A Ninja's Guide to Surviving a Shinobi War
Copyright Stuff: I don't own anything in the contents of this story. Please don't republish this story without asking permission. That is all.
Slightly AU –It has been three years since the flames of war engulfed Konoha and the rest of the world, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands. When Naruto unexpectedly returns, though, he brings with him the key to Konoha's victory: a suicide mission deep behind enemy lines. A squad of Shinobi will leave on a quest to end the war, but none of them will return home the same, if at all.
IMPORTANT: IF YOU'RE READING THIS CHAPTER AS A PART OF "A NINJA'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL", PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS ONLY A PREVIEW. THE FULL CHAPTER CAN BE READ BY CLICKING ON THE STORY LINK FOR A "NINJA'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING A SHINOBI WAR" IN MY AUTHOR'S PROFILE. ALL FUTURE CHAPTERS CAN BE FOUND THERE. THANKS!
Chapter One: Three Years Later...
The soft humming noise that filled the spacious cargo bay of the T36 Nighthawk Transport was relaxing, threatening to lull First Lieutenant Nara Shikamaru to sleep as he rested his head against it. The plane rocked and bumped every time they ran into an air pocket or a particularly strong gust of wind, but this did little to distract the young Shinobi. Ever since he had been commissioned as a Chunin and then promoted to Jounin over the last several years, it seemed like he spent the majority of his days traveling in the back of airplanes, being whisked around the world to wherever his duties required. He was used to turbulence; in fact, he was so accustomed to being rocked and jarred to sleep it that he sometimes found it unsettling lying in his own bed.
"Five minutes, sir!" shouted the pilot from the cockpit. A bulb overhead lit up, bathing the cargo bay in an eerie green glow.
The insulated interior of the transport did an efficient job of isolating them from the rest of the world, fooling them, if only momentarily, that their plane was some kind of invulnerable sanctuary soaring through a raucous storm.
However, Shikamaru knew that if the airplane had a window to look out of, he would see an ocean of flickering lights erupting less than a mile beneath their position. Each flash represented an explosion of enemy shrapnel, a cloud of deadly metal shards that would rip through the transport's hull like paper.
If they were lucky, the fragmented pieces of jagged steel would kill them all instantly. If they weren't, the plane's engines would sputter and die, sending the smoldering wreckage spiraling through the air until it crashed into the forest below where they would slowly burn to death.
It was a morbid thought, but it was one Shikamaru had trouble keeping out of his mind every time they flew over this particular stretch of forest in Kusa. It was called the Airplane Graveyard for a reason. Dozens, if not hundreds, of aircrafts, both Konoha's and their enemies', had been sniped out of the sky by anti-aircraft batteries. Fly too high and you'd show up on someone's radar as a juicy target for their surface-to-air missiles. Fly too low and you'd end up as another entry in the growing list of aviators that the forest had claimed.
"You need to relax," Ino whispered. Most of her face was hidden behind the balaclava and combat helmet she was wearing, but Shikamaru could still see her bright blue eyes shimmering brightly in the dimly lit cabin. Traces of blond hair cascaded from beneath her helmet, draping down her shoulders and spilling over the olive flak vest that all Konoha Shinobi wore into battle. Shikamaru thought she looked beautiful.
"This is so troublesome," Shikamaru muttered. "All this risk for one person."
Their mission was as basic as it was stupid.
A patrol somewhere in the woods below had gotten separated off from their platoon when armies from Earth and Lightening had unexpectedly attacked. The platoon, having sustained heavy casualties, retreated out of the forest with their dead and wounded, and the remainder of the patrol was promptly surrounded. As of their last update from three hours ago, they were completely cut off, low on ammunition and supplies, and were in danger of being overrun at any moment.
Unfortunately for Shikamaru and Ino, one member of the patrol was the son of a high-ranking Konoha councilman. Within minutes of the news that the councilman's son was in danger, the Hokage had given them the assignment to enter the forest, find the kid and get him out safely.
"Orders are orders," Ino replied, stroking his arm gently. "Don't worry. We'll get in, find him and be back at base before dawn."
"Yeah, right," Shikamaru snorted. If everything went well, they would land close to the patrol's position, find the councilman's son, and with their elite Shinobi training, manage to smuggle him out from beneath the noses of at least a hundred enemy soldiers who were armed to the teeth with machine guns, rocket launchers and night vision goggles. The odds of everything going that smoothly, though, were slim. More likely, their information would be wrong and he and Ino would spend the next few days scouring the forest for the patrol, only to find the members of the patrol all dead.
It was a pointless waste of their time and Shikamaru resented the fact that they were putting their lives in jeopardy just to rescue one soldier because of his political connections.
"Three minutes!" The pilot glanced back and smiled at Ino warmly. "Good luck ma'm."
"Thank you, Captain," Ino said sweetly. She had given the pilot a kiss on the cheek for good luck when they had lifted off. He was smitten now, just like any other poor sap that had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of Ino's shameless flirting.
It had been three years since they had abruptly graduated from Konoha High and were forced on to the front lines of war. They had both been through a number of battles and lost many friends, but it never ceased to amaze Shikamaru just how little Ino had seen to grow up during that time. In a way, though, Shikamaru was glad for this. It reminded him of better days days, back when they still had their childhood innocence and youthful optimism.
A door in the transport's floor slid open and the deafening roar of rushing wind immediately filled the cabin. Shikamaru peered down at the landscape as it tore by, wincing as gusts of icy cold air tore at his skin. It was too dark to see the ground, but every few seconds, the night would be illuminated by a flash of light as another barrage of shrapnel detonated far too close for comfort.
It was hard to believe they were about to jump into that, without a parachute no less. A parachute would slow them down enough that a sniper might blast them on the way down. Hurtling through the sky and using their chakra to cushion their landing was the only way they'd make it to the ground in one piece. It was hardly ideal, but it was better than the alternative.
Ino leaned over, pulled down her mask and gave Shikamaru a long kiss on the lips, "I'll see you on the ground!"
And with that, the two Shinobi leaped out of the airplane and into the darkness.
CONTINUE READING IN "A NINJA'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING A SHINOBI WAR" - THE LINK CAN BE FOUND IN MY AUTHOR'S PROFILE.