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The Beast and the Mist

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This article, The Beast and the Mist, is property of Njalm2.

This article, The Beast and the Mist, is property of Illuminate Void.

This article, The Beast and the Mist, is property of Chrono Nexus.

The Hunt BeginsEdit

A lone shadow darted among the trees of the forest in a secluded part of the Land of Water, Tatsuya had followed his target for a good while now and he didn't appear to have been discovered either. The target would occasionally attempt an evasive maneuver in order to shake of possible followers, an old habit originating in a world where you could get killed, abducted or tortured for simply not paying attention 24/7. Tatsuya had to admit though, that were it not for his Inuzuka heritage, he would've lost the boy a hundred times already. Yet, all he had to do when he was insecure about his charges location was to sniff at a place where the Shinobi had previously been and he'd know direction, distance, time and the general state of his targets underwear; the latter part being more of a disadvantage had he found.

The Jounin silently went trough the mission in his head, noting all the special requests and requirements.

  1. Capture and interrogate a member of the Yagami Clan, try especially to derive information regarding their highly advanced weaponry, use any means you deem essence; torture is a viable option.
  2. Don't let the charge realize that you are from Konohagakure, should he find out, employ every possible technique and strategy to silence him permanently. Kill him and then burn his corpse.
  3. We've given you a suitable costume for you to wear, impersonate a Missing-nin who wants to sell the target off for information.

The village had been particularly sly this time around and Tatsuya was dressed in a cheap and ragged Jinbei that provided a slight amount of camouflage due to its color in accordance with the wooden environment. No one would take him as a Jounin in this outfit, a lone and desperate brigand would be more like it: Only poor people wore Jinbei nowadays and it should prove to be highly useful. In addition to this, Tatsuya wore a facial mask to cover the lower half of his face which was both for the costume and for the possibility of him being recognized by the enemy, although that was unlikely in this attire.

Tatsuya finally caught up to the individual and remaining out of earshot while he used his superhumanly enhanced senses in order to attempt to gain a basic understanding of their surroundings as well as any visible equipment his target would be wearing ---reconnaissance was important for any mission, especially one such as this.

---

He hissed as he drew in another long breath. It was still hard to breath, but he had gotten out of the worst of it. With another leap that carried him for well over a hundred feet, he landed on one of the large branches on the tree's that dotted Fire Country's forest. With slow delibrate steps he made his way to the trunk, slumping down next to it to readjust the sling slung around his shoulder that carried his injured arm.

Those impudent bastards! Tenchuu thought. He winced as he in took another breath. He may have gotten the poison out of his system, but the damage was done. He had thought those fools of the Yagami would be content to continue sending him on these suicide missions. It was only a matter of time, before they wizened up though.

He thought back to the mission, or at his supposed mission. It was an elaborate ambush, very well thought out, he'll give them that. Everything from his poisoned rations, the faulty information, the location, to the missing-nin they hired to kill him. It was very thorough. Unfortunately for them, those same suicide missions had tempered him, forged him into the strongest blade. He knew something was amiss, when his mission was compromised. When he confronted the asset at their rendevous point, a seedy inn out in the northern coast of Fire Country, he was instead greeted to the group of missing-nin payed to kill him. They chose to attack immediately.

That was their first mistake.

A good operative always knew to scout any meeting place out. I sat on it for quite some time, preparing a trap in the event this was a setup. Not surprisingly, my intuition payed off. Caught half of them in the explosion. Killed two of them outright. The other three were lucky, and out for blood. But then the poison began to set in, and he knew this was a trap. Thankfully his constitution was as high as it was, otherwise he would have been killed from the poison alone.

That was how his left arm was broken. One of them was a Doton expert, used some kind of technique to harden his skin to be like iron. Not only that he was also their taijutsu specialist. In the exchange, he was unprepared for the early onset of the poison, causing him to react too slow to his opponents attack. Luckily, he managed a counter that skewered the opponent through the soft tissue of his eye.

