Code: Disclaimer. I don't own Naruto or Busou Renkin, but I do love Okakura's antics.
Ben: What the hell does that have anything to do with not owning them?
Code: Nothing, really.
Chapter 4: Trouble
"The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was." Walt West
"Hey, Mahiro!" Kazuki called up, waving as he approached his sister in the halls of their dormitory.
"Oniichan!" she exclaimed, turning around.
He went up to Mahiro and her two friends and stopped, putting up a very serious face. She hadn't seen her brother look like that ever since the time she'd been bullied by some kids in middle school. He beat them all up, of course, for picking on his adorable little sister. So surely, this had to be something important.
"Please lend me your uniform!"
While her two friends tried to ponder up a reason of why Kazuki would need his sister's dress, Mahiro was blinking slowly. Did he just ask her for her uniform? What for? Ah well . . .
"Okay!" she yelled, giving him a thumbs-up.
Immediately, her friends took both of her arms and dragged her away, very quickly. They even kicked up a trail of dust . . . And now he was alone, and still in need of a uniform. How cruel the world was. Kazuki slumped in his posture, walking away slowly back to his room. In time though, he was walking with his normal posture again. Nothing could really make him depressed for long, because he would always just jump back up to try again. His similarities to Naruto were astounding, but only Naruto really knew just how similar they were, having been like Kazuki several years back.
". . . After that, her friends ran away, taking her with them," Kazuki relayed, scratching the back of his head apologetically.
"Of course," Tokiko muttered from her seat on his bed, "it's the most natural thing in the world to react like that when a boy is asking for a girl's school uniform. Anyways, it doesn't matter whether or not I'm wear a regular uniform. As long as I can walk around your school without raising suspicion, your P.E. uniform should do fine."
"That's right!" he exclaimed, slamming his right hand's closed fist into his left hand's open palm. "Those uniforms are unisex!"
"Alright, we'll think about how we should conduct the search tomorrow," she said, standing up to leave, receiving a nod from the brunette.
'One week until the matter reaches her brain,' he thought to himself, watching her walk away from the dormitory.
"Trouble brings experience, and experience brings wisdom." Anonymous
In the first day of the search, Kazuki entered the school gates to see Tokiko already there, wearing the P.E. uniform and waving him over with a piece of paper in her left hand. She was still holding her side with her right hand. Whether it hurt or whether it was just heavy, he didn't know, and Kazuki felt it sort of . . . rude to ask such a thing.
"The physical characteristics of the Papillon Mask Creator are written on this memo," she informed him, handing over the piece of paper. "I had a look at his armband while I was in the air. Judging from the lines, the Creator is a third-year student. Altogether, there are six classes in the third year. If we can check two classes top to bottom each day, we'll finish within there days."
"It's only a matter of time. Let me know if you find a guy like that. I'll come to confirm it afterwards."
"We still don't know his face though, right?" he asked hesitantly. "How will I know that it's him?"
"You'll know it when you see his eyes. The kind of eyes with a rotten look to them."
Meanwhile, in a room at an unknown location, a figure coughed violently in his bed. He was sitting up, with a glass of water on the nightstand next to him and several pills clutched in his hands. At first sight, one would think that he was merely sick.
"Master, are you all right?" Washio said urgently.
"Heh," the Creator muttered, "it was a bad idea to ride on top of your back without taking my health into consideration." He then raised his hand to swallow the pills, washing them down with water.
"Master," a woman spoke up, stepping forward, "it would be wise to leave here for now."
"Because of the Renkin no Senshi?" he asked.
"That and . . . that man, I don't trust him. Kawazui disappeared during his mission to tail the boy. The area was later found to have been the victim of a minor and concentrated earthquake."
"As I've said before, he stinks of death," Washio growled. "Has it been proven that he caused Kawazui's disappearance?"
"I was able to retrieve some of his frogs intact," a second man answered. "Their recording showed his death by the work of snake-like Homunculi, not of our making."
"I see, so he's finally branching off," the bedridden high schooler muttered. "Assemble the remaining Homunculi. You know what to do. Eliminate the threat."
When the Homunculi had left, he sighed and settled back into his bed, laying his head on the soft pillow.
'What will become of this?'
As it so happened, Tokiko and Kazuki had met up again under a sakura tree during the lunch break. From the looks on their faces, it was to be expected that their search wasn't going well, particularly when the person they were looking for wasn't even in school . . . not that they knew that, of course.
"He's really hard to find," Kazuki complained. "Really hard to find."
"What did you expect?" his partner asked. "It hasn't even been half a day since we started searching for the Creator."
"Is that so?" he replied, yawning widely.
"Hm? Are you tired? You have to get a decent night's sleep, Kazuki, or else you won't be able to function properly.
"What about you, Tokiko-san?" he shot back. "Are you all right? You've been holding your side since last night."
"Oh, you mean the matter?" she asked. "It's a bit heavy, so I'm unconsciously holding it, that's all," Tokiko explained. "It's really nothing to worry about. What we should be worrying about is the success of our mission, as well as Naruto's."
"I see . . . What's he doing, anyway?"
"He went off by himself to investigate into the mysterious individual helping the Creator make Homunculi," Tokiko replied just as the bell rang, signaling the students to start returning to class.
"What about school?"
"Left a Kage Bunshin."
"Man," Kazuki whined, "I wish that I had a Kage Bunshin to take all my classes for me."
"Instead of whining on and on or worrying about the two of us, why don't you get back to class?"
"Class," he muttered. "What class . . . Oh no!" He stood up and began running towards the school. "It's P.E.! That's right, I don't have my jersey!" Kazuki realized. "Then there's only one option! Mahiro!" he called, running into the school and into her classroom. "Lend me your P.E. Uniform!"
"Okay!" she said, holding up her P.E. shorts . . . the ones that girls wore.
"Doesn't he have a jersey?" Mahiro's brunette friend mumbled, the other purple-haired friend also in a state of disbelief.
"Trouble is the common denominator of living. It is the great equalizer." Soren Kierkegaard
'The scent of Homunculi . . . it stops here.'
He looked up at the large building in front of him. A church . . . ironic, since the beasts were savage man-eaters. It was an abandoned church to be precise, with shutters broken and walls cracked. Walking up to the large set of wooden double doors, he pushed them open slowly. It creaked loudly as the space in between widened, showering light into the room. There was nothing . . . But then again, what genius would leave things in plain sight when he knew that there were people after his whereabouts? Manipulating his wind chakra, he directed it to search the room for any cracks or other evidence of a hidden door.
