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BHBL Ch50: Evil With a Guilty HeartA/N: I do not own the Naruto Franchise!I do however own Mari Kaede and any other OCs mentioned.Warnings: Contains dark themes, such as depression, murder, experimentation, emotional, mental and physical torture, possible attempted suicide and mentions of sexual activities!At this point, I also want to point out that the relationship between these two characters is actually toxic if you are in a similar situation please seek help, it is not healthy and it won't end the same way this story will end.I do not condone these kinds of relationships, despite writing this story.Well this was nerve-wracking to write! I'm just glad I was able to spit out another decent chapter!Enjoy!"I wonder what he wants this time?"The sound of Kaede's wooden sandals echoed in the quiet, barely lit hallways of Otogakure as the Ninjutsu expert herself sauntered idly towards Orochimaru's office. She was holding her decade-old Icha-Icha book in her hands, reading with distracted eyes as she paid no attention to her surroundings. Her mind happened to be elsewhere, neither on the book, nor her destination.Recently the newest volume she had been reading, had gone missing, and despite searching her most recent areas of occupation, she could not find it anywhere. Therefore, to save herself the constant worry over it's fate, she thought going back to the book she was given by Kiyoshi, would be a good idea and as she was summoned mid-chapter, she did not want to put it down, so there she was, outside Orochimaru's office as she came to a stop, still reading the battered pages of her novel.It was then that she finally lifted her eyes from the book, in front of the door were two Otogakure Jounin, who refused to make eye-contact, due to their roles as guards. Arching a brow, she then heard Orochimaru's voice through the wooden barrier between her and him. Just who was he talking to?Unable to quell her confusion without seeing the culprit, she sighed and tucked her book into the neckline of her robe, before she finally opened the door, faltering when she saw not only Orochimaru, but Sasuke as well. "Uh..." She started, looking from the Sannin, who was sat on his throne, knuckles against his cheek; to Sasuke who stood up straight, and looked just as sour and irritated as he normally did, maybe even more so as he was probably training before he was summoned. "What's going on?"The pale villain chuckled and used his other hand to beckon Kaede into the room. "I see you were easier to get a hold of this time...Come in, I have a new mission for the three of us..." He started as she walked over and stood beside Sasuke, placing a hand on her hip as she looked over at the boy, then back at her leader. "Now that you're here, we can begin this meeting.""Can we hurry up?" Sasuke snapped, glaring off to the side as he crossed his arms. "I've got work to do, and I'm not getting any stronger standing here, if it's a mission, just tell me what to do so I can finish it and get back to my training."Kaede shot Sasuke a sharp, irritated scowl, and Orochimaru smirked, it was amusing to see Kaede focusing her annoyance on someone else for a change. "Hm, hm, with the current situation, I doubt you'll find the time to train."This caught both their attentions. "Wait..." Kaede dropped her arm, speaking in a tone that was a mixture of confusion and concern. "What kind of situation are we talking 'bout?"Orochimaru lifted his head off of his knuckles and straightened up in his chair, placing both hands on the arms as he looked down at his subordinates. "As you are both aware, Kabuto has infiltrated Ishigakure to ensure their prying eyes remain blind to our actions...However, despite burning every shred of evidence that we ever went to Tenkachi city, they have found a trail leading to our location."Kaede's eyes hardened. "What're y'saying? Are they on their way t'kill us?""No, the cell that's coming to...apprehend us, will not leave until tomorrow morning...By then we will have made our escape unseen."And on that note, the redhead relaxed a little. "Then where're we going t'go?"Orochimaru grabbed a piece of rolled up parchment and tossed it over to his trusted ally, who caught it with ease and unrolled it for both her and Sasuke to see. On the page was a hand-drawn map with an 'X' right on top of Kusagakure, two countries to the right of their current location."I have a hideout prepared beneath Kusagakure that we'll be departing for within the hour, I expect you to be packed and ready before then." The Sannin stated, and Kaede clicked her tongue, handing it to Sasuke."You're serious?!" She hissed out, crossing her arms as her already sharp eyes only angered further. "So we're escaping one village to hide under another? Ain't that a bit risky for you, I mean, what if we're caught?"He laughed at her obvious disagreement. "The best hiding places are in plain sight, Firecracker..." He said, placing his chin on the back of his hand while he extended the other arm in a shrug, as if dismissing her claims. "A true ninja knows when to utilize their enemy's arrogance to gain the upper hand~.""Oh you'd know all 'bout that, wouldn't you..." She ran her