Idiot.

Doton techniques dont affect the internal organs. He died instantly. After that, retreat was his only option. But the last two members were determined if anything. He had been trying to shake them off his trail for hours now. It seemed they had finally given up chase, giving him a moment to finally rest.

He took a moment to catch his breath, clutching his chest painfully in the process. Sweat matted his foreheard, his lungs were burning, and he felt weak. But he didnt have much time. It would be another day before he was in the Land of Water. A few more before he could return to the Yagami. His eye's burned with unbridled rage at the thought. When he got back, they were going pay. He was through playing their games, it was one thing to just send him on mission, but this? A deliberate attempt on his life?

Unforgivable.

He was going to kill every last one of those bastards. Did they think they hadnt been anticipating this!? All this time he'd been expanding his own network. He could pull in a few favors, get the names, and end this. But not today. Taking stock of his supplies, he realized that he still had half a dozen explosive tags left, only one iron wire, some poisons of his own, cyanide really. He readministered a dose to his blade, and once that was finished began to set camp. That meant checking the perimeter and setting up a defensive area, and setting traps for his would be pursurers.

---

Kurenai leaned against a treetrunk, her chest heaving. She'd lost her target, Tenchuu Yagami, hours ago. The former samurai was more wily than she'd given him credit for, and so she had entirely underestimated his evasion skills. If not for the trail of destruction he left in his wake, she'd surely have lost all trace of him. Fortunately for the attractive blood nin, it appeared she wasn't the only one following him. Whoever the other hunter-nin was, he wasn't doing much of a job covering his tracks... he was in a hurry to catch the escaping Yagami, no doubt.

While she recovered from her fatigue, Kurenai marvelled at her rival ninja's endurance. The marks he'd left behind him indicated he was moving at a full sprint... and had been doing so for the majority of their journey, stopping only occasionally to do... what? It seemed he'd avoided the majority of Tenchuu's traps (to her chagrin) but nonetheless would pause every few miles to circle an area, before reorienting and continuing his pursuit. She pondered this mystery for a few moments, and then resolved to deal with the matter before her; she was facing multiple hostile opponents. Her mission parameters had been very clear: kill or capture Tenchuu Yagami, and return him for study and/or interrogation by the clan. Whoever this third party was, he'd have to be eliminated if he interfered with her objectives.

The seed of a plan formed in Kurenai's mind as she drew her kodachi across her arm. Rather than flowing out of her, the blood within stretched out across the limb in a formation of lines, spirals and markings. The blood-seal began to glow, releasing the material within, and several gallons of blood poured out of it and recollected into a crimson sphere in front of her. As the cut in her arm reabsorbed the seal and knitted itself back together, Kurenai smiled. Time to work.

---

While Tenchu worked on his small settlement, Tatsuya lay in wait as he began to, neatly camuflaged as he was; scatter Ninja Scrolls around the ambushing point of target, the scrolls were pre-paid before he even arrived at his starting point in this mission and equipped with Chakra-supressing Seals to help mask their presence. Each of the scrolls were tied loosely to one of his digits, and when he pulled with that finger hard enough; the result would be for the scroll to fly open and unleash the Jutsu trapped within from its current location. This would help create the illusion that Tenchu was infact sorrounded by Missing-nin.

Before that though, it would be wise to determine the severity of his targets injuries beforehand; then he'd know what weaknesses to press if nessecary, drawing a deep breath; the Inuzuka proceeded to inhale the scent of Tenchu - his nostrils flaring in discomfort as the smell of unwashed and bloody clothing coupled with the grisly smell of fractured and broken bones sent shivers down his spine; there was also the faint, but unmistakably exotic scent of poison which lingered in the air, Tatsuya hadn't really paid attention when it came to poisons - it just wasn't his style; and for that reason he couldn't define which poison it was. Although he knew enough to determine that it was normally a lethal one - his target must've only gotten a small dosage, either that, or his constitution and endurance was not unlike that of his former clan members.

