Chapter 2

I was standing on the summit of a mountain with clouds floating around me, as my eyes scanned across the bloody, majestic expanse below, the relic of my victory. Satisfied laughter launched from the deepest pit of my chest echoed for miles, riding the thunderous winds, and was carried to the furthest reaches of my kingdom. Underneath the disarray of corpses and rusty weapons laid fresh soil on which a new empire would bud and flourish, one in which only I held the crown. The thousands of minions, my minions, would line up, in chains, to kneel in front of me and kiss my feet in fear, as I sat on my throne, adorned in the finest robes.

For many years of my life, I was only able muse over this in my dreams, until I acquired the sufficient skill to paint this panorama on reality's slippery canvas. I deemed Konoha, the most prosperous village in the Fire Country, as a worthy target of my ambitions. Reasonably attainable, but not without certain obstacles to make my eventual victory much more desirable.

The challenge was dethroning Tsunade, the hokage, as the height of her strength metre barred so dangerously close with mine. She was too skilled a shinobi for me to take down single-handedly, and I was not impetuous nor desperate enough to try. Not to mention, I also had to defeat dozens of the most outstanding ninjas in the country who protected Konoha with the utmost fortitude like it was erected from diamonds. Traditional, direct warfare was simply no way to penetrate Konoha's fortress, as such effrontery would only make us victims for their stubborn strength.

Thus, I engineered a new gambit, one in which the village would be destroyed from the inside out, crumbled by its own strength. It obligated for me to secretly avert the allegiance of one of those warriors into my wing, and she would become the snake in the grass to the village's delicate inner mechanisms. They would have been wrong to trust her, as she was to throw them into a quagmire from which would be difficult to resurface. Thus, launching a successful attack on an already weakened and confounded Konoha would be extremely easy, without as much loss on my part.

Anko, of course, was initially adopted because she was to become that one progeny. A weak-minded child, starved of attention, she was more than willing to surrender her whole world to me, in exchange for a mote of affection. It was extremely easy to convince her to fight, or do anything, for my sake, as her flowery innocence would have not told her any better.

However, I was taken aback at the extraordinary potential in ninjutsu she possessed. Even though I ended up abandoning her to shop for more potential protegees, no one had ever come close to matching the immensity of her calibre. She took all my teachings to heart, and did everything she could to win my approval, no matter how slight, never minding the bruises and scars that were left on her young body. She now had something that she wanted all her life, and therefore, the endurance of the physical pain it caused became child's play in her eyes.

When training, she knew exactly what I wanted, how to kick, punch, when to jump, before I even opened my mouth. Never was there such intense chemistry seething between a trainee and I, that it was as if her very spirit waltzed with mine. Her body became the mirror of my mind, as she emulated her movements to what I had envisioned with divine accuracy and precision. We needed not to communicate verbally; the act of stringing words together in order to express ideas was tossed aside due to its disgraceful inefficiency.

She was perfect, in so many different ways.

Her eyes, forever glistening with ardour, like a fire that couldn't be quenched, always beckoned for more and more of me. All those forbidden techniques that had my other students cower in fear only excited her. The titanic amounts of pleasure that I had slammed into those muscular, yet tender legs only made her more hungry, as if she had no other purpose in life but to bleed to death with rapture.

Whenever her anger was provoked, the beast inside of her that I had defined as her true nature, would immediately, almost reflexively erupt from the infernal flames toiling in her gut and crash out her gates like a mad sea. Orange and red sparks shot out from those pitch-black pupils, and her lavender hair grew wild and aflame. She overcame everything that stood in her path. All that dared to fight back would fall victim to her ever-crescendoing fury, and be crumbled to dust by her bare hands.

I loved when she was like that, driven not by reason, but by passion alone, because only I was able to abduct the fazed goddess from her heights when she least expected it, and bend and meld her into my amusement. Maybe I should have taught Anko better to stay vigilant and arm herself for combat at all times. I should have, but didn't, because I still wanted to leave a few tender dents for me to probe at on her otherwise metallic exterior. To humour myself.

Not warmth, but only ice vapour escaped now from waned lips that once swelled with saturated red.

Her complexion deadened. Her skin was frozen. Her eyes were grey and bleak, the colour of the soot that her fire had been reduced to. Their glow subsided, replaced by the bitter frost that ate through her irises, and the rest of her body. The beast has deserted its once viable host, leaving her but an empty shell of what she had been.

I was the only person in the world who could reduce her to this, depleted of the strength to even speak or move an inch. Completely vulnerable to anyone with a sodden mind, the most she could manage to do was lock her eyelids shut as my fingertips came closer in contact with her. I smiled. I wasn't going to hurt her any more than I already had. I played with my doll until she was threadbare, but if she was truly broken, it would be no fun.

My ownership was branded with gold on her whole body, as bright as the sun, from the rivers of her flowing tears, down to the peaks of her ample breasts, across the plane of her stomach, and through the valley between those delicate legs. I was the sole creator of all these wonders, and how they heeded to my authority! Skin became supple as my lips kissed, let blood when my teeth incised. Limbs shuddered when my fingers touched. And now, I had lulled her aura down to but gentle, murmuring wisps, and she smelt of subservience, like light rain, or green tea, to be poured right into my power. I was winning the war in conquering the empire that grew not from war-torn deadlands, but instead, from within her womb.

Upon seeing her like this, my victory paved right in front of me, I threw my previous ambitions of overthrowing Tsunade into oblivion. I would give up Konoha, even the whole world, just to hear her sweet cries, for there was no other entity in the world that could heed to my dominance so intimately, that I could manipulate with such elegance. Nothing could compare to my Anko, lying supine on an altar of a bed, adorned by nakedness, waiting just for me...

