Naruto found himself waking up in a frigid, lonely plateau, instead of waking up his warm bedroom next to his lover Koyuki. It just didn't make any sense. How could he be transported out of his bedroom to this area? Logically, there was no possible way for this to be accomplished. That meant that he was under a genjutsu, and so Naruto immediately attempted to cancel the illusion.
The young genjutsu prodigy growled when he saw that nothing in his surroundings had changed. There was absolutely no way that this could be a genjutsu, since even the best illusion would have wavered a bit if he was canceling it. With that in mind, Naruto looked around to try and get his bearings. That was easier said than done since the sky was completely covered in black clouds. The cloud cover was so thick that the only light came from the numerous lighting strikes among the clouds and glowing red lines off near the horizons. Naruto thought that those lines might be rivers of lava, but he wasn't sure.
Eventually, Naruto got fed up with just wandering around the rocky plateau after a few minutes. He cupped his hands together and shouted out, "Whoever brought me here so yourself. I want answers. Why have you brought me here?"
Suddenly the temperature plunged even lower and the winds gusted behind Naruto. The young man turned around and saw a spectral form appear. Somehow, Naruto knew exactly who he was looking at. He had never met this person as far as he knew, but he instinctively recognized this entity. Naruto bowed his head and said, "Hello, Shinigami. Why have you called me here? I hope it's for a good reason because you're no disrespect intended, the last person I'd ever thought I'd see in my lifetime."
Naruto's patron god looked at the boy and let out a harsh sounding, but still good natured, laugh. The deity then replied, "You're and interesting mortal Naruto Namikaze. Most mortals would be quivering in terror by now asking me to spare their lives or pleading that they don't deserve to spend eternity in a forbidding place like this."
With a simple shrug, Naruto replied just like he was talking to Azuna or Sarutobi. "I'm a ninja. Death is a part of the deal, and I sincerely doubt that you'll resurrect me if I am dead. As for the local, sure I'd like something a little less damming, but you call the shots here. Besides, Koyuki knows exactly how I feel about her, so I have no regrets if I die."
The Shinigami smiled at that and said, "'Call no man happy until he is dead' the ancient sage once said. Fortunately for you young Namikaze, no one will be calling you happy for a long time. Of course, you could very well mess up in the future and come to an early grave. Free will can make it interesting to predict the future. Right now your body is spooled up with your mate back in the mortal world. I have called your soul here to talk to you."
Naruto nodded his head and crossed his arms across his chest. Then he said, "Thanks for telling me. Now can get to the point because I would much rather be talking with Koyuki than with you."
Personally, the Shinigami was never one for small talk and was delighted to start talking business with Naruto. "As you know from your latest mission, the Sharingan is still in the mortal world. The eight children who survived the Uchiha Clan's massacre have grown strong. They have a burning hatred for all the hidden ninja villages and especially Konoha. Thanks to a slithering abomination, they have all advanced their bloodlines to its zenith. They, and their servants, will unleash death and destruction upon the land the likes of which no mortal has seen in over a century."
A frown crossed Naruto's face as he listened to what the Shinigami was telling him. For the sounds of it these Uchiha survivors were planning to set the continent's clock back to the Warring Clan Era. In full battle mode, Naruto asked, "Why are you telling me this? All we have so far is a bandit with a transplanted Sharingan Eye. Almost no one would believe me if I give this information out. Old Sarutobi probably will believe me, but he'd never be able to act on it sense there's no solid evidence that he could point to or tactical information he could use to make a battle plan. So what good is it if I know that hell's going to break loose before it happens?"
The Shinigami immediately replied, "I didn't call you here just to give you this news Naruto. This whole mess with the Uchihas is indirectly my fault and I plan to correct it. However, I can't just appear in the mortal world and slay those devil eyed scum. The divine rules forbid such an intervention. There are ways for me indirectly intervene, but that's provided that a mortal agrees to help me."
Naruto's eyes narrowed and he said, "Let me see if I've got everything that you're saying. There several ninjas out there with a grudge against my village and they're planning on plunging the whole world into war. You want to stop them since you started this whole mess, but you can't do so directly because of the rules. There is a way for you to help correct this approaching fiasco, but you need me to do your grunt work for you so you fellow gods and goddess don't catch on. All you have to do is tell me where they are and I'll kill them. There's no way I'm going to let any of my future kids grow up in a world like the Warring Clans Era."
