I woke up to soft warmth. Blinking my eyes open, I pinched my thigh to make sure that I wasn't dreaming. The movement was enough to alert the gorgeous, naked young blonde girl lying in my arms, her long, silky smooth hair brushing against my face as she turned, large round breasts squishing against mine. Oh, right. The kissing, and touching, and licking, and… I blushed as the memories surfaced.
"Relax, boss," she smiled at me, a glorious vision and a sharp reminder of how seductive I could be in female form. "There's no need to be embarrassed about anything between you, and you know, you!" her sharp foxy grin elicited a return one from me, and her inarguable logic had me relaxing and nodding.
"You know, we never did get that Kiss of Submission thing right," I leaned my head forward closer to her and whispered. Her lips touched mine and we deepened the kiss, experimenting with plain old making out rather than chakra techniques. When the alarm clock, set to eight, rang, I whipped out a few shadow clones without breaking our clinch, and we got more serious. The books had provided a rather thorough education, and yesterday's experimentation had been very, very nice. This was obviously a subject I wanted to investigate, very deeply too.
We were relaxing in each other's arms, touching softly and stealing small kisses as our breath settled. It was with the utmost reluctance that I asked, "Shower?"
Being late would be more than worth it.
There was barely time to eat, recall the clones and conjure a new legion. I could now make exploding clones reliably, elemental training was going very well, as was chakra control. Pulse step experimentation was advancing in the right direction, and the seal-work had gone much better than expected, it really did come easily to me. The pressure point thing wasn't working out all that well, the clones flooding each other with painful spikes of chakra. Obviously something I'd have to revisit in a month or two after a lot more control training. With that, I popped out the usual twenty five elemental teams and ten chakra control groups.
The first real gem of the night was the tool group - awareness training had involved way too much blundering around. Recalling something from the books about puppetry and the chakra threads that controlled them, my clones had tried to use them to direct kunai and shuriken around. At first, instead of threads, chakra chains came out, solid blue physical constructs of raw chakra. Testing them out showed them to be seemingly indestructible, and absolutely deadly lethal weapons. The second gem was the realization that came about once I mastered storage seals and played about with them a bit. The forbidden scroll contained many crazy techniques and seals. One of the is the shadow clone, another is the blood clone. Shadow clones would make me personally formidable, a one man army. Blood clones? They embodied the potential for utter dominion. They were almost as powerful as the percentage of the original's blood they received, and with a blood storage seal, I could easily siphon away five percent of my blood a day. One perfect replica with ninety percent of my abilities, not counting the Kyuubi slumbering in my stomach. A clone who could make shadow clones. A clone who might be able to subsist on food and regain its own chakra - if not, perhaps I could find another way for it to regain chakra and sustain itself. And receive and transfer memories.
Emperor Naruto Uzumaki of the Elemental Lands suddenly began to seem like a real possibility. Combined with the crazy-brilliant Nidaime's soul binding seals, it might be a path to immortality in my own created bodies. When you added the Hiraishin, another jutsu originally developed by the Nidaime and only put to use by my father, the possibility of instant transport of goods in sealing scrolls and a network of merchants allowed for utter economic domination by this emperor. A pity there were no notes about the Rasengan, which the stories of the Yondaime also linked with his power. Still, it would be possible to recreate it, after all it was just a ball of spiralling chakra. Without shadow clones, trying would probably be suicidal for anyone who didn't have perfect regeneration - like, say, an Uzumaki-blooded jinchuriki of the Kyuubi. With shadow clones, I was sure to have it perfected and vastly improved upon in a year or two.
I dedicated just one group to playing around with chakra chains, and another four for more awareness training. Developing sensor abilities could save my life. The other ten groups were to go through all the knowledge I had, all the possibilities, and hash out a training schedule for a full month. The haphazard way I was going about it worked well, but organized medium term calculation would be better. Besides, it felt like I was spending half my time plotting out how the clones would train next, and soon my time would be taken up by physical exercise.
