Hidan swore. "You're fucking pitiful," he spat. "The world will be better off without weak trash like you."

The woman—Aki? Or Ami? —tightened her grip on her sword, glaring. "Better weak than a traitor."

She blurred forward as he ducked a spread of kunai from behind. He blocked one strike, two, then dropped low and kicked at her knees. She leapt. He spun up and around, swinging his scythe. The blades impaled her in midair with a familiar wet schlurk. Hidan threw his head back, laughing and spinning out from under a hail of senbon.

He crowed, "Better a traitor than dead!"

Another squadron of ninja burst from the trees, faces hard with emotions he couldn't be bothered to identify. These three were less talkative, blurring right into action—synchronizing their attacks, weaving between strikes, slashing with diamond-bright blades… It was beautiful.

Hidan scowled. This village of fools was going to throw away all that beauty for fucking hot springs. Anger thrummed in his chest. Hidan gritted his teeth and moved, tearing through his opponents in a handful of seconds. His scythe dripped red. "You're all idiots," he said to the trio of corpses, wondering if they could hear him in the afterlife. Probably not.

"I'm getting sick of this shit!" he yelled. "Come and get me, you fucking cowards!"

They came. And if they didn't, he found them.

He gutted them one after another, relishing the slick squelch of tissue and organs and all the other squishy things giving way. This was the better way to go, he thought. Shinobi—killers, no matter what the elders yammered on about—were meant to fight. Not to spend the rest of their pathetic lives boiling away in hot water as useless wrinkly civilians.

"You'd better thank me!" He bellowed. His words echoed. The cooling bodies were silent, but the blood was answer enough for him.

Hidan cleaned his blades on a dead man's shirt and strolled out of Yugakure through the front gates, vanishing into the distance with nothing left behind but a trail of crimson footprints. No one dared stop him. There was no one who could.