DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO! MASASHI KISHIMOTO DOES! I also do not own any of the characters within this fan fiction, except for the ones that I think I already claimed as my own in the first chapter… If not, I'll list them again later. There's just way too many to name. o.o;

A/N: Nero's POV~


Chapter Two: The Hunter and the Hunted! Never Hide a Secret From Botan!

I was so thankful for my Genin team being there to distract Botan. He seemed to have a lot of fun being around them. He was going on and on about his little adventures, mentioning how we met. Hisako was enjoying it as well, giggling and hanging onto Botan's arm like he was an older brother or something.

Nobuo smiled as well, listening to Botan's dramatic stories. Even Hidoi shut up to listen, laughing out loud every so often and making smart-ass comments, to which Botan easily silver-tongued him. Even so, Hidoi didn't start screaming at me. I was rather content with that.

I walked between Fuu and Ran, who was scribbling things down in a scroll that trailing along beside her on the ground. I sweat dropped, then averted my eyes.

"What are you doing?" I asked curiously, as the scribbling of her ink pen was getting annoying. sckritch, sckritch, sckritch. Ran blinked, then glanced at me out the corner of her eye seriously.

"I'm writing down milady's sermons. As soon as we arrive, she must give the weekly prediction, hold a session at the temple, visit the Chikage, go for her midnight stroll, bless the sinned, write more sermons…" I was getting lost. In fact, I was still at 'visit the Chikage', blinking at her. She stopped, cocking a brow at me as she put a hand on her hip.

"What?" She demanded. I frowned.

"You lost me at visit the Chikage. Why is her schedule so packed?" I questioned curiously, glancing at Mizu, who looked like she was smiling under her head piece, her hands folded together in front of her as she walked, hidden by her enormous sleeves.

Ran snorted, tearing the scroll up into its rolled state before she stuck it in a small purse she had over her shoulder.

"She's the High Priestess of Ketsuekigakure! It's her duty to warn our village, protect them, everything. She's just as important as the Chikage in our village. Our religion is what keeps us going." She explained sternly, for a fifteen-year-young. I frowned.

"What exactly is this religion of yours? It's not that crazy cult that worships Jashin, right?" I asked with an eye roll. Ran scowled.

"Don't insult us with such a petty religion. Religion! The god of destruction doesn't stand a chance against-"

"Ran," Mizu spoke softly, reaching up to gently pat her servant's shoulder, "Do not raise your voice." Ran blinked, then nodded obediently. I glanced at Mizu, who seemed to be smiling at me as she lowered her hand.

"The religion of our village is somewhat complicated," She began smoothly, "There are many gods in this world. Jashin, Amaterasu, Orochi, but we follow a particular goddess by the name of Isensoko."

"Senso?" I asked, cocking a brow. Mizu laughed softly.

"I know what're you're thinking. Worshipping a goddess of war, but our faith in Her has led us in many good directions. She led Lord Hoto to create Ketsuekigakure in the first place, allowing for us to prosper greatly. We've won battles against attacking shinobi through her guidance and wisdom… Of course, the creation of Ketsuekigakure is cloudy from my view as I was not born there." She explained. I blinked.

"Where were you from?"

"I originated from the Land of Lightening. I was once a princess, but I was forced into marriage when I was very young, the age of your Genin, perhaps. I married a man at least ten years my senior, a Jinchuuriki from Amegakure. He was much too cruel and power hungry, causing me to flee. I fled to Ketsuekigakure back when it was merely a spot on the map."

"Sounds rough," I muttered, trying to remember why I felt like I had heard all this before, "Is your history imprinted on your files?" Mizu nodded. I nodded back, but more thoughtfully. That's where I heard it. Maybe Ruriko or Akira or someone had read me something about it.

"And you?" Mizu asked. I blinked, then shrugged.

"I don't have a story." I answered.

"Oh, come now… Don't be shy."

