The weather was grey and stormy as Darth Cookie and Fluttershy made their way to the Latverian castle that I had recently purchased. As they neared the gates, lightning struck a few feet away from them causing the yellow Pegasus to hide behind her traveling companion.
"There, there Fluttershy," said Darth Cookie gently as she patted the shy pony on the head.
"I-I'm scared," whimpered Fluttershy while shaking like a leaf. "Why are we here again?"
"Because my boyfriend needs a hand moving into his new place," explained Darth Cookie. "And we're also here to help with his next top ten list."
Suddenly the doors to the castle opened to reveal me, Darthvalgaav.
"Hey girls," I said with a grin. "Ready to lend a hand… Or a hoof?"
"How about we do that while we help bring in your things," said Darth Cookie. "I'm sure your readers really want to start this chapter."
"I guess your right," I admit.
"Umm, by the way, how did you get this place?" asked Fluttershy.
"I bought it off Dr. Doom," I said with a grin. "He just got a bigger and better castle down the road, and he sold it to me cheap, only cost me fifty pesos. For some odd reason he wouldn't accept American dollars. Anyways, this is perfect because this place fits in with my list: top ten villain lairs!"
"Number ten on the list is Phibrizzo's temple in Slayers. While the outside doesn't look at all intimidating, the inside well makes up for that with a giant pillar holding the souls that its owner can use at a mere whim. That sends a little chill down my spin when I think about it.
"Number nine is a classic: the Technodrome. It's a freaking fortress that moves underneath cities, and holds technology from a different dimension. I never got what the big eye was for…but it still looks cool!
"For number eight Wraith Hive ship. I love Stargate, but in SG-1 none of the bad guys had imposing looking ships. They just looked weird. Atlantis, on the other hand, had Wraith Hive ships that were basically carriers holding thousands of soldiers as well as Space flyers. And they had this living organism thing that I thought made it look all the more evil.
"Number seven is Lord Zedd's moon base. This place is perfect for him since it was once a fortress of good until he began to corrupt which is his style. It is also a little terrifying, realizing that he can do that to anything and his base beginning a prime example.
"Number six is the Death Star. Yeah, how could any list not have this space station on their list? It's a classic planet destroying space station."
"Wait," said Fluttershy. "It destroys planets? What about all the cute little animals?"
"Well they sort of die along with the planet," I said. Before I could say anything else, Fluttershy shot out the window at an amazing speed and headed upwards.
Meanwhile, in a galaxy far away, the emperor sat in his chair inside his newly rebuilt Death Star. A smile graced his deformed features as he looked out his window.
"Finally," he said. "After all these years my third Death Star is now completed. Soon I will retake the galaxy and…is that a yellow pony flying towards me?" Sure enough, Fluttershy was flying through the vacuum of space towards the Dearth Star. Once she was able to touch it with her hooves she began to push it towards the nearest sun.
"Well shit," said the emperor. "Ok, I give up. When your evil empire is defeated by a pony you know you have to throw in the towel. Enjoy the story."
Tsunade needed a drink. It had been one week since the end of the tournament as well as the fight against Orochimaru and his followers, and since then much had happened.
Following the announcement of the winner of the tournament, someone had been kind enough to spell out what Shion wanted from both Naruto and Sechs. After that little discussion they both ran for the hills as if they were being chased by demons. While Anko and Hinata went off to comfort (and/or yell at) the blond for winning said prize, it was left to Tsunade and Jiraiya to explain to Shion that she might have to wait awhile before her knights in shining armor returned to her. At first Shion didn't take the news well but when Jiraiya whispered something in her ear she seemed more able to accept the situation.
Once that was over, things seemed to spiral downhill. They had returned to the village were Tsunade was quickly announced as Hokage. That part hadn't been so bad. But, what came after was: paperwork. When she had gotten to her office it had been filled knee high with documents that she needed to go over before anything could be done. The academy needed new supplies and she needed to start thinking about future three man teams for the graduating class. There were mission requests that she needed to sort. Repair bills from when the village was attacked as well as other damages that had occurred afterwards. In short, it was hell.
