Blood Red Moon: Rewritten

Show of Horror

Welcome back to another chapter of Blood Red Moon! And some people have been asking me via reviews just why Shiki is being a wee bit too lenient on ANBU and their 'sins'. I admit that Shiki seems a little too lenient and easy-going on them, but you'll see the reason why in this chapter. Also, the story is going to take a darker twist from here on out, as this is a new arc in the series now.

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 Four: Show of Horror

Cat's Eye CaféHiraiko, Japan

The bell tinkled somewhere in the café of Cat's Eye as Shisei Haku and Sabaku no Gaara pushed opened the door and entering the shop. The usual warm aroma of coffee and cookies surrounded the café, with the smell particularly enticing for the two who hadn't really had a good meal for days, something which isn't their fault as neither of them had any appetite for food, along with all their friends.

"Haku-san! Gaara-san!" Usegi Moegi, the part-time waitress that Iruka had hired at his café smiled at them, with a lime green apron over her shirt and jeans.

"Iruka-san isn't here today?" asked Haku, looking around the café but failed to see the smiling café owner who always had a kind smile and a word for her and her friends ever since they were small children, and even way before Ragnarok's formation. The man had been like an older brother or even a parent to the group of them, and even though they don't really need anyone else since they always have each other, Iruka had always been the one to make sure that they're eating well and sleeping right when they were younger.

Miyugi Udon shook his head. "No, he's out at the moment, as he had gone to stock up on coffee beans," he explained. "He really should have done that a few days ago, but he was busy with something."

Haku and Gaara exchanged looks, knowing what that had meant. Iruka is also an informant, but unlike Arashi and Sasame who were more in the active service of informants, Iruka only deals with the technical side of things – basically, the computer stuff.

"One of his informant jobs again, I guess?" Gaara sighed, plopping himself down on one of the seats at the bar counter where they usually sat at.

"Not really. It's just something that Shiki-san had asked him for a favour a few years ago, from what I'd heard," said Moegi, and both Haku and Gaara turned towards her sharply.

"Moegi, whatever do you mean?" asked Haku, confused. "Shiki asked Iruka-san to do a job for her?"

Usually, when Shiki requires some information that she couldn't find by herself, she usually got Shino to do it for her, along with maybe Neji, Gaara or Haku, as the four of them are the best at information gathering, even though they're not quite up to Arashi or Sasame's skill as informants. And even then, the rest of Ragnarok will usually know about it.

"You mean you guys didn't know?" Udon asked in confusion. "Shiki-san has been investigating your parents' deaths, as well as the deaths of her own parents for the past four years. She had gotten Iruka-san to help out with it, along with a few others, though I don't really know who."

"Our…parents' deaths?" Haku said slowly as if hoping she was hearing wrong.

She then remembered something that Shiki had mentioned a long time ago about how things don't really add up, and that why is it that all of their parents seemed to have suffered particularly violent deaths, and how their murderers were also coincidentally never found. Haku had shaken it off at that time about it just being a mere coincidence, but Shiki didn't seem to think so, and they never spoke of it after that.

'It can't be…' Haku thought, narrowing her eyes slightly.

Ragnarok's Headquarters (Boathouse)Hiraiko, Japan

"I don't know anything," said Shiki stubbornly two hours later after being cornered by Haku and Gaara. "It is true that I've asked Iruka to check on some things for me, but I don't know anything, as he had been unable to find out anything thus far!"

"Shiki, please tell us!" Haku almost pleaded with Shiki. "I know that you know something! I never knew why my father had wanted me and my mother dead so much as well back then, and I had never thought to ask, as even Zabuza-san didn't want to talk about it! If you know anything, please tell us! We have a right to know about our parents' deaths!"

"And I'm saying that I don't know anything!" Shiki snapped before turning and leaving the rooftop of the boathouse where they were at. A short moment later, both Haku and Gaara heard the front door of the boathouse slammed shut, and then, silence reigned.

