381 Chapter 378 : A Massacre!

A frown formed on the officials from the Land of Hot Water. Tokuhei said, "We have that suspicion as well. But it still doesn't answer why there are only four of you here?" 

Fujin answered, "We will be entering into their territories to investigate. If Kirigakure is involved, then Lord Hokage will send the required forces a week later. You can join them but be prepared. The conflict could be a lot more intense than what you have calculated. If Kirigakure isn't involved, then we will be completing the mission by ourselves." 

Tokuhei thought for a bit and replied, "Alright." 

Fujin said, "Hand over what you have already analyzed so that we won't waste any time repeating the same or searching fruitlessly." 

Tokuhei nodded and placed a map on the table. He quickly explained their findings and analysis to Fujin and his team. 

After getting all the required information, Fujin and his squad left immediately. After they left, Tokuhei sighed and muttered, "It is so difficult to cooperate with the Anbu of other countries." 

However, one of the Nobles snorted and commented, "At least they are willing to undertake such risky missions." 

Tokuhei looked at the Noble but didn't say anything. The amount of ninjas in the Land of Hot Water was already pitifully low. He had no intention of wasting their lives just to prove a point.

Fujin's team rapidly moved through the Land of Hot Water towards the coastal areas. While moving, Fujin instructed, "As I said, this mission will be up to you. Yugao, you will take over my role. I will keep an eye out from far and will jump in if need be, but operate under the assumption that I'm not here." 

Everyone nodded. Within a couple of hours, they reached one of the locations that Tokuhei had pointed out. The location was a small hill that had a large cave within it. Fujin stayed back while Yugao took charge. She moved close to the cave along with Fumito and Bunjiro. 

Bunjiro softly said, "The cave seems to be abandoned." 

Yugao nodded and instructed, "Fumito, send a Shadow Clone through the underground. See if you can feel any chakra signatures. If you don't, then activate your chakra field and inspect." 

Fumito nodded and created a Shadow Clone. The clone moved through the ground into the cave. He tried to feel any chakra fluctuations in the cave passively but didn't sense anything. After a few minutes, the clone activated his chakra field. It covered the entire hill. He didn't detect anyone and came out of the ground and began inspecting the cave. After some time, the clone dispelled himself. 

Fumito received his memories and said, "There is no one inside the cave. There aren't any traps inside either. Even if there was anyone here earlier, all traces have been eliminated." 

Yugao said, "Alright, we will move on to the next location." 

The group immediately began moving towards other bases that Tokuhei had pointed out earlier. However, every base they went to turned out to be empty. 

Yugao fell into a dilemma. After thinking for a bit, she said, "The mission also requires us to check up on the villages in this area. We will do that before moving closer to the shore." 

Fumito and Bunjiro nodded. They arrived at the first village. However, to their surprise, it was empty as well! 

Bunjiro frowned and asked, "What the hell is going on here? Why is everything that guy pointed to empty?" 

Fumito muttered, "I'm afraid that something huge is happening here." 

Fujin, who was observing from a bit away, wondered, 'That's strange. Why is this village empty as well? If there was a clash, there would at least be blood stains in the village. But there is nothing of that sort. It's as if everyone left obediently.'

He thought for a bit before his eyes suddenly widened. He thought, 'Don't tell me Hidan is planning his ritual. I haven't heard any news of his slaughter yet. Things will be a lot more complicated if he gets involved.' 

Yugao instructed, "Let's check up on the other villages." 

They immediately began moving. The next village turned out to be empty as well. Fujin wondered, 'Exactly how many people does he need for the ritual? Hmm, now that I think about it, Hidan would be the perfect target to master reading memories perfectly. But should I kill him now? It'll create some changes in the Akatsuki.' 

Fujin was on the fence. He followed his subordinates while analyzing, 'Right now, Hidan is the only future Akatsuki member that I'm confident in defeating other than Deidara who hasn't gone rogue yet. I can cut him into pieces and seal him up. But who would partner up with Kakuzu if I eliminated Hidan now? 

