What Makes Us Human - A Fate Worse than Death


Ayumu, Keiji, Joker (emitter)

Date: March 29, 2014


Foreign shinobi have taken over an INN near the Village hidden in the Sand. An emergency team is sent to investigate and deal with these shinobi wearing skull headbands.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"What Makes Us Human - A Fate Worse than Death"

Northern Parts of the Land if Wind

The Suna emergency bells were chiming today. Villagers with nothing but a bag full of things reported of ninja clad in black with skull headbands blowing up roads and harassing people in the Sickled moon inn in the Northern part of the land of wind. The smoke could be seen from Suna, and any ready and able nin was asked to assist. Ayumu and Keiji were assigned with the direct confrontation group. Which basically meant they were the lucky guys to have to talk to these creepy ninja. Reportedly they're dealing with a squad of 3 here. Who seem to haphazardly wreck havock around this specific inn. There's also report of one casualty. Someone with a leg blown off, but otherswise people seemed to be mostly spared.

Additional reports also tell of a hostage situation in the Inn. The Inn owners (who pay taxes to Suna in return for protection) are held captive in their own building along with a few guests. You can imagine reputation damage is huge too. Another explosion rings in the north, as another road which allows access to this inn get's blown to smithereens.

Keiji had only been up for an hour or two when he heard the emergency bells. Immediately he reported in. The first reports were a bit disturbing. He had only heard rumors on these men with Skull headbands. They were suppose to be the new super soldier of some recently made village. The only confirmed reports were that the owners of the Inn had been confirmed as hostages. It is no surprised that Keiji is being dispatched on this one.

His body propelled him well before he realized he was answering an emergency signal. He cursed the remnants of Ryoji for that, though admonishing it further was set on hold to hear the report. For perhaps the first — no, third time in his life, Ayumu was actually feeling downright murderous about something for a change. The feeling as usual left an odd taste in his mouth among other such abnormalities, but such things would not sway him away from seeing the feeling satisfied. Naturally, he hid his 'feelings' behind his usual non-chalant facade and followed Keiji's lead to the best alloted by the facade. "Your orders, Keiji-kun?" He whispers.

Another low rumble as another pile of smoke gathers. Everything rather close to the Inn. Though by the time the response teams arrive most of the surrounding villages were already evacuating and the travellers turned the other way… Two nin, one must be like thirteen and the other sixteen are seated on top of the Inn. Rather relaxed, nonchalant.. Almost casual about what's going on here. The third is presumably inside. The taller one, one with gray-white hair and a black jumpsuit with a white belt has his headband around his mouth. The other's mouth is covered by a bandana. So the most you could see are those nearly lifeless steel blue eyes.

Keiji nodded to Ayumu. "Two rules. Try to keep up and try not to get any innocents killed." It was always simple with Keiji. He was not sure what they were dealing with, but those two rules usually were the most important in any mission he had been on.

As they arrived at the inn, Keiji is not surprised to see all the locals have been evacuated. His dark pupils search for any sign that he can find. By the reports they are already out numbered. As they get closer to the Inn, Keiji moves to take cover behind a local building. He waves for Ayumu to follow him. "Try not to alert them to your presence. If possible I would like to use stealth to get everyone out alive."

Keiji then realizes he knows absolutely nothing about Ayumu's ability. "What are your specializations?" he asks. There was not a whole lot of time to set this plan up.

Ayumu nodded solemnly. Simple was good. Sort of. If they were succesful than it meant possibly not fufilling his hidden desires… which wasn't good. Ayumu shook his head and blinked away the troubling thoughts to better focus on keeping up with Keiji as planned. Soon the arrive at their destination, senses put on high alert for the sake of ensuring that the reports weren't wrong, to start. Ayumu would go as far as to probe the building from afar to try, though the effort is a short lived one thanks to Keiji's questions.

"Hmm? Ah, right. We never did get around to that last we met… well, I suppose it would be information retrieval, distractions, and things of similiar nature. A close match for your kind's particular talents, neh?" He says, pausing to sign his specialities using standard Suna code before going on in a chipper yet still quiet tone.