It was a small door in the far corner of the church, large enough only for a thin high schooler to crawl through. The odor from inside was damp, suggesting that it led to an underground room. It figured, these villains always liked building bases underground, and Orochimaru was a prime example. All of Orochimaru's bases had been underground. The prisons were not, because they were prisons, not bases.
'Henge no Jutsu.'
Turning into a snake, the animal that he hated most, Naruto slithered through the small tunnel, traveling swiftly. Seeing a light, he sped up to reach the other end. What he saw when he came out was another empty room.
'Don't tell me that there's another secret passage,' the blond growled mentally.
'There is likely another secret passage.'
'Shut up, Kyuubi.'
He found the second secret passage, this time set in the floor in the form of a trapdoor. Unlocking it using a nifty and useful hairpin – remind him to thank Kiba sometime – he went down the stairs. The room that opened up from the second passage was filled with documents and files. Information on how to create the matter, the information that had sacrificed so many people. Right now, he was sorely tempted to just slice everything to pieces, but that would make the investigation all for naught. While Tobi lay unconscious in Naruto's hotel room, he had to find out himself who the link was.
'Homunculus matter creation . . . ingredients . . . associates!'
He took the folder quickly, opening it up. There was only one file inside, but there was a problem. All important information had been blacked out or destroyed. Had someone gotten here before he had? Cursing his inability to be any quicker, Naruto nevertheless packed up all of the files and folders into a storage scroll, for safe keeping.
"Well, might as well burn the room before I leave."
'What is it?'
'. . . someone is coming,' Kyuubi warned, before his presence disappeared.
'Someone's coming? Why? Answer me!'
"Shit, shit, shit," he muttered, making sure he had everything. A sliding noise was heard, probably the person crawling through that tunnel. "Damn! Forgot to close the secret doors! Okay, calm down Naruto, you can do this. Henge!"
A blond girl wearing the same uniform as Tokiko came down the stairs, her green eyes darting here and there warily. She was short too, shorter than even himself, and that was saying something, considering that they were both in high school . . . well, if the uniform was any indication, anyway. Also to consider was the slightly feral look that her face resembled.
"Everything is gone," she said to herself. "Someone's been in here recently. Hm?" That's when she spotted the single piece of paper on the floor. Picking it up, she read, "Haha, everything is gone and not here. Got you . . . there's no name . . ."
Naruto the piece of paper would've sighed in relief, but she was still holding him. His eyes would've bulged when she started sniffing him, the paper.
"I smell you, human."
'Human?! Then she's . . .'
He transformed back with a cloud of smoke, and by the time it dissipated enough for her to see, he was already at the top of the stairs. Determined, she chased after him just as quickly. Speed like hers wasn't human in this world, and he'd already guessed that she was a Homunculus. He'd have to remember to ask Tokiko about the uniform later.
"Stop!" she yelled, but he paid it no heed.
"I don't know what you want from me, but go away!" he yelled back. "I'm not tasty, I'm not a good fighter, and I don't have any important files or folders!"
"I never asked about that, but it seems that you're all three," she said, deadpanning.
He continued to run and she continued to chase, the two of them traveling through the forest quickly and without tiring. Naruto originally meant to lose her, but she was just as quick as he was, in reaction time, movement speed, and natural shinobi bounciness. He was hard pressed to consider her a Homunculus when compared with the others, but he remembered something that Kyuubi had said. Homunculi do not only take animal shapes.
"Don't make me hurt you!" the blond Homunculus threatened.
"Why should I stop?" Naruto demanded to know. "You're a Homunculus, and I'm a human!"
"Because, you can't go any further without me!"
"Without you? What do you mean I can't go any further?"
"The one you seek is in Homunculus infested lands," she told him. "We have a common goal, but without my help, you can't succeed."
"A common goal?" he asked, stopping, an eyebrow rising.
"Yes. The man's own investigation is nearing too close to my mother and her permanent location," she replied, stopping a fair distance away. She walked closer, just in case he attempted to run off again. "If he finds it . . ."
"Who is he?"
"You'll see when I get you into his base," she said snidely. "Besides, weren't you just running from me? I'm only doing this for my and my mother's benefit, but this meeting was an chance opportunity, particularly because you have something to get out of this as well."
Naruto stood silently, measuring how dangerous she would be if he had to fight her. Her body didn't seem like much of a fighter's . . . but then again, she was a Homunculus. If she didn't have an animal form, she probably had super strength like Tsunade or something. Besides the point, if he accepted her offer, they'd both get what they needed and none would be the wiser . . . but that wasn't really the shinobi way. He'd find a way to get the better deal later.
"Alright," he conceded, "you win the argument. First off, what's your name?"
"Why should I tell you?" she asked pompously. "It's common courtesy to introduce yourself first."
'Reminds me of Sasuke during the beginning of the Chuunin Exams.'
"Fine. The name's Uzumaki Naruto. I asked because we were going to work together, but you seem like the loner type."
"Hmph. The name's Victoria, I'd rather keep the family name a secret."
'Damn, no reaction . . . She's a tough nut.'
"Well, nice to meet you, Victoria. Don't get yourself killed," he said cheerfully while holding out his right hand.
"Che, who do you think I am, a small schoolgirl?" she growled, turning away from the invitation to shake hands. "Keep your hands to yourself. This is a one-time deal."
"You do look like a small schoolgirl though," he mumbled to himself grumpily, looking away hotly.
"If you are out of trouble, watch for danger." Sophocles
Night time . . . tranquil, sometimes lonely . . . and the time when Kazuki trains.
Kazuki held up the lance for a few moments, admiring its build in the shining moonlight. Returning to his task, he brought it down and placed himself into a combat stance, Busou Renkin at the ready.
'Tokiko-san told me to get more sleep, but . . . there's only a week left.I have to be able to use my lance freely by then,' he resolved. 'Once that's accomplished, I can go after the Papillon Mask Creator . . . that is, if I can master using it freely in time. Otherwise, I'm going to have to go after him, whether or not I can use the lance freely.'
"Alright, just like yesterday! One-thousand thrusts!"
Just like that, he began thrusting the lance, as if repetition would help him use it freely. Perhaps he was going on the definition of freely as in using the lance quickly, and thus the arm training.
"One! Two! Three! Four! Five! . . ."
He didn't know whether or not the training would help. All he knew was that he needed to become stronger, to protect his precious people. It wouldn't matter if he didn't learn how to handle the lance freely through this method, he'd eventually find a way, and then, he would beat the Creator to a pulp. He promised himself that even if he didn't achieve his goal before the time limit was up, he'd do what was needed of him. He'd defeat whatever many Homunculi there were and save Tokiko from oblivion.
With this mindset, he continued the search during the second day of school. In the morning and between classes, he'd camp out in the third-year's hallway, keeping a sharp lookout. So far, his efforts were fruitless.
