Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? I know it sucks. I basically had to choose between getting my grades up and everything else in my life. I need a good job to support my drug addiction.
I found out that the Hokage's given name was Hiruzen. I guess it was revealed in some fan book or something. It would have been nice to know this earlier, damn it!
This chapter isn't really important to the plot, but hopefully it doesn't suck too bad.
It had been six months after Naruto started making weapons out of his own body and it was the summer of his tenth year. The weather in Fire Country was exactly how one would expect. Sweltering.
Nothing major had happened lately and it gave Naruto the chance to relax and work on any projects or training that he wanted.
A new Icha Icha Paradise novel was recently released and he and Anko were some of the first in line at the store. They were beaten, of course, by a silver haired jounin with one visible eye.
He and Anko both got a copy of the new addition, but they read it together because it was more fun. They didn't act anything out from the book because Naruto was still too young, but they had a good time giggling like perverted idiots and laughing at the humorous parts. The Icha Icha books weren't all sex scenes and a lot of the scenes were pretty funny.
Naruto spent some time practicing martial arts and sparring with Anko or the Sandaime, the former more than the latter. She showed him some of the snake-like style that she learned from her now hated ex-sensei.
Anko had told Naruto about how Orochimaru had given her the curse seal and abandoned her. She didn't break down and cry or want his pity; she was too proud and tough to do something like that. When speaking about those circumstances; though, Naruto could tell that she was upset.
The village at large had scorned her because of her association with the Leaf's most hated traitor. Whereas Naruto got most of the flak from civilians, Anko's problems came from the ninja forces. They didn't attack her, but they were wary of her and tended to keep their distance. It hurt her that her comrades had so little faith in her.
Getting close to Naruto and the Hokage was the greatest thing to happen to Anko in a long time.
The Sandaime had a bit of a conundrum. The Chuunin Exams were being held this year in the Hidden Cloud village. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but a Konoha ninja had made it to the final rounds.
The standard protocol for foreign exams was to send an obligatory team or two, but never anyone valuable. It was mostly a sign of good will. People didn't expect ninja from other villages to do well in the Chuunin Exams.
This was because the majority of ninja in the exam would be from the home village and they tended to target the visiting chuunin hopefuls. In any case, the exams were used to showcase the power of the village hosting them and unless there was some exceptionally strong foreign ninja participating, they didn't tend to make it to the finals.
In this instance, an unexceptional ninja from an unexceptional team just happened to get lucky and make it to the final round. The problem that arose from this is that it was generally seen as proper that the genin's respective Kage be present to observe the match.
It was a huge pain in the ass to try and get everything set up. You had to get clearance at every level, travel rights, blah blah blah, etc. It was no fun.
Then, the Hokage had an idea. He could cut down on the red tape if he didn't have some huge entourage. He wouldn't have to haggle with the council about allocution of forces. He wouldn't have to register all of his forces with the lightning country officials.
The reason he usually had to go to such lengths was because it would be foolish to enter potential enemy territory without a force strong enough to protect him. Now, he had Naruto. The boy had said he would be his assistant or body guard, so it was time for him to earn his keep.
After a few days of travel, Naruto and the Hokage were nearing the Village Hidden in the Clouds. With a few miles to go, Naruto asked the Hokage to stop and he went off behind some trees. Sarutobi just thought he had to go to the bathroom, but when he came back, his appearance left the old man stunned.
Naruto was just a little shy of eight feet tall. His weight was somewhere between four and five hundred pounds due partially to the height and the rest because of his rather large gut.
His skin color was a cross between black and purple. Two white feather wings protruded from his back, but they were comical and useless. They were very small, spanning about a foot and a half each, so they were not able to provide any lift to his massive body.
Naruto's nose was at the other end of the spectrum. It was extremely large, even for his giant form, stretching six inches from his face. He had medium length white hair that was combed back and a huge bushy beard, complete with mustache. To top it off, he had a stupid look on his face.
He wore a purple kimono with white rope decorations and four large ridiculous looking puff balls around the collar. His grey hakama were tied off below the knee. The outfit was completed by a pair of wooden geta with a single tooth that raised him seven inches off the ground.
A katana was tucked into his obi along with a gourd filled with sake. All in all, Naruto looked like the textbook tengu. Coincidentally, he did base his appearance off a textbook illustration.
Out of all the mythological creatures in the elemental countries, the tengu was the most revered. Naruto didn't really know why, he thought they were stupid looking. Besides, when was the last time a tengu did something for him?
Everyone else; though, seemed to have a hard for the legendary mountain men. Ninja especially viewed the tengu a somewhat of a deity. So, Naruto decided to fuck with the good people of Cloud by pretending to be a big, stupid tengu.
