A Morbid Acuteness of the Senses
Hidan rushed out of the stairwell only to trip over his own feet. He had overstepped when he stepped out since his legs had gotten used to the steepness of the stairs, fortunately, he didn't land on his face and was able to use his withdrawn scythe to hold himself up from kissing the ground.
Taking a breath of relief, he straightened up and looked around to where he was now. It was a long cavern with high ceilings made up of great stone arches and what looked to be large lanterns hanging down from each of the groins. But instead of warm, golden flames, they had the same odd blue glow. On either side behind him, there were two more stairwells, just as small and tight fitting as the one he had emerged from. He cursed Pein once again for being such a dick and not telling him about any of this. As he gazed down the cavern, he noticed that he wasn't the only being in the room.
Quick as a blink, he had jumped to where the wall between two stairwells was at his back and his scythe defensively put up in front of him. Huge, grotesque creatures lined the walls along the left and right of the cavern. Some had dark sunken pits for eyes, some had fiery orbs to see from. Some had maws hanging open with gruesome, wicked teeth shining red, others had their great jowls stretched so wide that they went behind their heads. Each of them had multiple, misshapen limbs, and each of their bodies was different from the rest. But all of them had faces that looked at him silently.
Holyyy Fuuuu-Lord Jashin, am I in Hell? Are these your true servants? Or are these the beasts of Pein, that Bastard Leader?
All of this, Hidan had observed in the span of the few heartbeats in which he stood absolutely still and his body refused to breath. The army of silent monsters was overwhelming and the impending confrontation would shock any sane shinobi. When his diaphragm finally flexed and his lungs forcefully expanded, his body shuddered with the intake of air. Hidan's sense of the passage of time was no longer relevant to anything but how many times he was able to inhale and exhale. He touched the fingertips of his right hand to his rosary. The familiar grain of the wooden beads strengthened his hands enough that he was able to grasp the medallion of Jashin's Servants and firmly grip his scythe. His lips barely moved at all as he whispered a prayer to his lord. There were too many things for him to take all at once.
No longer as shocked as before, Hidan glanced at the forms closest to him, and for his sanity and willpower's sake, chose to focus completely on the one to his right. It looked like a 3 eyed, 4 armed jackal, and it was hunched over like a gorilla. Its eyes were black holes but somehow, it managed to stare at Hidan with a permanent snarl on its lips, two canines glinting like stalactites.
Hidan, pathetically stared back at it and adjusted his position. The bottomless eyes didn't move. Not even a hair ruffled on the thing's back. Hidan shot a kunai at the creature's center eye and in the same movement, nicked his own forearm to draw blood for his first sacrificial ceremony in two years. But before he touched a blood covered thumb to the ground around his feet, he looked up just in time to see his kunai simply disappear into the eye. Hidan managed to draw half his circle before he realized that it was oddly quiet for a battle. The creature hadn't even moved an inch nor flinched. It hadn't drawn breath or let out sound. Hidan looked back up at the monster. It hadn't even moved.
After a moment, Hidan threw a second kunai, aiming at what would be the vitals on any other living thing. The metal whistled through the air, and hit the jackal's chest, square in the middle. For a beat, the kunai looked like it entered flesh as it stay stuck in place, but to Hidan's dismay, it only fell to the ground with a dying clink a second later. Even so, the creature had not stirred.
Confused but undeterred from the fight, Hidan stepped out of his unfinished circle and cautiously approached the canine form. Every few steps, he would pause to check for movement, both in front of him and behind him. This could very well be an elaborate hoax by the army of hellions. To sneak up and attack him while he was distracted by one. To move when he wasn't looking and tear his limbs out, end his servitude for good.
Hidan swallowed. He was now just a couple feet away from the jackal, within scythe range. It hadn't moved to attack him and nothing had moved behind him. He heaved his scythe, twisting to one side as he pulled it all the way back, then whipped forward for a swing that would cleave the creature's leg or arm of whatever it was, from under him.
Hidan was met with a jarring impact that held him in place. Metal met stone. His beloved scythe was buried an inch into a stony thigh and still quivering too fast to see. The longer he held on, the more painful the vibrations got. Hidan tried to pull it out, but every ounce of energy he poured into it seemed to be sucked out, devoured or maybe just negated, by the vibrating metal.
