Iryo-nin Kasa (医療忍傘)
Chapter Forty-Three: Forgive Me
"This is going to be awesome," sniggered Obito as he and I stood in the shadows of one of the entrances to the stadium's battle ground.
"You're crazy." I muttered under my breath. "This is an international incident waiting to happen!"
"Quit complaining, you're the one who agreed to it," chirped Obito. "Now we just have to wait for the crowds to thin out a bit and we can start our master plan!"
"…Were you dropped on your head as a child?" I asked dryly.
"Itachi and Shisui are so going to freak out!" cackled Obito with glee.
"I thought they're your family, aren't you being a bit cruel?" I asked.
"Disowned remember?" sang Obito pleasantly. "Besides, they'll be happy to know you're alive after the prank! So it's not like they'll hold a grudge."
"If you say so." I sighed.
"Just make sure you get started before the others let the cat out and tell them you're alive," said Obito.
"Right." I sighed as we patiently waited.
Before we got there, the audience was already starting to leave. Itachi and Shisui remained on the field, likely not wanting to run into the leaving spectators as they left. Judging by the state of the stadium, the fight must've been quite epic. There was quite a bit more scorch marks compared to when fought and it seemed like they cleared out what's left of my earth-made fists and cows. I can't really tell who won considering they're both still up and about.
I sent a wary gaze up to where the Kage seats were, but from our vantage point, I couldn't catch a glimpse of Hiruzen or Yagura. While the prank Obito planned is for shits and giggles, I'm not sure if our esteemed leaders would think of it that way.
"Showtime! Are you ready?" grinned Obito when there was probably a quarter of the audience left.
"Let's get this over with." I muttered, flexing my fingers to form chakra threads for my seal cards. "I don't know how long I could last, so we're going to have to work fast."
"Got it," said Obito as he started to form hand seals of his own. "Demonic Illusion: Crimson Mist."
A shroud of blood red mist slowly rolled into the stadium in a slow spiral, circling the edges of the field before rolling towards the center. Much like the Hidden Mist Jutsu, the Crimson Mist was meant to be used a shroud. However, unlike the Hidden Mist Jutsu, this one was meant to be used in conjunction with fire release attacks or red clothing so that the enemy can't predict their movements. It's often a waste of time and chakra, not many people would use it unless they're genjutsu specialists like Kurenai.
I've never actually seen her fight. If anything, I don't think I've seen her all that often either. She and Kurei sensei doesn't seem to get along that well. Obito probably stole the jutsu from her during a spar or something. I haven't seen him talk with Kurei sensei that much either.
"Red mist?" said Kisame with a confused frown as he glanced about the field.
While subtle, I could see Itachi and Shisui tensing up. If it wasn't for the month of training we spent together, I wouldn't have noticed their body tensed for a split second before they relaxed and allowed their eyes to dart about warily. I had asked Obito if they would figure out the ruse if he were to use genjutsu against them, but he assured me that he's never sparred with either of them and it was unlikely that they could identify him in such a manner.
"What the hell's happening?" the audience whispered amongst themselves in confusion.
Itachi and Shisui subtly turned with their backs facing one another to cover any blind spots they might have. Kisame remained unmoving with a watchful eye on the red mist.
As we waited for the mist to fill the stadium, I used the red shroud as cover to shoot out my seal cards using chakra threads. I kept the cards low to keep them out of sight and subtly activating them as they drew closer to the trio. After glancing through my supply of the red fear toxin I used in my previous battles, I noticed I didn't have enough for what Obito planned.
Hence, why we were improvising with Obito's genjutsu and my scentless toxins. It'd take longer to take effect, but I have the benefit of being immune to the scentless batch. Just as half the stadium was filled, Obito gave me a nod and I formed the hand seals for the academy's basic clone jutsu and mixed in several more to layers of genjutsu on top of the clone.
Without a sound, a disheveled clone appeared, drenched in blood and injuries I wore prior to leaving the stadium along with my original clothes with only the cuts and rips from the battle with Utakata. Blood-soaked auburn bangs hung over her face in a mess, hiding the little surprise I had for our lucky victims. Obito gave a thumbs up before I had the clone slowly drag her feet into the stadium.