"She's pissed off." Gaara muttered, staring at the entrance to the rooftop of the boathouse. "I had never seen Shiki like this before."

A head popped up out from the ladder that leads down to the boathouse just then, revealing Shino's visage, and the insect user then sighed before stepping out onto the rooftop and approaching Gaara and Haku both. "Shiki seemed to be in a pretty bad mood earlier when she stormed past me and nearly ripped the door off its hinges when she had stormed out." He informed the two. "Did you two do anything? I had never seen her that pissed before. Well, apart from that time with Kankuro and Sasame, but you know what I mean."

Haku and Gaara exchanged glances before the latter sighed and launched into a brief explanation about their little 'argument' with Shiki earlier. And at the end of it, both of Shino's eyebrows could barely be seen as it had gone so high up that it had nearly disappeared into his hairline.

"Do you two have a death wish or something?" he muttered sarcastically. "There is a reason, a number of reasons why all of us have been treading on eggshells around her of late, you know? I am aware that it has been a month or so ever since Sasame's death, but Shiki hasn't exactly been in the correct mood lately. And neither is Neji."

"I am aware of that." Haku muttered guiltily.

"And do you both have a reason to doubt Shiki?" Shino asked with a sigh, hands on his hips.

"No," said Gaara with a shake of his head. "She hasn't given us a reason to do that yet. Shiki is the one person whom I'll trust full heartedly, and I'm sure that Temari does too, as does everyone here. Because for us, she is the first person who had stretched out her hand to us and had helped us, and had accepted us. Shino, you feel the same too, didn't you?" Shino sighed and nodded. "I trust Shiki. To the point of being willing to give up my life for her if necessary, just like my brother months before. I trust Shiki more than anyone else in this world. Full heartedly."

Haku nodded. "Same here."

Shino sighed. "You both are her best friends, and the only two in all of Ragnarok who probably knew and understood her best, sans for perhaps Neji and myself," he said. "If you both trust her as much as you said that you are, then give her that same trust now. The same trust that she'd given all of us when she'd accepted us without a second thought. It isn't that she doesn't want to tell you. It's that she can't. Not right now at least. She is protecting you guys in a way as well."

"Shino, do you know something about this?" asked Gaara suspiciously.

Shino sighed, not feeling at all intimidated by Gaara's glare. "Just briefly," he said, telling only half-truth and half-lie. "Shiki had gotten me to help out with it about a year or so ago. But she didn't allow me to tell anyone anything."

"I see," said Haku with a sigh. "Well, that sounds just like Shiki."

"Also, I have a message from Shiki," said Shino, and both Gaara and Haku turned towards him. The insect user sighed again. "We have a pretty strange message earlier, and whoever the sender of that email is, he said that he has some information on the Roots organisation, and that he'll only tell us about it face-to-face. He had set up an appointment at the TV station at nine o'clock tonight. I tried tracing the sender of that mail, but I can't find anything."

"Sounds awfully fishy to me," remarked Haku, and Gaara nodded, agreeing with her.

"Definitely."

"And what did Shiki say about it?" asked Haku with a frown.

"Well, she had the same mindset as you both, but it doesn't hurt to check it out," said Shino with a sigh. "She's sending you both along with Neji to find out more about it. But be careful."

XXXXXX

That NightTV Station, Aaokori

"It's awfully quiet," said Haku in a low voice whilst being perched on a rafter above the TV station. "I got a rather bad feeling about this."

"Same here." Gaara agreed.

Neji said nothing.

It wasn't too difficult for the three of them to infiltrate the TV station, as all of Ragnarok were pretty skilled in terms of infiltration and spying – probably due to their sideline jobs for carrying out vengeance requests, and all of them have the knack for entering places that they aren't supposed to, and knowing information that they aren't supposed to get their hands on. This was especially true for Shiki, Shino and perhaps Gaara.

