Blood Red Moon: Rewritten

Stadt der lebenden Toten

Warnings: Violence. Blood. Gory scenes. Murder scenes. Lemon scenes.

Disclaimer: Part of this story will have settings and events taken out from various anime like Get Backers and Jigoku Shoujo, but I do not own any of them, nor do I own Naruto or any characters in this story save for OC characters

Chapter Twenty One: Stadt der lebenden Toten

The couple walked slowly down the softly lit street, taking time in their stroll at this time of the night. The two were part of the Chieftain Council that supports the ANBU politically with their political leverage within the country of Japan. And the two have just returned from a meeting held with the High Council, the Chieftain Council as well as the two leaders of the ANBU organisation. The whole point of the meeting is about Ragnarok once again, and it is always this matter that caused the council members to take up sides.

One side does not wish for Ragnarok to go after them, and they do not wish to be on Ragnarok's bad side. Besides, it is a fact that Ragnarok never hurts the innocents, and only went after the guilty and wicked. The other side hates the idea that Ragnarok seemed to be playing them for fools, and it is a fact that several members of the public have been openly mocking the ANBU.

Thus, the entire meeting turned out to be one huge joke.

The entire meeting had lasted the entire day, lasting well into the night, and now, the couple just wanted to go home and take a nice hot bath and go to sleep.

But apparently, the fates had something else in store for them.

A figure had intercepted them from out of nowhere in the bleak darkness, and the two immediately took a step backwards out of instinct.

"W-What the…?"

There was no warning – before either of them had an idea of what was going on, a blade had already driven itself into the man's heart. The young woman with him gasped in horror as the assassin released her companion, turning towards her. She quickly lowered herself to his side as he collapsed, but it was futile, and too late. That one stab had been instant death.

"No…" The woman gasped. "No… No… This can't be happening…!"

The bloodstained blade gleaming in the moonlight brought her out of her grief for a moment, causing her to look up at her would-be killer. Two figures were now closing in on her. With the dark marks crisscrossing all over their bodies and faces, she recognised them immediately. Unfortunately, it would be in her final moments.

"That's…impossible…!" The woman whispered in fear, trying to move away as they approached her, but it is futile. "You are…! Impossible…!"

The woman's dying scream could then be heard for miles.

XXXXXX

"That makes fifteen councillors now."

"You must be kidding."

It was in the early afternoon in the ANBU headquarters in Leaf City, two days later.

As soon as news about the mysterious deaths of councillor members in the Chieftain Council reached the ears of the ANBU commander, Senju Tsunade had called for an emergency meeting with some of her best ANBU agents in the hopes of an immediate solution to this. Currently, those in her office were four of her best agents which included Uchiha Itachi, Hoshigaki Kisame, Uchiha Sasuke and Nara Shikamaru.

"There are lots of things that I kid about, Itachi, but this isn't one of them." Kisame replied solemnly. "The world sure is getting dangerous out there."

Itachi sighed, massaging his temples to ease his headache. "Council members getting murdered left and right? And all in the span of two weeks?" he muttered. "It is almost like the mastermind is trying to put a message across to the ANBU or something with all these murders. And those victims were among ANBU's biggest supporters."

Tsunade frowned, lacing her fingers before her mouth. "Ragnarok, perhaps?" she suggested coolly.

Shikamaru, the unofficial tactician of the ANBU shook his head at that immediately. "No, I don't think so," he said. "This isn't their style. In the past, no matter what ANBU had done to them, they never did something of this magnitude before. They might get back at us by hitting us in our pride or economically, but never with human lives. They would never harm an innocent. It is way beneath their honour."

"But still, we did kill one of their numbers a few months ago. What is to say that it isn't them?" asked Tsunade with a frown.

"If it is indeed them, then they would have done something like this much earlier instead of waiting for nearly five months," said Sasuke, backing his teammate up. "I agree with Shikamaru. This isn't their usual modus operandi. All their victims in the past, sans for Orochimaru, died from massive blood loss and their injuries from extreme torture. But the councillor victims for the past two weeks died from one stab in the heart. We're not dealing with any amateurs here. Granted, Ragnarok could probably do something like this easily as well, but I really don't think that it's them this time."

