Naruto: The Troublesome Game: Chapter 4
Authors Note 1
This update will probably come as a surprise to you as I stated that I was going to discontinue the fic. That is no longer the case and as such I have had new inspiration and finally finished chapter 4. Thanks to defiasstone2 for beta-ing on such short notice (don't know how he puts up with my sporadic updates!}
Authors Note 2
Harem info! Poll results were in and the top three are as follows...
Female Uchiha Oc: 51
-So they are in, alongside Ino, Samui and Hanabi-
-Sakura has been included because I want her to be in it, for a total of seven members.
-I might add one more but that is dependent on the story (several ideas) and will be the final limit.
Thanks everyone who voted!
Ever since Naruto had started his Ninja training he had developed a newfound admiration for Nara laziness, alongside a healthy dose of confusion. It didn't make any sense! With the amount of energy the women of the clan seemed to have, particularly his mother, and the proportion of that which was dedicated to getting the men to work/train it was almost more effort to be lazy than it was to actually do the work. Balancing that fine line was hard, Naruto had tried to figure out how his father calculated it, but it was simply beyond him.
He probably could figure it out if he adopted a similar strategy of regular relaxation, but the look in Nara Yoshino's eyes as she praised him for 'being so hardworking' filled him with both happiness, and a fear of disappointing her. Naruto was simply thankful that he hadn't seen that gaze yet. Of course there was another driving factor behind his motivation, Hinata would be abducted in a year and a half, so he had to be prepared to deal with a Kumo nin, one who could evade the Byakugan.
Merely finding said shinobi would be a task with a high rate of failure, had Naruto not had rough knowledge of what was to occur that night. But even then so much needed to be learnt! Yoshino refused to teach him a single jutsu until he had mastered the leaf floating technique, which was a lot more complicated than it sounded. Now that he had much lower chakra levels floating it steadily above both his hand and his forehead took only a week to perfect. Job done, right?
No. Job not done.
First he had to hold the leaf steady against winds. Then he had to control the chakra flow and move the leaf up and down to various rhythms his mother tapped out, getting quicker and quicker. Next was moving the leaf from his foot to his head and vice versa using chakra alone. Followed by combining all of those together at once, a feat which he had just managed to master.
The leaf floating subskill that had appeared under Chakra Control was already level 18!
But did that qualify him to learn even the most basic bushin? No, only yesterday, having finally passed Yoshino's strict appraisal he had beamed up at her, and tentatively broached the idea of moving onto the next stage. Her eyes narrowed slightly before she nodded her head and rummaged about in her belt pouch before pulling out... another leaf.
Well, at least chakra multi-tasking raised his Efficiency sub-skill.
Naruto's next task was to be able to do this with more and more leaves, and he was getting worried. Soon he would reach the level cap of 40, his current base score in Chakra Control - which defined the maximum level his sub skills could reach. In the end he wound up spending more time on his other training, academic subjects, bukijutsu and his social life taking precedence.
Regarding his ranged weapons sub skills, he now had learnt the basics of using senbon, kunai and shuriken... just not very well. He only managed to hit the target half of the time, and if there was no wind. A bullseye was out of the question, and Naruto had frequently cursed his small body. Even if he was taller than he had been at this age previously, not to mention healthier, he was still on the early targets because he couldn't get the power behind his throws. Stupid low strength.
And that was it for practical training. Oh, numerous theoretical concepts were covered, almost doubling his list of sub-skills, but none of that was going to help Hinata at all. Granted his family didn't know of the impending crisis which only their son could stop, but what was he supposed to tell them?! So Naruto returned to scanning his skills hoping for inspiration.
Drawing Lvl 5
Shogi Lvl 18
Go Lvl 15
Drawing hadn't leveled that up much, Ino was much more into picture books at the moment. Go and Shogi however, had seen a lot of growth from near daily games of each over the course of the year.
Calligraphy Lvl 1
Tricky, very tricky. While the fine motor control was doable, when each stroke had to be so thick and taper off like that, not to mention use a certain amount of ink, getting it right initially was mostly a matter of luck. Even with Naruto's higher Perception he still couldn't tell the difference between one of the kanji he'd drawn that was correct, and one that was not. So that was on hold until he could discern what he was doing wrong - otherwise how could he learn from his mistakes!
Chakra Efficiency Lvl 8
Decent enough, though he still used too much chakra when floating the stupid leaves.
Kunai Bukijutsu Lvl 3
Even hours a day spent throwing the blades hadn't raised it beyond beginner level, if Naruto could even call it that.
Senbon Bukijutsu Lvl 4
This was actually coming along well, the lighter needles being a better fit for him. As a matter of fact the only reason it wasn't higher was due to his extensive lessons on Anatomy and Pressure Points which he had had to take first. Apparently if you didn't know exactly where to aim and how it was easy to 'learn a flawed style', as Yoshino put it.
