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Thread: The Stone of Shadows - Chapter 3 Posted

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    Registered User 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner
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    The Stone of Shadows - Chapter 3 Posted

    If it's not obvious, the italics represent a memory/flashback

    Chapter 1 – Reminiscent Aftermath

    A gentle breeze blew through the trees, cooling the air of the warm morning. Two figures were walking at a casual pace along the dirt path near the field. As they walked, the two figures were quiet, each pondering how long until they reached their destination. One of the figures stopped and sighed, her face quickly turning as red as her shoulder length red hair.

    “Heh, again, Tayuya?”, The other figure asked.

    “Yes…”, Tayuya responded, with her typical attitude.

    “Well, hurry up”, The other girl stated.

    “Shut it,” Tayuya demanded, walking into the trees near the dirt path.

    After a couple minutes, and a few instances of a rustling-esque sound, the red-headed kunoichi emerged from the trees, with the same scowl she always carried, planted firmly on her face. Tayuya said nothing to her partner, and continued on the path. Her partner followed, just a step behind. Tayuya looked at her partner, Oshime Shiruba, her long, silver hair gently blowing with the slight breeze. Her piercing orange eyes stared straight ahead, not noticing, or much more likely, not caring that Tayuya was looking at her. Tayuya looked back ahead of her, thinking of the past as she walked.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Tayuya slowly opened her eyes, as an incredible pain engulfed the lower half of her body. Her head upside-down, she looked at her surroundings, too afraid of the potential pain to attempt to sit up. As she stared, she saw naught but demolished trees spread across the forest floor. She did not even need to sit up to know that she was currently lying under a tree trunk. Her memories came pouring back to her, remembering that shit-faced little shadow brat and the whore who came out of nowhere and defeated her. Since it was twilight, Tayuya reckoned she must have been unconscious for hours. She managed a small smile despite the pain, as she realized her attackers must have only assumed she had been killed.

    “Dumbasses,” She managed to state, coughing a bit of blood in the process.

    With the only strength she could muster, Tayuya managed to lift the log off her abdomen just enough to slide her damaged body out from under it. She rolled over, noticing the wetness across the lower half of body, assuming it was blood.

    “H-how much blood did I lose…?”, Tayuya sputtered, before once again blacking out, this time falling asleep, instead of unconscious.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Hey, Tayuya!”, Oshime yelled, yanking Tayuya out of her memories.

    “Huh, wha-!?,” Tayuya said, oblivious to the surroundings.

    “We’re taking a left at the fork in the road, not right,” Oshime said, standing on the left-bound path.

    “Oh, right…,” Tayuya replied, walking towards the left path.

    “What’s with you?,” Oshime asked, “You’ve been distant and vacant all day.”

    “It’s nothing,” Tayuya stated, not looking at Oshime.

    “C’mon, Tayuya, you haven’t even been as mean as you usually are,” Oshime said jokingly, not even getting a scowl in return.

    The red-headed kunoichi continued walking, not wanting to give her partner the satisfaction of a response.

    “Seriously, Tayuya, if you don’t have your head in the game, there’s no way we can pull this heist off”, Oshime said, showing concern.

    “I know, I know, relax,” Tayuya said, “We’re at least a day away from the village, so it’s no big deal.”

    “Ok, fine,” Oshime sighed, “But if you screw this heist up, don’t be surprised when I lop your head off with my Sui-Riu”

    “Ok, ok, keep your damn sword sheathed,” Tayuya stated, “We all know you’re quick to draw that thing to compensate for your lack of breasts.”

    “You’re one to talk, with those mosquito bites of yours!” Oshime shouted, glaring at her. “At least I don’t have to wear…” She added, before stopping herself.

    Tayuya shot her daggers, but decided not to press the subject. They continued silently, Oshime deciding not to apologize, despite feeling bad. The sun was beginning to set, as the sky began changing color to match the eyes of the silver-haired ninja. Tayuya found her mind wandering again, once again pulling her towards her past.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Tayuya once again found herself opening her eyes among the fallen forest. This time, however, she was coming out of sleep in the early morning, and was no longer being crushed by a tree trunk. She felt that she was lying in a wet patch, but looking around showed no signs of rain. Nervous that she had lost massive amounts of blood, she pulled herself to sitting position, and looked herself over. The lower half of her was soaked, but she noticed it wasn’t blood. Not really caring where the liquid came from at the moment, she looked herself over for any significant wounds, and found that she had lost a moderate amount of blood, but nothing life-threatening, and found that her left leg and abdomen had suffered a good amount of damage.

    “Fuck!” She yelled, as she pressed her arm down onto her left leg.