The room in the TV station that they were currently in was dark, with only a few lights lighting up the area, and Haku could vaguely see several cameras and equipment standing all around the place. The ice maiden then frowned as there was a light hissing sound as the glass doors of the entrance to this room swished opened, and a lone figure being clad in a dark cloak with a hood over his or her head could be seen, though judging by the physique of this person, Haku could tell that it's a he.

"Is that the guy?" asked Neji with a frown, feeling that something is seriously wrong here.

"Probably." Gaara muttered slowly, also getting a bad vibe.

Haku's sharp eyes then caught sight of part of the guy's right hand that could vaguely be seen out of the sleeve of his cloak before he clenched it into a fist, and something silver could then be seen glinting around his fist. Something that looks like wires?

Haku's eyes widened in shock as she realised what is going on immediately. "Shit!" she cursed.

Too late.

As one, the rafters that all three were currently perched on gave way almost immediately as the wires sliced the rafters apart, and Gaara, Haku and Neji then fell straight to the ground, landing lightly onto their feet as the remains of the rafters crashed down around them, creating a resounding crash and throwing up a large plume of dust and debris as it did so.

"You are the one who called us here?" Neji questioned.

There was a slight pause before the cloaked individual then raised his hand and snapped his fingers. The sound echoed all around the silent room, and the next instant, the walls of the building had then fallen apart, and lights immediately brightened up the area before all three Ragnarok members saw a crew of cameramen with the filming crew surrounding them.

The cloaked individual then threw his cloak off only to reveal a pale skinned silver haired teen not much older than them whom Gaara had found oddly familiar, with the teen wearing a long sleeved white shirt with purple pants and black boots.

"Welcome…to the Show of Terror!" he said with a malicious looking grin.

The three Ragnarok members narrowed their eyes dangerously, and the temperature then dropped sharply.

ANBU Commander's OfficeANBU Headquarters, Leaf City

Senju Tsunade who was currently watching the television with a bored expression on her face whilst switching channels every now and then with the remote control in her hand stopped the switching of channels when she came across a channel with the show that the TV station is currently filming being shown live on the television.

And three of the people currently being on the screen of the television are part of the little assassination organisation that the ANBU have been after for the past five or so years.

Scowling, Tsunade pressed on the intercom on the telephone on her desk, connecting it directly to Control. "Get me through to teams Akatsuki and Rendoku," she ordered. "I want those two teams sent out to the TV station at Aaokori immediately."

Thirteenth StreetHagako, Japan

The sounds of the television in a nearby store caused Shiki to pause in her tracks as she turned towards the source of the sound only to have her eyes widening a slight fraction when she saw what is currently being shown live on the television screen.

Frowning slightly, she pulled out her cellphone and dialled a number. Three rings later, the call was picked up. "Shino? It's me," said Shiki curtly, her eyes currently glued to the television screen. "Listen, I want you to get the others and meet me at the river harbour of Hagako immediately. I think that we have an immediate situation that we need to handle."

TV StationAaokori

"Seems like this is indeed a trap." Neji remarked, glancing around him at all the surrounding people. "Though I can't say that I'm surprised. Shiki did say that this entire affair smells like a trap. And if it is one, she gave us all freedom to hunt down the one who had instigated it in the first place, though it is best if we just knock out any innocent bystanders around."

"I'll take it that she gave us permission to kill then," said Haku, pulling out a pair of black leather gloves from her pockets and strapping them onto her hands.

"You've got that right," said Gaara darkly as a swirl of sand started swirling around him and all around the crew. "I'll just put the bystanders to sleep then."

A whirlwind of sand started to pick up around the filming crew, enveloping them from view for several moments before the sand dispersed, and both Haku and Neji, along with the one who had lured them here in the first place saw that the filming crew were all out cold onto the ground with not a scratch on them.

"Now that that's out of the way…" said Neji, turning towards the guy who had lured them here in the first place. "What's your name?"

"Ukon."

The three Ragnarok members then exchanged looks before sighing as one. "Haku, you're up," said Neji with a grunt.