It wasn't often that a god or goddess was lucky enough to get a client who was willing to do what needed to be done. Most of the time, mortal champions complained about their divinely appointed tasks and wanted whatever deity who gave them the task to take care of everything when the times got tough. That's why the gods had stopped appearing in the mortal world as often as they used to. Thus, the Shinigami was extremely pleased to hear Naruto just ask for directions, even though the young man would be receiving so much more.
The Shinigami gave Naruto a toothy grin and then proceeded to speak. "You won't need me to point you to your enemies; your village's intelligence will find the clues needed to point you in the proper direction. Just remember to take all missions that involve anything connected with your last kill. Now I said earlier that I could help this situation indirectly and so I shall. Currently, many of your illusions can be detected or broken by the Sharingan. I will make a small adjustment, which will have no other effect whatsoever, which will make it so that the Sharingan can't break your genjutsus nearly as easily. There is still a chance one or two of them might be able to break out, but the playing field is now level between you and them."
Naruto quickly nodded his head and replied, "Okay, I can work with this. Now, is there anything else you want to talk to me about, or can I go by to my girlfriend?" The Shinigami waved his hand sending a blast of cold air at Naruto and shooting the young ninja into the sky.
Instantly, Naruto opened his eyes and looked around. The blond ninja almost instantly let out a sigh of relief when he saw that he was back in his bedroom. Koyuki was contently sleeping to Naruto's right with beautiful form barely hidden from Naruto by the bed sheets. This serene sight calmed Naruto's nerves and allowed him to put the Shinigami's visit out of his head.
Of course, even the sight of his beloved Koyuki couldn't keep Naruto from remembering his encounter with the death god forever. A great conflict was on the horizon as the village's bloody past was coming back to haunt them. Naruto suddenly felt himself filled with desire to send Koyuki to a far away land where she could be safe from the approaching storm. However, he knew in his heart that his princess wouldn't leave willing and hide for safety. She couldn't stand the idea of being some sort of fairy princess locked away in a tower for her white samurai to come and save her.
The mere thought of Koyuki being a fairytale princess actually caused Naruto to smile. There was absolutely no way in the Elemental Countries that Koyuki would just sit around and wait to be rescued. Naruto figured that even if someone ever managed to successfully kidnap his princess, she would escape from her kidnappers by time a rescue party could be organized. Her independence and fierce determination were some of the things that Naruto loved.
Slowly Koyuki stirred from her sleep and then opened her eyes to see Naruto looking down at her. A smile crossed her face and she coyly said, "Did you enjoy last night dear?"
Naruto leaned down and gave her a small kiss on the nape of her neck. He then lifted his head to her ear and whispered, "How could I not enjoy it my princess? I'm not sure I'll ever understand why you fell in love with me, but I am grateful that you did."
Koyuki's smile grew for a few seconds as she listened to Naruto's words. Then her face hardened a bit and she said, "What's bothering you Naruto? I can see it in your eyes that something is troubling you. Please, tell me what it is." Towards the end Koyuki added a touch of the sorrowful doe-like look to wear away Naruto's defenses.
Letting out a resigned sigh, Naruto started to tell Koyuki what had happened. "The Shinigami visited me in a dream last night and warned me that some pretty bad things are looming in the future for the village. I can't talk to you about the specifics because part of it involves sensitive information that I encounter on my last mission. Just promise me that you'll steep up your training. I don't want to loose you in the upcoming conflict."
Part of Koyuki simply wanted to shrug off Naruto's concerns as mere bad dreams. Such dreams weren't uncommon given their line of work. However, something in Naruto's eye told Koyuki that this was something more than a mere nightmare. In a soft voice she said, "Don't worry Naruto. I promise I'll increase my training. Hopefully we'll be able to make it through this upcoming problem safe and sound."
Naruto wrapped his arms around Koyuki and whispered in her ear, "I hope so to my princess. I don't want to loose you. Buildings can be replaced, but I could never replace you if I lost you." The two lovers stayed wrapped in their embrace contently drawing strength and love from each other.
