In a room that resembled more a hollowed-out cement block than a place for habitation Kensuke was strapped down on a metal table. His eyes were unfocused and a little line of spittle was dripping from the corner of his mouth. A blonde young woman had two fingers resting on his brow and the fingers of her other hand held in a seal. She looked up from Kensuke to the other woman in the room, Mitarashi Anko.
Mitarashi Anko nodded to the blonde and then put her hands in a seal, while calling out, "Illusory Art: Heaven Viewing Technique, Titillating Tea Torture!"
Kensuke, of course, was not aware of any of this. He hadn't been aware that he had been knocked out and taken from his apartment. He wasn't aware that he was seven levels below the Torture and Interrogation building. His memory was a little fuzzy, but he felt comfortable in the tea house he found himself in. Low tables sat on raised platforms in a meticulously manicured garden. Each table was far enough from the others to ensure privacy.
Several servers in beautifully adorned kimonos were bringing tea. Kensuke only had a vague impression of who was sitting at the other tables. He was alone but found himself relaxed and happy. It was an odd feeling but he imagined it was because of the colorful garden, the tranquil burbling of a stream out of view, and the generally hushed atmosphere.
After a few moments a server made her way to him with a tea tray. With exquisite poise she sat down opposite him after a polite bow. Kensuke hurriedly returned the bow and couldn't help but stare at the beauty before him. She had purple hair that was brushed to a sheen and fell on a soft peach colored kimono. Her hands were fine and pale, their motions as they made tea seemed to captivate him. Realizing he was staring he looked away but caught the smile on her lightly painted lips. She had seen him. He blushed and looked at anything but her.
"Kensuke-kun, are you going to keep ignoring me today?" she broke the silence.
An odd feeling of familiarity at her voice went through him. Why was he pretending she was a stranger? This was Anko-san, the sweetest hostess in Fire Country, and more importantly, his dear friend. "No, no, sorry…I just have a lot on my mind," he made his excuse.
"Oh? Or is it because you're overcome at my beauty again?" Her delicate fingers applied the slightest pressure on his chin to move his face back toward her.
Kensuke felt like her touch was burning hot. He was blushing hard and he knew it. Anko-san always played with him like that, teasing him about his crush on her. "Come on, Anko-san, it's not fair that you're so beautiful."
"Mou," she made a childish sound of disappointment. "How long will you make me wait, Kensuke-kun, hmm? You have to grow up soon otherwise people will talk about how I'm taking advantage of you."
"T-T-That's not true!" he blurted. "I mean…I uh-"
Anko-san laughed delightedly, the folds of her kimono strained and Kensuke's eyes went to the hint of cleavage revealed. "But, you know, the girls are talking. Kensuke-kun is really becoming a man. They say you defeated your rival, Uzumaki Naruto. A strong man is so attractive."
My smile made my cheeks hurt. "Well…it wasn't that hard."
"Don't be modest, tell me everything. Your stories are always so thrilling." She shivers a little.
Of course, I remember Anko-san enjoys stories about ninja battles. She loved hearing about me thrashing Uzumaki after he dumped pig's blood on me. Come to think of it, I haven't told her about the game system. It'll be nice to talk to someone about my frustrations with it. "Ne, Anko-san, did I ever tell you about [Applying Gamer's Mind. Objective: Protect System Information. Removing Gamer's Body to compensate for resource drain] Dai-san?"
What the Hell? I wasn't planning on talking about Dai. I wanted to tell her about the game.
"Dai-san is the one who brought you to the village. What does he have to do with your fight with Uzumaki-kun?" Anko-san asks.
I form the words about the game in my mind and try to force them to my mouth, but something takes control of my muscles and I hear myself saying, "Dai threatened me that if I didn't pass the exam this time he would sell me to a whorehouse...to make back the money he would've gotten as a bonus for finding an addition to the ninja forces."
This must be the 'Gamer's Mind' stopping me from sharing with Anko-san. God damn it, if I can't trust her, who can I trust?! Stop fucking with my life!
"Well you have been working very hard, Kensuke-kun. Did Dai tell you to attack Uzumaki too?"
"No…Uzumaki is annoyed with me because his crush is friends with me. He keeps ruining my things. I don't have funds to replace my clothes and books again and again. That's why I got so mad at him." My face burns in shame. Why is the game making me say this?! I sound like a total bitch. What is Anko-san going to think of me now? There goes my chance to impress her.