    She didn’t think it was broken, but nonetheless, she could only put very little weight onto it. Her right shoulder was in some pain, too, but she placed that out of her mind. She knew her abdomen had suffered massive damage, but that was to be expected after having a tree fall on it. Not knowing how to diagnose such an injury in anyway other than “fucking painful”, she could do nothing but hope it wasn’t life-threatening, and would heal soon. It was then that her mind wandered back to the wet patch on her pants and on the ground. Now that she had analyzed her situation more, she couldn’t help but wonder where this liquid came from. It was cool against her skin, but she couldn’t help but think it wasn’t water. As she pondered, a certain odor reached her nose. Recognizing it as urine, she looked around for an animal that had snuck up on her. It only took a few seconds for her to put two and two together, and realize she was sitting in a puddle of her own urine.

    “Dammit!” She shouted, wiping the hand she used to touch it on her shirt.

    After a bit of thought, she realized she shouldn’t be surprised. After all, she had been crushed by a tree, and had been passed out for many hours now. Summoning her effort, she pulled herself to her feet, yelling profanities as weight was put on her bad leg. She quickly lifted that leg, and balanced on the other as she snapped a branch off one of the down trees to use an impromptu crutch. She began hobbling, hoping she could find her teammates before too long. As she made her way towards the edge of the debris, she noticed a small object shining beneath the leaves. She winced in pain as she bent over enough to pull the object off the forest floor, and stared dejectedly at the twisted hunk of metal that had once been her flute. She placed the broken instrument into the damaged holster around her waist, and continued hobbling.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Let’s set up camp here for the night,” Oshime said, once again pulling Tayuya out of her daydream.

    “Yeah, sounds good,” Tayuya said, looking around at how dark it had gotten since she began to reminisce.

    The two quickly set up their two tents, and had a quick meal using the fire Oshime created with a simple jutsu. They ate in silence, Oshime noticing that Tayuya wasn’t her usual obnoxious self.

    “I’ll be right back,” Tayuya said, as she finished her meal.

    Oshime nodded, knowing what Tayuya needed to do. The red-haired girl glanced at her friend, noticing her lustrous eyes seemed to pierce the darkness like small flashlights, and made her way to her tent. Oshime gave her friend privacy, hearing the rustling sounds she had come to recognize since they had been traveling together. She took the opportunity to find a tree she could use to go to the bathroom, making sure she grabbed a few tissues before she went. Both girls returned to the small fire at the same time, sitting back down on the small log on the ground.

    “We should turn in for the night”, Oshime said, getting a nod in response.

    “Yeah, I can’t wait to get this damn cloak off,” Tayuya stated. In actuality, she found the cloak to be quite nice looking, but being almost entirely black meant it was sweltering to wear outside during the daytime heat.

    “Don’t complain. Just be lucky I’m letting us take them off to sleep,” Oshime replied. “The Akatsuki never take theirs off. In fact, if a member took theirs off, it probably meant they were about to die.”

    “Yeah, yeah, but we’re not Akatsuki, Oshime,” Tayuya stated, “We’re just masquerading as them.”

    “Well, duh, that was my idea, you know.” Oshime said, “We need to keep the guise up as long as possible to fool who we need to.”

    “It can’t be that hard to fool such a small, bumpkin village,” Tayuya replied, “I mean, I’ve never even heard of this place.”

    “We’ll talk about this in the morning,” Oshime said, “Right now, we need to sleep.”

    Both girls removed their cloaks, and placed them in their supply case, along with Tayuya’s flute, and Oshime’s Sui-Riu. Tayuya made a few handsigns, and put a sealing jutsu on the case, which would now neither open, nor move from its current location unless either Tayuya or Oshime performed the necessary handsigns. Tayuya bid her partner goodnight, and entered her tent, content with sleeping in the outfit she was wearing under her robe. Oshime, not wanting to do the same, entered her own tent, and changed into a long, blue shirt that reached her knees. There was a black symbol across the chest, round on one side, and with two, curved spikes on the other. Oshime sighed as she looked at it, and got under the covers, extinguishing her own lantern. Ten feet away, in her own tent, Tayuya lay under the covers of her sleeping bag, trying like always to find a comfortable position in which to fall asleep. She put out her lantern, and closed her eyes, falling into a deep sleep not long after.
    <hr noshade size="1">
    Chapter 2 – The Fallen

    Tayuya opened her still weary eyes, and blinked a few times, before stretching and sitting up. She opened her tent door slightly, and peered out into the early morning. She could tell it was early, but had no desire to return to sleep. She reckoned she had a couple of hours until Oshime got up, so she closed her tent door, and laid back onto her sleeping bag. Staring at the ceiling of the tent, she found herself once again getting lost in her own thoughts.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Tayuya hobbled forward, only partially sure she was going the way her teammates should have been. As she made her way forward, she saw some type of white structure. She made her way towards it, not sure what it was she was seeing. Tayuya gasped as she entered the clearing in forest. She stared at the tall, white structures protruding from the ground, knowing instantly that they were the bones of her teammate, Kimimaro.

