Author's Note: OK, so...2020. What a year, amiright? It's caused enough problems that I haven't posted anywhere near to enough times as I intended.

This will be my last scheduled post, albeit belated, of 2020. I intend to engage in a lot of writing over what's left of November, December and the first half of January, so hopefully I'll be able to be ahead of my schedule by a comfortable margin. Fingers crossed, right?

Until the 20th of January, 2021, this is SeerKing, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe, follow common sense in regards to masks and handwashing, and for goodness sakes, stay alive.

Read, Review and check out my other stories!

Disclaimer: I do not own either Naruto or The Gamer.

"Sakura-chan!" - Regular Speech

'Baka!' - Thoughts

:Shannaro!: - Inner Sakura

[Quest Announcement] - Gamer Ability/Notification

Beta'd by BigCC

Chapter 24: Shh, We're Hunting Wabbits!

Inside TG13

"[Status]." Naruto stated aloud as he started making his way through the overgrown Training Ground

Name: Uzumaki Naruto

Class: The Gamer [+]

Level: 17 |Next Level: 86.01%

Title: Genin (+15% EXP to LV25) [+]

Age: 12

HP: 4108/4108

CP: 4061/4061

STR: 43

STA: 46 (+10)

DEX: 45

INT: 41 (+5)

WIS: 37

LUK: ?

Having been unable to advance his level since he'd beaten Mizuki, Naruto was more than a little eager to finally get some serious grinding done. Particularly since he wouldn't be able to use his new sword, Kogetsu Kyūshiki, until he was Level 20.

Having such a badass weapon literally at his fingertips and not being able to actually use it for anything sucked.

It sucked hard!

On the bright side, he was finally going to be able to get some practical use out of his twin tantō, Sumire and Tsubaki, so that was good. He hadn't been able to use either of them for more than a bit of practice since he'd finally reached a level where he could actually equip them, aside from a little against Mizuki.

'That reminds me, I still haven't gotten a chance to hit the Shinobi Library…dang it.' Naruto mentally hissed in irritation. With everything that had been happening since he'd officially graduated and became a full-fledged Genin (Team meetings and training, dealing with issues as everyone settled into the apartments, D-ranks) and he'd honestly hadn't thought about it until now. Iruka-sensei had likewise been incredibly busy with his new position since he'd been made the Hokage's assistant when dealing with the new genin teams, so he hadn't been able to help. And he hadn't even thought of bringing it up to Asuma-sensei.

So he was stuck with his [Self-Taught Nitōryū Tantō] skill for the time being.

Grumbling in annoyance at himself and his stupid-busy schedule, Naruto advanced further into Training Ground 13's first sub-area, drawing both his weapons as he did so. Something that he was definitely going to be working on tonight was creating some actual combat techniques outside his jutsu. He had exactly one technique for using with his tantō, and maybe another one or two when relying on taijutsu. Granted, having a lot of techniques weren't exactly necessary for fighting like a ninja, but they usually had some good bonuses and special effects, if [Rising Knee] was any indication.

That and they just looked and sounded so much cooler than just attacking blandly.

"Since I haven't been here for over a week now the level of saturation should have at least reached a level to spawn a few new monsters…" Naruto muttered to himself as he looked around, keeping his voice quiet just in case there were ANBU hidden nearby, keeping an eye on the place after the 'missing-nin' incident.

Stalking through the trees, the Gamer smirked as the world seemed to blur around him as a random battle was triggered. When things came back into focus, he was almost blinded by the sight of the enemy before him. As always since he'd cleansed the first area (again), the enemy was a [Possessed Mokujin]. However, this one was decidedly different from any of the ones he'd seen before.

It stood somewhere between a regular [Possessed Mokujin] and the [Possessed Elder Mokujin] in size, but its most defining feature was that its wooden form was shining like the entire thing was made from polished gold.

Possessed Golden Mokujin LV20

[Blessed Wood of the Forest]

A screen appearing in front of him made Naruto blink, then deadpan at it.

[Rare Enemy]

Congratulations on facing your first Rare Enemy! These, as the name suggests, are enemies that appear with far less frequency than other monsters, and they typically possess equally rare and useful drop items. Of course, they are also quite a bit more powerful than regular monsters as well, which is why they are sometimes referred to as 'Mini-Bosses' by various Gamers. More risk, more reward.

Good luck!

"Oh, just fuck you, game." Naruto deadpanned under his breath before dodging out of the way of a punch from the Mokujin. Its movements were more fluid and human-like than its counterparts, not to mention quicker.

Also, unlike before, rather than having a pair of hardened blocks at the end of its arms, this one had a pair of fully functional hands.

Hands that were currently forming a set of handsigns!

"No freaking way!" the boy blurted out in shock.

In spite of the fact that a Mokujin wasn't a living creature (and therefore had no chakra network), the impossibility before him continued to break the standards of reality by speaking in a voice that sounded more like leaves rustling in the wind than anything comparable to a human voice.

"Mokuton: Kozuchi! (Wood Style: Wooden Mallet!)"

In one fluid movement the possessed dummy knelt onto the ground and slammed its hands into the dirt. Instantly several large lengths of wood, each about as long as Naruto's arm and ending in a spike-like point, shot out of the ground and tried to impale him.

Naruto was forced to leap to the side, barely managing to avoid the spikes by the skin of his teeth. Rolling back to his feet, Naruto resisted the urge to stow his weapons and turn this into a straight ninjutsu fight. He'd already decided that he was going to fight and win with his tantō, and that was what he was going to do!

