::Irori stood before the massive cliffside. He took a deep puff from his pipe, and released it as he gazed up the cliff. He observed the hundreds of holes with stone balconies judding out of the side of the mile-high cliff. He walked up to it and pressed a hand against the stone wall. He noticed that his chakra would not cling to it. I see they want to make sure I use the front door. He thought. He looked over to his left to the large cave carved into the wall. He clenched his pipe in his teeth and began to make his way into the dark, hot cave. After 15 minutes of walking, there was light. A passage filled with flames lie before him. He figured it was to make sure that only the flame-resistant Fuschicho entered. However, the flames danced wildly and he noticed a strong wind had began to blow towards him from the flames. They were feeding the flames, making them stronger, and trying to blow him out at the same time. He held his footing, then began trudging onwards into the inferno. He battled against the wind and intense flames, the walls shot steady streams of white-hot flame at him as he passed by the gold phoenix statues they emitted from. As he trudged, he gritted his teeth and his mind began to swirl. He heard a phoenix's caw, and he wasn't in the passage anymore::
Irori saw a dim, candlelit room. On his right was a young girl with blonde hair, tied back. Her eyes were a bright green, and she had a red circle over one of them. She was clad in mauve. On his left, was an angry boy in a blue and white shirt, with blue and white hair and a sword sheathed on his back. He began to shout at the Genin Irori, who looked rather the same himself, except his stubble was gone, his ponytail was much shorter, and he had no pipe, tattoo, or scar on his headband::
"Irori! I don't understand why you can't just be proud of me! I won fair and square! I'm sorry you got injured, but that wasn't my fault!"
"Oh, it wasn't!? You sure didn't do much to help, Ryu!"
::The boy brandished a navy blue Chuunin jacket at Irori, before continuing to shout::
"I couldn't! Don't blame me for your incompetence! Me and Mayaku didn't get that damaged from that blast!"
::The girl, Mayaku, spoke up in a sly, deep, womanly, and slightly sensual voice. It was the kind of voice that sounded, no matter how serious she was, like she was being sarcastic, arrogant, and even a little mocking::
"Don't drag me into this, Ryu..."
::Irori cut in, still shouting at Ryu::
"Are you trying to say I'm weaker than the two of you!?"
::Ryu glared, and retorted very rudely::
"Well, let's see... which one of us has the Chuunin jacket?"
:;Irori lunged towards Ryu, as Mayaku threw herself between them. There was another caw at that instant, and Irori sound himself in a new place::
::Irori opened the golden front door of his house and was immediately grabbed around the waist by a small red-headed girl.
"Brother! You're home!"
::Irori picked the little girl up to his chest, still bare of any tattoos, face still smooth. He hugged her, then put her down on the floor::
"Hara! Did you have a good day at home?"
"Oh yeah! Mommy taught me how to make Origami today! I can make a phoenix!"
::The girl opened her palms to reveal a small golden and red origami bird::
"I made one for you, Irori!"
::Irori gently took the phoenix from his little sister's hands and smiled::
"Thanks, Hara! This means alot."
::He said, trying to hide his anger from earlier in the day, and keeping his tone smooth. She beamed back at him, then there was a thud. He looked up and saw that a blue vest had been thrown on the coat-rack, and he was looking into the brown eyes of his father. His father's hair was similar to his, but his ponytail reached his ankles. He was much larger and more muscular than Irori, and he bore a massive scar going through the right side of his mouth, deforming his lips. His voice was rough::
"Son. We need to talk."
::Kureta Fushicho clapped his hand warmly on his son's shoulder and began to walk him back out the door. Hara yelled after them::
"Bye, brother! Love you!"
"Love you too!"
::He responded mellowly. His father turned to him in excitement::
"So, how'd the exams go!?"
::Irori looked down in guilt. His father's smile faded, but he spoke sympathetically::
"Hey, son, it's alright. How'd you lose?"
::Irori spoke quickly and angrily::
"I didn't LOSE! I just got injured and forfeited for my own safety!"
:;Irori said, indicating his bandaged leg::
"Well, there's an easy way to stop that from happening again!"
::His father spoke brightly, and Irori looked up curiously. His father answered his questioning look::
::There was a caw and Irori was on the rainy streets of Kirigakure. He had grown stubble, had his tattoo, and there was only one name on it. Fushicho Kureta. The spot where the name one was swollen, that tattoo only being a day old. People watched as he walked towards the Mizukage's office. He wore his robe closed, with a blue Jonin jacket over it. He approached the office and entered. There, he was first greeted by a news headline laying on a desk beside the door. It read: "Fushicho Clan Death. Son Kills Father For The Sake of Family." And a picture of his late father next to it, smiling as much as he could with his scar. next, he was greeted by his Chuunin teammates, Ryu and Mayaku. Ryu spoke first::
"Irori! Look at you! You might've been the last to become Chuunin... but Jonin already!"
::He spoke happily, clapping Irori on his back and causing him to cough up a lot of smoke as he pulled his pipe desperately from his mouth. Mayaku spoke in that same taunting voice::
"Not used to smoking yet, eh Irori?"