    “Kimimaro?,” Tayuya said out loud, “What the hell was he doing here, as sick as he is?”

    Tayuya hobbled up to the bone formation, and worked her way around it, and through the spaces between them when possible, but found no sign of her teammate. Tayuya leaned against one of the structures, and eased herself into a sitting position, wincing at the slight pains across her body. Pondering what could have happened, she sighed, and looked at the bone structures. As she looked above her, she gasped in shock at what she saw. There was her teammate, sticking out of the top of a bone spire, a vacant look on his lifeless face, unmoving. His body was still in its second state of cursed seal, and his left arm was covered in his bone spiral technique still. Tayuya stared at her dead teammate for a few minutes, realizing that his sickness must have been what ended him, despite the observation that he appeared to be in the middle of a battle at the time.

    “Well, that’s the idiot gets for leaving the compound,” Tayuya stated, “He should have known he was too sick to be of use to Lord Orochimaru”

    Tayuya summoned her strength, and pulled herself back up, making sure not to put weight on her bad leg. Taking one last look at her fallen comrade, she began limping from her location. She made her way forward for a bit, before deciding follow the small river down the gorge, knowing Sakon and Ukon had fallen down there during their skirmish with that feral brat and his mongrel. As she made her way, she felt the terrain change, becoming more rock-covered and jagged. Careful not to lose her balance, she managed to continue forward, looking for any signs of her conjoined teammates. The first thing she noticed was a trail of blood splatterings leading away from the river. She followed the path, not sure what she was expecting to find at the end of the trail. What she did find was nothing she was currently prepared for. She stared at the bloody body of her two teammates, each head with a mix of rage and surprise on their faces, lying in a puddle of their own blood. It looked like they had been stabbed multiple times, from various angles.
    “Them, too?” Tayuya asked, starting to feel alone, “Those dumbasses probably got overconfident again.”

    Tayuya sighed, and began trekking away from the bloodied corpse of her combined teammates, trying to find a way out of the canyon, hoping to find Kidomaru or Jiroubo still alive.

    “With my luck, it’ll just be me and Lardass…”, Tayuya grumbled, continuing on.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Hey Tayuya, you awake yet?” Oshime said gently, outside of Tayuya’s tent.

    “Yeah, I’m awake,” Tayuya replied, stretching her legs under her sleeping bag.

    “Ok, meet me out here when you’re done changing,” Oshime said, “Umm, if you need to that is.”

    “Yeah, yeah” Tayuya grumbled, knowing that she did indeed need to.

    Oshime sat by the sealed chest, hearing the sounds she’d come to correlate with Tayuya. After a few minutes, Tayuya emerged from her tent, wearing a light green T-shirt, and a pair of baggy, black sweatpants. Tayuya said nothing as she walked over to the chest, and performed the necessary handsigns to release the sealing jutsu on it. Oshime opened the latch, and quickly grabbed her sword, followed by her Akatsuki cloak. Tayuya scooped her cloak and flute out the chest, and first placed her flute in its holster on her belt. She stared at her cloak, not wanting to put it on in the already humid and warm air. Sighing, she slipped it over her outfit, noticing that Oshime had already done the same.

    “Ok, let’s go,” Oshime said, collecting her supplies into her pack. Tayuya did the same, folding her tent up awkwardly, and shoving it into its holder incorrectly.

    “Nice job…” Oshime said sarcastically, “And you wonder why your last tent broke…”

    “Shut it,” Tayuya growled, walking onto the path, “What’s the name of this village, again?”

    “Ugh, what CAN you remember?” Oshime replied, shaking her head, “The village is Kagegakure, the Village Hidden in the Shadows. It’s located in the middle of a tall mountain range, so they say they’re protected by the shadows of the mountains.”

    “Huh, well, you’d think they’d call themselves the Village Hidden in the Mountains, or something,” Tayuya said.

    “Well, they’re not called that, so try to act nice when we meet the Kage of the village, ok?” Oshime pleaded, “I don’t want your foul attitude to ruin this heist.”

    “Ugh, shut your trap,” Tayuya demanded, “Wait, I thought only the five main villages had a Kage?”

    “Official Kages, yes,” Oshime replied, “But many smaller villages call their leaders “Kage” in order to boost the moral of their people.”

    “So, this village calls its leader the Kagekage, I assume?” Tayuya said, shaking her head. “This’ll be the easiest heist we’ve ever done”

    Oshime just shook her head, not saying anything. The two continued their forward progress, Tayuya noticing an odd look on her partner’s face, but deciding not to mention it.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Tayuya had finally found her way out of the gorge, and continued at her sluggish pace through the forest. She recognized a few remnants of the traps she had set for their pursuers just the other day, and knew she was going the right direction. She continued looking around for any signs of her other two teammates, and eventually found an area of trees with had fist-sized holes in them, along with a fabric-like material spread across the forest floor. Knowing this to be the work of Kidomaru, she looked around, noticing more webbing in every direction. She sighed, and walked around the area, until she saw a figure lying on the ground in the distance. Stumbling over to it, she saw the body of Kidomaru lying motionless on the ground. Noticing he only had a few nicks and scratches on his body, Tayuya grimaced, and painfully bent over to check for signs of life.