The pop up a few seconds later made one eyebrow twitch.

[Quest Alert!]

By the Sword: You are facing a mini-boss class monster and you wish to defeat it without disarming yourself of your tantō. Valiant, but foolish. The system will be impressed if you manage that.

Quest Objective: Defeat the [Possessed Golden Mokujin] without dropping your tantō.

Bonus Objective: Invent a combat technique involving your tantō before the end of the fight.

Quest Reward: +1000 EXP, Shikomizue, [Mokuton Kekkei Genkai Journal, Vol.1], +10000 Ryo.

Bonus Reward: [Tantō Nitōryū Kenjutsu: Tantō Zanmai] Skill Scroll OR [Tantō Nitōryū Kenjutsu: Nisen Tōgen Kyō] Skill Scroll.

Quest Failure: Get killed by a tree. What an embarrassing end.

Accept?

Y|N

Hitting the 'Y' button with a hurried jab of an extended index finger, Naruto let a part of his mind ruminate on how snarky the window was before moving on to the rewards for the bonus objectives. Both techniques sounded pretty cool; he hoped that he'd at least get a look at what they could do before he was forced to choose.

"Mokuton: Moku Bunshin! (Wood Style: Wood Clone!)" the Mokujin rustled, two clones seemingly sprouting from either side of its body. Now confronted with five powerful Mokujin, Naruto decided to take things seriously and activated his [Fūton Chakra Nagashi], coating both tantō in flowing blades of wind.

"You wanna dance? OK, let's dance!" the fresh genin growled out as he settled into a ready stance. As if on cue, the five monsters charged at him.

Meeting the rush head on, Naruto bit back a yelp as multiple wooden fists swung at (and barely missed) his head. He returned the favour with a whirling assault with both his tantō blades, lopping off wooden limbs left and right. The wind chakra flowing through his blades made chopping through the wooden limbs way easier than he expected, but Naruto was moderately surprised when the damage didn't dispel any of the clones.

Apparently, Wood Clones were pretty durable. Who knew?

Leaping back and out of the melee for the moment, forcing the five wooden monsters (three of which were missing an arm) to break apart before they could purse, Naruto thought furiously about how to complete the Bonus Objective on this mission. He could think of one trick that might work off the top of his head, but it seemed like more of a Chakra Flow technique than an actual tantō technique.

Still, wouldn't hurt to try it out.

With his usual disregard for the consequences, Naruto brought his right-hand tantō up and cut the chakra flow to his left-hand one all together. Then he started pushing as much chakra down into his right-hand tantō blade as he thought it could handle safely.

In an explosion of shrieking wind, the blade elongated and expanded until it was twice the height of Asuma-sensei and as wide as Naruto's own body. It was also really unstable, so he immediately swung it to attack the enemies charging at him. One of them kicked off another and flew back, the original presumably.

The four remaining Mokujin clones were instantly bisected by Naruto's new technique, their golden colouring fading away as they reverted to regular wood. As the torsos and legs clattered to the ground, Naruto's new technique vanished as well.

While it was cool, he was pretty damn sure that it was in no way a tantō technique, so he had to come up with something else to get the Bonus Objective completed.

Reigniting the wind blades around his weapons, Naruto launched himself forward and into the air as the cursed dummy started running through another set of handsigns. While still in mid-air, he brought back both blades over his right shoulder as he started to spin through the air as he descended. Before the Mokujin could finish the last of its seals, Naruto was directly over it, bringing both blades down and slashing through its arms and body in a single swing.

As the arms and torso clattered to the ground, Naruto immediately leapt back, just in case of a trick or last-ditch attack technique. But the screen popping up made him relax.

Congratulations! You have defeated a [Possessed Golden Mokujin]! You receive 2000 EXP!

You have defeated X4 [Moku Bunshin]! You gain 100 EXP!

Congratulations! You have Levelled Up! LV17-LV18! You have received 5 Attribute Points.

As a result of a specific action, the skill [Fūton Chakra Nagashi: Dantō] has been created!

[Fūton Chakra Nagashi: Dantō] (Active) [LV1, 0%]

Wind Style Chakra Flow: Seversword is a jutsu which allows the user to greatly expand the length and width of the wind blades created using normal [Fūton Chakra Nagashi]. The larger the weapon being imbued, the larger the wind blade will become. This is an incredibly dangerous technique, with the ability, if well trained, to cut through diamond with ease. Surprisingly for a Fūton jutsu, it was created in Kirigakure rather than Sunagakure, and named for a nickname of one of the Seven Swords of the Mist, Kubikiribōchō.

- Requires an edged chakra metal weapon to be used as a medium.

- Only usable on a single weapon at a time.

- Creates an elongated blade around the weapon that extends the reach of the wind blade. The Slashing Damage of the weapon is 3x the amount of the regular Futon Chakra Nagashi jutsu.

- At present, the jutsu is unstable and will dissipate after a single swing.

- Costs 60 CP to activate and 40 CP per minute to maintain.

As a result of a specific action, the skill [Tantō Nitōryū Kenjutsu: Sōgetsu Nigiri] has been created!

[Tantō Nitōryū Kenjutsu: Sōgetsu Nigiri] (Instant) [LV1, 0%]

Short Sword Two-Sword Style Sword Jutsu: Double Moon, Two Cuts, is a sword technique created by Uzumaki Naruto while wielding his tantō, Sumire and Tsubaki. It is a relatively simple technique that uses a slight amount of deception combined with momentum to deliver a pair of simultaneous cuts in close proximity to one another. This can result in the wounds being hard to stitch up in the absence of a Med-nin.