Keiji his sharp senses did pick up a multitude of information. He got a good peek at the armed nin on the building. One of them was also holding a scroll in his hand. He also noticed that the windows were blacked out with a thick shroud. A shroud that also gently blows out of the windows and doors… So it must be some kind of jutsu. That's all they pick up for now. No boobytraps …

Ayumu however just sees a building. Even missed the two black nin on top of the roof.

If it were not for the mask, a look of dissapointment might be seen on Keiji's face as he realizes this is going to be a difficult mission. Information retrieval was out. "How about distractions… what type of distractions can you do?" he asks. There was a jutsu being used here. He really did not want to sacrifice his partner, but he was starting to resemble cannon fodder. Keiji's dark eyes glance at Ayumu once before he peers back towards the building.

Could the intell be wrong? A possibility… but not something Ayumu was willing to put on blind faith alone. Keiji's question, in part, confirmed his suspicions. "Best to keep it simple and say various. Observe, if you will." The Iga immediatly began to put a small bit of distance between himself and Keiji out of concern that their enemies were sensitive to chakra fluctuations in the air or something. During the moments that followed Ayumu's declaration, a child goes zipping by with another, more older kid hot on their tail. Upon closer inspection they could very well be family even family.

"Taro! Taro! Come back! Mum 'nd dad ain't home!" The eldest yelled, but to no avail. The youngest keeps on running towards the Inn up until a certain point before veering off on either his own violition or because of the guards stepping up. Regardless of what the case may be, if only for a few short moments the guards >should< be amply distracted.

The Shine nin notice the children. Though are unaware of their status as a jutsu. Instead, a kunai lands in front of the children's feet… "Children, vacate. Death has come to this inn for the following twenty-four hours. If you wish for it not to reach you after walking upon the taint you will tell the man hiding behind that shack the same…. Tell him, no harm will come to anyone if he maintains his distance. And our hostages will be delivered. Any further approach will be met with out namesake…."

That's the message the children get. "Also tell him, that this is by order of the Shine-kage…" It appears they're not aware of Keiji yet.

Keiji lightly clicks his pincered fingers together. "What to do, what to do…" he mutters. The innkeepers were alive according to the shinobi on the roof. However the jutsu in play had something to do with death. If he or Ayumu entered the inn, there was a good chance they might get drawn into the jutsu. Of course if Keiji tried to take out those on the roof, all hell could break loose and the hostages may end up killed.

"We need to know whats going on inside that inn. We cannot expose ourselves to it. I need you to negotiate with them. We need to find out if that scroll in their hand has something to do with the jutsu. I want you to walk out and show yourself but get no closer to them than you currently are. Understood?" With that, Keiji tried to get a vantage point to see what the shinobi do as they spot the man. He was not breaking their rules, but perhaps he could scare them into revealing their play.

The elder takes advantage of his younger's siblings pause from suprise by hugging him first, then shoving him behind to better protect him from the bad, 'ol death shinobi. "M-m-m-mr. Shi-shinobi? Ah… D-d-do you know if—?"

"—Now, now children. Do as the nice people in black up there asks, alright?" The Iga interjects on both the children's behalf and for the sake of Keiji's so called 'throw-your-comerade-under-the-boss-to-try-and-do-the-ninja-ninja-thing' plan. While he might not have been in total agreement with it from the get go, Ayumu understood the value behind it all. It takes Ayumu shooing them off ontop of revealing himself to get the children running off out of sight.

"Ohayo gozai—oh wait, its night isn't? My bad. Darn sights been getting so terrible these days I think." He says light-heartedly before letting out a light groan. "Or the fatigue… could really use a comfy bed right now.. Know any good place like, er, wait wait wait. I take that back. You folk look like the type that'd suggest a crypt or a tomb or something, right?" he chuckles weakly. "Hmm… Say, know if there's any vacanies in there or do you guys got some kind of deal with the inn keeper going or something?"

On the last note Ayumu leans against the side of the shack and smile his best foxy smile.

The nin seems to remain calm and casual as ever, even with Ayumu appearing. They do however ignore him. The older of the pair rolling his shoulder, his gaze focussing on Ayumu. "There's plenty of beds in your lands." The Shinobi eventually responds. Resting his arm upon his knee while peering out into the distance. It sems they're occupying the inn. Shutting off it's access points and keeping the inn keeper as leverage to keep the locals and the local villages from disturbing their work. Whatever they're doing, it seems focussed around this very inn.

