And Darker than Ever Baby. They tried to kill me, but they didn't know I was already dead inside. Fucking Micro-organisms.

A shit ton of story Warnings apply this chapter. Like... a lot. You've been warned.

Tomoe Mineta was a simple farmer.

His days consisted of tilling the land, planting seeds, uprooting weeds and ensuring that no nasty insects or rogue mammal would ruin his hard-gotten produce. He was an average man, coming from an average family, and knew he would never be rich nor wealthy. He would never become a noble, or, heavens forbid, one of the boogeymen of the world, a shinobi. He was reasonably content with his place in life, with his lot, and he lacked very little.

Except, he was a man. As a man, he knew that his farmlands and work would be much, much easier if he eventually got himself a wife, and a family that would help him. So, he went out, he searched, and amongst the women in his quaint little village, he chose Meguri.

Meguri's father was a fisherman and he had been good friends with his own father. The woman herself was headstrong, loud, brash, and possessed a quick witted tongue that could cut down the best of men. She was everything unlike a lady should be, and Mineta remembered occasions where she would beat full grown men in arm-wrestling contests, or lift up her skirt and tie it in order to get into a fight with men that were several feet taller than her.

Mineta was enamored.

He proposed to her, and she laughed in his face numerous times.

He didn't give up. He tried again, and again, and again, until, eventually, Meguri accepted. She was the perfect wife for him, someone who could help in his farm work and not complain. Mineta was happy.

Then, things suddenly changed.

His wife discovered a religion. Gatoism, it was being called. Mineta wasn't all too interested in it. He'd been doing fine with the simple prayers he offered to his ancestors, and didn't need a new religion. His wife, although stubborn, respected his beliefs.

Except, Mineta began to notice the tiny things that happened since she joined the religion. She looked younger, more vibrant than ever. Somehow, despite passing her adolescence years ago, her breasts grew rounder, larger and firmer as time passed. Her thighs lost fat, her stomach became lean and smooth, and her hair was silkier than some of the village tailor's finest materials.

The physical changes also came with strokes of unexpected, beneficial luck. She would pick up a seemingly random hairpin on the street, only to discover that it belonged to a passing noble, and the noblewoman immediately thanked her profusely for finding it, before offering her a large bag of gold that Mineta possessed no clue how to spend it all.

She would want to go for a swim, only for it to rain that day, and somehow, the rivers and waters would be clearer than ever. She would fish, and consequently, constantly, catch the largest, most amazing fish that was in the river. She would go to the market, and randomly be offered better deals than were expected, because somehow, the shopkeepers had surplus.

This was not even accounting how quickly his wife seemed to pick up new skills and talents. She'd never been a good tailor, always despising the art of sewing because she felt she didn't have delicate fingers. Yet, after joining the religion, she found herself capable of learning and easily mastering sewing. Not just sewing, her cooking increased significantly in quality, as did her ability to sing and dance. Her voice was often enough to make Mineta lose his willpower and embrace her whenever he heard it.

Eventually, Mineta decided to give the new religion a try. Surely, anything that could make him fall in love with his wife a hundred times over could not be so bad?

So, he read the White Grimoire, the supposed Holy Book of the Shepherd. He found himself following his wife to different gatherings, following the instructions, praying, singing, and more.

Seven years later, Mineta was the richest and most successful farmer in the village, and in the Northern part of his country. He was a father of two beautiful twin girls, both intelligent and even more attractive than their mother. He was a respected member of the community, whose word and approval carried as much weight as that of the village's leader, and he exported his produce overseas, using the Gato Shipping Company.

There was no doubt in his mind as to where his success came from. He knew, and his wife knew as well. Whenever he forgot his prayers, neglected reading the Holy Scriptures, random events of bad, horrible luck would affect him, and as soon as he went back to fervent devotion, the bad luck vanished.

The words in the Holy Book were true. The Shepherd, he truly was the savior of mankind. There was no other explanation. He was fortunate enough to have entered the one true religion.

The problem was, not everyone agreed with him.



A terrified scream tore through the air, and Mineta swore as he ran into the room, roaring with the fullness of his voice "MEGURI!"

There they were. Five individuals. Their appearance almost made Mineta throw up, because of what they wore. Fleshy material hung loosely from their loins with various haphazard stitches made from what vaguely looked like human hair. Their 'jackets' were made of this same material, except, this one also had a female human face on it, stretched to a dark caricature and used as clothing.