Then there were the results of the chunin exam. She had to go over who made it to the finals, talk to the examiners, go over her own shinobi's histories, and several other things. And she had to do it quickly due to the state the village was in so she could start sending them out on more advanced missions in order to help the village's income as well as not making it look like they had lost any real strength during the recent invasion.
But that hadn't been the worst of it. No, that honor went to the constant interruptions that she was getting. The first few weren't so bad, coming over to congratulate her, welcome her back, and so on. But then came the shinobi or citizens who wanted her to do something for them. Wanted her to do some sort of favor in exchange for support or whatnot. Then there were the people who came over just to bitch. Moaning about how the town still wasn't up and running. Crying about how their son still wasn't a chunin. Bellyaching for reasons Tsunade just couldn't bring herself to care about.
One of the worst had been Hiashi. On her second day of office he had stormed in before she could sit down. Tsunade asked him what he wanted which he replied by demanding that he be allowed to place the bird cage seal on Hinata. Tsunade's reply was to tell him no before ordering him out of her office. Hiashi tried to argue his case, saying that it would be best for his clan as well as making sure that the Byakugan never fell into enemy's hands. Tsunade responded by saying that if that was really true then all members of the clan would have that seal placed on them before ordering him to once again get out.
That had been a real test of the new Hokage's patience. When he first brought up the seal she had wanted to punch him right trough the wall to get him out of her office as soon as possible, but she restrained herself. Acting like that might cause a rift between her and those under her. While she might not like some of them, she had to treat them with at least some respect and not act like a bully.
And today was shaping out to be no better than her previous days. When she entered her office there were several more stacks of papers that needed her attention as well as several other duties, but she supposed it could have been worse.
"Tsunade," said Koharu as she and Homara entered her office without knocking. Looking up, Tsunade could see that she was holding a piece of paper.
Crap, it just got worse, she thought.
"We have an important matter to talk to you about Hokage-sama," said Homara.
"I'm sure you do," said Tsunade evenly as she looked at the elder pair. "It must be important seeing as the both of you entered my office so rudely." Her comment didn't seem to faze either of them. Tsunade sighed. "So, what seems to be the problem?"
Koharu held up the piece of paper. "This is the problem," she said. Raising an eyebrow, Tsunade took the paper so she could read it better. It didn't take long for her to realize that this was a list of the genin she was planning on promoting. However, Tsunade hadn't shared this information with anyone yet.
"Where did you get this?" demanded Tsunade.
"That doesn't matter right now," replied Homara plainly. "We are here to tell you that you need to make changes to it."
"Specifically removing one of the names," added Koharu.
Tsunade closed her eyes for a moment. "You mean Naruto," she said. This had been the reason why she hadn't shown anyone the list yet. While there were more and more people who were now accepting Naruto, there were those who were higher up who still didn't like him, the primary two being the elders in front of her. Tsunade's plan had been to promote the new chunin's in secret before they could do anything to stop it.
"Tsunade-sama, you know what Naruto really is," said Homara. "We can not allow him to be placed in situations where the Kyuubi can run amuck or be captured by another village. If he is promoted to the rank of chunin then the chances of either happening will be greater. Therefore we want to make sure that he remains near the village at all times with a proper escort to ensure that he never falls into enemy hands."
"Not to mention he is nothing but a trouble maker," said Koharu. "He has disrupted the village with his 'pranks'. Not to mention his criminal behavior which your predecessor ignored. Defacing a village landmark! Stealing an important and highly guarded scroll! No one who has done these things should ever be allowed the rank of chunin!"
"Well I'm sorry you both feel that way," replied Tsunade calmly. "Shizune, will you please come in here." A moment later the door opened to reveal Tsunade's assistant.
"Yes Tsunade-sama?" she asked.
"Please bring me the files in stack D," said Tsunade. Shizune let out a groan but complied as she exited the room.
"Tsunade-sama-" began Homara but Tsunade held her hand up to stop him.