That was no help. Keiji had no choice. "Stay here unless all hell breaks loose. I am going to look around underground." The shinobi seemed to have no care about Ayumu being there. Plus he was smart enough to move if he needed to. Keiji needed to know about this jutsu before he could truly make a move. He sinks into the ground and moves towards the inn. He did not want to be light enough to break the ground. Though he did not want to be deep enough to not be able to here or sense anything.

"Pbbt! Hardly, my friend! I wouldn't have been trying to scope out the place from afar otherwise." Ayumu grins, seeming the very opposite of unnerved by the duo's slow response time and obvious desire to left to their own business. "Oh, and for the record, these aren't exactly my lands by the way." He sighs. "But look, looks like ya got a good head on your shoulders and a *squints* map of the area in hand to. Mind letting me borrow that for a bit of quick perusing myself?" He asks, nodding as if to emphasis his point. In truth, he was nodding to Keiji's statement, confirming that he heard and would obey… even if the shippodoku continued to err on the cruel side.

Keiji notices finding that balance is difficult, plus there's an annoying sound of footsteps muffling whatever's going on in the inn… Eventually though he hears a faint but obvious sound of a muffled voice. The innkeeper with something in his mouth no doubt. So he - is - alive.

"These are the Shine-kage's orders. Should we perish on this mission this will inform your kage of the mission parameters. And why what will happened, happend." The younger nin says. "But leave us to our business and you will have no hassle or bother, we shall even send reparations for your roads in due time." The boy guarentees.

Each piece of evidence seemed to help a little. There still had not been that piece that broke the case. Keiji still had not figured the jutsu. His head kept reviewing the information. The shinobi made a display of being there. The smoke was seen from the village. That lead Keiji to believe this could be a distraction. The jutsu itself seemed like a play to keep everyone at bay.

However they did have a hostage. That meant any move to just rush in would likely end up with them dieing. Keiji presses his hand to the earth. He was listening to the pulses of the feet. He wanted to know where everyone was in the room. It was ninjutsu. One he had learned early on. It was the tremor sense technique. If he could devise where everyone was or who people were by their movements, he just might have an idea.

Ayumu listens respectfully, but at some point a look of genuine confusion blossoms. "Alright now young one, just hold on a sec and let me digest this for a bit, alright?" He pushes off from the side of the shake and start rubbing his chin furiously in thought. His clones meanwhile took it upon themselves to reposition themselves to observe from a far. They were still masked as children, so any observation would be from ground level perspective. "Ugh, this is way too much… Wait a sec, Are you trying to say that you guys >are< up to no good and intentionally planning on causing trouble for Sunagakure? I mean, besides everything else thus far and all that? Because, well, hmm… I'm not entirely sure what the protocol for this would be…"
Ayumu admits a half-truth. "Though that does kind of got me curious on like, what's it like where ya from?"

It feels like everyone's in the main floor. In the dinning hall. A few people are tied up and lined up against a wall. "We again, mean no harm to your village and will not directly threaten you unless you threaten our village first. We just do what needs to be done." The older Shinobi says. "Kill us if you wish. But you will be the one sealing the death warrent of those inside. Again, we have no interest in their death. It serves no purpose. And death must serve a purpose." The man nods. "But their deaths will serve a purpose if you decide to undertake hostilities. We are from the land of death." The boy calmly says. Remaining unmoving regardless of the conversation. It sounds like the jutsu is some sort of guarentee they use to make sure the people inside die if they were to be - killed -

Unfortunately this mission was lacking a little bit in evidence. Without actually getting inside the the inn, there was little chance of Keiji being able to determine if the jutsu was going to be fatal. If he sent a clone in, he could risk the lives of those in there. To hesitate though would guarantee death of some sort. The shinobi of death gave away one clue. There was a time frame here. They were only here for 24 hours. Being as the attack happened during the day, probably a few hours before Keiji and Ayumu arrived, the current amount of time left was at least less than 10 hours. That might be enough to stop whatever they were doing.