"Oh Lord Jashin, help me defeat this hellion, scourge it from this world!" Hidan screamed as he pulled on the handle of his scythe. His arm had begun to lose feeling as the vibrations not only refused to cease, but seemed to grow more frequent. Hidan knew he should just leave the weapon and run, but he refused. His beloved scythe had traveled with him this far, he would not leave it now in the midst of a would-be battle.
By now, he had realized the creature was simply a stone statue, yet it was something more than a mere statue. It seemed to suck in energy from whatever attacked it. Hidan had a feeling that if he did not get out of there soon, something bad would begin.
"JASHINNN! DAMNNNN! YOUUUUU! FUUUUU-" Hidan screamed as he finally used his legs to push against the stone and gain leverage. He couldn't feel his arms anymore and there was a painful stinging sensation replacing the numbness. The scythe's blades were humming and sweat was pouring down his face. With a final heave, the blades lodged in the stone leg began to slide out slowly, with a screaming metallic sound Hidan had never heard from his faithful weapon. The slow, shrill grating of nails on a chalkboard, like the blades of his scythe were in pain.
Hidan fell back abruptly as the scythe fell free.
The sky was, as always, filled with clouds, but this time, they were becoming darker and denser, roiling with unkempt winds. In the distance, Sakura could see the difference in the sheets of rain from where the storm was giving birth. Instead of lazily dripping straight down, each drop was being buffeted into whatever direction the wind pointed it to. It looked like an unwelcoming frenzy.
The storm reminded her of her equally frenzied partner. Hidan, that crazy bastard. She wondered how far he'd gotten, if he had made it to Akatsuki's lair. If he was still in one piece. For a second, just for a second, Sakura was playing with the idea of going back to where she last saw him but knew that to be insensible. But what was sensible was to wait the oncoming storm out, and so, she began to have second thoughts as she stood on the last step down from her hostel's door.
No way, Sakura! You have to go out! You need to find a job! It's for this mission!
A job for a job? Oh, Come on! Shouldn't they have given you more money for this mission if it was soo important?
It's just reconnaissance. They expect me to take care of myself, and that's exactly what I'm doing.
Yeah, sure you are. What with the new wardrobe and all, you can't afford a roof over your head anymore!
Ugh…I know. I know. That's why I have to go. Remember Sakura, it's for the mission! Stick to your plan! Hidan is doing the same!
Pulling her hood down closer around her head, Sakura stepped out from under the lintel and headed towards the nearest main street. The hostel she was staying in was a slim building of about seven or eight stories, off a nondescript alley approximately a dozen blocks away from the city's skyward reaching center. Compared to the buildings around it, the inn was a fairly short structure.
As the crowding towers on either side gave way to the more open space of the wider cardinal avenue, Sakura paused and looked to the colorful architecture of storefronts, social hubs, and restaurants from which people of all sorts were shuffling in and out, rushing to go about their business and beat the oncoming storm. Bikes whizzed past, odd 3 wheeled carts zipped around with passengers, and once in a while, giant carts carrying construction materials were lugged past by teams of water buffalo. This was definitely a main street. Counting as far as she could see on either side, there were only a small handful of shops where she might be able to get a job that served her purpose. Adding the shops to her mental checklist, she crossed the street carefully, dodging around the faster vehicles and avoiding other pedestrians. Starting from the end of the block, she decided to systematically go through each place on her list.
The first place she entered was a cheery green colored, fresh food market. It was small, with only three short aisles. She walked around the entire store in under a minute, saw the only clerk in the store was busy reading a newspaper, and walked right out. A tiny grocery store was not the type of place she was looking for. She needed a place that was lively and busy all the time, where all manner of people came. The more people, the better to answer her questions about Rain. Or at least a place that paid well enough for her to frequent the former type of place.
That was just an unlucky start, the next place will be better.
The second place she tried was a specialty umbrella shop. Similar to the first, it was small, with one or two patrons in at a time. She was beginning to think that she was simply deceived by the number of people on the street in front of the shops because these places were not busy at all. At least not at the level she was hoping for. Sighing, she left that shop, too, and moved on to the next. One by one she made it down several blocks, going in and out of shops, boutiques, and even a small health clinic. It was when she got closer to downtown that she saw real restaurants and cafes.
Her patience wearing thin, she gritted her teeth and stopped to observe carefully instead of wasting any more energy trying deadbeat shops. Seeing a corner venue whose doors were constantly swinging back and forth, Sakura rushed to the end of the block, despite having to splash through puddles the size of ponds which she had carefully avoided thus far. Lightening in the sky above lit everything up in harsh relief.