It had taken quite some time and practice, but Kurei sensei made sure that if I ever needed to use a basic clone as a distraction, I wouldn't give myself away due to small details such as sound. My clone rasped and wheezed as she dragged her feet towards the field, the sound of the wooden okobos echoed briefly in the hall as it scraped across the concrete floor. My copy looked like a walking nightmare as she left a trail of blood with each step.
"Why…" The clone's voice cracked as she staggered to a stop, a sadistic giggle escaped her lips as she slowly lifted a hand to run her fingers through the unruly blood drenched strands and pulled it from her face. "So serious?"
The remaining audience in the stadium had a mix reaction of horror and screams. From where Obito and I stood, we could see Itachi and Shisui's faces pale and their eyes widen in horror as they saw the entirety of my clone. With the sleeve slipping to her elbow, a number of deep lacerations could be seen on her arm, oozing with dark blood. Her face was no different with gashes so deep that bone could be seen.
However, those were not what drew the audience's scream and the paled faces of the Uchiha boys. In place of where eyes should've been were empty sockets, blacken with dead blood.
I couldn't hear clearly what anyone said in the midst of chaotic murmurs, but I could see the shape of my name being whispered by the boys. Somewhere in the back of my mind and the depths of my heart, I should feel for doing this… but that's somewhere very far and deep.
"Looking gruesome," sniggered Obito as we shared an evil grin and he went through another set of hand seals.
My clone opened her arms in a dramatic manner as she swept a single hand as a mock bow to the audience.
"Please pardon my rude interruption as I seem to have lost my eyes." She said pleasantly with a chuckle before purring with a dangerous drawl. "Would someone be kind enough to lend me theirs?"
Without further warning, the crimson mist came to life at the twirl of her hand and immediately climbed the walls over stadium. Screams could be heard as the lingering audience scrambled to flee. With a cackle, my clone waved her hand and seemingly controlled the mist, directing it up the walls. However, before either Obito or I could do a thing, my clone was complete torched by not one, but TWO balls of fire.
"…The hell? Did my clone just die?" I blinked before my eyes followed the twin balls of fire to its source. "Uh-oh…"
Both Uchihas had their sharingan flaring as they glared at the spot where my clone stood. The flames grew, swallowing the red mist as it burned everything in its path. Obito let out a low impressed whistle as he stopped fueling the red mist. Had he kept fueling it, they might've just followed the chakra source to us.
"Holy shit…" I whispered, watching the two of them vaporize the red mist and practically torching the stadium while doing so.
Before either I or Obito could do anything, the two disappeared with a body flicker. In seconds, I found a blade to my throat and a pair of angry sharingans glaring into my eyes. Obito shared a similar situation with Shisui pressing a kunai to his throat.
"Probably not the best way to say I'm not dead, but uh…I guess I lied about dying. Ehe… Surprise?" I offered sheepishly with a guilty grin. Their eyes remained cold and their face expressionless as they pressed their blades firmer to our throats.
"Ah, so much for our prank. It seems like we might've pissed them off," chirped Obito. "They might actually want to kill us."
"To be fair, you guys killed my clone so—" I didn't get to finish as the sound of the blade hit the ground in a clatter and I found the air forced out of my lungs. It took a moment before I realized Itachi had pulled me into his arms and held me in a crushing hug.
"You idiot…" whispered Itachi, his voice cracking as he shook. "I don't care if you break a thousand promises, but don't you dare keep that one. You're not allowed to keep that one."
"…You do know that would just be another promise right?" I said softly with a wry grin.
"No more promises," whispered Itachi as his hold tightened, burying his face on my shoulder.
I fought back a grimace as I awkwardly reached up to return the hug and patted his back. I kept forgetting how young he is. Even though we were all trained to be killers and soldiers, it doesn't change the fact that we're still human and vulnerable inside. This Itachi was still a child. He hasn't stained his hands with blood and death. He hasn't been weighed down with the responsibility of choosing his clan or village.
