Finally chapter two, right? Hehehehe, I really liked how this on turned out. :D And guess who Sakura meets in this chapter? Read it and Review it please! I love to hear what you guys have to say about it. So please don't be shy about it.

Also, special shout out goes to Shimingamihuntress. Thank you for editing this chapter! I love you greatly!

Naruto doesn't belong to me – I wish, if I did then he would have gotten together with Sakura already.

Summary: Five young maidens descend into the fiery world of demons to compete for the title of "Maiden of the Mizu Shrine." They will face dangers and horror's unimagined. They will need all their training and courage to face the evil and malignant creatures that dwell there, thirsting for their flesh and blood. One will prevail in a world where failure means death.

Rating: Teen


~At the Beginning by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis~

We were strangers starting out on our journey,
Never dreaming what we'd have to go through.
Now here we are and I'm suddenly standing,
At the beginning with you.


Chapter 2: The Sly Fox


Loneliness.

Abandonment.

Isolation.


This was what Sakura had to experience each and every day. At a young age, she had no one – no mother or father to tuck her in at night and whisper sweet bliss in her ears.

As time went on, she grew to detest the villagers. They had something that she did not – a loving family. If they were so happy, why did they treat her with so much hatred? What had she done to earn their disgust and hostility? Given no answer, loathing consumed the abyss of her heart.

There have been many times when she wanted to speak out her mind and question them, but she knew that they would have spat back her words and continue to humiliate her. Or worse, beat her.


Freak.

Forehead girl.

Bastard child.

Satan.


These almost came to be her name. She was beginning to forget who she was. Many told her 'Sakura' was too pure a name for a person like her.

She had begun believe them.

That is, until that fateful day. It started out as any other day: adults would sneer and dreaded her presence, while the village children taunted and beat her. But one day, the young boys took it way too far. Instead of their usual beatings they decided it was time to destroy the abomination their village housed.

Their weapon of choice: sharp rocks.

They threw the jagged stones at her. Did they have no mercy? Not even for an eight year old child?

As luck would have it, Lady Tsunade had stepped in and halted their repulsive actions. The priestess rescued her from being bullied on the streets and treated her wounds and even allowed her to stay within the temple walls.

To this day, she still couldn't do enough to repay her gratitude.

It came to be that all she had was Lady Tsunade and Shizune. With that shed of kindness, she felt a new sense of hope for mankind. Maybe, just maybe, not all of them were bad people?

Everyone deserved a second chance to mend their wrongs. That includes those who have heartlessly devastated her life. With that sudden new attitude, Sakura felt like she was given a new beginning. Hatred and despair slowly left her, replaced with new found hope and love.

Lady Tsunade found something in her that she didn't in others when she began her priestess training at the age of ten. It was almost unheard of for a girl that age to begin training in their juvenile state. Most didn't have the ambition or control to maintain their spiritual powers in the early bloom of youth.

She had to prove to the villagers that she was worthy of their respect, their love, and their acknowledgment. That is why she had to become the Priestess of the Mizu Shrine. There was absolutely no other way!

Thankfully, as the years passed she kept optimistic and confident to her dreams despite the rude remarks and beatings. She was grateful it wasn't a lonely journey – she found friends within the new generation of children. At least she had love from them. The children always stood by her side and she by them.

She was indebted to their benevolence, but this time, she needed to do this alone – no one to guide her path.

Sakura found herself wondering aimlessly through the forest. It almost seemed no matter how long she walked, she wasn't making any progress of getting anywhere. Every direction she looked there was nothing but lushes of greenery. How long had she been walking? A couple of minutes? An hour or two? Time just became a huge blur.

As she journeyed onward, the mist began to clear considerably. It made it easier for her to scout the area – safety always came first.

Sakura narrowed her eyes to slits. This was rather odd.

