"I know your scent anywhere," Esdeath giggled, embracing him tightly, "now tell me, my love, what happened to you? Where did you go? You look hurt!"

"After I passed out, I came to in a part of the forest unknown to me," Kakashi croaked, "I walked for days, trying to find the new Danger Beasts terrorizing the countryside to lend a helping hand while I searched for you, and I just knew that you or a Jaeger would cross paths with me at some point."

"You would have been walking forever if I hadn't decided to take the fight to them tonight," Esdeath said with a smirk, "but that sounds like you're trying to turn this around on me."

"I… can't… breathe…"

"Fight it and tell me your whole story."

"Like I said," Kakashi said, "searching for you was my primary objective, but as soon as I heard about these new monsters, I wasn't just going to stand idly by while our citizens were murdered."

"A true hero worthy of my grace," Esdeath chuckled, only squeezing him tighter. "A voice in the back of my head told me that you had deserted me to join the Revolutionary Army, can you believe that?"

Kakashi forced a laugh. "I'd never do that, never," he said, receiving a pat on the head.

"Good boy," she said, turning back toward the edge of the clearing.

"I don't have time for this," the Shinobi grumbled quickly under his breath. "Are you going to kill more of them while we're out here?"

"They're almost all gone," Esdeath said, firing another ice pillar into the air with her hand and dropping another draconic monster. "These have truly been a nuisance, but-" Kakashi blinked and her lips were pressed against his forehead in a sincere, icy kiss. "-thanks to them, we're together again." Her demeanor flipped, pointing an icy blade toward the bushes. "You can't hide from me; come out this instant!"

An ominous chuckle hung in the air and a lanky, pale figure with long, black hair rose from the shadows. "My apologies. I didn't want to ruin your moment."

Esdeath put down the blade, her expression softening but still displeased. "Oh, Orochimaru, it's you."

Orochimaru and Kakashi locked eyes, with the Shinobi's expression completely untelling of the panic happening from within. Orochimaru simply held his cocky, knowing grin. "You have a better ear than I thought, General. I was trained by those who kill in the shadows to hunt without making a sound. It's no wonder why you are the apex predator."

"Who's your friend?" Esdeath asked, pointing to the trees where Kakashi had pushed through to even get discovered in the first place.

A low, metallic chuckle drove a chill down Kakashi's spine with a second figure floating to Orochimaru under his brown coat. "I was certain the Prime Minister would have told you of my arrival, Esdeath."

Esdeath's face twisted into an ugly grimace. "General," Kakashi corrected as the mysterious new visitor pulled down his hood. He was a buff, tan man of average height with bright green eyes, spiky and long white hair, and a distinct, light, X-shaped scar over his face. He wore concealing clothing and moved without a sound.

"I am not your enemy," he said, "I'm Orochimaru's fellow scientist and the son of the Prime Minister. It is a pleasure to finally meet your acquaintance, but I'm afraid I cannot have you meddle in our field test." He pulled out a purple and black pendant, aiming it at the general.

"What is it you think you're doing?" Esdeath said apprehensively, watching a purple pentagram form beneath her and Kakashi.

"Sending you and your lover away for a honeymoon," Orochimaru said, staring at Kakashi, "giving you a chance to discover each other's true selves."

"Esdeath?" Kakashi said, flinching from a bright purple flash. Orochimaru's glowing eyes stained his memory but upon opening his eyes, the serpent of a man was no longer in front of him. A cool, island wind ruffled his hair and the palm trees around them under the bright, hot sun. The oceans in front of him were endless, moving with soft waves back and forth with seagulls and pelicans singing softly overhead. "Where… where are we?" he stammered, wanting to fall to his knees in despair. Wherever this was, it was far, far away from the Empire. His friends were left to their own devices, and he was stuck with the Ice Queen. "Maybe it's some sort of genjutsu," he told himself. "Dear, I need you to hit me," he said, making her blush, "as hard as you can."

"Well well," she said, "I didn't know you were into that kind of thing."

"That isn't what I meant!" Kakashi exclaimed. "This could be an illusion, and as long as we're stuck here, innocent people risk being killed by Danger Beasts we fail to destroy-"

"Remember who you're speaking to," Esdeath scolded, punching blood from his mouth with a strike that would have knocked anyone else out cold.

Kakashi stumbled back from the dizzying strike, seeing his blood stain the white sand red under his feet. "Well, this definitely is not an illusion."

"And you brush it off like a true warrior," she sighed, pulling his head up by his hair and planting a passionate kiss on her unwilling partner.