Keiji rises from the sand behind the inn. His body starts to shift and a low growl comes out as the chitinous armor forms across his body. His fingers turn to claws. He places his hand down against the ground. "Demon Graves." is states as the ground beneath the inn becomes like quick sand. Hands reach up from the bottom of the floor to pull the inhabitants into the ground where they will be locked in place. Obviously this would act as a sign for Ayumu to do something.

"And that's another thing to. Why do you keep mentioning my killing you?" Ayumu lofts a brow. "I mean, yeah, I get your from the village of death — which by the way is just asking for a lot of handicap jokes by the way — but I. Am. Not. So-…" The Iga claps his hands together and starts rubbing them furiously. "Let's keep in mind that for one, others have a thing called prison cells, and two… Did you two just hear something?"
Rather or not they actually heard something themselves or were already in the process of investigating, Ayumu springs into action. The near blinding sensation of entering another plane of existence consumes the Iga's every thought for a scant few milliseconds before he finds the focus to command tendrils of hair capture the foreign shinobi. Ayumu was careful. Even if the trigger of his murderous rage failed to give him a heads up regarding the days event, what intell they dispensed was enough. Fingers are parted as well as feet, toes, and hands, preventing seals or any attempt to reach for weapons. For now.

The Shine nin now do move. The quicksand causing some confusion in their ranks… But a few seals and a flash of green. Ayumu's technique produces nothing but a faint 'pfft' of … nothing? "Katon: Rising dragon-no jutsu!" Says the boy on the roof. A gigantic fire dragon curling it's way to Ayumu… Clearly that's one heck of a dangerous technique! And it's coming from the younger one! Makes you wonder what the older one can do!

Meanwhile inside, the nin and the hostages get pulled into the shifting sands. Though his body shifts into the dark cloud inside, reassembling in front of Keiji, where his hand gets stomped through the sands and floor, aiming to grab Keiji's wrist and pull him out in full force! Trying to trash him against a table or chair.
There was a bit of shock when the shinobi appeared above him. Keiji quickly dashes away from the shinobi. His claws place together and two more of himself form. Yes, this was the shadow clone jutsu. Keiji looked at the shinobi of death. He was able to move with the smoke. That was going to make things difficult. Either way, the Suna shinobi were gaining numbers. Now with his shadow clones, Keiji had a viable defense against whatever jutsu this guy would use.

There is only a brief instance of suprised registered on the Iga's face before he returns to flat expression inherit of invoking the favor of a god focused on thought, intelligence, and things of that nature. The death mask was soon leveled upon the Shine-nin, though neither are given its full attention… even as the youngest one unleashed a fire dragon upon him. Anticipating its future movements, the battle field conditions, and a multitude of other subtlier clues, Ayumu sweeps past the attack without even a hair being singed in the process. Once more he would try to bind the duo as before despite the elder having not made his move. As soon as their bound — IF they are bound, the shadow clones would make their move then. Not to strike or harm, but to pilfer the scroll first…

The duo get's bound together…. But suddenly, a knife is produced….. Stabbed repeatedly by the older one into the younger one… It was a bloody, gruesome mess… And the younger one didn't seem to mind one bit! And the more blood is produced…. the more of that green hue, full of chakra one could feel surrounds the older one of the pair, who simply breaks out of Ayumu's confines… Before hopping down behind the building. His dagger ending up deeply in his other comrads shoulder… "Double death pact.." The sixteen year old says with a grin… "Last time I tried I coudln't control it… Now.. I have a feeling it's different.." He whispers, staring at multiple Keiji's…. "Now, you're facing someone with the strength of your kage!" He grins and produces a kunai, disappearing and reappeating in front of Keiji's shadow clones, trying to bash them out of existance.

Black smoke also flies up from around his back, forming a thick cloud in the air, which suddenly ignites and heads Ayumu's way!

Once more the Keiji's dash out of the way of the super shinobi. "I see." The Keiji's state in unison. So far it appeared that the three shinobi were linked, much like the shadow clones, except for their chakra was not divided to begin with. Instead when the others died, their chakra was absorbed by the one making him even more powerful.