fingers through her hair as she looked down at the ground, trying to figure out a backup, should his own plan fail. She then looked up again and recrossed her arms, tapping her bicep with the fingers of the opposite hand. "Why aren't we taking on Ishigakure's forces instead? Wouldn't that be a better option than hiding like a bunch of cowards?""Kaede."His tone made Kaede open her mouth to protest against his warning, but when his glare sharpened threateningly, she snapped it shut again. "You know better than to speak to me so casually..." He warned her, eyes glowing with his dangerous promises. He then closed them for a moment, letting out his own irritated breath. "Doing so would compromise Kabuto's position, and during their hunt for Otogakure, his intel and standing within the cell will be vital in ensuring a swift escape."Kaede hummed, she understood that, being a spy was a difficult task, but to be able to pull off such a silent getaway, they would have to travel in a small group. It was then that she remembered something important, something that got them caught in the first place. "What about the kids?" She asked. "We can't take your experiments with us, we'd get caught for sure! Having too many people with us would make our trail too obvious, and we can't just leave them here, 'cause they'll be found by Ishigakure!"Orochimaru faltered at her words, then covered his mouth with his hand as he rubbed his cheek with his fingers, contemplating his next move. His eyes then narrowed as he made a decision. "They will be executed to ensure they cannot be linked back to us." He stated firmly, removing his hand from his face as he straightened up in his throne again.Kaede's entire body felt like she had been injected with ice, as she stiffened up and clenched her fists beneath her sleeves. She wanted so badly to say something against his words, and she had to swallow hard to keep her disgust at bay. Sadly, as much as she hated the idea of the children dying, she knew that leaving them alive would be too big of a risk in their escape. Some small part of her was relieved that they would not suffer through Orochimaru's experiments anymore, and that part only served to anger her further, though she managed to maintain her composure to stop her skin from glowing. She knew suppressing her former moral compass would cause flare ups of guilt and fear, but she hated that she could so easily be controlled by her emotions, even now.At least she was not the one tasked with eliminating them, she dreaded to think of how she would have reacted if that was the case."And you will be the one to kill them."Oh, hell no.Ice all but took over Kaede's blood stream as she felt a cold chill shudder down her spine and through her veins until it settled into her already shattered heart. Her eyes were wide as she kept her gaze on the heartless Sannin. "...What?" She asked, almost in a whisper. She could not quite believe he had said that, especially after she made it clear she hated the thought of anything happening to those children.Orochimaru smirked and drummed his fingers against the arm of the chair. "As you showed such a strong distaste for my experiments, it's fitting you be the one to eradicate them and 'free' them from this curse, hm?"The ice in her blood thawed and began to boil with those words as she thought back to her own experiments, her own torture, her own suffering. How she wished she had ended it all when she had the chance, but found a way around her problem, and found a reason to stay alive, even if she wasn't actually living. To tell her to do something like this, knowing full well what she had been through, it was the cruellest insult, the harshest punishment he could have given her.And she did not even know why.However, Orochimaru had his reasons. Others had seen Kaede's obvious distaste for his experiments, and since she got away with quite a lot in front of a fair few subordinates, he knew she had the potential to influence a few of the stronger Jounin into rebelling too. He needed to set an example, so that any possible future where that happens no longer exists. Therefore, he would make her suffer and show her and everyone else, that just because he is 'merciful' to some, he will not always be so forgiving."No!" Kaede snapped, clenching her fists and lifting one of them up in front of her as she gritted her teeth, her one fang gleaming in the candlelight. "Y'ain't going t'send me down t'kill those little brats, y'here me?!"The two Jounin outside the door heard the commotion and glanced inside, only to falter when Orochimaru shot them a warning glare, before they closed the door to avoid becoming his next victims. His gaze stayed on the wooden barrier for a moment, before he returned his attention to Kaede, resting his cheek on the knuckles of his hand, his yellow eyes piercing and emotionless. "You will do as I say, those children must perish, or our lives will be in danger.""I don't give a damn if my life is in danger!" Her voice grew louder, her skin taking on a soft glow, Sasuke, who knew of her genetic defects and the danger her anger presented, stepped back cautiously. "Y'know why I won't hurt those kids, and you're just doing this t'punish me for some