Naruto: Wind Monk Banishment - Beetle Chronicles
Chapter 1: A Tale of Seven Tails – Part 1
Fuu: Age Eight
It was raining that day, the droplets filtering in through the canopy plopping down into the large lake centered in the nexus of the village. The moisture in the air sucked away the heat and left a small child with tanned skin and green hair clinging to the fabric of the hooded jacket she wore for her shelter. It was all she had, her home within the village having been vandalized again by the time she left from the private wing of the hospital after she complained that the strange mark on her back hurt.
Fuu was her name. At least that was what she was told by the village leader that her parents wanted to name her that before they left, never to be seen again after she became something he called a Jinchuuriki shortly after she was born. But only Shibuki called her that, ever since his father drank that Hero's Water stuff and didn't wake up again.
"Grrrrrrggghhh…" went her tummy as she continued to walk through the rain, hunger having taken her in lieu of her trying to ignore the cold biting at her skin. Night was falling at this point, so it would only get colder as the light faded away.
"Settle down," she said childishly, rubbing the spot. While she sought to fill her tummy, her stipend would only last so long for the month and she couldn't spend it recklessly or Shibuki would scold her, despite him being a wuss and a shrimp.
Walking along the southern side of the village, she went towards one of the few bakeries in the village and entered through the door. Warmth hit her instantly, knocking away the nipping chill from her skin, as did the sweet smell of bread that could easily fill her tummy. The gurgle that followed was one that eagerly awaited that to come to pass, as if it had a mind of its own.
"Tana-san, can I have a full loaf?" she asked, presenting her money to the brown-haired man who stood on the opposite side of the counter. He nodded and did so, but there was a frown on his face that seemed out of character for the joyful older man she knew. It worried her. "What's wrong?"
"This will be the last time I can service you," he said, his tone somewhat bitter.
There was stunned silent before she asked, "Why not?"
"Because the number of customers has dropped since that rival bakery opened up on the other side of the village and I can't do anything that would harm my business further," he told her. "It's nothing personal, but my livelihood is more important to me. Sorry."
So just like the others, another place stopped serving her. Taking the bread and pulling her hood over her head again, she muttered, "Thanks until now then."
She left then, with tears in her eyes that stung more than the cold rain or impending night, for a safe place somewhere that she wouldn't feel the palpable hatred within the glares of those who could see her. With no other recourse as night fell in the village, without fully understanding anything or why this was happening to her, the small child did the only thing she could. She went around to her hidey-hole that no one but Shibuki knew where it was.
The little hiding spot was literally a hole in the wall of the village, just small and deep enough that she could fit inside of it and cover the entrance with some materials found around the place. Once inside she ate the bread that had gotten a little soggy from the rain in silence, lamenting her life and the loneliness she felt and wondered, as she often did, what was it she did that was so wrong?
None of the kids in their small village would let her play with them, except for Shibuki. Even then, after his father died some time ago, she rarely saw him as often as before since he was to be trained to be the next leader of the village. The old guys who looked after him made it hard to reach him when he was at the building too, so the only time she really saw him was when he came to her.
With half of her bread gone now, Little Fuu felt a gentle brush against her tiny feet and looked down. There was a large roach there, its antenna tickling her to the extent that she felt a little ticklish, seemingly comforting her as though it could feel her sorrow. She broke off a portion of the bread, ground it up in her hand and let it drop by her feet so that it could eat. "Here you go."
That alone seemed to trigger a reaction as more of the insects came out in short order and took what they could while the green-haired child watched them scurry about unbidden. She really didn't see what was so frightening about them that scared people. They were just trying to survive as best they could despite being unwanted and looked at in disdain, just like her.
Coming to that train of thought, Fuu let loose a somber sigh unbefitting someone her age. Now she was preoccupied with the thought of finding somewhere else to get good food from now that she couldn't go to the same place as before. It upset her that she was rejected from someone she trusted for their own sakes. The words that followed in her somber state were those of a spurned child, selfish and self-centered, but they reached that which dwelled inside of her as she muttered, "Stupid Tana-san…I wish all his stupid bread was eaten by you guys…"
It was then something strange happened and she felt the sensation of something leaving her body, which she would later learn to be chakra. It left her feeling tired and she fell asleep as it seeped out while more and more of the insects heard the call of the Beetle King, who they amassed to serve as the Tailed-Beast responded to her wish. Its army was never-ending, its kingdom infinite, and its subjects innumerable.
