I lay in the darkness, unable to move. It hurt. It hurt so much. Tears leaked out of my eyes and mixed with my sweat.
I hold onto the dirty ground, clutched my fingers into the straw and tried not to move my feet.
The monster wanted to know more about my ability. He wanted to know why I could control the earth. He wanted to know how I could see. And he wanted to make sure that I never could escape again.
Even though the assistant of the monster, the man named Kabuto, did come in earlier and had treated them, it didn’t take away the pain.
The monster had cut them. He had cut into my soles of feet. He had taken away the skin. He had pushed needles inside them. He had destroyed my eyes.
My body shook from another sob.
I knew that no one would come. No one could save me. I would die in here.
Through the agony I’ve felt during the experimentations, bits and pieces from my memory were coming back. I had been his prisoner once. I remembered the face of the monster: Pale skin, yellow slits as eyes, a licking tongue, the cruel smile. And next to him his assistant: Silver hair, uninfected by my screams, pushing up his glasses. They were monsters and they had experimented on me so long until I’ve lost my eyesight. Alone in my cell I’ve figured out how to see without them, I’ve used my other senses. And so I had been able to escape.
But that won’t work again. Because now I couldn’t see, I couldn’t feel. The only thing I was capable of was lying there, sobbing and crying, to wait for my death.
The following day they reached the outskirts of Otogakure. Kazumi was still weak and exhausted, but Sasori took care of her wounds while they were flying on Deidara’s bird, and he gave her some pills to give her strength.
They met with Itachi and Kisame in a nearby forest under a huge and strong tree.
“So what exactly are we going to do?” Kisame asked, gripping the handle of Samehada with a grin.
“Orochimaru is going to know soon that we’re here” Itachi said. “So we have to act quickly.”
“I’ve got a spy under Orochimaru’s men” Sasori meant. “Three weeks ago he gave me the exact positions of their current hideouts.”
“Kazumi” Itachi addressed the girl. “I want you to go into Otogakure to try to get information from the ninjas. Maybe some of them know something.”
Kazumi nodded. She could use Masayoshi’s power not only to see into a soul of a person, but with a little bit more effort she also could see through regular memories the person had from the last five days. She would do everything to save Tora, even in her weak state.
“We split up” Itachi went on. “I’m going into the north-east area, Kisame the north-west, Sasori the South-east and Deidara the South-west of South Country. We’ll infiltrate every hideout and when anyone has a trace; inform Leader so that he can give the information to the rest.”
“Why do you have to decide who is going in which direction, Uchiha, un?” Deidara asked darkly.
“Shut up brat” Hiruko’s dark voice grumbled. “Now is not the time for that. Also not all of Orochimaru’s hideouts are in Sound Country. If we’re unlucky, the girl is somewhere else.”
“Yes, but this is the safest land for Orochimaru and after the attack on Konoha he fled to the Sound Country” Itachi said. “We have no other choice than checking these hideouts first.”
“How is Orochimaru looking?” Kazumi asked curious. She wanted to know it in the case that his face would appear in any memory of the ninjas in Oto she was going to question.
“Pale skin, black long hair, yellow eyes” Hiruko answered.
“There is something snaky about him” Kisame grinned.
Kazumi frowned as she remembered something. Masayoshi also noticed it.
“Itachi, can I have a word with you?” she asked suppressing a shiver.
The other members were more than confused but didn’t say anything as they ran away.
“Do you remember that I told you that Tora had been already kidnapped once?” she asked him whispering. Itachi nodded, looking at her blankly but with a little curiosity.
“I saw it in the memory of someone who had visited the slave trading group to buy some men. Well, in his memory I saw him and another man experimenting on Tora. I think that the other man was Orochimaru. He looked like you described him to me.”
Itachi narrowed his eyes slightly. “I understand” he said calmly and disappeared as well.
Worried Kazumi walked to Otogakure. This Orochimaru must have known that Tora was in the Hidden Grass Village and recaptured her to continue his experimentations. Kazumi started shaking slightly as she remembered what these men did to Tora. Pictures about the girl laying bleeding and screaming on a steel table popped up in her mind. And the cold, satisfied but uninfected feeling of that glasses-wearing guy.
Tora, hold on, please…
I had no idea how much time had passed. The only sounds I heard were the screaming and yelling from other prisoners. I knew that I was sealed away in a cell. Even though I’d be in a normal room with an open door, I couldn’t escape.
Why was he doing this to me? Why me? Why did this monster want to turn me into a succeeded experiment that desperately?
That Kabuto had come again some seconds, minutes or hours ago to check my feet roughly. He didn’t say anything as I had bit my lip bloody, whimpering and struggling. He only changed the bandages and put a tray of food and water in front of my face.
It was still there. I didn’t touch anything of it except the water. What use would it have to eat it if I would vomit it later anyway?
My hands were pressed on the ground. At least they could feel a little. Every time a person was about to come down the hallway my cell was connected to, my heart beat faster and I trembled heavily, trying to crawl farther into the corner and making me invisible.
But they didn’t come to take me.
My eyes closed slowly and I tried to steady my breath. I was exhausted and drained.
No, I couldn’t sleep! I had to stay alert!
But my body felt so heavy. Maybe I should sleep. Just to escape the pain.
Footsteps. They came closer.
My head yanked up. I shivered uncontrollably.
They were coming…
But the weight of that person, the steps; they were familiar to me.
My eyes grew big as I recognized him. But… but how was it possible? What was he doing here?
No, I must be wrong. My mind was playing tricks on me; it was only a fata morgana.