The laboratory my spies had found yesterday was the stuff of nightmares, one of Orochimaru's hideouts. It also contained the last gem of the night. One of several experiments there was a loyalty seal, and I was pretty sure I could adapt it to work with seduction techniques. According to the books, an orgasming woman always fell in love, if only for a fraction of a second. If I could seal in that emotion, on top of mastering seduction techniques, I could revive the old law concerning battle captives, something which hadn't ever really been used. The idea had been that bound enemy kunoichi could be used to breed a new generation of ninja for Konoha. Another frightful technique was bloodline stealing. If I could get a bloodline sharing technique to work, I could have genuine Uzumakis in my clan, and all of us with as many bloodlines as I could get. Getting Hinata onboard was suddenly not just a matter of sympathy for a nice girl, though it would require Tsunade level medical mastery in addition to a truly extraordinary level of expertise with seals.
That Nidaime was one cold-blooded bastard. Still, it was all something to work on. No one in Konoha really cared for me, though many were concerned, possibly overly concerned, with me and about me and what I contained. The council records were all too clear, and there would be no mercy.
In a sudden grim mood, I poured out enough chakra for the day's eight hundred spies and thieves, then added another twenty to make the hidden lab safe and clean for my future experiment in fuuinjutsu, and eventually medical jutsu. Sighing at my sudden weakness, I made another hundred clones, setting them to learn all about construction, wiring and plumbing. Another ten minutes of speed-eating and I sealed away a couple of trays of hot food and a pair of history books. I was only two hours late, Kakashi was usually three. Well, just the once, but it sure seemed intentional and symptomatic. If we failed? I couldn't care less. Another year in the academy sounded much better than the alternative company. Not having to waste time on missions would give me more time to plot, plan and train.
"You're LATE!" Sakura shouted at me and stepped closer, swinging her fist in frothing rage. She didn't even see me move around her, find a nice spot to sit down, and chuckle softly as she picked herself up from the ground.
"Sakura," I said softly, "since Kakashi has yet to arrive, I am obviously not late. Oh, and if you ever attack me again, I'll break a few of your bones and drop you off at the hospital," I added before opening my book. It seemed interesting, an account of the Second Shinobi War from one of the participants, a Konoha shinobi named Sai Maito. As he'd also survived the first war, he included a comparison and analysis of tactics and strategy and their development between the two wars, specifically mentioning all the five great villages and several of the lesser ones, many of which I'd never even heard of before. I found it riveting, and was reluctant to seal it back away when a dispersing shadow clone informed me that Kakashi had arrived.
"You're LATE!" Sakura shouted, as per the usual.
His incoherent excuse left me shaking my head in wonder. "Kakashi, are Konoha's jounin regularly checked for mental instability?" I had to ask.
"Ha ha, you're cute. Now then," he placed an alarm clock on a stump, "this is set for noon. Your mission is to take these two bells from me before noon. Those who cannot get the bells by noon will get no lunch. I'll not only tie you to one of these stumps, I'll also eat right in front of you." I could tell that he was smiling, even behind the mask his posture was unmistakable. The sound of my teammates' empty stomachs rumbling was surprisingly loud.
"You only need to get one bell," he added. "There are only two, so one of you will definitely be tied to a stump. Oh, and the person who doesn't get a bell fails, so at least one of you will be sent back to the academy. So you need to be serious about it, you won't succeed unless you come at me intending to kill."
"But you'll be in danger!" Sakura protested, and I managed not to nod agreement. If I tried to kill him, it would with dozens of exploding clones using pulse step. Even hiding underground wouldn't help him, unless he left the area. Not that I actually needed to try and kill him to get a bell.
"No need to worry, I am a jounin," he answered lazily, he picked a pornographic novel out of his pouch and started reading. "Well?" he asked without looking up. "Time is passing, you know."