Tokiko did the same, looking through every P.E. class that showed up. She interchanged between looking through the third-year's classrooms with a pair of binoculars or lounging around on the second floor of the P.E. Building and inspecting every student.
Thus, the second day passed and ended, with no leads.
'Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?!' Kazuki thought, seriously frustrated.
By the third day, they'd looked through all of the third-year classes, with no success.
'He's not here. He's not here!' he realized, a feeling of intense dread falling upon him. Was this what failure felt like? To be unable to do a thing to help someone . . . a precious friend. The inability to assist was painful, and his heart throbbed. He didn't want to be useless, he wanted to help, and yet, nothing was being accomplished. Every night, he continued to practice, hoping that he would become better, hoping furiously. Naruto was gone and Tobi was unconscious. Without those two powerhouses, it was up to him.
'Naruto . . . where are you?'
"Troubles are like babies – they only grow by nursing." Douglas Jerrold
"So they've been looking all throughout the school for me, have hey? Kukuku . . ."
"We were still unable to identify the boy within official Renkin no Senshi files. It seems that he is either unregistered or a trainee, but even looking through the training records, he wasn't found," Washio informed, reporting the situation.
"For now, forget it, Washio," Creator told him. "We obviously have the upper hand. By continuing to bide our time, she will eventually turn into a Homunculus, and my plans will finally come to fruition."
"And what if she kills herself before then?" the green-haired female Homunculus questioned.
"Ah well, a loss is a loss. Her transformation is nothing compared to . . . my final goal," he waved off. "As soon as my body recovers, synthesize the research done until now." He gazed out into the center of the room, where a single incubator with a Homunculus matter sat. "We start the final experiment."
And so, the end of the fourth day heralded the coming of a gloomy Kazuki, fresh out of school for the day and feeling down.
"We can't find the Creator, and even my training isn't going anywhere," he sighed to himself as he walked along the street with Tokiko. "In fact, the muscle strain and lack of sleep is starting to have a negative effect on me . . . Where's Naruto and his huge vat of energy when you need him?"
"Don't make such a weak noise," Tokiko reprimanded, not turning.
"That's easy for you to say."
"Let's stop searching the school today," she told him, stopping and turning around. "We weren't able to find him. It's either a problem with our search methods or the location that we're looking for him in. In any case, we need to reorganize before starting up the search again. That will be better."
"I understand," Kazuki replied tiredly.
"Hey! Why are you so tired?!" Tokiko demanded, moving closer to inspect him. "There's still a chance, it's not time for you to give up yet! Besides . . . it's not as if the time up until now was wasted either. What we have been able to find out is that he hasn't moved at all during these four days, the side effect of raising his guard. Added to this, there haven't been any victims in four days either, as a result of our investigation."
"So, all we have to do now is to pinpoint his location, right?" he asked, cheering up a bit.
"Yeah. For tonight though, let's think of what we'll do after tomorrow, and how we should go about doing it. You're also extremely tired, so go get some rest."
"Mm," Kazuki agreed. "Alright then. I'll see you tomorrow!" he called out, running the opposite way, but only going a short distance before stopping to turn around briefly. "Tomorrow, we'll catch that creator for sure!"
She gave a rare smile at his antics, but it disappeared quickly enough when the entry point of the matter began to hurt badly, making her grimace.
"Mm, Tokiko-san is incredible. She displays so much willpower and calmness, she's truly worthy of being called a Renkin no Senshi . . .," he talked to himself. "On top of searching for the Creator though, I have to train as well . . . Oh! I should ask her about how I can use my Busou Renkin freely!"
With that, he turned around swiftly, running back to where he'd left her. What he saw when he got there was Tokiko using a pole as a support, her body hunched over and racked in pain. Kazuki could hear her pained gasps, and he saw her moving slowly, a testament to the willpower that he'd just mentioned.
'Tokiko-san . . . '
He turned around swiftly, at the moment that she disappeared around a corner. Silhouetted by the setting sun was a young man with greenish eyes . . . it could also pass for dark teal. His hair was white, bordering silver, which spiked down in a cool sort of way. He wore a sleeveless violet shirt, and his pants were a pale aquamarine color, with purple sandals that were connected to purple leggings as one piece. He had a brown belt around his torso, a purple belt around his hips, and a second one around his waist, the one at the hips holding several water bottles.
"Well, well, well, I got separated from the rest but I seem to have stumbled across quite the interesting place," he purred in happiness. "So many people, so many people to take advantage of, but not enough . . . me."
The unknown individual poured out the contents of his water bottles, though hesitantly, but his hesitation vanished when the puddles of water deformed, reforming into exact replicas of him, each of them with a sinister grin.
"My first target, will be you,' he hissed out happily, taking out a large cleaver-like zanbatou from nowhere. "I'll enjoy chopping your limbs off," he finished, accompanied by lip-licking. "It's been a while since my bloodlust has been sated, and like I said before, I'll start with you."
In a blink of an eye, he had disappeared, reappearing behind Kazuki and his zanbatou already pulled back and swinging.
"Not fast enough!"
"A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself." Chinua Achebe
"Time's running out," Victoria growled. "Are you going to take your sweet time doing this or will I have to throw you inside?"
"Hey, hey," he warned, setting down his binoculars. "Scouting is important for the success of a mission. There's about thirty Homunculi in the courtyard, and more inside, but that's irrelevant." Naruto jumped off of the twenty-foot-high wall that surrounded the compound in the center of the defense against unwanted intruders. The thing is, he hadn't put shinobi in mind when he made these walls. "Are you ready, Vicky?"
"Don't call me that, but yeah, I'm ready," the blond Homunculus replied. "When I give the signal, you make a break for the second floor, where the security should be the weakest, from my mother's calculations. I'll distract and hold them off in the meanwhile."
"My job is to destroy the files that he possesses inside of the basement, right?"
"Yeah. Once the Homunculi in the first floor leave to investigate what's going on outside, you sneak in and burn everything, it doesn't matter what it is."
". . . Go!"
Making a Kage Bunshin quickly, he transformed himself into a senbon, quite a difficult feat, and let his Bunshin take a hold of his transformed state. The Bunshin then hopped quickly up the wall, appearing over the maximum height for just two seconds to toss the senbon at the second floor before disappearing behind the wall again. Mission accomplished, it disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"Hey you!" Victoria called out to the Homunculi. "I have business here, and I'd prefer not to tear you all apart." Behind her was the ruined remains of the steel gate, now crumpled and torn apart as if it were a piece of paper. In response to her call, the masses of Homunculi charged her, screaming in delight at the sight of fresh meat, Homunculus, human, or otherwise. "Foolish," she muttered.