Haku sighed as she stepped forward, both hands clenching into fists. "Sure, call on me again," she said a tad bit sarcastically.

Gaara almost snorted. "Oh, come on. It's been awhile since you've fought anyway. Just don't go overkill like the last time. I think that that town is still creating popsicles in that ice rink that you've made out of their town."

Haku blushed slightly. "…right," she muttered. "Just don't interfere unless you want to turn into an ice statue."

"Wouldn't even dream of it," muttered Neji.

Haku's eyes widened when she spotted the emblem of the Oto organisation on the sleeve of Ukon's shirt, and as her eyes trailed over his body, she spotted that black tattoo-like mark on the groove between his shoulder and his neck, and she narrowed her eyes.

"I see. You're originally from Oto, aren't you?" she questioned, and both Neji and Gaara tensed up behind her. "Or at least, you're formerly from them, especially after we've killed your leader who is currently sipping tea in the Great Beyond nearly a year ago. I recognise that mark. You're a member of Orochimaru's cursed army. One of the cursed children!" She sighed. "Oh well. It just means that I won't have to hold back on you. I thought that we'd taken care of all of you, and some of our other friends have taken care of the small fry in Oto after Shiki had fried Orochimaru. Looks like we've missed you out."

"Don't underestimate me, you bitch!" Ukon roared before running towards Haku, his skin transforming into a reddish-brown as he did so, with horns sprouting out of his head.

Haku wasn't in the least bit intimidated though, and neither were the two boys standing behind her. "Geez…" she muttered before stretching out one hand and grabbing Ukon's fist by the arm mere inches before Ukon could touch her. "I don't really like picking on weaklings, you know? But I'll make an exception for you, as I want to test something out as well." Haku then turned her head slightly to look over her shoulder. "Hold your breath."

Gaara nearly groaned when he realised what Haku is going to do, and immediately covered his nose and his mouth with one arm, with Neji mimicking his actions. Once Haku is satisfied that they were both following her instructions, she then turned back towards Ukon who was currently fighting hand and nail to free his arm from Haku's grasp. Unfortunately for the guy, all of Ragnarok were extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat even without using their powers, as that is the first thing that Shiki had made damn sure that they knew.

Haku then spoke the two words that would mark Ukon's demise and dismissal from this world.

"Diamond Dust."

XXXXXX

"A-Are you sure, Tsunade-sama?" Uchiha Itachi asked hesitantly whilst in the car with Kisame in the front passenger seat next to him, currently speaking through the communicator that every ANBU transport was equipped with. "Something like that is just…"

"It'll be just fine," said Tsunade's rather exasperated voice. "I'll take all responsibility for this. Bomb the place."

"Itachi?" Kisame voiced out, though the look on his face showed that he is uncomfortable with this order as well.

Itachi sighed before flipping the switch on his communicator, changing to the channel that would connect him to the two-man team that made up of Deidara and Sasori. "Deidara, bomb the place."

A split second later, a loud explosion wrecked the TV station, along with a large orange ball of fire that lit the dark skies up properly, along with the large mushroom cloud of smoke that rose upwards with the explosion.

All members of the ANBU currently present at the scene watched with bated breath as the black smoke slowly drifted away before their eyes widened in shock to see the three Ragnarok members whom they were sent after that night glaring at them, and they definitely don't look happy.

The long haired guy with the strange eyes had both his hands outstretched by his sides, with his hands glowing slightly with a strange blue glow, and all of Akatsuki knew him as Hyuuga Neji, the king of the impenetrable barrier. The only girl among the group had one knee against the ground with her right hand supporting her weight as she breathed heavily. The redhead of the group was kneeling on the girl's other side as he breathed heavily, yet was glaring at the ANBU agents before he growled and turned towards Neji.

"How many?" he asked.