Sakura and Sasuke quickly moved out of sight, while I relaxed and got back to my book. My hidden clones would alert me to any danger, and if necessary replace me.
"You're not going to hide?" Kakashi said with evident disinterest, his face buried in the book.
"If I take a bell now, you'll just take it back before noon. I'm in no rush. Besides, it's a really good book, I don't want to stop here," I answered. "You can always come to me. After all, I only had three hours to set traps. I just love my traps," I sang softly and off key, "almost as much as ANBU hates them, he he."
From the set of his shoulders, I'm pretty sure he bought my bluff, not that is mattered all that much. I didn't really pay attention to the rest of the test, just reading for the remainder of the hour, only pausing to jump slightly in place and look around when Sakura screamed piercingly.
The bell rang eventually, and a few minutes later Kakashi dragged the two from the woods. Sakura looked like she'd rolled around on the ground, and Sasuke was somewhat roughed up.
"I thought you were going to get a bell?" Kakashi mocked me.
"Nah, I thought about it. Then I remembered who I was dealing with. There was no chance these two would get a bell, even combined they don't have a working brain. So I just, you know…," I shrugged and took them out of a pocket, "got both bells." I swung them around, enjoying the chiming sound, and tossed one each to Sasuke and Sakura. Leaving a finger marking my page in the book, I turned and started walking away.
"Where are you going?" Kakashi demanded in a weird tone of voice.
"You said the one without a bell goes back to the academy, right?" I was getting bored with his nonsense.
"But you got both bells," he rebutted.
"Well, that was then. Now they have the bells, so I'm gone. Have a fun team!" I turned back to leave.
"You pass!" Kakashi announced loudly. Kami, what a drama queen.
"So you lied, as usual?" I frowned at him.
"What do you mean, as usual?" he was probably frowning right back at me, but with the mask, it was just a guess.
"You've lied about almost everything so far," I noted. "What you've taught us thus far is never to trust you. Is this just another lie? Because, you know, I'm getting a bit bored."
"How the hell did you get the bells?" Sakura shouted. "You're the dead last, Sasuke should have gotten the bells. You cheater!"
"Thank you for the compliment, Sakura," I nodded graciously.
"Hn," Sasuke shot me a dark look.
"That wasn't a compliment, loser!" she shouted yet again. Does she have an off switch, I wondered idly.
"Any ninja worthy of the name would take it as one," Kakashi interjected. "Shinobi fight to win, not by any rules. Cheating is expected and condoned. How did you get the bells, anyway?" he seemed honestly curious, which left me flabbergasted.
"You're familiar with the academy three?" I asked. He nodded and gestured for me to carry on. "The replacement technique? I just exchanged the bells for shadow clones in the right shape."
"But you never used the jutsu in my sight," he protested.
I swapped with him, wordlessly and without a sign. "Good enough?"
"You've mastered replacement," his one visible eye went wide.
"It's not like there was much else to practice in the academy," I quietly noted. "Anyway, now what?"
Kakashi went off on all of us, 'explaining' that the purpose of the exam was to promote teamwork to achieve a mission one of us could not accomplish alone. Utter nonsense, since the exam promoted dissension rather than teamwork - no fresh team of rookie genin would pass something like this, suitable for testing seasoned genin for readiness to advance to chunin status. There was also the little fact that I'd managed it easily enough on my own. Look beneath the underneath, indeed, what a steaming pile of fresh droppings. Then he laid a guilt trip on us using the memorial. What a sad, sad man. At least we were dismissed with orders to report to the same training ground the next day - at eight, naturally. I mentally adjusted that upwards by three hours and ten minutes, ignoring the rather painful sight of Sakura trying to ask Sasuke out for a date.
When they were out of sight I flickered home, lying down in boxers as clones draw seals on my body in special sealing ink anointed in my blood. And almost squashed myself flat putting way too much chakra into the gravity seal, damnation. One day I'll have perfect chakra control, one day! Then we'll see who's laughing! Stupid clones.