Kakashi would never know how she dealt with the taste of his blood in her mouth, although sometimes he believed that she drank it. She broke off the kiss, squeezing his cheek.

"This is certainly no illusion, it all feels far too real for that," Esdeath said, "I believe Orochimaru's ally used a Teigu on us to send us to this warm, relaxing, island paradise, I know which one he used as well."

"It can manipulate space," Kakashi said, almost in awe of the amazing ability that trapped him here.

"Smart boy," Esdeath said, "remember that the Empire has 48 of these Teigu, this one was rumored to have been created by a magician from a lost nation, and the Prime Minister failed to mention a son to me."

"Who do you think that man was?" Kakashi asked.

"We'll find out when we return to the capitol," Esdeath said as a matter of fact.

"If we return," Kakashi said under his breath, following Esdeath along the coastline.

Esdeath pulled Kakashi close to her and put her free hand on the ground. "Let's take a look around the island," she said, using a pillar of ice to lift them high above the trees. Kakashi felt a pit in his stomach as his eyes surveyed the scenery in front of them.

"Ocean," he said in defeat, "ocean as far as the eye can see."

Esdeath smiled at the sight. "What a view, Kakashi- maybe Orochimaru was right, sarcasm aside, it's starting to feel like you and I are on an actual date."

"I guess that's one way to adapt," Kakashi said, making her laugh.

"I'm glad you're on board," Esdeath said, pressing her chest to his back and breathing icy air down the back of his neck. "How else do you want to adapt, now that we have some time alone?"

Their pillar shook with a rumbling happening just off shore. "Whatever activity we're doing," Kakashi said, watching a humongous, humanoid monster with pale gray skin and sickly, yellow eyes rise from the water, "I'd rather do it without an audience."

Esdeath's entire aura was frosty, with ice forming on her hands. "Don't worry, my love," she said with a crazy smile, "this creature will not stand in between us and our time together!" She flicked one hand up, and hundreds of pillars of ice impaled the monster all over its body. Its eyes locked on the couple and with a grunt it stepped forward, surprising even the general with its brute strength. "I'm impressed!"

"There, on its forehead," Kakashi said, pointing to a long, fresh scar just above its eye, "that should be its weak spot!"

"My thoughts exactly," she said, firing another pillar straight at it. "We must be soulmates!"

"He's going to move out of the way," Kakashi said, taking a thin, sharp icicle from the forming ice field and running on the ice as it was created.

"He's nowhere near fast enough!" Esdeath argued. "Get back here right-"

The beast leaned its head out of the way and Kakashi leaped for it, driving the icicle through the cut and into its brain. Kakashi bounced off an ice pillar running through the beast's shoulder and jumped back onto the attack pillar, sliding to a stop right next to Esdeath.

"Wow," she said with astonishment, "it was I who believed that I could impress you with my powers to win you over, little did I know it was going to be the other way around."

Kakashi took her hand gingerly and jumped, looking down as another beast's arm passed underneath. "This one's going to be on top of us if we don't take care of it quick."

"Then allow me," she said, raising her hand and turning it into a pin cushion with hundreds of ice spikes raining down from the sky. The beast slumped forward into the ice pillar and the two warriors fell into the bushes below. Kakashi opened his eyes, staring into Esdeath's ocean blue ones.

"How am I going to beat her?" he thought to himself, receiving another passionate kiss.

"Now that that's over," Esdeath said, pulling him back onto the beach and sitting next to him under the shade. "We can relax."

"There's something I'm curious about," Kakashi said, "we were interrupting a 'field test' before we got transported. I wonder what they meant by that."

"As do I," Esdeath said, pulling out a notebook and beginning to scribble something furiously, "for sending us here without my permission they will be reprimanded for it so we will learn soon enough. For now, we must explore the island, take down the rest of these Danger Beasts before they can get the drop on us again."

"Then the more we wait, the more opportunities we give them," Kakashi said, watching how her eyes darted up at him and down again at the notebook. "Are you- are you drawing?"

"Yes, this is a perfect backdrop," she said with all the authority her position provided, "it will be a reminder for us to come back here under less strenuous circumstances." She stood up. "But you are right. Come, my love, we must secure the island."

It seemed as if she did anything but, admiring crabs, the giant, strange and sweet citrus fruit hanging from oversized trees, and playing in the sand while Kakashi hacked and slashed his way through Danger Beasts left and right until the skies turned orange and pink with a sunset rippling over the blue waters that left him stunned. He didn't mind doing the work, however, for the first time he got to see her genuinely happy. He sat for a moment in the sand, completely drenched in sweat from the intense heat. "I think we got them all, Esdeath."

