Samurai Deeper Naruto
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Samurai Deeper Kyo
"Hello" – Speaking
'Hello' – Speaking
"Hello" – Demon/Boss Summon Speaking
'Hello' – Demon/Boss Summon Thoughts/Techniques
AN: I'm sorry this took so long. I've been rewriting this for over two years. I really don't have a reason as to why except there were times when inspiration struck me, and there were more times when I had zero inspiration, at which point I simply can't write. I have also drastically increased my story count. Right now my most active story would be Growth of a Seed but that's because I often get input from Tellemicus Sundance, a good friend and great author. However I am trying to get updates out on other popular stories.
Oh, and because of how this chapter turned out I had to make some changes to the second. Nothing much though something important about the ninja's training.
Chapter Three – Secrets
The sun shined brightly as it broke over the horizon of the expansive ocean, the Land of Water being little more than a smudge in the east. The accompanying sea breeze was cool and refreshing, and the air filled with the song of birds.
Haku couldn't help but smile peacefully; taking in the early morning light that revealed the land's natural beauty, as she strolled through the forest to a particular clearing that she knew some useful herbs grew. That was one of the wonderful things about the Land of Waves. Its geography allowed it to support a variety of plants that would normally only grow by the sea or by fresh water. They just had to be able to survive the moist weather the small island nation possessed. But that suited her needs just fine as that was the preferred growing condition of the particular herb she sought.
When Haku got to the clearing she stopped in her tracks eyes widening in disbelief. There, sitting against a tree on the far end, was the samurai that had nearly killed her master six days prior. He wasn't moving and appeared to be sleeping peacefully. Haku approached slowly and quietly, using every last bit of her considerable skill to sneak over to the sleeping figure, not daring to make a sound for fear of waking such a dangerous man.
Zabuza liked to boast that between the two of them she was the stronger one. But Haku considered that as merely a difference in the definition of strength.
Yes she was faster, had incredible accuracy with her senbon, could use one-handed seals to form jutsu, had a Kekkei Genkai that allowed her to use exceptionally powerful Hyoton jutsu with ease, and was known for figuring out the weaknesses of her enemies after only watching them once. But that didn't mean she didn't have weaknesses of her own, and where she was weak Zabuza was strong. He had greater strength and stamina, being able to swing that zanbatou of his is proof enough of that, had more chakra, a greater variety of jutsu, and he was capable of doing the one thing she had yet to willing do.
He could kill his opponent.
No matter how hard she tried, Haku just couldn't bring herself to deliver the finishing blow. Zabuza had continued to overlook the fact and was one of the reasons their usual strategy was to have him attack first while she waited in the wings watching in case she was needed. But she heard rumors' coming from Zabuza's other subordinates that she was soft and Zabuza was as well for keeping her around.
She hated those who would dare question Zabuza-sama, but she also saw a grain of truth in them about herself. As long as she was unable to kill she could not be as useful to Zabuza as she should be. And being useful to the man who took her off the streets was all that mattered to her.
And here was the perfect opportunity to prove her usefulness and loyalty. To finally kill her heart by killing the greatest threat to her master here in the Land of Waves.
It would be so easy she thought as she slowly reached for a senbon hidden in her pink kimono, her resolve set.
Faster than her eye could follow the samurai moved from sitting beside the tree to standing to her right, the formerly sheathed blade of his sword held beneath her chin as it pressed gently into her soft vulnerable throat.
"Impressive." Remarked the samurai, ignoring the gasp of surprise from the woman. "To be able to break my maai and get so close to me is no easy feat. But you need more training." Tilting the sword slightly he lifted her chin, granting him a better look at her eyes as he continued. "Or perhaps the reason you could break my maai has nothing to do with your skill. Not once have I ever met someone who could break maai only to be detected at the most crucial moment. So what are you? An incompetent master? Or, an innocent playing at a game she is not ready for?"
Haku didn't know what the samurai was talking about or why he even bothered to waste time and not just kill her. He was at the advantage, his sword pressed against her throat such as way that it would only take the slightest twitch to deliver a fatal blow. If he did not have such steady hands she would already be dead. But she was prepared for death in the service of her master; unfortunately this was not a situation where her death would help Zabuza. In fact it would be more of a hindrance considering his current state. But what could she do beyond waiting for her death. A death that was taking a long time to come.
In a surprising move the samurai lifted his blade from her throat, sheathed it, turned his back to Haku, and started walking away.
"Wait!" Called a surprised Haku. "Why didn't you kill me?"
The samurai turned to face her, an eyebrow raised in confusion. "Do you want me to kill you?" He asked. "I really have no qualms with doing so. But most people I meet prefer living so forgive me if I am a little confused here."
He was confused? She was the one who was confused. "Of course I don't want you to kill me! But you had me helpless and I had intended to kill you! You could have killed me with the ease of squashing a bug, but you're me letting go!"
The samurai turned to face her fully, scrutinizing her closely. "And why not?" He asked casually. "You're currently no threat to me, regardless of your intentions. Besides, you're the girl who helped No Brows get away." He smirked at her surprised gasp at being recognized. "And from the way you're dressed I can assume you didn't come to fight. The basket by your side indicates you are here to gather something. And, I would wager Ginryu that something is medicinal herbs for No Brows. Am I right?"
Haku stepped back, not sure if of the samurai's intentions anymore. Did he decide to spare her in order to follow her back to Zabuza so he can finish both of them off at the same time? "And if I am?" She asked threateningly, hand moving back to her senbon. "Shouldn't that just give you more reason to kill me?"
"No. I'm guessing that by letting you live No Brows will get better faster. Meaning I will get to fight him again faster. After all, what's the point in fighting someone not up to full strength?"
Haku's stance relaxed. She was now feeling more curious than threatened about the samurai. "What is your name samurai-san?"
"Naruto," he said obviously not caring whether she knew or not
"Mine is Haku. Tell me Naruto-san, the other day you seemed rather interested in finding out what Zabuza-sama knew about the Mibu. I am curious as to why you are so interested in them?"
"The Mibu clan is my enemy." Stated Naruto so coldly that Haku could have sworn ice was forming. "And any who fight with them like No Brows has, is my enemy. And I always kill my enemies." He said finitely.
Haku shuddered. The aura of malevolence around him as he spoke of this Mibu clan was colder and more lethal than her ice. "And if Zabuza-sama no longer fought with them, what would that make us to you?" She asked knowing that while he didn't specifically imply it yet, since she was an ally of Zabuza that technically made her an ally of the Mibu.
Naruto's aura eased up a bit. "Then you would no longer be my enemies." He then smiled one of his vicious fighting smiles. "Doesn't mean I still wouldn't enjoy a good fight with No Brows. There is just a chance I won't bother with killing him." Again Haku shuddered, this time from the traces of bloodlust coming from Naruto's voice.
But this meeting might prove to be a blessing if her fears were confirmed. After the last group was killed more Mibu soldiers were brought in. And three of the new ones, commanders if their lack of the uniform and face mask that the others wore was any indication, did not bother to hide the hungry looks they got when she was anywhere near them.
"I can give you information on the Mibu here and their operation." She offered.
Naruto tilted his head and quirked and eyebrow. "Oh? And why pray tell would you want to do that? Most allies of the Mibu don't exactly get a choice about whether or not they can betray their masters."
Haku didn't bother asking what he meant when he said the Mibu were the masters of their allies. "Zabuza-sama and I are not their allies. We merely have a mutual employer. However the recent activities of both our employer and the Mibu have made both Zabuza-sama and myself suspicious. The way they isolate themselves, the way they 'test' our abilities, the way they look at me when Zabuza-sama is not around." Haku couldn't suppress a shudder at the thought of how the new men gazed at her with unconcealed lust.
Naruto looked a bit skeptical. "I doubt it is anything to concern yourself with. The Mibu are rarely interested in humans, generally considering them no better than animals. Unless said human possesses a special ability." He informed her.
Haku looked nervous, and shifted a little. Eventually she spoke. "I…have the ability to create ice." She quietly admitted.
Naruto's response was a scoff. "I doubt that the Mibu would consider that ability enough to make a human valuable."
Again Haku looked uneasy. "It is a genetic ability and any children I bear will have the same power." She said almost as if she was ashamed.
Now Naruto was interested. There are members of the Mibu that know techniques that could create ice, but that is an advanced skill that often took years of training to master. A genetic predisposition to wielding power over ice would undoubtedly make those techniques stronger and would be something that the Mibu would covet and would seek to replicate.
"You are in trouble. Because a person like you is more valuable to the Mibu then a mountain of gold." He said. "If the Mibu are allowed to get their hands on you they will test and experiment on your body. Injecting you with unknown substances and breaking your body apart to see how it heals. They will use techniques that will invade your mind and soul, scouring through your memories and everything else that makes you who you are. You will have no privacy. You will eat when they tell you, sleep when they tell you, and work when they tell you. You will be nothing more than their plaything, and they are willing to do anything to get what they want. And once they do, you will be discarded like a piece of trash." Naruto then turned and started walking away, but not before adding one last comment from over his shoulder. "Here's some good advice you should follow. Run. Run far and fast. Because once the Mibu have finished with their business here then they will leave, and chances are they'll try taking you with them. So take your chance now to escape," under his breath he whispered, "before you end up like me."