"It's not so much that as, I seriously don't have a story," I replied, quietly so that my Genin team were to busy ranting with Botan to hear, "I lived with my dad for a while, but I guess he just didn't want me, so he dumped me at my aunt and uncle's in Sunagakure. They said someone had wiped my memory, which explains why I can't read."

"You can't read?" Mizu asked softly. She sounded odd, like she was on the verge of crying or something, but I just averted my eyes.


"Does that bother you?"

"It bothers me when people ask about it." I threw back. I hadn't meant to sound rude, but it just came out like that. Mizu stared at me.

"Watch your tone with Priestess Mizu!" Ran barked at me, glaring. I rolled my eyes at her, looking the other way. Mizu's aqua eyes glowed and she looked like she was going to say something, anything, but I yelped out loud as Botan practically choked in a hug from behind.

"Nerooooo! Botan's hungry! We should stop, stop! Find a place with food, food~!" He sang, cuddling his face on me. I winced, twitching a little.

"Botan…" I started as a warning, but there was no point in it really. He just kept hanging on me and hugging all over me. My Genin team just laughed and Ran chuckled, probably amused by the humiliation that showed on my face as a red blush. Fuu and Takashi sweat dropped and both looked in opposite directions. Mizu smiled.

"Yes," She stated with a nod, pointing up a head, "There should be a lovely dango shop up ahead. We can rest there for a meal. I am rather hungry myself."

"Dango? Milady…" Ran began, but Mizu was already moving up ahead of us. I frowned, wondering how that lady could walk so fast with a sore ankle. After I finally squirmed away from Botan, we followed after her and sure enough there was a nice little shop. While everyone ordered, I took a hold of Botan's sleeve at the end of the line.

"Botan, can you do me a favor?" I asked with a serious frown. He beamed brightly, just like I thought he would, clasping his hands together tightly.

"Neeeeh! Anything for you, Nero!"

"Ugh, look, I need you to write a report for me so I can send it back to the Kazekage. He's probably wondering how we're doing."

"Sure thing, Nero!" Botan grinned and went to capture my face in his hands, but I ducked, scowling a little.

"Botan, I might have let you do that to me a couple hundred years ago, but not now. I'm older and I'm also a teacher now. You need to cool off on treating me like a kid." I stated calmly, but firmly to get my point across. After all, the last time we had seen each other, I was like eighteen or something.

Botan just blinked, studying me as he tilted his head a little. I could faintly make out one of his cat ears under his hood. It made me wonder if he still hated people looking at them. Suddenly, a grin swept across his face as he perked back up.

"You're very right, Nero. You have grown up." He replied. I blinked, mostly surprised that he didn't ignore me or anything. I looked at him a bit suspiciously now.


"Sorry if it seemed I was treating you like a child," Botan sighed, and there was a short pause before he leaned into my face, smirking, "I'll be sure to treat you more like a big adult, okay?" With that, he leaned closer into my face and swept his arms up around my torso, making me wince and glare at him.

"You hypocrite-"

"Ah, ah. I agreed that you were adult… So I'm going to treat you more maturely!" Botan added with a playful wink before he leaned up and licked my cheek before twirling around and ordering. I twitched angrily, roughly wiping off my cheek in disgust.


"Hahaha! Sensei, I'm definitely losing more respect for you!" Hidoi laughed, holding an already empty plate of dango. I glared at him and bopped him on the head, making him yelp.

"Shut up, you brat, and throw the plate out. We're not going to stand around all day." I scolded. Hidoi rolled his eyes with a light huff.



"Yes, sir." Hidoi corrected himself sarcastically, sticking his tongue out at me, grinning. I made a grab at the front of his ridiculous torso-less shirt, but he easily ducked back and under my arm, running for the garbage. I scowled after him and brushed myself off, absentmindedly wiping my cheek off again. I started to turn around, but I heard an eerie hissing noise that made me turn slightly, frowning down toward the ground.

My eyes landed on a small, thin black snake. Its gold eyes were glowing as it slithered toward the trash can and I narrowed my eyes more, following it until it stopped right at someone's feet.


My eyes widened.

"Hidoi!" I barked. Hidoi rolled his eyes and turned.

