With Houshi's help the burned out husk of the inn is quickly extinguished. Unfortunately the fire gutted much of the structure's support beams, and it remains extremely unstable. A significant amount of the upper floors collapsed onto the ground floor. Even so, the villages were able to retrieve the scattered remains of a two different people. They're burned beyond recognition, but the villagers bury them all the same. The villagers thank Houshi, and several of them offer him a warm bed for the evening.

While Houshi's talking to the villagers he notices the bald sand ninja walking away from the village. He seems to be going in the direction that Meiling and Hinami had fled in. He had made no attempt to help the villagers, and apparently didn't have the medical expertise to help Yukiko.


Sojuro remains at Yukiko's side the entire time. He whispers reassurances to her, strokes her head, holds her hand, and quietly curses himself at times. The boy's cold nature had been shattered by Yukiko's predicament, and each groan of pain or whimper in her dreams causes the boy to visibly worry. He doesn't speak to Yousuke, and seems to either ignore or not notice the sky-nin, unless he's spoken to. Yousuke can clearly hear the sand ninja blame himself.

"If we had run, if I had been faster, if I had been stronger, if... if..."


Amon's the first to notice Cybele returning to the village, but something seems strange about her. Her dark purple hair is still brushing her thighs, but she seems smaller overall. The jounin's long limbs seem smaller than normal, and her beautiful physique reminds Amon more of a well-trained teenager than an adult woman. As Cybele gets closer Amon is able to see that her initial assessments were right. Their jounin did seem small, but that was because she physically was smaller.

The same ninja uniform that a beautiful woman had once worn now graced the thin frame of a young teenager. The girl couldn't be any older than 16, but she wore the exact same uniform Cybele had worn during the evening. Of course, it fit her poorly, and the baggy clothing stood as a sharp contrast to how tightly it had once hugged their teacher's vivacious curves. Cybele didn't seem nearly as tired or beaten down as she had when she disappeared. The teenage jounin heads straight toward Amon as soon as she spots the genin.

"Yukiko", Cybele's sultry voice has even changed to that of a higher pitched teenager, "did she make it?"