Naruto's words truly frightened Haku, because they essentially confirmed her darkest suspicions. Of course being a trained kunoichi Haku was fully aware that everything the samurai said could have been some sort of psychological warfare in order to get Haku to doubt her "allies." Not that she needed much to distrust them, but still he was an enemy that could very well have been trying to prey upon already present fears that were possibly insubstantial.
'Yet that doesn't explain the hatred he holds for them.' A small voice from the back of her mind whispered. 'It had been so palpable, there's no possible way it was faked. What did they do to make him hate them so?' Haku sighed and shook her head to clear the thoughts. She could advise Zabuza on what to do but ultimately the choice was always his.
So, determined to voice her opinion to Zabuza, Haku quickly gathered the needed herbs and made her way back to the hideout, making sure she wasn't being followed.
Naruto returned to Tazuna's house where he espied the forms of the Genin and Tsunami working on their own projects.
When Sasuke saw that the samurai had returned he made a beeline for the blond, his chokuto in hand. When Naruto noticed the Uchiha with a sword heading his way he paused to see what the shinobi wanted.
When Sasuke was close enough he stopped and the two just stared at each other for several moments, during which time they caught the attention of the girls who were training and Tsunami who was doing laundry. Finally it was Sasuke who broke the ice. "Who was it that trained you to fight?"
Naruto just cocked his head and said, "What does it matter?"
"I'm interested in learning from your teacher."
Naruto chuckled. "Sorry to burst your bubble, but the guy who taught me isn't taking on any more students. Heck the old man will probably be dead before you could ever get a chance to meet him."
"In that case," continued Sasuke, "why don't the two of us spar?"
To this Naruto smirked. "Heh, alright, but I can't guarantee your safety if you choose to fight me."
"Sasuke," began Sakura, her voice filled with worry. "I don't think that this is such a good idea. Naruto-san was able to fight the 'Demon of the Mist' Zabuza. He's out of our league."
"I know that Sakura. However it will be a wonderful test of my skill and to see how far I've come. And this time I won't be holding back." As the Uchiha said that he closed his eyes for a moment before revealing the signature Doujutsu of his clan. Opening his eyes he revealed a second stage Sharingan.
Upon seeing the Sharingan for the first time, Kakashi had covered his shortly after Zabuza's defeat, Naruto's own eyes narrowed. "Interesting eyes," he commented, "you'll have to tell me how you got them.
"This is the Sharingan, a Kekkei Genkai Doujutsu of the Uchiha clan. It is a weapon that gives me some interesting advantages." Explained Sasuke as his mind went over strategies. 'He's strong and fast, but my Sharingan should help me compensate in terms of speed. The length of his sword is both a blessing and a curse. While it would be easier to dodge his attacks by keeping my distance he would be outside my striking range, however if I can get close enough I'll have the advantage.'
"Really," commented the samurai. 'Yet another reason to check out this Konohagakure no Sato. Those eyes, they're similar but not the same. Why?'
The two stared each other down for a moment. Gently a twig with a leaf bent in the breeze before suddenly snapping. Naruto rushed forward swinging Ginryu horizontally with one hand, Sasuke countering by taking a small leap back, barely bringing his chokuto up with both hands to block the edge of Ginryu's tip.
Sasuke gritted his teeth in pain from the shaking of the bones in his arms. 'Damn it, he's too strong to face like this.'
Naruto drew back Ginryu and quickly thrust it forward, piercing Sasuke through the chest. However the Uchiha's form quickly dissolved into that of a log.
"Katon: Housenka no Jutsu," called the Uchiha's voice from behind where he fired a small volley of fireballs. Naruto spun and used the log stuck on Ginryu to block the attack. Sasuke smirked as the shuriken hidden in the fireballs became embedded in the wood, quickly igniting it. 'If that doesn't heat up his sword enough then this will.' Faster than most could see Sasuke performed another set of seals and used his next jutsu, "Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu," breathing out a massive fireball that engulfed the samurai.
Ayaka didn't particularly like that. "TEME! Are you trying to kill my brother!"
However whether Sasuke was actually trying to kill Naruto or not was a moot point as the samurai came sailing through the fire, Ginryu in hand and a demonic grin on his face. With blinding speed he slashed at Sasuke vertically. The Uchiha dodged, but not without the front of his shirt being ripped by Ginryu's tip.
'What is this guy made of! He jumped through the flames without hesitating, and he doesn't even look singed. Looks like I have only one option left.' Playing one of his trump cards Sasuke looked into Naruto's eyes, who didn't seem in any hurry to continue the attack, his Sharingan spinning. The hypnotizing and illusion casting abilities of the second stage Sharingan was lacking when compared to a fully developed one, but it was enough to catch those unfamiliar with the Sharingan off guard. Having caught Naruto he rushed forward, his intent not to kill but to just land a point.
He swung his chokuto, sure of his victory, until the sword suddenly jerked to a stop and Sasuke's eyes widened when he saw the reason. The chokuto had stopped because its blade was pinched between a thumb and two fingers in a vice-like grip. Then Sasuke noticed another detail. When Naruto had stopped the chokuto he had also scored a point, the tip of his sword resting against Sasuke's neck.
The two stood there, Sasuke's Sharingan staring into Naruto's blue fox eyes. Suddenly an intense wave a killing intent rolled over Sasuke, the pressure bringing the Uchiha to his knees gasping for breath. A thin line of blood appeared on his neck where it had rubbed against Ginryu as he collapsed.
Finally Naruto said "This is boring," easing his killing intent to more bearable levels until it was practically nonexistent before turning and walking away.
As soon as she determined the samurai was a safe enough distance Sakura rushed to Sasuke's sides to check him over for wounds. Fortunately for the Uchiha he had no wounds aside from the tiny cut on his neck and a bit of pressure stopped it. What was truly hurt was his pride. Did he expect to defeat Naruto when he started? No, he just wanted to measure himself against someone who could defeat a Jounin of Zabuza's caliber. But Sasuke never suspected that the gap between him and Naruto was so great.
At the last moment, when Naruto caught Sasuke's chokuto he hadn't even seen Naruto move. It was as if time had stopped and the world rearranged itself and the phenomenon was beyond the power of his eyes to see.
But this was completely lost on one blond girl as she advanced upon the dark haired lad. "What the Hell was that Sasuke! Using Katon jutsu in a spar? You could have seriously hurt my brother?" She shouted angrily, shoving Sakura aside and griping the remains of Sasuke's shirt in a most threatening manner.
If Sasuke felt threatened he didn't show it. "I got a little caught up in the heat of the moment," he casually responded as if it was perfectly acceptable. "Why are you so upset? You saw how he handled it."
"That's Not the Point!" Ayaka screamed in his face. "The point is that you used lethal jutsu ON THE BROTHER I HAVE FINALLY BEEN REUNITED WITH AFTER 11 YEARS!"
"She has a point Sasuke," said Kakashi, whose sudden appearance startled the three Genin. "At the moment Naruto is an ally, and one we don't want to lose. And there are some jutsu you simply shouldn't use on an ally."
Sasuke listened to what his teacher had to say and his head nodded once, which could have been a sign that he heard and understood, and freed himself from Ayaka before walking away to train some more.
"Hold on Sasuke," called Kakashi. The Uchiha stopped and turned his head so his face was visible. "Go easy on your training. I have reason to suspect that if Zabuza is going to attack again, it will be tomorrow. So don't tire yourself out too much."
Again Sasuke gave a single nod before he continued on his way. Ayaka decided to go and find Naruto to see how he was, and maybe convince him to show her what other skills he has.
"Sensei, what makes you think that there will be an attack tomorrow?" asked Sakura. Having trained in medicine she knew that Zabuza's injuries would take time to heal and that only a really high quality medic-nin could have him on his feet and combat ready so early.
"Rumors I heard say that Gato's various enforcers aren't doing their usual harassing and have pretty much disappeared. This probably means that Gato called them in to headquarters, and the only reason he would do that was if he was preparing to do something very soon. So it could be any of the next few days, but I have a feeling it will be tomorrow. So do what you can to prepare tonight, we all leave with Tazuna in the morning."
In Gato's hideout Haku had returned and informed her master of her meeting with the samurai. She repeated his warnings about the Mibu, as well has her own suspicions about his words.
"So you believe the samurai was telling the truth?" Zabuza asked Haku. Her opinion on this was very important because one of the reasons she was so good at seeing though people's techniques was because she could read them. It was a vital skill she picked up when she was living out on the streets.
"I'm not sure," said Haku honestly. "He is a hard individual to read, his body language being very closed and hostile. But my impression is that he was being truthful. But his words sounded as if they were designed to cause mistrust on our part against the Mibu."
