Title: Reforging The Past
Chapter11 – It Puts the Lotion on Its Skin...
Ship: Naruto/Hina, Naru/Harem, Naru/Hina/Ino/FemHaku/FemKyuu, Anko/Kurenai
Warnings: Nudity, Torture, Murder, Graphic Violence, Adult Language, Adult Situations, Masturbation, Oral Sex, Rough Sex
Key: "Speech", "Demonic Speech", 'Thought', 'Demonic Thought'
[A/N:] WARNING – The first lemon scene of this chapter is between Sakura and Sasuke. It is not a loving scene. It did not end quickly and she did not enjoy it. Search for "Lemon Start" or "Lemon End" as needed for all lemons. The ones thereafter will be pleasant/loving/enjoyable for those involved. Remember, anything graphic will be labeled. There will be very short bits that are not (seeing as this IS meant to be a highly sexualized story and not everything is graphic.)
In response to several people asking, Team Eight will have two more original arcs before the Wave mission (big arcs/missions) and probably one or two more bonding experiences (depending on if one of them fits properly where I have it planned) that will be in the middle of those. Then, the Wave arc comes about, but isn't a Canon clone. So, 3-4 more chapters (one more to finish this arc, then possibly 2 for the next mission, one interlude if it is too long to fit in the next few chapters, and then Wave.
This was broken in half due to length.
If someone wants to tell me how sick and disgusting I am for a MILD yuri scene, I highly advise not proclaiming your love of yaoi and male impregnation on your profile. Hypocrisy does not suit well to flaming and ruins any valid arguments you may have (in this case, there wasn't even an argument). Especially when you admit to not even reading the scene and saying it was horrible. I may not like reading yaoi, but I support a person's right to read/write it and do not flame for it. I DO, however, wish FFN would have a gay/lesbian tag, or gender-bender, so we could sift through those things.
I normally wouldn't call them out like this, but this is just pathetic. Their review (by "dhh"):
2010-12-26 . chapter 10
THE WHOLE lesbian scene was so disgusting and gross..!
I don't care if you say skip over it or whatever but just knowing that the two did whatever they did is enough for me to PUKE!
You sick dude!
The first paragraph of their profile as of 12/26, verbatim:
Well, I have to say, I've been at for years but haven't actually gotten an account until recently, as one could see by the date..I'm into Slash/Yaoi stories and many more..I'm extremely interested in Mpreg and stories that are actually well written and lengthy..The longer the better, that's my philosophy..
Thank you for being a hypocritical bastard. Thank you everyone else for being pretty awesome.
Recommended Story of the Chapter: "Eroninja" by The Lemon Sage (Naruto/Huge Harem – Basically, a story wherein the plot actually explains why the harem is used and needed. Mostly, it's a plot around a lot of smut. Legal age for your area only, please. - Ino/Hinata/Tsunade/Yugao/Hana/Tsume/Fu/Tayuya/many others)
xXx – Previously – xXx
"Are you sure you still feel comfortable around me?" Naruto asked, again, really wanting to be sure he hadn't scared her.
Ino turned to look at Naruto and smiled warmly. She leaned in and kissed him gently on the lips, feeling like it would answer him better than saying anything would. Especially since he kissed her earlier. "What do you think?" She then got up and exited the tent, wondering what was getting into her. She had never been one for gestures of affection like that. But constantly receiving them from her teammates like this, especially being on the receiving end of more than simple kisses, had made her actually ... desire that affection. And, while she didn't want them to know, Naruto having just taken her lips and kissing her did more to turn her on than any singular thing in quite some time. She could feel her panties were already thoroughly soaked.
Hinata giggled. "Yes, my conversion of her is nearly complete," she said quietly, knocking Naruto over and kissing him hard, taking his hand and squashing it against her chest. "I don't want to force her to make a decision, but I don't want her to regress. Let's keep up the kissing and work on trying to get her to accept more training like before and we'll see where it goes, okay?"
"You're awfully frisky for coming straight from interrogation," Naruto said with a grin and a raised eyebrow.
xXx – STORY – xXx
Hinata spun on her heel over the pond in her family's garden swiftly, using her chakra to manipulate the water like a giant ribbon. In an attempt at reacquiring her water affinity control to the same degree as she had before coming back in time, the bluenette girl had taken to training with water each morning while the moon was still in the sky and well before dawn broke. Her secondary affinity, which she had apparently acquired from time-traveling, was beginning to seep into any form of elemental techniques she attempted, causing them to become shaky and occasionally unstable, even if she was attempting to use a water jutsu. Water and lightning just didn't mix.
It was apparently the same thing with Naruto, only his began getting a tendency to blow up in his face as more fire added itself to his wind element. For whatever reason, the two elements wanted to combine. Well, that was not exactly true. They didn't combine. They both attempted to be the dominate elemental nature in their arsenal. Neither could explain it, but Hinata had expressed it as closely as either had been able. It was like their usual chakra was turning into the elemental chakras instead of remaining non-affiliated with any element. While her fear at that realization had her testing both of them with every medical technique she knew, it was found that, thankfully, that was not the case. Still, as much as that relieved them, it also worried them since they still had no idea why it was happening. It was like their usual chakra was a vacuum that tried to suck in one of those elements
So, she and Naruto were both learning that they had to actively keep both elements from seeping into their non-elemental jutsu, and had to regulate both so they didn't affect their elemental ones adversely. All of that incredible boost in their control was beginning to wane not due to a lack of that control, but because they were beginning to have to do more things at once, hence the extreme and immediate need to train before the problem got too much worse and impossible to stay ahead of it to start with. They were still trying to figure out what it meant to have their elemental affinities creep into non-elemental jutsu, but thus far, were coming up empty.
She had originally planned on working on her affinities elsewhere, but there was really no point in it since she wasn't trying to hide her apparent newfound abilities from her family. And it would do well for them to see what appeared to be a massive growth in skill and capability while they thought Naruto was the primary purpose of it. It kept them from jabbering on and on about how much of a disgrace it was to associate with him.
It was even true, technically speaking. She gained these abilities this early in time because of Naruto. If it hadn't been for him, and his furry cargo, she would still be a shy, introverted girl who was terrified by any form of confrontation and masturbated furiously to the thought of her golden-haired lover rather than let him do the work for her.
Devoted boyfriends were great like that.
But, it was more than her water affinity she was working on that kept her on the pond. It was her chakra control. She and Naruto had been noticing that, while their control was far higher than it had ever been for either of them still, it was steadily declining, the elemental situation not withstanding. Apparently, merging with the Kyuubi allowed the demoness to constantly increase their chakra stores, which just as constantly lowered their control.
Daily chakra control training was now a must for the two time-travelers. Otherwise, they would be hard pressed to regain whatever ground they would lose. Taking at least two hours a day to work only on that kept them about equal to their growth, minus the variation required to keep their affinities from mixing, which generally left them requiring an additional hour every other day just to keep up to par. Naturally, they devoted one whole day to control of the elemental kind, which supported all of their needs, thus taking that time down and allowing them to advance. At least, that was the hope. They had considered using clones for that, specifically, but decided to wait since they wanted to work on it themselves.
Still, by controlling her ribbon of water and constantly making it longer, she worked on both pressing issues at once while performing what Naruto called a mesmerizing dance of grace and beauty that had her constantly speeding her movements up, trying to gain speed and flexibility that surpassed her already impressive levels, though Naruto would freely admit he simply enjoyed watching. Her speed still wasn't much to brag about, being only a little greater than the same point in her past, but the latter had always been something truly remarkable to anyone other than contortionists, who trained their bodies to fold up in half and even into loops. Hinata was more focused on training her chakra control than she was her body until the changes from the Kyuubi were mostly done and caught up with Naruto. With her body and mind changing constantly, she didn't want to add any undo stress that could negatively affect her, even if she was keeping tabs on her health herself.
And it was under the moonlight and cavorting around over the pond like a water nymph from legends in a dance that left Naruto mesmerized that Hanabi stared in awe at her older sister, unable to believe she was witnessing something that looked as though it had come right out of a book about magic.
Not that she would ever admit to having such a silly children's book squirreled away in her room.
The young Hyuuga was hiding in the bushes, using her own Byakugan to its currently limited ability to watch her older sister control the water in a dance that left the tiny child breathless. The water would snake around Hinata to form various beautiful designs before it suddenly seemed to form a solid shape and then it burst outwards to rain down glowing white droplets that reflected the moonlight, only for an orb of glowing water to form around her and then the whole thing started again.
Eventually, Hinata raised her hands above her head and the water that formed a shape around her shot outwards and all of the little droplets stilled around her, not moving at all. Then, the older Hyuuga walked gracefully from the surface of the water and onto the land, the droplets slowly drifting away as she walked, moved by her passage and most not sticking to her clothing.
"Can I help you, Hanabi?" Hinata asked, picking up a shirt she had set aside to go over her skintight one she had been wearing. She preferred the nude training she had originally done, which Naruto loved to watch, but she wasn't about to let someone get a free show when she knew she was watched each night. The Byakugan didn't show details like color or flesh, but was basically a glowing system of chakra surrounded by what looked like a slightly gray blob in the shape of a human where living chakra lived in the cells. While clothed, those who watched could see nothing more than what appeared to be a mannequin, thus taking away any eroticism from peeping.
Though you could still tell outlines, which she took advantage of when Naruto was showering. Something very few non-Hyuuga knew was that the more fertile and virile a man was, the more his lower appendage would glow from the power of the chakra coursing through it. To her eyes, it was like a beacon shining in the darkness.
Which had been a part of her problem in approaching him during the Academy their first time through. Any time she had tried, she couldn't help but think of a moth to a flame. Even though she knew she was always trying to get closer anyway.
Shamefaced, and more than a little embarrassed to have been caught, the little girl rose, looking between Hinata and the droplets still in the air and back, her Byakugan now turned off. "Wh-what were you doing?"
Hinata pulled on a pair of pants to go over her tight shorts and released her hold over the chakra in the water, allowing the drops to fall. "My main elemental affinity is water," Hinata explained, stretching as she spoke, enjoying the dull ache in her body. "To practice that, I manipulate the water to follow my lead, causing the ribbon to form and move, making it follow the path and not stray until I finish whatever dance form I chose to make around me, then I release it. Maintaining the whole thing at once requires a great deal of control, thus allowing me to work both on my affinity and actual control. Not to mention my reserves."
Hanabi was silent a moment as she looked at the ripples in the koi pond. "And the drops of water?"
"A variation of the leaf floating exercise," Hinata stated, curious about her sister's lack of hostility and sudden curiousity. For a surprising moment, Hanabi actually appeared like any other little girl her age. She had refused to be anywhere near Hinata since the Academy students went to the forest and seemed even more scared of Hinata after that than after being defeated in their spar. She actually sounded like a curious little girl at the moment, intriguing the older sister. "By forming the water droplets in the air, I have to maintain their place with dozens or hundreds of droplets instead of a single leaf. But I also have to keep their shape and when I walk through them, I have to make sure they don't stick to me or get soaked up by my clothing by using a variation of water walking to keep the surface tension high enough to not stick, though I'm not too good at that, yet. My secondary affinity is lightning, so I'm working on a version of this that allows me to store a charge in the droplets to make them glow for a potential jutsu set in the future."
Hinata's answers were all direct and concise and she didn't speak with her usual soft, loving tones that had usually been held reserved for Hanabi in the past. That, along with their history over the last few months seemed to put the younger girl off, causing her to shrink back a touch, slump her shoulders and try not to look Hinata in the eye. For some reason that Hanabi couldn't understand, all of the lessons instilled upon her by her father and her teachers on how to hold herself and show the classic Hyuuga stoicism seemed to fail her. "O-oh."
A small part of Hinata that had long ago stopped caring about her little sister, or so she had thought, awoke in that moment and made itself known, causing Hinata to remember that she had actually loved this little girl once. Before her father had taken over her training and enforced strict forms of conduct due to the first stages of the war heating up again. That was the girl Hinata had stopped caring for, as the little sister she had loved was no longer within the body.
But she was right there, alive and ready to be guided towards a different path.
Hinata found herself smiling genuinely at Hanabi, a spark of her old affections returning. "Come. Let's see if you can walk on water yet. I've got a half hour before I need to be at Naruto-kun's and can get there in five. I'll start you on a new training schedule you can either ignore or do it on your own time," she said, wrapping her arm around Hanabi and guiding her by the shoulder.
Hanabi was confused. Confused and a little leery of Hinata being so close. But, when the kind and caring older sister she had always looked down upon for being so weak was gone, she had realized how much all of those little words, words which she only heard from Hinata, had actually meant. The Hyuuga head just never said 'I love you' and the Cadet branch would only say it if ordered. But ... Hanabi missed it. She never realized before how lonely she was without Hinata in her life. And only because she was scared of her older sister, did she not throw off the older girl's partial embrace. And because of that, she found herself leaning into it slightly, wondering at how ... nice ... it felt.
"Now," Hinata began as the two got to the center of the pond, "you don't need have a water affinity to use your chakra to manipulate the shape, though this will help you create that affinity. That's what we're going to be doing until you can do this," she trailed off as a small horse rose from the water's surface. It was the shape and size of a newborn foal and acted just like one, getting its balance and taking its first few tentative steps before letting out a whinny that sounded like a waterfall and then trotting forward, growing wings and taking off into the sky and dispersing into mist that glittered in the burgeoning light as it got out of Hinata's thirty-foot control area.
A second form rose gracefully from the water, this time taking the crude form of a woman that danced and cavorted upon the surface like the most talented dancer Hanabi had ever seen. No human dancer could slowly float along in the air. It was surreal the way the female water person danced over to Hanabi, only to lovingly caress her cheek and leave a chilled spot on her forehead where it had kissed her.
"I ... I don't have nearly enough chakra for that," Hanabi admitted as the figure disappeared beneath the surface, somehow making the younger Hyuuga feel she would never again meet the liquid beauty. She actually wondered how Hinata had the chakra, especially after having already been working on her chakra control and having been finished a few minutes ago.
"You won't be doing that. If you're worried about how much chakra you can use, you can do this with any source of liquid. Standing on water simply helps with your control and reserves, but does little for the actual exercise. I would actually recommend using this as a learning method to begin drinking tea. It's what I did, and if you make a glob you can float into your mouth, then you can do it later with more complex shapes, eventually making little Naru- er, animals march into it," Hinata suggested, blushing as she admitted to having made water versions of Naruto she could ... eat. Granted, it was more the shape of a glowing beacon rather than his face... She had really missed him those three years. "For now, I'm just going to get you started in learning to put your chakra into the water and pull some out so you can learn to manipulate it on your own for now. The hardest part is making the water mix with your chakra so it follows your control."
Hinata did so, spending the next twenty minutes and teaching Hanabi to pull up a small blob about the size of a ball of dango. It wasn't exactly a ball and its form was about as steady as Jiraiya's relationships, but she was able to make it come out of the pond.
"Very good!" Hinata praised happily. "I want you to play with that on your own and you can come back if you want more help. You'll know you've mastered this step enough for the next one when you can keep the ball in place and stay in the shape of a ball. For now, it's off to Naruto-kun's."
Hinata ran quickly to her room to get her daily supplies and growled in the back of her throat as she realized her kunoichi chest wrap was getting too tight again and that training with Hanabi kept her from taking her usual bath. 'Oh well. I'll just take one with Naruto-kun or before him.' With a lecherous smile, she grabbed a change of clothes and left quickly, leaving it up to whether or not he was already there when she got there if he'd get a surprise during his shower or not while a clone rushed off to complete its own little quest.
"Got it!" Naruto exclaimed happily, dancing around in a circle before plopping down and writing a fresh and clean copy of his new seal in regular ink. He had been up all night after a clone that had apparently been alive since the Akimichi food run mission dispersed, giving Naruto all of its ideas and thoughts. It knew it wouldn't be around long enough to complete the seal, so didn't bother leaving unfinished work somewhere for someone to find. Instead, it did the grunt work of deciding the seal work that would be needed and what could work in a logical manner for exactly what it was wanting to accomplish, deciding on the best possible means.
And that was what Naruto had just accomplished.
Naruto had always been relatively poor. While not really the case now, what with two S-class missions under his belt, one of which was ongoing and paid as much in a month as he would normally get paid in almost a year, but Naruto knew what he worked with. He used scavenged equipment, mostly looted from enemies he'd killed later in life or found carelessly left behind at a training ground towards the beginning. His only tools were those weapons that were not consumable and paid for themselves over time.
Otherwise, he'd have had a big, flashy sword the first chance he got. Or a really awesome outfit that was so gaudy, he'd be lucky not to blind himself. Such was the case with a young boy's fashion sense with a heroism complex.
Not that he wasn't still interested in that helmet with the wings on either side...