Since she had detached herself from the others, she didn't sense any demonic aura around the area. It was like they all vanished. Sakura thought back to Hinata, even when they didn't talk much during priestess training, she'd always viewed the timid girl as a younger sister for they had one thing in common. They both had no family to seek refuge to.

"I hope you are safe." She whispered.

"I don't think you should be hoping for others safety over your own, foolish girl." A gruff voice boomed, startling her.

In amusement, the demon released a maniacal cackle. It sent shivers down her spine. That was the least of her worries as more demons began to crowd out the woods, each more grotesques than the other. Bloodlust filled their revolting eyes.

How could she have not sensed them?

A man dressed in a gray yukata stepped forward. "My, my, a human girl, we don't have many come out here into the forest." He adjusted his spectacles, a glimmer of light shined off them. "You must be a priestess by the looks of your robes. Is it that time of year already? Are there four other priestesses such as yourself out there?"

This demon was definitely a higher rank than the one Lady Tsunade had slain. His demonic aura was spilling over her – pouring into her. It was nerve wrenching. She almost felt sick to her stomach. It twisted and turned from the enormous overload of auras blending together. She wasn't prepared for this, but she had to stay strong. It was a rule never to allow a demon to see your weaken state even when confronted with death. Don't give them the satisfaction of your defeat.

Listless, dark eyes glared into her vibrant ones when she didn't respond. "Not talking, aye? Fine, I see no reason to keep you alive then." He waved his hand in the air carelessly. "Feast my comrades."

With that, the herd of monsters raced towards her. Each of them shoved and rammed into one another in attempts at beating their brother to the prize.

There was no time to flee, she had to stay and fight. Sakura had to focus her spiritual energy. She intertwined her fingers and closed her eyes. Concentration was most important at the moment, she needed to tune out all distractions that surrounded her. The roars of demons began to fade as she recited the chants of protection. A light pink glow manifested around her body until it expanded creating an erect barrier.

Once the demons made contact with the barrier they would suddenly deteriorate into dust that blanketed the grass. Sensing the unexpected threat, the second row of monsters halted, hovering around the shield that blocked their entrance. They coiled themselves around the obstacle, sending glares at the young priestess.

The man smirked. "She might have more skill than I have originally thought." A wicked glint passed his face. "Fantastic." The monstrosities that surrounded her grunted in annoyance. They lingered about, debating whether to continue or stay in their position. The commander rolled his eyes at his underlines stupidity and tucked a single strand of silver hair behind his ear. "What are you waiting for? She can't possibly hold that barrier for long, keep attacking!" he ordered harshly.

Just as he ordered, they began their assault again. They would lash out and flare their strength at her, but any contact with the pink aura would cause instant death. More of their brothers turned into ash.

He frowned at this development. "Worthless creatures can't do anything right." He straightened his wrist and a senbon needle fell out his yukata sleeve into the palm of his hand. "It appears that I have to do something about this predicament." Aiming the weapon, he skillfully threw it. It whizzed past his followers and ripped through the barrier as if it were a piece of cloth.

The needle jabbed into Sakura's right shoulder, embedding itself deep within her flesh. Her eyes snapped open. "What?" she hissed, "How did he break my barrier?" She gritted her teeth in attempts to distract herself from the deep gorging pain. The needle was disrupting a nerve that was sending spasms down her arm. From the loss of focus, the barrier evaporated. Crimson liquid steadily leaked through the punctured wound.

He examined his handy work. "Your barrier wasn't even that powerful. All it takes is a little demonic aura and the right spot to break a barrier."

Sakura clinched her fists, but she noticed her right arm wasn't responding. "My arm." She whimpered in panic. This cannot be happening without her other arm she won't be able to recite any mantras to protect herself – she was defenseless!

"Hmmm, it seems that you can't protect yourself without your other arm." He taunted, taking pleasure from the dreaded gazed she gave her disabled limb.

Sakura jerked her attention to him, hatred burned in her glare. "Who are you? What are you?" The strain was beginning to take its toll on her voice.