"Yup, yup, that sounds like something Naruto-han would say," said a jolly voice from the door to Zabuza's room.
The two ninja, startled that someone could get so close without either of them noticing, turned to face the leader of the Mibu in Gato's employ.
"Chinmei," hissed Zabuza has his hand gripped the hilt of his massive sword, "it's not polite to go barging into other people's rooms without knocking first."
"Yipes!" Chinmei hopped back a step, a huge grin peeking over the corner of his open fan. "So scary Zabuza-han. You gotta be happier so we can have a peaceful conversation."
"And what would you want to discuss Chinmei?" asked Zabuza, his voice still growling out the words.
"Still so scary," muttered Chinmei with a fake exasperated sigh. "Oh well, I just came here to say this. Zabuza-han, you intend to go after the bridge builder tomorrow yes?" Not waiting for an answer, "My men will go with you but they'll hang back for a bit. Don't want to go showing our hand right? But don't worry, if you have any trouble they'll step in. Wouldn't want anything to happen to the two of you, especially little Haku-chan."
Haku involuntarily slid a little further away from the too happy individual.
"Well that's all I had to say," said Chinmei. With a wave of his fan he turned around to leave, but paused. "Don't pay too much attention to what Naruto-han says," his face turned ever so slightly letting the two ninja see his cold eyes peek out from behind his shades. "It would only hurt my happiness and your peace."
The next morning had come, and Team 7 was ready to move out to protect Tazuna.
They were mostly in a somber mood, thoughts of the battle that was soon to come. Well, everyone except Ayaka.
She was upset that Naruto had disappeared on her again last night and she hadn't seen him since his spar with Sasuke.
Well there was nothing she could do now except hope that he would show up soon.
After everyone else had left Tsunami started going about her day doing her chores. First up was to take care of the remains of breakfast.
Suddenly the door broke open in a hail of splinters, caused two of Gato's thugs.
"You're Tazuna's daughter? We're taken you hostage." said one, drawing his sword.
The men advanced and Tsunami screamed in fright, backing herself into the corner of the kitchen.
The scream attracted Inari from upstairs.
"Mom!" he called in worry only to stop in fright when he saw the sword carrying thugs.
"A kid? Do we take him too?" Asked Waraji.
"We only need one hostage." Answered Zori
"Great, that means I can kill him."
"Stop!" screamed Tsunami. "Don't touch my son. If you do I'll bite my tongue and bleed myself to death." Everything about the woman said she was deadly serious, and the two couldn't risk the chance that she was bluffing.
So Tsunami willingly let her arms be tied behind her back and roughly escorted out of the house.
From his spot by the stairs Inari was frozen in shock. When he had seen Gato's thugs and their swords he knew they had finally come to kill them that no one was going to save them. But when he was about to die, he had been saved by his mother. Just like Kaiza had.
Everyone he knew was risking everything, doing what they thought was right. Everyone except him.
'Stay weak or grow strong…' A voice that sounded like Naruto's spoke in his head. In a way it was taunting him, asking him if he was going stay the way he was and let those around him die. Or is he going to change?
Immediately the young boy ran out after the two. "Stop!" He called.
The two thugs and the hostage stopped, all in disbelief at the kid.
"Let Go Of My Mom!" He shouted, charging headfirst.
Not caring what the mother may do, the two drew their swords. They slashed at the kid, and a loud cracking rent the air.
Tsunami had shut her eyes, unwilling to witness the murder of her child. But instead of hearing Inari's screams of pain, she heard the thug's gasps of fear. She opened her eyes and gasped.
"So annoying," Naruto said with a sigh, looking bored. In one hand he held Inari by the back of his overalls, in the other the broken off blades of the thugs' swords. "I go for a nice walk in the forest when I come across an odd scene. A dead boar and a bunch of trees all cut up, and from the marks I knew it was done by a katana. Curious as to who could so improperly use a sword I followed the trail, only to find a couple of armatures threatening a homemaker and her kid." Naruto leveled a cold stare at the two that would have stopped a tiger. "Normally I wouldn't care about the outcome to this scenario. But you see, I'm boarding at their house and the woman at least has been very hospitable to me. And it would be terribly impolite of me to let them be killed while I'm still here." Naruto's lips quirked into a feral smirk. "So why don't I show you two how to really use a sword."
That was the final straw. Gato's men turned and ran for the woods. Naruto just watched their fleeing backs until they were no longer visible.
His hand shot out, throwing the two broken blades like a pair of kunai into the woods, followed shortly by duel cries of pain.
Not giving his action a second thought he turned to Tsunami. "Where are the ninja?"
"Th-They went to the bridge. Kakashi-san said he thought the attack would be today."
Naruto didn't even nod in acknowledgment. He simply turned and began walking in the appropriate direction. Though he did stop for a second by Inari. "There may be some hope for you. But get stronger before you try something stupid like that again."
When Tazuna and the leaf ninja had arrived at the bridge they had found the workers strewn about halfway across the unfinished bridged, unconscious but otherwise seemingly unharmed.
"Oh No! Everyone! What happened!" Shouted out Tazuna as Sakura gave several men a quick check over, however not one of the workers was in a condition to respond.
"They're alive with strong vitals," reported Sakura. "The only oddity is a small pinprick on their necks. It looks like what that hunter-nin did to Zabuza."
It wasn't hard for the members of team 7 to understand what was going on. "Sensei, we need to get Tazuna out of here before Zabuza and his cohorts arrive," said Ayaka who had already pulled out a kunai.
"I'm afraid it's already too late," muttered Kakashi as a thick mist rolled in.
"Long time no see, Kakashi," called the disembodied voice of Zabuza, coming at the leaf ninja from all sides to prevent them from locating him. "Say, where's that samurai that saved your ass last time?"
"Don't know," admitted Kakashi. "He was probably so bored with your last fight that he didn't bother to set up his alarm and is sleeping in."
Zabuza ignored the jab that was meant to anger him. "Too bad, you're going to need him before this is over. It looks like at least one of your brats is already shaking."
Indeed Uchiha Sasuke was trembling, but as ten copies of Zabuza appeared from the mist surrounding the group his lips curled into a smirk as he drew out his chokuto. "I'm trembling with excitement," he said.
"Go ahead Sasuke," said Kakashi.
With a burst of speed Sasuke disappeared, ripping though the clones and turning them back into water. That is until he reached the last one. When his blade sunk into the torso of the last clone instead of going clean through it got stuck. In that brief moment of surprise the clone was about to attack, stopping when a powerful kick smashed into its forehead. The clone shattered into thousands of shards of ice as Sasuke stepped back to the others.
"I didn't ask for help," said Sasuke to Ayaka who now stood beside him.
"You're welcome teme."
The mist cleared and through it team 7 could see Zabuza and the fake hunter-nin standing between them and land. "Not bad," complemented. "To so easily take out ten water clones, though they only had a tenth of my strength. And even managing to destroy a clone altered by your special modifications Haku, I'd say you have some rivals."
"So it would seem," responded the masked mist ninja.
"Just as we thought, they are comrades," muttered Kakashi when he saw the two standing together, confirming his suspicions about the masked ninja. "I'll deal with Zabuza, Sakura protect Tazuna and be ready to treat us for wounds. Sasuke and Ayaka I want you to deal with Zabuza's friend."
Both Genin didn't bother arguing with their sensei, knowing that he wanted Zabuza's support out of the picture as soon as possible. They shifted into a battle stance, Sasuke with his chokuto and Ayaka with two kunai held ready, their eyes focused on Haku.
"Hmph, it doesn't matter what they do, we already hold the advantage," commented Zabuza. "Haku Go!"
With a "Yes Sir" she spun in to attack, throwing senbon at Sasuke while using the senbon in her other hand to attack Ayaka.
Ayaka blocked with one kunai and moved to slash her opponent's jugular with the other, but in that time Haku managed to grab some more senbon with her other hand and blocked. The two deadlocked, and Ayaka smirked. For that was what she wanted even if it was only for a second.
Sasuke appeared behind Haku and pierced her back until his sword had pushed all the way through her.
"Bad move," said Haku who exploded in a hail of ice. The force of the clone's explosion hurled the ice shards at tremendous velocity, and though most of the shrapnel was small it still did a bit of damage to the two teens.
"Damn it! How is that bastard using ice in this weather!" Said Ayaka as she looked around for their opponent.
"Your plan was quite amateurish." Commented Haku's disembodied voice from somewhere in the mist. "When in a battle of two against one, I will never allow myself to be put in a position that leaves my back open. Though I never said I was alone."
With blinding speed two Mibu soldiers hurtled out of the mist striking at the Genin, digging their curved blades into the teen's backs.
"Hnn," breathed Sasuke in annoyance as a crackling sound emitted from his body before exploding in an immense flash of electricity. At the same time Ayaka's form dissolved into dozens of snakes that turned upon the Mibu soldier, striking at him with their fangs and several managing to get a hold of his throat.