"Only twenty three," said Neji with a shake of his head, not taking his eyes off of the ANBU agents, and letting his arms fell by his sides, with the vaguely visible barrier surrounding them falling as it did so. "There are still lots more in the TV station. Even if they're not dead now, they're bound to be in a few moments. No human can survive an explosion like that, even for a nin-user." He then narrowed his eyes dangerously as he took one step forwards, and acting by sheer instinct alone, all ANBU agents took one step backwards. "You know, it wasn't my intention to go after you, as we all have our orders from our captain not to go after you fuckers. We don't like it, but we understood the reasoning why. You ANBU had just fucked with us for the last time… Kankuro…Sasame… How many more innocent people are you murderers going to kill before you're satisfied? And just to get to us…you even killed a whole bunch of people who merely happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? You ANBU fuckers go about preaching about justice and honour and all that crap, and yet, you have no qualms about killing a whole bunch of innocent people just to get to us." Neji's eyes flashed dangerously. "You make me sick!"

Gaara stepped forwards next, a murderous look on his face as sand whirled about dangerously around him. "Shiki told us not to kill you guys, but she didn't say not to hurt you or even to maim you. And you ANBU fuckers sure have a lot to answer for, especially after what you'd done to her!"

"I don't care about my own life now." Neji growled, taking another step forwards, his hands balling into fists. "You killed Sasame. I'll rather die here now and take as many of you as I can with me as I go, then live a long life and watch you go about unpunished for what you'd done! Ragnarok had been carrying out the vengeances and grievances of our clients for the past few years now, and yet, we'd never carried out our own vengeances. Well, you ANBU fuckers. Guess what? This…is my vengeance!"

He then vanished in a blur before appearing in front of a seemingly shocked Deidara with his right fist pulled back, ready to sock Deidara one. But that punch never came, as an arm came out of nowhere, grabbing Neji by the arm.

Neji's eyes widened slightly in surprise when he saw who had stopped him. "…Shiki…"

Shiki sighed, glancing at Neji. "I understand your reasoning, but you have to keep calm now," she said. "And it looks like I've just made it in time." She added, glancing at the shocked faces of all the surrounding ANBU agents. She then turned back towards Neji. "Neji, the others need you now. Go to them."

"You are not getting anywhere!" Ino growled before she opened fire with her gun, this action being mimicked by Lee and Kiba.

"Idiots!" Itachi shouted to them. "What do you think that you're doing? That won't work on them!"

"Fools." Shiki muttered, glancing at the ANBU agents.

Before a single bullet can even touch Shiki and Neji, a flock of crows from out of nowhere appeared in front of them both just then, absorbing the gunfire before dispersing like black mist.

"Crows?" Sasuke muttered in disbelief. "Where did they come from?"

The rest of the Ragnarok members sans for their leader turned their heads towards some random building behind them only to see Shino and Yugito standing on the rooftop, a crow currently perching on Shino's arm.

"Shino! Yugito!"

"We're your reinforcements!" shouted Yugito, dropping down to the ground before being followed by Shino, both of them barely making a sound as they landed, rushing to Haku and Gaara's sides. "The others are on their way! Our orders?"

Every single Ragnarok member turned towards Shiki just then who was eyeing the ANBU agents with an unreadable expression on her face, but the ANBU agents didn't like that look in her eyes. The redhead then narrowed her eyes dangerously as she released her hold on Neji's arm.

"Neji, how many survived?" she questioned, not taking her eyes off of the ANBU agents surrounding them.

Neji sighed. "Not more than twenty three," he reported. "That's all that I could save, as the explosion caught us by surprise as well. If it wasn't because of Haku who had thrown up a protective ice wall to give us some protection for a few scant seconds before I could throw up my barrier, we would have died as well."

Shiki narrowed her eyes dangerously at that answer. "You ANBU fuckers…" she hissed. "Again and again, you kept doing things like this. You know what? I don't care anymore. I kept my people from hurting you guys in the past because no matter what you've done to us, you are still the justice of this country. But I've had just about enough." She then turned to face Ino before her eyes narrowed, and a golden ring appeared in a flash around Ino's neck.

"Ino!"