He needed some time to finish setting up his environment to be ideal - but he couldn't risk getting found out before that time; he was going to have to distract Tenchu with something; quickly weaving the signs for Snake and Rat, while simultaneously molding an almost untraceable amount of Chakra; Tatsuya exhaled briefly as the air from his lungs transformed into four illusory leaves which proceeded to swirl down towards Tenchu's location, once they reached him, they would encircle him a single time before the Genjutsu took effect; and attempted to bring forth Tenchu's worst fears and darkest memories --- in respect of his adversaries skills, Tatsuya focused the Genjutsu to make it more powerful, and took full advantage of the other Shinobi's horrible physical condition, as well as the possible after-effects of the poison: The leaves were also shortened to make it seem much more realistic and to make sure that Tenchu would see no danger until it was too late.

---

"You've been quite the hassle Tenchuu-san."

His body tensed at the first syllable, and with each word that followed, he found the very foundations of his world crumbling beneath his feet. Slowly, almost fearfully he turns his head to gaze at the nightmare before, the very entity that had driven him into a corner like a wild animal.

There he stood, in all his glory and power, was Kenshin Yagami. His regal features and lavender piercing eyes gazing coolly on the broken form of Tenchuu. His katana was sheathed, hand hovering above its hilt, ready for draw. He was perched on the same branch as Tenchuu, standing not more than a few paces away.

Inwardly he cursed, damning his lack of attention at allowing him to get so close. It was no secret Kenshin was a skilled assassin, some say he was better than the Mizukage herself! Tenchuu's body trembles in the awe inspiring presence of the Yagami Clan Head, his thoughts racing at how or why Kenshin himself was here.

"You have been nothing more than a nuisance to our clan Tenchuu. I should have killed you the instant you and your traitorous family tried to crawl back to our proud and noble clan. But now, I will rectify that mistake. This is the end Tenchuu, prepare yourself."

In that moment, something snaps inside him. Steel may cut flesh, but words, words cut deeper than any sword ever could. A feeling once buried beneath years of training, and mental discipline, a smoldering rage that Tenchuu had trapped in the darkest corner of his mind, erupted like a fiery volcano, releasing its unrelenting fury at the world around it. In that very moment, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, all these pitiful emotions were swept in the maelstrom of pure unbridled rage that gripped Tenchuu's very soul, punctuated with a mighty roar of defiance from the youth.

"You were foolish to challenge me Kenshin! I'm going to crush you, and throw you into the wind!" He furiously tore off the sling holding his arm, and channeled his Yin-Yang chakra into it, gritting through his teeth as bones realigned themselves, the sounds of bone, cartilage and muscle sinew cracking and shifting until his arm was fully functional again. He released a breath he didnt know he held, his body shook violently from the effort, arm ablaze with near unbearable pain. Pure mental discipline and a burning desire for revenge were the only forces keeping the pain at bay. Gripping both blades, he drew them from his sheath adopting the signature stance of the Amakaken. With that, he activated his Ryuugan; given Kenshin's speed and penchant for stealth, he would need its power to track the clan he-!?

Instantly all the rage that had so consumed him evaporates. The vision before his Ryuugan reveals a startling discovery; Kenshin...was...not Kenshin. Beneath the bandages that obscured his blind eye, was Tenchuu's hidden weapon, a trump card in times of need --a doujutsu. His blindness came as both a blessing and a curse, for the Ryuugan's true power lay in its power to visualize chakra, and in its field of vision, it shows the distinctive patterns of a genjutsu. More than that, it reveals the very trail by which the genjutsu traveled, towards a large concentration in the vague shape of a humanoid. But he didnt recognize the chakra signature, whoever it was, they werent of the original five missing-nin who attempted to kill him earlier.