Twin screams rent the air as the foot soldiers were killed, one by electrocution, the other choking on his own blood as his jugular was ripped by snake fangs.
"So that was your real plan. Not bad," complemented Haku as she appeared from the mist. "It seems that I'll have to get serious."
Her reemergence from the mist was a ruse to draw the hiding Genin out, a ruse that worked as the two Genin appeared, Sasuke in front and Ayaka behind, both attempting to use their substantial speed to strike with their respective blades. But Haku was just a hair faster having prepared her jutsu beforehand. Making a single single-handed seal she finished it. "Hijutsu: Makyo Hyosho!"
The puddle of water she had been standing in turned into an ice mirror that she disappeared into, at the same time more water on the bridge formed into more ice mirrors that floated into the air, forming a dome around Sasuke and Ayaka. The mirror Haku slipped into and now held her image also rose up and took its place amongst its fellows, allowing Haku's image to appear on all of them.
In the mirrors Haku raised her hand, several senbon held between her fingers. "I'm sorry for what I have to do. Everything would have been much simpler if you had handed over the bridge builder." Then Haku's image blurred.
At nearly the same instant Sasuke moved, his Sharingan active and both it and his sword spinning.
Ayaka heard the distinct sound of metal clashing metal, but she couldn't see it until she felt some very painful needles in her left arm.
"Gaah! What happened!" She growled as she pulled the needles out. "Sasuke, you've finally got your Sharingan out, what's the secret to this jutsu!"
"We're in serious trouble," said Sasuke as he panted from his recent exertion, having pushed his body to the limits of his speed to deflect the horde of needles. "This is a bloodline jutsu. I can't copy it, but I can still analyze it, and the trick is frighteningly simple. It's pure speed. Speed that's on a completely different level than anything I've ever seen." But then Sasuke let a little smirk form on his lips. "However it's not fast enough to avoid my Sharingan, and I can't be fooled by your reflections." He said as he looked at the mirror that contained the real Haku.
"Your eyes are most impressive Uchiha, having determined so much from one demonstration," said Haku, a definite note of respect in her voice. "However as you must have noticed I use the reflection of these mirrors to move. This allows me to move at speeds that far exceed the limits of the human body. And just because you can see me doesn't mean you can catch me."
Again the images blurred as Haku attacked. However of the Konoha Genin were ready for the attack. Sasuke utilized his Sharingan to get Haku's timing so that he could counter the needles with his sword while Ayaka used a Doton jutsu that created spiraling stone snakes that acted as a shield. The defenses worked for the most part though the two still got nicked and stabbed by some of the senbon.
Sasuke paid the minor wounds no mind, having analyzed the attack pattern and coming to an interesting conclusion. "Ayaka, hold out a bit longer. At this rate this guy will run out of senbon before taking us down. Once he's out he's going to have to gather some he's already used. That's when we attack because if I'm right he can only use his speed to go from one mirror to the next. That's why all he's done is thrown senbon; he can't stop or change directions to do anything else."
"Very astute," complemented Haku, not bothering to correct him about her gender. "However you're assuming that running out of weapons is an option. I assure you, it is not." Haku performed a series of hand seals within the mirror. "Sensatsu Suishō." Immediately the thick mist became slightly thinner as the water vapor froze into the form of dozens of ice senbon which were undoubtedly as sharp as the metal ones.
The ice shards flew fast and hard and the Genin again found themselves defending against becoming pincushions.
"As you can see," Said Haku, "you are trapped in here for as long as I wish."
"If that's the case," growled Ayaka from within the confines of her stone shield, "than instead of defense let's try offense. Sasuke!"
The Uchiha had already prepared his jutsu, unleashing a powerful fireball on the mirror Haku currently resided in. However once the jutsu was finished and the flames dispersed it was revealed that the fire had little effect, seemingly having only melted the edges a bit.
"I keep telling you that your tactics simply won't work, yet you just don't listen," Haku sighed, her hope that the two would just give up diminishing. Which wasn't good for her since her chakra was running low from the Makyo Hyosho.
"Why don't you listen to this! Rasengan!" Cried Ayaka as she charged the mirror, an orb of chakra in her hand.
Haku was caught unawares, unsure of what technique the blonde was using, and in that moment of surprise was unable to prevent said blonde from crashing the orb of chakra into the mirror. Only then did she become aware of the nature of the jutsu as the swirling maelstrom began cracking the mirror.
Had it been a quick-one shot jutsu, Haku could have had time to repair the cracks. However the Rasengan is a technique that lasts as long as the user desires, so long as they had chakra. Having already been weakened by the fireball the ice mirror couldn't stand up to the continual pressure of the Rasengan. Heck, Haku was questioning if one of her ice mirror could handle it even without being partially melted.
Gritting her teeth she knew that she only had one option. She created a new mirror outside the dome and sped to it. Once safely away she made a single hand seal allowing her to forcibly shatter all of the ice mirrors. It would take a bit of her chakra but it was worth it to generate the shockwave that the exploding mirrors made. Not to mention the shrapnel that would be produced.
As the debris settled she got out of her protective mirror and looked to where she hoped to see the at least unconscious forms of her foes. Instead she saw nothing but ice.
"Looking for us?"
Haku's head snapped up to see the two Genin standing on the far side of what was once her dome of ice mirrors. "How?"
"Simple," said Sasuke, "you travel pretty quickly between mirrors, but inside them you're no faster than normal. Slower actually, since you feel safe inside them. With my eyes I was able to see you leave figured that we had at best moments to escape the dome, a feat easily accomplished without you blocking us."
"And now we're going to finish this bastard," added Ayaka.
Haku tensed, internally berating herself for her mistake. But she didn't have time to dwell on that. Right now she had to prepare to use her final move, even though it would take up the last of her chakra and leave her helpless afterward.
But before either group moved there was the sound of clapping, and the paused to see who had appeared.
Coming out of the fog were three exceptionally tall individuals. Two of the individuals were not only tall but broad shouldered and muscular, one shirtless with tattoos marking his body while the other wore a chain mesh shirt, wrists shackled to chains, and had lips stitched shut. The third, while just as tall as his companions, was thin and lanky, wearing the clothes of a Shinto priest and had yellow eyes, he was the one clapping. All three wore headgear that had the yin-yang symbol on their forehead. And behind them were more Mibu soldiers.
"Well this has been a most entertaining performance, but it's time for the finale," said the yellow eyed man.
"What the hell are you lot doing here now?" Growled Zabuza from where he stood, not daring to take his eyes off of Kakashi who bore a fresh though shallow cut on his chest.
"We came to make sure that no further harm came to our payment Zabuza-san," said yellow-eyes.
"Payment! What payment are you talking about!"
Kakashi wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but he suspected that the development would favor the Konoha-nin.
"What we mean Zabuza-san, is that we have a special arrangement with Gato-san. An exchange of services. In exchange for letting us make use of his ships and facilities we perform some special jobs for him. Such as eliminating employees he doesn't wish to pay."
"What!" growled Zabuza in disbelief at his boss's treachery.
'Wait,' thought Kakashi as something struck him as odd, 'why would they attack now? Why not wait until one side kills the other, leaving them weak, tired, and injured?' As if he could read thoughts, or perhaps he could just feel their confusion the yellow-eyed Mibu continued.
"We also have orders from our superiors to capture any ninjas alive, though I honestly don't know why. You are just mere humans, so what possible interest could you be? Oh well," the Mibu sighed, "one does not disobey an order from one of the Goyosei. Jashin! Jaken! Deal with those two; I'll take the young ones."
The two large Mibu didn't acknowledge the order aside from stalking off toward their assigned targets with a handful of soldiers following them.
Kakashi glanced at Zabuza, the Kiri missing-nin shifting his body so that he was ready to fight the oncoming threat. Kakashi mirrored him.
To some it may have seemed odd that the two who were ready to kill each other were just a moment ago suddenly prepare to fight side by side, but the Jounin were professional ninja. They lived in a world where often your enemy one day was your ally the next, but they could very well become the enemy again the day after. Zabuza may very well still want to kill Kakashi after, but there was no profit in it, unless Zabuza thought Kakashi might try to contact Kirigakure and inform them of his movements.
But that didn't matter now; all that did were the approaching enemy. The masked Mibu soldiers leapt forward, showcasing their tremendous speed.
The two shinobi went on the offensive to counter the attack. Kakashi, who still had his Sharingan out, put two of the attackers under a light hypnotic suggestion, slowing them down and allowing Kakashi to slit their throats.
Zabuza swung his Kubikiri Hocho, cleaving through two of soldiers. He was about to attack again when his survival instincts went off, and he quickly redirected his sword, forcing the blade into the concrete of the bridge. He was just in time as a massive sword just as big, if not bigger than his own, crashed into the impromptu barrier, cleaving through the Mibu soldier in the process.
"Not bad for a human, you actually managed to block my sword," complemented the chain-mesh wearing Mibu in a condescending tone. "But let's see you block my next attack."