Shuriken Bukijutsu Lvl 2
And the worst of the three bukijustu skills Naruto possessed. Even his mother seemed to realize that it wasn't his strong point. So she'd scheduled in extra practice which was barely tolerable. But it had taught him a valuable lesson, because as she had pointed out...
"Shikamaru, I know it must be frustrating, but it's better that you find out now that not everything comes easily to you, and in some cases is near impossible to master."
He'd slumped backwards into her embrace and shook his head.
"Shikamaru! I said near impossible to master - not impossible, and besides you are well within the average for your age range."
"But what if I need to protect my precious people with a shuriken in the future and I can't!"
A small smile appeared on the face he was looking up at.
"In that case there are two solutions. Firstly, always plan far, far ahead while retaining flexibility. Your lack of foresight is why you lose in Shogi so much."
Seeing her son tense she continued somewhat hastily.
"You're four darling, if you were beating your father when he has so much age and experience on his side I would be worried. As it is I sometimes think you're growing up too fast. But that is why I think I can tell you this, you're mature enough."
A moment's pause held before a chuckle rang out.
"I mentioned one way around things, the Nara way. But the clan ways aren't the only option, we haven't become known as great tacticians by sticking to one set of rules you know. The other way is to overcome your weaknesses through hard work. And since you have persevered through your training so far I think it's time to step it up a notch."
Small arms hugging her as tightly as they could were all the response she needed and she returned her sons gesture of affection, before something occurred to her. When her son finally let go she lifted him up and fixed him with her sternest glare.
"Nara Shikamaru, know this. While the power of hard work is a noble goal, and one that should be pursued, if I ever catch you considering the 'flames of youth'… let's just say that I will not be pleased."
Unknown to her, Naruto was well aware of the meaning, and the cause behind those words, and shuddered upon recalling a certain sunset Genjutsu. Yoshino merely assumed that it was due to the steely glint in her eyes that sent her husband running, and nodded, satisfied that her son, despite his propensity to push himself was not going to become another Green Beast!
And then there were Naruto's Knowledge based sub-skills, which he was rather proud of. He had already completed the academy curriculum for the first year with a decent enough grade. But Yoshino Nara was Yoshino Nara and until he turned in a flawless paper he was going to be perfecting his basics. The phrase 'Basics Kill' was one of her favourite ones to use.
Cartography Lvl 2
History Lvl 2
Geography Lvl 2
Maths Lvl 2
Botany Lvl 2
Zoology Lvl 2
Cryptography Lvl 1
Law Lvl 1
Essay Writing Lvl 3
Reading Lvl 20
Except for reading, in which he excelled, he was at an above average standard for a six year old. A ninja clan raised six year old, which probably equated to a seven year old civilian child. Ninja's tended to start early, those that trained their children were much more likely to have them live to adulthood.
Last, but most certainly not least were his social sub-skills, which were the only ones currently capped. True, their base skills were low, but their level was testament to the relationships between his group of friends. Composure, Compromise and Conversation were maxed out, yes, all of them. Primarily due to the... unique... dynamic between Naruko and Ino. Like right now Naruto was at the Yamanaka Clan Compound listening to a somewhat heated discussion between the two. Naruko, as usual was the loudest.
"No way am I going to act like a Lady! I'm going to be Hokage, not some Daimyo's wife!"
Ino, sitting daintily on a chair at her large dressing table sniffed.
"Well you should. It indicates politeness and respect towards others, and makes them act the same towards you."
"When I'm Hokage I'll be so good that I'll have respect anyway!" The stubborn report had been spoken a million times before. How troublesome. Ino sighed, exasperated.
"But you're making it easy for them Naruko!"
Now the whiskered blonde just looked confused, while her friend/rival continued.
"I don't know why that group of drunkards hate you! All I know is that I hate them calling you that! And when they shout names at you, all you do is curse them back and prank them!"
"They deserved it, believe it!"
"And by paying them back you let them do it again..."
Now Naruko was angry.
"I don't! I'm sending them the message that I'm super awesome. And they start it, how am I letting it happen - I didn't ask to be hated!"
Seeing that the other girl was verging on tears, Ino's face twisted slightly before she gently placed one hand on Naruko's and spoke again.
"If you'd only wear some of my clothes and do your hair properly and behave like the ladies you hate so much they wouldn't be able to do this!"
She acknowledged the look of disbelief sent her way.
"They might still hate you - and be completely wrong to do so -, but they wouldn't be able to do anything to you without them looking like bad people." Ino coaxed. "Think about it, chasing a prankster is one thing, attacking a polite young girl out of the blue is something people get sent to daddy for!"
But Naruko shook off the suggestion, answering in the way that she always did every time the discussion came down to this.
"That's not what I want. I want real friends, real caring. And I am not gonna change just because of those idiots. Besides, pranking's my favourite hobby!"