The person came closer to my cell. He passed it, without getting slower.
“Sasuke?” I whispered out. My voice was quiet and shaky.
The footsteps stopped. The person turned around. I felt eyes looking at my miserable form.
I nodded, not sure if he could see it. It was him, Sasuke the emo kid, my team partner.
“W-what are… are you doing h-here?” I asked weakly and with a rasping voice.
“I could ask you the same. I thought you were captured by the Akatsuki.”
“Yes but… but that monster… he caught me again. Y-you should run. D-don’t fight him, search help.” My voice broke and I couldn’t continue speaking.
“Hn” was his only commentary. Then he turned and left me again in the darkness. His steps weren’t hasty, he didn’t run. Instead he continued walking to the heart of the hideout.
With a facial expression like nothing had happened Sasuke entered the dark room with the snake throne where Orochimaru usually was – when he wasn’t experimenting.
“Sasuke… is something wrong?” the Sannin asked hissing. “Or why are you here?”
“I want to train, now” Sasuke said darkly, glaring at the snake man. Kabuto who stood nearby shot him a warning look.
“Watch your tongue young man. You’re talking to Lord Orochimaru after all.”
“I don’t care. I joined you to train, and not to sit all day in a room, staring at the wall.”
Orochimaur sighed. “You’re so right Sasuke, I apology. It’s just that a test subject who I thought was lost appeared again. I’m so excited about it, but I’ll start the training with you right away” he said standing up and walking over to Sasuke who frowned slightly.
“Do you talk about Tora?”
“Yessss” the Sannin hissed, his eyes sparkling. “A person who can control earth and feel vibrations, isn’t it amazing? I wonder if the same goes for the other elements too.”
“Tora is your team mate, isn’t she?” Kabuto asked, pushing his glasses up, watching the Uchiha carefully as they walked down the halls.
“She was” Sasuke corrected him. “I let my old life behind me.”
“I hope so. But you’ll stay away from her cell in the future, we don’t want anyone interfere with it.”
A few hours later Sasuke returned to his room after the training. He was unhappy. The whole time Orochimaru didn’t seemed to be there with his mind. He probably had thought about his new toy, Tora, the whole time. However, the young Uchiha didn’t left his village just to wait until the snake had finished his experiments. He wanted to train, he wanted to become stronger so that he would be able to defeat his brother, and this blind girl did cross his plans.
But she also had been prisoner of the Akatsuki, so maybe she knew information and the current location of Itachi. He had to question her about this, no matter if Kabuto was against it or not.
With a slight twitch of his lips Sasuke entered his new bare room with the table, bed and lamp.
Sasuke would use the blind girl to get his revenge.
“This girl must instantly be brought to the South hideout. Nothing shall happen to her, do you understand?”
They nodded and his partner slung the unconscious girl over his shoulder. Without further questions they headed from the western border toward the South hideout, not once resting.
Kazumi looked at the silver haired guy in front of her. He was the 25th shinobi wearing the Sound headband whom she questioned, and the first who had known something.
Turning around Kazumi quickly pushed her way through the people toward the entrance. As soon as she was out of sight of the village, she contacted Pain. Feeling his chakra flowing through her body made her shiver, but she ignored it and gave him the data.
They had her. They knew where she was.
Now they had to free her from this monster.
Hang on Tora, Kazumi thought pleadingly, running off. I’ll be there soon.
With all my little strength that had left I had managed to push my arching body up into a sitting position. Sweat, mixed with tears, ran down my face, some of my wounds had reopened, but I was sitting on the straw, leaning against the cold wall behind me.
When Sasuke returned I asked him with thin voice: “Why… what are you doing here? Why do you walk around freely?”
“It’s because I am free. I decided to leave Konoha and train with Orochimaru.”
Emo-kid was working with that monster?!
But before I could ask something else he questioned me: “You were with Akatsuki and must have met my brother, Itachi. Where is he?”
“You want to kill him, don’t you?”
“I don’t know where he or the others are. Hell, I don’t even know where I am!”
“I don’t have the time and patience, so answer me: Where is Itachi Uchiha?”
It was the truth: I had no idea where he was. Maybe in the hideout which was somewhere in the Rain Country, maybe on a mission, maybe… I didn’t know. I couldn’t answer Sasuke’s question so I saved my breath and stopped talking, because my dried throat hurt with every word I said.
Even if I would have known it, I wouldn’t tell him. He worked with that monster together! The monster that tortured me!
My hope I had felt when I first had seen him, the hope that he would help me escaping, was shattered.
I was stuck in that hellhole, forever, until my death which would hopefully come soon.
Feeling Sasuke’s glare I glared back the best I could.
Then he turned around and walked away, leaving me alone in my misery.
His angry footsteps echoed from the walls as Sasuke walked back. This damn girl, how dare she refusing him to answer?!
Normally he would have used his Sharingan on her but since she was blind it was useless. And if he would do any physical damage to her Orochimaru would notice it.
Thinking about what he should do next Sasuke noticed Kabuto first as he turned the corner to go to his room.
“Where were you?” Kabuto asked him suspicious.
“Why should I tell you? I’m not one of your test subjects who are locked away all the time.”
They stared at each other for a few seconds, not trusting the other person one bit.
Finally Kabuto broke the silence in saying: “By the way, the Akatsuki are in Sound, I guess they’re searching the blind girl. In case they find this hideout and show up, be prepared.”
Sasuke nodded and walked past Kabuto into his room.
A plan was forming in his mind. And a small smile crept onto his lips. Everything was working in his favour now.