But what would become of her in the end, when Death comes, bearing his knife to take her away from me? I simply couldn't amount to rivaling against destiny. Anko was bound to eventually be cast off to rot in the ground, her porcelain reduced to ashes, and I couldn't do anything about it.

And what would become of us?

We would have been nothing but a mere tryst, short-lived and petty, our once strong bond dismembered by time's angry winds. I couldn't possibly let her be exiled into the abyss, alone. She was to be chained at nape of her neck to me for an eternity, kneel at my command, be at my mercy. In her world, there must not be Death. There was me, and only me.

I knew I had to somehow meld a fragment of my soul with hers so that I would be with her, when corporeally, I wasn't. She could galloped away on Death's chariot at light's speed, but I, who would be locked so intimately in her heart's chambers, could still whisper kisses to her. Only then would I have sunk my teeth in her so profoundly that no natural nor supernatural force in the universe could take her away from me. Only then would I have finally claimed my throne within her, to have my reign cast in stone.

For all of that to happen, she would have to kill me.

Of course, for to be crowned her emperor, I deemed trivial the loss of what was merely the physical vehicle of my soul, a weightless sacrifice.

It didn't take much convincing at all for Anko to throw a kunai at me either, and I taught her well enough to have had it not land so ridiculously amiss.

Oh, my dearest, she had finally done it, handed her fate right at my feet, like the good little girl she was. How could anyone not find her foolishness utterly adorable?

Those very hands that killed me were just nights before touching me everywhere, in every way possible, just so she could prove all that she felt for me. I was rather patient with her trying to enlighten me with information that I, the very architect of all her sentiments, had already known. Though I was lightly amused with the desperate tone in which she told me, like she had somehow already known what was approaching in the wake. Yanking my hair away and clutching my face, she allowed her mouth to explode in mine, her tongue stabbed into my depths, as it tried to extract the flavours it morbidly craved. She was so ferocious with me that it was unclear whether she was trying to make love, or have me as a meal. Choking her arms and legs around me, she begged in the most ragged and breathless voice for me to never leave her, because she couldn't possibly live without me.

She was right, because I made sure that after my death, the extent of her suffering would harshen tenfold. I licked my lips in zeal.

Her poor head was spun out of control in a mental maelstrom that bent and pulled her in every painful angle possible. The guilt she felt was beyond human comprehension, for having killed me, the only person who ever bothered to give her enough attention to make her feel human. She hated herself, for having been asinine enough to cut off her only lifeline. She could never taste me, nor be alive again.

She withered, from the lack of my touch, even if she did everything she could to escape reality, which usually meant drinking until she could feel and think no more. I became her phantom. She couldn't keep awake during the day without my searing image blinding and bleeding her eyes. She couldn't sleep at night without my laughter echoing across her mind, pounding against her skull, making the knives in her stomach twist with malice.

In an attempt to distract herself, she let loose her hedonism like a pack of wild dogs, whether it be parading in unsafe areas at night to debauch with everything she saw, or drowning herself in enough alcohol to have killed a man twice her size. She came home every night littered with alien specimens, bites, and bruises, leaving her worried husband to bathe her clean. The little devil, only when she was drunk and being filled up to the brim with by random men would she not, due to the mental incapability to, think painful thoughts of me. She went through the most extreme means to uplift what I had cursed upon her, if only for a few moments. She so desperately wanted to breathe again, even if only cigarette smoke and burning liquor entered her lungs.

I became more than who was all she could about. I was now embedded in the very core of her soul, because when she eventually would be lying alone in her room, stripped clean of any intoxicating distractions and was snapped back to being dangled mere milimetres above madness once more, she could only grasp onto our memories, and nothing else, as her last chance at sanity.

But one thing was bound to kill her, to beguile her into joining me- this poison, suspended in a sickly green vial that I held between my fingers, bubbling expectantly to seep into its prey.

It was to make her realize one true fact out of the myriads of lies I had told her.

That I didn't love her at all.

"I had really loved you," I had said at last, before descending into silence for the rest of my time with her.

But I said those words so flippantly, articulated my words so they screamed of carelessness that someone as thick as her was bound to make sense of my almost offensively conspicuous implications.

And just like that, all her hopes, hopes that I died loving her, the last comforting thought that was to become her only thin coat from the imminent storm, shattered.

I would have loved to see her dying slowly. Anko rolling on the cold floor, drowning in icy sweat. Anko bluntly hitting the objects in her room until her knuckles bled. Anko skirting around empty whiskey bottles, feet moving lithely in a drunken tango just to eventually fall from grace. Her sanity, beauty, everything she had washed away by the rain, under which she spun madly until she retched, leaving her in nothing but rags. Sodden, demented, but nevertheless beautiful. Her finale would have been her most astounding performance yet.

Eventually, she would be escorted safely into Death's arms, for what more does she have to live for?

Yet, she would still be mine, because the thoughts and memories of me, my soul, would still continue to haunt every ounce of her. For eternity.

And no matter how much she suffered, she couldn't kill herself again.

She would be in pain forever, just like how I wanted my little doll to be.

How is Anko doing now, I wonder?

Having been killed in my previous human body, I have had to borrow that of a serpent, and lived a bleak, lowly existence for too many years. The glories of my previous life have faded to nothing but faint recollections, as all I do nowadays is hunt rodents to survive. To survive, not live, waiting in despair for the dawn of better days.

There is more than this waiting for me in the wake, more than having to crawl the Earth as a weak animal, hiding behind bushes to avoid being preyed upon. Time has ripened. I must go to her now. Somewhere, above or below, in the ocean of dimensions, is a fragment of my soul and an empire waiting to be reclaimed.

I must rise again.


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