The Sandaime was about to tell Naruto that there was no way in hell he would allow him to walk into the Cloud village looking like that, but then he just thought, 'Fuck it!' Hopefully this wouldn't cause some international incident. Even if it did, he would just make Naruto go to war with Hidden Cloud by himself.
The Raikage, along with a delegation of village council members and a troupe of highly skilled ninja, awaited the Hokage at the gates to the village. The village itself was situated high up on the side of a rather large mountain. This was, of course, how the village got its name, as the high altitude often put the village in cloud cover.
The high altitude also allowed them a good view of the roads that approach the village, so when a sentry saw the Hokage approaching, the Raikage was notified and went out to welcome him.
The leader of Kumo thought it rather strange that the Professor would come to his village alone. The Hidden Leaf and Hidden Cloud were definitely not on the best of terms after recent conflicts and then the Hyuga incident. The old man was either very brave or very stupid.
He had to cut his musings short as the Hokage finally made it to the gates.
"Greetings, Hokage-dono. It is a pleasure to have you in our village."
"Thank you, Raikage-dono. If only your village was a little lower to the ground. My old bones are aching after that climb," the Hokage laughed. He always tried to play up the kindly old man image.
"I'm sure it was not so difficult for the God of Shinobi," said the Raikage, "though I am surprised that you made the trip alone. The roads can sometimes be hazardous." Indeed, the Raikage was contemplating having the old man killed because there would be no witnesses.
"Oh I'm far too old to make the trip by myself," the Hokage chuckled, "I was accompanied by my friend. He's just a little shy. Why don't you come on out?"
There was a small poof of next to the Hokage, but not of the standard ninja smoke. Dirty white feathers seemed to pop out of nowhere and flitter about. Everyone tensed and prepared for some sort of attack, but when the feathers cleared, many dropped there weapons or fell on their asses.
"Gyuuuuuuuuuu!" Naruto announced his arrival. The Hokage felt like slapping his own forehead but remained composed.
"Hokage-dono, i-is that a…" the Raikage stuttered.
"Yes," the Hokage answered as if this was all perfectly normal, "this is my traveling companion, and hopefully my friend, the tengu." His kind old smile was great for making even experienced ninja and diplomats stop asking questions. Grandpa knows best, bitch!
Naruto spun around in a circle before ending with another enthusiastic, "Gyuuuuuu!"
The Hokage was fighting to keep from laughing at this point… or crying.
"Well, come in, come in," the Raikage tried to regain some semblance of composure. After discretely checking for some genjutsu, as it wouldn't do to offend the Tengu or the Hokage, he turned to the still stunned crowd. "Make way for our most esteemed guests!" People began rushing about trying to prepare things to impress the tengu.
Sarutobi knew he would be drinking a lot during his visit.
They were led to their quarters, which were, of course, completely and utterly bugged. Despite that, the accommodations were quite nice. Hiruzen and Naruto were given separate suites.
A combination of Naruto's unwieldy size and impossibly tall single toothed geta contributed to the partial demolition of his room rather quickly. Naruto had decided to be as obnoxious as possible while still garnering the awe of the village he was visiting.
When ninja visited other villages, it was usually an uncomfortable experience for all involved. To limit this unpleasantness, the time spent in the foreign village was kept to a minimum. Pursuant to this, Sarutobi and Naruto's visit consisted of only one day. They arrived in the morning, were scheduled to eat lunch with the village leaders, would watch the chuunin exam in the afternoon, and depart in the evening with the team from Konoha.
The rooms were provided so that Hiruzen could "freshen up" and meet with the shinobi under his command. An hour and fifteen minutes before midday, the genin team led by Tanaka Hotei arrived at the Hokage's quarters.
Hotei was a man in his late twenties or early thirties. He had gelled black hair and wore baggy white clothes in the traditional Edo style. His genin consisted of two girls and one boy, the boy being the one to make it to the final rounds of the exam.
One of the girls, Moka or Mako or something like that (Naruto wasn't really paying attention), was pouting. She contended that the exams were somehow sexist, and for that reason her teammate had won out over his equally talented, or more so, teammates.
The other girl, who was by far the largest member on the team and who looked like someone you didn't want to meet in a dark alley, was surprising amiable about the whole situation.
It was easily seen that the boy was nervous, but he didn't appear to be overly afraid. He was of moderate height with brown hair and eyes. Everything about him just screamed average.
The genin were each around fifteen years old, which was apparently the average age for chuunin exam candidates.
After the initial pleasantries and talk about the exam, the jounin ventured, "Hokage-sama, there have been rumors that you were in the company of a tengu. Is this so?"
Sarutobi resisted the groan that tried to escape. "This is true. Tobi!" The Hokage made up the name on the spot. "Please come here. There are some people from my village I would like you to meet."
