Disclaimer: All Naruto characters are the copyright of Masashi Kishimoto. I'm just borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. That's all. :) No copying of my story is allowed. That's stealing if anyone copies my story into his/her own story. Write your own story without taking others' works! (angry glare)
A World without You
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)
Chapter 6: The Last Gamble
As the sun was starting to set, the residents of Tanzaku Quarters continued to go about their business as the street lamps blinked on to light up the increasing darkness. They were unaware of two people appearing on one road within a small whirlwind. The youngest of the pair, the one with blond golden hair, was looking around, his blue eyes taking in the site around him.
"I think I know this place," said Naruto, while he continued to twist his body around to look at the buildings and people. "This is the town where I first met Tsunade-baachan and Shizune-neechan."
Chikao gave a slight grin. "That's right, Naruto. This is Tanzaku Quarters." He began walking away, and soon Naruto followed, still looking around at the place.
"So Tsunade-baachan is here?" asked the blond.
After raising an eyebrow at his young charge, Chikao replied. "You should know her well enough to know she loves gambling, Naruto."
Naruto sheepishly chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head. "You're right. She loves gambling." He lowered his hand and sighed a bit happily at the memories. "She gave me a bet that I couldn't complete the Rasengan in a week, yet I had proven her wrong." His right fingers reached up to trace the edges of the crystal necklace underneath his jacket and shirt. "I certainly can't ever forget that month."
As his eyes wandered about, the Konoha genin noticed something before pointing up toward a hilltop surrounded by walls. "They must have rebuilt the castle," he mentioned.
Chikao shook his head. "No, they have not."
His words made the teenage boy stopped, thus making the elderly angel stopped as well. "What do you mean? I remembered the castle was destroyed by that snake bastard."
"Not on this world, Naruto," answered Chikao. "Unlike what you remembered, Orochimaru of this world did not search for Tsunade, thus he did not destroyed Tanzaku Castle." His finger pointed to the castle on the hill. "What you are seeing is the original Tanzaku Castle."
Momentarily pointing his own finger at the castle before gesturing it at his guardian angel, Naruto blinked in understanding. "So, does this mean Hokage-jiji didn't seal Orochimaru's arms?"
"He did, Naruto," replied the angel. "It is just Orochimaru saw no reason to seek out Tsunade, since he have someone special in his possession that he did not have in your world." With that said, he continued their trek with Naruto following.
When the elderly guardian did not elaborate further on the story, it made the golden-haired teen wondered who was so special that made Orochimaru not sought out Tsunade. Yet before he could voice his thoughts, he saw something that made his eyes went wide as they turned into another street.
The entire street, as far as he could see in either direction, was littered with flashing neo sighs and billboards on the top and sides of buildings. Even the windows on street level have fancy advertisements displayed. There was so much light that the regular street lamps weren't even needed.
"I don't recall this place ever looked like this!" a flabbergasted Naruto finally spoke as he continued to gaze around.
Chikao frowned in distaste. "That's because under Orochimaru's rule, regulations, that were in place under the Fire Daimyo, have been eliminated. Businesses, especially the gambling halls and casinos, can construct many signs, billboards, and ads, as they want. Architectural structures no longer have to look pleasing or blend in with nature."
With a wave of a hand, the old man gestured to everything around him. "Take a good look, Naruto. This is what life under Orochimaru's rule is like. Lawlessness and chaos dominate in this new Rice Country, ruled by Orochimaru's Sound force. Good morals barely exist in this country. In order to survive, you have to become immoral. In other words, it's a dog-eats-dog society."
As they strolled on, Naruto saw what Chikao was referring. At a bar stand, a drunken man passed out, and when he did, another guy took his wallet, while no one said anything. From a second story window, a dead body was tossed out into a side ally. Immediately, a few poor people ran to the corpse, trying to scavenge anything, including the clothes. A teenage girl, wearing attire that were half dirty, screamed, kicked, and fought several men as they dragged her into another side ally, and this went on as two Oto ninjas walked by and done nothing.
Naruto felt sick. "How can Orochimaru allow this? Should his forces be enforcing the laws?"
With a shake of his head, Chikao frowned some more. "You obviously know Orochimaru have no care for human lives, Naruto. As long as they do not speak or do anything against him, he leaves the people alone.
