In an instant, the world held one fewer of the paper men.
The Kazekage let out a held breath, and let his hands fall to his sides. It had been a long enough time since he had slain a foe himself, and while he felt no particular pleasure in the act of snuffing out the life of another, it felt good to shake the rust off his hands. The others in the room took a second to process the damage done to the building, then made their way out. The only one from among them to address him before leaving was the Hokage, who himself turned out to be no more than a clone.
"And the blood drawn first. Let us meet in Kemurigakure,"
he said, before dissipating.
Then Kyōsuke was alone. As of late, it felt as though he were often alone; as though his position had isolated him from all of those near to him. He did not dwell on the matter, turning instead to leave. His hands clenched at his sides, causing his knuckles to crack. Then, they relaxed. The action was reflex, long ago drilled into him as a means of letting go of preoccupying thoughts. He let close his mind's eye as he did so, seeing no others within its range who had not just left the room with him.
Before anything else, he knew that he'd have to determine what had become of his clone and Shingen’s students. He felt yet another sensation that he had not since his last visit to Kaminari no Kuni as he strode across the room to the door—like a cold fingertip brushing across his shoulder, causing the hairs on his neck to stand on end—and turned on a heel to look down through the gaping hole in the floor.
"I am not accustomed to be approached in such a fashion,"
Kyōsuke called to his companion, after she had crashed through the windows of the room two floors below, "not by you, at least. Not quietly."
The glass cascaded down around the floor of the room far below, throwing the scattered beams of light across the void between them. Between the dancing colours, the spirit's almost serpentine form, and the strange sparking gait of it's flight, Kyōsuke could well have mistaken Myōnichi for a figment of some dream. He knew her too well to make that mistake without correcting it. She knew him too well for him to need to ask any question of her to get an answer.
"You were in a hurry. Some foe. You have others with you."
The voice that came from the spirit stll did not suit its form. That was one of a handful of characteristics of hers to which Kyōsuke had yet to become accustomed. In some ways, he did not ever truly expect to become accustomed to all of them. The eyes that looked out, down from the snout of the fox who so looked like a dragon, were still hers though. They were a warm burnished copper, and they were laughing.
"The first foe of many, I'm sure. Let us see who it is,"
he said, sensing her anticipation. He leapt out, and his companion bowed mid-air, so as to catch him on her back. He landed light, and spun in place as she bowed yet further down, ducking back through floors to exit where she had entered. The graceful arc outward from the building carried the pair high into the sky, back in the direction she had come. It came almost as an afterthought when it did, despite the Kazekage's original intents for the combat. He had to shout, to be heard over the rush of the wind past them as they flew. "Whoever they are, I don't want them dead."
"If we can help it."
[Exit to Ashes and Dust