    “Nope,” She sighed, “Dead like the others.”

    Tayuya shook her head, and began hobbling away from Kidomaru, only somewhat sure she was headed in Jiroubo’s direction. As she walked on, she looked at the six-armed shinobi one last time before shaking her head.

    “How could a bunch of shit-faced genin decimate us like this?” Tayuya yelled to no one in particular.

    Tayuya no longer expected Jiroubo to be alive, seeing as he was the weakest of their team. Despite this, she continued her slow pace towards the place she thought he was. Before getting too far from Kidomaru’s location, she felt a warm sensation spreading across her legs. She was confused at the cause, as her pants had dried awhile ago. She looked down to see the wetness spreading down almost to the edge of her pants before coming to a stop. She looked around for a water source, but was unsurprised to find one.

    “Did I just…?” Tayuya asked herself, the faint smell of urine answering her question before she could ask it.

    Tayuya yelled a few profanities, and had to stop herself before she stomped on the ground with her bad leg. She realized the internal damage to her abdomen must have been pretty severe, having rendered her temporarily incontinent, or at least she hoped it was only temporary. She released a few more profanities, and continued going forward.

    After twenty or so minutes, Tayuya found herself in a clearing, much smaller than the one Kimimaro had met his end in, with a small crater in the center. Hobbling over to center, she saw the body of Jiroubo lying in the center. His chest looked like it had been caved in by whatever had formed this impact crater. Despite expecting to find him dead, finding Jiroubo made Tayuya feel the worse. It’s not that she cared more about him than the others, quite the opposite in fact, but seeing the last of her teammates dead made her feel alone for the first time in her life, despite fending for herself since the age of seven. Tayuya veered to the left, unsure of where she was heading, but knowing she would not return alone to Lord Orochimaru, lest she wind up the same as the rest of her team. She shed nary a tear for her comrades, as shinobi were trained to never show their emotions, lest they show weakness.

    Tayuya continued for hours, hungrier and thirstier than she had ever thought it possible to be, and her pants incredibly uncomfortable as the urine dried. Just as she thought she didn’t have the strength to continue any further, a snapping sound penetrated her ears, as the branch she had been using as a crutch broke, sending the kunoichi tumbling to the ground. Pain tore through her as she hit her leg and other other injuries against the rough ground. Not even having the strength to swear, Tayuya found a single thought in her mind, as she blacked out: “Fuck.”


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Tayuya snapped back to reality as she almost tripped on a pebble protruding from the ground, swearing at it as if it would respond.

    “Nice going, Tayuya,” Oshime said, “You were almost beaten by a rock…”

    “Screw you, shit-face,” Tayuya responded, “A damn fly could kick your ass.”

    Oshime gave her a mean look, but then looked back at the path ahead, pulling a small container out of her pack. She opened it, and began munching on the food inside.

    “Want some pretzels?” Oshime asked, holding out the container.

    “No thanks,” Tayuya responded, not even glancing over at her partner.

    Oshime brought the container back close to her, and continued snacking, finishing the whole thing quickly. Tayuya stopped suddenly, causing Oshime to stop and look at her. Tayuya did not need to say a word, as Oshime nodded. Tayuya walked into the trees with her pack, and emerged a few minutes later, blushing as she usually did in the situation. Saying nothing, both girls began walking again, getting closer to their destination.


    Chapter 3 – Salvation

    As the duo walked, Tayuya began to notice mountains in the distance, ahead and on her left. She figured they must've been getting close, since the village was in the middle of a mountain range. As she looked ahead, she noticed Oshime stop, out of the corner of her eye.

    "What's up?" Tayuya asked, also stopping.

    "This is the way to get to Kagegakure," Oshime responded.

    "What?" Tayuya replied, confused, "What do you mean?"

    "Did you think this path would just lead to the village, a hidden village?" Oshime stated, "We need to take a left here, and travel through the forest for a bit."

    "I guess that makes sense," Tayuya answered, "But how the hell do you know to turn here?"

    Tayuya wasn't sure if Oshime hadn't heard her, or just simply ignored her, but she didn't answer the question. She simply turned, and jumped into the trees, beginning to tree jump at normal ninja speed. Tayuya quickly followed, going a tiny bit faster, making sure to catch up to Oshime. Tayuya watched the trees blur by, making sure to follow Oshime, wondering how she knew where to go.