That meant, he was either apart of a second time, or he was separate. Had the Yagami hired multiple clients? It was possible, but even they couldnt have afforded this many nin to kill him. There was also the possibility he wasnt even affiliated with the Yagami, but if so why hunt him? No, it didnt make much sense, they were likely hired by the Yagami. But until he could ascertain otherwise, that was a good a guess as any.

Dammit. He thought. With that realization the mental barricades that had dulled his pain, crumbled causing his pain to return full force. He supplied a steady flow of yang chakra, in an effort to mitigate the pain and facilitate his bodies natural healing, which began to lessen the pain. To have fallen for an illusion of that caliber is an insult. His thoughts continued.

He should have been more aware, more alert. Damn this pain, this poison and damn the Yagami for all of this! Reigning in his growing anger, he took stock of the current situation. The illusion was still in effect, and that idiot mystery shinobi believed he was still caught in it. Which meant he had surprise now. Somehow he'd just have to continue this little charade. He found it a struggle to stand, but with the yang chakra pumping through his body, he finally found his second wind. Letting out a heavy breath, he nestled into the stance of the Amakaken, his arms stretched out, one kodachi held in a reverse grip.

His body protested the sudden movement, and his arm throbbed dully with pain. He idly wondered how he'd fair against the illusion, but given his own pain, it wouldnt be hard to fake any attacks made against him by the figment. Biting back a cough, he realized he was running on pure adrenaline now, and he knew it wasnt going to last. He had to finish this quickly, his body couldnt handle the strain much longer, and if the fight lingered on, he was going to lose.

It was just a matter of time.

Eyes hardening with resolve, he releases a howling battle cry as he charged the phantom. Ebony steel flashed and his form turned into a cascading blur of erratic movements, as he clashed with the illusion. He moved with supernal speed, dancing around the illusion, whilst keeping a keen on the enemy nin with his Ryuugan. It took a few moments, but after a deft feint with one strike, the illusion pulled back, Tenchuu in perfect position to begin his counterattack against the enemy nin.

Swinging a blade downward, a blade of chakra erupted from the hilt of the blade, cutting a nearby tree branch. The piece of wood, easily several feet in thickness, more of a giant log than a branch, hovered mid-air, as time seemed to slow to a crawl. With another charge, he launches a mighty flying kick an aura of chakra briefly igniting the attacking limb. His heel connected with the log with a deafening crack and flew at astonishing speeds towards the aerial illusion, who deftly avoided the attack; its trajectory heading straight towards the carefully hidden shinobi who hopefully had not yet realized his trap had been foiled. Tenchuu continuing his charade, battled on against the illusion.

Luckily for Tatsuya, he had just managed to finish setting up his traps and was about to make the finishing touches when he noticed the huge branch that was flying in his direction; contrary to what Tenchu had hoped for; Tatsuya was not caught unaware, his superhumanly acute senses allowing him to perceive what happened around him with startling precision -- therefore, when the giant log flew his way, the Inuzuka exile was quicker to react than his human nature would normally allow.

Tatsuya's bestial instincts flared out a warning as the Inuzuka leapt off from the branch he had up until now been sitting on, as he dashed trough the woodland towards the log now heading in his direction - as he with the tremendous agility and bestial grace only found in the Inuzuka clan bounded off from tree to tree and finally leapt onto the log, still suspended in midair, only to apply the great momentum gathered by his erratic movement as kinetic force onto the object; which sent it flying trough the air back towards the no doubt suspecting Tenchu.

Sniffing the air like a.. well, an Inuzuka; he attempted to gain an understanding of the situation, and to learn more about his opponent; contemplating what he had learned from his earlier sniff and watching his opponent 'fight' the illusion he had woven to deceive him: Tenchu was absolutely not a weak pup, though pup he might be; the kid was only in his middle teens it would appear, but yet he wielded his sword with deadly grace and precision; dancing fluidly from stance to preparation and finally, execution; Tatsuya detected something though, a twinge of fear and a great deal of tension; his adversary was in great pain, he could almost 'smell' the gritted theeth over here and his body shook with the intensity of one who needs to make dire haste --- Tatsuya associated this immediately with Tenchu's seemingly miracolous recovery from his injuries, which he had only now actually noticed.