"You idiots shouldn't move if you know what's good for you!" Yugito called out with a devious smirk, seeing Chouji and Lee about to move to Ino's aid. "That is if you still want your comrade alive, and not missing her head."

All ANBU agents present froze just then on the spot as they turned towards Shiki who was looking on with a nonchalant expression, almost like she wasn't holding their comrade's life in her hands. The ANBU agents knew that any rash movement is going to be very stupid now, as all of them have faced nin-users before, and they knew how powerful they could be. This is especially true for Ragnarok, as they have never won a single battle against them once before, and the ANBU are usually the ones that came out looking stupid.

"Ino…" Chouji whispered in fear, his gun that is currently fixated on the Ragnarok members trembling slightly.

There was a slight thud just then before the other Ragnarok members arrived on the scene, landing directly behind Gaara and Haku. Yugito smirked slightly before turning to face Temari, Tenten and Hinata. "You're late," she stated.

"My apologies," said Temari, not really sounding very apologetic.

"W-What is that power?" Konan almost whispered, her eyes wide as she stared at the golden ring currently around a petrified Ino's neck. "I've never seen anything like that before!"

"Come to think of it, you ANBU have never seen Shiki using her power before, have you?" Neji questioned with a smirk. "That golden ring is merely one of her powers." The eyes of all ANBU agents went wide. One of? "You see, most nin-users are elemental types. A non-elemental type isn't unheard of among us nin-users, but also extremely rare. You'll probably only see one every one hundred years or so. Even my power holds some form of elemental manipulation. I manipulate space. But unlike us, Shiki is no elemental type. Her power is this world itself: she controls light and dark." A devious smirk spread over his face. "As long as you are in a place where light and dark reaches, you are in her domain. And as long as you are in a place where you are in her domain, there is nothing that you can do to her, and nothing that she can't do to you."

Itachi's eyes widened in slight horror. 'Light and dark? My god… Such a power… No wonder she had never used it before! A power like that… No one can literally touch her as long as she is in a place where light and dark touches which is basically everywhere!'

"It is better for you to not move, girl." Shiki stated, glancing at Ino. "Unless you want to lose your head." Ino stilled her movements at that comment, and Shiki then glanced at all the other ANBU agents. "You know, when I've first set up Ragnarok years ago, we have originally intended for it to be an organisation that protects those that couldn't protect themselves, and also punished those that the law can't touch. All of us in Ragnarok knew first hand that even the ANBU won't punish certain people who have broken the law. Thus, we decided that if the ANBU won't do their job properly, then we'll do it for you. And we'll also exact the vengeance for those that couldn't see justice done. I've also had quite enough of you ANBU bastards."

Shiki narrowed her eyes before she closed her right hand into a fist, and before the horrified eyes of all ANBU agents present, the golden ring around Ino's neck grew smaller and narrower until it went right through Ino's pale neck, effectively severing her neck from her shoulders. Her head actually went rolling towards Chouji's foot, her glassy eyes looking up towards him, nearly causing the plump boy to throw up his dinner.

"Ino!"

"Why…?" Shikamaru whispered in horror. "Why are you people—"

"For justice." Shiki answered. "An eye for an eye. For years, we've carried out the vengeance and the injustice done to people from all over, but we've never done anything about our own vengeance."

Itachi's eyes widened when he remembered what that Neji guy had said just moments prior.

Ragnarok had been carrying out the vengeances and grievances of our clients for the past few years now, and yet, we'd never carried out our own vengeances.

"No more of this," said Shiki with a shake of her head. "No more of this. I've had just about enough. And I'm sure my people are more than sick of you by now. You ANBU want to play with us? Fine, we'll return that gesture. You ask me why I've killed your pathetic excuse of a comrade. My answer is this: we are just returning the fight that you've started! Haven't you people heard? If you play with fire, you'll get burned." She narrowed her eyes dangerously. "I'll make you ANBU scream. I'll make you scream as I make you watch your loved ones and comrades die one after the other, and you can do nothing to save them! I'll make you feel helpless and worthless. I'll make you feel like your life isn't worth peanuts! I'll make you feel that you're better off dead than continue living on in this cursed world! The same way that you ANBU fuckers made us feel and watch our loved ones and friends die in front of us!"