Meanwhile, Naruto traveled quickly and quietly down the set of stairs into the first floor. All of the Homunculi were going after Victoria, so he set himself to concentrate on the location of the secret room. Like before, he spread out his wind chakra, searching every crack and space in the room until he found it. This time, it was a switch in the floor. By stepping on it, a path leading underground opened up. Unlike last time, he took great care to close the secret door behind him.
He could hear the sound of battle, probably from Victoria taking out her frustration against him on her enemies. Yes, he loved annoying people for fun.
"...sama, are you sure that there will be no interference?"
Naruto stopped quickly, going down the last few steps and hiding behind a corner. The voice was familiar, but he just couldn't place it.
"Yes, I'm sure. Soon, I'll be the master of this body, and not him. I will stop his intrusion, and become strong."
'Body? Intrusion? I still can't seem to place it, but . . .I've got a job to do.'
He slipped past the closed room and went off towards the deeper end of the compound, looking for the filing room. Luckily, Naruto came upon said room at the very end of the hall, though it was locked. Not a problem! After all, Kiba had taught him the ways of lock picking! There was no lock that either he or Kiba couldn't unlock! Pulling out his trusty – and lucky – hairpin, he placed it inside of the lock and began fiddling slightly, straining his ears for the telltale sounds of unlocking mechanisms.
Naruto went inside, closing the door behind him. Flipping a switch, he was surprised at the sheer amount of paperwork that had been stacked inside of the room. The pieces of paper and folders created a makeshift tower that threatened to topple at any moment.
'Oh well, I suppose I'm doing them a favor by incinerating these . . . Katon: Housenka no Jutsu!'
The dozen or so fireballs spread out in an area of effect, hitting about two-thirds of the room and paperwork in the process. His mission was accomplished. Even if the enemy reacted swiftly, the majority of the information would be lost and would not be salvageable.
'Time to make my getaway!'
"Vicky, mission accomplished," he whispered into his headset. "I'm moving out."
"Hurry the hell up! And don't call me that!" she replied furiously. "You're taking too long, and starting to piss me off besides!"
"I never knew you were the temperamental type," Naruto shot back, smirking as he ran past the same room. "At first glance, you seem to be an ice-queen."
"I'm not temperamental, only around your annoying self. I'm surprised that your friends don't think the same way."
"Oh, they do," he assured. "They do. Anyways, I'm out." He stepped out of the secret door and into the first floor, only to face a horde of Homunculi of varied animal shapes. "Uh, Vicky? I've run into a problem . . . a big problem. Seems that a lot of them were waiting for me."
Naruto's blood ran cold when he realized what must've happened when he received no answer.
"V-Vicky?! Are you there?!"
No answer came from the headset, meaning that either she'd been killed (unlikely), or she'd retreated (why wouldn't she answer), or she'd just plain ditched him. That whore! Whatever it was, he'd get his revenge, and it'd be served cold, the way all revenge was supposed to be dished out.
"Uh, I'm sorry?" he tried meekly. They roared and jumped at him.
"In times of trouble and disaster, we turn to God for strength and comfort." Jerry Moran
Kazuki stared in shock at the pair of clawed gauntlets that had stopped the zanbatou, barely. The owner was female, and wore a simple white, long-sleeved shirt and short cargo pants. Her hair was short and black, the majority tied up into a short ponytail while the rest of her hair hung in front of her face. Her piercing blue eyes were filled with resolve. It seemed as if she knew the guy's dangerousness. Grunting, she thrust her arms forward, pushing away the zanbatou and making the unknown and slightly shocked opponent step back a bit.
"Are you okay?" she demanded, not turning around to look at him. A flash of light behind her made her actually turn around, but her eyes widened at the sight of his Lance Busou Renkin.
"Thanks, whoever you are. I wasn't fast enough to summon it, and I would've been a goner."
"Ah, so there are two of you?" their opponent said sweetly, in a voice that reeked of murderous intent and said that he would kill them both if he were given the chance. "That's perfect! It evens up the odds a lot, doesn't it?"
Again, he did the disappearing act, but this time, he wasn't in sight.
"The ambush is always from the sky or from underground!" his female teammate shouted before grabbing him by the collar and jumping up into the air, just as the zanbatou came slashing through their previous standing spot.
"I won't let you get away!" the unknown enemy roared, before reaching back and sending his massive weapon into the air. The zanbatou spun in circles as it approached them, ready to tear them in half.
"Pierce, my Busou Renkin!" Kazuki yelled, the red sash turning gold. Roaring a battle cry, he thrust downwards, the point of his lance making contact with the edge of the hurtling blade.
'H-He stopped it?!' the white-haired individual thought. 'Che! I'll have to resort to that'
With a single command, his lanky arm suddenly transformed into a muscled monstrosity. Catching the falling zanbatou by the hilt, he then leaped off of the ground and into the air above them. With the enhanced muscles to bear at the enemy, the blade came down upon them at three times the spot. Both Kazuki and the female used their Busou Renkin simultaneously to block, but the force of the impact was too strong, and it sent them both tumbling into the ground.
"Pathetic," he spat out as he landed on the floor softly, without so much as a noise to accompany it. "I thought that you two would be some fun to play with. Seems like I was wrong. Oh well," he muttered, shrugging, "Maybe that blue-haired girl will prove more challenging."
He raised the zanbatou with a single, muscular arm.
"Pass on to the other world peacefully."
And then he swung down with a single motion.
"A contented mind is the best source for trouble." Titus Maccius Plautus
Naruto ran like hell was chasing him down. Figuratively, it was. The horde of Homunculi were hot on his trail, always behind him and never giving him a moment's rest. He'd be damned if he were caught and killed by these things, but there so many of them! He dodged a snake form's jumping bite, an ape form's crushing fist, and a bear form's gaping maw. At least they weren't all snake forms, or this situation would've been even more hellish.
"Vicky! Vicky! Please don't abandon me! I promise to do what you ask of me next time!"
'Shit! God damn!'
'You have reaped what you have sown.'
'Shut the hell up, baka-kitsune! You say stuff like that when you're not doing anything!'
'On the contrary, I have been biding my time and brain cells, to use in a situation such as this.'
'Biding brain cells? You talk as if helping me out . . . makes you . . . stupider.'
'The correct term is 'more stupid', ahou.'
"V-Victoria?!" Naruto exclaimed into the headset ecstatically. "What the hell have you been doing?"
"-static- interference . . . ! -static- -silence-"
". . ." Naruto sweatdropped and deadpanned at the same time. Was she toying with him or was there really interference? Actually, how do you get interference on flat ground unless there's a jammer of sorts? Well, there was the possibility that someone was interfering with the reception, but that would be impossible unless they were ninja or Homunculi . . .