"As for the law, there is no law here. I told you that lawlessness thrive in this country." His hand gestured to the gambling establishments. "All the big businesses here are run by the mobs. Every month they pay Orochimaru a huge 'fee', and in return, he let them run their businesses their way without interference from any Sound shinobi. Even the local Sound shinobi get kickbacks and bribes to turn the other way. This is true for the rest of the country. The ones suffering are mostly the average citizens, who are being squeezed dry of money by taxes imposed by Orochimaru and the occasional mobster, who wants 'security' payment."
The blonde boy shook his head. "That makes no sense. Would giving the mob such power make them want more?"
Chikao nodded his head. "That's true, but Orochimaru would not allow anyone to overrule his authority. One mob organization tried by thinking it would easy to bribe most Oto shinobi to side against Orochimaru. They failed due to Oto shinobi knowing better to ever betray their boss or else receive a grueling death, and once Orochimaru found out, he destroyed the entire organization with no one spared. It was a clear message to all the other mobs to not ever cross Orochimaru."
Naruto swallowed. It was quite clear that being governed under the Snake Sannin was harsh.
When Chikao turned to enter one of the casinos, Naruto followed with a baffled expression. "Why are we going in here?"
"Because this is where we'll find Tsunade," came the reply as the pair passed rows of slot machines, familiar gambling tables, and other venues. Even in here, there were rudely people and attempts to rob others, but the big bulky security guards were swift to deal with transgressors. Despite the lawlessness outside, it was clear the mobsters would not allow anyone to rob or tear apart their establishments.
As they walked by a corner bar and dining area, the elderly angle led Naruto down a hallway lined with sliding shoji doors. Having been in a few casinos from his training trip with Jiraiya, Konoha's jinchuuriki knew these were private rooms for business meetings, secluded gambling practices, and other activities people do when they rent the rooms.
Stopping off the side of one door, Chikao with an arm halted his young charge. Naruto was about to ask what he was doing, when the door slid open to reveal a waiter pushing a serving cart containing dirty dishes, glasses, and chopsticks. Once the waiter and cart was in the hallway, the angel stepped into the room, pulling Naruto along with him.
As the waiter closed the door, Naruto gave a raised eyebrow at his guardian angel. Chikao gave a small apologetic grin. "We're not ghosts per se, Naruto. Despite we can not interact with the world around us now, we can't walk through walls, floors, etc. It's one of the rules my Boss established for this 'trip', so you will not get ahead of yourself to think you can just walk into a room uninvited."
Naruto narrowed his eyes a bit. "I'm not a pervert."
Chikao chuckled. "I did not even say you were, young man. Yet now that you mentioned it, it's good thing the Boss made this rule. You are a teenage boy, and I know young boys like you can get ahead of yourself regarding young girls."
"I don't go peeping at women!" Naruto raised a fist.
The angel simply shrugged and turned his head to look ahead. "Whatever you say, young man," he said with another chuckle.
Rolling his eyes, Naruto turned his head away from the amused angel. Why did most people think he's some crazy, hormone freak unable to control himself regarding girls? Yeah, he certainly wouldn't mind seeing the ladies naked. What boy wouldn't, unless he was gay? Yet, he was not the type to actually peep at women or say anything perverted to them. He respected them highly not to ever cross the line.
Chikao kept his laughter in check. He knew his young charge was quite respectful toward the opposite gender, yet he couldn't pass the opportunity for a little teasing.
Then a familiar feminine voice rang throughout the room, alerting Naruto to his left where a buxom blonde woman was sitting at one end of a long floor mat used for dice games. "I won fair and square! Don't double-cross me!"
Naruto's eyes went wide for a moment in recognition. "Tsuande-baachan!" She still looked the same with hair in two ponytails, her gray shirt showing cleavage from those two huge knockers, and that green hiori. Only after examining her did Naruto saw the many men lining on either side of the mat with one sitting on the opposite end from the Slug Sannin.
"Yes, you did won fair and square, Tsunade-san," the man on the other side stated. Looking at him, Naruto could see the kanji for 'Boss' embroiled on his shirt's front left breast. It didn't take the blond boy much to figure out that this man must be the mob boss running this casino. "However, it's clear you've been winning way too many times and for far too long. The other Bosses and I had decided that we're not going to give in to you anymore, or else you will put us out of business."