- Chakra Cost: None.

- Requires two tantō in order to use.

- Doubles Slashing Damage of weapons used in this attack.

- Each attack against a non-armoured location increases the chance of inflicting [Bleeding] on the target.

[Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu] has gained a level! LV9-LV10

[Chakra Nagashi no Jutsu] has gained a level! LV10-LV11

[Quest Complete!]

By the Sword: You have successfully managed to overpower a mini-boss with just your sword, and a spot of ninjutsu on the side. Well done.

Quest Reward: +1000 EXP, Shikomizue, [Mokuton Kekkei Genkai Journal, Vol.1], +10000 Ryo.

Bonus Reward: Press to choose your reward: [+]

Eagerly, Naruto pressed the button and was confronted by another screen, with two options.

[Jutsu Selection]

- [Tantō Nitōryū Kenjutsu: Tantō Zanmai]: Short Sword Two-Sword Style Sword Jutsu: Short Sword Slash Dance is a low-level sword technique involving reinforcing the user's arms with chakra and unleashing multiple close-range slashes at high speed against the enemy. Against slower enemies, or when executed from a position of surprise, this technique can win a fight in an instant.

Choose this jutsu? [Y] - [N]

- [Tantō Nitōryū Kenjutsu: Nisen Tōgen Kyō]: Short Sword Two-Sword Style Sword Jutsu: Two-Flash Blade Illusion Border is a mid-level sword technique that acts in a similar manner to Konoha Ryū: Yanagi, as practised by the Eternal Genin, Maruboshi Kosuke. By waving the twin blades of their tantō in specific motions and patterns, the user can hypnotise, confuse and befuddle their opponent until they are easily disposed of with a scissor-motion cut.

Choose this jutsu? [Y] - [N]

Warning: Accepting one jutsu will automatically decline the other. Choose wisely.

"Well...damn." the blonde boy blinked. Both techniques sounded pretty awesome. The first was exactly up his street, and would probably compliment the fighting style that he was building really well. The downside was the lack of variety that the technique offered, being 'more of the same' when it came to combat. The second technique was definitely something that most people wouldn't associate with him, and it gave him access to something he never thought he'd be able to use, genjutsu. Not to mention widening his options in combat. On the other hand, he knew, very literally, jack all about genjutsu beyond his distaste for being used as a training dummy when Sakura and Ino were practising the techniques he'd given them.

Seriously, ow. Watching the world bend and warp around you, even through memory transfer, was not a fun experience.

After a few moments of head-scratching and muttering, Naruto eventually came to a decision. Reaching out, he selected the genjutsu-that-wasn't-a-genjutsu for the sole purpose of trying to add a bit more diversity to his style. He left the resulting scroll in his inventory for the moment, deciding to concentrate on reaching Sub-Area 3 for the moment and not wanting to get sidetracked with a new skill to play with. Opening up his Status, he placed the five points he had gained into his WIS stat, bringing it into the same level as his INT.

Stopping to loot the corpses, Naruto blinked in surprise as he got a decent-looking Bō staff from one of the Moku Bunshin, while the other three merely offered planks of wood. However, the really good loot came form the main body, which gave him several [Mokuton Altered Oak Seeds], which, if their descriptions were true, would grow to full size in a month and, when fully grown, would regenerate any limbs cut off from them in under two days.

He'd have to give most of them to his Jiji, he'd know how to put those to better use than Naruto could.

Moving through both the first and second sub-areas, Naruto quickly dispatched any other Mokujin as and when he came across them, none being rare monsters. Considering that, in the almost a year since he'd gained the Gamer, he'd only come across one of them, that probably shouldn't be that much of a surprise.

"OK…here's the entrance to the Third Area." Naruto stood in front of the gate and, out of reflex checked his equipment. Not that he had much, but he made sure that his tantō holsters were secure. He made a mental note to give his C-Rank Mission outfit a test run at some point, as it was heavier than his regular outfit and he needed to learn to fight with that additional weight.

Pushing the gate open and stepping through, Naruto blinked as the trees instantly vanished, leaving a fairly large open field, but not so large that he couldn't cross it at a light jog in under five minutes. Also, his weapons were sheathed again, for some reason.

"There's absolutely nothing here…what the heck?" the blonde genin said in surprise.

Looking around, Naruto decided to canvass the meadow (which was basically what it was) for any sign of monsters and/or clues. The minimum level for this area wouldn't be 14 if it was just an empty clearing in the forest. After ten minutes of frustrated searching, he finally found a hole in the ground, on one side of a gently sloping hill to one side of the meadow. It was large enough for him to walk into without ducking, and he could spread his arms wide with his tantō drawn and still not brush against the sides.

"I have a bad feeling…" Naruto muttered as he eyed the hole. As a window popped up, he knew that his bad feeling had been vindicated.

[Congratulations!]

You have discovered the first Regular Dungeon in your life, the [Wabbit's Warren]! You receive 100 EXP for this feat!

"…'Wabbit'? What the heck's a 'Wabbit'?" Naruto blinked before an idea occurred to him. "As in…a rabbit? Great, I'm gonna be fighting rabbits in their own damn burrow. Terrific."

He'd hunted ordinary rabbits before; they were quick, agile and had surprisingly sharp claws and teeth. Scale them up to the same size as the squirrels and moles he'd fought before and Naruto was suddenly feeling even worse about meeting them on their home turf.

Despite what most people tended to think about them, rabbits could be vicious little buggers.