"-static- out . . . Watch -static- out!"
A shadow loomed behind him, and he leaped to the right swiftly, barely avoiding the werewolf Homunculus' massive strike. Wait a second . . . werewolf?!
"Where the hell are you, Victoria?" Naruto demanded, hopping back to avoid another strike.
The werewolf moved extremely fast, as if it were a ninja. In the blink of an eye, it disappeared again, reappearing behind him with its clawed hands raised. Abandoning the talk, he turned around and quickly pulled out two kunai, one in either hand, and attempted to block the single blow. It worked, to an extent, but it still hurt him, such was the extent of the force placed behind the blow. The ten-foot-tall behemoth roared unearthly as it charged directly towards Naruto, who was prepared this time with a jutsu.
Though he wasn't as proficient with it as Jiraiya or Kakashi were, don't ask how Kakashi could do it with a face mask on, he was good enough with it to perform a barrier of an acceptable size. The mud that he spit out and hardened formed a wall that was ten feet in height, just large enough to match the werewolf. Where he couldn't improve in height, he could improve in width, so Naruto widened the barrier to a total of six feet.
Imagine the blond's surprise when the entire mud barrier cracked and blew apart upon impact, with the Homunculus continuing unchecked.
The werewolf rammed its shoulder into him, and continued running. The blow knocked out Naruto's breath, but he managed to turn his head to see that they were closing rapidly with a wall.
As with the barrier, it crashed through wall after wall, doing more damage to Naruto than itself.
"Holy shit, that thing is strong," he managed to cough out. "I've only got one way to survive this." He bit his thumb and began the process again, going through hand seals and slamming his right palm onto the ground. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
Like last time, a gama appeared, but this one was larger by about three feet, with heavier armor and two katana on its back. Seeing the werewolf Homunculus, its curious expression turned dark, and the gama pulled out both of its katana and placed them into an 'X' shape in front of itself.
"Summoner, are you injured?" the gama asked, its two eyes looking up at him questioningly.
"Not really," Naruto answered truthfully. "A broken rib or two, nothing serious. What is serious though, is that thing in front of you," he told the gama as he pointed. "Don't show any mercy, or it'll likely take your life."
The werewolf lunged quickly, claws outstretched and fangs bared. The gama stepped back, narrowly avoiding a sharp swipe to the face, and countered with its right katana, raising it and swinging down quickly. The werewolf dodged it, but the gama followed up quickly with a horizontal swing of its left katana. It connected, slicing the Homunculus in two, but before Naruto could celebrate, the two separated pieces fused, repairing the werewolf. In mere seconds, it was whole again without even a single scratch remaining.
"Ah shit, this ain't good."
'It seems that, as you petty mortals say, the proverbial shit has just hit the fan.'
'That just about sums this up.'
Roaring, it leaped into the air, the now darkening sky camouflaging it slightly. The gama was able to block the strike with its heavy armor thanks to the slight metallic sheen of the claws. Unfortunately, like before, the force behind the strike was very powerful, and the armor cracked slightly around the point of impact. Annoyed, the gama pumped chakra into its arms, enhancing its speed and slicing repeatedly at high speed into the werewolf. It continued until there were dozens of small lumps of flesh on the floor.
"Perhaps it had super regeneration, but can it really recover after being injured faster than it could regenerate?"
"Well, I don't want to find out. Get out of here," Naruto ordered, dispelling the gama.
"Not so fast, Naruto-kun."
He froze, almost as if he'd listened to the voice. No, he stopped for an entirely different reason. That voice . . .
"Yakushi . . . Kabuto . . ." Naruto growled out slowly. "That voice underground, I remember now. It was you, wasn't it?"
"Got it in one, Naruto-kun," the cloaked Kabuto said in a congratulatory tone. "I always did notice your intellectual change after those three years. Yes, I traveled here after extensive research and perfection of the former Orochimaru-sama's notes and previous research. You see, his ultimate goal was immortality, but it was never truly realized. In this world of Renkinjutsu, I can surpass Orochimaru-sama, by being what he so desired."
"Like I'd let you now that I know you're involved!" the blond snarled, going through hand seals. "I won't let you sick bastard do what you want! Fuuton: Daitoppa!"
The powerful wind washed over the Oto-nin, sending the hood of the cloak flying off and throwing the target of the jutsu back about a dozen feet. Kabuto's corroded face was revealed, this time an entire half of the face and not just around the eye. The pale white skin and yellow eyes of an Orochimaru trying to take over.
"Ah Naruto-kun, so rude. You should at least let me finish."
"Let you finish what?" Victoria asked, appearing behind him. "I've taken care of all of your . . . subordinates."
"There is one other shinobi that I captured and sent into this world, to check whether or not the dimensional portal was stable or not," Kabuto said, shrugging as if not caring. "He made it through alive, and so, I made my way in myself. With me gone, there is no one left who can manage the portal, I having burned the notes and set the device to self-destruct before I went through."
"You mean to say that no one else will be coming through?"
"I wondered how you were so similar to a Homunculus, Naruto," Victoria thought aloud. "Now it seems that you came from another world. Interesting."
"The specimen I sent in front of me . . . a fine specimen, just so you know, is probably already wreaking havoc," the white-haired individual informed. "The one you should be worrying about most however, is the one who possesses Momochi Zabuza's zanbatou . . . Suigetsu."
"In everything, the middle course is best: all things in excess bring trouble to men." Titus Maccius Plautus
Suigetsu frowned as yet another person interfered, blocking his strike and keeping him from drawing blood.
"I wondered what the commotion was all about," Tokiko muttered, panting.
She'd run all the way back, despite the pain, and activated her Busou Renkin just in time to save Kazuki and the other Renkin no Senshi. Tokiko didn't recognize her . . . probably a new recruit, but she'd have to question the girl later, after the threat was dealt with. While the large sword would've been a hindrance, the muscular arms kept it going at a fast enough speed to do massive amounts of damage while letting him defend himself appropriately and efficiently.
"Who are you?" the blue-haired girl demanded.
"Oh? Your ability seems better than those are two's," the white-haired male commented. "Heh! The name is Suigetsu, pleased to meet you." He bared his sharp teeth in a predatory grin as he raised the zanbatou again with his muscular arm and jumped back five feet. "You managed to block my strike, even though I've been genetically altered to have super strength. Therefore, I must kill you to regain my pride," Suigetsu announced. "On another note, I was planning to kill you after I finished those two off, anyway. Do me a favor and put up a good, bloody fight until I slice you up into pieces."
"Over my dead body!" she snarled, her eyes becoming heartless.