Letting himself fall gently towards the ground; while in mid-air he quickly formed the seals for a Shadow Clone, and shortly afterwards there were two Tatsuya's; his senses telling him that his adversary had called out on his little Genjutsu and that the large log that had threatened to crush him previously was no lucky coincidence on the part of his opponent ---not that he had imagined it'd do much eitherway: he dismissed these thoughts as he and his shadow clone separated themselves and moved with great dexterity towards Tenchu's current location running towards him from either side; this boy is really strong, I'd ought to go at him as if to kill him otherwise I'm likely going to be incapable of fulfilling my mission! He's currently fighting with borrowed strength, and it seems to have taken a tremendous toll on his body, if I can keep up with him for a few rounds of combat he should collapse from his self-inflicted injuries.

Not bothering one bit to hide his presence from Tenchu; Tatsuya and his shadow clone closed in on Tenchu with apparent abandon as he fought with his natural impulses and forced himself to stick to the plan; making his presence obvious to his target, he continued to run until he and his Shadow clone were both a single meter away from Tenchu; at which point the Inuzuka leapt high up into the air as the Shadow Clone threw itself towards Tenchu before it instantly detonated itself; resulting in a power shockwave of pure force which served to hurl the Inuzuka member trough the air and towards another huge branch; briefly activating his claws the Inuzuka bore them down into the branch to slow his momentum down to a halt; like he had predicted; the rough movement had yerked the scrolls he had placed around the battlefield open and unleashed their contents, they had been scrolls of Great Fireball and Great Breaktrough --- this would leave a permanent mark on the woods, that was for sure.

A huge ball of searing flame emerged from the scroll that had been pried open, as it rolled forth towards Tenchu from the side, obliderating the sorrounding environment and setting a part of the forest ablaze; shortly afterwards a massive arc of condesed air swept out all the forest fires and showered the area with a steady hail of fallen debris, dirt, rock and dust; when the wind reached the fireball however, the powerful current disrupted the shape of the technique and instead; it roared outwards in the form of a huge wave of fire that blanketed the area in a violent inferno.

Tatsuya stood up on his legs as he winced at the destruction his Jutsu, and the pair of Elemental Scrolls had wrought on the sorrounding area; which now resembled an all-out battle-zone in contrast to the lush, but mysterious woodland it had been only moments ago; thankfully though, the chakra-induced flames would die out soon; Tatsuya panted in slight fatigue, he had already used up a fair bit of chakra and the collaterral force of his clone explosion had inflicted some damage on his body -- but, being an Inuzuka; this was really nothing to him and he could fight much longer if nessecary.

He was already in motion the second he knew his attack had failed. On one hand, he was thankful his opponent was so tactically inept. Instead of going immediately for the counter-attack he decided to waste his time trying to show him up.

What an idiot. He thought idly. Using this valuable opportunity, he quickly cloaked himself in a genjutsu, one meant to displace his actual position through an illusory clone. He quickly dropped under the branch, sticking to its underside, just as the log soared overhead. His success in duping his opponent was short lived however, since the subsequent explosion by his opponents Shadow Clone, all but incinerated the branch he was on, forcing him to dive to the side, with the concussive force of the explosion carrying him through the tree and onto another branch.

His training however was not put to waste, as he barreled shoulder first carving a large hole through the tree to the other side, rolling on a branch into a low crouch. He groaned as a wave of pain shot through his injured arm, protesting the excessive moments, accompanied with labored breath. His concentration ruined the genjutsu fell apart.