Letting out a breath and shaking away his nerves, Naruto drew his tantō again and marched into the burrow at a cautious pace. Surprisingly, after about ten paces into the underground burrow the warren's layout started to change dramatically. Torches were set into the walls at set intervals and the tunnel itself expanded, becoming far smoother and more polished, looking more and more like something man-made rather than something carved by a bunch of mutant rabbits.

"OK, this is starting to get weird." the Gamer remarked quietly. He advanced along the burrow until he caught sight of the first monster in the warren. It was, unsurprisingly, a rabbit, albeit one the size of a greyhound. It was white, with black spots on it, a piebald rabbit. It was the little banner above its head that confused him though.

Wabbit Warrior LV15

[Wascally Wabbit]

'Is the Gamer interface trying to mimic a guy with a speech impediment or something?' Naruto deadpanned to himself. Shaking his head at the idea, he focused on the task at hand; namely, taking out the rabbit.

Before he could do anything though, the rabbit blurred and vanished, reappearing in front of Naruto in an instant and kicking him into the wall.

You have lost 100 HP!

A hundred from one kick?!

Gritting his teeth, Naruto engaged his [Fūton Chakra Nagashi], before kicking off of the wall and dashing forward, bringing his tantō around in a quick series of attacks, only to miss as the nimble rabbit seemed to blur around him, dodging each attack with ease.

Biting back a growl, Naruto quickly realized that he needed a better way of keeping track of the overly hasty rodent if he wanted to beat it. With a thought, he activated his [Doton: Mogura Kanchi] jutsu, allowing him to sense the opposing monster's movements through the surrounding earth.

As if it could tell what he was doing, the [Wabbit Warrior]'s eyes seemed to narrow onto him in a glare before it vanished again in a blur of speed.

'So that's how you're doing it! Damned thing's bouncing off the walls and ceiling to boost its speed and make it harder to predict where its going.' Naruto thought as he tried to keep up with the rabbit's movements. While he was too slow to keep up with the movements physically, his sensory technique was at least able to tell him where the rabbit was landing.

Feeling the long-ears suddenly kick off from the wall directly behind him, Naruto twisted around, bringing one of his tantō around in a broad slash.

*SHICK*

With a single lucky hit, the rabbit's head was severed from its shoulders in a spurt of blood.

You have slain [Wabbit Warrior] X1! You earn 500 EXP!

[Doton: Mogura Kanchi] has levelled up! LV9-LV10!

Looting...done! You have looted [Jutsu Scroll Fragment (1/3)] X1!

You have looted [Piebald Rabbit Fur] X1!

You have looted 566 Ryo!

"A scroll fragment…?" Naruto blinked, and opened his inventory to see what that was about.

[Jutsu Scroll Fragment (1/3)]

Rare

A third of a jutsu scroll that can be combined in the menu with its two missing parts to form a complete jutsu scroll, allowing you to learn its contents. Information about the jutsu contained within the scroll is fragmented, but the word 'Rabbit' is prominent.

"...why do I have the feeling that this is gonna be a common thing from now on?" Naruto groaned. His power was now making him work for a single jutsu!

For a correct deduction, you receive +1 WIS!

"Oh just shut it already!"

Grumbling about mouthy powers, Naruto started sneaking down the tunnel. Along the way, he came across two more [Wabbit Warriors], managing to beat both using the same tactics as the first. One dropped a [Lucky Rabbit's Foot] and the other dropped another scroll fragment, which he attributed to his own luck being at the whim of a goddess.

It was after that that he came across a second variety of enemy, something quite a bit bigger than the basic rabbits he'd been fighting. Unlike the piebald [Wabbit Warriors], these ones were black-furred, with only the tips of their ears and feet having white on them.

Wabbit Elite Warrior LV17

[Wretched Wascally Wabbit]

…that decided it; the Gamer really was having fun with alliteration.

Deciding that if this thing was even faster than its smaller cousins, then he definitely didn't want to let it get within arm's reach; Naruto sheathed both his tantō and quickly started forming a set of hand-seals.

"[Fūton: Senfūkyū]!"

Several orbs of compressed air shot from his mouth towards the rabbit. Even caught off guard the black rabbit was still fast enough to dodge a couple of the wind bullets but several more still managed to land, leaving it bloody and dazed...literally.

You have inflicted the [Dazed] status on [Wabbit Elite Warrior] for 30 seconds!

Not hesitating for an instant, Naruto darted in and drew one tantō, severing the defenceless rabbit's head in a single strike.

You have defeated [Wabbit Elite Warrior]! You gain 950 EXP!

As a result of a specific action, the skill [Ansatsujutsu: Zanshuzan] has been created!

[Ansatsujutsu: Zanshuzan] (Instant) [LV1, 0%]

Assassination Technique: Decapitating Cut is an assassination technique specifically designed to remove the target's head with a single swing, instantly killing them. Most practitioners pair this technique with other jutsu like the Doton: Shinjū Zanshu or a genjutsu to render the target helpless beforehand in order to make full, deadly usage of this technique.

- Adds 25% to Critical Chances against an immobilised, insensate or unaware enemy when targeting their neck specifically.

- Requires a bladed weapon to execute this technique.

[Fūton: Senfūkyū] has levelled up! LV11-LV12!

Looting...done.

You have looted [Jutsu Scroll Fragment (3/3)]!

You have looted 4078 Ryo!

Excitedly, Naruto went to his inventory and combined the three [Jutsu Scroll Fragments] that he had.

Combining…done!

You have acquired the [Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] Jutsu Scroll! Do you wish to learn this jutsu?