Soldier pills were not conducive to an orphan's food budget. They were expensive and one-time-use only. He had even heard they were dangerous to use, which was true if you overindulged or were in bad shape. And it was a well-founded fear that one could become addicted to the initial rush of power and feeling of invincibility that came with it. That was why you had to be a ninja to get your hands on them and why they were considered highly restricted, and even illegal, in a civilian's possession outside of duty to a shinobi. If a civilian with no ties to shinobi-work or business was found in possession of such an item, they could expect a fate as bad as Naruto could if the Hyuuga elders thought Hinata were pregnant. It was a B-A-D situation! Too many females wanted them for dieting, apparently, and too many young boys felt they were the Yondaime reborn just as Hyuuga Hiashi seemed baby-phobic.
However, Naruto knew the enemies he would later be facing and knew he needed to have a way to balance the scales in any fights with them, especially if he screwed things up and things got worse. While coming back in time gave him a wonderful jutsu arsenal, much of it was all but forbidden from use for various reasons. At least for now. And while any increases in strength, speed, endurance, agility and even basic effectiveness were great, they had come from almost nothing due to poor training and neglect. This body he was currently in was effectively only barely into the Chuunin range, physically speaking. And that was a hopeful estimate, basing his growth from weights and daily exercise that surpassed anything he'd done before at this point in time. He was stronger, faster and halfway decent at Taijutsu, but that was all in thanks to Maito Gai and getting pounded to a pulp by Rock Lee.
Relentless and ruthless slave drivers, both of 'em, but they were willing to work with Naruto when he had almost nothing in regards to fighting speed and strength or even effective taijutsu. While he knew the forms, he hadn't been familiar enough with his body any longer to make the proper stances and those two had literally pounded it into his head.
The only things on Naruto's side were unreal chakra levels, naturally fast running speed by outrunning pranked ANBU and Chuunin and it being the one thing he could train on his own despite what the Academy teachers would do to sabotage him and decent control over his chakra that was waning almost constantly and a regeneration factor that allowed him to keep taking hits. Lots and lots of hits.
Hopefully, this would remedy that, at least in part.
The idea was a simple one. Soldier pills converted physical body components into energy, usually the fatty tissue of the body since it was literally stored energy. That was the real benefit of the Akimichi clan's style and the reason for their girth. Also, if there was no fatty tissue, it broke down the body itself to make that energy, weakening bones, deteriorating muscles and possibly weakening internal organs to give the taker the chakra he or she needed to continue fighting or to keep moving. By chemically boosting the metabolism to something around two hundred times, depending on the individual, temporarily, the consumer of the pill gained a sudden surge of chakra as the body digested itself for that energy.
Well, Naruto didn't actually have any fat on his body that he could spare! And you could only take a few soldier pills before you reached toxic levels of the ingredients needed. While his healing factor could generally take care of the latter, his dietary habits could see him dead with the former since he didn't eat enough of the things the body needed to grow properly.
So ... why not skip all that other stuff and just give you straight chakra? The Naruto clone who had seen the Akimichi food pills, like all the others, could think on its own and everything from the moment of its creation caused it to think of different things, not the least of which was why he was created just to basically die soon like all clones. It wasn't that they felt they wanted to live on or take Naruto's place. At least not usually. It was just that they felt just like the real Naruto and were intimately aware of the end of their own existence. That was why his clones would get up to mischievous antics when left alone or when their duties were finished. It wasn't like they had much else to deal with or do, and they didn't really feel like real people since they knew they weren't, so it was more a constant state of awareness of the end of their existence, and then a desire to do the things Naruto always wanted to do when they didn't have to disperse right away. When they weren't in the middle of a battle, that usually meant they looked back on life to wonder what they had accomplished and how they wished they could do some things differently. Most people would even be surprised by just how philosophical Naruto had really become during his time training with Jiraiya.
One such difference over his life was in how to be stronger and a more effective ninja, since protecting the true Naruto was what they felt had to live on, feeling they, themselves, were more like expendable or regenerating appendages and his growth, life and strength was their ultimate reason to be. That was basically all Naruto cared about in his life outside of his relationships with the various people in his life. He wanted to be Hokage to protect those important to him, and they were important because he cared for them.
And that led to the Akimichi food pills, staring at that lone clone tantalizingly, tempting his creative mind to unlock their secrets.
Well, even the clone wasn't stupid enough to take pills that were even worse than the normal version when he didn't have the fat to make them any better. Those things were dangerous even to an Akimichi who was proud of their girth!
But that is what made that clone choose to devise something that would make those mocking food pills obsolete. At least for himself and his team.
The answer came in the form of the Kyuubi. Or more accurately, the seal it was imprisoned in. The Kyuubi admitted that her body was created and composed of pure chakra. Thus, the entire thing was nothing but a storage device that the original Naruto used as a battery, according to that same demonic fox. Nothing but a battery.
Well, that was an idea just begging to be utilized!
The design Naruto had completed from the clone's thoughts was elegant in its simplicity. He designed a seal that would allow chakra in, but not out, as long as the medium the chakra was stored in remained. Much like how Hinata was binding her chakra to the water so it would move the amorphous substance, the seal would bind the chakra to whatever Naruto's medium was. The trick, however, came in getting something that could deliver all of that chakra quickly and efficiently.
A regular battery-like design, where he pulled the chakra out as needed, would not work for his needs. It would be too simple for the chakra to leak or for the design to malfunction causing an explosion, or too much or too little come out. At least for anything that didn't require so much space to craft the seal that something portable would stop being feasible as it would be too large to carry around and allow them to keep their fighting ability. But a seal to store chakra within the confines of the space the seal was crafted onto was simple and shrunk down to the size of his thumbnail. Like a canister with a one-way valve, the force of the chakra within would keep the valve closed, only able to open when more force was pushing the chakra in, instead of out.
In other words, it was basically like a less dangerous version of the seals placed on most jinchuuriki. But since that chakra didn't have a will of its own, then there was no worries in it trying to escape, so there was surprisingly little that was required to make it simply hold chakra.
Happy to have had the hardest part finished, Naruto sealed his research into a hidden storage seal on his finger and went to take a shower, unaware that Hinata was walking up the stairs to his apartment even as he turned the water on.
"Ino-chan, can I talk to you for a minute?" Inoichi asked as his daughter came downstairs to head to her team meeting.
"What's up?" She asked, putting her long hair into a ponytail and then double-checking her equipment pouches. Today was the day for a new mission, and she was wanting to be sure she had everything necessary since there was no telling what it would involve. D-rank missions sucked, but there was still something so exciting about actually having a duty and ... training had been rather fun for the past several weeks... Not to mention Naruto had an idea he was wanting to run by the team.
Inoichi saw his daughter checking her equipment and took a moment to realize she wasn't making a sound as she walked and her center of gravity remained low to maintain her balance. He couldn't help but feel pride swell in his chest. He was so proud of her! Ino really seemed to have taken her kunoichi career seriously since getting on a team. He had been rather worried, to be honest. "You were aware that Ibiki and I were watching your team during your initial practice session, right?" He asked, knowing he didn't have to specify or bring up that it was about torture. He knew she remembered well enough.
"Yes," Ino said, looking a little less carefree than she did a moment ago as a slight frown graced her pink lips. Her father was happy to note she hadn't applied make-up before her training like she would on the physical days at the Academy. "What about it?"
"Well, the first thing I wanted to tell you is that Ibiki finally let us know that he was impressed with you three. He pointed out a bunch of mistakes, but said he rarely saw such natural talents in green recruits and to let you know you guys may be getting scouted later for the department." Inoichi watched as his only daughter nodded thoughtfully, still obviously unsure about how to feel about the whole thing.
"Maybe, I don't know," Ino said hesitatingly. "I mean, I kind of have a hard time thinking about doing that sort of stuff all the time. I mean, torturing people just ... doesn't feel very right," she admitted, looking down.
"It isn't supposed to feel right or natural," Inoichi said softly, tilting her face to look up at him. "If you can do that sort of thing without feeling something because of it and hating it every moment, even while you're doing it, then it means you've crossed a line. Some, like Anko and Ibiki, get to a point where it's a job, but they don't actually enjoy it. If you ever kill and enjoy it or kill like it was nothing, or torture and enjoy it, then you know that you've crossed that line. Until then, it's natural to feel that way, or just be indifferent about it."
"I just don't know if I can do the same thing you do," Ino admitted, placing everything her father was saying into her mind and committing it to memory. They hadn't spoken like this in the past and she knew it was something she had to remember.
"Well, you don't have to think about it any time soon. It'll be a little while before Ibiki wants to recruit you guys, I'm sure. But because of that, I felt it was time you got the next level of our techniques."
"What?" Ino exclaimed, looking into her father's proud eyes in shock. "But ... I haven't perfected-"
"Actually, you have," Inoichi interrupted. "You can't get the Mind-Body Transfer technique any better than you have already. The rest is all about dominance in the struggle between the two minds, or basically experience. That's why I've held you back the last couple of years from our clan scrolls. You seemed too much like a normal kid, and our techniques can't be used by someone like that. Now, you've shown yourself as a serious kunoichi, so I think it's okay to start you on something." He also hoped it would make what happened a little easier considering the torture lesson they had, though he still had to talk to her two sensei before deciding he was comfortable doing so. "This technique is a little different."
"How?" Ino asked. "No one in the family has ever talked about this stuff in the open and never unless it's in the sensory room. And you won't let me in there," she grumbled.
Inoichi chuckled, smiling warmly at her. "That's because that room is designed to block out everything from outside of its walls. Literally nothing can get in once the door is closed. You never had a reason to be in there. You would probably have only used it to gossip with Sakura in the past."
Ino rolled her eyes and then gestured at the scroll. "Okay, I may agree with you. Now what's this about a new technique?" She asked hopefully.
"The 'Mind Seedling' technique is something that was created after learning about the Shadow Clone technique," Inoichi began, pulling out a scroll. "You use it to put a part of yourself into the mind of the enemy and, once it's activated, it basically records everything that person sees or hears until it's canceled, at which point, you learn everything as if you were along for the ride in their body."
"That's amazing!" Ino said in awe. "Why don't we use this more often?"
"It's chakra-intensive, for one," Inoichi explained. "It doesn't require a lot of chakra to activate, but it requires constantly using chakra to record everything. You're at a point from what I can tell that you'll be able to use this soon. That was one of the contributing factors to why I forced you to wait. I just want you to study the scroll for now. I'll start working on using it with you in a week."
"You said 'for one'," Ino stated. "Why else wouldn't we use it more often?"
"Each time you use and sustain it, it makes you less effective. Since you don't control the enemy, not all of your mind's abilities will be shut down to control them like the Mind-Body Transfer, but the real you will be a bit spaced out. You won't be as effective in a fight or anything, so it's dangerous to keep going, and trying to use the Mind-Body Transfer while you have this going is an almost guaranteed failure at that technique; remember that. But, this gives you a slight awareness of them, so you know when to shut it down yourself. My father got to a point where he used this technique in his most serious, one-on-one fights so he knew what his enemy was thinking and planning, and he had somehow found a way to barely be fazed by it. Though, he was more advanced than anyone we have been aware of."
"I understand," Ino said. "So, it's like being in two places at once and thinking of two things at once. But, like we have to shift between topics like everyone else would normally have to do instead of being able to think about both at once?"
"Exactly," Inoichi confirmed with a warm smile as Ino rolled the scroll up for later study. It was marked as a copy, so it was okay to take away from the house.
"You said that was the first thing you wanted to talk about?" Ino asked. "Ibiki and then the scroll? Or was the scroll the second thing?"
"Ah, one other thing, actually," Inoichi began with a red face. "During the interrogation ... Um, your team doesn't actually ... er..."
Ino blushed furiously. How do you lie to a man who happens to be known as a human lie detector?
Internally, an Inner Ino's eyes darted left to right before blowing a whistle and raising a hand into the air for attention. 'RUN AWAY!'
So she did. And Inoichi was horrified. He should have known. Interrogation-101: Never ask a question you don't want to know the answer to.
Hiashi sipped his tea, pretending that what he was ignoring wasn't happening, even as Neji continuously shifted his concerned gaze from his Clan Head to his cousin, Hanabi.
The littlest Hyuuga ignored them, as well, as she focused all of her concentration on her milk and cereal, forming little balls and leaning forward to chomp them out of the air. "Nom, nom, nom." Tired of dribbling milk down her chin, something she had never fully been able to stop unless she wanted to eat a single tiny bite at a time, the girl had hit upon a genius solution using what her older sister had taught her only that morning.
Crossing her eyes to watch her delicious morning nemesis, she opened wide and went in for the kill. "Ahhh, nom! Nom, nom, nom."
"So you just need something that will deliver a small amount of what will probably be liquid into the body?" Hinata asked from where she was latched onto Naruto's arm and lazily walking towards their training ground. She had just been told the whole idea and found the concept fascinating on a wide scale. This could revolutionize ninja battles and was amazed it hadn't really been done before.
"I think so," Naruto said quietly, having the strongest desire to cuddle with this woman. Either cuddle or do horribly wicked things to her naked body. At the moment, it didn't matter as long as they could be alone and nuzzle each other at the very least. "My clone had the idea sprout from when I tricked Konohamaru into drinking all of those energy drinks I got him and his friends before class when he saw the Akimichi food pill painting. I figured, if we can get the energy boosts that way, why not others? I just needed to think up the best way for this."
"Well, it can't be a form of injection or I'd recommend an altered morphine capsule. Medics use them in the field when pain is too intense and the person can't fight anymore unless it's a last ditch effort type of deal since it makes the person loopy as hell. But they could be easily converted. But you can't inject chakra into the body without taking damage. That's the whole point of the Jyuuken style my family uses. And for the levels you're talking about, it could well kill the cells at the injection site, causing necrosis and making the body start to die from the inside out."
"I was actually thinking of poison flasks," Naruto said, pulling his arm towards him to squeeze Hinata's waist and press her against him. She had done wonderful things with her hands to him in the shower, things that he still couldn't stop smiling about, and the idea of being any sort of distance away from her, even inches, was almost physically painful. Really and truly, he felt an intense, physical need to claim this girl. He just didn't realize what it was and thought it was how much he loved her since he had nothing to compare it to.
That, and he liked it when she talked medic.
"Poison flasks?" Hinata asked, confused.
"Well, I did get the idea from regular energy drinks and we get our energy from eating and drinking, and if we get durable, metal flasks with a strong lid like Anko's poison flasks, then I could add a nutrient cocktail for it to get absorbed faster, just in case it helps. Especially if we can figure out a more liquid form of those field rations. Then, I can just call it my own version of an energy drink. But a flask like that will hold up better to our needs than glass or plastic since it's metal. And we already know wood has a nullifying effect on my chakra, even without the furball's mixed in."
Hinata nodded approvingly, glad he had taken her lessons about food intake and used them in another fashion. At least she didn't have to threaten to stake him in the heart with a carrot again. "How long until you could get a testable version?"
Naruto bobbed his head back and forth as he ran through his needed prep-work in his head. "If I had something to etch the seal into, perhaps an hour. I'd need far longer to make the final versions that wouldn't be obvious to our enemies or something they could recreate."
"Actually, if we put a lot of stuff in there, especially some extra that won't hurt taking at the same time, we could just say it's the juice, not the container that is so special," Hinata said with a deliciously evil smirk. "It'd help the body to gain a high boost of vitamins and proteins when that's used anyway. Plus, anyone looking at it would probably think it was a liquid version of the soldier pill. All we'd have to do is spread around a story about it being a compound mixture that requires another ingestible component to keep our enemies guessing."
'Sweet Kami I love this woman,' Naruto thought to himself before leaning in and stealing a kiss from her lips. "You're a genius."
"Does that mean I get a reward today?" Hinata asked sweetly, already anticipating squeezing Naruto's head between her powerful thighs.
"Why the goofy grin, Naruto?" Ino asked as the other two came into her field of vision.
"I was born with it," he responded automatically, causing Ino to roll her eyes. "Oh, uh, sorry. Force of habit. I was in the middle of planning a new thing that may make fights a bit easier to last through."
"Like what?" Ino asked curiously, sitting on Naruto's left while Hinata cuddled into his right. The Hyuuga heiress had already heard it, so she entertained herself with thoughts of how to get the most enjoyment out of her boyfriend later. The next ten minutes were spent explaining to Ino the nature of soldier pills and how they functioned before explaining his idea and the current plan.
"That's awesome!" Ino chirruped brightly. "So how do you get the chakra into them?"
"Just push it in," Naruto said, pushing a hand forward slightly. "That'll give me the ability to make emergency level ones that will give me a huge boost if I'm having to fling higher-level jutsu around and can't conserve as much chakra as I'd like. I still have to be careful I don't load them too much or I'll poison myself, even with my own chakra."
"So, you'll have different levels like Chouji's family?" Ino asked.
"Mhm," Naruto hummed. "Only, I hope it's without the danger theirs have."
"Hello, Naruto-kun," Hinata said as she bent down and kissed him fiercely on the lips, pulling back and winking at the Hinata that had been lounging against his side the whole time before dispersing itself a few feet away.
