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The moon hangs high in the clear night sky as Nanashi Uchiha and a her subordinate officers stand around a dimly lit map in their encampment stationed near Kikyō Pass, a narrow path that offers the safest and quickest route between the Land of Fire and the coast bordering the Land of Water. Earlier that evening Nanashi was ordered to conquer the area for her kin, effectively removing the ill-conceived bargaining token from the negotiations between the Senju and Uchiha. While the young commander had been gone over her plans for taking the pass dozens of times, putting the act into motion was quite different.

"From what our scouts have determined the Uzumaki have had a prominent presence around Kikyō Pass for some time, so they will no doubt have a good understanding of the terrain," Nanashi explains to her subordinates, "Despite this there is a good possibility that a Senju agent or two is also nearby, since the pass offers both clans the best access to the coast." Running her index finger across the map as she studies the geographic layout intensely before resuming her explanation, "Therefore, with the numbers that we possess the element of surprise is going to be necessary to pulls this off."

"What did you have in mind?" questions one of the present clansmen. Considering for just a moment longer Nanashi explains the layout of their attack pattern, along with a handful of circumstantial procedures to be enacted if necessary. Dismissing her officers to pass on the information the handful of soldiers stationed in the encampment.

Preparing for the coming battle Nanashi clad herself in black samurai-esque armor over her dark raiment and straps her blades to her side. Exiting her tent to the sight of her small group of forces she addresses them quickly before sending them off. "You're all aware of operation at hand and have been informed of you part in it," she explains, crimson eyes glowing in the moonlight, "Now, don't disappoint our leader and we'll stand on the coast at sunrise." Signalling her soldiers with a swift movement the group jumped into the shadows hurtling toward their targets. Following suit Nanashi herself made her way to Kikyō Pass, prepared for the dangerous fight on the horizon.

"Tonights beautiful" Iba spoke, his head hung high as he stared at the sky, immense glee in his eyes. The sparking stars that lay in heavens shine brightly downward, immersing the mountain pass known as Kikyo Pass an illuminate shine. Although it was narrow, and the sides were jagged, tonight even the most dreaded areas could truly be magnificent. Days prior, Iba was dismissed to this area per the request of Hashirama Senju, a good personal friend of Iba's. It was true, at the moment a discussion was underway between Hashirama, Keigai and Madara, however it was too many peoples suspicions that Madara could not be full trusted. For this reason, precautions were taken to apprehend and cease any activity that could uproot this peace treaty.

Pacing to-and-fro in the front of the narrow passage toward the Land of Water, he removed his gaze from the starry sky above to the forests layed out before him. Upon his dismissal to this mission he had fully mobilized for the defending the trade route, and if needed, he was ready to die in order to prevent Madara's forces from usurping this important route. Breaking the silence, Iba watched readily as he felt the ominous presence of incoming attackers. Although it was just a hunch, he watched on readily. "...someone there..?" he demanded instead of questioning, his eccentric demeanor temporarily faded, replaced with a forceful man who would act explicitly to Hashirama's orders: stop, defeat and apprehend all trying to head through the pass who aren't currently aligned with the Senju, in other words, any Uchiha that is trying to steal the trade route.

Halting her forces as a voices echos through the trees Nanashi peers through the darkness. "Doesn't appear to be a sensor...otherwise he'd be sure we were here," she thinks carefully before relaying instructions in a whisper, "Continue with operation as planned...and wait for my signal." As she expected this mission wasn't going to be accomplished without a fight from the enemy, but Nanashi had already resigned herself to the possibility. As her soldiers retracted from her into the forest's shadows the young commander decided to engage the lone defender at the entrance of the pass. Readying a kunai with an explosive tag the Uchiha threw the projectile towards the ledge of the entrance to the pass, hoping to dislodge enough debris to distract or damage her opponent.