stupid thing I can't even remember doing!""Kaede." His sharp words made her hesitate, and her clenched fists shook fearfully, her heart aching and pounding against her ribcage. "Would you really risk your life for nameless children? Your freedom?" His eyes narrowed, brows knitted tightly together. "If we get caught, you will spend the rest of your short life behind bars, do you really want that, after everything you've done to escape the first time?"Kaede went rigid, flashbacks of her time in the cells of the laboratory hitting her like a train at high speed. Tears pricked at her eyes and she squeezed them shut, shaking her head as she trembled. Orochimaru took the time to glance at Orochimaru, nodding towards the door, a silent order for the boy to leave. Sasuke huffed and stuffed his hands into his pockets, closing his eyes as he turned and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him before the guards could glance inside and lose yet another second of their lives to the villain's intense glare."W-we can threaten them!" She ground out, attempting to reason with his kinder side, a side she barely saw, but knew existed...Somewhere. "They're just kids, if we scare them enough, they won't tell anyone we exist, we can let them go-""No."Those words made the redhead's lips curl back into a snarl as she growled and stepped forward with a heavy stomp, slamming her hand against her chest. "Just listen to me, y'stupid asshole! We can seal their tongues, if they can't talk, they won't be able to tell anyone where we are, or what we did-""Kaede.""You're not even trying to come up with a different solution to this, y'just want them dead that badly y'can't think about what they want for a change!" She scoffed and stepped back, clenching her fists so hard, blood leaked from her nails digging into her palms. Her face contorted with a mixture of anger and pain, and her skin sparked softly under the dim light of the candles. "You're nothing but a killer, aren't you?! A cold-blooded killer with no heart for those who're suffering-""Kaede!" The sharp hiss that left Orochimaru's throat silenced the defiant female with little protest. He glared daggers into her from his seat upon the throne, his expression stoic, obviously irritated by her obvious distaste for his methods. She had aided him in many battles, many different scenarios that only ended well with his intervention, how could she continue to believe what he was doing was the wrong thing, even after all this time? "Your refusal to do as I say is nothing but an annoyance! If you continue to defy my orders and give my subordinates the impression that I will be lenient, then I may as well allow you to die in the the children's' place, is that what you want?"Kaede ground her fang against her other teeth as she stood there, rigid and aching from the painful decision she had to make. It was true, in a sense, she could take their place, but the fear of her own death after living through so much, just overwhelmed her. If she had to choose between sacrificing innocent young minds, or her own freedom...She would choose to sacrifice the children. Though the thought made her want to vomit, the idea of being locked in another small space without a means of escape scared her more than the monster she had become. She would rather live free and merciless, than live a merciful life behind bars.Swallowing the painful lump in her throat, her hands relaxed and the glow she felt envelop her began to ebb a little. "...Fine..." She managed to choke out around the lump in her throat, refusing to look up at her fearless leader, who arched a brow, having expected more of a fight, but pleasantly surprised that she saw this from his perspective. "I'll do it...Just..." She hissed and gripped her fringe with both hands, holding her head so tightly she could feel the hairs being pulled from her scalp. Instead of responding, she turned and stormed over to the door, grabbing the handle tightly, only to falter. "...Gimme a minute, alright? I'll see that they're dead before we go...""Kaede..."She paused as she pushed the handle down, looking over her shoulder at the Sannin she wished she could hate. The moment he saw her eyes, filled with anger, betrayal and her own conscious struggle with her moral compass, he himself faltered mentally. However, he was quick to recover as he straightened up in his chair. "Your defiance can be entertaining at times, however when I give an order, I expect you to accept without complains, if that is too much for you, we will leave you behind to deal with Ishigakure alone, is that understood?"Kaede scoffed and turned her torso so he could see her full features. For the first time in a while, Orochimaru saw her clear disgust and hatred towards him, though it was weaker than ever before. Something about that look, despite being a temporary thing, made his own chest tighten slightly, though he refused to acknowledge such a foolish response. "Y'think I'm just going t'do as y'say, no questions asked?" She asked, her voice raspy with unshed tears. "I might be your subordinate, and I might've done some shady things already...But I ain't the type t'just blindly do something I ain't comfortable with, without putting up