Naruto, who loved the whole Tobi the Tengu thing, lumbered into view of the team in all his purple glory. "Gyuuu!" The team politely bowed to the legendary creature.
Naruto returned their bow with a curtsey. Then, he clacked over on his wooden shoes to inspect the team more closely. First he bent down until he was uncomfortably close and stared into the jounin's eyes. When he was starting to sweat, Naruto gave a quick "Gyu!", a nod, and was on his way.
He sniffed the smaller girl, making her blush in embarrassment. To the larger girl, he gave the doorknob which he accidentally broke off a few minutes earlier. He pinched the cheek of the boy, gave a wheezing chuckle that was heaving on the "G" sounds, and then finally a pat on the back that caused the boy to stumble.
Naruto stood back from the genin team. He put his finger in his mouth and then flicked it out quickly causing a popping noise. Then, he walked away.
The team stood there for a few minutes, all with nonplussed looks upon their faces. Eventually, they looked to their Hokage.
"Uhh... he says good luck?"
Before the matches, the Hokage and Naruto as Tobi the Tengu were invited to a luncheon with the leaders of the Cloud village.
Meetings between leading shinobi were distinctly different than meetings between other diplomats. Shinobi are notable for using poison, so eating was a strange affair. Instead of a banquet prepared by a foreign cook in the payroll of a hostile village, both parties provided their own food. Usually, this was a simple bento box. Shinobi were not known for their opulence.
Naruto had a corn dog.
A relatively young kunoichi named Nii Yugito was present as a guard to the Raikage, but was also there in order to inspect the Tengu. The Raikage was pretty sure there wasn't a genjutsu, but he wanted to know more about this strange situation.
Yugito's unique situation as a Jinchuuriki gave her some insight into the supernatural. She was able to determine that the tengu was not a summon, and was, in fact, a supernatural being. She based this upon the feel of his energy.
"I met Tobi up in the mountains while I was fishing." Hiruzen was explaining. Old people like fishing, no need to ask grandpa anymore questions.
"Fascinating, Sarutobi-dono," said the Raikage. "Pray tell, how do you communicate with Tobi-dono?" Even the –dono now? Sheesh!
"I am not quite sure about this, myself," Sarutobi admitted (truthfully), "Perhaps since my summoned monkeys are almost human…" Hiruzen trailed off because he was talking out his ass.
Naruto, actually paying attention to the conversation, used another kitsune illusion to talk to the Hokage. To everyone else, it sounded like the same irritating "Gyuu!" noise.
"The tengu says that I am able to understand him due to my great respect for nature," relayed the Sandaime. In actuality, the words Naruto used were "great lust for trees".
"Oh," the Raikage realized the Sarutobi could act as a translator of sorts, "I'd be interested to know what life is like for one such as yourself."
"Pretty solitary, actually," came the response translated response, "I mostly protect woodland creatures, care for the forest, and as a hobby, I like to press wild flowers."
"What of the other tengu? Is there not some sort of community or village?"
"No, not really." Naruto had actually said that the tengu tended to congregate around supple young boys. Hiruzen thought it prudent to leave this portion out.
The Hokage and the Raikage ventured to the stadium in which the final round of the Chuunin Exams would be held. It was not as magnificent as the stadium in Konoha, mainly due to space constraints and a surprisingly strict zoning board, but it was still big enough to house most of the population of Hidden Cloud and many foreign visitors.
The seating area for the venerable leaders was situated above most of the stadium, about four fifths of the way up the side. While the general populace was seated in relatively comfortable bench seats, with a few sections of folding chair type seats equipped with arm rests for the "more important" members of the audience, the Kage's box was a sort of dais that jutted out about fifteen feet. Throne like chairs were situated on this flat stage, with the Raikage's being just a tad nicer, of course.
The area for the actual competition resembled any other exam area used in any other hidden village. Different terrain and environments were placed randomly in the arena, the eclectic mix designed to give an advantage to no candidate. That being said, the rocky plains that were prevalent in lightning country seemed to make a particularly strong showing. The lone tree placed off to one side could seem mocking if one were to read into the not so subtle political muscle flexing.
Hiruzen chose to ignore the favoritism. Everyone did roughly the same thing when they hosted the exams. Plus, the open field design was better suited to the crowd's bloodlust. Actual shinobi combat, consisting of stealth, subterfuge, and combat times under three seconds did not make for good entertainment. In this situation, flashy techniques and dramatic posing was more likely to catch the eye of most prospective customers and various minor lords.
He and the Raikage were some of the last to enter the stadium and the seats were already packed with the excited masses. Directly above the Kage box, the various bodyguards for the Cloud village leader were assembled. Two that stood out were a severe young blond with braided pony tails and a large dark skinned man with a mustache. Accompanying them was one inebriated tengu. He should have known that Naruto would actually put sake in his gourd.