"That's exactly how I prefer it!" he yelled in return, jumping into the air. "I'll crush you!"
Tokiko jumped forward, dodging his aerial strike. Her four blades swung out, aiming for his arms first, but he parried them all with a wide swing of the zanbatou. Heaving back, he swung and let go of the large cleaver, sending it flying at Tokiko. She hopped onto the spinning zanbatou and hopped off of it again, now charging at the unarmed Suigetsu. The blades of her Valkyrie Skirt sliced into him consecutively.
"Hah! You're better than I thought!" His body reformed like water, reshaping itself into his unharmed body. "Though I'm sorry about that, but you won't be able to defeat me with such a thing."
Suigetsu back flipped, avoiding Kazuki's attack. The brunette's eyes widened when Suigetsu twisted in the air and connected a devastating kick to his head, sending him skidding across the floor.
"This is no fun," Suigetsu growled. "You're all too easy to play with." He caught the gauntlet of the other girl and brought his arm forward and down, slamming her into the ground. "See? Three against one, but you don't stand a chance."
One of Tokiko's blades flashed past his face, creating a shallow scratch and drawing blood. Suigetsu looked at it momentarily, then at the offender with narrowed eyes. His face twisted into a sick grin, his tongue flashing out to lap up the blood that slid down his face.
"Delicious, but yours will taste better," he hissed, holding out his left hand. "I'll cut off your fingers and toes first, and then your limbs, and finally your heads, until I'm satisfied with the amount of blood. I'll create a slaughter out of you three!"
Tokiko was about to retort when she felt a tingling sensation run through her. Adrenaline? She ducked her head, using her free arms to bring down Kazuki and the other girl with her, just as the zanbatou that Suigetsu had thrown earlier barreled over their heads, barely missing them. Had they not hit the ground, it would've cleaved them into two pieces at the torso. The large weapon was caught by Suigetsu, falling into his outstretched hand. Immediately, he set the blade on his right shoulder and charged forward, fully intent on chopping them up.
"I'll start with the brunette!" he screamed maniacally, swinging down with both of his arms in their muscled state.
Kazuki put up his lance in a feeble defense, but that was knocked down as if it were nothing, and he got a sprain in his arm to boot. Suigetsu stepped on the lance and punched the brunette in the gut twice with his left hand, ducking under one of Tokiko's swipes and taking up the zanbatou again to try and cleave her in half.
She jumped over it and went straight for him, but Suigetsu merely continued the swing until the blade came around again, forcing Tokiko back onto the defensive.
"Hah! You're pretty agile," he commented, rushing forward again. "However, will you be able to win just by dodging? Hm?!"
"Che!" Kazuki growled, finally recovering from the rapid blows that he'd suffered earlier. "We have the determination and advantage in numbers!"
"Quality over quantity, I always say," was the witty reply. "You could come at me with one-hundred of you, but it wouldn't make a difference! I'm above your level! You stand no-"
He stopped suddenly as he reached for one of the water bottles attached to his belt. Flipping the cap off, he began guzzling water, downing the entire bottle before replacing it carefully and wiping away at his mouth for any extra water. Suigetsu sighed, whether in relief or satisfaction, but his visage returned to its normal maniacal look.
"Anyways, you guys don't stand a chance!"
"W-Why did you suddenly need to drink so much water?" Kazuki asked, pointing.
"That's my secret to tell or withhold. Beat me, and I'll tell you, but the chances of that are . . . ZERO!"
'When I attacked him earlier, he turned into water,' Tokiko thought carefully. 'And now he was forced to stop talking and drink an entire large bottle's worth. There has to be some sort of relation. What if, to perform that water technique, he needs to also consume a lot of water. If we can hit him repeatedly over a long period of time,' she realized, 'we can force him to fall back because of the lack of liquids in his body!'
"Hm? You there, with the scar, you look like you've gotten a sudden revelation."
"Kazuki, distract him!" Tokiko yelled to him. "You, the other girl! Get your shots in when you see them! Don't go running in like a headless chicken!"
"Headless chicken?!" she yelled back. "I've never done that in the duration of the fight!"
"Well I'm warning you not to do it now! Kazuki, go!"
"Roger!" he yelled, taking up his lance with two hands. "I'll follow your orders, even if it means that I'll die, as long as he's defeated!"
The red sash began glowing a brilliant gold, far brighter than the previous times that this had happened. The determination in his eyes and his faith in his comrades practically rolled off of him, and the sash seemed to glow even brighter. It was as if the sash fed on his determination, releasing more energy in response to a greater flow of determination. Kazuki brought his lance down into a position where he could charge with it. He then proceeded to wrap the sash around the blade of the lance, amplifying the speed and damage that the direct charge could result in.
"Ah, finally you show some strength!" Suigetsu said in a satisfied tone. "Let's see what that lance of yours can do! Come!"
Without a word, Kazuki sprinted forward in a burst of speed that surprised even Suigetsu, though not much. He was a shinobi, and he would never be caught off guard by a mere civilian. Suigetsu nevertheless raised the zanbatou flat side out, holding the handle in his right hand and reinforcing the flat edge with his left palm. Both arms bulged with muscles and he spread his ground, prepared for any type of force that would impact the sword.
"Pierce!" the brunette roared, and at that moment, the sash around the lance's blade gave one last burst of light.
Suigetsu growled as the light temporarily blinded him. In that split second of disorientation, Kazuki's Busou Renkin rammed point-first into the flat of the zanbatou with such force that it began pushing the white-haired sword wielder back at a frightening speed.
'W-What?!' he exclaimed to himself. 'How the hell is he doing this? How is my strength being beaten?!'
Sliding the lance under the zanbatou, he pulled up, the zanbatou being thrown into the air. Because Kazuki's strength was stronger, Suigetsu was thrown off balance, his arms in the raised sky-high. The brunette then brought down the lance and stabbed forward, but it was dodged by a last second sidestep.
"That is strong, I've got to admit, but it's nothing without speed. If I can dodge it, the move becomes worthless."
Kazuki thrust again, Suigetsu dodging this time by hopping back, straight into the other girl's attack range. She came down from the sky and slammed her gauntlets into where he'd been only a second earlier, creating a medium-sized crater of about six to seven feet in diameter.
"Nice," he whistled appreciatively. "You remind of some of the PMSey kunoichi back ho-whoaaaa-me!" Suigetsu cried out, ducking under another swing of the gauntlet. "If you guys keep not being able to draw any more blood, then I'll take my turn!"