a fight first..."With that, she yanked the door open and shot both the guards a viscous snarl, to which they immediately returned their gazes to the wall in front of them, out of fear of her fiery rage. She was famous in their village, and none of them would dare to fight back, considering she was powerful enough to gain Orochimaru's trust. After that, she stormed down the corridor and out of sight, leaving the Sannin to gesture towards the doorway, getting a silent nod from his Jounin in response before they closed the wooden barrier, leaving him alone.The moment the door clicked shut, Orochimaru's expression contorted with rage and he let out a sharp roar, swinging out his fist and shattering a vial of acid on the desk nearby, which lead to his pale hand blistering under the burning fluid. However the Sannin did not even flinch from the overwhelming pain as he sat there, his breathing heavy as he glared at the door. Though he was used to her rage, her hatred, her bitterness towards him, with their recent interactions leading to far less negative responses on her end, he found himself enjoying her company more.And not just to get a rise out of her.To see such a sickened look on her face, after seeing so many of her beaming grins directed at him, it had hurt a little, and he was furious about that. He refused to grow attached to her, she was nothing but a sexual object to him, and a decent fighter in the field. Nothing she could do would change that, and with her words he vowed to remain as strict towards her as he was with everyone else.He refused to accept that her influence was affecting his own morality, while she struggled with her's.Meanwhile, Kaede finally made it back to her room and closed the door, swallowing hard before she ground her teeth and let out a sharp cry, feeling the rage she had held back overwhelm her all at once. Her skin sparked and small flames flickered against her glowing flesh as she turned to the room and attacked her furniture, destroying everything in her vicinity as her only means to stop her spiraling into a burning blaze.By the time she was finished, the room was a wreck, the only things saved from her wrath being the books she loved so dearly. At that moment, she stood in the center of the carnage and choked out a heavy sob, covering her face with her hands as she tried and failed to understand why doing something like this was hurting her so much. She killed a child's mother in front of their face without so much as breaking a sweat, yet at the thought of killing those same children, she felt herself turning more and more into the monster she once tried to avoid.Selfishness had taken her so far, had helped her survive so many hardships after her life went to hell, yet she still found herself fighting back, avoiding, defying what she knew was the right call every single time. If it had been a war, or battle and she was asked to kill them, her reaction would have been different, because war was hell, and it was never fair to either side.However, this was not a war, it was survival, and she knew by keeping those children alive, she would endanger not only her own life, but Orochimaru's life as well, and being his subordinate, and the sole reason she still lived, that scared her too, not as much as being trapped behind bars, but enough to cause her to falter and uncover her face to stare down at the books she loved.Would she give in to his demands and kill them to escape, or allow herself to break the rules and set them free, but risk her and her allies' lives in the process?The answer was obvious, and it made her sick. She swallowed the bile that rose in her throat and wiped her eyes with her long sleeve that enveloped her hand and hung down, far too long for her, but comfortable all the same. When she finally uncovered her face, the anguish was gone, and that serious mask she was now aware of replaced her pain, leaving a hollow glare in its wake.Without a word, she turned and barged out of her own door, leaving it agape for anyone passing to see the destruction she left. Her skin slowly ebbed until nothing but a simmering in her brown eyes remained, and whenever she passed someone, they all but flinched away from the murderous intent that exuded from her tanned form.She had made her choice, and it was time to put her thoughts into action.~BHBL~The lower levels of Otogakure stank of blood, sweat and sickening tears as Kaede's wooden sandals clacked against the black stone beneath her feet, only further darkening the already dark hallways. Barely any candles were lit down there, as to cause the prisoners further torment, and Kaede knew all to well just how much they were suffering. As she made her way through the rows of cell bars, begging prisoners and insane experiments, she started to hear the telltale sign of their more recent inmates, the sounds of children crying and screaming for help.Swallowing hard, she kept walking towards that horrible sound until a large cell came into view, and several of the children gasped and screamed at the sight of her, fearing her very presence due to her part in destroying their home. However one child did not show any fear, nor sorrow, but instead his own eyes matched her's, cold and