"First of all, Naruto won the tournament in Oni no Kuni which automatically gives him the rank of chunin," said Tsunade.
"Normally yes," said Homara with a frown. "However, Naruto left the village and entered the tournament without the permission of the council which was in power at the time. Therefore his prize is null in void."
"But I was the one who told him he could," countered Tsunade.
"You were not Hokage at the time," stated Koharu.
"True," said Tsunade. "But even so, Naruto has proven time and time again that he is ready for this promotion." With that said Tsunade reached into her desk and pulled out a file. "I have gone over this a few times since I returned just in case someone like the two of you tried something like this. In Team 7's first mission outside of the village, Naruto displayed remarkable skill and cunning in order to free his superior officer. In the chunin exam he impressed many of his examiners. In both the prelims as well as the finals he fought more opponents than anyone else. Then there was his fight with Gaara where he was fully able to display his skills."
"That does not mean that he-" began Koharu but was interrupted as Shizune entered the room carrying a large stack of documents. "What are those?"
"These are request forms," replied Tsunade as Shizune set down the stack on her desk. "Since the chunin exam, we have gotten well over two hundred requests from all over the Elemental Nations to have Naruto specifically do a mission for them."
"B-but-" stammered Koharu who seemed lost for words.
"I believe it was thanks to that stunt the council pulled during the chunin exam," said Tsunade. "People saw Naruto on live television as he fought two opponents. I know that the intension was to get him knocked out as quickly as possible. Instead, it made him look even stronger and thus more desirable as a shinobi."
"I see," said Homara. "His skills are impressive. However, being a chunin is much more than simply being strong. A chunin must be able to lead as well. From what we have read in Naruto's file, he hasn't shown any real leadership skills."
"Yes," said Koharu quickly. "You can't make him a chunin!"
"I think you'll find that he does," replied Tsunade. "During the Oni tournament, several shinobi from different countries stood beside him and helped us a bit in the fight against Orochimaru. They didn't have to, but they respected Naruto enough to follow him and support him which is one quality of a leader. However, if that is not enough for you, there is something else we can do. Since I have returned, I have had several chunin and jonin come to me asking for Naruto to be part of their missions. Not hard to see why. The ability to fly would come in handy in a lot of missions. I would like to put Naruto on those missions so that he has a chance to learn more about leadership until he is better prepared to do so himself."
For a moment, no one in the room spoke. Shizune held Tonton close as the two elders gave each other a look. By the looks on their faces one would think they were talking to each other telepathically. Then, after a few seconds of this, they turned their attention back to Tsunade.
"Tsunade," began Homara. "It is important that we work well together for the sake of the village. While you have given us some…decent reasons for why Naruto should become a chunin, our minds remain unchanged in the matter. There is simply too much danger in allowing that boy to go off on more dangerous missions where some other village or group could take control of the Kyuubi. The two of us feel that it would be safer, and better, if he remained here."
"Then there is the matter of running this village," continued Koharu. "We are your advisors, people you need to listen to. Crossing us right out of the gate would make it difficult for both us."
"So, in other words, either I do as you say or else you'll make my job a living hell," said Tsunade as she closed her eyes. Before either of the elders could say anything Tsunade's eyes opened with a fierce and determined look in them. "Very well then, you're both fired!"
"What?!" they both yelled at the same time.
"Tsunade-sama, with all do respect, you can't do that!" said Homara.
"I can and will," replied Tsunade. "You were both Sarutobi-sensei's teammates and he made you two his advisors because he trusted you. I, however, don't have such a connection and do not want his leftovers. I will pick my advisors from shinobi who are more current in all things. You two may now leave."
For a moment, neither of the elders moved a muscle. They just stared at the Hokage as she went back to work as if she had already forgotten them. Seeing this, Homara was the first to make his way towards the door with the full intent of heading straight to the daimyo. However, when he got to the door he realized that Koharu was still staring at Tsunade with eyes full of hate.
"This isn't over," was all she said before turning around and joining her former teammate.