[Y] - [N]

"Huh, sounds like another one of those Kemono jutsu." Naruto mused curiously. "Why the hell not, some extra speed will definitely make beating these bunnies a bit easier."

Congratulations! You have learned the [Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] jutsu!

[Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] (Active) [LV1, 0%]

Ninja Art: Speed of the Rabbit is a supplementary jutsu of the Kemono Clan. Unlike the majority of the techniques used by the clan, this was a simple jutsu learned by all members upon gaining genin rank. Used when speed was of the essence over agility, a fully-trained version of this jutsu could allow its user to outspeed a cantering horse.

- Costs 30 CP to activate and 15 CP per minute to maintain.

- While active, increases Hidden Stat [Speed] by 5.

- While active, lowers Dexterity Stat by 10.

- Handsign: Rabbit.

"A hidden stat? The heck?" Naruto blinked.

[Hidden Stats]

A hidden stat is one of your statuses that are invisible to you, but is affected by one or more of your visible stats. [Speed] is affected by your Dexterity and Endurance stats, for example.

With time, and a few hidden Quests, you can eventually reveal the hidden stats.

Naruto deadpanned at the screen before closing it. "So, it raises my Speed stat, but lowers one of the stats that determines the value of my Speed stat in the first place. Yup, definitely gonna have to level the crap out of this one. It sounds like it could be pretty useful for straight-out speed, but right now it's just as much a hindrance as a help."

As he went through the warren, Naruto fought and defeated more [Wabbit Warriors] and [Wabbit Elite Warriors], occasionally getting kicked into the wall by the bunnies in the process. It actually had a positive effect, as the fourth time it happened, the Gamer gave him the [Weak Regeneration] passive skill, which restored a certain amount of his HP over time so long as he wasn't suffering from the [Starving] or [Dehydrated] status effects.

It still hurt, but at least the damage was mitigated a little.

In between the fighting, he'd come across a couple of chests, most of which had only contained a small stack of Ryo notes. Naruto wasn't one to turn down free money, so he'd happily added them to his growing pile of funds. The one thing that wasn't a pile of cash that he got from a chest was, to his surprise, a weapon schematic.

[Schematic: Inaba Han Kote]

Super Rare

A schematic showing the design for the Inaba Han Kote, as well as directions on how to make them and what materials are needed to do so. Requires a LV15 Blacksmith in order to be created successfully.

"Huh...might need to go and see Tenten's dad about having these made." Naruto muttered, scanning the list of materials. Steel, chakra metal…wind-aligned chakra metal at that, rabbit skins and teeth (he'd gotten several of each of those as loot for one of the [Wabbit Warrior] and [Wabbit Elite Warriors] respectively), and…a pair of [Rabbit Cores]? "The heck're those?"

Dismissing it for the moment, the Gamer continued on into the warren. After dealing with another couple of [Wabbit Elite Warriors], he came across a large chamber. Inside it, he gaped as he saw, ludicrously enough, an anthropomorphic rabbit, a humanoid rabbit! It had steel-blue and white fur, and it was gnawing on a carrot lazily as it read a magazine, lying across blue couch. Naruto pinched himself to prove that no, he wasn't dreaming.

Bugs Bunny, the Wascally Wabbit LV21

[That Darn Wabbit!]

"The hell?" Naruto muttered, eyes wide. He was used to weird shit after gaining his Gamer powers a year ago or so, but seeing a humanoid rabbit, reading a magazine while reclined on a sofa-thing and eating a carrot, was by far the most bizarre thing he had seen yet; everything else had been, if not normal by the standards of the Elemental Nations, then explainable. This…this just wasn't.

"Ehhhhhhh…what's up, doc?" the rabbit looked across the room at Naruto, who stiffened up. "So, you're the [Gamer] I've hoid so much about. The name's Bugs Bunny. Don't s'ppose you know where the Great Carrot Festival is, do ya? I took a wrong toin at Albuquerque and ended up here instead. Knew I shoulda gone left…"

"They have a festival for carrots?" Naruto said in confusion.

"Woe is me…well, the guy who's in charge of your system's promised to have me back to where I'm s'pposed to be once I give ya a tutorial and practice run of this here dungeon." Bugs said with a put-upon sigh.

"Tutorial?" the Gamer blinked.

"Yep. Think about it, doc. Every boss you've fought before now has been one that you've had ta fight head on, right?" the rabbit flipped his magazine closed before storing it…somewhere. "Thing is, there are bosses that ain't so simple. Puzzle, tricks, gimmicks and races...those are a few of the alternate ones. In order ta beat me, you have to win…in a game of tag."

"Tag? Really?" Naruto deadpanned.

"What? Ya ain't ever played tag before?" Bugs needled him.

"You're a Level 21 Boss Monster according to [The Gamer], dude." Naruto pointed out dryly. "Not to mention you're a rabbit. I doubt I could catch up to you if you really put the speed on."

"Hmmm…" Bugs thought about that before realising something. "Wait, only Level 21?! I'm eighty-two years old! How am I only that strong?!" The rabbit cried out, stamping one overly long foot in outrage.

"Maybe your actual level is being suppressed so you aren't stomping me into the ground?" Naruto suggested with a shrug. "I'm only Level 18, so it would make sense if you were being…limited by my level, as a boss that is."

"Hmm…makes sense doc, though I'm still calling lazy writing on this one." the rabbit acquiesced. "Well anyway…yeah, you are right that at my full speed, I'd leave ya in my dust, plus I can dig and everything, so I'll limit myself. No special techniques, no digging, just regular running. Catch me inside of the time limit and you win. Simple, ain't it?"