With the legions of the earth-brown colored insects amassed, they surged out under the veil of night towards the now-closed bakery. The building was infiltrated through every crack, crevice, nook, and cranny. Dough, day-old bread, flour, and even wood, empowered by chakra they loitered and devoured everything in stock at the directive imparted on them without exception as the moon sank into the twilight and the dawn came around.
Ignorant of what transpired, Little Fuu slept well until the morning when someone shifted aside the cover of her hidey-hole and a familiar voice called her out of her dreams. "Fuu, wake up!"
"Chibi-buki?" She rubbed her eyes and squinted until clarity and the world un-blurred, revealing the short boy with ink black eyes and short brown hair that had yet to grow. "What wrong?"
"There's been an incident," he told her. "Were you here all night?"
She nodded. "Yeah. My place got messed up, so I came here after getting some bread…what's wrong?"
"There's some kind of infestation of roaches at Tana-san's bakery," he explained, "thousands of them are eating everything there and the villagers are blaming you. The council sent a shinobi out to find you and bring you in. But it wasn't really you, was it?"
"I…" She trailed off after recalling her wish last night, only to have found it had come true somehow. All she knew was that it was what she wanted…or at least what she thought she wanted. But if she told Shibuki that, would he leave her alone too? Hate her like the others?
In the end her words felt forced. "It wasn't me, I promise. You have to believe me!"
He nodded and reached down for her to grab his hand. "I do, Fuu. Now come on, you can stay with me until this blows over and they fix your place, okay?"
Fuu nodded in silence and reached up with small fingers to take his hand as she emerged from the tiny hiding spot. Grasping his hand tightly, she pulled her hood over her head and they started to move when the empty space next to them was suddenly filled and they crashed headfirst into a pair of long and sturdy legs that felt like a brick wall. "Ow!"
Rubbing her forehead, Fuu's eyes trailed up from the standard set of shinobi sandals and grey pants to a dark blue jacket. Ascending further they came upon the bored visage of a man with a goatee and dark eyes with beady pupils. On top of his head was a tan bandanna to keep his long and spiky hair out of his face.
"S-Suien!" Shibuki croaked out feebly while flat on his rear. While Fuu didn't know the man, it seemed like he did and it was as though he was looking at his own personal boogey man. "Why…why are you here!?"
He reached down and picked Fuu up, tossing her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes while she protested by flailing her limbs. Suien ignored the weak effort and merely turned his back to the boy, gathering his chakra to jump. He only paused when he felt the slight tug on the bottom of his pants and cast his beady dark eyes over his shoulder towards the boy.
"Wait!" Shibuki begged as he held fast to his teacher while still on his knees, a posture unbecoming of his status as the future leader. "She didn't do it!"
He only said, "The council. If you have a problem, take it up with them."
Then he moved. Taking Fuu along with him at speeds she was unfamiliar with, he bound across the lake in the middle of the village to get to the other side. He didn't slow down until he approached a large building that was easily three stories high and strolled through the front door with the girl too dizzy to protest further as she tried to regain her bearings. It was only when he plopped her down in a large conference room on a chair that was taller than she was that she managed to pull herself together as the shinobi said, "I have brought the jinchuuriki."
Fuu looked up from her chair at the assembled council, a gathering of five people who Shibuki's father had amassed to handle the various aspects of the village that one man alone could not. Even as a small village they were a lively one, and in the event of his death they were to hold the reins until Shibuki came of age to lead the village with their counsel. Fuu found the eyes of the members heavy and uncomfortable, so she turned her head to see the baker sitting across from her.
His eyes were seething with anger and betrayal, like they were a pair of daggers coated in poison that stabbed her in her chest and caused her to flinch. Hatred. It was the same set of eyes she had seen time and time and again, now on the face of someone she hoped to never see them on.
Clearing his throat, the elder who sat at the center of the gathering, Juren, placed his hands on the table and interlaced his fingers before he spoke. "I trust we all know why we have gathered here at this moment?"
"I was told that…that something happened at Tana-san's Bakery," Fuu said feebly.
"Lies!" Tana snarled in a manner that made Fuu jump in her chair. "It had her be her fault. There were thousands of them, eating everything! They didn't even scatter when I approached or crushed them. They just kept eating and eating and eating without concern for anything else! It was unnatural, and we all know what the demon is capable of!"
His words hurt, cutting her deep in her heart. They seemed so uncharacteristic coming from the man who often served her bread with a smile. Was this what he had been pressed to by the loss of his livelihood, or his true nature?