angry as he glared her down, the memory of her killing his mother right before his eyes clear in his gaze.Upon seeing the child again, she faltered in her decision and hesitated once more. But she ground her teeth and squeezed her eyes shut, clenching her fists as her shoulders tensed. "It's your lucky day..." She croaked out, letting a false grin cross her lips as she lifted her eyes, her apology visible to each of them. "I'm going t'set y'free..."At first, almost all the children sobbed and smiled at the idea of being let out of this terrible place, but that was not to last as the redhead tasked with their murders raised her hands and began to form the signs for her terrible fire jutsu. Upon seeing this, most of the children began to scream and beg for their lives, and Kaede had to really hold back her pain as she finished the hand gestures.With a deep breath, she blew the flames through the bars and ignited the whole cell, watching as the flames licked at the walls and burned the children alive. She listened to their screams, refusing to look away from the carnage as she absorbed her own actions. However, something caught her attention when two small hands grabbed the scalding hot metal keeping them trapped in the space of their death. She locked eyes with the child behind those bars, the same boy who had watched his mother die by her hands, and when the two locked gazes, she all but froze in place."I won't die here!" The boy screamed, banging his blistering fist against the bending metal. "I'll kill you, you'll see! I won't forgive you for what you did to my mama! I'll kill you!"The way he stood there, barking threats at her, with his sharp eyes still glittering with determination, made her view him not as the child from Tenkachi City, but a younger, vulnerable version of herself that had suffered for ten years, only to be given the chance to survive. In that moment, her heart broke and she whispered a gentle "no" before grabbing the boy's hand, much to his surprise.Without giving him time to yank free of her grip, she formed the signs for Shunshin no Jutsu and the two vanished from sight while the other children burned to death. The dust settled as the smoke from the jutsu faded and a snake, which had been watching from the corner of the room, flicked its tongue, before it slithered down the corridor and out of sight.Suddenly Kaede and the boy appeared in the depths of the savannah, far enough away that no one would see them from the doorway to the hideout. The moment the smoke that carried them faded and the two became visible, Kaede shoved the boy away from her hard, despite his painful injuries. "Get lost.""Wh-what?!" The boy stammered, coughing from the smoke of her flames as he stumbled, but managed to find his footing, now stood a small distance away, facing her."Y'heard me." She ground out, her voice hoarse from the events of the past half hour. "Get out of here before I change my mind!"However, her merciful gesture was ruined when out of nowhere, the air behind her changed and she suddenly felt the overwhelming presence of a familiar man behind her. "And what do you think you're doing?" Orochimaru hissed, his sharp, angered voice curdling the blood in Kaede's fearful veins as the boy she had helped scrambled as he spun around, kicking off to escape his cruel presence.'This is it...!' She thought, turning to look over her shoulder with her own wide and terrified eyes. 'He's actually going t'kill me!'Orochimaru's sharp yellow eyes watched her as she jumped back slightly and spun to face him completely, shaking where she stood, a pathetic sight considering her usual nature. "Though I should kill you for your foolish insubordination...!" He snarled, eyes narrow with barely controlled rage. "The boy might be useful, so you better catch him before he escapes."Kaede opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but no words left her throat, before she snapped her jaw shut and rushed off to grab the boy. Orochimaru stood there, seething with his arms crossed as he watched her grab the child's blistered wrist before she dragged him back to where she once stood."Let go of me!" The kid roared, biting, kicking and scratching at her skin, though she had to admit, despite feeling numb due to shock, hurt like a bitch. "I'll kill you all, do you hear me?! I'll kill you for my mama!"Orochimaru stared at the brat for a moment, then he chuckled, which caused Kaede to jolt in surprise, even more confused now than she was a moment prior. He closed his eyes and shrugged in that exaggerated fashion he was famous for, none of his subordinates had seen her act of rebellion, therefore he saw no reason to act aggressive, though he wasn't amused that she went against his orders. "For once, your defiance has proven useful...This boy will become a valuable pawn for my plans."Those words swirled through the numbed kunoichi's mind for a moment, before the realization of what he said shocked her from her silence. In a second, she curled her lip up at him and shot him a harsh glare. "Why the hell is this kid so important, but the other brats had to die, eh?! What was the point in giving me that job if I was supposed to keep one alive?" Her eyes widened when an idea