Now that I think about it, the prank Obito and I was going to do would've been cruel if we actually managed it… If Itachi was like this, how bad was the other? I glanced over to Shisui guiltily, but what I saw was him letting out a sigh of relief as he slowly pulled away from Obito. I gave a weak grin and an apologetic glance to him as he shook his head with a small forgiving smile.
"What a tooth achingly sweet scene," cut in Kisame with a drawl before Itachi broke away and stood defensively in front of me. The blue-skinned jounin crossed his arms as he stood at the entrance expectantly. "You young lady have quite an audience waiting for you."
"Itachi." I said, grabbing his shoulder as I walked around him. "It's okay."
"But Kasa," whispered the boy worriedly, but I gave him a grin and a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
"It was awfully rude of me to leave the audience in mid-performance." I said as I twitched a finger and sped through a basic set of hand seals. "Allow me to remedy that."
"Kasa what are you—" Itachi started but never finished.
With a poof, several things happened. A log appeared in place of the card I left on the field when the mist was still present and within seconds, I switched places with the log with a replacement jutsu before either Itachi or Kisame could grab me.
"Ladies and gentlemen, lords and kages." I announced, holding out my hands in a in a low dramatic flourishing bow. "I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for the abrupt end to my performance as it seems to have given the wrong impression. It is not with disrespect that I bring such horrors to the field, but with reverence of our hosting village."
Confusion murmurs filled the stadium before a sigh of relief crossed some few. I knew I was playing a dangerous game by doing this, but with the reckless prank Obito and I both pulled, no doubt Konoha would be facing a political whiplash. If war was inevitable, we don't need the addition of leaders in the surrounding countries to declare a threat and send even more forces at us.
"Reverence?" drawled Yagura as he slowly stood from his seat and moved to the railing to look down at me. "For what exactly?"
"Your kind generosity in gifting Konohagakure with the three-tailed demon and welcoming us to participate in this chunin exam, of course." I said boldly as I glanced up to the man with the sweetest smile I could muster.
The man said nothing as his pink eyes locked in with mines. Even if it was a potshot at best, I might as well try to put things to our favor. Yagura wasn't stupid. If he declared an attack in front of so many of our mutual clientele due to the thoughtless actions of a child, he would be presenting himself in a negative light that might not sit well with the royals and noble class. It might do well with the more unsavory clients, but those were more likely to cross you than pay you.
"Only a powerful and confident leader such as yourself would be willing to part with such an invaluable gift. For that, Kirigakure has my utmost respect and admiration." I said, dipping my head even lower in respect.
The flip in my performance probably wouldn't help us much on the matter. After acting like a psychotic lunatic, how many of the remaining spectators would believe I'm a sweet and harmless little girl anyway? Yagura definitely wouldn't believe a second of my performance. What I'm doing now was just buying time until the lords and daimyos get bored and decide to leave.
"You have a peculiar manner in showing your respect," said the man.
"I'm afraid, the shinobi curriculum in Konohagakure does not extensively teach the use of fear tactics. I hope my rendition of Kirigakure's specialty did not offend you Mizukage-sama." I said as returned to the upright proper stance with a pleasant smile.
"Is imitation one of Konohagakure's specialties?" drone Yagura as his eyes remained pointedly on me.
"Emulation is the highest form of flattery." I replied cheerily with a sheepish grin. "I really do hope that my actions haven't led to any unfortunate misunderstanding. It would be a pity that our villages would fall into war over the actions of a silly girl such as myself."
Yagura's pink eyes stared down at me with lower lids. I kept my hands gathered and my back straight as I returned the gaze with as much composure I could muster. Inside, my heart pounded a mile a minute, hoping to whatever higher being out there to let me get through this without having to fight through an army of ninjas to get home. Well, either that or give me a swift and painless death. I'm not picky.
"…Your name is Kasa Mon?" inquired Yagura after his moment of silence.
"That is correct, Mizukage-sama." I replied with certainty in my voice, even though I felt none of it.