"Uh...?" Ino muttered, wondering what that was about.
Hinata took a moment to stretch her arms into the air and arch her back, still keeping as much of Naruto pressed against her as she could get. "I had a clone run an errand for me and she found out what I was looking for. She just wanted a Naruto-kun kiss before dispersing."
"Which was?" Ino asked, bending forward and letting her ponytail flail in the wind as Hinata got up and put a hand down to help the other two up.
"Come on and I'll show you."
"I'm just saying, maybe you shouldn't have glued every entrance to the man's place shut or encased the house in ninja wire," Kurenai told Anko, having found the woman finishing up around Kakashi's home and knowing this was somehow going to bite them in the butt. And not the way she enjoyed, either.
"It just felt like the right thing to do, Kurenai-chan," Anko grumbled good-naturedly. "At least he's actually got an excuse for being late this time when he meets his team."
"You put a family of badgers through his kitchen window," Kurenai sighed. "I think one of them was rabid."
"And a dozen stray cats, three birds, seven squirrels and an apple with a smiley face carved into it," Anko agreed before adopted an expression of confusion. "Where the hell are my minions?"
"Hm?" Kurenai looked to where Anko was looking and saw only a single smiling minion looking back at her. "Naruto? Where is everyone?"
"Hinata-chan had a surprise for everyone and they're getting to it now because the first part has to be done soon or there won't be time. You can meet up with Boss and the girls at Anko's dango bar. They'll be there for another ten minutes or so until everything's ready." With that, the clone was about to strike itself to dispel when Anko's hands jabbed forward and caught his, keeping him from it.
"You're a clone?" She asked, getting a nod. "Why not wait for us?"
"Hinata-chan said they could only agree to keeping everything quiet if we showed up an hour before they opened, but she wouldn't tell us what it was. I was left to let you know where to meet so you can get yours, too."
Anko hummed for a moment before twisting the shocked clone around and wrapping him in a headlock while looking at Kurenai, uncaring as the clone's yells were muffled by her breast and his flailing began to slow and his strength waned. Apparently, clones needed oxygen as well or this was simply one of those things where the situation was somehow weakening him. "Punishment for not being here on time?"
"Let's see what they're up to, first," Kurenai stated, always the diplomatic one.
Anko nodded and released the clone who gulped in air. "Gah! What's wrong with you! You do know the Boss learns everything we learn, right?"
"So?" Anko asked, confused. Sure, Hinata had breasts, but they weren't on Anko's level yet. Nor did she constantly put them on display. Well, not outside of Naruto's apartment, anyway.
The clone grumbled and palmed his face. "Well, at least this isn't the first time I almost died smothered by breasts," he mumbled, jabbing himself in the chest as Kurenai squawked and Anko laughed. The two rushed off to meet up with the team before time was up and they'd leave the dango bar.
It only took the two Jounin two minutes to get to Anko's favorite place and, once they got there, they saw Hinata challenging Ino to one of her games to see who could fit the most number of dango balls still on a stick in their mouths.
Hinata couldn't figure out how she was losing. It had started out as a game to get the girl training to be Naruto's second mate, but the girl had wicked natural oral and throat skills! She would have to ask the blonde how to suppress her gag reflex.
"Alright you three. What's going on?" Kurenai asked as Anko joined in the challenge, unaware of what Hinata was indirectly training Ino for.
Or totally aware of it and uncaring. One could never know with that woman.
"In a few minutes, the outfitting store run by the parents of a friend of ours will be letting us in where we'll be measured for some tactical outfits," Hinata said, quickly taking a full dango stick into her mouth and bringing it back out clean, only to glare as Anko laughed and did the same with two and a wink.
Apparently, she had a very good idea of what Hinata was up to. Or just liked beating them at their own game.
"What kind of outfits?" Ino asked, putting her dango down and hiccuping. 'Too much sugar ... ugh...'
"Specialized stuff," Hinata offered. "I've discussed the details with our supplier. The rest I want to be a surprise. But basically, for what we're meant to be doing, this will directly reflect that."
Curious, the others followed and got measured, allowing themselves to be poked, prodded and, in Naruto's case, fondled when Hinata knew no one was looking after realizing it amused her to see him jump when he thought the hands belonged to Tenten's father.
[Warning: Graphic imagery – Skip to "Lemon End" if you don't want to read – Development with Sasuke/Sakura with sexual activity throughout this scene. Descriptions of sex begin like normal]
Sasuke grinned darkly as he lounged in his bed, Sakura's pink head bobbing on his nether regions for the third time that morning. He had offered to let her stay the night before where he had indulged in some of his new fantasies, having her dance around and strip for him, making her service his physical needs a few times that night. It was incredible to learn what kinds of uses fangirls had! And she was so excited and happy to do them all! She even begged to do so when he told her to!
He had made her masturbate in front of him, curious about how the girls did it, and found himself wondering how rubbing around did anything without a penis. It wasn't long before he had grown incapable of growing hard again and had enjoyed a bath as she bathed him. She was such an amusing girl. And she had tried so very hard to get him excited during the bath, too. Her obvious inability to keep him aroused didn't bother him as much as it had at first, though. She was so miserable that she was apparently failing that she had woken him up that morning with her mouth, eager to please and try to gain forgiveness.
Then again while he ate the breakfast she had made him, on her knees under the table.
And now again, before he took his shower and got dressed to meet their team, causing Sasuke to be proud of his growth of recovery and staying power.
He had lasted more than four minutes this time, and Sakura was still going strong, trying to make him erupt again. Throughout the entire morning, and a promise for any time she was over and they were alone, she swore to never wear clothing in his home so she would always be available for him. So, he had been taking advantage of it.
Sasuke watched as Sakura's ass swayed in the air with her body's back and forth movements. He was really enjoying his newest toy and, while he wanted to try out others, he knew he couldn't let himself be distracted, lest he not cultivate the strongest bond possible with Sakura. He was also a little worried that any other women would make the bond with her less effective. But still, he was growing somewhat tired of this. It felt incredible, but it was only the first thing he had done with her.
Sasuke didn't understand a whole lot about sex or the female body. He skipped the sex education courses because the staff had a tendency to draw attention to him and the girls all looked at him oddly. They never saw it prudent to separate the two genders during those talks, feeling it was important both sides knew about each other as much as themselves. Still, even with skipping those classes, he had learned enough to know the hole Sakura liked to rub on was meant for his pride, such as it was. And, if you were supposed to cultivate a bond, wasn't that supposed to be the most powerful act two people could do? Wasn't that what all of his fangirls spoke of when talking about loving him?
Sasuke looked down at Sakura, her long, pink hair flowing down and pooling around his legs and tickling slightly with their silky smooth tresses. Her eyes were closed and she was concentrating hard on her work, using one hand to keep her hair pulled back so he could watch and the other using two fingers to hold his base as she bobbed and slurped messily. He realized, in that moment of clarity, that a bond had to go both ways, and just letting her take his seed was meaningless unless he gave it to her.
And most importantly, he had been forgetting this was meant for training for his true future wives and his performance.
"Sakura-chan," Sasuke said, his face neutral as the girl looked up, keeping her mouth wrapped tightly around his shaft, just as he ordered she was to do. "Lay down. It's time we take this to the next level."
Sakura, despite having been naked for the past nineteen hours with this boy and despite him performing such thorough examinations of her body with fingers and eyes, and despite using her mouth to please him any chance she got, found herself blushing and slowly complying, unsure of taking the next step, but far too happy it was happening to really listen to her instincts. She laid down on her back with a soft smile, looking up lovingly at her boyfriend and spreading her legs slightly apart, letting him crawl in between them. She held her arms up, hoping he would take the hint and lean down to kiss her, something that hadn't happened since that first time.
Sasuke positioned himself at the bright pink hair at her middle and scooted upwards, putting his erection into her folds and shoving his hips forward, making Sakura scream out in pain as he tore through her still-intact hymen. He looked up and frowned as her hands flew to cover her chest and she withdrew on herself instinctively from the pain.
"It hurts!" Sakura screamed, trying to scoot backwards a little and get off of him even as he leaned forward and held himself up with his left arm and grabbed her around the neck with his right, bending her back at an odd angle to keep her from moving and so she wouldn't move away anymore.
"It's your first time. It's supposed to hurt," he told her, thrusting forward and beginning a stuttering rhythm as Sakura's cries turned to whimpers, ignoring her tears and grunting with the effort of the strange position. He found himself loving this new act. Sakura's sex was hot and wet and radiating a heat from within that appealed to the fire-user. And as wet as she was from enjoying her own work on him, she was well-lubricated for him to keep going. Well, she was now.
Sakura kept her eyes shut and tried to pretend the pain wasn't there. She knew it was supposed to hurt her first time, but she also knew there was meant to be pleasure, too. And while there was some of that growing, that feeling within her stomach told her this was somehow different than it was meant to be. That somehow, this was meant to go a different path and a different way and that what she just experienced was ... not right.
Tears fell down her cheeks as she tried to focus on Sasuke's quickening grunting and breathing. After perhaps two minutes of effort, she finally began to ignore the pain as it lessened to manageable levels and began to wrap her arms around Sasuke's neck, finally able to unclench her eyes and look into his face, only to see his chin as his head was thrown back.
Then she felt something warmer than herself move within her in a small spurt as Sasuke remained steady. Then he pulled out with a grin and went to take his shower, smiling down proudly at the bloodied sheet underneath of Sakura's bottom before he turned to leave without a word.
Sakura felt another tear trail her cheek, unsure why Sasuke just walking off without a word or glance hurt when she knew, logically, he had to get his shower so they could get to their team meeting. By necessity, what they just did had to be quick, and because she tried to stop and get away, he had to keep going or she would have failed her promise to do everything a good wife was supposed to. So, really, he was just helping her fulfill her promise to him to act like a good wife would. He wasn't being cruel or mean, just helping her do what she promised. He wasn't being mean.
Sakura wondered why it still hurt that he walked away like that, squeezing her legs together and going to the bathroom down the hall to clean herself up and take another bath, moving much more slowly as her middle ached disapprovingly.
Four years ago, when Sakura had met Ino, she had been a bit of a girly-girl in appearance with a heavy tomboy streak in personality. Ladybugs were adorable, flowers were the best toy and clothes were the things to make her look like a princess while the warrior princess Amaterasu, who was the daughter of the Sun Goddess, was the person to emulate and model her life after. But at the same time, she had a haircut that was the same as her favorite cartoon princess which, sadly, showed more forehead than other girls because she didn't have any bangs on the front. Amaterasu wore her hair short because it was better in a fight that way, so Sakura felt it was the best way.
She was teased mercilessly and cruelly. During their flower-arranging classes, every single girl would mock, tease and ridicule her, telling her she was ugly and looked like a boy which, thanks to a warrior-princess' haircut, wasn't entirely just being cruel, but somewhat truthful since the teacher of the class got onto her for joining a female-only class. That is, all girls except one. Yamanaka Ino had given Sakura her first hair ribbon and became her first friend, which the nearly broken girl had latched onto like a lifeline, inordinately pleased to finally have someone who was kind to her other than one of the boys who was going to graduate the Academy that year who had seemed rather interested in her.
Like a sponge, Sakura took every word Ino told her and every lesson Ino taught her to heart. Being strong wasn't a big deal in their lives. There was plenty of time to do that when they became ninja! No, all the rage right then, all the things that made friends was boys. Not beating them up for saying girls were weak or picking fights themselves, as that was why Sakura had been shunned to begin with. But talking about them, actually liking them, was how you made friends!
Sakura decided that she would follow Ino's example and lessons, even if they had been poorly communicated and the pink-haired girl had to assume some things and figure out others that she was apparently expected to already know. She stopped trying to beat up every boy that was mean to her or said girls were weak. She stopped watching the Adventures of Princess Amaterasu as she protected the world from bad guys. She began wearing more dresses instead of pants like boys. She even stopped talking to the older boy when all of the girls her age seemed more interested in Uchiha Sasuke, even though they had all said earlier than older boys were good to have since they were more stable and probably had more money. They didn't even seem to care that the boy had been talking about kissing and stuff!
So, Sakura reinvented herself when she was six and a half. She stopped doing the things she wanted to do and that which felt more natural to her to be like the other girls; she was less violent except in regards to pursuing Sasuke's heart as seemed to be the way to be the top girl, and with Naruto, who no one seemed to care if she was violent with. She dressed more for fashion than comfort and function and even let her hair grow out, forsaking Princess Amaterasu, though she still kept the cosplay outfit since that cost far too many allowances to get.
However, in doing all of that, the parts of her that she ignored and refused to deal with or couldn't bear to acknowledge were shunted to the back of her mind, only to come out if and when those thoughts worked for her new path in life, which was usually to be the top girl in Sasuke's fangirl fan club. Anything else and Sakura refused to acknowledge it until it eventually all stopped, no longer actually being there and she simply forgot that any other part of herself, especially from such a painful time in her past, existed.
But it didn't die.
As Sakura gently cleaned herself, the cracks in her new personality simply began to grow with the painful realization that her new reality wasn't as nice or rewarding as she thought it would be. It was ... lonely and hollow.
"They should be ready in two weeks, Hyuuga-sama," Hoshi promised once he had obtained all the measurements for Team Eight. "I will put all other orders on hold to get these ready. Your specifications are uncommon, but I have the materials except a few I will have to make, hence the time frame. Putting it all together should be relatively quick. The weapons are normally reserved for ANBU, but I'll make the exception since you're friends with Tenten."
Actually, it was because Team Eight, according to the Hokage, had free access to any items within Konoha and failure to sell or give said items was a guaranteed death. That just didn't sound as friendly. Nor was he allowed to so much as hint at such a thing under the same penalty. But, whenever they ordered something custom, it was also an order from that same Hokage to make any such orders a rush job while maintaining quality. Otherwise, this job would normally be a month and a half.
"That's fine, Batta-san. Just please make sure the material reacts as requested."
"And say 'hi' to Tenten for us, okay?" Naruto asked as the group left Tenten's father's workshop. It had been a long time before Naruto had found out that the panda-haired girl had a family. He always saw her in the company of Team Nine and knew how much she trained that he never realized she somehow managed to make time for her dad. Though it didn't surprise him as much after considering. The girl had tens of thousands of Ryo worth of weapons, all in excellent shape and quality. A Genin couldn't make the kind of money needed for that many weapons unless she was paying for it in some other method, but he knew she had too much self-respect to do something like that which would be accepted. And her ninja training would not give her nearly enough time to learn to forge.
Hoshi waved the group off with a smile, pleased that his daughter had friends, and well-funded ones at that. He only saw his little girl in the mornings when he woke up the same time she did, or if he was up late enough to see her come home and occasionally for lunch. They were almost strangers anymore.
"If you're getting us matching uniforms," Anko grumbled good-naturedly, "then I'm going to force you to sleep covered in my snakes."
Hinata smiled warmly at the purple-haired woman as she latched onto Naruto's arm. "Technically, I am, but they're mission clothes, not cheerleader uniforms. He's also aware of the weapons that are to be hidden, as well."
"What kinds of weapons?" Anko and Ino asked together, both looking somewhat curious. Anko, because she rather enjoyed weapons and bloodletting, and Ino because she got to play with those weapons and learn how to do the bloodletting.
"Shadow-level ones," Hinata said simply, causing Anko to whistle appreciatively. Shadow-level weapons were made of some of the hardest alloys known to man right now. It was a tungsten carbide mix that was extremely rare, but conducted chakra like nobody's business while being stronger than pretty much any known other blades. And for those who didn't pay to have the material polished, it was dull enough that it refused to reflect any form of light, making it perfect for stealthy action.
It also didn't rust, even if not taken care of properly for years, and didn't require oiling like most blades did to maintain them. Water actually ran right off of the material because it was too smooth for the liquid to adhere.
"Those are expensive, kid. The metal itself isn't the usual stuff. The forging process makes all the metal black, not just the outside so you can sharpen it and get nicks without losing its effectiveness to blend into the night. And the metal is far tougher than usual, too, to say nothing of their chakra sensitivity."
"I'm well aware," Hinata said, not bothering looking at her sensei or team. "It will also fit our needs better than most other equipment for stealth. I am getting the best to ensure we survive and our enemies don't. I'm also hoping to get some personal weapons outside the usual kunai and shuriken."
"I don't see your clan doling out the funds for this kind of thing," Anko said, beaning a guy with a pebble to his forehead for ogling her nearly uncovered mammaries a few seconds longer than she felt reasonable. "Just five kunai of this stuff is practically an S-class paycheck all by itself."
"The Hokage gave Naruto-kun and I a large pay-out for capturing Mizuki along with discretionary funds in the worst case scenario. We've got it covered." Hinata eyed Anko with a sly look and grin. "Don't tell me you're turning down free blades. And here I thought you liked to hurt things." Anko snorted in amusement at the indigo-haired girl's attempt to tease her.