"What the hell do- OW!" He yelled angrily. The snake had clamped its jaws, dripping with pinkish red poison, onto Hidoi's ankle, through the bandages there. I darted forward and caught the snake by its tail, ripping it off. Hidoi stumbled a little off balance, but Takashi was there to catch him under the arms. The snake shrieked and threw itself about, trying to bite me, but I caught both its head and its tail, ripping it apart. As soon as I tore it, black ink splattered all over the place. I blinked and looked at the black gunk dripping down and plopping to the ground. I frowned, but a wail of pain cut into my head, causing me to whip around.

Hidoi was gripping his ankle tightly, his nails digging into it. Two bloody puncture holes appeared on his ankle, staining the bandages. I got down beside the wound. Of course, the person who was really panicking was Oni, Hidoi's guardian slash pet thing.

"Oh my gosh, it reeks! That was poison, and a strong one at that! Why'd you let him get bit?" Oni cried, covering his nose with his paws as he stared in horror as I removed the bandages. I rolled my eyes at him, then looked down, my jaw dropping. Underneath the bandages and around the wound, the skin was beginning to grow purple, dark purple.

I looked up at Hidoi and his eyes were widening, his face pale. I took notice to how his pupils were dilating slowly.

"Crap," I muttered, "That poison is kicking in. All right, I'm going to take Hidoi on up ahead. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Botan, you're in charge of the group for the rest of the trip and please, please do not fuck this up."

"You got it!" Botan gave me a goofy two-fingered salute. I saw Nobuo shift uncomfortably and Hisako gulp, clasping her hands together tightly in front of her mouth as if to hide any protests. I glanced at Fuu, Takashi, and Ran, who all nodded in agreement while Mizu just stared on.

"I'm-I'm not letting you carry me!" Hidoi protested angrily, his eye twitching in annoyance. I noticed dark circles growing around the underside of his eyes, his skin feeling clammy and cold. I rolled my eyes.

"Don't even argue with me."

"No!" Hidoi refused.

"Hidoi, do it," Oni stated firmly, "This is not a game! You're poisoned and you'll die!" I thought I saw a flash of fear go through Hidoi's eyes as he looked at his tanuki, who glared at him with fierce gold eyes. After a glaring contest, I finally hoisted Hidoi onto my back, glancing at Botan, who was watching with a playful grin.

"Botan, you better be careful. I can't afford to fail this mission, especially not now." I muttered. Botan nodded. I looked at Hisako and Nobuo.

"Hisako, you keep your head up, all right? You're a strong kunoichi and you need to help the guys get their jaws off the ground. Nobuo, I know you're dedicated to your duty as a shinobi. Prove my judgment right. The rest of you, good luck." I kicked up off the ground, keeping a cigarette gently balanced in my mouth. I easily used my Body flicker technique, using the smoke from my cigarette to vanish from my spot at the dango shop to about a mile ahead.

I moved fast, keeping a good hold on Hidoi, who seemed to be having trouble breathing now. It actually sounded more like wheezing, like he had mucus in his lungs and he was on the verge of choking. Even through his clothes, I could feel him growing cold and shaky. Oni ran beside us, looking like a concerned parent.

"Master Nero, where did that snake come from? That surely was not an average snake attacking… It was made of some kind of pen ink."

"I don't know. It was pretty weird… It's got me on my toes. I feel it was a bad idea to leave the rest of those guys alone, though. I know Botan would able to hold them off for a while, but I'm still uneasy about Nobuo and Hisako. This is only our first big mission and I still don't know what sort of talents they have…" I muttered thoughtfully. I should have done one of those test things after, but I guess I was too stupid.

"Mmm, sensei… I don't… Like snakes…" Hidoi mumbled against my shoulder. I glanced at him, frowning. He looked completely out of it, dazed and lost.

"Crap." I stated and moved faster, Oni yelping and rushing to keep up with me. Just my luck that my student was poisoned, huh?