Pausing to think, Naruto nodded slowly after a moment. "And me?"

"None of those jutt-su things aimed at me, thank you very much." Bugs said firmly.

"Jutsu."

"Ehh, sure whatever doc. Anyway, use all the enhancement stuff y'want, but nothing offensive." the rabbit flapped one hand (that had a white glove on it for some reason) at Naruto. "That includes those shury-ken things."

"Shuriken."

"Tomayto, tomahto." Bugs shrugged. "So, you in kid?"

"Sure…what's the time limit?" Naruto asked, a bit irked by the lackadaisical nature of the rabbit.

"Fifteen minutes. Give ya a bit of leeway as this is the first time you're doing this." the rabbit said. "Now then…on your marks!"

"[Ninpō: Kitsunerisu no Binshō], [Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo]!" Naruto muttered as he activated both of his speed and dexterity enhancing jutsu. He wasn't sure how fast both of them combined would make him, but he was willing to give it a shot.

"Get set...and ggooooooooooo!" Bugs shouted before speeding off down a set of tunnels to the side of the large chamber he was in.

Naruto absently noted a fifteen minute countdown starting out of the corner of his eye and he sped after the rabbit. In terms of overall speed, Bugs was definitely faster, not to mention more manoeuvrable, using the tunnel walls to bounce off and quickly redirect his direction. Of course, Naruto wasn't too much behind him. Thanks to his high STA and reasonably high DEX, the debuff from using [Usagi no Sokudo] was minimized by a fair bit.

And of course, using the new jutsu in such a high-level race had its advantages…

[Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] has levelled up! LV1-LV2!

[Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] has levelled up! LV2-LV3!

[Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] has levelled up! LV3-LV4!

[Ninpō: Kitsunerisu no Binshō] has levelled up! LV5-LV6!

[Ninpō: Kitsunerisu no Binshō] has levelled up! LV6-LV7!

With every level boost that his two jutsu gained, the gap between Naruto and Bugs shortened. Even so, the blonde boy was painfully aware of the time ticking down, even as he twitched every time he got hit by a one-liner from the rabbit he was chasing.

"How now, brown cow?"

07:14

"Oooo, almost!"

05:59

"Eh, not quite, doc."

04:30

[Ninpō: Usagi no Sokudo] has levelled up! LV4-LV5!

[Ninpō: Kitsunerisu no Binshō] has levelled up! LV7-LV8!

"GOT YOU!" Naruto shouted as he tackled Bugs out of the air in mid-leap. Landing on the ground with a thud, the blond boy grinned at the stunned look in his adversary's eyes. "Tag, you're it."

"Hah! Well done, doc. Ya got me." Bugs Bunny chuckled.

You have defeated [Bugs Bunny, the Wascally Wabbit]! You receive 2700 EXP!

You receive [Level Ten Scroll] X2!

You receive [Wind Chakra Metal] Ingot X2

You receive [Rabbit Core] X2

You receive 20,000 Ryo!

Getting off of the now-defeated boss, Naruto blinked as the rabbit's body started to glow.

"Looks like I'm outta here!" Bugs laughed. "Next time ya come here, it'll be just a regular old rabbit you'll be up against…or whatever the bosses here are, anyway. Good luck, kid."

With a flash of blue light, Bugs left. In his place was a scroll, which Naruto picked up.

[You have discovered the [Taunt] skill scroll.]

[Do you wish to learn this skill?]

Y|N

"If it does what I think it does...hell yeah!" Naruto smirked.

Congratulations! You have learned the [Taunt] skill!

[Taunt] (Passive) [LV1, 0%]

It is well documented throughout the ages that an angry man will make stupid mistakes. [Taunt] allows the user a chance to incite the target of the skill into reckless and foolish action. A warning that a user of this skill should heed is that while making someone angry is usually effective, there are some rare people who can control their anger and either not fall for the taunt in the first place or control themselves even if they do fall for it.

- The user will speak something to irritate and/or anger one target, with a 10% chance of success. If successful, the enemy will be inflicted with the [Enraged], [Angered] or, more rarely, [Berserk] status effects, lasting for thirty seconds.

"Huh…sounds cool." the Gamer commented. He did like making people act idiotically angry during his pranks. Not only was it funny as hell to watch people overreact like that, it also made it a lot easier for him to escape when they eventually started chasing after him.

Clearing out the screens, he decided to take a look at the stuff he'd gotten for beating the Boss.

[Wind Chakra Metal Ingot]

Very Rare

An ingot of chakra metal that has been infused with Fūton aligned chakra for at least a month. Very useful in forging weapons and armour especially for someone with a primary Fūton Affinity.

[Rabbit Core]

Very Rare

Quality: B

Chakra Mutations are widespread and numerous, existing wherever chakra has been used in the world. Treated as pest species by the inhabitants of the world, they are usually wiped out inside of a year. Those fortunate few that survive that time period, however, can have a slight chance to form a core within them, a Chakra Core. Possession of one of these Chakra Cores is what usually determines a true Boss Monster from a pseudo-Boss Monster. Extracted and used in the creation of medicine or equipment, just one of these can prove to be a highly beneficial item for those purposes. The most famous item made using a core is Samehada, one of the Seven Swords of the Mist. Its creator made use of a SS-Quality Shark Chakra Core in its construction, which is one reason why the living blade is among the most powerful of Kirigakure's Seven Swords.