There's a sudden cooling of temperature. I look around to find other people at the tables have disappeared. In fact, there seems to be a darkness that's slowly eating away at everything around us. The sky, the trees, all are disappearing within the darkness. Strangely, I'm not afraid.
"Did you hear me?" Anko-san asks.
I turn toward her, I must have zoned out, seeing the darkness. Something about Anko-san is different too. Ah, it's her hair. It was down earlier but now it's up in a rough and spiky ponytail. "Sorry, I got distracted."
"That's alright. I just asked what special move did you do to make Uzumaki-kun fall asleep at your last fight with him? It must have been really special." She smiled wide. "You know how excited I get at learning about new techniques."
"Oh right, I had this seal implanted on my hand-" I paused mentally, because the words I thought I was saying weren't coming out of my mouth. Instead of what I thought I had just said, out loud I was saying, "I don't know Anko-san. It was really weird. Uzumaki was beating the hell out of me but suddenly he just went to sleep. I mean I was trying to put him in a headlock but I couldn't really get a grip."
The darkness is now at the edges of the table where we are sitting. I want to scream and tell Anko-san that we are in danger but a strange calmness has taken over me. It's like a blanket over my thoughts. Anko-san seems to be thinking about my answer. The darkness creeps up and Anko-san starts to change. Her face no longer has makeup on it. She is wearing a trench coat of some sort which is open enough to show most of her breasts covered by a mesh shirt.
Blood rushes downwards. Hot damn! Anko-san has always seemed so graceful, I never imagined she would have – wait…who the fuck is Anko-san? I don't know this woman. Where am I? There's only darkness around us.
"Can you verify that statement?" Anko asks while looking over my head. I turn around and see a blonde woman there with her fingers outstretched toward me.
"Yes, as far as he knows, Uzumaki Naruto simply collapsed on him. I haven't found any evidence of falsehoods or training to resist interrogation and torture," the blonde said. "His mind is surprisingly easy to read. He has a raging boner for you right now." She rolls her eyes at Anko-san.
"Heh." Anko-san smirks. "Kid has taste after all. Have you finished checking his memories?"
"Everything is clear. Kid has some serious motivation. He hates Dai and is scared of getting his chakra locked and sold to a whorehouse. Uzumaki has been targeting him for a while too, so his fights with him make sense." The blonde shrugs.
My mind has become numb as I hear the exchange. I'm beginning to put together what's happening. I think I'm in some sort of a genjutsu, that the Gamer's Mind is slowly breaking. Crap, I almost gave away the whole thing to the purple-haired bitch.
"I don't see any triggers in his mind or anything suspicious either. Poor kid, looks like life decided to take a huge shit on him," Anko says. "He wants to be a ninja badly. The higher ups will like that. I'm going to release the illusion and put him back to sleep."
"As you say, senpai." The blonde nods. "I will send our report up the chain."
After that my vision is clouded by darkness and I drift off.
I wake up and cannot move. My arms and legs are bound by wide leather straps to a chair. There are three ninja in front of me. Two are in blank white masks and big cloaks that hide the shapes of their bodies. In the middle of them sits an old man with bandages covering his arm and part of his face.
"Which hidden village sent you?" one of the masked ninja asks. I cannot tell which one.
"Um, no one sent me, I don't even know where I am."
The ninja on my left puts his hands in a seal and suddenly my arms are on fire. I scream in fright and pain. My flesh curls and pops, the smell makes me gag. The fire disappears into seals that have been painted on my skin, that I hadn't noticed before. I gasp and hurl, turning my head to the side as far as I can go. It isn't far so my arm on top of being burned is covered in vomit.
"Which hidden village sent you?" one of them asks the question again.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?! I'm from Konoha. I'm a student at the Academy!"
My legs catch fire. I thrash in the chair, unable to escape, unable to call any of my weapons. My chakra seems to be locked away. I scream so loud that I can feel myself getting hoarse.
[Pain threshold has increased by 3 points]
"Which hidden village sent you?"
"I!" I cough, the pain is unimaginable. "Am from Konoha. Who-" -I gasp and take short breaths- "are you?"
There is silence at my questions. None of my interrogators move. The old one in the middle is staring at me fixedly. I stare back. "What do you want from me?" I demand.