Hinata, Mimi, and Ino (a.k.a. Team 6 or Team Kunoichi) were sitting in the Yamanaka living room waiting for Koyuki to show up. Unlike other teams, Team Kunoichi didn't have a set training ground that it stuck to. Instead, Koyuki would have the team rotate between different training grounds so the girls had to constantly adapt to different locations. Sometimes the team didn't go to a training ground, but rather went throughout the village to practice infiltrating. Thus, they needed a regular meeting place and Ino's house was the most convenient.
The girls were doing some studying while they were waiting for their teacher. Koyuki had given all the girls the personas they were to adopt when infiltrating, and she had them read up on what they would need to know for those rolls every three days. Hinata was to play the shy bookworm and was currently reading magazine on the recent archeological finds on the Tea coast. Ino was to play the village gossip and was currently reading the tabloids for juicy scandals. Mimi was to play the fashion queen and thus had several designer catalogues out. Koyuki had simply picked several traits that the girls already had and made them act those traits out.
Around 9 o'clock, Mimi looked up from her catalog and looked at the clock. She quickly glanced at the clock and then threw her catalog on the table. This caused Hinata and Ino to give Mimi questioning looks. Mimi caught on to the looks on her teammates' face, and she said, "What's holding Koyuki up? She should have been here an hour ago. I've never seen her this late for a meeting; in fact, she's rarely late at all!"
Ino put her magazine down and rolled her eyes before replying to Mimi. "Lighten up Mimi. Koyuki will get her when she gets here. If she's willing to cut us some slack if we're delayed from time to time, then I think we should do the same. Besides, it gives us more time to study. You wouldn't believe how hard it is trying to keep which star is cheating on whom with whom strait. I can see why so many of our classmates were so weak. They were spending all their time keeping their gossip strait."
Mimi nodded her head and then said, "I get it Ino. It's just that I'm tired of waiting for Koyuki and reading this fashion magazine. Yes, I need to keep up to date enough on fashions to pass as a fashion ditz, but it gets old fast. Why can't those air heads who are hung up on the particular lace pattern that so and so designer chooses to use for a season realize that it doesn't really matter? I was able to be rehabilitated so why can't they?"
Hinata didn't look up from her journal as she answered Mimi's question. "It's quite simple Mimi. Those other girls didn't have Naruto save them from death by blue on blue combat. Of course, that wouldn't have pulled you out of bimbo land if you had been crushing on Naruto." Being around Ino, Mimi, and Koyuki had helped break Hinata out of her shell. Sure, she was still a little shy around people she didn't know, but she was quite lively around friends.
This friendly needling ended when Koyuki walked through the door wearing form fitting jeans along with a black t-shirt that showed off her belly button. Most people, including many ninjas, would have been surprised by Koyuki's outfit since there didn't appear to be any place to hide weapons. However, the genin kunoichis quickly spotted all the signs of the hidden weapons their teacher was carrying. Koyuki glanced at her students and happily said, "Alright first question, can you tell me where I've hidden all of my weapons?"
Ino quickly gave Koyuki a once over and fired off the answers for the team. "You have a kunai hidden in the soles of your sandals. Your nail extensions can be easily enhanced with charkra into claws. The two bracelets on your right wrist have a razor edge that currently dulled by a blood seal. There is a storage seal hidden in the designs on your belt buckle. That fox pin on your collar probably has a sedative or poison on the needle part of the pin. Since your hair isn't styled, I'm assuming that you have hidden a few senbon needles in your bra."
Koyuki smiled at Ino and said, "You got almost all of them. However, you forgot the knockout lipstick that I'm wearing." As soon as Koyuki said that Ino smacked her forehead for forgetting that Koyuki was wearing lipstick. The royal kunoichi always was able to prove that a kunoichi was deadly no matter the time or place.
Mimi quickly cut in and asked, "So, are we doing infiltration practice today?" After all, why else would Koyuki be wearing that outfit?