"Something I've been meaning to discuss with everyone," Naruto began once they were out of town and entering their training grounds. "I've been thinking about it, and would like to give you guys some sealing tattoos as emergency backup."
"I don't really like tattoos, Naruto," Ino said as she scrunched up her face. "I'm not really all that into that sort of thing. They kind of take away from a person's good looks."
"And you know I don't really like seals on my body," Anko said with narrowed eyes. Naruto's offer hit a sore spot within her.
Naruto held out his hand and a kunai appeared in it with a small poof of smoke. Then, with another poof, it disappeared and a scroll showed up. Then it disappeared and a plastic bag filled with another set of clothes appeared before disappearing as well. "I'm not making this offer to give you normal tattoos. They'll be clear and impossible to see just like what I've got on my hands since I write them in a crystal ink. The only way someone will notice them is if they are specifically looking for them. And even if you don't like seals, you have to admit that having a spare set of clothes, weapons and emergency supplies immediately on hand is a good idea. Especially if we get called for an emergency mission and can't waste time to go and restock supplies or the like. I seal my travel pack on me at all times. Not to mention damn near anything else I may want or need. Hell, the only reason I go home is to sleep and for my clothes."
"I would like at least two more, Naruto-kun," Hinata stated, partly because she had been thinking about asking him for them anyway, but also because having one person accept would make it easier for the others. "I'd like one on the inside of my forearms. I may want more later like you do. I know I want at least one on top of my inner thigh so I can hide important things as you do."
Ino came up and inspected Naruto's hands, noticing she couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. "No one will ever see them or anything?" For some strange reason, her inner fangirl was thinking about boys sparkling in the sunlight and rather than like it, she knew that whatever it was, it was supposed to be evil and had to be killed. It certainly wasn't as good or nice as it was appearing to be. Therefore, she simply had to make sure Naruto didn't sparkle.
A girl can never be too careful.
"Nope," Naruto smiled at them all, proud of himself. "I keep the really restricted stuff, or my most important, in separate seals that are hidden on my body in places that are way too out of the ordinary and usually covered up to see and the most useful stuff in my fingers or palms, plus a few emergency weapons on my arms. Kunai and shuriken are great for fingers, but that's the only thing I'd recommend there in case someone tries to remove them for torture."
"How'd you get them to places that are out of the ordinary?" Kurenai questioned, thinking anywhere he could reach would be obvious and ignoring Ino hide her dainty digits behind her back at the casual way Naruto mentioned their removal.
"Shadow clones," he replied with a shrug. "This isn't really a new concept, but the ink I use doesn't show up like normal, so people don't expect them."
"Maybe one, just so I have my supplies with me like you do," Ino finally agreed. "I have to admit, having these seems like a much better idea than not. But, we can't accidentally seal ourselves, can we?"
"No," Naruto said with an amused grin. "Just like a sealing scroll, you can't seal yourself. If it tried, the seal would end up being sealed inside itself and then it wouldn't exist, so the actual action of sealing anything would fail."
"Oh," Ino blinked. "Then I guess it wouldn't be so bad. But I don't want one on my fingers right now."
"The seals for sealing are too large for a finger," Kurenai realized. "How do you get them on your fingers?"
"Write smaller," Naruto said. "Usual brushes make wide strokes. Make the seal lines as small as hair strands and you're good. It's uncomfortable, but Hinata-chan uses a medical jutsu for pain relief that keeps it painless."
"As long as I don't go home and my mom thinks I've joined some kind of gang or something," Ino said with a blush. "I remember thinking a butterfly tattoo was cute once and she acted like the world was about to end."
"I think having one may not be such a bad idea," Kurenai relented, seeing the intelligence of the plan. It would be nice to have emergency packs on hand whenever a mission was given with an immediate response time.
Anko glared at the blond boy in front of her, internal feelings warring with logical thought. She had a seal on her and she despised it. She hated it so fully that only that very same hatred could help keep the thing at bay. And here she was, being told she should get another one? "I'll hold off, thanks," the Jounin growled out. 'These kids are going to suffer during their training today. I need to let off some steam. I think the Forest of Death will be a good place for now.'
"I understand," Naruto said. "Out of curiousity, since I have studied seals and become pretty good at them, would you mind if I looked at yours later to see about transferring it? I know it can't be destroyed, or at least we don't know how, but transferring may work."
Anko felt a sense of elation at the idea of someone looking into a way to remove the mark on her shoulder, but also vulnerable because that same mark was like a tag that said her body had been violated at some point by the man she had trusted more than any other and she didn't like anyone looking at it or seeing it. Still, no one had ever thought of moving it, before.
"We'll see, brat. For now, you're just a midget with goals, and it'll take a little more than that to get me shedding my shirt for you to look at my seal." Actually, she'd do it just to see him squirm under Hinata's glare, but it was more fun to state his reasons were for his own perversions and making him work towards a goal of getting her topless rather than helping her.
"Anyway, let's get our morning stretches and warm-ups done. We're going to be practicing teamwork today," Anko said with her usual sadistic smile shining full force in a way that it hadn't for a while. 'It's been too long since I did something like this. I'm becoming soft if a bunch of brats can keep me from training in my favorite grounds.'
"How so?" Hinata asked, sitting on the ground with Naruto and stretching her hamstrings while Ino lifted her left leg straight up while continuing to stand on her right so both looked as though she were doing a split. Naruto found himself oddly intrigued.
"We're going to be training in the Forest of Death," Anko said gleefully.
Yogin stood with his 6'8'' frame straight and as still as a statue as the slit throats of twenty-two women drained their blood into the seal that had been etched into the ground near the border between Fire Country, Grass and Waterfall. Together, he and Kanochi had raided a small farming village, capturing every woman available and taking them back to their place of work, hoping their female blood would make things easier since it was predispositioned for creating and nurturing life. Twenty-two would be enough to fill the etched seal with their blood, allowing Kanochi to have his way with the remaining twelve. Six were already dead.
Kanochi was a firm believer in life turning in a circle, having misunderstood one of his first lessons as a boy about the circle of life. As an infant he had found his way to some komodo dragons after his parents had been killed by bandits on the road and he was left for dead since they didn't want another mouth to feed. For whatever reason, they had nurtured him instead of eating him, possibly because of the noises he had made. But, living with them, he had developed a poison immunity due to the poisons from their mouths that were also everywhere in their living spaces. He had gained strength and a personality like that of one of them.
Then he had been found by Iwa ninja when he was seven and taken back for rehabilitation due to his poison immunity and impressive strength. That had been where Kanochi learned about the Circle of Life. Oddly, it hadn't been the boy's psychologists that had managed to get through to his mind and begin teaching him, but his partner during relaxation time in the mental hospital; Yogin.
From his very first experience, he believed it was both proper, and the only way, to provide his life-giving seed to a woman as he choked the life out of her. In a strange, sick way, he felt he was doing right by these women. He was, in fact, the source of of Yumino Fujin's twisted ideas on purity. Kanochi had been the one to end his sister, explaining his actions to the boy as he stared at his sister's dimming eyes. And in a strange twist of Fate, the team that interrogated Fujin would be the ones who would eventually come due to these actions.
Prophetically, one might say, in a full circle.
The seal etched onto the ground was possibly one of Yogin's greatest works. It was a twisted and modified summoning circle that had dozens of additional seals added and etched into the ground within the containment circle. What he was hoping to summon was not a normal summon, but something truly a demon.
Yogin knew he was old. And he was far too old to get back into shape, having spent four-fifths of his life strapped to a bed so he couldn't write seals, letting his body atrophy greatly. While those in Iwa thought he was in his nineties, he was actually closer to a hundred and eight, though he may have been off by a year or three depending on the actual length of his internment. His goal was to create something from legend. Something that he had unlocked the secrets to after the leader of Iwa showed him one of the Yondaime's tri-tipped kunai.
The seals were amateurish at best, but they did something Yogin could honestly say he had not considered before. They commanded three of the five elements, plus one he had never heard of used before in seals.
Oh, he had understood the secret to the Yondaime's Flying Thunder of God, or Hiraishin technique, at the first glance of the deformed kunai. The blonde Konoha man had considered using Natural chakra, but called it something different, according to the kanji.
He had called it 'Life'.
Most people would call the full combination of elements 'Natural' chakra. Indeed, even Anko had explained it on her team's first outside mission to Kensei as such. But instead, the Yondaime used the power of the universe to move about. That was supposed to be impossible. Natural chakra was supposed to be too potent and difficult for a single person to mold and work with. But he had done it.
It had taken Yogin a week to understand that distinction between 'Natural chakra' and 'Life' on the kunai. He knew what it did and how it worked, he just didn't understand 'why'. But once he did, he realized just exactly what the Yondaime Hokage had truly done. He used the power of 'Life' to reshape the world around him using Natural chakra. And that was the key. Not to the technique, since it was basically just Natural chakra, but to Yogin's dilemma. Calling it 'Life' was probably just to confuse those who got his kunai since he wasn't diligent in picking up after himself.
Yogin also considered it was converting the entirety of the five elements into a single one, but knew that was beyond possible. Otherwise, people would know about that kind of chakra already. Never mind the fact that medical chakra was also different and rarely considered its own branch like the five elements of Nature chakra.
The average ninja could use a single element, or Nature chakra. Jounin were generally required to learn and get at least a near mastery on two. The Yondaime had learned two and was proficient in a third, but not near a mastery. And only the wind element came naturally to him. That was the point of all the seals and the three tips to the kunai. It allowed the Yondaime to manipulate two elements and the kunai to manipulate three, making the eventual merger Natural chakra, or 'Life'. A combination of all the elements into one. The fact was that the man controlled both wind and lightning with a near mastery, that was the true secret to his technique. It was also why Iwa could never figure out the technique. They only had part of it and thought it was the full deal. It was like reading a book with two-fifths of the words removed, and the most important ones at that. No names or verbs for you!
Understanding the technique brought about an understanding of the universe in a small way. That was what led Yogin to his current goal.
He wanted to fuse his ancient and withered body with a demon's. Doing so would grant him the extended life and strength to then create a philosopher's stone, which would grant him the power needed to finally create his own bloodline using seals. It would require the sacrifice of thousands, but he knew a city in Grass in which he could etch his seal, transmuting the populace into something truly awe-inspiring! There was a large system of natural caves underneath the city he could recreate in the shape of the seals he needed to do the job. He just didn't have the vitality right now to do so.
As the seal in the ground in front of him filled with blood, Yogin smiled gently and stripped his clothing, knowing it would probably be destroyed anyway and walked to the center where a small circle was at, the blood from his victims beginning to seep into it, finally. "Kanochi-kun! We are ready to begin!"
The large man with the bald head turned to his friend and grinned, finally squeezing the throat between his hands and relishing in the cartilage snapping as he erupted into the girl. He let his enjoyment fall to the ground and bowed to her in thanks for her accepting him as her lover.
He walked to the outside of the circle, ignoring his nakedness. All he usually wore was a pair of shorts, anyway. "Yogin-sama," twitch. "I will," twitch, "be here to serve when," twitch, "you are done." He quickly began to remove the bodies so their heads wouldn't contaminate the seal by adding elements that shouldn't be in there.
"Thank you, my friend." Yogin closed his eyes and tilted his head back. He did not know that a small clump of dirt had made it to the innermost circle that he was standing in, thus keeping the blood from meeting and closing that protective circle. "I am ready, Kanochi-kun! Activate the seal!" He commanded, preferring to keep his own power just so it could help in the transition and in case it helped dominate any possible fight. It shouldn't be the case with the seals, but one should always be prepared.
Of course, one should always double-check their preparations, too...
Kanochi twitched once and then shoved every ounce of chakra he could gather into the flowing blood as soon as it looked like the innermost circle was finished before the blood got soaked into the ground.
The entire array lit up with a purple and black light that looked as unholy as it felt. The remaining five women cried out in terror as black wraiths rose from the ground in a miasma-like cloak of smoke before rushing into themselves into five small circles that were each within an arm of a star in the seal, with Yogin in the middle, protected by his own circle.
Secondary seals all along the outside of the star began to glow bright red, binding the demons and channeling the power from the bubbling masses from the outside tips and going in, channeling all that power to Yogin.
The black clouds fell away like mist to reveal little girls that looked no more than eight, but with partially-matured bodies with breasts that were about the size of their fists and lush hair that went below their butts, catching the light and lightly glowing with the same dull radiance as the patches in the junctions between their legs. Each could pass as each other, marking them as quintuplets. The only differing characteristics were their hair colors, which also matched their eyes: red, black, green, blue and white. Each of the girls fell to their knees as pain unlike anything they had ever felt before hit them, making them cry out in anguish. In their eight hundred years of life, still children in a demon's eyes, symbolized by their new, human-like, appearances, they had never been subject to such horrible pain.
They were being changed, physically. Given human forms that matched their personal growths in human years as they originally had in demon form, but also matured because of the form they were getting forced to merge with in Yogin and especially because of the types of demons they had been.
Then, their power hit the inside circle where it was meant to form a shell around Yogin to change him like a caterpillar to a butterfly, a metamorphosis of body and strength, spirit and power.
But the circle had never fully formed.
The incomplete shell cracked and fractured, causing a chain reaction that destroyed the seal array from the inside out, leaving the summoned demons and Yogin all panting on the ground, their power lost as the seal had stolen it and then lost it to the earth around them.
The containment seals never stood a chance on their own.
The panting demons looked to the one who had been trying to steal their power like some common parasite, feeling their own energies slowly returning as the little remaining in the air found its way back to them. They were in new bodies that were weak, causing their upper brain functions to halt and forcing them to act by instinct, and the changes were far too new to hope for any semblance of mercy.
They snarled at the withered man, showing rows of normal, human teeth that glinted in the half-moon's light before they pounced. Yogin was too weak to summon the power to scream. And within the first two seconds, his soft organs were already being feasted upon as the demons used blunt nails to rip into his body easily, carving him and eating his inner flesh with innocent relish and giggling that was more in line with girls playing with dolls than a messy, bloody murder. Powerful fingers pierced tender flesh as they plucked out his eyes and moaned in ecstasy as though enjoying a wonderful delicacy as another one dug her fingers into the empty sockets and pulled the skull apart, savoring the jewel within and sharing it with her sisters.
Their voracious appetites were not nearly so quick to disappear as the old man, however. They turned their sights upon the large boulder of a man who was wondering how this was meant to help Yogin-sama since the old man didn't look any stronger.
Growling, the girls kicked off from the ground hard enough to leave five identical craters with their bare feet, crossing the eighteen-foot distance between the dessicated corpse and the large man in less than a second, knocking him back twenty feet as they began to rip into his body as well, using fingers to tear off hunks of meat and teeth to peel flesh from the muscle. He was dead before he hit the ground as eager little fingers dug into his eyes and cracked open his skull to get at what they learned was their favorite part. Like with the first, they carved into this one, enjoying the soft and tender parts of the body before cracking open the thick bones and sucking out the marrow.
After the six and a half minutes it took to eliminate the large man as their hunger abated, the five sisters found themselves content in the full feeling of their bellies. They slowed a little and gnawed on the bones gently as their ravenous, base needs were satisfied and they were left feeling momentarily drowsy.
They giggled in a drunken-like haze of rapture as the human blood filled them with energy like a sugar rush would to a normal child. Slowly, even sensually, they began to lick their victims' blood from each others' bodies until they were clean, finding great amusement in human bodies compared to the ones they had before. They had been able to take human form in the past, though usually larger, and had done many things, but they never truly felt them like this, before, able to feel such sensations from their own bodies and actions upon themselves. They had been able to take a human's form, but not actually be human. Such was the fate of succubi. They desired enjoyment and pleasure, but were never able to get more than a taste unless stolen from their victims. They stole life, power and their own sense of pleasures by causing it in others and stealing it from them all at once, originally being unable to feel any of it for themselves.
And now they could.
"Oh, look! Toys!" The redheaded girl cried out gleefully, hopping up and down as she pointed at the terrified women trapped in a cage that Kanochi had created. The five girls giggled and danced on their toes to the older women with an unnatural grace, spinning and twirling in innocent delight.
"Please! Let us go!" One scared woman begged as the five little girls danced around them, occasionally spinning and hopping about like experienced dancers, their hair waving in their passing like bright banners. The whole while, soft giggles seemed to come from everywhere, not just the five lithe bodies cavorting in innocent abandon.
"But we haven't even played yet!" The blue-haired girl pouted, stopping in front of the cage door and bending at the waist in a manner that was simply provocative and in no way innocent as her instincts were still that of her previous creation. The blue-haired girl instinctively squeezed her small breasts between her arms as she emphasized them, her hands falling just short of her waist and looking through long eyelashes at the other women. It was more effective on the bodies they had when they could control over how they looked, however.