Human skin. His mind realized. Oh my Shepherd. They use human skin as clothes.

They were ugly, grotesque, monsters of men. One of them had what appeared to be shards of glass imbedded around his chin in what was supposed to be a beard. His eyelashes were replaced with needles, and a pair of bony phalanges was sharply imbedded into his earlobes, hanging as earrings.

The others were just as revolting. One, with his stomach missing, and there being nothing but a blank hole in between his chest and his waist. On closer examination, his spine jutted out, the only link between the top and bottom parts of his body. Another was the opposite, his chest blatantly open like a jacket, revealing his internal organs and beating heart. The organs were stitched up in numerous ways, and the heart beat fast, its sound echoing in the room like drumbeats.

Dear Shepherd. Mineta couldn't help it. Monsters. They're monsters. He lost his lunch at the sight of the men. Rice and meat rushing out of his nose and nearly blocking his airways, making him cough and vomit.

"Ne, ne –" One of the men spoke. This one was covered entirely in grotesque burns. They all seemed to be healing, but at the same time, they weren't. They were stuck in some hybrid of healing and un-healing – the burns pulsed and the man scratched at his entire body constantly, flaking away dead skin and scabs all around him as he did so. "Is – is he the one? T-th-the one H-H-Hidan-s-s-s-sama said we s-s-should go after?"

The burn-scar man stammered, his eyes wide and alert, even as he scratched and peeled away at his scabs. "C-C-Can I b-b-burn him Furaido-sama? C-c-c-can I? C-c-can I?"

"No, Ikkaman he's not the one." Furaido, the man with his chest wide open said. Before pausing. "Is he? Hanguman-san?"

Mineta's eyes whipped over to the forth man. His neck was elongated and broken in an odd angle that made it look like it was leaning forward. Lines upon lines of human-hair adorned his neck, tightened enough that the neck was small, smaller than the man's slender hands and long, bony fingers.

"No." The man's voice was a wispy rasp. "He's just tonight's amusement."

"Oh-oh-oh. Him? I thought it was going to be this delectable little meal here –" The man with the missing stomach said, his foot stomping upon something that let out a strangled cry of pain.

"Don't damage the goods too much Manyueru."

Mineta's eyes widened as he realized what goods they were talking about. "MEGURI!"

He dashed forward, ignoring the pain and the mental warning that it was suicidal, only to stop cold when a woman appeared out of nowhere, slamming him into the ground with a kick that broke several of his ribs.

He let out a strangled gasp, coughing out a glob of blood from the impact, and he realized that he couldn't move.

"Raifusakka. We've been expecting you."

The woman was clothed in the same flesh-loins as the rest, hers, either by design or accidental, far shorter than the others. There was a metal plate tied to a headband worn underneath, a horizontal slash running through the symbol on the metal. Her chest was barely covered, in a makeshift bra of skeletal hands, the only things which tried in vain to cover her modesty and nipples, although, it could still be seen from the right angle. Her hair was tinted red with dried blood, her eyes possessing a savage grin on it, and hanging on her neck, Mineta paled as he saw the rotting flesh of what was clearly a large penis – used as a necklace.

"The shitty little brats almost got away. But, I managed to get them in time."

Mineta felt his blood turn cold. The woman licked her lips as she slammed her hands together. In a puff of smoke, his worst fears came to life.


"Tou-san! Help us -!"

"Oh-Oh-Oh. Twins. It's been a long time since I had some twins~! Ah la! So many, many recipes – so many ways to enjoy~!" Manyueru moaned.

"N-no – p-please –" Mineta wanted to scream. He wanted to scream, but his lungs were filling with blood, and he could only gurgle out strangled gasps. They're just children. Please – they're just –-

"Are you five fools done toying around yet?"

Mineta looked up, staring straight into the eyes of the first man he'd seen. The man with literal glass-chin, the needle-eyebrows, and the phalange-earrings. The man's eyes lingered on him for half a second, before it turned to his daughters.

"Prepare the ritual. We sacrifice this woman and her children to Jashin-sama."

Mineta's eyes widened in horror.

"Yes, Surassha-sama." The other five answered, before each sporting different, sick, malevolent grins.

