."

Kureno had been having a monologue, as if he knew in his heart of hearts, that Imota understood. Imota's look of shock had been from something different. The tactic… He would have been trying to see a possible way to actually defeat it.. In this narrow stretch of canyon, there was an entrance on two sides.. Behind him, and behind Kureno.. Ryoji had been in that same spot before this chuunin had decided to pick on the weaker of ninja that exist out the three. This was really only a tactical battle in Imota's mind, though at this point, the protective wall between his logic, and his emotion, was being breeched slowly, breaking down on both sides..

The breaking of the Seal of Paths, affected emotions, beyond the point where even the emotion suppression teachings of the smaller boy's deceased uncle, were being strained to there limit. Imota was listening to Kureno, sure, but at this point, Kureno's speech, had been purely a confusion of questions, and arrogance, mixed with clues of indecisiveness, and both the lack, and over doing of human emotion. As Imota would flick his wrist, his six pronged, and modified Fuuma Shuriken, would appear from a scroll with a plume of smoke. Imota, would hold up a single seal, his chakra and his stance being subjugated, and yet, seeming chaotic.. All the while, the boy's mind.. He felt himself slowly descending into impatience, rage, confusion, and a total lack of tactical sensibility..

Why was this happening?

"This nin fights for the Village of Sunagakure." Imota would pause, and say, "This nin also fights to protect, as well as, to find the value in which the division of man serves purpose." Imota would still retain his stance, and for the moment, his composure as well, would seem to be well held. "The division within man's mind, extends often into the lives for which surrounds those around him. When man does not make a chose, he is prone to making decisions which further cause his failures, and before long, cause the lost of his sensibility. Your assumption that everyone knew you hated Sunagakure, is in accurate. This nin did not. To call this nin a robot, is also inaccurate.. The reasons are saw very well for such an acronym to be used, however, to imply such also implies that this nin does not have any resemblance of organic anatomy. Even more so, Kureno-san neglects to remember, that many creations of man, normally /resemble/ man himself.

Imota would look to the man and say, "And yet, at this point, Kureno-san, no longer resembles a man. To say you feel nothing.. Is a lie. Your shouting indicates anger. Your feelings of 'emptiness', vacate a high amount of self loathing. You mention pain.. Feelings of sadness, regret, even the show of the biological action known as 'crying', relate the mourning of one's situation."

"You are confused beyond your capacity for reason, just as Itami-no-kimi, was."

This would be said as the nin would then pause, and before long, began to wince, crying out in a roar, in what seem to be his last struggles to hold on to what seemed to be his last remnants of sanity. "I AM HUMAN!!!", would be shouted almost unintentionally, as Imota would shake some since into his head, before he would then say, "…Just as you are… This nin bleeds.. Just as you do. You were never a robot.. Just a man whom misunderstood and neglected to analyze the division of life within his own self. This is merely a theory, and is subject to disapproval only by one action.." Imota would then look the man straight in the eye and say, "To walk away…."

Kureno simply laughed. /Laughed/ at the nin's reply. Cloak still undercutting the sun, like the river undercuts a bank, Kureno glances sideways for a moment, continuing to laugh.

"Ahh, you're such a bad philosopher, genin. But I have to hand it to you. You said 'I am human', instead of 'this nin is human'." Kureno than steps forwards placing his hands together, "But you are wrong, nin. Flesh deceives, appearance deceives. I look human, but I no longer relate to that.. state. I am neither a monster nor a human, I am a sword. And I have no sheathe. I cut. I cut the hand that holds me. I cut the ones I am pointed at. And eventually, I kill. And I kill. And I kill. I kill my master when he becomes too weak to hold me. What about you? You say you do this to protect. I did too." Chakra begins to focus and surroundings crystallize slowly. "But like a cracked and bloodstained sword, my cracks ran deeper, my stains were darker than blood and thicker." He chuckles, "And my heart has a fatal nick, and like a sword, I will eventually break. But be not fooled, the core of a sword is metal, and is the strongest. And when placed in fire, it will /REVIVE/" Kureno shouts out the last word as the crystallized parts of the canyon suddenly detach from the wall and fall towards Imota at blinding speeds.

"And be not deceived by tears. You say crying is the act of mourning. But these are /TEARS OF JOY/!!"

If this Sasaki were to ever walk away from this, one thing could be said.. Until now, Imota had never experience someone one, wanting him dead. Never… It was as if he had pretty much stepped on every single toe of this man, and in actuality, Imota, had done nothing. Not a damn thing. However, he was now the focus of some attack that he did not initiate.. And even in his powered from, Imota, could do nothing about it. Not a damn thing.

As the man would speak of being him being a bad philosopher, Imota would say nothing more than, "You wished for an answer.. This nin merely gave you an answer, and a further input of his observations." At being called wrong, Imota would say nothing.. "A sword his held and used by another.. The reason you cut yourself, is that are not used." Of course, soon, Imota would have no more input, and in the moment in which Kureno would shout his last words, crystal would hit Imota from every single place above him.. Even if he had lost his own will, and acted according to this transformations affects, his body would already go into shock from blood lost.. At this point, if left there to rot.. he would die. Outright.

Kureno walks forwards and places his hands together, dreadfully, finally stepping out of the shadows. His face didn't look like the one of an evil person, making him even the more deadlier. "That's all you have?" He says, sounding disappointed as the sound of chakra being used for something can be heard. If Imota is still consciouss, he could feel crystals beneath him, cradling him instead of piercing or impaling him. Was this a show of mercy?

Kureno would eventually kneel beside the genin and say, "Hatred.. people with hatred go to a place where sorrow cannot reach. Sorrow… Sorrow is a dagger sharpened to strike at the heart." He pauses, "I burn myself in my hatred so I don't have to endure the pain of loneliness. And sorrow." He chuckles than, trying to bind the Genin's wounds by crystallizing his broken skin. Like freezing. "Hatred must be exposed in order to clear it. Do you understand what that means? It means.. it means I gave you a chance to.. it doesn't matter anyway." Kureno says, as he picks up Imota and starts walking towards Sunagakure.

"I'll carry you to your home.. and than find the place where I belong. And if you can still hear me, I'll tell you a little bedtime story. It's about a boy with red eyes and long ears." Kureno begins, "You see, he was so different from his parents that he overanalyzed and thought that they were not his real parents. So, he fled from his home and traveled the world. Eventually, he ran into fairies." He looks down towards Imota, eyes determined. Though, he didn't really check if Imota was conscious, he just hoped he could still hear. "He looked so similar to them, but he had no wings. So they told him how he came to be. You see, he was born with a sickness, and in order to heal him, his parents brought him to those fairies. And he was cured, but half his life-force was replaced by the fairy blood, it's why his eyes were red, and his ears were long. Realizing his stupid mistake, he rushed back home. Home…" Kure no looked towards Sunagakure and smirked, somewhat condescendingly, "He couldn't find it anymore. Where his town was, there existed now a forest, no trace of human life. He was forever, detached from his family. And he cursed. The heavens. God. The Devil. Fate. Everything. And he cried. And he cried, and cried until his red eyes became even redder."

Finally Kureno looks down again, "Rest now, when you wake up, you'll be back home, and all of this will seem like a nightmare." When Imota wakes up, he'll no doubt find a sealed letter, sender unknown, which states:

"Remember that story about the boy with red eyes and ears? That boy is like me. You'll become a great nin someday, you just have to respect yourself a bit more. Never mention me again, I am no doubt a criminal."

Signed: Kaede

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