"…Hmph," an amused smirk crossed Yagura's lips as he turned his gaze away from me and towards Hiruzen. "Your village produced quite an interesting batch of genins this year, Hokage-sama."
"Such high praise Mizukage-sama," said Hiruzen with a wry grin as he tipped his hat. "But I have no hand in this performance. The youngsters nowadays have a mind of their own, often deciding to act on their instincts rather than tact."
"Then I must say this one has a strong instinct," said Yagura as he gave me a sideway glance. "Almost like an animal or… a demon."
I fought back the violent jerk as I kept my face straight and my hands firmly grasped in front of me. It was a hassle to keep a steady breathing pattern as cold sweat beaded down my neck.
"Demon? You flatter me." I said with a pleasant tone. "Compared to the experts of Kirigakure, I'm an embarrassing novice."
"Mizukage-sama," interrupted Hiruzen casually. "I'm sure Kasa-kun meant well with her actions. Furthermore, I believe our lords have found her performance quite entertaining. Let's not go beyond a reprimand with her."
I gave a discreet glanced towards the lords' section in the stands. At the height they sat and the shadows looming over their faces, it was hard to tell what they looked like. Not to mention the number that obscured their faces with fans. The few that I actually managed to see, due to them leaning forward trying to get a better look of the stadium grounds, were grinning.
"Or are you upset that one of the Konohagakure genin won the tournament while your village is hosting?" added A, the fourth Raikage with a drawl.
"I'm surprised you're not the least bit upset that none of your men managed pass the first round," replied Yagura crisply.
"There's no need to get upset if your opponent was just stronger," said A, his deep voice booming despite how casually he spoke his words. "Are you really such a petty loser, Mizukage-sama?"
"Petty? No, I'm merely interested," droned Yagura with a casual wave of his hand before he glanced at me once more. "I'll be looking forward to seeing your achievements girl."
For a moment, I found my face flushing and heart racing, completely at lost to how to respond to that. Of all the things I expected to happen, the compliment was the last on the list… actually, I lied, that wasn't even on the list. Even so, my body moved on its own accord.
"Mizukage-sama you're too kind, I'm not worthy of such high praise." I said with a humble bow. Had auto-pilot not started, I might've ended up stuttering and fumbling my words.
"Hmm," the corner of Yagura's lips twitched once more before he raised a hand and gave another wave. "Enough, you may be dismissed."
"By your leave." I said with another bow, sneaking a glance at him one last time before I left the field at a moderate pace. Don't run, don't run, don't run…
"That's quite a performance," chuckled Kisame as we passed one another. "How long could you keep it up?"
Saying nothing, I smiled and bowed before making the rest of the way into the safety of the exit hall. However, my relief was short lived when I spotted Itachi standing in wait with his arms crossed and glaring at me with his dark eyes… Well, at least he's not going to sharingan me to death.
"Ehe…" I laughed sheepishly clapping my hands into a prayer in front of my face with one eye close, afraid of his answer. "Please don't kill me?"
Itachi's nose flared slightly as he took a breath. I snapped both my eyes shut with my hands held up defensively when he started walking forward.
"Eep, if you're going to kill me please make it quick and painless! I promise I won't haunt—"
POKE POKE POKE POKE POKE POKE POKE!
"You utter idiot!" snapped Itachi as he continued to poke my head. "I told you! You can break all the promises you want! But you're not allowed to keep the one about you dying just to spite me!"
"Ow…" I whined, reaching up to rub my sore forehead once he stopped. "I said I was sorry!"
"Sorry isn't going to cut it," said Itachi as he crossed his arms again.
"Then what the hell do you want me to do? Give you my lunch money? You schoolyard bully!" I grumbled.
"…Lunch money and schoolyard bully?" repeated Shisui before a light-hearted chuckle escaped him. "Where do you keep coming up with these weird comparisons?"
"Shiiiissuuuiii!"I whined, yanking at his sleeve like a child. "Itachi's picking on me! Protect me!"
"Shisui, don't you dare," interrupted Itachi. "She's only like that because you let her!"