Tsunade frowned. "Fine, since all four of you are saying the same thing, I'll take that as the truth for now," she said grudgingly. "I want a full and thorough investigation on this. Dismissed."

The four ANBU agents then filed out of the ANBU commander's office, with the four agents going their separate ways after that – with Sasuke and Shikamaru heading back to their own team's meeting room, with Itachi and Kisame doing the same.

"By the way, Itachi," said Kisame in a low voice as they stopped in the middle of the hallway with Itachi turning towards him. "Zetsu's in town. He's at The Locket. If you ask him, he might know something about this."

The Locket is an elite bar in Leaf City where ANBU agents usually frequented. And as such, fights and underworld dealings rarely take place in The Locket, unlike all the other bars in the capital city of Japan. One must be feeling suicidal if they decided to risk their lives and their heads to exchange some underhanded dealings in a bar whose main customers are usually ANBU agents.

And as such, on one Saturday night, one could find Uchiha Itachi and Hoshigaki Kisame heading into the bar, both currently in search of one of the best informants and spies in the underworld circle, Zetsu.

There are both pros and cons in dealing with informants, like how everyone who uses informants knew. Unlike the ANBU agents and people who swore allegiance to an organisation, informants are not loyal to anyone. They are like a free spirit, doing whatever they wish without any consequences whatsoever. Zetsu is the same way, as he basically sells information to people for a fee, and he is one of the best informants in the country, as he could literally get any information on anyone that he wants to, sans for Ragnarok themselves.

The two ANBU agents immediately started looking around the bar once they've entered, waving off a waitress who had offered to show them to an empty table. Itachi who had considerably better eyes than Kisame spotted Zetsu first who was sitting in a corner at a half-shadowed table, wearing a cloak that covered his face. Silently, the two approached the table and sat down in the chairs before it.

It was a good five minutes before Zetsu spoke up. "I thought that I'll be seeing you guys around here soon enough," he said. "It's about the recent killings that had sent a nation-wide frenzy in the country, isn't it?"

Kisame nodded. "What do you know about that?" he asked.

Zetsu sighed before lowering his hood from his face. "It has nothing to do with Ragnarok this time around," he said, and the two ANBUs nodded. "I'm not really sure who is behind it, as whoever is the mastermind had been covering up his tracks really well. And it is also only a rumour that had been going around, but apparently, Ragnarok and Twila isn't really happy with the killings. And last that I've heard, they have been investigating the murders, and knew a lot more about it than anyone else does. How they could know more than anyone else, I have no idea, but that organisation had always been efficient in things like this. And if they've been investigating the murders, than that means that it doesn't have anything to do with them at all this time."

"Well, I didn't really think that it has anything to do with them this time as it isn't like their usual modus operandi." Itachi muttered. He then looked at Zetsu. "Do you know where they are now?"

"Only the leader and her second," said Zetsu. "And that's only because I've done a little job for them awhile back. If you want to know their current whereabouts, you'll know what it will cost you. I don't usually help the ANBU, but you guys are different as you won't betray my whereabouts to anyone else."

Kisame sighed. "What do you want in return?" he asked warily.

"Information for information," was Zetsu's reply. "About that ANBU girl in Rendoku who was killed approximately three months ago. Who was it that had killed her? If you can give me information on that, then I'll tell you what you want to know."

XXXXXX

Cat's Eye CafeHiraiko

A bell tinkled somewhere in Cat's Eye as Itachi pushed the door opened, with Kisame close behind on his heels. It is late at night, and it is also near closing hour for Cat's Eye, and thus, hardly anyone else was around in the cafe-cum-bar.

'Hardly anyone' as only two customers were in the cafe-cum-bar, being seated at the counter, with the redhead male glaring daggers at the two ANBU agents. And is it just Itachi's imagination, or is that sand that is currently being formed behind him?

"Gaara." Shiki spoke, placing her hand on his shoulder, and the sand user growled, but allowed his sand to dissipate itself. The leader of Ragnarok then turned towards the two ANBU agents, narrowing her eyes dangerously, her eyes seemingly to flash purple occasionally. "What do two ANBU agents want with us?"