No matter how small they were, or how childlike, they were demons whose original forms had been illusion masters that delighted in sin and debauchery. They were some of the most powerful emotions one could invoke in a mortal, especially a human, thus the strongest ones they could entice out of their victims to feed upon. The girls had been in scaly, frightening bodies that they could alter before Yogin began the merging process.
These new forms, altered beyond their human-related years, were naturally inclined to assist with that rather than requiring a power they no longer had, and they didn't have the experience to control their instincts like they did in their original bodies. Nor had they learned about moderation yet. They still took delight in the now without any care of what was to come and they were away without elder supervision. They weren't about to try to find their way home yet.
The blue-haired girl giggled and spun away like a top as the green-haired girl opened the door and all five began to dance and cavort around a few feet from the exit to possible freedom for the humans. They knew better than to go into a cage.
"Come play with us," the five chanted, not ceasing their dancing and ensnaring the remaining women as the light from the moon made their pale skin seem to glow with their hair. The girls seemed to leave misty shrouds of light as their hair moved, leaving trails in the air to show where they had been like a normal child with a sparkler during a festival. Even the grass seemed to begin glowing and the stars in the night sky suddenly seemed sharper and all the five adult women wanted was to lose themselves in the feelings of never having to think for themselves, or worries of any sort of responsibilities. "Come play with us. Come play with us..."
"Everyone stop!" Kakashi called out, sighing as he snapped his book on physics in relation to elemental techniques shut. Gai still wouldn't let him read his usual porn, and this was the only thing that could keep his mind occupied. This was one of the few books he could get on his list of approved material other than health magazines and anything purely on taijutsu. He was seriously putting a lot of thought into hollowing out the pages to fit Icha Icha inside without it being obvious. "Sakura, why aren't you moving around? Sasuke's been coming in straight at you the entire time and you haven't moved your feet from where they've been planted during the whole session."
"Ka-Kakashi-sensei," the pinkette stuttered, blushing lightly. "I'm ... er ... having feminine issues and it's making moving very painful."
Kakashi's single eyes darted to Sasuke's sudden smirk before it went away, then back to Sakura as Kiba snorted contemptuously.
"Sex isn't a feminine issue," the Inuzuka said. Seeing Sakura's blushing glare, Sasuke's cold stare and Kakashi's single eye on him, the boy shrugged. "I'm an Inuzuka. Did you really think I couldn't smell what you've been up to? You may have bathed afterwards, but I can still smell it on both of you. You're still bleeding a bit, even."
Kakashi hopped up and away from his team, landing on a branch in a crouch. There was no way he could let any of them know that was enough to risk getting him in trouble with Gai. His dry spell and erotica ban was going to cause a lot of problems soon. "With Sakura unable to do more than get beaten during a spar, I'm canceling practice today, along with missions. Normal time tomorrow."
Just as Kakashi was about to leap away, Kiba's voice stopped him. "Hey! Wait a minute!"
"Hm? You say something?" Kakashi asked, hoping it would give him the opportunity to run off.
"I'm sick of this!" The Inuzuka yelled, getting red in the face. "You haven't taught us a damn thing! All you have us do is sit here waiting for you and then you punish us if we wait to show up when you do, then you have us do light exercises and spar before doing pathetic missions! You're our sensei! Why aren't you teaching us anything, damn it!"
"Hmm," Kakashi drew out, looking as though he were thinking of something. "You know, you're right. I suppose I can – What the hell!" He looked behind the team and jerked in surprise, causing the others to spin around, only to see nothing. When they turned back, he was gone.
"What the hell! You damn bastard! I'm going to kick your asparagus-looking ass! Do you hear me, Kakashi-baka!" Kiba ranted and yelled as both he and Akamaru stomped away from the training ground, leaving Sasuke and Sakura alone, much to the former's delight and the latter's confusion.
Sasuke dragged the girl by the hand over to the trees where he plopped himself down and then pulled himself out, much to Sakura's bug-eyed shock. "Sasuke-kun, what-"
"I want another one," he told her.
'What the hell! Suck your own cock!' A quiet, impossible-to-hear voice yelled in Sakura's head. It was a white, chalky figure that was seriously beginning to wonder if they shouldn't be playing for the other team. 'Ino has been a lot friendlier lately,' the voice tried to suggest. 'Just think of how female she is and without a penis!'
When she hesitated a moment to try and figure out what she was suddenly feeling, he frowned. "So you aren't the right one, after all."
"No!" Sakura corrected quickly, dropping painfully to her knees and wincing. "I ... was just thinking of new techniques, that's all!" Before he had the opportunity to say anything and as soon as she could rush to give him some kind of excuse, she immediately lowered herself and began to work him again. She tried to hold her breath since he was sweaty and to ignore the taste of it as well. A minute later, almost to the dot, he finished.
"Meet me at my place at seven for dinner, Sakura," Sasuke said, petting the pink-haired girl's head affectionately. It confused her greatly to find that she was happy for such a gesture, even though it didn't quite seem right. She didn't realize it was the same way she scratched a cat's head until he scratched her behind the ear. "I will pick up dinner and we'll eat it there while we take a bath."
Sakura nodded quickly, dismissing the thoughts of cats and pets as she got her first date with Sasuke-kun! "Of course! Do you want me to bring anything?"
Sasuke smirked mentally, having a wonderful idea. "Yes. I want you to pick up an adult movie for us to watch. Get one you'd like to reenact. I also want you to pick up a few toys to learn with and various things that look interesting."
'I say we introduce him into fem-dom,' the voice stated quickly. 'Seriously. You get the gag and elephant-sized dildo, I'll get the Lyme and shovels.'
Sakura blushed fiercely, having the strangest feelings competing within her. It was ... familiar. As though it was something she had long-ago known and been forced to forget or something on the edge of her perception. "Er, I'm not allowed-"
"I want to see if you're willing to do this for me," Sasuke interrupted her. "It's ultimately a small thing. I just want to see if you're willing to do it. It's embarrassing, but it's important for a wife to do whatever her husband needs, right?"
"Well ... I suppose when you put it that way...," Sakura mumbled, understanding his logic. 'It is a wife's duty to serve her husband in all things. I guess this is just an easy way for him to make sure I'm measuring up like when we made love. He just wants to make sure I don't forget.' Sakura nodded resolutely. "Alright, Sasuke-kun."
'Damn it! Why can't you hear me?'
Sasuke allowed himself to smirk as he walked away from the girl. It was time he headed out to do his own research.
"Gah!" Ino yelled out furiously, shuddering and shaking herself violently even as her hands wiped her body down for the third time in the last minute. "I fucking hate spiders!"
Naruto and Hinata weren't much better off, to be honest. All three of them were down to the barest of clothing at the ANBU training ground in the nook Naruto had created with a Doton jutsu. Since it was right next to the Forest of Death, Naruto had dragged them all there after their battle against a horde of spiders the size of large dogs and some livestock. Like cows, ox and Jiraiya.
Had it just been that, they would probably have been okay, even with the vast amount of webbing they were forced to go through. But it wasn't just that. They had wound up fighting against one that had an egg sack on her back and that egg sack had burst open, leaving them covered in tiny little spiders that were in various sizes, but mostly about the size of an Aburame's kikaichu bugs. And they were alive. And they went everywhere.
Ino's scream of horror had actually made the hundreds of large spiders retreat several feet before they caught themselves.
The clear, tiny bodies crawled all over them, and they still felt their movements, even though they hadn't found any recently. However, Anko's assurances of, "they aren't poisonous you brats ... I don't think," hadn't made them feel better, or assured. So, they were now at the lake edge, stripping down to what they felt comfortable in, and hoping to wash the little bastards out of their clothes and hair.
Naruto and Hinata had just hopped into the cool waters naked and were scrubbing at their hair furiously since the latter had checked with her Byakugan to ensure no one was around and she didn't mind those present seeing her body since they were either female or Naruto.
Had the Sandaime been aware the ANBU training ground was totally empty, he would have probably ended up in a very foul mood since there should have been six off-duty ANBU there at that time for the training he had demanded they start.
Ino followed their example scant seconds later, though she kept her panties on. Naruto had already touched her chest with their chakra control exercises, and done many things with his hands there, but he had not actually seen her lower area yet. And she felt she could just remove her panties in the water while he had plenty of experience with seeing breasts already, so it wasn't a big deal since he wasn't even paying attention to her. She was far more comfortable with her teammates than she would have ever thought possible, but somehow, it just wasn't that big of a deal around them anymore to be topless. Hours of constant groping has that kind of effect on a girl.
At least this time, she wasn't bound to a tree.
"It wasn't that bad," Anko grunted, highly amused. She wasn't planning on telling them that she had used her snake summons to send that spider to them for just that reason. They had to deal with all sorts of uncomfortable things in the field. And this was pretty tame in comparison. 'Those girls should be thanking me for doing that. They've both got a clone shampooing their hair!'
Kurenai wanted to disapprove, but honestly, she was half-tempted to join them even though she had been a hundred feet away from the hundreds of baby spiders. She hated the eight-legged bastards on general principle. And, it wasn't as if her Genin didn't already do worse things together in the buff, or near to it.
"Maybe not for you," Ino bitched lightly, shuddering again. 'God his hands are incredible!' Ino was rather fond of having her hair shampooed for her, it seemed. So much so that she didn't even care that Naruto's own enjoyment was prodding her firm backside. As long as all it did was prod, she considered it a fair trade-off. 'Hell, if he keeps this up, I may just wriggle for him in appreciation.'
"So, what have we learned today?" Anko asked, grinning as she let her feet soak in the water as she sat herself down on a rock.
"Other than we hate you?" Naruto grumbled.
"I definitely want a better weapon," Hinata said. "Going in close with shuriken or kunai was not a good idea, but it was all we had. Senbon were useless with their bodies and I had no idea where their pressure points were. And there were far too many to – Oh, yes that's good, Naruto-kun! Er, to use jutsu on." The girl was losing herself to Naruto's scalp massage, and her purrs of approval were pushing Ino into a greater enjoyment of it even as the Jounin shifted closer to one another subconsciously.
"Good girl," Anko said. "Against humans, kunai and shuriken are some of our most used weapons. More than seven out of ten ninja use those, and those only, along with a few general tools like ninja wire, blood and soldier pills and the occasional trick that an individual likes. But, against any of those ninja who use weapons or are willing to put the time and effort in for the more esoteric things, you'll find yourself short. And the only reason that ratio isn't higher is because learning at least one weapon is a requirement for Jounin, whether you use it or not."
"You could have told us this instead of making us fight a ton of carnivorous spiders," Ino grumbled, pressing her body against her clone's, trying to get him to scrub her scalp a little harder. He was being nice and gentle, but she rather enjoyed the experience. 'I'm not made of glass, nor am I some delicate doll! Work those fingers to the bone, Naruto-kun!'
"It wouldn't have had as strong of an impact," Kurenai explained. "We can tell a person they have to train harder or they'll die. But until they come across an opponent that puts their life in danger, they won't take it as strongly as if we just told them. A person can get into all of the life-or-death situations to feel the rush of adrenaline and the fear of battle, but until that happens for real, you'll never truly feel the real fear, or the real desperation, that such a situation will cause you to feel. Telling you would have been like a parent telling you to clean your room. Without understanding, you wouldn't care as much."
"Did we use anything special before?" Ino asked, referencing the future and letting the clone tip her backwards to rinse her hair. It took more effort than she would have thought to not growl in pleasure. She enjoyed being held by him and the feeling of safety his arms, even as a clone, provided her. Not to mention the fact that he was pampering her in a way she hadn't been before.
"No," Hinata said with a frown. "All I know for sure is I need something for mid and long range, I think. Taijutsu is good for close combat, but I am currently almost defenseless against anything else. My training was mostly support and medical other than taijutsu. I suppose a close-range weapon wouldn't be amiss, either."
"I want a sword," Naruto said happily. He was finally going to get a big-ass sword!
"Too bad, kid," Anko told him, crushing his current dreams of showing Kisame what a real swordsman could do. "Everyone and their grannies wants a sword. The fact is it takes a long time to get good at them, and there are too many people who will either be better, or know how to fight against them. Hell, that's why ANBU have them as standard equipment. It ensures you can stand up to most weapon users. If you want one, fine, but you'll follow Hinata's example and get something else, preferably two."
"What about something like Asuma's trench knives?" Hinata asked him, hoping to give him a compromise. "He also has a wind affinity and he could probably help you with them. You don't tend to fight from a distance, either, but when you fight, it's usually up close and personal. Even most of your jutsu are close range stuff."
Naruto nodded, deciding it was better to not argue with women when he was so severely outnumbered. He would be getting a sword though. "Alright. I'll see if he has any ideas, then."
"What do you think would be good for me?" Ino asked, swimming closer to the other two after her clone disappeared. "I've never really even considered another weapon before."
"Just remember it's not just about looking cool or flashy," Anko explained and warned at the same time. "Weapons are meant to do a job. Not look good while doing it. Hell, we're ninja. We aren't even supposed to be seen. One of my favorites weapons is actually a garroting wire. So think about what works with your natural talents and even your personalities and temperaments."
Kurenai looked to the sky and then got Anko's attention, tapping her left wrist with two fingers from her right hand. "Alright you three. It's a little earlier than normal, but we're going to break for lunch. We'll meet at one at the Hokage Tower. That gives you about two to two and a half hours to eat and prepare for a mission."
"We'll be there," the trio of Genin said as they double-checked their hair, making sure there weren't any more crawling passengers. Once the two Jounin left, Naruto stepped out of the water and to their equipment. One good thing about having so many seals on his body for the majority of their items, it meant that anything chakra-sensitive was sealed away. So, rather than wash their clothes, which would force them to wait when they were all hungry, he instead pulled heavily on his chakra and enveloped all of the clothing, causing anything that may have been there to die as any insect or bug would have been crushed by the pressure he applied.
"Alright, ladies," Naruto said with a smirk as he turned to the two girls in the water. "Clothes are bug free. However, if you want them, you've gotta come and get them." He slowly stepped back and sat down, smiling as the naked, or near-naked in Ino's case, girls came for their clothing. 'I love this team. And I really love Ino's white panties.'
"Mom! I'm home! You here?" Sakura called out, peeking her head through the door and trying to figure out where her mother was.
Her father was, as usual, out of Konoha. One of his biggest jobs was to oversee a caravan for basic supplies for Konoha as its lead merchant. Usually, it was food, but occasionally, like now, it was supplies for some big thing the ninja force would be doing in another five months that she really didn't care about; Sakura rather disliked listening to her parents prattle on about business. However, she had a black plastic bag that she really didn't want anyone to know about, and that meant ensuring her mother was somewhere where she could race through the living room and then up the stairs to her bedroom before getting caught.
No such luck.
"Sakura! Welcome back! You're home early," Sakura's pink-haired mother said with a smile, coming from the kitchen doorway, four feet away.
Haruno Aiyoku was proud of her daughter for wanting to empower herself and become a strong, capable woman. A girl should always strive for some form of power, be it political, social or in Sakura's case, personal. She really felt it was best to be a kept woman who knew how to control her husband, but Aiyoku would admit there was an appeal to knowing a woman could take what she wanted because of her personal strength. Aiyoku herself was a powerful social character because of her husband's mercantile position and the power and prestige that came with such a necessary job. At least one as important as his. He was the person in charge of basically all civilian and non-restricted, ninja-related goods. Basically, anything that the public was allowed to see. The knowledge that this woman also held power over her husband, or at least enough to be of influence, ensured she generally got good prices and was usually in the center of the gossip hub without being the topic of discussion. It also meant she was able to wield that power to keep many other civilian women sufficiently cowed.
Her daughter, sadly, had not come into Aiyoku's talents naturally. She was heavily picked on in school in her younger years and had been getting to a point where she would likely do various disgraceful things to be accepted, but Aiyoku wouldn't stand for such a thing! Not when children didn't know how to keep such things to themselves!
She had been making plans with her daughter's training when Ino had found and befriended Sakura, teaching her the correct way and then she had dominated the social groups at school ever since, taking on a completely new personality that was more feminine and proper than the tomboy she had been at the time and far less violent and definitely more interested in boys than she was then. Aiyoku could honestly say she was proud of her daughter in that. Going almost overnight from a friendless girl who was beginning to accept any form of companionship to the pride of the pack in the social strata of her peer group.
"Yea, Kakashi-sensei gave us the day off early," Sakura said, trying to keep herself from blushing or looking too scared. "Erm, could you get me a pan? I'm wanting to use it to try a chakra control exercise."
Aiyoku's eyes narrowed as her daughter wouldn't step through the door. It was beyond obvious she was attempting to hide something. She had done the same thing after finding a mangy kitten once and Aiyoku had forced her to throw it into a trashcan to show just how inappropriate such mongrels were and had instead been rebuked and the cat taken somewhere. However, rather than asking, which could easily backfire as it had then, she simply nodded and turned to go into the kitchen, and then quickly spun back around as soon as she heard the door opening further. "What size pan do you-"
Then she saw the black plastic bag in her wide-eyed daughter's hands.