Fuu fought down the upset in her stomach at the thought and said, "It wasn't me."
"Be silent," Juren told her, before turning his attention to the victimized baker. "Did you do anything to warrant such an act?"
Tana shook his head. "I merely stated that couldn't service her any longer. As you know, being a private business owner, I reserve the right to deny service to whomever I choose so long as it is vested in the survival of my livelihood and competition with the neighboring baker has left me in a state where I couldn't favor her as I did before. I thought she would be reasonable about it and find somewhere else to shop, but when I awoke I came to see everything I had worked for being swarmed. The losses will leave me in poverty."
"It wasn't me!" she pleaded again before him and the elders. "I didn't do anything! As soon as I left the Bakery I went somewhere to sleep."
"My business has been ruined," he stated, turning to her with eyes that smoldered with hatred. "After everything I did for you, the moment I was of no use you turned against me. I can only imagine that the others who warned me such a thing would come to pass were laughing at me when the news broke."
"Reparations can be arranged for your losses," Juren stated. "The question is the matter of what should be done with the offender. Given her age and status, we must—"
"Please, stop!"yelled a voice from the window, drawing the rest of their attention it. Shibuki was there, soaking wet after having been using the Water Walking technique to cross the distance and falling in part way and being forced to swim the rest. His effort at scaling the building with the Wall Walking technique wasn't much better, hence why he was clinging to the window's edge for dear life. "If Fuu said she didn't do it, she didn't do it!"
A moment of silence followed as they all looked him in a minor bout of disbelief until, with a silent sigh preluding it, Suien asked, "What are you doing?"
"The lady downstairs wouldn't let me in from the fro—whoa!" Shibuki gave a sharp yelp as he lost his grip and almost fell until Suien managed to grab him by the back of his shirt.
No wonder the village has become weak, the jounin thought to himself as he set Shibuki down inside. He shook his head as he looked at the feeble child on his hands and knees, panting. This was who they were supposed to follow in the future as leader?
"I know Fuu," Shibuki declared after catching his breath, "and she would never wish for something bad to happen to someone else. Not even if they wronged her!"
Fuu almost smiled earnestly at Shibuki defending her. He was a good person, even though she now felt worse because she did wish it while upset. But before she could say a word of thanks, more hurtful words that chipped away at her came from the baker.
"With all due respect, don't lie for this monster, Shibuki-sama!" Tana stated.
"Are you calling our young leader a liar?" Suien cut in with a sharp grin on his face, wanting this to end. "The honorable son of the former leader, who sacrificed his life to protect the village when under attacked by Grass, has vouched for his little friend. Such an act would not bode well for your business once word leaves these walls, even if it hadn't been destroyed before."
Tana clamped his mouth shut, settling his lips into a thin line as he shook his head. Their bloodline was that which guarded the Hero's Water and Shibuki was their village's treasure, much like his father before him and his father's father. Calling him such a thing out loud was tantamount to denouncing a saint as a sinner.
"…Very well," Juren spoke. "If Shibuki-sama would vouch for her then we must declare that this was simply an unforeseen incident. No punishment will be incurred, but reparations will be made for the loss of the Bakery and its contents."
"Thank you very much," Shibuki said to the elder with a small bow following it. He quickly took Fuu's hand and led her to the door. "Come on, Fuu. I still have breakfast left at my place we can share if you haven't eaten since last night. I came rushing out when I heard the news, so hopefully it won't be cold…oh, and your birthday is coming up soon, isn't it?"
"Yeah…" She grabbed his hand and followed. While heading out it, she spotted Tana's eyes and fought down the urge to cry. He had been good to her for so long, and now he was turned against her just like the other villagers calling her a monster and a demon. Her grip on Shibuki's hand almost wavered as she thought that one day too he would look at her with those same eyes as they did. But she tightened her grip and tried to swallow that horrible fear down, shutting the door behind her.
Once a minute had passed and the children were out of the building, Juren addressed the baker. "I understand your grievances today. Despite the ruling we know the pests all had traces of the demon's chakra. I assure you that something will be done, so would you be so kind as to go to the receptionist desk and ask for the related documentation to fill out for your losses?"
With tense nod Tana complied and left the room to do so, leaving Juren and his council with Suien. The elder of them all leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers together, a tired sigh escaping his lips. "Though our previous leader was great, his methods were too soft when dealing with the jinchuuriki and in his absence this has unfurled. While I believe this was an unconscious act on the container's part, the question now is what should be done about it before it gets worse…."