::She laughed mockingly. Irori simply grimaced before the Mizukage, Yagura called him into his office. Irori entered and observed the Mizukage::
"Fushicho Irori... you're somewhat of a tragic hero around here, you know?"
"I sure don't feel like it, sir."
"Well, the people of the village think differently. But, let me cut to the chase."
::Yagura stared daggers at Irori before smiling::
"I guess the events of last night are still settling?"
::Irori was silent::
"I'm sure you've heard of the rogue Hyoga, right?"
"Yes. He escaped the village not too long ago. You've shown a lot of promise, Fushicho, so I figured it'd be smart to trust you with this task."
"You want me to hunt him, sir?"
"Yes. You're mission, A-Rank, is to hunt and kill the rogue ninja, Hyoshi Hyoga."
::There was a caw and Irori was in his backyard, standing before his mother. She spoke with tears in her eyes::
"Irori, I didn't know at the time, but it looks like promises you made before this seal are active with the rules too..."
::There was silence::
"If you don't keep the promise you made to your father..."
::There was another caw and Irori stood in a broken down, wooden hotel room. The room was covered with so many bloody corpses that the floor could not be seen. lying atop the corpses was a bloody and burned ninja with dark hair and dark robes. His headband was scratched. Irori spoke down to the ninja::
"Hyoshi Hyoga. I expected you to be stronger than that."
::Hyoshi's eyes shot up at Irori, bloodshot. However, the ninja was too wounded to do anything. Irori picked up a disembodied head, made a handseal, and the head turned into a duplicate of his own. He continued::
"However, as far as everyone knows... You WERE stronger than that. You killed me tonight."
::Hyoshi's eyes were filled with confusion. Irori smiled at him before slashing out the headband around his leg::
"If we're going to do this, we should do this right, Little Hyoga."
::There was a caw and Irori sat across from Hyoshi in a restaraunt. They sat in a corner booth, their cigarette and pipe making tons of smoke combined. Irori was silently reading a newspaper for several minutes. Hyoshi ashed his cigarette, then put out the butt in his full ashtray. He was reaching for a new cigarette before Irori turned the paper towards Hyoshi and put it on the table in front of him. As Hyoshi lit another cigarette his eyes scanned the front page. Headline reading: "Fushicho Clan Hero Will Be Missed." Under it was a picture of Irori, beaming in between his two teammates. The article began:
"It has been confirmed today that Kirigakure Jonin, and local hero, Fushicho Irori was truly killed in his latest mission. Fushicho was sent to find the rogue ninja Hyoga Hyoshi, and had been missing for weeks until other hunter-nin found his disembodied head in a hotel filled with corpses in the Rice Country. Hyoga is the prime suspect for his murder. The village is in an uproar about the local hero's death after having just achieved his rank, and considering that one of his former teammates, Mayaku, had recently gone missing just months prior. Former teammate, friend, and fellow Hunter-nin Satoshi Ryu has said "I believe that the loss of Irori is a great toll on our village. A lot of people looked up to him, and not to mention he had a family and friends. But I promise that Hyoga Hyoshi will be brought to justice, and Irori will be avenged." Satoshi has recently been put in charge of the assignment to find a kill Hyoga. Any updates in the case of Fushicho Irori and Hyoga Hyoshi will be published."
::Hyoshi smiled, showing his sharp teeth as he put his cigarette in his mouth::
"Started quite an uproar, Master."
::Irori removed his pipe from his mouth and released some smoke::
"We've got the whole world ahead of us now, Little Hyoga."
::There was a caw and Irori found himself sitting at the bar in a tavern. It was after last call, and the only people left were him and Mayaku. She was older now, as was he. His beard was beginning to grow in, her lips were now painted a deep red and her mauve outfit had become more mature too. She took a deep hit from a long, thing pipe that was about a foot long with a small bowl at the end. She let out the purple tinted smoke, then looked to him with her deep green eyes::
"I knew you couldn't possibly have been dead. You're too stubborn of a man to accept death."
::They shared a laugh before Irori responded sarcastically::
"I'm glad to see someone had some confidence in me."
::Mayaku smiled slyly::
"I fought alongside you for 6 years, Irori. I know that you're much stronger than a rogue punk."
"You were always one for flattery, Mayaku."
::She grinned, though Irori's face was straight::
"And you were always one to manipulate men."
::She scoffed and took another puff from her pipe and let it out slowly::
"You're still collecting tattoos, I see?"
"I collect heads now, you know Irori?"
"Well, it gives me my kicks."
::There was a loud thud as the reeds of both of their pipes clashed in a deadlock::
"I should've known YOU would want my beautiful face on your mantle."
::As Irori said this, his vision started to blur. He realized he'd inhaled a lot of her purple smoke. He heard her laugh as everything seemed to swirl::
"You couldn't have thought I'd fight YOU fair!? After I just complimented you!?"
::There was a caw and he was sitting on the edge of his bed in his dojo. Behind him lie Mayaku, arms behind her head, pipe in her lips, on top of his gold and red covers. She spoke mockingly, as always::
"So, you really dislike the Ninja System that much?"