Meanwhile (Mizu's POV)

There was no doubt in my mind that it was him. His hair was the same, his eyes were the same and his skin was just as it was. He was still as lovely as the first day we had seen each other and my heart was pounding out of control. I was sad to see him take off with the child, but I knew there was no choice.

He seemed loyal to his students and how I admired such.

We began to travel at a steady pace, but now it seemed quieter. The man, Botan, who seemed very close to Nero, even silenced himself and had taken on a rather serious personality and it got me curious, but I did not speak a word.

Ran was scribbling down more pitiless sermons while Fuu and Takashi walked silently behind us, their guards up in case of an attack. The Genin were walking right in front of me, sharing a quiet conversation of their own.

"Do you think Hidoi is going to be okay? That looked so icky!" Hisako whimpered, covering her eyes with her hands and shaking her head. Nobuo, being blind, stared straight ahead with cloudy blue eyes.

"I don't know, but when sensei killed it, it didn't sound normal… The squish was too watery and so was its hiss."

"Its hiss?"

"Yes. I heard it when it was coming around the shop." Nobuo admitted quietly. I saw Hisako's eyes go wide, but I smiled behind the silk over my face. Ohhh, such a mean young man.

"You heard…? Then why didn't you say anything? You let it bite Hidoi!" Hisako cried in disbelief. Nobuo averted his cloudy eyes, his expression slightly careless as if he didn't understand what the problem was and it only made me smile more.

I loved boys. As queer as it sounded, I couldn't help myself. I had to abandon my own son long, long ago and just the sight of each boy reminded me of him. Each smiling little face, each little frown, little crystal tear…

It made my throat clog up and I wanted to cry, but I bit down harshly on my tongue, releasing a flow of the metallic tasting red liquid. I sucked it all down, watching as Nobuo finally answered.

"I didn't know it was poisonous. I thought it was fake to be quite frank."

"Fake? You're so confusing, of course it was real!"

"No, it was fake. I said the hiss was too watery. Yes, the venom was entirely real, but the snake as not. The snake was false and sent by someone who could construct one." Nobuo informed. I tensed. Hisako did as well, blinking.


"We're being followed. Keep your guard up and protect the priestess closely. Hopefully her guards are stupid enough to miss the obvious hints, particularly the fact that we have passed the same chirping bird twice." Nobuo stated and stopped walking, I as well halting with the rest."What's going on?" Takashi asked, confused.

"This better not be a stupid bathroom break." Fuu muttered.

"Children!" Ran snorted in annoyance. I ignored them and watched as Nobuo looked at Botan, who had stopped with his back toward us.

"Botan, I hope you noticed as well." Nobuo said. Botan turned halfway around to us, smirking in the shadows of his hood, his white eyes obviously closed.

"Ne, it's been obvious for a while… I just wanted you guys to notice first cuz that'd just be rude of me to steal your thunder." He added with an almost eerie, hyena-like giggle.

"Great," Nobuo muttered, his eyes shifting around blindly, "Whoever's there, speak now! We know you're here!" Silence for a few moments before I saw bright green leaves flutter to the ground in front of us. My eyes widened and I instinctively gripped at the dagger-shaped lump on my thigh.

A woman made her appearance, definitely a couple decades younger than myself. She was tall and thin wearing a mauve shirt with a long right sleeve and no left sleeve that reveal a snake tattoo holding a paintbrush in its mouth. The torso of her shirt came up just under her large breasts, a black turtleneck tank top underneath matching black shorts seen underneath a dark gray skirt with slits in the sides. She wore mauve padding to her shins with black sandals that went around her ankles.

On her hip, she carried a solid black case of what smelled like ink and several brushed were strapped on beside it. A long black teardrop sort of tattoo was dripping away from her left eye. Her long dark gray hair was tied up in a loose bun with loose flowing pieces while her pale rosy eyes locked on us, a smirk across her face.

I recognized her immediately as Ororo. A missing nin from Ketsukigakure. She had abandoned our village only days after she became a Chuunin at age 11. I never understood why. I had seen her come into the temple multiple times to pray and she seemed rather happy.