Surrasha stood over him, his earrings dangling slowly. The man's face appeared peaceful, at ease, in dire contrast to the others, who –




"I would comfort you – if such an option existed." Surrasha said calmly. "Jashin-sama, however, would not be pleased. You must suffer, because Jashin-sama wills it. You must die, because Jashin-sama wills it. Your soul and that of your family is a present from Chaos to Death, as the gods care little for your life. You are beneath livestock."

Sick, twisted grunts of pleasure reached his ears and Mineta let tears fall freely from his eyes.

"I will grant you a final mercy, however." Surassha said, paying no heed to the sound of the grunts of pleasure, or the voices of little girls screaming for mercy. "Take this blade, and attempt, your hardest, to gain vengeance for your family."

A sharp metal kunai was dropped in his hands.

"Or alternatively, you can use the blade and end your misery."

Surassha rose up, and Mineta found himself able to move again. The paralysis holding him had ended.

"Whichever one you choose will determine where your soul shall rest until the day of reckoning."

Without thinking, without warning, without hesitation, adrenaline pumped through his body, and Mineta rose, tears streaming from his eyes as he let out a desperate roar, charging with the kunai in his hand.

It slammed straight into the monster's skull, splashing blood unto Mineta's hands, even as he drove the blade deeper and deeper still.

There was a moment of silence.


Mineta felt horror as he saw the smile on the insane man's face. Even as the blade rested in between his brows, he smiled, a wild, savage smile. Surassha removed the blade from his skull with a sickening squelch, before turning his attention towards Mineta.

"Your soul is worthy."

It was fast. Too fast for Mineta to respond to. Too fast for a farmer like himself to react to. One second, the blade was in Surassha's hand, and the next, it was embedded into his skull. He collapsed, blood overflowing in his vision.

Mineta could only wonder, in his final moments, why, why –

"When you reach the Shinigami," he faintly heard. "Tell him you were sent by the Six Demises of Hidan."

Why had his Lord forsaken him?

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Son of Gato ~~~~~~~~~~~

Mount Myoboku


A gargantuan ball of fire crashed against a tree, the force of the impact sending super-heated shrapnel and splinters of wood flying in all directions.


Another fireball, crashing into rock this time. The super-heated ball made quick work of it, melting the rock into a rough, molten form in seconds.

"Naruto! Naruto stop!"


Another fireball, this time, lunged towards him. The Sage grit his teeth as he dodged the ball, marveling at the sheer heat which singed his hair and burnt pieces of his clothes as it soared by.

"Goddamn it Naruto! You need to calm down!"

The boy stood, shirtless, pure, animalistic rage on his features. Already, parts of his whiskers had darkened, his nails and grown longer, fangs protruded from his teeth, and his chakra sang with malice.


The Toad Sage's face was stony. "Do you think you're the only one grieving?"

"Fuck you!"

Jiraiya's eyes widened. "Excuse me?"

"I said: fuck you." Naruto snarled. "Fuck you – fuck you. Where were you? Where were you when the village needed you? You don't get to tell me that you're also grieving. You don't, because you couldn't even be there when everyone you knew and loved died."

"That's enough." His voice was hard.

"No, no it's not." Naruto spat. "Danzo-jiji told me about you. He said you're supposedly the greatest seal master in Konoha, but you're a failure of a person. And you - you're my godfather."

Jiraiya stepped back, wincing.

"I've never met you, because you'd prefer to spend the rest of your life whoring around and writing porn than visiting your orphan godson. Guess you didn't want to be reminded of the time you failed to save your other student? Did you? You didn't want to look me in the face and see my dad, so you ran. Like a bloody coward." Naruto grit his teeth. "Sannin this, Sannin that. Big fucking title for someone who got his ass-kicked and only became famous for managing to lose a three-on-one fight."

"A'ight, that's enough outta ya, whippersnapper!"

Naruto turned, his anger returning as he gazed at the floating thing that smacked him on the head.

"Stay outta this you stupid frog!"

He extended his hand in a punch, only to blink as the toad caught the punch effortlessly, slamming him on his back.

What the…?

"I'm a toad boyo. An' ya need to watch that potty mouth of yers."

"Fuck you!" Naruto hissed, "Maybe I wouldn't have a potty mouth if I had some parental figure around to teach me!"

"Y'er hurt boy." The toad said. "Y'er hurting so bad yer just wanna take it out on anyone an' anythin' don't ya? Do ya think cuttin' down Jiraiya-boyo is gonna make ya feel better?"