    ~~~~~

    Tayuya opened her weary eyes, and was met with blurriness. The last thing she remembered was collapsing onto the ground. She tried to sit up, but couldn't summon the strength. As she eyes began to focus, she saw she was in a building of some sort. Wondering how she got there, she turned her head, looking for a sign of another person. She saw a small light in another room, but found herself too weak to call out to the potential person in that room. It was then that she noticed her arm was in a sling, and her leg was in a cast. She stretched her good leg, noticing it was somewhat sore, and felt something odd. She realized she was wearing something around her waist and privates. Thinking it was some type of abdominal cast, she shifted with what little strength she had, and noticed that it wasn't anywhere near as hard as a cast, and it felt somewhat wet, crinkling slightly as she moved.

    "I see you've woken up," She heard a voice say, "You've been asleep for two days now."

    Tayuya turned her head to look at the voice, and saw a girl about her age, with shoulder length silver hair, and bright orange eyes, that despite mostly being hidden behind her bangs, still shone elegantly. Tayuya tried to speak, but her throat hurt too much, so she just nodded her head slowly.

    "Don't try to speak or move too much. You're still weak," The girl said, "My name is Oshime Shiruba."

    Tayuya just nodded again, as Oshime walked over to her, and brought a cup of liquid up to her lips.

    "Here, drink up," Oshime stated, "It's a mix of water and medicine."

    Tayuya slowly swallowed the liquid as it entered her mouth, content that this girl was not trying to kill her. After all, she reckoned, if she really wanted to kill her, she would have just killed her while she was unconscious. The liquid seemed to soothe her throat, but the aftertaste left something to be desired.

    "Thanks…" Tayuya managed to say, wincing.

    "It's no big deal," Oshime stated, "Now let's check on something else…"

    Tayuya gave her a confused look, but had no time to try and ask her what she meant, as Oshime pulled the blanket off of Tayuya's body. Tayuya noticed she was wearing a plain white T-shirt, but gasped in shock at what she was wearing on the lower half of her body. She realized that it was not at all an abdominal cast, and understood why it was crinkling.

    "What the fuck is that!?" Tayuya yelled, groaning in pain afterwards.

    "I told you not to talk too much," Oshime replied, "What you're wearing is an incontinence garment, or as you might know it, a diaper."

    Tayuya did not respond, due to her throat pain, but shot Oshime a look of anger.

    "This cot isn't much, but I don't want it getting any wetter than it already has", Oshime stated, "I had to run to the nearest village to get these for you, while you lay in bed, wetting through the mattress."

    Tayuya blushed at the thought that she had wet helplessly while blacked out, but then remembered that she had urinated while hobbling through the forest. Her eyes widened as she saw Oshime reach for the top-left tab of her diaper, and used her good arm to weakly try and stop her. Oshime easily swatted her hand away, not even looking at Tayuya as she undid the tab. Tayuya blushed again, but knew she was too weak to do anything to prevent the inevitable. Tayuya looked away as Oshime undid the other three tabs, and slid the sodden garment out from under her, exposing her moist privates to the cool air. Her sore body twitched in surprise as she felt a cool, wet cloth make contact with her skin, wiping away the spare urine. Tayuya tried to psyche herself up for the next part of the change, but having never changed a diaper before, had no idea what was left. She shuddered as she felt some type of powder applied to her skin, and heard a crinkle she assumed was her new diaper. She blushed as Oshime carefully taped it onto her, looking at Oshime for the first time since the change began. She noticed that Oshime was also blushing, but it faded quickly as she placed the changing supplies under the bed.

    "Well, I'm not a medical ninja, so I don't know the extent of that abdominal injury," Oshime stated factually, "But it seems you're going to be incontinent for awhile, if not permanently."

    "Dammit…" Tayuya said in a hoarse voice, "Just what I fucking needed…"

    "Also, you are not going anywhere for awhile, with that leg of yours," Oshime stated, "You're welcome to stay here, as long as you need."

    "What?" Tayuya asked, "But you put my leg in a cast, so shouldn't I be fine with some crutches?"

    "I already told you, I'm not a medical ninja," Oshime replied, "I did what I could, but it's nowhere near good enough to have you walking around on it until it's healed."

    Tayuya was surprised to discover that the one part of her that didn't hurt was the back of her neck. She rubbed her neck, and was surprised to discover that her cursed seal wasn't there. A quick glance at her refection on the metal bar of the cot showed a bare neck, devoid of the cursed seal Orochimaru had placed there years ago.

    "My cursed seal…" Tayuya muttered.

    "What was that?" Oshime asked.

    "Oh, nothing…" Tayuya replied.

    Tayuya sighed, and began looking around the location she was in. The room was not particularly large, nor was it well-furnished. There was nothing but the dumpy little cot, and a small, empty cupboard. There was only one door and one window in the wood-paneled room, but she could not see too well into it.

    "This is just a small shack," Oshime said, noticing that Tayuya was looking around, "Only this room, my room, a small bathroom and an entrance area."

    "Where are we?" Tayuya asked.