As the door closed behind them, Tsunade let out a sigh of relief. Personally, she thought that it went pretty well. At most, they would complain to the daimyo making an argument that they should stay. Tsunade knew that she would have to be quicker.
"Shizune," said Tsunade as she pulled out a piece of paper. Quickly she wrote down two names before handing that paper to her trusted assistant. "I want to see these two in my office right away."
"Of course Tsunade-sama," replied Shizune as she ran out of the office.
Meanwhile, deep within Orochimaru's Oto village, Sasuke screamed in rage. He wanted to get out there so that he could kill Naruto for his defeat, but first his injuries needed to be treated. Most of them were minor, but the biggest one was the loss of his arm. Without it he could no longer perform his jutsu's and would make taijutsu a bit more difficult. Without that arm, his chances of ever seeking revenge on Itachi or Naruto seemed very far away.
Currently he was in Kabuto's medical room sitting on a bed with several tubes coming out of the stump that was once his arm. All around him were some of the most impressive medical devices that he had ever seen. Well, he would be impressed if he really gave a damn. He also noticed that he wasn't alone in the room. Lying on the bed next to him was a red headed girl connected to several medical devices.
After waiting for what seemed forever, Kabuto finally entered the room. Standing behind him was another man who had bandages over most of his body except for a single eye. A yellow, snake like eye that could only belong to one person: Orochimaru.
"Good evening Sasuke-kun," cooed Orochimaru as he walked up to his prize. Kabuto, however, moved toward something that looked like a refrigerator in the back of the room. "I trust all is well?"
"What do you think?" growled Sasuke. "I finally got the power I need but can't use it because of this!" growled Sasuke, pointing to his useless appendage.
Orochimaru grinned underneath his bandages. "Is that all?" he asked. "Sasuke-kun, I'm hurt that you would think that I would leave you like this. Don't worry; you will soon have a replacement arm that will help make you more powerful than ever before."
As Sasuke raised an eyebrow at this, Kabuto walked over to the area next to his bed. Out of the corner of his eye, Sasuke saw him set down operating tools as well as a large cylinder shaped object full of a semi-transparent liquid. But there was something else floating in the cylinder: a human arm.
"Is that mine?" asked Sasuke
"No," replied Kabuto as he fixed his glasses. "This arm once belonged to a member of the Kaguya clan. By chance, we stumbled across its owner as he was dying. Poor boy, it was most likely his first mission. Anyways, we couldn't save him, but we brought the body back here to study it. Luckily for us, he wasn't suffering the same genetic disease that killing Kimimaro. With time, and a little luck, you should be able to use some of the jutsu's that he was able to use."
Sasuke nodded before looking over at the red head. "And what about her?" he asked.
"Oh, that's Tayuya," replied Orochimaru. "She's a member of the Sound Four. Well, I should say she was a member since she's the only one left alive. A pity really." The snake sennin then walked over to her and began to stroke her hair. "It seems that she fought with Anko-chan and lost. But she was the only one to survive their encounter so she may still be of some use to us down the line, perhaps as a sparring partner for you."
"Orochimaru-sama," said Kabuto quietly. "It's time to begin."
"Very well," replied Orochimaru. "I will take my leave." He turned and smiled at Sasuke. "And once you have fully recovered, we will begin your training."
Elsewhere, the hawks had gathered together on their island home. It had taken some time to round up all one hundred and fifty two of them and yet there were still some who hadn't shown. Most likely out hunting for food. Still, seeing that a majority were here Takayami began to tell them about the fight as well as his beliefs about the Uchiha.
In the front perched the elder hawk, Takakaze, who took every word to heart. He was a grey colored hawk with a long, thin beard. He was also small, easily able to fit into the palm of a hand. Yet despite his small size, he was skilled and very powerful. Few hawks would dare to oppose him.
"The Uzumaki clan has not betrayed us," roared Takayami. "In all likelihood the Uchiha gaki stole the scroll."