Naruto stopped in his tracks. The suddenness of the accusation froze him, his body twitched as he seemed caught flatfooted. There was something that flashed in his eyes. "Fuck you. You – you don't know me – you're just –"

"Yer can cry boy." The toad added, softly. "No one's gonna think any less of ya."

Naruto flinched.

"I – I don't – I'm not –" the boy's animalistic features began to fade. Slowly, his nails receded, as did his fangs. "I – I –"

His voice cracked.

"I – I failed them –" he said, his voice broken. "Tenten, Hokage-jiji, Teuchi, Ayame – everyone. T-they relied on me – I – I should have saved them."

Thick sobs escaped his lips.

"Why couldn't I save them?"

Jiraiya felt something burn in his chest. His hands curled into a tight fists as he dug his nails deep enough into it to draw blood. It stung, watching his godson ask himself the very same question Jiraiya tried and failed to answer time and time again.

"Why couldn't I save them?"

Faces flashed in his vision. Konan, Yahiko, Nagato. Minato. Dan. Orochimaru. And now, most recently, the frosty wasteland encrusted in a forest of bones that was Konoha.

"Naruto –" Jiraiya tried.

"Shut up!" The boy yelled. "Just – shut up. I – I need to be alone. Please."

Slowly, the Toad Sage nodded. To himself, or to Naruto, he wasn't sure. He turned around, vanishing in a body flicker, as the boy's stabbing words pierced deep into him. He too, needed some time to think.

He needed to clear his head, and consider where he could go from there. It was clear that his godson was a genius like Minato, but unlike Minato, Jiraiya doubted he would ever be able to have a close relationship with the boy.

That bridge was in Konoha, and it had burned along with it.


The Land of Hot Water

(Jashin Country)

It's all for power.

Mizuki repeated those words to himself over and over and over again.

This is for power.

This is so I can get power.

This is so I can get vengeance.

Rationalization after rationalization flung to his mind. One after the other, even as he stood, shirtless, and stared upon the sight in front of him. Men, drabbed in black robes stained red, gathered over a large pentagram circle. In the middle of the circle, lay a collection of gagged young women.

Contrary to what most of his contemporaries would have believed, Mizuki wasn't an evil person. He did not torture cats in his spare time, or secretly plot to slice the throats of philanthropists. No, he was a man like any other, and like any other, he was now a man who was devoid of a home, of a job, of a purpose and direction in life.

All of this was as a result of the enemy, the Divine Empire, the ones who destroyed his home and laid waste to his peaceful way of life. Directionless, he poured out his frustration in the only way he knew –


Vengeance for what he lost. Vengeance for what he could have had. Vengeance for everyone. For everything.

What better way to gain vengeance, than to ally himself with the ones who seemed to hate the Divine Empire and it's religion more than him? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, was it not?

Yet –

"You have to defile these women in the glory of Jashin-sama to become one of us."

Yet even he balked at the concept.

He knew what these people were capable of, these Jashinists, as he had seen one of them take a kunai to the skull, and then stand up, pull it out, and continue about his business as though it were a minor inconvenience.


They were immortal.

The only cost of their immortality… was this.

No, not just this, he was expected to continuously massacre and violate people to keep his immortality. For the rest of his life, as long as he would live, which was theoretically forever, he would do this in exchange.

Was it worth it?

Mizuki asked himself that question as he strode up, gazing straight into the frightful eyes of the young woman in front of him. He estimated she was about seventeen years of age. An adult by most standards.

Is it worth it?

He asked himself this question as he cut off her bindings securing her hands and feet. The Jashinists said he had to do this "with her struggling and resisting throughout" as it was the only way for their god to be satisfied and accept her torture.

Will it be worth it?

He wondered as he pinned the woman down as she attempted to flee, his superior strength making it an effortless task, no matter how hard she kicked and screamed and begged. He tore off the top portion of her clothes, revealing her breasts to the sharp whistles and cheers of the maniacs officiating the "ritual" who stared at the woman as though she were a hunk of meat rather than a human being.

Can I keep doing this?

He thought, even as he roughly fondled her, and then tore the lower part of her robe, feeling his blood rushing in his ears and the adrenaline pumping into his system from the sight of the woman's thighs and exposed parts. He knew, numerous other men would have considered this a win-win scenario – as they would have merely kidnapped or taken a woman who jilted them one too many times, and then they would rape her, and beat her, and then kill her – and they would get immortality out of the deal. All they needed to do was to keep torturing and raping women and they kept their immortality – how was such a thing a negative in their perspectives?