    "We're on the outskirts of the Leaf Village," Oshime stated.

    "So, why'd you build this shack here?" Tayuya asked.

    "I didn't," Oshime replied, "I founded it empty, and decided to squat here till the owners returned, but they never did."

    "Oh, I see," Tayuya said, losing interest in the conversation, "So, what village are you from?"

    "You should get some rest," Oshime said, getting up, "I'll make us something to eat."

    Tayuya decided not to press the subject further, and laid back onto the cot, watching as Oshime stepped into the other room. Despite having been unconscious for a few days, Tayuya was still very tired, and found herself falling asleep not too long later.


    ~~~~~

    The two kunoichi continued tree-hopping for hours, the mountains in the distance getting only slightly closer despite the length of time they spent on the move. Tayuya shuddered as she felt a familiar feeling encase her lower half, increasing the warmth she already felt from the hot air and black cloak combination.

    "Hey, Oshime, hold up!" Tayuya yelled to her partner.

    "No, if we want to make it today, we can't stop for anything!" Oshime yelled back.

    "Yeah, But, I need to…" Tayuya shouted, trailing off.

    "I know, but you'll have to wait!" Oshime responded.

    "Screw you, I'm stopping!" Tayuya shouted back, coming to a halt.

    "Fine…" Oshime said reluctantly, stopping a few trees in front of Tayuya.

    Tayuya jumped from the tree, and landed on the forest floor below, making sure Oshime couldn't see her from where she was. It was a bit harder this deep into the dark forest, but after a couple of minutes, Tayuya managed to finish up, leaving the used item on the forest floor, as she always did. She hopped back up to Oshime's level, and nodded at her annoyed partner.

    "Shut your face," Tayuya scowled, before Oshime could say anything.

    Oshime just shook her head, and turned around to begin tree-hopping again. Oshime sped up to her normal speed, in the direction of the mountains. Tayuya followed close behind, still scowling.

    After a couple hours, Tayuya realized that they were traveling uphill, signaling that they had reached the mountain. The sun was beginning to set, so Oshime began to speed up her tree-hopping. Tayuya, not the fastest person, struggled to keep up with her partner, quickly becoming winded from the added effort. They had started moving down the mountain, and Tayuya saw a small village in the distance. She guessed that even if they moved at their current speed, which was all but impossible for Tayuya, they still wouldn't make it there by nightfall. The look on her face told Tayuya that Oshime knew this too, but nonetheless, Oshime began to travel even faster than before. Tayuya wheezed as she tried to keep up, unable to even yell to Oshime to tell her to stop. After a few minutes at this speed, Tayuya could no longer keep going, and stopped, wheezing as she clutched her side. Oshime turned around, and saw that Tayuya had stopped.

    "C'mon, we don't have time to stop!" Oshime yelled.

    "I…can't…keep…going…" Tayuya wheezed, "We're not…going to make it…tonight, anyway…"

    Oshime scowled, but then sighed, knowing that Tayuya was telling the truth.

    "Ok, let's make camp here," Oshime said, jumping to the forest floor below.

    Tayuya nodded, and jumped down to Oshime. Oshime lit a small fire, as Tayuya set up her wrinkled tent. Oshime's tent was immaculate, but Tayuya did not care about perfection, just as long as she could sleep in her own. The two ate in silence, Oshime still looking annoyed that they weren't already at the village. Neither said goodnight to the other as they entered their tents, each lantern being extinguished a couple minutes later.


    Chapter 4 – Recovery

    Tayuya awoke the next morning, due to something entering her tent. She groggily flung a kunai at the shadowy figure, hearing a high pitched squeal as it connected. As her tired eyes focused, the figure was revealed to have been a squirrel.

    "Oops…" Tayuya said, rubbing her eyes.

    She kicked the small animal's corpse out of the tent, and proceeded to change into her clothes for the day, along with changing her soiled garment. After that was done, she exited her tent, and retrieved her Akatsuki cloak and flute from the sealed case. She tossed the cloak to the side, not wanting to put it on until the last possible moment.

    "You're going to ruin it, if you do that" Oshime said, exiting her tent, "We need that for our plan."

    "Yeah, yeah, yeah" Tayuya replied, rolling her eyes, "I'm surprised you're not rushing us to leave."

    "It's early" Oshime stated, "We have all day to get there, so there's no need to rush."

    "Tell that to yourself from last night…" Tayuya said, "I couldn't even keep up."

    "Yeah, because it was late, and I wanted to get there before the day ended." Oshime answered.

    "Whatever…" Tayuya stated, "Why don't you go over the details of this heist again."

    "Ugh, fine" Oshime said, shaking her head, "But this is the last time."

    "Ok, ok" Tayuya said, cracking her knuckles

    "Ok, we're going to the Hidden Shadow village, in order to steal their most precious object, The Stone of Shadows." Oshime said.