Both the girl and Kazuki appeared on either side of him, charging forward. Suigetsu jumped, causing the two to slam into each other and fall into a crumpled heap onto the floor. He smirked at the sight, but frowned when a shadow fell over him. Before he could swing the heavy zanbatou, genetically enhanced muscles or not, Tokiko had sliced into him. His body turned into water, but she kept slicing. Suigetsu felt his watery eyes widen when he saw the steam. By the time, his mass had hit the floor and reformed into his body, Tokiko was already a safe distance away from any retaliation.
"What the hell was that?" he demanded, taking up the zanbatou. Squinting his eyes, he could see the blades of Tokiko's Valkyrie Skirt were red hot, having been heated up. 'Shit, she's trying to evaporate the water!' Suigetsu realized. 'She's a clever one, finding the single weakness within my defense.' ". . . But that won't be good enough!" 'Suiton: Bakusui Shouha!'
"Trouble shared is trouble halved." Dorothy L. Sayers
"S-Suigetsu?!" Naruto exclaimed, eyes wide with surprise. "You sent him here?!"
"Why, did I not already say so, Naruto-kun?" Kabuto replied mockingly. "Your hearing must be off, or maybe this lax world is rubbing of on you. So, what will you do? Will you stay and fight me, to prevent me from reaching my goal? Or will you return to the city, to protect your doomed friends?"
"You mean to tell me that Suigetsu is in Ginsei?"
Naruto brushed past him as he sprinted towards the gate, not letting the Oto-nin finish.
". . . How rude," Kabuto muttered, his single yellow eye flashing in the darkness. "Well, what of you, H-" He turned around to see that Victoria had also left without making a single noise. "How annoying."
Naruto applied chakra to the soles of his sandals and throughout his legs, to improve the travel time to Ginsei. His cloak, brand new but tattered as a result of battle, fluttered behind him as he moved at speeds rivaling that of a car. Trees flashed past him as he continued at top speed, disregarding any fatigue that he might feel when he finally reached his destination.
'Hang in there, Kazuki, Tokiko!'
"Hey!" Victoria called out to him from quite a distance behind him. She'd been traveling by means of sprinting through the forest floor, and while it was less efficient then tree-hopping, it was the only way a non-shinobi could possibly keep up. "Why did you suddenly run off like that?"
"How can you even keep up with me?" the blond shinobi replied, shooting off his own question.
"Aside from that, we need to hurry," Naruto told her. "Suigetsu is no pushover. I've seen him fight."
"Well, how does he fight?" she asked him.
"From what I saw in the only battle that I've seen him fight in, he uses brute strength Kenjutsu and Ninjutsu to overwhelm the enemy, using a special defense to counter his opponent's offense. When he gets hit, his body turns into water, eventually turning back into skin and flesh in a few seconds if he's not attacked again. He needs to consume a lot of water to keep up that defense, but he's usually good enough to defeat his opponent before he runs out of water."
"How do you beat him then?"
"You either burn him up with a really big jutsu, get him on the defensive and keep slicing and dicing, or you take away all of his water," Naruto listed off. "It's really easy to say that, but it's another story to actually do it on the guy."
"And that's just to bypass the defense, right?"
"Right!" the blond shinobi confirmed. "After beating his defense, you have to beat him, which is a pain in the ass!"
The forest around them eventually gave way into the countryside. Farms and houses became more common as Victoria and Naruto continued running, and when they saw the light cloud of smog in the air, they knew that they were approaching Ginsei. Really, any city would have a thin screen of the car-related smog, but Ginsei was the only city near Kabuto's temporary base. Like Orochimaru, Naruto knew, Kabuto was always on the move, never staying in one place too long lest he be discovered.
"I normally would've left you by now, but I'm intrigued with this Suigetsu guy," Victoria told him. "I want to see for myself what he's like."
"He's a cocky bastard," Naruto said bluntly.
"That's a given, if he's anything like you," she replied just as bluntly. "If you ask me, you're an overconfident idiot as well."
"Never wait for trouble." Chuck Yeager.
Suigetsu had taken a deep breath and was prepared to spit out large amounts of chakra, just like Kisame, when a sudden yell caught his ears.
He looked up and would've gone slack-jawed if it weren't for the fact that his mouth was about to burst with water. Suigetsu leaped back, avoiding the hail of kunai and shuriken easily. He thought that perhaps the opponent was a newbie, that's what he thought, until the offender appeared in front of him and jabbed him in the gut with a quick punch. The white-haired Kenjutsu user gagged as he breathed out, spilling large quantities of water as he did so. Canceling the jutsu and swallowing what water he had left, he glared at the newcomer.
"Why don't you pick on someone of your own skill level," Naruto baited, "Houzuki Suigetsu."
"You know my full name," the person of interest replied scathingly. "That makes you a shinobi. Any fool can throw around ninja weaponry, but you know my name, and nobody here should."
"I'm going to defeat you, here and now! I know all about your relation with Sasuke-teme!"
"Sasuke . . . teme?" Suigetsu repeated. "Hehehahahahahahaa!" he roared in laughter. "Ah yes, I know who you are now. The infamous Kyuubi jinchuuriki, Uzumaki Naruto!" Pointing with his left, he placed the zanbatou carefully on his right shoulder. "I have no idea where I am. That god damned Kabuto got me with a big force of Oto-nin, forcing me into the damned machine, but anyways, I'm taking you down and I'm going to add your head to my collection."
Roaring, he took the zanbatou with both of his muscular arms and swung with all of his monstrous strength. Naruto ran forward, ducking smoothly under the swing and pulling out two kunai. Suigetsu let his right hand leave the handle, swinging his fist clockwise. In response, the blond shinobi hopped over both the fist and Suigetsu, landing softly on the other side. Naruto quickly lashed out with the kunai in his left, slashing into the water-like body that Suigetsu possessed.
"In battle, I can make myself feel nothing," the blond said dully. "I can sacrifice my emotions completely to accomplish my objective."
"Such is the way of shinobi," Suigetsu replied scathingly. "You're starting to sound like that Haku wimp."
Naruto's posture and stance stiffened, his eyes turning stone cold.
"Don't you dare insult him."
"And what if I do? Can you stop me?"
The blond jinchuuriki flickered behind the white-haired sword user, his eyes red and slitted. Suigetsu was surprised at the speed and the sight of the eyes, but only for a moment. Unfortunately, that single moment cost him his chance to defend. Naruto roared, his right hand shooting forward to grab his opponent by the neck, attempting to choke the zanbatou wielder. Suigetsu attempted to pry off Naruto's arms, but the fiery red chakra that began coating the arms burned his skin at a single touch. Also, if he tried to turn into water right now, the superheated chakra would evaporate everything.
'Shit, shit, shit! What a crappy time to be placed in 'check'! I shouldn't have provoked him like that!'