"What the hell do you think you are doing, Sakura?" Aiyoku shrieked, quickly looking out the door to see if anyone had watched her daughter bring the iconic black bag inside and then swiftly shut the door. Only a few stores used bags like that, and each and every single one was of the adult variety. "If you think I'm going to let you become a raging pervert like some common street whore and ruin our good name, I'll make you regret it!"
As Sakura flinched, holding the bag in both hands behind her back in a vain attempt at hiding the incriminating evidence, Aiyoku growled and walked forward, spinning her daughter around and snatching the bag, spilling the contents on the ground.
Aiyoku got angrier as she picked up each item, sifting through her deviant daughter's depravity. She wound up with two boxes of condoms, five different lubrications, a topical anesthetic in a very large container, flavored edible underwear, a bottle of mild aphrodisiac, two graphic novels, one of which had two men in compromising positions and a video entitled 'Doctor No Meets Nurse Naughty'. Two larger packages that appeared to be cosplay outfits to match the movie completed the horrors in her daughter's debauchery.
Sakura yelped as her mother's backhand found her cheek.
'That damn harpy! It's easy kid! The throat is a soft target! So's the eyes! Ino had the right of it! Jab with the fingers and don't forget to growl! Growl like a wildebeest!' The chalky outline was trying its best to help. She was currently using a kunai to hollow out the eyes of a corpse that looked just like the larger woman.
"You would ruin our name?" Aiyoku seethed, slowly raising, her hands clenched and shaking. "Do you have any idea how many people probably saw you with that bag and are laughing about your depravity! You dare dishonor my family!"
"Sasuke-kun asked me to!" Sakura quickly yelled. She had been hoping to keep things quiet, but mainly because she wanted to use this time while Sasuke-kun was with her to make him happy and not risk going to another woman. However, her mother had always pushed her daughter to win the boy's heart, so it only made sense to explain. "We're dating now and he wanted me to get it!"
Aiyoku lowered her hand from the near-slap she had been about to give her daughter and suddenly engulfed her wonderful girl in her arms. "Oh, you dear, sweet, wonderful girl! I knew you could do it! No man could ever resist women like us!" Aiyoku's eyes sparkled as she seemed to move faster than any Jounin could ever hope to and picked up all the naughty items and took her daughter to the kitchen table. "Tell me everything! When did you get together? Why does he want you to get these things? Does he expect you to be using them?"
Sakura, despite having her mother's approval and knowing that she would be okay with everything couldn't help but be highly embarrassed by what she had done. For civilians, it was illegal to have sexual relationships until one was eighteen, thirteen for men, or unless one was legal and they were within a four-year age difference. However, as ninja, they were considered adults the moment they got a real hitai-ate. The only exceptions were bloodline-carrying people. If they were a part of a clan, they usually couldn't for fear of losing control over it. If they were like Sasuke, then it was encouraged. Heavily encouraged, that is.
"Erm, we started dating the other day," Sakura said, unable to look at her mother who was watching her with an expression of happiness. It felt too much like she was being judged and there were some things you never wanted a parent to talk with you about. Still, old habits die hard, and Sakura had been drilled from a very young age to obey her mother. "When it started, he kissed me and said he couldn't respect fangirls and wanted me to be his because I was a kunoichi. He said that, because he's the last Uchiha and has to revive his clan, he can't play House with girls and any girl has to be in it for real, so he told me it would be as real as possible, like we were already married."
Haruno Aiyoku squealed in happiness. Any member of Team Eight, and most serious individuals, would have said it sounded like a pig's squeal. Most of Sasuke's fangirls would recognize it amongst each other and knew it, usually, to be the mating call of a rival. Odd how those things work out. "Go on!"
"Er ... Well, we do ... Everything a couple would normally do, including ... Er ..." Sakura blushed heavily, feeling mortified that she was actually having this discussion with her mother.
"Has he made you a woman yet, Sakura-chan?" Aiyoku asked, looking more serious than giddy at the moment.
'Why the hell are you okay with this?' That quiet, almost imperceptible voice tried to roar inside of Sakura's head.
Sakura nodded, looking down at her hands that were in her lap. "Yea, he has," she said quietly, not really finding the memory as happy as she had always thought it would be. "And, he said as a way to prove I was serious and not just saying it, he wanted to test me, so I had to go and buy ... certain things, including a video to reenact." Sakura swallowed heavily, feeling incredibly small. Like she was a little girl playing a big-girl game and not measuring up. 'If I had thought about it, I could have gotten that one for him to return the favor. But, I don't want him to think I'm selfish...'
"This is wonderful news!" Aiyoku praised, closing her eyes and relishing in the feeling of pride in Sakura she felt at that moment. "We'll have to get you prenatal vitamins and fertility medications. We can't let the boy ignore his duty. Perhaps Miroku from the hospital will help me. She owes me for not blabbing about her affairs with various Genin boys."
"Um," Sakura began nervously, not really sure why her mother's monologue was making her more so. "I ... since you know now ..."
"Hm? What is it?" Aiyoku asked, looking at her daughter curiously. "I'm your mother, Sakura-chan. It's my duty and my honor to help you learn how to prepare for your role as a wife and eventual mother. You're also a woman now! Be proud! It's okay if you enjoyed it."
Sakura blushed, somehow feeling sick at her mother's pride. "Erm. Well, that actually happened this morning," she explained. "It ... it wasn't very nice. It hurt a lot and he didn't seem ... He just got up and left right after and he hasn't kissed me except the once and-"
"Sakura," Aiyoku said, sounding firm and disappointed. "It was your first time. It was meant to hurt! He's probably completely new to sex and needs guidance! And not every man is capable of showing constant love and devotion! Men who do that are weak!"
Aiyoku shook her head, sounding suddenly disgusted. "Sasuke is an Uchiha. He's too important to care for your needs right now! You think you're the only woman who is left unsatisfied during the act? No! Your duty to your husband is to give him his happiness and enjoyment and try to get your own. If you have to, keep him going so he can do it. You don't fuck him for love! You do it for duty and because of the status and life he can provide for you! If you must, you lay back and take it while thinking of Kage and country!"
Sakura was wide-eyed and somehow horrified at what she was hearing. She wanted to yell and scream and tell her mother that wasn't how it was supposed to be! That wasn't what was supposed to exist between a man and a woman! It was all supposed to mean something! She was supposed to be important to her husband!
"Don't you dare screw this up," Aiyoku growled at her daughter, standing up and towering over the shaking girl. "Uchiha Sasuke is rich, is of the highest class of Konoha citizen, he has political power and is a strong ninja who will only get stronger! He will not only provide for you, but he will provide for us, too! That is a woman's position in life; to marry as powerfully as she can and do her best to get her and her family the highest status she can possibly help attain! You will serve Uchiha-sama! I will get you the other materials if you need them to learn to better serve him, but you will not screw this up! You will marry that boy and bear his children! Do you understand me?"
Sakura nodded shakily, tears trailing down her cheeks. The day had started so well! She had everything she had ever wanted, and then it got bad, and then worse! She had hoped her mother would help her understand what that feeling was that said something wasn't right, or could assure her everything would somehow get better, but she was instead disheartened and even more unsure of things.
Sakura loved Sasuke-kun! She did! But ... there was ... something. Something about the way he touched her and looked at her. It wasn't wrong! She would never say being with Sasuke-kun was wrong! But ... it wasn't ... it was not right. When he was telling her what he wanted her to purchase, she had felt she was just on the cusp of understanding it, but it had been gone the moment he told her what he wanted and she was only too happy to instantly work on her plans.
Why, when she had what she wanted, did this feel so ... not right?
"I'll be a good wife, Momma," Sakura said, blinking and staring at nothing ahead of her. "I'll be a good wife. And a good mother with many of Sasuke-kun's babies."
"That's my girl, Sakura," Aiyoku said, hugging her daughter warmly before going to make a good lunch. If Sakura was a proper Haruno, she'd be eating for two soon enough, so Aiyoku needed to get into the habit of making plenty of food.
It was not right.
"You believe they've already progressed to a physical stage?" Sarutobi asked Kakashi, not sure he had heard correctly. He wasn't even sure Sasuke would be able to do the deed, much less be willing to! Today's youth were getting to be so much more cavalier in their dalliances. In his day, things like this simply didn't happen.
"Yup," Kakashi said, sitting very close to the Hokage's desk so the man wouldn't notice what that knowledge did to him. It was bad enough he had been found out by the receptionist, an ugly woman who was there mostly when the pretty one wasn't working and who now felt Kakashi had rather ... strong feelings for her, but the Hokage was someone who would ask questions. Awkward, uncomfortable questions. Though, with his porn ban, he had almost been willing to accept her silent and subtle offer where she dove over the desk, trying to rip his clothes off.
"How are you sure?"
"Sakura was having difficulties during our sparring session and Kiba pointed out they smell like sex after she stated it was feminine problems. When called out, it wasn't denied. Since you gave me the mission, I felt it best to now tell you it was completed as of either last night or this morning since she stayed with him at his house overnight."
The Sandaime didn't let it show outwardly, but he was of two minds of this whole situation. On one hand, Sasuke now had a very strong bond and reason for staying in the village and was therefore much less likely to turn traitor to Orochimaru. On the other, however, he had hoped the two would take their time and take a good while before they got to this point. While it was common knowledge in their business that kunoichi matured faster, it was also true that it was directly related to how much they trained. Not a single kunoichi other than female clan members, on average, could generally say they trained nearly enough to be ready for sex so early in their lives. Not enough, anyway, to make it any less painful or more enjoyable. And it also didn't help that she still had a fangirl attitude rather than that of a serious woman, making it less likely that she was mentally mature enough for such an act. He was only aware of one, non-clan affiliated female Genin, Batta Tenten, who had taken her initial training as seriously during the Academy.
Still, he got what he wanted, simply much earlier than he had wanted it. And he really couldn't blame either of them. It never would have happened, quite literally, without his intervention if he believed Naruto and Hinata's story, which he did. He had watched the two a bit more often and, other than a few nose bleeds and passing out, the two showed far, far too much ability to be lying. Perhaps he should provide them with ANBU identities so they can obtain more questionable items without undue attention.
"Will Sakura-san be okay?" Sarutobi asked, putting his thoughts on the amorous couple aside for now even as he made a note so as not to forget in his personal code. "She didn't receive any excessive damage?"
"She seemed to be fine," Kakashi said, blinking. "She didn't say anything about excessive pain or anything, and I didn't notice any strong scents of blood." There was a nagging feeling like he probably should have asked, or escorted her to the hospital, just to be sure. But if it had been a problem for her, she would have said something, surely. Of course, the fact that he left right after finding out and she was too embarrassed to admit what had happened probably hadn't helped.
"Good, then," the older man said with a sigh. "Children these days are growing up so quickly. I know she had been looking forward to this, based on your report for their dreams for the future, but I still find it troubling that a girl can be so ready to get into adult matters so early in life."
"Was this what you were hoping to achieve?" Kakashi asked, a little unsure in questioning his boss again. He hadn't taken to well to it the last time. "Getting the two together?"
"Something that required that, yes," Hiruzen stated, packing his tobacco into his pipe.
"I don't understand," Kakashi acknowledged. "Wouldn't it just be easier to get civilian women who can bear children safely rather than a younger girl? Or to perhaps surgically put his Uchiha swimmers where they belong to find their own way?" The last thing Kakashi wanted to do right then was use coarse or crude language.
"This has nothing to do with reviving his clan," Sarutobi said, his voice low and firm. "This is about something far more important that, quite frankly, is classified."
Kakashi's one eye seemed to narrow and the outline on his mask showed he was frowning. "Sir. With all due respect, if you have plans or goals regarding my students, I feel I should be made aware of them."
"Your job is to do as you are told, Hatake-san," Sarutobi bit out, allowing his anger to show on his face. "I have been watching your training methods. You show up just as late to your team as you do everything else and have, thus far, taught them nothing but to spar with one another. If and when you begin teaching, thus truly making them your team, I may be more inclined to bring you into the fold. Until then, all I see is a bunch of sitting on their asses, Academy-level physical regimens and the occasional mission."
Kakashi flinched as his leader's face was suddenly closer to his own, leaning over his desk and radiating an intent to harm the spiky-haired Jounin that made his little ninja shrivel and hide. The fact that the old man had begun using foul language also showed just how upset he was, though Kakashi really couldn't explain what had caused it. "Thus far, you are a disgrace to your position and the only reason you are as aware as you are is because it is easier than going around you and giving your team orders myself."
The door crashed open as Team Eight trooped in, this time Anko winning the race with Naruto to be the one to kick it in, only to halt as they felt the thick tension in the air and saw the Hokage leaning over his desk menacingly and Kakashi looking up with his single visible eye wide. Something apparently wasn't going well.
"You are dismissed, Hatake-san," Sarutobi said, settling down in his seat and looking for the world as if he had not just been intimidating one of Konoha's strongest ninja.
Kakashi swallowed and stood, his green jumpsuit no longer showing any form of his previous state and walked zombie-like out of the room. He planned to go to the one place he could think, where hopefully, his lost team and sensei could somehow give him guidance.
"Team Eight, you have a mission to Kiyoko Pass, Gold Sector that you will leave for in about three weeks. This is a low B-rank mission, but only because of the specifics. It should last about a week. Here is your mission scroll," the Hokage handed it to Anko, who looked positively giddy to finally have her requested mission and pseudo-punishment put into play. "You are to practice your new identities and then leave within three days of the date on file so that you should arrive in time to accept your reservation. We paid handsomely for taking them from those who had them, so do not mess up your identities. This will be your current mission," he handed a second scroll to the group, much smaller than the first.
"Two missions?" Naruto asked.
"The first is to give you a real-world exercise to see if you are performing and meeting expectations on your future goals," Sarutobi explained. "Normally, I'd have given your mission scroll later, but felt it best to give you a little more time to practice your identities just to play it safer. Normally, I'd give it to a couple of ANBU, but this is what you've been training to do in many respects. The other is your current mission."
"It is?" Naruto asked, trying to peek at the scroll Anko held, only to have the purple-haired woman shove his head down and then sit on it, reading as he squirmed and tried to get free. She only allowed him that after he handed over a skewer of dango from one of his many hidden summoning tattoos.
"A merchant caravan from Grass country arrived this morning and said that their usual camping spot was found to have several mutilated remains and some strange markings on the ground like something large and heavy had been dragged about. They are worried about what kind of animals may have caused that since they also found a rather large cage. We've been receiving a few other reports of masticated human remains in the same area. We are assigning you to find out what is happening."
Anko looked oddly disappointed with the news. "We're investigating a bunch of wild animal attacks? Wolves? Bears? What?"
"No," the Hokage said, puffing away on his pipe. "All evidence suggests all victims were eaten by other humans."
You could actually see the shivers race up Ino's body as her brain connected the dots. "You're saying you're sending us to check up on a bunch of cannibals?" The blonde girl squeaked.
"It could also be some sort of evil, man-eating monkey," Anko offered helpfully. "The reports are from a guard on the caravan who is also an experienced hunter. The teeth marks are obviously omnivore, so they eat plant and animal. The shape just appears human-like. So it could be a monkey. Monkeys can be evil, too. They fling poo, you know."
Ino shuddered as a mental picture of monkeys ruling over the world and enslaving humans formed in her head.
"Your mission is to go and find out what's going on," Sarutobi said, believing this to be little actual threat. The bodies found had almost all of their muscle intact, and only the soft flesh and insides had been eaten and all the bodies were ripped rather than cut, which showed a lack of basic tools, suggesting animal rather than human, which would go for the meat, most often. Otherwise, he wouldn't put the team in such a situation. "If you find the animals responsible, you are to kill them. If it turns out to be human or more than you can handle, you may return and a more experienced team can complete it for you."
The old Hokage ignored the glares coming from four-fifths of Team Eight for showing such little faith in them while the fifth member was currently envisioning peeling bananas for a giant orangutan with an Uchiha-like ego. "Dismissed."
"Alright you three," Anko said, clapping her hands together once they left the tower. "This is the real deal! Get your mission packs and stock up on any last-minute supplies and meet at the North Gate in one hour!"
"Got ours," Naruto and Hinata said together while Naruto continued with a smirk. "The beautiful wonders of storage seals, right?"
"Smart-ass," Kurenai snorted as Anko glared. The purple-haired woman really didn't like seals. "We've got to get ours, so we'll still meet in an hour."
"Not a problem. I want to pick up some more food anyway," Naruto said. He and Hinata left for the bank to withdraw a substantial amount of cash. Once a week found Naruto buying enough for more than a month of all the basic needs in regards to food and storing them away, along with kunai, shuriken, ninja wire and various other tools for when things got bad and there was a shortage of everything imaginable.
Of course, his ramen stash was hidden from Hinata...