A bell attached to the door chimed as Sakura walked in accompanied by a roar of thunder. The storm she had dreaded had finally come to meet her.
With a string of curses, Hidan scrambled to get himself together and stand back. He looked at his scythe, whose blades were glowing at the tips. Growling, he slung it to his back; his favorite weapon was useless until it cooled down. That's when he heard a groaning, grinding sound coming from the creature ahead of him.
"Oh, Fuck," Hidan exclaimed under his breath as he slowly backed away further, watching wide-eyed and not knowing what to expect. Obviously he had never encountered anything like it before in his long career as a jashinist, but as the creature slowly, slowly rose to its full height, Hidan noticed an odd slip of paper on its navel. It was hard not to miss since it was white and glowed faintly, contrasting sharply against the dark, stone abdomen.
"Ahah! Ahahahahaha! Shit! Fuck! That's what you are?" Hidan guffawed, doubling over in a weird, giddy relief. He ran a hand through his hair to smooth it back and started casually walking away as the creature moved to follow.
"A fuckin' Golem. That's what that bastard Pein filled this room with, huh?" Hidan talked to the moving stone as he began the long walk to the other side of the room, knowing full well that the creature didn't have the ability to understand or reply. The jackal-like golem silently dragged itself behind Hidan and kept pace, every now and then reaching out to grab him with a monstrous third or fourth hand intent on crushing which Hidan promptly skipped away from.
"Of course it'd be his style to make all of you as creepy as fuck.", his remark echoed through the cavern. He hoped Pein heard it. And was deeply offended by it. Wherever the bastard was hiding. Hidan had seen golems before, and had also dealt with them before back in his early Jashinist days. They were essentially giant clay dolls that were brought to life with a ritual and a name. Normally, they were made in a more humanoid form, two arms, two legs, a head and a pair of eyes…but of course Pein fucked that up from the beginning. They were created to carry out any, single command; summed up in one word, this command was written with chakra as the golem's name and that paper attached to a center point on the form.
Golem were practically indestructible, for that reason they were mainly used as guardians. Once they were active, they became relentless juggernauts and would do anything to do their one task. However, all one had to do was rip off or destroy the name and the golem would be incapacitated. Fortunately for Hidan, the bigger they got, the slower they got, and he sped up to leave the golem jackal far abaft. He virtually strolled to the small orifice that was the exit. All but whistling a jaunty tune, Hidan was just about to pass the threshold when the ground behind him shook. Hidan knew he shouldn't turn around to look, that he should just hit the accelerator on his chakra and run, but he didn't. A morbid curiosity to watch his own doom forced him to see.
All the golem were on the move, groaning and grinding their stony limbs they rushed at him with eyes glowing orange. Their noisy advance echoed throughout the mausoleum-like chamber, raising dust into the air and causing stones to rain down from the ceiling. As if an underground Cimmeria had been awakened. The jackal that was tailing him was now moving quicker, much quicker then Hidan had anticipated. Within a few seconds the jackal would be upon him, crushing him to smithereens.
"Damn", was all Hidan could say before dodging a literal iron fist, then another and another, yelling indiscriminately between movement, "Fuck!-Why- the hell- did he- give you four arms?"
Looking about, the stampede of golem was closing in on him as they picked up speed. The jackal moved to block the exit out of the little hellhole. Now behind him were the hellions and in front of him was the jackal, still swinging its limbs around to crush the intruder. Hidan swore and muttered a plea for help to Jashin in the same breath, having no idea how to get out in one piece or at least mostly in one piece. Hidan was stuck between rock and a hard place (pun intended).
His beloved scythe was useless against the rock army, kunai were, too. Even his ritual would not work on something that did not truly live, something whose essence was nothing more tangible than just a trace of chakra. These were all facts that Hidan greatly lamented upon realization. The only thing he could depend upon now was his own speed, but he knew that eventually he would get worn out from constantly dodging a crushing death. The other, impossible option was to destroy each of golems' names. But that was a hopeless task, he would probably not even make it through a third of the monsters before being simply squashed to death by their unforgiving bulk.
Fuck! Jashin, help me! Think, Hidan! Think! You can't end here!
Hidan began to sweat more profusely then before, ignoring the overwhelming army rounding from behind, he kept his roseate eyes on the one golem blocking his exit.
Come on, Hidan! I know you're a dumbass but being around Sakura this long must have rubbed something off on you!