Confused, Naruto turned to Chikao. "What is he talking about? Tsunade-baachan always looses. She's really bad in gambling."
"That is true," the angel answered, "but that was before Konoha's destruction. Her bad luck gave her a curse that when she wins, it was a bad sign something terrible was about to happen. Ever since Konoha was destroyed, she just keeps winning, corresponding to the evil tides plaguing the world."
Blue eyes blinked in confusion even more. "So, she's keep winning. That's good, right?"
Chikao raised a disbelieving eyebrow at the teenage boy. "Did you just hear the Boss of this casino just now, Naruto? He and the other Bosses are tired of Tsunade winning all the time. What good is running a gambling establishment, if one person keeps winning you out of your profits? After nearly three years of allowing Tsunade free-reign, the Bosses are now going to put an end to her."
Naruto swallowed. "You mean…"
The elderly agent of Kami sighed sadly. "Yes. You're about to witness the last moments of Tsunade's life, Naruto. It is a miracle she lasted this long given her depression and broken heart."
Confusion etched the blond boy's face once more. "What do you mean? Tsunade-baachan is the strongest kunoichi I ever known."
Chikao shook his head. "The Tsunade you know only came to been because you were the one who snapped her out of her depression. Your unwavering determination to protect her against Kabuto made her realized your strength, and when she in turn protected you against Orochimaru, her own strength of will was revived tremendously. It was due to you that Tsunade had returned to Konoha and became the Fifth Hokage.
"On this world," he gestured briefly to the Slug Sannin without breaking eye contact with Naruto, "Tsunade had not ever met you due you were not born. She continued her addictive drinking and gambling habits. It's why she looses her money due to her constant drinking. This Tsunade, even right now, still mourns the death of her lover, Dan, and her brother, Nawaki. She is just an empty shell of the proud kunoichi she once was."
Naruto, sad and disbelieving, focused on the angry older woman. Her expression sure did not convey any problems, for she still looked like the Baachan he knew. "But… But what about Shizune-neechan? Why is she not here to help her?"
"Because she is dead, Naruto," replied the angel, making Naruto hung his head for a moment in sorrow that another person he cared about was gone. "Shortly after Konoha's fall, Jiraiya had sought Tsunade to ask her to join the Resistance. She refused quite bluntly, making Jiraiya quite disappointed of his former teammate. Shizune, however, thought that they should have accepted to join the Resistance, but her mistress once more proved quite stubborn to listen to reason.
"A few months ago, in a drunken stupor, Tsunade said some hurtful words to Shizune, when the young woman tried once more to get her mistress to listen to reason. Afterward, for the first time in many years, Shizune left Tsunade. She was planning to join the Resistance, but Orochimaru's spies warned their leader regarding the kunoichi. The Snake Sannin sent a team of his elite jounin to deal with Shizune. She did not stand a chance, thus she was killed."
Swallowing, Naruto willed himself not to cry; yet his eyes were moist. "And Tonton? I know Baachan always have her around."
Again, Chikao sadly shook his head. "The little pig was killed within a week after Shizune left. While Tsunade was passed out drunk on the floor of a bar one night, Tonton was targeted by a few bandits, who wanted to pig for food. She managed to flee the bar, given her ability to use chakra. However, she had to keep running when she kept coming across someone who wants to kill her for food. She died when she finally stumbled to exhaustion and was killed by the hands of a starving family in one of the poor areas of Tanzaku."
After letting a tear escaped his eye, Naruto was about to say something but was interrupted by Tsunade, who immediately gained his and the angel's attention. "If you think you can get one over me, you can go ahead and try, punk!" the female sannin yelled at the casino's boss as she raised a chakra glowing fist.
Instead of being frightened, all the men maintained their positions, while the Boss raised a knife and made a quick, small cut across his left index finger. Tsunade suddenly was shaken in fear upon the sight of blood, and when the Boss raised his bloody finger toward her, she crawled backwards, trying to get away.
Naruto was very much in shock. "She still is afraid of blood?" He was told about her fear by Ero-sennin and how she overcame it.
Chikao nodded. "It's called hemophobia, the fear of blood, and yes, on this world, Tsunade still have this fear.
"You likely already know how she overcame her fear of blood, and it was during the moments she was protecting you against Orochimaru. That specific battle changed her, Naruto, and without you there to change her, her hemophobia obviously would still exist. You meant so much to her, that she considered you like a surrogate son."