Quickly, the metallic sounding of a clash of cold steel was heard, soon accompanied with a chilling ominous wind. "..." Iba remained silent, his actions spoke louder then his words ever could. Anyone who previously knew Iba would think of him as acting out of the ordinary, but to the opponents, he was simply attaining the correct mindset for the situation at hand. His eyes shot daggers as he found the origin of the kunai instantaneously, but just as he began to strike, an explosion occured! Sending shockwaves through the air, the explosion activated in the sky and although it didn't damage the pass --most likely the effect that the assailants wanted, it did startle Iba slightly, Caught off guard, he went into immediate reaction mode. With a sudden burst of chakra being emitted forth, and a quick burst a breakneck speed in a linear direction, a thud was heard from the left. Following a quick yelp, Iba reappeared in the front of the pass..in his palm was the blood of an Uchiha. "...He's not dead. But, if you no whats good for you leave here. You haven't done any damage to the pass, and you have the power to end this now and walk away." Screams of anguish soon followed the ending of his sentence...

His naivety was a great drawback, however it wouldn't take much for any one to notice his relunctancy to battle; though clearly, he was very capable. Staying on guard, he studied the forest before him --he had taken this pass many times before and noticing something amiss was very easy for this Ikari Clansman, however he was at a slight disadvantage because of the night sky worsening his vision and at the same time, having little to no effect on the powerful Sharingan. Believing this could escalate, Iba stomped his right foot on the ground and slung his arm behind him and then forth to the ground, tossing an open scroll to the ground, he formed a "snake" seal. As he did, water sprung forth and quickly consumed the ground, immersing the land in water, "you may be fast, and use the night to your advantage, but the water does not lie. I can easily see your movements now."

Stepping out forest calmly towards the pass Nanashi stared intently towards Iba as the water gently splashed underfoot. "Magnifying the sound of steps to compensate for the lack of visual confirmation to our location...not bad," she thinks to herself stopping several paces from her opponent, moonlight enveloping her. "I could say the same thing to you. Leave now...and this would all be over," she explains seriously to Iba. Having instructed her kin to stay out of this fight for their own good Nanashi was free to act without regard to the protection of other. "I hardly think I'll sway you but, I can only offer this opportunity once. Stand down and fall back."

"I cannot do that" he spoke blankly, the chains of mountains behind the forest drew Iba's attention. "This world is beautiful.." he murmered, awestruck by the beauty of nature. Although he felt ashamed, as he would have to defend this area and most likely damage it quite abit in doing so. With an impassive grin he shot back at the Uchiha before him. "...you are an Uchiha correct?"

"Why am I asking that. Of course she is an Uchiha. Geez.." he thought, his past run-in with Uchiha hadn't gone to his liking, and surely, anytime he faced one it would be a challenging bout. Dismissing his thoughts, he eyed the woman before him. "Her armor might prove beneficial. I should be able to be faster, but that damn Sharingan" he whispered, before slinging his left arm behind him, and following, he hurled a Fūma Shuriken toward the slim, onyx eyed woman before him. "She won't give up, that much is obvious. Damn you Madara why couldn't you just trust Hashirama for once..."

The Spark of WarEdit

"Thought as much," Nanashi's murmurs, rushing forward immediately after the the shuriken leaves Iba's grasp. Moving fluidly the dark haired woman leaps up at the last moment and, using the over sized projectile like a stepping stone, vaults herself into the air. Utilizing her advantageous positioning she throws a small barrage of kunai down at her opponent, maximizing the effect of gravity to increase their velocity.

The set of shuriken descended down upon Iba with deadly speed and trajectory, however eying the incoming attack steadily, he bent at his knees and threw forth his own shurikens --which effectively blocked the incoming shuriken from harming him. And, as the shurikens danced about in the sky, colliding, with dancing sparks flying about and the cold steel dropping to the wet floor below Iba had made his move; skidding back he ran his open palm against the ground. "Geez, you don't have to be so serious about this. Is he really that important.." he spoke in a hushed tone laced with unconcern. "If I get her talking, distract her, then maybe I'll throw her off guard and get her to do something stupid" he thought foolishly, still hoping that her loyalty to Madara would have a weak spot. Little did his opponent know, Iba had secretly placed nearly half-a-dozen explosive tags on the ground, all of which would detonate at his command.