Can you really go through with this?

It wasn't even a question at this point. The circle on the floor had parts of his blood in it. If he refused, all it took was one of them stabbing themselves in the heart, and he would drop dead instantly. The sensory feedback was both-ways, but the difference was that he wasn't immortal. Even if he stabbed himself in the heart, it would be a minor inconvenience for them, and a death sentence for him. It was why they were so eager, because through him, they would also get to 'feel' the woman he was assaulting as though they were the ones doing the deed themselves.

A scream tore into his eardrums, and he realized that he'd stabbed his kunai into the woman's hands, and pinned them to the ground.

I'm really doing this –

She was probably begging – he couldn't be sure. He couldn't be certain. He tuned out most of her words and focused on doing his task.

Inflict pain.

Inflict suffering.

Appease their mad god.

Become immortal.

He cut her. Again, and again, in different places. Superficial wounds most of them, but wounds that would bleed. He allowed her naked body become covered with blood. He ensured he was methodological in his approach. Then, when he was certain, when he was ready –

I'm sorry.

No. No he wasn't. He enjoyed it. He enjoyed the power he had over her. He enjoyed the tightness. He enjoyed deflowering her. Enjoyed hearing her screams of pains.

It's all for immortality.

It was all for revenge.

Or at least… that's what he told himself.

It's all for power.


Shepherd Flagship


"Kid – I'm not sure that's a –"

"Again." She hissed.

Kitami stared at the one-eyed girl in front of him. Her teeth were gnashing against each other. Her previously immaculately kept hair was scattered and sweaty. Her form and stance shook, and her body was riddled in bruises. Blood poured freely from numerous cuts across her body, yet, she stood, staring defiantly at him.

Oh boy…

"It's your funeral." He said, shrugging. "Come."

She roared, letting out a manic roar as her hands blurred through movements fast enough that the air around her heated from the sheer speed and friction. Kitami had no doubt that she'd most likely given herself friction burns from performing handsigns alone, which was something he never even believed possible.

"Ice Release: GA –"


As if he was going to wait for her to launch her technique. He blurred forward, swinging his sword downward, and simultaneously, swinging it three times in three different directions.

"Sage Art: Omnidirectional Slash."

Her eyes widened, and she vanished, cutting her technique off at the last second and vanishing into a small dagger of ice –

"Sage Art: Rice-Cutter."

He sighed as the blade came crashing down to the side, effortlessly, and she emerged to avoid getting cut in half. Of course, she wasn't fast enough to avoid him emerging with his second sword, slamming the pommel into her stomach, and then immediately following up with a kick to her chest that certainly broke a few ribs.

She soared away from him, coughing and hacking out saliva and a little bit of blood, before crashing, heads over heels into the floor.

Kitami shook his head and ran his head through his hair. "I'm done." He said, sheathing both his blades.

"Not yet! I –"

"I have better ways to spend my time than beating up little girls." He said, "It's annoying to see you like this. You're lacking depth perception because you have one eye, and you're lacking common sense because you're too busy being pissed over the fact that you have one eye. As it is, you're weaker than you've ever been."

The girl in question winced, before gritting her teeth, turning her gaze to the ground and slamming her fist into it. She slammed her fist into it again and again, before letting out one more roar of anger.

"Why?! Why?! Why?!"

Kitami frowned, staring at the girl, and shaking his head. This was honestly out of his territory to deal with. He had enjoyed the relatively simple life he had led up till now. Gaining power, training brats, being richer than nobles, and of course, being the right-hand man of the miracle-creating maverick that was Gat. If someone had told him, a meagre ten years ago, that he would have the power to stand toe-to-toe with the God of Shinobi and utterly manhandle him in battle, he would have laughed at them before slamming a blade into their kidneys for the pathetic joke.

"Why what? Why can't you see properly with one eye? Why did you lose against Fugaku? Why am I handing you your ass when we used to be able to fight on equal terms before?" Kitami asked, "You have to be a little more specific."

She turned her glare to him, and he rolled his eyes.

"Not impressed frosty." He said, shaking his head. "You know, I just realized what your problem is. You've never failed. Because you've never failed, never lost, you've never realized or even entertained the possibility that you can, that you could."