"Ororo." I stated. Hisako looked at me, then toward Ororo, who laughed lightly.

"Priestess Mizu. Or should I say Princess Mizu of Lightening." She drawled sarcastically.

"You know this woman?" Nobuo asked, his blind eyes moving toward me, but missing by an inch or two. I frowned behind my silk, loosening my grip on the dagger.

"She was once a kunoichi of our village, but she seems to have found a new occupation." I responded stiffly.

"Of course," Ororo chuckled, "Ketsukigakure is much like other hidden villages. You are born, you live as a shinobi killing others before you die… However, mine is much more fascinating… To cut to the chase, I am here to abduct Priestess Mizu for the hefty price of 500,000 ryo." My eyes widened.

"Such a price!" I exclaimed, more curious as to who would want to kidnap me for such a large price. Ororo barked a laugh and Ran glared toward her.

"Shut your mouth! You won't be laying a finger on the priestess! You must go through us!" Ran shouted, taking step forward and clenching her fists tightly. Takashi and Fuu seemed pretty ready as well while Botan just sighed.

"It seems you've taken us rather lightly. There's only one of you and five of us…" Botan's voice trailed and I stiffened, catching sight of a rather sinister grin as it spread across his face. Ororo's eyes flashed and she jerked backwards, skidding across the dirt as water tore itself from the ground, thrusting upwards and back to attack Ororo, but she dodged to the side and did a flip upwards onto a tree branch.

"Fast jutsu, didn't even see a hand sign!" Ororo commented with a vile smirk. Botan looked up, but only with his eyes as he released an almost terrifyingly shocking high laughter that echoed through the trees.

"No hand sign, no hand sign! Of course there's no hand sign, silly girl! Botan doesn't need hand signs! Hahahahaaa! Let's do it again!" He shouted excitedly and thrust his hand outwards, causing the wave of water to tear to the side before it seemed to mold into a shadow.

"Water Style! Water Dragon Jutsu!" The water shaped into a dragon and thrust itself forward as Ororo's eyes widened before narrowing. She leapt backwards, biting into her thumb and making hand signs, letting the blood swirl around before smoke puffed out.

"Summoning Jutsu! Lord Mihao!" The smoke cleared to reveal a large snake, about the size of the dragon, coiled on the ground with its large head lifting. It opened its jaws and the water dragon was easily swallowed up. I saw Botan's eyes go wide.

"UGH! Snake! Snake! Gross!" Botan screamed in disgust, taking a jolting step back and swung his hand around, sending thick streams of water blasting from his fingertips and toward the snake.

"Priestess Mizu," Ran jerked on my sleeve, making me look away from the battle to her, "We must hurry and flee while the shinobi are battling!"


"Come, milady!" Ran pulled on my sleeve and I had no choice. Hisako and Nobuo easily followed after me while Fuu and Takashi ran forward to assist Botan in the fight against the snake. We bolted through the trees, hopping over logs and other fallen trees as well as mounds of dirt and grass.

"Priestess Mizu, isn't that kimono heavy?" Hisako asked me worriedly as we hurried through the trees. I smiled lightly behind my silk, shaking my head.

"It's fine. I can handle this- Look out!" My voice rose, startling the children, but they looked up in time to avoid getting attacking by another large snake, this one much longer and thinner with silver eyes and a gold body.

"Damn it," Ran cursed loudly, then looked at me quickly and apologetically before glaring at the snake that hissed at us, "What now?"

"Hey," Hisako snapped angrily, clenching her fists before thrusting a thumb at herself and Nobuo, "We're still here too, ya brat!" A vein visibly pounded in her forehead while Nobuo just sighed, turning his face the other way. I sweat dropped.

"Girls…" I started, but it was no use. I myself was once a little girl and if there was one thing I knew about little girls it was that they argued horribly and for such a long time as well.

"Who're you callin' a brat, twerp? You're much younger than I am!"

"But I'm a ninja, so it's my JOB to protect you! We were hired for it!"

