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Zenchi knew. He knew that now, of all times, he shouldn't be leaving Iwa. But he also knew...that those here could take care of the village easily. There was something that he needed to do. Something...he probably should have done a long time ago.

A black-cloaked figure walked out of the Rokudaime Tsuchikage's Complex, and went promptly down the street that led straight through the heart of the Hidden Stone Village. Now, of course, his Black Coat had become famous in Iwa, its former purpose for remaining anonymous having been foiled by his routine wearing of it. Zenchi removed the hood of his Black Coat, revealing a face that was...somewhat unfamiliar compared to what a mirror would have showed just a few months ago. But that was the nature of his life. Accelerated-aging disorder....a complicated existence, indeed. Zen had been putting off getting medical treatment from a certain someone...he wasn't even sure what became of her, really. He'd heard news of a high-ranking medical ninja in Konoha....but he knew it was already too late for him. Certainly not beyond having his life prolonged...but very much beyond saving.

Zen reached the gates of Iwagakure no Sato. He turned around, and took in the natural, craggy, ugly brand of beauty Iwa had. Probably for the last time.

Turning back toward his goal, the south gate, he approached the place he helped build: Bastion Adamantine. The fortress that was naturally tough...but the constant watch made it even tougher, both with manpower and Doton. Zen hoped that this, at least, could protect Iwa the way he couldn't. Granted, he never really had a chance to...but he knew. He knew that time was short, and that it was time to take the journey he had promised he would.

He was off to Suna. Whether by a mission or not, he would bridge relations with them. Arashi was gone at the Summit, or rather he'd left only a short while ago. He would be halfway there by now. Hopefully it was the same with the would be fortuitous if he could speak to Kuroka Gin in person.

He supposed this as he trod the path to Wind Country. The mountain ranges bordering Tsuchi no Kuni were a natural stronghold against the other Lands, village or not. But Zen didn't want these to be dividing walls anymore...rather, he wanted to make peace with the other countries and ninja. He was tired of all the fighting. Maybe it was just him, the person who aged so much more quickly than the others, but the Sannin felt like his childhood--no, his life--had been robbed from him. Taken by this ever-fighting world.

The stone began gradually softening into dirt underfoot, then turned to gravel, then to sand. His long journey was practically over....this was the Land of Wind, the deserts that the people of Suna called home.

Zen wasn't too sure that the guard ninja would let him in without a Kage's warrant, so he made one himself. What, it wasn't like he wasn't running the show while Arashi was gone....he had quite a bit of pull in the village anyhow. He could attribute that to his mind, the intellect that was beyond even his hastily senescing body. Hopefully...they could do well without him. Even stepping towards Suna, he knew that this would probably be the place he would die....simply of his own disease was what he was hoping for. If he died trying to make peace with Suna....

Well, that would be okay.




Gyouki was spending a moment near the border of Tsuchi no Kuni, far outside of Iwagakure. He had just realized on his mission yesterday how little of the country he had actually seen. Lifting a hand carefully, the strings that connected to the tips of his fingers were raised, and Gurēsuzumebachi's bandages that bound him to Gyouki's back unraveled as he jumped in front of Gyouki. This would be a good chance to train; a wide, open space, no chance of hurting anyone just because of the mere fact that nobody was around for miles. The serene silence, the dusty hills that grew smaller as the wind blew away their mass. "Time to practice my puppet master skills." he said quietly to himself, raising Bachi to a standing position in front of him. It's blade, Stinger, glistened in the sunlight.

Suddenly, Gyouki heard the sound of footsteps nearby. He turned his head slowly, without moving his hands or fingers, and noticed a tall figure walking towards him.


Zenchi stopped. Two people before, only one. Another was suspended in midair, hovering just below the ground. A puppet, if he wasn't mistaken. They weren't too common in the Iwa area---Suna had that covered for the most part.

But time was short. Zen began walking a tad faster. His body couldn't take much more of this....

He sighed as he walked on into the wasteland.....what the world truly was.

[Travel to Suna complete! Sorry Naga. You get a thread with Tim-Tam though.]

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