"The recent killings—"

"—has nothing to do with us." Gaara interrupted, narrowing his eyes at the two ANBUs. "You ANBU make me sick. You preach about honour, pride and righteousness and all that, yet you have no qualms about pointing your finger at us once someone started killing all your supporters. What, we're your only enemies out there? With everything that the ANBU has done and committed from the time of the war until now, I'll be surprised if you do not have others calling for your blood out there."

Both Itachi and Kisame flinched at that statement. That…is true.

"You ANBU are still naive," said Shiki, not taking her eyes off of the two ANBU agents. "And you're still young yet in the world of the night – the world where danger and evil lurks at every corner, and if you don't kill, you'll be killed. We Ragnarok have lived in that world for a long time now, probably nearly all our lives. Unlike you ANBU, we didn't run from that world which all nin-users lived in – the world of the night. You refused to look at the truth. That's what sets us differently."

"What do you mean?"

"I see what Zetsu meant now." Gaara muttered, muttering some incoherent words beneath his breath irritably. He then turned towards the two ANBU agents. "Have you never wonder where all those of Ne and Orochimaru's supporters during the war go?"

"Where did they go?" Itachi echoed in confusion. "What do you mean?"

Shiki didn't say anything for several moments before sighing. "You really don't know anything, do you?" she questioned. "I'll tell you. The enemies of the ANBU during the war are actually now in the ANBU."

"What?"

"After the war, things are extremely hectic in Japan." Shiki answered, shaking the contents of her cup slightly without looking at the two ANBUs. "There are a million problems to tend to back then, and that's why the leaders of the ANBU didn't have that much time to waste on the small fry of Ne and Orochimaru's people. As long as those people agree to discard their past identities and swore loyalty to the ANBU, as well as give the ANBU information on their old bosses, the ANBU will welcome them in." She glanced at Itachi and Kisame. "In other words, you're working with the people whom you have fought against during the war."

"That probably answers a lot of questions for you ANBU guys," said Gaara with a smirk. "Like why Ne and Oto are always one step ahead of you people. You idiots have invited rats into your ranks, and you didn't even realise it. Listen up, and you had better learn this lesson well. People betray people. It is part of human nature. It is about high time that you learn that lesson."

"And this time, the killings that have ANBU all worked up have nothing to do with us," said Shiki bluntly. "Those killings have been giving us problems as well. You might not want to believe it, and neither do you want to hear it, but even Ragnarok has our own code, and our own way of doing things. I will not allow any unnecessary killings among my people. Before you fuckers have killed Kankuro, I didn't allow any of them to kill any of you, only injuring you at most, because you've never done anything to us! No matter how much the others have wanted revenge, I didn't allow them to do anything."

"I…"

"Things are different for us now," said Gaara, narrowing his eyes at the ANBU. "You mess with one of us, you're going to have to deal with all of us. We won't do anything to you right now, as we value a fair fight. But the next time that we meet, you're going to have to deal with us."

"Wait!" Itachi called out, grabbing Shiki by the arm before she could leave the cafe. "Do you at least know who is behind the recent killings?"

Shiki glanced down at the hand currently attached to her arm before shaking that hand off, looking at Itachi straight in the eye with an unreadable expression in her eyes. "Who else do you think has a bone to pick with the ANBU, and who is also powerful enough to go up against your accursed organisation?" she asked sarcastically. "If you aren't as stupid as you would like me to believe, then you should know the answer to that question yourself. Or do you really want me to spell it out for you?"

Kisame's eyes widened when the name of a certain organisation immediately came to mind – an organisation that has been laying low for the past four years ever since Ragnarok had first made their debut and had started fucking with the ANBU and their enemies, and that organisation had then literally fallen off the face of the earth.

"I-It couldn't be…"

"Ne." Shiki stated with a nod. "We have an initial suspicion that the killings have something to do with Ne. And from what Zetsu and some of our informants have been informing us, there are various dealings in the underworld circle recently that had Ne written all over it. Unlike Oto, they're still out there, though they're currently lying low especially after what we've done to Oto and Orochimaru. We don't show mercy to our enemies, and they, of all people, knew that perfectly well." Itachi and Kisame both flinched at that statement. "But it definitely seems like Ne is coming out into the open now."