To the genins' surprise, Koyuki shook her head and replied, "No infiltration today Mimi. We're first going to get a mission and then you three are going to spar against me. You three have improved a good deal over the past three weeks and I want to see just how far you've come." That caused a chorus of groans from the girls. Koyuki's chakra whip hurt like the devil even when she had it on stun!
Naruto was walking down the street in medium sized town looking for a place to stay for the night. It would take him another two or three days to reach his newest hunts usual haunts. Thus, Naruto was looking for a place to stay for the night instead of camping out in the woods near town. One thing every ninja knew was that towns were always safer places to stay than the open fields. More sets of eyes were always better then one, even if those eyes were just the local village militia.
The young Namikaze was grateful to be back out in the field again after his last mission with Bakura. Naruto needed to get stronger if he was going to defend Konoha and while training was good, nothing beat real life experience. The Shinigami's warning scared the hunter ninja since a god wouldn't issue a warning for just anything. Naruto mentioned the warning only to Koyuki and Sarutobi, with only Sarutobi knowing exactly what the death god's warning was about. Sarutobi had commended Naruto for being so discreet with this information and advised that the two of them keep quiet on the warning so they didn't cause a panic.
Returning to the present, Naruto turned a corner and headed down one of the lesser kept alleys. This alley looked like the perfect place to find somewhere that cleaner and more secure than the slum hotels, but was more anonymous than the high class places on Main Street. Naruto had just spotted a hotel that looked like it was what he wanted when a muffled feminine shriek caught his attention.
Instantly, Naruto shot down the alley towards the source of the scream. The tone in the shriek told Naruto that something very wrong was about to occur and he planed to stop it. Naturally enough, the young rescuer found that he heading into the seedier parts town as he came closer to source of the screams. Naruto rounded one last corner and saw what was going on. There were six men holding a frightened and obviously drugged woman against a wall. What really caused the young man's blood to boil were the lecherous looks on the men's faces and the fact that they were ripping the woman's clothes off. One of the scoundrels sneered out, "Time to collect the interest on the money your mistress owes us bitch."
Like lighting, Naruto pulled out a kunai and threw it at the dead beat that instantly died from the kunai impaling the back of his head. Without skipping a beat, Naruto then cast one of his most vindictive genjutsus ever. This particular illusion made the victim feel like they were in a bonfire with their skin being flayed off while being anal raped with a sword. Naruto hated rapists like any real man and wanted to give these scum a preview of hell before he sent them there. He then quickly killed the remaining thugs by cutting their throats.
Naruto immediately turned his attention to would be victim after the last thug was killed. The woman's shirt was torn so that her breasts were exposed and Naruto decided take care of that first. He quickly pulled out one of his storage scrolls and retrieved a t-shirt. If the woman was lucid, Naruto would have let her put the shirt on herself. Unfortunately, whatever drug the thugs had given the girl was making her too delirious to put on the t-shirt. So Naruto revised the replacement jutsu to swap the woman's tattered shirt with the one in his hands.
Once the woman was modest, Naruto scooped her up into his arms and raced down the alley to the police station. The woman was squirming a bit in Naruto's arms, but she kept on getting calmer and calmer. It was almost as if her delirious mind could sense that he meant her no harm. Naruto kicked open the police station door once it came into view and shouted out, "I've got a near rape victim here that needs attention now!"
The on duty police officers acted immediately. One of them came up to Naruto and said, "I'm Detective Keigo Kurusu. Please put the woman on the couch to your right and come with me. Don't worry; the lady will be attended to by one of my aids. I just want to know who you are and all the information you can tell me about the crime."
Naruto nodded his head and gently placed the woman on the couch. He then turned to Detective Kurusu and said, "I'm a Konoha ninja. Can we please conduct this interview somewhere more private?" The detective nodded his head and motioned for Naruto to follow him. Once they were in the detective's office Naruto continued on. "Here's my registration card. I am Naruto Namikaze, a chunin of Konoha. Currently, I'm on my way for a mission in another village a few days away from here. While trying to find a place to stay for the night I heard a shout of distress and went to investigate. The shouting led me to an alley where this woman had been drugged and about to be gang raped by six thugs. They were claiming that it was payment for the money her boss owed them. I killed the thugs, replaced her ripped up shirt with on of my own, and came here."