Dammit! No longer under the cover of his illusion he was an open target to attack! His eye raced to find his opponent, and only too soon, as he saw the roaring ball of fire and the slicing winds from his opponents technique scrolls collide into a fiery maelstrom. He stood at the epicenter of the inferno, the calm of the storm. As the intense flames began to enclose on him, he began with slow methodical motions, moving to a rhythm only he could hear; it was a dance of untold beauty. His swords were like sheets of steel as they flowed through the air, his steps light and faint as though dancing on currents of air, his eye closed in silent concentration as the inferno began to move with the swordsman.

Water Circle - Boundless Sword Rain! In an instant his movements sped up, as he struggled to hold the technique; the constant moving, the intensity of the flames evaporating the sweat off his skin, and the dwindling supply of air, all threatening to halt his movements and let the flames consume him. NO! He thought defiantly. With a single spiraling leap, he dove right into the maelstrom.

From Tatsuya's vantage point, it seemed that the youth had been wholly destroyed by the flames, afterall he was at its center, and given his condition, wouldn't have been able to avoid the blast. But whatever thoughts he had before were quickly replaced by the awe inspiring event happening before his eyes. From the destruction, a smaller orb of fire penetrated through the inferno, its flames moving in a mesmerizing pattern, swirling, and churning in rhythm. From there they began to spin in circular direction, until the spinning form of Tenchuu became visible, and with a final somersault, he hurled an enormous ball of fire, though a mere portion of the attack he used, was accompanied with faint blades of....something, wind perhaps? Whatever they were, they kept the flames going as the ball shot towards him in all its fiery glory.

---

Kurenai blanched as she chugged the off-color liquid out of the glass bottle. Though its taste was undisputably vile, the effects would be fast acting. In just a few minutes, she would perish. She had no time to waste, and so gulped the mixture down with an expression of utter disdain.

A second Kurenai waited impatiently, stamping her foot in frustration. "Hurry up, will you? Our quarry is going to escape!"

"Oh shut your trap, I'm drinking as fast as I can you fat bitch! Next time why don't you flavor it a little? Put more effort into a person's first and last meal!."

The first Kurenai drained the final drops out of the jar and cast it aside, and drew her Tetsugen. The second did likewise, and commanded, "The perimeter of this valley is secured. Preparations are complete. Injure our primary target, and disable him if possible. I'll handle our competition."

An explosion resounded throughout the forest, and a bright flash of light and a column of black smoke arose to the east. "Move out."

The lurid pair darted and leapt among the branches of the trees towards the battle like a crimson death on the wind.

---

Tatsuya stomped the ground beneath him while he quickly wove the handseal for Tiger, as the ground around him was transformed into a large pool of mud which was suddenly hefted up from the ground and suspended in an ever-rotating current around him; the maelstrom of dirt, chakra and soil seemed to draw in the fireball released by Tenchu and spin it several times around its own axis before the abruptly the movement ceased and all the mud gathered into a single point in front of Tatsuya as he wove several other signs, vaguely disguised by the veil of dirt in front of him.

The mud and fire was then suddenly transformed into the shape of a massive dragon-like head which proceeded to propel itself towards Tenchu, slithering trough the air like an actual dragon in-flight and upon reaching him halfway proceeded to open its maw to release a massive burst of fire and molten towards the Samurai; the blast was deliberately enwidened alot in its girth, but its range was quite reduced --- which was obviously why the dragon had to be launched at him in the first place.

However, the cone of fire however, turned out just to be a preliminary attack, or even a feint. As while the flames obscured Tenchu's vision, the dragon-head itself, now hardening at highly accelerated rates, would attempt to crash into Tenchu's body with tremendous force; akin to if he had been hit directly by a large cannonball if became a clean hit.

Down on the ground, Tatsuya panted in obivious exhaustion, he had been forced to cast two powerful Ninjutsu in quick succsession in order to counter a single attack; he had expended quite alot of Chakra, although thankfully his resserves were not depleted yet, at this rate though, he'd be forced to rely on Taijutsu, and that was a scenaro he'd prefer to avoid in the face of a Master Swordsman like his current foe.