XXXXXX

SeasideHiraiko

Night had long fallen, and the stars were out in millions, each and every single one of them shining and glittering like diamonds in the black velvety night sky. Shiki stood on the shores of the sea, taking in the sea breeze, and smelling the salty smell of the sea water. A pair of light footsteps behind her reaches her sharp ears just then, and she sighed.

"Is there something that you need, Sumaru?"

"Information," said Sumaru as Shiki turned around to face him, tilting one thumb over his shoulder. "Shino contacted me about eight months ago. He told me that you've asked him to research behind the mysterious deaths of all your parents in Ragnarok itself. He asked me to help out, as knowledge on your background is nearly zero, even for someone like Shino. He thought that I might know something, and asked me to help out."

"And?" asked Shiki, suddenly not liking that look in Sumaru's eyes. She knew that look as one that Sumaru always had on his face whenever he had to deliver a piece of news that he didn't even want to hear.

Sumaru sighed. "It took us some time, but we've managed to figure out who had masterminded all their…murders," he said hesitantly. He then met Shiki in the eye whose eyes had frozen to a cold cobalt blue even without realising it herself. "I know who had killed your parents, Shiki, along with the others. Shino did some good work on the others, but it took us the better part of four months to find out about your parents. They are sure some good spies back in their day if they can hide away all information on themselves like this."

"And…what did you find out?" asked Shiki, her heart thumping rather quickly as she knew that she is about to find out something that she had been trying to find out nearly all her life. Not even Jiraiya knew who had murdered her parents, and he had been trying to find that out ever since their deaths.

"You've guessed right in the aspect that their deaths are no accident," said Sumaru solemnly. "And it wasn't an accident that had killed the parents of all those with you as well." Shiki's eyes widened at that. "They were murdered. On the orders of two of the most influential people in Japan. And the names of those two were…" Sumaru trailed off before he almost whispered those two accursed names that Shiki had been trying nearly all her life to find out, and the redhead's eyes widened.

"It really is them…" Shiki muttered, her eyes wide. "I do have my initial suspicions, but having you confirm it about them, along with Shino…" She closed her eyes briefly before opening them again. "I really didn't want to believe it about those two. They did some serious stuff about Ragnarok, but this… This is insane!"

Sumaru eyed Shiki carefully. "What are you going to do about it?"

"I can't do anything about it right now," said Shiki, frustrated. "And don't mention a single word of this to the others. I'll talk to Shino about this. Kankuro's death is already a big blow to them, and they are slowly recovering from that loss. If I tell them the names of the two who have caused the deaths of their parents, and is also indirectly responsible for the hell that had been our lives up to today, I don't even want to imagine their reactions to that piece of information. I doubt that I can even control them then. As a favour for me, don't tell them."

Sumaru sighed but nodded. "Alright," he said. "But something of this magnitude… You can't keep it from them for long, and you know it."

Shiki sighed but nodded. "I know," she said. "But I want to protect them from knowing that piece of knowledge for as long as possible. I want to protect them for as long as possible. But it probably won't last for very long, especially since the battle is about to begin. And this battle is going to change history and the world. It is going to make a tremendous change in the world. For the better or for the worse, only the fates would know."

Sumaru studied Shiki for several moments before he sighed, smiling slightly. "You never change, Shiki," he said. "You were like this back during our days in Hagako as Blade, Hagako's most feared gang, and the kings of Dead Men's Street, District 30 in the city of Hagako. And even now…nearly ten years or so since I, Hotaru and Mizure have met you; nearly eight years since the others in Blade have known you; and nearly eight years since your comrades in Ragnarok were rescued by you… You never change. You still have that heart for people and the willingness to help. The way that you always go the extra mile just to protect those unfortunate. Shino told me some stories about how you have gathered them together. You always have that charisma about you, even back during our days with Blade."

"I have never regretted meeting them or even helping them," said Shiki. "If there is one thing that I've regretted, it is that I wasn't able to save Riku and the others in Hagako all those years back from becoming Ne bait."