Evading the initial attack with ease, Iba took precautions to the highly adaptable Kekkai Genkai of all Uchiha Clansman - the Sharingan - by delivering a kunai her way! Although it was a simple taunt, Iba didn't want to rely too long on this one enemy, as many more Uchiha surely could arrive on the scene at any time; an ambush waiting to happen.

Quickly analyzing the angle of the throw Nanashi begins to move towards Iba, slipping under the projectile's path. "Why mirror the same attack pattern," she thinks to herself recognizing the similarity, before realizing an error in judgement. "He's already defined himself as having exemplary close range abilities, yet I've allowed him to lure me in," she scolds herself, despite not breaking her charge. "I suppose there's no other choice," she murmurs, furiously weaving hand seals as she dashes towards Iba.

"Closer, abit more closer" Iba hoped, clapping his hands together, however he was unconcerned with the initial attack of Nanashi, as maybe his plan would be enough to atleast stop the female Uchiha for the time being. Suddenly, a powerful gale of wind wisped upward and about and began to tear through the vicinity with vicious power. Although it was short and quick, the sudden burst of wind assisted the vanishing act of Iba, as when the wind settled the defending Ikari Clansman had vanished in the night. No damage was caused, but the presence of Iba was nowhere to be found. The weapons on the ground rattled, as the water began to vibrate greatly and in the speed of a heartbeat..the very ground itself erupted!

With a wholehearted laugh from the safety of the treetops, he observed the explosion beginning to occur and with a eyes wide, he took in a long deep sigh. "This..is nowhere near over. But maybe she'll be stalled for the time being." Taking slight precautions, he overlooked the pass that his job was to defend. He eyed it insightfully, an hoped it wouldn't be too harmed from the result of the battle ahead of him.

"I figured he was drawing me in for something...but I hadn't considered an explosive trap," Nanashi thinks to herself from the treeline, "I don't know what I would have done if he hadn't given me the means to create that clone before the battle started." Realizing time was expiring by the moment Nanashi leaps down from the tree and makes her way to the pass slowly. "Before you asked if he was that important, I assume you were speaking about Madara. On that note I've noticed that your not a Senju or a Uzumaki," she calls out into the shadows, "So, if you tell me why your loyalties lie the way they do...perhaps I can do the same."

Seeing Nanashi completely uneffected by his planned attack, he frowned slightly before leaping out from the treetops. With a cold demeanor he looked onward to see the Uchiha gradually pacing toward the pass, diligently moving himself he sped toward her, "The Senju took me in when I had nothing. Cared for me when there was nothing left. I owe them my loyalty" he said blankly, his stare just as impassive. Showing emotion wouldn't be the wisest move when facing the enemy in battle, and although he was foolish at times, this was a time in which Iba must be completely focused. Although it was just an assumption, Iba inferred the woman before him was an Uchiha, and even if it wasn't, he took the necessary precautions, in fear of being trapped within the powerful Sharingan.

"I cannot allow you to enter this pass, Uchiha" he repeated, balling his fist and biting down onto his lip "damn, I'm going to have to fight. Fighting an Uchiha is going to be difficult" Looking directly at Nanashi - save her eyes - he studied her physique, "if I'm lucky I can outpower her with strength and speed, rather then with ninjutsu" Increasing his pace, he darted toward her and swiftly equipped himself with a kunai, the water splashed around him as his foot pounded at the ground, each step springing him closer to her. All the while, he kept his eyes straight like a katana, but curved down toward her chest -- directly at the target.