Even if Hidan made it past the jackal, it and the others would surely give chase into the tunnel. If only he could keep them from following, somehow. Then he'd be safe, at least for the moment. There was no thinking in what that bastard Pein had rigged up next.
Hidan decided to fuck coming up with a plan, he just wanted to get through the opening to the other side. He stepped back from the jackal and away from the crevice, shooting some kunai, he hoped to lure it after him and apart from the opening. From the corner of his vision he could see orange glows looming above him. Like a cat after catnip, it stepped away and Hidan darted for the space behind the golem. He made it inside just as a craggy arm whipped forward and hit the side of the entrance, chipping off a sizeable chunk of bedrock.
The jackal and its four arms reached for him again and Hidan danced in the rift to avoid them. He was getting tired and his breathing was more labored. He needed to stop this golem at least, and soon. Hidan ran up the side of the tunnel so that he was directly above the jackal, it looked up at him with three eerie orange orbs and shot its hands into the top of the tunnel right when Hidan launched himself towards the paper on its navel. Catching hold of a corner, he used his momentum to bounce away deeper into the tunnel, landing with a barrel roll.
There was a loud crash of stone against stone as the golem's arms smashed into the tunnel walls, bringing everything down around it with the shockwave. Hidan had ripped off the name right when the impact happened, now the jackal golem was no different than the pile of rocks it was buried in. And better yet, the mess of boulders completely blocked off the opening, preventing the remaining golem from marching in….at least at the moment.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Hidan slumped against the wall and took in everything in front of him. Sending a word of thanks to Jashin, he relished in the knowledge that Sakura was nowhere near him. Using the edge of his cloak he wiped away the mixture of dirt, sweat, and desperation off his face. After a few short minutes of rest, he checked over the rest of his body. There were some minor cuts and scrapes from falling debris and rough landings. He used a kunai to pick a few pebbles out of the arm he had used to steady his last landing. As blood started to seep out from the shallow wound, he ran his tongue over it and stood up with a thoughtful grimace. He couldn't feel anything, not the stinging over the cuts, not the soreness where bruises were forming. He was still on an adrenaline rush for some reason, though it should have faded minutes ago. Things were going wrong with his body sooner than he had anticipated, while a longer adrenaline rush was not a serious issue, it meant that bigger problems may be following up and could mean the difference between life or death (as dead as Hidan could get) in a battle. He knew that his body would ache even more than before, he'd have to find a sacrifice soon.
Frowning, Hidan adjusted his scythe and trudged forward, thankfully this walk would be short and sweet, he could already see stairs leading to a door . The tunnel was dimly lit by glowing veins of phosphorous in the walls. This time, the stairs were not narrow, nor did they require any epic scythe wielding skills. Hidan quickly made it to a simple wooden door. He was about to grab hold of the handle when he saw a sliver of light peeking from underneath, and it was normal light from a normal lamp.
Thinking better then to simply walk into whatever was on the other side, he stepped back, fixed a smug smirk on his face and delivered a swift kick to the center of the door. It flew off its hinges with a bang. Hidan forced himself not to squint from the light and swaggered into the room.
A/N: Hooooooboiiiiii how wuzzit? Tell me in the review :) I was finna have this thing beta'd but it was taking too long and I was being impatient haha. I really wanted to get this chapter out within 2 days of finishing it.
I think my writing style has changed a lot in 2 years. I mean I'm old enough to drink now, when i began this story, i wasn't even old enough to vote. Maybe I'm more sarcastic now.
I intended on writing more about Sakura, but I got caught up writing Hidan's more 'action-packed' adventure. I got some good ideas for Sakura's fake name from the last chapter reviews, so thanks you guys!
Also, the word Cimmeria...I don't know if most people know what it means, but from what i've read, this is what I've gathered: It's a harsh and barren land of darkness (like the ice world from Thor- the Movie) where foul creatures thrive through any means necessary. These creatures, teh Cimmerian, were once normal people and the land was a normal people place, but then the people did something super wrong and their beautiful land became curse-d, then over the generations of having to survive in the wretched place, the people of Cimmeria evolve with their surroundings and became hideous beasts (like orcs or something) with murderous skill and cunning. They would have gone out and taken over the world, but Cimmeria was barricaded by impassable mountains. So they were stuck there being mean and angry and ugly forever. IDK, my def is probably exaggerated and i don't remember where I read of it. It was a while ago so this may as well be total BS and the wiki entry on Cimmeria being the origins of Conan the Barbarian would be correct. But then again, wikipedia is half BS anyway.
Please review :)