"It wasn't your fault," said Sumaru firmly. He then sighed. "Well, putting that aside, I came with some information as well." Shiki turned towards Sumaru. "I ran into Arashi-san awhile back. It's just a rumour that had been going around the informant circle, so it's nothing confirmed yet. But apparently, there is some town towards the west where people who travelled through the town usually turn up missing. And those who always go missing without fail are rumoured to be nin-users. Only those that aren't nin-users aren't affected. Seems like another case of nin-user haters to me. You should probably go and take a look, but do be careful. I got a bad feeling about this."

"The name of the town?"

"Stadt der lebenden Toten," said Sumaru slowly, trying to remember the name. "A pretty long name. And it seems to be in the German language. And now that I think about it, Jiraiya-sama did mention once that you have one-fourth German blood in you, isn't it?"

Shiki was silent as she thought about the name of the town that Sumaru had told her about. 'Stadt der lebenden Toten…' she thought. 'City of the Living Dead. I got a bad feeling about this.'

XXXXXX

Stadt der lebenden TotenJapan

The small town that Sumaru had mentioned looks like any other normal town with the usual residences and shops, though the residents in the town shortened the town's name to Lebenden as the full name is quite a mouthful. Currently though, all of Ragnarok were currently standing in front of said town, having docked their boathouse at the port of the next town over. A thin cloak of mist was currently cloaking the town, and just the sight of the town gives Shiki the creeps.

Most nin-users have very sensitive senses, and were usually able to tell that something is wrong right off the bat immediately. And right now, warning bells were sounding in Shiki's head as Ragnarok walked through the town. It looks like any other normal town, but it is the look in the eyes of the residents currently residing in this town that Shiki can't help but feel uneasy about. Just what exactly, Shiki has no idea.

"What is with this town?" Yugito muttered, looking left and right uneasily, wrapping her arms around herself in the way that she always do whenever she feels uneasy. "It gives me the creeps."

"Let's find an inn to stay in for the night before I decide on our next course of action," said Shiki, and everyone nodded. "Sumaru is really spot on about this town. And as long as you are in this town, go about with someone else all the time, even if you have to go to the toilet. Never go about in this town alone."

"Huh?" Haku turned towards Shiki in confusion, but the redhead had already gone on her way, with the others following her, seemingly heading towards the inn of the town. 'That's weird. Shiki is more nervous than before. I've never seen her like that.'

Three Hours LaterHoliday Inn Room 366, Stadt der lebenden Toten

"Really! There definitely is something wrong with this town!" Neji grunted three hours later as he stormed in through the door of the inn room that all of Ragnarok were sharing together, with Gaara close behind his heels.

Shiki doesn't trust for them to be in separate rooms as she had a really bad feeling, and as such, had asked for one room that all of them could share, which could easily cost them a bomb, but no one minded all that much since they rarely used their money anyway, and they are pretty well-off, especially with all the bounty jobs that they took on whenever they made one of their stops at a town or a city, setting their double life as Ragnarok aside.

Shiki had sent nearly half of their number out into the town to do some investigating earlier, with the other half staying in the inn room. It had been three hours, and those who were sent out as the investigative team have only just returned, all of them reaching to the same conclusion.

Shiki sighed, turning around from the window where she had been standing at. "Okay. Reports," she said briskly, and Hinata nodded, having been paired up with Tenten.

"The townspeople were…friendly enough, I guess," she said hesitantly, exchanging glances with Tenten who shrugged. "But there is just something wrong with them. I don't really know how to describe it. It's like…they don't feel like normal humans do, and if I have to describe it, it's like there isn't a human soul in that body."

"Same here," said Neji, raising a hand whilst being seated on one of the beds in the inn room, and everyone turned towards him. The raven haired teen sighed. "About the nin-users' disappearances, I popped by at the police station in town. The sergeant on duty claimed that no such people came by, and I know for sure that he's lying. But whenever I speak to any of the people in town, it's like they are puppets or something – no emotion in their voice or faces whatsoever. What is up with this town? It gives me the creeps."

Hinata nodded, agreeing with her cousin's statement.

