It's that time again! I got caught up with a few things. First there was my high school's drama production and then winter vacation followed shortly by a Wii Zelda underdosage that needed serious addressing to. But this chapter is finished. Review response time! Unfortunately there are only two that seem worth addressing to personally.
Hybrid Thing: Trust me, plot holes will arise. I probably don't want them there but there is no definite answer as to when or where I may slip up at.
Runwithskizzers: Although if you think about it, everyone has their own style.
For all the rest of you asking for a sequel for Encyclopedia Ninja, I'm sorry to say but that will not happen. Not only do I lack enough plot but I also lack the time to do so. Encyclopedia Ninja has had its moments, but it's time to move on.
I would like to thank my beta for helping me with this. However, I did not show him one tiny section of the fic, as it would really cheat out everyone else. As to what part I left out, I think you'll be able to figure it out on your own.
A/N: After this chapter I intend to update Product Shinobi a few times. I think I figured out what to do next.
I do not own Naruto or Fire Emblem (anyone who's played a Fire Emblem game knows what the first part of the chapter is for XD).
PS: Brad, good things come to those who wait.
Chapter 11: Harsh Reality
The map unfurls itself. As the lay of the land is revealed, small dots and lines appear, labeling the capital cities and boundaries of kingdoms.
Towards the right of the center of the known shinobi world lies the Fire Kingdom. It is surrounded by dense forest on all sides, almost a natural defense against attackers. It is home to Uchiha Sasuke, prince of Konoha.
On the day of his coronation ceremony, his elder brother Uchiha Itachi slaughters the royal family and frames the young prince for it. With no choice but to flee, he leaves his kingdom with his teacher and bodyguard Haruno Sakura. They head north through the Rock Kingdom, ally of the Fire Kingdom, and into the neutral zone of the Ice Kingdom.
Literally at the top of the earth, almost the entire land is covered in snow year-round. However, the land itself is believed to be where the God Himself first stepped onto the world; amazing yields of crops and livestock are recorded every year. The kingdom continues to rise in prosperity and power, respected by all countries. It is the most powerful kingdom in the world.
However, their acts of neutrality shows that they refuse to take part in outside war affairs. Instead, treaties and trade deals are made and signed in the kingdom. Cases requiring higher judgment are sent and the verdicts made by the ruling king and queen.
While their request may be denied, Uchiha Sasuke knows that he cannot lose by inquiring for help; his reclaiming of the throne will only be delayed.
Naruto's cell phone lay shattered among the snow in the early morning.
About an hour before, Naruto decided that he could revert back to his real form. He was sitting one of the few tree branches that were not covered in snow, his nine tails dangling near the ground with a lit cigarette in his mouth. He was staring up at the sky, contemplating how many stars were visible from the near-frozen expanse they were in.
Fifteen minutes ago, his cell phone started ringing. And in all honesty he did not want to pick it up. So he let it ring, hoping that the man who was calling would eventually give up.
One minute ago, he realized that the one on the other end would not hang up, which brings about the entire 'bee-bee- chink' situation.
In a swift motion, one of Naruto's tails grasped the object before viciously slamming it against the tree trunk. He let the remains of the phone fall to the ground, wires and other odds and ends sticking out of the snow.
And then God said, "You will answer me when I call you, or the consequences will be much worse."
Within seconds of the shattered phone hitting the ground, a new one fell out of the sky and landed painfully between Naruto's legs, the offending plastic object still ringing. He let out a suppressed cry. Having bounced off and landed on the ground, one of his tails limply picked up the new phone and brought it too his ears, flicking it open.
In a pained voice Naruto began to speak. "What the hell do you want now?"
"You will answer me when I call you, or the consequence will be much worse."
"Yeah, yeah… is there anything important that you couldn't have told me in a less painful manner?"
"Well if you had picked up we could have avoided this whole situation, now wouldn't we?"
"Okay! I get your damned point! Just tell me what the hell you want!"
"Well now that I have your attention, I will speak. I want you to teach Uchiha Sasuke to bring out the Chidori's full potential as soon as possible."
"As in to get it to transform."
"Transform? Do you know how long that will take?"
"Yes. On average it takes about several years."
"Uchiha Sasuke doesn't have time for that."
"But that was done by the normal method, where you tried to become one with your blade. There is a method to… force the change."
"And how does that work?"
"Pretty much overpower him in combat."
"And if he dies?"
"… Alright, whatever. Is there anything else that I should know?"
"Nope. You might want to get some ice for that minor injury of yours though. We wouldn't want it to swell up now would we? Oh, and be sure to hide the remnants of your old phone."
Then God hung up. Swearing, Naruto gently got down from his seat. Picking up the pieces of the phone as well as his cigarette, he burned it up until there was nothing left. Limping, Naruto began to hobble over to the campsite.