"W-We didn't…" Konan muttered weakly, yet in her heart of hearts, she knew that what the Ragnarok captain speaks is probably the truth. She had learned during her time in the ANBU that not everything that the ANBU did is all righteous and good. But…

Shiki looked over her shoulder and towards her comrades. A devious looking smirk then covered her face. "The ban is off now," she said. "I'll lift the ban concerning the ANBU that I'd made about them some time back." Similar looking smirks appeared on the faces of her comrades. "Go wild."

The members from Ragnarok didn't need to be told twice.

Almost immediately, they dashed towards the ANBU, and pretty soon, the ANBU agents were all trying their utmost best to hold them all off as Ragnarok rained down numerous blows and attacks on the ANBU agents. Nearly a decade of frustration and resentment towards the ANBU and the world were currently being unleashed.

Itachi let out a light gasp as Shiki appeared in front of him in an instant, a cold look on her face.

"Shiki…" he muttered.

"Draw your weapon, Itachi," said Shiki, with a pair of hand daggers appearing in both her hands like magic, with the redhead twirling the daggers about by hooking the corner hook of the hilts of her daggers with one finger. "The time has come. And it is about time that you ANBU paid for your sins in blood. Because this time…" She narrowed her eyes dangerously. "…you ANBU fuckers have gone too far…"

"Haku…" Kisame sighed as he faced his sister's stony stare head on. "Do we really have to do this? I don't wish to hurt you, or even to kill you."

"A bit too late for that now, don't you think, nii-sama?" Haku stated. "How many people do you think have died here tonight? And how many people do you think have died before this?"

"We are human, Haku," said Kisame. "Not even we can save everyone that needs saving. You should know this."

"I know. But you could at least have tried to save them and tried to solve some murder cases instead of getting a scapegoat for it because the real murderer is a politician or something!" Haku nearly screamed at Kisame. "Before this, all of us are under orders from Shiki to not kill any of you from ANBU. But she's lifted the ban now, so…" Haku stretched out one arm before an ice blade slowly formed in her hand, and she grabbed hold of the blade. "Fight me seriously, nii-sama."

"Geez…" Shiki muttered as she took a quick look around at her comrades. "It isn't good to draw this out as well."

And before Itachi could even say or do anything, Shiki immediately took off into the air by using a nearby tree as a springing board, launching herself into mid-air before she stretched both arms out, and a light webbing like the one that she'd used back when she had saved Sasame from the ANBU was launched.

"What the…?" Hinata can only stare at the light web that had appeared in the area where she was at, and she turned her neck up to look at Shiki who had landed onto a nearby tree branch of some tree. "Shiki! You're unbelievable! You hadn't used your power in years, and the moment that you do, you actually do it in midair?"

"Be quiet!" Shiki snapped before looking at the ANBU agents. "I really don't want to do this, but I don't want to see my people die as well. And I can't kill of you here as well, as I don't want all of ANBU to start hunting us down more than ever, if they aren't already. And do you idiots really think that you hold the power of a god? Fools." She snapped her fingers before the light web surrounding each ANBU exploded.

"Damn…you…" Kiba cursed out.

Shiki took one look at Kiba like he is something that ought to be scrapped off the bottom of her shoe before taking one look at Itachi and towards her comrades. "Fall back!" she called. "We're done here now." She then turned to look at Sasuke and Itachi. "As a reward for managing to survive the battle here, relay a message to Senju Tsunade for me: you can run, but you can't hide. The blood debt that you owe us…I'll be sure to collect it from you in full someday." She smirked a small devious smirk. "We'll see you again."

Then she was gone.

XXXXXX

Things couldn't get any worse for the ANBU.