"Everything that is wrong in my life is because of it, you idiot. Of course I do!"
::Irori spoke angrily. Mayaku smiled::
"So, what do you plan to do? Fight off an entire Ninja System?"
"No. Only a fool would fight fire with fire, Mayaku."
::There was a pause as Mayaku rolled her eyes before re-fixating them on Irori's bare back and the scar running down it::
"So says the Fushicho, whom fights using ONLY fire!"
::Irori stood in a forest, a heavy rain filtered out all noise but it's own roar. Behind him was Mayaku and Hyoshi, and behind them were two boys, one in a black and white garb with spiky yellow hair, the other in green garb and a green ponytail. Irori stared blankly at a body on the ground in front of him. Some trees were toppled and the scent of singed grass filled the air. Hyoshi spoke from behind::
"He fell for one of our traps, Master?"
::Irori was silent. Mayaku approached the body and came beside Irori. Her face wore a sly smile, but upon seeing the body it faded. The body on the ground wore a Hunter-nin's uniform, his hair was blue and white and he had a sword sheathed on his back. Irori and Mayaku stand side by side, staring blankly at their former teammate's corpse. Hyoshi spoke once more over the roar of the rain::
"Is there something wrong, Master?"
"Shut up, Hyoshi. All of you, go to the dojo."
::Irori replied sternly over the roar of the rain. Hyoshi and the other two boys disappeared as Mayaku and Irori stood silently. The rain roared above them as their red and green eyes stared downwards. 20 seconds later, there was a raucous caw::
::It was sunset. Irori sat upon the edge of a cliff, staring off into the red sun. There was a large two-story wooden dojo a good 30 yards behind him, and the two boys were fighting in front of it. Hyoshi watched them as he puffed his cigarette. Irori was covered in bandages, spanning all the way up his stomach to his chest. Mayaku approached behind him, carrying a bowl of noodles. She reached the edge of the cliff to Irori's right. She smiled slightly, her long pipe still in her mouth::
"This might make you feel a little better, Irori..."
"Look at you trying to be the good friend."
::There was a silence before the bowl smashed against Irori's chest, covering him in hot soup. Mayaku frowned furiously::
"I lost a friend too, you know! Jackass!"
::Mayaku sat down next to him and frowned out at the sun. It was obvious to Irori that she was indirectly and subconsciously looking for attention again by staying with him. He felt guilty and frowned. He put a hand on her shoulder and scooted closer to her::
::She let out a "hmph" and shoved his hand from her shoulder. Irori continued to talk::
"This is what I've said about the ninja system all along. Anyone involved in it will be forced to kill. The ninja world is one consumed and cursed with pain and death. I seek only to leave this system behind."
::Mayaku still glared out at the sun. She seemingly ignored him. There was an awkward silence for a good 20 seconds, before Irori spoke once more, lifting his legs that were dangling before up onto the ground::
"I was planning on leaving with you, you know."
::He clamped his pipe in his teeth and got up slowly, due to his injuries. He turned to walk away before he felt a hand clasp his. He looked back with his red eyes, meeting her swelled up green ones. She removed her pipe from her teeth and smiled. This time, for a rare instance, she smiled with happiness and not just sarcastic and sick pleasure. This was a true smile that Irori had only seen once before. She let go of his hand and he turned to walk away. It wasn't till he wasn't facing her that he smiled. There was a caw and Irori was back in the faming passage, just emerging on the other side::
::Irori stood in a dark cave, the only light emerging from the inferno he just traversed behind him and a massive lake of lava in front of him. Perched in this lake stood a shadowy figure, what of him was above the magma standing a menacing thirty feet. This figure was the massive breast, wings, neck and head of a giant phoenix. It's beak was curved and menacing, it's eyes glowed a vivid red in the dark. Atop his head was a feathered crest. His color scheme could not be seen well in this dim light, however. It's beak dropped open and his loud, booming voice would echo throughout this cavern::
"Fushicho Irori. You seem to bear the qualities of the True Fushicho. Your eyes match mine."
::Irori said as he bowed in honor. Houou continued::
"Escaping the Ninja System is no easy task once you've been put in it. Especially under your conditions. If I read your memories correctly, you have 11 months?"
::Irori nodded and Houou laughed and cawed raucously::
"So, in 11 months you plan to learn ALL I can teach you, and go get your next nine signatures!? You're foolish!"
"There is a thin line between being foolish and being brave."
::Houou laughed once more::
"Arrogant Fushicho! Just as your clan has always been!"
::The massive bird's weight shifted in the lava as he slowly turned around. He stopped in mid-turn and cocked his head back at Irori::
"That's why you are the only humans we phoenixes get along with! I suppose you also want Kazen, right?"
::Houou finished turning his back completely to Irori::
"Follow me, young Fushicho."
The bird began to wade his way deeper into the cave, with Irori walking across the lava behind him::
((OOC: End thread. The training that follows will be revealed in flashbacks and in reference later))