Come to think of it, could Naruto even get drunk? He didn't think he could, especially on that amount of sake. Then again, the rice wine was often used to appease the spirits and Naruto was essentially an evil spirit… Oh there was no use trying to figure it out. The little bastard was probably faking it.
Now the black man and Naruto were doing curls with a ridiculously large barbell while the hot blonde (he was old, not dead) studiously ignored them. He took a page out of her book and put them out of his mind as well. He took a seat and awaited the beginning of the matches.
A little over five minutes later a jounin walked out into the center of the arena and the audience slowly quieted. The man announced the order of the matches and then called the first chuunin candidates, two boys from Hidden Cloud, down to the combat zone. The two bowed to each other, the referee, and the Raikage. The jounin referee chopped his hand through the air swiftly, signaling the start of the fight, and the jumped away.
Both boys immediately jumped back a respectable distance and eyed each other warily. One tried to start a chain of hand seals, but was interrupted by a kunai thrown by the other genin, who followed behind the kunai. There followed some taijutsu combat and eventually one of them got off a low level lightning jutsu, but by this point, the Hokage had stopped caring. He was sure they were some of the finest genin in the elemental countries, but still, it was rather boring. Hiruzen still paid some attention, he just wasn't enraptured.
The Raikage was probably similarly inclined, but for the sake of propriety, had to appear enthused. If Sarutobi didn't think it would look bad, he would get up and find one of the food stall whose aroma permeated the stadium.
The match finally concluded with one of the little shits trapping the other in first some wire and the then a submission hold.
After a five minute interlude, the next match began. This was the match that included the genin from Konoha. During the "random" drawing for the match ups, the Konoha boy was inexplicably paired against the genin from Cloud who was heavily favored to win the whole competition.
Despite the obvious desire from the Cloudies for the humiliation of the boy with a quick knock out, the match lasted a respectable amount of time. At least long enough for the audience to get into it.
The boy was obviously outmatched, but he knew it and kept trying to at least show off his skills to the judges. Of course, the judges from Cloud would sooner eat shit than promote someone from Konoha.
The match ended when the boy from the Leaf took some kind of electrified senbon to the shoulder. The judge called the match before too much damage was done. This was a benefit of having your Kage watch the matches. The other village was less likely to kill you, at least blatantly.
There was some polite applause for the genin by the audience. Sarutobi himself caught the Konoha boy's eye and nodded. This seemed to lift his spirits somewhat.
The rest of the matches continued in the same boring way. Although, one overenthusiastic genin's excessive use of explosive tags was rather entertaining. In the end, it was not the favorite who won the final, but rather a talented dark skinned kunoichi from Cloud.
As Naruto and Hiruzen were leaving the Village Hidden in the Clouds with the Konoha genin team, the Raikage and his entourage saw them out at the gates.
The leader of Kumo thanked them for their participation in the chuunin exams. He was sorry that no one from Konoha was promoted. He also told the honorable tengu that he was of course welcome to drop by Hidden Cloud for a visit.
Naruto spun around in a circle and threw some glitter in the air.
Sarutobi gasped, "The tengu blessing!" It seemed like the right thing to say.
The Raikage had a pleased look in his eyes upon hearing that. Sarutobi later told Naruto that was the gayest thing he had ever seen. Guy and Lee's spandex hugs had not yet occurred.
With that, they set off.
Sarutobi had excused the genin team to return ahead of them, citing that his old bones couldn't keep up the pace of impatient genin. He even said that he would allow them to stop by one of the resort towns on the way home as a reward for their performance in the chuunin exam.
Once the team was a few miles away and the Hokage was assured there was no one around, he turned and slapped the humongous tengu.
"Hey, old man!" Naruto changed back to his normal appearance. "What the hell?!"
"You little shit! Do you know how much trouble you could have caused?" Hiruzen yelled.
"Oh, come on!" Naruto regained his bluster, "You thought it was funny, too!"
The Sandaime huffed and walked away, head held high. Naruto scrambled to catch up.
"I know you did! I can see the smirk on your face, you liar."
"I can see it! Right there!"
"I'm gonna break your hip, you old geezer. Get over here!"
The appearance of the tengu is based off of the Evil Tengu from Dead or Alive: Unreal Tournament. It's been quite some time since I've played that game, so I might have imagined that stupid "Gyuu" noise it made. Did you notice that there are a lot of tengu statues in the Naruto-verse? There were some on the hidden Uchia things and some on the Fire Temple. Perhaps Naruto believes there should be more kitsune worship, instead?
I had the current Raikage in the manga as just one of the top Cloud jounin in this chapter. Also, Yugito would be pretty young in the current timeline.
Finally, what the hell is going on in the manga?! Everybody and their fucking brother has a sharingan now! If someone has one, they automatically become super awesome
Damn, this took forever!