Summary: Harry wins a bet and ends up in a sticky situation. (Prompt fill for Euphoretic)
The large metal sword, taller than any of the giant trees in the forest, gleamed in the orange morning light.
"Ready to admit defeat already, little tadpole?"
Harry rolled his eyes and looked up at the large orange toad. "When I lift this sword, you will carry both of us all the way to and from Snow Country without complaint, right?"
The large toad laughed, his entire orange and red body shaking with amusement.
Naruto tugged Harry's sleeve. "Nii-san maybe we should just… there will be other ways to get there."
Harry scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous. We need a vacation and we need to get there fast without tiring ourselves out. This is the best possible option."
"But you can't…" Naruto frowned at the sword.
"Can't?" Harry repeated with narrowed eyes, daring Naruto to continue.
"You might get injured trying to lift that. Then, we won't have any vacation because you'll be in the hospital! We should just go to a Hot Spring and…"
Harry shook his head. "Naruto, I intend to get that free ride to the Land of Snow and some oversized sword isn't going to stop me."
Harry moved forward and looked up at the toad. "So you agree to my terms, Gamabunta-san?"
"Ya agreeing to mine?" Gamabunta said as he puffed on his pipe.
"If I can't lift up the sword I'll buy you the super expensive sake from Moon Country for the rest of my life." Harry moved forward for a closer look at the sword. It was obvious to him that even if he used some combination of a levitation charm, a feather-light charm and a sticking charm, he needed to be on higher ground. He turned to Naruto. "Can you make some clones and stack them up high? I need to reach the handle."
Naruto nodded with a wary look of confusion. Numerous clones popped into existence and moved to create a strange human ladder to the top of the sword.
Gamabunta's laugh caused quite a few birds in the area to fly away with an indignant flutter.
Harry ignored the toad and climbed up Naruto's wobbly clone ladder until he reached the handle. With a few minutes of intense concentration to ensure the right mix of helpful spells, Harry held on to the sword handle with his magic and pulled.
The sword slid up and out of the ground. Harry held it aloft for a moment and then put it back down.
Gamabunta's pipe fell from his gaping mouth to the ground with a crack.
The Naruto clones cheered in excitement as they helped Harry come back down.
Gamabunta sighed, sheathed his sword and grabbed both cousins up from the ground. "It's a long way to the Land of Snow. And there ain't time like the present to get going."
In Konoha, a table crashed down from the Hokage Tower's window in a shower of splinters and glittering glass. "What do you mean, Gamabunta isn't at Mount Myoboku with those two?" Tsunade yelled, her sharp voice loud enough to make everyone in the vicinity shudder and cringe.
Looking over the top of Gamabunta's clenched hand, Harry crinkled his nose as the foul stench of old decay wafted up from the swamp in front of them. "Where are we? Are we lost?"
"No," Gamabunta said, swivelling his head around as though looking for a handy road sign of some sort.
"This is why you should have let us pack first. We could have used a map," Naruto yelled from Gamabunta's other clenched hand.
"Where are we?" Harry yelled in Naruto's direction. "Any ideas?"
"We're completely lost," Naruto replied.
"We ain't lost!" Gamabunta grumbled, as he lowered his hands and let the teens down. "This is a rest stop."
"How exactly are we supposed to rest in a swamp?" Harry asked as he struggled to raise a foot from the sticky red mud. "This looks like a death trap that wants to drag us down into it's stinky depths. Let's just retrace our way back and out of here."
"About that," Gamabunta sighed above them.
Naruto turned to the giant toad boss with narrowed eyes and opened his mouth to yell, only to exclaim, "Oh."
"That," Harry cleared his throat, staring at what had grabbed their attention. A menacing red barrier blocked the way they had come in from. "That does not look good."
"Never seen anything like this before," Gamabunta said with distaste. "Must've been more tired than I thought to fall for it."
"So, we have to go further into the suspicious swamp then?" Harry asked, already knowing the answer.
"Such a terrible start to a vacation," Naruto mourned. Mid-way through a shake of his head, he yelped and pointed at something in the distance. "G-g-ghost!"
A large spirit of indistinguishable features, except for it's horns, floated a few inches from the mud.
"That doesn't look like a ghost," Harry said.
"That's cos it ain't!" Gamabunta said. "And we ain't in no ordinary swamp. Shoulda realized it the moment I saw the red mud."
"What do you mean, Boss?" Naruto asked, mere inches away from Harry.
"Haven't ya seen Jiraiya use that accursed technique of his?" Not waiting for a reply, Gamabunta groused. "Welcome to the Swamp of the Underworld."
A large creature, armed with numerous monstrous appendages, appeared in the distance and honed in on them with hungry eyes.
"Worst vacation ever," Harry said even as he reached for his wand.