"But Itachi-kuuun!" whined Shisui as he went behind me latched his arms around my shoulders in a hug with his chin on my head. "How could you be mad at a face like this?"
"Yeah!" I added on with a pout and puppy eyes. "Do you really want to stay mad at little old me?"
"You know that cute act won't work on me," said Itachi in a deadpan.
"Che." I huffed with puffed up cheeks. "Shisui's already forgiven me, stop being such a hard ass!"
"I'll stop when you stop being an idiot," retorted Itachi.
"Everyone's an idiot to you, Mr. Genius!" I argued.
"I don't think everyone's an idiot!" responded Itachi.
"Now, now," chuckled Obito as he planted a hand on both our heads and mussed up our hair. "You two should really stop fighting. After all, Kasa-chan did just come back from the dead."
"Obito's right, why don't you and Kasa-chan just kiss and make up?" chirped Shisui gleefully as he shifted to plant his hands on my shoulders instead.
"Shisui!" growled Itachi with a scowl.
"What do you say, Kasa?" continued Shisui, ignoring Itachi's growling warning. "Give Itachi-kun a kiss and we'll call it even?"
"Shisui!" growled Itachi again. "Stop this—"
"Sure." I agreed without skipping a beat. "Where do you want it?"
Silence fell as the two of them stared at me in surprise. It took a moment before Obito cracked up laughing, hugging his sides with one arm and pressing a hand against his face with the other.
"You're killing me Kasa," laughed Obito, nearly out of breath as his body continue to shake with uncontrollable laughter.
"…Kasa-chan, didn't we have a conversation about you giving out kisses like candy?" asked Shisui weakly.
"What?" I asked in puzzlement. "You guys said not to give kisses to strangers and people I don't know, but you guys aren't strangers, right?"
That comment threw Obito into another fit of laughter while Shisui sighed in exasperation, giving up on trying to reason with me.
"So, where do you want the kiss Itachi?" I chirped. "If I give you one, you're not allowed to stay mad anymore, okay?"
"…Forget it," said Itachi as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "I don't want a death sentence the moment we step into the village."
"Eh? But that means you're going to be mad at me the whole way home!" I protested.
"You'll just have to deal with it," drone Itachi.
"As if!" I growled as I stomped towards him. "You're getting this kiss whether you like it or not!"
"I don't want it!" said Itachi as he took a step back.
"Well too bad!" I huffed and sped forward.
"Knock it off Kasa!" shouted Itachi as he dodged my attempts to grab him.
"Not until I give you your kiss, now stand still and take it like a man!" I snapped.
"Quit it!" shouted Itachi before he turned heel and started to run.
"You can run, but you can't hide! You're still stuck with me for another two weeks before we make it back to the village asshole!" I shouted as I chased after him.
"Fine! I won't be mad! Now stop trying to kiss me!" snapped Itachi.
"Hell no!" I snapped. "As if I would give you a chance to change your mind and turn that against me later! Pucker up Uchiha!"
"Quit it!" shouted Itachi as he kept dodging my attempts to plant a kiss on him. …This was probably the most ridiculous scene anyone could come across… what with me trying to kiss Itachi and Obito laughing his ass off. I'm quite sure Shisui wanted to help too, but was unsure which side he should give his assistance to. I probably looked just as ridiculous doing this too. Ah, who cares! I'm just going to have my fun toying with Itachi. Who knew the Uchiha heir could be so squeamish?
Author's Notes: Hello, my lovely readers! Sorry about the long wait, I've been going to physical therapy and it always knocked me out by the time I got home. Several good news to share before you all try to put me in casts and in the hospital. First, the petition signatures have reached it goal hours before the deadline, so good job everyone!
Second, I've posted a new chapter to "Cheating Fate" I've already said there's a nice surprise in the end if you guys go read it, but it seems like only a few of you believed me… oh well.
Lastly, I might take a little longer to update due to the knockouts from the therapy. I'll try to write as much as I can, but it hurts like hell to sit down to one-shot the chapters like I normally try to do. Thanks for reading as usual!