"So what? A bunch of little kids doing an adult's job? Yea right!"

"Bunch of kids…! I'd like to see you fight off this snake by yourself!" Hisako challenged angrily, grinning cockily now.

"Is that a bet?" Ran demanded sharply, cocking a brow.

"DAMN STRAIGHT THAT'S A BET! I'm betting 2,000 ryo!" Hisako bellowed and thrust a hand forward.

"YOU'RE ON, TWERP!" Ran roared and shook her hand quickly. I frowned and went to stop her, but there was no point in it. Ran was always stubborn and ready to prove she could do anything. She swung around, facing the snake that finally perked back up after almost falling asleep during the argument. It hissed viciously and lunged in, but Ran swung her foot up, kicking it in the lower jaw. It reeled, roaring angrily in pain.

I took a jolting step back in surprise as its roar shook my eardrums and sent my blood flowing quickly. Nobuo frowned at me and caught the sleeve of my kimono.

"It's all right, miss. If something happens, we're here." He assured. Despite his eyes missing me by centimeters, I knew he was serious and I relaxed slightly, smiling lightly at him.

"Such a good boy… May you be blessed…" I murmured and dared for that split second, while no one was looking, to take off the silk from my face. I leaned in and kissed Nobuo gently on the forehead. His dark skin lit up with pink and I pulled away, pulling the silk back up, letting my eyes drift to the side. My eyes widened as Ran kicked the snake back again, this time taking a step back and taking something from the bag on her side. A thin bamboo flute that she brought to her lips, a smirk on her face before she closed her eyes.

A gentle melody, yet at the same time sad and eerie filled the air. Nobuo jerked his head up toward the music, his eyes wide as if this was familiar. Hisako blinked, then glared, puffing her cheeks in a pout and folding her arms over her chest. I smiled.

I had a feeling she would try this out. It wasn't a jutsu as Ran was not a shinobi… It was natural musical talent. Snake charming. And Ran was a wizard in it.

The snake slowly dropped to the ground, its eyes heavy in a trance. Hisako took her chance and slowly threw up a kunai, catching it before slamming it down in the creature's eyeball, causing blood to spurt out like a fountain. I cringed, but at the same time, I was relieved that our danger was gone.

"2,000 ryo, pay up." Ran sang, holding out her hand. Hisako twitched angrily, clenching her fists before thrusting a finger in Ran's face.

"Shut up! I said fight off the snake yourself! I finished it off, which means we both killed it, so I don't own you crap!" She mocked. Ran sweat dropped, then scowled, thrusting her flute back into her bag.

"Rotten child!" She snorted and turned away huffily. I sighed. Nobuo frowned as he let go of my kimono sleeve, his attention on Ran.

"Ran is your name?"

"Yea, what of it?"

"That flute… It's called shinobue, am I correct?" Nobuo asked. Ran blinked and looked at him curiously.

"You know music?" She questioned. Nobuo reached into his vest and removed a flute similar to Ran's, only darker in color. Ran's eyes widened, then twinkled.

"Kya! You love music! Oh, why didn't you say something before? What songs can you play? Do you play often?" She gushed. Nobuo sweat dropped, fiddling with the flute almost nervously at being questioned so much, then looked in my direction for help. I laughed softly.

"Ran, Ran. That is enough. We must go find Botan, Fuu, and Takashi. Hopefully you can use the same jutsu…" My voice trailed as I heard the sound of crunching twigs. We all turned to see Takashi running toward us.

"Run! Don't just stand there, run! The snake is going to explode!" He yelled and caught everyone, tugging them forward. We all started running again.

"Wh-What do you mean?" Hisako cried.

"GROSS!" Ran bellowed in disgust. Takashi huffed and puffed, trying to explain quickly at the same time.

"Master Botan! He put something inside the snake and said to go, that it'll explode soon!"

"And where is Botan and Fuu?" Ran demanded angrily, almost skidding to a stop if Takashi didn't jerk her forward again. Takashi averted his eyes for a second, opening his mouth, but someone landed beside him, running quickly.