came to mind, and she ground out her thoughts with a sharp bite to her tone. "Y'don't plan on experimenting on him, d'you?!"Orochimaru shrugged once more, this time with one arm while the other hand settled on his hip. "What I choose to do with the boy is none of your concern." He stated, looking her dead in the eyes, seeing her obvious pain at the mere thought. "It is not your place to question my ambitions, however..." He glanced at the struggling child. "I plan to enlist him as a Genin, he will serve Otogakure as soon as he can competently perform Ninjutsu."Kaede's hard shell, the wall she had built since the day she joined Otogakure cracked as she thought of this child going through days of horrible training and pain to become a warrior for his sworn enemy. "Y'can't do that..." She managed to force out, her grip on the boy's arm loosening in her shock. "You'll kill him!"Orochimaru's expression remained emotionless as the confused boy looked between the two, trying to understand what was going on. Then the Sannin's features twisted into a smirk, and his shoulders shook with a laugh. "The future is unclear, even to someone such as myself...For the time being, I see no reason to begin intense training regimes, he will be taught the basics first...This is what I consider 'merciful.'" The last word came out with an amused lilt, as if teasing her for calling him merciless before."Wh-what the hell's going on?!" The boy piped up, shaking where he stood as he tried to piece together their words, not yet old enough to understand everything they said. "What're you two talking about?!" However, the child did not wait for a response as he managed to yank his wrist free of Kaede's grip, before he quickly turned and kicked off in the opposite direction.Kaede gasped and spun to catch the child, but a blur moved past her with such speed she found herself frozen in place. Orochimaru appeared beside the child and without even so much as blinking, he slammed the side of his hand into the back of the kid's neck, knocking him out as he fell to the ground, a cloud of dust lifting around him when he made impact.The redhead could only watch as Orochimaru stood over the boy, glaring down at his unconscious form. "Why...did y'do that?" Kaede managed to ask, too shocked to really speak anymore.Orochimaru turned his head and the two locked eyes, his irritated yellow orbs against her cocoa-colored, emotionally wrung out, ones. "This is your mistake to atone for..." He warned her, tone dripping with the venom of his words, despite finding amusement in how her actions actually aided him, rather than cause more problems, she would not escape from this situation without even a tiny punishment. "Therefore you're tasked with the burden of keeping this child from escaping until we reach our destination...If he escapes, you will pay for your actions with your life...Now tie his hands and prepare your belongings, we leave in half an hour."Kaede felt both anguish and relief at his words. Relieved that the boy would not be killed, and that she had the chance to make up for her mistakes, but anguished that the boy would suffer far more now than he would have had she killed him in the cell with the others.Had her spur-of-the-moment mercy cost this child even more than he had lost already?She slowly walked over to the unconscious boy and picked him up, holding his limp form over her shoulder as she turned to the Sannin she worked for. "A word of advice..." He continued, and she nodded, looking at anything but him as he spoke. "Consider your actions thoroughly before you try to lie to me...I will not be so lenient with you should my other subordinates see such an event take place.""I..." Kaede started, letting out a weak laugh. "I actually planned on following your orders..." She looked up at him with a tired, but accepting smile. "But when I got to the cells and this kid started yelling at me...I saw myself and I...Wanted t'save him from that life, from my life..."Orochimaru listened to her intently, arms crossed as his features remained blank, absorbing her words completely.Kaede felt her fear slowly rekindle when he showed no anger, no betrayal and no irritation towards her, it was scarier not knowing what he was thinking than seeing him explode with rage. "What're y'going t'do t'me now?" She asked in a weak voice, fearing her life. "I betrayed y'again and I know y'going t'punish me for it, so just tell me what you're going t'do...I ain't stupid enough to think you're going t'let me off this easily, so just tell me the truth."Silence was all that came after her words and she watched with mild surprise as his expression remained blank, but a contemplating gleam shone in his yellow eyes. However, she did not get a chance to ask him what he was thinking before he responded. "Take the boy back to the lab, a Jounin will be waiting there to heal him, don't be late, I will not tolerate anymore foolish behavior..."After that, the Sannin turned and made his way back to the hideout, leaving Kaede to stand there in shock as she absorbed his words. He...Was not going to punish her further? She expected her freedom to be taken away, stripped from her grasp along with any and all trust he might have had in her, but he had just...walked away.Unsure of what to make of this, she formed the signs for Shunshin no Jutsu once again and dissapeared in a puff of smoke, while Orochimaru paused and glanced back to see she had vanished. Staring at the cloud as it dissapated, he too contemplated the reason for his more 'merciful' approach.However, unlike Kaede, he had a feeling he knew the answer, and the thought alone made him hiss and clench his fists with a snarl.He would not allow himself to fall victim to childish emotions.