"That look in your eyes shows that you want to slay me." He chuckled. "My name is Kabuto. It is a delight to meet you." He gave her a mocking bow. "And I am, but a humble demon sent here to capture food for my comrades." Kabuto switched his attention to the demons that crawled towards Sakura. "She's deeply wounded now. Proceed to pursue her, but do not harm her any further. I believe she would be a wonderful specimen for my upcoming experiments."

"But boss, can we have a little bite? Oh! Maybe a piece of the arm or leg?" One demon whined, wimping the droll that leaked from his lips.

Kabuto's eyes flashed red. For a brief moment, Sakura couldn't make out any movements, but somehow the demon was sliced into a million little pieces. She stared at him in terror – this was the first time she'd ever seen a demon move this swiftly before. That wasn't good news for her.

He brushed the blood that splat on his face to the ground. "What disrespect. When I say not to eat her, I mean it." He glanced at the frightened underlines. "Anyone else have any complaints?" When none responded, he continued. "Well? Seize her!"

She needed to get out of here. It was either move or be captured and she wasn't ready to be someone's lab rat. Sakura clasped her palm over the wound while she fled. The remaining cluster of demons chased after her.

Her legs carried her deeper and deeper into the chasm of trees. Branches stretched to the sky only allowing small rays of light to peek beyond them.

Then she stopped in her tracks. At the edge of the forest a cliff awaited her arrival. She looked over her shoulder to seek any further means of escape, but the demons blocked the only other getaway. Her heart sank – a dead end.

"You have nowhere to run now, priestess." Kabuto stepped from behind the monsters. "Just surrender peacefully and I promise that I won't cause you too much pain."

She inched to the border. "Never! I'd rather die than become a science experiment!" Her orbs glanced down at the raging tides.

He followed her gaze. "You're not going to jump, are you?" he question smugly. "I highly doubt you have the courage to leap to your death."

Sakura gave him a contempt expression. "Try me." With a pink flash, she fell over the cliff.

"What?" Kabuto appeared at the edge and found no trace of the woman in the river. "Foolish girl, now Orochimaru will be furious with me." He sighed. "Oh well, there are still four others." He paused as he sensed a presence nearing their destination. Their energy was flaring with anger and fury.

Suddenly, a cyclone surrounded the demons, herding them into a tiny space. It completely bypassed him.

In fright, they turned to their leader for assistance. "Boss, help us!" One of the demons wailed. As if having a mind of its own, the tornado around them grew smaller causing them to hunch together. The oxygen stretched out into sharp points created an abundant amount of blades. Having no more room to move, the razor winds came in contact with their prey.

He ignored their pleas as they were sliced into tiny chunks. Their blood gored the grass and their scraps were flung back into the woods. With his yukata sleeve, Kabuto covered his eyes to prevent the fluids from splattering onto his face. "Nice of you to come, Temari." He said coolly, flicking off the excess liquids from his clothing.

"Kabuto!" Temari screeched her wings flapping strong gusts towards him. This caused leaves to fly and some of the trees to be torn off their hedges. "Where is Sakura? What have you done with her?" She landed before him seizing all air currents.

He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "So that is her name?"

She gripped at the collar of his robes and held him high. "What have you done with her?" she repeated, her jaw clenched in place.

Kabuto chuckled. "Don't worry I didn't do her any harm, I assure you, but I can't say the same that she didn't harm herself."

The blond leveled their gaze. "What are you talking about?"

He smiled coyly. "She jumped off that cliff over there."

"What?" she roared, loosening her grip allowing Kabuto to fall on his feet.

He smoothed out the kinks on his collar. "Yes, she said she'd rather die than allow me to capture her." Kabuto shrugged. "It was her choice to die in the river."

Temari flexed her claws. "I'm going to kill you!" She swung her arm at him, but he skillfully dodged it and leapt up to the sky.

"I would love to chat and play, but I have some business to attend to." He gave her a fake smile. "Good bye."