Suddenly there was the sound of snow being crushed beneath feet. Quickly he reverted to his more human form, tightening the grip on his sword.
"Naruto-kun?" It was Hinata.
"What are you doing up?" he said, trying his best to sound normal. "Shouldn't you be sleeping?"
"I-I heard someone yell out or something, so I got up to check it out."
"You sure?" She gently nodded her head. "Well, I didn't hear anything. Maybe you should go back to sleep." He began to walk past her, almost limping.
"Y-You're hurt! What happened?"
"I… I sprained my ankle."
"Let me take a look. I-I can do some minor healing."
"No!" Naruto cried out. "I think I'll be alright."
"B-But it's so simple! Really, let me do it." She focused chakra into her eyes. "Byakuugan!"
She gasped. The two times she had seen him with her Byakuugan activated was in battle and when she saw him in the forest. This time however, she saw him without outside interference and at a very close distance. His Tenketsu points were not where they should have been. While she could guess as to which point was responsible for what malady, all the other points she would have to test out by trial and error.
She tried to turn her attention back to his injured ankle. "Well, your ankle seems fine. Maybe there's something else bothering you." She scanned upwards and found the problem. She gave a small yell of surprise and pulled her arms into her chest, looking timid.
Three. Two. One. Stutter. Add a bucket of blush. "Umm… Y-You seem to have s-suffered some uh… some…"
"Yes?" Somehow, Naruto had a feeling that he wouldn't like where this is going.
"Speak up, I can't hear you." Did he want to hear her?
"P-P-P" She seemed stuck on the word.
"Do you plan to say something or can I go? I've got a few things I have to do." She reminded Naruto of cornered, helpless prey. But she wasn't in any actual danger. Not from him anyway.
"Penile injuries!" she yelled out, her face going many shades darker. "Y-You've suffered some p-p-penile injuries." Her breath was short and she deactivated her Byakuugan. "There uh… seems to be some… swelling… in the mentioned… b-body part."
"And do you plan to fix the problem within the next few minutes or so?"
"I uh lack… experience… in treating these type of… injuries."
"Very well then." Naruto began to hobble by her.
As he passed, his arm quickly reached out and tapped a point on her shoulder, forcing her to faint once again. He caught her before she hit the ground and carried Hinata back to her tent.
It was best to make sure that no one knew about this encounter between the two.
Although, where was Kitsune-chan? He sniffed the air.
Well, he'd deal with it later.
Actually no, he would go deal with that now. It was always easier to deal with problems as soon as possible, something that he would not forget for a very long time.
Walking away from the camp, he set out to find the small fox.
"ARISE, YOUNG PRINCE, TO A BEAUTIFUL MORNING!"
Of course, Uchiha Sasuke did just the opposite; he cringed, the barely awakened young man moving away from the source of the cacophony. Maybe there was another reason as to why that idiot was here.
"SMELL THE AIR AROUND YOU! IT IS ALIVE! ALIVE WITH THE-"
And that was more than enough to make Sasuke's day very, very, very sour.
Well, in reality, that only made his day very sour.
The fact that just about everyone was grumpy because of Lee's free wakeup call made it very, very sour.
Finally, Sakura once again calling him Sasuke-kun just made the day very, very, very sour.
"Sasuke-kun, you need to eat more. It's getting colder now so it's important to maintain a healthy diet," his teacher said. How could he maintain a healthy diet? All they had at the moment were dried meats, hard tack, and something that he could barely call hot coffee.
He thought back to the previous nights before, where it was just him and Sakura. Was Naruto right? Had she grown on him? Was it because of the things that they had endured together? What was it?
He was enraged by her. Confused by her. Disliked her at times. Yet he took the time to make sure that she was feeling secure both of those nights. He went out of his way to make sure that she was in her best condition.
Okay, so he cared for her.
But that didn't explain his more than red-light thoughts about her. To care for her suddenly seemed like his reasoning had come short.
Maybe he liked her.
Just a little though. Not a lot. Just… a little.
But what about that kiss? All the way back in Hyuuga City? What did that mean to him?
It was a ruse to avoid getting caught. Yes. There were two men looking for him and she kissed him so they wouldn't be captured.
Ugh. Now that he thought about it, he almost tasted that sick cherry flavor from her lips.
He took a gulp of his coffee and decided he had a better chance of finding dirt that tasted better than the liquid.
But he doubted himself; everything seemed to have a hint of cherry to it now. With disgust he poured the coffee onto the snow besides him; perhaps the earth would like to take back whatever the-
"Uchiha-sama! Get down!"
hell they made and turn it into some real-
And then he was knocked to the ground. For a moment he was dazed but a faint thunk of metal was heard. A kunai was lodged where he was moments before. Apparently someone had found their group and begun to attack them. Pulling out his sword he got up and faced his enemies.