"But I'm Shepherd-sama's chosen! I can't lose! I shouldn't – not to people like them! Not to people who can't even see his greatness! I – I –" her voice cracked. "This is what I am! This is all I am! I live for Shepherd-sama! I would die for Shepherd-sama! I am his sword and his shield! I would do anything for him! Anything! But – if I can't even smite his enemies… if I can't even help him further his goals… what good am I to him?"

He stared at the thirteen-year-old girl who knew no other life but the one she had seen. The girl whose sole purpose for living was one person and one thing. The girl who stared at him with one eye filled with questionable tears, with both hands clutched against her chest, and with confusion and uncertainty, fear and insecurity scrawled across her face.

Detaching himself from the situation, Kitami knew that Gat was responsible for this. There was no way that man was oblivious to the blatant amount of affection that this girl held for him. No, if anything, it was the opposite. Gat most certainly orchestrated events to ensure that Haku's sole purpose of living would be him and him alone.

So why had he let her fight a battle he knew she would lose?

Why had he then taken Koyuki into his quarters, fully cognizant of the bitter rivalry that existed between the two for his affection?

Kitami didn't know. As is was, and as it had been for quite a while, he chose not to question the judgement of his employer. From the days when his employer had made an entire town into his devoted servants, to the time he watched him casually converse with Orochimaru of the Sannin.

Kitami knew Gat the longest. He was arguably the person who knew Gat the best.

Considering how little he truly knew of him, that was somewhat tragic.

"I'm going to the bar to get something. I'll be needing someone to ensure I don't 'accidentally' kill the bartender for questioning how many drinks I can have."

Haku stared at him, confusion on her face for a few seconds. It took her a while to realize what he was implying, as the not-so-subtle invitation to join him for a drink came to her.

"I – I don't drink –"


"Because – I'm too young –"

"And who exactly is going to call you out on it? Your parents?"

"I – I can't –"

"Why?" he pressed.

"Because – Shepherd-sama wouldn't approve –"

"And who told you that?"

"Well – no one – but –"

"You make a lot of assumptions about Gat-sama, and I understand why. He saved your life, he gave you a home, shelter, food, took you in, made you strong, showered you with praise and affection – but –" Kitami closed his eyes. "Do you follow him because you are indebted to him, because you feel gratitude, or because you choose to? Because you want to?"

She, understandably bristled. "What sort of question is that?! I follow Shepherd-sama because he saved my life! Because he picked me up and chose me to be by his side!"

"And if he no longer requires you at his side?"

"He wouldn't –"

"But if he did."

"He wouldn't."

She affirmed and Kitami couldn't tell if it was out of confidence, or desperation.

And so, he said nothing in response.


The Land of Fire

"Is everyone in position?"

She crouched, her raven hair billowing in the wind as her eyes sharpened and narrowed down at the camp in front of them. Disgust filled her features as she watched the bandits, happily and rampantly cheering, sharing their drinks, having their fill of wine and foodstuff and people.

The filthy raiders and bandits needed to be exterminated. Especially considering these ones, these ones who attacked and preyed on the weak and the destitute. That preyed on the fortunate (or unfortunate) Konohan traders who had been out of the village when it fell. The traders, businessmen, and others, who returned home, only to weep as they realized there was nothing left for them there, and could not even greive their losses as they were attacked and kidnapped by scum. Their nightmares compounded, simply to feed the evil that fueled the hearts of these monsters.

"Yes, White-sama."

"Any further instructions from Black?"

"No, White-sama."

"Does Fan have any objections?"

"No, he does not."

She turned to her side, looking at him. "And you, cousin?"

The older boy shook his head, his face steeled.

"Fate has decreed that any who go against Konoha's interests will suffer retribution. I have no complaints."

She nodded, slowly, before raising her hand.

The signal was sent.

The surrounded fools did not even realize what hit them. She herself dropped in the midst of four men, her fingers blurring in a flash, light taps to their chests, before she moved onwards, grabbing the sword from the sheathe of one of the men, striking the pommel in a palm strike, and watching as it launched with a quiet boom and tore through the foreheads of two others.

"SHINOBI!" one bandit rose the alarm, immediately rousing the rest of his comrades.

"What the fuck?"

"They're just fucking brats!"

She paid no heed to the designation, her eyes shining in the night, her vision becoming overwhelmingly clear as all three-hundred-and-sixty degrees became present to her. She rushed at the one who called her a 'brat', effortlessly dodging the amateurish swing of the sword, before palming his chest with a light touch, dodging the spittle of blood that escaped from his mouth, and moving on to another target.