"I'm boiling, Kakashi," she said, unbuttoning her uniform, "how about you?"

Kakashi made sure to look away while she peeled her uniform meant for the Empire's harsh winter off and placed it on the nearby rocks. "I was thinking of taking a dip in the ocean, but given that the first beast we found was from there, now I'm not so sure."

"When did Kakashi the Cautious arrive?" she teased, running by him into the water and making him choke on the view. She wore what was essentially a white bikini underneath her uniform, squeezing her perfect, tall, athletic and curvy figure and flaunting her long, pale legs, large, perky bust, and her toned and shapely butt. Kakashi hated to admit it, but evil was insanely hot, maybe even more alluring and sexy than Leone. He slapped himself as a reminder of all the fellow countrymen she had killed, the countless Shinobi that died trying to protect their homeland from her, but he couldn't let that anger show now.

"I've kept him quiet for most of this trip," Kakashi said, throwing off his shirt and running into the water after her. It was cold and refreshing, with the sunset and island setting making him wish he was here with literally anybody else.

"There's the man I took," she laughed, diving under the water and coming back up, wiping the water from her sparkling strands of blue hair, her icy eyes shining under the sun. She caught Kakashi's awestruck stare. "Are you alright?"

Kakashi cleared his throat. "Yeah, um, I've figured out where we are."

"Southeast of the Empire, yes, I know," she said, "which means we're the only two on this entire island. I've lead this trip so far, now I'm starting to think this is a bit unfair to you. Tell me, what do you want to do? You're in charge, under me."

Time froze for inner Kakashi as he weighed his options. He wanted to run, he wanted to fight, and he wanted to take down the Empire, all three things would not bode well at this time. She outclassed him in power, there was no way he'd take her down as he was right now.

"I think we should learn more about each other," Esdeath said with a suggestive smirk, "I could figure out how to get us home right now, but we cannot waste this opportunity."

"I thought you said I was in-"

"You took too long, dear," Esdeath giggled, pulling him back onto the shore.

"Then what do you want to-" Kakashi fell on his back hard with a swift sweep kick, looking up and finding his captor pinning him down, staring intently into his eyes. "Hey! There are other ways to do this!"

Esdeath laughed at the power rush this gave her. "You want me to stop? Then you'll answer everything I ask you, for now," she said. "First, who taught you how to fight so well? Your style is unlike any other fighter I've ever encountered in the entire Empire, in fact it reminds me of the Chinese Boxing some of my navy men encountered on convoy duty."

"Namito Minakaze," Kakashi made up on the spot, "I used to work in his restaurant out in the country as a kid, I picked up some martial arts from him and made it my own."

"Interesting, so you know how to cook as well?"

"No," he said with a chuckle, hiding years of stories and memories of brutal combat under a smile, "I was just a bus boy."

Esdeath smiled back proudly. "I bet you never guessed you'd be here now, did you? You're very talented, and a fast learner."

"That's quite the compliment, coming from you," he said, "I bet you're the kind of person who's good at everything you touch."

Esdeath's smile faded a little. "Not true, actually."

"How so?"

"The arts, music, poetry, painting, I'm not very adept at any of it," Esdeath said, "I tried playing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' on the violin for six months, every time it sounded like the fields of the enemy laying dead at my feet."

Kakashi forced himself to laugh with her. "How romantic," he said.

"Finally," she said, sweeping the tuft of hair covering his Sharingan out of the way and staring into the red, glowing secret he kept hidden all the time, "explain this, Kakashi."

Kakashi blushed, trying to look away. "It's a mutation," he said, "it's overly sensitive to sunlight which is why it's red all the time, and frankly, I don't like the way it looks. I got bullied because of it, so I just learned to keep it covered."

Esdeath's grip crushed his wrists, with her expression angry and cold. "Those cretins do not know true beauty when they see it," she said, "I will find them and have them hanged for-"

"So, uh," Kakashi chuckled nervously, "you're not from the Capitol, are you?"

Her grip remained tight on his wrists. "I'm from a hunting clan that specialized in hunting and killing Danger Beasts," she said, "and I was the daughter of their chief. I was taught how to use a blade at the age of five, bringing the fight of survival back to those who deserve to struggle more against the more suitable species. I was a natural hunter, taking down the sick, the healthy, the strong, the weak, nothing escaped me, at least nothing I wanted to escape from me did." She sighed from the nostalgia. "It was just my clan and the Danger Beasts, slaughtering each other for our own selfish need to be on top, until a rival clan of ours burnt our clan to the ground."