It will be a pain in the ass if the pairings of Akatsuki are changed. It could change the future completely. If they decide to not recruit Deidara and partner Sasori and Kakuzu, then I'm not sure how the Gaara rescue mission would go. I will have to convince Tsunade, or Hiruzen if he lives, to add me to that squad as well to ensure that the future doesn't get too disrupted.'

Fujin suddenly looked up and a frown appeared on his face. He decided, 'I'll decide when I encounter Hidan.' 

Just like Fujin, the expressions of his teammates became dark as well. Despite wearing masks, their gloominess could be sensed. 

Bunjiro entered the village and muttered, "Which bastard would do something like this?" 

After finding 5 empty bases and 2 empty villages, the group finally entered a village that wasn't empty. Instead, it was dyed in blood. The streets were littered with dead bodies. The three of them immediately began inspecting the bodies.

Fujin entered the village as well and began observing. He thought, 'It looks like everyone was killed by a sword. It doesn't look like a ritual.' 

He was confused. He wondered, 'This should be done by rogue Kiri ninjas. So is Hidan not involved? Or did he take the opportunity of the chaos to kidnap normal civilians for his ritual?'

Bunjiro asked, "Should we bury them?" 

Yugao shook her head and said, "They are already dead. There is no point in wasting time here. The killings happened more than a day ago. We will move to the next village." 

Bunjiro didn't argue. He knew that saving the ones alive was more important than burying the dead. They immediately began moving towards the next village. 

After a few minutes, they arrived in the next village. This time, they finally found someone alive! The village was largely abandoned as well. Only a few dozen elderly and a handful younger people were in the village. 

The people immediately became tense after seeing them. Yugao approached an elderly man and started having a small conversation. After learning that they were sent by the Daimyo, the people finally relaxed. 

Yugao asked, "Why are there so few people in the village?" 

The elderly man sighed and said, "Around 2 months ago, all the money in our homes started disappearing. Every house in the village had most of their money taken away. And not a single person saw anything. So we believe that a ninja stole all our money." 

Yugao and the rest were surprised to hear that. The elderly man continued, "It caused a lot of unrest in the village. However, we slowly moved on from it as nothing could be done. But then it happened again a month ago. 

That made many people leave the village and migrate closer to Yugakure. Until the day before yesterday, around half the people had migrated. However, yesterday, one person came running to the village. 

He told everyone that everyone in the neighbouring village was killed and their bodies and blood littered the village. That caused almost everyone in the village to panic and escape immediately. Only us old fellows who don't want to leave our home stayed behind."

Yugao, Fumito and Bunjiro let out a sigh. They understood the trauma those people would have faced. However, they were glad to realize that the people in the empty village were moving to Yugakure instead of being dead. Yugao said, "Thank you for telling us. We will take action immediately." 

The elderly man and others around him immediately thanked her. The Konoha ninjas moved out and began moving towards the shore. As she moved, Yugao thought, 'Being a captain is a lot more taxing than just having to follow orders. I have to accept the responsibility for the lives of so many people. One wrong decision could result in more massacres like the one in the previous village. No wonder Lord Hokage hasn't promoted me yet.'

A few dozen kilometers away, along the shores of the Land of Hot Water, a miserable shriek was heard. A person, dressed in civilian attire, was on his knees. Though he looked ordinary, he was a Jounin from Kirigakure. 

His right arm had been cut off at the elbow. However, instead of being concerned about it, he looked hatefully at the person standing in front of him. 

In front of him was a tall and slender man. He had no eyebrows, creases under his eyes, and a cross-shaped scar on his right cheek. His hair and eyes were dark grey in color and his hair was short and spiky. He also had a red grid-shaped marking covering his jaw. However, the thing that stood out the most was that he held a sword that was as long as his height! 

[A/N : Bonus chapter on next Sunday if the fic gets 1000 Power Stones. Bonus chapter on next week's Saturday if the fic gets 2000 Power Stones.]


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