Deep at work within the former hideout of Orochimaru, Sōjōbō a former Iwagakure Jōnin was going through dozens of notes. Around him, lied the corpse of dozens of what appeared to be prisoners. Lifting a paper up to his face, he scanned it thoroughly. "According to this, the original template of the Cursed Seal is called Jūgo" he said allowed despite nobody else in the room. A picture was pinned to the paper, a tall man with wild orange hair. "Status... alive" Sōjōbō finished.

A silent rattling filled the air, causing Sōjōbō to turn from his position. Glancing around, he did not see any sign of movement within the darkness. Giving a shrug, he turned back to the scattered papers and quickly became shocked at what he saw. Leaping from the shadows was a skinny and snake-like being; brown in color with piercing red eyes. Opening its mouth wide, it was ready to clamp down and swallow Sōjōbō whole.

From the ground below the snake, a wall-like object sprouted upward into the air, knocking it into the ceiling above. The beast let out a hiss as it cringed on the floor. "So you are another result of the Cursed Seal experimentation" Sōjōbō said, kneeling down to the creature. He saw the pattern of the Cursed Seal on its long and narrow neck. "Lets see..." Sōjōbō started, lifting up his hand. "What happens when I do this!" he called, quickly slamming his palm onto the seal.

The beast let out a cry, before reverting back to its humanoid state. "Th- Thank you" the man said, gasping for air. The man flipped over onto his back and took in deep breaths. "How... did you revert me?" the man asked through the pain. Sōjōbō let out a chuckle. "I compiled data on the Cursed Seals into my own seal" he said, lifting his shirt. Around a small circular pattern at the center of his back, was an elaborate tattoo scheme. "This allows me to control the Cursed Seal without the aide of Orochimaru" he said with a smile.

The man looked up in amazement. "You must help me!" he called, grasping Sōjōbō's pants leg. Sōjōbō lowered his shirt and glanced at the man, groveling on the floor. "You were a mere guinea pig for my test" Sōjōbō said as he lifted his katana with the blade pointing downward. "Pass on to the next world with some dignity" he said stabbing his katana through the man, killing him instantly.

Sōjōbō watched as the hand of the man loosened its grip from his pants. He sheathed his katana and grabbed some papers off the table. "Sacrifices need to be made, even those who are innocent have their role" Sōjōbō said allowed, before leaving the room.

Exiting the base, he promptly placed the papers into his haori and leaped off into the trees. Lost in thought, Sōjōbō let out a sigh, glancing down at the forest floor as he leaped. His guilt was absorbing him, almost as much as his anger towards the Hidden Rock. He closed his eyes, let out a grunt and lifted his head up. "I gotta keep moving forward" he thought, picking up pace.

Hours passed and he continued pace, towards an unknown location. The sun was setting and darkness was coming soon. "I gotta take a rest..." he thought, stopping on a branch and falling into the large tree. He began to breathe heavily, despite his natural sturdy physique. Hours of travel was to much for any being. "Snake → Ram → Tiger, Earth Release: Rising Pillars!" he called.

Several clay pillars rose up into the air, tilted diagonally. Forming a make-shift camp, he leaped down to ground level and stepped inside. He let out another sigh, he apparently made it into a habit. He glanced around the dark room and couldn't help but think "Did my stubbornness lead to me falling so low?". Laying down onto the ground, he placed a hand over his eyes and drifted asleep.

Deep within the forests, several masked shinobi stood, looking on towards Sōjōbō's temporary residence. "Good work Kentan, you brought us right to him" chimed one of the men, pulling out a thick scroll. "He's marked for capture and elimination is necessary, on order of the Tsuchikage" he continued, closing the scroll promptly. "Kentan, fish'em out" he finished, turning to his larger ally.

The man let out a gruff sigh and stepped forward. He lifted up his hands and said "Dragon → Tiger, Fire Release: Living Bomb". A ball of fire erupted in front of him, floating mid-air. "Release!" he called, sending the ball spiraling towards the building created by Sōjōbō.

Coming into contact with the earthly building, it quickly exploded, sending the clay and debris flying. "Got'em" Kentan said, letting out a snort. "Is there a reason you attack me in midst of my sleep?" Sōjōbō chimed, appearing behind the two. He was unscathed and had a frown on his face.

"He survived Kentan, your slacking" the skinnier man said, unsheathing the katana at his waist. "With this blade, I will behead you kid" the man said. Lunging at Sōjōbō, the man quickly went for the beheading strike. He planned on killing Sōjōbō here, and as brutally as possible.

Quickly disappearing, right before the blade made impact, Sōjōbō appeared above the man. "Tiger, "Fire Release: Calming Embers" Sōjōbō called. His lips puckered as a spray of flames spewed from his mouth, covering the man.

"Ha, it tickles" the man called, quickly spinning mid-air. His katana sliced into Sōjōbō's arm, spreading his blood onto the field. Falling to the ground, Sōjōbō lifted his head and smiled. "Fire Release: Surging Flames" he called, as the embers began to spark and grow. The sparks engulfed the skinnier man, killing him within seconds.

The scorn body, plummeted to the ground, leaving his ally Kentan in shock. "Boss!" he called as he clapped his hands together. "Earth Release: Guiding Pillars!" he called, sending several sharpened rock pillars from the ground towards Sōjōbō.

Sōjōbō leaped through the air, over the rock pillars and smirked. "Earth Release: Sand Trap" Sōjōbō called mid-air. The rock pillars quickly sunk into the ground, leaving their tops bare. Landing on top of one, Sōjōbō locked eyes with Kentan. "I think Its time I try my powers out... for real" Sōjōbō said, lowering his haori and shirt. The seals on his back, including his Cursed Seal of Salvation began to glow a dark crimson. Several rectangular markings appeared along his body and his hair went black. "Stage One... achieved" he said in an ominous voice.

Kentan looked on, his fear obvious, even through his mask. "That's a Cursed Seal!" called Kentan, frozen in place. Sōjōbō smirked and lifted his head. Disappearing from sight, he quickly appeared above Kentan. Swiftly kicking downward, Kentan broke through the tree branch and slammed into the ground below. The ground around him was cracked and left a deep imprint. Slowly falling down, Sōjōbō's sanity began to fade.

Pulling a kunai armed with an explosive tag from his ninja pack, Sōjōbō tossed it towards Kentan gently. "Bye bye!" he called in a high-pitched and demonic voice. The explosion engulfed Kentan, and when the dust cloud finally dispersed he was nowhere to be found. A sole charred white mask sat on the floor where he once stood. The marks from the Cursed Seal faded off of Sōjōbō's person and his hair became its natural white. Falling to a knee, he glanced up and let out a chuckle. His sanity had returned... barely.

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