Chapter Seventeen ~ Presence Revealed

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I'm panting slightly and I know that my hands are stained with blood. I straighten and survey the room. Despite my best efforts to protect them, all three genin had minor scratches and bruises.

"Um," Michiko spoke up as I pick my way across the body strewn room. "I thought we were trying our hand at an infiltration mission?"

I turn and glare at Kento. "Yeah, well the local ego filled idiot couldn't follow a simple order and nearly got himself killed," I snap. "That plan sorta went out the window."

"Why did the villagers know you? Who's Claw? What's the Rising Phoenix?" Aisa asks.

I rummage through the men's belongings, smirking in triumph when I pull out an old teapot. "Save your questions for later," I respond. "Just follow my lead. We need to get out of here as soon as possible."

All three genin groan slightly. "We've been traveling nonstop for two days and just got here," Aisa complains.

"Yeah, can't we rest for a bit before heading back?" Kento mutters.

I raise and eyebrow. "You want to stay longer in this "shithole"?" I question.

Kento blushes slightly. "Well, everyone here seems to respect you so I thought we would get a good bed for a night instead of hard ground."

I have to hide my incredulity at these genin. Was I this soft straight from the academy? I know in some way I was, but like this? Traveling nonstop? We didn't run through the night! Two days? Come on! They had to be able to last longer than that! And above all, how the hell could they mistake the villagers' and mayor's clear terror of me as respect?

But instead of voicing all this I simply say, "No, you idiots. We need to put some distance between this village and us."

I didn't expect my presence here to go unnoticed. I was out of konoha. Out from its protective walls. And while there was one team of ANBU watching, there were far too many variables to predict and prepare for. It was dangerous out here.

And the Rising Phoenix definitely would realize I was here.

How long has it been since I'd appeared in front of that man and my presence had been discovered? Approximately thirty minutes, I muse. I turn to the team and snap a sharp, "Come on!" Before jumping out of a window onto the wall surrounding the mayor's mansion.

They follow without hesitation, though I can feel the questions building up and burning in their mind.

We ran for an hour before I stopped and spun on my heels, facing the genin.

"You're lagging," I spoke sharply. "we don't have time for you to be lagging. We need to get out of here--and fast."

"Sensei, where even are we?" Michiko asked breathlessly, hunched over and resting her hands on her knees.

"About 50 kilometers from the sand village," I said, and tilted my face upward to sniff the windy air. "Be prepared for a sand storm once we hit the sand village. We may need to take refuge in the village until it passes. I would say camp out in these woods until I sense the storm has disappeared, but..."

They didn't need to know about the Rising Phoenix. Not yet, at least. They would be terrified, and fear makes people stupid.

"Sensei, why--" Kento started.

"No questions," I snapped. These genin were absolutely insufferable. What with all their questions and whatnot. "Break time is over, let's start up again. We'll be at Sunagakure in less than an hour," I said.

They all took one last sip of water from their packs before setting into an easy run behind me.

Okay. It would take about an hour to reach the sand village. We could make it an hour. But that was the soft, team leader of three genin speaking, hoping. A useless mentality.

The Claw part of me, what had taken over 80% of my mind during this mission, knew what was coming. The Claw of the Rising Phoenix accepted nothing but success. The Claw was practically inhuman. It would catch up.

The Claw would be on our tail at any moment. And when it came, I had to be prepared.

I was prepared.

The only issue was what to do with the genin. If I could--

I stopped in my tracks, resting a hand on the tree whose branch I was currently standing on. The genin stopped behind me without asking any questions, all too grateful for the rest.

I sensed the sinister presence of the Claw, yes. But what was more disturbing was that I sensed two individuals. Two Claws. No. It couldn't. They wouldn't. It wasn't possible. They always worked alone. There was only ever one Claw. One Claw of the Phoenix.

But it was true. There were two Claws.

The Rising Phoenix figured out that I as stronger than any of their Claws. So they decided to pit two Claws, who had no doubt worked together and polished their teamwork, against me. I smirk. But I had a team of ANBU to help split up that no doubt impeccable teamwork.

I looked at the situation rationally. I had four ANBU, but at least two would end up dead. I had no positive way of protecting the genin.

And the Claws. Normally Claws leave everyone in the scene alone but the target. But If the Rising Phoenix adapted to their own situation—targeting me—then I wasn't one hundred percent sure they wouldn't pursue the genin.

"Be careful," I warned. Even if I wouldn't let them be involved in the fight, they needed to be on their toes.

"Cashile-sensei, what—"

They couldn't have sensed their presence. It was too concealed.

But what cut off Aisa's sentence were the two figures clad in black, and the two white, painted masks staring emotionlessly back at the four of us.

They were here. They had revealed themselves, which clarified their intent.

To kill.

__________________________

Updates!

Comments are kinda lacking and so inspiration is too :/ please comment long beautiful thoughtful comments for inspiration!

So yes please please comment it means the world to us!

Hellooooo,

She said it! Comments are lacking which doesn't necessarily kill our inspiration we're just not motivated enoughDx so.. What I'm trying to say is that.. It doesn't create inspiration. Yea that was the phrase I was looking for. ANYWAYS! What do you think?

Will anyone from her team DIEEEE??? Duh duhn duuuhhhhnnnnnnn

Find out in the next chapter.

Muahahhahaha.

For an update though you must COMMMENT!

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-S

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