Because of the things that they saw, Ragnarok don't get uneasy or scared easily, but this town… Each and every single one of them could tell that something is wrong. And even the abnormally cold temperate of this town, along with the mist…

It isn't normal, for it is currently the middle of summer.

Shiki sighed before turning towards Yugito and Temari. "Yugito?"

"I headed to the graveyard of the town," said Yugito, and Shiki nodded. "Temari spoke with the winds, and they told her that several 'new bodies' were just dumped in the burial plots of the graveyard even without a proper burial. I guess we can safely estimate that those are bodies of the nin-users that have gone missing." Temari nodded at that, an uneasy look on her face. "I then communicated with the spirits of the dead using my abilities over the dead. It took me some time, as it is almost like something is blocking my power." At that, Shiki raised an eyebrow. "And all the spirits that I've made contact with said one thing only. Over and over."

"What did they say?" asked Gaara slowly.

Yugito was silent for a long time before answering. "They only said one thing over and over, almost like it is their last thoughts mere moments before their deaths, and like it is the only thing that is firmly ingrained in their own souls," she said. "'I don't want to die'."

"What is with this town?" Shino voiced out in confusion.

Shiki was silent for a long time as everyone turned towards her, her mind working furiously as she tried to piece together all the clues that she had gotten. 'All of us can feel that something is wrong with this town,' she thought. 'Hinata said that it is almost like there isn't a human soul in the bodies of the residents. Even I thought that, from our brief encounter with the inn receptionist earlier. There isn't any emotion whatsoever in their voices or their auras. Almost like the dead. Neji said the same thing, which means that it isn't just me who had thought that. And something in this town seemed to be trying to block Yugito's power, something which is impossible. Nothing can block a nin-user's power unless they're a shield or barrier type like Neji, and there definitely isn't one here since I'll know if there is. And the words of the spirits that Yugito had communicated with… 'I don't want to die'… What is going on here?' Shiki's eyes widened when a sudden thought struck her. 'It can't be…! If that is the case, then it definitely answers a lot of things.'

"Shiki?"

"Answer me one thing, you guys," said Shiki slowly, and everyone blinked but turned towards Shiki who was studying each of them intently, an unreadable look in her eyes. "When you've walked through the town, did you see any living creatures here? Like birds, trees or even plants for instance?"

"Huh?" Temari frowned at that as she tried to recall. "Now that you've mentioned it, no, I didn't notice any of that. I remember thinking that this town is extremely quiet without any birds at all. And I don't see any plant life."

"Yeah, same here," said Neji with a nod.

Shiki sighed. "I was afraid of that," she muttered. "I guess I know what is wrong with this town now." Seeing the looks on the faces of her friends, she proceeded to explain. "I had Shino do some research on this town earlier when you guys were gone. During the war, this town was the battlefield of a great many battles between the nin-users of old, and between the opposing parties. One of those nin-users wields a special ability. He can create demon entities, and even control dead spirits. Rather like Yugito's power, but a lot more unorthodox. The records never stated the outcome of that entire battle, but probably, that nin-user was killed, and in his last moments, he probably laid a curse on this entire town. And you know that the last moments of a nin-user are among the most dangerous, and also the most powerful."

"You mean that…" Yugito trailed off, finally understanding what Shiki had meant, and the redhead nodded.

"In other words, this town is like the living dead – a ghost town. There isn't a single person who is alive here. None of the inhabitants in this town could even be called alive. Only nin-users can tell that something is wrong with this town because of the fact that most nin-users are sensitive to auras and the changes in nature. That's probably why the nin-users that come here usually go missing within a day or two of their appearances here. Their powers are probably used to strengthen this town's power."

Neji almost groaned and rubbed his temples together to ease his headache. "I've heard of something like this before, but I didn't think that something like that is even possible," he muttered. "So what should we do, Shiki?"

Shiki sighed. "Nothing."

"Huh?"

"We can't do anything for this town anymore," said Shiki reasonably. "Yugito, you can exorcise spirits. But can you do anything for those that are neither spirits nor humans? The inhabitants of this town are not of this world any longer. They are close to being called 'monsters' now. Blood demons. Even Yugito can't do anything against beings that are not of this world."