"You won't get the chance," growled Zabuza as he hefted his sword with surprising ease. Zabuza attacked, using the weight of his weapon to increase the force behind his swing aimed right at the Mibu's neck.
Ready to let his sword live up to its name, Zabuza was surprised as his zanbato rebounded off the Mibu's suddenly dark skin with a metallic clang.
"Surprised human?" asked the Mibu with amusement. "This is the power of the Mibu arts, I can make my skin as hard as steel. But that's not all I can do." The Mibu opened his mouth into a large circle, pointing it at Zabuza.
Zabuza didn't even pause to consider what was going to happen as he leapt out of the way, just narrowly avoiding a stream of magma.
"Ha Ha, nice moves human. You'd better do your best to keep from getting hit by that stuff. It's kept at over 2000 degrees so one hit and your dead."
"I thought you're supposed to catch us alive," pointed out Zabuza reminding the Mibu of his superior's orders in a bid to stall for time to think out his strategy.
"There's some leeway concerning you two elder ninja. While you'd make a nice trophy it's the young ones that our master truly desires."
Zabuza was only paying half attention to what was being said, he was more focused on figuring out how to kill the Mibu. The magma didn't overly concern him, yes it's dangerous but he had seen similar abilities. No, it was the iron skin that was the bother as it was strong enough to block Kubikiri Hocho. He could try using a waster jutsu to drown him, but that setup would take time, and from what the Mibu said it was best to finish this as soon as possible.
As he leapt out of the way from another magma stream he caught a glance over at Kakashi's fight to see the copy-nin ducking at… nothing. 'Wait, that's not true,' something had brushed the Konoha-nin's hair and taken off several strands. Kakashi was fighting an invisible opponent. 'That would be perfect for me, and he is known as the man of a thousand jutsu.' "Hey Kakashi! Switch!"
Kakashi didn't need to be a genius to understand what Zabuza was planning. Clearly the mist-nin suspected that the two of them would have an easier time fighting against each other's opponents. The two shinobi moved quickly, though it seemed that they didn't have to, the Mibu found their antics amusing and made no move to interfere.
Zabuza settled himself before his new foe, who had momentarily become visible once more.
"Ha," laughed the Mibu, "do you humans really think that changing who you fight will have any effect on the outcome of this battle."
Zabuza viciously smirked beneath hid bandages, "Yes, yes I do."
The tattooed Mibu snorted in amusement again as he once again became invisible. "Foolish human, how can you fight what you cannot see?"
"Like this, Ninpo: Kirigakure no Jutsu," responded Zabuza as he used his hidden mist jutsu. His skill with this technique was so great that he could easily control how far the mist extended and its density, effectively hiding himself and his opponent while only covering the others in a light fog.
"What the?" The Mibu looked about in a futile effort to find his foe. "Are you trying to imitate me? Or perhaps you know you can't win and are trying to buy time to run and hide in you mist. What a cowardly thing to do."
Zabuza couldn't help himself and aloud a chuckle to sneak past his lips, a disembodied chuckle that echoed from all directions. "Cowardly? Such a word has no meaning for a shinobi. We fight to win by whatever means necessary. Striking from the shadows is only natural for us. What better way to ensure victory than by making sure our enemy is dead before he ever gets a chance to fight back?"
The tattooed Mibu was growing worried, anxiously looking about him, trying to find the source of the voice and seriously annoyed at how much trouble he was having because of one human. Than his ears caught a noise, shifting gravel, off to his right! He swung his massive two-handled sword and cut… nothing. There was nothing there except for swirling mist.
Once he realized his mistake it was too late as cold steel bit his neck. He didn't even have time for a last thought as his head was separated from his shoulders.
Zabuza shouldered Kubikiri Hocho and looked over the decapitated body as the mist dispelled. He would have liked to admire his handy work but he could only spare a moment to ensure the Mibu was dead. He had other things to do.
Over with Kakashi the Konoha-nin and Mibu were sizing each other up when they noticed the mist lightening, and the death of the Tattooed one.
"That idiot," muttered the armored Mibu, "getting himself killed by a human."
"Yes well seeing has how Zabuza is done; I guess I should be finishing this up as well." said Kakashi in his usual lackadaisical tone, as if he was discussing nothing more interesting than preparing a grocery list.
"Ha, as if a human like you could! Jaken may have been weak, but there's no blade in the world that can pierce me!"
Kakashi regarded the Mibu, his stance relaxed but his eyes steely. "Actually I believe there is a blade that can pierce you, and I have it right here."
Jashin looked bewildered. "What blade? Where?"
"It's right here in my hand here in my hand," said Kakashi, making three quick hand seals before gripping the wrist of his right hand, pointing the palm towards the grounds.
The air crackled and popped as a ring of electricity formed around Kakashi, arcs of it gathering in his palm. "Raikiri!"
Jashin didn't know what was going on but he wasn't taking any chances and launched a flare of magma at the ninja, but Kakashi deftly avoided it.
The Konoha-nin charged at the Mibu, his Sharingan eye analyzing every move, allowing him to anticipate and avoid the sword slashes that followed the magma flare. Before the Mibu knew what happened Kakashi was in his guard and thrusting his lighting blade forward into the enemy's chest, the armored skin's resistance was useless against the power of such potent chakra.
Kakashi removed his hand from the cauterized circle in the Mibu's chest. Quickly he surveyed the damage done. He sighed when he saw the patches of bridge that where holes had appeared from magma melting through the bridge. "Hopefully Tazuna can fix that."
He sensed Zabuza approaching and tensed minutely on the chance that Zabuza decided Kakashi needed to be taken care of as well. But the former mist ninja just did a quick of Kakashi's fallen foe. Wasn't really that hard to determine he was dead, the same with the one Zabuza killed.
"That's some jutsu," he idly commented, while internally thinking how he wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of it.
"Thanks, it's a Kakashi-original. Perfect for dealing with armored foes and delivering one-hit kills. Now to go and… What The!"
Kakashi's sudden surprise was caused by the fallen Mibu, whose body had started crumbling to dust that just seemed to disappear. The two ninja looked over to where Zabuza's kill laid and sure enough that body was gone too.
The Mibu wearing priest robes studied the three teenagers, the thick fog not being a hindrance to his sight. He had ordered his remaining subordinates to go back and guard the end of the bridge so that he would be free to deal with the true prizes at his leisure. He had only been ordered to retrieve them in good condition; he wasn't told he couldn't have a bit of fun during the retrieval.
"Now then," the Mibu muttered as he pulled out a pair of wickedly curved daggers, "which one shall I start with… what's this?" He paused as a small ball rolled up out of the fog by his feet. Out of curiosity he tapped it with his foot, and it violently expelled a cloud of smoke in response.
That was Sakura's moment as she attacked with a kunai in hand.
A blur of motion whipped the smoke and fog and before Sakura knew what was happening she had received a pair of deep cuts in both her arms before a hard kick to her chest sent her sprawling back amongst her friends. "How did he… that gas is…"
"Is what, poison?" Asked the Mibu as he emerged from the smoke cloud. "Because of my physiology most foreign chemicals have no effect on me. Though I can't say the same for you. My blades are coated in a toxin of my own design, a simple sedative that makes capturing you with minimal damage much easier."
And it was true as the world spun in Sakura's eyes, right before she fell as consciousness left her, Ayaka catching her and setting her down gently. "This is bad. Sasuke did you see what happened?" She asked as she rummaged through Sakura's left behind medicine bag in search of something to counter the sedative.
"Yeah, all he did was attack quickly. But that he can attack so quickly and accurately in such poor visibility is troubling. As much as I hate it, I suggest that we use-"
However what Sasuke was about to suggest remained unspoken as several pain-filled screams pierced the air. This actually distracted the yellowed-eyed Mibu to the point where he partially turned away from the young ninja to glance behind him, the source of the screams.
Normally Sasuke and Ayaka would have taken advantage of this if they themselves had not been distracted; something their sensei would verbally ream them out for during practice. But it was understandable as not a moment after the screaming, which only lasted a second, ended a wind blew that temporarily parted the fog. What they saw was a massacre of the Mibu soldiers that were left to guard the end. Most of their bodies had been sliced in two with their blood and guts spilling out onto the bridge. And in the center of it all stood Naruto, and without a scratch on him.
"Damn pests," growled the blond samurai. "Every time I'm in a hurry there are a bunch of suicidal idiots blocking my path."
The yellow-eyed Mibu's eyes widened in surprise before an expression of glee spread across his face. "How delightful! Now I have the opportunity to capture the infamous Naruto."
Just then he heard the sound of approaching footsteps. With reactionary speed greater than most people could accomplish the Mibu moved to block as Sasuke swiped at him with sword. But there was more to the attack as Sasuke exhaled the fireball he had been holding
The Mibu screamed as his clothes and skin burned. Sasuke smirked, sure of his victory. Then a knife blade slammed into his sword wielding arm. Normally that alone wouldn't be enough to break Sasuke's concentration but in just a second he began feeling lightheaded and drowsy. He sunk to his knees, fighting to stay conscious.