They were almost flooded with angry letters and curse words from the members of the public the moment that word had gotten out about the fiasco of the TV station, and there were even several members of the public demanding for a change of the ANBU commander. But nothing beats the one hour long lecture that the ANBU Chief had in store for Tsunade when he had railed at her down the telephone that morning when he had seen the morning papers.

It went something like this:

ANBU Chief: "What the hell are you thinking? Fifty seven people! Fifty seven people died because of you!"

Tsunade: "We couldn't afford to let Ragnarok escape! That's why—"

ANBU Chief: "Did you suffer a knock to the head recently or something? Is something like this even worth people's lives? It is true that getting Ragnarok is important, but the precedence of people's lives takes higher priority over this! You're an ANBU, not a killer! Act like one!" Click!

And thus, one Uchiha Itachi had a very bad migraine the size of a mountain right now as he sat in his team's meeting room as the Akatsuki had an unofficial meeting amongst themselves. Rendoku was particularly subdued, as they've already lost two people to Ragnarok, and Kiba was nearly beside himself in rage that Sasuke actually had to knock him out so that he don't go into fits.

"Truthfully, I don't blame Ragnarok and that Shiki girl for being this pissed," said Nagato all of a sudden, almost like continuing a conversation. "I would probably react this way as well if I am them."

"Nagato, don't tell me that you agree with their methods?" asked Sasori with a frown.

"No. I don't particularly agree with some of their methods, but I agree that they have a point in their way of thinking and their argument as well," said Nagato with a sigh. "If they could find a…less aggressive way of getting their point across, then I'll probably not feel so against it. But as it is…"

"Namikaze Shiki…" said Deidara with a frown. "I've heard about her before." He glanced at his teammates, not noticing Itachi's tension at that. "One of the members of my band used to be in the underworld. He mentioned about her in passing once a long time ago. That girl is dangerous. There's a reason why she's the Number One in Hagako, the City of the Dead back then, being the leader of the infamous street gang Blade that even the ANBU are wary of back then. You don't fight with her. I've heard from Seto that she had once killed a whole bunch of street punks in Hagako just because they happened to be there when she's in a bad mood."

Silence.

"Just what have we gotten ourselves into?" Konan asked at last.

Itachi didn't say anything to that.

'Shiki…'

XXXXXX

Itachi dropped by the TV station that afternoon to check out the situation as several other ANBU agents were digging out the dead bodies of those who were caught up in the explosion, with the families of all the dead standing around. There were loud screams and cries as they recognised the bodies of their loved ones, and even some curses at the ANBU. But one in particular caught Itachi's attention.

He recognised the crying brunette girl immediately who was kneeling next to a corpse currently being covered by a while cloth, with a boy her age trying to calm her down. Itachi recognised the two as the part time waiters at Cat's Eye, and he felt his heart clench at that.

Up until now, all those innocent bystanders who have gotten caught up with the affairs of the ANBU and had died as a result are people who are nameless and faceless to him – people whom he doesn't know.

But this…

"Moegi, calm down!" Miyugi Udon tried to restrain and calm his hysterical friend down as she attempted to attack a nearby ANBU agent who looked extremely guilt stricken as it is. "Even if you kill him, it won't bring your father back!"

"I don't care!" Moegi screamed, trying to get out of Udon's hold. "You ANBU are nothing but murderers! You killed my father! I hate the ANBU!"

Itachi can only stare on as Moegi was lead away by Udon before he allowed a stray tear to flow down his cheek, clenching his hands into fists in his pockets.

'I'm…tired of it. I'm sick and tired of this. What should I do now? What should I do? Tell me…Shiki…'

Preview of next chapter

"I want to know. Where is that person that I knew?"

"How do you expect them to forgive the ANBU and you?"

"Hatred only gives birth to more hatred. That is a fact."

"We've found the one who had been hiding from Ne ever since he had dared to betray them and Danzo, and had also been the one to give us information on them five years ago."

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