Suien took that as his cue to speak. "Although Shibuki-sama would not approve, the jinchuuriki is the village's weapon and must be treated as such, despite its age. We must act now and teach it to control its power before it goes out of control. We must sharpen the weapon to be used against our enemies before another incident like that which claimed our leader's life happens again due to our lack of a deterrent barring the Hero's Water…"
Juren took a moment to nod at that. "Shibuki-sama means well, but he is young and lets his emotions sway him. That is why, until he reaches maturity, we are the ones who oversee the village's wellbeing. While he will not approve of it, in time he will understand his duty as the future leader is to protect the village and that this is exactly what must be done."
Nods came from the other members of the council all around. "As for the container, it will be relocated to a camp on the outside of the village. The bare essentials will be supplied once the relocation begins in a few days time and it will remain there from henceforth to guard the area while being trained."
"In that case, I would volunteer for the duty," Suien stated. "I will train the jinchuuriki to be what our village needs."
Among the council there were murmurs. Volunteering for the job was something no one did in the past, especially when the fate that had befallen those angered the container prior to the demon's release and resealing. Juren plainly asked, "Why?"
"As you stated, the last incursion from Grass had left us in a fragile state at present. As jounin and trainer of the young leader, it would only be prudent of me to shape the jinchuuriki into an adequate weapon to serve under Shibuki-sama before such an event unfurls again. Am I not worthy enough?"
More whispers and murmuring occurred, before the elder of the group spoke again. "You have done this village a great service to this day and served the former leader loyally. Your skill will not be doubted and should it be necessary you may subdue the jinchuuriki by force before it goes out of control. Therefore we will allow you to train it as you see fit then…"
Suien bowed deep before the council and vowed to do his best, while a smug and victorious grin formed on his face at that moment.
Fuu: Age Nine
The forests surrounding the Takigakure were dense with fauna, moisture in the air from the stream and falls. Life pulsed within it as squirrels scampered across the tree limbs, sailing through the space between two parallel branches above, while the lowly caterpillars were crawling along the underside. It was peaceful, for all extensive purposes.
Yet none of that mattered as the child ran with tears in her eyes, her body was bruised and her fingers caked in blood while clenching the chipped and battered Water Slicing Sword. Crimson fell from the cuts that lined her flesh, shallow enough that she didn't by some chance bleed out but debilitating enough that every step hurt. But all she could do was weather the pain and suffering and run, because he was coming. She had to get away. She had to survive.
"You can't escape," echoed from around her as she entered a clearing, leaving Little Fuu to look around in a panic, wide eyes that were red with tears streaming down her face. "This isn't a game of hide-and-seek. You're a kunoichi, act like it."
That's right. She was a kunoichi now, a weapon they said. After Tana-san accused her of doing something bad they moved her out of the village and told her the forest was her home now. They wouldn't let her enter anymore unless she had permission and they made Suien train her.
"You have three seconds to trace the source of my voice," Suien warned her, his voice still coming from all over. "Three…two…one…"
Fuu tried to spot him, but couldn't in time and the clearing was ruined as water ruptured from beneath the ground in a streaking line. She leapt back only to see a shadow being cast from behind her, turning her head to see those cold eyes peering down at her with the curved Water Slicing Blade in hand.
"Poorly done," he said, his voice cold, and his blade descended like an executioner's axe, only to be met with the blade that Fuu held over her head at an angle to slide the point down. His own blade smashed through it as he regulated his strength to allow the tip of his blade to shear through the top layer of flesh on her shoulder and inflict another shallow wound. Then his foot rose and caught her in the abdomen.
The child was sent careening along the torn ground, being covered in the mud of the water technique that was left behind from tearing through the earth. When she came to a halt the left side of her body was folded over the right. She didn't get back up.
Suien sighed, before melting away after turning translucent and then into liquid. It was a Water Clone. The actual jounin emerged from the direction of the previous water technique and proceeded to skim over the damage she had sustained, despite intentionally holding back. When it was evident no lasting damage had been done, he pulled out some smelling salts and held it to her nose until she snapped awake.
Upon seeing him hovering over her, Fuu shot onto her hands and feet and backed away until she ran afoul a tree.
Such weakness was unbecoming of him, making his mouth twist into a frown. "You failed a simple exercise."
"I-I tried to find you, but—" her excuse was cut off as he snatched a beetle out of the air and held it up in front of her.