"Stay back, Uchiha-sama, they have us surrounded," Sakura grasped his elbow and pulled him behind her.
"And what makes being behind you any safer?"
"Very much safer, if you were to bother looking somewhere besides my backside," she whispered to him.
He was sure that she meant it as a joke, but she was more correct than she thought she was. Looking away he noticed how everyone had formed a loose circle around him, facing the outside. Everyone but Naruto.
He swore. Honestly, that man was nowhere to be seen when he was needed the most. He heard a deep voice call out from the crowd.
"So the prince of the Fire Kingdom must hide behind women? Pathetic."
Before he could answer, Sakura yelled out to the voice. "Speak for yourself. You're taking advantage of the fact that everyone feels safe in this zone. Who are you, and what do you want with us? We're in the Ice Kingdom. You have no right to attack us here."
"Oh, apparently your meat shield knows her politics," the voice said again. "I suppose she should though. She was born into nobility, unlike the rest of us."
"And why does that matter?" Sasuke responded.
He could hear the person chuckling. "That means that she is above us in the social caste. She is more powerful and controls more wealth than many of us here may ever see in our lives, all because she was born."
"You speak like you know me personally," Sakura responded. "Why don't you come out here and greet me like a friend?" she sarcastically replied.
"Oh? You would ask me to grace you with my presence? I'm flattered," the voice laughed, causing the men around them to laugh as well. When the ruckus died down, he spoke once more. "Very well then. I shall reveal myself." The sea of enemies parted to reveal a man only a little taller than Sasuke. His hair was an offset white and the shirt he wore was torn at the sleeves, showing smooth muscles. He was thin, almost a little too thin. His smile was one of mischief.
"My name is Mizuki, and these are my bandits." Sasuke grimaced. "You as well as a few others in this group happen to have a bounty on their heads. I must say, it's very convenient of you to join us way up here."
"How long have you known of our presence?" Sakura asked.
"Long enough," He smiled. "You know the process, boys. Take care of them, but try not to be too rough with the ladies." Then he vanished.
Just… melted into the ground, and vanished, replaced by drawn blades and weapons.
Yes, this was a very sour day indeed.
Yes, Naruto knew that Sasuke and his group of "bodyguards" were in the middle of a fight.
Yes, he knew that they were against some difficult odds.
No, he would not go back until he fixed his problem now.
No, it was not that he couldn't walk properly, that problem fixed itself eventually.
Sitting before him was the small Kitsune-chan, his two tails waving energetically behind him. While he was cute and whatnot, there were still a few problems in need of addressing.
"Alright then," he said, staring down at the animal, "what should I do with you?"
The fox turned a full revolution before stopping to look at Naruto once more.
"So you want another tail, do you?" Naruto rubbed his chin a little. "Well, you haven't been given a second task yet, so I can't really just give you your third tail.
"True, you are older than most two-tailed foxes… How old exactly?"
"Five years? You are overdue for three tails then. I suppose I can forego the rules just this once."
"Before I begin though, let me warn you. You may be a little disoriented for a moment after the change." Then without warning he snapped his fingers like before and chanted the words of his language.
Suddenly the snow seemed to be a lot farther away from the fox's eyes. Looking at his body, the first thing the fox recognized was that he was of a normal size. Turning around, it also noted that it had three tails. Like before, it wagged them fiercely. However, Naruto quickly spoke up.
"You will want to be a little careful with that wagging of yours, you know. It seems like it's a lot of fun and whatnot but your powers are beginning to develop. While it's not very powerful yet, you can't control it very well. And trust me you do not want your powers to go out of hand right now."
Understanding, the fox stopped wagging the tails.
"Oh, and one more thing. Try not to get too distracted. You know what I mean? You have a job to do and that is to make sure that Hinata remains as safe as possible. Even now the group is under attack and I know for a sure thing that they are targeting the women. We're in some dangerous territory here."
The fox looked up at him.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I should go help them and what not but really, making sure that you understood what is going on right now is more important. I would like to make the current situation for you as minimally confusing as possible, especially with your powers probably going rampant."
And then their ears picked up something.
"It would appear that we have overestimated the capabilities of our human friends. Heading back is now very necessary," Naruto said, all traces of gentleness gone.
The fox nodded and the pair sped back to the camp. Even now he was slowly changing into his humanoid form.
Something had happened to Hinata.
The confrontation had been going fine. They had taken no damage from the bandit ninjas. Sasuke had been protected so far and it looked like they would not be giving into the attack anytime soon.
