Chapter Thirty Nine ~ Return

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I reappeared in the Spiders' territory, and I was up and spouting directions before the smoke even cleared.

"I need you to send me to the Hokage's office!" I snapped in an urgent manner.

"Get there yourself," one spider grumbled. I glared, but before I could insult the creature another spider cut me off.

"As you wish," a deeper, more authoritative voice spoke.

I disappeared immediately from the spiders' cave and coughed as the smoke cleared, mangled arm limp at my side. Glancing around, I smirked internally: seemed like I'd inadvertently crashed on a genin team's mission report. A fairly new genin team at that, judging by the way one of the kids fainted. Even the jonin sensei paled, and I realized that I was dripping blood from my arm onto the floor of Tsunade's office.

"Sorry 'bout the blood," I offered.

Even Tsunade looked shocked but my words seemed to snap her out of it. Uttering a curse under her breath, Tsunade ordered the genin team to leave. "What happened?" She snapped.

"Well, from what I gathered, Sasuke has killed Orochimaru--though I wouldn't be surprised if he came back," I warned. "You know how he is: plans and back up plans. Then I received evidence that Sasuke was gathering a team. I would bet on him gathering three to four members for this team. Probably three others; that's the number that he would be used to commanding--me, Sakura, and Naruto. I can give you the most likely individuals to be a part of his team if you give me a little time. I have about thirty people in mind right now. I can narrow it down more."

"But what happened?" Tsunade repeated, glancing to my arm. "In fact, come here now."

I walked over, stretching my arm out at her prompting. "Captured by The Rising Phoenix. You should send someone out to recover the bodies of the ANBU, by the way."

Her hand squeezed slightly on my wound and I hissed in pain, glaring at her apologetic look. "Captured by the Rising Phoenix? How long has this wound been exposed?"

"Yeah," I answered. "Not long. Maybe ten minutes, tops?"

She nodded, further examining the wound. "This is deep," she mumbled. "And fairly messy. Shizune!"

Her assistant came in, and after some discussion they began to heal, and I winced at the feeling. Thankfully, my wrist was only fractured, so they didn't need to snap it back into place.

"You'll need to wear a cast around the bandages," Tsunade said, a warning evident in her voice. "Even after healing, the bone and ligaments will be weak."

I didn't have it in me to argue. A cast would cause optimal healing time and faster recovery, and I had work to do.

"About the mission--"

"We can discuss the details later. Right now you need to go to the hospital and get your wrist casted. You are to resume your regular duties as a sensei and lay low for the time being. Am I understood?" Tsunade asked.

I bit my tongue. I had been hoping to continue my solo mission. I was doing just fine. I did everything right. I had a back up plan and I got out of their alive with intel. And I was being punished for that?

I cleared my throat. "I think it would be best if I continue-"

"You have received your orders," Tsunade declared sternly, daring me to speak up against her orders again.

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