"We're going in ... there?" Chouji asked, his bag of chips dropping to the ground in his scared shock. He even ignored the creature that rushed from the bushes to snatch the bag away and carry it off to places unknown. He would have been upset if the creature didn't look like some sort of lizard with two heads that had begun fighting over the bag. And he'd rather they head off with the chips than the scorpion-like tail to have hit him.
In front of Team Ten was a large cave entrance, open enough for some summons to enter if they chose to. However, even with the bright, morning sun out, they could only see approximately ten feet into the mouth of the cave, which was then covered in shadows the likes of which the Nara beside him could almost feel envious of, if he were more inclined to care.
Chouji's fear, however, came from the growling and snarling he could faintly hear from deep within. He looked to his left, where Shikamaru was attempting to stare into the sky through the canopy of the trees, and then to his right, where Shino was staring into the inky blackness that the bug-user was almost sure was somehow moving.
"This, Team, is known as the Pits of Despair. This is where we'll be spending that week training I was telling you about."
Shikamaru clicked his tongue, letting his head drop to look into the cave himself. "Che, troublesome. Why are we going into a place like this when you had a team of ANBU help us get here?"
Asuma looked to the five cloaked and masked individuals around them, each one looking around and waiting for any hints of the large predators in the area that may be coming for the group of humans. "Well, the Forest of Death is a pretty dangerous place..."
"Then why are we here?" Shikamaru asked. He absently kicked a snake that was beginning to wrap around his leg into the trees, ignoring the indignant hissing as it went. The shadow-user was almost positive it glared at him as it went.
Asuma looked down with a smile and ruffled the genius' spiky hair. "You're here to survive!" The chain-smoking Jounin stealthily used his affectionate action to grab a scorpion by its tail from Shikamaru's shoulder and threw it into the trees behind them all. His mother would kill the Jounin if he allowed Shikamaru to die. At least while Asuma was there.
"Asuma-san, perhaps you should hurry things along?" Cat suggested, her sword impaling a rather poisonous, thirteen-foot snake as it readied to launch at the children. Even then, she didn't remove her eyes from the glinting eyes of the large creature hiding in the shadows, watching them. Whatever the beast was, it had four eyes on its head.
"Right!" Asuma handed each member of the group a scroll. "Those are each a map of this place, but only of the tunnels. There will be parts of each that are different. Your job is to follow the various maps, eventually making it out of the cave system."
He handed them a small metal box, opening it to show twelve stoppered vials with pictures of various animals on the caps. "This is an anti-venom kit. I suggest keeping that very safe."
"This is such a drag," Shikamaru stated. He stomped on a tarantula-like spider that seemed to be as large as his head, wishing he had stayed in bed. Even his mother wasn't this bad. She'd probably make him do chores, possibly some shopping, maybe even serve tea while she spoke with her book-reading club of other troublesome women, but it wouldn't have been this.
"Nah, it's not all that bad," Asuma said. "Chuunin who are a bit more advanced sometimes come here ever since Mitarashi Anko first found it." Granted, that was because the crazy woman used this place to hold Chuunin exams, but that wouldn't help boost his team's morale.
"What can we expect inside?" Shino asked, not sure if he preferred the man's smoking or this, but heavily leaning towards being happy instead. He used his clan techniques to control a centipede the size of his arm to send it on its way, flinching when a small tiger snatched it up and ran off with it. So much for the 'humane' approach. He blinked as he saw an alligator from a bog rise up and snapped its jaws, devouring a duck that was resting on the surface.
"Good question. There are a few things to watch out for. One, is a large section known as the Fire Swamp. There are flame bursts from the ground there and the ground is extremely hot, but not enough to catch something on fire. Just try not to stand still. The next thing to watch out for is what we call Lightning Sand, though you'll know it by a more common name as quicksand. I won't tell you why we have the distinction."
Shikamaru grumbled, tightening his mission pack as Shino tilted his head. "Anything else, sensei?"
"Yes. There are the usual cave nasties like bats, spiders and such, but you'll also have to watch out for rats. They aren't normal rats, though. They're as large as an Inuzuka's dogs and attack in packs. Their skulls are hard as hell, too, so go for soft spots if you get surrounded, if unable to escape. They're pretty resistant to fire, too. So don't bother trying that. You'll recognize them from their red coats."
"How long should this take?" Chouji asked.
"Depends on how you follow the maps and how you end up fighting. Average time is about a week," Asuma said.
"I hate you, sensei," Shikamaru grumbled, walking forward. "I really do." Then he was engulfed in the shadows and the forest around them all went silent for all of two seconds.
"Kukuku!" Orochimaru giggled like a schoolgirl as he saw his new warriors with cursed seals of their own. It was weaker than his usual seal by nearly a third, and had no second form, but it still nearly doubled their raw power and he had been able to add in designs to include painkillers and a natural healing ability, to help them go longer and harder. Their basic goals while the seals are active are 'take as many down with me as possible'. The brainwashing function had been a much larger success when compared to the previous version, as well.
These soldiers, in Orochimaru's thoughts, were going to be his true surprise. While not as strong, they were more resilient.
The Snake Sannin had been thinking long and hard about his plans for the invasion in five and a half months. He was worried that he wasn't doing enough. He had his own village and most of Suna to make the assault, plus plans for summoning some rather large snakes, but he felt, for some reason, it would be very close. And he didn't believe the odds were stacked in his favor.
That was when he realized he never really left things up to chance and, as much as he hated to admit it, while he had thought this was the perfect plan before, he was now not totally sure, and he didn't understand where that worry came from. When he considered the invasion, he realized he had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
So, he sat down and simply thought. For a full day, he took time out of his schedule and tried to decide what his goals were. Immediately, he knew he wanted to kill his old sensei, the Sandaime Hokage, seal the Uchiha for use as a future vessel and destroy Konoha.
Destroy Konoha, however, was where he realized a wrinkle had cropped up in his planning. What, exactly, did that mean? Raze the village to the ground?
No. He knew that he didn't have the forces to fully do such a thing. Not unless every single factor went his way, which was virtually impossible. Konoha had a very, very large military force. It was one of the largest available, though the general quality was poorer than any other of the big Shinobi villages due to peace, while Mist had some of the deadliest, though far, far fewer. Still, with enough numbers, it didn't so much matter about Konoha's quality of ninja since they had the most of any other village, even after the last war and the Kyuubi attack.
So, how would he best be able to destroy the village? How could he actually do so even when he was pushed back, as was inevitable?
Orochimaru realized that he wanted Konoha to suffer more than be destroyed. But, other than the Uchiha, his priorities were simple. Kill Sarutobi Hiruzen. And to do that without the entire might of Konoha after him, he needed one hell of a distraction. Thus the war and acquiring Suna, for their unstable jinchuuriki.
But, he could destroy Konoha, even without killing Konoha's military might. The village ran on civilians!
If he could figure out how to kill as many people as possible, then Konoha would collapse in on itself as soon as the weight of running the village became too much.
During the Kyuubi attack, only the ninja populous was weakened other than civilians who didn't have the strength to withstand the massive killing intent of the beast. So, it was slight, but the village had been able to limp on after the assault. The village still continued to function properly.
However, without the civilians, the ninja would be unable to both take on missions and do all those things that the civilians were able to do. Not to mention the villagers and ninja themselves were soft! They didn't really know how to live without those comforts of home!
So, these men were going to be his ace in the hole.
Fifty men were still alive after obtaining their seals, and five women. A curious statistical anomaly, but one the Kage of Sound chose to ignore.
Orochimaru turned and stared at the door where, two seconds later, Tayuya came through and immediately bowed. "Orochimaru-sama."
"What news do you have, Tayuya?"
"The Uchiha is ready and willing to accept your glorious gifts, Orochimaru-sama. He has also activated his Sharingan during the fight, just as you asked us to do."
"Oh?" The sly bastard grunted with a raised eyebrow, inordinately pleased. "Kukuku!" He turned to look at his newest soldiers and considered his plans. He had originally wanted to seal the boy after a test of his skill in the Forbidden Forest where he knew Konoha would be hosting the second stage of the Chuunin Exams. However, with everything he had planned, it was possible that doing so then could put his plans into disarray. However, if he did the same, earlier, then there is the possibility that the larger bulk of his plans would become ineffective. To attempt to do so later than that, however, was even worse since security would be heightened and they may do something stupid to keep his goals from him, just to spite him.
After taking a few moments to consider which of his ultimate goals would be easiest to reacquire should everything fail, he realized how much joy and happiness he would get out of leveling his home village to the ground in the body of their most honored, living icon: the Last Uchiha.
"I have a change of plans. Gather the Guard and send them ahead to determine when the Uchiha will have a free day to himself. I shall give him my gift and we need to ensure no one learns of his acquisition until much later. I will follow tomorrow and then we shall await the moment to strike."
"Yes, Orochimaru-sama." Tayuya rose and immediately left to gather the other Sound Four to observe her pet for their master.
"Kukuku," Orochimaru chuckled once he was alone. "We shall use the chaos of war to hide you leaving Konoha, Sasuke-kun. And then you will be all mine."
'One more time,' Anko seethed mentally. 'Let it be just one more time, and I'll take away Hinata-chan's favorite toy forever!' The purple-haired woman caressed her kunai like it was a lover, left eyebrow twitching every few seconds.
"Are we there yet?" Naruto asked.
"GAH!" Anko spun and leapt towards the wide-eyed blond, aiming for his baby-making regions, only to end up stabbing a log. "Come back here and face your end like a man!"
"Where exactly are we going, anyway?" Ino asked. "While I admit he's getting annoying with it, Naruto does have a point. We don't even know where we're going 'cause you haven't told us. We've been running and walking for almost four hours now and you just keep giving that infernal grin when we ask."
Anko pinched the bridge of her nose, deciding tormenting them wasn't worth their tormenting her back. It just wasn't fair fighting with Uzumaki Naruto. He took you down to his level! "Fine. At the northwestern-most tip of Fire Country is a border between ourself, Waterfall and Grass. About ten miles from the border on our side is where the most-used roads are for trade. It's a central site where roads head off to Konohagakure, Takigakure and Amegakure, along with Tanzaku Gai, Otafuku Gai and a few other larger cities with various attractions, like Kikiyo Pass to the East of Konoha and to our Daimyo, of course."
"So we're going to the crossroads?" Ino asked.
"Close, but no. Our caravan has a camping site about fifteen miles from the crossroad, further into Fire Country. It's off the beaten path and a little further away from the established resting places most traders use, so they tend to get their rest without people knowing about them. Most stay at the small trading post town where the crossroads are, then there are a few rest stops along each route. So, people tend to think this particular caravan keeps going or stopped at an earlier spot for their rest when people see them."
"Why would they do that?" Ino asked. "Wouldn't it be more dangerous to stay in the wild?"
"Usually," Kurenai said, being somewhat familiar with this particular group. "But these guys tend to deal with international communications and establishing trade routes between villages and businesses."
"I'd think people like that would want their lifestyles to be more luxurious," Naruto commented.
"Normally, you'd be right," Kurenai agreed. "But, by staying so low-key and looking as though they're trying to trade with usual merchandise, they appear less important and tend to have a better understanding of what people need because they hear it directly from the people instead of those in charge, who usually don't really understand what's going on with the lower class. That actually makes them one of the best in their line of work because most nobles have no idea what the people really need or want."
"Anyway, there's a good chance our evil monkey culprit," Anko grinned as Ino shivered, "could be dangerous to 'em later on, which is why they want us to take care of it now."
"So you don't think it's cannibals?" Ino asked.
"Cannibals would go for the meat," Anko said simply. "Humans, by and large, prefer meat to organs."
"I guess we'll see soon," Hinata said, activating her Byakugan for a quick scan of their surroundings. "How long until we arrive where you're taking us?"
"Probably the day after tomorrow," Anko said. "We've just got to keep up our pace."
A small fist rose into the air as its owner yawned, smacking her lips repeatedly as she awakened. Her red eyes blinked owlishly as she looked around, finding herself in her room. She then burped and scratched her butt as she used one of her tails to wipe at her eyes.
This was the first time she had really been fully cognizant of being awake since the last thing she could remember, which was splitting the seal. She seemed to remember a dream about two demons who kept her awake rather than let her sleep, but other than that, she seemed to be perfectly fine.
She rose and stretched before tuning her senses into her container, then immediately shut them down. He was far too active for her mind to cope with at that moment. She felt exhausted. Running a quick self-inventory, she whimpered as she realized she had used nearly every bit of her power to give her two masters their new abilities. She had split herself as evenly as she could, five tails of power going to Naruto and four to Hinata. But at that moment, she was nearing half a tail of power for herself.
Being weak was not something she was accustomed to. She didn't like it.
Sitting back on the bed, the Kyuubi closed her eyes and focused on her newer container, checking her for any signs of bad changes. For both of them, they were gaining chakra steadily and their hanyou forms were stable, though unused since the first transformation. The bond between them seemed to be stronger, meaning she would soon be able to manifest herself physically in the outside world. Or at least she hoped so.
Her masters seemed to be progressing very well, despite her apparent need for sleep in the past two months since their return and changing the seal.
Seeing that her yokai was going to alter Hinata's Byakugan while also turning it red, the Kyuubi confirmed what it was going to do before simply ceasing the color change and allowing the rest while working on her master's body as she had once before, hoping to make him stronger, earlier than she had. First and foremost, his senses. No point making him faster if he couldn't sense the kunai coming for his back.
As she worked, she began sifting through their memories of the past two months, hoping to catch up to what was going on.
Almost immediately, she blushed for reasons she didn't quite understand as she realized how amorous the couple had become and was becoming. Then she giggled. Remembering both sides of various activities left her with a strange duality in her mind that had the she-demon crossing her eyes and falling backwards in sensory overload.
"Are you okay, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked, looking at Naruto come back to the group from the tree line.
"Yea," he said, looking confused. "I just thought I heard some giggling and ... cheering while I was taking a leak."
"Men are weird," Anko muttered to Kurenai as the group got back on the road, getting a nod of confirmation and agreement.
"La-a-a la, la-a la la!" One little girl, laying on her stomach in the nude while singing softly to herself allowed her luminescent blue hair to fall gently as she played with it, waiting for one of her sisters to come back. She watched as her other sisters did their own thing while waiting.
One with dark, blood red hair and another with black, both glowing softly, were playing kickball but, since they had no ball, they decided to instead use the head from their latest meal. There had been a group the night before and they had finished eating before cracking open the skull, so they saved it for their fun. They had plucked out its eyes, though. Those were so tasty that the girls went for them, first.
Her sister with white hair had taken a liking to the one's sword. It was very large, about twice as long as she was tall, and just as wide, but she grunted with the effort of dragging it everywhere she went in their new home.
Her green-haired sister was currently out of their cave, looking for that night's meal. Each of the girls enjoyed the search, but they decided it would be better to take turns and, that way, they could each catch their food however they wanted.
The blue-haired girl giggled as she dipped her fingers into the blood of the woman that had been with the men and then put it back to the wall, singing softly as she made her pictures, trying to make the bland cave more homey. It wasn't home, but it would be when they got some art on the walls, after all. And each girl had her own section, though blue-hair was the only one who was diligent about it.
While drawing pictures of the various animals she had seen outside on the wall, most of which she had never seen back at her first home, she munched thoughtfully on the saved fingers and toes and thought about why she and the others had begun to call each other by the colors of their hair rather than their names. It was really quite silly, they thought, but not a single one could remember how to speak their names. Well, that wasn't totally true. They knew what their names were supposed to sound like, but they couldn't make their mouths work properly. They didn't even have proper fangs anymore!
In fact, their bodies were very different, too. All of the girls found their new bodies amusing, though. It was strange not having a tail anymore, or being able to control their hair, but the glowing was fun, and if they ran as fast as they could, they could make streams of light appear! It was fun! They didn't glow before!
Tsutanai Hioi walked along the outside edge of the village. There were many traders who came and went throughout the week, but in the past several days, there had been a disturbing number of human remains found. Naturally, those civilians who used the trading post wanted to ensure that whatever was getting the people wouldn't get them.
That was where he came in.
He was a member of the local guard. Basically, he was what amounted to a Chuunin ninja, although, with mostly basic skills taught and seen by those ninja who passed by. Usually, they were willing to trade one jutsu for another and oftentimes, willing to have a friendly spar if there was a drink or some money for the victor.
Plus, it was rare for many ninja to not be willing to accept payment for their lower-level jutsu. If it was weak and a basic somewhere, like Konoha's Academy Three, or a simple D-rank jutsu, then they had a tendency to accept payment for a basic scroll and let you learn it on your own, figuring you would likely kill yourself attempting it.
Well, Hioi was fond of the ninja lifestyle, even though he was never allowed into an Academy thanks to his shrew of a mother, may she never rest in peace! Hioi had decided when he was denied entry because of her, even if it was because his father was a ninja and she refused to lose him, or so she said though he thought it had to do with forcing him to do all the chores, that he would still learn as much as possible. He paid for the techniques and kept his own small library of them so he could learn them on his off time.