"You insignificant little human," snarled the Mibu, most of his clothing burned to ash and his skin covered in first degree burns. "How dare you strike a superior being! If I didn't have orders to being you back alive and in good condition I would make you suffer a thousand years' worth of pain!" His blade wielding arm flashed and knocked away three incoming shuriken. Turning an eye to the blonde girl that threw them he hissed, "Don't interfere; I have more pressing matters to deal with." With that he turned to face Naruto, who had been waiting patiently with Ginryu on his shoulder. "Such as capturing a criminal dearly wanted by the Mibu."
"Heh," laughed Naruto, "I don't normally interfere in the fights of others, but for the chance to kill a Mibu I'll make an exception." Behind the Mibu Naruto could see Kakashi and Zabuza getting into position to attack should an opportunity present itself. Naruto sent them a quick glare to warn them off, but wasn't sure if they got the message. Either way the Mibu knew they were there.
"So those weaklings got themselves killed? How annoying, now I have more work to do."
"No you won't," assured Naruto, "since you're about to join them in Hell."
The Mibu smiled in amusement as if a joke had been told. "Don't mistake me for being on the same level as them. My ability is such that the Four Elders saw fit to bestow upon me a great power."
"Really?" asked Naruto with excitement in his voice. The ninja were listening intently, trying to glean as much information about the Mibu clan that just tried to kill them. Getting into a stance, his sword ready, Naruto urged his foe on. "If you have this power, bring it out."
"Oh, I intend to." Said the Mibu as glowing spots spread across his skin. Soon his skin changed tones, becoming a dark green with a pale yellow underbelly. The already tall Mibu grew taller as his legs and arms lengthened. Finally his jaw bulged outward while his forehead shrank, giving his head the appearance of a snake. A similarity increased by the fangs revealed when he opened his mouth. "The appearance of this transformation is admittedly disgusting, unfit for any Mibu. But, I assure you that the benefits are quite," he lashed out with his blades, Ginryu barely catching them and shoving Naruto back some feet, "worthwhile."
Naruto scowled as he pushed and freed Ginryu, then launching a series of attacks. Each slash of his sword was blocked seemingly effortlessly by the Mibu. Naruto's foot lashed out, kicking up a kunai from the ground. In the next instant he attacked with an overhead strike. Both were blocked.
"Give it up, you'll never get through my defense," taunted the Mibu. "This form alters my physiology greatly, increasing the number of bones and joints by several hundred." He bragged, showing off his ability by rolling his left arm inward on itself until it came full circle and the hand pointed forward again. "It also allows me to see thermal energy, so I am not hindered in the slightest by natural obstructions such as night or mist." Then the Mibu went on the offensive, striking with speed and strength that pushed Naruto, who was barely blocking and dodging each attack, back with each strike.
Finally Naruto leapt back, out of the Mibu's range. "Retreating already? I was expecting more from such a wanted man, or boy in your case."
"Funny, I was going to say the same thing," said Naruto. "For someone supposedly blessed by the Four Elders, you are really weak. I've fought many who are much stronger and faster than you."
"Then why have you been unable to strike me even once?"
Naruto shrugged, "Really I was just testing you, to see if you are a good comparison of strength. But you're not. So dragging this fight out any longer would be a real pain, which is why I am going to end it." Running his hand along Ginryu's blade the sword seemed to glow in response to its master. "Mizuchi." The frighteningly cold and fierce wind came suddenly and brutally. And it was larger than when used against Zabuza. Then it the wind was just a wind, but now it grew, encompassing the area, as if trying to become the very atmosphere. Then it was over, with Naruto standing like he hadn't done anything, except now he stood behind the Mibu. And the Mibu was now two, a diagonal cut through the belly completely bisecting the being, his top half falling.
From the heightened danger and adrenaline flowing through them, the ninja seemed to watch it fall in slow motion; the head not realizing it was dead as it made sounds, trying to ask "what happened?"
"Did you hear it?" asked Naruto. "The sound of the Devine Wind?" The Mibu's body, finally realizing it was dead, let out a death rattle and disintegrated. All that was left was nothing, as if there was never anything there, and the same was true for all of the Mibu soldiers.
With seemingly all known and unknown threats gone, Kakashi assessed the situation, noting that Sakura was already administering medicine to medicine to Sasuke to help the boy fight the sedative, though it looked like she was still a little groggy from the dose she received. Fortunately Ayaka was right there to help steady the pinkette, and also sorting out several emergency pills on the chance that they were attacked again today. Finally he covered his Sharingan and turned his remaining eye to Zabuza. "So Zabuza, you're employer just betrayed you, that means you no longer have any obligation to kill my client, right?"
Zabuza grunted an affirmative.
"And since you are not a wanted criminal of Konoha, and you no longer have to interfere in my mission we don't have to fight. So how about we just go our separate ways? You leave us to do our mission, and we let you leave hassle free. It's about the best of a win-win situation we can make here."
"Not quite," muttered Zabuza as he placed his sword on his back and Haku walked to his side, handing her master a soldier pill having just consumed a pill herself. "For me to win I have to go kill that little rat Gato. After this keeping him around will be a threat to my life."
"Don't bother," said Naruto, who was keeping an eye out. "Gato's a shorty, pudgy, little ugly man with long curly hair, glasses, and a cane right? Well I came across him and some muscle he had hired. He was saying something about making sure an investment worked out. Saw me, ordered his men to kill me. It took me a whole minute to kill the bunch. I also killed Gato since I found him annoying."
"Gato's dead?" asked Tazuna as he came out from behind the barrels he was using as a hiding spot. "He's really dead?"
"You can check for yourself, the bodies are about a mile that way," said Naruto pointing in a general direction.
Tazuna whooped for joy. Whatever Gato had prepared for after his death it would take time, time he could use to finish the almost complete bridge.
Zabuza was less than thrilled, but a dead Gato was a dead Gato. And while he really wanted to show what he could really do against the samurai, Zabuza was a true ninja, and as such he knew that he should take this time to loot everything out of Gato's hideout and move on to a new location. "C'mon Haku," he said taking a step forward. Suddenly Zabuza jerked and his body flew forward at impossible speed, only to come to a halt by slamming into a giant boulder 50 meters away that hadn't been there before.
"Zabuza-sama!" shrieked Haku trying to rush to the aid of her master, only to be restrained bodily by Naruto. She struggled against his grip, refusing to believe that there was no chance to save her master, even if his neck was bent at an unnatural angle and a large amount of blood was pooling around him. "Let Me Go!" she cried as tears ran down her eyes.
"Stop it!" shouted Naruto. "There's nothing you can do. Going to him is just playing into their hands!"
As if his words were a trigger the attack came, but it was unlike anything any of the still conscious individuals had experienced as they all fell to their knees, every part of their body feeling like it weighed ten times normal.
"My, Naruto-han, you're being pretty cautious," said a pleasantly amused voice from some hiding spot. "I guess that's why you were saddled with the name "Emperors' shadow" isn't it? Still I suppose it was a bit too much to ask that a bunch of warriors such as you lot would rush to the aid of a fellow after he was attacked, with the attacker nowhere in sight. Though, I was hoping to at least get the ice girl. Still, it seems I have no choice but to incapacitate you with my Chiyuugi technique." said the man as he walked out from behind a tree near Zabuza. One would think he was a beatnik, with his shabby clothes and his slouched posture, though his flower patterned pants were distinctive. His messy brown hair was done up in a top-knot, his eyes were covered by round sunglasses, and he was smoking a pipe. And he was an individual three of the restrained individuals recognized.
"Chinmei," growled Naruto as he eyed one of the men he hated with all his being.
Chinmei put up his hands and backed away in mock fright, an image easily dispelled by his ever present grin. "Whoa, easy there Naruto-han, no need to be sounding so dangerous. I just want to do this peaceful-like."
"You Killed Zabuza-sama!" Shrieked out Haku, whom Naruto still had a protective arm over, calling out Chinmei's hypocritical actions.
"Of course," responded Chinmei cheerfully as he brought out a fan to make a little breeze at his face. "Zabuza-han would have put up all kinds of fuss about me taking you, and I didn't need him. So I just did what needed to be done to ensure there was as little fighting as possible. The less fighting the more peaceful it is." At that moment everyone received a surprise as the supposed corpse of Zabuza groaned, a hand weakly reaching out to Chinmei. "Whoa, Zabuza-han is tougher than I thought." With a gesture Zabuza's body burst into pieces, flying in every direction.
Haku's cries renewed but there was nothing to be done while they were restrained by their own weight.
Ayaka was the next to speak, as a temporary fear-induced paralysis began to lift from her vocal chords. "It's him," she whispered in fright, partially from memories and the display of power. "The man who kidnapped Naruto," and the source of her family's troubles.