~BHBL~After Kaede had taken the boy to the lab and left him in the hands of the Jounin charged with healing him, the redhead left the room and walked back down to the lower levels of the hideout. Even as she walked down the same dark corridor she had made her way through only minutes ago, she could already smell the carnage she had left behind with her orders.Upon reaching the cell, she stared in disgust and horror at the sight behind the metal bars, that had all but melted under the intense heat of her flames. The children laid dead on the ground, their flesh burnt off and their faces unrecognizable to anyone who laid eyes upon their decaying forms. Kaede choked out a sob and dropped to her knees, covering her mouth with her hand as she felt bile rise in her throat and tears spill down her scarred cheeks.She did this. She had killed innocent children to save her own skin, and it hurt so much. No matter how much of her moral compass she abandoned, it always hurt her to go against her own ideals to keep herself and her freedom from crumbling under the thumb of the law.However, she thought back to the child she had saved, the one she knew would someday aim to take her head, just like she once did with Orochimaru. Hopefully, that one last act of kindness, that one little spark of her old self, would rekindle some of the flames of life that once burned in her heart. After all, deep down, past the scars, the pain and the hardened sadistic cruelty, she was still the same little girl in the academy that wanted to be a great kunoichi and save people's lives.Though it had been years since she last thought of saving others, protecting those she cared about, or even just a complete stranger, she could not quite shake the fruitless hope that she could protect at least some of the people around her, even if that person ended up being the one to take her life in the future.And looking back at that hope, knowing she had strayed so far from her original path, made her heart clench painfully as she crouched there, sobbing pathetically into her hands.Even though Orochimaru was the one to give her the order, she could not drop the whole blame onto his shoulders, after all, she could have refused his orders and taken whatever punishments he dished out. No, she was just as guilty as he was in killing the helpless children of Tenkachi City and the sooner she came to terms with that guilt, the sooner she would heal from her actions.Orochimaru had made a decision to ensure their survival and she, being the selfish woman she was, had gone against that and put both his life, and the lives of everyone else, even herself, at risk. Just to save one orphaned child. She knew it would one day come back to bite her on the ass, but at that moment, just saving that one child meant she still had some semblance of control over her own future, and that knowledge, though unknown to her right now, would make all the difference as she stayed by Orochimaru's side. All she could do now was hope for the best and remain strong for as long as she could.In that moment, a snake, which had been watching from the same corner as before, flicked it's tongue and slithered out of sight.~BHBL~The time had come for Orochimaru, Kaede, Sasuke and their newest prisoner; who was now addressed as Henrei, according to Orochimaru's records; to leave the hideout and traverse the long distance from the savannah to their new location hidden beneath Ishigakure. The Otokage and Uchiha child stood in the warm winds of the afternoon, waiting for Kaede to emerge from the hideout so they could begin their journey, however the allotted hour had already passed and she was nowhere to be found.Suddenly the sound of footsteps echoed from the narrow staircase leading into the hideout and Kaede appeared, blinking back the harsh sunlight as she yanked at a rope behind her, Henrei appearing as well, hissing as he was blinded by the light. Orochimaru smirked when he saw them, and arched a brow with crossed arms. "Late again, I see?" He asked, a devious tease in his tone, much to Kaede's surprise.She expected him to be cold and cruel towards her, his rage usually lead to a bitter silence afterwards.Relaxing a little from his banter, she cautiously smirked back and planted her free hand on her hip, the boy stood beside her, glaring at the ground as he tried and failed to escape the bindings that tied his wrists together behind his back. "Heh, what'd y'expect?" She grinned, her fanged smile bright in the afternoon sun. "I'm always fashionably late! I thought you'd would've known that by now, Orochimaru-sama~!"Orochimaru chuckled and stroked his chin, looking her up and down. "Late, yes, but fashionable...?"Kaede barked out a laugh