Yugito sighed. "Shiki's right about this," she said, turning towards her friends. "Not even I can do anything towards beings like that. I am well versed with the occult and the dead, and I can exorcise spirits with my abilities. But not even I can do anything against blood demons – beings that are not of this world. They don't belong here. The least that we could do is to put them out of their misery."

"How?" asked Tenten incredulously.

"Fire." Yugito answered.

"Huh?"

"At midnight tonight, Neji, barricade the whole town in with your strongest barrier," said Shiki, and Neji nodded. "To stop this, we have to burn the whole town down with spiritual fire. This is the only way to kill them. Tenten, that will be your call."

Tenten nodded. "Roger."

"Blood demons are originally believed to have originated from the darkness in people's hearts," said Yugito slowly. "As long as there are hatred and darkness in people's hearts, evil will always be lurking somewhere. And Ragnarok is that darkness in this world. If there is light, there is darkness. If the ANBU is that light, then we are that darkness. And as long as there are hatred and darkness in the hearts of Man, Ragnarok will live on."

XXXXXX

"Alright. Everything looks clear," said Konan, surveying the areas surrounding them. "Let's go back."

The Akatsuki have been sent out to the western part of Japan especially after ANBU had received reports of sightings of Ne in this part of Japan. With Orochimaru and Oto now out of the way, the only ones that the ANBU still have to worry about are Ragnarok and Ne – both organisations that have eluded capture so far.

"Hey, what is that?" asked Nagato suddenly, looking in the distance from above the cliff that they were on. All ANBU agents turned towards the direction where Nagato had been looking towards, and they frowned as they saw the faint distinct glow of what seemed to be fire, only that that 'fire' seems to be a strange colour of blue and white.

"Spiritual fire?" Itachi questioned with a frown. "Who in the world is powerful enough to create fire like that? Spiritual fire is difficult to create, as it takes up a lot of mental and physical energy. Whoever is powerful enough to create that is bound to be one hell of a person."

Silence.

"This has Ragnarok written all over it," said Sasori with a groan.

Deidara frowned before turning towards Itachi. "What should we do, Itachi?"

Itachi sighed. "Let's go and check it out," he ordered, and the rest of his team nodded.

XXXXXX

Stadt der lebenden TotenJapan

Haku let out a low whistle as she shielded her eyes from the glare of the white-blue flames that surrounded the entire town within the massive sized barrier that Neji had created. The ice maiden and Gaara were currently guarding the entrance to the town whilst the others were on the other side, guarding both Neji and Tenten.

"Man… This is unreal!" said Haku in wonder. "I have no idea that Tenten can do something like this."

"Well, she is a master of fire," said Gaara reasonably. "Only stands to reason why the ANBU had wanted her so badly back then." He then frowned. "But on that note… How the hell did a town get infested with blood demons without anyone else realising? And about that, didn't Arashi-san report some time back that Ne had been sighted here? That's why Shiki even sent him to this part of Japan, didn't he?"

"Now that you've mentioned it…it does seem rather weird," said Haku with a frown. The low drones of a vehicle reached her ears just then, and the ice maiden turned towards the source of the sound with a frown. "Man… They're here already?"

Gaara sighed. "And like always, Shiki never ceases to amaze me," he muttered. "She stationed us here because she suspects that the ANBU might be here as well, given that Ne had been top on the list of the ANBU's most wanted as well. And there have been rumours of Ne appearing here. To think that her guess is spot on."

"Here they are," said Haku as the van approaching them stopped, and the six Akatsuki members exited out of the van, all with various expressions on their faces.

There was a long silence as the Akatsuki members eyed the two from Ragnarok, the latter two who have slightly angered expressions on their faces. Given that one member saw for herself how one of their own had perished at the hands of the Akatsuki, and the other is the younger brother of the one who had died, it isn't that surprising at all.

"That's spiritual fire, isn't it?" Itachi questioned, but both Ragnarok members stayed silent.

"Is Twila here?" Konan questioned, but still, both Gaara and Haku stayed silent. "She is, isn't it? Let us talk to her."