Chinmei had strong ears and heard here. "Oh, have we met?" he asked scratching his head. "You do look familiar." Then he pounded a fist into his other palm. "Oh now I remember, you were that little girl with Naruto, the one who called him brother!" A demented chuckle escaped through his lips. "I always knew you were an emotional one Naruto, but to seek out your birth family?" The response he got from Naruto was a hate-filled glare. "But do they even know about you, about what you really are?" a twitch of the lip was enough to inform Chinmei. "They don't!" he said with delighted laughter. "Is it because you won't tell them? The longer you keep it hidden the more it will hurt when they find out. Though I really think you should stop trying to get along with these humans. You know that they won't accept you, so come back with me to the Mibu clan.
"Never!" screamed Naruto, his rage building. And as it built Haku began to notice some changes, such as when she looked into his face she saw that his eyes were no longer blue but red. "The day I go back to that accursed place is the day I come to kill every single one of you!"
"Easy Naruto-han," said Chinmei in a placating manner. "Cool down and be a little more peaceful. All that stress isn't good for health." The grin on Chinmei's face turned malicious as he reached behind the tree. "Especially her health at the moment," he said as he pulled out a tied up woman.
"Tsunami!" cried Tazuna from where he was forced to bodily lay down, no longer being in his prime.
Chinmei ignored the old man. "I brought along this hostage to ensure your cooperation Naruto-han."
That confused the others who were all thinking 'Why would Tsunami work as a hostage against Naruto?' But when they looked at him they could tell. His rage had been superseded by something new, something none of them had ever seen with Naruto. Fear.
"When I first saw her, boy I practically fainted." Said Chinmei conversationally as he held his closed fan to her neck like it was a knife. "I could've sworn you went and resurrected that woman, that woman I killed four years ago. The resemblance is just that uncanny."
A picture was starting to form in everyone's minds, well except for Tazuna who was more concerned about his daughter's and grandson's safety since Inari was nowhere to be seen. That picture was of Naruto and Chinmei's shared past four years ago, where the older man apparently killed a woman that looked like Tsunami. And, who was apparently important to Naruto judging from his reaction. So important that he feared for the life of a woman who resembled the deceased.
"So Naruto-han, knowing how emotional you are and how much it would hurt you if I killed this woman, how about you just promise to peacefully come with me, and I'll release this woman that looks identical to, now what was it you called that woman?"
"Don't say it," muttered Naruto. "Don't dirty her name with your lips."
"Oh yes, now I remember. I could have never forgotten such a touching moment as the tear-streaked Naruto clung to the cooling body of…"
"Don't say it."
"…his Mayumi kaa-chan."
"CHINMEI!" Roared Naruto, with such hatred and loathing, an explosion of chakra burst from the boy. The chakra was so intense that Haku felt sure that it would burn her, and for a moment the weight lifted, but a light appeared from the sheathed Ginryu and the chakra receded and the weight returned, though not as bad. Gasps of surprise could be heard from everyone, and when Haku looked she saw why.
Naruto's often present hat was gone, and that strange furry belt of his had come undone, yet it waved behind him as one end still clung on. Haku then blinked as her brain finally registered the truth. The furry belt wasn't a belt, but a yellow furred fox tailed. And sticking out from his main of hair, where human ears should have been was a pair of fox ears.
"Naruto?" questioned Ayaka at seeing the odd appendages, appendages Naruto did not have when they were younger. Mentally the three Gennin were all asking themselves the same question, 'What the?'
Kakashi was more than a little stumped. Having experiences with Jinchuuriki he knew that they sometimes picked up characteristics from the demons they contained, but it was usually restricted to some sort of facial marking or some other inconsequential trait. Never had any of them developed animal limbs. The closest they could get were chakra manifestations from when the used the tailed beasts' power.
Haku herself was speechless as she looked up to the young man with her mouth agape and thinking, 'What is he?'
"That was scary," commented Chinmei, not scared in the least, as he held the wide-eyed Tsunami. "But I'm must say that is an interesting sword, Naruto-han. I wonder how it can keep you so peaceful? You know, I was ordered to take Muramasa's Demon Blades should I see them. But, it looks I should also be targeting those Spirit Blades." Chinmei raised a hand, opened and ready to grasp something, and pointed it at Naruto. "So why don't you just give it here?"
The sword at Naruto's waist jerked and the boy reacted instantly, pushing Haku away so that he could grab hilt and sheath with both hands. But he was fighting against two forces as gravity continued to pound on him. Alas it was for naught as the sword broke free from his grip, and flew into Chinmei's hand, grabbing it by the sheath.
"Now that wasn't so hard, was it?" asked Chinmei mockingly as he set Tsunami to the side. "Now let's take a look a look at you," he said as he gripped the hilt to draw the sword, which was his biggest mistake.
As soon as his fingers were around the hilt light erupted from Ginryu. Chinmei screamed in pain as his hand darkened, veins popping up as blood flow inextricably increased. In less than a second Chinmei dropped the sword, and took another second to recover. That was all the time he had to notice the approaching presence. "Yipes!" Chinmei moved, just barely avoiding the crimson chakra enshrouded fist that crashed and dug into the ground, and would have left a nasty injury to his chest if he hadn't moved.
Chinmei hopped away and quickly saw his error. When Ginryu had tried to take over Chinmei's body, something the Mibu clan member had not expected, his focus was lost and he dropped his Chiyuugi, and freeing those trapped. Including Naruto, who had undergone an interesting change. The boy's eyes were blood-red, his whisker marks had grown and darkened, and his canine teeth and nails had lengthened into fangs and claws. But most interesting was the crimson shroud of energy that Kakashi recognized as the Kyuubi's chakra.
"Chinmei," growled Naruto, "I'll kill you." Naruto then attacked, completely ignoring the fallen Ginryu.
"Uh-oh," muttered Chinmei, only slightly worried as he moved to dodge the incoming human projectile, no time to set up another Chiyuugi. Bending back with unnatural flexibility he dodged a claw swipe. Then, using that unnatural elasticity he bent to the right to dodge a spinning kick. The spin continued and the tail came about to bash Chinmei, which the Mibu dodged again, only for a second tail to emerge, this one formed from the Kyuubi's chakra, and smash into Chinmei with the force of a hammer.
Chinmei rolled with the momentum to get some distance, but Naruto wouldn't have it. He continued the assault, swiping with clawed hands and lashing with feet and tails, looking more like an animal attacking with sheer ferocity, than a human attacking with technique. Which was exactly what he was. Though attacking with such power that hard ground was turned to loose dirt with any awry attacks, and such ferocity that they were nigh unpredictable, the attacks were not as sharp or skillfully executed if Naruto had been in full control of his mental faculty. But as at the moment his mind was in a rage induced fog. All he saw was Chinmei, and as the fighting continued the only thought on his mind was the desire to kill the Mibu. He wasn't even consciously aware of how he was driving Chinmei further away from the others.
"That's it! I'm outta here!" cried Chinmei as he leapt, and kept going up. With his power over gravity flying into the sky, and staying there was a cinch, and just what he needed to do to get a breather by keeping out of Naruto's reach.
Naruto shattered that idea with a roar as he flung his arms in Chinmei's direction, launching a pair of thick chakra replicas. Taken by surprise Chinmei didn't move quickly enough to completely avoid the attack and was struck by several claws. He hissed in pain from not only the slashing but the intense burning where the claws struck from the corrosive chakra. Again Chinmei moved, but the vertical arms had more surprises as a second set of hands emerged to follow. But Chinmei was ready this time, countering with waves of gravity that destroyed the arms. Knowing that Naruto wasn't about to let up, Chinmei used a technique he prepared beforehand in case of an emergency. The technique was his Chinseirekka Suiseisho, which situated rocks in the stratosphere before he flung them down at terminal velocity against his foe. And, when the rocks struck their target, everything in their path is demolished. Only the most powerful of beings could hope to survive the attack through whatever means they have.
Chinmei grinned in victory as the rocks smashed into the ground, raising a cloud of dust. Of course his superiors would be displeased if he actually killed Naruto, so he made sure that the boy was only hit by glancing strikes. Naruto wouldn't be walking anytime soon, but he would be alive and well enough for Chinmei to take him back to the Mibu's homeland.
As the dust settled Chinmei caught a glimpse of Naruto, and realized his mistake. The boy was stronger than anticipated. Now Naruto completely covered in dense red chakra and had five tails, which had been used to form a barrier to shield himself from the rocks. The tails unwound and the mini-demon looked up to his foe with a look that could be described as hunger, before launching the tails up.
The tails shot up at an amazing speed, and if he didn't have such good eyes Chinmei wouldn't have had the time to see the tail ends morph so that the chakra resembled the head of highly feral and dangerous fox heads with gaping maws lined with razor sharp teeth that would corrode on contact. Using his agility Chinmei went up, left, down, right, up and about, spin around, duck, dodge, avoid, and swerve out of the path of the heads, their jaws snapping as he passed.
He tried to get the tails tangled up, but they seemed to just pass through each other to continue on to him. "This is getting difficult," he muttered as he prepared to dodge a head coming at him straight from the front. But what he wasn't prepared for was the jaw opening and a horde of fists coming at him. The fists smashed into his body and pushed downward, slamming Chinmei into the ground far below.
