Chapter Forty-Two ~ Tracking

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"I sensed the blast around 400 meters ahead," I communicated with the clone, as I was expected to.

"That is a positive identity on our akatsuki member. His chakra signature is the same as well as his power to... blow things up. We need to report this immediately, and not engage," he sent a strained, pointed gaze my way.

I had to play this right for everything to go smoothly.

"I agree, but we should identify the akatsuki's opponent before we turn back," I said. A reasonable suggestion did go a long way in an ultimate plan.

"It's a little risky..."

I raised an eyebrow. "We're ninja."

Kakashi's clone let out a sigh. "Alright, Cashile. We'll do it your way. But no engaging."

I rolled my eyes. "No need to repeat yourself countless times. I am a genius. I'll remember."

"Riiight," Kakashi mumbled. "But will you listen?"

I pointedly ignored the question, instead running toward where we'd sensed the spikes in chakra. I would have limited time to act; I'd have to kill the clone and kill Deidara before the real Kakashi had time to arrive. It would be hard, and risky, but I could do it.

Then, the repercussions of a blast nearly threw me from my feet.

"What the hell?!" I exclaimed, widening my stance as the ground shook. "We're still at least 15 kilometers from the fight! How the hell--"

And then I saw the beam of light.

I closed my mouth, studying it silently. To have a jutsu like that... it was no wonder Deidara was a part of the Akatsuki.

Slowly, the blast died down, along with the tremors of the earth. I continued to watch the sky, eyes tracking the few birds that had been able to escape the blast.

"Let's go," I finally ordered quietly. "There's no way anyone missed that blast. Everyone will be heading toward the area."

Kakashi's clone nodded. We'd both arrived at the same conclusion.

Deidara was dead.

***

Kakashi's clone and I were the first to arrive at the blast site. I studied the ground closely.

"Sasuke was here," I informed the clone. He nodded. "There are several different ways I can think of to avoid a blast like this," I murmured, "but I don't know what Sasuke had available to him at the time."

I hear the sound of the clone disappearing, and turn to see Kakashi. "I'm sure he escaped," Kakashi continued the conversation. "But we'll wait for the others here."

I nodded. "So, I'm not gonna tell you I told you so..."

"Hm?" Kakashi questioned, purposefully playing dumb.

"But if I'd had a chance to take Deidara down earlier, he wouldn't have had the chance to do this."

Kakashi didn't answer. I counted it as a win.

Soon the others arrived, and began to discuss the battle.

"Wait," Sakura held up a hand. "Deidara did this? But wasn't he the one who self-destructed..."

"It seems he faked his death in order to escape," Kakashi admitted. I hid a smirk.

"Then couldn't he have faked his death once again?" She asked.

"It's highly unlikely," I replied, " considering the extent of damage done to the surrounding area. Total obliteration. Jutsu's like these don't come without a price."

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