The smell of copper and burnt wood mingled in the air.
Standing in front of the burning buildings were three figures, each covered with blood, theirs and their enemies'. The sole female of the trio was the first to move amidst the embers and thick smoke, lifting the still burning beam with one hand and grabbed a thick scroll and nodded to the other two. A clawed hand suddenly lifted from the heap of ashes and made to grab the woman's leg when a blade hacked the arm into two, a thin jet of black blood streamed from the torn flesh and the holder of the sword made a disgusted grunt.
"Hundreds of weavers died for this thing... Just to have a shot for immortality..." the female grunted as she fisted the scroll in her right hand. Her amber eyes glanced at the pale man on her right whose long dark hair shone under the bloody red moonlight that started to return to its natural white shade.
"Ne Tsunade, what should we do with that?" The man with long spiky white hair asked as he placed the blade back to its sheath.
"I dunno" the busty woman answered honestly, pocketing it in her medic pouch before she turned to the raven haired man; face puckered into a sour expression.
The pale man turned away and began to walk off when he was cut off by his old friend who stood in front of his way. "What?" he hissed in a snake-like tone of his "I've done what you've asked now get off of my back."
"Baka" Jiraiya muttered and shook his head gravely at Orochimaru "We didn't ask for your help because we can't handle it but because we proved that we still work as a team. The deal you made with Meso-chan was nulled and you can-"
His words were interrupted by a dark and sarcastic chuckle as the man in front of him shook his head. "You don't get it don't you? A tainted soul can't go back to society and frankly" He lifted his face and stared straight into Jiraiya's eyes, his yellow eyes glowed with the fire that still burned to the skies.
"I don't plan on coming back."
The white-maned man's lips pursed as he stood his ground, his hand gripped the handle of his sword, "No, we're not going to let you go this time. Orochimaru, we're a team. A family. The Administration doesn't need to-"
"The Administration had already sent the reapers towards our direction" Tsunade's voice erupted from behind them. She calmly walked towards them, a crystal that hung above her chest glowed in bright electric blue. She gave Orochimaruna side-glance and whispered "We can only stall them enough time for you to haul your stubborn ass out of this area."
Orochomaru said nothing before he walked past Jiraiya, his sling bag that held his meager possessions, mostly his research and scrolls. Jiraiya wanted to go after him, his sandal clad feet were already shadowing his footsteps when Tsunade held the sleeve of his robe and shook her head; blond hair danced with the evening breeze.
Jiraiya's eyes narrowed as he stared at his old friend's back and bellowed, "You'll always have a place with us, don't forget that you snake-bastard!"
Tsunade bit her lower lip furiously as her grip on Jiraiya's sleeve tightened. They had failed their sensei; their childhood friend was tainted and he chose the life of darkness. Jiraiya sighed deeply before he patted Tsunade's shaking hand.
His eyes narrowed as cloaked figures appeared out of the blue. A man with the upper part of his face hidden under a thick patch of bandages stepped into the moonlight and revealed his identity. "Danzou" Jiraiya greeted curtly, not even trying to hide the tone of distaste, "As always, you guys are late. Tsunade and I have taken care of the problem ourselves."
The older man with a sole visible eye frowned at his words before he nodded once, "As expected from two of the Legendary Three. But I think that you two... had help."
Jiraiya could feel Tsunade's anger radiate from her body. Her hatred and utmost disgust was almost palatable in the air and if Danzou couldn't feel it, then he's a shitty weaver. "That's a bit of a stretch, considering the platoon you've sent to guard the scroll had been wiped out almost immediately by a group of yokai. The scroll is in our protection and its location will be kept secret from everybody. Including the Administration."
Danzou made a choking sound from his throat and several of the cloaked figured shifted uncomfortably at their visual showdown. "Who" Danzou slowly snarled, his lips curling back "The hell do you think you are?"
Tsunade walked right up to him, her eyes flashed in a dangerous light and thunder rumbled to announce the incoming storm.
"We're above the Administration. I'm the granddaughter of the first Soul Reaper and the headmistress of Gakuen Konohagakure; we're more than qualified to keep this scroll. If you have a problem with that, take it up to the Council, we're done with this."
Jiraiya hid a smirk before he scratched the back of his head and said, "I think it's best that we clean this mess up. Wouldn't want to hear a headliner from civilian news that someone burned the village to the ground for no apparent reason."
The shadowed figures whispered to each other, most seemed to agree at his words but they all turned to Danzou, who just waved his hand, surrendering to Jiraiya's suggestion.
His eye never left Tsunade's as the two brushed past him. She knew he wouldn't let this go; his pride and his twisted view of justice involved executing weavers who had lost their way and recruited high-levelled yokais to do his dirty work. A sound came from her pocket, her Receiver had been ringing like crazy, no doubt it was Shizune. Sure enough when she pressed the answer button, Shizune's frantic voice flowed from the gadget-
"Tsunade-sama! You left all your paperwork unsigned again! Mou, the admission of new students is less than twenty-four hours and you still haven't-"
Shizune's voice was cut off when Tsunade clicked the off button with a frown. Jiraiya chuckled as a familiar vein popped out near her temple.
"Sake... I need sake."
"So, another school year?" he asked.
Tsunade massaged her temple wih her fingertips and groaned, "Yes, another year with those snot-nosed brats running around with weapons in their hands" she paused before a small smirk appeared on her rouge colored lips, earning a inquiring look from her companion.