[WARNING][S-class compulsion technique detected. Compulsion parameters: Answer all questions with full truth. Gamer's Mind fortified. Objective: Protect System Information and Agent.]
"Were you sent to attack Uzumaki Naruto?" the old man asks in a gravely voice.
"Why the Hell is everyone so obsessed with Uzumaki?" I shout. "No one sent me attack him. I fought him in an academy spar. I hate his guts. He's been picking on me since I got to the academy, he destroyed my books, my clothes, my-"
The old ninja interrupts, "What did you do to vanish Uzumaki's chakra?"
I stare at him as my blood runs cold. They knew. They knew! My mouth starts moving without any input from me. "I did not do anything to his chakra. I tried to put him in a chokehold, that's it."
"Do you know sealing techniques?"
"How did you destroy the tailed-beast's chakra?" the old man presses.
The tailed beast? What is he talking about? "I have no idea what you mean."
The old ninja's single revealed eye narrows at me. "Are you a loyal citizen of Konoha?"
Fuck no you sadistic bastard. My mouth moves without my input again, "Yes and I will be the best ninja I can be."
The old man looks at the two ninja that flank him. Each of them makes hand signals that I don't understand. The old ninja nods and stands, he is holding a cane that I hadn't noticed before. "You are not to speak of this meeting. You will be executed for treason if you do."
The old ninja mutters something to the masked ninja. I take that moment to look above their heads. I hadn't dared before, afraid that I might react to what I would learn. The old ninja is Shimura Danzo and his level only has three question marks. The other two are a Hyuuga and a Yamanaka, also with question marks. I don't get any other information.
The Hyuuga walks over to my side and I unsuccessfully flinch away from him. He presses his hands on my arms. I hiss in pain which begins to abate pretty quickly. The Hyuuga's hands are glowing green because of a healing technique. My breathing gets easier as the pain begins to subside. He takes care of my legs too.
In the meantime the Yamanaka brings over a small tag with a seal on it. He forcibly opens my mouth and sets the tag on my tongue. I feel something burn on my tongue but it's far less painful than the torture I had just suffered. "You will be unable to speak of this interview. If you try, you will be in the worst pain of your life. After which you will be executed for treason. Do you understand?"
I hate them. I hate them. I want them all to burn for eternity. "Yes," I say in the flattest tone, I can. I don't think it's smart to let these monsters see how much I loath them. Heck, that time the Gaming System didn't even have to control my words. Maybe it's because the edge of my anger and loathing is blunted. I still feel a blanket over my emotions.
Once again I'm put to sleep.
I wake up in my apartment a little before my usual time in the mornings. For a moment I think I dreamt it all. But my arms and legs feel raw and sensitive. Looking them over I see shiny waves of healed-over burned skin. Hurriedly I go to the bathroom and check my tongue. Yes, there is a seal. So it was all real.
I had been taken from my home, had my mind invaded and been tortured. All because of the Gaming System's need for a special power source that had been inside Uzumaki. I had been a fool to think it wouldn't be noticed. I try to bring up anger and my usual disdain for Konoha but it's muted.
Very carefully I use my sensor skill and just as I expect I find three spies near me. I'm under even greater watch than I was before. Guess I won't be checking my stats today. There is one of them hanging on my apartment's ceiling, one is outside the window, and a third in the street I take to the academy. Speaking of stats, I didn't get my usual morning greeting from the system. Considering how much it controlled me the night before to protect itself, it must still be in self preservation mode.
On the one hand being under close surveillance means the Game will not be fucking around with me. On the other hand, I have creeps inside my apartment watching me sleep and do whatever else. Dulled emotions are really helpful in stopping me from freaking out right now. The logical course is to go about my day like a good little Konoha drone. I cannot give them any reason to doubt me.
And I have to stay the Hell away from Uzumaki.
As I dress and leave for school, I wonder what will happen if and when the Gaming System releases me from Gamer's Mind. Am I going to collapse under the horror of what happened to me? The question feels pretty academic. As far as I'm concerned I have only one objective right now and that is to not give the spies any reason to kill me. If the Gamer's Mind helps me with that, so be it.
[Mid-term quest: Finish the year out at the Academy without drawing further attention. Success: Surveillance lifted and survival. Failure: Capture and mental reprogramming by Root.]
AN. Sorry for its shortness. I've had a writer's block for a while. I'm excited to get past this scene and get on to graduation.