Right now, Keiji was still testing the waters. However there were a few disadvantages to being a single entity. Keiji dashes forward and twists around giving his tail a swing at the death shinobi. If he could envenom the target, he should be able to neutralize him long enough to put the pain on him.
The moment he senses the elder slip a hand free Ayumu tries to correct the mistake. Unfortunately, It is far too late to make such changes. The display of brutality… it should've sickened him on some level, and yet, the Iga still bore the death mask without the faintest hint of having been affected. Perhaps during a quitier moment and presumeably if he survived this event…

A blink latter and the Iga's mind is clear once more, freeing him up to focus on pursuing after the elder man. The clones pass him along the way. Time seems to slow for a brief instance in that moment. During which time they all exchange a brief look before heading their own seperate ways. The clones would head to somewhere safe long enough for one to gamble on reading the note and dispel with the message in mind. In the meantime, there was still the matter of —

A strangled noise comes out of the Iga's throat as another wave of fire comes surging towards him. He evades the catastrophe by a narrow margin by retreating back to the forefront of the house, but not before catching a glimpse of the scene. Keiji just might be in trouble now… However, just as the shippodoku priortized the mission above an individual shinobi, Ayumu would do the same. One last shadow clone is summoned and sent onwards to assist Keiji in whatever way it deemed fit. Perhaps even attempt to prevent or slow the death of the downed man even? Regardless of the clones assessment, Ayumu busies himself with digging up the hostages and trying to lead them out of harms way once more.

The death Shinobi stares at Keiji as he falls onto one knee, coughing with the potent poison coursing through his body…. "I… Can't… Move…" he ushers, shaking his head to try and shake it off, feeling the poison burn…. "Croakit…" He groans, nearly collapsing…

Ayumu finds himself succesful at digging up the hostages… Though most are surprisingly pale.. Eventually he digs up a woman, who suddenly reaches for any equipment he has on him, trying to stab him a few times before a bit of that black smoke leaves her mouth, leaving her limp… though with a faint heartbeat.
Additionally, the scroll Ayumu holds reads:

'Esteemed colleague Kazekage'

It's been a while since I last spoke to someone in your seat. Nearly a hundred years in fact. Things have become a bit of a mess since then I'd say. But I guess you could also gather that I'm fitting in fairly well…

Since you receive this note I'll safely assume you killed my shinobi. No matter, they served their purpose. They were deployed in your land because someone had an interest to put that inn out of business. And you clearly didn't have the guts to do it. So we did it for you. Regardless, my Shinobi's actions were sufficient to destroy the inn. Even if you manage to save everyone. I should mention that you would have been wiser heeding my Shinobi's warnings. The death shroud jutsu is nothing short of deadly. The possesed guests are bound to kill themselves or someone until the jutsu wears off. Which can take months… So, have fun restraining them….

Additionally, by attacking you waived your claim on my reparation money. So the cost of repairing your roads is your own. As I now consider the damage your responsibility. It's been a pleasure working with you, and I'll look forward to our next encounter….

Yours truely


A grin forms on the chitinous armored face of Keiji. The Scorpion-like beast appears next to the shinobi, placing a pincered finger into the neck. This was a different type of venom. This one was not a paralytic, but one to cause extreme pain. Yeah, Keiji had a sadistic side to him. "There are fates worse than death…" The words come out through gritted teeth. This being no longer seemed to care about the fight. He wanted to cause pain.

Ayumu truly, honestly, and undoubtly had no words to describe just how he felt after the clone's memory of the missive merged with his own. Crippled though he is by the missive, the body's reflexes still prove too much for the possessed woman to deal with. The Iga finally comes around just as the woman falls limp. "Hope Sousa-dono finds this more entertaining then troublesome." He murmurs as he gathered the woman in his arms and followed the others outside. The possessed guests would prove an annoying obstacle to deal with from now on to the return trip the village. Still, they provided the perfect execuse for the Iga to merely leave a pair of shadow clones to back-up the transformed Shippodoku while he herded people along. Despite whatever complaints and future punishment promised as a result, Ayumu takes the extra precaution of keeping everyone cuffed through tendrils of hair.