Drawing the wakizashi from her side and rotating the blade into a reverse grip Nanashi studies Iba's movements for a moment as he closes in. "Very well...that's an acceptable reason to fight," she comments dashing towards her opponent hoping to score an easy hit across the side of Iba's abdomen, though more than likely to the two would clash as they moved past each other. Seemingly disregarding the potential success of her maneuver Nanashi spins around several paces behind the Ikari clansmen before addressing him again. "I owe you a response I suppose," she continues calmly, "The world we live in is always in constant flux. In this time of conflict regimes rise and fall, but the one thing that never occurs is the continuance of the status-quo." Circling around to Iba's left in a slow pace Nanashi prepares for the next engagement. "Therefore, if we don't expand our territory...we'll be eventually overcome. I'm not about to sit back and let the Uchiha disappear like some many others have."

Ceasing his attack he noted the calmness of the situation before him, or atleast what appeared to be. Iba calmly let his right arm droop to his side, yet he kept his left arm up in case Nanashi pulled something. "Understandable, I suppose. You simply want your clan to not fall to the tyranny of time. My clan was wiped out, so I wouldn't understand, but then again, many people don't understand each other nowadays. Sigh, maybe it'll get better in future years" he hoped, slighlty moved by his own words, he hastily recovered himself and regained his solid, impassive demeanor. "Well, maybe you can tell Madara to call this whole thing off, I'll look the other way, and you guys can just sign the treaty and both clans: Senju and Uchiha can live peacefully, together 'cause I really doubt you'll like the alternative" he said, cocking his left arm back as he hid the kunai in his left palm behind him. Although his top priority was too defend the pass, he conversed with Nanashi on what seemed to be an equal plane, which wasn't his intention, but getting her to change her motives would have the same overall effect on the pass; none, which is just what Iba and Hashirama wanted.

Iba carefully glanced out from the corner of his eye, taking a mental note of the wondering Uchiha that overlooked the battle from within the forest.

Midnight BlazeEdit

"You know that can't be done," Nanashi replies solemnly as she stares directly at Iba, who had been avoiding her eyes, "I don't accomplish this task...someone else less suited for the tasked will be employed." Raising her free hand into the air Nanashi launches a luminescent burst of energy into the air, "I'm afraid this is your last opportunity to retreat...you have ten minutes to escape through the pass." Like clockwork Nanashi's signal is responded to as countless tiny flames are fired into the air from behind the Uchiha. Falling back to earth the surrounding trees are set ablaze. Elsewhere similar infernal events begins to occur incinerating the trees around key junctions. "In ten minutes I'll purify the pass of any and all inhabitants...so you should probably hurry," she explains seriously, illuminated by the inferno encircling the two. Still not comfortable enough to lower her guard Nanashi tightens her grip upon her blade, "I wouldn't consider summoning water again if I were you...repeat techniques aren't going to serve your alliance well."

"Gathering breathe, Iba hurriedly focused on the harmful fire that littered the forest, making its way to Kikyō Pass. Just as silence reared its head, and the fire sped around them, Iba's presence intensified, his face taut and red, and every ounce of his strength pushed forward; his muscles pushed to its limit -- The Eight Gates had been released. Inhaling deeply, his body taken a firm stance in the ground, creating a crater around his feet. Immediately, he slapped his hands together and with his dramatically intensified chakra levels, a huge gale of wind blew forth. Staring back solemnly, Iba commanded the wind toward the fire which quickly blew the balls of fire away, also accomplishing the task of preventing any movement from anything in that direction, namely, Nanashi Uchiha and her clansman. "I'll defeat you, Uchiha." he spoke with a collected, somber demeanor. He then darted toward Nanashi with his fist fully extended. As he moved, wind, fire and debris scattered about from his dramatic speed increase. "Entering the fifth gate so soon is bound to have a negative effect. I'll have to end this soon or I'll become her play-toy" he pondered.