However, Hinata was distracted. She had not seen her bonsai pet fox anywhere at all this morning. At first she had assumed that it was out relieving itself. When it was gone for longer she thought that it had gone to chase some rabbits. Finally she had accepted that the fox had disappeared on it's own.
And then there was the… dream. It had felt so real to Hinata that it should not have been a dream but perhaps…
She remembered hearing a yell before she got up out of her tent in search of the source. It had led her to Naruto, who was hobbling around. He claimed that it was because of a sprained ankle but upon closer inspection it was because of a…
Penile injury. She had blushed when she remembered that part.
And thus Hinata was distracted in the confrontation between Sasuke's squad and the bandit brigade. She was fine in the beginning of the conflict. As time wore on, however, she grew more worried about. Where was her fox? Where had Naruto gone? While they were holding them off rather easily she was getting tired.
It was at this point in time that a kunai was thrown at her from her blind spot. As all Hyuugas did she channeled chakra through that point to detect projectiles and whatnot. Being tired, however, she received a small cut on her arm.
"Hinata-sama!" Neji cried, "You're hurt!"
"I-It's nothing," she replied. "Just a shallow cut."
"Try to be a little more careful then!" Neji said, striking down an opponent.
Hinata nodded her head weakly. She surrounded by multiple enemies and she readied herself. As she went to make the first blow, however, her body fell to the ground. Lying there she looked over at her wound. It seemed discolored.
Poison. Every joint in her body felt stiff. She could barely turn her neck and even that was hard. She was paralyzed.
"We got one!" one of the bandits cried. It was like turning on a lamp in a crowd of moths. All of the bandits flooded to Hinata. She felt someone pick her up. While only one was holding her the rest needed to cover his escape. She could see Neji and the rest of the crowd fighting to break free from the barrier of brigands but there were too much to get through them fast enough. She forced herself to deactivate her Byakuugan; they were of no use to her anymore. Even if they broke through they would never reach her in time. A single tear welled in her eyes as she forced herself to not cry. She sniveled a little.
So this is what becomes of the Hyuuga Heiress; sped away in the hands of a bandit. She felt the poison working its way through her, and became tired.
A voice called out to them.
"I believe you are carrying something which does not belong to you!" she felt a sudden jerk in her captor and she then fell into another set of hands. A sickening crunch was heard as the bandit that kidnapped her smashed into a rock before being burnt away into ashes.
"You're going to be alright Hinata."
She felt a gentle lick on her hand before passing out.
Back at the skirmish, Neji desperately searched for any source that pointed towards the location of his cousin. He could faintly feel it but that was all it was. He couldn't tell where she was exactly.
'The poison must have put her unconscious. It probably knocked out some parts of her chakra momentarily to help hide her position as well," he thought. He gritted his teeth and fatally closed an enemy's Tenketsu point without mercy.
As Neji turned to strike down another enemy, however, someone had finished the job before him. Jutting out of the bandit's chest was a rectangular sword. The blade withdrew, letting the bandit fall to the ground.
"Naruto! You're…" Neji was unable to finish his sentence as he viewed Naruto. He was still dressed in his dark clothing but he now had many tails fanning about behind him. His ears disappeared and were replaced with fox ears. His whisker scars were much wider and visible.
"Hold onto her for a moment," Naruto carefully brought one of his tails over to Neji and dropped Hinata into his arms. Kitsune-chan appeared from behind and worriedly paced around Neji, worried about his charge's condition.
"I'm going to ask you to be as calm as possible, Neji." Raising his blade Naruto slammed it into the earth. Immediately flames erupted from the ground, consuming the bandits around them. Silence reigned as the cries of anguish disappeared, leaving only the sound of crackling flames.
The rest of Sasuke's guards were surprised at the sudden eruption and searched for the source, their eyes landing on Naruto. He pulled his blade out of the earth and the flames receded. He looked at them and they backed away.
It was then that Konohamaru gathered his senses. Grabbing a rosary he attached it to his staff and recited a quick prayer. His staff glowed a little before Konohamaru it picked up and hurled it at Naruto, landing at his feet. A barrier immediately surrounded him.
"I know who you are now. I should have caught on earlier," the teenager said.
"Do you now? Why don't you tell me my name then? We'll see who knows more." Naruto replied, walking towards the edge of the barrier.
"You're the Kyuubi no Kitsune, Demon Lord of the Fires of Hell!"
Naruto's mood turned foul then. "If you're going to call me by a name, you may as well get it right." Walking over to Konohamaru's staff, he pulled it out of the ground. Normally it would have burned the hands of a demon. But…
"You got just about everything wrong. The only thing right was my nickname, Kyuubi."
He threw the staff back to Konohamaru, its power deactivating in mid-flight.
"My name is Uzumaki Naruto, and I am an angel."