Her expression changed to a softer but still stoic gaze and she let go, rolling on her back into the sand to just stare up at the stars.

"My father taught me that day that the only way to get ahead in life is to be the strongest, to be the most dangerous and lethal predator out in the woods to keep everything else that bit at me at bay," she said with her hands behind her head nonchalantly. "I hunted so many Danger Beasts I eventually cleared out the entire forest, leaving just enough for them to breed again so I could come back and do it all over again. In the meantime, I moved on to bigger game."

"Bigger game?" Kakashi said with slight concern.

"A hunt of predators among predators," she said, "ones that think, fight, move, and die just like we do. It's the ultimate trophy, the only one that matters to me, at least. That's why you and I work, Kakashi. We're the alphas of this giant, snarling, backstabbing, and untrustworthy wolf pack called the human race. As long as we have each other's backs, we're untouchable."

Kakashi kicked himself for empathizing with the murderous general who would enjoy nothing more that freezing his entire village over and sending it straight down to hell. "You switched prey because you wanted revenge on the other tribe, right?" He squeezed her hand reassuringly. "I'm so sorry that happened to you."

Esdeath smirked. "I don't hate them," she said, "in fact, I made an example of them, burying them alive in the same ice and snow they left my village in. I'm not talking about bugs like them, I'm talking about Night Raid, Teigu users, Shinobi from the New World, true and proper challenges." She stood up, looking up at the stars with no emotion. "What happened to my father was regrettable, but for him to be correct on what he told me that day, he was a weak man up until he died."

Kakashi had never met such a soulless individual, and he had stared into the empty eyes of thousands he would have considered a such. She pulled him to his feet. "Where did you get your powers of ice, then? Since you buried your enemies in them, now I'm curious."

"You mean my Teigu?" she said with a sly grin, sticking his hand in her ample, soft bust to press his palm to the reddish black, spiraled, triple-scythed symbol on her chest. "I received it a couple years ago when I became the top general of the Empire. They call it 'Demon's Extract,' coming from the blood of an S-class Danger Beast held in an urn behind a case made of ice. No other general before me who attempted wielding the power of the Extract could keep their sanity, so immediately I was drawn by the challenge."

"You wanted to prove you were strong, and everyone else before you was weak," Kakashi said, "if you couldn't handle it, then you deserved to die."

"Yes, yes, I'm elated that someone finally understands," Esdeath said with growing excitement, "but more than that I felt like it was calling out to me personally. Some generals couldn't handle a drop. I drank the whole thing." She started to chuckle eerily, with her grip crushing his wrist again on her heaving chest. "The first minute or so was excruciatingly painful, every moment, every heartbeat was a day of torture, my own thoughts driving me to want to murder everyone in the capital just to silence the voice that had forced its way next to my conscience, but I was not going to let a mere chalice of blood rob me of making that decision for myself."

"And even now, you still have that blood circulating throughout your body," Kakashi said to the cackling woman holding him hostage as calmly as he could. "Fascinating, absolutely astonishing. Is that why you enjoy torturing people?"

Esdeath let out a condescending laugh. "Of course not- I've always liked doing that. If I didn't have second thoughts, I would have shown you just how much I enjoyed it back at the castle firsthand."

Psychopath. Kakashi tried to laugh with her, realizing now the amount of danger he was in if he made any wrong move. Even if he ran away, she could raze the entire country to the ground with a single wave from her hand. "You'd torture me, honey?"

"Well of course," Esdeath said, no longer laughing but still grinning. "It's my favorite pastime, I need to show you someday."

Kakashi laughed nervously. "In the meantime, now that we've gotten to know each other, what do you say we continue this conversation on your bed at home, rather than in the sand?"

"Are you kidding?" she giggled. "We're spending the night. It's not ideal, but I want as much time with you to myself as I can get." She snapped her fingers, forming a spacious, mansion-styled bedroom igloo. She saw the gaunt look in his face. "Don't tell me you're afraid of sleeping on sand," she taunted.

"Of course not," he said, "I'm just wondering when, or if, Orochimaru's buddy is going to reverse the spell he used to take us here. If not, we'll have to piggyback a flying Danger Beast back home."

"He has to," Esdeath said, "or I'll send his body parts all over the globe."

The cheeriness with which she said that chilled him to the bone.

"If you're worried about sleeping," Esdeath said with another suggestive smirk, pinning him against the wall, "I don't plan on having much of it either. I've caught my prey, and I plan on taking my time with him."

Kakashi's face went beet red, staring toward the windows of the igloo longingly, desperately yearning to run as fast and as far as he could.

He was going to die.