    "Ok, and the Akatsuki cloaks?" Tayuya asked.

    "We need a reason to be in the village in the first place" Oshime responded, "The Kagekage has the utmost respect for the Akatsuki, so we'll meet him pretending to be Akatsuki members, to earn his trust."

    "Well, I guess that makes sense" Tayuya replied, reluctantly, "I still hate the damn thing."

    Oshime rolled her eyes, and sat down next to Tayuya. She pulled a small canister from her pack, and popped it open. As she ate the contents, Tayuya ate her own. When they were finished, Oshime placed the empty can in her pack, thinking it might come in handy later. Tayuya, on the other hand, tossed hers into the forest, not caring to carry around useless baggage.

    "Well, shall we go?" Oshime asked, standing up.

    "Sure, let's pack up" Tayuya replied, shoving her tent into its case.

    "Ugh, I swear" Oshime said, "I'm not buying you another one when that breaks."

    "Shut it, lardass" Tayuya replied, "It's only a damn tent."

    Oshime shook her head, and packed her own tent neatly into its case. Oshime reverse summoned the sealed case, and waited for Tayuya to struggle with her tent. After Tayuya finished, they each put their packs on, and began tree-hopping towards the village.

    ~~~

    Tayuya spent most of the next six weeks lying in that old cot, begrudgingly allowing Oshime to take care of her. She was embarrassed during every diaper change, but gradually became slightly less embarrassed. Oshime never seemed to mind it, never having more than the slightest blush on her face. Tayuya was surprised that her arm was almost entirely healed after just two weeks, even if it was still somewhat sore. Tayuya tried arguing with her caretaker that she could change herself now that both arms were available for use, but Oshime would have none of it. Oshime argued that she'd be more susceptible to injuring her leg even more if she tried to change herself. Tayuya knew it was a losing battle, so she spoke an obscenity, and laid back as Oshime began to change her wet diaper once again.

    At the end of six weeks, her leg had healed enough to allow her stand, but Oshime still insisted on changing her, "just in case." Tayuya put up an argument, but Oshime shot it down, saying that Tayuya had been weakened by inactivity, and shouldn't be wasting energy on minor tasks. This lasted less than a week, as Tayuya showed Oshime that her strength was mostly there, and she could change herself. Oshime tested her by allowing her to do so, and although it was not perfect, Tayuya showed that she could adequately change herself, forcing Oshime to back down from her stance. After that show of recovery, Tayuya began training again, trying to get back her strength, everyday hoping she'd find that her bladder had healed. One night, as they were getting ready for bed, Tayuya took the initiative to speak, which was a rarity at this time of day.

    "Why did you save me?" Tayuya asked.

    "Because you were injured and needed help." Oshime answered, not even moving her head to look at Tayuya.

    "Cut me the bull, please" Tayuya answered, "Most people don't just nurse someone back to health for weeks, even going so far as to, err, change them…"

    "If you want to know the truth" Oshime answered, "I figured I could use a partner, and I could tell that your injuries and garb were one of a kunoichi."

    "If you needed a partner, why go for an almost dead ninja?" Tayuya asked.

    "I figured if I nursed a ninja back to health, he or she would be more likely to want to repay the debt by helping me out." Oshime responded.

    "Well, you found the wrong girl" Tayuya said, letting out a small laugh, "I don't feel as if I owe you shit."

    "Yeah, I figured that out after the second day" Oshime replied, "But I figure you might stick around when you find out what I do."

    "Hmm?" Tayuya said, slightly interested.

    "I perform heists" Oshime stated, "I steal in order to pay for what I want or need."

    "Seems pretty standard to me" Tayuya replied, "I do like money, though."

    "Heh, well, I could use someone to help with the bigger heists." Oshime said, smiling.

    "Well, it's not like I got anywhere else to go" Tayuya said, thinking of the Sannin she once referred to as "Lord", "As long as I get fifty percent of the cut, I guess I'm in."

    "But of course" Oshime said, "Anything else you need to be at your best?"

    "A flute" Tayuya said, "Oh, and for my fucking bladder to work again…"

    "Well, the first is doable" Oshime replied, trying not to laugh, "But the latter is out of my hands."

    "Good night..." Tayuya said, glaring at Oshime.

    Oshime laughed, and left Tayuya's room, turning off the light as she exited. Tayuya pulled the covers over herself, knowing that she needed a change, but not wanting to deal with it until morning.


    ~~~

    "We'll be there very soon." Oshime yelled back to Tayuya.

    Tayuya nodded, and continued tree-jumping behind her partner. As they approached the village, Tayuya realized just how small it was. The village had no walls to defend themselves with, and even the gate at the entrance had no doors. As they stopped in front of the gate, Tayuya looked at the banner sign above the gate, depicting a headband with what must have been the village's symbol on it. The symbol was round on the left, but the right was two spikes which curved back towards the left. Tayuya couldn't help but think the shape was familiar, but had no time to ponder on it, as Oshime tugged her through the gate entrance.