"Something wrong with this batch?"
"Actually, they're the most interesting I've ever seen."
A small sparrow chirped as it perched on the branch of an old maple tree that was standing in front of a shrine. The sliding door opened to reveal a girl of sixteen with pink tresses. Her green eyes welcomed the sight of a new day. Cicadas sang their song and the sky was free from clouds, promising a clear and bright day for them.
She adjusted her school blouse and silently walked to the living room. The teak wood floors shone under the sunlight and she was thankful that her and her best friend's work had paid off. On the farthest corner was a tribute shrine and the picture of a woman with a gentle smile dominated it. She kneeled down and placed incense in front of the picture.
"I'm off to school now; kaa-chan" she whispered "Naruto and I will stop by the market later and buy some vegetables. You know how he gets whenever I buy them though; it's all about ramen with that bakero."
She imagined her late mother smiling at her words. Her okaa-chan was always fond of the blond boy ever since they were six. Gingerly, she traced her mother's name on the tablet; each kanji was etched forever in her heart.
Her eyes stung with unshed tears before she shook her head and slapped her cheeks, she had to be strong.
Naruto's voice bounced all over the place and the sudden rustle and flapping wings indicated that he had successfully scared the birds away. Sakura sighed before she pressed her fingertips against her lips and then placed it on her mother's photo.
"I'll have to go, see you later okaa-chan"
She stood up and exited the room. Upon opening the door, yellow invaded her sight and the smiling face of Naruto greeted her. "Ohayo Sakura-chan!" His lightly tanned skin the white shirt he was wearing under his gakuran and his whiskered face looked almost like a cat's.
She knocked his head in an irritated manner, "It's too early for you to cause a ruckus!"
"Itai, Sakura-chan you're mean!" he whined as he clutched the sore area. He composed himself and entered the room. He bowed at her mother's shrine before he said, "Ohayo Kaa-chan!"
"C'mon Naruto, we'll be late."
It was during their second class when their world would be turned around. Their sensei was talking about Japanese folklores and myth when a knock came. Everyone's eyes flew to the door to see their principal adjusting his tie in a nervous manner. The balding man in his late fifties was shaking like a leaf and sweat rolled from his forehead.
"I need Uzumaki Naruto and Haruno Sakura in my office" he uttered before he closed the door like nothing happened. Across the room, Sakura and Naruto exchanged confused gazes before they stood up, packed their things, and walked to the principal's office side by side.
"Mou, what did you do this time?" Sakura groaned, their footsteps echoed along the empty hallway. Naruto's face scrunched up in mock offense.
"Why does it always hafta be my fault?" he grumbled before he opened the doors to reveal two men wearing black vests and a logo at the back of it. Their principal was wiping his forehead with his handkerchief and obviously trembling.
"Um- I think we have the wrong room" Sakura squeaked. This scene was so much like a yakuza film and she hoped to Kami-sama that they wouldn't be involved. The man with a bandage that covered the bridge of his nose turned to them and asked,
"Are you Uzumaki Naruto and Haruno Sakura?"
"What of it 'ttebayo?" Naruto growled. Sakura unconsciously took a step behind Naruto.
"We came here to inform you that you've been chosen to enter the academy" the other guy explained as he held out his hand to give them two white envelopes with their names on them.
Sakura cautiously extended her hand and grabbed her letter, her heart thumped wildly against her chest as she opened it. The sound of paper being ripped meant that Naruto was doing the same. She was greeted by the sight of the same logo those men had on the back of their vests. The words were written in ink and the paper was expensive.
You've been selected to attend the Gakuen Konohagakure for Soul Weavers. This serves as an invitation for you to hone your abilities and to control them under the supervision and guidance of the instructors and the Administration.
Please take note that you will not be permitted to reside in your current area as you will be transferred to the academy's premises and wait for further information. Below this is an information sheet where you will submit to us prior to the first day in order to place you in the right class.
Thank you and we shall see you on the first day of April.
The signature was signed by Senju Tsunade who was the headmistress and a bunch of other signatures that had no name under them. This was so confusing. A few minutes ago, she and Naruto were sitting in class listening to a lecture (Naruto was actually sleeping) and then these guys came out of nowhere; telling them that they're chosen to attend a school they've never heard of
"What's a 'Soul Weaver'?'" Naruto asked, "I've never heard of Konohagakure either."
"Konoha's a hidden village" the bandage guy answered "Soul Weavers are humans with supernatural abilities-"
"Y'mean we can start fire with our minds?" Naruto remarked in excitement. Sakura planted her palms against her face and shook her head in embarrassment as they men chuckled in amusement.
"Pyrokinesis isn't part of the abilities weavers have. We can control energy and harness them to fight and to see things that most can't" the bandage man explained.
"Kind of but more... demonic"
"One important question" the Uzumaki followed with a serious tone. Everyone, even the forgotten principal stared the blond and waited for him to open his mouth. Sakura never knew he could be this insightful; she was more worried about leaving the shrine and leaving their hometown rather than knowing what they will do in the new school. And the man said something about demons… this wouldn't be an elaborate joke now, would it?
"Is there ramen available in Konoha?"
The three men sweatdropped at his seemingly serious question before Sakura lifted a shaking fist and punched her friend's head with full force-