Before any of Akatsuki could even take half-a-step forwards, they were stopped in their tracks by a hail of ice that froze the ground between them by Haku, her eyes narrowing together dangerously. "Are you people idiots or something?" she questioned. "Now that we've seen you here and know what you've came for, we're definitely not going to move."

"You heard our decree to you, didn't you?" Gaara questioned. "We're not going to hold back on you dogs from the ANBU any longer."

A semi-large object came flying out of nowhere just then, and Haku barely managed to create a barrier of ice to block that object which actually turned out to be a gigantic sword. A dark figure came out of nowhere after that, lunging himself at a surprised Haku. The force behind that impact actually sent the two down the cliff.

"Kisame!" Sasori shouted after his teammate.

"Haku!" Gaara called out. He then narrowly dodged a hail of origami birds that were quickly destroyed by his sand, and he then frowned. "Five against one, huh?" He mused. "Those are some odds. But it'll do for some warm up, I guess." He then narrowed his eyes dangerously as sand rose threateningly behind him. "Let's roll!"

Kisame leapt back almost immediately the moment that they both have hit the ground, landing into the middle of a river which froze over almost immediately, reacting to Haku's moods, and the temperature fell drastically, making Kisame feel almost like winter is here.

Kisame eyed his younger sister warily who was hissing almost like a cornered cat, and he is sure that if Haku had suddenly grown claws, she would have put those out as well. Icicles hung low from the surrounding trees, and even snow could be seen clinging to the grass around them. In terms of nin-abilities, Kisame knew that he stands no chance whatsoever against Haku. Her nin-abilities with ice and water are more powerful than his. And unlike Kisame, Haku had full control over her abilities in which that her abilities are actually in tune together with her emotions.

"I just want to talk with you, Haku," said Kisame before Haku can even say anything. He took one step forward before nearly cringing, as the water that went up to his ankles made him feel like he had just waded into Arctic snow. It is just that damn cold which only meant that Haku is incredibly pissed off, if the snow and ice surrounding them isn't proof enough.

"There isn't anything to talk about," said Haku with a hiss. "You've lost that right five months ago when you've killed Kankuro right in front of my eyes! I was there…and yet…I can't do anything to save him! And it made me feel wretched all the more when it is my own fucking brother who had killed my friend!"

"It is my duty," said Kisame, taking those verbal blows from Haku bravely. It is what he had deserved. He had hurt his sister in ways that he had never thought possible. "I'm sorry for what I did, and you can choose to believe me or not, but I've never wanted to kill him or hurt you. If we didn't do what we did, the ones who would be dead are us. It is the law of the ANBU."

"I don't want to listen to your lies!" Haku hissed, sending a hail of ice shards at Kisame who narrowly dodged out of the way. "Again and again, you fuckers from the ANBU kept hurting us again and again. You hurt Temari. You hurt Gaara. You hurt Tenten. And most importantly, you hurt Shiki. Ragnarok is my family. They were there for me in my moment of need. They were there for me when our parents died, and you had abandoned me to fight in a war. You said that you would come back for me, but you never did!"

"I tried to find you!" Kisame shouted back. "I really tried! I was injured during the war and was in the hospital for five months! By the time that I'm well enough to travel back to the village, I've heard about what had happened, and that Zabuza had taken you away to who-knows-where! I tried looking for you, but I couldn't find you anywhere! Joining the ANBU is my only chance at finding you with their vast networks and contacts! I didn't expect that you would be a member of Ragnarok! How do you think that I must feel when I've found out about it, and when I saw you in front of me as a member of Ragnarok, one of our enemies, again and again? An enemy that I must kill in the name of ANBU? An enemy that I must kill as an ANBU agent?" Kisame fell to his knees, ignoring the freezing water that soaked through the knees of his pants that literally froze his legs. "I…had never wanted to fight you. That's why…come back to me…Haku…"

Haku can only stare at her brother…her only surviving blood family.

"Nii-sama…"

Preview of next chapter:

"You can't afford to play with fire. Don't mess with us if you know what's good for you."

"Seriously, we have a bone to pick with you bastards, but at the moment, we have no reason to fight you. Our objective here is Ne."

"You bastards…you really do not have a single bone of honour in your body, do you?"

"I am Ragnarok's captain, Namikaze Shiki."

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