"I'll . . . I'll . . . I'll kill you! I'll crush your throat!" Naruto growled, tightening his grip, pushing Suigetsu against the wall roughly.
"Heh," Suigetsu chuckled out, amazingly, "You really got me good. You're the winner, as long as you kill me, but what about your friends?"
Suigetsu had managed to perform the Mizu Bunshin no Jutsu, using the water from the failed Suiton: Bakusui Shouha, creating Bunshin to surround Tokiko, Kazuki, and the other girl. Each one had their zanbatou out, holding them up to show that they could take the lives of their captives at any moment. Seeing this, Naruto's vision began to blur. He was still in a state where he could recognize comrades, but his bloodlust was flowing too heavily for him to be able to decide clearly. Should he kill the one that had insulted Haku and his existence, or should he save his recently-made friends and one stranger?
'Gyahahaha! Kill them all' Kyuubi roared. 'Comrades are useless if they can't fight! Let them all die!'
'But . . . but . . . they're my . . .'
'Friends that need protection? That require your constant attention? That are useless?'
'That might be true, but . . .'
"Well? Have you decided?" Suigetsu questioned with a smirk, though he was beginning to turn blue from lack of oxygen. "Go ahead, kill me, but my Bunshin will live long enough to kill your friends. There's two options and one choice, Uzumaki Naruto."
"No," Naruto whispered, looking down, "I won't."
"I won't sacrifice their lives!" he shouted, turning his head back up to reveal sapphire-blue eyes. "It doesn't matter whether or not I know them or I don't! They are people, precious or not, and I will protect them! I won't sacrifice them! I won't!"
The several Mizu Bunshin all dissipated into water, resulting from weapon strikes. From behind them were Naruto's Bunshin, created from the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu.
"How-" started Suigetsu, but was interrupted by being thrown onto the floor.
Stepping on Suigetsu's chest so as to prevent movement, Naruto began the hand seals to perform the Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu.
"H-Hey! W-W-Wait just a s-second!" the target in question cried out.
Ignoring this, Naruto let out the flames that were welling in his gut and mouth, fully intent on killing Suigetsu.
"Wise are they who have learned these truths: Trouble is temporary. Time is tonic. Tribulation is a test tube." William A. Ward
AN: Sorry for the late update. First, I read the entire Black Cat manga volume set in three days, and watched all of Zero no Tsukaima in two days. So far, I've watched about ten episodes, or half of Shakugan no Shana in a single day. Argh, I'm becoming an anime/manga addict! Also, I hit a bit of writer's block in this AU chapter, where everything starts branching off from the actual storyline. Suigetsu! Mwah, cool Suigetsu! And you all thought it was Orochimaru, didn't you? Hah! Orochimaru is dead, and Kabuto is the new super villain now!!! Wahahahaahahahahaaha!
Zanbatou – Horse Slaying Sword
Henge no Jutsu (Transformation Technique) –E-Rank – This jutsu warrants a rank of E because any and all ninja of all levels and ranks know this jutsu. Essentially, the user uses chakra to create an illusion that makes them appear to be something else. Because of the effect of the illusion on the user's mind, it makes them believe that whatever they are feeling is actually real, and that whatever weight is real, when in actuality, it is just the same as before. This jutsu classifies in both the Genjutsu and Ninjutsu departments. Skilled ninja learn to notice others under the effect of Henge, particularly because the complexity of the transformation effects the amount of chakra placed into the jutsu, and as such, making it more noticeable.
Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Technique) – B-Rank – Unlike the normal Bunshin no Jutsu, the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu creates real flesh-and-blood copies of the user. They can fight, experience emotions, and perform jutsu just like the user. When using jutsu though, they have to use the store of chakra that was placed in them during creation. The amount of chakra in Kage Bunshin can be altered. Any information and mental experience that the Kage Bunshin experiences is also passed on to the user when they are killed or dispelled, which makes it particularly useful for missions involving reconnaissance and stealth.
Kuchiyose no Jutsu (Summoning Technique) –C-Rank – The user, after making a blood pact with an animal group, draws blood on their signing hand and performs hand seals. They then slam their hand into something solid, preferably the ground, to summon a creature from another plane of existence. The size and strength of the creature are comparable to the amount of chakra used in the summoning, and the amount of control exercised. Each animal group has a 'king' the strongest of that animal.
Doton: Doryuuheki (Earth Release: Earth Encampment Wall) –B-Rank – In the same process as many Katon jutsu, the user transforms chakra welled up in their gut into mud, which they then spit out onto the ground. The mud then hardens rapidly into a solid wall, the height and width of the barrier depending solely on the amount of chakra used to perform the jutsu. It's real weakness is brute force that can break through the barrier or a jutsu of the Raiton group.
Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu (Fire Release: Grand Fireball Technique) – C-Rank – Similar to the Doryuuheki, the user releases pent-up chakra from their gut and manipulates the chakra into flames as the chakra enters the throat, thus breathing out fire. Depending on the force that the flames are expelled, the fireball will either stay put or begin moving on a path of destruction. The size of the fireball is relative to the amount of chakra used in the jutsu, and is one of Konohagakure's most basic Katon jutsu.
Katon: Housenka no Jutsu (Fire Release: Mythical Fire Flower Technique) – C-Rank – Like the Goukakyuu no Jutsu, the user performs hand seals and gathers their chakra in their gut, transforming it into fire using the most basic of nature manipulation. By breathing it out through the chakra-coated windpipe, which is there to prevent severe burning, the user can breathe out anywhere from half a dozen to several fireballs, depending on the amount of chakra used. This jutsu is normally used as support or as a distraction, to set the stage for a more powerful one.
Mizu Bunshin no Jutsu (Water Clone Technique) –C-Rank – Unlike Kage Bunshin, Mizu Bunshin cannot retrieve and distribute information, nor can it think for itself. They can still fight and perform jutsu, but Mizu Bunshin are created with only one-tenth of the power of the original. Also, this jutsu can only be performed near a body of water, and Mizu Bunshin cannot stray too far from it or suffer the consequence of being automatically dispelled. Even still, like all other Bunshin, they cannot travel far from the user, or the commands will not reach them and they will dispel.
Suiton: Bakusui Shouha (Water Release: Exploding Water Shockwave) –Unique – A jutsu of the same origin as the Nidaime Hokage, and previously only performed by Hoshikage Kisame, this jutsu allows the user, like in Katon jutsu, to transform chakra into water and release it in mass quantities. With enough chakra, entire battlefields can be created, destroyed, or changed as the user desires. Unfortunately, it is impossible for normal ninja to create water from chakra, a skill only a select few are born with, thus, ninja with this skill are highly prized and contested for.