Tenchuu fell out of his spiral, wincing as he drew in what he had hoped was a deep breath of fresh air. His lungs burned, and his body ached from exertion, he barely had time for rest as his opponents counter-attack struck. With a flourish, his blades sliced through the air, a faint shimmering residue trailing from them as the wave of fire was split in two. But in his desperation he was left wide open to the follow-up attack as the hardened dragon head surged forward.

Dammit! Another combination attack! Shit! Cant...dodge--! Tenchuu struggled to move, but found his body screaming in protest from the previous effort. It was only moments before the dragon would strike true and Tenchuu was few options. Realizing he was going to take the hit, he quickly began to channel everything all the yang chakra he could muster towards his arms and torso, concentrating around the impact point.

It wasnt a moment too soon, as the stone dragon smashed into Tenchuu's seemingly helpless form with a thunderous crash, as he was hurled into and through tree after tree. After crashing through several more, he impacted with another hurling bark and debris into the air, the remnants of a large stone structure jutting out of the impact point. It had looked as though the young samurai had been killed by the attack. Yet only moments later, the stone dragon, was being....pushed out of the crater, until finally it fell into the dark abyss below. There crouched within the enormous crater was Tenchuu, glaring angrily at the assassin.

His body sported numerous lacerations, from the bits and pieces of wood that cut him as he smashed through the tree's and his torso was riddled with welts and crimson bruises, likely suffering internal bleeding from the impact. With deep ragged breaths, he moved forward, slowly and methodically, his lone visible eye narrowed dangerously thin, like staring into the eye of a dragon.

"Is that all you've got assassin?" He said with a pained breath. "Pathetic" He spat. Then he was gone. There was no woosh, smoke or flurry of leaves to indicate his movement. It was as if, he just wasnt there anymore. Tatsuya's momentary bout of surprise gave way to horror, as his eyes scarcely caught the young samurai crouching directly in front of him before he struck.

Tenchuu immediately went on the offensive, as he rained blow after blow upon his opponent, his form an ever shifting blur, twin swords appearing as nothing more than a faint sheet of steel. With masterful precision, Tenchuu pushed forward, as his Amakaken came to bear; illusionary arms and blades manifesting from impossible angles tore into Tatsuya's defenses, and with the sheer speed of his attacks, not even the seasoned Jounin would be able to detect which were the illusions and which were the real attacks. To a skilled taijutsu practitioner like Tatsuya, it was apparent that Tenchuu was struggling to keep up his attack rhythm. Haggared breaths accompained the onslaught, and given the various injuries on his body, the fact that he could still fight at this level was simply amazing. Any other shinobi would have long since succumbed to these injuries, let alone his previous counter-attack.

But not Tenchuu.

With his opponent distracted by the flurry of flashing steel, Tenchuu would weave a genjutsu through his attacks, in an attempt to implant an illusion within the mind of his opponent; causing him to believe that Tenchuu had moved to attack from his flank. With the assassin's attention focused elsewhere, Tenchuu would attempt to thrust his blades into his opponents torso and rip them out to bifurcate his enemy from the waist up.

As Tatsuya and Tenchuu exchanged their attacks, a red mist began flowing into the area. To an ordinary shinobi, the transition would have been nearly imperceptible- to the enhanced sense of smell of an Inuzuka, the change was unmistakably abrupt. The cloying stench of blood hung heavy on the air as the faint red whisps flooded around the two combatants. Clearly, a new threat was entering the battle... but with the scent of blood saturating the air, Tatsuya was unable to determine the location of this new foe. Tenchuu's special eyesight would have been able to pierce the mists to reveal the new threat... if his attention wasn't preoccupied with cutting the foe before him down. The two were caught almost entirely by surprise when a pair of crimson tetsugen flew through the mists at their backs.

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