as the Sannin's own chuckle turned into a deep laugh of his own. "Y'can say what y'want about my fashion sense, but at least I ain't wearing a big-ass purple rope for a belt, Snake-Eyes!""Hm, hm, no, instead you opt to wear it as a band around your arm, hm?"Kaede blushed a little at his taunts, knowing full well she hated the purple rope she wore, it was a sign of just how little she actually mattered to the rest of the world. "Oh shut it, Orochimaru." She snapped, which only made the snake-eyed shinobi even more amused. "Can y'just tell me what route we're taking? This kid keeps trying t'escape!" With that, she tugged the rope hard, Henrei yelping as he almost lost his balance."Very well, though you have only yourself to blame for your predicament." The evil mastermind teased as he chuckled one last time before pulling out the same map he had shown them an hour prior. "Due to the oncoming Ishigakure raid, we only have until the sun rises to escape the country before we're hunted down like animals..." He started, pointing to where they were now, before sliding his finger towards the marked location. "If we continue through the trees and avoid any paths that may leave behind a trail, we should reach Kusagakure; and evidently the new Otogakure, in little over a week."Kaede's shoulders slouched as relief washed through her. She was glad it would be a shorter trip than when they were forced to change locations the first time, otherwise she might have ended up killing this kid like the rest. He was obnoxiously violent and outrageously stubborn to a fault.Now she understood why Orochimaru made threats on her life so often. She could not deny the temptation to silence those who continue to scream in your ear about the same things, over and over again.Orochimaru rolled the map up again and looked from Sasuke to Kaede. "Myself and Sasuke-kun will make our way through the trees, however, Kaede, you will have to hide in the surrounding foliage, as your...'guest'..." He smirked as she groaned. "Hasn't had the proper training needed to jump from branch to branch.""Ah dammit, why'd y'keep this from me 'til now?!" She complained, tugging on the rope again as Henrei once again tried to struggle free, cursing her family in the process, which would have offended her, if she was not already disowned by her family to begin with.Orochimaru's smirk turned to a grin and he met her gaze with a rather playful, yet somewhat satisfied gleam in his eyes. "Consider this a condition of your punishment, you chose to save this child, therefore you will babysit him until we arrive." His yellow orbs sharpened dangerously. "I doubt I have to tell you what'll happen if you fail to keep your location hidden, hm?""Yeah, yeah, don't worry, I don't want t'get caught either, remember?" She waved away his concerns, ignoring the brat behind her who continued to utter foul language no child his age should know.With that, the three Oto ninja began to traverse the land towards Kusagakure, covering their tracks as best they could until the landscape changed to that of a wooded forest. All the while Henrei screamed and threatened Kaede while being dragged against his will towards his new 'home.'Kaede began to wonder if she really had made the right choice.A/N: Thank you for reading, please leave a review if you liked it, because your words always inspire me to improve!Japanese = EnglishShunshin no Jutsu = Body Flicker TechniqueOtogakure = Hidden Sound VillageIshigakure = Hidden Rock VillageKusagakure = Hidden Grass VillageOtokage = Sound Shadow
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ChrisMilesC Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2020  Hobbyist
Thank you for requesting my DBZ FRIEZA :) 
Shadow-of-Otogakure Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2020  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :heart:
Artfrog75 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2020  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Would you guys accept art like this? FIRE.EMBLEM by Artfrog75  
Shadow-of-Otogakure Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2020  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes we accept Anime and Games :D
(I run this group too)
TianaSama Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2020  Student General Artist
Hello ♥ Thank you for asking my drawings into your group ! :'3
Shadow-of-Otogakure Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2020  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :heart:
plua3dart Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2020  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks again for asking to add one more of my works to the group! I'm honored! Worship Worship Worship 
Shadow-of-Otogakure Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2020  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry for the delay. I didn't know the group notifications were fixed XD
You're welcome :heart:
MeadowSage Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2020  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi! Thanks for the request to have my drawing added to this group. I really appreciate it! 
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