"Whoa...note to self, stay away from that sword…!" Naruto gulped. He'd done research since the rarity (and material quality) system had been unlocked and knew that anything ranked as being 'SS' in either quality or rarity was going to be obnoxiously powerful, definitely not something he wanted to run into when he still hadn't even reached level 20 yet.

He'd also researched regular dungeons, so the first thing he did was return to the main chamber and start searching it. Sometimes (or so his research into dungeons in the [Help] section of his Gamer power had said) a boss had one or more hidden treasures in their Boss Room.

His decision was rewarded by the discovery of a half-buried chest behind the couch that Bugs had been lying on. Inside was another schematic, this time for the [Inaba Suneate], armour for the legs unlike the [Inaba Han Kote] that Naruto already had all of the materials for earlier.

The new schematic pretty much the same as the first one, with identical materials. This led to an interesting choice for Naruto; he could only make one of the two, but the question was, which would be better for him to get? The [Han Kote] would protect his arms, while the [Suneate] would protect his lower legs. In the end, it boiled down to what they would do for him ability-wise.

'The [Han Kote] might give me a boost in attack, but I'm pretty good with that right now.' Naruto reasoned. 'If anything, the [Suneate] will maybe give me…I dunno, a boost to my speed or something. OK, I'll ask Tenten if her Dad'll make the [Inaba Suneate] for me. I'll have to pay him…hope I have enough…'

Checking the amount of Ryo he had, Naruto gave it a 50/50 chance that he had enough. Deciding to grind over the next couple of days to build up his funds (and possibly get another couple of [Rabbit Cores]), the fresh genin gave the central burrow one final look over before heading back to the Amekage Apartments. He was getting hungry, after all…

The Next Day, After Missions and Training

Hokage's Office

"Mokuton Enhanced Seeds, you say, Naruto-kun?" Sarutobi blinked as he gazed at the handful of seemingly innocuous seeds sitting on his desk.

"That's what the [Gamer] calls them, Jiji. Apparently they're the seeds of a tree that was grown using Mokuton ninjutsu." Naruto replied with a nod. "Also…there's this."

Reaching into his inventory, the boy brought out the [Mokuton Kekkei Genkai Journal, Vol.1] that he'd earned the previous day.

"That…that's one of the Shodaime's missing notebooks!" the Sandaime exclaimed in shock as he reached out and took the small leather-bound journal, holding it almost reverently as he opened a page.

Yes, he'd recognize his former mentor's handwriting anywhere. The Shodaime was a great man and warrior, but he had terrible penmanship, unlike the Nidaime.

"It is?" the genin blinked. "But isn't he the only person to have ever used the Mokuton Kekkei Genkai? Why would he have written this thing?"

"Some Kekkei Genkai are rare even in the clans they are born to, disappearing for entire generations before suddenly re-emerging. A fine example would be the Shikotsumyaku (Dead Bone Pulse) of the now-extinct Kaguya Clan of Mizu no Kuni, which supposedly only emerged once every three generations." Sarutobi explained, his eyes never straying from the journal resting in his hands. "Shodaime-sama believed that his Mokuton might have possessed the same properties, so in his later years, he took time to write five journals detailing all he could on the Mokuton's jutsu and training methods in case someone in the Senju Clan regained the ability sometime in the generations after his death. Sadly, there was an attack on Konoha during the Second Great Shinobi War, a team of saboteurs managed to sneak in and destroy a great deal of the ancestral Senju Compound. The journals were believed lost, either destroyed with the compound or stolen by enemy agents. No matter the means by which you did it my boy, you have done Konoha a great service by returning even a portion of the Shodaime's lost legacy."

"Tehehehe…" Naruto awkwardly scratched the back of his head, not sure how to handle the praise.

Only to suddenly blink as another window popped up.

[Secret Quest Discovered and Completed!]

Legacy of the First Hokage (1): Senju Hashirama wrote five journals detailing the secrets to utilising his Mokuton Kekkei Genkai to the fullest. In the years since the passing of both him and his brother, Tobirama, the five have gone missing. You have successfully retrieved the first! Well done!

Quest Reward: +1000 Reputation with [Konoha ANBU], +500 Reputation with [?], +5000 EXP, +60,000 Ryo, Access to Secret Quest: [Legacy of the First Hokage (2)], Random Jutsu Scroll: [Katon: Hibashiri], Reward from 3rd Hokage.

[Secret Quest Chain Activated!]

Legacy of the First Hokage (2): Senju Hashirama wrote five journals detailing the secrets to utilising his Mokuton Kekkei Genkai to the fullest. In the years since the passing of both him and his brother, Tobirama, the five have gone missing. You have successfully retrieved the first, now seek out the second!

Quest Objective: Locate another Rare Monster and defeat it for a chance to discover another of the five journals of Senju Hashirama.

Quest Reward: +1000 Reputation with [Konoha ANBU], +500 Reputation with [?], +7500 EXP, +70,000 Ryo, Access to Secret Quest: [Legacy of the First Hokage (3)], Random Piece of Equipment, Reward from 3rd Hokage.

Quest Failure: Death

Quest has been Auto-Accepted.

"Your Gamer power is most irksome if it's going to force you to accept missions that could lead to your death." Sarutobi frowned as Naruto relayed what had happened, somewhat annoyed at his surprise being spoiled. "And yes, I have a reward to give to you. The day after tomorrow will be the first joint training session between the graduating genin and Gai's team. Once that is finished, Iruka-kun will be released from his duties to take you to the Shinobi section of the Library for you to acquire a tantō style and a kodachi style. Additionally, this is something that I recall you were offered before by your Gamer ability."

