Gorou had an average height but had a build so wiry that it looked like he hadn't eaten in weeks. Upon hearing his name called, he looked back at Arisu standing a few feet away from him. His eyes went to the Leaf Military Police Force's red armband around Arisu; his face turned displeased. Standing behind Arisu was one of the beat officers, giving Gorou a stink eye.
Arisu caught Gorou's reaction and was prepared if he ran away, but she didn't make any hasty movements.
"… How may I help, officer?" Gorou's tone didn't hide his disregard.
"We'd like you to come with us for a talk," said Arisu.
Gorou's eyes narrowed. "May I ask what this chat is about?" he asked.
"No, you may not," replied Arisu.
"Then let's do it some other day, officer; I'm busy today," Gorou turned to walk away.
"I'm afraid you don't have a choice," said Arisu as the sound of metal clinked from the heavy handcuffs with thick bracers in her hands. "You're under arrest."
Gorou paused and turned his neck to eye the handcuffs in Arisu's hands. He then continued walking without sparing another look at the two officers. And before Arisu could say anything, Gorou unclenched his fist for a ping-pong ball-sized smoke bomb to drop on the ground, and before anyone could react, a wall of smoke rushed out, blocking out the part of the street.
A wave of panic immediately hit the area and the screams of civilians as they ran away from the smoke.
Arisu took out her walkie-talkie from her person. "We got a rabbit!" she yelled.
She ran through the smoke and barely spotted Gorou jumping over the wall. She kicked the pavement and shot forward toward Gorou, who immediately swerved into the narrow alleyways away from the main street.
Arisu clicked her tongue and followed him in. This part of town was crowded with old planning codes and poor construction, making buildings crowded, with lots of narrow alleyways and tight streets. Every corner was a chance for Gorou to disappear and get away. It was a chase where Arisu had to be dot on his tail, as a moment of delay could potentially allow Gorou to escape.
Gorou took a sharp turn to the right; Arisu followed, retrieved shuriken from her bad, and the moment she turned right, a volley of shuriken cut through the air for Gorou— but before the shuriken could bite into Gorou, he slid down on the ground. The shuriken flew over him and dug into the stone wall. Gorou used his momentum to stand up and ran into another corner without missing a beat.
Arisu gritted her teeth and pushed harder, but the moment she turned the corner, there was a poof of smoke, and two Gorou split up and dashed into opposite corners. Arisu faltered. In the rush, she missed the chance to check the shadows on the clone.
'Which one is he?!' Arisu's mind turned furiously.
At that moment, the walkie-talkie on her belt crackled to life,
"Your right. Over."
Arisu didn't spare a glance to the left and charged into the right corner, and Takuma was correct as she could see Gorou's shadow.
Gorou looked back with a smug smirk on his face which drained and turned into a frown the moment he saw Arisu on his tail. He clicked his tongue, jumped into the air, and started climbing the wall.
"He's coming towards you!" Arisu yelled into the walkie-talkie.
"I see him. Over."
Gorou climbed to the short rooftop and looked around in a hurry to chart a path to follow and escape. He turned his head only for a kunai to enter his sight. He immediately moved his body away, and if it were only that, it would've been fine, but then Gorou noticed a burning tag fluttering on the kunai's tail.
Gorou immediately jumped away, but he was a beat late, and the force from the explosion hit his back and threw him against the raised ledge of the roof. He groaned but immediately got up and saw Takuma standing two roofs away. However, he couldn't take a proper breath as another kunai lined towards him— this one lined with an explosive tag as well.
"Crazy fuck!" Gorou jumped down from the roof and landed behind Arisu and the officer with her. "Fuck you!" Gorou kicked the officer into Arisu before running away with staggered steps.
"Gah!" Arisu almost fell but steadied herself at the last moment. "You alright?" she asked the beat officer.
That was all the confirmation Arisu needed before she started chasing Gorou.
"He's heading towards the 'Haru' district," Takuma said through the walkie-talkie.
Arisu clicked her tongue.
Gorou was from the Haru Group, and the Haru district was an informal area in the village that was occupied (controlled) by the Haru Group. Arisu understood what Takuma meant. If Gorou entered the Haru district, they wouldn't be able to get him. Someone somewhere in the area would hide him and cover for him. Even if they tried to look for him, as long as Gorou stayed in the Haru district without doing anything stupid, it would be incredibly difficult for them to catch him.
"Try to cut him off," said Takuma.
Arisu sprinted faster than she ever had.
Knowing that Gorou was heading towards the Haru district, Arisu knew she had to force him into one of the main streets. It was clear that he knew the area better than all of them combined, and if they let him weave through alleyways and side streets, it'd be inevitable they'd lose him— but if she was to force him to the main street, 'controlling' Gorou would be easier.
She took out half her cache of kunai and readied herself to force Gorou out. As they approached a corner, Arisu expertly placed a kunai to Gorou's left and immediately followed it with another to make sure he didn't go in that direction. It had the intended effect, and Gorou shot to the right. Arisu kept doing that, throwing direct strikes in tries to actually get Gorou and to ensure he didn't know what she was trying to do.
It didn't take a lot for Arisu to lead Gorou to the main street, and as Arisu skidded out of the narrow alleyway, she grabbed a storage scroll in her weapons pouch that contained her Fuma shuriken. She hadn't been able to use it in the narrow space, but now in the big street, she could unleash it, and by god, she wanted to do it.
Gorou had pissed her off, and she wanted to take some of the frustration—
But Arisu hadn't considered that the main street wasn't much better than the narrow alleyways. Instead, the new space problem was because of civilians crowding the place. She clicked her tongue. The Fuma shuriken was a weapon that caused brute destruction, a weapon that was a hammer rather than a scalpel. If she threw it here, she would mow down civilians along with Gorou.
She growled at Gorou, but then her eyes went further to the red wooden archway that acted as the entrance to a market— and to the so-called Haru district. A crowd of people moved in and out of the market.
There was no time to contemplate. The crowd presents another problem. Even if she gave Gorou chase into the Haru district, which she could because nothing was stopping her, the crowd would add another level of difficulty as Gorou could hide in the crowd, use them as obstacles, or worse— take hostages in desperation.
Before the rest of the sentence could exit her mouth, a blue blur shot out of a side street and thrashed into the Gorou. An exchange of momentum took place. Gorou turned into a blur, and Takuma became visible. He had shouldered Gorou, who went flying into a building beside the road.
The impact cracked the wall— and just when Gorou's feet touched the ground as he slid down, Takuma was already beside him. He grabbed Gorou's face from the front and slammed the back of his head into the wall repeatedly before bending him down to place a devastating knee strike into his liver.
Takuma let go of Gorou, who fell down at Takuma's feet.
As one would expect, there was a large commotion due to the sudden outbreak. People who lived in the Hidden Leaf village had become desensitized to shinobi and the occasional violence that came with living in a village full of mercenaries. One would expect people to get as far as possible to avoid the fighting, but instead, they began gathering around Takuma and Gorou, trying to get a look at what was happening.
Arisu made her way through the viewing crowd to reach the front, where Takuma had already switched from chase-and-apprehend mode to crowd-control mode. He kept people away from Gorou, who was completely knocked out on the ground without a hint of consciousness.
"You really are vicious, aren't you?" Arisu said. He had bitten off her ear while fighting during the tournament, and the way he handled Gorou was a bit too heavy-handed.
"My experience tells me that an overwhelming force is often the best way to diffuse situations and end fights," Takuma said as he tied Gorou up and put his unconscious body over the shoulder. "Let's get going. I'm tired because of all the running around."
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