A nod from the blond boy made the angel know that his charge understood. Naruto had felt Tsunade was like the grandmother/mother he not ever had. It was a spiritual and emotional connection that neither he nor the older woman ever had to explain. Each just knew it and had not ever disputed it.
The men around the table began to approach the terrified female sannin. Some crawled, while others stood up and walked toward her, including the Boss who kept his bloody finger up to keep Tsunade petrified.
"Hold her," ordered the Boss, and immediately several of his men held down the 50-something woman by her arms and legs despite her cries of protest. A couple of men, not holding down Tsunade, quickly gave a small knick on their fingers to keep the woman's homophobia heightened. Now that she was immobilized, the Boss went over and reached down to pull a necklace off her chest. Naruto saw easily what that necklace was.
The Boss smirked. "I don't think you'll need this anymore, Tsunade - the necklace of the First Hokage. With this, I'll be richer than ever."
Despite her fears, Tsunade snarled up at the Boss, who was admiring her grandfather's necklace. "How?" she managed to ask.
Looking down at the bounded woman, the Boss smirked. "How I know of your phobia? Orochimaru told me. A month ago, I and the other Bosses approached him and asked him for information regarding any weaknesses you have. For a large price, he told us of your fear of blood. The price was steep, but it was worth it. You're now helpless as a baby." He shook his head. "Ironic. A legendary medic afraid of blood."
With a wave of his hand, the rest of his men surrounded Tsunade, and only then did the Boss walked toward the exit, where Naruto and Chikao stood by the door's side. "Before you kill her, boys, you can have fun with her. Also, you should take a good look at her." He stopped at the door to slide it open prior to turning hiss torso around to look at the older woman. "She is perhaps the last of the Senju Clan. This is the age where many of the great clans of the past 100 years are going extinct. We are likely the ones to see the last Senju alive before she is killed."
His smirk going wider, the Boss waved to his men to continue what they were doing. "Have fun, boys." With that said, he left and slid the door shut behind him.
The many men surrounding Tsunade began to have their fun with the woman. They punched her, ripped her clothes off, and began touching her where she did not want to be touched. In the meantime, her fear of blood prevented her from fighting back as she normally would, and she realized she was indeed helpless against the onslaught.
When some of the men began undoing their pants, Naruto turned away, repulsed at what he was witnessing was about to happen to the once prideful woman. To think Tsuande, the kunoichi who could destroy a large boulder with a single punch, was reduced to this, the blond boy just couldn't have imagined such a scenario happening to her. It was just too bad he couldn't do anything to help her.
Feeling a comforting hand on his shoulder, Naruto turned his head to Chikao's sad face. "Is Orochimaru incredibly powerful? How can he be this powerful that make so many people fear him compare to before?"
Chikao sighed. "Because he gained the power of a person you considered a close friend, Naruto."
At first, Naruto was baffled to what the angel could mean, until his brain came up with the answer and his eyes went wide with recognition.
The angel nodded, seeing his young charge knew. "Come, Naruto. I know you will not like what you're going to see, but you should know what has happened to your friend."
Once more, the angel and the blond shinobi disappeared in a whirl of wind, which was not registered to the room's occupants. The cries of a once-legendary kunoichi echoed through the room, her wails testifying to her last moments when she thought the world has betrayed her… for the last and final time.
TBC (End of Chapter 6)
1) To give a better visual clue to the changes to Tanzaku, the gambling street, Naruto and Chikao went, would be like Times Square, Tokyo, or Las Vegas at nighttime. So many flashing lights, sighs, billboards, etc. Since Tanzaku has become the biggest gambling town in the entire Elemental Countries, I can imagine parts of the town would be like Las Vegas and Times Square.
Tanzaku is a major example of what living under Orochimaru's rule is like.
2) I can already hear some people thinking that Shizune would have never left Tsunade as mentioned in this chapter. To be honest, I too thought that. I just find it hard to come up with a bad scenario for the pair in this world. Shizune would have easily defended Tsunade against those who would use her 'fear of blood' against the sannin. Same thing with defending Tonton. In other words, nothing would have changed for the two women in this dark world if Shizune had stayed by Tsunade's side. So I'd decided to break them apart, which would definitely be their undoing.