"I am accounted for." Fuu stated dully, bloody cuts lining his body and ink splattering his clothing and staining it completely. I sighed with relief, but I was also deeply concerned for Botan. He and Nero were so close it was almost frightening. What if something happened to Botan? How would Nero react? It made me cringe on the inside.

"And Botan?" I asked.

"Botan is still far behind us, but he is out of range." Fuu assured me. I nodded, but I was still not very convinced. We kept running and I was beginning to feel pain in my legs and thighs, my arms aching from being thrust behind me and sharp pains went up and down my back.

It didn't take long before I could have sworn I saw heaven's gates ahead of us. Ketsukigakure's large silver gates, guarded by several Jounin, who all looked up in surprise.

"OPEN THE GATES!" Fuu yelled at them and they obeyed without word, probably knowing it was me in my hard to miss bright kimono. From behind us, I heard a loud crackle before the earth shook and I almost fell on my feet if Nobuo and Takashi hadn't of caught my elbows and helped me stay balanced on the vibrating earth.

And this… Was the first of my adventures with this Genin team and their two Jounin friends. I truly began to wonder why I ever traveled in the first place!

The commotion calmed as we got behind the gates, Botan eventually catching up. His white robe was stained red with scorches of black. He seemed tired and quiet now, not talking much and just asking to visit the hospital in hopes of finding Nero and Hidoi.

I agreed and we headed to the hospital, but stopped by the temple to drop off my bodyguards, Ran, and the Genin. Approaching the temple, Hisako gasped in shock, bringing a hand to her mouth. Of course, Nobuo remained silent, staring straight ahead.

"It's…! It's beautiful!" Hisako managed in awe. I smiled. I rather fancied my temple as well. It was large, completely made of silver from the silver mines that we had on the other side of the village. A statue was placed at the front, also made of silver, but also adorned with highly expensive paints and emeralds and rubies. The statue of our goddess.

She was tall with nice curves and she wore a formfitting bloody red kimono designed with the black shadow of a wolf and held many weapons around her. A katana in her left hand, a chained spiked ball in her right while a kunai was clenched in her teeth, revealing to have sharpened canines. Her navy blue hair was thrust up in a high ponytail and a real flowing black ribbon fluttered in the gentle wind. Her name was engraved on her platform.

Hisako had run up to read it, admiring her highly. As she should. Nobuo let himself be led inside while I had Botan come with me to the hospital.

"This is a nice village," Botan murmured, his white eyes sweeping around, watching as people laughed and joked together, "The atmosphere is so much more inviting than Sunagakure… They're all so mean." I laughed softly.

"Indeed…. Ketsukigakure orbits around our laughter and carefree lifestyle. Of course, there are bitter times… We had one small tragedy a while ago. A guard of mine, Kasoriyo, was killed trying to protect me… It saddens me…" My voice trailed as I remembered the tragedy and its effects. I shuddered and tried to forget as we walked the steps of the hospital.

We rounded a corner and my kimono snagged on a nail sticking out of a wall, making me gasp. Botan sighed and reached out to assist me. As he did, the breeze of him passing caused the silk around my face to flutter away. My eyes widened and I tore my hands up, ripping my kimono in the process. Botan blinked and looked up, surprised before the surprise turned to pure shock.

"Mi… Zu…?" He managed. I felt my eyes glow, mostly with tears as I took a step back.


"Mizu," Botan's voice had taken on an almost amused tone and the grin that had appeared on his face during his battle came again, "You are hiding a very bad secret from Nero, yes. Very big secret, Mizu… No, not Mizu… Nero's mommy."


A/N: WOO, finally updated chapter two! Sorry it took me so long, I just got tons of Ocs for this series and I need to figure out how I'm going to bring them in and yes O: Secret cliffhanger sorta ending thing here… lol. Yes, your characters will make appearances, but I have to figure out how, so keep reading and they'll pop up! Well, I hope you all enjoyed it, hope the characters are good, and your reviews are the greatest things everrrr!