Kakashi was starting to regret taking this as a solo mission.

Sure, he had taken plenty of solo missions before, some with a much higher risk level than this, and he was considerably more comfortable without having to worry about his teammates, but a good team of Konoha ANBU would have made dealing with the party of Iwa nin currently chasing him infinitely easier.

He could hear Obito's voice inside his head chastising him for his idiocy.

Kakashi shook his head. 'no time to think about that now.'

It wasn't even supposed to be a hard mission, certainly not warranting an ANBU Captain like him.

The mission objective was simple: Investigate one of the land of Earth's most famous mountain to satisfy civilians in an uproar over the disappearances of several different children from the ring of towns surrounding the range.

Of course, children in that area had been disappearing without a trace for many years, but many of them were blamed on the widely known superstition of monsters that lived in the mountain, and at first, the area's daimyo hadn't even considered it a problem worth looking into, but after the son of a world renowned chef also vanished, the pressure had been too great, and they had demanded that he instigate the help of high level shinobi from a hidden village.

Unfortunately for him, the idiot Daimyo had also hired shinobi from Iwa of all places, and even more unfortunately, Iwa wasn't recovering from a biju attack, and had two entire teams of black ops to waste on this pointless mission. Suffice to say, they attacked on sight.

Currently, he had gained at least half a mile on them, but they were sure to catch up soon. He was fully confident in his fighting ability, but unless he could think of a way to separate his pursuers fast, he would most likely be forced to engage all of them, and Kakashi was not liking his odds of surviving that, or worse, being captured.

Kakashi let out a long sigh as he stopped to catch his breath and survey the surroundings. Engaging was almost out of the question, and escape would be nigh impossible since Iwa easily had the numbers to surround him.

That left hiding as the best option.

'like a coward,' that irrational part of him thought, or perhaps it was Obito again. Kakashi had always been terrible at separating the voices in his head with his own thoughts. It was a wonder he passed his mental evaluation tests.

Finding a hiding spot was not at all hard. The mountain was littered with caves and crevasses where someone could easily slip into. That being said, should he be caught in a tight space, it would be over immediately, especially with the enemy's prowess in doton.

That's why Kakashi decided on a larger cave near the top of the mountain. The entrance was wide and easily trappable, with many mangled roots and weeds he could hide trip wires in, and the inside of the cave looked to branch in many directions, including a large hole taking up much of the floor space. Added to that, while the entrance was clearly visible from a ground level, it was completely invisible from the treetops and cliff faces that the enemy shinobi would undoubtedly be traveling by.

There was also something alluring about the cave, like he was supposed to be there and that he should go deeper in. After thoroughly trapping the cave entrance, he took a look at it with his sharingan to make sure that it wasn't a trap. What he found... was certainly interesting.

Coming from the great hole in the middle of the cave was an odd white chakra, not dissimilar to the hue of his own clan's. He couldn't tell its purpose, but it definitely wasn't harmful. He stared mystified at it for a whole minute before he realized what he was doing and snapped back to reality. He had spaced out! In the middle of a mission! In enemy territory!

Kakashi mentally scolded himself and took a position in the back of the cave near the roof in a nice, shadowy spot from which he could observe both the cave entrance and that intriguing hole. from here, he could look directly down into its vast bottomlessness and almost wallow in it.

He only dodged the kunai aimed at his throat on instinct.

He was now met with two Iwa nin on the ground dead from his traps, and their six, very pissed off teammates, two of which being injured.

"Fuck," he swore under his breath. This was absolutely not Kakashi's day.

He quickly evaded a barrage of more kunai, this time with explosive tags. He had avoided the blast, but the ensuing cave collapse sent him rocketing down, straight into the gaping hole that was quickly becoming the bane of his existence.

He could hear Obito voice yelling out the familiar insult of Bakashi as he fell.