His control was as good as any medic and his physical training regimen made most of the other guardsmen shake their heads in wonder since nothing ever really happened there. And many of those ninja came back through since they tended to make contacts wherever they went.
And good ol' Hioi was always there with an offer for a drink, even enough to get you plastered if your jutsu payment was high enough. That, in conjunction with friendships with many of them meant that they trusted him.
And Danzo-sama was always willing to reimburse for those jutsu he collected.
Still, Hioi took his job seriously. He wasn't exactly loyal to an idea or place, but to his reputation. He always did his best. You had to if you were going to be a Hero. Hero's simply had to be the best!
So, when he heard sniffling, he acted quickly and efficiently. He took his five-foot three body a short distance into the trees, away from his usual patrol pattern, to the voice of what he found to be a little girl crying. "Hell," he muttered, seeing the girl hugging her knees to her chest and crying. Her very long, green hair was covering her body, but in spots it parted, he could tell the girl was naked.
He paused for a slight second when he realized the moon made it seem like the girl's hair was glowing before he shook his head, knowing that was impossible. "Hey, little girl, are you alright? What are you doing out here?"
The green-haired girl looked up, her green eyes looking at the man kneeling in front of her with a doe-like expression that softened the man's heart. 'Whatever happened to her probably has to do something with her lack of clothes,' he thought furiously. His first chance to be a hero, and she would probably be scared to death because he was a man! 'Whoever did this to her will suffer! I'll protect her. She'll know she can trust me.'
The green-haired girl, surprisingly, held out her hands, sniffling lightly as she silently communicated she didn't want to be there and was asking him to carry her. Seeing the girl's entire front side, Hioi blushed, but fought down the sudden assault of his hormones. He didn't understand what was wrong with him. Suddenly, it was like all he wanted to do was take advantage of the girl! "Home?" The girl asked quietly, softly. Her accent was an odd, alluring thing that sounded both exotic and perfectly normal at once.
"Come on," Hioi said softly, leaning forward and letting her wrap her arms around his neck and trying to adjust her so her legs wrapped around his torso and she wouldn't sit low enough to scare her with his reaction. "I'll take you to a healer so we can get you settled and then we'll find who hurt you. Are you alone?"
"Yes," she responded quietly. Then she tightened her grip.
"Y-you need to l-let g-g-" Hioi suddenly realized the grip around his neck was far, far too strong! He tried to peel the girl off, but her strength was something else! He grabbed his knife from his belt sheath and tried to cut the girl, only to suddenly be flung into a tree with too much force to allow him to scream for help.
The green-haired girl growled and launched herself towards Hioi, knocking him into the tree harder and grinning as his ribs seemed to pop rather than snap. Giggling, she elbowed him in the middle of his back, listening for the telltale crack of his spine breaking, paralyzing him. Immediately, Green hair hopped up and down, clapping joyously.
"Yay!" She said happily, ensuring no one would hear her. She grabbed Hioi by his jaw, hooking her fingers underneath and dragged him two miles to her sisters, talking all the way. "You humans are so much fun! You like to cuddle before you get broken into pieces! I don't know why you do, though. Mother used to say you wanted to remember what it was like to be loved before you died and that was why we were so important, but I didn't always believe her. But, she always said mothers know best! It makes sense, though. She did say we gave humans their most sought-after deaths because no one wants to die alone and feeling unloved."
Hioi tried to gurgle something, but he found himself unable to speak due to the girl's fingers piercing the bottom of his jaw for a strong grip and his lungs didn't seem to do anything more than necessary to keep him alive. He couldn't figure out how his lower jaw wasn't ripped off!
"Oh, don't look at me like that," Green hair chided at the man who was looking at her like a beaten puppy in a voice that she learned from her mother. "You humans are very fun, but my sisters and I haven't found a single one who is strong enough to offer anything but a meal. What good are these new bodies if we can't find a strong enough mate? We'll end up having to go back home! We can't have that! Father would be furious with us for leaving! He won't care why we left. The only way to appease him would be to bring back a powerful gift or a strong mate. Sadly, humans seem great for a meal, but poor quality for a mate," she said with a sigh before ignoring whatever the man was trying to tell her. "But, that's okay! It's fun when your food is all wriggly," she giggled out, wriggling her fingers not in the man's chin for emphasis, trying to get her meaning across by showing him.
The little girl spoke non-stop, seemingly without taking a single breath as she brought her sisters their nightly meal. She spoke of how much fun she and her sisters were having and how things were so much different with human bodies. There was so much to learn and experiment with! It was a totally unique experience!
"Got one!" Green chirruped as she dragged Hioi into her new home built into the cave.
"Oh! He's still awake!" Red cried out gleefully, hopping in place with Black. "How did you get him?"
Green giggled, dropping Hioi to the ground amongst the dead bodies of their other victims and padding barefoot through the muddy puddles of blood. "I pretended to be lost and cried! All he wanted was a hug!"
White sighed, slumping her shoulders. "I am beginning to miss draining their lives. Drinking their blood and eating their bodies does not satisfy quite the same."
"Oh, you're just being a sour puss!" Blue scolded. "That feels wonderful, sure, but where is the taste? Humans taste so different from each other! Some are tangy! Some are sweet!"
"Some taste like fruit and others are spicy!" Black added, agreeing with her other sisters. "Why do you want to go back to that boring way, White? That's what everyone else does! This is better because we thought of it!" She stomped her foot into the bloody mud for emphasis as her other sisters nodded in agreement.
"I agree with all of that, but it doesn't last nearly as long before we have to feed again," White said diplomatically. "We could go weeks by taking their life force and it's much more enjoyable to feel those sensations everywhere than just tasting them. It usually lasts longer, too."
"Yea," Red agreed, "but we can still do those things together now and feel it all. With human bodies it isn't impossible. So really, it's the best of both, but we get to eat them more often, so we get it more often, too!"
White sighed. "I suppose. I just don't want to forget about who and what we are."
"Well, we're not exactly what we were anymore," Blue stated with a shrug before she went over to their meal and cracked his head like an egg on a rock to get inside even as her sisters began to open up his stomach.
Giggling as the man gurgled, all the girls began feasting, their hair glowing more brightly as they did so, powering beginning to course through their little bodies.
"This is it," Anko said, looking at the map the merchant caravan had marked with their usual camping site. "Apparently, from the main path to here, we'll find what had them spooked."
"This way," Hinata said, her Byakugan blazing as she took off to the north-west. Two minutes later, the five-some came upon a clearing that was more rock and less grass, good for hearing people coming upon those who may be resting there, and blood splattered everywhere. Flies buzzed lazily over nearly everything while various carrion-eaters watched the newcomers warily, even as they continued to pluck at or bite through the numerous bodies laying about.
"Oh god," Ino mumbled, covering her mouth and nose with her shirt, trying to avoid the stench of decay and old blood. She swallowed thickly as she found a small pile of women, their clothes all gone and their bodies having begun to rot in the direct sunlight. Their chests were ripped open, the flesh torn and pulled aside, and their insides were either gone, or strewn about haphazardly.
Naruto, much to the relief of all of them, summoned some gas masks to cover their lower faces. They were designed based off a pair that had been stolen from Mist and cleansed the air from any airborne poisons or pollutants, which also, thankfully, meant the smell of decay. Next came a set of latex gloves that had originally been planned for use with Hinata's medical needs and when training with poisons.
"Alright," Kurenai began. "We're looking for any evidence of what could have done this: hair, foot or paw prints, tools left or whatever. If you think it's important, call out and let one of us look at it and try not to ruin anything you may come across."
Hinata and Naruto immediately went to the bodies of the nearest, and smallest, pile of women and began to examine their wounds and what, exactly, was missing on each of them other than the obvious.
'Heart, liver, kidneys and the spleen are all missing,' Hinata thought to herself, pressing aside the various insides that were left and not thrown around on the ground. 'Everything was torn, not a single thing cut, suggesting animal rather than human. Ribcage broken, so great strength for an animal. But the skin is all intact, if torn and ripped to the side. These women's breasts are intact, so whatever did this didn't chew through. No animal I know of will get into a body like this.'
Hinata frowned as she watched Naruto work from one body to the next, checking under fingernails for any signs of hair, fur or skin if the women had somehow managed to fight back. He was doing a cursory, external check of the bodies while Hinata went with her own forté in the medical side of things.
'No signs of struggle,' Naruto thought with a frown. 'The only ones with any external bruising are the seven next to the cage and they haven't been opened like the others. It looks like only the carrion-eaters got them. But, those ones were obviously raped, fairly brutally, too. And each neck's been snapped. Well, no. Two of them seem to have been suffocated.' Naruto's lip curled in a silent snarl as he finished looking over the bodies, sending the various birds away with a concentrated blast of killing intent to scare them.
"Naruto-kun?" Ino called out, gesturing her fellow blond over to her.
"Yea?" He asked, jogging over to her, careful not to step on anything that could be checked later.
"What do you think this is?" She asked, gesturing to the deep grooves in the ground.
Naruto's eyes furrowed as he looked and noticed the outermost line was a very large circle, about thirty feet wide and far too perfectly formed to be natural. Then, there were a good number of figures and lines drawn into the ground. Along each line on both sides, kanji were etched into the rock with great precision, making a pit in the bottom of Naruto's stomach suddenly feel very uneasy.
"Ino, stay away from this spot and tell the others to do the same until I've looked into this," Naruto said lowly, not removing his eyes from the obvious seal in the ground. 'This is what they thought looked like something heavy was dragged around?' He wondered to himself, unsealing a large scroll to copy the seal in regular ink.
"What is it?" Ino asked, feeling nervous by Naruto's actions.
"A summoning seal," Naruto explained. "Only it isn't meant to summon a regular creature. If this is what caused all of this, then we could be in serious trouble."
Ino's mind went back to large monkeys ruling over humans, making the pretty human females feed them bananas and pick bugs from their fur. "I'll ... er, just be going over there now," she whimpered, turning mechanically.
Naruto nodded without really paying attention as he created a few clones to copy the seal for him while he took the time to look it over, decrypting it in his head as he went and getting progressively more horrified.
"I've only been able to find human tracks," Anko told Kurenai once they made a sweep of the area. "We've got thirty-four women, total, plus what appears to be two male bodies. And that's not all."
"What do you mean?" Kurenai asked, having been checking the area around the larger group of women, she hadn't found as many tracks as Anko had since all the women had been thrown over to form the pile with slit throats. That had been twenty-two of them, while Anko checked by the twelve nearer the cage and the field at large.
Anko looked hesitant to say anything and took a quick glance to see that their Genin were far enough away. "I found children's footprints."
Red eyes blazed to look into Anko's. "How many and what happened, could you tell?"
Anko shook her head. "They were everywhere around the outside of the cage and the smaller pile of girls."
Kurenai frowned. "You mean the ones that were mutilated?"
Anko nodded solemnly. "Kurenai-chan," Anko said carefully. "Those footprints are lightest around the male bodies, then heaviest around the cage and the six mutilated females. I know it's hard to believe, but normally, I'd say that meant whoever did that to those bodies belonged to those feet."
"But children?" Kurenai asked incredulously, doing her best to keep her voice quiet from the others.
"I'm telling you what I am taking from reading the scene," Anko said, raising her hands in a defensive gesture to ward off Kurenai's ire. "Maybe they're not children, but just small people," she suggested. "All I know is they were barefoot and moved around quickly. Either fighting or dancing or something other than simple walking, which the adult footprints don't show at all."
Kurenai frowned before nodding once. "I don't like it, and am not sure really sure I can believe it, but I guess it's a possibility. Approximate age?"
Anko shrugged. "Approximate size, at least. Probably a touch larger than that girl at the orphanage that had Naruto wrapped around her little finger."
"About six to nine, then," Kurenai filled in. "We've had ninja that young before who were damn good at their job. So I guess it's possible it could have been them. But we should still look for other possibilities. Whoever left this could have just been using them for sport, too."
Anko flinched, but agreed. "Alright maggots! What have you got? Time to report!"
"Biggest worry," Naruto said first as his clones continued to copy the seal he was now pointing at. "Whoever made that was a sadistic genius."
"Explain," Kurenai demanded.
"It's a summoning seal that does much more than that. It's less complex at first glance, but only because it doesn't seem to have a contract built into the seal work itself."
"So it is a seal, then?" Anko asked in the form of a grunt.
"Yes," Naruto said with a sigh. "It looks like it was meant to summon a specific type of demon, something that fed off the life force of another. Then, it was designed to combine that type of demon, which it seems to have been meant to summon five of, with whoever activated the seal."
Four female faces paled drastically. "Are you telling us we have some psycho running around, juiced up on demonic energy?" Anko asked.
"Possibly," Naruto said. "It looks like twenty-two of the women, the ones with their throats cut, were made to drain into the seal, but I noticed one spot on the inside that didn't have blood on it. So, it's possible it wasn't ever activated or it failed somehow. I have no way of knowing."
"Do you think we should have the Hokage send a more advanced team?" Ino asked, not really feeling up to dealing with demonic monkeys or their banana fetishes.
"There's no proof that suggests it had actually worked," Hinata said. "Going back with just the seal is, while worrisome, not enough to warrant abandoning the mission. At the very least, we should attempt to find out more information. If it were truly a demon, or even five of them, then there would be a swath of carnage and it wouldn't be nearly this quiet. Not all demons are bad, but whatever happened here, it is obvious that it wasn't demons that did the majority of it."
"Why do you say that?" Kurenai asked. "There's certainly plenty of blood around here and enough gore to suggest it."
"I did a quick exam on all of the bodies," Hinata began. "As you can tell, twenty-two women had their throats cut, which is what killed them. They bled to death after being paralyzed with their necks broken. Any other wounds were postmortem, limited to bludgeoning probably from being thrown."
"Those seven," she said, gesturing at the small pile to the side of the large cage, "were raped and beaten lightly, but were a mix of suffocation or simply having their necks broken. The wounds indicate it was probably by the larger man since his hands fit the marks left behind."
"Those five," she gestured to the women who had been ripped open and were missing various body parts, "were alive when they were ... eaten. They're all missing the same parts: liver, kidneys, spleen and heart, along with eyes and brain. With little of any of that around, it suggests these were devoured or taken by the culprits."
"What about the two males?" Anko asked.
"Same as the five women," Hinata provided. "However, it appears the bones were ripped from the bodies and any muscle tissue shredded off. The marrow from them is all missing."
"Er, I've also noticed something," Ino said hesitantly, feeling very sick and glad for the breathing masks. "Whatever happened, none of the more intelligent animals are coming around." Surprised, all of the others looked around, noting that the most intelligent creature were birds. "There aren't any paw prints and we didn't see any dogs around here when we showed up, but we have to scare the birds away or even hit them since they don't seem too worried about us."
"What could have caused that?" Kurenai wondered aloud. She was also surprised she hadn't caught it herself. Wild beasts would have been on this site almost immediately under normal conditions. 'I've been spending too much time out of the field. I'm getting rusty,' she thought to herself. She knew Anko didn't do much in the way of clean-up, so she felt it was normal for her lover to not notice it since she was used to more following tracks or reading ninja-related signs rather than ... whatever this was.
"Naruto-kun," Hinata suddenly spoke into the quiet, making Ino twitch in shock and a little amount of fear. "Do you want to try summoning a toad to sniff for any demonic chakra? We've been looking for a good opportunity away from Konoha in case we accidentally summoned Kyuubi."
"Wait, what?" Kurenai asked, wanting to know what they were talking about.
"We're wanting to see if we can still summon toads since we could before coming back," Naruto explained. "We know they're not in this world, exactly, so they may not be affected by the time-travel. We were thinking of trying to summon them, but since we made the deal with the Kyuubi and she became our slave, we have the ability to summon her, too. So, we didn't want to do it in Konoha in case we can't summon toads, and only summon her since it could cause ... well, problems," he finished lamely, grinning nervously.
"If there's a chance of you summoning the Kyuubi, then don't do it here," Anko warned with a shake of her head.
"Why not?" Hinata asked. She had kind of been looking forward to meeting the Kyuubi face-to-face, so to speak. Plus, knowing she could change her size and shape, it was only proper that she allowed Hinata to give her coat a good petting! She looked all kinds of fluffy in her miniature fox form.
"If she radiates power like she did in the past, then it could lead to rather upsetting questions being asked by Grass and Waterfall since we're so close to their borders. Waterfall is used to enemy soldiers trying to come in and find them to take over and Grass ... well, they aren't shy about defending their territory."
Hinata winced. "She did say that she would release a lot of power initially. So, I guess you're right."
"Let's head to the trading post. We'll see if anyone knows anything or if there are more recent attacks," Kurenai suggested.
Anko snorted. "It looks like Ino-chan here could use a stiff drink, too," she joked, only to laugh loudly when Ino nodded rapidly.
[A/N:] - Next Chapter! The conclusion! Then, we start the Kiyoko Pass mission!