Behind Nanashi and somewhat obscured from Iba's line of vision, the forest behind them lit ablaze in the dark sky. The starry night immersed the forest in light which only assisted one for viewing the immense devastation that occurred within the forest. It was quickly burning apart, and as the towering trees that lingering about in the forest caught ablaze they quickly spread the burning effect until, within moments, the entire forest would be burned to the ground.

Surprised at the sight of a crater forming around Iba the Uchiha activates her dōjutsu only to witness the bodily chakra flow unlike anything she had ever witnessed from an individual before. "I don't believe physical enhancement of this level has ever been categorized before," She thinks to herself as she braces against the gale of wind generated by her opponent, "Though...I wouldn't think that the human body could handle that kind stress for extended period without causing permanent damage." Disregarding the potential damage that Iba was potential afflicting upon himself she focuses on him intently as he rushes in towards her. Shifting to the side as the taijutsu specialist closed in Nanashi fires a piercing burst of chakra at close range, hoping the clashing force of the technique combined with Iba's charge would be great enough to inflict critical damage on the Senju ally.

As the prior happened in a flash, Iba stand feet behind Nanashi with his entire arm dripping of blood, yet he bore no expression of pain whatsoever. Immediately, the inflicted pain had been dismissed, and in another flash, Iba began his next attack. Although, his previous attack surely should have damaged Nanashi, Iba wasn't entirely sure and would not wait to see. "Damn, my arm is bleeding. Thats gonna hurt alot later on, on top of that, the Eight Gates will leave me outta comission for awhile."

With a cocky grin, that surely no one in the vicinity could visibly see without some type of aid, he vanished in the air, later appearing within a footstep of Nanashi, his eyes flickered before her. "I'm sorry to hurt such a sweet lady, but I can't play with you any longer." he spoke, his fist already clinched tightly he stomped his foot forward and lurched over at Nanashi with the full brunt of his might.

While she was able to get by with only a grazing strike against Iba's first attack his sudden reappearance before her didn't leave enough time for a proper evasion. In desperation Nanashi away from her opponent's punch, hoping to reduce the impact, as she braced her arms to intercept the blow. Despite her quick thinking Iba's strike packed enough force to knock the Uchiha off her feet, launching her several meters back in the process. Touching her left hand across ground as he somersaulted backwards through the air and regaining her footing she felt a sharp pain in her wrist. With the encroaching flames nearly licking at her back Nanashi checked the status of her wrist only to see that her black metallic bracer had completely buckled under Iba's attack. "That could have easily broken my arm," she thought to herself releasing the straps on her arm guard allowing it to fall to the ground, as it would only hinder her abilities at this point. Despite successfully defending from the attack a dull pain echoed through where she blocked her opponent's attack.

Reclaiming her composure Nanashi focuses attention on Iba, who despite being injured by her previous attack didn't appear to be hindered in the least. Additionally she realizes that she dropped her wakizashi after receiving that last attack. Disappointingly she draws the primary blades strapped to her side, "His taijutsu outclasses mine by far...I'll have to compensate a bit." Taking a focused stance the Uchiha begins to emit a luminescent aura. "I really don't like using this, since it makes it difficult to handle things discreetly, but it looks like I don't have a choice."

Noticing the sudden sharp increase in her chakra levels, and although he couldn't visibly see it, noticing chakra levels increasing proved much easier with the Eight Gate technique present. Showing some concern, he paused for a moment before proceeding with another attack. "my attack did something at the least. Its good to know that I outclass her at something, geez, this won't be easy." he said, ashamed that he hadn't ended the battle sooner, and that now, it probably wouldn't end in his favor with time depleting. Smirking, "ohh, Uchiha, looks like you finally getting ready. Well, I hope you got your guard up" he commented, taking somewhat of a liking to the challenge this battle brought forth, although still worryful, hoping that it would be his mission ended in successful completion.

Bearing himself with a kunai, Iba's feet sprung from the ground and darted at Nanashi with tremendous speed. As expected, Nanashi would have near an equal amount of speed. With cold steel in hand, he moved at Nanashi wholeheartedly.

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