"Stella come on, get up. We're here hmm," Deidara said softly so I wouldn't be startled awake. I sat up groggily and rubbed my eyes, then looked around. "This is the Land of Rivers. I never thought you guys would hide here of all places. It's right in between the Lands of Fire and Wind. Aren't you worried about getting ambushed?" I asked. "No. We've been hiding out here since leader-sama started the organization. He just moves us around every few years to confuse tracker ninja hmm," he answered. "You guys must have one lair in every nation then I'm glad you're staying at this one though. I always love coming to this country," I said, bracing myself when the clay bird landed. "That's good. You'll get to call this place home for a while," he said, then asked, "What's your opinion of art? Ephemeral or eternal hmm?" Though slightly confused by the sudden, random question, I said, "Well, I guess ephemeral. Whenever you hear the word eternal, you think of something that stays the same all the time and it gets boring after a while. Think of it this way: If you could go to an art gallery everyday, the paintings would be a normal, regular thing. It's like saying one word too many times; it starts to lose it's meaning."
Deidara smiled and motioned for me to go on, obviously pleased with my answer. "But if something is constantly changing or just isn't there anymore, you appreciate the fact that you ever saw it in the first place. It makes you want to see it again and again." "Finally! An opinion that actually matters. You'll have to explain that to Sasori sometime hmm," the blonde said. After I stretched my stiff muscles, I hopped off the bird, still holding onto Deidara's Akatsuki cloak. "Here ju go; it's nice as a blanket," I said, handing it back to him when he jumped off as well. "I know, that's why I gave it to you. You wanna see how much my art has improved hmm?" he asked. "Sure," I nodded, remembering the little butterflies he'd detonated. With just one hand sign and a bark of, "Katsu!" the clay bird instantly exploded. "Stop messing around with your hideous pyrotechnics Deidara, and get in the lair," said a gruff voice behind us. I turned around and saw Sasori. Sasori and Deidara led me to a large boulder, which they lifted with a special jutsu and motioned me inside a cave. A dozen different scents invaded my sensitive nose, making me cringe in disgust. The most distasteful smell was that of decaying flesh on someone's breath and drying blood. "God, does it always reek like this here?!" I practically gagged. I used the collar of my vest to hide my nose from the putrid stench. "Only when Zetsu and Hidan are here hmm," he said, "Remember what I said before; I'm not sure what leader-sama has planned for you." I nodded, but refused to uncover my overpowered nose. We were walking down a long corridor leading to the main cavern in the cave system. A group of cloaked silhouettes loomed in front of us, so I tensed myself in case they wanted to fight me. All of the organization were standing in a circle, waiting impatiently. "Leader-sama, we have gotten the Nagareboshi girl as you requested," said Sasori. A man with spiky orange hair and various facial piercing nodded and said, "Sasori; Deidara, good work. I have gathered the rest of the Akatsuki here to test her abilities." Sasori's puppet Hiruko pushed me forward to the leader to receive instructions. "Shit, the initiation test hmm
" Deidara swore under his breath. Looking back, I noticed the artist was deep in thought, but listened to what the leader had to say. "Before we accept you as an official member of the Akatsuki organization, you must first pass a test of strength. Starting
NOW!!" Before I could react, all of the Akatsuki attacked at the same time. A guy with stitches and tentacles came running at me, attempting to entangle me in the seaweed like substance. I hastily warped out of his range, summoning a bear paw at the same time. Once I saw an opening, I knocked him back into the rock that blocked the entrance of the cave.
"Nice one Kakazu, you just got your fucking ass kicked by a chick!" someone laughed. Snapping my head around, I saw that it was a man with gray slicked-back hair, a huge three bladed scythe, and a necklace. "Wow
you know, they say someone who swears a lot doesn't have very many words in their vocabulary," I commented. "Who the fuck asked you anyway?!" he spat angrily, charging forward with the ridiculously large scythe. "Let's just see what he can do with that thing, if anything at all
" I thought to myself as he drew nearer. "You sure as hell don't look like you'd convert to the ways of Jashin
I'm gonna have to kill ya," he said, swinging the weapon down in an attempt to slash open my shoulder. I quickly feinted to the left, then took out my own kunai and cut open his ribcage. "Looks like I'm not gonna die just yet," I smirked. "That hurt a little. Did you poke me with a fucking needle?" the silver-haired man asked, seemingly unphased by my attack. I figured it was just a coincidence, that I hadn't cut deep enough, then coated the kunai in chakra and swung the knife at him again. This time I heard three of his ribs crack. "Seriously, put a little elbow grease into it," he said, backing up a good distance. "Is
he immortal?!" I yelped in surprise, noting how fluently he moved despite his injuries. While I was preoccupied with the immortal, the man called Kakazu got up and warped above me, his right arm a stone grey color. "Yes, in a way. There is one downfall to him though. Hidan is a complete idiot," Kakazu said. He then bore down upon me, intending to crush me beneath the blow. "Celestial Style: Star Formation!" I said, making a two-handed Tiger sign. A bright blue star shaped chakra shield appeared, preventing Kakazu from coming closer. "So this is the Nagareboshi's kekkei genkei
it's very artistic hmm," Deidara whispered in my ear. I snapped my head around, but he sidestepped out of range quickly. Instead of attacking right away like I expected, he patiently waited for me to make a move first. I hesitated, not wanting to hurt the bomber. He was about to say something when I felt a cold hand grab my foot. My attacker dragged me through the rock, making me yelp in surprise. Whoever it was left my head above ground, then emerged behind me ominously. "Zetsu, so help me if you eat her!" the leader barked angrily. What looked like a giant venus flytrap loomed over me, cringing at his leader's words. "But we haven't eaten anything in so long
" the white half of him said. "
can't we just have a bite? If we take a limb it won't kill her," the black side said. "If she dies from anyone else's attack, then you can. Am I clear?" the leader said. After a moment's thought, the plant man nodded. Looking up, I was startled to see a tall man with blue skin, gills, and sharp teeth swinging a sword that was as tall as he was. After I hastily pulled myself out of the ground, only one idea came to mind as to how to defeat him.