"No you're not getting away from me!" she dashed at him. One touch with her claws, he vanished in a puff of smoke. She settled on the ground, her knuckles turned white as she punched the nearest object to feel her wrath. "Damn it!" she screamed. Her nails drilled in her flesh as she found herself at the cliff side.

Then a thought passed her. Perhaps, Sakura was still alive? If she was anything like her mother she would have done something outrageous like this and fake her death and allowed the river currents to take her down to a safer location. She felt a new sense of hope and took flight.


The horrendous tides filled her mouth. Sakura propelled out the water, inhaling as much oxygen as she could hold. The drift pushed her towards land, her out straight hand gripped onto a tree branch.

Gingerly, she pulled herself out of the dawdling tides, each movement more painful than the last. A hiss escaped her as she collapsed over the gravel rocks. Her ears rung intensely, until all she heard were her exhaustive pants and the ignorant silence of the forest. The blood stains seemed to have washed away while in the water, but the wound began to bleed more rapidly once more, leaving a huge bloody mass upon her shoulder.

With as much strength as she could muster, Sakura forced herself to sit up despite her muscles cries. Leaning against the tree bark, she dug her fingers into the punctured hole. First things first, she needed to removed the weapon that was disrupting her arm. The sooner her arms were back to optimal level the sooner she could defend herself if danger became present again. Her digits brushed the tip of the needle.

She released a loud whimper when the weapon was pulled out. Hastily, she threw the weapon in the water. Hopefully, it would wash away her scent. It was best they thought she was dead.

Goosebumps began to crawl all over her limbs from the chills of the cold winds. She needed to find shelter and strip out of these bloodied garments. Using the tree as her support, she stood back up. From the elevation she was located she could see over the top of the trees and identify a hut not too far from her. That was her best bet of cover.

Sakura ripped the edge of her kimono sleeve with her teeth. She wrapped the cloth around her shoulder as best as she could. It was kind of awkward in that position, but she had to slow down the blood flow somehow. Dressing the wound tightly, she continued her journey.

The crackle of thunder suddenly erupted. Emerald orbs jerked up. The sky looked angry with dark and rolling clouds, while the wind lashed out upon the ground.

"Oh no, I need to hurry." She murmured.

With an ominous sound, the rain pelted the earth as if being poured from a pail. The priestess used her sleeve to block the droplets. The hut was finally coming into view. She was almost there!

Taking a closer look, it was clearly abandoned. It was ramshackle, completely in ruins. The wood was dark and cracked from age. Any moment the walls could collapse under the pressure of the showers.

No matter, at least it would provide cover from the storm.

Quickly sliding the door open, she stumbled in. Drenched to the done, she wondered the hallway. She noticed the floor boards squeaked under her weigh. "I better watch where I step or I might fall through." She whispered. "I don't need any more wounds."

As she clumsily advanced, the shadowy darkness began to surround her. She halted in her actions as she felt a sudden foreboding sensation. Sakura was beginning to ponder whether if she should proceed or not. Was there something sinister waiting for her at the end of the hall? Should she take her chances with the storm?

Going against her better judgments, she continued.

A door at the end greeted her. It was slightly ajar. A hint of candle light emitted through the paper covering. Was her observation correct?

With the utmost caution, she went inside. She was surprised at what she saw.

It was a miniature shrine! How could she not have sensed it? The powerful aura should have been a giveaway.

A statue of a fox was placed in the middle of the room. Two candles on golden rods sat at the far edge of the wall, a velvet pillow was positioned in front of them. Next to it was an incense holder burning two sticks. The abrupt scent of intoxicating spices spilled over her. It was oddly calming – it reminded her of home.

After giving herself a mental slap, she closed the door behind her. Since she was here might as well greet the god of this monastery and pray, but before she could progress any further, her knees buckled, and she flopped to the floor with a silent thud.