"You failed to take into account your environment," he stated, before crushing the beetle within his grasp. "You're the jinchuuriki of the Seven-Tailed Horned Beetle. The forest is its kingdom and every single arthropod within it is its army, your army, more so than any Aburame or the First Tsuchikage that was a member of the Kamizuru. Call to them with its chakra and they would be your eyes and ears, which you should have know if you read the information provided for you."
She fidgeted under his gaze. "I did, but it was late and…I just forgot. Even when I call, it doesn't come."
"I've been tasked with correcting immediately," he stated, before leading her to a small pit that was teeming with crawling spiders that he had amassed over the course of the night prior. It looked like a mass of brown carpeting that moving. "Inside this pit are spiders with necrotic venom, meaning your flesh will die and rot off the bone if you're bitten. Your only means of survival are to have the demon's chakra take hold and protect you."
She backed away, clearly terrified, only for his calloused and rough fingers to wrap around her forearm. He lifted her up and over the pit, his face an expressionless mask. There was nothing she could do as he then dropped her in.
"NO!" Panic ensued, fear of death flooding her she registered them swarming her flesh and preparing to bite. That fear reached the Beetle King and its chakra flowed through every tenketsu of her body until she was shrouded in a small veil of viridian chakra and the Beetle King's declaration was heard. The spiders left the confines of the pit at that, chakra enabling them to traverse with greater speed than allowed, and they surged towards the jounin, who merely looked on in boredom before he smited them with a lightning technique.
The child looked horrified as she climbed out of the pit and realized that he was going to blame her for that. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to—I just wanted them not to bite me!"
"In this world, strength is all that matters," Suien stated as he approached her slowly. "You have the demon inside of you, making you the strongest weapon at the village's disposal. That's all you are to them, a necessary weapon, and nothing is going to change that. They won't care about what you feel or your intentions, they'll only care about the amount of control you have over your demon's chakra and how useful you are as a weapon…"
Fuu looked as though she was about to cry again as he stood in front of her, trembling in place. Was he going to hurt her more? Bringing her hand over her head, she curled up in fear as he reached inside his pouch and pulled out something.
"Regardless, progress was made today," he said, a plastic wrapping that contained a large cookie in his hand. "Even if those had really been poisonous spiders like they suggested, rather than another variety, you succeeded. Get cleaned up, go back to your tent, and get some rest."
"Th-thank you," Fuu said as she took it and left quietly, the tears coming down her soiled face a combination of happiness and sadness. It had been so long since she'd been allowed to eat something satisfying besides the small rations they gave her, but to get it she had to…Fuu shook her head to banish the thoughts and simply relished what had been offered to her.
Suien smiled to himself as he watched leave towards a stream to clean herself. It would take some time but he was sure that this was the approach he needed to take—the carrot and stick method in a nut shell. Suien made it seem as though the village spurred him to use this method to teach her, pain and suffering that slowly chipped away at her humanity.
The village itself punished her through him, while he rewarded her to earn her loyalty because they would not. It also helped that their council was taking much of Shibuki's time in teaching him the ins-and-outs of the village management. So much so that the two hadn't seen one another in quite some time and the less time they spent together, the more distance would lead to her relying on him.
Isolate her, make her reliant on the small measures of comfort he provided, and then he would have the biggest weapon Waterfall had to offer next to the Hero's Water. Of course, he planned to take that as well in due time.
Ignorant of the overarching plan, Fuu washed up and arrived at where they had set camp for her. It was a small set up, a tent with a sleeping bag and some other things she could survive with as long as she didn't gorge herself before they bought her the weekly amount. Feeling tired after everything, she carefully removed the hair decoration she had gotten from Shibuki's dad before he died and curled into the sleeping bag.
The quiet around her was the only lullaby she needed to get to sleep, but as soon as she closed her eyes she could remember the sight of all the spiders and shuddered. If it hadn't been for the demon, even if they weren't really poisonous like he said, then she would have died because the mean village council ordered Suien to do it…so she could be their weapon…
Did Shibuki know about that? Fuu wondered to herself. While she couldn't imagine he would order such a thing, didn't they do everything under Shibuki's authority? The politics of it escaped her, so she just didn't know.
But she did know she needed to be polite. "Umm…Mr. Beetle Demon…sir or ma'am? If you can hear me, I just wanted to say…thank you for stopping them from biting me…"
Silence followed and was the only response she got, but her words did reach the Beetle King.