"Then tell us how he did so," demanded Takamaki. "The Uzumaki clan swore to keep the scroll safe. Swore they would never let another person outside of the clan use it unless they were trustworthy. Yet the Uchiha claimed-"
"You are taking the word of an Uchiha?" yelled a hawk in the crowd. "How do you know he isn't lying?"
"Then how did he get the scroll?" asked Takamaki. "Where is Kushina-hime? Why-"
"Enough," said Takakaze quietly. Takamaki stopped in midsentence and turned to look at the elder as did all of the other hawks. "Speculating like this isn't going to get us anywhere. It is well past time that we did something other than waiting around to be summoned. We need to investigate to see what has happened to the Uzumaki clan and how the Uchiha got his hands on our summoning scroll."
"I know the truth," began Takamaki but a quick stare by the elder hawk silenced him from saying anything else.
"That is quite enough," said Takakaze. He then turned to address the rest of the hawks. "I am going to conduct an investigation myself in order to find the truth. Until I return, no hawk will be permitted to be summoned under any circumstance. After I have found out the truth, we shall see which clan will be allowed to summon us."
Without another word, Takakaze opened his wings and took off into the air. At first it seemed like he was having a little trouble due to his age, faltering with every flag of his wings. But that quickly changed as he got higher. Soon he was flying more gracefully at a speed that seemed impossible for any living creature. And he was flying in the direction of Hi no Kuni.
"This is so cool," said Naruto.
"I know," replied Sechs as a tear fell from his good eye. "I hope it keeps on like this until the end."
"Shut yar yaps lads," said Chu as he looked at the two. "We're trying to watch the tele too."
"It's my TV," muttered Naruto as he rolled his eyes.
"Would you all keep it down," yelled Suzuka as he looked up from the Raijin. "I'm trying to fix this thing and all your noise is distracting."
After the tournament had ended, Naruto had been concerned about the state of Raijin. Never before had he'd seen a single crack on it nor did he have any idea how to fix a blade made of lightning. When he voiced his concern, Suzuka had approached him, offering to look at it since he was an expert on techniques as well as odd weapons.
Naruto, being so excited by this news, had almost immediately given the blade to him. However, he was stopped by Anko who suspected that Suzuka might have less than honorable intentions.
With his intentions being called into question, the once clown like shinobi merely replied that he was simply curious and he wanted to look at the seals that made it work since he had never seen anything like it before. Before anyone else could say something, Jiraiya insisted that it would be a good idea since Suzuka was the only shinobi that was remotely trustworthy to look at it and not tamper with it. Shishiwakamaru spoke up to vouch for Suzuka, saying that he was the one who helped forge his own blade. Tsunade thought about it and decided that it would be ok as long as he looked at it in the village where it would be harder for him to run off with the blade. After that Sechs, Chu, and Shishiwakamaru volunteered to go as well to keep an eye on him.
Currently, Naruto was watching a sentai show along with Chu and Sechs. Suzuka, meanwhile, was sitting at the kitchen table as he tinkered with the Raijin as Shishiwakamaru calmly drank tea.
"Well, that about does it," said Suzuka as he set down the Raijin.
"Really?" exclaimed Naruto as he jumped into the air. He then floated over to grab the sword activating it. The blade appeared as it always had in the past with no sign of the crack in it at all. "It looks great!"
"Of course it 'looks' great," sighed Suzuka as Naruto deactivated the blade. "The seal matrix that makes the blade work was seriously damaged due to the stress caused by Sasuke's attack. I believe I managed to patch it up to a point where it can be used again in battle."
Sechs turned his head away from the television, glaring at Suzuka in annoyance. "What do you mean you believe?" he demanded. "It's been a week and-"
"And I have never encountered anything this difficult before," interrupted Suzuka as he stood up. "It took three days just to examine each seal on the Raijin. Two days were spent trying to figure out a plan to fix them using just my knowledge alone before spending four days trying to fix it. I'm honestly surprised that I was able to do as much as I was under these conditions."
"But it's fixed…right?" asked Naruto.