'Now I'm mad,' thought Chinmei as he used a new trick. He unleashed a wave of negative gravity, using himself as the source, of such force that the chakra was forcibly dispelled.
Chinmei stood, coughing up some blood with the effort, but nothing he couldn't quickly recover from. More annoyingly he was sure several of his ribs, his nose, and maybe a few other small bones here and there were broken. "Looks like I'm going to have to take you seriously Naruto-han," he said as he dusted himself off. Despite his seeming calm and his deceptively mundane actions, an immense killing aura rose up from Chinmei that would have sent any nearby forest creatures, and sane humans, running for the hills if there were any around.
The Kyuubified Naruto felt this and prepared to take things to the next level, bringing the five tail tips up in front of his face he began gathering chakra. As he prepared, a sixth tail and bones began forming, adding to his overall useable energy.
"Naruto!" The call came quickly and suddenly, drawing the attention of the two fighters just in time to see a familiar sword being thrown straight at Naruto.
When whatever technique that was holding them dropped, there was a flurry of movement. As Naruto was frantically fighting against Chinmei, moving further away, Kakashi, Tazuna, and Sakura rushed to Tsunami's side. Fortunately the woman was fine and the moment they had the gag off of her she told them how they needed to go find Inari. The boy had tried to stop Chinmei, but had received a brutal kick for his effort, Tsunami didn't know if her boy was alright or not and was begging to go to him.
Kakashi approved, sending Sakura along with Tsunami and Tazuna in case the boy needed medical attention. As they departed Kakashi then turned his attention towards where the fight had gone, no longer visible through the trees. Sasuke and Ayaka were just ahead and clearly wanted to go, Ayaka especially was visibly restraining herself from dashing off. Haku was nowhere to be seen.
"C'mon Kakashi-sensei, we have to go help Naruto," urged Ayaka.
Kakashi was about to agree, and also warn them to be careful since this Chinmei was clearly a powerful fighter. However his thoughts were interrupted as he sensed another presence. Then Ginryu jerked, flying into the tree line.
The three ninja noticed this and went after it. Just as they passed through some bushes they caught sight of a retreating figure, a woman judging from the style of her black clothing and the momentary glimpse they got of her figure. She was running off in the direction of the fight. "After her!" ordered Kakashi.
The three dashed after their target. She was fast, not quite as fast as the three were moving but enough to stay ahead of them for some precious time. Then they burst into the clearing where the two combatants were, and Ayaka and Sasuke had to stop in their tracks from the immense killing intent rolling off of the fighters. And Naruto's transformation was another bit of shock for the two.
With his experience Kakashi was able to stay focused, but it looked like it wouldn't matter as the target drew Ginryu and flung it at Naruto, blade first. "Naruto!"
This actually caused the two fighters to break from their stare down, giving their attention to the woman and sword. From the looks of things the woman was trying to kill Naruto, and in Kakashi's mind that meant he had to take her down, trusting Naruto to not be felled by a simple projectile even if it was his own sword. But Ginryu was not an ordinary projectile.
Just as the blade was about to reach its target it shone with brilliant light, right before a massive roaring silver dragon erupted from the blade. That Kakashi did not expect, as the great beast descended on Naruto, its massive bulk completely encircling and enshrouding. It was enough to make Kakashi stop and lift his headband, yet his Sharingan told him little more than his regular eye. But he could see something happening, some sort of clash of energy.
Then the dragon's head emerged from the writhing mass of its serpentine body, gave out one massive roar, and began fading away. As it disappeared it revealed a restored Naruto, breathing heavily and gawking a little as if he wasn't sure what was going on. He looked at Ginryu in his hand, and then to the woman who had thrown it. Recognition could be seen in Naruto's eyes. And then the boy actually smiled, a smile that was warm and gentle, expressing genuine pleasure at the woman's appearance.
Chinmei, while interested in what happened, grew tired of waiting, and launched a massive gravity wave. And, he aimed it directly at the newcomer.
In a flash Naruto was standing before her, his sword catching the wave and holding it as its power waned. And once the attack ended, neither Naruto nor the newcomer was harmed from it.
Keeping his eyes on Chinmei, Naruto spoke to the woman, "Thank you, Mahiro."
The woman gave him a smile similar to what he gave her. "Just don't lose Ginryu again, Naruto," she said gently. "Muramasa put too much work into it to be discarded so easily."
"Sorry, I didn't have much choice in the matter. And I was just so angry at seeing Chinmei that I completely ignored Ginryu."
"Chinmei?" Mahiro looked to the Mibu in new light. "He's the one that…?"
A scowl formed on Mahiro's face as she too looked at Chinmei with utter loathing. "You're going to kill him, right?"
"That's my intention," said Naruto as he brought up Ginryu, resting his left hand at the base. "And I am going to hit him with my best, using the technique Muramasa taught me." Naruto slid his hand along Ginryu's length, and as he did the blade began to glow with a beautiful light. "Mumyo Jinpu Ryu Satsujin Ken Mizuchi!"
The light grew to such intensity it threatened to blind the onlookers before dying down.
Everyone looked to Chinmei and saw…nothing. Chinmei himself seemed pretty confused as he began looking up, left, right, and all about to see where the attack was coming from, but no one could sense anything. But there was nothing to sense except for a warm breeze that blew gently through the clearing.
"What? Did it fail?" asked Ayaka out loud. Twice she had witnessed the Mizuchi, with the second being an escalated version of the first. Its fiercely cold force and power captures the attention and was unmistakable. Yet here there was nothing.
"No," answered Sasuke, his Sharingan spinning as he tried to make sense of what he had seen. But his eyes seemed to refuse to obey. It was similar to watching a person use a Kekkei Genkai, but even then he could understand what he was seeing. Here it was like Naruto's chakra went and covered the entire area, which was obscuring his sight.
"Did you hear it Chinmei?" asked Naruto. Suddenly blood burst out of Chinmei's body from several deep gashes, including a certainly fatal one on his chest. "Did you hear the voice of the wind?" Naruto finished, sheathing Ginryu.
That was the end. Or it should have been. But then Chinmei's hunched body began to tremble, and a sound could be heard growing louder, the sound of Chinmei chuckling. Then Chinmei burst forth in uproarious laughter. When he was finished laughing he looked to Naruto with a wide grin on his face, seemingly unconcerned about his wounds. "That was great Naruto-han. I'm sure ol'Hishigi will be delighted to hear about how strong you've become."
Enraged Naruto drew Ginryu again and charged, intent to finish Chinmei, but the smiling Mibu vanished into thin air.
"Sorry Naruto-han but we'll have to finish this some other time," said Chinmei's disembodied voice echoing all over the place. "I need to go get my wounds tended to. In the meantime do me a favor and keep little Haku-chan safe, and those other little kiddies you made friends with. This land has so many wonderful treasures that the Mibu clan just has to have them, so we'll be back before too long."
They scanned for Chinmei, but none of them could find a trace of his presence. When it seemed that Chinmei was truly gone Naruto sheathed Ginryu, let out a sigh, and collapsed into Mahiro's waiting arms.
"Naruto!" cried Ayaka in concern as she rushed to the pair.
"Don't worry, he'll be alright," assured Mahiro who had laid down to rest the unconscious Naruto's head in her lap, gently stroking his hair and rubbing behind his ears, completely unperturbed by the unnatural organs. "What he's gone through has drained his energy, but he'll be fine after getting some sleep and then some food."
Ayaka couldn't help but notice how comfortable Naruto was in her arms, so much so that he had actually dropped his guard. Something that she had never seen in the week they had been staying at Tazuna's place. Even when asleep he seemed to be emitting this presence that when disturbed alerted him. But now there was nothing. And as Ayaka was looking she now noticed that Mahiro bared a strong resemblance to Tsunami, close enough that the two could be mistaken for sisters. "Who are you?" Ayaka asked.
"I'm Mahiro," answered the woman. "I'm Naruto's sister."
AN: And that seems like a good place to stop. I don't know how many readers are still around but I hoped you guys liked this. Originally there wasn't really going to be a fight scene with Chinmei, he would make an appearance and Naruto's secret would be revealed and then Naruto would drive him off. But I was inspired by Naruto's fight with Deva Path Pain who uses similar powers.
Now by now you know that I think that Tsunami from Naruto and Mayumi Samurai Deeper Kyo are virtually identical, though it looks like Tsunami has darker eyes. And also now you know that he has a past with Mayumi, Mahiro, Muramasa, and Kyo. This begs to question who else Naruto knows. It also raises questions as to what the Mibu did to him and why. Hope I left you readers with enough to ponder over. And tell me what you think of Naruto having fox ears and a tail. The fact that he has them isn't as important as to why he has them, so if they prove to be unpopular they can be changed.
And before anyone asks, the unnamed Mibu with the snake powers is not based off the anime, which I personally didn't care for. The fight scenes involving the Mibu, Kakashi, and Zabuza was something I thought up when I first started writing this story.