The shinobi screams out in agony as he is stabbed by Keiji, rolling around in extreme pain… "You are right.." He says in between his cries of agony. Ayumu is having mild success getting everyone together… Though they do punch bite or otherwise try to harm themselves, others and ofcourse the poor Iga!

The death Shinobi soon crawls up against the wall, coughing up some blood. "You would fit in well, in our village… You should consider it. That mindset of yours…. It is completely right. Death isn't the end… Death isn't bad… It is only the beginning.." The shinobi smiles and shakes it off… "The beginning of something new, if it's done with a purpose…" He glows a faint green, gathering his chakra it seems, which suddenly releases in a very large green flaming explosion. Stretching all the way to Ayumu and his clones too!

The chitinous beast bows his armored legs and bends to the side down towards the earth to evade the green blast of fire. His clones seem to vanish though there is no evidence that they went poof in the flames. Keiji's head raises and his black eyes stare directly at the rival shinobi. He was using a forbidden jutsu. One that relied on the death of others to empower himself. From beneath the ground a hand reaches up to the ankle of the shinobi. The hand was that of a clone trying to grab the pressure point in the ankle. Keiji then rushed forward aiming his pincered finger at the man's arm. More specifically one of the tendons vital to moving it. He was looking to disable the arm.

If it weren't for the fact that Ayumu was already used to dealing with hyper active and over-sensitive Iga young (A very long and painful story…), he might've just hung the rowdy possessed folk and been on his way from there. Instead, he kept a level head and kept the group as corralled and moving. Disaster strikes however when one of the clones on watch and wait duty dissapate under the force the explosion, alerting their master. Ayumu spares nothing short but the massive effort to ensure his charges remains safe.
The price of that due deligence meant a flash of agony alongside his back before silencing the pain just abruptly. It didn't take a genius to figure out that >that< was going to hurt later on. Sooner at that, instead of later unfortunately, since he regressed in favor of the hairy beast that could just drag the unruly charges in cocoons of steel hard hair and progress twice as fast.

As for the clone that managed to escape the explosion by sheer dumb luck more than anything else, it joins Keiji in what would hopefully be the final assault. Where as Keiji aimed to disable one arm, the clone went for the other…

The ninja was still leaning against the wall, suffering from the poison, so Keiji's strike disabling his arm was quite the success! Which caused the next to connect as well, causing him to scream in agony again… "Almost… there.." He pants, coughing up some more blood while looking at Keiji… "Hey you.." He says with a sadistic smirk… Arm twitching for him to form seals… "Katon: …." He sighs… "Death bullet barrage…" Right when he finishes he begins rapid firing several green bullets at Keiji and Ayumu respectively! The green flame surrounding him was enough to ward off Ayumu's clone's attack but that blasted poisoner got through it time and again! So after a good ten extremely dangerous bullets flew Ayumu and Keiji's way the flame around him also intensifies…. "Almost there…" He says again….

Keiji leaned his head to the side of the fireballs. They narrowly pass by his chitinous armor. He places his fingers together to build his chakra. Even the wind begins to swirl around Keiji. The sand rises creating a small storm around the young shinobi. "Yes, almost there. In a moment I will put you out of your misery." The words were more of a growl as the black pupils met that of the shinobi from another land.

Light and heat. Almost all of the sensors running along the back of the walking monstrosity immediatly turn to focus in on the source of what could only be anticipated as a large blaze. The glare of the ghoulish light almost blinds some, but with their work complete it is only a matter of bunkering down for a moment to endure the barrage from afar.

He nearly blacks out once or twice from the pain, only to find the inner strength to crawl back onto all fours again after a few minutes of recovery time. In another few minutes it wouldn't even look like there was any damage done due to the new hide of hair. Sadly, what lies beneath told a different story altogether.
It didn't take a genius to figure out where the long range barrage went. Furious as the clone was with the assualt, it held its temper in check. For now.

The Shinobi grins as he notices at least one of his jutsu hits it's target… "See your friend over there? Leaving him to die like that? My friend, you're someone I can happily call comrade. Truely, join the village sometimes. Someone willing to betray those who protected him a few minutes earlier will fit in perfectly… He says, collapsing onto one knee. Gathering his forces for another attack. Keiji should be able to sense that now he's this close. "Soon I will die and be reborn… Then, you'll be next… Followed by those people your friend aspires to protect… Look what it got him… It's weakness… And you know it… Or you would have done the same…" Was he messing with Keiji's head? Trying to anger him? Enticing for a killing blow? Who knows!