"It should be fine," replied Suzuka. "It'll function as it had before, however its durability has been weakened. In a way, the blade of the Raijin is very much like a real sword. Once a significant amount of damage has been done, the blade is impossible to fix or be at a hundred percent. To be on the safe side you should avoid using it against a jutsu like the Chidori again."
"But-" began Naruto.
"Listen," said Suzuka as he pointed a figure at the Raijin. "If you go up against Sasuke in the future, avoid the Chidori instead of blocking it. If you block it with that sword again there is a very good chance that it will break. And when that happens I wouldn't be able to fix it. Understand?" Naruto nodded gravely.
Just then there was a knock on the door. Naruto, after setting his feet back on the ground, walked over to open it revealing Hinata. Only she didn't look like her normal shy self. Today she was wearing a simple black, short sleeved dress that caused Naruto to have a small nosebleed.
"Good afternoon Naruto-kun," she said with a small blush as Naruto stared at her. "I'm here for our date today, remember? You said we were going to the park and-"
"R-Right," stammered Naruto.
"Well then we'd best be going off we should," announce Chu all of a sudden as he got to his feet. "Best not get in the way now."
"But I haven't finished my drink," said Shishiwakamaru. "And Haku-chan said she would make us dinner tonight."
"In that case we have to go," said Sechs as Chu grabbed the swordsman with one hand.
"It was nice seeing you all again," said Hinata as Chu, Shishiwakamaru, and Suzuka began to walk out the door and past her.
"Yeah, I hope we'll meet again sometime," said Naruto.
"Now don't you worry about that mate," replied Chu. "Next time we be seeing ya we be having more muscles we will." With that the three left, Sechs lingered behind, smirking as he held out his robotic hand for Naruto to take.
"Next time we meet we will have that rematch," said Sechs. "I got permission to go on a training journey to make myself stronger."
"Sounds good," said Naruto as he shook the cyber-nins hand. "Got anything special in mind?"
"Just finding super rare summons," replied Sechs while trying to make it sound like it was no big deal. Then his expression became a bit more serious. "Just make sure you stay alive till then. I'm sure that after that tournament, there will be many villages that will see us both as a threat."
"Don't worry about me," replied Naruto. Sechs smirked while glancing at Hinata who gave him a small nod. He knew that Naruto had strong friends who would help keep him safe. So, without another word, Sechs left allowing the two to begin their date.
As the chapter ends, Fluttershy returns to my castle.
"Feel better?" asked Darth Cookie as she rubs Fluttershy's mane.
"A little," replied the mare.
"Well, back to the list," I said. "The fifth evil base is Spiral Mountain from Digimon. It's kind of something like Lord Zedd would do but to an entire world. I mean, the Dark Masters twisted and altered the Digital World to make it easier to conquer and control.
"Number four happens to be Icecrown Citadel from World of Warcraft. This place is the castle of the freaking damned! This palace covers most of the roof of the world as well as holding many, many dangers inside. It is also home to the Lich King who sits on its tallest spike. In short, it's badass.
"Number three in this list is Lake Laogai base from Avatar: The Last Air bender. This was a creepy place. Chains hanging from the ceiling, people in cages, and using lamps to brainwash people. While some many may say that the Fire Nation capital looks more impressive (which it does), Lake Laogai is simply darker and gives off a more villainous vibe.
"Number two is Doctor Robotnik's fortress from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. The place is shaped like an egg, but an egg of metal slavery. The fortress is connected to factories power plants, making it feel more like it should belong to the Cybermen from Dr. Who. But for kids!
"And the number one villain base is earth from Vandread. When I first saw this place, there was no way in hell I would have thought it was earth. It looked more like a dust ball with giant gear like rings around it. But when I found out what it was, I was filled with a sense of dread. Earth had become the home of people who wanted to skin and gut all other humans in the universe in order to save the ones living there. Now that is messed up.
"Well I hope you all enjoyed this list and story. Hopefully the next chapter will come out sooner."
"Don't worry," said Darth Cookie. "I'll make sure you get to work."