Opening a drawer, the Hokage pulled out what looked like a steel dagger, with the symbol of the Hidden Leaf engraved into it, and handed it to Naruto.

"This is...a Mastercrafted collapsible spear!" Naruto exclaimed after using [Observe] on it.

"Yes, it's a handy weapon to have in a tight spot." Sarutobi nodded. "I vastly prefer a Bō myself, but a spear can come in handy when you least expect it. I'd try to learn a spear style as well, Naruto-kun; something called out to me about this weapon when I was considering what to give you for retrieving the journal. I think it would be wise to at least create an improvised spear style."

"OK. I have an improvised Bō style anyway, so a spear style shouldn't be that hard to come up with." the boy nodded, tucking the weapon into his main supply pouch. "I'll work on it, Jiji."

"Very good, Naruto-kun." the Hokage nodded back. "Was there anything else?"

"Yeah, could you do something about the paperwork that Asuma-sensei has to get through to teach Ino and Sakura-chan ninjutsu and stuff?" Naruto requested. "He still hasn't gotten through it all, and I can't risk taking those two into Training Ground 13 with nothing more than a bit of harsh language under their belts."

Coughing to conceal his amusement, Sarutobi nodded again. "Very well. It is odd though…he should have gotten through the paperwork over a week ago…I shall investigate this promptly, Naruto-kun."

The old Hokage had a feeling that someone was playing bureaucratic silly buggers with his son's team for whatever reason, and that wasn't to be tolerated. He would have to make an example of them to make sure everyone knew that he could and would come down on them like a ton of bricks if they acted beyond their remit.

'Danzō…why can I not shake the feeling that you have a hand in this somehow?' Sarutobi thought in irritation. His old teammate had kept himself fairly quiet since the 'Missing Nin' incident, but the old village leader wasn't fooled by Danzō's seemingly benign attitude as of late. He had failed to possibly acquire Naruto, so he was lying low until Sarutobi was distracted so another attempt could be made.

"Ah, Naruto-kun, I would ask that you keep the discovery of the Shodaime's journal a secret." he requested calmly. "Such a thing being discovered could cause quite a hullabaloo which I would prefer to avoid."

"Sure. I wasn't planning on telling anybody about it anyway." Naruto agreed with an easy shrug. It wasn't something really worth bragging about in his opinion; it wasn't like he'd gone out looking for the thing.

After a few more minutes of discussion about casual topics, Sarutobi undid the seal his office was under and watched as his surrogate grandson left before snapping his fingers, making an ANBU appear.

"Summon Tenzō." he ordered, the masked figure vanishing to obey his orders. Minutes later, a cat-masked man appeared kneeling before his desk, and Sarutobi once more sealed the room. "Remove your mask, Tenzō."

After a moment of hesitation, the man removed his mask, revealing a fairly plain face with a stoic expression, offset slightly by his slightly overlarge eyes.

"Hokage-sama." the last of Orochimaru's Mokuton experiments left alive said.

"It is to my understanding that as Kinoe of Ne, you learned Mokuton jutsu from a scroll given to you by Shimura Danzō." the Hokage said bluntly. "Is this the case?"

"Hai, Hokage-sama." Tenzō said with a nod. "It was…adequate in the basics, but lacked any intermediate or advanced techniques or exercises."

"An operative recently discovered one of the Shodaime's long-lost journals." Sarutobi informed the man bluntly, gesturing to the book on the desk. "You are relieved of all of your duties as an ANBU outside emergency conditions until further notice. You are to take the journal and read it from cover to cover so that you can increase your understanding of your Kekkei Genkai, as well as to expand and improve upon your jutsu arsenal. I expect weekly reports on your progress."

"B-But sir…this is a relic of Konoha's history!" the former Ne Operative protested with wide eyes locked on the journal. "It should be in a museum!"

"It is something that Shodaime-sama wrote in order for it to be used, Tenzō, not left to gather dust on a shelf." the Hokage stated firmly. "He would want someone who had his bloodline limit to make use of it."

Tenzō seemed to still at that."As you say, Hokage-sama." the ANBU nodded. "What about the other journals?"

"The operative in question is following up a lead on another one, but it might take some months before we will know if it amounts to anything." Sarutobi replied evenly. "It will give you more than enough time to practice what you read in the book. I am authorising you to use Training Ground 78 exclusively for your training with this book."

Grounds 78 was one of the most isolated and distant Training Grounds available to Konoha shinobi while still being within Konoha's actual domain. That, combined with its lack of any specialized terrain or function, left it mostly ignored by most Jonin-sensei and most shinobi in general for that matter. However, it was popular for those seeking to test out and experiment with new and somewhat hazardous jutsu, allowing plenty of open terrain that could be damaged and demolished without causing any serious repercussions. Thus, it would not be that surprising for a high-ranking shinobi to request the Grounds for private use for a few days or weeks in order to test out a new jutsu they'd been working on.

The field itself was protected by a fairly strong barrier ninjutsu and several genjutsu seals to prevent anyone from spying on exactly what kind of techniques were being practised within. He trusted Tenzō to be smart enough to augment that security on his own without needing to be ordered to do so, given the nature of what he'd be practising.

"I will do my best." Tenzō nodded, reverently lifting the book up and sealing it away in a scroll he had on him before replacing his mask. "With your permission, I shall now go to carry out your orders, Hokage-sama."

With a nod from the Hokage, the man vanished after the security seals were deactivated.

Settling back in his chair, Sarutobi Hiruzen sighed wearily. He was, he bemoaned, getting too old for this shit.

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Next Chapter: Joint Training Session

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