"When I get my hands on you, you little bitch, I'm gonna enjoy –"

No more words could be uttered from the man's throat, because from behind, a shadow, solid, in the form of a tendril, pierced through the back of his throat. She turned her gaze to where a boy, clad in all black, stood, his hand in the rat-seal, his eyes burning with a strict fire.

More and more tendrils of shadows extended outwards, all of them catching numerous bandits, spearing them like they were all insects on a stick. No sooner than that was done, giant fists would blur in, smashing the dead men as projectiles into their still living comrades.

It took them only about a minute.

The large forest clearing was covered in blood, in the smell of death and putrefaction. Their job was done.

"Aw, what do we have here?"

Almost, done.

Their final challenge stood in front of them, a tall, monstrous man that was clearly the leader of the group. His body was covered with intimidating battle-scars of different kinds, and there was a manic glee on his face.

He turned to her, and the manic glee turned into something that sickened her stomach.

"If it isn't The-Girl-Who-Got-Kidnapped!" he said with a laugh. "The itty-bitty Hyuga bitch who was the reason for the Konoha-Kumo war! My, my, you've come a long way haven't you?"

Warning bells rang in her head. Not possible. It was common knowledge, yes, but there was no way for you to identify her on sight unless you'd seen her before. Unless you'd been in the village before.

Then, she saw it, hanging loosely on his belt – a Konoha headband.

With a large slash across the middle.


Rogue Shinobi.

Of course. It made sense. The bandits had been far too coordinated. Not to mention too audacious. To attack and steal from merchants of Konoha so recently after it's downfall? You were either suicidal, or you had a personal vendetta.

"You're all that's left, aren't you?" The missing nin said, looking over the clearing. "Wait, no – you're… hah. The children of the major clans… I can see a Nara, a Hyuga, an Akimichi, and – my, my, is that an Uchiha over there?" The man let out a bark of laughter. "Oh this is just too fucking rich."

She didn't pay attention to his words. Instead, she turned to Black, gesturing to him in a few sharp finger-movements. Shadow. Bind.

"So, what do I call you? Remnants? Leftovers?" The man mused, before grinning. "Ah, I know – The Konohan Orphans. Blunt and to the point, don't you think?"

"Shut up deserter! Our parents aren't dead!"

She winced as she turned her attention to Fan.

"And the Uchiha speaks first. So that means my first target is –"

The man blurred.

When a foot smashed into the boy and folded him in half like a piece of paper, before sending him soaring away, she realized that they were out of their league.

"By the way," the man said, casually, "I was a Special Jonin before being declared M.I.A."

Incredibly, out of their league.

Escape strategy. Implement. Now. She signed to Black.

He scowled.

Opponent. Within Our Capabilities.

She grit her teeth. Not Without. Casualties.

He didn't respond. Instead, his shadows rushed forth, attempting to catch the Special Jonin, only for the man to loudly scoff, before dodging them.

"Do you think I'm an idiot, Nara? Your father would be so fucking disappointed."

"Don't talk about my –"

"Black, no! Don't answer him!"

Too late. The Special Jonin appeared behind Black, an earth-shattering smack echoed as he backhanded the boy like he was an abusive husband dismissing his uppity wife.

"So your parents are your berserk buttons. Isn't that a bit too obvious for group of orphans?"

She cursed.

"Now, who's my next tar –"

The 'downed' Shikamaru vanished in a puff of smoke, revealing a log of wood. To the Special Jonin's side, a pebble disappeared, a puff of smoke revealing the unharmed boy, who now turned to the Special Jonin, the man's movements mirroring his exactly.

"You talk too much." Black said coldly.

He reached into his pouch, the man miming his actions, but, having no pouch, reached into empty air, and could do nothing but toss his hand and throw empty air. Black, on the other hand, aimed true.

The kunai imbedded itself into the Special Jonin's skull, and Black mimed smacking his forehead with his palm. The Special Jonin did the same, and the blade buried itself all the way into the hilt.

"And you're a terrible liar, Chunin."

The dead Chunin plopped to the ground, completely unmoving.

White released a breath she didn't know she was holding, before turning to Black, an annoyed scowl on her face.

"You should have told me he was bluffing."

"I told you the opponent was within our capabilities." He replied blandly. "If you couldn't see that for yourself, I wonder how good those eyes of yours really are."

"Black –" she warned.