"My shoulder." She spoke in between breaths. Pain jolted throughout her nerves more severely than before. Sakura could practically hear the blood pulsating through her veins. Then a thought struck her. "Was there poison on the needle?" Her eyes widened at the astonishing revelation. That could explain why the intense throbbing that wouldn't stop and grew more rigorous as the minutes went by. Not even found her familiar and she was already doomed for death. Was fate so cruel?

A rich, melodious voice floated around her. "Isn't it rather rude to not only enter someone's home without their permission, but also to dirty their floors?" A hint of fangs peered pass his lips in amusement. "What a naughty girl."

Sakura yanked her head up at the stranger and gasped.

It was a demon. A completely gorgeous one at that.

The man lay spread out over the pillow, his arm held his head in boredom. He held an almost lethal grace that seemed terrifying and oddly inviting. It left an astounding stir within her.

Sakura did a rapid intake of his persona.

He was clad in an extravagant scarlet yukata with black spiral crests at the collar and sleeves. It was left loose giving her an eyeful of his hardened pectorals and abs. Lengthy golden locks trickled over his lean body, short bangs brushing his sun kissed face.

And then their eyes met, they were so mesmerizing. They were the color of blood. Never has she seen eyes so dark and cold. A shiver went down her spine under the intensity of his stares. She almost felt naked under her kimono layers.

"Staring is rather rude, you know?" he teased, then switched his attention over his shoulder and called. "Sake!" In his other hand was a sake cup awaiting to be filled. A miniature demon materialized by his side and poured the alcohol. It vanished once its purpose was completed. "What brings you to my domain?" He took a sip of his drink.

Sakura kept silent. It was best she didn't reveal any information about herself. Hopefully, this would keep her identity safe. After her encounter with Kabuto, a lot of demons would do anything to get their hands on a priestess. She prayed that he would think she was a low ranked demon that ran into some trouble.

The ears atop his head twitched playfully. "Did you come to, perhaps, warm my bed?" he smiled sexily. His fluffy tail softly wagged against his thighs.

Sakura could feel her cheeks burn in anger. "Don't be ridiculous!" Even when she felt her strength leave her, she forced herself to stand, leaning against the wall. She refused to show weakness! "I would rather die than allow myself to submit coitus with a demon!"

That seemed to catch his attention. "Hmmm? You rather die, you say?" He placed his sake cup down and sat up. In an instant, he was before her. Standing to his full height, he was a good foot taller than her.

Sakura gulped down a scream and pressed herself closer to the wall situation some distance between her and the demon. It didn't help much when he took a step closer. Elegant fingers reached out to her. She flinched back in fright. Was he going to kill her? His claws trailed down her flustered cheek, admiring the color and texture.

The fox coiled his arm around her waist and held her tightly to his chest. Sakura yelped at the contact, he felt scorching under her cold touch. He brushed his nose against her neck and inhaled her scent. "Your demise could easily be arranged, human."

She gasped. "How did you –?" She put her palm against his chest, to keep their bodies from touching again. His heart beat placidly against her hand.

He laughed. The sound seemed to rub over her skin, like the brush of fur – warm and feeling ever so slightly of death. "Don't insult me, girl. Even with the heavy scent of blood and rain water, I could still detect the horrible odor of human."

She clenched her jaw and stared at him. Bad mistake. His stoic gaze unnerved her. She suddenly found the floor more calming. The demon grabbed her chin and turned her to look at him. Sakura tried to pull away, but his fingers dug into her chin. "Now that I look at you closely, you're quite the pearl for someone from the human realm." His thumb began to trace her bottom lip. "Human girls do not belong here. They're too delicate and fragile – even a low class demon could devour them effortlessly." His face leaned towards her, his breath fanned her lips. "How about it, human? Do you want me to devour your flesh?" He was going to kiss her. She didn't want him to.

She did the only thing that she had enough strength to do.

She bit his thumb.

He jerked back. The fox stared disbelief at his hand as if surprised at the rejection. Maybe he didn't get denied from many females.