Detective Kurusu looked Naruto in the eye and then said, "I'll be honest with you Mr. Namikaze. I don't like ninjas. The various assassinations and other missions your kind do just create more headaches for police officers like me and make it difficult to keep the peace. That said I understand why you did what you did. My daughter was raped by thugs a few weeks ago and I would give practically anything to kill those bastards myself. Just keep your nose clean in this town and the two of us won't have any problems, understood?"
Naruto nodded his head grateful that the detective was willing to look the other way on this case. Police officers could make things difficult for ninjas to try and accomplish their missions if the officers wanted to. The current police/shinobi rivalry was nearly as fierce as the samurai/shinobi rivalry, with the police seeing the ninjas as law-breaking hoodlums and the ninjas seeing the police as a major source of aggravation. Personally, Naruto thought that the whole rivalry was outdated since they were both on the daimyo's side. Still, it was nice to know that Detective Kurusu wouldn't be causing him any troubles in the near future.
Just then one of the aids walked into the room and said, "Excuse me Keigo, but we've found the lady's identification papers. She's a Konoha Jonin name Shizune Saotome." The aid then turned to Naruto and politely said, "Do you know the lady sir? You both are from the same village."
With a shake of his head, Naruto replied, "I don't know her personally, only by reputation. From what I've heard, she's Tsunade Senju's apprentice and traveling companion." Naruto then turned to the detective and said, "With your permission sir, I'll like to stay overnight here to keep an eye on her. At the very least, the presence of a fellow Leaf ninja should help her calm down when she awakes. My mission can wait a day or two." The detective grudgingly agreed to let Naruto say and told him to crash on one of the couches in the lounge.
Shizune began to stir around four A.M. as the mining brigade excavating in her head forced her to wake up. She rubbed her eyes trying to make the headache stop and then froze as the events of last night reached her consciousness. The helplessness and terror that she had felt caused Tsunade's apprentice to scrunch up in a fetal position. No woman, civilian or kunoichi, could go through what Shizune had just gone through without being effected.
Naruto was woken up by Shizune's whimpering and thought about what he should do to comfort her. Part of him wanted to hug her and tell her that everything was alright. However, another part of him figured that an unknown man hugging her right now would just set her off. After a few moments, Naruto's two halves reached an agreement and he quietly said, "Don't worry. They're all dead."
Instantly Shizune whipped her head around and saw Naruto shadowy form in the dimly lighted room. Her voice was terrified as she nervously asked, "Who, who are you? Where am I?"
At the moment Naruto was cursing himself for leaving the lights off. Why wouldn't she be nervous talking to a shadowy figure after all she's been through? Unfortunately, Naruto couldn't turn on the lights since any movement on his part would just make her more frightened. So in a gentle voice, Naruto said, "I'm Naruto Namikaze, a chunin from Konoha. I found you being assaulted by those thugs and saved you. Currently, we are in the lounge of the police office that I brought you two. There's no need to panic. You're perfectly safe here and those scums are dead. I'm going to get up and turn on the light now. Don't worry; I won't come within six feet of you."
With that said Naruto got up and slowly made his way down the hall a flipped on the light switch. Once the lights were on, Naruto turned to face Shizune with his hands open. He then gave her a soft smile and said, "See? I'm an ally. Would you like to tell me about why a skilled kunoichi like yourself could have ended up in that state?"
Shizune seemed to grow small as she whispered out, "I was with Lady Tsunade at the Blowhard Bar. Tsunade was playing poker with some people she had just met. I didn't particularly like the look of those men and grabbed a glass of light beer from the bartender. After a little bit I remember feeling a little buzzed and I decided to head back to my hotel room. Everything after that is just a blur of bad images that I don't want to remember."
Naruto's face hardened as he listened to Shizune's story and thought about what the thugs had said along with what he had seen. Obviously the bartender was in league with the thugs and had slipped something into Shizune's drink. He then got up and headed towards the late night officer's station. Hopefully, Detective Kurusu would be willing to turn a blind eye to a little pyrotechnics mishap at the Blowhard Bar. Also, Naruto made a note to go visit Tsunade. The Slug Princess needed to be reminded to watch out for her apprentice.