Black said nothing, instead, he put his hands in his pockets, a dark look on his face, as he stared distastefully at the dead Chunin. He shook his head, before turning around.

"Our mission is complete. I'm heading back." He said, walking off. "There are clouds I have to watch."


Shepherd Flagship

Ah, Koyuki-sama is beautiful as always today –

I wish I could fuck her –

Damn those thighs –

Shit, shit, she's heading my way! Gotta hide my boner –

Koyuki was finding it incredibly difficult to maintain her smile around people, especially ever since attaining her new… powers.

I heard she's crazy… damn, I wonder if she's a freak in the sheets as well –

Her smile creased a bit, and she knew that she couldn't immediately spin around and slice off the head of the soldier for his 'stray' thought. He probably would pale rather quickly if he knew what she was now capable of, not that anyone knew of course. Her power's passive let her casually hear the surface thoughts of anyone and everyone around her. It was slightly, disconcerting, and it caused her a little bit of a headache, but regardless, it was not enough to completely sour her mood.

She had access to Shepherd-sama's personal chambers!

She almost squealed in delight at the thought. For years, for years, she had imagined this day would come, the day she finally disrobed the handsome, enigmatic leader and felt him. Caressed him. Rubbed him. Oh, the sheer number of things she wanted to do to him, the sheer number of things she wanted him to do to her

Considering her dreams were often filled with wild, raunchy, and different encounters, she could only contemplate what the reality would be.

She took a deep, heavy breath, before standing in front of the door. Arguably, she was a bit nervous about entering. She wondered if she should have taken off her suit before entering. Should she have worn something else? Should she have dressed more kinkily? Or perhaps wear nothing at all –

She shook her head. She'd taken a shower, used her best perfumes, and she was a little overwhelmed by this moment. It was like finally actualizing a childhood dream.

So, she pushed the door open.


There he was, sitting in front of a table, looking over several plans. To his side, a large white polar bear, Rupert, lay on the floor, Shepherd-sama's pet, and Koyuki would not deny being jealous of the polar bear who got the privilege of being used as a stool for Shepherd-sama's feet –


His voice drew her attention, and she squirmed in place, uncertain and nervous, before idly wondering what sort of thoughts he had – what a man as enigmatic and as powerful as Shepherd-sama thought about her –

Only for her to wince as she felt a sharp pain in her head.


Immediately, a seal appeared on the front of her suit, spreading throughout her body and binding her in place. She froze.

"Were you trying to read my mind, Koyuki?"

The normally calm, placating, comforting voice was replaced with one of cold, emotionless fury, and Koyuki's entire body shuddered as she looked upon those golden eyes that lacked mirth, promising only pain and danger.

"I – I didn't mean – I wasn't – I –"

His polar bear, Rupert, stood, the creature easily towering over her at a monstrous eight feet tall, before slamming her to the ground with a mighty blow of its paw, and pinning her there. It clambered over her, it's sharp, dangerous row of teeth displaying itself as it hung over her neck. Drool and saliva dripped on her face from the creature's mouth.

"I'm sorry! Shepherd-sama! I – I'm sorry –"

Rupert stopped, his fangs and dark breaths mere inches from her face. The seals on her person vanished, and she realized she could move again.

"I understand being curious, Koyuki. I understand it very well." The Shepherd said. "However, should you ever attempt something of the sort again, I will not hesitate to end you. Is that clear?"

She dipped her head as much as she could.

"Y-yes, Shepherd-sama."

Rupert stood from her, the polar bear going back to all fours, before slowly resuming his position underneath his master's feet.

Koyuki stood to her feet, feeling miserable. She'd ruined it. She'd ruined her reward, she'd ruined the perfect opportunity she had to enter his private quarters, the only chance she had to be embraced by him, and she'd ruined everything


"Y-yes, Shepherd-sama?"

"I will give you a chance to redeem yourself, and perhaps give you an opportunity to regain your reward. Are you willing to accept this?"

Her eyes gleamed. He – he would do that?

"Y-yes, Shepherd-sama! I will do anything!"

The Shepherd hummed. "There is a prisoner we took from Konoha. I want you to take this girl as your student. Teach her, and make her devoted to me. The sooner you accomplish this, the sooner you get your reward."

Koyuki's nodded rapidly. "Understood, Shepherd-sama." She paused. "What is the name of this prisoner?"

The shepherd smiled.

"Yakumo Kurama."