Keiji holds his pincer up into the light. There is a thin coat of venom on it. The light shines off of it like a glossy substance. "You may be right. I could care less if he dies. I will enjoy this…" Keiji moves slowly towards the shinobi of death but he does not attack. "Savor this moment. In a minute you are going to feel more pain than ever before."

The death Shinobi stares at Keiji… "Bring it, soon I'll be reborn…" He smiles masochistically, before wincing and grunting, nearly throwing up from the pain… Soon, soon he'll be dead and reborn… "Finish me!" He says, looking at Keiji. "Finish me and show me you're a death-loving man just like us…"

There it was. Keiji's victim was next to death. He was nearly paralyzed. Keiji wiped off the claw. "No need. The poison should take care of it." The words come as Keiji moves near the body. He could no longer attack him, so it was only prudent to prep him for transport. Suna had sent the only the shinobi they had on hand at the moment. That meant as forces returned they would be dispatched to back them up. Yes, this guy was going back to Suna. He was going to be cut up and figured out for his secrets. It was simply a matter of leading him on to think he would actually die.

"Keiji-kun… You do realize that I'm technically still here, right?" The Ayumu clone finally pipes up and says. While it might've been better to stay ignored, the banter between the two was growing disturbing and insulting; especially considering what the giant scorpion lad's plan. Nevertheless, the insult stung something fierce to the clone. Ayumu, meanwhile, keeps on truding along, hoping that whatever back up or what have you would show-up some time soon to get the monkeys out of his 'tails'.

The man looks at Ayumu's clone… Maybe he's been approaching this all wrong… He coughs and collapses, now on the ground, barely able to speak… "Your 'friend' … if you want to call him that isn't even man enough to finish the job.. But you, you have seen death. I can tell by your eyes… By your attitude.." He coughs… "You may be blind, but you see it.. You see death and you embrace it like a friend.. Much like us.." He pauses… "Your friend abandoned you. And he fails to finish me off… What a coward.." The man says… "Are you that too? A weak coward? One that can't even hit me with any of his attacks? One that gets…" The man chuckles.. "Schorged without me moving a muscle.." He coughs again, strength leaving his arms and mouth too, his voice reduced to a whisper.. "Such a weakling…" He whispers…

Keiji reverts back to his normal form and the chitin shrinks back to where it came from. "Shinobi are masters of deception. I am glad you finally figured it out." Keiji's hand moves over the shinobi, lightly healing some of his wounds. "I am an assassin. To allow someone not to die goes against my creed. However you shall become a science project to the medical staff of the village. They will cut you. The will dice you. They will analyze every details of your petty little existance. Then… only then will they finally put you out of your pittiful misery." As he moves his hand, he begins disarming the shinobi of all shinobi tools that he has, including the knife.

He does not remove his eyes from the target, but speaks to Ayumu. "You did well. My intentions were not to betray you, but to allow you time to get in and out. I will help you heal, but we need to get prepared for the arrival of other shinobi. This shinobi is worth more than the entire mission. If we can harness their secrets, a war will turn into a minor battle." he states.

Even though the clone put on the most apathetic facade possible, the eyes still bore the truth. What the man spoke of was, in part, the absolute truth regarding the original's past and present. But to behaving in such an unseemly and desperate manner doomed the man. The clone gives his broadest, foxiest smile and says, "I am all those things and more my friend. I do not shirk from it."

With his point delivered, the clone settled himself in to observe the exchange between shippodoku and future lab rat, patiently awaiting for those next orders, suprises, or whatever else the day had in store for it. "Do not be so presumptious, Keiji. To underestimate any beings will can only lead to future folly." He says calmly without once letting the smile falter. "In anycase, I will pass along your words to the original and see that he gives the proper instructions to our relief. And while I'll say you need not concern yourself with his injuries, you are, as any, free to do as you so choose." And on that final note the clone explodes into a small cloud of smoke.

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