Ino buried her face in her hands, frustrated both for and with the girl who had become a regular visitor to her house. That was when she bolted upright, a downright sinister grin spreading across her face. Naruto shuddered, what was going on now, he was getting a very, very bad feeling about this, and focused on Ino, who was speaking.
"Remember what happened when we went to Ichiraku's again last week?"
Naruko nodded, stunned into silence.
"Those drunk people showed up and you had to run because they claimed you'd pranked them."
"But I didn't do it that time... I swear!"
Ino was grinning manically by this point.
She sang out cheerfully.
"I did it that time! But who would suspect the perfect princess Ino when there's a mischievous scamp around!"
"You made me miss my Ramen!"
Naruko growled. Naruto simply prayed for this to end.
"And I'll do it again and again until you let me teach you girl stuff!"
Her tone was triumphant now. Naruko however was still determined to not give in. And then Ino played her trump card, at least while it didn't seem like a trump card to Naruto it did seem like that her way of speaking when doing that. Troublesome.
"Annnnnd, while you were being chased I was with Shikamaruuuu! And we played ninja together!"
Leaning forwards she whispered something into Naruko's ear, too low for Naruto to catch. The newfound resolve in her eyes though was impossible to miss, as was the war cry that followed, making Naruto's ears ring.
"No way! You're on, and there's no way I'm going to lose!"
Ino looked like a cat that had gotten into the dairy and was swimming in cream.
"So you'll come clothes shopping with me?"
"And share my lessons with me?"
"And let me style your hair?"
Yet another nod, followed by a squeal as Ino grabbed Naruko's hand and swung her around with strength Naruto hadn't known she possessed. Which promptly degenerated into a pillow fight of epic proportions between the three of them that lasted until home time.
One thing was strange though, as his mother arrived to return Naruto to the Nara Compound, Naruko whispered a single sentence in the same soft voice Ino had used earlier. Only this time his ears were able to pick up on exactly what the words were. At least Naruto thought he had heard correctly, though he might have missed something.
What could Naruko had meant when she had stated that...
"Your heart will be mine."
Yeah, he'd probably misunderstood or misheard something. Had to be it.
As it was he was soon distracted by the start of an addition to his training regime, namely balances and stretches to prepare his body to learn Taijutsu. He was also set some running, though that was not particularly strenuous and left him with enough energy to practice his leaf floating some more.
He really needed to get some more experience though, so that he could level up again. But Quests were thin on the ground, the only experience he'd got so far was from turning four years old! Then he had an idea. So far one of the most lucrative quests in terms of experience was befriending Naruko, so why didn't he make contact with some people he had known previously and hadn't met yet! What about becoming better friends with Sasuke this time!
Naruto didn't want to befriend someone solely because of a quest, but he had known Sasuke and would be more than pleased if they could be true friends this time around, quest or not.
Mind whirling, Naruto nonetheless managed to snag a particular memory from one the darker corners of his brain. The Uchiha Clan were sponsoring a ninja fair of a sort, to be held in a corner of their ancestral compound. While the Hyuuga incident was the current priority, there was no reason he couldn't prepare for stopping Itachi killing his clan. And what better way to do that than by scoping out the site itself, in his previous life Naruto had never been there - the same in this one.
And the chance to meet Sasuke was getting two important tasks done at once!
Now... how to persuade his parents to let him attend... Maybe he should invite Ino, Naruko and Choji along, after all it was a ninja fair and he might reasonably want to browse. Not that his parents would let him get anything dangerous, not without heavy stipulations on use, but there might be some scrolls there that would be interesting. And even if there weren't any Naruto still got a day out with his friends.
Yes, his decision was made, tomorrow he would ask his friends and they would make a concerted appeal together. Between Ino's use of puppy dog eyes, Naruko's refusal to give up, Choji's desire for festival food and his own reasoned argument there was no way that they could fail!
Little did he know just how much trouble that one decision was going to cause him in the future, both the good, the bad and the kind that only Naruko could cause...
*Drawing Lvl 5
*Kunai Bukijutsu Lvl 3
*Senbon Bukijutsu Lvl 4
*Shuriken Bukijutsu Lvl 2
Chakra Control: 40
*Chakra Efficiency Lvl 8
*Leaf Floating Lvl 18
*Calligraphy Lvl 1
*Anatomy Lvl 3
*Pressure Points Lvl 1
*Cartography Lvl 2
*History Lvl 2
*Geography Lvl 2
*Maths Lvl 2
*Botany Lvl 2
*Zoology Lvl 2
*Cryptography Lvl 1
*Law Lvl 1
*Essay Writing Lvl 3
*Reading Lvl 20
Lock Picking: 15
*Composure Lvl 10 MAX
*Compromise Lvl 10 MAX
*Conversation Lvl 10 MAX
*Go Lvl 15
*Shogi Lvl 18