    "Come on, we don't want to keep the Kagekage waiting." Oshime stated, letting go of her arm.

    "Right" Tayuya said, nodding.


    "One more bowl of ramen, Old man!" The young shinobi yelled, pounding his fist on the table.

    "Heh, right away Naruto" Teuchi said, quickly pouring a bowl of ramen for one of his best customers.

    "Thanks!" Naruto said, laughing, before gulping down his food, and placing his bowl amongst the pile that was forming.

    "Hey, Naruto!" A voice yelled, getting closer.

    Naruto turned to look at the voice, recognizing it as his teammate Sakura.

    "Hey, Sakura, wanna buy me a bowl of Ramen?" Naruto asked, smiling.

    "Not now, Naruto, Lady Tsunade needs to see us." Sakura responded, resisting the urge to punch her teammate out of his seat.

    "Really?" Naruto responded, "We have a mission?"

    "I don't know," Sakura answered, "But we'd better hurry."

    Naruto nodded, and placed some money on the counter.

    "Thanks, Old man!" Naruto yelled back as he ran with Sakura towards the Hokage's office.

    "Anytime!" Teuchi responded, waving at Naruto.

    The two ninja made it to the Hokage's office, meeting Shizune outside the entrance to Tsunade's office. Shizune let them in right away, opening the door to the office, after greeting Sakura and Naruto. As the two entered, they saw Shikamaru waiting in front of the Hokage's desk.

    "It's about time you got here" Tsunade said, looking at Naruto and Sakura.

    "Sorry, Lady Tsunade" Sakura replied.

    "Yeah, whatever, just give us the mission, Grandma Tsunade!" Naruto yelled.

    "You've been called here today, because two Akatsuki members have been spotted in Kagegakure, a small village not far from here." Tsunade stated, ignoring the blond ninja's comment.

    "The Akatsuki!" Naruto yelled. "Which ones!?"

    "We don't know" Tsunade replied, "Our informant could not get close enough to see the faces of the two."

    "Then what's our mission?" Shikamaru asked, "If we don't know which members, it would be reckless to just charge in. We need to choose the three ninja for this mission based upon the abilities of our opponents."

    "Normally, yes, but we have no other choice but to act now, and figure out what reason they are in Kagegakure." Tsunade replied, "We were not hired by that village, so we can't afford to send our best Anbu or Jounin to figure it out."

    "Ugh, what a drag…" Shikamaru said, sighing.

    "You are to leave immediately" Tsunade stated, "Shikamaru, you are the leader of this mission, so I expect it to go well."

    "Right" All three responded, turning around to leave.

    The three quickly packed their bags, and met at the entrance to Konoha.

    "Let's go!" Naruto yelled, with his usual enthusiasm.

    "Calm down, Naruto!" Sakura yelled, pounding him on the head.

    "Ow, that was uncalled for..." Naruto said, retying his black headband.

    "Just shut up and walk." Sakura said, dragging him through the village gates.

    "Ugh..." Shikamaru said, shaking his head before beginning to follow his teammates.

    ~~~

    As they walked towards the Kagekage's manor, Tayuya looked around the small village, noticing how normal it looked. They received a few glances as they walked, most likely due to their odd clothes.

    "This is it" Oshime stated, looking at an average building in front of her.
    "That's it?" Tayuya asked, "It's pretty small for a Kage's manor."

    "Yeah, but it's a small village" Oshime replied, "They can't afford a huge mansion, not even for their beloved Kagekage."

    "Well, if they loved him so much, they'd pitch in the funds" Tayuya responded, "Not to mention give him a better title than Kagekage..."

    "I swear, if you do that during our meeting..." Oshime threatened.

    "I know, I know, I'll be good" Tayuya answered, rolling her eyes.

    As the two approached the building, they noticed two Jounin guarding the doorway. Before Tayuya could even think of an excuse, the two Jounin nodded, and stepped out from in front of the entrance.

    "But, how…?" Tayuya asked.

    "I told you, the Kagekage has the utmost respect for the Akatsuki…which we of course are a part of." Oshime said, adding the latter, just in case.

    "Yeah, but still..." Tayuya said, suspicious of the situation.

    The two removed their sandals as they entered, and kneeled down in front of the small desk. They waited only a few seconds as a figure emerged from behind the curtains, dressed in customary Kage robes, colored black in the areas of color. The Kagekage was not a young man, sporting just a few black streaks in his shoulder length gray hair. His green eyes were quite intense, despite the wrinkles that adorned his face. His bulbous nose was in contrast to the rest of his face, which would be thin and streamlined if not for the wrinkles.

    "Welcome" He stated, smiling, "To the Hidden Shadow Village"
    Last edited by Chuztox; September 16, 2008 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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