Using this as her cue, she swiftly slide open the door and fled – never once looking back at him. Within moments she was out of his sight.

A chuckle passed his lips as he brought his thumb to his lips. "What an interesting girl." His tongue a quick wetness savored her flavor.

One of his servants appeared before his side. The small imp bowed low. "Kurama-sama, a guest awaits your presence."

Kurama tsked. His glow of amusement vanished as if a hand had wiped it away. "Very well, tell him I will be there momentarily."

"Yes, master." The small demon dissolved into mist.

Kurama gazed at Sakura's direction for a brief period until something caught his eye. Advancing into the hall way, he knelt and picked up something. It appeared to be a rosy ribbon with a blossom attach to it. No doubt it must have belonged to that woman. A wicked smile spread across his face.


Left. Right. Left. Right.

With all her might, Sakura ran – one foot in front of the other. She had to get away from this area. Away from him! Words could not express how much fear she felt for that man.

The rain slapped her face as she continued onward. Her clothes clung onto her skin. The shoving of the wind increased her speed faintly. The repetitive cracking of the thunder somehow soothed her. The lightning would flash and strike thoroughly in the skies, acting as a light for Sakura to follow.

Sakura stepped into a mud plot and stumbled. Flawing onto her knees, she hit the dirt with a sickening smack. Heavy pants escaped her in rushes, the pounding of her heart rung in every inch of her body. It couldn't end like this. Not now, not when she just began her journey.

Feeling her last bit of energy leaving her, she slumped down and glanced up the sky. "I'm sorry, Konohamaru. It looks like I can't keep my promise." She gave a sad smile as her vision began to blur.

"Sakura!" Temari screamed. The white bird skillfully dodged a bolt of thunder and flapped her wings to the distressed blossom. She landed by her side and forced Sakura to sit up. "What happened? Are you okay?"

The priestess stared wearily at Temari. Judging whether to speak or not. "How do you know my name?" Her voice was so ragged that even she couldn't understand her own words. Having no more energy, her world became black. Her body went slack against the white bird.

When Temari felt Sakura go limp, it sent red flags through her head. "Sakura!"She shook her. No response. "Get a hold of yourself! Don't close your eyes!" Still no response. She placed her hand on her forehead. "Damn, she's got a fever." The demon picked her up bridge style. "I need to get you to a nearby village." She took flight.


Kurama laid spread over his favorite pillow. He had light his Kiseru pipe with a flame that appeared at his finger tip. "It has been sometime since your last visit." A puff of smoke was blown at the demon before him. "What is it that you want now?"

The silver haired man didn't seem to take any offense to the fumes. "I came for information about a girl."

"Oh?" He appeared surprised. Most of the time Kabuto asked about other demon lords and how to invade their walls. "Information concerning what, might I ask?"

"As you know, it is that time of year when the young priestesses come into the demon world."

Kurama nodded. "Yes, I am familiar with that tradition."

"I come to you to ask if you have seen a human girl in your lands. I was tailing her previously, but her trail ran cold once the rain hit."

The fox held a twinkle in his eyes. "I see." His tail twitched. "A girl managed to escape from you? You must be getting old, Kabuto."

Kabuto laughed softly and scratched his head. "I suppose. Have you seen the girl named Sakura then?"

Kurama brushed his hand inside his yukata sleeve over the ribbon. He blew three perfect smoke rings and smiled. "Nope."


Tada! I know, I know, I kind of based the meeting between them closely from Kami-sama Kiss. Just a reminder to those who are not deep into the Naruto series is that Kurama is the Kyuubi's real name. So how did you guys like it? I want to know!

This is my deviantArt account. This link here will lead you to the picture that my cousin drew of Naruto. It turned out fantastic and very sexy!

juliebabe .deviantart gallery/41594015 (Just take out the spaces and add .com after deviantArt)

I am currently working on chapter three. So hopefully it will be posted soonish, like maybe a week or so.

Please Read and Review!